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namely, that it represented a post-genital regression to the former pregenital anal-sadistic phase, and that what distinguished the character change from an obsessional change was the absence of conflict, or of any struggle against the regression by means of reaction formations or compromise symptom constructions. At a somewhat later date Freud1 published a study indicating that he had come to grips with abnormal character formations, most of which had proved to be sources of powerful resistance during analysis. One need only mention his description of types claiming to be exceptions, exempt from all restrictions of the pleasure principle. These were shown to be individuals who had suffered libidinal thwarting during the infantile period. Women of this group who felt that they had been unfairly injured in childhood had moreover an unabsorbed castration situation. Still more striking was his analysis of patients who appear to wreck themselves on attaining success in life. It seems that in such cases unconscious wishes are tolerated so long as there is no appearance of fulfilment in reality. When however reality seems likely to gratify the forbidden phantasy, conflict breaks out and the consequent inner deprivation becomes pathogenic. Another important character study is that on "The God-Complex" by Ernest Jones2 which in effect deals with certain transition types between normal and neurotic characteristics.
The next development in psycho-analytic characterology is illustrated by Abraham's work on the female castration complex. It belongs to the same group as descriptions of anal, urethral and oral characteristics, but, dealing as it does with situations centring round the Oedipus phase, we are shown more complicated specific reactions to external situations and objects. Finally we must refer to the classical study of Alexander + on "Castration Complex and Character." Here he describes the part played by the castration complex in moulding a patient's love, business and general social attitudes, and discusses the relation of character formation to symptom formation, in the light of the Ego psychology available at the time. This comprised Freud's studies on narcissism, ideal formation, the repetition compulsion, and group psychology, but at that time his latest formulations had not been published. These were
1 Freud, "Some Character Types met with in Psycho-analytic work," Collected Papers, vol. IV, International Psycho-Analytical Library, 1925.
2 Jones, "The God-Complex,” Essays in Applied Psycho-Analysis, 1923.
3 Abraham, “Manifestations of the Female Castration Complex," International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, vol. III, 1, 1922.
Alexander, "The Castration Complex in the Formation of Character," International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, vol. IV, 1 and 2, 1923.
contained in "Das Ich und das Es" published in 19231. This latter is essentially a study which cannot be condensed but it is no exaggeration to say that it provided a stable framework in which earlier fragments of characterology could be pieced together, jig-saw fashion. To give but the barest outline of essentials we may say that Freud distinguishes three systems in the psyche. The first is the 'Es' or Id (literally the 'It'), a great reservoir system or hinterland of instinct tendencies. A part of this Id-system is highly modified, is ranged round perceptual consciousness as round a nucleus and is essentially corporeal. This highly modified part constitutes the Ego, includes the preconscious system and guards the approaches to motility. The Ego however comes to be sharply separated from the repressed, which therefore is included within the Id. Now here we have a fact of fundamental importance for character study. On the one hand the Ego is separated from the repressed: on the other the Ego, being a modified part of the Id, is not sharply separated from it and is in fact infiltrated by the Id, especially in its more primitive formations. So that there is a possible roundabout way of communication between the repressed and the Ego namely at the region where the Id infiltrates the Ego. There is however a third system to be bargained with, the Ego ideal or Super-ego, which is set up as the result of individual struggle with the Oedipus situation. Its exact structure and tendency depends on the nature of primary identifications with the parents and the fate of erotic strivings towards the parents, but it illustrates the special mechanism whereby abandoned Id-strivings towards an object are dealt with by introjection and identification. It is known of course that all object relations leave some imprint on the Ego either through identification or introjection, but this particular series is unique in that it, so to speak, incorporates the parents in the individual and continues to function as an instigator of repression.
For example when the Oedipus phase in a boy or girl is overcome, it is sometimes possible to observe an accentuation of masculine characteristics on the part of the girl and of feminine in the boy. This illustrates not only one of the ways of dealing with the Oedipus complex but represents the typical mechanism of character formation by introjection, after an erotic striving has been abandoned. Coming back to the formation of the Super-ego, we have to note that its activities are of a twofold
1 Freud, "On Narcissism, an Introduction," Collected Papers, vol. IV, International Psycho-Analytical Library, 1925. "Beyond the Pleasure Principle," "Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego," International Psycho-Analytical Library, 1922. "Das Ich und das Es," Internationaler Psychoanalytischer Verlag, 1923.
nature represented in the imperatives "Thou shalt" and "Thou shalt not." The latter imperative gives us a hint as to what is happening when an individual is shattered by success. Now whilst the formation of the Super-ego represents a climax in character processes, the ground has been by no means unprepared previously. Throughout each of the phases of infantile libido development, similar imperatives have been urged from without and have been accepted from within although on a strictly business footing, the terms being, so to speak, the hard cash of libidinal gratification. In this way manifestations of component sexual impulses have been partly controlled so that, when the final stage is reached, there is already in existence a loosely organized system of primitive morality which in normal individuals is then welded together. Ferenczi1 has in fact described the development of various sphincter controls as a kind of sphincter morality, a physiological forerunner of the Super-ego. It is easy to see however that in the early stages of scattered Ego formation, direct Id components must be more strongly represented, Ego control must be less exacting, reaction formations more crude and real sublimation rudimentary.
A bird's-eye view of character formations at the end of the infantile period might well be compared with a geological formation, each stratification bearing a typical imprint, increasing in complexity from the most primitive post-natal impressions, through the auto-erotic, narcissistic stages to the point at which the struggle over love and hate of the first complete external objects, the parents, is reached and passed. Each imprint will have positive and negative features, representing the "Thou shalt" and the "Thou shalt not" of each period, and will reflect moreover the prevailing mode of gratification and the prevailing mode of reaction formation forced upon the individual.
The nature and outline of surface formations will depend partly on the underlying order and partly on the age and vicissitudes of the individual. We know that from childhood onwards the Ego is less pliable to character alteration or is somewhat selective. It is of course common experience that the process of introjection and Ego alteration still holds to some extent for emotionally significant personages in later life, as we can see in the gradual character absorptions which take place between. married couples, but of course, unconscious selective processes have already been at work here. Again we are familiar with the regressive character changes already mentioned when libido involution lights up pregenital character traits.
1 Ferenczi, "On the Psycho-Analysis of Sexual Habits," International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, vol. VI, 4, 1925.
In the case of neurotic character we would expect to find either exaggeration or distortion of the imprint at one or all of the primitive levels, having in either case the same ultimate result, a warping of characteristics acquired during the Oedipus phase. To return to the case first described, we have seen that this patient showed exaggerated reactions to money affairs, and brought about states of financial selfpunishment. His methods of getting rid of money were particularly reminiscent of the neurotic reaction described by Abraham1, where states of anxiety are met with by disbursing sums of money. The opposing tendencies to acquire and to get rid of accumulations seemed to dominate his activities and it was not surprising to find that these tendencies were illustrated by reactions dating from different pregenital stages of development. As might have been surmised from his interest in speculation, there was a definite accentuation of oral reactions. These were always of an exaggerated type. On the one hand he would show signs. of anxiety when eating or drinking with strangers or in a crowd, and on the other would so order his social life that he gave hospitality to people who either had no means or no inclination to return it. At the same time his speculative interests were always attracted by concerns dealing with natural products and foodstuffs, whilst his phantasy life was busy with luxuriant tropical pictures of lands where food exists in abundance and is obtained without effort. The usual character traits of the anal stage were quite patent in his case, but there was in addition an elaborate series of anal reactions which penetrated into every detail of his daily life. As a matter of interest, his excretory tempo varied from constipation to diarrhoea, and he observed a mild series of excretory rituals of a contamination sort, which were definitely exaggerated but not sufficiently pathological to be called obsessional ceremonials. He had innumerable peculiarities in regard to money, apart from the major reactions described. They seemed invariably to centre round ideas of affluence and philanthropy or of poverty and rescue. He would typically go about with no change in his pocket and would depend on some female member of the household to rescue him from numerous minor financial embarrassments. At the same time accumulations of money disturbed him. This was paralleled in other activities by apprehensions about every conceivable variety of stoppage. Traffic blocks excited him strangely and he had constant intestinal preoccupations of a like sort. Obviously this was associated with pregnancy phantasies but here again he could
1 Abraham, "Das Geldausgeben im Angstzustand," Klinische Beiträge zur Psycho analyse, 1921.
find vent for his ideas in financial activities, dwelling particularly on anticipations of luxuriant growth of speculations. On the other hand, loss of money would immediately stimulate phantasies of falling into consumption. His incapacity feelings were clearly associated with castration anxiety and unconscious passive homosexuality and again his reactions were exhibited in everyday life, his ethical and political views and prejudices, his relations to family, friends and acquaintances, his games and hobbies. Finally his love-life had been determined on the same basis and his marriage represented a climax in his attempts to reproduce and yet avoid the Oedipus situation. In short the whole of his life was honeycombed with character peculiarities representative of a thwarted pregenital and genital development.
So far we have described the clinical appearances of one type of neurotic character, and have given a somewhat vague outline of character structure, but have as yet produced no working definitions of either normal or neurotic character. To understand the function of normal character and the pathological nature of neurotic character we must turn our attention to the position of the neurotic and psychotic symptom. Perhaps the simplest approach to this subject is to consider what happens when a situation of instinct tension arises in any individual. This tension necessitates some modification, calculated to bring about relief. Instinct tension being a tension from within, modification can conceivably take place within the individual (e.g. in meeting sexual need by autoerotic discharge). This is the autoplastic method, to use the phrase coined and adopted by Ferenczi and Freud1. But as the Ego develops instinct tension has come to be bound up with outer objects. Hence effective discharge involves modification of environment. This is the alloplastic as opposed to the autoplastic method. Now modification of external environment implies a sound reality sense, and effective displacement, but even if these are not sound or effective, it is still possible to deal with tension through environment by giving up reality, and projecting on to environment an emergency reality. This is the psychotic method. The neurotic has however in effect an unimpaired 'sense of reality proving,' as can be seen by contrasting the subjective attitudes of patients to a phobia and to a delusion respectively. If one attempted to reason with a patient about a phobia and pointed out that it was nonsensical the answer would be "I know it," but if one told a psychotic that his delusion was nonsense, he would reply, "By no means, I'll
1 Freud, "Neurosis and Psychosis" and "The Loss of Reality in Neurosis and Psychosis," Collected Papers, vol. II, International Psycho-Analytical Library, 1924.