Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Children of the damned: Shadow object relations and the psyche -somatic transmission of psychic deadness in the family
by Fogel, Jonathan Michael, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2008, 110; 3345857
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this psychoanalytic theoretical study is to define and explore the phenomenon, etiology, and symptoms of psychic deadness and how they are transmitted within the family. Psychic deadness is the experience of having a sense of self that is numb and deadened and/or has an absence of aliveness. This study is approached from a psychoanalytic perspective of the French School of psychoanalysis and the theories of André Green, Joyce McDougall, Christopher Bollas, and Nicholas Abraham and Maria Torok, using a hermeneutic approach to understanding the unconscious processes involved in the development of subjectivity and selfhood. Philosophical assumptions implicit to this research include the concepts of structuralism, post-structuralism, and deconstruction. The outcome of this research is the development of an alternative model of psychic deadness called Shadow Object Relations . This new theoretical paradigm explains how an individual's experiences of psychic trauma and narcissistic wounding result in the development of pathological organizations that utilize a distinct set of defenses and particular projective and introjective mechanisms including and defined as: transgenerational afterwardness; and the projective mortification processes of infective/contaminated mortification, extractive mortification, transplantive mortification, and extinctive mortification. Psychic deadness is psyche-somatically transmitted from parent to child through the senses. The child has the need to be loved. Depending on the extent of neglect and/or abuse, a void, an unhealed, everlasting wound, is created. The original, instinctual need for love is therefore transformed into a drive that is expressed as an insatiable, never-ending series of demands upon the other. Because the child is dependent upon the parents for survival, the child learns that in order to satisfy his needs, he must discover and meet the demands of his parents. As a result, the child develops, through the process of subjectification, an intersubjective co-construction of psychic structures to fulfill the demands of his parents at the expense of aliveness, his own needs, and development of a true self.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Panajian, Avedis Y.
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 70/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Clinical psychology, Individual & family studies
Keywords: Child abuse and child neglect, Death drive and death instinct, Depression and emptiness, Family, Intergenerational transmission, Narcissistic injury, Psychosomatic illness
Publication Number: 3345857
ISBN: 978-1-109-00646-9
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