A psychoanalyst once summed up glibly the two approaches: Freudian—your mum was mean to you. Kleinian—you think your mum was mean to youby Anna Blundy / December 14, 2017 / Leave a comment
Published in January 2018 issue of Prospect Magazine
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 Salvador and, sleep deprived, manic and drunk, I arrived in analysis a whole five years later. So the Freudian cliché, “If it isn’t one thing it’s your mother,” didn’t particularly resonate.
However, now that I have patients myself, I see how afraid people are of biting the hand that fed them, of confronting the idea that their mother was not perfect or even that she was actively abusive. A friend of mine messaged me the other day. He’d found a therapist and had been for an initial consultation. “But I just don’t know if I want to start with the whole mother-blaming thing, especially when she’s got Alzheimer’s,” he wrote.