For Kurt Goldstein, anxiety has no "object," and is qualitatively different from fear. In fact, for Goldstein, fear is the anticipation of anxiety. For Kierkegaard and Heidegger, anxiety deals with "nothingness." It is a breakdown of both world and self. For Goldstein, the drive to overcome anxiety by the conquest of a piece of the world is expressed in the tendency towards order, norms, continuity, and homogeneity. Deleuze and Guattari echo this diagnosis when they claim that striation is negatively motivated by anxiety in the face of all that passes, flows, or varies and erects the constancy and eternity of an in-itelf.
The problem of the origin of anxiety and its relation to sexual excitation and the libido had become a preoccupation of Freud's as early as 1893. From the beginning, the notions of the unconscious and repression (or resistance) were closely linked for Freud. The repression barrier divided consciousness from unconsciousness. The first thing that happens in repression is that idea and affect are severed. The affect can be inhibited; it can remain in consciousness but attached to another idea, or it can undergo transformation, notably into anxiety. See affect
In The Civilizing Process, Norbert Elias describes the automatic anxieties of the growing child as conditioned by the socially conditioned fears of the parents. For Elias, personality structures are both formed by and form the historical transformations of the increasingly differentiated and interdependent societies of the West, with all their tensions and contradictions. Constraints and learned codes of behavior are self-regulating aspects of the personality, converted into inner anxieties which bind the individual to a learned code, almost automatically, under the pressure of a strong super-ego.
Harold Bloom describes the relationships between poets and the poetry of others as the "anxiety of influence." For Bloom, the "strong" poet is a misreader, able to to really read only himself. The heroic strong poet is exactly on the border of solopsism, neither within it nor beyond it. "The poem is within him, yet he experiences the shame and splendor of being found by poems -- great poems -- outside him." (p.26) For Bloom, the history of poetry, like political theory, psychology, theology, and law, has become part of the larger phenomenon of intellectual revisionism, which follows received doctrine to a certain point, and then deviates, insisting that a wrong direction was taken just at that point. This clinamen is the perverse revisionism "without which modern poetry could not exist." Bloom describes Freud as a "strong writer," so strong, in fact, as to contain every available mode of interpretation. (Agon, p92)
Yet, for the psychoanalyst as writer, the unconscious functions as a trope.