74 Slices
Medium 9780950164779

2 The Significance of Intermarriage between Close Relatives in the Psychology of the Neuroses (1909)

Karl Abraham Karnac Books ePub

IT has long been assumed that marriage between near relatives is harmful to the offspring of such a union. Medical literature, as well as popular belief, attributes a variety of nervous and mental disorders to parental consanguinity. There can be no doubt that in many families inbreeding and mental or nervous disorders go together. It does not necessarily follow, however, that the inbreeding and the disorders are cause and effect. The question is rather whether the incidence of intermarriages in certain families is not due to a specific cause, whether such neuropathic families are not compelled to intermarry by a peculiar tendency prevailing among their members. If we regard intermarriage as a psychopathological phenomenon, we observe that it cannot be viewed apart from a series of other psychological phenomena to which it is fundamentally related.

I do not claim that the views on the psychology of intermarriage put forward here are of general validity. Such marriages between relatives may, of course, like any other marriages, be contracted for purely practical reasons. In other cases, external reasons such as being cut off from general social life may prevent mixing with people outside the family. Moreover the tendency towards inbreeding may vary among different peoples and at different social levels. In cases, however, where relatives are led to marry solely by reason of individual desire I would infer that the capacity for transferring love on to persons outside the family is deficient, attachment to members within the family being at the same time excessive.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780946439591

XV. A PARTICULAR FORM OF NEUROTIC RESISTANCE AGAINST THE PsYCHO-ANALYTIC METHOD (1919)

Abraham, Karl Karnac Books ePub

WHEN we begin to give a patient psycho-analytic treatment we make him acquainted with its fundamental rule to which he has to adhere unconditionally. The behaviour of each patient in regard to that rule varies. In some cases he will easily grasp it and carry it out without particular difficulty; in others he will frequently have to be reminded of the fact that he has to make free associations; and in all cases we meet at times with a failure to associate in this way. Either he will produce the result of his reflected thoughts or say that nothing occurs to him. In such a situation the hour of treatment can sometimes pass without his producing any material whatever in the way of free association. This behaviour indicates a ‘resistance ‘, and our first task is to make its nature clear to the patient. We regularly learn that the resistance is directed against allowing certain things in the mind from becoming conscious. If at the commencement of the treatment we have explained to the patient that his free associations give us an insight into his unconscious, then his refusal to give free associations of this kind is an almost obvious form for his resistance to take.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780950164779

11 Some Illustrations on the Emotional Relationship of Little Girls Towards Their Parents (1917)

Karl Abraham Karnac Books ePub

A MOTHER, in telling me about her four-year-old daughter, whom we will call Elsie, said that she showed particular love and tenderness for her father. Recently she had particularly liked to play at being father’s wife. When the mother asked her why she wanted to be her father’s wife she replied that she would ‘like to know what it was like’, and added that she could then at last find out ‘what coffee tastes like’. ‘I asked her’, the mother continued, ‘what is to happen to me, and she had her answer ready: “You will just be our child”.’

‘On one occasion’, the mother continued, ‘Elsie related to her elder sister a story she had herself made up. It began: “Once upon a time there was a dwarf who had seven little dwarfs. Their mother had died a long time ago”. When I asked why the mother had died the child explained: “Oh, she was already over a hundred and very poorly”. Some months ago at the zoo, Elsie stopped in front of a cage in which there was a wild sow with a large litter. Elsie exclaimed with the greatest delight: “Look, there is a father pig with his children!” I explained that it was the mother, but she insisted, “No, the father”. When I assured her once more that it was the mother she asked: “But where is the father?” Only when I said that he had probably just gone a little walk did her face brighten again.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780946439591

VI. NOTES ON THE PSYCHO-ANALYTICAL INVESTIGATION AND TREATMENT OF MANIC-DEPRESSIVE INSANITY AND ALLIED CONDITIONS (191 I)

Abraham, Karl Karnac Books ePub

WHEREAS states of morbid anxiety have been dealt with in detail in the literature of psycho-analysis, depressive states have hitherto received less attention. Nevertheless the affect of depression is as widely spread among all forms of neuroses and psychoses as is that of anxiety. The two affects are often present together or successively in one individual; so that a patient suffering from an anxiety-neurosis will be subject to states of mental depression, and a melancholic will complain of having anxiety.

One of the earliest results of Freud’s investigation of the neuroses was the discovery that neurotic anxiety originated from sexual repression; and this origin served to differentiate it from ordinary fear. In the same way we can distinguish between the affect of sadness or grief and neurotic depression, the latter being unconsciously motivated and a consequence of repression.

Anxiety and depression are related to each other in the same way as are fear and grief. We fear a coming evil; we grieve over one that has occurred. A neurotic will be attacked with anxiety when his instinct strives for a gratification which repression prevents him from attaining; depression sets in when he has to give up his sexual aim without having obtained gratification. He feels himself unloved and incapable of loving, and therefore he despairs of his life and his future. This affect lasts until the cause of it ceases to operate, either through an actual change in his situation or through a psychological modification of the displeasurable ideas with which he is faced. Every neurotic state of depression, just like every anxiety-state, to which it is closely related, contains a tendency to deny life.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780950164779

7 On the Psychogenesis of Agoraphobia in Childhood (1913)

Karl Abraham Karnac Books ePub

NEUROTICS who are afraid of walking in the street without being accompanied by a particular person usually suffer from a second phobia also: the fear of being alone indoors. The unconscious of such patients does not permit them to be away from those on whom their libido is fixated. Any attempt by the sufferer to defy the prohibitions set up by his unconscious is visited by an anxiety state.

A five-year-old boy afflicted with both these phobias recently produced quite spontaneously, that is to say without being questioned by the doctor, a confirmation of this psychoanalytical observation. What he said is so amazingly appropriate and succinct that I should like to quote it here and to add a few words of comment.

So severe was his anxiety that the boy could not be induced to leave his parents’ home to go by himself to visit relatives living next door, although he had not even to cross the road to do so. He also became frightened if his mother went out, even when his nurse stayed with him. Recently he reached the point where he actually refused to go out with his nurse.

See All Chapters

See All Slices