- There are to date no published studies on children's psychic organization in the aftermath of sexual abuse. This study partially addresses that gap in the literature by focusing on self-constructs subsequent to Sadistic Incestuous Abuse (SIA) in Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) individuals. A theory on the search for self-understanding in DID persons post-trauma is presented through a heuristic disaggregation of relevant studies and informal interviews with four DID individuals, followed by a recombination of the data with phenomenological insights. Empirical studies on massive trauma, incest, coping, dissociation, and self-understanding are reconceptualized in constructivist fashion to present SIA as a “total environment,” analogous to a concentration camp experience. It is suggested that being sadistically incested prevents the child from construing her experience accurately. Post-trauma, however, there may be a concurrent need to “know” and “not know.” It is postulated that she might approach her trauma obliquely, through a metaphor or “parallel trauma”—a middle ground between denial and acknowledgment. The DID individuals referred to in this study used the metaphor or self-construct of a concentration camp internee as a psychic organizer. It is demonstrated that (a) SIA and Holocaust imagery might well be linked in a more encompassing theoretical understanding of victims' self-constructs in coping post-trauma; and (b) there is a reasonableness in a SIA child's use of parallel imagery to approach her experiences obliquely, thereby avoiding direct knowledge of them, containing them, organizing them, and providing a vocabulary to express them. Rather than looking only at symptoms and coping strategies, it is recommended that attention also be focused on traumatized clients' self-generated metaphors.
- Bujak, M. Johanna (Mary Johanna)
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Capella University, 1999.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 210-238).
Photocopy. Ann Arbor, Mich. : UMI Dissertation Services, 2002. 22 cm.
Dissertations and Theses