Volume 21, Issue 1 (January 1976)
This paper describes a variety of homicide characterized by an element of reality in resorting to the killing of a parent. It deals with families marked by the presence of what I call catastrophic conflict. This term denotes a conflict which exceeds the adaptive capacity of an individual and can be resolved only by structural changes: a change in the structure of reality (divorce, truancy, homicide) or a change in the structure of the subject (psychosis or suicide). The reactive parricide is a last-resort effort to protect the psychic integrity of the perpetrator threatened with psychic disintegration due to catastrophic conflict. Killing of the parent responsible for catastrophic conflict leads to resolution of this tragic dilemma.