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Grotstein, J.S. (1992). Commentary on “Dissociative Processes and Transference-Countertransference Paradigms …” by Jody Messler Davies and Mary Gail Frawley. Psychoanal. Dial., 2(1):61-76.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 2(1):61-76

Commentary on “Dissociative Processes and Transference-Countertransference Paradigms …” by Jody Messler Davies and Mary Gail Frawley Related Papers

James S. Grotstein, M.D.

The authors have presented an in-depth view of a disorder that has only too recently come out of the closet of long-standing conspiratorial denial by psychoanalysis and by our culture generally. The degree and extent to which infant/child abuse and molestation are now being found to occur stagger the imagination. One of the many, perhaps more innocent reasons for our surprise lay in the conundrum of what really constituted infant/child abuse in the first place; molestation was clearer but was denied. It was as late as the childhood of many of us that “spare the rod and spoil the child” was considered good child-rearing practice. Even Freud himself (1911) was not critical of Schreber's father's child-rearing practices and recommendations, which by today's standards would be considered criminal. Sexual molestation, too, was known and winked at all too often.

In addition, there was always an understanding, which was carried over from the most ancient days of our cultural history, that the child, like women, was his or her father's chattel property, and along with that belief was the implicit notion that the child's and the mother's body belonged to the father as their liege lord.

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