Sibling Silences: The Freud Family
The neglect of sibling networks in the development of capitalist, class societies may partially be due to the powerful influence of Freud's theory focusing on vertical ties between parents and child. Freud's family situation was typical of the nineteenth-century bourgeoisie. As the eldest boy with five sisters and a younger brother, he received special opportunities. He took responsibilities for, but also controlled his younger siblings throughout their lives. There were tensions between Sigmund and his eldest sister, Anna's husband, Eli Bernays, who was also Sigmund's wife, Martha Bernays's brother. Their unmarried sister, Minna Bernays, moved into Sigmund and Martha's household as helper for their six children. The sisters’ temperaments and roles fitted the stereotype of domesticated versus intellectual/more worldly women. Minna and Sigmund's relationship continues to raise speculation about incest. Sigmund Freud as senior male in an extended family echoes the familial and gender patterns of the nascent psychoanalytic profession.
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