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Bromberg, N. (1954). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 23:153-156.

(1954). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 23:153-156

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society

Norbert Bromberg

March 10, 1953. THE PSYCHOANALYSIS OF A GAMBLER. Edward E. Harkavy, M.D.

The case reported is that of a twenty-five-year-old man who had gambled with his father's money since the age of twelve. He was depressed when not gambling, and after gambling terrified of his father. He said he had never masturbated and had never tried intercourse. He was also depressed because of failures in school and in his vocations. Epileptic seizures and an intense fear of dying were also features of this case. Anal character traits were employed as defenses to gain narcissistic reassurance by attempting to achieve control over his bowel contents, later over his parents, and finally over reality. Control of reality was exemplified by his body movements which were meant magically to control ballplayers and prize fighters. The patient's need to control was, without his being aware of it, aimed at winning or subduing his mother into giving him the love he needed to keep on living. The father, a wealthy business man, had lived a dashing life in his earlier days. The patient wished to have people talk about him as they talked about his father's exploits. But his greatest envy was the gambling coup by which the father acquired his first million.

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