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Insights in Brief

In order to sharpen the reader’s understanding of the view expounded here, let us first highlight its distinguishing points. What is central here is the notion of the homosexual’s unconscious self-pity. This strong habit is not willful, but autonomous. It propels “masochistic” behavior. The homosexual wish itself is embedded in this unconscious self-pity, as are his feelings of gender inferiority. This view harmonizes the notions and behavioral observations of Alfred Adler (1930; that inferiority complex and compensation wishes aim at “reparation” of inferiority), Austrian-American psychoanalyst Edmund Bergler (1957; homosexuality as “psychic masochism”), and Dutch psychiatrist Johan Arndt (1961; concept of compulsive self-pity).

Secondly, by his masculinity/feminity inferiority complex or gender inferiority complex, the homosexual partly remains “a child”, “a teenager”; this observation is known as psychic infantilism. This Freudian notion has been emphasized for homosexuality by Wilhelm Stekel (1922) and is in line with more modern notions about “the inner child of the past” (American child psychiatrist Missildine 1963; Harris 1973; and others).

Thirdly, more or less specific parental attitudes and parent-child relationships may predispose one to the development of a homosexual gender inferiority complex. Yet the lack of same-sex group adaptation weighs even more heavily as a predisposing factor. Traditional psychoanalysis reduced all emotional malformation and neurosis to disturbed parent-child relationships; without denying the great importance of child-parent interactions, the final determining factor generally lies more, however, in the adolescent’s self-image in terms of gender, as compared with same-sex peers. Herein, our view synchronizes with such neo-psychoanalysis as Karen Horney (1950) and Johan Arndt (1961) and self-image theorists as Carl Rogers (1951) and others.

Fourthly, fear of the opposite sex is frequent (psycho-analysts such as Ferenczi [1914, 1950]; Fenichel [1945]) but is not a primary cause of homosexual inclinations. Rather, this fear is a symptom of gender inferiority feelings; these indeed can be activated by members of the opposite sex, who are perceived as expecting sex roles the homosexual feels unable to perform.

Fifthly, giving in to homosexual wishes creates a sexual addiction. Persons who have reached this stage have essentially two problems: their gender inferiority complex and a relatively autonomous sexual addiction (a situation comparable to that of a neurotic with a drinking problem). American psychiatrist Lawrence J. Hatterer (1980) has written on this double syndrome of “pleasure addiction.”

Sixthly, in (self-)therapy, a special role is given to self-humor. Here we have the notions of self-irony of Adler, of “hyperdramatization” of Arndt, and more or less of those of behavior therapist Stampfl’s (1967) “implosion”, and Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s (1975) “paradoxical intention.”

Lastly, inasmuch as homosexual desires are rooted in self-centeredness or immature “egophilia” — the term comes from Murray (1963) — (self-)therapy emphasizes the acquisition of those human and moral virtues that have a “de-egocentrizing” effect and enhance the capacity to love.

 

GERARD J.M. VAN DEN AARDWEG, PH.D.
The Battle for Normality (1997) Ignatius Press: San Francisco

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