(2013). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 7(3):231-242
“”, behaviourally defined as the tendency to be abused, hurt, or humiliated by others or oneself, is a highly controversial term. On the one hand the term usefully describes a recognisable problem in living. A term that accurately refers to a recognisable behaviour and provides a useful, experience-near formulation is a benefit. On the other hand, the term may connote victim-blaming or be used in a victim-blaming way. Unfortunately, the term , has traditionally come with a formulation that is experience-distant, humiliating to the person to whom it is ascribed, and in my view, simply wrong. In much of the previous literature, a problematic logic has prevailed, according to which what might be called masochistic strategies for living have been viewed solely in motivational terms, involving the imputation of a to be abused, hurt, humiliated, or dominated—presumably because these are found pleasurable. This motivational definition of in pain has led to a diagnostic dismissal of the abuse and suffering of many people who have been harmed in relationships, or who inordinately hurt or punish themselves. When the pattern that has been called is reframed as an outcome of and rather than of volition, the person's experience is more understandable. This article presents a view of this pattern as post-traumatic and -based, emerging from need, specifically to the abuser, and . This interaction is at the heart of the syndrome. Finally, the article describes how contains the seeds of its own transcendence.
This tendency to be abused, hurt, or humiliated by others or oneself can range across different levels and kinds of psychopathology as well as across a dissociative continuum, from “moral”, or -driven , in an otherwise relatively well functioning person, to Dissociative Disorder (DID), or Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (DDNOS). The pattern can also characterise certain presentations of . It is the author's thesis that despite these differences in severity or type of organisation, all of these presentations are -based. The overriding formulation of this article is meant to apply to these different levels of dissociative and and is not limited to DID or DDNOS.