MEDLINE Journals

    Some reflections on a case of mother/adolescent son incest.

    Shengold L 
    Int J Psychoanal 1980; 61(Pt 4) :461-76.

    A rare case of mother/adolescent son incest is presented. The son, treated in analysis, was not psychotic. Questions are raised about why father/daughter incest appears to be much more common than mother/son incest. Part of the answer, I speculate, has to do with the special psychic dangers for both mother and son, perhaps phylogenetically-based, which attach to the fantasy and the possibility of impregnating the mother. Where the incest taboo is violated, the primary responsibility would appear to be the parent's; the parent is frequently motivated by a compulsion to repeat his or her own incestuous past. In the case presented the probably psychotic mother had raised her son to look like a girl for several years, and he had been the victim of a homosexual assault at the age of 6. The incest at puberty seems to have helped him reverse a psychic position of subjection to the pre-oedipal mother, to have modified his rage and reinforced his masculinity. It also produced some of the arrogance, alongside a need for failure and punishment that evoke the legend of Oedipus. The mother, fearful of the possibility of getting pregnant, had abruptly stopped the incest. It had been repressed, and became conscious again when the son entered analysis. He then left his treatment without being able to work through much of the terror consequent to the consummation of incest, and with some of the feeling of oedipal triumph retained.

    Anxiety, Castration
    Oedipus Complex
    Psychoanalytic Therapy


    Pub Type(s)
    Journal Article
    PubMed ID


    Content Manager
    Related Content

    A case of mother-adolescent son incest: a follow-up study.

    Oedipus was not the son of Laius and Jocasta.

    Some roots of persistent homosexual fantasy and the quest for father's love: conflicted parental identifications in a male patient: fragment of an analysis.

    The role of mother-son incest in the pathogenesis of narcissistic personality disorder.

    Mother-son incest as a defence against psychosis.

    Some thoughts on the ego ideal. A contribution to the study of the "illness of ideality".

    The formation and shaping of the Oedipus complex: clinical observations and assumptions.

    Consummated mother-son incest in latency: a case report of an adult analysis.