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Schmideberg, M. (1935). The Psycho-Analysis of Asocial Children and Adolescents. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 16:22-48.

(1935). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 16:22-48

The Psycho-Analysis of Asocial Children and Adolescents

Melitta Schmideberg

The question whether we are justified in using the term 'asocial' for purposes of clinical diagnosis has not as yet been the subject of debate. Before discussing it, I will first adduce material obtained in the analyses of six asocial patients, from six-and-a-half to twenty years of age, supplementing it from the analysis of 'naughty' behaviour in neurotic children of different ages.

Aggression. Willy, aged eight-and-a-half, was strikingly restless in his movements and disagreeable in expression. He stole everything he could lay hands on, was sexually shameless, and unusually aggressive. To all appearances he was entirely lacking in moral feelings or love.

He always arrived too early for the analytic session, in order to disturb the patient before him, with whom I was supposed to be 'pigging together'. At times he played it was 'night', and put the light out, usually becoming aggressive on these occasions. A dream ran as follows: 'I am a burglar. I enter my parents' bedroom, and take something from them'. His hate was aimed at the copulation of his parents, from whom he wanted to take something (the penis), as they 'pigged together' at 'night'. Willy used to 'investigate' the coats hanging in the hall, and steal the contents of the pockets. This he called 'shaving the pockets'. (He used to sing a song: 'The women of the hills have 'em shaved'.) The contents of the pockets represented the phantasied contents of his mother's body. Besides this, his aggression was directed against everything which symbolized his father's penis. His attacks aimed at the breasts, genitals, or anus of the person concerned, and expressed symbolically in relation to the coat-pockets, were a substitute for sadistic homosexual and heterosexual intercourse. At a deeper level, this signified an attack on his father's dreaded penis, assumed to be hidden in the sexual partner.


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