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Couture, L. (1989). Sophie. Free Associations, 1Q(16):119-122.

(1989). Free Associations, 1Q(16):119-122


Louis Couture

Sophie was thirty-five the first time she came to see me. She came because she was unable to resolve her mourning for a man she had lived with for six years. She had left him thirty months earlier. She had felt dominated, controlled and used all the years she had put up with him. Although she had been very unhappy, she had not been able to leave him before that. By contrast, she was very successful professionally: she was highly respected, had a lot of friends and held a key position in the diplomatic community.

Sophie came from a family of seven children. Her mother, who greatly regretted her own lack of education, insisted on her sons pursuing theirs but would not have liked her daughters to outdo her. Sophie was the only girl in the family to defy her mother by going on to university. Her mother, who had always told her that of all her children she was the one her father hated the most, did all she could to ignore her accomplishments. The father, a very busy farmer, apparently played a very minor role in bringing up the children. There was a very unhealthy competitive climate in this family. All the boys, as well as Sophie, amassed an impressive number of diplomas and they all have important jobs today, many of them in the diplomatic service and international relations. This kind of family situation is very conducive to the development of envy. Sophie envied the others and had to bear their envy of her.

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