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Charcot, Janet, and Freud all noted that fragmented memories of traumatic events dominated the mental life of many of their patient and built their theories about the nature and treatment of psychopathology on this recognition.
Janet 75 thought that traumatic memories of traumatic events persist as unassimilated fixed ideas that act as foci for the development of alternate states of consciousness, including dissociative phenomena, such as fugue states, amnesias, and chronic states of helplessness and depression.
Unbidden memories of the trauma may return as physical sensations, horrific images or nightmares, behavioral reenactments, or a combination of these. Janet showed how traumatized individuals become fixated on the trauma: It is "as if their personality development has stopped at a certain point and cannot expand anymore by the addition or assimilation of new elements.
The trauma permanently disturbed the capacity to deal with other challenges, and the victim who did not integrate the trauma was doomed to "repeat the repressed material as a contemporary experience in instead or. Many traumatized people expose themselves, seemingly compulsively, to situations reminiscent of the original trauma.
These behavioral reenactments are rarely consciously understood to be related to earlier life experiences. This "repetition compulsion" has received surprisingly little systematic exploration during the 70 years since its discovery, though it is regularly described in the clinical literature.
Children seem more vulnerable than adults to compulsive behavioral repetition and loss of conscious memory of the trauma. However, responses to projective tests show that adults, too, are liable to experience a large range of stimuli vaguely reminiscent of the trauma as a return of the trauma itself, and to react accordingly.
Harm to Others Re-enactment of victimization is a major cause of violence. Criminals have often been physically or sexually abused as children. Lewis 89,91 has extensively studied the association between childhood abuse and subsequent victimization of others.
Recently, she showed that of 14 juveniles condemned to death for murder in the United States in12 had been brutally physically abused, and five had been sodomized by relatives.
This constellation of symptoms is a common phenomenon among a member of environmentally deprived animals. Green 53,54 found that 41 per cent of his sample of abused children engaged in headbanging, biting, burning, and cutting.
In a controlled, double-blind study on traumatic antecedents of borderline personality disorder, we found a highly significant relationship between childhood sexual abuse and various kinds of self-harm later in life, particularly cutting and self-starving. They sum up the conclusions of many students of this problem in stating that "self-destructive activities were not primarily related to conflict, guilt and superego pressure, but to more primitive behavior patterns originating in painful encounters wih hostile caretakers during the first years of life.
Victims of child sexual abuse are at high risk of becoming prostitutes. Whereas 38 per cent of a random sample of women reported incidents of rape or attempted rape after age 14, 68 per cent of those with a childhood history of incest did.
Twice as many women with a history of physical violence in their marriages 27 per centand more than twice as many 53 per cent reported unwanted sexual advances by an unrelated authority figure such as a teacher, clergyman, or therapist.
Victims of father-daughter incest were four times more likely than nonincest victims to be asked to pose for pornography. In one study of adults who who had recently been in accidents, 68 57 per cent showed behavioral re-enactments, and 51 per cent had recurrent intrusive images.
In this study, the frequency with which recurrent memories were experienced on a somatic level, as panic and anxiety attacks, was not examined. Studies of burned children and adult survivors of natural and manmade disasters 67, show that, over time, rucurrent symbolic or visual recollections and behavioral re-enactments abate, but there is often persistent chronic anxiety that can be interpreted as partial somatosensory reliving, dissociated from visual or linguistic representations of the trauma.
From toon the exact anniversary of the death, to the hour and minute, he yearly committed "armed robbery" by putting a finger in his pocket and staging a "holdup," in order to provoke gunfire from the police. The compulsive re-enactment ceased when he came to understand its meaning.
Physical and emotional maturation, as well as innate variations in physiologic reactivity to perceived danger, play important roles in the capacity to deal with external threat. If the caregiver is rejecting and abusive, children are likely to become hyperaroused.
When the persons who are supposed to be the sources of safety and nurturance become simultaneously the sources of danger against which protection is needed, children maneuver to re-establish some sense of safety. Instead of turning on their caregivers and thereby losing hope for protection, they blame themselves.
They become fearfully and hungrily attached and anxiously obedient. As children mature, they continually acquire new cognitive schemata in which to frame current life experiences. These ever-expanding cognitive schemes decrease their reliance on the environment for soothing and increase their own capacity to modulate physiologic arousal in the face of threat.
Thus, the cognitive preparedness development of an individual interacts with the degree of physiologic disorganization to determine the capacity for mental processing of potentially traumatizing experiences.
There are significant sex differences in the way trauma victims incorporate the abuse experience. Studies by Carmen et al.Workplace bullying is a persistent pattern of mistreatment from others in the workplace that causes either physical or emotional harm.
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Contact Information eLearning. Academic II, Room [email protected] Lilia Juele, Director; Hours of Operation. M – F: 9 am – 5 pm; After Hours Support. A medical journal discussion of the need of victims of trauma to repeat the trauma.
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