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By Nathan W. Ackerman

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Extra info for Anti-Semitism and Emotional Disorder: A Psychoanalytic Interpretation.

Sample text

The diagnoses cover a wide range of disturbances. 1 The range of symptoms that led the patient to consult with a psychoanalyst or a social-service agency was, of course, even wider. It was striking to observe that many of the symptoms presented by these patients were vague, and relatively lacking in structure and form. On the whole, the complaints concerned a feeling of insecurity, loneliness, unhappiness, confusion, difficulty in finding friends or establishing a satisfactory sex life, absence or vagueness of life goals, inability to maintain interest, etc.

Furthermore, there are, as has been shown, many other ways in which a confusion of the self-image can be manifested. Whatever the manifestation, however, such persons are particularly sensitive to the possession by anyone else of an unequivocal identity. Organized anti-Semitism, for example, has always shown an irrational concern for establishing Jewish identity. The Nazi regime, to achieve this end, employed the yellow stripe, the investigation of "Jewish blood" as far back as three generations, and the formulation of a pseudoscientific racial mythology in which a "Jewish race" could be labeled.

7 On the one hand they seem to have the courage to be different; on the other, they seem also to succeed in being identified within a group. The very existence of the Jews, then, is a constant and painful reminder of the anti-Semite's own emotional deficiencies. 8 Rather it is in proportion to the emotional deficiency which produces the need for conformity and belonging. The "difference," as a result, is subjectively translated into an attack on group identity; the "difference" is consequently exaggerated, and the fear increases.

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Anti-Semitism and Emotional Disorder: A Psychoanalytic Interpretation. by Nathan W. Ackerman


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