September 4, 1990
Tuesday - A Man's Behind the Desk and Time's Up

i'm in a room i don't know in a chair my skin is creamed white my hair long and dark i don't know how old i am my body's naked i'm looking straight ahead my hands are tied a man sits behind a desk i ask him to call the police he says ok and dials the number gets a report says i'll repeat what i've heard and he does his voice is loud but i can't hear him  because the man hadn't called the police he pressed a button under his desk to turn the phone off  he didn't want to help me he's in business for himself not for me and for a moment that i forgot  why did you need the police he asks  to get him away from me  why did you want him to get away from you   he had to buy a house and car and furniture and play tennis at the country club  he had a life of his own and didn't tell me  he lied because he made me feel his life consisted only of me  you knew that wasn't true, even in the dream  the man in the dream looked over at me  his face and hands were huge like yours my hands are small  i said this was a dream  he stands up from behind the desk he walks toward me i see the bottom frame of his body his legs keep walking toward me his fingers probe around his belt, the area above his fly his hands slip under his belt  i can't move  my hands are tied behind my back my legs are welded to a chair  abe's massaging my shoulders sweetheart you're dreaming it was a dream wake up  he rocks me back and forth i wake up and see you  abe kisses me and kisses me  we fall back to sleep now we're in his office at group health and i'm registering for school my advisor's with me yet he isn't i don't know if he's supposed to be with me i think he's not supposed to be because he pays for my lunch and i don't know if i should let him sometimes he scares me  there are too many men here  i don't know how to respond to them  or where my mother is i want her but she's working or having a baby my sister and i'm still only two years old i don't know where i am  if i'm at my new college or the one i transferred from once when i was seventeen i sleepwalked went to the phone said i've got to call my college  mother woke up  esther  who are you calling in the middle of the night my college my college i have to call my college  you come back from vacation  it's the first day back after being away the whole month of august yet you hand me a bill as if money is our only connection  from this small act of handing me the bill on your first day back from vacation i am stunned  i don't know how you can do this to me to us to all we've meant to each other in this room that is our shelter our haven from everything hurtful and bad  i wish i could cry take the first twenty minutes of the fifty-minute hour and cry but i can't  i don't know anything about him except that he scares me and i don't believe not deep down inside i don't believe that he's honest anymore or that psychoanalysis is honest but i can't get away from either is it because of my cousin and the feeling i've always had since i was two of being raped by him right now i'm stunned  this has happened before and before this is another layer of repeat  my body mind are numb i sit in the chair and say nothing i do nothing but sit straight up with my hands tied behind me one thing certain i won't lie down on his couch today i know not to do that a man puts his hands inside his pants this is a father dream but it can't be my father never touched me except in good ways  he scratched my back and hugged me was it my brother and older cousins who touched me the other ways they weren't supposed to was this your wish you could ask something as evil as that  one of those cousins is a big shot psychoanalyst i'm on your couch and feel as if you're going to rape me too i don't understand part of you i love and part of you i hate  this dream alone tells me what to do now get up off the couch and leave don't come back  but i can't and don't know why the feel of father is all around how to get away  maybe i don't want to or i wouldn't be in this room with this man whose eyes are all over me can eyes rape he tells me to talk of my father but i only think of his handing me the bill instead of hugging me as a part of him especially his eyes seems to want to do but he doesn't hug me in this room not today and my father is dead   time's up

copyright2005Esther AltshulHelfgott
From Psychoanalysis: The Magic and The Lie by Esther AltshulHelfgott
All Rights Reserved

Esther Altshul Helfgott:
"I underwent a four-and-a-half year five-day-a-week analysis with a traditional male Freudian psychoanalyst (or he tried to behave that way).  The maternal aspects of the analysis were wonderfully  gentle, but the paternal/fraternal aspects were horrendous.  He came to hold an incredible amount of power over me and would not help me leave, terminate, be done with the process that was, from the beginning, highly sexualized and erotic...  He refused to confront the "here and now" between us, always taking me back to my past; in so doing, he helped repeat/reenact a condition that brought me to analysis in the first place... In the end, I thought he would keep me there forever ... and so I left.  Eventually I came back to the study of psychoanalysis which is, with all its faults, one of my intellectual homes; another is poetry."
- Esther Altshul Helfgott

read Esther's

Review of D.M. Thomas'
Eating Pavlova

Review of Joan Fiset's
Now the Day is Over

Psychoanalysis as Place: Diary Entry

The Psychiatrist As Poet

At the Hospital

The Homeless One: A Poem in Many Voices

Analytic Entrapment, American Imago, Oct 2005
Esther's Analytic Diary Entries