Synthesis - Symptom notes - Avarice



  • Excessive desire for more than one needs/ deserves
  • Synonyms
    • Acquisitiveness, covetousness, greed, desire, tight-fisted
  • Antonyms
    • Being content with one’s lot, generous, desire to give away and share.

Situation / characterization

  • May arise from feelings of poverty, therefore ‘I am not OK unless I can have this or that’
    • ‘I might lose my possessions or have them stolen so I must acquire and hoard in case a thief should strike’
    • OR, ‘my wife and children are a drain on my resources, so I must not stop attaining and acquiring’ – there is never enough.
    • OR. ‘I seek to impress upon others the magnitude of my wealth/ grandeur/ stature through the ostentatious display of valuable possessions’ – compensates for the fact that one has feelings of having had too little in the past, whether this is material (born of a poor family), emotional (not enough familial nurturing), mental (EG, not given a chance to develop in school through unnoticed learning difficulties…)
    • On the personal level, avarice could be expressed in the jealous lover who takes greedily, and does not reciprocate. Desires to have affairs with many different lovers out of an excessive desire for more than he needs, or out of covetousness for another man’s wife.


Opposite expression

Generosity - desire to give away and share

Possessions are unimportant, they do not define the personality so are not of significance beyond their pragmatic purpose.
‘ I am happy to share myself, my time and my possessions as I do not feel an attachment to them- I feel more free without the restrictions imposed upon me by possessiveness’