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VIII. MENTAL AFTER-EFFECTS PRODUCED IN A NINE-YEAR- OLD CHILD BY THE OBSERVATION OF SEXUAL INTERCOURSE BETWEEN ITS PARENTS (1913)

Abraham, Karl Karnac Books ePub

THE editor of this Journal has asked for accounts of dreams occurring in childhood the interpretationof which would justify the conclusion that the dreamer had witnessed sexual intercourse at an early age. The following contribution only in part satisfies this request, in that in this case the observation of parental sexual intercourse did not take place in the earliest years of childhood, but in all probability took place immediately before the occurrence of the dream which I am about to relate and of the concomitant neurotic anxiety. Nevertheless, I consider it worth publishing, because the case shows with more than usual clearness how a child disposed to neurosis reacts to an event of this nature.

Some time ago I was called in to see a little girl of nine and three-quarters who had recently begun to suffer from anxiety states.

Ten days before the consultation the child had been put to bed as usual in the evening. After having slept for a good hour she called for her mother with screams of fear, Her mother, who was in the next room, went to her, and the little girl told her a dream with every sign of terror. She said: ‘A man wanted to murder you in bed, but I saved you\ While relating this she still could not distinguish between dream and reality. When her mother tried to soothe her she said with a horrified expression, ‘Oh, you aren’t my mother at all’, She then showed fear of objects in the room, mistaking them for animals. It was some time before she cotild be pacified; but she then slept till morning. On waking she declared that she had slept well and undisturbed during the night, and that she felt quite welL When her parents questioned her cautiously (and hence only superficially) it appeared that she did not remember the episode.

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XIII. EJACULATIO PRECOX (1917)

Abraham, Karl Karnac Books ePub

No disturbance of male potency is so frequently observed by the nerve-specialist as that of ejaculatio precox. This affection is well known not only to the medical profession but to the laity. In it there is a premature emission of semen immediately after or even before the intromission of the penis during sexual intercourse, and the erection comes to an end. This description is of course a very rough one. But although it has been the subject of special investigation its real nature has not been explained, still less its origin.

Up to the present this disorder has not been given a separate and thorough examination in the literature of psycho-analysis. It has only been treated in conjunction with other disturbances of potency. Steiner has made a condensed survey of psycho-analytical knowledge regarding impotence, while Ferenczi has gone more deeply into the origin of disturbances of potency, and has discussed its unconscious causes; but he has made no special inquiry into ejaculatio praecox.

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I. THE EXPERIENCING OF SEXUAL TRAUMAS AS A FORM OF SEXUAL ACTIVITY (1907)

Abraham, Karl Karnac Books ePub

FREUD’S original theory of the aetiology of hysteria has undergone important alterations in the course of time. As he himself has pointed out,2 however, two important points remain unchanged in it, namely, sexuality and infantilism, the significance of which he has investigated more and more deeply,

Among other things, the problem of sexual traumas in youth has been affected by the alterations that the general theory of sexuality and of the neuroses has undergone. For some time Freud regarded those traumas as the ultimate source of hysterical phenomena, and assumed that they were discoverable in all cases of hysteria. But he has not been able to maintain this view in its original form. In the paper referred to he assigns a secondary role to sexual traumas in youth and assumes the presence of an abnormal psycho-sexual constitution as the primary cause of a neurosis. This view accords with the fact that not all children who experience a sexual trauma suffer later on from hysteria. According to Freud, children who are disposed to hysteria react in an abnormal manner to sexual impressions of all kinds in consequence of their abnormal disposition. I recently showed that infantile sexual traumas occurred in the psychoses 3 as well; and I put forward the view that the trauma could not be regarded as the cause of the disease, but that it exercised an influence on the form taken by it. I agreed with Freud’s assumption of an abnormal psycho-sexual constitution in the patient.

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XVIII. CONTRIBUTION TO A DISCUSSION ON TIC (1921)

Abraham, Karl Karnac Books ePub

A NUMBER of different phenomena were originally included under the name ‘Tic’, as, for instance, ticdouloureux (trigeminal neuralgia), facial spasms, and many compulsive symptoms, as well as the symptoms still designated as tics to-day. Nowadays it is only the separation of tics from compulsive actions which raises difficulties from the point of view of differential diagnosis, Neither Meige, Feindel, nor Ferenczi solve this difficulty. The characteristics of a tic as given by the first two authors apply equally well to compulsive actions. The incapability of mastering a stimulus, which Ferenczi describes, is very well observed, but this likewise occurs in the obsessional neurotic. Again, narcissistic phenomena on which Ferenczi lays, particular stress can be seen in all hysterical and obsessional patients. Regression to narcissism, however, certainly never goes so far in the person suffering from a tic as in the psychotic patient. Ferenczi is quite right in calling attention to the similarities between tics and catatonia, but he overlooks the much more fundamental differences between the two conditions. There can be no question of a tic ending in dementia. On the other hand, the assumption of an increased organ libido and the conception of a ‘pathoneurotic tic ‘seem to be very useful.

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XX. AN INFANTILE THEORY OF THE ORIGIN OF THE FEMALE SEX (1923)

Abraham, Karl Karnac Books ePub

FROM the psycho-analyses of many patients we become acquainted with the infantile idea, which is retained in the unconscious, that the daughter has been made a girl by castration on the part of the father. Recently a female patient told me a dream in which the determination of her sex was assigned in this way to her father. The process, however, was different from that which I have met before in dreams, and was, besides, located in the period before the patient’s birth. The dream was as follows:

‘I was lying on the ground under water. I was dead, that is to say, I was lying motionless; but I could still observe everything. I saw a big ship sailing on the water. A man with a long pole was standing on it. He was moving the ship forward with the pole, as they do on our rivers. He now plunged the pole into the water in my direction and made a hole in me with it in the region of my mouth. The next thrust struck me in the breast, and the third one bored a hole in my abdomen/

The dreamer is inside her mother’s body witnessing sexual intercourse between her parents—a situation which occurs in many patients’ dreams. The particular point in this dream is, however, that the dreamer is made a woman by the process she is witnessing. The dream, therefore, gives expression to the idea that the vagina of the female child is bored out by the father’s penis before her birth.

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