Sara Hueso (2012) She Who Swallowed The Donkey, An Attempt to Get Rid of Connection


This study is about P’s difficulty staying connected. Although she was driven by a hungry desire to connect, she seemed to destroy the very thing she was most connected to. Her experience was dominated by a sense of panic, diffuse anxiety, and frequent need to withdraw.  As P strived to find an “optimal” distance in relationships, shifts in the intensity and quality of her feeling states were evidenced.  P expressed conflict in regards to being close/ intimate/ connected on one hand, and killing off, being “independent”, “not needing”, feeling excluded, not fitting in, on the other.  In the transference-countertransference arena, we oscillated between a warm, close experience, and more or less fierce impasses which ultimately precipitated the interruption of treatment. 

This study sought to shed light on the unconscious fantasies and motivations that underlie P’s struggle to connect and her destructivity and how these two tendencies relate to each other.

Process notes from the entire treatment were analyzed in their formal elements as well as in their content and sequence, contrasting parts and concrete events with the whole treatment in a holistic view.

The data suggested that P wished for an ideal, positive relationship with the analysts, both in the pre-oedipal sense of merger with a powerful, all providing object, and in the oedipal sense of occupying a special, exclusive place in the desire of the analyst.  Along with these wishes for connection, P contended with intense devouring oral and anal sadistic impulses on one hand and oedipal wishes to transgress limits and gain access to a forbidden relationship with the object on the other.  P’s inability to bind her aggressive impulses and her diffuse sense of self were at the root of her intense sense of panic.  Her wish to destroy the love object and her fear of succeeding triggered a paranoid reaction that justified her recoiling. This solution afforded  her  the denial of her own primitive dependency needs  and the expression of her sadistic impulses  in a sense of  vindictive triumph over the failing love object, while still holding on to a certain kind of connection with the object.