Vulnerability, War, and the Female Pregnant Body in Psychoanalysis: A Diary of Wireless Electronic Assault Torture

Karen Barna
12 min readFeb 14, 2024

“The hope that humans will one day stand in solidarity with each other in regards to their shared human condition of precarious vulnerability ushering in a unified effort to end the human need for war.”

Psychoanalysts are sometimes involved with formulating the rationales for war. Their special area of expertise, however, was and remains motivation. To find the answers to the questions, “How can a man be motivated to kill and be killed for his country? How could their parents and fellow citizens tolerate their deaths? How could free men and women be induced to kill and maim their fellow humans? What made democratic wars acceptable? These questions lie at the heart of paradoxical encounters of psychoanalysis. How can any country promote and make war acceptable when there exist laws within civilized society that forbid murder, criminal battery, torture, cruelty to animals, child abuse, child murder, femicide, parricide, feticide, etc? When we know the only way to advance ourselves further in human development means the eradication of war? I ask these questions knowing full well that includes questions like “Should abortion be legal?” Is not abortion a war waged by women on their unborn children? It would seem, that killing has becomes a convenience to man when his situation becomes too uncomfortable thanks to the advancements of medicine and technology. A convenience that would seem to reduce man to an unconscionable state of existence that of wild animal and beast.

The Female Pregnant Body in Psychoanalysis

Pregnancy is the most vulnerable position a woman can place herself in and women as well as men fear it (Holmes, 2013). The same revelations discovered by psychoanalysts pertaining to the reasons for war were not innate human aggressive drives, but rather that of human vulnerabilities (Zaretsky, 2010). Woman are placed in a weakened position, for several years, once motherhood is realized as their ultimate outcome and destiny. Men as well are placed in weakened position at the moment they become fathers. Women become a dependent with a dependent and men, as well as many women too, are burdened with the excess of financial responsibility to care for these newly acquired family members.

The fear of passivity in pregnancy poses an unconscious fear for women that makes the presentation of pregnancy seem like a fear against conscription and the draft peculiar to motherhood (nonwage earning status of domesticity). The fear of being caught unprepared and vulnerable becomes the unconscious motivation for abortion. Freud noted the human tendency towards anything that threatens to reveal one’s vulnerability would result in more aggression not less. Thus, human vulnerability lie at the heart of human violence. Freud’s postulation on shell shock is telling in regard to the female psyche. Although, as a man, he could not realize it at the time. Abortion is an attempt to master the experience of passivity in the trenches (nine months of pregnancy followed by the harrowing experience of childbirth). Freud wrote regarding shell shock, the ego in defense of itself is the libido whose demands seem to it to be menacing (Freud, 1920). The woman’s ego, defending itself against the experience of helplessness in the face of the possible culmination of excitation of childbirth cannot be managed by the normal workings of the pleasure principle (ie; fantasy). In other words, some women’s egos at the time of pregnancy fear passivity and being caught unprepared; where their egos at the time of pregnancy prefer the active, masculine role of being “prepared for the fight against masculine oppression” stand in high risk of seeking abortion.

I contend, through my reading and acquired knowledge in feminism on female pregnant bodies, that some women defend against this fear in fantasies that allow them to become pregnant and enter the precarious state of possible death known as labor and delivery. While other women do not (Balsam, 2012). If a state is going to outlaw abortion, then the state should offer psychotherapeutic services to help these women manage the fear of becoming vulnerable should they decide to keep their pregnancy. How can states take control of female flesh, via the law, without adequately providing psychotherapeutic services for the women who may be traumatically impacted by their pregnancies? Freud wrote about the fragility and defensiveness of the ego regarding war in Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920) and, believed at the time, the sexual symbolism tied closely to war rooted in Romanticism was at its end. Freud felt that the sexual symbolism was virtually identical to war and the Romanticism tied to it was weakening and dying. I can’t help but feel it is the same for childbearing in today’s modern and contemporary world. Romanticism elicits images of fantasy that work in the minds of little girls that allow them to imagine their own future pregnancies as mothers when women of childbearing age (ie: female pregnant bodies) enter their field of object relations. This psychological arrangement is known as “positive female pregnant body experiences,” but may not be a “positive” experience for all little girls.

“[As psychoanalysis]… highlighting psychological vulnerability …helped foreground the significance of economic and material vulnerability … analysts … urged teachers and parents to reflect rather than be angry (Zaretsky, 2010; pg. 184).”

To further comment on symbolism and fantasy, let’s discuss how masculine and feminine images reflect the stark contrast between male’s phallic superiority (the possession of an erect penis) and women’s phallic superiority (possession of an erect bulging belly of pregnancy) fair in the modern psychic consciousness of mass society. If, the extension of the male phallus, through erect largeness (the bulging erect penis) extended into the woman, of his choice via sexual intercourse, results in the female’s pregnant bulging erection of a belly, why has female largeness not been considered an aspect of strength and domination in terms of her possessed femininity and ultimate destiny? Why is the female pregnant body associated with oppression, weakness, disfigurement when in all actuality it is her highest achieved potential with regards to female development? Has her destiny not been realized? In addition, women who are overweight are considered “weak,” “inferior,” and “not in control of their appetites” where the aesthetic of the slender, lithe, athletic physique is absent in the female form, which, in my opinion represents the unconscious desire for a masculine idealized phallus, represents the splitting of the maternal object into its “bad” parts. This wished for aesthetic is sought after by women willing to risk death in surgical procedures and in the consumption of risky “miracle diet drug” to overcome the narcissistic blow of contemporary modern-day living (poor diet) and to defy the aging process and fend off disintegration anxiety. What happens when the wished for fantasy of the female narcissist is bent on seeing her Object-other humiliated by excess weight gain and a desire to interrupt graceful aging? I’ll follow next with Romanticism in political propaganda and in contrast black propaganda smear campaigns. Both are effective in recruiting followers to their respective cults.

Switching Gears To The Political Propaganda of War

In January 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered to congress his “Four Freedoms” speech following the end of World War II. His speech stressed the importance of the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion, the freedom from fear, and the freedom from want and resonated respectively with disarmament and social-democratic reform. This starkly contrasts with the current gang/mafia appeals to which I find myself caught in. The gang/mafia appeals to individual self-interest of personalized capitalistic pursuits to deny, degrade, destroy, a perceived threat causing the narcissist disintegration anxiety. That somehow, in his/her heightened psychological state of vulnerability, the “fundamental ideals and values of his culture have become threatened by a perceived enemy from within (or without for that matter).” This perceived “indifference to personal and family ties,” “lack of commitment to the extended family,” “lack of loyalty to aging parents’ needs,” “to friends and neighbors.” In short, propagandized the threat on “American way of life” so beautifully depicted and fantasized by Norman Rockwell paintings, yet the fantasy being entertained by the narcissist is the inversion of truth (a black propaganda campaign) through direct wireless electronic assault torture on the target to achieve the degradation of the very behaviors that contribute to the Norman Rockwell “American way of life.” The ideas that Rockwell depicted in simple everyday scenes, mowing the lawn, attending town meetings, tending the garden, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas, parents cooking in the kitchen a meal for their children, husband and wife tucking their children in at night, all aiming at democratic ideals and values of American culture, in terms everybody can understand. Rockwell linked them directly to a set of “intimate family and neighborly relations permeated by ‘an ethic of care.’” These ideals are in stark contrast to the people carrying out wireless electronic assault torture known as Electronic Harassment. Electronic harassment “is not an ethic of care.” Norman Rockwell, like Franklin D. Roosevelt, used these images and symbols as a rallying cry for the reason for men and women to go to war against an enemy that threatened the fundamental values and ethics of American living, as if to say, “This is what we are fighting for!” But it is the narcissist who is in direct conflict with these very ideals and seeks to destroy them in their object relational world because they threaten the narcissist’s superior opinion of him/herself. In short, annihilation of the competition in mafia terms requires a maiming of the enemies’ capabilities. Wireless electronic assault torture and Electronic Harassment “is not an aesthetic of American care!” Furthermore, it is not an aesthetic to the American way of life!

It needs to be made clear, these ideal representation of the “American way of life” put forth by Norman Rockwell and Franklin D. Roosevelt are the form Romanticism takes in fantasy of “perfect nuclear family values” which is misleading because no one lives a “perfect American life.” Again, the wireless electronic assault torture splits the Object-other into perceived “badness”, the kind of “badness” that renders the object to the position of least threatening terms, a position which will bolster the narcissist’s high opinion and image of him/herself that follows a calculated move towards omnipotent superiority, in a castration phantasy turned into reality. This psychoanalytic theory makes full use of Freud’s initial insight into “the preference for the active masculine role (active/dynamic/superior) over the feminine passive role (inactive/static/inferior). That is the child’s wish to possess father’s penis and, to that extent, relegates mommy’s castrated status to passive inferiority. It is the common behavior among many women and men, of idealizing father’s wished for phallic superiority.

To connect how this relates, in particular to women, children and minority groups, consider economist Leland Gordon explaining the concept of democracy in 1943;

“The concept of democracy includes our economic as well as our political life … Although you may never have thought of it the concept of representative government in our economic life includes your freedom as a consumer to choose whatever you wish in the way of economic goods or services to satisfy our wants. To satisfy such fundamental freedoms as freedom of worship, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, should be added economic freedom of choice (Zaretsky, 2010).”

The economic freedom of choice is simply not granted to everyone, especially women and those minorities situated in the lower classes lacking higher educational opportunities. Thus, the ability to achieve these fundamental American values become stressed in certain minority groups which promotes resentments and hostilities towards the upper classes and those possessing more “elite status.”

For Freud, the internal world was dominated by conflicts over authority; for Melenie Klein it was dominated by responsibility to particular others to whom one had incurred obligations, not because one found themselves generically human as in Kant philosophy, but because one had found oneself in specific relations and circumstances. For Freud, the moral core of a person was formed in conflicts deriving from the “laws” that constitute our humanity, such as the incest taboo; for Klein, in contrast, the core conflicts reflect frustrations in obtaining basic needs such as milk or attention, from immediate others and in the context of real or imagined rivals or enemies (siblings/class mates/cousins/relatives). Kleinian orientation toward personal life represented an ethic, a feminine alternative to Freud, as an ethic of care instead of an ethic of justice. Thus, the need to exact revenge on a perceived threat that might threaten a person’s own sense of superiority sheds light on the Freudian desire to be “father’s potent penis” embodied in the wireless electronic assault torture or a reflection of inadequate maternal care by a non-responsive female object. (In short, annihilation of that which threatens from without). Thus, the Kleinian circle encompasses women, not all women, but a circle of certain women that elaborates the ethic of care in relationships; mother-daughter, mother-son, and sister-sister.

Devising Rules and Norms: Wireless Electronic Assault Torture Contributing to A Cultural Ethos

On final note, I can’t help but feel wireless electronic assault torture is a lot like a fighter developing his arsenal of “kicks” and “strikes.” What exactly are the rules and norms for electronic torture? Rules matter because they structure our interactions and relationships. But rules also matter because they contribute to the creation of culture. But what happens when the rules become perverted? When the rules are manipulated to make another, or rather, reduce another subject to a “beat down” for purely narcissistic satisfaction? Let’s consider how rules and norms play out in the politics of sex, sports, and injury:

“Cultural values and beliefs become embedded in rules, while simultaneously rules are purposely crafted to create and to symbolize a culture of the group. In this case, how people define and “do” consent emerges from its own language, rituals, institutions, and rules. Looking at the rules of consent reveals to what degree consent matters, what role it plays in the activities of its members, and to what extent people become incentivized to learn the rules.

Within BDSM, consent becomes the prevailing narrative centered on reaching a subjectively meaningful agreement by individual participants interest in giving and receiving pain. Suffice it to say, I am not interested in receiving or even giving graduated levels of pain. In BDSM, practitioners are solely responsible for crafting rules for their erotic encounters. No authority devises the rules, so they must rely on themselves and the consent of their partners to differentiate acts of pleasure from acts of violence. Within the community, knowledge of the rules delineates insiders from outsiders. A fairly institutionalized framework operating within the community mandates a “certain level of communication” and disclosure among members. Those unwilling to learn and play by the cultural rules are not considered upstanding citizens.

The rules of MMA create a culture in which explicit consent becomes implicit and less important to the fighting itself. Fighters are merely subjects to the rule-making authority — In this case, the state — an authority that does not participate in the fights. State athletic commission dictates the terms concerning who can fight, where they can fight, and how they can fight. A fighter’s power to negotiate the rules he will consent to is limited to stepping into the Octagon and choosing to fight or not. A fighter then focuses his energy on learning the techniques of the sport, maximizing the few opportunities he has over his own actions. Accordingly, learning how to kick and punch becomes primary; learning fight rules comes gradually through socialization.

Beyond involvement in how rules are constructed and learned, the presence or absence of an authority influences the level of group memberships’ investment in each other. BDSM practitioners are vested with rule-making authority for their scenes, and therefore have considerable incentive to clear to their partners and themselves. More broadly, “the community itself places great emphasis on rule-abiding behavior,” which creates more incentive for practitioners of BDSM to know and follow the foundational rules of the group. MMA fighters have the luxury of a rules system that requires referees to enforce the rules. They know that if they commit a foul, or break a rule, someone will intervene and penalize the offender. Since fighting is inherently competitive, fighters have little incentive to be accountable to their opponents. Fighters’ investment to learn the rules and to their fellow participants predicts whether rules are followed; the presence of rules may matter, but adherence to them may vary greatly (Weinberg, 2016; pg. 61–62).”

Sources:

Rosemary Balsam. (2012) Women’s Bodies in Psychoanalysis. New York. Routledge.

First Do No Harm: The paradoxical encounters of psychoanalysis, warmaking, and resistance. (2010) Adrienne Harris and Steven Botticelli (editors). New York. Routledge. Chapter 9, Psychoanalysis, vulnerability, and war by Eli Zaretsky (pg. 177–200).

Sigmund Freud. (1920) Beyond the Pleasure Principle (SE 18, pp. 7–64). In J. Strachey (Ed. & Trans.), The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud. London. Hogarth Press.

Lucy Holmes. (2013) Wrestling with Destiny: The promise of psychoanalysis. New York. Routledge.

Amber Jacobs. (2007) On Matricide: Myth, Psychoanalysis, and the Law of the Mother. New York. Columbia University Press.

Melanie Klein. (1988) Envy and Gratitude and Other Works: 1946–1963. London. Virago

Melanie Klein. (1988). Love, Guilt, and Reparation and Other Works: 1921–1945. London. Virago.

Melanie Klein. (1997) The Psychology of Children. London. Vintage.

Jill Weinberg. (2016). Consensual Violence: Sex, Sports, and The Politics of Injury. Oakland, California. University of California Press.

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Karen Barna

I am a Targeted Individual suffering electronic harassment. I write about gender difference and object relations and feminism. I am Gen. X