Reflections on Widowhood and Its Effects on the Self

Malkah Tolpin Notman, MD


Widowhood has not been written about extensively. Recent books in the mainstream press have focused on the experience of the acute loss. This paper describes the experience of widowhood of the author and of several other women after long marriages. It considers issues around the acute loss but also on the effects on the “self” over many years and on the adaptations and developmental changes that can occur in later years. These are related to previous aspects of the personality of each person. Psychological development can take place at the same time as the process of mourning. Implications of this experience for clinical work are discussed.

Psychodynamic Psychiatry: Vol. 42, No. 1, pp. 65-88, March 2014.

Link to Online Publication (available in the library).


Previous Posts:

Fred Busch, PhD (2013). Changing views of what is curative in 3 psychoanalytic methods and the emerging, surprising common groundThe  Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 36:27-34.

Bennett Simon, MD (2013) Mondrian’s Search for Geometric Purity: Creativity and Fixation. American Imago, 70/3: 515-555.

Elsa Ronningstam, PhD; Arielle R. Baskin-Sommers, MS (2013). Fear and decision-making in narcissistic personality disorder—a link between psychoanalysis and neuroscience. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience. 15(2): 191–201.

Phillip S. Freeman (2013). ARGO: Actuality in Cinema. International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 10/2: 178-180 (posted under Film Series)

Dan H. Buie (2013). Core Issues in the Treatment of Personality-Disordered Patients. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 61/1: 10-23.

Ana-María Rizzuto, MD (2013). Field Theory, the “Talking Cure,” and Metaphoric Processes.Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 33:3, 210-228.

Phillip S. Freeman, MD (2012). The Resilience of Illusion. International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies (First Brief Communication, 9: 78-83; Second Brief Communication, 9: 344-349).

Paul Ornstein, MD (2012). The Novelist’s Craft: Reflections on The Brothers Karamazov. American Imago, 69/3, p. 295-316.

Stephanie R. Brody, PsyD (2013). Entering Night Country: Reflections on Self-Disclosure and Vulnerability. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 23:1, p. 45-58.

Ellen Pinsky, PsyD (2012). PHYSIC HIMSELF MUST FADE: A View of the Therapeutic Offering through the Lens of Mortality. American Imago, Vol. 69, No. 1, 29-56.

All articles are available in the library.