CHARACTER ANALYSIS OF CLAIRE PICART, MY MOTHER
BY DR TELTSCHER IN MAY 1989
Dr. T. - I used mostly the letter of 89 because I like to know how people feel in the here-and-now. So first I tried to get an over impression and then some of the positive characteristics, the negative characteristics, her emotional make up and if you have any question we can go further into this all right?
First of all from the point of view of intelligence she's very intelligent and she has a good I.Q., she's a very bright woman and her mind basically is very critical and analytical and she is interested in a variety of ventures, projects and so forth. But it's very difficult to please her because she herself is rarely satisfied with her own achievements.
There is a restless disposition, and also she's constantly analyzing, she's quite a critical mind. And she always reaches to explore new avenues so she seems to be constantly on the move. Considering that she is 63 it's quite an achievement. She wants to travel, if possible change her scenery, and usually quite critical of others, particularly members of her own family. But she can be quite diplomatic when meeting important people, VIP, people she wants favors from, people who are higher up.
B. - If you look at it from a negative side, would you say that she is a manipulative person?
T. - Yes she is, as a matter of fact...
B. - You say it the nice way.
T. - Yes but I'll get into this later. So with these people who are in a position to further her interests, she can be quite diplomatic. As a matter of fact I wrote down that she is manipulative. So this of course is negative.
If she's confronted with a concrete objective that is worthwile for her to attain, she will do anything in her power to accomplish her goal. If it's important enough.
B. - No matter what?
T. -No matter what. But it's got to be something that's very concrete and important. I see that she has several contacts, and she uses these contacts for her own purposes. So once she has accomplished her goal, she wants to change it again, and she wants to change her preferences because all of sudden she loses interest or she discovers something that seems to be more worthwhile at the moment. If she wants somebody to attend a certain school, let's say, she will do everything to get this person into the school, even if the person doesn't want to you see? And she would do everything to have this person follow this particular path that she has in her mind.
Also I must say that she has an acting ability. She is a poseur and you never know what's behind her mask because she can disguise her real sentiments if she wishes. She has a lot of self control and she's a poseur but then the other people think that this mask is her real self and later on they are very disappointed that what she presents to the world is not necessarily the way she feels.
Again I looked at the handwriting and I saw her sarcasm. And you know what sarcasm is? It's really repressed hostility. But she is capable to conceal her hostility and to impress certain people who don't know her enough quite favorably. On the other hand there might be some genuine interest for certain causes. She might have some pet interests and then she can give the impression of generosity just to create this impression.
B. - Would you say that she's generous?
T. - No, I don't think so. At other times she is very economical and she wishes to avoid expenditures which she believes are "frivolous". Other people might not think so but she thinks it's frivolous or unnecessary.
Now come the important thing, which some people might not agree with but I think you probably will. The next thing is that she is emotionally cold. And it['s very difficult to reach her because she is not really showing her true feelings. On the contrary when she meets somebody she can be quite stiff, courteously polite and there is a certain resistance against letting go. She is sexually frustrated and she's trying to find some outlets for her energy in various activities. She doesn't quite know how to overcome this and her frustrations. To use an American expression, she is uptight. However, the letter was written to you optimistically.
The other thing is that she wishes to make an impression on the audience, sometimes she is like an actress who makes a "grand entr‚e". She comes in from the wings, you know, and "Here I am". She knows how to attract attention by the way she dresses or the way she looks.
I think basically there is a very strong fear that she has, of being left out. That's why there is an overwhelming hunger for not being overlooked. She also gives the impression to the casual observer that she is quite open, that she talks very freely about things but it's not true and I see many areas of secrecy and concealment in the writing. This is primarily the way I see her today. Then I'll go into the four-page letter.
B. - I sent you the letter that she wrote me from the hospital thinking that she would relax her self-control a little bit.
T. - No, just the opposite. I see a desire for being gabby, to talk a lot, a need to find an avenue of expression for diffrent ideas and plans and also she doesn't want to waste any time or money, even in the hopital. It's really important that she gets value for her money and she likes to strike a hard bargain.
On the other hand there is something positive, even considering the fact that she is in the hospital with a broken nose, I'd say that considering her circumstances and her age, I'd say that she is quite vibrant and useful and again positive but underneath she is very competitive, possibly competitive with her children.
B. - You think she could be competitive with her own children?
T. - Yes, yes I think so, and also challenging.
B. - My feeling is that she was very jealous of any success I could get so she tried to put me down and make me feel...
T. - Yes, quite right!
B. -... while pretending to be my best friend and my confidante. I have the suspicion she used this trust I had in her not to help me but to put me down in a subtle way, so I wanted confirmation on that.
T. -Your suspicion is right. Again I see that in accordance with her acting ability she can be quite flattering if the occasion occurs. But one is not certain what is real and what is unreal. Who is the real woman there? Then there is also a certain possessive quality, she likes to possess and focus attention on herself.
Another thing I noticed is that she needs company and is fearful being by herself. So she will want to always have contacts, she needs people to talk to because she is very much afraid. Also she is fearful that she would be taken advantage of and she is quite cautious vis-a-vis strangers, though outwardly her behavior might be quite cordial. She can be friendly and polite but inside she wonders "What is this guy like?"
Then I saw something else here. She has a very strong need to be liked by outsiders, tout le monde, hence, when the children are not around, she may praise her children and speak to neighbors about them, but she is not ready to give full acclaim to her children directly and the child hears from the neighbor "Oh, your mother is so nice!"
B. - Oh my God!
T. - Do I know her?
B. - Yes, all her friends say "Your mother is such a wonderful person!"
T. - Yes, and you think "I wish you would really know my mother." B. - I thought I was crazy not to appreciate her like these people did.
T. - Really? Oh I'm sorry.
B. - "What a bad daughter I am not to think that my mother is so great!"
T. - But she's like an actress you see, and the whole idea is that she'd like to be liked by these people. She wants to be thought of as a good mother so that she can get the acclaim. I see that she went through hard times in her past and she is still rebelling against the environment in which she grew up therefore she is still guarded emotionally despite the fact that she can be quite social and superficially interested in others. So I have a feeling that she still rebels unconsciously, I don't think that she is aware of it, against having felt pushed against the wall by her environment. I don't know if it's a mother or a father symbol in her past but she felt either neglected, or she felt that other siblings were more preferred and so this battle has never been finished. Has she ever gone through psychotherapy or psychoanalysis?
B. - I don't think she ever wants to know the truth about herself.
T. - This is why this has never been resolved. So there is always consciously or unconsciously jealousy against others.
She is guarded in her relationship with her husband. She finds it necessary to do her own planning and organizing, moving on her own, again being fearful of rejection by the male. Then from the envelope, I found that she is very cautious writing to you, very cautious. The first name seems less important to her than the last name, Picart, she would like you to adopt her own standards and traditions. [Because she wrote my first name in lower case and the last name in capitals] so she tries to make you feel smaller than the meaning of Picart. Voilà…. Basically that's it.
B. - I have a few questions.
T. - Sure.
B. - How about keeping one's word?
T. - I think she is the type of person, for instance if she were a lawyer, there is something lawyerish in her writing, she would try to find an escape clause, you see.
B. - What about cruelty?
T. - She's cruel.
B. - Can you elaborate?
T. - I was wondering whether I should put down the word frigidity or not. With men she has a certain teasing quality but then she doesn't come through, so I would say there is a sadistic streak in her. In other words, she uses a quality that is attractive in order to afterwards reject. That's the way I see it.
B. - Would you say that she has self-respect, a good self- esteem?
T. - No, no. Not at all. She is very insecure underneath, but she covers it up.
B. - Is she able to respect others, her family?
T. - No, not really. She may outwardly to another person whom she seems to admire but not really. I think of what we call "bull" is involved in this.
B. - How about respecting other people's property? Do you think she could steal from her children?
T. - If nobody is looking, yes. If she can get away with it.
B. - Oh my God! I have a long list of items that have disappeared, including my diaries [from age 13 to 20, about fifteen thick notebooks].
T. - Sure.
B. - I am really shocked by this.
T. - I said to you before that she can conceal.
B. - Why would she do this. I mean the diaries I understand, it's very clear.
First of all she is sneaky, that's part of her personality.Also I mentioned to you that she can show herself in one light and make people believe that she is straightforward but underneath she's not. Secondly she always want to hold something over the other person, like she has a weapon.
B. - Like something she could blackmail you with?
T. - She could, if she were pushed in a corner, she could.
B. - Do you think that she could burglarize her child's appartment? (This is in reference to the Friday the 13th of Jan. 1989 burglary avenue de Choisy).
Is there violence in her?
T. - What I see here, is if it were done so that nobody would find out.
B. -Of course.
T. -No, but some people do it openly you know.
B. -I have some strong suspicions that some burglaries have been committed either by her or by someone that she sent to do it for her.
T. - It could either way because she is also using other people, oh yes, she is manipulative, she is a wire-puller, she can be behind the scene...
B. - And pretend that she is a good mother.
T. - Yes, it's all pretense.
B. - So she kind of lives a double life.
T. - There is also a lot of anger that is held back, deeply repressed.
B. - She told me that she was sexually abused when she was five or six years old, by a priest who was a friend of the family. This could explain a lot. Like she reacts to this tragedy by trying to get back at people. Do you see her as mentally sane?
How can this develop within five or ten years? Where does this go?T. -As a psychologist now, I would consider what we call "borderline personality". It's a personality that is not insane but she is also not merely neurotic. If I had to diagnose this, I would call it borderline personality disorder. What it really means is somebody who is not really insane but is not merely neurotic, it's in-between. She functions, you know, she's not mentally retarded, she's very bright.
B. - Do you see a guilt feeling in her writing?
T. - There are guilt feelings, right, but again they are on a deeper level. Also she has difficulties in identifying, that's very important what I'm saying, based upon what you told me, about who is a real man. Because if she was raped by a priest, a priest wears a cassock, not from a religious point of view, but from a psychological point of view, somebody who wears a skirt, so she is not sure, and she wasn't sure who he was.
B. - She took the blame.
T. - Of course she took the blame. That's her guilt. (...) Well at least I'm glad that she opened up to you.
B. - She told it to me when I came to say "Good bye, I'm leaving tomorrow". (...) The reason I wanted your opinion is that I have been burglarized several times in the past, including in a house that she owned, and I was going crazy in order not to suspect my mother. I thought I was the criminal to suspect my mother.
T. - I mean your mother is so disturbed not knowing who she is that when you were a child, sometimes she may have reversed the roles and put you up to be her mother.
[BACK TO CHAPTER 2] [Audio ToC] [Home]