- Candor is always a double-edged sword; it may heal or it may separate.
- Marriage at the Crossroads (1931), p. 73
- People who do not understand themselves have a craving for understanding — a thing which is rather surmised and never spoken than known and clothed in words.
- Marriage at the Crossroads (1931), p. 144
- Experience shows that this transference very soon becomes the source of resistance. Love is only a seeking for love in return, Do, ut des [I give, that thou shalt give]. If the patient notices that love is not given in return or that it has not reached that degree which he expected, defiance enters in place of the love, which in turn manifests itself as active resistance.
- On situations of transference in doctor-patient relations, in Sadism and Masochism : The Psychology of Hatred and Cruelty, Vol. 1 (1939), p. 46
- An intense, unyielding stubbornness hides beneath an apparent obedience (the patient brings a vast number of dreams; his associations become endless; he produces an inexhaustible number of recollections, which seem to him very important but are actually of little moment; or he goes off upon some byroad suggested by the analyst and leads the latter into a blind alley).
The child manifests the same reactions of defiance and obedience. The child, too, can hide his stubbornness behind an excessive docility (the parent's command: You must be industrious. Industry may become a mania so that the child neither goes out nor has time to sleep). Obedience is the giving up of the resistance; obstinacy the setting up of fresh resistances. This resistance is externally active. We have in recent years had sufficient opportunity to observe the law of resistance (the passive resistance). Activity and defiance show great differences. Defiance is the reaction against activity (aggression) of the environment. It may then manifest itself actively or passively and stands in the service of the defensive tendency of the ego. Every resistance reveals the ego (one's own) in conflict with another.
- Sadism and Masochism : The Psychology of Hatred and Cruelty, Vol. 1 (1939), p. 46
- We had many interesting conversations and he introduced me to his young wife. He confided to me that he had married her because she was a fanatical atheist. Atheism was the main topic of their conversations. Such fervid atheism is usually a screen for repressed religion. The truly convinced atheist does not emphasize his atheism. He does not talk about it and is careful to avoid blasphemies.
The man was interested in dreams and each morning he related several of his dreams. They were full of religious symbols. I was cautious not to reveal to him the meaning of his dreams; such off-hand analyses are always dangerous.... The banker did not want to be disturbed in his supposed atheism.... His atheism was a reaction formation established upon an ineradicable religious belief.
- American Journal of Psychotherapy Volume II (1948); this has sometimes been quoted as "Fervid atheism is usually a screen for repressed religion." Stekel repeated the anecdote in his Autobiography (1950).
- The man was the manager of a large New York bank. Stekel met him on the liner on which he was travelling back to Europe.
- Anxiety is fear of one's self.
- As quoted in Beyond the Blues: Treating Depression One Day at a Time (2000) by Edward F. Haas, p. 119
- In reality, we are still children. We want to find a playmate for our thoughts and feelings.
- As quoted in The Book Of Friendship: Making Life Better (2001) by Cyndi Haynes, p. 6
- Many an attack of depression is nothing but the expression of regret at having to be virtuous.
- As quoted in Sigmund Says : And Other Psychotherapists' Quotes (2006) by Bernard Nisenholz, p. 94
The Autobiography of Wilhelm Stekel (1950)
- The Autobiography of Wilhelm Stekel : The Life Story of a Pioneer Psychoanalyst (1950) edited by Emil Arthur Gutheil. New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation
- Love at first sight is a revival of an infantile impression. The first love object reappears in a different disguise.
- p. 52
- Many times I had spoken about "mental bipolarity" and proved that our affects are bipolar. Desire and disgust, love and hate, will-to-power and will-to-submission, are composed of negative and positive parts like the current of electricity. My contention was that any human affect has its own counterpart. Later Bleuler described this fact as "ambivalence," a term that was accepted by everybody, whereas previously they had laughed at my discovery, and given me the nickname "Stekel with his Bipolarity".
- p. 132
- Truth is not always the best basis for happiness. There are certain lies which may constitute a far better and more secure foundation of happiness. There are people who perish when their eyes are opened.
- p. 206
Quotes about Stekel
- Stekel enthusiastically cooperated with Freud in what could be called a symbiotic or antagonistic relationship and was driven out of the psychoanalytic community when he began to question the fundamental inequality of their respective roles.
- The Self-Marginalization of Wilhelm Stekel : Freudian Circles Inside and Out by Jaap Bos and Leendert Groenendijk, Ch. 1 : Marginalization through Psychoanalysis An Introduction, p. 6
- The student of psychoanalysis can see in Stekel's notes how many of his own complexes remained obscure to him, can detect his unresolved narcissism, his overcompensated feelings of inadequacy; will smile when he reads that the man who was a master in ferreting out other people's repressions believed that he had hardly any himself.
- Emil Arthur Gutheil, in The Autobiography of Wilhelm Stekel : The Life Story of a Pioneer Psychoanalyst (1950) edited by Emil Arthur Gutheil, p. 39