Monday, March 08, 2010

Social Security Document Submission: June 1993

Pages 61-68 of Social Security Document Submission

[The following is a somewhat unsophisticated interpretation of my intrapsychic and interpersonal problems, but one that is remarkably consistent with my later writings.]

Dear Stell,

Attached are my latest thoughts about my situation. What I have done is take what I imagine people say about me and write point-by-point responses to these paranoid delusions.

All in all it suggests a very severe mental disturbance that is probably psychotherapeutically inaccessible.

1. The subject is desperate for the attention of others. This is probably related to the subject’s failure to separate from the mother, and his yearning for the same attention from others that he got from his mother.


1a. Others seek out the subject as an object for the abreaction of their own psychological conflicts. The subject’s isolation of affect in relation to the mother (loss of object libido) has greatly enhanced the subject’s synthetic capacity, which is probably linked to his heightened suitability as an object for such abreaction. “When the ego’s stability is most gravely threatened [with the loss of object libido], but it yet retains a certain measure of constructive energy, its synthetic functions are immeasurably extended.” Nunberg, H. (1930) “The Synthetic Function.” Practice and Theory of Psychoanalysis. New York: International Universities Press, at 127. In Day, R. and Davidson, R.H. “Magic and Healing: An Ethnopsychoanalytic Examination.” The Psychoanalytic Study of Society. 7: 231-291, at 238 (Yale University Press: 1976). The subject’s isolation of affect in relation to the mother and his subsequent enhanced synthetic functioning make him a suitable “lightening conductor[] of common anxiety”--someone sought out by his culture mates as an object for abreaction. Day, at 231.

2. The subject’s preoccupation with certain males is homoerotic.


2a. The subject’s preoccupation with certain males is obviously latently homosexual. Beyond this, however, others’ preoccupation with the subject’s preoccupation with certain males reflects a (1) (paranoid) displacement of affect by others and also (2) jealousy. Compare the following passage from Hesse’s novel, Narcissus and Goldmund:

Meanwhile Goldmund had been, more and more neglected by his classmates, or rather they felt neglected by him, betrayed. His friendship with Narcissus pleased no one. The slanderers, those who had themselves been in love with one or the other, said the whole thing was against nature. Even those who were certain that no vice could be suspected here shook their heads. No one wanted to see these two friends together. It seemed that they were setting themselves apart from the others by this friendship, arrogantly, as though they were not good enough; that was unbrotherly, not in keeping with the cloister spirit, not Christian. Hesse, H. Narcissus and Goldmund (1930), at 32-33 (Bantam: 1987).

The subject has a pathological need for (oral) introjection of idealized objects on order to cure a narcissistic injury, or defect of self. The subject’s (oral) introjection tends to be interpreted by the anally-fixated individuals in anal terms--as anal penetration, thus homoerotic.

3. The subject cannot get along with his peers. The subject’s difficulties with his peers reflects his failure to separate from his mother and consequent failure to develop normal peer interaction.


3a. The subject has difficulties in his interpersonal relations. Yet, it is important to note that social interaction at Akin Gump is not simple peer interaction. Rather, it is interaction of group members. The subject has an impaired capacity for group affiliation owing to impaired capacity for libidinal cathexis, resulting from isolation of affect in relation to the mother. Note the subject’s impaired ability to be hypnotized, which is probably related to his impaired capacity for group affiliation. (Freud observed that the relation of hypnotist and subject [like the marital relationship] constitutes a “group of two.”) Notwithstanding his impaired ability to be hypnotized by a psychotherapist (and, by implication, his impaired ability for group affiliation), the subject was able to develop strong affiliational ties with individual psychotherapists, which suggests an ability to form relations on a one-to-one basis.

The subject’s interpersonal relations are dominated by the primitive functions of introjection, identification, and idealization. His impaired ability for libidinal cathexis, a necessary component of group affiliation, poses a barrier to group ties. One suspects that his defect of self, which is probably perceived at some level by group members, renders the subject highly suspect and threatening to the group mentality.

4. The subject cannot get along with supervisory personnel, indicating defects in his relations with authority figures, specifically, a mother who allowed the subject to get away with murder and a father who he despised.


4a. Supervisory personnel at Akin Gump, though authority figures, are not symbolic parents. They are rather symbolic siblings, or more specifically, leaders of brother hordes. These supervisory personnel constitute a distinct power center with their own interests and agendas. The interests and agendas of these supervisory personnel are not necessarily coextensive or consistent with the interests of the true parental figures of the firm, members of management. The subject does identify with and, indeed, idealizes member of management (symbolic fathers). Further, the subject’s idealization of management probably contributes to his difficulties with supervisory personnel, since it probably arouses their jealousy.

5., The subject is deeply ashamed of his dependence on his mother which explains why he never talks about his mother.


5a. The subject’s relationship with his mother is characterized by isolation of affect, which explains why he never talks about his mother.

6. The subject only works hard to attract the attention of management in the hope he will be offered an associate position.


6a. The subject views work as an extension of himself. His investment in his work is narcissistic and parallels his interpersonal relations, which are also narcissistic. The subject’s activities are self-directed, rather than other-directed (which is consistent with his difficulties in forming group ties. Note the subject’s affinity for other idealistic, self-directed individuals, such as Red Meat with his “project.”

(One might also note the anal component of the allegation that the subject only works hard in order to solicit an offer for an associate position, I.e., “getting in by the back door.” The said allegation is consistent with the charges of homoeroticism directed at the subject.)

7. The subject’s inability to acknowledge the misery of his life represents massive denial.


7a. The subject’s inability to acknowledge the misery of his life reflects his intense masochism (gratification through suffering), apathy, resignation, ability to bear pain, and his reliance on the ego defense of intellect intellectualization (of which this writing is an example).

8. The subject is deeply ashamed of his inadequacies and failings, and either manufactures evidence or simply “acts” in order to create a false impression of himself.


8a. The subject has serious psychological difficulties. At the same time, however, others are generally unable to acknowledge positive or superior qualities in the subject both because of jealousy and because positive characteristics negate subject’s suitability as an object for the abreaction of other’s psychological conflicts. Any characteristic inconsistent with others’ negative, projected image must be explained away as pretense or sham in order to ward off the psychic threat that such positive characteristics pose. Compare: “Bleichroeder’s insistence on a new identity might have enraged those of his Christian enemies who had projected onto him ‘entities from their] psychic world,’ and by projecting then to the outside could better protect themselves from these inner threats. In that way, the Christian had a stake in Bleichroeder’s Jewish identity and suffered a psychic threat as Bleichroeder sought to minimize the difference between himself and his Christian milieu.” Stern, F. Gold and Iron, at 476 (Knopf: 1977).

9. The subject is ashamed of his homosexuality and manufactures evidence of his “masculinity” in an attempt to conceal his homosexuality.


9a. The subject’s passivity and activity represent two distinct trends in his personality, namely, oral and phallic. Manifestations of masculinity in the subject, rare though they may be, are not necessarily an attempt to conceal his “homosexuality.” Once again, note that any evidence of masculinity in the subject will tend to lessen the subject’s suitability as an object for abreaction by others and will tend to be explained away as pretense or sham.

10. The subject’s “Jewishness” represents overcompensation. Also, the subject “plays the Jewish card” to curry favor with Jewish members of mangement.


10a. The subject’s Jewishness reflects idealization of his father, isolation of affect in relation to the mother, and splitting. Also, the symbolic son, “persecuted” by his brothers, will tend to look to the father for protection. In Wilhelmine Germnay, Jews looked to a sympathetic German government under Bismarck for protection against their German “brothers.” It would be absurd to argue that German Jews broke with orthodoxy and developed the Reform branch of Judaism to curry favor with the Protestant Reich; the desire for protection against persecution on the one hand and internal, cultural values on the other are separate issues.

11. The subject is paranoid. The subject’s inferences are self-referential and indicate a disturbance of ego boundary resulting from a failure to separate from the mother.


11a. The subject’s reality testing ability is usually high. His inferences are not simply self-referential; the inferences are bound up with the cognitive functions of perceptiveness, ability to recall, and ability to synthesize seemingly unrelated perceptions and recollections--abilities that function independently of pathological ideas of reference. (The subject’s access to primary process material is consistent with high reality testing potential).

An issue for examination is whether hypernormal reality testing ability may be related to isolation of affect in relation to the mother, or loss of object libido. An experience common to most shamans (faith healers in non-Western cultures who serve as objects for the abreaction of others’ psychological conflicts) is the early loss of parents; also, the reality testing potential of shamans tends to be usually high even by Western standards. Ducey, C. “The Life History and Creative Psychopathology of the Shaman: Ethnopsychoanalytic Perspectives.” In: The Psychoanalytic Study of Society, 7: 173-230, at 176 and 190-191. Loss of object libido and reality testing potential may be linked. Indeed, Freud observed that “an essential pre-condition for the institution of the function for testing reality is that objects shall have been lost which have formerly afforded real satisfaction.” Freud, S. (1925) “Negation.” In: A General Selection from the Works of Sigmund Freud, at 57. Rickman, J. ed. (anchor: 1989).

Reality testing potential may be assessed from the perspective of the use of negation as an ego defense. Freud viewed the development of a capacity for negation as a necessary precondition of reality testing. “The achievements of the function of judgment only become feasible . . . after the creation of the symbol of negation has endowed thought with a first degree of independence from the results of repression and at the same time from the sway of the pleasure-principle.”

Freud, S. (1925) “Negation.” In: A General Selection from the Works of Sigmund Freud, at 58. Rickman J., ed. (Anchor: 1989). Evidence of the use of negation may be derived from an assessment of an individual's capacity for Janusian thinking, since defensive negation is a sine qua non of Janusian thinking. See Rothenberg, a. “Janusian Thinking and Creativity.” In: The Psychoanalytic Study of Society, 7: 1-30, at 9. Muensterberger, W., Esman, A.H., and Boyer, L. B., eds. (Yale University Press: 1976). Evidence of a capacity for Janusian thinking (which employees a simultaneous double negation) presupposes a capacity for a complex use of the defense of negation, which, itself, is a necessary pre-condition for reality testing. Thus, evidence of Janusian thinking is inconsistent with high reality testing potential. (Note that in the case of simultaneous double negation, unlike that of “simple” negation, both an unconscious idea and its opposite are simultaneously “endowed with a first degree of independence from the results of repression and at the same time from the distorting’ sway of the pleasure-principle.” The implications of a capacity to negate simultaneously both an unconscious idea and its opposite--the capacity, as it were, to make a total leap from the pleasure-ego to the reality-ego--on the possible enhancement of reality testing potential merit investigation.)

The subject’s high reality testing potential may, in itself, pose a barrier to social interaction, Recent research indicates that reality testing ability is not a neutral variable with respect to social competence: poor reality testing potential, to at least the inability to decipher certain social cues, may impair social competence. “[One] hypothesis to explain a lack of social competence is offered by psychologists at Emory University, Stephen Nowicki and Marshall P. Duke among them, who have discovered what that say is a kind of learning disability among children--kids who are unable to decipher the unspoken cues of others. They can’t tell from facial expressions or body movements or inflections in the voice what other kids really mean.” Flaste, R. “Sidelines by Loneliness.” The New York Times Magazine [The Good Health Magazine], at 24, April 28, 1991. One wonders what problems in social competence confront the individual who possesses a hypernormal ability to “decipher the unspoken cues of others.”

12. The subject’s sister's perceptions of the subject are consistent with our experience and perceptions of him. The fact that his sister agrees with us establishes that our conclusions about the subject are correct.

12a. The following observation, though not exactly on point, sheds light on the dynamics of what might be termed, “The Albanian Syndrome:” a situation wherein family members come to sympathize with an individual’s peers with whom he is experiencing difficulties. Stanley Spiegel, a New York psychotherapist and author of An Interpersonal Approach to Child Therapy (Columbia University Press), states that parents of children who are experiencing difficulties in peer relations sometimes overwhelm the child with meddlesome exhortations. Paradoxically, as a response to the futility of their efforts, “the parents [may] give up angrily, even to come to sympathize with the kids who don’t like their child.” Flaste, R. “Sidelines by Loneliness.” The New York Times Magazine [The Good Health Magazine], at 24, April 28, 1991 (emphasis added).

1 comment:

Gary Freedman said...

June 14, 1993
3801 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20008

Paul G. Yessler, MD
2501 Calvert Street, NW
Suite 101
Washington, DC 20008

RE: Social Security Disability Psychiatric Evaluation

Dear Dr. Yessler:

Enclosed with respect to the above-referenced matter is a collection of letters I wrote and sent (by mail or fax) to my sister after my job termination on October 29, 1991 and before the filing of a disability claim with the Social Security Administration. Most of the letters were in fact written and sent in the year 1992.

I wrote the letters under the influence of my belief that my sister was in communication with my former employer, Akin Gump, and that my sister, upon receipt of the letters, would transmit the letters by fax communication back to managers of Akin Gump.

Both the writing and sending of the letters together with the content of the letters establish the persistence of seemingly paranoid ideation throughout the period beginning October 29, 1991. The letters deal, among other issues, with my concerns regarding harassment by Akin Gump co-workers; harassing (and anti-Semitic) telephone calls I received during 1991 and 1992; my belief that various of my treating psychiatrists were in communication with my former employer; the belief that librarians at the Cleveland Park Public Library (referred to as "the Club") harassed me; my belief that a clerk at a Giant Supermarket in my neighborhood (Adam) harassed me concerning my friendship with Craig Dye; my belief that a specialist at the Brookings Institution (Stephen Hess) was in communication with my former employer; the belief that it was not a mere accident that my former supervisor, Christine Robertson, had me touch her breasts, etc.

Please forward these materials to:

Ms. Fay Peterson
District of Columbia
Rehabilitation Services Administration
Disability Determination Division
P.O. Box 37608
Washington, DC 20013

If you have any questions, you may contact me at (xxx) xxx-xxxx (or leave messages at xxx xxx-xxxx). Might I suggest a follow-up evaluation consult?

You may contact my sister, Mrs. Estelle Jacobson, at (609) 727-3295.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely ,

Gary Freedman

The above cover letter transmitted a document production of approximately 185 pages. The document production is presumably on file at the Social Security Administration. The produced documents were presumably a significant factor in Social Security's disability determination of August 1993.