The Psychology of Torture - Part I

Written by Sam Vaknin


Continued from page 1

Torture isrepparttar ultimate act of perverted intimacy. The torturer invadesrepparttar 126209 victim's body, pervades his psyche, and possesses his mind. Deprived of contact with others and starved for human interactions,repparttar 126210 prey bonds withrepparttar 126211 predator. "Traumatic bonding", akin torepparttar 126212 Stockholm Syndrome, is about hope andrepparttar 126213 search for meaning inrepparttar 126214 brutal and indifferent and nightmarish universe ofrepparttar 126215 torture cell.

The abuser becomesrepparttar 126216 black hole atrepparttar 126217 center ofrepparttar 126218 victim's surrealistic galaxy, sucking inrepparttar 126219 sufferer's universal need for solace. The victim tries to "control" his tormentor by becoming one with him (introjecting him) and by appealing torepparttar 126220 monster's presumably dormant humanity and empathy.

This bonding is especially strong whenrepparttar 126221 torturer andrepparttar 126222 tortured form a dyad and "collaborate" inrepparttar 126223 rituals and acts of torture (for instance, whenrepparttar 126224 victim is coerced into selectingrepparttar 126225 torture implements andrepparttar 126226 types of torment to be inflicted, or to choose between two evils).

The psychologist Shirley Spitz offers this powerful overview ofrepparttar 126227 contradictory nature of torture in a seminar titled "The Psychology of Torture" (1989):

"Torture is an obscenity in that it joins what is most private with what is most public. Torture entails allrepparttar 126228 isolation and extreme solitude of privacy with none ofrepparttar 126229 usual security embodied therein... Torture entails atrepparttar 126230 same time allrepparttar 126231 self-exposure ofrepparttar 126232 utterly public with none of its possibilities for camaraderie or shared experience. (The presence of an all powerful other with whom to merge, withoutrepparttar 126233 security ofrepparttar 126234 other's benign intentions.)

A further obscenity of torture isrepparttar 126235 inversion it makes of intimate human relationships. The interrogation is a form of social encounter in whichrepparttar 126236 normal rules of communicating, of relating, of intimacy are manipulated. Dependency needs are elicited byrepparttar 126237 interrogator, but not so they may be met as in close relationships, but to weaken and confuse. Independence that is offered in return for 'betrayal' is a lie. Silence is intentionally misinterpreted either as confirmation of information or as guilt for 'complicity'.

Torture combines complete humiliating exposure with utter devastating isolation. The final products and outcome of torture are a scarred and often shattered victim and an empty display ofrepparttar 126238 fiction of power."

Obsessed by endless ruminations, demented by pain and a continuum of sleeplessness repparttar 126239 victim regresses, shedding all butrepparttar 126240 most primitive defense mechanisms: splitting, narcissism, dissociation, Projective Identification, introjection, and cognitive dissonance. The victim constructs an alternative world, often suffering from depersonalization and derealization, hallucinations, ideas of reference, delusions, and psychotic episodes.

(continued)



Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory Bellaonline, and Suite101 .

Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com




Sex or Gender - Part I

Written by Sam Vaknin


Continued from page 1

Freud, Kraft-Ebbing, and Fliess suggested that we are all bisexual to a certain degree. As early as 1910, Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld argued, in Berlin, that absolute genders are "abstractions, invented extremes". The consensus today is that one's sexuality is, mostly, a psychological construct which reflects gender role orientation.

Joanne Meyerowitz, a professor of history at Indiana University andrepparttar editor of The Journal of American History observes, in her recently published tome, "How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality inrepparttar 126208 United States", thatrepparttar 126209 very meaning of masculinity and femininity is in constant flux.

Transgender activists, says Meyerowitz, insist that gender and sexuality represent "distinct analytical categories". The New York Times wrote in its review ofrepparttar 126210 book: "Some male-to-female transsexuals have sex with men and call themselves homosexuals. Some female-to-male transsexuals have sex with women and call themselves lesbians. Some transsexuals call themselves asexual."

So, it is all inrepparttar 126211 mind, you see.

This would be taking it too far. A large body of scientific evidence points torepparttar 126212 genetic and biological underpinnings of sexual behavior and preferences.

The German science magazine, "Geo", reported recently thatrepparttar 126213 males ofrepparttar 126214 fruit fly "drosophila melanogaster" switched from heterosexuality to homosexuality asrepparttar 126215 temperature inrepparttar 126216 lab was increased from 19 to 30 degrees Celsius. They reverted to chasing females as it was lowered.

The brain structures of homosexual sheep are different to those of straight sheep, a study conducted recently byrepparttar 126217 Oregon Health & Science University andrepparttar 126218 U.S. Department of Agriculture Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, Idaho, revealed. Similar differences were found between gay men and straight ones in 1995 in Holland and elsewhere. The preoptic area ofrepparttar 126219 hypothalamus was larger in heterosexual men than in both homosexual men and straight women.

According an article, titled "When Sexual Development Goes Awry", by Suzanne Miller, published inrepparttar 126220 September 2000 issue ofrepparttar 126221 "World and I", various medical conditions give rise to sexual ambiguity. Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), involving excessive androgen production byrepparttar 126222 adrenal cortex, results in mixed genitalia. A person withrepparttar 126223 complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS) has a vagina, external female genitalia and functioning, androgen-producing, testes - but no uterus or fallopian tubes.

People withrepparttar 126224 rare 5-alpha reductase deficiency syndrome are born with ambiguous genitalia. They appear at first to be girls. At puberty, such a person develops testicles and his clitoris swells and becomes a penis. Hermaphrodites possess both ovaries and testicles (both, in most cases, rather undeveloped). Sometimesrepparttar 126225 ovaries and testicles are combined into a chimera called ovotestis.

Most of these individuals haverepparttar 126226 chromosomal composition of a woman together with traces ofrepparttar 126227 Y, male, chromosome. All hermaphrodites have a sizable penis, though rarely generate sperm. Some hermaphrodites develop breasts during puberty and menstruate. Very few even get pregnant and give birth.

Anne Fausto-Sterling, a developmental geneticist, professor of medical science at Brown University, and author of "Sexingrepparttar 126228 Body", postulated, in 1993, a continuum of 5 sexes to supplantrepparttar 126229 current dimorphism: males, merms (male pseudohermaphrodites), herms (true hermaphrodites), ferms (female pseudohermaphrodites), and females.

Intersexuality (hermpahroditism) is a natural human state. We are all conceived withrepparttar 126230 potential to develop into either sex. The embryonic developmental default is female. A series of triggers duringrepparttar 126231 first weeks of pregnancy placesrepparttar 126232 fetus onrepparttar 126233 path to maleness.

In rare cases, some women have a male's genetic makeup (XY chromosomes) and vice versa. But, inrepparttar 126234 vast majority of cases, one ofrepparttar 126235 sexes is clearly selected. Relics ofrepparttar 126236 stifled sex remain, though. Women haverepparttar 126237 clitoris as a kind of symbolic penis. Men have breasts (mammary glands) and nipples.



Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory Bellaonline, and Suite101 .

Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com




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