chapter  VIII
4 Pages

Anxiety Associated with Insecurity 1952

THE FOLLOWING is a comment on a point in Dr C. F. Rycroft's paper on 'Some Observations on a Case of Vertigo' (Rycroft, 1953). In this paper Rycroft makes two statements on which I wish to comment. The two statementsare: 'In my previous paper I discussed in some detail the theoretical implications of [the patient's] ability to hallucinate objects and simultaneously recognize them as illusions. Here I only wish to mention that it shows very clearly both the depth of his regression, which was to a stage before reality testing is firmly established, and the incompleteness of the regression, since part of his ego remained capable of testing reality and of contributing actively to the analysis.'

Again, 'Vertigo is a sensation which occurs when one's sense of equilibrium is threatened. To an adult it is a sensation which is usually, though by no means always, associated with threats to the maintenance of the erect posture, and there is, therefore, a tendency to think of giddiness exclusively in terms of such relatively mature anxieties as the fear of falling over or the fear of heights and to forget that infants, long before they can stand, experience threats to their equilibrium and that some of their earliest activities such as grasping and clinging represent attempts to maintain the security of feeling supported by the mother. As the infant learns to crawl and later to walk the supporting function of the mother is increasingly taken over by the ground; this must be one of the main reasons why the earth is unconsciously thought of as the mother and why neurotic disturbances of equilibrium can so frequently be traced back to conflicts about dependence on the mother.'