The more unrealistic such feelings are and the less they fit present reality, the more clearly they show that they are concerned with unremembered situations from the past that are still to be discovered, If, however, the feeling concerned is not experienced but reasoned away, the discovery cannot take place, and depression will be triumphant.
After a long depressive phase, accompanied by suicidal thoughts, a forty-year-old patient was at last able to experience her violent, very early ambivalence in the transference. This was not immediately followed by visible relief but by a period full of mourning and tears. At the end of this period she said:
‘The world has not changed, there is so much evil and meanness all around me, and I see it even more clearly than before. Nevertheless, for the first time I find life really worth living. Perhaps this is because, for the first time, I have the feeling that I am really living my own life. And that is an exciting adventure. On the other hand, I can understand my suicidal ideas better now, especially those I had in my youth – it seemed pointless to carry on – because in a way I had always been living a life that wasn’t mine, that I didn’t want, and that I was ready to throw away.’
Alice Miller – The Drama of the Gifted Child p.78