I had never even heard of this word before, let alone did I have any idea what it meant.
According to http://www.merriam-webster.com here's the definition:
: investment of mental or emotional energy in a person, object, or idea
After trying to find out more about this word, I end up reading about Sigmund Freud. Its been a long time since I've spent much time thinking about Freud. I had to study him, well I suppose really, his theories when I was at University, which was one heck of a long time ago. (This is where I start to realise my age, and quickly dive back to my original train of thought).
Essentially it seems that Freud believed that psychic energy is generated by the libido. (of course it is.. where else would it come from).
This psychic energy is released through biological means known drives. A drive has two parts: a biological need and a psychological need. Then of course what I am reading starts to get into the id, the ego and the superego, and all of a sudden, distant bells start ringing, and I actually start to remember some of the things I learnt at Uni oh those many years ago. Seems it wasn't a waste after all. My parents will be so happy.
Ultimately, what I realised is that I didn't think I'd ever heard this word before, but that really isn't possible, been as I spent a substantial amount of time studying the id, ego and superego. Apparently I just suppressed the memory of Cathexis. Only for it to rear it's head x number of years later.
What I most certainly do remember is having a biological need for a drink, and then somehow ending up at the pub. My id, ego and superego apparently had that figured out. When my id conjured up an image of a drink, my ego saw that as a beer, and then sent me off to the student union, to quench the biological need for a beverage. Apparently in these situations, my ego did not feel the need to respond with anticathexis, as it did not deem going to the pub for a nice cold beer as an unacceptable action.
Now I am delving further into Freud's theories (again), partly to see how much I remember, partly because I still find it intriguing. (by no means does this mean that I necessarily agree with all of this theories).