Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Hysterical- Anna Freud's Story.

When I was studying child psychology, I came across many theories that S.Freud proposed. At the same time while exploring further, I got introduced to Oedipus and Electra complex. Which was very disturbing to even believe, but still remains true and very much justified by N number of psychologists. Let me give you some insight on the definition to these complex...complexes!

The term Oedipus complex (or, less commonly, Oedipal complex) explains the emotions and ideas that the mind keeps in the unconscious, via dynamic repression, that concentrates upon a child's desire to have sexual relations with the parent of the opposite sex (i.e. males attracted to their mothers, and females attracted to their fathers). Sigmund Freud, who coined the term "Oedipus complex" believed that the Oedipus complex is a desire for the parent in both males and females; Freud deprecated the term "Electra complex", which was introduced by Carl Gustav Jung in regard to the Oedipus complex manifested in young girls.
In classical Freudian psychoanalytic theory, a child's identification with the same-sex parent is the successful resolution of the Oedipus complex and of the Electra complex. This is a key psychological experience that is necessary for the development of a mature sexual role and identity. Sigmund Freud further proposed that boys and girls experience the complexes differently: boys in a form of castration anxiety, girls in a form of penis envy; and that unsuccessful resolution of the complexes might lead to neurosis, pedophilia, and homosexuality. Men and women who are fixated in the Oedipal and Electra stages of their psychosexual development might be considered "mother-fixated" and "father-fixated". In adult life this can lead to a choice of a sexual partner who resembles one's parent.

In Neo-Freudian psychology, the Electra complex, as proposed by Carl Gustav Jung, is a girl's psychosexual competition with her mother for possession of her father.
S. Freud proposed that having an Oedipus or an Electra complex underlines a boys/girls beginning of being homosexual. He was such a brilliant psychoanalyst having such a big family. Like there is a saying in hindi "Dhobhi ke kapde gande". Freud had so many characters in his own house who became subjects of his psychoanalysis unknowingly whom he could not cure. He lived with his wife, Tante Minna and 6 children. He was rumored to have a secret affair with Tante Minna who was his sister in law. Out of the 6 children he had, he was a father to both Oedipus and Electra complex-ed son and a daughter. That is where I started reading 'Hysterical' Anna Freud's story who was S.Freud's daughter and closest psychoanalyst buddy.

Anna Freud followed the path of her father and contributed to the field of psychoanalysis. She had a comparatively unhappy childhood, in which she 'never made a close or pleasurable relationship with her mother, and was really nurtured by their Catholic nurse Josephine'. She had difficulties getting along with her siblings, specifically with her sister Sophie Freud. Sophie, who was the more attractive child, represented a threat in the struggle for the affection of their father: 'the two young Freuds developed their version of a common sisterly division of territories: "beauty" and "brains"', and their father once spoke of her 'age-old jealousy of Sophie'.

Anna was Freud's only daughter who followed and continued learning from his psychoanalysis. She was very young when she started participating in sessions where S.Freud analysed his patients. While was still very young, she started masturbating and understanding that her sexual orientation was perhaps misplaced. It took a very long time for her to discuss the same with her Father. Freud was devastated to learn of his own daughter as a lesbian. In the mean time, some situations clearly even pointed out that his Son Oliver was a case of Oedipus Complex. The book hysterical gives some beautiful acumen for people who like to tunnel into psychology. I am drawing those below just out of my appreciation for what and how he explained things that was so tangled to understand.

1> What is Den of Inequity? I asked Papa. Papa explained it is a place where people feel free to behave more colorfully than they might otherwise. It was actually the room where he interrogated his patients and his patients felt free to open up with their otherwise unknown/unspoken truth or personalities. His patients would rather act or behave different when he was not around them or were not in his room where he was in session with them.

2>There was very elaborate discussion on Hysteria. Hysteria can be defined as a state of extreme upset furthermore exaggerated or uncontrollable emotion or excitement, especially among a group of people. S.Freud professed "Behind every strong fear is an intense, infantile wish". It is caused by sexual trauma, and a little sexual trauma is what women want he believed. 

3>While explaining about his life to one of his Doctor associates he quoted as below:
Before I go, I would like to leave you with a little joke. It will soothe your psyches as well as be instructive in helping you understand how difficult it is for us to fathom our sexualities.
"One day The Lord came unto Adam", Papa began, and I heard the people around me begin to laugh nervously in anticipation. "The Lord said unto Adam", I have some good news and some bad news for you.' Adam said,"Lord give me the good news first". 
The Lord said ," I ve got  two new organs for you. One is called a brain. It will allow  you to create the wheel and fire, live longer than you might otherwise, and have intelligent conversations with Eve. The other organ is called a penis. It will give you both great physical pleasure and will give Eve many babies. Eve will be very happy about your penis."
"Adam was ecstatic.'Lord these are great gifts you have given unto me! What could possibly be bad news after such glad tidings?"
"The Lord looked upon Adam and said unto him with sorrow,' You will never be able to use these two gifts at the same time."

4> There was a very close attempt by his son Oliver(Oedipus), he tried killing S. Freud, and at the same time Anna (Electra) almost played on life and death to save her Father and keep him alive. 

5> S. Freud's last days after a very long illness from  jaw cancer, Anna was given power of authority to decide when was his time to be set free. They saw him in immense pain and decided he should not be troubled anymore and increased his dosage for morphine and the second day he slept endlessly. She was brave enough to pull the plug on her father and set him free.

Reading through this book sometimes gave me jitters, sometimes I thought, I just can't possibly read this, but then I read it again until things made sense to me. S. Freud confessed of hideous crimes of his younger times and Anna being an off shoot of his psycho energy forgave him and understood his position and his position now when he was such a big name and reputation. She was a loving daughter and follower of him, despite of him not being supportive of her homosexuality. He almost stopped interacting with her because of her condition and worried about what will people say. Even a man of his caliber and knowledge thought of what others would think! No matter how learned you are and have degrees in education, everything comes down to how do you perceive things in your mind. All the wisdom and knowledge goes bouncers and you are pulled down with what eventually weigh down your mind and thoughts. I would recommend for you to read this book only if you have openness to various sexuality and accept things as black and white.

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