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Obsessive neurosis: the link of desire in the path of the impossible

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MEDEIROS, Tanise Antunes Suassuna de [1], LEITE, Laurence Bittencourt [2]

MEDEIROS, Tanise Antunes Suassuna de. LEITE, Laurence Bittencourt. Obsessive neurosis: the link of desire in the path of the impossible. Revista Científica Multidisciplinar Núcleo do Conhecimento. Year. 06, Ed. 12, Vol. 05, p. 161-176. December 2021. ISSN: 2448-0959, Access link:


This article will focus on a specific issue: the obsessive-compulsive neurotic structure and the desire relationship. In this way, the study will approach the concept of desire (unconscious) as an erotic investment, from the concept of lack, relating it to the manifestations of the psyche as a symptom in the obsessive, such as guilt, doubt and suffering for the thought. , characteristic of this. The objective of the study is to point out how the obsessive neurotic’s relationship with his desire occurs. The study is the result of a bibliographic research in the context of the psychoanalytic approach, using the Freud-Lacanian theory as central markers through some of his works, in addition to written material from some of his commentators, on the proposed theme. Finally, the article develops and concludes the complex relationship of the obsessive with his desire as a problematic prototype in an ambivalent choice of the subject in desiring or not desiring, for being dependent on the Other, finding himself trapped in the demand of others.

Keywords: obsessional neurosis, symptom, desire.


Sigmund Freud created Psychoanalysis from his discovery of the unconscious through listening to hysterical women, and since then his theory has been widespread and widely debated by several theorists of the line and their different schools, as well as put as an object of study in the academic environment. as a new field of knowledge. This article will focus on a specific issue: the obsessive-compulsive neurotic structure.

In the midst of the research carried out for the production of this article, it was possible to agree with authors such as Coppus and Bastos (2012) when they stated about the reduced mentions of obsessive neurosis in the academic environment, where relationships with the theme can be found, addressing, for example, , the concept of libido linked to a strong investment in the obsessive subject’s thoughts, as well as the presence of a whipping superego, causing a feeling of guilt and doubt that distances the subject from reality. It was also possible to find a reference to an impossible wish to be fulfilled, and, finally, readings about the fabulous clinical case written by Freud, better known as the “Rat Man” and its relations with the anal phase.

The history of obsessional neurosis presented itself as a complex framework for psychoanalysis as a whole. Taking into account this discovery by Freud and Lacan’s re-readings referring to structure, it is worth mentioning what Rinaldi (2003) says:

Neurose obsessiva apresenta uma complexidade e uma riqueza de aspectos que levou, de um lado, Freud a dizer que se tratava do tema mais gratificante da pesquisa psicanalítica, e de outro, Lacan a chamar a atenção para uma carência teórica, que deriva justamente da diversidade de facetas apresentadas por essa configuração discursiva. (p. 65)

Thus, the concept of obsessional neurosis, a term created by Freud in 1894 to designate a disorder that produces psychic suffering to the subject, concerns the subject’s embarrassment with his unconscious desire, that is, the repressed desire. Freud even reported on the language impasses of obsessional neurosis comparing, above all, hysteria:

A linguagem de uma neurose obsessiva, ou seja, os meios pelos quais ela expressa seus pensamentos secretos, presume-se ser apenas um dialeto da linguagem da histeria; é, porém, um dialeto no qual teríamos de poder orientar-nos a seu respeito com mais facilidade de vez que se refere com mais proximidade às formas de expressão adotadas pelo nosso pensamento consciente do que a linguagem da histeria. Sobretudo, não implica o salto de um processo mental a uma inervação somática – conversão histérica – que jamais nos pode ser totalmente compreensível. (FREUD, 1909, p. 16)

Thus, bringing to light the desire in obsessional neurosis, it is worth asking how this desire is linked to this structure? Initially, Rinaldi (2003) illustrates a response by stating that, just as in neurosis, desire is present, the obsessive neurotic, although he is on the same line, his symptom differs when the subject is faced with desire in the Other, where it will cause anguish, leading him to link himself to the Other’s demand as a form of defense. That is, the obsessive neurotic will not be able to sustain his desire by himself, revealing his limitation from the Other’s demand instead of his desire.

According to Freud (1909), desire (unconscious) is present in the human subject, clearly as an investment, a representation, production of a lack, an expectation of satisfaction; desire, therefore, presents itself as one of the key concepts for psychoanalysis in the process of discovering the unconscious, which structures the human psyche, presented from the first topic. This manifestation of desire in the obsessive neurotic subject, firmly linked to guilt and the feeling of anguish, makes this same desire an impossible mission.

The contemporary clinic still seems to confirm many of the Freudian assertions about the complex obsessional structure. The theoretical impasses, the deep ambivalence pointed out by Freud and experienced in the life of the obsessive neurotic, received several contributions from the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, Freud’s successor, contributing to the understanding and improvement of psychic suffering in a very significant way.

Finally, we understand that this research on the chosen clinical structure has its relevance in the face of countless patients who seek the Freud-Lacanian psychoanalytic approach, as well as the area of ​​clinical psychology in general. Based on this relevance, the research makes it possible to deepen psychoanalytic studies on obsessive suffering and its symptoms, and, of course, to understand how the desire that is unconscious in the subject, when returning, produces from small concerns to the most serious sufferings.


Sigmund Freud designated obsessional neurosis using the term Zwangsneurosis. The word Zwang refers to a kind of internal constraint, an imperative internal compulsion and force. Farias and Cardoso (2013) praise Freud’s contributions stating that the choice of the term “obsessional neurosis” was not by chance, as it considers the characteristics of the structure related to this internal constraint in which obsessions are explained, whether in thoughts and actions. .

Ribeiro (2011), reporting on the presentation of obsessional neurosis by Freud in 1896, in the article entitled “The heredity and etiology of neuroses”, in his first public form, highlights his “nosographic innovation”, declaring that, during the performance of his analyzes on the unconscious, it had been necessary for him to place obsession neurosis alongside hysteria. The author further states that:

Freud também nos diz que o obsessivo crê na representação recalcada. Esse fenômeno da crença (Glauben) ou descrença (Unglauben) na representação vai ser, aliás, de extrema importância no estabelecimento do diagnóstico diferencial entre a neurose obsessiva e a paranoia, que é uma psicose. Fiquemos por ora com a neurose obsessiva: o sujeito crê na autorrecriminação, crê na representação recalcada, e é essa crença que lhe permite duvidar. (RIBEIRO, 2011, p. 17)

Thus, for a better understanding of the aforementioned structure, it is appropriate to describe that in his discovery Freud conceptualizes obsessional neurosis through the suffering of thoughts. In other words, the theorist describes obsessive ideas as a symptom resulting from the formation of a “private commitment”. Continuing with Ribeiro’s (2011) words, when the subject finds himself in a sexual experience, it is natural that in this context there may be a traumatic production made by him when performing such an act, however, for the subject who will produce obsessions, this encounter sexual intercourse generates in him an excessive jouissance, causing, through this pleasure, guilt and self-reproach for allowing himself to this contact. However, the obsessional defense mechanism, repression (classic neurosis), comes from a representation of trauma, with the affectionate feeling shifted to another feeling, that is, to a replacement of the repressed idea. Thus, the fruit of this process for the obsessive person causes a torment based on the idea of ​​self-punishment about the fact that occurred, at the same time that it seems to reduce the importance of the traumatic event, precisely because it buffers its effects with symptomatic production. In this way, obsessive thought for Freud, at bottom, will be related to affect, but it becomes incomprehensible when it displaces and replaces the original representation by another apparently unrelated to the first. Obsessive thoughts are contrary to balance, despite presenting a clearly immutable force, concludes the author.

However, Freud observed more clearly about the symptoms of obsessional neurosis when reaching his studies on the case of a patient, for which he carried out the analysis, entitling him as “The Rat Man”. The doctor describes the case of a young man, with an academic background in law school, who told him he had suffered from obsessive ideas since childhood. His search for analysis was due to his symptoms manifesting themselves more intensely four years earlier, at the time. He states that his illness consisted mainly of obsessive thoughts that something could happen to two people he held dear, being his father and a young woman whom he admired and held in high esteem. He also adds that the obsessive impulses he felt made him believe in slitting his throat with a razor and creating defenses against things that seemed insignificant to him. (FREUD, 1909-1910/2013).

Freud, accepting the patient’s demand, through his technique of free association of ideas, allowed him to narrate his story, how his family dynamics were structured, about his affectionate and sexual experiences, and thus, the analyst, observing in his speech, emphasizes the patient’s childhood. During the analysis of the Rat Men, Freud was able to observe “a complete obsessional neurosis, which does not lack any essential element, at the same time the nucleus and prototype of the later illness, as if the elementary organism whose study — it alone — can give us the measure of the complex organization of the present illness”. (FREUD, 1909-1910/2013, p. 22).

According to Suarez (2011), Freud’s thoughts were that the disease was in childhood, that is, it was the disease itself and not just the beginning of it, which consequently admitted the symptoms of an obsessional neurosis present. Thus, the author concludes:

A pulsão escópica no menino coloca em primeiro plano o gozo do olhar articulado à fantasia de ver mulheres nuas, fantasia que sustenta o desejo. Um medo vem se opor ao desejo sob a forma de uma construção lógica: “se… então”: “Se desejo ver uma mulher nua, então meu pai deverá morrer”. Do registro da inquietante estranheza, a angústia se impõe ao sujeito como afeto penoso. Emerge então como defesa a necessidade de realizar atos que se opõem à ideia obsessiva. (SUAREZ, 2011, p. 03)

The case of “The Rat Man” is a classic of the clinical histories of psychoanalysis, in which Freud was able to observe the elements present since childhood that manifest themselves as obsessive, from the subject’s first experiences in the sexual order. The case also shows what Freud was able to analyze through the patient’s report regarding obsessional neurosis:

A criança, como vimos, estava sob o domínio de um componente do instinto sexual, o desejo de olhar [escopofilia]; como resultado deste, existia nele uma constante recorrência de um desejo muito intenso relacionado com pessoas do sexo feminino que o agradavam – ou seja, o desejo de vê-las nuas. Esse desejo corresponde à última idéia obsessiva ou compulsiva; e se a qualidade da compulsão ainda não estava presente no desejo, era porque o ego ainda não se havia posto em oposição a ele e ainda não o encarava como algo estranho a si próprio (FREUD, 1909, p. 91).

In one of the chapters of one of his texts entitled “The nature and mechanism of obsessional neurosis”, Freud talks about the relationship that sexual experiences have in early childhood in obsessional neurosis and hysteria. However, he emphasizes that obsessional neurosis does not refer to sexual passivity as he mentions about hysteria, but to sexual acts that are practiced with the active participation of the subject during the experience, generating pleasure, as there is a differentiation in the obsessional neurotic etiology that is manifested by the male sex (FREUD, 1893-1899/1906).

Freud observed that the substrate of obsessional neurosis, at the beginning of his studies, would be based on the time that the development of libido, during the infantile phase, would take place, from sexual traumas experienced through pleasurable actions for the subject (FREUD, 1893). -1899/1906). In addition, Freud describes two important periods to be mentioned in this article, which occur during childhood regarding sexuality and its relation to obsessional neurosis, where he highlights the first period as “infantile immorality”. At this time of development there are those moments which are capable of producing the germ of later neurosis. That is, in the beginning, what makes repression possible, what the subject is barred from, are the experiences in which he finds himself in sexual seduction, pleasure and sexual well-being, however, going through aggressiveness against the opposite sex, later turns into acts that promote self-punishment (FREUD, 1893-1899/1906).

The previous period ends at the beginning of what Freud called sexual “maturation”, which can occur very early. The mentioned experiences that the subject goes through, promote memories that will be linked to the feeling of self-accusation from the pleasure that was generated, thus being able to have this experience repressed and replaced by a symptom as a defense, for example, the feeling of shame and self-distrust are symptoms that will be present in the subject’s health period, a period in which Freud classifies it as a successful defense (FREUD, 1893-1899/1906).

Finally, this topic can be closed with the period after maturation, characterized as that of the disease, considering the return of the repressed, that is, the memories of the experiences in which the subject was able to repress, return as a symptom due to the failure of the repression. defense. In the same text, already quoted, Freud wonders about the return of these memories, where they can be awakened in the individual spontaneously and accidentally, perhaps by triggers, or through sexual problems that the subject can “trigger” now as remnants of these. Thus, these memories return to consciousness as self-accusing, as obsessive representations and affections, as a replacement for the original memory that caused the symptom (FREUD, 1893-1899/1906).

Therefore “there are two forms of obsessional neurosis, depending on whether the passage to consciousness is forced only by the mnemic content of the act that involves self-accusation, or also by the self-accusing affect linked to that act” (FREUD, 1893-1899/1906, p. 100). ).


Souto (2012) highlights the symptom in the obsessive neurotic as a challenge because it is seen as a source of pleasure and satisfaction, where the subject does not want to give up this symptom, unlike hysteria, where the symptom appears as a source of displeasure. The obsessive symptom is also built from its organization and cleanliness, as the subject believes he is special in his self-love and thinks he is better than the other because of his intact condition of perfection, clinging to the symptom as a substitute FOR satisfaction. .

Considering the context of neurosis, in the obsessional neurotic structure there are also defense mechanisms that are present in the formation of symptoms, constituting themselves in a complex way and in various forms, namely repression, regression and reaction formation (SOUTO, 2012) .

Briefly exemplifying these three defense mechanisms, repression is initially presented as a universal defense mechanism of neurosis, also presenting itself in the obsessive, in view of its objective of keeping the negative experiences of childhood repressed, that is, , sustain these sexual experiences, linked to the Oedipus complex, away from the self, because they are considered traumatic and because they generate displeasure when remembered (SOUTO, 2012).

Thus, Souto (2012) raises a question in which Freud asks himself in relation to obsessional neurosis: how does repression work in the obsessional structure, if the sexual experience considered traumatic is a source of pleasure for the subject during childhood? Why then would these be repressed? The author brings Freud’s revelation about the balance of the psychic apparatus, stating that it works following the principle of constancy, that is, everything that can threaten this balance, whether the drives are exaggerated or lacking, “is felt by the psychic apparatus as an increase in tension that causes displeasure, thus becoming a condition for repression” (SOUTO, 2012, p. 3). The author also brings an explanation of the symptoms of obsessional neurosis within a Lacanian view:

A partir daí, podemos entender por que, para o neurótico obsessivo, o prazer a mais ou, para usar um termo lacaniano, o gozo, é muitas vezes acompanhado de sentimentos de angústia, pânico, culpa, depressão etc. Ou, ainda, porque, muitas vezes, o obsessivo acaba por evitar o prazer para não ter que se haver com essa diferença entre a satisfação obtida e a satisfação esperada. É por isso que, na base da experiência do obsessivo, existe sempre o que Lacan chamou de “certo receio de desinflar” (LACAN, 1960-1961/1992, p.235), relacionado com o que resulta do encontro com a satisfação. (SOUTO, 2012, p. 4).

Another form of defense mechanism in obsessional neurosis is the case of regression. Souto (2012) states about what Freud proposes, where the subject has a tendency to repeat the traumatic experience in which his libido is fixed, that is, one can think of negative experiences that, as a result, generated traumas, but that do not would have reached a phallic sense of sexual order, but having the libido linked to the anal sadistic phase.

Souto (2012) continues to explain Freud’s theory by saying that, in regression, the subject’s libido will still be linked to the complex issues of Oedipus, because when being prevented from satisfaction for fear of castration, the individual will regress to the level at which your libido, forced, will return to the point where it will find satisfaction at a certain earlier stage of its development, therefore, there will be an interruption of its process. The libido representations must become aggressive, so that, for the obsessive person, facing castration is a blocking point, thus disguising it as aggression. Next, Souto (2012) quoting Freud (1926/1976) clarifies:

Assim, através da regressão, não só os impulsos agressivos iniciais serão despertados de novo, mas também uma proporção de novos impulsos libidinais terá que seguir o caminho prescrito para eles pela regressão e surgirá, também, como tendências agressivas destrutivas: “O eu nada poderá empreender que não seja atraído para a esfera desse conflito” (FREUD, 1926/1976, p.141).

Finally, Souto (2012) brings up the issue of reaction formations, that is, Freud will report that the obsessive neurotic will also present as a replacement of the other two mechanisms mentioned above, through his symptom, two techniques that help him to undo what was made from a traumatic experience, therefore, isolating this experience. The author exemplifies Freud’s words reporting this process by which the obsessive subject is affected, repeating the action that caused him a traumatic impression starting from a “motor symbolism”, because the neurotic has negative feelings about the lived scene, judging what he believes to have done wrong in an attempt to dissipate what happened, he repeats the scene “correctly”, but in fact, according to Freud, the subject finds himself experiencing both actions in his reality, thus repeating the “failure of the action”.

The other strategy in which the obsessive person will use his symptom is how to isolate such a traumatic impression. Freud will relate this strategy to the “taboo of touching” typical of the obsessional neurotic. This system will work as a way for the subject to isolate the traumatic experience from the natural mental processes of the psyche so that there is no contact with such thoughts, thus having a detachment, including affection.

Sedeu (2011) highlights a speech by Freud about the existence of doubt that “corresponds to the internal perception that the patient has of his own indecision, which, as a result of the inhibition of his love through his hate, takes possession of him in the face of any action”. intentional” (SEDEU, 2011, p.242 apud SOUTO, 2011, p. 123). Doubt is so present in the obsessive because of its ambivalent relationship of love and hate to the object; this ambivalence that ignites in the subject attempts to escape the feeling of anguish, which is then identified with the symptom, Souto (2012) states that the obsessive person faces the self, giving shape to his narcissism, although he puts his desire to the test. In this game, it makes use of the question: how can the obsessive person deal with the annulment of his desire?


Knowing that the symptomatology of the obsessional stems from pleasant childhood experiences, when they are later repressed, it becomes possible to raise questions and reflections about the place of desire in the obsessional neurotic, how it is sustained, and how it appears in the face of its limitations. “For the obsessive, desire presents itself in its state of absolute condition, which is constitutive to it, as pure desire” (RINALDI, 2003, p. 66-67).

Rinaldi (2003) brings the dynamics of desire in a very comprehensive way, pointing out how Freud in his studies on obsessional neurosis found questions through the problems experienced in the subject’s relationship with desire in the early days of trauma, pointing out a distinction in relation to hysteria, because it is known that the obsessive experienced the experience with great pleasure, that is, in an active way. The author recalls that Freud, later, after analyzing the case of the Rat Men, had his attention turned to an interesting concept on the subject:

A precoce desfusão pulsional que marca seu desenvolvimento, por meio da desvinculação da tendência destrutiva, que está na origem dos impasses vividos pelo obsessivo na aproximação do objeto do desejo, na sua agressividade recalcada, e na forma ambivalente de se dirigir ao Outro. (RINALDI, 2003, p. 66)

The author, taking some concepts from Lacanian theory, highlights an important point to be discussed about the articulation in which the obsessive person places himself in relation to the signifier phallus and the emphasis of death for himself, where he will compose his symptoms, thus revealing the limitations and difficulties he finds in facing the support of his desire (RINALDI, 2003).

During this process, based on Lacan, the author states: the subject will desire much more. Contrary to the hysteria that places his desire in the Other’s desire, the obsessive will make his desire surpass everything, and insofar as he denies the Other, he bumps into his own desire, and insofar as he enters into a destructive and of ambiguity, aims to nullify the Other or its own desire:

É desse momento que ele se afasta, na medida em que alcançá-lo significa matar o desejo. Lacan chama a atenção para o fato de que, mais do que uma distância do objeto, trata-se na neurose obsessiva de uma distância do desejo. (RINALDI, 2003, p. 67)

It is observed that in the attempt to desire, the obsessive will see this approach as dangerous, where it will cause him some anguish considering that the desire is in the Other, existing in a strange way for the subject, there is then a dilemma regarding the destruction of the Other and of maintaining it, at the same time, to obtain one’s own desire, resulting in a dependence on the object – Other (RINALDI, 2003). In this struggle between maintaining and destroying the object, all the ambivalence of the obsessional neurotic results.

Thinking about the way out that the subject finds to dissipate his desire, he makes it covered with the Other’s demand, thus having a denial of his own desire. Thus, “the obsessive is always waiting for the Other to ask him something, a movement by which he cancels the Other’s desire, reducing it to demand. But it is through this that he sustains his desire as excluded” (RINALDI, 2003, p. 67).

It is interesting to think about this Other’s demand that the obsessive is also linked, that is, the subject is demanded, given Freud’s explanation where he concludes that during childhood experiences of the relationship with the Other’s demand, especially arising from the maternal Other, he has a sidereal effect for the subject. Almeida expresses in his studies on desire, this primordial relationship of the obsessive with his mother (2010):

O fato de sentir-se demasiadamente amado pela mãe direciona a abordagem a ser seguida na determinação da função fálica na estrutura obsessiva. O sujeito obsessivo foi particularmente investido como objeto de desejo da mãe, foi privilegiado em seu investimento fálico. (p. 50)

At first, in the subject’s infantile phase, the child carries a libidinal energy that would be impossible to discharge alone, needing the help of an Other, in this case adults, to discharge it. However, this initial process would most commonly take place with the help of the mother (Mother’s Other), or whoever occupies this place, thus helping the child in the process of releasing an accumulation of energy, that is, satisfying this need, orally, during breastfeeding through suction, for example, enabling what Freud called “bahnung”, a kind of “tracking” that would be associated in the baby’s neuronal process with the state of “excitement” as a feeling of discomfort, and the object that facilitated the discharge, thus registering the satisfactory experience in the psychic apparatus (ALMEIDA, 2010).

Still on the baby’s experiences, Freud states that this path taken would be used by the individual as an opening that would facilitate the discharge of the energy produced by the excitation or the desire itself, thus maintaining, through the repetition of the mentioned state, the reinvested object figure. However, the theorist states that as there is no reciprocity of this process on the part of the object that is external, the baby would then stop at a “hallucination” and after that, he would be frustrated in the attempt to discharge the energy as the first time imagined, passing to repeat this experience in the pursuit of invested satisfaction, facing emptiness, where the emergence of desire can be characterized (ALMEIDA, 2010). Therefore, desire, so to speak, is born of an absence, of a lack.

Almeida (2010) also cites Lacan who will carry out a re-reading of the Freudian Oedipus, where he will explain the Oedipus Complex in three different times, in which in this first moment the baby, faced with this void, starts to imagine himself as a “whole” object. that will fill this void – of the Other. “She poses herself as the phallic object of the mother and, in this first period, she cannot yet be seen as a subject, but as a lack, as the complement of the mother’s lack. She is the phallus of the mother.” (ALMEIDA, 2010, p. 40).

The authors come to affirm that the place in which the child positions himself in relation to the mother is necessarily important for his construction as a human being, in view of this moment in which the subject will remain isolated in the maternal place, in the maternal desire, in need of any object other than the mother, this being its first Other – highlighting the Other with the initial capital letter for being the first and biggest object for the subject -, in an ambivalent relationship of presence and absence. Sustaining the subject in this phallus position, or leaving it, will have consequences that will determine his psychic structure for the rest of his life. “It is as important for the child to be in the alienating position of talking about the Other, of feeling himself as an object of the mother’s desire, as it is to be able to get out of her and become a subject.” (ALMEIDA, 2010, p. 40)

Therefore, it can be seen that the obsessive subject is constituted through the Oedipal relationship as the object of the mother’s phallus, even if at the beginning, the father’s function is there “as absence”, or, veiled; therefore, the child will see the mother’s desire as something to be fulfilled, that is, in a phallic sense, being this object, an object that the father cannot be. In this medium of fantasy between desire and maternal phallus, the author concludes:

No processo de identificação à figura paterna – como tal, detentor do falo – o sujeito obsessivo se vê fortemente preso à identificação de ser o falo da mãe. O sujeito obsessivo, na sua condição de detentor do falo, pode ser encarado como um nostálgico: os obsessivos são os nostálgicos do ser. (ALMEIDA, 2010, p. 50)

Therefore, thinking about the obsessive’s nostalgia is possibly thinking about a symptom, which the subject can present as a return of the experience as the mother’s phallus, and the mother or her future representatives, as a lost object tending to anguish. Andrade & Winograd (2018) apud Lambotte (2007) in their studies on nostalgia states that “just as in melancholy, in relation to the lost object, the nostalgic individual is not able to be interested in anything, except for this intense aspiration of return” (p. 360).

However, the place of the obsessive’s desire is a challenging, problematic place, it is the search for an object, which in the field of fantasy, initially, appears as a desire on the order of unreality. “It is seen that the need is capable of being satisfied with the objects available in reality, which is not the case of desire, which is not satisfied with them as it implies a deviation from the natural order” (BALLÃO and LONGHINI, 2016, p. 03).

The authors emphasize the phallic place as an imaginary space in which the subject places himself, that is, it will be between the demand for love and the request for satisfaction that the desire will organize itself, resulting in a double relationship that positions the demand. This positioning will say about the desire that seeks an answer far beyond, but a concrete answer, so that its desire is satisfied. It is there that the Other appears as a place of speech, to whom the obsessive will direct his demand, as well as the place where the desire must be discovered (BALLÃO and LONGHINI, 2016).

In this way, there will be a contradiction in this process, since the Other to whom the obsessive person addresses also has a desire, and, therefore, the obsessive person places himself in an alien position (BALLÃO and LONGHINI, 2016). Thus, the great discovery: the obsessive will be supported by the Other’s desire, so that his desire can have access and be satisfied.

The authors cite what Lacan says about the obsessive fantasy that the subject places himself in dependence on this Other, to sustain his demand:

No texto Demanda e desejo nas fases oral e anal, Lacan (1992) observa que o termo oblatividade é uma fantasia obsessiva. Tudo para o outro. É o que escutamos do obsessivo. E, Lacan diz, que é isso mesmo que ele faz, por estar na perpétua vertigem da destruição do outro, nunca faz o bastante para a manutenção desse outro. Mas, onde é que está a raiz disso? A raiz da oblatividade parece estar ligada a esfera de relações da fase anal, onde o sujeito só satisfaz uma necessidade para a satisfação de um outro e o outro assume plenamente o domínio (BALLÃO e LONGHINI, 2016, p. 06 apud LACAN, 1992).

Thus, the obsessional neurotic will remain in this ambivalent relationship between desiring and not desiring for fear of castration; between sustaining oneself in the Other, while at the same time manifesting aggressive impulses in an attempt to destroy this Other, which will become impasses for its existence, through symptoms and defenses at the service of the unconscious. In the end, obsessional neurosis forms a truly particular, complex and curious structure.


To conclude, the term “obsessional neurosis” encompasses the characteristics of a structure in which a set of obsessions converge, whether in thoughts or actions. His relationship with desire starts from the problematic prototype in this articulation, from the ambivalent choice of desiring or not, and his dependence on the Other. Another interesting point about this context in the obsessive neurotic structure, says about the defense mechanisms that are present in the formation of symptoms constituting in a complex way, being repression, regression and reaction formation that were also exposed in this study.

Another point to be clarified is that, in obsessional neurosis, like any neurosis, desire is present. However, what will differentiate it from other neuroses is that desire, even though it is present, is ambivalent and hesitant. That is, the obsessive neurotic will demonstrate great difficulties in sustaining his desire by himself, by his own demand, revealing his limitation and inverting, from the Other’s demand, the place of his desire. It is concluded that, although it is necessary for the subject, in childhood, to put himself in the place of the Other’s phallus, therefore, an alienating position of the mother’s object, however, as essential it is to leave her and become a subject with his own desire, that is, to recognize oneself as a desiring subject, so as not to fall into the formation of an obsessional neurosis.

Finally, it can be observed through the conclusion of this research how the place of the obsessive neurotic is, after all, a problematizing place. Its structure presents a long path that places the subject’s desire as impossible to be fulfilled, transforming him into a subject with characteristics close to slowness, to doubt, since his libido is centered on the non-satisfaction of desire.


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[1] Postgraduate in Psychoanalysis by CESAC; She works at the SEST SENAT Company as a Clinical Psychologist – CRP 17/3840. Graduated in Psychology from UNIFAXX.

[2] Graduated in Psychology with training in Psychoanalysis; Works at SEMTAS (Municipal Secretary of Labor and Social Assistance) as a Psychologist; He works in private practice as a Psychoanalyst and Master in Comparative Literature at UFRN.

Sent: April, 2021.

Approved: December, 2021.

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Tanise Antunes Suassuna de Medeiros

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