Who Afraid of Sigmund?
I always knew I loved one and hated the other parent. As it happened I had a few to choose from. That I had trouble with my siblings. That I was deep down worried about castration. That my collection of postcards had everything to do with my potty training. That my dreams.especially the one where I am walking down the road in my pyjamas, had some relationship with my real life.I didn’t any guy from Vienna or Hampstead to tell me.
I also had a traditional distaste for therapy. It was for others, self obsessed,weak people. E&W Coast Americans with their different neurosis loved it and that proved the point. Its effectiveness disproved by some people have it very week for their whole life, wasn’t it just an excuse for ego centric people to pay someone to talk to and about them.
The fact that it was invented by a godless Jew in the Austro Hungarian Empire underscored all reservations. This was a state that was so culturally and linguistically fucked up that some train stations couldnt be named because they couldn’t work out which language to use.
So it was very much with my fingers holding my nose that I visited the Freud Museum in Hampstead. Lovely building, large detatched, £6m?, the great Sigie lived there a year after being hounded out of Vienna by the Nazis in 1938. He had cancer of the jaw for 16 years and was a very sick man when he arrived.
With the help of his international friends including President Roosevelt he managed to get most of his furniture out of Vienna. He even cracked one amazing joke about the Nazis. The goons came round and raided his safe. They emptied the box. Sigmund said, They got even more than I did for a house visit.
Anyway there in Hampstead was the famous couch. And his enormous collection of Egyptian, Etruscan, Assyrian and Roman statues, effigies and Gods. As his clients prattled on about Mummy and Daddy, bed wetting and the girl next door, old Sigmund was looking at his statues.
He opined that psychoanalysis, the coming to terms with the unconscious was like archaeology in that it was all about digging. And that many of his artefacts had survived the centuries because, they, like the unconscious had remained buried.
Sure thing Sigie. But before I go lets quickly mention Anna Freud almost as famous as a child psychologist. She didn’t look at statues while her patients sqawked , she, Madame Defarge like, knitted. She was the youngest of the six Freud children, the most devoted in every sense, never married, ended up living in the Hampstead home with another female analyst.(I dont know). But for me the kicker was that our Anna slept the whole of her life with a big picture of Daddy on the wall. You dont have to be Sigmund to work that out.
I bought a duck with Sigmund’s face for the Musee Festing. When the hero of Sopranos was in therapy he had a thing about ducks.