Summary and Info
Betrayal underlies all psychic trauma, whether sexual abuse or profound neglect, violence or treachery, extramarital affair or embezzlement. When we betray others, we violate their confidence in us. When others betray us, they pierce the veil of our innocent reliance. Betraying and feeling betrayed are ubiquitous to the scenarios of trauma and yet surprisingly neglected as a topic of specific attention by psychoanalysis.This book fills this gap. Its first part deals with developmental aspects and notes that while the experience of betrayal might be ubiquitous in childhood, its lack of recognition by the parents is what leads to fixation upon it. The second part of the book deals with literature and elucidates the myriad ways in which the theme of betrayal appears in Shakespeare’s writings and in Oscar Wilde’s poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol. Its final part pertains to clinical matters and has chapters on the compulsion to betray others and the unconscious need to be betrayed, the betrayal of a sacred trust in the form of childhood sexual abuse, extra-marital affairs, and the betrayal of patients by their analysts in the form of boundary violations.
More About the Author
Salman Akhtar (born 31 July 1946, Uttar Pradesh) is a psychoanalyst practicing in the United States. He is an author and Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.
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