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Ferenczi, S. (1917). Letter from Sándor Ferenczi to Sigmund Freud, November 18, 1917. The Correspondence of Sigmund Freud and Sandor Ferenczi Volume 2, 1914-1919, 246-249.

Ferenczi, S. (1917). Letter from Sándor Ferenczi to Sigmund Freud, November 18, 1917. The Correspondence of Sigmund Freud and Sandor Ferenczi Volume 2, 1914-1919 , 246-249

Letter from Sándor Ferenczi to Sigmund Freud, November 18, 1917 Book Information Previous Up Next

Sándor Ferenczi

Budapest,
Sunday, November 18, 1917

Dear Professor,

In spite of the lateness of the hour—it is 1:30 A.M.—I decided to get up out of the bed in which I have been sleeplessly tossing and turning and to write to you. After all, you are not only my friend, whom I have to spare my “transformations of libido,”1 but also the physician to whom I owe a report about—the last, I hope—phase of my neurosis.

Now, how should I tell it to you? And how did this come over me? I certainly can't call it “illumination,” since it was able to penetrate with such difficulty—mostly only as a small glimmer, which was soon extinguished, in order to make room for the darkness again. But I don't want to get poetic. Let's rather remain precise.

So, finally, to begin: (and the dry tone of my letters ought to have betrayed this to you)—since our last encounter in the Tátra, I have gone through a peculiar time, which I can't characterize simply. I took it to be a favorable sign that I was getting better and better physically, and also gained weight noticeably. But I was not completely satisfied with myself, mentally. As if mechanically, dutifully, I took care of the tasks which my new position with regard to Frau G. now required of me; it also didn't cost me all too much effort, which I also viewed in a favorable light. But “this was not true love”! In our infrequent intimate encounters, I often became unpleasantly aware of the duty-like character of the execution of this love. A progressive step, in contrast to before, was that I didn't share this with Frau G. (as I had done several times earlier sub titulo “honesty”). You were right again. It was difficult for me to get anything analytically; I had to be really obligated, as I am now, in order to bring about significant psychic progress.

But I still won't stop there. I will continue: the uncertainty of my libido, for which I at first wanted to make coincidental external disturbances responsible, hurled itself mightily onto the undeniable signs of age on Gizella's facial features and forms. Then I had to think—more correctly: brood—about the already (artificially) brought about menopause and the hopelessness of marriage without children. Naturally I worked only on the most necessary things (my hours, the hospital), as if I wanted in this way to demonstrate my dissatisfaction with fate.

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