Excerpt About Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse and the Child's Trauma
Early sexual abuse has a radical affect on the development of oedipal narcissism and to the development of the self in general. The distortions in the oedipal self as a result of the psychodynamic disturbances pale in comparison with the alienation from the depths of the self that result from the dissociation the child resorts to in response to such trauma. 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 dissociation from the experience of the self in general. "Unable to remove herself physically from the abuse, the creative child victim finds other ways to be. Frequently this leaving takes the form of separation from the self, or ‘depersonalization'’” (E. Blume, Secret Survivors, New York, Random House, 1990, page 82) Since essential presence is the core depth of the self it must be dissociated from, or it will tend to expose the painful events in 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 disturbances. Early abuse, including sexual abuse, causes not only oedipal narcissism, but other forms of narcissism depending on when it occurred.

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