At the risk of displeasing innocent ears I propose . . .
Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil.
. . . that the mother of a creative man who achieves prominence has conveyed to her son a feeling of great “specialness” in herself, which she has passed on to him. It is as if she says, “You have something unique, better than your father, and you get it all from me.”
Margaret Brenman-Gibson, Clifford Odets: American Playwright.
Freud recorded an anxiety-ridden dream of his mother’s death, from his seventh or eighth year; correspondingly, she too once reported a dream of her son’s death. By then she was an old woman, for whom dying was not a distant prospect. In her dream she was at Sigmund’s funeral, and around his casket were arrayed the heads of state of the major European nations. For an old mother, even a Jewish one, to experience such a dream is not implausible, but to permit an account of having dreamed of such a catastrophe to cross her lips because it depicted the fame her beloved son had achieved, does reveal something about the nature of her own yearnings which had been satisfied through her son’s career.
Paul Roazen, Freud and His Followers.
He was eleven or twelve, sitting with his parents in one of the restaurants in the Prater, Vienna’s famous park. A strolling poetaster was wandering from table to table, improvising for a few coins little verses on any theme proposed to him. “I was sent off to ask the poet to our table and he showed himself grateful to the messenger. Before inquiring for his topic, he dropped a few verses about me and, inspired, declared it probable that some day I would become a cabinet minister.”
Peter Gay, Freud: A Life for Our Time.
Amalie must have cherished the heroic prophesies that were made about Freud in his early years. More personally for her, [her] dream, at least according to her son’s theory, may also have expressed a hidden meaning through a thematic polarity. For through the multiplication of father figures she may have been accentuating the opposite of the dream’s manifest content—that Freud really belonged to her alone and that he was more her son than his father’s. Simultaneously, for dreams can have many levels, this dream may have been an attempt at compensation for the loss of her son; she might no longer have him, but she was assured that the world did.
Paul Roazen, Freud and His Followers.
In Nate’s last dream there is a multiplication of father figures: his brother David, and his father, Nathaniel. Perhaps this is actually a screen for the underlying theme of the dream, Nate’s mother. Perhaps the ocean in Nate’s dream represents his mother. Viewed in light of these observations, the theme of Nate’s mother is actually overdetermined in the dream.
The term narcissistic elation was coined by Béla Grunberger (1971/1979) to describe the state of prenatal beatitude, which according to him characterizes the life of the fetus: a state of megalomaniacal happiness amounting to a perfect homeostasis, devoid of needs or desires. The ideal here is bliss experienced in absolute withdrawal from the object and from the outside world. Narcissistic elation is at once the memory of this unique and privileged state of elation; a sense of well-being of completeness and omnipotence linked to that memory, and pride in having experienced this state, pride in its (illusory) oneness.
Narcissistic elation is characteristic of an object relationship that is played out, in its negative version, as a state of splendid isolation, and, in its positive version, as a desperate quest for fusion with the other, for a mirror-image relationship. It involves a return to paradise lost and all that is attached to this idea: fusion, self-love, megalomania, omnipotence, immortality, and invulnerability.
After birth, the infant continues to enjoy the protonarcissistic existence as before, and this is reinforced by the fact that people around it, in particular the mother, meet all its needs and wishes. This state of illusion is soon compromised, however, as inevitable frustrations begin to occur. The traces of this state of elation and megalomania, based on the notions of harmony and omnipotence, nevertheless provide a source of psychic energy that will remain active throughout life. The child, and later the adult, will seek to preserve and return to this narcissistic mode of being, notably through music, passionate love, or mystical ecstasy. Perhaps, after all, what fascinated Narcissus was the sight—beyond his own reflection—of the amniotic water, and the deep, regressive promise of happiness that it held out.