Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Histrionic Seduction in the Daughters of Repressed Incesting Fathers

Let's go all the way back to Freud, Bleuler, Kraepelin, Kraft-Ebbing and their contemporaries in Vienna about 125 years ago. 

From that time forward a lot of psychodynamic psychiatrists, psychologists and psychotherapists have seen a common phenomenon in the developmental backgrounds of many physically gifted young females with traits of paranoid, passive-aggressive, histrionic, obsessive-compulsive and/or dependent personality disorders. (It is a phenomenon I have encountered several times among lovers as well as patients.) 

These young women had fathers who were moral perfectionists here and sexually attracted to their daughters there. The fathers gave these women conflicting and denied double messages: "I want to have sex with you (but I don't want you to know that)" here and "I want to make sure that you are a good little virgin (for me) and that no one (else) deflowers you there." 

Because the "trusted" father's sexual desire for his daughter is outside the bounds of cultural acceptability for both daughter and father, the child must force her awareness of it out of consciousness. But it is there in the subconscious, where a sort "festering" takes place in a conflict between wanting the father's appropriate love and approval and loathing him for messing that up with her so much that she cannot trust him to be alone with her. 

As the girl moves into puberty and relationships with males, these fathers 

1) find their daughters even more physically compelling, 
2) look for covert ways to experience the excitement they feel, 
3) want to keep the object of their lust for themselves, 
4) know that so doing is immoral and impossible, 
5) communicate their shame and guilt in the form of projections of lust onto the girl's young suitors, 
6) feel driven to deny this experience, 
7) become increasingly frustrated and upset, 
8) blame their daughters for all their angst, 
9) blow up at their wives and daughters, and 
10) ruin any chance for the appropriate relationships with their daughters that both they and their daughters so desperately wanted.   

Typically by their late teens or early 20s, these girls -- especially -- if they remain physically gifted, become alternately approval-seeking and distrustful of males (especially those whom remind them of their fathers), and turn to confusing sexual and romantic relationships with others (quite often with females as well as males) in a pattern of borderline organization (as described by Kernberg, Meissner, Searles and others). They seduce men (and women) with their consciously enhanced visual imagery and the sort of cleverly subtle inferences they learned (subconsciously) from their fathers in a manner that provides plausible denial (see 

These young women may enjoy so doing (and enjoy their lovers), but at the same time, their opposing, split off, borderline-organized alters demand that they get retribution for their fathers' unacceptable failings. And they begin to subtly castrate the sexual identities and ego structures of their conquests by doing such things as covertly and subtly humiliating them in public places. 

Because of the age diversity between them and their fathers, there's an unconscious (and "strange") attraction to men close to their fathers' ages, as well as to men (and women) who are seen as "powerful" or "authoritiarian" or who might provide approval and appropriate intimacy in the manner that their fathers never could. These women are usually desperate for a functional relationship with these "father figures" (regardless of their gender), but once that relationship is sexualized, they must kick these men (and women, though more figuratively) in the nuts.

References & Resources

Freud, S.: An Outline of Psychoanalysis, London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho-Analysis, 1938.

Gay, P.: Freud: A Life for Our Time, New York: W. W. Norton, 1998.

Kernberg, O.: Severe Personality Disorders: Psychotherapeutic Strategies, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1977.

Krafft-Ebing, R. Psychopathia Sexualis: A Medico-Forensic Study, New York: Putnam & Sons, 1886, 1965.

Meissner, W.: The Borderline Spectrum: Differential Diagnosis and Developmental Issues, New York: Jason Aronson, 1984. 

Millon, T.; Grossman, S.; Meagher, S., Millon, C., Everly, G.: Personality Guided Therapy, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1999.  

Millon, T.; Grossman, S.: Moderating Severe Personality Disorders: A Personalized Psychotherapy Approach, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2007.    

Millon, T.; Grossman, S.: Overcoming Resistant Personality Disorders: A Personalized Psychotherapy Approach, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2008

Searles, H.: My Work with Borderline Patients, New York: Jason Aronson, 1986.

Zimbardo, P.: The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, New York: Random House, 2007

© 2015 by Rodger Garrett; all rights reserved. Links are permitted. Please contact with comments or questions. Thank you.

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