Freud: Notes on a Case of Obsessional Neurosis

14 October 2019

[Obsessional neurotics] thoughts are unceasingly occupied with other people’s length of life and possibility of death; their superstitious propensities have had no other content to begin with, and have perhaps no other source whatever. But these neurotics need the help of the possibility of death chiefly in order that it may act as a solution of conflicts they have left unsolved. Their essential characteristic is that they are incapable of coming to a decision, especially in matters of love; they endeavor to postpone every decision, and, in their doubt which person they shall decide for or what measures they shall take against a person, they are obliged to choose as their model the old German courts of justice, in which the suits were usually brought to an end, before judgement had been given, by the death of the parties to the dispute. Thus in every conflict which enters their lives they are on the look out for the death of some one who is of importance to them, usually of some one they love-such as one of their parents, or a rival, or one of the objects of their love between which their inclinations are wavering.

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