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Yariv, G. (1993). Gazing into Medusa's Eyes: The Fear of Being Seen and Attacks on Insight. Brit. J. Psychother., 10(2):142-158.

(1993). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 10(2):142-158

Gazing into Medusa's Eyes: The Fear of Being Seen and Attacks on Insight

Gail Yariv

Using a theme from a once weekly therapy I explore the problem of gaining insight when both seeing and being seen are experienced as attack with fears for survival. I use the Oedipus legend to describe narcissistic attacks on sight and the compulsion to return to a rejecting mother. The figures of Hades realm and the story of the Medusa portray the stuck, blind, somatised states I am describing together with the rage, envy and longing involved. I suggest that a cyclic image of movement is useful in the therapy where excessive splitting into opposites with male/female connotations has occurred. Through the theme of eyes, seeing and being blind I develop the relation between critical super-ego penetration and feelings of submission, violation, exposure and shame that induce the need to stay hidden and affect sexual feelings as well as inter and intra-psychic relating.

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