TYPES OF ONSET OF NEUROSIS                                     Sigmund Freud (1912)                                  Revis...
satisfaction by frustration, but as a result of an internal effort to obtain the satisfaction which is accessibleto him in...
(d) Just as the third type has brought the dispositional determinant before us almost in isolation, so thefourth type, whi...
up with the proviso that people possessing such a peculiarity can remain healthy indefinitely, just so longas they are abl...
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In his article "Types of Onset of Neurosis" (1912c), Freud used the word "frustration" (Versagung) for the first time to describe both internal and external factors that cause neurosis. He wrote, "Psycho-analysis has warned us that we must give up the unfruitful contrast between external and internal factors, between experience and constitution, and has taught us that we shall invariably find the cause of the onset of neurotic illness in a particular psychical situation which can be brought about in a variety of ways" (p. 238). In essential particulars he continued to hold this view, going on to write, for example, about a narcissistic form of frustration.

The concept of frustration seems to cover the idea of privation, while sometimes going beyond it. Freud was aware of a conceptual difficulty here, and he attributed its resolution to psychoanalysis rather to the innate genius of the German language. In The Future of an Illusion (1927c), he wrote, "For the sake of a uniform terminology we will describe the fact that an instinct cannot be satisfied as a 'frustration,' the regulation by which this frustration is established as a 'prohibition' and the condition which is produced by the prohibition as a 'privation' " (p. 10). Later in this work he specified the drive urges subject to frustration, prohibition, and privation: incestuous, murderous, and cannibalistic wishes.

Source: http://www.enotes.com/frustration-reference/frustration

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  1. 1. TYPES OF ONSET OF NEUROSIS Sigmund Freud (1912) Revised by www.freud-sigmund.comTYPES OF ONSET OF NEUROSISIn the pages which follow, I shall describe, on the basis of impressions arrived at empirically, the changeswhich conditions must undergo in order to bring about the outbreak of a neurotic illness in a person with adisposition to it. I shall thus be dealing with the question of the precipitating factors of illnesses and shallhave little to say about their forms. The present discussion of the precipitating causes will differ fromothers in that the changes to be enumerated will relate exclusively to the subject’s libido. For psycho-analysis has taught us that the vicissitudes of the libido are what decide in favor of nervous health orsickness. Nor are words to be wasted in this connection on the concept of disposition. It is preciselypsycho-analytic research which has enabled us to show that neurotic disposition lies in the history of thedevelopment of the libido, and to trace back the operative factors in that development to innate varietiesof sexual constitution and to influences of the external world experienced in early childhood.(a) The most obvious, the most easily discoverable and the most intelligible precipitating cause of an onsetof neurosis is to be seen in the external factor which may be described in general terms as frustration. Thesubject was healthy so long at his need for love was satisfied by a real object in the external world; hebecomes neurotic as soon as this object is withdrawn from him without a substitute taking its place. Herehappiness coincides with health and unhappiness with neurosis. It is easier for fate to bring about a curethan for the physician; for it can offer the patient a substitute for the possibility of satisfaction which hehas lost.Thus with this type, to which, no doubt, the majority of human beings on the whole belong, the possibilityof falling ill arises only when there is abstinence. And it may be judged from this what an important part inthe causation of neuroses may be played by the limitation imposed by civilization on the field of accessiblesatisfactions. Frustration has a pathogenic effect because it dams up libido, and so submits the subject to atest as to how long he can tolerate this increase in psychical tension and as to what methods he will adoptfor dealing with it. There are only two possibilities for remaining healthy when there is a persistentfrustration of satisfaction in the real world. The first is by transforming the psychical tension into activeenergy which remains directed towards the external world and eventually extorts a real satisfaction of thelibido from it. The second is by renouncing libidinal satisfaction, sublimating the dammed-up libido andturning it to the attainment of aims which are no longer erotic and which escape frustration. That thesetwo possibilities are realized in men’s lives proves that unhappiness does not coincide with neurosis andthat frustration does not alone decide whether its victim remains healthy or falls ill. The immediate effectof frustration lies in its bringing into play the dispositional factors which have hitherto been inoperative.Where these are present and sufficiently strongly developed, there is a risk of the libido becoming‘introverted’.№ It turns away from reality, which, owing to the obstinate frustration, has lost its value forthe subject, and turns towards the life of phantasy, in which it creates new wishful structures and revivesthe traces of earlier, forgotten ones. In consequence of the intimate connection between the activity ofphantasy and material present in everyone which is infantile and repressed and has become unconscious,and thanks to the exceptional position enjoyed by the life of phantasy in regard to reality-testing, І thelibido may thenceforward move on a backward course; it may follow the path of regression along infantilelines, and strive after aims that correspond with them. If these strivings, which are incompatible with thesubject’s present-day individuality, acquire enough intensity, a conflict must result between them and theother portion of his personality, which has maintained its relation to reality. This conflict is resolved by theformation of symptoms, and is followed by the onset of manifest illness. The fact that the whole processoriginated from frustration in the real world is reflected in the resulting event that the symptoms, in whichthe ground of reality is reached once more, represent substitutive satisfactions.(b) The second type of precipitating cause of falling ill is by no means so obvious as the first; and it was infact only possible to discover it through searching analytic investigations following on the Zurich school’stheory of complexes.№ Here the subject does not fall ill as a result of a change in the external world whichhas replaced
  2. 2. satisfaction by frustration, but as a result of an internal effort to obtain the satisfaction which is accessibleto him in reality. He falls ill of his attempt to adapt himself to reality and to fulfill the demands of reality -an attempt in the course of which he comes up against insurmountable internal difficulties.It is advisable to draw a sharp distinction between the two types of onset of illness - a sharper distinctionthan observation as a rule permits. In the first type what is prominent is a change in the external world; inthe second type the accent falls on an internal change. In the first type the subject falls ill from anexperience; in the second type it is from a developmental process. In the first case he is faced by the taskof renouncing satisfaction, and he falls ill from his incapacity for resistance; in the second case his task is toexchange one kind of satisfaction for another, and he breaks down from his inflexibility. In the second casethe conflict, which is between the subject’s effort to remain as he is and the effort to change himself inorder to meet fresh purposes and fresh demands from reality, is present from the first. In the former casethe conflict only arises after the dammed-up libido has chosen other, and incompatible, possibilities ofsatisfaction. The part played by the conflict and the previous fixation of the libido is incomparably moreobvious in the second type than in the first, in which such unserviceable fixations may perhaps only emergeas a result of the external frustration.A young man who has hitherto satisfied his libido by means of phantasies ending in masturbation, and whonow seeks to replace a regime approximating to auto-erotism by the choice of a real object - or a girl whohas given her whole affection to her father or brother and who must now, for the sake of a man who iscourting her, allow her hitherto unconscious incestuous libidinal wishes to become conscious - or a marriedwoman who would like to renounce her polygamous inclinations and phantasies of prostitution so as tobecome a faithful consort to her husband and a perfect mother to her child - all of these fall ill from themost laudable efforts, if the earlier fixations of their libido are powerful enough to resist a displacement;and this point will be decided, once again, by the factors of disposition, constitution and infantileexperience. All of them, it might be said, meet with the fate of the little tree in the Grimms’ fairy tale,which wished it had different leaves. From the hygienic point of view - which, to be sure, is not the onlyone to be taken into account - one could only wish for them that they had continued to be as undeveloped,as inferior and as useless as they were before they fell ill. The change which the patients strive after, butbring about only imperfectly or not at all, invariably has the value of a step forward from the point of viewof real life. It is otherwise if we apply ethical standards: we see people falling ill just as often when theydiscard an ideal as when they seek to attain it.In spite of the very clear differences between the two types of onset of illness that we have described, theynevertheless coincide in essentials and can without difficulty be brought together into a unity. Falling illfrom frustration may also be regarded as incapacity for adaptation to reality - in the particular case, that is,in which reality frustrates satisfaction of libido. Falling ill under the conditions of the second type leadsdirectly to a special case of frustration. It is true that reality does not here frustrate every kind ofsatisfaction; but it frustrates the one kind which the subject declares is the only possible one. Nor does thefrustration come immediately from the external world, but primarily from certain trends in the subject’sego. Nevertheless, frustration remains the common factor and the more inclusive one. In consequence ofthe conflict which immediately sets in in the second type, both kinds of satisfaction - the habitual one aswell as the one aimed at - are equally inhibited; a damming-up of libido, with all its consequences, comesabout just as it does in the first case. The psychical events leading to the formation of symptoms are ifanything easier to follow in the second type than in the first; for in the second type the pathogenicfixations of the libido do not need to be freshly established, but have already been in force while thesubject was healthy. A certain amount of introversion of libido is, as a rule, already present; and there is asaving of some part of the subject’s regression to the infantile stage, owing to the fact that his forwarddevelopment has not yet completed its course.(c) The next type, which I shall describe as falling ill from an inhibition in development, looks like anexaggeration of the second one - falling ill from the demands of reality. There is no theoretical reason fordistinguishing it, but only a practical one; for those we are here concerned with are people who fall ill assoon as they get beyond the irresponsible age of childhood, and who have thus never reached a phase ofhealth - a phase, that is, of capacity for achievement and enjoyment which is on the whole unrestricted.The essential feature of the dispositional process is in these cases quite plain. Their libido has never left itsinfantile fixations; the demands of reality are not suddenly made upon a wholly or partly mature person,but arise from the very fact of growing older, since it is obvious that they constantly alter with the subject’sincreasing age. Thus conflict falls into the background in comparison with insufficiency. But here, too, allour other experience leads us to postulate an effort at overcoming the fixations of childhood; for otherwisethe outcome of the process could never be neurosis but only a stationary infantilism.
  3. 3. (d) Just as the third type has brought the dispositional determinant before us almost in isolation, so thefourth type, which now follows, draws our attention to another factor, which comes into consideration inevery single case and might easily for that very reason be overlooked in a theoretical discussion. We seepeople fall ill who have hitherto been healthy, who have met with no fresh experience and whose relationto the external world has undergone no change, so that the onset of their illness inevitably gives animpression of spontaneity. A closer consideration of such cases, however, shows us that none the less achange has taken place in them whose importance we must rate very highly as a cause of illness. As aresult of their having reached a particular period of life, and in conformity with regular biologicalprocesses, the quantity of libido in their mental economy has experienced an increase which is in itselfenough to upset the equilibrium of their health and to set up the necessary conditions for a neurosis. It iswell known that more or less sudden increases of libido of this kind are habitually associated with pubertyand the menopause - with the attainment of a certain age in women; in some people they may in additionbe manifested in periodicities that are still unknown. Here the damming-up of libido is the primary factor;it becomes pathogenic as a consequence of a relative frustration on the part of the external world, whichwould still have granted satisfaction to a smaller claim by the libido. The unsatisfied and dammed-up libidocan once again open up paths to regression and kindle the same conflicts which we have demonstrated inthe case of absolute external frustration. We are reminded in this way that the quantitative factor shouldnot be left out of account in any consideration of the precipitating causes of illness. All the other factors -frustration, fixation, developmental inhibition - remain ineffective unless they affect a certain amount oflibido and bring about a damming-up of libido of a certain height. It is true that we are unable to measurethis amount of libido which seems to us indispensable for a pathogenic effect; we can only postulate itafter the resulting illness has started. There is only one direction in which we can determine it moreprecisely. We may assume that it is not a question of an absolute quantity, but of the relation between thequota of libido in operation and the quantity of libido which the individual ego is able to deal with - that is,to hold under tension, to sublimate or to employ directly. For this reason a relative increase in the quantityof libido may have the same effects as an absolute one. An enfeeblement of the ego owing to organicillness or owing to some special demand upon its energy will be able to cause the emergence of neuroseswhich would otherwise have remained latent in spite of any disposition that might be present.The importance in the causation of illness which must be ascribed to quantity of libido is in satisfactoryagreement with two main theses of the theory of the neuroses to which psycho-analysis has led us: first,the thesis that the neuroses are derived from the conflict between the ego and the libido, and secondly,the discovery that there is no qualitative distinction between the determinants of health and those ofneurosis, and that, on the contrary, healthy people have to contend with the same tasks of mastering theirlibido - they have simply succeeded better in them.It remains to say a few words on the relation of these types to the facts of observation. If I survey the set ofpatients on whose analysis I am at the moment engaged, I must record that not one of them is a pureexample of any of the four types of onset. In each of them, rather, I find a portion of frustration operatingalongside of a portion of incapacity to adapt to the demands of reality; inhibition in development, whichcoincides, of course, with inflexibility of fixations, has to be reckoned with in all of them, and, as I havealready said, the importance of quantity of libido must never be neglected. I find, indeed, that in several ofthese patients their illness has appeared in successive waves, between which there have been healthyintervals, and that each of these waves has been traceable to a different type of precipitating cause. Thusthe erection of these four types cannot lay claim to any high theoretical value; they are merely differentways of establishing a particular pathogenic constellation in the mental economy - namely the damming-upof libido, which the ego cannot, with the means at its command, ward off without damage. But thissituation itself only becomes pathogenic as a result of a quantitative factor; it does not come as a noveltyto mental life and is not created by the impact of what is spoken of as a ‘cause of illness’.A certain practical importance may readily be allowed to these types of onset. They are to be met with intheir pure form, indeed, in individual cases; we should not have noticed the third and fourth types if theyhad not in some subjects constituted the sole precipitating causes of the illness. The first type keeps beforeour eyes the extraordinarily powerful influence of the external world, and the second the no less importantinfluence - which opposes the former one - of the subject’s peculiar individuality. Pathology could not dojustice to the problem of the precipitating factors in the neuroses so long as it was merely concerned withdeciding whether those affections were of an ‘endogenous’ or ‘exogenous’ nature. It was bound to meetevery observation which pointed to the importance of abstinence (in the widest sense of the word) as aprecipitating cause with the objection that other people tolerate the same experiences without falling ill. If,however, it sought to lay stress on the peculiar individuality of the subject as being the essential factordecisive between illness and health, it was obliged to put
  4. 4. up with the proviso that people possessing such a peculiarity can remain healthy indefinitely, just so longas they are able to retain that peculiarity. Psycho-analysis has warned us that we must give up theunfruitful contrast between external and internal factors, between experience and constitution, and hastaught us that we shall invariably find the cause of the onset of neurotic illness in a particular psychicalsituation which can be brought about in a variety of ways.Other Works by Sigmund Freud:  Civilization and its discontents  Creative writers and day-dreaming  The interpretation of dreams