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Eissler, R.S. (1946). About the Historical Truth in a Case of Delusion Chicago. Psychoanal. Rev., 33(4):442-459.

(1946). Psychoanalytic Review, 33(4):442-459

About the Historical Truth in a Case of Delusion Chicago

Ruth S. Eissler

The delusion of being a Nazi spy without one's own knowledge or consent and to be used as a tool by an enemy spy organization must be a tremendously frightening and tormenting experience. The anxiety connected with this delusion made a young woman eventually seek psychiatric help. The fact that she turned to a psychiatrist indicates that she was, at least to a certain degree, aware of the unreality of her ideas and had considered the possibility of a mental disturbance.

I saw Mrs. A. first on a holiday out in the country where she was sent to me as an emergency. I mention this because the lack of any reaction on her part to this extraordinary situation fitted so well into the emotional picture she presented. She seemed to be so completely preoccupied with her strange inner experiences that there was no room for awareness of the unusual external situation. She was in a state of anxious excitement, but at the same time puzzled and bewildered and was reaching out to anyone who could possibly be of help to her, so that a rapport was easily established on the mere basis of my willingness to listen to her. Her physical appearance was that of a young woman in her early thirties, round-faced and of a pyknic type, of medium height. The most striking feature were her round brown eyes which had a very intense, piercing look. When she started to talk, she was very confused and incoherent, gliding off the essential topics and becoming very circumferential and involved as to minor details. The state of bewilderment was the prevailing affect noticeable throughout the conversation. Finally I was able to obtain the following information from her:

The previous fall her husband's number was drafted, and Mrs. A. who had been married for 6 years and was very much devoted to her husband, became very upset at the idea of his having to join the army. She insisted on his doing everything in his power to obtain a deferment. Mrs. A.'s mother had come to live with them in November 1941, when Mrs. A.

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