The Psychology of Torture - Part II

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1

Bystanders resentrepparttar tortured because they make them feel guilty and ashamed for having done nothing to preventrepparttar 126108 atrocity. The victims threaten their sense of security and their much-needed belief in predictability, justice, and rule of law. The victims, on their part, do not believe that it is possible to effectively communicate to "outsiders" what they have been through. The torture chambers are "another galaxy". This is how Auschwitz was described byrepparttar 126109 author K. Zetnik in his testimony inrepparttar 126110 Eichmann trial in Jerusalem in 1961.

Kenneth Pope in "Torture", a chapter he wrote forrepparttar 126111 "Encyclopedia of Women and Gender: Sex Similarities and Differences andrepparttar 126112 Impact of Society on Gender", quotes Harvard psychiatrist Judith Herman:

"It is very tempting to takerepparttar 126113 side ofrepparttar 126114 perpetrator. Allrepparttar 126115 perpetrator asks is thatrepparttar 126116 bystander do nothing. He appeals torepparttar 126117 universal desire to see, hear, and speak no evil. The victim, onrepparttar 126118 contrary, asksrepparttar 126119 bystander to sharerepparttar 126120 burden of pain. The victim demands action, engagement, and remembering."

But, more often, continued attempts to repress fearful memories result in psychosomatic illnesses (conversion). The victim wishes to forgetrepparttar 126121 torture, to avoid re-experiencingrepparttar 126122 often life threatening abuse and to shield his human environment fromrepparttar 126123 horrors. In conjunction withrepparttar 126124 victim's pervasive distrust, this is frequently interpreted as hypervigilance, or even paranoia. It seems thatrepparttar 126125 victims can't win. Torture is forever.

Note – Why Do People Torture?

We should distinguish functional torture fromrepparttar 126126 sadistic variety. The former is calculated to extract information fromrepparttar 126127 tortured or to punish them. It is measured, impersonal, efficient, and disinterested.

The latter –repparttar 126128 sadistic variety – fulfilsrepparttar 126129 emotional needs ofrepparttar 126130 perpetrator.

People who find themselves caught up in anomic states – for instance, soldiers in war or incarcerated inmates – tend to feel helpless and alienated. They experience a partial or total loss of control. They have been rendered vulnerable, powerless, and defenseless by events and circumstances beyond their influence.

Torture amounts to exerting an absolute and all-pervasive domination ofrepparttar 126131 victim's existence. It is a coping strategy employed by torturers who wish to reassert control over their lives and, thus, to re-establish their mastery and superiority. By subjugatingrepparttar 126132 tortured – they regain their self-confidence and regulate their sense of self-worth.

Other tormentors channel their negative emotions – pent up aggression, humiliation, rage, envy, diffuse hatred – and displace them. The victim becomes a symbol of everything that's wrong inrepparttar 126133 torturer's life andrepparttar 126134 situation he finds himself caught in. The act of torture amounts to misplaced and violent venting.

Many perpetrate heinous acts out of a wish to conform. Torturing others is their way of demonstrating obsequious obeisance to authority, group affiliation, colleagueship, and adherence torepparttar 126135 same ethical code of conduct and common values. They bask inrepparttar 126136 praise that is heaped on them by their superiors, fellow workers, associates, team mates, or collaborators. Their need to belong is so strong that it overpowers ethical, moral, or legal considerations.

Many offenders derive pleasure and satisfaction from sadistic acts of humiliation. To these, inflicting pain is fun. They lack empathy and so their victim's agonized reactions are merely cause for much hilarity.

Moreover, sadism is rooted in deviant sexuality. The torture inflicted by sadists is bound to involve perverted sex (rape, homosexual rape, voyeurism, exhibitionism, pedophilia, fetishism, and other paraphilias). Aberrant sex, unlimited power, excruciating pain – these arerepparttar 126137 intoxicating ingredients ofrepparttar 126138 sadistic variant of torture.

Still, torture rarely occurs where it does not haverepparttar 126139 sanction and blessing ofrepparttar 126140 authorities, whether local or national. A permissive environment is sine qua non. The more abnormalrepparttar 126141 circumstances,repparttar 126142 less normativerepparttar 126143 milieu,repparttar 126144 furtherrepparttar 126145 scene ofrepparttar 126146 crime is from public scrutiny –repparttar 126147 more is egregious torture likely to occur. This is especially true in totalitarian societies whererepparttar 126148 use of physical force to discipline or eliminate dissent is an acceptable practice.

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

The Need to Feel Special

Written by Margaret Paul, Ph.D.

Continued from page 1


* Attend to your feelings throughoutrepparttar day and explore what you may be doing that is causing painful feelings, rather than making others responsible for your feelings.

* Attend to your own needs rather than expecting others to meet your needs.

* Accept yourself rather than judge yourself. Validate yourself, approve of yourself – tell yourselfrepparttar 126107 things you want to hear from others. Value your talents and gifts.

* Value your intrinsic worth rather than just your looks or performance – your kindness, compassion, creativity, caring.

* Behave in ways that you value – being loving, kind, integreous, compassionate, understanding, caring.

* Pursue work you love, work that fulfills you, if possible.


* Feed yourself well to maintain health and appropriate weight.

* Get enough rest and exercise.

* Create balance between work and play and creative time.

* Make sure you are physically safe such as when riding a motorcycle.


* Make sure you are financially independent rather than dependent upon another, if physically able to do so.

* Spend within your means to avoidrepparttar 126108 fear and stress of debt.


* Stand up for yourself and speak your truth rather than complying, defending or resisting inrepparttar 126109 face of others’ demands or criticism. Don’t be a victim.

* Refrain from blaming others, with anger and criticism, for your feelings and behavior. Don’t be a victim.


* Do what you say you are going to do regarding time and chores.

* Make sure your living space and work environment are clean and tidy, and esthetically pleasing.


* Takerepparttar 126110 time to connect withrepparttar 126111 love and truth of God/Higher Power.

* Take time throughoutrepparttar 126112 day to bringrepparttar 126113 love down torepparttar 126114 level of your feeling self – your Inner Child.

Treating yourself in these loving ways will eventually result in feeling internally special rather than needing others to make you feel special.

As Jennifer practiced making herself special, she discovered that her relationships with others were becoming stronger and more fulfilling. People were no longer pulling away from her, resisting her, or defending themselves against her demands for attention. Her behavior naturally and gradually changed with others when she was treat herself as a special person.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and co-author of eight books, including "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?" She is the co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding healing process. Learn Inner Bonding now! Visit her web site for a FREE Inner Bonding course: or Phone sessions available.

    <Back to Page 1 © 2005
Terms of Use