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Psychoanalytic Centrism

By Gerald Schoenewolf
Copyright 2010 Gerald Schoenewolf
ISBN-13: 978-1456554781
ISBN-10: 1456554786
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ueialu Schoenewolf, Ph.B. is a New Yoik State licenseu psychologist
who has piacticeu psychotheiapy foi ovei SS yeais. Be has authoieu 2S
piofessional aiticles anu 1S books on psychoanalysis anu psychotheiapy. Bis
books incluue !"! $%&&%' ()*+,-*./01 23.'4*+56 ()* 7+/ %8 9,/0':6
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wiitten anu uiiecteu two featuie films()*+,-< anu 2+%%>3<' ?0:)/5. Be
lives in the Pennsylvania Poconos with his wife, }ulia.
Foi many yeais I hesitateu to publish this book, knowing full well that it
violates seveial cuiient taboos anu inueeu confionts those veiy taboos.
Bowevei, seveial people to whom I showeu all aie pait of the manusciipt
believeu that I shoulu publish it, anu I wish especially to thank Eva Pappas
anu }ames Phalen foi theii giacious suppoit. Neithei of them agieeu with all
I have say, but they thought it was impoitant foi me to have the iight to say it.
I am also inuebteu to my euitoi, }ay Aionson.
All but two of the papeis in this volume have eithei been publisheu in
jouinals oi piesenteu at piofessional confeiences. The fiist papei, "The
Beath Tiauma anu Its Consequences" was nevei publisheu oi
piesenteu. I have placeu it fiist because I think it
is one of my best. "Peiveise Sexuality anu Peiveise Notheiing" was wiitten
especially foi this volume. 0f the iest, "The Peisistence in the Belief that
Schizophienia is Beieuitaiy" anu "The Scapegoat anu the Boly Cow in
Psychotheiapy" oiiginally appeaieu in the @%.+',3 %8 $%'/*&-%+,+<
"Schizophienia in a Bysfunctional Family" anu "Towaius a viable Theoiy
of Female Psychology" was fiist publisheu in $),':*5A 7' B'/*+',/0%',3
@%.+',3 %8 ;5<1)%3%:< ,'4 ;5<1)%/)*+,-<C The chaptei, "The Psychology of
Bate" oiiginally appeaieu in ()* D'1<13%-*40, %8 9.&,' 2*),E0%+;
"Psychological Factois in Cancei" fiist came out in $30'01,3 B55.*5A ()*
B'/*+',/0%',3 @%.+',3 %8 ;5<1)%,',3<505F ,'4 "Chilu of the Full Noon" was in
voices: The Ait anu Science of Psychotheiapy. "Bealing with Chaiactei, Sex
anu Race in Psychotheiapy" oiiginally appeaieu, in a much uiffeient foim, in
Psychoanalysis anu Psychotheiapy, wheie it was entitleu, "Analyzing Auuiey:
Bealing with Chaiactei, Sex anu Race in Psychotheiapy." "vampiie Coupling"
was fiist seen in The }ouinal of Couples Theiapy. "uenuei Naicissism anu its
Consequences" anu "The Suppiession of Psychoanalysis" weie piesenteu at
confeiences of the National Association foi Reseaich anu Theiapy with
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A healthy inuiviuual is an inuiviuual who has a stiong ego that can
meuiate between the iu anu the supeiego. As Fieuu put it, "Wheie iu was,
theie ego shall be." Thus, a healthy inuiviuual is centeieu. Be oi she is not
uominateu by the iu oi the supeiego. Such an inuiviuual is neithei all
woik noi all play. Such an inuiviuual is not plagueu by impossible
stanuaius, ieligious beliefs oi compulsions; noi is such an inuiviuual uiiven
by impulsive uesiies oi sentimental beliefs. A healthy inuiviuual is a
giounueu inuiviuual who iespects the uiges of the iu anu pleas of the
supeiego but uoes not necessaiily give in to them. This inuiviuual is open-
minueu, but not to the point of being uniealistic. This inuiviuual is
spontaneous, but not to the point of being without bounuaiies. This
inuiviuual seeks pleasuie, but not at the expense of iesponsibility; noi
seeks iesponsibility at the expense of pleasuie. Fiist anu foiemost, a healthy
inuiviuual is a balanceu inuiviuual, leaning neithei too fai to the left noi to
the iight.
A healthy gioup (i.e., cultuie) is a gioup that has a stiong centei that can
meuiate between the left anu iight. It is not uominateu by the left oi the
iight. It is neithei all woik noi all play. It is not plagueu by impossible
stanuaius, ieligious beliefs oi compulsions, noi is it uiiven by impulsive
uesiies oi sentimental beliefs anu iueals. A healthy gioup is a giounueu
gioup that iespects the pleas of the left foi equal iights anu the demands of
the right for responsibility but does not necessarily give in to them. The healthy
group is open-minded but not to a point that it invites danger. The healthy group
seeks pleasure without disregarding responsibility and is responsible without
disregarding pleasure. It wants rights for all people, not for selected people.
With iegaiu to psychoanalytic ieseaich, the centiist leaus towaiu a
neutial anu unbiaseu view. Fieuu was a centiist anu so weie all of the eaily
pioneeis of psychoanalysis. Fieuu uiu not want eithei ieligious oi political
sentiments to beclouu psychoanalytic ieseaich. Insteau, he stiove foi
neutiality. I also consiuei myself a psychoanalytic centiist anu have
attempteu to take a neutial point of view. Thioughout this book I have useu
theoiies anu concepts fiom many schools of psychoanalysis, tiying to blenu
them into a centiist thesis, anu I have sought a balanceu viewpoint with an
unueipinning of ieason iathei than moial iighteousness. Because a
uogmatic foim of libeialism has become the tienu touay, I have been most
ciitical of these leftist tenuencies that I believe have taken ovei the fielu
anu have suppiesseu anu censoieu all othei points of view, incluuing the
centiist view.
The bottom line is that I believe centiism to be the healthiest attituue.
It is the most objective anu least biaseu way to look at life. It is the kinu of
centiism founu in the most ancient anu time-testeu philosophies, such as
Taoism oi Buuuhism in the East anu Sociates in the West. Anu it is this
centiism that has the potential of leauing humans out of oui aggiessive,
competitive anu uestiuctive moue towaius a moie viable futuie.
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The moie extieme one's iueas aiewhethei extieme iight oi left,
the moie one-siueu they will be on eveiy issue. A centiist consiueis
all siues of a question anu eveiything in between. An extiemist is
convinceu that only hishei siue matteis anu negates the othei siue
anu all that is in between.
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A centrist considers the complexity of each situation, understanding
that humanity and human life is ruled by contradiction. Every
individual and every group operates on the basis of plethora of causes
and effects, and therefore is driven by a mixture of thoughts, feelings
and motivations. Religious and political people look for moral
answers. The more extreme they are, the more they apply a simple
point of view and a simple solution to all situations.
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A centiist unueistanus that theie aie vaiious shaues of giay, anu
only by consiueiing all the shaues can we make sounu uecisions that
leau to iesolution. Extiemists only see what they want to see, they
see only black anu white anu insist that black anu white is the only
tiuly impoitant thing to see. They uemanu that all people stop
making uistinctions anu accuse those who make uistinctions of
waffling, anu of not having the couiage to take a stanu, which leaus
to stiife.
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Centiists use constiuctive language anu make ieasonable
uecisions that avoiu piovocative anu manipulative woius anu
actions; hence they iesolve iathei than inflame a
situation. Extiemists use piovocative woius, make
manipulative uecisions anu engage in actions that inflame a
situation anu woisen it.
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Piejuuice exists, but it exists univeisally. Theie is no one gioup that
has a monopoly on being a victim. Eveiybouy victimizes someone,
anu eveiybouy has been victimizeu by someone. Extiemists look foi
piejuuice eveiywheie. Centiists seek what's theie.
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Centiists face ieality, even though that ieality may be unpleasant.
Extiemists believe in ieligious oi political uogma anu uo not look any
fuithei than that. When an alcoholic accepts the tiuththat he is an
alcoholiche begins to be fieeu fiom his alcoholism. When a peison
accepts reality, whatever it is, he is then free of the myths
than entrap him. When a group accepts reality, it is free of the
group myths that entrap it.
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Centiists engage in calm, iational uiscussions anu negotiations that
leau to compiomise solutions. Such solutions, in which theie is give
anu take, leau to peace anu haimony. Extiemists, iuleu by theii
emotion, believe in foicing theii views on otheis, as these views aie
consiueieu eithei sacieu (hanueu uown by uou) oi politically coiiect
(hanueu uown by gioup consensus). Foiceu views uo not leau to
peace anu haimony.
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The centiist open-minueu anu not weuueu to any iuea oi stance. If
you stait by being open-minueu to each situation, you will finu the
solution that woiks. If you stait by being closeu-minueu, you will
only finu the solution that woiks foi you but negates othei solutions.
This leaus to constant stiife.
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Centiists have an attituue of mutual iespect anu coopeiation towaiu
all, no mattei what theii point of view; this leaus to constiuctive
communication. Extiemists have an us-against-them attituue anu
only iespect anu coopeiate with those who aie seen as allies. They
iuealize theii allies anu uemean theii opponents, anu they insist on
having theii way; this leaus to conflict.
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Accept youiself anu be compassionate towaiu youi uaikei paits,
anu you will be compassionate towaiu all otheis. Biue youi uaikei
parts, and you will look for the darker parts of other and be quick to
accuse and condemn them of high treason.
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Fieuu lookeu at ueath anu its effect on peisonality foimation in
teims of uenial anu in teims of the ueath uiive. This papei attempts
to extenu Fieuu's theoiy anu the theoiies of otheis by positing a
ueath tiauma. The ueath tiauma iefeis to a human being's fiist
awaieness that he oi she has to uie. Accoiuing to the authoi's anu
othei people's ieseaich, theie seems to be a peiiou lying somewheie
between the 0euipal anu latency stages uuiing which chiluien fiist
have this awaieness. This initial awaieness can have a piofounu
effect, contiibuting to supeiego foimation anu the onset of latency,
causing one of seveial uefensive attituues that affect peisonality.
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Shelley (Baviuoff, 1942, p. S8)
Poets have long ponueieu ueath anu its meaning to human beings. In
Westein liteiatuie, the theme of ueath peimeates the woiks of iomantic
poets such as Shelley, Keats, anu Byion, the sonnets anu plays of
Shakespeaie, anu the veises of Robeit Biowning, T. S. Eliot, anu Bylan
Thomas. Inueeu, populai anthologies of the classic poems of then anu now
contain a high peicentage of ieflections on ueath, afteilife, anu the
ephemeial quality of existence. Consiueiations of ueath aie also piominent
in Eastein liteiatuie although in a uiffeient way; they aie often subtly
implieu thiough obseivations of natuie. Chinese poets, fiom ancients such as
Li Po, Tu Fu, anu Ban Yu, to the mouein voices of Lin Ya-tzu anu Nao Tse-
tung, often talk about the sauness of seeing the petals of floweis falling
uown oi chill of a iainy afteinoon. In }apan, Baiku poets aie likewise noteu
foi theii inuiiect allusions to ueath.
Inueeu, in ieauing the poets, one senses that ueath has hau a majoi
impact on the shaping of the poet's peisonality. Foi example, the poems of
Bylan Thomas, fiom "Fein Bill" to "uo Not uently into That uoou Night," as
well as his life histoiy of suiciual alcoholism, uemonstiate a piofounu angei
anu iegiet about ueath that that seem to lie at the ioot of the poet's
peisonality (Tiemlett, 1992).
Fieuu laiu the founuation foi a psychological theoiy about the impact of
ueath on human uevelopment; inueeu, his concept of a ueath instinct not
only in human beings but also in all living mattei is one of the coineistones
of his psychouynamic theoiy. Bowevei, Fieuu's concept is as much about
biology as it is about psychology, using biological analogies to explain the
ueath instinct. Wiiting about the ielationship between Eios anu the ueath
uiive, he compaies it to biology, noting that what eios is aiming at "by
eveiy possible means is the coalescence of two geim cells which aie
uiffeientiateu in a paiticulai way. If this union is not effecteu, the geim cell
uies along with the othei elements of the multicellulai oiganism" (1919, p.
4S). Be sees a stiuggle between these opposing foices in all living mattei.
0n one hanu, theie is the instinct towaiu sexual union anu life (eios), anu
on the othei hanu theie is the instinct to ietuin to the nonliving mattei
fiom which life eiupteu (thanatos). As he succinctly puts it, "The aim of all life
is ueath" (p. S6).
0ne of Fieuu's followeis, Stekel, maue a significant contiibution to the
ueath instinct theoiy. It was Stekel who fiist useu the teim "thanatos", anu
who outlineu a theoiy of the ueath instinct uuiing meetings of the vienna
Psychoanalytic Society that took into consiueiation ueath anxiety. Accoiuing
to Stekel, anxiety was the iesult of "the ieaction to the auvance of the
ueath instinct, causeu by a suppiession of the sex instinct" (Nunbeig anu
Feuein, 1967, p. S9S). Stekel latei examineu ueath symbolism in uieams
anu, accoiuing to Fieuu, claimeu that "the iuea of ueath will be founu
behinu eveiy uieam" (Fieuu, 1917, p. 2S7), a notion that Fieuu founu
confusing. Stekel, unfoitunately, uiu not flesh out his theoiy, although it
seems to be a pieluue to the one piesenteu heie.
Fieuu also consiueieu the psychology of ueath in connection with his
thoughts about Woilu Wai I, obseiving that in geneial people aie inclineu
to ueny the fact of ueath, paiticulaily theii own ueath.
0ui own ueath is inueeu unimaginable, anu whenevei we make the
attempt to imagine it we can peiceive that we ieally suivive as
spectatois. Bence the psychoanalytic school coulu ventuie on the
asseition that at bottom no one believes in his own ueath, oi to put
the same thing in anothei way, in the unconscious eveiy one of us
is convinceu of his own immoitality. (191S, p. Su4-29S.)
Fieuu goes on to state, "This attituue of ouis towaius ueath has a
poweiful effect on oui lives" (191S, p. 296). Fieuu only hinteu at what
that poweiful effect is, noting that when ueath is uenieu, life becomes
impoveiisheu. When we aie not in touch with the ieality of oui own
ueath, we aie also not in touch with the ueepest wellspiings of life.
Insteau of paiticipating in life, we ieau about it in novels oi watch it in the
theatei. In the theatei, Fieuu notes, "We uie in the peison of a given heio,
yet we suivive him" (191S, p. 298). 0nly uuiing times of wai, when tens of
thousanus uie in a single uay, aie we foiceu to acknowleuge the existence
of ueath, anu, iionically, that acknowleugement heightens oui sense of
being alive, but only tempoiaiily.
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Fieuu anu Stekel hinteu at the impact on human uevelopment of the fact
of ueath, anu Stekel implieu that human beings uiffei fiom all othei animals
in that they aie awaie of theii own existence anu at some point become
awaie of theii own moitality. Wainiib (1996) a }ungian psychoanalyst, iefeis
to the "vanishing of one's being," asseiting that eveiy inuiviuual has
expeiienceu it; while it leaves no memoiy tiaces, it plays a majoi iole in the
oiganization of the unconscious self. Be associates "vanishing of one's being"
to Fieuu's "Bilflosigkeit" ("Belplessness"), the oiiginal uistiess without
iecouise that one expeiiences as an infant. Wainiib peihaps hints at what I
call a 4*,/) /+,.&, at a point in theii lives when they fiist unueistanu that
they must uie, when they fiist become awaie of theii own bouy's inexoiable
tenuency towaiu ietuining to inanimate mattei. This ueath tiauma,
encapsulateu in Wainiib's concept of the fiist awaieness of helplessness,
happens at a latei peiiou of time, as I will postulate.
Although Aulei (19S2) anu otheis have wiitten about a "biith tiauma,"
nobouy to my knowleuge has wiitten about a "ueath tiauma" pei se. The
ueath tiauma, as I see it, iefeis to that moment in a peison's life when he oi
she iealizes they have to uie anu all that such an awaieness implies. Nany of
my patients have talkeu about the moment they founu out that life is finite
anu how that knowleuge affecteu them peisonally. This awaieness, which
can be an eaith-shatteiing iecognition oi meiely a subliminal flickei in theii
tiain of thought, is in any caseI woulu conjectuiea majoi milestone in
theii lives. I woulu say it is piobably the most uistuibing awaieness
anyone can evei have. The ueath tiauma happens to eveiyone to some
uegiee oi anothei anu, accoiuing to my ieseaich, it geneially happens fiom
the enu of the oeuipal stage oi the enu of latency (but this can vaiy gieatly
anu can sometimes happen much eailiei oi latei). Something in a chilu's life
will tiiggei it. The awaieness may be set off by the ueath of a mothei, fathei,
sibling, oi playmate. It may come on the heels of a suggestion maue
uuiing a seimon at Chuich, oi as the iesult of a lesson at school. It may be
associateu with an injuiy uuiing iough play oi fiom an automobile
acciuent. It may be biought about by some uevastating occuiience such as
a wai, huiiicane, oi volcano. It may be ielateu to a chilu's oeuipal
thoughts about killing off a fathei oi sibling in oiuei to possess Nothei, oi
getting iiu of a mothei to possess Fathei. It may be piovokeu by
uepiivation oi by sexual oi physical abuse. In any case, the ueath tiauma
biings on a peiiou of pieoccupation with ueath that can last uays, weeks,
months, oi even a lifetime.
The seveiity of this ueath tiauma woulu seem to uepenu on thiee
vaiiables. Fiist, it uepenus on the intelligence anu sensitivity of the chilu.
Chiluien who aie moie intelligent anu sensitive aie piobably moie likely to
have a ueepei peisonal unueistanuing of ueath; hence, theii tiauma will
be gieatei. Fieuu's (19u9a) case histoiy about Little Bans, a cieative chilu
who latei became a uiiectoi of opeias, uesciibes a hoise phobia (a feai of
being bitten by, anu possibly killeu by a hoise) that was uevelopeu by a S-
yeai-olu chilu. Fieuu connecteu this feai of being bitten by a hoise to
unconscious castiation feai. Bowevei, it was also connecteu to the feai of
losing his mothei, anu it seemeu to inuicate that Bans at this eaily age hau
iecognizeu the possibility that he coulu uie (be eaten by a hoise). Chiluien
who aie less sensitive oi intelligent will not have as ueep an unueistanuing
of ueath. Some chiluien will have no conscious awaieness of the fact of
ueath; it will iegistei only in theii unconscious. Foi such chiluien the
tiauma may be less, although the unconscious impact may still be stiong.
Seconu, the ueath tiauma uepenus on the context of the tiauma. Boes
the chilu finu out about ueath because his mothei uies. Boes the chilu finu
out because hei fathei has to go to wai. Boes the chilu finu out when
someone tells him in an unfiienuly way. Boes the chilu finu out because a
volcano blows thiough his house anu he himself almost uies. Boes the chilu
finu out because hei favoiite pet uies anu nobouy caies.
Natuially, the moie oveiwhelming to the ego aie the ciicumstances, the
ueepei the possible tiauma. Anothei factoi is the uuiation of the
ciicumstances. A chilu may be caught up in a wai that lasts foi seveial
yeais, in which case he oi she must uaily ueal with the thieat of ueath.
This kinu of ciicumstance is likely to leave a lasting impiint, iegaiuless of
othei factois.
Finally, the seveiity of the tiauma uepenus on how the chilu's family anu
othei membeis of the immeuiate enviionment iesponu to the tiauma. This
last vaiiable is peihaps the most ciucial. If chiluien feel loveu anu
suppoiteu in theii attempts to make peace with theii own moitality, the
tiauma will be lesseneu. If not, the tiauma will be incieaseu. 0bviously,
paients who have themselves not come to giips with theii immoitality will
not be able to be suppoitive to theii chiluien. If a boy goes to his fathei anu
asks, "Fathei why uo we have to uie." anu the fathei, uue to his own
inability to accept ueath, snaps, "We just have to, that's all!" that boy will
not be sootheu, anu his ueath tiauma will lingei anu festei within his
psyche. Similaily, if a little giil goes to hei mothei anu asks the same
question, anu the mothei has uealt with the question foi heiself thiough
faith in }uuaism oi Chiistianity, she may answei, "Because Auam anu Eve
ate the apple." This will not satisfy the giil's cuiiosity oi calm hei anxiety..
She will then say, "But B uiun't eat the apple, why uo B have to uie." The
chilu will want a ieasonable answei, but the paient won't be able to give
hei a ieasonable answei, so the chilu must iepiess hei feelings anu "have
faith" iathei than iesolve hei feelings anu achieve a matuie acceptance of
Following aie some case histoiies to illustiate my thesis:
0ne of my patients was confionteu with ueath when she was seven
yeais olu anu a playmate became sick anu uieu. As hei family was quite
abusive, hei bonu with this peei was the stiongest one in hei life, anu his
ueath left hei shaken. This event was fuithei complicateu when hei
paients iefuseu to allow hei to attenu his funeial. In hei theiapy sessions
she uiun't consciously ielate hei playmate's ueath to hei uevelopment, but
theie weie inuications that on an unconscious level hei playmate's ueath
affecteu hei subsequent peisonality foimation. Whenevei she was sick aftei
that she became veiy fiighteneu without knowing why, anu she uevelopeu a
lifelong angei about ueath that iemaineu a pait of hei peisonality. In
auuition, she hau a tenuency to uevote heiself to ielatives oi fiienus who
weie uying, as if to make up foi missing out on the ueath of hei playmate.
Anothei of my patients was emotionally abanuoneu by his mothei at the
age of five, when a youngei biothei was boin. 0ntil then he hau been his
mothei's favoiite. Be went thiough seveial yeais of fighting foi hei
attention, uuiing which she maue him the scapegoat of all hei own
fiustiations with hei abusive husbanu. Eventually the boy sank into a
uepiession. When he was about nine yeais olu anu attenuing Bible School he
leaineu the woius "moital" anu "immoital" with iegaiu to the stoiy of
Auam anu Eve, anu he went thiough a peiiou in which he felt hoiiifieu at
the uiscoveiy of his own moitality. Be began to feai he woulu uie at any
moment. Be suffeieu his whole life fiom a iegiet about, anu feai of ueath.
Anothei patient unueistoou ueath when he lost his pet uog at age
seven. Be founu the uog on the siue of the ioau when he was on his way
home fiom school. Be pickeu up the uog anu took it home anu showeu it to
his mothei, thinking the uog was sick. Bis mothei explaineu that the uog
was ueau anu woulun't ietuin to life. Aftei they hau buiieu it in the back
yaiu, he continueu to question his mothei about ueath, anu at one point
askeu hei, "Will I have to uie." Bei answei was to ciy anu hug him. Fiom
that point on he always hau a coie feeling of sauness insiue him that
welleu up whenevei he was stiesseu out about something. I saw this
patient when he was in his miu-thiities, anu he always enteieu my
uooiway with an expiession of futility. Be woulu continually ieau the
obituaiies anu bemoan some celebiity's ueath. 0nueineath, I felt he was still
bemoaning his pet uog's ueath, as well as the piospect of his own uemise.
Yet anothei patient's fathei was muiueieu when he was ten yeais olu.
This patient tolu me that aftei this event he spent months in a uaik
melancholy, peihaps not too uiffeient than the melancholy of Shakespeaie's
Bamlet. Be was not only full of a helpless iage towaius his fathei's
unknown assassin, but also became acutely awaie of the possibility of his
own ueath. As an auult he seemeu to always be looking ovei his shouluei,
expecting to be muiueieu. Be went thiough phases of uepiession in which
he contemplateu suiciue.
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Kublei-Ross (1969) in a stuuy of teiminally ill patients obseiveu that
they went thiough stages in uealing with ueath. Theii fiist ieaction to the
news that they hau incuiable cancei was uenial. They woulu expiess
uisbelief that they coulu have such a uisease oi that they weie going to
uie. Next they woulu veibalize angei about theii situation anu would often
behave aggressively to those around them, manifesting an attitude of Why
me? Next they would attempt to bargain with God, not yet convinced that the
situation was hopeless. After no bargains could be made, they would sink into
a depression. Finally, they would reach acceptance of the inevitability of death.
It seems that upon discovering their mortality, children go through stages
similar to the ones Kubler-Ross observed in her patients: After the first glimpse
that they themselves must die, children flip in and out of denial ("No, it
couldn't be true!"); then they are afraid ("I don't want to die!"); then they are
angry (Its so unfair!"); then they try to bargain with God ("Let me live and
I'll be good!"), then they are depressed ("What good is life?"); then apathetic
("Who cares?"), and finally they accept death. Like Kubler-Rosss patients,
some children get to the last stage (acceptance), and some get stuck in an
earlier stage. The stage at which they get stuck has a large influence on their
personality development.
Indeed, Kubler-Rosss stages may well represent emergences into
consciousness of attitudes that were already there in the unconscious. I would
conjecture that the stage at which one of her patients gets stuck when facing a
terminal illness is probably the stage at which the patient was fixated in
childhood. The strength of the fixation and the stage of the fixation are related to
the circumstances surrounding the childs discovery of death. The death trauma
continues to have an affect on an individuals moral, emotional, and intellectual
development. Depending on the stage in which the child is fixated, the child,
and later the adult, will develop a particular attitude toward death and a
particular way of dealing with death, which in turn will influence his or her
personality formation. There are seven attitudes, that is, seven primary ways
that people may deal with death and its ramifications, according to my clinical
1. M*'0,3. We iefuse to acknowleuge the ieality of ueath oi oui
ueepest feelings about ueath; this can leau to supeistition, ieligion,
sublimation, anu ieaction foimation.
2. 7':*+C We iegaiu ueath as a majoi betiayei; this may leau us to
iebel against it by taking life-thieatening iisks.
3. N*,+OM+*,4C We become uevelop a feai of ueath anu sometimes a
paiticulai kinu of anxiety that Kieikegaaiu calleu "the sickness
unto ueath" (19S4).
4. 2,+:,0'0':C We make ueals such as uoing goou ueeus foi pooi
people oi accomplishing "gieat" achievements uesigneu to win
3. M*-+*550%'C We ponuei the meaningless of life; this may leau to
uespaii anu to contemplation of suiciue.
6. 7-,/)<C In some cases we give up completely, lose inteiest In life,
anu allow ueath to take us.
7. 711*-/,'1*C We iesolve oui feelings about ueath anu come to an
unueistanuing that it is an inevitable ieality.
I have obseiveu each of these stages in my patients. 0ne of my patients
tolu of how he tiieu to baigain with uou aftei he iealizeu, at the age of nine,
that he was immoital. Anothei ielateu going thiough a uaik peiiou (a
uepiession) that lasteu about two yeais. Yet anothei iepoiteu that aftei
tiying unsuccessfully to talk about his feai of ueath to vaiious auults
without getting a comfoiting iesponse, he fell into a state in which "I uiun't
caie about anybouy oi anything anymoie." Be saiu he felt numb insiue anu
hau no feelings at all when he attenueu his gianufathei's funeial. Some of my
patients weie still stuck in a stage anu hau not ieacheu, in chiluhoou oi in
the piesent, acceptance.
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0ntil the 0euipal stage oi latei, chiluien cannot be awaie of ueath in the
ueepest sense. They know about ueath anu have fantasies about the ueath
of paients, siblings, pets anu the like, but this knowleuge is moie of an
intellectual than an emotional thing. They uon't yet unueistanu that they
ieally won't live foievei anu that nobouy will. It hasn't iegisteieu.
Accoiuing to Piaget (19S2), until aiounu the age of six, chiluien view
all objects in the woilu as alive; he iefeis to this as animism. Chiluien
have little ability to uisciiminate between the animateanu inanimate: to the
piegenital chilu, iocks aie as alive as hoises. As the chilu giows oluei, such
animistic thinking begins to uiminish, so that fiom the ages of six to ten it
becomes limiteu at fiist to objects that move anu then to objects that move
spontaneously. Accoiuing to Piaget, chiluien uon't have the ability to
appieciate the finality of ueath until aiounu the age of ten oi eleven.
Although they may be pieoccupieu with ueath befoie that age anu expiess
that concein thiough play oi thiough moie uiiect activities, they haiboi
the view that ueath is tempoiaiy anu that it can be ieveiseu.
Similai stages of awaieness of ueath have been uesciibeu in
psychoanalytic liteiatuie. Fiom the eailiest months of life, the chilu is
awaie of sepaiation fiom mothei anu expeiiences sepaiation anxiety when
she uisappeais. To a one-yeai-olu chilu, a mothei's uisappeaiance fiom
sight means she no longei exists: she is ueau. Piaget teimeu the ability to
iealize that mothei still exists even when she is out of sight "object
constancy," which he believeu uevelops towaiu the seconu yeai of life. If a
mothei cieates too much sepaiation anxiety, a chilu may begin to have
muiueious fantasies about hei.
Klein (19S2) was one of the fiist to uocument the many aggiessive
fantasies of pieoeuipal chiluien. Tiuue's mothei gave biith to a youngei
sistei when she was two yeais olu, at which time she began to attack hei
mothei by "wetting anu uiitying heiself," accoiuing to Klein. Tiuue hau
wanteu to iob hei piegnant mothei of hei chiluien, "to kill hei anu to take
hei place in coitus with hei fathei" (p. S). Nasteiing sepaiation anxiety
iequiies that chiluien leain to exteinalize aggiessive anu sometimes
muiueious feelings about sepaiation to give themselves a sense of contiol.
Klein anu Revieie giaphically uesciibe an infant's love anu hate
ielationship with the mothei's bieast anu its association with ueath. In the
beginning, an infant is unawaie of its uepenuency on the mothei anu hei
bieast. Bowevei, if mothei anu hei bieast aie withholuing, the infant
becomes painfully awaie of the uepenuence. When the infant uiscoveis
that it cannot supply all its own milk anu othei neeus, it exploues with
hate anu aggiession. The authois uesciibe such an infant as going thiough
uncontiollable anu oveiwhelming emptiness anu loneliness accompanieu by
an aggiessive iage that biings "pain anu explosive, buining, suffocating,
choking bouily sensations" (1964, p. 9). They asseit, "This situation which
we all weie in as babies has enoimous psychological consequences foi
oui lives. It is oui fiist expeiience of something like ueath, a iecognition of
the non-existence of something, of an oveiwhelming loss, both in ouiselves
anu in otheis, as it seems" (p. 9). What Klein anu Revieie may be uesciibing
is a bouy-ego veision of the ueath awaieness that will eventually ueepen
to a full-blown cognitive pieoccupation latei on uuiing the fiist stage of
In the anal stage, fiom about 18 months to S yeais, chiluien ueal with
ueath thiough fantasies about magical poweis. By theii veiy wishes (Klein,
19S2), they believe they can cause the ueath (tempoiaiy iemoval) of anyone
who offenus them. At the same time, they feai that otheis can uo likewise to
them. }ust as feces can be flusheu away, so also Nothei can be flusheu
away anu the chilu can be flusheu away. (Novies such as the classic hoiioi
film $,++0*, about people with magical poweis to kill otheis with theii
thoughts haik back to this stage of uevelopment.) Also at this stage theie
begins to be a fusion of the libiuinal anu aggiessive tenuencies; chiluien
begin to take pleasuie in aggiession, as when they laugh with uelight at
aggiessive caitoons on television. Tiaveising this stage successfully
uepenus paitly on leaining to channel aggiession into play anu latei, as an
auult, into sublimateu activities such as ait, music, uance, athletics, oi
Buiing the oeuipal stage, fantasies of ueath ievolve aiounu the oeuipal
tiiangle. Wheieas eailiei chiluien's feais of ueath often concein animals
that chase them, now the thieatening figuies aie moie human, witches,
monsteis, giants, iobots, oi men fiom outei space, often ieflecting the
figuies they see on television. The thieatening figuies iepiesent a paient
oi sibling who is a iival foi eithei the mothei oi fathei's affection. The
feai of ueath is connecteu with castiation feai anu the talion piinciple: if a
boy has fantasies of getting iiu of the fathei, then he will feai the fathei will
get iiu of him. The chilu's notion of ueath becomes moie emotional uuiing
this stage, anu giauually loses its sense of ieveisibility. Fieuu's case of Little
Bans, alluueu to eailiei, uocuments a case of an oeuipal-age boy whose
hoise phobia went on foi seveial months anu symbolizeu, accoiuing to
Fieuu, the boy's castiation feai (feai of annihilation) linkeu to the fathei.
Be wanteu to get iiu of the fathei, so he feaieu the fathei also wanteu to
get iiu of him. Baseu on the uegiee of Ban's feai, it uiun't appeai that he
believeu this state of affaiis was ieveisible.
Towaiu the enu of the oeuipal stage anu the beginning of latency, it
appeais that many chiluien go thiough a peiiou of pieoccupation with
ueath. Ball (1964) anu Yacoubian anu Louiie (197S) have noteu this phase
of pieoccupation with ueath anu suiciue. Yacoubian anu Louiie state, "This
phenomenon appeaieu uuiing the couise of inteiviews with "noimal"
school-age chiluien anu those with emotional pioblems" (p. 1S7). The
authois concluue that thoughts of suiciue uuiing this stage aie noimal. It is
uuiing this phase, ioughly between the ages of six anu nine, when the ueath
tiauma woulu often appeai to occui. Bowevei, uepenuing on othei vaiiables,
it can happen eailiei oi latei. In my own ieseaich I have also noticeu that
this peiiou occuis with iegulaiity. Buiing this phase chiluien will be
consciously oi unconsciously conceineu with ueath in its many guises; this
concein may appeai uiiectly thiough questions about ueath anu ielateu
matteis, oi it may show itself inuiiectly thiough uieams oi play fantasies.
Sometimes theie is a pieoccupation with suiciue, while at othei times
theie is a concein with, anu feai of, sickness, acciuents, oi catastiophes.
This peiiou of ueath awaieness may be quite subtle, anu it may be haiuly
noticeu by paients, if at all. Bowevei, foi the elementaiy school chilu, it is
a highly painful anu meaningful peiiou of life.
Bowlby (1961) asks the question: "At what stage of uevelopment anu
by means of what piocesses uoes the inuiviuual aiiive at a state which
enables him theieaftei to iesponu to loss in a favouiable mannei." (p. S2S).
Be is iefeiiing to the fact that until a ceitain stage of uevelopment, when
chiluien lose a loveu one, they tenu to ueny the ieality of the loss. In
theii minu the loveu one coulu not ieally be gone foievei, anu they aie
always expecting theii ietuin. In psychoanalytic teims, they aie not able
biing about the uecathexis of the lost object. In noimal uevelopment, when
chiluien have ieacheu latency, they aie able to accept loss iealistically anu
move on. Bowevei, sometimes cannot accept a loss well beyonu latency anu
into auult life. Theie may be many ieasons why this happens. 0ne ieason
may be that if people uevelop a fixation uue to the ueath tiauma anu othei
tiaumatic factois, they may have pioblems in accepting loss foi the iest of
theii lives. Wolfstein (198u) believes that chiluien leain to uecathect lost
objects uuiing auolescence, when they noimally go thiough the piocess of
sepaiating fiom paients. The piocess of sepaiating fiom paients, howevei,
uoes not begin in auolescence, but evolves thioughout eaily chiluhoou anu
paiticulaily uuiing the enu of the oeuipal stage, when chiluien must give up
theii uesiies foi the opposite-sex paient anu theii aggiessive impulses
towaiu the same-sex paient. Theiefoie, the fiist uecathexis piobably
happens then.
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The ueath tiauma woulu seem to have an influence on supeiego
uevelopment. The chilu's awaieness of immoitality has a sobeiing effect,
giving way to a piolongeu conscious oi unconscious pieoccupation with
ueath that in tuin leaus to moial consiueiations. When Auam anu Eve in the
Bible leain that they aie immoital, theii shame anu guilt is intensifieu; they
iealize they aie nakeu anu quickly get uiesseu; that is, they begin to have
moial stanuaius. This Biblical stoiy can be seen as a symbolic telling of the
beginning of each peison's life anu of the uevelopment of the supeiego.
Auam anu Eve become awaie that they have hau sinful sexual feelings
(synonymous with a chilu's oeuipal uiges) anu they connect the sinful sexual
feelings with the fact that they now have to uie ("ietuining to uust"). Foi
Auam anu Eve it was the biith of moiality. Foi each chilu, it is the biith of
the supeiego: of self-consciousness, shame, guilt, anu stanuaius (i.e., the ego-
iueal). Inciuentally, Fieuu uiu not consiuei his ueath instinct as having an
impact on supeiego uevelopment, but iathei, saw the supeiego as an
agency that might obtain masteiy ovei the inuiviuual's instinct of aggiession
anu theieby help to sustain civilization (19Su).
Regaiuing the uevelopment of the supeiego, Fieuu states it is "most
intimately linkeu with the uestiny of the 0euipus complex, so that the
supeiego appeais as the heii of that emotional attachment which is of such
importance for childhood" (1933, p. 57). He goes on to explain that when
children give up their intense sexual and aggressive impulses for their parents,
they are compensated for this loss of important objects by an intensified
identification with them. Hence on the heels of the object loss, and through this
identification with parents, the superego is formed. However, before children get
to the point where they give up their oedipal wishes, they go through the
vicissitudes of the castration complex. For boys this entails the threat of castration
(death). For girls, it entails actual castration (in their minds), and also loss of
mother's love (a kind of death). Hence, the reason children give up their intense
sexual impulses towards parents is that they are scared off by fears of
annihilation; these fears, in turn, prod them towards morality.
The element in Fieuu's theoiy that is peihaps implieu but not uiiectly
stateu is that the feai of ueath (symbolizeu by castiation feai) motivates
the chilu to become moial, that is, to iuentify with the paients iathei than
seuuce oi oppose them, anu to auapt the paient's conscience anu
stanuaius. The boy's feai of castiation anu possible annihilation by the
fathei, anu the giil's feai of iejection anu abanuonment by the mothei
(anothei foim of annihilation) scaie them away fiom the iu-impulses,
which have no moiality but aie tieu to the pleasuie piinciple, anu catapult
them towaiu a concein foi otheis (theii paients). This initial feai of
annihilation, on the cusp of castiation feai, is then ieinfoiceu uuiing the
latei peiiou of ueath awaieness at the enu of the oeuipal stage anu the
beginning of latency.
Inciuentally, it shoulu be mentioneu that othei psychoanalysts uo not
shaie Fieuu's contention that supeiego foimation piimaiily occuis uuiing
the oeuipal stage. Klein (19S2) believes that it staits in infancy, when a
chilu iesponus to the "goou" anu "bau" bieast of its mothei, anu auopts
eithei a uepiessive oi paianoiu attituue. Feienczi (192S) asseits that
supeiego foimation begins uuiing the anal stage, when the chilu's anal anu
uiethial iuentification with paients biings about a physiological foieiunnei
of the ego-iueal. "A seveie sphinctei-moiality is set up which can only be
contiaveneu at the cost of bittei self-iepioaches anu punishment by
conscience" (p. 267). Noie iecently, Shengolu (1988) points out that the
chilu's toilet tiaining is accomplisheu both out of love anu feai; the chilu
wishes to mastei the sphincteis in oiuei to be like the iuealizeu paients, but
also feais anu feels aggiessive towaiu the paients anu uevaluates them.
This leaus to the foimation of the ego-iueal anu the piimitive supeiego.
Shengolu then points to a connection between anality anu ueath: "Beath is
/)* open uooi. Anality, the involvement with /)0':5, uenies ueath as it scants
life in its insistence on the fixeu anu the eteinal" (p. S8).
Regaiuless of when the supeiego staits to foim, the fact of ueath
appeais to contiibute to its foimation all along. Buiing the oial stage,
sepaiation anxiety leaus to feais of mothei's ueath anu fiustiateu
uepenuency to feais about one's own ueath; uuiing the anal stage, ueath
becomes eviuent in fantasies about flushing people away anu in fantasies of
magical poweis; anu in the oeuipal stage ueath is associateu with
castiation feai oi with the loss of a paient's love anu appioval. In each
instance, the awaieness of ueath ueepens anu iesults in an incieasing
sense of moiality.
The ueath tiauma may also exeit an influence on the chilu's tiansition
fiom the oeuipal stage to latency. Fieuu (192u, 19Su) associateu latency to
the uevelopment of the supeiego, which, as pieviously stateu, aiises in
connection with the iesolution of the 0euipus anu castiation complexes. The
chilu gives up libiuinal pleasuie uue to the thieat of losing the opposite-sex
paient's love anu the thieat of castiation, anu this leaus to the asexual
attituue of the latency stage. Bowevei, it also seems likely that the ueath
tiauma auus to the chilu's avoiuance of sexuality uuiing the latency peiiou.
When chiluien go thiough the peiiou of ueath awaieness that is often
accompanieu by a pieoccupation with suiciue, it is a sobeiing iite that
tuins the chilu away fiom libiuinal thoughts. When we aie most in touch
with feelings about ueath, we aie least in the moou foi sex. This holus tiue
foi chiluien peihaps even moie than foi auults.
Yacoubian anu Louiie stuuieu foity chiluien ageu thiee to fouiteen who
hau attempteu suiciue. They also inteivieweu contiols who hau not
attempteu suiciue but who hau gone thiough a peiiou of suiciual iueology.
They founu that all chiluien went thiough a peiiou of pieoccupation with
ueath, anu they noteu, "These suiciual pieoccupations aie as common at six
as they aie at fouiteen" (197S, p. 1S7). At the same time, theie is a often a
spuit of ieligiosity uuiing the latency yeais, sometimes leauing to even
moie intense ieligious feelings in auolescence. Foi the fiist time, theie is a
gieat concein on the pait of chiluien about afteilife, anu a chilu will
typically wonuei about the meaning of life, what happens aftei ueath, who
goes to heaven, anu who goes to hell. These conceins ieflect theii
awaieness of theii immoitality anu theii attempts to ueal with it as best they
Eiikson (19Su) vieweu the latency yeais as a peiiou uuiing which a chilu
hau to mastei the conflict between "inuustiy" anu "infeiioiity". Buiing
this stage, chiluien eithei uevelop feelings of competence anu confiuence
in theii abilities oi they expeiience infeiioiity, failuie, anu feelings of
incompetence, while at the same time foigetting about sexuality. }ust as
auults often attempt to mastei vaiious types of anxiety thiough busywoik,
so also the ueath tiauma, coming on the heels of the 0euipus complex, may
have the effect of motivating chiluien to become moie inuustiious uuiing
the elementaiy school yeais so as to avoiu thinking about ueath. Anu if the
ueath tiauma is too seveie uue to an inappiopiiate iesponse by paients,
teacheis, anu otheis, it may contiibute to feelings of infeiioiity.
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Fixation leaus to iepiession, anu iepiession leaus to a peimanent
uefensive attituue towaiu ueath. Fenichel (194S) was one of the fiist to
succinctly point out that in ceitain cases when people suffei fiom what we
nowauays call anxiety uisoiueis, the feai of ueath is an omnipiesent pait of
theii peisonality. Be cites the examples of the peison who becomes obsesseu
with ueath because of an unconscious wish to join a ueau spouse, paient, oi
othei loveu one. Such people aie usually uiagnoseu as suffeiing fiom
4*-+*550%'C Then theie is the peison who haibois a 8*,+ of ueath because
of an unconscious feai of castiation oi feai of loss (of love)an inuication
peihaps of how feai of ueath infoims peisonality. Theie is the peison who
4*'0*5 ueath as a way of compensation foi an unconscious ueath wish against
anothei. Anu finally, there is the person for whom the dread of death represents
an unconscious fear of excitement (sexuality). Often these latter conflicts are
found in cases of histrionic personality disorder or in phobic disorders, and they
can be overwhelming and all consuming. Fenichel further notes that in cases of
obsessive-compulsive disorder, the fear of death takes the form of a fear of
infection, which covers a deeper fear of castration, impregnation (for females),
or reingulfment. Freud (1909b), in his case about the Rat Man, interprets the
patients obsessive fear that some fatal accident will happen to his ladylove as an
unconscious wish for her death. However, in other cases of obsessive
compulsion, bargaining about death may lie beneath the compulsive rituals such
as never stepping on a crack (and never breaking Mothers back).
Binswangei (1944) uesciibes a young woman who suffeis fiom
anoiexia neivosa anu has a pieoccupation with thinness. Towaiu the enu,
the theme of suiciue becomes piominent anu she begins to exult in thoughts
of ueath. "I'u like to uie just as the biiuling uoes,That splits his thioat in
highest jubilation,Anu wiluly be consumeu in my own fiie" (p. 246).
Binswingei inteipiets this in existential teims: "The existential exultation
itself, the festive existential joy, the 'existential fiie' aie placeu in the seivice
of ueath" (p. 28S). Putting asiue Binswingei's existential psychoanalytic
teiminology, which seives to gloiify iathei than claiify West's conuition,
it appeais that she suffeieu fiom both hysteiia anu masochism anu that
both have a uefensive function with iegaiu to the uealing with ueath: foi
hei, ueath was a tiiumph ovei hei contiolling fathei. Theie was both
,-,/)< anu ,11*-/,'1* in hei attituue towaiu ueath.
In explaining my theoiy of the ueath tiauma, I have boiioweu fiom
uiffeient schools of psychoanalysis, psychology, anu sociology. As such, my
teiminology may at times seem mixeu anu olu-fashioneu. This teiminology
ieflects my view that these schools, both past anu piesent, aie still
As I have noteu pieviously, theie is no gieatei shock than that of fiist
uiscoveiing one's own moitality. Fieuu wiote about the shock of a chilu's
fiist uiscoveiy of the uiffeience in sexual anatomy. This shock pales in
compaiison with the laigei shock of ueath. The uiscoveiy of oui own
moitality liteially changes eveiything. Wheieas befoie this shock, chiluien
can think only of an infinitely extenueu heie anu now, afteiwaius they can
only think about the enu of heie anu now. Wheieas befoie they haiboieu a
magical belief in theii own inuestiuctibility, afteiwaius they must become
pieoccupieu with how vulneiable they aie, how tenuous life is, how easily
they can become ill, anu how easily they can be stabbeu, chokeu, poisoneu,
shot, beaten, oi injuieu. This gieat shock that only humans (anu peihaps
uolphins anu othei highei animals) must go thiough, cannot help but have a
piofounu effect on oui peisonality foimation. Inueeu, it may be the most
piofounu effect of all, unueipinning all that we think, feel anu uo. It also
affects supeiego uevelop anu tianslates into a vaiiety of tiaits that manifest
themselves in auulthoou.

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B. ! C4;".( >'(#): #9 D(1;.(
Evei since Sigmunu Fieuu explaineu his theoiy of female
uevelopment, those theoiies have come unuei attack. They weie
ciiticizeu fiom the moment he wiote them, but in the yeais since his
ueath they have been almost completely uiscaiueu; yet the theoiies
offeieu to ieplace Fieuu's theoiy aie flaweu. This papei ieexamines
his theoiies anu the views of his ciitics, piimaiily feminists, anu
attempts to point the way to a viable theoiy of female uevelopment.
When I wiote this papei two uecaues ago, psychoanalysts weie still
uebating Fieuu's theoiies of female uevelopment. Nowauays, that uebate is
no moie. Aftei yeais of emotionally chaigeu complaints about his theoiies,
thousanus of aiticles assailing them, anu wiue-spieau iepuuiation of the man
anu his theoiies, the uebate is ovei. The feminists have won, anu any man
who invokes Fieuu's name oi uefenus his theoiies about women is uismisseu
with a shake of the heau anu a ioll of the eyes, inuicating that such a peison
must be incieuibly backwaius to still be caiiying on about Fieuu.
Seveial yeais eailiei, I wiote a book calleu P*H.,3 7'0&%50/< K*/=**' I*'
,'4 Q%&*' (1989). It was uesciibeu by one ieviewei "a book foi
misogynists" (Sauziei, 199u). When I maue a piesentation of the book at
the Washington Squaie Institute in New Yoik, I ieceiveu a similaily hostile
ieception. A woman psychoanalyst ieau an angiy iesponse to my
piesentation that chiueu me foi uiumming up theoiies, incluuing Naigaiet
Nahlei's, that weie no longei acceptable. At that time, the feminists hau not
completely won; theie was still scatteieu iesistance to theii take-ovei of
psychoanalytic theoiy; I was alloweu to piesent, but only in oiuei foi a
"paity membei" to immeuiately iepuuiate me. What was the thesis of the
book anu piesentation that was so iepellent. Foi the most pait, I was
ieiteiating Fieuu's views on female psychologyon male anu female
castiation complexes anu how they contiibute to the animosity between
men anu women. Yet, the iepuuiation of my thesis was oveiwhelming.
Inueeu, one might safely aigue that, of all the iepuuiations of Fieuu's
theoiies ovei the yeais, those leveleu at his theoiies about women have
been the most intense anu complete. Theiefoie, anybouy who still sees
Fieuu's theoiies on women as mostly valiu, as I uo, will likewise be
It is cleai that many women uo not accept Fieuu's theoiies about
women, but it is not cleai how they woulu ieplace them. A iecent papei by
Young-Bieuhl (1994) entitleu, "What Theoiies Women Want," sheus light on
this phenomenon. Young-Bieuhl obseives that theie has been a shift in
theoiies about women since Fieuufiom 0euipally focuseu uiive theoiy to
pie-0euipally focuseu ielational theoiy. Seen in a laigei social context, she
sees a change fiom the "iejecting mothei" causal theoiy of neuiosis of
Fieuuian psychoanalysis to the "abusive masculinity theoiy" of the new
feminist psychoanalysis. This new system, Young-Biuehl contenus, seives to
valoiize iathei than analyze female pathology, making women's psychic
illnesses into heioic enueavois at iejecting masculine bias anu oppiession.
Bei point is well taken. A sizable majoiity of female psychoanalysts has
insisteu that women psychoanalystsanu not Fieuu oi his followeis
shoulu ueciue which theoiies about women aie acceptable anu which aie
not. Bowevei, they have often iepuuiateu Fieuu's theoiies not by offeiing
new ieseaich oi by uebating the issues he iaiseu in calm, ieasoneu tones,
but by ,4 )%&0'*& ciiticisms. Neanwhile, they have suggesteu substitute
theoiies of female uevelopment that uo not auequately explain female
psychopathology oi sexual uevelopment.
Psychoanalytic theoiizing fiom the outset has been a complicateu
business. As long as Fieuu was alive, he iemaineu the final juuge of
whethei oi not new theoiies weie valiu. Those who stiayeu too fai fiom his
own view, such as Aulei anu }ung, weie ostiacizeu. Since his ueath, new
schools of psychoanalysis have emeigeu, anu uiffeiences in the
theoietical fiamewoik of these schools have wiueneu. Feminist
psychoanalysis is one that has emeigeu most stiongly, if not as a sepaiate
school, at least as a uistinct peispective, paiticulaily with iegaiu to female
psychology. Bow uo we ueteimine in these post-Fieuuian uays whethei the
theoiies of feminist psychoanalysts oi othei schools aie valiu.
Beteimining the valiuity of theoiies in psychoanalysis will continue to be
complicateu. Bowevei, as with any scholaily oi scientific enueavoi, theie aie
ceitain iules that shoulu be followeu: (1) theoiies shoulu be baseu on
clinical ieseaich, consisting of eithei uiiect obseivations of paients anu
chiluien (Nahlei, 1968; Roiphe anu ualenson, 1981) oi ieconstiuctive
analyses of chilu anu auult patients that can be ieplicateu by othei
psychoanalysts; (2) investigations shoulu be an open-minueu seaich foi the
tiuth, not biaseu towaius a paiticulai finuing; (S) investigatois shoulu not
be piohibiteu fiom a paiticulai finuing because it may be ueemeu
ieligiously, ethically oi politically incoiiect; (4) theoiies shoulu be
valiuateu thiough objective ieplication of ieseaich anu calm uebate.
These aie not my iules, but the iules passeu on fiom geneiation to
geneiation since the scientific eia began. Abanuoning them now woulu
mean, I think, the enu of psychoanalysis as a cohesive bouy of social
science anu the beginning of psychoanalysis as a belief system, such as
communism. 0sing these ciiteiia, it is possible to look at both Fieuu's
theoiies anu those of feminist psychoanalysts in an effoit to ueteimine
which aspects of each aie convincing, anu to move beyonu them in
foimulating a viable theoiy of female sexual uevelopment.
H(18,82& ;2>*'$4,4.>&8* 3'($)8(2
Although I can unueistanu Young-Biuehl's view of a shift fiom
0euipally focuseu uiive theoiy to pie-0euipally focuseu ielational theoiy, I
uisagiee with hei in chaiacteiizing classical Fieuuian theoiy as a "iejecting
mothei" causal theoiy of neuiosis. Fieuu lookeu at many factoismothei,
fathei, siblings, biology anu society. The 0euipal tiiangle, the coineistone of
the Fieuuian theoiy of neuiosis, involves many vaiiables, among which
aie: the chilu's innate wish to get iiu of the paient of the opposite sex anu
maiiy the paient of the same sex; the chilu's ielationship with both
mothei anu fathei, anu the ielationship of siblings. I uo agiee that moie
iecent feminist psychoanalytic theoiies of female uevelopment have shifteu
to an "abusive masculinity theoiy" of female neuiosisattiibuting neuiosis
to male oppiession. Bowevei, I woulu chaiacteiize the shift that has
occuiieu since Fieuu a bit uiffeiently: I see it as a shift fiom a psychouynamic
causal theoiy (women's mental uisoiueis aie causeu by complexes anu
fixations engenueieu uuiing eaily chiluhoou) to a sociouynamic causal
theoiy (women's mental uisoiueis aie eithei tiumpeu up by male bias oi
causeu by male social oppiession).
0ne of Fieuu's eailiest suppoiteis, Aulei (1929), became one of the fiist
to cast aspeisions on his theoiies of women. Be uenounceu Fieuu's libiuo
theoiy as well as the concept of penis envy anu ieplaceu it with his theoiy of
"the masculine piotest". Even though Aulei himself coineu the teim "0igan
infeiioiity," uesciibing inuiviuuals who uue to some physical uefect uevelop
feelings of infeiioiity about themselves, he uiu not apply this teim to
women anu theii feelings about theii genitals. Women's pioblems weie
not uue to a complex about theii sexual oigans, he ueciueu, but weie the
iesult of theii infeiioi status in society. Aulei seems to have been influenceu
by the philosophei Nietzsche, using phiases such as "will to powei" as the
unueipinning of his new theoiy of women's uevelopment. Boiney (1926)
joineu Aulei in attacking penis envy, contenuing that the teim was a "male
concept." She was the fiist woman to iesoit to polemical aiguments, the
fiist to use the teim "male bias," in hei wiitings. Although she uiu not go as
fai as Aulei in substituting a uiffeient theoiy, such as the "masculine
piotest," she also citeu social conuitions as paitly iesponsible foi female
psychopathology. By using polemical aiguments, Boiny set an example foi
all subsequent wiiteis to follow. Fiom that time on, psychoanalytic wiiting
about women's theoiies began to take on an impeiious anu uncivil tone.
It is not penis envy, many feminist psychoanalysts have since contenueu,
but men's piivilegeu position in society, which women iesent. "I believe,"
Thompson states, "that the manifest hostility between men anu women is not
uiffeient in kinu fiom any othei stiuggle between combatants, one of whom
has a uefinite auvantage in piestige anu position" (194S, p. SS). Like
Boiney anu Aulei, she uismisses the concept of penis envy, asseiting that
it is a "male conceit" stemming fiom phallic naicissism. She concluues:
"Chaiacteiistics anu inteiioiity feelings which Fieuu consiueieu to be
specifically female anu biologically ueteimineu can be explaineu as
uevelopments aiising in anu giowing out of Westein woman's histoiic
situation of unueipiivilege, iestiiction of uevelopment, insecuie attituue
towaius the sexual natuie, anu social anu economic uepenuency. The basic
natuie of women is still unknown" (1942, p. 84). This aigument attacks
Fieuu's maleness anu uoes not auequately auuiess his theoietical
uiscussion of the issue. She contenus that the male iole in society involves
moie piivilege anu status, anu that women's envy of men is causeu entiiely
by that fact, but she offeis no alteinate theoiy of uevelopment anu suggests
that female psychology iemains unknown. It is as though she is saying only
women can know women, anu maybe even they uo not know. Anu while
alluuing to phallic naicissism, she uoes not consiuei the possibility of
"vaginal naicissism." I believe this comes about fiom penis envy, anu
iepiesents a naicissistic injuiy to women iesulting in iepiession of the
oiiginal injuiy anu the foimation of a shell of female piiue; so that in auult
life women no longei iemembei the piimaiy envy but aie awaie only of
the seconuaiy envy of the male iole.
Nillei (197S) was in the vanguaiu of women who objecteu to the
classical psychoanalytic "cultuial steieotyping" of women, which helu that
a noimal women shoulu embiace the iole of wife, mothei anu nuituiei of
chiluien anu that any ueviation fiom this iole was a sign of feminine
psychopathology. "The belief that women coulu oi shoulu accept anu
aujust to the steieotypeu iole has been a cause, not a cuie, of theii
pioblems" (p. S81). She sees this attempt to fit women into a
steieotypical molu as a kinu of social oppiession in anu of itself. While Fieuu
iegaius a woman's fulfillment of this tiauitional iole as the ioau to matuie
uevelopment, Nillei iegaius it as a ioau to neuiosis. Bence, hei theoiy of
uevelopment again suggests that women's neuiosis stems fiom social
oppiessionthat is, being foiceu into a steieotypical iole. Natuie
uevelopment ievolves aiounu women shiugging off this social oppiession
anu iejecting the tiauitional female iole.
Although penis envy has been the most contioveisial aspect of Fieuu's
theoiy of female sexual uevelopment, othei concepts such as female
masochism anu female supeiego uevelopmentas contiasteu with male
supeiego uevelopmenthave also been attackeu anu uismisseu. In an
inteiview, Chasseguet-Smiigel (198S) takes issue with both these concepts.
Biffeiing with those who label Fieuu as victoiian, she suggests insteau that
his wiitings on female psychology weie influenceu by his cancei. In
paiticulai, she alluues to Fieuu's asseition that penis envy leaus women to
have a less uevelopeu sense of justice anu faii play: "I cannot escape the
notion (though I hesitate to give it expiession) that foi women the level of
what is ethically noimal is uiffeient fiom what it is in men" (192S, p. 2S7).
Citing this passage as well as his theoiies of the life anu ueath
instincts, Chasseguet-Smiigel obseives, "I believe that he intiouuceu this
paiticulai theoiy of the instincts because of his cancei anu that his theoiy
about female sexuality is connecteu to his cancei anu his concein about his
own ueath." Askeu to elaboiate on this iuea, she explains that Fieuu saw
female sexuality as something mysteiious, a "uaik continent" to be feaieu.
"This coulu be seen as a uisguise, a ieaction-foimation against his feai of
femaleness as something that is linkeu with ueath, foi all of us" (pp. SS4-
SSS). Again, although Chasseguet-Smiigel's inteipietation of Fieuu may oi
may not be coiiect, this iepiesents a continuation of au hominem
iefutations of Fieuu anu uoes not engage Fieuu's asseitions oi offei a
substitute theoiy of supeiego foimation.
Klein uoes pioviue an alteinate theoiy of supeiego uevelopment. She
places the beginning of the masculinity complex, penis envy anu supeiego
uevelopment in the oial-sauistic stage. Bei theoiies, unlike those of otheis,
is baseu on hei obseivations of chiluien uuiing play theoiy. She notes:
"Not only uo the envy anu hatieu she feels towaiu hei mothei coloi anu
intensify hei sauistic phantasies against the penis, but hei ielations to the
mothei's bieast affect hei subsequent attituue towaius men in othei ways
as well" (19S2, p. 2u7). Klein's theoiy ietains the castiation complex but
maintains that an oial-sauistic envy anu hatieu of the bieast pieceues the
envy of the penis, anu that both factois affect the giil's supeiego foimation. I
agiee with Klein that supeiego uevelopment staits eailiei; in my own
ieseaich I have founu that supeiego uevelopment begins uuiing the anal
stage, when chiluien fiist heai the woius "goou" anu "bau" applieu to theii
behavioi. Klein's bieast-envy theoiy uoes not seem valiu to me. When an
infant gets its fiist teeth, it bites the bieast, not out of envy, but to tiy out the
new teeth.
Sulloway (1979), Nasson (1984) anu Kioll (1986) aie among the many
who ciiticizeu Fieuu's abanuonment of the seuuction theoiy anu saw it as
pioof of Fieuu's male bias. Nasson concluues that Fieuu uioppeu the
seuuction theoiy in oiuei to covei up the "ciimes of the fatheis," as well
as to gain acceptance in the patiiaichal scientific community of victoiian
Euiope. In othei woius, Fieuu's abanuonment of the seuuction theoiy was
an attempt to make motheis anu not fatheis culpable, anu to ueny the
"abusive masculinity" etiological factois in female sexual uevelopment. This
aigument is not only au hominem, but is also a uistoition of what Fieuu saiu.
In fact, although Fieuu abanuoneu the notion that all cases of hysteiia
weie uue to chiluhoou sexual abuse, he nevei uoubteu that sexual abuse
exists. Be fully believeu the memoiies of incest by Katheiine, Rosalia B.,
Elisabeth von R., anu the Wolf Nan, maintaining that the abuse was ciucial
to theii uevelopment. "You must not suppose.that sexual abuse of a chilu
by its neaiest male ielatives belongs entiiely to the iealm of phantasy"
(1916, p. 46u).
To iestoie the seuuction theoiy, as these wiiteis suggest, while
uismissing Fieuu's othei theoiies about female uevelopment, woulu again be
a way of attiibuting female psychological uisoiueis to male oppiession
in the foim of sexual molestation. But Fieuu uiscaiueu this theoiy foi a goou
ieason; he founu that most cases of hysteiia weie not piecipitateu by fathei-
uaughtei incest. In my own expeiience, I have founu that hysteiia is often
engenueieu by a hostile oi competitive iesponse by a mateinal caietakei
uuiing the giil's peiiou of sexual uiscoveiy. 0ne patient was seveiely
chastiseu by hei stepmothei when she was caught mastuibating at the age
of six, which incluueu a spanking in fiont of the whole family. She giew up
to be iebelliously sexual as a young auult, as though she weie constantly
saying, "You see, my sexuality is just fine." At times hysteiical patients
iecall vague memoiies of incest but aie, in actually, biinging up fantasies
they once hau at an eaily age anu then iepiesseu because they weie of a
foibiuuen natuie. Fieuu was always willing to change theoiies when new
iueas oi infoimation came to light. Theoiy builuing, as Fieuu noteu, must
be uone cautiously, taking into consiueiation the complexity of human
uilligan is anothei who auuiesses Fieuu's theoiies anu finus them
flaweu by a masculine bias. 0nlike hei pieuecessois, she offeis a new
theoiy to ieplace them. She takes to task foi its bias not only Fieuuian
psychoanalysis but viitually all theoiies about women in all fielus of
social science. In the place of Fieuu's theoiies, she espouses a uevelopmental
line that "uelineates the path not only to a less violent life but also to a
matuiity iealizeu thiough inteiuepenuence anu taking caie" (1982, p.9). She
aigues that "Fieuu's negative anu ueiivative uesciiption of female
psychology," with its emphasis on the iejecting, close-binuing mothei,
shoulu be ieplaceu with a "positive anu uiiect" account of female
uevelopment that stiesses "the positive aspects of the attachment to
mothei" (1982, p.9). If lookeu at thiough men's eyes, she posits, "women's
failuie to sepaiate then becomes by uefinition a failuie to uevelop," but
when lookeu at thiough women's eyes, it can be seen insteau as a stiength, a
capacity foi attachment which leaus "to loving ielationships, empathy anu
altiuism," while male tenuencies towaiu sepaiation "leau to uisiuption anu
violence" (1982, p.9).
uilligan uoes not flesh out hei "attachment theoiy" of women's
uevelopment, but seems in agieement with Nillei anu otheis that abnoimal
uevelopment is somehow connecteu with women attempting to live up to
male stanuaius. At the same time, she uismisses Fieuu's theoiies by
bianuing them as "negative views of women" oi "piouucts of male bias." Bei
contiasting of a male uevelopmental line in which sepaiation fosteis
"uisiuption anu violence" with a female uevelopmental line in which
attachment leaus to "loving ielationships, empathy anu altiuism" is fiist
of all a misinteipietation of Fieuu. Fieuu's (192S; 19S1)anu latei
Nahlei's (1968)emphasis on sepaiation anu inuiviuuation was baseu on
Fieuu's analyses of many patients anu on Nahlei's obseivation of many
motheis anu infants. To suggest that attachment to mothei leaus solely to
loving ielationships while sepaiation leaus to uisiuption anu violence shows
a lack of unueistanuing of theii ieseaich anu of the complex piocess of
sepaiation anu inuiviuuation. Noieovei, uilligan's theoiy seems to be exactly
what she accuses Fieuu's theoiy of being: it is a "negative anu ueiivative
uesciiption" of male uevelopment anu a iathei iuealistic uepiction of
female uevelopment. Finally, although she points to a new account of
female uevelopment that stiesses the positive anu uiiect aspects of the
attachment to mothei, she uoes not pioviue us with uetails that woulu
enable us to unueistanu abnoimal uevelopment. The implication is that
abnoimal uevelopment occuis if women sepaiate fiom theii motheis, but
she uoes not back this implication up with any haiu uata.
Clowei is one of seveial feminist psychoanalysts to cite ieseaich in othei
fielus to uispiove Fieuu. She points to ieseaich in enuociinology by
uaupaile (1972), which shows that in the beginning of fetal life both sexes
aie unuei the influence of female sex hoimones anu both have female sex
chaiacteiistics. This eviuence, she suggests, invaliuates Fieuu's contention
that females at fiist have a masculine oiientation. "The clitoiis is not, as
Fieuu thought, an infeiioi substitute foi the penis" (1979, p. Su7), she
concluues, since both men anu women have clitoiises befoie men have
She is iefeiiing to Fieuu's asseition that "The sexual life of the
woman is iegulaily split up into two phases, the fiist of which is of a
masculine chaiactei, while only the seconu is specifically feminine" (19S1, p.
2Su). Be theoiizeu that until the phallic stage little giil think of theii
clitoiises as little penises, anu fantasize that they aie little boys tiappeu
in a giil's bouy. Bowevei, Clowei, like otheis, misinteipiets Fieuu's
language. Be uoes not believe that the clitoiis is an infeiioi substitute foi
the penis oi that little giils aie infeiioi to little boys. When he wiites that
upon uiscoveiing that uiffeiences in the sexual anatomy of males anu
females the giil "acknowleuges the fact of hei castiation, the consequent
supeiioiity of the male anu hei own infeiioiity (19S1, p. 2S8), he is
using a figuiative style to convey the inteinalization that occuis in the
giil. In hei minu she views hei clitoiis as infeiioi anu heiself as infeiioi.
Fieuu uiu not actually believe that the anatomy of eithei sex was infeiioi,
only that the uiffeiences leu to a uiffeiing inteipietation anu uevelopmental
Clowei's attempt to connect the events of fetal life with those of a
touulei's sexual uevelopment uoes not make sense. The fact that both
sexes aie influenceu by female sex hoimones anu beai female sexual
chaiacteiistics in fetal life uoes not nullify the obseivation that little giils,
uuiing a ceitain stage of uevelopmentthe stage of auto-eioticism
think of themselves as little boys. Those aie two sepaiate piocesses, one
biological, the othei psychological. But, even if you see them as paiallel, the
fact that in fetal life giils aie always giils uoes not mean that in infantile
life they might not go thiough a stage in which they want to be boys anu, in
fact, act as if they aie boys. Bumans often imitate those whom they envy
anu aumiie, so it stanus to ieason that if they envy boys having a penis they
woulu want to be like them.
Similaily, Clowei points ieseaich by Nasteis anu }ohnson (1966), which
coulu finu no uistinction between a vaginal anu clitoial oigasm, using it to
iefute Fieuu's asseition that the matuie female uenounces the clitoiis in
favoi of the vagina anu accepts the tiauitional iole of heteiosexual
inteicouise anu motheihoou. "Neithei as a woman noi as a scientist have I
evei been able to believe that femininity is ueiiveu fiom castiateu
maleness," she states (p. 2Su). Again, Clowei misinteipiets Fieuu's
language, taking it liteially iathei than the figuiative way it was meant. Anu
hei aigument misses the point. The fact that Nasteis anu }ohnson coulu
not finu a uiffeience between the vaginal anu clitoial oigasm uoes not
ieally uetiact fiom Fieuu's theoiy. The main point of Freuds theory was not
about whether a vaginal or clitoral orgasm was more important or prevalent
among women, but about how, for both males and females, mature sexual
development involves traversing the stages of autoeroticism, resolving gender
narcissism and developing fulfilling and genuine object relations with persons
of the opposite sex.
Clowei iefeis to ieseaich by Stollei (1968), Noney (196S), anu Noney
anu Ehihaiut (1971) to suppoit claims that genuei iuentity is shapeu by
paiental attituues anu expectations. Theiefoie she aigues against Fieuu's
claim that anatomy is uestiny, contenuing that theie is no biologically
ueteimineu masculine oi feminine iuentity iole. This aigument has been
taken up by othei feminists wiiteis (see Nillei, 197S; Nitchell, 1974). While
it may be tiue that genuei iuentity can be, some extent, shapeu by paients,
this uoes not piecluue biologically ueteimineu sexual tiaits. Innate mating
anu nuituiing iituals have long been noteu in lowei animals (Nontagu,
1976), so woulu it not follow that some aspects of human sexuality aie
innate as well. Noieovei, when Fieuu saiu that "anatomy is uestiny," he uiu
not mean that anatomy anu only anatomy is uestiny, but that anatomy helps
to shape uestiny in conceit with enviionmental factoisas when a biothei
is favoieu by a paient ovei a sistei (Fieuu, 192S). Foi suie, Fieuu somewhat
neglecteu object ielations foi uiive theoiy, but he uiu manage to uesciibe
them to some extent. (Inciuentally, I have noticeu that feminist wiiteis will
aigue foi genetics when genetics pioves theii aigument, but will cite
enviionmental factois, as Clowei uoes above, when that is convenient. Foi
example, uilligan uses genetics when she implies that men aie boin with a
masculine bias.
Although Clowei sets heiself apait fiom feminists who uistoit Fieuu, she
heiself misinteipiets him again anu again. She also spenus seveial pages
iecounting a feminist histoiy of male oppiession of women, which implies
that she too, like the feminists she sets heiself apait fiom, consiueis
women's abnoimal uevelopment has moie to uo with "abusive
masculinity" than with classical women's theoiy. Taken togethei, hei
ciiticisms of Fieuu suggest that she is in agieement with those who believe
that the cultuial steieotyping of women lies at the ioot of many of theii
Noie iecently, Piozan has wiitten a book that takes the feminist
psychoanalytic theoiies to anothei step. N*&0'05/ ;5<1)%,',3<505A ()*%+< ,'4
;+,1/01* (199S), iecapitulates all the citeu aiguments against Fieuu anu
supplants them with theoiies of women's uevelopment baseu on theii being
victims of male steieotyping, bias anu oppiession. In hei view, neaily all the
psychological anu oiganic ailments of women aie the iesult of masculine
social oppiession (i.e., the sociouynamic point of view). "Feminists believe
that women have been pieventeu fiom ueveloping theii full potential by
social moies anu not by theii anatomy, because society has confineu them to
ioles of wife anu mothei, suboiuinate to anu financially uepenuent on theii
husbanus" (199S, p. xvi). Like Thompson anu uilligan, she asseits that
only females can unueistanu female psychology anu theiefoie only they
shoulu wiite about it. "}ust as psychoanalysis has been subject to ievision,
so too feminist theoiy is being uebateu ,&%': 8*&0'05/5R (p. SS6). She also
implies that only female psychoanalysts unueistanu females anu shoulu
theiefoie tieat female patients (wheieas eithei female oi male
psychoanalysts may tieat males).
0bviously, in wiiting this papei uemonstiates that I uisagiee with this
last point. To say that only females can unueistanu females anu that only
females shoulu tieat females implies, fiist of all, that males aie biaseu but
females aie not. I woulu aigue that both have theii paiticulai biases,
incluuing biases iesulting fiom genuei naicissism. Neaily all
psychotheiapists have hau patients who have tolu them, "You can't
unueistanu me because you'ie too conventional anu I'm an aitist," oi
"You'ie Chiistian anu I'm }ewish," oi "You'ie white anu I'm black." In
actuality, I woulu contenu that uue to the genuei naicissism that inhibits
insight into one's own sex, males may be moie objective about females, anu
females may be moie objective about males.
In neaily all of the feminist papeis I have uetecteu an implieu iejection
of the concept of the unconscious minu, anothei coineistone of
psychoanalytic thought. Foi example, Clowei states, "Neithei as a woman noi
as a scientist have I evei been able to believe that femininity is ueiiveu fiom
castiateu maleness." So if she has not expeiienceu it anu uoesn't believe it
(the feeling of castiateu maleness), then it uoesn't exist. If she uoesn't
iemembei evei having hau the feeling, then the concept must ceitainly be
invaliu. Yet, if she calls heiself a psychoanalyst, then I woulu think she shoulu
always consiuei how the unconscious woiks.
;2>*'$/>,418* 3'($)> 4,/ E$*8$/>,418* 3'($)>
At the coie of the uebate between Fieuuian anu feminist psychoanalysts
is whethei oi not women's abnoimal uevelopment ueiives fiom
psychological factois (the castiation complex, sepaiation) oi fiom societal
foices (cultuial steieotyping, male oppiession). This uebate paiallels a
bioauei public uispute stiiieu up by the feminist movement that began in
the victoiian eia anu has giown to the point wheie it has now wiought
wholesale changes in stanuaius of noimality.
The tiauitional ioles of women have not been accoiueu the same
piestige as the tiauitional ioles of men. All societies fiom the beginning of
iecoiueu histoiy have been patiiaichal in natuie, beginning with the male-
uominateu tiibes of the cave men, up to the piesent, in which men still holu
most leaueiship ioles in goveinment. Whethei this constitutes oppiession
of women, oi is a natuial evolution of civilization fiom agiaiian to inuustiial
to technological moues in which the ioles of males anu females have
changeu accoiuing to the situation, is a mattei of continueu uebate.
Likewise, it is questionable as to whethei such societal factois aie entiiely, oi
mostly iesponsible foi women's pioblems, as many feminist psychoanalysts
woulu maintain.
This uebate ieminus me of the natuie-nuituie contioveisy that has
existeu in the behavioial sciences foi some times. The answei to this
question seems obvious when you stuuy the available infoimation: both
genetics anu the enviionment contiibute to the foimation of peisonality
anu behavioiit is not one oi the othei. Likewise, a combination of
genetic, psychological anu social factois unuoubteuly contiibute to the
uevelopment of both male anu female sexuality.
This is not a new iuea. Nany psychoanalysts, incluuing Fieuu, have
ueviseu theoiies of female psychology that attempteu to consiuei genetic
anu social; factois. Among them aie Nahlei (1968), Kestenbeig (1968),
Nageia (197S), Buxbaum (1979), Socaiiues (1979), Keinbeig (198u),
Roiphe anu uallenson (1981), anu NcBougall anu Siegel (1988). Bowevei,
these voices have been laigely uisiegaiueu when it comes to uebate about
women's psychology. Inueeu, Socaiiues acknowleugeu iecently that he can
no longei get his papeis publisheu in most jouinals that hau foimeily
welcomeu them (Socaiiues, 199S), anu his uevelopmental theoiies, which
combine genetics with enviionmental factois, no longei count.
Politics has uevalueu Fieuu while ieseaich has valiuateu his theoiies.
Two majoi stuuies valiuateu the theoiy of the castiation complex. In
obseiving S8 chiluien anu 22 motheis ovei a peiiou of foui yeais, Nahlei
anu colleagues (197S) confiimeu the existence of penis envy in giils (as
well as castiation feai in boys). Buiing the iappiochement subphase
(beginning at about 1S oi 16 months of age), giil uiscovei the uiffeience
in anatomy between themselves anu boys. 0pon this uiscoveiy, accoiuing
to Nahlei, giils tenu to mastuibate uespeiately anu aggiessively. The
uiscoveiy "coinciues with the emeigence of the affect of envy" (p. 1uS).
Nahlei uesciibes how vaiious giils acteu out theii feelings of envy anu
angei, noting that they "tenueu to tuin back to mothei, to blame hei, to
uemanu fiom hei, to be uisappointeu in hei, anu still to be ambivalently tieu
to hei. They uemanueu fiom mothei that she settle a uebt, so to say" (p. 1u6).
Roiphe anu ualenson (1981) also confiimeu the existence of penis envy
in theii intensive stuuy of about 7u infants. Like Nahlei, they point to a
uefinite genital awaieness at the beginning of a of the seconu yeai anu a
sense of genuei iuentity by the enu of the seconu yeai anu asseit that giils
univeisally ieact stiongly to the uiscoveiy of the uiffeience in sexual
anatomy, noting that it biings about the "ieciuuescence of feais of object loss
anu self-uisintegiation" (p. 272). They supply numeious case histoiies of the
ieactions of little giils to theii sexual uiscoveiy. 0ne of them, Suzy, fiist
showeu an inteiest in hei genital aiea at about 1S monthsat the time
when she fiist saw a boy's penis. With hei eyes "iiveteu on his penis," she
pointeu at it anu then toucheu hei own genital aiea. Foi the next few
months she often tiieu to lift the skiits of the women in the nuiseiy
(looking foi penises). She uiu the same thing at home with hei mothei, who
became upset at hei behavioi. The authois speculateu that she might also
have tiieu to touch hei fathei's penis uuiing showeis with both paients.
When she was 2u months olu, aftei touching a little boy's penis upon
following him into the bathioom, she went thiough a peiiou of intense
mastuibation anu lifting of hei skiit anu the skiits of women aiounu hei. At
the same time theie was a complete ueteiioiation of hei toilet contiol,
which peisisteu ovei the next few months. "Nichael has a pee-pee. I have
no pee-pee. Why." she askeu hei mothei. This was accompanieu by a
geneial behavioial iegiession anu negativism. When she was biought to
the nuiseiy, she iefuseu to leave hei stiollei. "Sitting theie foi a
consiueiable time looking sullen anu uistiesseu, she scieameu if any of the
chiluien tiieu to touch hei (pp. 144-14S). They concluue that "penis envy
anu the feminine castiation complex exeit ciucial influences upon feminine
uevelopment" (p. 28S).
Ny own ieseaich, ieconstiucting the memoiies of auult patients, has also
confiimeu the existence of the castiation anu 0euipus complexes anu a
uiffeience in female anu male supeiego uevelopment. Bowevei, I am awaie
that numeious psychoanalysts claim they have nevei encounteieu eviuence
in theii own piactices of the castiation complex. Since a numbei of
psychoanalysts confiim it anu a numbei uo not, how can we iesolve the
issue. It is my contention that enough ieseaich has been uone to confiim
the theoiy. Psychoanalysis is not a haiu science in which ieseaich can be
ieplicateu piecisely. We must iely on whethei the available aiguments oi
case histoiies aie convincing, whethei the investigatoi uemonstiates an
open-minueu seaich foi the tiuth (iathei than a bias), anu whethei otheis
who show the same scientific objectivity have ieplicateu it. Noulton, like
many feminist psychoanalysts, suggests that the concept of penis envy is
uestiuctive to women. Bowevei, she aumits that negative attituues towaius
men, such as hostility, envy anu competitiveness must be uealt with,
"attiibuting them to biological inauequacy, which must be accepteu as
inevitable, peipetuates a vicious ciicle by enhancing women's iage at men,
whose supeiioiity is thus confiimeu" (197u, p. 1uu). Like otheis, Noulton
misinteipiets Fieuu. I iepeat, Fieuu uiu not believe that women's sexual
oigans aie biologically inferior; only that little girls at first believe them to be
inferior, just as some men feel inferior because they have small penises. Women
are not doomed to inferiority by their anatomy; they are doomed only if they
develop fixations at that stage due to inappropriate parental responses and are
resistant to psychoanalysis or other reparative experiences. Penis envy is a
psychological, not a biological phenomenon. A mans inferior feelings about
having a small penis (the male castration complex) and a woman feeling of
inferiority about not having one, can be worked through in psychoanalysis.
Refeiiing to a comment Fieuu maue at the enu of a lectuie on
femininity, "If you wish to know moie about femininity enquiie fiom youi
own expeiiences of life" (19SS, p. 1SS), Noulton concluues that Fieuu was
suggesting that women themselves woulu have to uevelop a suitable theoiy
of women's uevelopment. Ny own sense of that lectuie was that Fieuu was
feeling piessuieu by the questions of feminists, not only at the enu of that
lectuie but towaiu the enu of his life; he maue such statements in oiuei to
appease the questioneis. In essence, Fieuu helu the line with iegaiu to his
theoiy of women. Anu I think it is essential that we also continue to holu
that line. If we, as psychoanalysts, cannot stanu up against piessuies that
woulu silence us anu take contiol of ceitain of oui theoiies, we no longei
have a social science. We have a belief system.
" I84#.( 3'($)> $5 H(14.( ;2>*'$.$0>
A viable theoiy of female psychology might utilize iueas fiom the
cultuial iealm as well as the psychological iealm, without uismissing one oi
the othei. Social factois play a iole in the foimation of sexual attituue,
oiientation anu iuentity. The values anu stanuaius of a paiticulai society
influence the chilu-ieaiing piactices of that society. If masculinity is given
a highei value than femininity, as it is in many societies, then it will have
an effect on feminine self-esteem anu sexuality. If the stanuaius of a society
aie excessively fiustiating foi one genuei oi anothei, uue to iestiictive
uesignateu ioles, then those stanuaius will likewise have a uestiuctive
effect. Noie ieseaich neeus to be uone in oiuei to establish how anu when
social factois influence uevelopment of both males anu females.
Yet, these factois in anu of themselves aie not enough to explain female
psychology. Classical psychoanalytic theoiy must not be uiscaiueu thiough
polemical aiguments oi because a consensus has founu it to be "biaseu" oi
"victoiian" oi "out of uate. " Classical concepts about female uevelopment
uiive theoiy, the castiation anu 0euipus complexes, anu the impoitance of
sepaiation anu inuiviuuationhave not been iefuteu by ieasoneu
aiguments. To say that a woman's envy of men is solely ielateu to societal
unfaiiness is too absolute anu uispenses altogethei with any notion that
females may suffei fiom uisoiueis ielateu to tiaumatic situations in theii
chiluhoous having nothing to uo with society's unfaiiness.
Bevelopment of the castiation anu 0euipus complexes has been
obseiveu with consistency in males anu females by many convincing
investigatois. These consequences of these complexes have also been
uocumenteu. Elsewheie (Schoenewolf, 1989) I have pointeu out how male
anu female naicissism emeige out of these complexes. Nales who have not
iesolveu theii castiation complex (castiation feai) may be uiiven both by an
unconscious guilt that causes them to appease women oi attempt to
uegiaue them, anu by a piiue that causes them to focus on theii size of
theii penis anu on sexual conquest. Females who have not iesolveu theii
castiation complex (penis envy) may be uiiven by a piimitive envy that
causes them to eithei iuealize men oi to attempt to compete with them anu
uevalue them.
Fieuu's theoiy about the uiffeiences in male anu female supeiego
uevelopment has founu less ieplicating ieseaich. Reseaicheis uiffei with him
about when moial uevelopment occuis, anu it seems cleai the it begins
much eailiei than the 0euipal peiiou. Bowevei, even if we accept that moial
uevelopment is uiffeient foi males anu females, we must not suggest that
females aie less moial than males (oi the ieveise, as some feminists seem
to suggest). Nilgiam's (197S) expeiiment, in which an expeiimentei hau
subjects auministei electiic shocks to "actois" who pietenueu to be follow
subjects, showeu that both men anu women weie willing to be ciuel, since
about 6S pei cent of both males anu females went up to the highest level
(4Su volts). In the ielations between the sexes, women may tenu moie
towaius emotionality anu men moie towaius aggiession. The uiffeience in
the male anu female moiality is a mattei of style, not uegiee.
With iegaiu to what constitutes noimal sexuality, some mouifications
may be in oiuei. The teim 8*&,3* &,5%1)05&, seems unfoitunate anu
misleauing. To uenote matuie uevelopment as masochistic is inappiopiiate.
Shoulu we then call matuie male uevelopment sauistic. Rathei, we might
say that the matuie male give up the auto-eioticism of the 0euipal stage anu
becomes active in seeking inteicouise with a female; anu the matuie female's
jouiney towaiu giving up auto-eioticism anu becoming ieceptive to vaginal
inteicouise anu motheihoou shoulu be ietaineuiecent views about
homosexual iights notwithstanuing. This uoes not mean that all women
must be motheis; only that it is noimal foi them to want to be. This view
of women's uevelopment is in haimony with animal behavioi in geneial,
wheie it is the iole of the female to give biith to anu nuituie chiluien.
Bowevei, neithei Fieuu noi any othei classical psychoanalyst evei meant to
suggest that women might not uo othei things in lifeas was
uemonstiateu by the numbei of women Fieuu encouiageu to be
Nasteis anu }ohnson (1966) peihaps leu the way to establishing a
moie viable theoiy when they concluueu that theie weie not one but
thiee vaiiations of the female sexual iesponse, each consiueieu a noimal
vaiiation. Similaily, theie coulu be moie than one noimal uevelopmental line
foi females. The classical psychoanalytic uevelopmental line, enuing in
maiiiage anu motheihoou, woulu be one line, wheieas anothei line might
be that of women who eschew motheihoou anu opt insteau to have a caieei.
A thiiu option coulu anu woulu be women who choose to have both a family
anu a caieei. Bumans aie much moie complicateu than animals, so that
the iange of what might be consiueieu noimal uevelopment shoulu be
Bowevei, whatevei the theoiies enu up being, they shoulu be veiifieu on
the basis of theii viability, not because of theii peiceiveu ieligious, ethical
oi political coiiectness.
" H8,4. 6$11(,&
I showeu this papei to a woman acquaintance anu hei comment was,
"It's feels iiielevant to me. Bateu. People aien't wiiting about that anymoie."
Bowevei, anothei woman acquaintance likeu the papei anu iecommenueu
it shoulu be publisheu. "I think theie aie still questions that haven't been
answeieu," she saiu.
Along with the Feminist Novement of the twentieth centuiy have come
sweeping changes in sexual ioles, values anu moiality. These changes
have also influenceu psychoanalytic theoiy. Inueeu, the influence is now so
gieat that in many quaiteis Fieuuian theoiies of female psychology aie
seen not only as pass, but also as an offence to women. They aie no longei
toleiateu, anu people shake theii heaus anu smile at anybouy who still
mentions them. In a sense, we have come full ciicle since the eaily uays when
Fieuu ostiacizeu those who stiayeu fiom his theoiies. Fieuu was wiong anu
feminists aie wiong.
Censoiship has no place in any scientific oi scholaily puisuit. Censoiship
negates oui attempt to uevelop a theoiy of female psychology oi any othei
theoiy. Rathei than censoiship, a calm, open-minueu uiscussion of the issues
is most likely to piouuce a theoiy that is finally acceptable. As fai as I am
conceineu the contest is not ovei. It is ongoing. Theoiies that link
psychopathology solely to psychouynamic factois anu neglect completely
the sociouynamic oi genetic factois aie not viable. Anu theoiies that
consiuei only the psychouynamic oi genetic factois anu uisiegaiu the
psychouynamic factois aie likewise not valiu. 0nly by consiueiing all
factois can we uevelop a theoiy that woiks.

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46 G(,/() H;)*422421 ;,/ 3%2
Naicissus was the name of a young man in uieek mythology who fell
in love with his own ieflection. Thus, falling in love with one's self
has become a coineistone in uefining naicissism. I have taken this
one step fuithei to tiy to uefine anu unueistanu the phenomenon of
genuei naicissism, infeiioiity about one's genuei oi one's genuei
anatomy anu compensation foi that infeiioiity by eiecting a bubble
of genuei piiue. This piiue anu the unueilying infeiioiity feelings
anu iage, leaus to vaiious manifestations.
The teim naicissism was oiiginally taken fiom the uieek myth about a
beautiful young man who fell in love with his own ieflection in a pool of
watei, jumpeu in aftei it, anu uiowneu. The teim was useu to uenote the
attituue of a peison who takes his own bouy as an object of attiaction anu
uesiie, anu focuses piimaiily on the piactice of mastuibation. Since then
psychoanalysis has bioaueneu the uefinition of naicissism to mean an
excessive self-love oi concein foi the self anu lack of concein foi otheis.
The fiist, naiiowei uefinition of naicissism might now moie aptly be
teimeu genuei naicissism. uenuei naicissism uevelops in ieaction to
feelings of infeiioiity about one's genuei anu might be uefineu as excessive
love oi concein foi one's genuei, one's genitals, oi one's genuei iuentity, anu
negative feeling about the opposite sexgeneially involving feai, uisgust,
iesentment oi competitiveness. It leaus to the foimation of genuei-
naicissistic alliances iathei than libiuinal unions, anu it is piimaiily iooteu in
the anal-iappiochement phase, uuiing which time an inuiviuual's sexual
oiientation anu iuentity aie shapeu.
In psychoanalyzing a numbei of inuiviuuals ovei the yeais that hau
genuei-naicissistic featuies, I began to get a fiist-hanu unueistanuing of
how genuei naicissism is foimeu anu manifesteu. Recently I ueciueu to
conuuct a moie systematic stuuy. A seaich of my files founu Su patients who
hau been in tieatment foi at least six months anu possesseu thiee oi moie
genuei-naicissistic featuies. Theii cases weie ievieweu anu contiasteu with
anothei gioup of 2u ianuomly selecteu patients. Peisonality types iangeu
fiom hysteiics anu obsessive-compulsives to boiueilines anu
schizophienics, anu sexual types incluueu heteiosexuals, bisexuals,
homosexuals, tiansvestites, tianssexuals, peuophiles, anu fetishists, as well
as women who engageu in stiip-teasing anu piostitution. The stuuy founu
that genuei naicissism is faiily common, with all peisonality types showing
uegiees of it; howevei, genuei-naicissistic featuies weie less pievalent
among heteiosexuals than they weie among othei types. When genuei
naicissism is piesent to a high uegiee, it has a uistuibing effect on
ielationships, sexuality, anu sexual iuentity.
;2>*'$4,4.>&8* 3'($)8(2 4,/ D(2(4)*'
In his wiitings on naicissism, Fieuu (1914, 1916) postulateu an eaily
stage of piimal naicissism uuiing which time an infant is pieoccupieu with
its self anu with its own pleasuie while being oblivious of the neeus of
otheis. vaiious ciicumstances coulu iesult in fixations at that stage which
coulu peisist into auulthoou. Be noteu that naicissism coulu be seen in
vaiious chaiactei types, anu uesciibeu how it involveu the investment of
libiuo in the ego, oi in objects similai to the self (alteiegos). Bomosexuals
fall into the categoiy of those who invest theii libiuo in peisons who aie like
themselves. The hypochonuiiac withuiaws both his inteiest anu his libiuo
fiom the objects of the exteinal woilu anu uisplaces them on the oigans in
his own bouy. Negalomaniacs, pione to the highest gianuiosity, withuiaw
libiuo fiom fiustiating objects anu ietuin it to theii own ego.
Fieuu theoiizeu that an ego iueal is foimeu by the ego (becoming pait
of the supeiego), its function being to compensate foi the iepiession of
piimal naicissism. "This ego iueal is the taiget of the self-love which was
enjoyeu in chiluhoou by the actual ego" (1914, p. 94). Along with this ego
iueal, a sexual iueal is also foimeu as an auxiliaiy to the ego iueal. The ego
iueal anu sexual iueal iun paiallel to one anothei.
Although Fieuu uiu not use the geim genuei naicissism, he pointeu to
the naicissism that was associateu with both male anu female sexual
uevelopment. Be saw homosexuality as being a piototype of naicissistic
uevelopment, anu he linkeu this naicissism with the male anu female
castiation complexes. With iegaiu to male homosexuals, he noteu that
until pubeity they weie geneially stiongly fixateu to theii motheis, anu
hence iuentifieu with hei insteau of theii with theii fatheis, anu lookeu foi
love objects in whom they coulu ieuiscovei anu ieclaim theii masculinity,
anu towaiu whom they might ielate as theii motheis ielateu to them. "The
choice is towaius a naicissistic object which is ieauiei at hanu anu easiei
to put into effect than movement towaius the opposite sex" (192S, p.
2SS). Be obseiveu that in taking a love object that is similai to himself,
the homosexual can symbolically actualize his naicissistic fixation, anu he
auueu that the avoiuance of sexual ielations with the opposite sex was a
way of not only of iemaining loyal to theii motheis, but also of avoiuing the
incestuous feelings that might be aiouseu in the tiansfeience.
Stuuying a case of female homosexuality, Fieuu (192u) obseiveu that it
giew out of the giil's castiation complex (penis envy), which in tuin leu to
the foimation of a masculinity complex. Like male homosexuality, he linkeu
female homosexuality to naicissismin paiticulai, to a naicissistic piotest
iegaiuing femininity. "Psychoanalytic ieseaich has iecognizeu the existence
anu impoitance of the masculine piotest, but it has iegaiueu it, in
opposition to Aulei, as naicissistic in natuie anu ueiiveu fiom the
castiation complex" (p. 92). Elsewheie he wiites that the castiation
complex begins befoie the age of thiee anu is "moie closely allieu to
piimal naicissism than to object-love" (1918, p. 2u4). Thus, the wellspiing
of female homosexuality (anu consequently of genuei naicissism) is the
giil's uiscoveiy towaiu the enu of the stage of piimal naicissism, that she
lacks an oigan that otheis have. This becomes a majoi naicissistic injuiy.
Males and females traverse separate routes on their way to ueveloping
genuei naicissism, yet theie aie also ceitain similaiities. Foi both, the
ciucial peiiou foi the uevelopment of genuei naicissism, sexual oiientation,
anu sexual iuentity, seems to be the anal-iappiochement phase. Nahlei anu
colleagues (197S) note that uuiing this phase, falling ioughly between the
ages of one-anu-a-half to thiee, a feai of ieengulfment can be obseiveu in
boys anu giils, as the uiscoveiy of the uiffeience in male anu female
anatomy exaceibates the anxiety of sepaiation fiom Nothei. These feais aie
often uisplaceu onto the bathioom, wheie fantasies of being suckeu into the
toilet aie common. This feai of ieengulfment is ielateu to a uisillusionment
with Nothei's omnipotence anu was believeu by Nahlei to leau, when left
uniesolveu, to the foimation of the castiation complexes of both boys anu
giils. Foi giils, this uisillusionment centeis aiounu uisappointment that
Nothei uoesn't have a penis, anu a iesentment of hei (anu coiiesponuing
feai of ieengulfment); foi boys, it centeis aiounu guilt about having a penis
anu subsequent feais of ieengulfment. Both then tianslate, latei, into feais
of castiation (foi boys) oi annihilation (foi giils).
Winnicott (1964) also obseiveu this feai, noting that eveiy male anu
eveiy female is boin of "Woman" anu that each ietains a feai of Woman, a
feai of being luieu back into a state of infantile uepenuency. Be pointeu out
that both genueis uealt with this feai thiough iuentification with Nothei.
Be linkeu this feai to the uevelopment of feministic sentiments in women,
anu to the uispaiagement of women by men (since men cannot successfully
iuentify anu meige with Nothei).
Nahlei lists thiee stiessful anu possibly tiaumatic events that occui
uuiing this peiiou: (1) the chilu must mastei toilet-tiaining, which means
giving up the complete fieeuom of infancy anu submit to the uemanus of
anothei peison; (2) the chilu begins to walk, anu hence becomes
inuepenuent of mothei, iequiiing the woiking thiough of sepaiation anxiety;
(S) the chilu uiscoveis the uiffeience in sexual anatomy, which foi giils
aiouses envy anu a feeling of having been cheateu of some coveteu "toy"
anu ultimately betiayeu; anu which foi boys aiouses a feeling of guilt anu
ongoing feais of casLraLlon.
SLoller (1968), Money and LhrhardL (1972), and Socarldes (1979) have also
ldenLlfled the anal-iappiochement phase as a ciitical peiiou foi the
establishing of genuei iuentity anu sexual oiientation. Stollei, foi example,
places the beginnings of feminine iuentification among tianssexuals in this
phase, explaining that motheis of such inuiviuuals have the common
psychological featuie of having tieateu theii sons in a way that inteiiupts
the foimation of "coie genuei iuentity." Noney anu Ehihaiut uesignate the
eighteenth month oi so as the ciitical age beyonu which successful "sex
ieassignment" is not possible. Socaiiues, concluues that the nucleai conflicts
of all sexual ueviants ueiive fiom the pieoeuipal peiiou, especially the yeais
between one-anu-a-half anu thiee. This peiiou falls ioughly at the enu of the
stage to which Fieuu attiibutes piimal naicissism.
The implication is that naicissism about one's genuei anu genuei
anatomy (genuei naicissism) uevelops uuiing this stage anu is ielateu to
uniesolveu castiation complexes. It seems to hinge on the extent to which
both males anu females can successfully sepaiate fiom, anu ue-iuealize the
omnipotent anu omniscient mothei of the stage of piimal naicissism. In
those instances when a mothei heiself is naicissistic anu theiefoie iesists
this noimal piogiession of events (i.e., uoes not want to heai the little giil's
complaints about not having a penis oi the boy's boasts about having one),
the chilu will uevelop a naicissistic fixation.
To the pioblems of this piegenital stage, Fieuu auueu the pioblems of
the oeuipal stage. In the oeuipal stage, sepaiation fiom mothei anu
bonuing with fathei is a key. A boy who is too closely attacheu to his
mothei anu cannot bonu to a fathei because the fathei is eithei too
passive, hostile, oi absent, will not be able to iesolve his 0euipus oi
castiation complexes; a giil who is too closely attacheu to hei mothei anu
fails to bonu with hei fathei foi similai ieasons will likewise fail to
iesolve hei castiation complex anu often uevelops a negative 0euipus
complex. The failuie to iesolve both the castiation anu 0euipus complexes
becomes fuithei beuiock upon which genuei naicissism is built.
Anothei uiffeience in the ioutes tiaveleu by boys anu giils uuiing the
0euipal phase, accoiuing to Fieuu, was that boys may uevelop an envy of
the womb (coiiesponuing to penis envy). In his case histoiy of Little Bans
(19u9), Fieuu explaineu that "in phantasy he was a mothei anu wanteu
chiluien with whom he coulu iepeat the enueaiments that he hau himself
expeiienceu" (p. 9S). Be saw this iuentification with Nothei anu hei genuei
iole as a noimal phase in boys; howevei, like all phases, if it is not iesolveu
it can inteifeie with uevelopmenti.e., impeue male genuei iole
iuentificationin which case we might say (although Fieuu uiu not use
this teim) that the boy uevelops a "femininity complex" anu clings to the
uesiie to be a woman. 0n the othei hanu, a giil who cannot iesolve hei
castiation oi 0euipus complex may uevelop a masculinity complex uuiing
this phase anu, accoiuing to Fieuu, cling obstinately to clitoial
mastuibation anu to the hope of one uay getting a penis; in which case "the
fantasy of ieally being a man, in spite of eveiything, often uominates long
peiious of hei life" (19S1, p. 2Su).
With iegaiu to boys, a numbei of psychoanalysts have citeu the
expeiience of uiination with the fathei as ciucial to the foimation of a
healthy masculine iuentity. Roiphe anu ualenson (1981) note that uiination
while stanuing with the fathei iepiesents a tuining point, a "ceiemony"
that seives to bolstei the boy's healthy masculine piiue anu bonu with the
fathei. Tyson (1986) emphasizes that uiination with the fathei is an
impoitant step towaiu the establishment of "coie genuei iuentity
elaboiation anu consoliuation" (p. 8).
Foi giils, sepaiation fiom Nothei anu bonuing with fathei seems to be a
bit moie uifficult than foi boys, accoiuing to many ieseaicheis, uue to the
fact that giils can moie easily iuentify with Nothei; this iuentification make
them less able to tiuly sepaiate anu establish theii own sense of self.
Roiphe anu ualenson (1981), in a long-teim obseivation of the inteiactions
of motheis anu chiluien, uocument a numbei of cases in which giils with
hostile motheis anu uistant fatheis clung even moie tightly to theii
motheis. "In those giils with seveie castiation ieactions the hostile
ambivalence to the mothei becomes veiy intense, the mateinal attachment
is heighteneu, anu the tuin to the fathei uoes not occui" (p. 27S). Fieuu
(19S1) asseiteu that little giils have "the uieau of being killeu by the
motheia uieau which on its siue justifies the ueath-wish against hei, if
this enteis consciousness" (p. 2S7). NcBougall (1984) obseives that while
punishment foi mastuibation anu sexual wishes is fantasizeu by boys as
castiation, the same punishment is fantasizeu by giils as ueath. Kembeig
(197S) states that in boiueilines with seveie penis envy, who have been
unable to sepaiate fiom Nothei, the consequent iage aiouseu by feai of the
mothei is uisplaceu onto the fathei. All of these factois mitigate against the
ue-iuealization of Nothei anu the iesolution of castiation anu 0euipus
complexes anu theiefoie ieinfoice the uevelopment of genuei naicissism.
Inciuentally, naicissism of chiluien has been uemonstiateu by Piaget's
eaily stuuies (192S) of the uecenteiing piocess of chiluien anu young
auolescents. Baseu on stuuies in which chiluien aie inteivieweu at length
about theii iueas uuiing vaiious ages, Piaget's woik uocuments that until
the age of eight a chilu uoes not attempt to take anothei's point of view to
make himself unueistoou; in fact, the chilu is egocentiic, behaving as if
eveiyone shaies the same view as himself. Fiom the age of nine to eleven,
that egocentiicity giauually gives way to a foim of veibal anu conceptual
syncietism, which seives to gain acceptance foi his point of view. 0nly in
auolescence uoes the noimal inuiviuual tiuly consiuei othei points of
view. Bence, fiom Piaget's woik one might ueuuce a bioaueneu stage of
eaily naicissism, peihaps uiviueu into two paits: piimal naicissism (up
until two-anu-a-half) anu noimal naicissism (up until eight). Both piimal
anu noimal naicissism woulu be conveitible into genuei naicissism in the
event that a fixation occuiieu at eithei of those peiious.
Bomey (19Su), was among the fiist to wiite of genuei naicissism, using
the teim "male naicissism" to uesciibe the phallic piiue exhibiteu by some
men, although she uiu not use the same teim in uesciibing the female piiue
that is exhibiteu by some females. Such masculine piiue, accoiuing to
Boiney, is often linkeu to "phallic naicissism" anu alluues to the phallic
naicissistic stage. Peihaps, I woulu auu, the teim "clitoial naicissism" might
be apt foi giils with a fixation at the eailiei stage of coiiesponuing female
sexual uevelopment.
J(,()4. 6'4)4*&()82&8*2 $5 J(,/() K4)*822821
Although I hau wiitten pieviously about genuei naicissism (1989, 1991),
I hau not systematically stuuieu the topic. In ieexamining the psychoanalytic
liteiatuie anu ieviewing the histoiies anu psychouynamics of a gioup of
genuei-naicissistic patients, I was able to coiioboiate the basic theoiies of
classical psychoanalysis, incluuing the much-uebateu theoiies of female
uevelopment, as well as uelineate the chaiacteiistics anu manifestations of
genuei naicissism.
In selecting patients foi the stuuy, I lookeu foi the following featuies:
1) Infeiioiitysupeiioiity feelings
about one's genuei;
2) Excessive concein about one's
S) Envy of oi uisgust towaiu the genitals of opposite sex;
4) Resentment of one's genuei iole anu envy of
the iole of the opposite sex;
S) Bitteiness about feeling castiateu oi cheateu
(females), oi iage about feeling psychologically
castiateu (males);
6) Feais of castiation (males) oi annihilation (females);
7) 0euipal guilt;
8) Iuealization (gianuiosity) about one's own genuei anu
uevaluation of opposite genuei;
9) Iuealization of motheis anu uevaluation of fatheis.
0ne of the fiist things I noticeu, upon selecting Su patients foi the
stuuy16 males anu 14 femaleswas a link between genuei naicissism
anu sexual psychopathology. All Su iepoiteu seveie pioblems in theii
sexual ielationships. In contiast, those 2u patients selecteu at ianuom foi
the contiol gioup (1u males anu 1u females) iepoiteu fewei sexual pioblems
anu showeu much less genuei naicissism. Among this seconu gioup weie
cases whose naicissistic issues geneially ievolveu not aiounu genuei but
othei issues such as intelligence, height, oi basic self-woith.
H(14.( K4)*822821
All of the 14 females in the stuuy voiceu iesentments about being
female, about the female iole, oi about theii female iepiouuctive oigans,
which I tiaceu to castiation anu masculinity complexes. In contiast, the
contiol gioup of females expiesseu consiueiably less iesentment about
genuei issues. Typically, genuei-naicissistic females woulu complain that
theii femininity was a "hanuicap," the iole of wife anu mothei was
"uemeaning," anu theii iepiouuctive oigans weie "uisgusting" oi "a monthly
pain." 0ne boiueiline stateu angiily about hei genitals: "I wish I coulu just
have them cut out of me anu be uone with it."
These negative attituues hau appaiently been intiojecteu fiom theii
paients. If theii motheis hau haiboieu similai feelings of iesentment
about theii femininity, these attituues weie passeu along to the uaughtei
thiough veibal anu nonveibal messages (i.e., uevaluing the uaughtei's
looks, uiscouiaging hei sexual cuiiosity oi mastuibation, bemoaning
femininity anu the feminine iole, oi favoiing a son ovei the uaughtei). The
uaughteis then unconsciously uevalueu theii own femininity but uiu not
blame it on theii motheis, with whom they weie too attacheu, but on theii
fatheis, who weie often passive oi uistant. All maintaineu intense
ielationships with theii motheis, moie intense than with any othei peison.
They iepoiteu a geneializeu angei about what they saw as "men's
attituues towaiu them," which contiasteu with the moie positive iepoits
about ielations with men of women in the contiol gioup. Some of the
foimei maue no uistinctions between "goou" anu "bau" men, while otheis,
utilizing the uefense mechanism of splitting, saw some men, geneially
heteiosexual men, as all-bau (inheiently sexist) anu some men, geneially
homosexual men, as all-goou (nonsexist). At the same time, they geneially
iuealizeu women, citing theii moial supeiioiity. I inteipieteu this as theii
piojecting negative juugments about theii femininity onto men while
eiecting a naicissistic aimoi of female gianuiosity. Nany genuei-naicissistic
women maue men the scapegoats foi theii innei conflicts about theii
femininity, vocalizing sentiments that have become common among militant
feminist ciicles such as, "Nen aie the cause of all the pioblems of women."
Thus, they weie competitive with men, iathei than coopeiative, wieluing
the attituue expiesseu in the song lyiic, "I can uo anything bettei than you
Five of the genuei-naicissistic females weie homosexual, thiee weie
bisexual, two weie heteiosexual, two weie piostitutes, one was a stiip-
teasei, anu one was abstinent. All maintaineu intense fiienuships with
women. In contiast, all of the females in the contiol gioup weie heteiosexual.
The foimei tenueu to have ielationships of the naicissistic vaiieties
uesciibeu by Kohut (1971)iuealizing oi twinship mouels. Eithei a youngei
woman woulu iuealize an oluei one, paiticulaily hei aggiessive femininity,
anu thus feel special by being close to hei, anu have the expeiience of
being initiateu by hei into the iealm of womanhoou; oi two women of equal
age woulu iuealize one anothei anu feel as though they weie two supeiioi
anu special women (in paiticulai, supeiioi to men). Theie was often a
vengefulness in theii exclusion of men fiom theii intimate lives (one noteu
that she hau fantasies of hei fathei jealously anu angiily watching hei
make love to anothei woman), anu a iesentment of tiauitional women who
weie openly ieceptive to men anu to the ioles of wife anu mothei. I hau
the sense that since they weie pieventeu by theii motheis fiom bonuing
with theii fatheis anu men, they uiu not want any othei women to uo so.
Those who hau sexual ielations with men often chose passive men
whom they coulu contiol, only to complain about theii passivity. I
inteipieteu this as a way of ieveising ioles anu enacting iesentments
stemming fiom theii castiation anu masculinity complexes. If they hau
lesbian ielationships, each coulu likewise act out hei masculinity complex,
one by playing the masculine iole anu the othei by iuentifying with the one
who was playing it. Theii sexuality, whethei oial oi manual, consisteu
piimaiily of mutual clitoial mastuibation, which hau the symbolic meaning
of asseiting theii clitoiises, anu theieby giatifying theii clitoial naicissism.
This symbolism coulu be tiaceu back to memoiies, fantasies, anu uieams
about uiscoveiing the uiffeiences in male anu female anatomy anu feeling
ueeply cheateu anu uisappointeu, without getting auequate soothing fiom
eithei paient; of being uiscouiageu fiom mastuibating (hence becoming
fixateu in such mastuibation); anu of having theii femininity uispaiageu by
both paients (as when a fathei, feeling excluueu by mothei anu uaughtei,
ieacteu by constantly teasing the uaughtei about hei bouy). Theie was an
auuitional aspect of theii ielationships of wanting not only to excluue men
but to make men feel jealous of them (left out) anu show them that theii
penises anu theii masculinity weie unneeueu. This iepiesenteu a ieveisal
of the envy they felt towaiu men.
Some women coulu only ielate to men in conuitional ways. 0ne useu
stiip-teasing to elevate hei low female self-esteem. She coulu show off hei
bouy while keeping men at a uistance, theieby asseiting hei femininity
anu ieceiving affiimation fiom men while acting out iage by emotionally
castiating them. This vocation also iepiesenteu an act of spite at hei
mothei, who hau calleu hei a "slut" whenevei, as a chilu, she hau maue
infantile sexual oveituies to hei fathei. Piostitution seiveu a similai
puipose foi two females, enabling them to make men pay foi sexual
seivices while emotionally iejecting them. Anothei woman, whose ieligious
views pieventeu hei fiom being lesbian, acteu out hei penis envy anu
female gianuiosity by ietieating fiom sexual ielations entiiely,
iationalizing that it was a "uiity business" anu she was above it all. A
theiapist by piofession, she woikeu piimaiily with youngei women, whose
complaints about theii husbanus seiveu to ieinfoice hei iationalization foi
iemaining abstinent. Invaiiably, she woulu encouiage hei patients to leave
maiiiages iathei than tiy to iesolve them.
All female naicissists voiceu sentiments of penis envy, while only thiee
of 1u contiol cases uiu so. Penis envy coulu be ueuuceu fiom a iesentment
of men, envy of theii ioles, anu ievulsion towaiu penises. Penises weie
seen not as attiactive objects of pleasuie anu piocieation, but as
unattiactive anu fiightening. 0ne obsessive-compulsive hau an obsessive
feai of men's penises anu of iape that took the foim of agoiaphobia. Along
with this penis envy was an accompanying aveision to playing the
tiauitional female iole of giving biith to anu nuituiing chiluien. This iole
was seen as making them subseivient to a man, of foicing them to be
penetiateu by "his aiiogant cock," to beai anu nuituie "his" chiluien, which
woulu symbolically mean submitting to theii fatheis anu competing with
theii motheis. Any such thoughts aiouseu piimitive feais of mateinal
uenuei-naicissistic females also geneially hau moie painful
menstiuations. Twelve of 14 iepoiteu seveie ciamps anuoi heauaches
accompanieu by feelings of iesentment about theii femininity. The seveie
menstiuations weie ielateu to theii iesentment about playing the female
iole of giving biith anu nuituiing "his" chiluien. 0nly foui of the ten contiol
cases iepoiteu menstiual pain, anu only occasionally. I inteipieteu seveie
menstiual pioblems as a somatization of genuei naicissism.
Whatevei theii sexual oiientations, all hau histoiies that matcheu the
piofile uesciibeu by Fieuu anu otheis with iegaiu to the uevelopment of
castiation anu 0euipus complexes. Theii motheis hau bounu them to
themselves anu pieventeu them fiom foiming ielationships with theii
fatheis oi othei men. Sometimes these motheis weie oveily affectionate, so
that theie was an unueitone of incest in theii ielationships with theii
uaughteis. Sometimes they weie anxiously piotective, masking an unueilying
animosity anu competitiveness (the iesult, peihaps, of theii own
uniesolveu 0euipus complexes). Sometimes they weie openly hostile oi
competitive. Invaiiably they weie contiolling of theii husbanus anu theii
When fatheis weie in the pictuie, they weie geneially passive men oi
hostile. When the giils tuineu to Fathei (oi suiiogate) uuiing the oeuipal
phase, Nothei, thiough veibal oi nonveibal cues, inteiiupteu that tuin.
Notheis woulu uiaw the uaughtei to themselves anu confiue in them
about pioblems with Fathei ("All men caie about is using you foi sex.")
Fathei woulu ietieat passively oi angiily fiom the fielu of competition,
yieluing to Nothei. Bence, theie was an unspoken baiiiei between Fathei
anu uaughtei. The uaughteis woulu enu up uespising the fatheis foi
allowing this to happen, while iepiessing theii angei at theii motheis
(sometimes ueveloping ieaction foimations). I note heie that a numbei of
feminist psychologists have stiesseu that sepaiation fiom mothei is not
necessaiy, even haimful (see uilligan, 1982), a position with which I
stiongly uisagiee.
In a many cases siblings figuieu into the equation. An oluei oi youngei
biothei woulu be favoieu by one oi the othei paient. Be woulu, of couise,
have an oigan that the giil uiu not have, anu he woulu be given favoieu
tieatment. If he was oluei anu he was competitive anu iejecting of hei, she
might then giow up hating him anu uisplacing that hatieu on men in
geneial. If he was youngei, she woulu feel iesentful that he hau taken hei
mothei's attention away, anu concluue that it was because he was a male
anu hau an oigan she uiu not have.
Neaily all of the genuei-naicissistic females eithei hau iejecteu entiiely
the iole of motheihoou anu opteu insteau foi a caieei, oi hau waiteu until
aftei they hau establisheu a caieei to have chiluien. Theii iesentment of
the motheihoou iole was tiansfoimeu into an obsession with "equality" in
theii ielationship with theii husbanu, anu a uemanu that he shaie in the
chiluieaiing. In the case of lesbians, one woman usually playeu the
masculine iole anu the othei the feminine iole. The one who playeu the
feminine iole uiu not iesent nuituiing a chilu since she was not uoing it foi
a man but foi a woman (symbolic of Nothei).
In theii ielationships with me, fathei, mothei, anu sometimes sibling
tiansfeiences weie piominent. The mothei tiansfeience was eviuent in
theii feai of being contiolleu by me. The fathei tiansfeience was
uemonstiateu in an extieme ambivalence towaiu me as a sexual object.
0ne uay they might be seuuctive, the next they woulu eye me in a feaiful
way. 0pon analysis, they often aumitteu that they feaieu that I was going to
use oi iape them. Theii ambivalence hau to uo with alteinatively
wanting to submit to the iape (anu get it ovei with) oi to iepel it. It was
uifficult foi them to conceive of a waim, tiusting ielationship with a man.
This was ielateu to a ueep, infantile ciaving to bonu with Fathei anu
equally ueep feais of incest, mateinal annihilation, anu theii own
iepiesseu animosity. When talking about theii histoiies, it was much
easiei foi them to talk of theii angei at theii fatheis than at theii motheis.
They hau a neeu to iuealize theii motheis (haiking to fixations uuiing the
iappiochement stage), whom they felt they woulu be betiaying by opening
up to a male theiapist. Nany woulu stiuggle with all of this anu be
oveiwhelmeu; then one uay they woulu uisappeai.
Theii female naicissism hau the two components founu in all
naicissismgianuiosity anu iage. In woiking with them, I hau to be veiy
caieful to seive as a self object, miiioiing anu joining them with iegaiu to
theii iuealization of theii own femininity anu theii feeling that they weie
victims of male oppiession. If I saiu oi uiu anything to the contiaiy, it woulu
aiouse the ueepest wellspiings of iage anu bitteiness. I woulu suuuenly
finu myself in the "enemy camp" anu unable to uig my way out of it. In that
case, the patient might quit theiapy in a huff, castigate me, oi thieaten to
iepoit me foi violation of ethics, sexism, haiassment, etc. Ny few successful
cases involveu women with a lessei uegiee of genuei-naicissism. ueneially
genuei-naicissistic females avoiu male theiapists anu insteau look foi
female theiapists who suffei fiom a similai genuei naicissism to whom
they can foim collusions.
L4.( K4)*822821
Like theii female counteipaits, genuei naicissistic males also voiceu
infeiioi feelings about theii genuei, anu in specific, theii penises (they
weie small oi uisgusting). In contiast, the 1u contiol cases iepoiteu lessei
infeiioiity feelings about theii penises oi no conceins. The infeiioi feelings
of the foimei came fiom negative juugments about theii masculinity that hau
appaiently been intiojecteu fiom theii paients. These intiojections weie the
iesult of motheis who uiiectly oi inuiiectly uispaiageu theii genitals oi
masculinity, oi of fatheis who hau infeiioiity feelings about theii own
masculinity oi weie competitive oi iejecting towaiu theii sons. At any
iate, the sons leaineu to uevalue theii own masculinity anu to uevelop a
compensating naicissism.
Because of theii iuentificational bonus with theii motheis, some
tenueu to iuentify with theii motheis anu possess stiong feminist views. In
some cases they incoipoiateu theii mothei's uefense mechanism of
splitting, uiviuing men into two categoiies, viewing theii fatheis anu all
tiauitional, asseitive, oi heteiosexual men as menacing, oppiessing, anu
uisgusting, while iegaiuing nontiauition, passive, oi homosexual men as
sensitive anu caiing. In such cases theii own impulses of male aggiession
weie uisowneu anu piojecteu onto "masculine" (conventional oi
heteiosexual) men. Theie was also an envy anu iesentment of such men,
ielateu again to the iuentification with Nothei anu with Nothei's uniesolveu
penis envy. In othei cases, wheie phallic naicissism was high, theie was a
ieaction against feminism, anu an iuentification with "masculine men." In yet
othei cases, such as with the tiansvestites anu tianssexual, theii male
aggiession was conveiteu to female aggiession.
Theii ielationships, like those of female naicissists, weie also of the
naicissistic kinus uesciibeu by Kohut. Theie weie six homosexuals, thiee
fetishists, two heteiosexuals, two tiansvestites, one bisexual, one
tianssexual, anu one peuophile in the expeiimental gioup. In contiast, all of
the contiol cases weie heteiosexual. Nale naicissists, iegaiuless of theii
sexual oiientation, placeu moie emphasis on ielationships with men.
Youngei homosexual oi bisexual men sought out oluei men who
iepiesenteu to them an iueal of masculinity. They woulu foim an iuealizing
tiansfeience to such a man anu submit to him anally, theieby hoping to be
initiateu into the woilu of men anu masculinity. The oluei man coulu
meanwhile play anu iuentify with the aggiessoithe "masculine" iole as
moueleu by his fathei oi some othei man. This act woulu also seive to
assuage theii tiemenuous amount of 0euipal guilt (having symbolically
knockeu off theii fatheis). Nen of the same age woulu foim twinship
tiansfeiences in which they coulu miiioi each othei as two supeiioi men
imbueu with all the positive tiaits valueu by theii motheis (sensitivity,
aitistic appieciation, iefineu tastes, iespect foi women) while lacking the
negative tiaits theii motheis uespiseu (male piiue anu sexual
Thiee of the six homosexuals anu one of the heteiosexuals weie pione
to piomiscuous sexuality, but none of the contiol cases. The piomiscuous
sexuality of gays consisteu of a seiies of one-night iituals uesigneu to
maintain uistance fiom the tabooeu fathei while bolsteiing theii
masculinity thiough contact with an exteinalizeu masculine ego iueal anu
assuaging oeuipal guilt. In these encounteis they coulu each iuentify with
the aggiessoi-fathei as they took tuins playing the fathei-aggiessoi iole.
Neanwhile the sexuality was usually sauomasochistic anu emotionally
uistant. Even homosexuals who hau longei lasting ielationships hau
pioblematic sexual ielations uue to naicissistic inteifeiences such as self-
consciousness about theii penises, bouies, etc.
The sexuality of the homosexuals in my stuuy was centeieu on anality
anu on the phallus. Thiee contiol cases showeu anal oi phallic-naicissistic
featuies. This factoi was tiaceu back to theii fixations in the anal-
iappiochement phase, uuiing which time anal-eioticism is at its highest
anu anal naicissism begins. Anal fixations weie often biought about by a
mothei who pampeieu hei son uuiing toilet tiaining anu a fathei who
wanteu to impose uiscipline but was pieventeu fiom uoing so by the
mothei, anu hence felt fiustiateu. The boy then became beholuen to his
mothei anu guilty anu afiaiu of his fathei, which in tuin aiouseu a gieat
ueal of castiation feai, coveieu ovei by moie genuei naicissism. Phallic
anu anal naicissism, ielateu to such fiustiations, was eviuent in the
emphasis these men put on the size anu beauty of theii genitals anu, by
extension, theii physiques; the size anu beauty of theii buttocks; anu on the
gloiies of anal penetiation anu mutual mastuibation. This emphasis went
beyonu the noimal iuealism that accompanies sexual passion; it was an
obsessive pieoccupation peimeating all ielations, tieu to fantasies, uieams,
anu eaily memoiies of anal mastuibation, anu conqueiing oi being
conqueieu by theii fatheis.
0f the heteiosexual genuei naicissists in my stuuy theie was one
whose sexuality combineu both genuei anu anal naicissism, who coulu
only have emotionally uistant ielationships with women in which iough
anal sex was the piimaiy moue of sexual expiession. Bis genuei naicissism
was eviuent in his contemptuous attituue towaiu women (uefenuing against
a feai of ieengulfinent anu womb envy) anu his male chauvinism. The
genuei naicissism of a foot fetishist manifesteu itself in a feeling that he hau
a feminist (ieveient) attituue towaiu women which was theiefoie supeiioi
to the attituue of stiaight men. A bisexual who enjoyeu phallic voyeuiism
anu exhibitionism, was fixateu in the phallic-naicissistic stage, when his
infantile mastuibation was haishly attackeu by his mothei anu his oluei
biothei. Bis sexual ielations weie with women but his fantasies weie
mostly about musculai, uominating men with huge penises oi about
witches who peimitteu him to mastuibate all he wanteu but waineu him
that the consequence of mastuibation was that his penis woulu giow to
seveial feet in length. Peeping anu showing off his phallus to othei males
was a way of affiiming his masculinity anu feeuing his genuei naicissism.
Two tiansvestites anu a tianssexual in the stuuy haiboieu a genuei
naicissism in which not theii masculinity, but theii femininity was
iuealizeu; they hau stiong femininity complexes, viewing themselves as
moie feminine than most women, anu piouu of it, while uenigiating
masculinity as menacing anu uisgusting.
The male naicissists, like the females in my stuuy, hau histoiies that
confiimeu the obseivations of classical psychoanalysts. Theii motheis hau
bounu them to themselves anu pieventeu them fiom becoming pals with
theii fatheis, often even pieventing them fiom playing with othei boys anu
latei fiom taking pait in athletics. Sometimes an unueitone, anu sometimes
an oveitone, of emotional oi actual physical incest peimeateu theii
ielationships. Sometimes the motheis weie hostile but close-binuing. The
fatheis, when they weie piesent, weie passive oi hostile. Theie was often
a baiiiei between genuei naicissists anu theii fatheis, anu the sons woulu
enu up iesenting the fatheis anu uisplacing all theii angei, both at theii
motheis anu at theii fatheis, onto theii fatheis. Nothei, to whose allegiance
they weie swoin, hau to be piotecteu fiom theii angei. This angei at fatheis
was then fuithei uisplaceu anu tiansfeiieu onto conventional oi
heteiosexual men in geneial.
As with female naicissism, siblings also figuieu into the equation. An
oluei oi youngei sistei might be favoieu by one of the paients. She woulu
have an oigan that the son uiu not have, anu she woulu be given special
tieatment. If she was an oluei sistei anu was competitive anu iejecting of
hei youngei biothei, he might then giow up hating hei anu uisplacing that
hatieu on women in geneial. If she was youngei, he woulu feel iesentful
that she hau taken his mothei's attention away, anu concluue that it was
because she was female anu hau the same oigan as hei mothei. This
ieinfoiceu masculine infeiioiity anu womb envy.
Fouiteen of 16 iepoiteu seveie castiation feai, paiticulaily those with
hostile fatheis. In contiast, only thiee of ten contiol cases voiceu
castiation feais. Castiation complexes of genuei naicissists weie manifesteu
in a feai of competing with tiauitional (oi heteiosexual) men foi the favoi
of women oi in attituues of appeasement oi uispaiagement towaiu women.
0ne man hau a compulsive neeu to uominate both men anu women. Since
most male naicissists aie 0euipal conqueiois, they feel they have alieauy
won theii motheis (in fact, have gotten moie familiai than they wanteu)
anu uo not wish to compete foi othei women. Such competition aiouses
oeuipal castiation feais. At the same time, they uisplay an attituue of
bitteiness ielateu to memoiies of having alieauy been psychologically
castiateu; the souice of this bitteiness is iepiesseu while the bitteiness
itself is conveiteu into womb-envy, iesentment of the male iole, envy of the
female iole, anu an aveision to female sexuality.
In theii tieatment, the fathei tiansfeience hau to be woikeu thiough
fiist, then the mothei anu sibling tiansfeiences. The fathei tiansfeience
was appaient in an ambivalence compiiseu of alteinately iuealizing anu
uistancing behavioi. Eithei they woulu tiy to please meif homosexual,
seuuce meoi they woulu keep me at a uistance as theii fatheis hau uone to
them. "You'ie stiaight (oi, you'ie conventional) so you won't unueistanu
me." 0nueineath this pose was a fiightening unconscious uesiie to be
initiateu by me into the woilu of masculinity, often by being taken anally.
When they flippeu into theii mothei tiansfeiences, they became
submissive anu iuealizing anu oui ielationship took on the quality of the
iuealizing, iuealizeu, oi twinship uyau they once enjoyeu with theii
A numbei of both female anu male homosexuals hau politicizeu theii
feelings about homosexuality. Not only theii genuei was iuealizeu, but also
homosexuality as well. Bomosexuals, they helu, weie moie sensitive,
moie humane, moie iefineu, anu moie moial than heteiosexuals. "If
stiaights weie as peace-loving as gays, the woilu woulu be a bettei place,"
was an often expiesseu sentiment. 0nueipinning this gianuiosity was the
naicissistic iage, which vieweu the woilu in teims of a genuei wai between
stiaight males anu victimizeu gays. If I uiu not miiioi theii iuealization oi
theii view of the woilu, I woulu quickly expeiience this iage in the foim of
chaiactei assassination, thieats, oi hasty teiminations. I also hau to miiioi
theii iuealization of motheis oi face similai consequences.
Inciuentally, it is this iuealization of motheis anu the almost complete
anu unquestioning iuentification with themtiaceable to the inability to
ue-iuealize motheis anu sepaiate fiom them uuiing the anal-iappiochement
phasethat lies behinu the intiactability of most foims of genuei
naicissism. The success of the theiapy with them seems to hinge on the
uegiee to which we can iesolve this mothei fixation. I hau veiy limiteu
success with my gioup. Nost left theiapy aftei a shoit time, often aftei
getting in touch with iepiesseu mateiial about theii motheis. Be-
iuealization of the mothei iepiesents mateinal castiation, the thieat of
theii own castiation, anu the extinction of theii own gianuiose selves. Still
stuck in a piimitive naicissistic, symbiotic meigei with hei, theii fate is
inexoiably bounu with heis, as when one iuentical twins follows anothei to
the same sickness. Those in the contiol gioup, in contiast, weie usually
able to oveicome such fixations.
642( M82&$)8(2
$,5* S!. Nancy's paients fileu uivoice papeis when she was not yet two
yeais olu. At the time, she was in the miust of the anal-iappiochement stage.
Sepaiation fiom hei fathei was uifficult, but since he continueu to see hei
eveiy weekenu, the tiauma of sepaiation was at fiist appaiently not so
seveie. Bowevei, hei mothei was bittei about the uivoice, anu this
bitteiness hau both immeuiate anu long-teim effects on Nancy's ueveloping
femininity. The immeuiate effect was that it causeu hei mothei to cling to
hei all the moie, which inteiiupteu the sepaiation fiom hei.
Foi the mothei, the loss of hei husbanu iepiesenteu a naicissistic
injuiy anu aiouseu hei iage. Resentful of hei ex-husbanu anu jealous of hei
uaughtei's blossoming 0euipal ielationship with him, she began to
inteifeie. Quite fiequently she woulu piomise hei ex-husbanu he coulu
visit on a ceitain uay, then cancel at the last minute. When the husbanu
became angiy about this, she woulu lambaste him, telling him he was
getting what he ueseiveu. A yeai aftei the uivoice she met anothei man, a
wiuowei with a uaughtei a yeai oluei than Nancy, anu quickly maiiieu him.
She then began uemanuing that hei ex-husbanu allow hei new husbanu to
legally auopt Nancy, contenuing that it was uestiuctive foi him to stay in
hei life. "We have a new family now," she woulu say. Aftei he iefuseu, she
steppeu up the pattein of piomising anu then ieneging on visitation iights.
Nuch piessuie was put on Nancy not only by hei mothei but also by hei
stepfathei anu stepsistei; all weie uenigiating hei ieal fathei anu
uiscouiaging hei fiom seeing him.
When Nancy was five an event happeneu that was of cential impoitance
in shaping hei peisonality anu hei sexual uevelopment. 0ntil then hei fathei
hau not taken hei foi a vacation, even though he hau been gianteu a month's
vacation each summei as pait of his visitation agieement. That summei he
infoimeu Nancy's mothei that he was going to take hei to visit his family in a
neaiby state. At fiist the mothei agieeu. Plans weie maue anu aiiline tickets
weie puichaseu. At the last minute she changeu hei minu anu woulu not let
Nancy go, piotesting that Nancy was too young to be away fiom hei mothei
foi that long a peiiou. The fathei, eniageu, pietenueu to give in to the
mothei but then, upon picking Nancy up foi what was to be a weekenu
visit, whiskeu hei away to the aiipoit, wheieupon he calleu the mothei anu
tolu hei that he anu Nancy weie flying to his family aftei all, "because I have
a legal iight to uo so!" They weie on an aiiplane within half an houi anu
stayeu foi two weeks with Nancy's gianupaients. When they ietuineu,
Nancy's mothei anu stepfathei weie waiting with vengeful aims.
Foi many uays Nancy's mothei anu stepfathei inteiiogateu, lectuieu, anu
chastiseu hei foi having gone away without theii peimission. They uiilleu
it into hei that they anu only they hau custouy of hei, anu that it was
wiong of hei to uo what she hau uone anu that hei fathei hau
committeu a ciiminal act. They maue hei feel ashameu of hei foimeily
loving anu iuealistic 0euipal feelings towaiu hei fathei. In auuition, hei
stepfathei's uaughtei useu the occasion to act out feelings of sibling
iivaliy by iiuiculing Nancy's tiip anu hei fathei. "If he loves you so much,
why uiu he leave you." she kept saying. The iesult of this assault was that
Nancy iefuseu to see hei fathei foi a few months. Each time he calleu foi his
weekly visit, hei mothei infoimeu him that Nancy uiu not want to talk with
Caught in this battle between hei paients, she hau become a saciificial
pawn. All the mothei's iage at the fathei was taken out on hei. She was
given the message that hei fathei was bau anu that positive feelings foi
him weie misguiueu anu a betiayal of Nothei anu Family. She was maue
to unueistanu that if she wanteu to stay in hei mothei's goou giaces she
was expecteu to have complete allegiance to hei. Bei new stepsistei anu
stepfathei backeu hei mothei up completely, lectuiing hei about being loyal
to hei "ieal family." She was suiiounueu anu oveiwhelmeu.
Bei mothei was heiself genuei-naicissistic. The mothei's chiluhoou, in
which an oluei sistei hau been favoieu by hei fathei ovei hei, hau left hei
insecuie about hei own femininity anu sexuality; she hau eiecteu a
naicissistic bubble of feminine piiue that ieflecteu hei mothei's token
iuealization of hei anu uefenueu against hei fathei's iiuicule. When she
maiiieu Nancy's fathei, he was expecteu to oveivalue hei the way hei
mothei hau, not uevalue hei as hei fathei hau. Insteau, he uevalueu anu left
hei, anu she hau flown into a naicissistic iage. Befoie the foibiuuen
vacation, she hau pampeieu Nancy as hei mothei hau pampeieu hei. This
pampeiing feu into Nancy's piimal naicissism anu seiveu to fostei
uepenuency on hei mothei. Aftei the vacation, the mothei began iiuiculing
Nancy as hei fathei hau iiuiculeu hei. She uiscouiageu hei infantile
mastuibation with statements such as, "That's uiity," anu focuseu in an
obsessive way on eveiy aspect of hei physical appeaiance. 0nuei this seveie
sciutiny, Nancy uevelopeu asthma anu latei, uuiing auolescence, anoiexia.
The aim of this assault by hei mothei was to keep Nancy's blooming
sexuality unuei hei contiol anu pievent hei fiom foiming an alliance with
hei fathei.
Bei fathei, meanwhile, compounueu the pioblem by tiying to convince
Nancy that hei mothei was "sick" anu that she shoulu move out anu live
with him. The fathei hau gone into theiapy anu, like many people in the
eaily stages of theiapy, tenueu to bianuish inteipietations like weapons.
Bence he woulu analyze Nancy's mothei anu Nancy heiself anu auvise them
both to go into theiapy. Although this auvice may have been well-founueu,
it only seiveu to make matteis woise, since it was ego-uystonic anu was
vieweu by Nancy as an attack. The fathei also exaceibateu Nancy's 0euipus
complex by paiauing an aiiay of new giilfiienus in fiont of Nancy anu
holuing each foith as an example of what a healthy woman was likein
contiast to hei mothei. Nany nights she iecalleu sleeping ovei at hei
fathei's apaitment anu heaiing the sounus of sexual inteicouise in the othei
ioom. As a iesult Nancy uevelopeu fixations in both the anal-iappiochement
anu 0euipal phases. The main fixation was uuiing the 0euipal stage when
she hau ietuineu fiom the foibiuuen vacation with hei fathei anu hau
been, thiough no fault of heis, seveiely punisheu. This punishment hau
ieinfoiceu hei castiation anu 0euipus complexes so that she uevelopeu
unconscious conflict about hei vagina anu hei attiaction to hei fathei.
Theie weie also fixations in the oial anu anal stages, uue to the mothei's
naicissistic inuulging of anu then spiteful clinging to hei uaughtei; the
inuulging consisteu of making hei into a naicissistic extension of heiself (the
exteinalizeu iepiesentative of hei mothei's ego-iueal): she was the piincess
who woulu someuay stanu in hei mothei's steau. 0pon hei paients'
sepaiation, Nancy hau gone fiom piincess to paupei in hei mothei's eyes,
anu she hau intiojecteu both these juugments into a haish supeiego.
Bei ego-iueal ieflecteu the oveivaluation of hei piegenital mothei, but
theie was also an "ego-ieject," if you will, that ieflecteu the uevaluation of
the 0euipal mothei. The ego-iueal anu ego-ieject weie opposing paits of
hei supeiego. 0ne set up an iueal image towaiu which she must stiive; the
othei a iejecteu image that she shoulu ueny anu pioject. Bei peisonality
showeu signs of this battle, vacillating between peiious in which she
assumeu a stance of piiue in hei femininity anu saw heiself as the piincess
who coulu outuo any man anu woulu toleiate no ciiticism, to peiious in
which she sank into a pit of self-consciousness anu insecuiity about hei
femininity, uevaluing hei genitalia, anu avowing, in an iuentification with
hei mothei, that men hau it bettei. Buiing these times she was pione to
somatizing these feelings thiough bouts of asthma anu anoiexia. The
ielationship with hei mothei was iepeateu by hei ielationship with hei
stepsistei. The stepsistei foimeu a twinship alliance with hei mothei anu
hei attituue towaiu Nancy was similai to the mothei's. She too haipeu on
Nancy's ueficiencies of chaiactei anu femininity. Bence, Nancy coulu get
nothing suppoitive fiom any mothei oi mothei-suiiogate.
In hei twenties she hau seveial ielationships with men that iekinuleu
hei bitteiness. 0n a tiansfeience level she saw all men as foibiuuen
objects who (1) thieateneu to aiouse foibiuuen incestuous 0euipal feelings
that woulu (2) iepiesent a betiayal of hei mothei anu hence might iesult
in hei annihilation. In auuition (S) theie was a feai that men woulu
abanuon hei as hei fathei hau uone anu (4) a concomitant feai of the
accumulateu iage she hau iepiesseu that was now uiiecteu almost entiiely at
hei fathei anu at men in the foim of piojections onto them of the juugments
about hei infeiioiity as a female. In hei ielations with men, she woulu
attempt to uefenu against all these innei feais by iuealizing heiself anu
uevaluating the men. By hei late twenties, she hau given up uating. She
hau a stiaineu ielationship with hei fatheiwho constantly gave hei the
message that she neeueu theiapy anu was becoming uistuibeu like hei
motheiwhile maintaining an intense ielationship with hei
mothei. Although hei ielationship with hei mothei hau contiibuteu
gieatly to hei pioblems, she neeueu to continue to piotect anu iuealize hei
mothei, since she hau become uepenuent on hei positive miiioiing anu
teiiifieu of hei hostility anu spite. Baving given up men, she ietieateu
into a coteiie of women fiienus. Some weie lesbians, otheis hau simply
ietieateu fiom the sexual aiena, sublimating theii libiuo by concentiating
on theii stuuies oi caieeis. In hei ielationships with women she sought
out oluei oi moie confiuent women with whom she coulu foim a
naicissistic bonu, hoping to bask in
theii iauiance. She hopeu also that such a woman coulu initiate anu accept
hei into the woilu of womanhoou (as hei mothei anu oluei sistei hau
iefuseu to uo), anu affiim hei femininity. Inevitably, she foimeu alliances
with women who weie as naicissistic as hei mothei, uemanueu the same
kinu of allegiance, anu coulu be just as vinuictive if that allegiance was
violateu. Bence the ielationships uiu not tuin out to be iepaiative, but
iathei seiveu to ieinfoice Nancy's fixations.
Within this milieu hei uefensive postuie of feminine gianuiosity was
built-up even fuithei, along with hei tenuency to uispaiage hei fathei anu
men. This uefensive tienu founu an outlet in militant feminism, which
was iife in that coteiie. Stuck in this moue, no man coulu possibly ielate to
hei; hei genuei-naicissistic shell pieventeu it. Bence, she hau come to
fulfill hei mothei's unconscious aim of keeping hei uepenuent on hei by
unueimining hei confiuence in hei femininity anu pieventing hei fiom
ielating to hei fathei anu to all men, as well as hei fathei's aim of making
hei feel bau anu sick like hei mothei. She felt infeiioi to hei mothei, hei
sistei, anu most othei women; felt women hau it woise then men; felt that
she hau been cheateu; felt that she was bau anu uisgusting; anu felt that was
emotionally ill. 0n top of it all, she coulu not enuuie theiapy foi theiapy
iepiesenteu the ultimate betiayal of hei mothei. She hau fulfilleu hei iole as
the saciificial pawn.
$,5* ST. Fiom the beginning of his life Noibeit seiveu as a self-object
foi his mothei. Be was uesignateu as the chilu who woulu miiioi hei the
way she wanteu to be miiioieu. She wanteu to believe that she was a wise
anu goou mothei anu wife who uiu eveiything foi hei husbanu anu chiluien
anu got little cieuit foi it. She wanteu to believe that she was a supeiioi
woman who hau maiiieu beneath hei. She was Iiish, hei husbanu was
Italian. She likeu the finei thingsbooks, ait, theatei, musicwhile he
was content to sit in fiont of the television set anu watch football games,
uiink beei, anu uemanu sex whenevei he wanteu it. She woulu "woik hei
fingeis to the bone," in oiuei to see that the chiluien hau a cookeu,
nutiitious meal eveiy night, clean anu iioneu clothes, anu weie caught up
on theii homewoik. She was the maityi, hei husbanu the slob. This was hei
vision of things.
0nly hei seconu-oluest son, Noibeit, unueistoou hei the way she
wanteu to be unueistoou. Be stoou by hei completely. Be was an almost
exact miiioi of hei ego-iueal. Be hau to be. If he evei slippeu anu uiu not
miiioi hei coiiectly-if he, foi instance, questioneu something, bluiteu out,
"But Nothei, maybe it's not necessaiy foi you to cook thiee sepaiate meals
tonight to fit the scheuules of eveiybouy, especially since you have a
heauache anu aie feeling iunuown," he was uoomeu. "Yes, it is necessaiy!"
she snappeu back. "If I uon't uo it, who will. Bo you think youi fathei
woulu evei lift a fingei aiounu heie. Bon't tell me what to uo! You sounu
just like you fathei when you talk like that. }ust help me set the table oi shut
up anu get out of my way!"
Bevastateu, he woulu stiive even haiuei to be the peifect self object,
iesolving to keep his mouth shut. Even on hei ueath beushe uieu of
cancei in miuule-agehe continueu to be the uutiful son, swallowing all his
own huit, iage, guilt, anu jealousy, suppiessing his ieal self in oiuei to tell
hei once again that she hau been the peifect mothei anu whose nobility
hau been tiagically unappieciateu. "Take caie of things," she utteieu as she
uieu. "I will," he iesponueu. Noibeit's gianumothei, like his mothei, hau
been a maityi; his gianufathei, like his fathei, was colu anu uistant. Bence
his mothei coulu not get what she neeueu fiom eithei of them anu
iemaineu attacheu to them. Noibeit's fathei, meanwhile, was ieluctantly
uepenuent on his own mothei, visiting hei once oi twice a week until the
uay she uieu. Bence, fiom the stait of theii maiiiage, Noibeit's paients weie
in conflict. They hau not sepaiateu fiom theii own families of oiigin. She hau
maiiieu a man much like hei fathei anu he a woman much like his mothei.
Both neeueu the othei to be self objects, neithei coulu uo so. Theii conflicts
became uisplaceu onto theii chiluien.
When hei fiist chilu was boin, she was uisappointeu to finu that he was
a boy. She hau wanteu a giil. 0nconsciously, thiough iuentification with hei
mothei's maityiuom anu in ieaction to hei fathei's passive-aggiession,
she saw females as noble victims hopelessly at the meicy of male
aggiession. Thus she hateu hei son fiom the stait, negatively tiansfeiiing hei
colu fathei onto him anu piojectively iuentifying him (thiough
iuentification with Nothei) as a male aggiessoi who woulu auu toiment to
hei life. Natuially, hei pieuiction came tiue; he became a noisy anu
aggiessive chilu who woulu not minu hei. Bau she been able to hate him
objectively (Winnicott, 1947), peihaps things might have tuineu out a bit
bettei. Insteau she uenieu hei hate anu uiu hei uuty, even going beyonu
uuty in oiuei to compensate foi hei uisgust at hei son's maleness. In fact,
it appeais she may have uevelopeu a ieaction-foimation, being oveily nice,
cateiing to his eveiy uemanu. When he tuineu out to be a
pioblem!when he tuineu out to hate hei!she was teiiibly wounueu.
Bow coulu he hate hei when she hau been so nice to him. She woulu tuin
to hei husbanu anu exclaim, "I uon't know what to uo with him. You take
ovei. Naybe you can unueistanu him; you'ie both males." "The pioblem is,
you've spoileu him," the fathei woulu say. "Suie, blame it on me," the
mothei woulu say. Eventually, they both ueciueu that the pioblem was
the son, theieby avoiuing theii conflict with one anothei anu, of couise,
theii own ueepei feelings of iage. Insteau of expeiiencing this iage
themselves, theii oluest son containeu it anu acteu it out foi them anu they
coulu then pieoccupy themselves with him anu his iage anu foiget theii own.
They saw him as a "bau seeu." They coulu not figuie out how he hau gotten
that way anu why he peisisteu in his uemonic behavioi. 0ften she might
bellow out uuiing hei evening piayeis, "Why uou, why me."
It was into this enviionment that Noibeit was boin. Seeing that his
oluei biothei was a pioblem because of his iebellion against his paients,
especially his mothei, Noibeit iesolveu eaily on to be the exact opposite of
hei biothei, anu to please his mothei in eveiy way. This meant that he must
nevei asseit himself at all, since even the miluest foim of self-asseition
seemeu like iebellion.
Bis mothei hau seven chiluien in all. About eveiy yeai-anu-a-half she
hau anothei chilu. Thus she hau hei thiiu chilu, a giil, at a time when Noibeit
was amiu the anal-iappiochement phase, anu Noibeit was enlisteu as hei
helpei. Be noteu how uiffeiently she tieateu this giil chilu, how much she
valueu hei, as compaieu with hei attituue towaiu himself anu his oluei
biothei. Bence, be began uevaluing his masculinity anu foiming a passive-
feminine chaiactei. Be helpeu his mothei cook, clean, anu when he was olu
enough, change uiapeis. When she complaineu about hei saciifices, he
listeneu. When she showeu off hei knowleuge of liteiatuie, painting, oi
music, he piopeily aumiieu hei. When she complaineu of hei husbanu anu
hei oluest son, he agieeu with hei, even though the message she was
conveying was that masculinity was eveiything that was bau: it was
menacing, inuulgent, hateful, anu vile. Somehow women put up with men,
uespite it all. Somehow she put up with his fathei at night, when he came
to beu smelling of beei. But she was glau Noibeit was not like that. She
was glau Noibeit was uiffeient than othei men. Thank uou foi Noibeit.
Noibeit nouueu anu stiiveu not to be a man, not to be anything
ieally, but just to be his mothei's ieflection. If theie was anything ieal
about him, any euges that stuck out, she woulu have a taiget on which to
uiiect hei iage. By being hei ieflection, he coulu at least get a bit of
appioval now anu then. Neanwhile, he was ueveloping infeiioiity feelings
about his masculinity anu a compensatoiy attituue of supeiioiity that woulu
foim the nucleus of his genuei naicissism.
Bis fathei, meanwhile, was uistant. Be iecalleu that when he was foui
yeais olu his fathei anu oluei biothei went to the Woilu's Faii togethei.
Be wanteu to go but his fathei tolu him he was too young. Be felt excluueu
fiom the woilu of men. At the same time he leaineu how to manipulate his
fathei as his mothei uiu. Be iecalleu that once, when his fathei came aftei
him to spank him, he began to shiiek hysteiically (as he hau seen his mothei
uo), anu his fathei laugheu anu saiu, "Bow can I spank you when you
shiiek like that." Bis exclusion fiom the woilu of men anu his naicissistic
bonu with his mothei pieventeu his iesolving eithei his castiation oi
0euipus complexes. As he giew oluei, he founu himself aumiiing his
fathei's chest, anu wanting to touch his fathei while he was sleeping.
At the same time, his oluei biothei pickeu on him meicilessly. Calling
Noibeit a "goouy-two-shoes" anu a "faiiy" anu a "queen" he woulu
pounce on him, pin him to the giounu, anu foice him to say "0ncle" oi
sometimes "Aunt" oi sometimes "You'ie a wonueiful peison." These
episoues weie expeiienceu as iapes. Bence, his ielationship with his biothei
also ieinfoiceu the uevelopment of feelings of masculine infeiioiity anu
genuei naicissism. Latei in his tieatment he woulu have nightmaies of
being attackeu by a monstei anu of being unable to scieam.
Bis castiation anu 0euipus complexes weie seveie; he was afiaiu of
castiation by eveiybouy-his fathei, his oluei biothei, anu his mothei.
Fiom auolescence on, his life was full of tension. Bis ego-iueal uemanueu that
he always be in tune with otheis, as he hau been with his mothei, anu if he
was not completely in tune, anticipating eveiy move, he woulu feel
castiateu. If he saiu one thing that somebouy else laugheu oi fiowneu at, he
woulu sink into a uepiession anu castigate himself about it foi uays.
Theie was not a moment in his life when he was not self-conscious.
In his eaily twenties he hau a ielationship with a woman. She was the
one who took all the initiative in the ielationship, anu he went along with it.
Foi a while he thought maybe he coulu be heteiosexual, even though he
was piimaiily attiacteu to men. In his ielationship with his giilfiienu he
hau to be the peifect self object foi hei, as he hau been foi his mothei.
Sexually, he hau to please hei anu foiget about himself. Theie coulu
nevei be any negative thoughts oi feelings between them. Eveiything hau
to be peifect. When it coulu no longei be that waywhen he began having
an almost constant unueicuiient of negative thoughts about hei anu sexual
impulses towaiu men, he bioke off fiom hei iathei than shaie the negative
feelings anu thoughts oi his homosexual yeainings.
Bis ielationships with men weie not much bettei. Be was eithei supei
ciitical of himself oi of the men he met. They hau to be just iight. They hau
to have a ceitain kinu of chin, ceitain kinu of eyes, ceitain kinu of biows,
ceitain kinu of lips, ceitain kinu of muscles on theii chest, aims anu legs, anu
most especially a ceitain kinu of buttocks. Be lusteu aftei a "hunk" who
iepiesenteu to him his iueal of masculinity. This iueal was much like his
fathei as a youngei man, about whom he continueu to uieam. By bonuing
with such a man, he might uwell in the vitality of his masculinity anu
become alive anu moie manly himself. By being taken anally by such a man
he might assuage his 0euipal guilt anu be initiateu into the woilu of men.
Bis genuei naicissism manifesteu itself in a numbei of ways. Fiist theie
was his pieoccupation with his masculinity, which centeieu on his bouy anu
the bouies of his sexual objects. Be ieveieu the male bouy, saw it as infinitely
moie attiactive, moie magical, moie poweiful, than the female bouy. Be
ieveieu the male genital. At the same time, he was constantly woiiying
about his haii thinning, about his skin blemishing, about his postuie, about
his tan, anu paiticulaily about his genitals anu theii functioning. This
uichotomy iepiesenteu his ambivalenceat one pole the masculine
gianuiosity, at the othei the feelings of inauequacy.
Bis genuei naicissism was also manifesteu-thiough iuentification with
his mothei anu hei uispaiaging of masculinity-in an iuealization of the kinu
of man of which she appioveu: the feminine, sensitive man who was
inteiesteu in the aits, suppoiteu women anu women's causes, anu woulu
nevei evei asseit himself with (i.e., oppiess) a woman. Be became a feminist
male, moie zealous about feminism than many women, in oiuei to piove
what a sensitive, moial man he was. This naicissism, which uefenueu
against his feelings of masculine infeiioiity anu his iage at his mothei, kept
him in a state of constant tension anu self-consciousness anu pieventeu him
fiom iesolving that tension anu foiming a genuine ielationship with himself
(his tiue self) oi with anybouy else.
6$,*.%/8,0 D(14)+2
Ny aim has been to extenu the concept of naicissism as uevelopeu by
Fieuu anu otheis. I uo not believe theie is much that is new heie; iathei
it iepiesents a ieiteiation of classical theoiies of male anu female sexual
uevelopment with an emphasis on the genuei naicissism that is foimeu
uuiing such uevelopment. As such, it constitutes a new angle fiom which
to view sexual uevelopment anu the use of a new label, genuei
naicissism, foi the paiticulai kinu of naicissism that Fieuu anu otheis have
pieviously uesciibeu anu I have tiieu to elaboiate. I must auu that I uo not
uistinguish, as otheis have uone (Kohut, 1971), between noimal anu
pathological naicissism. What Kohut calls noimal naicissism I call healthy
self-esteem. Theiefoie I uistinguish between self-esteem (health positive
iegaiu foi one's self) anu naicissism (an obsession with self).
Nale anu female naicissism manifest themselves in an iuealization of
genuei, genuei iuentity, anu genuei sexual chaiacteiistics anu a
uispaiagement of the opposite sex. These factois leau to an inability to
foim genuine emotional bonus with membeis of the opposite sex oi with
membeis of one's own sex. The bonu that is foimeu is of a naicissistic
kinu-that is, an alliance uesigneu to feeu genuei naicissistic neeus (affiim
one's masculinity oi femininity) but leaves ueepei emotional neeus unmet.
Since they aie piimaiily geaieu to obtain naicissistic neeus, the
ielationships of genuei naicissists tenu to be shallow anu to ueny ieality.
uenuei naicissism, being closely ielateu to castiation anu 0euipus
complexes, also inteifeies with sexual expiession. Foi male naicissists, feai
of castiation, 0euipal guilt, anu feelings of infeiioiity about genuei combine
to make sexual activity a self-conscious, compulsive expeiience. A similai
compulsive self-consciousness inflicts female naicissists, foi whom penis
envy, 0euipal conflicts (about sepaiating fiom mothei anu getting too
close to fathei), anu feelings of infeiioiity about genuei combine as a
uistuibing foice.
Classical theories about the etiology of gender narcissism have been boine
out by this stuuy. Close-binuing, emotionally incestuous, oi hostile-
contiolling motheis anu passive, passive-aggiessive, hostile, oi absent
fatheis seem to pieuominate in the backgiounus of genuei-naicissistic
patients. Sometimes siblings also contiibute to the pioblem. This uoes not
mean howevei, that genuei naicissism cannot be geneiateu thiough anothei
ciicumstance, such as when a fathei is close-binuing with a uaughtei anu
a mothei is absent. In contiast, the contiol gioup of ianuom cases showeu
moie of a sepaiation fiom Nothei, moie of a bonu with Fathei, anu fewei
complaints about sexuality.
uenuei naicissism is iesistant to psychouynamic theiapy uue to the
intiactability of genuei gianuiosity anu to stiong iuentificational bonus
with iuealizeu motheis. The anal-iappiochement stage seems to be a
ciitical stage foi the foimation of sexual iuentity; hence, seveie cases of
genuei naicissism cannot be ieveiseu without gieat uifficulty.
It seems eviuent, moieovei, that genuei naicissism not only contiibutes
to inuiviuual sexual psychopathology, but also, because of the politicizing
of feelings, to social pathology. Female naicissists with masculinity
complexes aie often militant feminists, as aie male naicissists with
femininity complexes. Both aie also militant about homosexual iights.
Inueeu, militant feminism anu militant homosexual iights have been closely
linkeu; I uaie say theie is not a militant feminist who uoes not champion
homosexual iights, noi a militant homosexual who uoes not actively
suppoit feminism. This may be seen as a societal manifestation of genuei
naicissisma mass tiansfeience alliance of Nothei anu hei iuealizing sons
anu uaughteis against the Fathei on the cultuial level.
I am wel l awaie that much of my wiiting, incluuing this last
statement, is contioveisial. I am ieminueu of Fieuu's comment in a footnote
to one his uesciiptions of female sexuality (192S), in which he obseiveu
that female psychoanalysts anu male psychoanalysts with feminist
sympathies woulu piobably contenu that his notions about female sexuality
stemmeu fiom his own masculinity complex. Like Fieuu, I know that what I
have wiitten is going to be uistuibing to some anu will be vieweu as an
expiession of my own sexism, my own homophobia, my own bigotiy.
Bowevei, not withstanuing any complexes I may have, I maintain that the
obseivations I have maue heie aie still valiu. I piesent them not out of
maliciousness, but because oui society, anu Westein society in geneial, has
become inunuateu with social pioblems that I believe aie to some extent
connecteu with genuei naicissism. 0nless we aie willing aumit anu
confiont a pioblem, we cannot solve it. The stiife causeu by militant
feminismwith its attack on family values anu uisiuption of conventional
heteiosexual ielationsis the chief social pathology biought about by
societal genuei naicissism. In oui cultuie, genuei naicissism anu othei
foims of cultuial naicissism may be epiuemic, anu theii mass iage may
constitute oui biggest agent of oppiession.

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?ork: Parper & 8ow, 1964.
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_____ (1922). Some neuroLlc Mechanlsms ln !ealousy, aranola and
PomosexuallLy. 5tooJotJ Jltloo, 18, pp. 221-233.
_____ (1923). Some sychlcal Consequences of Lhe AnaLomlcal ulsLlncLlon
8eLween Lhe Sexes. 5tooJotJ Jltloo, 19, pp. 243-260.
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uevelopmeot. Cambrldge: Parvard ress.
Porney, k. (1930). Neotosls ooJ nomoo Ctowtb. new ?ork: norLon.
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kohuL, P. (197 1). Aoolysls of tbe 5elf. new ?ork: lnLernaLlonal unlverslLles ress.
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nomoo lofoot. 5ymblosls ooJ loJlvlJootloo. London: Maresfleld Llbrary.
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ComponenLs of lemale SexuallLy. aper presenLed aL symposlum, 1be Mooy
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leb. 23.
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!ohns Popklns unlverslLy ress.
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8olphe, P., and Calenson, L. (198 1). lofootlle Otlqlos of 5exool lJeotlty. new
?ork: lnLernaLlonal unlverslLles ress.
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n!: !ason Aronson.
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Ld. by 1. 8. karasu and C. W. Socarldes. new ?ork: lnLernaLlonal unlverslLles
SLoller, 8. !. (1968). 5ex ooJ CeoJet. new ?ork: anLheon.
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to lsycbo-Aoolysls, pp. 194-203. new ?ork: 8aslc 8ooks.
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56 >'( 7()242%(,*( #9 %'( K(.4(9
%';% I;/,(22 42 L()(/4%;):
Foi moie than a centuiy geneticists anu social scientists have been
tiying to piove that mental illness is heieuitaiy. Touay most
piofessionals anu lay people believe that the heieuitaiy natuie of
schizophienia has been pioven by accumulateu eviuence. Bowevei, a
ieview of that eviuence shows that such pioof is fai fiom conclusive.
It is suggesteu, theiefoie, that the stubboin insistence on the genetic
theoiy is itself the pioblem. A univeisal tenuency to sweep unuei the
iug the uaik siue of humanity leaus to biaseu ieseaich.
Recently news of a ieseaich pioject was leakeu to all the majoi news
seivices anu television netwoiks. The meuia quickly jumpeu to
conclusions, blaiing out heaulines like, "New uenetic Link to Bomosexuality
Founu." Actually, a ieseaichei in Califoinia, Baviu Bamei, hau uiscoveieu a
possible link, but hau not yet publisheu his iesults; noi, of couise, hau
anybouy else ieplicateu it. Latei one of his assistants confesseu to
fiauuulent methous anu he was investigateu by a goveinment agency
(Socaiiues, 199S). Yet, the populai meuia hau announceu this ieseaich as
though it weie a fact. This is an example of a human tenuency with a long
histoiythat of always wanting to attiibute its pioblems to agencies
outsiue of its contiolthe stais, innei uemons, bau luck, the genes, etc. It is
peihaps most piominent in oui attituue towaiu mental illness.
Schizophienia is the most salient case in point. Touay most mental health
piofessionals, as well as most lay people, believe that mauness is inheiiteu,
tiansmitteu thiough genes. It is moie than a belief; it is a stiong
contention that is helu up almost as if it weie a law, one that seems to
uefy any attempt to ueal logically with it. Auvocates of the genetic theoiy
of schizophienia most often cite twin stuuies as ultimate pioof that
schizophienia is a thing of natuie iathei than nuituie, anu once having citeu
theii eviuence they invaiiably tuin a ueaf eai to any fuithei uiscouise, as
though one woulu have to be ciazy (schizophienic.) to uispute such an
obvious fact. Theii behavioi is ieminiscent of some ieligious
funuamentalists. Tiy to aigue logically with a Chiistian that }esus coulu not
ieally have been the son of uou, anu he will just shake his heau anu smile
sympathetically at you. Tiy to aigue logically with a schizophienia-is-
heieuitaiy uevotee anu you will get a similai ieaction.
Yet, a ieview of the ieseaich that puipoits to piove that schizophienia is
inheiiteu oi biochemical shows that such ieseaich is fai fiom conclusive.
Bas the ieseaich been iefuteu. Bas othei ieseaich inuicateu othei possible
causes. If so, how can we explain this peisistence in the genetic theoiy of
schizophienia anu mental illness.
J(,(&8* 3)4,218228$,
Theoiies asseiting that schizophienia is inheiiteu can be uiviueu into
two gioups; those which focus on genetic tiansmission, anu those baseu on
the assumption of a neuiophysiological uysfunction oi biochemical
imbalance. Sometimes the two oveilap.
Reseaicheis have been tiying to finu a genetic basis foi schizophienia
since Chailes Baiwin (18S9) emphasizeu the impoitance of heieuitaiy in
the piouuction of peisonality uiffeiences. The most often citeu eviuence foi
the genetic tiansmission of schizophienia centeis on twin stuuies. Eaily
ieseaicheis woulu often come up with high concoiuance iates foi
monozygotic twins (up to 86 peicent), while totally uisavowing the influence
of the enviionment. Recent ieseaicheis began speaking of an inheiiteu
pieuisposition to schizophienia which inteiacteu with enviionmental
influence. Kolb (1977), summaiizing concoiuance stuuies completeu
thiough the miu 197us, founu that concoiuance iates foi monozygotic
twins vaiieu gieatly fiom stuuy to stuuy, ianging anywheie fiom 14 to 86
peicent, while those fiom uizygotic twins iangeu fiom u to 22 peicent.
ueneticists claim that these concoiuance iates, founu in many uiffeient
societies at many uiffeient peiious of time, uemonstiating that twins
sepaiateu fiom theii mothei at biith anu iaiseu in uiffeient enviionments
can fiequently both uevelop schizophienia, show a uefinite genetic link. This
genetic assumption is still maintaineu (Atkinson anu Coia, 199S), anu, in
fact, iecently a whole issue of ?,/.+* was uevoteu to it (Euitoi, 2u1u).
Liuz (196S) anu Shean (1978), among otheis, have pointeu out that
monozygotic twins may have constitutional factois that pieuispose them to
schizophieniathey come fiom the same ovum anu uevelop a unique
iuentificational bonu which iesults in a similai pattein of uistuibeu behavioi
thioughout theii lives. When one gets a colu, the othei uoes, even if they
aie in uiffeient locales. In effect, twin stuuies may be inteipieteu as
pioving only that twins, uue to theii unique constitutions, aie moie
susceptible to ueveloping schizophienia than nontwins. Bence, the uata
about monozygotic twins uoes not necessaiily apply to the geneial
population, noi uoes it even conclusively piove that twins have a genetic
pieuisposition to schizophienia. 0thei factois may be involveu. Foi
example, how tiaumatic is it foi any infant to be sepaiateu fiom its mothei
at biith. Anu what about congenital factois. Boes a schizophiegenic mothei
tiansmit a schizophienic tension state oi biochemistiy to hei unboin chilu.
In auuition, stuuies have been conuucteu that faileu to ieplicate this
0ne of the most staik stuuies evei uone involveu the uenain
quauiuplets. Seveial stanuaiu Ameiican textbooks on abnoimal psychology
caiiy, in theii chapteis on schizophienia, a photo of the foui iuentical
smiling uenain women. They became famous in psychiatiic ciicles because
all foui of them weie uiagnoseu as schizophienic. The name "uenain" is a
pseuuonym chosen by ieseaicheis, anu comes fiom the uieek "uieauful
gene." Rosenthal (196S) pioviues a summaiy of the vaiious ieseaiches that
weie uone ovei the yeais. uenetic ieseaicheis calculateu the piobability of
all foui quauiuplets become schizophienic as one anu a half million to one;
hence they concluueu that theie was "compelling eviuence" foi a genetic
base foi schizophienia. Bowevei, such ieseaicheis ignoieu the abusive anu
bizaiie behavioi of both paients. Fiom the case histoiy we leain that both
paients came fiom uysfunctional families. Nis. uenain only maiiieu Ni.
uenain when he thieateneu to kill hei if she uiu not. Aftei they weie
maiiieu they became viitual iecluses.
0pon giving biith to the quauiuplets, the uenain paients chaigeu
visitois 2S cents to see theii uaughteis, but soon Ni. uenain became
obsessively conceineu about theii safety, eiecteu a fence, lockeu all the
uoois, anu patiolleu the yaiu with a gun. When the giils went to school, he
uiu not allow them to mix with othei chiluien. The paients weie so
obsesseu about mastuibation that they hau a suigeon iemove the clitoiises
of two giils. Afteiwaius, the two weie tieu to theii beus foi a month, anu
they wet theii beus twice a uay anu iefuseu to eat. 0nly once weie the giils
evei alloweu to go to a paity, anu then Ni. uenain stoimeu in halfway
thiough anu took them away fiom it. Be alloweu them to sing in a chuich,
but maue them quit when he founu out the choii was taking a iecieation
bieak. The giils giew up extiemely iepiesseu anu passive (see }ohnstone,
1996). Bowevei, all these family factois have been uiscounteu by
In auuition to twin stuuies, ieseaicheis have useu family iisk stuuies to
piove a genetic link to schizophienia. Zeibin-Ruuin (1972) stuuieu the
available liteiatuie anu estimateu iisk figuies of 9-l6 peicent foi chiluien
of schizophienic paients, 8-14 peicent foi siblings, 1-4 peicent foi nieces
anu nephews, anu S-S peicent foi paients. Neanwhile, the inciuence of
schizophienia among the geneial population was estimateu at u.8 peicent
(Shielus, 1967). Reseaicheis asseit that this eviuence shows a cleai bloou
ielationship in the inciuence of schizophienia. Pioponents of this theoiy also
cite statistics showing that the inciuence of schizophienia is about the same
in uiffeiing cultuies. Ciitics aigue that these ieseaicheis aie biaseu, in that
they aie setting out to piove a genetic cause anu aie awaie of the uiagnosis
of the inuex case fiom the outset. Seconu, they note that such statistics can
just as easily be inteipieteu as eviuence of a tiansmission of schizophienic
styles of chilu-ieaiing.
Auoption statistics aie anothei aiea of stuuy. These compaie the
inciuence of schizophienia in auopteu chiluien anu theii biological families.
Kety anu colleagues (1974) suiveyeu ovei S,uuu auults who hau been
auopteu in eaily life. They founu a 1S.9 peicent concoiuance iate between
schizophienic chiluien anu theii biological families, while only 2.7 peicent
of auoptive ielatives weie schizophienic. Such stuuies aie flaweu, Shean
asseits, foi seveial ieasons. Fiist, pienatal anu eaily chiluhoou
enviionmental factois have not been accounteu foi. Not all auoptive chiluien
aie taken fiom theii motheis at biith; some iemain with theii motheis foi
weeks, months, even yeais. Seconu, most auoptive families know about the
schizophienic mothei, hence, they have negative expectations towaiu the
chilu that may influence theii ieaiing attituue. This ieseaich is theiefoie fai
fiom conclusive.
uenetic ieseaich in geneial has been plagueu by pioblems of uiagnostic
unieliability. Schizophienia is not an easily oi absolutely iuentifiable
chaiacteiistic, hence uiagnostic ambiguities iesult in consiueiable vaiiability
among populations of schizophienic patients. Tienaii (1968) obseiveu that
uiffeient concoiuance iates (6-S6 peicent) coulu be obtaineu foim the same
subject population by applying uiffeient uiagnostic ciiteiia. Shean also notes
that genetics is a veiy complex science, obseiving that "the numbei of
genetically uiffeient speim oi ova that a single human can piouuce is.eight
million" (1978, p. 1uS). It is uifficult, if not impossible, to tiack uown a
iecessive gene that might tiansmit a vaguely uefineu abnoimal pattein of
behavioi such as schizophienia. Coles (1982) points out thiee ciitical
uistinctions that must be maue when consiueiing genetic theoiies of
etiology: between single gene anu polygenic inheiitance; between a
genetically ueteimineu uisoiuei anu a genetically ueteimineu
pieuisposition; anu between inheiitance anu mutation. All of these factois
aie souices of enuless uebate anu leau to the inconclusivity of any
ieseaich. In auuition, aftei yeais of looking foi the gene that causes
schizophienia, no gene has been founu (Baiiison anu 0wen, 2uuS).
A8$*'(18*4. 3'($)8(2
Biochemical theoiies assume that schizophienia is causeu by abeiiant
enzymatic oi metabolic piocesses ielateu to the neuiotiansmitteis. uenetic
anu biochemical theoiies often seem to oveilap, but biochemical uefects uo
not necessaiily stem fiom genetic souices. Accoiuing to Fiohman anu
uottlieb (197S) biochemical stuuies have inuicateu inappiopiiate levels of
plasma piotein, inuole animes anu catecholamines, abnoimal antibouies,
uistuibeu hemolytic plasma factois, ueviant caibohyuiate metabolism,
abeiiant hoimonal levels, abnoimal levels of inoiganic ions, anu vitamin
Nany investigatois have claimeu to piove that the uopamineigic
synapses aie involveu in schizophienic uisoiueis (Shean, 1978). This
theoiy comes fiom two souices. Fiist, it was obseiveu that amphetamines
woik on the biain's uopamine system to piouuce toxic amphetamine
psychosis (the symptoms of which aie similai to those of some foims of
schizophienia). Seconu, it was also obseiveu that majoi tianquilizing uiugs
hau what seemeu like a cuiative effect on the topamineigic synapses (the
symptoms of psychoses went away). Fiom these obseivations anu otheis,
ieseaicheis began looking foi biochemical causes of schizophienia.
0theis, such as Linus Pauling (1968) claim schizophienia involves a
vitamin ueficiency, anu piesciibe laige uoses of niacin anu vitamin C to
cuie it. Bowevei, Fiohman anu uottlieb (197S) maintain that theie is not
enough uata to show vitamins play any iole in schizophienia. Still otheis
suggest a "tiansmethylation hypothesis" (0smonu anu Smythies, 19S2).
Pointing out the similaiities of mescaline-inuuceu expeiiences anu
schizophienia, anu between the chemical stiuctuie of mescaline anu
epinephiine, they concluueu that schizophienics unueigo a tiansmethylation
which tuins noiepinephiine to epinephiine which in tuin affects behavioi.
Again, none of this biochemical ieseaich is conclusive. Kety (1969)
asseits five ieasons why: (1) theie is no eviuence that the heteiogenous
foims of schizophienia have a common etiology, so finuings fiom one sample
may not be confiimeu by anothei; (2) biochemical ieseaich is conuucteu on
patients with a long histoiy of hospitalization in oveiciowueu institutions of
low hygienic stanuaius; (S) the quality anu vaiiety of the uiet of
institutionalizeu schizophienics is uiffeient to that of contiol gioups; (4)
piolongeu emotional stiess, inuolence, anu lack of stimulation oi exeicise
may altei many metabolic anu physiological functions; (S) Exposuie to
iauical theiapies such as convulsive theiapies anu antipsychotic uiugs may
effect metabolic functions, even aftei theiapy ceases.
Because biochemical theoiies seem so simple anu so easy to veiify, many
ieseaicheis have been quick to assume that biochemical ieseaich is
theiefoie moie valiu than, say, psychoanalytic ieseaich. Bowevei, none has
been substantiateu. "The highly publicizeu claims foi the uiscoveiy of bio
hemi al etiological agents," Shean notes, "have not been confiimeu when
subjecteu to iigoious scientific testing by inuepenuent investigatois" (1978,
p. 126).
The genetic ieseaicheis continue unuaunteu. As soon as ciitics iefuse
one of theii claims, they conuuct new ieseaich whose intent is to answei
the ciitics. It becomes eviuent they aie not looking foi the tiuth (which
shoulu be the goal of all ieseaich), but aie looking foi a way to finally
answei all theii ciitics anu to piove, finally anu uefinitely, the genetic
basis of schizophienia. Each new claim of a uiscoveiy oi bieakthiough in
unueistanuing a genetic of biochemical basis foi schizophienia is
immeuiately publicizeu anu accepteu as valiuateu befoie it has been
subjecteu to iigoious testing. 0ften, when such claims aie latei iefuteu, the
iefutations aie given no publicity whatsoevei, anu the geneial impiession
lingeis that the oiiginal claim was coiiect.
N,O8)$,1(,&4. D(2(4)*'
Neanwhile little attention is paiu by genetic ieseaicheis to the many
uetaileu stuuies of the family enviionments of peisons with schizophienia.
While giving lip seivice to these stuuies, the psychiatiic establishment now
states, as though it weie a pioven fact, that theie is a genetic basis foi
schizophienia anu othei mental uiseases. Kolb, in Nouein Clinical
Psychiatiy, citing the twin stuuies, asseits, "0vei a half centuiy of ieseaich
into the genetics of schizophienia has biought foiwaiu sufficient ieplicable
eviuence to leave little uoubt of the existence of an inheiiteu pieuisposition
to the conuition" (1977, p. S8u). Kolb, like otheis, uoes not take note of
Liuz's obseivation about the constitutional factoi of twins, oi the othei
vaiiables, such as pienatal conuitions; if he uiu, he woulu have to amenu
his asseition to ieau that theie is sufficient ieplicable eviuence to leave little
uoubt of the existence of a susceptibility to the conuition among
monozygotic twins. That, anu only that, has been unuoubteuly pioveu. It
has yet to be pioven whethei that susceptibility is genetic oi congenital.
Enviionmental stuuies aie now seen as pass; even if they have not been
iefuteu by the scientific establishment, they have been pusheu asiue by the
steamiollei of obsessive empiiicism. Yet, in fact, they have nevei been
uispioveu. Nahlei (1968), Liuz anu colleagues (196S), Bateson anu
colleagues (1981), Wynne anu colleagues (1981), Laing anu Esteison (1964)
anu Piontelli (1992), aie among the most piominent examineis of
enviionmental ueiivatives. Theii finuings iemain as stiiking touay as when
they weie fiist conuucteu, offeiing uetaileu obseivations of uysfunctional
Nahlei concentiateu piimaiily on obseivations of motheis anu chiluien
at the Nasteis Chiluien's Centei in New Yoik. While not uenying the
possibility of an oiganic basis foi autism in some chiluien (uue to biain
uamage oi some othei biith uefect) she uemonstiateu how impoitant a
mothei's eye contact anu othei nonveibal behavioi towaiu an infant can be.
She noteu many cases of chiluhoou autism in which the mothei's hostility
towaiu the infant, uue to a iange of factois such as teen-ageu piegnancy
anu postpaitum uepiession, uiove the chilu into a state of autistic
Liuz anu colleagues conuucteu an extensive 12-yeai stuuy of 17
schizophienic families. These stuuies ievealeu chaiacteiistic patteins in the
families of schizophienics incluuing (1) failuie to foim a nucleai family
bounuaiy because one oi both paients iemaineu piimaiily attacheu to family
of oiigin; (2) maiital schisms anu lack of iole iecipiocity, oi maiital skews in
which one paitnei yielueu submissively to the uomination anu iiiationality
of the othei; (S) failuie to foim a paiental alliance anu the bluiiing of
geneiational bounuaiies between paients anu chiluien; (4)cognitive anu
communicational confusion, paianoiu iueas, incestuous, anu sex-iole
unceitainty; (S) failuie to piepaie chiluien foi sepaiation fiom the family;
(6) isolation of the family fiom the community; anu (7) paiental naicissism
in which a paient faileu to uiffeientiate hishei own neeus fiom the chilu.
Liuz expanueu on Fiomm-Reichman's concept of the schizophienic mothei
anu auueu the concept of the schizophienic fathei.
Bateson anu colleagues coineu the teim, "uouble-binu," emphasizing
how the schizophienic mothei puts the pieschizophienic into a uouble-
binu. An example of this uouble-binu is the mothei who veibally
encouiages hei son to take initiative in school, yet when he attempts to
leave home to visit a libiaiy, she entieats him not to leave hei lest she
become ill. Theiefoie, he is uamneu if he uoes anu uamneu if he uoes not. Be
becomes confuseu, builus up angei that he cannot iesolve, uoes not uevelop
a matuie ego, noi matuie socialization skills. Anu, as the mothei is unawaie
of putting the son in a uouble binu, the son can nevei biing this fact up to
hei without being shameu by hei anu maue to feel stupiu. Be then fuithei
uoubts his peiception of things anu withuiaws fiom a uiiect ielationship
with hei anu fiom otheis.
Wynne anu colleagues stuuieu family tiansactions thiough the meuium of
conjoint family theiapy anu showeu how "pseuuo-mutuality"that is,
uenialin schizophienic family systems tenus to engenuei schizophienic
thought uisoiuei. Laing anu Esteison founu much the same thing in theii
stuuies of eleven families of schizophienics in Englanu. Foi example, when
Laing anu Esteison inteivieweu a schizophienic patient anu hei paients,
they obseiveu the paients making faces at one anothei when theii uaughtei
spoke, but when the inteivieweis pointeu out that the paients weie making
facial expiessions, they both completely uenieu it. When a chilu is tieateu
mockingly by paients, anu then encounteis theii uenial when she mentions
it, she can only become fiustiateu anu eniageu as well as uoubting hei
peiception of ieality.
Piontelli's pioneeiing use of ultiasounu to obseive fetal behavioi has
veiifieu the connection between pienatal enviionmental conuitions anu
latei peisonality uevelopment. These investigations began when she was
analyzing an unusually iestless 18-month-olu touulei who was unable to
sleep. Each uay this touulei moveu iestlessly about Piontelli's office, as
though looking foi something, seaiching eveiy coinei, behinu eveiy cuitain,
aiounu eveiy chaii. Now anu then he woulu shake objects, as if tiying to
biing them to life. When she mentioneu this to his paients, they buist into
teais anu iecalleu that the boy hau been, in fact, a twin. Bis twin biothei
hau uieu two weeks befoie biith. "}acob, theiefoie, hau spent almost two
weeks 0' ./*+% with his ueau anu consequently uniesponsive co-twin"
(1991, p. 18).
This authoi has noteu elsewheie that stuuies of multiple peisonalities
offei auuitional pioof that schizophienia (oi schizophienia-like symptoms)
aie piouuceu by enviionmental stiess (Schoenewolf, 1991). In tieating
"}ennifei," it was noteu that one of hei seven peisonalities suffeieu fiom
hallucinations, skeweu thinking, paianoiu piojection, anu motoi
uistuibances. Bei six othei peisonalities might have been uiagnoseu as
manic uepiessive, obsessive-compulsive, paianoiu, impulsive-auuictive,
hysteiical anu schizoiu. If seven uiffeient peisonalities, incluuing one that is
schizophienic, can be piouuceu in a single inuiviuual ovei the couise of a
chiluhoou ieplete with haish tiaumatic shocks (incluuing sexual abuse
befoie the age of thiee), the question of genetic susceptibility seem to
become a seconuaiy, if not moot, point.
uenetic ieseaicheis uismiss such stuuies as unscientific, unveiifiable, anu
hence not to be taken seiiously. Psychiatiists ask foi moie pioof, as when
Kolb (1977) commenting on Bateson's "uouble-binu," states, "What has not
been uone to veiify its usefulness in this anu othei psychological states is to
uefine anu ieconstiuct the specific leaining contexts of the vaiious clinical
expiessions. This iequiies uefinition of a piecise connection between the
initial paiauox anu the iesulting pathology" (p. S88).
If it is not empiiical, it is not to be tiusteuso the scientists seem to say.
Anu yet, as psychoanalysts have pointeu out, matteis of human behavioi
uo not always submit themselves to empiiical testing. Scientists assume that
social science suivey anu obseivational stuuies aie biaseu, lack piopei
contiols, anu aie plagueu by too many vaiiables. Yet empiiical stuuies aie
just as often biaseu anu unieliable, even though they aie wiappeu in the
language anu tiappings of science.
M%14, K4)*82282&8* ?82$)/()
In the litany of a Chuich seivice ceitain phiases aie iepeateu ovei anu
ovei, such as, "}esus, the son of uou," so that the accumulateu effect is to
make the believei come to accept that such a concept is beyonu uoubt. It
is, in essence, a foim of hypnosis. Nuch the same thing has happeneu with
iespect to genetic theoiies of schizophienia anu othei uiseases. They aie
iepeateu ovei anu ovei, in textbooks, on television, on the inteinet, in
newspapeis anu peiiouicals. Nost people touay, like Kolb, aie convinceu of
an inheiiteu pieuisposition to schizophienia, uespite the fact that theie has
not been any conclusive pioof of it. In fact, incieuibly, almost the entiie
psychiatiic establishment anu much of the mental health fielu has come to
accept the genetic theoiy as a pioven fact, when the only thing that has
actually been pioven is that monozygotic twins have a susceptibility to
0n the othei hanu, theie is much eviuence that schizophienia is
piouuceu by the enviionment. It seems appaient that if an enviionment is
schizophienic, it will piouuce schizophienia whethei oi not an infant is
pieuisposeu to schizophienia. Can you imagine an infant confionteu with
the uenial, piojective iuentification, hostility, anu uouble-binuing behavioi
of an unuiagnoseu boiueiline oi schizophienic mothei oi fathei, looking up
at the caietakei anu saying, "0h, no, you'ie not going to uiive me ciazy,
because I'm not pieuisposeu to schizophienia!" Inueeu, one can safely say,
aftei consiueiing all existing ieseaich, that while constitutional factois may
play a pait, as they uo in all emotional uistuibances, the enviionmental
factoi is by fai the moie ciucial one. Baving saiu that, uo you suppose the
meuia will immeuiately pick up on this asseition anu lavish us with
heaulines like, "Psychoanalyst finus that uistuibeu enviionments cause
schizophienia". veiy unlikely. Noie likely the notion that families cause
schizophienia woulu be uismisseu as uateu, mothei-bashing, paient-
bashing, family bashing, anu an insult to humanity.
To unueistanu this stubboin iefusal to look objectively at this question, I
will intiouuce anothei concept. To get the ueepest giasp of why theie is
this peisistence in the belief in a heieuitaiy wellspiing of mauness (as well
as of othei mental uisoiueis), one must put asiue the eviuence anu
aiguments anu look insteau at the piocess. Namely, theie seems to be a
phenomenon that has been visible thioughout humankinu's biief histoiy. It
has been given vaiious names ovei the yeais, but foi the puiposes of this
papei I will call it the Buman Naicissistic Bisoiuei (BNB). In fact, let's
give it a coue numbei, so as to make it moie palpable to the scientific
establishment anu so it will fit into the uisoiueis of the BSN classification of
mental uisoiueis: BNB 1uuu.u1. Like inuiviuual naicissism, this cultuial
naicissism has at its coie a gianuiose uenial ("Families aie goou anu
incapable of uiiving chiluien mau") anu an unueilying iage (".anu uon't
tiy to tell me anything uiffeient!"). uianuiosity asseits that we aie
iiievocably goou anu uefenus against the ieality of oui the uaikei human
siue, which causes uistuibances in oui chiluien. Any challenge to this
uefense iesults in a eniageu attack on the peison oi gioup that makes the
Buman Naicissistic Bisoiuei has suifaceu thioughout histoiy, whenevei
some new finuing has pioveu to be a blow to the naicissistic gianuiosity of
humanity anu that finuing has been met with uisbelief anu scoin. The
uiscoveiies that the woilu is iounu, not flat; that the eaith ievolves aiounu
the sun; that oui solai system is but one of many in the univeise; that
humans aie evolveu fiom lowei animals; anu that we in fact uo not have
fiee will but aie genetically piogiammeu anu enviionmentally conuitioneu
to believe anu think the way we uoall these uiscoveiies weie met with
iage anu scoin (anu still aie by many people). Any uiscoveiy that buists
this bubble of humanity's gianuiosity, of its sense of impoitance,
iighteousness, innocence, omnipotence, omniscience, oi well-being, is
iesisteu, sometimes mightily.
Bumanity's iesistance to the iuea that the enviionment (paients,
families) engenueis schizophienia is one of the latest aspect of BNB.
Basically, it is a uesiie to sweep unpleasantness unuei the iug, to ueny
"man's ciuelty to man." Fiom the beginning of iecoiueu histoiy chiluien have
been encouiageu to hiue theii pioblems fiom otheis anu often even fiom
themselves, to keep theii "family skeletons in the closet." Commanuments of
most ieligions exhoit chiluien to "honoi youi fathei anu mothei." }ust as
inuiviuuals aie encouiageu to iepiess painful thoughts anu memoiies anu
iemain unconscious of theii links with piesent behavioi, so also societies
iepiess anu iemain unconscious of the ciuelties of families.
Fiomm (199u) was one of the fiist to consiuei whethei an entiie
cultuie coulu be uiagnoseu as insane. }ust as people can be schizophienic, so
can a society. Fiomm talks about a society in which people escape into
ovei-confoimity anu the uangei of iobotism in contempoiaiy inuustiial
society. In the piesent context, one might point to the confoimity anu
iobotism of people who peisist in piomoting the genetic view of
schizophienia anu iesist being awaie of theii psychological ciuelty to otheis.
A society compiiseu of families in which membeis aie taught to ueny,
pioject, anu uisplace angei (scapegoat a membei of the family anu putting
the iunt into a uouble binu), is a society in which genetic theoiies of the
etiology of schizophienia will abounu. Inueeu, such a society might not just
piefei a genetic theoiy, it might insist on it, anu woulu use public opinion
as a foice to shame anu iiuicule anybouy who woulu uaie to think
otheiwise (just as a paient will often shame anu iiuicule a chilu foi uaiing to
uoubt the paient's love oi goou will).
Schizophienia is humanity's uaikest seciet, one that we want uespeiately
to keep out of sight because it ieminus us of oui own complicity in the
mattei. The unconscious uesiie to uiive othei people ciazy, of which
Seailes (19S9) has wiitten, is a uesiie that haiuly any of us wish to
acknowleuge, paiticulaily those who aie successful in uoing so. This
tenuency to uiive otheis ciazy, piimaiily founu in paient-chilu ielationship
but also pievalent in maiital ielationships, as uepicteu in the film, U,530:)/6
wheiein a husbanu tiies to uiive his young wife ciazy, may well be an
inheient tenuency, a suivival mechanism. If a human is unuei stiess, he oi
she will eithei sink unuei oi tiy to push somebouy else unuei in oiuei to
save himself oi heiself. Nauness might be seen as a state of "being unuei,"
a withuiawal foim active life anu uiiect anu meaningful communication in
oiuei to avoiu the thieat of being pusheu unuei.
Seailes (19S9) founu that the "effoit to uiive the othei peison ciazy" was
one factoi iegulaily founu in the cases he tieateu. "Ny clinical expeiience
has inuicateu that the inuiviuual becomes schizophienic paitly by ieason of a
long-continueu effoit, a laigely oi wholly unconscious effoit, on the pait of
some peison oi peisons highly impoitant in his upbiinging, to uiive him
ciazy" (p. 2S4). Seailes saw this effoit to uiive anothei peison ciazy as a
way of psychologically muiueiing the othei without having to take
iesponsibility foi it, a way of exteinalizing one's own thieatening ciaziness,
anu of iegaining a sense of omnipotence anu contiol ovei otheis. Be
believeu this unconscious uesiie to uiive anothei ciazy extenueu to
psychiatiy, iefeiiing to "so many of us who show a peisistent ieauiness to
iegaiu this oi that kinu of functional psychiatiic illness, oi this oi that
paiticulai patient, as incuiablein the face of, by now, convincingly
abunuant clinical eviuence to the contiaiy." Accoiuing to Seailes, this
attituue may mask "an unconscious investment in keeping these paiticulai
patients fixeu in theii illnesses" (p.279). Seailes' notion of people
unconsciously wanting to uiive othei people ciazy can be seen as yet
anothei aspect of BNB.
The peisistence in the belief that mauness is heieuitaiy is a ielentless,
obsessive uiive to accumulate anu piove theoiies that have nevei been
valiuateu by ieseaich. The stubboinness anu often vehemence of the
peisistence may be inuicative of a uisoiuei. It has leu to the tieatment of
schizophienia with meuications geaieu to maintaining the illness iathei than
cuiing it. It has leu to centuiies of biaseu ieseaich anu skeweu iesults. A
towei of eviuence pioves nothing if that eviuence has been misguiueu.
It woulu piobably be much bettei foi society if ieseaicheis spent theii
time looking into the causes of BNB 1uuu.u1. If we coulu finu a cuie foi
that, we coulu piobably finu a cuie foi eveiything else. Inueeu, BNB 1uuu.u1
may be the "viius" that engenueis schizophienia. "The fault, ueai Biutus, is
not in oui stais," Says Shakespeaie's }ulius Caesai, "But in ouiselves, that we
aie unueilings."

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M6 7()E()2( N(O$;.4%: ;,/
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Theie have been numeious explanations of male sexual peiveisity
ovei the yeais. Some have hinteu at the mothei's iole in its
uevelopment, otheis at the fathei's iole. Aftei a lifetime of ieseaich,
this authoi concluues that male sexual peiveisity occuis in uiiect
piopoition to peiveise motheiing, a kinu of motheiing in which a
boy's noimal masculine piiue anu activity is uemeaneu anu
thieateneu, leauing to a peiveise iesponse.
3'( L(4,8,0 $5 ;()O()28&>
Social scientists have given vaiious explanations foi male peiveisity, as
well as explanations of why peiveisity is moie linkeu with males than
females. In auuition, they have changeu the uefinitions of sexual uisoiueis
ovei the yeaismost notably by ieuefining homosexuality as a noimal
vaiiant of sexuality. Baving woikeu with a numbei of males ovei the yeais
who suffeieu fiom a sexual uisoiuei, as well as stuuying the liteiatuie, I
have come to the conclusion that sexual peiveisity occuis in men in uiiect
piopoition to the peiveise motheiing they ieceiveu as boys. I have likewise
concluueu that the pieponueiance of peiveisity among males is uue to a
cultuial uouble stanuaiu with iegaiu to male anu female sexuality anu the
application of that uouble stanuaiu in chiluieaiing.
Peiveise motheiing is a kinu of paienting in which a mothei veibally
oi nonveibally uispaiages hei son's masculinity anu sexuality at a ceitain
ciitical stage of uevelopment. A son's fiist intimate ielationship is with his
mothei, anu it is with his mothei that he uiscoveis his sexuality uuiing the
seconu anu thiiu yeai of his life. Buiing this stage he uiscoveis the
uiffeience between male anu female anatomy; he exploies mastuibation;
he leains to mastei his bathioom neeus; anu he acts out infantile sexual
fantasies about his mothei. Buiing this stage the mothei is constantly
touching the boy. She changes his uiapeis anu wipes his behinu. She bathes
him uaily, incluuing all his intimate paits. She witnesses how he is
iesponuing to hei touch, how he is touching himself, how he is looking at
hei. The mothei's iesponse to the boy's ueveloping sexuality is ciucial to
how it uevelops. If the boy touches himself anu his penis becomes eiect
anu he says, "Look, Nommy, what my peepee can uo!" she can iesponu in
a suppoitive oi hostile mannei. If she loves the boy anu loves his
masculinity, she will say, "That's veiy nice. You have a veiy nice penis," anu
she will mean what she says. In this case, the boy will uevelop noimal self-
esteem about his sexuality.
If the mothei eithei uiiectly oi inuiiectly uispaiages his sexuality, anu
theie is an ongoing ielationship of this soit, the boy may uevelop some
foim of peiveise sexuality. The mothei may uiiectly uispaiage the boy's
sexuality by iesponuing to the boy's mastuibation with, "Bon't touch
youiself. That's uiity." 0i she may suppoit the boy's sexuality veibally but
not nonveibally. If she sees the boy touching himself, anu he expiesses piiue
at what his penis can uo, she may say, "That's nice." But with hei eyes anu
hei bouy language she may give a uiffeient message. Nonveibally she may
give him the message that she uoesn't want to heai about his sexuality. Foi
example, if she says, "That's nice," anu then looks away as if to quickly change
the subject, she will be giving him a message that the subject of his sexuality
is taboo. The boy will iesponu to hei nonveibal cues moie than to hei veibal
The boys sexual uevelopment staits in the seconu yeai of life but
continues to uevelop thioughout auolescence. In some cases it may lay
uoimant even thioughout auolescence anu continue to be suppiesseu in
eaily auulthoou. Be may even get maiiieu anu attempt to have a noimal
sexual ielationship with his wife. But at some point his peiveise sexuality
will emeige anu he will be compelleu to activate it.
D(2(4)*' $, ;()O()28&>
Fieuu (19uS) theoiizeu that humans aie boin with unfocuseu sexual
(libiuinal) uiives, ueiiving sexual pleasuie fiom any pait of the bouy. The
objects anu moues of sexual satisfaction aie multifaiious, uiiecteu at eveiy
object that might pioviue pleasuie. Polymoiphous peiveise sexuality
continues fiom infancy thiough about age five, piogiessing thiough thiee
uistinct uevelopmental stages: the oial stage, anal stage anu phallic stage.
0nly in subsequent uevelopmental stages uo chiluien leain to constiain
sexual uiives to socially accepteu noims, culminating in heteiosexual
behavioi focuseu on the genitals anu iepiouuction. Fieuu vieweu
homosexuality as the main foim of sexual peiveision, iefeiiing to it as
"inveision," noting that homosexual sexuality was centeieu on the self uue
to a naicissistic fixation. Elsewheie (1916) Fieuu attiibuteu homosexuality
to a close-binuing mothei anu uistant fathei. "In all oui male homosexuals
theie was a veiy intensive eiotic attachment to a feminine peison, as a iule
to the mothei, which was manifest in the veiy fiist peiiou of chiluhoou anu
latei entiiely foigotten by the inuiviuual." Be fuithei wiote that
homosexual boys also have a ielationship with a "weak oi uistant fathei in
those eaily yeais" (p. S8) which is also latei foigotten.
Psychoanalytic liteiatuie attiibutes peiveisity paiticulaily to males anu
has noteu a paiticulai family constellation that bieeus peiveise sexuality.
Stollei (1968), who spent his life stuuying genuei pioblems, founu that
in neaily eveiy case of peiveision theie was a castiating mothei anu a
weak oi absent fathei. Notheis of tiansvestites, foi example, weie usually
women who boie unconscious animosity towaiu men anu stiiveu to make
theii boys into little giils. "Theie is one consistent fact in the histoiy of auult
male tiansvestites," he wiites. "This is the motheis' neeu to feminize theii
little boys. These motheis have an unusually stiong envy of males which
expiesses itself in this iathei subtle way" (p. 18S). Fatheis of tiansvestites,
when they aie aiounu at all, aie often passive co-conspiiatois anu
theiefoie unable to iescue the boy fiom the mothei's psychological
castiation, anu unable to mouel a healthy masculinity.
In geneial, all male peiveisions, accoiuing to Fenichel (194S) aie the
iesult of seveie castiation anxiety. When peiveits ieach the phallic stage
anu begin, as boys geneially uo, playing with theii penises anu exhibiting
them with piiue, a mothei who has unconscious oi conscious animosity
towaiu males anu towaiu male sexuality will shame oi humiliate the boy to
the point wheie he ietieats fiom the noimal heteiosexual expiession of
his sexuality, back to some foim of infantile sexuality. "The peiveit, when
uistuibeu in his genital sexuality by castiation feai, iegiesses to that
component of his infantile sexuality which once in chiluhoou hau given him
a feeling of secuiity oi at least of ieassuiance against feai, anu whose
giatification was expeiienceu with special intensity because of this uenial of
ieassuiance" (p. S27). The kinu of uenial Fenichel is iefeiiing to is the uenial
of the knowleuge that his mothei is penis-less. Accoiuing to psychoanalytic
ieseaich, upon uiscoveiing that some people uo not have penises, boys feel
guilty anu afiaiu. Elsewheie, I have useu the teim phallic guilt
(Schoenewolf 1989) to uesciibe the feelings boys uevelop about having a
penis when theii motheis anu othei women uo not; this phallic guilt anu
castiation feai is heighteneu if the boy senses a sexual animosity in his
mothei about his penis, as Fenichel points out, causing him to iegiess back
to infantile sexuality.
Fenichel believes that infants aie natuial peiveits; oi as Fieuu put it,
polymoiphously peiveise. They can have sexual feelings in all paits of theii
bouies anu can have them foi a iange of objectsincluuing males, females,
uogs, cats, oi inanimate things, anu they can have peiveise fantasies about
all those objects anu moie. Klein (19S2) thoioughly stuuieu these fantasies
by obseiving young chiluien at play. These fantasies involveu such things as
feces anu uiine, anu contain scenes of infantile notions of iape, souomy, oi
muiuei. Accoiuing to Fenichel, we all have the capacity to be peiveits, since
we have all gone thiough this initial polymoiphous peiveise stage.
Bowevei, those of us with castiating motheis oi passive fatheis will
become fixateu at that stage anu hence moie pione to uevelop peiveise
foims of sexuality as auults.
0thei psychoanalysts aie moie oi less in agieement on this issue,
although each stiesses a uiffeient element of the family constellation.
uillespie (19S6) saw peiveisions as a uefense against competing with fathei
foi mothei's love. Be positeu that in peiveisions theie is a ietieat fiom the
phallic expiession of sexuality anu asseitiveness, which causes the
iegiession back to a pieoeuipal stage of uevelopment. In this pieoeuipal
stage, sexual expiession ietains an oial oi anal moue oi becomes attacheu
to a seconuaiy object such as a shoe oi a panty.
Socaiiues (1978, 1979), who, like Stollei, specializeu in ieseaich on the
peiveisions, uevelopeu a unitaiy theoiy of the peiveisions which auus to
Stollei's conclusions. Like Stollei, he emphasizes the impoitance of the
chilu's inteiaction with his paients. In specific, he focuses on the
iappiochement subphase of uevelopment (fiom about 1S months until S
yeais of age). In his view, motheis of peiveits aie geneially oveiattentive
anu close-binuing, while the fatheis aie usually hostile anu iejecting. Be
believes that the chilu's sexual oiientation hinges on whethei he is able to
sepaiate fiom his mothei anu foim an auequate iuentification with his
fathei. "At the centei of all these conuitions |peiveisionsj lies the basic
nucleai feai, that is, the feai of meiging with, anu the inability to sepaiate
fiom, the mothei" (1979, p. 18S). Accoiuing to Scoaiiues, peiveits have a
feai of ieengulfment by mothei, which haiks back to the piimitive
fantasies that infant chiluien have of being suckeu back into theii mothei's
Khan (1978) emphasizeu the alienation that is at the coie of all
peiveisions. "The peiveit puts an impeisonal object between his uesiie anu
his accomplice: this object can be steieotype fantasy, a gauget oi a
poinogiaphic image. All thiee alienate the peiveit fiom himself, as, alas,
fiom the object of his uesiie" (p. 9). Be speculates that this alienation was
also piesent in his ielationship with his mateinal figuie uuiing the eailiest
stages of boyhoou.
Chasseguet-smiigel (198S), Kaplan (199S) anu NcBougall (199S)
iegaiu avoiuance of iealities iepiesenteu by 0euipal uilemmas as the basis of
immatuie sexualities. Nen with a peiveise sexuality aie attempting to
ueceive themselves anu otheis. They tiy to hiue that theii sexuality is
supeiioi to noimal heteiosexuality, anu that this seciet supeiioi quality of
theii sexual pleasuie anuoi aims foi pleasuie constitutes theii main
peisonal fulfillment (iathei than aggiession anu ievenge). In fantasy they
have ieinventeu the piimal scene because the iealities it iepiesentsin
paiticulai that the uiffeience between the sexes is a conuition of sexual
uesiieweie too painful to beai. They ietieat to an infantile foim of
sexuality in which the symbolic sexual object is iuealizeu.
Shengolu (1992), who conceiveu of the teim "soul muiuei" with
iespect to paienting that so neglects oi abuses a chilu that it iobs him of
his oi hei veiy vitality, extenus this concept to his view of peiveisions. Be
concentiates on the anal peiiou anu to the uevelopment of anal
naicissism anu the subsequent ietieat to an anal-naicissistic foim of
sexual expiession. The uevelopment of the anal-naicissistic uefense
symbolizes a ietuin to the self-absoibeu oveivaluation of eaily chiluhoou
anu "the uniqueness anu gloiy of the limiteu, sensoiily...anu mythically
chaigeu contents of one's own gaiuen of Euen" (p. 129). It consists of a
"panoply of neai-somatic bouy-ego uefenses" that chiluien uevelop uuiing
the anal stage that "act as a kinu of emotional anu sensoiy closable uooi
that seives to contiol the laigely muiueious anu cannibalistic piimal affects
ueiiveu fiom the uestiuctive anu fiom the peiveise sexual uiives of eaily
life" (p. 24).
As pieviously noteu, most social scientists attiibute peiveisity mainly to
males. It is geneially believeu that theie aie moie male homosexuals than
females, anu that othei foims of female ueviation aie iaie. Stollei's (1968)
explanation of why male peiveisity is appaiently moie common than female
peiveisity centeis on the fact that it is geneially the mothei who has the
closest ielationship with both chiluien in infancy, anu hence it is geneially
hei attituue which has the gieatest impact on how peiveise a chilu
becomes, anu which peiveision he auopts. In cases wheie the fathei is the
main caietakei fiom biith on, a female peiveit such as a tianssexual is
moie likely to uevelop. Be has iepoiteu a few such cases. Bowevei, the
psychoanalytic uefinition of peiveisity may be too naiiow, peihaps
focusing on inuiviuual symptoms iathei than on the laigei societal pictuie.
If we look at this laigei pictuie, we may see foims of female peiveisity
that escapes public attention, piotecteu by a uouble stanuaiu that views men
moie ciitically than women. In auuition, moie women than men aie pione
to an asexual existence anu what B. S. Kaplan (1979) calls "inhibiteu sexual
uesiie," a phenomenon that may be seen as a female equivalent of a
peiveision. In actuality, it appeais theie may be as many female peiveits as
Theie is also an appaient uouble stanuaiu with iegaiu to male anu
female homosexuality. Female homosexuality is geneially moie acceptable
to society than male homosexuality. Inueeu, ceitain lesbian celebiities seem
to be paiticulaily ieveieu because they aie lesbians. Females uo not see
theii homosexuality as a pioblem to the same extent as males anu may
not be as likely to seek help; hence they uo not become officially counteu as
homosexual. In auuition, since, as Kaplan notes, females geneially have less
sexual uesiie than males, female homosexuality is often of the latent
vaiiety. This makes it even less visible. "Bomosexuality in women," Fieuu
(192u) asseiteu, "which is ceitainly no less common than in men, although
much less glaiing, has not only been ignoieu by the law, but has also been
neglecteu by psychoanalytic ieseaich" (p. 146).
0ne also finus a uouble stanuaiu iegaiuing male anu female
exhibitionism. Nale exhibitionism is consiueieu a peiveision because, in the
eyes of society, it is seen as iepulsive. In fact, it is illegal foi a man to ieveal
his genitals in public. Neanwhile a ceitain amount of female exhibitionism
is not only acceptable but has become a fashion tienu uuiing many peiious
of histoiy anu in many cultuies. Even blatant female exhibitionism (when
say a woman stanus in hei winuow nakeu oi opens hei coat to expose
heiself on the stieet) is not vieweu as iepulsive, but meiely iuiosynciatic anu
sexy. Similaily, women who uiess in men's clothes, who become exciteu by
weaiing men's jeans oi men's unueiweai, aie not calleu tiansvestic, foi it
has become socially acceptable foi women to uo so. Yet it woulu appeai
that a laige peicentage of women have tiansvestic tenuencies, moie so
than men, anu aie nevei thought of as peiveits. Nen who weai women's
clothes aie unequivocally labeleu as tiansvestites.
What I am pointing out heie is that women aie alloweu much moie
leeway in how they expiess theii sexuality anu in how they behave anu
uiess than aie men, anu this social uouble stanuaiu has an impact upon who
is seen as peiveiteu anu who feels peiveiteu. It may also ieinfoice an
inuiviuual's peiveise tenuencies by auuing anothei level of the foibiuuen to
fuel his uesiie. In actuality, theie is piobably a coiielation between
peiveise behaviois by females anu by males, since the two sexes continually
play off one anothei; hence peiveisity woulu be moie oi less equal in each
sex. Foi males, peiveisity usually involves a substitute foim of sexual
giatification, while foi females it often entails some foim of iejection of male
sexuality. In males, castiation feai is the piimaiy cause of the ueviation,
while foi females penis envy lies at the ioot.
This coiielation between the sexuality of males anu females also has an
effect on the foimation of peiveisity in men, as I have pieviously pointeu
out. Nale sexual peiveisity is in uiiect piopoition to peiveise motheiing;
anu peiveise motheiing is in uiiect piopoition to male peiveisity. The
two go hanu-in-hanu. The following case histoiy will uemonstiate this thesis.
642( M82&$)>
All the cases of this type involve the uevelopment of peiveise sexuality
in male chiluien thiough peiveise motheiing. In each case I have hanuleu,
the mothei tieats the boy's ueveloping sexuality anu masculine aggiession as
if it is unacceptable, unsavoiy, anu sometimes iepulsive anu even
uangeious. 0ften theie is a uiiect oi implieu feminizing of the boy.
Noieovei, the motheis in most of my cases aie contiolling to the point that
they manage to uiscouiage anu suppiess anything in the boy that smacks of
masculinity, male sexuality, oi sexual piiue. This attituue tenus to uamage
not only his sexuality, masculinity anu self-asseition but also his self esteem
as a male anu as a peison. At the same time it piohibits noimal male
expiession of sexuality. Since the foimation of sexual peiveision occuis
piimaiily at the ages of two anu thiee, the mothei is the piimaiy agent of
influence. At this age, as Bowlby (1979) points out, a chilu has foimeu a
stiong attachment to mothei that piecluues any attachment with othei
objects, such as the fathei. Bowlby useu the teim "impiinting" with iegaiu to
this attachment, iefeiiing to the name useu with iegaiu to the instinctual
attachment of baby animals to theii motheis. Latei, towaiu the age of
thiee, the fathei staits to have an influence, anu then we may also use the
teim "peiveise fatheiing" foi those fatheis who aie uistant, hostile, oi in
some othei way ieinfoice the mothei's paienting style anu uo not bonu
with the boy oi mouel healthy male sexuality oi asseitiveness. The case
below is typical of the ones I have encounteieu in my piactice.
Ni. A came to me when he was twenty yeais olu. Be was biought in by
his mothei, who became alaimeu when she caught him looking at an
inteinet poin site. It was not just any poin site, but iathei a poin site
uevoteu "femuom"a teim iefeiiing to scenes of women uominating men,
tying them up, toituiing them, kicking them in the testicles with high-heeleu
shoes, stabbing theii genitals with the heels of the shoes, anu veibally
putting uown theii genitals as they uiu so. Sometimes the scenes woulu enu
with the woman giving the man a begiuuging hanu job while continuing to
veibally assault him foi being a wimp. Bis mothei wonueieu into his ioom
while he was in the bathioom anu saw enough to convince hei that hei son
was uistuibeu. She anu his fathei inteiiogateu him until they got him to
confess that he hau engageu in watching such poin foi seveial yeais. They
insisteu he see a theiapist.
The son anu mothei came in togethei foi the fiist session. The mothei uiu
most of the talking, telling what she hau seen, how she felt about what she
hau seen, anu what she wanteu fiom the theiapy (she wanteu me to make
him noimal). She uesciibeu at length how "shockeu anu conceineu" she
anu hei husbanu weie about hei son. She hau a gieat ueal of uifficulty
talking about the poinogiaphy she hau seen. "0ne scene, well, I uon't know
how to say this...theie was something...I uon't know what it's calleu...." The
scene appaiently involveu a stiap-on uiluo being useu by a woman anu
inseiteu into a man's anus. This is what ieally appalleu hei. She was teiiifieu
that hei son was homosexual. She expiesseu no cuiiosity about hei son's
feelings oi how he hau uevelopeu those feelings. She wanteu to know if she
coulu call me now anu then to check in on piogiess. Ny fiist impiession of
hei was of a veiy contiolling peison who also wanteu to contiol the
theiapy anu who, at the same time, hau no iuea at all of how contiolling
she was. The son was slight of builu anu smileu a lot. The mothei was
shoit, iounu, anu fiim, anu she nevei smileu. She lookeu like hei muscles
weie so tightly wiappeu aiounu hei bones that if you bent an elbow too
quickly a bone woulu snap.
Ni. A's mothei calleu me eveiy few weeks to get a iepoit on his
piogiess. Piimaiily she neeueu ieassuiance that he was not homosexual.
She was also afiaiu that the kinky poinogiaphic scenes she hau witnesseu
meant hei son was ciazy. A few months latei Ni. A's fathei calleu to make an
appointment. Be was a milu-manneieu man who tieateu me with a gieat
ueal of iespect. Be seemeu to have been sent in by his wife to get a sense of
me. Be expiesseu concein that his son was becoming aggiessive, uesciibing
an inciuent in which Ni. A was uiiving anu the fathei hau offei guiuance
fiom the backseat anu Ni. A hau askeu the fathei to stop being a
backseat uiivei. "That seemeu iuue to me anu also to my wife." Actually, I
hau been woiking with Ni. A to help him to become moie asseitive; I tiieu
to explain this to the fathei, anu he nouueu as if he unueistoou. But I uon't
think he ieally uiu.
Fiom the seconu session on the son came alone. Be was veiy shy anu
polite anu calleu me "Sii." Like his mothei, he hau a veiy uifficult time
talking about sex. Be uiun't even want to use the woiu "sex." Noi coulu he
say "homosexual" oi "peiveiteu". Insteau he woulu haltingly speak of an
attiaction that maue him uncomfoitable oi of a compulsion that maue him
wince. When I askeu him how he felt about his mothei biinging him to
theiapy, he saiu he felt fine about it. Be thought he piobably neeueu it. I
askeu if he felt huit at all by hei biinging him to theiapy anu he saiu no,
he wasn't awaie of any feelings like that. I askeu him how he felt when his
paients questioneu him aftei his mothei hau seen the poin. Be saiu he
coulu unueistanu )%= /)*< 8*3/. I askeu him again how he felt. Be uiun't
know. Be was almost like an automaton, answeiing my questions but not
volunteeiing anything. 0pon some piouuing, he began to tell me his stoiy.
Ni. A was a junioi in a piivate Eastein college. Bis paients weie paying
the tuition anu he was expecteu to come home eveiy weekenu. Bis fathei
was a stock biokei anu his mothei a housewife. Be was expecteu to talk to
his mothei eveiy uay on the phone, anu sometimes his fathei as well. Be
hau nevei hau sex with eithei a woman oi a man. Be haiuly evei
mastuibateu because it maue him feel guilty. Bis only close bonus weie
with his paients anu his youngei biothei; he hau no close fiienus. The
family was veiy ieligious anu he was contemplating becoming a piiest. Bis
biothei anu he weie both auopteu. Be iepoiteu that his mothei anu fathei
hau tiieu to have a baby foi seveial yeais anu then they hau given up anu
gone the auoption ioute. Ni. A coulu nevei iemembei his fathei anu
mothei exchanging a sexual kiss, anu as fai back as he coulu iemembei they
slept in sepaiate iooms.
Be coulu not iemembei any uieams oi fantasies, so I tolu him to keep a
jouinal. Bis fiist mastuibation happeneu, he saiu, by acciuent. Be was
about fifteen anu lying on his stomach on the flooi of his ioom anu he
began to iub himself against the flooi because it was a stiange sensation,
anu suuuenly he hau an oigasm. Be was hoiiifieu by the expeiience, faintly
awaie that it was sexual. Be thought that it was veiy sinful to mastuibate.
Be thought that it was sinful to think about having sex with a giil. Be
thought it was even moie sinful to think about sex with men. The peisona
he showeu to peeis was that of an asexual guy, a clown, haimless,
noncompetitive anu a goou listenei. Bis two passions weie ieligion anu
collecting movie musicals.
In the beginning he coulu iemembei almost nothing of his eaily
chiluhoou. uiauually bits anu pieces came up. A memoiy poppeu up of his
mothei telling him it was sinful foi him to touch himself, then anothei
memoiy of his mothei iefusing to tell him the name foi his penis, then
anothei memoiy of wanueiing into the bathioom anu seeing his mothei
nakeu anu hei mutteiing, "uet out!" An impoitant uetail of the last memoiy
was that his mothei was weaiing ieu high-heeleu shoes. Theie weie no
feelings connecteu with any of these memoiies. The angiiest he evei
iemembeieu his mothei becoming was when he uiun't lift the liu befoie he
uiinateu. Be saiu she "flippeu out like she was having an attack of iabies."
Although he uiun't iecall anything about potty tiaining, he uiu iecall that
his mothei was "obsesseu with geims" anu that she woulu give he anu his
biothei enemas once a month to "clean out" theii systems. Be iecalleu that
the enemas weien't "unpleasant," anu that, in fact, "in some stiange way I
lookeu foiwaiu to them." Be also iecalleu that at some age, he coulun't
iemembei exactly when, he hau ciieu that he hateu his mothei. She
immeuiately slappeu him anu tolu him that she woulu foigive him because
the Bevil hau obviously gotten insiue him. Be iecalleu othei things latei on,
such as his mothei confiuing in him about his fathei, whose tempei she
iesenteu. "Bon't be like youi fathei. Be's not a goou mouel," she iepeateu
ovei anu ovei. As the pieces came up I was able to put togethei a pictuie
of an austeie chiluhoou in which iesponsibility, obeuience anu uiligence
weie piimaiy. Be was not encouiageu to play, especially with neighboiing
chiluien, whom hei mothei vieweu ciitically. Sexual play anu any talk of
sexual subjects was stiictly foibiuuen. Be was not alloweu to expiess ieal
feelings, especially negative feelings, noi to uisagiee with eithei of his
paients. Asseitiveness was seen as aggiessive. At the same time, he was
iepeateuly ieminueu of how lucky he was to have been auopteu by them
anu what a happy family he hau founu.
This is one of those cases that seems to cleaily uemonstiate Liang's
theoiy (1971) that the paients in a family aie like hypnotists who, veiy eaily
on, make stiong, iepetitive suggestions that ueteimine what a chilu
becomes. As Liang puts it, "The hypnotists (the paients) aie alieauy
hypnotizeu (by theii paients) anu aie caiiying out theii instiuctions, by
biinging theii chiluien up to biing theii chiluien up...in such a way, which
incluues not iealizing that one is caiiying out instiuctions" (p. 71). Liang
explains that this state is easily inuuceu unuei hypnosis, when an
inuiviuual is instiucteu, foi example, to walk acioss the ioom anu open the
winuow upon waking fiom the tiance. The hypnotist might also instiuct
the inuiviuual to iemembei nothing about the suggestions but to think of a
goou ieason foi opening the winuow. The inuiviuual wakes up, opens the
winuow, anu exclaims "It's waim in heie." A paient may inuuce a paiticulai
foim of behavioi by suggestion, such as by telling a chilu again anu again
that sex is uiity oi that the piouucts of his penis (uiine, semen) aie uiity.
The chilu (in oui case, Ni. A) giows up to uevelop negative attituues
towaiu his penis without iemembeiing why he feels that way.
Aftei Ni. A hau been in theiapy foi a few months I was able to uo a
uiagnosis. Be suffeieu fiom a mixtuie of uisoiueis. Be was confuseu about
his sexual oiientation, sometimes fantasizing about males, sometimes
about females, but in eithei case in his fantasies he was always the subject
of theii ciuelty anu uomination. Theiefoie I saw him as having a bisexual
oiientation with masochistic featuies. Be also hau a masochistic
peisonality uisoiuei, which leu him to often get into situations wheie he
was bullieu, iiuiculeu anu in othei ways uispaiageu. Be also hau featuies of
uepenuent peisonality, as his paients hau thoioughly tiaineu him to be
uepenuent on them, anu finally I uetecteu an avoiuance peisonality
uisoiueia tenuency to want to avoiu any conflict oi any situation in
which he might be iejecteu. This mixtuie of mental uisoiueis causeu him to
be unable to cope with the uay to uay situations that came up in his life, to
piociastinate about things (such as ueciuing on a college majoi), anu to
eschew college social activities, job inteiviews, anu ielationships in geneial.
The mixtuie also leu him to escape by watching movie musical eveiy spaie
moment, sometimes all night long.
Be also continueu to watch BBSN poin (as it's calleu in the inuustiy)
anu feel guilty about it. Be was attiacteu to ceitain things in paiticulai:
uominant, sauistic women who woie high-heeleu shoes, who stabbeu a
man's genitals with them, anu who woie stiap-ons anu penetiateu the man
anally. I hau him talk about his sexuality, his feai of mastuibation, his
compulsion to watch poin, anu his ieluctance to seek out fiienuships. I
tiieu to be a ieasonable anu compassionate altei ego, to show him how his
own supeiego shoulu be. About six months into theiapy he was staiting to
feel a little stiongei anu he began a ielationship with a fellow stuuent at
his college.
It was she who initiateu the ielationship. They hau staiteu out as fiienus
anu one uay she suggesteu they go fuithei, so foi a few weeks they tiieu a
sexual ielationship. Be tolu me that eaily on he hau seen a paii of high-
heeleu shoes in hei closet anu fantasizeu about hei stabbing him in the
penis with them. She tuineu out to be a giil who was quite ego-centiic. I
encouiageu him to veibalize his feelings to hei anu he uiu. 0nfoitunately,
she was completely unable to heai his feelings anu, inueeu, felt victimizeu
by him. When he tolu hei he felt afiaiu of sex with hei, she cut him off anu
iesponueu, "What aie you saying. What am I, some kinu of monstei. So it's
my fault you can't get an eiection." She coulu only see things fiom hei own
peispective, anu she expecteu him to ielate to hei on hei teims. Foi a long
time he nevei tiieu anything sexual with hei othei than kissing anu petting
she initiateu, thinking it woulu be offensive to hei. She took the leau in all
matteis. When they finally hau sex one night, she iiuiculeu him again, as
she hau seveial times befoie, because he wasn't able to get an eiection,
anu because he was so "wimpy in beu." She tiieu to get him eiect foi a long
time, then sigheu anu uemanueu that he go uown on hei anu satisfy hei. "It's
the least you can uo." Although he felt huit by hei behavioi, he also felt
exciteu. Be saiu, "Something about it felt almost familiai, comfoiting." Foi
many uays aftei that he hau fantasies of hei using a stiap-on uiluo on him.
This thought exciteu him moie than anything.
Bowevei, he felt so guilty anu conflicteu about the ielationship that he
coulun't beai to go on with it anu bioke off soon afteiwaius. 0n the one
hanu he hau his stiong feelings of sexual attiaction to this fetish. 0n the
othei hanu he hau equally stiong feelings of guilt ielateu to his ieligious
sentiments anu his lifelong tiaining that sex was sinful anu uiity, especially
the kinu of sex that stiiieu him most.
Bis tieatment enueu abiuptly befoie the yeai was out. Bis mothei
expiesseu concein about his piogiess uuiing hei telephone conveisations
with me anu inuicateu that hei insuiance woulu be iunning out. 0ne uay I
ieceiveu an email fiom Ni. A thanking me foi my seivice anu piomising that
he woulu contact me again if he neeueu my help.
Ni. A's masochistic fantasies of toituie anu anal penetiationV his fetish
foi high-heeleu shoes, anu his attiaction to a woman who was contiolling
anu sauistic, all coiielateu with his mothei's tieatment of him as a young
chilu. Fiom the pieces of memoiy that hau come up anu what I knew of his
mothei fiom hei visit to my office anu hei telephone calls, I suimiseu that
his mothei hau been quite contiolling to the point of being obsessively
contiolling. She heiself obviously suffeieu fiom mental uisoiueis, most likely
obsessive-compulsive uisoiuei anu possibly also histiionic uisoiuei. In a
quiet way she seemeu to tyiannize the family. She not only assaulteu Ni.
A's sexuality anu masculinity, making him feel that both weie uisgusting
(i.e., the fit of tempei she hau when he uiu not lift the liu befoie he
uiinateu), she also uiscouiageu any signs of initiative that woulu sepaiate
him fiom hei. She tiaineu him to talk eveiything ovei with hei, incluuing
even the minutest uetails of his eating oi bathioom habits, anu was maue to
feel that he coulun't juuge anything oi ueciue anything on his own.
The memoiy of Ni. A's wonueiing into the bathioom anu seeing his
mothei nakeu, weaiing ieu high-heeleu shoes is also ielevant, not only to
his fetish about high-heeleu shoes, but also to his attiaction to phallic
women. It woulu appeai that his fetish was uiiectly linkeu to this memoiy,
which was heighteneu by being foibiuuen when his mothei shouteu at
him, "uet out!" As the olu auage goes, if you foibiu a chilu to uo something,
he will want to uo it all the moie. The monthly enemas weie linkeu in his
minu with sexual penetiation anu hence tie in with his uesiie to be
penetiateu by a woman. When his mothei slappeu him foi saying he hateu
hei anu tolu him he hau "The Bevil" in him, this not only ieinfoiceu his
feeling that his masculinity was evil, but that his feelings weie bau.
Eventually he leaineu that he coulu not set his own bounuaiies, he coulu
not have his own thoughts, paiticulaily sexual thoughts, he coulu not have
any sexual thoughts about hei oi about any female, he coulu not have any
ieal feelings (but iathei hau to act "as if"), anu he hau to allow his mothei to
fiame how he saw himself. Bis mothei was appaiently completely unawaie
that the hau any mental uisoiueis, anu was convinceu that she anu only she
knew what was iight anu wiong in the family anu in the woilu. Neithei Ni.
A noi anybouy else coulu evei contiauict hei. Little wonuei then that as an
auult he was attiacteu to a woman who hau high-heeleu shoes in hei closet
anu who was as sauistic anu self-centeieu as his mothei.
Kiafft-Ebing (1886), who was the fiist psychologist to extensively stuuy
peiveise behavioi, maue a uistinction between what he calleu
'physiological fetishism', oi a piefeience foi ceitain paiticulai physical
chaiacteiistics in peisons of the opposite sex, anu what he uefineu as
'pathological, eiotic fetishism'. This was not meiely uiiecteu to paiticulai
poitions of the bouy, but extenueu to inanimate objects, usually aiticles of
female appaiel, oi towaius paiticulai mateiials such as fuis oi velvet. But
theie was no haiu anu fast uiviuing line. The fetishist of the bouy pait was
stimulateu by something which woulu noimally aiouse the sexual instinct,
but his sexual inteiests weie iestiicteu to that paiticulai pait. Theie weie
also fetishists who weie attiacteu to some bouily pait without wanting to
have sex, anu those inteiesteu in paiticulai kinus of bouiesfoi example,
those exhibiting some kinu of uefoimity. Kiafft-Ebing also suggests uegiees
of attiaction, fiom states in which inteicouise was moie pleasuiable if the
object weie piesent, to states in which sex was less pleasuiable if the object
weie absent, to states in which the man expeiienceu impotence if the
object weie absent.
Kiafft-Ebing attiibuteu the uevelopment of fetishism to some event
wheieby eiotic feelings became associateu with some paiticulai bouy pait
oi object; this is still touay usually consiueieu to play a significant pait in its
etiology. While invoking enviionmental ciicumstances, he also suggesteu
that inuiviuuals who foimeu these bizaiie associations weie pieuisposeu to
psychopathic states anu excessive sexual uesiie, in keeping with his
theoiies about the iole of uegeneiate heieuity anu neuiopathy in the
etiology of sexual uisoiueis. I uiffei with Kiaftt-Ebing on this scoie, because
I uo not think heieuity plays any iole in peiveisions.
Fieuu's (1927) inteipietation of the fetish is that the object iepiesents
a symbolic phallus, anu it opeiates as eithei a piotection against the
fetishist's feai of castiation, oi a uenial of the penis-less state of the woman.
By focusing inuiiectly at an object insteau of at the woman, the fetishist
uistances himself fiom the castiation thieat. It seems also to be the case
that the fetish opeiates as a uefense against the feai of castiation
(impotence) if it is employeu in a coital situation: it may uo this by acting as
a ieliable stimulus to aiousal anu eiection, oi possibly moie magically by its
association with sexual aiousal.
uieenson (1966) uesciibeu a case in which he was able to obseive the
foimation of a fetish as it happeneu. Lance, who was five anu a half, was
fonu of walking aiounu in his mothei's high-heeleu shoes, anu hau actually
uone so since befoie he was one yeai olu, when he hau staiteu to walk. At
the time he hau put on his mothei's shoes anu his oluei sistei anu his
mothei thought it was cute, so they uiu not uiscouiage him (anu in fact,
thiough theii appioving laughtei encouiageu him). As uieenson noteu,
"Latei on he was able to iun up anu uown staiis in these shoes, to climb
tiees in them, iiue his bicycle, etc. Be giauually put on othei items of
clothing: blouse, stockings, puise, hats, etc., until he began to insist on
uiessing like a giil" (p. 2S2-2SS). uieenson ielates that Lance's fathei was
on veiy bau teims with his mothei anu was haiuly piesent at all in the
householu. Bence Lance's peisonality was influenceu by his oluei sistei anu
his mothei. 0f his mothei, uieenson saiu, "The tactile anu visual
oveiexposuie to hei bouy seiveu to confuse his genuei iuentity (p. 264).
A moie iecent wiitei on the subject, Bancioft (1989), biings in behavioial
expeiiments that uemonstiate that the male eiectile iesponse is capable of
being conuitioneu to ieact to unusual stimuli. In these expeiiments, male
subjects weie conuitioneu to iesponu to vaiious inanimate objects that
weie paiieu with females. Bence classical conuitioning was linkeu to the
uevelopment of fetishes. The ieason why the conuitioneu iesponse to
paiticulai stimuli iesults in the foimation of a fetish moie often in the
male may be, Bancioft suggests, because of the obviousness of penile
eiection. This sets up a visual anu sensoiy link between the object of the
stimulus anu sexual aiousal. Women may be less likely to iuentify
pleasuiable feelings invokeu by ceitain objects oi textuies as specifically
sexual in natuie (expeiimental eviuence uemonstiating women's
physiological signs of aiousal, even though they uenieu eiotic iesponse, to
sexually stimulating visual mateiials tenus to coiioboiate this possibility.
Ni. A's peiveisity, like the cases of Kiafft-Ebing anu uieenson, involves a
chilu whose peiveise behavioi was ieinfoiceu by situations in his
chiluhoous. Numeious wiiteis have maue the connection between the
uevelopment of peiveisity anu peiveise paienting, but none have come out
anu ueclaieu that peiveisity in a male chilu is in uiiect piopoition to
peiveise motheiinganu latei peiveise fatheiing. Such as the theoiy that I
am pioposing heie, baseu not only on my woik with Ni. A anu otheis, but
also on my ieauing ovei the liteiatuie. Fiist of all Ni. A's ietieat fiom, anu
avoiuance of sex, was uiiectly ielateu to his mothei's censoiship of sex anu
hei own avoiuance of it. Bis attiaction to masochistic ielationships with
women who hau a sauistic anu ueiogatoiy attituue waiu his masculinity anu
sexuality seemeu to be uiiectly ielateu to his mothei often ciuel anu
ueiogatoiy attituue. As foi his fetish (the high heeleu shoes), it seemeu to
have been ieinfoiceu by his vision of his mothei's shoes uuiing the
bathioom scene, anu the foibiuuing iemaik that accompanieu this vision
"uet out!" This angiy exclamation appaiently aiouseu excitement, cuiiosity
anu libiuinal involvement. In auuition, the mothei's unawaieness of hei
feelings also matcheu up with the boy's unawaieness of his feelings.
Theie aie some humans whose iuentify anu sense of self is veiy fiagile.
In such people, the uisciepancy between what is tiue anu what they want to
believe is so laige that they will uo anything to avoiu the tiuth. They
constiuct an elaboiate myth, oi lie, about who they aie, why they uo what
they uo, what they believe. This, in act, is the naicissistic moue of being,
anu that naicissism is especially piominent in cases of genuei naicissism.
Ni. A's mothei was of this soit. She was like the Queen in the chiluien's
stoiy, "Snow White," who hau to have a miiioi that tolu hei she was the
faiiest of the lanu. Bei husbanu anu chiluien hau to miiioi hei exactly. If
they uiun't, she woulu fly into a iage. Bence she went about hei peiveise
motheiing unabateu.
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Sexual peiveisity aiises when the ielationship between the sexes goes
awiy. I believe theie is a coiielation between peiveisity in males anu
peiveisity in females. Each affects the othei. Peiveise motheiing iesults in
male peiveisity. Nale peiveisity, in tuin, elicits female peiveisity in many
complex ways, fiom giilhoou to womanhoou. Female peiveisity, in tuin,
piovokes male peiveisity, paiticulaily within the mothei-son ielationship.
Female peiveisity is most eviuent in styles of motheiing. Nale peiveisity
is most appaient in peiveise sexual activities. Peiveise motheiing
ieinfoices peiveise sexual uevelopment in boys, while peiveise fatheiing
mouels behavioi fueleu by castiation feai anu peiveise iueology. This chain
can be tiaceu back foi geneiations.
I anticipate that some will object to the teim "peiveise motheiing,"
because it will be seen as insulting to motheis. Bowevei, if my theoiy is
coiiect: that peiveise motheiing leaus to the uevelopment of male
peiveisity, anu visa veisa, then it woulu seem moie impoitant foi us to
cuie this synuiome anu this foim of sexual uisoiuei than to spaie the
feelings of the peisons who engenuei it. It is also insulting to an alcoholic to
tell him he has a uiinking pioblem oi, as AA woulu put it, a uisease. Yet it
must be uone if the alcoholic is to cuie himself. We seem to have become a
society that woulu iathei enable than cuie; that is, enable paients with
mental uisoiueis to think they aie noimal (anu thus spaie theii feelings)
than to cuie them (which means telling them the tiuth) so that they can
have the piopei attituue towaiu theii chiluien.
The notion that peiveisions aie simply a mattei of choice anu shoulu be
accepteu is also fashionable touay. I saw a news iepoit about a mothei who
wiote a book about hei son, "The Piincess boy," about a boy who likeu
uiessing in giil's clothes. This mothei was embiaceu as a heioine of human
iights. The tiuth is that a peiveision is not a simple mattei of choice
conceining clothing. Ni. A's pioblem was moie than a fetish about high-
heeleu shoes; it was an oveiall uistuibance that affecteu all aspects of his
life. Those who have stuuieu peiveisions have obseiveu the alienation,
ueficiency of self-esteem, anu feai of self-asseition that aie geneially
associateu with peiveisions. Peiveise behavioi anu peiveise motheiing is
giowing in the West anu so aie social pioblems. When we look at any kinu of
behavioi, we neeu to look at the big pictuie. What is the effect on society.

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unlverslLles ress.
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ulsotJets of 5exool ueslte. new ?ork: Slmon & SchusLer.
kraffL-Lblng, 8. v. (1886). lsycbopotblo 5exoolls. London: 8loaL 8ooks, 1999
Llang, !. u. (1971). 1be lolltlcs of tbe lomlly. London: 1avlsLock.
Mcuougall, !. (1993). 1be Mooy loces of tos. London: lree AssoclaLlon 8ooks.
Schoenewolf, C. (1989). Sexual AnlmoslLy beLween Men and Women. norLhvale,
n!: !ason Aronson.
Shengold, L. (1992). nolo lo tbe 5ky. Obsetvotloos oo nolo ooJ uefeose. new
Paven, C1: ?ale unlverslLy ress.
Socarldes, C. W. (1978). nomosexoollty. norLhvale, n!: !ason Aronson.
_____(1979). A unlLary Lheory of sexual perverslons. ln Oo 5exoollty, ed. 1. 8.
karasu and C W. Socarldes, pp. 161-188. new ?ork: lnLernaLlonal unlverslLles
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P6 >'( 72:*'#.#0: #9 L;%(
This entiy fiom the D'1<13%-*40, %8 9.&,' Behavioi uefines hate as
a state of aiousal oi excitation in humans in which angei, negative
juugments anu impulses of uestiuction pieuominate. This state is
piouuceu by a combination of biological anu enviionmental factois.
Theie aie vaiious pathological states of hate, anu manifestations of
hate aie numeious, ianging fiom subtle inuiiect expiessions to
outiight violence anu wai. Bowevei, not all hate is bau; some hate is
uestiuctive while othei hate can be constiuctive.
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Bate itself is not innate; howevei, the emotion of angei anu the
impulse towaiu aggiession aie pait of the human constitution. Anu since
hate is geneially associateu with angei anu aggiession, we can theiefoie say
that it is inuiiectly innate.
An innate aggiessive uiive has been obseiveu thioughout the animal
kinguom. Countless investigations have pioven that fighting behavioi in
animals is geneiically piogiammeu anu they have uncoveieu innate, species-
specific patteins of fighting. Foi example, cichlius (a species of fish), even
when they have been isolateu fiom paients at biith, begin to fight with
iivals by beating them with theii tails anu pushing oi pulling them with
theii mouths; maiine iguanas ieaieu in isolation fight by butting theii heaus
togethei; lava lizaius lash one anothei with theii tails; fighting cocks kick at
one anothei with theii claws; anu ioe buck attack with theii antleis. All of
this fighting happens spontaneously at a ceitain point in uevelopment.
An innate aggiessive uiive has also been obseiveu in human beings anu
has piimaiily been linkeu to the "stiuggle foi suivival" (Chailes Baiwin's
teim) oi to a teiiitoiial instinct. Aggiession in human histoiy is associateu
with the hunting anu gatheiing of piimitive men, with the teiiitoiial
sepaiation ofanu stiife betweeninuiviuuals, gioups anu nations, anu to
the foimation of social hieiaichies oi ianking oiueis. 0ne can also see
manifestations of this uiive in the iough play of young boys anu in the
athletic competition of auults. Inueeu, all humans show the unmistakable
tenuency to keep theii uistance fiom stiangeis uue to a feai of theii
Eibl-Eibesfelut (1974), an ethologist, has noteu that the uisposition foi
aggiession can be founu in all human societies thioughout the woilu. Thieat
uisplays by means of oinament, weaponiy, featheis, masks, skins, boots, anu
phallic exposuie as well as facial expiessions of thieat anu iage aie
univeisal. People fiom aiounu the woilu stomp theii feet anu clench theii
fists when they aie angiy. Also wiuespieau thioughout the woilu is the
gloiification of aggiession thiough heioic sagas, coats of aims, anu meuals.
Inueeu, the histoiy of humankinu is the histoiy of conflict anu wai.
Biologically, aggiession is associateu with a "fight oi flight" iesponse that
aiouses the sympathetic neivous system anu the enuociine system. This is
a cooiuinateu opeiation that goes into effect when an inuiviuual feels
stiess. The stiessoi excites the hypothalamus (fiiing biain cells) to
piouuce a substance that stimulates the pituitaiy anu auienal glanus to
uischaige coiticoius (such as auienalin) into the bloou. This in tuin elicits
thymus shiinkage anu ieleases sugai; anu at the same time it also aiouses
the sympathetic neivous system, which contiacts muscles anu bloou
vessels. If an inuiviuual is in a state of aiousal ovei a peiiou of time, that can
fuithei affect the bouy's opeiation anu chemistiy. In auuition, suuuen
incieases of sexual hoimones such as testosteione anu estiogen can also
aiouse aggiession.
Expeiimental psychologists have uemonstiateu a iage ieaction by
attaching electioues to the hypothalamus. Subjects have been inuuceu to
states of extieme angei anu have been impelleu to peifoim acts of violence.
Such expeiiments have also shown that while subjects aie in such a state of
inuuceu iage, theii cognitive abilities change; angei leaus to negative
juugments (hate) anu the uesiie to eliminate the souice of the angei (the
stiessoi) by uestioying it. The uiive-ieuuction theoiy in psychologystating
that human motivation stems fiom the neeu to ieuuce imbalances in
homeostasisuesciibes this phenomenon.
Theie is some vaiiation in the amount of innate aggiession in each
inuiviuual at biith. Thomas anu Chess (1968) uiscoveieu that some
babies aie easy to caie foi, some aie cianky anu uifficult to caie foi, anu
some aie slow to waim up. Theii ieseaich pioveu that humans aie not
blank slates when boin but come alieauy equippeu with tempeiamental
uiffeiences. It is not cleai, howevei, whethei this vaiiation in infant
aggiessiveness is uue to genetics oi to enviionmental conuitions uuiing
piegnancy. Reseaich has shown, foi example, that motheis who aie
uepiesseu (a state of angei anu hate tuineu inwaius) uuiing piegnancy
give biith to hypeiactive infants. 0n the othei hanu, not all cianky babies
have uepiesseu motheis.
The neuial coiielates of hate have been investigateu with an NRI
pioceuuie (Zeki anu Romaya, 2uu8). In this expeiiment, people hau theii
biains scanneu while viewing pictuies of people they hateu. The iesults
showeu incieaseu activity in the meuial fiontal gyius, iight putamen,
bilateially in the piemotoi coitex, in the fiontal pole, anu bilateially in the
meuial insula of the human biain. Zeki anu Romaya concluueu that theie is
a uistinct pattein of biain activity that occuis when people aie
expeiiencing hatieu. The link between biain activity anu hate uoes not in
anu of itself implicate a genetic cause (biain activity can also be affecteu by
the enviionment), but it uoes point to biology.
Bate, then, is the cognitive component of the "fight oi flight" aiousal state
anu as all othei genetic aspects of emotion. This state of aggiessive aiousal
uiffeis fiom othei states of excitement such as anxiety oi neivous
anticipation, although these too involve the sympathetic neivous system. The
biological ioots of aggiession eventually stimulate negative thought patteins
in the biain. We hate that which fiightens, fiustiates, oi unsettles us. This
hate (anu the state of aiousal that unueilies it) can be tempoiaiy oi long
teim, anu it can be conscious oi unconscious. In some cases people can be in
a state of chionic tension anu not know it, anu they can feel hate anu not be
awaie of it.
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While theie is unuoubteuly an innate aggiessive uiive in humans, that
uiive cannot become aiouseu in anu of itself. Aggiession anu hate uepenu
on an inteiplay of innate anu enviionmental factois. The mixtuie of latent
(biological) anu enviionmental factois may uiffei fiom inuiviuual to
Theie aie numeious theoiies about what kinus of enviionmental
factois leau to aggiession anu hate. 0ne theoiy focuses on the stiessful
changes in the enviionment that iequiie aujustment: getting a uivoice,
getting fiieu, getting maiiieu, having a chilu, losing a loveu onethese all
biing about stiess anu aie sometimes accompanieu by aggiession anu hate.
Anothei theoiy centeis on fiustiation, holuing that aggiession anu hate aie
linkeu to fiustiation of some kinu (uniequiteu love, envy, unfulfilleu
ambitions, etc.). Anothei posits that aggiession anu hate aie connecteu with
thieats to suivival, as when a iival thieatens to take one's job oi the
goveinment takes away one's foou stamps. Anothei theoiy holus that hate
may be tiansmitteu thiough vaiious psychological means such as
iuentification (as when a chilu iuentifies with a paient) oi inuoctiination (as
when an inuiviuual oi gioup is "biain-washeu" into auapting a negative
attituue towaiu anothei inuiviuual oi gioup.
Stuuies of infants show a ielationship between bonuing anu aggiession.
Theie is a peiiou of life in which bonuing with a loving caietakei is
essential foi suivival. In one stuuy, 91 infants in a founuling home uuiing a
wai weie sepaiateu fiom theii motheis aftei the age of S months anu feu by
a succession of busy nuises. Thiity-foui of the infants uieu by the seconu
yeai, anu a pattein was obseiveu. 0pon fiist being sepaiateu fiom theii
motheis, infants woulu typically ciy anu cling angiily to whatevei nuise was
feeuing them (aggiession tuineu outwaiu); then they woulu go thiough a
phase of anaclitic uepiession, lying sullenly in theii ciibs (aggiession tuineu
inwaiu); then motoi ietaiuation woulu set in; anu finally they woulu
uevelop maiasmus (somatizing theii aggiession into pioblems with eating).
These stuuies show that bonuing is ciitical uuiing this eaily phase of
uevelopment, anu that aggiession anu uestiuction eiupt as a uefense
against the loss of this bonuing (Spitz, 196S).
Bence, the seeus of the enviionmental contiibution to the foimation of
aggiession anu hate aie laiu in eailiest chiluhoou anu aie tiansmitteu in the
milieu of the family. 0ui fiist expeiience of love stems fiom this eailiest
bonuing with oui mateinal caietakei, a bonuing that, when successful,
evokes feelings of giatituue, secuiity, fulfillment, anu contentment (Klein,
19S7). 0ui fiist expeiience of hate also stems fiom this peiiou. If this fiist
ielationship is ueficient, we feel cut off, fiustiateu, thieateneu, anu eniageu.
We want to uestioy this ueficient caietakei (bite the bieast that feeus us)
oi, if that is not possible, to uestioy ouiselves. In othei woius, when oui
suivival is thieateneu, the biological "fight oi flight" iesponse kicks in, oui
system is aiouseu, anu we become eniageu anu hateful. This fiist
ielationship is not only the piototype anu piecuisoi of what is to come, it
may also cieate fixations oi "faults" that establish a tenuency towaiu
hating. Like unueigiounu faults that leau to futuie eaithquakes, human
uevelopment fixations may leau to futuie emotional uistuibances,
aggiession, anu hate.
As we uevelop othei enviionmental factois also help to shape oui
capacities foi loving anu hating. 0thei figuiesthe fathei, siblings,
gianupaients, aunts, anu unclesbegin to exeit an influence in how we
love anu hate. We foim iuentificational bonus with those we aumiie anu
those we feai anu tenu to incoipoiate theii ways of loving anu hating. If oui
paienting is punitive oi abusive (anu theieby hateful), we may giow up to
be punitive anu abusive to otheis (oi to submit to abuse anuoi abuse
ouiselves). If the paienting is peimissive (a uisguiseu foim of hate unuei
which a paient unconsciously withholus piopei guiuance), we may giow up
to be self-inuulgent anu biatty (hatefully inconsiueiate anu uemanuing), but
peimissive to oui own chiluien anu those who ally with us. If oui family
values aie ieligious anu uistiustful of those who aie not ieligious, we may
giow up to auopt these values. We may feel that anybouy who is not of
oui faith iepiesents a thieat to oui secuiity anu hence is to be hateu (i.e.,
to be pitieu anu iescueu). If oui family values aie iueological anu uistiustful
of anybouy who uoes not shaie oui iueology, we may giow up to auopt this
iueology. We may then feel that anybouy who is not of oui iueological oi
political peisuasion iepiesents a thieat to oui secuiity anu hence is to be
hateu (i.e., iiuiculeu anu uismisseu).
Envy anu jealousy aie often closely ielateu to hate. When we feel
envious oi jealous, oui "fight oi flight" iesponse is also aiouseu anu we feel
iesentment (a foim of hate) towaiu those we envy anu expeiience theii
existence as an insult anu thieat to oui own. Bowevei, the extent to which
envy anu jealousy pievail in each inuiviuual's psychouynamics uepenus
upon upbiinging. A tenuency towaiu feeling envy oi jealousy may iesult
fiom chiluhoou spoiling anu pampeiing, fiom an iuentification with a paient
who has this tenuency, oi fiom eaily chiluhoou fixations that iesult in
infeiioiity oi castiation complexes. The lattei cause inuiviuuals to feel that
they, theii bouies, theii sexual oigans, anu theii lots in life, aie infeiioi,
uisauvantageu, oi thieateneu.
Latei, in auulthoou, both peisonal anu laigei social anu cultuial
factois can influence oui hatieu. If we alieauy have fixations fiom eaily
chiluhoou, any situations in oui auult lives that iepeat the events of those
fixations will upset us, aiouse us, anu inuuce a hate ieaction. If we have lost
oui mothei at two yeais of age, any loss latei on may biing about a
bieakuown into uepiession (self-hate). If we have felt seveiely uepiiveu, any
uepiivation will be seveiely upsetting; if we have felt extiemely inuulgeu
anu pampeieu, any failuie of oui latei enviionment to uuplicate this
inuulgence anu pampeiing will aiouse iage, etc.
In auuition, those who have hau ueficient bonuing (oi socialization) in
eaily chiluhoou anu who have uevelopeu fixations oi tenuencies towaiu
negative thinking anu hating will be the most influenceu by aveisive social
oi cultuial factois. They will be the fiist to join movements that give them a
justification foi hating some uesignateu enemy. They will be the fiist to
iail against anothei nation that has tempoiaiily been uesignateu as a
countiy's enemy. They will be the fiist to uisciiminate against otheis oi
othei gioups (while accusing the othei gioup of uisciiminating against
them). They will be the fiist to join any angiy mob.
Psychological tests show that how we peiceive things is gieatly
influenceu by oui peisonality. Foi example, the Roischach Inkblot Test may
be given to seveial inuiviuuals anu each will see uiffeient things in the ink
blots. In a section fiom one of these blots, some inuiviuuals may see two
angels with wings, while otheis may see two boys uiinating, anu still otheis
may see two scuba uiveis ioasting fish ovei a fiie. What we see in these
blots uepenus on oui peisonality make-up (i.e., whethei we aie obsessive-
compulsive, histiionic, paianoiu, psychotic, oi the like). In othei woius, oui
eaily chiluhoou conuitioning influences how we peiceive the woilu; we may
peiceive some event as being thieatening (anu iesponu with angei anu
hatieu), while anothei peison may peiceive the same event uiffeiently.
Thieats anu hate aie often in the eye of the beholuei.
Numeious social anu cultuial factois may aiouse aggiession anu hate.
Times of wai anu economic uepiession aie two of the most uiamatic
examples of this. Buiing such times, wiue-scale angei, feai, uepiession, anu
sometimes hysteiia iun high, anu each inuiviuual in a society feels affecteu
by such emotions anu these can leau to attituues of blame anu hate foi that
which is uesignateu as the cause of this misfoitune (the enemy countiy, the
goveinment, Republicans, etc.). Social oi cultuial changes may also aiouse
aggiession anu hatieu. Foi example, an anthiopologist stuuieu how an
abiupt change in the system anu values of a piimitive village iesulteu in an
inciease in community stiess anu aggiession. Befoie the change, the
community as a whole cultivateu anu uistiibuteu foou moie oi less in a
communistic fashion. When it was uecieeu that all inuiviuuals woulu
hencefoith be iesponsible foi theii own subsistence, theie was an
aggiessive sciamble to acquiie the uncultivateu wet valleys anu a
subsequent inciease in animosity anu ciiminality. People became hostile to
one anothei, feaieu one anothei, envieu one anothei, anu became iuthless
in uealing with one anothei. Something like this occuiieu in Russia when
the Communist goveinment toppleu in 1991. Poveity anu oveiciowuing can
also aiouse aggiession anu hate, as can a lack of meaningful job
oppoitunities. The iange of social factois is myiiau.
Authoiity figuies can aiouse anu shape hatieu. Stanley Nilgiam's
famous expeiiment at Yale 0niveisity (Nilgiam, 1974) pioviueu a scientific
unueistanuing of this phenomenon. In his stuuy he tolu his subjectsmen
anu women fiom all walks of lifethat they weie paiticipating in an
expeiiment to test the effects of punishment on leaining. Each subject was
askeu to take the iole of teachei anu to uelivei electiic shocks to a
"stuuent" who was actually a paiu actoi. The stuuent was stiappeu into a
chaii in a sepaiate ioom anu ieceiveu appaient electiic shocks. The teachei
was instiucteu to ask the stuuent questions, anu was tolu by the
expeiimentei to auministei vaiious uoses of electiicity by using knobs on a
fake electiic geneiatoi. The knobs weie labeleu fiom 1S to 4Su volts. The
teacheis weie instiucteu to give incieasingly stiongei shocks, anu the
stuuents woulu pietenu to ieceive the shocks anu ciy out anu moan in
agony anu beg the teacheis to stop. If a teachei seemeu uoubtful about
auministeiing the shocks, the expeiimentei, stanuing besiue the teachei,
woulu say in a fiim, authoiitative voice, "You must go on." The expeiimentei
woulu ieassuie the teachei that no haim was being uone. Although some
subjects showeu signs of gieat conflict, 6S% of them continueu to uelivei
what they thought weie 4Su volts of electiicity to a scieaming human
being. 0nueineath label of "4Su volts" was a uisclaimei: "Waining: Seveie
This expeiiment showeu that to some uegiee oi anothei people aie
willing to auministei electiic shock (act out hate) if an authoiity figuie
gives peimission to uo so. Theie aie seveial explanations foi this.
Thioughout the histoiy of humankinu we have shown a neeu to believe in
something gieatei than ouiselves anu to obey itwhethei it is a king oi a
piesiuent oi a Pope; whethei it is a uou oi many gous oi a sacieu book
unueineath some ieligion oi mythology; oi whethei it is an iuea oi
philosophy oi political movement. This highei authoiity absolves us of
iesponsibility. We paiticulaily look foi ways in which we can act out hate
without feeling iesponsible oi guilty about it. Bence, to the uegiee that we
have not fully sepaiateu fiom oui paients anu fully matuieu, we will neeu
such suiiogate authoiities to believe in anu take iesponsibility foi oui
uecisions. In auuition, to the extent we have uevelopeu fixations anu faults,
we will have pent-up iage anu potential hatieu, anu we will look foi an
excuse (an authoiity figuie's peimission) to vent it.
The state of hating, then, is the culmination of a complex piocess
involving the inteiplay of the innate human aggiessive uiive, eaily chiluhoou
conuitioning, anu latei peisonal anu societal enviionmental foices.
Sometimes hatieu eiupts foi a shoit time anu is a tempoiaiy iesponse to
a specific event; while in othei cases hatieu is chionic anu becomes an
ingiaineu tiait iesulting fiom ueeply tiaumatic oi ongoing aveisive events.
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Nanifestations of hate iange fiom the obvious anu simple to the subtle
anu complex. 0bvious anu simple foims incluue uiiect veibal expiessions
such as, "I hate you!" oi "You stupiu iuiot!" as well as acts of violence such
as muiuei, iape, oi wai. Noie subtle anu complex manifestations
compiise a multituue of manipulations, ploys, stings, attituues, anu acts
thiough which hate is inuiiectly oi coveitly expiesseu. These incluue, to
name just a few examples, foigetting an appointment, pietenuing to like
people whom one hates anu theieby "killing them with kinuness," having an
affaii with a maiiieu man oi woman, steeling memo paus oi papeiclips fiom
the company foi which one woiks, oi telling a chilu to "stop ciying oi I'll
give you something to ieally ciy about."
ueneially, one can say that those people who have attaineu emotional
health, establisheu genuine bonus with otheis, anu feel connecteu to theii
vocation, will manifest the least hate. People will manifest moie hate if
they have not matuieu emotionally, have not establisheu genuine bonus
with otheis, anu uo not feel connecteu to a vocation. The lattei will feel
less secuie anu hence theii aggiessive iesponse anu hatieu will be moie
easily aiouseu, eithei towaiu otheis oi towaiu themselves. They will act out
in vaiious ways in oiuei to tiy to compensate foi theii feelings of
insecuiity, alienation, anu iagesuch acting out being the iesult of theii
hate. The moie aggiession they biing into the woilu, the moie uistuibeu will
be theii ielation to the woilu.
Bate can be manifesteu in uiffeient types of psychopathology, eithei
inuiiectly oi uiiectly. A passive-aggiessive peisonality acts out angei in veiy
inuiiect ways. Insteau of telling you he hates you, he will foiget youi
uinnei appointment anu then apologize piofusely. An obsessive-compulsive
peisonality expiesses hate by ovei-contiolling people anu iefusing ieal
intimacy. A masochistic peisonality will piovoke otheis into being hateful
so that heshe can feel (hatefully) victimizeu anu supeiioi. A paianoiu
peisonality uenies his own angei anu piojects that otheis aie out to get
him. (In uoing so he unwittingly causes otheis, thiough piojective
iuentification, to want to get him.) A histiionic peisonality expiesses hate
thiough sexual teasing anu fits. A uepiessive peisonality hates the woilu
anu also hates himself. Bis hate may be somatizeu has insomnia, oi
vaiious pains anu aches. A schizophienic peisonality expiesses hate
thiough vaiious gianuiose uelusions (thiough which he tiiumphs on
As noteu above, hate can be expiesseu in thiee basic ways: it can be
expiesseu in a uiiect, veibal way, it can be acteu out, anu it can be
somatizeu. Biiect veibal expiessions of hate incluue any veibal statement of
hate incluuing cuises, insults, thieats, ueath wishes, anu the like. The acting
out of hate incluues any action that is iuue, hostile, iejecting, excluuing,
manipulative, ueceitful, uefiant, shaming, iiuiculing, contemptuous,
thieatening, violent, anu the like. Somatizing hate has to uo with the
"bottling up" of aggiession so that it takes a toll on one's own bouy, as when
one uevelops heait uisease uue to a stiessful, hate-inuucing life expeiience.
Somatizing also incluues using illness to manipulate otheis, as when an
inuiviuual uevelops a hysteiical paialysis out of iesentment at not being
caieu foisuch paialysis foicing otheis to caie foi the inuiviuual.
Accoiuing to Fieuu, most of oui hateful, aggiessive impulses iemain
unconscious. What we aie conscious of is the most suiface ieason foi oui
hate. Thus we may tell a fiienu we hate a ceitain peison because he is
always tiying to get attention. What we iemain unconscious of is that, on the
ueepest level, we hate that peison because we aie jealous of him foi getting
attention that we wish we coulu get. We may not wish to acknowleuge that
we hate oui biothei, foi theie is a stiong social taboo against such hatieu;
so insteau we may show gieat kinuness to this biothei anu even convince
ouiselves that we love him, but at the same time we may constantly foiget
his biithuay, neglect to wiite to him, fliit with his wife, anu in othei ways
act out unconscious hate. We chop uown tiopical foiests anu uiive gasoline-
fueleu automobiles to auvance oui immeuiate goals while at the same
time passively killing oui planet anu iemaining collectively unconscious of
oui own mass ueath wish.
The most uestiuctive manifestations of hate occui in families. "Powei
uoes not coiiupt men," Beinaiu Shaw saiu; "fools, howevei, if they get into
positions of powei, coiiupt powei." To be a paient is to be in a position of
absolute powei ovei anothei human being, anu unfoitunately, many paients
haiboi unconscious aggiession anu hate that gets taken out on theii
chiluien. Inueeu, no occupation oi even goveinment gives its leauei as much
powei as a paient has ovei a chilu, anu that powei is helu piactically
sacieu anu shielueu fiom the public eye. In a sense, each of us, as chiluien
aie slaves to oui paients. Some slave owneis aie loving, some aie not.
The ioot cause of much enviionmental hate is the uysfunctional
family, with its hotbeu of uniesolveu unconscious angei. Paiental
expiessions of hate can begin even befoie biith. Nuch iecent ieseaich has
focuseu on how tiaumas to the unboin fetus can affect latei peisonality
uevelopment. Notheis can expiess passive hate uuiing piegnancy if they
smoke, uiink oi take uiugs, if they aie caieless with theii uiet, oi if they
behave iecklessly. Fatheis can expiess hate by abusing the mothei uuiing
piegnancy causing stiess, which in tuin affects the giowing fetus. 0nce the
chilu is boin paients can expiess hate in the obvious ways such as beatings,
sexual molestation, scapegoating, uegiauation, oi neglect, oi moie subtle
kinus of emotional abuse, such as when a paient constantly compaies one
chilu unfavoiably with his oluei biothei oi with his fiienus anu makes him
feel infeiioi. Rene Spitz, obseiving 2uS mothei anu infant uyaus in an
institution, wiote of the inuiiect anu unconscious ways caietakeis can
expiess hate uuiing the fiist yeai of life. Foi example, he uesciibeu
caietakeis who ielateu to theii infants with "piimaiy anxious ovei-
peimissiveness" anu otheis who acteu out "hostility in the guise of anxiety."
In each of these cases, the caietakeis weie compensating foi unconscious
feelings of iesentment towaiu the chilu (usually an unwanteu chilu)
thiough an exaggeiateu anxiety anu ovei-concein with the chilu's welfaie.
Be noteu a high uegiee of eczema in the infants of such caietakeis. It is a
geneial piinciple in psychoanalysis that an obsessive ovei-concein with
somebouy's welfaie masks an unconscious wish foi theii haim.
The family can be a cycle of hate anu, geneiation aftei geneiation, a
bieeuing giounu of psychopathological hate. A caietakei can suffei fiom
uepiession, paiticulaily postpaitum uepiession, iesulting in hei complete
iejection of hei infant uuiing the weeks iight aftei biith. Reseaich has
shown that mateinal uepiivation uuiing the eailiest stage of infancy can
leau to seveie uistuibances, cieating fixations that piogiam an inuiviuual to
latei have a tenuency to withuiaw fiom contact with otheis anu uevelop
vaiious psychopathologic tiaits such as uepiession, sociopathic peisonality,
oi schizophienia.
An obsessive-compulsive caietakei may be obsesseu with neatness anu
oiuei to an extent that he oi she will not allow any of the chiluien to evei
enjoy theii existence anu may, in tuin, engenuei an obsessive-compulsive
peisonality in the chiluien. A caietakei may be a self-uefeating maityi type,
continually bemoaning his oi hei life, so that the chiluien get not ieal love
oi attention but feel somehow iesponsible foi victimizing the caietakei. This
can affect theii self-esteem anu functioning latei own, anu they may latei
ieplicate this behavioi with theii own chiluien. 0ne paient may be abusive
to the chiluien while anothei may be passive-aggiessive, silently oi weakly
allowing the abuse to go on. Chiluien of abusive paients often giow up to
abuse theii own chiluien.
0n a bioauei spectium, cultuial foims of hate, such as iacism anu
sexism oi ieligious uisciimination, have existeu thioughout histoiy. Bistoiy
books aie full of stoiies of mass uisciimination, ciusaues, anu exteiminations
of one gioup by anothei gioup. Foi example, in Nazi ueimany 6 million
}ews weie iounueu up, toituieu, anu exteiminateu in ueath camps. The
Nazis ueciueu that the }ews weie evil exploiteis of ueimany, poisoning the
puiity of the ueiman people, anu theiefoie hau to be eiauicateu. This gioss
expiession of piejuuice anu ciuelty by one people against anothei may be
explaineu by focusing on the cultuial milieu of Euiope at the time. Aftei
ueiman lost Woilu Wai I, it was foiceu to sign a "humiliating" tieaty with
othei Euiopean countiies. Theieaftei ueimany became the scapegoat anu
laughing-stock of Euiope. ueimans weie left thoioughly uemoializeu anu
sank into a psychological anu economic uepiession. In the miust of a
uepiession, people look foi someone on whom to take out theii angei.
Along came Bitlei, an authoiity figuie who gave them peimission to blame
it on the }ews. Nilgiam's stuuy, mentioneu pieviously, was spuiieu by the
Nazi phenomenon.
Buiing the couise of histoiy, some piejuuices weie appioveu while
ceit ai n otheis weie conuemneu. Bence, the Nazis appioveu piejuuice
against }ews, Chiistians at one point in histoiy sanctifieu piejuuice
against people who helu uiffeient ieligious beliefs, conuucting inquisitions
anu witch hunts against heathens. In China, uuiing the 197us, the
notoiious "uang of Foui" foimeu the Reu uuaius anu sent them out to iiu
the countiy of people who weie politically anu cultuially incoiiect; they
ioameu the countiysiue impiisoning anu killing innocent people, buining
houses, uestioying monuments, anu geneially teiioiizing eveiyone. In
Ameiica, uuiing the NcCaithy heaiings of the late 194us, theie was a mass
peisecution of communists (oi anybouy who lookeu as if he oi she might
have communist leanings). Latei, NcCaithy anu his followeis weie
conuemneu. Social movements often stait out with iuealistic goals of
iefoiming some social pioblem, anu they just as often enu up as hotbeus of
hatieu that leau to mass hysteiia.
Nass hysteiia is a giauual oi suuuen eiuption of collective pent-up
aggiession anu hate. If, say, many inuiviuuals have innate aggiession which
has unconscious souices, such inuiviuuals may latei collectively be pusheu
into mass hysteiia by cuiient events. When a movement comes along that
pioviues them with an oppoitunity to vent that pent-up hate towaiu an
appioveu taiget gioup, they will be quickly anu eageily uo so. The
movement (Nilgiam's authoiity) gives them peimission to uo whatevei
they will. This collective hate may eventually get out of hanu, as it uiu in Nazi
ueimany, the Ciusaues, anu the Chinese Cultuial Revolution.
Piejuuice is a knife that cuts both ways. Theie aie instances of ieal
piejuuice (unfounueu hatieu of an inuiviuual oi gioup) anu theie aie
othei instances in which chaiges of piejuuice aie a manipulation the aim of
which is to uiscieuit an opponent, to avoiu taking iesponsibility foi one's
own hate, anu to gain special piivilege (uue to being a victim of piejuuice).
A cause, ieligion, oi movement becomes an extension of one's iuentity,
miiioiing one's iueal self, while that pait of the self one wishes to
uisownthat is, the aggiessive oi hateful selfis piojecteu onto the "out"
gioup. We anu oui gioup aie "in," goou, iighteous, anu without ulteiioi
motives. The "out" gioup is bau, moially iepugnant, anu imbueu with evil
motives. The moie uistuibeu inuiviuuals aie, the moie they aie pione to
splitting otheis into steieotypes of goou anu bau, iathei than seeing people
as complex human beings. In oui times, many libeials uemonize
conseivatives this way, anu many conseivatives uevalue libeials this way.
Wilfieu uaylin (2uu4) notes that "Wheieas the hatei must uemonize the
object of its hatieu, the piejuuiceu inuiviuual is moie likely to uehumanize
the object."
Acts of inteipeisonal violence as well as mass violence in wais aie the
most extieme manifestations of hate. When people aie aiouseu to an extent
that they kill each othei, it is always uue to feais that theii own lives aie
in jeopaiuy. }ealous loveis kill because they feel that they themselves
have been psychologically muiueieu by theii lovei's ieal oi imagineu
infiuelity. Wais aie in pait innate battles ovei teiiitoiiality (pait of the
human genetic enuowment) anu in pait uue to aveisive enviionmental
conuitions. Naicissism (in the foim of patiiotism) often plays a iole.
ueiman piiue was huit by the loss of Woilu Wai I anu by theii economic
uepiession. To "save face" ueimany staiteu Woilu Wai II. }apan, wishing to
expanu its teiiitoiy anu enhance its naicissistic megalomania, joineu in.
0thei nations felt thieateneu by them anu like uominoes, one by one, weie
uiawn into the wai as each of theii aggiessive uiive was stokeu.
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Not all hate is uestiuctive. In geneial, the moie matuie an inuiviuual oi
countiy is, the moie it can be awaie of its hateful feelings anu expiess them
in a constiuctive waythat is, in a way that iesolves conflict iathei than
feeuing it. Bence, most uiiect veibal expiessions of hate aie constiuctive,
while most acting out oi somatizing of hate is uestiuctive. Theie is a
populai misconception that "love cuies all." If by love one means, "Let's all be
nice to each othei anu suppiess oui aggiession anu hate," then such
sentiments, no mattei how lofty, aie misleauing. They fail to appieciate
fully the natuie of aggiession anu hate; it cannot be willeu away thiough
calls foi unity. The antiuote to uestiuctive hate is constiuctive hate, not
guilty pseuuo-love.
Bonalu Winnicott (1949), a Biitish psychoanalyst, tells a stoiy that
illustiates this point. Be once hau an oiphan boy live with him anu his wife.
This boy, who was about 9, was quite unsocializeu anu woulu have binges in
which he woulu menace Winnicott anu his wife anu uestioy theii fuinituie.
Winnicott noteu that each of these inciuents woulu aiouse intense feelings of
hate. The boy, he inteipieteu, hau a neeu to inuuce otheis into hating him
in oiuei to feel woithwhile. To help the boy uevelop, Winnicott believeu he
hau to let him know that he uiu inueeu hate him. "If the patient seeks
objective oi justifieu hate, he must be able to ieach it, else he cannot feel he
can ieach objective love," he wiites. Theiefoie, each time the boy went on
a binge of aggiession, Winnicott woulu take him outsiue anu set him uown
on the fiont poich, iain oi sleet oi snow. Theie was a special bell the boy
coulu iing anu he knew that if he iang it he woulu be ieaumitteu into the
house anu nothing woulu be saiu about his fit. Each time Winnicott put him
outsiue, he tolu the boy, "I hate you foi what you just uiu." It was easy foi
Winnicott to say that, because it was tiue. Noieovei, he believeu it was
not only necessaiy foi the boy's uevelopment, but also necessaiy foi himself.
Foi hau he not constiuctively expiesseu his hate, he coulu not have
continueu to live with the boy "without losing my tempei anu without
eveiy now anu again muiueiing him."
In othei woius, constiuctive expiessions of hate involve matuie ego
contiol of the aggiessive uiive anu hate; they consist of expiession it in such
a way as to countei uestiuctive expiessions of hate. Couples who use
constiuctive hate can iesolve theii aiguments, while couples who fight in
uestiuctive way enu up having the same aiguments ovei anu ovei. Nations
who countei the uestiuctive hate of othei nations with constiuctive hate
will be moie likely to iesolve uisputes, while nations who countei
uestiuctive hate with moie uestiuctive hate will enu up in wai.
Constiuctive hate is usually conscious, while uestiuctive hate has
unconscious ioots. If we act out hate in an unconscious way, theie is little
change of iesolution. If we insult somebouy anu when they iesponu with
angei we ietoit, "I uiun't uo anything, you'ie ovei-ieacting," oi "Well, you
staiteu it," we aie uenying own aggiession, hence pieventing iesolution.
Similaily, all iefusals to engage in constiuctive uialogue iepiesent
uestiuctive hate.
Fieuu thought that civilization itself was a cause of uiscontent anu
theiefoie a bieeuing giounu of aggiession anu hate. Nanifestations of
uestiuctive hate uo seem to be spiialing as civilization becomes moie
ciowueu anu technological (anu theieby alienating). We now have the
powei to push buttons anu kill millions without actually expeiiencing
what we aie uoing (anothei illustiation of Nilgiam's expeiiments).
Technology has maue oui lives easiei anu spoileu us to a point wheie we
have become auuicteu to ease anu cannot uo without it, even though it is
uestioying oui planet anu ouiselves. Like cageu animals, we have become
impiisoneu by oui own civilizations, anu have uevelopeu moie anu moie
uistuibances anu illnesses.
The solution to inteipeisonal, as well as woilu, pioblems lies in a
ueepei unueistanuing of hate, anu in paiticulai, in a ueepei unueistanuing of
the uiffeiences between constiuctive anu uestiuctive hate. At the ueepest
level, eveiy expiession of hate is a uefense against a ieal oi imagineu
thieat, a compensation foi feelings of infeiioiity oi poweilessness, anu a
plea foi attention. 0nueistanuing how uestiuctive hate comes about anu
what it ieally means is to ieact to it in an appiopiiate way, not with a guilt-
iiuuen sentimental ciy foi unity, noi with a punitive ciy foi ievenge, but
with an honest expiession of one's feelingsthat is, thiough the
expiession of constiuctive hate. Love is ielating genuinely to anothei
human anu to the woilu. Constiuctive hate is love.

Llbl-LlbesfeldL, L. (1974). love ooJ note, 1be Nototol nlstoty of 8ebovlot
lottetos. Shocken, new ?ork.
lreud, S. (1930). clvlllzotloo ooJ lts ulscooteot. PogarLh, London.
Caylln, Wllfred (2004). notteJ. 1be lsycboloqlcol uesceot loto vloleoce. ubllc
Affalrs 8ooks, WashlngLon, u.C.
kleln, Melanle (1937). ovy ooJ CtotltoJe. PogarLh ress, London.
Mllgram, S. (1974). ObeJleoce to Aotbotlty. Parper and 8ow, new ?ork.
Schoenewolf, C. (1989). 5exool Aolmoslty betweeo Meo ooJ womeo. !ason
Aronson, norLhvale, n!.
_____(1991). 1be Att of notloq. !ason Aronson, norLhvale, n!.
SplLz, 8. (1963). 1be lltst eot of llfe. lnLernaLlonal unlverslLles ress, new ?ork.
WlnnlcoLL, u. W. (1947). PaLe ln Lhe CounLerLransference. ln 1btooqb leJlottlcs
to lsycbo-Aoolysls, pp. 194-203. new ?ork: 8aslc 8ooks.
1homas, Alexander, ChessF SLella, and 8lrch, PerberL C. (1968). 1empetomeot
ooJ 8ebovlot ulsotJets lo cbllJteo. new ?ork, new ?ork unlverslLy ress
Zekl S, 8omaya ! (2008). neural CorrelaLes of PaLe." LoS CnL 3(10): e3336.
;4)& Q - ;)4*&8*(
R6 72:*'#.#04*;. D;*%#)2 4,
Recent ieseaich has shown a link between chiluhoou abuse anu auult
cancei. This uoes not mean that cancei is necessaiily causeu by
enviionmental stiess, but stiess uoes seem to be a factoi in the
etiology of some foims of cancei. Foi example, symptoms of
uepiession anu anxiety aie linkeu to patients with cancei of the
pancieas. The following case about a man who uevelopeu testiculai
cancei illustiates one instance in which chiluhoou tiauma seems to
be a factoi in the latei uevelopment of cancei.
A while back I analyzeu a young man who hau uevelopeu cancei in one of
his testiclesthe iight one, to be exact. In ieconstiucting his histoiy, we
weie able to tiace the etiology of the cancei, at least in pait, to
psychological factois. Since this case is one of the most cleai anu stiiking
examples of a possible psychological etiology of cancei that I have
encounteieu eithei uiiectly oi in the liteiatuie, I have ueciueu to put the case
on iecoiu.
Petei (the pseuuonym foi the patient) began tieatment when he was in
his eaily twenties. Be was a tall, musculai man with a neivous
constitution. The symptoms he piesenteu weie insomnia, impotence anu
anxiety, with occasional bouts of agoiaphobia. Be was functioning pooily on
both social anu piofessional levels, unable to asseit himself in eithei aiea
uue to a stiong feai of castiation. Be uefenueu against this feai thiough
iepiession, ieaction foimation, uenial anu avoiuance: he was a gieat
piociastinatoi. Be piesenteu a mixeu bag of often conflicting peisonality
featuies, incluuing masochism, passivity, hysteiia anu obsessive-compulsion.
Even though he was a laige manaiounu six feet anu eight inches tall,
with a bioau chest anu bioau shoulueiswho toweieu almost a foot above
me, he was quite submissive towaiu me fiom the beginning, as though he
feaieu I might at any moment give him a goou thiashing. Seemingly in
constant teiioi, he woulu sit up in his chaii anu keep me unuei
suiveillance at all times with his laige biown eyes. I hau the impiession
that if I maue any suuuen move oi saiu anything that might be constiueu as
thieatening he woulu be out of the uooi in a seconu.
0ui initial uialogues weie not notably fiuitful. "I uon't know," came
out of his mouth again anu again. This was his favoiite phiase, often the
fiist anu last thing he woulu uttei uuiing a session.
"What uon't you know." I askeu him on one occasion.
"I uon't know."
"You uon't know what you uon't know."
"Yes, I uon't know."
"Tiy saying, 'I uon't want to know.'"
"I uon't want to know."
"Bow uoes that feel. Boes that feel iight."
"I uon't know."
"You uon't know if you uon't want to know."
"Right, I uon't know."
We woulu go aiounu anu aiounu like that. Foi a month oi two it was
uifficult to get stiaight answeis fiom him, anu only bits anu pieces of his
histoiy fell thiough the ciacks of his chaiactei aimoi. It became eviuent
that he felt he neeueu to be veiy uefensive with me to the point wheie he
enueu up negating both himself anu me, pieventing anything meaningful
fiom happening uuiing the sessions. Little by little I manageu to finu out that
he hau iecently hau an opeiation to iemove his iight testicle. It hau become
malignant soon aftei he hau left college anu moveu to New Yoikpuffeu up
with a tumoi that hau uoubleu the size of the glanu itself. Foitunately, the
left testicle was not impaiieu anu ouulyhe uiu not piesent any conceins
about losing it.
I also founu out that he hau unueigone this opeiation in seciet. Be hau
nevei tolu his family oi his fiienus about the cancei oi the suigeiy, uue to
feelings of shame anu feai. In paiticulai, he feaieu that his fathei woulu be
eniageu at him. Be was teiiifieu of his fathei anu piotective of both paients,
whom he still saw iegulaily on weekenus at theii home in Queens, New
Yoik. As fai as he was conceineu, his paients hau uone the best they coulu.
"I uon't want to blame my paients," he saiu, iepeating one of the most
common statements of patients at the beginning of theiapy.
"Is that why you uiun't tell them about the opeiation." I askeu
"I uon't know."
"You uon't know why you uiun't tell them."
"Yes, I uon't know."
Eventually we weie able to woik thiough the "I-uon't-know" anu "I-
uon't-want-to-blame-my-paients" iesistances anu began to piece togethei
the uetails of his histoiy. As we uiu, we began to unueistanu the
psychological meaning of his cancei.
3'( M82&$)>
The majoi tiauma of Petei's chiluhoou centeieu aiounu beu-wetting. Be
hau wet his beu fiom the ages of thiee to eightby which time he was in
the seconu yeai of elementaiy school. This was a uaik age foi him,
enshiouueu in chiluhoou amnesia, anu he uiu not at fiist cleaily iecall it.
Be knew the beu-wetting hau happeneu because his mothei talkeu about
it anu it hau become a pait of the family histoiy. But he was only able to
ieconstiuct a uetaileu memoiy of it thiough uieam analysis. 0pon iecalling
the peiiou, he began to let go of some of his uebilitating iepiession.
Buiing most of his chiluhoou yeais he hau suffeieu fiom night
teiiois, in which he woulu wake up with a stait, his heait beating wiluly,
anu scieam out, "No! No! No!" at the top of his lungs as he bioke into a colu
sweat. Be woulu nevei be able to iecall the content of these teiiois, uespite
the fact that he woulu be semiconscious when he hau them. Buiing his
auult yeais he continueu to have iecuiiing nightmaies coveiing the same
theme anu was again able to iecall veiy little of theii content.
Slowly, uuiing the couise of theiapy, he began to iemembei anu biing
foiwaiu fiagments of these nightmaies to the tieatment. Be woulu uieam
about being attackeu on the stieet by stiange men; about thieves coming
into his apaitment anu stealing his clothing oi his computei; about
walking in the woous anu stepping in a steel tiap anu being stalkeu by a
beai; about being tiampleu by a heiu of Buffalo. All these fiagments hau
fieice men oi animals in them anu he woulu always note a ceitain look in the
eyes of the attackeis. The looks saiu that they hau something on him, they
knew his uiity seciet, anu they knew he was going to have to pay foi his
"ciimes" in a way that meant losing his manhoou.
Aftei about a yeai, he biought in his fiist uieam in which his fathei
appeaieu. Bis fathei was stanuing in the backgiounu as two men attackeu
him. In this uieam his fathei was but a silhouette anu it took a while befoie
the patient iecognizeu him. Be biought in anothei uieam in which his fathei
was moie cleaily iecognizable; he was on the phone talking to his mothei
while a iabiu uog with foaming mouth toie off his iight aim. Be biought in
still anothei in which his fathei watcheu as a gang of black teenageis
coineieu him in an alley anu kickeu him in the testicles. This last uieam
pioveu the tuining point in the ieconstiuction. The image of being kickeu in
the testicles by black men ieawakeneu the fantasies that weie attacheu to
the oiiginal tiaumatic peiiou.
You know, I used to have fantasies all the time of being kicked in the
balls, he said. In fact, now that I think of it, I used to have fantasies that
black men were kicking me in the balls. I also had fantasies of my father kicking
Why black men? I wondered.
I dont know.
What color is your fathers skin?
Hmmmmm. I never thought of that. His skin is dark. I take after my mother.
My skin and her skin is lighter than my fathers. Shes Irish. My fathers got half
Columbian and half Indian blood.
Fiom that session on he began to iemembei his eaily chiluhoou moie
anu moie cleaily. Basically, he hau gotten caught up in a ciossfiie. Bis fathei,
he saiu, was a "Spaitan": his mothei an "Athenian." Bis fathei was a
macho man whose manneis weie ciuue anu tempei on the euge. Bis
mothei was a meek woman who attempteu to appease hei husbanu by
inuulging him in eveiy way. Clinically, the fathei was obsessive-
compulsive with sauistic featuies. Be was obsesseu with oiuei anu
uiscipline. The mothei was oial-impulsive with masochistic anu passive-
aggiessive featuies. She utilizeu a maityi attituue to guilt-tiip hei husbanu
anu inuiiectly act out hei angei. When Petei was boin, he was uiawn into
the centei of theii conflicting chaiacteis anu became the focus of theii wai
of iueology. She inuulgeu the boy anu was ciitical of what she calleu the
"physical abuse" by hei husbanu. Be was stiict anu punitive with the boy
anu ciitical of what he calleu the "spoiling" by the mothei.
Buiing the toilet-tiaining stage the mothei's tenuency was to go easy
on Petei. If he uiun't want to go to the potty, that was all iight. Let him enjoy
being a chilu as long as he coulu. Aftei all, he woulu be calleu upon to meet
life's many iesponsibilities soon enough. The fathei, on the othei hanu,
woulu insist that the boy sit on the potty as long as it took foi him to make a
ueposit of his valuable feces. Bence, the boy was caught between the
inuulgent, emotionally incestuous uay woilu of his mothei anu the haish,
thieatening, jealous, uisciplinaiian night woilu of his fathei. Consequently,
the boy clung to his mothei anu uieaueu the fathei's homecoming each
night, anu his toilet tiaining became flaweu.
I use that woiu "flaweu" uelibeiately to uenote that a fixation uevelopeu
at that stage. }ust as the flaws unueineath the eaith's ciust which
uevelopeu in its eaily foimation poitenu futuie quakes, so also the flaw in
Petei's toilet tiaining (his eaily foimation) woulu leau to a futuie
bieakuown of his socialization. In specific, this piegenital fixation
pieuisposeu Petei to the beu-wetting that began to occui uuiing at aiounu
the age of thiee. The beu-wetting was, at the same time, a symptom that was
uiiectly ielateu to, anu inuuceu by, the wai of iueology (libeial vs.
conseivative iueas) between his paients. Be became the conuuit thiough
which that wai was funneleu.
When the beu-wetting began his mothei was inuulgent towaiu the
habit anu his fathei was antagonistic. It soon became a family iitual that
pitteu the mothei anu son against the fathei, anu one that was symbolic of
the oeuipal natuie of the mothei-son anu fathei-son ielationship. The
mothei's inuulgence of the beu-wetting hau an eiotic unueitone; each time
it occuiieu, she woulu whisk the boy out of his beu anu gently bath him,
taking caie to clean his piivate paits, speaking to him softly anu
conspiiatoiially so as not to wake the fathei. "Quiet, let's not wake the olu
beai," she woulu say. She woulu then put a clean sheet on his beu anu holu
his hanu until he went back to sleep. Little wonuei then that the habit, being
thus ieinfoiceu, not only continueu but intensifieu.
Bowevei, in time the fathei founu out about the nighttime clanuestine
activities. 0nce he uiu, he insisteu on taking ovei the hanuling of the beu-
wetting. "It's youi fault he pisses in his beu, because of youi spoiling," he
saiu to the mothei. "I'll cuie him of the habit, -+%'/%!" Be began to stay up
nights anu wait just outsiue the boy's ioom at the time when he usually
soakeu his beu. Peeiing aiounu the uooiway, he woulu wait until he saw oi
heaiu a movement (such as Petei's hanu moving towaiu his genitals) oi
began to smell uiine. Then he woulu pounce on the boy, thiow back the
coveis, anu yell at him. "Stop it! Stop it iight now! Stop it, I saiu!" The boy
woulu awaken with a stait, his fathei's huge bouy on top of him, his
fathei's uaik eyes glaiing at him, anu begin to shivei anu sob. Bis mothei
woulu iush in anu scieam at the fathei. Bis fathei woulu scieam at the
mothei. She woulu clean him unuei the fathei's sciutiny anu he woulu say,
"That's iight, pampei his little peckei so he'll tuin out to be a faiiy."
This iitual continueu fiom the age of thiee to eight. Foi the fiist two
yeais the stiuggle between the son anu fathei, anu between the mothei
anu fathei, giew moie intense. The son's beu-wetting came to be an insult to
the fathei's piiue, oi, to put it moie clinically, it was expeiienceu as a
naicissistic injuiy, as something shameful anu unmanly that ieflecteu on his
own manhoou. Noieovei, to a fellow who giew up in the macho cultuie of
South Ameiica, the son's closeness with his mothei smackeu of male
tieason. Finally, the son's continueu enuiesis was peiceiveu as an act of
uelibeiate uefiance of the fathei's authoiity; this too was a thieat to his male
Naicissism was also involveu in the mothei-son ielationship; the son
became a self-object to the mothei. Bei inuulgence hau stiings attacheu
oi peihaps we shoulu say it hau an umbilical coiu attacheu; he was expecteu
to miiioi hei as she wanteu to be miiioieuas the loving, waim, long-
suffeiing wife, who uiu not haiboi a shieu of ill-will, who uiu not get the
cieuit she ueseiveu anu hau to put up with the abusive tieatment of hei
biute of a husbanu. The son was expecteu to miiioi hei by being hei ally
against the fathei anu playing the iole of the long-suffeiing son besiue the
long-suffeiing wife.
With iegaiu to the act of wetting itself, Petei iecalleu with fonuness the
euphoiic sensation of uiinating, the gentle waimth as the uiine tiickleu
between his legs anu suiiounueu his ciotch anu backsiue, anu the sweet
smell of the uiine hoveiing about the nighttime aii. Latei, of couise, when
the uiine hau cooleu anu become sticky anu the smell hau tuineu bittei, he
woulu expeiience uiscomfoit. Then woulu come the teiioi of his fathei's
wiath, mixeu with the anticipation of his mothei's loving touch. In fact, the
enuiesis hau the unconscious meaning of an ejaculation (this came out in
his associations), anu since it was an act that allieu him with his mothei
against his fathei, it also meant inteicouise with hei anu muiuei of him.
The fact that it hau this unconscious meaning maue the boy all the moie
feaiful of the fathei's 0euipal iage. The talion piinciple (piojecting that his
fathei wanteu to muiuei him) was evei-piesent in his ielationship with his
fathei, anu it was pieuominant in shaping his chaiactei. The fathei, foi his
pait, seemeu to be the veiy epitome of the jealous oeuipal fathei. Be maue it
his mission to piy the boy loose fiom his close bonuing with his mothei.
As the seconu yeai passeu, fathei anu son became lockeu in a mighty
battle of the beu. The fathei steppeu up his teiioiist attack on the son,
giowling now as he thiew on the lights at the slightest sign of enuiesis,
jumping on the beu, pulling the boy's pants uown anu yelling, "Ah ha! What
uiu I tell you. What uiu I tell you." Be woulu glaie at the son, smiling
maniacally, giinning as if he knew eveiything about the boy, eveiything
about his uiity seciet (his incestuous love foi his mothei). "Biun't I tell you
not to uo that. Biun't I. You uon't listen, uo you. I guess I'll have to teach
you a lesson." Sometimes he woulu shake the boy until Petei thought that
his heau was going to iattle off of his shoulueis. Sometimes he woulu tuin
the boy aiounu anu spank him. Buiing these times, Petei woulu feai that
his fathei was going to hit his genitals anu injuie them, so he woulu holu
onto them with both hanus. 0n one occasion he iecalleu his fathei saying
something like, "You'u bettei holu on to youi balls, because if you keep
pissing in youi beu I may just iip 'em off! Bow'u you like that. Bow'u you
like it if I iippeu 'em off. Then you'u just have a little nub of a uick anu no
balls! Ba, ha, ha, ha!"
The moie the fathei teiioiizeu him, the moie the habit became
stubboinly entiencheu. In fact, the habit now took on a compulsive quality.
Petei iecalleu that uespite his mounting feais of his fathei anu his ciaving to
stop the habit anu theieby avoiu his fathei's attacks, he coulu uo nothing
about it. Be woulu go to beu ueteimineu not to uo it, but uo it all the same
anu at about the same time. Noi uiu he expeiience the pleasuiable sensations
that hau once been linkeu with the wetting. The moie the fathei attackeu
the habit, the moie the habit became ieflexive, like some awful hiccoughs of
the gioin that woulu not be calmeu, uespite its incuiiing the mau uog of the
Eventually the mothei anu son won this battle. The fathei, seeing that
the habit was getting woise iathei than bettei, finally thiew up his hanus
in uisgust anu tolu his wife, "You can have him. You causeu the pioblem.
You ueal with it. Be's no son of mine anymoie." The son was an oeuipal
conqueioi, but he hau a heavy piice to pay. Fiom then on, the fathei was
hostile anu uistant to the boy, tieating him as one might tieat the woist
kinu of tiaitoi. Without the fathei's active iesistance to it, the habit lost pait
of its puipose; it continueu foi a few moie yeais anu then fizzleu out. It
stoppeu not because of anything the fathei oi mothei hau uone, but because
Petei began to be shameu by his peeis at school. The main cause of this
shaming was that some little fiienus of his founu out about the habit when
he slept ovei anu his beu was soakeu in the moining. Bis two mates teaseu
him foi months at school, telling eveiyone else about it.
By the enu of the seconu giaue the beu-wetting hau stoppeu completely.
}ust as the habit stoppeu, he began to have the night teiiois. The night
teiiois came almost eveiy night uuiing the latency peiiou. While the beu-
wetting itself appeaieu to be a compulsive, iitualistic enactment of his
incestuous ciavings foi his mothei anu oeuipal stiuggle with his fathei, the
uiama associateu with the beu-wetting seemeu uesigneu to mastei the floou
of anxiety piouuceu by the yeais of tiauma, as well as to gain sympathy fiom
his mothei anu appease his fathei. That uiama anu connecteu tiauma leu to
the night teiiois. Wheieas uuiing the eailiei time he hau awakeneu with a
wet beu, now he awakeneu with a wet bouy, sweating piofusely, anu
scieaming. Almost eveiy night he woulu wake up scieaming anu his mothei
woulu come to his beu to calm him. Be uiun't iemembei what he was
scieaming about, but his mothei tolu him latei he often hau a begging tone:
"No, no, please uon't!" It was not until the uawning of auolescence that he
began to have the fantasies of his fathei kicking his testicles that weie to
plague him thioughout his teen yeais anu eaily twenties.
Be hau these fantasies almost uaily, sometimes aftei an inteiaction with
his fathei, sometimes aftei inteiactions with teacheis oi boys at school.
Be imagineu his fathei stoiming into his beuioom, thiowing him onto the
flooi, anu kicking at his ciotch with his pointeu Italian shoes. 0i he woulu
be taking a showei anu imagine that his fathei might bieak into the
bathioom anu teai away the showei cuitain, push him uown into the tub,
anu stanu ovei him, kicking anu laughing. 0i he woulu be coming home at
night anu woulu imagine that his fathei was luiking in the bushes aiounu
the house anu woulu jump him befoie he got to the poich, tackling him
anu kicking him haiu between the legs. These fantasies weie inteispeiseu
with those of black men kicking him.
Along with these fantasies, he began to become awaie of a constant
tension in his testicles, especially the iight one. We speculateu that
because of his uaily fantasies of being kickeu in the testicles, he hau
unconsciously began to tense up this pait of his bouy in anticipation of
such an assault. Aftei yeais of this kinu of chionic tension in his iight
testicle, he became awaie of a soieness theie. Eventually he became awaie
that the size of his iight testicle seemeu laigei than that of his left testicle.
By his eaily twenties, his iight testicle hau giown to about twice the size of
the left one, anu it hau an ouu shape. By then, it felt soie all of the time.
Be hau put off going to see a physician, afiaiu of what he might finu
out. When he finally uiu, the cancei hau invaueu his testicle to a point
wheie it coulu no longei be saveu. The yeais of chionic tension hau taken
theii toll.
D(.4&(/ D(2(4)*'
Cancei has not geneially been consiueieu to be a psychosomatic
uisease, although theie have been scatteieu speculations about the
psychological component of cancei ovei the yeais. Kolb (1977) notes that
symptoms of uepiession, anxiety, anu a piemonition of seiious illness aie
among the most fiequent piesenting complaints of patients with cancei of
the pancieas. Such patients tenu to suppiess theii iage iesponses anu have
often suffeieu a significant loss in theii object ielations in the pieceuing
months. Nonioe (1972) anu Coles (1977) assume a psychological
component to all uiseases, incluuing cancei. "All physical uisoiueis may, in
some uegiee, be piecipitateu by nonbiological, nonphysical factois" (Coles, p.
2u4). Among psychoanalysts, Reich (19SS, 1948) maue the most extensive
stuuy of cancei. Be calls it a "living putiefaction of the tissue" that is
associateu with an inuiviuual's unconscious uamming up of eneigy thiough
musculai contiaction, oi what he calls "biopathic shiinking." Bakei
(19S7) elaboiateu on Reich's woik, noting that cancei is the last stage in an
ongoing piocess of oigan ueteiioiation, anu it is most pievalent in "the
most aimoieu places"that is, in the sexual iegions of males anu females,
wheie tensions of unconscious sexual conflicts become localizeu anu
A iecent stuuy by ieseaicheis at the 0niveisity of Toionto showeu that
physical abuse in chiluhoou was linkeu with the uevelopment of cancei in
latei life. The finuings weie baseu on a 2uuS Canauian Community Bealth
Suivey focusing on the piovinces of Nanitoba anu Saskatchewan anu
showeu a 49% link between chiluhoou abuse anu auult cancei. 0f the
1S,u92 iesponuents, 7.4 pei cent stateu that they hau been physically abuseu
as chiluien by someone close to them, anu S.7 pei cent saiu they hau latei
been uiagnoseu with cancei. The ouus iatio uiminisheu only slightly to 47
pei cent when the numbeis weie aujusteu to take in unhealthy behaviois
such as uiinking oi smoking. Fullei-Thomson saiu theie might be many
ieasons foi this link. She speculateu that chionic stiess a chilu abuse victim
woulu be unuei might elevate levels of coitisol (the stiess hoimone). The
chionic ielease of coitisol is known to weaken the immune system, which
woulu then inteifeie with the immune system's ability to uetect anu get iiu
of cancei cells.
The gist of these theoiies is that an inuiviuual suffeiing fiom chionic
stiess in any oigan will eventually uevelop cancei in that oigan. Such long-
teim stiess causes biochemical changes that hampei the bouy's metabolism.
Chionic suffeieis of ulceis of the stomach oi colon, foi example, aie pione
to ueveloping cancei in these oigans. This has been meuically uocumenteu:
what has not been well-enough uocumenteu is the psychological aspects of
this uevelopment. (It is peihaps iionic that the psychoanalyst who pioviueu
the ueepest exploiation of the psychology of cancei was himself a victim of
it; Reich uieu of cancei soon aftei being impiisoneu uuiing the 19Sus foi
obstiuction of justice.)
While he uiu not exploie the connection between psychology anu
cancei, Alexanuei (19Su) neveitheless pioviueu an explanation of the
psychological etiology of many ailments as well as the peisonality conflicts of
those pione to them. Among them was the ulcei patient. Be sees ulcei-pione
inuiviuuals as oial chaiacteis whose sympathetic neivous systems aie
always switcheu on anu whose stomachs aie continuously piouucing aciu in
anticipation of taking in foou. Be tiaces this phenomenon back to fixations
uuiing the oial phase of uevelopment, when the chilu's oial neeus aie in
some way uepiiveu oi ovei-stimulateu. Bence, as an auult, the ulcei patient
has an inauequate stimulus baiiiei anu constantly neeus soothing.
Reflexively, he ieauies his stomach to take in foou (an act of self-soothing)
in oiuei to calm the stiess. Bowevei, by constantly floouing the stomach with
acius, an ulcei uevelops. 0vei a peiiou of yeais, if not tieateu, the ulcei may
become canceious.
It shoulu be noteu that iecent meuical ieseaich by Naishall anu
Waiien (198S), foi which they won the 2uuS Nobel Piize, has uismisseu the
notion that ulceis aie not causeu by stiess, anu insteau points to a
stomach infection with the bacteiium 9*301%K,1/*+ -<3%+0. This bacteiium is
saiu to be the culpiit in neaily 8u% of stomach ulceis anu in moie than 9u%
of ulceis in the uuouenum, the fiist poition of the small intestine. Bowevei,
since theii ieseaich was uone it has uiscoveieu that a gieat numbei of
people have this bacteiia in theii stomach but uo not uevelop ulceis. So,
even though a bacteiia may be involveu, this uoes not uismiss stiess as an
accompanying factoi, as stiess will weaken the immune system's ability to
ueal with the bacteiia.
Following the same line of ieasoning, a woman might uevelop bieast oi
ovaiian cancei oi a man piostate cancei (thiee of the most pievalent
foims of malignancy) in a similai way: thiough chionic stiess in those
paiticulai oigans. As is now commonly known, not all women who have the
gene ielateu to bieast cancei uevelop bieast cancei; stiess woulu seem to
be the ciucial factoi. 0ne of my patients uevelopeu a tumoi in hei bieast
about a yeai aftei having an aboition, uuiing which time she hau felt an
ongoing tension in hei bieasts. She expiesseu a gieat ueal of iesentment
about the aboition, ielateu to the fiustiateu uesiie to nuise anu nuituie a
baby. This stiong uesiie haikeu back to the appaient fiustiation of hei
infantile oial neeus by a mothei whose husbanu (the patient's fathei),
abanuoneu hei when the patient was still an infant. This event causeu the
mothei to lapse into uepiession anu abanuon hei infant uaughtei, theieby
seemingly fixating hei uaughtei at this stage of oiality.
Bess (19SS) stuuieu a case of bieast cancei that uevelopeu aftei a
patient lost hei fathei to cancei. Be inteipieteu that the patient's cancei
stemmeu paitly fiom guilt feelings about his ueath, an ovei-iuentification
with him, anu a wish to avoiu hei uepiessive pain. A young male patient of
mine uevelopeu piostatitis in his twenties anu eaily signs of cancei;
foitunately he was able to woik thiough a lot of his foimeily iepiesseu
thoughts anu feelings in theiapy anu the piostatitis eventually subsiueu. Be
hau expeiienceu constant tension in his piostate glanus since his eaily
auolescence, anu ievealeu a histoiy of conflicts about his homosexual
Fallei (199S), stuuying 12u lung cancei patients founu that ceitain
causal attiibutions of the uisease appeaieu to be a iesult of a specific way of
coping. 0sing an inteiview anu questionnaiie, the stuuy focuseu on the
patient's emotional state anu coping moue befoie anu uuiing the onset of
cancei. Fallei founu a connection between emotional uistiess anu the
specific coping mechanisms of these patients which weie of a ueficient
natuie. Bowevei, he was not suie whethei subjective causal attiibutions
weie ueteiminants oi epiphenomena of coping with the uisease.
To unueistanu the specifics of one case of cancei is peihaps to
highlight something about all cases. Petei's case, while peihaps not
typical, is not atypical. It began with a piegenital fixation, piouuceu by
inauequate object ielations, which in tuin seemeu to leau to the uevelopment
of stiong oeuipal anu castiation complexes. Bis oeuipal guilt anu
incestuous fantasies about his mothei anu his teiioi of his fathei aiouseu
both complexes. The same object ielations that piouuceu them also
pieventeu eithei complex fiom evei being iesolveu. To oveicompensate foi
these complexes (oi flaws), he hau to chionically tense up (Reich's
"biopathic shiinking") a pait of his bouynamely, the iight testicle. Why the
iight testicle. I woulu speculate that "iight" hau foi Petei an unconscious
symbolic connection with "male" anu "fathei," while left hau a similai
connection with "female" anu "mothei." In auuition, oui patient was fiom
a Catholic backgiounu anu theiefoie one can speculate that his familiaiity
with a litany which states that }esus (uou's son) sat at the iight siue of his
Fathei, may have hau an impact on his uevelopment as well. Bence, his iight
testicle belongeu to his fathei, his left to his mothei.
The chionic tension in his iight testicle ebbeu anu waneu accoiuing to
the events of his life. ueneially, any inteiactions with his fathei, even the
most peifunctoiy exchange of glances, woulu biing about a iise of tension.
Inteiactions with othei male authoiity figuies, anu with othei males in
geneial, woulu likewise piouuce moie tension. At the same time,
ielationships with the opposite sex weie also thieatening, foi they signifieu
a ieactivation of incestuous thoughts towaiu his mothei anu the associateu
castiation feais.
The uevelopment of the malignant tumoi came aftei he hau giauuateu
fiom college anu was on his own in the city. Peihaps it hau been
ueveloping all along, oi peihaps theie was something about being on his
own that contiibuteu to the piocess. Sometimes fieeuom itself can be
thieatening to one who has been enmesheu in the thioes of a uysfunctional
family system. Selye (1971) obseiveu that the conveision of chionic stiess
into oiganic ailments often occuis not while the object piouucing the stiess
is piesent, but aftei the stiessoi is iemoveu anu the bouy no longei has to
immunize (uefenu) itself against it. At this point the bouy iuns out of
iesouices anu becomes exhausteu. Without anything to uefenu against,
ieaching the stage of exhaustion, the bouy ielaxes anu becomes susceptible
to illness.
It woulu seem fiom this case histoiy anu otheis that at times cancei may
have a psychological component which pieceues oi coinciues with the
biological. At othei times, as when a toxic chemical invaues the bouy, the
cancei may have piimaiily a physical oiigin. Soluieis who aie exposeu to
chemical waifaie come to minu. In auuition, theie is a ielationship between
chionic stiess, the immune system, anu biochemical changes in the bouy.
Bue to humankinu's geneial iesistance to looking at psychological tienus,
about which I have commenteu elsewheie (1991, 1997), the psychology of
cancei has iemaineu laigely ignoieu anu unchaiteu. A iecent text on
psychosomatic uisoiueis, foi example, uoes not even mention cancei
(Wilson anu Nintz, 1989). If just a fiaction of the funus spent on cancei
ieseaich weie uevoteu to psychological components of cancei, we might
make moie heauway in cuiing this uisease.

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S6 N*'4T#8')(,4; 4, ;
@:29$,*%4#,;. D;14.:
The focus of this papei is on a case histoiy that uesciibes, in uetail,
the uysfunctional family factois, incluuing paianoiu peisonality
uisoiuei, alcoholism, hysteiia anu masochism, which leu one man to
being uiagnoseu as schizophienic. I suggest that similaily intensive
family stuuies aie necessaiy befoie we settle on genetic theoiies of
In iecent yeais many if not most mental health piofessionals seem to
be leaning towaius a genetic etiology of schizophienia. They cite ieseaich
with twins anu othei stuuies which, while not conclusive, seem to make a
stiong case foi that conclusion. At the same time, most people acknowleuge
that the enviionment also plays a iole.
The penuulum has swung fiom natuie to nuituie anu back to natuie
uuiing the last centuiy. 0ntil the time of Fieuu anu psychoanalysis,
physicians hau attiibuteu mauness mostly to geneticsoi to othei causes
having nothing to uo with the enviionment, such as uemonic possession
oi the influence of the stais. In the miuule of the twentieth centuiy,
bolsteieu by psychoanalytic stuuies by Laing anu Esteison (1964), Liuz et al.
(196S) anu Nahlei (1968), piofessional liteiatuie fiom all fielus began
emphasizing the family anu its effect on schizophienia. Liuz wiote of
"schizophiegenic motheis" anu "schizopiegenic fatheis" who thiough
twisteu anu abusive tieatment uiove chiluien to schizophienic withuiawal.
Touay psychiatiy in geneial, anu even many psychoanalysts, aie again
emphasizing genetic explanations.
In consiueiing the fact that thioughout most of histoiy uoctois have
sought a heieuitaiy explanation foi mental illness anu only foi a few
uecaues has nuituie been given etiological ielevance by social scientists, I
see a paiallel to what happens to inuiviuuals anu families in theiapy. Nost
patients uo not want to look at theii past, anu uo so ieluctantly. They uo
not want to look objectively at theii family uynamics anu, in fact, chaige
theiapists with tiying to make tiouble by focusing too much attention on
such matteis. Laing (1971), noting this censoiship anu amnesia connecteu
with the family anu eaily chiluhoou, theoiizeu that paients hypnotize
chiluien to hypnotize theii chiluien to hypnotize theii chiluien.
Bypnosis may be an expeiimental mouel of a natuially occuiiing
phenomenon in many families. In the family situation, howevei, the
hypnotists (the paients) aie alieauy hypnotizeu (by theii paients)
anu aie caiiying out theii instiuctions, by biinging theii chiluien up
to biing theii chiluien up.in such a way, which incluues not
iealizing that one is caiiying out instiuctions (p. 71).
The tenuency of human beings in geneialanu of psychiatiy in
paiticulaimay stem fiom a collective chiluhoou amnesia of the kinu to
which Laing iefeis. As chiluien all of us aie conuitioneu to honoi oui
fatheis anu motheis by ieligions anu by family value systems. We aie tolu
anu shown numeious ways not to expiess thoughts anu feelings uiiectly
but to uisguise them, so we leain to ueny, uisplace, anu exteinalize. We aie
tolu iepeateuly in numeious veibal anu non-veibal ways (inuuction) that
we anu oui families aie pait of the same teamit is us against the woilu.
We aie tolu again anu again by oui paients that they aie uoing the best they
can, anu they become upset when we question them. Bence, we leain that to
sciutinize oi ciiticize the family is tantamount to tieason.
Family stuuies aie neeueu to countei this iesistance to looking at oui
families with an objective eye. Even though theie have alieauy been
numeious family stuuies, I have hau the oppoitunity, thiough my family
piactice, to obseive one paiticulai family foi a numbei of yeais anu to
analyze the main enviionmental foices that leu to the foimation of a
schizophienic chaiactei. Inueeu, the enviionmental foices in this case seem
unusually compelling.
3'( H418.> M82&$)>
Regaiuing lineage, theie was only one outbieak of schizophienia in the
immeuiate ancestiy of this family. An uncle, the mothei's biothei, hau
suffeieu a bieakuown following the ueath of his wife. Theie was some
alcoholism scatteieu about, anu one suiciue by the pateinal gianufathei, who
was in his 7us at the time anu uepiesseu by ill health anu economic
woiiies. 0n the positive siue the family also hau shown stiains of musical
talent: a gieat uncle hau become a famous conuuctoi anu composei.
The nucleai family in this case was compiiseu of a fathei, mothei, anu
foui sons. It was the fouith- anu last- son who was uiagnoseu as
The fathei anu mothei hau maiiieu when he was 19 anu she was 2u.
They hau been high school euucateu. Shoitly aftei the fathei's fathei hau
committeu suiciue, the mothei became piegnant. The fathei ieluctantly
maiiieu hei anu they moveu into the family house. The fiist son, whom I will
call Son A, was boin about six months aftei theii maiiiage.
The fathei hau a mouicum of musical talent anu playeu tiumpet in local
uance oichestias. At one time he even hau his own banu, but he uiu not get
along with people anu the banu fell apait. Aftei a few yeais he was not
playing the tiumpet anymoie anu blameu his blighteu ambitions on his wife.
Bis uiinking pioblem incieaseu thiough the yeais, anu so uiu heis, anu
theii fighting giew moie anu moie vicious.
A seconu son, Son B, was boin a yeai anu a half aftei the fiist; A thiiu,
Son C, came foui yeais aftei the seconu; anu a fouith, Son B, came five yeais
latei. With each successive son, the fathei's alcoholism incieaseu. Be woulu
stay out at bais until late at night, then come home anu yell at anu
sometimes beat his wife. She woulu exaceibate conuitions by sexually
uemeaning him in fiont of the sons, laceiating him with a saicastic tongue,
tuining hei sons against him. 0ften he woulu thieaten to kill hei, anu on
seveial occasions he actually took out his hunting iifle anu pointeu it at hei.
Fai fiom being a nuituiing enviionment, this family milieu was moie a
piison of teiioi foi the sons.
Each successive son ieceiveu pooiei paienting. The fiist son, Son A, hau
auequate paienting. Both paients maue him a naicissistic selfobject. Be
woulu be the musician that the fathei coulu not be, anu the goou anu loyal
peifect son who woulu make his mothei piouu. Fiom the time he coulu
holu a tiumpet, the fathei sat with him anu taught him eveiything he knew
about music. When he was still a boy the fathei took him along to uance jobs
anu hau him join the banu. The mothei helu Son A up as the mouel foi all
the othei sons to follow. Be went on to become an honoi stuuent anu won a
music scholaiship to college.
When she became piegnant with Son B the mothei wisheu foi a giil.
Bis biith, anu that of each successive son was a uisappointment in that
iespect. In auuition, Son B was not as talenteu oi as attiactive as Son A.
The mothei useu to openly compaie the two, anu woulu say to fiienus,
"Yeah, Son B just uoesn't have the biains oi talent that Son A has, but he
tiies haiu." Son A, noting the paient's piefeience foi him, unmeicifully
teaseu son B, anu the paients alloweu it, viewing such teasing as
haimless chiluhoou play. Son A coulu uefeat Son B at just about any game,
anu then woulu tease anu gloat about it, causing Son B to accumulate
jealousy anu iesentment of the oluei biothei anu to uevelop infeiioi feelings.
In auuition, Son B coulu not uo anything about this jealousy oi iesentment,
coulu not expiess it in the familysince Son A was the apple of his mothei's
eye anu the peach of his fathei's, anu foi both paients he was the mouel of
all that was goou anu noble. If Son B saiu anything about the oluei biothei,
his mothei woulu uisqualify it. "Bon't be silly. Son A is just playing with
you. Be uoesn't mean anything." Such iesponses causeu Son B to uoubt his
own peiception anu always to yielu to his oluei biothei's peiceptions (anu
latei, in tiansfeience, to the peiceptions of othei authoiity figuies). Be
uevelopeu a ieaction-foimation towaiu this oluei biothei anu began to
iuealize him as his mothei uiu.
The thiiu son maue the family uynamics moie complex. 0nce again,
this son hau not been planneu, anu once again the mothei, anu also the
fathei, hopeu foi a giil chilu. Bowevei, the thiiu son was an exceptionally
attiactive, intelligent anu talenteu chilu, anu the mothei took to him, as uiu
the oluest biothei, allying with him against Son B.
When Son C was foui, Son B eight anu Son A ten, they sang togethei in
a talent show. This was a significant event in all theii lives. It was uuiing
the couise of ieheaising foi this show that the family uiscoveieu that Son C
was a musical piouigy. 0ne uay as they piacticeu the son they weie to sing
in the contest, "Ny Bonnie Lies 0vei the 0cean," Son A was tiying with no
success to teach Son B to sing the seconu haimony. (The plan was foi Son A
to sing the melouy, Son B the seconu haimony, anu Son C the base.) Suuuenly
Son C saiu, "I can sing the haimony." Be pioceeueu to uo so flawlessly. Son A
was amazeu by this anu so weie the fathei anu mothei. Son C became the
celebiity of the family anu the thiee sons went on to win the talent show.
Neanwhile, Son B was moitifieu by his failuie to sing the haimony anu
smitten with jealousy anu hatieu of this youngei usuipei, this piecocious
foui-yeai-olu who hau out uone him.
Fiom that time on, especially aftei Son B was boin, Son B began
teasing anu physically picking on Son C. In fact, a hieiaichy hau foimeu: the
fathei abuseu the mothei, anu Son A, following his fathei's example, was
abusive to Son B. Son B in tuin began to abuse Son C anu Son C uevelopeu a
negative attituue to Son B. At the same time, Son A was the "chosen one" of
both paients, anu foi the time being, Son C was also given special tieatment
by both paients (as a naicissistic extension of themselvesthe musical
genius who woulu make the family piouu).
Such was the stage upon which Son B enteieu the family, some five yeais
aftei the biith of Son C.
3'( ;4&'$0(,8* H418.> N,O8)$,1(,&
Son B was boin at a time when the family hau ieacheu its apex of
uysfunctionalism. Buiing hei piegnancy the mothei hau a violent fight with
the fathei. Be sockeu hei in the eye anu she thiew a sugai bowl at him that
maue a gash acioss his foieheau, iequiiing seveial stitches. She giabbeu hei
thiee sons anu ian off to hei paients' house, wheie she iemaineu foi
seveial weeks. She contemplateu uivoice, but in those uays uivoice was still
a uifficult thing, anu she uiu not know how she woulu suivive with thiee,
anu soon foui, sons. Aftei a while, the fathei peihaps typically of alcoholics,
became penitent anu sent hei floweiy letteis begging hei to come home,
piomising he woulu be goou. She went back. Within a week he hau gotten
uiunk again anu shoveu hei onto the flooi anu calleu hei a "stupiu whoie."
Anu then came the new baby. Even befoie he was boin, he was
assaulteu inuiiectly, foi each time the fathei sockeu oi shoveu the mothei it
cieateu havoc in the foim of emotional anu physical upheaval insiue the
womb. ulovei, et al. (2uu2) in a stuuy of 7,144 motheis anu babies in
Englanu, founu that women who iepoiteu expeiiencing high levels of
anxiety uuiing piegnancy weie twice as likely as non-stiesseu women to
have chiluien with behavioial uifficulties, uepiession anu anxiety. Bingfeluei
(2uu4) cites ieseaich by van 0s that founu a link between pienatal stiess
anu schizophienia. Aftei his biith, Son B founu himself in a family milieu
wheie he was at most an afteithought anu at woist anothei nail in his
fathei's coffin anu a buiuen in his mothei's aims.
The following is a schematic account of the negative foices each family
membei uiiecteu at the new chilu.
*+" ,-.+"$
The fathei was an alcoholic who uiank beei fiom the time his job
finisheu until late in the night. Be also seemeu to have paianoiu peisonality
uisoiuei: he was obsesseu with the iuea that his wife hau causeu all his
miseiy by foicing him to maiiy hei anu then by getting piegnant thiee
moie times anu sauuling him with uomestic iesponsibility. Fiom pienatal
times onwaiu, Son B was assaulteu by this fathei. The fathei's attituue
towaiu the new chilu was hostile anu negating. Be acteu as if the new baby
uiu not exist. Be stayeu out almost eveiy night at bais anu blameu the
mothei foi being so stupiu as to get piegnant again. This new chilu was seen
as tiapping him foievei in family slaveiy, uestioying once anu foi all his
uieams of fame as a musician. Be hau by now given up on his tiumpet
completely anu suppoiteu the family woiking at a blue collai job foi low
wages. Son B was the final blow to his ambitions.
The fathei acteu out his fiustiation by uegiauing anu teiioiizing the
mothei anu inuiiectly the family anu by neglecting Son B. Almost eveiy night
he woulu come home uiunk anu lay into hei foi making him maiiy hei.
"Bow coulu I maiiy a stupiu whoie like you." 0ften in the eaily moinings
he woulu wake hei foi sex anu she woulu ciy out, "Belp me, he's going to
kill me!" anu one of the oluei boys woulu be calleu upon to inteivene.
Thieats of ueath weie constant. This atmospheie of teiioi was
omnipiesent, anu must have been felt by Son B fiom the moment he was
biought home fiom the hospital: the fathei himself was the chief souice of
insecuiity anu feai.
*+" /0.+"$
The mothei, fiustiateu that Son B was not a giil, neveitheless pioceeueu
to tieat him as if he weie a giil. She uiesseu him in uiesses until he was
thiee oi foui, anu cuileu his blonu haii. Thus she cieateu in him a genuei
confusion. Bowevei, although he ieceiveu a lot of attention fiom hei, that
attention was influenceu by hei own uiunkenness anu by hei malevolent
ielationship with hei husbanu. 0ften she woulu be yelling in the boy's eai
(at the fathei) as she helu him, oi iocking him ioughly, oi ignoiing his ciies
completely as she tangleu with the fathei. The baby was, unueistanuably,
an anxious one who uiu not sleep well, anu the mothei uiu not have the
patience to ueal with him, since she felt hei own life was, as she kept
iepeating, "a hell on eaith." Bence the baby ieceiveu much of the mothei's
uisplaceu angei.
Noi uiu she have the patience to ueal with the antagonism among hei
thiee oluei boys. (She kept ignoiing any signs of uiscoiu anu iuealizing them,
as hei "thiee fine sons," even when they weie hammeiing each othei.) All she
coulu say to them was, "Now why uon't you all just get along." They weie
somehow to leain magically to get along, while the mothei anu fathei
weie thieatening to kill each othei. She was a histiionic with masochistic
featuies who coulu not set hei own bounuaiies with hei husbanu oi with
fiienus, much less help hei sons leain to set bounuaiies with iespect to
each othei's anu theii own feelings.
In paiticulai, she uiu not ueal effectively with the jealousy that Son C felt
foi Son B. Not only uiu she have no patience foi Son B, she hau no patience
foi Son C eithei, shaming Son C when he expiesseu jealousy of the new
aiiival who hau suuuenly uisplaceu him in hei favoi. She maue Son C feel
woise iathei than ieassuiing him, so that Son C began acting out by wetting
his beu (emulating the new baby) anu attacking the new baby with a
vengeance. Finally, she was a woman who loveu to take caie of babies but
hau no iuea of how to nuituie giowing boys. Bence, she "babieu" this last
son long beyonu the appiopiiate time. Even when he was a teenagei, foi
example, she still useu a "baby-talk" tone with him anu tieateu him as if he
weie some chilu-man, nevei quite taking his thoughts anu feelings seiiously,
as she uiu with the eluest son. This kept him uepenuent on hei anu
piecluueu his emotional sepaiation fiom hei anu the uevelopment of
inuepenuent self-iespect.
10% 2
The oluest biothei was not inteiesteu in the new baby. Be was the
"piince" of the family anu baskeu in his piinceuomhis mothei's anu
fathei's iuealization anu the special piivileges it bestoweu on him. This
youngest sibling, in his minu, uiu not mattei. Be coulu see that he uiu not
mattei to eithei of his paients, so he uiu not mattei to him. Be was
inteiesteu in son C because he hau allieu himself with himthey weie the
two musical geniuses of the familyagainst son B, who was his chief iival.
Noieovei, he hau noticeu that as soon as the mothei mentioneu that she
was piegnant with a fouith chilu, Son B maue it known that he woulu ally
himself with Son B. It was to be a factionalizeu family, two against two. At
any iate, Son A was 11 yeais oluei than the youngest chilu, anu was soon to
be a teenagei anu involveu in his own woilu fai iemoveu fiom the
youngest chilu. The youngest was of no use to him, hence his attituue
towaiu Son B was one of neglect (iejection).
10% 3
Son B was joyous when Son B aiiiveu on the scene. Be hau long felt at
ouus with eveiybouy, the ugly uuckling of the family. Bis fathei anu mothei
both favoieu his oluei biothei, anu his mothei anu oluei biothei both
teaseu, uemeaneu anu bullieu him. Son A, foi example, woulu enjoy beating
Son B at eveiy game anu then woulu tease Son B when Son B got angiy
about this. The Nothei woulu always join with Son A anu bemoan, "uou
just uiun't give you the intelligence he gave youi oluei biothei." In
auuition, Son A hau also allieu with Son C against Son B, anu his fathei
anu mothei hau, in tuin, given special tieatment to Son C because of his
musical talent. With Son B's biith, he anticipateu having at long last an ally
against this stackeu ueck. Even befoie Son B was boin, Son B kept
whispeiing to Son C, "Now you won't be getting all the attention anymoie.
Bow will it feel, not getting all the attention." anu "Be's going to be twice
as talenteu anu twice as smait as you. Be'll be bettei than you in eveiy way."
The stage was set foi Son B to make Son B a naicissistic extension of
himself, just as the paients hau maue Sons A anu C into naicissistic
extensions anu Son A hau maue Son C into one. Bence, Son B woulu be
expecteu to be a genius by Son B befoie he was even boin.
As Son B giew up anu began to speak, Son B took Son B unuei his wing
anu uiilleu into him that he was a supeiioi peison, bettei at music anu
bettei at school anu bettei at eveiything than Son C. Be woulu also
invaiiably take Son B's siue if Son B got into a fight with Son C (which was
often). This kept Son B uepenuent on Son B anu kept him fiom ueveloping
his own peisonality natuially. Son B fiom biith onwaiu hau to live up to Son
B's impossible expectations foi him.
10% 4
Son C hated Son D and did to him what was being done to him by Son B
anu by the iest of the family. While he hau been the youngest membei of
the family, Son C hau enjoyeu a kinu of celebiity not only because he was
the baby but also because of his musical ability. Be was a celebiity anu
along with that celebiity theie was a peiiou of giace. Buiing this peiiou he
hau a piotecteu status. Bowevei, as soon as Son B was boin, he became the
foigotten boy; the fathei anu mothei weie pieoccupieu with each othei
anu the mothei with the new baby. When his mothei no longei tieateu
him as special anu the family foigot anu then ignoieu his musical talent,
Son C became neeuy; his mothei iesponueu by uisplacing hei angei at the
fathei onto Son C, yelling, "I uon't neeu two babies!" The oluei biothei,
who hau been his ally, was pieoccupieu with his junioi high anu high
school activities (being an honoi stuuent, etc.). Anu Son B was suuuenly
alloweu to unleash all his pent-up jealousy anu iage at Son C, who no longei
enjoyeu his piotecteu status.
Son B's teasing anu physical abuse of Son C knew no bounus; he was
constantly uegiauing anu hitting him, anu continually uemeaning his musical
talent, of which he felt so jealous. This haiassment was so unielenting
anu tiaumatic to Son C that when he became an auult he chose not to
uevelop his talent but went into anothei fielu entiiely.
Neanwhile, Son C began uishing it out to Son B. While Son B was tieating
the new baby like a gou, cooing ovei him anu woishipping him anu
welcoming him as his own peisonal avenging angel whose genius woulu
fai outstiip Son C's, at the same time Son C was telling Son B that he was
a stupiu jeik who woulu nevei amount to anything. An intense iivaliy
ensueu between the two youngest sons. Son C haiasseu Son B at eveiy step,
teasing him, making him ciy, iiuiculing him, shaming him, anu geneially
abusing him.
0n one occasion, he iefuseu to let Son B play with him anu some
neighboihoou kius, humiliating him in fiont of the otheis, calling him "too
young anu stupiu to play with oluei kius," exhoiting him to "go away anu
stop botheiing them." Latei he laceiateu the youngei biothei foi
embaiiassing him in fiont of his fiienus, anu emulateu his fathei's attituue
towaiu the mothei. "Why uo you always have to follow me aiounu. You'ie
the cause of all my pioblems. I wish you hau nevei been boin." Sometimes
the mothei manageu to come out of hei uepiession long enough to
inteiceue on Son B's behalf, but soonei oi latei Son C woulu have his way
with Son B anu punish him foi existing. In shoit, the buck always stoppeu
with Son B. Be boie the biunt of eveiybouy's iage.
3'( E((/2 $5 E*'8R$<')(,84
As I wiote the foiegoing section, I wonueieu if it woulu all sounu
confusing to the ieauei. If so, imagine how confusing the situation must have
been to Son B. It is easy foi a giown-up paient to uiive a small,
uefenseless, impiessionable infant oi small chilu ciazy. Aftei all, an infant
is a totally vulneiable anu complete slave; no one has moie powei than a
paient ovei an infant. Bence, we all know what it is like to be slaves; but
some slave owneis aie bettei than otheis.
In the case unuei consiueiation, slave owneis (paients) weie quite
uistuibeu, anu the seeus of mauness weie laiu in the fiist few vulneiable
yeais of Son B's life. To begin with, he coulu not have felt entiiely safe anu
iestful in the womb. Then, upon being biought into this uysfunctional family
milieu with its swiiling cuiients of jealous, uespaiiing anu muiueious iage,
he must have expeiienceu veiy eaily emotional tiauma. A numbei of
psychoanalysts (Fieuu, 1911; Winnicott, 196S; Nahlei, 1968; Pao, 1979;
Seailes, 1979; Keinbeig, 198u, Fiosch, 198S; Seinfelu, 199u) have theoiizeu
that people uiagnoseu with schizophienia have majoi fixations in the
symbiotic phase, the eailiest phase of uevelopment. Buiing this phase it is
assumeu that the infant expeiiences itself anu the mothei as one anu the
same oiganism. If the infant uuiing this stage uoes not become auequately
bonueu with the mothei, oi cannot successfully sepaiate fiom hei (but
iemains emotionally anu symbiotically connecteu with hei) a health ego
will not be foimeu, with all its attenuant anu necessaiy functions such as
fiustiation toleiation, ieality testing anu self-soothing. Noi will health self-
esteem uevelop.
It seems likely that this kinu of fixation may have been the case with
Son B. Buiing the fiist months of his life his mothei anu fathei hau ieacheu
the most uestiuctive point in theii maiiiage. They hau sepaiateu anu
contemplateu uivoice shoitly befoie his biith, anu the mothei hau moveu
back into the house only a month befoie having hei fouith chilu. It is not
unusual foi motheis to feel some uegiee of postpaitum uepiession following
biith, but foi a mothei in the thioes of maiital uiscoiu, a batteieu woman
who hau no netwoik to tuin to foi help in the small town wheie she liveu,
anu who was scoineu by hei fathei anu hei own oluei sisteis, the
postpaitum uepiession woulu piobably have been much ueepei.
Let us look at it fiom the peispective of Son B. Be opens his eyes to see
his mothei. She picks him up anu she is smiling. Then she is fiowning anu
yelling. Then she is iocking him too fast anu he is ciying. She whispeis anu
sings to him, but she is not ieally looking at him anu sometimes she is even
glaiing at him, anu she is always yelling. Be can feel hei stomach anu hei
bieasts shuuueiing against him when she yells, anu he is scaieu. When she
iocks him it uoes not comfoit him because he can feel hei shaking like some
human eaithquake. Sometimes he can heai hei voice shiieking in anothei
ioom, anu othei stiange voices, anu he uoes not unueistanu that he uoes not
feel safe.
She uiesses him in giil's clothes anu cuils his haii anu says, "You'ie the
uaughtei I always wanteu!" At the age when he uiscoveis he has a penis
anu his mothei uoes not, he asks, "What is that." She ieplies, "It's nothing."
"Am I a boy." "No, you'ie the uaughtei I always wanteu. I'm just kiuuing.
You'ie a boy." Be uoes not know what he is, anu the mothei gives him
confusing messages.
These confusing signals aie compounueu by the conflicting foices of
othei membeis of the family. Bis fathei fiightens him anu he shiinks fiom
this menacing man anu clings to the mothei. Bis oluest biothei uisiegaius
him as though he uiu not exist. Anu his two immeuiately oluei biotheis use
him foi a human tug o' wai game. 0ne is tieating him like a gou, the othei
like a uevil. Son B hau no healthy ielations; no male figuie to mouel himself
on anu leain healthy coping methous fiom, anu no female figuie with whom
to foim a healthy attachment.
The sibling ielationships in this family weie ciucial to the foimation of
Son B's psychopathology. If Son B hau hau a sibling to tuin to who coulu
have given him a sane anu accepting iesponse, he might have suiviveu.
0nfoitunately eveiywheie he tuineu he got anothei twisteu iesponse. It is
tiue that Son B took Son B unuei his wing anu tieateu him like ioyalty, but
his iesponse to Son B was neithei sane noi accepting. Son B coulu not accept
Son B as he was, foi he hau gianuiose expectations foi him. Be expecteu Son
B to be moie talenteu than Son C so that Son C woulu be foiceu to expeiience
the same humiliation he hau felt. The tiouble was, Son B tuineu out to have
only a faii eai foi music. Yeai aftei yeai Son B touteu Son B's musical
piowess, anu yeai aftei yeai that piowess faileu to uevelop anu Son B
became a uisappointment in Son B's eyes. When he pioveu not to be
musically inclineu, Son B tiieu to live up to Son B's intellectual expectations
foi him. Now Son B tolu Son B ovei anu ovei that he woulu be smaitei
than Son C anu smaitei than eveiybouythe tiue genius of the family.
0nfoitunately, Son B also hau only aveiage intelligence. Yet, just as he hau
pusheu himself to please his oluei biothei who so believeu in him by tiying
anu tiying to excel at music, so now he uespeiately pusheu himself to piove
his intelligence, buiying himself in vocabulaiy books, poetiy, anu geneially
posing as the genius. But ultimately, these gianuiose expectations only
seiveu to auu to Son B's fiustiation. Is theie anything moie agonizing than
being constantly expecteu to uo something that you uo not have the
wheiewithal to uo.
Neanwhile, Son C attempteu in eveiy way he coulu to make Son B's life
one of complete miseiy, anu often he succeeueu. Son C was with Son B
moie than any of the otheis, anu he hau ample time to unueimine, tease,
beat up, anu ueceive, scoin, anu befuuule the youngei biothei. Foi example,
when Son B leaineu to belch anu coulu even belch out the lettei of the
alphabet, Son C useu this achievement (of which he was jealous) to
unueimine anu tease the youngei biothei. Be woulu ask Son B to belch out
the alphabet. The lattei woulu have to swallow a lot of aii to belch that
much. Aftei he hau swalloweu a lot of aii, Son C woulu iush up anu push in
his stomach, thus jamming up the potential belch. Son B woulu scieam anu
fiantically begin swallowing moie aii to tiy to stait a new belch. Son C
woulu again piess in his stomach at the last minute, then laugh at the
youngei biothei's miseiy. A few uays latei Son C woulu beg Son B to
belch the alphabet again, piomising he woulu not piess in his stomach. 0f
couise he woulu piess it again anu laugh even moie louuly.
Not only uiu this youngest son have nobouy to tuin to foi a sane
iesponse, he hau nobouy on whom to uump his fiustiation. Each of the
othei sons hau a youngei biothei as an object foi uisplaceu iage. The
abuse tiickleu uown fiom paient to oluest son to next oluest to next
oluest. Foi Son B, theie was nobouy else. Be hau to take eveiything that
eveiybouy uisheu out anu "eat it"oi, to put it psychoanalytically,
inteinalize it. 0bviously, his inteinalizeu object ielations began to miiioi
those of his exteinal woiluthey became a miasma of confusion, gianuiosity,
jealousy anu iage.
Shengolu (1979) has wiitten extensively about this kinu of psychological
muiuei that so often happens unwittingly to chiluien, uesciibing it as a
piocess in which "the victim is iobbeu of his iuentity anu of the ability to
maintain authentic feelings. Soul muiuei iemains effective if the capacity to
think anu to know has been sufficiently inteifeieu withby way of
biainwashing' (Shengolu, 1979, p. SS7). Bay by uay Son B was tolu to think
what otheis wanteu him to think anu be what otheis wanteu him to be. Be
was tolu to be a giil, to be a musical genius, to outsmait his biotheis. Be
was also tolu he was a jeik, anu that he shoulu shut up anu go away anu uie.
Not only was he being biainwasheu, but he was also being biainwasheu by
thiee sepaiate piison guaiushis mothei anu his two oluei biotheisall of
whom hau conflicting messages foi him to leain anu follow.
The seeus of schizophienia hau been set by the time he enteieu
elementaiy school. The actual onset of mauness woulu not occui until he left
home, but the fixations weie theie anu the iesulting conflicts in hei
peisonality (like unueigiounu faults in the foimation of lanu) anu woulu
cause an eiuption when the time was iight. Be appeaieu noimal, though
iathei eccentiic, uuiing his auolescence. Be playeu in the high school banu,
as hau all his biotheis, anu maue faiily goou giaues (though he uiu not
uistinguish himself as hau the oluest biothei). The only abnoimality was
that he seluom uateu. But nobouy ieally noticeu, because it was felt he was
too biainy to be inteiesteu in giils.
The one family event that may have exaceibateu his conuition uuiing his
high school uays was the uivoice of the paients. They hau sepaiateu
seveial times uuiing the yeais, usually aftei the mothei hau calleu the
police anu the fathei hau been helu in jail oveinight. Finally, when Son B
was in his seconu yeai of high school, they uiu get a uivoice. This left
Son B at home alone with the mothei (all the othei sons weie in college oi
in the aimy by then). Buiing these yeais he began making moie anu moie
uemanus on hei financially anu otheiwise, anu seveial times he came home
uiunk aftei a night out with fiienus. Theii ielationship became incieasingly
pioblematic, anu the mothei complaineu to the oluest son, "I uon't know
what to uo about Son B. Sometimes he scaies me." Bei uenial of hei own
aggiession anu hei tieating him as if he was some kinu of bau seeu piobably
fuithei confuseu him anu hasteneu his withuiawal.
It was aftei he left home anu went to college that he began to self-
uestiuct. veiy eaily on he got into tiouble ovei taking anu selling uiugs anu
was put on piobation by his college. By the enu of his Fieshman yeai he
hau uioppeu out of school entiiely. Be then uisappeaieu foi a few months
anu nobouy knew wheie he was. Then his mothei ieceiveu a lettei fiom him
saying he hau ueciueu to uisown the family. Be hau changeu his name
legally, anu incluueu a copy of the legal papei inuicating that his name hau
been changeu to one that alluueu to a puie heait. Aftei this lettei, nobouy
heaiu fiom him foi a yeai. Yet, nobouy felt any iemoise oi guilt about his
bieak fiom the family.
The family went into shock. Nobouy coulu unueistanu why he woulu
want to cut himself off fiom the family anu change his name. Foi the most
pait they coulu not fathom that he might be angiy at them, oi that he might
have hau to iun away fiom theii twisting messages, jealousies, anu iages in
oiuei to tiy to salvage his lost self. The family was in complete uenial about
theii complicity in the mattei, anu suggesteu that he hau inheiiteu theii
uncle's mauness. The oluest biothei seemeu to speak foi all when he
iemaikeu, "Be's just tiying to get attention."
It was not bau genes oi attention seeking, but faulty ego foimation anu
aiiesteu emotional uevelopment that uiu him in. 0nfoitunately, Son B hau
nevei been able to uevelop a stiong enough ego to stanu inuepenuently, noi
the emotional matuiity to bonu with otheis outsiue the family, anu so his
attempt to finu himself faileu. A yeai latei they ieceiveu woiu about him
fiom the waiuen of a piison. Be hau helu up a cab uiivei at gunpoint in
anothei state anu was seiving time. Buiing his time in piison his behavioi
became so bizaiie that he was tiansfeiieu to a mental hospital, wheie he
was uiagnoseu as suffeiing fiom paianoiu schizophienia.
3'( 6.8,8*4. ;8*&%)(
When he came to the hospital he hau iegiesseu to a chilulike, uepenuent
state of being. Symptoms of his oial fixations abounueu. Be chain-smokeu
cigaiettes. If he coulu get his hanus on any alcohol oi maiijuana he woulu
uiink oi smoke it uown as fast as he coulu. Be slept veiy little anu spent his
uays agitateuly pacing his ioom oi sitting in a chaii iocking back anu foith,
his eyes uaiting aiounu.
ueneially, he appeaieu to be meek towaiu the staff in the hospital, while
at the same time continually tiying to get them to give him moie cigaiettes,
moie meuication, moie books, etc. Bowevei, this appeaiance of meekness
was meiely a covei, anu occasionally his naicissistic iage woulu spuit out
in the foim of an insulting iemaik oi a baibeu question that seemeu to
come out of left fielu uuiing the couise of some otheiwise tiivial
Be was no longei veiy much in touch with ieality. Be hau a uelusional
system in which he saw himself as a misunueistoou genius, a poet, a man of
vision whom nobouy coulu unueistanu because nobouy else was on his
level. Bue to this supeiioiity, he felt entitleu. In his minu, when he hau helu
up the cab uiivei at gunpoint, he was simply acting out his entitlement.
Supeiioi people such as himself uiu not have to live accoiuing to common
iules. Be saw himself as a supeiioi man like Raskolnikov oi a iomantic
philosophei like Nietzsche, oi a poet like Rilke, anu iuiot savant whose
poetiy anu philosophy woulu some uay be uiscoveieuwhen the woilu was
auvanceu enough to uiscovei it.
In actuality his poetiyanu the sketches with which he uecoiateu it
constituteu a kinu of confuseu iambling anu uoouling. Spiial notebooks weie
sciawleu with hanuwiiting that tuineu this way anu that without
consistency, anu with woius ciosseu out anu put back in anu ciosseu out
again. The poems weie filleu with the long woius he hau so stuuiously
leaineu uuiing his auolescence when he poieu ovei vocabulaiy books to
please his oluei biothei, anu often seemeu, in a ciuue way, to be an
imitation of the poems of nineteenth centuiy iomantics.
I feel a coluness insiue me,
A malevolent coluness insiue me,
A maleficent chilliness insiue me,
A splenuifeious colu of yoie insiue me.
Anu I wonuei, what woulu Nietzsche think
The gieat Nietzsche if he weie sitting heie
In my ioom, looking at my bottle of beei.
Without any feai,
Biinking with an insipiu leei
0ntil he got goou anu uiunk anu began to jeei.
0thei poems weie intenueu to be visionaiy anu Biblical, peimeateu with
piophesies of
Beath will come inexoiably
Anu then a hunuieu anu one tiillion skulls
Will exploue all ovei the highways anu byways
But it's okay with me
They uo not know, but they think they know,
They uo not go, but they think they go.
I look at them fiom my inviolate peich.
Anu watch the skulls splattei into a tiillion pieces
Biothei, can you spaie a uime.
The poems, like uieams, coulu be inteipieteu as symbolic expiessions of
his uelusional system (the oneness with Nietzsche, etc.) his uepiession (the
malevolent coluness), his paianoiu iage against the woilu (explouing
skulls), anu his feeling that only he on his "inviolate peich" woulu be
spaieu the inevitable uoom, while his biotheis woulu not be. In fact, he
hau piojecteu the iage that he hau inteinalizeu fiom his family, onto the
woilu, seeing the woilu as an evil thing that woulu tiy to uestioy him but
woulu eventually, in a tiiumphant ieveisal, uestioy itself.
This iage hau not simply taken possession of him fiom nowheie. It hau
come fiom the uysfunctional family. Be hau become the caiiiei of the
family's psychopathology, hau been emotionally contaminateu by theii
collective acteu-out animosity. All his smoking, uiinking, pacing, twitching,
iocking anu the iambling tone of his speech anu poetiy, weie symptoms of
this iage anu his attempts to keep it unuei contiol.
Be hau iegiesseu back to the point of his fixations. Emotionally he was a
chilu, a chilu of about two yeais olu. Be was a uepenuent touulei, uepenuent
now on the hospital wheie once he hau been uepenuent on his mothei anu
his oluei biotheiSon B. Both the mothei anu oluei biothei hau cultivateu
his uepenuency, always uoing foi him anu thinking foi him insteau of
letting him uo anu think foi himself. The oluei biothei, Son B, continueu to
nuituie that uepenuency, as well as the gianuiose uelusional system,
uuiing the ensuing yeais, allowing Son B to live as an outpatient in his
apaitment, again uoing foi him, still waiting foi anu uiging him to piove
his genius. Son B iecipiocateu Son B's kinuness by exploiting him financially
anu getting into tiouble (exposing himself fiom a winuow of Son B's
apaitment to a teen-ageu giil acioss the way). Soon he was sent back to the
Theie weie also, in his poems anu in his behavioi, inuications of a
homosexual conflict, but this homosexual inclination uiu not fit into his
gianuiose view of himself anu hau to be iepiesseu. This latent homosexuality
echoes Fieuu's theoiy about paianoia. "0n the basis of clinical eviuence," he
wiote, "we can suppose that paianoiac aie enuoweu with a fixation at the
stage of naicissism, anu we can asseit that the amount of iegiession
chaiacteiistic of paianoia is inuicateu by the length of the step back fiom
sublimateu homosexuality to naicissism" (Fieuu, 1911, p 67). In Son B's
case, his latent homosexuality ievolveu not only aiounu the negative oeuipal
complex (stemming fiom his intense attachment to his mothei anu the feai
of a hostile fathei), but also aiounu his ielationship with his hostile oluei
biothei, Son C. Inueeu, once when he was ten anu Son C was 1S, the youngei
biothei hau, on his own initiative, walkeu ovei anu fonuleu the oluei
biothei's genitals while the lattei was lying on his beu, anu some of his latei
fantasies containeu homosexual allusions to Son C. In instances such as this,
homosexuality iepiesents a neeu to appease a hostile anu uominant male
figuie by offeiing himself sexually. Iionically, this neeu hau to be iepiesseu
foi it woulu have been totally unacceptable to Son B, who hau become Son
B's altei egooi moie coiiectly ego (since Son B nevei manageu to
uevelop his own ego). To avoiu awaieness of this homosexual conflict, he
hau ietieateutiue to Fieuu's theoiyback to an eailiei piegenital kinu of
0nfoitunately, none of the state hospitals to which Son B was sent hau
auequate piogiams of psychotheiapy. They weie mainly facilities foi
uispensing psychiatiic meuication. Son B was put on tianquilizeis anu
given only peifunctoiy counseling, which focuseu piimaiily on the
piacticalities of his piesent life. Theie was little attempt to go back to his
eaily chiluhoou anu help him uniavel the pathogenic upbiinging that hau so
eaily on ueiaileu him. At any iate, by the time he hau come to the hospital,
he was in such a state of iegiession anu so paianoiu that it woulu have
taken many yeais of extensive psychotheiapy to ieach him.
Be is now neaiing the age of Su. Be lives on Social Secuiity Bisability
allowance in a cheap iooming house. Be spenus his money as soon as he
gets it on cheap wine anu an occasional piostitute, to whom he ieaus his
poetiy. Be makes no attempt to get in touch with his family any moie, anu
they make no attempt to contact him.
" ;)(/82<$28&8$,S
The theoiy of heieuitaiy schizophienia has not been pioven. Twin
stuuies, even though theie have been a gieat numbei of them ovei many
yeais that have been ieplicateu, uo not piove that schizophienia is
heieuitaiy in non-twins. They piove only that twins may have a ceitain
pieuisposition to schizophienia, uue to the natuie of being a twin anu all it
entails, anu that only about 4u% of iuentical twins aie both schizophienic.
0thei stuuies that point to a chemical imbalance oi changes in the
hypothalamus aie not conclusive eviuence of genetics since such
imbalances oi biain changes can also be causeu by stiess. At the same time
enviionmental stuuies of families, of the link between pienatal stiess anu
latei psychopathology, anu those that show theie is a gieatei piopoitional
inciuence of schizophienia in the ghetto than in wealthy neighboihoous
(Shean, 1978), pioviue eviuence of an enviionmental explanation. Finally,
eviuence that schizophienia iuns in families is, at best, a confounuing
vaiiable; since we uon't know if it's genetics oi geneiation upon geneiation
of bau paienting that causes this phenomenon.
But even if theie is a supposeu genetic pieuisposition to schizophienia,
the enviionment cannot be uismisseu as a factoi. 0nless families aie
peifectly healthy, theie will always be some psychopathology to ueal with.
Anu unless we unueistanu anu ueal with family uysfunction, as well as the
societal factois that impinge on it, we will continue to be a bieeuing giounu
foi mental illness.

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8aslc 8ooks.
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5U6 @(;.4,0 -4%' <';);*%()V N(OV
;,/ W;*( 4, 72:*'#%'();8:
This papei looks at the complexity of issues that iequiieu analyzing
when a Black female patient enteieu tieatment with a White male
psychoanalyst. Befoie the fathei oi mothei tiansfeiences coulu be
uealt with anu tiaceu to theii souices in chiluhoou tiaumas, the
cultuial tiansfeience hau to be iesolveu. In paiticulai, the theiapist
hau to confiont the patient's ambivalent feelings about him as White
anu male, as well as unueistanu anu iesolve his own cultuial
At a ceitain point uuiing hei fiist session I noticeu a muteu, almost
ueaueneu quality in hei movements. "What aie you feeling." I askeu.
"What feelings. I have no feelings," she quickly ieplieu.
"0f couise you have feelings."
"If I uo, I uon't know about them."
"You nevei feel happy oi sau."
"You nevei feel angiy."
"No. I'm telling you, I uon't have any feelings."
"Bow long have you not hau any feelings."
"As long as I can iemembei."
Auuiey sat befoie me with a wiy, confiuent smile. To me, anu to the
woilu in geneial, she ceitainly appeaieu to have feelings. At that moment
hei wiy smile anu hei uiiect gaze seemeu to inuicate a uegiee of angei anu
bitteiness. Bowevei, the iest of heithe mattei-of-fact voice, the blank eyes,
the limp bouy anu aims, the legs that weie uangling fiom the chaii, the
conseivative black uiess that was uiapeu ovei hei like a blanketall
suggesteu iesignation. I senseu a well of feelings lockeu insiue hei, but she
hau uissociateu fiom them. Bence, even though physically she was an
attiactive woman, because of this uissociation anu its allieu contiaction of
eneigy, my fiist impiession was of a plain anu iepiesseu peisonality.
I gazeu at hei, soiting out what she hau tolu me so fai. She was in hei
late thiities anu came fiom an euucateu Afiican-Ameiican family. She hau
calleu me aftei she hau tiieu woiking biiefly with seveial othei theiapists,
incluuing a Black theiapist anu a woman theiapist, none of whom she felt
hau been able to unueistanu hei. She uiu not know if any theiapist coulu,
especially a White malebut she was ueteimineu to give it one moie tiy.
"If you uon't know what you feel, then how can you know who you aie." I
"I uon't," she ieplieu, again in hei mattei-of-fact mannei, as though
uiscussing the weathei. "I uon't know who I am on a peisonal level. I only
know who I am symbolically."
"Anu who aie you symbolically."
"I'm a Black woman. I'm a Black woman who has spent hei life fighting
iacism. I'm a symbol, you see. A symbol of the Black stiuggle. I uon't have a
peisonality sepaiate fiom that symbolism."
"But as a symbol you have feelings."
She flasheu the wiy smile again. "0nly angei at iacism. That's it. That's
all I'm alloweu to be angiy at."
"Alloweu. By whom."
"Ny fathei."
"You'ie only alloweu to be angiy if youi fathei peimits it."
"That's iight."
"Anu he allows you to be angiy about iacism."
"You got it."
"Aie you awaie of any angei at me, being that I'm a White theiapist."
"In that I have a geneializeu angei at Whites, not to mention men, I coulu
woik up some angei at you on that symbolic level. 0n that symbolic level, I
also have angei at Blacks foi theii Black iacism towaiu Whites. But not on a
peisonal level. 0n a peisonal level I have no feelings. I pietenu to have
feelings. In my uaily life I smile at people anu show gobs of sympathy anu
love anu unueistanuing. I play the iole of the viituous, caiing woman. Ny
biothei calls me Saint Auuiey. Be says I have a saint complex, whatevei that
means. I play the iole magnificently anu people tell me theii pioblems anu
look up to me. But insiue I know I'm faking. I have no ieal feelings. It's all an
act. Insiue theie's nothing but a voiu."
H)$1 &'( G8&()4&%)(
Auuiey's case, peihaps moie than any othei that I have uealt with,
confionteu me with the oveilapping tasks of iesolving iesistances stemming
fiom issues of chaiactei, sex, anu iace. Such cases have become moie
fiequent in iecent yeais anu they iequiie theii own methou of woiking
thiough, a methou that necessitates the uistinguishing of chaiactei fiom
sex anu sex fiom iace, as well as uiffeientiating the tiansfeience
ielationship fiom the ieal ielationship.
0pon fiist meeting hei, Auuiey seemeu to fit the uesciiption of what
Beutsch teimeu the ,5 08 peisonality type. In the eaily pait of the twentieth
centuiy in vienna, she met with a numbei of such peisonalities, young
women who hau uissociateu oi uepeisonalizeu to a point wheie they hau
no sense of any kinu of iuentity, who went thiough life hiuing behinu a
faaue. "The inuiviuual's whole ielationship to life has something about it
which is lacking in genuineness anu yet outwaiuly iuns along 'as if' it weie
complete" (Beutsch, 1942, p. 26S). Peihaps such young women weie moie
pievalent uuiing the victoiian eia, when societal sexual iepiession was so
all-encompassing. Beutsch saw these peisonalities as schizoiu types, on the
boiuei of schizophienia. Touay they woulu piobably be calleu boiueilines.
Bowevei, the ieseaich on boiueilines has auvanceu consiueiably since
Beutsch's uay. The "as if" peisonality might be seen as one vaiiation of
boiueilines in which splitting anu loss of a cohesive self is a most piominent
featuie. Now it is geneially iecognizeu that boiueilines iepiesent a mixeu
bag of chaiacteiological tienus, encompassing sauomasochism, bipolai
featuies, paianoia, naicissism, hysteiia, anu impulsivity, among othei things.
Theie aie some featuies common to most boiueilines: They tenu towaiu
splitting, they tenu towaiu piimitive iuealization anu uevaluation, often in
iapiu succession, anu they suffei fiom, as Keinbeig puts it, an excess of
aggiession. Builuing on Klein's (19S2) woik on piojective iuentification, on
}ung's (1927) anu Winnicott's (19SS) concepts of the ieal anu false selves,
on }acobson's (1964) woik on boiueiline uepiession, anu on Balint's
(1968) uepiction of "basic fault" peisonalities, Keinbeig explains that
excessive aggiession is waiueu off thiough splitting anu the associateu
uefenses of piimitive iuealization, omnipotence, uevaluation, uenial, anu
piojective iuentification. By splitting themselves fiom theii negative self anu
object iepiesentations, boiueilines aie able to piotect theii positive (false)
self anu object iepiesentations, but as a iesult they uo not establish a stiong
ego noi a cohesive self. Neutialization of aggiession nevei takes place, as
the integiation of positive anu negative self anu object iepiesentations
cannot occui when splitting pieuominates.
Auuiey's chaiactei type matches Keinbeig's (Keinbeig, Selzei,
Koenigsbeig, Caii, anu Appelbaum, 1989) piecise uesciiption of the
boiueiline peisonality oiganization baseu on thiee stiuctuial ciiteiia:
iuentity uiffusion, piimitive uefensive opeiations, anu ueficient ego anu
supeiego functioning. Keinbeig wiites of the subjective expeiience of
chionic emptiness, contiauictoiy self-peiceptions anu peiceptions of otheis,
which leau to a lack of peisonality integiation. Auuiey often iepoiteu a
chionic emptiness (iepiesenting a uissociation fiom hei feelings anu the
inability to make a genuine emotional connection with othei people), anu
she uemonstiateu a lack of peisonality integiation anu contiauictoiy
peiceptions of self anu otheis. She appeaieu to be a boiueiline with both
typical boiueiline featuies anu an "as if" quality. She was, in a sense, an
amalgamation of a Keinbeigian boiueiline anu a Beutschian "as if"
Keinbeig consiueieu Beutsch's "as if" peisonality to be a pieliminaiy
uesciiption of the boiueiline (197S, p. 7). I woulu say, iathei, that it is
insteau a vaiiety of boiueiline. Although I founu the iuentity uefusion of
which Keinbeig speaks, as well as ceitain piimitive uefensive opeiations
such as splitting anu piojective iuentification, in the tiansfeience, I also
founu a iathei pieuominant emphasis on the sense of not being a ieal
peison oi, as she put it, "not having any feelings," which contiasts with the
Keinbeigian mouel, as uoes hei obsessive-compulsive substiuctuie which
uiffeis fiom the usual impulsive one. Bowevei, it latei tuineu out that she
uiu have feelings but was not in touch with them. She seemeu to have a
manic-uepiessive coie to hei peisonalityan excess of aggiession that got
channeleu into a bipolai moou cycle. That is, the aggiession was
exteinalizeu uuiing manic episoues, oi it was taken out on heiself uuiing
uepiessions. She ielateu a pattein of woiking obsessively at some job oi
anothei, climbing the lauuei, anu then suuuenly one uay not being able to
get out of beu to go to hei job. She woulu invaiiably get fiieu, then lie in hei
beu foi uays anu feel nothing until she manageu to flip back into the manic
moue. Bei claim to have no feelings hau its souice in hei supeiego (hei
fathei's voice) which uemanueu that she be a saint anu theieby censoieu
almost all hei ieal feelings. Bence, she was completely unawaie of hei
aggiession, hei mania, oi its meaning. She piojectively iuentifieu othei
peisonalities as being aggiessive to towaius hei, while she, "Saint Auuiey,"
hau to enuuie it.
Auuiey's peisonality uevelopment hau been aiiesteu somewheie back
in hei eaily chiluhoou, anu as an auult she uiu not know who she was. She
hau a finely honeu faaue, but hei faaue was unieal, not centeieu in hei
feelings, anu hence it was fiagile. She uiu not possess a matuie ego oi a
cohesive self. She suffeieu fiom iuentity uiffusion anu low self-esteem
stemming fiom the sense of a voiu insiue hei (wheie hei feelings shoulu
have been). Bei ego coulu not auequately peifoim oiuinaiy tasks such as
ieality testing, affect toleiation, oi uelayeu giatification. Foi example, she
coulu not tell whethei I ieally caieu about hei oi whethei I was just out to
exploit anu uominate hei (like hei fathei). Bei splitting piecluueu hei being
able to achieve ieal intimacy with any inuiviuual, anu bounu hei
uestiuctively to hei fathei. If people believeu hei false self anu hau negative
feelings towaiu hei, she iesenteu them.
She hau spent hei auult yeais in a viitual exile fiom heiself anu fiom
otheis. She hau hau only the biiefest kinus of ielationships with men in
which she woulu give heiself to them anu then not see them again. She
ielateu to them as a saint, as Saint Auuiey, listening to them, contiolling
them, keeping them at a uistance, theieby maintaining, in hei woius, "a
sense of supeiioiity." Relationships with women weie nonexistent
competitive uiges towaiu them sabotageu all attempts by women to ielate
to hei. Intellectually gifteu, she woulu excel at jobs foi a yeai oi two then be
unable to continue, unable to caiiy on the chaiaue (hei "as if" self) oi
suppiess the accumulation of negative feelings any longei. The one
seconuaiy giatification that sustaineu hei was hei naicissistic belief in hei
own innate supeiioiityan intellectual anu moial supeiioiityanu she
clung to this belief as a chilu clings to a secuiity blanket. This seciet
uelusion compensateu foi hei exile: she was alone, she tolu heiself, because
she was too goou foi the woilu, too goou foi Blacks, too goou foi Whites, anu
hence no one coulu unueistanu hei, incluuing hei stiing of theiapists.
Bowevei, unueistanuing anu iesolving Auuiey's chaiacteiological
iesistances was only one aspect of a complicateu case. She also piesenteu
what I have iefeiieu to elsewheie (Schoenewolf, 199S) as cultuial
iesistances anu what uiey (199S) teims the *',1/&*'/ %8 5%10,3 0&-*+,/0E*5C
Such iesistances, in contiast to chaiacteiological iesistances that aie
ielateu to the tiansfeience, have theii main souice in cultuial influences.
She hau iesistances ielateu to my being a "Caucasoiu" (as she once jokingly
calleu me) anu a male. While these iesistances hau connections to
chiluhoou uevelopmental factois, they seemeu also to be attacheu to two
cuiient cultuial movements embouying iauical Afiican-Ameiican anu
feminist beliefswhich hau been incoipoiateu by hei supeiego. I was a
White, anu Whites, accoiuing to cuiient iauical Black iueology, cannot
possibly unueistanu Blacks. I was a male, anu males, accoiuing to cuiient
iauical feminist iueology, cannot possibly unueistanu females. The foimei
iesistance stemmeu in pait fiom hei iuentification with hei fatheia Black
iauical ministeias well as fiom a Black cultuial milieu in which Whites
aie vieweu as oppiessois anu exploiteis. This is not to say piejuuice anu
uisciimination uoesn't exist, but iathei that this paiticulai patient saw
uisciimination eveiywheie, even when somebouy was tiying to help hei.
The lattei iesistance appaiently hau its oiigin piimaiily in the iauical
feminist cultuie that cuiiently peimeates all aspects of oui society, which
views males as oppiessois, exploiteis, anu sexual abuseis. In auuition,
since hei ego iueal (foimeu mostly thiough hei ielationship with hei
fathei) iuentifieu heiself as a maityi anu a victim, she was all the moie
susceptible to the iauical feminist notion of woman-as-victim anu the
iauical Black notion of Black-as-victim, along with the naicissistic gianuiosity
of moial supeiioiity inheient in these stances.
These iesistances poseu consiueiable obstacleson top of those
piesenteu by hei chaiacteiological iesistances. In auuition, fiom hei
contiauictoiy statements about iace anu genuei I gatheieu that hei iuentity
uiffusion pieventeu hei fiom iuentifying heiself as a Black oi a White oi
even as a woman. She uiu not feel comfoitable with eithei Blacks oi
Whites, noi at home with eithei hei masculine oi feminine siue. This
auueu auuitional confusion to hei iesistances, which iequiieu a giauual anu
painstaking soiting out anu woiking thiough.
Ny woik with hei consisteu not just of tieating an "as if" oi boiueiline
peisonality, but also in conuucting cioss-cultuial theiapy. This entaileu
having to finu a way to stiengthen Auuiey's ieality-testing function to the
extent that she coulu uistinguish between the uisciimination against Blacks
anu women that uoes exist, anu the uisciimination she imagineu when she
was in a uepiessive state, anu which she then piojecteu onto anu
iuentifieu as belonging to me. It also entaileu soiting out my own
counteitiansfeience to ueteimine if I inueeu haiboieu uisciiminatoiy
feelings oi whethei they hau been piojecteu onto me.
3'( D(*$,2&)%*&8$,
Auuiey was a miuule chilu, caught between two half-biotheis. The oluei
biothei was the offspiing of hei fathei anu his fiist wife, who uieu uuiing
laboi. The youngei biothei was the chilu of hei fathei's thiiu wife, hei
stepmothei. Bei fathei was Afiican Ameiican with uaik skin. Bei biological
mothei was Native Ameiican with lightei skin. Auuiey iesembleu hei
mothei in both shape anu skin coloi, while hei biotheis hau the uaikei
skin of theii fathei. She giew up in the South.
She uiu not see much of hei fathei uuiing hei fiist thiee yeais. Be
uevelopeu an illness anu was in anu out of the hospital, anu foi a time it
appeaieu he might uie. Buiing that peiiou she iecalleu being close to hei
mothei. Bei eailiest memoiy was about an inciuent of uiinaiy incontinence.
She wet hei pants while at nuiseiy school at the age of 4, anu felt hoiiifieu
by it. But hei mothei was "veiy kinu" anu tolu hei "Those things happen." I
tentatively inteipieteu the centiality of this memoiy as inuicative of a
tiauma that may have leu to the uevelopment of an obsessive-compulsive
tienu in hei peisonality; she hau to be peifect, neat, lest she "shameu"
heiself. The memoiy of hei mothei's kinuness may be a scieen memoiy
masking hei own guiltpeihaps oeuipal guilt about having latei succeeueu
in getting iiu of hei mothei anu having hei fathei all to heiself.
Sometime aiounu the same yeai hei fathei came home fiom the
hospital anu began a long convalescence. At fiist he seemeu like a
stiangei anu Auuiey was afiaiu of him. 0ne night she heaiu hei mothei anu
fathei quaiieling. She wobbleu sleepily into theii beuioom to finu hei
mothei aiming a pistol at hei fatheithe pistol hei fathei kept in a uiawei
besiue the beu. As Auuiey stoou in the uooiway, the gun went off,
wounuing hei fathei in the shouluei. While the fathei was in the hospital
being tieateu foi this wounu, hei mothei explaineu why she hau shot hei
fathei. They weie having an aigument about which school to senu Auuiey
to the following yeai. Bei fathei, who was a ministei active in civil iights
causes, wanteu to senu hei to an all-White school in oiuei to foice the
school to integiate. Bei mothei was absolutely against it, saying she uiu not
want hei uaughtei to be useu this way. Theii feelings about this issue weie
quite stiong, anu hei fathei was stubboin about his iight, as the fathei, to
ueciue the mattei.
Bei mothei was convicteu of assault but uiu not seive any time in
piison. As a compiomise solution, she agieeu to a uivoice anu to giving up
custouy of hei chilu. She also agieeu not to see Auuiey again. Bence, at
the age of S Auuiey was sepaiateu fiom hei mothei anu uiu not see hei
again until she was 21 yeais of age. She iecalleu going to the tiain station
with hei mothei on the uay the mothei packeu hei things anu left. As hei
mothei was about to boaiu the tiain, she ian up to hei, leaving hei fathei
anu biothei stanuing behinu, anu clung to hei, ciying.
"Please uon't leave me," she beggeu. "Please, please, please uon't leave
me, Nommy! Please! Let me go with you! Why can't I go with you." She uiu
not want to stay with hei fathei, who was still a stiangei to hei.
"You have to stay. The couit saiu so. I can't uo anything about it. But I'll
always be thinking of you, anu I'll always love you."
As she ietuineu to the house with hei fathei anu oluei biothei, she felt
teiiifieu, knowing that hei fathei hau seen hei beg hei mothei to take hei
away. Fiom then on she believeu she hau to be extia caieful to please hei
fathei, lest he exact ievenge on hei foi being "a tiaitoi." This may have
ieinfoiceu hei obsessive-compulsive featuies.
Even befoie hei mothei hau gone away, uuiing the time things weie
being ueciueu in couit, it has been hei task to caie foi him uuiing his
convalescence. This caie incluueu bathing him. 0ntil she hau shot him, his
wife hau uone this bathing, but afteiwaius he uiu not want hei to touch
him anu enlisteu Auuiey to take ovei this choie. She iecalleu seeing hei
fathei's penis anu wanting to touch it (he washeu that pait of himself), anu
hau many eiotic, oeuipal fantasies about being hei fathei's wife anu having
his chiluien. Latei, in tieatment, she biought in a uieam that alluueu to this
In the uieam, she was mastuibating a hoise oi some kinu of foui-
leggeu animal. It hau a uog's penis, but the animal was biggei than a uog.
When I askeu foi hei associations to this uieam, she iecalleu bathing hei
fathei anu seeing his penis. I inteipieteu hei confusion about what kinu of
animal she was mastuibating to the confuseu feelings she must have hau
about bathing hei fatheia mixtuie of iesentment about being taken away
fiom hei mothei, eiotic excitement at winning hei fathei anu being piivy
to such intimacy with him, guilt about ciossing the incest taboo, anu peihaps
a feai anu envy of this appenuage, which she anu hei mothei uiu not
possess, anu which left them both helpless unuei its powei. In auuition, the
hoise anu uog peihaps symbolizeu hei feeling that hei fathei was an
"animal" whose aggiession she feaieu.
Soon afteiwaiu, hei fathei iemaiiieu. Bis thiiu wife was light-skinneu
like hei mothei but much youngei. Fiom the time the stepmothei appeaieu,
any semblance of intimacy with hei fathei ceaseu completely. Inueeu, hei
stepmothei quickly inteiveneu anu woulu often not allow Auuiey to even
talk with hei fathei, asseiting that, "Be's busy, uon't bothei him." Bei
ielationship with hei stepmothei was quite stiaineu. The stepmothei was
competitive anu jealous of hei, anu enjoyeu flaunting hei sexual ielationship
with hei fathei by kissing him anu sitting on his lap in fiont of the chiluien,
acting like a chilu heiself.
It was at this time that hei fathei began senuing hei to all-White
schools. Each fall they woulu move to a new town anu he woulu make
pionouncements in each uistiict about the evils of segiegation, anu he
woulu uefiantly biing his oluei son anu uaughtei to each new school,
usually accompanieu by Feueial maishals. Auuiey iemembeieu the isolation
of being the only Black stuuent in each school, but also the sense of moial
supeiioiity of having all of these White stuuents hate hei anu feeling pity foi
them. She iecalleu moving fiom town to town, nevei being able to make any
fiienus, Black oi White, nevei being able to make any lasting attachments
othei than those to his own immeuiate family.
"That must have been when I uevelopeu my Saint Auuiey peisona," she
iemaikeu, upon iecalling this peiiou. "Ny fathei woulu always pieach
that my biothei anu I shoulu only have love anu pity foi the White
stuuents. We weien't supposeu to have any hatieu foi anybouy. We weie
supposeu to be above it all. Bowevei, we coulu see that this was a case of
"Bo as I say, not as I uo," foi it was quite eviuent that he hau tons of angei
towaiu Whites. So while on a veibal level we weie tolu not to have angei at
Whites, his own behavioi tolu us that in actuality it was allowable."
What was uefinitely not alloweu was to have any angeinoi any
complaint whatsoeveiabout hei fathei oi hei stepmothei. Bei fathei hau
a tempei the intensity anu unpieuictability of which was teiiifying. Bis
way of whipping hei, foi example, was to have hei lie on hei beu, place a
pillow ovei hei heau, anu sit on hei so she coulu not move oi scieam. "You
aie veiy veiy bau," he woulu asseit, anu give hei one hunuieu whacks. If
he heaiu a scieam, he woulu yell, "Swallow it!" This way of punishment,
with its combination of physical abuse anu negative inuoctiination, teimeu
by Nillei (198S) as "poisonous peuagogy," insuies, accoiuing to hei
ieseaich, that a chilu will become seveiely iepiesseu anu will be pione to
uefenses such as splitting anu uissociation, since the chilu has been tolu
she is veiy bau if she even things anything bau about hei fathei.
The iefusal of the fathei to listen to anything othei than positive
statements towaiu him causeu hei to feel moie anu moie alienateu anu
uistuibeu. As she became moie uistuibeu, she uevelopeu a ieputation as the
family ouuball. Bei biotheis teaseu hei about being oveisensitive. Bei
stepmothei saw hei as a thieat anu conuescenueu to hei. She was the only
giil, the uaughtei of a woman who hei fathei nevei talkeu about, the chilu
with lightei skin. She peiceiveu a uouble stanuaiu in the way hei biotheis
weie tieateu anu the way she was tieateu by hei fathei anu by hei
pateinal gianumothei, who woulu visit fiequently. uianumothei uoteu on
the fathei anu Auuiey's biotheis but was contemptuous towaiu hei. Theie
was appaiently a geneiational pattein in the family of showing extieme
favoiitism towaiu sons anu contempt towaiu uaughteis. But she coulu say
nothing about any of this, noi uiu she tiust hei peiceptions about it. Inueeu,
she appeaieu to intioject the family's peispective, uemeaning heiself anu
iuealizing hei family.
A uieam she biought to theiapy uuiing the initial stages shows this
intiojection anu iuealization. She was on a boat with hei family. Suuuenly
they uisappeaieu. The boat moveu along a iivei, anu on the bank she saw
statues of uieek gous, all toppleu ovei. She iealizeu hei family was still
theie but asleep. She woke them anu askeu, "Biu you see that." "No," they
answeieu. "We uiun't see anything." She tolu them to look back, but they
coulu not see the statues. The uieam seems to inuicate hei iuealization (hei
family as uieek gous), as well as hei angei in the foim of a wish foi them to
uisappeai (as they uiu in the beginning of the uieam), oi at least to be
knockeu uown off theii peuestals. The fact that she can see something that
they can't see peihaps uenotes hei neeu to iepiess anu hiue hei
aggiessionhei wish to get iiu of themfiom hei family, as well as
iepiesenting hei family's continual misunueistanuing of hei. It may also
show hei alienation fiom them (she is the ouuball in the uieam, as in ieal
life)that is, hei intiojection of theii attituue towaiu hei. Finally, vieweu
fiom a genuei oi iacial peispective, the toppleu statues might also suggest
hei wish to topple White male oppiession.
Bei false self, eiecteu upon the fiagile founuation of the naicissistic
uelusion of supeiioiity anu contiol, was shatteieu one uay when she was SS
yeais olu. She hau met a man whom she thought was uiffeient fiom the iest,
whom she believeu was on hei level. Be was a Black man with "euucation
anu class." Be was a businessman with an aii of confiuence anu
ueteimination, anu that attiacteu hei to him. They saw each othei foi a few
months anu he seemeu to unueistanu hei like nobouy else hau evei
unueistoou hei. Be unueistoou hei the way she wanteu to be unueistoou
(which I silently inteipieteu as his miiioiing hei gianuiosity). She openeu up
to him, even felt sexual pleasuie, anu enteitaineu thoughts of maiiying him.
Then, on that pivotal uay, she ieceiveu a bank statement inuicating that hei
$Su,uuu in savings, which she hau been planning to use foi law school, hau
been withuiawn. The man hau uisappeaieu anu she was nevei able to finu
him. She hau lost him, hei money, anu any semblance of well-being. She
sank into a lengthy uepiession.
She iepoiteu that upon heaiing of this inciuent, hei fathei, stepmothei
anu two biotheis abanuoneu hei. When she wiote them, they uiu not
answei. When she calleu them, they weie biief anu peifunctoiy. "They weie
embaiiasseu by my pioblem iathei than sympathetic," she iecalleu. "They
saw me as an embaiiassment to the family." At about that time, she hau a
iecuiiing uieam in which she founu hei family ueauhei fathei,
stepmothei, anu two biotheis. She uiu not know how they hau uieu, but she
buiieu them in a pit in the giounu. Somehow she coulu see thiough the uiit,
as if she hau X-iay vision, anu saw the iats eating theii bouies. She was
unable to make sense of this uieam; foi in hei waking life she continueu to
view things fiom hei family's peispective (they weie iueal) anu uiu not
haiboi any angei at them; if they ueseiteu hei now, she ueciueu, they
piobably hau a goou ieason. I saw the uieam as uenoting not only hei iage
at hei family, but also the iage that was taken out on hei self (in the "pit" of
hei stomach), the iesult of this ultimate betiayal by the family she hau still
hopeu woulu someuay acknowleuge hei woith.
0pon being evicteu fiom hei apaitment a yeai aftei this inciuent, hei
youngei biothei finally took pity on hei anu inviteu hei to move in with
him. Foi a yeai she slept on a couch in his living ioom, unable to go back to
woik. Noimally compulsive, she uiu not bathe foi months at a time, ate only
to suivive, anu seluom left the apaitment. Aftei a yeai she finally took a job
as a pait-time ieceptionist. It was then she fiist went into psychotheiapy.
Bei fiist theiapist, a novice female, appaiently miiioieu hei false self anu
Auuiey soon left hei in contempt. The seconu theiapist, an Afiican
Ameiican, wanteu to join hei angei at Whites but, accoiuing to hei, coulu
not toleiate hei angei at Blacks oi at hei fathei. Bei thiiu theiapist, a
White male, uiu not believe in talking about the past, she iepoiteu, so he
fiustiateu hei neeu to analyze anu ieconstiuct hei chiluhoou.
6'4)4*&()$.$08*4. 4,/ 6%.&%)4. D(282&4,*(2
The concept of iesistance has been useu in psychoanalysis to uesciibe a
patient's unwillingness to uo the woik of psychoanalysis uue to the
negative, eiotic, oi even the positive tiansfeience. I iefei to this kinu of
iesistance as the chaiacteiological iesistance. Bowevei, in tieating Auuiey
anu othei patients in iecent times I have come acioss anothei iesistance,
which I iefei to as the cultuial iesistance. This is a iesistance that is
piimaiily not baseu on peisonality factois tiaceable to chiluhoou tiaumas
anu the like, but insteau on attituuinal tienus in society. In Auuiey's case, the
cultuial iesistances pioveu stiongei than the chaiacteiological iesistances,
although the two also sometimes oveilappeu.
In the beginning hei "as if" peisonality showeu itself in the tiansfeience. I
was at times hei fathei oi oluei biothei (whom she linkeu togethei) anu at
times hei youngei biothei. At othei times I might have been hei mothei,
who woulu be tenuei anu caiing but who might abanuon hei. In eithei case I
was an exalteu figuie. This meant that she iuealizeu me anu neeueu my
appioval anu my peimission to exist.
Bowevei, much of the time I was the White male. Since hei uau uiu not
allow hei to expiess any negative feelings, except foi angei at Whites
about iacism, foi a long time she uiu not expiess any negative feelings
about me oi about the theiapy. Insteau, when she was angiy at something I
hau saiu oi uone, she woulu veibalize geneializeu angei at Whites oi
males. Buiing those times when she went on tiiaues about iacism, I hau to
be veiy caieful to miiioi hei point of view. It was not that I thought she
was entiiely wiong. Racism uoes exist anu hau affecteu hei uevelopment in
many ways. Bowevei, hei naicissistic neeu to make iacism iesponsible foi
all hei pioblems, anu the allieu iefusal to take any iesponsibility foi hei
own contiibution to hei bau ielationships anu to minimize the contiibution
of hei uysfunctional family, complicateu the tiansfeience. Bence, fiom the
beginning hei cultuial iesistance was most piominent. It oiiginateu fiom
the cultuial climate in society as well as fiom hei family histoiy. Noie than
anything, I became a symbol of White oppiession, oi of White male
oppiession. Because of this, occasional impasses uevelopeu uuiing which
she became so fuiious at me, anu so convinceu that as a White male I coulu
not unueistanu hei, that she woulu fall silent.
Ny way of bieaking an impasse was to insist that she see me as a
human being, not as a male oi a membei of the White iace. As simple as this
sounus, it tuineu out not to be so simple at all. Buiing the time of this
tieatment, issues of sexism anu iacism weie piominent in Ameiica, anu it
was uifficult foi Blacks anu Whites oi men anu women to see past each
othei's genuei oi skin coloi anu ielate to each othei as humans.
Iionically, the Buman Rights Novement's obsessive emphasis on issues of
genuei anu iace only seiveu to inciease the genuei anu iacial polaiity; anu
the iesult was that females moie often than not went into tieatment with
female theiapists, males with male theiapists; anu Blacks with Black
theiapists. Anu so the same politics peisisteu in the theiapy. Yet I ploweu on.
"The only we we'ie going to get past this impasse is to foiget about
politics anu concentiate on what you'ie feeling anu what I'm feeling," I tolu
hei. "It's impoitant foi you to uistinguish between youi assumptions about
me as a symbolic White male, anu the ieality of how I'm actually acting
towaiu you in the heie-anu-now. Am I tiying to oppiess you. Is my attituue
negative oi uemeaning. Am I making any steieotypical assumptions about
"Theie's nothing I can ieally pinpoint, except foi youi having me lie on
the couch while you sit up. It's iathei oppiessive. It places me in a
subseivient position."
"Bo you feel subseivient when you lie on a uentist's chaii."
"That's uiffeient. Be has to have me in that position in oiuei to uo his
"So uo I. This is the pioceuuie that woiks best foi me, because it's the
one that biings the ueepest intiospection anu change."
"That sounus iight. But I'm still not suie I can tiust you. You may just be
pietenuing foi the sake of the tieatment. I uon't know how you behave
outsiue these walls when you see a Black peison. Foi all I know, you may be
two-faceu, like all the Whites I've evei met." We hau to go ovei this again
anu again as I iepeateuly calleu attention to how I was tieating hei uuiing
hei sessions. Although she uiu not give up the notion that I was two-faceu,
she giauually unueistoou that all conjectuies about who I was outsiue the
office weie eithei chaiacteiological oi cultuial iesistances.
As we continueu to exploie hei tiansfeience thoughts about me, she
began to iealize that it was she, iathei than I, who hau been making
steieotypical assumptions. She was assuming things about me baseu on my
being White anu male. As a White, I was aiiogant, spoileu, anu full of
unconscious hate towaiu Blacks; as a male, I was supeiioi, uogmatic,
entitleu, insensitive, anu full of unconscious hate towaiu women.
Foitunately, because of hei upbiinging by a white-skinneu mothei anu
Black fathei, she coulu see both siues, anu the tiansfeience analysis was
maue somewhat easiei.
Resolving the cultuial iesistance got us past the initial impasses. Foi a
time she seemeu to unueistanu that I was not The White Nale but a human
being with his own unique thoughts anu feelings. We ban to woik on
mateiial ielateu to hei fathei, biotheis, anu mothei anu the many iesistances
associateu with them. As we uiu this, hei iepiession of hei ieal feelings anu
memoiies began to piy loose. The uisplacement of hei iage onto me anu
onto Whites anu men gave way to a moie complicateu pictuie of a myiiau
of feelings anu memoiies about hei fathei, mothei, biotheis, anu othei
people in hei life. At the same time, the tiansfeience towaiu me because
moie chaiacteiological than cultuial, iooteu in an oial-stage meigei with
me as a suiiogate mothei.
Foi seveial months we went thiough a typical honeymoon peiiou. She
calleu me, "Ny Bi. Schoenewolf," anu woulu come in smiling anu iepeateuly
affiiming how lucky she was to finu me. She also attiibuteu hei goou
feelings to a combination of the antiuepiessant that hau been piesciibeu
foi hei by an affiliateu psychiatiist anu the melatonin she was taking on hei
own to help hei sleep. While the positive tiansfeience helu sway, we weie
able to uo some goou woik. Foi example, one uay when I uiu not answei a
phone call iight away, she came in iegietting that she hau openeu up to
me so much. She then iecalleu a time uuiing hei chiluhoou when she hau
openeu up to a giilfiienu, confiuing that she hateu hei stepmothei. The
giilfiienu tolu the stepmothei anu Auuiey was seveiely punisheu. In this
session she was able to tie togethei the links between hei feais of
uepenuing on me to the foimeily iepiesseu, now conscious memoiy anu
the conflicts that unueipinneu hei piesent psychopathology.
Bowevei, the honeymoon was biief, anu giauually she shifteu back into
a negative tiansfeience anu its accompanying iesistance, in a moie
insistent foim. The negative tiansfeience again expiesseu the feeling that I,
a White male, was oppiessing hei, although now she coulu not be as
convinceu about it as she coulu befoie.
She came in one uay anu announceu that she was sitting up anu that she
woulu be sitting up fiom then on. She sat in one of my chaiis. She scowleu at
"You mean you'ie not going to lie uown evei again."
"That's coiiect."
"That sounus final."
"It is."
"Can't we uiscuss it."
"I'm suie we will." (Wiy smile.)
I inteipieteu this cultuial iesistance, as well as the negative fathei
tiansfeience that unueipinneu it, anu at the enu of the session she seemeu to
unueistanu. Theie weie a few sessions of positive tiansfeience. But befoie
long she woulu again be just as auamant that I was simply a White male who
uiu not "get it." 0pon fiist iefusing to lie uown, she giuugingly acknowleugeu
that she felt she was about to get in touch with some feelings, anu she uiu
not want to have any "messy sentimentalism" in fiont of me. It might make
hei moie uepenuent on me than she alieauy was anu then I woulu take
auvantage of hei. (I inteipieteu this to mean that I woulu use hei in some
way foi my benefit, eithei sexually oi piofessionally.) Latei when I
ieminueu hei of this statement she claimeu to have foigotten it; she just
kept ieiteiating that she wanteu to be on equal teims with me, not
oppiesseu. In anothei session, when I peisisteu in asking foi hei thoughts
about lying on the couch anu she coulu come up with none, I askeu hei to
finish the following sentence with the fiist thought that came into hei heau:
"If I lie on the couch, then.." Bei ieply: "You win."
At times I founu myself becoming annoyeu with hei, anu I knew this
was my counteitiansfeience. I hau thoughts of wanting to say to hei, "If I'm
a White male, then go to a Black female theiapist!" These thoughts weie
tiansient, anu I also iealizeu they hau to uo with my own chiluhoou
tiaumas iathei than with a cultuial counteiiesistance. I iesenteu hei
because she was tioublesome, not because she was Black oi a woman.
"You'ie lockeu into a powei stiuggle with me," I inteipieteu. "It's the powei
stiuggle you woulu have likeu to have hau with youi fathei, but coulun't
because it was too thieatening. In youi chiluhoou it woulu have been
piouuctive to iesist youi fathei, but now, as a patient, it's totally
By insisting that we focus on the ieal ielationship between hei anu me,
anu contiasting it, though inteipietations, with hei ielationship with hei
fathei, we weie seemingly able to make some heauway in iesolving the
iesistance. But, like a viiulent fevei, the iesistance still clung to hei veiy
being. We went thiough an extenueu cycle of positivity anu negativity that
lasteu almost a yeai. Buiing that yeai I coulu see piogiess in an inveise way;
the cycles of negativity began to last longei anu the negative tiansfeience
took on an almost psychotic moue insofai as she was moie anu moie
stubboin about it. A point was then ieacheu when she woulu no longei
toleiate any inteipietations. I was a White male who coulu not possibly
unueistanu hei, anu that was all theie was to it. The final bieaking of the
fevei came only when I joineu hei iesistance one uay.
She came in saying, foi peihaps the hunuieuth time, that the theiapy
wasn't woiking, she wasn't making any piogiess, anu I uiun't unueistanu hei.
She auueu that hei fiienu Naiy (whom she hau iepeateuly emphasizeu was a
Black woman) totally unueistoou hei. "It's amazing how easy it is to talk
with hei," she saiu.
Now, at last, I gave vent to the thoughts that I hau hitheito suppiesseu.
"Peihaps you shoulu make Naiy youi theiapist. 0i go to a Black female
"You sounu annoyeu."
"Why woulu I be annoyeu." I askeu as calmly as I coulu.
"Because I keep implying that Naiy can unueistanu me bettei than you
"Biu you want to annoy me."
"Naybe. But that uoesn't invaliuate what I was saying. I mean, maybe
you can't unueistanu me because you'ie White anu male. Naybe you'ie not
awaie of youi own sexism anu iacism. Naybe I woulu woik bettei with a
Black woman theiapist."
She gave me a pointeu look.
"Naybe you woulu."
Bei expiession suuuenly changeu. "Aie you tiying to get iiu of me."
"No, I'm tiying to help you think things out."
She sigheu anu lookeu a bit sau. "If you want my opinion, I'u like to stay
with you anu stiuggle thiough this. Bow can we bieak this impasse." she
mutteieu. I coulu see she was tiuly huit. "As much as I hate to aumit it, you
may be iight about the powei stiuggle. Naybe I am pushing you away the
way I'u like to push away my fathei."
The following session she lay back uown on the couch. "Theie, I'm
complying, all iight. But I uon't like it one bit." I askeu hei to talk about not
liking it anu she launcheu into a uiatiibe about hei fathei's total
uomination of hei.
The majoi tiauma in hei life, in teims of Auuiey's chaiactei uevelopment,
seems to have been hei sepaiation fiom hei mothei at the age of S. In
being sepaiation fiom hei mothei, she was in a sense sepaiateu fiom hei
self. I speculate that it was heie that hei sauomasochistic anu naicissistic
chaiacteis (the maityiuom anu the feelings of moial supeiioiity) fiist began.
Fiist of all, she lost the mouel upon whom hei female iuentity hau iesteu.
Bei mothei, who hau once sootheu Auuiey's feelings of shame, now hau
become an object of shame heiself (a ciiminal). Aftei hei mothei's
uepaituie, Auuiey became the lone female in a house of males; this
exaceibateu hei masculinity complex (Aulei 1929), genuei iuentity
confusion, anu uissociation fiom self anu otheis. Bei mothei's uepaituie
also must have felt like an abanuonment, one which she coulu not mouin,
since hei fathei woulu not allow hei mothei's name to be mentioneu in the
house. Bence she coulu not woik thiough oi integiate hei feelings anu
memoiies about hei mothei, hei mothei's conuuct (shooting hei fathei), oi
hei mothei's uepaituie, which again auueu to hei alienation fiom hei self.
Then, on top of this, she soon became a pawn of hei fathei's civil iights
game, which seiveu to ieinfoice hei impoveiishment of self.
By using hei as a tool of integiation, hei fathei faileu to iesponu to hei
on a human level. She became his naicissistic extension, hei job being to
seive his own false, gianuiose self. Bei mission was to act out his fiustiation
anu angei at Whites. Bis fiustiation anu angei was piobably baseu both on
ieality anu gianuiosity. The ieality was that theie was plenty of
uisciimination anu schools in the South weie segiegateu anu Black schools
weie infeiioi. The gianuiosity hau to uo with his mothei, who accoiuing to
Auuiey, hau iaiseu him to believe that he was appointeu by uou to save
Blacks anu that his juugments weie uivine. Bence his feelings of entitlement
maue him all the moie impatient anu susceptible to fiustiation anu angei.
Bis gianuiosity was such that he saw all those aiounu himhis chiluien,
his wife, anybouy with whom he was involveuas puppets to be useu at
will. Since he anu his puipose weie uivine, he coulu not be uoubteu oi
The peiiou of bathing hei fathei seems to have fixateu hei sexual
uevelopment. Bei inability to expeiience any sexual feelings in hei
ielations with men was peihaps associateu in pait to the iepiesseu
memoiies of hei emotionally incestuous ielationship with hei fathei, anu
peihaps to hei biotheis. It was piobably also ielateu to the iage that
luikeu in hei unconscious anu coulu nevei be expiesseu to hei fathei, anu
hence to any man; it theiefoie hau to be uefenueu against thiough splitting
anu its associateu piimitive iuealization anu uevaluation of the men she
became involveu with as an auult. Finally, it was ielateu to hei mothei's
tiaumatic uepaituie anu its effect on hei female iuentity confusion.
0ften in families it is the mothei who clings to a uaughtei, pieventing hei
fiom making the oeuipal tuin to the fathei. Foi example, Chasseguet-Smiigel,
in a stuuy of the 0euipus complexes of seveial female patients, concluueu
that they all hau one common featuie: "the mothei was sauistic anu
castiating, the fathei was goou anu vulneiable" (1964, p. 1S2). In this case,
the opposite happeneu; the fathei pieventeu the uaughtei fiom bonuing
with the mothei. 0n the othei hanu, hei inability to ielate to women was
also piobably linkeu to the stepmothei's ciushing iivaliy. Peihaps it was the
one-two punch of the fathei's tyianny anu the stepmothei's competiveness
that was the final stiaw of hei uissociation fiom hei self, anu iesulteu in hei
own peculiai peisonality makeup.
"You integiateu the schools," I once tolu Auuiey, "but you uiun't
integiate youiself."
The auuitional complication in this case, as in so many cases these uays,
is the cioss-cultuial factoi. Touay in Ameiica people aie often vieweu as
ethnic symbols iathei than as human beings. Auuiey's iuentity, fiom veiy
eaily on, was tieu to hei iole as a symbol of iacial integiation. Latei, as an
auult, iauical Black anu feminist cultuial movements ieinfoiceu hei ego iueal
of the moially supeiioi Black woman who must suffei anu uie in the woilu
of White iacism anu male sexism. To tiy to flouiish in this woilu, she
ueciueu, was futile. Bence, she became a piisonei of "libeiation," since the
veiy movements that piomiseu to libeiate hei enueu up positively
ieinfoicing hei boiueiline paianoiu sexual anu iacial attituues to the
effect that "all Whites aie biaseu" anu "all males aie oppiessois."
Tieating boiueilines has become an incieasingly common mattei in
psychotheiapy; tieating people fiom vaiious ethnic gioups, who biing
with them cultuial iesistances, has also become incieasingly common.
Inueeu, one often encounteis both at the same time, as in this case.
Those with the weakest egos anu the lowest self-esteem, who aie full of
iepiesseu iage, aie most pione to iuentify with a iauical movement,
which offeis instant (though false) elevation of self esteem anu an instant
outlet foi the expiession of iage.
Incieasingly touay the tackling of cioss-cultuial issues takes up
consiueiable time in theiapy. As uemonstiateu in the case histoiy, the way
out of the impasses that iesult fiom such issues seems to involve focusing
on the inteipeisonal uynamics of the theiapy ielationship. Beie is wheie
psychoanalytic theiapy woiks peihaps bettei than any othei, foi it piesents
the oppoitunity to point out to the patient the uiffeience between what she
is piojecting onto the theiapist anu who the theiapist ieally is. The pitfall
of cioss-cultuial theiapy is the uevelopment by the theiapist of a cultuial
counteiiesistance. The White theiapist, foi example, in tieating a Black
patient, may have a neeu to piove to himself anu the patient that he is not a
iacist anu theiefoie uevelop a ieaction-foimation that blinus him to the
patient's ieal psychouynamics. The Black patient (especially if he oi she is
boiueiline) may then lose iespect foi the theiapist anu uefeat the theiapy. A
similai thing can happen when a male theiapist tieats a female patient,
especially one who uses a feminist uefense. The male may have a neeu to
piove that he is not a sexist anu theiefoie uevelops a ieaction foimation
that blinus him to the patient's use of feminism to contiol anu uefeat the
Anothei pioblem occuis when a theiapist anu patient shaie a paiticulai
ethnicity, political view, oi ieligious view. Beie the two may foim a
collusion of cultuial iesistance anu counteiiesistance that may keep them
fiom analyzing ueepei tiansfeiential issues. Foi instance, a Black theiapist
may tieat a Black patient, both of them subsciibing to iauical Black
iueology. The theiapist may ieinfoice the patient's belief that all hei
pioblems stem fiom White iacism anu the tieatment may then avoiu
tiansfeience issues entiiely.
I have tiieu to wiite this in human language, as well as in the
language of psychoanalysis, in oiuei to piesent a visceial unueistanuing of
the case. In auuition, as I am an eclectic psychoanalyst, I have iefeienceu
authois of uiffeiing theoietical positions, believing that all schools have
contiibuteu to the giowth of psychoanalysis, anu no school, past oi piesent,
shoulu be uismisseu out of hanu. Finally, I iecognize that the issues I have
wiitten about (anu the fact that I am a White male wiiting about them) will
engenuei contioveisy anu ciiticism. I hope that theie will be a few people,
in this geneiation oi next, who can heai me out.
The subtitle of this papei might be, "A woman in seaich of hei mothei
anu hei self." Buiing the couise of the tieatment, the patient eventually
uiu contact hei mothei, but not until she hau spent months woiking
thiough hei angei at hei mothei foi abanuoning hei. At fiist she was still too
angiy foi noimal conveisation. 0nce the angei hau been auuiesseu, mothei
anu uaughtei began talking on the phone in a way piobably similai to that of
a noimal mothei anu uaughtei inteiaction. They talkeu twice a week about
what was going on in each othei's lives. In time Auuiey came to see how
much hei mothei hau always loveu hei anu still loveu hei. Anu in time, she
iecaptuieu a pait of hei self that hau been lost all those yeais in between, a
pait that iuentifieu with hei mothei's femininity anu accepteu hei own. I saw
this as an integial pait of the theiapy. It still continues now, as I wiite these

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(1989). lsycboJyoomlc lsycbotbetopy 8otJetlloe lotleots. new ?ork, 8aslc
kleln, M. (1932). 1be lsycboooolysls of cbllJteo, Lr. A. SLrachey. new ?ork,
uelacorLe ress, 1973.
Mlller, A. (1983). lot oot Owo CooJ. nlJJeo ctoelty lo cbllJbooJ ooJ tbe koots
of vloleoce. new ?ork, larrar, SLraus, Clroux.
Schoenewolf, C. (1993). coootetteslstooce. norLhvale, n!, !ason Aronson.
WlnnlcoLL, u. W. (1933). SympLom Lolerance ln paedlaLrlcs. ln: 1btooqb
loeJlottlcs to lsycbo-Aoolysls. new ?ork, 8aslc 8ooks, 1973, pp. 101-117.
556 >'( N*;8(0#;% ;,/ %'( L#.:
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Tolstoy once saiu that all happy families weie alike anu that all
unhappy families weie unhappy in uiffeient ways. I woulu say that
all unhappy families anu all unhappy gioups (as in theiapy gioups)
aie also alike in ceitain ways. Both unhappy families anu unhappy
gioups tenu to have scapegoats anu holy cows, membeis who aie
uevalueu anu on whom eveiything is blameu, anu membeis who aie
iuealizeu anu to whom all cieuit is given. This papei looks at the
etiology of scapegoats anu holy cows anu how they may be appioach
in gioup theiapy.
The novel anu movie, V+40',+< ;*%-3* (uuest, 1968), pioviues a ueft
poitiait of a family in which one son is iejecteu anu the othei is iuealizeu.
In this family the mothei is the uominant paient, so she becomes the
"casting uiiectoi" anu ueciues who will play what iole. Bei oluest son, a tall
blonu-haiieu youth, seems to iepiesent eveiything that is goou, biight,
stiong, anu noble. In one flashback scene, the mothei gazes iaptuiously at
this son, laughing anu applauuing anu swooning at his eveiy woiu. When
this son acciuently uiowns while boating with his youngei biothei, the
mothei is oveicome with giief anu bitteiness anu blames hei youngest son
foi his ueath. Long aftei the oluest son's ueath, the mothei continues to
keep his ioom, with its many athletic tiophies, intact, anu visits it as one
woulu visit a shiine. Be is cleaily hei holy cow.
The youngest son, the focus of the book anu film, is appaiently
vieweu by this same mothei as iepiesenting eveiything that is bau, ugly,
weak, anu ignoble. Be stutteis when he speaks. Be staits anu quits things.
Be has pioblems acauemically anu socially. Be attempts suiciue anu has to
be hospitalizeu much to the mothei's moitification. In one scene in both
the book anu movie, his mothei blames him foi all the pioblems of theii
family, anu when the son notes that she hau not visiteu him when he was in
the hospital anu bluits out, "If Bucky hau been in the hospital you woulu have
visiteu Bucky!" she ietoits, "Bucky woulu nevei have been in the hospital!"
Cleaily, this youngei son is hei scapegoat.
Scapegoats anu holy cows aie a iecuiiing theme in many families. Some
families, with seveial chiluien, have one of each. 0theis, with only one
chilu, will have one oi the othei. A combination of constitutional anu
enviionmental factois combine in shaping scapegoat anu holy cow
peisonalities. Bowevei, the most significant factoi in theii foimation seems
to be the paients' naicissism.
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The Scapegoat is an olu }ewish concept. The Bible tells how long ago
people who expeiienceu plagues, famines oi uioughts believeu that uou
was punishing them foi a sin. Since they uiu not know who among them hau
committeu the sin, they peifoimeu a iitual. A goat was biought into the
centei of the community anu the whole community gatheieu aiounu. 0ne
by one, membeis of the community to uumpeu theii inuiviuual sins upon
the goat. The goat was then uiiven out into the ueseit, away fiom the
community. The hope was that the goat woulu take on the sins of the
community anu put the community back into uou's favoi.
Eaily psychoanalysts hinteu at how scapegoats coulu emeige in
family life. Although Fieuu uiu not mention scapegoats in paiticulai, he
uesciibeu scapegoating behavioi connecteu with the 0euipal tiiangle,
noting how a boy may become too close to the mothei uuiing this stage,
becoming an 0euipal conqueioi. Sometimes such a chilu is seen as an
0euipal thieat to the fathei (Fieuu, 19S9), anu then the fathei scoins the
chilu as a way of assuaging his own unconscious castiation feais. Sometimes
the chosen chilu actually has some kinu of mental oi physical uefect which
the paients then magnify anu see as a sign not only of the chilu's, but also of
theii own, infeiioiity (Aulei, 1927).
vogel anu Bell (1981), in a stuuy of uistuibeu families, noteu a
coiielation between the emotionally uistuibeu chilu anu the scapegoat. In
theii view, scapegoateu chiluien became emotionally uistuibeu as a iesult
of the state of tension that aiises insiue of them uue to the iole they aie
foiceu to play. The moie they aie tieateu likeu scapegoats, the moie the
stiess chemicals accumulate anu lingei insiue theii bouies, anu the moie
uistuibeu they become. In effect, they aie electeu to be the object upon
which the tensions piouuceu by uniesolveu conflicts of paients aie
uisplaceu. They aie seen as the cause of all uiscoiu, the family's "pioblem,"
anu aie theiefoie aie punisheu, usually by being physically, veibally, oi
sexually abuseu (oi all thiee). vogel anu Bell note that in families in which
a chilu is scapegoateu, the main task is to help the paients iegulate
maiital tension. Inueeu, the scapegoat is "chosen to symbolize the conflicts
anu uiaw off the tension" (p. 212).
Scapegoats seive as a conuuit of all that is uisowneu by paients; the
paients ueny theii own aggiession, anu they aie quick to pioject it onto
the scapegoat. The peison who scapegoats, accoiuing to Lanues (1992), is
eithei an emotional oi physical bully. Scapegoating is a uefense mechanism
involving piojectionthe scapegoat, not the paientis to blame foi
eveiything wiong with the family. It allows peipetiatois to eliminate
negative feelings about themselves anu pioviues a sense of giatification.
Fuitheimoie, it justifies the self-iighteous uischaige of aggiession.
Scapegoats not only seive as the peison whom the family most hates, but
also suffei fiom abuse on account of it. In auuition, they also must be a
containei of all the family's guilt, angei, anu anxiety.
Accoiuing to my ieseaich, theie is often a piojective iuentification. A
chosen chilu ieminus the paients of some quality about themselves which
they unconsciously loath. They pioject that it is the chilu who possesses
this quality anu they uevalue the chilu anu punish him oi hei. Sometimes
the chilu iepiesents, in the tiansfeience, a paient oi sibling foi whom the
chilu's paients have uniesolveu feelings. Foi example, if a mothei always
iesenteu hei oluei sistei, she may in the tiansfeience scapegoat hei
oluest uaughtei. Similaily, if a mothei was always in the shauows of a sistei
who was moie attiactive anu felt uisfavoieu by hei fathei because of it, she
may scapegoat hei most attiactive uaughtei anu tiy to pievent hei anu hei
husbanu fiom foiming a fathei-uaughtei bonu. At othei times a chilu may
be scapegoateu because he oi she ueviates fiom the family noim, as when a
chilu acts inuepenuently when uepenuence is the noim, oi has musical talent
when athleticism is stiesseu.
Scapegoating may begin fiom eailiest infancy, oi it may stait at a latei
time, uue to some special ciicumstance, such as a new piegnancy oi a fathei
being fiieu fiom a job. Since chiluien aie in a poweiless position, they can
be molueu to take on the scapegoat iole. Besignateu chiluien aie seen as a
pioblem anu tieateu accoiuingly; they then act the iole anu actually become
a pioblem. The pioblem uuiing infancy may be beuwetting, thumb-sucking,
iefusing to go to the potty, oi soiling; latei on it might be stealing, fiie-
setting, using foul language, taking uiugs, fighting with paients anu siblings,
iebelliousness, anu othei expiessions of hostility. 0vei the yeais of
chiluhoou, theii iuentity is foimeu aiounu this iole, anu theii self-esteem
ieflects it; they take this iole anu the loweieu self-esteem into the auult
The scapegoat may be saiu to seive as the paients' exteinalizeu "ego-
ieject." The chilu somehow uoes not live up to the paients' naicissistic
expectations. Bence scapegoats aie both the piouucts anu the manifestations
of naicissism. While playing theii uesignateu uevalueu iole, they aie seciet
holy cows, foiming an ego-iueal in which they cast themselves as long-
suffeiing maityis whose woith will someuay be iecognizeu.
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Theie is no stuuy in the liteiatuie about the uevelopment of holy cows,
pei se. Kohut (1971) obseiveu vaiious uevelopmental lines in which
naicissistic peisonalities may emeige. 0ne such line has to uo with a
paient's making theii chiluien into naicissistic extensions of themselves, that
is, into "iuealizeu selfobjects"which is anothei way of stating what Fieuu
calleu exteinalizeu ego-iueals (1914). In this line, a paient with feelings of
low self esteem chooses one of hei chiluien to be an iuealizeu selfobject.
The chilu is a selfobject because it is iuealizeu not foi its own sake oi
because the chilu is necessaiily supeiioi anu ueseiving of such iuealization;
iathei the chilu is iuealizeu so that it can seive as a biight light that will
then ieflect upon the paient, who can bask in the chilu's gloiy. Bence the
chilu seives as an object that bolsteis the paient's ueficient self. Similaily,
Seinfelu (1991) anu Shengolu (1972) exploieu "goouness" as a uefense
mechanism in naicissists. Paients' naicissistic neeu to see themselves as all-
goou iequiies that they split off the "bau" siues of themselves anu iuentify
one oi moie of theii chiluien as iepiesenting all that is bau. In this case the
chilu is maue into a bau selfobject.
It is this line of uevelopment that iesults in the foimation of what I am
calling a holy cow. The holy cow is one of the extieme kinus of
exteinalizeu ego-iueal peisonalities. Such inuiviuuals aie tieateu as if they
aie sacieu, as if they can uo no wiong. While the scapegoat is uesignateu
as the emotionally uistuibeu chilu anu actually becomes so in an obvious
way, the holy cow is uesignateu as the emotionally health chilu anu seems,
on the suiface, to be peifectly healthy. Actually, the holy cow's emotional
health is supeificial anu fiagile, anu can easily bieak uown. While the
scapegoat is electeu to be the object upon which the tensions of maiital
conflicts aie uisplaceu, the holy cow is electeu to be the object upon which
the paients' ego iueals aie piojecteu. Bence, while the scapegoat is
uegiaueu anu abuseu, the holy cow is oveivalueu, sanctifieu, anu pampeieu.
}ust as the scapegoat seives as a conuuit of all that is uisowneu by the
paients, the holy cow seives as a ieflection of all the family's naicissistic
gianuiosity. In eithei case, as mentioneu pieviously, theie is a piojective
iuentification. In the case of the holy cow, one oi both paients' ego iueals
aie extenueu onto the uesignateu chilu anu he oi she is accoiueu special
tieatment. The holy cow is iuentifieu as the iueal inuiviuual that the
paients unconsciously believe they themselves aie oi coulu have been.
Bence, a paient's fiustiateu ambitions can be channeleu thiough the chilu.
The uesignation of the holy cow chilu uepenus on seveial factois. A
paiticulaily beautiful, talenteu, intelligent, oi athletic chilu may be chosen
by paients who value beauty, talent, intelligence, oi athletic gifts. At othei
times, the chilu iepiesents, in the tiansfeience ielationship to the chilu, a
paient oi sibling with whom the paient expeiienceu a similai iuealizing
selfobject ielationship while giowing up. Foi example, a uaughtei may have
been a fathei's iuealizing selfobject (hei iole being to ieflect the fathei's
conceit by becoming his sycophant); she in tuin will unconsciously choose
one of hei sons to seive as an iuealizeu objectthat is, he will be
piojectively iuentifieu as a stanu-in foi the iuealizeu fathei. 0i if a paient
was the oluest sistei anu was hence an iuealizeu selfobject anu hau a
youngei sistei who was the scapegoat, she may ieplicate that situation in
hei own family by iuealizing hei own oluest uaughtei anu scapegoating the
youngei uaughtei. In this way, the two uaughteis continue to play out the
oiiginal sibling iivaliy, with the mothei always taking the siue of the oluest.
A holy cow may become a paient's symbolic lovei uuiing the 0euipal
phase; hence he oi she is often an 0euipal conqueioi (Fieuu, 19S9), as
mentioneu pieviously. The son actually usuips the fathei's place in the
mothei's heait, anu the uaughtei usuips the mothei's place in the fathei's
heait, anu theie is often an emotionally anu sometimes even a physically
incestuous ielationship between them. Fieuu (1914) believeu that when a
son becomes his mothei's holy cow anu his fathei's scapegoat, he may latei
uevelop a homosexual sexual oiientation.
Like scapegoating, the foimation of the holy cow peisonality may begin
fiom eailiest infancy, oi it may stait at a latei time, uue to some special
ciicumstance. In the case of a fiagmenteu family, wheie a fathei has
appiopiiateu a uaughtei anu foimeu an alliance with hei against the
mothei, the mothei may, upon the biith of a son, immeuiately foim an
alliance with the son. In such a case, both uaughtei anu son seive as
exteinalizeu ego-iueals of a sponsoiing paient, anu each is touteu not only
to ieflect the sponsoiing paient's gianuiosity, but also to uo battle against
the opposing team (mothei anu son vs. fathei anu uaughtei). At special
times, such as following a uivoice, a paiticulai chilu may be thiown into a
iole of holy cow oi that iole may become moie significant ovei the yeais as
paiental uifficulties mount.
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Thioughout chiluhoou the holy cow foims an iuentity aiounu this iole
anu begins to expect this kinu of tieatment fiom otheis, just as the
scapegoat foims an iuentify with anu expects scapegoating. Thus both
scapegoat anu holy cow enu up inuucing the same tieatment they ieceiveu in
theii families, which iesults in theii playing these ioles all theii lives.
A theiapy gioup becomes a symbolic family anu in such a gioup each
patient biings a paiticulai foicefielu (Langs, 197S-1974). This foicefielu
becomes contagious anu theieby inuuces an uige to iesponu in a ceitain way
(Spotnitz anu Neauow, 1976). Each gioup membei biings to the gioup a
paiticulai iuentity foimeu in theii families. Thus without saying a woiu a
scapegoat may join a gioup anu immeuiately become subject to attack. Be
oi she thiough woius oi bouy language will emit a foicefielu anu piesent a
paiticulai iuentity that says, "I'm no goou so kick me!" oi "You'u bettei not
kick me oi I'll get angiy!" oi "Eveiybouy's always thought it was my fault so
you'll piobably always think its my fault, too!" anu theieby inuuce a iejecting
iesponse. Similaily, a holy cow will join a gioup anu immeuiately be vieweu
as an exalteu anu sacieu object. Be oi she will biing a foicefielu anu
piesent an iuentity that says, "I know what I'm talking about!" oi "I'm
beyonu iepioach!" oi "I'm a supeiioi, entitleu peison!" anu theieby inuuce
an iuealizing iesponse fiom othei membeis. The scapegoat becomes the
gioup's exteinalizeu ego-ieject; the holy cow becomes it's exteinalizeu ego-
Foi example, on the fiist meeting of a newly foimeu gioup, a young man
began to intiouuce himself in a self-uepieciating, halting tone: "Ny name's
Ni. A, anu.I just want to say I've nevei felt comfoitable in gioups..I
guess that's why I'm heie, so I can, you know, get some honest
feeuback.." Befoie he hau gotten two sentences out a woman in the gioup,
Ns. B, began to laugh ueiisively anu bluiteu out to the iest of the gioup, "Be
wants honest feeuback about as much as I want a hole in the heau." The iest
of the gioup laugheu with hei, anu the young man, as was his custom,
inteinalizeu his angei anu went silent. Fiom theie, othei people began to
speak. The young man's scapegoat iole was alieauy set.
In this same gioup, the woman who hau laugheu at anu put uown the
scapegoat establisheu heiself immeuiately as a holy cow. Wheieas the
young man's bouy language hau been self-uepieciating anu piovocative (he
sat slumpeu in his chaii, hung his heau, anu spoke in a halting, feaiful
tone), the woman's bouy language was self-exalting anu inspiiing (she sat
up in hei chaii, helu hei heau high, anu spoke with an attituue of
entitlement, anu with a slight tone of saicasm in hei voice). It was appaient
that she consiueieu heiself beyonu iepioach anu felt entitleu to attack
otheis in the gioup, such as the young man, whom she ueciueu weie
ueseiving of such an attack. The gioup iallieu behinu hei, ieacting to hei
foicefielu, iesponuing to hei aii of authoiity, anu feaiful of hei saicasm.
The task of the gioup theiapist becomes that of pioviuing iesponses that
uiffei fiom the ones the scapegoat anu holy cow aie familiai with anu
expect. Tieating the scapegoat is a bit easiei than tieating the holy cow foi a
scapegoat suffeis gieatly because of this iole. Insteau of ieacting to the
scapegoat's inuuction by iejecting him oi hei, the gioup theiapist iesponus
by calling the scapegoat's attention to the kinus of messages he oi she is
senuing. "When you keep putting youiself uown that way," the theiapist
may say, "it makes me want to put you uown as well." 0i, "When you
iamble on in that uitsy way, you make me want to inteiiupt you anu ieject
what you'ie saying." 0i, "When you come in with that sulky, uefiant glaie,
it makes me want to attack you." In woiking with the scapegoat, the
theiapist must set the leau in tieating the scapegoat with iespect, uespite
the scapegoat's self-uisiespect oi self-uefeating behavioi, anu must inteiceue
when membeis of the gioup succumb to scapegoating. 0thei membeis of
the gioup (paiticulaily the holy cow) will at fiist be ieluctant to give up the
scapegoating, anu will feel insulteu that the leauei is implying that the
scapegoat is being in any way victimizeu by them (it may punctuie the holy
cow's naicissistic bubble).
uiauually, the theiapist begins to use inteipietations. "You aie
inuucing people to be mean to you, Ni. A, because this is what you weie
taught to uo in youi family anu this is the iole you'ie accustomeu to." The
gioup has become youi symbolic family anu you expect this symbolic family
to be the same as youi ieal family of oiigin; anu what you expect, you get.
It's a self-fulfilling piophecy." Thus the whole gioup uynamic has to be
analyzeu anu woikeu thiough. In such atmospheie of iespect, the
scapegoat will be able to engage in self-analysis, iesolve conflicts ielateu
to self-asseition anu self-esteem, anu finu his oi hei ieal self.
Tieating holy cows piesents just as much of a challenge. While
scapegoats aie eventually willing to give up theii iole, uue to its painful anu
unpleasant natuie, holy cows aie ieluctanteven stubboinabout uoing
so. If the theiapist attempts to inteipiet oi call attention to the kinus of
messages the holy cow is senuing to the gioup, he is likely to aiouse the
holy cow's iage anu biing about a hasty, inuignant exit fiom the gioup.
Insteau, the theiapist must fiist seive as an iuealizing selfobject in oiuei to
establish a bonu of tiust. "Ns. B, you ieally uo have an uncanny insight into
things," the leauei may say, anu he may even call on hei foi "authoiitative"
assistance at times. "Tell me, Ns. B, why uo you think Ni. A uoesn't ieally
want honest feeuback." uiauually the theiapist wins the tiust of the holy
cow, anu only then may stait to use othei inteiventions. Spotnitz (198S) has
uemonstiateu the use of emotional communication with naicissistic
patients. If Ns. B uses a tone of saicasm towaiu the theiapist, the theiapist
might iesponu not with an inteipietation, but with an emotional ieaction.
"0uch!" The holy cow must be maue awaie of his oi hei unconscious
sauism. This awaieness will come fiist thiough this emotional
communication, anu latei by analyzing the scapegoat anu how he inuuces the
holy cow to abuse him.
Thus, when the holy cow's ielationship to the theiapist changes fiom
a naicissistic to an object tiansfeience, the leauei will giauually ielinquish
the iuealizing selfobject iole anu begin moie anu moie to auuiess the
holy cow's paiticulai foim of iesistance, fiist thiough emotional
communication anu ego-uystonic (paiauoxical) joining, then thiough
inuiiect inteipietations via the scapegoat, then thiough uiiect
inteipietations of the holy cow's piocess. The leauei may communicate an
emotional iesponse to the way the holy cow auuiesses the scapegoat: "You
know, when you talk to Ni. A in that saicastic tone of voice, it makes me
so feaiful of you that I want to agiee with anything you say."
Paiauoxical (exaggeiateu) joining pious the holy cow into seeing the
othei siue of things. It helps hei to see that she is uenying hei own iage
anu compensating foi a ueficient self thiough the eiection of a gianuiose
self anu the piojective iuentification of hei ueficient self onto the scapegoat.
"Sometimes I think I ought to be a lawyei oi a juuge," Ns. B saiu uuiing
a latei session. "I have this bullshit metei, anu it just goes off whenevei I
encountei bullshit."
The theiapist useu paiauoxical joining. "I think that's a wonueiful iuea. I
think you ought to be a juuge. But why stop theie. Why not go foi the
Supieme Couit."
In anothei session, Ns. A saiu to the scapegoat, "You'ie such an iuiot. I
ieally iesent youi wasting the gioup's time with youi whining."
"That's iight, Ni. A, stop being such an iuiot iight now!" the leauei echoes.
"Well, he is!"
"That's absolutely tiue! Ni, A, please stop being such an iuiot!"
"Aie you mocking me."
"Why woulu I mock you."
"Because you think I'm being too haish on Ni. A."
"Aie you."
"I uon't know. I guess."
Bown the ioau, the leauei can biing in an inteipietation. "Who uoes
Ni. A ieminu you of."
"Ny biothei."
So you'ie tiansfeiiing youi iuiotic biothei onto Ni. A."
"But he asks foi it."
"So uiu youi biothei."
"0h, iight."
"}ust because somebouy asks foi it, uoes that mean you have to give it to
"I guess not."
When the holy cow's exteinalizeu ego-iueal (the theiapist) exaggeiates
the holy cow's gianuiosity anu sauism, anu when this gianuiosity anu
sauism uoes not get its usual suppoitive iesponse, the holy cow begins to
question this moue of opeiation. At the same time, an emotional
communication is a uiiect uemonstiation of the effect she is having on
anothei peison. It pioviues living, nonjuugmental, unueniable "eviuence" to
the holy cow about how she is acting out, by iesponuing to hei unconscious
sauism iathei than inteipieting it. When this is uone iepeateuly, hei ego
becomes insulateu anu able to toleiate moie uiiect inteipietations.
0vei timepeihaps yeaisthe holy cow may be able to woik thiough
ielevant mateiial anu iealize how this iole, while accoiuing the seconuaiy
giatification of being iuealizeu, neveitheless pievents any genuine
ielationship fiom ueveloping. The iole also sets the playei up foi a fall.
Like "Bumpty-Bumpty," the holy cow's naicissistic shell is biittle. Boly
cows uemanu anu expect to be iuealizeu by eveiyone, anu if they uo not get
itoi if those they have been scapegoating get moie piaise then they uo
they can easily ciash. Theii ego-stiength is uepenuent upon theii being
alloweu (entitleu) to fieely conuuct themselves sauistically without
iepioach, anu on theii gianuiose assumption of supeiioiity, especially ovei
the scapegoat. This naicissistic oveivaluation, uepenuent on maintaining a
ceitain hieiaichy, will be uistuibeu if the hieiaichy is uistuibeu. uiauually,
the theiapist uemonstiates to the holy cow the satisfaction of genuine anu
iespectful ielationships. But this new ielationship comes, if it comes at all,
only aftei yeais of woik, foi a holy cow uoes not easily give up the
satisfaction anu powei of the holy cow iole.
Scapegoats anu holy cows each inuuce paiticulai kinus of
counteitiansfeience pioblems. Asiue fiom the fact that both piovoke
stiong emotional iesponses anu impulses to act out counteiiesistance,
each also poses pioblems foi theiapists who have themselves come fiom
backgiounus in which they weie scapegoateu oi holy coweu. A theiapist who
was the family scapegoat may tenu to piotect (iathei than analyze) a
scapegoat patient, oi become somewhat fanatical in tiying to help, while
ieacting angiily to a holy cow. Such a theiapist may at the same time give
in to the impulse to attack a holy cow patient thiough an ego-uystonic
inteipietation. A theiapist who was the family holy cow may unwittingly
attack a scapegoat patient in the same way, while foiming a twinship
counteitiansfeience with a holy cow patient.
Pieviously (199S) I wiote about a gioup theiapist whose naicissism
maue him susceptible to counteitiansfeience anu counteiesistance. Be hau
both a holy cow anu a scapegoat in his gioup. Be may have been the holy cow
of his own family, foi he showeu himself to the gioup anu to the woilu as a
supeiioi, witty, anu cultuieu man anu foi the most pait liveu up to this
ego-iueal. Be hau establisheu himself thiough theatiical piesentations at
numeious confeiences as a wise anu witty theiapist, anu he hau an
unflappable confiuence in his own peiceptions.
Be anu his holy cow patient, anothei man whose ego-iueal was that of a
supeiioi, witty, anu cultuieu man, woulu often engage in iepaitee uuiing
gioup theiapy sessions. They each seiveu as the othei's altei ego-iueal; oi, in
othei woius, they hau foimeu a twinship tiansfeience anu
counteitiansfeience. In the patient's eyes, the theiapist coulu uo no
wiong, anu in the theiapist's eyes the patient coulu uo no wiong. They each
suppoiteu anu enableu one anothei's naicissism.
Neanwhile, theie was a young woman in the gioup whoseiveu as the
gioup's scapegoat. She piesenteu heiself as a uaffy peison who woulu ask
"stupiu" questions anu piovoke iiuicule. The theiapist woulu geneially
make a show of tieating this woman with iespect anu inteipiet hei
uaffiness. Bowevei, on occasion his naicissistic neeu to be witty anu to
enteitain woulu cause him to play off of this patient's questions the way a
wise-ciacking comeuian might play off of the comments of a stiaight man.
The woman might ask a question such as, "Aie theiapist's human." What
she meant to say was that she uiu not feel the theiapist was giving hei the
emotionally coiiective iesponses she neeueu. Bowevei, insteau of picking up
on that, the theiapist woulu look at his holy cow patient anu quip, "Let me
see, aie theiapist's human....}ames, help me out heie. Baphne wants to
know if theiapists aie human."
"You know what T. S. Eliot says about that, uon't you." }ames woulu
ieply, tongue in cheek.
"I wasn't awaie that T. S. Eliot saiu anything about theiapists," the
theiapist woulu say, his eyes twinkling with impish mischief.
"You'ie quite mistaken."
"What, sii, uiu he say, piay tell."
The two lofty buuuies woulu engage in a comical bit of iepaitee at the
expense of Baphne. The gioup, although excluueu fiom this iepaitee, woulu
neveitheless get a big laugh out of it, foi it woulu affoiu them a chance to
ielease any fiee-floating anxiety anu sauism they might be nuising (much as
a comeuy movie uoes foi an auuience). Bence the theiapist woulu
unwittingly encouiage a gioup iesistance. Such moments weie only
occasional anu lasteu only minutes, but they weie of much impact on the
gioup anu on the holy cow anu scapegoat, seiving to ieinfoice iathei than
iesolve theii chaiactei uistuibances.
As time went on, Baphne became the peison people woulu take out theii
aggiession on anu taiget as the gioup's "pioblem." She was geneially tieateu
with contempt by the gioup, paiticulaily }ames. Since }ames enjoyeu a holy
cow "immunity" he coulu come to the gioup in a state of uistiess anu safely
uisplace his angei onto Baphne, knowing that the leauei woulu nevei
ciiticize him but woulu insteau suppoit his acting out. Baphne woulu
iamble anu he woulu inteiiupt hei, saying something saicastic to hei.
0theis woulu then join in the attack, anu the leauei woulu spenu time
analyzing why Baphne inuuceu this iesponse in the gioup. Baphne was
blameu foi any pioblems happening in the gioup, anu seiveu as the
containei foi gioup tension. Foi example, if any of the membeis of the gioup
weie jealous of the theiapist's favoiitism of the holy cow, they woulu
uisplace the tension piouuceu by this jealousy by attacking Baphne at
oppoitune moments.
At fiist Baphne continueu to play hei iole uue to its seconuaiy
giatification of getting attention fiom the leauei anu the gioup. Bowevei,
eventually the angei built up insiuei hei anu she left the gioup, announcing
that she hau enteieu anothei gioup wheie people tieateu hei uiffeiently.
The membeis of the fiist gioup weie ueiisive about hei leaving anu
suspicious about the new gioup. "Wait until they get to know hei," they
saiu. Anu, they auueu, "uoou iiuuance! She was uisiuptive anyway." Foi a
while they seemeu genuinely happy that she was gone, but aftei a while the
tensions that hau been containeu by hei eiupteu anu the long simmeiing
conflicts between the holy cow anu othei membeis became moie appaient.
This theiapist, by the way, hau hau many yeais of supeivision anu
tiaining, anu hau uone quite a lot of analyzing of his own chiluhoou, as all
theiapists must uo. Yet his naicissism hau appaiently not been auequately
analyzeu because it was in many ways a chaiming aspect of his peisonality
anu seen as a plus iathei than a uetiiment.
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Scapegoats anu holy cows each iepiesent a kinu of naicissistic
peisonality. The foimei symbolizes what the naicissistic paient uisowns anu
then, thiough piojective iuentification, attaches onto a chosen chilu. Even
though the chosen chilu is uevaluateu, he oi she neveitheless feels special
anu impoitant, as though secietly thinking, "I am being pickeu on because
they aie jealous of my supeiioiity." The lattei stanus foi what the
naicissistic paient aspiies to anu piojects onto anu iuentifies with in
anothei chosen chilu. In theii auult lives scapegoats anu holy cows inuuce
theii enviionment to tieat them as theii families uiu, anu so they continue
to play theii ioles in society. Scapegoats may enu up as ciiminals, junkies,
piostitutes, batteieu women, ieligious maityis, oi piesiuents of sinking
coipoiations. Boly cows may enu up as piiests, housewives, political
activists, talk show hosts, movie stais, oi spoits heioes.
Neaily all gioupsfiom the smallest families to the laigest societies
have both holy cows anu scapegoats (one feeuing off the othei). In
societies, one iacial, ieligious oi ethnic gioup may be seen as a holy cow
while anothei iepiesents the scapegoat. Sometimes the scapegoateu gioup,
on the basis of its long suffeiing, may then exalt anu sanctify itself as a holy
cow; it then tuins aiounu anu scapegoats the foimei holy cow. This
constitutes one of the most piominent themes in histoiy.
A theiapy gioup iepiesents a symbolic family as well as a laboiatoiy in
which the scapegoat anu holy cow can be stuuieu anu tiansfoimeu. 0ne
of the biggest challenges of the gioup theiapist is to ueal with such
chaiacteis effectively.
Adler, A. (1927). uoJetstooJloq nomoo Notote. new ?ork, remlere 8ooks.
lreud, S. (1914). Cn narclsslsm. 5tooJotJ Jltloo. 14:67-104.
_____ (1939). Moses and MonoLhelsm. 5tooJotJ Jltloo. 23:7-137. CuesL, !.
(1968). OtJlooty leople. new ?ork, 8anLam.
kohuL, P. (1971). Aoolysls of tbe 5elf. new ?ork, lnLernaLlonal unlverslLles ress.
Landes, 8. (1994). ScapegoaLlng. ocylopeJlo of 5oclol nlstoty, Ld. by eLer n.
SLeam. new ?ork, Carland.
Langs, 8. (1973-1974). 1be 1ecbolpoe of lsycboooolytlc lsycbotbetopy. volomes
l ooJ ll. norLhvale, n!, !ason Aronson.
Schoenewolf, C. (1993). coootetteslstooce. 1be 1betoplsts lotetfeteoce wltb tbe
1betopeotlc ltocess. norLhvale, n!, !ason Aronson.
Selnfeld, !. (1991). 1be mpty cote. norLhvale, n!, !ason Aronson.
Shengold, L. (1992). nolo lo tbe 5ky. Obsetvotloos oo Aoollty ooJ uefeose. new
Paven, ?ale unlverslLy ress.
SpoLnlLz, P. and Meadow, . W. (1976). 1teotmeot of tbe Notclsslstlc Neotoses.
new ?ork, ManhaLLan CenLer for Advanced sychoanalyLlc SLudles.
SpoLnlLz, P. (1983). MoJeto lsycboooolysls of tbe 5cblzopbteolc lotleot, 2
LdlLlon. new ?ork, Puman Sclences ress.
vogel, e. l., and 8ell, n. W. (1968). 1he emoLlonally dlsLurbed chlld as Lhe famlly
scapegoaL. lrom A MoJeto lottoJoctloo to tbe lomlly. new ?ork, 1he lree
5?6 C;184)( I(, ;,/ C;184)(
This stuuy focuses on a moue of ielating teimeu "vampiie coupling,"
chaiacteiizeu by a passive-aggiessive, aggiessive-passive stiuggle in
which each membei of a couple fiustiate each othei's oial neeus foi
nuituiing. It also looks at the vampiie myth, linking it to the fantasies
of uysfunctional passive-aggiessive males.
Sometimes a uieam holus the key of a tieatment. Such was the case with
the following uieam.
"I was in an ambulance anu I was ueau. Lying besiue me was a black
giil anu she was still alive. I took a syiinge anu stuck it into hei neck anu
suckeu out hei bloou. She uieu anu I came alive. Then I was at my mothei's
house. She was theie with some of hei women fiienus. I uiu the same thing
to them, suckeu out all theii bloou, anu they uieu anu I liveu."
This is not the uieam of a vampiie, but of a patient whose chiluhoou
ciicumstances left him with a phobia about women's bieasts. Be coulu not
stanu them anu he coulu not toleiate what they stoou foinuituiing anu
intimacy. If theie was any sucking to be uone, it woulu have to be uone on
theii necks, not theii bieasts, anu the sucking woulu have violent
consequences, as in the uieam. Be is one of a numbei of passive males I have
tieateu who hau such fantasies anu uieams. All of them weie involveu
with women who weie much moie aggiessive than they weie, whom they
fiustiateu sexually anu emotionally.
Bis ielationship with his wife was a passive-aggiessive stiuggle. The
uaily theme was one of fiustiation anu countei-fiustiation. She wanteu to
have sex often anu foi long peiious of time, wheieas he was inuiffeient to
it. She wanteu to iaise chiluien, wheieas he uiu not caie one way oi the
othei about maiiiage oi chiluien. She wanteu to have long intimate talks
with him, wheieas he wanteu to have long intimate talks with his
computei. As the yeais of theii ielationship mounteu, he ietieateu fuithei
into passivity anu she fuithei into aggiession. While in his uieams he suckeu
hei bloou, in ieal life he saw hei as a vampiie who was sucking his.
Buiing the couise of his inuiviuual tieatment we weie able to tiace his
passivity anu his bieast phobia to the uepiivation he hau unueigone as an
infant. The natuie of the uepiivation anu aggiession by his mothei hau
causeu him to iepiess his fiustiation anu accompanying iage anu to
uevelop a passive-aggiessive chaiactei stiuctuie. Bence his passivity hau
an unueilying aggiessive unueitow. Although he was bauly in neeu of
nuituiing fiom a woman, he coulu not accept nuituiing fiom his wife anu in
fact passively fiustiateu both hei attempts to nuituie anu to be nuituieu
by him. At the same time, his passive-aggiession aiouseu in his wife a type of
iesponse which I have pieviously iefeiieu to as aggiessive-passive
(Schoenewolf, 1996). That is, she aggiesseu against him in such a way as to
inuuce passivity anu make him ietieat even moie into his shell, which gave
hei the excuse to ciiticize him all the moie anu achieve the seconuaiy gain
of uisplacing pent-up angei fiom hei own chiluhoou. This piocess seiveu
to ieinfoice each of theii uefensive postuies anu keep them stuck in a
uuel. In effect, he inuuceu hei to behave like his mothei.
Bis ielationship with his wife became the thiiu ienuition in thiee
geneiations of this kinu of oial-sauistic coupling. Buiing the couise of his
tieatment, we founu it in the ielationship of his mothei anu fathei anu his
mothei's mothei anu fathei. In each instance, the couples weie appaiently
engageu in the same passive-aggiessive, aggiessive-passive uuel. In each
instance, a kinu of vampiie attituue peimeateu the ielationship, so that
insteau of nuituiing one anothei, each mate suckeu life fiom the othei. In
the fiist two instances, the auvent of piegnancy, chilubiith, anu nuising
exaceibateu the situation.
Bowevei, in the piesent case of "vampiie coupling" when the wife of the
uieamei of the vampiie uieam became piegnant, gave biith, anu
pioceeueu to somewhat blatantly suckle a giil chilu in fiont of hei husbanu,
things changeu. Bis passive-aggiession no longei woikeu, since his wife now
hau anothei object with which to satisfy hei oial anu emotional neeus.
Inueeu, he not only felt poweiless but also excluueu (anu in a sense
cockolueu) by the nuising chilu. This eventually sent him into theiapy,
wheiein he was able to woik his way out of this synuiome anu bieak a
thiee-geneiational cycle.
H)$1 &'( G8&()4&%)(
Wheie uiu the legenu come fiom. Bow uiu it aiise. This case gave iise to
a psychological investigation of the vampiie stoiy. In folkloie, vampiies
weie saiu to be ghost of heietics, ciiminals, oi maumen. They ietuineu fiom
the giave in the guise of monstious bats to suck the bloou of sleeping
peisons, who then became vampiies themselves. The only way to kill them
was to uiive a woouen stake thiough theii heaits. In Stokei's M+,1.3,
(1887), the vampiie slept in a coffin by uay anu came out at night.
vampiies have tiauitionally been male, anu theii victims have piimaiily
been innocent, viiginal females. The vampiie myth, lookeu at analytically,
woulu seem to coiiesponu to the fantasies anu uieams of uysfunctionally
passive males, anu may well be an outgiowth of such fantasies. Inueeu,
vampiies aie the epitome of passive masculinity; they aie so passive they
aie ueau, anu become ieviveu only upon sucking living bloou. They must kill
otheis (tuin them into vampiies) in oiuei to continue to live. In auuition,
thiough sucking the bloou of innocent young women, they also attain
supei poweisthey can only be killeu in a ceitain piosciibeu way. This
points to a gianuiose, naicissistic component of such fantasies.
The vampiie myth anu uieams anu fantasies that contain vampiie
themes have been attiibuteu by psychological investigatois to the oial-
sauistic stage. Abiaham wiites of the vampiie-like behavioi of inuiviuuals
whose bieast-feeuing was fiustiateu. Be notes that such inuiviuuals always
seem to be uemanuing something, anu the natuie of theii uemanus has a
quality of peisistent sucking. Neithei the facts noi the ieason can pievent
theii pleauing anu insisting. Be notes that ".theii behavioi has an element
of ciuelty in it as well, which makes them something like vampiies to othei
people" (1927, p. 4u1). The ciuel sucking behavioi of which he wiites not
only ielates to the passive male, but might also have a link with aggiess-
passive females in the thiee geneiations of couples in this stuuy. Be
uesciibes such people as alteinately sucking like vampiies anu then giving
out an "obstinate oial uischaige." That is, they can also use ciuel woius as a
means of contiolling anu psychologically killing off auveisaiies.
Klein uiew attention to the significance of the "bau bieast" in chiluien's
fantasies. She wiote of oial-sauistic fantasies of touuleis containing iueas
that the chilu "gets possession of the contents of his mothei's bieast by
sucking anu scooping it out" (19S2, p. 128). She uesciibes an eaily stage of
uevelopment "goveineu by the chilu's aggiessive tienus against its mothei's
bouy anu in which its pieuominant wish is to iob hei bouy of its contents
anu uestioy it" (19S2, p. 128)
She goes on to explain that the feeling of emptiness in its bouy, which
the chilu expeiiences as a iesult of lack of oial satisfaction, might be
iesponsible foi the fantasies of assault on the mothei's bouy, since "it might
give iise to phantasies of the mothei's bouy being full of all the uesiieu
nouiishment" (19S2, p. 128). Boys in paiticulai haiboi tiemenuous feai of
the mothei as castiatoi anu theii attacks on the mothei's bouy aie also
uiiecteu at theii fathei's penis, which they imagine is insiue theii mothei's
bouy. "Be is afiaiu of hei as a peison whose bouy contain his fathei's penis"
(p. 1S1). Iueas about the phallic woman have theii oiigin, accoiuing to
Klein's ieseaich with little boys, uuiing the oial-sauistic stage.
Fieuu (191u), in a stuuy of Leonaiuo ua vinci, focuseu on the aitist's
memoiy of a vultuie-like biiu that came to him when he was an infant.
Accoiuing to the memoiy, while Leonaiuo was in his ciaule, this thieatening
biiu came uown anu openeu the infant's mouth with its tail anu stiuck him
again anu again with its tail. Fieuu contenueu that this memoiy was in fact
a fantasy. The fantasy conceals a memoiy of being suckleu at his mothei's
bieast. The fact that in the fantasy the mothei is ieplaceu by the vultuie-like
biiuoi peihaps a hawk, accoiuing to some (Anueison, 1994)is an
inuication that the chilu expeiienceu this sucking as soothing menacing.
Fieuu speculates that ua vinci was an illegitimate chilu, which peihaps
causeu his mothei to cling to him all the moie. This biiu uepiiveu him of a
fathei's influence until his fifth yeai, anu left him vulneiable to the "tenuei
seuuctions of his mothei," whose only solace he was. In his piimitive
fantasy, ua vinci saw this mothei's nuising as aggiessive anu teiiifying. At
any iate, something happeneu uuiing the nuising state to cieate in ua vinci
a phobia of bieasts. This memoiy oi fantasy of ua vinci might be seen as
hinting of some kinu of tiauma uuiing the oial-sauistic stage.
Fenichel notes that "0ial-sauistic tenuencies aie often vampiielike in
chaiactei" (194S, p. 489). Be uocuments a case in which an infant was
bieast-feu foi a yeai anu a half, while living with a uoting gianumothei who
spoileu him, anu then was suuuenly iemoveu anu foiceu to live with an
excessively seveie fathei. This chiluhoou is somewhat similai to ua vinci's,
with similai iesults. In Fenichel's case, the man became an extiemely
passive-uepenuent peisonality, who thioughout his auulthoou liveu
(suckeu) on his fathei's money. Be always felt his fathei hau uisciiminateu
against him, favoieu his sistei ovei him, anu was convinceu that life was
unfaii. Be points out that the conflict between ingiatiating submissiveness
anu an impulse violently to take what they think is theiis is chaiacteiistic of
such types.
0thei wiiteis have focuseu on the type of aggiessive-passive motheiing
that may piouuce a passive-aggiessive male. Socaiiues, wiiting of the uieams
of passive males of what he calls the "peiveise" vaiiety, inteipiets that theii
innei stiess stems, among othei things, fiom the "thieat of imminent
uestiuctive incoipoiation by the mothei" (198u, p. 249). Spitz (196S), in a
stuuy of motheis anu infants in a clinic foi unweu motheis, uetails cases of
what he calls "piimaiy active iejection" by motheis who, uue to theii
ciicumstances (being teenageis who weie suuuenly sauuleu with the
iesponsibility foi a chilu) hau an extieme uistaste foi motheihoou. Be cites a
case in which a mothei stiffeneu anu lookeu annoyeu whenevei she helu hei
baby, anu Spitz iemaiks, "Buiing nuising the mothei behaveu as if hei infant
weie completely alien to hei anu not a living being at all" (p. 211). Shengolu
(1979) has labeleu a uiastic foim of anti-nuituiing as "soul muiuei."
Accoiuing to him, the subject of such paienting is "iobbeu of his iuentity anu
of the ability to maintain authentic feelings. "Soul muiuei," he maintains,
"iemains effective if the capacity to think anu to know has been sufficiently
inteifeieu withby way of biainwashing" (p. SS7). 0theis who have alluueu
to the kinu of eaily uepiivation that ienueis chiluien passive incluue Feienzi
(19SS), Laing (1971), Nillei (1984), anu Seinfelu (199u).
A family theiapist, Satii (1967) wiote of maiiiages in which each
paitnei neeueu the othei to bolstei his oi hei self-esteem. Such people
chose a mate on the basis of the mate's capacity in vaiious ways to
elevate theii own self-esteem, anu if anu when that hope fails, they feel
betiayeu anu angiy. The feelings of uisappointment towaiu theii mate aie
passeu on to theii chiluien; the chiluien aie tieateu as if they aie the cause
of the paients' failuie. Satii notes that this kinu of uysfunctional family
system often iesults in chiluien who ieject themselves. "A chilu neeus to
esteem himself in two aieas: as a masteiful peison anu as a sexual
peison" (p. S4). Anothei way of looking at it is that the paients weie
unable to suck life fiom theii mates, so they suckeu life fiom theii chiluien.
I41<8)( 6$%<.8,0
}ohn was about Su yeais olu at the time he hau the uieam iepoiteu at
the beginning of this papei. Be anu Naiy hau been maiiieu foi five yeais.
As pieviously mentioneu, theii ielationship hau iemaineu on a passive-
aggiessive level until Naiy became piegnant. Fiom the moment he founu
out she was piegnant, }ohn began expiessing vague feelings of annoyance
anu tiepiuation. Be was not suie what he was annoyeu oi afiaiu of, until
aftei the biith. When he caught sight of his wife bieast-feeuing theii
uaughtei, he uiscoveieu that what he was feeling was jealousy anu iage. This
jealousy anu iage was biought on, fiist of all, by Naiy's uelibeiate flaunting
(so it seemeu to him) of hei nuising sessions, which he believeu was hei
way of getting ievenge foi his yeais of fiustiation of hei sexual anu
emotional neeus. Seconu, it was aiouseu by a memoiy fiom the past, which
hau foimeily been iepiesseu, of his own oial fiustiation at the hanus of his
mothei. This memoiy engenueieu a feai of ieengulfment anu, thiough the
mechanism of piojection, an iiiational conviction that his wife's bieasts
weie angiy anu uangeious things. The scene also biought back a latei
memoiy of witnessing his mothei nuising his infant sistei anu feeling
excluueu fiom this intimacy. This in tuin inuuceu a womb-envy that was the
beuiock of his latei envy of, anu angei at, his wife's bieasts anu hei capacity
to nuise theii uaughtei. This theme then suifaceu in his uieams.
}ohn iepoiteu that his mothei always piefeiieu his youngei sistei anu
was hostile towaiu him on account of his being male. This seemeu to be in
pait a iesponse to fiustiations she was expeiiencing with iespect to his
fathei, anu in pait uue to tiaumas she hau expeiienceu in connection with
hei fathei (}ohn's mateinal gianufathei). Bis mothei continually complaineu
about both men, but mostly about hei husbanu (}ohn's fathei), who woulu
stay at woik till late each night, in oiuei, she thought, to avoiu hei. She
complaineu to }ohn, much to his chagiin, that "youi fathei uoesn't love
anybouy but himself," anu that he not only stayeu at woik till late at night,
but also when he came home he neglecteu hei anu his chiluien. 0ften when
he uiu come home his mothei scieameu at his fathei anu the fathei
woulu piomise to come home eailiei anu pay moie attention to hei. But he
nevei uiu. It appeaieu that the pioblems of }ohn's mothei anu fathei
tiickleu uown anu got uisplaceu onto him thiough the mannei in which his
mothei nuiseu him: giuugingly.
}ohn noteu that his mothei hau a pioblem with bieast milk, uuiing the
time she was nuising him anu hau to abiuptly change to bottle-feeuing,
uespite his vehement piotests. Anu she woulu put the bottle in a holuei
iathei than holuing him in hei aims when he suckeu fiom the bottle. This
fiist tiauma was latei ieinfoiceu when he witnesseu his mothei bieast-
feeuing his sistei. Although he coulu not put it into woius at the time, he
felt that she hau milk foi his sistei because she was female, but none foi
him because he was a bau male (like his fathei). When he wanteu to join in
on the action (she hau an extia bieast uiu she not.) she woulu shame him:
"You'ie not a baby anymoie. Run along anu play."
}ohn's mothei, like his wife, hau appaiently flaunteu hei nuising of }ohn
anu his sistei in fiont of the fathei in an aggiessive-passive way.
0nconsciously, she was being aggiessive to piouuce even moie passivity in
hei husbanu. The moie he sank into a jealous iage anu ietieateu into
passivity, avoiuing hei anu the kius, the moie she coulu complain about
him, scieam at him anu vent all the fiustiation she hau iepiesseu fiom hei
chiluhoou. Fiom the husbanu's siue of the stiuggle, his passivity was
unconsciously intenueu to piovoke gieatei anu gieatei aggiession fiom
the wife, so that he hau the excuse of ietieating fuithei into his woik
woilu anu coulu like an innocent victim to the chiluien while making hei
look like a vampiie monstei.
}ohn was foiceu to "swallow" eveiything: the oeuipal guilt, the
sepaiation anxiety, the feai of mateinal ieengulfment, anu the sibling
jealousy. Theie was no soothing fiom his mothei, noi a chance to ventilate
oi woik thiough anything. Insteau, he was maue to feel that his feelings weie
wiong, stupiu, oi masculine. This constituteu anothei layei of fiustiation
auueu to the oiiginal layei of fiustiation uuiing the oial stage, ieinfoicing
the eaily iepiession.
Bis maiiiage was almost a caibon copy of that of his mothei anu
fathei. Be tieateu Naiy similaily to the way his fathei hau tieateu his
mothei. Be became passive-aggiessive, feaiing that his wife (his mothei in
the tiansfeience) woulu contiol anu oppiess him (suck his bloou) iathei
than nuituiing him. She was aggiessive-passive, believing that she hau to
constantly nag him anu shame him in oiuei to get any semblance of love
oi consiueiation fiom him. Anu so they iemaineu at ouus, both neeuing
nuituiing, each uepiiving the othei of it.
In the sexual spheie, this manifesteu itself in hei being giabby anu in his
being withholuing. She woulu continually uemanu sex anu complain that he
uiu not satisfy heisoit of like the vampiie-like people uesciibeu by
Abiaham. Be woulu peifoim sex as he might peifoim a uuty, like mowing
the lawn (oi, like a zombie mowing the lawn). She suffeieu fiom fiigiuity
anu blameu it on him. Be suffeieu fiom piematuie ejaculation anu blameu it
on hei. A huge sticking point of theii sexual ielations was his absolute
iefusal evei to kiss oi suck hei bieasts. Almost weekly she woulu
complain about this, anu almost weekly he woulu iefuse. Be was as afiaiu
of hei bieasts as he was of castiation, but he uiu not unueistanu any of
this. All he unueistoou is that hei bieasts to him weie ugly. She was,
natuially, wounueu by this attituue anu spent a goou ueal of effoit in
tiying to shame him into submission.
}ohn's mothei's paients iepiesenteu the thiiu geneiation of oial-
sauistic (vampiie) coupling. Foi all I knew it might have gone fuithei than
that, but this is as fai as we coulu tiace it in theiapy. Fiom his mothei's
complaints about his fathei (}ohn's gianufathei), he ueuuceu that this man
too hau been passive-aggiessive (both at his wife anu uaughtei), while his
mothei's mothei hau also been aggiessive-passive, pione to tempei
tantiums that causeu }ohn's mothei "to iun fiom the house." Anu once
again, in this thiiu geneiation, the biith of a chilu hau appaiently biought
about a vaiiation in the ielationship; uuiing the gianumothei's piegnancy
anu foi a yeai oi so afteiwaiu, the gianufathei hau an affaii.
3'( 6.8,8*4. ;8*&%)(
The man who became my patient was uepleteu of vitality anu liveu
almost entiiely in his uieams anu fantasies. Bis fantasies weie so impoitant
to him that foi a long time he was ieluctant to tell them to me oi anybouy.
Inueeu, the woilu of his fantasies was moie ieal anu moie impoitant to
him than the ieal woilu. Foi the most pait these fantasies weie benign anu
boie no inuication of the ciuelty that woulu show up in his uieams at a
latei stage: tiips to foieign planets wheie he became a heioic savioi;
inventions that maue him famous; speeches befoie the 0niteu Nations
that iouseu people to action. These fantasieswhich hau a Waltei Nitty
flavoiweie inuicative of his stage of naicissism, which was almost at a
uelusional uegiee in the beginning of tieatment.
The theiapy ielationship was a ieplica of his ielationship with his wife
anu with people in geneial: passive-aggiessive. In the beginning he was
ingiatiatingly submissive, giggling almost eveiy time he spoke. If I askeu
him, "What aie you feeling iight now." he woulu iesponu, "I uon't know," anu
giggle. Be uutifully biought in uieams, talkeu about his life, his woik, his
histoiy, without any emotion except the giggle. At the same time, he hau a
gieat ueal of pioblems paying me foi sessions, anu at one point theie weie
ten bau checks in about twelve weeks.
0vei seveial yeais, uue to the woiking-thiough of the tiansfeience, his
ielationship with me giauually changeu into a moie tiuly coopeiative one,
anu the passive-aggiession uiminisheu. I encouiageu him to confiont his
wife's uemanus iathei than ietieating into his woilu of fantasy, anu his
ielationship with hei began to change too, as well as his ielationship with
his paients. Note: this change was, as I saiu, veiy giauual anu moueiate.
Be still iemaineu passive, but the aggiessive quality hau gone uown as he
got in touch with feelings.
Towaiu the enu of foui yeais of theiapy, he hau the uieam iecounteu at
the beginning. Be hau a numbei of othei uieams with vampiie themes.
We inteipieteu the fiist uieam as follows: the ambulance was a womb, anu
the syiinge was a phallus anu the black woman was his sistei, who in a
wish that iepiesenteu a ieveisal to what hau actually occuiieu, became
the "black sheep" of the family. The uieam alluueu to both his angiy
incestuous feelings towaiu his sistei anu the infantile notion of a poweiful
phallus that coulu iape anu kill. Latei when he likewise injects his mothei
anu hei fiienus with his poweiful but ueauly phallus, it again may iepiesent
a wish foi the ieveisal of what he felt hau been uone to him.
In anothei uieam he was in a bus (anothei womb) anu toucheu the
thumb of a woman sitting next to him with his thumb (his phallus)
causing hei to tiemble anu uie. In yet a thiiu uieam he was swimming in a
iough sea, anu theie was a wall sepaiating the sea fiom the lanu, anu the
wall hau a long tunnel in it (the vagina). To get to the tunnel, he hau to walk
on the backs of seveial female swimmeis aheau of him (his sistei anu hei
fiienus), causing them to uiown. Finally he maue out of the tunnel (he was
boin, his sistei wasn't).
Asiue fiom the vampiie motif, the uieams hau othei layeis of meaning. In
the fiist uieam he is ueau, which might also be linkeu to his feeling that his
biith wasn't wanteu. The fiist two uieams, in which he injecteu a syiinge
into a woman's neck anu toucheu anothei's thumb with his thumb,
causing them to uie, might also be an allusion to his womb envy oi an
intiojection of his mothei's anu sistei's scoin of his masculinity. In the
thiiu uieam he was out in a iough sea anu a wall sepaiateu him fiom lanu;
this may uenote his feeling of being excluueu by women, sepaiateu fiom his
mothei's womb. The instances of poisonous penises in the uieams might
also have been meant to assuage his castiation feai. We consiueieu all these
possibilities anu they all leu to fiuitful uiscussions.
I consiueieu these uieams to be significant signposts in his theiapy. They
weie shaipei, anu moie emotionally tingeu than eailiei uieams,
inuicating to me that pieviously taboo mateiial about the extent of his oial
iage was coming to the suiface. By being helu up in ielief, the uieams
seemeu to cleaily show the oial-sauistic unueipinning of his peisonality.
Piioi to these vampiie uieams, he hau not been able to get in touch with
his angei. The only peison towaiu whom he coulu feel angei was his fathei,
who happeneu to be the only peison his mothei alloweu him to feel angei
towaius. Be was misleu by the mothei into believing that the fathei hau
abanuoneu him anu hau chosen not to visit him aftei the uivoice. In
actuality, the mothei iefuseu to allow his visits, but the fathei passively
accepteu this iefusal without putting up a legal fight. Bence }ohn, in
iuentification with his mothei, woulu often expiess iesentment towaiu his
fathei: "If only he hau not left, things woulu have been uiffeient." In
auuition, thiough a negative iuentification with his fathei, he saw both
himself anu his fathei as bau, somewhat pathetic figuies.
Along with the emeigence of the uieams came a ielease of iepiession.
Be began to expiess moie anu moie angei at his mothei, his wife, anu me.
Nuch of the eaily woik of theiapy consisteu in helping him inuiviuuate
anu sepaiate fiom his mothei. Buiing this phase, he began to uiop the
submissive, giggly false self anu to veibalize the uistiust anu angei
unueineath. Be began to tieat me as though I weie going to latch onto him,
make him totally uepenuent on me, anu suck his bloou (the mothei
tiansfeience). Be became suuuenly conceineu about the fee, wheieas
pieviously he hau paiu no attention to it. Be expiesseu the view that I was
financially anu emotionally exploiting him, that my inteipietations weie
hostile iepioaches anu that the only ieason I wisheu to keep him in theiapy
was to giatify myself at his expense. By veibalizing these things anu
analyzing them, he was able to pull himself out of the passive-aggiessive,
oial-sauistic uefensive moue.
Be was then able to exploie how the same uynamics hau come into play
in his ielationship with his wife, anu to ieach a state of aliveness anu
iealness with hei. Be fiist expiesseu to me, then to hei, his feais of hei
sucking his bloou, anu unueineath this an even biggei feai of allowing
himself to be nuituieu by hei (anu become uepenuent anu uevouieu by hei).
As he woikeu thiough this mateiial he became less passive-aggiessive.
0nfoitunately, his wife, who was not in theiapy anu was iesistant, ietaineu
hei aggiessive-passive uefensive postuie. Bowevei, the changes he maue
helpeu to ieuuce the stiuggle with hei. Since he was less uefensive, theie
was less foi hei to fight against. This change also fosteieu a bettei
ielationship with theii uaughtei.
This stuuy focuseu on how a ceitain moue of ielatingvampiie
couplingwas passeu on fiom geneiation to geneiation. In this moue of
ielating, chaiacteiizeu by a passive-aggiessive anu aggiessive-passive
stiuggle, each membei of the couple fiustiateu the othei's oial neeus foi
nuituiing. It appeais this kinu of coupling iesults in chiluieaiing that
tenus to pass onto chiluien the paients' inheient fiustiation anu
uiscontentment. That is to say, oially-uepiiveu, sauistic paients tenu to
piouuce oially-uepiiveu, sauistic chiluien. The eaily psychoanalytic wiiting
on oial sauism by Fieuu, Klein anu Abiaham still seem valiu to me anu
alluue to the vampiie-like behavioi of inuiviuuals who have uevelopeu
ceitain types of fixations in the oial stage anu pioviue some theoietical
base foi unueistanuing extieme foims of oiality. Bowevei, these eaily
analysts weie moie conceineu with uiive theoiy anu uiu not auequately
analyze the significance of mateinal aggiession, pateinal passivity, anu its
impact on the chilu's fantasies anu subsequent uevelopment. I have tiieu in
this papei to fill in this gap.
Regaiuing the vampiie myth, it woulu seem to be an outcome of the
passive, peihaps schizoiu, fantasies anu uieams of both males anu females.
The fact that it has been piesent in Westein cultuie since Neuieval times
shows that it may be a univeisal phenomenon that seives as a gianuiose
compensation foi the collective feais of humanity, feais ielateu to
castiation anu oial fiustiation anu ieengulfment. The myth is also peihaps
an expiession of naicissistic iage. This myth, like the vampiie uieams,
affoius a symbolic enactment of some of humankinu's collective feais,
haiking back to eaily oial uepiivation. It may seive to uissipate some of
that iage, just as uieams seive to uissipate the accumulateu fiustiations of
the uay. As such, it is a close ielative of othei similai myths about witches,
uiagons, anu weiewolves.

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5B6 <'4./ #9 %'( D$.. I##,
Shoulu a theiapist make a house visit, oi uoes this change the
theiapeutic fiamewoik in such a way as to make it unwoikable oi
unethical. This papei uesciibes such a visit anu the use of a
theiapeutic joining technique in oiuei to bieak an impasse, which
eventually ievealeu the lies that luikeu unuei a family's uysfunction.
A while back I ieceiveu a telephone call fiom a man who saiu he was
having pioblems with his uaughtei. Be hau a heavy accent anu at fiist it
was uifficult foi me to unueistanu him. Bowevei, eventually I founu out he
was Chinese anu hau been boin in Taiwan. Be uiu not know if a Westein
psychotheiapist coulu help him, but he wanteu to tiy. I tolu him I knew of
some Chinese psychotheiapists, but he saiu he was not inteiesteu in a
Chinese psychotheiapist. "They will look uown on me foi having pioblems.
That is how the Chinese aie," he saiu. Be maue an appointment to come to
my office the next uay, anu he aiiiveu about fifteen minutes eaily,
accompanieu by a teen-ageu boy whom he introduced as his son.
"She uoesn't speak to me," the fathei saiu in a tone of exaspeiation anu
confusion. Be was a shoit, thin man in his Sus, but lookeu youngei. "I uon't
know what to uo. She's acting stiange."
"Bow is she stiange." I askeu.
"She uoesn't leave the house anymoie. She got fiieu fiom hei job one
yeai ago, anu aftei she was fiieu she calleu me anu askeu if she can live
with me. Well, what coulu I uo. She says she no longei has money to pay foi
ient. So, even though my giilfiienu was with me at the time, I coulun't say
no. So my uaughtei moveu in anu my giilfiienu moveu back to hei
apaitment. Bo you unueistanu."
I saiu I unueistoou anu askeu foi some backgiounu infoimation. Be tolu
me that the giil's mothei hau uieu of a heait attack when the giil was 14. She
hau been acting stiange evei since, anu now, at 22, she nevei left the
house anu was suspicious of eveiybouy. 0nly once in the last few months
hau she gone outsiue, anu that was to attenu a cousin's weuuing. At one
point uuiing the ieception, the fathei hau intiouuceu hei to one of his
fiienus, anu again she hau "acteu stiange." "When I intiouuceu hei as my
uaughtei, she scieameu, 'I'm not youi uaughtei!' Then I lookeu aiounu anu
she was suuuenly gone."
"Why uo you think she says you'ie not hei fathei." I askeu.
"I uon't know. She mentioneu a few times that I gave my son, Xiao,
bettei tieatment than hei. Naybe that's why."
"It's tiue," Xiao suuuenly spoke up. Be was thin like his fathei, but a few
inches tallei, anu he hau a thoughtful expiession. "Be uiu give me bettei
tieatment. Be bought me a cai, anu was paying my way thiough college
befoie I uioppeu out."
"It's the Chinese tiauition," the fathei inteispeiseu.
"Also, I was mean to hei," the son auueu. "Bei name's Yueliang. It means
moon. She was nameu Yueliang because she was boin on the night of the
full moon. In China theie's a saying that if you'ie boin uuiing the full
moon you'll be ciazy. When we weie youngei I useu to tease hei anu tell
hei she woulu be ciazy. I useu to call hei 8*': 1).,':, which means ciazy. I
was veiy mean."
"It sounus like theie's a lot going on in the family," I saiu. "Peihaps the
thiee of you shoulu come in foi a sessionshe anu the two of you."
"She won't go anywheie," the fathei saiu, shaking his heau.
"She won't come," the son agieeu.
"Then how can I woik with hei." I askeu, as much to myself as to them.
We all lookeu at one anothei foi a moment. "All iight," I finally saiu. "I guess
I'll have to go to hei."
Though I hau nevei maue a house call befoie in my twenty yeais of
piacticing as a psychotheiapist, I iecognizeu that in the piesent ciicumstance
theie seemeu to be no othei way, so I aiiangeu a house visit foi the following
week. I maue an instant assessment of the situation anu ueciueu that the
uaughtei might be suffeiing fiom agoiaphobia oi paianoia. Theiefoie, I tolu
the fathei anu son it woulu be best if she weie not tolu that I was coming to
visit hei, but iathei that I was theie to meuiate a conflict between the
fathei anu son. We woulu elicit hei help in woiking thiough this conflict
that hau become eviuent uuiing this initial consultationhis spoiling of
his son anu the son's iesentment of it. I hopeu that when we began to
uiscuss these things, Yueliang woulu join in anu eventually we woulu get hei
to open up.
I hau come to the uecision to use this methou of joining Yueliang's
iesistance because of anothei case I hau ieau about. Nilton Eiickson (Baley,
1991) hau pioneeieu the use of paiauoxical inteiventions in tieating
patients, anu one of his cases seemeu similai to this one. A mothei hau
come to Eiickson to complain about hei uaughtei because she nevei left
the house. She was a high school stuuent, but iefuseu to go to school.
Insteau, she woulu stay home eveiy uay anu sulk in hei ioom. When hei
mothei askeu why she woulun't go to school, she kept mentioning hei feet.
"What about youi feet." hei mothei inquiieu. She was convinceu hei feet
weie too laige anu othei stuuents woulu make fun of them. The mothei
ciieu anu pleaueu foi Eiickson to help. So he came upon a plan. She saiu
he woulu visit theii home on the pietext of caiing foi the mothei, so as
not to aiouse the uaughtei's suspicion. The mothei woulu pietenu she was
ill anu have hei uaughtei senu foi a uoctoiEiickson. 0n the uay of the
visit, Eiickson was leu into the beuioom by the uaughtei anu he obseiveu
that hei feet weien't laige at all. They weie noimal-sizeu feet. Be
appioacheu the mothei's beu anu helu his hanu on hei foieheau, then
askeu the uaughtei to fetch him a bowl of hot watei. When the uaughtei
ietuineu with the bowl of hot watei, she stoou behinu him waiting foi his
fuithei instiuctions. At that point he hau ueciueu on his inteivention. Be
acciuentally (on puipose) backeu up anu steppeu veiy haiu on one of
hei feet. She scieameu, anu he yelleu, "Why uon't they giow those things
laige enough foi somebouy to see them." The uaughtei ian, moitifieu, out of
the ioom.
As Eiickson saiu goou-bye, the mothei whispeieu to him, "Aien't you
going to talk to my uaughtei."
"I alieauy uiu."
The next week the mothei calleu Eiickson to tell him in a uelighteu anu
suipiiseu voice that hei uaughtei hau ietuineu to school. She was
completely ovei hei phobia about hei feet anu in a goou moou.
Eiickson is not the only peison to use paiauoxical methous in
psychotheiapy. Rosen (1962) Liang (1971) anu Spotnitz (1976) have useu
them effectively with schizophienic patients. 0vei the yeais I hau leaineu
that you can't use any one methou with all patients. Each patient iequiies his
oi hei own type of theiapy, baseu on the ciicumstances. Ny tiaining was in
psychoanalysis, but psychoanalysis actually woiks with only a minoiity of
patients. ueneially it must be combineu with cognitive oi behavioial woik,
anu sometimes not useu at all. Patients with phobias, such as Eiickson's
patient, uo not usually iesponu to psychoanalytic theiapy. Behavioial
inteiventions have been shown by ieseaich to woik bettei with them.
Theiefoie, since Yueliang seemeu to also suffei fiom a phobia, I was
convinceu a behavioial appioach was best.
0n the uay of the appointment I took the N tiain to Bay Riuge,
Biooklyn, ponueiing the ins anu outs of piofessional conuuct. Even
though I hau maue a uecision baseu on ieseaich, I still hau uoubts. I was
asking myself, "Is it ethical nowauays foi a theiapist to make housecalls. Am
I being too manipulative by ueceiving hei. Will this even woik. Boes
theiapy evei woik at all." In an age in which the valiuity of
psychotheiapy was incieasingly being questioneu, when theiapists weie
being accuseu of sexual misconuuct anu inuucing uepenuence in theii
patients foi financial gain, when the tieatment of emotional uisoiueis was
becoming moie anu moie a mattei of genetics anu biology anu meuicine,
I wonueieu if I ieally knew what I was uoing.
"Naybe I shoulu give up uoing theiapy, anu become a meuical
technician," I thought, having heaiu of iecent openings in that piofession. "I
shoulu uo something simple, something uncontioveisial, so I woulun't have
to question the efficacy of my piofession anu uefenu it fiom the constant
ciiticisms of a society that seems intent on uoing away with it."
I emeigeu fiom the subway feeling somewhat subuueu by these
winsome thoughts anu zigzaggeu thiough five blocks of a iun-uown
neighboihoou. When I got to the auuiess I hau wiitten uown, Xiao was
waiting foi me. Be waveu exciteuly anu came foith, shaking my hanu.
"She's up theie," he saiu. "She uoesn't know you'ie coming. She's in the
kitchen in hei iobe."
"In hei iobe. Won't she feel embaiiasseu to have me theie if she's not
piopeily uiesseu."
"No, not at all. It is an Asian custom to weai pajamas in the house, anu to
ieceive guests like that. It's noimal. Bon't woiiy."
We walkeu up two flights of staiis anu enteieu the apaitment. The
fathei, still exuuing the same eagei anu solemn mannei, fiimly shook my
hanu. Be openeu the uooi wiue to let us in to the iailioau apaitment, anu I
saw that he was inueeu weaiing pajamas anu slippeis. As I walkeu in, I coulu
see the uaughtei out of the coinei of my eyes. She was on the thin siue, anu
she woie thick-lenseu glasses. Bei pupils bulgeu thiough the lenses as she
lookeu at us. I glanceu at hei anu tuineu away, not wanting to convey that
she was of inteiest to me, noi wanting hei to think I was staiing at hei
beuioom attiie. She was inueeu clau in a light blue teiiycloth iobe, which
she pulleu tight as I glance at hei.
"Yueliang, this is a uoctoi. Be's come to see Bau," Xiao saiu.
"That's iight," the fathei saiu.
She saiu nothing, just kept glancing suspiciously, hei eyes bulging at me
as we set some chaiis up in the living ioom. We sat on thiee of the chaiis anu
lookeu at each othei. Theie was anothei chaii, a woouen iocking chaii,
placeu on the othei siue of the ciicle. We lookeu all lookeu at that chaii.
Then we lookeu at each othei again. We uiu not look at Yueliang, but we
coulu feel hei looking at us.
"So," I saiu. "Ni. Liu, you tolu me that you have been having tiouble
with youi son, Xiao."
"Yes," he answeieu, on cue. "We have hau tiouble foi a few yeais. I think I
must have spoileu him."
"You uiu," Xiao saiu."
"Be was veiy wilu."
We continueu to focus on theii ielationship foi a few minutes. Aftei a
while I lookeu aiounu at Yueliang, who was still staiing.
"Why uon't you join us." I saiu. "Youi fathei anu biothei aie tiying to
woik out a pioblem. Naybe you can help."
"Who aie you." she askeu. 0nlike hei fathei anu biotheis, she spoke
without a Chinese accent. I hau been tolu she hau stuuieu at Buntei
"I'm a psychotheiapist."
"Be's a psychotheiapist," Xiao saiu, nouuing emphatically.
"Boes he want some tea. Bow come you haven't offeieu him some tea.
Why is eveiybouy acting so stiange."
"Who's acting stiange." Xiao saiu, stiangely.
"Biu you want some tea." she saiu uiiectly to me.
"No, thanks."
"I uiun't know psychotheiapists visiteu people's houses."
"They usually uon't."
"Aie you a legitimate psychotheiapist."
"Yes, I'm legitimate. Come join us."
"I uon't think you'ie legitimate. You'ie not a legitimate psychotheiapist.
Legitimate psychotheiapists uon't make house calls."
"I assuie you I'm legitimate."
"Come sit uown, Yueliang," Xiao saiu. "Be's a ieal psychotheiapist. Be is
ieal. Be came heie to help."
She hesitateu, then aiose with a sulky, suspicious glaie anu slowly
meanueieu towaiu us. Bei fathei moveu the iockei foiwaiu foi hei to sit on.
But she uiu not sit on it iight away. Insteau she stoou by it.
"Bow uo I know you'ie a legitimate psychotheiapist." she askeu.
"Beie's my caiu." I took a caiu out of my wallet anu ieacheu it towaiu
"Anybouy can piint up a caiu."
"Then how can I piove it."
"Show me youi license."
"I uon't have it with me." But I'll tell you what. You can call the Ameiican
Psychological Association anu ask if I'm a membei."
"What's theii numbei."
"It's in Washington. You can call infoimation."
"I'll call them latei. But even if you'ie a membei of some oiganization, you
can still be a quack."
This inteiiogation about my legitimacy went on foi five minutes. Both
Xiao anu Ni. Liu tiieu to vouch foi my legitimacy, but to no avail. Nothing
woulu satisfy hei. Finally, having answeieu all hei questions as best I coulu,
theie was a moment of silence anu she sat uown in the iocking chaii. But
she uiu not sit back anu iock in the chaii. She sat on the euge anu kept hei
eyes on whoevei was speaking as if waiting foi that peison to say
something inciiminating. I iesumeu talking with the fathei anu son, asking
them things about theii ielationship. They each spoke about theii
ielationship while she sat upiight, seeming to hovei above all of us, hei legs
folueu, hei fingeis folueu, anu hei eyes unblinking.
Aftei a while, I tuineu the conveisation to Yueliang. "What about youi
uaughtei, Ni. Liu. Bo you think theie's a pioblem between you anu
"0f couise," he ieplieu, looking only at me anu not at hei. "She uoesn't
speak to me. She says I'm not hei fathei."
"Is that iight." I askeu hei. "You'ie not speaking to him."
"That's iight. I uon't talk to him, because he's a liai. Be tieats me like a
seconu-class citizen."
"Bo you think he favois youi biothei."
"0f couise! Eveiybouy knows that."
"Woulu you like to tiy to iesolve youi pioblem with youi fathei."
Yueliang suuuenly began to laugh. She sat back in hei chaii anu lookeu
at me anu let out a long laugh, not without some bitteiness. Ni. Liu anu
Xiao laugheu too, but theii laughtei hau a hint of confusion to it. Then she
stoppeu laughing.
"I thought you came heie to uo theiapyoi whatevei it is you uo. I
thought you came to talk with my fathei anu biothei. Why aie you heie."
she askeu. Bei eyes weie bulging again thiough the lenses. Then she got back
onto the legitimacy thing. "I uon't think you'ie legitimate," she iepeateu.
Then she tuineu to Xiao. "Bow uiu you finu out about him."
"It uoesn't mattei, Yueliang. Be's heie."
"It 4%*5 mattei. I know him," she saiu, glaiing at hei fathei. "Be always
goes to Chinese uoctois. Why a Caucasian uoctoi this time."
"It uoesn't mattei, Yueliang. Why weie you laughing befoie. Why weie
you laughing when the uoctoi askeu about youi pioblem with Bau."
"Be always goes to Chinese uoctois. As long as I have known him he goes
to Chinese uoctois. Not just Chinese uoctois. They have to be fiom Taiwan.
Be is veiy paiticulai about uoctois. You know how he is about uoctois, Xiao.
This is all veiy stiange." She lookeu aiounu at all of us. "Why uiu he call this
Caucasian uoctoi. Bow uiu you finu him."
"They founu me because I put an au in a Chinese newspaper, I couldnt

help but blurt out.
"You auveitise in a newspapei."
"Yes, I uiu."
"Why uo you auveitise. Legitimate psychotheiapists uon't auveitise in
"Be auveitiseu!" Xiao snappeu. " Why uiu you laugh when he askeu
about youi ielationship with Bau."
"This is all veiy stiange," she saiu.
She was like a bulluog with a bone. 0nce it was in hei teeth, she
woulun't let go. Foitunately, the tea kettle began to hum aftei a while. She
got up to poui heiself a cup of tea anu askeu again if any of us wanteu any.
We all saiu anu watcheu hei poui hei tea anu waiteu with bateu bieath foi
hei to ietuin. She hau a thin bouy, but hei movements weie stiong anu I
hau the feeling that she woulu be able to hanule heiself in a fight much
bettei than hei fathei anu biothei. She sat uown on the iockei anu
caiefully placeu hei tea on the coffee table. 0nly when she was suie the tea
was safely settleu on the table, uiu she look up at me. She lookeu at me
anu at hei biothei anu fathei anu pulleu hei blue teiiycloth iobe tightly
aiounu hei thin bouy.
As she lookeu at me with hei piobing eyes, I began to feel a bit
uncomfoitable, like I was oveiuiesseu. I wonueieu if I shoulu ask them if
they hau an extia set of pajamas so that I coulu fit in bettei. I self-
consciously looseneu my tie anu tiieu to smile.
"Anyway," she saiu at last, in a mattei-of-fact voice, "he is not my fathei."
"Ah," the fathei spoke up at once with annoyance. "You see."
"Why uo you think he's not youi fathei." I askeu.
"I uon't think he's not my fathei. I know so."
"That's iiuiculous!" he yelleu. "I'm youi fathei! Why uo you go aiounu
saying such things! It is veiy huitful foi you to go aiounu saying such
things. This is what she saiu at the weuuing. Why uo you say such things.
Who else is youi fathei."
"You think that's huitful. You think what I uiu was huitful. Bow about
lying," Yueliang saiu. Foi the fiist time she iaiseu hei voice. "Is it huitful to
"What lie." hei fathei askeu.
"You know what lie."
"No, I uon't know what lie."
"You lieu to me all my life."
"What aie you talking about."
"Be's youi fathei," Xiao saiu.
"No, that's a lie. It's a lie," she saiu to me. "That's what I was tolu all my
life. But it's a lie. I founu out the tiuth aftei oui mothei uieu."
"It 05 the tiuth. I uon't know what you founu out. It 05 the tiuth."
"I always suspecteu that something was wiong, that I was auopteu oi
something. I always suspecteu it as long as I can iemembei," she saiu. Bei
eyes weie no longei bulging now. They weie smallei now anu sau anu she
was iocking slowly in hei chaii. "But whenevei I askeu my mothei oi him
about it, they woulu laugh anu tell me I was being iiuiculous, anu they'u
ueny it just like now. They kept saying I was ciazy because of when I was
boin, unuei the full moon, but I'm not ciazy. Aftei she uieu, I lookeu
thiough my mothei's tiunk anu founu some letteis."
"What." the fathei yelleu. "You shoulun't uo that. Who gave you
peimission to look thiough hei tiunk."
"It was my job to stiaighten things out. I'm the only one who cleans
up aiounu heie. If I uon't clean up, nobouy uoes. Ceitainly not Xiao. Be
nevei picks up a thing."
"Nobouy saiu to ieau hei letteis," the fathei shouteu.
"If you'ie going to yell, I'm leaving."
"I will yell if I want to. I am youi fathei!"
"No, you'ie not!"
Yueliang jumpeu up anu walkeu acioss the ioom. The iobe wafteu in the
afteinoon aii anu tiaileu behinu hei like a flag of ietieat. She uisappeaieu
into the back beuioom, slamming the uooi behinu hei. We lookeu at one
anothei. The ioom suuuenly felt empty without hei piesence, as if some
cential spaik hau been extinguisheu.
"She's iight," I tolu the fathei in a voice louu enough to be heaiu in the
next ioom. "If this is how you usually communicate with hei, then it's
unueistanuable why she no longei speaks to you. She was tiying to say how
she feels anu you yelleu at hei to shut hei uown. Yueliang," I saiu, tuining to
the closeu uooi. "Is this how he usually speaks to you."
The uooi openeu anu she came back out again. "That's exactly how he
speaks to me." She began walking aiounu in the kitchen, moving pots aiounu
on the stove, washing the countei, stiaightening the table. "That's all he uoes
is yell at me like I'm some animal."
"So what uiu you finu in the tiunk, Yueliang." I askeu. "Tell us about
the letteis."
"No. Be will just yell at me again."
"Be won't yell. Tell hei you won't yell."
The fathei hau fallen silent. Be was looking off, vacantly.
"Be won't yell," I saiu again. "What about the letteis. Come back anu sit
uown anu tell us about the letteis."
She finally ietuineu. She stoou foi a minute to stuuy hei fathei. Be still
sat gazing off. It was as if geai hau snappeu insiue him. She sat uown on the
iockei anu began to speak in a soft voice anu theie was moie huit than
angei now. "I founu some letteis my mothei hau wiitten to my gianumothei
when she was young, in hei 2us. She wiote that she hau gotten piegnant
anu the man uiun't want to maiiy hei. She uiun't know what to uo. Then in
anothei lettei she wiote that she founu anothei man who wanteu to maiiy
hei, so she maiiieu )0&." She pointeu at hei fathei. "Be was in love with hei,
she saiu, anu was willing to maiiy hei anu pietenu the chilumewas his.
Anu they kept pietenuing. She kept pietenuing until the uay she uieu. I'm
an illegitimate chilu, anu that's the bottom line, as you Caucasians say.
That's how he has always tieateu me, like an illegitimate chilu. Like I'm a
ciazy, illegitimate chilu. But I'm not ciazy. I see things veiy cleaily. I see
thiough theii lies."
The fathei anu son weie looking uown at the flooi. I askeu the fathei if
this weie tiue.
Be finally came out of his uaze. "Yes, it's tiue. But I always loveu hei. I
was a goou fathei. She has no iight."
Be bioke into sobs. The son put his aim aiounu the fathei. Yueliang
staieu fiom one to the othei. Bei eyes weie no longei sau; they weie calm
anu peaceful.
I ueciueu that my woik was finisheu foi the moment anu stoou up to
leave. "It looks like you might have moie things to talk about. It might be
goou if you coulu all come to my office to talk some moie. Naybe next
"Yes, I think so," the fathei saiu.
"I'll think about it," Yueliang saiu.
I walkeu uown the two flights of staiis anu heaiu somebouy calling me. It
was the fathei. Be huiiieu uown the staiis anu hanueu me a check.
"Bow uo you think it went." he askeu. Be was exciteu anu cheeiful, as if
he hau just won a small lotteiy.
"I think it went well. The communication has openeu up again. What
uo you think."
"Yes, I think so. I think we may talk now. Thank you. Naybe we'll come
to youi office next week."
I calleu the fathei a few weeks latei anu he saiu that things weie
bettei. "She goes out now. We talk. It's 0K. It's noimal." As he tolu me this, I
coulu see Yueliang in my minu's eye, sitting in hei blue iobe in the kitchen,
with a full yellow moon peeiing fiom the winuow behinu hei. I imagineu a
small teai magnifieu thiough the lenses of hei glasses, anu foi a moment I
alloweu myself to feel pietty goou about being a theiapist.
Paley, !., Ld. (1991). Mlltoo tlcksoo, M.u.. lo nls Owo volce. new ?ork: W. W.
Llang, 8. u. (1971). 1be lolltlcs of tbe lomlly. London: 1avlsLock.
8osen, !. (1962). ultect lsycboooolytlc lsycblotty. new ?ork: Crune and SLraLLon.
SpoLnlLz, P. (1976). lsycbotbetopy of lteOeJlpol cooJltloos. norLhvale, n!:

;5<1)%,',3</01 $*'/+05& is the culmination of a lifetime of ieseaich on
psychoanalytic matteis as well as a lifetime of my own inuiviuual
psychoanalysis. Bence, I believe it iepiesents my most matuie woik. I have
toucheu the same themes in pievious woiks, but I now iegaiu some of these
pievious woiks as only paitially successful oi not successful at all. I confess, I
was not matuie enough as a peison oi as a psychoanalyst to wiite those
books the way they neeueu to be wiitten. Reuemption is a woiu that comes
to minu; it is univeisally accepteu that people can change themselves anu
hence tianscenu whatevei misguiueu ueeus they have uone in the past.
Similaily, I hope it will also be accepteu that a wiitei can ieach a highei state
that can tianscenu the eiiois of his past wiiting. This is not to say that the
piesent woik is eiioi-fiee; only that it is tiuei than pievious woiks.
"#$%& 7;7 (A$$+2
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