Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: PEP-Web Archive subscribers can access past articles and books…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

If you are a PEP-Web Archive subscriber, you have access to all journal articles and books, except for articles published within the last three years, with a few exceptions.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Gill, M.J. (1939). Revue Française de Psychanalyse. Psychoanal. Rev., 26(3):430-438.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Revue Française de Psychanalyse

(1939). Psychoanalytic Review, 26(3):430-438

Revue Française de Psychanalyse

Margaret Jones Gill

(Vol. IX, No. 1)

1.   Freud, Sigmund. Contribution to the Psychology of Love.

2.   Freud, Sigmund. Papers on Metapsychology.

(1)  Freud, Sigmund. Contribution to the Psychology of Love. (See Collected Papers, Vol. IV. Hogarth Press, London.)

(2)  Freud, Sigmund. Papers on Metapsychology. (See Collected (Papers, Vol. IV. Hogarth Press, London.)

(Vol. IX, No. 2)

1.   Laforgue, R. Psychoanalytic Clinic.

2.   Spitz, R. Masculine Object Choice and the Transformation in the Typology of the Neuroses.

3.   Lowtzsky, Mme. F.; Kierkegaard, Soeren. The Subjective Experience and the Religious Revelation.

1.   Laforgue, R. Psychoanalytic Clinic. This is the fourth in a series of lectures given by Laforgue which have all appeared in earlier numbers of this Revue. Its title is “The Cure and the End of the Treatment.” The cure in psychoanalysis is much more complex than in general pathology because for the analyst cure means the liberation of certain repressed instincts, the suppression of the neurosis and a facing of the moral conflict (assumption of virility despite castration fear, feeling, need for punishment,—acceptation of femininity despite feeling of humiliation, hardships of suffering, need of punishment and risk of death) while for the patient the neurosis is the cure, i.e., the symptoms represent a means of defense against this conflict of which he is mortally afraid.

- 430 -

Thus the cure is often translated by patients into complaints of feeling worse and worse. As long as progress means only the loss of symptoms everything is all right, but as soon as patient perceives the consequences of analyst's intervention, he becomes furious, enraged, feels himself deceived. He regrets having been cured. Often the feeling of impotence, inferiority, humiliation enters in. The creation of the neurosis has allowed the patient to hold himself aloof from life, pure and without sin in a child's paradise, but the destruction of his defense forces him to submit to the precarious fate of man with all its difficulties. This situation is often translated by confusion and disorientation expressed in different ways. Examples given. But until these reactions whose aim is to prevent the patient from accepting analyst's solution to life's problem have been surmounted the preceding ameliorations have only a relative value. When analysis arrives at this point the treatment is often threatened with interruption, often patient will refuse to be cured and leave full of rancor and spite. Sometimes (due to heredity, circumstances, nature of neurosis or because analyst has not sufficiently prepared patient) patient will be so furious he will seek in all ways to recapture sickness, often will begin to drink, take drugs, insist he will sue analyst, develop organic disease. These reactions are particularly strong when neurosis follows a maternal neurosis or where the neurosis protects patient from unhealthy influence of environment. A virile, neurotic mother who has reduced her husband to a cipher affects girls profoundly; a masochistic and homosexual father will reinforce neurosis of daughter to the point of making it incurable. It takes much time, patience and suffering to reconcile patient with loss of the benefit of his sickness and to the benefits of the cure. Patient should not be hustled—Rank's process of fixing a date often works in opposite direction and resolves nothing—patient should be made to take responsibility.

The fifth lecture in this series is entitled, “Indications and Prognosis of Treatment.” Having studied in a general way in preceding lectures the symptomatology of the different neuroses and the course of treatment, Monsieur Laforgue in this lesson takes up the question of when psychoanalytic treatment is indicated as well as the prognosis. He says one should always study the patient carefully in order to know whether psychoanalytic treatment is indicated. Not all persons can be helped. Often during treatment the question can be asked whether it is worthwhile going any further or whether one should not be content with progress made.

In general, psychoanalysis is indicated in neuroses of anxiety, in phobias, obsessions, neuroses of asocial reactions, masochistic neuroses and neuroses of defeat (Baudelaire), masculine impotence, feminine frigidity, certain perversions, certain cases of homosexuality, kleptomania, exhibitionism, nervous tics, coprophilia. In organic neuroses and in the

- 431 -

psychoses, the use of psychoanalysis is debatable and should not be used before a careful study. In some narcissistic neuroses when resistance of character dominates, when negative reaction released by progress is too great, psychoanalysis is not indicated. Age plays an important role. The limit is forty-five years, with exceptions, of course. Age of neurosis, recent or of long standing, also must be considered. It is difficult to make a prognosis at beginning of treatment, or to guarantee a cure. Personal temperament, manner of proceeding, personal nuances of each analyst, age of patient, age of neurosis, family surroundings, death of parent of same age as patient at early age, all these affect the prognosis. Prognosis is generally bad in masochistic neurosis when father is feeble and effeminate, also of woman whose father was brutal toward wife and children. In general, masochistic neuroses and perversions appear the most difficult to treat. Some cases of sexual impotence, of frigidity, homosexuality, rebel for a long time. For most hypochondriacs, paranoiacs, melancholiacs, prognosis is bad. In some organic neuroses ex., gastro-intestinal, prognosis is often favorable; it being important, of course, for analyst to know how to liquidate psychic symptom which replaces organic one. In schizophrenia, prognosis is not generally favorable. It is relatively good in those cases where familial super-ego, become neurotic, super-ego does not oppose too many obstacles to the progress of the analysis. Personal experience plays a great role in the application of psychonalysis. It leads us to consider the situation created by the neuroses with much circumspection and to enter into treatment with prudence. It obliges us to find other means than those of classical treatment, obliges us to appeal to educators for aid in our action which should be preventive rather than curative. The problem takes a social as well as a medical and therapeutic one; teachers, parents, society, should be educated.

2.   Spitz, R. Masculine Object Choice and the Transformation in the Typology of the Neuroses. The different types of sickness vary in the course of centuries, neuroses as well as infectious diseases. Science has only been able to observe the neuroses during the last fifty years—they have, of course, always varied but in that time one has seen many changes, for instance, the disappearance of the noisy symptoms of hysteria which have been replaced by phenomena pertaining more to the domain of deportment and character; the ceremonials of the obsessional neurotics replaced by inhibitions in work, reading, sexuality, etc. Typology of neuroses vary in time, in space, in social milieu. In the infectious diseases a mysterious epidemic virus has been held responsible but in the neuroses it is probably a transformation in the exterior conditions of life which has caused a transformation in the typology.

In this study Monsieur Spitz takes as an example the transformation that has occurred in man's object choice and follows the transformation

- 432 -

in the clinical picture accompanying it. Observations made in Austria, Hungary, Germany and United States.

An examination of art, literature, style (manner of dressing) of the 19th century shows us that at that epoch man preferred women with an opulent form; the ideal (not considering good housewife) was the “femme fatale” represented by Spanish type, usually with red hair and green eyes. After 1910 this ideal changed. Women became thin, slender, all the contrivances which emphasized or simulated feminine opulence disappeared. About 1918, short hair, boyish type, made its appearance and since then the feminine costume has become more and more masculine, until women finally adopt even the wearing of trousers. At the same time woman more and more took up the masculine professions. Now in order to find the psychological causes of the latter it would be necessary to study the progressive evolution of woman during the last century which would exceed the frame of this study. Besides, this problem is determined somewhat by economic conditions which would also require a longer study and so the question of choice of profession Monsieur Spitz has ignored and has limited himself to studying the evolution in the “ideal” of feminine beauty. He discounts the reasons given by the moralists, i.e., decay of morals due to war. The change in morals and women had started before the war and both are symptoms of a profound sociological evolution. Nor could it be due to a momentary feminine caprice since due to her passive role in the love act woman seduces man by realizing his desire and this she does by means of dress and behavior.

Before appearance of movies, the “ideal” was recreated from literature, works of art, etc., but today we have a true example of ideal in the movie star. And in the movie star we have, not as before an ideal imposed from above, royal family, etc., but a projection of the desire of the masses. By a creative act masses forge an ideal, then follows identification with ideal and ensuing style. Now it is to be noted that this ideal of today is not an eternal model of beauty but a type yielding to a changing style. Because it is no longer a question of keeping an invariable ideal but of satisfying the needs of certain constellations of partial impulses. It is, then, the partial impulses which have provoked the creation of the “ideal.” If the ideals depend on the style, that proves that at a particular moment the combination of partial impulses is the result of the psychological situation in which the masses find themselves. This psychological situation is modified following the exterior circumstances. This being admitted, in basing ourselves on the attributes of the star it becomes possible to draw conclusions about the constellation of partial impulses of the principal civilized people at a given moment. We perceive, this, the corresponding psychological situation and we can unite it to the historical situation of the moment.

- 433 -

This the author attempts to do by using an extreme case of masculine object choice—extreme cases often show more clearly their psychological mechanism—the childish woman, ex., Mary Pickford. This type woman is small and cute and graceful, has a childish voice and allure and is represented as feeble, persecuted by man and fate and in need of protection. In daily life we have seen this type woman exercise a tremendous attraction on a great many men. She appears in many “crimes of passion,” seems to have replaced “femme fatale.” Now it is often said the attraction of this type comes from her feebleness and need for protection which satisfies the male's desire for power. But actually these women are not feeble. They are, on the contrary, very energetic, know exactly what they want, have great commercial capacity and follow their aim with a brutality rare to man. They show an extremely sadistic and castrating character. To what then is due their powers of seduction? Certainly not to their character traits—they act like children, capricious and illogical, obeying the pleasure rather than the reality principle yet knowing enough to stop just before being hurt. To find the answer Monsieur Spitz turns to the men who submit to this attraction and taking examples from his patients finds the answer.

These men differ not only in appearance and in character but in psychic structure. But in all cases they show an extreme attachment to the mother who also adores them. These cases bring to light the well known mechanism, one of two possible mechanisms of masculine homosexuality, object is young boy who reminds patient of boy he was himself. In all cases the mother by her treatment seemed to have tried to make her little boy into a little girl. From this situation the boy derives great benefit; he avoids the castration conflict since thanks to fiction he is a girl without being castrated. And later in life he again derives benefit; he takes as love object childish boyish girl, kind of person his mother tried to make of him, thus avoiding the Œdipus situation since love object is not at all like mother. At the same time he finds great happiness in relationship since it is in reverse form that which existed between himself and mother.

These marriages are generally very happy—although to the onlooker they look insupportable—because the demanding, selfish wife generally treats her husband exactly as he treated mother. The role of jealousy is variable but this type woman, childish, narcissistic, has the gift of arousing jealousy. She is incapable of making a real object love choice, hence man never feels sure of her. Spitz feels that in the history of pedagogy he finds confirmation for this view. Children no longer suffer a strict upbringing; they are given freedom, even license. Parents now recognizing their own instincts understand that in punishing child they were protecting self. They have become more lenient. Mothers usually direct children and often having suffered strict education themselves

- 434 -

desire to bring up own children softly, boys as well as girls, hence prevalence of men susceptible to infantile women. The theater furnishes a proof à posteriori. In the last century there was not one actress of this infantile type. They were all large well-built women, hence object choice of men largely this type. It is only since the change in child training that we have seen the infantile woman “ideal” appear. It is the instinct of homosexuality that this feminizing education fortifies in the boy. Spitz considers that the change in the pedagogical attitude in the last ten years or so, i.e., indulgence for manifestations of pregenital sexuality, for aggression, is responsible for the transformations in the typology of all the neuroses. There is now appearing in many European countries a change in education whose fundamental characteristic is a more effective self-denial, a more radical privation, not however as severe or imposed as harshly as formerly. From this will follow a change in masculine object choice, style will become more feminine, ex. Mae West.

3.   Lowtzsky, Fanny; Kierkegaard, Soeren. Subjective Experience and the Religious Revelation. Soeren Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher, 1813-1855. He was little known during his life outside of his own country but since his death his works have spread throughout Europe and have exercised a great influence on philosophers and poets, ex. Bjornson, Ibsen, Hebbel, Heidegger, Jaspers, Karl Barth. According to Martin Buber there were in the 19th century two really great men, Kierkegaard and Dostoievsky. The works of Kierkegaard, contemporaneous to Hegelian thought constituted a defiance to German idealism. It substituted for it an existential philosophy, a philosophy of the concrete man. With all the energy of his being, K. opposed to the objective characteristic of Hegel, a subjective thought, an interest in the human person. The highest and the most important problem of philosophy for K. was the repetition. His religious heroes were Abraham and Job. But while he could understand the action of the former, the paradox, through faith and love of God he was ready to sacrifice the beloved Isaac, confident at the same time that Isaac would be given to him again, he, Kierkegaard, could not believe in it. He felt closer to Job, who dared to defy God and refused to bow silently to the misfortunes God sent him.

Soeren Kierkegaard was brought up largely by his father, an elderly melancholic man who after making a fortune for himself retired to devote his time to philosophy and religion, but who, at one time in his youth when he was poor and wretched, had dared to defy God for what he considered God's neglect of him. Soeren's attitude toward this father was ambivalent. He loved him for the pleasant childhood memories of a stimulating, satisfying companionship, respected him for his brilliance, obeyed him blindly as the latter obeyed God; but hated him and held him responsible for his, Soeren's, mental suffering and melancholy, all of which Soeren felt was due to his early training under this authoritative

- 435 -

melancholic old man who, unable to support his own depression, had confided the terrible secret of his early perfidy for which he considered he and his whole family were doomed to a life of suffering, to his young son, thereby making of the latter an old man. Soeren himself as he grew older became morose, masochistic and melancholy. He suffered as the author shows us from an obsessional neurosis and melancholy. He devoted his whole life to the study of literature and philosophy. The greatest happening of his whole life was his engagement to Regine Olsen. When he first met her he fell very much in love and hoped to find happiness in life in his marriage to her, but a year after his betrothal, for no apparent reason whatsoever, despite a great reciprocal love, he broke off the engagement, almost killing his fiancée and causing himself many nights passed in crying. After the rupture he pleaded with her to marry another and when she finally did, he was very grateful and considered himself her eternal debtor. Very soon a feverish creative activity took hold of him. He wrote “The One or the Other,” “Fear and Trembling,” “The Repetition,” “The Periods.” He proclaimed a life love for Regine Olsen and felt his creative ability was due to her. All his works are autobiographical. He published them under pseudonyms but the personages were only masks to which he distributed his own thoughts. In his own words the profound cause of his work was his private life and so in an analysis of the latter the author has hoped to find what was the profound cause. From copious quotations, mostly from “Fear and Trembling,” “The Repetition,” and the “Journals,” the author shows us that Soeren at an early age, spying in the bedroom of his parents, observed parental intercourse. This event caused a fixation of his love for his mother and a great desire to possess her sexually. In his unconscious he phantasied a realization of this sexual possession; he identified himself with his father and repeated the original scene. This desire became an obsession from which he could not deliver himself. It also turned his love for his parents into hatred, at least into ambivalence. His mother had deceived him; she loved the father, not him, and the deception of his mother made him profoundly unhappy and full of revenge. He felt deprived of love, abandoned, castrated. These feelings of love and aggression being condemned by the super-ego, he incorporated his mother, the love object, and became feminine, thus castrating himself. In tormenting and castrating himself he tormented and castrated the incorporated love object, thus realizing his repressed aggression. He suffers from loss of the love object and he revenges himself for her infidelity but the satisfaction of his revenge makes his suffering a pleasure (well known mechanism of melancholia). Upon meeting Regine Olsen, he identifies her with his mother and transfers upon her his love for the former. What he is hoping for, then, in marriage, is the realization, the repetition of his infantile phantasy, possession of the mother sexually. But this is tabu.

- 436 -

In the identification of his fiancée with his mother he transfers upon her his hatred for his mother and his need for vengeance. The incest tabu and feelings of aggression cause him to break the engagement and he does it cruelly, sadistically, “in order to help her.” Public opinion condemns him; his fiancée as well as her father plead with him to marry her, therefore ethics, the father and the mother demand that he marry. But due to incest tabu he cannot marry unless he renounces incestuous love. To marry, then, means to sacrifice his Isaac, his beloved, to kill his mother, hence himself—he feared on the day of marriage he or his fiancée would die or be buried alive.

This thing that his father demands of him, this sacrifice, raises doubts in S.'s mind of his father's love. This is not a blessing; it is a cruel punishment, hence his father does not love him (well known doubts of obsessional neurotics). According to Soeren, his father never understood him, abused his mother, hence himself, did not understand that he, Soeren, was not responsible for what there was of the devil in him. It was the “natural relations” which were to blame; they had led him into temptation; what he had done he had done from love—Soeren finds himself before the paradox. For love of his father he must give up his beloved, but the “credo quia absurduum” is that the son should be asked to love the father, he who did not understand and love the son and condemned and punished him unjustly. Soeren cannot do this, without believing in the love of the father he cannot do it. When he tries to consider it he becomes dizzy, dark comes before his eyes, an unheard of anxiety invades his soul, the fear and trembling before castration. He then searches in a desperate revolt against the divinity to find peace. He will not marry, will not give up his incestuous love nor his sentiments of aggression. As a result he, as in childhood, incorporates the love object, castrates himself and sublimates his desires of incest and aggression, by taking a mortal leap into the sphere of the spirit and transforming his love for his fiancée into love of God. He takes revenge on his financée by making her his muse, not his beloved. And in his poetical output “the most perfect substitute for love” in this auto-satisfaction which is love for incorporated object, he finds the realization of his incestuous love. But he does not find peace; he still has need of what he cannot permit, realization of incestuous love in reality and still feels resentment against his mother-fiancée. He then transforms hatred for financée into great love. He wants to make her happy; he wants her to marry another. Yet, he wants her to guard her love for him until moment he will be permitted to marry her—he was always hoping that moment would come. She does finally marry another. This is a blow to S.—it is also a pleasurable repetition of deception by mother, hence original scene—and his great joy at her marriage is really vengeance against her since it shows that she is no longer loved by him. He tries to renew his relations with

- 437 -

her but with the requirement that he see her only under eye of husband—perpetual reminder of infidelity of beloved, hence means of self-punishment. Husband, however, refuses. K. is again blessed, doubly blessed, as was Job. His lamentation, his torment, conies out in heavenly music, his work. But his super-ego always condemns, always punishes, always torments. At the same time incorporated love object is tormented and torment finally becomes death of them both. Soeren Kierkegaard dies at forty-two, always more attracted by death than by life. We see, then, that the philosophic problem of the repetition, “the most important of all philosophical questions,” is the symbolic expression of an obsession, the search for incestuous love, the desire to repeat the original scene. And the religious revelation, the paradox, the absurd, is the symbolic expression of a subjective experience, of a conflict between incestuous love and super-ego condemnation.

- 438 -

Article Citation

Gill, M.J. (1939). Revue Française de Psychanalyse. Psychoanal. Rev., 26(3):430-438

Copyright © 2021, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.