Favorite Quotations from

Nandor Fodor's


The Search For the Beloved:

A Clinical Investigation of the Trauma of Birth and Pre-Natal Conditioning (1949)

Compiled by John A. Speyrer



Nandor Fodor (1895 - 1964 ) - Hungarian-born, a Ph.D., journalist, attorney and psychologist, lived mostly in the United States and in England. He was very interested in spiritism and psychic events. He believed that contact with the dead was possible and at one sťance had a moving verbal interchange with his deceased father. He also attempted to scientifically study such phenomena. At first enthusiastic, he soon became disillusioned in its reality. He began interpreting psychic cases from a psychological viewpoint. After exposing a number of psychic frauds he became a pariah to the spiritist movement.

Sigmund Freud supported Fodor in his investigatory quest. Finding that the United States was kinder to psychological investigations of psychic events, he returned to New York. Most of the chapters listed below were previously printed in leading psychoanalytic journals. His clinical work was mostly dream interpretation. [A few of the quotations attributed to later chapters are from earlier chapters.]

-- John A. Speyrer, Webmeister, The Primal Psychotherapy Page


"While Freud, Rank, Winnicott, Greenacre and others all made allusions to the possible importance of the prenatal, it is in the work of Nandor Fodor and his follower, Francis Mott, that the prenatal is specifically emphasized. It is Fodor's work The Search for the Beloved: A Clinical Investigation of the Trauma of Birth and Pre-Natal Conditioning, which was published in 1949, that really marks the beginning of the modern 'prenatal psychology' movement...

Mott's work was primarily based upon the analysis of various case histories, particularly dreams. He differentiates his work from Rank's: Otto Rank made the first attempt to biologize psychoanalysis. His approach was philosophical, mine is clinical and independent of his claims."
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(The two paragraphs above are from Frank Lake's Maternal-Fetal Distress Syndrome, An Analysis, Stephen M. Maret - dissertation, pps. 103-104.


CONTENTS


BOOK I.

The Trauma of Birth

Foreword

Chapter 01. BIRTH OR DEATH
Chapter 02. GENESIS OF THE TRAUMA OF BIRTH
Chapter 03. NIGHTMARES OF SUFFOCATION
Chapter 04. FROM SUFFOCATION TO CLAUSTROPHOBIA
Chapter 05. FROM CLAUSTROPHOBIA TO INSOMNIA
Chapter 06. NIGHTMARES OF FALLING
Chapter 07. NIGHTMARES OF WATER
Chapter 08. NIGHTMARES OF THE SUPERNATURAL
Chapter 09. NIGHTMARES OF FIRE
Chapter 10. BIRTH AND CASTRATION
Chapter 11. BIRTH AND RAPE
Chapter 12. SUPERSTRUCTURES ON BIRTH
Chapter 13. VARIETIES OF BIRTH
Chapter 14. THE TRAUMA OF BEARING
Chapter 15. THE TRAUMA OF ILLEGITIMATE BIRTH
Chapter 16. BIRTH AND WEANING
Chapter 17. AFTER-PAINS OF BIRTH AND BEARING
Chapter 18. RELEASE OF THE TRAUMA OF BIRTH

BOOK II.

Return into the Womb

Chapter 19. FANTASIES OF PRE-NATAL BLISS
Chapter 20. MOTIVES OF PRE-NATAL RETURN
Chapter 21. TO FIND THE MEANING OF LIFE
Chapter 22. TO FIND A NEW LIFE BY REBIRTH
Chapter 23. TO FIND ECSTASY
Chapter 24. TO ROB THE MOTHER'S WOMB
Chapter 25. INCEST AND HOMOSEXUALITY
Chapter 26. TO FIND THE BELOVED


BOOK III.

Traumata of the Unborn

Chapter 27. SORROWS OF THE UNBORN
Chapter 28. RAIDS AGAINST THE UNBORN
Chapter 29. ATTEMPTS AT ABORTING THE UNBORN
Chapter 30. THE LOVE LIFE OF THE UNBORN
Chapter 31. INTEGRATION OF PRE-NATAL TRAUMATA
Chapter 32. SUMMARY








From the Foreword

"Life is a continuity which does not begin at birth; it is split up by birth. . . . The understanding of this continuity of life is of fundamental importance. It reveals a biological foundation behind many forms of neurotic behavior, and thereby lightens the individual's burden of social responsibility for immoral and anti-social forms."

"While Freud claimed that 'all anxiety goes back originally to the anxiety of birth,' he failed to accept birth as a distinct traumatic event. Otto Rank made the first attempt to biologize psychoanalysis. His approach was philosophical; mine is clinical and independent of his claims."

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From Chapter 1 - Birth and Death

"In its shattering effect, birth can only be paralleled by death." p. 3

"Although the two events appear to be distinct and separate, an essential similarity exists between them. Birth and death are interchangeable symbols for the unconscious mind." p. 3

"The change from pre-natal to post-natal life involves an ordeal as severe as dying." p. 4

". . . we may say that the fear of death begins at birth." p. 4.

"Many of the birth fear symbols are so universal that they can be recognized immediately." p. 5

"Birth is a genital event and an impending confinement almost inevitably mobilizes the memories of that distant period when the prospective mother herself was in the position of the child within her womb." p. 6.

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From Chapter 2 - Genesis of the Trauma of Birth

"The greatest danger of injuries in early life is that they may mobilize and keep active the trauma of birth." p. 34

"When labor is prolonged, in the absence of consciousness of the purpose of the process, the child goes through an agony only comparable to the slow torture of death." p. 15

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From Chapter 3 - Nightmares of Suffocation

"My finding is that every experience in suffocation tends to mobilize the buried memory of birth and that, ultimately, the fear of dying from loss of breath is a re-enactment of the panic with which we drew our first lungful of air in this world." p. 36

"Air hunger may have a still deeper motivation in fetal distress. " p. 36

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From Chapter 4 - From Suffocation To Claustrophobia

"Suffocation fears do not always lead to claustrophobia, but one of the primary symptoms that accompany claustrophobia is the sensation of a sudden loss of breath and the panic which develops from this sensation" p. 40

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From Chapter 5 - From Claustrophobia to Insomnia

"The psychological structure behind chronic insomnia may show considerable complexity. It is not an isolated form of neurotic behavior; hence it cannot be cured without unraveling a good part of the patient's psychic life." p. 46

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From Chapter 6 - Nightmares of Falling

"I accept that the fear of falling is with us at birth, but I claim that it is conditioned because birth is an experience in loss of position; it is a falling away from the mother's body under the influence of an irresistible driving force." p. 63

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From Chapter 7 - Nightmares of Water

"It is not easy to understand the mental process by which the unconscious identifies water with the amniotic fluid and impending birth. It appears that it does so and, according to my findings, it bases this identification on obscure organismic memories . . . .Water is the symbol of life, but also of death " pps. 69, 76.

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From Chapter 8 - Nightmares of the Supernatural

". . . the fear or fascination of another world arises from a basic biological experience. We all have lived in another world -- before we were born. All utopian visions reveal a nostalgia for the bliss which we lost on leaving the maternal wound. The intensity of the ordeal of birth may have a determining influence on the fear and fascination of another plane of life" p. 77.

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From Chapter 9 - Nightmares of Fire

"Morbid reactions to fire are very common. The first determinants are usually found in specific events occurring in the patient's life. My experience, however, is that if the investigation is pushed to deeper levels of the mind it may be found that fire traumata are utilized for the representation of the drama of birth." p. 96.

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From Chapter 10 - Birth and Castration

". . . all sexual injuries trail back, through symptoms, associations and impressions registered on the deepest strata of our unconscious mind, to birth, an event which in its stupendous significance can only be matched by the great drama of evolution when life emerged from the tepid waters of the primeval ocean and took its first root on land" p. 110.

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From Chapter 11 - Birth and Rape

"The data are sufficient to warrant the conclusion that the fainting dream re-enacts birth and that the patient's rape fears were cover symptoms for the greater fear of birth, by a displacement of the all over pressure on her body . . . " p. 135.

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From Chapter 12 - Superstructures On Birth

"In almost all mother fixation dreams there is a rich display of birth symbolism, without which the fixation cannot be understood. Resistance to marriage is often motivated by the umbilical situation, which psychically may persist throughout a lifetime." p. 138.

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From Chapter 13 - Varieties of Birth

". . . the unconscious mind tries to dispose of the trauma of birth by projecting it into the future in the form of the fear of death. . . ." p. 153

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From Chapter 14 - The Trauma of Bearing

"It is my contention that bearing a child becomes traumatic whenever the similarity between giving birth to a child and being born approaches close to the threshold of awareness" p. 154.

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From Chapter 15 - The Trauma of Illegitimate Birth

"No man searches more passionately for a dream woman than the child who grows up motherless." p. 165.

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From Chapter 16 - Birth and Weaning

"For the unconscious mind, love and food are synonymous and interchangeable terms." p. 177.

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From Chapter 17 - After-Pains of Birth and Bearing

"The agony of birth is both of body and mind. It is easier to believe in the former than in the later." p. 180.

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From Chapter 18 - Release of the Trauma of Birth

"As his birth emotions have never been verbalized, in putting them into words the patient is making up a story. It is a true story, in spite of the fact that it is not based on memories registered by consciousness but rests on organismic impressions." p. 195.

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From Chapter 19 - Fantasies of Pre-Natal Bliss

"Our very belief in a future life may spring from the certainty of a past existence, the haunting glamor of which forever escapes clear recollection. Some project this certainty backwards and become firm believers in reincarnation; others project it forward and become spiritualists or theosophists. The instinctual acceptance of either direction rests on the simple foundation of having lived before birth within the mother's womb."

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From Chapter 20 Motives of Pre-Natal Return

". . . (T)he embryo already feels whether its mother loves it or not, whether she gives is much love, little love, or none at all, in many instances in fact in place of love, sheer hate" p. 306 [quoted from Dr. J. Sadger, Preliminary Study of the Psychic Life of the Fetus and Primary Germ, 1941]

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From Chapter 21 - To Find the Meaning of Life

"Were we able to retrace our steps to the very source of life, back to the mother's womb, we might find the answer to the mystery of our existence--at least we will not have this splendid illusion wrested away from us. "

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From Chapter 22 - To Find the Meaning of Life

"I believe that the degree of love which the new-born child needs is in direct proportion to the intensity of the trauma of its birth."

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From Chapter 23 - To Find Ecstasy

"The mother's fond expectations and reassuring thoughts may have a very salutary influence on the psyche of the unborn. But if so, the reverse would be equally true." p. 399

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From Chapter 24 - To Rob the Mother's Womb

"All kleptomaniacs are love-thieves. They are trying to steal something that would compensate them for a very precious thing they have lost." p. 263

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From Chapter 25 - Incest and Homosexuality

"As a rule, men take to homosexuality to escape from the mother; women take to it to gain her. p. 267"

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From Chapter 26 - To Find the Beloved

"Morbid suffocation fears and the air-hunger of fresh air fields may originate in birth or in antecedent fetal distress due to the fact that the maternal body was no longer capable of providing fully for the needs of the unborn child. The sensation of a sudden loss of breath and the subsequent panic is one of the chief symptoms of claustrophobia, a widespread and serious incapacitation, producing acute physical and mental distress, which often combines with chronic insomnia and the fear of insanity" p. 384

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From Chapter 27 - Sorrows of the Unborn

"The life of the unborn is not necessarily one of unbroken bliss."

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From Chapter 28 - Raids Against the Unborn

"One of the main contentions of the preceding chapters is that the fear of death originates in the fear of birth; that the panicky journey through the uterine passage is an experience in dying; and that we are haunted more by the projected memory of this trial of body and soul than by the dread of future extinction." p. 308

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From Chapter 29 - Attempts At Aborting the Unborn

". . . (T)here is a record of the impacts which hit the unborn within the womb and a record of the adaptation to those impacts"

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From Chapter 30 - The Love Life of the Unborn

"The baby that has to sneak down in the night to eat dog food is starved of love."

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From Chapter 31 - Integration of the Pre-Natal Trauma

"Death means a cessation of all activities, a complete release from struggle. The wish to be dead and live in another world has a close correspondence with our organismic pre-natal anticipations." p. 232

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From Chapter 32 -Summary

"Birth and death are interchangeable terms. . . The change-over from pre-natal to post-natal life involves an ordeal as severe as dying. Hence the fear of death begins at birth and is based on a maelstrom of bewildering experiences that are covered by infantile amnesia but break through in nightmares or become converted into symptoms."

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