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Chadwick, M. (1929). Notes Upon the Fear of Death. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 10:321-334.

(1929). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 10:321-334

Notes Upon the Fear of Death

Mary Chadwick

Man fears Death as the Child fears to go in the Dark.—FRANCIS BACON.


I. Conscious and superficial layer. Guilt.

II. Roots in the child's fear of separation from the Mother. His helplessness and fear she may never return (Hemmung, Symptom und Angst).

Bacon says, 'Man fears Death as a Child fears to go in the Dark.

Fear of Loneliness and the Unknown.

III. Hysteria Stage of Fear of Death. The Woman afraid to lose love (Hemmung, Symptom und Angst). Loss of Love = Loss of Life. Death Fears arising from the Mother and Father. Exposure of Infants, and the debt of life. Sacrifice to save life. Castration, sacrifice of the penis. Woman's fear of debt she cannot repay. Fear of childbed. Fear of Death in Women at Menopause. [Super-Ego combined with I.]

IV. Obsessional Stage of Fear of Death. Child begins to fear Death in proportion to realization of the Self. Realization of the Self due to the Resistance of the parents. This leads to death-wishes. Unconscious motive of parental threats represent ancient customs. Unconscious guilt connected with death-wish. [Ego in conflict with Super-ego, as with the parents, and outside world.]

Death, Banishment and Castration.

Child's question of the existence and survival of the Self. Child's identification of the Ego and the Eye. Death typified by the shut eye, the extinguished Ego.

V. Fear of Death and Wish for Death. The bad child banished from sight. Child who shuts eyes to banish unwelcome persons or scenes. Place of the parents in the construction. Oedipus Stage. Child suicide or threats of suicide to prevent murder. [Conflict between the Ego and the outer world, and with the Death impulse within the Id.]

VI. Fear of Death and Wish for Death. Influence of the death of the father, when it takes place in early stages of Ego-development. Loss of the Ego partially through this means. [Id stage, Vegetive, Nirvana Stage. Destruction impulse.]

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