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Heenen-Wolff, S. (2008). ‘A Man Who Was Tied up’. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 89(3):481-489.

(2008). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 89(3):481-489

The Analyst at Work

‘A Man Who Was Tied up’ Related Papers Language Translation

Susann Heenen-Wolff

Mr B, 33 years of age, asked for an appointment with me because he felt he had no real vitality inside himself: “Parts of me are dead”. He felt old — and he felt he looked old too, given his near-baldness that had begun to appear while he was still an adolescent.

At our first meeting, he told me that he hardly ever dreamed. He was a schoolteacher, married, with a son aged two and a half. Since his wife's work made many demands on her time, Mr B was the one who took care of the day-to-day running of the household, looking after their son, doing the washing and cooking meals. His own family were observant Protestants who lived in the countryside. In his view, his parents were forbidding and strict in their demeanour, very distant with him and his younger brother. His mother was very much at his father's beck and call; she had suffered from sclerosis ever since.

Mr B remembered almost nothing about his childhood, except that, according to his mother, he had been a very lively young boy. He did, however, remember how at puberty he became extraordinarily withdrawn; his school career had, all the same, been brilliant. It was only quite late on in life, when he was 26, that he first had sex with a woman — throughout his entire adolescence he had never touched his genitals for pleasure, much less masturbated. “Even today, I feel ashamed at being a man. Men's desires are an offence against women; everything that is evil in this world comes from men.” From time to time he suffered from headaches which could prove quite incapacitating.

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