A few months afterwards, when the young woman was in one of her better moods and wished to do well, we made a few vocational tests on her. We found her quite unfit for the position of telephone operator which had been suggested for her. Psychomotor control appeared then decidedly defective. However, there was great improvement on work done on intellectual tests two or three years previously. Although she had developed physically (she now was a particularly good looking young woman) we felt she was quite unfit for work which demanded steady effort. One trouble all along was the fact that she did not wear her glasses. We advised then, as we had advised at first, a quiet country life for Annie and the other members of the family. The constant stimulus of city conditions was too much for them.
Again our advice was not taken and some months later the father came to us with the story of extreme poverty, some recent attacks of unconsciousness on his part, separation from his third wife, and the information that Annie was about to become a chorus girl.
Even a final consideration of the general diagnosis in this case which has been so long observed by us does not seem to justify our including it among our border-line mental types. Application of the term constitutional inferiority seems a priori warranted by the family history and yet we have no proof that her physical and mental conditions as enumerated above are not the result of her many early illnesses and the excessively erratic environmental conditions, rather than of causes which existed at birth.
On account of the peculiar inhibitory phases which arose nearly always during observation, we never relied merely on the results of laboratory tests for our judgment, and her success in some social situations has proved the wisdom of this. Our earliest feeling that we had to do with a temporary and mild psychosis was perhaps justified, but further observation of her has led us to see clearly that she is not to be considered as a deeply aberrational type. Could she ever have been free from the extraordinarily upsetting home conditions one could have gauged much more accurately her mental capabilities. As time went on, the moral difficulties, which were largely induced by family conditions, led to mental as well as moral upsets which could be considered as little else than normal reactions to the situation. Her conduct lapses, under the circumstances, are no indication of any mental breakdown. On the contrary, it is clear by our own examinations and the accounts of other observers that she gradually has showed greater mental stability.
(Since writing the above, we have had, by chance, the opportunity of getting some important information about this case from an entirely new source. A person who knew the family many years ago corroborates the father's remarkable story of antecedents. The father himself remains in about the same state of social incapacity. Annie, now married to a young man with a long criminal record, has a child. Her word has recently been found absolutely unreliable, and testimony lately given by her in court concerning her husband was grossly false when it would seem that her interests and welfare demanded her testifying the truth concerning his non-support.)
--------------------------------------------------------------- Mentality: Psychoneurotic. Case 20. Heredity: Extremely defective. Girl, age 16. Developmental conditions: Defective antenatal conditions. Difficult birth. Earlier neurosis. Physical conditions: Earlier dental defects. Defective vision, usually uncorrected. Stigmata of eyes. Stimulants: Excessive use of tea. Home conditions: Highly erratic and unstable. Many bad influences there. Excitement and suggestion from revival.
Delinquencies: Mentality: Self-accusations. Abilities irregular, Running away. and as above. Sex affairs. ---------------------------------------------------------------
Summary: This case illustrates the fact that pathological lying and accusation may arise first during a period of special stress. A young woman of 19, after illegitimately becoming pregnant, was found home after home by a charitable organization. In each place she made false accusations of immoral proposals against some one in the family or neighborhood. This created much trouble and lost her several good homes. Her lies persisted after an abortion had been secretly produced, but it is to be noted that she now, as a sequel to the operation, suffered from irritative pelvic conditions.