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Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
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Sigmund Freud’s Comrades and Rivals

Your favorite critic has plenty of frenemies.

Comrades

Carl Jung

This Swiss dude founded analytic psychology, and is basically my ultimate frenemy. Boy, do we have some long chat sessions. I've called Jung my adopted eldest son, my "crown prince and successor," which is nothing to shake a stick at (source).

That said, I'm not a fan of the way he pooh-poohs the radical consequences of sexual development, or his nonsense about the "collective unconscious." But, hey, you have to let the underlings find their way. I've just never been sold on the idea that man was cruising around with an unconscious mind jam-packed with ideas passed along from ancestors. That's way too new-agey for me. And I'm not down with all of his spirituality and occult claptrap—so unscientific.

Plus there's the fact that he really ticked me off when he started talking smack about me—spreading gossip that I had a fling with my sister-in-law. Gross! Okay, okay. If you want to move him down under the Rivals category, be my guest.

Wilhelm Fliess

Bless this guy for trying to get me off that filthy weed known as tobacco. But I just love me some cigars, and as I told Fliess, tobacco is my proxy for masturbation (which I call "the one great habit" [source]). Fliess may not be a trained psychoanalyst (he's actually an oto-rhino-laryngologist), but he's astute enough to point out that jokes may just be portals to the unconscious. We've written letters back and forth for years, so I think it's safe to say that this guy squarely falls in the Comrades category, even though I wish he'd mind his own business about the smoking.

Franz Brentano

Franz isn't just a philosopher and psychologist—he's also a professor. In fact, he taught me at the University of Vienna, and since then we've been intellectual bosom buddies. His 1874 book Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint rocked my world because it hints that maybe—just maybe—an unconscious mind exists. I've taken this idea and run with it, so in a weird way, Franz has been my muse.

Jean-Martin Charcot

Love this guy. I even named my first son after him. I studied under this celebrated neurologist for four months in 1885–1886 and was left with the craziest impressions (pun intended). Charcot does some remarkable (albeit bizarre) work with hysterics at Salpêtrière Hospital, even featuring some of them on a stage with an audience or photographing them in the midst of hysterical episodes (he's a big YouTuber). After studying with him, I knew for sure that medical psychopathology was my vocation, and here I am.

Josef Breuer

I like to call Josef the "Grandfather of Psychoanalysis." We collaborated on a patient named Anna O., which allowed me to see with my very own eyes just how effective the talking cure is. From Josef I've picked up all sorts of useful tips about fantasies, phantasms, and hysteria, too. To be honest, he has inspired some of my seminal moments in the growth of psychoanalysis.

He began as a mentor (dude even threw some cash my way), and his therapeutic experiments really helped me hone my craft. Later we got a touch competitive until finally, something about his book Studies on Hysteria just made me snap. And ever since then, things just haven't been the same.

Rivals

Karen Horney

Boy, this lady sure gives me a hard time. She's a psychoanalyst, but she comes up with her very own theories of sexuality (as if my ideas were just a buffet—there for her to pick and choose from!) that don't exactly line up with mine.

She simply won't admit that sex and aggression are big time determiners of personality (which is what I believe). And, even worse, she casts aside my whole "penis envy" shtick like a used Kleenex. And then she has the nerve to invent "womb envy"—as though men are just dying to get periods and give birth. Ha. The weird part is, even though we disagree on so much and clearly can't stand each other, folks still label her a Neo-Freudian. Hardly.

Melanie Klein

I don't mind telling you, these smart women have really given me a run for my money (Deutsche Marks, that is). Klein's a devotee of psychoanalysis fo-sho, but she has carved out a little niche for herself by studying psychoanalysis with young'uns.

At first we were friendly because she buys into the whole death instinct rap, but after never-ending scrutiny of children doing what they do with dolls and other toys, she's had the nerve to come up with her "Object Relations Theory." Unfortunately, that means she dumped my Oedipus Complex idea right out the window, actually proclaiming that the superego is present at birth, rather than being something that matures over time. Hogwash. Ugh, between Karen and Melanie, the psychoanalytic debate on femininity has begun, and I'm pretty sure I'll never live to see the end of it.

Ernest Jones

Ernie's a British neurologist and psychoanalyst. But even more importantly, long before Peter Gay came onto the scene, ol' Ernie was my official biographer. That doesn't mean we don't have our differences, though.

At first, he fell in love with my work, despite the fact that the British medical establishment was dead set against my ideas. But things got a little dicey when he was crushing on my daughter, Anna. Still, he wiggled his way into my elite inner circle in Vienna, where I begrudgingly let him hang.

But then, he pulled a 180 and sided with Klein, opposing Anna and me regarding pre-Oedipal child in the process. The nerve! Talk about going rogue. We've managed to muscle through our differences personally, but the dispute between the Kleinians and Freudians rages on.

Alfred Adler

Alfie co-founded the psychoanalytic movement and served as a central part of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. That only made it sting all the more when he started getting crazy ideas in his head. Dude unceremoniously dropped my theories on neurosis and has been formulating a little thing he calls "individual psychology." Ugh.

He's really forced my hand, and I had to threaten all of the Society members to dump him or hit the road themselves. He finally beat it and started his own club, I mean, Society, aptly named the Society for Individual Psychology. Good riddance, Mr. Adler.

Otto Rank

His last name's fitting if you ask me. Otto got his start as secretary of the Psychological Society, and later served as editor of Imago, a journal of all things psychoanalysis (still in print, so pick it up at your nearest newsstand today!). Otto really stuck by my side through thick and thin—until that book.

You know what I'm talking about, right? In 1924, he published The Trauma of Birth, which audaciously scraps the Oedipus complex as the underpinning of psychoanalytic theory. (That's like starting a garage band and not having ripped jeans). He bailed to the United States, where he now has his own groupies to accept his Freudian theory.

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