Severe abuse often occurs in settings where the grouping, whether based around a family or a community organisation or institution, outwardly appears to be very respectable. The nature of attachment dynamics allied with threat, discrediting, the manipulation of the victim’s dissociative defences, long-term conditioning and the endless invoking of shame mean that sexual, physical and emotional abuse may, in some instances, be essentially unending. Even when separation from the long-term abuser is attempted, it may initially be extremely difficult to achieve, and there are some individuals who never achieve this parting. Even when the abuser is dead, the intrapsychic nature of the enduring attachment experienced by their victim remains complicated and difficult to resolve.
This volume includes multiple perspectives from highly experienced clinicians, researchers and writers on the nature of the relationship between the abused and their abuser(s). No less than five of this international grouping of authors have been president of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation, the world’s oldest international trauma society. This book, which opens with a highly original clinical paper on ‘weaponized sex’ by Richard Kluft, one of the foremost pioneers of the modern dissociative disorders field, concludes with a gripping historical perspective written by Jeffrey Masson as he reengages with issues that first brought him to worldwide prominence in the 1980s. Between these two pieces, the contributors, all highly acclaimed for their clinical, theoretical or research work, present original, cutting edge work on this complex subject.
This book was originally published as a double special issue of the Journal of Trauma and Dissociation.