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Dark Matters by Ira Brenner Summary
This book takes a deeper look into the darker side of the human condition by examining the psyches of those who have been victims or survivors of heinous acts perpetrated by others. From the "personal Holocaust" of sexual abuse in the family, to the genocidal persecution during "the" Holocaust, and from the shared national horror of September 11 to the Palestinian/Israeli situation, a special model of the traumatized mind is evolved to further our understanding of such "dark matters". The traditional models of the mind fall short when dealing with extraordinary people under ordinary conditions as well as with ordinary people under extraordinary conditions. This metapsychology is organized around the defensive operations of repression or splitting. In the model proposed here, defensive altered states of consciousness, or dissociation seems more helpful. A historical perspective is offered, from Freud and Breuer, with their Studies on Hysteria, to current thinking about dissociative disorders. A developmental line of dissociation is also explored.