Collected Papers on Analytical Psychology/Chapter 3

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CHAPTER III

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE FATHER IN THE DESTINY OF THE INDIVIDUAL

Ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt.

Freud has pointed out in many places[1] with unmistakable clearness that the psycho-sexual relationship of the child towards his parents, particularly towards the father, possesses an overwhelming importance in the content of any later neurosis. This relationship is in fact the infantile channel par excellence in which the libido flows back[2] when it encounters any obstacles in later years, thus revivifying long-forgotten dreams of childhood. It is ever so in life when we draw back before too great an obstacle—the menace of some severe disappointment or the risk of some too far-reaching decision—the energy stored up for the solution of the task flows back impotent; the by-streams once relinquished as inadequate are again filled up. He who has missed the happiness of woman's love falls back, as a substitute, upon some gushing friendship, upon masturbation, upon religiosity; should he be a neurotic he plunges still further back into the conditions of childhood which have never been quite forsaken, to which indeed the normal is fettered by more than one link—he returns to the relationship to father and mother. Every psychoanalysis carried out at all thoroughly shows this regression more or less plainly. One peculiarity which stands out in the works and views of Freud is that the relationship to the father is seen to possess an overwhelming importance. This importance of the father in the moulding of the child's psycho-sexuality may also be discovered in a quite other and remote field, in the investigation of the family.[3] The most recent thorough investigations demonstrate the predominating influence of the father often lasting for centuries. The mother seems of less importance in the family.[4] If this is true for heredity on the physical side how much more should we expect from the psychological influences emanating from the father? These experiences, and those gained more particularly in an analysis carried out conjointly with Dr. Otto Gross, have impressed upon me the soundness of this view. The problem has been considerably advanced and deepened by the investigations of my pupil Dr. Emma Fürst into familiar resemblances in the reaction-type.[5] Fürst made association experiments on one hundred persons belonging to twenty-four families. Of this extensive material, only the results in nine families and thirty-seven persons (all uneducated) have been worked out and published. But the painstaking calculations do already permit some valuable conclusions. The associations are classified on the Kræpelin-aschaffenburg scheme as simplified and modified by myself; the difference is then calculated between each group of qualities of the subjects experimented upon and the corresponding group of every other subject experimented upon. Thus we finally get the differentiation of the mean in reaction-type. The following is the result:—

Non-related men differ among themselves by 5.9.

Non-related women differ among themselves by 6.0.

Related men differ among themselves by 4.1.

Related women differ among themselves by 3.8.

Relatives, and especially related women, have therefore, on the average, resemblance in reaction-type. This fact means that the psychological adaptation of relatives differs but slightly.

An investigation into the various relationships gave the following:—

The mean difference of the husband and wife amounts to 4.7. The mean differentiation of this mean is, however, 3.7, a very high figure, which signifies that the mean figure 4.7 is composed of very heterogeneous figures; there are married couples in whom the reaction type is very close and others in whom it is very slight. On the whole, however, father and son, mother and daughter stand remarkably close.

The difference between father and son amounts to 3.1.

The difference between mother and daughter amounts to 3.0.

With the exception of a few cases of married couples (where the difference fell to 1.4) these are the lowest differences. In Fürst's work there was a case where the difference between the forty-five year old mother and her sixteen year old daughter was only 0.5. But it was just in this case that the mother and daughter differed from the father's type by 11.8. The father is a coarse, stupid man, an alcoholic; the mother goes in for Christian Science. This corresponds with the fact that mother and daughter exhibit an extreme word-predicate type,[6] which is, in my experience, important semeiotically for the diagnosis of insufficiency in the sexual object. The word-predicate type transparently applies an excessive amount of emotion externally and displays emotions with the unconscious, but nevertheless obvious endeavour to awaken echoing emotions in the experimenter. This view closely corresponds with the fact that in Fürst's material the number of word-predicates increases with the age of the subjects experimented upon.

The fact of the extreme similarity between the reaction-type of the offspring and the parents is matter for thought. The association experiment is nothing but a small section from the psychological life of a man. At bottom daily life is nothing but an extensive and many-varied association experiment; in essence we react in life just as we do in the experiments. Although this truth is evident, still it requires a certain consideration and limitation. Let us take as an instance the case of the unhappy mother of forty-five years and her unmarried daughter of sixteen. The extreme word-predicate type of the mother is, without doubt, the precipitate of a whole life of disappointed hopes and wishes. One is not in the least surprised at the word-predicate type here. But the daughter of sixteen has really not yet lived at all; her real sexual object has not yet been found, and yet she reacts as if she were her mother with endless disillusions behind her. She has the mother's adaptation, and in so far she is identified with the mother. There is ample evidence that the mother's adaptation must be attributed to her relationship to the father. But the daughter is not married to the father and therefore does not need this adaptation. She has taken it over from the influence of her milieu, and later on will try to adapt herself to the world with this familial disharmony. In so far as an ill-assorted marriage is unsuitable the adaptation resulting from it is unsuitable.

Clearly such a fate has many possibilities. To adapt herself to life, this girl either will have to surmount the obstacles of her familial milieu, or, unable to free herself from them, she will succumb to the fate to which such an adaptation predisposes her. Deep within, unnoticed by any one, there may go on a glossing over of the infantile disharmony, or a development of the negative of the parents' character, accompanied by hindrances and conflicts to which she herself has no clue. Or, growing up, she will come into painful conflict with that world of actualities to which she is so ill adapted till one stroke of fate after another gradually opens her eyes to the fact that it is herself, infantile and maladjusted, that is amiss. The source of infantile adaptation to the parents is naturally the affective condition on both sides; the psychosexuality of the parents on one side and that of the child on the other. It is a kind of psychical infection; we know that it is not logical truth, but effects and their psychical expressions[7] which are here the effective forces. It is these that, with the power of the herd-instinct, press into the mind of the child, there fashioning and moulding it. In the plastic years between one and five there have to be worked out all the essential formative lines which fit exactly into the parental mould. Psychoanalytic experience teaches us that, as a rule, the first signs of the later conflict between the parental constellation and individual independence, of the struggle between repression and libido (Freud), occur before the fifth year.

The few following histories will show how this parental constellation obstructs the adaptation of the offspring. It must suffice to present only the chief events of these, that is the events of sexuality.

Case 1.—A well-preserved woman of 55; dressed poorly but carefully in black with a certain elegance, the hair carefully dressed; a polite, obviously affected manner, precise in speech, also a devotee. The patient might be the wife of a minor official or shopkeeper. She informs me, blushing and dropping her eyes, that she is the divorced wife of a common peasant. She has come to the hospital on account of depression, night terrors, palpitations, slight nervous twitchings in the arms; thus presenting the typical features of a slight climacteric neurosis. To complete the picture she adds that she suffers from severe anxiety dreams; in her dreams some man seems to be pursuing her, wild animals attack her, and so on.

Her anamnesis begins with the family history. (So far as possible I give her own words.) Her father was a fine, stately, rather corpulent man of imposing appearance. He was very happy in his marriage, for her mother worshipped him. He was a clever man, a master-mechanic, and held a dignified and honourable position. There were only two children, the patient and an elder sister. The sister was the mother's, and the patient her father's favourite. When the patient was five years old the father died suddenly from a stroke, at the age of forty-two. The patient felt herself very isolated and was from that time treated by the mother and the elder sister as the Cinderella. She noticed clearly enough that her mother preferred her sister to herself. Her mother remained a widow, her respect for her husband being too great to allow her to marry a second time. She preserved his memory “like a religious cult” and brought up her children in this way.

Later on the sister married, relatively young, the patient herself only at the age of twenty-four. She never cared for young men, they all seemed insipid; her mind turned always to more mature men. When about twenty she became acquainted with a stately gentleman rather over forty, to whom she was much drawn. For various reasons the friendship was broken off. At twenty-four she became acquainted with a widower who had two children. He was a fine, stately, somewhat corpulent man, and had an imposing presence like her father; he was forty-four. She married him and respected him enormously. The marriage was childless; the children by the first marriage died from an infectious disease. After four years of married life her husband also died. For eighteen years she remained his faithful widow. But at forty-six (just before the menopause) she experienced a great need of love. As she had no acquaintances she went to a matrimonial agency and married the first comer, a peasant of some sixty years who had been already twice divorced on account of brutality and perverseness; the patient knew this before marriage. She remained five unbearable years with him, when she also obtained a divorce. The neurosis set in a little later.

No further discussion will be required for those with psychoanalytic experience; the case is too obvious. For those unversed in psychoanalysis let me point out that up to her forty-sixth year the patient did but reproduce most faithfully the milieu of her earliest youth. The sexuality which announced itself so late and so drastically, even here only led to a deteriorated edition of the father-surrogate; to this she is brought by this late blossoming sexuality. Despite repression, the neurosis betrays the ever-fluctuating eroticism of the aging woman who still wants to please (affectation) but dares not acknowledge her sexuality.

Case 2.—A man of thirty-four of small build and with a sensible, kindly expression. He is easily embarrassed, blushes often. He came for treatment on account of “nervousness.” He says he is very irritable, readily fatigued, has nervous indigestion, is often deeply depressed so that he has thought of suicide.

Before coming to me for treatment he sent me a circumstantial autobiography, or rather a history of his illness, in order to prepare me for his visit. His story began: “My father was a very big and strong man.” This sentence awakened my curiosity; I turned over a page and there read: “When I was fifteen a big lad of nineteen took me into the wood and indecently assaulted me.”

The numerous gaps in the patient's story induced me to obtain a more exact anamnesis from him, which produced the following remarkable facts. The patient is the youngest of three brothers. His father, a big, red-haired man, was formerly a soldier in the Papal Swiss Guard, and then became a policeman. He was a strict, gruff old soldier, who brought up his sons with military precision; he commanded them, did not call them by name, but whistled to them. He had spent his youth in Rome, where he acquired syphilis, from the consequences of which he still suffered in old age. He was fond of talking about his adventures in early life. His eldest son (considerably older than the patient) was exactly like him, he was big, strong and had reddish hair. The mother was a feeble woman, prematurely aged; exhausted and tired of life, she died at forty when the patient was eight years old. He preserved a tender and beautiful memory of his mother.

When he went to school he was always the whipping-boy and always the object of his school-fellows’ mockery. The patient considers that his peculiar dialect was to blame for this. Later he was apprenticed to a severe and unkind master, under most trying conditions, fron which all the other apprentices had run away, finding them intolerable. Here he held out for over two years. At fifteen the assault already mentioned took place, in addition to some other slighter homosexual experiences. Then fate sent him to France. There he made the acquaintance of a man from the South of France, a great boaster and Don Juan. He dragged the patient into a brothel; he went unwilling and out of fear. He was impotent there. Later he went to Paris, where his brother, a master-mason, the replica of his father, was leading a dissolute life. There the patient remained a long time, badly paid and helping his sister-in-law out of pity. The brother often took him along to a brothel, where the patient was always impotent. Here the brother asked him to make over to him his inheritance, 6000 francs. He first consulted his second brother, who was also in Paris, who urgently tried to dissuade him from giving the money to his brother, because it would only be squandered. Nevertheless the patient gave his all to his brother, who indeed soon squandered it. And the second brother, who would have dissuaded him, was also let in for 500 francs. To my astonished question why he had so lightheartedly given the money to his brother without any guarantee, he replied: he had asked for it, he was not a bit sorry about the money; he would give him another 6000 francs if he had it. The eldest brother came to grief altogether and his wife divorced him. The patient returned to Switzerland and remained for a year without regular employment, often suffering from hunger. During this time he made the acquaintance of a family where he became a frequent visitor. The husband belonged to some peculiar sect; he was a hypocrite and neglected his family. The wife was elderly, ill and weak, and moreover pregnant. There were six children and great poverty. The patient developed warm affection for this woman and divided with her the little he possessed. She brought him her troubles, and said she felt sure she would die in childbed. Then he promised her (he who possessed nothing) to take charge of the children himself and bring them up. The wife did die in childbed. The orphanage-board interfered, however, and allowed him only one child. So he had a child but no family, and naturally could not bring it up by himself. He thus came to think of marrying. But as he had never been in love with any woman he was in great perplexity. It then occurred to him that his elder brother was divorced from his wife, and he resolved to marry her. He wrote his intention to her in Paris. She was seventeen years older than he, but not disinclined to the plan. She invited him to come to Paris to talk matters over. On the eve of this journey fate, however, willed that he should run a big iron nail into his foot so that he could not travel. After a little while, when the wound was healed, he went to Paris, and found that he had imagined his sister-in-law, and now his fiancee, to be younger and prettier than she really was. The wedding took place, and three months later the first coitus, at his wife's initiative. He himself had no desire for it. They brought up the child together, he in the Swiss and she in the French way, for she was a French woman. At the age of nine the child was run over and killed by a cyclist. The patient then felt very lonely and dismal at home. He proposed to his wife that she should adopt a young girl, whereupon she broke out into a fury of jealousy. Then for the first time he fell in love with a young girl, whilst at the same time the neurosis started, with deep depression and nervous exhaustion, for meanwhile his life at home had become a hell.

My proposition to separate from his wife was refused out of hand, because he could not take upon himself to make the old woman unhappy on his account. He clearly prefers to be tormented still further; for it would seem that the recollection of his youth is more precious to him than any present joys.

In this case also the whole movement of a life takes place in the magic circle of the familial constellation. The relation to the father is the strongest and most momentous issue; its masochistic homosexual colouring stands out clearly everywhere. Even the unhappy marriage is determined in every way through the father, for the patient marries the divorced wife of his eldest brother, which is as if he married his mother. His wife is also the representative of the mother-surrogate, of the friend who died in childbed.

The neurosis started at the moment when the libido had obviously withdrawn from this relationship of infantile constellation, and approached, for the first time, the sexual end determined by the individual. In this, as in the previous case, the familial constellation proves to be by far the stronger; the narrow field vouchsafed by a neurosis is all that remains for the display of individuality.

Case 3.—A thirty -six year old peasant woman, of average intelligence, healthy appearance and robust build, mother of three healthy children. Comfortable family circumstances. Patient comes to the hospital for treatment for the following reasons: for some weeks she has been terribly wretched and anxious, has been sleeping badly, has terrifying dreams, and suffers also during the day from anxiety and depression. All these things are admittedly without foundation, she herself is surprised at them, and must admit her husband is perfectly right when he insists they are all “stuff and nonsense.” All the same she cannot get away from them. Strange ideas come to her too; she is going to die and is going to hell. She gets on very well with her husband. The psychoanalytic examination of the case immediately brought the following: some weeks before, she happened to take up some religious tracts which had long lain about the house unread. There she read that swearers would go to hell. She took this very much to heart, and has since thought it incumbent on her to prevent people swearing or she herself will go to hell. About a fortnight before she read these tracts, her father, who lived with her, suddenly died from a stroke. She was not actually present at his death, but arrived when he was already dead. Her terror and grief were very great.

In the days following the death she thought much about it all, wondering why her father had to meet his end so abruptly. In the midst of such meditations it suddenly occurred to her that the last words she had heard her father say were: “I also am one of those who have fallen from the cart into the devil's clutches.” The remembrance filled her with grief, and she recalled how often her father had sworn savagely. She wondered then whether there really were a life after death, and whether her father were in heaven or hell. During these musings she came across the tracts and began to read them, getting to the place where it said that swearers go to hell. Then came upon her great fear and terror; she overwhelmed herself with reproaches, she ought to have stopped her father's swearing, deserved punishment for her neglect. She would die and would be condemned to hell. Henceforth she was full of sorrow, moody, tormented her husband with this obsessive idea, and renounced all joy and happiness.

The patient's life-history (reproduced partly in her own words) is as follows:—

She is the youngest of five brothers and sisters and was always her father's favourite. The father gave her everything she wanted if he possibly could. For instance, if she wanted a new dress and her mother refused it, she could be sure her father would bring her one next time he went to town. The mother died rather early. At twenty-four the patient married the man of her choice, against her father's wishes. The father simply disapproved of her choice although he had nothing particular against the man. After the wedding she made her father come and live with them. That seemed a matter of course, she said, since the other relations had never suggested having him with them. The father was a quarrelsome swearer and drunkard. Husband and father-in-law, as may easily be imagined, got on extremely badly together. The patient would always meekly fetch her father spirits from the inn, although this gave rise perpetually to anger and altercations. But she finds her husband “all right.” He is a good, patient fellow with only one failing: he does not obey her father enough; she finds that incomprehensible, and would rather have her husband knuckle under to her father. All said and done, father is still father. In the frequent quarrels she always took her father's part. But she has nothing to say against her husband and he is usually right in his protests, but one must help one's father.

Soon it began to seem to her that she had sinned against her father by marrying against his will, and she often felt, after one of these incessant wrangles, that her love for her husband had quite vanished. And since her father's death it is impossible to love her husband any longer, for his disobedience was the most frequent occasion of her father's fits of raging and swearing. At one time the quarreling became too painful for the husband, and he induced his wife to find rooms for her father elsewhere, where he lived for two years. During this time husband and wife lived together peaceably and happily. But by degrees the patient began to reproach herself for letting her father live alone; in spite of everything he was her father. And in the end, despite the husband's protests, she fetched him home again because, as she said, in truth she did love her father better than her husband. Scarcely was the old man back in the house before strife was renewed. And so it went on till the father's sudden death.

After this recital she broke out into a whole series of lamentations: she must separate from her husband: she would have done it long ago if it were not for the children. She had indeed done an ill-deed, committed a very great sin when she married her husband against her father’s wish. She ought to have taken the man whom her father had wanted her to have. He certainly would have obeyed her father and then everything would have been right. Oh, her husband was not by a long way so kind as her father, she could do anything with her father, but not with her husband. Her father had given her everything she wanted. Now she would best of all like to die, so that she might be with her father.

When this outburst was over, I inquired eagerly on what grounds she had refused the husband suggested by her father.

The father, a small peasant on a lean little farm, had taken as a servant, just at the time when his youngest daughter came into the world, a miserable little boy, a foundling. The boy developed in most unpleasant fashion: he was so stupid that he could not learn to read or write or even speak quite properly. He was an absolute idiot. As he approached manhood there developed on his neck a series of ulcers, some of which opened and continually discharged pus, giving such a dirty, ugly creature a horrible appearance. His intelligence did not grow with his years, so he stayed on as servant in the peasant's house without any recognised wage.

To this youth the father wanted to marry his favourite daughter.

The girl, fortunately, had not been disposed to yield, but now she regretted it, since this idiot would unquestionably have been more obedient to her father than her good man had been.

Here, as in the foregoing case, it must be clearly understood that the patient is not at all weak-minded. Both possess normal intelligence, which unfortunately the blinkers of the infantile constellation prevent their using. That appears with quite remarkable clearness in this patient's life-story. The father's authority is never questioned! It makes not the least difference that he is a quarrelsome drunkard, the obvious cause of all the quarrels and disturbances; on the contrary, the lawful husband must give way to the bogey, and at last our patient even comes to regret that her father did not succeed in completely destroying her life's happiness. So now she sets about doing that herself through her neurosis, which compels in her the wish to die, that she may go to hell, whither, be it noted, the father has already betaken himself.

If we are ever disposed to see some demonic power at work controlling mortal destiny, surely we can see it here in these melancholy silent tragedies working themselves out slowly, torturingly, in the sick souls of our neurotics. Some, step by step, continually struggling against the unseen powers, do free themselves from the clutches of the demon who forces his unsuspecting victims from one savage mischance to another: others rise up and win to freedom, only to be dragged back later to the old paths, caught in the noose of the neurosis. You cannot even maintain that these unhappy people are neurotic or “degenerates.” If we normal people examine our lives from the psychoanalytic standpoint, we too perceive how a mighty hand guides us insensibly to our destiny and not always is this hand a kindly one.[8] We often call it the hand of God or of the Devil, for the power of the infantile constellation has become mighty during the course of the centuries in affording support and proof to all the religions.

But all this does not go so far as to say that we must cast the blame of inherited sins upon our parents. A sensitive child whose intuition is only too quick in reflecting in his own soul all the excesses of his parents must, lay the blame for his fate on his own characteristics. But, as our last case shows, this is not always so, for the parents can (and unfortunately only too often do) fortify the evil in the child's soul, preying upon the child's ignorance to make him the slave of their complexes. In our case this attempt on the part of the father is quite obvious. It is perfectly clear why he wanted to marry his daughter to this brutish creature: he wanted to keep her and make her his slave for ever. What he did is but a crass exaggeration of what is done by thousands of so-called respectable, educated people, who have their own share in this educational dust-heap of enforced discipline. The fathers who allow their children no independent possession of their own emotions, who fondle their daughters with ill-concealed eroticism and tyrannical passion, who keep their sons in leading-strings, force them into callings and finally marry them off “suitably,” and the mothers who even in the cradle excite their children with unhealthy tenderness, later on make them into slavish dolls, and then at last, out of jealousy, destroy their children's love-life fundamentally, they all act not otherwise than this stupid and brutal boor.

It will be asked, wherein lies the parents' magic power to bind their children to themselves, as with fetters, often for the whole of their lives? The psychoanalyst knows that it is nothing but the sexuality on both sides.

We are always trying not to admit the child's sexuality. That view only comes from wilful ignorance, which happens to be very prevalent again just now.[9]

I have not given any real analysis of these cases. We therefore do not know what happened within the hearts of these puppets of fate when they were children. A profound insight into a child's mind as it grows and lives, hitherto unattainable, is given in Freud's contribution to the first half-yearly volume of Jahrbuch fúr Psychoanalytische u. Psychopathologische Forschungen. If I venture, after Freud's masterly presentation, to offer another small contribution to the study of the child-mind it is because the psychoanalytic records of cases seem to me always valuable.

Case 4.—An eight year old boy, intelligent, rather delicate-looking, is brought to me by his mother, on account of enuresis. During the consultation the child always hangs on to his mother, a pretty, youthful woman. The parents' marriage is a happy one, but the father is strict, and the boy (the eldest child) is rather afraid of him. The mother compensates for the father's strictness by corresponding tenderness, to which the boy responds so much that he never gets away from his mother's apron-strings. He never plays with his schoolfellows, never goes alone into the street unless he has to go to school. He fears the boys' roughness and violence and plays thoughtful games at home or helps his mother with housework. He is extremely jealous of his father. He cannot bear it when the father shows tenderness to the mother.

I took the boy aside and asked him about his dreams.

He dreams very often of a black snake which wants to bite his face. Then he cries out, and his mother has to come from the next room to his bedside.

In the evening he goes quietly to bed. But when he falls asleep it seems to him that a wicked black man with a sabre or gun lies on his bed—a tall, thin man who wants to kill him.

His parents sleep in the adjoining room. It often seems to him that something dreadful is going on there, as if there are great black snakes or wicked men who want to kill his Mamma. Then he has to cry out and his mother comes to comfort him.

Every time he wets his bed, he calls his mother, who has to settle him down again in dry things.

The father is a tall thin man. Every morning he stands at the washstand naked in full view of the child, to perform a thorough ablution. The child also tells me that at night he is often suddenly waked from sleep by a strange sound in the next room; then he is always horribly afraid as if something dreadful were going on in there, some struggle—but his mother quiets him, says there's nothing to be afraid of.

It is not difficult to see whence comes the black snake and who the wicked man is, and what is happening in the next room. It is equally easy to understand the boy's aim when he calls out for his mother: he is jealous and separates her from the father. This he does also in the daytime whenever he sees his father caressing her. So far the boy is simply his father's rival for his mother's love.

But now comes the circumstance that the snake and the bad man also threaten him, there happens to him the same thing as to his mother in the next room. Thus he identifies himself with his mother and proposes a similar relationship for himself with his father. That is owing to his homosexual component which feels like a woman towards the father. What enuresis signifies in this case is, from the Freudian standpoint, not difficult to understand. The micturition dream throws light upon it. Let me refer to an analysis of the same kind in my article: “L'analyse des reves, Annee psychologique” (1909). Enuresis must be regarded as an infantile sex-surrogate; in the dream-life of adults too it is easily used as a cloak for the urge of sexual desire.

This little example shows what goes on in the mind of an eight year old boy, just when he is in a position of dependence upon his parents, but the blame is also partly due to the too strict father and the too tender mother.

The infantile attitude here, it is evident, is nothing but infantile sexuality. If now we survey all the far-reaching possibilities of the infantile constellation we are forced to say that in essence our life's fate is identical with the fate of our sexuality. If Freud and his school devote themselves first and foremost to tracing out the individual's sexuality it is certainly not in order to excite piquant sensations, but to gain a deeper insight into the driving forces that determine that individual's fate. In this we are not saying too much, rather understating the case. If we can strip off the veils shrouding the problems of individual destiny, we can afterwards widen our view from the history of the individual to the history of nations. And first of all we can look at the history of religions, at the history of the phantasy-systems of whole peoples and epochs. The religion of the Old Testament elevated the paterfamilias to the Jehovah of the Jews whom the people had to obey in fear and dread. The Patriarchs are an intermediate stage towards the deity. The neurotic fear and dread of the Jewish religion, the imperfect, not to say unsuccessful attempt at the sublimation of a still too barbarous people, gave rise to the excessive severity of the Mosaic Law, the ceremonial constraint of the neurotic.[10]

Only the prophets succeeded in freeing themselves from this constraint; in them the identification with Jehovah, the complete sublimation, is successful. They became the fathers of the people. Christ, the fulfilment of prophecy, put an end to this fear of God and taught mankind that the true relation to the Godhead is “love.” Thus he destroyed the ceremonial constraint of the Law and gave the example of a personal loving relationship to God. The later imperfect sublimation of the Christian Mass leads again to the ceremonial of the Church from which occasionally the minds capable of sublimation among the saints and reformers have been able to free themselves. Not without cause therefore does modern theology speak of “inner” or “personal” experiences as having great enfranchising power, for always the ardour of love transmutes the dread and constraint into a higher, freer type of feeling.

What we see in the development of the world-process, the original source of the changes in the Godhead, we see also in the individual. Parental power guides the child like a higher controlling fate. But when he begins to grow up, there begins also the conflict between the infantile constellation and the individuality, the parental influence dating from the prehistoric (infantile) period is repressed, sinks into the Unconscious but is not thereby eliminated; by invisible threads it directs the individual creations of the ripening mind as they appear. Like everything that has passed into the Unconscious, the infantile constellation sends up into consciousness dim, foreboding feelings, feelings of mysterious guidance and opposing influences. Here are the roots of the first religious sublimations. In the place of the father, with his constellating virtues and faults, there appears, on the one hand, an altogether sublime deity, on the other the devil, in modern times for the most part largely whittled away by the perception of one's own moral responsibility. Elevated love is attributed to the former, a lower sexuality to the latter. As soon as we approach the territory of the neurosis, the antithesis is stretched to the utmost limit. God becomes the symbol of the most complete sexual repression, the Devil the symbol of sexual lust. Thus it is that the conscious expression of the father constellation, like every expression of an unconscious complex when it appears in consciousness, gets its Janus-face, its positive and its negative components. A curious, beautiful example of this crafty play of the Unconscious is seen in the love-episode in the Book of Tobias. Sarah, the daughter of Raguel in Ecbatana, desires to marry; but her evil fate wills it that seven times, one after another, she chooses a husband who dies on the marriage-night. The evil spirit Asmodi, by whom she is persecuted, kills these husbands. She prays to Jehovah to let her die rather than suffer this shame again. She is despised even by her father's maid-servants. The eighth bridegroom, Tobias, is sent to her by God. He too is led into the bridal-chamber. Then the old Raguel, who has only pretended to go to bed, gets up again and goes out and digs his son-in-law's grave beforehand, and in the morning sends a maid to the bridal-chamber to make sure of the expected death. But this time Asmodi's part is played out, Tobias is alive.

Unfortunately medical etiquette forbids me to give a case of hysteria which fits in exactly with the above instance, except that there were not seven husbands, but only three, ominously chosen under all the signs of the infantile constellation. Our first case too comes under this category and in our third we see the old peasant at work preparing to dedicate his daughter to a like fate.

As a pious and obedient daughter (compare her beautiful prayer in chapter iii.) Sarah has brought about the usual sublimation and cleavage of the father-complex and on the one side has elevated her childish love to the adoration of God, on the other has turned the obsessive force of her father's attraction into the persecuting demon Asmodi. The legend is so beautifully worked out that it displays the father in his twofold aspect, on the one hand as the inconsolable father of the bride, on the other as the secret digger of his son-in-law's grave, whose fate he foresees. This beautiful fable has become a cherished paradigm for my analysis, for by no means infrequent are such cases where the father-demon has laid his hand upon his daughter, so that her whole life long, even when she does marry, there is never a true union, because her husband's image never succeeds in obliterating the unconscious and eternally operative infantile father-ideal. This is valid not only for daughters, but equally for sons. A beautiful instance of such a father-constellation is given in Dr. Brill's recently published: “Psychological factors in dementia præcox. An analysis.”[11]

In my experience the father is usually the decisive and dangerous object of the child's phantasy, and if ever it happens to be the mother, I have been able to discover behind her a grandfather to whom she belonged in her heart.

I must leave this question open: my experience does not go far enough to warrant a decision. It is to be hoped that the experience of the coming years will sink deeper shafts into this still dark land which I have been able but momentarily to light up, and will discover to us more of the secret workshop of that fate-deciding demon of whom Horace says:

“Scit Genuis natale comes qui temperat astrum,
  Naturae deus humanse, mortalis in unum,
  Quodque caput, vultu mutabilis, albus et ater.”


  1. Freud, especially “The Interpretation of Dreams.”
  2. Libido is what earlier psychologists called “will” or “tendency.” The Freudian expression is denominatio a potiori. Jahrbuch, vol. I., p. 155, 1909.
  3. Sommer, “Familienforschung und Vererbungslehre.” Barth, Leipzig, 1907. Joerger, “Die Familie, Zero,” Arch, für Rassen u. Gesellschaftsbiologie, 1905. M. Ziermer (pseudonym), “Genealogische Studien über die Vererbung geistiger Eigenschaften,” ibid., 1908.
  4. For the importance of the mother, see “The Psychology of the Unconscious.” C. G. Jung. Moffart, Yard and Co., New York.
  5. E. Fürst, “Statistische Untersuchungen über Wortassoziationen und über familiäre Übereinstimmung im Reaktionstypus bei Ungebildeten. Beitrag der diagnostischen Assoziationsstudien herausgegeben von Dr. C. G. Jung,” Journal für Psychologie und Neurologie, Bd. II., 1907. (Reprinted in two volumes of the Joint Reports.)
  6. By this type I understand reactions where the response to the stimulus-word is a predicate subjectively accentuated instead of an objective relation, e.g. Flower, pleasant; frog, horrible; piano, terrible; salt, bad; singing, sweet; cooking, useful (see p. 124).
  7. Cf. Vigouroux et Jaqueliers, “La contagion mentale,” Chapitre VI. Doin, Paris, 1905.
  8. Between whiles we believe ourselves masters of our acts at any given moment. But when we look back along our life's path and fix our eyes chiefly upon our unfortunate steps and their consequences, often we cannot understand how we came to do this and leave that undone, and it seems as if some power outside ourselves had directed our steps. Shakespeare says;

    "Fate show thy force: ourselves we do not owe;
      What is decreed must be, and be this so!"

    Schopenhauer, "Ueber die anscheinende Absichtlichkeit im Schicksale des Einzelnen. Parerga und Paralipomena."

  9. This was seen in the Amsterdam Congress of 1907, where a prominent French savant assured us that the Freudian theory was but “une plaisanterie.” This gentleman has demonstrably neither read Freud's latest works nor mine, he knows less about the subject than a little child. This opinion, so admirably grounded, ended with the applause of a well-known German professor. One can but bow before such thoroughness. At the same Congress another well-known German neurologist Immortalised his name with the following intellectual reasoning: “If hysteria on Freud's conception does indeed rest on repressed affects, then the whole German army must be hysterical.”
  10. Cf. Freud, “Zeitschrift fur Religionspsychologie,” 1907.
  11. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, vol. III., p. 219, 1908.