27 Slices
Medium 9781855752160

18. Victims and Victimology (I)

Williams, Arthur Hyatt Karnac Books ePub

There are individuals who evacuate seemingly unbearable states of mind into other people or into another person and then attack that person. In so doing they attack the part of themselves that has been evacuated, the part they have been unable to digest and metabolize as part of their impulse or fantasy life. After offloading it they feel relief, but this is a temporary respite, as they then feel they will be attacked by the person into whom they have evacuated the dangerous, unmanageable part of themselves. The counterattack may be by the person in receipt of the projection, or by the part which is in the projector himself or herself. This part is felt to be angry at having been gotten rid of.

Some potential victims who have been treated this way retaliate violently on their own behalf. Some, however, seem to be born victims who unconsciously, or consciously and perversely, welcome ill-treatment, even to the point of becoming murder victims. There is a distinction between the perverse masochism of finding pleasure in pain and/or the threat of pain and serious damage—in other words, a more and a less serious category. An example of the latter is the young man who persuaded some youths to crucify him in a public park. Fortunately, he was freed; only much later was it revealed that he had asked to be crucified. Some expressions of masochism, and indeed of sadism, are extremely complicated. What is happening cannot be understood until the unconscious fantasy constellation is pieced together. Usually the individual addicted to a particular kind of action knows only a part of the constellation, most of which is going on below the surface in the unconscious mind. Whenever in a repetitive sequence of action there is a dividend of pleasure, it takes a lot of therapy and a good deal of understanding in depth before that dividend can be renounced.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781855752160

16. The Micro-Environment

Williams, Arthur Hyatt Karnac Books ePub

Recently I came across a large pond that had been artificially constructed many years ago by men who were excavating gravel. When they came to the end of the gravel, a large hole was left that quickly filled with water. Thereafter an impressive micro-environment slowly developed, eventually reaching an ecological balance. There were trees around the edge, an array of plants, and a wide variety of freshwater creatures from water voles to frogs, fish, and dragonfly larvae. An oasis had formed that facilitated the settlement and breeding of diverse forms of life under conditions that favored growth and development. It was less exposed than the world around it. Although it was comfortable enough, eventually it must have been restrictive to some creatures. I began to reflect on the similarity between this micro-environment and that of the family. There is often the same protection from the outside world, interactiveness, ecological balance, and, ultimately restrictiveness. When the balance has been disturbed by forces acting within the micro-environment or impinging from the world outside the environment, homeostatic processes are set in motion to restore the balance. In the case of the family in which self-healing has failed, a point is reached when they are referred for or seek therapeutic help.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781855752160

19. Victims and Victimology (II)

Williams, Arthur Hyatt Karnac Books ePub

Someone said to Oscar Wilde, “Each man tries to kill the thing he hates.” Wilde replied, “No, each man kills the thing he loves.” Both these statements express an aspect of the truth. The hated aspect poses a threat, is experienced as a persecutor, and is a conscience arouser. It is an enemy of one’s own peace of mind and of success in life. In extreme examples in literature and in history, one finds that the categories into which the activities of a nonmitigator of murderous impulses fall are few in number. Oedipus Rex, Cain and Abel, Clytemnestra and Agamemnon, followed by Orestes and Clytemnestra, all exhibit patterns that one can discern in repeated murderous actions over millennia. Roughly, they can be matched with the states of mind of the respective villains—envy, jealousy, greed, suspicion, retaliation, revenge, or, more psychologically, paranoia. In addition, there is the confusion between a hunting approach and an amorous, courtship one, as if the two currents of human endeavor had not been sufficiendy differentiated. At base, the problem in Shakespeare’s Othello demonstrates the military dilemma: how to proceed, from within a warm, “homosexual” pattern of military comradeship, to a quite different kind of pat-tern, that of family relations and development. Under “attack”—a military kind of attack by Iago—Othello resorts to a military ruth-lessness in his attempt to settle his domestic problems, but is tactically outmaneuvered by Iago.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781855752160

1. Aggression and Death

Williams, Arthur Hyatt Karnac Books ePub

Originally, Freud stated that death was unthinkable in the unconscious mind, but was euphemistically felt to have gone away. He was forced to alter this view in light of the curiously lemminglike way in which much of the youth of Europe went to be slaughtered in the impersonal battles of World War I. Dying for their countries seemed to predominate over fighting for their countries, at least in their thoughts and fantasies. When Freud changed his mind about the ideas people have about death, he wrote “Beyond the Pleasure Principle” (1920), in which he set forth his theory of life and death insdncts. Later, he seemed to be somewhat doubtful about it all, and at one point said to his followers, “You may accept this theory or not, as you choose” (Hoffer 1952, personal communication).

Melanie Klein took Freud’s theory of life and death as one of the cornerstones of her work, both dieoretical and clinical. The death instinct and the life instinct, she stated, began from the beginning of extrauterine life (work on prenatal life, particularly in Northern Italy, suggests that these two polarities begin a long time before birth).

See All Chapters
Medium 9781855752160

2. The Death Constellation (I)

Williams, Arthur Hyatt Karnac Books ePub

Introduction to the Problem

For many years I have been endeavoring to disentangle the complicated ingrethents that contribute to the relatively uncommon crime of homicide. Although I have collected starting and at times shocking data in great quantities, there appeared to be no precise, underlying formula. Years ago I suggested the possibility of an intrapsychic patterning to which, naively, I gave the name blueprint for murder. Although this phrase was too sensational perhaps, it may be useful here. What I used to term a “blueprint” is quite common in people who do not commit discernible attacks on life processes. It also seems to be present in more people who commit crime than is readily recognized. What goes on in the inner worlds of conscious, and especially, unconscious, fantasy in these people requires investigation. Is homicide only one of the possible end points? Attempted suicide is common in the premurderous histories of persons incarcerated for homicide. Also, a large number of murderers attempt to or actually commit suicide after committing homicide. During the course of serious and persistent at-tempts to give psychotherapy to convicted murderers in one of Great Britain’s prisons, I observed that when the responsibility for the crime begins to be recognized and owned, the murderer usually develops hypochondriacal complaints accompanied by an increased incidence of psychosomatic illness ranging from colds to rectal bleeding or even, in one case, a radiologically confirmed peptic ulcer. Another man developed leukemia and died, though cause and effect cannot be proved.

See All Chapters

See All Slices