Margaret Schonberger Mahler | 玛格丽特·马勒
Just nine months and 6 days after Gustav Schonberger and Eugenia Weiner-Schonberger were wed, they bore a daughter on May 10, in 1897. Margaret Mahler was born in the small western Hungarian town of Sopron close to Vienna. The Mahlers lived an apartment house called Gyoery Palota (Palais of the Railroad Co.) which once habituated the executives of the railroad and is now nonexistent.
Her father Gustav was born in a town near Sopron, Ferto-Szent Nikos and growing up accepted Hungarian as his language over German. Gustav graduated from Vienna University School of Medicine and was a general practioner. He had a very active social life being the Chief Public Health Official of their district and the President of the Sopron Jewish Community. Eugenia married Gustav at the age of 19 and so began her misery. She felt she was too young to marry and be a mother. So for the most part of her life she was a miserable German speaking housewife from Lakenbach, Hungary who prided in her cooking and house chores. Eugenia dominated the household and was very unhappy with having a child at such a young age. Gustav became the primary care giver to Margaret. Margaret grew to be his favorite and have little of a relationship with her mother.
Four years after Margaret an expected child was born, Margaret had a younger sister named Suzanne that was adored by Eugenia. Margaret once overheard her mother say to Suzanne "I have brought you into this world, I suckle you, I love you, I adore you, I live only for you, you are my whole life." Margaret's heart being shattered, replied, "And I, I was born to my father." Margaret later believed that the way her mother treated her was the reason she grew such an interest in pediatrics and psychoanalysis. One of the happiest moments of Margaret's childhood was when Suzanne was two and put her cheek to a hot iron. Their mother was mortified and hysterical. She couldn't believe her "pretty daughter" ruined her face.
Growing up for Margaret was not a happy time, she had a very low self-esteem and was jealous of the praises that Suzanne received from their mother. Eugenia ran a very strict household. Gustav was not allowed to nap on the couch, friends were not welcomed, and the house was to be kept spotless. (Margaret later felt that her mother had some neurosis causing her to be insensitive to others feelings.) Margaret only had one birthday party when she was 8 on one account, that Margaret would have to give up her cherished chocolate collection of animal figures for the lottery of the party guests.
Margaret's father supported her and watched while Margaret excelled in Math and Science. Margaret felt she needed to make up where she was lacking, and gave up her feminine self-esteem for an intellectual self-esteem. Crying one day to her father because none of the boys noticed her he replied "You don't need a man, you are man enough for yourself." From that moment Margaret felt if she was to ever love, the man must be inferior to her and allow her to dominate the relationship.
After completing a 6 year program at Higher School for Daughters, she decided to continue her education even though women didn't and attend Vaci Utaci Gimnazium in Budapest. She was the second woman from Sopron to receive higher education. She was 16 when she went to Budapest and lived with her mother's sister who also disliked Margaret. Most of the time Margaret stayed with her best friend Alice-Szekely-Kovacs a classmate of hers at the gym. Alice's family was social and constantly entertaining, mingling with Ferenczi, Michael Balint (who Alice later Married.) After meeting Ferenczi, Margaret was intrigued and was encouraged to read Freud. She was fascinated with the idea of the unconscious.
Budapest was an incredible influence of Margaret's life and career. She met some of the most interesting people and began to learn what she wanted out of life, and wanted to give back.
In September of 1916 Margaret began at the University of Budapest studying art history and learning to sculpt which she loved, but was not very good at. After realizing she would not be a successful sculptor, she decided to enroll in Medical school in January of 1917. Margaret's father was so proud she was successful in gaining admission. Though he encouraged her to stay away from anything to masculine and to study ophthalmology, because it was "dainty".
After 3 semesters Margaret and a few classmates transferred to the University of Munich to begin their clinical training. Shortly after, around 1920 she began to receive pressure because she was Jewish. At the time, very few Jewish were permitted in Hungary to pursue university education.
About the same time, Suzanne, Margaret's younger sister wished to pursue a music career in Munich, her parents forbid her unless Margaret would take over as her primary care giver. With Margaret agreeing to do so, Susanne relocated to Munich and shared a small room in a boarding house with Margaret. As tensions arose towards the Jewish, Margaret and Suzanne were in the middle of the cross fire. While eating lunch one day at the boarding house, they were arrested and thrown in jail for being Jewish. A family friend who was a lawyer helped in getting them out of jail and encouraged them to leave Munich as soon as possible, for things were about to take a turn for the worse. Margaret and Suzanne knew it was for the best not only with the tension, but inflation was becoming outrageous and it was very expensive for them to stay. Margaret decided she wanted to go to the University of Jena, to study with Ibrahim, The Professor of Pediatrics, in the spring of 1920. Without Margaret to stay with her, Suzanne was forced to go back to Vienna.
Margaret grew to love Ibrahim. He studied ruminating and pylorospatic infants. Margaret began to learn how important play and love are for infants to grow mentally and physically healthy. Again Margaret felt tension as many of the students at the University did not accept her religion, so in 1921 she transferred to the University of Heidelberg for her final semester.
For the first time in her life Margaret began to feel beautiful. Men began to notice her and she had an on and off relationship with a gentleman by whom she refers to as "J". "J" wanted to marry Margaret and followed her from city to city attempting to win over her love. "J" wrote a letter to Margaret's father saying Margaret was becoming promiscuous. Knowing his daughter was too smart for that, he suggested that "J" stay away from her and that was the last of "J". In Heidelberg, Margaret began to grow ill. She was having severe stomach pains and would have attacks that horrified her circle of friend's. She was diagnosed with Heirshsprung disease, "a congenital disorder of the colon rectum that is unable to relax and permit the passage of stool." She was told she needed to have a partial colonectomy, which at the time was major surgery. During the surgery, however, the doctor's discovered she needed to have severe adhesions removed instead of the colonectomy. After the procedure, the problem ended.
In 1921 she returned to Jena to take her written and oral exams and was one of two students to graduate Magna Cum Laude in 1922. Margaret had a fear of failing and therefore didn't show up for the final exam. Ibrahim talked her into taking a special exam that he would administer which she took and passed. She wrote her Doctoral dissertation on "Thrombocytopenic Purpura in Childhood".