The Real Reason Sigmund Freud Hated The United States

Europeans have always had mixed feelings about the United States. Certainly, King George III and his people were a little salty about the way things turned out between the U.S. and the U.K., although we’ve patched things up since then. Meanwhile, YouTube is filled with channels, like this one, wherein Europeans discuss what they love and don’t love about the States (spoilers: they love our friendliness and wide-open spaces, they’re turned off by our portion sizes and bathroom stalls).

A century ago, none other than Sigmund Freud, a pioneer in the then-emerging study in the role the mind plays in one’s health, shared his fellow Europeans’ simultaneous love and hatred of the U.S. Like many of his contemporaries, he believed certain negative stereotypes about us, while at the same time he admired the freedom American academics had to discuss certain sensitive subjects, as Mental Floss notes. However, after he came to visit the States, he left with a bad taste in his mouth about the country, and he would carry that anti-American chip on his shoulder until the day he died.

American food and american women

Sigmund Freud‘s love-hate relationship with America began in his youth when, according to Psychology Today, he was so moved by the Declaration of Independence that he hung a copy of it over his bed. However, by his later years, he had started to buy into other prejudices that Europeans had about Americans, chiefly that Americans are backward and uneducated. However, in 1909 he actually got to visit the country, and though he loved much of what he saw, in the end, the scales were firmly on the side of him hating the place.

What was the problem? There were many, actually. According to Psychology Today, he didn’t care for Americans’ conspicuous consumption, he hated being referred to by his first name rather than “Dr. Freud,” and he wasn’t the biggest fan of democracy either.

But it was our food and women that ultimately did him in. According to Mental Floss, a bit of meat at a campfire caused him a lifetime of stomach issues (although those problems may have predated his American visit), and American women were so beautiful that he had erotic dreams about them and was unable to get a good night’s sleep. “America is a mistake; a gigantic mistake it is true, but nonetheless a mistake,” he concluded.

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