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Abusive families and character formation

Abusive families and character formation The American Journal of Psychoanalysis, Voi. 50, No. 2, 1990 James Bo McCarthy Emotional or psychological abuse is comprised of recurrent critical attacks in which both the child's emerging self and the child's individuation is contemptuously devalued. I wish to comment on abusive families' interactions and in particular on the role of psychologically abusive parent-child inter- actions in the development of character traits. As one type of trauma, persistent psychological abuse forces the child or adolescent to defend against disillu- sionment and dependency needs and to make extensive use of denial in order to avoid mourning or possible fragmentation. Unlike other types of trauma in which the child is able to identify with or rely on the parents for support and ego augmentation, the abused youngster tends to internalize the abusive family atmosphere while experiencing the loss of the good parent and the good self. Abusive family systems reinforce both interactional patterns of abuse and the child's reliance on early intrapsychic processes for dealing with attacks on the self. The emotional impact of severe psychological abuse initially arises in family transactions that curb the child's ego development and perpetuate hostile sym- biotic types of relatedness. Like physically and sexually http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The American Journal of Psychoanalysis Springer Journals

Abusive families and character formation

The American Journal of Psychoanalysis , Volume 50 (2): 6 – Jun 1, 1990

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
1990 Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis
ISSN
0002-9548
eISSN
1573-6741
DOI
10.1007/BF01250913
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The American Journal of Psychoanalysis, Voi. 50, No. 2, 1990 James Bo McCarthy Emotional or psychological abuse is comprised of recurrent critical attacks in which both the child's emerging self and the child's individuation is contemptuously devalued. I wish to comment on abusive families' interactions and in particular on the role of psychologically abusive parent-child inter- actions in the development of character traits. As one type of trauma, persistent psychological abuse forces the child or adolescent to defend against disillu- sionment and dependency needs and to make extensive use of denial in order to avoid mourning or possible fragmentation. Unlike other types of trauma in which the child is able to identify with or rely on the parents for support and ego augmentation, the abused youngster tends to internalize the abusive family atmosphere while experiencing the loss of the good parent and the good self. Abusive family systems reinforce both interactional patterns of abuse and the child's reliance on early intrapsychic processes for dealing with attacks on the self. The emotional impact of severe psychological abuse initially arises in family transactions that curb the child's ego development and perpetuate hostile sym- biotic types of relatedness. Like physically and sexually

Journal

The American Journal of PsychoanalysisSpringer Journals

Published: Jun 1, 1990

Keywords: Clinical Psychology; Psychotherapy; Psychoanalysis

References