Freud and Ambivalence

The month of May marks the birthdays of several people in my personal circle, and as well that of Sigmund Freud whose birthday is May 6th. While many of Freud’s claims have been discredited, one of his insights remains a useful one today: ambivalence.

Ambivalence can be defined as the psychological experience of having opposite feelings or emotions simultaneously about someone or something.

We have ambivalence when:


We really want to do something and at the same time we feel afraid to do it.

We feel anger or even hatred towards someone for whom we also feel love.

We want to live and simultaneously, we feel like dying.

Freud helped us to understand that it is a normal human experience to have mixed feelings about something or someone. As we learn to accept and embrace our opposing emotions, we feel less and less distressed or, as Freud would say, feel less neurotic.

At the Community Counselling Centre, we can guide you to understand and work through emotional pain associated with ambivalence.

Please feel free to add your thoughts or experience of ambivalence here on our blog or contact us at [email protected]

or call us at 780-482-3711.

~ Susan

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