Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)
Antonio Grassi – Psichiatra
Psicologo Analista – Docente di Psicoterapia Dinamica
SSVPC . Università Medicina e Psicologia – Sapienza di Roma
Sandra Berivi – Psicologa
Psicologo Analista – Docente di Psicoterapia Dinamica
SSVPC . Università Medicina e Psicologia – Sapienza di Roma
“The asymmetry between men and women is so
evident that few, apart from psychologists and
psychoanalysts, deal with female violence.
Among feminists, it is a taboo subject.
It is unthinkable and unthought of that anything
could diminish the concept of
male domination female victimization”
by Elisabeth Badinter, “Fausse Route”, 2003:53
Key-Words: Intimate partner violence – Incest – death anxiety – limit experience
In light of real life stories of patients in analytical psychotherapy, the authors, starting from the metaphysical philosophical origins of change in the conception of man with the advent of the modern era, propose an innovative psychoanalytic interpretation of marital violence. This is based on the correlation between the conscious dimension of violence and the unconscious dimension of incest, both used as a defence against death anxiety and sense of limitation. They fill a cultural gap when they find in the marital violence a relational event no longer monodirectional, but bidirectional, and highlight that the prevailing physical violence of the couple’s male component corresponds to a prevailing psychological violence from the female component, with reference to the Jungian archetypal dynamics of Animus and Anima. Another gap lies in the fact that a substantial difference in efficacy of operative and interpretative models cannot be observed in psychotherapy results. The authors, always in light of the therapeutic factor in the clinical cases illustrated, hypothesise the presence of a possible factor of therapeutic efficacy, for now considered non-specific. They define this “deep psyche factor”, connoted by images that originate from religious symbolism.
Some of the most visible forms of intimate partner violent behavior have been identified thanks to up-to-now researches.
However, some more hidden violence forms are still unknown as well as there is no articulated psychodynamic knowledge of motivations and unconscious forces that cause aggression and intimate partner violence . Another gap is that a substantial difference in operative and interpretative models efficacy cannot be observed in psychotherapy results. It has generally been attributed to not-specific factors such as work alliance and patient compliance (Bordin,1979; Rondeau,et al.,2001).
In this perspective first some psychotherapy patients’ stories will be analyzed, then domestic violence psychoanalytic interpretation will be given ,and finally a possible efficacious not- specific therapy factor might be hypothesized. This factor will be called Deep Psyche, characterized by religious- type symbolism images.
Reflextions on aggression, anger and violence concepts and their effect on intimate partner violence
Violence concept is certainly not specific to our times. Human beings have always been wondering about violence origin. Philosophical thought since Plato, myths, literature ,art in all its forms ,even the most modern ones like the cinema, have also been concerned with it.
In postmodern world every day newspapers publish articles about various domestic violence forms causing emotional reactions and consequently public indignation. This kind of personal violence, acted at home and within ’emotional’ relationships, seems to show that women are the most commonly affected.
In fact in 2014 Equal Opportunities Department estimated that 6,788,000 women aged 18-70 had been victims of some sort of violence – physical or sexual, by men.. Yet clinical experience ,as well as most recent statistic research, suggests the existence of another form of violence – “The Unspeakable Violence” (Salerno A and Giuliano S, ed, 2012).This form of domestic violence was denounce,evidently without any one-sided possible accusations, by Badinter, a historical French feminist.
The author, in 2003, in her publication entitled “Fausse Route” (“Wrong Way”) in reference to separatism, discusses a type of violence inflicted by women on men, either directly (physically) or indirectly (psychologically).
“The asymmetry between men and women is so evident that few, apart from psychologists and psychoanalysts, deal with female violence. Among feminists, it is a taboo subject. It is unthinkable and unthought what could diminish male domination concept and female victimization” (2003 …).
Another important example of female violence can be found in a clinical case description by Chasseguet-Smirgel (2004). speaking of a patient, Anna, The psychoanalyst speaks about a patient, Anna. She describes her family environment with a violent and castrating mother (towards her husband) and tells the following emblematic and unusual episode. When the man come back home from a fair, the woman took advantage of his being quite drunk and unconscious to steal his money. When he woke up she told him he had lost his wallet. This is known by relational psychologists as “Double Bind”.
Brief historical notes
In order to respect a strictly historical analysis of different couples phenomena interpretations between male chauvinist and feminist, which is now the dominating model, we must refer to p the 19th century philosophical thought . Hegel, despite professing himself Christian in his philosophical thought development, gives a fatal blow to metaphysics with his statement God needs Man to complete himself.
As a consequence , his successors, having lost their metaphysical unifying point of reference, split into two opposing factions: the Hegelian Left and Right. especially as far as the new psychology science was concerned. Hegel’s statement, above all for what regards the new psychology science, caused that man origins research lost its transcendental unique mystery reference and went towards an anthropological dimension.
So paradigm era started. They could not be explained on a philosophical and scientific level, but justified only on the basis of the domination of human irrationality, based on the fact that one paradigm wins over another exclusively due to the power it assumes within the scientific community (Khun, 1962)
The question “Where do we come from?” can only be answered in consideration of the duality of paradigms: masculine values are the source of origin according to Hegel’s spiritual but immanentistic patriarchal principles, masculinity is originary according to the patriarchal spiritual Hegelian Righ principle, but femininity is originary according to the materialistic matriarchal Hegelian Left. This could only lead to the split/conflict between the paradigm of primary masculinity (Freud, 1932) which dominated ever since its introduction in the early 20th century, and the current paradigm of primary femininity (Stoller,1975).
According to the male paradigm in origin there was man and woman is his byproduct, a castrated male. The woman must face this minority condition in the moment in which she, as a girl, in the phallic-exhibitionist phase of psycho-sexual development, is forced to realize she does not have a penis, which benefits only the male. This lack of sexual organ, known to be good, incontestable and modifiable, generates envy, as seen in Aesop’s fable. The woman is constitutionally affected by penis envy, that is envy of the man.
Freudian psychoanalysis offers the concept of the superego, which incorporates all the parental prohibitions, especially the father’ ones. It provides the ethics of justice, in which rights and responsibilities have to contain man’s instincts.
In revenge actions against male paradigm supremacy, important feminist authors have theorized a cultural hypothesis which is supported by scientific evidence. The woman is not a minus, the man is. At the origin of life there is a woman and a man , who is a byproduct , a missed man, in a certain sense. Stoller, the first author who used the concept of primary femininity, states that the male has an originary ‘feminine’ identity from which he must divest himself ,passing from primary identification with her to that with the father, in order to ‘masculinise himself’( become man ) (Stoller,1975-1979).
Feminist ethics is the ethics of care: The woman is essentially relational, thus is simply going towards the good and caring. Consequently, mere relationality (Berivi, 2013) prevalence taken unilaterally and dogmatically as unique principle in human relations, excludes any evaluation of relationship significance as a decisive factor about what is good and constructive and what is bad and destructive in the interpersonal relationship.
This principle dates back to Ancient Greece with Antigone sacrificed in the name of patriarchal justice (Creon).
Feminists have dealt with the male/female relationship and offered a negative male image based exclusively on clinical samples which confirm the violent male idealogized stereotype.
These samples were almost exclusively made up of women who went to physical abused women help centers. (McDonald, Navarrete e Sidanius,2011). This choice confirms the aim of gathering objective data with which to demonstrate that violence between the sexes is of an exclusive male origin and nature, and therefore is unidirectional. (Istat,2007 ; Australian Statistics Bureau, 1996; Basile, 2002;Romkens, 1997;Macro International and South Africa Department Of Health, 1999; Schuler et al., 1996;Heise e Garcia-Moreno, 2002, 2006).
Widening sample researches about women and men extracted from the general population allowed , on the other hand, to discover similarities existing between the two sexes as far as aggressivity is concerned. (Gelli, 2009). In his meta-analysis Archer (2000) revealed that differently from 70s and 80s studies, intimate couple violence percentages did not show difference between men and women. According to the author, violence within a couple is bidirectional. Physical violence is more the prerequisite of the male, whereas the more hidden psychological violence (Taylor et al,2000; Tobin et al.,2000) is more commonly inflicted by females. On the basis of this negative bidirectional data we would like to propose a virtuous bidirectionality for the treatment of violence, using the integrated formulation of the “the sense of care ethics ” .
The current state of the art
Berger’s psychoanalytical theories clarify the clinical forms of intimate partner violence in sadomasochistic interactions within the male/female relationship (1978). The author demonstrates how each of the partners in the gender conflict is simultaneously both sadistic and masochistic in his/her violent relations with the other sex, alternating these two attitudes between conscious and unconscious behaviour. He observes, in the victim role , a relational pattern which he defines as the “masochistic triad” in which we can identify three levels of interaction:
- Partner provocation (aggressive-sadistic act) which provokes the aggressivity of the other
- The other’s aggressive reaction
- Amnesia from the provocation victim and complaints about the injustice endured and the feelings of being misunderstood (no one can love me or understand me). This way the unconscious masochistic penis envy is satisfied, because, if no one loves, consequently everyone is bad or useless, and no one is to be envied for being good, beautiful or fair. This is expressed as depression, disdain, depreciation and paranoia which become the offensive envy weapons.
Conversely, we believe, a sadistic relational pattern (”the sadistic triad”) exists and covers three levels of interaction:
- The tormentor acts on his predatory appropriation impulses , expecting from the other services of different types aimed at satisfying his ravenous need to mortify or cannabalise the other. Kernberg (1995, page 166) writes that “in narcissistic subjects sexual arousal and relational desire for the other is dominated by the unconscious envy of the other sex … (Omissis)…In reality the other is cancelled in his/her superiority because dependence on the other is feared and there is a need for being both oneself and the other, through a cannibalistic incorporation of the other” thus, the tormentor is guided by envy.
- The victim’s human limits prevent the fulfillment of such a task because it is humanly impossible
- The tormentor reacts with violence to the frustration determined by the other’s mere physical presence . “Your mere existence equals my death”. This homicidal violence has varying degrees of intensity, ranging from simple verbal violence of disdain in Common Couple Violence, to the more brutal murders in Intimate Terrorism (Johnson,1995; McHugh,2005; Felson,2006).
The Psychological Analysis Viewpoint
Jung’s archetypal categories of Animus and Anima, in their destructive values, offer a significant interpretation of this clinical research into sadomasochism. Jung’s archetypes are categories which go beyond experiences and knowledge.
The Anima is the ‘a priori’ category in male psyche which allows the male to undergo female experiences and the relational principle :feeling.
The Animus as an archetype is present in female psyche as a counterpoint to the male, it allows her to undergo male experiences and the meaning principle , Thought.
Anima as a negative archetype
The structural male anima characteristics are strongly influenced by the mother. The negative influence of the latter, perpetrated through a hidden incestuous relationship, produces psychic states such as pleasure, and in extreme cases, can be reached through the infliction of violence on the other. The incestuous union with a negative maternal figure can be either Oedipal and present as rivalry toward other males, or, in a more primitive form, as an unconscious identification with the terrible, cold, blood-thirsty mother in an intimate couple relationship. The Mafia godfather unsurprisingly is addressed as ‘mammasantissima’. Norman Bates, in Hitchcock’s “Psycho”, possessed by his identification with his mother, kills the woman who attracts his desire while he is dressed as his mother.
The Animus as a negative archetype
The female Animus structures the female’s violence towards the real male, both as if in an incestuous oedipal relationship with the father toward other women, and if even encapsulated in a pre-oedipal incestuous relationship not with the father, but the maternal Animus, the male part of the mother’s psyche, often embodied in the brother or the mother’s father.
In both cases, the Animus becomes a death demon ; it can take the form of the woman’s intimate ‘sacred’ convictions and absolute truths, with the force of inexorable power and inaccessible obstination. It can assume the role and image of a murderer. In this form it personifies “ all those cold, destructive, semi-conscious reflections which lead the woman to a state in which she desires the death of a person (“when one of us dies, I’ll go to the French Riviera” says a woman to her husband while admiring the Mediterranean coast….)
With secret destructive attitudes, the wife can drive her husband, her mother and her children to morbid states which can even lead to death. She can decide (A.N .psychologically) to prevent her children from marrying” ( M.L. Von Franz in Jung et al., 1964).
We can attempt to provide an interpretation , through an examination of clinical cases about males and females, all who consider themselves atheists, of intimate couple violence as a phenomenon which is intimately related to the unconscious perpetuation of incest and the removal of death anxiety through the instinct for giving and receiving death and/or violence.
In the case of sexual abuse and violence come into action dissociated states of the psyche, intolerables for conscience for two reasons: their origin and their end. Their origin, because connected in 80-85% of cases to traumatic events of the same nature suffered in childhood-adolescence; Their end, because connected to the perpetuation of the traumatic dynamics exerted on others. In Jungian analysis we could talk about a dissociated complex, distinguishing within the definition of complex both the affective tonality and the images in play. More than of affective hue, in our opinion we should speak of Eros-tanatos undifferentiated hue, which makes the other an inanimate object by a eroticized violence and a violent eros that kills the other in its human reality reducing it to pure Inanimate object of pleasure. Also the actors of the complex are deanimate, possessed by an omnipotent alien identity that exercises its domain in a kind of orgiastic frenzy excited. That is, in the field come into subcortical forces, that is subcortical complexes, which overwhelm the cortical structures of control and planning of behaviors according to systems of values. The complex behaves like a secondary personality that enters the field of consciousness whenever ordinary traumas of daily life or endogenous sexual impulses trigger death anxieties related to cortical functioning. The split complex forces the individual to live a double life, that of the ego adapted to the needs of reality in parallel with that of the split complex. The theory of the complexes of Jung, which also identifies in the ego the nature of complex occupying the center of the consciousness, makes comprehensible as a split complex, analogous to the personality of the I, can invade the center of consciousness and occupy it. Obviously in the case of trauma, we must distinguish the split complex from that removed (Kalsched, 2013). In the dissociation the contact barrier between the two identities is not horizontal, but vertical. (Kernberg,1995).
Oedipal incest, gambling and sexual abuse to overcome death anxiety
In order to clinically illustrate violence and sexual abuse as a means to overcome death anxiety, we offer the cases of two male patients affected by gambling addiction during Sand Play Therapy and two female patients affected by sadomasochistic relations.
Male patient No.1 (Image 1)
Male aged approximately 60. After four months of psychotherapy characterized by a very superficial level of communication with the therapist, focused on experiences related to gambling, he almost catastrophically breaks down his boundaries and lets everything pour out;
With women of all ages, over the years,, he had always used his position of professional superiority to seduce them and have a series of impromptu sexual relations and then abandon them. His mother used to take him, from the ages of 8-9 until around age 14, to her meetings with her lover, at one of their homes, and allowing him to overhear all her sexual performances from the other room. In the scene constructed by the patient, which you will now see, he feels that his life as a ‘pig’, a sexual abuser, accompanied unconsciously by his whore mother fulfills a function of approaching and overcoming death anxiety represented by a miniature of a large lawnmower.
Another defense mechanism against death anxiety is, for example in the figure of Pinocchio, the sense of narcissistic infantile omnipotence connected to the world of illusions and eternal childhood. “The “Land of Toys”.
Following a cerebral hemorrhage and successive neurosurgery approximately six years earlier, he has suffered from lack of coordination involving respiration and the movement of his arm and body during his rehabilitative swimming sessions, often leading to a risk of drowning. After having told of his childhood and about this physical issue, he recounted a dream: “I am going towards a building where my mother lives. The main door is huge and is made of wood. When I go in and turn back to close it, I see a picture of the Madonna stuck on the back of the door. At that point I feel a hand from behind which caresses my head. I feel a warm relaxing feeling all over.”
The day after narrating his dream, the patient unexpectedly succeeds in swimming with perfect respiratory/motor coordination. He has entered into contact with his deep psyche, through the image of the Madonna, and he has undergone a transformation which also involves his bios.
Male patient No. 2 (Images 2 – 3 – 4)
This patient is a gambler affected by a neurological syndrome involving verbal tics characterized by coprolalia and verbalization of death towards his partner. The following scene(Image n.3) represents all the violent aggressive modes with which the patient fights against the central anxiety in his life, namely death anxiety. In another scene, he represents himself as Pegasus in adoration of a statuesque mother who is however, extremely erotically seductive. Following these two scenes the patient dreams that: “I see a picture of the Madonna; looking at it from different angles I can see rays of light that meet in a rainbow with imperceptible transitions from one colour to the next”
In a scene after this dream he draws an egg in the middle. This symbolizes rebirth. The patient, from a clinical standpoint, undergoes a dramatic change despite maintaining some tics and uncontrollable movements, but their frequency is much reduced. His ‘coprolalia ‘ and tic-driven death messages to his partner have disappeared altogether.
Even his communicative style in analysis has changed. heaesthetic-intellectual performances, manifestations of the great self, before acted in the relationship with the therapist in exhibitionist form with associated evacuation in the latter of the child’s self despised, abused , losts possession on the personality of the patient. This happens due to the job of the therapist’s reverie who, without any countertransfert’s reactions, manages to accept, and metabolize the mentioned projective identifications of the patient’s infant self, both of his interpretations of underlying pain Of the infantile self, transformed into narcissistic rage, both of its therapeutic ability to support the analyzing along the path of death anxiety-death-revival that goes from the use of the discharge of the projective identifications to the transformation in images in the Sand play Therapy. The latter process requires from the analyst a spiritual dimension. The development of the image starting from the acting-out of projective identification is made possible by the transformation, identified by Bion, of beta elements (the projective identifications) in alpha elements and protomental activity represented in the Bion’s grid of the dreamlike thoughts, myth and dream. The beta-alpha transformation requires an analyst’s aptitude for reverie, whose spiritual connotations are very well described by Bion (1962-1970). The reverie relates to the spiritual dimension, indispensable landing of an analyst who wants to operate at this level of depth and height of the unconscious, as Kalsched also emphasizes (2013). The psychological interventions (appropriate silences, interpretations and management of the setting) cannot integrate mental states, but only create relations between splited states of the personality, in order to make the functioning of the ego increasingly adaptive. They serve only to develop a control of the impulses and of the acting-out, but they always are afflicted by the ambivalent nature of the level of functioning of the psyche. Only the spiritual dimension can do the radical transformation of the personality understood as a synthesis of the acted opposites in an unitary form: the image. With the emergence of the image from the unconscious to the consciousness, the communicative field is modified and the intellectual -aesthetic performances turn into the representation of the intrapsychic conflict (Image 2 – Pegaso in the service of Venus) and into historicizing analysis of the dynamics of relationship with its partner, through the exploration in a self-reflective way of its valences both sadistic and masochistic with wich he lives which the relationship of couple .
Female patient No, 1
This young woman is always attracted to unavailable men. We can observe the unity within the psyche of the two attitudes, sadistic and masochistic, more precisely giving and receiving death, by not leaving an infantile relationship based on maternal identification. In therapy the woman constantly complains about the many men who approach her, use her, mistreat her and ultimately abandon her. It is easy to make a conscious diagnosis of masochism.
One day she recounts a dream in which “I am in a yellow Fiat 500, locked inside, and I’m taking it the mechanic to be repaired. The car is full of my cigarette smoke. I look around and I see the inside of the car covered in human skulls” While awake, the patient associates the car with her mother’s car, and the skulls with all the men with whom she has had failed relationships. It is superfluous to highlight how in these unsuccessful relationships the patient hadn’t realized only her masochistic elements, but had also activated her unconscious sadism. Actually, these men have become skulls in a collection in her mother’s car, inside which her personality is locked. Following the interpretation of the therapist (the skulls are also my interpretative interventions which she kills with hidden criticism which renders them useless to her actual life), the patient finally remembers her sabotages, her provocations and her boycotts towards those failed relationships, obviously aimed at frightening off the men and making them flee from her.
This doesn’t deny the possibility that they themselves acted in a sadistic nature (and unconsciously masochistically) towards the young woman, to be scorned and degraded by her and to castrate the relationship.
Female patient No. 2
A woman affected by phallic narcissism, who has a very hard attitude towards men. On approaching the summer break from her therapist she started to develop paranoid and depressive themes towards her therapist. (“she does this too make me suffer and to make me feel like her helpless slave so she can triumph over me. I will end up an ugly old maid that nobody wants”). Her elaboration of these themes, in the form of pain, lead her to dream the following: “I am in a clinic, lying on the bed, and I’m giving birth to a baby girl. I am sweating profusely, and the pain is undescribable. A nun comes behind me and she lays her hand on my forehead: then I can give birth with a great sense of relief, warmth and relaxation. She sees the nun as part of an Order dedicated to the Madonna.
These studies conducted on these patients and other analogous clinical cases, and on their conscious and unconscious communicative patterns unmentioned here for lack of space, can reveal the existence of following:
Several subtypes of hitherto unexamined psychological violence, which we call indirect violence or violence introduced by a third party:
Indirect violence (driving the other crazy by paradoxical communication, setting relational traps in order to undermine faith in one’s perceptive cognitive abilities, making the other sick by indirectly alluding to a possible illness or death which undermines self-esteem and cancelling of all ones’ values and intents)
Violence introduce by a real or phantasmagorical third party
This is above all a form of violence which is pervasive in our contemporary society. It is difficult to contain because it has many tentacles. This type of violence is defined as Common Couple Violence (CCV) by experts. The third party in the couple can be represented in the man or the woman by an unconscious incestuous relationship with the child of the opposite sex , who, from birth, assumes the role of rival for the partner and becomes an exclusive possession, object of an absolute and idealized love. The third party can also be one of the members of the family of origin: father or uncle for the woman, and mother, aunt or sister for the man. Nowadays we are seeing an increase in the number of couples living with their families of origin, legitimized by economic constraints and unemployment. In other cases, the parents choose to accommodate their adolescent sons’ or daughter’s sexual relations within their home, justifying this as being safer than elsewhere. Other cases present a single separated parent living alone with the offspring of the opposite sex , as a child, then an adolescent, in opposition to the separated parent resistant to any new relationships, on the sidelines of the incestuous diad.
In these case there is a lack of the concrete and psychological presence of partner who acts as a boundary to the fantasies and hidden or obviously incestuous behaviour, on the part of the child or the parent (like walking around the house naked or scantily dressed).
The third party not only assumes a role and the partner’s place , it also becomes the object of unconditional, idealized, unambiguous love, while that for the partner becomes ambivalent, or even neglected to the point of disdain and disrespect. The third party can be represented in a crisis of depression or. following an argument with the child, in sexual relations with the partner.
We would like to propose a Jungian interpretation of couple violence, according to which
- it originates from an unresolved omnipotent childhood attachment to parental figures in the family of origin.
- it necessarily involves the two protagonists’ participation in the forms of violence, as described by Bergler. They represent the pathological behavior of the two fundamental archetypes of the life of the psyche viewed as Animus e Anima.
- It is driven by unconscious envy between the sexes. The origin of the envy lies in the idea that the loved one represents Absolute Good, but cannot be assimilated into the Self.
- is based on the pleasure of the satisfaction of the instinct of giving ad receiving death, which today is depictde in the mass media as an ecstatic experience typical of telluric mysticism (De Lubac,1944) (see film “We need to Talk About Kevin”: , (Shriver L, 2008); Bruce A. Evans,Mister Brooks,U.S.2007).
- it has the effect of inhibiting the psychological development of the violent person, who requires the inescapable journey towards the anxiety of death, an indispensable prerequisite for reaching a sense of one’s limits. The awareness of one’s finite limits opens the doors to the reality of the Other as a person.
- it has a final function, in prospective, to prevent the male/female fusion in couple intimacy and consequent overcoming of barriers of the Self in the identification with the loved person.
Finally. I would like to conclude with two questions: could the as no-specific factor of recovery be recognized in the religious trans-personal dimension of the deep psyche, symbolized, for example, by the image of the Madonna? It is an aspecific factor because the religious dimension of the deep psyche has never been studied clinically or statistically.
Next, does the overcoming of the barriers of the Self in the experience of being at one with the beloved not lead the couple to the doors of transcendence – the mystery from which today’s world hides?
We have only touched upon the dream experience of three of our patients: this itself seemed to have already provided a curative and salvation benefit. Jung always believed that at the heart of all psychic disorders there was a religious problem to be solved.
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Tuttavia il tasso di omicidi di donne dal 1999 al 2010 si situa tra lo 0,4 % allo 0,6 % per 100.000 abitanti, rimanendo quindi abbastanza stabile, mentre è aumentata l’allerta pubblica, attraverso l’aumento degli articoli giornalistici, e di consapevolezza da parte delle donne, per il pregevole lavoro che molte realtà di denuncia e tutela attivamente compiono.
 Pegasus, the winged horse, symbolizes a still biological form of libido, but with the possibility of elevating itself from the pure instinctual dimension to the psychological – spiritual one. Pegaso is manifested in adolescent age in the many greats projects of the adolescent self that, however, never made in projects of adult life on the level of both emotional and work, if they remain anchored to the bond incestuous with the mother. In the latter case the great adolescent self remains confined to the mere exhibitionistic level and is opposed to the development of an intimate relationship of love with the other sex. In our clinical case, in fact, the unsurpassed enslavement of Pegasus to the aesthetic beauty of a seductive mother (Venus) determines patient’s behaviors strongly aggressive, instrumentalizing and reifying towards his partner.
 R. Langs (1996) distinguishes four types of death anxiety:
- claustrophobic anxiety (which manifests as a sense of suffocation in relationships)
- paranoid anxiety (which expresses itself with sadism, giving death to others)
- depressive anxiety (which expresses itself with masochism, the received death from others)
- the existential death anxiety ( expressed, in our opinion, into the despair).
We believe that if the individual succeeds in not shirking, through despair he can experience the death and rebirth, that is, the transformation. Also in analysis!