Wednesday, February 08, 2012

GW Psychiatric Treatment -- Sister's Telephone Call -- Ideas of Reference

February 1, 1993
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Apt. 136
Washington, DC 20008

Suzanne M. Pitts, M.D.
Dept. of Psychiatry
GW Univ. Medical Center
2150 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20037

Dear Dr. Pitts:

Enclosed is a tape of a telephone conversation I placed to my sister on Sunday evening January 24, 1993 together with a discussion of the ideas of reference that my sister's comments evoked.


Session on Tuesday January 19, 1993

(a.) delivered to you tape and discussion of telephone conversation with sister on January 15, 1993 (the interpretive materials mentioned the Hogan & Hartson attorney, Maree Sneed)

(b.) You mentioned for the first time certain medical tests, including an EEG

(c.) Discussed “Dream about John Falk at Terminal” for first time

(d.) Mentioned having studied case in law school about a student who designed a nuclear device

(e.) Mentioned Conrad's novel, The Secret Agent, cited in my autobiography

(f.) gave you copy of analysis of “Dream about Craig at Wanamaker's

(g.) mentioned broken arm that was cast at GW hospital

(h.) delivered to you a letter dated January 19, 1993 about contemplated medical tests; letter mentioned norepinephrine

Seems to be an allusion to a romantic relationship.

2. I'm sucking on an Atomic Fireball.

(a.) In the January 15, 1993 telephone call, sister began conversation with an oral reference: the fact that she was sipping on an iced drink. Her references to Atomic fireball is a polar opposite oral reference, perhaps not unrelated to her oral reference in the January 15th call.

(b.) Atomic Fireball suggests nuclear weapons or nuclear warfare. During the Persian Gulf War, while I was working at Akin Gump, I posted adjacent to my desk the phrase, “New Key Rock,” a homophone for “Nuke Iraq.” The phrase “New Key” also alludes to Dr. Eissler's use of the phrase “new key” to signify scientific paradigms: “A paradigm is, so to speak, a new key with which to decode problems that the scientist meets in his field.” Talent and Genius (Quadrangle: 1971), at 249. (I had offered the tentative hypothesis in my analysis of my sister's use of the word “ice” on 1/15 that she may have been referring to Dr. Eissler.)

[Dr. K.R. Eissler, a Freud scholar and founder of the Sigmund Freud Archives died in 1999. Akin Gump may have had contacted Dr. Eissler.  The current head of the Sigmund Freud Archives, Harold Blum, M.D. (516-621-6850), had at least one professional contact with one of my psychiatrists, Stanley R. Palombo, M.D.  In 1994 Drs. Blum and Palombo led a seminar on a psychoanalytic paper about dream analysis, in New York City.]

(c.) I have in the past used “nuclear fission” as a symbol for intellectual giftedness. (Both Craig and John Falk are clearly gifted individuals.)

(d.)  In my session on January 19, I expressly referred to nuclear weapons. Specifically, I had mentioned that in law school (Professor Caine's class in constitutional law) we studied the case of a student who had “invented” a nuclear weapon.

(e.) I interpret my sister's references to the military as relating to John Falk. John Falk talked about joining the military.
    (f.) I interpret some references to candy as relating to homosexuality.

    3. They sell them individually.

    In a letter that I sent to my sister a few months ago, I stated my opinion that I felt my interpersonal difficulties were specifically attributable to my relations with groups, that I nonetheless could relate well to individuals. John Falk was one individual with whom I felt I was able to interact. The use of the word “individually” may relate to interpersonal relations; my sister later makes other references to "individually,” “solo,” and “group,” which may symbolically refer to individual versus group interaction.

    4 They're real hot.

    Seems to be a homosexual reference.

    5. They're “cinnamony.”

    May refer to my analysis of “Dream of Craig at Wanamaker's” in which I point out that the name “Dennis” is a transposition of the word “sinned.” Also, the word “cinnamon” may refer to the word “synonym,” and may relate to my linguistic analyses of her telephone calls (assuming she has become aware of these analysis).

    6. They have these “Warheads. . . They're hot.

    Again. A military reference conjoined with a homosexual reference. May translate as sister's valuation of my interaction with John Falk. (Compare sister's discussion in an earlier call to “Gays in the Military,” an issue that flared up again in the media at the time of this telephone call.) (These references are very important in understanding my difficulties in forming social relations in high school.)

    [This conversation occurred in the first month of the Clinton Administration, at a time when the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was being considered.]

    [When I was about 13 years old, my future brother-in-law sexualized a normal friendship I had with another boy by asking, "What do they do when they're alone together?"  Also, my sister feminized my graduation from law school in 1982.  She said, "I'm thinking of getting you a gift.  I discussed it with Eddie (her husband) and he said it was a good idea.  I'm thinking of getting you a cake mixer."  -- I don't bake.  Moreover, the apartment I was living in at the time didn't have an oven.  She knew that.  These incidents are evidence of the envy that I was subjected to in my family.]
      7.  They're like chili.

      Possible reference to one of my former law professors, Professor Claudio Grossman, who was from Chile.

      8.  Atomic Fireballs are good. They're red and round and they're packed individually.

      Another possible reference to John Falk. John Falk had red hair. (John Falk, who was from Arizona, once asked me if it gets cold in Washington; I said “You're gonna freeze your Balzac.”) The phrase “packed individually” may relate to the quality of my social interaction, which is on an individual basis, and on on a group basis.

      ["They're red and round and they're packed individually."  A possible reference to testicles.]

      9. I guess when you're 10.

      The reference to “10” may be another homosexual reference, as in “on a scale of 1 to 10 . . . “ The use of “10” also begins a series of “quantitative” characterizations or comparisons that permeate my sister's comments from here on. (Coincidentally, Dr. Eissler, in Talent and Genius, at 248, opens chapter VII (“Talent and Genius”) with a quantitative/qualitative distinction: “It was historically a step ahead when the qualitative richness of the world of colors was converted into quantitative variations of wavelength. Whether this principle of converting differences of quality into quantitative differences can be extended into the human world appears questionable to me.”

      10 Down at the bottom they have like the small stuff.

      “Small stuff” is another quantitative distinction. Also, compare sister's comment, “Do you have a new stature?" At paragraph 20.

      11.  They're popular with illegal aliens.

      A peculiarly out of place comment. May refer to my use of the word “alien” in my autobiography: "It is as though he had an ambiguous affinity for some other, seemingly alien, identity.” (See paragraph 9 of autobiography.)

      12.  They should have been willing to pay somebody $40,000 a year.

      The discussion of Zoe Baird seems related to my difficulties at Akin Gump. I had mentioned to my sister a few weeks ago that I will have accrued about $40,000 in back pay from the firm.

      [Zoe Baird was considered by the Clinton Administration for nomination to the post of U.S. Attorney General.  Janet Reno was ultimately nominated for the post.  Vernon Jordan headed up the Clinton transition team, which considered the hiring of persons to fill appointed positions.]

      13.  He [Governor Jim Florio] has a good rapport with the legislature.

      “Legislature” may be related to the Akin Gump management committee or hiring committee. Compare paragraph 36.

      14.  There's a girl with a 430 in her math boards.

      (a.) Sister uses the word "girl” four times during the conversation – possible homosexual reference. While employed at Akin Gump, at a Litigation Support staff meeting, my supervisor referred to an employee of an independent contractor as “The girl from Arizona.” I had formed the impression that my supervisor's use of the phrase “girl from Arizona” referred symbolically to John Falk, who was from Arizona. (Compare earlier seeming references to John Falk, above.)

      (b.) Discussion of SAT scores is quantitative. John Falk once said that he was thinking of applying to law school and was thinking of taking a review course for the LSAT (Law School Admission test). I told him that if he did well on his SAT, an LSAT review would probably not help him that much.

      15.  They took the train up.

      Reference to train may refer to the use of train as a symbol in my dreams. During session on January 19, related dream of “John Falk at the Terminal.”

      16.  They meet as a group, which the train was late.

      The use of the word “group” seems related to two previous uses of the word “individually,” and may refer to my interpersonal relations. Later, sister uses another reference to “train,” which figured prominently in my dream about Jesse Raben (“The Dream of Greensboro”) and John Falk (“John Falk at the Terminal”).

      17.   It's all big buildings.

      “Big Buildings” may relate to the architectural symbolism in my “Dream about Craig at Wanamaker's,” a copy of which I gave to you on January 19. May also relate to Akin Gump, which occupies a “big building.”

      18.  It's a top number.

      Another quantitative distinction. Also, compare use of phrase “top number” with sister's discussion of candy at the 7-11: “Down at the bottom they have the small stuff.” (This latter phrase may relate to “Litigation Support” at Akin Gump, which occupies the basement office—the reference to candy may relate to my sister's valuation of the sexual orientation of certain males in “litigation Support.” With respect to all of my sister's seeming homosexual references during this conversation, it's difficult to determine whether she is referring to me or to those co-workers who were afraid of me.)

      19.  Quite a girl

      Another seeming homosexual reference.

      20.  Do you have a new stature?

      Another quantitative distinction. Perhaps refers to my possible “new stature” at the firm.  Also, compare comment about candy at 7-11: “Down at the bottom they have the small stuff.”

      21. Her math teacher.

      Mathematics is a purely quantitative science.

      22. She says she sits in the class and looks at her watch.

      The reference to “watch” may relate to the theme of “time” in the “Dream about Craig at Wanamaker's.” Also I had earlier written to my sister that it was during the week that Craig had started working at Hogan & Hartson, October 6, 1986, that I had purchased a watch. (Also, time has a quantitative, or at least numerical, quality.)

      23. Oh, I have her figured out.

      I had previously written to my sister that I had interpreted a reaction of Craig's to me on February 12, 1987 as “I had him figured.” The word “figure” also connotes the mathematical, or quantitative.

      24.  She had eaten a big chicken salad platter.

      I translate my sister's use of “chicken” as relating to fear (as contrasted with her use of the word “cat” which I interpret as relating to shyness). The phrase “big chicken” may be translated as “He's just a big chicken.” (Also, compare “big chicken” with the phrase “small stuff.”)

      [The Clinton Administration was at that time considering presidential appointments (under Vernon Jordan's leadership) and I am inferring that my sister was thinking, "If my brother weren't a big chicken he could get a high-power attorney position."  This interpretation is consistent with my sister's use of double-binds.  If I earn a law degree I am a homosexual who bakes cakes.  If I have trouble getting an attorney position I am a "big chicken."]

      25.  Discussion of shopping mall – Sears, Boscov's. Clover

      The discussion of department stores may refer to the “Dream about Craig at Wanamakers.”

        26. Hamilton Mall – Has a Macy's

      (a.)  Hamilton mall may refer to paragraph 3 of my autobiography, specifically to Hamilton, J. "Joseph Conrad: His Development as an Artist, 1889-1910" The Psychoanalytic Study of Society 8: 277-329 (Yale University Press: 1979).  It was at my session on January 19 that I referred to paragraph 3 of the autobiography, and mentioned Joseph Conrad's novel The Secret Agent in connection with Robert Strauss (a partner at Akin Gump.)

      (b.)  "Macy's" a department store, may refer to the "Dream about Craig at Wanamaker's."

      27.  Father of the Bride with Steve Martin - that was cute.

      An attorney at Hogan & Hartson with whom I worked (together with Maree Sneed) on the Milwaukee Public Schools case is named Steve Routh.  Steve Routh has a son, born in January 1987, named Robert Martin Routh.  The word "cute" may be a homosexual reference.  (Steve Routh's son was named for Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. See paragraph 35, below.)  Father of the Bride: On one occasion in early 1987, Steve Routh mentioned that his father-in-law said he was suspicious of Steve Routh's claims that he spends all the time away from his wife at work.  In about April 1987, I jokingly mentioned to Steve Routh his father-in-law's suspicions.

      28.  I was gonna take a walk on the beach.

      Compare the move On the Beach, based on the novel by Nevil Shute, about life after a nuclear war.  See earlier discussion of "atomic Fireballs."

      29.  At the age of 11.

      Another quantitative reference.

      30.  They're just singing as a group.

      Another reference to "Group" (see paragraph 16), probably related to the two uses of the word "individually."  Once again, calls to mind my interpersonal relations which are individually-oriented rather than group-oriented.

      31.  Nora in [Ibsen's] A Doll's House.

      The word "Nora" may refer to the hormone "norepinephrine," which I mentioned in a letter to you dated January 19, 1993 in connection with contemplated medical tests (Cf. paragraph 35 below.)

      32.  There's a cute little monologue from the, that she could have done from The Frog Prince.

      Again, she uses the word cute (homosexual reference?  See paragraph 27).  May refer to Craig, specifically the "Dream about Craig at Wanamaker's."  In the dream analysis I mention a dialogue (compare sister's use of the word "monologue") between Craig and me on November 14, 1989: "I'm afraid that when you go to France you might decide to stay over there."  Craig: "Listen, if I decide to stay over there, I'll send for you."  Note that a central theme of The Frog Prince is identity transformation, which seems consistent with a reference to Craig.  (Compare paragraph 3 of my autobiography discussing Conrad's identity problems.  See paragraph 26, above).

      33.  She starts out in one mood, she's angry -- she shifts moods.

      Possible reference to lack of object constancy, a characteristic I had attributed to my sister.

      [Possible reference to bipolar disorder.  Pat Ryle suffered from bipolar disorder.  As of January 1993 my operative diagnosis was bipolar disorder.  At that time my psychiatrist was contemplating lithium for my "mood shifts."]

      34.  This girl gets up, 4th grader.

      (a.)  Another use of the word "girl" (possible homosexual reference).

      (b).  "4th grader:" another quantitative distinction.

      (Compare statement at paragraph 23: "Oh, I have her figured out," interpreted as also conjoining a homosexual reference with a quantitative reference.  Likewise, the statement at paragraph 9: "I guess when you're ten," again a possible homosexual reference conjoined to a quantitative reference.  What could she possibly mean by this?)

      35.  She's the last person I thought they would cast.  Well it turns out they cast her in a role twice the size of Suzanne's.

      (a.)  The word "cast" may allude to a bone fracture, specifically my broken arm, which was cast at GW.  (When I awoke from a coma in the hospital on January 21, 1991, a nurse asked what day it was.  I responded, "It's Martin Luther King's Birthday."  See paragraph 27, above.)  During my session on January 19, I mentioned my broken arm, cast at GW hospital (and also submitted written materials that mentioned Maree Sneed, see paragraph 27).

      (b.)  "Twice the size:"  another quantitative distinction.

      36.  There were five people on the Committee that picked the cast.

      Possible reference to the Akin Gump management committee or hiring committee (see paragraph 13).  Also note the quantitative distinction, "five people."

      37.  She's not singing a solo or anything.

      Use of word "solo" seems related to repeated use of word "individually" and contrasts with repeated use of word "group."

      Again, may refer to my individually-oriented interpersonal relations.

      38.  Pat, she's the director, she's the one who directed Michael Landon when he was at the Haddonfield Plays & Players.  She kept referring to Suzanne as Piglet, well Pi . . ., Suzanne wasn't the Piglet, that girl who's awful is Piglet.  Half the rehearsal she kept calling her Piglet.  It's as though she had in her mind she was Piglet.

      (a.)  "Pat" may refer to persons of a particular religious-ethnic status.

      (b.)  "Piglet" (used 5 and one-half times) may refer to my allegations of anti-Semitism.  "Piglet" may refer specifically to my response to a question posed by Malcolm Lassman (a partner at Akin Gump) that the mascot of the litigation support group was a pig (cf. paragraph 18).  May also refer to my supervisor's use of another term which I interpreted as relating derisively to Dr. Palombo.

      39.  Like a jawbreaker type thing.

      "Jawbreaker" is a possible allusion to a maxillary fracture, and may allude specifically to my broken arm, cast at GW hospital (See paragraph 35a).

      40.  Who's signature was that you sent me?  Who was he, a psychiatrist, you'd seen him or something?

      I had sent my sister a copy of the signature of Ms. Laurel Digweed, Akin Gump's Personnel Administrator, with the note: "I love the signatures of people who say I am grandiose."  My sister is apparently playing some game here with the question "Who was he?" and "Was he a psychiatrist?"

      41.  I said they should have done the wave.

      The word "wave" may refer to "brainwave," and may allude to the planned EEG, which you first mentioned on January 19.  (Also, compare the use of the word "wavelength" in the Dr. Eissler excerpt, at paragraph 9).

      42.  I think he's in over his head.

      The phrase "head" may again refer to the planned EEG.


      Gary Freedman

      One possible solution to my sister's seemingly inscrutable comments--and her behavior of sucking on the candy throughout the conversation--is the following pattern match.

      One of the incidents about which I complained to my former employer concerned an event that occurred during the summer of 1991.  When I returned to the office from lunch, my supervisor offered me a piece of chocolate with the peculiar comment, "Here, you look like you need some chocolate."  Earlier that day, based on comments by co-workers, I had formed the impression that there had been some contact between someone at the firm and Jesse Raben, who at that time no longer worked at the firm.  I changed my computer password to "Faust Line 4399."  This line of Goethe's Faust refers to "Rabenstein," Jesse Raben's forebears' family name.  This incident fits the same pattern as my sister's comments candy/ (homosexual allusions).  (Of further incidental, or merely coincidental, interest is the fact that Dr. Eissler is an authority on Geothe, and authored a major biography of him).

      What is of interest about this pattern match is whether my sister was recreating, or mimicking, the facts of the above incident that may have been related to her by my employer, or whether -- significantly -- my sister was spontaneously reacting to a stimulus in the same manner as the employees at Akin Gump.  If the latter case is true, we may have a new paradigm!


      Gary Freedman


      1.  Pat King

      (a.) director/casting role
      (b.) cheated sister's daughter out of a larger role

      2.  Pat Ryle

      (a.) mentally-unbalanced divorced wife of attorney
      (b.) suffered serious injury
      (c.) always gets fabulous jobs
      (d.) lithium prescription

      3. Brother-in-law

      (a.) sister fears his loss of balance on exercise equipment

      4.  Drama Instructor

      (a.) director/casting role
      (b.) suffered serious injury
      (c.) loss of balance (while rocking on chair)

      5.  [Maggie Sinnott--Legal Assistant Administrator

      (a.) "casting role**
      (b.) mentally unbalanced divorced wife of attorney
      (c.) cheated brother out of larger role?]

      6.  Self

      (a.) lithium prescription
      (b,.) suffered serious injury?
      (c.) unbalanced?
      (d.) possibility of fabulous job as U.S. Attorney General

      7. Sister

      (a.)  no problem maintaining balance on exercise equipment
      **Note also that my sister's possible use of theatrical imagery to describe symbolically Akin Gump may represent my sister's acceptance of my use of "impresario" as a symbol for Robert Strauss (who is a partner at Akin Gump).  One might offer the tentative hypothesis that just as I am an object of others' projections, others are the objects of -- and seem to readily accept -- my symbolization.  See also sister's seeming acceptance of my use of "ice cream" as a symbol for a curative object, at paragraph 6.

      See Hero Myth/Scapegoat Myth schema in autobiography.


      Gary Freedman said...

      A notable theme is my sister's naming 5 different plays or movies:

      When Harry Met Sally

      The Frog Prince

      On the Beach (implied)

      Father of the Bride

      A Doll's House

      Gary Freedman said...

      Faust Line 4399: Rabenstein