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Wittels, F. (1934). Motherhood and Bisexuality. Psychoanal. Rev., 21(2):180-193.

(1934). Psychoanalytic Review, 21(2):180-193

Motherhood and Bisexuality

Fritz Wittels

First case: Obsessional Neurosis with Illusions of Motherhood.

About ten years ago, when I was still in Vienna, a young woman of thirty came to me for treatment. I shall call her Sari. She had been previously treated by other analysts but had always run away after a few days, except in one instance which I shall come back to later. Before she came to me she had made careful investigations about me through various sources and had attended my lectures for almost one year. She required that much time to find out whether she would be able to transfer upon me in the manner she desired.

Sari was the daughter of a Protestant mayor of a medium-sized city in Hungary. When she first came to me she was so inhibited that she could not even tell me why she had come. Later she spoke of inhibitions, obsessional acts and ideas that plagued her throughout the day. At night she was unable to disrobe and went to sleep with her clothes on. She could not perform the usual ablutions of washing, or changing her linen. She found it impossible to pay her bills, hence lived in constant fear, not ungrounded, of pressing creditors. She had debts everywhere. Sari viewed her life as an uninterrupted chain of failures with the worst yet to come, and trembled in fear of an unknown and threatening future. She had a rather dramatic habit of repeatedly crying, “No, no,” with no apparent reason for such defensive outcries, and was full of doubt and negativism. During the treatment I found her extremely difficult to handle. She would look up at me as though I were God and then declare that she could see a halo around my head. At other times she responded to my remarks in a sarcastic and impertinent manner.

Again and again, Sari talked of her children until I was led to believe that she had children of her own, evidently the offspring of an illicit relationship inasmuch as I knew that she had never married. After awhile, however, I found that the children she referred to as hers were her brother and sister. She was the oldest of the three. Her mother had died when she was fifteen, a woman who had been dominated throughout her married life by an extremely overbearing, narcistic husband.

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