A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis

By Sigmund Freud | Go to book overview

EIGHTEENTH LECTURE

GENERAL THEORY OF THE NEUROSES

Traumatic Fixation—The Unconscious

I SAID last time that we would not continue our work from the standpoint of our doubts, but on the basis of our results. We have not even touched upon two of the most interesting conclusions, derived equally from the same two sample analyses.

In the first place, both patients give us the impression of being fixated upon some very definite part of their past; they are unable to free themselves therefrom, and have therefore come to be completely estranged both from the present and the future. They are now isolated in their ailment, just as in earlier days people withdrew into monasteries there to carry along the burden of their unhappy fates. In the case of the first patient, it is her marriage with her husband, really abandoned, that has determined her lot. By means of her symptoms she continues to deal with her husband; we have learned to understand those voices which plead his case, which excuse him, exalt him, lament his loss. Although she is young and might be coveted by other men, she has seized upon all manner of real and imaginary (magic) precautions to safeguard her virtue for him. She will not appear before strangers, she neglects her personal appearance; furthermore, she cannot bring herself to get up readily from any chair on which she has been seated. She refuses to give her signature, and finally, since she is motivated by her desire not to let anyone have anything of hers, she is unable to give presents.

In the case of the second patient, the young girl, it is an erotic attachment for her father that had established itself in the years prior to puberty, which plays the same role in her life. She also has arrived at the conclusion that she may not marry so long as she is sick. We may suspect she became ill in order that she need not marry, and that she might stay with her father.

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