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
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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...

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