24 januar 1897

Sigmund Freud skriver til sin venn Wilhelm Fliess i Berlin (her gjengitt i engelsk oversettelse -- originalen er på tysk):

"The early period before the age of 1 1/2 years is becoming even more significant. I am inclined to distinguish several periods even within it. Thus I was able to trace back, with certainty, a hysteria that developed in the context of a periodic mild depression to a seduction, which occurred for the first time at 11 months and [I could] hear again the words that were exchanged between the two adults at that time! It is as though it comes from a phonograph.

The temporal determination of epilepsy [hysterical] and hysterical psychosis therefore lies further back. But there also is a psychotic feature in the periodicity of the mild depression. The idea of bringing in witches is gaining strength. I think it is also appropriate. Details are beginning to abound. Their "flying" is explained; the broomstick they ride is probably the great Lord Penis. The secret gatherings, with dancing and entertainment, can be seen any day in the streets where children play. I read one day that the gold the devil gives his victims regularly turns into excrement, and the next day Mr. E., who reports his nurse had money deleria, suddenly told me (by way of CagliostroóalchemistóDukatenscheisser [one who defecates ducats]) that Louise's money always was excrement. So in the witch stories it is merely transformed back into the substance from which it arose.

In hysteria I recognize the pater in the high demands made in love, in the humility in relation to the lover, or in the inability to marry because of unfulfilled ideals. The reason for this is, of course, the height from which the father lowers himself to the child. Compare this with paranoia, the combination of delusions of grandeur and fictions of an alienation of parentage. This is the reverse of the coin.

At the same time I am becoming unsure about a conjecture I have hitherto entertained that the choice of neurosis is determined by the period in which it originates; it seems rather to be fixed in earliest childhood. But the decision keeps on oscillating between the period in which it originated and the period in which repression occurs (which is what I presently prefer). (Masson, 1985, s. 226-228.)


Freud, S., et al. (1985). The complete letters of Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess : 1887-1904. Cambridge, Mass, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

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