11923 Chapters
Medium 9781780490977

9 - The Death of an Adult Child: Contemporary Psychoanalytic Models of Mourning

Karnac Books ePub


The death of an adult child: contemporary psychoanalytic models of mourning

Jorge Schneider

In Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety (1926d) Freud discusses the phenomenon of mourning from two points of view. In the first, he attempts to differentiate inhibitions from symptoms. He defined inhibitions as restrictions of the ego due to the need for protection or the result of an impoverishment of energy. In mourning, the difficult and painful psychical task involved drains energy from the ego. In the second point of view, he addresses the origin of anxiety. He raises the question of when the loss of an object creates anxiety, and when it brings about mourning. For him, the infant missing the mother is traumatic, and therefore originates mourning when the infant feels a need that the mother is supposed to satisfy. On the other hand, if the need is not present at the moment, it turns into a danger situation that originates anxiety. He further elaborates on the issue of mourning when he establishes that it occurs under the influence of reality testing. The ego demands from the bereaved person that he/she separate him- or herself from the object that no longer exists. This last formulation became the basis of his 1917 paper “Mourning and melancholia” (1917e).

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Medium 9781782203964

Chapter One - Mirrors and Misplaced Identities

Schnackenberg, Nicole Karnac Books ePub

“The greatest healing is to know who you are”

(Mooji, 2011)

A dear friend of mine, whose beautiful artistry appears on the front cover of this book, once gave me a homemade patchwork doll. I was instantly mesmerised by it. It had been lovingly and painstakingly sewn together by hand using old, discarded pieces of scrap material and loose cuttings of thread. It looked haphazard, captivating, strangely beautiful. The more I looked at my quirky little gift the more I recognised myself in those sewn together pieces of cloth. For most of my life I had been a patchwork person, a marionette made up of gathered scraps of other people's ideas and expectations. Painfully unable to placate or to please, I had squirrelled away other people's perceptions and desires about who I should be as a child, sewn them together and made a person out of them, a person other people called “Nicole’”, a person I could barely even recognise. The shreds of my true Self were left in rejected tatters. The Germans have a beautifully onomatopoeic word for this: Zerrissentheit, meaning “torn-to-pieces-hood”.

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Medium 9781780491257

Chapter Seventeen

Nisbet, Jo Karnac Books ePub


Phase five

Northward is where winter dwells, it is a place where there are hardships and suffering, yet there is also a serene beauty. The northern lights crackle in the night as if the sky was on fire and the quietude of the white boreal forest has inspired countless poets through the years. So the north is where we turn to when we need strength or silence in our lives. The value of the north is honesty, it is here because it takes much strength of character to be honest, not only with others but, more importantly, with ourselves. This is a lifetime process and something that everybody works on. The color of the north is white, like the canvas where everything is clean in preparation for a masterpiece. Like the winter that clears away all of the old in preparation for the newness of spring. White is a purifying color and represents limitless potential. It also stands for the white races of humans. The totem of the north is Buffalo; at one time the American plains were blackened by mighty herds of bison. The buffalo find their strength in family and belonging; they present a united front to the world and so live without fear. They were the life of the plains tribes, and, as the bison were decimated and scattered, so too were the native peoples of the west. Skills learned in this phase are: water; finding, treatment and usage, use of a modern back pack, more knots, bone tools and basic astronomy.

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Medium 9781782200550

4 The screen and behind it: manifest and latent themes in Freud’s Über Deckerinnerungen

Karnac Books PDF

REED PtII BOOK_Akhtar PtII BOOK 28/08/2014 09:37 Page 80


The screen and behind it: manifest and latent themes in Freud’s Über Deckerinnerungen 1

Rivka R. Eifermann

It has become common knowledge (Bernfeld, 1946), that Freud is himself the anonymous patient in his 1898 article “Screen memories” (Über Deckerinnerungen) (Freud, 1899a). This discovery has allowed me to re-read the paper paying close attention to the verbal associations and symbolic connections suggested by this additional context. The presence in the screen memories paper of

Freud, the patient, allowed my associations to extend beyond the

1898 article to events and personae from Freud’s early life as he reports them in his letters to Fliess, in The Interpretation of Dreams

(Freud, 1900a), and in his 1901 paper, “Childhood memories and screen memories” (1901b).

The relevance of these extended associations to his “Screen memories” paper became ever more important to me as I realised that the memories as described in these sources were alive in Freud’s mind while he was writing his paper. Indeed, just before reporting and analysing his “meadow memory”, Freud briefly refers to every one of the personae and events in the adjacent texts I have mentioned that I consider highly relevant (Freud, 1899a, p. 310).

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Medium 9781780491561

Chapter Five - Richard III: The Oedipus Complex and the Villain

Bergmann, Martin S. Karnac Books ePub

The play opens with a long soliloquy of the Duke of Gloucester, later King Richard III, explaining how he decided to become a villain. Shakespeare's interest in creating villains (and there is a whole series of them) was stimulated by the dramatic success of Marlowe's villain in The Jew of Malta. We are drawn into the action and feel as if he is confiding in us, as if we were given special permission to enter the mind of the chief actor. What we hear is standard Renaissance, beautifully expressed. Mars, the god of war, is lying in the arms of Venus and as a result peace prevails.


Now that England's civil war is over Richard is restless.

It takes some suspension of disbelief for us to imagine that such a deformed man was nevertheless a great warrior. Furthermore, the soliloquy implies that becoming a villain was entirely a conscious decision, which strikes those of us acquainted with Freud's work as unlikely.

A “dissembling nature” is an original metaphor that betrays paranoid tendencies, as if nature, personified as a woman, has deliberately decided to cheat him of what he was entitled to have. Most of Richard's encounters in this play are with women whose husbands or children he has killed, a symbolic revenge on dissembling nature. In today's language Richard III has an “inferiority complex” and a powerful sense of narcissistic entitlement, which will transpose him into a villain. In psychoanalytic history Richard sides with Alfred Adler in his debate with Freud. Adler put “the feeling of inferiority with the inferiority of certain organs” as causing a “passionate desire for triumph”. It was in this debate, on 1 February 1911 that Freud declared, “This is not psychoanalysis” and then started the first irreconcilable division within psychoanalysis (Nunberg & Federn, 1974: p. 129). Had Adler known Shakespeare he could have quoted Richard III in his own defense.

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