Agoraphobia is feminine? Some reflections on the relationship between the agoraphobic syndrome and femininity


The more recent psychoanalytic conceptualizations, relating to the genesis of agoraphobia, have increasingly illuminated – going beyond the Oedipal contribution of Freudian memory – the serious structural deficits of the ego, the presence, therefore, of that “emptiness” in the basic structure as the real nucleus problem (Milrod, 2007; Cartwright, 2006, La Scala, 2010).
These theories contribute to validate the reading of the agoraphobic syndrome as a defense against anxieties triggered by “separateness” and as “pathology of identity and of the limit”. From this perspective, in this article we focus in particular on the relationship between agoraphobia and female identity. The process of building a sense of self as a separate being finds particular difficulties related to belonging to the female gender. The female identity is structured, in fact, within the primary relationship with the mother, from which is difficult to differentiate one from the other while at the same time being necessary to identify. Such a path by its very nature, therefore, being  <<rocky >> (Nunziante Cesaro, 1994, p. 8), may not always arrive at a solid achievement of identity, but hesitate towards psychic pain and pathology.

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