Edmund Bergler, Long-Forgotten Psychoanalyst

edmund-bergler-photoEdmund Bergler was an American Psychoanalyst from the 20th century, whose work was based off of Freudian psychoanlysis. A lot of his published work is based on the unconscious and how it dictates our actions. How does this relate to money issues? Well, according to Bergler, our unconscious wishes for us to suffer. The psychological neurotic is preconditioned through years and years of bad habits to suffer instead of working his or her way out of the bad situation.

Sounds a bit kooky, doesn’t it? But I swear that it makes sense. Bergler wrote about basically every type of psychological problem that exists: weight troubles, financial woes, divorce, the lack of laughter in one’s life, even creativity and productivity.

Sadly, Bergler’s kind of forgotten. Why, though, when his work makes so much sense?

I’m going to attempt to shed some light on Bergler, along with my own financial goals, through this blog. Many of his books are out-of-print. My hope in giving him a spotlight here on this little stage is to drum up at least a little interest in him so that his work is not forgotten. Trust me, it’s actually really useful.

To that end, I’ll start by offering the ten rules for combating not-too-severe cases of tension (aka anxiety). These are found in Tensions Can Be Reduced to Nuisances, last published in 1979.

Found via Pinterest and edited to be a little more realistic. ;)

Found via Pinterest and edited to be a little more Berglerian.

  1. Accept the truism that “the world is not your oyster.” The world provides you, tax-free, with a constant flow of nuisances; it is your business to cope with and neutralize these nuisances internally.
  2. Keep your sense of proportion. Recognize the fact that the aggressive actions of the people in your environment are not necessarily meant to attack you personally.
  3. Don’t accept your tensions at face value, excusing them by making the convenient claim, “I’m just that type of person.”
  4. Be prepared to “face the music,” in the form of constant reproaches from your inner conscience.
  5. Accept the fact that everybody unconsciously harbors self-damaging tendencies; understand that your conscious rationalizations have the purpose of obscuring, not clarifying, the reasons for your tensions.
  6. Since the complex detail-interconnections in your “tensions” are beyond your reach, start your attack on these tensions by sending up a trial balloon: consciously perceived (though  not understood) indictment of self-damage unconsciously enjoyed.
  7. Determine whether some of your tensions are not self-created.
  8. Ask yourself whether you aren’t an unconscious in-justice collector and self-appointed trouble maker. Consciously, of course, you are “your own best friend and well-wisher”; unconsciously, the story may be different. Don’t automatically dismiss your environment’s indictment of you as a person who “asks for it” and “leads with his chin.” The criticism may be valid.
  9. Understand that your “inexplicable depressions” and “lousy moods” are no more than alibis presented to your inner conscience.
  10. You cannot eradicate nuisances, but you can keep them on the level of incidental irritations, instead of paying them the costly compliment of elevation to “intolerable tensions.”

His language may be a little old-fashioned but his ideas are not. I encourage everyone to look up Dr. Bergler. His books are out of print but you can find more information at edmundberlger.ca.


2 thoughts on “Edmund Bergler, Long-Forgotten Psychoanalyst

  1. One of the reasons that Dr. Bergler wound up on the dust heap of psychoanalytic history was due to his theorizing about homosexuality that was as hostile and ill-informed as any of the 1950s analysts. Aside from theorizing, he took unimaginably nasty potshots at homosexuals. He encourage parents to never ever except their son’s homosexuality and when a homosexual was in the position of power he was a cruel megalomaniacal tyrant. Nice stuff huh

    • Wow, I had no idea. It’s hard to find his work these days so I haven’t read any of his theories on homosexuality. I know that he had written about it but because it doesn’t pertain to me I haven’t looked into it. Good to know. Thank you for stopping by to let me know.

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