Biography of Famous Psychologists Wilhelm Stekel

About the famous psychologist Wilhelm Stekel, biography and history of the man.

THE GREAT PSYCHOLOGISTS ON THE COUCH

WILHELM STEKEL (1868-1940)

When Stekel was still a young child, he experienced jealousy when his mother paid more attention to his grandmother than to him, and "malignant joy" when his grandmother died. Another early memory was one involving a little girl, with whom he "played house," a game which led naturally into a mutual exploration of their young bodies. "The realization we had done something forbidden came to us both...I was probably two-and-a-half years old. "Stekel continues: "I know I was not a model child. I was wild, stubborn, defiant; I was a problem child and very difficult to bring up. "Stekel outgrew this period, later becoming a physician and then a pupil of Freud. His personality was rather cold and reserved: "My pupils have often complained of finding me unapproachable. . . . Often they have thought that I did not care much for them. . . . I have not tried to win people to my cause or make recruits. I wanted things to come to me spontaneously--as they usually did, publishers, translators, adherents. The fact was that my world had narrow boundaries so that there was no room in it for anyone except myself and my beloved wife. . . . Anyone who wants to win my favor should bring my dog a bone." Stekel had a practice during his early career of antagonizing his friends and supporters, usually just when they expected his support. This almost sadistic urge manifested itself in other ways as well. He quarreled with Freud, divorced his wife after a series of arguments, and drove away many of his acquaintances. Toward the end of his life he was forced to flee Vienna when Hitler invaded Austria, and like so many of his compatriots, he settled temporarily in England. But he was depressed and in ill health, and on June 25, 1940, after carefully planning all the details during the preceding three months, Wilhelm Stekel took his own life.

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