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  • 1. Self-AnalysisK A R E N H O R N E Y , M . D .
  • 2. C O N T E N T SIntroduction 7I Feasibility and Desirability of Self-Analysis 13II The Driving Forces in Neuroses 37III Stages of Psychoanalytic Understanding 73Iv The Patients Share in the PsychoanalyticProcess 1 0 1v The Analysts Share in the PsychoanalyticProcess 123vI Occasional Self-Analysis 151VII Systematic Self-Analysis: Preliminaries 174VIII Systematic Self-Analysis of a MorbidDependency 190Ix Spirit and Rules of Systematic Self-Analysis 247x Dealing with Resistances 267xI Limitations of Self-Analysis 286Index 305
  • 3. I N T R O D U C T I O NPsychoanalysis first developed as a method of therapy inthe strict medical sense. Freud had discovered that cer-tain circumscribed disorders that have no discernibleorganic basis—such as hysterical convulsions, phobias,depressions, drug addictions, functional stomach upsets—can be cured by uncovering the unconscious factorsthat underlie them. In the course of time disturbancesof this kind were summarily called neurotic.After a while—within the last thirty years—psychi-atrists realized that neurotic people not only suffer fromthese manifest symptoms but also are considerably dis-turbed in all their dealings with life. And they also recog-nized the fact that many people have personality dis-orders without showing any of the definite symptomsthat had previously been regarded as characteristic ofneuroses. In other words, it gradually became more ap-parent that in neuroses symptoms may or may not bepresent but personality difficulties are never lacking. Theconclusion was thus inevitable that these less specificdifficulties constitute the essential core of neuroses.The recognition of this fact was exceedingly construc-tive in the development of psychoanalytical science, notonly increasing its efficacy but also enlarging its scope.7
  • 4. I N T R O D U C T I O NManifest character disorders, such as a compulsive in-decision, a repeated wrong choice of friends or lovers,gross inhibitions toward work, became as much an ob-ject of analysis as the gross clinical symptoms. Neverthe-less the focus of interest was not the personality and itsbest possible development; the ultimate purpose was theunderstanding and eventual removal of the obvious dis-orders, and analysis of the character was only a meanstoward this end. It was almost an accidental by-productif in consequence of such work a persons whole develop-ment took a better course.Psychoanalysis is still and will remain a method oftherapy for specific neurotic disorders. But the fact thatit can be an aid to general character development hascome to assume a weight of its own. To an increasingdegree people turn to analysis not because they sufferfrom depressions, phobias, or comparable disorders butbecause they feel they cannot cope with life or feel thatfactors within themselves are holding them back or in-juring their relationships with others.As will happen when any new vista is opened up, thesignificance of this new orientation was at first overrated.It was frequently declared, and the opinion is still wide-spread, that analysis is the only means of furthering per-sonality growth. Needless to say, that is not true. Lifeitself is the most effective help for our development. Thehardships that life forces upon us—a necessity to leaveones country, organic illness, periods of solitude—andalso its gifts—a good friendship, even a mere contact witha truly good and valuable human being, co-operative8Introductionwork in groups—all such factors can help us reach ourfull potential. Unfortunately, the assistance thus offeredhas certain disadvantages: the beneficent factors do notalways come at the time we need them; the hardshipsmay not only be a challenge to our activity and couragebut surpass our available strength and merely crush us;finally, we may be too entangled in psychic difficultiesto be able to utilize the help offered by life. Since psycho-analysis has not these disadvantages—though it has others—it can legitimately take its place as one specific meansin the service of personal development.Any help of this kind is made doubly necessary by theintricate and difficult conditions that we all live underin our civilization. But professional analytical help, evenif it could be made available to more people, can scarcelyreach everyone whom it is capable of benefiting. It is forthis reason that the question of self-analysis has impor-tance. It has always been regarded as not only valuablebut also feasible to "know oneself," but it is possible thatthe endeavor can be greatly assisted by the discoveries ofpsychoanalysis. On the other hand, these very discoverieshave revealed more than was ever known before aboutthe intrinsic difficulties involved in such an undertaking.Therefore humility as well as hope is required in anydiscussion of the possibility of psychoanalytic self-exami-nation.It is the object of this book to raise this question seri-ously, with all due consideration for the difficulties in-volved. I have attempted also to present certain basicconsiderations regarding procedure, but since in this9
  • 5. I N T R O D U C T I O Nfield there is little actual experience to serve as guide mypurpose has been primarily to raise the issue and to en-courage endeavors toward a constructive self-examinationrather than to offer any clear-cut answers.Attempts at constructive self-analysis can be important,in the first place, for the individual himself. Such an en-deavor gives him a chance for self-realization, and bythis I mean not only the development of special gifts thathe may have been inhibited from utilizing but also, evenmore important, the development of his potentialities asa strong and integrated human being, free from cripplingcompulsions. But there is also a broader issue involved.An integral part of the democratic ideals for which weare fighting today is the belief that the individual—andas many individuals as possible—should develop to thefull of his potentialities. By helping him to do this psycho-analysis cannot solve the ills of the world, but it can atleast clarify some of the frictions and misunderstandings,the hates, fears, hurts, and vulnerabilities, of which thoseills are at once cause and effect.In two earlier books I presented the framework of atheory of neuroses which I have elaborated in the presentvolume. I would gladly have avoided presenting thesenew viewpoints and formulations in this book, but it didnot appear sensible to withhold anything that might beuseful for self-examination. I have tried, however, topresent matters as simply as possible without distortingthe subject matter. The highly intricate nature of psycho-logical problems is a fact that cannot and must not bedisguised, but with full mindfulness of that intricacy IIOIntroductionhave tried not to increase it by a lumbering terminology.I take this opportunity to express my thanks to MissElizabeth Todd for the astute understanding with whichshe has helped to organize the material. And I shouldlike to thank my secretary, Mrs. Marie Levy, for her un-tiring efforts. I wish, too, to express my gratitude to thepatients who have allowed me to publish their experi-ences in self-analysis.II
  • 6. C H A P T E R O N EFeasibilityand Desirability of Self-AnalysisEvery analyst knows that an analysis proceeds the morequickly and efficiently the more the patient "co-operates."When speaking of co-operation I have not in mind thepatients polite and obliging acceptance of whatever theanalyst suggests. Nor am I referring primarily to thepatients conscious willingness to give information abouthimself; most patients who come to analysis of their ownaccord sooner or later recognize and accept the necessityof expressing themselves with utmost sincerity. I amrather referring to a kind of self-expression which is aslittle at the patients conscious command as it is at thecomposers command to express his feelings in music. Iffactors within himself bar him from expression, thecomposer is flatly unable to work; he is unproductive.
  • 7. S E L F - A N A L Y S I SSimilarly, a patient, despite his best intentions to be co-operative, becomes unproductive as soon as his effortsmeet some "resistance." But the more frequent theperiods in which he is able to express himself freely, themore he can tackle his own problems and the more sig-nificant is the common work of patient and analyst.I have often told my patients that it would be ideal ifthe analyst merely played the part of a guide on a difficultmountain tour, indicating which way would be profit-able to take or to avoid. To be accurate one should addthat the analyst is a guide who is not too certain of theway himself, because though experienced in mountainclimbing he has not yet climbed this particular moun-tain. And this fact makes the patients mental activity andproductivity all the more desirable. It is scarcely an over-statement that, apart from the analysts competence, itis the patients constructive activity that determines thelength and outcome of an analysis.The significance of the patients mental activity inanalytical therapy is often revealed when an analysis hasto be interrupted or terminated for some reason or otherwhile the patient is still in a bad condition. Both patientand analyst are dissatisfied with the progress attained,but after some time has elapsed without further analysis,they may find themselves pleasantly surprised by thepatients considerable and lasting improvement. If care-ful examination does not show any change in his circum-stances that might account for the improvement, onemay be justified in regarding it as a belated effect ofanalysis. Such an aftereffect, however, is not easy to ac-feasibility and Desirabilitycount for. Various factors may contribute to it. The pre-vious work may have enabled the patient to make suchaccurate self-observations that he is convinced moredeeply than before of the existence of certain disturb-ing trends, or is even able to discover new factors withinhimself. Or it may be that he had regarded any suggestionmade by the analyst as a foreign intrusion and that hecan take hold of insights more easily when they re-emergeas his own findings. Or, if his trouble was a rigid needto be superior to others and to defeat them, he may havebeen incapable of giving the analyst the satisfaction ofdoing successful work, and thus be able to recover onlywhen the analyst is out of the picture. Finally, it mustbe remembered that delayed reactions occur also in manyother situations: only much later may we grasp the realmeaning of a joke or a remark made in a conversation.Different as these explanations are they all point inone direction: they suggest that some mental activitymust have gone on in the patient without his being awareof it, or at least without consciously determined efforts.That such mental activities, and even meaningful di-rected activities, do occur without awareness we knowfrom the existence of meaningful dreams and from suchexperiences as being balked by a task in the evening andknowing the solution after awakening from sleep. Notonly is there the famous mathematical problem, of whichthe solution presents itself in the morning, but a decisionbefogged in the evening may be clarified after having"slept" over it. A resentment not even perceived in day-time may have worked itself through to awareness so15
  • 8. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Skeenly that we awake suddenly at five oclock in themorning, clearly recognizing provocation and reaction.As a matter of fact, every analyst relies on the opera-tion of these underground mental activities. Such re-liance is implicit in the doctrine that an analysis willproceed satisfactorily if the "resistances" are removed. Ishould like to stress also the positive aspect: the strongerand the less hampered a patients incentive toward liber-ation, the more productive activity will he display. Butwhether one emphasize the negative aspect (resistance)or the positive one (incentive), the underlying principleis the same: by removing obstacles or by eliciting suffi-cient incentive the patients mental energy will be set towork and he will produce material that will eventuallylead to some further insight.The question raised in this book is whether one couldgo one step further. If the analyst relies on the patientsunconscious mental activity, if the patient has the facultyto work alone toward the solution of some problem,could this faculty be utilized in a more deliberate fash-ion? Could the patient scrutinize his self-observationsor his associations with his own critical intelligence?Usually there is a division of labor between patient andanalyst. By and large, the patient lets his thoughts, feel-ings, and impulses emerge, and the analyst uses his criti-cal intelligence to recognize what the patient is drivingat. He questions the validity of statements, he puts to-gether seemingly disconnected material, he makes sug-gestions as to possible meanings. I said "by and large"because the analyst uses also his intuition and the patient,16Feasibility and Desirabilitytoo, may tie things together. But on the whole such adivision of labor exists, and it has definite advantages forthe analytical session. It enables the patient to relax andmerely express or register whatever emerges.But what about the day or the days between the ana-lytical sessions? What about longer interruptions thatoccur for various reasons? Why leave it to accident thatsome problem will inadvertently clarify itself? Wouldit not be possible to encourage the patient not only tomake deliberate and accurate self-observations but alsoto arrive at some insight by using his power of reasoning?Granted it would be a hard job fraught with hazards andlimitations—which will be discussed later—these diffi-culties should not prevent us from raising the question:is it impossible to analyze oneself?In a broader frame of reference this question is one ofvenerable age: can one recognize oneself? It is encourag-ing to find that people have always regarded this task,though difficult, as feasible. The encouragement, how-ever, does not carry us far, because there is a vast distancebetween the way the ancients looked at this task and theway we look at it. We know, particularly since Freudsbasic findings, that the task is infinitely more intricateand difficult than the ancients ever imagined—so diffi-cult, indeed, that it is like an adventure into the un-known merely to raise the question seriously.In recent times any number of books have appearedwith the purpose of helping people to cope better withthemselves and others. Some of these, like Dale Car-17
  • 9. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Snegies How to Win Friends and Influence People, havelittle if anything to do with recognition of self but offerrather more or less good common-sense advice on howto deal with personal and social problems. But some, likeDavid Seaburys Adventures in Self-Discovery, definitelyaim at self-analysis. If I feel the need to write anotherbook on the subject it is because I believe that even thebest of these authors, such as Seabury, do not make suffi-cient use of the psychoanalytical technique inauguratedby Freud and hence give insufficient instruction.* Fur-thermore, they do not recognize the intricacies involved,as appears clearly in such titles as Self-Analysis MadeEasy. The tendency expressed in books of this kind isimplicit also in certain psychiatric attempts at person-ality studies.All these attempts suggest that it is an easy matter torecognize oneself. This is an illusion, a belief built onwishful thinking, and a positively harmful illusion atthat. People who embark on that promised easy road willeither acquire a false smugness, believing they know allabout themselves, or will become discouraged when theyare blocked by the first serious obstacle and will tend torelinquish the search for truth as a bad job. Neither re-sult will happen so easily if one is aware that self-analysisis a strenuous, slow process, bound to be painful and* Harold D. Lasswell in Chapter 4, "Know Thyself," in hisDemocracy Through Public Opinion, points out the value of freeassociation for self-recognition. But since the book is devoted toanother subject he does not discuss the specific issues involved inthe question of self-analysis.18Feasibility and Desirabilityupsetting at times and requiring all available construc-tive energies.An experienced analyst would never succumb to suchoptimism because he is too familiar with the hard andsometimes desperate fight that a patient may put upbefore he is capable of facing a problem squarely. Ananalyst would rather tend toward the opposite extremeof rejecting the possibility of self-analysis altogether, andhe would be so inclined not only because of his experi-ence but also on theoretical grounds. He would bringforth the argument, for instance, that a patient can freehimself from his difficulties only when re-experiencinghis infantile desires, fears, and attachments in relation tothe analyst; left to his own devices the patient could atbest reach ineffective, "merely intellectual" insights. Ifarguments such as this were scrutinized in detail—whichwill not be done here—they would ultimately boil downto a disbelief that the patients incentive is strong enoughto enable him to overcome by himself the obstacles litter-ing the road to self-recognition.I am stressing this point for good reasons. The pa-tients incentive to arrive at some goal is an importantfactor in every analysis. One may safely say that an analystcannot bring the patient any further than the patienthimself wants to go. In an analysis, however, the patienthas the advantage of the analysts help, his encourage-ment, his guidance, the value of which we shall discuss inanother chapter. If the patient is left to his own resourcesthe matter of incentive becomes crucial—so crucial, in-19
  • 10. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sdeed, that the feasibility of self-analysis hinges on itsstrength.Freud, of course, recognized that manifest gross suffer-ing under neurotic problems may provide such an in-centive. But apparently he felt at a loss to account foran incentive if gross suffering has never existed or hasdisappeared during treatment. He suggested that thepatients "love" for the analyst might provide an addi-tional incentive, provided this "love" does not aim at aconcrete sexual satisfaction but is contented with receiv-ing and utilizing the analysts help. This sounds plau-sible. We must not forget, however, that in every neurosisthe ability to love is greatly impaired, and that what ap-pears as such is mostly the result of the patients excessiveneed for affection and approval. It is true that there arepatients—and I suppose Freud had them in mind—whogo to considerable lengths to please the analyst, includ-ing a willingness to accept interpretations more or lessuncritically and including also an attempt to showimprovement. Efforts of this type, however, are notprompted by "love" for the analyst, but represent thepatients means of allaying his lurking fear of people andin a broader sense his way of coping with life, for he feelshelpless to do it in a more self-reliant manner. In conse-quence, this motivation to do good work depends en-tirely on the relationship with the analyst. As soon as thepatient feels rejected or criticized—as this type doeseasily—he will lose sight of his own interest, and thepsychoanalytical work then becomes the battlefield forthe patients spite and vengeance. Almost more impor-2Ofeasibility and Desirabilitytant than the unreliability of this incentive: the analysthas to discourage it. The tendency to do things merelybecause someone else expects it, regardless of his ownwishes, is a considerable source of trouble to the patient;therefore it has to be analyzed, not utilized. Thus theonly effective incentive that Freud recognized remainsthe patients wish to get rid of manifest gross suffering;and this motivation, as Freud rightly asserted, does notcarry far because it is bound to diminish in exact pro-portion with a decrease of symptoms.Still, this incentive might suffice if a removal of symp-toms were the only goal of analysis. But is it? Freud neverexpressed unambiguously his view of these goals. To saythat a patient should become capable of work and en-joyment is not meaningful without a qualification ofboth capacities. Capable of routine work or of creativework? Capable of enjoying sexuality or life in general?To say that analysis should constitute a re-education islikewise vague without an answer to the question, edu-cation for what? Probably Freud did not give this ques-tion much thought because from his earliest to his latestwritings he was primarily interested in the removal ofneurotic symptoms; he cared about a change of personal-ity only in so far as it would guarantee a permanent cureof symptoms.Freuds goal is thus essentially to be defined in a nega-tive manner: gaining "freedom from." Other authors,however, including myself, would formulate the goal ofanalysis in a positive way: by rendering a person freefrom inner bondages make him free for the development21
  • 11. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sof his best potentialities. This may sound like a meredifference in emphasis, but, even if it were nothing butthat, the different emphasis suffices to alter the matter ofincentive entirely.To set the goal in the positive fashion has a realisticvalue only if there is in the patient an incentive, suffi-ciently powerful to be reckoned with, to develop what-ever faculties he has, to realize given potentialities, tocome to grips with himself despite all the ordeals he mayhave to go through at times; to put it in the simplest waypossible, if there is an incentive to grow-When the issue is stated thus plainly it is clear thatthere is more involved here than a difference in em-phasis, because Freud emphatically denied that such awish exists. He even scoffed at it, as if the positing of sucha wish were a sort of hollow idealism. He pointed outthat urges toward self-development emanate from "nar-cissistic" desires, that is, they represent a tendency towardself-inflation and toward excelling others. Freud rarelymade a postulate merely for the love of theoretical con-siderations. At bottom there was almost always someastute observation. In this instance it is the observationthat tendencies toward self-aggrandizement are some-times a forceful element in the wish for self-develop-ment. What Freud refused to recognize is the fact thatthis "narcissistic" element is a contributing factor only.If the need for self-aggrandizement has been analyzedand abandoned, the wish to develop still remains, yes, itemerges more clearly and powerfully than before. The"narcissistic" elements, while they have kindled the wish22Feasibility and Desirabilityto grow, have at the same time hampered its realization.To use the words of a patient: "The narcissistic im-pulse is toward the development of a phony self." Thefostering of this phony self is always at the expense of thereal self, the latter being treated with disdain, at bestlike a poor relation. My experience is that the more thephony self evaporates, the more the real self becomes in-vested with interest and the more unbridled an incentiveemerges to unfold by becoming free from internal bond-ages, to live as full a life as given circumstances permit.It seems to me that the wish for developing ones ener-gies belongs among those strivings that defy furtheranalysis.Theoretically, Freuds disbelief in a wish for self-development is linked up with his postulate that the"ego" is a weak agency tossed about among the claimsof instinctual drives, of the outside world and of a for-bidding conscience. Ultimately, however, I believe thatthe two formulations of analytical goals are expressionsof different philosophical beliefs as to the nature of man.In the words of Max Otto: "The deepest source of a mansphilosophy, the one that shapes and nourishes it, is faithor lack of faith in mankind. If he has confidence in hu-man beings and believes that something fine can beachieved through them, he will acquire ideas about lifeand about the world which are in harmony with his con-fidence. Lack of confidence will generate correspondingideas." It may be mentioned that Freud, in his book onthe interpretation of dreams, at least implicitly recog-nized that some degree of self-analysis is possible, for here
  • 12. S E L F - A N A L Y S I She did analyze his own dreams. This is particularly in-teresting in view of the fact that his whole philosophydenied the possibility of self-analysis.But even if we grant that there is sufficient incentivefor self-analysis there is still the question whether it canbe undertaken by a "layman" who has not the necessaryknowledge, training, and experience. It may well beasked, and with some asperity, whether I am suggestingthat three or four chapters of this book can constitutean adequate substitute for the specific skills of an expert.Naturally, I do not hold any substitute to be possible.I do not aspire to offer even an approximate substitute.Thus it appears that here we are at an impasse. But arewe really? Usually the application of an all-or-nothingprinciple implies some fallacy despite apparent plausi-bility. In regard to this problem it is desirable to remem-ber, with all due respect for the role of specialization incultural development, that too much awe of specializa-tion can paralyze initiative. We are all too inclined tobelieve that only a politician can understand politics,that only a mechanic can repair our car, that only atrained gardener can prune our trees. Of course, atrained person can perform more quickly and more effi-ciently than an untrained person, and in many instancesthe latter will fail entirely. But the gap between a trainedand an untrained person is often regarded as wider thanit is. Faith in specialization can easily turn into blindawe and stifle any attempt at new activity.General considerations of this kind are encouraging.But in order to arrive at a proper evaluation of the tech-24nical possibility of self-analysis we must visualize in con-crete detail what constitutes the equipment of a profes-sional analyst. In the first place, the analysis of othersdemands an extensive psychological knowledge of thenature of unconscious forces, the forms of their mani-festation, the reasons responsible for their power, theinfluence wielded by them, the ways of unearthing them.In the second place, it demands definite skills, whichmust be developed by training and experience: the an-alyst must understand how to deal with the patient; hemust know with a reasonable degree of certainty whichfactors in the maze of material presented should betackled and which left out for the time being; he musthave acquired a highly developed ability to "feel into"the patient, a sensitivity to psychic undercurrents thatis almost a sixth sense. Finally, the analysis of others de-mands a thorough self-knowledge. In working with a pa-tient the analyst has to project himself into a strangeworld, with its own peculiarities and its own laws. Andthere is considerable danger that he will miscon-strue, mislead, perhaps even inflict positive injury—notthrough bad will but through carelessness, ignorance, orconceit. Therefore not only must he have a thoroughfamiliarity with his tools, and skill in using them, but,equally important, he must be straightened out in hisrelations to self and others. Since all three of these re-quirements are indispensable, nobody who does not ful-fill them should assume the responsibility involved inanalyzing others.These requirements cannot be automatically attrib-
  • 13. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Suted to self-analysis as well, because analyzing ourselvesis in certain essential points different from analyzingothers. The difference most pertinent here is the fact thatthe world that each of us represents is not strange to our-selves; it is, in fact, the only one we really know. Trueenough, a neurotic person has become estranged fromlarge parts of this world and has an impelling interest notto see parts of it. Also there is always the danger that inhis familiarity with himself he will take certain signifi-cant factors too much for granted. But the fact remainsthat it is his world, that all the knowledge about it isthere somehow, that he need only observe and make useof his observations in order to gain access to it. If he isinterested in recognizing the sources of his difficulties, ifhe can overcome his resistances to recognizing them, hecan in some respects observe himself better than an out-sider can. After all, he lives with himself day and night.In his chances to make self-observations he might be com-pared with an intelligent nurse who is constantly with apatient; an analyst, however, sees the patient at best onlyfor an hour each day. The analyst has better methods forobservation, and clearer viewpoints from which to ob-serve and to make inferences, but the nurse has oppor-tunities for a wider range of observation.This fact constitutes an important asset in self-analysis.Indeed, it reduces the first of the requirements de-manded of a professional analyst and eliminates the sec-ond: in self-analysis less psychological knowledge is de-manded than in the analysis of others, and we do notneed at all the strategical skill that is necessary in dealing26Feasibility and Desirabilitywith any other person. The crucial difficulty in self-analysis lies not in these fields but in the emotionalfactors that blind us to unconscious forces. That themain difficulty is emotional rather than intellectual isconfirmed by the fact that when analysts analyze them-selves they have not such a great advantage over the lay-man as we would be inclined to believe.On theoretical grounds, then, I see no stringent reasonwhy self-analysis should not be feasible. Granted thatmany people are too deeply entangled in their own prob-lems to be able to analyze themselves; granted that self-analysis can never approximate the speed and accuracyof analytical treatment by an expert; granted that thereare certain resistances that can be surmounted only withoutside help—still, all of this is no proof that in prin-ciple the job cannot be done.I should not dare, however, to raise the question ofself-analysis on the basis of theoretical considerationsalone. The courage to raise the question, and to do itseriously, has arisen from experiences indicating thatself-analysis is possible. These are experiences that Ihave had myself, that colleagues have had and told meabout, that patients have had whom I have encouragedto work on themselves during interruptions of the an-alytical work with me. These successful attempts did notconcern merely superficial difficulties. In fact, some ofthem dealt with problems that are generally deemed in-accessible even with the help of an analyst. They weremade, however, under one favorable condition: all ofthese people had been analyzed before they ventured on27
  • 14. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sself-analysis, which means that they were familiar withthe method of approach and knew from experience thatin analysis nothing short of ruthless honesty with one-self is helpful. Whether and to what extent self-analysisis possible without such previous experience must beleft an open question. There is, however, the encourag-ing fact that many people gain an accurate insight intotheir problems before coming for treatment. These in-sights are insufficient, to be sure, but the fact remainsthat they were acquired without previous analytical ex-perience.Thus the possibilities of self-analysis are briefly as fol-lows, provided a person is capable at all of analyzinghimself, of which something will be said later. A patientmay undertake it during the longer intervals that occurin most analyses: holidays, absences from the city, forprofessional or personal reasons, various other interrup-tions. A person who lives outside the few cities in whichthere are competent analysts may attempt to carry themain work by himself and see an analyst only for occa-sional checkups; the same would hold for those who livein a city in which there are analysts but for financialreasons cannot afford regular treatments. And it may bepossible for a person whose analysis has been prematurelyended to carry on by himself. Finally—and this with aquestion mark—self-analysis may be feasible withoutoutside analytical help.But here is another question. Granted that withinlimitations it is possible to analyze oneself, is it desirable?28feastUtility and DesirabilityIs not analysis too dangerous a tool to use without theguidance of a competent person? Did not Freud compareanalysis with surgery—though adding that people donot die because of a wrong application of analysis as theymight from an operation badly handled?Since it is never constructive to remain in the limboof vague apprehensions, let us try to examine in detailwhat the possible dangers of self-analysis may be. In thefirst place, many people will think that it might increaseunwholesome introspection. The same objection hasbeen raised, and is still being raised, against any type ofanalysis, but I should like to reopen this discussionbecause I am certain that it will be waged even moreloudly if analysis is conducted without, or with little,guidance.The disapproval expressed in the apprehension thatanalysis might render a person more introspective seemsto arise from a philosophy of life—well represented inThe Late George Apley—which grants no place to theindividual or his individual feelings and strivings. Whatcounts is that he fit into the environment, be of service tothe community, and fulfill his duties. Hence whateverindividual fears or desires he has should be controlled.Self-discipline is the uppermost virtue. To give muchthought to himself in any way is self-indulgence and"selfishness." The best representatives of psychoanalysis,on the other hand, would emphasize not only the respon-sibility toward others but that toward oneself as well.Therefore they would not neglect to stress the inalien-able right of the individual to the pursuit of happiness,29
  • 15. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sincluding his right to take seriously his developmenttoward inner freedom and autonomy.Each individual must make his own decision as to thevalue of the two philosophies. If he decides for the for-mer there is not much sense in arguing with him aboutanalysis, because he is bound to feel it not right that any-one should give so much thought to himself and his prob-lems. One can merely reassure him that as a result ofanalysis the individual usually becomes less egocentricand more reliable in his human relationships; then atbest he might concede that introspection may be a de-batable means to a worthy end.A person whose beliefs conform with the other philos-ophy could not possibly hold that introspection in itselfis blameworthy. For him the recognition of self is as im-portant as the recognition of other factors in the environ-ment; to search for truth about self is as valuable as tosearch for truth in other areas of life. The only questionthat would concern him is whether introspection is con-structive or futile. I would say that it is constructive ifit is used in the service of a wish to become a better,richer, and stronger human being—if it is a responsibleendeavor of which the ultimate goal is self-recognitionand change. If it is an end in itself, that is, if it is pursuedmerely out of indiscriminate interest in psychologicalconnections—art for arts sake—then it can easily de-generate into what Houston Peterson calls "mania psy-chologica." And it is equally futile if it consists merelyof immersion in self-admiration or self-pity, dead-endruminations about oneself, empty self-recrimination.3°Peasand DesirabilityAnd here we arrive at the pertinent point: would notself-analysis easily degenerate into just that type of aim-less pondering? Judging from my experience with pa-tients, I believe that this danger is not so general as onemight be inclined to think. It appears safe to assume thatonly those would succumb to it who tend also in theirwork with an analyst to move constantly in blind alleysof this kind. Without guidance these persons would be-come lost in futile wanderings. But even so, their at-tempts at self-analysis, while doomed to failure, couldscarcely be harmful, because it is not the analysis thatcauses their ruminations. They pondered about theirbellyache or their appearance, about wrong done bythem or to them, or spun out elaborate and aimless "psy-chological explanations" before they ever came in touchwith analysis. By them analysis is used—or abused—asjustification for continuing to move in their old circles:it provides the illusion that the circular movements arehonest self-scrutiny. We should therefore reckon theseattempts among the limitations rather than among thedangers of self-analysis.In considering the possible dangers of self-analysis theessential problem is whether it involves a risk of definiteharm to the individual. By endeavoring on this adven-ture singlehanded does he not conjure up hidden forceswith which he is unable to cope? If he recognizes a cru-cial unconscious conflict, without yet seeing a way out,are there not aroused in him such deep feelings of anx-iety and helplessness that he might succumb to a depres-sion, or even consider suicide?31
  • 16. S E L F - A N A L Y S I SWe must distinguish in this regard between transitoryand lasting impairments. Transitory impairments arebound to occur in every analysis, because any reachingdown to repressed material must stir up anxiety previ-ously allayed by defensive measures. Likewise, it mustbring to the foreground affects of anger and rage other-wise shut off from awareness. This shock effect is sostrong not because the analysis has led to the recognitionof some intolerably bad or vicious trend, but because ithas shaken an equilibrium which, though precarious,had prevented the individual from feeling lost in thechaos of diverging drives. Since we shall discuss later thenature of these transitory disturbances, it may sufficehere to state merely the fact that they occur.When a patient meets such a disturbance during theanalytical process he may simply feel profoundly per-turbed or he may have recurrences of old symptoms.Naturally, then, he feels discouraged. These setbacksare usually overcome after a short while. As soon as thenew insight is really integrated they vanish and give wayto the well-founded feeling of having taken a step ahead.They represent the shocks and pains unavoidably in-volved in a reorientation of life, and are implicit in anyconstructive process.It is at these periods of inner upheaval that the pa-tient would particularly miss the helping hand of ananalyst. But we are taking it for granted that the wholeprocess is easier with competent help. Here we are con-cerned with the possibility that the individual mightnot be able to overcome these upsets alone and thus be32Feasibility and Desirabilitypermanently impaired. Or that when he feels his foun-dations shaken he might do something desperate, suchas driving or gambling recklessly, jeopardizing his posi-tion, or attempting suicide.In the cases of self-analysis which I have observed suchuntoward consequences have never occurred. But theseobservations are as yet too limited to produce any con-vincing statistical evidence; I could not say, for instance,that this unfortunate outcome has occurred in only onecase out of a hundred. There are, however, good reasonsto believe that the danger is so rare as to be negligible.Observation in every analysis shows that patients are wellable to protect themselves from insights they are not yetable to receive. If they are given an interpretation thatrepresents too great a threat to their security they mayconsciously reject it; or they may forget it, or invalidateits relevance for them, or ward it off with arguments, orsimply resent it as unfair criticism.One may safely assume that these self-protective forceswould operate also in self-analysis. A person attemptingto analyze himself would simply fail to make any self-observations that would lead to insights as yet intoler-able. Or he would interpret them in such a way as tomiss the essential point. Or he would merely try to cor-rect quickly and superficially an attitude conceived byhim as faulty, and thereby close the door to further in-vestigation. Thus in self-analysis the actual danger wouldbe less than in professional analysis, because the patientintuitively knows what to avoid while an analyst, evena sensitive one, may err and present to the patient a pre-53
  • 17. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Smature solution. Again the danger is one of futilitythrough too much evasion of problems rather than ofpositive damage.And if a person does work through to some insightdeeply disturbing to him, I believe there are several con-siderations that we can rely upon. One is that hittingupon some truth is not only disturbing but is also, andsimultaneously, of a liberating quality. This liberatingforce inherent in any truth may supersede the disturb-ing effect from the beginning. If so, a feeling of reliefwill ensue immediately. But even if the disturbing effectprevails, the discovery of a truth about oneself still im-plies a dawning recognition of a way out; even if this isnot seen clearly it will be felt intuitively and thus willengender strength to proceed further.A second factor to be considered is that even if a truthis deeply frightening there is something like a wholesomefright. If a person recognizes, for instance, that he hasbeen secretly driving at self-destruction, his clear recog-nition of that drive is much less dangerous than lettingit silently operate. The recognition is frightening, but itis bound to mobilize counteracting self-preserving ener-gies, provided there is any will to live. And if there is nosufficient will to live, a person will go to pieces anyhow,analysis or no analysis. To express a similar thought ina more positive fashion: if a person has had sufficientcourage to discover an unpleasant truth about himself,one may safely trust his courage to be strong enough tocarry him through. The mere fact that he has gone thatfar indicates that his will to come to grips with himself34feasibility and Desirabilityis strong enough to prevent him from becoming crushed.But the period between starting to grapple with a prob-lem and solving and integrating it may be prolonged inself-analysis.Finally, we must not forget that really alarming dis-turbances in analysis rarely occur only because an inter-pretation cannot be properly grasped at the time. Morefrequently the real source of disquieting developmentslies in the fact that the interpretation, or the analyticalsituation as a whole, stirs up hatred that is directedagainst the analyst. This hatred, if barred from aware-ness and thereby from expression, can enhance existingself-destructive tendencies. To let oneself go to piecesmay then become a means of revenge against the analyst.If a person is confronted with an upsetting insightquite by himself, there is almost nothing left but to fightit through with himself. Or, to be cautious, the tempta-tion to ward off the insight by making others responsibleis lessened. The caution is warranted because, if the tend-ency to make others responsible for his shortcomings isstrong anyhow, it may flare up also in self-analysis as soonas he realizes a shortcoming, if he has not yet acceptedthe necessity of taking responsibility for himself.I would say, then, that self-analysis is within the rangeof possibility, and that the danger of its resulting in posi-tive damage is comparatively slight. Certainly it has vari-ous drawbacks that are more or less serious in nature,ranging, briefly, from failure to prolongation of the proc-ess; it may take a considerably longer time to get hold35
  • 18. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sof a problem and to solve it. But against these drawbacksthere are many factors which beyond doubt make self-analysis desirable. There are, to begin with, obvious ex-ternal factors of the kind mentioned before. Self-analysiswould be desirable for those who because of money, time,or location cannot undertake regular treatment. Andeven for those who are having treatment it might shortenthe procedure considerably if in the intervals betweenanalytical sessions, and also during the sessions, they wereinspired with the courage to do active and independentwork on themselves.But even apart from such blatant reasons, certain gainsare beckoning to those who are capable of self-analysiswhich are more spiritual in character, less tangible butnot less real. These gains can be summarized as an in-crease of inner strength and therefore of self-confidence.Every successful analysis increases self-confidence, butthere is a certain extra gain in having conquered terri-tory entirely through ones own initiative, courage, andperseverance. This effect is the same in analysis as inother areas of life. To find a mountain path all by one-self gives a greater feeling of strength than to take a paththat is shown, though the work put in is the same and theresult is the same. Such achievement gives rise not onlyto a justifiable pride but also to a well-founded feelingof confidence in ones capacity to meet predicaments andnot to feel lost without guidance.C H A P T E R T W OThe Driving Forces in NeurosesPsychoanalysis, as already discussed, has not only a clin-ical value as a therapy for neuroses but also a humanvalue in its potentialities for helping people toward theirbest possible further development. Both objectives canbe pursued in other ways; peculiar to analysis is the at-tempt to reach these goals through human understand-ing—not alone through sympathy, tolerance, and anintuitive grasp of interconnections, qualities that are in-dispensable in any kind of human understanding, but,more fundamentally, through an effort to obtain an ac-curate picture of the total personality. This is under-taken by means of specific techniques for unearthingunconscious factors, for Freud has clearly shown that wecannot obtain such a picture without recognizing therole of unconscious forces. Through him we know thatsuch forces push us into actions and feelings and re-37
  • 19. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Ssponses that may be different from what we consciouslydesire and may even be destructive of satisfactory rela-tions with the world around us.Certainly these unconscious motivations exist in every-one, and are by no means always productive of dis-turbances. It is only when disturbances exist that it isimportant to uncover and recognize the unconsciousfactors. No matter what unconscious forces drive us topaint or to write, we would scarcely bother to thinkabout them if we can express ourselves in painting orwriting with reasonable adequacy. No matter what un-conscious motivations carry us away to love or devotion,we are not interested in them so long as that love or de-votion gives a constructive content to our lives. But wedo need to consider the unconscious factors if apparentsuccess in doing productive work or in establishing agood human relationship, a success that we desperatelywanted, leaves us only empty and disgruntled, or if oneattempt after another fails and, despite all efforts to thecontrary, we feel dimly that we cannot put the failuresaltogether on external circumstances. In short, we needto examine our unconscious motivations if it appearsthat something from within is hampering us in our pur-suits.Since Freud unconscious motivations have been ac-cepted as elemental facts of human psychology, and thesubject need not be elaborated here, especially sinceeveryone can enlarge his knowledge about unconsciousmotivations in various ways. There are, in the first place,Freuds own writings, such as his Introductory Lectures38Driving Forces in Neuroseson Psychoanalysis, Psychopathology of Everyday Life,and The Interpretation of Dreams, and the books sum-marizing his theories, such as Ives Hendricks Facts andTheories of Psychoanalysis. Also worth consulting arethose authors who try to develop Freuds basic findings,such as H. S. Sullivan in his Conceptions of Modern Psy-chiatry, Edward A. Strecker in Beyond the Clinical Fron-tiers, Erich Fromm in Escape from Freedom, or myselfin The Neurotic Personality of Our Time and in NewWays in Psychoanalysis. A. H. Maslow and Bela Mittel-mann in Principles of Abnormal Psychology, and FritzKunkels books, such as Character Growth and Educa-tion, suggest many valuable leads. Philosophical books,particularly the writings of Emerson, Nietzsche, andSchopenhauer, reveal psychological treasures for thosewho read them with an open mind, as do a few of thebooks on the art of living, such as Charles Allen SmartsWild Geese and How to Chase Them. Shakespeare,Balzac, Dostoevski, Ibsen, and others are inexhaustiblesources of psychological knowledge. And by no meansleast, a lot can be learned from observing the worldaround us.A knowledge of the existence and efficacy of such un-conscious motivations is a helpful guide in any attemptat analysis, particularly if it is not merely given lip serv-ice but is taken seriously. It may even be a sufficient toolfor sporadically discovering this or that causal connec-tion. For a more systematic analysis, however, it is nec-essary to have a somewhat more specific understandingof the unconscious factors that disturb development.39
  • 20. S E L F - A N A L Y S I SIn any effort to understand personality it is essentialto discover the underlying driving forces of that person-ality. In attempting to understand a disturbed person-ality it is essential to discover the driving forces respon-sible for the disturbance.Here we are on more controversial ground. Freudbelieved that the disturbances generate from a conflictbetween environmental factors and repressed instinctualimpulses. Adler, more rationalistic and superficial thanFreud, believes that they are created by the ways andmeans that people use to assert their superiority overothers. Jung, more mystical than Freud, believes in col-lective unconscious fantasies which, though replete withcreative possibilities, may work havoc because the uncon-scious strivings fed by them are the exact opposite ofthose in the conscious mind. My own answer is that in thecenter of psychic disturbances are unconscious strivingsdeveloped in order to cope with life despite fears, help-lessness, and isolation. I have called them "neurotictrends." My answer is as far from final as that of Freudor Jung. But every explorer into the unknown has somevision of what he expects to find, and he can have noguarantee of the correctness of his vision. Discoverieshave been made even though the vision was incorrect.This fact may serve as a consolation for the uncertaintyof our present psychological knowledge.What then are neurotic trends? What are their char-acteristics, their function, their genesis, their effect onones life? It should be emphasized again that their essen-Driving Forces in Neurosestial elements are unconscious. A person may be aware oftheir effects, though in that case he will probably merelycredit himself with laudable character traits: if he has,for example, a neurotic need for affection he will thinkthat his is a good and loving disposition; or if he is inthe grip of a neurotic perfectionism he will think thathe is by nature more orderly and accurate than others.He may even glimpse something of the drives producingsuch effects, or recognize them when they are broughtto his attention: he may become aware, for example, thathe has a need for affection or a need to be perfect. Buthe is never aware to what extent he is in the grip of thesestrivings, to what extent they determine his life. Still lessis he aware of the reasons why they have such power overhim.The outstanding characteristic of neurotic trends istheir compulsive nature, a quality that shows itself intwo main ways. First, their objectives are pursued indis-criminately. If it is affection a person must have, he mustreceive it from friend and enemy, from employer andbootblack. A person obsessed by a need for perfectionlargely loses his sense of proportion. To have his desk infaultless order becomes as imperative for him as to pre-pare an important report in perfect fashion. Moreover,the objectives are pursued with supreme disregard forreality and real self-interest. A woman hanging on to aman to whom she relegates all responsibility for her lifemay be utterly oblivious to such questions as whetherthat particular man is an entirely appropriate person tohang on to, whether she is actually happy with him,41
  • 21. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Swhether she likes and respects him. If a person must beindependent and self-sufficient he will refuse to tie him-self to anyone or anything, no matter how much he spoilshis life thereby; he must not ask or accept help, no mat-ter how much he needs it. This absence of discrimina-tion is often obvious to others, but the person himselfmay not be aware of it. As a rule, however, it will strikethe outsider only if the particular trends are inconven-ient to him or if they do not coincide with recognizedpatterns. He will notice, for instance, a compulsive nega-tivism but may not become aware of a compulsive com-pliance.The second indication of the compulsive nature ofneurotic trends is the reaction of anxiety that ensuesfrom their frustration. This characteristic is highly sig-nificant, because it demonstrates the safety value of thetrends. A person feels vitally threatened if for any rea-son, internal or external, the compulsive pursuits areineffective. A perfectionistic person feels panicky if hemakes any mistake. A person with a compulsive need forunlimited freedom becomes frightened at the prospectof any tie, whether it be an engagement to marry or thelease of an apartment. A good illustration of fear re-actions of this kind is contained in Balzacs ChagrinLeather. The hero in the novel is convinced that hisspan of life is shortened whenever he expresses a wish,and therefore he anxiously refrains from doing so. Butonce, when off his guard, he does express a wish, and eventhough the wish itself is unimportant he becomes pan-icky. The example illustrates the terror that seizes a neu-42Driving Forces in Neurosesrotic person if his security is threatened: he feels thateverything is lost if he lapses from perfection, completeindependence, or whatever standard it is that representshis driving need. It is this security value that is primarilyresponsible for the compulsive character of the neurotictrends.The function of these trends can be better understoodif we take a look at their genesis. They develop early inlife through the combined effect of given temperamentaland environmental influences. Whether a child becomessubmissive or rebellious under the pressure of parentalcoercion depends not only on the nature of the coercionbut also on given qualities, such as the degree of his vi-tality, the relative softness or hardness of his nature.Since we know less of the constitutional factors than ofthe environmental ones, and since the latter are the onlyones susceptible of change, I shall comment only onthese.Under all conditions a child will be influenced by hisenvironment. What counts is whether this influencestunts or furthers growth. And which development willoccur depends largely on the kind of relationship estab-lished between the child and his parents or others aroundhim, including other children in the family. If the spiritat home is one of warmth, of mutual respect and consid-eration, the child can grow unimpeded.Unfortunately, in our civilization there are many en-vironmental factors adverse to a childs development.Parents, with the best of intentions, may exert so muchpressure on the child that his initiative becomes para-43
  • 22. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Slyzed. There may be a combination of smothering loveand intimidation, of tyranny and glorification. Parentsmay impress the child with the dangers awaiting himoutside the walls of his home. One parent may force thechild to side with him against the other. Parents may beunpredictable and sway from a jolly comradeship to astrict authoritarianism. Particularly important, a childmay be led to feel that his right to existence lies solely inhis living up to the parents expectations—measuringup to their standards or ambitions for him, enhancingtheir prestige, giving them blind devotion; in otherwords, he may be prevented from realizing that he isan individual with his own rights and his own responsi-bilities. The effectiveness of such influences is not di-minished by the fact that they are often subtle and veiled.Moreover, there is usually not just one adverse factorbut several in combination.As a consequence of such an environment the childdoes not develop a proper self-respect. He becomes inse-cure, apprehensive, isolated, and resentful. At the be-ginning he is helpless toward these forces around him,but gradually, by intuition and experience, he developsmeans of coping with the environment and of saving hisown skin. He develops a wary sensitivity as to how tomanipulate others.The particular techniques that he develops dependon the whole constellation of circumstances. One childrealizes that by stubborn negativism and occasional tem-per tantrums he can ward off intrusion. He shuts others44Driving Forces in Neurosesout of his life, living on a private island of which he ismaster and resenting every demand made upon him,every suggestion or expectation, as a dangerous inroadon his privacy. For another child no other way is openthan to eradicate himself and his feelings and submitblindly, eking out merely a little spot here and therewhere he is free to be himself. These unoccupied terri-tories may be primitive or sublime. They range fromsecret masturbation in the seclusion of the bathroom tothe realm of nature, books, fantasies. In contrast to thisway, a third child does not freeze his emotions but clingsto the most powerful of the parents in a kind of desper-ate devotion. He blindly adopts that parents likes anddislikes, his way of living, his philosophy of life. He maysuffer under this tendency, however, and develop simul-taneously a passionate desire for self-sufficiency.Thus the foundations are laid for the neurotic trends.They represent a way of life enforced by unfavorableconditions. The child must develop them in order to sur-vive his insecurity, his fears, his loneliness. But they givehim an unconscious feeling that he must stick to theestablished path at all odds, lest he succumb to the dan-gers threatening him.I believe that with sufficient detailed knowledge ofrelevant factors in childhood, one can understand whya child develops a particular set of trends. It is not pos-sible here to substantiate this assertion, because to doso would necessitate recording a number of child his-tories in great detail. But it is not necessary to substan-45
  • 23. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Stiate it, because everyone sufficiently experienced withchildren or with reconstructing their early developmentcan test it out for himself.When this initial development has once occurred is itnecessarily lasting? If given circumstances have made achild compliant, defiant, diffident, must he necessarilyremain so? The answer is that although he will not in-evitably retain his defensive techniques there is gravedanger that he will. They can be eradicated by an earlyradical change of environment, or they can be modified,even after a considerable lapse of time, through anynumber of fortuitous happenings, such as finding anunderstanding teacher, a friend, lover, mate, an engross-ing task suited to his personality and abilities. But inthe absence of strong counteracting factors there is con-siderable danger that the trends acquired not only willpersist but in time will obtain a stronger hold on thepersonality.To understand this persistence one must fully realizethat these trends are more than a mere strategy evolvedas an effective defense against a difficult parent. Theyare, in view of all the factors developing within, the onlypossible way for the child to deal with life in general. Torun away from attacks is the hares strategy in the faceof dangers, and it is the only strategy he has; he couldnot possibly decide to fight instead, because he simplyhas not the means to do so. Similarly, a child growingup under difficult conditions develops a set of attitudestoward life which are fundamentally neurotic trends,Driving Forces in Neurosesand these he cannot change by free will but has to adhereto by necessity. The analogy with the hare is not entirelyvalid, however, because the hare, by constitution, has noother ways of coping with danger while the human be-ing, if not mentally or physically defective by nature,has other potentialities. His necessity to cling to his spe-cial attitudes lies not in constitutional limitations but inthe fact that the sum total of his fears, inhibitions, vul-nerabilities, false goals, and illusory beliefs about theworld confines him to certain ways and excludes others;in other words, it makes him rigid and does not permitof basic alterations.One way of illustrating this point is to compare howa child and a mature adult may cope with persons pre-senting comparable difficulties. It must be borne in mindthat the following comparison has merely an illustrativevalue and is not intended to deal with all the factors in-volved in the two situations. The child, Clare—and hereI am thinking of an actual patient to whose analysis Ishall return later on—has a self-righteous mother whoexpects the childs admiration and exclusive devotion.The adult is an employee, psychologically well inte-grated, who has a boss with qualities similar to those ofthe mother. Both mother and boss are complacently self-admiring, are arbitrary, favor others unfairly and tendto become hostile if what they regard as due homage isnot paid them or if they sense a critical attitude.Under these conditions the employee, if he has strin-gent reasons for holding on to his job, will more or lessconsciously evolve a technique for handling the boss,47
  • 24. S E L F - A N A L Y S I SHe will probably refrain from expressing criticism; makeit a point to appreciate explicitly whatever good quali-ties there are; withhold praise of the bosss competitors;agree with the bosss plans, regardless of his own opin-ions; let suggestions of his own appear as if the boss hadinitiated them. And what influence will this strategyhave on his personality? He will resent the discrimina-tion and dislike the deceit it necessitates. But since heis a self-respecting person he will feel that the situationreflects on the boss rather than on himself, and the be-havior he adopts will not make him a compliant, boot-licking person. His strategy will exist only for that par-ticular boss. Toward the next employer, if a changeshould take place, he would behave differently.For an understanding of neurotic trends much de-pends on recognizing their difference from such ad hocstrategy. Otherwise one could not appreciate their forceand pervasiveness and would succumb to a mistake simi-lar to Adlers oversimplification and rationality. As aresult one would also take too lightly the therapeuticwork to be done.Clares situation is comparable to that of the em-ployee, for the mother and the boss are similar in char-acter, but for Clare it is worth while to go into moredetail. She was an unwanted child. The marriage wasunhappy. After having one child, a boy, the mother didnot want any more children. Clare was born after severalunsuccessful attempts at an abortion. She was not badlytreated or neglected in any coarse sense: she was sent toschools as good as those the brother attended, she re-48Driving Forces in Neurosesceived as many gifts as he did, she had music lessons withthe same teacher, and in all material ways was treatedas well. But in less tangible matters she received less thanthe brother, less tenderness, less interest in school marksand in the thousand little daily experiences of a child,less concern when she was ill, less solicitude to have heraround, less willingness to treat her as a confidante, lessadmiration for looks and accomplishments. There wasa strong, though for a child intangible, community be-tween the mother and brother from which she was ex-cluded. The father was no help. He was absent most ofthe time, being a country doctor. Clare made some pa-thetic attempts to get close to him but he was not inter-ested in either of the children. His affection was entirelyfocused on the mother in a kind of helpless admiration.Finally, he was no help because he was openly despisedby the mother, who was sophisticated and attractive andbeyond doubt the dominating spirit in the family. Theundisguised hatred and contempt the mother felt forthe father, including open death wishes against him, con-tributed much to Clares feeling that it was much saferto be on the powerful side.As a consequence of this situation Clare never had agood chance to develop self-confidence. There was notenough of open injustice to provoke sustained rebellion,but she became discontented and cross and complaining.As a result she was teased for always feeling herself amartyr. It never remotely occurred to either motheror brother that she might be right in feeling unfairlytreated. They took it for granted that her attitude was a49
  • 25. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Ssign of an ugly disposition. And Clare, never having feltsecure, easily yielded to the majority opinion about her-self and began to feel that everything was her fault. Com-pared with the mother, whom everyone admired for herbeauty and charm, and with the brother, who was cheer-ful and intelligent, she was an ugly duckling. She becamedeeply convinced that she was unlikable.This shift from essentially true and warranted accu-sations of others to essentially untrue and unwarrantedself-accusations had far-reaching consequences, as weshall see presently. And the shift entailed more than anacceptance of the majority estimate of herself. It meantalso that she repressed all grievances against the mother.If everything was her own fault the grounds for bearinga grudge against the mother were pulled away from un-der her. From such repression of hostility it was merelya short step to join the group of those who admired themother. In this further yielding to majority opinion shehad a strong incentive in the mothers antagonismtoward everything short of complete admiration: it wasmuch safer to find shortcomings within herself than inthe mother. If she, too, admired the mother she needno longer feel isolated and excluded but could hope toreceive some affection, or at least be accepted. The hopefor affection did not materialize, but she obtained in-stead a gift of doubtful value. The mother, like all thosewho thrive on the admiration of others, was generousin giving admiration in turn to those who adored her.Clare was no longer the disregarded ugly duckling, butbecame the wonderful daughter of a wonderful mother.50Driving Forces in NeurosesThus, in place of a badly shattered self-confidence, shebuilt up the spurious pride that is founded on outsideadmiration.Through this shift from true rebellion to untrue ad-miration Clare lost the feeble vestiges of self-confidenceshe had. To use a somewhat vague term, she lost herself.By admiring what in reality she resented, she becamealienated from her own feelings. She no longer knewwhat she herself liked or wished or feared or resented.She lost all capacity to assert her wishes for love, or evenany wishes. Despite a superficial pride her conviction ofbeing unlovable was actually deepened. Hence later on,when one or another person was fond of her, she couldnot take the affection at its face value but discarded itin various ways. Sometimes she would think that sucha person misjudged her for something she was not; some-times she would attribute the affection to gratitude forhaving been useful or to expectations of her future use-fulness. This distrust deeply disturbed every human re-lationship she entered into. She lost, too, her capacity forcritical judgment, acting on the unconscious maxim thatit is safer to admire others than to be critical. This atti-tude shackled her intelligence, which was actually of ahigh order, and greatly contributed to her feeling stu-pid.In consequence of all these factors three neurotictrends developed. One was a compulsive modesty as toher own wishes and demands. This entailed a compul-sive tendency to put herself into second place, to thinkless of herself than of others, to think that others were51
  • 26. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sright and she was wrong. But even in this restricted scopeshe could not feel safe unless there was someone onwhom she could depend, someone who would protectand defend her, advise her, stimulate her, approve ofher, be responsible for her, give her everything sheneeded. She needed all this because she had lost thecapacity to take her life into her own hands. Thus shedeveloped the need for a "partner"—friend, lover, hus-band—on whom she could depend. She would subor-dinate herself to him as she had toward the mother. Butat the same time, by his undivided devotion to her, hewould restore her crushed dignity. A third neurotictrend—a compulsive need to excel others and to triumphover them—likewise aimed at restoration of self-regard,but in addition absorbed all the vindictiveness accumu-lated through hurts and humiliations.To resume our comparison and summarize what itwas meant to illustrate: both the employee and the childdevelop strategies for dealing with the situation; for boththe technique is to put the self into the background andadopt an admiring attitude toward the one in authority.Thus their reactions may appear roughly comparable,but in reality they are entirely different. The employeedoes not lose his self-regard, does not relinquish his criti-cal judgment, does not repress his resentment. The child,however, loses her self-regard, represses her hostility,abandons her critical faculties and becomes self-effacing.Briefly, the adult merely adjusts his behavior while thechild changes her personality.The inflexible, all-pervasive nature of the neuroticDriving Forces in Neurosestrends has a significant implication for therapy. Patientsoften expect that as soon as they have detected their com-pulsive needs they will be able to relinquish them. Theyare disappointed, then, if the hold these trends have overthem persists in scarcely diminished intensity. It is truethat these hopes are not entirely fantastic: in mild neu-roses the neurotic trend may indeed disappear when itis recognized, as will be discussed in one of the examplescited in the chapter on occasional self-analysis. But inall more intricate neuroses such expectations are as futileas it would be to expect that a social calamity such as un-employment would cease to exist merely because it isrecognized as a problem. In each instance, social or per-sonal, it is necessary to study and if possible to influencethose forces which have created the disruptive trend andwhich account for its persistence.I have emphasized the security offered by the neurotictrends. As mentioned before, this attribute accounts fortheir compulsive character. But the part played by thefeeling of satisfaction that they engender, or the hopefor satisfaction, should not be underrated. This feelingor hope is never missing, though its intensity varies. Insome neurotic trends, such as the need for perfection orthe compulsion toward modesty, the defensive aspect ispredominant. In others the satisfaction attained or hopedfor through the success of the striving can be so strongthat the latter takes on the character of a devouring pas-sion. The neurotic need for dependency, for example,usually entails a vivid expectation of happiness withthat person who will take ones life into his hands. A53
  • 27. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sstrong tinge of attained or anticipated satisfaction ren-ders a trend less accessible to therapy.Neurotic trends may be classified in various ways.Those entailing strivings for closeness with others mightbe contrasted with those aiming at aloofness and dis-tance. Those impelling toward one or another kind ofdependency might be bundled together in contrast withthose stressing independence. Trends toward expansive-ness stand against those working toward a constriction oflife. Trends toward an accentuation of personal peculi-arities could be contrasted with those aiming at adapta-tion or at an eradication o£ the individual self, thosetoward self-aggrandizement with those that entail self-belittling. But to carry through such classifications wouldnot make the picture clearer, because the categories areoverlapping. I shall therefore merely enumerate thosetrends which at the present time stand out as describableentities. I am positive that the list is neither completenor clear cut. Other trends will have to be added, and atrend presented as an autonomous entity may turn outto be a mere variety of some other. It would surpass thescope of this chapter to give detailed descriptions of thevarious trends, even though such knowledge is desirable.Some of them are described in greater detail in previouspublications. It must suffice here to list them and to givea cursory enumeration of their main characteristics.l. The neurotic need for affection and approval (seeThe Neurotic Personality of Our Time, Chapter 6, onthe need for affection):54Driving Forces in NeurosesIndiscriminate need to please others and to be liked andapproved of by others;Automatic living up to the expectations of others;Center of gravity in others and not in self, with theirwishes and opinions the only thing that counts;Dread of self-assertion;Dread of hostility on the part of others or of hostile feel-ings within self.2. The neurotic need for a "partner" who will takeover ones life (see New Ways in Psychoanalysis, Chap-ter 15, on masochism, and Fromms Escape from Free-dom, Chapter 5, on authoritarianism; also the examplegiven below in Chapter 8):Center of gravity entirely in the "partner," who is tofulfill all expectations of life and take responsibilityfor good and evil, his successful manipulation becom-ing the predominant task;Overvaluation of "love" because "love" is supposed tosolve all problems;Dread of desertion;Dread of being alone-3. The neurotic need to restrict ones life within nar-row borders:Necessity to be undemanding and contented with little,and to restrict ambitions and wishes for materialthings;Necessity to remain inconspicuous and to take secondplace;55
  • 28. S E L F - A N ABelittling of existing faculties and potentialities, withmodesty the supreme value;Urge to save rather than to spend;Dread of making any demands;Dread of having or asserting expansive wishes.These three trends are often found together, as mightbe expected, because they all entail an admission ofweakness and constitute attempts to arrange life on thatbasis. They are the opposite of trends toward relying onones own strength or taking responsibility upon one-self. The three of them do not, however, constitute asyndrome. The third may exist without the other twoplaying any noteworthy role.4. The neurotic need for power (see The NeuroticPersonality of Our Time, Chapter 10, on the need forpower, prestige, and possession):Domination over others craved for its own sake;Devotion to a cause, duty, responsibility, though play-ing some part, not the driving force;Essential disrespect for others, their individuality, theirdignity, their feelings, the only concern being theirsubordination;Great differences as to degree of destructive elements in-volved;Indiscriminate adoration of strength and contempt forweakness;Dread of uncontrollable situations;Dread of helplessness.56Driving Forces in Neuroses4a. The neurotic need to control self and othersthrough reason and foresight (a variety of 4 in peoplewho are too inhibited to exert power directly andopenly):Belief in the omnipotence of intelligence and reason;Denial of the power of emotional forces and contemptfor them;Extreme value placed on foresight and prediction;Feelings of superiority over others related to the facultyof foresight;Contempt for everything within self that lags behindthe image of intellectual superiority;Dread of recognizing objective limitations of the powerof reason;Dread of "stupidity" and bad judgment.4b. The neurotic need to believe in the omnipotenceof will (to use a somewhat ambiguous term, an introvertvariety of 4 in highly detached people to whom a directexertion of power means too much contact with others):Feeling of fortitude gained from the belief in the magicpower of will (like possession of a wishing ring);Reaction of desolation to any frustration of wishes;Tendency to relinquish or restrict wishes and to with-draw interest because of a dread of "failure";Dread of recognizing any limitations of sheer will.5. The neurotic need to exploit others and by hookor crook get the better of them:Others evaluated primarily according to whether or notthey can be exploited or made use of;57
  • 29. S E L F - A N A L Y S I SVarious foci of exploitation—money (bargainingamounts to a passion), ideas, sexuality, feelings;Pride in exploitative skill;Dread of being exploited and thus of being "stupid."6. The neurotic need for social recognition or pres-tige (may or may not be combined with a craving forpower):All things—inanimate objects, money, persons, onesown qualities, activities, and feelings—evaluated onlyaccording to their prestige value;Self-evaluation entirely dependent on nature of publicacceptance;Differences as to use of traditional or rebellious ways ofinciting envy or admiration;Dread of losing caste ("humiliation"), whether throughexternal circumstances or through factors from within.7. The neurotic need for personal admiration:Inflated image of self (narcissism);Need to be admired not for what one possesses or pre-sents in the public eye but for the imagined self;Self-evaluation dependent on living up to this imageand on admiration of it by others;Dread of losing admiration ("humiliation").8. The neurotic ambition for personal achievement:Need to surpass others not through what one presentsor is but through ones activities;Self-evaluation dependent on being the very best—lover,58Driving Forces in Neurosessportsman, writer, worker—particularly in ones ownmind, recognition by others being vital too, however,and its absence resented;Admixture of destructive tendencies (toward the defeatof others) never lacking but varying in intensity;Relentless driving of self to greater achievements, thoughwith pervasive anxiety;Dread of failure ("humiliation").Trends 6, 7, and 8 have in common a more or less opencompetitive drive toward an absolute superiority overothers. But though these trends overlap and may be com-bined, they may lead a separate existence. The need forpersonal admiration, for instance, may go with a disre-gard of social prestige.9. The neurotic need for self-sufficiency and inde-pendence:Necessity never to need anybody, or to yield to any in-fluence, or to be tied down to anything, any closenessinvolving the danger of enslavement;Distance and separateness the only source of security;Dread of needing others, of ties, of closeness, of love.10. The neurotic need for perfection and unassaila-bility (see New Ways in Psychoanalysis, Chapter 13, onthe super-ego, and Escape from Freedom, Chapter 5, orautomaton conformity):Relentless driving for perfection;Ruminations and self-recriminations regarding possibleflaws;59
  • 30. S E L F - A N A L Y S I SFeelings of superiority over others because of being per-fect;Dread of finding flaws within self or of making mistakes;Dread of criticism or reproaches.A striking consideration in reviewing these trendsis that none of the strivings and attitudes they imply isin itself "abnormal" or devoid of human value. Most ofus want and appreciate affection, self-control, modesty,consideration of others. To expect fulfillment of oneslife from another person is regarded, at least for a woman,as "normal" or even virtuous. Among the strivings aresome that we would not hesitate to estimate highly. Self-sufficiency, independence, and guidance through reasonare generally regarded as valuable goals.In view of these facts the question is bound to ariseover and over again: why call these trends neurotic?What is really wrong with them? Granted that with somepeople certain trends are predominant, even have ameasure of rigidity, while quite different trends deter-mine the behavior of others, are not these varieties ofpursuits merely the expression of given differencesamong people of different sets of values, different waysof coping with life? Is it not natural, for instance, thata tenderhearted person will put stock in affection and astronger person in independence and leadership?To raise these questions is useful because it is not onlyof theoretical but of eminently practical importance torecognize the differences between such basic humanstrivings and evaluations and their neurotic counter-60Driving Forces in Neurosesparts. The objectives of the two types of strivings aresimilar, but their basis and meaning are entirely differ-ent. The difference is almost as great as between +7 and-7: in both cases we have the number 7, just as we usethe same words, affection, reason, perfection, but theprefix changes character and value. The contrasts under-lying the apparent similarities have already been touchedon in the comparison of the employee and the childClare, but a few more generalized comparisons may il-luminate further the difference between normal andneurotic trends.A wish for affection from others is meaningful only ifthere is affection for them, a feeling of having somethingin common with them. The emphasis then will be notonly on the friendliness received but also on the positivefeelings one is capable of having for others and of show-ing to them. But the neurotic need for affection is devoidof the value of reciprocity. For the neurotic person hisown feelings of affection count as little as they would ifhe were surrounded by strange and dangerous animals.To be accurate, he does not even really want the othersaffection, but is merely concerned, keenly and strenu-ously, that they make no aggressive move against him.The singular value lying in mutual understanding, tol-erance, concern, sympathy has no place in the relation-ship.Similarly, the striving to perfect our gifts and our hu-man faculties is certainly worth our best efforts, so muchso that no doubt the world would be a better place tolive in if this striving were strong and alive in all of us.61
  • 31. S E L F - A N A L Y S I SBut the neurotic need for perfection, while it may beexpressed in identical terms, has lost this special value,because it represents an attempt to be or appear perfectwithout change. There is no possibility of improvement,because finding areas within the self that would needchange is frightening and therefore avoided. The onlyreal concern is to juggle away any deficiency lest one beexposed to attacks, and to preserve the secret feeling ofsuperiority over others. As in the neurotic need for af-fection, the persons own active participation is lackingor impaired. Instead of being an active striving, thistrend is a static insistence upon an illusory status quo.A last comparison: all of us have a high regard for willpower, regarding it as a meaningful force if put into theservice of pursuits that are themselves important. Butthe neurotic faith in the omnipotence of will is illusory,because it completely disregards the limitations that maydefy even the most determined efforts. No amount ofwill power gets us out of a Sunday-afternoon traffic jam.Furthermore, the virtue of will power is nullified if theproving of its effectiveness becomes an aim in itself. Anyobstacle standing in the way of momentary impulses willdrive the person in the grip of this neurotic trend intoblind and frantic action, regardless of whether he reallywants the particular object. The tables are actually re-versed: it is not that he has will power, but that it has him.These examples may suffice to show that the neuroticpursuits are almost a caricature of the human values theyresemble. They lack freedom, spontaneity, and meaning.All too often they involve illusory elements. Their value62Driving Forces in Neurosesis only subjective, and lies in the fact that they hold themore or less desperate promise of safety and of a solutionfor all problems.And one further point should be emphasized: not onlyare the neurotic trends devoid of the human values thatthey mimic, but they do not even represent what theperson wants. If he puts all his energies into the pursuitof social prestige or power, for example, he may believethat he really wants these goals; actually, as we have seen,he is merely driven to want them. It is as if he were flyingin an airplane which he believes he is piloting, whileactually the plane is directed by remote control.It remains to understand approximately how and towhat extent the neurotic trends may determine the per-sons character and influence his life. In the first place,these pursuits render it necessary for him to developcertain subsidiary attitudes, feelings, and types of be-havior. If his trend is toward unlimited independence,he will desire secrecy and seclusion, be wary of anythingresembling an intrusion into his privacy, develop tech-niques for keeping others at a distance. If his trend istoward a constriction of life, he will be modest, unde-manding, and ready to yield to anyone who is more ag-gressive than he.Also, the neurotic trends largely determine the imagea person has of what he is or should be. All neurotic per-sons are markedly unstable in their self-evaluation, wav-ering between an inflated and a deflated image of them-selves. When a neurotic trend is recognized it becomes63
  • 32. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Spossible to understand specifically the reasons why aparticular person is aware of certain evaluations of him-self and represses others, why he is consciously or un-consciously exceedingly proud of certain attitudes orqualities and despises others for no discernible objectivereason.For example, if A has built up a protective belief inreason and foresight he will not only overrate what canbe accomplished by reason in general, but also take aspecial pride in his power of reasoning, his judgment,his predictions. His notions of his superiority over otherswill then derive primarily from a conviction that his isa superior intelligence. And if B feels he cannot possiblystand on his own, but must have a "partner" who givescontent and direction to his life, he is bound to overratenot only the power of love but also his own ability tolove. He will mistake his need to hang on to another per-son for a particularly great ability to love, and will takea special pride in this illusory capacity. Finally, if Csneurotic trend is to master any situation by his ownefforts, to be self-sufficient at any price, he will take anexcessive pride in being capable and self-reliant and innever needing anybody.The maintenance of these beliefs—As belief in hissuperior power of reasoning, Bs in his loving nature,Cs in his competence to handle his affairs quite by him-self—becomes as compulsive as the neurotic trends thatproduced them. But the pride taken in these qualities issensitive and vulnerable, and for good reasons. Its foun-dation is none too solid. It is built on too narrow a basisDriving Forces in Neurosesand contains too many illusory elements. It is actually apride in the qualities that are required in the service ofthe neurotic trends rather than in qualities actually exist-ing. In actual fact B has very little ability to love, but hisbelief in this quality is indispensable lest he recognizethe falseness of his pursuits. If he harbored any doubtas to his loving nature he would have to recognize thatin reality he searches not for someone to love but forsomeone who will devote his life exclusively to him,without his being able to give much in return. Thiswould mean such a vital threat to his security that hewould be bound to react to a criticism on this score witha mixture of panic and hostility, one or the other pre-vailing. Similarly, A will react with extreme irritation toany doubt cast on his good judgment. C, on the otherhand, whose pride lies in not needing anybody, must feelirritated at any suggestion that he cannot succeed with-out help or advice. The anxiety and hostility generatedby such trespasses on the treasured image of self furtherimpair a persons relations to others, and thereby forcehim to adhere all the more strongly to his protectivedevices.Not only the evaluation of self is incisively influencedby the neurotic trends, but also the evaluation of others.The person craving for prestige will judge others ex-clusively according to the prestige they enjoy: one whoenjoys greater prestige he will put above himself, andone with lesser prestige he will look down upon, regard-less of the real values involved. The compulsively com-pliant person is likely to feel indiscriminate adoration65
  • 33. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sof what appears to him as strength, even if this "strength"consists merely in erratic or unscrupulous behavior. Theperson who must exploit others may take a certain likingto one who lends himself to exploitation, but also de-spises him; he will think of a compulsively modest per-son as either stupid or hypocritical. The compulsivelydependent person may look enviously at the compul-sively self-sufficient person, thinking him free and un-inhibited, though actually the latter is merely in thegrip of a different neurotic trend.A last consequence to be discussed here is the inhibi-tions resulting from the neurotic trends. Inhibitions maybe circumscribed, that is, concern a concrete action, sen-sation, or emotion, taking the form, for example, of im-potence or an inhibition toward telephoning. Or theymay be diffuse and concern whole areas of life, such asself-assertion, spontaneity, making demands, coming closeto people. As a rule specific inhibitions are at the level ofawareness. Diffuse inhibitions, though more important,are less tangible.* If they become very strong the personmay be generally aware of being inhibited, without, how-ever, recognizing in what specific direction. They maybe so subtle and hidden, on the other hand, that theperson is not aware of their existence and efficacy. Aware-ness of inhibitions may be befogged in various ways, ofwhich one of the commonest is rationalization: a personwho has inhibitions about speaking to others in socialgatherings may be aware of being inhibited on this score,but also he may simply believe that he dislikes parties* See H. Schultz-Hencke, Der gehemmte Mensch.66Driving Forces in Neurosesand considers them boring, and find many good reasonsfor refusing invitations.The inhibitions produced by neurotic trends are pri-marily of the diffuse kind. Let us for the sake of claritycompare the person obsessed by a neurotic trend with arope dancer. The latter, in order to reach the other endof the rope without falling down, must avoid any glanceto right or left and must keep his attention fixed on therope. Here we would not speak of an inhibition to glanc-ing aside, because the rope dancer has a clear recogni-tion of the danger involved and consciously avoids thatdanger. A person in the clutches of a neurotic trendmust equally anxiously avoid any deviation from theprescribed course, but in his case there is an importantdifference, for with him the process is unconscious: stronginhibitions prevent him from wavering in the course laiddown for him.Thus a person who makes himself dependent on apartner will be inhibited from making independentmoves of his own; a person tending toward a constrictionof life will be inhibited from having, and still more fromasserting, any expansive wishes; a person with a neuroticneed to control self and others by reason will be in-hibited from feeling any strong emotion; and a personwith a compulsive craving for prestige will be inhibitedfrom dancing or speaking in public or from any otheractivity that might jeopardize his prestige, and in facthis whole learning faculty may be paralyzed because it isintolerable for him to appear awkward during the be-ginning period. Different as they are, all these inhibitions67
  • 34. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Shave an attribute in common: all of them represent acheck on any spontaneity of feeling, thought, and action.One can have no more than a studied spontaneity whendancing on a rope. And the panic that seizes a neuroticperson if something leads him to trespass his determinedboundaries is no less acute than that experienced by therope dancer who loses his footing.Thus each neurotic trend generates not only a specificanxiety but also specific types of behavior, a specificimage of self and others, a specific pride, a specific kindof vulnerability and specific inhibitions.So far we have simplified matters by assuming thatany one person has only one neurotic trend or a com-bination of kindred trends. It has been pointed out thata trend toward relegating ones life to a partner is oftencombined with a general need for affection and with atrend toward constricting ones life within narrow limits;that a craving for power so frequently goes with a crav-ing for prestige that the two may appear as two aspectsof the same trend; that an insistence on absolute inde-pendence and self-sufficiency is often intertwined with abelief that life can be mastered through reason and fore-sight. In these instances the coexistence of various trendsdoes not essentially complicate the picture, because whilethe different trends may collide at times—the need to beadmired, for instance, may collide with a need to domi-nate—their objectives are nevertheless not too far apart.This does not mean that there are no conflicts: each neu-rotic trend carries within itself the germ of conflicts. Butwhen the trends are kindred the conflicts are manageable68Driving Forces in Neurosesby way of repressions, avoidances, and the like, thoughat great expense to the individual.The situation changes essentially when a person hasdeveloped several neurotic trends that are incompatiblein nature. His position then is comparable to that of aservant who is dependent on two masters who give con-tradictory commands, both expecting blind obedience.If compliance is just as compulsive for him as absoluteindependence he feels caught in a conflict which doesnot permit of any permanent solution. He will grope forcompromise solutions, but clashes will be inevitable;one pursuit is bound to interfere constantly with its op-posite. The same impasse occurs when a compulsiveneed to dominate others in a dictatorial fashion is com-bined with a striving to lean on another person, or whena need to exploit others, which precludes the personsproductivity, is of equal intensity with a need to beadmired as the superior, protective genius. It occurs, infact, whenever contradictory trends exist together.The neurotic "symptoms," such as phobias, depres-sions, alcoholism, ultimately result from these conflicts.The more thoroughly we recognize this fact the less willwe be tempted to interpret the symptoms directly. Ifthey are a result of conflicting trends it is as good as use-less to try to understand them without having previouslygained an understanding of the underlying structure.It should now be clear that the essence of a "neurosis"is the neurotic character structure, the focal points ofwhich are the neurotic trends. Each of them is thenucleus of a structure within the personality, and each69
  • 35. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sof these substructures is interrelated in many ways withother substructures. It is not only of theoretical interestbut of eminent practical importance to realize the natureand complexity of this character structure. Even psy-chiatrists, not to speak of laymen, tend to underrate theintricacies of the nature of modern man.The neurotic character structure is more or less rigid,but it is also precarious and vulnerable because of itsmany weak spots—its pretenses, self-deceptions, and il-lusions. At innumerable points, the nature of whichvaries in each individual, its failure to function is notice-able. The person himself senses deeply that something isfundamentally wrong, though he does not know what itis. He may vigorously assert that everything is all right,apart from his headaches or his eating sprees, but heregisters deep down that something is wrong.Not only is he ignorant of the source of trouble, but hehas considerable interest in remaining ignorant, because,as emphasized above, his neurotic trends have a definitesubjective value for him. In this situation there are twocourses he may take: he may, despite the subjective valueof his neurotic trends, examine the nature and causes ofthe deficiencies they produce; or he may deny that any-thing is wrong or can be changed.In analysis both courses are followed, one or the otherprevailing at different times. The more indispensablethe neurotic trends are for a person, and the more ques-tionable their actual value, the more vigorously andrigidly must he defend and justify them. This situationis comparable to the need of a government to defend and70Driving Forces in Neurosesjustify its activities. The more debatable the govern-ment, the less can it tolerate criticism and the more mustit assert its rights. These self-justifications constitutewhat I should like to call secondary defenses. Their pur-pose is not only to defend one or another questionablefactor but to safeguard the maintenance, of the wholeneurotic structure. They are like a minefield laid outaround the neurosis for its protection. Different thoughthey appear in detail, their common denominator is apersuasion that in essence everything is right, good, orunalterable.It is in accord with the comprehensive function of thesecondary defenses that the attitudes they entail tend tobe generalized in order not to leave open any loophole.Thus, for example, a person who has surrounded him-self with an armor of self-righteousness will not only de-fend his power drive as right, rational, and warranted,but will be unable to admit that anything he does, trivialthough it may be, is wrong or questionable. The second-ary defenses may be so hidden that they can be detectedonly during analytical work, or they may constitute aprominent feature of the observable picture of the per-sonality; they are easily recognized, for instance, in theperson who must always be right. They must not neces-sarily appear as a character trait but may take the formof moral or scientific convictions; thus an overemphasison constitutional factors often represents a persons con-viction that he is as he is "by nature," and that henceeverything is unalterable. Also the intensity and rigidityof these defenses vary considerably. In Clare, for in-71
  • 36. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sstance, whose analysis we follow throughout the book,they played hardly any role. In others they may be sostrong as to render any attempt at analysis impossible.The more a person is intent upon maintaining the statusquo the more impenetrable are his defenses. But whilethere are variations in transparency, intensity, and mani-festations, the secondary defenses, in contrast to the mani-fold shades and variations of the neurotic character struc-ture itself, show a monotonous repetition of the themes"good," "right," "unalterable," in one or another combi-nation.I should like now to return to my initial assertion thatneurotic trends are in the center of psychic disturbances.This statement does not mean, of course, that the neu-rotic trends are what the individual feels most keenly asdisturbances: as mentioned before, he is usually una-ware that they are the driving forces in his life. Nor doesit mean that the neurotic trends are the ultimate sourceof all psychic troubles: the trends themselves are a prod-uct of previous disturbances, conflicts that have oc-curred in human relationships. My contention is ratherthat the focal point in the whole neurotic structure iswhat I have called the neurotic trends. They provide away out of the initial calamities, offering a promise thatlife can be coped with despite disturbed relationships toself and others. But also they produce a great variety ofnew disturbances: illusions about the world and aboutthe self, vulnerabilities, inhibitions, conflicts. They areat the same time a solution of initial difficulties and asource of further ones.72C H A P T E R T H R E EStages of Psychoanalytic UnderstandingA knowledge of the neurotic trends and their implica-tions gives a rough conception of what has to be workedthrough in analysis. It is also desirable, however, to knowsomething about the sequence in which the work mustbe done. Are problems tackled in a helter-skelter fashion?Does one obtain a piecemeal insight here and there untilat last the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle are put togetherinto an understandable picture? Or are there principlesthat may serve as a guide in the maze of material offeringitself?Freuds answer to this question seems easy enough.Freud declared that a person will first present in theanalysis the same front that he presents to the world ingeneral, and that then his repressed strivings will gradu-ally appear, in succession from the less repressed to themore repressed. If we were to take a birds-eye view of the73
  • 37. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sanalytical procedure this answer would still hold true.And even as a guide for action the general principle in-volved would be good enough if the findings to be madelay around a single vertical line along which we wouldhave to wind our way into the depths. But if we shouldassume that this is the case, if we should assume that ifwe only continue to analyze whatever material shows upwe shall penetrate step by step into the repressed area,we may easily find ourselves in a state of confusion—which indeed happens not infrequently.The theory of neuroses developed in the previouschapter gives us more specific leads. It holds that thereare several focal points in the neurotic personality givenby the neurotic trends and the structure built aroundeach of them. The inference to be drawn for the thera-peutic procedure is, briefly, that we must discover eachtrend and each time descend into the depths. More con-cretely, the implications of each neurotic trend are re-pressed in various degrees. Those that are less deeplyrepressed are the first to become accessible; those that aremore deeply repressed will emerge later. The extensiveexample of self-analysis presented in Chapter Eight willillustrate this point.The same principle applies to the order in which theneurotic trends themselves can be tackled. One patientwill start by presenting the implications of his need forabsolute independence and superiority, and only muchlater can one discover and tackle indications of his com-pliance or of his need for affection. The next patientwill start with an open display of his need to be loved and74Stages of Understandingapproved of, and his tendencies to control others, if hehas any, could not possibly be approached at the begin-ning; but a third one will from the beginning displaya highly developed power drive. The fact that a trendappears at the beginning indicates nothing about itscomparative importance or unimportance: the neurotictrend that appears first is not necessarily the strongestone in the sense of having the greatest influence on thepersonality. We could rather say that that trend is thefirst to crystallize which jibes best with the persons con-scious or semiconscious image of himself. If secondarydefenses—the means of self-justification—are highly de-veloped they may entirely dominate the picture at thebeginning. In that case the neurotic trends become visi-ble and accessible only later on.I should like to illustrate the stages of understandingwith the example of the patient Clare whose childhoodhistory was briefly outlined in the previous chapter.When the analysis is reported for this purpose it must,of course, be grossly simplified and schematized. I mustleave out not only many details and ramifications butalso all the difficulties encountered during the analyticalwork. Moreover, the various phases appear, in summary,more clear cut than they actually were: factors that ap-pear in the report as belonging to the first phase, for in-stance, actually emerged then only dimly and becameclearer throughout the analysis. I believe, however, thatthese inaccuracies do not essentially detract from thevalidity of the principles presented.75
  • 38. S E L F - A N A L Y S I SClare came for analytic treatment at the age of thirty,for various reasons. She was easily overcome by a para-lyzing fatigue that interfered with her work and hersocial life. Also, she complained about having remark-ably little self-confidence. She was the editor of a maga-zine, and though her professional career and her presentposition were satisfactory her ambition to write playsand stories was checked by insurmountable inhibitions.She could do her routine work but was unable to doproductive work, though she was inclined to account forthis latter inability by pointing out her probable lack oftalent. She had been married at the age of twenty-three,but the husband had died after three years. After themarriage she had had a relationship with another manwhich continued during the analysis. According to herinitial presentation both relationships were satisfactorysexually as well as otherwise.The analysis stretched over a period of four and a halfyears. She was analyzed for one year and a half. This timewas followed by an interruption of two years, in whichshe did a good deal of self-analysis, afterward returningto analysis for another year at irregular intervals.Clares analysis could be roughly divided into threephases: the discovery of her compulsive modesty; thediscovery of her compulsive dependence on a partner;and finally, the discovery of her compulsive need to forceothers to recognize her superiority. None of these trendswas apparent to herself or to others.In the first period the data that suggested compulsiveelements were as follows. She tended to minimize her76Stages of Understandingown value and capacities: not only was she insecure abouther assets but she tenaciously denied their existence, in-sisting that she was not intelligent, attractive, or giftedand tending to discard evidence to the contrary. Also,she tended to regard others as superior to herself. Ifthere was a dissension of opinion she automatically be-lieved that the others were right. She recalled that whenher husband had started an affair with another womanshe did nothing to remonstrate against it, though theexperience was extremely painful to her; she managedto consider him justified in preferring the other on thegrounds that the latter was more attractive and moreloving. Moreover, it was almost impossible for her tospend money on herself: when she traveled with othersshe could enjoy living in expensive places, even thoughshe contributed her share in the expenses, but as soonas she was on her own she could not bring herself tospend money on such things as trips, dresses, plays, books.Finally, though she was in an executive position, it wasimpossible for her to give orders: she would do so in anapologetic way if orders were unavoidable.The conclusion reached from such data was that shehad developed a compulsive modesty, that she felt com-pelled to constrict her life within narrow boundariesand to take always a second or third place. When thistrend was once recognized, and its origin in childhooddiscussed, we began to search systematically for its mani-festations and its consequences. What role did this trendactually play in her life?She could not assert herself in any way. In discussions77
  • 39. S E L F - A N A L Y Sshe was easily swayed by the opinions of others. Despitea good faculty for judging people she was incapable oftaking any critical stand toward anyone or anything, ex-cept in editing, when a critical stand was expected of her.She had encountered serious difficulties, for instance, byfailing to realize that a fellow worker was trying to under-mine her position; when this situation was fully apparentto others she still regarded the other as her friend. Hercompulsion to take second place appeared clearly ingames: in tennis, for instance, she was usually too in-hibited to play well, but occasionally she was able to playa good game and then, as soon as she became aware thatshe might win, she would begin to play badly. The wishesof others were more important than her own: she wouldbe contented to take her holidays during the time that wasleast wanted by others, and she would do more workthan she needed to if the others were dissatisfied with theamount of work to be done.Most important was a general suppression of her feel-ings and wishes. Her inhibitions concerning expansiveplans she regarded as particularly "realistic"—evidencethat she never wanted things that were beyond reach.Actually she was as little "realistic" as someone withexcessive expectations of life; she merely kept her wishesbeneath the level of the attainable. She was unrealisticin living in every way beneath her means—socially, eco-nomically, professionally, spiritually. It was attainablefor her, as her later life showed, to be liked by many peo-ple, to look attractive, to write something that was valu-able and original.78Stages of UnderstandingThe most general consequences of this trend were aprogressive lowering of self-confidence and a diffuse dis-contentment with life. Of the latter she had not been inthe least aware, and could not be aware as long as every-thing was "good enough" for her and she was not clearlyconscious of having wishes or of their not being fulfilled.The only way this general discontentment with life hadshown itself was in trivial matters and in sudden spellsof crying which had occurred from time to time andwhich had been quite beyond her understanding.For quite a while she recognized only fragmentarilythe truth of these findings; in important matters shemade the silent reservation that I either overrated heror felt it to be good therapy to encourage her. Finally,however, she recognized in a rather dramatic fashion thatreal, intense anxiety lurked behind this facade of mod-esty. It was at a time when she was about to suggest animprovement in the magazine. She knew that her planwas good, that it would not meet with too much oppo-sition, that everyone would be appreciative in the end.Before suggesting it, however, she had an intense panicwhich could not be rationalized in any way. At the be-ginning of the discussion she still felt panicky and hadto leave the room because of a sudden diarrhea. But asthe discussion turned increasingly in her favor the panicsubsided. The plan was finally accepted and she receivedconsiderable recognition. She went home with a feelingof elation and was still in good spirits when she came tothe next analytical hour.I dropped a casual remark to the effect that this was79
  • 40. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Squite a triumph for her, which she rejected with a slightannoyance. Naturally she had enjoyed the recognition,but her prevailing feeling was one of having escapedfrom a great danger. It was only after more than twoyears had elapsed that she could tackle the other ele-ments involved in this experience, which were alongthe lines of ambition, dread of failure, triumph. At thattime her feelings, as expressed in her associations, wereall concentrated on the problem of modesty. She feltthat she had been presumptuous to propound a newplan. Who was she to know better! But gradually sherealized that this attitude was based on the fact that forher the suggesting of a different course of action meanta venturing out of the narrow artificial precincts thatshe had anxiously preserved. Only when she recognizedthe truth of this observation did she become fully con-vinced that her modesty was a facade to be maintainedfor the sake of safety. The result of this first phase ofwork was a beginning of faith in herself and a beginningof courage to feel and assert her wishes and opinions.The second period was dedicated prevailingly to workon her dependency on a "partner." The majority of theproblems involved she worked through by herself, aswill be reported later on in greater detail. This depend-ency, despite its overwhelming strength, was still moredeeply repressed than the previous trend. It had neveroccurred to her that anything was wrong in her relation-ships with men. On the contrary, she had believed themto be particularly good. The analysis gradually changedthis picture.80Stages of UnderstandingThere were three main factors that suggested com-pulsive dependence. The first was that she felt com-pletely lost, like a small child in a strange wood, when arelationship ended or when she was temporarily sepa-rated from a person who was important to her. Thefirst experience of this kind occurred after she left homeat the age of twenty. She then felt like a feather blownaround in the universe, and she wrote desperate lettersto her mother, declaring that she could not live withouther. This homesickness stopped when she developed akind of crush on an older man, a successful writer whowas interested in her work and furthered her in a pa-tronizing way. Of course, this first experience of feelinglost when alone could be understood on the basis of heryouth and the sheltered life she had lived. But later re-actions were intrinsically the same, and formed a strangecontrast to the rather successful professional career thatshe was achieving despite the difficulties mentioned be-fore.The second striking fact was that in any of theserelationships the whole world around her becamesubmerged and only the beloved had any importance.Thoughts and feelings centered around a call or a let-ter or a visit from him; hours that she spent withouthim were empty, filled only with waiting for him, witha pondering about his attitude to her, and above all withfeeling utterly miserable about incidents which she feltas utter neglect or humiliating rejection. At these timesother human relationships, her work, and other interestslost almost every value for her.81
  • 41. S E L F - A N A L Y S I SThe third factor was a fantasy of a great and master-ful man whose willing slave she was and who in turngave her everything she wanted, from an abundance ofmaterial things to an abundance of mental stimulation,and made her a famous writer.As the implications of these factors were graduallyrecognized the compulsive need to lean on a "partner"appeared and was worked through in its characteristicsand its consequences. Its main feature was an entirelyrepressed parasitic attitude, an unconscious wish to feedon the partner, to expect him to supply the content ofher life, to take responsibility for her, to solve all herdifficulties and to make her a great person without herhaving to make efforts of her own. This trend had alien-ated her not only from other people but also from thepartner himself, because the unavoidable disappoint-ments she felt when her secret expectations of him re-mained unfulfilled gave rise to a deep inner irritation;most of this irritation was repressed for fear of losing thepartner, but some of it emerged in occasional explosions.Another consequence was that she could not enjoy any-thing except when she shared it with the partner. Themost general consequence of this trend was that her re-lationships served only to make her more insecure andmore passive and to breed self-contempt.The interrelations of this trend with the previous onewere twofold. On the one hand, her compulsive mod-esty was one of the reasons that accounted for her needfor a partner. Since she could not take care of her own82Stages of Understandingwishes she had to have someone else who took care ofthem. Since she could not defend herself she neededsomeone else to defend her. Since she could not see herown values she needed someone else to affirm her worth.On the other hand, there was a sharp conflict betweenthe compulsive modesty and the excessive expectationsof the partner. Because of this unconscious conflict shehad to distort the situation every time she was disap-pointed over unfulfilled expectations. In such situationsshe felt herself the victim of intolerably harsh and abu-sive treatment, and therefore felt miserable and hostile.Most of the hostility had to be repressed because of fearof desertion, but its existence undermined the relation-ship and turned her expectations into vindictive de-mands. The resulting upsets proved to have a greatbearing on her fatigue and her inhibition toward pro-ductive work.The result of this period of analytical work was thatshe overcame her parasitic helplessness and became ca-pable of greater activity of her own. The fatigue was nolonger continual but appeared only occasionally. Shebecame capable of writing, though she still had to facestrong resistances. Her relationships with people becamemore friendly, though they were still far from beingspontaneous; she impressed others as being haughtywhile she herself still felt quite timid. An expression ofthe general change in her was contained in a dream inwhich she drove with her friend in a strange countryand it occurred to her that she, too, might apply for a83
  • 42. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sdrivers license. Actually, she had a license and coulddrive as well as the friend. The dream symbolized adawning insight that she had rights of her own and neednot feel like a helpless appendage.The third and last period of analytical work dealtwith repressed ambitious strivings. There had been aperiod in her life when she had been obsessed by fran-tic ambition. This had lasted from her later years ingrammar school up to her second year in college, andhad then seemed to disappear. One could conclude onlyby inference that it still operated underground. Thiswas suggested by the fact that she was elated and over-joyed at any recognition, by her dread of failure, andby the anxiety involved in any attempt at independentwork.This trend was more complicated in its structure thanthe two others. In contrast to the others, it constitutedan attempt to master life actively, to take up a fightagainst adverse forces. This fact was one element in itscontinued existence: she felt herself that there had beena positive force in her ambition and wished repeatedlyto be able to retrieve it. A second element feeding theambition was the necessity to re-establish her lost self-esteem. The third element was vindictiveness: successmeant a triumph over all those who had humiliated her,while failure meant disgraceful defeat. To understandthe characteristics of this ambition we must go back inher history and discover the successive changes it under-went.The fighting spirit involved in this trend appeared84Stages of Understandingquite early in life. Indeed, it preceded the developmentof the other two trends. At this period of the analysisearly memories occurred to her of opposition, rebellion,belligerent demands, all sorts of mischief. As we know,she lost this fight for her place in the sun because theodds against her were too great. Then, after a series ofunhappy experiences, this spirit re-emerged when shewas about eleven, in the form of a fierce ambition atschool. Now, however, it was loaded with repressed hos-tility: it had absorbed the piled-up vindictiveness forthe unfair deal she had received and for her downtrod-den dignity. It had now acquired two of the elementsmentioned above: through being on top she would re-establish her sunken self-confidence, and by defeatingthe others she would avenge her injuries. This grammar-school ambition, with all its compulsive and destructiveelements, was nevertheless realistic in comparison withlater developments, for it entailed efforts to surpassothers through greater actual achievements. Duringhigh school she was still successful in being unquestion-ably the first. But in college, where she met greatercompetition, she rather suddenly dropped her ambitionaltogether, instead of making the greater efforts thatthe situation would have required if she still wanted tobe first. There were three main reasons why she couldnot muster the courage to make these greater efforts.One was that because of her compulsive modesty shehad to fight against constant doubts as to her intelli-gence. Another was the actual impairment in the freeuse of her intelligence through the repression of her
  • 43. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Scritical faculties. Finally, she could not take the risk offailure because the need to excel the others was too com-pulsive.The abandonment of her manifest ambition did not,however, diminish the impulse to triumph over others.She had to find a compromise solution, and this, in con-trast to the frank ambition at school, was devious in char-acter. In substance it was that she would triumph overthe others without doing anything to bring about thattriumph. She tried to achieve this impossible feat inthree ways, all of which were deeply unconscious. Onewas to register whatever good luck she had in life as atriumph over others. This ranged from a conscious tri-umph at good weather on an excursion to an uncon-scious triumph over some "enemy" falling ill or dying.Conversely, she felt bad luck not simply as bad luck butas a disgraceful defeat. This attitude served to enhanceher dread of life because it meant a reliance on factorsthat are beyond control. The second way was to shift theneed for triumph to love relationships. To have a hus-band or lover was a triumph; to be alone was a shame-ful defeat. And the third way of achieving triumphwithout effort was the demand that husband or lover,like the masterful man in the fantasy, should make hergreat without her doing anything, possibly by merelygiving her the chance to indulge vicariously in his suc-cess. These attitudes created insoluble conflicts in herpersonal relationships and considerably reinforced theneed for a "partner," since he was to take over these all-important functions.86Stages of UnderstandingThe consequences of this trend were worked throughby recognizing the influence they had on her attitudetoward life in general, toward work, toward others, andtoward herself. The outstanding result of this examina-tion was a diminution of her inhibitions toward work.We then tackled the interrelations of this trend withthe two others. There were, on the one hand, irrecon-cilable conflicts and, on the other hand, mutual rein-forcements, evidence of how inextricably she was caughtin her neurotic structure. Conflicts existed between thecompulsion to assume a humble place and to triumphover others, between ambition to excel and parasitic de-pendency, the two drives necessarily clashing and eitherarousing anxiety or paralyzing each other. This para-lyzing effect proved to be one of the deepest sources ofthe fatigue as well as of the inhibitions toward work. Noless important, however, were the ways in which thetrends reinforced one another. To be modest and to putherself into a humble place became all the more nec-essary as it served also as a cloak for the need for triumph.The partner, as already mentioned, became an all themore vital necessity as he had also to satisfy in a deviousway the need for triumph. Moreover, the feelings of hu-miliation generated by the need to live beneath her emo-tional and mental capacities and by her dependency onthe partner kept evoking new feelings of vindictiveness,and thus perpetuated and reinforced the need for tri-umph.The analytical work consisted in disrupting step bystep the vicious circles operating. The fact that her com-87
  • 44. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Spulsive modesty had already given way to some measureof self-assertion was of great help because this progressautomatically lessened also the need for triumph. Sim-ilarly, the partial solution of the dependency problem,having made her stronger and having removed manyfeelings of humiliation, made the need for triumph lessstringent. Thus when she finally approached the issueof vindictiveness, which was deeply shocking to her, shecould tackle with increased inner strength an alreadydiminished problem. To have tackled it at the begin-ning would not have been feasible. In the first place wewould not have understood it, and in the second placeshe could not have stood it.The result of this last period was a general liberationof energies. Clare retrieved her lost ambition on a muchsounder basis. It was now less compulsive and less de-structive; its emphasis shifted from an interest in suc-cess to an interest in the subject matter. Her relation-ships with people, already improved after the secondperiod, now lost the tenseness created by the former mix-ture of a false humility and a defensive haughtiness.With all due reservation for the oversimplificationsmentioned above, I believe, from experience, that thisreport illustrates the typical course of an analysis, or, toput it more cautiously, the ideal course of an analysis.The fact that there were three main divisions in Claresanalysis is only incidental; there may just as well be twoor five. It is characteristic, however, that in each divi-sion the analysis passed through three steps: recognition88Stages of Understandingof a neurotic trend; discovery of its causes, manifesta-tions, and consequences; and discovery of its interrela-tions with other parts of the personality, especially withother neurotic trends. These steps must be taken foreach neurotic trend involved. Each time a step is workedthrough part of the structure becomes clearer until fi-nally the whole emerges transparent. The steps are notalways taken in the order named; more precisely, someunderstanding of a trends manifestations is necessarybefore the trend itself can be recognized as such. This iswell illustrated in Clares self-analysis, to be reported inChapter Eight. Clare recognized many important im-plications of her morbid dependency before she recog-nized the fact of being dependent and the powerful urgedriving her into a dependent relationship.Each of the steps has a particular therapeutic value.The first step, the recognition of a neurotic trend, meansthe recognition of a driving force in the disturbance ofthe personality, and this knowledge in itself has a certainvalue for therapy. Formerly the person felt powerless, atthe mercy of intangible forces. The recognition of evenone of these forces not only means a general gain in in-sight but also dispels some of the bewildered helpless-ness. Knowledge of the concrete reason for a disturbanceprovides a realization that there is a chance to do some-thing about it. This change may be illustrated with asimple example. A farmer wants to grow fruit trees, buthis trees do not thrive, though he puts great efforts intotheir care and tries all the remedies he knows. Aftersome time he becomes discouraged. But finally he dis-
  • 45. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Scovers that the trees have a special disease or need a spe-cial ingredient in the soil, and there is an immediatechange in his outlook on the matter and his mood re-garding it, though nothing has changed as yet in the treesthemselves. The only difference in the external situa-tion is that there is now a possibility of goal-directed ac-tion.Sometimes the mere uncovering of a neurotic trendis sufficient to cure a neurotic upset. A capable execu-tive, for instance, was deeply disturbed because the at-titude of his employees, which had always been one ofdevotion, changed for reasons outside his control. In-stead of settling differences in an amicable way, theystarted to make belligerent and unreasonable demands.Although he was a highly resourceful person in mostmatters he felt utterly incapable of coping with this newsituation, and reached such a measure of resentment anddespair that he considered withdrawing from the busi-ness. In this instance the mere uncovering of his deepneed for the devotion of people dependent on him suf-ficed to remedy the situation.Usually, however, the mere recognition of a neurotictrend does not engender any radical change. In the firstplace, the willingness to change which is elicited by thediscovery of such a trend is equivocal and hence lacksforcefulness, and, in the second place, a willingness tochange, even if it amounts to an unambiguous wish, isnot yet an ability to change. This ability develops onlylater.The reason why the initial willingness to overcome a9°Stages of Understandingneurotic trend does not usually constitute a reliableforce, despite the enthusiasm that often goes with it, isthat the trend has also a subjective value which the per-son does not want to relinquish. When the prospect arisesof overcoming a particular compulsive need, those forcesare mobilized which want to maintain it. In other words,soon after the first liberating effect of the discovery theperson is confronted with a conflict: he wants to changeand he does not want to change. This conflict usually re-mains unconscious because he does not like to admitthat he wants to adhere to something which is againstreason and self-interest.If for any reason the determination not to changeprevails, the liberating effect of the discovery will be onlya fleeting relief followed by a deeper discouragement.To return to the analogy of the farmer, his change inspirit will not last long if he knows or believes that therequired remedy is not available to him.Fortunately these negative reactions are not too fre-quent. More often the willingness and the unwilling-ness to change tend to compromise. The patient thensticks to his resolution to change, but wants to get awaywith as little as possible. He may hope that it will beenough if he uncovers the origin of the trend in child-hood, or if he merely makes resolutions to change, orhe may fall back on the delusion that a mere recognitionof the trend will change everything overnight.In the second step, however, as he works through theimplications of the trend, he realizes more and moredeeply its unfortunate consequences, the degree to which91
  • 46. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sit cramps his life in all respects. Suppose, for example,that he has a neurotic need for absolute independence.After recognizing the trend and learning something ofits origins he would have to spend quite a while under-standing why only this way is open for reassurance, andhow it manifests itself in his daily living. He would haveto see in detail how this need expresses itself in his atti-tude toward physical surroundings, how it takes theform, perhaps, of an aversion to obstructed views, or ananxiety that arises when he sits in the middle of a row.He would have to know how it influences his attitudetoward dress, as evidenced by such signs as sensitivitytoward girdles, shoes, neckties, or anything that may befelt as a constriction. He would have to recognize theinfluence of the trend on work, shown perhaps in a re-bellion against routine, obligations, expectations, sug-gestions, a rebellion against time and against superiors.He would have to understand its influence on love life,observing such factors as an incapacity to accept any tiesor a tendency to feel that any interest in another per-son means enslavement. Thus an estimate would gradu-ally crystallize as to the various factors which in greateror less degree serve to touch off the feeling of coercionand to force him to be on his guard. The mere knowl-edge that he has a great wish for independence is notnearly enough. It is only when he recognizes its all-inclusive compelling force and its negativistic characterthat he can muster a serious incentive to change.Thus the therapeutic value of the second step is, first,that it strengthens a persons willingness to conquer the92Stages of Understandingdisturbing drive. He begins to appreciate the full neces-sity for change, and his rather equivocal willingness toovercome the disturbance turns into an unambiguousdetermination to grapple with it seriously.This determination certainly constitutes a powerfuland valuable force, indispensable for effecting anychange. But even the most vigorous determination isof little avail without the ability to carry it through.And this ability is gradually increased as one manifesta-tion after another is clearly seen. While a person isworking at the implications of the neurotic trend hisillusions, fears, vulnerabilities, and inhibitions are grad-ually loosened from their entrenchments. As a result hebecomes less insecure, less isolated, less hostile, and theresultant improvement in his relationships with others,and with himself, in turn makes the neurotic trend lessnecessary and increases his capacity to deal with it.This part of the work has the added value of kindlingan incentive to discover those factors that impede a moreprofound change. The forces thus far mobilized havehelped to dissolve the power of the particular trend andthereby to bring about certain improvements. But thetrend itself and many of its implications are almost sureto be closely bound up with other, possibly contradic-tory, drives. Therefore the person cannot fully overcomehis difficulties by working only at the substructure de-veloped around a particular trend. Clare, for instance,lost some of her compulsive modesty through the anal-ysis of that trend, but certain of its implications wereout of reach at that time because they were intertwined93
  • 47. S E L F - A N A L Y Swith the morbid dependency and could be tackled onlyin conjunction with that further problem.This third step, the recognition and understanding ofthe interrelations of different neurotic trends, leads toa grasp on the deepest conflicts. It means an under-standing of the attempts at solutions and of how theseattempts have meant only a deeper and deeper entangle-ment. Before this part of the work is reached the per-son may have gained a deep insight into the componentparts of a conflict, but still have adhered secretly to abelief that they could be reconciled. He may have real-ized deeply, for instance, the nature of his drive to bedespotic and also the nature of his need to be applaudedfor superior wisdom. But he has tried to reconcile thesetrends by simply admitting occasionally the despoticdrive without having the least intention to change it. Hehas expected secretly that the admission of the despotictrend would allow him to continue it and at the sametime win him recognition for the amount of insightshown. Another person who strove for superhumanserenity, but also was driven by vindictive impulses, hasimagined that he could be serene for the larger part ofthe year but spare out a sort of leave of absence when hecould indulge in his vindictiveness. It is obvious that nofundamental change can take place as long as such solu-tions are secretly adhered to. As the third step is workedthrough it becomes possible to understand the make-shift nature of these solutions.The therapeutic value of this step lies also in the factthat it makes it possible to disentangle the vicious circles94Stages of Understandingoperating among the various neurotic trends, the ways inwhich they reinforce one another as well as the ways inwhich they conflict with one another. Thus it means anunderstanding at last of the so-called symptoms, that is,the gross pathological manifestations, such as attacks ofanxiety, phobias, depressions, gross compulsions.One often hears statements to the effect that what isreally important in psychotherapy is to see the conflicts.Such statements are of the same value as a contentionthat what is really important is the neurotic vulnerabil-ity or rigidity or striving for superiority. What is im-portant is to see the whole structure, not more and notless. Existing conflicts may sometimes be recognizedquite early in the analysis. Such recognition, however,is of no avail until the components of the conflicts arethoroughly understood and diminished in their inten-sity. Only after this work has been accomplished do theconflicts themselves become accessible.Let us finish this discussion by asking for the practicalvalue of the information presented in this and the pre-ceding chapter. Does it give definite and detailed direc-tions as to the road to be taken in analysis? The answeris that no amount of knowledge can fulfill such expec-tations. One reason for this is that the differences amongpeople are too great to allow the pursuit of any pre-scribed path. Even if we should assume that there is buta limited number of discernible neurotic trends existingin our civilization, say fifteen, the possible combinationsof such trends would be practically infinite. Another95
  • 48. S E L F - A N A L Y Sreason is that in analysis we see not one trend neatly sep-arated from another, but the sum total of entanglements;a flexible ingenuity is therefore necessary in order to iso-late the components of the picture. A third complica-tion is that often the consequences of the various trendsare not apparent as such but are themselves repressed,thus making recognition of the trend considerably diffi-cult. And, finally, analysis represents a human rela-tionship as well as a common research. It would be aone-sided comparison to think of an analysis as an ex-ploratory trip in which two colleagues or friends areengaged, both as much interested in observing and un-derstanding as in integrating the observations and draw-ing the inferences. In analysis the patients peculiaritiesand disturbances—not to speak of the analysts—are vi-tally important. His need for affection, his pride, hisvulnerability, are just as present and as effective in thisas in other situations, and in addition the analysis itselfinevitably elicits anxieties and hostilities and defensesagainst insights that threaten his safety system or thepride he has developed. While all these reactions arehelpful, provided one understands them, they neverthe-less render the process more complex and less susceptibleof generalization.The assertion that to a large extent each analysis mustproduce its own sequence for tackling problems may beintimidating to apprehensive souls, particularly to thosewho need a guarantee that they are always doing theright thing. They should keep in mind, however, fortheir own reassurance, that this sequence is not artifi-Stages of Understanding96cially created by the analysts clever manipulation butoccurs spontaneously because it lies in the nature of theproblems that one becomes accessible after another oneis solved. In other words, when anyone analyzes himselfhe will usually take the steps described above by merelyfollowing the material that presents itself. It will some-times happen, of course, that he touches upon questionsthat at the time being are not answerable. At such pointsan experienced analyst will probably be able to see thatthe particular subject is beyond the reach of the patientsunderstanding and is therefore better left alone. Let usassume, for instance, that a patient who is still deeplyimmersed in convictions of his absolute superiority overothers brings up material suggesting that he has a fearof not being acceptable to others. The analyst will knowthat it would be premature to tackle as yet the patientsfear of rejection, because the latter would regard it as in-conceivable that such a superior being as he believeshimself to be could possibly have such a fear. Manyother times the analyst will recognize only in retrospectthat, and why, a problem was not accessible at a certainpoint. In other words, he, too, can proceed only by trialand error.In self-analysis it may even be that there is less tempta-tion to tackle a factor prematurely, because the personwill intuitively shirk a problem that he is not yet ableto face. But if he does notice, after grappling with a prob-lem for some time, that he is not getting any nearer toa solution, he should remember that he may not yet beready to work at it and that perhaps he had better leave97
  • 49. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sit alone for the time being. And he need not be discour-aged at this turn of events, for very often even a prema-ture attack provides a significant lead for further work.It need hardly be emphasized, however, that there maybe other reasons why a solution that presents itself isnot accepted, and he should not resort too quickly tothe assumption that it is merely premature.And information of the kind I have presented is help-ful not only in forestalling unnecessary discouragementbut also in more positive ways, for it helps one to in-tegrate and understand peculiarities which otherwisewould remain disconnected observations. A person mayrealize, for example, that he finds difficulties in askingfor anything, from inquiring the right way on a motortrip to consulting a doctor for an illness, that he concealshis going to analysis as if it were a disgrace, a despicableeasy road, because he feels he should be able to deal withhis problems all by himself, that he becomes irritated ifanyone shows him sympathy or offers advice and feelshumiliated if he must accept help; and if he has someknowledge of neurotic trends the possibility will occurto him that all these reactions emanate from an underly-ing trend toward compulsive self-sufficiency. Naturally,there is no guarantee that the surmise is right. The as-sumption that he is generally weary of people might ex-plain some of his reactions, though it would not accountfor the feeling of hurt pride that arises on some occa-sions. Any surmise must be made tentatively and keptin abeyance until he has plenty of evidence for its valid-ity. Even then he must ascertain over and over again98Stages of Understandingwhether the assumption really covers the ground or isonly partially valid. Naturally, he can never expect thatone trend will explain everything: he must rememberthat there will be countercurrents. All he can reasonablyexpect is that the trend surmised represents one of thecompelling forces in his life and therefore must revealitself in a consistent pattern of reactions.His knowledge will be of positive help also after hehas recognized a neurotic trend. An understanding of thetherapeutic importance of discovering the various mani-festations and consequences of a trend will help him tofocus attention deliberately on these instead of gettinglost in a frantic search for the reasons of its power, mostof which can be understood only later on. Such an under-standing will be particularly valuable in directing histhoughts toward a gradual recognition of the price paidfor the pursuit of the trend.In regard to the conflicts the practical value of psy-chological knowledge lies in the fact that it prevents theindividual from merely shuttling to and fro between dis-parate attitudes. Clare, for instance, at the time whenshe analyzed herself, lost considerable time shuttling be-tween a tendency to put all blame on others and a tend-ency to put all blame on herself. Thus she became con-fused because she wanted to solve the question which ofthese contradictory tendencies she really had, or at leastwhich was prevailing. Actually, both were present andemerged from contradictory neurotic trends. The tend-ency to find fault with herself and to recoil from ac-cusing others was one of the results of her compulsive99
  • 50. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Smodesty. The tendency to put the blame on others re-sulted from her need to feel superior, which made itintolerable for her to recognize any shortcomings of herown. If at this time she had thought of the possibility ofconflicting trends, arising from conflicting sources, shemight have grasped the process a good deal earlier.Thus far we have briefly surveyed the structure ofneuroses and have discussed the general way in whichthe unconscious forces must be tackled in order to ob-tain gradually a lucid picture of the whole structure. Wehave as yet not touched upon specific means of unearth-ing them. In the following two chapters we shall discussthe work that patient and analyst must do in order toarrive eventually at an understanding of the patientspersonality.C H A P T E R F O U RThe Patients Sharein the Psychoanalytic ProcessSelf-analysis is an attempt to be patient and analyst atthe same time, and therefore it is desirable to discuss thetasks of each of these participants in the analytic process.It should be borne in mind, however, that this process isnot only the sum of the work done by the analyst and thework done by the patient, but is also a human relation-ship. The fact that there are two persons involved hasconsiderable influence on the work done by each.There are three main tasks that confront the patient.Of these the first is to express himself as completely andfrankly as possible. The second is to become aware of hisunconscious driving forces and their influence on hislife. And the third is to develop the capacity to changethose attitudes that are disturbing his relations withhimself and the world around him.IOO IOI
  • 51. S E L F - A N A L Y S I SComplete self-expression is achieved by means of freeassociation. It was Freuds ingenious discovery that freeassociation, hitherto used only for psychological experi-ments, could be utilized in therapy. To associate freelymeans an endeavor on the part of the patient to ex-press without reserve, and in the sequence in which itemerges, everything that comes into his mind, regardlessof whether it is or appears trivial, off the point, incoher-ent, irrational, indiscreet, tactless, embarrassing, humili-ating. It may not be unnecessary to add that "everything"is meant literally. It includes not only fleeting and diffusethoughts but also specific ideas and memories—inci-dents that have occurred since the last interview, mem-ories of experiences at any period of life, thoughts aboutself and others, reactions to the analyst or the analyticalsituation, beliefs in regard to religion, morals, politics,art, wishes and plans for the future, fantasies past andpresent, and, of course, dreams. It is particularly impor-tant that the patient express every feeling that emerges,such as fondness, hope, triumph, discouragement, re-lief, suspicion, anger, as well as every diffuse or spe-cific thought. Of course the patient will have objectionsto voicing certain things, for one reason or another, buthe should express these objections instead of using themto withhold the particular thought or feeling.Free association differs from our customary way ofthinking or talking not only in its frankness and unre-servedness, but also in its apparent lack of direction. Indiscussing a problem, talking about our plans for theweek end, explaining the value of merchandise to a cus-IO2The Patients Sharetomer, we are accustomed to stick fairly closely to thepoint. From the diverse currents that pass through ourrninds we tend to select those elements for expressionwhich are pertinent to the situation. Even when talk-ing with our closest friends we select what to express andwhat to omit, even though we are not aware of it. Infree association, however, there is an effort to expresseverything that passes through the mind, regardless ofwhere it may lead.Like many other human endeavors, free associationcan be used for constructive or for obstructive purposes.If the patient has an unambiguous determination to re-veal himself to the analyst his associations will be mean-ingful and suggestive. If he has stringent interests not toface certain unconscious factors his associations will beunproductive. These interests may be so prevailing thatthe good sense of free association is turned into non-sense. What results then is a flight of meaningless ideashaving merely a mock resemblance to their true purpose.Thus the value of free association depends entirely onthe spirit in which it is done. If the spirit is one of ut-most frankness and sincerity, of determination to faceones own problems, and of willingness to open oneselfto another human being, then the process can serve thepurpose for which it is intended.In general terms this purpose is to enable both analystand patient to understand how the latters mind worksand thereby to understand eventually the structure ofhis personality. There are also specific issues, however,which can be cleared up by free associations—the mean-1o3
  • 52. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sing of an attack of anxiety, of a sudden fatigue, of a fan-tasy or a dream, why the patients mind goes blank ata certain point, why he has a sudden wave of resentmenttoward the analyst, why he was nauseated in the res-taurant last night, was impotent with his wife, or wastongue-tied in a discussion. The patient will then try tosee what occurs to him when he thinks about the spe-cific issue.To illustrate, a woman patient had a dream in whichone element was a distress about something preciousbeing stolen. I asked her what occurred to her in con-nection with this particular fragment of the dream. Thefirst association that appeared was a memory of a maidwho had stolen household goods over a period of twoyears; the patient had dimly suspected the maid, andshe remembered the deep feeling of uneasiness she hadhad before the final discovery. The second associationwas a memory of childhood fears of gypsies stealing chil-dren. The next was a mystery story in which jewels hadbeen stolen from the crown of a saint. Then she remem-bered a remark she had overheard, to the effect thatanalysts are racketeers. Finally it occurred to her thatsomething in the dream reminded her of the analystsoffice.The associations indicated beyond doubt that thedream was related to the analytical situation. The re-mark about analysts being racketeers suggested a con-cern about the fees, but this tack proved to be mislead-ing; she had always regarded the fees as reasonable andworth while. Was the dream a response to the preceding104The Patients Shareanalytical hour? She did not believe that it could be, be-cause she had left the office with a pronounced feelingof relief and gratitude. The substance of the previousanalytical session was that she had recognized her periodsof listlessness and inertia as a kind of subversive depres-sion; that these periods had not appeared to her or othersin this light because she had had no feelings of despond-ency; that actually she suffered more and was more vul-nerable than she admitted to herself; that she had oftenrepressed hurt feelings because she felt compelled toplay the role of an ideally strong character who couldcope with everything. Her relief had been similar tothat of a person who at great expense to himself haslived above his means all his life and now understandsfor the first time that such a bluff is not necessary. Thisrelief, however, had not lasted. At any rate, it now struckher suddenly that after that session she had been quiteirritable, that she had had a slight stomach upset andhad been unable to fall asleep.I shall not go over the associations in detail. The mostimportant clue proved to be the association of the mys-tery story: I had stolen a jewel out of her crown. Thestriving to give to herself and others the impression ofoutstanding strength had been a burden, to be sure, butit had also served several important functions: it gaveher a feeling of pride, which she badly needed as longas her real self-confidence was shaken; and it was hermost powerful defense against recognizing her existingvulnerability and the irrational trends accounting forit. Thus the role she was playing was actually precious105
  • 53. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sto her, and our uncovering the fact that it was merely arole constituted a threat to which she had reacted withindignation.Free association would be entirely unfit as a methodfor making an astronomical calculation or for gainingclarity as to the meaning of a political situation. Thesetasks require sharp and concise reasoning. But free asso-ciation constitutes a thoroughly appropriate method—according to our present knowledge, the only method—for understanding the existence, importance, andmeaning of unconscious feelings and strivings.One more word about the value of free association forself-recognition: it does not work magic. It would bewrong to expect that as soon as rational control is re-leased all that we are afraid of or despise in ourselveswill be revealed. We may be fairly sure that no morewill appear this way than we are able to stand. Only de-rivatives of the repressed feelings or drives will emerge,and as in dreams they will emerge in distorted form orin symbolic expressions. Thus in the chain of associa-tions mentioned above the saint was an expression ofthe patients unconscious aspirations. Of course, unex-pected factors will sometimes appear in a dramatic fash-ion, but this will happen only after considerable previ-ous work on the same subject has brought them closeto the surface. Repressed feelings may appear in theform of a seemingly remote memory, as in the chain ofassociations already described. There the patients angerat me for having injured her inflated notions about her-self did not appear as such; only indirectly she told me106The Patients Sharethat I was like a low criminal who violated holy tabusand robbed values precious to others.Free associations do not work miracles, but if carriedout in the right spirit they do show the way the mindoperates, as X-rays show the otherwise invisible move-ments of lungs or intestines. And they do this in a moreor less cryptic language.To associate freely is difficult for everyone. Not onlydoes it contrast with our habits of communication andwith conventional etiquette, but it entails further diffi-culties which differ with each patient. These may beclassified under various headings though they are in-evitably overlapping.In the first place, there are patients in whom the wholeprocess of association arouses fears or inhibitions, be-cause if they should permit free passage to every feelingand thought they would trespass on territory that is tabu.The particular fears that will be touched off depend ulti-mately on the existing neurotic trends. A few examplesmay illustrate.An apprehensive person, overwhelmed since his earlyyears by the threat of the unpredictable dangers of life,is unconsciously set upon avoiding risks. He clings tothe fictitious belief that by straining his foresight to theutmost he can control life. Consequently he avoids tak-ing any step of which he cannot visualize the effects inadvance: his uppermost law is never to be caught offguard. For such a person free association means the ut-most recklessness, since it is the very meaning of theprocess to allow everything to emerge without knowing
  • 54. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sin advance what will appear and whither it will lead.The difficulty is of another kind for a highly detachedperson who feels safe only when wearing a mask and whoautomatically wards off any intrusion into the precinctsof his private life. Such a one lives in an ivory tower andfeels threatened by any attempt to trespass into its vicin-ity. For him free association means an unbearable in-trusion and a threat to his isolation.And there is the person who lacks moral autonomyand does not dare to form his own judgments. He is notaccustomed to think and feel and act on his own initi-ative but, like an insect extending its feelers to test outthe situation, he automatically examines the environ-ment for what is expected of him. His thoughts are goodor right when approved by others, and bad or wrongwhen disapproved. He, too, feels threatened by the ideaof expressing everything that comes into his mind, butin quite a different way from the others: knowing onlyhow to respond, not how to express himself spontane-ously, he feels at a loss. What does the analyst expectof him? Should he merely talk incessantly? Is the analystinterested in his dreams? Or in his sexual life? Is he ex-pected to fall in love with the analyst? And what doesthe latter approve or disapprove of? For this person theidea of frank and spontaneous self-expression conjuresup all these disquieting uncertainties, and also threatensan exposure to possible disapproval.And, finally, a person caught within the traps of hisown conflicts has become inert and has lost the capacityto feel himself as a moving force. He can proceed with108The Patients Sharean endeavor only when the initiative comes from theoutside. He is quite willing to answer questions but feelslost when left to his own resources. Thus he is unableto associate freely because his capacity for spontaneousactivity is inhibited. And this inability to associate mayprovoke in him a kind of panic if he is one to whom suc-cess in all things is a driving necessity, for he is likelythen to regard his inhibition as a "failure."These examples illustrate how for some persons thewhole process of free association arouses fears or inhi-bitions. But even those who are capable of the processin general have in them one or another area that givesrise to anxiety if it is touched upon. Thus in the exampleof Clare, who on the whole was able to associate freely,anything approaching her repressed demands on lifearoused anxiety at the beginning of her analysis.Another difficulty lies in the fact that an unreservedexpression of all feelings and thoughts is bound to laybare traits that the person is ashamed of and that he ishumiliated to report. As mentioned in the chapter onneurotic trends, the traits that are regarded as humiliat-ing vary considerably. A person who is proud of his cyn-ical pursuit of material interests will be bewildered andashamed if he betrays idealistic propensities. A personwho is proud of his angelic facade will be ashamed tobetray signs of selfishness and inconsiderateness. Andthe same humiliation will occur when any pretense isuncovered.Many of the patients difficulties in expressing histhoughts and feelings are related to the analyst. Thus109
  • 55. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sthe person who is unable to associate freely—whetherbecause it would threaten his defenses or because he haslost too much of his own initiative—is likely to transferto the analyst his aversion to the process or his chagrinat failure, and react with an unconscious defiant obstruc-tion. That his own development, his happiness, is atstake is practically forgotten. And even if the processdoes not give rise to hostility toward the analyst thereis the further fact that fears concerning the analysts at-titude are always present to some degree. Will he under-stand? Will he condemn? Will he look down upon meor turn against me? Is he really concerned with my ownbest development, or does he want to mold me into hispattern? Will he feel hurt if I make personal remarksabout him? Will he lose patience if I do not accept hissuggestions?It is this infinite variety of concerns and obstacles thatmakes unreserved frankness such an extremely difficulttask. As a result, evasive tactics will inevitably occur. Thepatient will deliberately omit certain incidents. Certainfactors will never occur to him in the analytical hour.Feelings will not be expressed because they are too fleet-ing. Details will be omitted because he considers themtrivial. "Figuring out" will take the place of a free flowof thoughts. He will stick to a long-winded account ofdaily occurrences. There is almost no end to the ways inwhich he may consciously or unconsciously try to evadethis requirement.Thus, while it may sound like a simple task to sayeverything that comes to ones mind, its difficulties innoThe Patients Sharereality are so great that it can be only approximatelyfulfilled. The bigger the obstacles in the way, the moreunproductive will the person become. But the more heapproximates it, the more transparent will he be to him-self and to the analyst.The second task confronting the patient in analysisis to face his problems squarely—to gain an insight intothem by recognizing factors that were hitherto uncon-scious. This is not only an intellectual process, however,as the word "recognize" might suggest; as emphasized inanalytical literature since Ferenczi and Rank, it is bothan intellectual and an emotional experience. If I mayuse a slang expression, it means gaining informationabout ourselves which we feel in our "guts."The insight may be a recognition of an entirely re-pressed factor, such as the discovery made by a compul-sively modest or benevolent person that actually he hasa diffuse contempt for people. It may be a recognitionthat a drive which is at the level of awareness has anextent, intensity, and quality that were never dreamedof: a person may know that he is ambitious, for instance,but never have suspected before that his ambition is anall-devouring passion determining his life and contain-ing the destructive element of wanting a vindictive tri-umph over others. Or the insight may be a finding thatcertain seemingly unconnected factors are closely inter-related. A person may have known that he has certaingrandiose expectations as to his significance and hisachievements in life, and have been aware also that he111
  • 56. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Shas a melancholy outlook and a general foreboding that!he will succumb to some pending disaster within a briefspan, but never have suspected that either attitude rep.resents a problem or that the two have any connectionIn this case his insight might reveal to him that his urgeto be admired for his unique value is so rigid that hefeels a deep indignation at its nonfulfillment and there-fore devalues life itself: like an inveterate aristocrat whois faced with the necessity of stooping to a lower stand-ard of living, he would rather stop living than be satis- fied with less than he feels entitled to expect. Thus hispreoccupation with impending disaster would actuallyrepresent an underlying wish to die, partly as a spitefulgesture toward life for not having measured up to hisexpectations.It is impossible to say in general terms what it meansto a patient to obtain an insight into his problems, justas it would be impossible to say what it means to a per-son to be exposed to sunshine. Sunshine may kill himor save his life, it may be fatiguing or refreshing, its ef-fect depending on its intensity and also on his own con-dition. Similarly, an insight may be extremely painfulor it may bring an immediate relief. Here we are onmuch the same ground as was covered above in the dis-cussion of the therapeutic value of the various steps inanalysis, but it will do no harm to recapitulate thoseremarks for this slightly different context.There are several reasons why an insight may producerelief. To begin with the least important consideration,it is often a gratifying intellectual experience merely to112The Patients Sharelearn the reasons for some phenomenon not hithertounderstood; in any situation in life it is likely to be arelief merely to recognize the truth. This considerationapplies not only to elucidations of present peculiaritiesbut also to memories of hitherto forgotten childhoodexperiences, if such memories help one to understandprecisely what factors influenced ones development atthe start.More important is the fact that an insight may revealto a person his own true feelings by showing him thespeciousness of his former attitude. When he becomesfree to express the anger, irritation, contempt, fear, orwhatever it was that was hitherto repressed, an activeand alive feeling has replaced a paralyzing inhibitionand a step is taken toward finding himself. The inad-vertent laughter that frequently occurs at such discov-eries reveals the feeling of liberation. This may holdtrue even if the finding itself is far from agreeable, evenif the person recognizes, for instance, that all his life hehas merely tried to "get by" or has tried to hurt anddominate others. In addition to producing this increasein self-feeling, in aliveness, in activity, the insight mayremove the tensions generated by his former necessity tocheck his true feelings: by increasing the forces thatwere needed for repression it may increase the amountof available energies.Finally, closely related to the liberation of energies,the lifting of a repression frees the way for action. Aslong as a striving or feeling is repressed the person iscaught in a blind alley. As long as he is entirely una-113
  • 57. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sware of a hostility to others, for example, and knowsonly that he feels awkward with people, he is helplessto do anything about his hostility; there is no possibilityof understanding the reasons for it or of discoveringwhen it is justified or of diminishing or removing it.But if the repression is lifted and he feels the hostilityas such, then and only then can he take a good look at itand proceed to discover the vulnerable spots in himselfwhich produced it and to which he has been as blind asto the hostility itself. By thus opening up the possibilityof eventually changing something about the disturbingfactors, the insight is likely to produce considerable re-lief. Even if immediate change is difficult there is thevision of a future way out of the distress. This holds trueeven though the initial reaction may be one of hurt orfright. Clares insight into the fact that she had exces-sive wishes and demands for herself provoked a panic inher at first, because it shook the compulsive modestywhich was one of the pillars supporting her feeling ofsecurity. But as soon as the acute anxiety subsided itgave her relief, for it represented the possibility of aliberation from the shackles that had tied her hand andfoot.But the first reaction to an insight may be one of painrather than relief. As discussed in a previous chapter,there are two principal kinds of negative responses toan insight. One is to feel it only as a threat; the other isto react in discouragement and hopelessness. Differentthough they appear, these two responses are essentiallymerely variations in degree. They are both determined114Patients Shareby the fact that the person is not, or not yet, able andwilling to give up certain fundamental claims on life."Which claims they are depends, of course, on his neu-rotic trends.It is because of the compulsive nature of these trendsthat the claims are so rigid and so hard to relinquish.One who is obsessed by a craving for power, for instance,can do without comfort, pleasures, women, friends,everything that usually makes life desirable, but powerhe must have. As long as he is determined not to relin-quish this claim, any questioning of its value can onlyirritate or frighten him. Such fright reactions are pro-duced not only by insights disproving the feasibility ofhis particular striving but also by those revealing thatits pursuit prevents him from attaining other objectivesthat are also important to him, or from overcomingpainful handicaps and sufferings. Or, to take other ex-amples, one who suffers from his isolation and his awk-wardness in contacts with others, but is still basicallyunwilling to leave his ivory tower, must react with anx-iety to any insight showing him that he cannot possiblyattain the one objective—less isolation—without aban-doning the other—his ivory tower. As long as a personbasically refuses to relinquish his compulsive belief thathe can master life through the sheer force of his will,any insight indicating the fictitious nature of that be-lief must arouse anxiety, because it makes him feel asif the ground on which he stands is pulled away fromunder him.The anxiety produced by such insights is the personsII5
  • 58. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sresponse to a dawning vision that he must eventuallychange something in his foundations if he wants to be-come free. But the factors that must be changed are stilldeeply entrenched, are still vitally important to himas a means of coping with himself and others. He istherefore afraid to change, and the insight produces notrelief but panic.And if he feels deep down that such a change, thoughindispensable for his liberation, is entirely out of thequestion, he will react with a feeling of hopelessnessrather than fright. In his conscious mind this feeling isoften overshadowed by a deep anger toward the analyst.He feels that the analyst is being pointlessly cruel inleading him to such insights when he cannot do any-thing about them anyhow. This reaction is understand-able because none of us is willing to endure hurts andhardships if they do not ultimately serve some purposewe affirm.A negative reaction to an insight is not necessarily thelast word in the matter. Sometimes, in fact, it is of rela-tively short duration and quickly changes to relief. Ineed not elaborate here the factors that determinewhether a persons attitude toward a particular insightcan change through further psychoanalytic work. It issufficient to say that a change is within the range of pos-sibility.Reactions to findings about ourselves cannot be fullyunderstood, however, by thus cataloguing them as pro-ducing relief or fear or hopelessness. No matter whatimmediate reaction is provoked, an insight always means116The patients Sharea challenge to the existing equilibrium. A person drivenby compulsive needs has functioned badly. He has pur-sued certain goals at great expense to his genuine wishes.He is inhibited in many ways. He is vulnerable in largeand diffuse areas. The necessity to combat repressedfears and hostilities saps his energy. He is alienated fromhimself and others. But notwithstanding all these defectsin his psychic machinery the forces operating within himstill constitute an organic structure within which eachfactor is interrelated with the others. In consequence,no factor can be changed without influencing the wholeorganism. Strictly speaking there is no such thing as anisolated insight. Naturally it often happens that a per-son will stop at one or another point. He may be satis-fied with the result attained, he may be discouraged, hemay actively resist going farther. But in principle everyinsight gained, no matter how small in itself, opens upnew problems because of its interrelation with otherpsychic factors, and thereby carries dynamite with whichthe whole equilibrium can be shaken. The more rigidthe neurotic system, the less can any modification betolerated. And the more closely an insight touches uponthe foundations, the more anxiety will it arouse. "Re-sistance/5as I shall elaborate later on, ultimately springsfrom the need to maintain the status quo.The third task awaiting the patient is to change thosefactors within himself which interfere with his best de-velopment. This does not mean only a gross modifica-tion in action or behavior, such as gaining or regaining
  • 59. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sthe capacity for public performances, for creative work,for co-operation, for sexual potency, or losing phobiasor tendencies toward depression. These changes will au-tomatically take place in a successful analysis. They arenot primary changes, however, but result from less vis-ible changes within the personality, such as gaining amore realistic attitude toward oneself instead of waver-ing between self-aggrandizement and self-degradation,gaining a spirit of activity, assertion, and courage in-stead of inertia and fears, becoming able to plan insteadof drifting, finding the center of gravity within oneselfinstead of hanging on to others with excessive expecta-tions and excessive accusations, gaining greater friend-liness and understanding for people instead of harbor-ing a defensive diffuse hostility. If changes like thesetake place external changes in overt activities or symp-toms are bound to follow, and to a corresponding degree.Many changes that go on within the personality donot constitute a special problem. Thus an insight mayin itself constitute a change, if it is a real emotional ex-perience. One might say that nothing has changed if aninsight is gained, for example, into a hostility hithertorepressed: the hostility is still there, and only the aware-ness of it is different. This is true only in a mechanisticsense. Actually it makes an enormous difference if theperson who had known only that he was stilted, fatigued,or diffusely irritated recognizes the concrete hostilitywhich, through its very repression, had generated thesedisturbances. As already discussed, he may feel like an-other human being in such a moment of discovery. And118The Patients Shareunless he manages to discard the recognition immedi-ately it is bound to influence his relations with otherpeople; it will arouse a feeling of surprise at himself,stimulate an incentive to investigate the meaning of thehostility, remove his feeling of helplessness in the faceof something unknown, and make him feel more alive.There are also changes that occur automatically asan indirect result of an insight. The patients compul-sive needs will be diminished as soon as any source ofanxiety is diminished. As soon as a repressed feeling ofhumiliation is seen and understood, a greater friend-liness will result automatically, even though the desir-ability of friendliness has not been touched upon. If afear of failure is recognized and lessened, the person willspontaneously become more active and take risks thathe hitherto unconsciously avoided.Thus far, insight and change appear to coincide, andit might seem unnecessary to present these two processesas separate tasks. But there are situations during anal-ysis—as there are in life itself—when despite an insightone may fight tooth and nail against changing. Some ofthese situations have already been discussed. They maybe generalized by saying that when a patient recognizesthat he must renounce or modify his compulsive claimson life, if he wants to have his energies free for his properdevelopment, a hard fight may begin in which he useshis last resources to disprove the necessity or the possi-bility of change.Another situation in which insight and change maybe quite distinct arises when the analysis has led the per-119
  • 60. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sson face to face with a conflict in which a decision mustbe made. Not all conflicts uncovered in psychoanalysisare of this nature. If contradictory drives are recognizedbetween, for instance, having to control others and hav-ing to comply with their expectations, there is no ques-tion of deciding between the two tendencies. Both mustbe analyzed, and when the person has found a better re-lation to himself and others both will disappear or beconsiderably modified. It is a different matter, however,if a hitherto unconscious conflict emerges between ma-terial self-interest and ideals. The issue may have beenbefogged in various ways: the cynical attitude may havebeen conscious while the ideals were repressed, or con-sciously refuted if they sometimes penetrated to the sur-face; or the wish for material advantages (money, pres-tige) may have been repressed while consciously theideals were rigidly adhered to; or there may have beena continual crisscrossing between taking ideals in a cyn-ical or in a serious way. But when such a conflict comesout in the open it is not enough to see it and to under-stand its ramifications. After a thorough clarification ofall the problems involved the patient must eventuallytake a stand. He must make up his mind whether andto what extent he wants to take his ideals seriously, andwhat space he will allot to material interests. Here, then,is one of the occasions when a patient may hesitate totake the step from insight to a revision of his attitudes.It is certainly true, however, that the three tasks withwhich a patient is confronted are closely interrelated.His complete self-expression prepares the way for the12OPatients Shareinsights, and the insights bring about or prepare forthe change. Each step influences the others. The morehe shrinks back from gaining a certain insight, the morehis free associations will be impeded. The more he re-sists a certain change, the more he will fight an insight.The goal, however, is change. The high value attributedto self-recognition is not for the sake of insight alone,but for the sake of insight as a means of revising, modify-ing, controlling the feelings, strivings, and attitudes.The patients attitude toward changing often goesthrough various steps. Frequently he starts treatmentwith unadmitted expectations of a magical cure, whichusually means a hope that all his disturbances will van-ish without his having to change anything or even with-out having to work actively at himself. Consequentlyhe endows the analyst with magical powers and tends toadmire him blindly. Then, when he realizes that thishope cannot be fulfilled, he tends to withdraw the previ-ous "confidence" altogether. He argues that if the analystis a simple human being like himself what good can hedo him? More important, his own feeling of hopeless-ness about doing anything actively with himself comesto the surface. Only when and if his energies can be lib-erated for active and spontaneous work can he finallyregard his development as his own job, and the analystas someone who merely lends him a helping hand.The tasks with which the patient in analysis is con-fronted are replete with difficulties and with benefits.To express oneself with utter frankness is hard, but it isalso a blessing. And the same can be said about gaining121
  • 61. S E L F - A N Ainsight and about change. To resort to analysis as oneof the possible helps toward ones own development istherefore far from taking the easy road. It requires onthe part of the patient a good deal of determination,self-discipline, and active struggle. In this respect it isno different from other situations in life that help onesgrowth. We become stronger through overcoming thehardships we meet on our way.722C H A P T E R F I V EThe Analysts Sharein the Psychoanalytic ProcessThe analysts general task is to help the patient to recog-nize himself and to reorient his life as far as the patienthimself deems it necessary. In order to convey a morespecific impression of what the analyst does in pursuingthis goal it is necessary to divide his work into categoriesand discuss these individually. Roughly, his work canbe broken down into five main divisions: observation;understanding; interpretation; help in resistance; andgeneral human help.To some extent the analysts observations are not dif-ferent from those of any observant person; to some ex-tent they have a specific character. Like everyone else,the analyst will observe general qualities in the patientsbehavior, such as aloofness, warmth, rigidity, spontaneI23
  • 62. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sity, defiance, compliance, suspicion, confidence, asser-tiveness, timidity, ruthlessness, sensitivity. In the mereprocess of listening to the patient he will, without directeffort, gain many general impressions: whether the pa-tient is able to let himself go or is tense and constrained;whether he talks in a systematic, controlled fashion oris jumpy and scattered; whether he presents abstractgeneralities or concrete details; whether he is circum-stantial or to the point; whether he talks spontaneouslyor leaves the initiative to the analyst; whether he is con-ventional or expresses what he really thinks and feels.In his more specific observations the analyst learns,first, from what the patient tells him about his experi-ences, past and present, his relationships with himselfand others, his plans, his wishes, his fears, his thoughts.Second, he learns from observing the patients behaviorin his office, for each patient reacts differently to arrange-ments concerning fees, time, lying down, and other ob-jective aspects of analysis. And each patient reacts differ-ently to the fact that he is being analyzed. One patientregards analysis as an interesting intellectual process butrefutes the idea that he really needs it; another treats itas a humiliating secret; while a third is proud of it as aspecial privilege. Moreover, patients exhibit an endlessvariety of attitudes toward the analyst himself, with asmany individual shades as exist otherwise in human re-lationships. Finally, patients show innumerable subtleand gross vacillations in their reactions, and these vacil-lations themselves are revealing. These two sources ofinformation—the patients communications about him-124Analysts Shareself and the observation of his actual behavior—com-plement each other just as they do in any relationship.Even if we know a great deal about a persons historyand all his present ways of dealing with friends, women,business, politics, our picture of him becomes far moreclear and complete if we meet him personally and seehim in action. Both sources are indispensable; one is noless important than the other.Like any other observation, that of the analyst istinged by the nature of his interest. A saleswoman willheed other qualities in a customer than a social workerwill in a client applying for help. An employer inter-viewing a prospective employee will focus on questionsof initiative, adaptability, reliability, while a ministertalking to a parishioner will be more interested in ques-tions of moral behavior and religious belief. The ana-lysts interest does not focus upon one part of the pa-tient, not even upon the disturbed part, but necessarilyembraces the whole personality. Since he wants to un-derstand its entire structure, and since he does not knowoffhand what may be more relevant and what less, hisattention must absorb as many factors as possible.The specific analytical observations derive from theanalysts purpose of recognizing and understanding thepatients unconscious motivations. This is their essen-tial difference from general observations. In the latter,too, we may sense certain undercurrents, but such im-pressions remain more or less tentative and even unfor-mulated; also, we do not bother as a rule to distinguishwhether they are determined by psychic factors of ourI25
  • 63. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sown or by those of the observed person. The analystsspecific observations, however, are an indispensable partof the analytic process. They constitute a systematicstudy of unconscious forces as revealed in the patientsfree associations. To these the analyst listens attentively,trying not to select any one element prematurely but topay an even interest to every detail.Some of the analysts observations will fall in line im-mediately. Just as one discerns in a foggy landscape thedim outline of a house or a tree, the analyst will have nodifficulty in quickly recognizing one or another generalcharacter trait. But for the most part his observationsare only a maze of seemingly unconnected items. How,then, does he arrive at an understanding?In some ways his work might be compared with thatof the detective in mystery stories. It is worth emphasiz-ing, however, that whereas the detective wants to dis-cover the criminal the analyst does not want to find outwhat is bad in the patient, but attempts to understandhim as a whole, good and bad. Also, he deals not withseveral people, all under suspicion, but with a multitudeof driving forces in one person, all under suspicion notof being bad but of being disturbing. Through concen-trated and intelligent observation of every detail hegathers his clues, sees a possible connection here andthere, and forms a tentative picture; he is not too easilyconvinced of his solution, but tests it over and over againto see whether it really embraces all factors. In mysterystories there will be some people working with the de-126Analysts Sharetective, some only apparently doing so and secretly ob-tructing his work, some definitely wanting to hide andbecoming aggressive if they feel threatened. Similarly,in analysis part of the patient co-operates—this is an in-dispensable condition—another part expects the analystto do all the work and still another uses all its energiesto hide or mislead and becomes panicky and hostilewhen threatened with discovery.It is mainly from the patients free associations, asdescribed in the previous chapter, that the analyst de-rives his understanding of unconscious motivations andreactions. The patient is not usually aware of the impli-cations of what he presents. Therefore the analyst, inorder to form a coherent picture out of the multitude ofdiscrepant elements presented to him, must not onlylisten to the manifest content but also try to understandwhat the patient really wants to express. He tries to graspthe red thread that passes through the apparently amor-phous mass of material. If too many unknown quantitiesare involved he sometimes fails in this endeavor. Some-times the context almost speaks for itself. The followingexamples are selected for their simplicity.A patient tells me that he had a bad night and that hefeels more depressed than ever. His secretary has had anattack of influenza, and this not only disturbs his busi-ness arrangements but also upsets him because of his fearof infection. He talks then about the frightful injusticedone to small European countries. Then he thinks of aphysician who annoyed him by failing to give him clearinformation about the contents of a drug. Then a tailor12 7
  • 64. S E L F - A N A I ,comes up in his mind who had not delivered a coat aspromised.The main theme is annoyance at untoward events.The egocentric nature of the grievances is shown by hisenumerating the secretarys illness in one line with theunreliability of the tailor, as if both were personal of-fenses against him. The fact that the secretarys flu hasrearoused his fear of infection does not lead him to thinkthat he should try to overcome this fear. He expects, in-stead, that the world should be so arranged as not toarouse his fears. The world should attend to his needs.Here the theme of injustice comes in: it is unfair thatothers do not heed his expectations. Since he is afraid ofinfection nobody in his environment should fall ill. Thusothers become responsible for his difficulties. He is ashelpless against such influences as small European coun-tries are against invasion (actually he is helpless in theclutches of his own expectations). The association con-cerning the doctor also acquires a special meaning in thiscontext. It, too, implies expectations not complied with,and in addition it refers to his grievance against me fornot offering him a clear solution of his problems, insteadof groping around and expecting his co-operative activity.Another simple example. A young girl tells me that shehad an attack of heartpounding when shopping. Herheart was not strong, but she did not see why shoppingshould affect it since she could dance for hours withoutharm. Nor could she see any psychic reasons for the heart-pounding. She had bought a superbly beautiful blousefor her older sister as a birthday gift, and was delighted128The Analysts Shareto do so. She anticipated with pleasure how much thesister would enjoy and admire the gift. Actually, she hadspent her last penny on it. She was short of money be-cause she had straightened out all her debts, or at anyrate had made arrangements by which she could paythem off in several months. This she said with distinctself-admiration. The blouse was so beautiful that shewould have liked to have it herself. Then, after havingapparently dropped the subject, a number of grievancesagainst the sister appeared. She complained bitterlyabout how the sister interfered with her, how she madenonsensical reproaches. These grievances were inter-mingled with derogatory remarks which made the sisterappear quite inferior to the patient.Even at first sight this unpremeditated sequence ofemotions indicates conflicting feelings toward the sister:a wish to win her love, and, on the other hand, resent-ment. When shopping, this conflict was accentuated. Theloving side asserted itself in the purchase of the present;the resentment had to be suppressed for the time beingand thus clamored all the louder for its share. The resultwas the heartpounding. Such clashes of contradictoryfeelings will not always elicit anxiety. Usually one of theincompatible feelings is repressed, or both join in somecompromise solution. Here, as the associations show, noside of the conflict was altogether repressed. Instead, loveand resentment, both on a conscious level, were placedon a seesaw. When the one feeling went up, in awareness,the other went down.On closer scrutiny the associations disclosed more de-129
  • 65. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Stails. The theme of self-admiration, blatant in the firstseries, reappears implicitly in the second. The derogatoryremarks about the sister not only express diffuse hostilitybut serve to make the patients own light outshine thesisters. The tendency to put herself above the sister isevident throughout the associations, in the fact that shecontinually, even though inadvertently, contrasted herown generosity and sacrificing love with the sisters badbehavior. This close connection between self-admirationand rivalry with the sister suggests the possibility that theneed to be superior to the sister was an essential factor inthe development and maintenance of the self-admiration.This assumption also sheds another light on the conflictthat occurred in the store. The impulse to buy the ex-pensive blouse represented not only, as it were, a heroicdetermination to resolve the conflict but also a wish toestablish her own supremacy over the sister, partly bywinning her admiration, partly by showing herself themore loving, sacrificing, forgiving. On the other hand,by giving to the sister a more beautiful blouse than shehad, she actually placed her in a "superior" position. Inorder to understand the importance of this point, itshould be mentioned that the question of who was betterdressed played a significant role in the battle of rivalry;the patient, for instance, had often appropriated thesisters dresses.In these examples the process of understanding is rela-tively simple, but they make it clear that no observationsshould be regarded as unimportant. Just as the patientshould express without reserve everything that comes to13OAnalysts Sharehis mind, the analyst should regard every detail as poten-tially meaningful. He should not discard offhand anyremark as irrelevant but should take seriously everysingle observation, without exception.Furthermore, he should constantly ask himself whythis particular feeling or thought of the patient comes upjust now. What does it mean in this specific context? Afriendly feeling toward the analyst, for instance, may inone context indicate genuine gratitude for help andunderstanding; in another it may connote the patientsincreased need for affection because in the precedinghour the tackling of a new problem aroused anxiety; ina third it may be the expression of a desire to own theanalyst body and soul because a conflict has been un-covered which the patient hopes that "love" will solve.In the example cited in the previous chapter the analystwas compared to a robber or a racketeer, not because ofa permanent grievance against him, but for the specificreason that the patients pride had been hurt in theprevious hour. The association concerning the injusticedone to European countries would have a different mean-ing in another context—sympathy with the oppressed,for example. It was only in conjunction with the patientsannoyance at the secretarys illness and his other associa-tions that this remark revealed how intensely he felt itunfair that his expectations were not met. A failure toexamine an associations exact connections with preced-ing and succeeding associations, and with preceding ex-periences, may not only lead to wrong interpretations butalso deprive the analyst of an opportunity to learn some-
  • 66. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sthing about the patients reactions to a specific occur-rence.The chain of associations that reveals a connectionneed not be a long one. Sometimes a sequence of onlytwo remarks opens up a path for understanding, pro-vided the second is not a brainchild but is born spon-taneously. A patient, for instance, came to analysisfeeling tired and uneasy, and his first associations wereunproductive. He had been drinking the night before. Iasked him whether he had a hangover, which he denied.The last hour had been very productive for it hadbrought to light the fact that he was afraid of takingresponsibility because he was terrified of possible failure.Thus I asked him whether he wanted to rest on hislaurels. At this a memory emerged of his mother drag-ging him through museums and of his boredom and an-noyance at the experience. There was only this one as-sociation, but it was revealing. It was partly a responseto my remark about his resting on his laurels. I was justas bad as the mother pushing him from one problem toanother. (This reaction was characteristic of him be-cause he was hypersensitive to anything resembling co-ercion, though at the same time his own initiative fortackling problems was inhibited.) Having become awareof his annoyance with me and of his active reluctance togo on, he then felt free to feel and express another senti-ment. Its essence was that psychoanalysis was worse thanthe situation in the museum because it meant beingdragged on to see one failure after another. With thisassociation he unintentionally resumed the thread ofI32The Analysts Sharethe preceding hour, which had revealed his hypersensi-tivity to failure. It meant an elaboration of the previousfindings for it showed that for him any factor in his per-sonality which prevented him from functioning smoothlyand effectively meant a "failure." He thereby revealedone of his basic resistances to psychoanalysis.The same patient came another time feeling depressed.He had met a friend the night before who told him abouthis climbing of a Swiss mountain, the Piz Palu. The re-port had awakened the memory of a time when he wasin Switzerland and could not climb this mountain be-cause it was befogged during the days he had at his dis-posal. He had been furious at that time, and the nightbefore he had felt the old rage rising again. He lay awakefor hours evolving plans how he could still assert hiswish, how he could overcome all obstacles of war, money,time. Even after he fell asleep his mind fought againstthe obstacles in his way, and he awoke depressed. Duringthe analysis an apparently irrelevant picture came up inhis mind of the outskirts of a Midwestern town, whichfor him was the epitome of the drab and desolate. Thismental image expressed his feelings about life at thatmoment. But what was the connection? That life wasdesolate if he could not climb the Piz Palii? It is truethat when he was in Switzerland he had set his heart uponclimbing the mountain, but the frustration of this specialwish could hardly be the explanation. Mountain climb-ing was no passion of his; the incident had occurred yearsago and he had since forgotten about it. Apparently,then, it was not the Piz Palii that was bothering him.J33
  • 67. S E L F - A N A L Y S I SWhen he calmed down he realized that he would noteven care to climb it now. The revival of that Swiss ex-perience meant something much more incisive. It haddisturbed an illusory belief that if he set his will onachieving something he should be able to do it. Anyunsurpassable obstacle meant to him a frustration of hiswill, even if it was so much out of his command as afog in the mountains. The associations concerning thedesolate outskirts of a Midwestern town indicated theenormous significance he attached to his belief in thesheer force of will. It meant that life was not worth livingif he must relinquish this belief.Repetitive themes or sequences in the material pre-sented by the patient are particularly helpful for under-standing. If the associations end always with implicitevidence that the patient has superior intelligence orrationality, or is in general a remarkable person, theanalyst will understand that his belief in his possessionof these qualities is of paramount emotional value tohim. A patient who misses no opportunity to demon-strate how analysis has harmed him will lead the analystto different hypotheses from those suggested by a patientwho misses no opportunity to emphasize his improve-ment. In the former instance if the demonstrations ofimpairment coincide with repeated reports of being un-fairly treated, injured, or victimized, the analyst willbegin to watch for those factors within the patient thatexplain why he experiences a large proportion of life inexactly this way, and also for the consequences entailedby this attitude. Repetitive themes, since they revealAnalysts Sharecertain typical reactions, also provide a clue for under-standing why the patients experiences often follow acertain stereotyped pattern; for example, why he fre-quently starts on an enterprise with enthusiasm anddrops it soon after, or why he frequently encounterssimilar disappointments with friends or lovers.The analyst will find valuable clues also in the patientscontradictions, of which as many are bound to appear asare present in the patients structure. The same holdstrue of exaggerations, such as reactions of violence, grati-tude, shame, suspicion, apparently disproportionate tothe provocation. Such a surplus of affect always signal-izes a hidden problem, and it leads the analyst to look forthe emotional significance that the provocation has forthe patient.Dreams and fantasies are also of eminent importanceas a means toward understanding. Since they are a rela-tively direct expression of unconscious feelings and striv-ings they may open up avenues for understanding thatare otherwise hardly visible. Some dreams are rathertransparent; as a rule, however, they speak a cryptic lan-guage that can be understood only with the assistance offree associations.The particular point at which the patient turns fromco-operation to defensive maneuvers of one kind oranother furnishes another help for understanding. As theanalyst gradually discovers the reasons for these resist-ances he gains increasing understanding of the patientspeculiarities. Sometimes the fact that a patient stalls orfights, and the immediate reason why he does so, are
  • 68. S E L F - A N A L Y S I S The Analysts Sharetransparent. More often astute observation is necessaryto detect that a blockage exists, and the help of thepatients free associations is necessary to understand thereasons for it. If the analyst succeeds in understandingthe resistance he will gain an increased knowledge as tothe precise factors that hurt or frighten the patient andthe precise nature of the reaction they produce.Similarly illuminating are the themes that the patientomits, or deserts quickly if he touches upon them. Theanalyst will have an important clue if, for example, thepatient rigidly avoids expressing any critical thoughtsconcerning the analyst though he is otherwise over-exacting and overcritical. Another example of this kindwould be a patients failure to tell a specific incidentwhich had occurred the previous day and had upset him.All these clues help the analyst to obtain gradually acoherent picture of the patients life, past and present,and of the forces operating in his personality. But theyalso help toward an understanding of the factors operat-ing in the patients relationship to the analyst and theanalytical situation. For several reasons it is importantto understand this relationship as accurately as possible.For one thing, it would block the analysis entirely if,for instance, a hidden resentment toward the analyst re-mained under cover. With the best will in the world apatient cannot express himself freely and spontaneouslyif he has an unsolved resentment in his heart toward theperson to whom he reveals himself. Second, since thepatient cannot feel and react differently toward the ana-lyst from the way he does toward other people, he uncon-136sciously displays in analysis the same irrational emotionalfactors, the same strivings and reactions, that he displaysin other relationships. Thus the co-operative study ofthese factors makes it possible for the analyst to under-stand the patients disturbances in his human relation-ships in general, and these, as we have seen, are the cru-cial issue in the whole neurosis.The clues that may help toward a gradual understand-ing of the patients structure are, in fact, practically in-finite. But it is important to mention that the analystmakes use of the clues not only by means of precise rea-soning but also, as it were, intuitively. In other words,he cannot always precisely explain how he arrives at histentative assumption. In my own work, for example,I have arrived sometimes at an understanding throughfree associations of my own. While listening to a patientsome incident may emerge in my mind that the patienthas told me long ago, without my knowing offhand whatbearing it has on the present situation. Or a finding re-garding another patient may occur to me. I have learnednever to discard these associations, and they have oftenproved helpful when they were seriously examined.When the analyst has recognized some possible con-nection, when he has gained an impression as to the un-conscious factors that may be operating in a certain con-text, he will tell the patient his interpretation—if he seesfit to do so. Since this is no discourse on psychoanalytictechnique, and since the art of timing and meting outinterpretations is irrelevant in self-analysis, it may suffice
  • 69. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Shere to say that the analyst will offer an interpretationif he thinks the patient can stand it and can utilize it.Interpretations are suggestions as to possible meanings.They are by nature more or less tentative, and the pa-tients reactions to them vary. If an interpretation isessentially right it may strike home and stimulate associa-tions showing its further implications. Or the patientmay test it out and gradually qualify it. Even when it isonly partly right it may thus give rise to new trends ofthought, provided the patient is co-operating. But aninterpretation may also provoke anxiety or defensivereactions. Here the discussion in the preceding chapter,concerning the patients reaction to insights, is relevant.Whatever the reactions are, the analysts task is to under-stand them and learn from them.Psychoanalysis in its very essence is co-operative work,both patient and analyst bent on understanding thepatients difficulties. The latter tries to lay himself opento the analyst and, as we have seen, the analyst observes,tries to understand, and, if appropriate, conveys hisinterpretation to the patient. He then makes suggestionsas to possible meanings and both try to test out thevalidity of the suggestions. They try to recognize, forinstance, whether an interpretation is right only for thepresent context or is of general importance, whether ithas to be qualified or is valid only under certain condi-tions. And as long as such a co-operative spirit prevailsit is comparatively easy for the analyst to understand thepatient and to convey to him his findings.The real difficulties arise when, in technical terms,138The Analysts Sharethe patient develops a resistance." Then, in tangible orintangible ways, he refuses to co-operate. He is late orforgets the appointment. He wants to take some days orweeks off. He loses interest in the common work andmainly wants the analysts love and friendship. His as-sociations become shallow, unproductive, and evasive.Instead of examining suggestions made by the analyst,he resents them and feels attacked, hurt, misunderstood,humiliated. He may reject every attempt to help with arigid feeling of hopelessness and futility. Fundamentallythe reason for this impasse is that certain insights are notacceptable to the patient; they are too painful, too fright-ening, and they undermine illusions that he cherishesand is incapable of relinquishing. Therefore he fightsthem off in one way or another, though he does not knowthat he is attempting to ward off painful insights: all heknows, or thinks he knows, is that he is misunderstood orhumiliated or that the work is futile.Up to this point the analyst, on the whole, has followedthe patient. There is a certain amount of implicit guid-ance, of course, in each suggestion of a possible lead—anew slant offered by an interpretation, a question raised,a doubt expressed. But for the most part the initiative lieswith the patient. When a resistance has developed, how-ever, interpretative work and implicit guidance may beinsufficient, and then the analyst must definitely take thelead. In these periods his task is, first, to recognize theresistance as such, and, second, to help the patient torecognize it. And he must not only help him to see thathe is engaged in a defensive battle but also find out, with139
  • 70. S E L F - A N A L Y S I S The Analysts Shareor without the patients help, what it is that the latter iswarding off. He does so by going back in his mind overthe previous sessions and trying to discover what mayhave struck the patient before the session in which theresistance started.It is sometimes easy to do this, but it may be extremelydifficult. The beginning of the resistance may have beenunnoticeable. The analyst may not yet be aware of thepatients vulnerable spots. But if the analyst can recog-nize the presence of a resistance, and can succeed in con-vincing the patient that one is operating, the source canoften be discovered through common search. The im-mediate gain from this discovery is that the way is clearedfor further work, but an understanding of the sources ofa resistance also provides the analyst with significant in-formation concerning the factors the patient wants tokeep under cover.The analysts active guidance is likely to be particu-larly necessary when the patient has arrived at an insightthat has far-reaching implications—for example, whenhe has succeeded in seeing a neurotic trend and in recog-nizing in it a driving force of primary order. This couldbe a time of harvest, a time in which many previous find-ings might fall in line and further ramifications mightbecome apparent. What frequently happens instead isthat at this very point, for reasons presented in the thirdchapter, the patient develops a resistance and tries to getaway with as little as possible. He may do so in variousways. He may automatically search for and express someready-at-hand explanation. Or he may in a more or less140subtle way disparage the significance of the finding. Hemay respond with good resolutions to control the trendby sheer will, a course which recalls the paving of theroad to hell. Finally, he may prematurely raise the ques-tion why the trend has obtained such a hold on him,delving into his childhood and at best bringing forthrelevant data contributing to the understanding oforigins, for he is actually using this dive into the past asa means of escaping from the realization of what the dis-covered trend means for his actual life.These efforts to rush away from an important insightas quickly as possible are understandable. It is difficultfor a person to face the fact that he has put all his energiesinto the pursuit of a phantom. More important, such aninsight confronts him with the necessity for radicalchange. It is only natural that he should tend to close hiseyes to a necessity so disturbing to his whole equilibrium.But the fact remains that through this hasty retreat heprevents the insight from "sinking in" and thereby de-prives himself of the benefits it might mean for him.Here the help the analyst can give is to take the lead,revealing to the patient his recoiling tactics and alsoencouraging him to work through in great detail all theconsequences the trend has for his life. As mentionedbefore, a trend can be coped with only if its extent andintensity and implications are fully confronted.Another point at which a resistance may necessitateactive guidance from the analyst occurs when the patientunconsciously shirks a square recognition that he iscaught in a conflict of opposing drives. Here again his
  • 71. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Stendency to maintain the status quo may block all prog-ress. His associations may represent only a futile shut-tling between one aspect of the conflict and another. Hemay talk about his need to force others into helping himby arousing pity, and soon after about his pride prevent-ing him from accepting any help. As soon as the analystcomments on the one aspect he will shuttle to the other.This unconscious strategy may be difficult to recognizebecause in pursuing it the patient may bring forth valu-able material here and there. Nevertheless, it is theanalysts task to recognize such evasive maneuvers and todirect the patients activity toward a square recognitionof the existing conflict.Also in the later phases of analysis it is sometimes neces-sary for the analyst to assume the lead in dealing with aresistance. He may be struck by a realization that despitemuch work done, much insight gained, nothing changesin the patient. In such cases he must desert his role asinterpreter and confront the patient openly with thediscrepancy between insight and change, possibly raisingthe question as to unconscious reservations that the pa-tient may have which prevent him from letting any in-sight really touch him.Thus far the analysts work is of an intellectual char-acter: he puts his knowledge into the service of the pa-tient. But his help extends beyond what he can give onthe basis of his specific competence, even if he is notaware of offering more than his technical skill.In the first place, by his very presence, he gives the142Analysts Sharepatient a unique opportunity to become aware of hisbehavior toward people. In other relationships the pa-tient is likely to focus his thinking primarily on thepeculiarities of others, their injustice, their selfishness,their defiance, their unfairness, their unreliability, theirhostility; even if he is aware of his own reactions he isinclined to regard them as provoked by the others. Inanalysis, however, this particular personal complicationis almost entirely absent, not only because the analysthas been analyzed, and continues to analyze himself, butalso because his life is not entangled with the patientslife. This detachment isolates the patients peculiaritiesfrom the befogging circumstances that ordinarily sur-round them.And in the second place, by his friendly interest, theanalyst gives the patient a good deal of what may be calledgeneral human help. To some extent this is inseparablefrom the intellectual help. Thus the simple fact that theanalyst wants to understand the patient implies that hetakes him seriously. This in itself is an emotional supportof primary importance, especially at those times whenthe patient is harassed by emerging fears and doubts,when his frailties are exposed, his pride attacked, hisillusions undermined, for the patient is often too alien-ated from himself to take himself seriously. This state-ment may sound implausible, because most neuroticpersons have an inordinate sense of their own impor-tance, either in regard to their unique potentialities orin regard to their unique needs. But to think of ourselvesas all important is radically different from taking our-143
  • 72. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sselves seriously. The former attitude derives from aninflated image of the self; the latter refers to the real selfand its development. A neurotic person often rationalizeshis lack of seriousness in terms of "unselfishness" or in acontention that it is ridiculous or presumptuous to givemuch thought to oneself. This fundamental disinterestin the self is one of the great difficulties in self-analysis,and, conversely, one of the great advantages of profes-sional analysis is the fact that it means working withsomeone who through his own attitude inspires the cour-age to be on friendly terms with oneself.This human support is particularly valuable whenthe patient is in the grip of an emerging anxiety. In suchsituations the analyst will rarely reassure the patientdirectly. But the fact that the anxiety is tackled as a con-crete problem, which can be solved eventually, lessensthe terror of the unknown, regardless of the content ofthe interpretation. Similarly, when the patient is dis-couraged and inclined to give up the struggle the analystdoes more for him than merely interpreting: his veryattempt to understand this attitude as the outcome of aconflict is a greater support to the patient than any pat-ting on the back or any effort to encourage him in somany words.There are also the times when those fictitious founda-tions upon which the patient has built up his pride be-come shaky, and he starts to doubt himself. It is good tolose harmful illusions about oneself. But we must notforget that in all neuroses solid self-confidence is greatlyimpaired. Fictitious notions of superiority substitute for144Analysts Shareit. But the patient, in the midst of his struggle, cannotdistinguish between the two. To him an undermining ofhis inflated notions means a destruction of his faith inhimself. He realizes that he is not as saintly, as loving,as powerful, as independent as he had believed, and hecannot accept himself bereft of glory. At that point heneeds someone who does not lose faith in him, eventhough his own faith is gone.In more general terms the human help that the analystgives the patient is similar to what one friend might giveto another: emotional support, encouragement, interestin his happiness. This may constitute the patients firstexperience of the possibility of human understanding,the first time that another person has bothered to see thathe is not simply a spiteful, suspicious, cynical, demand-ing, bluffing individual, but, with a clear recognition ofsuch trends, still likes and respects him as a striving andstruggling human being. And if the analyst has proved tobe a reliable friend, this good experience may help thepatient also to retrieve his faith in others.Since our interest here is in the possibility of self-analysis it may be well to review these functions of theanalyst and see to what extent they can be taken overby a patient working alone.There is no doubt that the observations of a trainedoutsider will be more accurate than our observation ofourselves, particularly so since concerning ourselves weare far from impartial. Against this disadvantage, how-ever, stands the fact, already discussed, that we are more
  • 73. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sfamiliar with ourselves than any outsider can be. Ex-perience gained in psychoanalytic treatment shows be-yond any doubt that patients can develop an amazingfaculty of keen self-observation if they are bent on under-standing their own problems.In self-analysis understanding and interpreting are asingle process. The expert, as a result of his experience,will catch the possible meaning and significance of obser-vations more quickly than will a person working alone,just as a good mechanic will know more quickly what iswrong with a car. As a rule his understanding will alsobe more complete, for it will grasp more implicationsand will more readily recognize interrelations with fac-tors already tackled. Here the patients psychologicalknowledge will be of some help, though it certainly can-not substitute for the experience gained by working dayin and day out at psychological problems. It is unques-tionably possible for him, however, as the example pre-sented in Chapter Eight will demonstrate, to grasp themeaning of his own observations. To be sure, he willprobably proceed more slowly and less accurately, but itshould be remembered that also in professional analysisthe tempo of the process is mainly determined not by theanalysts capacity to understand but by the patients ca-pacity to accept the insights. Here it is well to remembera word of consolation that Freud has given to younganalysts starting their work with patients. They shouldnot be too much concerned, he pointed out, with theircapacity to evaluate associations. The real difficulty inanalysis is not that of intellectual understanding but146Analysts Sharethat of dealing with the patients resistances. I believethat this holds true for self-analysis as well.Can a person overcome his own resistances? This is thereal question upon the answer to which hinges the feasi-bility of self-analysis. Nevertheless, the comparison withpulling oneself up by ones bootstraps—which is boundto occur—seems unwarranted, because the fact remainsthat there is one part of the self which wants to go ahead.Whether the job can be done depends, of course, on theintensity of the resistances as well as on the strength ofthe incentive to overcome them. But the important ques-tion—and I shall not attempt to answer it until a laterchapter—is to what extent it can be done rather thanwhether it can be done at all.There remains the fact that the analyst is not merelyan interpreting voice. He is a human being, and thehuman relationship between him and the patient is animportant factor in the therapeutic process. Two aspectsof this relationship were pointed out, the first being thatit presents a unique and specific opportunity for thepatient to study, by observing his behavior with theanalyst, what his typical behavior is toward other peo-ple in general. This advantage can be fully replaced if helearns to watch himself in his customary relationships.The expectations, wishes, fears, vulnerabilities, and in-hibitions that he displays in his work with the analyst arenot essentially different from those he displays in hisrelations with friends, lover, wife, children, employer,colleagues, or servants. If he is seriously intent uponrecognizing the ways in which his peculiarities enter into147
  • 74. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sall these relationships, ample opportunities for self-scrutiny are provided him by the mere fact that he is asocial being.But whether he will make full use of these sources ofinformation is, of course, another question. There is nodoubt that he faces an arduous task when he attempts toestimate his own share in the tensions between himselfand others—a task much more arduous than that in theanalytical situation, where the analysts personal equa-tion is negligible, and it is therefore easier for him to seethe difficulties that he himself produces. In ordinary re-lationships, where the others are replete with peculiari-ties of their own, he may tend, even if he has the mostsincere intentions to observe himself objectively, to makethem responsible for the difficulties or frictions that arise,and to regard himself as an innocent victim or, at best, asshowing merely a justified reaction to their unreasonable-ness. In the latter case he will not necessarily be so un-subtle as to indulge in overt accusations; he may admit inan apparently rational manner that he has been irritable,sulky, unfaithful, even unjust, but secretly regard suchattitudes as justified and adequate responses to the of-fenses given by the others. The more intolerable it is forhim to face his own frailties—and also the more acutethe disturbing factors that are introduced by the others—the greater is the danger that he will thus deprive him-self of the benefit he could derive from recognizing hisown share. And the danger is of exactly the same natureif he tends to exaggerate in the opposite direction bywhitewashing the others and blackening himself.148Analysts ShareThere is another factor that makes it easier for aperson to see his peculiarities in the course of his relation-ship with the analyst than in his association with others.His disturbing character traits—his diffidence, depend-ency, arrogance, vindictiveness, his tendencies to with-draw and freeze up at the slightest hurts, or whateverthey may be—are always contrary to his best self-interest,not only because they render his associations with othersless satisfactory but also because they make him dissatis-fied with himself. This fact is often blurred, however, inhis customary relations with others. He feels that he willgain something by staying dependent, by taking revenge,by triumphing over others, and therefore he is less will-ing to recognize what he is doing. The same traits dis-played in analysis work so blatantly against his self-interest that he can scarcely fail to see their injuriouscharacter, and hence the urge to blindfold himself againstthem is considerably lessened.But while it is not easy it is entirely within the rangeof possibility for a person to overcome the emotionaldifficulties involved in studying his behavior towardothers. As will be seen in the example of self-analysispresented in Chapter Eight, Clare analyzed the intricateproblem of her morbid dependency by scrutinizing herrelationship with her lover. And she succeeded in spiteof the fact that both the difficulties mentioned abovewere present to a high degree: the disturbances in thepersonality of her lover were at least as great as her own;and certainly she had a vital interest, from the viewpointof her neurotic expectations and fears, not to recognize149
  • 75. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sthat her "love" was actually a need for dependency.The other aspect of the relationship with the analystis the explicit and implicit human help he extends tothe patient. Whereas the other assistance he gives is re-placeable to a greater or lesser extent, the merely humanhelp is, by definition, entirely lacking in self-analysis. Ifthe person who is working by himself is fortunate enoughto have an understanding friend with whom he can dis-cuss his findings, or if he can check up on them with ananalyst from time to time, he will feel less alone in hiswork. But neither expedient could wholly substitute forall the intangible values of working out his problems inclose co-operation with another human being. The ab-sence of this help is one of the factors that makes self-analysis the harder road.150C H A P T E R S I XOccasional Self-AnalysisTo analyze oneself occasionally is comparatively easyand sometimes productive of immediate results. Essen-tially it is what every sincere person does when he triesto account for real motivations behind the way he feelsor acts. Without knowing much, if anything, aboutpsychoanalysis, a man who has fallen in love with aparticularly attractive or wealthy girl could raise withhimself the question whether vanity or money plays apart in his feeling. A man who has ignored his betterjudgment and given in to his wife or his colleagues in anargument could question in his own mind whether heyielded because he was convinced of the comparativeinsignificance of the subject at stake or because he wasafraid of an ensuing fight. I suppose people have alwaysexamined themselves in this way. And many people doso who otherwise tend to reject psychoanalysis entirely.
  • 76. S E L F - A N A L Y S I SThe principal domain of occasional self-analysis is notthe intricate involvements of the neurotic character struc-ture, but the gross manifest symptom, the concrete andusually acute disturbance which either strikes ones curi-osity or commands ones immediate attention because ofits distressing character. Thus the examples reported inthis chapter concern a functional headache, an acuteattack of anxiety, a lawyers fear of public performances,an acute functional stomach upset. But a startling dream,the forgetting of an appointment, or an inordinate ir-ritation at a taxidrivers trivial cheating might just aswell elicit a wish to understand oneself—or, more pre-cisely, to discover the reasons responsible for that par-ticular effect.This latter distinction may seem hairsplitting, butactually it expresses an important difference between oc-casional grappling with a problem and systematic workat oneself. The goal of occasional self-analysis is to recog-nize those factors that provoke a concrete disturbance,and to remove them. The broader incentive, the wish tobe better equipped to deal with life in general, mayoperate here too, but even if it plays some role it is re-stricted to the wish to be less handicapped by certainfears, headaches, or other inconveniences. This is in con-trast to the much deeper and more positive desire to de-velop to the best of ones capacities.As the examples will indicate, the disturbances thatproduce an attempt at examination may be acute or oflong standing; they may result predominantly from ac-tual difficulties inherent in a situation or they may beI52Occasional Self-Analysisexpressions of a chronic neurosis. Whether they yield toa short-cut approach or can be solved with more inten-sive work depends on factors that will be discussed later.Compared with the preconditions for a systematic self-analysis, those for occasional analysis are moderate. Itsuffices to have some psychological knowledge, and thisneed not be book knowledge but may be gained fromordinary experience. The only indispensable require-ment is a willingness to believe that unconscious factorsmay be sufficiently powerful to throw the whole person-ality out of gear. To put it negatively, it is necessary notto be too easily satisfied with ready-at-hand explanationsfor a disturbance. A man, for instance, who has becomeinordinately upset about being cheated out of a dime bya taxidriver should not be content to tell himself thatafter all no one likes to be cheated. A person sufferingfrom an acute depression must be skeptical about ex-plaining his state on the basis of world conditions. Ha-bitual forgetting of appointments is not very well ex-plained by saying that one is too busy to remember.It is particularly easy to brush aside those symptomsthat are not obviously psychic in character, such as head-aches, stomach upsets, or fatigue. As a matter of fact, onecan observe two opposite attitudes toward such disturb-ances, both equally extreme and one sided. The one con-sists in automatically ascribing headaches to weatherconditions, fatigue to overwork, stomach upsets to spoiledfood or gastric ulcers, without even considering the possi-bility that psychic factors are involved. This attitude maybe assumed because of sheer ignorance, but also it is a153
  • 77. S E L F - A N A L Y SOccasional Self-Analysischaracteristic neurotic tendency in persons who cannottolerate the idea of any unevenness or flaw in themselves.At the other extreme are those who are convinced thatevery disturbance is psychic in origin. For such a personit is out of the question that he might be tired because ofan overdose of hectic work, that he might have caught acold because he was exposed to a too vigorous infection.He cannot tolerate the idea that any external factor canhave the power to affect him. If any disturbance befallshim it is because he himself has brought it about; and ifa symptom is psychic in origin it is in his own power toremove it.Needless to say, both attitudes are compulsive and themost constructive attitude is somewhere between them.We may feel genuinely concerned about world condi-tions, though such a concern should drive us into actionand not into a depression. We may feel tired because oftoo much work and too little sleep. We may have head-aches because of a bad eye condition or a brain tumor.Certainly no physical symptom should be attributed topsychic factors before the medical explanation is thor-oughly investigated. The important point is that withfull regard for the plausible explanation one should alsotake a good look into ones emotional life. Even if thedifficulty is a case of flu it might be helpful, after givingit the proper medical attention, to raise the questionwhether some unconscious psychic factors were present,operating to lower resistance to infection or to retardrecovery.If these general considerations are borne in mind Ibelieve that the following examples will sufficiently de-lineate the problems involved in occasional self-analysis.John, a good-natured businessman, apparently happilymarried for five years, suffered from diffuse inhibitionsand inferiority feelings" and in recent years had de-veloped occasional headaches without any detectablephysical basis. He had not been analyzed but he was fairlyfamiliar with the psychoanalytic way of thinking. Laterhe came to me for analysis of a rather intricate characterneurosis, and his experience in working alone was oneof the factors that convinced him of the possible valueof psychoanalytic therapy.When he started to analyze his headaches it was with-out intending to do so. He, his wife, and two friendswent to a musical comedy and he developed a headacheduring the play. This struck him as queer because hehad felt well before going to the theater. At first, withsome irritation, he ascribed his headache to the fact thatthe play was bad and the evening was a waste of time, buthe soon realized that after all one does not get headachesfrom a bad play. Now that he thought about it, the playwas not so bad after all. But of course it was nothing com-pared with the play of Shaws that he would have pre-ferred. These last words stuck in his mind—he "wouldhave preferred." Here he felt a flash of anger and sawthe connection. He had been overruled when the choicebetween the plays was up for discussion. It was not evenmuch of a discussion: he felt he should be a good sport,and what did it matter anyhow. Apparently it had mat-155
  • 78. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Stered to him, however, and he had been deeply angryabout being coerced. With that recognition the headachewas gone. He realized also that this was not the firstheadache that originated in this way. There were bridgeparties, for instance, which he hated to join but waspersuaded to do so.He was startled to discover this connection betweenrepressed anger and headaches, but he gave it no furtherthought. A few days later, however, he woke up early,again with a splitting headache. He had attended a staffmeeting of his organization the night before. They hadbeen drinking afterward, and at first he accounted forthe headache by telling himself that probably he haddrunk too much. With that he turned on the other sideand tried to fall asleep again, but he could not. A flybuzzing around his face irritated him. At first the irri-tation was barely noticeable, but it grew rapidly to full-blown anger. Then he recalled a dream or a dreamfragment: he had squashed two bedbugs with a piece ofblotting paper. The blotting paper had many holes. As amatter of fact, he remembered that the holes were all overthe paper and formed a regular pattern.This reminded him of tissue paper that he had foldedas a child, for cutting out patterns. He was quite takenby their beauty. An incident emerged in which he hadshown the tissue to his mother, expecting admiration,but she had paid only perfunctory attention. The blot-ting paper then reminded him of the staff meeting. Therehe had scribbled on paper because he felt bored. No, hehad not merely scribbled; he had drawn small caricatures156Occasional Self-Analysisof the chairman and of his opponent. The word "oppo-nent" struck him, because he had not consciously re-garded that person as an opponent. A resolution had hadto be voted on, about which he felt vaguely uneasy. But hesaw no clear objection to it. Hence the objection he hadraised was actually not to the point. It was weak andmade no impression. Only now he realized that they hadput something over on him, for the acceptance of theresolution meant a lot of tedious work for himself. Theyhad been so clever that it had escaped him. At this pointhe suddenly laughed because he recognized the meaningof the bedbugs. The chairman and the opponent—theywere bloodsuckers, as distasteful as bedbugs. Also, he wasas afraid of bedbugs as he was of these exploiters. Well,he had taken revenge—at least in his dream. Again theheadache vanished.On three subsequent occasions he searched for a hid-den anger as soon as the headache started, found theanger and then lost his headache. After that the head-aches disappeared entirely.In reviewing this experience one is struck at first by thelightness of the labor in comparison with the resultattained. But miracles occur in psychoanalysis as seldomas anywhere else. Whether a symptom can be easily re-moved depends on its function in the whole structure.In this case the headaches had not assumed any furtherrole, such as preventing John from doing things he wasafraid of doing or resented doing, or serving as a meansof demonstrating to others that they had given offenseor inflicted injury, or serving as a basis for demanding
  • 79. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sspecial consideration. If headaches or any other symp-toms have assumed important functions such as these,their cure will require long and penetrating work. Onewill then have to analyze all the needs they satisfy andthey will probably not disappear until the work is practi-cally finished. In Johns case they had not assumed anysuch functions, and probably resulted merely from ten-sion increased by the repressed anger.The extent of Johns accomplishment is diminishedalso by another consideration. It was a gain, certainly,to be rid of the headaches, but it seems to me that we areinclined to overrate the significance of such gross, tangi-ble symptoms and to underrate the importance of lesstangible psychic disturbances, such as, in this case, Johnsalienation from his own wishes and opinions and hisinhibition toward self-assertion. In these disturbances,which later proved to be highly significant for his lifeand his development, nothing was changed by his work.All that happened was that he became somewhat moreaware of rising angers and that his symptoms disappeared.Actually, any of the incidents that John happened toanalyze could have yielded more insight than he gainedfrom them. Thus in his analysis of the anger that emergedduring the musical comedy there were numerous ques-tions that he failed to touch on. What was the real natureof his relationship with his wife? Was the compatibility,of which he was proud, due only to compliance on hispart? Was she domineering? Or was he merely hypersen-sitive to anything resembling coercion? Furthermore,why did he repress the anger? Was it necessary because158Occasional Self-Analysisof a compulsive need for affection? Was he apprehensiveof a rebuke from his wife? Did he have to maintain animage of himself as a person who was never disturbed by"trifles"? Was he afraid of having to fight for his wishes?Finally, was he really only angry at the others for havingoverruled him, or was he primarily angry at himself forhaving given in because of sheer weakness?The analysis of the anger following the staff meetingmight also have opened up further problems. Why washe not more alert to his own interests when they werejeopardized? Again, was he afraid to fight for them? Orhad the anger such dimensions—squashing the bedbugs—that it was safer to repress it altogether? Also, did helay himself open to exploitation by being too compliant?Or did he experience something as exploitation whichwas actually merely a legitimate expectation of his co-operation? Furthermore, what about his wish to impressothers—the memory of expecting admiration from hismother? Was his failure to impress his colleagues an es-sential element in his anger? And to what extent was heangry at himself for having been so unassertive? None ofthese problems was touched upon. John let the matterrest when he had discovered the effect of repressed angerat the others.The second example is the experience that first set meto considering the possibility of self-analysis. Harry wasa physician who came to me for analysis because of at-tacks of panic, which he tried to allay by taking morphineand cocaine; also he had spells of exhibitionistic impulses.I59
  • 80. S E L F - A N A L Y S I SThere was no doubt that he had a severe neurosis. Aftersome months of treatment he went away on a vacation,and during this time he analyzed by himself an attack ofanxiety.The beginning of this piece of self-analysis was acci-dental, as it was in the case of John. The starting pointwas a severe attack of anxiety, apparently provoked by areal danger. Harry was climbing a mountain with hisgirl. It was strenuous climbing but not dangerous as longas they could see clearly. It became perilous, howeverwhen a snowstorm arose and they were enveloped in athick fog. Harry then became short of breath, his heartpounded, he became panicky and finally had to lie downto rest. He did not give the incident any thought butvaguely ascribed the attack to his exhaustion and to theactual danger. This is an example, by the way, of howeasily we may be satisfied with wrong explanations if wewant to be, for Harry was physically strong and anythingbut a coward in the face of an emergency.The next day they went on a narrow path hewn intothe steep, rocky wall of the mountain. The girl wentahead. The heartpounding started again when Harrycaught himself at a thought or an impulse to push herdown the cliffs. That naturally startled him, and, be-sides, he was devoted to her. He thought first of DreisersAmerican Tragedy, in which the boy drowns his girl inorder to get rid of her. Then he thought of the attack ofthe previous day and barely recaptured a similar im-pulse he had had then. It had been a fleeting one, andhe had checked it as it arose. He remembered clearly,160however, a mounting irritation against the girl beforethe attack, and a sudden wave of hot anger, which hehad pushed aside.This, then, was the meaning of the attack of anxiety:an impulse of violence born out of a conflict between asudden hatred on the one hand, and, on the other, hisgenuine fondness for the girl. He felt relieved, and alsoproud for having analyzed the first attack and stoppedthe second.Harry, in contrast to John, went a step farther, be-cause he felt alarmed by his recognition of hatred anda murderous impulse toward the girl he loved. Whilecontinuing to walk he raised the question why he shouldwant to kill her. Immediately a talk they had had theprevious morning recurred to him. The girl had praisedone of his colleagues for his clever dealing with peopleand for being a charming host at a party. That was all.And that could not have aroused this much hostility. Yetwhen thinking about it he felt a rising anger. Was hejealous? But there was no danger of losing her. This col-league, though, was taller than he, and non-Jewish (onboth points he was hypersensitive), and he did have aclever tongue. While his thoughts were meanderingalong these lines he forgot his anger against the girl andfocused his attention on comparing himself with the col-league. Then a scene occurred to him. He was probablyfour or five years old, and had tried to climb a tree butcould not. His older brother had climbed it with easeand teased him from above. Another scene came backvividly when his mother praised this brother and he was161
  • 81. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sleft out. The older brother was always ahead of him. Itmust have been the same thing that infuriated him yes-terday: he still could not stand to have any man praisedin his presence. With this insight he lost his tensenesscould climb easily, and again felt tender toward the girl.Compared with the first example, the second achievedin one way more and in another less. Despite the greatersuperficiality of Johns self-analysis, he did take one stenthat Harry did not take. John did not rest satisfied whenhe had accounted for only one particular situation: herecognized the possibility that all his headaches mightresult from a repressed anger. Harry did not go beyondthe analysis of the one situation. It did not occur to himto wonder whether his finding had a bearing on otherattacks of anxiety. On the other hand, the insight thatHarry arrived at was considerably deeper than Johns.The recognition of the murderous impulse was a realemotional experience; he found at least an inkling ofthe reason for his hostility; and he recognized the factthat he was caught in a conflict.In the second incident, too, one is astonished at thenumber of questions not touched upon. Granting thatHarry became irritated at praise of another man, whencethe intensity of the reaction? If that praise was the onlysource of his hostility why was it such a threat to him asto arouse violence? Was he in the grip of an excessivelygreat and excessively vulnerable vanity? If so, what werethe deficiencies in him that needed so much covering up?The rivalry with the brother was certainly a significanthistorical factor, but insufficient as an explanation. The162other side of the conflict, the nature of his devotion tothe girl, is entirely untouched. Did he need her pri-marily for her admiration? How much dependency wasinvolved in his love? Were there other sources of hostil-ity toward her?A third example concerns the analysis of a kind ofstage fright. Bill, a healthy, strong, intelligent, and suc-cessful lawyer, consulted me because of a fear of highplaces. He had a recurring nightmare in which he waspushed from a bridge or tower. He felt dizzy when hesat in the first row of a theater balcony and when helooked down from high windows. Also, he sometimesfelt panicky before he had to appear in court or beforehe met important clients. He had worked up from a poorenvironment and was afraid of not being able to main-tain the good position he had attained. The feeling oftencrept up on him that he was putting on a bluff and thatit would be found out sooner or later. He could not ac-count for this fear because he believed himself as intel-ligent as his colleagues; he was a good speaker andusually could convince others by his arguments.Because he talked frankly about himself we managedto see in a few interviews the outlines of a conflict be-tween, on the one side, ambition, assertiveness, a desireto put something over on others, and, on the other side,a need to maintain the appearance of a jolly straight fel-low who did not want anything for himself. Neither sideof the conflict was deeply repressed. He had merely failedto realize the strength and the contradictory nature of163
  • 82. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sthese strivings. Once they were brought into sharp focushe recognized squarely that he actually did put up abluff. He then spontaneously drew the connection him-self between this inadvertent swindle and the dizziness.He saw that he craved to attain a high place in life butdid not quite dare admit to himself how ambitious hereally was. He was afraid that others would turn againsthim and push him down if they realized this ambition,and therefore he had to show a front of being a jolly goodfellow to whom money and prestige did not mean much.Being nevertheless an essentially honest person, he wasdimly aware of some bluff, which in turn had made himapprehensive of being "found out" This clarificationsufficed to remove the dizziness, which was a translationof his fears into physical terms.He then had to leave town. We had not touched uponhis fear of public performances and of meeting certainclients. I advised him to observe the conditions underwhich his "stage fright" was increased or decreased.Some time later I received this report. He had firstthought that the fear appeared when the case he pre-sented or the argument he used was debatable. Butsearch in this direction did not lead very far, though hefelt distinctly that he was not wholly wrong. Then hehad a bad break which, however, proved to be a goodbreak for his own efforts at understanding. He had pre-pared a difficult brief not too carefully, but was onlymoderately apprehensive about presenting it in court,for he knew that the judge was not too demanding. Thenhe learned that this judge had fallen ill, and that the one164Occastional Self-Analysiswho would substitute was strict and unbending. He triedto console himself with the reminder that after all thesecond judge was far from vicious or tricky, but this didnot diminish his rising anxiety. Then he thought of myadvice and tried to let his mind run freely.First an image appeared of himself as a small boysmeared from head to toe with chocolate cake. He wasat first baffled by this picture, but then recalled that hewas going to be punished but got away with it becausehe was so "cute" and his mother had to laugh about him.The theme of "getting by" persisted. Several memoriesemerged of times when he was not prepared at school,but got by. Then he thought of a teacher of historywhom he hated. He could still feel the hatred. The classhad to write a theme about the French Revolution.When returning the papers the teacher criticized hisfor being replete with high-sounding phrases but devoidof solid knowledge; he cited one of those phrases andthe others roared with laughter. Bill had felt acutelyhumiliated. The English teacher had always admiredhis style but the history teacher seemed impervious tohis charm. The phrase "impervious to his charm" tookhim by surprise, because he had meant "impervious tohis style." He could not help feeling amused because theword "charm" expressed his true meaning. Sure enough,the judge was like the history teacher, impervious tohis charm or his power of speech. That was it. He wasaccustomed to rely on his charm and his facility withwords to "get by" instead of being thoroughly prepared.As a result he became panicky whenever he visualized165
  • 83. S E L F - A N A L Y sa situation in which this tool would be ineffective.Bill was not deeply entangled in his neurotic trends hewas able to draw the practical consequence of this in-sight: to sit down and work more carefully on the brief.He even went a step farther. He realized to what ex-tent he used his charm also in relationships with friendsand women. Briefly, he felt that they should be underthe spell of his charm and therefore overlook the factthat he did not give much of himself in any relationship.He linked this finding with our discussion by realizingthat he had discovered another bluff, and he finishedwith the realization that he must "go straight."Apparently he was able to do so to a considerable ex-tent, because since that episode, which is now six yearsago, his fears have practically disappeared. This resultresembles the one attained by John when he overcamehis headaches, but it must be evaluated differently. Theheadaches, as indicated before, were a peripheral symp-tom. They can be so designated by virtue of two facts:since they were infrequent and not severe they did notessentially disturb him; and they had not assumed anysecondary function. Johns real disturbances, as revealedin a subsequent analysis, lay in a different direction.Bills fears, on the other hand, were the result of a cru-cial conflict. They did not handicap him but they inter-fered with significant activities in vital areas of his life.Johns headaches disappeared without any concomitantchange in his personality, the only change being a slightlygreater awareness of anger. Bills fears vanished becausehe recognized their source in certain contradictory trends166onal Self-Analysisin his personality and, more important, because he wasable to change these trends.Here again, as in Johns case, the results seem greaterthan the efforts that produced them. But again on closerexamination the disparity is not so great. It is true thatwith comparatively little work Bill managed not only toget rid of disturbances serious enough to jeopardize hiscareer in the long run, but also to recognize a few im-portant facts about himself. He saw that he had presenteda somewhat deceptive front to himself and to others, thathe was much more ambitious than he had admitted tohimself, that he tended to attain his ambitious goalsthrough his wits and his charm rather than through solidwork. But in evaluating this success we must not forgetthat Bill, in contrast to John and Harry, was essentiallya psychically healthy person with only mild neurotictrends. His ambition and his need to "get by" were notdeeply repressed and did not have a rigid compulsivecharacter. His personality was so organized that he couldmodify them considerably as soon as he recognized them.Dropping for a moment the effort to attain a scientificunderstanding of Bills predicaments, one might regardhim simply as a person who had tried to make life tooeasy for himself and who could do better when he real-ized that his way did not work.Bills insights were sufficient to remove certain grossfears. But even in this most successful short cut manyquestions are left open. What exactly is the meaning ofthe nightmare about being pushed down from a bridge?Was it necessary for Bill that he alone should be on top?
  • 84. S E L F - A N A L Y sDid he want to push others down because he could nottolerate any competition? And was he therefore afraidothers might do the same to him? Was his fear of highplaces only a fear of losing the position he had gained,or was it also a fear of falling down from a height of fic-titious superiority—as it usually is in phobias of thiskind? Furthermore, why did he not put in an amountof work commensurate with his faculties and his ambi-tion? Did this laziness result only from the repressionof his ambition, or did he feel that it would detract fromhis superiority if he made adequate efforts—that onlymediocre people have to work? And why did he give solittle of himself in his relations with others? Was he tooengrossed in himself—or perhaps too contemptuous ofothers—to be able to experience much spontaneous emo-tion?Whether it would be necessary, from the point of viewof therapy, to pursue all such supplementary questionsis another matter. In Bills case it is possible that the littleanalysis done had farther reaching effects than the re-moval of conspicuous fears. It is possible that it set goingsomething that might be called a beneficent circle. Byrecognizing his ambition and by putting in more workhe would actually anchor his ambitions on a more real-istic and more solid basis. Thereby he would feel moresecure and less vulnerable and less in need of his bluff.By relinquishing the false front he would feel less con-strained and less afraid of being found out. All of thesefactors might considerably deepen his relationships withothers, and this improvement would also add to his feel-168ional Self-Analysising of security. Such a beneficent circle may have beenset in motion even though the analysis was not complete.If the analysis had searched out all the untouched im-plications it would almost certainly have had this effect.A last example leads us still farther away from a realneurosis. It concerns the analysis of a disturbance thatwas provoked mainly by the real difficulties in an actualsituation. Tom was a medical assistant to a great cli-nician. He was deeply interested in his work and wasfavored by his chief. A genuine friendship had developedbetween them, and they often lunched together. Onceafter such a luncheon Tom had a mild stomach upsetwhich he ascribed to the food, without giving it furtherattention. After the next luncheon with the chief he feltnauseous and faint, considerably worse than the firsttime. He had his stomach examined but there was nopathological finding whatever. Then the disturbance oc-curred a third time, now with a painful sensitivity tosmells. Only after the third luncheon did it strike himthat all these upsets had occurred when he was eatingwith the director.As a matter of fact he had felt constrained with thedirector recently, sometimes not knowing what to talkabout. And he knew the reason. His research work hadled him in a direction which was opposite to the direc-tors convictions. In recent weeks he had become morefirmly convinced of his own findings. He had wanted totalk with the chief but somehow never got around todoing it. He was aware of procrastinating but the old169
  • 85. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sman was rather rigid in scientific matters and did noteasily tolerate dissension. Tom had shoved aside his con-cern by telling himself that a good talk would solveeverything. If the stomach upset had to do with fears,he reasoned, then his fears must be much greater thanhe had admitted to himself.He sensed that this was so and simultaneously had twoproofs of it. One was that while having these thoughts hesuddenly started to feel ill, just as he had felt after theluncheons. The other was that he realized just as sud-denly what had started his reaction. During the luncheonin which the illness had first developed the director hadmade derogatory remarks about the ingratitude of Tomspredecessor. He had expressed his resentment againstthese young fellows, who learned much from him andthen left and did not even bother to keep in touch withhim on scientific matters. All that Tom felt consciouslyat that moment was sympathy for the chief. He had re-pressed his knowledge that actually what the directorcould not tolerate was that the predecessor had gone hisown independent way.Thus Tom became aware that he had closed his eyesto an existing danger, and he also recognized the extentof his fears. His work was creating a real danger to hisgood relationship with the director, and thereby a dan-ger to his career. The old man might really turn againsthim. He felt somewhat panicky at this thought and won-dered if it might be better for him to check his findingsonce more—or even forget about them. It was only abrief thought, but it showed him in a flash that this wasOccastonal Self-Analysisa conflict between his scientific honesty and the imme-diate exigencies of his career. By repressing his fears hehad pursued an ostrich policy, the purpose of which wasto avoid having to make a decision. With that insight hefelt free and relieved. He knew it was a hard decision butdid not doubt that it would be in favor of his convic-tion.This story was told to me not as an example of self-analysis but merely as an example of how great the temp-tation sometimes is not to be straight with oneself. Tomwas a friend of mine, an unusually well-balanced fellow.Even though it is possible that he had certain hiddenneurotic tendencies, such as a need to deny any fears,these did not make him a neurotic person. It might beobjected that the very fact of his unconsciously shirkinga decision was an expression of a deeper neurotic disturb-ance. But there is certainly no sharp borderline betweenhealthy and neurotic, and therefore it seems preferableto leave it as a matter of emphasis and regard Tom forall practical purposes as a healthy person. This episodewould then represent a situational neurosis, that is, aneurotic upset caused primarily by the difficulties in aparticular situation and lasting only so long as the con-flict is not consciously faced and solved.Despite the fact that a critical estimate has been givenof the results attained in each of these examples, theymight, when regarded together, elicit an overoptimisticimpression about the potentialities of occasional self-analysis, an impression that one can easily stumble over
  • 86. S E L F - A N A L Y S I San insight and pick up something precious. In order toconvey a more adequate picture these four more or lesssuccessful attempts should be complemented by a reviewof twenty or more abortive efforts to grasp quickly themeaning of some psychic disturbance. It seems necessaryto express explicitly such a cautious reserve because aperson who feels helplessly caught in his neurotic en-tanglements tends to hope against hope for a miracle. Itshould be understood clearly that it is impossible to curea severe neurosis, or any essential part of it, by occasionalself-analysis. The reason is that the neurotic personalityis not a piecemeal conglomeration—to use the expres-sion of Gestalt psychologists—of disturbing factors, buthas a structure in which each part is intricately interre-lated to each other part. It is possible through occasionalwork at oneself to grasp an isolated connection here orthere, to understand the factors immediately involved inan upheaval and to remove a peripheral symptom. Butto bring about essential changes it is necessary to workthrough the whole structure, that is, it requires a moresystematic analysis.Thus occasional analysis, by its very nature, contrib-utes but little to comprehensive self-recognition. Asshown in the first three examples, the reason is that in-sights are not followed up. Actually each problem thatis clarified automatically introduces a new one. If theseleads that offer themselves are not picked up the insightsnecessarily remain isolated.As a therapeutic method occasional self-analysis isentirely adequate for the situational neurosis. Also inOccasional Self-Analysismild neuroses it can yield very satisfactory results. Butin more intricate neuroses it is little more than a leap inthe dark. At the very best it can do no more than releasea tension here or there, or illuminate at random themeaning of one or another disturbance.173
  • 87. ic Self-AnalysisC H A P T E R S E V E NSystematic Self-Analysis: PreliminariesSystematic self-analysis might be superficially distin-guished from occasional analysis of oneself by the merefact that it involves more frequent work: it, too, has itsstarting point in a particular difficulty which one wantsto remove, but unlike occasional self-analysis it goesthrough the process over and over again, rather thanresting content with an isolated solution. This descrip-tion, however, while correct in a formalistic way, wouldmiss the essential differences. One might recurrentlyanalyze oneself and it would still remain occasional anal-ysis if certain conditions were not fulfilled.The greater frequency is one distinguishing factor insystematic self-analysis, but only one. More importantis the attribute of continuity, the following up of prob-lems; the lack of this in the examples of occasional workwas emphasized in the previous chapter. This requires,however more than a mere conscientious picking up andelaboration of the leads that offer themselves. It is by nomeans from sheer superficiality or negligence that thepersons in the examples cited were satisfied with theresults attained. To proceed beyond insights that arewithin easy reach inevitably means to encounter "re-sistances," to expose oneself to all kinds of painful un-certainties and hurts and to take up the battle with theseopposing forces. And this requires a different spirit fromthat which serves in occasional work. There the incen-tive is the pressure of some gross disturbance and thewish to resolve it. Here, though the work starts undera similar pressure, the ultimate driving force is the per-sons unrelenting will to come to grips with himself, awish to grow and to leave nothing untouched that pre-vents growth. It is a spirit of ruthless honesty towardhimself, and he can succeed in finding himself only tothe extent that it prevails.There is, of course, a difference between the will tobe honest and the capacity to be so. Any number of timeshe will be unable to measure up to this ideal. There maybe some consolation, however, in the fact that no anal-ysis would be necessary if he were always transparentto himself. Furthermore, the capacity for honesty willgradually increase if he carries on with a measure of con-stancy. Each obstacle surmounted means gaining terri-tory within himself and therefore makes it possible toapproach the next with greater inner strength.Feeling at a loss as to how to go about it, the personwho is analyzing himself, however conscientious, may
  • 88. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sundertake the work with a kind of artificial zest. He mayresolve, for instance, to analyze all his dreams from nowon. Dreams, according to Freud, are the royal road to theunconscious. That remains true. But unfortunately it isa road that is easily lost if there is not full knowledge ofall the territory around it. For anyone to try his skill atinterpreting dreams without some understanding of thefactors operating within himself at the time is a hap-hazard, hit-or-miss play. Interpretation may then degen-erate into intellectual guesswork, even if the dream itselfis seemingly transparent.Even a simple dream may permit of various interpre-tations. For instance, if a husband dreams of his wifesdeath the dream may express a deep unconscious hos-tility. On the other hand, it may mean that he wants toseparate from her and, since he feels incapable of takingthis step, her death appears as the only possible solution;in this case the dream is not primarily an expression ofhatred. Or, finally, it may be a death wish provoked bya merely transitory rage which had been repressed andfound its expression in the dream. The problems openedup are different in the three interpretations. In the firstone the question would be the reason for the hatred andfor its repression. In the second it would be why thedreamer does not find a more adequate solution. In thethird it would be the circumstances of the actual provo-cation.Another example is a dream of Clares during theperiod in which she tried to solve her dependence onher friend Peter. She dreamed that another man put hisSystematic Self-Analysisarm around her and said he loved her. He was attractiveto her, and she felt happy. Peter was in the room, look-ing out of a window. The dream might suggest offhandthat Clare was turning from Peter to another man, andthus be an expression of conflicting feelings. Or it mightexpress a wish that Peter would be as demonstrative asthis other man. Or it might represent a belief that turn-ing to another attachment would solve the problem ofher morbid dependency; in this case it would constitutean attempt to evade a real solution of the problem. Orit might express a wish to have a choice about remainingwith Peter, a choice that she actually did not have be-cause of her ties to him.If some progress has been made toward understanding,then a dream may provide confirmation for an assump-tion; it may fill a gap in ones knowledge; or it may openup a new and unexpected lead. But if the picture is be-fogged by a resistance a dream is not likely to clarifymatters. It may do so, but also it may be so intricatelyinterwoven with unrecognized attitudes that it defies in-terpretation and merely adds to the confusion.These warnings should certainly not deter anyonefrom attempts to analyze his dreams. Johns dream aboutthe bedbugs, for instance, was a definite help to him inunderstanding his feelings. The pitfall to be avoided ismerely a one-sided concentration on dreams to the ex-clusion of other observations equally valuable. And awarning of an opposite character is equally important:we frequently have a compelling interest not to take adream seriously, and by its very grotesqueness or exag-177
  • 89. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sgeration a dream may lend itself to such an ignoring ofits message. Thus the first dream that will be presentedin the next chapter, in reference to Clares self-analysis,actually spoke a distinct enough language as to a seriousturmoil in her relationship with her lover, yet she man-aged to take it lightly. The reason was that she had strin-gent reasons for not letting herself be moved by its im-plications. And this is not an exceptional situation.Thus dreams are an important source of information,but only one among several. Since I shall not return tothe interpretation of dreams, except in examples, I shallmake a little detour here to mention two principles thatare useful to keep in mind. One is that dreams do notgive a photographic, static picture of feelings or opin-ions but are primarily an expression of tendencies. Itis true that a dream may reveal to us more clearly thanour waking life what our true feelings are: love, hatred,suspicion, or sadness otherwise repressed may be felt indreams without constraint. But the more important char-acteristic of dreams is, as Freud expressed it, that they aregoverned by wishful thinking. This does not necessarilymean that they represent a conscious wish, or that theydirectly symbolize something we regard as desirable.The "wishful thinking" is likely to lie in the purportrather than in the explicit content. Dreams, in otherwords, give voice to our strivings, our needs, and oftenrepresent attempts at a solution of conflicts botheringus at the time. They are a play of emotional forces ratherthan a statement of facts. If two powerful contradictorystrivings clash, an anxiety dream may result.Systematic Self-AnalysisThus if we dream of a person whom we consciouslylike or respect as a revolting or ridiculous creature weshould look for a need that compels us to deflate thatperson rather than jumping to the conclusion that thedream reveals our hidden opinion of him. If a patientdreams of himself as a dilapidated house that is beyondrepair, this may, to be sure, be an expression of his hope-lessness, but the main question is what interest he hasin presenting himself in this way. Is this defeatist atti-tude desirable for him as the lesser evil? Is it the expres-sion of a vindictive reproach, at his own expense, reveal-ing his feeling that something should have been done forhim earlier but that now it is too late?The second principle to be mentioned here is that adream is not understood until we can connect it withthe actual provocation that stimulated it. It is notenough, for instance, to recognize in a dream derogatorytendencies or vindictive impulses in general. The ques-tion must always be raised as to the provocation to whichthis dream was a response. If this connection can be dis-covered we can learn a good deal as to the exact type ofexperience that represents to us a threat or an offense,and the unconscious reactions it elicits.Another way of undertaking self-analysis is less arti-ficial than a one-sided concentration on dreams but is,as it were, too presumptuous. A persons incentive toface himself squarely usually comes from a realizationthat his happiness or efficiency is being hampered by acertain outstanding disturbance, such as a recurring de-pression, chronic fatigue, chronic constipation of a func-
  • 90. S E L F - A N A L Y S Itional character, general shyness, insomnia, a lifelonginhibition toward concentrating on work. And he islikely to attempt a frontal attack on the disturbance assuch and set out on something of a blitzkrieg. In otherwords, he may try to get at the unconscious determinantsof his predicament without knowing much of anythingabout his personality structure. The result, at best, willbe that some sensible questions will occur to his mind.If his particular disturbance is an inhibition towardwork, for example, he may ask himself whether he is tooambitious, whether he is really interested in the work hedoes, whether he regards the work as a duty and secretlyrebels against it. He will soon get stuck and resolve thatanalysis does not help at all. But here the fault is his andcannot be put at the doorstep of psychoanalysis. A blitz-krieg is never a good method in psychological matters,but a blitzkrieg that is entirely unprepared is bad forany purpose. This would be one that has neglected anyprevious reconnoitering of the territory to be attacked.It is partly because ignorance in psychological mattersis still so great and so widespread that anyone could evenattempt such a dead-end short cut. Here is a human be-ing with infinitely complex crosscurrents of strivings,fears, defenses, illusions; his incapacity to concentrateon work is one end result of the entirety of these factors.And he believes he can eradicate it by direct action, assimply as he switches off an electric light! To some extentthis expectation is based on wishful thinking: he wouldlike to remove quickly the disability that disturbs him;and he likes to think that apart from this outstanding180Systematic Self-Analysisdisturbance everything is all right. He does not like toface the fact that an overt difficulty is merely an indica-tion that something is basically wrong with his relationto himself and to others.It is important for him, certainly, to remove his mani-fest disturbance, and certainly he should not pretend tobe disinterested in it and artificially exclude it from histhinking. But he should keep it in the background ofhis mind as an area to be explored eventually. He mustknow himself very well before he can glimpse the natureof his concrete handicap. As he proceeds in the accumu-lation of this knowledge he will gradually assemble theelements involved in the disturbance, if he is alert to theimplications of his findings.In one way, however, the disturbances can be directlystudied, for much can be learned by observing their vac-illations. None of these chronic difficulties is equallystrong all the time. The hold they have will tightenand lessen. At the beginning the person will be igno-rant as to the conditions that account for these ups anddowns. He may even be convinced that there are nounderlying causes and believe that such vacillations arein the "nature" of the disturbance. As a rule this beliefis a fallacy. If he observes carefully he will recognize afactor here and a factor there that contributes to makingthe condition better or worse. When he has once gainedan inkling as to the nature of these contributing factorshis capacity for further observation will be sharpenedand thus he will gradually obtain a general picture ofthe relevant conditions.181
  • 91. S E L F - A N A L Y S I SThe upshot of these considerations is the banal truththat if you want to analyze yourself you must not studyonly the highlights. You must take every opportunity tobecome familiar with this stranger or acquaintance thatis yourself. This, by the way, is not a figurative way ofspeaking, for most people know very little about them-selves, and only gradually learn to what extent they havelived in ignorance. If you want to know New York youdo not merely look at it from the Empire State Build-ing. You go to the lower East Side; you stroll throughCentral Park; you take a boat around Manhattan; youride on a Fifth Avenue bus; and a great deal more. Op-portunities to become familiar with yourself will offerthemselves, and you will see them, provided you reallywant to know this queer fellow who lives your life. Youwill then be astonished to see that here you are irritatedfor no apparent reason, there you cannot make up yourmind, here you were offensive without meaning to be,here you mysteriously lost your appetite, there you hadan eating spell, here you could not bring yourself to an-swer a letter, there you were suddenly afraid of noisesaround you when alone, here you had a nightmare, thereyou felt hurt or humiliated, here you could not ask for araise in salary or express a critical opinion. All these infi-nite observations represent that many entrances to the un-familiar ground that is yourself. You start to wonder—which here, too, is the beginning of all wisdom—and bymeans of free association you try to understand the mean-ing of these emotional upsets.182Systematic Self-AnalysisObservations, and the associations and questions theyarouse, are the raw material. But work on them takestime, as does every analysis. In a professional analysis adefinite hour is set apart every day or every other day.This arrangement is expedient but it also has certain in-trinsic values. Patients with mild neurotic trends can,without disadvantage, see the analyst merely when theyare in trouble and want to discuss their difficulties. Butif a patient in the clutches of a severe neurosis were ad-vised to come only when he really wanted to, he wouldprobably play hooky whenever he had strong subjectivereasons for not going on, that is, whenever he developeda "resistance." This means that he would stay away whenactually he needed the most help and when the most con-structive work could be done. Another reason for regu-larity is the necessity to preserve some measure of con-tinuity, which is the very essence of any systematic work.Both reasons for regularity—the trickiness of resist-ances and the necessity to maintain continuity—apply,of course, to self-analysis as well. But here I doubtwhether the observance of a regular hour would servethese purposes. The differences between professionalanalysis and self-analysis should not be minimized. It ismuch easier for anyone to keep an appointment withan analyst than with himself, because in the former in-stance he has a greater interest in keeping it: he does notwant to be impolite; he does not want to expose himselfto the reproach that he stayed away because of a "resist-ance"; he does not want to lose the value that the hour183
  • 92. S E L F - A N A L Y S I S Systematic Self-Analysismight have for him; he does not want to pay for the timereserved for him without having utilized it. These pres-sures are lacking in self-analysis. Any number of thingsthat apparently or actually permit of no delay wouldinterfere with the time set apart for analysis.A regular, predetermined time for self-analysis is un-feasible also because of inner reasons—and these quiteapart from the subject of resistances. A person mightfeel like thinking about himself during a spare half hourbefore dinner but resent it as a nuisance at a prearrangedtime before he leaves for his office. Or he may not findany time during the day but have the most illuminatingassociations while taking a walk at night or while fall-ing asleep. In this respect even the regular appointmentwith the analyst has certain drawbacks. The patient can-not see the analyst whenever he feels a particular urgeor willingness to talk with him, but must appear at theanalysts office at the arranged time even if his zest toexpress himself is diminished. Because of external cir-cumstances this disadvantage can scarcely be elimi-nated, but there is no good reason why it should be pro-jected into self-analysis, where these circumstances arenot present.Still another objection to rigid regularity in self-analysis lies in the fact that this process should not be-come a "duty." The connotation of "have to" would robit of its spontaneity, its most precious and most indis-pensable element. There is no great harm done if aperson forces himself to his daily exercises when he doesnot feel like taking them, but in analysis listlessness184would make him lame and unproductive. Again, thisdanger may exist also in professional analysis, but thereit can be overcome by the analysts interest in the patientand by the very fact of the common work. In self-analysisa listlessness produced by overstressed regularity is notso easily dealt with, and it may well cause the whole un-dertaking to peter out.Thus in analysis regularity of work is not an end initself but is rather a means that serves the two purposesof preserving continuity and combating resistances. Thepatients resistances are not removed because he alwaysappears for his appointment at the analysts office; hiscoming merely enables the analyst to help him under-stand the factors at play. Nor is consistent punctualityany guarantee that he will not jump from one problemto another and gain only disconnected insights; it is anassurance of continuity only for the work in general. Inself-analysis, too, these requirements are essential, andI shall discuss in a later chapter how they can be fulfilledin a meaningful way. All that is important here is thatthey do not demand a rigid schedule of appointmentswith oneself. If a certain irregularity in work shouldmake a person shirk a problem, it will catch up withhim. And even at the expense of time it is wiser to let itslide until he himself feels that he had better go after it.Self-analysis should remain a good friend to fall backupon rather than a schoolmaster pushing us to make ourdaily good marks. Needless to say, this warning againstcompulsive regularity does not imply taking things easy.Just as a friendship must be cultivated if we want it to185
  • 93. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sbe a meaningful factor in our life, analytical work atourselves can yield its benefits only if we take it seri-ously.Finally, no matter how genuinely a person regardsself-analysis as a help toward self-development ratherthan as a quick panacea, there is no use in his determin-ing to pursue this work consistently from now until theday he dies. There will be periods in which he works in-tensely at a problem, such as the one described in thenext chapter. But there will be other periods in whichthe analytical work at himself recedes into the back-ground. He will still observe one or another strikingreaction and try to understand it, thus continuing theprocess of self-recognition, but in distinctly diminishedintensity. He may be absorbed in personal work or ingroup activities; he may be engaged in a battle with ex-ternal hardships; he may be concentrated on establish-ing one or another relationship; he may simply feel lessharassed by his psychic troubles. At these times the mereprocess of living is more important than analysis, andit contributes in its own way to his development.The method in self-analysis is no different from thatin work with an analyst, the technique being free asso-ciations. This procedure was fully discussed in ChapterFour, and certain aspects particularly relevant to self-analysis will be added in Chapter Nine. Whereas inworking with an analyst the patient reports whatevercomes into his mind, in working alone he begins bymerely taking note of his associations. Whether he onlynotes them mentally or writes them down is a matter of186Sys,stetnatic Self-Analysisindividual preference. Some people can concentratebetter when they write; others find their attention dis-tracted by writing. In the extensive example cited inChapter Eight some chains of associations were written,some were merely noticed and put down on paper after-ward.There are undoubtedly certain advantages in writ-ing down ones associations. For one thing, almost every-one will find that his thoughts do not wander off on atangent so easily if he makes it a rule to put down a shortnote, a catchword, of every association. At any rate hewill notice the wandering more quickly. It may be, too,that the temptation to skip a thought or feeling as ir-relevant is lessened when it is all down on paper. But thegreatest advantage of writing is that it affords the possi-bility of going over the notes afterward. Frequently aperson will miss the significance of a connection at firstsight, but will notice it later when he lets his mind dwellon his notes. Findings or unanswered questions that arenot well entrenched are often forgotten, and a return tothem may revive them. Or he may see the old findingsin a different light. Or he may discover that he has madeno noticeable headway, but is essentially still at the samepoint where he was several months ago. These two lat-ter reasons make it advisable to jot down findings, andthe main paths leading up to them, even though theymay have been arrived at without taking notes. Themain difficulty in writing, the fact that thoughts arequicker than the pen, can be remedied by putting downonly catchwords.
  • 94. S E L F - A N A L Y S I SIf most of the work is done in writing a comparisonwith diary-keeping is almost unavoidable, and an elab-oration of this comparison may serve also to highlightcertain characteristics of analytical work. The similar,ity with a diary suggests itself particularly if the latteris not a simple report of factual occurrences but is writ-ten with the further intention of truthfully recordingones emotional experiences and motivations. But thereare significant differences. A diary, at its very best, is anhonest recording of conscious feelings, thoughts, andmotivations. The revealing character it may have con-cerns emotional experiences unknown to the outsideworld rather than experiences unknown to the writerhimself. When Rousseau, in his Confessions, boasted ofhis honesty in exposing his masochistic experiences, hedid not uncover any fact of which he himself was un-aware; he merely reported something that is usually keptsecret. Furthermore, in a diary, if there is any search formotivations, this does not reach beyond one or anotherloose surmise that carries little if any weight. Usually noattempt is made to penetrate beneath the conscious level.Culbertson, for instance, in The Strange Lives of OneMan, frankly reported his irritation and moodinesstoward his wife but gave no hint as to possible reasons.These remarks do not imply a criticism of diaries orautobiographies. They have their value, but they are in-trinsically different from an exploration of self. No onecan produce a narrative about himself and at the sametime let his mind run in free associations.There is still another difference which it is of practical188Systematic Self-Analysisimportance to mention: a diary often glances with oneye toward a future reader, whether that reader be thewriter at a future time or a wider audience. Any suchside glance at posterity, however, inevitably detractsfrom pristine honesty. Deliberately or inadvertently thewriter is bound, then, to do some retouching. He willomit certain factors entirely, minimize his shortcomingsor blame them on others, protect other people from ex-posure. The same will happen when he writes down hisassociations if he takes the least squint at an admiringaudience or at the idea of creating a masterpiece ofunique value. He will then commit all those sins thatundermine the value of free associations. Whatever hesets down on paper should serve one purpose only, thatof recognizing himself.189
  • 95. C H A P T E R E I G H TSystematic Self-Analysis of aMorbid DependencyNo amount of description, regardless of how carefullyit is presented, can convey an adequate impression of ex-actly what is involved in the process of reaching an un-derstanding of oneself. Therefore instead of discussingthis process in detail I shall present an extensive exampleof self-analysis. It deals with a womans morbid depend-ency on a man, a problem which for many reasons is fre-quent in our civilization.The situation described would be interesting enoughif it were regarded merely as a common feminine prob-lem. But its importance extends beyond the femininesphere. An involuntary and in a deeper sense unwar-ranted dependency upon another person is a problemknown to nearly everyone. Most of us deal with one oranother aspect of it at one or another period of our lives,I9OMorbid Dependencyoften recognizing its existence as little as Clare did whenshe started her analysis, and screening it instead behindsuch exquisite terms as "love" or "loyalty." This de-pendency is so frequent because it seems to be a conven-ient and promising solution for many troubles we allhave. It puts grave obstacles, however, in the way of ourbecoming mature, strong, independent people; and itspromise of happiness is mostly fictitious. Therefore adelving into some of its unconscious implications maybe interesting and helpful, even apart from the questionof self-analysis, to anyone who regards self-reliance andgood relationships with others as desirable goals.The woman who tackled this problem by herself isClare, who has kindly allowed me to publish the storyof her progress. Her background and analytical develop-ment have already been outlined, and thus I can dis-pense with many explanatory remarks that would other-wise be necessary.But the main reason for selecting this report is neitherthe intrinsic interest of the problem it presents nor ourknowledge of the person involved. Nor does this piece ofanalysis excel in brilliance or completeness. The reasonis rather that with all its blunders and deficiencies thereport shows clearly how a problem was gradually recog-nized and solved; even the blunders and deficiencies aresufficiently clear for discussion and sufficiently typical tomake it possible to learn from them. It need hardly beemphasized that the process illustrated by this exampleis essentially the same in the analysis of any other neu-rotic trend.191
  • 96. S E L F - A N A L Y S I SThe report could not well be published in its originalform. On the one hand it has had to be elaborated, be-cause it consists mostly of catchwords. On the other handit has been abbreviated. For the sake of conciseness Ihave omitted those parts that are merely repetitious.Also, I have selected only that part of the report whichis best rounded and which has a direct bearing on theproblem of dependency, and have left out the earlieranalytical endeavors to tackle the difficulties in the re-lationship, because they all ended in blind alleys. Itwould have been interesting to follow these futile at-tempts too, but it would not have added enough addi-tional factors to justify the increased space required.Moreover, I have made only brief notes about the peri-ods of resistance. In other words, the presentation on thewhole deals only with the highlights of this particularanalytical development.Each aspect of the analysis, after a summary descrip-tion, will be discussed. In these discussions several ques-tions will be borne particularly in mind. What is themeaning of the findings? Which factors did Clare fail tosee at the time? What are the reasons for her failure tosee them?After several months of not very productive efforts atself-analysis Clare awoke one Sunday morning with anintense irritation at an author who had failed to keep hispromise to send an article for the magazine she edited.This was the second time he had left her in the lurch. Itwas intolerable that people should be so unreliable.DependencySoon after it struck her that her anger was out of pro-portion. The whole matter was scarcely of sufficient im-portance to wake her up at five in the morning. Themere recognition of a discrepancy between anger and al-leged provocation made her see the real reason for theanger. The real reason also concerned unreliability, butin a matter more close to her heart. Her friend Peter,who had been out of town on business, had not returnedfor the week end as he had promised. To be exact, hehad not given a definite promise, but he had said that hewould probably be back by Saturday. He was never defi-nite in anything, she told herself; he always aroused herhopes and then disappointed her. The fatigue she hadfelt the night before, which she had attributed to hav-ing worked too hard, must have been a reaction to herdisappointment. She had canceled a dinner invitationbecause she had hoped for an evening with Peter, andthen, when he did not show up, she had gone to a movieinstead. She could never make any engagements becausePeter hated to make definite dates in advance. The re-sult was that she left as many evenings free as she possiblycould, always harboring the disquieting thought, wouldhe or wouldnt he be with her?While thinking of this situation two memories oc-curred to her simultaneously. One was an incident thather friend Eileen had told her years before. Eileen, dur-ing a passionate but rather unhappy relationship with aman, had fallen seriously ill with pneumonia. Whenshe recovered from the fever she found to her surprisethat her feelings for the man had died. He tried to con-193
  • 97. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Stinue the relationship, but he no longer meant anythingto her. Clares other memory concerned a particularscene in a novel, a scene that had deeply impressed herwhen she was adolescent. The first husband of the novelsheroine returned from war, expecting to find his wifeoverjoyed at his return. Actually the marriage had beentorn by conflicts. During the husbands absence the wifesfeelings had changed. She did not look forward to hiscoming. He had become a stranger to her. All she feltwas indignation that he could be so presumptuous as toexpect love just because he chose to want her—as if sheand her feelings did not count at all. Clare could nothelp realizing that these two associations pointed to awish to be able to break away from Peter, a wish that she]referred to the momentary anger. But, she argued, Iwould never do it because I love him too much. Withthat thought she fell asleep again.Clare made a correct interpretation of her anger whenshe saw it as caused by Peter rather than by the author,and her interpretation of the two associations was alsoright. But despite this correctness the interpretations, asit were, lacked depth. There was no feeling whatever forthe force of the resentment she harbored against Peter.Consequently she regarded the whole outburst as onlya transient grievance, and thus discarded much toolightly the wish to tear loose from him. Retrospectivelyit is clear that at that time she was far too dependent onPeter to dare to recognize either the resentment or thiwish for separation. But she had not the slightest aware-ness of any dependency. She ascribed the apparent easeI94with which she overcame the anger to her "love" for herfriend. This is a good example of the fact that one willget no more out of associations than one can stand atthe time, even though, as in this instance, they speak analmost unmistakable language.Clares basic resistance against the import of her asso-ciations explains why she did not raise certain questionsthat they suggested. It is significant, for example, thatboth of them, while connoting in a general way a wishto break off, indicated a very special form of breakingoff: in both instances the womans feelings faded outwhile the man still wanted her. As we shall see later on,this was the only ending of a painful relationship thatClare could visualize. To break away from Peter on herown initiative was unthinkable because of her depend-ency upon him. The idea that he could break away fromher would have aroused sheer panic, though there aregood reasons to infer that she felt deep down that he didnot really want her while she hung on to him. Her anx-iety on this score was so deep that it took her consider-able time to realize the mere fact that she was afraid. Itwas so great that even when she discovered her fear ofdesertion she still closed her eyes to the rather obviousfact that Peter wanted a separation. In thinking of inci-dents in which the woman herself was in a position toreject the man Clare revealed not only a wish to be freebut also a desire for revenge, both deeply buried andboth referring to a bondage which was itself unrecog-nized.Another question that she did not raise was why the195
  • 98. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sanger at Peter took a whole night to penetrate to aware-ness, and why, even then, it first concealed its true mean-ing by transferring itself to the author. The repressionof her resentment is all the more striking as she was fullyaware of her disappointment at Peters staying away,Moreover, on such an occasion resentment would cer-tainly have been a natural reaction, and it was not in hercharacter never to allow herself to be angry at anyone;she often was angry at people, though it was character-istic of her to shift anger from its real source to trivialmatters. But to raise this question, while apparently onlya routine matter, would have meant to broach the sub-ject of why the relationship with Peter was so precariousthat any disturbance of it had to be shut out of aware-ness.After Clare had thus managed to shake off the wholeproblem from her conscious mind she fell asleep againand had a dream. She was in a foreign city; the peoplespoke a language that she did not understand; she losther way, this feeling of being lost emerging very dis-tinctly; she had left all her money in the luggage deposited at the station. Then she was at a fair; there wassomething unreal about it but she recognized gamblingstands and a freak show; she was riding on a merry-go-round which turned around more and more quickly sothat she became afraid, but she could not jump off. Thenshe was drifting on waves, and she woke up with a mixedfeeling of abandon and anxiety.The first part of the dream reminded her of an experi-196Dependencyence she had had in adolescence. She had been in astrange city; had forgotten the name of her hotel andhad felt lost, as in the dream. Also it came back to herthat the night before, when returning home from themovie, she had felt similarly lost.The gambling stands and the freak show she associ-ated with her earlier thought about Peter making prom-ises and not keeping them. Such places, too, make fan-tastic promises and there, too, one is usually cheated. Inaddition, she regarded the freak show as an expressionof her anger at Peter: he was a freak.What really startled her in the dream was the depthof the feeling of being lost. She immediately explainedaway her impressions, however, by telling herself thatthese expressions of anger and of feeling lost were butexaggerated reactions to her disappointment, and thatdreams express feelings in a grotesque way anyhow.It is true that the dream translated Clares problemsinto grotesque terms, but it did not exaggerate the in-tensity of her feeling. And even if it had constituted agross exaggeration it would not have been sufficientmerely to dismiss it on that score. If there is an exaggera-tion it has to be examined. What is the tendency thatprompts it? Is it in reality not an exaggeration but anadequate response to an emotional experience, the mean-ing and intensity of which are beyond awareness? Didthe experience mean something quite different on theconscious and unconscious levels?Judging from Clares subsequent development, thelatter question was the pertinent one in this instance.
  • 99. S E L F - A N A L Y S I SClare actually felt just as miserable, as lost, as resentfulas the dream and the earlier associations indicated. Butsince she still clung to the idea of a close love relation-ship this realization was unacceptable to her. For thesame reason she ignored that part of the dream abouthaving left all her money in the luggage at the station.This was probably a condensed expression of a feelingthat she had invested all she had in Peter, the stationsymbolizing Peter and also connoting something transi-tory and indifferent as opposed to the permanence andsecurity of home. And Clare disregarded another strik-ing emotional factor in the dream when she did notbother to account for its ending with anxiety. Nor didshe make any attempts to understand the dream as awhole. She contented herself with superficial explana-tions of this and that element, and thus learned from itno more than she knew anyhow. If she had probed moredeeply she might have seen the main theme of the dreamas this: I feel helpless and lost; Peter is a great disap-pointment; my life is like a merry-go-round and I cantjump off; there is no solution but drifting; but driftingis dangerous.We cannot discard emotional experiences, however, aseasily as we can discard thoughts unconnected with OUTfeelings. And it is quite possible that Clares emotionalexperiences of anger and particularly of feeling lost,despite her blatant failure to understand them, lingeredon in her mind and were instrumental in her pursuingthe path of analysis she subsequently embarked upon.198Morbid DependencyThe next piece of analysis still remains under the head-ing of resistance. While Clare was going over her asso-ciations the next day another memory occurred to her inconnection with the "foreign city" of the dream. Oncewhen she was in a foreign city she had lost her way tothe station; since she did not know the language shecould not ask directions and thus she missed her train.As she thought of this incident it occurred to her thatshe had behaved in a silly manner. She might havebought a dictionary, or she might have gone into anygreat hotel and asked the porter. But apparently shehad been too timid and too helpless to ask. Then it sud-denly struck her that this very timidity had played a partalso in the disappointment with Peter. Instead of ex-pressing her wish to have him back for the week end shehad actually encouraged him to see a friend in the coun-try so that he could have some rest.An early memory emerged of her doll Emily, whomshe loved most tenderly. Emily had only one flaw: shehad only a cheap wig. Clare deeply wanted for her a wigof real hair, which could be combed and braided. Sheoften stood before a toy shop and looked at dolls withreal hair. One day she was with her mother in the toyshop, and the mother, who was generous in giving pres-ents, asked her whether she would like to have a wigwith real hair. But Clare declined. The wig was expen-sive and she knew that the mother was short of money.And she never got it, a memory which even now movedher almost to tears.199
  • 100. S E L F - A N A L Y S I SShe was disappointed to realize that she had still notovercome her reluctance in expressing her wishes, de-spite the work on this problem during the course of heranalytical treatment, but at the same time she felt tre-mendously relieved. This remaining timidity appearedto be the solution to her distress of the previous days.She merely had to be more frank with Peter and let himknow her wishes.Clares interpretation illustrates how an only partiallyaccurate analysis can miss the essential point and blurthe issue involved. It also demonstrates that a feeling ofrelief does not in itself prove that the solution found isthe real one. Here the relief resulted from the fact thatby hitting upon a pseudo solution Clare succeeded, tem-porarily, in circumventing the crucial problem. If shehad not been unconsciously determined to find an easyway out of her disturbance she would probably havepaid more attention to the association.The memory was not just one more example of herlack of assertiveness. It clearly indicated a compulsionto give first importance to her mothers needs in orderto avoid becoming the object of even a vague resent-ment. The same tendency applied to the present situa-tion. To be sure, she had been too timid in expressingher wish, but this inhibition arose less from timiditythan from unconscious design. The friend, from all Igather, was an aloof person, hypersensitive to any de-mands upon him. At that time Clare was not fully awareof this fact, but she sensed it sufficiently to hold back anydirect wishes concerning his time, just as she refrained2OOA Morbid Dependencyfrom ever mentioning the possibility of marriage, thoughshe often thought of it. If she had asked him to be backfor the week end he would have complied, but with re-sentment. Clare could not have recognized this fact, how-ever, without a dawning realization of the limitationswithin Peter, and this was still impossible for her. Shepreferred to see primarily her own share in the matter,and to see that part of it which she felt confident of over-coming. It should be remembered, too, that it was an oldpattern of Clares to preserve a difficult relationship bytaking all blame on herself. This was essentially the wayin which she had dealt with her mother.The result of Clares attributing the whole distress toher own timidity was that she lost—at least consciously—her resentment toward Peter, and looked forward toseeing him again. This happened the next evening. Buta new disappointment was in store for her. Peter notonly was late for the appointment but looked tired anddid not express any spontaneous joy at seeing her. As aresult she became self-conscious. He was quick to noticeher freezing up and, as was apparently his habit, he tookthe offensive, asking her whether she had been angry athis not coming home for the week end. She answeredwith a weak denial but on further pressure admittedthat she had resented it. She could not tell him of thepathetic effort she had made not to resent it. He scoldedher for being childish and for considering only her ownwishes. Clare was miserable.In the morning paper a notice about a shipwreck2OI
  • 101. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sbrought back to her that part of her dream in whichshe had drifted on waves. When she had time to thinkabout this dream fragment four associations occurred toher. One was a fantasy of a shipwreck in which she wasdrifting on the water. She was in danger of drowningwhen a strong man put his arms around her and savedher. With him she had a feeling of belonging, and ofnever-ending protection. He would always hold her inhis arms and never, never leave her. The second associa-tion concerned a novel which ended on a similar tone.A girl who had gone through disastrous experiences witha number of men finally met the man she could love andupon whose devotion she could rely.Then she remembered a fragment of a dream that shehad had at the time she became familiar with Bruce, theolder writer who had encouraged her and implicitlypromised to be her mentor. In that dream she and Brucewalked together, hand in hand. He was like a hero or ademigod, and she was overwhelmed by happiness. To besingled out by this man was like an indescribable graceand blessing. When recalling this dream Clare smiled,for she had blindly overrated Bruces brilliance and onlylater had seen his narrow and rigid inhibitions.This memory made her recall another fantasy, orrather a frequent daydream, which she had almost for-gotten though it had played quite a role at college, be-fore the time of her crush on Bruce. It circled aroundthe figure of a great man, endowed with superior intelli-gence, wisdom, prominence, and wealth. And this greatman made advances to her because beneath her incon-2O2A Morbid Dependencyspicuous exterior he had sensed her great potentialities.He knew that if given a good break she could be beauti-ful and achieve great things. He devoted all his time andenergy to her development. He did not merely spoil herby giving her beautiful garments and an attractive home.She had to work hard under his guidance, not only atbecoming a great writer but also at cultivating mind andbody. Thus he made a beautiful swan out of an uglyduckling. It was a kind of Pygmalion fantasy, createdfrom the point of view of the girl to be developed. Be-sides having to work at herself she had to be devoted toher master exclusively.Clares first interpretation of this series of associationswas that they expressed a wish for an everlasting love.Her comment was that this is what every woman wants.She recognized, however, that this wish was enhanced atthe present time because Peter did not give her a feelingof security and permanent love.With these associations Clare actually touched rockbottom, but without becoming aware of it. The specialcharacteristics of the "love" that she craved she saw onlylater on. Otherwise the most significant part of the inter-pretation is the statement that Peter did not give her whatshe wanted. It is made casually, as if she had known it allthe time, but actually it was her first conscious realiza-tion of any deep dissatisfaction with the relationship.It seems reasonable to speculate whether this appar-ently sudden realization was a result of the analyticalwork on the previous days. Of course the two recent dis-appointments had their share in it. But similar disap-
  • 102. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Spointments had occurred previously without Clares ar-riving at such an insight. The fact that in the work doneup to this point she had consciously missed all the essen-tial factors would not invalidate such an assumption, be-cause despite these failures two things did happen. Inthe first place, she had a strong emotional experience inthe lost feeling that occurred in conjunction with thedream of the foreign city. In the second place, her asso-ciations, while at no point leading to a conscious clari-fication, nevertheless moved within an increasingly nar-row circle around the crucial problem, and showed adegree of transparency that is usually present only whena person is close to an insight. We may wonder whetherthe mere fact of having such thoughts and feelings asemerged in Clare during this period helped to bring cer-tain factors into sharper focus, even though they stillremained beneath the conscious level. The premise un-derlying this speculation would be that not only the con-scious facing of problems counts, but also every steptaken forward toward this goal.On the following days, however, in going over the lastassociations mentioned, Clare noticed more details. Itstruck her that in the first two associations of this seriesthe man appeared as a savior. One man rescued her fromdrowning; the man in the novel offered the girl a refugefrom abuse and brutality. Bruce and the great man ofher daydream, while not saving her from any danger,also played a protective role. As she observed this repeti-tious motif of saving, shielding, sheltering, she realizedthat she craved not only "love" but also protection. She204Morbid Dependencyalso saw that one of the values Peter had for her was hiswillingness and ability to give advice and to console herwhen she was in distress, A fact occurred to her in thiscontext that she had known for quite a while—her de-fenselessness when under attack or pressure. We had dis-cussed it together as one part of her having to take secondplace. She saw now that it produced, in turn, a need forsomebody to protect her. Finally, she realized that herlonging for love or marriage had always increased ratheracutely whenever life became difficult.In thus recognizing that a need for protection was anessential element in her love life Clare took a great stepahead. The range of demands that this apparently harm-less need embraced, and the role it played, became clearonly much later. It may be interesting to compare thisfirst insight into a problem with the last one reportedin regard to the same problem, the insight concerningher "private religion." The comparison reveals a hap-pening frequent in psychoanalytical work. A problem isfirst seen in its barest outline. One does not recognizemuch beyond the fact that it exists. Later one returns tothe same problem with a much deeper understandingof its meaning. The feeling would be unwarranted insuch a case that the later finding is not new, that onehas known it all along. One has not known it, at leastnot consciously, but the way for its emergence has beenprepared.Despite a certain superficiality this first insight struckthe initial blow at Clares dependency. But while sheglimpsed her need for protection she did not yet realize205
  • 103. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sits nature, and thus she could not draw the conclusionthat this was one of the essential factors in her problem.She also ignored all the material in the daydream of thegreat man, material indicating that the man she lovedwas expected to fulfill many more functions than mereprotection.The next report to be discussed is dated six weekslater. The notes Clare made within those weeks do notcontribute any new analytical material but they containcertain pertinent self-observations. These concern herinability to be alone. She had not been aware of this in-hibition before, because she had arranged her life in sucha way as to avoid any periods of solitude. She observednow that when she was by herself she became restless orfatigued. Things she was capable of enjoying otherwiselost their meaning when she tried to enjoy them alone.She could work much better in the office, when otherswere around, than at home, though the work was of thesame kind.During this time she neither tried to understand theseobservations nor made any effort to follow up her latest jfinding. In view of the incisive importance of that find-ing her failure to pursue it any further is certainly strik-ing. If we consider it in connection with the reluctanceshe had previously shown to scrutinize her relationshipwith Peter, we are justified in assuming that with herlatest discovery Clare came closer to realizing her de-pendency than she could stand at the time and there-fore stopped her analytical endeavors.206Morbid DependencyThe provocation to resume her work was a suddensharp swing of mood that occurred one evening withpeter. He had given her an unexpected present, a prettyscarf, and she was overjoyed. But later she felt suddenlytired and became frigid. The depressed feeling occurredafter she had embarked on the question of summerplans. She was enthusiastic about the plans, but Peterwas listless. He explained his reaction by saying that hedidnt like to make plans anyhow.The next morning she remembered a dream fragment.She saw a large bird flying away, a bird of most gloriouscolors and most beautiful movements. It became smallerand smaller until it vanished. Then she awoke withanxiety and a sensation of falling. While she was stillwaking up a phrase occurred to her—"the bird hasflown"—which she knew at once expressed a fear of los-ing Peter. Certain later associations confirmed this intui-tive interpretation: someone had once called Peter a birdthat never settled down; Peter was good looking and agood dancer; the beauty of the bird had something un-real; a memory of Bruce, whom she had endowed withqualities he did not possess; a wonder whether she glori-fied Peter, too; a song from Sunday school, in whichJesus is asked to take His children under His wing.Thus the fear of losing Peter was expressed in twoways: by the bird flying away, and by the idea of a birdthat had taken her under its wings and dropped her. Thelatter thought was suggested not only by the song but alsoby the sensation of falling that she had on awakening. Inthe symbol of Jesus taking His children under His wing2OJ
  • 104. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sthe theme of the need for protection is resumed. In viewof later developments it appears by no means accidentalthat the symbol is a religious one.Clare did not delve into the suggestion that she glori-fied Peter. But the very fact that she saw this possibilityis noteworthy. It may have paved the way for her daringto take a good look at him some time later.The main theme of her interpretations, however—the fear of losing Peter—not only was recognized as aninevitable conclusion to be drawn from the dream butwas deeply felt as true and important. That it was anemotional experience as well as an intellectual recogni-tion of a crucial factor was evident in the fact that a num-ber of reactions hitherto not understood became sud-denly transparent. First she saw that on the previousnight she had not merely been disappointed in Petersreluctance to talk about a common vacation. His lackof zest had aroused a dread that he would desert her,and this dread had caused her fatigue and frigidity andhad been the provocation for the dream. And many othercomparable situations became similarly illuminated. Allkinds of instances emerged in which she had felt hurt,disappointed, irritated, or in which, as on the precedingday, she had become tired or depressed apparently forno good reason. She realized that all these reactionssprang from the same source, regardless of what otherfactors might have been involved. If Peter was late, if hedid not telephone, if he was preoccupied with other mat-ters than herself, if he was withdrawn, if he was tense orirritated, if he was not sexually interested in her—always208A Morbid Dependencythe same dread of desertion was touched off. Further-more, she understood that the explosions of irritationthat sometimes occurred when she was with Peter re-sulted not from trivial dissensions or, as he usually ac-cused her, from her desire to have her own way, but fromthis same dread. The anger was attached to such trivialmatters as different opinions about a movie, irritation athaving to wait for him, and the like, but actually it wasproduced by her fear of losing him. And, conversely, shewas overjoyed when she received an unexpected presentfrom him because to a large extent it meant a suddenrelief from this fear.Finally, she linked up the fear of desertion with theempty feeling that she had when she was alone, but with-out arriving at any conclusive understanding of the con-nection. Was the fear of desertion so great because shedreaded to be alone? Or did solitude, for her, implicitlymean desertion?This part of the analysis strikingly illustrates theastonishing fact that a person can be entirely unaware ofa fear that actually is all consuming. That Clare nowrecognized her fear, and saw the disturbances it createdin her relationship with Peter, meant a definite stepahead. There are two connections between this insightand her preceding one concerning her need for protec-tion. Both findings show to what extent the whole rela-tionship was pervaded with fears. And, more specifically,the fear of desertion was in part a consequence of theneed for protection: if Peter was expected to protect herfrom life and its dangers she could not afford to lose him.
  • 105. S E L F - A N A L Y S I SClare was still far from understanding the nature ofthe fear of desertion. She was still unaware that whatshe regarded as deep love was little, if anything, morethan a neurotic dependency and therefore she could notpossibly recognize that the fear was based on this de-pendency. The loose questions that occurred to her inthis context, regarding her incapacity to be alone, weremore pertinent than she realized, as will be seen later.But since this whole problem was hazy, because therewere still too many unknown factors involved, she wasnot even capable of making accurate observations onthis score.Clares analysis of her elation at receiving the scarfwas accurate as far as it went. Undoubtedly one impor-tant element in her feeling overjoyed was that the act offriendliness allayed her fear for the time being. Thatshe did not consider the other elements involved canscarcely be attributed to a resistance. She saw only theparticular aspect that was related to the problem onwhich she was then working, her fear of desertion.It was about a week later that Clare perceived theother elements involved in her elation at the gift. Shewas not usually given to crying in movies but on thisparticular evening tears came to her eyes when a girlwho was in a wretched condition met with unexpectedhelp and friendliness. She ridiculed herself for beingsentimental but this did not stop the tears, and after-ward she felt a need to account for her behavior. Shefirst thought of the possibility that an unconscious un-2IOA Morbid Dependencyhappiness of her own might have expressed itself in cry-ing about the movie. And, of course, she did find reasonsfor unhappiness. Yet her associations along this line ofthought led nowhere. It was only the next morning thatshe suddenly saw the issue: the crying had occurred notwhen the girl in the movie was badly off but when hersituation took an unexpected turn for the better. Sherealized then what she had overlooked the previous day—that she always cried at such occasions.Her associations then fell in line. She rememberedthat in her childhood she always cried when she reachedthe point where the fairy godmother heaps unexpectedpresents on Cinderella. Then her joy at receiving thescarf came back to her. The next memory concerned anincident that had occurred during her marriage. Herhusband usually gave her only the presents due at Christ-mas or on birthdays, but once an important businessfriend of his was in town and the two men went with herto a dressmaker to help her select a dress. She could notmake up her mind which of two dresses to choose. Thehusband then made a generous gesture and suggestedthat she take both garments. Though she knew that thisgesture was made not altogether for her sake, but alsoin order to impress the business friend, she neverthe-less was inordinately happy about it and cherished theseparticular dresses more than others. Finally, two aspectsof the daydream of the great man occurred to her. Onewas the scene in which, to her complete surprise, hesingled her out for his favors. The other concerned allthe presents he gave her, incidents that she had told her-211
  • 106. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sself in great detail: the trips he suggested, the hotels hechose, the gowns he brought home, the invitations toluxurious restaurants. She never had to ask for anything.She felt quite taken aback, almost like a criminal whois confronted with overwhelming evidence. This washer "love"! She remembered a friend, a sworn bachelor,saying that womans love is merely a screen for exploit-ing men. She also recalled her friend Susan who hadgreatly astonished her by saying that she thought theusual flood of talk about love was disgusting. Love, saidSusan, was only an honest deal in which each partnerdid his share to create a good companionship. Clare hadbeen shocked at what she regarded as cynicism: Susanwas too hard boiled in denying the existence and thevalue of feelings. But she herself, she now realized, hadnaively mistaken for love something that largely con-sisted of expectations that tangible and intangible giftswould be presented to her on a silver platter. Her lovewas at bottom no more than a sponging on somebodyelse!This was certainly an entirely unexpected insight, butdespite the painful surprise at herself she soon feltgreatly relieved. She felt, and rightly, that she had reallyuncovered her share in what made her love relationshipsdifficult.Clare was so overwhelmed by the discovery she hadmade that she quite forgot the incident from which shehad started, the crying in the movie. But she returnedto it the next day. The tears expressed an overwhelmingbewilderment at the thought of a sudden fulfillment of212Morbid Dependencymost secret and most ardent wishes, a fulfillment ofsomething one has waited for all ones life, somethingthat one has never dared to believe would come true.Within the next couple of weeks Clare followed upher insight in several directions. In glancing over herlatest series of associations it struck her that in almost allthe incidents the emphasis was on help or gifts that cameunexpectedly. She felt that at least one clue for this layin the last remark she had written about the daydream,which was that she never had to ask for anything. Hereshe came into territory that was familiar to her throughthe previous analytic work. Since she had formerlytended to repress her own wishes, and was still inhibitedto some extent from expressing them, she needed some-body who wished for her, or who guessed her secretwishes and fulfilled them without her having to do any-thing about them herself.Another tack she pursued concerned the reverse sideof the receptive, sponging attitude. She realized that sheherself gave very little. Thus she expected Peter to bealways interested in her troubles or interests but didnot actively participate in his. She expected him to betender and affectionate but was not very demonstrativeherself. She responded but left the initiative to him.On another day she returned once more to her notesconcerning the evening in which her mood had swungfrom elation to depression, and she saw the possibilityof another factor that might have been involved in thatfatigue. She wondered whether the latter might haveresulted not only from the anxiety that had been aroused213
  • 107. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sbut also from a repressed anger for the frustration ofher wishes. If that were so her wishes could not be quiteso harmless as she had assumed, for they must then con-tain some admixture of an insistence that they be com-plied with. She left this an open question.This piece of analysis had an immediately favorable in-fluence upon the relationship with Peter. She becamemore active in sharing his interests and in consideringhis wishes, and ceased being merely receptive. Also, thesudden eruptions of irritation stopped entirely. It ishard to say whether her demands upon him relented,though it would be reasonable to assume that they didto a moderate degree.This time Clare faced her finding so squarely thatthere is almost nothing to add. It is noteworthy, though,that the same material had presented itself six weeks be-fore, when the daydream of the great man first emerged.At that time the need to hold on to the fiction of "love"was still so stringent that she could do no more thanadmit that her love was tinged with a need for protec-tion. Even in that admission she could conceive of theneed for protection only as a factor reinforcing her"love." Nevertheless, as mentioned before, that early in-sight constituted the first attack on her dependency. Thediscovery of the degree of fear in her love was the secondstep. A further step was the question she raised as towhether she overrated Peter, even though the questionremained unanswered. And only after she had workedthat far through the fog could she finally see that herlove was by no means unadulterated. Only now could214A Morbid Dependencyshe stand the disillusionment of recognizing that shehad mistaken for love her abundant expectations anddemands. She did not yet take the last step of realizingthe dependency that resulted from her expectations.Otherwise, however, this fragment of analysis is a goodexample of what it means to follow up an insight. Claresaw that her expectations of others were largely engen-dered by her own inhibitions toward wishing or doinganything for herself. She saw that her sponging attitudeimpaired her capacity to give anything in return. Andshe recognized her tendency to feel offended if her ex-pectations were rejected or frustrated.Actually Clares expectations were mainly in referenceto intangible things. Despite apparent evidence to thecontrary, she was not essentially a greedy person. I wouldeven say that the receiving of presents was only a symbolfor less concrete but more important expectations. Shedemanded to be cared for in such a way that she shouldnot have to make up her mind as to what is right orwrong, should not have to take the initiative, shouldnot have to be responsible for herself, should not haveto solve external difficulties.Some weeks passed in which, on the whole, her rela-tionship with Peter was smoother. They had finallyplanned a trip together. Through his long indecisionhe had spoiled for her most of the joy of anticipation,though when everything was settled she did look forwardto the holiday. But a few days before they were to leavehe told her that business was too precarious just then to215
  • 108. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sallow him to leave town for any length of time. Clarewas first enraged and then desperate, and Peter scoldedher for being unreasonable. She tended to accept the re-proach and tried to convince herself that he was right.When she calmed down she suggested that she go aloneto a resort that was only a three-hour drive from the city;Peter could then join her whenever his time allowed.Peter did not openly refuse this arrangement, but aftersome hemming and hawing he said that he would havebeen very glad to agree to it if she were able to takethings more reasonably, but since she reacted so violentlyto every disappointment, and since he was not master ofhis time, he foresaw only frictions forthcoming and feltit better for her to make her plans without him. Thisagain threw her into despair. The evening ended withPeter consoling her and promising to go away with herfor ten days at the end of the vacation. Clare felt reas-surred. Inwardly agreeing with Peter, she decided totake things more easily and to be content with what hecould give her.The next day, while trying to analyze her first reactionof rage, she had three associations. The first was a mem-ory of being teased, when she was a child, for playingthe martyr role. But this memory, which had often re-curred to her, appeared now in a new light. She hadnever before examined whether the others were wrongin teasing her in this way. She had taken it merely as afact. Now for the first time it dawned on her that theywere not right, that she actually had been discriminated2l6Morbid Dependencyagainst, that by teasing her they had added insult to in-jury.Then another memory occurred to her from the timewhen she was five or six. She used to play with herbrother and his playmates, and one day they told herthat in a certain meadow, near where they played, rob-bers lived in a hidden cave. She believed it completelyand always trembled when she went near that meadow.Then one day they had ridiculed her for having fallenfor their story.Finally she thought of her dream of the foreign city,the part in which she had seen the freak show and thegambling stands. And now she realized that these sym-bols expressed more than a transient anger. She saw forthe first time that there was something phony, somethingfraudulent in Peter. Not in the sense of any deliberateswindle. But he could not help playing the role of onewho was always right, always superior, always generous—and he had feet of clay. He was wrapped up in him-self, and when he yielded to her wishes it was not be-cause of love and generosity but because of his own weak-ness. Finally, in his dealing with her there was muchsubtle cruelty.Only now did she recognize that her reaction theprevious night was primarily due not to the disappoint-ment but to the callousness with which he had disre-garded her feelings. There had been no tenderness, noregret, no sympathy when he broke to her the news ofhaving to stay in town. It was only toward the end of the
  • 109. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sevening, when she cried bitterly, that he turned affec-tionate. In the meantime he had made her bear thebrunt of the distress. He had impressed on her thateverything was her fault. He had acted in exactly thesame way as her mother and brother had acted in herchildhood, first stepping on her feelings and then mak-ing her feel guilty. Incidentally, it is interesting to seehere how the meaning of a fragment became clearer be-cause she had picked up her courage to rebel, and howthis elucidation of the past in turn helped her to becomemore straight in the present.Clare then recalled any number of incidents in whichPeter had made implicit or explicit promises and hadnot kept them. Moreover, she realized that this behaviorshowed itself also in more important and more intangi-ble ways. She saw that Peter had created in her the illu-sion of a deep and everlasting love, and yet was anxiousto keep himself apart. It was as if he had intoxicatedhimself and her with the idea of love. And she had fallenfor it, as she had fallen for the story of the robbers.Finally Clare recalled the associations she had hadbefore that early dream: thoughts of her friend Eileen,whose love faded out during the illness, and the novel inwhich the heroine felt estranged from her husband.These thoughts too, she realized now, had a much moreserious connotation than she had assumed. Somethingwithin her seriously wanted to break away from Peter.Though she was not happy about this insight she never-theless felt relieved. She felt as if a spell had been broken.In following up her insight Clare began to wonder218Morbid Dependencywhy it had taken her such a long time to obtain a clearpicture of Peter. Once these traits in him were recog-nized they appeared so conspicuous to her that it washard to overlook them. She saw then that she had astrong interest in not seeing them: nothing should pre-vent her from seeing in Peter the realization of the greatman of her daydream. Also she saw for the first time thewhole parade of figures whom she had hero-worshipedin a similar way. The parade started with her mother,whom she had idolized. Then Bruce had followed, a typein many ways similar to Peter. And the daydream man,and many others. The dream of the glorious bird nowdefinitely crystallized as a symbol for her glorificationof Peter. Always, because of her expectations, she hadhitched her wagon to a star. And all the stars had provedto be candles.The impression might prevail here that this discoveryof Clares was no discovery at all. Had she not realizedlong ago that Peter promised more than he kept? Yes,she had seen it some months before, but she had neithertaken it seriously nor appreciated the whole extent ofPeters unreliability. At that time her thought had beenpredominantly an expression of her own anger at him;now it had crystallized to an opinion, a judgment. More-over, she did not then see the admixture of sadism be-hind his facade of righteousness and generosity. Shecould not possibly have arrived at this clear vision aslong as she blindly expected him to fulfill all her needs.Her realization that she had fantastic expectations, andher willingness to put the relationship on a give-and-219
  • 110. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Stake basis, had made her so much stronger that she couldnow dare to face his weakness and thus shake the pillarson which the relationship rested.A good characteristic of the course that Clare hadadopted in her analysis was the fact that she first searchedwithin herself for the sources of her troubles, and onlyafter that work had proceeded looked into Peters sharein them. Originally her self-examination was an attemptto find an easy clue with which to solve the difficultiesof the relationship, but it led her eventually to some im-portant insights into herself. Anyone in analysis mustlearn to understand not only himself but also the otherswho are a part of his life, but it is safer to start with him-self. As long as he is entangled in his conflicts the picturehe will gain of the others will usually be a distorted one.From the data about Peter that Clare assembled inthe course of her entire analytical work I gather that heranalysis of his personality was essentially correct. Never-theless she still missed the one important point: thatPeter, for whatever reasons of his own, was determinedto break away from her. Of course, the assurances oflove which he apparently never failed to give her musthave befogged her judgment. On the other hand, thisexplanation is not quite sufficient, because it leaves opentwo questions: why her effort to reach a clear picture ofhim stopped where it did; and why she could visualize—though not put into effect—the desirability of herbreaking away from Peter, but closed her eyes to thepossibility of his breaking away from her.22OA Morbid DependencyAs a result of this remaining tie Clares wish to breakoff remained short lived. She was unhappy while she wasaway from him and as soon as he joined her she suc-cumbed to his charm. Also, she still could not stand theprospect of being alone. Thus the relationship went on.She expected less of him and was more resigned. But herlife still centered around him.Three weeks later she woke up with the name Mar-garet Brooks on her lips. She did not know whether shehad dreamed of her but she knew the meaning immedi-ately. Margaret was a married friend whom she had notseen for years. She had been pitifully dependent on herhusband despite the fact that he ruthlessly trampled onher dignity. He neglected her and made sarcastic re-marks about her in front of others; he had mistressesand brought one of them into their home. Margaret hadoften complained to Clare in her spells of despair. Butshe always became reconciled and believed that herswould still turn out to be the best of husbands. Clarehad been staggered at such a dependency and had feltcontemptuous of Margarets lack of pride. Nevertheless,her advice to Margaret dealt exclusively with means ofkeeping the husband or of winning him back. She hadjoined her friend in the hope that all would be fine inthe end. Clare knew that the man was not worth it, butsince Margaret loved him so much this seemed the bestattitude to adopt. Now Clare thought how stupid shehad been. She should have encouraged Margaret to leavehim.221
  • 111. S E L F - A N A L Y S I SBut it was not this former attitude toward her friendssituation that upset her now. What startled her was thesimilarity between herself and Margaret, which hadstruck her immediately upon awakening. She had neverthought of herself as dependent. And with frighteningclarity she realized that she was in the same boat. She,too, had lost her dignity in clinging to a man who didnot really want her and whose value she doubted. Shesaw that she was bound to Peter with ties of overwhelm-ing strength, that life without him was meaningless,beyond imagination. Social life, music, work, career, na-ture—nothing mattered without him. Her mood de-pended on him; thinking about him absorbed her timeand energies. No matter how he behaved she still re-turned to him, as the cat is said to return to the house itlived in. During the next days she lived in a daze. Theinsight had no relieving effect. It merely made her feelthe chains all the more painfully.When she had recovered some degree of poise sheworked through certain implications of her finding. Shegrasped more deeply the meaning of her fear of deser-tion: it was because her ties were essential to her thatshe had such a deep fear of their dissolution, and thisfear was bound to persist as long as the dependency per-sisted. She saw that she had not only hero-worshiped hermother, Bruce, and her husband, but had been depend-ent upon them, just as she was upon Peter. She realizedthat she could never hope to achieve any decent self-esteem as long as injuries to her dignity meant nothingcompared with the fear of losing Peter. Finally, she222A Morbid Dependencyunderstood that this dependency of hers must be a threatand a burden to Peter, too; this latter insight made fora sharp drop in her hostility toward him.Her recognition of the extent to which this depend-ency had spoiled her relations with people made her takea definite stand against it. This time she did not evenresolve to cut the knot by separation. She knew, in thefirst place, that she could not do it, but also she felt thathaving seen the problem she could work it out withinthe relationship with Peter. She convinced herself thatafter all there were values in the relationship whichshould be preserved and cultivated. She felt quite capa-ble of putting it on a sounder basis. Thus in the follow-ing month, in addition to her analytical work, she madereal efforts to respect Peters need for distance and tocope with her own affairs in a more independent fashion.There is no doubt that in this piece of analysis Claremade an important advance. Indeed, she had discovered,quite by herself, a second neurotic trend—the first be-ing her compulsive modesty—and a trend that she didnot in the least suspect of existing. She recognized itscompulsive character and the harm it did to her love life.She did not yet see, however, how it cramped her life ingeneral, and she was far from recognizing its formida-ble strength. Thus she overrated the freedom she hadgained. In this she succumbed to the common self-deception that to recognize a problem is to solve it. Thesolution of carrying on with Peter was actually only acompromise. She was willing to modify the trend to someextent but not yet willing to relinquish it. This was also223
  • 112. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sthe reason why, despite her clearer picture of Peter, shestill underrated his limitations, which, as will be seenpresently, were much greater and much more rigid thanshe believed. She also underrated his striving away fromher. She saw it, but hoped that by a change in her at-titude toward him she could win him back.Some weeks later she heard that someone had spreadslanderous remarks about her. It did not upset her con-sciously but led to a dream in which she saw a towerstanding in an immense desert; the tower ended in asimple platform, without any railing around it, and afigure stood at the edge. She awoke with a mild anxiety.The desert left her with an impression of somethingdesolate and dangerous. And it reminded her of ananxiety dream in which she had walked on a bridge thatwas broken off in the middle. The figure on the towermeant to her merely a symbol of loneliness, which sheactually felt, since Peter was away for some weeks. Thenthe phrase "two on an island" occurred to her. It broughtback fantasies she occasionally had of being alone witha beloved man in a rustic cabin in the mountains or atthe seashore. Thus at first the dream meant to her merelyan expression of her longing for Peter and of her feelingalone without him. She also saw that this feeling hadbeen increased by the report she had heard on the previ-ous day, that is, she recognized that the slanderous re-marks must have made her apprehensive and enhancedher need for protection.224A Morbid DependencyIn going over her associations she wondered why shehad not paid any attention to the tower in the dream.An image occurred to her, which came to her mind oc-casionally, of herself standing on a column in the midstof a swampland; arms and tentacles arising from theswamp reached out for her as if they wanted to drag herdown. Nothing more happened in this fantasy; therewas only this picture. She had never paid much attentionto it, and had seen only its most obvious connotation: afear of being dragged down into something dirty andnasty. The slanderous remarks must have revived thisfear. But she saw suddenly another aspect of the picture,that of putting herself above others. The dream of thetower had this aspect, too. The world was arid and deso-late, but she towered above it. The dangers of the worldcould not reach her.Thus she interpreted the dream as meaning that shehad felt humiliated by the slanderous remarks and hadtaken refuge in a rather arrogant attitude; that the iso-lated height upon which she thus placed herself wasfrightening because she was much too insecure to standit; that she had to have somebody to support her on thisheight and became panicky because there was nobodyon whom she could lean. She recognized almost instan-taneously the broader implication of this finding. Whatshe had seen hitherto was that she needed somebody tosupport and protect her because she herself was defense-less and unassertive. Now she realized that she would oc-casionally swing to the other extreme, haughtiness, and
  • 113. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sthat in such situations she had to have a protector justas much as she did when she effaced herself. She wasgreatly relieved because she felt that she had glimpseda new vista of ties fastening her to Peter, and therebynew possibilities of dissolving them.In this interpretation Clare did in fact recognize an-other reason why she needed emotional support. Thereare good reasons why she had never seen this aspect ofthe problem. The whole area in her personality thatconsisted of arrogance, contempt for people, need to ex-cel, need to triumph, was still so deeply repressed thatas yet it had been illuminated only by flashes of insight.Even before she had started her analysis she had had oc-casional realizations of her need to despise people, ofher great elation at any success, of the role ambitionplayed in her daydreams, and it was a fleeting insight ofthis kind that she had now. But this whole problem wasstill so deeply buried that its manifestations couldscarcely be understood. It was as if a shaft leading intothe depths was suddenly lit up, and soon after obliter-ated by darkness. Thus another implication of this seriesof associations remained inaccessible. The picture of ex-treme solitude as presented in the tower in the desertreferred not only to her feeling alone without Peter, butto her isolation in general. The subversive arrogance wasone of the factors responsible for it, as well as resultingfrom it. And fastening herself to one person—"two onan island"-—was a way of escaping from such isolationwithout having to straighten out her relations withpeople in general.226A Morbid DependencyClare believed that she could now cope with Peter ina better way, but soon afterward a double blow camewhich brought her problems to a climax. First shelearned indirectly that he was having or had had an af-fair with another woman. She had barely received thatshock when Peter wrote to her that it would be better forboth of them if they separated. Clares first reaction wasto thank heaven that this had not occurred earlier. Now,she thought, she could stand it.The first reaction was a mixture of truth and self-deception. The truth in it was that a few months beforeshe probably could not have endured the stress withoutgrave injury to herself; in the months to come she notonly proved that she could stand it, but came closer toa solution of the whole problem. But this first matter-of-fact reaction apparently resulted also from the factthat she did not let the blow penetrate beneath a de-fensive armor. When it did penetrate, within the nextfew days, she was thrown into a turmoil of wild despair.She was too deeply upset to analyze her reaction,which is understandable. When a house is on fire onedoes not reflect on causes and effects but tries to get out.Clare recorded two weeks later that for a few days theidea of suicide kept recurring to her, though it neverassumed the character of a serious intention. She quicklybecame aware of the fact that she was merely playingaround with the idea, and she then faced herself squarelywith the question whether she wanted to die or to live.She definitely did want to live. But if she did not wantto live as a wilting flower she not only had to rid herself227
  • 114. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sof her longing for Peter, and the feeling that her lifewas smashed to pieces by losing him, but also to over-come radically her whole problem of compulsive de-pendency.As soon as the issue was thus clear in her mind astruggle set in of unexpected intensity. It was only nowthat she felt the unmitigated power of her need to mergewith another person. There was no more fooling aroundwith the persuasion that it was "love": she realized itwas like a drug addiction. She saw with perfect claritythat she had only the two alternatives of succumbing tothe dependency, and finding another "partner," or over-coming it altogether. But could she overcome it? Andwas life worth living without it? She tried franticallyand pathetically to persuade herself that after all lifeoffered her many good things. Did she not have a nicehome? Could she not find satisfaction in work? Did shenot have friends? Could she not enjoy music and nature?It did not work. It all seemed as unappealing and ir-relevant as the intermission in a concert. An intermis-sion was all right—one marked time as pleasantly as pos-sible until the music started again—but no one wouldwant to go merely to the intermission. It struck her onlyfleetingly that this reasoning was thoroughly inapplica-ble. The feeling prevailed that any real change was be-yond her strength.Finally a thought occurred to her which despite itsprofound simplicity brought a turn for the better. It wasthe old wisdom that often an "I cant" is an "I wont."Perhaps she simply did not want to put her life on a differ-228Morbid Dependencyent basis? Perhaps she actively refused to turn to any-thing else in life, like a child who refuses to eat anythingif he does not get apple pie? Since she had recognizedher dependency she had merely seen that her beingcaught hand and foot in the one relationship had sosapped her energies that nothing was left for anybodyelse. Now she realized that it was more than a meredrainage of interests. She herself rejected and devalu-ated everything she did on her own, or with anybodybut the "beloved." Thus it dawned on her, for the firsttime, how deeply she was caught in a circle: her devalua-tion of everything outside the one relationship neces-sarily made the partner in that relationship all impor-tant; and this unique importance in turn alienated hermore widely from herself and others. This dawning in-sight, which later proved to be right, startled her and en-couraged her. If forces were operating within herselfwhich prevented her from becoming free from captivity,then perhaps she could do something about her bond-age.This period of inner turmoil thus ended with Claresobtaining a new lease on life and a renewed incentiveto work at the problem. But here a number of questionsarise. What about the value of the foregoing analyticalwork if the loss of Peter could still upset her as deeply asit did? Two considerations have a bearing on this ques-tion.One is the insufficiency of the previous work. Clarehad recognized the fact that she was compulsively de-pendent, and had seen certain implications of this condi-229
  • 115. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Stion. But she was far from reaching a real grasp on theproblem. If one doubts the value of the work accom-plished one makes much the same mistake that Clareherself made during the whole period before the climax,underrating the import of the particular neurotic trendand therefore expecting too quick and too easy results.The other consideration is that on the whole the finalupheaval was itself of a constructive nature. It repre-sented the culminating point of a line of developmentthat runs from a complete ignorance of the problem in-volved, and the most vigorous unconscious attempts todeny its existence, to a final full realization of its severity.The climax brought it home to her that her dependencywas like a cancerous growth which cannot be kept withinsafe boundaries (compromises) but must be eradicatedlest ones life be gravely jeopardized. Under the pressureof the acute distress Clare succeeded, too, in bringinginto sharp conscious focus a conflict which had hithertobeen unconscious. She had been entirely unaware of be-ing torn between wanting to relinquish her dependencyon another person and wanting to continue it. This con-flict had been camouflaged by her compromise solutionswith Peter. Now she had faced it, and was able to take aclear stand as to the direction in which she wanted to go.In this regard the phase she was now going through il-lustrates a fact mentioned in a previous chapter, that atcertain periods in analysis it is necessary to take a stand,to make a decision. And it must be reckoned as anachievement if through the analytical work a conflict hassufficiently crystallized for the patient to be able to do230forbid Dependencythis. In Clares case the issue, of course, was whether ornot she would immediately try to replace the lost pillarwith a new one.Naturally it is upsetting to face a problem in that un-compromising way. And here a second question comesin. Did Clares experience produce a greater danger ofsuicide than it would have without analysis? For a con-sideration of this question it is relevant that she had in-dulged in suicidal notions at previous times. She hadnever, however, been able to terminate them so deci-sively as she did this time. Formerly they had simplyfaded out of the picture because something "nice" hap-pened. Now she refuted them actively, consciously, andwith a constructive spirit. Also, as mentioned above, herfirst reaction of gratefulness that Peter had not with-drawn earlier was in part a genuine feeling that she wasnow more capable of coping with his desertion. It seemssafe to assume, therefore, that the suicidal tendencieswould have been stronger and more persistent withoutthe analytical work that was done.A final question is whether Clare would have recog-nized the full severity of her entanglement without theexternal pressure exerted by Peters breaking away fromher. It might be thought that Clare, having passedthrough the development that occurred before the sepa-ration, could not possibly have stopped permanently atan essentially untenable compromise solution, but wouldhave gone on sooner or later. On the other hand, theforces opposing her final liberation had great strength,and she might still have gone to considerable lengths to231
  • 116. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Smake further compromises. This would be an idle specu-lation not worth mentioning if it did not touch upon anattitude toward analysis not infrequent among analystsas well as patients. This attitude is an assumption thatanalysis alone is able to solve everything. But when treat-ment is endowed with such omnipotence it is forgottenthat life itself is the best therapist. What analysis can dois to make one able to accept the help that life offers,and to profit from it. And it had done exactly this jobin Clares case. It is probable that without the analyticalwork that she accomplished she would have reached outfor a new partner as soon as possible, and thus perpetu-ated the same pattern of experience. The importantpoint is not whether she could have freed herself with-out outside help but whether, when that help came, shewas able to turn it into a constructive experience. Andthis she did.As to the content of Clares findings in this period,the most important one was the discovery of an activedefiance against living her own life, feeling her own feel-ings, thinking her own thoughts, having her own in-terests and plans, in short against being herself and find-ing the center of gravity within herself. In contrast toher other findings, this one was merely an emotional in-sight. She did not arrive at it by way of free association,and there were no facts to substantiate it. Nor did shehave any inkling of the nature of the opposing forces;she merely felt their existence. Retrospectively we canunderstand why she could hardly have gone any furtherat that point. Her situation was comparable to that of a232Morbid Dependencyperson who is driven from his homeland and confrontedwith the task of putting his whole life on a new basis.Clare had to make a fundamental change in her attitudetoward herself and in her relations with others. Nat-urally she was bewildered by the complexity of thisprospect. But the main reason for the blockage was that,despite her determination to solve the problem of de-pendency, there were still powerful unconscious forcespreventing a final solution. She was, as it were, hangingin mid-air between two ways of dealing with life, notready to leave the old and not ready to reach out for thenew.In consequence the following weeks were character-ized by ups and downs in quick succession. She waveredbetween times in which the experience with Peter andall that it entailed appeared as part of a far-distant past,and others in which she desperately longed to win himback. Solitude, then, was felt as an unfathomable crueltyperpetrated on her.In one of these latter days, going home alone from aconcert, she found herself thinking that everyone wasbetter off than she. But, she argued, other people arealone, too. Yes, but they like it. But people who have ac-cidents are worse off. Yes, but they are taken care of inhospitals. And what about the unemployed? Yes, theyare badly off, but they are married. At this point shesuddenly saw the grotesqueness of her way of arguing.After all, not all the unemployed were happily married;and, even if they were, marriage was not a solution for233
  • 117. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Severything. She recognized that a tendency must be atwork which made her talk herself into an exaggeratedmisery. The cloud of unhappiness was dispelled and shefelt relieved.When she began to analyze this incident the melody ofa song from Sunday school occurred to her, without herbeing able to recall the text. Then an emergency opera-tion she had had to have for appendicitis. Then the"neediest cases" published at Christmas. Then a pictureof a huge crevice in a glacier. Then a movie in which shehad seen that glacier; somebody had fallen into thecrevice and was pulled out at the last moment. Then amemory from the time when she was about eight yearsold. She was crying in bed and felt it was unthinkablethat her mother would not come and console her. Shedid not know whether a quarrel with her mother hadgone before. All she recalled was the unshakable con-viction that her mother would be moved by her dis-tress. The mother actually did not come, and she fellasleep.Presently she recalled the text of the melody fromSunday school. It declared that no matter how great oursorrow, God will help us if we pray to Him. She suddenlysaw the clue to her other associations and to the exag-gerated misery that had preceded them: she had an ex-pectation that great distress would bring about help.And for the sake of this unconscious belief she made her-self more miserable than she was. It was shockingly silly,yet she had done it, and had done it frequently. In thecrying spells, which had incidentally vanished com-Morbid Dependencypletely, she had done exactly that. And she rememberedany number of occasions when she had felt herself themost abused of all mortals, only to realize some timelater that she had made matters much worse than theyactually were. When she had been in the spell of suchunhappiness, however, the reasons for it looked, andeven felt, real. At such times she had often telephonedPeter, and he was usually sympathetic and helpful. Inthis regard she could almost count on him; here he hadfailed her less than anybody else. Perhaps this was a moreimportant tie than she had realized? But sometimesPeter had not taken her unhappiness at its face value andhad teased her about it, as her mother and brother hadteased her in childhood. Then she had felt deeply of-fended and was furious with him.Yes, there was a clear pattern that repeated itself—exaggerated misery and at the same time an expectationof help, consolation, encouragement, from her mother,from God, from Bruce, from her husband, from Peter.Her playing the martyr role, apart from everything else,must have been also an unconscious plea for help.Clare was thus on the verge of recognizing anotherimportant clue to her dependency. But a day or so latershe started to argue against her finding on two grounds.One was that it was nothing unusual, after all, to expectfriendliness from a friend in bad times. What else wasthe value of friendship! Everybody is good to you if youare gay and contented. But with your sorrows you can goonly to a friend. The other ground for disproving herfinding was a doubt that it was applicable to the misery235
  • 118. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sof the evening on which it had emerged. She had exag-gerated her unhappiness, to be sure, but no one had beenthere to impress, no Peter could be telephoned. Shecould not possibly be so irrational as to believe that helpwould come merely because she made herself feel themost miserable of human beings. Yet sometimes whenshe felt bad something good did happen. Somebodywould call her up or invite her out. She would receive aletter, her work would be praised, music on the radiowould cheer her up.She did not immediately notice that she argued for twocontradictory points: that it was irrational to expect helpas a direct result of feeling distressed; and that it wasrational. But she saw the contradiction when she rereadher notes some days later, and then she drew the onlysensible conclusion, which was that she must have at-tempted to argue herself out of something.She tried first to explain her equivocal reasoning onthe basis that she felt a general distaste at finding in her-self anything so irrational as an expectation of magichelp—but this did not satisfy her. This, by the way, wasan important clue. If we find an irrational area in anotherwise rational person we can be sure that it hidessomething important. The fight that is often put upagainst the quality of irrationality is usually in reality afight against having its background uncovered. Thisheld true here, too. But even without such reasoningClare realized soon after that the real stumbling blockwas not the irrationality per se, but her resistance againstfacing her finding. She recognized that a belief that she236A Morbid Dependencycould command help through misery actually had astrong hold upon her.Within the next months she saw with a gradually in-creasing measure of lucidity and in great detail what thisbelief did to her. She saw that she unconsciously tendedto make a major catastrophe out of every difficulty thatarose in her life, collapsing into a state of complete help-lessness, with the result that despite a certain front ofbravery and independence her prevailing feeling towardlife was one of helplessness in the face of overwhelmingodds. She recognized that this firm belief in forthcominghelp had amounted to a kind of private religion, andthat not unlike a true religion it had been a powerfulsource of reassurance.Clare also acquired a deepened insight as to the extentto which her reliance on someone else had taken theplace of reliance on herself. If she always had someonewho taught her, stimulated her, advised her, helped her,defended her, gave her affirmation of her value, therewas no reason why she should make any effort to over-come the anxiety involved in taking her life into herown hands. Thus the dependent relationship had socompletely fulfilled its function of allowing her to copewith life without having to rely on herself that it hadrobbed her of any real incentive to abandon the small-girlish attitude entailed in her compulsive modesty. Infact, the dependency had not only perpetuated her weak-ness by stifling her incentive to become more self-reliantbut it had actually created an interest in remaining helpless. If she remained humble and self-effacing all hap-237
  • 119. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Spiness, all triumph would be hers. Any attempt at greaterself-reliance and greater self-assertion was bound tojeopardize these expectations of a heaven on earth. Thisfinding, incidentally, sheds light on the panic she feltat her first steps toward asserting her opinions andwishes. The compulsive modesty had not only given herthe sheltering cloak of inconspicuousness, but it had alsobeen the indispensable basis for her expectations of"love."She realized it was merely a logical consequence, then,that the partner to whom she ascribed the godlike roleof magic helper—to use a pertinent term of ErichFromms—became all important, and that to be wantedand loved by him became the only thing that mattered.Peter, through his peculiar qualities—apparently he wasthe savior type—was particularly fitted to play this role.His importance to her was not merely the importance ofa friend who can be called upon in any time of real dis-tress. His importance lay in the fact that he was an in-strument whose services she could demand by makingher need for them sufficiently great.As a result of these insights she felt much more freethan ever before. The longing for Peter, which at timeshad been excruciatingly strong, started to recede. Moreimportant, the insight brought about a real change inher objectives in life. She had always consciously wantedto be independent, but in her actual life had given thiswish mere lip service and had reached out for help inany difficulty that arose. Now to become able to copewith her own life became an active, alive goal.238Morbid DependencyThe only critical comment to be made on this piece ofanalysis is that it neglected the specific issue involved atthat particular time: Clares incapacity to be alone. SinceI do not want to miss any opportunity to show how to goafter a problem I shall mention two slightly differentways in which this one might have been approached.Clare could have started from the consideration thather spells of misery had already decreased markedlywithin the last year. They had decreased to such an ex-tent that she herself dealt more actively with externaland internal difficulties. This consideration would haveled to the question of why she had to resort to the oldtechnique at just this point. Granted that she was un-happy alone, why did solitude present such an intolera-ble distress as to call for an instantaneous remedy? Andif being alone was thus distressing why could she not dosomething actively about it herself?Clare could also have started from an observation ofher actual behavior. She felt miserable when alone, butshe made hardly any effort to mix with friends or tomake new contacts; instead she withdrew into a shell andexpected magic help. Despite her otherwise astute self-observation Clare overlooked completely how odd heractual behavior was on this score. Such a blatant blindspot usually points to a repressed factor of great potency.But, as I said in the previous chapter, if we miss aproblem it catches up with us. This problem caught upwith Clare some weeks later. She then arrived at a solu-tion by a somewhat different route from either of those I
  • 120. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Shave suggested—an illustration of the fact that also inpsychological matters there are several roads to Rome.Since there is no written report on this part of her analy-sis I shall merely indicate the steps that led up to thenew insight.The first was a recognition that she could see herselfonly in the reflected light of others. The way in whichshe sensed that others evaluated her entirely determinedthe way she evaluated herself. Clare did not recall how shearrived at that insight. She remembered only that itsuddenly struck her so forcibly that she almost fainted.The meaning of this insight is so well elucidated by anursery rhyme that I cannot resist the temptation toquote it:There was an old womanAs I have heard tellShe went to marketHer eggs for to sell.She went to marketAll on a market-dayAnd fell asleepOn the kings highway.By came a peddlerHis name was StoutHe cut off her petticoatAll round about.He cut off her petticoatUp to her knees240Morbid DependencyWhich made the old womanShiver and freeze.When the old womanFirst did awakeShe began to shiverAnd then to shake.She began to wonderAnd then to cry,"Mercy on meThis is not I."But if it be IAs I hope it beI have a little dog at homeAnd he will know me.If it be IHell wag his little tailIf it be not IHell bark and hell wail."Home went the little womanAll in the darkUp jumped the little dogAnd began to bark.He began to barkAnd she began to cry,"Mercy on meThis is not I."241
  • 121. S E L F - A N A L Y S I SThe second step, which followed two weeks later, con-cerned more directly her revolt against being alone. Herattitude about this problem had changed since her analy-sis of the "private religion." She still felt the sting of be-ing alone as keenly as before, but instead of succumbingto a helpless misery she had taken active steps to avoidsolitude. She sought the company of others and enjoyedit. But for about a week she was entirely obsessed by theidea that she must have a close friend. She felt like ask-ing all the people she met, hairdresser, dressmaker, secre-tary, married friends, whether they did not know a manwho would be suitable for her. Everybody who was mar-ried or who had a close friend she regarded with themost intense envy. These thoughts assumed such pro-portions that it finally struck her that all of this was notonly pathetic but definitely compulsive.Only now was she able to see that her incapacity to bealone had greatly increased during the relationship withPeter, and had reached a climax after the separation.She realized, too, that she could endure solitude if itwas of her own choosing. It turned painful only if itwas not voluntary; then she felt disgraced, unwanted,excluded, ostracized. Thus she realized that the problemwas not a general incapacity to be alone, but a hyper-sensitivity to being rejected.Linking this finding with her recognition that her self-evaluation was entirely determined by the evaluation ofothers, she understood that for her the mere absence ofattention meant that she was thrown to the dogs. Thatthis sensitivity to rejection had nothing whatever to do242Morbid Dependencywith whether she liked those who rejected her, but con-cerned solely her self-esteem, was brought home to herby a memory from college. There had been in college agroup of snobbish girls who had formed a close cliquefrom which they had excluded her. She had no respect orliking for these girls but there had been moments whenshe would have given everything to belong to them. Inthis context Clare also thought of the close communitybetween her mother and brother, from which she hadbeen excluded. Incidents emerged in which she had beenmade to feel that in their eyes she was only a nuisance.She realized that the reaction she discovered now hadactually started at the time when she had stopped rebel-ling against discriminatory treatment. Up to that pointshe had had a native assurance that she was as good asthe others, and had spontaneously reacted against beingtreated like an inferior being. But in the long run theisolation inevitably engendered by her opposition wasmore than she could stand, as was shown in the secondchapter. In order to be accepted by the others she hadknuckled under, had accepted the implicit verdict thatshe was inferior, and had begun to admire the others assuperior beings. Under the stress of overwhelming oddsshe had dealt the first blow to her human dignity.She understood then that Peters breaking away fromher had not only put her on her own, at a time when shewas still rather dependent, but in addition had left herwith a feeling of utter worthlessness. The combinationof the two factors was responsible for the deep shockeffect of the break. It was the feeling of worthlessness
  • 122. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sthat had rendered it intolerable to be alone. This feelinghad first called for a magic remedy and had then pro-duced an obsessive desire for a close friend as a meansof rehabilitation. This insight brought about an im-mediate change. The wish for a man friend lost its com-pulsive character and she could be alone without feelinguneasy; she could even enjoy it at times.She saw, too, how her reaction to being rejected hadoperated during the unfortunate relationship withPeter. Retrospectively she recognized that Peter hadstarted to reject her in subtle ways soon after the firstexcitement of a love affair was gone. Through his with-drawing techniques and the irritability he showed in herpresence he had indicated in ever-increasing degree thathe did not want her. To be sure, this retreat had beendisguised by the assurances of love he had given hersimultaneously, but it could be effectively disguised onlybecause she had blinded herself to the evidence that hewanted to get away from her. Instead of recognizingwhat she must have known she had made ever-increasingefforts to keep him, efforts that were determined by adesperate need to restore her own self-regard. Now it wasclear to her that these very efforts to escape humiliationhad injured her dignity more than anything else.These efforts had been particularly pernicious sincethey involved not only an uncritical bending to Peterswishes but also an unconscious inflation of her feelingfor him. She realized that the more her actual feelingfor him diminished the more she had worked it up to apitch of false emotion, thus ensnaring herself still more244Morbid Dependencydeeply in her bondage. Her insights into the needs thatconstituted this "love" had lessened the tendency towardan inflation of feelings, but it was only now that herfeelings dropped sharply to their actual level; in all sim-plicity she discovered that she felt very little for him.This recognition gave her a feeling of serenity that shehad not had for a long time. Instead of wavering be-tween longing for Peter and wanting to take revengeshe took a calm stand toward him. She still appreciatedhis good qualities but she knew that it would be impos-sible for her ever to be closely associated with him again.With this last finding to be reported here Clare tackledthe dependency from a new angle. The work done upto this point can be summarized as a gradual recogni-tion that she was dependent because of her huge expec-tations of the partner. She had realized step by step thenature of these expectations, this work culminating inthe analysis of the "private religion." Now she saw inaddition how the loss of spontaneous self-confidence hadcontributed to the dependency in a more direct way. Thecrucial finding in this regard was the recognition thather picture of herself was entirely determined by theevaluation of others. It is in accord with the significanceof this insight that it struck her so deeply that she almostfainted; the emotional recognition of this tendency con-stituted an experience so deep that for a short momentit almost overwhelmed her. The insight did not in itselfsolve the problem but it was the basis for recognizingthe inflation of her feelings and the far-reaching signifi-cance that "rejection" had for her.245
  • 123. S E L F - A N A L Y S I SThis piece of analysis also paved the way for a laterunderstanding of her repressed ambition. It enabled herto see that to be accepted by others was one way of lift-ing her crushed self-regard, a purpose that was servedfrom another direction by an ambition to excel others.Clare returned to analytical treatment some monthsafter she accomplished the work reported here, partlybecause she wanted to talk matters over with me, partlybecause of remaining inhibitions in creative writing. Asmentioned in Chapter Three, we used that period towork through her need to excel, or, more generallyspeaking, her repressed aggressive and vindictive trends.I feel confident that she could have done this work byherself, though perhaps it would have taken a longertime. The analysis of the repressed aggressive trends con-tributed in turn to a still better understanding of thedependency. Also, by rendering her more assertive, itremoved any danger that might still have existed thatshe would ever relapse into another morbidly dependentrelationship. But the power exercised on her by her needto merge with a partner was essentially broken by theanalytical work that she had done alone.246C H A P T E R N I N ESpirit and Rulesof Systematic Self-AnalysisSince we have already discussed psychoanalytic workfrom several points of view, and have seen from an ex-tensive example the general procedure in psychoana-lyzing oneself, it is scarcely necessary—and would indeedbe repetitious—to discuss systematically the techniqueof self-analysis. The following remarks will thereforemerely emphasize certain considerations, many of themalready mentioned in other contexts, which deservespecial attention when proceeding on ones own.As we have seen, the process of free association, offrank and unreserved self-expression, is the starting pointand continuous basis of all analytic work—self-analysisas well as professional analysis—but it is not at all easyof achievement. It might be thought that this process is247
  • 124. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Seasier when working alone, for then there is no one whomay appear to misunderstand, criticize, intrude, or re-taliate; besides, it is not so humiliating to express to one-self those things of which one may be ashamed. To someextent this is true, although it is also true that an out-sider, by the very fact of his listening, provides stimula-tion and encouragement. But there is no doubt whateverthat whether one is working alone or with an analyst thegreatest obstacles to free expression are always withinoneself. One is so anxious to ignore certain factors, andto maintain ones image of oneself, that alone or notalone one can hope only to approximate the ideal of freeassociations. In view of these difficulties the person whois working alone should remind himself from time totime that he acts against his true self-interest if he skipsor obliterates any thought or feeling that arises. Also, heshould remember that the responsibility is entirely hisown: there is no one but himself to guess a missing linkor inquire about a gap left open.This conscientiousness is particularly important in re-gard to the expression of feelings. Here there are twoprecepts that should be remembered. One is that the per-son should try to express what he really feels and notwhat he is supposed to feel according to tradition or hisown standards. He should at least be aware that theremay be a wide and significant chasm between genuinefeelings and feelings artificially adopted, and shouldsometimes ask himself—not while associating, but after-ward—what he really feels about the matter. The otherrule is that he should give as free range to his feelings as248Spirit and Ruleshe possibly can. This, too, is more easily said than done.It may appear ridiculous to feel deeply hurt at a seem-ingly trivial offense. It may be bewildering and distaste-ful to mistrust or hate somebody he is close to. He may bewilling to admit a ripple of irritation, but find it fright-ening to let himself feel the rage that is actually there.He must remember, however, that as far as outside con-sequences are concerned no situation is less dangerousthan analysis for a true expression of feelings. In analysisonly the inner consequence matters, and this is to recog-nize the full intensity of a feeling. This is important be-cause in psychological matters, too, we cannot hanganybody whom we have not first caught.Of course, no one can forcibly bring forth feelingsthat are repressed. All anyone can do is not to check thosethat are within reach. With all the good will in theworld Clare, at the beginning of her analysis, could nothave felt or expressed more resentment toward Peterthan she did. But as her analysis progressed she graduallybecame more capable of appreciating the existing in-tensity of her feelings. From one point of view the wholedevelopment she went through could be described as agrowing freedom to feel what she really felt.One more word as to the technique of free association:it is essential to abstain from reasoning while associating.Reason has its place in analysis, and there is ample op-portunity to use it—afterward. But, as already stressed,the very essence of free association is spontaneity. Hencethe person who is attempting it should not try to arriveat a solution by figuring out. Assume, for instance, that249
  • 125. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Syou feel so fatigued and so limp that you would like tocrawl into bed and pronounce yourself ill. You look outof a second-story window and detect yourself thinkingmiserably that if you fell down you would at most breakan arm. This startles you. You had not known that youwere desperate, even so desperate as to want to die. Thenyou hear a radio turned on above you, and you thinkwith moderate irritation that you would like to shoot thefellow operating it. You conclude rightly that there mustbe rage as well as despair behind your feeling ill. So faryou have done a good job. You already feel less paralyzed,because if you are furious at something you may be ableto find the reasons for it. But now you start a frantic con-scious search for what might have infuriated you. Yougo over all the incidents that occurred before you felt sotired. It is possible that you will hit upon the provocation,but the probability is that all your conscious diggingcomes to nought—and that the real source will occurto you half an hour later, after you have become discour-aged by the futility of your attempts and have given upthe conscious search.As unproductive as such attempts to force a solution isthe procedure of a person who, even while he lets hismind run freely, tries to get at the meaning of his as-sociations by putting two and two together. Whateverprompts him to do so, whether it is impatience or a needto be brilliant or a fear of giving way to uncontrolledthoughts and feelings, this intrusion of reason is boundto disturb the relaxed condition necessary for free as-sociation. It is true that the meaning of an association250Spirit and Rulesmay dawn upon him spontaneously. Clares series of as-sociations ending with the text of the religious song is agood example of this: here her associations showed anincreasing degree of lucidity although no conscious ef-fort had been made to understand them. In other words,the two processes—self-expression and understanding—may sometimes coincide. But as far as conscious effortsare concerned they should be kept strictly separate.If a definite distinction is thus established betweenfreely associating and understanding, when does one stopassociating and try to understand? Fortunately there areno rules whatever. As long as thoughts flow freely thereis no sense in arresting them artificially. Sooner or laterthey will be stopped by something stronger than them-selves. Perhaps the person arrives at a point where hefeels curious about what it all may mean. Or he may sud-denly strike an emotional chord that promises to shedlight on something that is troubling him. Or he maysimply run out of thoughts, which may be a sign of re-sistance but also may indicate that he has exhausted thesubject for the time being. Or he may have only alimited time at his disposal and still want to try himselfat interpreting his notes.As for the understanding of associations, the range ofthemes and combinations of themes that they may pre-sent is so infinite that there cannot possibly be any fixedrules regarding the meaning of individual elements inindividual contexts. Certain fundamental principleshave been discussed in the chapter on the share of the
  • 126. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sanalyst in the analytical process. But by necessity much isleft to personal ingenuity, alertness, and concentration.I shall therefore merely amplify what has already beensaid by adding a few remarks on the spirit in which in-terpretation should be undertaken.When a person stops associating and begins to go overhis notes in order to understand them, his method ofwork must change. Rather than being entirely passiveand receptive to whatever emerges, he becomes active.Now his reason comes into play. But I should prefer toexpress it negatively: he no longer excludes reason. Evennow he does not use it exclusively. It is difficult to de-scribe with any accuracy the attitude he should adoptwhen he tries to grasp the meaning of a series of associa-tions. The process should certainly not degenerate intoa mere intellectual exercise. If he wants that he will dobetter to play chess or predict the course of world poli-tics or take to crossword puzzles. An effort to figure outcompletely rounded interpretations, not missing any pos-sible connotation, may gratify his vanity by proving thesuperiority of his brains but will scarcely take him muchcloser to a real understanding of himself. Such an efforteven entails a certain danger, for it may hamper progressby engendering a smug know-it-all feeling while inreality he has only catalogued items without beingtouched by anything.The other extreme, a merely emotional insight, is farmore valuable. If it is not further elaborated this is notideal either, because it allows many significant leads, notyet altogether lucid, to drop out of sight. But, as we have252Spirit and Rules!seen from Clares analysis, an insight of this kind mayset something going. Early in her work she experiencedan intense lost feeling in connection with her dream ofthe foreign city; it was mentioned then that although itis impossible to prove whether this emotional experiencehad any effect upon the further analysis, through its dis-quieting nature it may well have loosened her rigid tabuagainst touching any of the complex ties that fastenedher to Peter. Another instance occurred during Claresfinal battle with her dependency, when she felt her de-fiance against taking her life into her own hands; shehad then no intellectual grasp of the meaning of thisemotional insight, yet it helped her to get out of a stateof lethargic helplessness.Instead of wanting to produce a scientific masterpiece,the person who is working alone should let his interpre-tation be directed by his interest. He should simply goafter what arrests his attention, what arouses his curi-osity, what strikes an emotional chord within him. If heis flexible enough to let himself be guided by his spon-taneous interest he can be reasonably certain that he willintuitively select those subjects which at the time aremost accessible to his understanding, or which fall inline with the problem on which he is working.I suppose this advice will arouse certain doubts. Do Inot advocate too great a leniency? Will the persons in-terest not lead him to pick out subjects that are familiarto him? Would this course not mean giving in to his re-sistances? I shall discuss in a separate chapter the ques-tion of dealing with resistances. Only this much here. It
  • 127. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sis true that to be guided by ones interest means to takethe way of least resistance. But the least resistance is notthe same as no resistance. The principle means essen-tially a pursuit of those subjects which at the time beingare least repressed. And this is exactly the principle thatthe analyst applies when he metes out interpretations.As already emphasized, he will choose those factors forinterpretation which he believes the patient can fullygrasp at the time, and he will refrain from embarkingupon problems that are still deeply repressed.Clares whole self-analysis illustrates the validity ofthis procedure. With apparent insouciance she neverbothered to tackle any problem that did not elicit a re-sponse in her, though it might almost stare her in theface. Without knowing anything about the principle ofguidance through interest she intuitively applied itthroughout her work, and it served her well. One ex-ample may stand for many. In the series of associationsending with the first emergence of the daydream of thegreat man Clare recognized merely the role that the needfor protection played in her relationships. The sugges-tions concerning her other expectations of men she dis-carded entirely, though they were an obvious and promi-nent part of the daydream. This intuitive choice tookher on the best course she could have followed. By nomeans did she merely move on familiar ground. Thefinding that a need for protection was an integral partof her "love" was a discovery of a factor hitherto un-known. Furthermore, as will be remembered, this dis-covery constituted the first inroad on her cherished il-Spirit and Ruleslusion of "love," in itself a painful and incisive step. Tohave taken up at the same time the aggravating problemof her sponging attitude on men would certainly havebeen too hard, unless she had dealt with it in a superficialway. This brings up a last point: it is not possible to ab-sorb more than one important insight at a time. An at-tempt to do so will be detrimental to both, or all, ofthem. Any relevant insight needs time and undividedconcentration if it is to "sink in" and take root.The understanding of a series of associations demandsflexibility not only in the direction of work, as just dis-cussed, but also in the method of approach. In otherwords, in the selection of problems one must be guidedby spontaneous emotional interests as well as by intel-ligence; and also in the study of the problems that ariseone must pass easily from deliberate thinking to intui-tive grasping of connections. This latter requirementmight be compared to the attitude required in studyinga painting: we think about composition, color combina-tions, brush strokes, and the like, but we also considerthe emotional responses that the painting elicits in us.This corresponds, too, to the attitude an analyst adoptstoward the patients associations. While listening to apatient I sometimes do hard thinking about possiblemeanings, and sometimes I arrive at a conjecture merelyby letting the patients talk play on my intuitive facul-ties. The verification of any finding, however, no matterhow one has arrived at it, always demands full intellec-tual alertness.A person may find, of course, that in a series of as-
  • 128. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Ssociations nothing commands his particular interest; hemerely sees one or another possibility but nothing il-luminating. Or, at the opposite extreme, he may findthat even as he delves into one connection certain otherelements also strike him as noteworthy. In both instanceshe will do well to put down in the margin the questionsleft open. Perhaps at a future time, in going over hisnotes, the mere theoretical possibilities will mean some-thing more to him, or the shelved questions can be takenup in more detail.There is still a last pitfall to be mentioned: never ac-cept more than you really believe. This danger is greaterin regular analysis, especially if the patient is one whotends to comply with authoritative assertions. But it mayplay a part also when a person relies on his own re-sources. He may feel obliged, for instance, to acceptwhatever "bad" things emerge concerning himself, andto suspect a "resistance" if he hesitates to do so. But hewill be on much safer ground if he regards his interpre-tation as merely tentative, and does not try to convincehimself that it is definite. The essence of analysis istruthfulness, and this should extend also to acceptanceor nonacceptance of interpretations.The danger of making an interpretation that is mis-leading or at least unprofitable can never be excluded,but one should not be overawed by it. If one does notweaken, but carries on in the right spirit, a more profita-ble path will open up sooner or later, or one will becomeaware of being in a blind alley and perhaps even learnfrom that experience. Clare, for instance, before em-256Spirit and Rulesbarking on her analysis of the dependency, had spent acouple of months digging after an alleged need to haveher own way. From the data that emerged later we canunderstand how she was led in that direction. She toldme, though, that during these attempts she had neverhad a feeling of conviction remotely similar to those sheexperienced later, during the period reported. Also, theultimate reason why she had taken that earlier coursewas that Peter often reproached her for being dominat-ing. This illustrates two points made above: the impor-tance of following ones own interests; and the impor-tance of not accepting anything without full conviction.But while this early search of Clares meant a waste oftime it petered out without harm and did not preventher from doing highly constructive work afterward.The constructive character of Clares work was duenot only to the essential correctness of her interpreta-tions but also to the fact that her analysis in this periodshowed a remarkable degree of continuity. Without in-tending to concentrate on one problem—for a long timeshe did not even know what it was—everything she em-barked upon turned into a contribution to the problemof her dependency. This unswerving unconscious con-centration upon a single problem, which made her ap-proach it relentlessly from ever-new angles, is desirablebut rarely attained to the same degree. We can accountfor it in Clares case, for at that period she was livingunder a formidable pressure—how formidable she fullyrecognized only later—and hence she unconsciously bent257
  • 129. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sall her energies into solving the problems that contrib-uted to it. Such a compelling situation cannot becreated artificially. But, the more absorbing ones in-terest in a problem, the more will a similar concentra-tion be approximated.Clares self-analysis illustrates very well the three stepsdiscussed in Chapter Three: recognizing a neurotictrend; understanding its implications; and discovering itsinterrelations with other neurotic trends. In Clares anal-ysis, as is often the case, the steps overlapped to some ex-tent: she recognized many of the implications before shefinally detected the trend itself. Nor did she make anyeffort to cover definite steps in her analysis: she did notdeliberately set out to discover a neurotic trend, and shedid not deliberately examine the connections betweenher dependency and her compulsive modesty. The recog-nition of the trend came of itself; and, similarly, theconnecting links between the two trends almost auto-matically became more and more visible as the analyticalwork proceeded. In other words, Clare did not selectthe problems—at least not consciously—but the prob-lems came to her, and in their unfolding they displayedan organic continuity.There was in Clares analysis a continuity of still an-other kind, even more important, and more possible toemulate: at no time was there any insight that remainedisolated or disconnected. What we see develop is not anaccumulation of insights but a structural pattern. Evenif every individual insight that a person gains in ananalysis is correct, he may still deprive himself of the258Spirit and Rulesgreatest benefits of his work if the insights remainscattered.Thus Clare, after recognizing that she let herself beimmersed in misery because she secretly believed shecould thereby command help, might merely have tracedthe origin of this trait in childhood and regarded it as apersistent infantile belief. That might have helpedsome, because nobody really wants to be miserable forno good reason; the next time she found herself suc-cumbing to a spell of misery she might have caught her-self up short. But at best this handling of her insightwould have diminished in the course of time the grossattacks of exaggerated unhappiness. And these attackswere not the most important expression of the trait. Orshe might have gone no further than the next step, ofconnecting her finding with her actual lack of self-assertion and recognizing that her belief in magic helpsubstituted for an active dealing with lifes difficulties.This, although still inadequate, would have helped con-siderably more, because it would have opened up a newincentive to do away with the whole attitude of help-lessness lying behind the belief. But if she had not linkedup the magic-help belief with her dependency, and seenthe one as an integral part of the other, she could notthoroughly have overcome the belief, because she wouldalways have made the unconscious reservation that if shecould only find the permanent "love," help would al-ways be forthcoming. It was only because she saw thatconnection, and because she recognized the fallacy insuch an expectation and the excruciating price she had259
  • 130. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sto pay for it, that the insight had the radically liberatingeffect it did.It is thus by no means a matter of purely theoreticalinterest for a person to discover how a personality traitis embedded in his structure, with manifold roots andmanifold effects; it is also of the greatest therapeutic im-portance. This requirement could be expressed in thefamiliar terms of dynamics: one must know the dynamicsof a trait before one can change it. But this word is likea coin that has become a bit shabby and thin throughlong usage. Besides, it usually suggests the idea of driv-ing forces, and might be interpreted here to mean thatone should merely seek such forces, whether in earlychildhood or in the present. In this case the notion ofdynamics would be misleading, for the influence that atrait exerts on the entire personality is just as importantas the factors that determine its existence.It is by no means only in psychological matters thatthis awareness of structural interrelations is essential.The considerations I have emphasized apply with equalweight to questions of organic illness, for example. Nogood physician will regard a heart disorder as an isolatedphenomenon. He will consider also in what way theheart is influenced by other organs, such as the kidneysand the lungs. And he must know how the heart condi-tion in turn affects other systems in the body: how it af-fects, for instance, the circulation of the blood or theaction of the liver. His knowledge of such influenceswill help him to understand the intensity of the disorder.If it is thus essential in analytic work not to become260Spirit and Ruleslost in scattered details, how can the desirable continuitybe brought about? Theoretically the answer is impliedin the preceding paragraphs. If a person has made apertinent observation or gained an insight into himselfhe should examine how the peculiarity uncovered mani-fests itself in various areas, what consequences it has andwhich factors in his personality account for it. But thismay be regarded as a rather abstract statement, andtherefore I shall try to illustrate it with a constructed ex-ample. It must be borne in mind, however, that anybrief example necessarily gives an impression of a neat-ness and a simplicity that do not exist in actuality. Also,such an example, intended to show the variety of factorsto be recognized, cannot indicate the emotional experi-ences a person has when analyzing himself, and therebyit draws a one-sided and overrational picture.Bearing in mind these reservations, let us imagine aperson who has observed that in certain situations inwhich he would like to participate in discussions he istongue tied because he is afraid of possible criticism. Ifhe allows this observation to take root within himself hewill begin to wonder about the fear involved, since it isout of proportion to any real danger. He will wonderwhy the fear is so great that it prevents him not onlyfrom expressing his thoughts but also from thinkingclearly. He will wonder whether the fear is greater thanhis ambition, and whether it is greater than any con-siderations of expediency, which, for the sake of hiscareer, would make it desirable that he produce a goodimpression.261
  • 131. S E L F - A N A L Y S I SHaving thus gained an interest in his problem, he willtry to find whether similar difficulties operate in otherareas of his life, and, if so, what form they take. He willexamine his relations with women. Is he too timid toapproach them because they might find fault with him?What about his sexual life? Was he once impotent fora while because he could not get over a failure? Is hereluctant to go to parties? What about shopping? Doeshe buy an expensive whisky because otherwise the sales-man might think he is too economical? Does he tip toogenerously because the waiter might look down uponhim? Furthermore, exactly how vulnerable is he in re-gard to criticism? What is sufficient to touch off an em-barrassment or to make him feel hurt? Is he hurt onlywhen his wife overtly criticizes his necktie or is he uneasywhen she merely praises Jimmy for always matching histie and his socks?Such considerations will give him an impression of theextent and intensity of his difficulty and of its variousmanifestations. He will then want to know how it affectshis life. He knows already that it makes him inhibited inmany areas. He cannot assert himself; he is too com-pliant with what others expect of him, and therefore hecan never be himself but must automatically play a part.This makes him resentful against others, for they appearto dominate him, but it also lowers his own self-esteem.Finally, he looks out for the factors that are responsi-ble for the difficulty. What made him so fearful of criti-cism? He may remember that his parents held him tovery rigid standards, and may recall any number of in-262Spirit and Rulescidents in which he was scolded or made to feel inade-quate. But he will also have to think of all the weak spotsin his actual personality which, in their totality, renderhim dependent on others and therefore make him regardtheir opinion of him as of compelling importance. Ifhe can find the answers to all such questions his recog-nition that he is afraid of criticism will no longer be anisolated insight but he will see the relationship of thistrait to the whole structure of his personality.It may well be asked whether I mean by this examplethat a person who has discovered a new factor shoulddeliberately ransack his experiences and feelings in thevarious ways indicated. Certainly not, because such aprocedure would involve the same danger of a merelyintellectual mastery that was discussed before. But heshould grant himself a period of contemplation. Heshould meditate on his finding in much the same manneras an archaeologist who has discovered a buried statue,badly mutilated, looks at his treasure from all angles un-til the original features reveal themselves to his mind.Any new factor that a person recognizes is like a search-light turned on certain domains of his life, lighting upspots which have hitherto been dark. He is almost boundto see them if only he is vividly interested in recognizinghimself. These are points at which the guidance of anexpert would be particularly helpful. At such times ananalyst would actively help the patient to see the signifi-cance of the finding, raising one or another question thatit suggests and tying it up with previous findings. Whenno such outside help is available the best thing to do is263
  • 132. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sto refrain from rushing on with the analysis, to rememberthat a new insight means a conquest of new territory, andto try to benefit from that conquest by consolidating itsgains. In each of the examples in the chapter on occa-sional self-analysis I mentioned questions that mighthave been suggested by the insight gained. We can befairly certain that the reason why the people concerneddid not hit upon these questions was solely that their in-terest ended with the removal of their immediate dif-ficulties.If Clare were asked how she achieved such a remarka-ble continuity in her analysis she would probably givemuch the same answer as that given by a good cook whenasked for a recipe. His answer usually boils down to thefact that he goes by his feelings. But in the case of analy-sis this answer is not so unsatisfactory as in the case of anomelette. No one can borrow Clares feelings, but every-one has feelings of his own by which he can go. And thisbrings us back to a point made above in discussing theinterpretation of associations: it is helpful to have someknowledge of what to look out for, but the lookingshould be directed by ones own initiative and interest.One should accept the fact that one is a living beingdriven by needs and interests, and drop the illusion thatones mind operates with a well-greased, machinelikeperfection. In this process, as in so many others, thor-oughness in penetrating to one or another implicationcounts more than completeness. The implications thatare missed will turn up at some later time when one isperhaps more ready to see them.264Spirit and RulesContinuity of work is likely to be disturbed also bycauses outside a persons control. He must expect inter-ruptions, because he does not live in an experimentalvacuum. Any number of daily experiences will encroachupon his thinking, some of them perhaps eliciting emo-tional responses that call for immediate clarification.Suppose, for instance, that Clare had lost her job whileshe was working at the problem of her dependency, orthat she had assumed a new position requiring moreinitiative, assertion, and leadership. In either case otherproblems than her dependency would have stepped intothe foreground. All anyone can do in such circumstancesis to take these interruptions in his stride and to dealwith the problems arising as best he can. He may just aswell, however, have experiences that help him with theproblem at hand. Thus Peters breaking of the relation-ship certainly stimulated Clare to do further analyticalwork at her problem.On the whole, there is no need to worry too muchabout outside interferences. I have found in workingwith patients that even decisive outside events deflect thecourse of analysis only for a short while. Rather swiftly,and often without knowing it, the patient swings back tothe problem on which he was working, resuming it some-times at exactly the point where he had left it. We neednot resort to any mysterious explanation for this occur-rence, such as an assumption that that problem appealsmore to the patient than happenings in the outsideworld. It is more likely that since most experiences canelicit a number of responses, that one which is closest265
  • 133. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sto the problem at hand will touch him most deeply andthereby lead him to retrieve the thread he was about toabandon.The fact that these remarks have emphasized subjec-tive factors rather than presenting clear-cut directionsmay recall the criticism raised against analysis that it ismore an artistic than a scientific procedure. A discussionof this argument would lead us too far astray because itwould involve a philosophical clarification of terms.What counts here is a practical consideration, If analysisis called an artistic activity this would suggest to manypeople that one must be especially gifted to undertakeit. Naturally, our endowments differ. And just as somepeople are particularly skillful in mechanical matters orhave a particularly clear vision for politics, others havea special flair for psychological thinking. Yet what reallymatters is not an enigmatic artistic endowment but astrictly definable factor—which is ones interest or in-centive. This remains a subjective factor, but is it not thedecisive one for most of the things we do? What mattersis the spirit and not the rules.66C H A P T E R T E NDealing with ResistancesAnalysis sets going or accentuates a play of forces withinthe self between two groups of factors with contrastinginterests. The interest of the one group is to maintainunchanged the illusions and the safety afforded by theneurotic structure; that of the other group is to gain ameasure of inner freedom and strength through over-throwing the neurotic structure. It is for this reason thatanalysis, as has already been strongly emphasized, is notprimarily a process of detached intellectual research.The intellect is an opportunist, at the service of whateverinterest carries the greatest weight at the time. Theforces that oppose liberation and strive to maintain thestatus quo are challenged by every insight that is capableof jeopardizing the neurotic structure, and when thuschallenged they attempt to block progress in one way oranother. They appear as "resistances" to the analytical267
  • 134. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Swork, a term appropriately used by Freud to denoteeverything that hampers this work from within.Resistance is by no means produced only by theanalytical situation. Unless we live under exceptionalconditions life itself is at least as great a challenge to theneurotic structure as is the analyst. A persons secretclaims on life are bound to be frequently frustrated be-cause of their absolute and rigid character. Others donot share his illusions about himself, and will hurt himby questioning or disregarding them. Inroads upon hiselaborate but precarious safety measures are unavoida-ble. These challenges may have a constructive influence,but also he may react to them—as he does in analysis—first with anxiety and anger, one or the other prevailing,and then with a reinforcement of the neurotic tend-encies. He becomes still more withdrawn, more domi-nating, more dependent, as the case may be.In part the relationship with the analyst producesmuch the same feelings and responses as the relation-ships with others. But, since analysis is an explicit attackon the neurotic structure, the challenge it presents isgreater.In the major part of analytical literature it is an im-plicit or explicit axiom that we are helpless toward ourresistances, that is, that we cannot overcome them with-out expert help. This conviction will be held as thestrongest argument against the idea of self-analysis. Andit is an argument that will carry heavy weight, not onlywith analysts but also with every patient who has beenanalyzed, because both analyst and patient know the268Dealing with Resistancestenacious and devious struggles that arise when precari-ous territory is approached. But an appeal to experiencecan never be a conclusive argument, because experienceitself is determined by the whole complex of ruling con-cepts and customs, and by our mentality. More specifi-cally, analytical experience is determined by the factthat the patient is not given a chance to cope alone withhis resistances.A stronger consideration is the theoretical premisethat underlies the analysts conviction, which is no moreand no less than Freuds whole philosophy of the natureof man. This subject is too intricate to delve into here.Only this much: if man is driven by instincts and ifamong them a destruction instinct plays a prominentrole—as was the contention of Freud—not much, if any,space is left in human nature for constructive forces thatmight strive toward growth and development. And it isthese constructive forces that constitute the dynamiccounterpole to the forces producing the resistances. Adenial of them must by necessity lead to a defeatist atti-tude toward the possibility of overcoming our resistancesthrough our own efforts. I do not share this part of theFreudian philosophy, but I do not deny that the questionof resistance remains a serious consideration. The out-come of self-analysis, as of every analysis, depends by andlarge on the strength of the resisting forces and thestrength of the self to deal with them.The extent to which a person is factually helplesstoward resistances depends not only on their overt butalso on their hidden strength—in other words, the degree269
  • 135. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sto which they are discernible. To be sure, they may bediscovered and met in open battle; a patient may be fullyaware, for example, that he has a resistance against com-ing to analysis, or he may even realize that he is fightingtooth and nail against relinquishing a neurotic trend, asGlare did in her eventual battle for and against her de-pendency. More often resistances sneak up on him indisguised forms, without his recognizing them as such.In that case he does not know that resisting forces areoperating; he is merely unproductive, or feels listless,tired, discouraged. And he is, of course, helpless whenhe is thus confronted with an enemy which is not onlyinvisible but, as far as he knows, does not even exist.One of the most important reasons why he may notrecognize the presence of a resistance is the fact that de-fensive processes are set in motion not only when he isdirectly confronted with the problems involved, that is,when his secret claims on life are laid bare, his illusionsquestioned, his security measures jeopardized, but alsowhen he remotely approaches these domains. The moreintent he is on keeping them intact, the more sensitive heis to an approach even from the far distance. He is likea person who is frightened by thunderstorms and whois not only terrified by thunder and lightning but reactswith apprehension even to a cloud that appears on thefar horizon. These long-distance reactions escape atten-tion so easily because they arise with the emergence ofa subject that is apparently innocuous, one that does notseem likely to stir up strong feelings of any kind.An ability to recognize resistances demands some defi-270Dealing with Resistancesnite knowledge of their sources and their expressions.Hence it appears appropriate to recapitulate all that hasbeen said about the subject in scattered places through-out the book—often without explicitly mentioning theterm "resistance"—and to add certain points that are ofspecial interest for self-analysis.The sources of resistance are the sum total of a per-sons interests in maintaining the status quo. These in-terests are not—and emphatically not—identical with awish to remain ill. Everyone wants to get rid of handicapsand suffering, and in that wish he is all for change, andfor a quick change at that. What he wants to maintain isnot "the neurosis" but those aspects of it which haveproved to be of immense subjective value to him andwhich in his mind hold the promise of future securityand gratification. The basic factors that no one wants tomodify one iota are, briefly, those that concern his secretclaims on life, his claims for "love," for power, for inde-pendence and the like, his illusions about himself, thesafety zones within which he moves with comparativeease. The exact nature of these factors depends on thenature of his neurotic trends. Since the characteristicsand dynamics of neurotic trends have already been de-scribed, I need not go into further details here.In professional analysis the provocation for resistanceis, in the great majority of cases, something that has oc-curred in the analysis itself. If strong secondary defenseshave developed, the first resistances arise as soon as theanalyst questions the validity of these defenses, that is,
  • 136. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sas soon as he casts any doubt on the Tightness, goodness,or unalterability of any factor in the patients person-ality. Thus a patient whose secondary defenses consistin regarding everything concerning himself, faults in-cluded, as excellent and unique will develop a feeling ofhopelessness as soon as any motivation of his is ques-tioned. Another patient will react with a mixture of ir-ritability and discouragement as soon as he encounters,or the analyst points out to him, any trace of irration-ality within himself. It is in accordance with the functionof the secondary defenses—protection of the wholesystem developed—that these defensive reactions areelicited not merely when a special repressed factor is indanger of being uncovered but when anything is ques-tioned, regardless of content.But if the secondary defenses are not of such vitalstrength, or if they have been uncovered and faced, re-sistances are for the most part a response to attacks onspecific repressed factors. As soon as any domain is ap-proached, closely or remotely, which is tabu for the par-ticular patient he will react emotionally with fear oranger and will automatically set going a defensive actionin order to prevent further trespassing. This encroach-ment on a tabu need not be a specific attack but may re-sult merely from the analysts general behavior. Any-thing he does or fails to do, says or fails to say, may hurtone of the patients vulnerable spots and create a con-scious or unconscious resentment which for the time be-ing blocks the co-operative work.But resistances to analytical work can be elicited also272Dealing with Resistancesby factors outside the analytical situation. If outside cir-cumstances change during analysis in such a way as tofavor a smooth functioning of the neurotic trends, oreven to render them positively useful, the provocationfor resistance is greatly increased; the reason is, of course,that the forces opposing change have been strengthened.But resistance can be provoked also by unfavorable de-velopments in daily life. If a patient feels, for example,that he has been unfairly dealt with by someone in hiscircle his indignation may be so great that he refuses anyeffort in analysis to seek the real reason why he felt in-jured or insulted, his entire energy being concentratedon revenge. In other words, a resistance may be producedby developments outside as well as within the analyticalsituation if a repressed factor is touched upon, eitherspecifically or remotely.In principle the provocations for resistance are thesame in self-analysis. Here, however, it is not the ana-lysts interpretations but the persons own encroachmenton a painful insight or implication that provokes a re-sistance. Furthermore, the provocation that may lie inthe analysts behavior is lacking. This is an advantage ofself-analysis to some extent, though it should not be for-gotten that these provocations can prove to be most con-structive if the responses to them are correctly analyzed.Finally, in self-analysis the experiences of daily life seemto have a greater power to produce a blockage. This isreadily understandable: in professional analysis the pa-tients emotions are largely concentrated on the analyst,because of the importance he has assumed for the time273
  • 137. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sbeing, but such a concentration is lacking when analysisis undertaken alone.The ways in which resistances express themselves inprofessional analysis may be roughly grouped underthree headings: first, an open fight against the provokingproblem; second, defensive emotional reactions; andthird, defensive inhibitions or evasive maneuvers. Dif-ferent though they are in form, essentially these variousexpressions merely represent different degrees of direct-ness.In illustration let us assume that with a patient whohas a compulsive striving for absolute "independence"the analyst starts to tackle his difficulties in relationshipswith people. The patient feels this approach as an in-direct attack upon his aloofness and therefore on his in-dependence. In this he is right because any work at thedifficulties he has with people is meaningful only if theultimate goal is to improve his human relationships, tohelp him toward a greater friendliness and a feeling ofsolidarity with others. The analyst may not even havethese goals consciously in mind; he may believe that hemerely wants to understand the patients timidity, hisprovocative behavior, his predicaments with women.But the patient senses the approaching danger. His re-sistance may then take the form of an open refusal totackle the difficulties mentioned, a frank declaration thathe does not want to be bothered with people anyhow.Or he may react with distrust of the analyst, suspectingthat the latter wants to impose his standards upon him;he may believe, for instance, that the analyst wants to274Dealing with Resistancesimpose on him a distasteful gregariousness. Or he maysimply become listless toward the analytical work: he islate for his appointment, nothing much occurs to him,he changes the subject, he has no more dreams, heswamps the analyst with dreams so involved that theirxneaning is unintelligible.The first type of resistance, the open fight, is suffi-ciently clear and familiar to need no elaboration. Thethird type, defensive inhibitions or tactics of evasion,will be discussed presently in regard to its relevance forself-analysis. But the second type, defensive emotionalreactions, is particularly significant in professional analy-sis, for there such reactions can be concentrated on theanalyst.There are several ways in which a resistance may ex-press itself in emotional reactions regarding the analyst.In the example just mentioned the patient reacted witha suspicion that he was being misled. In others the re-action may be an intense but vague fear of being injuredby analysis. Or it may be only a diffuse irritation, or acontempt for the analyst on the grounds that he is toostupid to understand or to help. Or it may take the formof a diffuse anxiety which the patient tries to allay bystriving for the analysts friendship or love.The startling intensity that these reactions sometimesassume is due in part to the fact that the patient feelsthreatened in something essential to the structure he hasbuilt, but it is due also to the strategical value of the re-actions themselves. Such reactions serve to shift the em-phasis from the essential job of finding causes and effects275
  • 138. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sto the much safer business of an emotional situation withthe analyst. Instead of going after his own problem thepatient concentrates his efforts on convincing the ana-lyst, winning him over, proving him wrong, thwartinghis endeavors, punishing him for having intruded intoterritory that is tabu. And along with this shift of em-phasis the patient either blames the analyst for all hisdifficulties, convincing himself that he cannot progresswith anyone who treats him with so little understandingand fairness, or puts all responsibility for the work onthe analyst, becoming himself inert and unresponsive.Needless to add, these emotional battles may go on un-der cover, and it may take a great deal of analytical workto bring them to the patients awareness. When they arethus repressed only the resulting blockage makes itselffelt.In self-analysis resistances express themselves in thesame three ways, but with an inevitable difference.Clares self-analysis produced only once an open anddirect resistance, but it produced a great deal of diversi-fied inhibition toward the analytical work and muchevasive maneuvering. Occasionally Clare felt a consciousemotional reaction to her analytical findings—such asher shock at discovering her sponging attitude towardmen—but such reactions did not prevent her furtherwork. And I believe that this is a fairly typical pictureof the way resistances operate in self-analysis. At anyrate, it is a picture that we might reasonably expect. Emo-tional reactions to the findings are bound to occur: theperson will feel apprehensive, ashamed, guilty, or ir-Dealing with Resistancesritated about what he discovers in himself. But these re-actions do not assume the proportions they do in pro-fessional analysis. One reason for this is that there is noanalyst with whom he can engage in a defensive fight, orwhom he can make responsible: he is thrown back uponhimself. Another reason is that he usually deals with him-self more gingerly than an analyst would: he will sensethe danger far ahead and almost automatically shrinkback from a straight approach, resorting instead to oneor another means of avoiding the problem for the timebeing.This brings us to the defensive inhibitions and eva-sive maneuvers in which a resistance may express itself.These forms of blocking the way are as innumerable asthe variations in personality, and they may develop atany point along the way. Their manifestations in self-analysis can be discussed most conveniently by pointingout certain crucial points at which they may impedeprogress. In brief summary, they may prevent a personfrom starting to analyze a problem; they may impair thevalue of his free associations; they may block his under-standing; they may invalidate his findings.An inhibition toward starting to analyze a problemmay be indiscernible, for as a rule a person who is work-ing alone does not analyze himself regularly anyhow. Heshould not concern himself about the periods in whichhe feels no need for analysis, though a resistance may beoperative in such periods too. But he should be verywary about the times when he feels acutely distressed,disgruntled, fatigued, irritated, indecisive, apprehensive,
  • 139. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sand nevertheless refrains from any attempt to clarify thecondition. He may then feel a conscious reluctance to ana-lyze himself although he is fully aware that by doing sohe would at least give himself a chance to get out of thedistress and learn something from it. Or he may find anynumber of excuses for not making the attempt—he istoo busy, too tired, there is too little time. This form ofresistance is likely to be more frequent in self-analysisthan in professional analysis because in the latter, whilethe patient may forget or cancel an hour occasionally,there is sufficient pressure of routine, politeness, andmoney to prevent him from doing it very often.In the process of free association the defensive inhibi-tions and evasions operate in devious ways. They maymake a person flatly unproductive. They may lead himto "figure out" rather than let his mind run freely. Theymay cause his thoughts to wander off on a tangent, or,rather, produce a kind of dozing off in which he forgetsto keep track of the associations that emerge.A resistance can block his understanding by produc-ing blind spots toward certain factors. Either he willpay no attention to such factors or he will fail to grasptheir meaning or significance, even though he is per-fectly capable of doing so; there were several examples ofthis in Clares analysis. And the feelings or thoughts thatemerge may be minimized, as at the beginning Clareminimized her resentment and her unhappiness con-cerning her relationship with Peter. Furthermore, theresistance may lead to a search in a wrong direction. Herethe danger is not so much in being altogether fanciful278Dealing with Resistancesin the interpretation—that is, reading something intothe associations that is not there—as in picking out anexisting factor without considering the context in whichit appears, and thereby integrating it wrongly. Claresinterpretation of the memory of her doll Emily is anexample.Finally, when a person does arrive at a real finding aresistance operating through inhibitions or evasions canspoil its constructive value in many ways. Perhaps hewill invalidate the significance of his finding. Or insteadof working at it patiently he may precociously decidethat conscious efforts to overcome the particular dif-ficulty are all that is needed. Or he may refrain fromfollowing it up, because he "forgets" about it, does not"feel like" doing it, or for some reason or other simplydoes not get around to doing it. And when it is necessaryfor him to take a clear stand he may, in conscious goodfaith, resort to one or another compromise solution andthereby deceive himself about the result he has attained.He will believe then—as Clare did several times—thathe has solved a problem though actually he is still farfrom a solution.And now, how are resistances to be coped with? Tobegin with, no one can do anything about those that areunnoticeable, because the first and uppermost require-ment is to recognize that a resistance operates. Most re-sistances can be overlooked, particularly since as a ruleone is not too keen to see them. But there are certainforms that are bound to escape attention, no matter how279
  • 140. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Salert one is, or how intent on getting on. The foremostamong these are the blind spots and the minimizing offeelings. The severity of the obstacle these present de-pends upon how widespread and tenacious they are, andon the forces that are behind them. As a rule, they aremerely an expression of the fact that one is not yet ableto face certain factors. Clare, for instance, could not pos-sibly have seen at the beginning the depth of her resent-ment against Peter, or the extent to which she sufferedunder the relationship. Even an analyst could hardlyhave helped her to see this, or rather to grasp it. Toomuch work had to be done before she could tackle thesefactors. This consideration implies, encouragingly, thatblind spots will often clear up in time if the work is car-ried on.Almost the same holds true for a search in a wrongdirection. A resistance that expresses itself in this formis also difficult to detect, and it will cause a loss of time.But its presence may be suspected if one finds after awhile that no progress has been made, or that one is onlymoving in circles in spite of having worked at the prob-lems concerned. It is important in self-analysis—as in anyanalysis—not to be deluded about the progress made.Such a delusion may lift ones spirits for a while but iteasily prevents the discovery of a deep-seated resistance.This possibility of a wrong integration of findings is oneof the reasons why an occasional checkup with an analystis desirable.The other kinds of resistance are more easily noticed—with due allowance for the fact that they may be of a280Dealing with Resistancesforbidding intensity. A person can certainly notice hisresistance to starting work, if the situation is as describedabove. In the process of association he can become awarethat he is figuring out instead of thinking spontaneously;he can notice that his thoughts are wandering off, andthen either retrospectively recall their sequence or atleast retrieve the point at which they wandered off. Hecan catch himself up on fallacious reasoning if he goesover his notes on another day, as Clare did in connectionwith her expectations of magic help. He can suspect thatsomething is blocking progress if he finds that with con-spicuous regularity his findings are highly complimen-tary, or highly uncomplimentary, to himself. He caneven suspect that a reaction of discouragement is a formof resistance, though this is difficult if he is in the clutchesof such a feeling; what he should do here is to regard thediscouragement itself as a reaction to the analysis, in-stead of taking it at its face value.When he has become aware of an existing blockagehe should drop whatever analytical pursuits he is en-gaged in and take the resistance as the most urgent prob-lem to be tackled. It is as useless to force himself to goon against the resistance as it would be, to use Freudsillustration, to try again and again to light an electricbulb that does not burn; one has to see where the elec-tric current is blocked, whether in the bulb, in the fix-ture, in the cord, in the switch.The technique of tackling a resistance is to try to as-sociate to it. But in all resistances occurring duringanalytical work it is helpful, before associating, to go281
  • 141. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sover the notes that precede the blockage, because thereis a fair chance that the clue for it lies in an issue at leasttouched upon, and that while glancing over the notesthe point of departure may become evident. And some-times a person will not be capable of going after a re-sistance immediately: he may be too reluctant or feel toouneasy to do so. It is advisable then, instead of forcinghimself, merely to make a note that at this or that pointhe suddenly felt uneasy or tired, and to resume workthe next day when he may have a fresh perspective onmatters.In advocating that he "associate to a resistance" I meanthat he should consider the particular manifestation ofthe blockage and let his thoughts run freely along thatline. Thus if he has noticed that no matter what prob-lems are concerned his interpretations always make himcome out on top he should try to take that finding as apoint of departure for further associations. If he has be-come discouraged at a finding he should remember thatthe latter may have touched upon factors that he is notyet able or willing to change, and try to associate withthat possibility in mind. If his difficulty is in starting toanalyze, though he feels a need for self-examination, heshould remind himself that a previous piece of analysisor some outside occurrence may have produced a block-Dealing with Resistancesage.These resistances provoked by outside factors are par-ticularly common in self-analysis, for reasons that werementioned above. A person who is in the grip of neurotictrends—or for that matter almost any person—is quite282likely to feel offended or unfairly dealt with by a specialindividual, or by life in general, and to take at face valuehis reaction of hurt or resentment. In such situations ittakes a considerable degree of clarity to distinguish be-tween a real and an imagined offense. And even if theoffense is real it need not necessarily produce such re-actions: if he is not himself vulnerable to what othersmay do to him there are many offenses to which he mayrespond with pity or disapproval of the offender, per-haps with open battle, rather than with hurt or resent-ment. It is much easier merely to feel a right to be angrythan to examine exactly what vulnerable spot in him-self has been hit. But for his own interests this is the wayhe should proceed, even if there is no doubt that theother has been cruel, unfair, or inconsiderate.Let us assume that a wife is deeply disturbed at learn-ing that her husband has had a transient affair with an-other woman. Even months later she cannot get over it,although she knows it is a matter of the past and al-though the husband does everything to re-establish agood relationship. She makes herself and him miserable,and now and then goes on a spree of bitter reproachesagainst him. There are a number of reasons that mightexplain why she feels and acts in this way, quite apartfrom a genuine hurt about the breach of confidence. Itmay have hurt her pride that the husband could be at-tached to anyone but herself. It may be intolerable toher that the husband could slip out from her control anddomination. The incident may have touched off a dreadof desertion, as it would in a person like Clare. She may283
  • 142. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sbe discontented with the marriage for reasons of whichshe is not aware, and she may use this conspicuous oc-currence as an excuse for expressing all her repressedgrievances, thus engaging merely in an unconsciouscampaign of revenge. She may have felt attracted towardanother man and resent the fact that her husband in-dulged in a freedom that she had not allowed herself. Ifshe examined such possibilities she might not only im-prove the situation considerably but also gain a muchclearer knowledge of herself. Neither result is possible,however, as long as she merely insists upon her right tobe angry. The situation would be essentially the same ifshe had repressed her anger, though in that case it wouldbe much more difficult to detect her resistance towardself-examination.A remark may be in place about the spirit of tacklingresistances. We are easily tempted to be annoyed at our-selves for having a resistance, as if it indicated an irritat-ing stupidity or obstinacy. Such an attitude is under-standable because it is annoying or even exasperating toencounter self-made obstacles on our way to a goal thatwe desire in our best interests. Nevertheless there is nojustification or even any meaning in a person scoldinghimself for his resistances. He is not to blame for the de-velopment of the forces behind them, and, besides, theneurotic trends that they try to protect have given hima means of dealing with life when all other means havefailed. It is more sensible for him to regard the opposingforces as given factors. I am almost inclined to say thathe should respect them as a part of himself—respect284Dealing with Resistancesthem not in the sense of giving them approval and in-dulgence but in the sense of acknowledging them as or-ganic developments. Such an attitude will not only bemore just to himself but will also give him a much betterbasis for dealing with resistances. If he approaches themwith a hostile determination to crush them he willhardly have the patience and willingness necessary fortheir understanding.If resistances are tackled in the way and in the spiritindicated, there is a good chance that they may be under-stood and overcome—provided they are no strongerthan ones constructive will. Those that are strongerpresent difficulties that can at best be overcome onlywith expert help.285
  • 143. Limitations of Self-AnalysisC H A P T E R E L E V E NLimitations of Self-AnalysisThe distinction between resistance and limitation ismerely one of degree. Any resistance, if strong enough,can turn into an actual limitation. Any factor that de-creases or paralyzes a persons incentive to come to gripswith himself constitutes a possible limitation to self-analysis. I do not see any other way of presenting thesefactors than to discuss them separately, although theyare not separate entities. Thus in the following pages thesame factor is sometimes dealt with from several view-points.To begin with, a deep-rooted feeling of resignationconstitutes a serious limitation to self-analysis. A personmay be so hopeless about ever escaping from his psychicentanglements that he has no incentive to make morethan a halfhearted attempt to outgrow his difficulties.Hopelessness is present to some extent in every severe286neurosis. Whether it constitutes a serious obstacle totherapy depends upon the amount of constructive forcesstill alive or still to be revived. Such constructive forcesare often present even though they seem to have beenlost. But sometimes a person has been so entirely crushedat an early age, or has become caught in such unsolva-ble conflicts, that he has long since given up expectationsand struggle.This attitude of resignation may be entirely conscious,expressing itself in a pervasive feeling of futility concern-ing ones own life or in a more or less elaborate phi-losophy of the futility of life in general. Often it is rein-forced by a pride in belonging among the few peoplewho have not blinded themselves to this "fact." In somepersons no such conscious elaboration has taken place;they are merely passive, endure life in a stoical way, andno longer respond to any prospect of a more meaning-ful existence.Such resignation may be hidden also behind a feelingof boredom with life, as in Ibsens Hedda Gabler. Herexpectations are extremely meager. Life should be en-tertaining now and then, should provide some fun orthrill or excitement, but she expects nothing of positivevalue. This attitude is often accompanied—as it is inHedda Gabler—by a profound cynicism, the result ofa disbelief in any value in life and in any goal to strivefor. But a profound hopelessness may exist also in per-sons one would not suspect of it, persons who super-ficially give the impression of being capable of enjoyinglife. They may be good company, enjoy eating, drinking,287
  • 144. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Ssexual relations. In adolescence they may have beenpromising, capable of genuine interests and genuinefeelings. But for some reason or other they have becomeshallow, have lost their ambition; their interest in workhas become perfunctory, their relationships with peopleare loose, easily made and easily terminated. In short,they, too, have ceased to strive for a meaningful existenceand have turned to the periphery of life instead.Quite a different kind of limitation is set to self-analysis if a neurotic trend is what we might call, withsome inaccuracy, too successful. A craving for power, forexample, may be gratified to such an extent that the per-son would scoff at any suggestion of analysis, even thoughhis satisfaction with his life is actually built on quick-sand. The same holds true if a longing for dependencyis fulfilled in a marriage—a marriage, for example, be-tween such a person and one who has an urge for domi-nation—or in subordination to a group. Similarly, a per-son may successfully withdraw into an ivory tower andfeel comparatively at ease by keeping within its pre-cincts.This apparently successful assertion of a neurotictrend is produced by a combination of internal and ex-ternal conditions. As to the former, a neurotic trend that"succeeds" must not conflict too sharply with otherneeds. Actually a person is never entirely consumed byjust one compulsive striving, with everything else blottedout: no human being is ever reduced to a streamlinedmachine driving in one direction. But this concentra-tion may be approximated. And external conditions288Limitations of Self-Analysismust be of a kind to allow such a development. The com-parative importance of external and internal conditionsvaries infinitely. In our society a man who is financiallyindependent can easily withdraw into his ivory tower;but a person with scant resources can also withdraw fromthe world, if he restricts his other needs to a minimum.One person has grown up in an environment that allowshim a display of prestige or power, but another, thoughhe started with nothing, makes such a relentless use ofexternal circumstances that in the end he attains thesame goal.But no matter how such a "successful" assertion of aneurotic trend is achieved, the result is a more or lesscomplete barrier to development by way of analysis. Forone thing, the successful trend has become too valuableto be submitted to any questioning. And for anotherthing, the goal that is striven for in analysis—a harmoni-ous development, with good relations to self and others—would not appeal to such a person because the forcesthat might respond to the appeal are too enfeebled.A third limitation to analytical work is constituted bythe prevalence of destructive tendencies, whether theypertain primarily to others or to the self. It should beemphasized that such tendencies are not necessarilyliterally destructive, in the sense of an urge toward sui-cide, for example. More often they take such forms ashostility or contempt or a general attitude of negation.These destructive impulses are engendered in everysevere neurosis. In greater or less degree they are at thebottom of every neurotic development, and they become289
  • 145. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sintensified through the clashing of rigid, egocentric de-mands and illusions with the external world. Any severeneurosis is like a tight armor that prevents the personfrom having a full and active life with others. It neces-sarily engenders a resentment toward life, a deep resent-ment at being left out which Nietzsche has described asLebensneid. For many reasons hostility and contempt,in regard to self and others alike, may be so strong thatto let oneself go to pieces appears as an appealing way totake revenge. To say "no" to everything life has to offerremains the only assertion of self that is left. IbsensHedda Gabler, already mentioned when discussing thefactor of resignation, is a good example of a person inwhom destructiveness toward others and self is a prevail-ing tendency.How prohibitive such destructiveness is to self-de-velopment depends, as always, on the degree of severity.If a person feels, for example, that triumph over othersis far more important than doing anything constructivewith his own life, he is not likely to derive much benefitfrom analysis. If in his mind enjoyment, happiness, andaffection, or any closeness to people, have turned intoindications of contemptible softness or mediocrity, itmay be impossible for him or anyone else to penetratehis armor of hardness.A fourth limitation is more comprehensive and moredifficult to define, because it concerns the elusive con-cept of "self." What I mean here is perhaps best indi-cated by William Jamess concept of the "real self" asdistinguished from the material and social self. In simple290Limitations of Self-Analysisterms it concerns what / really feel, what / really want,what / really believe, what / really decide. It is, or shouldbe, the most alive center of psychic life. It is this psychiccenter to which the appeal is made in analytical work.In every neurosis its scope and its aliveness are decreased,for genuine self-regard, native dignity, initiative, thecapacity to take responsibility for ones life, and likefactors that account for the development of self havealways been battered. Moreover, the neurotic trendsthemselves have usurped a great deal of its energies be-cause—to resume an analogy previously used—theyturn a person into an airplane driven by remote control.In most instances there are sufficient possibilities forrecapturing and developing the self, though the strengthof these possibilities is difficult to estimate at the begin-ning. But if the real self is considerably damaged theperson has lost his own center of gravity and is directedby other forces, from within or from without. He mayoveradapt himself to his environment and become anautomaton. He may find his only right to existence inbeing helpful to others, and thus be socially usefulthough his lack of any center of gravity within himselfis bound to hamper his efficiency. He may lose all innersense of direction, and either drift aimlessly or be en-tirely directed by a neurotic trend, as mentioned in thediscussion of "oversuccessful" neurotic trends. His feel-ings, thoughts, and actions may be almost entirely de-termined by an inflated image which he has built up ofhimself: he will be sympathetic not because he reallyfeels it, but because to be sympathetic is part of his291
  • 146. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Simage; he will have particular "friends" or "interests"because those friends or interests are required by hisimage.A final limitation to be mentioned is set by stronglydeveloped secondary defenses. If the whole neurosis issafeguarded by rigid convictions that everything is right,good, or unalterable, there can hardly be an incentiveto change anything.Everyone who struggles to liberate himself from neu-rotic bondages knows or senses that some of these fac-tors operate within himself, and for those unfamiliarwith psychoanalytic therapy the enumeration of theselimitations may have a deterring effect. It must be re-membered, however, that none of these factors is pro-hibitive in an absolute sense. It can be asserted flatly andabsolutely that without airplanes there is no chancenowadays of winning a war. But it would be nonsensicalto say flatly that a feeling of futility or a diffuse resent-ment against people would prevent anyone from analyz-ing himself. His chances for constructive self-analysisdepend largely on the relative strength of "I can" and"I cant" or "I will" and "I wont." And this in turn de-pends upon the depth of those attitudes that jeopardizeself-development. There is a great difference between aperson who, though merely drifting and finding nomeaning in life, is nevertheless vaguely searching forsomething, and a person who, like Hedda Gabler, hasturned his back on life with a bitter and final resignation.Just as there is between a person who is profoundly cyni-cal and discounts every ideal as mere hypocrisy, and an-292Limitations of Self-Analysisother, apparently equally cynical, who nevertheless feelsa positive respect and liking for anyone who lives up togenuine ideals. Or between a person who is diffusely ir-ritable and contemptuous toward people but responds totheir friendliness, and one who, like Hedda Gabler, isequally vicious toward friend and enemy, and even tendsparticularly to destroy those who touch remnants ofsofter feelings within himself.If the barriers to self-development through analysisare genuinely unsurpassable it is never one factor alonethat accounts for them, but a combination of several.Deep hopelessness, for example, is an absolute obstacleonly if it is combined with a reinforcing tendency, anarmor of self-righteousness, perhaps, or a pervasive de-structiveness; complete alienation from self cannot beprohibitive unless there is also some such reinforcingtendency as a firmly entrenched dependency. In otherwords, genuine limitations exist only in severe and com-plicated neuroses, and even there constructive forcesmay still be alive, if only they can be found and used.There are various ways in which deterring psychicforces, such as those discussed above, may affect an en-deavor at self-analysis, if they are not of such compellingstrength as to prohibit the endeavor entirely. For onething, they may imperceptibly spoil the whole analysisby causing it to be carried out in a spirit of only partialhonesty. In these cases the one-sided emphases and theblind spots concerning rather wide areas, which arepresent at the beginning of every analysis, persist293
  • 147. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sthroughout the work, rather than decreasing graduallyin extent and intensity. Factors lying outside these areasmay be faced squarely. But since no area within the selfis isolated from others, and hence cannot really be un-derstood without being related to the whole structure,even those factors that are seen remain on the level ofsuperficial insights.Rousseaus Confessions, though only remotely akinto analysis, may serve as an example of this possibility.Here is a man who apparently wants to give an honestpicture of himself, and does so to a moderate extent. Butthroughout the book he retains blind spots concerninghis vanity and his inability to love—to mention onlytwo outstanding factors—which are so blatant that theyimpress us today as grotesque. He is frank about whathe expects and accepts from others, but he interprets theresulting dependency as "love." He recognizes his vul-nerability but relates it to his "feeling heart." He recog-nizes his animosities, but they always turn out to bewarranted. He sees his failures, but always others areresponsible for them.To be sure, Rousseaus confessions are not a self-analysis. Yet on rereading the book in recent years I haveoften been reminded of friends and patients whoseanalytical endeavors were not too different. The book,indeed, deserves a careful and critical study. An endeavorat self-analysis, even though more sophisticated, mayeasily meet with a similar fate. A person equipped withgreater psychological knowledge might merely be more294Limitations of Self-Analysissubtle in his attempts to justify and embellish his actionsand motivations.There is one point, however, on which Rousseau isstraight: his sexual peculiarities. This frankness mustcertainly be appreciated. But his frankness in sexualmatters helps to keep him from seeing how little he ac-tually faces his other problems. In this regard, too, thelesson we can still learn from Rousseau is worth men-tioning. Since sexuality is an important domain in ourlife it is important to be as relentlessly honest toward itas toward everything else. But the one-sided emphasisthat Freud has given sexual factors may tempt manypeople to single them out above others, as Rousseau did.To be straight in sexual questions is necessary; but to bestraight only with them is not enough.Another one-sided emphasis is a persistent tendency toregard a particular present difficulty as a static repetitionof a particular infantile experience. When a personwants to understand himself it is important, beyond anydoubt, that he understand the forces that were instru-mental in his development, and it is one of Freuds fore-most discoveries to have recognized the influence thatearly experiences exert upon the formation of person-ality. But it is always the sum total of all our early ex-periences that has contributed to mold the present struc-ture. And it is therefore futile to uncover isolatedconnections between a certain present disturbance and acertain early influence. Present peculiarities can be un-derstood only as an expression of the whole interplay of295
  • 148. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sforces operating in the present personality. For example,the peculiar development that took place in Clares re-lationship with her mother had a definite bearing uponher dependency on men. But if Clare had seen only thesimilarities between the old pattern and the new one shewould have failed to recognize the essential drivingforces that compelled her to perpetuate the pattern. Shemight have seen that she subordinated herself to Peteras she had to the mother, that she hero-worshiped Peteras she had adored the mother, that she expected him toprotect her and to help her in distress as she had expectedthe mother to help her, that she resented Peters reject-ing her as she had resented the mothers discriminationagainst her. In recognizing these connections she mighthave gained a certain distance to her actual problem,simply by recognizing the operation of a compulsive pat-tern. But actually she clung to Peter not because he rep-resented a mother-image but because, through her com-pulsive modesty and through her repressed arroganceand ambition, she had lost her self-regard, almost losther identity; thus she was fearful, inhibited, defenseless,and isolated, and on these grounds was compelled to seekshelter and restoration of herself in ways that weredoomed to failure and merely entangled her more deeplyin the network of her inhibitions and fears. Only byrealizing these dynamics could she eventually free her-self from the aftermaths of an unfortunate childhood.Still another one-sided emphasis is a tendency to harpalways on the "bad" sides, or what are regarded as such.Confessing and condemning can then take the place of296Limitations of Self-Analysisunderstanding. This is done partly in a spirit of hostileself-recrimination but also with a secret belief that con-fession alone is enough to harvest a reward.These blind spots and one-sided emphases may befound, of course, in any endeavor at self-analysis, whetheror not the limitations discussed above are present. Tosome extent they may result from mistaken preconcep-tions about psychoanalysis. In this case they can be cor-rected if the person achieves a more rounded under-standing of psychic processes. But the point I wouldstress here is that they may also represent merely a meansof evading the essential problems. In this case they areultimately caused by resistances to progress, and if theseresistances are strong enough—if they amount to whatI have described as limitations—they may constitute adefinite obstruction to the success of the analysis.The deterring forces that were mentioned above canfrustrate self-analysis also by causing a premature ter-mination of efforts. I am referring here to instances inwhich the analysis proceeds up to a certain point, is help-ful to some extent, but does not proceed beyond thispoint because the person will not grapple with thosefactors within himself which prevent his further devel-opment. This may happen after he has overcome themost disturbing factors and no longer feels a pressingneed to work at himself, even though many diffusehandicaps are left. The temptation to relax in this wayis particularly great if life goes smoothly and offers noparticular challenge. Naturally in such situations all ofus are less eager for complete self-recognition. And it is297
  • 149. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sultimately a matter of our personal philosophy of lifehow highly we value a constructive dissatisfaction withourselves that drives us on toward further growth anddevelopment. It is desirable, however, that we be or be-come clear as to what exactly are our sets of values, andact accordingly. It would constitute an essential lack oftruth to ourselves if, with a conscious adherence to theideal of growth, in reality we relinquished our efforts tomeasure up to it or even let them be stifled by a smugself-satisfaction.But a person may break off his efforts at self-analysisfor quite an opposite reason: he has arrived at variousrelevant insights into his difficulties, but nothing changesand he becomes discouraged by the lack of tangible re-sults. Actually, as mentioned before, the discouragementitself constitutes a problem and should be tackled assuch. But if it derives from severe neurotic entangle-ments—for example, from the attitude of hopeless resig-nation described above—the person may be unable tocope with it alone. This does not mean that his effortsup to this point have been useless. Very often, despitethe limitations to what he can accomplish, he has suc-ceeded in losing one or another gross manifestation ofhis neurotic difficulties.Inherent limitations may cause a premature termina-tion of self-analysis in still another way: the person mayarrive at a kind of pseudo solution by arranging his lifeto fit in with his remaining neurosis. Life itself may beinstrumental in bringing about such solutions. He maybe thrown into a situation that provides an outlet for a298Limitations of Self-Analysiscraving for power, or permits a life of obscurity and sub-ordination in which he need not assert himself. He mayseize the possibility of a marriage to solve his urge fordependency. Or he may more or less consciously decidethat his difficulties in human relationships—some ofwhich he has recognized and understood—are too greata drain on his energies, and that the only way to live apeaceful life or to save his creative abilities is to with-draw from others; he may then restrict to a minimum hisneed for people or for material things, and under theseconditions be able to work out a tolerable existence.These solutions are not ideal, to be sure, but a psychicequilibrium may be reached on a better level than be-fore. And in some circumstances of very severe entangle-ments such pseudo solutions may be the most that canbe attained.In principle these limits to constructive work are pres-ent in professional analysis as well as in self-analysis. Infact, as was mentioned before, if the deterring forces arestrong enough the idea of analysis will be rejected al-together. And even if it is not rejected—if the personsuffers so much under the pressure of his disabilitiesthat he undertakes analytical treatment—the analyst isno sorcerer who can conjure up forces that are entirelychoked. There is no doubt, however, that by and largethe limitations are considerably greater for self-analysis.In many instances an analyst can liberate constructiveforces by showing the patient concrete problems acces-sible to a solution, whereas if the patient were working200
  • 150. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Salone, and felt blindly caught in invisible and apparentlyinextricable entanglements, he could not possibly pickup enough courage to grapple with his problems. More-over, the relative strength of the various psychic forceswithin the patient may change during treatment, be-cause none of these forces is a quantity given once andfor all. Every step that leads him closer to his real selfand closer to others renders him less hopeless and lessisolated and thereby adds to his active interest in life,including also his interest in his own development.Therefore after a period of common work with an ana-lyst even patients who started with severe neurotic dif-ficulties may in some cases be able to continue on theirown, if necessary.Though on the whole the comparison with profes-sional analysis is in favor of the latter whenever intricateand diffuse entanglements are concerned, there are cer-tain reservations that should be borne in mind. It is notentirely fair to compare self-analysis, and its unavoida-ble deficiencies, with an ideal analytical treatment. Iknow several people who were barely touched by treat-ment but afterward grappled successfully on their ownwith rather serious problems. We should be cautiousboth ways, and neither underrate nor overrate what canbe done without expert help.This brings us back to a question that was raised atthe beginning, regarding the specific conditions underwhich a person can analyze himself. If he has alreadyhad some analytical treatment, and if conditions arefavorable, I believe, as I have emphasized throughout3OOLimitations of Self-Analysisthe book, that he can continue alone with the hope ofachieving far-reaching results. The example of Clareand also other cases not presented here—shows clearlythat it is possible, with previous experience, to deal alonewith even severe and intricate problems. It appears areasonable hope that both analysts and patients will be-come more aware of this possibility, and that more at-tempts of this kind will be made. It may be hoped, too,that analysts will gradually assemble criteria that willenable them to judge when they can reasonably encour-age the patient to continue his work independently.In this context there is a consideration I should liketo emphasize, though it does not refer directly to self-analysis. If the analyst does not assume an authoritativeattitude toward the patient, but makes it clear from thebeginning that the enterprise is a co-operative one inwhich both analyst and patient work actively toward thesame goal, the patient will be able to develop his ownresources in a much higher degree. He will lose theparalyzing feeling that he is more or less helpless andthat the analyst must carry the sole responsibility, andwill learn to respond with initiative and resourceful-ness. Broadly speaking, psychoanalytic treatment has de-veloped from a situation in which both patient and ana-lyst are relatively passive to one in which the analyst ismore active, and finally to one in which both partici-pants take an active role. Where the latter spirit pre-vails more can be accomplished in a shorter time. Thereason I mention this fact here is not to point out thepossibilities of shortening analytical treatment, though301
  • 151. S E L F - A N A L Y S I Sthat is desirable and important, but to point out howsuch a co-operative attitude can contribute to the possi-bilities of self-analysis.It is more difficult to give a definite answer concern-ing the possibility of self-analysis for those withoutprevious analytical experience. Here much, if not every-thing, depends on the severity of the neurotic disturb-ance. There is no doubt in my mind that severe neurosesbelong in the hands of experts: anyone who suffers fromsevere disturbances should consult an expert before em-barking upon self-analysis. But in considering the pos-sibility of self-analysis it is a mistake to think primarilyin terms of severe neuroses. Beyond doubt they are faroutnumbered by the milder neuroses and the variousneurotic troubles caused primarily by the difficulties ofa particular situation. Persons suffering from thesemilder disturbances rarely come to the attention of ana-lysts, but their difficulties should not be taken lightly.Their troubles not only cause suffering and handicapsbut also result in a waste of valuable energies, for theperson is prevented from developing to the best of hishuman capacities.I feel that with regard to these difficulties experiencesof the kind reported in the chapter on occasional self-analysis are encouraging. In several instances reportedthere the persons concerned had little if any experiencewith analytical treatment. To be sure, they did not gofar enough in their endeavors at self-examination. Butthere seems no good reason not to believe that with amore widespread general knowledge of the nature of302Limitations of Self-Analysisneurotic troubles and the ways of tackling them attemptsof this kind can be carried further—always provided theseverity of the neurosis is not prohibitive. The structureof personality is so much less rigid in milder neuroticentanglements than in severe ones that even attemptsthat are not carried very far may help considerably. Insevere neuroses it is often necessary to do a great deal ofanalytical work before any liberating effect is achieved.In milder disturbances even a single uncovering of anunconscious conflict may be the turning point toward afreer development.But even if we grant that a considerable number ofpeople can profitably analyze themselves, will they evercomplete the work? Will there not always be problemsleft that are not solved or not even touched upon? Myanswer is that there is no such thing as a complete analy-sis. And this answer is not given in a spirit of resigna-tion. Certainly the greater the degree of transparencyand the more freedom we can attain, the better for us.But the idea of a finished human product not only ap-pears presumptuous but even, in my opinion, lacks any-strong appeal. Life is struggle and striving, developmentand growth—and analysis is one of the means that canhelp in this process. Certainly its positive accomplish-ments are important, but also the striving itself is ofintrinsic value. As Goethe has said in Faust:Whoeer aspires unweariedly,Is not beyond redeeming.303
  • 152. I N D E XAdler, A., 40, 48Adventures in Self-Discovery,18Alcoholism, 69American Tragedy, 160Analysis, goal of, 21; Freudsgoal, 21; course of, 88 ff.Analyst, equipment of pro-fessional, 25; functions of,123 ff.; observation, 123 ff.;use of free association, 127;understanding, 127; interpre-tation, 137 ff.; help in resist-ance, 138 ff.; general humanhelp, 142 ff.; extent functionsof can be taken over by pa-tient alone, 145 ff.Anxiety, 31 ff., 95; from frus-tration of neurotic trend, 42,65; in free association, 109;caused by insights, 115 ff.Balzac, 39, 42Beyond the Clinical Frontiers,39Carnegie, Dale, 17Chagrin Leather, 42Character disorders, 9 ff.Character Growth and Educa-tion, 39Clare, childhood history, 47 ff.;comparison with employee,52; secondary defenses in, 72;stages in psychoanalytic un-derstanding, 75 ff.; discov-ery of compulsive modesty,77 ff.; compulsive dependencyin, 80 ff.; repressed ambitiousstrivings, 84 ff.; systematicself-analysis by, 190 ff.; dis-covery of "private religion,"237 ff.Compulsive dependency, inClare, 80 ff.Compulsive modesty, in Clare,77 ff.Conceptions of Modern Psy-chiatry, 39Confessions, 188, 294Conflicts, 95, 99Contradictions, 135Culbertson, Ely, 188Democracy Through PublicOpinion, 18305
  • 153. I N D E XDepression, 7, 69, 95Der gehemmte Mensch, 66Dostoevski, 39Dreams, 135; according toFreud, 176; various interpre-tations of, 176 ff.; anxiety,178Dreiser, Theodore, 160Drug addiction, 7Dynamics, of personality trait,260Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 39Escape from Freedom, 39, 55,59Facts and Theories of Psycho-analysis^ 39Fantasies, 135Faust, 303Fear, unawareness of, 42, 209Ferenczi, 111Free association, 102 ff.; Freudsdiscovery of, 102; purpose of,103; difficulties in, 107, 247;inhibitions in, 109; humilia-tion in, 109; analysts use of,127; analysts own, 137; inself-analyst, 186; advantagesof writing down, 187; com-parison with diary-keeping,188; technique of, 249; andunderstanding, 251; flexibil-ity in approach to, 255Freud, 7, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 29,30637, 38, 39, 40, 73, 102, 146,176, 178, 268, 269, 295Fromm, Erich, 39, 55, 238Functional stomach upsets, 7Gabler, Hedda, 287, 290, 292,293Gestalt psychologists, 172Goethe, 303Hendrick, Ives, 39Hostility, 65; in free associa-tion, 110; toward self, 290How to Win Friends and In-fluence People, 18Humiliation, 109; repressedfeeling of, 119Hysterical convulsions, 7Ibsen, 39, 287, 290Incentive, 16ff.Inhibitions, 66; in free associa-tion, 109; toward starting ananalysis of a problem, 277Insight, 17, 28, 32, 34, 111, 255;beneficial results of, 112 ff.;reaction to, 114 ff.; negativereaction to, 116; and change,119; retreat from, 141Interpretation of Dreams, The,39Introductory Lectures on Psy-choanalysis, 38Introspection, 30I N D E XJames, William, 290Jung, C. G., 40Kunkel, Fritz, 39Lasswell, Harold D., 18Late George Apley, The, 29Lebensneid, 290Limitations of self-analysis,286 ff.; resignation, 286; suc-cessful assertion of neurotictrend, 288 ff.; prevalence ofdestructive tendencies, 289;elusive concept of "self," 290;strongly developed second-ary defenses, 292 ff.; one-sidedemphases, 293 ff."Mania-psychologica," 30Maslow, A. H., 39Mittelmann, Bela, 39Narcissistic elements, 22, 23, 58Need for affection, 20, 41, 54, 61Need for approval, 20, 54Need for independence, 59Need for a "partner," 55Need for perfectionism, 41, 59,62Need for personal admiration,58Need for power, 56Need for social recognition, 58Need to believe in the omnip-otence of will, 57, 62Need to control self and others,57Need to exploit others, 57Need to restrict ones life withinnarrow borders, 55Neuroses, theory of, 10; drivingforces in, 37 ff.; essence of,69Neurotic ambition for personalachievement, 58Neurotic Personality of OurTime, The, 39, 54, 56Neurotic trends, description of,40 ff.; compulsive nature, 41,115; genesis of, 43 ff.; persist-ence of, 46, 52 ff.; security of-fered by, 53; classification of,54 ff.; difference betweennormal and, 60 ff.; determineimage of self, 63 ff.; effect onevaluation of others, 65; in-hibitions resulting from, 66;conflicts resulting from, 68;"symptoms," 69, 95; threestages in analysis of, 88 ff.;recognition of, 89 ff.; work-ing through, 91 ff.; under-standing of interrelations of,94 ff.New Ways in Psychoanalysis,39, 55, 59Nietzsche, 39, 290Occasional self-analysis, 152 ff.;Johns case, 155 ff.; Harrys307
  • 154. N D E XOccasional self-analysis (Cont.)case, 159 ff.; comparison be-tween John and Harry, 161ff.; Bills case, 163 ff.; com-parison between John andBill, 166 ff.; Toms case, 169ff.; potentialities of, 171 ff.;as therapeutic method, 172ff.Otto, Max, 23Peterson, Houston, 30Phobia, 7, 8, 69, 95Piz Palu, 133Principles of Abnormal Psy-chology, 39"Private religion," Clares, 205,237, 242, 245Psychoanalysis, method of ther-apy in neurotic disorders, 7ff.; aid to character develop-ment, 8 ff.Psychoanalytic process, pa-tients share in, 101 ff.; freeassociation in, 102 ff.; pa-tients insight, 111 ff.; pa-tients change, 117 ff.; inter-relation of three tasks, 120 ff.;analysts share, 123 ff.Psychoanalytic understanding,stages in, 73 ff.; in Clarescase, 75 ff.Psychopathology of Everyday308Rank, 111Rationalization, 66Repetitive themes, 134Resentment, toward analyst,136Resistance, 14, 117, 139; over-coming own, 147; dealingwith, 267 ff.; as used byFreud, 267; as argumentagainst self-analysis, 268; de-fensive processes in, 270;sources of, 271; secondarydefenses in, 271; provocationfor in self-analysis, 273; waysexpressed, 274; types of,275 ff.; open fight, 275; de-fensive emotional reactions,275; defensive inhibitionsand evasive maneuvers, 277;in free association, 278; howto cope with, 279 ff.; tech-nique of tackling, 281 ff.;spirit of tackling, 284; limita-tion compared to, 286Revenge, 36Rousseau, 188, 294 ff.Schopenhauer, 39Schultz-Hencke, H., 66Seabury, David, 18Secondary defenses, 71 ff., 271,292Self-analysis, feasibility and de-sirability of, 13 ff., 147; pos-sibility of, 25, 28, 35; crucialI N D E Xdifficulty of, 27; successfulattempts, 27; dangers of,29 ff.; limitations of, 31, 286ff.; self-protective forces in,33 ff.; gains of, 36; occasional,151 ff.; goal of occasional,152 ff.; preliminaries, 174 ff.;definition of systematic, 174;use of dreams in, 176 ff.; rawmaterials of, 183 ff.; differ-ences between analysis and,183; regularity in, 183 ff.;spontaneity in, 184 ff.; meth-od of, 186; of a morbiddependency, 190 ff.; spiritand rules of, 247 ff.; use ofreason in, 252; use of emo-tional insight, 252; guidancethrough interest, 253 ff.; con-tinuity in, 257; developmentof structural pattern in,258 ff.; outside influences in,265; effect of limitations on,293 ff.; frustration of, 297ff.; discouragement in, 298;pseudo solutions in, 298 ff.Self-Analysis Made Easy, 18Sexuality, 295; Freuds attitudetoward, 295Shakespeare, 39Situational neuroses, 171Smart, Charles Allen, 39Strange Lives of One Man, The,188Strecker, Edward A., 39Suicide, 31, 33, 231, 289Sullivan, H. S., 39Switzerland, 133Unconscious forces, role of,37 ff.Wild Geese and How to ChaseThem, 39Wishful thinking, 178, 180309