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Farrow, E.P. (1925). A Castration Complex. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 6:45-50.

(1925). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 6:45-50

A Castration Complex

E. Pickworth Farrow

The results described in the present communication were obtained by a method of self-analysis consisting essentially in writing down consecutive series of free associations for periods of one or two hours at a time. Thus the common (although unfounded) criticism that the analyst reads the result into the mind of his patient cannot apply in this instance. The writer is much indebted to his friend, Mr. A. G. Tansley, F.R.S., for revising this paper and particularly for condensing it and cutting out much detail.

The writer was originally entirely sceptical as to the general occurrence of the castration complex in the human mind, considering the idea to be a very far-fetched one, and certainly did not believe that it was at all likely to be discovered in his own mind. After conversation with a friend who had been analysed and after some personal experience of analysis, however, he came to think it more likely that such a complex might enter into his own mental constitution, especially as he was conscious of a slight feeling of faintness when he read anything in scientific literature associated with castration—such as descriptions of the method of sterilization by severing the vasa deferentia.

In self-analysis his free associations eventually led to an incident of his childhood between the ages of six and seven when he pulled out one of his milk teeth in the street and was surprised how painlessly it came away. He remembered that at the moment of extraction of the tooth he was peculiarly impressed by the crack between two kerbstones a few feet away.

The following night he dreamed that he felt in the roof of his mouth at the back something which he was sure was some kind of internal parasite. This he took hold of with two fingers and pulled out of his mouth. It was then seen to be a definitely organized object, feeling slightly alive between his two fingers, and rather like an Amphioxus (i.e. pointed at both ends and about six inches long). A fish's head was faintly outlined at one end. He thereupon threw it on the floor, where it gave one wriggle and then lay still.

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