The primal scene’s deformation at the origin of troubled relationships within the family

I am presenting the case of Anna, mother of two disturbed daughters and wife of a man in analysis for phobic disorder. At the beginning of her analysis she manifests deep resistance due to defence mechanisms that inhibit her libido and control her aggressiveness. As soon as these are interpreted, a wealth of dream material appear which enable  us to come into contact with a chaotic identity nucleus of the patient. I want to refer to the analysis of some particularly illuminating dreams concerning a distorted phantasy of the primal scene, which Anne had presumably witnessed as a little girl. During the course of the analysis it became possible to detect a close link between a disturbed area in the life of her current family relationships and a distorted representation of the primal scene. When violent arguments break out between her husband and their adolescent daughter, always in the same repetitive and compulsive manner, Anna  feels intense hate, impotency and guilt. It seems that an overlapping of emotions comes about expressed to the full now, whereas previously at the revelation of the primal scene these were inhibited. Therefore, in a certain sense Anna is like an obscure instigator of the following behaviour in the family: the daughter provokes the father who is unable to refrain from reacting emotionally in a sort of violent seduction acted out, while the mother is watching  in a passive way.

My thesis is that disturbed relationships in the family depend on unconscious primitive triangular links; in other words, when the capacity to accept the primal scene is lacking, the consequence is both the distortion of the parental role and significance of the various developmental stages.

 If the analyst refers to a psychoanalytic theory of couple and family unconscious links,  it helps keeping on  analytical work and going through impasses inevitably  occurring in these analysis.

In order to articulate my clinical case I will be referring to different theoretical studies: i.e. Ronald Britton, Donald Winnicott, Thomas Ogden, André Green, Alberto Eiguer, Anna Nicolò and myself. 

Diana Norsa

d.norsa@libero.it