Sunday, October 20, 2013

Object Egoist- Hysteria pt. 2- the Electra complex

In a previous post I pointed to the portrayal of the hysteric in the work of Charles Dickens.

I compared the portrayal to Freud's character sketch of Dora but I now want to put some more distance between the two.

Firstly, Pip's sister "mother Gargery" is married and the hysterical passions she gives herself over to regarding her "humiliation" at not having a husband who stands up for her good name is about an equality in marriage.

I have mentioned before that the repression of the id object-choice (as opposed to its instinctual renunciation) means that the individual moves to rigidly toward the ego ideal. The man who represses his homosexual feelings for his brother becomes rigidly heteronormative and against gay men. In this case Pip's sister moves to easily towards "femininity" and towards the ideal of marriage and her sacrifices as "the woman".

In contrast, hysteria in the object egoist at the phallic narcissistic has to do with the experience/injury of complete disregard for her as an agent because she is a woman. This results in her seeking to revenge herself upon men.

I have previously posted on how at the phallic stage the egoist becomes masochistic about his image, and that he can become generous and perform "altruistic" acts, but that these acts are for his image. His generosity to intimates keeps them in his power, and his reputation is increased by generosity to strangers. The same thing comes to light for the object egoist.

Kohut gives a good description:

Such women may later develop into responsible, socially concerned, intellectually and culturally ambitious persons who struggle valiantly to overcome their resentment against younger men and to transform it into attitudes of protection and guidance toward them. To the work of an analyst such women often bring significant assets in the realm of moral firmness and intellectual ability… [but] they tend toward the substitution of what seems to them the all-too-passive attitude of the analyst (who is content to assist the patient in removing obstacles that stand in the way of liberating his own personality, his own potentialities, and his own initiative) by the more active stance of the educator, admonisher, and guide (Analysis of the Self, p.113-4). 

 Kohut sees this character being formed in latency,  this has to do with his stance against the drives and ego psychological commitments to the value choosing that goes on post-oedipus.

While at the phallic level the Electra complex will center around the OE giving the impression that she is more moral or of better taste or judgment than the "mother-substitutes" who have the good reputation for such things (or, like the Don Juan of Achievement, be driven to do many things in the public to show this).

Regression to the anal level becomes a criticism of one's culture and a put down of those who have reputation in it. The only people of importance are the anal fathers who are the pillars of the society. Only an anal father is a potential love object for the OE and no one else is worthy of her. Similarly, she holds an ideal of judgment that puts her into competition with "first ladies", famous historical figures, or celebrities that align with her form of judgment.

In the Electra complex the object drive form will result in sadistic feelings both the beloved and the object he loves or has betrayed one for. Ruining their reputations will be the response. If this is coupled with the anal form then references to the physical body appear. The sadism becomes physically destructive and the actual murder of the two is a possibility. Additionally, instead of the "castration anxiety" of desiring castration in which a lover will establish himself as 'the authority' the regression to the anal stage also adds the physical component of rape.

How often do such women become the wretched victims of a passion for men who ill-treat them, thus fulfilling the women's unconscious desires for castration or rape. I have also observed how frequently—indeed, almost invariably—women whose whole life is modeled on the lines of masculine sublimation-tendencies [i.e. egoism, not altruism] are markedly masochistic in their sexual experiences (Deutsch, The Significance of Masochism in the Mental Life of Women, p. 55).

The Electra complex the ego drive form is described above. It will result in sadistic feelings towards a mother-substitute who one is in competition with and the father as the depersonalized form of reputation in the community and can similarly regress to the anal stage. I have two further points I want to make. This triangulation is represented in Arachne and Athena with the reputation of Arachne for her weaving showing the depersonalized father. Also, the regression to the urethral or anal trito stage is possible. The bad conscience at the anal trito could show up in the masochistic sexual desires Deutsch speaks of and be contrasted to the anal Oedipal rape. Also, in a former post on the anal trito I have shown that several analysts have pointed out that the urethral stage is in fact the one for so called anal traits. I believe that there is also a case for excessive cleanliness and washing to be related to urethral impulses. Just as criminality vs. wanting to catch criminals is an anal trito issue for the subject egoist so too would the object egoist have a double possibility of expression at this stage. However, I'll have to wait a while longer before I attempt the formulation.

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