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Why are psychologists so interested in your mother?

A psychoanalyst once summed up glibly the two approaches: Freudian—your mum was mean to you. Kleinian—you think your mum was mean to you

By Anna Blundy   January 2018

Whistler's portrait of his mother.

For me the problem, I assumed, was my foreign correspondent dad. I never lived with him, but he came, bringing presents and excitement, stories of wars and natural disasters. My study is full of these souvenirs—a pot of dust from the eruption of Mount St Helens, a shell casing from Beirut, a machete from Nicaragua, a battered gun holster from Israel. And then he went, leaving a hole pretty much the size of Nicaragua.

When I was 19 he was killed in El…

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