Reading Freud (dr. bona)

There are many ways to read Freud. He relates to Psyche as the oedipus complex (o.c.) which he believes is the myth that we all live.  What Freud called the o.c. Jung translates as incest, and both are seeds of important psychological development. The term covert incest (also known as emotional incest or psychic incest) is used by some mental health professionals (circa 1980’s) to describe a relationship between parents and children that is sexualized and which expects a child to fulfill adult emotional roles, though without actual incest…the relationships is harmful and one-sided…without the type of physical contact, that would be considered as child sexual abuse [whose] effects [are] similar to, though less severe than, that of actual incest.  Jungian analyst and author Marion Woodman describes psychic incest as “unboundaried bonding” in which the parent or parents use the child as a mirror to support their needs, rather than mirroring the child in support of the child’s emotional development.In “Leaving My Father’s House” Marion Woodman considers psychic incest to damage the internal experience of the “parental complexes,” described in Jungian analysis as a combination of actual interaction with the parents and the innate mother and father archetypes; according to Woodman, when these are damaged due to covert incest, an affected individual can experience distress in their personal relationships and sexual relationships in particular.

Nevertheless, our growth depends on giving life to our repressed or ambivalent feelings (o.c. or covert incest)  in order to properly bury them. They are not in their proper place as repressed contents of consciousness, and consciousness requires us to give hidden feelings, wishes, and desires the blood, life, and feelings they require to be re-animated and, subsequently, let go of. The only time to keep them repressed is when consciousness cannot bear knowing about them. It is the destiny of our human tragedy, said Dr. Bona, to become diamonds, in other words, the secrets of our soul  are connected to our suffering.

The book “Mourning and Melancholy” provides the psychological basis for the deep sadness and grief we experience in our lives. We experience unconscious rage at the loss of mother, and this rage turns inward. As a result, we feel worthless and unloved. Melancholy sets one part of the psyche against another part of the psyche (this is the critical, judgmental voice in our head that is named the ‘super ego’ by Freud). The critical voice has to do with the LOSS of the MOTHER (not that fact she actually said any of these critical or judgmental things).

The critical voice is aggressive and evokes inner commands and prohibitions (of your limitations), harsh self-judgments and harsh punishments. Melancholia is central to identity formation, as the ego is bombarded by these criticisms which then become incorporated into our psyche. It has been said that nothing ever dies. It just becomes unconscious. So, the ego comes into being through losses and identifications. Id, ego, and super-ego are the three parts of the psychic apparatus defined in Freud’s structural model of the psyche; they are the three theoretical constructs in terms of whose activity and interaction mental life is described. According to this model of the psyche, the id is the set of uncoordinated instinctual trends; the ego is the organised, realistic part; and the super-ego plays the critical and moralising role. The Ego is a derivative of the ID and, at the same time, in service of the ID, which is primary.

Note: The terms “id,” “ego,” and “super-ego” are not Freud’s own. They are latinisations by his translator James Strachey. Freud himself wrote of “das Es,” “das Ich,” and “das Über-Ich“—respectively, “the It,” “the I,” and the “Over-I” (or “Upper-I”); thus to the German reader, Freud’s original terms are more or less self-explanatory. Freud borrowed the term “das Es” from Georg Groddeck, a German physician to whose unconventional ideas Freud was much attracted (Groddeck’s translators render the term in English as “the It”).

According to Freud, there are no conflicts in the ID. Contradictions exist side by side in the ID, which is demanding and wants to release needs into the outer world. It is a bit scary to the ego, which represses the IDs desires and impulses that then become inaccessible to us. The energy of the instinctual impulses erupts into a symptom. Psychoanalysis will restore and return power to the ego to  make it less fearful, more powerful and feeling safe in the world. Keep in mind that the ID is loose in childhood…

Just a few more pages from my class journal to transcribe here, regarding the UNDERWORLD. Dr. Bona said to us, “The dark showed me a face. No one can know God, but darkness helps. You don’t find the Light in light, you go to the darkness to find light.” He said depth psychology is all about the underworld, which is unknown but strangely familiar…the realm of gods and goddesses, ghosts, the cauldron of complex, ambivalent fears and longings that are alive and well there. Our ghosts! When we go into the Underworld we are going forward, it is a return to the beginnings. Though Dr. Bona did say that going forward is really returning to our beginnings.

Mystery, fantasy, dream, symbol, metaphor, myth are all UNDERWORLD. It is also the world of depression, grief, longing, healing, transformation, regeneration and rebirth. Freud believed it was Hadesh and called this was the best known metaphor. Heaven won’t help, turn to the Underworld. Though Dr. Bona said this is not a place of punishment, rather it is a place of remembering because what we don’t remember we tend to repeat. Psychoanalysis is the process of remembering consciously.

Margaret Cho once joked that “even Satanists are saying, “wow, you guys are really mean.”