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de Viñar, M.U. (2012). Political Violence: Transgenerational Inscription and Trauma. Int. J. Appl. Psychoanal. Stud., 9(2):95-108.

(2012). International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 9(2):95-108

Research Articles

Political Violence: Transgenerational Inscription and Trauma

Maren Ulriksen de Viñar

Threatened by voices by popular dissent, some South American governments used massive imprisonments, systematic torture of prisoners, executions, indictments, and forced exile to silence and intimidate thousands of men and women. This profoundly disturbed all aspects of “normal” life from the co-existence of different groups of the population to the core of the family.

The traumatic effect produced by these events, which are both repressive to, and sustained in children's personality development, and the family as a whole, cannot be ignored. This article will look at the way in which terror is imprinted upon the psyche of victims of violence, and the effects of the transmission of that imprint from one generation to the next if there is no treatment intervention. The word “mark” is used to describe this imprint, its manifestations, and its effects on the psychic life of survivors and their children. The word “inscription” is used to describe the way in which this mark is burned into the psyche, just as the tattoos of Auschwitz were burned into the skin. Four case examples will elucidate how these histories of violence disturb the individual capacity to examine reality. They will explore the ways in which the defense mechnisms, built to insure psychic survival, are strained by the struggle between keeping the secret of umentionable and irresolvable horrors and the need to restore psychic continuity.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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