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Benedek, T. (1925). Notes from the Analysis of a Case of Ereuthophobia. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 6:430-439.

(1925). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 6:430-439

Notes from the Analysis of a Case of Ereuthophobia

Therese Benedek

The following notes are taken from the analysis of a woman aged twenty-six, who had come for treatment because she was troubled with a fear of blushing. She felt hampered in the presence of other people and thought they were watching her, particularly if she was closely connected with them or interested in them. In such cases she began by being afraid of blushing; the next thing was that she would feel uncertain of herself, and would try to pull herself together, then would have palpitations, a piercing feeling in her head and often vertigo; finally the blushing would actually occur. The patient declared she had experienced this blushing first at school when she was nine years old. A child had lost a book; while the mistress was investigating the matter she had suddenly had the idea that she might be suspected. Thereupon she had blushed. Two years later a similar scene had occurred again, in a boarding-school; this time her blushing really led to her being accused of theft. Although she had been very unhappy in the boarding-school, she had not wanted to go back home, because, without knowing the reason why, she had had a sense of shame when she thought of her mother. She had always had the feeling that she would blush before her mother, and that had caused an estrangement.

As one might expect, the patient gave masturbation as the conscious reason for this apprehensiveness. She could remember that she had masturbated from her fifth to her ninth or tenth year; besides this an earlier infantile masturbation could be reconstructed from the analysis.

When the patient was eight or nine years old a change occurred in her life which fitted in so closely with her inner libidinal disposition that it had a decisive influence on her later life. She was the only child of a mixed marriage, the father being a Protestant and the mother a very religious Roman Catholic. The girl had been baptized a Protestant and had become a Roman Catholic in her eighth year.

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