CHARACTER ANALYSIS OF MY FATHER
BY A GRAPHOLOGIST IN JUNE 1988
Dr. T. - Your father is a highly introspective, sensitive man, very well read with intelluctual abilities and intelligence and doubt with a philosophical mind, frequently contemplative, trying to get down to the fundamentals of all existence. He often broods and thinks and he's thinking and thinking and thinking. But also he arrives intuitively to certain conclusions, in other words there is a lot of thinking but all of a sudden he has a kind of insight that comes out. It's very astonishing you know.
B. - Do you mean that's true, what he may perceive with intuition?
T. - Well..., sometimes it's true but there are a lot of little things that make me suspicious but oftentimes there is a kernel at least, some very deep understanding and you might be surprised at times that this man arrives at these insights. But he being dissatisfied with the results of his inquiries, he renews his mental explorations.
He's very different from your mother, completely different. Doing all these mental explorations he becomes wrapped up in too many details rather than perceiving the total picture. He gets lost in details and one might get impatient with him because he's sort of wrapped up in details. I'm wondering whether, because of all these interests in details, whether he sees the total picture. Now essentially he wants to do the right thing and he's sincere about his efforts, whether they are completely realistic or not he's not... let's say deliberately manipulative like your mother. I mean in his own understanding, whatever it may be, he's very sincere in his efforts, though he often becomes stymied or temporarily bogged down, all of a sudden he can't get on because or inner or outer resistances. (...)
He's a man I would think of refined taste and he always wants to find the proper setting for his activities. In other words, he has trouble sometimes communicating with people because he doesn't feel sufficiently understood. But he's inspired by Nature's beauty and his own sense of aesthetics.
Now I know this is a general observation. A certain sense of fragility. He might avoid direct confrontation, appearing often gentle and even modest. There is a certain degree of modesty. And despite his abilities he might be locked up in the practical aspects, preferring his own dreams and imagination to cold facts. Now again emotionally he tends to be passive and withdrawn, permitting his wife to take over and he finds outlets in fantasies. He always wants to figure out things. I tell you I have seen things like this in people, in very sensitive French writers, people with creative ability. Years ago I happened to know Saint-Exupery and I looked at his writing and I saw creative abilities. So whether or not he (your father) can express them or not I don't know but there is, I would say, a poetic soul in the man.
B. - He didn't have much opportunity to express himself in this way, being the head of a large family.
T. - I also see there is a great deal of consciensciousness you know.
B. - Honesty you mean?
T. - I think so, more as compared to your mother. But whatever he did, he has a very rich inner life. Maybe because he was the head of a large family he wasn't able to use all these things. But there is also a very gentle aspect in him.
B. - Don't you see any domineering tendency? I recall him as a child as a despot. He would say "If you want to stay in my house you live by my rules or else get out" or stuff like that.
T. - It could very well be that between the way he acts now in 89 and the way he acted before, there is a change. When people change, their writing changes too. If you had brought me something that is twenty or thirty years old, I might have seen a difference. I mean there is something very rigid also, but today I think.... Do you still feel this despotic quality in him?
B. - Well I haven't seen him in four years so it's hard to tell and also my parents live together and there is no longer any child in the house. But as a father he was absolutely... he was very strict, he seemed to enjoy the power that he had as a father.
T. - There is definitely some strictness also but he still has a gentle soul too. It's both... He doesn't show the normal way to deal with being the head of a family. In other words there almost was like a contradiction.
B. - Do you mean he wasn't built to be the head...
T. - No no, he wasn't built. He wasn't. He can be quite affectionate and he needs to find outlets for his erotic fantasies particularly since there exist inhibitions in the area of sexuality, that stand in the way of the direct expression of his sex drive. It's very difficult to know the inner life of this man but there is a lot of inner likfe and I don't know how was the relation between your mother and your father, but there was not too much satisfaction in this area.
B. - I know my mother has retired from sex life anyway since age 45 because I don't know where she read that but a woman is not supposed to have sex after 45. So it was a good excuse. I'm realy sorry for my father.
T. - OK so, does he have any girlfriends?
B. - Not that I know of.
T. - So where does this sex drive go? That's what I'm saying.
B. - I don't know if he watches dirty pictures or dirty literature, how could I now?
T. - There is a lot of fantasy.
B. - Does it look like some sick kind of mental fantasy? I mean there are so many ways to fantasize. Could it be a peeping Tom or...
T. - No I don't think so. I think if he would give himself enough time and if he had enough confidence he could write a book. There are a lot of creative abilities that are not seen or expressed. It's not easy to gain access to his deeper feelings, it's very difficult. I do see he also feels isolated and lonely and there are also indications of depressive episodes.
B. - Hm.... sure. (silence)
T. - I'll say there might be conscious or unconscious guilt feelings and self accusations, criticism in connection with his own childhood experiences. I am quite sure that somewhere he feels rejected by your mother.
B. - Did you say my mother or his mother? You mean by his wife?
T. - It could be both. So that makes for this kind of isolation. I think that this despotic behavior that you indicated was nothing but a rebellion against his mother. He couldn't rebel against his mother so there is a negative feeling towards women in general. I don't want to go very far in one direction but I think that sometimes he might not want to say it because... but there might be some desire to change to the role of a woman. He wants to be a woman, not to have to carry the heaviest responsibilities of a man. There is a certain amount of inner resentment but he has to do it. Also I noticed there many separations within himself. By this I mean... do you know what compartmentalizations are?
B. - Yeah.
T. - Like he speaks about something it's like opening a door, and then he opens another door and things are separate.
B. - So could he be a very bad guy in business for instance and a gentle person outside?
T. - He's working very hard on himself but I don't know from a practical point of view how effective he was. I don't know how effective he was.
There are a lot of economical aspects indicators, I mean thrift and saving, this is very strong. And he doesn't want to spend too much. There is worry about it even if worry is not necessary. So from this point of view I don't know how effective he is, I don't know what business he's in.
B. - Real estate. Before he was in the retail business for years.
T. - Well I think the emphasis is on economy, not to spend too much, thrift is very, very important.
B. - Do you think that as far as giving an education to his children, considering that most of his children are female, he would think "Well it's not worth paying for an education for her because anyway she's gonna get married"?
T. - I think there is something there, yes because I don't see a good relationship between him and the opposite sex. It's sometimes very difficult for your mother also to reach him because he's very much withdrawn and thinks about so many many different things. Then I saw another quality and I couldn't make up my mind what it was and I have to ask you: Is there any possibility that ever he has been drinking?
B. - Oh yes.
T. - Voilů. The possibility of an addictive quality.
B. - How do you see that in the writing if you don't mind telling me?
T. - You have to look very closely and then you see a quivering, a shaking of the hand. Let me show you. Do you see here and here? You have to look very closely. Now obviously people who are drinking have a lot of fantasies so now you understand more. So when he drinks his personality becomes different. Also when he drinks his behavior changes.
B. - Oh! He would explode in temper tantrums and ruin, ruin the whole family gathering.
T. - OK now you have to understand from that point of view. If you consider the addictive quality, then you understand the despotism because when he drinks a lot. But the drinking in itself is a defense against a certain amount of anxiety, impotence. So that is the opposite side of the medal.
B. - How about.... can you tell someone's political tendencies?
T. - Later, later. I want to continue.
B. - OK OK.
T. - So I said generally he's still well preserved. For years his life has followed a certain pattern as though he was living in a shell, not free really, and certainly some of these people try to break through the shell by drinking. So he was afraid to move out and extend himself too far and even in his signature "Papa" he shows a cautious attitude. So even with his own daughter he cannot fully extend himself you see, and he's afraid that he could be severely criticized if he shows his sentiments too freely, and this goes back to la grand-mŐre, to his mother, because when he was a child he was rarely (?) so now you understand this better.
Now political leanings, I think some of him is very cautious and afraid of spending too much money so he's showing more of a conservative attitude?
B. - You bet, right.
T. - Right? Rather than any politician who suggests too much of a change.
B. - He's even on the far right side unfortunately. He even advocates nazism.
T. - The Vichy government?
B. - What?
T. - Collaborateur?
B. - Yes, yes, his mother was doing business with the Germans. I don't know if he borrowed these views to convince himself that his mother was right in doing what she did, and if he adopted this political stance...
T. - Well, there is an old saying "If you cannot fight them, join them". So then he joins his mother and he becomes like her and he adopts certain characteristics from her. So in that sense there is again a strange thing, a feminine quality that I tried to describe first.
B. - You mean he would be ashamed of this sensitive side of himself?
T. - He's really underneath torn between the sensitive side and the nazi side. It's a conflict that was never really resolved and possibly never will be.
B. - I remember him telling me about his brother who asked for a doll for a Christmas present and how my father ridiculed him. "It's not a boy's toy" and stuff like that.
T. - It's really too bad because underneath there are so many good things about him but there are so many distortions.
B. - What about those distortions? Do you see any sadistic traits in his writing? I want to know the bad things.
T. - Well I told you about the bad things. I told you he would put women down. I said that he's very critical in many ways.
Sadistic? Well.... I think there is a sensitive dividing line between being afraid of being too loving, of extending yourself too much and cutting it off and becoming sadistic. So he may have been like this. He does not have the right understanding and the flexibility for women. Also according to the nazis, the women played an inferior role, they were just cows who delivered babies, the women were always put down. So he borrowed this nazism in order to put his mother down because he couldn't really direct his anger at her. He wasn't able to get rid of his angry sentiments to her. So he's using nazi ideologies. But also part of the nazis is also, I don't know if you know German history, but someone by the name of Roehm was a homosexual. So underneath there is also a homosexual part, and this again shows certainly sadism, and sadism to women.
B. - Mentally he was really... physically also, he slapped my face a few times I'll remember for ever, but it was more an emotional and intellectual sadism.
T. - He's in conflict with himself, he's got many different sides, some of them are his political ideologies, some quite positive, some creative side to him and yet on the other side there is the cruelty, the rigidity, putting other people down, a certain amount of sarcasm too, and the feeling as a man of not being quite up to par. And you know for people who drink a lot, men, this certainly leads to impotence. Drinking is the number one (cause of impotence) so now you understnad that his relationship with your mother couldn't be a good one, on both sides.
B. - Betwen her who is uptight and he who is impotent.... my mother told me that he had a premature reaction.
T. - Well it shows his own inferiority and it also shows his lack of trust of women. He doesn't really trust to stay long enough with a woman. And also there is a certain amount of egotism, right? But as I said, when he's under the influence of alcohol he's completely changed, he becomes more ferocious and more blustery, loud... and he's not really open. Intellectually he's interested in looking at different aspects of life and there is a certain philosophical bend but emotionally he cannot change. There is this prejudice which can never change.
B. - Against women?
T. - Against women, against Jews...
B. - All these prejudices that he's got against blacks, Arabs, I don't know who is good enough for him. I mean the only one who's left is the Aryan male, then.
T. - The interesting thing about the Aryan male, the nazis had an idea about the aryan male but the three main nazis... Hitler didn't look aryan...
B. - No.
T. - Goebbels had a club-foot, he was the minister of propaganda right?
B. - Hmm.
T. - And Goering was grossly overweight...
B. - Yeah, they were all a bunch of uglies.
T. - Ugly you see. As if the rules didn't apply to them but to everybody else.
So between your mother and your father you had a very, very difficult time.
B. - Yeah. So you can see what kind of relationship they had.
You told me about my mother, that she was very diplomatic. But there have been so many arguments between my parents that if she was so diplomatic she could have avoided arguments. Therefore she might have provoked them also.
T. - I said it depends on the situation. When she wanted something from a very important person then she could be very diplomatic, and they could not understand how this woman could be perceived differently from you...
B. - But she could have been diplomatic with my father too because she needed his money for instance. So if you want someone's money or whatever it would be better to be gentle and not provoke an argument. I was very surprised when you said she's so intelligent because then...
T. - There are different kinds of intelligence. You need a certain amount of intelligence to be manipulative and cunning. Now the reason she wasn't diplomatic with your father is that there was a tremendous power struggle. She wanted to show him who has the power. I think she wanted to show him that she can push him around and then on the other hand he did the same to her, in other words nobody wants to give in.
B. - Right.
T. - But neither one has learned and I'm sorry that you...
B. - Do you think they'll ever learn?
T. - I don't think they'll ever learn. They're too old. Also your father lives in grand fantasy. The nazis used to say they were going to build a thousand year Reich, so in his dreams...
B. - One of his big dreams was to have all his children and grandchildren under the same roof so he built this big house which is empty 99 percent of the time. Nobody comes there except for short week-ends.
T. - You know why he wants them all under the same roof? Number one because he wanted to build a big empire but also if everybody lives under one roof, everybody gives in and he can be in charge of things. He also identifies with the nazis because the nazis used to call themselves the "master race". ...
According to his dreams he was always very affectionate to you. But you say he was very rough.
B. - Also my mother badmouthed about him. She started, I was about seven years old, telling me "Your father blah blah..." Once she told me that her rule was "Divide and conquer"... I didn't know that she applied it to her family but that's exactly what she did. She said "Your father should give this to you and he doesn't" so she made us feel that he was not doing his job as a father and she excited our resentment and she always interposed herself to prevent direct communication between my father and us children.
T. - But of course she painted him in the extreme because she wanted your attention, she wanted to pull you over. So there was always this struggle going on. I can see you as a child vacillating between her and him and not really knowing what's what and becoming very confused as a result. Now he was not as bad as she described him and I think any man who is married to this woman will have a hard time being married. Some way or other she wanted to gain your favors and using you in her struggle against your father.
B. - Actually I realize that she provoked confrontations between me and my father because she didn't have the guts to fight herself. She would start a fight and say something that was not efficient so I would take over the argument and fight on her behalf against my father and she would stand apart and watch the fight. She did that so many times!
T. - I told you she's manipulative.
B. - But this is disgusting. It's disgusting isn't it?
T. - It's horrible. She used you in her fight against her own husband.
B. - I'm sure she derived a pleasure from it too, seing how bloody the fight was. I'm sure she is sick enough to have secretely enjoyed the fight. You know like people enjoy watching wrestling or boxing, dogfights or cockfights.
This is getting down to the fundamentals you know, the nazis raised the question "Who can exist and who cannot exist?" According to them you are allowed to live and other people are not allowed to live. [back to Chapter 2] [Audio ToC] [Home]