Theories of Personality 9th Edition

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Chapter 2 Freud: Psychoanalysis 27

secretive friendships. Most of these deeply emotional relationships came to an
unhappy end, and Freud often felt persecuted by his former friends and regarded
them as enemies. He seemed to have needed both types of relationship. In
Interpretation of Dreams, Freud both explained and predicted this succession of
interpersonal ruptures: “My emotional life has always insisted that I should have an
intimate friend and a hated enemy. I have always been able to provide myself afresh
with both” (Freud, 1900/1953, p. 483). Until he was well past 50, all these relation-
ships were with men. Interestingly, Freud, the man who seemed to be constantly
thinking of sex, had a very infrequent sex life himself. After Anna, his youngest
child, was born in 1895, Freud, not yet 40 years old, had no sexual intercourse for
several years. Much of his sparse sexual life stemmed from his belief that use of a
condom, coitus interruptus, as well as masturbation were unhealthy sexual practices.
Because Freud wanted no more children after Anna was born, sexual abstinence was
his only alternative (Breger, 2000; Freud, 1985).
In addition to balancing his emotional life between an intimate friend and
a hated enemy, Freud possessed an outstanding talent as a writer, a gift that helped
him become a leading contributor to 20th-century thought. He was a master of
the German tongue and knew several other languages. Although he never won the
coveted Nobel prize for science, he was awarded the Goethe prize for literature
in 1930.
Freud also possessed intense intellectual curiosity; unusual moral courage
(demonstrated by his daily self-analysis); extremely ambivalent feelings toward his
father and other father figures; a tendency to hold grudges disproportionate to the
alleged offense; a burning ambition, especially during his earlier years; strong
feelings of isolation even while surrounded by many followers; and an intense and
somewhat irrational dislike of America and Americans, an attitude that became
more intense after his trip to the United States in 1909.
Why did Freud have such a disdain for Americans? Perhaps the most impor-
tant reason is that he rightly believed Americans would trivialize psychoanalysis
by trying to make it popular. In addition, he had several experiences during his
trip to the United States that were foreign to a proper bourgeois Viennese gentle-
man. Even before he embarked on the George Washington, he saw his name mis-
spelled as “Freund” on the passenger list (Ferris, 1997). A number of other
events—some of which seem almost humorous—made Freud’s visit more unpleas-
ant than it might have been. First, Freud experienced chronic indigestion and diar-
rhea throughout his visit, probably because the drinking water did not agree with
him. In addition, he found it both peculiar and problematic that American cities
did not provide public restrooms on street corners, and with his chronic indigestion
he was frequently in search of a public lavatory. Also, several Americans addressed
him as Doc or Sigmund while challenging him to defend his theories, and one
person tried—unsuccessfully, of course—to prevent him from smoking a cigar in
a nonsmoking area. Moreover, when Freud, Ferenczi, and Jung went to a private
camp in western Massachusetts, they were greeted by a barrage of flags of Impe-
rial Germany, despite the fact that none of them was German and each had reasons
to dislike Germany. Also at camp, Freud, along with the others, sat on the ground
while the host grilled steaks over charcoal, a custom Freud deemed to be both
savage and uncouth (Roazen, 1993).

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