“Anger has hinges that need oiling.”

From The Discomfort of Evening:

” ‘Why isn’t there any coffee?’ Dad asks.

‘Because you weren’t here,’ Mum says.

‘But I am here, and it’s already long past four.’

‘You’ll have to make it yourself then, if you need some.’

‘What I need is a bit more respect!’

He strides back through the door, slamming it behind him. Anger has hinges that need oiling. For a moment Mum pretends to continue with her work, but then she begins to sigh and goes to make coffee all the same. Everything here is a maths sum: respect equals four sugar lumps and a shot of condensed milk. I quickly stuff the cheese scoop into my pocket with all my memories.”

From: The Anti-Group (1996), by Morris Nitsun:

In the prologue to his book, Nitsun recounts the story of how S.H. Foulkes went shopping with his (third) wife for curtains for his consulting room. He did not have his glasses with him when he selected the fabric from Liberty. Nitsun reports:

“…Scrutiny of the curtains reveals, among the patterned motif, scenes of aggression and violence – Persian soldiers in their turbans and tunics, capturing, tying up, striking and beheading their captive prisoners. Yet, at first glance the overall impression of the curtains is a pleasing one of colour and harmony. The whole is more than the sum of its parts.

There is an irony and humanity in this story which make one reluctant to read deeper meaning into it. Yet, the curtains are like a projection screen, inviting speculation on Foulkes’ apparent blindness to their aggressive and destructive content (the absence of his glasses notwithstanding). Does the incident symbolise Foulkes’ predilection for seeing the group as a creative whole, colourful and attractively patterned, even while there is aggression lurking just beneath the surface and erupting into violence? Are the curtains themselves symbols of a boundary drawn between the dark forces (night) and the light forces (day), perhaps representing some anxiety about the interaction of the two – good and evil, creative and destructive? Or are the curtains the protective cover of the unconscious, hiding the feared primitive impulses that threaten to break out of control?

Woven into these symbols and referents are the elements of a history and the contributions of a man, Foulkes, who left Nazi Germany to create a new home in England and a new psychotherapeutic form in group analysis. The well-springs of denial, destruction, and reparation are all here…”

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