Freud's Father A Sexual Monster and An Ideology of Abuse?

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Freud's Father A Sexual Monster and An Ideology of Abuse?

Postby brekin » Fri May 09, 2014 2:08 pm

So, I believe most of us are familiar with Freud demolishing his seduction theory (roughly that many neuroses were the result of actual childhood sexual abuse and the resulting trauma) and towards such material as repressed wish fulfillment and fantasy. The repercussions are obviously very large and continue to effect society. But one thing I wonder is if besides seeking to minimize the uproar that his investigations were already causing in a repressive and sexual negative and abusive society could Freud have abandoned this theory, and did everything in his power to suppress it when others trod over the same ground, because he himself was a victim of childhood sexual abuse by his father? That the secret cause of many neuroses was also a secret he carried that he didn't want to face?

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The long article below from 1984 doesn't address this directly but it does offer indirectly some food for thought. Two passages in particular struck me:
Freud wrote, in another newly disclosed letter: ''Unfortunately, my own father was one of these perverts and is responsible for the hysteria of my brother (all of whose symptoms are identifications) and those of several younger sisters.'' And in a hint of the reversal to come he added: ''The frequency of this circumstance often makes me wonder.''
...

Ferenczi went on to suggest that Freud was guarding an ''extraordinary secret.'' Freud, according to Dr. Masson, did not disagree and offered an unpublished response: You probably imagine that I have secrets quite other than those I have reserved for myself, or you believe that (my secret) is connected with a special sorrow, whereas I feel capable of handling everything and am pleased with the resultant greater independence that comes from having overcome my homosexuality,'


Also, surprisingly since I assumed Freud enjoyed a upper to middle class upbringing and his father was also a professional, was that his father was a dead beat and he grew up in extreme poverty. One wonders about Freud's father and just how dysfunctional of a "pervert", in Freud's words his father was? Could Freud's Oedipal complex come from a less mythic desire to kill the father figure and seduce the mother and an actual rage at ones abuser?

Bankrupt, Freud's father took his family to Vienna, where they lived in what had once been the Jewish ghetto, moving from one miserable apartment to the next, six times in fifteen years. Jacob never found a full-time job again. Until the day he died, he would depend upon the generosity of relatives.
BERGMANN: Freud's father was a very dubious person. Nobody knows exactly how he made a living. He was a kind of a dreamer.
GAY: He had no particular talents or particular connections or anything to allow him to be anything more than a ne'er-do-well.
SOPHIE FREUD: My grandfather grew up in extreme poverty. The family was all the time worried about money, and that pervaded the atmosphere.
http://www.pbs.org/youngdrfreud/pages/family_father.htm


Here is where Freud makes the possible self discovery:

By 1897, Freud was spending six days a week analyzing his patients, many of them suffering from hysteria. Increasingly, their problems resonated with his own. Freud began to suspect that he too was neurotic, suffering from what he described as "a little case hysteria." He became consumed by his own self-analysis.

FREUD: "I have never before even imagined anything like this period of intellectual paralysis. I have been through some kind of neurotic experience, curious states… twilight thoughts, veiled doubts… The chief patient I am preoccupied with is myself… my little hysteria… the analysis is more difficult than any other. Something from the deepest depths of my own neurosis sets itself against any advance in understanding neuroses…"

In the spring of 1897, Freud wrote his friend Fliess about a new patient, a young woman with hysterical symptoms.
FREUD: "It turned out that her supposedly otherwise noble and respectable father regularly took her to bed when she was eight to twelve years old and misused her…"

It was Freud wrote, "fresh confirmation" that the prime cause of hysteria was the sexual abuse of an innocent child by an adult, most often, a father." But his theory had alarming implications. If he himself suffered from a form of hysteria, and if an abusive father caused hysteria, then Freud was forced to draw a distressing conclusion. He began to imagine that his own father might have abused him. Three months after Jacob's death, he wrote Fliess:

FREUD: "Unfortunately, my own father was one of these perverts, and is responsible for the hysteria of my brother… and those of several younger sisters."

EAGLE: Freud thinks "Oh my God, if neurosis or hysterical type neurosis is due to seduction by father, then my father's a pervert or a seducer." It's like spitting on his father's grave.

GAY: If his theory worked, his father would suddenly become some sort of sexual monster.

BERGMANN: He realized that he can not get further in understanding others unless he analyzes himself. That was another one of those great ideas. [But] The dreams that he analyzed are not really particularly well analyzed. They were just a beginning. At that time it's so simple. All dreams are wish fulfillment is a simplification but you need the courage to start and simplification enables you to start.

To make his theory work, his father's secret had to be that he had sexually abused his children.
Freud interpreted the message "close the eyes" in his dream after his father's death to mean that there was something he was not meant to see, nor to know about, his father. To make his theory work, his father's secret had to be that he had sexually abused his children.
But, when he could find no evidence of such behavior and no clear memory of abuse among his brothers and sisters, his seduction theory collapsed.
http://www.pbs.org/youngdrfreud/pages/a ... doubts.htm


It seems possible that Freud could not face the reality that his father had abused him. So in an elaborate act of displacement and sublimation of his father's perversity Freud created a fantasy of his father as actually noble being and he himself blamed himself (the victim). Weirdly, Freud identified with his father, the abuser and negated his own reality to a narcissistic abuser. It seems it would be easier to do this to other patients and construct a ideology around this once he had performed this on himself. Is it possible psychoanalysis then is based on what it purports to relieve? Repression, displacement, identification, etc

Consider the possible elaborate mental sleight of hand below where a victim identifies with their abuser, even feels like they have actually wronged them somehow, and then triumphantly makes their "mistake" (imagined sexual abuse) a universal trait and thereby redeems the father and possibly numerous other abusers of the past and future.

On Oct. 23, 1896, after an illness of four months, his father, eighty year-old Jacob Freud, died in Vienna. Freud was deeply shaken.
FREUD: "I find it difficult to write just now… The old man's death has affected me profoundly... With his peculiar mixture of deep wisdom and fantastic light-heartedness, he had a significant effect on my life… I now feel quite uprooted."

In an effort to understand the nature of hysteria, he imagined that his father had abused him and some of his siblings.
His feelings about his father's death were complex and confusing for Freud. He felt in some way he had supplanted his father in his mother's affections during his childhood. In an effort to understand the nature of hysteria, he imagined that his father had abused him and some of his siblings.


GAY: He [was] a little boy who was in his own understanding the apple of his mother's eye and his father was his rival - and he won. And that can be as difficult as losing, to triumph over your father can induce a great feeling of guilt, particularly when they die. If you, for example, wanted them to.

He came to realize that, as a boy, he had wanted to marry his mother, and saw his father as a rival for her love.
Through self-analysis, Freud was able to see the truth about his relationship with his parents. Freud came to realize that his father was innocent. He came to realize that, as a boy, he had wanted to marry his mother, and saw his father as a rival for her love. Freud understood his own wishes to be universal among all boys in all cultures. He called this newly discovered phenomenon the Oedipus Complex and it would become one of his most important ideas.


After his father's death, Freud began to work on a book based on the results of the self-analysis of his dreams. The Interpretation of Dreams would later make Freud one of the most revered minds of his time, and bring him more wealth and fame than his father could have ever imagined.
It was only later that Freud revealed the impetus behind the most important book he ever wrote:
FREUD: "It was a portion of my own self-analysis, my reaction to my father's death - that is to say, to the most important event, the most poignant loss of a man's life."


Here is the article that piqued my curiosity about Freud's father:

FREUD: SECRET DOCUMENTS REVEAL YEARS OF STRIFE
By RALPH BLUMENTHAL
Published: January 24, 1984
http://www.nytimes.com/1984/01/24/scien ... wanted=all

NEWLY revealed letters and long— -secret documents offer further indications of Sigmund Freud's anguish over his first major theory, new evidence of efforts to cover up that anguish and provide important new information about the life of the man himself.
In the view of the scholar who made the material available to The New York Times, the documents establish ''a failure of courage'' on the part of Freud and show that personal considerations, long shielded from scholars, prompted Freud to abandon this early tenet, the so-called seduction theory.

This view is vigorously disputed by other Freud experts. The scholar, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, was formerly the projects director for the Sigmund Freud Archives and was to have become its next director, but was dismissed in 1981 in a dispute over interpretation of other controversial Freud material.
The new material shows, among other things, that Freud, in his last years before his death in 1939, sought to suppress the work of a colleague, Sandor Ferenczi, who held what Freud and others in the psychoanalytic movement regarded as heretical views - views that in some ways paralleled Freud's own early work on the seduction theory.
Ferenczi, in turn, wrote in a diary, never previously made public, that Freud came to consider patients ''Gesindel,'' or ''riffraff,'' and that he believed Freud had lost faith in the curative value of psychoanalysis.

The new material has been assembled from a series of interviews, from a reading of the letters and documents and from a book Dr. Masson has just completed on the subject. The book, titled ''The Assault on the Truth, Freud's Suppression of the Seduction Theory,'' is to be published this week by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, and an excerpt appears as the cover story in the February issue of The Atlantic magazine.

The somewhat misnamed seduction theory that Freud first developed in Vienna nearly a century ago traced mental illness to repressed memories of sexual abuse (not really seduction) suffered in early childhood and released by other events. Later Freud decided that the traumas were usually universal sexual fantasies of the patients projected backward from adulthood. That later view, embodying the Oedipus complex, has dominated psychoanalysis, with far-reaching implications ever since.

Dr. Masson contends, however, that Freud's patients were in fact telling the truth. In espousing that view, the researcher stands virtually alone in the pschyoanalytic community.

''The lies,'' Dr. Masson maintains, were not the patients' but ''came from Freud and the whole psychoanalytic movement.''
The issue, he argues, is more than academic.
Dr. Masson contends that, by doubting the reality of a patient's early memories of trauma, today's psychoanalyst, like Freud, ''does violence to the inner life of his patient and is in covert collusion with what made her ill'' in the first place. ''The silence demanded of the child by the person who violated her (or him) is perpetuated and enforced by the very person to whom she has come for help,'' he asserts. ''Guilt entrenches itself, the uncertainty of one's past deepens and the sense of who one is is undermined.''

Other Freud scholars and analysts, queried about Dr. Masson's assertions, take strong exception.
''Poppycock!'' said Dr. Frank R. Hartman, a Manhattan psychiatrist. ''Freud realized he made a mistake in attributing all neurosis to repressed memories of actual abuse. He discovered a much broader theory which explained much more.''
Another critic, Dr. Kurt R. Eissler, who has been head of the Freud Archives and, with Anna Freud, the Viennese master's daughter who died in 1982, ousted Dr. Masson as projects director in 1981, said Freud gave up his seduction theory only because ''he found out it was wrong.'' He said Freud did not doubt the reality of childhood sexual trauma but decided it did not explain all neurosis.

In August 1981, The New York Times published a two-part series of articles on new Freud scholarship that questioned some long accepted understandings about Freud's work and private life. Those articles disclosed the contents of some unpublished letters from Freud to Wilhelm Fliess, a Berlin nose and throat doctor with whom Freud carried on a passionate 15-year friendship. According to Dr. Masson and others, the letters suggested a greater anguish by Freud over the abandonment of the seduction theory than had previously been revealed. They also provided new details of Freud's perplexing and intimate relationship with Fliess. It was after the two articles appeared that Dr. Masson was dismissed; Dr. Eissler and Anna Freud cited his views on Freud as reasons for their action.
Last December, Janet Malcolm of The New Yorker magazine wrote a long account of how Dr. Masson had won the confidence of Miss Freud and Dr. Eissler to be designated as the next head of the Freud Archives. The magazine articles told, too, of how the relationship collapsed in rancor after The Times articles appeared. Dr. Masson, a 42-year-old nonpracticing psychoanalyst with a Ph.D. in Sanskrit studies from Harvard University, is now living and writing in Berkeley, Calif.

Much of the coveted Freud material held by the Freud Archives still remains unavailable to scholars. This includes at least 75,000 items stored in the United States Library of Congress and to which public access has been prohibited, in some cases, into the 22d century.

But in a settlement with the Archives after his dismissal, Dr. Masson was permitted to make use of some of the documents he had already seen as projects director. He also completed preparation of the first unabridged edition of Freud's letters to Fliess (with the exception of some patient names, which were changed), to be published by Harvard University Press in about a year.
The letters were always considered highly sensitive by Miss Freud, as unpublished letters of her own to Max Schur, Freud's physician and biographer, reveal. Speaking of her father, Miss Freud wrote in German: ''He never had the least inclination to publish the letters, and one would do him an injustice to ascribe to him such a wish even in the unconscious.''

The new material contains a wealth of historical revelations, great and small, including these:
- A patient Freud treated in 1900 and then dismissed as a case of paranoia ended up hanging herself in a hotel room.
- Freud gave extraordinary credence to Fleiss's zany theory of periodicity, in which isolated events - such as good days and bad days - are somehow said to be linked to female and male cycles of precisely 28 and 23 days. Freud went so far as to relate it to periods of his own sexual impotence.
- He was overly excited by money. It is, he wrote in one letter, ''laughing gas for me.''
The new papers help to fill in some interesting and significant biographical gaps..

Freud's time in Paris in 1885 and 1886 as a young medical student of the eminent neurologist Jean Martin Charcot has already been discussed by biographers. But what appears to have escaped notice, Dr. Masson writes, is that Freud attended autopsies of murder victims, including apparently sexually brutalized children, performed by a leading French medical professor, Paul Brouardel. Dr. Masson says he found evidence that Freud's library, years later, included little-known works by Brouardel and two other prominent medical researchers, Ambroise Tardieu and Paul Bernard.

At the same time, powerful but opposing forces in the French medical world were attributing the accounts of sexual abuse to fabrications and fantasies of the children.
A collection of letters Freud wrote to Fliess were published in 1950 in a book titled ''The Origins of Psychoanalysis.'' But 116 of the letters were withheld and many of those that were published were abridged. Miss Freud and the other editors wrote then: ''The selection was made on the principle of making public everything relating to the writer's scientific work and scientific interests and everything bearing on the social and political conditions in which psychoanalysis originated; and of omitting or abbreviating everything publication of which would be inconsistent with professional or personal confidence.''

Dr. Masson says he asked Miss Freud while he was serving as projects director why her father's later references to the seduction theory were stricken from the letters. She replied, he says, that, since Freud eventually abandoned the theory, ''it would only prove confusing to readers to be exposed to his early hesitations and doubt.''
Freud first proclaimed his seduction theory on April 21, 1896 before Vienna's prestigious Society for Psychiatry and Neurology to which he presented a revolutionary paper, ''The Aetiology of Hysteria,'' tracing hysterical symptoms to ''the memory of earlier experiences awakened in association to it.''
Freud clearly believed in his theory at that time.

In previously unpublished parts of a letter of Jan. 31, 1897, Freud outlined the case of a patient whom Freud suspected of having been forced by her father into an act of fellatio. The woman, Freud related, suffered from a speech inhibition, eczema around the mouth and placed the blame for her problems on the abuse by the father.

''When I thrust the explanation at her,'' Freud wrote, ''she was at first won over; then she committed the folly of questioning the old man himself, who at the very first intimation exclaimed indignantly: 'Are you implying that I was the one?' and swore a holy oath to his innocence. She is now in the throes of the most vehement resistance, claims to believe him, but attests to her identification with him by having become dishonest and swearing false oaths. I have threatened to send her away and in the process convinced myself that she has already gained a good deal of certainty, which she is reluctant to acknowledge.''

Unlike other abridged letters, which Miss Freud and the other editors marked with elipses to indicate excised material, this deletion, whether intentionally or by oversight, remained unmarked.
On Jan. 12, 1897, in a letter omitted altogether from the published collection, Freud asked Fliess for any cases he had encountered linking childhood convulsions to sexual abuse by a nurse. ''For my newest finding,'' Freud wrote, is that I am able to trace back with certainty a patient's attack that merely resembled epilepsy to such treatment'' by the nurse.
Freud then cited another patient who suffered convulsions prior to the age of 1, and he added: ''Two younger sisters are completely healthy, as though the father (whom I know to be a loathsome fellow) had convinced himself of the damaging effects of his caresses.''

Freud wrote, in another newly disclosed letter: ''Unfortunately, my own father was one of these perverts and is responsible for the hysteria of my brother (all of whose symptoms are identifications) and those of several younger sisters.'' And in a hint of the reversal to come he added: ''The frequency of this circumstance often makes me wonder.''

In a published and much-studied letter of Sept. 21, 1897, Freud wrote Fliess to confide ''the great secret'' that ''has been slowly dawning on me in the last few months.'' He explained, ''I no longer believe in my neurotica,'' that is, the seduction theory.

Among the reasons Freud gave was ''the surprise that in all cases, the father, not excluding my own, had to be accused of being perverse - the realization of the unexpected frequency of hysteria, with precisely the same conditions prevailing in each, whereas surely such widespread perversions against children are not very probable.''


Yet Dr. Masson says Freud continued to credit his supposedly surrendered theory. In an unpublished letter of Dec. 12, 1897, Freud wrote, ''my confidence in the father-etiology has risen greatly'' from results reported in an analysis conducted by Emma Eckstein, an early Freud patient who by now was evidently practicing psychoanalysis on her own.
Dr. Masson recently disclosed in interviews that Fliess, with Freud's concurrence, had once operated on Emma's nose in an effort to cure her hysterical symptoms,, that the operation was bungled, nearly killing Emma, and that Freud later sought to convince himself and Fliess that the blame really lay with Emma who had bled out of a ''longing'' to be loved.

This, Dr. Masson argues, signals Freud's shift away from the importance of reality, toward an emphasis on fantasy.
Freud wrote in an unpublished letter of April 27, 1898: ''Initially I defined the etiology too narrowly; the share of fantasy in it is far greater than I had thought in the beginning.'' But in the same letter he speaks of a case and says, ''I doubt that the father is innocent in this case, too.''

In another unpublished letter of Sept. 24, 1900, Freud wrote: ''I must, after all, take an interest in reality in sexuality, which one learns about only with great difficulty.''
Dr. Masson, in his book, theorizes that Freud's turnabout may have had to do with such personal factors as his ostracism by colleagues or desire to protect Fliess. Dr. Masson deduces from the writings of Fliess's son, Robert, also an analyst, that the elder Fliess may himself have been perverse and have sexually abused his children. Thus, Dr. Masson suggests, Freud was confiding one of his greatest discoveries to the one who may have been most threatened by them.


Events toward the end of Freud's life provided an unusual postscript.
Letters that Dr. Masson says he found in Freud's desk in Maresfield Gardens in London, Freud's last home, show how Freud and his circle sought to block Ferenczi, an experimental Budapest analyst whom the master sometimes addressed as ''dear son,'' from delivering a paper in 1932 that harkened back to Freud's seduction theory. Ferenczi's experiments, increasingly controversial among his Freudian colleagues, involved kissing and other physical contact with his patients in efforts, he said, to create a loving atmosphere for the analysis.
In fact, in an unpublished letter of 1910, Ferenczi told Freud of a dream in which he saw Freud naked, which Dr. Masson says Ferenczi ''felt symbolized both his unconscious homosexual inclinations and 'longing for an absolute mutual openness.' ''

Ferenczi went on to suggest that Freud was guarding an ''extraordinary secret.'' Freud, according to Dr. Masson, did not disagree and offered an unpublished response: You probably imagine that I have secrets quite other than those I have reserved for myself, or you believe that (my secret) is connected with a special sorrow, whereas I feel capable of handling everything and am pleased with the resultant greater independence that comes from having overcome my homosexuality,''

Ferenczi's paper, ''Confusion of Tongues Between Adults and the Child,'' indicted ''trauma, specifically sexual trauma'' as a ''pathogenic agent'' and asserted: ''Even children of respected high-minded, puritanical families fall victim to real rape much more frequently than one had dared to suspect.''
''He must not be allowed to give the paper,'' Freud wrote to Max Eitingon, president of the International Psychoanalytical Association, in an unpublished letter of Aug. 29, 1932.


Ferenczi did deliver the paper in Wiesbaden but later, in another unpublished letter, Freud maintained he was acting in Ferenczi's own interest: ''I did not want to give up the hope that you would yourself come to recognize in further work the technical incorrectness of your results.'' And Freud added: ''I no longer believe that you will correct yourself, the way I corrected myself a generation ago.''

Ernest Jones, in his official three-volume biography of Freud, relates the concern of Freud and his associates over Ferenczi's unorthodox technique and what they called his deteriorating mental and physical state. But Jones, Dr. Masson says, left out more revealing accounts detailed in private letters. On Sept. 12, 1932, Freud wrote to Jones: ''Ferenczi's change of direction is certainly a highly regrettable event, but there is nothing traumatic about it. For the last three years I have been observing his increasing alienation, his inaccessibility for warnings about the incorrectness of his technique, and what is probably the most decisive, a personal animosity against me, for which I certainly gave even less occasion than in earlier cases.''

On Aug. 28, 1933, Freud wrote a letter complaining that Ferenczi believed he was getting revelations from his hypnotized patients ''but what one really gets are the fantasies of patients about their childhood and not the story.'' Freud added, ''My first great etiological error also arose in this very way.''
Ferenczi called his unorthodox method ''mutual analysis'' in which he would seek to elicit memories from his patients and then subject himself to similar searching analysis. This, Ferenczi felt, would comfort and reassure the patient that the analyst was not repeating the role of the parent who perpetrated or silently assented to the child's early trauma.

But Freud chided Ferenczi in a previously published letter that the danger was that such innovations would not stop there and that other more revolutionary analysts would inevitably carry it on to ''petting-parties'' and beyond. Freud also reminded Ferenczi in a deleted portion of the letter: ''According to my memory the tendency to sexual playing about with patients was not foreign to you in preanalytic times, so that it is possible to bring the new technique into relation with the old misdemeanors.''
Ferenczi, in an unpublished letter dated Dec. 21, 1931, sought to lay Freud's fears to rest with the observation that the ''sins of youth, misdemeanors, if they are overcome and analytically worked through can make a man wiser and more cautious than a man who never went through such storms.'' Ferenczi said his ''active therapy'' was ''extremely ascetic.''

Soon afterward, for the last year of his life, Ferenczi kept a diary that he apparently never dared to show Freud and to which he confided his observations and secrets. According to Dr. Masson, who says he was given a copy of the German typescript by Judith Dupont, a Paris analyst and literary representative of Ferenczi who is preparing a French translation for eventual publication, the diary offers a wealth of historical and psychoanalytical insights.
It lists, among other things, a ''register of the sins of psychoanalysis,'' including what he called latent sadism, ''sadistic pleasure in patients' suffering'' and a tendency to drag out an analysis for financial gain, turning the patient, Ferenczi says, ''into a lifelong taxpayer.''

The diary, according to Dr. Masson, also elucidates Ferenczi's controversial method: The patient expects of the analyst a belief in reality, reassurance that he does not hold her guilty for her own sexual victimization and confidence that the analyst will not repeat the trauma.
The diary, Dr. Masson said, also offers Ferenczi's observations on Freud, whom Ferenczi called a pedagogue ''hovering like a god over poor patients who have been degraded, not suspecting that a large part of what today is called transference is provoked artificially through this very behavior.''

In a diary entry of May, 1, 1932, quoted in the Masson book, Ferenczi says: I remember certain remarks that Freud made in my presence, evidently counting on my discretion: 'Patients are riffraff.' I believe that Freud originally truly believed in analysis: he followed Breuer with enthusiasm, occupied himself passionately and devotedly with helping neurotic patients (lying on the floor for hours when necessary next to a person in a hysterical crisis), but he must have been first shaken, then sobered by certain experiences more or less the way Breuer was upon the relapse of a patient and as the result of the problem of countertransference which suddenly opened up before Breuer like an abyss. In Freud's case this corresponds to the discovery of the mendacity of hysterics. Since this discovery, Freud no longer likes sick people. He returned to loving his orderly, cultured superego. Further proof that this is so is Freud's dislike of and expressions of disapproval directed at psychotics and perverts, in fact, in respect to anything that is too abnormal.''
Last edited by brekin on Fri May 09, 2014 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Freud's Father A Sexual Monster and An Ideology of Abuse

Postby 82_28 » Fri May 09, 2014 2:30 pm

Some connections can then be combined with this and Edward Bernays' (nephew of Freud's) impact on American "culture" I would say. Just the connection needs to be drawn up. We do live in a society that has a perverse view of love and sex married to the technology of the day. The selfishness that Bernays espoused as breakthroughs could be totally connected to the deviantly sexualized nature of the family they spawned from and the psychological canon Freud is known for and practiced as gospel. :shrug:
There is no me. There is no you. There is all. There is no you. There is no me. And that is all. A profound acceptance of an enormous pageantry. A haunting certainty that the unifying principle of this universe is love. -- Propagandhi
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Re: Freud's Father A Sexual Monster and An Ideology of Abuse

Postby brekin » Fri May 09, 2014 2:59 pm

82_28 » Fri May 09, 2014 1:30 pm wrote:Some connections can then be combined with this and Edward Bernays' (nephew of Freud's) impact on American "culture" I would say. Just the connection needs to be drawn up. We do live in a society that has a perverse view of love and sex married to the technology of the day. The selfishness that Bernays espoused as breakthroughs could be totally connected to the deviantly sexualized nature of the family they spawned from and the psychological canon Freud is known for and practiced as gospel. :shrug:


Yeah, I was thinking that Freud's quest for riches and fame could have been a compensation for the disorder, lack of empathy and possible abuse that he suffered at home by a narcissistic predator. When you then create a system that denies and then exploits this narcissistic or other traumatic wound wholesale then you are culture hacking. Of course, the state and church were doing in this also before Freud. But it is funny to look at Ferenzci's list of sins of psychoanalysis and how much it reads like the preamble to the consumer age:

It lists, among other things, a ''register of the sins of psychoanalysis,'' including what he called latent sadism, ''sadistic pleasure in patients' suffering'' and a tendency to drag out an analysis for financial gain, turning the patient, Ferenczi says, ''into a lifelong taxpayer.''


Advertising, ushered in by Bernays, of course plays upon the phobias, complexes and neuroses of the public, even amplifying them for financial gain all the while never addressing or seeking to relieve the possible unspoken causes of these maladies. Hard to tell where psychoanalysis and advertising begins and ends I guess. Both seemed designed to make you a "lifelong taxpayer". Seems like with psycho-analysis there simply is no product to purchase to temporarily relieve your symptoms other than time on the couch. In advertising you just buy the couch to temporarily relieve your symptoms.

On another tangent. Interesting to think how Woody Allen who has been in psycho-analysis for decades basically is an example of the more you repress something the more it comes to the surface. Psychoanalysis discredits the seduction theory as the father as abuser and Allen basically proves it true all the while denying it in fact. One wonders what Freud would say if he was to treat Dylan Farrow now as an adult. Seems like from the record he would dismiss her allegations out of hand much as he did his own "imaginings' of the abuse by his own father.
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Re: Freud's Father A Sexual Monster and An Ideology of Abuse

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Fri May 09, 2014 3:05 pm

One of the best cultivated, most thought-provoking OP's in awhile. I need to re-read Masson's book(s).
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Re: Freud's Father A Sexual Monster and An Ideology of Abuse

Postby brekin » Fri May 09, 2014 6:01 pm

Two reviews of the book Psychoanalyzing Psychoanalysis: Freud and the Hidden Fault of the Father. Looks like Marie Balmary has explored how Freud's disavowal of his own father possibly being a abuser was a pivot for him turning away from the seduction theory. Even crazier, Jakob Freud, Sigmund's father, besides being a pervert seems suspected of foul play with his disappearing second wife.

Freud unconsciously knew of but could not consciously acknowledge the sudden and unexplained disappearance of Jakob's never-spoken-of second wife, Rebecca, to whom he was married for only a short time. Did Rebecca commit suicide when she discovered that Jakob was having an affair with the woman who was to become his third wife and Sigmund's mother? Might Jakob have murdered Rebecca in order to get rid of her?


Review or Psychoanalyzing Psychoanalysis: Freud and the Hidden Fault of the Father. Marie Balmary, tr. Ned Lukacher. Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore and London, 1982, 184 pp.

In recent years there has appeared a spate of books, or rather exposes, purporting to uncover grievous faults in Sigmund Freud's character which render his theory suspect. Thus, his writings are supposed to be the product of a cocaine-crazed mind. He is accused of having an affair with his sister-in-law, Minna, and a homosexual relationship with his longtime confidant and correspondent, Wilhelm Fliess. To those who value psychoanalysis, such per sonal attacks on its creator have seemed not only malicious and sensationalistic but also monumentally irrelevant.

Marie Balmary's book might have been just another example of this genre, but it turns out to be much more than that. Basing her exposition on the facts, uncovered in 1968, that Freud's father Jakob was married three times, not twice, and that Sigmund's parents had been married only eight months when he was born, the French psychoanalyst weaves a fascinating account of how these two long-hidden skeletons in the Freud family closet might have affected Sigmund's personality and, inevitably, his work. Theories stand or fall on their own merit. They can and should be evaluated apart from their authors. But because Freud's theorizing drew so heavily upon subjective interpretations of case histories and myths and upon his own dreams and personal life, the better one understands Freud the man, the better one understands psychoanalysis—and where it is in error. As Balmary points out, there has been increasing dissatisfaction with psychoanalysis over the years. Critics within and without analytic circles bemoan its overemphasis on sex, its silence in regard to the problem of suicide, its inability to provide insight into contemporary patients who have grown up during a period of liberalism and sexual openness so different from the milieu experienced by Freud's patients and who suffer from personality disorders and vague feelings of ennui rather than classical neurotic symptoms. Several authors (see for example, Herman and Hirschman, 1981, reviewed in the Vol. 10:2, Spring/Summer 1983 special issue of this journal) have postulated that Freud's theory went wrong at the point where he ceased to believe his female patients' revelations of childhood seductions by their fathers and instead concluded that their memories of incest represented only wishful fantasies. Accordingly, the cornerstone of psychoanalytic theory, the Oedipus Complex, rests upon the child's supposed desire for his/her parents rather than upon the illicit lusts and perversions of the parent. Herman and Hirschmansuggest that Freud could not accept the possibility that the fathers of his clients, his highly cultured peers, could be guilty of such reprehensible behavior because he unconsciously feared his own capacity for incest. Balmary, on the other hand, hypothesizes that Freud's reluctance to implicate "the father" sprang from the fact that he could not allow himself to entertain the possibility of sexual transgressions on the part of Jakob.

Painstakingly and convincingly Balmary analyzes, interprets and illuminates the facts of Freud's life as reported by several of his biographers and revealed in his letters and writings, compiling evidence in support of her hypothesis that Freud unconsciously knew of but could not consciously acknowledge the sudden and unexplained disappearance of Jakob's never-spoken-of second wife, Rebecca, to whom he was married for only a short time. Did Rebecca commit suicide when she discovered that Jakob was having an affair with the woman who was to become his third wife and Sigmund's mother? Might Jakob have murdered Rebecca in order to get rid of her? Balmary speculates that similar gnawing questions must have plagued the young Freud continuously, undermining his faith in the moral rectitude of his father and planting the seeds of the neurosis which he never completely understood or overcame. She then proceeds to demonstrate how Freud's unconscious preoccupation with his father's "Don Juanism" might explain many of his "manias and phobias" including his fascination with Mozart's opera "Don Giovanni," his ritualistic eating habits, the names he chose for his children, his obsessions with mushrooms, ancient statues, and Michelangelo's "Moses," his fear of trains and persistent inability to make a much-desired pilgrimage to Rome and, most importantly, his misreading of the Oedipus myth.

For in his discussion of that seminal myth, Freud focusses narrowly upon the son's guilt and never mentions or apparently realizes how in all the early versions of the story, Oedipus' tragic destiny is clearly shown to represent the inexorable outcome of Laius' (Oedipus' father's) early sexual misdeeds. (Before Oedipus' birth, Laius had seduced a young prince who subsequently committed suicide out of shame.) Psychoanalyzing Psychoanalysis will be of greatest interest to practicing clinicians who are struggling to retain what is valuable in psychoanalysis while wishing to reject those aspects of it which are invalid and even damaging. To other readers, less familiar with psychoanalytic method, it offers a short, relatively uncomplicated but still absorbing and detailed illustration, of how psychoanalytic research is done. Although, in effect, the author demolishes Freud's major premise, the Oedipus Complex, her book is neither deprecating nor depressing. This is mainly because Balmary very carefully differentiates between Freud's method and his theory. That the method works is conclusively demonstrated by her own masterful analysis of Freud. Furthermore, out of the wreckage, she tentatively begins to formulate a new theory which, briefly, regards symptoms as expressions of an unacknowledged fault on the part of the "dominating" (usually the parent) transferred to the "dominated" (usually the child/patient). She also extends Freud's conception of guilt and trauma beyond the realm of the sexual to include any and all transgressions of the moral law espoused by a child's parents. Finally, Balmary offers a new definition and clarification of consciousness/unconsciousness, an issue never adequately resolved by Freud. Unfortunately, Psychoanalyzing Psychoanalysis is very loosely organized and its style somewhat obtuse. (The writing is crystal clear, however, when compared to the bulk of psychoanalytic literature.) Some points are made ad nauseaum while other very provocative and potentially fruitful ones are passed over summarily. One wishes that less time had been spent on the personal analysis of Freud and more on the new directions psychoanalysis might pursue taking into account the author's recent insights. Balmary hesitates before such an ambitious and, to orthodox Freudians, audacious, endeavor, but promises to grapple with the task in future works which will be eagerly awaited by this reviewer, at least.
Carol Pandey Psychology Department L.A. Pierce College Woodland Hills, CA


Book Reviews
MARIE BALMARY, Psychoanalyzing psychoanalysis. Freud and the hidden fault of the
father
, trans. by Ned Lukacher, Baltimore, Md., and London, Johns Hopkins University
Press, 1982, 8vo, pp. xxiv, 184, £12.00.

One index of the continuing vitality of the myths of psychoanalysis is that writers concerned
with its history get caught up in making claims concerning the real basis of psychoanalysis -
they seem unable to avoid making claims solely about its history, but must speak to the truth of
psychoanalysis. Even as proudly a historical work as Frank Sulloway's Freud. Biologist of the
mind ( 1979) claims that psychoanalysis really ("in reality") is - that is, it is not what it appears
to be - a crypto-biology, a psychobiology (where crypto- and psycho- mean roughly the same
thing), if only one can decipher its history, its texts, to discover what is hidden - the real,
biology. The two books under review labour under the same necessity. Yet their aims are
diametrically oppposed. Balmary, working within the French psychoanalytical scene, permeated
as it is with the influence of Lacan, and thus having no need to trouble itself about the
epistemological status of psychoanalysis, unabashedly goes about a piece of historicalbiographical-
psychoanalytic detective work. She wishes to demonstrate how Freud's distorted
account of the Oedipus complex is an alibi for his refusal to come to terms with the skeletons in
his own father's cupboard - the second wife of Jakob Freud, only recently discovered, who
appears to have disappeared some years before Sigmund was born to the third wife. Following
an elegant and forceful reinterpretation of Sophocles' play and the cycle of myths, Balmary
employs the Freudian methods of dream-analysis and interpretation of detail and metaphor in
Freud's own writings to argue that his family secret lay at the heart of his train phobia, of his
peculiar fascination (brought out here for the first time) with-the stone statue in Don Giovanni,
and the final putting into place of the headstone of his theory: the Oedipus complex. Balmary
points to the sins of the father (Laios and Jakob Freud) as the cause of all the trouble, rather
than the unconscious guilt and repressed desires of the sons, Oedipus and Sigmund. It is the
father's fault that lies hidden, festering into neurosis and psychoanalysis.


Balmary thus betrays a nostalgia for Freud's early seduction theory, in which a neurotic
symptom "really" was caused by the sins of the father. Childhood really is invaded by the
perversities of adults.
In line with other recent repudiations of the pre-emptive hegemony of the
medical, Balmary implies a return to the discourses of blame (the father is guilty of a crime
whose consequences the son suffers) rather than the discourse of excuses (in which the son's
symptom is caused by his guilt at wishing to kill the father). An urgency permeates her argument:
incriminate the family (especially the father) and restore the idea of the innocent victim,
destroy the guilt-ridden edifice of psychoanalysis so as to restore a justified self-righteous
sympathy with the suffering victims (amongst whom the first in line is Freud himself), whether
they be victims of fathers, of Freud, or of analysis.

A similar urgent appeal to the causal efficacy of real paternal crimes was voiced by Morton
Schatzman in his book on the Schreber case, Soul murder (1973). Schreber was not mad on
account of a repressed homosexual desire towards his doctor (Freud's explanation) but rather as
a result of the malpractices, indeed tortures, he suffered at the hands of his father, whose terrifying
contraptions for the disciplining and enhancement of German youth were test-run on his sons.
The father's sin, seen by Schatzman as the symbol of the repressive tyranny of the nineteenth century
family, and of families in general, was visited in the shape of a paranoia which itself
now becomes eminently comprehensible, in no further need of reflection - his paranoia referred
to the real practices suffered in childhood, no need to go looking for them in some complicated
inner world. Instead, what should demand our attention is the brutally simple child-rearing
practices of the high-minded disciplinarian father. Chabot will have little to do with this attempt
to uncover the "real" truth of the Schreber case. Rather, he argues that psychoanalysis
is closely akin to literary studies: "All interpretation, whether of individual texts or of patients,
is essentially a textual exercise" - though, surprisingly enough, he goes on to argue that both
hermeneutics must be founded on psychology. Sensitively written, careful and conscientious in
doing justice to Freud's text, to Schreber's text, and to a few others, less memorable, besides,
Chabot baulks at the prospect of writing the history of the real, whether it be of psychoanalysis
or of individual texts - all he allows psychoanalysis to aspire to is the narrative history of
fiction, in place of the historical reconstruction of (psychic) reality. Reading as a literary critic
does, regarding Freud as the literary critic at work with texts that speak, Chabot produces a
finely textured version of Schreber's memoirs, hinging his interpretation around the injustice
the Senatsprasident suffered, his fear of succumbing (both mortally and sexually), and his preoccupation
with domination and submission. Chabot discerns autonomy and justice as the
central themes of Schreber's paranoiac system. Yet Chabot wishes to link this up with bits and
pieces of psychoanalytic theory which mesh well with this reading - such as the American
analysts Erikson's and Lichtenstein's concern with the sense of identity and self-worth. However,
the small change of these concepts, enticing him into a vapid jargon, does not match his
sensitive literary discernments - one cannot but feel that the second tier of his argument, that
literary studies and therapeutic interpretation both depend on a psychology, does not match the
subtleties of his own dialogue with the text. Chabot's book is a sensitive guide to the book that
our most famous madman left behind, but it offers little in the way of providing a single foundation
for literary studies and psychoanalysis, nor does it keep at bay the arbitrariness so often
encountered when this or that psychological theorist tries out his hand on whatever text comes
to hand. Other theorists, particularly those following Lacan, have discovered that psychoanalysis
is essentially a verbal exercise, without feeling the need to underpin the new-found
affinities of psychoanalysis and literary studies with a psychology of autonomy and selfdetermination,
to which Chabot clings as the symbol of humanistic individualism. So even the
discerning Chabot lets his "vulgar" psychological side dominate the central sections of the
book. Where he is most stimulating is in following out the implications of the "relativistic"
assumption that "for psychoanalysis, the Real is a construct, a reading . . ." (p. 147). On the
other hand, Balmary urges the revision and overthrow of the Freudian myths of guilt and secret
desire, so that in any given biography the causal power of the unequivocal Real may be
revealed. What these two interesting essays demonstrate is that raking over the history of psychoanalysis,
whether in search of Freud's lost past, or of the genuinely psychoanalytic method,
requires giving an answer to the question: what is the Real of psychoanalysis? The absence of a
real answer does not allow one to avoid tackling it.
John Forrester
If I knew all mysteries and all knowledge, and have not charity, I am nothing. St. Paul
I hang onto my prejudices, they are the testicles of my mind. Eric Hoffer
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Re: Freud's Father A Sexual Monster and An Ideology of Abuse

Postby kenoma » Fri May 09, 2014 8:07 pm

This is great stuff, carry on.
Expectation calibration and expectation management is essential at home and internationally. - Obama foreign policy advisor Samantha Power, February 21, 2008
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Re: Freud's Father A Sexual Monster and An Ideology of Abuse

Postby Project Willow » Sat May 10, 2014 2:51 am

Thanks for the thread, skimming on mobile. Makes me wish I had time to make mobile template. Nice intro brekin, countless humans have been impacted by Freud's reversal, and untested theories. What's astounding is how taboo was/is sexual abuse, so common as to be considered normal, yet so complexly traumatic, it cannot be acknowledged. What a huge awakening the species has tolerated over the last thirty years.

Hmm, that sounds fatalistic. Yep, fits my mood.
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Re: Freud's Father A Sexual Monster and An Ideology of Abuse

Postby guruilla » Sat May 10, 2014 10:56 pm

I am reading Masson's book right now (someone recommended at my blog). What jumps out, besides the obvious, inescapable idea that psychotherapy was founded on a lie/delusion/cover-up/crucial fiction, is how precisely this lie feeds into the PIE-agenda, by shifting the blame from adult to child.

Wasson quoting Freud biographer Frank Sulloway (p. 143): "Freud finally gave up his seduction theory; and only then did he replace this erroneous notion with the spontaneous conception of infantile sexual life championed by Fleiss."
It is a lot easier to fool people than show them how they have been fooled.
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Re: Freud's Father A Sexual Monster and An Ideology of Abuse

Postby brekin » Sun May 11, 2014 1:36 pm

One of the things I have been thinking of between Freud and his father in relation to the seduction theory is if he didn't inadvertently (unconsciously even) identify his dysfunctional relationship with his narcissistic and possibly abusive father in other writings of his. That there are breadcrumbs he left others picked up and developed?

Freud had a pattern of repeatedly grooming young men to be his heir (usually co-opting the original insights they had developed as his own) and then when they strayed too far (back into realms he couldn't integrate into his own psyche or system because they were too painful or repugnant to him). He himself was never psychoanalyzed and famously when Jung tried to explore one of his dreams with him after they had explored one of Freud's, Freud said "I can't give up my authority." He betrayed that psychoanalysis was based on the dogma of authority not truth and exploration.

Since it seems possible that Psycho-analysis originated out of a victim identifying and idealizing his abuser and then ritualizing this orientation for others in the form of a silent unsympathetic authority figure there would probably suggestions of conter-reactions by more empathetic and non-authoritarian figures. In short, what Jakob Freud did to his son, Freud tried to do with his own "intellectual sons" after he decided to exonerate his father and identify with him. We see this with Freud and Jung's relationship:

Cultural implications

An interesting application of self psychology has been in the interpretation of the friendship of Freud and Jung, its breakdown, and its aftermath. It has been suggested that at the height of the relationship 'Freud was in narcissistic transference, that he saw in Jung an idealised version of himself',[28] and that conversely in Jung there was a double mix of 'idealization of Freud and grandiosity in the self.'[29]

During Jung's midlife crisis, after his break with Freud, arguably 'the focus of the critical years had to be a struggle with narcissism: the loss of an idealized other, grandiosity in the sphere of the self, and resulting periods of narcissistic rage.'[30] Only as he worked through to 'a new sense of himself as a person separate from Freud'[30] could Jung emerge as an independent theorist in his own right.


On the assumption that 'the western self is embedded in a culture of narcissism...implicated in the shift towards postmodernity',[31] opportunities for making such applications will probably not decrease in the foreseeable future.


Interestingly Heinz Kohut I think is one who explored the roots of identifying with a narcissistic, hostile and abusive parent. His work grew out of Freud's early work on narcissism but he was one of the first to bring in the concept of empathy and the failure of the caregiver:

Empathy
Kohut maintained that parents' failures to empathize with their children and the responses of their children to these failures were 'at the root of almost all psychopathology.' [9] For Kohut, the loss of the other and the other's self-object ("selfobject") function (see below) leaves the individual apathetic, lethargic, empty of the feeling of life, without vitality, in short, depressed.[10]

For the infant to move from grandiose to cohesive self and beyond, meant a slow process of disillusionment with phantasies of omnipotence, mediated by the parents: 'This process of gradual and titrated disenchantment requires that the infant's caretakers be empathetically attuned to the infant's needs'.[6]
Correspondingly, to deal in therapy with earlier failures in the disenchantment process, Kohut 'highlights empathy as the tool par excellence, which allows the creation of a relationship between patient and analyst that can offer some hope of mitigating early self pathology.'[11]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self_psychology

Consider now, whether Freud, and Freudian analysis is not the product of Freud doing the following and codifying the process as a treatment:

Freud

The term idealization first appeared in connection with Freud’s definition of narcissism. Freud’s vision was that all human infants pass through a phase of primary narcissism in which they assume they are the centre of their universe. To obtain the parents' love the child comes to do what he thinks the parents value. Internalising these values the child forms an ego ideal.[2][3] This ego ideal contains rules for good behaviour and standards of excellence toward which the ego has to strive. When the child cannot bear ambivalence between the real self and the ego ideal and defenses are used too often, it is called pathologic. Freud called this situation secondary narcissism, because the ego itself is idealized. Explanations of the idealization of others besides the self are sought in drive theory as well as in object-relation theory. From the viewpoint of libidinal drives, idealization of other people is a "flowing-over" of narcissistic libido onto the object; from the viewpoint of self-object relations, the object representations (like that of the caregivers) were made more beautiful than they really were.[4]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idealizati ... evaluation

When confronted with the fact that his own father was possibly a sexual monster responsible for his own neurotic symptoms and those of his brother and sisters, didn't Freud, when he couldn't bear the ambivalence between the real and ideal selves of his father, didn't he choose a pathological defense: dumping & repressing the seduction theory and relegating the real to fantasy? Choosing the fantasy that his father was "more beautiful than they really were".


I think, possibly, the idea that his own father was a sexual monster was too much for Freud and he chose to believe it was a phantasy. Being the product of a narcissistic parent though Freud still had grandiose needs and decided to make his pathological defense universal.By making his pathological defense a form of mass treatment and dogma didn't he create a cultural pathological defense in which contributes to 'the western self' being 'embedded in a culture of narcissism'?

This quote below, from a Kohut orientated therapist, seems like a coda for Freud's disavowal of the seduction theory because of his father.

For some years I have been puzzled by two related common phenomena. The first is the way that people seem very often to have established within their psyche, alien and oppressive mental structures, based partly upon the characteristics of hostile caregivers - alien structures which they then defend vigorously as their own self. The second is the way in which there is often a rigid clinging to fundamental beliefs and assumptions, even when these are maladaptive and cause pain.

http://www.selfpsychologypsychoanalysis ... llon.shtml
If I knew all mysteries and all knowledge, and have not charity, I am nothing. St. Paul
I hang onto my prejudices, they are the testicles of my mind. Eric Hoffer
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Re: Freud's Father A Sexual Monster and An Ideology of Abuse

Postby guruilla » Sun May 11, 2014 6:38 pm

That seems like a solid reading of the evidence.

One thing about Masson's book: he makes no mention of Freud's father, at least not by page 166 out of 192 (notes unread). Why not? It's a compelling read and a valuable work but he does seem to miss out on a massive opportunity to deepen his hypothesis.

Masson argues that Freud's abandoning the "seduction theory" was tied into his loyalty to Wilhelm Fliess, who had a very nuts-and-bolts approach to sexual hysteria and believed that operating on the patient's nose was the best way to cure it! In Masson's account, Fliess operated on Freud's patient Emma Eckstein and due to his (Fliess') sloppiness, almost killed her (he dropped a piece of gauze into the wound before closing it up and she hemorrhaged). In order to protect and support Fliess, Freud adopted the view that Eckstein's bleeding was a hysterical reaction and had nothing at all to do with Fliess' malpractice.

Congruent with this fiasco, Freud was first developing and airing his seduction theory, using Fliess as a sounding board for his ideas, unsuspecting that Fliess (as mentioned above) was sexually abusing his own son at around about this same time. Fliess obviously opposed the seduction theory and pushed for a "blame the victim" hypothesis of child perversion/infant desire/phantasy, etc, etc - as he would naturally be expected to, under the circumstances.

Freud was already under considerable pressure due to peer resistance, to put it mildly, to his theory, and for whatever reason, having chosen Fliess as his mentor (despite their almost matching ages - Freud was actually 2 yrs older), he sought support in the one place he was least likely to get it.

Sound familiar?

Masson speculates that the two men may have been having a homosexual affair, but even without this tidbit, it's pretty hard to avoid the hypothesis that Freud was unconsciously drawn to Fliess, an abusive father, because he was seeking a father-surrogate as a way to re-enact his own trauma/betrayal at the hands of his father.

As even Wikipedia has it: "Through their extensive correspondence and the series of personal meetings, Fliess came to play an important part in the development of psychoanalysis" - that is, in the suppression of Freud's instinct, both to believe his patients' accounts of being sexually abused as children (usually by parents) and to identify that abuse as the primary source of their neurosis. In tandem (since every suppression of truth requires a false narrative to hide it), Fliess helped nudge Freud towards the foundation of a crucial fiction - a "fake bottom" to conceal the buried bodies - based on the idea of childhood desire, perversion, and phantasy, miraculously unrelated to adult interference.

For some reason, it makes me think of Hamlet & his ghost. It was as if Freud's father "haunted" him, possessed him even - which is what sexual abuse is partly about, possessing the psyche of the abused - to the extent that he appeared in an external form as the Other (Fliess). As it were remotely (from beyond the grave) Freud Sr.'s ghost sabotaged whatever healing Freud Jr. might have reached (and extended to others), and redirected it towards a maintenance of the prevailing order.

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to (self-) deceive....
It is a lot easier to fool people than show them how they have been fooled.
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Re: Freud's Father A Sexual Monster and An Ideology of Abuse

Postby brekin » Mon May 12, 2014 2:50 am

guruilla wrote:That seems like a solid reading of the evidence.

One thing about Masson's book: he makes no mention of Freud's father, at least not by page 166 out of 192 (notes unread). Why not? It's a compelling read and a valuable work but he does seem to miss out on a massive opportunity to deepen his hypothesis.

Masson argues that Freud's abandoning the "seduction theory" was tied into his loyalty to Wilhelm Fliess, who had a very nuts-and-bolts approach to sexual hysteria and believed that operating on the patient's nose was the best way to cure it! In Masson's account, Fliess operated on Freud's patient Emma Eckstein and due to his (Fliess') sloppiness, almost killed her (he dropped a piece of gauze into the wound before closing it up and she hemorrhaged). In order to protect and support Fliess, Freud adopted the view that Eckstein's bleeding was a hysterical reaction and had nothing at all to do with Fliess' malpractice.

Congruent with this fiasco, Freud was first developing and airing his seduction theory, using Fliess as a sounding board for his ideas, unsuspecting that Fliess (as mentioned above) was sexually abusing his own son at around about this same time. Fliess obviously opposed the seduction theory and pushed for a "blame the victim" hypothesis of child perversion/infant desire/phantasy, etc, etc - as he would naturally be expected to, under the circumstances.

Freud was already under considerable pressure due to peer resistance, to put it mildly, to his theory, and for whatever reason, having chosen Fliess as his mentor (despite their almost matching ages - Freud was actually 2 yrs older), he sought support in the one place he was least likely to get it.

Sound familiar?

Masson speculates that the two men may have been having a homosexual affair, but even without this tidbit, it's pretty hard to avoid the hypothesis that Freud was unconsciously drawn to Fliess, an abusive father, because he was seeking a father-surrogate as a way to re-enact his own trauma/betrayal at the hands of his father.

As even Wikipedia has it: "Through their extensive correspondence and the series of personal meetings, Fliess came to play an important part in the development of psychoanalysis" - that is, in the suppression of Freud's instinct, both to believe his patients' accounts of being sexually abused as children (usually by parents) and to identify that abuse as the primary source of their neurosis. In tandem (since every suppression of truth requires a false narrative to hide it), Fliess helped nudge Freud towards the foundation of a crucial fiction - a "fake bottom" to conceal the buried bodies - based on the idea of childhood desire, perversion, and phantasy, miraculously unrelated to adult interference.

For some reason, it makes me think of Hamlet & his ghost. It was as if Freud's father "haunted" him, possessed him even - which is what sexual abuse is partly about, possessing the psyche of the abused - to the extent that he appeared in an external form as the Other (Fliess). As it were remotely (from beyond the grave) Freud Sr.'s ghost sabotaged whatever healing Freud Jr. might have reached (and extended to others), and redirected it towards a maintenance of the prevailing order.

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to (self-) deceive....


It is funny because what started me on the whole Freud Father bit was actually completely non-related research on Fliess and bio-rhythms. Another bit that Freud adapted from Fliess (and possibly from his alleged long term homosexual relationship with him) was the theory of innate bisexuality of both sexes.

Funny you should mention Hamlet. Harold Bloom does a convincing job of showing how much Freud mined and adapted Shakespeare for his theories. I read somewhere Freud was reading Shakespeare at twelve and later said Hamlet was the first modern neurotic character in literature. Freud also cribbed numerous tropes from Ibsen besides the more obvious Greek mythology.
Here's Harold Bloom on Freud, Hamlet, etc
INTERVIEWER

You teach Freud and Shakespeare.

BLOOM

Oh yes, increasingly. I keep telling my students that I’m not interested in a Freudian reading of Shakespeare but a kind of Shakespearean reading of Freud. In some sense Freud has to be a prose version of Shakespeare, the Freudian map of the mind being in fact Shakespearean. There’s a lot of resentment on Freud’s part because I think he recognizes this. What we think of as Freudian psychology is really a Shakespearean invention and, for the most part, Freud is merely codifying it. This shouldn’t be too surprising. Freud himself says “the poets were there before me,” and the poet in particular is necessarily Shakespeare. But you know, I think it runs deeper than that. Western psychology is much more a Shakespearean invention than a Biblical invention, let alone, obviously, a Homeric, or Sophoclean, or even Platonic, never mind a Cartesian or Jungian invention. It’s not just that Shakespeare gives us most of our representations of cognition as such; I’m not so sure he doesn’t largely invent what we think of as cognition. I remember saying something like this to a seminar consisting of professional teachers of Shakespeare and one of them got very indignant and said, You are confusing Shakespeare with God. I don’t see why one shouldn’t, as it were. Most of what we know about how to represent cognition and personality in language was permanently altered by Shakespeare. The principal insight that I’ve had in teaching and writing about Shakespeare is that there isn’t anyone before Shakespeare who actually gives you a representation of characters or human figures speaking out loud, whether to themselves or to others or both, and then brooding out loud, whether to themselves or to others or both, on what they themselves have said. And then, in the course of pondering, undergoing a serious or vital change, they become a different kind of character or personality and even a different kind of mind. We take that utterly for granted in representation. But it doesn’t exist before Shakespeare. It doesn’t happen in the Bible. It doesn’t happen in Homer or in Dante. It doesn’t even happen in Euripides. It’s pretty clear that Shakespeare’s true precursor—where he took the hint from—is Chaucer, which is why I think the Wife of Bath gets into Falstaff, and the Pardoner gets into figures like Edmund and Iago. As to where Chaucer gets that from, that’s a very pretty question. It is a standing challenge I have put to my students. That’s part of Chaucer’s shocking originality as a writer. But Chaucer does it only in fits and starts, and in small degree. Shakespeare does it all the time. It’s his common stock. The ability to do that and to persuade one that this is a natural mode of representation is purely Shakespearean and we are now so contained by it that we can’t see its originality anymore. The originality of it is bewildering.

<snip>

INTERVIEWER
So that the Freudian commentary on Hamlet by Ernest Jones is unnecessary.

BLOOM
It’s much better to work out what Hamlet’s commentary on the Oedipal complex might be. There’s that lovely remark of A. C. Bradley’s that Shakespeare’s major tragic heroes can only work in the play that they’re in—that if Iago had to come onto the same stage with Hamlet, it would take Hamlet about five seconds to catch onto what Iago was doing and so viciously parody Iago that he would drive him to madness and suicide. The same way, if the ghost of Othello’s dead father appeared to Othello and said that someone had murdered him, Othello would grab his sword and go and hack the other fellow down. In each case there would be no play. Just as the plays would make mincemeat of one another if you tried to work one into the other, so Shakespeare chops up any writer you apply him to. And a Shakespearean reading of Freud would leave certain things but not leave others. It would make one very impatient, I think, with Freud’s representation of the Oedipal complex. And it’s a disaster to try to apply the Freudian reading of that to Hamlet.

http://www.theparisreview.org/interview ... rold-bloom

Another thread I've been following. Freud's father's "missing second wife" was named Rebecca. According to Marie Balmary her disappearance caused much anxiety and possibly a large part of his neurosis later on. She relates a joke he told with that name being significant. Even more significant (I don't think Balmary caught this) is Freud's reading of Ibsen't play Rosmersholm which has as one of the main characters a Rebecca.
Here is the plot briefly (I haven't read it):

Plot
Rosmersholm, Lessing Theater, 1906

The play opens one year after the suicide of Rosmer's wife, Beata. Rebecca had previously moved into the family home, Rosmersholm, as a friend of Beata, and she lives there still. It becomes plain that she and Rosmer are in love, but he insists throughout the play that their relationship is completely platonic.

A highly respected member of his community, Rosmer intends to support the newly elected government and its reformist, if not revolutionary, agenda. However, when he announces this to his friend and brother-in-law Kroll, the local schoolmaster, the latter becomes enraged at what he sees as his friend's betrayal of his ruling-class roots. Kroll begins to sabotage Rosmer's plans, confronting him about his relationship with Rebecca and denouncing the pair, initially in guarded terms, in the local newspaper. Rosmer becomes consumed by his guilt, now believing he, rather than mental illness, caused his wife's suicide. He attempts to escape the guilt by erasing the memory of his wife and proposing marriage to Rebecca. But she rejects him outright. Kroll accuses her of using Rosmer as a tool to work her own political agenda. She admits that it was she who drove Mrs. Rosmer to deeper depths of despair and in a way even encouraged her suicide--initially to increase her power over Rosmer, but later because she actually fell in love with him. Because of her guilty past she cannot accept Rosmer's marriage proposal.

This leads to the ultimate breakdown in the play where neither Rosmer nor Rebecca can cast off moral guilt: she has acknowledged her part in the destruction of Beata but she has also committed incest with her supposedly adoptive father while suspecting that he was in truth her natural parent. Her suspicion is harshly confirmed by Kroll when he attempts to come between her and Rosmer; they can now no longer trust each other, or even themselves. Rosmer then asks Rebecca to prove her devotion to him by committing suicide the same way his former wife did--by jumping into the mill-race. As Rebecca calmly seems to agree, issuing instructions about the recovery of her body from the water, Rosmer says he will join her. He is still in love with her and, since he cannot conceive of a way in which they can live together, they will die together. The play concludes with both characters jumping into the mill-race and the housekeeper, Mrs. Helseth, screaming in terror: "The dead woman has taken them".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosmersholm

This play is very significant because it in many ways mirrors the strange disappearance of Freud's fathers second wife and the quick marriage to the third wife. Sigmund Freud came I believe 7 months after the third wife's marriage. And the third wife was very close in age to Freud's father's children from the previous marriages. It is interesting to see what Freud thought of it. First, we know it was one of his favorite plays: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/02/theat ... .html?_r=0
And second, Freud was thought to have famously misread the play, one wonders if he was choosing to unintentionally reveal what he thinks happened in his own, or his mother's circumstances:

In any case, Freud and many other psychologists have made use of Ibsen's human portraits as a basis for character analysis or even to illustrate their own theories. Especially well known is Freud's analysis of Rebekka West in "Rosmersholm" (1886), a portrayal he discussed in 1916 together with other character types "who collapse under the weight of success." Freud sees Rebekka as a tragic victim of the Oedipus complex and an incestuous past. The analysis reveals perhaps more about Freud than about Ibsen. But Freud's influence, and the sway of psychoanalysis in general, have had a considerable effect on the way the Norwegian dramatist has been regarded.

http://www.mnc.net/norway/Ibsen.htm

Indeed I'm starting to see Freud as a tragic victim of the Oedipus complex and an incestuous past. I need to read Freud's essay "Those wrecked by their success" because it addresses the character in the play directly (who I think Freud identifies with) and it may be a master key then for Freud's redeeming of his father and chucking the seduction theory.

Also of note is that Freud probably idealized and identified with his father, cleaned up his image of him so to speak, because he probably identified with him to some degree because he viewed himself as similar to his father for various reasons. One is because he might of had some guilt from his homosexual relationship with Fliess, his relationship with his sister-in-law, but probably no doubt alot from Freud's own aggressive sexual behavior against others that I am just now learning about:

It must suffice to say that I have elsewhere (Rudnytsky, 2012) sought to trace the infantile origins of Freud’s affair with his sister-in-law, Minna Bernays, to his sexual abuse by his nanny, which in turn led him to perpetrate acts of sexual aggression against both his sister Anna and his half-niece Pauline.

http://www.palgrave-journals.com/ajp/jo ... 1322a.html

All of this is really fucked up. Welcome to the monster factory.
If I knew all mysteries and all knowledge, and have not charity, I am nothing. St. Paul
I hang onto my prejudices, they are the testicles of my mind. Eric Hoffer
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Re: Freud's Father A Sexual Monster and An Ideology of Abuse

Postby bks » Mon May 12, 2014 4:35 am

Don't think I can go back here right now, though this looks interesting. Have work to do this summer and this topic will capture a lot of my time.

Still, just to add a few tiny bits of spice to the mix: no discussion of Masson and the seduction theory is complete without a mention of Janet Malcomb's own 'recovered memories' - recovered from her couch years later, that is (allegedly).

Masson was also Catherine MacKinnon's partner for awhile, recall I've always wished she had more to say about him and/or his 'trouble in the archives' w/ Malcomb. If she has and I missed, please point me to it, someone! I'll make an exception for those.
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Re: Freud's Father A Sexual Monster and An Ideology of Abuse

Postby stickdog99 » Mon May 12, 2014 12:57 pm

Seems as if Jimmy Savile must have gotten to Freud. Or was it the Pope?
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Re: Freud's Father A Sexual Monster and An Ideology of Abuse

Postby brekin » Mon May 12, 2014 1:41 pm

Looks like this if from a unpublished-soon to be? paper:

Sigmund Freud wrote to Wilhelm Fliess that his nanny was the ‘prime originator’ of his neurosis. Peter Rudnytsky gives scrupulously documented evidence suggesting that Freud attempted to deal with this early experience of sexual abuse first by initiating acts of sexual aggression against his little sister Anna, and then as an adult by entering into a love affair with his wife’s sister Minna Bernays. Rudnytsky incorporates his own findings and those of other scholars into a comprehensive unity that for the first time offers an elegant and plausible hypothesis making full sense of Freud’s troubled sexual life and his creation of psychoanalysis. Rudnytsky argues that Freud took the confused incestuous strivings of a sexually abused child as the norm, and invented the ‘Oedipus complex’ as, to some extent, a defence against acknowledging his own infantile experience of abuse and his own compulsive acting out of his desire for sister figures. Participants will be sent in advance Professor Rudnytsky’s unpublished, groundbreaking paper, in which he lays out his case in detail and calls for a psychoanalysis revised and renewed in the light of it. Your contribution to the discussion will be welcome.

http://anthonystadlen.blogspot.com/2012 ... -post.html

Sadly, when Freud was fleeing Nazi Germany he left four of his sisters to die later in concentration camps:

Freud was permitted to take six people with him when he left Vienna in 1938 after Austria was absorbed into the Third Reich. Although he chose to rescue his wife’s sister, his doctor, his housekeepers and his dog, he did not use any of the exit permits to bring out his four sisters who lived there, and they died in the camps along with countless other Jews with less famous names.

http://www.jewishjournal.com/books/arti ... ildhood_lo

It seems plausible to me at this point that Sigmund Freud was possibly abused by both his father and nanny, or at least one of them. And his father probably abused his brother and sisters as well. There is also the possibility that his father caused his second wife to "disappear", drove her to suicide or even murdered her. It also seems plausible that Freud himself then went on to abuse at least one sister and possible a half niece. His affair with his live-in sister-in-law is pretty well known.

Later when developing the theory of psychoanalysis when confronted with the fact that it was likely his symptoms, his siblings symptoms and the many clients who came to him were the result of actual incestuous sexual abuse he decided to concoct a pathological defensive theory that denied this fact. This is condoning the abuse and basically creating a cultural defense system for abusers.

Other than creating a universal alibi for abuse, one wonders if Freud didn't go on to abuse others later on or allow it to take place with his knowledge? Interestingly, Freud had a history of protecting those who preyed on the vulnerable in his inner circle, he turned a blind eye while lightly chastising psychoanalysts who slept with their patients such as Jung, Ferenzci (a mother and her adult daughter), Reich, and don't forget that Ernest Jones, Freud's Dr. Watson, was a pervert of the highest caliber:

Riviere's notions about how to tame desire don't seem to have been learned from Jones. He was forced to resign from his first hospital job in 1903 because of absences supposedly to visit a sick girlfriend. More seriously, the young doctor became embroiled in scandal when he was accused of "indecent assault" during his examination of a number of young adolescents at a London school for retarded children. They complained that he asked inappropriate questions, made advances, and left as proof of his behavior a stain on a tablecloth. Maddox notes that the case was "laughed out of court," and that this time Jones's male colleagues rallied round. In 1908, Jones was fired again, for talking about sex to a girl who seemed to be suffering from hysterical paralysis. Too much psychoanalytic sex talk for prudish Edwardian London or Jones's own lack of sexual self-control? Maddox leaves the question open, but, for many readers the stain on Jones's character will seem indelible.

Unable to find work in London, Jones left for Toronto. He was accompanied by his mistress, Louise Kann, a beautiful, wealthy Dutch Jew who pretended to be his wife. Freud analyzed "Loe" at his disciple's suggestion four years later. Around that time, Jones began an affair with Kann's maid, and Kann would leave him for a more reliable life partner, also named Jones. Freud sent Ernest for his training analysis to Budapest and Sandor Ferenczi, who at its conclusion expressed love for his patient and pupil, as well as hopes that Jones would "succeed in mastering his neurotic tendencies from now on." This was typical of a psychoanalytic culture in which intellectual or personal disagreements often were reinscribed in psycho­pathological terms.
http://www.bookforum.com/inprint/014_01/190

And then there is Fliess who it is rumored had an affair with Freud and alleged to have abused his own son who became a psychoanalyst. Stekel who help pioneered studies in sado-machoism, perversion and fetishism, and even Freud found to be a repulsive man.
Complaining of Freud's tendency to indiscretion, Ernest Jones wrote that he had told him 'the nature of Stekel's sexual perversion, which he should not have and which I have never repeated to anyone'.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_Stekel
And before Jung was Freud's golden boy, the psychoanalyst Otto Gross the sexual radical was, who you can basically sum up with the moniker "Fuck Repression".
If I knew all mysteries and all knowledge, and have not charity, I am nothing. St. Paul
I hang onto my prejudices, they are the testicles of my mind. Eric Hoffer
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Re: Freud's Father A Sexual Monster and An Ideology of Abuse

Postby guruilla » Tue May 13, 2014 12:35 am

brekin » Mon May 12, 2014 2:50 am wrote: I keep telling my students that I’m not interested in a Freudian reading of Shakespeare but a kind of Shakespearean reading of Freud. In some sense Freud has to be a prose version of Shakespeare, the Freudian map of the mind being in fact Shakespearean. There’s a lot of resentment on Freud’s part because I think he recognizes this. What we think of as Freudian psychology is really a Shakespearean invention and, for the most part, Freud is merely codifying it. This shouldn’t be too surprising. Freud himself says “the poets were there before me,” and the poet in particular is necessarily Shakespeare. But you know, I think it runs deeper than that. Western psychology is much more a Shakespearean invention than a Biblical invention, let alone, obviously, a Homeric, or Sophoclean, or even Platonic, never mind a Cartesian or Jungian invention.

This is such a rich idea, seems resoundingly "right," somehow, & could/should be a thread (or book) in its own right (and of course raises the old "Shakespeare-as-psyop?" question).

Somewhat related, re-re-re-rereading Crime & Punishment now (my idea of light reading), and on the back it has a quote from Nietzsche, calling Dostoyevsky "the only psychologist I have anything to learn from."
It is a lot easier to fool people than show them how they have been fooled.
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