September 18, 1966


Sunday September 18, 1966. I remember that day so well. I was 12 years old. It was the day after my sister’s 19th birthday. It was a warm, sunny day. I listened to Wagner’s opera, The Flying Dutchman on the radio that afternoon. My mother made roast chicken for dinner. When I tell my sister these things she says, “How do you know you’re right?” That’s not the question I ask myself. I ask myself, “Why do I remember this day so well?”

My aunt and uncle stopped over that evening. My mother had given me money to allow me to buy a birthday gift for my sister. I purchased for her a book about the French artist Toulouse-Lautrec. My aunt said to me, “Oh, you bought that for yourself. You didn’t buy that for your sister. You bought that for yourself.” Notice the constant invalidation. It was a pervasive atmosphere, like breathing. That’s the childhood of a borderline patient.  My aunt was projecting onto me the quality of buying selfish gifts for people.  Eight years earlier my aunt had purchased (or should I say “purchased”) a piano for my sister.  But that’s an entirely different story . . .

The invalidating family environment suggested by Linehan (1993) is a factor in the genesis of borderline personality disorder and further developed by Fruzzetti and colleagues. Fruzzetti and colleagues report that parental invalidation, in part defined as the undermining of self-perceptions of internal states and therefore anti-mentalising, is not only associated with the young person’s reports of family distress, and their own distress and psychological problems, but also with aspects of social cognition, namely the ability to identify and label emotion in themselves and others. Along with other aspects contributing to the complex interaction described as invalidating, there is a systematic undermining of a person’s experience of their own mind by that of another. There is a failure to encourage the person to discriminate between their feelings and experiences and those of the caregiver, thereby undermining the development of a robust mentalising capacity.


It’s the same style of thinking — I isolate out a variable and I look at it from different angles: What does this say about me?

In the following I isolated out the variable of idealization and looked at it from different perspectives.

idealization — letter to Dr. Stone December 2015

In the following I isolated out the variable of aggression and looked at it from different perspectives.

MONDAY therapy-summary-9-111-1

I should have been a chemist!  I should have majored in biochemistry at Harvard!!

email Message to Anthony Marx — President, NY Public Library

Iris Weinshall is the wife of NY Senator, Chuck Schumer. She’s the Chief Operating Officer of the NY Public Library.

Mr. Marx:

May I interest you to take a look at an unusual book I wrote — a kind of novel in verse — about the NY Public Library?  I think you might enjoy it. Send my regards to Iris Weinshall. The text of the book (The Emerald Archive) is in the attachment.

Gary Freedman
Washington, DC

Esther Imagines Herself as a Literary Character

The true depth and power of psychoanalysis is derived at

the point in your narrative where you touch the infinite,

which is silence. In moments of self-absorbed reflection in Dr.

Shengold’s office – in those moments where Esther touched the infinite –

she imagined herself as a literary character. In analysis Esther’s

joys, her passions, and her afflictions were portioned in fifty-minute

segments like the raptures of fictive beings whose lives were

divided into one-hundred word chapters. At times, in response to

Dr. Shengold’s reproving interventions, Esther envisaged herself as a figure

in a nineteenth-century novel, a villainess whose moral deficiencies invited scorn.


Paraphrase from the article “A Cellist’s Challenge: Playing Bach, Surrounded by Twisting Bodies” by Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim.

Article by Bret Stephens’ wife:

Dr. Shengold as Portrait Artist

The achievement of the strenuously Freudian psychoanalyst Leonard Shengold was

not so much to break new ground as to dig

incessantly deeper into the old. By doing so he intensified

our understanding of Freud’s familiar psychological preoccupations to the point

of faint discomfort. Among Dr. Shengold’s passions were the individual

and his interior life, the patient-psychoanalyst relationship, the psyche

on the private stage that is the analyst’s office, the

arduous process of seeking and imaging interior existence. In Dr.

Shengold’s published case studies his patients became macabre, even scary

etchings in black and white: dense renderings of viscerous reality.


Paraphrases from the article “Lucien Freud Stripped Bare” by Roberta Smith.

Final Version — Therapy Summary August 28, 2017

I should send this letter to DC Superior Court!! They would be interested in the final section.

zzzzzsundaylibrary 9-10 therapy summary 8-28-2017

How would Jeffrey Masson deal with a patient like me? “Freedman, you need to get laid.”

Dr. Oberman said to me 40 years ago, “You need to find a girl who will give you a blow job.”

The Party Guest

Ben and Fiona kept up a constant round of parties

at their Tribeca loft.  Fiona’s particular friend was a client

of Ben’s, Philip R., then in his forties, a hulking,

highly successful novelist.  Fiona found him a “divine” party guest.

Despite his devoted marriage Philip had several well-established homosexual relationships,

which accounted for Fiona’s lasting non-flirtatious friendship with him.   Philip

summed up how friends saw the Shirazis in his novel

The Accountant, where the lead protagonists, modeled on Ben and

Fiona, “love each other desperately, passionately.  They cling to each

other like barnacles cling to rocks.” Fiona relished the attention.


From the biography Zelda Fitzgerald: Her Voice in Paradise by Sally Cline.

Tinkering — “like some latter-day Nick Carraway” — I am obsessed with linking up remote areas of experience

Nick Carraway is a friend of Jay Gatsby. Carraway idealizes Gatsby and attends the rich Gatsby’s lavish parties. Carraway is the narrator of The Great Gatsby; the first person I of the novel is Carraway’s voice. In fact, the following chapter in The Emerald Archive is a paraphrase of Carraway’s description of his friend, Gatsby.

I link up Nick Carraway-as-writer to the following chapter in The Emerald Archive about a writer attending one of Ben and Fiona Shirazi’s parties.

The ideal thing for a writer is when he has

written all day — with minor interruptions thrown in — but, like

some latter-day Nick Carraway, needs to head out to a

dinner party. He doesn’t want to lose his momentum, but

he’s also eager to meet friends at the dinner. Half-way

through dinner, though, he can’t wait to get back. Yes,

company is always fun, but how utterly fantastic to get

back before midnight, and pick up exactly where he left

off at seven. Something someone said that evening caught his

attention. He’ll use it in the novel he is writing.

Paraphrases from Goodreads Q&A with André Aciman.

I got the idea for this from the following splendid poem published in this week’s New Yorker Magazine. I really loved this poem:

Thank you, Stephen Dunn!