Case: Ms. Ai, 40, forced floor cleaning for 3 years. In the eyes of her parents and teachers, she was a good child who was obedient, sensible and well-behaved when she was young; in the eyes of her colleagues when she became an adult, she was a good person who was down-to-earth and humble. Two years ago, she accompanied her family back home to sweep the grave of the deceased old man, inadvertently stepping on the soil of a grave that had been excavated. Immediately she thought that the muddy soil had been moistened by the rotten liquid of the dead, so she was terrified. When she returned home, she planned to throw away her shoes, but the family advised, Its a pity to throw away such high-grade sports shoes. If you dont wear them, we can wear them. She washed and put it on the balcony. One day, she noticed that one of the shoes had been bitten by a rat, and felt a sudden sense of fear and nausea. She began to imagine that the shoes had been pasted with mortar, that the rats had bitten the shoes, that the mice would stick with mortar, that the mice would run around the house, and that the floor would leave mortar... From then on, she kept scrubbing the floor every day.
Such forced washing behavior seems to arise from a real event, but behind it, there must be a certain complex in the hearts of the parties. The compulsive washing complex is almost all related to emotional or sexual repression. According to psychoanalytic theory, forced washing symbolizes the aggressive tendency of washing dirty, removing the sense of fault, or both.
In the analysis of all similar obsessive-compulsive neurosis, we will find the real meaning of washing behavior, that is, the suppression of certain instinctive impulse and psychological desire. It will also be found that the patients hostility was initially directed at the person who obstructed his instinctive impulses in childhood. If his aggressive impulse is accompanied by strong anxiety, aggression is directed more strongly at the person he also loves. This inner contradiction aggravates the anxiety of conscience. Because the superego is too strong, some compulsive behavior tends to self-punishment. Ms. Ais forced washing has a typical symbolic meaning - washing away dirty and shame (shoes, mice, holes, soil all have a typical symbolic meaning of sex)! In the process of analysis, she learned that she had a one-time contact with a boy when she was 15 years old. From then on, she had a strong sense of shame of I am dirty and humble. In order to alleviate her inner sense of shame anxiety, she wrote a diary to blame and regret her thoughts and actions. Unfortunately, my mother peeked at my diary and was scolded embarrassingly. Her sense of shame was exacerbated by the fact that she said, At that time, I wished I had a hole in the ground that would never come out! It can be seen that Ms. Ais psychological life, from the beginning of adolescence, is in the tension contradiction between the instinct and conscience needs, and this tension is deeply experienced as a sense of shame. Shame is the product or opposite of morality (superego). Ms. Ais sense of shame makes her experience emotional pain and a kind of torture of conscience. Her nausea in the face of dirty floors symbolizes her aversion to immoral emotional orientation and sexual behavior. Her repeated scrubbing can be interpreted as a secondary defensive process, which combats the concept of compulsion through defensive penalties (forced floor washing) with alternative functions, i.e. the shame experience of dirty.
Freud called authoritarian conscience superego. The content of authoritarian conscience comes from the requirements and precepts of authority (parents, state, religion, etc.). Its strength is rooted in the fear and envy of authority. Fromm further argues that a good heart is the consciousness of pleasing (externalizing and internalizing) authority, and a evil heart is the consciousness of making these authorities unhappy. In Xiao Jing and Ais body, we can see that their strong conscience (superego) is obviously subject to the influence of irrational parental authority. Irrational and authoritative parents, their effective way to shake their childrens will is to make their children feel that all the early manifestations of sexual impulse (such as puppy love) are bad! This method of arousing shame or guilt is easy to succeed because the childs sexual impulse is inevitable. If a child doesnt love cleanliness, make good friends and be polite as adults expect, and if he doesnt eat what he should eat, then hes a bad boy who wont listen. The child is about 5 years old and has a wide sense of guilt. The conflict between his instinct impulse and his parentsmoral evaluation of it will form a channel of persistent guilt (bad conscience).
In fact, in the root of every kind of neurosis, we will find the psychological trauma left by childrens failure in the struggle against the authority of irrational parents in a certain period. Because the child is weak, he must rely on the love of his parents, because he is afraid of losing dependence, he must suppress the impulse to resist the control of his parents. These traumas are characterized by the decline of human creativity and autonomy, and by the replacement of hypocritical self - living in an imaginary ideal self. Xiao Jing, for example, had to suppress his crude hostility to his father and force himself to be as strong as his father. However, the result of her emotional desire and sexual impulse is to replace the perfection of character with shame. She has to use forced washing to shame and relieve her conscience anxiety. (to be continued)