The purpose of this narrative inquiry was to explore how the heroine’s quest to overcome her murderous husband in the fairy tale “Bluebeard” may speak to the development of insight into the presence of an archetypal predator and the process of separation in real-life situations characterized by intimate partner violence (IPV). Four women in relationships characterized by IPV during their adolescence, currently between the ages of 27 to 60, participated in individual semistructured oral interviews followed by a self-guided reading of “Bluebeard” with a reflection questionnaire. The thematic analysis identified a cyclical progression of disorientation and descent, numinous experiences and moments of change, recruitment of resources, and escape. Key themes included naïveté, ex-partner’s attractiveness, isolation, fear, confusion, substance use, silence, and others being aware of the abuse but not intervening. Discussing the abuse with their family, friends, and/or the police was associated with final separation. As they described the aftereffects of IPV, common themes were anxiety, anger, somatic reactions, and nightmares. Shared resiliency factors included graduate education, coping skills, and 12-Step Program participation. The depth psychological interpretation considered the possibility that the archetypal predator-prey relationship may manifest as a syzygy. In order to escape a woman may access her own predatory nature, transitioning from being naïve or disoriented by trauma to being resourceful or even aggressive. The recovery process was discussed in the context of the compensatory function of the psyche, psychic differentiation, and the relationship between embodiment and feminine insight.
|Commitee:||Lewis, Christine, Tatar, Maria|
|School:||Pacifica Graduate Institute|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 79/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Social research, Psychology|
|Keywords:||Archetype, Bluebeard, Fairy tale, Insight, Intimate partner violence, Narrative inquiry, Separation|
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