Pardon Me for Having Been Born!

In particularly marked cases of the Parent Taboo there can occur a complete sublimation of Parental Guilt which takes the form of an inverted reflection of this latter: instead of reproaching his parents, be it even in an oblique or cryptic manner, with having begotten him, the child asks pardon – vis-à-vis these parents, society in general, or the world – for his own existence. One piece of evidence that testifies particularly forcefully to the existence of this configuration and for the overwhelming force of the “parent taboo” is the title of Elisabeth Edward’s autobiographical work: “Pardon Me For Having Been Born! Memoirs of an Augsburg Woman”, the narrating subject of which feels guilty by reason of her very existence and concludes her narration with the words: “I hope that I too can be forgiven and I say: ‘Pardon me for having been born!’” (Edwards)

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