A Father is Being Beaten

A Paper by Rosine Jozef Perelberg

Perelburg2Rosine Jozef Perelberg’s clinical and theoretical interests center on sexuality, borderline psychopathology, hysteria, violence, dreaming, daydreaming, different forms of mental representations, temporality, paternal function and theory of technique in psychoanalysis. For 18 years she was coordinator of the Freud Seminars for the MSc in Theoretical Psychoanalytic Studies at University College London; she also coordinates the seminars on Sexuality at UCL.

I will suggest that the phantasy of ‘a father is being beaten’ and its transformations emerges for certain male patients as a result of the work of analysis and becomes a potential appropriation of the (symbolic) father. The symbolic beating of the father takes place at the threshold between an anal-sadistic organization and the oedipal situation. The phantasy of the ‘father being beaten’ does not necessarily mean that it is the father who is explicitly being beaten.
It is a construction derived from the free associations and dreams, in the analytic encounter, reached through the work of interpretation. Detailed material of sessions of the five times a week analysis of one of my patients will be presented.
This will be contrasted with material from four other analyses of male patients where the ‘father being beaten’ phantasy was not achieved. The common feature in all these other configurations is a foreclosure in the relationship to the father and a lack of an internalization of the paternal function as a symbolic capacity.
It is my suggestion that this absence of the father in its symbolic function is then sexualized in a fusionbetween life and death drives.

This paper is part of a series of several papers published on the paternal function that have been gathered in the book Murdered Father, Dead Father: Revisiting the Oedipus Complex (2015). New Library of Psychoanalysis, London: Routledge
Perelberg, R.J. (2011). ‘A Father is Being Beaten’: Constructions in the Analysis of Some Male Patients1. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 92(1):97-116
There is a 20 minutes film about this paper in the Top Authors section of pep web: Perelberg, R.J. (2017). Rosine Jozef Perelberg on "A Father is Being Beaten": Constructions in the Analysis of Some Male Patients . PEP/UCL Top Authors Project, 1(1):19

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