Dialogues with Forgotten Voices: Relational Perspectives on by Harvey L. Schwartz

By Harvey L. Schwartz

Harvey Schwartz's territory is the serious finish of the kid sexual abuse continuum, the place sufferers' stories are so unthinkable and their variations so extraordinary that the remainder of us are tempted to pronounce them fictions-whereupon we turn into complicit by way of subverting the survivors' struggles to heal. Schwartz synthesizes trauma concept and relational psychoanalysis to make feel of offender, collaborator, and sufferer pathologies, and exposes the tortuous double-binds of remedy for and with dissociative sufferers. His workplace is the final cease on one of those underground remedy railroad; his say-it-isn't-so case fabric reverberates all through.

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Additional info for Dialogues with Forgotten Voices: Relational Perspectives on Child Abuse Trauma and the Treatment of Severe Dissociative Disorders

Sample text

I am a creation of tliem. I am a cube posing as a person. I've been allowed to have a life providing I play by the rules and instructions book. If I don't I can be recalled. If I am recalled, I have to be broken dowti all over again. " "They told me they would always be watching me, always know what I was thinking or feeling or saying. They said they had watchers everywhere, could even read my thoughts. If I ever told anyone anything about wliat happened I would die and the person I told would be killed.

The isolation of a child or his/her captivity in an environment whose hallmarks are cruelty and irrational authority has a profound effect on that child's mental and emotional development. Such children live in a persecutory and amnestic structure where there is no continuity and few predictable links between events or relationships. Survivors of chronic trauma develop a strange but enduring attachment to states of oblivion and absorption. Although resignation, and an abiding sense of futility, contamination, and abandonment all lie close to the center of the dissociative self-organization, many dissociative trauma survivors can actually alternate between periods of heightened dedication to tasks, especially those that serve others, and pe- 20 DIALOGUES WITH FORGOTTEN VOICES riods of complete escape from all responsibilities.

Some, for instance, expertly conceal their true anguished and archaic selves beneath compliant false-selves, studied personas of normalcy, and they can often appear as if they have sustained no damage whatsoever from the abuse (Grand and Alpert, 1993). Some patients' patterns of dissimulation and compliance allow for the creation of treatmentseeking selves contemporaneous with the maintaining of attachment to, and collusion with, abusive caretakers/perpetrators (Alpert, 1995). And some patients' oscillations among such extremes as asserting sexual expertise, asexuality, and assertion of sexual innocence, or construing themselves as chronic liars and then as honest informers, produce a continuously perplexing clinical picture.

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