Freud was intrigued with the ingenuity with which the unconscious imposes its agenda on our daily lives despite the radical detours that various environmental forces and conscious strategems may attempt to force on a situation. He pointed to myth to illustrate his conclusion that the individual’s unconscious will erupt in the interpersonal field to bring about an outcome satisfying to its needs seemingly in defiance, at times, of external circumstances.
In Beyond the Pleasure Principle Freud remarks: “Tasso gives a singularly affecting poetical portrayal of such a trend of fate in the romantic epic: ‘Gerusalemme liberata.’ The hero, Tancred, has unwittingly slain Clorinda, the maiden he loved, who fought with him disguised in the armor of an enemy knight. After her burial he penetrates into the mysterious enchanted wood, the bane of the army of the crusaders. Here he hews down a tall tree with his sword, but from the gash in the trunk blood streams forth and the voice of Clorinda whose soul is imprisoned in the tree cries out to him in reproach that he has once more wrought a baleful deed on his beloved.”
Perhaps we may also illustrate this point by a glance at the myth of Oedipus where an oracle predicts that Laius “is doomed to perish by the hand of his own son”. Laius binds the infant’s feet together with a pin, and orders Jocasta to kill him. Unable to kill her own son, Jocasta orders a servant to slay the infant for her. The servant then exposes the infant on a mountaintop, where he is found and rescued by a shepherd. As he grows to manhood, Oedipus encounters Laius and his retainers on the road to Thebes, and the two quarrel over whose chariot has the right of way. The Theban king moves to strike the insolent youth with his scepter, but Oedipus, unaware that Laius is his true father, throws the old man down from his chariot, killing him. Thus, Laius is slain by his own son, and the prophecy that the king had sought to avoid by exposing Oedipus at birth is fulfilled.
I arrive with computer disk
I state that disk contains documents: psych testing, self-created personality profile
–issues of identity and identity definition
Therapist: Our old computers might not be able to handle disks. Patient: Could you hold onto disk. Put it in a file.
Therapist: So you’ve been talking about me to other clinics.
Patient: Yes, I sent out therapy inquiries.
Therapist: We got a communication from —–. stated message was threatening.
In fact, the therapist never saw message. She condemns message on basis of word of mouth without having facts. Therapist seemed totally bent out of shape by my email. Did she feel I threatened her job at the clinic — “her access to the breast?”
In fact the email read:
I am forwarding in the attachment a document that summarizes some of my recent therapy sessions. The document illustrates my special needs in therapy.
I receive out-patient psychotherapy at the ———- Center. Unfortunately, my problems exceed my therapist’s abilities. I request a referral to a therapist who can work with a client who has serious character pathology and who is intellectually-gifted. My IQ is in excess of 130. I have Medicare and DC Medicaid.
Therapist’s extreme distress (regression to primitive ego state): regression to projective identification (attempt to force her mental contents into me) and issues of abandonment and rejection (castration, exile, confinement) . Seemed determined to force these contents into me.
Therapist’s reference to “queers” (castration?) “involuntary commitment” (confinement) “termination by clinic” (abandonment) Reference to my past terminations: DBH, primary care doctor (again, abandonment)
I state that my primary care doctor: filed fabricated affidavit; attorney may have suborned perjury (note my concern for professional competence — in lawyer and in therapists)
Therapist: You are feeling rejected (she attempts to force feelings of rejection into me and then wants me to talk about feeling rejected.)
In fact, I was feeling I was at the mercy of paranoid forces: (1) the false accusation of defaming therapist, (2) the contemplated drastic remediation by terminating my therapy. In fact, I saw parallels with my job termination: false accusations and drastic remediation of job termination. I wasn’t feeling rejected. I felt I was a victim of another person’s paranoia.
Patient: Why would you terminate me? Therapist: You “bad mouthed” me to another clinic. (Note the unintended, ironic reference to the Kleinian “bad mouth.”) That could be seen as a boundary breach. Patient: Why is that a boundary breach? Therapist: (no answer). Patient: I said in the email, I believe my problems exceed your abilities. I fail to see how that is bad mouthing.
In a previous letter I wrote the following (session August 21, 2017):
The therapist repeats the same ideas about the mother-child relationship at almost every session as though it were an idee fixe. Is the therapist’s formulation an expression of the therapist’s oral fixation? Is the therapist’s depiction of the mother child relationship an expression of a Kleinian “bad mouth?” That is, the infant at the mother’s breast receives succor from the mother (the child sucks, he wants something from the mother) and the infant can bite the mother’s breast (he “acts out,” as it were). Is the therapist saying, “You wanted things from your mother (you wanted to suck), you perceived that you didn’t receive them and so you acted out (you bit her breast).” “You want things from me (you want to suck my breast) but you feel you don’t receive what you want, so you act out by writing letters (you bite your mother’s breast). Is the therapist’s explanation for my letter writing actually a projection of the therapist’s oral-fixation and her oral sadism (a preoccupation with oral aggression, i.e., biting)?
Note earlier metaphor cardiologist/nephrologist. On an earlier occasion I said to therapist: “I feel like a patient with kidney disease and you’re a cardiologist. You may be the best cardiologist in the world but my problems exceed your competence.” My concerns center on lack of fit, and lack of identity match between therapist and patient (lack of opportunity for twinship, idealization and mirroring); therapist’s concerns center on my devaluing her professional abilities (my biting her breast) and threats to her job (“access to breast”).
Patient: I blame you for this. I had asked you to help me find a therapist. You refused and told me to find a another therapist on my own. My own chart says I have “grossly impaired judgment.” (Compare Dr. Acharya’s behavior in 2016 — “I will talk to your psychiatrist to help work out alternative therapy for you.”) This therapist will do nothing.
Patient: I need a therapist to talk to another therapist to determine if I am suitable for the therapist. No therapist will turn me down. That concerns me. Whatever therapist I talk to, he will say, “Yes, I can help you.” My experience is that therapists will not turn down patients. I need you to talk to a prospective therapist to determine if he is a good fit for me.
Patient: I got a communication from Wendt Center. They said they were willing to take me on. Therapist: It seems like you were intentionally withholding that information from me (note imputation of wrongdoing).
Therapist’s concerns remained primitive throughout session: projective identification, rejection, abandonment, pervasive concern that I am aggressing on her (that I was biting her breast).
My concerns seemed centered on identity (see disk documents), identity definition, mastery, quest for self-understanding paralleling my quest for ideal therapist (note parallels to longing for narcissistic elation), need for identity recognition from therapist (a therapist who will recognize my problems), feelings of alienation (I had said I felt that I was not like the therapist’s other patients); concerns about professional performance (in therapists and ironically, in doctor’s lawyer who seemed to have suborned perjury).
Therapist: You didn’t get to talk about what you wanted to talk about. (Ironically, i did get to talk about what I wanted to talk about. It is significant that the therapist’s projective identification did not derail my concerns for identity, self-definition, need for mastery, and quest for self-understanding and quest for ideal therapist.)
Patient: What I’m looking for is a therapist who can assess me and say, ‘I recognize your problems. I know how to work with your problems. I’ve worked with people like you before.’ (I.e., need for identity recognition).
What is the essential conflict here between a therapist who is concerned with access to the breast and patient’s concern for identity-definition and need for twinship, idealization and mirroring?