chapter  6
14 Pages

Emotional Collisions

About a decade ago, Emily came for analysis because of an acute depression that began shortly after her mother’s death. An only child from an upperclass, Protestant family, Emily described a cavernous home in which a multitude of servants attended to everyone’s physical needs. Emily grew up mainly in the care of a nanny; her parents were barely involved with her. Emily described her mother as stiff and critical, her father as preoccupieddistant but tantalizing. He sporadically made warm contact with Emily, only to withdraw unpredictably, leaving her feeling unworthy and bad. By adolescence, Emily had retreated into sullen, defensive independence while harboring an urgent need for emotional contact that she felt was rarely met.