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Freud, A. (1923). The Relation of Beating-Phantasies to a Day-Dream. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 4:89-102.

(1923). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 4:89-102

The Relation of Beating-Phantasies to a Day-Dream Language Translation

Anna Freud

In his paper 'A Child is Being Beaten' Freud deals with a phantasy which, according to him, is met with in a surprising number of the people who come in search of analytic treatment on account of an hysteria or of an obsessional neurosis. He thinks it very probable that it occurs even more often in other people who have not been obliged by a manifest illness to come to this decision. This 'beating-phantasy' is invariably charged with a high degree of pleasure and has its issue in an act of pleasurable auto-erotic gratification. I shall take for granted that the content of Freud's paper—the description of the phantasy, the reconstruction of the phases which preceded it, and its derivation from the Oedipus complex—is known to the reader. In the course of my paper I shall return to and dwell on it at some length.

In one paragraph of his paper Freud says: 'In two of my four female cases an artistic superstructure of day-dreams, which was of great significance for the life of the person concerned, had grown up over the masochistic phantasy of beating. The function of this superstructure was to make possible the feeling of gratified excitement, even though the onanistic act was abstained from.' Now I have been able from a variety of day-dreams to select one which seemed especially well calculated to illustrate this short remark. This day-dream was formed by a girl of fifteen, whose phantasy-life, in spite of its abundance, had never come into conflict with reality; the origin, evolution and termination of the day-dream could be established with certainty; and its derivation from and dependence on a beating-phantasy of long standing was proved in analysis.

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