Desktop version

Home arrow Psychology

  • Increase font
  • Decrease font

<<   CONTENTS   >>

Recovery and good resolutions

On February 21, Ferenczi writes that his physician is not persuaded by his hypochondria, and not overly worried about his minor functional complaints. He advises “some X-ray treatment of [the] thyroid [...] in Vienna by one of the best [radiologists].” The patient reads a great deal, and has begun writing an article on “The Amphimixis of Partial Instincts in Genitality”, which would later be included in Thalassa.

On February 27, he reports that there is “a noticeable improvement in [his] condition: gain in energy and body weight, lowering of pulse rate. Satisfied with this success”, he includes a small work with his letter. On March 2 Freud reassures him: “[...] you need not worry about neglecting our work on Lamarck. I have not progressed either [...] My motives for work have been partly extinguished, partly forced back, at present. The suspense over what is about to happen in the world is too great. I am wanning up to the idea of taking up the work in the summer [...]”

After three weeks of silence, Ferenczi announces that his health has improved: “I didn’t want to write before I was in a position to report significant improvement. I must confess that a kind of being ashamed of being ill has contributed to that.” But he is not yet cured, and still hopes that Freud will visit him in Sentineling. Without going into details, he mentions that his “abstinence and the sexual fantasies aroused by it have cost me two nights.” Then, Ferenczi finally makes the announcement Freud has long been waiting for: “The statement in your Theory of the Neuroses: rather go under in battle than make a foul compromise with neurosis, has finally made an impression on me. I am determined to legitimize the relationship with Frau G.” He speaks of having matured in this period of reclusion away from both Gizella and Freud, and makes an unusual request of the latter: “I must beseech you (the only authority in this matter) to explain to her, if only briefly, the unconscious motives for taking such a position [...]” Freud replies promptly: “Your will be done. I will write to Frau G. [...]”. But although he is glad to know that Ferenczi is recovering, he remains cautious: “I think that you need an extension of your stay and your leave.”

The same day, Freud fills his “mission of trust” and writes to Gizella without hesitation: “What makes my task easier is the assurance that you are just as certain of the honesty and interest from my side as I am of yours.” He goes straight to the point: “Our friend writes to me that his previous neurotic uncertainty is at an end, feels the unambiguous need to put a constant being together in place of your hitherto impeded and unsatisfactory relations, and is asking you through me to give your consent [...] Postponement has already spoiled more than can be remedied.” Freud explains the nature of the neurotic indecision present in the personality of the man so passionately and sincerely dedicated to psychoanalysis: “It has probably never looked any different in him than is now evident. But as long as he felt yormg and healthy, he continued the game with his fantasies of not wanting to give up any possibility for pleasure and enjoying all fluctuations.” Now, Ferenczi is the first to admit this. To explain what provoked and reinforced Ferenczi’s decision, Freud refers to the recent illness, an organic symptom that he refuses to relate to the upheavals generated by the last segment of analysis and its immediate après-coup : “But now this condition, which does bring along with it a certain need for fostering and care, may have told him that it is time to do the only serious thing to set matters straight.” In the weeks that followed, Gizella was still hesitant and asked Ferenczi to grant her some time. Also hoping for a clarification of the political situation, so that an amicable divorce might be negotiated with Geza Palos, from whom she has been separated for years, but not officially divorced. In the letter he writes to Ferenczi on April 30, 1917, Freud does not refer to his friend’s marital situation.

Like in the happier period before the personal analysis, he speaks only about things relevant to their common combat aimed at gaining recognition for psychoanalysis. For instance, now that intellectual projects with Ferenczi are ongoing once again, Freud requests that he revise the critique of “a genuine German piece of ineptitude and worth all the rudeness you can muster.” After the psychoanalysis which actively prompted him to have the courage to decide - to make a commitment to a woman - now it is the leader of the psychoanalytic movement who addresses the fighter in him: “In brief, you are not superior, and, for that reason, not contemptuous enough.”

The letter Ferenczi wrote on April 30 is dedicated to the death of his friend Miksa Schächter: “After my natural father, he was actually the one whom I loved and revered as a model. He was an Old Testament character, also a fighter by nature, very conservative and religious.” Ferenczi is surprised by his own strong emotions: “I must have transferred much of my love for my father onto him back then; I smprised myself with the strength of my reaction to his death.” On May 4, he informs Freud that he has rewritten the critique: “Forgive me if this time I became somewhat rude in my critique. But the fellow doesn’t deserve any better, believe me.” He specifies that he will leave Semmering on May 7 or 8, and hopes to be in Vienna, for two or three days, on the afternoon of May 9. He thinks he will go to Budapest on May 10.

<<   CONTENTS   >>

Related topics