In his introductory text of the section “The Maladies of the father”, Fabian Fajnwaks lists some examples of a father’s modes of existence at play in these maladies. Let us add to this series another example from the psychanalytical literature, no less symptomatic in its impact. This example is Minna’s father. It is a case that our colleague Araceli Fuentes presented in the collection entitled Rapid therapeutic effects in psychoanalysis (Effets thérapeutiques rapides en psychanalyse). Let’s recall the main points.
Minna is a Romanian woman who comes from a poor and very catholic family. Clinically, she presents a traumatic neurosis after finding herself in the middle of the bombings at Madrid’s Atocha train station, in 2004. Referring to the recurring nightmares that she has been having ever since, the patient tells her analyst that she feels guilty for having fled when it happened and for not having helped the injured. She suffers from not living up to the ideal that her very pious father had transmitted to her. He had raised her in a world that was governed by the law of love. “Faced with the real of the trauma, the appeal to a father who is nothing but love, receives no response, Araceli Fuentes tells us. Minna’s anxiety persists; her attempt of supplementing with religious meaning fails”. In the discussion, Jacques-Alain Miller gives us a key to understanding the case: the law in accordance to which Minna had been raised by her father was contradicted by the facts. Faced with what the terror attack had revealed of human savagery, faced with the emergence of the real without law, Minna has no weapons to confront the situation, her “world therefore becomes illegible to her”.
So, what does the analyst do? She receives Minna without alleviating her guilt and the latter rapidly turns into hatred towards the other: Moroccans, terrorists. The analyst deduces from it the logic of her position: “the contrary of an idealising position”, she says, from a position similar to that of the father. She does it “in a way that the meaning does not obstruct the production, neither on the side of religion, nor on the side of racism”.What follows is a treatment, where the opening of the unconscious is punctuated by dreams that have a determining place. The patient thus manages to denounce the crushing weight of her love of the father and testifies her desire to untie herself from the religious stranglehold of her family tradition. At the end of the treatment, her anxiety disappeared. Minna takes up “the thread of life” and decides to focus on a serious medical problem that she had been neglecting for several months although it could have killed her.
To return here to this fascinating case is in many regards of great interest today. The effects that we observe in this cure consist in fact in a de-idealisation of the father figure, thereby debunking accusations against psychoanalysis for contributing to the maintenance of the patriarchal order. In the case of Minna’s father, the dimension of all – in his relation to love – is the symptom of his own way of incarnating “the function model”. The all-love is his surplus–jouissance. This is his père-version, his own way, as proposes Éric Laurent, “of helping his family members to say no to jouissance”, by wowing them (the function of é-pater), primarily his daughter. It is therefore at the level of her trauma that we can “measure the real of [his] function” for her: covering up a horrible truth that was revealed during the terror attack. Minna’s father version is thus at the source of her neurosis and its consequences: anxiety, culpability, but also negligence regarding her own health. This effect does not make him a more pathogenic father than any other. He is indeed, like all fathers, just in his own way.
References from the author:
 Fajnwaks F., «The way of surplus jouissance», Nobodaddy, Blog Pipol 11, 26 février 2023.
 Fuentes A., «Minna», in Miller J.-A. (s/dir), Effets thérapeutiques rapides en psychanalyse. La conversation de Barcelone, Paris, Navarin, 2005, p. 13-40.
 Ibid., p. 16.
 Ibid., p. 37.
 Ibid., p. 16.
 Ibid., p. 30.
 Ibid., p. 19.
 Laurent É., «Parentalités après le patriarcat», Quarto, n°133, mars 2023, p. 64, Our translation.
 Ibid., p. 66, Our translation.
 Fajnwaks F., op. cit.
Translation: Eva-Sophie Reinhofer
Proofreading: Polina Agapaki
Picture : © Ateliers d’Art de la Baraque