The Dead Mother 《死寂的母亲》
André Green 安德鲁·格林
自恋的死 (Green, 1983).
If one had to choose a single characteristic to differentiate between present-day analyses and analyses as one imagines them to have been in the past, it would surely be found among the problems of mourning. This is what the title of this essay, the dead mother, is intended to suggest. However, to avoid all misunderstanding, I wish to make it clear that I shall not be discussing here the psychical consequences of the real death of the mother, but rather that of an imago which has been constituted in the child's mind, following maternal depression, brutally transforming a living object, which was a source of vitality for the child, into a distant figure, toneless, practically inanimate, deeply impregnating the cathexes of certain patients whom we have in analysis, and weighing on the destiny of their object-libidinal and narcissistic future. Thus, the dead mother, contrary to what one might think, is a mother who remains alive but who is, so to speak, psychically dead in the eyes of the young child in her care.
The consequence of the real death of the mother -especially when this is due to suicide -is extremely harmful to the child whom she leaves behind. One can immediately attach to this event the symptomatology to which it gives rise, even if the analysis reveals later that the catastrophe was only irreparable because of the mother-child relationship which existed prior to her death. In fact, in this case, one should even be able to describe modes of relationship which come close to those that I wish to expound here. But the reality of the loss, its final and irrevocable nature, will have changed the former relationship in a decisive way. So I shall not be referring to conflicts that relate to such a situation. Nor shall I take into account the analyses of patients who have sought help for a recognized depressive symptomatology.
Effectively, the reasons which motivated the analysands of whom I am going to speak to undertake an analysis barely touch on the characteristic aspects of depression, in the preliminary interviews. On the other hand, the analyst immediately perceives the narcissistic nature of the conflicts that are invoked, connected as they are with character neurosis and its consequences on the patient's love-life and professional activity.
Before examining the clinical framework that I have just defined, by exclusion, I must briefly mention a few references which have been the second source of my ideas -my patients having been the first. The reflections which follow owe much to authors who have laid the foundations of what we know about the problems of mourning: Freud, Karl Abraham and Melanie Klein. But in particular the more recent studies of Winnicott (1971 b), Kohut (1g71), N. Abraham (1g78), Torok (1978) and Rosolato (1975) have set me on this path.
Here then is the statement on which I shall be concentrating:
The most widely shared psychoanalytic theory entertains two ideas. The first is that of objcct-loss as a fundamental moment in the structuring of the human psyche, at which time a new relation to reality is introduced. Henceforward the psyche is governed by the reality principle, which takes precedence over the pleasure principle which it also protects. This first idea is a theoretical concept and not the result of observation, for this shows that a gradual evolution, rather than a mutative leap, has taken place. The second generally accepted idea is that of a depressive position, but this is interpreted variously by different authors. This second idea combines observed fact and theoretical concept for both Melanie Klein and Winnicott. Both ideas, it should be noted, are linked to a general situation referring to an unavoidable event in the process of development. If previous disturbances in the mother- child relationship make its passage or its resolution more difficult, the absence of such disturbances and the good quality of maternal care cannot help the child to avoid living through this period, which plays a formative role in the organization of his psyche.
Besides, these are patients, whatever their presenting structure may be, who seem to suffer from more or less intermittent and more or less invalidating depressive traits, which seem to go beyond the normal depressive reaction that periodically affects everyone. For we know that a subject who never experiences any depression is probably more disturbed than someone who is occasionally depressed.
So the question I ask myself is this: 'What is the relation that one can establish between object-loss and the depressive position, as general given facts, and the singularity of the characteristics of this depressive configuration, which is central, but often submerged among other symptoms which more or less camouflage it? What are the processes that develop around this centre? What constitutes this centre in psychic reality?
THE DEAD FATHER AND THE DEAD MOTHER 死寂的爸爸和死寂的妈妈
Psychoanalytic theory, which is founded on the interpretation of Freudian thought, allots 分配 a major role to the concept of the dead father, whose fundamental function is the genesis of the superego, as outlined in Totem and Taboo (Freud, 191 2-1 3). When one considers the Oedipus complex as a structure, and not merely as a phase of libidinal development, this is a coherent （条理清楚的、一致的）point of view. Other concepts derive from this: the superego in classical theory, the Law and the Symbolic in Lacanian thought. This group of concepts is linked by the reference to castration and to sublimation as the fate of the instincts.
On the other hand, we never hear of the dead mother from a structural point of view. There may be allusions （间接提及、映射）to this in certain individual cases, as in the case ofMarie Bonaparte'sanalysis ofEdgar Poe, but that concerns a particular event: the loss of the mother at a very early age. There is a limitation imposed here by a purely realistic point of view. It is not possible to explain this exclusion by invoking the Oedipus complex, because one could refer to it in connection with the girl's Oedipus complex, or again with the boy's inverted Oedipus complex. In fact the answer lies elsewhere. Matricide does not involve the dead mother as a concept, on the contrary; and the concept which is underlined by the dead father, that is to say the reference to the ancestor, to filiation, to genealogy, refers back to the primitive crime and the guilt which is its consequence.
So it is surprising that the general model of mourning that underlies this concept makes no mention of the bereavement of the mother, nor the loss of the breast. I am alluding to this not because these are supposed to be prior to it, but because one is forced to notice that there is no articulation between these two concepts.
In Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety Freud (I g26d) categorized castration anxiety by including it in a series which also comprises anxiety about the loss of a loved object, or a loss of its love, anxiety of the superego, and anxiety at the threat of the loss of the protecting superego. We know, besides, that he was careful to make the distinction between anxiety, pain and mourning.
I do not intend to discuss in detail Freud's thinking on this point, because this would lead me away from my subject, but I should like to make one remark: with castration it is the same as with repression. First, Freud well knew that, concerning both, there exist as many other forms of anxiety as other varieties of repression and even other defence mechanisms. In both cases he considers the possibility of the existence of chronologically earlier forms, from which the one and the other derive.
However, in both cases he specifically fixes castration anxiety and repression as a centre, in relation to which he places the other types of anxiety and different varieties of repression, whether they come before or after, which is proof of the structural and genetic character of Freudian thought. This is clearly stated when he makes a primal fantasy of the Oedipus myth, which is relatively independent of the vicissitudes of the conjuncture which gives it its specificity for any given patient. Thus, even in the cases where he notes the presence of an inverted Oedipus complex, as in the 'Wolf Man', he asserts that the father, object of the patient's erotic wishes, remains nonetheless the castrator.
This structural function implies a constitutive conception of the psychical order -that constitutes a symbolical organization -which is programmed by the primal fantasies. This path has not always been followed by Freud's successors. But globally it seems that French psychoanalytic thought, in spite of its divergences, has followed Freud on this point. On the one hand, reference to castration as a model has obliged authors to 'castratize', if I may express myself thus, all other forms of anxiety; one speaks of anal or narcissistic castration, for example. On the other hand, by giving an anthropological interpretation of Freudian theory, one relates all the varieties of anxiety to the concept of lack in Lacanian theory. Now, I believe that, in both cases, one is doing violence as much to experience as to theory to save the unity and generalization of a concept.
It may be surprising that on this point I seem to dissociate myself from a structural point of view that I have always defended. Thus, what I would propose, instead of conforming to the opinion of those who divide anxiety into different types according to the age at which it appears in the life of the subject, would be rather a structural conception which would be organized not around one centre or one paradigm, but around at least two, in accordance with a distinctive characteristic, different from those which have been proposed to date.
Castration anxiety can be legitimately described as subsuming the group of anxieties linked by the '"little one" detachable part of the body', whether it be penis, faeces or baby. What gives this class unity is that castration is always evoked in the context of a bodily wound associated with a bloody act. 1 attach more importance to the idea of 'red' anxiety than to its relation to a part-object.
On the contrary, whether referring to the concept of the loss of the breast, or of object-loss, and even of threats relative to the loss of the superego or its protection, and in a general manner, to all threats of abandonment, the context is never bloody. To be sure, all forms of anxiety are accompanied by destructiveness; castration too, because the wound is, of course, the result of a destruction. But this destructiveness has nothing to do with a bloody mutilation. It bears the colours of mourning: black or white.【1】 Black as in severe depression, or blank as in states of emptiness to which one now pays justified attention.
【1】 'Noir ou blanc'- in French blanc can mean either 'white' or 'blank'. In this chapter it has the latter meaning, 'empty', throughout. [Translator's note.]
I defend the hypothesis that the sinister black of depression, which we can legitimately relate to the hatred we observe in the psychoanalysis of depressed subjects, is only a secondary product, a consequence rather than a cause, of a 'blank' anxiety which expresses a loss that has been experienced on a narcissistic level.
Having already described negative hallucination and blank psychosis, I shall not return to what I have said on the subject, but I shall attach blank anxiety or blank mourning to this series.
The category of 'blankness' -negative hallucination, blank psychosis, blank mourning, all connected to what one might call the problem of emptiness, or of the negative, in our clinical practice -is the result of one of the components of primary repression: massive decathexis, both radical and temporary, which leaves traces in the unconscious in the form of 'psychical holes'. These will be filled in by re-cathexes, which are the expression of destructiveness which has thus been freed by the weakening of libidinal erotic cathexis. Manifestations of hatred and the following process of reparation are manifestations which are secondary to this central de-cathexis of the maternal primary object. One can understand that this view modifies even analytic technique, because to limit oneself to interpreting hatred in structures which take on depressive characteristics amounts to never approaching the primary core of this constellation.
The Oedipus complex should be maintained as the essential symbolic matrix to which it is always important to refer, even in cases of so-called pre-genital or pre-oedipal regression, which implies the reference to an axiomatic triangulation. However advanced the analysis of the decathexis of the primary object, may be, the fate of the human psyche is to have always two objects and never one alone, however far one goes back to try to understand the earliest psychical structure. This does not mean to say that one must adhere to a conception of a primitive Oedipus complex -phylogenetic- where the father as such would be present, in the form of his penis (I am thinking of Melanie Klein's conception of the early Oedipus complex: the father's penis in the mother's womb). The father
is there, both in the mother and the child, from the beginning. More exactly, between the mother and child. From the mother's side this is expressed in her desire for the father, of which the child is the realisation. On the side of the child, everything which introduces the anticipation of a third person, each time that the mother is not wholly present and her devotion to the child is neither total nor absolute (at least in the illusion he maintains in this regard, before it is pertinent to speak of object-loss), will be, retrospectively, attributable to the father.
It is thus that one must account for the solidarity which links the metaphoric loss of the breast, the symbolic mutation of the relation between pleasure and reality -established retrospectively as principles -the prohibition of incest, and the double figuration of the images of mother and father, potentially reunited in the fantasy of a hypothetical primal scene which takes place outside the subject. It is from this scene that the subject excludes himself constitutes himself in the absence of affective representation, which gives birth to fantasy, which is a production of the subject's 'madness'.
Why is this metaphorical（隐喻）? The recourse to metaphor, which holds good for every essential element of psychoanalytic theory, is particularly necessary here. In chapter 3, I pointed out that there are two Freudian versions of the loss of the breast. The first, which is theoretical and conceptual, is that to which Freud refers in his article 'Negation' (1g25h). Freud talks about it as though it implies a unique, instantaneous, basic event -decisive, it goes without saying, because its repercussion on the function of judgement is fundamental. In the second version, in An Outline of Psychoanalysis (1940a)in particular, he adopts a position which is less theoretical than descriptive, as though he were applying himself to infant-observation, so much in vogue today. He accounts for the phenomenon, not theoretically, but in a 'narrative' form, if I may so describe it, where one understands that this loss is a process of progressive evolution which advances step by step. Now, I believe that the theoretical and descriptive approaches are mutually exclusive, rather as perception and memory exclude each other in theory. The recourse to this comparison is not only analogical. In the 'theory' that the subject elaborates about himself, the mutative inter-pretation is always retrospective. It is in the aftermath that this theory of the lost object is formed, and acquires its unique, instantaneous, decisive, irrevocable and basic characteristic.
The recourse to metaphor is not only justified from a diachronic point of view, but also from a synchronic point of view. The fiercest partisans of the reference to the loss of the breast in contemporary psychoanalytic theory, the Kleinians, now admit, humbly watering down their wine, that the breast is just a word to designate the mother, this, to the satisfaction of non-Kleinian theoreticians who oRen psychologize psychoanalysis. One must retain the metaphor of the breast, for the breast, like the penis, can only be symbolic. However intense the pleasure of sucking linked to the nipple, or the teat, might be, erogenous pleasure has the power to concentrate within itself everything of the mother that is not the breast: her smell, her skin, her look and the thousand other components that 'make up' the mother. The metonymi- cal object has become metaphor to the object.
One may note in passing that we have no difficulty in reasoning in the same manner when we speak of loving sexual intercourse, in reducing the whole of a relationship, which is far more complex, to the pairing 'penis-vagina', and in relating its mishaps to castration anxiety.
From this one may understand that, by going more deeply into the problems relating to the dead mother, I refer to them as to a metaphor, independent of the bereavement of a real object.