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Abraham, K. (1922). Rescue and Murder of the Father in Neurotic Phantasies. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 3:467-474.

(1922). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 3:467-474

Rescue and Murder of the Father in Neurotic Phantasies

Karl Abraham

'Rescue phantasies' are among those wish-creations of neurotics that are familiar and quite comprehensible to us since the time when, in 1910, Freud explained their unconscious meaning and traced their origin to the parental complex. In these phantasies a neurotic sometimes rescues his father, at other times his mother, from danger of death. Phantasies of saving the mother's life arise chiefly from the son's tender feelings, and according to Freud's analysis also contain, in addition to the rescue tendency, the wish to present the mother with a child. Rank later made a more elaborate study of these phantasies; he and Harnik have enabled us to understand the phantasies of rescuing the mother which are found in the works of poets.

Freud pointed out that the tendency to rescue the father is chiefly the expression of an impulse of defiance on the son's part. He also refers to the usual form in which these phantasies commonly appear. The son generally rescues some representative of the father, for instance, a king, or any other highly placed person, from an impending danger to life. In another place he gives an example of a typical phantasy of father-rescue but without giving a detailed analysis of it. I have often come across the same phantasy in my patients, and I may presume other analysts to be familiar with it.

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