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Perelberg, R.J. (2018). The riddle of anxiety: Between the familiar and the unfamiliar. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 99(4):810-827.

(2018). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 99(4):810-827

The riddle of anxiety: Between the familiar and the unfamiliar

Rosine Jozef Perelberg

It is difficult to say what anxiety is, Freud tells us. This paper suggests various dimensions of anxiety. Anxiety evokes the original experience of helplessness; it is an affective state that is accompanied by physical sensations and bodily symptoms—expression of an excess that it is not possible to process psychically. Anxiety is also linked to the fear of loss of the imaginary integrity of the body, as well as of primary objects. Furthermore, anxiety marks the passage from the world of the narcissistic father and/or mother, in which the individual is alienated from his own history, to the dead father configuration that inserts the individual into his subjective temporality in the après-coup of an analysis. A detailed narrative of an analysis that gave rise to these ideas is presented. In this analysis the transsexual emerges to give shape to something that had not previously reached representation.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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