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Garma, A. (1953). The Internalized Mother as Harmful Food in Peptic Ulcer Patients. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 34:102-110.

(1953). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 34:102-110

The Internalized Mother as Harmful Food in Peptic Ulcer Patients

Angel Garma

Long before their digestive lesion actually develops, peptic ulcer patients manifest an urge towards activity and a search after progress, acting with a certain independence of their social and family environment. Hence they have been described as 'go-getters' and 'self-sufficient'.

Franz Alexander (1) and some of his collaborators at the Psychoanalytic Institute of Chicago (2), (8) pointed out that this apparent behaviour was only a screen behind which were to be found strong contrary tendencies towards passivity, submission, and dependence.

I have pointed out a similar contrast in the love life of peptic ulcer patients (5). They apparently seek, and obtain, genital gratifications which they by no means wish to give up, but they are usually extremely frustrated by their wives or mistresses.

One such patient often spoke of his feminine conquests and, in fact, attributed the appearance of his ulcer to genital excesses; in reality it was brought about by his wife's infidelity, which was very painful to him, and by his being left by two other women with whom he had later fallen in love. Napoleon led an apparently uninhibited sexual life, but in reality he was submissive to Josephine who was not very complacent towards him. Rudolph Valentino also, who suffered and died from ulcus, was apparently the idol of women, but he was extremely unhappy with his two wives as well as in his other love affairs.

Similarly, in seven cases recently psychoanalysed, the peptic ulcer patients suffered intense genital frustration due to frigidity, illness which endangered pregnancy, infidelity, or criticism of their love technique in their wives or mistresses.

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