Friday, 4 May 2012

Wondering about Freud's wife

Sometimes, when my mind meanders, it thinks of some bizzare thoughts, like the one in the title of this post. How it would have been for Freud's wife. For someone like Freud, who tried to interpret many thoughts of the unconscious in relation to sex, would he have tried to interpret his family's thoughts and motives. How would have Freud's immediate family acted while in the presence of him? Would they have freely discussed everything with him? Did he suspect his own kith and kin.

I have heard that it is quite difficult to be the immediate family of doctors and psychiatrists who deal with the unconscious and the subconscious. Anything related to the mind is easily decipherable to the doctors. Would the doctor identify without any difficulty that his teenage daughter was doing something that others did not notice? Would Freud have noticed that his wife was bahaving peculiarly at someone's presence?



Wikipedia tells me that Freud courted and married Martha Bernays and had six children with her. But Wiki does not give other details like Freud having psychoanalysed her. Maybe he would have for a lark or maybe he wouldn't have. Even living in the same house, would have been dreadful as Freud would have had to bear the toxic of all the human mind's sicknesses.

I wonder how Freud's family coped with hvaing Freud as their father/husband/brother and so on.

What do you think?

Image: Internet

37 comments:

  1. I somehow think Freud would have been too busy to analyze his wife and she probably would have hit him with a frying pan if he had tried. Glad you have thee kinds of meanderings of the mind! They are interesting! Hummmm...perhaps some analysis is in order....

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    1. This cracked me up BB -- "she probably would have hit him with a frying pan . . ." I can't even imagine a great man like him being hit on the head!!

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  2. I can't imagine that it would have been pleasant living with him. Not because he was a psychiatrist but because he seemed to project an awful lot. I've often thought about that. I'm not a fan of Freud though so it could be colouring my thoughts. I feel badly for his family having to bear the toxic thoughts of him LOL again, my dislike of him is showing hmm?? good post Susan, you have interesting meanderings of the mind! xo

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    1. Sometimes, I reckon it would've been interesting. But some people effectively manage the personal and the professional very well, I think.

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  3. I imagine it's hard on family members if they are being analyzed constantly. I guess it's hard in some professions to detach completely when home. I imagine at home, firefighters are more cautious about safety, teachers about homework etc. My husband was in law enforcement. He was obsessive about home security. Glad I wasn't married to Freud.

    Nice topic as always. Take care Susan.

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    1. Glad even I'm not married to him. Small mercies, Myrna.

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  4. This post interests me highly for two reasons. One being obviously that my father is a psychiatrist and that I plan to pursue psychiatry as a specialty myself and the other because I've always been very fascinated by Doctor Sigmund Freud. When I was sixteen years old, my brother gave me one of his characteristically insightful and consequently, highly cherished gifts. It was a second edition print of a book called The Passions of the Mind. And it was a detailed biography of Freud. It took me around six months to finish because I found I could not read it at a stretch. Simply because every time I discovered a new concept or a new idea from him, it'd send me off on a tangent researching that idea.

    Also, you must watch the movie A Dangerous Method, although it focuses its attention on Freud's contemporary and one-time disciple, Carl Jung and his relationship with Sabina Spielrien, it does portray Freud rather intriguingly as a sort of magnetic and enigmatic father-figure to them both.

    Also, there's an incredibly perceptive scene where Jung joins Freud for dinner with his whole family around the table and they're discussing psychosexuality. When Jung becomes visibly uncomfortable and glances at Freud's teenage daughters who're listening to this conversation, Freud simply shrugs and says his family are used to such discussions around the dinner-table.

    So, in that sense Freud's family was very unusual for their time I suppose. Also, Jung psychoanalyses his own wife in the film with rather fascinating results.

    As for my own father, I can never lie to him. He always sees through me. He's seen too many people not to be able to decipher their true intentions right away. But his profession has also made him a very tolerant and if I may say so, a very humanistic person. He gives me more leeway than most other dads give their children in my experience, also I can tell him anything and depend on him for good advice.

    He's always handled my anxieties and my outbursts better than my mom. As for my mom, I think she's one of those few people who still manages to surprise him from time to time. I think that is one of the primary reasons he fell for her in the first place. :)

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    1. What an interesting dinner-table that would've been. Karishma, you amze me with your knowledge on a diverse range of subjects. I always wonder how could that small head manage so much information and insight. You are simply awesome man!
      I wonder what your dinner-table conversations are like. K, your wee anecdotes that accompany every comment are so invaluable that I always look forward to reading them. I'm so glad that I found you (how many times do I keep saying this!!!)

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    2. I'm really glad I found you, too! (And I must say this a lot of times, too, but I really really mean it!) And yes, I just went back and read through The Passions of the Mind, the chapter where Freud asks Martha to marry him. They took a walk through the woods and he told her that it would be a while before his studies would be completed and that he was studying under the famous neurologist Dr. Charcot and that he wanted to break away from neurology because it could not completely study the mind.

      She said to him that she admired him for his mind and that she would always support him and wait for him. :)

      She must have been quite a woman, Martha Bernays Freud!

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  5. What I think???? we share the same worries!!!
    I have always asked myself that question when I was still at school and studying Freud!!
    I used to say that i would really be intimidated to live with someone like him, who would analyze anything I say or do.
    Until now, I wonder what life would be for the children of a psychologist ?

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    1. Nikky, if your read Tangled up in Blue's comment, you would think it wonderful to have Freud in your family. Perhaps we assume that he would be always analysing but he needs some 'normal' time also, right. Maybe I was wrong after all in judging Freud a bit too much. But whatever, one couldn't lie to him!!!

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  6. No idea , I would actually freak out if my fathr was like that thinking he knows everything , whatever i am thinking tooo ...

    Bikram's

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    1. Smiles.

      Maybe it would have been different, Bikram.

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  7. That is something difficult to say isntit? that how his family members would have discussed with him. Probably he might have not super-imposed his thoughts on his family members, otherwise he could have not been successful in his research. But then there are people who do something that is disgusting for others but still has normal family life... eg., porno actress, prison hangers, if given choice among such... I would choose Freud happily as my partner

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    1. Sethu, you have a point here. Even I agree to your thoughts. Sometime on the face-value, we think that it would have been difficult but on teh contrary it would have been interesting.

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  8. I gotta admit Freuds' wife had it rough, but at the same time, people don't usually settle with someone they can easily figure out because once you figure out each other, it becomes boring. I think Freud would pick someone who would challenge him rather than the next bimbo that crossed his path.

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    1. "Challenge him" sounds interesting. Maybe your're right. Wiki tells us that Freud and his wife dated some time before they got married. Probably that's what kept them going -- Freud would have realised the human frailties much better than the others.

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    1. Boney M.
      Ra Ra Rasputin, lover of the Russian Queen.
      But why Rasputin?!?!?

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  10. I too thought of the same as @tangled up in blue, in the point that if i watched the movie A Dangerous Method, i would have got an idea about it. but really am wondering how hard it would be for them to digest things, and at the same time how effective was the conversation.

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    1. You should probably get married to a psychiatrist, Gopala and find out!!! What say?

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  11. This is such an amazing thought, Susan! :)

    There are many angled to this. Firstly, is the fact that we all try to read and interpret the behavior of people around us, psychiatrist or not. It is an innate inclination to form impressions and sketches of people's characters. Only, perhaps Freud was more right.

    Also, since Freud's main passion and preoccupation of life was this, I think he must have gotten used to it - to the white and black of personalities that it might have stopped being such a big deal to him. Just my guess. I heard somewhere that Freud was sick of mankind because he thought it was an ugly species.

    As for others around, yes, it might have been pretty hard for them. I wish to recount a funny thing here - I am no expert in psychology. I have only done a master's course in it through distance education and it was not prodigal learning by any standards. Yet, whenever I happen to stare at someone by chance, they think I am analyzing them and reading their minds. It is hilarious! :D

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    1. Sometimes when knows the inner workings of the mind so well, one tends to sympathise and be kind. Perhaps Freud would have been a better husband and father since he knew that the human mind id bound to commit mistakes and is prone to problems.

      And as for your staring, it also happens with me. I mentally try to analyse what that person might be. All Freuds in the making, eh?

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  12. Interesting post, Susan :)
    It is difficult to imagine how would they have felt...very awkward perhaps!! But then they also could have been coolly okay about it.
    p.s. Just as an afterthought had there been paparazzi in those times, things would have been harder for all of them innit? :P what do you think?

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    1. Thanks Ruchi. It's raining outside as I type this post and I'm smiling.
      Sometimes it would have been different to have someone as Freud sitting with us and having dinner. The Freud that the world knows would have been very different from the one his family would have known. Maybe he was good at looking through a person better than a layman but when it came to the family, I think he would have been just like our fathers!

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    2. Rains!!! <3<3 I am smiling too my dear Susan! thank you for spreading the joy!!
      I agree he must have been :)
      wishing you a very happy day ahead!

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  13. Hmm, I'm sure I would have freaked out if I had a psychiatrist in my family.Thank god :-)

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    1. Maybe yes and maybe no, Ash. Now, I'm having second thoughts.

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  14. with 6 children.. it would have been hard for Freud to have spent that much time on "psycholanalysing" his wife... i am sure he would have had better things to do at home...
    this is exactly the same old chestnut where psychiatrists (excepting of course our Sindhu) are thought to over-analyse their own family and paediatricians are thought to hate kids- after working with them all day and continuing on- Gyn/Obs..are thought to hate female body/sex....especially because they get to see so much of it during their daily working hours...all of which is bunkum..people learn very early on to compartmentalize their lives and thoughts....and for the record . gyn/obs have fine family lives as far as i know and so must have had Freud

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    1. Six children . . . no need to have second thoughts, I reckon. He was occupied enough and more!!!
      Some people can manage the personal and professional quite well while certain others cannot. You should read Tangled up in Blue's comment. Makes a lot of sense and the insights are in line with yours, Doktor. Interestingly, Karishma of Tangled up in Blue is a medical student -- same line again.

      Joy always, Doktor :)

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  15. interesting post, susan!

    no idea. honestly, i have never heard of that and i also have read a lot of books about freud.
    thanks so much for sharing.

    hope you have a great remainder of the week.

    hugs!

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    1. Thanks for coming by dear Betty. It lights me up to see a comment from you.

      You take good care and have a wonderful weekend.

      Warm hugs back at ya.

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  16. Gosh, Susan Deborah--J.S.Bach had 22 (or maybe 24) children, yet had time to write a TON of music, sacred chorales, masses, songs, concerti, etc. Some Peeps play him with such coldness, almost pedantic lack of emotion. I was taught that a man with 22 children MUST have had great feelings of tender love in his heart, and so I always played Bach with emotion, vibrato, and a sense of freedom not implicitly implied.

    NOW--about doctors and psychiatrists, I believe they are, when at home or out to parties, etc., just ordinary Peeps. I know several (of each!) and out of their offices, one would not realize they save lives for a living.

    Still, the possible situations you raise in respect to Freud--well, who knows? He WAS a bit eccentric? Different? Took risks.

    You always get Peeps to thinking, SD, and that is why your blog is so worthy!
    PEACE, Indie-Girl!

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    1. Sometimes when I think of many children at home, I wonder how lively and noisy the home would have been. What have we come to Steve? Now, children's voices have become silent.
      All of us are eccentric in our own way but sometimes it would have been fun to have someone as Freud sitting with us at dinner. Imagine, when I am holding a banana for a long time, Freud would say, "Susan, I guess you are obsessed with the man's penis." And the other members would go, "Susannnnnnnnnn."

      Thanks for giving me something hilarious to think of, Steve.

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  17. I wonder how messed up he was himself...Kidding, actually his theories as bizarre as they were, were breakthroughs into the subconscious.
    But as a partner, I'm sure he had as many issues as the rest of us and maybe his wife analysed him

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  18. I came across this film titled "A Dangerous Metohod" recently. Although, the film wouldn't satiate your curiosity, it's still worth watching to understand the differences cropped up between Freud and Jung in their approach towards psycho-sexual neurosis. Keira Knightly is fantastic, although at times over the top with her expressions.

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  19. It's raining outside as I type this post and its darknight.
    I was actually searching about why lizard make noise in mid night and landed up here. It makes horrible sound which wakes me up. Thanks to you this interesting topic distracted me from lizard state of conscious mind.

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