Excerpt About Abuse

Early Abuse is a Specific Cause of Alienation from the Core of the Self

It is well known that early sexual abuse, especially incest, and physical abuse as well, create havoc in the psychic equilibrium of its survivors and become a major source of suffering and conflict in their lives. Sexual and physical abuse confront the child with so much pain, and such intolerable conflicts, that typically the child shuts off the whole situation from awareness. Whether there is amnesia or only emotional isolation, there results a dissociation from deep experience of the self in general. “Unable to remove herself physically from the abuse, the creative child victim finds other ways to leave. Frequently this leaving takes the form of ‘separation from the self,’ or ‘depersonalization.’ ” (E. Blume, 1990) Since essential presence is the core depth of the self, it must be dissociated from, or it will tend to expose the painful events of the abuse. So early abuse is a specific cause of the alienation from the core of the self, and hence leads to the development of narcissistic disturbance. Early abuse, including sexual abuse, causes not only oedipal narcissism, but other forms of narcissism, depending on when it occurred.

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