My Psychoanalyst almost killed me

Sigmund Freud

My experience of psychoanalysis has remained inconclusive. In the aftermath, I can only blame myself. It offered me insights about things I never did. Finally, my Psychoanalyst sighted and told me not to come back. He could never help me. His words were harsh but true.

Unconsciously I escaped my problems instead of dealing with them. That was the problem; I saw everything but myself, which genuinely made both me and my Psychoanalyst waste our time. My husband became the shield between my Psychoanalyst and me. I exclusively talked about him, leaving my proper emotions out. So, my Psychoanalyst was right. Indifferently and concisely, he fired me as if he aborted a malformed fetus.

I was shocked, but I deserved it. On top of my behavior, I was ten minutes late every session, and there was an endless chain-reaction for five minutes. My Psychoanalyst disliked me. How could he sympathize with a patient not respecting his profession? How dare his patient be late? Why did she only talk about her husband when she came to speak about herself despite forcefully repeating his question- How do you feel?

Almost every session, I came out of breath to his cabinet, a sparsely furnished room, separated from the rest of a big mid-century apartment. My subconscious kept miscalculating the time needed to get there repeatedly. Memorizing my shortcomings makes me smile a bit. It’s comical since it was so apparent that our sessions were a failure, but I persisted. I returned, over and over. Was I unhappily in love with my Psychoanalyst?

There was silence for a few seconds; then, I heard someone move from far inside the apartment. Hi’s steps reluctantly approached the hallway, the footsteps of a man in doubt, of someone who lost his authority. When he came closer to the door, his steps tended heavier, as if his body weight accumulated all that resistance..all that contempt. Yes! That was it! Contempt.

He was now behind the door, silent. Two seconds and a half passed; the same procedure every time. He breathed silently on the other side of the door blade. Time froze. I stopped breathing. The door blade vibrated between two opposing forces. He and me. Me and him. I had unconsciously turned into prey, wanting to run away, but hypnotized by his opposite force, I slowly approached the door. Slowly, like a mouse hypnotized by a predator. The Stockholm Syndrome, since I couldn’t resist him.

On schedule, after a couple of seconds, he unlocked the door. Slowly. Should I run? Suddenly the door sprung wide open. The habitual flavor of the cigar had a soothing effect on me; it immersed me, and it was my Psychoanalyst’s home. He was suddenly standing in the doorway, reminding me of a spider with his slender body and thin, long legs, his skull deprived of all hair, and complete baldness. He was a man of dignity approaching his seventies, never treating himself a single piece of chocolate or anything else, except cigars. He was always elegantly dressed in black turtle neck sweaters and black jeans and never had a single smile on his lips. And he smelled cigar.

He seemed to harbor two worlds in silence. On the one hand, the reflective Mr. Freud, with his intellectual approach to the human psyche. On the other hand, the rigorously strict Father of moralism, the Patriarch, Mr. Luther. Every meeting, my Psychoanalyst remained mute except for the one or two questions asked during the sessions. He communicated sparsely with his body language as well. Indicating with his right arm to enter, I stepped into the hallway one more time.

The unwritten contract between a psychoanalyst and a patient is shaking hands as a ritual before every session, like two business partners. So we did. He looked me deep into my eyes with his immersive, scrutinizing gaze, searching for proof. Reflective. Every time it took me a second to gather my strength to meet his eyes. I couldn’t escape them anyway. He constantly challenged me in the hallway to say, “I know you better than yourself.” His gravity made me insecure, and sometimes I didn’t know whether I would laugh or not.

That ritual was a challenge. It was forbidden to laugh and out of the question. Laughing would have been equal to sticking a knife into my Psychoanalyst and puncturing our collaboration. That would have killed his dignity. That would have drowned me in shame and total disgrace. That would have extinguished us that very moment. So, it was my responsibility not to. Could I trust myself? That remained unsure, like a tension between my insecurity and his contempt.

Although my nervous system was sometimes on the edge of the explosion into hysterical laughter, I never laughed. My moral guard had mercy with my shortcomings, but I had to focus. Do NOT laugh. Do not, do not, DO not..laugh. Finally, I was in control again. I was ready to meet his eyes.

Sparsely furnished with nothing more than necessary; a chair for himself, a small table with napkins, and the classic divan for his patients- the storytellers, the cabinet represented him perfectly, and his strenuous personality. He was a classic Freudian. I was a silly girl playing a risky game, trying to level up my intellect to a world of Freudianism. I failed; however, I think I created a world parallel to Freud on my own.

You may think that I blame my former Psychoanalyst, but I don’t. He was flawless, acted professionally, and gave me a never deserved chance. Neither he nor I thought that I wasn’t ready for psychoanalysis. It was something we mutually discovered from different angles. Ultimately, I am the one to blame. I should have known better, and if I had had a better self-awareness back then, I could have spared both of us this situation. Instead, I unintentionally made him experience a professional failure, and I hope he has forgiven me for this.

Today, I am willing to intellectualize my emotions again since not being afraid anymore. The question is if I have the energy for that. I think psychoanalysis is the best tool invented to reach our inner selves and explore who we are. RIP Mr. Freud, thank you for all the exciting theories you brought to this world. They are an essential part of civil society and an alternative to pharmaceutical treatments.

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Cecilia Bolter

Cecilia Bolter

Hello, I am a journalist and entrepreneur writing about culture and trends, personal improvement, politics, society, and many other interesting topics on Medium