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Jelliffe, S.E. (1925). The International Journal of Psycho-Analysis. Psychoanal. Rev., 12(2):234-243.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: The International Journal of Psycho-Analysis

(1925). Psychoanalytic Review, 12(2):234-243


The International Journal of Psycho-Analysis

Smith Ely Jelliffe

(Vol. IV, Part 3, July, 1923)

1.   Rank, Otto. Perversion and Neurosis.

2.   Jones, Ernest. The Nature of Auto-Suggestion.

3.   Abraham, Karl. The Spider as a Dream Symbol.

4.   Feldman, S. Physics in Dream Symbolism.

5.   Odier, Charles. Literary Portrayal of Ambivalency.

6.   Green, G. H. Sane Notes on Smoking.

7.   McWalters, R. C. A Modern Prometheus.

8.   Abstracts. Book Reviews. Bulletin of the International Psycho-Analytic Association.

1. Rank, Otto. Perversion and Neurosis.—This interesting paper would present the general point of view upon which the Freudian conception of perversion-formation is based and seek to learn in how far the genesis of the perversions in general can be brought under these generalizations. In this presentation the author first reminds us of the genesis of the masochistic phantasy formation which Freud has so ingeniously developed under the title of A Child is Being Beaten (see Psychoanalytic Review, Vol. XI, p. 464. The relationship of this phantasy element and certain attributes of “homosexuality” are clearly outlined in the psychoanalytic investigation of certain neurotics, whose neurosis, in part, or more completely, point to its being a compromise formation or “half way” stage to the development of the homosexual perversion. Experience has shown that one has frequently to face the full recognition of this situation, but a complete analysis would not leave the patient in this antisocial dilemma but would go further back and attempt to lay bare not only the genesis of the neurotic symptoms, but also the earlier fixation factors which underlie the perversion stage. Thus a complete understanding of the dynamic libido situation would relieve both the neurotic symptoms and the perverse tendencies. Thus Freud's early formulation of the “neurosis being the negative of a perversion” can be better understood and more deeply read into behind conscious rationalizations and repressed phantasy formations. Rank reminds us of the desirability of reviewing the situation and for a need of clearer thinking concerning these problems. One of the factors in the diffuse thinking is the taking

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over, in the early stages of study, of certain terms of descriptive psychiatry and a preliminary step to clearer thinking entails the restriction of the use of the term “homosexuality” to its manifest expression only. The use of the term repressed or unconscious homosexuality, exhibitionism, masochism, etc., is not to be recommended, since the laws governing the unconscious differ so widely from the “descriptive” ones and analytic investigation reveals that that which descriptive psychiatry deals with as “perversions” represent various stages in development having their sources in the corresponding psychic systems. Various complicating accretions tend to color the superficial outer aspects, hence the need for this deeper analysis.

The analysis of the beating phantasy has revealed parts of the masochistic perversion but also has tended to show that what has often been considered as a congenital type of libido satisfaction is actually an end process of an extremely complicated libido development with its outbreak in the form of a neurosis. These prehistoric phases of libido-fixation must be unearthed in terms of their “complexes,” or better, their “mechanisms,” and such mechanism designation should be substituted for the hazy and inappropriate term, homosexuality, which term, would conceal rather than reveal a true analytic insight into the situation.

The lead to the unearthing of certain of these mechanisms has already been given by Freud (see his Jealousy, Paranoia, Homosexuality, Psychoanalytic Review, Vol. XII, p. 108; also his analysis of a case of Female Homosexuality, Psychoanalytic Review, Vol. IX, p. 78). Here the “flight from” and “defense against” incest as mechanisms are clearly indicated. The same objections to the loose usage of the terms “masochistic” or “exhibitionistic” are pointed out, both of which “perversions” show on deeper analysis to be not primary situations but far removed end results of complicated libido distributions. The perversions themselves represent condensed satisfaction mechanisms of quite complex and compounded libido currents, where condensation, displacement, secondary elaboration, and particularly representation by opposites, are quite clearly analyzable.

In order to more fully elaborate these points Rank presents notes from the analysis of an hysterical girl, in whom the roots of “exhibitionism” are brought to view. The girl had a number of conversion symptoms. Exhibitionistic dreams were produced. “Naked in the street,” attracting gaze of many men passing—unsuccessfully. This fragment was a recurring type. The bodily positions finally were revealed as arc de cercle and were accompanied by orgasm and satisfaction. Here the manifest perversion appeared in the manifest dream content; which was uncovered only after the overcoming of much resistance. How is one to recover its latent content and thus perhaps learn somewhat of the unconscious roots of the exhibitionism? Associations led back to the Oedipus

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situation. Childhood scenes (two years of age) in which the father beat an older sister on the buttocks with a stick. This impression, not necessarily of importance, had special overdeterminers. Her mother died when she was one year old, and a stepmother came when she was two. At the age of four her father died (third libido privation), and when she was five a stepfather, then a stepsister (continued libido shocks). Her neurosis appeared at puberty, when the priest showed an open preference for the sister. Rank then shows that the dream reveals atypical secret wish for the father (many men = one man) to look at her rather than the sister (reversal—the men do not look). The genital-(anal) exposure-he calls an infantilization of the genital function. This analysis leads to another dream in which the wish to “urinate like a boy” becomes apparent, and her shame at not having a penis, and the wish to conceal this lack—which is a potent motive in the prized female quality of modesty. This phase of envy of the penis and fear of castration is usually succeeded by the identification with the mother and then transference to father with the usual bisexual anal zone (child—feces—penis) and normally ends in adult coitus wish with child (boy). In this case Rank shows that the numerous, premature, and severe libido privations, rather than any primary strong wish for a penis, forced the regression and made the overvaluation of the “penis” wish and its fixation. In the average healthy evolution of the female this wish for a penis may be outgrown, only to be reactivated by a subsequent libidinal disappointment. Thus he would show that a premature isolation of this kind of an infantile narcissistic libido-situation seems favorable to the formation of a perversion—in the present case showing as a latent tendency. Thus the libido attached to the exhibitionism is to draw the father's attention to herself. “He must look at me, not at my rival, and he must do it in an anal way, as he does to my rivals (sister, mother) so that I may get a child (like my mother) by being beaten (like my sister). This is one current in the Oedipus situation, that which leads to object-libido. The conflicting narcissistic libido regression, with its incomplete exhibitionism, is also apparent behind the “wish to have a penis and the shame of being castrated.” A neurotic compromise was the result.

The author now goes on to develop the difficulties which surround the child in its adaptation after birth to the adult sexual goal. “Where do babies come from?” is one of the earlier evidences of this thrust. It is an evidence of the “formulation of an infantile theory of sex” in which a biologic goal reached for knows nothing of the genital relationships which play such a large part in actual life but which are barred from the child, and in the neurotic this genital path seems blocked. Hence the forbidden displacements to oral and anal zones with their consequent sense of guilt.

Perverts have eliminated—because of the autoerotic fixations—the infantile wish for a child, hence their horror of the heterosexual activity—

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they satisfy the component-instinct in a narcissistic manner (fellatiopederasty). The neurotic's need for transference seems due to the inhibition against this autoerotic narcissistic satisfaction. The pervert retains a biological scar as a symbol of regression—his femininity.

Masturbation, the author points out, is of great significance in determining the development of the libido in one direction or another. It seems to build a compromise in the conflict between autoerotic and reproductive satisfaction, and would lead to the reproductive libido-satisfaction under the primacy of the genital zones. How to arrive at a healthy compromise of the sense of guilt which accompanies this type of activity forms an important chapter in psychoanalysis which Rank discusses with much acumen. This sense of guilt should be traced back into the ego structure, for it has useful as well as useless consequences. Useful in furthering socially valuable ego accomplishments; useless in the pervert, who satisfies some component-instincts at the expense of the instinct of reproduction without the inhibition due to the sense of guilt. They repudiate the sense of guilt—else narcissistic libido satisfaction is impossible. In the masochistic direction, the sense of guilt is plus, one might interpolate, and develops a neurosis; the sadist, on the contrary, escapes a neurosis but commits crime—of various types, recognized or unrecognized as such in the social scheme of things.

Finally to conclude the author states, if we examine the main perversions in regard to the sense of guilt and to the mechanism of guarding against it, the following points present themselves:

The homosexual appears to asseverate, in the face of an inner indictment of his own sense of guilt: “I won't have Oedipus-libido and a child from my father; on the contrary, I want libido towards my own sex (narcissistic) and no child!” The masochist also utters the same protest, only with the explanatory modification that he wants punishment for the forbidden Oedipus wish. The exhibitionist exposes his genital organ in narcissistic fashion, and its supposed similarity with that of the opposite sex is intended to deny the possibility of the (incestuous) sexual act and of getting a child. They all, however, convert into reality the infantile theory of conception and birth to which neurotics cling in their unconscious, but with the decisive modification that they do not get children but rather wish to be children, or more accurately, are children themselves. The homosexual shows his childishness by ignoring the difference of sex; the masochist by letting himself be beaten like a child; the exhibitionist by exposing himself with pleasurable infantile shamelessness which also rests on the assumption of an unconscious denial of the differentiation of sex.

Now the homosexual protests against the object, by turning it into its opposite; the exhibitionist against the sexual organ, by denying the differentiation; the masochist against the act, by degrading it to punish

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ment; the sadist protests against the libido itself, by expressing it in the form of hatred and cruelty. Masochism consequently contains the largest amount of free-floating sense of guilt, because—as Freud's analysis has shown us—masochism permits the greatest amount of infantile unconscious wish-fulfilment; sadism has almost no sense of guilt, because it has “bound” it in cruelty, justified it up to a point, and is seeking to utterly deny libido itself.

All these perverts, however, appear to wish to revenge themselves upon the opposite sex by withholding from it genital libido proper; and yet the very intensity of the denial of the wish for an object and a child which we think we recognized in the perversion-mechanism indicates that their desire for vengeance has sprung from the Oedipus phantasy—turned into its opposite on account of a disappointment and originally actually based on the most intense wish for a child.

That the pervert, in a state of narcissistic retardation or regression, himself wishes to play the child, instead of wanting to get one from the father in accordance with the feminine attitude, can be supported by experience out of the psychology of neurotics; for a phase of the curative process regularly shows the patient no longer wishing to have a child, but to be a child. He thus shows that he is on the road to recovering a part of his normal narcissism, which had gone under in a sense of guilt, or to put it differently, that he is again permitting himself certain repressed narcissistic libido-satisfactions to which the pervert has given full play and has raised to a single and permanent sexual goal.

If one wished to found a general theory of the perversions on the points of view which have been discussed, it would be necessary not to omit directing attention to perhaps the largest group of perversions, the description of which occupies a large place in literature, namely, the so-called coprophilics. Combining, as they often do, the characteristics of the voyeur—sexual curiosity—with their own, they also might be called the perverts par excellence, since they afford the chief proof that it is actually the fate that the wish for a child by the anus has undergone in repression that determines the form of this perversion. Its mechanism becomes comprehensible as arising in a sense of guilt due to the violation of biologic law, so to speak, in the wish for a child by the anus. The great group of coprophilic perverts represents the anal element in life (in which is contained psychobiologically the whole bisexuality) maintained in its most primitive form—compare the equivalence of feces, penis, child; whereas homosexuality, masochism, and exhibitionism try to lift anal erotism to the genital level and are therefore already the products of conflict, that is, compromises. Homosexuality seeks directly to realize a compromise-satisfaction of both anal and genital zones; masochism seeks to substitute anal beating for the genital act; exhibitionism on the basis of the castration complex unites anal and genital erotism (in displaying).

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Whereas the neurotic, with his surplus of object-libido and his fixation on the wish for a child, makes too many concessions to reproduction at the expense of his own narcissistic ego-satisfaction, the pervert with childlike defiance tries to deny everything belonging to reproduction. In condemning the perversions and still penalizing them more or less society expresses a true estimate of the social opposition which they represent, but which is bound only to increase by threats of punishment. But the way in which perverts themselves react to such threats shows plainly that their sense of guilt, successfully thrown off by a bold regression, comes back to them again from reality in the form of social condemnation.

2. Jones, Ernest. The Nature of Auto-Suggestion.—Auto-suggestion is a perennial subject of discussion. Jones speaks of it as undergoing recurring waves of interest, the historical recounting of which he renounces, with the conclusion that little has been added to Baragnon's discussion of seventy years ago. This curiosity must have some basis. He attempts to get to the bottom of it, and in a most entertaining and instructive and fine manner.

The “free will” dogma and narcissistic gratification of the sense of omnipotence are essential factors by which “magic verbal formulæ” are thought to work. It also would avoid the knotty problem of solving “sexuality transference” which mankind, ostrich-wise, would attempt to concea'-reveal his biological inheritances. The dread—medical as well as lay—of this transference problem is seen in the avoidance of hypnotism and the preference for “suggestion in the waking state.”

Is there such a situation as “auto-suggestion” ? is our author's first question. This leads to what may reasonably be considered as “suggestion” itself and its definition and description. Here Jones gives us a most penetrating discussion of the reigning notions, classifiable into three groups: (1) affective rapport, (2) acceptance of idea (ideoplasty—verbal suggestion), (3) effect of idea upon the personality. The ideas of Bernheim and McDougall, Janet and Lipps, are discussed. Rapport is the central substrate. How it operates is viewed in two different ways. One elevates the operator, the other the subject. Psychoanalysis leans to the latter. Jones himself thirteen years ago emphasized the drama as being enacted in the subject's mind. This leads to a discussion of hypnosis and of hetero-suggestion and auto-suggestion, with the difficulties of separating the dynamics of the observed phenomena.

Then Jones discusses the contributions made by psychoanalysis to the subject, starting from the earlier studies on the hypnotic phenomenology. Then those of Freud, Abraham, and his own analyses of an Indian mystic. From this he suggests a theory which he formulates as follows:

Suggestion is essentially a libidinal process; through the unification of the various forms and derivatives of narcissism the criticizing faculty

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of the ego ideal is suspended, so that ego-syntonic ideas are able to follow unchecked the pleasure-pain principle in accordance with the primitive belief in the omnipotence of thought. Such ideas may either develop to their logical goal (beliefs, judgments, etc.) or regress to their sensorial elements (hallucinatory gratification). The essential part of the unification in question is that between the real ego and the ego ideal. The condition under which it takes place is that the repressed allo-erotic impulses are to be renounced. This is made possible by a regression of their libido in the direction of auto-erotism, which results in a further reinforcement of the narcissism. If the primary narcissism has been released and reanimated directly, by concentration upon the idea of self, the process may be termed auto-suggestion; if it has been preceded by a stage in which the ego ideal is resolved into the earlier father ideal, the process may be termed hetero-suggestion.

“Finally, the theory here advanced leads me to attempt some restatement of our formulations regarding the mechanism of mental healing in general. The essential problem is the fate of the repressed allo-erotic (usually incestuous) impulses which conflict with the ego ideal and constitute the important dynamic factor in every neurotic symptom. Only a part of them can be directly sublimated, a solution which the patient has already tried, though, it is true, under unfavorable psychological conditions. Now it would seem that all possible means of dealing with the situation therapeutically reduce themselves ultimately to two, and to two only. Either the libidinal energy of these impulses can be, more or less completely, reconverted into the narcissism from which they proceeded, this being effected by a regression in an auto-erotic direction, or else the assimilative capacity of the ego ideal can be raised. These two principles are, as will be shown in a moment, mutually contradictory and therefore to a large extent incompatible with each other, and this explains why it is fundamentally impossible to combine the two methods of treatment based on them, those of suggestion and psychoanalysis, respectively. One may lay down the dictum that if the patient is not treated by psychoanalysis he will treat himself by means of suggestion, or—put more fully—he will see to it that he will get treated by means of suggestion whatever other views the physicians may have on the subject.

“When a neurotic patient comes for any kind of treatment he will soon transfer unconsciously on to the idea of the physician various repressed allo-erotic tendencies, i.e., he will take the physician as a love-object (provided, of course, that the treatment continues long enough). If the treatment is not psychoanalysis one of two things will happen. The patient may become aware of affection for the physician. Then probably symptoms will improve, libido being withdrawn from them and transferred to the idea of the physician. I suspect, however, that in these cases true educative treatment by suggestion or any allied method is

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rarely successful. What usually happens is that the improvement is dependent on continued contact with the physician, and even this has to be of a specially satisfactory kind. When the physician's attention is withdrawn the symptoms tend to reappear. The alternative to this course of events is that the allo-erotism regresses to the stage of narcissistic identification with the physician, that is, the father ideal. The educative suggestions then made are more likely to have a lasting effect, the reason being that the stage to which the patient's libidinal organization is reduced approximates closely to that of true narcissism, so that when he leaves the physician he still has himself as a love-object. This is certainly the direction that most neurotics spontaneously take, for it spares them the suffering of symptoms, the distress at having to recognize their repressed allo-erotism, and the pangs of disappointed love. It is the great reason, as I hinted at the outset of my paper, why auto-suggestion is so widely preferred to hetero-suggestion, with all its potentialities of allo-erotism. The practical drawback to auto-suggestion clinically is that it is in so many cases harder to mobilize the narcissism in this way than by means of hetero-suggestion. The drawback to any form of suggestion is that what peace of mind it gives is purchased at the expense of an important part of the personality being impeded in development, with consequent lack of stability; the allo-erotism that should progress to objective love, altruism, and the various sublimations of life regresses towards auto-erotism, with all its stultifying potentialities.

“In psychoanalysis, on the other hand, the aim of the treatment is to effect some reconciliation—or at least tolerance—between the ego ideal and the repressed allo-erotism. As in other forms of treatment, the allo-erotic transference tends to regress to a stage in which the analyst is identified with the father component of the ego ideal, i.e., with the father ideal, and this tendency has to be carefully watched by the analyst. When the ego ideal begins to raise serious protests against accepting the repressed tendencies that are being brought to light by the analytic procedure, the well-known state of resistance ensues. Now the most securely entrenched form of resistance, one to which there is a tendency in all analyses, is that in which the patient identifies the analyst with his real ego, projects on to him his own repressed mental processes, and then severely criticizes him from the standpoint of his ego ideal. This situation is the most formidable met with in psychoanalytic work, for all object-relationship between analyst and patient may be suspended, and the analysis cannot proceed until this is reëstablished. As it is characteristically accompanied by such manifestations as arrogant conceit, the analyst often says that a limit has been set to analytic possibilities by the patient's narcissism, overlooking the vital consideration that the narcissism is not a primary one, but has been secondarily resorted to as a defense against repressed allo-erotism. It may be said, therefore, that the success of an

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analysis depends very largely on the extent to which the analyst can manage to preserve an object-relationship to himself in the patient's mind, for it is just this relationship that has to be brought to consciousness and harmonized with the ego ideal.

“It will thus be seen that the aims of the hypnotist and the analyst are diametrically opposed. The former really seeks to strengthen the patient's narcissism, the latter to divert it into more developed forms of mental activity. The psychological situation (narcissistic identification) most favorable to the one aim is fatal to the other.

“I have considered here the contrast between suggestion and analysis in its therapeutic aspects only. It is probable, however, that it is applicable over far wider fields. The contrast between auto-erotism and allo-erotism on which it rests, i.e., between infantilism and adult life, may be correlated with the whole difference in outlook and conduct between the mental attitude of introversion and exclusion of reality, on the one hand, and adjustment to the world of reality on the other: between what may be called the eastern and the western methods of dealing with life.”

Shorter Notes: Abraham, Karl. The Spider as a Dream Symbol.—The rarity of communications is here pointed out. Some dreams are presented—in one the spider is symbolized as a mother symbol. Its killing, by crushing, is a sadistic coitus. He would overcome the mother. In his day dreams a number of people are crushed to death. A second and third dream of the same patient are partly analyzed. The spider first of all represented the wicked mother (formed like a male) with male genitals. The spider's web, the pubic hair, the single thread, has a male genital significance.

Feldmann, S. Physics in Dream Symbolism.—A short but subtle analysis of a mathematical formula to be read in the original.

Odier, C.—A short note on ambivalent expression in literature of the Oedipus complex,

Green, G. H. Smoking.—Notes on further symbolisms of smoking to those offered by Brill and Hiller.

This number also contains an important series of abstracts on the 1922, Berlin, Psychoanalytic Congress, as follows: Ferenczi, Attempts to Formulate a Genital Theory (published as monograph, 1924); Rank, Perversion and Neurosis (see this abstract); Feldmann, Puerperal Neuroses; Ersler, Uterine Phenomena in Hysteria; Nunberg, Depersonalization and the Libido Theory; Weiss, Psychoanalysis in Nervous Asthma; Freud, Some Remarks on the Unconscious; Federn, Registration of the Libido; Róheim, After the Death of the Primal Father; Varendonck, The Fallacy of Silberer's Threshold Symbolism; Groddeck, The Flight into Philosophy; Hollós, Dream Work and the Work of Psychoses; Abraham, Recent Investigations into the Psychology of Manic-Depressive

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States; Kielholz, Genesis and Dynamics of the Delusion of Invention; Klein, Infant Analysis; Farnell, Psychoanalytic Theory and Psychiatry in America; Levy Bianchini, Psychoanalysis in Italy; Wanke, Psychoanalytic Therapy and Institutions; Jones, Psychoanalysis of the Holy Ghost; Hattinberg, Analysis of the Psycho-Analytic Situation; Spielrein, Psychological Contribution to the Problem of Time; Van de Chijs, Psychoanalysis and Musical Composition; Pfeifer, Problems of Music and Psychology.

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Article Citation

Jelliffe, S.E. (1925). The International Journal of Psycho-Analysis. Psychoanal. Rev., 12(2):234-243

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