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Merced, M. (2017). How Narcissistic Injury May Contribute to Reactive Violence: A Case Example Using Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. Int. J. Appl. Psychoanal. Stud., 14(1):81-96.

(2017). International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 14(1):81-96

How Narcissistic Injury May Contribute to Reactive Violence: A Case Example Using Stanley Kubrick's The Shining

Matthew Merced

To many observers, reactive violence can present as a puzzling phenomenon. Offenders often report experiencing cognitive distortions during the event. Offenders may have no history of violence, yet crime scenes are often described as “horrific.” When violence manifests, the motive often seems vastly disproportionate to any precipitating factor. Reactive violence is fueled by intense emotions, although they may not be evident before or during the event. How best to reconcile these findings and provide a parsimonious and coherent explanation? Psychoanalytic theory can illuminate the psychological processes that may underlie reactive violence. In particular, how narcissistic injury can generate impulsive aggression in vulnerable individuals. I draw upon Stanley Kubrick's film The Shining to study the phenomenon. While The Shining is a fictional horror film in which a family is tormented by supernatural forces, I argue that the horror does not emanate from paranormal sources; rather, it is found within human psychology.

[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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