The Psychology of Torture - Part I

Written by Sam Vaknin

There is one place in which one's privacy, intimacy, integrity and inviolability are guaranteed – one's body, a unique temple and a familiar territory of sensa and personal history. The torturer invades, defiles and desecrates this shrine. He does so publicly, deliberately, repeatedly and, often, sadistically and sexually, with undisguised pleasure. Hencerepparttar all-pervasive, long-lasting, and, frequently, irreversible effects and outcomes of torture.

In a way,repparttar 126209 torture victim's own body is rendered his worse enemy. It is corporeal agony that compelsrepparttar 126210 sufferer to mutate, his identity to fragment, his ideals and principles to crumble. The body becomes an accomplice ofrepparttar 126211 tormentor, an uninterruptible channel of communication, a treasonous, poisoned territory.

It fosters a humiliating dependency ofrepparttar 126212 abused onrepparttar 126213 perpetrator. Bodily needs denied – sleep, toilet, food, water – are wrongly perceived byrepparttar 126214 victim asrepparttar 126215 direct causes of his degradation and dehumanization. As he sees it, he is rendered bestial not byrepparttar 126216 sadistic bullies around him but by his own flesh.

The concept of "body" can easily be extended to "family", or "home". Torture is often applied to kin and kith, compatriots, or colleagues. This intends to disruptrepparttar 126217 continuity of "surroundings, habits, appearance, relations with others", asrepparttar 126218 CIA put it in one of its manuals. A sense of cohesive self-identity depends crucially onrepparttar 126219 familiar andrepparttar 126220 continuous. By attacking both one's biological body and one's "social body",repparttar 126221 victim's psyche is strained torepparttar 126222 point of dissociation.

Beatrice Patsalides describes this transmogrification thus in "Ethics ofrepparttar 126223 Unspeakable: Torture Survivors in Psychoanalytic Treatment":

"Asrepparttar 126224 gap betweenrepparttar 126225 'I' andrepparttar 126226 'me' deepens, dissociation and alienation increase. The subject that, under torture, was forced intorepparttar 126227 position of pure object has lost his or her sense of interiority, intimacy, and privacy. Time is experienced now, inrepparttar 126228 present only, and perspective – that which allows for a sense of relativity – is foreclosed. Thoughts and dreams attackrepparttar 126229 mind and invaderepparttar 126230 body as ifrepparttar 126231 protective skin that normally contains our thoughts, gives us space to breathe in betweenrepparttar 126232 thought andrepparttar 126233 thing being thought about, and separates between inside and outside, past and present, me and you, was lost."

Torture robsrepparttar 126234 victim ofrepparttar 126235 most basic modes of relating to reality and, thus, isrepparttar 126236 equivalent of cognitive death. Space and time are warped by sleep deprivation. The self ("I") is shattered. The tortured have nothing familiar to hold on to: family, home, personal belongings, loved ones, language, name. Gradually, they lose their mental resilience and sense of freedom. They feel alien – unable to communicate, relate, attach, or empathize with others.

Torture splinters early childhood grandiose narcissistic fantasies of uniqueness, omnipotence, invulnerability, and impenetrability. But it enhancesrepparttar 126237 fantasy of merger with an idealized and omnipotent (though not benign) other –repparttar 126238 inflicter of agony. The twin processes of individuation and separation are reversed.

Sex or Gender - Part I

Written by Sam Vaknin

Alan Pease, author of a book titled "Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps", believes that women are spatially-challenged compared to men. The British firm, Admiral Insurance, conducted a study of half a million claims. They found that "women were almost twice as likely as men to have a collision in a car park, 23 percent more likely to hit a stationary car, and 15 percent more likely to reverse into another vehicle" (Reuters).

Yet gender "differences" are oftenrepparttar outcomes of bad scholarship. Consider Admiral insurance's data. As Britain's Automobile Association (AA) correctly pointed out - women drivers tend to make more short journeys around towns and shopping centers and these involve frequent parking. Hence their ubiquity in certain kinds of claims. Regarding women's alleged spatial deficiency, in Britain, girls have been outperforming boys in scholastic aptitude tests - including geometry and maths - since 1988.

Onrepparttar 126208 other wing ofrepparttar 126209 divide, Anthony Clare, a British psychiatrist and author of "On Men" wrote:

"Atrepparttar 126210 beginning ofrepparttar 126211 21st century it is difficult to avoidrepparttar 126212 conclusion that men are in serious trouble. Throughoutrepparttar 126213 world, developed and developing, antisocial behavior is essentially male. Violence, sexual abuse of children, illicit drug use, alcohol misuse, gambling, all are overwhelmingly male activities. The courts and prisons bulge with men. When it comes to aggression, delinquent behavior, risk taking and social mayhem, men win gold."

Men also mature later, die earlier, are more susceptible to infections and most types of cancer, are more likely to be dyslexic, to suffer from a host of mental health disorders, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and to commit suicide.

In her book, "Stiffed: The Betrayal ofrepparttar 126214 American Man", Susan Faludi describes a crisis of masculinity followingrepparttar 126215 breakdown of manhood models and work and family structures inrepparttar 126216 last five decades. Inrepparttar 126217 film "Boys don't Cry", a teenage girl binds her breasts and actsrepparttar 126218 male in a caricatural relish of stereotypes of virility. Being a man is merely a state of mind,repparttar 126219 movie implies.

But what does it really mean to be a "male" or a "female"? Are gender identity and sexual preferences genetically determined? Can they be reduced to one's sex? Or are they amalgams of biological, social, and psychological factors in constant interaction? Are they immutable lifelong features or dynamically evolving frames of self-reference?

Certain traits attributed to one's sex are surely better accounted for by cultural factors,repparttar 126220 process of socialization, gender roles, and what George Devereux called "ethnopsychiatry" in "Basic Problems of Ethnopsychiatry" (University of Chicago Press, 1980). He suggested to dividerepparttar 126221 unconscious intorepparttar 126222 id (the part that was always instinctual and unconscious) andrepparttar 126223 "ethnic unconscious" (repressed material that was once conscious). The latter is mostly molded by prevailing cultural mores and includes all our defense mechanisms and most ofrepparttar 126224 superego.

So, how can we tell whether our sexual role is mostly in our blood or in our brains?

The scrutiny of borderline cases of human sexuality - notablyrepparttar 126225 transgendered or intersexed - can yield clues as torepparttar 126226 distribution and relative weights of biological, social, and psychological determinants of gender identity formation.

The results of a study conducted by Uwe Hartmann, Hinnerk Becker, and Claudia Rueffer-Hesse in 1997 and titled "Self and Gender: Narcissistic Pathology and Personality Factors in Gender Dysphoric Patients", published inrepparttar 126227 "International Journal of Transgenderism", "indicate significant psychopathological aspects and narcissistic dysregulation in a substantial proportion of patients." Are these "psychopathological aspects" merely reactions to underlying physiological realities and changes? Could social ostracism and labeling have induced them inrepparttar 126228 "patients"?

The authors conclude:

"The cumulative evidence of our study ... is consistent withrepparttar 126229 view that gender dysphoria is a disorder ofrepparttar 126230 sense of self as has been proposed by Beitel (1985) or Pfäfflin (1993). The central problem in our patients is about identity andrepparttar 126231 self in general andrepparttar 126232 transsexual wish seems to be an attempt at reassuring and stabilizingrepparttar 126233 self-coherence which in turn can lead to a further destabilization ifrepparttar 126234 self is already too fragile. In this viewrepparttar 126235 body is instrumentalized to create a sense of identity andrepparttar 126236 splitting symbolized inrepparttar 126237 hiatus betweenrepparttar 126238 rejected body-self and other parts ofrepparttar 126239 self is more between good and bad objects than between masculine and feminine."

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