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Brakel, L.A. (1986). "Nothing is Missing … Yet": Two Disturbances in the Sense of Reality and a Woman's Fantasied Phallus. Psychoanal Q., 55:301-305.

(1986). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 55:301-305

"Nothing is Missing … Yet": Two Disturbances in the Sense of Reality and a Woman's Fantasied Phallus

Linda A. Wimer Brakel, M.D.

During a sustained period in her fourth year of treatment, a successful business woman, married and in her early thirties, had been dealing with her wish to possess a phallus. We discovered her persistent unconscious fantasy of having a penis, but one that she felt she must keep hidden, both to avoid the humiliation of being an odd female with a penis and to prevent castration. She tried "not to stick out." She felt her business success was due mostly to her "hard, solid mind." We learned that this mind, located between her ears, stood for an upward displacement of a hard, solid genital between her legs.

In the middle of a Thursday hour this patient suddenly interrupted her associations regarding the concealing of her intelligence. She exclaimed: "Oh, and I just thought of something I'm angry with you about—the hour you are canceling so that we won't be meeting tomorrow." I queried: "We won't?" "Right," she answered. "We had a make-up session this Wednesday. Remember?" I told the patient that she was correct, we had had a make-up session, but it had been for an hour I had canceled the previous Friday. Although she believed me, she could neither remember missing the previous Friday, nor shake the conviction that we were to miss the upcoming Friday hour.

The patient surmised that the feeling of missing the next day's hour was a wish to avoid our session. She then remembered a thought on the way to her hour: "Dr. Brakel is going to 'castrate' me." She linked this to a desire to flee from my office whenever we talked of her fantasied phallus. She also knew that working on this issue would ultimately lead her to give up her

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