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Hendrick, I. (1933). Pregenital Anxiety in a Passive Feminine Character. Psychoanal Q., 2:68-93.

(1933). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 2:68-93

Pregenital Anxiety in a Passive Feminine Character

Ives Hendrick

Freud has recently emphasized two features which distinguish the development of normal female from male sexuality; first, the pre-oedipal aspects of sexuality are relatively of more significance in the female; secondly, the emotional attitude to the father is a new edition of an identical earlier attitude to the mother. These two conclusions compel Freud to modify the postulate that the Oedipus complex is always the core of the neurosis.

One of my analyses has shown me that these conclusions may also apply to a man whose manifest personality is chiefly determined by passivity to objects and narcissism. The most striking feature of this type of personality are: receptive dependence on mother surrogates, a marked incapacity for either normal or neurotic self-assertion, acceptance of an oral passive attitude to the world, and genital impotence which is especially refractory to psychoanalytic therapy.

Two factors chiefly distinguish the adjustment of such an individual from that of many women. First, actually possessing a penis, he is subject to greater biological narcissistic and social pressure to fulfil male functions; consequently his conflict is essentially one between an ego organized in harmony with passive aims and the outer world, which in this case is represented by the love needs of his wife and the obligations of an executive business position. Secondly, there frequently develops, as in this case, a number of neurasthenic symptoms which serve as the chief representatives of the aggressive, destructive (death) instincts.

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