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Fenichel, O. (1926). The Appearance in a Dream of a Lost Memory. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 7:243-247.

(1926). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 7:243-247

The Appearance in a Dream of a Lost Memory

Otto Fenichel

A patient came to me for treatment on account of difficulties arising out of his character, which was of the obsessional neurotic type. At the bottom of his trouble was the influence exercised on his mind by repressed sexual observation of the parents in early childhood. The dominating factor in his neurosis was the conflict between the positive and negative sides of the Oedipus complex. He had identified himself with each of the two partners in the act he had witnessed, and could not definitely renounce either of the possibilities of pleasure which it presented. In childhood he had identified himself principally with his father, and this had kept him well on the whole; at the same time, from his sixth year onwards, he had had a regular love-relation with a younger sister. Later, however, in the homosexual milieu of warservice the hitherto repressed mother-identification broke through and he fell ill with every indication of a heavy sense of guilt. The neurosis became manifest in his relations with a mistress who had previously belonged to an officer of a higher rank than himself. I must mention that, when we were analysing the castration-anxiety, the idea of a vagina dentata which might swallow the patient up re-awakened a peculiar sensation, which he had known in childhood but had forgotten until his analysis. He could not express it in words, but the attempt to do so ran as follows: 'with tremendous speed—in fæces—downwards'.

When the analysis had already reached an advanced stage the patient heard that his younger sister had become engaged to be married. The material which came up as a result of this current event threw a new light on the extraordinarily strong sadism of the patient. This was no longer directed, as we had hitherto supposed, towards the two parents. His cruel impulses towards them included not only the idea of killing either of them, in order to make sexual intercourse possible with the other, but also that of coitus itself conceived sadistically.

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