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Soul Murder: Persecution in the Family Hardcover – 1973
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Son of an eminent pedagogue , his father's numerous works on bringing up children (although highly esteemed at the time) are quite horrifying to the modern reader. From various contraptions to force the child to stand or sleep in a 'correct' position to compelling his offspring from earliest infancy to subjugate his every whim to that which was deemed permissible by his parent.
And yet - and this is the crux of the matter - the child was not to go off and brood dark, vengeful thoughts against the parent: "Any 'spite', 'bitterness' or 'anger' the child feels towards his punisher must be repressed."
I'm not a psychologist and found some paragraphs rather hard to grasp (but it's a shortish book and generally quite readable) but it was immensely interesting to see how the patient blamed God for the persecutions he felt he suffered, instead of his father. Also to see Schatzman's conclusion that his father's works had an impact on Nazi thinking later on.
It's mystifying that Schreber senior's works had such import when not only did one son go mad, but the other committed suicide.
Well, just to be safe, I'll copy my own review from the other page at amazon:
This book is amazing. Beyond being an intellectual and psychological mystery story, the book provides deep insight into the nature of the mind's responses to childhood trauma. Schatzman develops a simple, even elegant, approach and terminology ("transforms") for thinking about the symbolic distortions, including frank delusions, that can occur as a result of trauma. Perhaps I should put "delusions" in quotation marks because (in opposition to the widespread psychiatric notion that such delusions do not correspond to reality) Schatzman shows how they can reflect painful childhood realities in distorted but still highly accurate and meaningful ways. The book also has important implications for understanding religion and even certain philosophical ideas, which can reflect cultural patterns of childhood mistreatment, and Schatzman discusses some of these subjects, at the end of the book, in an extremely interesting and readable way. Until this book returns to print, therapists and students of trauma and also of religion should either obtain the book used or take a copy out of the library (and photocopy and bind it for reference!). It is essential reading on trauma, and psychology, and therapy, and the mind's capacity to symbolize, and religion. A masterpiece.