8 Chapters
Medium 9781855752818

My Kleinian Home

Herman, Nini Karnac Books ePub

The days before the interview, at the end of the same week, I thought and thought about those words. Up to now I had assumed that the person and the place of a psychoanalyst must be swathed in mysteries appropriate to the alchemists. The more the better, certainly. Precious metals, ornaments, symbols, halos, roots and herbs: I demanded everything, tutored properly by Jung, Hans Andersen and the Brothers Grimm. Now Dr G had scuttled that. It was the work, the actual work itself, that was significant. A thing that could presumably be evaluated and assessed like the ploughing and the crop.

This struck me as uniquely right and reassuring all at once. A breathtaking discovery, and I had made it just in time to shed some preconceived ideas which, disappointed, always led to withdrawal and hostility and a lot of acting out. It was certainly as well, because I was not going to find any trappings at this door. Even the window boxes had very little more than weeds.

The wooden plate above the bell of the simple garden flat spelt the surname: nothing more. No letters stood behind the name and no initials in the front. Not even ‘Dr’. Not a hint.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781855752818

Postscript: Reflections after One Decade

Herman, Nini Karnac Books ePub

REFLECTIONS AFTER ONE DECADE

How much lifetime has passed. This book was actually written near enough half-way through a nine-year analysis. By the time it went to press I might already have composed something of a variation. I was, in part, a different person, which is always the case with the making of new growth. However, the original assuredly had caught a moment which I was not prepared to scuttle on account of younger shoots. ‘If I cannot be myself in what I write, then my work would be nothing but lies and humbug’;* and now that some four years have passed since I left that Kleinian Home in a row of London houses, at the foot of a small hill, I know that I must try to capture a fragment of truth again, while knowing that it too, in time, will again be superseded.

The last few months and final weeks of the analysis, continued five times a week to the hour of termination, had been punctuated by some deeply gratifying sessions of a profoundly peaceful nature, which perhaps is what is meant by bliss. We agreed that they felt like a satisfying feed, both for mother and for infant. Both were thriving, one could say. What Tustin has evoked so well as ‘a rhythm of safety’ where the mouth and breast achieve harmonious co-operation after troubling trial and error, was gaining in ascendancy. After a life of daunting struggle it was becoming safe to be, as I believed with some conviction.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781855752818

My Jungian Mother

Herman, Nini Karnac Books ePub

High on a rising Hampstead hill, on a sunny autumn day, the Jungian doctor gazed at me through his horn-rimmed spectacles. He had taken many notes and looked tired now, I thought. The silence in the carefully tended room was ticking like a metronome. My mind lost interest and skipped into the garden, down below, where the yellow roses drooped. It seemed a lovely place to play and shake off the endless worries that were always dogging me.

‘Doctor, alright, I will write to you,’ his voice came and dragged me back again.

‘I would like a lady though… that is, if you do not mind.’

‘I agree with you,’ he smiled, ‘I was thinking that myself. Now then, let me show you out.’

I cast a final, yearning look at the garden where I would never be allowed to play, as the doctor’s children could, and then my battered little Ford took me back to Kensington, and the conditions of my siege.

At long last the letter came. I went at the appointed hour with a sense of gnawing fear that seemed a little ludicrous. ‘Silly child, you won’t be hurt,’ I kept repeating out aloud, as though addressing someone else. ‘You are going to sit nice and still and have some psychotherapy and I am going to find the means.’

See All Chapters
Medium 9781855752818

Road without an End

Herman, Nini Karnac Books ePub

On the horizon a new millennium. I am sitting in a very small room. There is a single bed, a television set which is turned off and, for so small a space, an impressive library - masterpieces by Chinese, Japanese, Russian, French and other visionaries of their day and age. The only sounds are a soft rain falling on a skylight and the breathing of someone close to the end of a very long life. It rises and falls, stops and starts up again.

I am sitting on a wheelchair close to an electric fire at shoulder height. When Josef could no longer bend down to attend to the fire at floor level, Peter Kelly, who with his Irish genius can make anything out of wood, built it into a stand, with a shelf for shoes underneath. I look at the shoes: summer canvas ones and boots for winter. The boots once belonged to my mother. Josef had found them comfortable, soft and warm. My mother only had the best.

She died four years ago, aged ninety-two. My younger brother, George, had preceded her by half a year in his mid-sixties. I am the only one left who remembers a past the three of us shared, set in a frame of my own making. Soon, there is no knowing how soon, only I will remember the forty-five years that Josef - Jodie - and I can bear testimony to, until that logbook too will wind up and be lost.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781855752818

My Freudian Father

Herman, Nini Karnac Books ePub

The heat lay heavy on the land in that July of 1973. The trees drowsed dusty, somnolent and still. The air was syrupy by day and like a tepid bath at night. Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire, were briefly nudged by our tyres and then curled over once again to dream their stubborn history, on which we no more scratched our mark than hens on farmyard dust. Each wrapped in sorrows of their own, both D and B had fallen fast asleep, by way of simple, human self-defence, long before London straggled into sight. And so I greeted her alone, my beloved megalith.

How I had missed her, through those Suffolk years. Past rhyme and reason I had yearned for my old mother of the Blitz. How often she had held my hand when there had been nobody else. There, all my children had been born. My small and her majestic span had brushed so often in the dusk and dawn. And now they touched another time, for some still hidden, and unwritten page.

Such were the sentiments with which I made that hot, homesick drive, to start up up my shrill, persistent, organ-grinder life at some new and hopeful pitch. As is frequently the case when one pins unrealistic hopes upon a change of outer scene, the city of my dreams now seemed less than a total panacea.

See All Chapters

See All Chapters