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IX. RESTRICTIONS AND TRANSFORMATIONS OF SCOPOPHILIA IN PSYCHO-NEUROTICS J WITH REMARKS ON ANALOGOUS PHENOMENA IN FOLK-PSYCHLOGY (1913) .169

Abraham, Karl Karnac Books ePub

THE sexual component-instinct of scopophilia, or pleasure in looking, is—like its counterpart, exhibitionism, or pleasure in displaying—subject to numerous restrictions and transformations. Under normal conditions both instincts, which are allowed free expression in early childhood, are subjected to a considerable measure of repression and sublimation later on. In psycho-neurotics these instincts are inhibited and transformed to a very much greater degree than in normal people; while at the same time they carry on a continual struggle against the forces of repression.

In a short paper 2 Freud has laid down certain lines of thought which open the way to a deeper insight into the neurotic inhibitions and transformations of the scopo-philic instinct. He makes use of his theory of the erotogenic zones and component-instincts, and speaks as follows concerning the scopophilic instinct and its erotogenic zone, the eyes: ‘The eyes perceive not only those modifications in the external world which are of import for the preservation of life, but also the attributes of objects by means of which these may be exalted as objects of erotic selection, their “ charms “. We now perceive the truth of the saying that it is never easy to serve two masters at the same time. The more intimate the relation of an organ possessing such a duality of function with one of the great instincts, the more will it refuse itself to the other.’

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XVII. THE NARCISSISTIC EVALUATION OF EXCRETORY PROCESSES IN DREAMS AND NEUROSIS (1920)

Abraham, Karl Karnac Books ePub

WHILE undergoing psycho-analytic treatment, a female patient had the following dream: ‘ I was sitting in a basket-chair near the wall of a house which was at the edge of a big lake. The chair was standing right on the water. There were boats on the lake and many people swimming in it. I saw two men in a boat, a young one and an older one. As the boat was approaching me there came a gust of wind which made a huge wave rise just behind the boat and engulf it and its occupants. The people who were swimming in the lake were drowned as well. Only one person, a woman, kept herself above water. She swam up to me and clutched at my chair. I thought that I could stretch out my leg for her to hold on to; but I had just as little sympathy for her as for the other unfortunate people, and I did nothing to help her.’

The analysis of the dream, as far as it is of interest here, elicited the following facts:

The two men in the boat were the patient’s father and brother, upon both of whom her libido was over-strongly fixated. The woman who was swimming was her mother. I shall pass over the psychic constellation which caused the dreamer unconsciously to wish for the death of her whole family, and I shall only consider the method by which it was destroyed in her dream.

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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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VII. A COMPLICATED CEREMONIAL FOUND IN NEUROTIC WOMEN (1912)

Abraham, Karl Karnac Books ePub

SEVERAL years ago Freud published a short paper 2 in which he discussed the relation between obsessional neurosis and religious practices. Ordinary observation shows us that very many neurotics—and not only obsessional ones—carry on in private a cult which in its various forms reminds us of religious rites and ceremonies, and that they repeat some of these practices day by day with the same regularity and fixed procedure with which a religious community will repeat its prayers every morning -and evening.

Although there is a very wide scope for individual difference in a private cult of this kind, we often find persons making use of the same or of very similar neurotic ceremonials, notwithstanding that they come from entirely different social circles, and differ completely in their way of life, the circumstances in which they are placed, their intellectual abilities, and their opinions. This applies particularly to the simplest forms of ceremonial. For example, there is the very prevalent compulsion of having to step in a certain way on the flagstones of the pavement; and there is the equally frequent compulsion to count one’s steps in walking or going upstairs and to end up with an even number. This compulsion has to do with ideas of fairness, and is also an over-compensation for certain forbidden impulses. But this is a subject we cannot enter into any further in this place.

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XXV. CHARACTER-FORMATION ON THE GENITAL LEVEL OF THE LIBIDO (1925)

Abraham, Karl Karnac Books ePub

IN the two phases of development discussed in the preceding chapters2 we were able to recognize archaic types of character-formation. They represent in the life of the individual recapitulations of primitive states which the human race has passed through at certain stages of its development. Here, as in general in biology, we find the rule holding good that the individual repeats in an abbreviated form the history of his ancestors. Accordingly, in normal circumstances the individual will traverse those early stages of character-rformation in a relatively short space of time. In this chapter I shall give in very rough outline an idea of the way in which the character of men and women in its definitive form is built up on those early foundations. According to the traditional view, character is defined as the direction habitually taken by a person’s voluntary impulses. It is not part of the intention of this paper to spend much time in finding an exact definition of character. We shall, however, find it advisable not to be too much influenced by the ‘habit ‘of attributing great importance to the direction usually taken by these impulses of the will. For our previous discussions have already made it clear that character is a changeable thing. We shall therefore do better not to make their duration and permanence an essential criterion of character-traits. It will be sufficient. for our purposes to say that we consider the character of a person to be the sum of his instinctive reactions towards his social environment.

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