Bad feelings: selected psychoanalytic essays

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Bad feelings: selected psychoanalytic essays

BAD FEELINGS Roy Schafer BAD FEELINGS By the same author: The C l i n i c a l A p p l i c a t i o n of P s y c h

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BAD FEELINGS Roy

Schafer

BAD FEELINGS

By the same author: The

C l i n i c a l A p p l i c a t i o n of P s y c h o l o g i c a l

Psychoanalytic Interpretation Projective Testing and A s p e c t s of A New

Tests

in R o r s c h a c h

Testing

Psychoanalysis

Internalization

Language for

Psychoanalysis

Language and Insight: The Sigmund

Freud Memorial

Lectures

1975-1976 The A n a l y t i c

Attitude

N a r r a t i v e A c t i o n s in P s y c h o a n a l y s i s : N a r r a t i v e s of S p a c e a n d N a r r a t i v e s of T i m e R e t e l l i n g a L i f e : N a r r a t i o n a n d D i a l o g u e in P s y c h o a n a l y s i s Tradition The

a n d C h a n g e in P s y c h o a n a l y s i s

Contemporary

K l e i n i a n s of L o n d o n

(Editor)

BAD FEELINGS SELECTED PSYCHOANALYTIC ESSAYS

Roy Schafer

K A R N A C LONDON

NEW YORK

Copyright © 2003 by Roy Schafer, except: Chapter 2 "Disappointment and Disappointedness" copyright © 1999 Institute of Psychoanalysis; Chapter 5 "The Psychotherapist's Absence" copyright © 2002 Educational Publishing Foundation, reprinted with permission; Chapter 6 "Defences against Goodness" copyright © 2002 The Psychoanalytic Quarterly; Chapter 7 "Experiencing Termination: Authentic and False Depressive Positions" copyright © 2002 Educational Publishing Foundation, reprinted with per­ mission. Production Editor: Robert D. Hack This book was set in 10.5 pt Bookman by Alpha Graphics of Pittsfield, NH. Published in U K 2003 by H. K a r n a c (Books) L t d , 1 1 8 Finchley Road, London N W 3 5 H T ISBN: 9 7 8 1 8 5 5 7 5 9 1 9 0 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Published in US by Other Press L L C Printed and bound in Great Britain by Biddies Ltd www.biddies .co .uk

www.karnacbooks. com

To Rita

CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

ix

INTRODUCTION

xi

CHAPTER

1

A J o y l e s s Life CHAPTER

2

Disappointment and Disappointedness CHAPTER

55

5

T h e Psychotherapist's Absence CHAPTER

37

4

E n v y : Revisiting Melanie Klein's " E n v y a n d Gratitude" CHAPTER

13

3

F o r m s of E x t r e m e S h a m e : H u m i l i a t i o n a n d Mortification CHAPTER

1

69

6

Defenses against Goodness

91

CHAPTER 7 Experiencing Termination: Authentic and False Depressive Positions CHAPTER 8 Painful Progress: T h e Negative T h e r a p e u t i c R e a c t i o n Reconceived

109

133

AFTERWORD

149

REFERENCES

151

INDEX

157

vii

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

M y greatest debt I owe to m y wife, D r . R i t a V . F r a n k i e l , a n d m

Y

good friend, D r . W i l l i a m I. G r o s s m a n , from b o t h of

w h o m I have received the i n v a l u a b l e gifts of e n c o u r a g e ­ ment, s u s t a i n e d interest, h e l p f u l c r i t i c i s m , eager expecta­ tion, a n d appreciative response. I a m also i n d e b t e d to the m a n y d i s c u s s a n t s a n d reviewers of earlier drafts of m u c h of the m a t e r i a l i n c l u d e d i n these pages; their r e s p o n s e s to m y j o u r n a l s u b m i s s i o n s a n d presentations at p s y c h o a n a ­ lytic meetings gave m e m u c h to r e t h i n k a n d good r e a s o n to revise m y p r e l i m i n a r y efforts. I have u s e d m a n y of their suggestions.

W h i l e p r e p a r i n g this book, I benefited from

the editorial c o n t r i b u t i o n s of E r i c a J o h a n s o n a n d

Bob

H a c k . M a n y t h a n k s to V i c t o r i a W r i g h t a n d B a r b a r a B . F r a n k for their help i n p r e p a r i n g the v a r i o u s drafts that went into the m a k i n g of t h i s book, a n d s p e c i a l t h a n k s to L a n i l e i g h T i n g who p r e p a r e d m e t e c h n i c a l l y a n d b r a c e d me emotionally for b e g i n n i n g to develop word

processor;

without

her

manuscripts

cheerful

help,

this

on

a

book

w o u l d still be far s h o r t of c o m p l e t i o n . I a m grateful to the following copyright h o l d e r s for p e r ­ m i s s i o n to r e p r i n t here, as C h a p t e r s 2, 5, 6, a n d 7 of this ix

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

book, material that first appeared i n their j o u r n a l s : the In­ ternational and

Journal

of Psychoanalysis

Disappointedness";

the

"Defenses against G o o d n e s s " ;

for

"Disappointment

Psychoanalytic

Quarterly

for

a n d the A m e r i c a n P s y c h o ­

logical A s s o c i a t i o n for " T h e Psychotherapist's A b s e n c e " a n d " E x p e r i e n c i n g T e r m i n a t i o n : A u t h e n t i c a n d False Depressive P o s i t i o n s , " b o t h of w h i c h first a p p e a r e d i n Psychology.

Psychoanalytic

A l t h o u g h I have i n t r o d u c e d m i n o r c h a n g e s of

content a n d organization i n the interest of e n h a n c e d c l a r ­ ity, c o n s i s t e n c y of style, c o n t i n u i t y of content, a n d r e d u c ­ t i o n of repetition, the a r g u m e n t s of these p a p e r s h a s n o t b e e n c h a n g e d i n a n y significant way.

x

INTRODUCTION

T r o u b l e d p e r s o n s entering p s y c h o a n a l y s i s d e p e n d o n their analysts to m a i n t a i n their analytic p o s i t i o n t h r o u g h t h i c k and thin.

For unconsciously,

a n d to some extent c o n ­

sciously, a n a l y s a n d s are beset b y p a i n f u l feelings, one of w h i c h is h o p e l e s s n e s s a b o u t b e i n g able to get r i d of their emotional p a i n . Neither o n their o w n n o r w i t h the help of significant others have they b e e n able to c h a n g e . A l t h o u g h a n a l y s a n d s often s e e m to throw obstacles

i n the way of

a n a l y s i s , they do hope that their a n a l y s t s will s t a n d fast. O n their part, a l t h o u g h they do have general guidelines that h e l p t h e m be consistent, a n a l y s t s also try to l e a r n i n e a c h case w h a t constitutes leaving the a n a l y t i c position, a b a n d o n i n g the a n a l y t i c attitude, or, as it is s a i d , b r e a k i n g the frame. It m a y be offering r e a s s u r a n c e , advice, or p e r ­ s o n a l d i s c l o s u r e s ; it m a y be engaging i n extensive

ques­

t i o n i n g i n s t e a d of l i s t e n i n g to the drift of a s s o c i a t i o n s ; m a y be some or a l l of these a n d m o r e . In the

it

analysand's

p s y c h i c reality, these deviations are likely to be experi­ e n c e d i n one way or a n o t h e r as t h r e a t e n i n g . A n attentive analyst c a n p i c k u p the resulting signs of b a d feeling even w h e n , overtly, the a n a l y s a n d s seem to fall i n line a n d w e l ­ xi

INTRODUCTION

come the b r e a k i n g of the frame: signs of loss of confidence i n the analyst's security, strength, or clarity of v i s i o n ; m i s ­ t r u s t ; a n d feelings of rejection, a b a n d o n m e n t , a n g e r , a n d d e s p a i r . T h e a n a l y s a n d m a y never have f o r m u l a t e d t h a t n e e d for a n a n a l y s t w h o r e m a i n s r e l i a b l y i n p l a c e . H o w ­ ever, the a n a l y s t m u s t be careful never to u n d e r e s t i m a t e the u r g e n c y of that n e e d . " B a d feeling'* c a n refer to every k i n d of p a i n f u l feeling. It n e e d not have a n y of the m o r a l — m o r e exactly, m o r a l i s ­ t i c — c o n n o t a t i o n s t h a t " b a d " t a k e s o n i n other contexts; for example, " b a d manners'* or " b a d character." However, unconsciously

or

even

consciously,

"bad

feelings"

can

i m p l y m o r a l i s t i c c o n d e m n a t i o n , F o r example, "It is b a d of y o u to feel that w a y ! " or " Y o u ' r e b e i n g a n u i s a n c e to worry a b o u t t h a t ! " T h e r e are those w h o , h a v i n g b e e n s c r u p u ­ l o u s l y b r o u g h t u p i n families that have elevated m e n t a l h e a l t h to the status of the E l e v e n t h C o m m a n d m e n t ,

be­

lieve that they are b e i n g b a d w h e n they have or express negative feelings. W h e n they b e g i n to feel a n x i o u s , g l u m , or a s h a m e d , they are s t r i c k e n w i t h guilt or fears of p u n i s h ­ m e n t . In these i n s t a n c e s , the analyst is witness to severe superego p r e s s u r e for perfect a d j u s t m e n t . W e m i g h t say, t h e n , t h a t m e n t a l h e a l t h h a s become the cleanliness that is next to godliness. M o r a l i z e d m e n t a l h e a l t h is only one s o u r c e of the b a d feeling of guilt

or

anticipated

punishment

and

these

are

o n l y two of the m a n y b a d feelings that a n a l y s t s e n c o u n t e r i n their daily w o r k . In t h i s b o o k I will highlight a n u m b e r of b a d feelings that are p a r t i c u l a r l y p a i n f u l . B e c a u s e anxiety, guilt, a n d s h a m e are so pervasive, b o t h i n h u m a n experi­ ence a n d i n the c l i n i c a l m a t e r i a l to be covered i n these pages, I will not devote entire c h a p t e r s to t h e m . I will e m ­ phasize

h u m i l i a t i o n a n d mortification (the

extremes

of

shame); d i s a p p o i n t m e n t a n d , w i t h it, d i s a p p o i n t e d n e s s as xii

INTRODUCTION

a

stance

toward

life;

envy;

abandonment;

rejection;

m o u r n f u l loss; a n d the sense of d a n g e r o u s v u l n e r a b i l i t y a s s o c i a t e d w i t h e x p e r i e n c i n g one's o w n goodness or t h a t of others a n d of m a k i n g g e n u i n e progress t o w a r d m a t u r i t y w h e n that step h a s b e e n a n x i o u s l y or guiltily avoided for y e a r s . Despite its brevity, t h i s list of b a d feelings is l o n g e n o u g h a n d the feelings it i n c l u d e s are sufficiently c o m ­ m o n a n d c o m p l e x that, t a k e n together, the c h a p t e r s of this b o o k have i m p l i c a t i o n s for the p s y c h o a n a l y s i s of b a d feel­ ings i n general. O n e h i g h l i g h t of m a t u r a t i o n is, of c o u r s e , the develop­ ment

of defenses against p a i n f u l — h e r e

"bad"—feelings.

C o n s e q u e n t l y , the analyst's efforts consistently e n c o u n t e r not the b a d feelings themselves b u t the defenses against t h e m . S o m e of these defenses m a y be s t r u c t u r e d w i t h i n p a t h o l o g i c a l organizations designed to b l o c k feelings

to­

tally. In that case, the a n a l y s a n d m a y be u n d e r s t o o d as act­ i n g o n the firm belief that sooner or later a n y feeling, even good feeling—happiness, confidence, e n t h u s i a s m , a r o u s a l , a n d so o n — w i l l b r i n g o n suffering. C h a p t e r 1, " A J o y l e s s Life," presents a c l i n i c a l i l l u s t r a t i o n of this extreme s t a n d against feelings. Necessarily, t h e n , t h i s b o o k h a s as m u c h to do w i t h defenses against feelings as w i t h feelings t h e m ­ selves. M o s t likely the c l i n i c a l a n a l y s t w i l l be r e q u i r e d to deal w i t h c o m p r o m i s e formations i n w h i c h e a c h constituent of the a n a l y s a n d ' s conflicts seems to have f o u n d limited ex­ p r e s s i o n , a n d that e a c h of these c o n s t i t u e n t s — i n c l u d i n g w h a t a p p e a r s to be s i m p l y defense—is l o a d e d w i t h p l e a ­ s u r a b l e as well as p a i n f u l feelings. F o r the a n a l y s a n d to achieve g e n u i n e , stable, a n d a d a p ­ tive e m o t i o n a l freedom, the a n a l y s t m u s t m a i n t a i n a n e m ­ p a t h i c , respectful attitude toward the n e e d for

defense.

Defense is n o t the enemy. It is e s s e n t i a l a n a l y t i c m a t e r i a l as well as a n e c e s s a r y aspect of adaptive living. B u t b e ­

xiii

INTRODUCTION

c a u s e it m a y i m p e d e u n d e r s t a n d i n g of whatever it is that m u s t b e w a r d e d off, its strength or rigidity m u s t be r e ­ d u c e d , i f extreme, before the analytic process c a n achieve c o m p r e h e n s i v e n e s s a n d stable, beneficial r e s u l t s . T h u s , it is a major p a r t of the analyst's j o b to attempt to w o r k t h r o u g h that need for defense as m u c h as p o s s i b l e — " a s m u c h a s p o s s i b l e " b e c a u s e a n a l y s i s c a n n o t change every­ t h i n g . U n d e r these conditions, the analyst h a d best beware the temptation to feel omnipotent a n d t h e n h u m i l i a t e d or otherwise guilty for not b e i n g helpful e n o u g h . M a n i f e s t a ­ tions of that countertransference inevitably a d d to the a n a l y s a n d ' s difficulties. T h e reader will find what seems to be another set of c o m ­ p r o m i s e formations i n b o t h m y m o d e of c o n c e p t u a l i z i n g a n d m y c l i n i c a l a p p r o a c h to a n a l y s a n d s . M y d i s c u s s i o n s reflect m y m u l t i p l e g r o u n d i n g i n F r e u d ' s writings, m i d ­ twentieth

century

psychoanalytic

ego psychology, a n d

c o n t e m p o r a r y F r e u d i a n a n a l y s i s , a l l of t h e m modified b y m y k e e n interest i n , a n d a p p r e c i a t i o n of the clinical a p ­ p r o a c h of the c o n t e m p o r a r y K l e i n i a n s of L o n d o n . I believe that,

despite s o m e w h a t different terminology a n d t e c h ­

n i q u e , t h e c o n t e m p o r a r y F r e u d i a n a n d K l e i n i a n s c h o o l s of t h o u g h t are closely related, like b r a n c h e s of the s a m e t r e e — F r e u d — t h a t are growing i n s o m e w h a t different d i ­ r e c t i o n s . I do n o t believe that m y d r a w i n g o n these v a r i e d s o u r c e s i s a k i n d of o p p o r t u n i s t i c eclecticism. A s I will try to d e m o n s t r a t e , I view m y s e l f a s r e s p o n d i n g to a deep h a r ­ m o n y that h a s n o t yet b e e n fully theorized. T h i s b o o k i s p r i m a r i l y c l i n i c a l . I have tried to keep m y r e m a r k s a s d o w n - t o - e a r t h as possible. M y a i m h a s b e e n to h e l p t h e reader f i n d u s e f u l m e t h o d a n d r i c h m e a n i n g i n the a n a l y s i s of b a d feelings. T o top things off, I have n o t

neglected the analyst's bad feelings while at work. F o r ex­ a m p l e , i n t h e f i n a l c h a p t e r , " P a i n f u l P r o g r e s s , " I develop a xiv

INTRODUCTION

critique of one common and usually unquestioned concept that I believe expresses bad feelings on the analyst's part. Specifically, I challenge Freud's use of "negative thera­ peutic reaction" to characterize analysands' tendencies to back away from their analytic gains. Feeling bad can in­ fluence not only the analyst's interventions but his or her conceptualizations as well. I believe that the conceptual­ ization of "negative therapeutic reaction" expresses nega­ tive countertransference. "Negative" casts a dark shadow over the analysis of inevitable shifts in the transference, a shadow that indicates that the analyst's preference or ex­ pectation matters more at that moment than understanding the analytic phenomenon at hand. Before that concluding chapter, I, too, will have used that well-established con­ cept in various places, for instance, in Chapter 4 on envy. I do believe, however, that it is best to view the reactions in question in another way. When in a neutral position, the analyst does best to consider these phenomena to be signs that analysands are trying to regulate the kinds and rates of change that they are undertaking. Sometimes analy­ sands believe it necessary to back away from what they unconsciously experience as too risky for them at that moment. Too much of their psychic equilibrium is at stake. When they do back away, they show the analyst that something more remains to be analyzed or that more time is required before an insight can be consolidated or a change in mental organization can be implemented and stabilized. I ask, what is negative about that?

xv

CHAPTER 1

A JOYLESS LIFE

One of Freud's great contributions to psychoanalytic theory and technique was his constantly calling attention to the gain of pleasure concealed within the chronic psy­ chical suffering that analysands present for treatment. It is now one of the chief aims of psychoanalytic work to in­ terpret this gain in pleasure. To mention only a few ex­ amples of these unconscious pleasures: some analysands unconsciously maintain gratifying attachments to figures in their lives who, superficially, are presented as incontro­ vertibly "bad objects"; some, suffering from low self-esteem and complaining that they feel alone and helpless in a bar­ ren, persecutory world, get to be understood as satisfying their envious intentions to spoil actual or potential "good objects"; still others contrive to be punished as a way of assuaging their unconscious guilt feelings, in that way both enjoying relief from guilt and confirming their reas­ suring and pleasurable unconscious fantasies of omnipo­ tent control. It is well known that it is usually difficult to discern, bring to the analysand's conscious awareness, and work through these pleasure gains. Much of the difficulty stems

1

BAD

FEELINGS

from the defenses

that have b e e n integrated into p a t h o ­

logical organizations secret

pleasures.

designed

i n part to

A d d i t i o n a l l y , the

protect

defenses

c a n be interpreted as also p r o v i d i n g u n c o n s c i o u s of gratification. F o r example, ings of loss,

as a defense

these

themselves sources

against

identification w i t h the lost object

feel­

relieves

p a i n f u l grief while, i n u n c o n s c i o u s fantasy, it denies the loss b y k e e p i n g that object w i t h o n e — a s oneself; also, de­ fensive regression from oedipal-level entanglements to a n a l ­ sadistic

modes

of relationship s i m u l t a n e o u s l y

provides

u n c o n s c i o u s opportunities to gratify s a d o m a s o c h i s t i c i n ­ c l i n a t i o n s a n d allows one to c o n t i n u e oedipal engagements i n other terms, as w h e n a son's t o r m e n t i n g o b s t i n a c y c a n be interpreted as h i s c a r r y i n g o n a sexualized r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h h i s mother. F r e u d ' s c o n t r i b u t i o n is i m m e a s u r a b l y h e l p f u l i n a n a ­ lyzing those

analysands

present themselves

(there are m a n y of them)

who

for a n a l y s i s w i t h the c o m p l a i n t that

they have b e e n leading joyless lives. T h o u g h not hopeful a b o u t change for the better, they do express the w i s h to improve the quality of their lives. Often, they present a life h i s t o r y c h a r a c t e r i z e d b y a p a i n f u l a n d emotionally

de­

p r i v e d c h i l d h o o d ; i n h i b i t i o n s of initiative, creativity, a n d self-advancement;

low self-esteem;

a n d difficulty i n f o r m ­

i n g a n d m a i n t a i n i n g emotionally intimate a n d

sexually

gratifying relations w i t h others. A p a r t from low m o o d a n d o c c a s i o n a l irritability, these a n a l y s a n d s u s u a l l y s h o w little affect. In t h i s c h a p t e r , I w i l l p r e s e n t some fragments

of the

a n a l y s i s of one s u c h joyless m a n . T h e a n a l y s a n d , T e d , is m e n t i o n e d i n several places i n t h i s book,

e a c h time i n

another context a n d therefore e a c h time differently t h e m a ­ tized. F o r example, d i s a p p o i n t m e n t , h u m i l i a t i o n , a n d de­ fenses against goodness,

2

e a c h of w h i c h figured i n T e d ' s

A JOYLESS LIFE

a n a l y s i s , are e m p h a s i z e d T a k e n together,

i n one place b u t not

these interrelated examples

another.

c a n be

garded as i l l u s t r a t i n g the major t e c h n i c a l concept of ing through.

re­

work­

A n d as i n w o r k i n g t h r o u g h , some repetition of

life h i s t o r i c a l a n d descriptive m a t e r i a l is u n a v o i d a b l e .

TED T e d c a m e to a n a l y s i s c o m p l a i n i n g that h i s life was d r a b , h i s m o o d low, a n d h i s capacity for social a n d s e x u a l r e l a ­ t i o n s h i p s m a r k e d l y l i m i t e d . No longer a y o u n g m a n ,

he

was u n h a p p y a b o u t b e i n g u n m a r r i e d a n d childless. H i s self-presentation was notably devoid of affect. T e d ' s p a r ­ ents,

now deceased,

h a d fled political p e r s e c u t i o n i n a

M e d i t e r r a n e a n c o u n t r y after m e m b e r s of their family h a d b e e n i m p r i s o n e d or k i l l e d . S u b s e q u e n t l y ,

they a p p e a r to

have lived frightened, s e c l u d e d , depressed lives. Over the c o u r s e of T e d ' s a n a l y s i s , it b e c a m e possible to interpret u n c o n s c i o u s pleasures he gained t h r o u g h h i s os­ tensibly empty e m o t i o n a l life. F o r example, it was possible to interpret to good effect a s t r o n g involvement i n s a d o ­ m a s o c h i s t i c m a n i p u l a t i o n of others. H e showed this i n ­ volvement women.

especially

Repeatedly,

clearly he

in

his

disappointed

relationships them.

He

with

accom­

p l i s h e d these d i s a p p o i n t m e n t s b y setting u p battles w i t h t h e m over c o m m i t m e n t that he c o u l d be s u r e of w i n n i n g . M o r e t h a n w i n n i n g , T e d was also p r o v i n g to h i m s e l f that he needed n o t h i n g from t h e m . H i s sense of s e c u r i t y a n d u n ­ conscious

omnipotence

depended

o n h i s projecting

his

own needfulness into these w o m e n a n d t h e n viewing t h e m as g r a s p i n g , predatory, a n d d e v o u r i n g . T o i n s u r e h i s v i c ­ tory, he was q u i c k to find fault w i t h e a c h w o m a n ,

espe­

cially if he f o u n d h e r interesting or p h y s i c a l l y attractive. 3

BAD FEELINGS

T h u s , T e d h a d become a m a s t e r of c o n t e m p t u o u s

invul­

nerability a n d i m p l i e d self-satisfaction. R e m a i n i n g oblivi­ o u s to the p a i n he c a u s e d b y h i s aggressive, d e m e a n i n g , even t o r t u r i n g strategies,

he never showed

a

flicker

of

guilt. In h i s c o n s c i o u s self-concept, he was blameless.

It

was j u s t that, as he saw it, there was n o t h i n g a n d n o b o d y o u t there for h i m . After several y e a r s of a n a l y s i s , T e d w a s

able to

ac­

knowledge that he played a game with others: he saw " h o w close to the edge" he c o u l d m a n e u v e r t h e m before m a k i n g p r o p i t i a t o r y gestures

t h a t drew t h e m b a c k to h i m a n d

l e d t h e m to expose themselves to f u r t h e r d i s a p p o i n t m e n t at h i s h a n d s . Sometimes, i n telling a b o u t this game, T e d w o u l d smile w i t h satisfaction; occasionally he even

felt

gleeful, as w h e n he told how he c o u l d j u s t w a l k away from a n y involvement w i t h another p e r s o n . M u c h of this u n d e r s t a n d i n g developed from the a n a l y s i s of the transference. B e c a u s e it was o n h i s o w n that he h a d come to a n a l y s i s for h e l p — a n d he d i d come faithfully—I c o u l d a s s u m e that genuinely, t h o u g h secretly, T e d h o p e d to give u p at least some of this manifestly lonely, u n h a p p y , a n d u n c o n s c i o u s l y c r u e l controlling life. In the c o n s u l t i n g r o o m , however, repetition was the order of the day. F o r y e a r s I was treated as j u s t another d e m a n d i n g i n v a d e r to be w a r d e d off, another w o u l d - b e s e d u c e r he c o u l d thwart a n d p o s s i b l y lure into d i s a p p o i n t m e n t . F o r example,

he

c o u l d lead me to feel hopeful a b o u t change for the better (in h i s terms) only to t h e n s h u t h i s steel doors a b r u p t l y i n m y face. H e d i d this b y forgetting, m i n i m i z i n g , or b e c o m i n g even more toneless after a n y brief period of

engagement

d u r i n g w h i c h he showed that he felt i m p r e s s e d b y m e or d r a w n to o u r w o r k or to me. F o r h i m , feeling those ways i m p l i e d that I might be a good p e r s o n who w o u l d t h e n have the power to d i s a p p o i n t h i m . A l l the more r e a s o n t h e n to

4

A JOYLESS LIFE

repel me. In h i s defensive mode, T e d needed m e so that he c o u l d p l a y the game of d i s a p p o i n t i n g me a n d rejecting me i n h i s a l m o s t i n c r e d i b l y b l a n d a n d oblivious m a n n e r . A t the s a m e time, T e d was careful to pacify m e . H e d i d not w a n t m e to give u p o n h i m altogether. F r o m early o n , as t h o u g h r e a s s u r i n g me, he w o u l d report how m u c h the analysis was benefiting h i m . H e w o u l d give examples d r a w n from h i s extra-analytic life of increased involvement, inner reactivity, a n d overt e x p r e s s i v e n e s s . T h e s e " p r o g r e s s r e ­ p o r t s " d i d not seem fabricated; however, b e c a u s e for a l o n g time they led to n o c h a n g e i n h i s t r a n s f e r e n c e or i n the k i n d of " d e a d " m a t e r i a l he typically kept m u l l i n g over d u r ­ i n g h i s sessions, they seemed to be still too m u c h i n the service of d u l l i n g me a n d s e d u c i n g me into d i s a p p o i n t m e n t . Later i n Ted's analysis, I realized that the way he be­ h a v e d — h i s emotionless,

omnipotent

sadomasochism—was

far from the whole story. F o r example, it was h i s way of d e m o n s t r a t i n g fanatical loyalty to idealized v e r s i o n s of h i s p a r e n t s . Indeed, he was b e h a v i n g as t h o u g h they were still alive, still overly a t t a c h e d to h i m , a n d still v u l n e r a b l e to a n y emotional shifts away from t h e m ; u n c o n s c i o u s l y , he i m a g i n e d that if he were to form a s u s t a i n e d , gratifying e m o t i o n a l r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h s o m e o n e else, it w o u l d k i l l t h e m . It was not only that h e w a s identified w i t h their life­ lessness;

i n their roles

as

introjects,

they were

living,

c l i n g i n g figures, always present i n the c o n s u l t i n g r o o m , j u s t as they always c a m e a l o n g o n h i s dates. A l t h o u g h T e d w a s not d e l u s i o n a l i n a n y u s u a l sense of t h a t w o r d , h i s loyalty to these imagoes seemed to be one of those private, n o n m a l i g n a n t , e n c a p s u l a t e d d e l u s i o n s that are developed b y so m a n y of those w h o have suffered severe early n a r c i s ­ sistic damage a n d whose f u n c t i o n i n g h a s r e m a i n e d split between the concreteness well-developed

of u n c o n s c i o u s fantasy a n d a

c a p a c i t y for

abstract,

rational

thought. 5

BAD FEELINGS

T h e i r good sense of reality r e m a i n s intact so long as they avoid i n t i m a t e relations w i t h others. T e d lived o u t this role by a d o p t i n g the lifestyle of a n e a r r e c l u s e , mostly k e e p i n g to h i s own h o m e , r e m a i n i n g iso­ lated at s c h o o l a n d later at work. He c o u l d not a s k for r e c ­ ognition

and

so

was

usually just

taken

for

granted.

A l t h o u g h he performed o n a h i g h level w i t h what a p p e a r e d to be

commendable

organization, he

c o u l d do

so

only

u n d e r the c o n d i t i o n that he was meeting a specific a s s i g n ­ m e n t , never w h e n he was r e q u i r e d to p i c k a topic of h i s o w n a n d develop it i n h i s o w n way. D o i n g things i n h i s o w n w a y i m p l i e d selfishness, w h a t others w o u l d call l e a d i n g a n i n d e p e n d e n t , affirmative life i n w h i c h he w o u l d be l o o k i n g o u t for h i s own interests, too. H e was r e q u i r e d to live q u i ­ etly a n d u n n o t i c e d with a n d a s h i s dead p a r e n t s . T a k i n g T e d ' s fanatical loyalty into a c c o u n t , I b e g a n to view h i m as desperately seeking to avoid c o n s c i o u s l y ex­ p e r i e n c i n g p r o f o u n d guilt feelings. T h a t he was in

this regard was

evident i n h i s

apparently

successful guilt-free

m a n i p u l a t i o n a n d persecution of others. T h e potentially p a i n f u l layer of guilt was, I thought, c o n n e c t e d w i t h the possibility, m e n t i o n e d forming

good

earlier, of k i l l i n g h i s p a r e n t s

r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h others.

Even

by

showing

clear desire was forbidden. He h a d l e a r n e d early i n life that,

along with bearing disappointment

without

com­

p l a i n t , he w a s to see n o evil, h e a r n o evil, a n d s p e a k n o evil. H e was to " m a k e no waves" b y w a n t i n g t h i n g s , b y feel­ i n g e n t h u s i a s t i c or frustrated, or b y asserting self-interest as a n o r m a l c h i l d might. E x c e p t for critical reactions, a n y ­ t h i n g felt s p o n t a n e o u s l y was excessive a n d u n w o r t h y . A l s o , guilt was associated w i t h h i s fantasy that he h a d already killed h i s p a r e n t s . He h a d killed t h e m l o n g ago b y a d o p t i n g a w i t h d r a w n p o s i t i o n at h o m e . H e h a d m i n i m i z e d h i s dealings w i t h h i s p a r e n t s a n d allowed h i m s e l f little

6

A JOYLESS

LIFE

c o n s c i o u s feeling for t h e m . T h u s , h i s transference was e n ­ acted i n h i s s h u t t i n g out a n y s i g n of feeling a b o u t m e . In t h i s way, T e d was repeating h i s deadly attack o n t h e m at the s a m e time as he w a s b e i n g true to t h e m . T h i s c o m b i n i n g of seemingly opposite a i m s also served as a defensive way of s a y i n g s i m u l t a n e o u s l y , T m

sorry

a n d I'm p u n i s h i n g myself* a n d "I don't c a r e ! " "I don't c a r e ! " was one of h i s frequently repeated r e s p o n s e s

i n words,

s h r u g s of the shoulder, or s m i r k i n g responses to the efforts m a d e b y others, i n c l u d i n g me, to help h i m confront the damage he was doing to h i m s e l f a n d to t h e m . In one a n d the s a m e gesture he c o u l d be sadistic a n d pay the price for it. T e d ' s case h a d n o w t a k e n o n the tragic cast t h a t a n a l y ­ ses do once they have m a d e s u b s t a n t i a l progress. Its tragic n a t u r e was o b s c u r e d b y h i s self-concept as a

blameless

p e r s o n a n d h i s s o c i a l p r e s e n t a t i o n as a soulless p e r s o n . E s p e c i a l l y noteworthy i n this respect w a s T e d ' s general u n r e s p o n s i v e n e s s to the d r a m a of language. H e d r a i n e d h i s language of color. H e leveled it to the p o i n t of flatness. G e n e r a l l y , he was u n r e s p o n s i v e to m y v a r i a t i o n s of e m ­ p h a s i s t h r o u g h m y s p o n t a n e o u s u s e of m e t a p h o r , simile, or m i l d exclamations. Later i n analysis, after T e d h a d b e g u n relaxing h i s controls a n d defenses a bit, he was able to c o m ­ p l a i n about m y not h a v i n g colluded w i t h h i s p u r g i n g l a n ­ guage of all feeling. H e c l a i m e d that m y u s e of language h a d b e e n "too exciting, too d e m a n d i n g of emotional response." T e d c o u l d not convey t h i s c o m p l a i n t all at once. F i r s t there w a s only a d r e a m of s o m e o n e b r e a k i n g t h r o u g h a w a l l i n a d i s t r e s s i n g way. After I d e c i p h e r e d the transfer­ ence c o m p l a i n t i n the d r e a m , T e d c o u l d agree i n h i s flat w a y t h a t he h a d resented m y expressive language, w h i c h , I s h o u l d m e n t i o n , rarely d r a m a t i z e s i s s u e s t h a t come

up

d u r i n g analytic s e s s i o n s . Yet, b y letting m e k n o w t h a t m y limited s p o n t a n e o u s expressiveness was too m u c h for h i m ,

7

BAD FEELINGS

he was conveying that w h e n he is exposed to

excitement

a n d s u r p r i s e , he feels o n the verge of " a riot of e m o t i o n . " In t h i s context, he d r e a m e d that he was endangered b y a n i m m i n e n t a v a l a n c h e . C o n s e q u e n t l y , he h a d to live " i n a c o c o o n " i n the a n a l y s i s , as elsewhere; the alternative, he felt, was

"catastrophe."

T e d also h a d m a n y ways of m a i n t a i n i n g h i s strong b a r r i ­ ers against d e p e n d i n g o n others. Not only was d e p e n d e n c y a h u m i l i a t i n g c o n t r a d i c t i o n of the omnipotence i m p l i e d i n h i s ascetic

self-sufficiency,

it overexposed

h i m to

emo­

t i o n a l s t i m u l a t i o n . He showed this defense i n the transfer­ ence by the way he h a n d l e d m y b i l l s . He always p a i d t h e m the day after he received t h e m . H e h a n d e d me h i s c h e c k w i t h o u t l o o k i n g at me. W h e n he c o u l d , he j u s t d r o p p e d h i s c h e c k o n m y d e s k as he p a s s e d it o n the way to the c o u c h . In t h i s way he avoided the " t o u c h " aspect of m o n e y p a s s i n g between u s . I

understood

this

behavior

to

be

expressing

anal­

sadistic a n d anal-erotic tendencies. A m o n g other things, he was a p p a r e n t l y influenced by intense b u t

secondary

anxiety a b o u t h o m o s e x u a l tendencies that paralleled h i s m i s t r u s t of w o m e n . Primarily, however, I inferred that T e d w a s d e t e r m i n e d to prevent h i s developing a n y i n d e b t e d ­ n e s s to me. H e was to leave no trace of h i s h a v i n g received services o n w h i c h he c o u n t e d . H e was to give n o h i n t of desire to h o l d onto h i s m o n e y or to h o l d onto m e b y delay­ i n g p a y m e n t . H e was to show n o p l e a s u r e i n p a y i n g m e lest it be t a k e n as felt gratitude, adequate restitution for h i s a r r a y of attacks o n me, or expressions of i n t i m a c y that m i g h t also i m p l y s e x u a l feelings. In short, I was not to be­ come a good, exciting p e r s o n i n h i s life. A s is regularly the case i n analytic work, m u c h of this m a t e r i a l c o u l d be interpreted only after T e d h a d b e g u n to c h a n g e . H e d i d change, typically w i t h m u c h b a c k i n g away

8

A JOYLESS L I F E

from a n y new development. T h i s defensive b a c k i n g away expressed more t h a n anxiety; it s h o w e d h i m to be c o n t i n u ­ i n g h i s efforts to d i s a p p o i n t m e so that I, too, w o u l d expe­ rience the d e s p a i r that he seemed to have b e e n feeling ever since c h i l d h o o d . Nevertheless, the more c o n s c i o u s he be­ c a m e of h i s set of strategies a n d the beliefs a n d feelings o n w h i c h it w a s b a s e d , the m o r e he b e g a n to feel faint traces of i n c i p i e n t affection, e n t h u s i a s m , remorse, a n d c o n s t r u c ­ tive c o m m i t m e n t . T h e s e feelings a p p e a r e d last of a l l a n d least of a l l i n the transference b e c a u s e , u p to the e n d , he c o u l d not participate actively or openly i n direct w o r k o n h i s " u n r e l a t e d " r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h m e . M o s t l y he e x p l o r e d fragments

of t r a n s f e r e n c e

i n cooled-down,

intellectual

terms. A s I m e n t i o n e d , the c h a n g e s for the better that d i d take place were m o r e evident a n d openly gratifying to h i m i n h i s extra-analytic life. Despite these limitations, I b e g a n to be­ lieve that T e d was g e n u i n e l y a c k n o w l e d g i n g m y i m p o r ­ tance to h i m a n d h i s belief i n the t r u t h of m y transference interpretations. A l t h o u g h there seemed to be signs every­ where of the power of h i s o m n i p o t e n c e , h i s s a d o m a s o c h ­ i s m , h i s n e e d to reject d e p e n d e n c y a n d avoid guilt, they h a d d i m i n i s h e d i n n u m b e r a n d m a g n i t u d e to a noteworthy degree. H e n o longer h a d to lead me o n to the extent that he h a d earlier. W i t h these c h a n g e s , T e d was allowing p l e a s u r e to enter h i s p e r s o n a l a n d o c c u p a t i o n a l life. H e c o u l d s u c c e s s f u l l y a n d i n d e p e n d e n t l y analyze h i s o w n a s s a u l t s o n h i s new­ f o u n d m o m e n t s of h a p p i n e s s . H i s sense of reality h a v i n g b e e n cleared of m a n y of h i s projective identifications a n d other primitive defenses, he c o u l d perceive a n d r e m e m b e r the good side of others a n d h i s n e e d for t h e m ; he c o u l d be good to t h e m o n n u m e r o u s o c c a s i o n s , a n d he c o u l d i m a g ­ ine a p l e a s u r a b l e future w i t h o u t immediately or lastingly 9

BAD FEELINGS

filling it i n w i t h fear of i m p e n d i n g disasters or f i n d i n g — more exactly, creating—flaws

that spoiled a n y c h a n c e of

gratification. T h i s was as m u c h as he c o u l d offer h i m s e l f a n d me, a n d for h i m it was a lot.

DISCUSSION O n e m i g h t a s k whether or to what extent it was borrowed guilt (Freud 1923)

that was exerting a major influence o n

T e d ' s retreat from overt, socialized forms of pleasure. A l ­ t h o u g h it c o u l d be a s s u m e d to b e g i n w i t h that he, like the rest of u s , c o u l d not emerge from c h i l d h o o d free from re­ s i d u a l guilt feelings, it d i d seem that T e d was c a r r y i n g a n u n u s u a l l y heavy b u r d e n of guilt a n d was striving mightily to keep it out of c o n s c i o u s n e s s . T h e r e were m a n y

reasons

for t h i s outcome, b u t it is reasonable to s u p p o s e that one of t h e m was h i s parents' suffering greatly from their o w n s u r v i v o r s ' guilt a n d their h a v i n g atoned b y living s u b d u e d , " d e a d " lives. If so, T e d w o u l d have g r o w n u p believing, a m o n g other t h i n g s , t h a t love a n d loyalty to h i s p a r e n t s r e q u i r e d h i m to lead their k i n d of life. He w o u l d have done so out of c o m p l i a n c e , identification, defense against r e t a l ­ iatory rage, a n d a w i s h to protect h i s miserable p a r e n t s . It seemed, however, that the p a i n of this guilt was too heavy a b u r d e n for h i m to bear c o n s c i o u s l y , structed

a pathological

reparation,

and need

so that he

organization of desire,

for p u n i s h m e n t

that

tively c a n c e l out c o n s c i o u s guilt feelings. h e c o u l d t h e n view h i s p l e a s u r e - g i v i n g

con­

defense,

could

effec­

Unconsciously, sadomasochistic

m a n i p u l a t i o n of others, his isolation, a n d h i s

manifestly

j o y l e s s life as b e i n g " i n a good c a u s e . " C h a n g e from this p o s i t i o n c o u l d be contemplated only w i t h d r e a d .

10

A JOYLES S L I F E

T h e l i f e - h i s t o r i c a l a c c o u n t of T e d ' s life a n d present p o s i ­ t i o n that we c o - c o n s t r u c t e d t h r o u g h i n t e r p r e t a t i o n further suggested that T e d ' s p a r e n t s not o n l y needed h i m to stick w i t h t h e m ; they also expected h i m to seek their advice a n d h e l p a n d to receive these p a r e n t a l gestures gratefully. H e p l a y e d h i s p a r t d u t i f u l l y b u t u n e m o t i o n a l l y . It w a s a l l a matter of going t h r o u g h the m o t i o n s of aliveness a n d relat­ edness, a n d h e d i d the s a m e i n h i s transference. A c c e s s to t h i s strategy w a s g a i n e d t h r o u g h h i s b e c o m ­ i n g able to a c k n o w l e d g e t h a t , m o s t l y secretly, a n d j u s t as he h a d occasionally derived pleasure by tormenting his m o t h e r over petty details, he w a s t r y i n g to get at me. F o r example, there were m a n y times w h e n he m a d e it difficult to be u n d e r s t o o d even superficially, a n d other times w h e n he steadily negated or modified m y c o m m e n t s .

Also,

he

w o u l d often i n t r o d u c e c o m p l i c a t i o n s i n h i s s c h e d u l e

of

a p p o i n t m e n t s . In part, he was i n t e n d i n g to be at least a n u i s a n c e , if not severely f r u s t r a t i n g a n d e n r a g i n g . E x p e c t ­ ably, these devices e n a b l e d h i m to stir u p negative c o u n ­ tertransference,

the

self-analysis

of

which

helped

me

u n d e r s t a n d better the carefully d i s g u i s e d o e d i p a l aspects of the t o r m e n t i n g games he p l a y e d w i t h h i s m o t h e r . T h a t borrowed guilt p l a y e d a significant p a r t i n T e d ' s pathological o r g a n i z a t i o n seems to be a n interpretation w i t h some merit. If so, it c o u l d be h e l p f u l i n u n d e r s t a n d i n g other a n h e d o n i c lifestyles. A n d , as will become evident i n the c h a p t e r s that follow, d i s a p p o i n t m e n t , h u m i l i a t i o n , a n d defenses

against

goodness

can

play

equally

important

p a r t s i n c o n s t r u c t i n g j o y l e s s lives.

11

CHAPTER 2

DISAPPOINTMENT AND DISAPPOINTEDNESS

Disappointment is a n inevitable, pervasive, more or less p a i n ­ ful, a n d perhaps traumatic experience i n almost every phase of life. A s a central feature of the O e d i p u s complex, its influ­ ence is powerful, far-reaching, a n d lasting. H i d d e n pockets of profound disappointment insidiously limit significant as­ pects of development, sometimes b l o c k i n g t h e m severely. B e y o n d i n f l u e n t i a l i n d i v i d u a l experiences of d i s a p p o i n t ­ m e n t , a n a l y t i c interest m u s t extend to

disappointedness

as a fixed, h a r d e n e d attitude toward life i n general. T h a t attitude expresses itself i n a g r i m view of w h a t life h a s of­ fered a n d a b l e a k expectation of w h a t the future h o l d s . It i n c l u d e s the d e t e r m i n a t i o n that life m u s t not be allowed to be a n y t h i n g b u t d i s a p p o i n t i n g . T h e n ,

disappointedness

h a s b e c o m e a goal i n life—one m i g h t s a y a career. U p o n analysis,

hardened

and

insistent

disappointedness

often u n d e r s t o o d to serve a i m s t h a t are defensive,

aggressive,

is

simultaneously

a n d , as i n m o r a l m a s o c h i s m p a r ­

t i c u l a r l y , l i b i d i n a l . A l s o to be t a k e n into a c c o u n t is the overlay of defenses that m a y have b e e n erected against ex­ p o s i n g oneself b o t h to feeling one's d i s a p p o i n t e d n e s s a n d , w h a t is worse, s h o w i n g it.

13

BAD FEELINGS

C e r t a i n l y , references to d i s a p p o i n t m e n t pervade c l i n i ­ c a l c a s e r e p o r t s ; however, w h e n a n a l y s t s have a d d r e s s e d disappointment

itself,

they have t a k e n u p t h i s

impor­

t a n t topic u n d e r other h e a d i n g s . T h e s e h e a d i n g s i n c l u d e depression, mistrust, frustration, a n d masochism. sequently, papers, and

disappointment

Con­

does n o t a p p e a r i n titles of

a n d it is n o t i n d e x e d

o t h e r s . T h r e e exceptions

i n the w o r k

of F r e u d

to t h i s t r e n d s h o u l d be

n o t e d . F i r s t , J a c o b s o n (1946) c o n t r i b u t e d a n early a n d excellent p a p e r o n d i s a p p o i n t m e n t . A l t h o u g h s h e m e n ­ tioned d i s a p p o i n t m e n t frequently i n h e r s u b s e q u e n t (1964, 1971), s h e t e n d e d to s u b s u m e it u n d e r Bergler

(1948)

took

u p disappointedness

k n o w n work o n "injustice scribed he

as

eagerly

collectors,"

seeking

s i t u a t e d this e m p h a s i s

work

depression.

i n his well­

a group he de­

disappointment;

however,

w i t h i n h i s general s t u d y of

superego pathology. F i n a l l y , J o s e p h (e.g., 1989, p p . 1 1 7 ­ 120,

127-128,

174-178)

usually discusses

m e n t u n d e r the more general h e a d i n g despair.

disappoint­ T h e present

c h a p t e r is offered a s a s u p p l e m e n t to these three c o n t r i b u ­ t i o n s . It focuses o n detailed manifestations of the experi­ ences a n d activities i n q u e s t i o n , i n c l u d i n g rigid defenses against t h e m . I will d i s c u s s disappointment u n d e r several conventional a n a l y t i c h e a d i n g s : d i s a p p o i n t m e n t as a reactive feeling, a s a defense, a s a w e a p o n , a n d as a sought-after f o r m of suf­ fering that m a y y i e l d secret p l e a s u r e . I w i l l also c o n s i d e r d i s a p p o i n t m e n t i n relation to a d a p t a t i o n , i n t h i s regard e m p h a s i z i n g its u s e f u l potential u n d e r extreme

circum­

s t a n c e s . Later o n , I will present a c l i n i c a l example t h a t i l ­ l u s t r a t e s some of the ways i n w h i c h these aspects of d i s a p ­ p o i n t m e n t entered into the treatment r e l a t i o n s h i p between one a n a l y s a n d a n d one analyst. B e c a u s e I have n o t u n d e r ­ t a k e n to present a complete case a n a l y s i s , o n l y s o m e of the

14

DISAPPOINTMENT AND

DISAPPOINTEDNESS

sexual a n d aggressive trends i n the analytic w o r k will enter into the d i s c u s s i o n .

FEELING

DISAPPOINTED

O r d i n a r i l y , people feel d i s a p p o i n t e d w h e n experience fails to be i n line w i t h s t r o n g w i s h e s or confident expectations. T h i s r e s p o n s e is so r e g u l a r a n d c o n s i d e r e d so n a t u r a l that it u s u a l l y does not come u p for direct a n d intensive s c r u ­ tiny i n a n a l y t i c s e s s i o n s or reports. O f greater a n a l y t i c i n ­ terest are a l l those i n s t a n c e s i n w h i c h a c c o u n t s of h a v i n g h a d s o m e w i s h gratified or h a v i n g r e a c h e d s o m e goal are followed b y ,

"It d i d n ' t live u p to m y

expectations,"

"It

w a s n ' t as good as I t h o u g h t it w o u l d b e , " or "I h a d h o p e d for m o r e . " Reflective writers of e s s a y s a n d fiction have u r g e d u s to realize t h a t the excitement m i g h t lie more i n the c h a s e t h a n i n the c a p t u r e or t h a t the j o y i n the creative p r o c e s s lies m o r e i n w o r k i n g creatively t h a n i n the work's e n d result. A n d r e G i d e wrote somewhere that the first t o u c h of a h a n d c o u l d be more exciting t h a n the later full-fledged sexual encounter. Some have even c o u n s e l e d that if we do not get o u r hopes u p , we will never be d i s a p p o i n t e d . Here, the analyst m u s t ask, " W h a t is this all a b o u t ? "

IDEALIZATION T o a significant extent, it s e e m s to be a b o u t i d e a l i z a t i o n as a b u i l t - i n c o m p o n e n t of every s t r o n g desire. A l t h o u g h i d e ­ alization c a n serve a u s e f u l f u n c t i o n b y a r o u s i n g a n d s u s ­ t a i n i n g interest a n d b y i n c r e a s i n g one's tolerance for delay of gratification, i n the e n d it will i m p o s e a price o n those s a m e advantages. T h a t is, it w i l l have led u s u n r e a l i s t i c a l l y

15

BAD

FEELINGS

to expect some bliss that is fully u n i n h i b i t e d , unambivalent, a n d u n t o u c h e d b y elements of d i s p l e a s u r e . W e d i s c o v e r t h e n that we have b e e n d r e a m i n g the d r e a m of p u r e fulfill­ m e n t , t r a n s c e n d i n g ourselves, a n d s o a r i n g into that r e a l m of p u r e p l e a s u r e that we seem destined never to enter ex­ cept p e r h a p s i n the first f l u s h of fulfillment o r expectation. O n l y later m i g h t we realize the extent to w h i c h o u r i d e a l i ­ zations have entailed d e n i a l of complexity a n d also h o w o m n i p o t e n t fantasies

have p l a y e d significant s u p p o r t i n g

roles i n o u r initial, seemingly u n a l l o y e d thrills.

Infatua­

tions have these complex features (Freud 1921). In o u r analytic w o r k , we might c o n s t r u e these i d e a l i z a ­ tions as s p r i n g i n g from infantile layers of o u r b e i n g that c o n t i n u e to foster fantasies of total, u n c o m p r o m i s e d fulfill­ ment.

O r d i n a r i l y , F r e u d ' s (1915c) omnipotent

"pleasure

ego" h a s b e e n more or less m a s t e r e d i n the course of devel­ opment; the reality p r i n c i p l e a n d s e c o n d a r y process have u s u a l l y come to h o l d sway over this i n e r a d i c a b l e infantile state. F r e u d ' s (1905, 1937) recognition of these features of development never deterred h i m from e m p h a s i z i n g the i m ­ p e r i s h a b i l i t y of the infantile u n c o n s c i o u s . However well p r e p a r e d we m a y b e for the miseries of everyday life (Freud 1893-1895), we c o n t i n u e to be subject to the e n d u r i n g i n ­ fluence of these primitive imperatives. O n this b a s i s , ide­ alizations, denials, a n d omnipotent fantasies will have b e e n c o n s t r u c t e d a n d s u s t a i n e d with the help of m a n y projective i d e n t i f i c a t i o n s : specifically, projections of one's o w n n a r ­ c i s s i s t i c fantasies of the m a g i c a l self a n d c o r r e s p o n d i n g grandiose images of the "good objects" a n d " b a d objects" of one's i n f a n c y (Freud 1914a, 1915c). T h e d i s a p p o i n t m e n t that so often throws its s h a d o w a c r o s s p l e a s u r a b l e experience seems to rest o n still more factors t h a n those already m e n t i o n e d . L o o k e d at i n terms of life history, t h i s s h a d o w i n g m i g h t s p r e a d from negative

16

DISAPPOINTMENT AND

DISAPPOINTEDNESS

aspects of childhood. These aspects would include painful memories of frequent disappointment, loss, the forbidden­ ness of certain forms of pleasure-seeking, or the avoidance of pleasure owing to conflictual, threatening circumstances that involve expectations of painful consequences, such as fear of the envy or collapse of a depressed parent. Looked at in terms of the present, the shadow might also spread from the looming threat of feeling destructively greedy or envious of the goodness of others to the point of wanting to rob them or spoil the very objects on whom one depends (see Chapters 4 and 6). Difficulties are increased by competitiveness, an ambivalent stance toward stirred­ up dependency feelings, and excessive projection of bad parts of the self into potentially good objects. One ex­ ample would be the defensive analysand who cannot ac­ cept the analyst's goodness wholeheartedly, if at all; projects "bad" feelings into the analyst; and then experi­ ences the analyst's empathy as contempt, contemptible weakness, or seduction. In reaction to these developments, the analysand may regress to some crudely narcissistic, perhaps manic en­ clave of fantasized omnipotence from within which he or she can safely deny totally the worth and the joy of any good experience. One might deny these pleasures because acknowledging them would conflict with well-established guilt-ridden feelings of undeservingness, with other high­ priority defenses, or with old, treasured, and nursed griev­ ances toward the person who now seems to have become a good object. The developmental gain through psychoanalysis in this context of disappointment is acquiring and valuing a per­ spective on the inevitability of imperfection in that which one holds dear. Analyses that have gone well help develop a potential for making allowance for imperfection in plea­ 17

BAD

FEELINGS

s u r e w i t h o u t r a d i c a l l y d i m i n i s h i n g one's capacity for love, hopefulness,

e n t h u s i a s m , a n d dedicated effort. T h a t po­

tential to m a k e allowances rests o n decreased reliance o n splitting a n d projective identification, more reliable reality testing, greater differentiation a n d stability of object r e l a ­ tions,

a n i n c r e a s e d steadiness

of goal-directed activity,

a n d a tolerance of h i g h spirits. A t the s a m e time, that po­ tential for tolerance contributes to the further

develop­

m e n t of these ego strengths themselves. T h u s , this process of development feeds o n its successes. It seems that m a k i n g allowances is a n essential i n g r e d i ­ ent i n the capacity to e n d u r e the ambivalence that K l e i n (1940) highlighted as a m a r k e r of entry into the depressive p o s i t i o n . In K l e i n i a n a n a l y s i s , this tolerance is recognized to be one of the a c h i e v e m e n t s s c h i z o i d p o s i t i o n (Klein 1946)

of l e a v i n g the p a r a n o i d ­ sufficiently to be able

to

b e g i n to w o r k t h r o u g h a n d m a i n t a i n some a p p r o x i m a t i o n of the depressive p o s i t i o n . W o r k i n g toward that p o s i t i o n does not m e a n the e n d of conflict b u t rather a flexible a n d resilient integration of one's o w n m i x of p s y c h o l o g i c a l m a ­ turity a n d immaturity.

T h o s e a n a l y s a n d s who develop fixed, h a r d e n e d attitudes of d i s a p p o i n t m e n t have u s u a l l y suffered prolonged, severe d e p r i v a t i o n a n d p a i n i n their early object r e l a t i o n s h i p s . T h e d e p r i v a t i o n a n d p a i n might have b e e n inflicted b y v i o ­ lence a n d extreme poverty; however, they m i g h t be attrib­ utable to c o n t i n u o u s neglect or a b u s e of e m o t i o n a l needs s t e m m i n g from p a r e n t a l i n h i b i t i o n , d e p r e s s i o n , p s y c h o s i s , p h y s i c a l illness, or h a r s h c h i l d - r e a r i n g practices that pre­ s u m a b l y favored total self-reliance a n d self-control b u t p r o ­

18

DISAPPOINTMENT

AND

DISAPPOINTEDNESS

d u c e d the opposite results. Alternatively this d i s a p p o i n t e d ­ ness might have b e e n constantly reinforced b y a steady diet of h u m i l i a t i o n ostensibly designed to m a k e s u r e that one never b r i n g s s h a m e o n the family. A s will be d i s c u s s e d i n C h a p t e r 3 o n extremes of s h a m e , the key p h r a s e i n this context tends to be " k n o w i n g one's p l a c e . " A n a l y s i s often strongly suggests that t h i s diet of h u m i l i a t i o n is a i m e d to r e d u c e the c h a n c e s that one will t h r e a t e n the brittle de­ fenses a n d s h a b b y

self-esteem

of others

i n the

family

whose envy h a s b e e n a r o u s e d b y one's significant achieve­ m e n t a n d self-confidence. A n a l y t i c s t u d i e s of reactions to violence, d e p r i v a t i o n , a n d h u m i l i a t i o n are not, however, controlled b y s i m p l i s t i c a n d totalistic theories of inevitable a n d u n i f o r m reactions to these t r a u m a t i c i m p i n g e m e n t s . A n a l y s t s investigate as closely as possible h o w e a c h c h i l d internalizes these expe­ riences a n d t r a n s f o r m s their m e a n i n g s a n d s t a t u s i n a c ­ c o r d w i t h e a c h successive stage of development.

Experi­

ence i n the w o r l d c o u n t s for a great deal, of c o u r s e , b u t so does the fantastic n a t u r e of the c h i l d ' s i m m a t u r e a n d often u n c o m p r e h e n d i n g p s y c h i c reality, a worldview that r e g u ­ larly persists into a d u l t y e a r s . It is a n essential p a r t of the analytic t a s k to try to e s t a b l i s h h o w the affected c h i l d h a s b o t h a c c o m m o d a t e d to a n d come to use these p a i n f u l ex­ periences for l i b i d i n a l ,

sadomasochistic,

defensive,

and

m o r a l i s t i c p u r p o s e s . O f e q u a l interest is how, over time, e a c h c h i l d h a s m a d e c o r r e s p o n d i n g alterations i n the ego functions of reality testing, anticipation, a n d frustration tol­ erance. F o r analysts m u s t presuppose that these changes c o n t i n u o u s l y s h a p e a n d r e s h a p e fantasies a b o u t

oneself,

others, a n d the possibilities of h u m a n relations. A l s o , the c h a n g e s intensify or d i m i n i s h the influence of these f a n t a ­ sies a n d enlarge or n a r r o w their scope. B e i n g t h u s p r e p a r e d to give d u e weight to layered u n ­ 19

BAD

FEELINGS

c o n s c i o u s m e n t a l processes that mediate " r e a l experience i n the w o r l d , " analysts m a k e few s u p p o s i t i o n s a b o u t the o b v i o u s n e s s a n d severity of those events that have h e l p e d produce disappointedness.

Instead,

they recognize

that

c h i l d r e n i n s u c h contexts as p a r e n t a l favoritism, serious illness, u n a v o i d a b l e separations, p h y s i c a l i n j u r i e s , or p a ­ r e n t a l loss will c o n s t r u c t u n c o n s c i o u s fantasies a p p r o p r i ­ ate to their total s i t u a t i o n , a n d these fantasies m a y t h e n play powerful roles i n e a c h i n d i v i d u a l ' s p s y c h i c history. C o n s e q u e n t l y , a n a l y s t s further a s s u m e that i n m o s t cases it is difficult if not i m p o s s i b l e to e s t a b l i s h i n great h i s t o r i ­ c a l detail "what really h a p p e n e d " a n d "what really m a t ­ tered." T h e y m u s t work with life history not decisively b u t i n a provisional m a n n e r . F o r analytic purposes, what matters is the analysand's h a r d e n e d attitude a n d fixed a n d embit­ tered modes of constructing experience. Influential access to these c r u c i a l factors is gained principally t h r o u g h inter­ pretation of the transference a n d the countertransference. References

to l i b i d i n a l a n d aggressive aspects

of d i s ­

a p p o i n t e d n e s s a n d to modified ego f u n c t i o n s will pervade the following d i s c u s s i o n ; their defensive a n d m o r a l i s t i c as­ pects have b e e n singled out for s p e c i a l m e n t i o n . In e a c h respect, I will present extreme i n s t a n c e s that highlight the important

variables;

however,

one

should

not

forget

F r e u d ' s repeated r e m i n d e r that i n practice one is always d e a l i n g w i t h considerable flux, c o m p r o m i s e s , a n d r e s i d u a l ambiguities.

EIIIIFEKISIVIE [MS&[F>[?§OTESMIgS In its defensive aspect,

c h r o n i c d i s a p p o i n t e d n e s s is d i ­

rected against h o p e f u l expectations of a world i n h a b i t e d b y good Objects. T h e s e objects are n o w d a n g e r o u s

20

because

DISAPPOINTMENT AND

they

expose one

to new

DISAPPOINTEDNESS

disappointments

and

ensuing

fruitless rage a l o n g w i t h a p a i n f u l sense of b e t r a y a l or of h a v i n g b e e n cheated. T h e defensiveness is often expressed c o n s c i o u s l y as a p r o f o u n d fear of a n d a v e r s i o n to d e p e n ­ dency. In these i n s t a n c e s ,

dependency

is b e i n g u s e d to

derogate a t t a c h m e n t to others of a n y sort. T h e

goodness

of o t h e r s — t h e i r generosity, forbearance, forgiveness, love—is

mistrusted,

minimized,

dismissed,

or

and

reinter­

preted as a n a r c i s s i s t i c form of g a i n i n g c o n t r o l a n d gratifi­ c a t i o n . O n e fears t h a t recognizing even the possibility of gratification will intensify rage at d i s a p p o i n t i n g i n t e r n a l objects, u s u a l l y the p a r e n t s . A l l the more is this the case w h e n , i n u n c o n s c i o u s fantasy, it is believed that these o b ­ jects m u s t be viewed as b e n i g n i n order to protect t h e m . C o n s e q u e n t l y , a n a l y s t s get to u n d e r s t a n d that they are e n c o u n t e r i n g fixed c o n s t r u c t i o n s of a w o r l d w i t h o u t true goodness, t h o u g h it m a y c o n t a i n a c e r t a i n a m o u n t of " p r o ­ tective" a t t r i b u t i o n s of goodness. T o further this the

disappointment-prone

a n a l y s a n d intensifies

defense, attach­

m e n t s to b a d objects, thereby v a l i d a t i n g h e r or h i s b l e a k strategy. Moreover, that a n a l y s a n d m i g h t also be c o n s i s ­ tently provocative i n ways that are c e r t a i n to b r i n g o u t "the worst" i n others. A n a l y s t s ' a n a l y s i s of their o w n c o u n t e r ­ transferences repeatedly lends s u p p o r t to the i n t e r p r e t a ­ tion that they are b e i n g subjected to more or less veiled a s s a u l t s o n their analytic goodness.

MORALISTIC

DISAPPOINTEDNESS

H a r d e n e d d i s a p p o i n t m e n t also h a s its m o r a l i s t i c potential. It c a n be u s e d to point a n a c c u s i n g finger at the p r e s u m ­ ably good objects n o w viewed as u n r e l i a b l e . T h e s e objects are t h e n m a d e to seem betrayers of hope a n d s e d u c e r s of 21

BAD

FEELINGS

the u n w a r y . T h e y create expectations that are c e r t a i n to c a u s e f r u s t r a t i o n . In this s t i m u l a t i o n of guilt, or at least d o u b t , i n others, there is m u c h projective identification. S t u d i e s of m a s o c h i s m have e m p h a s i z e d its u s e s for t h i s k i n d of m o r a l c e n s u r e of these " b a d " others. T h e s e c o n d moralistic aspect of h a r d e n e d d i s a p p o i n t ­ m e n t is its e x p r e s s i o n i n attacks o n oneself, r e s u l t i n g i n abject feelings of u n d e s e r v i n g n e s s a n d h a r s h c r i t i c i s m for b e i n g too d e m a n d i n g , too greedy, too dependent, too v a i n , too u n a p p r e c i a t i v e . O n e b e c o m e s d i s a p p o i n t e d i n oneself i n r e s p o n s e b o t h to h a v i n g b e e n failed by others a n d to h a v i n g projectively r e d u c e d t h e m to b a d objects o n

the

strength of one's own fear a n d h a t r e d . We see this i n the a n a l y s a n d w h o is sure that he h a s come to h i s a p p o i n t ­ m e n t at the w r o n g time, w h e n i n fact it is the a n a l y s t who is k e e p i n g h i m waiting; false protectiveness is likely to be p a r t of t h i s r e a c t i o n . T h e a n a l y s a n d who feels u n d e s e r v i n g of the analyst's

attentiveness,

appreciation, and under­

s t a n d i n g m a y be u s i n g this s a m e strategy. U n c o n s c i o u s l y , b o t h moralistic forms of defense t e n d to i n c l u d e a p l e a s u r a b l e aspect: the pleasure (mixed w i t h re­ lief)

i n suffering itself,

supplemented

by a

triumphant

sense of v i c t o r y — v i c t o r y achieved triply b y implicitly p l a y ­ i n g three p a r t s : a h a r s h j u d g e of others, a b e n i g n protec­ tor, a n d a p r o f o u n d d i s a p p o i n t m e n t to t h e m . In

Masoch­

ism in Modern Man (1941), R e i k wrote of m a s o c h i s m as a w a y of a c h i e v i n g victory t h r o u g h defeat.

ADAPTIVE ASPECTS T h e r e c a n be a n adaptive aspect to fixed d i s a p p o i n t e d n e s s . F o r example, w h e n a c h i l d is forced to e n d u r e a h a r s h , p u n i t i v e , f r u s t r a t i n g life, it c o u l d be adaptive for h i m or

22

DISAPPOINTMENT AND

DISAPPOINTEDNESS

h e r to c o n c l u d e that, u n d e r the c i r c u m s t a n c e s , h o p i n g for a n y t h i n g better will lead only to repeated b o u t s of rageful depression a n d painful demoralization. T h a t child might c o n c l u d e that it is better to adopt d i s a p p o i n t e d n e s s as a protective w a l l of r e s i g n a t i o n or d e s p a i r . T h i s strategy for s u r v i v a l leads to the m a l a d a p t i v e c o n ­ sequence that it c a n l o n g outlive the awful c i r c u m s t a n c e s i n w h i c h it seems to have originated. M a n y

analysands

come to realize d u r i n g their treatment that, i n their a d u l t years, t h i s strategy h a s become p r i m a r i l y , if not e x c l u ­ sively, a self-fulfilling p r o p h e c y . T h e d e s p a i r i n g orientation d i d help t h e m survive the emotionally h o r r i b l e years of c h i l d h o o d s p e n t i n extremely d y s f u n c t i o n a l families; y o n d that, it c o u l d even have sheltered the flickering

be­ flame

of a c a n d l e of h o p e f u l n e s s from the h a r s h w i n d s b l o w i n g a b o u t it. A n a l y s a n d s l e a r n that they have shielded t h e m ­ selves against reality testing a n d p u t c o n s t r a i n t s o n object relations i n order to m a i n t a i n this d e s p a i r i n g stance; fur­ ther, they have b u t t r e s s e d this defense w i t h a pathetic idealization of the p a s t a n d w i t h other tendencies already mentioned,

such

as

s e l f - i n c r i m i n a t i o n , self-denial,

and

self-defeating relations w i t h others.

TRANSFERENCE T h e a n a l y s a n d s d e s c r i b e d here enter a n a l y s i s deeply c o m ­ m i t t e d to d i s a p p o i n t e d n e s s i n the a n a l y s i s itself. T y p i c a l l y , they a p p r o a c h the a n a l y s i s a n d the a n a l y s t well a r m o r e d against a transference of a n y k i n d — m o r e exactly, of a n y other k i n d — f o r t h i s a r m o r e d n e s s is, i n fact, their i n i t i a l transference. L a t e r o n , one w a y i n w h i c h to defend against a n y other transference feelings is b y idealizing p a s t times in

their a n a l y s e s — f o r

instance,

the

initial

interviews— 23

BAD F E E L I N G S

w h e n their n o w - d i s a p p o i n t i n g analysts h a d b e e n " w a r m e r , " k i n d e r , " " m o r e i n v o l v e d , " or " s m a r t e r a b o u t t h i n g s . " In a different defensive mode, they might idealize their a n a l y s t s i n the present as "different" from others, a n d therefore no p r o o f of a better w o r l d outside the analytic r e l a t i o n s h i p . However,

this

limited expression

of a p p r e c i a t i o n

proves to be brittle, for sooner or later, after

often

seemingly

slight p r o v o c a t i o n , these a n a l y s a n d s will t u r n o n their a n a l y s t s as cheats a n d betrayers of hope, a c t i n g t h e n as if u n m a s k i n g a long-suspected

enemy.

F r e u d ' s c o n t i n u i n g e m p h a s i s o n the fragility of the n e u ­ rotic positive transference h a s b e e n a m p l y b o r n e out over the y e a r s . H e r e , I a m a d d i n g that a r e a d i n e s s for, or a need for,

disappointment is a likely contributor to this

fragility.

Also, as mentioned, these analysands are likely to try to i n ­ duce a variety of disruptive countertransferences, thus bring­ ing out "the worst" i n their analysts a n d validating their own grim expectations.

Because projective identification seems

to play s u c h a large role i n this effort, it is warranted for u s to pause here to consider i n some detail its role.

[PMJtEEYITME

n®SM¥I(FK(g^TI®M

Projective identification is u s e d d u r i n g a n a l y s i s to validate fixed attitudes. B a d i n t e r n a l objects a n d b a d aspects of the self are a t t r i b u t e d to the analyst's self. S o m u c h m a y t h i s be so that the a n a l y s t will be tempted to c o n c l u d e , "I'm d a m n e d if I do a n d d a m n e d if I d o n ' t . " T h e a n a l y s t m i g h t even be r e n d e r e d u n a b l e to get out of this b i n d , at least for a while, b u t sometimes p e r m a n e n t l y . In a n o t h e r tactic, projective identification m a y be u s e d to get r i d of feelings of d i s a p p o i n t m e n t , i n w h i c h case the a n a l y s t will be expe­ r i e n c e d as d i s a p p o i n t e d i n the a n a l y s a n d if not also i n h i s

24

DISAPPOINTMENT AND DISAPPOINTEDNESS

or h e r life as a n a n a l y s t or life i n g e n e r a l — a r e a d i n g of the s i t u a t i o n that m i g h t t o u c h o n s o m e of the a n a l y s t ' s

sen­

sitive p e r s o n a l i s s u e s . In a f u r t h e r move, the a n a l y s a n d m i g h t b u t t r e s s this projective p o s i t i o n b y self-denigration a n d ideas of b e i n g a n u n r e w a r d i n g patient, thereby " j u s t i ­ fying" the a n a l y s t ' s p r e s u m e d negative attitude. O n their part, a n a l y s t s do at times t e n d to project one or a n o t h e r m a n i f e s t a t i o n of their o w n c o u n t e r t r a n s f e r e n t i a l d i s a p p o i n t m e n t into their a n a l y s a n d s . T h e y m i g h t

then

m a n i p u l a t e t h e m into c o r r e s p o n d i n g e n a c t m e n t s . It w i l l all be m u c h the s a m e as i n c e r t a i n p a r e n t - c h i l d r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n w h i c h the c h i l d r e n have b e e n s a t u r a t e d w i t h the projec­ tions of their p a r e n t s ' o w n m e n t s w i t h themselves,

disappointments—disappoint­

their o w n i n t e r n a l p a r e n t s , their

s p o u s e s , or their careers. T h e a n a l y s a n d w i l l have b e c o m e the "designated

disappointee" i n the family, a n d ,

subse­

quently, the "designated disappointee" i n the a n a l y s i s . A n a ­ lysts often discover t h r o u g h countertransference

analysis

that these v i c t i m s of p a r e n t a l projective identification have gone o n to better t h e i r i n s t r u c t i o n . W h e n F r e u d (1923) referred to b o r r o w e d guilt, he m e n ­ t i o n e d only the c h i l d ' s u n c o n s c i o u s identification w i t h the father's g u i l t i n e s s . I w o u l d v e n t u r e to suggest,

however,

t h a t a s e r i o u s l y guilty p a r e n t of either sex is likely to have a l r e a d y projected m u c h guilt into the c h i l d , thereby c o n ­ tributing

significantly to the

appearance

of the

child's

" b o r r o w i n g " (see also C h a p t e r 8 o n the s o - c a l l e d negative t h e r a p e u t i c reaction). T h a t is to say, the g e n u i n e l y b o r ­ rowed elements c a n s o m e t i m e s be seen a s s t e m m i n g from the parent's projective identifications h a v i n g p l a y e d into the s p o n t a n e o u s guilt feelings generated b y the c h i l d ' s i m ­ m a t u r e fantasies of desire a n d destructiveness. V i e w e d i n this light, this guilt is n o t so m u c h b o r r o w e d as it is a j o i n t a c h i e v e m e n t w i t h i n the family. B y b e c o m i n g the " d i s a p ­

25

BAD

FEELINGS

p o i n t i n g " one i n the analytic transference, the a n a l y s a n d repeats the s a m e p a t t e r n t h a t F r e u d d e s c r i b e d i n c o n n e c ­ t i o n w i t h superego a n a l y s i s .

IDEALIZED

MEMORIES

Idealized memories were mentioned earlier i n this c h a p t e r i n a passage o n transference defense. Idealized memories have often b e e n t a k e n u p i n c u l t u r a l studies, for example, w i t h reference to past times as "golden ages." In the present context, the a n a l y s a n d might set u p fantasies of powerful nostalgia to contrast with p a i n f u l feelings of d i s a p p o i n t ­ m e n t i n h i s or h e r c u r r e n t life. In this way, idealizing the p a s t might also serve a n adaptive f u n c t i o n , that is, it might help to s u s t a i n hopefulness a n d determined efforts to m a k e things better " a g a i n . " A p a r t from providing relief from c u r ­ rent p a i n f u l experience, one's t u r n i n g to comedies, love sto­ ries, a n d r o m a n t i c adventures might also serve a u x i l i a r y functions of keeping alive hopes for the future. M o r e often, however, a n a l y s i s suggests that these i d e a l ­ ized m e m o r i e s a n d fantasies are b e i n g u s e d defensively to j u s t i f y intense d i s a p p o i n t m e n t i n the present. T h e strategy is t h a t of c o n t r a s t i n g w h a t is present a n d expected w i t h a glorious edenic past: a p a s t free of a m b i v a l e n c e , p a i n , a n d u n c e r t a i n t y ; a p a s t i n w h i c h people felt s e c u r e a n d a u ­ t h e n t i c w i t h i n themselves a n d i n their families a n d c o m ­ m u n i t y ; a p a s t w h e n everything w a s s i m p l e r a n d better.

CLINICAL

EXAMPLE

In this example, we r e t u r n to T e d , the a n a l y s a n d d i s c u s s e d i n C h a p t e r 1 as leading a joyless life. M u c h of Ted's analysis 26

DISAPPOINTMENT AND

DISAPPOINTEDNESS

lends itself to being retold i n terms of disappointment: dis­ appointment in others a n d himself, h i s b e i n g disappointing to

others,

and

particularly h i s

guarding

against

feel­

i n g desire or t a k i n g initiative lest he expose h i m s e l f to the p a i n of disappointed expectations. T h i s thematic material was implied i n a pathological organization or p s y c h i c re­ treat (Steiner 1993)

c o m p r i s i n g defenses, secret gratifica­

tions, aggression, self-punishment, a n d partial adaptations to m a n y

painful circumstances

i n his present

life

that

seemed, t h r o u g h analysis of transference, to be of h i s own m a k i n g . T h i s pathological organization seemed to be lay­ ered, e a c h layer defending

against

the dangerous

layer

below it. F o r instance, the repression of desire a n d initiative served to w a r d off his consciously experiencing h i s d i s ­ appointedness.

So far as it worked, this defensive

layer

allowed h i m to be relatively emotionless. He l a c k e d s p o n t a ­ neity a n d was ready at the first sign of conflict or dissatis­ faction to retreat from b u d d i n g attachments

or even the

possibility of forming attachments. A s already described, T e d lived a relatively withdrawn life. In his work, he was conscientious a n d competent. H i s s u r ­ face layer of virtual apathy was buttressed by, o n the one h a n d , heavy reliance o n projective identification of feelings a n d desires into others a n d , o n the other, idealization of his extraordinarily disappointing parents. H e found it painful a n d guilt provoking to say anything at all about his parents. E v e n to describe t h e m was regarded as criticizing them. T h e least h i n t of criticism was "disloyal." T h u s , the analyst's ex­ pressions of interest i n Ted's developmental history were most unwelcome, a n d for a long time any interventions de­ signed simply to clarify the distinction between h i s objectify­ ing his parents a n d his attacking t h e m proved to be futile. F o r h i m , it was a step toward recognizing how disappoint­ ing they h a d been a n d h i s reactive rage a n d d e p r e s s i o n .

27

BAD F E E L I N G S

It was later, after m u c h of the story h a d b e e n developed, t h a t the m a n y w a y s i n w h i c h Ted's parents h a d i n t r o d u c e d p a i n f u l d i s a p p o i n t m e n t s into h i s life c o u l d be f o r m u l a t e d . It b e c a m e clear that h i s a t t a c h m e n t to b o t h p a r e n t s h a d m a n y of the features of a t t a c h m e n t to b a d objects. It also b e c a m e clear that h i s settled attitude of d i s a p p o i n t e d n e s s h a d served the adaptive f u n c t i o n of s p a r i n g h i m further p a i n . A d d i t i o n a l l y , he h a d t u r n e d passive into active w i t h the help of projective a n d introjective identification, i n that w a y b e c o m i n g h i m s e l f a steady source of d i s a p p o i n t m e n t to "possessive" others, a strategy that also yielded h i m ag­ gressive, sadistically tinged satisfactions. A l s o mentioned earlier was Ted's b e i n g especially d i s a p ­ pointing to w o m e n , first getting their hopes u p a b o u t h i s developing a serious interest i n t h e m a n d t h e n b e c o m i n g passive, w i t h d r a w n , a n d too ready to feel dissatisfied. O n occasion, he w o u l d fleetingly experience some sadistic p l e a ­ sure i n leaving others dangling from their hopes as he failed to come t h r o u g h for t h e m . In this respect they were b e i n g treated vengefully, most of all as d i s a p p o i n t i n g mothers. T h e s e tactics entered into the transference T e d c o n ­ s t r u c t e d . In some respects, I c o u l d q u i c k l y recognize t h i s transference

and

handle

it

appropriately.

Sometimes,

however, I c o u l d recognize it only t h r o u g h the c o u n t e r ­ transferences that he c o u l d stimulate. F o r example, c o n ­ fronted b y this m a z e of idealization, projective identifica­ tions, affectlessness,

a n d subtle reversal of passivity to

activity, I w o u l d sometimes find it difficult i n d e e d to m a i n ­ t a i n patience w h e n seeking to w o r k out interventions that w o u l d g a i n access to T e d ' s p s y c h i c retreat. B u t b e n e a t h these two layers there seemed to lie a t h i r d layer of h o p e f u l n e s s .

T h i s layer c o u l d be inferred from

T e d ' s h a v i n g come to a n a l y s i s o n h i s own, seeking relief from feelings of d e p r e s s i o n a n d loneliness as well as ex­ 28

DISAPPOINTMENT AND

DISAPPOINTEDNESS

p r e s s i n g a fading hope that he m i g h t j u s t develop a lasting, p l e a s u r a b l e r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h a w o m a n a n d enjoy h a v i n g a family of h i s own. A l t h o u g h it s o o n b e c a m e a p p a r e n t that i n w a r d l y he h a d mobilized h i s r e s o u r c e s to thwart me, he came regularly to h i s a p p o i n t m e n t s , a n d a l t h o u g h he u s e d a n y s i g n of change for the better to try to get m y hopes u p prior to d i s a p p o i n t i n g me b y s u d d e n reversals, he

also

seemed briefly able to g e n u i n e l y v a l u e these u s u a l l y s m a l l a d v a n c e s . It b e c a m e clear as well that T e d h a d to spoil these p l e a s u r e s - i n - p r o g r e s s b y s o o n s u r r o u n d i n g h i m s e l f w i t h d o u b t s a b o u t their g e n u i n e n e s s a n d b y engaging i n little e n a c t m e n t s that c o r r u p t e d t h e m . In this way he cre­ ated a steady s t r e a m of d i s a p p o i n t m e n t s i n himself.

Fun­

damentally, it seemed, he was r e a s s u r i n g h i m s e l f that he w a s not m a k i n g h i m s e l f v u l n e r a b l e to large-scale

disap­

p o i n t m e n t . S o m e of these d o u b t s a b o u t the g e n u i n e n e s s of change h a d some b a s i s ; others a p p e a r e d to be p u r e s p o i l ­ ers i n the service of self-protection. T h r o u g h o u t , h i s defensive m a n e u v e r s conveyed b o t h a desperate need for gratification of dependent needs a n d a terrible fear of j u s t that eventuality. It was this fear that contributed

to

his

projecting

into

others,

w o m e n , a n aggressive, greedy possessiveness

especially a n d a need

to c o n t r o l a n d d o m i n a t e . It also led h i m to develop u n c o n ­ s c i o u s omnipotent fantasies a c c o r d i n g to w h i c h he c o u l d be totally self-sufficient.

H e s u s t a i n e d these fantasies

by

l e a d i n g a life i n w h i c h h i s needs were few. H i s lifestyle se­ verely limited the possibilities for d i s a p p o i n t m e n t . Y e a r s later m u c h h a d c h a n g e d . A l t h o u g h h i s v u l n e r a b i l ­ ity to d i s a p p o i n t m e n t h a d not d i s a p p e a r e d , he c o u l d toler­ ate a n d partially, hesitantly, enjoy serious a n d l a s t i n g r e ­ lationships.

H e was

able

to

lead

a

significantly

more

socialized life. A l s o , b y this time he was suffering m u c h less a p a t h y a n d d e p r e s s i o n , a n d there w a s less of that 29

BAD

FEELINGS

n e e d for o m n i p o t e n t c o n t r o l that f u n d a m e n t a l l y denies the separateness a n d the a u t o n o m y of a l l the others that one secretly cares a b o u t or d e p e n d s o n . Thus,

T e d h a d made

significant progress o u t of the

d e p t h s of a p a r a n o i d - s c h i z o i d p o s i t i o n a n d m o v e d tenta­ tively, erratically, a n d only so far into the depressive p o s i ­ t i o n (Klein 1940, 1946, Steiner 1993). T h a t t h i s a d v a n c e h a d r e t a i n e d a n u n s t a b l e , tentative, a n d p a r t i a l q u a l i t y w a s evident i n the difficulty he c o n t i n u e d to have i n fully e x p e r i e n c i n g h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h m e or t h i n k i n g freely a b o u t it. A t the time of the s e s s i o n I will n o w present, T e d was b e g i n n i n g to change at a pace somewhat faster t h a n the g l a c i a l pace that h a d c h a r a c t e r i z e d the first y e a r s of a n a l y s i s . T h e s e s s i o n centers o n p a t e r n a l transference. Monday:

T e d c o m e s i n feeling u n u s u a l l y u p b e a t . H e is

eager to tell a b o u t h o w different this w e e k e n d h a d b e e n from the w a y weekends were "several years a g o . " (Note that i n k e e p i n g w i t h h i s show of n o t n e e d i n g others, h e says, " s e v e r a l y e a r s ago" i n s t e a d of " s i n c e I've b e e n seeing you.") T e d gives details. H e h a d b e e n to c h u r c h . H e h a d gone o n a n " o k a y " date w i t h a w o m a n . H e h a d attended a b i g p i c n i c a r r a n g e d b y h i s f i r m a n d t h e n gone to d i n n e r w i t h some of the p i c n i c k e r s . O n S u n d a y , h e h a d also gone to a b a l l game w i t h s o m e of t h e m , even t h o u g h , he a d d s , h e i s n o t a sports f a n . T o top it off, h e h a d even m e t a n interesting a n d responsive w o m a n w i t h w h o m he m i g h t t r y to go o u t the following week. In the past, he e m p h a s i z e s , he h a s never b e e n able to get so interested, be so gregarious, or take that m u c h initiative. T h e n T e d tells three d r e a m s of S u n d a y night. D r e a m 1: A carpenter

working

on the analysand's

apart­

ment had removed some flooring and replaced it withfloor­

30

DISAPPOINTMENT AND DISAPPOINTEDNESS

tag that was

more modern in style. He was

with the carpenter for not maintaining of the apartment think of not paying in the dream

He felt betrayed

the traditional

tone

and angry enough

the man. He added that the

had in fact once worked in his

D r e a m 2 : He was

very angry to

carpenter

apartment

holding a m a n ' s hand. He thought that

there must be something

homosexual

about this

however, when asked about it, he could not say he had had that thought in the dream or only

dream; whether

afterwards.

D r e a m 3 : He was getting on a bus and there was

much

pushing

with­

by the crowd of riders, so that some got on

out paying. pay.

He was debating

In the end,

dream

whether to do that too, or to

he got on without paying.

2 seemed to be on the bus,

The man

of

too.

F o r a while, T e d r u m i n a t e s a b o u t that r e p a i r m a n i n d r e a m 1. H e says that the a c t u a l j o b h a d w o r k e d out quite well. H i s hopes h a d not b e e n d a s h e d . A n a l y s t : It s o u n d s as t h o u g h n o w y o u are m a d a b o u t s o m e t h i n g or feeling betrayed i n some way. T e d (thinks a b o u t this): N o t h i n g comes to m i n d . A n a l y s t : I t h i n k the only m a n w h o is w o r k i n g for y o u right n o w is m e . I've b e e n d o i n g a k i n d of r e c o n s t r u c t i o n j o b w i t h y o u . It c o u l d well be that i n some w a y y o u feel betrayed b y m e a n d m a d at me. P e r h a p s y o u have m i x e d feelings a b o u t the p e r s o n a l c h a n g e s you've b e e n report­ i n g . F r o m all the w o r k we've done t h i s far, y o u w o u l d k n o w t h a t y o u are ambivalent i n this regard. In the d r e a m , u n l i k e i n y o u r o p e n i n g of this s e s s i o n , y o u c o u l d be s h o w i n g that y o u are also a n g r y a b o u t c h a n g i n g away f r o m y o u r o l d , better-protected ways. 31

BAD

FEELINGS

Ted:

I c a n see that, b u t it seems too simple; the i n t e r ­

p r e t a t i o n needs more d e p t h . [In t h i s there was a direct assertiveness t h a t contrasted w i t h h i s t e n d e n c y of old to ignore m y c o m m e n t s , disagree w i t h t h e m , or, m o s t of a l l , m u l l t h e m over while qualifying t h e m a n d a m e n d i n g t h e m i n so m a n y ways as to seem to take t h e m away to a n isolated place a n d leave me feeling alone a n d p e r h a p s h a v i n g failed to give h i m a good interpretation.] T e d t h e n associates to the a m b i v a l e n c e he h a d felt to­ w a r d h i s father i n c o n n e c t i o n w i t h h a v i n g frequently c o n ­ fided i n h i m ; he h a d resented this s h o w of dependence o n h i s father. (Mention of this ambivalence is n o t new. It h a d b e e n t a k e n u p i n the p a s t more t h a n once.) T h e n he m e n ­ tions h i s i m p r e s s i o n that h i s father's availability for c o n f i ­ d e n c e s was b a s e d o n the father's o w n needs, too; specifi­ cally, he needed to m a i n t a i n the a p p e a r a n c e of b e i n g a good father w h e n confronted b y obvious gaps i n h i s a t t e n ­ tiveness. T e d resented h i s father's b e i n g i n it for his reasons.

own

(This point was m a i n l y new.)

A n a l y s t : It m u s t be that way w i t h y o u r feeling d e p e n ­ dent o n m e for these changes that are t a k i n g place. Y o u w o u l d be m a d at those things that m a k e y o u feel more h o p e f u l , even m a d e n o u g h not to w a n t to pay me. I t h i n k y o u resent the i d e a that I'm i n it for r e a s o n s of m y own, s u c h as getting p a i d for it. H o l d i n g a m a n ' s h a n d i n the s e c o n d d r e a m c o u l d refer to y o u r r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h me a n d its u n w e l c o m e i m p l i c a t i o n of d e p e n d e n c e . Ted

(accepting this idea, t h o u g h n o w o n l y i n a

flat,

u n g i v i n g tone): Now the interpretation seems adequate. I d i d n ' t w a n t to p a y i n the first d r e a m either. Now I'm getting tearful.

32

DISAPPOINTMENT AND

DISAPPOINTEDNESS

A n a l y s t : I t h i n k it's p a i n f u l for y o u to contemplate that y o u w o u l d have a n g r y feelings toward m e w h e n y o u are also grateful to m e for the positive c h a n g e s you've b e e n telling m e a b o u t . It c o u l d feel like b i t i n g the h a n d that feeds y o u . T e d : I c a n see y o u r point, b u t the tearfulness

came

w i t h o u t m y feeling a n y t h i n g of a deep sort at the m o ­ ment, so t h a t I a m still somewhat p u z z l e d b y it. Next, T e d t h i n k s of a n i n c i d e n t from the time w h e n he was a y o u n g adolescent. H e h a d told h i s father h i s fears of s e x u a l i n a d e q u a c y , a n d w i t h a few w o r d s h i s father h a d r e a s s u r e d h i m a b o u t it. O n h i s part, h e h a d not b e e n too h a p p y a b o u t h a v i n g h a d to go to h i s father i n the first place. It w a s not so m u c h that he w a s h u m i l i a t e d as that he s h o u l d n ' t have needed the r e a s s u r a n c e at a l l . H e a d d e d s p o n t a n e o u s l y t h a t it w a s the s a m e i n the a n a l y s i s . T e d : T h e r e is a l a y e r i n g of negative feeling here i n the a n a l y s i s that b o t h e r s m e : the first layer b e i n g t h a t I a m dependent, the s e c o n d b e i n g that I w o u l d a d m i t it, a n d the t h i r d b e i n g t h a t I w o u l d e n d u p r e s e n t i n g it. Now I a m sort of o u t d o i n g y o u i n i n t e r p r e t i n g the d r e a m [said self-consciously a n d w i t h anxiety]. I c a n see here that the prototype of m y r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h y o u does seem to lie w i t h m y father. A n a l y s t : So it seems. It's time to stop for today.

DISCUSSION B e c a u s e I w a s t h i n k i n g m a i n l y a b o u t T e d ' s h a v i n g split h i s a m b i v a l e n c e a b o u t c h a n g i n g , I d i d not realize at the time 33

BAD F E E L I N G S

that, b y T e d ' s c h a n g i n g as he was, he w o u l d feel h e was b e t r a y i n g me b y going too far. T h a t b e t r a y a l w o u l d c o n s i s t i n h i s m a k i n g progress away from a dependent p o s i t i o n a n d even " o u t d o i n g " me. In the d r e a m , he w o u l d have b e e n defending

against

the

r e s u l t i n g guilt b y

projecting

his

t r e a c h e r o u s feeling onto me i n the role of the m o d e r n i s t c a r p e n t e r w h o "goes too far." U p o n reflection after the ses­ s i o n , I t h o u g h t it w o u l d have b e e n better to convey to h i m h i s o w n c u l p a b i l i t y — a s i n h i s " o u t d o i n g " m e — a n d how he tried to r i d h i m s e l f of it. I h a d m i s s e d h i s guilt of p e r s e c u ­ tory anxiety. A t this p o i n t i n the a n a l y s i s , neither T e d n o r I feared t h a t the dialogue i n this s e s s i o n w o u l d c a n c e l out,

or

throw into q u e s t i o n , the extent to w h i c h h i s transference i n c l u d e d m a t e r n a l as well as p a t e r n a l elements. B o t h of u s h a d b e e n m o v i n g b a c k a n d forth, c o n s i d e r i n g b o t h t r a n s ­ ferences,

sometimes together,

sometimes independently,

for these d i d have d i s t i n c t as well as overlapping features. T h e two of u s were b e y o n d b e i n g p r e o c c u p i e d w i t h b e i n g too specific. Partly, this eased attentiveness was a c o n s e ­ q u e n c e of h i s father's h a v i n g h a d to take over m a n y c o n ­ ventionally m a t e r n a l functions d u r i n g T e d ' s

development,

his mother apparently having been a rather withdrawn, u n r e l i a b l e p e r s o n d u r i n g h i s early y e a r s . F r o m one p o i n t of view, T e d ' s struggle b o t h toward a n d against overt, m a t u r e i n d e p e n d e n c e a n d competence a n o u t s t a n d i n g feature of this s e s s i o n . B e c a u s e

was

objectify­

i n g h i s p a r e n t s represented a step i n that direction, he felt guilty a b o u t "going too far." Objectifying t h e m still retained some sense of giving u p h i s idealization of t h e m a n d s e p a ­ rating himself from them i n his internal world. T o h i m , be­ c o m i n g a u t o n o m o u s still a r o u s e d anxiety of guilt over h i s a b a n d o n i n g t h e m a n d h a r m i n g t h e m . He was not yet free of feeling it was d i s l o y a l , a betrayal, destructive. In this re­

34

DISAPPOINTMENT AND DISAPPOINTEDNESS

spect it w a s not me b u t T e d h i m s e l f w h o was the b e t r a y i n g " m o d e r n i s t " carpenter; h i s c r i t i c i s m of the c a r p e n t e r was also projected s e l f - c r i t i c i s m . A s for h i s i d e a of the d e p e n d e n t father, it d i d not s e e m to be p u r e fantasy b a s e d o n l y o n projective identification. T o a significant extent, it s e e m e d clear t h a t o n some s t r i k i n g o c c a s i o n s , h i s father a c t u a l l y h a d c l u n g to h i m e m o t i o n ­ ally. Moreover, h i s father h a d felt frightened a n d h u r t o n those scattered o c c a s i o n s w h e n , i n h i s a d u l t y e a r s , T e d acted as t h o u g h h i s life w a s p r i m a r i l y h i s o w n to live as he w i s h e d . T e d w a s b e g i n n i n g to confront the fact t h a t h i s father's self-serving c l i n g i n g lay i n the b a c k g r o u n d of h i s o w n fear that I was p r i m a r i l y l o o k i n g after myself. W h a t he h a d b e e n s h o w i n g i n this s e s s i o n was h o w h i s o w n d i s s a t ­ isfaction, anger, a n d assertiveness h i s guilt.

h a d only

B y a c t i n g i n h i s n e w way,

heightened

he w a s

being

a

w r e t c h e d ingrate as well as a d i s l o y a l a n d a b a n d o n i n g s o n b o t h to h i s father a n d h i s analyst; h e n c e , h i s fears. L o o k i n g at t h i s s e s s i o n from the p o i n t of view of d i s ­ appointedness,

one c o u l d s a y that the complex

dynamic

a r r a n g e m e n t that h a d protected T e d from d i s a p p o i n t m e n t i n h i s father a n d me was b e g i n n i n g to y i e l d to i n t e r p r e t a ­ t i o n . T e d w a s s h o w i n g the extreme b i n d he felt h i m s e l f to be

i n : acknowledging both dependent

and

independent

feelings a n d e x p o s i n g h i m s e l f to p a i n f u l d i s a p p o i n t m e n t , hopelessness,

grief, guilt, a n d rage. M u c h of T e d ' s

dis­

a p p o i n t e d n e s s , especially i n h i s father a n d i n h i s transfer­ ence, w a r r a n t e d a n d u n w a r r a n t e d , was at this

moment

still too p a i n f u l to acknowledge freely. It complicated matters further that h i s i n c r e a s e d aware­ n e s s of h i s separateness confronted h i m w i t h two disagree­ able prospects: h a v i n g to tolerate envious a n d angry feel­ ings [biting the "good" h a n d that fed him) a n d recognizing that the sense of omnipotence he m a i n t a i n e d i n h i s w i t h ­

35

BAD F E E L I N G S

drawn world was coming to an end along with some reduc­ tion of his attachment to bad objects. Now, there would be distinct and potentially disappointing others in the world and he would need them, and his self-isolating shows of in­ dependence (unconsciously, his omnipotence) would no longer constitute a workable solution. Ted was on the road to a mature form of autonomy, but it was still so steep and rocky, and it still entailed so much pain, that he could not move ahead without much distress and defensiveness.

36

CHAPTER 3

FORMS OF EXTREME SHAME: HUMILIATION AND MORTIFICATION

Psychoanalyzing experiences of extreme shame brings to the fore unconscious fantasies dominated by degrading, violent, and deadly themes and imperatives. It is inevitable that these fantasies play important roles in deciding the forms and emotional tones of our human relations. I have singled out for special attention two manifestations of ex­ treme shame: humiliation and mortification, both of them outstanding manifestations of bad feelings. The degrading and violent fantasies that give humiliation and mortification their special qualities include ostracism and death, excrement and rejection, the annihilating conse­ quences of losing face, desperate recourse to compensatory omnipotence, and internalization of bad objects that have actually been encountered, created out of whole cloth by projection, or projectively exaggerated during early develop­ ment. These fantasies can be inferred and interpreted on the basis of the transferences that analysands construct to cope with their extreme shame in the analytic situation. Although mention will be made of contemporary Freud­ ian and self psychological approaches to shame, no de­ tailed reviews, comparisons, or critiques will be attempted 37

BAD F E E L I N G S

here. In some places, however, m y d i s c u s s i o n will overlap or s h o w the influence of these other a p p r o a c h e s .

GISTRASXSM

©HATH

H u m i l i a t i o n a n d mortification frequently involve u n c o n ­ scious fantasies of disgrace a n d ostracism. O n e feels ex­ c l u d e d from one's c o m m u n i t y after h a v i n g totally lost its respect. B e i n g ostracized often implies d y i n g emotionally or spiritually as a result of one's h a v i n g b e e n m a d e to feel a n o n p e r s o n , worthless, or a n u n w a n t e d substance. T h e i m ­ plied loss of spirit a n d corporeal death is implicitly recognized a n d expressed i n everyday figurative language: "I could've died from shame," "I could've s u n k into the g r o u n d , " "I've b e e n d u m p e d o n , " a n d " T h a t was the e n d of m e . " T h e s e d e a t h - t i n g e d fantasies are etymologically rooted. T h e w o r d humiliation,

derived from h u m u s or earth, shifts

i n c o m m o n usage t h r o u g h " o n the g r o u n d , " a n d " o f the e a r t h , " to "lowly" or " l o w - d o w n . " T h u s e a r t h , w h i c h c a n be associated w i t h b i r t h , growth, a n d fertility b e c o m e s a n i l ­ lustrative i n s t a n c e of w h a t F r e u d (1910) called the a n t i ­ thetical m e a n i n g

of p r i m a l w o r d s ;

for now,

earthiness

implies d e a t h , r e m o v a l , a n d decay. T h e s a m e theme is restated i n the case of the w o r d mor­ tification:

t h i n k of the w o r d s m o r t a l , i m m o r t a l , a n d m o r t u ­

a r y a n d the p h r a s e m o r t a l combat, a n d a g a i n y o u enter the fantasized r e a l m of death, d y i n g , even k i l l i n g . Mortification is

usually

represented

as

an

i n t e r n a l l y generated

perience, one b a s e d o n h a r s h self-judgment;

ex­

i n contrast,

h u m i l i a t i o n refers to b e i n g s h a m e d p a i n f u l l y b y

others.

However, the d i s t i n c t i o n between the two experiences c a n be b l u r r e d i n s u c h i n s t a n c e s as mortification experienced as the r e s u l t of a n attack b y a n i n t e r n a l object r a t h e r t h a n

38

FORMS OF E X T R E M E

SHAME

b y the self. A n o t h e r k i n d of b l u r r i n g results from one's p r o ­ jecting the mortified feeling a n d t h e n feeling h u m i l i a t e d .

EXCREMENT AND REJECTION Feeling h u m i l i a t e d b y others is often expressed i n some variation of this complaint: "I was treated like s h i t . " S h i t is often p r o m i n e n t i n the u n c o n s c i o u s fantasies with

humiliation

Abraham

a n d mortification.

(1921) showed

Freud

that these p a i n f u l

associated (1905) a n d experiences

often express a n a l fantasies. Traditionally, the linkage of extreme s h a m e to anality h a s b e e n thought to develop espe­ cially a r o u n d the time of early habit training, p a r t i c u l a r l y toilet t r a i n i n g . Optimally, that t r a i n i n g is designed to carry only the message that one is being trained to be a p p r o p r i ­ ate, well socialized, clean, regular, a n d healthy. T h e i n ­ tended e m p h a s i s is o n adaptation: the importance of being a n acceptable, respectable m e m b e r of the c o m m u n i t y , m o s t of all w i t h that special c o m m u n i t y , the family. However, i n u n c o n s c i o u s fantasy, excrement c a n be a weapon, a n explo­ sion, a n d a m u r d e r o u s l y powerful regulator of self-esteem, a source of s e n s u a l pleasure, a gift a n d a form of sex (Freud 1909).

Consequently,

the message

received

a n d trans­

formed b y the c h i l d being trained c a n v a r y greatly w i t h age a n d c i r c u m s t a n c e . In a n y case, we encounter here another instance of the antithetical sense of p r i m a l words. C o n s i d e r , for example,

the destructively dismissive

expression,

"I

don't give a s h i t , " w h i c h disavows a l l c o n c e r n for, even i n ­ terest i n , the other or oneself.

Here, excrement is repre­

sented as doing b o t h good a n d b a d i n the w o r l d . C a l l i n g others assholes is a n o t h e r example of o u r equat­ i n g h u m i l i a t i o n w i t h excrement, a n d the case is the s a m e w h e n we s a y they a c t e d i n a c r a p p y w a y or w h a t they are 39

BAD F E E L I N G S

s a y i n g is b u l l s h i t . B y b r i n g i n g i n ideas of waste,

filth,

stink, a n d refuse, we r e n d e r o u r target lifeless a n d deserv­ i n g only to be rejected i n disgust. T o be " s h i t o n " signifies p r o v o c a t i o n to feel despair or to enter into a s a d o m a s o c h ­ istic t r a n s a c t i o n . " G a r b a g e " a n d " j u n k " are e u p h e m i s t i c forms of a n a l derogation. Like the others, they i m p l y rejec­ tion, fit only to be t h r o w n out or t h r o w n away.

Feeling h u m i l i a t e d or mortified implies the p a i n f u l experi­ ence of h a v i n g lost face. A l t h o u g h m a n y of the implications r e m a i n the same as those already mentioned, the manifest e m p h a s i s shifts from the a n u s to the face. T h e idea of face also h a s

m a n y c u l t u r a l a n d developmental implications

c o n c e r n i n g prestige a n d honor, d i s c u s s i o n of w h i c h will be b y p a s s e d here i n favor of what u s u a l l y gets to be featured i n analytic, often body-oriented interpretations of losing face. O n primitive levels of thought, it is believed that, i f one's face is not seen, one is not b e i n g seen at a l l . T h u s , losing face c a n be a devastating experience i n that it implies that one h a s lost identity b y h a v i n g b e e n a b a n d o n e d , utterly d e v a l u e d , or f i n i s h e d off. In contrast, saving face

implies

c o n t i n u i n g to exist or, i n h a r d times, at least salvaging w h a t life is left i n y o u a n d rejoining w h a t c o m m u n i t y r e ­ m a i n s available to y o u . Defacing

is associated with losing face. U s u a l l y , defacing

refers to m a r k i n g u p something to spoil it, m a k e it ugly, a n d deprive it of its existence b y m a k i n g it so c h a n g e d as to be unrecognizable, unacceptable, strange, alien, even h a r m f u l to look a t — t h u s , like excrement, something worthless, re­ pulsive, even dead. A t the extreme, effacing, denotes total destruction by elimination.

40

like erasing,

FORMS OF E X T R E M E

V i e w e d i n this context,

the c o m m o n

SHAME

r e a c t i o n to h u ­

m i l i a t i o n a n d mortification of h i d i n g one's face is likely to express

penitent

d i s c l a i m i n g of w o r t h i n e s s ,

presence—ultimately,

vitality,

the d e a t h a n d d i s a p p e a r a n c e

or im­

plied b y " s i n k i n g into the g r o u n d . " U n c o n s c i o u s l y , h i d i n g one's face c a n also signify covering or b u r y i n g the d i s g u s t ­ i n g excrement w i t h w h i c h y o u n o w feel identified. In a sense, it is a n act of e/facing, that is, giving u p y o u r s u b ­ jectivity to get r i d of the p a i n f u l b a d feeling. W h e n

"face­

less," y o u m a y be u n c o n s c i o u s l y e n a c t i n g y o u r d e a t h a n d b u r i a l — a n n i h i l a t i o n . It m a y also be a gesture that signifies t r y i n g to w a r d off b e i n g defaced b y another, thereby de­ fending against a k i l l i n g blow. In general, t h e n , the h a n d s that cover the face u n c o n ­ s c i o u s l y create a scene of violence, r e p u d i a t i o n , death, a n d d i s a p p e a r a n c e . However, at least i n o u r c u l t u r e , the i m ­ plied catastrophe is also negated for y o u r e m a i n present a n d seen, a n d y o u r h i d d e n face c a n always r e a p p e a r i n ­ tact. T h u s , the gesture c a n signify r e s u r r e c t i o n from the d e a t h enacted b y the characteristic gestures

of h u m i l i a ­

t i o n or mortification. Viewed m o s t broadly, these are instances of the u n e n d i n g psychic contest i n unconscious fantasy of life against death. Like s p r i n g after winter i n mythology, life is b e i n g affirmed b y s h o w i n g y o u r face once again. Y o u have b e e n p u n i s h e d or have been penitent long e n o u g h . N o t h i n g is final. Perse­ cutors c a n be pacified. Traffic moves i n b o t h directions. W h e n their s h a m e is extreme, a n a l y s a n d s live w i t h the fantasy of always b e i n g l o o k e d at disapprovingly.

Some­

times they p u t it p u t i n terms of b e i n g seen t h r o u g h b y others, i m p l y i n g a n experience of n a k e d n e s s w i t h nowhere to hide their b a d n e s s . T h e n , s h a m e f u l experiences of l o n g ago m a y be r e m e m b e r e d so vividly that it is as if they are h a p p e n i n g here a n d now. B e i n g p r o f o u n d l y self-conscious, 41

BAD

FEELINGS

these a n a l y s a n d s are hyperalert to the e n v i r o n m e n t ' s a c ­ t u a l or projectively i m a g i n e d or intensified d i s a p p r o v i n g r e s p o n s e s . A s m e n t i o n e d , m u c h of the d i s a p p r o v a l a n d re­ j e c t i o n is likely to be e m a n a t i n g from i n t e r n a l i z e d b a d o b ­ j e c t s a n d only t h e n projected. F i n a l l y , these u n f o r t u n a t e s are c u t off from l o o k i n g to themselves for affirmation a n d c o n s t r u c t i v e c r i t i c i s m ; b a s i c a l l y , they c a n n o t observe a n d j u d g e themselves

independently.

TRANSFERENCE T h e s e a n a l y s a n d s r a p i d l y a n d rigidly experience their o w n excessive self-criticisms as e m a n a t i n g from their a n a l y s t s . In d o i n g so, they rely heavily o n projective identification. T h e y hope thereby to get relief f r o m the p a i n s of a n inter­ n a l w o r l d of extreme s h a m e a n d p e r s e c u t i o n . B y a t t r i b u t ­ i n g their bottomless

d r e a d of h u m i l i a t i o n or experienced

m o r t i f i c a t i o n to the actions of others, they hope to be able to c h a n g e their c i r c u m s t a n c e s , for t h e n they m i g h t be able to s u b d u e these others or flee from t h e m . D u r i n g their analytic sessions, h a v i n g emptied themselves of their o w n dire expectations a n d b a d feelings, they m a y act as t h o u g h they have no m i n d s of their o w n . T h e i r a n a l y s t s will have to do a l l their t h i n k i n g for t h e m . O n their part, their analysts s o o n recognize t h a t these a n a l y s a n d s are a c t i n g out fantasies of p e r s e c u t i o n at the hands

of overinvolved h y p e r c r i t i c a l , u n a p p e a s a b l e ,

reachable sadomasochists.

F o r a l o n g time, these a n a l y s ­

a n d s feel that they are u n d e r close, hostile, surveillance,

and

they

un­

take

continuous

a l l interventions

as

con­

f i r m a t i o n of their worst fears, that is, as h a v i n g b e e n f o u n d out, or as c o n d e s c e n s i o n , i n s i n c e r i t y , a c c u s a t i o n , or c o m ­ m a n d m e n t . Alternatively, they m i g h t c o n s t r u e

42

benevolent

FORMS OF E X T R E M E S H A M E

n e u t r a l i t y as evidence that their analysts' j u d g m e n t s are worthless. T h e y will be safer that w a y — t h e y h o p e . A n a l y s a n d s who live with humiliation a n d mortification are situated within the paranoid-schizoid position (Klein 1946). E m o t i o n a l experience a n d concrete t h i n k i n g take prece­ dence over symbolic t h i n k i n g a n d focused c o n c e r n for o t h ­ ers. T h e y show n o readiness to feel guilt w h e n appropriate. In b o t h respects, they l a c k the characteristics of those w h o have moved toward or into the more integrated, whole-object­ related, thoughtful depressive position (Klein 1940). F r o m within this transference, the analyst is approached or avoided with paranoid dread. These analysands feel so transparently undeserving, rotten, or shitty that, u n c o n s c i o u s l y , they ex­ pect their analysts to react to t h e m hatefully a n d treat t h e m with disgust, ever ready to a b a n d o n t h e m a n d c o n s i g n t h e m to s p i r i t u a l as well as corporeal d e a t h a n d decay. D r a s t i c experiences i n the transference of this sort are not c a p t u r e d b y the w o r d s e m b a r r a s s m e n t , feeling foolish, c h a g r i n e d , or g a u c h e . N o r do inferiority, i n a d e q u a c y , or s i m p l y b e i n g u n i n t e r e s t i n g do it. O n l y the w o r d s for ex­ tremes of s h a m e , s u c h as h u m i l i a t i o n a n d mortification, will do. T h e damage done i n u n c o n s c i o u s fantasy m u s t not be m i n i m i z e d .

ENVY E n v y c a n play a n i m p o r t a n t role i n s t i m u l a t i n g or intensify­ i n g h u m i l i a t i o n a n d mortification a n d its expression i n transference (see also C h a p t e r 4). T h e envious w i s h to spoil is often a c c o m p l i s h e d b y h u m i l i a t i n g looks, gestures, or words. E n v y c a n destroy the other's o w n sense of p e r s o n a l worth, m a k i n g h e r or h i m feel like excrement or refuse (Klein 1957). T h o s e w h o feel spoiled b y envy say s u c h things

43

BAD F E E L I N G S

as, "I was m a d e to feel dirty," "It was terrible of me to m a k e s u c h a spectacle of myself," a n d the like. A l o n g the s a m e lines, envious friends or family members often try to spoil a n analysand's e n t h u s i a s m for or tolerance of treatment a n d the changes it is b r i n g i n g about i n the way they live their lives, a n d w h e n they are successful, the a n a l y s a n d of­ ten comes to subsequent sessions feeling that the analytic a p p r o a c h or the analyst is rotten or u n t r u s t w o r t h y . The

basic

difficulty,

however,

lies

i n the

envy

the

a n a l y s a n d s feel toward their analysts, envy that they often do their best to hide or project into others. T h e y feel that their a n a l y s t s p o s s e s s w h a t they l a c k themselves: ness,

integration,

fensively,

some

sanity,

of t h e m

power, may

and

happiness.

good­ De­

split off these idealizing

a s s e s s m e n t s , ascribe t h e m to themselves, project their e n ­ v i o u s selves into their analysts, a n d t h e n imagine t h e m ­ selves to be c o p i n g w i t h envious a n a l y s t s . A t this point, they m i g h t experience their analysts' interpretations as e n v i o u s efforts to m a k e t h e m feel worse, to t h i n k even less of themselves t h a n they already do. No longer p i c t u r i n g themselves as spoilers b u t r a t h e r as v i c t i m s of their a n a ­ lysts' s p o i l i n g intentions, they go o n to try to stimulate their a n a l y s t s into countertransference responses of d i s ­ g u s t a n d rejection. In this effort, they use even the slight­ est s i g n of real or i m a g i n e d d e p a r t u r e from neutrality a n d acceptance to validate a n d intensify their sense that they have i n n o c e n t l y entered into a b a d r e l a t i o n s h i p a n d ex­ p o s e d themselves to a steady s t r e a m of b a d feelings.

OMNIPOTENCE W h e n envy enters into situations of extreme shame, g r a n d i ­ ose fantasies of the self are likely to be i n play, too. O p p o ­

44

FORMS OF E X T R E M E S H A M E

sites meet: vulnerability a n d omnipotence. T h e grandiose fantasies

must

be

protected

from

the

analyst's

trans­

ference interpretations. No sense of being flawed, deficient, or powerless m u s t be allowed to develop. T h e s e a n a l y s a n d s become intolerant of the virtues a n d assets of others. E n v i ­ ously a n d spitefully, they try to spoil the goodness of others so that they themselves will not have to cope w i t h their own sense of smallness, ugliness, weakness, a n d inferiority. Nei­ ther loss n o r guilt m u s t be allowed to enter their scenes of operation, a n d so too w i t h needfulness,

dependency,

and

powerlessness. In effect, feeling godlike, they imagine being able to give b i r t h to themselves a n d n u r t u r e themselves i n a totally self-sufficient m a n n e r . A l l of this constitutes a defensive, devaluing attack o n the analyst a n d h i s or her interventions. T h i s grandiosity c a n be

expressed

quite subtly.

F o r example,

the

analysand

might too readily a s s u m e total responsibility for experi­ encing h u m i l i a t i o n , thereby p r e c l u d i n g complaints against others for h a v i n g c o n t r i b u t e d to the p r o b l e m or h a v i n g stimulated the b a d feeling; consequently, the opinions of others, analyst i n c l u d e d , need not matter. T o t a l m o r t i f i c a ­ t i o n b l o c k s out a n y sign of envy a n d resentment. T h i s k i n d of self-blame does not signify or lead to a developed sense of responsibility, for it does not take into a c c o u n t the c a p a b i l i ­ ties a n d feelings of others. T h e t h i n k i n g is concrete a n d e n ­ tirely self-referential; words, looks, a n d gestures are being treated like missiles a n d shields. In the e n d , however, n o t h ­ ing has

c h a n g e d except p e r h a p s the painfulness

of the

moment; the distressing i n t e r n a l world h a s not b e e n e l i m i ­ n a t e d . In this grandiose setting, the u n c o n s c i o u s

fantasy

might even i n c l u d e d y i n g gloriously at the center of the (analytic) universe, p e r h a p s meeting a saintly fate (on the couch). In a n y event,

the narcissistic, p a r a n o i d - s c h i z o i d

position continues to predominate.

45

BAD F E E L I N G S

CLINICAL EXAMPLES Carol C a r o l w a s profusely apologetic for h a v i n g a critical t h o u g h t a b o u t h e r analyst's clothes. S h e s o u n d e d as t h o u g h she had

inflicted so

expect

serious

m u c h h a r m that retaliation. H e r

she

c o u l d rightfully

contemptuous

thought

s e e m e d to have s t e m m e d from h e r u n c o n s c i o u s identifica­ t i o n w i t h a m o t h e r she h a d experienced as s c o r n f u l of everything a n d everyone. Most of all she h a d identified with a certain pained expression she believed she saw w h e n ­ ever h e r mother looked at her. Unconsciously, she was see­ ing the analyst t h r o u g h her mother's contemptuous eyes, to some extent at the behest of h e r m o t h e r as i n t e r n a l object a n d to some extent as identification w i t h this object. T o deal w i t h h e r mortified state, she was projecting h e r frag­ ile, v u l n e r a b l e , h u m i l i a t e d , b u t also envious a n d vengeful c h i l d - s e l f into the a n a l y s t to s u p p o r t h e r p r e c a r i o u s c o n ­ s c i o u s sense of strength, w o r t h , a n d s u p e r i o r i t y . In this i n s t a n c e , she w a s d i s g u i s i n g h e r envy a n d o m n i p o t e n t f a n ­ tasy b y b e c o m i n g apologetic. P l e a d i n g w e a k n e s s

dimin­

i s h e d h e r fear of retaliation. S a y i n g that y o u are sorry doesn't necessarily m e a n that y o u are feeling guilty.

Ed E d ' s e x p r e s s i o n of c o n t e m p t for h i s u n s u p p o r t e d i d e a of h i s analyst's r e a c t i o n a r y politics w a s also tied to i d e n t i ­ fication w i t h a m o t h e r he h a d experienced as tuous.

However,

he

could

not

integrate

his

contemp­ feminine

identification a n d h a d b e e n t r y i n g desperately to exclude that "female" self from c o n s c i o u s n e s s . C h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y , 46

FORMS OF E X T R E M E

he h i d b e h i n d a s u p e r i o r " m a s c u l i n e "

SHAME

self-representation

that i n c l u d e d a good deal of arrogant, i m p l i c i t l y o m n i p o ­ tent behavior.

Sam S a m was h i d i n g f r o m h i m s e l f a n d others h i s noteworthy assets i n the r e a l m s of intelligence, c h a r m , sense of style, a n d perceptiveness. O n the s t r e n g t h of projective identifi­ c a t i o n a n d seemingly realistic p e r c e p t i o n , he believed h i s h i d d e n n e s s w o u l d protect not h i s self-esteem r a t h e r the self-esteem

directly b u t

of h i s p a r e n t s . In these

respects,

they a p p e a r e d to h i m to be l i m i t e d , fragile, a n d potentially e n v i o u s . T h e y also seemed intolerant of i n t i m a c y . A n a l y s i s of S a m ' s transference h e l p e d h i m w i t h d r a w some of h i s projections a n d g a i n access to a n u m b e r of

suppressed

assets. H e felt freer t h a n ever before to develop t h e m f u r ­ ther. H e b e c a m e more a d v e n t u r o u s a n d imaginative, a n d he felt livelier i n h i s sexuality. F e a r of h u m i l i a t i o n a n d mortification p l a y e d a s m a l l e r p a r t i n h i s life.

Sharon S h a r o n was extremely v u l n e r a b l e to feelings of h u m i l i a t i o n a n d mortification. M u c h of the intensity of these ings

had

ronment

developed

in

i n w h i c h she

the

consistently

h a d grown u p .

shaming Her

h a d been crushed by judgmental, persecutory to h e r spontaneity,

self-assertiveness,

feel­ envi­

self-esteem responses

a n d individuality.

S h e identified w i t h h e r aggressors a n d p u t h e r s e l f d o w n so consistently that, feeling mortified or, if she resorted to projective identification, feeling h u m i l i a t e d , seemed n a t u ­

47

BAD F E E L I N G S

ral to her. Unconsciously, she tried to compensate by exaggerating normally present omnipotent fantasies and expressing them in exasperated, contemptuous, judgmen­ tal, persecutory attitudes toward others. She was always ready to blame them for their shortcomings and blunders. Also, Sharon could not tolerate being dependent on others, especially if they were different from her in their interests and values. In her transference, she alternated between unworthiness and superiority. Expectedly, Sharon felt that being in analysis was hu­ miliating. It made her "so ordinary." One day she appeared with a cast on her foot, having broken a small bone in a fall. She reported that she was aware of having felt a bit of a shock when she was shown the x-ray of her toe. She re­ flected that it was "so ordinary" to have a skeleton like everybody else and to be vulnerable like them. "It's degrad­ ing!" All her compensatory fantasies of being special were threatened by this confrontation with her humanness, her existential vulnerability.

DEVELOPMENTAL AND

INTERPERSONAL INFLUENCES

Humiliation is often inflicted on others—as it was on Sharon—in the form of such challenging questions as, "Who do you think you are?" The question need not be put into words; it may be conveyed by such gestures as raised eyebrows or mocking looks. When parental figures repeatedly confront a son or daughter this way, they stimulate the child to internalize them as demeaning bad objects and perhaps to go on to identify with them and become a persecutory figure of that sort themselves; this in addition to their constantly, even if secretly, being self­ 48

FORMS OF E X T R E M E S H A M E

deprecatory. H u m i l i a t i o n a n d mortification become a way of life. F e e l i n g t h o r o u g h l y h u m i l i a t e d or mortified, these c h i l ­ d r e n u n f a i l i n g l y " k n o w their p l a c e " a n d c a r r y that b u r d e n o n t h e i r b a c k s into t h e i r a d u l t y e a r s . T h a t place is lowly, m a r g i n a l i z e d , p e r h a p s seen b u t not h e a r d , a n d certainly lonely, b u t b e h i n d the s c e n e s they also sit o n h i g h , h a r s h l y j u d g i n g others. O n e s u c h a n a l y s a n d revealed that h i s case w a s so severe i n t h i s respect t h a t he h a d a p p r o a c h e d h i s i n i t i a l interview p r e p a r e d to throw h i m s e l f at the analyst's feet a n d b e g for m e r c y . T h i s d r a m a t i z a t i o n b e t r a y e d h i s concealed arrogance. T h e defensive advantage g a i n e d b y identifying w i t h the aggressor, r e a l or i m a g i n e d , is feeling relatively safe f r o m u n e x p e c t e d c r i t i c i s m . A l r e a d y v i c t i m s of s t r a i n t r a u m a , these a n a l y s a n d s feel p a r t i c u l a r l y p a i n e d b y c r i t i c i s m for w h i c h they are u n p r e p a r e d . It is i m p o r t a n t to "beat others to the d r a w . " T h i s s h o o t - o u t m e t a p h o r a n d others like it s u

g g e s t the u n c o n s c i o u s fantasy of the d e a d l y violence of

h a v i n g felt t r a u m a t i c a l l y s h a m e d . D i r e c t i n g the q u e s t i o n " W h o do y o u t h i n k y o u are?" at oneself also w o r k s a g a i n s t s t i r r i n g u p the envy of o t h e r s . Y o u c a n n o t be envied for w h a t y o u s u c c e s s f u l l y disavow. Y e t a n o t h e r defensive

advantage

of s e e m i n g

to r e m a i n

s m a l l , h u m b l e , a n d h u m b l e d is i n its h e l p i n g to m a i n t a i n vigilant defenses a g a i n s t gross m a n i f e s t a t i o n s of y o u r r e ­ inforced latent g r a n d i o s e t e n d e n c i e s . In developing h i s self psychology, K o h u t (1977) strongly e m p h a s i z e d the not u n ­ c o m m o n n e e d of a n a l y s t s as well as a n a l y s a n d s to defend against i d e a l i z a t i o n b y others that t h r e a t e n s to o v e r s t i m u ­ late t h e i r latent g r a n d i o s i t y . Better t h e n to dwell i n s h a m e or s h r i n k into excessive modesty. V a r i o u s m e t a p h o r s of c o n c e i t e d n e s s i m p l y t h i s fear of g r a n d i o s i t y : swellheaded, too b i g for y o u r b r i t c h e s , a n d too good for this w o r l d . 49

BAD F E E L I N G S

A price is p a i d for a d o p t i n g t h i s strategy of i n t e r n a l i z i n g the h u m i l i a t i n g attitude i n a d d i t i o n to readily feeling h u ­ m i l i a t e d . Y o u b e c o m e ever more envious of others for their freer a n d fuller achievements, the ease of their relatedness to others a n d their b e i n g " o u t front" a b o u t their assets, their s e l f - a s s u r a n c e ,

a n d the m u l t i p l e p l e a s u r e p o s s i b i l i ­

ties o p e n to t h e m . A d d i t i o n a l l y , u n l e s s y o u are exceedingly careful, y o u will s o m e h o w betray y o u r j u d g m e n t a l

atti­

t u d e , b e g i n to be regarded b y others as n a s t y a n d h a u g h t y , a n d p o s s i b l y suffer

o s t r a c i s m . A l s o , y o u will view y o u r

c o m m u n i t y as one crowded w i t h failures, isolates, betray­ ers, deserters, a n d p e r s e c u t o r s . W i t h everyone a n d every­ t h i n g h a v i n g b e e n leveled to the g r o u n d — o r l o w e r — y o u e n d u p feeling lonely a n d desperate, w i t h a sense that life is

meaninglessness. F u r t h e r disadvantages

i n c l u d e the d a m a g e y o u do to

y o u r o w n development. B y i n h i b i t i n g u s e of y o u r c a p a c i ­ ties, w a r p i n g y o u r reality testing of y o u r a c t u a l achieve­ ments,

a n d splitting y o u r s e l f b y always h a v i n g to be o n

g u a r d against the spontaneity that m i g h t reveal y o u r o w n enviable talents, assertive self-interest, or p r i d e , y o u s t u n t y o u r development, y o u r social relations, a n d y o u r career. T h e n , there is little possibility of y o u r b e i n g recognized b y others as a n enjoyable, worthwhile, or interesting p e r s o n . Y o u have few if a n y experiences of n o r m a l p r i d e . Y o u live as t h o u g h y o u have a s s i g n e d a l l self-definition a n d self­ a p p r a i s a l to others. Y o u are totally v u l n e r a b l e .

DISCUSSION H u m i l i a t i o n a n d mortification are not simple affects. T h e y are u n d e r s t a n d a b l e i n terms of splitting, primitive n a r ­

50

cissism

and

aggression,

FORMS OF E X T R E M E

SHAME

identification,

envy,

projective

a n d g r a n d i o s i t y — i n short, the features

of the p a r a n o i d ­

s c h i z o i d p o s i t i o n . In some respects, m y a c c o u n t of these two extreme experiences of extreme s h a m e departs from what

has

become

traditional i n

the

ego-psychological

F r e u d i a n literature o n s h a m e . T h a t literature is exempli­ fied b y a set of p a p e r s i n The Psychoanalytic Child

(Ablon

1990,

Abrams

1990,

Study of the

G i l l m a n 1990,

Yorke

a n d collaborators 1990). T h e s e scholarly, clinically k n o w l ­ edgeable, informative, a n d u s e f u l essays adhere faithfully to F r e u d ' s now s u p e r s e d e d metapsychology of i n s t i n c t u a l drives; they a p p r o a c h s h a m e , a n d implicitly its extremes, as t h o u g h affects

are i r r e d u c i b l e c o m p o n e n t s

of i n s t i n c ­

t u a l drives, a n d as t h o u g h these c o m p o n e n t s a c q u i r e their ideational content as the c h i l d moves t h r o u g h the chosexual

stages of development.

These

are the

psy­

stages

d u r i n g w h i c h the c h i l d constitutes a n ego, ego i d e a l , a n d superego, a n d achieves self-other differentiation. T h u s , for t h e m , as for F r e u d a n d c o n t r a r y to c o n t e m p o r a r y theories of emotion, cognitive elements are not i n t r i n s i c to affective experience. Although

content

s i m i l a r to

that

emphasized

earlier

a p p e a r s i n these p a p e r s , it does so i n a somewhat different context.

T h e s e a u t h o r s , too,

emphasize

loss

of c o n t r o l ,

d i r t i n e s s , inferiority, a n d a sense of p h y s i c a l or m e n t a l exposure, b u t e x p o s u r e , for example, phallic-oedipal

conflict

over

refers p r i m a r i l y to

exhibitionism,

voyeurism,

a n d m a s t u r b a t i o n a n d not to the major d y a d i c i s s u e s of early development. well

known:

the

T h i s difference m a k e s extent

to

which

the

plain what

traditional

is

ego­

p s y c h o l o g i c a l literature s u b o r d i n a t e s pregenital i s s u e s to p h a l l i c - o e d i p a l interpretation, especially of a positive l i ­ b i d i n a l sort. T h i s t r a d i t i o n a l e m p h a s i s

continues

to

be

51

BAD F E E L I N G S

p r e s e n t i n more recent p u b l i c a t i o n s t h a n those already cited (for example, Rizzuto 1991,

R o t h s t e i n 1994). It c o n ­

trasts w i t h the growing t r e n d today toward a n e m p h a s i s o n early object relations. T h i s t r e n d does not exclude w h a t h a s b e e n traditionally explored; it's j u s t that it goes deeper into primitive levels of experience a n d fantasy. S o m e of these recent developments stem from the h e u r i s t i c p o t e n ­ tials of the self-psychological a p p r o a c h . F o r the m o s t part, however, m y d i s c u s s i o n h a s b e e n s t i m u l a t e d b y the w o r k of the c o n t e m p o r a r y K l e i n i a n s (Schafer 1997a,b). Whatever remember

the

approach,

it

is

always

important

to

the extent to w h i c h concrete t h i n k i n g c h a r ­

acterizes primitive u n c o n s c i o u s fantasy a n d infuses

the

experiences of h u m i l i a t i o n a n d mortification. F r e u d w o u l d have h a d it so despite h i s m e t a p s y c h o l o g i c a l a b s t r a c t i o n s a n d segregation of i d e a a n d affect (1915a); one h a s only to r e a d h i s w o r k o n d r e a m s (1900) a n d danger situations (1926) to see that this is so. A s noted earlier, this concrete t h i n k i n g shows u p i n o u r figurative language. T h e r e , for example, a l t h o u g h we speak of feeling "like dirt" or of o u r " d i r t i n e s s , " formulations that derive from a conceptually a n d self-representationally higher level of thought, w h e n u s i n g these terms we also i m ­ plicitly identify ourselves with dirt, garbage, or shit. B e i n g told, "You're a piece of shit," " a d u m b c u n t , " or " a b i g b a b y " is, i n u n c o n s c i o u s fantasy,

t a k e n literally. We

cations that this is so i n dreams, slips, a n d

see

indi­

symptoms.

Similarly, the experience of inferiority h a s its concrete r e p ­ resentations i n u n c o n s c i o u s fantasy i n terms of p h y s i c a l attributes a n d actions pertaining to victimization a n d brute power, size of sexual a n d other body parts, a n d so o n . U l t i ­ mately, there are the variously imagined danger situations of a n n i h i l a t i o n a n d death.

52

FORMS OF E X T R E M E S H A M E

One technical consequence

of these c o n s i d e r a t i o n s

is

t h i s r e c o m m e n d a t i o n : it is h e l p f u l to be s p a r i n g i n one's u s e of interventions 'beginning w i t h " a s if" or " l i k e , " be­ c a u s e these f o r m u l a t i o n s w i l l likely require a n a l y s a n d s to shift to a h i g h e r level of p s y c h i c organization t h a n the one they are o n at that m o m e n t , the r e s u l t b e i n g failure to c a p ­ ture the m o s t deep-seated p a i n f u l n e s s of the b a d feelings t h e n u n d e r a n a l y s i s . M o r e effective

analytically i n m a n y

i n s t a n c e s are simple declarative statements, t h i n k y o u are feeling defensive

now,

s u c h as,

believing that

"I I'm

critical of y o u r attitude" or " M y c o m m e n t m a d e y o u a n x ­ i o u s , a n d y o u are t r y i n g to c h a n g e the topic to a safe one," provided that

the

analyst

is

simply

straightforward

in

s p e a k i n g so a n d not overbearing. B e i n g too h y p o t h e t i c a l or indirect does not h e l p , u s u a l l y .

CONCLUSION H u m i l i a t i o n a n d mortification come together as p r o m i n e n t m e m b e r s of a family of b a d feelings i n c l u d e d u n d e r extreme s h a m e . E i t h e r t e r m m a y extend as far as a sense of w o r t h ­ l e s s n e s s a n d a n n i h i l a t i o n associated w i t h fantasies of de­ serving to die, b e i n g made to die, even c a u s i n g oneself to die. B u t i n the m a n n e r of u n c o n s c i o u s m e n t a l functioning, w i t h its tolerance of m a g i c a l a n d contradictory possibilities, these fantasies

a n d the gestures

a n d figurative

language

that c o r r e s p o n d to t h e m also i m p l y retention of the power to reverse the process, thereby to regain existence a n d accep­ tance

t h r o u g h penance

a n d rehabilitation, a n d

possibly

even to fantasize exercising omnipotent control over others. It c a n n o t be e m p h a s i z e d too strongly that feelings of h u ­ m i l i a t i o n a n d mortification a n d the fantasies of w h i c h they

53

BAD

FEELINGS

are an indication are built-in aspects of being in analysis. They pervade defensive efforts and are conductive to nega­ tive therapeutic reactions. But there is an opposite side to that coin: the use of humiliated and mortified feelings as defenses against expressing envy in the transference. It is to envy that we turn next.

54

CHAPTER 4

ENVY: REVISITING MELANIE KLEIN'S "ENVY AND GRATITUDE"

E n v y h a s come into its o w n . C o n t e m p o r a r y p s y c h o a n a l y s t s are actively d i s c u s s i n g a n d debating the varieties of envious experience a n d their origins a n d influence (see, for example, B r i t t o n 1989, 2 0 0 1 , F r a n k i e l 2000, 2001,

O'Shaughnessy

1999, S p i l l i u s 1993). T h a t it h a s n o t always b e e n so is well k n o w n . F o r m a n y years, envy h a d b e e n locked u p i n a box called penis

envy. T h e box n o w opened, envy is being c o n ­

ceptualized i n a m a n n e r b o t h more complex a n d more wide­ r a n g i n g i n i m p l i c a t i o n . A m o n g the factors responsible for this change, two s t a n d out: the creative work of Melanie K l e i n (1957) i n h e r classic " E n v y a n d G r a t i t u d e " a n d the critical a c u i t y of scores of feminists w h o have wanted to free p s y c h o a n a l y s i s from its phallocentric b i a s . It is from Klein's classic that m a n y of the ideas set forth here are d r a w n . T o these I will a d d some thoughts a n d observations of m y own, together w i t h those to be f o u n d i n m a n y instructive feminist writings. W i t h envy finally being seen b y analysts to be the u b i q u i t o u s p r o b l e m it i s , the beneficial analytic

conse­

quences of this enriched insight c a n n o t be overestimated. I b e g i n w i t h a b r i e f a c c o u n t of h o w I u n d e r s t a n d F r e u d to have arrived at the i n s i g h t that p e n i s envy p l a y s a c e n ­ 55

BAD F E E L I N G S

tral p a r t i n the development

of girls a n d the lives of

w o m e n . F o r this development, whatever its flaws a n d u n ­ desirable c o n s e q u e n c e s , h a s retained great v a l u e i n theory a n d practice, a n d it r e m a i n s the context into w h i c h signifi­ c a n t c h a n g e is b e i n g i n t r o d u c e d . B e c a u s e I have already c r i t i q u e d F r e u d ' s general theory of girls a n d w o m e n at l e n g t h i n several places a n d i n several ways (Schafer 1974, 1992,

1993, 1994, 1997c, 2 0 0 1 , a m o n g others) a n d b e ­

c a u s e m y a i m here i s to provide a c o n t e m p o r a r y a p p r o a c h to envy, I will n o t present a detailed review of these w o r k s . Instead, after c o m p l e t i n g this i n t r o d u c t o r y section o n p e ­ n i s envy, I will focus

o n the w o r k of the c o n t e m p o r a r y

K l e i n i a n a n a l y s t s w h o have b e e n refining a n d a d d i n g to the a n a l y t i c efficacy of so m a n y of K l e i n ' s (1975) ideas o n theory a n d t e c h n i q u e . T h e place of envy i n transference, countertransference, a n d family r e l a t i o n s h i p s will receive s p e c i a l attention.

FREUD AND PENIS ENVY It is well k n o w n that F r e u d (1925) e m p h a s i z e d the fateful c o n s e q u e n c e of the little girl's discovery of the a n a t o m i c a l d i s t i n c t i o n between the sexes: immediate p e n i s envy that persists a n d b e c o m e s a c e n t r a l reference p o i n t i n b o t h h e r p s y c h i c a l development a n d h e r m a t u r e life. A s one of the major b a d feelings of h u m a n beings, this envy plays a p a r t equivalent to c a s t r a t i o n anxiety i n m e n . It is i m p l i e d that the mere fact of difference

is a major s t i m u l a n t of envy, a n

i m p l i c a t i o n recently elaborated i n F r a n k i e l ' s (2000) d i s ­ c u s s i o n of the general role of difference

i n stimulating

envy. O v e r the y e a r s , F r e u d ' s interpretation of p e n i s envy h a s proved to be too n a r r o w . I believe that t h i s n a r r o w n e s s r e ­

56

ENVY: REVISITING M E L A N I E KLEIN

s u i t e d from the w a y he s i t u a t e d t h i s a n a t o m i c a l difference i n the g r a n d

s c h e m e of h u m a n

existence.

Specifically,

F r e u d p r e s s e d it into t h e service of h i s l e a d i n g p r e o c c u p a ­ tions:

heterosexual

development,

c o n t i n u a t i o n of the species

r e p r o d u c t i o n , a n d the

(Schafer

1974). In the b a c k ­

g r o u n d of this p r e o c c u p a t i o n were D a r w i n ' s great c o n t r i ­ b u t i o n s to the origins a n d s u r v i v a l of species. T h a t F r e u d w a s u n d e r other i n f l u e n c e s to b e d i s c u s s e d l a t e r — t h e i n ­ d u s t r i a l r e v o l u t i o n a n d the p a t r i a r c h a l s o c i a l orientation of h i s t i m e — c o n t r i b u t e d its share to the role h e a s s i g n e d to p e n i s envy. B e c a u s e F r e u d (1940) stood p a t o n t h i s interpretation, even after h e tried to e x p a n d it (1933), it r e m a i n e d for other a n a l y s t s to challenge h i s n a r r o w v i s i o n . F o r example, K a r e n H o r n e y (1924) c o n t r i b u t e d at a n early date to ex­ p a n d i n g the s t u d y of envy b y developing a n o t h e r m o d e l of female development. played

a part

that,

In h e r m o d e l ,

however,

even

secondary,

though

penis

envy

remained

m u c h like F r e u d ' s . A l s o , i n the light of later developments, h e r perspective, owing

like F r e u d ' s , c a n be c o n s i d e r e d

to its p r e d o m i n a n t

oedipal

conception

1974). T h e content

of H o r n e y ' s formidable

Freud's

unquestionable

widely

apparently accepted

or e m p h a s i z e d

(Schafer

challenge to

authority

by most

narrow

w a s not

analysts,

the

d o m i n a n c e of F r e u d ' s f o r m u l a t i o n v i r t u a l l y b l o c k i n g f u r ­ t h e r t h o u g h t o n t h i s i m p o r t a n t topic for a l o n g time. B u t H o r n e y d i d o p e n the w a y for r e c o n s i d e r a t i o n a n d r e v i s i o n . Several s u b s i d i a r y factors

played a part i n arresting

f u r t h e r development i n t h i s major sector of p s y c h o a n a l y ­ sis. O n e factor w a s a n a l y s t s ' t e n d e n c y to s u b s u m e festations

of envy u n d e r

rivalry

a n d competition,

mani­ these

b e i n g v a r i a b l e s that fit into the oedipal c o n f i g u r a t i o n . A l s o , F r e u d ' s c o n c e p t i o n s u b s u m e d envious experience u n d e r a s e n s e of p e r s o n a l defect or inferiority c a u s e d or exagger­ 57

BAD

FEELINGS

ated b y neglect, a s s a u l t , a n d p u n i s h m e n t for s e x u a l " b a d ­ ness"

s u c h as m a s t u r b a t o r y activity. A n d t h i r d , F r e u d ' s

h a v i n g m a d e the t r i a n g u l a r oedipal s i t u a t i o n the center of h i s theories of development a n d n e u r o s i s c o n t r i b u t e d to insufficient attention b e i n g p a i d to influences

emanating

from p r e c e d i n g stages of development. T h i s w a s so despite K a r l A b r a h a m ' s (1924) w o r k a n d despite the significance of these stages h a v i n g l o n g b e e n recognized b y F r e u d (1905).

MELANIE KLEIN'S Later developments,

CONTRIBUTION

s p u r r e d particularly b y the work of

Melanie K l e i n (1957), focused o n the dyadic

relationship

w i t h the m o t h e r i n the years before the height of the O e d i ­ p u s complex. Additionally, K l e i n developed a fuller a c c o u n t t h a n F r e u d h a d of the often d o m i n a n t role of aggression t h r o u g h o u t development, a n d she d i d so i n a m a n n e r c o n ­ sistent n o t only w i t h what F r e u d h a d written i n "Instincts a n d T h e i r V i c i s s i t u d e s " (1915c) a n d " B e y o n d the Pleasure Principle" (1920), b u t also i n the line of t h i n k i n g developed b y A b r a h a m (1924) about the stages of early object relation­ s h i p s . A b r a h a m ' s conception of these stages, while t a k i n g aggression very m u c h into a c c o u n t , w a s also

correlated

w i t h the stages of p s y c h o s e x u a l

on which

Freud

h a d remained

focused

development

for the m o s t part. T h u s ,

Klein's pioneering efforts a n d h e r creativity l e d the way to e x p a n d i n g the theory of envy. It freed envy from the neces­ sarily triangular a n d p r i m a r i l y l i b i d i n a l e m p h a s i s that ex­ pressed F r e u d ' s c o m m i t m e n t to the D a r w i n i s m of h i s day. O f s p e c i a l i m p o r t a n c e is K l e i n ' s degendering envy b y f o c u s i n g m a i n l y o n its roots for b o t h sexes i n the early c h i l d - m o t h e r r e l a t i o n s h i p . E n v y is a factor to b e r e c k o n e d w i t h from the first stages of development.

58

However, h e r

ENVY: REVISITING

MELANIE

KLEIN

b o l d , i f not extravagant, s p e c u l a t i o n s a b o u t envy's h a v i n g c o n s t i t u t i o n a l origins seem to have b e e n pretty m u c h left b y the w a y s i d e . S p i l l i u s (1993) h a s p r o v i d e d a n excellent general review of the h i s t o r y of envy i n K l e i n i a n t h o u g h t . S o m e of the differences between F r e u d a n d K l e i n origi­ n a t e d i n their different a p p r o a c h e s to the place of object relations i n development. F r e u d ' s focus o n the i n s t i n c t u a l drives l e d h i m to l i n k object relations to these drives a s one of their manifestations

(Freud 1915c). Instincts, he s a i d

there, are object seeking. A c c o r d i n g to F r e u d (1920), a p a i r of q u a s i b i o l o g i c a l i n s t i n c t s d o m i n a t e s life: a Life Instinct a n d a D e a t h Instinct. A l t h o u g h K l e i n followed F r e u d f a i t h ­ fully respect to those two i n s t i n c t s , s h e also posited that object relations exist from the b e g i n n i n g stages of life a n d so m i g h t be u s e d as the framework for d e s c r i b i n g their development a n d manifestations. A s K l e i n ' s ideas u n d e r w e n t development,

these

object

relations were n o t p o r t r a y e d as fully developed r e p r e s e n t a ­ tions, the infant n o t yet b e i n g capable of the level of t h i n k ­ i n g o n w h i c h r e l a t i o n s h i p s as u n d e r s t o o d i n m a t u r i t y c a n be conceived. R a t h e r , object relations are first experienced as p r i m o r d i a l p l e a s u r e - p a i n reactions a n d s o m a t i c r e a c ­ tions, a n d it is these that are the f o u n d a t i o n stones of later feelings a n d fantasies a b o u t relations w i t h others (Isaacs 1948). The

infant

exists

i n what

Klein

(1946)

named

the

p a r a n o i d - s c h i z o i d p o s i t i o n . O n l y w i t h the a t t a i n m e n t of the more m a t u r e depressive p o s i t i o n , w i t h its a s c e n d a n c e of l i b i d i n a l over hostile a n d destructive factors, i s it p o s ­ sible to have a n d m a i n t a i n stable, r e s p o n s i b l e , loving r e l a ­ tions w i t h whole objects i n life as well a s u n c o n s c i o u s f a n ­ tasy (Klein 1940). In one way, K l e i n w a s following F r e u d b y viewing the earliest p a r a n o i d - s c h i z o i d p h a s e s of object r e ­ latedness as not only n a r c i s s i s t i c b u t also strongly hostile 59

BAD

and

FEELINGS

fearful.

Freud

had

described

them

that

way

" M o u r n i n g a n d M e l a n c h o l i a " (1917) a n d "Instincts

in and

T h e i r V i c i s s i t u d e s " (1915c). In " E n v y a n d G r a t i t u d e , " K l e i n (1957) centered more at­ tention

on

envy

than

on

gratitude,

although

defenses

against gratitude d i d receive some attention. I believe that i m b a l a n c e expressed her constant attention to the damage that envy c a n inflict o n the psychoanalytic p r o c e s s — m o s t likely the same damage that it h a s inflicted o n the a n a ­ lysand's p s y c h i c development i n general. A l s o , b y focusing o n the p a r a n o i d - s c h i z o i d aspects of her a n a l y s a n d s ' f u n c ­ tioning, she highlighted their aggressive, narcissistic t e n ­ dencies, a m o n g w h i c h envy figures prominently. K l e i n d i d not propose that one ever totally

overcomes

the s u b s t r u c t u r e of the p a r a n o i d - s c h i z o i d envy.

Conse­

quently, h e r theory states that h u m a n beings are b o u n d to r e s p o n d ambivalently to the goodness of others a n d that it is a life's w o r k for e a c h h u m a n b e i n g to come to terms w i t h this ambivalence,

to limit its destructive potential a n d

mitigate its often subtle forms of d e s t r u c t i v e n e s s . C l i n i c a l l y , t h e n , it is inevitable that envy will be s t i m u ­ lated b y the goodness of the caregiving a n a l y s t t r y i n g to u n d e r s t a n d i n order to be h e l p f u l . D u r i n g a n a l y s i s , the a n a l y s t m u s t be alert for signs of envy every step of the way.

THE DIFFERENCE IN

WELTANSCHAUUNG

T o r e t u r n to one of the m a i n differences between K l e i n a n d F r e u d i n the context of e n v y — t h e centrality of fantasized object relations i n u n d e r s t a n d i n g the d y n a m i c s of the i n ­ t e r n a l w o r l d — i t seems correct to say that Klein was rizing from a basically

60

theo­

different outlook on the problems

of

ENVY: REVISITING

existence.

MELANIE

KLEIN

A l t h o u g h F r e u d (1933) a r g u e d — c o r r e c t l y , I b e ­

l i e v e — t h a t p s y c h o a n a l y s i s does n o t provide a b a s i s for a n y Weltanschauung,

it s e e m s t h a t h e d i d n o t take into a c ­

c o u n t the w a y s i n w h i c h t h e o r i s t s ' v a l u e s are n e c e s s a r i l y e x p r e s s e d i n the k i n d of t h e o r i z i n g they develop a n d the kind

of

practice

Weltanschauung

associated

with

this

theorizing.

By

F r e u d h a d i n m i n d only a conscious sys­

tematic ethics or set of v a l u e s one u s e s to guide h e r or h i s c o n d u c t i n life. In c o n t r a s t , c o n t e m p o r a r y c r i t i c a l theorists a s s u m e t h a t Weltanschauungen one's m o d e

c o d e t e r m i n e a l l aspects of

of t h e o r i z i n g a b o u t h u m a n existence.

One's

g e n e r a l o u t l o o k sets the t e r m s of theoretical d i s c u s s i o n a n d the q u e s t i o n s to be a d d r e s s e d . W e see t h a t t h i s w a s so i n F r e u d ' s t h i n k i n g a b o u t the p s y c h i c a l

consequences

of the a n a t o m i c a l d i s t i n c t i o n between the sexes. T o

my

knowledge, K l e i n d i d not take u p t h i s q u e s t i o n explicitly; however, it c a n be i n f e r r e d f r o m h e r w a y of t h i n k i n g a b o u t psychoanalysis. Thus,

impersonalized drivenness

is one

way—Freud's

w a y — t o thematize h u m a n development; K l e i n ' s p r i m o r d i a l h u m a n r e l a t e d n e s s is a n o t h e r . F o r F r e u d , r e l a t e d n e s s was a m e a n s to a n e n d ; for K l e i n , r e l a t e d n e s s w a s at the center of w h a t it is a l l a b o u t f r o m b e g i n n i n g to e n d . E n v y d i s r u p t s r e l a t e d n e s s or, p u t otherwise, steers it t o w a r d d e s t r u c t i v e ­ n e s s . M a n y other a s p e c t s of K l e i n ' s t h e o r i z i n g are the s a m e as or s i m i l a r to F r e u d ' s , b o t h of t h e m h a v i n g i n v e s t e d c o n ­ s t i t u t i o n a l givens w i t h significant i n f l u e n c e o n p s y c h i c a l development;

b o t h p o s i t i o n e d conflict or a m b i v a l e n c e

the center of t h e i r d y n a m i c f o r m u l a t i o n s ; they therapeutic fantile

importance

experience;

and,

to

reconstructions

perhaps

most

at

attached

of early i n ­

important,

they

w o r k e d extensively w i t h the d u a l i n s t i n c t theory. K l e i n ' s fuller a n d m o r e i n c l u s i v e r e n d i t i o n of envy s t a n d s o n t h i s common

foundation.

In

Freud's

developmental

theory, 61

BAD

FEELINGS

envy r e m a i n e d p r i m a r i l y a v i c i s s i t u d e of gender identity a n d its effect o n self-esteem;

for K l e i n , envy w a s a p e r v a ­

sive existential given. Different o u t l o o k s o n life, different theories, a n d different t e c h n i c a l c o n s e q u e n c e s .

T h e r e is a story told of Wilfred B i o n ' s h a v i n g s a i d to a g r o u p m e m b e r w h o h a d b e e n a t t a c k i n g h i m at a T a v i s t o c k g r o u p relations conference, "I c a n ' t see w h y y o u hate m e ; I h a v e n ' t tried to h e l p y o u . " H e r e , following K l e i n , B i o n w a s i n d i c a t i n g t h a t we m i g h t t h i n k of envy i n the transference as well as i n r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n general as a case of b i t i n g the h a n d t h a t feeds y o u . W h a t y o u envy is the other's p o s s e s ­ s i o n of s o m e goodness

t h a t y o u believe y o u l a c k . A l o n g

w i t h goodness, y o u m i g h t envy c o n t r o l , power to frustrate b y w i t h h o l d i n g , a n d i n a n a l y s i s , the a n a l y s t ' s mind,

sanity,

a n d benevolence.

Analysands

peace

envy

of

these

q u a l i t i e s b e c a u s e , b e i n g i n a c o n f l i c t u a l state of n e e d , they are likely to feel, o n the one h a n d , r e n d e r e d v u l n e r a b l e or h e l p l e s s b y t h e i r s t r o n g d e p e n d e n t , greedy feelings, a n d o n the other, e n r a g e d , h u m i l i a t e d , a n d i n c r e a s i n g l y t u r n e d t o w a r d fantasies

of total, o m n i p o t e n t self-sufficiency.

t h i s s i m u l t a n e o u s l y exalted, d e b a s e d ,

a n d otherwise

In de­

fensive p o s i t i o n , they envy a n d w i s h to attack, s p o i l , or eliminate t h e i r a n a l y s t s ' goodness

or a n y other e x p e r i ­

e n c e d differences between t h e m ( F r a n k i e l 2000). U n c o n s c i o u s l y , t h i s s p o i l i n g a t t a c k is a c c o m p l i s h e d b y projecting one's hateful feelings into the envied other; t h e n the other b e c o m e s a p o i s o n o u s b r e a s t or a t h r e a t e n i n g h a n d r a t h e r t h a n a full or generous one. Alternatively, the e n v i o u s p e r s o n m a y project h e r or h i s o w n state of h u m i l i ­ a t i o n i n order to devalue the other, eliminate the felt differ­

62

ENVY: REVISITING M E L A N I E KLEIN

ence, a n d so eliminate the s t i m u l u s to envy. In either case, the a t t a c k i n g p e r s o n m i g h t also feel guilty a n d u n w o r t h y for generating these fantasies a n d b e h a v i o r s , a n d as a r e ­ s u l t s h e or h e will envy the other's g o o d n e s s a l l the m o r e . In the e n d , the e n v i o u s p e r s o n gets c a u g h t u p i n a v i c i o u s circle i n w h i c h b i t i n g the h a n d that feeds y o u b e c o m e s a guilty w a y of life or p e r h a p s a life t h r e a t e n e d b y p e r s e c u ­ tory, retaliatory others. T h e aggressiveness

concealed by

that guilty or frightened w a y of life m i g h t be f u r t h e r d i s ­ g u i s e d b y b e i n g s u g a r c o a t e d w i t h idealizations. H e r e , I a m referring to a p a i n f u l l y familiar c l i n i c a l p h e n o m e n o n : we a n a l y s t s b e i n g covered w i t h p s y c h i c a l bites a n d b a n d - a i d s . T o s a y that o u r a n a l y s a n d s keep u s i n stitches is n o t to refer to l a u g h i n g m a t t e r s . K l e i n (1957) a d v a n c e d the i d e a that it i s t h i s v i c i o u s circle t h a t is the b a s i s of those severe negative t h e r a p e u t i c reactions that b l o c k o r reverse analytic a d v a n c e s a n d , b y s t i m u l a t i n g negative c o u n t e r t r a n s f e r e n c e , analyst's

u n d e r m i n e the

analytic attitude. Before " E n v y a n d G r a t i t u d e "

a p p e a r e d , J o a n Riviere (1936) h a d a l r e a d y written a c l a s ­ sic p a p e r o n the negative t h e r a p e u t i c r e a c t i o n . Riviere h a d b a s e d h e r i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o n K l e i n ' s (1935) early a p p r o a c h to f o r m u l a t i n g the depressive p o s i t i o n . Specifically, Riviere h a d detailed the a n a l y s a n d ' s fear of a d v a n c i n g develop­ m e n t a l l y into a p o s i t i o n i n w h i c h intolerable guilt w o u l d be felt were it n o t p r o m p t l y c a n c e l l e d b y r e g r e s s i o n . Riviere a d d e d i m m e a s u r a b l y to F r e u d ' s (1923) major b u t n a r r o w e r o e d i p a l u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the guilt factor i n the negative t h e r a p e u t i c r e a c t i o n (see, however, C h a p t e r 8 for a critique of this "negative" c o n c e p t i o n of these events). S o far, so good, b u t it r e m a i n e d for K l e i n to m a k e the great leap forward to defining the c e n t r a l role of e n v i o u s transference i n the negative t h e r a p e u t i c r e a c t i o n . C o n s e ­ quently, we m u s t always sort o u t w h e n o u r a n a l y s a n d s are

63

BAD

FEELINGS

suffering f r o m o u r lapses, w h e n from their o w n p a i n f u l i n ­ t e r n a l or external s i t u a t i o n s , a n d w h e n from the benefits of o u r very b e s t efforts. K e e p i n g i n m i n d the last of these p o s ­ sibilities s p a r e s

us

many moments

of intense

negative

countertransference. I believe that envy figures i n the so-called negative t h e r a ­ p e u t i c r e a c t i o n i n other ways as well. F o r one, there is anxiety i n r e s p o n s e to the fantasy of the e n v i o u s a n a l y s t . T h i s fantasy is not rare a m o n g a n a l y s a n d s w h e n they re­ port achievements at w o r k a n d gratifications i n love. G u i l t ­ ily, the a n a l y s a n d m i g h t feel that he or she h a s s u r p a s s e d the a n a l y s t b y stealing the analyst's goodness, leaving b e ­ h i n d only a n empty s h e l l — a sick, c r i p p l e d , depleted, c a s ­ trated figure. A s p e c t s of this fantasy are often d i s c e r n i b l e before v a c a t i o n periods a n d t e r m i n a t i o n . T h e n , it m a y be i m p l i e d i n ideas that the analyst, desperate for relief, re­ p l e n i s h m e n t , a n d escape from further a b u s e , is only too g l a d to get away, stay away, or f i n i s h u p once a n d for a l l . T h e a n a l y s a n d is engaging i n self-blame t h r o u g h o u t , j u s t as a rejected or a b a n d o n e d c h i l d m i g h t do, w i t h some fear of r e t a l i a t i o n m o s t likely p l a y i n g its p a r t , too. T h e a n a l y s a n d m i g h t also fear b e i n g envied o n other scores, s u c h as y o u t h , good looks, w e a l t h , w o r l d l y power, a n d time for s e c o n d c h a n c e s (when t h a t is the case). M u c h of t h i s envy is likely to be the r e s u l t of s e c o n d a r y projective identification, b y w h i c h I m e a n t h a t the a n a l y s a n d finds e m b o d i e d i n the a n a l y s t the e n v i o u s m o t h e r a n d father w h o have already b e e n c o n s t r u c t e d to a significant extent o n the b a s i s of projective identifications t h a t have i n t e n s i ­ fied a c t u a l p a r e n t a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s a n d b e h a v i o r . T h e r e is n o d e n y i n g that some p a r e n t s are pathologically e n v i o u s . T h e r e are m a n y s u c h , a n d they c a n lay waste to their c h i l d r e n ' s freedom to develop a n d u s e their o w n assets.

64

ENVY: REVISITING

MELANIE

KLEIN

A l s o to b e t a k e n into a c c o u n t i n t h i s context i s the envy felt b y others i n the e n v i r o n m e n t toward the progressed a n a l y s a n d . K l e i n p o i n t e d o u t h o w m u c h envy is s t i m u l a t e d i n everyday life b y one's a p p e a r i n g to have g e n u i n e l y m a s ­ tered

(come to t e r m s

with)

ambivalence,

one's integration, a n d b e c o m e

strengthened

relatively u n b u r d e n e d b y

the s a d i s m , m a s o c h i s m , a n d envy w i t h w h i c h the aver­ age p e r s o n is still struggling. T h e s e e n v i o u s others—often close friends a n d relatives—are q u i c k to be c h a l l e n g i n g , d i s p a r a g i n g , or o s t r a c i z i n g . A s a result, the s o c i a l price of m a t u r e integration c a n get to seem too h i g h . B e c o m i n g d i s c o u r a g e d a n d feeling d e p r i v e d , the a n a l y s a n d t h e n r e ­ gresses time a n d time a g a i n . M o m e n t a r i l y , the sense of b e i n g p e r s e c u t e d b y friends, lovers, family,

colleagues,

a n d the c o m m u n i t y at large m i g h t s e e m to be d i m i n i s h e d b y defensive regression; however, regression is s o o n fol­ lowed b y a c u t e l y p a i n f u l feelings of loss, defeat, despair, resentment, a n d a renewed b a s i s for a n e n v i o u s outlook o n others. A t the s a m e time, the a n a l y s t does well to r e ­ m e m b e r that projective identification of e n v i o u s i n t e r n a l figures m a y well have b e e n m a g n i f y i n g the a p p e a r a n c e that others react o n l y or m a i n l y w i t h envy. E n v i o u s s u p e r ­ ego figures are especially likely to be projected (Britton 2001,

Frankiel 2001, O'Shaughnessy

1999).

M e n t i o n m u s t be m a d e of yet a n o t h e r c o n s t i t u e n t of e n ­ v i o u s contexts: some

aspects

the a n a l y s a n d ' s of w h i c h have

defenses

against

already b e e n

envy,

mentioned.

M e l a n i e K l e i n attended to t h i s factor carefully. T h e a n a ­ lysand the

attempts

to hide

unobjectionable

good

envy

b y p l a y i n g the p a r t of

patient:

responsive,

grateful,

t h o u g h t f u l , a n d so o n . S p l i t t i n g a n d idealization facilitate h i s or h e r p l a y i n g this defensive role. T h e a n a l y s a n d a i m s to w a r d off envy's n a r c i s s i s t i c aggressiveness a n d the p e r ­

65

BAD F E E L I N G S

s e c u t o r y anxiety it stimulates. T h i s defense, w i t h its cover of modesty or u n a s s u m i n g n e s s ,

also o b s c u r e s p e r s i s t i n g

u n c o n s c i o u s fantasies of omnipotence that b o t h c o n t r i b ­ ute to envy of difference a n d c o m p e n s a t e for the reactive sense of l a c k or defect it evokes. O n e e n c o u n t e r s this configuration i n some a n a l y s a n d s w i t h s t r o n g p s e u d o n o r m a l defenses. Notoriously difficult to analyze deeply owing to the r a p i d i t y w i t h w h i c h they experience the analyst's p r o b i n g efforts as b o t h u n a p p r e ­ ciative a n d persecutory, they betray n o trace of envy, i n ­ deed n o n e e d to be envious. In this defensive p o s t u r e , the development a n d creative u s e of their p e r s o n a l capacities are likely to be s e r i o u s l y h a m p e r e d b y b e i n g deployed n a r ­ rowly i n the service of a p p e a r a n c e s a n d a b a s i c a l l y fragile sense of sanity.

COUNTERTRANSFERENCE M e l a n i e K l e i n d i d n o t contribute m u c h to developing the p r o m i n e n t place n o w o c c u p i e d b y countertransference i n the w o r k of c o n t e m p o r a r y K l e i n i a n s (Spillius 1993). P a u l a H e i m a n n (1950) opened u p this box. Here, I w a n t to e m ­ p h a s i z e some a d d i t i o n a l s u p p l e m e n t a r y ideas o n envy. F o r one t h i n g , the analyst m i g h t a c t u a l l y envy the a n a l y s a n d for r e a s o n s of the sort I m e n t i o n e d earlier: h e a l t h , w e a l t h , y o u t h , power, talent, a n d so o n . A d d i t i o n a l l y , the e n v i o u s a n a l y s t m i g h t fall b a c k o n projective identification of e n v i ­ o u s feelings a n d t h e n too readily attribute envy to the a n a l y s a n d or at least too readily center o n envy that is d i s ­ cernible b u t p e r h a p s n o t to the point at that time. A n a l y s t s have acknowledged envying their a n a l y s a n d s w h e n , p r o u d of their a d v a n c e d w a y s of a n a l y z i n g , they regard their a n a l y s a n d s as getting better analyses t h a n they d i d . In

66

ENVY: REVISITING M E L A N I E KLEIN

this, they are m u c h like some e n v i o u s "too good" p a r e n t s . O b v i o u s l y , the e n v i o u s a n a l y s t will find it difficult to i n t e r ­ vene i n w a y s that are e m p a t h i c , a c c u r a t e , b a l a n c e d , a n d therefore effective. A n o t h e r c o u n t e r t r a n s f e r e n t i a l h a z a r d is a n a l y s t s ' a c c e p ­ tance a n d enjoyment of the defensive idealizations their a n a l y s a n d s u s e to m a s k their o w n envy. T h e s e

analysts

m a y t h e n feel t r u l y enviable i n p o s s e s s i n g a l l the v i r t u e s of u n b l e m i s h e d tact,

sensitivity, deep

understanding, and

extreme h e l p f u l n e s s . O n the other h a n d , as H e i n z K o h u t (1977) e m p h a s i z e d , the a n a l y s t m i g h t r e s p o n d to b e i n g idealized b y b e c o m i n g a n x i o u s a n d defensively

humble,

owing to the threat of h e r or h i s latent g r a n d i o s i t y b e i n g s t i m u l a t e d too strongly. T o t h i s factor we m a y a d d that, as

a

result,

analysand's

the

analyst

might

become

struggle w i t h envy i n the

blind

to

transference.

the In

these cases, even w h e n self-satisfaction m i g h t a c c o m p a n y w h a t seems like a good piece of analytic work, the a n a l y s t will find it difficult to enjoy a n d h a n g o n to that experience. T h e biggest h a z a r d that I have noted i n m y w o r k as a n a ­ lyst a n d s u p e r v i s o r lies i n the analyst's d o u b t s a b o u t h i s or h e r o w n goodness as a p e r s o n a n d a n a l y s t . W e a n a l y s t s all experience these d o u b t s , some of u s more often a n d more severely t h a n others. T h e s e d o u b t s are there to be p l a y e d o n b y the e n v i o u s a n a l y s a n d , t h a t is, the a n a l y s a n d w h o is intent o n s p o i l i n g the experience of r e n d e r i n g good analytic care a n d u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h a t is i n k e e p i n g w i t h o u r w o r k ideals a n d h u m a n i s t i c v a l u e s . In t h i s context, e i ­ ther s p o n t a n e o u s l y or reactively, we c a n lose sight of o u r reparative goodness a n d lose the poise a n d

confidence

n e c e s s a i y to d i s c e r n a n d take u p calmly the analysand's envy a n d projected envy. O n account of these inner doubts, we c a n be too r e a d y to focus o n o u r o w n self-esteem p r o b ­ l e m s a n d the irritable state we find ourselves i n .

67

BAD F E E L I N G S

M e l a n i e K l e i n w o u l d say that, here, m u c h d e p e n d s

on

the analyst's h a v i n g a d v a n c e d far i n h i s or h e r develop­ m e n t toward the i d e a l : the depressive p o s i t i o n . T h e n , the a n a l y s t w o u l d be able, i n a relatively stable way, to accept a n d regulate

inevitable tendencies

toward

ambivalence.

T h e a n a l y s t will c o n t i n u e to believe not only i n h e r or h i s goodness b u t also i n the power of u n c o n s c i o u s fantasy a n d primitive defenses to b l o c k or i m p a i r its b e i n g experienced as s u c h , however imperfect it m a y be a n d however m i x e d w i t h aggressive potential. I emphasize imperfect goodness b e c a u s e it is o u r lot to live w i t h a m b i v a l e n c e that we never overcome

totally. In F r e u d ' s terms,

it is, as u s u a l ,

the

quantitative factor, not the qualitative, that will p r o b a b l y make

the b i g difference

i n the c o n c l u s i o n s one

draws.

W h e n it c o m e s to the p r o b l e m s associated w i t h envy a n d gratitude, the quantitative factor is likely to be the decisive one. A d i s c u s s i o n of envy c a n n o t e n d w i t h o u t m e n t i o n of a d ­ m i r a t i o n . A d m i r a t i o n s h o u l d not be m i n i m i z e d b y b e i n g subsumed

u n d e r gratitude. S t r o n g l y felt a n d freely

ex­

p r e s s e d a d m i r a t i o n signifies some security i n m a i n t a i n i n g to a sufficient degree the depressive p o s i t i o n . T h e exis­ tence of M e l a n i e K l e i n ' s great c l a s s i c , " E n v y a n d G r a t i ­ t u d e " deserves

o u r a d m i r a t i o n as well as o u r gratitude,

a n d , to be true to K l e i n , we m u s t expect that a d m i r a t i o n to be tinged w i t h envy as well.

68

CHAPTER 5

THE PSYCHOTHERAPIST'S ABSENCE

In t h i s c h a p t e r , I w i l l b r o a d e n the coverage of m e t h o d to i n c l u d e a l l p s y c h o a n a l y t i c a l l y o r i e n t e d t r e a t m e n t . T h i s is n o t to i m p l y t h a t w h a t h a s c o m e before or w h a t w i l l c o m e later i s n o t b r o a d l y a p p l i c a b l e , too, b u t o n l y t h a t i n the other c h a p t e r s I h a v e t r i e d to stay c l e a r a n d f o c u s e d b y referring to the p s y c h o a n a l y t i c p r o c e s s a l o n e . It is to be expected that patients will center transference feelings o n their psychotherapists* m a n y different features: appearance, professional m a n n e r , routine, office

setting,

speech patterns, a n d so o n . T h e y will also single out the content of what their psychotherapists say, its variations and

frequency,

a n d the attitude these

communications

seem to convey. E s p e c i a l l y p r o m i n e n t a m o n g the m u l t i ­ tude of psychotherapist variables are the psychotherapists' absences. Absence

is the aspect I have c h o s e n to explore

i n this chapter. I will describe h o w the analysis of absence, b o t h p h y s i c a l a n d emotional a n d b o t h a c t u a l a n d imagined, c a n o p e n u p key issues

i n the patient's d i s t u r b e d a n d

d i s t u r b i n g u n c o n s c i o u s fantasies of relations w i t h others. F u r t h e r insight will be gained into major sources of anxiety, guilt, s h a m e , a n d envy. Additionally, there will be m u c h

69

BAD F E E L I N G S

examination of exaggerated flux in self-esteem and self­ cohesion, sexual and aggressive arousal and activity, means and effectiveness of coping with loss, and the am­ bivalence surrounding emotional dependency. Also, I will examine the idea of absence itself, especially be­ cause there is reason to think that, in the instance of any therapeutic relationship, the idea of total absence does not survive close scrutiny. Even when the analytic process is ending and the participants discontinue their meetings, the impact of the physical absence that follows is not correctly described as an experience of total absence. My analysis of absence will rest on taking into account interpretations of un­ conscious and sometimes conscious fantasies of relations with others, with all their conceptually concrete features and all their influence on daily lifefromthe time of early development. As I develop this position, it should become clear that it has important consequences for the interpretation of the ways in which patients experience any absence and how they then respond to it. My discussion will include techni­ cal suggestions and remarks on countertransference and enactment: countertransference both in psychotherapists' feelings about being away from their distressed patients and in those moments of psychical or emotional absence that counteract whatever rapport they have established with their patients, and enactment when psychotherapists realize that they have been acting toward their patients or with them in ways that play into, and even stimulate or validate, their patients' pathological fantasies.

THE

IJUPEISIIEKKBe

OF AISSEKISE

Patients can experience their psychotherapists as being absent even though physically they are unmistakably 70

THE PSYCHOTHERAPIST'S ABSENCE

present. Often, these " a b s e n c e s " are i m a g i n e d , the p s y c h o ­ therapists b e i n g i n t h e i r u s u a l l i s t e n i n g m o d e . T h e n , the experiences the

of a b s e n c e

patients'

frequently express projections of

o w n w i t h d r a w n , w i t h h o l d i n g , or

rejecting

states. F o r example, there is the n o t - r a r e patient w h o a c ­ c u s e s the t h e r a p i s t of never s a y i n g a n y t h i n g w h e n that is far from the case a n d w h e n it is closer to the t r u t h that, for whatever r e a s o n , the patient c a n n o t register w h a t is b e i n g offered i n the way of clarification a n d i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . In some i n s t a n c e s ,

the

patient's

feeling b u r d e n e d

by

the

therapist's alleged silence m a y s t e m f r o m u n a c k n o w l e d g e d c o n s c i o u s w i t h h o l d i n g o n the patient's part, the

theme

t h e n b e i n g not who b u t r a t h e r what w i t h h o l d i n g is t a k i n g place. Sometimes,

however,

this charge of silence m a y

stem

from the therapist's a d d r e s s i n g the patient o n the w r o n g level of m e n t a l f u n c t i o n i n g , p e r h a p s b e i n g too abstract or c o m p l e x or p e r h a p s b r i n g i n g u p content for w h i c h the p a ­ tient is not ready. T h e n , " y o u never say a n y t h i n g " m i g h t m e a n " a n y t h i n g I c a n u s e or tolerate" or " a n y t h i n g I c a n integrate into m y sense of myself."

In this i n s t a n c e ,

the

patient's charge m i g h t be t a k e n as a u s e f u l form of s u p e r ­ v i s i o n . E v e n so, the p s y c h o t h e r a p i s t does best to r e g a r d the patient's p a r t i c u l a r experience of a b s e n c e

as h a v i n g

b e e n j o i n t l y p r o d u c e d , for the patient's u n c o n s c i o u s f a n ­ tasy will have p l a y e d its i n f l u e n t i a l p a r t i n s h a p i n g the ex­ perience of that a b s e n c e a n d its overt e x p r e s s i o n . F o r i n ­ stance,

the t h e r a p i s t w h o h a s b e e n o n the w r o n g level

m i g h t acknowledge the legitimate aspects of the patient's grievance ("I g u e s s y o u felt I l o a d e d too m u c h o n y o u a l l at o n c e , " or "I realize I w a s n ' t quite i n t u n e w i t h y o u then") a n d also point out that, significantly, the patient h a s expe­ r i e n c e d the t e m p o r a r y difficulty i n c o m m u n i c a t i o n as total or chronic u n r e s p o n s i v e n e s s , a n u n r e s p o n s i v e n e s s e q u i v a ­ 71

BAD F E E L I N G S

lent to total silence a n d i n that sense total absence. A d ­ d r e s s i n g this a c c u s a t i o n might t h e n o p e n u p i s s u e s

of

n e g a t i v i s m , d i s a p p o i n t m e n t , or despair. Sometimes,

the patient m i g h t experience the

psycho­

t h e r a p i s t as absent u p o n correctly perceiving that he or she is w i t h d r a w n , u n r e s p o n s i v e , or inattentive, so m u c h so t h a t the p a t i e n t feels alone, h e l p l e s s , a n d a b a n d o n e d . In a d d i t i o n to s e l f - a n a l y s i s , the p s y c h o t h e r a p i s t does b e s t not to neglect the p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t the patient's e m o t i o n a l position has

s o m e h o w c o n t r i b u t e d to t h i s o c c u r r e n c e ,

as m i g h t be the case w h e n a defensive p a t i e n t p l a y s it safe b y h i d i n g b e h i n d extreme

c i r c u m s t a n t i a l i t y ; if so,

the t h e r a p i s t m i g h t l o o k for a p r o p i t i o u s m o m e n t a n d a t a c t f u l w a y to take u p this d e a d e n i n g i n f l u e n c e o n the relationship. A t other times the patient might refer to a b s e n c e only obliquely, as, for example, b y m e n t i o n i n g not feeling "to­ gether." In this i n s t a n c e , the patient m i g h t be u s i n g a t r a n s f o r m a t i o n of self-experience to c o m m u n i c a t e a sense that it is the two of t h e m who are not together, that i s , out of c o n t a c t e m o t i o n a l l y — f u r t h e r , that he or she needs that e m o t i o n a l contact to feel "together" b u t does not experi­ ence the p s y c h o t h e r a p i s t as d o i n g h i s or h e r part. T h e therapist's p s y c h i c a l absence, r e a l or i m a g i n e d , is u s u a l l y experienced painfully, sometimes more p a i n f u l l y t h a n a l l those p h y s i c a l absences that take place between a p p o i n t m e n t s , over weekends,

a n d during cancellations,

h o l i d a y s , a n d v a c a t i o n times. However that m a y be, it is u s u a l l y a good i d e a to at least call attention to the experi­ ence of absence, try to explore it, a n d if possible interpret its e m o t i o n a l tone a n d fantasy content, b e c a u s e i g n o r i n g i n t i m a t i o n s of loss of contact is k n o w n to be c o n d u c i v e to d i s r u p t i v e a c t i n g out. T h i s a c t i n g out often takes f o r m of the patient's a d o p t i n g a retaliatory stance

72

the that

THE PSYCHOTHERAPIST'S

is expressed

t h r o u g h absences,

lateness,

ABSENCE

silences,

and

p e r h a p s even b r e a k i n g off the treatment. It is likely that these retaliatory r e s p o n s e s i n c l u d e m a s o c h i s t i c

elements

i n that, ultimately, it is the patient w h o is a l m o s t c e r t a i n to be the loser. M o r e obviously m a s o c h i s t i c are reactive, self­ injurious

social a n d p h y s i c a l a c t i o n s w h i c h , w h e n

re­

ported after the therapist's d i s t u r b i n g absence, are c o n ­ veyed i n ways i n t e n d e d to provoke the p s y c h o t h e r a p i s t ' s guilt a n d so w a r r a n t b e i n g labeled s a d o m a s o c h i s t i c t r a n s ­ ference reactions. A l s o to be i n c l u d e d here are those patients w h o c h a r a c ­ teristically t u r n o n themselves, b l a m i n g themselves for the therapist's a b s e n c e s , c i t i n g h o w they are b o r i n g , difficult, unlovable, uncomprehending, ungrateful, a n d

altogether

u n d e s e r v i n g . In this way they also protect their defensive idealization of the t h e r a p i s t as the one w h o p r e s u m a b l y will s i n g l e - h a n d e d l y save t h e m from themselves. Neverthe­ less, one finds i n all these i n s t a n c e s considerable d i s a p ­ p o i n t m e n t , feelings of b e t r a y a l a n d h u m i l i a t i o n , a n d h a t e ­ ful a n d e n v i o u s attitudes from w h i c h , so the patient feels, the t h e r a p i s t m u s t be protected b y b e i n g kept o u t of range t h r o u g h idealization. T h e patient's p a i n f u l experience of absence s h o u l d not be t h o u g h t of as b a s e d only o n feelings of d e p r i v a t i o n a n d derogation. In m a n y i n s t a n c e s , j e a l o u s y plays a key role. In this respect it is a q u e s t i o n of where the patient i m a g ­ ines the t h e r a p i s t to be w h e n he or she is away p h y s i c a l l y or mentally. T h e r e are two g r o u p s of fantasies that I c o n ­ sider the ones m o s t c o m m o n l y e n c o u n t e r e d . O n e g r o u p centers o n p r i m a l scene fantasies, specifically, fantasies of the p s y c h o t h e r a p i s t as

sexually engaged

w i t h someone

else. In these p r i m a l scenes, the s e x u a l acts m a y be t e n ­ der, s a d o m a s o c h i s t i c , or otherwise w h a t is c o n v e n t i o n a l l y (and i n m y o p i n i o n pejoratively) called perverse

(Schafer

73

BAD F E E L I N G S

1997a). In this instance, the jealousy might be expressing the patient's own sexual desire for the psychotherapist or the therapist's mate, or a wish to be included in a triangu­ lar primal scene, a prospect that is both exciting and frightening. The second set of jealous fantasies centers on the psy­ chotherapist as a parental figure being more devoted and more giving to others in his or her care, as if too busy with siblings or new babies to keep the patient in mind. One common prototype of this transference reaction is the mother nursing the next baby. In these instances, the patient's fantasy is dyadic rather than triadic and stems from preoedipal transference feelings. Both family configu­ rations may be implied, either in condensation or more or less rapid alternation. Sometimes, envy contributes additional intensity to the pains of absence. This is so, for example, when the patient feels that the therapist is free to come and go, whereas she or he must stick to the regular schedule and be respon­ sive; or the therapist is free to talk or not, in contrast to the patient, who is expected to keep talking. In this connec­ tion, the patient's sense of self-worth or dignity is felt to be diminished by the therapist's greater autonomy; however, behind this deflating experience of the relationship may lie unconscious fantasies of omnipotence that maintain in­ flated self-regard. Unconsciously, envy of the therapist is likely to be an all-or-none matter. Consciously, however, and empathetically, the envious patient might represent it as simply a matter of fairness: equality, mutuality, or ab­ sence of hierarchic distributions of power. As discussed in Chapter 4, the implied envy might be di­ rected elsewhere, for instance, onto the psychotherapist's effective self-interest, self-respect, sanity, benevolence, and general self-enhancement. Then, the patient's reactive self­ 74

THE PSYCHOTHERAPIST'S

ABSENCE

h u r t f u l n e s s a n d grievances might i n c l u d e efforts to b r i n g d o w n the therapist, to shatter h i s or her pride i n the treat­ ment

a n d pride i n the self as

a dedicated

professional

healer. B y t a k i n g this envious course of spoiling, the patient might

also

be

defending

against

fantasies,

already

de­

scribed i n C h a p t e r 3, of b e i n g left b e h i n d as a dirty, w o r t h ­ less piece of excrement, p u d d l e of vomit, or greedy, i n s a ­ tiable m o u t h or monster.

THE IDEA OF ABSENCE It is generally agreed that u n d e r s t a n d i n g the v i c i s s i t u d e s of the t h e r a p e u t i c r e l a t i o n s h i p requires a steady focus o n shifting signs of transference. S i n c e F r e u d ' s earliest expo­ sitions, t h e r a p e u t i c t h i n k i n g a b o u t transference h a s b e e n g u i d e d b y one essential b u t typically tacit a s s u m p t i o n . I will try to m a k e that a s s u m p t i o n explicit a n d develop some of its i m p l i c a t i o n s , not so m u c h w i t h the hope of a d d i n g s o m e t h i n g new as w i t h the a i m of a d d i n g to the effective­ n e s s of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . M y d i s c u s s i o n centers o n concrete t h i n k i n g , for interpretations often b e c o m e

more

precise

a n d effective w h e n they are a p p r o p r i a t e l y close to c o n ­ crete, primitive m o d e s of u n c o n s c i o u s f u n c t i o n . T h e a s s u m p t i o n I refer to is t h i s . In u n c o n s c i o u s f a n ­ tasy, the figure of the p s y c h o t h e r a p i s t is a c o n s t a n t . T h e p s y c h o t h e r a p i s t is always present. T h i s m e a n s

that

the

sense of r e l a t i o n s h i p between the two p a r t i c i p a n t s is c o n ­ t i n u o u s even if, c o n s c i o u s l y , not always equally active or prominent.

Sometimes,

this c o n t i n u o u s

object

relation­

s h i p takes the f o r m of identification w i t h the therapist, identification b e i n g a w e l l - k n o w n m e a n s of u n d o i n g s e p a ­ r a t i o n a n d object loss. S o m e t i m e s , however, other figures m a y be s u b s t i t u t e d for one or b o t h of the t h e r a p e u t i c p a r ­

75

BAD F E E L I N G S

t i c i p a n t s , t h i s o p e r a t i o n effected b y d i s p l a c e m e n t s of the sort e n c o u n t e r e d i n d r e a m i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . C o n s e q u e n t l y , it i s n o t p r e s e n c e b u t r a t h e r the experience of a b s e n c e t h a t m u s t be regarded as the significant v a r i a b l e . T h i s variable c o m p l i c a t e s b u t does not c o n t r a d i c t the c o n t i n u i t y of the transference. T h e experience of absence is to be regarded either as c o n s c i o u s m a t e r i a l to be treated like a n y other manifest c o n t e n t (though often of a more i m p o r t a n t k i n d ) , or as h a v ­ i n g b e e n a b s o r b e d into u n c o n s c i o u s fantasy as a

seem­

ingly p a r a d o x i c a l element. In the latter i n s t a n c e , a p s y c h o ­ t h e r a p i s t is created w h o is b o t h present a n d absent. I will s o o n review some of the ways i n w h i c h this s e e m i n g p a r a ­ dox of s i m u l t a n e o u s presence a n d absence m a y be r e p r e ­ s e n t e d . F i r s t , however, more m u s t be s a i d a b o u t the c o n ­ sequences

of

this

assumption

that,

once

unconscious

fantasy is t a k e n into a c c o u n t , presence is the

constant

a n d experience of a b s e n c e is the v a r i a b l e . W h a t is entailed b y the a s s u m p t i o n that the t h e r a p i s t r e m a i n s a c o n s t a n t reference p o i n t for the p a t i e n t a n d often m a y be safely d e s c r i b e d as s u c h i n interpretations? E v e n w h e n the patient seems to be t a l k i n g o n l y a b o u t m a t ­ ters other t h a n the t h e r a p y itself, even m a t t e r s of great m o m e n t , there is i m p l i e d a p a r t i c u l a r stance t o w a r d the p s y c h o t h e r a p i s t , a n attitude or a set of expectations that s h a p e s w h a t is b e i n g told, h o w it is told, a n d w h e n a n d w h y . In this respect the t h e r a p i s t a s s u m e s that, at every m o m e n t , there is a p l e n i t u d e of t h i n g s to t a l k a b o u t a n d t h a t there are m a n y times, w a y s , a n d r e a s o n s to c h o o s e a topic, adopt a s l a n t o n it, a n d select the w o r d s for it. C o n ­ s e q u e n t l y it is often more i m p o r t a n t t h a t the t h e r a p i s t at­ t e n d to these details rather t h a n to the literal b e i n g conveyed b y the patient. T h e s e

details are

likely to i n d i c a t e i m p o r t a n t transference

76

content

fantasies

more and

THE PSYCHOTHERAPIST'S ABSENCE

feelings a n d thereby o p e n the w a y into available e m o t i o n a l intensity i n the h e r e - a n d - n o w c l i n i c a l s i t u a t i o n . Often, the key to u n l o c k i n g the transference fantasy is p a y i n g close attention to a n y s i g n of a d d e d defensiveness or other shifts i n the patient's e m o t i o n a l posture at the m o m e n t :

restless­

n e s s , t h r o a t i n e s s of s p e e c h , edgy or cold tone of voice, a b r u p t silence—whatever.

U n t i l the patient's

change

of

delivery or m a n n e r h a s b e e n b r o u g h t into focus a n d ex­ p l o r e d , the immediate content m i g h t not r e t a i n , a t t a i n , or r e g a i n its value for the therapy. T o w o r k i n this m a n n e r is not to b r u s h aside the i m p o r ­ tance of emotionally loaded life m a t e r i a l . It is j u s t that this manifest life m a t e r i a l m i g h t p a r a l l e l the latent transfer­ ence while b e i n g u s e d to keep away from o p e n a n d threat­ e n i n g reference to it. T h i s m a t e r i a l is to be respected

as

significant a n d yet, i n its manifest aspect, not to the p o i n t at that m o m e n t . A t times, the p s y c h o t h e r a p i s t m u s t m a k e a j u d g m e n t c a l l a n d so m i g h t act i n a way t h a t proves to be off the m a r k , tactless, provocative, or m e c h a n i c a l ; s u r p r i s ­ ingly often, however, this alternative to t a k i n g i m p o r t a n t life m a t e r i a l at face value t u r n s out to profit the t h e r a p y . T h e t h e r a p i s t a s s u m e s t h a t effective transference i n t e r p r e ­ t a t i o n furthers the patient's p s y c h i c integration a n d p u t s h e r or h i m i n the b e s t p o s i t i o n to deal w i t h the weighty life m a t e r i a l the direct d i s c u s s i o n of w h i c h h a s b e e n deferred. A s Loewald (1960) p u t it, one a i m s u l t i m a t e l y to b r i n g the patient to a higher, more effective level of p s y c h i c f u n c t i o n , a n d one does so b y interpreting. I s h o u l d e m p h a s i z e at t h i s p o i n t that I a m not r e c o m ­ m e n d i n g a n e i t h e r / o r attitude i n t h i s r e g a r d . I believe that the p s y c h o t h e r a p i s t does b e s t not to r u s h p a s t significant life content; preferably, the t h e r a p i s t hovers close to a b a l ­ a n c e between

s t a y i n g w i t h the patient's life topics

and

f i n d i n g w a y s to i n t r o d u c e significant a n d timely i m p l i c a ­

77

BAD F E E L I N G S

tions of transference. The thing is not to get very involved in interpreting content that seems to have no bearing on the transference of the moment. Returning to the seeming paradox of simultaneous pres­ ence and absence, this simultaneity may be expressed in several different ways. In one way, the conception of the psychotherapist might be split, there then being in uncon­ scious fantasy a psychotherapist who, for example, is con­ cerned and interested, and another psychotherapist, per­ haps a rigid technician, who is scornful of the "superficial material" on which the patient is dwelling. It will be the allegedly rigid, part-object therapist who is psychically ab­ sent to the patient; the other therapist is present, perhaps too present for comfort. In one case a split of this kind was attached to an idea that one part of the split represented the patient's warm, caring father figure and the other her cold, distant mother figure; among other things, this split indicated failed integration or coordination of identifica­ tions. Simultaneity is being expressed in another way when the patient complains, implores, or coaxes an emo­ tionally absent therapist, real or imagined, to be more at­ tentive or more responsive; here there is a psychotherapist who, though experienced as absent, is sufficiently present to be appealed to. In yet another way, when the psycho­ therapist is physically absent, the patient might experi­ ence him or her as present: present nearby as a "presence" (Schafer 1968) or present in the internal world, perhaps as a critical voice, perhaps as a supportive guide or observer. Consider in this regard the case of the psychotherapist who will soon be physically absent from the therapy, say, on vacation, or who has just returned from being away and is confronted by a vociferously protesting or acting-out patient. It is often useful to understand this patient as at­ tempting to limit both the therapist's thinking and also his 78

THE PSYCHOTHERAPIST'S ABSENCE

or h e r o w n t h i n k i n g . B y setting t h i s limit, b y f o c u s i n g so s h a r p l y o n external p h y s i c a l matters

alone, the

patient

c o u l d well be attempting to exclude i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of u n ­ c o n s c i o u s fantasies of presence. Whatever

other m e a n i n g these protests

may

have

or

whatever other p u r p o s e s they m a y serve, these reactions to absence are u n d e r s t a n d a b l e as defensive moves: u n c o n ­ sciously, the patient is a i m i n g to b l o c k a n y recognition of w h a t h a s h a p p e n e d or is h a p p e n i n g to the t h e r a p e u t i c re­ l a t i o n s h i p i n h e r or h i s i n t e r n a l w o r l d . H a s the i n t e r n a l i z e d therapist's attitude toward the patient b e e n

transformed

from positive to negative? H a s the t h e r a p i s t b e e n split, the good p a r t r e p r e s s e d a n d the b a d , a b a n d o n i n g part h i g h ­ lighted? In u n c o n s c i o u s fantasy,

the patient m i g h t very

well be e q u a t i n g r e p r e s s i o n of the good p a r t w i t h a totally destructive a t t a c k o n h i m or h e r a n d be feeling guilty or afraid of r e p r i s a l s . W h e n this is the case, n o i s y grievances

the

patient's

against the therapist for h a v i n g

been

away c a n divert attention from the patient's o w n a b a n d o n ­ i n g or destructive fantasies. T h e n , it is a case of offense b e i n g the best defense. T h e destroyed, destructive, fright­ ened, or g u i l t - b e a r i n g p a r t y is b e i n g m a d e o u t to be the other, that is, the therapist. S i m u l t a n e i t y also p l a y s a p a r t i n the i n t e r n a l w o r l d of the patient w h o does not see w h y it s h o u l d m a k e difference w h e t h e r or not the therapist is p r e s e n t weekends,

d u r i n g h o l i d a y s , or between s e s s i o n s .

a

over

T h i s is

the p a t i e n t — n o t a rare one e i t h e r — w h o declares that the t h e r a p e u t i c s e s s i o n s are only s m a l l fragments of l o n g days filled w i t h serious matters a n d that it is best n o t to regard t h e m otherwise. P e r s i s t i n g w i t h this l i t e r a l - m i n d e d , s e e m ­ ingly p r a g m a t i c , c o n s c i o u s a c c o u n t sometimes a m o u n t s to a v i r t u a l l y i m p r e g n a b l e defense against t h e r a p y as a m a n i ­ festation of transference

a n d against other

transference 79

BAD F E E L I N G S

tendencies. The therapist might then be limited to pointing out repeatedly, when this is so, and over a long period of time how regularly it may be observed that disruptions of function and mood coincide with her or his comings and goings. This patient might finally agree, even if only intel­ lectually, that there does seem to be reason to consider that absences do make a difference, or perhaps that the absent therapist has somehow remained a disturbing presence while physically absent. Some limited access to transference fantasies might be gained this way. Better some than none. The example of Ted, introduced in Chap­ ter 1 and taken up again in other chapters, is a case in point. In some instances, however, the psychotherapist must fi­ nally fall back on trying to do as much therapy as possible away from the transference, and hope, not unreasonably, that the patient's increased psychological mindedness, if any, will be carried over into some insight into the thera­ peutic relationship. Although it is tempting to think that this apparently unmoved patient might have a very weak capacity to develop attachments to others, it can be more useful to assume that he or she is constantly and effec­ tively blocking a strong desire for overt relationships, maintaining lively unconscious fantasies of relatedness, but blocking incorporation of the therapist's insights (Schafer 1997a). Consequently, these interventions are best touched on lightly, as though in passing or paren­ thetically; alternatively, they might be held in reserve, often for extended periods of time. In neither case should they be regarded as an attempt to bypass defense or ignore transference but rather as an attempt to be present enough in the therapeutic situation for the patient to make what use he or she can make of the therapist, perhaps even appropriating insights and claiming them later as in­

80

THE PSYCHOTHERAPIST'S ABSENCE

dependent

achievements.

Sometimes,

what

matters

to

these patients is n o t so m u c h a t t a c h m e n t to others as s e n ­ sitivity to their d o i n g s , for they, p a r t i c u l a r l y the m o s t n a r ­ cissistic of t h e m , d e p e n d o n the r e s p o n s e s

of others to

m a i n t a i n their o w n p r e c a r i o u s s e n s e of o m n i p o t e n c e a n d self-worth. T h e r e are times w h e n , o n the b a s i s of projective identifi­ c a t i o n , the p h y s i c a l l y a b s e n t p s y c h o t h e r a p i s t is i m a g i n e d to have b e e n d r i v e n into retaliatory d e p a r t u r e b y resent­ m e n t of the patient. A t other times, the t h e r a p i s t h a s b e e n forced to be " a b a n d o n i n g " so that he or she k n o w s t h r o u g h direct experience s o m e t h i n g of the patient's o w n bitter life of feeling e x c l u d e d . In b o t h i n s t a n c e s , i n t e r p r e t a t i o n m u s t focus o n projective identification. In a n o t h e r v a r i a t i o n , a n d as will be d i s c u s s e d m o r e fully i n the next c h a p t e r , d e n i a l of one's o w n goodness m i g h t p l a y a n i m p o r t a n t p a r t i n the r e s p o n s e to a b s e n c e . It is likely that t h i s d e n i a l is b e i n g u s e d i n p a r t to stave off feel­ ings of c o n c e r n for the therapist's w e l l - b e i n g a n d general m o r a l e while the two are apart. B e h i n d the patient's c o n ­ s c i o u s attitude of indifference, there m a y lie i n t e n s e , a m ­ b i v a l e n c e - b a s e d anxiety a b o u t the t h e r a p i s t ' s h e a l t h or safety, h i s or h e r interest i n r e t u r n i n g to the patient, or the ability to do so. C e r t a i n l y these worries m i g h t reflect r e a c ­ t i o n f o r m a t i o n a g a i n s t hostile feelings t o w a r d the p s y c h o ­ t h e r a p i s t r a t h e r t h a n d e n i a l of g o o d n e s s ; however,

they

also come u p w h e n there h a s b e e n a t u r n i n the t h e r a p y t o w a r d the patient's b e g i n n i n g to accept a n d feel c o n c e r n for the p s y c h o t h e r a p i s t as a whole p e r s o n a n d to d r e a d the excitement

a n d p o t e n t i a l d i s a p p o i n t m e n t a n d p a i n that

t h a t experience entails. Projective identification p l a y s its p a r t i n a n o t h e r r e ­ s p o n s e to a b s e n c e . T h e patient c o m p l a i n s that the t h e r a ­ p i s t does not, h a s not, or w i l l not t h i n k a b o u t the patient at

81

BAD F E E L I N G S

all d u r i n g the time the two are apart, w h e n it is the patient w h o finds it difficult to m a i n t a i n a n y image of the t h e r a p i s t d u r i n g h i s or h e r a b s e n c e . U n c o n s c i o u s l y , that image m a y have b e e n destroyed i n anger or a b a n d o n e d , t h o u g h c o n ­ s c i o u s l y it m a y be experienced only as s l i p p i n g away or f a d i n g . O n e patient reported t h a t she h a d to be s u r e I t h o u g h t a b o u t h e r while I was away so that she c o u l d feel alive or feel that she really existed. T o this e n d , she often a c t e d o u t i n a way that created crises i n h e r life j u s t before I went away, h o p i n g t h a t as a r e s u l t I w o u l d be w o r r y i n g a b o u t h e r d u r i n g the s e p a r a t i o n . T h e positive aspect of h e r a c k n o w l e d g i n g this stratagem w a s

its e x p r e s s i n g c o n f i ­

dence i n m e ; for before t h e n , she h a d b e e n l e a d i n g a n emo­ tionally isolated life, t h o u g h one

o u t w a r d l y very m u c h

wrapped u p i n social relationships. Earlier,

she

would

h a v e b e e n more likely to project into me indifferent n a r c i s ­ s i s m or p u n i t i v e rejection, a n d she w o u l d n o t have s o u g h t to feel t h a t she w a s still w i t h me d u r i n g m y a b s e n c e s . S o m e t i m e s p r o b l e m s of this sort are b e s t defined as the patient's b e i n g u n a b l e , d u r i n g s e p a r a t i o n s ,

to i n d e p e n ­

dently m a i n t a i n a supportive or positive attitude t o w a r d the self, a n d , as a result, h a v i n g to rely o n the t h e r a ­ pist's p r e s e n c e or interest to feel at a l l secure a n d stable. T h e n , p h y s i c a l a b s e n c e leaves the p a t i e n t feeling e x p o s e d to m e r c i l e s s a t t a c k s o n the self f r o m a n e n v i o u s ,

self­

d e s t r u c t i v e set of s u p e r e g o i m p e r a t i v e s . Yet, h e r e too it is u s e f u l to t h i n k of the allegedly a b s e n t t h e r a p i s t as b e i n g p r e s e n t i n one or a n o t h e r role: critic, indifferent observer, or p a s s i v e l y aggressive b y s t a n d e r w i t h h o l d i n g the n e c e s ­ s a r y s u p p o r t , u n w i l l i n g to serve as a b u l w a r k against at­ t a c k s o n the self, a n d i n general a c t i n g like a n indifferent god c o n t e m p l a t i n g the p e r s e c u t i o n of a helpless m o r t a l . In the c o u r s e of t h e r a p y one often sees these seemingly p a r a d o x i c a l c o n d e n s a t i o n s of representations of the p s y ­ 82

THE PSYCHOTHERAPIST'S

ABSENCE

c h o t h e r a p i s t . A b s e n c e m i g h t not even a p p e a r as s u c h . A d r e a m or fantasy m i g h t feature, for example, a m a l e t h e r a ­ p i s t w h o h a s literally t u r n e d h i s b a c k o n the patient or a female t h e r a p i s t w h o , l o o k i n g older, weaker, smaller, is disappearing. C o n d e n s a t i o n of c o n t r a d i c t o r y c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s d i d not go unnoticed by Freud.

F o r example,

i n Totem

and

(1912c), F r e u d u s e d a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l as well as

Taboo psycho­

t h e r a p e u t i c m a t e r i a l to note h o w often the d e a d r e m a i n quite alive: observing, j u d g i n g , protecting, or p u n i s h i n g . In this, they are, so to say, the living d e a d , i n w h i c h case b o t h d e a d n e s s a n d aliveness are s i m u l t a n e o u s l y affirmed. It is not even a case of n e g a t i o n as a halfway m e a s u r e of the sort d e s c r i b e d b y F r e u d (1927). In j u s t the s a m e way, as I have already n o t e d , the p h y s i c a l l y a b s e n t t h e r a p i s t c a n be p r e s e n t to the patient so that, for better or worse, the p a ­ tient will later report, " Y o u were w i t h m e . " W h e t h e r or not the figure of the a b s e n t t h e r a p i s t is split or c o n d e n s e d , the t h e r a p i s t is obliged to r e m e m b e r h e r or h i s u n c o n s c i o u s l y m a i n t a i n e d c o n t i n u o u s presence a n d so to r e f r a i n f r o m t a k i n g at face v a l u e the patient's c l a i m s of s i m p l y h a v i n g b e e n a b a n d o n e d or left b e h i n d . In t h i s type of s i t u a t i o n , if a n y o n e gets left b e h i n d it is the t h e r a p i s t w h o , i n desperate defense

or destructive retaliation, h a s

b e e n p u t out of m i n d . T h i s way of c o p i n g by patients is not at all the s a m e as that of the more or less b a l a n c e d p s y c h o t h e r a p i s t o n v a c a ­ tion who h a s p u t thoughts about the patient o n h o l d u n t i l h i s or her r e t u r n to the treatment. T e c h n i c a l l y , the questions

key

are for the patient to answer rather t h a n the

therapist; specifically, "Where were you a n d w h a t were

you

d o i n g d u r i n g this absence?" A n d "In w h a t state were

you

i m a g i n i n g me?" T h e n , the interpretation, " Y o u felt me to be not w i t h y o u b e c a u s e y o u got r i d of me; that was y o u r retali­

83

BAD F E E L I N G S

a t i o n " or "It w o u l d have b e e n too h u m i l i a t i n g to y o u to t h i n k of me b e c a u s e it w o u l d m e a n y o u m i s s e d m e , " or " Y o u de­ v a l u e d me so m u c h that I no longer seemed to have a n y ­ t h i n g of value to offer, so w h y care about m y being away?!" A n o t h e r m a n i f e s t a t i o n of seemingly p a r a d o x i c a l c o n d e n ­ s a t i o n is evident i n the following i n s t a n c e : the t h e r a p i s t is away o n v a c a t i o n a n d it seems that the patient is u n c o n ­ s c i o u s l y i m a g i n i n g h i m or h e r to have b e e n w o r n out a n d depleted b y the w o r k a n d so h a s h a d to leave for a period of r e c u p e r a t i o n a n d restoration. However, the t h e r a p i s t l i n ­ gers i n the patient's fantasies not o n l y as a d a m a g e d figure b u t as a d a n g e r o u s l y persecutory figure as well, one w h o will retaliate destructively for h a v i n g b e e n t h u s i m p a i r e d . In these instances it is not helpful to conceptualize the figure of the psychotherapist as split into two different types of being, for d o i n g so is too likely to signify to the patient that the psychotherapist is retreating into everyday ratio­ nality, that is, away from the u n c o n s c i o u s modes of m e n t a l f u n c t i o n . Preferably, the interpretation s h o u l d present the therapist as a c o m p o u n d figure, b o t h weakened

and

so

h a r d l y present a n d frighteningly strong a n d so overwhelm­ ingly present. T h e therapy of these c o m p o u n d figures is of­ t e n seriously complicated b y the patient's o w n layered de­ fenses not only against these negative ways of experiencing the therapist b u t also against the primitive m o d e s of experi­ ence that p r o d u c e paradoxical figures of this sort.

The

therapist's retreat from this level of c o m p r e h e n s i o n r e i n ­ forces the patient's insecurity a n d defensiveness.

©©MMTTIERTriaAraSIFEKEGaeiE A b s e n c e of whatever sort c a u s e s problems, not only for the patient b u t for the therapist as well. However, i n view of the

84

THE PSYCHOTHERAPIST'S

ABSENCE

a s s u m p t i o n of c o n t i n u o u s presence i n u n c o n s c i o u s

fan­

tasy, it becomes especially i m p o r t a n t to a p p r o a c h counter­ transference first i n a more general way. F o r n o w one m u s t b e g i n b y a s k i n g whether a n d to w h a t extent it m u s t follow psycho­

that the patient is c o n t i n u o u s l y present i n the therapist's

unconscious

fantasies.

If it were j u s t a matter of

logic, one c o u l d easily say that it is safe to a s s u m e that w h a t goes for one goes for the other. However, saying, as I d i d a short while b a c k , that the patient h a s b e e n p u t o n h o l d d u r ­ i n g the therapist's a c t u a l absence c a n still i m p l y this pres­ ence w i t h o u t suggesting that it is i n the forefront of the therapist's c o n c e r n s . Indeed, some of the c u r r e n t advocates of the

intersubjective-interpersonalist

a p p r o a c h seem

to

have i n c l u d e d this further a s s u m p t i o n i n w h a t I regard as their highly ideological e m p h a s i s o n t r a n s f o r m i n g w h a t they call the traditionally elitist a n d u n r e a l therapeutic relation­ s h i p into a n egalitarian one i n w h i c h , equally, b o t h p a r t i c i ­ pants are to disclose important fantasies a n d intense feelings. In p r i n c i p l e , a f i r m believer i n the c o n t i n u i n g power of infantile u n c o n s c i o u s fantasy c a n n o t accept this egalitar­ i a n e m p h a s i s . F o r the p s y c h o t h e r a p i s t , the t h e r a p e u t i c r e ­ l a t i o n s h i p r e m a i n s tilted, regardless of h e r or h i s i n t e n ­ tions; the patient's transference

sees to that.

Although

these differences u s u a l l y d i m i n i s h as t h e r a p y takes

effect,

they, like those c o n c e r n i n g one's p a r e n t s , are never c o m ­ pletely

eliminated. The

most

useful

conception

of

the

t h e r a p e u t i c s i t u a t i o n is t h a t it r e q u i r e s s p e c i a l i z a t i o n of f u n c t i o n b a s e d o n different degrees of subjective

distress

a n d different degrees of p r e p a r a t i o n for u n d e r s t a n d i n g the w o r k i n g s of u n c o n s c i o u s fantasy. T h e c o n s e q u e n c e s

for

the two p a r t i c i p a n t s i n f u n c t i o n i n g a n d e m o t i o n s h o u l d be different b o t h qualitatively a n d quantitatively. T h e place of the p a t i e n t i n the p s y c h o t h e r a p i s t ' s u n c o n ­ s c i o u s fantasies is w o r t h c o n s i d e r i n g further. O p t i m a l l y , 85

BAD FEELINGS

t h a t p l a c e is n o t large o u t s i d e the t h e r a p e u t i c

sessions

a n d its role is n o t p r e d o m i n a n t . C e r t a i n l y , i n emergencies there is m u c h to w a r r a n t c o n c e r n e d , c o n s c i o u s p r e o c c u ­ p a t i o n . In these cases there is b o u n d to be some a r o u s a l of u n c o n s c i o u s fantasies of r e s c u e a n d p u n i s h m e n t a n d feel­ i n g s of rage a n d s h a m e as well as excitement, all of w h i c h c a l l s for some self-therapy or c o n s u l t a t i o n w i t h colleagues, p e r h a p s even a p e r i o d of s u p e r v i s i o n , especially w h e n the therapist's feelings s e e m to be getting out of h a n d . O r d i ­ n a r i l y , however, the p s y c h o t h e r a p i s t w h o s e life is r e a s o n ­ ably stable is n o t likely to be so intensely invested i n a n y one patient or i n a l l of t h e m t h a t other interests, c o n c e r n s , a n d p l e a s u r e s fall b y the wayside or get shifted into the s h a d o w s . T h e r e is, however, s p e c i a l r e a s o n for alertness w h e n t e r m i n a t i o n of the t h e r a p y a p p r o a c h e s , all the m o r e so w h e n the t h e r a p y h a s b e e n p r o l o n g e d , for t h e n t h e r a p i s t ' s o w n feelings of loss, a n d i n t e l l e c t u a l

the

defenses

a g a i n s t t h e m , are likely to p u t i n their a p p e a r a n c e i n ways b o t h obvious a n d s u b t l e . A t this point, m e n t i o n m u s t be m a d e of other aspects of countertransference,

specifically, those

expressed

by

the

therapist's p s y c h i c a l absence. T h e patient is likely to sense this absence a n d t h e n , i n fantasy, u n c o n s c i o u s l y elaborate a n d exaggerate it. A l t h o u g h it m a y be that these w i t h d r a w ­ als into inattentiveness or b o r e d o m , sometimes

even a p a ­

thy, have b e e n stimulated b y the patient's c o n d u c t i n the treatment, there is m u c h else to weigh: c i r c u m s t a n c e s i n the psychotherapist's life c a n i m p a i r h i m or h e r as a n e m ­ p a t h i c , attentive, a n d intelligent listener a n d interpreter. T h e s e c i r c u m s t a n c e s i n c l u d e b i r t h s , deaths, illnesses, l a c k of sleep, a n d professional emergencies. P s y c h i c a l absence c a n be a defensive response to the material b e i n g c o n s i d ­ ered. O c c a s i o n a l absences of this type m a y be easy to a n a ­ lyze; a n a l y z i n g their deeper aspects takes longer.

86

THE PSYCHOTHERAPIST'S ABSENCE

R e c u r r e n t psychical

absence is a n o t h e r matter. It calls

at least for intensive c o n s u l t a t i o n or more treatment of the t h e r a p i s t . T h e r e are too m a n y f a c t o r s — r e l a t i o n a l a n d p s y ­ c h o p a t h o l o g i c a l — t o list a n d d i s c u s s here. T o m e n t i o n j u s t a few of its m a n i f e s t a t i o n s ,

however,

psychical

absence

often takes the form of a m e c h a n i c a l a p p r o a c h or a prefer­ ence for s u p p o r t i v e a n d c o n t r o l l i n g m e t h o d s . defensive

medication-minded

therapeutic

Perhaps a

approach

be u s e d p r e m a t u r e l y or u n n e c e s s a r i l y . T h e s e

will

manifesta­

tions m a y be m a i n l y a matter of conformity to collegial or H M O p r e s s u r e s or legal self-protection, b u t b e h i n d t h e m m a y lie some o b s e s s i o n a l trends p e r h a p s m i x e d w i t h s u c h p a r a n o i d - s c h i z o i d , n a r c i s s i s t i c features as excessive need for c o n t r o l , fantasies of o m n i p o t e n c e , a n d d e n i a l of the i n ­ ternal world. A n o t h e r type of countertransference

problem becomes

p l a i n w h e n the p s y c h o t h e r a p i s t begins to feel u n d u e a n x i ­ ety a n d guilt a b o u t b e i n g p h y s i c a l l y away from patients, perhaps

w o r r y i n g that they

s h o u l d not have b e e n

left

" a l o n e " i n their p a i n f u l states, even w h e n adequate cover­ age h a s b e e n a r r a n g e d . It is not easy to m a r k off where appropriate concern ends

a n d u n d u e anxiety a n d guilt

b e g i n , b u t there are obvious extremes that c a n lead u n ­ c o n s c i o u s l y to questionable extra a p p o i n t m e n t s , a n d b u r d e n s o m e extensions

unusual

of the length of t h e r a p e u t i c

s e s s i o n s a n d even of the entire t h e r a p y , c o n s t a n t

tele­

p h o n e calls, a n d so o n . In these i n s t a n c e s , the significant p a r t s m a y be p l a y e d b y u n e m p a t h i c projective identifica­ tions i n b o t h d i r e c t i o n s . T h e n w h a t takes place is more i n the n a t u r e of e n a c t m e n t t h a n e n a b l i n g p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the t h e r a p y — e n a c t m e n t that m a y perpetuate a n d even exag­ gerate b o t h the patient's a n d the therapist's distress. The

psychotherapist's

transference (Reich 1951)

own

characterological

counter­

m a y p l a y a p a r t here, a n d it is 87

BAD F E E L I N G S

t h a t to w h i c h the patient's projective identifications will a t t a c h themselves as to a n e u r o l o g i c a l receptor site. In this r e g a r d , I single out the a l m o s t u b i q u i t o u s n e e d to be i n the role of the c a r i n g , h e l p i n g , a n d u n d e r s t a n d i n g p e r s o n w h o enters into the career choice of therapist. A p s y c h o t h e r a ­ pist w h o goes to extremes i n this respect might be project­ i n g into the patient excessive c o n c e r n about absence a n d so m a k e absence m u c h more of a n issue t h a n c a n be attrib­ u t e d s i m p l y to the patient's projections a n d other m a n i p u ­ lations. Here, as elsewhere, it is best not to j u m p to c o n c l u ­ s i o n s , b u t r a t h e r to allow time for a d e q u a t e reflection a n d o b s e r v a t i o n . C i r c u m s t a n c e s do often dictate q u i c k d e c i ­ sions, however; t h e n , one m u s t do the best one c a n .

THE EXPERIENCE OF PRESENCE T h i s c h a p t e r w o u l d be incomplete w i t h o u t some d i s c u s ­ s i o n of the p s y c h o t h e r a p i s t ' s presence. W h e n one c o n s i d ­ ers all the benefits of reliable p h y s i c a l a n d p s y c h i c a l p r e s ­ ence,

it seems at first that absence

w o u l d be the

only

p r o b l e m to c o n s i d e r . T h i s is far from b e i n g so. In p s y ­ c h o t h e r a p y , presence is a m i x e d b l e s s i n g . Patients often experience it, i n their transferences, as c o n t r o l l i n g , i n v a ­ sive, v o y e u r i s t i c , m a n i p u l a t i v e , p u n i t i v e , or a critical f o r m of s u r v e i l l a n c e that leaves t h e m n o place to h i d e . T h e r e g u ­ larity of a p p o i n t m e n t s c a n be felt to be oppressive; c o n ­ sequently, the experience of b r e a k s i n the s c h e d u l e

may

i n c l u d e relief, too. Partly or mostly, the difficulties of p r e s ­ ence s t e m from w h a t the patient projects, a l t h o u g h

the

therapist's countertransference c a n c o n t r i b u t e to the diffi­ culties, as w h e n she or he a s s u m e s a rigidly o m n i s c i e n t , a n x i o u s l y comforting, or i m p a s s i v e p o s t u r e .

88

THE PSYCHOTHERAPIST'S

ABSENC E

O t h e r p r o b l e m s arise i n r e s p o n s e to p r e s e n c e : for i n ­ s t a n c e , the patients* fears of f o r m i n g a t t a c h m e n t s

that

w o u l d leave t h e m v u l n e r a b l e to p a i n f u l rejection or d i s a p ­ p o i n t m e n t once they reveal " t h e u g l y t r u t h s " ; also, t h e i r fears of d e p e n d e n c y , rage, a n d complete loss of the o b ­ ject; f u r t h e r , m a n y feelings of b e i n g u n w o r t h y of t h e i r p s y c h o t h e r a p i s t s ' care or c o n c e r n or else feeling h u m i l i ­ ated b y it; a n d , to n a m e o n l y one m o r e p r o b l e m t h a t I m e n t i o n e d earlier, the p a t i e n t s ' fears of t h e i r o w n b e n e v o ­ lent feelings t h a t w o u l d l e a d to g i v i n g u p the p a r a n o i d a n d m a s o c h i s t i c p o s i t i o n f r o m w h i c h t h e y h a v e b e e n de­ r i v i n g s e c u r i t y a n d perverse p l e a s u r e , even if at the cost of c o n s c i o u s p s y c h i c p a i n . In r e s p o n s e to these p r o b l e m a t i c aspects of presence, patients often t e n d to sexualize the t h e r a p e u t i c r e l a t i o n ­ s h i p or at least to intellectualize its s e x u a l i m p l i c a t i o n s . It seems that they hope to distract attention from i s s u e s that a r o u s e far more anxiety a n d guilt. F o r example, they b r i n g u p s u c h ideas as t h i s : t h a t the t h e r a p y will prove that they are " r e a l l y " gay or l e s b i a n , or that they are b e i n g s e d u c e d or s t i m u l a t e d to be seductive or exhibitionistic. T h e t h e r a ­ pist m u s t proceed c a u t i o u s l y o n this t e r r a i n , neither re­ j e c t i n g these c o n c e r n s out of h a n d n o r swallowing t h e m whole, for however defensive this s e x u a l i z a t i o n m a y be, it is likely to be heavily invested i n b y the patient. C o n s e ­ quently, the p s y c h o t h e r a p i s t does well to attend to these s e x u a l c o n c e r n s at the s a m e time as he or she looks for ways to use t h e m as a n avenue of a p p r o a c h to other, more primitive i s s u e s m e n t i o n e d earlier. T h e s e are the

issues

that, i n one way or another, focus o n absence a n d a l l that it implies a b o u t b a s i c p r o b l e m s of h u m a n

relatedness.

S e x u a l i n t i m a c y of whatever sort is only p a r t of the story a n d quite p o s s i b l y not its major part.

89

BAD

FEELINGS

CONCLUSION

I have tried to show how the psychotherapist is con­ tinuously present in the patient's unconscious fantasies, regardless of literal absence or psychical absence dur­ ing sessions, but that simultaneously the psychotherapist might be represented as present though absent or absent though present. Unconscious modes of function tolerate these contradictions. Therapeutic interpretations that take these factors into account and that do not ignore the role of mutual projective identifications in the interplay of transference and countertransference are the interpreta­ tions that enable the psychotherapist to deal most effec­ tively with the actual and imagined comings and goings that are unavoidable aspects of the therapeutic process.

90

CHAPTER 6

DEFENSES AGAINST GOODNESS

T h e air of a n a l y t i c s e s s i o n s is always t h i c k w i t h i m p l i c a ­ tions of goodness. "badness"

O n the one h a n d , m a n y v e r s i o n s of

pervade a n a l y s a n d s ' self-descriptions,

actings

out, a n d c o n d e m n a t i o n s of others; these v e r s i o n s i m p l y goodness as their alternative. O n the other h a n d are h i d ­ d e n m o r a l references to goodness i n s u c h c o m m o n l o c u ­ tions as " g o o d - h e a r t e d , " "good i n t e n t i o n s , " a n d "it is good for m e . " A l s o , u p o n a n a l y s i s , one e n c o u n t e r s m a n y u s a g e s t h a t s e e m more or less removed from goodness a n d yet are freighted w i t h m o r a l or m o r a l i s t i c imperatives: " a time,"

" a good g a m e , "

a n d " a good s e s s i o n . "

good

Goodness

flourishes as a n i d e a a n d a v a l u e i n that other reality, the i n t e r n a l w o r l d of u n c o n s c i o u s fantasy. For

many

goodness

analysands,

experiencing a n d

are felt to be m o v e s into a d a n g e r s i t u a t i o n .

C o n s e q u e n t l y , t h e y erect defenses ences. change.

expressing

In t h i s way,

they m a y

Certain analysands

transference

through

a g a i n s t these e x p e r i ­

seriously limit analytic

e n a c t t h i s p r o b l e m i n the

consistently

self-injurious

trans­

gressions, u n c o m p r e h e n d i n g n e s s , a n d negative t h e r a p e u ­ tic reactions. T h e y also try to evoke negative c o u n t e r t r a n s ­ 91

BAD F E E L I N G S

ference in order to block their analysts' perception of their goodness as well as justifying their own denial of their analysts' goodness. Unconscious defenses against good­ ness therefore warrant the closest possible clinical study. Although conflict over goodness is not unfamiliar to ex­ perienced analysts of all persuasions, goodness is not gen­ erally recognized as a technical psychoanalytic term. In Kleinian discourse, however, goodness is a technical term, with a set of referents that may be subsumed under the depressive position (Klein 1940, Steiner 1993). The de­ pressive position features taking responsibility for others perceived as whole objects, concern and reparative intent, gratitude, generosity, reciprocity, and patience. In each analysis, these general referents serve as narrative head­ ings that are individualized in storylines specific to each analysis (Schafer 1992). Goodness enters into discussions of the feelings and fantasies that make up the analysand's internal world of object relations. In envy, for example, the envious subject is viewed as attacking the goodness of the object, spoiling it or even eliminating it by poisonous, biting, besmirching, or belittling fantasies and perhaps behavior as well. Good­ ness also figures prominently in discussions of the diffi­ culty of emerging out of the omnipotent, persecutory, pro­ jective, and concretistic paranoid-schizoid position (Klein 1946) and entering the more mature, whole-object-related depressive position. In that advanced position forms of mature oedipal triangulation can develop. Especially when they are moving toward and working through the depressive position, with all the concerns, re­ sponsibilities, and guilt feelings that go along with the joys of mature love, the analysands in question present mas­ sive reactions against feeling, believing in, and avowing openly personal goodness and the goodness of their pri­ 92

DEFENSES AGAINST

GOODNESS

m a r y objects w h o now are b e g i n n i n g to be g r a s p e d

as

separate, whole figures. A n a l y s t s find that their o w n good­ ness—their on—is

respect,

attacked

by

care, these

dedication, empathy, defensive

and

analysands

so

either

t h r o u g h d e n i a l , c y n i c i s m , a n d m i s t r u s t , or t h r o u g h defen­ sive idealizations. Nevertheless, analysts m u s t a s s u m e that fundamentally these a n a l y s a n d s are ambivalent i n relation to

goodness.

T h a t ambivalence is the s p u r to genuine analytic work, t h o u g h its open emergence m a y be b l o c k e d b y formidable defenses. T h e analyst who forgets this ambivalence may well be enacting negative countertransference, perhaps a retalia­ tory disowning of concern for the analysand's well being. F a l s e goodness is a n o t h e r i m p o r t a n t aspect of struggles w i t h goodness a n d will be d i s c u s s e d a n d i l l u s t r a t e d later o n . A l s o to be d i s c u s s e d later is the p r o b a b l y inevitable i n t r u s i o n of conformist v a l u e s into the analyst's d e a l i n g w i t h goodness a n d the defenses against it.

CLINICAL

EXAMPLES

A l t h o u g h the b r i e f examples that follow v a r y i n how m u c h detail they i n c l u d e a n d i n the complexity of a n a l y t i c i n t e r ­ pretation developed, they do illustrate different

manifest

forms of defenses against goodness. T h e y also indicate the roots of those defenses i n u n c o n s c i o u s fantasy.

Ted T e d , b y n o w a familiar figure i n this book, k n o w n to be a n emotionally dry, obsessive p e r s o n , is reflecting o n h i s s u p ­ p r e s s i o n of feelings, p a r t i c u l a r l y c o m p a s s i o n : "If y o u s h o w

93

BAD

FEELINGS

c o m p a s s i o n at a l l , it will become

a lot. W h e n

emotion

b r e a k s out, it c o u l d release a n a v a l a n c h e . It's not a q u e s ­ t i o n j u s t of e x p r e s s i n g it, b u t even a d m i t t i n g it to myself. It goes w i t h m y need to feel t o u g h . " O n another o c c a s i o n , T e d is reflecting o n the q u e s t i o n of competence: "I a m always s u r p r i s e d w h e n I do s o m e t h i n g well. I'm s u r p r i s e d b y m y o w n competence. W h y ? I k n o w I'm competent. It's nice to feel that if I p u t m y m i n d to s o m e t h i n g a n d m a k e a n effort, I p r o b a b l y do it better t h a n m o s t other people. It's like w h e n I took o n that new a s s i g n m e n t . " In this context, T e d m a y be viewed as d o i n g more t h a n l i n k i n g goodness to c o m p a s s i o n . He is also i n d i c a t i n g that, i n h i s p s y c h i c reality, there is goodness i n t a k i n g initiative r a t h e r t h a n j u s t passively d o i n g a s s i g n e d j o b s . B y v e n t u r ­ i n g out into the o p e n o n h i s own, he takes o n the challenge of c o n s t r u c t i v e , r e c i p r o c a l , whole-object r e l a t i o n s h i p s . H i s c u r t a i l e d s p o n t a n e i t y ties i n w i t h h i s rigid defense against feelings i n general, pride a n d c o m p a s s i o n a m o n g t h e m . He m u s t stop the a v a l a n c h e that he fears w i l l follow a n y free­ d o m (presumably o n a n a n a l m o d e l of release of feeling).

[Seth B e t h , a y o u n g w o m a n , h a d become i m p a t i e n t a n d irritated w i t h h e r m o t h e r over h e r mother's a p p a r e n t i n s e c u r i t y . H e r m o t h e r h a d b e e n needlessly a s k i n g for g u i d a n c e a n d p e r m i s s i o n to do t h i n g s . T h e n , as t h o u g h to generalize a n d diffuse the point a n d relieve her o w n subjective d i s c o m ­ fort, B e t h says t h a t she h a s b e e n feeling intolerant toward everyone. R e t u r n i n g to h e r mother, she a d d s , " S h e obliges me to r e s p o n d b y a s k i n g if w h a t she is d o i n g is o k a y . " W h e n I express interest i n h e a r i n g more a b o u t t h i s , B e t h reports that, i n t h i s respect, she herself is like h e r intoler­

94

D E F E N S E S A G A I N S T GOODNESS

a n t father, a n d w h a t ' s more, she a n d h e r m o t h e r even get p l e a s u r e out of their b i c k e r i n g . I t h e n r e m i n d h e r that o u r p r e v i o u s extended w o r k o n the transference h a s h e l p e d u s see h o w she h a d p i c k e d u p m u c h of the s a d o m a s o c h i s t i c p a t t e r n of h e r i n t e r a c t i o n s i n h e r family. F o r example, i n h e r effort to get close to h e r fa­ ther a n d b e c o m e h i s favorite, she h a d identified w i t h h i m i n a n u m b e r of ways, i n c l u d i n g h i s s a d o m a s o c h i s t i c l e a n ­ i n g s . B e t h b e g i n s to cry, r e b u k i n g herself for b e i n g " m e a n " to h e r m o t h e r i n j u s t the way h e r father i s . S h e says, " M y father doesn't let a n y o n e get close to h i m ; at best, he treats t h e m like pets." Ruefully, she t h e n a d d s , " A c t u a l l y , of the two of t h e m it's m y m o t h e r t h a t I c a n get close to." I t h e n p o i n t o u t t h a t she w o u l d be afraid of h e r father's r e a c t i o n if she s h o u l d s h o w good feelings toward h e r m o t h e r i n a d i ­ rect way, so she c a n only u s e b i c k e r i n g to get close to h e r a n d have p l e a s u r e w i t h h e r . C o n c e i v a b l y , I w o u l d have b e e n more analytically h e l p ­ ful h a d I v e r b a l i z e d h e r i m p l i c i t transference

reference,

specifically, h e r e x p e r i e n c i n g me as distant; however, I de­ c i d e d not to do so b e c a u s e repetition i n the

transference

h a d b e e n a p r o m i n e n t p a r t of the general context i n w h i c h t h i s s e s s i o n was t a k i n g place. F o r example, not l o n g b e ­ fore, it h a d emerged that, after m y r e t u r n f r o m a b r i e f a b ­ sence owing to illness, B e t h h a d s u p p r e s s e d a s p o n t a n e ­ o u s i m p u l s e to s a y that she h o p e d I was feeling better. S h e a c k n o w l e d g e d h a v i n g b e e n w o r r i e d a b o u t m e , b u t she h a d h a d to m a i n t a i n total silence o n that topic. S h e e x p l a i n e d that she h a d not w a n t e d to be " p r e s u m p t u o u s " b y a c t i n g " f a m i l i a r . " S h e h a d a s s u m e d c o n s c i o u s l y that m y r u l e s for­ b a d e a n d c o n d e m n e d a n y relaxed s p o n t a n e i t y that w o u l d a m o u n t to p r e s u m p t u o u s familiarity. I inferred t h a t had used

projective

identification to m a i n t a i n

she

distance

from m e . B e t h was t r y i n g to m a k e this a w k w a r d s i t u a t i o n 95

BAD F E E L I N G S

m y p r o b l e m , not h e r s . Later, she c a m e to u n d e r s t a n d this defense b y reversal, a n d she u s e d it less often. F u r t h e r a n a l y s i s of Beth's projective identification led to h e r a c k n o w l e d g i n g h e r w i s h to be spitefully w i t h h o l d i n g of a n y informality of m a n n e r , i n this w a y c o u r t i n g m y d i s s a t ­ isfaction w i t h h e r a n d b l o c k i n g a n y sense of h e r goodness. B e t h ' s defensive stance required that she forestall a n y b e ­ h a v i o r that m i g h t suggest that she was b e i n g sexually se­ ductive toward me. S h e i m a g i n e d that a n y

seductiveness

at all w o u l d stimulate t r a u m a t i c interactions between

us

of the sort to w h i c h she h a d once tended to expose herself. In t h i s respect,

she was

exercising the k i n d of c a u t i o n

a b o u t feminine a p p e a l that was featured i n h e r r e l a t i o n ­ s h i p w i t h h e r father. T h u s emerged a l i n k between the struggle against good­ n e s s a n d the d i l e m m a s of the oedipal triangle. A s noted, goodness is a constituent of the attained depressive p o s i ­ t i o n . T h a t p o s i t i o n requires a r e a s o n a b l y h i g h degree separateness

of

from one's objects a n d a capacity for i n t i ­

m a c y w i t h t h e m that paves the way into the clear t r i a n g u ­ lations of the m a t u r e oedipal s i t u a t i o n a n d into the fears of its

sexual

and

hostile

consequences.

Beth's

trials

t r i b u l a t i o n s w i t h h e r mother, as exemplified above,

and show

a n i m p o r t a n t aspect of the p a i n f u l ambivalence of the o e d i ­ p a l girl toward h e r m o t h e r a n d how it is u s e d to avoid get­ t i n g "too f a m i l i a r " w i t h h e r father.

Dave D a v e , a n obsessive a n a l y s a n d , c o n t i n u o u s l y d o u b t e d

his

m a r i t a l feelings: m a y b e he c o u l d have f o u n d someone bet­ ter, a n ideal w o m a n .

Self-reproachfully,

he a r g u e d

that

t h i s d o u b t i n g showed h i m to be n o t m u c h of a h u s b a n d .

96

DEFENSES AGAINST

GOODNESS

However, at t h i s p o i n t i n Dave's a n a l y s i s , he was

able

r a t h e r readily to r e t u r n to h i s p l e a s u r e i n h i s wife, a n d he s a i d , " S h e ' s good for m e . " T h e n , h e realized w i t h a start that s a y i n g t h a t not only i m p l i e d that h e w a s e x p r e s s i n g a n e e d for h e r , b u t , m o r e i m p o r t a n t , it i m p l i e d h i s h a v i n g a n y needs at a l l . From

the

s t a n d p o i n t of defense

against

goodness,

I

w o u l d e m p h a s i z e that h i s attack o n h i s o w n good feelings toward h i s wife i m p l i e d a n attack o n h i s good feelings to­ w a r d me, this a t t a c k c o n s i s t i n g of h i s endlessly d o u b t i n g the r e s u l t s of m u c h p r e v i o u s a n a l y t i c w o r k . O u r w o r k h a d s h o w n other sides of h i s defensiveness,

especially guilt

over e m a n c i p a t i n g h i m s e l f f r o m h i s p a r e n t s ' c o n t r o l a n d h i s experience of m e as a n o t h e r c o n t r o l l i n g figure. S o o n , as we s h a l l see, D a v e b r o u g h t i n the a d d i t i o n a l p r o b l e m created b y the love object's goodness. H e b e g a n a n o t h e r s e s s i o n c o m p l a i n i n g that h e felt more d e p r e s s e d , a n d t h e n he m e n t i o n e d that, o n the way to h i s s e s s i o n , he h a d briefly i m a g i n e d a smile of h i s mother's t h a t seemed to h i m very sweet a n d g i r l i s h ; he l i k e d it. A s we went o n , I h a d o c c a s i o n to m e n t i o n that this image seemed to express h i s h a v i n g deflected a feeling of that sort f r o m b o t h h i s wife a n d me. S e i z i n g the o p p o r t u n i t y I h a d given h i m to avoid the c o n n e c t i o n to m e (was I u n c o m ­ fortable w i t h the image of me as g i r l i s h l y sweet?), D a v e r e ­ s p o n d e d to the p o i n t a b o u t h i s wife. H e reported that she u s e d to c o m p l a i n a b o u t h i s b e i n g too involved w i t h work, s p e n d i n g too m u c h time at it. W h e n he t h e n stood u p for h i m s e l f b y p o i n t i n g o u t h e r exaggerations,

she

backed

d o w n , s a y i n g t h a t he m e a n s too m u c h to h e r to c o n t i n u e to m a k e a b i g i s s u e of h i s w o r k r o u t i n e . In the m i d s t of telling me this, Dave became openly tear­ ful. Tearfulness was not at a l l a u s u a l t h i n g . He s a i d he h a s been t o u c h e d b y the signs that she gives h i m that she needs 97

BAD F E E L I N G S

h i m ; he had never felt needed before. H e thought p a r t i c u ­ larly of h i s father's lack of expressiveness a n d h i s o w n fear of b e i n g disappointed, a n d also of h i s mother's somewhat distracted a n d unpredictable t h o u g h superficially c o n s c i e n ­ tious caregiving. G r a d u a l l y , we related this material to h i s p r o b l e m of recognizing h i s own needs. H e fights these needs because he anticipates being disappointed (see C h a p t e r 2 ) . A t this point, Dave indicated a d i m recognition that one d i s ­ appointment itself does not necessarily u n d e r m i n e the c o n ­ tinuity of a c a r i n g or loving relationship. A s we worked this point over, I emphasized that one of h i s needs was to be needed. A s the session progressed, his spirits improved visibly. Later o n i n the analysis, there surfaced as a n important ele­ m e n t i n the transference: h i s need to be needed by me. At this time, however, the goodness of the object w a s only j u s t b e g i n n i n g to appear openly, as were Dave's o w n good feelings i n s h o w i n g signs of p l e a s u r e a n d deep r e ­ s p o n s i v e n e s s ; earlier, there h a d b e e n only intellectualized d o u b t - r i d d e n remoteness. More of h i s defensiveness

soon

showed itself. I a r r i v e d fifteen m i n u t e s late for the next s e s s i o n ; he w a s m y first a p p o i n t m e n t a n d I h a d b e e n u n a v o i d a b l y d e ­ t a i n e d . I f o u n d h i m already i n the waiting r o o m . H e ex­ p l a i n e d that he h a d f o u n d the door to the office suite o p e n a n d h a d j u s t w a l k e d i n . I noted to m y s e l f that this w a s a n u n u s u a l liberty for Dave to take; however, I s a i d n o t h i n g , w a i t i n g to see h o w h e w o u l d h a n d l e m y lateness a n d h i s h a v i n g t a k e n this initiative. A t first, he s a i d n o t h i n g d i ­ rectly a b o u t either of these matters; i n s t e a d he started t a l k i n g a b o u t h i s difficulties w i t h h i s wife. S h e h a s b e e n feeling very b u r d e n e d at work at this time, a n d to express h i s c o n c e r n , he h a d volunteered to s p e n d the whole week­ e n d at h o m e w i t h h e r i n s t e a d of s p e n d i n g time i n h i s office w o r k i n g , as w a s h i s c u s t o m . H e t h e n reported to m e that, 98

D EF EN SE S A G A I N S T GOODNESS

at the very m o m e n t he h a d m a d e h i s offer to h e r , he h a d b e g u n t h i n k i n g regretfully a b o u t w h a t he w o u l d be m i s s ­ i n g at work. H e b e g a n d i s c u s s i n g this s w i t c h i n h i s atti­ tude self-reproachfully: it was more evidence of how alto­ gether unfeeling he was i n h i s m a r i t a l r e l a t i o n s h i p . O n c e a g a i n he felt that he was not m u c h of a h u s b a n d . S o o n he felt b l o c k e d , a n d only t h e n d i d he m e n t i o n m y b e i n g late, w o n d e r i n g i f he h a d s o m e t h i n g o n h i s m i n d a b o u t it. W h a t e n s u e d was h i s p r e s e n t i n g me w i t h things he h a d w o n d e r e d a b o u t while he was waiting, s u c h

as

w h e t h e r there w a s s o m e t h i n g w r o n g w i t h me or if he h a d m a d e some m i s t a k e a b o u t the time. S o o n he

confessed

that he h a d b e e n h e s i t a t i n g m e n t i o n i n g that for a brief sec­ o n d he h a d felt worried a b o u t m e . In a d i s m i s s i v e tone, he q u i c k l y a d d e d that it was p r o b a b l y related to h i s fear of being dependent o n anyone. I expressed interest i n h i s h a v i n g f o u n d it h a r d to tell me a b o u t that worry. In response Dave developed the i d e a that it w o u l d signify m o r e involvement w i t h m e as a p e r s o n a n d w o u l d even s h o w that he w a s enjoying o u r r e l a t i o n s h i p , b u t , h e a d d e d , that w o u l d be " p e r s o n a l i z i n g " it i n s t e a d of l i m i t i n g it strictly to o u r w o r k i n g toward the goals of the treatment. A n y s u c h feelings m a d e h i m u n e a s y . I asserted that he w o u l d experience h i s p e r s o n a l c o n c e r n for m y wel­ fare as involving u s i n a very direct contact. H e p r o m p t l y tried to slip away from this t h e m e b y t a l k i n g d i s m i s s i v e l y a b o u t the n a r c i s s i s t i c n a t u r e of b o t h h i s need to be d e p e n ­ dent a n d h i s defense against it; for example, he p o i n t e d out, it h a d t a k e n h i m h a l f the a p p o i n t m e n t before he h a d even m e n t i o n e d m y lateness. A t this point I m i s s e d a n opportunity to point out Dave's slipping

away

from

the

theme

of

closeness;

instead

I

brought h i m b a c k to this theme directly a n d reassuringly, saying that he h a d allowed h i m s e l f o n his own to get a r o u n d

99

BAD

FEELINGS

to m e n t i o n i n g h i s worry a n d open u p the subject a n d that, to me, h i s h a v i n g done so suggested that, w i t h all h i s a m ­ bivalence about it, he was not altogether walled off i n this regard. I n o w believe that m y shifting away from his explicit focus o n defensiveness i n the transference explains why, a m o m e n t later, he manifestly shifted away from h i m s e l f a n d me a n d talked of h i s mother. He said that he h a s reworked h i s sense of h i s mother, seeing her now as someone who w o u l d t h i n k of h i m i n terms of looking after h i m i n order to do the right t h i n g b u t t h e n q u i c k l y t u r n i n g h e r attention away to things that mattered more to her. T h i s p o i n t was not new, b u t this time he w a s

deeply

m o v e d as he m a d e it. W i t h considerable emotion, he ex­ p r e s s e d a n acute feeling of d e p r i v a t i o n i n relation to her. I noted to m y s e l f that Dave h a d never b e e n this openly emotional

and

needful

during

a n a l y s i s . A t that m o m e n t ,

the

p r e c e d i n g years

of

he was w i p i n g h i s eyes fre­

quently. T h e n , t r y i n g to get some distance f r o m h i s feel­ ings, h e e m p h a s i z e d that a c h i l d l e a r n s h o w to be f r o m the way the p a r e n t s are. In w h a t I n o w regard as a n u n n e c e s ­ sarily a n d disruptively comforting way, one t h a t expressed m y overidentification w i t h h i m at that m o m e n t , I t h e n s a i d that it m u s t have b e e n intolerable to live c o n s t a n t l y w i t h the feelings of deprivation a n d anger at the very people o n w h o m he h a d to d e p e n d ; h i s p a r e n t s were h i s only re­ s o u r c e at that time so he m u s t have h a d to adopt some k i n d of strict defense to m a k e life b e a r a b l e . O n l y t h e n d i d I r e t u r n to the t r a n s f e r e n c e — m o r e t h a n a bit too l a t e — a d d ­ i n g that that defensiveness is j u s t w h a t we h a d b e e n w o r k ­ i n g o n i n our r e l a t i o n s h i p . In these sessions, a l o n g w i t h evidence of Dave's r e l a x i n g his massive

defenses

against feeling s a d , needful,

and

angry, a n d against seeing the object's goodness, there was evidence of h i s b e g i n n i n g to relax h i s equally m a s s i v e de­

100

DEFENSES AGAINST

fenses a g a i n s t h i s o w n goodness.

GOODNESS

H e also s h o w e d

some­

t h i n g of w h a t he feared t h i s r e l a x a t i o n of defense w o u l d l e a d to: a set of i n t o l e r a b l y p a i n f u l feelings. I d i s c o v e r e d the following week t h a t h e h a d r e p r e s s e d the e m o t i o n a l c l i m a x of t h i s series of s e s s i o n s . A t first, he d i d not even r e m e m b e r t h a t we h a d h a d these d i s c u s s i o n s . I believe t h i s forgetting w a s b a s e d o n several factors: h i s fearfulness, h i s preferred defense of forgetting, h i s b e i n g i n a t r a n s i t i o n a l p h a s e , w h i c h w o u l d lead h i m to be i n c o n ­ s t a n t flux, a n d , I believe, h i s defense a g a i n s t m y invasive countertransference. U p o n reflection I c o n c l u d e d that, o n top of a l l that, Dave's r e p r e s s i o n m u s t have b e e n reinforced b y m y not h a v i n g t a k e n u p the r e l a t i o n of this m a t e r i a l to a n o t h e r of h i s feelings a b o u t m y b e i n g late: I, like h i s m o t h e r , h a d b e e n s h a l l o w l y a n d u n r e l i a b l y attentive to h i m ; I h a d left h i m alone to wait, worry, d o u b t himself, a n d do too m u c h o n h i s o w n . B o t h h i s anger at me a n d h i s fear of s h o w i n g it h a d left h i m feeling h a r d p r e s s e d . I h a d lost m y poise i n the s e s s i o n a n d h a d b e c o m e too e n g r o s s e d i n t r y i n g — c o u n t e r p r o d u c t i v e l y — t o r e a s s u r e a n d comfort h i m a n d , I t h i n k , myself. M y a l m o s t entirely forgetting the transfer­ ence at c e r t a i n p o i n t s w a s e q u i v a l e n t to a s e c o n d forget­ t i n g of h i m . D a v e ' s r e a c t i o n to m y a n a l y t i c a b a n d o n m e n t of h i m i m p l i c i t l y verified m y i l l - t i m e d , "feelingful" r e c o n s t r u c ­ t i o n : he forgot the whole t h i n g . T h i s type of e r a s u r e is often evident w h e n the a n a l y s t ' s c o u n t e r t r a n s f e r e n c e interferes w i t h a n a l y s i s of defense.

FALSE GOODNESS T h e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of w h a t

I c a l l false

goodness

ema­

nate f r o m the p a r a n o i d - s c h i z o i d p o s i t i o n . D e f e n s i v e l y , the

101

BAD F E E L I N G S

a n a l y s a n d tries to s i m u l a t e the f u n c t i o n i n g of someone s t a b l y s i t u a t e d i n the depressive p o s i t i o n . A t every t u r n , t h e n , the a n a l y s t is confronted b y p s e u d o m a t u r i t y . A s ter­ mination

approaches,

analysands

often

present

false

g o o d n e s s to w a r d off p a i n f u l feelings of loss, i n a d e q u a c y , d i s a p p o i n t m e n t , a n d fears for the future. P e r s i s t i n g o m ­ n i p o t e n t fantasies a n d envy m i g h t also be c o n c e a l e d i n this way. C h a p t e r s 7 a n d 8 develop t h i s p o i n t further. A d d i ­ tionally, t h i s s i m u l a t i o n m a y well signify a n attempt at a forced feeding of the " d e p l e t e d " a n a l y s t as well as a f a n t a ­ sized redefining h i s or h e r gender b y this pose of reversing roles of strength, power, a n d s u p p l i e s . W h a t is not i n evi­ dence t h e n is the c l u s t e r of affects s u r r o u n d i n g m a t u r e interest i n , a n d c o n v i n c i n g l y d i s t r e s s i n g c o n c e r n for, the object.

Consequently,

the u n d e c e i v e d

analyst begins

to

feel u p against a r u t h l e s s do-gooder w h o will get r e p r o a c h ­ ful, u n e a s y , a n d self-critical if h i s or h e r offering is n o t r e ­ ceived gratefully. F o r example, a male a n a l y s a n d w a s h y p e r a l e r t to every conceivable s i g n of m y discomfort or distress, s u c h as a n o c c a s i o n a l light c o u g h , motor

restlessness,

sneeze, y a w n ,

a n d traces

or s i g h , a b i t of

of d i s o r d e r i n the

s u l t i n g r o o m . H e w a s afraid t h a t h i s o m n i p o t e n t ,

con­

hostile

c o n t r o l l i n g n e s s h a d b e e n overstressing, depleting, a n d u l ­ timately d e s t r o y i n g m e . C o n s c i o u s l y , he worried t h a t he s h o u l d not be p r e s e n t i n g h i s self-concerns w h e n a l l was n o t well w i t h m e . It seemed to me t h a t w a s not so m u c h g u i l t t h a t m o v e d h i m as fear that h i s aggression w o u l d l e a d to r e t a l i a t i o n a n d a b a n d o n m e n t . C o m i n g out of the p a r a ­ n o i d - s c h i z o i d p o s i t i o n or p e r h a p s a p a t h o l o g i c a l o r g a n i z a ­ t i o n (see, e.g., Steiner 1993)

t h i s false goodness involved

m u c h projective identification of needfulness,

weakness,

feelings of receiving insufficient care, a n d anger. T h e p r o ­

102

DEFENSE S A G A I N S T

GOODNESS

jective identification w a s b e i n g u s e d to m a i n t a i n the f a n ­ tasy of o m n i p o t e n c e : it m u s t be the other, not oneself, w h o needs

h e l p a n d is w r o u g h t u p ; the self m u s t

have

the

m a g i c a l , u n f a i l i n g r e s o u r c e s to r e m e d y a l l i l l n e s s , i n j u r y , a n d i n c a p a c i t y . T h e fears of retaliation also involved p r o ­ j e c t i o n of r e s e n t m e n t a n d envy of m y w e l l - b e i n g a n d d u r a ­ bility. F o r this a n a l y s a n d , h i s objects h a d to be carefully controlled so that h e c o u l d proceed w i t h t h i s c o m p l e x m a ­ n e u v e r w i t h the least possible distress. a s e n s e of falseness

Because

is a s e r i o u s b u r d e n for

m a n y a n a l y s a n d s , the analyst's close attention to it c a n be analytically

productive

and

therapeutically

beneficial.

However, it is often difficult to d i s t i n g u i s h clearly between true a n d false analysand's

goodness,

fluctuations

and, in many yield mixed

instances,

evidence.

source of difficulty here is that goodness

the

Another

c o n t a i n s some

elements of n a r c i s s i s m a n d projective identification (as i n empathy). A l s o to be t a k e n into a c c o u n t is defensiveness

i n the

c o u n t e r t r a n s f e r e n c e ; for example, not rarely, the a n a l y s t m a y have too intense a n e e d to be a relatively selfless i n ­ h a b i t a n t of the caregiver role, a n d i n that role she or he m a y too readily m i s r e a d or m i s t r u s t a n a n a l y s a n d ' s signs of b u d d i n g goodness (as i n a gift or c o m i n g early for a ses­ sion). A s u s u a l , the q u e s t i o n of d e g r e e — F r e u d ' s frequently m e n t i o n e d quantitative f a c t o r — w i l l confront e a c h c l i n i c a l judgment

as to w h y , w h e n , a n d how to intervene i n t e r ­

pretively, i f at a l l . A n d yet it m u s t also be s a i d that often the d i s t i n c t i o n c a n be m a d e relatively easily owing to the prevalence, g r o s s n e s s a n d relative u n y i e l d i n g n e s s of n a r ­ cissistic p r o b l e m s i n the p s y c h o a n a l y t i c transference. T h e following c l i n i c a l example shows s o m e g e n u i n e

goodness,

t h o u g h falseness p r e d o m i n a t e d at the m o m e n t .

103

BAD F E E L I N G S

ESTTKUSK

E s t h e r is a y o u n g p r o f e s s i o n a l w i t h c h i l d r e n . S h o r t l y b e ­ fore a h o l i d a y she b e g i n s a s e s s i o n w i t h the

announce­

m e n t t h a t s h e w i l l s k i p the last a p p o i n t m e n t of the week. A s t h o u g h c h a n g i n g the subject, she t h e n s a y s she is feel­ i n g guilty a b o u t m y h e a l t h . I look s o m e w h a t m u s s e d u p to h e r , a n d she t h i n k s I a m not w e l l . S h e criticizes h e r s e l f for p u t t i n g me i n the p o s i t i o n of a servant, s o m e o n e u s e d b y all m y patients thoughtlessly.

S h e l i k e n s it to h e r b e ­

i n g like a b a b y w h o u s e s h e r m o t h e r w h e n e v e r she n e e d s h e r . E s t h e r goes o n to criticize h e r s e l f for other forms of thoughtlessness

a n d s e l f - i n d u l g e n c e . M i s s i n g the p o i n t , I

r e m a r k t h a t she s e e m s to be feeling b a d a b o u t l e a v i n g m e alone, n e g l e c t i n g m e b y e x t e n d i n g the h o l i d a y

absence.

Initially s h e s e e m s to agree, b u t she t h e n s a y s t h a t p e r ­ h a p s I c o u l d die i n the i n t e r v a l . S h e is a p p a l l e d b y t h i s t h o u g h t b e c a u s e she recognizes t h a t she w o u l d be t h i n k ­ i n g p r i m a r i l y of its b e i n g a l o s s to h e r . B y going o n i n t h i s w a y s h e s e e m s to be defensively p r o p i t i a t o r y , b u t she also s e e m s to be rightly q u e s t i o n i n g m y a s s u m p t i o n t h a t it is specifically guilt she is feeling. S h e c o n t i n u e s to criticize h e r s e l f for n o t p a y i n g e n o u g h a t t e n t i o n to m e : " Y o u m u s t get s i c k of t h a t , a l l y o u r p a ­ tients u s i n g y o u . " S h e b e g i n s to t h i n k h o w they u s e m e b y projecting

all kinds

of t h i n g s

into

me;

however,

she

m a k e s a s l i p of the t o n g u e , s a y i n g " p r o d u c t i o n " w h e n s h e intended "projection." Esther's associations p r o d u c t i o n go to creation,

t h e n giving

to the w o r d

birth to a c h i l d or a

w o r k of art s u c h as a p i c t u r e , b u t especially bearing child.

a

"It's s o m e t h i n g t h a t e m a n a t e s f r o m y o u r b o d y . If I

p r o d u c e y o u , y o u c o m e f r o m m e a n d I a m r e s p o n s i b l e for your

existence

or y o u r l a c k of it if I'm

not

attentive

e n o u g h . " A s t h o u g h r e t r e a t i n g f r o m the o m n i p o t e n t i d e a 104

D E F E N S E S A G A I N S T GOODNESS

of m u r d e r b y neglect,

s h e b e g i n s to feel sleepy a n d f a ­

tigued, a n d she wishes

I w o u l d cover h e r . F i n a l l y ,

she

gets a r o u n d to s a y i n g h o w s i c k a n d t i r e d s h e is of t a k i n g care of people. W h e n I c o m m e n t accepting agrees,

her

own

wish

to

o n her having trouble

be

taken

care

of,

Esther

s a y i n g t h a t t h i s w i s h is altogether " i g n o b l e . "

In

m y o w n t h o u g h t s , I u n d e r s t a n d h e r to be s u g g e s t i n g t h a t omnipotent

strivings

and

shaky

self-esteem

are

more

c o n s e q u e n t i a l n o w t h a n feelings of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y ; n o b i l i t y is h e r g r a n d i o s e n a r c i s s i s t i c a s p i r a t i o n . I n o w r e g a r d t h i s i n t e r a c t i o n as h a v i n g s h o w n that, in this context,

Esther was

m a n i f e s t i n g m a i n l y false

good­

n e s s . T o a large extent—I w o u l d not s a y e n t i r e l y — h e r s h o w of c o n c e r n for m y w e l l - b e i n g was e x p r e s s i n g h e r o m n i p o ­ tent fantasies (creating me) a n d a defense against h e r feel­ i n g b o t h n e e d f u l a n d m u r d e r o u s . T h e n e e d f u l feelings were e m b o d i e d i n the not quite w a r d e d - o f f fantasy of h e r as a baby, my baby. It is w a r r a n t e d to c o n c l u d e t h a t t h i s was n o t a n i n ­ stance

of

adequately

developed

goodness;

rather,

it

s e e m s to have b e e n m a i n l y E s t h e r ' s u s i n g s h o w s of g o o d ­ n e s s to d e f e n d a g a i n s t p a r t s of h e r s e l f t h a t s h e c o u l d not a c c e p t a n d integrate. S i m u l t a n e o u s l y , s h e feared t h a t I, too, c o u l d not integrate t h e m . S h e was t r y i n g , u n s u c c e s s ­ fully, to d e p l o y the defense of c a r i n g for others to cover her

own

needfulness.

It

is

noteworthy

that,

despite

Esther's recognition that she characteristically imposed b u r d e n s o n herself, s h e s w i t c h e d r a p i d l y f r o m caregiver to c o m p l a i n i n g of b e i n g b u r d e n e d b y o t h e r s . A n d i n m y inconsistency, stimulated,

her

I

colluded

with,

defensiveness.

and

perhaps

Nevertheless,

further it

seems

c o r r e c t to s a y of E s t h e r t h a t the relatively s t a b i l i z e d g o o d ­ n e s s of the d e p r e s s i v e p o s i t i o n d i d n o t s e e m to be freely a v a i l a b l e to h e r at t h a t m o m e n t . 105

BAD

FEELINGS

DISCUSSION B e c a u s e the i d e a of goodness pressed

i n the

is v u l n e r a b l e to b e i n g ex­

countertransference as

a c a r r i e r of de­

m a n d s for s u b m i s s i o n a n d s o c i a l conformity, it is i m p o r ­ t a n t to reflect o n usage. F i r s t , it is not u s e f u l to take a n essentialist a n d u n i v e r s a l i s t i c view of goodness, s u c h t h a t it w o u l d m a k e sense to a s k , " W h a t is g o o d n e s s ? " In c l i n i c a l w o r k , one does best to focus attention o n e a c h a n a l y s a n d ' s i m p l i c i t a n d explicit usage. T h a t u s a g e always mixes c o n ­ ventionality a n d i n d i v i d u a l i t y . In theory c o n s t r u c t i o n , the a n a l y s t designates

c e r t a i n general attributes of fantasy,

feeling, a n d b e h a v i o r as referents of s u c h general t e r m s as goodness.

T h e s e attributes serve as n a r r a t i v e h e a d l i n e s

that m u s t be developed t h r o u g h i n d i v i d u a l i z e d storylines. S e c o n d , it is analytically u s e f u l to s t u d y the genealogy of the a n a l y s a n d ' s usage. D o i n g so deepens the analyst's u n ­ d e r s t a n d i n g of present p s y c h i c difficulties b y allowing h i m or h e r to c o n s t r u c t a fuller m o r a l , ethical, object-related a c c o u n t of the a n a l y s a n d ' s h i s t o r y a n d p r e s e n t s t a t u s . T h e i n d i v i d u a l i z e d c o u r s e t h a t I r e c o m m e n d is the t r a d i ­ t i o n a l one. It limits the a n a l y s t to r e m a i n i n g a n investiga­ tor of language u s a g e a n d the narrative c o n s t r u c t i o n s it b o t h allows a n d b l o c k s . I n d i v i d u a l i z a t i o n entails the rec­ ognition that a n a l y s a n d s , a n a l y s t s , a n d a n a l y s e s differ to s u c h a n extent that w h a t is c o n v i n c i n g i n one i n s t a n c e m a y n o t be so i n the next. T h u s , it is not always g e n e r o u s to be g e n e r o u s ; the act m a y be felt to be p r e s u m p t u o u s , extravagant, or b u r d e n s o m e . It is not always good to s h o w compassion;

t h a t act m a y be felt to be h u m i l i a t i n g or

b a s e d o n the projected fantasy of suffering. H e l p offered to a n e n v i o u s p e r s o n w h o is i n n e e d of h e l p m a y be experi­ e n c e d as i n s t i g a t i n g further envy. T h e " k i n d n e s s " s h o w n b y a p e r s o n clearly lodged i n the p a r a n o i d - s c h i z o i d p o s i ­ 106

DEFENSES AGAINST

GOODNESS

t i o n is more likely to be a n act b a s e d o n d e n i a l of envy, a s h o w of o m n i p o t e n c e , a n d fear of retaliation for p a s t acts of aggression. M a n y c o n t e m p o r a r y critical theorists i n the h u m a n i t i e s a n d s o c i a l sciences follow the s a m e strategy of s t u d y i n g c u r r e n t usage a n d its genealogy while a v o i d i n g essentialist a p p r o a c h e s to the b i g w o r d s . T h i r d , so l o n g as he or she stays i n role, the a n a l y s t s h o u l d not a i m to solve or avoid the eternal p h i l o s o p h i ­ c a l p r o b l e m s of ethics. O n e c a n n o t hope to arrive at a n a b ­ solute, value-free p o s i t i o n . A n a l y s t s m u s t accept a n d try to be cognizant of the p e r m e a t i o n of language b y v a l u e s ; one c a n n o t t r a n s c e n d t h e m . Still, it c a n n o t be d e n i e d that a n a l y s t s a n d a n a l y s a n d s often b e l o n g to the s a m e s o c i a l class, i n t e l l e c t u a l c l a s s , a n d gender, a n d so are m e m b e r s of the s a m e s u b c u l t u r e or the s a m e general c u l t u r e ; that b e i n g so,

b o t h m a y too readily take for g r a n t e d

many

things that p e r t a i n to goodness. F o r example, b o t h m i g h t tacitly agree that it is a n act of goodness always to be k i n d , generous, patient, c o n c e r n e d , or sensible i n p a r t i c u l a r c i r ­ c u m s t a n c e s , a n d as a r e s u l t they m i g h t l i m i t their analytic i n q u i r y only to d i s r u p t i o n s of those k i n d s of

"goodness."

T h e rest w o u l d be c o n s i d e r e d self-evident. E r n e s t J o n e s (1955) reported that F r e u d s u b s c r i b e d to the p o s i t i o n , " W h a t is m o r a l is self-evident," a n d we m u s t a s s u m e that, m i s t a k e n l y , F r e u d m u s t have t a k e n a n a r ­ row segment of society as representative of the whole; for he d i d not raise s u c h questions

as " M o r a l for

whom?"

"Moral under w h i c h conditions?" " M o r a l i n w h i c h case?" a n d " W h o is m a k i n g the d e c i s i o n s a n d u n d e r w h i c h c o n ­ s t r a i n t s ? " It i s , however, also possible to overestimate this danger of t a k i n g too m u c h for g r a n t e d . T h i s essay h a s b e e n a c a l l for vigilance, not d i s r u p t i v e h y p e r v i g i l a n c e . F i n a l l y , g o o d n e s s does n o t p r e s e n t a u n i q u e p r o b l e m . M a n y big words—trust, mistrust, despair, reassurance, 107

BAD F E E L I N G S

improvement, and too many others to list here—present the same mix of conformity and individuality, thereby offering opportunities for the analysand, the analyst, or both, to turn an analytic dialogue into a veiled form of sermonizing.

CONCLUSION Clinical work can benefit greatly from the careful analysis of defenses against goodness. Not rarely, analysands avoid the experience and expression of positive reactions to the goodness of others, and they hide good feelings of their own that could be expected to elicit the goodness of others. Envious wishes to spoil good objects, attachments to bad objects, defenses against gratitude and dependence, so­ called negative therapeutic reactions, and other such conflictual factors help avoid depressive anxiety by block­ ing out goodness. These analysands dread abandoning their narcissistic, omnipotent, sadomasochistic, persecu­ tory, paranoid-schizoid positions and moving toward ma­ ture depressive positions. That shift of position, notwith­ standing the gratifications it makes possible, is viewed as imposing intolerable burdens on the internal world: loss, guilt, responsibility, felt ambivalence, and vulnerability to humiliation and disappointment.

108

CHAPTER 7

EXPERIENCING TERMINATION: AUTHENTIC AND FALSE DEPRESSIVE

POSITIONS

It h a s long b e e n recognized that the process of t e r m i n a t i n g is stressful for a n a l y s t a n d a n a l y s a n d . U n d e r o r d i n a r y c i r ­ c u m s t a n c e s , it is, of c o u r s e , the a n a l y s a n d w h o feels far more p a i n e d i n r e s p o n s e to the s h a r p sense of loss o c c a ­ s i o n e d b y the i m p e n d i n g s e p a r a t i o n . T h e a n a l y s a n d feels i n c r e a s e d t e m p t a t i o n to regress b a c k into d i s t u r b e d emo­ t i o n a l positions that have b e e n w o r k e d o n extensively a n d even a p p e a r to have b e e n w o r k e d t h r o u g h adequately. In these regressive shifts, primitive defenses will be i n t e n s i ­ fied. S h e or he hopes that these c h a n g e s will forestall s u c h p a i n f u l subjective correlates of s e p a r a t i o n as grief, guilt, feelings of d i s a p p o i n t m e n t a n d r e s e n t m e n t , a n d fears for the future. S e p a r a t i o n is conceived i n a l l - o r - n o t h i n g terms, p h y s i c a l s e p a r a t i o n b e i n g equated w i t h total loss. Psychically,

however,

things

are

quite

different

(see

C h a p t e r 5). B o t h c o n s c i o u s l y a n d u n c o n s c i o u s l y , the a n a ­ lytic r e l a t i o n s h i p lives o n for a n extended p e r i o d of time, if not p e r m a n e n t l y . In the i n t e r n a l w o r l d , w h e t h e r as a n i n ­ t e r n a l object, identification, or b o t h , the a n a l y s t r e m a i n s a presence i n the a n a l y s a n d ' s life. If not i n the foreground, t h e n b e h i n d the scenes,

as it were, the a n a l y s t will be 109

BAD F E E L I N G S

present as a h e l p f u l or critical r e s o u r c e . U n d e r favorable c o n d i t i o n s , the regression d u r i n g a n d p e r h a p s i m m e d i ­ ately after e n d i n g will be temporary, not extreme, a n d re­ sponsive to interpretation. E v e n the prospect of t e r m i n a t i o n c a n set this difficult a n d c o m p l e x process i n m o t i o n . T h a t p r o s p e c t c a n be a n i n f l u e n t i a l factor from early o n i n the a n a l y s i s . F o r ex­ a m p l e , some a n a l y s a n d s defend against feeling involved i n the r e l a t i o n s h i p b e c a u s e , defensively, they keep, i n m i n d t h a t it will e n d a n d that it is p a i d for; they hope that that w a y of t h i n k i n g a b o u t it will prevent its ever b e c o m i n g " r e a l " for t h e m . O t h e r s r e s p o n d defensively to early devel­ o p m e n t s i n the transference that stimulate a n t i c i p a t i o n s of danger; they d r e a d the prospect that their analytic gains will b r i n g t h e m to the b r i n k of deeply p a i n f u l a n d o m i n o u s areas of anxiety, guilt, s h a m e , dependence, p e r h a p s even violence a n d m a d n e s s , a n d they t u r n their t h o u g h t s p r e ­ maturely

toward

termination.

In

other

instances,

the

a n a l y s a n d ' s recognition of p a r t i a l gains m i g h t stimulate a sense of t r i u m p h that is t h e n expressed i n m a n i c gestures toward t e r m i n a t i o n — " f i n i s h e d i n r e c o r d time!" In a n effort to s u p p l e m e n t so m u c h e s t a b l i s h e d k n o w l ­ edge i n this m o s t i m p o r t a n t p a r t of a n a l y t i c work, I have centered t h i s essay o n one defensive

o r g a n i z a t i o n that is

c o m m o n l y e n c o u n t e r e d d u r i n g periods w h e n , o n whatever b a s i s , t e r m i n a t i o n is i n the air. I call this defensive o r g a n i ­ z a t i o n the false pseudomature

depressive

position,

b y w h i c h I refer to a

m a n n e r of c o p i n g w i t h the stresses a n d

s t r a i n s of t e r m i n a t i o n , one that serves as a w a l l that o b ­ s t r u c t s the a n a l y s i s a n d also

diverts it from

essential

i s s u e s even as the a n a l y s a n d gives every a p p e a r a n c e of w a n t i n g to go o n w i t h the work. T o t h r o w into s h a r p relief the m a i n features of t h i s de­ fensive p o s t u r e , I will first take u p the chief c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s 110

EXPERIENCING TERMINATION

of the position it simulates: the depressive position. Also, because the specifics of termination must be understood as codetermined by both participants, and because at these times the analyst's countertransference might also veer toward the false depressive position and, on that account, stimulate or at least support the analysand's re­ course to the same defensive posture, I will scrutinize the analyst's functioning, too. To conclude the development of my theme, I will present two clinical examples of analytic work that took place when termination was being anticipated. One analysand demonstrates greater resiliency than the other, but both manifest the pseudomature concern, responsibility, re­ parative orientation, and other such features that charac­ terize this defensive organization. Also, in both cases, though to different degrees, the analyst's countertransfer­ ence appears to play a noteworthy role. Also to be kept in mind is the fact that even when termi­ nation is not an active issue, painful loss can be experi­ enced during all those separations that take place during analysis: between appointments; over weekends and holi­ days; and times when the analyst, the analysand, or both are psychically absent while physically present (see Chap­ ter 5 ) . Consequently, analyzing the bad feelings occa­ sioned by separations of every kind prepares the analyst to understand and deal with the wide range of phenomena inevitably encountered during the process of termination. Before beginning, I cannot emphasize too strongly that analysts usually deal with more or less intermediate, fluc­ tuating, and mixed versions of the authentic and false de­ pressive positions. Upon analysis, individual versions of these positions prove to be complex and not altogether in­ ternally consistent or coherent; nor is each identical with others that warrant the same general designation. HowIll

BAD F E E L I N G S

ever, if the analyst employs sharply defined, perhaps ex­ treme reference points in instances of this sort, she or he will be better able to follow the analysand's associations. These reference points enable the analyst to remain ori­ ented to what is momentarily predominant, though also unstable or fleeting. I will present the two positions—au­ thentic and false—in their ideal forms.

THE EUPISESSIIVE POgHTHOKl

The depressive position (Klein 1940, Steiner 1993) com­ prises numerous aspects of psychical function, the en­ tirety of which would fit a conventional idea of maturity and an ego-psychological idea of ego strength. Fluctua­ tions from the depressive position veer in the direction of the paranoid-schizoid position (Klein 1946, Steiner 1993). The paranoid-schizoid position corresponds to the cogni­ tive and emotional functioning assumed to be characteris­ tic of a young child, especially when that child is under stress or in conflict: immature defenses and synthesizing ability, weak self-boundaries, a proclivity for magical thinking, emotional lability, exaggerated projections, and so on. This position also corresponds to Freud's (1915a) account of the unconscious and to many accounts of the psychoses, including Freud's in the same 1915 discus­ sion. Here, we will not be concerned with the developmen­ tal and diagnostic applications of the paranoid-schizoid concept because they are out of place in the present func­ tionally oriented context. Also, in light of the contemporary research and understanding, both comparisons are open to numerous challenges. A general overview of the depressive position must single out the following overlapping features (overlapping 112

EXPERIENCING TERMINATION

because they refer to different levels of function and pos­ sess different degrees of generality): reduced reliance on splitting and projective identification; reduced emphasis on those narcissistic needs for omnipotence that imply in­ tolerance of dependency needs or of any recognition of limitations or imperfections of the self; reduced inclina­ tions to become envious; the achievement of whole-object experience as indicated by a prevalence of loving over sa­ domasochistic desires and fantasies; a relatively stable tol­ erance of the ambivalence that inevitably accompanies relationships; heightened concern for others and the self as shown in readiness to assume responsibility, feel ap­ propriate guilt, and implement reparative aims; relatively sustained ability to think symbolically and perceive realis­ tically; dependable capacity to mourn and tolerate sepa­ rateness, differences, and the independence of objects from one's own control; and differentiated and relatively stable recognition of the parental couple as forming a union from which one is excluded, which is to say, signs of having moved beyond oedipal crises, though not necessar­ ily beyond the influence of oedipal prototypes on later ob­ ject relations. My frequent use in this summary of such words as rela­ tively and prevalence indicates that it is not correct to attribute to anyone full, totally stable occupancy of the de­ pressive position: none of us occupies the depressive posi­ tion completely and permanently; each of us remains vul­ nerable to flux, as we see especially clearly in connection with the termination of even the most beneficial analysis. Another feature of the depressive position that is usually implied rather than stated is the capacity to live in conven­ tional time. This capacity stands in contrast to the time­ lessness of unconscious mental processes. Living in con­ ventional time means genuinely experiencing a past, a 113

BAD F E E L I N G S

present, and a future instead of being limited mainly to the timeless state found during analysis among those who function mostly within the paranoid-schizoid position. In the usually timeless state of the paranoid-schizoid posi­ tion, things, relationships, feelings just are. For example, defeat is what there is and all there is when it is defeat that is being experienced, excitement is what there is and all there is when it is excitement that is being experienced, and so on. Even such words and phrases as "always," "for­ ever," "never," and "living in the past" do not adequately convey this timelessness, though they are often used for this purpose in clinical discussions. They are the kinds of terms that would be used by an outside observer in a ratio­ nal position, one who does not fully enter imaginatively into the analysand's timeless state. Thus it is that in the transference, for example, the "all good" analyst can quickly become the absolutely and al­ ways "all bad" analyst once there has been a lapse of empathy or a time away from the analysand. The analytic past seems to vanish completely; there is only now—more exactly, is. The conception of a "good but also bad" analyst (Jacobson 1964) is to be found only within the precincts of the relatively more mature depressive position, as is the ability to expect a departing analyst to return. Winnicott pointed out somewhere that for these timeless analysands, the analyst who comes even a little late stimulates the feel­ ing that he or she will never come. Therefore, the alert clinician will not take for granted the analysand's explicit references to the past, present, and future, for in primitive mental states or on the primitive levels of function that underlie surface integration, these references are best regarded as vestigial or essentially in­ tellectualized. They have little emotional resonance, and they play no significant role in mental functioning and ac­

114

EXPERIENCING TERMINATION

t i o n i n the w o r l d . It w a s to t h i s r e c o g n i t i o n of living i n time as a n achievement of a n a l y s i s that L o e w a l d seemed to refer w h e n he s a i d , " I n the daylight of a n a l y s i s the ghosts of the u n c o n s c i o u s are l a i d a n d led to rest as

ancestors

(1960; see 1980, p. 249). Ideally the a n a l y s t begins to contemplate the possibility of t e r m i n a t i o n w h e n signs a p p e a r t h a t the a n a l y s a n d h a s m o v e d well a l o n g toward the depressive p o s i t i o n , however conflictually t h i s move h a s b e e n m a d e . O n e s i g n that the a n a l y s a n d m i g h t be r e a d y is h e r or h i s referring to, or h i n t ­ i n g at, t h o u g h t s of t e r m i n a t i o n i n the a b s e n c e of d e s p e r a ­ t i o n , resentment, or m a n i c excitement. O r d i n a r i l y , d e p r e s ­ sive anxiety b l o c k s m o v e m e n t i n this d i r e c t i o n , for it arises as s o o n as the b u r d e n s of m a t u r i t y are recognized a n d a n ­ ticipated. O n l y after it h a s s u b s i d e d sufficiently c a n there develop g e n u i n e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , c o n c e r n , guilt, a n d deeply felt m o u r n i n g . It m i g h t be the a n a l y s a n d w h o first m e n ­ tions t e r m i n a t i o n or it m i g h t be the a n a l y s t . In either case, the a n a l y s t m u s t exercise restraint w h e n d e a l i n g w i t h this prospect. T a c t , t i m i n g , a n d dosage, as r e c o m m e n d e d b y L o e w e n s t e i n (1982), are never more i m p o r t a n t . T o f u n c t i o n i n t h i s m a n n e r , the a n a l y s t , too, m u s t have

developed

pretty m u c h p a s t the p o i n t of acute depressive anxiety a n d a t t a i n e d relative stability i n the depressive p o s i t i o n . Most

analytic discussions

and

presentations

do

not

spell o u t w h a t it is for the a n a l y s t to be i n t h i s desirable p o s i t i o n . Its c o n s t i t u e n t elements have b e e n specified only w h e n countertransference h a s led to a d i s r u p t i v e enact­ ment. T h e n ,

the o b s e r v e r — i t m a y be the

self-observing

a n a l y s t — a c c e n t s the negative of the depressive p o s i t i o n . M e n t i o n m i g h t be m a d e lence,

ambiguity,

curious,

caring,

of l a p s e d tolerance of a m b i v a ­

and indeterminacy; disappearance a n d responsible

attitudes;

of

i n a b i l i t y to

m a i n t a i n n e u t r a l i t y or e q u i d i s t a n c e from the c o n s t i t u e n t s 115

BAD F E E L I N G S

of intersystemic and intrasystemic conflict (following Anna Freud's [1936] mode of formulation); decrease of patience; violation of ethical requirements; irrationality; impaired personal integration; and reliance on the primitive de­ fenses and omnipotent fantasies that lead to manipulation and persecution of the analysand. Converting those nega­ tives into their positive counterparts, we arrive at a pretty accurate account of what it is that shows the analyst to be maintaining or approximating the depressive position in general and when dealing with termination issues. Several more attributes of the analyst's authentic de­ pressive position should be specified because, especially in these pluralistic times, when classical theory has been critiqued and revised so extensively that its traditional identifying features have been obscured, if not discarded, we cannot take it for granted that specific analysts con­ tinue to consider these attributes essential or at least de­ sirable. The first attribute is a firm belief that psychoana­ lyzing means trying to understand human development and functioning, especially in the analytic situation, as greatly influenced by unconscious desires, fantasies, and conflicts. The second of these additional attributes is a firm belief in the importance of the method of free associa­ tion in providing the cues that indicate these presupposed unconscious influences. A third essential attribute is a firm belief in the central, if not exclusive, role of interpretation and emotionally ex­ perienced insight in promoting deep-seated change in the direction of adaptation, adaptation being understood to range far beyond adjusting to prevailing circumstances and taking in changing these circumstances or seeking others that better serve one's interests (Hartmann 1939). A fourth and equally valuable factor is the analyst's con­ viction that, unconsciously, the analysand will defend

116

EXPERIENCING TERMINATION

a g a i n s t c h a n g e v i g o r o u s l y , p e r s i s t e n t l y , a n d often w i t h great subtlety, t h i s self-protective s t a n c e m a n i f e s t i n g the analysand's heavy investment i n avoiding new a n d old danger

situations

and

preserving sadomasochistic

at­

t a c h m e n t s to " b a d objects." O n the b a s i s of these beliefs, the a n a l y s t is p r e p a r e d to seek, detect, a n d interpret coherence a n d c o n t i n u i t y i n w h a t seems to be either a c h a n g i n g sequence of topics or mere c l i n g i n g to a fixed topic. H e or s h e is also p r e p a r e d to treat i n t r u d i n g t h o u g h t s a n d feelings not a s i n t e r r u p t i o n s b u t as a d d e n d a to w h a t is b e i n g t a k e n u p ; they are a d ­ d e n d a i n the sense that often they c a n be viewed as further elaborations expressed i n other t e r m s . T h e a n a l y s t w i t h n o p r e s s i n g fear of going m a d c a n w o r k w i t h a s s o c i a t i o n s i n t h i s way, steadily a d h e r i n g to F r e u d ' s h y p o t h e s e s c o n c e r n ­ i n g u n c o n s c i o u s m e n t a l f u n c t i o n i n g . B e l i e v i n g that it is a l m o s t i m p o s s i b l e to c h a n g e the latent topic, the a n a l y s t is n o t c o m p e l l e d to m a i n t a i n w h a t conventionally w o u l d be called " c o n t i n u i t y " or " s t a y i n g o n the t o p i c . " T h e latent topic m a y , however, a p p e a r only i n reverse, d i s p l a c e d , or otherwise d i s g u i s e d forms, s o m e of w h i c h are t e m p o r a r i l y or p e r m a n e n t l y u n r e c o g n i z a b l e ; m u c h m a y have to be left i n a d e q u a t e l y u n d e r s t o o d or totally m i s u n d e r s t o o d . It is a l l a q u e s t i o n of h o w one listens. T h e a n a l y s t w h o is relatively stably i n the depressive p o s i t i o n feels at h o m e l i s t e n i n g i n t e r m s of d i s p l a c e m e n t s , e n a c t m e n t s ,

symbols,

m e t a p h o r s , a n d a n a l o g u e s i n the " s e c o n d reality" (Schafer 1985)

of the i n t e r n a l w o r l d . F u r t h e r , he or s h e does not

d o u b t t h a t it m a y take a while before the associations* i m ­ p l i c a t i o n s a n d c o n n e c t i o n s c a n be d i s c e r n e d , to the extent t h a t they c a n be. T h e n , as i n the case of a d r e a m p r e s e n t e d early i n the a n a l y s i s , they c a n be retold later i n a way t h a t fits

them

insightfully into a c o h e r e n t narrative of

the

a n a l y s a n d ' s general p r o b l e m s a n d present subjective ex­

117

BAD F E E L I N G S

perience. Consequently, the analyst who is more or less in the depressive position can be expected to exercise appro­ priate restraint of overt action. She or he steadily mani­ fests patience and a capacity for containment. At times, out of concern for tact, timing, and dosage, the analyst must defer (contain) even the shrewdest of empathic in­ sights. For example, there are times when, as Betty Joseph (1983) has pointed out, the analysand seems unable to tol­ erate understanding and being understood. My clinical examples will illustrate how these essential features get expressed in the analyst's readiness to accept in an integrated, positive way the realization that "that's the way it is," to accept yet another regressive shift, yet another turning against him or her, and yet another ac­ count of the analysand's entering into an untenable and painful relationship. Further, "that's the way it is" can ex­ press recognition and acceptance of the never-ending flux of psychic states between, on the one hand, the integrated and adaptive and, on the other, the primitive and mal­ adaptive. And perhaps most of all, the analyst who works reliably around the borders of the depressive position is ready to accept incompleteness, for at the time when ter­ mination is pending, the analyst must come to terms with the realization that the analysis has not intensively ad­ dressed, understood, and modified every significant issue; not every major problem has withered away; and all these issues and problems may continue to burden the analy­ sand in the postanalytic period, though most likely to a lesser degree. Upon considering this incompleteness, the analyst who has not adequately moved toward the depressive posi­ tion may feel guilty, futile, resentful, and aggressively criti­ cal of the self, the method of analysis, or the analysand (see Chapter 8). In contrast, the more securely based ana­ lyst recognizes that analysis is not an all-powerful tool for 118

EXPERIENCING TERMINATION

change and that it is not subject to demands for confor­ mity to the analyst's favored social norms or to norms that are rationalized as prescribed by theory or by the analy­ sand's relatives or significant others.

THE FALSE DEPRESSIVE POSITION Analysands who simulate being in the depressive position tend to make conspicuous shows of concern for others and to dwell on their own sense of responsibility and their re­ parative intentions. At times, they so overdo these demon­ strations that their recipients soon experience them as in­ trusive and burdensome or else as intent on holding them at a distance. Consequently, far from feeling held or helped, the recipients feel targeted, burdened, or isolated. One might say that instead of fitting in, these inauthentic analysands take over, and instead of being respectful and empathic, they are condescendingly and inattentively sym­ pathetic. The self-centered expressiveness of it all casts a pall over the social situation, making it clear that, uncon­ sciously, the would-be helpers are seeking security by en­ closing themselves within narcissistic fantasies of omnipo­ tence. That is why they react with anxiety, depression, an apologetic stance, mistrust, aloofness, belligerence, or some combination of these when they do not get the hoped-for, confirmatory gratitude—more exactly, submission. In the treatment situation, these inauthentic analysands are likely to be hyperalert to every sign of the analyst's dis­ comfort: a sneeze, a yawn, a shift in position, some bit of disorder in the consulting room or in the analyst's physical appearance or dress. These ambiguous cues are turned into occasions to express concern or regret for overtaxing and depleting the analyst; the analysands might then 119

BAD F E E L I N G S

apologize for forcing the u n w e l l a n a l y s t to w o r k o n their p r o b l e m s w h e n they s h o u l d be g r a n t i n g the a n a l y s t some reprieve from the stress of a n a l y z i n g . (A c l i n i c a l i n s t a n c e of t h i s sort w a s cited i n the p r e c e d i n g chapter.) T h e i m p l i c i t l y p r e s s u r e d q u a l i t y of this show of c o m p a s s i o n gives away its b e i n g b a s e d o n a n u n c o n s c i o u s l y m a i n t a i n e d view of the a n a l y s t as weak,

needful, v u l n e r a b l e , contemptible,

a n d c o n s e q u e n t l y i n n e e d of care from o n h i g h . T h i s p o s ­ t u r e derives i n large p a r t from projective identification of the a n a l y s a n d s ' o w n needfulness a n d feeling of inferiority, envy, h u m i l i a t i o n , or d e a d n e s s . It bolsters their fantasies of o m n i p o t e n c e , gratifies their envy, a n d p e r h a p s soothes their fears of r e p r i s a l as well. F o r example, one a n a l y s a n d w h o h a d a s s u m e d the false depressive p o s i t i o n e m p h a s i z e d (with the h e l p of some i n ­ terventions b y the analyst) that he, a y o u n g m a n , was so c o n s c i o u s of m y age a n d so s u r e o n that b a s i s that I w a s fragile a n d n e e d e d protecting that h e h a d to s u p p r e s s a n d d i s p l a c e considerable resentment i n the transference. T h i s " k i n d n e s s " served as a defense b y reversal, a n d it also e n ­ acted h i s o w n u n c o n s c i o u s belief t h a t he c o u l d easily topple m e a n d i n fact w a s very likely to do so. It w a s he, n o t I, w h o o c c u p i e d the enviable p o s i t i o n . A s m i g h t be pected,

the

prototype

of t h i s

transference

of

ex­

bravado

s e e m e d to have b e e n developed i n r e l a t i o n to i s s u e s a n d figures i n the a n a l y s a n d ' s early life. M a n i f e s t a t i o n s of the false depressive p o s i t i o n are not always as o b v i o u s , s u s t a i n e d , or grandiose as the p r e c e d ­ i n g d e s c r i p t i o n suggests. T h e y c a n take s u b t l e r forms, a n d they m i g h t emerge only o n o c c a s i o n . F o r example,

they

m i g h t s h o w s i m p l y as a too r e a d y a n d too c o n s i s t e n t agree­ m e n t w i t h , a n d productive u s e of, the analyst's i n t e r v e n ­ t i o n s ; t h e n , it is as t h o u g h the a n a l y s a n d is m a k i n g the p o i n t t h a t a l l conflict h a s b e e n satisfactorily resolved, a m ­

120

EXPERIENCING TERMINATION

bivalence is no longer a problem, and, accordingly, the analyst's interventions just do not stimulate pain, puzzle­ ment, or opposition. To the analyst it seems that there is too much poise and not enough friction, reluctance, or uncertainty. Earlier, when I discussed the depressive position, I suggested that it is just at this point that any instability or inauthenticity in the analyst's emotional position is likely to introduce special difficulties or intensify those already present. For example, the analyst who is impa­ tient for excellent results will be inclined to be either perfectionistically demanding or idealizing of new and partial gains. And like the analysand, she or he may be obvious about it or extremely subtle. Countertransferences are likely to be intensified in re­ sponse to the stresses experienced by the analyst, too, during the termination process. She or he might be strug­ gling with some feelings of grief, disappointment, dissat­ isfaction, and, now that the end is near, long-suppressed resentment or envy of the analysand. Consequently, an analyst in the false depressive position is ill prepared to help each analysand experience termination as fully as that analysand can. For example, the analyst might not attempt to work through competently or completely the analysand's dissatisfactions, grudges, and envious feel­ ings and jealousy of other and future analysands. In their unconscious fantasies, those others will be the more trea­ sured babies or lovers or both. Instead of remaining ana­ lytical, the analyst might become persecutory or, in a manic way, omnipotently deny his or her own disturbed feelings. In other instances, the off-balance analyst who, in his or her countertransference needs some comfort or reassurance, might push a guilty analysand further into the false depressive position to the point where the 121

BAD F E E L I N G S

a n a l y s a n d feels c o m p e l l e d to provide w h a t the a n a l y s t r e ­ q u i r e s : r e a s s u r a n c e , p r a c t i c a l h e l p , a n d so o n . It is not r a r e t h a t the i n i t i a l t a s k of a s e c o n d a n a l y s i s is i n t e r p r e t ­ ing

the

termination

analyst's

of a

first a n a l y s i s

countertransference

in which

the

stood i n the w a y of a d e ­

quate working through.

CLINICAL EXAMPLES Jane J a n e seemed to be a p p r o a c h i n g the subject of termination. In recent m o n t h s , she h a d been functioning fairly c o n s i s ­ tently more or less i n the depressive position. A l t h o u g h she still readily tilted toward a false position, she was able to regroup forces

somewhat spontaneously

and

reestablish

h e r own k i n d of integrated adaptiveness. T h i s k i n d a n d de­ gree of flux is not u n u s u a l d u r i n g this pretermination p h a s e of m i x e d excitement, poise, grief, a n d d r e a d . J a n e h a d b e e n lodged i n the p a r a n o i d - s c h i z o i d p o s i t i o n d u r i n g m u c h of h e r a n a l y s i s . H e r u s u a l attitude t o w a r d others

a n d herself h a d h a d a judgmental,

all-or-none

q u a l i t y . S h e h a d c l u n g to the i d e a t h a t the f u n d a m e n t a l r u l e specified a c e r t a i n way of f u n c t i o n i n g o n the c o u c h a s " g o o d " or as c o n s t i t u t i n g " w o r k i n g a n a l y t i c a l l y " ; for h e r to do otherwise w a s u n f o r g i v a b l y " b a d . " Ironically, t h i s c o n c e p t i o n of w o r k i n g a n a l y t i c a l l y — t r y i n g always to c o n ­ t r o l w h a t she s a i d — a l l o w e d h e r to a v o i d a n y t h i n g t h a t felt to h e r like free a s s o c i a t i o n . S h e r e g a r d e d free a s s o c i a t i n g as

giving u p

control, being manipulated

into

an

un­

g u a r d e d p o s i t i o n , a n d " s u r r e n d e r i n g " totally to h e r a n a ­ lyst. A l s o , t h i s s u r r e n d e r w o u l d be the o n l y p o s s i b l e r e ­ s u l t of h e r a c c e p t i n g i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of h e r p r o j e c t i n g into 122

EXPERIENCING TERMINATION

the analyst her own harshly authoritarian internal ob­ jects and identifications. Slowly, and after some years, change had become mani­ fest. Jane was moving unstably into a less frightened, less defensive, and less masochistic position. At times, she ex­ pressed that shift toward maturity and adaptive use of her strengths by remarking, "That's interesting." In many in­ stances, of course, 'That's interesting" can be used to express a detached, intellectual, passive attitude; in her case, however, as demonstrated by her subsequent pro­ ductions and emotional experience, it conveyed her com­ mitment to develop further understanding. By "interest­ ing" she meant, "This requires careful analysis." To the extent that she could sustain her new attitude, and often she did so impressively, she showed confidence that I would be thinking about her "interesting" material in the same analytic way, that is, searching for further under­ standing that would be helpful to her. In this shift, she was showing less reliance on projective identification of authoritarian demand and cruelty, moderation of that de­ mand and cruelty, decreased omnipotence, and more identification with the analyst's nonjudgmental analytic attitude and his way of focusing on what seemed to be analytically significant moments. On this basis, she could begin bringing fresh and deeper material without having omnipotently figured out in ad­ vance what she thought were sufficient explanations of what she was reporting. Now she was often able to con­ tinue talking without being driven to "see" or seek "impor­ tant" connections as a way to close out further possibili­ ties, including her possibly needing the analyst's timely interpretations. She was less the victimized, neglected, suffering analysand, and she was better able to allow her­ self to experience guilt consciously. For example, she felt 123

BAD F E E L I N G S

guilt i n c o n n e c t i o n w i t h a newly emerging sense of h e r p r i ­ m a l love

a n d c o n c e r n for,

a n d identification w i t h ,

her

m o t h e r . T h i s freedom d i d not entail greater emotional d i s ­ tance f r o m h e r m u c h - b e l o v e d father; rather, it r e n d e r e d m o r e complex h e r l o n g - e n t r e n c h e d , s i m p l i s t i c i d e a of h e r e m o t i o n a l p o s i t i o n as a c h i l d . It w a s only t h e n that she c o u l d recognize w i t h a p p r o p r i ­ ate p a i n a n d r e s e n t m e n t that she h a d always felt that h e r o w n d e p e n d e n t needs h a d never b e e n met. F o r i n s t a n c e , as a little girl, she h a d " a c c e p t e d " that, i n s t e a d of n e e d i n g a n d expecting her mother's h e l p , she was to b l e n d h e l p ­ fully into h e r mother's emotionally e x h a u s t i n g p r e o c c u p a ­ t i o n w i t h h e r own b u s i n e s s affairs. B u t she c o u l d p l a y t h i s role o n l y ambivalently, a n d as a result, she h a d r e g u l a r l y aggressed against h e r m o t h e r i n deed a n d fantasy,

much

of it i n the form of positive oedipal rivalry. W i t h this sense of h e r history, she was i n d e e d a n aggressor a n d h a d m u c h to feel guilty a b o u t . A t the time to be d i s c u s s e d , J a n e was h a v i n g trouble s u s t a i n i n g these c h a n g e s toward the depressive p o s i t i o n . F o r example, o n one o c c a s i o n it slowly b e c a m e evident that she h a d b e g u n viewing the progressive c h a n g e s j u s t

de­

s c r i b e d as p u s h i n g h e r toward a m u c h - f e a r e d t e r m i n a t i o n . In r e s p o n s e , she b e g a n to revert to a familiar a n d "safe" p a r a n o i d - s c h i z o i d p o s i t i o n . S h e manifested great fear of the u n k n o w n after t e r m i n a t i o n . A l t h o u g h she d i d not m e n ­ t i o n t e r m i n a t i o n explicitly, she d i d indicate between

the

l i n e s of h e r c o n s c i o u s m a t e r i a l that it was i n h e r t h o u g h t s a n d so it w o u l d be wise to adopt the policy, "the less s a i d a b o u t t e r m i n a t i o n the better!" T h e specific context of this regressive shift w a s t h i s . R e ­ cently, a n d o n the b a s i s of better integrated a n d more r e a l ­ istic f u n c t i o n i n g , she h a d l e a r n e d that i n order to c o n c l u d e some business

124

dealings that she h a d initiated i n d e p e n ­

EXPERIENCING TERMINATION

dently, she w o u l d have to a s k a h a t e d , persecutory, h i t h ­ erto-avoided p a r t n e r to sell at a r e a s o n a b l e price h i s i n t e r ­ est i n some j o i n t l y owned property. T o h e r s u r p r i s e , w h e n she b r o u g h t h e r s e l f to a s k , the p a r t n e r r a i s e d n o objection to this sale. J a n e experienced t h i s seemingly

fortunate

development as a " s h a t t e r i n g piece of n e w s . " S h e t h e n ex­ p l a i n e d that, a l t h o u g h she h a d i n d e e d attained w h a t she w a n t e d , n o w she w o u l d not only have to collaborate w i t h h e r p a r t n e r o n the d e a l , she w o u l d have to

acknowledge

t h a t he c o u l d be " g o o d . " W i t h d i s m a y , she a n n o u n c e d that a b a n d o n i n g h e r negative image of h i m w o u l d affect

her

very b a d l y , b e c a u s e for a very l o n g time she h a d needed to confine h i m i n h e r s c h e m e of things to the role of a p u r e l y hateful p e r s o n . In response to h e r d i s m a y , the analyst t h e n s a i d that j u s t as i n a l l her close relationships, especially her relationship w i t h h i m (the analyst), it was sometimes h a r d for h e r to tol­ erate mixtures of good a n d b a d . H e t h e n r e m i n d e d her of h e r evident ambivalence about t a k i n g the lead i n proposing this desirable deal. H e also m e n t i o n e d a topic that h a d come u p for analysis frequently—her gross u s e of splitting "good" a n d " b a d " a n d projecting the " b a d " w h e n considering b o t h h i m a n d h e r parents, a n d h e emphasized that now,

once

again, she was faced w i t h the (to her) g r i m necessity of tol­ erating complexity

a n d ambivalence.

Significantly,

even

w h e n she w a s i n the m i d s t of t h i s regressive shift, J a n e d i d not lose h e r r e a d i n e s s to adopt the attitude, " T h a t ' s i n t e r ­ e s t i n g . " S h e w a s o p e n a b o u t h e r d i s m a y a n d h e r n e e d to m a i n t a i n a p e r s e c u t o r y stance, a n d she w a s r e a d y to r e ­ flect o n the i n t e n s i t y of h e r negative attitude toward h e r p a r t n e r ' s favorable r e s p o n s e . E a r l i e r i n the a n a l y s i s ,

she

c o u l d not have r e s p o n d e d t h a t way. W h e n J a n e w a s closer to t e r m i n a t i o n , s h e a d d e d to h e r reflective c o m m e n t s , " T h a t ' s the w a y it i s . " T h e n , n o longer

125

BAD F E E L I N G S

high-pitched, she could develop relatively straightforward descriptions of problematic situations. Authoritarian judg­ ments and painful resignation no longer dominated so many of her narratives. "That's the way it is" could be un­ derstood as an expression of her readiness to accept am­ bivalence and loss of omnipotence while retaining initia­ tive, hopefulness, and trust. For example, after she had thrown a birthday party for a friend single-handedly and then had had to be up all night to handle an emergency in her business, she came to her session saying, "I'm just too tired to do analysis." She noted at once that she was not feeling anxious or guilty about taking this position, and she added reflectively, "That's the way it is." Leading up to the moment of Jane's asserting and accept­ ing her being exhausted was her focusing intermittently on how all her life she had been trying to ward off guilt; now she could usually see clearly that her habitual way of ward­ ing off guilt had been to hide it behind "shame and blame." She understood that she had evolved these hiding places in the service of her automatic use of fantasies of omnipotence and her two-way persecutory attitudes. She had relied heavily on splitting and externalization. By projecting her own self-disapproval, she had been able to feel unified in the consciously familiar role of the self-righteous victim of others. Had she remained in that position in this session, she could have acted the part of a drudge trying to go on "working" despite her exhaustion, blaming her analyst for his demandingness, and feeling ashamed of her "failing" at analysis, and all the while she would have kept on secretly feeling superior. Recognizing her gains in integration, re­ flectiveness, and trust, the analyst felt at ease letting her do it her way. It was also noteworthy during this phase of the analysis that Jane could allow herself to be deeply touched by her 126

EXPERIENCING TERMINATION

aging a n d ailing mother's n e e d to be close to her. S h e d i d so even while h e r m o t h e r c o n t i n u e d to d i s a p p o i n t her painfully, j u s t as she h a d always done. H e r m o t h e r lost things, she b r o k e t h i n g s , a n d she was p a i n f u l l y u n r e s p o n ­ sive to news of J a n e ' s b u s i n e s s

s u c c e s s e s . Previously,

J a n e w o u l d have focused o n the destructive h a t r e d i m p l i e d i n h e r mother's b e i n g t h a t way, a n d she w o u l d have felt all the more j u s t i f i e d i n h e r h a v i n g , as she saw it, t r i u m ­ p h a n t l y stolen h e r father's affection from h e r m o t h e r ear­ lier i n life a n d i n w a r d l y treated h e r m o t h e r dismissively. Now, even t h o u g h J a n e c o u l d feel h u r t a n d resentful i n response to h e r mother's actions, she c o u l d recognize that " T h a t ' s the w a y it i s , " m e a n i n g " T h a t ' s the way she i s , " a n d she c o u l d t h e n go o n to see herself differently. F o r ex­ a m p l e , she c o u l d r e m e m b e r that i n h e r early years she h a d not t u r n e d exclusively toward h e r father; she a c k n o w l ­ edged that she h a d gone b a c k a n d forth between h e r p a r ­ ents, feeling love, a l t e r n a t i n g w i t h d e s p a i r a n d anger, for b o t h of t h e m i n response to their n a r c i s s i s t i c a n d d e s t r u c ­ tive ways. In the s e s s i o n I reported, it was noteworthy that, despite h e r tiredness a n d l a c k of m o t i v a t i o n , she d i d go o n to "do a n a l y s i s , " b u t she d i d so s p o n t a n e o u s l y a n d u n g r u d g i n g l y . S h e gave n o s i g n t h a t she was b e i n g self-sacrificially a n d submissively "good,"

n o r was

she

self-conscious

about

h a v i n g " d o n e a n a l y s i s . " Nevertheless, that she was w o r r i e d a b o u t all this change c o u l d be inferred from h e r not h a v i n g gone o n explicitly a n d s p o n t a n e o u s l y to l i n k h e r expressed a m b i v a l e n c e a n d guilt to the transference. B e l i e v i n g that she h a d already t a k e n o n quite e n o u g h a u t o n o m y for one s e s s i o n , a n d also b e c a u s e time was u p , h e r a n a l y s t let it go at that. T h e next day, however, it b e c a m e evident t h a t h e h a d m i s j u d g e d the state of h e r t r a n s f e r e n c e — a n d h i s c o u n ­ 127

BAD F E E L I N G S

t e r t r a n s f e r e n c e . J a n e b e g a n b y s a y i n g t h a t the r o o m was too c h i l l y ; she felt c o l d a n d a s k e d if it w o u l d be o k a y to t u r n o n the r a d i a t o r . H e took t h i s o p e n i n g to m e a n t h a t s h e w a s feeling d i s t a n t a n d u n c a r e d for. In o r d e r to b r i n g o u t h e r feelings, he q u e s t i o n e d w h y she h a d to a s k a b o u t t h a t n o w i n view of the fact that i n the p a s t , it h a d b e e n clearly e s t a b l i s h e d t h a t if she felt c o l d , it w o u l d be o k a y j u s t to t u r n o n the r a d i a t o r ; she d i d not have to a s k for h i s o k a y . In h e r regressive way, she i g n o r e d h i s c o m m e n t a n d r e p l i e d t h a t she h a d not w a n t e d to be r u d e , a n d t h e n , to drive h e r defensive p o i n t h o m e , she a d d e d t h a t she h a d not wanted

to m a k e

h i m physically uncomfortable

by

o v e r h e a t i n g the r o o m . D r a w i n g o n some w o r k they h a d done i n the p a s t , he r e s p o n d e d , " Y o u c a n ' t t h i n k t h a t I always treat y o u like a g u e s t w h o s e comfort always c o m e s first." S h e s a i d , " B e i n g treated t h a t way is s u c h a rare e x p e r i e n c e , " a n d went o n to e x p l a i n w i t h m u c h feeling t h a t w h i l e she c o u l d accept the i d e a of b e i n g a guest, t h a t b y d o i n g so i m p o s e d a r e q u i r e m e n t that, u n f a i l i n g l y , she be o n h e r b e s t b e h a v i o r . T h e a n a l y s t realized t h e n that J a n e was

letting h i m

k n o w that she h a d retained a good-sized c h u n k of the old expectation of h a r s h treatment; consequently, it was i m ­ p o r t a n t that he r e m e m b e r that she was not wholeheartedly i n favor of h e r new g a i n s . T h e s e gains were still t h r e a t e n ­ i n g to h e r . H e also inferred that she was letting h i m k n o w that it w o u l d have b e e n u s e f u l i n the previous s e s s i o n to develop the l i n k to the transference,

for she was

now

s h o w i n g h i m i n a c t i o n what b o t h of t h e m h a d deferred the d a y before, n a m e l y , n o t i n g explicitly that he was not to take for g r a n t e d the stability of h e r shift toward the de­ pressive p o s i t i o n . C e r t a i n l y , he

s h o u l d not get

excited

a b o u t t e r m i n a t i o n , w i t h all it i m p l i e d a b o u t leaving her o n h e r o w n , as he h a d done the day before. 128

EXPERIENCING TERMINATION

T h e analyst r e s p o n d e d b y reflecting i n w a r d l y o n whether or not he was manifesting some countertransference i m p a ­ tience for stability of position, if not for t e r m i n a t i o n itself, a n d t h e n decided that, i n h i s radiator interventions, he h a d indicated some impatience by not interpreting her feeling neglected. Notwithstanding this provocative c o u n t e r t r a n s ­ ference,

the atmosphere

i n the

second

session

h a d re­

m a i n e d mostly collaborative. S h e d i d not persist i n m a i n ­ taining

the

artificial

maturity

of

the

false

depressive

position she h a d manifested b y her b r i n g i n g u p the radiator i n the "polite" a n d " c a r i n g " way that she h a d .

Esther M y second clinical example,

E s t h e r , it will be r e c a l l e d ,

w a s d i s c u s s e d i n the p r e c e d i n g c h a p t e r as s h o w i n g false g o o d n e s s . A u t h e n t i c g o o d n e s s b e i n g a n a t t r i b u t e of f u n c ­ t i o n i n g i n the m o d e of the depressive p o s i t i o n , its false v e r s i o n qualifies a s one f o r m of r i g i d a n d u n c o n v i n c i n g pseudomaturity

in

the

context

of

termination.

When

E s t h e r w a s i n a late p h a s e of h e r a n a l y s i s , she w a s u s u ­ ally able to m a i n t a i n h e r h a r d - e a r n e d depressive p o s i t i o n w h e n u n d e r stress. A t t i m e s , however, she w o u l d regress r a p i d l y , t h o u g h t r a n s i e n t l y , to the p a r a n o i d - s c h i z o i d p o ­ s i t i o n , m e a n i n g t h a t s h e c o u l d t h e n slowly a n d i n d e p e n ­ d e n t l y w o r k h e r w a y b a c k to h e r m o r e m a t u r e p o s i t i o n . In h e r r e g r e s s i o n s , E s t h e r p a r t i c u l a r l y favored the false d e ­ pressive p o s i t i o n t h a t h a d b e e n , a n d to s o m e extent h a d r e m a i n e d , a n i n g r a i n e d p a r t of h e r c h a r a c t e r . D u r i n g t h i s late p h a s e of the w o r k , h e r r e g r e s s i o n s s e e m e d to be p r e ­ c i p i t a t e d m o r e r e a d i l y as, after l o n g p u t t i n g it off, b e g a n to let h e r s e l f experience a n d recognize

she

classical

positive o e d i p a l desires a n d fantasies i n the t r a n s f e r e n c e . 129

BAD F E E L I N G S

S h e b e h a v e d as t h o u g h t h i s n e w c o n s c i o u s n e s s

threat­

e n e d h e r entire s e n s e of herself; it t h r e w into q u e s t i o n every one of h e r self-justifying a c c o u n t s . T h a t was m u c h too m u c h . In the larger context of the a n a l y t i c p r o c e s s ,

Esther

m a y be u n d e r s t o o d as feeling t h r e a t e n e d b y two i n t e r w o ­ v e n d e v e l o p m e n t s . T h e first was the p e n d i n g t e r m i n a t i o n , w h i c h she e x p e r i e n c e d c o n s c i o u s l y as a total s e p a r a t i o n t h a t c o u l d o n l y b r i n g to a n e n d h e r t r a n s f e r e n t i a l m i x t u r e of r e s i d u a l o m n i p o t e n c e was

and victimization. The

second

the e m e r g e n c e of the o e d i p a l t r i a n g u l a t i o n s . T h a t

c h a n g e c o u l d only have intensified h e r correlative feelings of defeat, loss, a n d guilt. Previously she h a d b e e n able to w a r d off these feelings b y o m n i p o t e n t reparativeness a n d feelings of s u p e r i o r i t y a n d control i n the a n a l y s i s a n d i n h e r e n a c t e d o e d i p a l triangles. O n l y at this point, a n d only i n a n u n s t a b l e way, was she able to acknowledge

these

p a i n f u l factors. It m a y have b e e n precisely this a p p r o a c h of the s e p a r a t i o n represented b y t e r m i n a t i o n that revived a n d intensified h e r u n c o n s c i o u s oedipal experiences

and

facilitated their clear a p p e a r a n c e so late i n the a n a l y s i s . A l m o s t certainly, the t i m i n g h a d led h e r to t h i n k of the h o l i d a y w e e k e n d that lay a h e a d as a preview of the t e r m i ­ n a t i o n t h a t w o u l d e n d h e r fantasized d y a d i c grip o n h e r a n a l y s t . S e p a r a t i o n w o u l d u n d e r m i n e the o m n i p o t e n t c o n ­ trol that i n c l u d e d oedipal victory. In the context of t e r m i n a t i o n , E s t h e r ' s analytic gains h a d b e c o m e s h a k y , b u t they h a d not c o l l a p s e d i r r e p a r a b l y . A s i n - t h e case of J a n e , the a n a l y s t h a d a p p a r e n t l y c o n ­ veyed some countertransference p r e s s u r e toward t e r m i n a ­ t i o n , this time b y b e i n g too ready to perceive as guilt a veiled n a r c i s s i s t i c d i s p l a y (see C h a p t e r 6). H i s b e i n g out­ of-tune c o u l d have further s t i m u l a t e d h e r regressiveness.

130

EXPERIENCING TERMINATION

CONCLUSION Optimally, consideration of termination begins after the analysand has been functioning fairly reliably more or less within the depressive position and shows resiliency when regressions occur. But no sooner is termination mentioned or even anticipated then the analysand's reactive anxiety stimulates another defensive regression. That shift may be responsive to countertransference cues. One such defen­ sive shift is assuming a false depressive position, that is, simulating a mature, caring, balanced, "well-analyzed" mode of relating to others, often doing so in a burdensome, aggressive, and disappointing manner. The defensive aim is to escape the complex, often painful experience of sepa­ ration, loss, and responsibility occasioned by termination. At that stressful time, however, it can additionally involve an effort to fit in with the analyst's also having defensively adopted a false depressive position. Thus, the analyst's emotional stability or lack thereof plays a central role in the analysand's experience of termination. Terminations are a subclass of separation experiences. When the interpretations put forward here are not reck­ lessly generalized, they can advance the understanding of adaptive and maladaptive responses to a variety of sepa­ rations. At the least, they can facilitate formulating the analytic questions it would be helpful to consider in troubled times, and it is no small gain when these inter­ ventions further the analysand's consolidation of benefi­ cial analytic changes at the momentous time of termina­ tion and afterward.

131

CHAPTER 8

PAINFUL PROGRESS: THE NEGATIVE THERAPEUTIC REACTION RECONCEIVED

M a k i n g progress while u n d e r g o i n g p s y c h o a n a l y s i s i n d u c e s p a i n f u l anxiety a n d s a d n e s s .

often

Analysands dread

w h a t lies a h e a d a n d m o u r n l o n g - l a s t i n g c o m m i t m e n t s to themselves a n d others they are leaving b e h i n d . N o w that they are c h a n g i n g their orientation to r e l a t i o n s h i p s a n d to themselves, they m u s t w o r k t h r o u g h s h a m e , anxiety, feel­ ings of loss, a n d guilt i n the i n t e r n a l w o r l d . In r e a c t i o n to these p a i n f u l c h a n g e s , they b a c k away f r o m o p p o r t u n i t i e s for f u r t h e r progress a n d revert to manifestations

of the

m a l a d a p t i v e orientations they have b e e n r e l i n q u i s h i n g . In the analytic lexicon, they are s a i d to be engaging i n n e g a ­ tive t h e r a p e u t i c reactions. T h e i d e a o f negative t h e r a p e u t i c r e a c t i o n h a s b e e n a m a i n s t a y of p s y c h o a n a l y t i c d i s c o u r s e s i n c e F r e u d (1923) introduced

it. E a r l i e r

(1916)

he h a d a n t i c i p a t e d

this

c o n c e p t u a l i z a t i o n w h e n he d i s c u s s e d , " t h o s e w r e c k e d b y s u c c e s s . " In k e e p i n g w i t h h i s e m p h a s i s o n the centrality of the O e d i p u s complex,

F r e u d regarded these w r e c k s a n d

retreats a s guilty acts of a b a n d o n i n g w o r l d l y a n d analytic g a i n s that u n c o n s c i o u s l y signify forbidden oedipal gratifi­ c a t i o n or steps t o w a r d oedipal victory. 133

BAD F E E L I N G S

Later,

Joan

Riviere

(1936)

published

a

well-known

K l e i n i a n treatment of this topic. B e i n g less restricted to oedipal i s s u e s , h e r e m p h a s i s o n guilt w a s m u c h more i n ­ clusive t h a n F r e u d ' s . I believe that m o s t analysts

contemporary

c o n t i n u e to refer to negative t h e r a p e u t i c r e a c ­

t i o n s — a s I have done i n earlier c h a p t e r s — a n d they ascribe t h e m n o w to a wide variety of p a i n f u l feelings a n d a p p r e ­ hensive fantasies, guilt b e i n g only one of t h e m . A m o n g the others are fears of loss, rejection, or a b a n d o n m e n t ; e n v i ­ o u s a n d p e r s e c u t o r y attitudes; a n d efforts to m a i n t a i n a b ­ solute c o n t r o l over the grandiose tendencies s t i m u l a t e d b y their worldly a n d analytic gains. T h e y m i g h t t h e n seek mediocrity, failure, a n d h u m i l i a t i o n . Still, oedipal guilt, a l o n g w i t h its regularly a c c o m p a n y i n g c a s t r a t i o n anxiety or one of its female equivalents, always r e m a i n s a n i m p o r ­ tant factor to c o n s i d e r . I believe, however, that the idea of negative therapeutic reaction, valuable t h o u g h it is, h a s its theoretical a n d tech­ n i c a l d r a w b a c k s . A critical review is overdue. In the three sections of this chapter that follow, I will u n d e r t a k e that r e ­ view, concentrating m o s t of all o n the idea that it is n o t u s u ­ ally analytically useful to t h i n k of these reactions i n nega­ tive terms. T o establish a general context for m y critique, I will first raise questions about F r e u d ' s theoretical a n d t e c h ­ n i c a l concept of resistance,

for I believe, a n d have already

a r g u e d i n several places (1976, 1983, 1997a) that the idea of resistance indicates the presence of a negative attitude that

compromised

Freud's

otherwise

remarkably

open­

m i n d e d a p p r o a c h to h i s a n a l y s a n d s . S e c o n d will be a n ex­ p a n d e d conception of the p h e n o m e n o n that I consider sys­ tematically a n d neutrally analytic a n d therefore technically more useful. T h e third a n d final section will be devoted to four brief clinical illustrations c h o s e n to illustrate m y the­ sis, other d y n a m i c issues being set aside for the p u r p o s e . 134

P A I N F U L PROGRESS

RESISTANCE Using the term resistance implies that the analyst and the analysand are being viewed as adversaries. More exactly, resistance implies that, unconsciously, if not consciously, the analysand is refusing to do what the analyst wants and expects. The analyst who thinks in this way is abandoning the analytic attitude, no longer maintaining an unshakable and neutral curiosity about the beliefs, feelings, and inten­ tions that unconsciously shape the analysand's controls and conduct, most of all in the analytic relationship itself. I take this position while knowing full well that basically, resistance is understood to refer to internal conflict, the analysand resisting becoming aware of unconscious fac­ tors of importance: memories, desires, defenses, and so on. Ordinary analytic usage of the term does, however, highlight the manifestations of this conflict in the many forms of obstruction of the analytic process erected by the fearful analysand. It is in this respect that the relationship gains its adversarial coloring. With this understanding, I continue my critique. The analytic attitude underlies the analyst's steady and appropriate search for reasons. In this respect, the analyst's orientation remains affirmative, not negative—affirmative not in its denying negative thoughts and feelings, but rather in its seeking to define that which the analysand is trying to accomplish through seeming or being unproduc­ tive or disruptive. If, then, the analysand blocks, evades, attacks, fails to remember, or does something else that seems negatively inspired, uncollaborative, and implicitly defensive, analysts are most effective when they approach these problematic actions as signs of unconscious conflict that involve significant feelings of anxiety, guilt, shame, mistrust, dismay, or resentment. 135

BAD F E E L I N G S

Sometimes, these "negative" actions have been pro­ voked in part by the analyst. Countertransference is al­ ways a relevant consideration in this context. Even so, after taking this factor into account, the analyst contin­ ues to search for reasons embedded in unconscious fan­ tasy and conflict. For analytic purposes, the analysand's recalcitrance is to be regarded as manifesting a problem that has not yet been understood. When there is open op­ position to the work and enticement to engage in a power struggle, the analyst wants to know what the analysand is trying to accomplish thereby, not stopping at what the analysand is trying to avoid. In keeping with the analytic attitude, the analyst takes the appearance of opposition to be merely the surface of the analysand's troubled situ­ ation, that is, manifest content to be understood in terms of its latent meanings. Freud understood enough about this problem to con­ sistently emphasize the importance of analyzing the resistance, not fighting it head-on (1912a,b, 1914b, 1915b). Unfortunately, however, in his formal discus­ sions he exemplified the analysis of resistance in a quite limited way; it amounted to telling the analysand that he or she is in a state of opposition about something and that this opposition is the reason for the current disrup­ tion, and further, that the analysand is probably doing so as way of withholding some unexpressed thought and feeling about the analyst (Freud 1912a,b). More than being limited, this kind of intervention implicitly tries to bypass defense analysis and simply force transference into the open. Over the years, analysts have learned to go beyond this way of approaching resistance. Now, if they maintain their emotional balance, they tend to view mani­ fest opposition as the next significant development in the analytic process. The situation does not call for instruc­ 136

P A I N F U L PROGRESS

tion

or

"breaking through";

instead,

it awaits

under­

standing a n d interpretation. G o i n g f u r t h e r i n these earlier reviews of resistance especially

(see

1997a), I t h e n a r g u e d that F r e u d ' s a b u n d a n t

u s e of m a r t i a l m e t a p h o r s i n d i s c u s s i n g the a n a l y t i c r e l a ­ tionship

evidenced

adversarial terms.

a

personal

need

to

conceive

F r e u d seemed to have c l u n g to

a d v e r s a r i a l stance n o t w i t h s t a n d i n g (1) h i s m a n y

it

in

this

demon­

strations of p r o f o u n d e m p a t h i c u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the trials a n d t r i b u l a t i o n s of existence a l o n g w i t h its t h r i l l s a n d joys, (2) h i s s t r o n g e n d o r s e m e n t

of the i d e a that the

analyst

s h o u l d v a l u e e m p a t h i c u n d e r s t a n d i n g as a way to r e a c h analytic goals, a n d (3) h i s later e m p h a s i s

(1926) o n the

d a n g e r s i t u a t i o n s of c h i l d h o o d a n d their manifestations i n the c u r r e n t transference. In these respects, F r e u d showed h i s g e n i u s ; still, he v a l u e d

resistance.

C o n s e q u e n t l y , F r e u d c a n be viewed as splitting h i s a m ­ bivalence, t h a t is, failing to integrate h i s t h o u g h t s a n d feel­ ings a b o u t the w o r k of a n a l y s i s . I attribute some of this splitting to h i s zeal i n d e m o n s t r a t i n g the t h e r a p e u t i c p o ­ tential of h i s m e t h o d . T h a t zeal a p p e a r s to have m a d e h i m a n i m p a t i e n t a n a l y s t . I attribute some of the splitting to a n o t h e r factor: F r e u d ' s n e e d i n g " g o o d " r e s u l t s , s u c h as r e ­ covery of m e m o r i e s a n d relief from s y m p t o m s ,

to a m a s s

d a t a for h i s theory of psychopathology, developmental a n d existential p r o b l e m s , a n d the n o r m a l forms of s o c i a l i z a t i o n that grow o u t of the p r i m a r i l y i n s t i n c t u a l p s y c h i c states of infants t h a t he h a d p o s t u l a t e d . O n the b a s i s of these views, I t h e n r e c o m m e n d e d because resistance

that,

implicitly supports a n u n h e l p f u l stance

i n the countertransference, it be p u t aside a n d replaced b y the concept of defense. Defense, w h i c h is specifically geared to the analysis of conflict, does the essential work that F r e u d c l a i m e d he d i d w i t h the concept of resistance, a n d 137

BAD F E E L I N G S

does it better. I added that, if a t h i r d term m u s t be a d d e d to the foundational terms of the psychoanalytic p r o c e s s — d e ­ fense a n d transference now being the first two—counter­ transference s h o u l d be the t h i r d . T h u s : defense,

transfer­

ence, a n d countertransference triangulate the analysand's functioning i n the clinical situation.

m G3ESESSACSY fflEFEKBAIL? B e c a u s e negative therapeutic reaction is a t e c h n i c a l term, it requires u s first of all to be clear a b o u t the k i n d s of c l i n i ­ c a l s i t u a t i o n s for w h i c h it is designed. I realize that these s i t u a t i o n s are observed a n d d e s c r i b e d differently w i t h i n different p s y c h o a n a l y t i c perspectives; however, i n p u r s u ­ i n g m y a r g u m e n t I will r e m a i n w i t h i n the b o r d e r s of the traditional Freudian-Kleinian method,

the

method

that

c h a m p i o n s interpretation b y a n e m p a t h i c b u t n e u t r a l a n d more

or less emotionally reserved analyst. T h a t is

the

m e t h o d I favor a n d therefore k n o w best. A s i n the case of analyzing defense, it is essential that the analyst take it as a principle of doing analysis that, i n the analytic situation, a sense of great danger permeates the analysand's

unconscious

fantasies.

U n d e r l y i n g states of

conflict develop a n d repeatedly give rise to p a i n f u l feelings. If not encountered directly, these feelings are clearly implied i n the extreme measures that a n a l y s a n d s take to w a r d t h e m off. O n e might say that the feelings are very present i n their c o n s p i c u o u s absence.

Sometimes

they are first e n c o u n ­

tered i n the analyst's countertransference, i n w h i c h case they m a y be t a k e n as signs that the a n a l y s a n d h a s success­ fully split a n d projected problematic feelings into the a n a ­ lyst a n d p e r h a p s enticed the analyst into a n enactment. 138

P A I N F U L PROGRESS

O n this view, the analytic process is almost always col­ ored b y a dread of u n d e r s t a n d i n g a n d of p e r s o n a l change. B e c a u s e progress is p a i n f u l , the a n a l y s a n d is to be u n d e r ­ stood

as

clinging to a maladaptive p s y c h i c e q u i l i b r i u m

b a s e d o n s y m p t o m s , disordered character features, sado­ m a s o c h i s t i c attachment to that w h i c h i n d u c e s c o n s c i o u s suffering i n self a n d others, as well as covertly protecting p e r s o n a l assets a n d productive use of available o p p o r t u n i ­ ties for e s t a b l i s h i n g a place i n the w o r l d . T h e a n a l y s a n d is also viewed as trying to convey or project not only the worst aspects of destructiveness, b o t h self- a n d other-directed, b u t also the m o s t intense feelings of love, desire, a n d de­ pendence that have b e e n t u r n e d into overwhelming threats b y other conflicts a n d b y previous p a i n f u l life experience. W h y , t h e n , s h o u l d the a n a l y s a n d feel at a l l free to j o i n the a n a l y s t i n e n t e r i n g a n d e x p o s i n g t h a t m e n a c i n g w o r l d of u n c o n s c i o u s fantasy, desire, a n d conflict? Indeed, it c a n be s a i d t h a t a n a l y s a n d s c a n n o t give t r u l y i n f o r m e d c o n s e n t u p o n b e g i n n i n g a n a l y t i c t r e a t m e n t , for at t h a t time t h e y c a n h a v e n o c o n s c i o u s a w a r e n e s s of w h a t " d a n ­ gers" lie a h e a d : t r e a t m e n t p r o b i n g deeper a n d deeper into t h e m e s of d e p e n d e n c e , fragility, h a t r e d , loss, a b a n d o n ­ m e n t , f o r b i d d e n d e s i r e , g r a n d i o s i t y , envy, a n d r u t h l e s s ­ n e s s , as well as f r i g h t e n i n g feelings of e x c i t e m e n t a n d love a n d " p e r v e r s e " or otherwise s o c i a l l y u n a c c e p t a b l e d e s i r e s . If,

d u r i n g the p r o c e s s ,

analysands draw back

f r o m f r e s h suffering, if t h e y reverse d i r e c t i o n a n d u n d o the p r e s u m e d g a i n s of the c l i n i c a l w o r k , w h a t w a r r a n t h a s the a n a l y s t to c o n s i d e r t h e m as b e h a v i n g negatively? T o be s u r e , the a n a l y s a n d ' s d o i n g so is a r e a c t i o n against the c h a n g e s t h a t are t a k i n g place, b u t it c a n be

negative

o n l y i n the eyes of the overzealous a n a l y s t . T h i s is the a n a l y s t i m p a t i e n t for w h a t s h e or he c o n s i d e r s to be good r e s u l t s , p r o g r e s s , or s u c c e s s .

139

BAD

FEELINGS

In this subtle way, F r e u d ' s word for it—negative—lends s u p p o r t to whichever narcissistic strivings for omnipotence i n h a b i t the a n a l y s t , a n d it also m i g h t be u s e d to j u s t i f y u n w a r r a n t e d f r u s t r a t i o n over the s e e m i n g t h w a r t i n g of h i s o r h e r b e s t a n a l y t i c efforts. A n a l y s t s w h o l e a n i n t h i s u n a n a l y t i c direction view "negative therapeutic reaction" as a good w a y to describe a n analysand's cutting off fresh m a ­ terial a n d u n d e r m i n i n g beneficial changes that are already u n d e r way. T h e y see it as a refusal or regrettable retreat, a n d at times they feel it as a s m a c k i n the face. E a r l i e r I m e n t i o n e d J o a n Riviere's (1936) K l e i n i a n p a p e r o n negative therapeutic reactions a n d s a i d that, over the y e a r s , it h a s proved u n n e c e s s a r y to stick to guilt or oedi­ pal-level d y n a m i c s to e x p l a i n t h e m . M u c h of this develop­ ment

m a y be attributed

to the f o u n d a t i o n a l

w o r k of

M e l a n i e K l e i n (1975) a n d its elaboration b y h e r creative followers

(see the collections

in Joseph

1989, S p i l l i u s

1994, a n d Steiner 1993; see also F e l d m a n 1990, 1994). In their

vocabulary,

negative is

i n comparative

disuse.

M a i n l y they focus o n intense preoedipal or pregenital feel­ ings, i n c l u d i n g guilt, t h o u g h they do n o t view the stages of development i n question as preoedipal or pregenital i n that they interpret oedipal a n d genital i s s u e s a n d guilt i n the years of life p r e c e d i n g the m a t u r e O e d i p u s complex a n d its " r e s o l u t i o n . " E a r l y guilt u s u a l l y centers o n fantasized h o s ­ tile attacks o n the mother's b o d y parts, h e r r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h father, a n d a l l those s i b l i n g s — r e a l , i m a g i n e d , a n d a n t i c i p a t e d — w h o have i s s u e d from h e r w o m b or c o u l d . O t h e r l i m i t i n g factors i n c l u d e envy a n d ingratitude a n d the u n c o n s c i o u s fantasies

i n w h i c h they are expressed,

s u c h as h a v i n g already d a m a g e d the m o t h e r a n d h e r sig­ nificant others. In the i n s t a n c e of envy, the h e l p f u l a n a ­ lyst, h a v i n g b e e n l i n k e d u n c o n s c i o u s l y to the split-off, ide­ alized good m o t h e r or h e r breast, becomes the target of 140

P A I N F U L PROGRESS

wishes to spoil that helpfulness (see C h a p t e r s 4 a n d

6).

O n e way to a c c o m p l i s h this spoiling is to damage the treat­ m e n t b y regressing from signs of progress. A d d i t i o n a l l y , p a r t of Riviere's d i s c u s s i o n e m p h a s i z e s t e n a c i o u s a t t a c h ­ m e n t to " b a d objects." T h u s , the K l e i n i a n s have e n r i c h e d not only the a p p r o a c h to a n a l y z i n g regressive reactions to the p a i n s of progress, b u t also F r e u d ' s more general ac­ c o u n t of danger s i t u a t i o n s .

CLINICAL ILLUSTRATIONS Ted T e d , w i t h w h o m we have b e c o m e a c q u a i n t e d i n several earlier

chapters,

would

regularly forget

what

we

had

t a l k e d a b o u t from s e s s i o n to s e s s i o n . Indeed, he w o u l d for­ get even more a n d w i t h extra persistence after a n y s e s s i o n t h a t i n c l u d e d the least suggestion

of intense feeling or

sense of r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h me. F o r a l o n g time, T e d re­ m a i n e d u n c o m p r e h e n d i n g w h e n I pointed to the a c c u m u ­ l a t i o n of i n d i c a t i o n s that h i s f u n c t i o n i n g was d i s r u p t e d i n response to m y a b s e n c e s over weekends a n d d u r i n g h o l i ­ days a n d v a c a t i o n s . E v e n w h e n he w o u l d accept a tenta­ tive, limited interpretation, he was compelled to modify it to the point where it w o u l d lose the i m p r i n t of its h a v i n g come from m e . N a r c i s s i s t i c a l l y , he w o u l d s o m e h o w change m y i n s i g h t into one he h a d achieved o n h i s o w n . I u n d e r s t o o d this m a n e u v e r to be one of h i s m a n y ways of p r e c l u d i n g a n y experience of d e p e n d e n c y or gratitude. T e d ' s capacity to m a i n t a i n emotional stability a n d capable f u n c t i o n i n g i n the external w o r l d seemed to d e p e n d o n h i s acting only i n a c c o r d w i t h a n u n c o n s c i o u s fantasy of a completely self-sufficient

life c a r r i e d o n i n a c o c o o n - l i k e

141

BAD F E E L I N G S

e n v i r o n m e n t . O n this b a s i s , h i s w o r k record was, i n fact, one of significant achievement. Additionally, T e d manifested signs of a persisting intense attachment to h i s parents. Implied i n h i s notion of this at­ t a c h m e n t was a fantasy that, t h o u g h d e a d , they depended o n him a n d they were vulnerable to his comings a n d goings. T h u s , he experienced considerable guilt whenever he began to enter into other relationships, a n d this guilt did seem to play a part i n h i s regressive reactions to analytic advances. C o n s e q u e n t l y , I c o u l d infer that, b y a c t i n g toward me as he d i d , T e d was s h o w i n g me h i s d i l e m m a . I b e g a n to u n d e r s t a n d that, i n a n oblique way, he was collaborating w i t h me i n h i s treatment by m a k i n g h i s d i l e m m a available for interpretation. T h a t collaboration was also evident i n h i s exceptionally regular attendance over a l o n g period of a n a l y s i s a n d i n the great seriousness of h i s realization that he h a d r e a c h e d a point i n h i s life where he stood very m u c h i n need of someone else's help to get out of w h a t he experienced as a d i s m a l r u t . S h o w i n g me h i s o m n i p o t e n c e ­ i n - a - c o c o o n c o u l d be considered h i s s a y i n g to me, " D o n ' t y o u see w h a t I a m u p against?!" T e d was engaged i n a project far more complicated t h a n s i m p l y reacting w i t h guilt to a n y s i g n of progress or s u c c e s s .

Jim J i m , o u r next example, grew u p i n a family c o n s i s t i n g of a h y p e r c r i t i c a l m o t h e r a n d a weak, boastful, a n d u n r e l i a b l e father.

It seemed that he h a d grown u p w i t h o u t

ade­

quate p a r e n t a l s u p p o r t for o r d i n a r y self-esteem a n d self­ confidence a n d that at a n early age he h a d t a k e n o n the b u r d e n of k e e p i n g h i s parents pacified, e a c h i n h i s or h e r o w n way. L i k e T e d , J i m h a d developed a very s t r o n g s t a n d

142

PAINFUL

against experiencing h i s o w n needfulness.

That

PROGRESS

defense

seemed to be protection against d i s a p p o i n t m e n t a n d rage. A s s u c h , it seemed to be h i s only m e t h o d of m a i n t a i n i n g h i s p r e c a r i o u s integration. J i m ' s s o l u t i o n led h i m , u n c o n s c i o u s l y , to a s s u m e

the

role of a n o m n i p o t e n t figure i n h i s s o c i a l a n d w o r k r e l a ­ t i o n s h i p s . H e always h a d to be the h e l p e r , the

smarter

one, a n d the s o o t h i n g one. In h i s a n a l y s i s , however, J i m s p o k e of h i m s e l f w i t h e n o r m o u s s e l f - c o n s c i o u s n e s s self-criticism.

He watched

h i s every move

and

and

recon­

s i d e r e d h i s every u t t e r a n c e s u s p i c i o u s l y . E v e n h i s self­ derogations were s u s p e c t . T h i s m i s t r u s t s e e m e d to m a n i ­ fest i n t e n s e a t t a c h m e n t to, a n d s o m e i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h , a b a d o b j e c t — h i s h y p e r c r i t i c a l m o t h e r — m u c h as Riviere described.

Also,

a

good

deal

of J i m ' s

apparent

self­

m i s t r u s t w a s devoted to c u r b i n g a n y s i g n of i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h a father w h o c o m m a n d e d n o r e s p e c t i n the f a m i l y a n d n o t r u s t i n the s o n . W i t h t h i s p a t h o l o g i c a l o r g a n i z a t i o n of experience, f a n ­ tasies,

defensive

positions

a n d also

achievements,

de­

sires, a n d v a l u e s , J i m h a d to f i n d s u b t l e w a y s to c o n d u c t h i m s e l f as a " s u p e r g u y " i n the a n a l y s i s , too. H e d i d so even t h o u g h , i n the c o n t e n t of h i s r e m a r k s , he kept c o m ­ p l a i n i n g a b o u t h i s b e h a v i n g that way. A l s o , i n a d d i t i o n to t r e a t i n g h i m s e l f s u s p i c i o u s l y , b y projective i d e n t i f i c a t i o n he c a s t m e i n a h y p e r c r i t i c a l , d i c t a t o r i a l role. In t h i s de­ fensive a n d a c c u s a t o r y t r a n s f e r e n c e , he w o u l d n o t a c c e p t interpretive c o m m e n t s

for w h a t they were. H e c o u l d not

a c c e p t the r e c o m m e n d a t i o n t h a t he try to s p e a k i n a free­ associative m a n n e r i n s t e a d of feeling c o m m i t t e d

always

to h a v i n g a set of topics "to d i s c u s s . " In other w a y s , too, J i m d i d h i s b e s t to w a r d off a s i t u a t i o n i n w h i c h he c o u l d i n a n y w a y b e c o m e e x p o s e d to m e , or t r u s t f u l , d e p e n d e n t , r e s p e c t f u l , w o r t h y of respect, s p o n t a n e o u s , or grateful. 143

BAD F E E L I N G S

Nevertheless,

over time, J i m began to gain some relief

from the extreme a n d c h r o n i c p h y s i c a l a n d mental tensions that h a d led h i m into a n a l y s i s . E v e n t h e n , however,

he

c o u l d not acknowledge that these benefits m i g h t have a n y ­ t h i n g to do w i t h the a n a l y s i s . Indeed, e a c h time he m i g h t have acknowledged the benefits of a n a l y s i s , he w o u l d s o o n find a way of i m m e r s i n g h i m s e l f i n a s i t u a t i o n that w o u l d increase his physical and psychical pain. J i m was not w i t h o u t memories of h a v i n g h a d some good experiences growing u p i n h i s family, b u t he c o u l d b a r e l y recognize that the s u p p o r t he derived from a n a l y s i s — f r o m m e — c o u l d be a factor i n h i s present f u n c t i o n i n g . Instead, he kept b u s y d o c u m e n t i n g h i s b l e a k family story w i t h old a n d new m a t e r i a l a n d r e m a i n e d seemingly i m p e r v i o u s to m y efforts to initiate a m u t u a l l y recognized analytic p r o ­ cess that c o u l d be therapeutically beneficial. A s w i t h T e d , I believe it w o u l d be i n a p p r o p r i a t e to view J i m ' s analytic c o n d u c t as negative i n a n y sense. Whatever guilt there was i n h i s c o n d u c t was, I thought, j u s t one ele­ m e n t i n a complex p s y c h i c s i t u a t i o n . H i s u n c o n s c i o u s f a n ­ tasy of omnipotence p r e c l u d e d gratitude. I m u s t a d d that these a n a l y s a n d s a n d s o m e others I will

mention

briefly

are

usually

presented

under

the

h e a d i n g of severe n a r c i s s i s t i c d i s t u r b a n c e . B u t t h i s set of problems that

my

a n d tendencies

is so

continuing emphasis

commonly here

encountered

s h o u l d not be

re­

g a r d e d as a h i g h l y selective a c c o u n t of o n l y one k i n d of a n a l y s a n d . T h e p r o b l e m s a n d t e n d e n c i e s are also p r e v a ­ lent,

though perhaps

p r e s e n t themselves

less g l a r i n g , i n a n a l y s a n d s

as n e u r o t i c c h a r a c t e r s ,

n e u r o t i c s , reactive depressives,

who

symptomatic

or m i l d l y addictive p e r ­

s o n a l i t i e s . T h u s , to one extent or a n o t h e r , the

examples

of T e d a n d J i m are a p p l i c a b l e to a wide a r r a y of a n a l y ­ s a n d s . It is a q u e s t i o n of how one l o o k s at e a c h of t h e m ,

144

P A I N F U L PROGRESS

a n d w h a t one is i n c l i n e d to designate the a r e a of b a s i c d i s t u r b a n c e . F o r so m a n y a n a l y s a n d s , F r e u d ' s o e d i p a l ­ c e n t e r e d m o d e l of negative t h e r a p e u t i c r e a c t i o n j u s t does n o t s e e m sufficiently i n c l u s i v e .

Kitty A s a t h i r d example, I m e n t i o n a y o u n g w o m a n , Kitty, the d a u g h t e r of a n infantile m o t h e r who s e e m e d to m e to have identified w i t h h e r to a pathological extent. Kitty's a c c o u n t suggested that h e r m o t h e r was t r y i n g to live t h r o u g h Kitty as a w a y of o p e n i n g u p for herself a new set of o p p o r t u n i ­ ties for p e r s o n a l growth. A s a n a l y s i s of Kitty's r e p r e s s i o n s , d e n i a l s , a n d anxieties progressed, it c a m e to seem

that

way to Kitty, too. A reversal of generations describes m u c h of the

dynamics

of

this

mother-daughter

relationship

(Jones 1913). T o the extent that Kitty's m o t h e r tried to a s ­ s u m e or c a r r y out m o t h e r l y f u n c t i o n s , she w a s i n c o n s i s ­ tent, competitive, destructively e n v i o u s , a n d b u r d e n s o m e . Necessarily, this family c o n f i g u r a t i o n entailed c o n s i d e r ­ able t h w a r t i n g of Kitty's d e p e n d e n c y needs. A s h a p p e n s so often d u r i n g a c h i l d h o o d spent i n this k i n d of setting, Kitty developed a deep a n d a m b i v a l e n t a t t a c h m e n t to t h i s a p ­ parently

totally

unsatisfying

figure

and,

in

later

life,

s o u g h t to create s i m i l a r r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h o t h e r s — i n the analysis, with me. C o n s e q u e n t l y , m y interpretive efforts o n Kitty's b e h a l f c o u l d only be met w i t h great a p p r e h e n s i o n , tempestuousness,

resentment,

a n d also some relief. M o s t of the time,

manifest negativity a n d guilt over moves toward e m a n c i p a ­ t i o n were o u t s t a n d i n g features

of the a n a l y t i c

F u n d a m e n t a l l y , she s e e m e d to be e x p r e s s i n g

sessions.

ambivalent

identification w i t h h e r m o t h e r b a s e d o n d i s a p p o i n t e d love. 145

BAD FEELINGS

Kitty was c a r r y i n g o n the family t r a d i t i o n . Often, she re­ acted d r a m a t i c a l l y to i m a g i n e d slights. F r o m time to time she r a p i d l y a n d a p p a r e n t l y totally destroyed a n y previ­ o u s l y established analytic r a p p o r t or m u t u a l u n d e r s t a n d ­ i n g . However,

the d i s a p p e a r a n c e

of whatever

had

been

gained i n a n a l y s i s was more a p p a r e n t t h a n real. S h e was s h o w i n g volatility, not perishability. Still, her i n c r e m e n t s of i m p r o v e m e n t were very s m a l l , a n d her regressions d r a ­ m a t i c . It took a considerable a m o u n t of time before

she

c o u l d s u s t a i n h e r analytic advances.

Fred F r e d , o u r final example, the s o n of a remote father a n d a cold, narcissistic mother, h a d b e e n b r o u g h t u p to be a per­ fect gentleman i n a n austere New E n g l a n d m a n n e r . F r e d played this role i n h i s transference relationship. O n this b a ­ sis he d i d h i s best to lure me into enactments that w o u l d confirm h i s fantasies of the analytic relationship as n o t h i n g b u t a repetition of times past. It was important for h i m to be the implicitely resentful, defiant, a n d also despairing s o n i n the transference, as t h o u g h he h a d to be dealing w i t h some­ one from w h o m he could only expect great remoteness

or

below-zero coldness. Like the others reported o n i n this c h a p ­ ter, Fred, too, struggled mightily against any sign of gain. He regarded progress as adjustment to intolerable parenting.

CONCLUSION Were analysts to refer consistently to the c l i n i c a l p r o b l e m s a d d r e s s e d i n this chapter, they w o u l d speak of regressive reactions to the emotional p a i n that, along w i t h relief, ex­ 146

P A I N F U L PROGRESS

citement, and pleasure, inevitably accompanies progres­ sive analytic change. Briefly, they would speak of painful progress, the title of this chapter. Those who are analyti­ cally informed would understand that this designation implies the potential for regressive reactions. Painful progress would not imply oppositional or combative pos­ tures on the part of both participants of the sort suggested by Freud's terminology and martial metaphors. Conse­ quently, these analysts would react empathically and with renewed curiousity to analysands* resorting to regression to make manifest their dread of where they sense they now are and what lies ahead if they continue to go on changing.

147

AFTERWORD

P s y c h o a n a l y s i s is n o t a form of p s y c h o s u r g e r y . It does not extirpate b a d feelings. B a d feelings come w i t h b e i n g alive. E v e r y one of u s m u s t d e a l w i t h grief, envy, d i s a p p o i n t ­ m e n t , the other p a i n f u l experiences that have b e e n d i s ­ c u s s e d i n the c h a p t e r s of this book, a n d m a n y more

as

well. T h a t we c a n often defend s u c c e s s f u l l y against experi­ e n c i n g these b a d feelings c o n s c i o u s l y does not enable u s to lead u n t r o u b l e d lives, for a price is p a i d for h e a v y r e l i ­ a n c e o n this e m o t i o n a l tactic: i m p o v e r i s h m e n t of liveliness i n the i n t e r n a l w o r l d a n d i n p e r s o n a l relations w i t h others. W h a t p s y c h o a n a l y s i s c a n do is r e d u c e the p a i n f u l n e s s of u n a v o i d a b l e b a d feelings psychical

pain.

It c a n

a n d i n c r e a s e tolerance

facilitate g a i n i n g freedom

for

from

frightening, vengeful, a n d g u i l t - r i d d e n u n c o n s c i o u s f a n ­ tasies; improve reality testing; decrease reliance o n p a s ­ sive, m a s o c h i s t i c , regressive m o d e s of f u n c t i o n i n g ; a n d i n ­ crease tolerance of p l e a s u r e i n the body, relations w i t h others, the u s e of one's assets, a n d p r i d e i n achievement. A t t a c h m e n t s to b a d objects a n d the feelings they generate decrease. T h e s e c h a n g e s b a l a n c e or outweigh those e m o ­ t i o n a l p a i n s we inevitably suffer b y b e i n g i n the w o r l d , a n d 149

AFTERWORD

they help us feel that it is worth our while to live a lively existence, even if it is not always satisfactory or free from pain. By changing the world one constructs, by reshaping the remembered past, and by expanding the range of safe, gratifying, and possible futures, analysis makes it so that experience is no longer overloaded with bad feelings, now that the capacity to love is no longer stunted, desperately denied, or otherwise seriously compromised.

150

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Klein, M . (1935). A contribution to the psychogenesis of manic­ depressive states. In The Writings of Melanie Klein, vol. 1, pp. 262-289. London: Hogarth, 1975. (1940). Mourning and its relation to manic-depressive states. In The Writings of Melanie Klein, vol. 3, pp. 344-369. London: Hogarth, 1975. (1946). Notes on some schizoid mechanisms. In The Writings of Melanie Klein, vol. 3, pp. 1-24. London: Hogarth, 1975. (1957). Envy and gratitude. In The Writings of Melanie Klein, vol. 3, pp. 176-235. London: Hogarth. (1975). The Collected Writings of Melanie Klein, vols. 1-3. London: Hogarth. Kohut, H . (1977). The Restoration of the Self New York: Interna­ tional Universities Press. Loewald, H . (1960). O n the therapeutic action of psychoanalysis. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis 41:16-33. (1980). Papers on Psychoanalysis. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Loewenstein, R. M . (1982). Practice and Precept in Psychoanalytic Technique: Selected papers of Rudolph M. Loewenstein. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Interna­ O'Shaughnessy, E . (1999). Relating to the superego. tional Journal of Psycho-Analysis 80:861-875. Reich, A . (1951). O n countertransference. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis 32:25-31. Reik, T . (1941). Masochism in Modern Man. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Riviere, J . (1936). A contribution to the analysis of the negative therapeutic reaction. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis 17:304-320. Rizzuto, A. B . (1991). Shame i n psychoanalysis: The function of unconscious fantasies. International Journal of PsychoAnalysis 72:297-302. Rothstein, A . M . (1994). Shame and the superego: Clinical and theoretical considerations. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child 49:263-277. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Schafer, R. (1968). Aspects of Internalization. New York: Interna­ tional Universities Press. 154

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155

INDEX

and envy, 44, 60, 62, 64,

abandonment, absence of

analyst as, 81

66-68, 74-75

Abraham, K., 39, 58

and false depressive

absence, of analyst, 69-88,

positions, 119-122

fantasies of persecution by,

95, 98-100, 111, 141

acting out, 72-73, 82

42-43

admiration, 68

as good mother, 140-141

aggression, 58, 63, 102

goodness of, 67, 92-93

and envy, 65-66

patient's hyperattentiveness

in object relations, 59-60

to, 102, 104

ambivalence, 68, 96, 145

presence of, 75-76, 79-81,

about goodness, 60, 93

88-90, 109-110

about progress i n therapy,

simultaneous presence and

127-128

absence of, 78-79, 83

in case study, 32-34

anger, 21, 27, 32-33

increasing tolerance for, 18, annihilation, and humiliation,

125-126

40-41, 53

analyst, 21, 117, 140

antithetical words, 38-39

absence of, 69-88, 98-100,

anxiety, 60, 102, 115, 133,

111, 141

134

acceptance of limits of

about termination, 124,

therapy, 118-119

130-131

depressive position of, 68,

and analyst's absence, 81,

115-118

87-88

disappointment projected

attachment, avoidance of, 21,

onto, 24-25

79-81, 89

eagerness for "results,** 136, autonomy, development of,

139-140

35-36

157

INDEX

Bergler, E . , 14

Beth, case study of, 94-96

"Beyond the Pleasure

Principle" (Freud), 58

Bion, W., 62

blame, 73

false depressive position as,

110-111, 120

false goodness as, 102

as foundational i n

psychoanalysis, 137-138

against goodness, 91-93,

96-97, 100-101

cognitions, and emotions, 51

idealization as, 26

compassion, suppression of,

importance of, 116-117

93-94

omnipotence as, 45, 130

against pain of termination,

competence, disbelief in, 94

competitiveness, 17

110

concreteness, 45, 52, 75

reconsidering resistance as,

condensation, of contradictory

137-138

characteristics, 83

regression as, 131

conflicts, and resistance, 135­ against transference, 23

dependence, 17, 143

136

ambivalence about, 29, 3 2 ­ countertransference, 44, 70,

33

103, 111, 138

about termination, 86, 121­ avoidance of, 8, 21, 89, 97,

99-100, 105, 141-142

122, 128-130

feeling of being needed, 9 7 ­ and disappointment, 20, 25,

98

28

and envy, 66-68

in parent-child role reversal,

invasive, 100-101

35, 145

negative, 11, 24, 63-64, 9 1 ­ tolerance for, 35, 48, 124

92

depression, 14, 27, 29-30

depressive position, 18, 30,

and negative depressive

102, 112-119. See also

position, 115-116

false depressive position

and projective identification,

of analyst, 68, 115-118

87-88

characteristics of, 59, 92, 113

Dave, case study of, 96-101

functioning in, and

death, 38, 41, 53, 83

termination, 122, 131

defenses, 2, 17, 79, 113

regression from, 129-131

analysis of, 9, 100-101,

time i n , 113-115

137-138

desire, 15, 27

against dependency, 29,

avoidance of, 6, 10

100

despair, and disappointment,

disappointedness as, 20-21

14

against disappointment, 13, development

27

and envy, 56-59

against envy, 65-66, 74-75

in therapy, 63, 65

158

INDEX

difference, 56, 61-63

disappointedness, 13, 28, 35

as adaptive, 22-23

defensive, 20-21

moralistic, 21-22

sources of, 18-20

in transference and

countertransference, 20,

23-24

disappointment, 13, 14, 102

in case study, 26-36

manipulating others*, 3-5

by parents, 27-28

and pleasure, 16-17

tolerance of, 98, 127

in transference, 9, 24-25

disgrace, fantasies of, 38

dreams, analysis of, 30-31

drives, 51, 59

Klein on, 58-62

role i n therapy, 62-68

"Envy and Gratitude" (Klein),

55, 60, 68

Esther, case study of, 104­ 105, 129-130

excrement, 39-41, 43-44

expectations

and disappointment, 15, 2 2 ­ 23, 27

and idealization, 15-16

face, losing, 40-42

false depressive position, 110­ 111, 119-122, 128-129

family, 25

and disappointedness, 2 2 ­ 23

humiliation i n , 19, 47-49

fantasies, 42, 52, 91, 138

analyst's, 85-86

ego

and child's adaptations, 19­ functions, 19-20

20

pleasure, 16

emotions, 2, 51, 101

of humiliation, 37-40, 53

around analyst's absence,

oedipal, 129

69-70, 73

of omnipotence, 29, 104-105

around termination, 109,

and presence us. absence of

analyst, 73-76, 78-79, 84

110

from countertransference,

father, 35, 95

121-122

fear. See anxiety

lack of, 3, 7-8, 10-11, 27

Frankiel, R , 56

sources of, 119, 138

Fred, case study of, 146

suppression of, 6-7, 93-94

free association, 116-117,

therapy's effects on, 133,

122, 143

139, 146-147, 149

Freud, S., 38-39, 59, 68, 107

in transference, 9-10

as analyst, 137

empathy, lack of, 43, 45

on borrowed guilt, 10, 25

enactments, 70, 87, 115-116

on envy, 55-58, 60-62

envy, 55, 92, 140-141

on pleasure, 1-2, 16

of analyst, 74-75, 120

on resistance, 134, 136

defenses against, 49, 65-66,

on transference, 24, 133

102-103

on unconscious, 83, 112

and humiliation, 43-45, 50 Freudians, on shame, 51

159

INDEX

goodness, 60, 125

analyst's, 67, 92-93

attacks on, 92-93, 97

defenses against, 91-93,

100-101

denial of own, 81, 96

false, 101-105, 129

meaning of, 106-108

grandiosity, 49, 134

gratitude, 60, 68, 141, 143-144

guilt, 130

acceptance of, 123-124

analyst's, 87

avoidance of, 6, 10, 126

borrowed, 10, 25

in disappointedness, 21-22

lack of, 4, 43

in negative therapeutic

reactions, 133-134, 140

for projective fantasies, 6 3 ­ 64

in relationship with parents,

34-35, 97

identification. See also

introjective identification;

projective identification

with aggressors, 47, 49

with analyst, 75

with father, 95

with mother, 46-47

mother's with daughter, 145

identity, losing, 40

inadequacy, 102

instincts. See drives

"Instincts and Their Vicissi­

tudes" (Freud), 58, 60

interpretations, 75, 77, 116,

141

acceptance of, 9, 123

of life material, 76-78of

resistance, 136-137

response to, 32, 145

interventions, 45

language of, 52-53

and resistance, 80, 136

response to, 71, 120-121

introjective identification, 2 7 ­ 28

introjects, dead parents as, 5

hate, 62-63

Heimann, P., 66

Horney, K., 57

humiliation and mortification, Jacobson, E . , 14

19

Jane, case study of, 122-129

and envy, 43-45

jealousy, 73-74

in fantasies, 37-39

J i m , case study of, 142-145

internalization of, 49-50

Joseph, B . , 14, 118

as losing face, 40-42

joylessness, 2

and omnipotence, 44-45

projection onto analyst, 6 2 ­ Kitty, case study of, 145-146

63

Klein, M . , 18, 140

sources of, 47-49

on envy, 55, 58-62, 66-68

Kleinians, 92, 134

Kohut, H . , 49, 67

idealization, 15-16, 26

of analyst, 44, 67, 73

in defenses, 49, 65-66

language, 52

and disappointedness, 23-24

antithetical words, 38-39

of parents, 27, 34

of interventions, 52-53

160

INDEX

objects, 96

attachment to bad, 21, 117,

143

bad, 16-17, 22, 28, 37, 42,

143

good, 16-17, 20-22, 97

internal, 21, 37, 42

obsessions, 96-101

oedipal desires, 129

oedipal triangle, 96, 130

Masochism in Modern Man Oedipus complex, 13, 57-58,

(Reik), 22

140

masochism/sadomasochism,

7, 22, 95

omnipotence, 3-4, 29, 81

expressions of, 11, 28, 73

analyst's, 140

pleasure from, 3-4, 10

as defense, 8, 17, 130

memories, idealized, 26

and envy, 66, 74-75

mental processes, 84, 113­ and false depressive

115

position, 199-120

and false goodness, 102­ mortification. See humiliation

103, 105

and mortification

and humiliation, 44-45, 4 7 ­ mother, 127, 140, 143

48

identification with, 46-47

identification with daughter,

playing role of, 143-144

145

and self-sufficiency, 141-142

insecurity of, 94-96

working through, 30, 35-36,

mother-child relationships,

123, 126

58-59

ostracism, fantasies of, 38

motivations, 106-107, 135-136

"Mourning and Melancholia"

paranoid-schizoid position,

(Freud), 60

92, 122

characteristics of, 101-102,

112, 114

narcissism, 17, 59-60, 81,

and humiliation, 43, 45, 5 0 ­ 130, 141

narcissistic damage, 5

51

negative therapeutic reaction,

moving out of, 30

63-64, 91-92, 133-134,

object relations in, 59-60

138-141

regression to, 124, 129-130

parents, 10, 34, 47, 64, 74,

object relations, 60-61

98, 142, 146

analyst in, 75-76

dependence on, 32, 100, 142

development of, 58-59, 94

and disappointment, 21, 2 7 ­ and disappointedness, 18, 23

28, 127

goodness in, 92-93

fanatical attachment to, 5-6

lack of emotion in, 7-8

values in, 106-108

Loewald, H . , 77, 115

Loewenstein, R M . , 115

loss, 89

defenses against, 102, 111

from termination of therapy,

86, 109

161

INDEX

passivity/activity, 28

pathology, 14, 27

penis envy, 55-58

persecution fantasies, 42

pleasure

acceptance of, 9-10

and disappointment, 16-17

interference with, 10, 29

in suffering, 1-4, 10, 22, 89

and tolerance of

imperfections, 17-18

projection, 29, 71, 126

acceptance of, 122-123

onto analyst, 17, 44, 46, 6 2 ­ 64

projective identification, 16,

27-28, 42, 47

and absence of analyst, 8 1 ­ 82

with analyst, 95, 120, 143

and countertransference,

87-88

and disappointedness, 22,

24-26

and envy, 64-67

false goodness as, 102-103

psychic reality, 19-20, 118

psychic retreat, 27-28

psychoanalysis, 61. See also

therapy

essential ideas of, 116-117,

138

perspectives on shame in,

51-52

Psychoanalytic Study of the

Child, The, 51

psychotherapist. See analyst

rage. See anger

reaction formation, 81

reality, 5-6

psychic, 19-20, 118

162

reality testing, 18, 23

regression, 63, 65

to paranoid-schizoid

position, 124, 129-130

from progress i n therapy,

141-142

and termination, 109-110,

131

Reik, T . , 22

rejection, 39-40, 42

relationships, 145

capacity for, 3, 5-6, 29-30

manipulation of, 3-4, 28

resistance to, 27, 79-81

us. self-sufficiency, 141-142 repetition

in transference, 4-5, 7, 11,

25-26, 95

in working through, 3

repression, 27, 101

resistance, 79-80, 134-138

retaliation

and absence of analyst, 7 2 ­ 73, 81, 83-84

fear of, 46, 63, 102-103

Riviere, J . , 63, 134, 140

sadness, 133

sadomasochism. See

masochism/

sadomasochism

self, security of, 82

self-consciousness, 41 -42

self-esteem, 47, 81, 142

separation, 111

termination as, 109, 130-131

sexuality, i n therapeutic

relationship, 73-74, 89

shame, 19, 39, 42, 51. See

also humiliation and

mortification

silence, 71-72



INDEX

therapist. See analyst

Spillius, E . B . , 59

therapy, 139. See also

splitting, 18, 50, 126, 137

in defenses against envy, 44,

termination, of therapy

65-66

acceptance of limits of, 118­ of fantasies and rational

119

ambivalence about progress

thought, 5-6

in, 32-34, 127-128

of good and bad, 125

of presence and absence of

benefits from, 5, 8-10, 17­ 18, 29-30, 143-144

analyst, 78-79

superego, pathology of, 14

effects of, 139, 149

emotions of analyst in, 86­ 88

Ted, case study of, 141-142

envy i n , 62-68, 65

disappointment of, 26-36

false depressive position in,

joylessness of, 2-11

suppression of emotions by,

119-121

hopefulness about, 28-29

93-94

payment for, 8, 32

termination, of therapy, 109

ambivalence about, 128-129 response to progress in,

116-117, 133, 141-142,

analyst's response to, 115­ 146- 147

116, 118

shame in, 42, 48

clinical examples of, 122­ time, i n mental processes,

130

countertransference around,

113-115

86, 121-122

toilet training, 39

defenses against, 110-111

Totem and Taboo (Freud), 83

fear of, 124, 130

transference, 43, 129, 138

timing of, 115, 131

development of, 30-32

therapeutic relationship, 89

and disappointedness, 20,

and absence of analyst, 7 1 ­ 23-24

72, 78-82

disappointment in, 9, 28

after termination, 109-110

effects of not attending to,

characteristics of, 85, 135­ 100-101

137

effects on therapeutic

distance and closeness i n ,

relationship, 85, 98

95-96, 98-100

envy in, 62-63

false depressive position in,

evaluating state of, 127-128

119-120

false depressive position in,

patient's difficulty with, 2 8 ­ 120

30

and jealousy during

presence of analyst in, 88-89

analyst's absence, 73-74

resistance i n / t o , 135, 141,

in manifest life material, 7 6 ­ 143-144

78

163

INDEX

unconscious, 16, 112, 135

transference [continued)

understanding functions,

presence of analyst in, 7 5 ­ 116-117, 138-139

76, 88

undeservingness, 22, 43, 89

repetition in, 4-5, 7, 11, 2 5 ­ 26, 95

Weltanschauung, 61

resistance to, 79-80

as shutting out feelings, 6-7 Winnicott, D. W., 114

wishes, 15, 105

types of, 34, 143, 146

women/girls, 56-58

trauma, and

disappointedness, 18-20 working through, 3

164

i

'Roy Schafer has written a cameo masterpiece. Beautifully clear, clini­ cally incisive and intensely human, this is a book by a deep Freudian thinker whose work has been influenced by a profound understanding of successive waves in the modern revolution in psychoanalytic thinking. . . . Beset by painful feelings, one of which is feeling hopeless about being able to get rid of their emotional pain, patients throw obstacles in the way of analysis but hope against all hope that their analysts will stand fast. Thus, troubled persons depend on their analysts to maintain their analytic position through thick and thin. In today's personally and culturally troubled times all of us can be helped to find and hold our analytic attitude by reading this book and particularly Schafer's power­ ful analysis of the way our feelings as analysts, formed in the hot house of clinical encounters, can influence not only our interventions but our conceptualizations as well. Highly recommended.' —Professor David Tuckett, Psychoanalysis Unit, Sub-Department of Clinical Psychology, University College London 'For several years Schafer has been trying to integrate the clinical approach of the contemporary British Kleinians with the contemporary Freudian and ego psychological structure he has long helped to build. Bad Feelings is the evidence of his success. By focusing on painful affects and our defenses against them, this master clinician has found the natural bridge across which the two traditions can meet. Replete with generous and self-observant clinical illustrations, along with prac­ tical wisdom and advice, Bad Feelings provides a unique window into the envy, humiliation, disappointment, and despair suffered by both patient and analyst. Schafer's clinical integrations advance the dialogue across an historical gulf, and we are all the beneficiaries of his work.' —Henry F. Smith, M.D. Editor, The Psychoanalytic Quarterly Cover Design: Kaoru Tamura, Natalya Balnova Photo: © Akos Szilvasi 2002

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