Wednesday, December 30, 2015


There still remains a tension between masturbation as part of the phallic stage and its relation to an earlier stage that is removed from ego and object drives with external objects.

It's not so troubling to me because there isn't a problem with confluence between different stages. A person can receive transferences from more than one stage or phase at the same time.

The troubling thing at the moment is the difference between the part-ego stage and the previous auto-erotic stage.

Given that the part-ego stage involves a part-relation to people vs. their memories, then masturbation that imagines past partners or loves who were real external people seems like the candidate here.

In contrast, the auto-erotic, and its relation to internal Space and phantasy, suggests that masturbation would be based upon sexual scenes and acts which one hasn't experienced but seem exciting.

However, this once again leads us to the part-ego stage where the increased intellectual capacities lead to more fantastic creations...

In the ego (social) drives, I've discussed this as having an author who spends more time writing about his or her imaginary world then being connected to people in external Space. Such an author can have stories that are set in our world, and I see the part-ego stage as having a further rivalry with the world as such, so that, sci-fi, fantasy, and other creations are much more interesting to them.

So, it's possible that the auto-erotic stage gives us masturbation that is "perverse" in the light sense of a man, for example, who watches types of pornography that he hasn't experiences but are exciting for him (anal sex, bondage stuff, etc.). However, truly perverse stuff (bestiality, necrophilia, etc.) might require the added penchant to negate this world for another more fantastical one, in the part-ego stage.

These are just thoughts, and will require being matched up with psychic bisexuality and clinical data before they are worth much...

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Klein's sketch of the mind and social ontology

Klein continues to be one of those writers, who with Freud, Nietzsche, Hegel, Reich, etc., that one can always return to and find more than what one has remembered.  

This is Klein in the Psychoanalysis of Children:

The small child's super-ego and object are not identical; but it is continually endeavouring to make them interchangeable, partly so as to lessen its fear of its super-ego, partly so as to be better able to comply with the requirements of its real objects, which do not coincide with the unrealistic commands of its introjected objects. Thus we see that on top of the conflict between the super-ego and the id and the opposition between the various requirements made by the super-ego itself, composed as it is of quite different imagos that have been formed in the course of development, the ego of the small child is burdened with this difference between the standards of its super-ego and the standards of its real objects, with the result that it is constantly wavering between its introjected objects and its real ones—between its world of phantasy and its world of reality. 249-50

The tendency the individual has to secure from the external world a tranquillization of his fears of imaginary dangers from within and from without is, I think, an important factor in the repetition-compulsion (cf. Chapter VII.). The more neurotic he is, the more this tendency will be coloured by his need for punishment. The conditions to which the securing of such a tranquillization from external sources is attached will be increasingly unfavourable in proportion as the anxiety connected with his early danger-situations is powerful and his optimistic trend of feeling weak. In extreme cases only very severe punishments, or rather unhappy experiences which he feels as punishments, are able to fill the place of the imaginary punishments which he dreads. P. 277

Similarly, her relation to her home, which is equivalent to her own body, has a special importance for the feminine mode of mastering anxiety, and has, besides, another and more direct connection with her early anxiety-situation. As we have seen, the little girl's rivalry with her mother finds utterance, among other things, in phantasies of driving her out and taking her place as mistress of the house. An important part of this anxiety-situation for children of both sexes, but more especially for girls, consists in the fear of being turned out of the house and being left homeless. [fn: The fear of becoming a beggar child or a homeless orphan appears in every child analysis. It plays a large part in fixating the child to its mother, and is one of the forms taken by its fear of loss of love.] p. 263

What my work has added to this is that the parental imagos that comprise the superego are based upon instinctual renunciations, the negation of the finite mother into perfection and death, and possible adaptations (deutero phases) the produce the combined parent imagos. The deutero phases are based upon maternal seductions or rejections that make a new renunciation of sexuality or aggression and split the paternal imago. The impression that the child is seeing complex dynamics between the parents is not needed.

Additionally, the characterological and ego based aspects are better explained in my account. Klein mentions the epistemophillic drive, but the distinctions between internal and external Space, having affective connections vs. seeing others as "ideas" and wishing towards objects vs. seeing the efficacy of one's actions or the responses of others over time, etc. provide a better understanding of functions and how they can breakdown. 

The depersonalization involved in social ontology means that it's not just the child's relation to the house, but that the volar level also means a relation to society at large. Klein talks about the child being a beggar child, but it obviously can't conceive of this relation based upon observing power dynamics in some atomistic way. However, to say that the child has the sense of authority in relation to others in a social group at this stage, and that he or she can either be a part of it, rival the authority, have the loss of this authority, etc., then we can talk about the individual being abject, monstrous, etc.    
As I've shown, the idea of authority and its relation to society increases at the anal stage to a sense of one's relation to civilization. It's not about being part of society in the most basic way, as at the volar, but a question of whether one is a citizen that follows basic laws or is attracted to an under group (subaltern), criminal elements, or is just trying to basically survive and make it as a citizen.    

There's the level of discourse in these relations, in which certain laws or behaviors become known to affect one's acceptance by society or civilization. However, there are some impulses that are related to this based upon development (for example, cannibalistic impulses at the volar, death and robbing at the anal). 

It's possible that the volar stage house is a natural cathexis for the child and part of development, but it is a deutero phase development and thus not part of the natural, universal, development shared with animals. 

Clinically, especially working with substance abuse, one will be able to find many patients who are living out these various relations to society. Whether it's a person who is couch-surfing and has no security, a woman who is not allowed to leave the house and is kept like a prisoner by her boyfriend, a person who is doing monstrous things (like neglecting their children), spending each day just surviving in terms of scrounging for drugs, food, etc., or someone who can't tolerate being under any boss/employer and can put in a few days before seeing how the boss/manager isn't smart and therefore they have to quit, or someone who others ask for help at work and who can't say no, so they do the work of others but don't get paid more and feel taken advantage of, and then will quit from not being appreciated, etc....... there are these situations and many more that can intimate a volar level engagement.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

symbols, symbols, symbols

I haven't looked at myths for a while now. I've recently returned to find a few parallels.

I pointed out long ago that Oedipus and Bellerophon both shared the lion as a symbol as well as self-blinding or being blinded.

I also pointed out that Heracles has his wife stolen by a centaur and that this leads to his death which is accomplished by fire. On the object altruist side, Ixion tries to ravish Zeus's wife who turns out to be a cloud fashioned into Hera's image by Zeus. From the cloud comes the race of centaurs. He ends by being stuck to a wheel and being spun around.

At the phallic deutero the SE and OA share the horse, but both go on to have their symbols of castration in fire and spinning, respectively. I've encountered both of these symbols in both dreams but also in associative work in which the patient can affirm them as a feeling in self-statements.

On the feminine side, I've recently encountered hair as a symbol of the parental imago (like the Lion is for the masculine). The golden fleece in Jason seems to culminate there, but I'll have to look further into Antigone and Electra to see if the parallel is found there. I also think about Game of Thrones, V for Vendetta, and other cultural objects where having one's hair cut or cutting it oneself appear as symbolic of big moments of shame or rebirth.

In the myth of Perseus the winged shoes or flying is important, as it is with the harpies (before the Fleece) in the myth of Jason. In The Piano (1993) I first had my attention drawn to wings as a symbol. The movie Maleficent also features them, along with their castration. The subject altruist has them in the representation of angels, while the object egoist has them in representations that have a little more pride or narcissism.

Additionally, I've pointed to the polyphallic as a feminine symbol after seeing that Heracles labors seem to represent repression of the feminine in him.

I hope to find the corresponding symbols to feminine phallic deutero castration.

Additionally, the horse is the parental imago, which means that I need the symbol for the phallus there. Conversely, I need the symbol of the parental imago for the phallic deutero in the feminine. The serpent in both Perseus and Jason seems to be the likely candidate.

Anyway, more to come...

Saturday, December 5, 2015

The phallic stage and the ties to one's trade or profession

"The bond between a man and his profession is similar to that which ties him to his country; it is just as complex, often ambivalent, and in general it is understood completely only when it is broken: by exile or emigration in the case of one's country, by retirement in the case of a trade or profession".

-Primo Levi


Friday, December 4, 2015

paternal foreclosure Death vs. Sacrifice

In working in substance abuse, the deep object of Death was one of the first things I was impressed by. I've given the examples before of the altruistic person who loves and wants to help the addict, while the addict again might almost die from an overdose, will disappear, will ruin his or her reputation again.

For some time I've taken this as the "borderline" version, or the version in which the paternal function is gone.

I've recently had a patient who clued me into something I should have seen earlier. When the paternal function exists (i.e. power is transcribed to the father imago) then the Death object changes to one in which the parental-substitute sacrifices themselves for one and doesn't just die or disappear...

Thursday, November 26, 2015

passive altruism vs. passive egoism

Someone asked for clarification about the egoism of the subject altruist.

It's in Economics, I mention the redundancy of passive-altruism is saved once we recognize that the subject altruist can live out a passive-egoistic life.

Such a life can never be mistaken for that of an egoist because he'll never be seen as desiring the admiration of others or putting himself in the role of leader.

The subject altruist in egoist form, as mentioned two posts ago, will always be the "underdog" in terms of finding love or getting promoted (at the phallic level of Being)

In the altruistic form of the Antigonal castration complex, the echoist is concerned with the egoism of the object of devotion. This will mean that a sibling or friend, who is looked up to, will be assisted or helped to succeed. This is due to Antigone complex, like the other nuclear complexes, being moved to one's own generation as the start of the trito stage. However, if there is a conflict or issues with a parental-substitute, then defusion can take place so that this concerns phallic-parental substitutes. The "dead father" shows up in terms of the SA having to restore him to his place of prestige and esteem from others. Similarly, in object drive relations the SA will insert himself to help the parental substitutes to get back together, get over a fight, and generally sow harmony.

In contrast, in the active-altruism of the subject egoist, the parental-substitute is a respected authority figure and the SE wants others to recognize him and submit to him as he has. This is seen with bosses, or political ideologues who the SE respects and with living up to moral prescriptions that are related to his image-ego. This relation also follows social ontology so that at the anal level it will concern presidents or people at the top of social hierarchies (institutions) or the legal system (the parental-substitutes of civilization). It can also concern ideas such as God, science, or capitalism at earlier levels.

In the object drive relations, the subject egoist has a concern in the relationships of others: that the female should submit to the authority of the male. This is preached across religions, before capitalism, and it deserves our attention as something rooted in psyche. All culture can be assessed as being more egoistic or altruistic, as well as having ideals that amount to everyone in a population being trained (more or less) to be a certain ideal type. This ideal type is based upon religious/national/class beliefs but it ultimately is in imitation of a certain characterlogical type.  

In psychoanalysis you can see the subject egoists who place Freud, Hartmann, Green, or some other analyst as the authority in psychoanalysis. They require that their authority is respected, and that there is a stand on certain issues (i.e. dual drive theory) and for their position to be attacked is felt like an attack on themselves.

There are so many inane debates about basics of psychoanalytic theory where there is next to no evidence put forward.

There are also the subject altruists who choose "fallen" or "forgotten" figures to restore. Even though they are concerned with the prestige of their chosen figures, they don't come across in the same way at all.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

part-ego and auto-erotic stages and the relation to thing/fetish

I've decided to keep the auto-erotic as the designation for the stage of phantasy and use part-ego for the intermediary stage.

I've pointed to how different cultural figures are often composed of more than one transference. For example, the king may show up as both the anal superlative father and the volar stage semi-divine transference.

At the part-ego stage, I've begun to consider the name essence-ego (following the sequence phallic image-ego, anal spirit-ego, volar soul-ego, part-ego essence ego, and auto-erotic body-ego).

Again, I can't say for certain whether it is represented by the part-object (ie. the breast or penis alone) and part-ego is chosen based upon the asperger's like issue of the person needing to present themselves through their essence object (i.e. sharing a bunch of facts, bringing up their obsession with something (dinosaurs, war, religion, etc.), or delight in their own impressions of/association to things.

The ghost is a good example of getting to the essence of the object in the altruistic side of things. At the same time, the ghost often doesn't appear in its ethereal, human shaped form, but often as the poltergeist that affects inanimate things in the house.

The auto-erotic stage and its connection to perceptions in external Space vs. internal Space (phantasy) also has the differentiation of perception concerning animate objects and inanimate things. This is pointed to in the work of Mahler (and earlier Kanner of course) and Tustin:

in one group of early child psychosis the mother, as representative of the outside world, never seems to have been perceived emotionally by the infant, and the first representation of outer reality, the mother as a person, as a separate entity, seems not to be cathected. The mother remains a part object, seemingly devoid of specific cathexis and not distinguished from inanimate objects. This
- 289 -
type of infantile psychosis was first described by Kanner (1942), (1944), (1949) and given the name of "Early Infantile Autism." In autistic infantile psychosis there are no signs of affective awareness of other human beings. Behavior which would point to affective perception of ministrations coming from the mother—from the outside world—is absent. In the anamnesis of these children one finds descriptions of the earliest behavior, which betray that there was no anticipatory posture at nursing, no reaching-out gestures, and no specific smiling response.

Mahler, M.S. (1952). On Child Psychosis and Schizophrenia—Autistic and Symbiotic Infantile Psychoses1. Psychoanal. St. Child, 7:286-305

In working with autistic children, I have gathered hints as to how this restriction of awareness is brought about. For example, I have described their use of ‘autistic objects’ (Tustin, 1981). These are inanimate hard objects which are felt to be part of their bodily sensations. They distract their attention away from the outside world, with its unpredictable human beings. Autistic objects help the child to feel safe and in control.
- 46 -
They are also felt to fill the ‘holes’ through which inimical things could enter. Also, I have described elsewhere such children's resort to what I have called ‘autistic shapes’ (Tustin, 1986). These are whorls of sensations which are also felt to be part of their body. They are soothing and tranquillizing. Both these ‘artifacts’ generate, for most of the time, a bland self-sufficiency in which the child is not aware of those needs which provoke reaching out to other human beings. Instead, in a severe autistic state, the child feels that he is a ‘thing’ surrounded by other ‘things’. He does not feel that he is a flesh-and-blood creature with ordinary human needs. All this results in the picture we have come to associate with autism.
Many readers will know the danger signs in a baby which alert us to the possibility that he or she may be becoming autistic. Such babies avoid looking at themother, and usually also at other people. They do not smile. They do not vocalize. When they are capable of crawling or walking, they do not approach the mother. Usually, they stay motionless where they have been put down. In situations of need or distress, they do not seek comfort from the mother or anyone else. In short, as Fraiberg says, where there should be seeking there is avoidance. In the limited sample of such children who have privileged me with revelations about their state, it has become clear to me that all the above reactions arise from a state of elemental terror arising from the shock, or series of shocks, experienced by these children very early in infancy, in which their ‘going-on-being’ — their very existence — was felt to be threatened. This is the deepest and most fundamental of all terrors. The autistic restriction of awareness had seemed to protect them from awareness of that threatened catastophe. Thus it needs to be modified with extreme caution by workers with insight into its nature and function.

Tustin, F. (1988). The ‘black hole’. Free Associations, 1:35-50

 As they come out of their autism, autistic children show us that, in fleeting moments of excruciating awareness, they feel that they are 'nothings' surrounded by 'nothingness'. Lacking the feeling of being held firmly in the encircling embrace of caring attention, interest and concern, they have reacted to such threats by surrounding themselves with soft sensation shapes, and by holding on to hard sensation objects—Jane's shell was a good example of this. But these inanimate artefacts are both too hard or too soft. These children need the firm resilience of a human being whose appropriate and sensible responses enable on-going transformations to take place. Also, it is a truism to say that to be able to play, babies need to be played with. (p, 100)

Autistic Objects

Autistic children often carry hard objects around with them, or they try to stick themselves to hard objects. For such children, the hard sensations engendered by these objects are more important than the functions for which the objects were normally intended. Their salient characteristic is that the child feels that they are part of his body. For example, one 6-year-old boy I worked with, used to carry a large key-ring containing many keys. He felt that this was a bodily part which kept him safe. This was the function of the keys so far as he was concerned. They did not have their realistic function related to actual objects in the outside world.
Other children carry toy engines. They do not play with these engines but put them under their pillows to keep them safe. In the same way, some children may carry a toy motor-car clutched tightly in the palm of their hand. This seems to them to be an extra bit to their body which ensures their safety. 'Safety' is the keynote of these hard autistic objects. Objects used in this way are derivatives from part of the child's own body which were originally used as protectors. These were such things as the rolled-up tongue, the screwed-up inside pads of the cheeks, the hard faeces in the anus. Later, outside objects experienced as bodily parts, such as have been described, come to be used as protectors. They are 'me' objects which help the child to feel that he exists, and that his 'going-on-being' is ensured. These 'me' objects shut out distressing flashes of awareness of what is felt to be the dangerous 'not-me', which seems to threaten both their existence and their safety. They are not to be confused with Winnicott's transitional object which is a combination of 'me' and 'not-me' (Winnicott, 1951), and helps to link the two together. The transitional objectis a bridge to the 'not-me', autistic objects are a barrier to it.

Autistic Shapes

These arise from soft bodily sensations, such as the flow of urine from the body, or bubbles of spit around the mouth, or spit smeared on to outside objects, or from diarrhoea and vomit. They can also be engendered by holding an outside object loosely, or by pressing gently against it. They are also produced by rocking, spinning, and by hand and body stereotypes. The shapes thus engendered on body surfaces are felt to have no separateness from the subject's body. Nor are they classified shapes related to the actual shape of any particular object. Like autistic objects they are unshared with other people, and are idiosyncratic to the child alone. However, unlike autistic objects which are rigid and static, and whose outlines are definite, hard and unchanging, the outlines of autistic shapes are soft and evanescent. They follow each other in a fluid succession and can seem to be either sticky or slippery. They are 'tactile hallucinations' (Aulangier, 1985), in that they are generated by the subject alone, and have no objective reality in the outside world. Being soothing and calming they are a bodily-generated form of tranquillizer. This information has been conveyed to me by autistic children during three decades of working with them.
When these children first come to see us, objects are not used in terms of their shared common-sense function, but in terms of such children's idiosyncratic manipulations. These are to avoid impingements from the outside world which have been insufferable at the time when they first experienced them. Both autistic objects and autistic shapes are inhibitors and suppressants, and so they stop emotional and cognitive developments.
But why have the object-seeking, shape-making propensities of the human mind been diverted into such unfortunate channels? How is it that the capacity for play has been supplanted by sensation objects and sensation shapes? To understand this, we need to enquire into the origins of psychogenic autism. The first autistic child I had in intensive psychotherapy shed light on this for me. When he was speaking, having been mute at the outset of treatment, this child John, as I have called him, alerted me to what he referred to as 'the black hole with the nasty prick'. It became clear that this had precipitated the autism (Tustin, 1972), 1973).
- 94 -
Tustin, F. (1988). Psychotherapy with Children who Cannot Play. Int. Rev. Psycho-Anal., 15:93-106

 I have much evidence which points to the fact that the roots of autistic illness are in the earlier pre-narcissistic state identified by Freud in the following quotation from his paper on Narcissism.
The auto-erotic instincts are there from the very first so there must be something added to autoerotism, a new psychological action, to bring aboutnarcissism (Freud 1914).4
In recent times, the concept of narcissism has been pushed further and further back to earlier and earlier stages, so that some psycho-analytic writers even speak of pre-natal narcissism. Thus, we have lost sight of the pre-narcissistic state distinguished by Freud. It seems to me that this state should be reinstated and studied on its own right, and not confused with narcissism. The psychological development of autistic children has been arrested in this state so that, when their pathological autistic overlay has been lifted, we can get from them some indications of its nature.
- 127 -


Work with autistic children, supplemented by infant observation, indicates that pre-narcissism seems likely to be a psycho-physical state of auto sensuousness in which the child has not yet differentiated his body from that of the mother. Thus, his primal sense of “me-ness” is bound up with feeling merged with his mother. In normal development, this pre-narcissistic, auto-sensuous state enables the newborn infant to recover from the shock of being born, and to make a gradual transition from the watery medium of the womb to being a dweller on dry land with a separate existence of his own. This protective psycho-physical state is not an absolute nor a passive one. There are flickering moments of awareness of bodily separateness, and active forward thrusts of psychological development which culminate in a marked change in the infant's behaviour when he tolerates and begins to cooperate with the “not me”. This has been termed “psychological birth”10 & 20. I suggest that it is in this pre-narcissistic state that the sense of “me-ness” and its accompanying self-confidence is built up. This strengthens the infant to cope with the “not-me”.

Tustin, F. (1983). Thoughts on Autism with Special Reference to a Paper by Melanie Klein. J. Child Psychother., 9:119-131

What interests me in this conception, is the status of the inanimate thing as a fetish object. By this I mean fetish in the religious sense of having a tie to the divine. This would make the encounter with the inanimate thing part of the greater sense of relationship to God, which is often very important with psychotic people. 

Another example of the double transference here is seen in the philosopher (the analytical metaphysician to be precise). The part-ego stage, once again, give us an interest in the quality or thingness of things and people in the egoist. The obsessional orientation to details is the issue. However, along with this there can be a backsliding to the auto-erotic stage so that inanimate things alone are the concern of the philosopher. You have here the Forms in the sense of the chairness of a chair and all the interest that analytic metaphysical philosophy showed for things with often a glaring absence of humans. However, it's not just philosophy with this predilection, science and the ability to be in a lab all day working with chemicals, for example, shows a similar stance.

Lastly, although Tustin talks about the autistic objects and shapes, these are seen as secondary and pathological manifestations of intrapsychic relations. One is to the sense of play in children, which is obviously related to phantasy and being able to act it out with toys and this is altruistic and relational. The other is the tie to external things not for their hardness but in a primitive spatial-temporal intelligence. 

The importance of these functions in the artistic creation of a novel or in a Einstein-like thought experiment provides a sense for what is at stake at this level of the mind, while secondary defusion would mean the return of phantasy in delusion or a strong disorientation in spatial-temporal terms. (However, altruism often shows introjection and the inability to deal with a de-idealization of the object, so I wonder if this truly points to schizophrenia and cancer as opposites...) (There's also the thought that hallucination is on the egoistic side while delusion is on the egoistic one) 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Egoistic version of the Antigone complex

Whether sexual (object drives) or social (ego drives) the subject altruist who choses an egoistic solution to the antigone complex will always be "stuck" and have to endure in dead end relationships and/or jobs.  

Jules Nydes gives some object drive examples of this. He points out that the Oedipal (Antigone) problem isn't one of sex, so much as it is about ideal love and the image-ego desire for marriage.

In our era, (especially for women, though men are often equally afflicted) it is often not sex but marriage that gives rise to the most oppressive problems. While sexual freedom is increasingly endorsed and all prohibitive measures are treated with contemptuous disdain, we may, nevertheless, observe that the avoidance of marriage has, in some strange way become, for certain types of people, a condition for the enjoyment of sexual intimacy. For the paranoid-masochistic character marriage implies the public exposure of incest and murder. It involves the presumption of equality with, and therefore the displacement of, the parent of the same sex. It is a deadly competition which at once deprives the aspiring competitor of the right to claim the consolation of “love” from the protective parent, and at the same time exposes him to retaliation from the “power” of a punitive parent for daring to defy the incest taboo. Under such circumstances to venture to marry requires special precautions. But often that competitive hazard is avoided while other symptoms and defenses intervene. Some of these may be outlined as follows:
a. The man is ineligible. He is of another religion, or worse, he is of another race; and moreover he is already married. She says in effect: “Sex with him was marvelous until we begin to talk about
- 72 -
b. how happy we would be if he should leave his wife and children and marry me. I renounce the ‘power’ of winning him away from his wife in favor of retaining mother's love because:
c. I am only a child. I don't know how to cook or sew or raise children. I need my mother to protect me and take care of me. In fact, he was like a mother to me until he asked me to be his wife.
d. Moreover, I am really a whore. How can other women envy me when it is obvious that I am a degraded person and therefore no threat to them? Through promiscuity I avoid commitment to one man and at the same time retain in conscious or unconscious fantasy the image of one man (my father), my love for whom I may never openly avow. For me sexual intimacy does not grow out of knowledge of, and a sense of consanguinity with the other person. I go to bed with a man quickly in order to discard him. It is frightening to let a relationship develop slowly; it gives the man the power to hurt me. He may use me and get rid of me before I get rid of him. That deprives me of power and makes me feel helpless.
e. But I am not helpless; I am more of a man than the man. I can make him dance to my tune. Girls find me attractive. I don't have to compete with girls for his love. He may have to compete with me for the love of girls. In fact, I'm quite ready to give him to my girl-friend. We won't fight over him. Instead we will love each other, and laugh at him.
f. I really don't care about anyone. I care only about food. If I make myself fat and unattractive, I will succeed in disqualifying myself from competition for the love of men. Instead, I will secretly reunite with mother. She is the one who first fed me and took care of me. I still need her too much to risk any contest with her. The more I eat, the fatter I get, the more I am one with her.”
These, among others, are the devious ways in which freedom is proclaimed and the competitive challenge of maturity is evaded.

Again, the subject altruistic libidinal position can be found in males and isn't exclusively in the female sex due to psychic bisexuality. He gives another example with a male:

To accept the aid of the authority figure means a loss of independence and craven submission. A patient once said that he could marry happily only if he were certain that such a marriage would be against my wishes. Only in that way would his triumph over the oedipal father be complete.

There is a dynamic quality, as I've pointed out before, in ego and object drive parallelism. Nydes also points out how success in one area requires a failure in the other:

Mr. I. is a man of outstanding abilities in his field and of an international reputation. He has constantly complained that his wife is a social liability rather than an asset and that he therefore hesitates to invite her to gatherings of his colleagues. He fears that she will antagonize others and reflect badly on him.
His outstanding success in his work seems to be counterbalanced by a continual picture that he presents of a wretched home life. He complains that his wife continually abuses him and complains about his failure to provide adequately, to be considerate of her, etc. It is almost as if he is always saying “Do not blame me for my success in work; look how completely miserable and unhappy my love life is at home. Certainly in my home life there is no occasion for anyone to envy me.”
Nydes, J. (1963). The Paranoid-Masochistic Character. Psychoanal. Rev., 50B:55-91

More to come on this soon...

Saturday, November 21, 2015

the oedipus complex and family systems

In working with substance abuse, I often have a situation in which my 20, 30, 40, and even 50 year old patients are living with their parents.

There are many arrangements between parents and child, but one that I see fairly regularly is interesting to me.

It concerns the mother as "in the middle" between the father and son. The son feels that the father is judgmental/critical of him. Sometimes this is explicit, and sometimes there is silence and the son believes that the father thinks of him that way.

The son and father communicate to each other through the mother, or avoid conversing with each other and only seem to talk to the mother.

This arrangement is known to cause the mother pain. She is anxious because of it; she may be run down and get sick often.

Often when this is noted I'll ask "Does it feel true if you say my mother deserves to be hurt/in pain/etc. ?" and many will affirm it and bring up grievances against her.

The mother is both intimidated by the son and fears that he will wind up dead.

I'm not able to ask all the questions I'd like to ask for each patient to satisfy theoretical curiosity. If a self-statement takes them to the past or onto another aspect of their intrapsychic life, I follow their lead. Thus, I can't say something is ubiquitous. However, the mother's intimidation by the son often follows from her father. A few patients compare themselves to their grandfathers and compare their mother's fear of them to her fear of him. This, of course, is the phallic image that McDougall was the first to bring my attention to.

The other aspect is on the altruistic side and represents the deep object of Death. The son is in projective identification with the mother and puts his own anxieties about the loss of the object into her while behaving the like the parental imago. This "Death" can be physical and literal (i.e. anal) but can also concern reputation/image (phallic) and just disappearing (volar). For the most part, it is literal death in the descriptions.

Interestingly, despite the animosity and criticism the son has for the father, analysis will show that he has much in common with him and it almost seems like they have to fight and create difference because otherwise they are actually too much alike.

I've brought up this before as the re-personalization of the imago. The neurotic has his of her parent(s) in his or her life and instead of being concerned with their own success or love out in the world, he or she becomes concerned with their parents again. This is a dynamic operation. The pulling back from ego and object drives/ideal is replaced by talking/complaining about the parent(s). Of course, the parent(s) must be taking care of the him or her for this to occur.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

2 relations to the need for punishment.

Usually based upon my assessment of whether I'm dealing with a narcissist or echoist, I've found it valuable to use two self-statements.

The first uses the word deserve, and appears when the person represents their own wish or hope for something to happen or work out.

A patient brings up his mother's death and how he used to be upset with God for taking her. He said he got past it in treatment, and I ask him what his relationship with Him is like nowadays. My patient replies that he prays that things will work out sometimes.

I ask him if it feels true (or not, or partly true) if he says "I don't deserve to have things work out". He admits that it feels true and goes on to talk about how he's lied to his parents and and a more specific incidence in which his dad stood up for him based upon my patient lying about things.

Another patient is very upset with her ex-boyfriend for trying to get custody of their child. She swears and death wishes come up. This anger seems too strong, but no one else is appearing in her narrative that this could be a displacement for. Her ex wants to take her child from her, and she also doesn't have her other children (who are in DFS custody due to her drug use and criminal charges), so I turn it into a self-statement "I don't deserve to get my children back". She cries before even saying it and then gets into how she "wasn't there" for them and let them down. Through a few sessions this develops more and in hate for another "baby-daddy," she recalls how she told him that he'd never be in his son's life.

With echoistic patients, and specifically, object altruistic ones, deserve almost never feels right for them.

When the person puts themselves in risky situations, when accidents that seem life threatening seem to happen to them more than once, and when you detect more loneliness than hate in their life, the self-statement is always "Does it feel true if you say 'I don't care if I live or die'". With one female patient who was putting herself in situations in which (group) rape seemed possible the statement "I don't care if I am raped or not" was answered in the affirmative.

Generally, this leads back to a parent or love interest in the person's life, but sometimes, in keeping with object and ego drive parallelism, a rejection by one's group of friends appears.    

Sunday, November 1, 2015

notes from a previous patient

Here is a write-up from my session notes with a former patient from the East.

This is from his second session.

I thought I'd put it up for transparency and to commemorate that I've had 50 000 visitors to the blog. It's not much of an achievement considering that site has been around since 2011, but considering how my work goes against the fashions in both psychoanalysis and academia, it feels like an achievement.

...Transparency here means that many analysts have written about how their analysis with certain theoreticians didn't resemble their ideas.

I believe my thinking about, for example, phallic father-substitutes (bosses, mentors) informs the questions I ask. Also, my Reichian roots in the body are here in the reduced form they sometimes have to take.

I ask my patient, S., about his new job and he tells me about how his boss pays him more money than the average in his field and how he will let him buy the business for a very good price.

I ask S. why he would do that and he replies that his boss said that he has “always seen something in [him]”

I ask him if he has had a mentor before and how his previous bosses have treated him.

S. replies “Yeah a few bosses that promote me quickly, see me do well, and then I start drinking and not show up”

I ask how one boss that he goes into more detail about would describe him once he starts drinking. S. says “unreliable, disappointing, not responsible”

I ask him to put these into You-statements (i.e You are unreliable, you are disappointing, you aren’t responsible) and whether anyone he knows comes to mind.

He initially denies it, but I saw that something registered for him. I asked if there was anyone from his past and he said “Well, my dad”

S. begins to talk about how he wasn’t in our lives,”  “is not a good person”, “didn’t care about anything but alcohol.”

I ask him to turn the last expression into a self-statement (i.e. When I was drinking, I didn’t care about anything but alcohol”). He replies that it feels right, but he said he did it more for “the atmosphere” and to be able “to open up more” and get past his shyness. S. says he doesn’t know why his father did it. 

As he’s talking I notice more irritation in his voice and say “it seems like there’s some anger”. He agrees and says talking about his dad can still make him angry.

I ask him to take a breath and tell me where he feels the anger in his body. He says he can feel it in his stomach. I tell him to take a few more breaths and concentrate on the anger in his stomach and see if it wants to grow or go anywhere else. He is surprised and says he can feel his throat tighten. I ask him to focus on his throat and see if the tension wants to grow or go anywhere else. He takes a couple breaths and then said that it’s gone and he can’t feel it anymore.

I ask him to complete the statement “Another time I felt my throat tighten was when…”. He balks at this and says “Anytime I’m pissed at anybody who runs their mouth bout me, my mom, or my son”. I ask “What’s the first time that comes to mind?”

He says that it was the last time he was in court with his “baby momma”. She had taken pictures of him at a bar 6 months earlier and tried to say that she had taken them when he was on probation and therefore he was in violation of it. We go on to explore how else she tries to “manipulate” him and I mirror his indignation and try to help it grow. I then ask if his throat is tight because he holds back saying what he wants to say. He agrees to this but if an interpretation is correct I’m usually rewarded with a memory or some following thought that surprises the patient. I pause but nothing seems to want to follow the interpretation so I ask “What would you have said if you knew that there would be no repercussions?” He says “You dirty bitch… you manipulate, you point out other people’s problems to cover up your own…”

We go on to explore and the portrayal of his “baby momma” becomes less evil and more about someone who is unstable. He reports that she would start a fight say she hated him and then call him and beg him to come back and say she loved him. He goes further into how she took other pictures and made videos to blackmail him. He begins to add epithets: she is a “planner,” “a schemer,” she is “disgusting,” she “uses people,” and “whatever her goal, she does what she needs to to accomplish it…”.   

I ask S. if he says “My father is a planner, a schemer, etc… does it feel true?”
He says “yeah, pretty much” with his venom beginning to leave his tone.

S. details how his father returned to his life when he was 16 and had only been pretending to be sober, and that he ultimately had a plan to get him, his mother, and brother to move with him to ultimately ruin their lives.

I’m torn about where to go. His representation of his father seems a little fantastical and paranoid. However, it’s also strange to me that he’s not surprised that his ex girlfriend is based upon a prototype he has in his father. I chose the latter and ask him if he is surprised that his baby momma resembles his father.

S. replies that this is the reason he doesn’t date anybody and that all his girlfriends have been crazy. He doesn’t answer the question directly.

I explain to him that hate for someone can mean that they continue to exert a power in our lives, and ask him what he thinks it would take for him to let go of the hate for his father.

He again ignores the direct question and says that he will just wait for someone to find him and that if he stays out of bars that he might actually meet someone good.

I point out that without the alcohol he wouldn’t get over his shyness and approach anyone, so the point is moot anyway. He again replies with “yeah, pretty much”.

S. goes on to say that his brother has the same issue with girls and that all his girlfriends are crazy too.

We are out of time and I end the session.