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Bender, L. (1934). The Anal Component in Persecutory Delusions. Psychoanal. Rev., 21(1):75-85.

(1934). Psychoanalytic Review, 21(1):75-85

The Anal Component in Persecutory Delusions

Lauretta Bender, M.A., M.D.

From the Research Department of the Psychopathic Division of Bellevue Hospital.

The significance of the anal component in persecutory delusions has been discussed by Staercke who emphasized that the beloved, for example, the beloved father, is the persecutor who is both loved and hated in an ambivalent way, and that the persecutor makes himself known by indirect means. Staercke claims that the identification of the beloved object with the individual's own feces and his ambivalent reaction make up the paranoid constellation. The feces are the real persecutor. With fecal experiences is associated the infantile sense of power and pain, and secondarily, with love and hate, in relationship to the individual's own body and the fostering person or parent. The negative expression is the persecutory delusional system. Van Ophuijsen has discussed the origin of the feeling of being persecuted which is common in neuroses and paranoid states. It is a feeling of being attacked from behind by an invisible person which, in the three cases of anxiety neuroses described by him, was experienced by homosexual attacks from fecal and father symbols. Schilder and Sugár have quoted at length an individual with paranoid schizophrenia who complained that he was stuck by all sorts of knives in his heart, chest, belly, and throat, and that he noticed that when he was in the toilet he was “used in an invisible way “which, on further analysis, meant that he was besmeared over his anus with strange feces. This case has been used to emphasize the homosexual attack, the anal component, the ambivalent attitude, and also the castration complex, in persecutory delusions.


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