Page:Collected Papers on Analytical Psychology (1916).djvu/252
regression. In place of being employed in the increased effort, the libido now gives up the present task and returns to a former and more primitive way of adaptation. We meet with the best examples of such regressions very frequently in hysterical cases where a disappointment in love or marriage gives rise to the neurosis. There we find the well-known disturbances of nutrition, resistance against eating, dyspeptic symptoms of all sorts, etc. In these cases the regressive libido, turning away from its application to the work of adaptation, holds sway over the function of nutrition and provokes considerable disturbance. Such cases are obvious examples of regression. Similar effects of regression are to be found in cases where there are no troubles in the function of nutrition, and here we readily find a regressive revival of reminiscences of a time long past. We find a revival of the images of the parents, of the Œdipus-complex. Here things and events of infancy—never before important—suddenly become so. They are regressively reanimated. Take away the obstacle in the path of life and this whole system of infantile phantasies at once breaks down and becomes again as inactive and as ineffective as before. But do not let us forget that, to a certain extent, it is at work influencing us always and everywhere. I cannot forbear to mention that this view comes very near Janet’s hypothesis of the substitution of the “parties supérieures” of a function by its “parties inférieures.” I would also remind you of Claparède’s conception of neurotic symptoms as emotional reflexes of a primitive nature.
Therefore I no longer find the cause of a neurosis in the past, but in the present. I ask what the necessary task is, which the patient will not accomplish. The whole list of his infantile phantasies does not give me any sufficient ætiological explanation, because I know that these phantasies are only puffed up by the regressive libido, which has not found its natural outlet into a new form of adjustment to the demands of life.
You may ask why the neurotic has a special inclination not to accomplish his necessary tasks. Here let me point out