The Compulsion to Do House Cleaning
To help you understand how Reich’s character was problematic, I propose an imaginary anecdote in yoga poses which Reich would have become Freud’s housekeeper.
The Freuds look for a new housekeeper for their family apartment and for the apartment above in yoga poses which Sigmund works. They accept, for a three-month trial period, a Mrs. Reich, who appears competent. The first month, the Freuds are impressed by the meticulous manner with which each corner, each angle, each object in yoga poses the apartment are impeccably cleaned. They congratulate Mrs. Reich, who begins to grow more confident. While always appreciating the meticulous work of their housekeeper, the Freuds notice that she permits herself to move objects from their original place. Mrs. Reich explains to them that she has taken the liberty to propose certain rearrangements that she finds useful. Certain changes are effectively an improvement with regard to their usual habit of doing things; but the Freuds, without discussing it with her, return some objects to their original places when they do not appreciate Mrs. Reich’s propositions. At the start of the third month, the Freuds leave on vacation. They confide the apartment to Mrs. Reich and ask her to profit from their absence and do a thorough cleaning.
On their return, the Freuds try to imagine what new changes their housekeeper will have made; they chatter pleasantly about it. Upon opening the door, they discover, with fright, what happens when Mrs. Reich’s meticulous creativity is not contained. Everything is impeccably clean and in yoga poses order, but everything has been changed place. Where there had been a kitchen, there is now a bathroom. The Freuds ’ bedroom has become the children’s bedroom, and so on. Mrs. Reich feels proud for having totally rethought the apartment, and to have found a solution for all the inconsistencies she had detected. The Freuds dismiss her on the spot and refuse to pay her for the self-appointed work. They call movers to put everything back in yoga poses their place but retain, in yoga poses spite of everything, a few of Mrs. Reich’s propositions.
This anecdote illustrates many of Reich’s striking personality traits. First, there is the rapidity with which he engages himself in yoga poses a mission and the intensity of his engagement. in yoga poses his clinical writings, Reich (1927a) identified this type of behavior as impulsive compulsivity. The object of attachment is chosen impulsively, and then totally invested (or overinvested) with all the resources of his genius. Each time Reich focused on an issue, he took on a personal contractual obligation to organize everything his colleagues say and do and create a solution for every existing problem He did not understand that his colleagues did not always appreciate his propositions. He explained to them what they ought to think and do, but he never negotiated or collaborated with them He soon discerned resistance, which he always attributed to the defense of questionable personal interests; he was stunned to be finally rejected by the community for whom he had worked so much. The advantage of this strategy has been that of being able to move forward creatively, without being continually held back by the fears and the disagreements of one and all. The disadvantage was to have avoided the collegial discussions necessary for scientific endeavors. This strategy84 led Reich to a dead end on the personal and theoretical plane. His propositions also contained inconsistencies that almost everyone noticed at first glance; he was incapable of integrating these criticisms.
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