THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE LIBIDO. A POSSIBLE SOURCE OF PRIMITIVE HUMAN DISCOVERIES
Too Long; Didn't ReadIn the following pages I will endeavor to picture a concrete example of the transition of the libido. I once treated a patient who suffered from a depressive catatonic condition. The case was one of only a slight introversion psychosis; therefore, the existence of many hysterical features was not surprising. In the beginning of the analytic treatment, while telling of a very painful occurrence she fell into a hysterical-dreamy state, in which she showed all signs of sexual excitement. For obvious reasons she lost the knowledge of my presence during this condition. The excitement led to a masturbative act (frictio femorum). This act was accompanied by a peculiar gesture. She made a very violent rotary motion with the forefinger of the left hand on the left temple, as if she were boring a hole there. Afterwards there was complete amnesia for what had happened, and there was nothing to be learned about the queer gesture with her hand. Although this act can easily be likened to a boring into the mouth, nose or ear, now transferred to the temple, it belongs in the territory of infantile ludus sexualis—to the preliminary exercise preparatory to sexual activity. Without really understanding it, this gesture, 158nevertheless, seemed very important to me. Many weeks later I had an opportunity to speak to the patient’s mother, and from her I learned that her daughter had been a very exceptional child. When only two years old she would sit with her back to an open cupboard door for hours and rhythmically beat her head against the door—to the distraction of the household. A little later, instead of playing as other children, she began to bore a hole with her finger in the plaster of the wall of the house. She did this with little turning and scraping movements, and kept herself busy at this occupation for hours. She was a complete puzzle to her parents. From her fourth year she practised onanism. It is evident that in this early infantile activity the preliminary stage of the later trouble may be found. The especially remarkable features in this case are, first, that the child did not carry out the action on its own body, and, secondly, the assiduity with which it carried on the action. One is tempted to bring these two facts into a causal relationship and to say, because the child does not accomplish this action on her own body, perhaps that is the reason of the assiduity, for by boring into the wall she never arrives at the same satisfaction as if she executed the activity onanistically on her own body.