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Wilson, G.W. (1938). The Red-Headed Man. Psychoanal. Rev., 25(2):165-169.

(1938). Psychoanalytic Review, 25(2):165-169

The Red-Headed Man

George W. Wilson, M.D.

The material for this short communication was obtained from the analysis of a twenty-four-year-old single man who had a severe compulsion neurosis with the predominating symptom of obsessive thinking.

The material which I wish to present was obtained from three analytic periods and revolves around a dream and the “living out” of two transference reactions. The history necessary to an understanding of what I wish to show is as follows:

Patient was the oldest of three children. Twin sisters were born when he was five. His father, who had been the manager of an insurance company, died when patient was fourteen. Patient's father had been a rather strong and successful man. Patient described his mother as a dominating, sexually inhibited, passively sadistic, religious woman, who was employed as a secretary by the church. The patient's twin sisters were beautiful girls and very quickly became the neighborhood attraction.

The patient's reaction to his twin sisters' birth, as well as his unconscious conception of reproduction, was well illustrated by a screen memory, often repeated during the early part of the analysis. The memory was to the effect that on the night of the sisters' birth, his mother was sleeping with patient. She had some abdominal cramps and left his bed. Patient went back to sleep, and later awoke to discover two small fragments of fecal material in his bed.

For three years prior to analysis, and for a year and a half during the analysis, patient had been unable to work because of extreme anxiety reactions whenever he attempted gainful employment. He had disability insurance which had been obtained for him by his mother, and he lived from and paid for his analysis out of this income.

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