Dissociation : Volume 10, No. 4, p. 240-245 : Masochism: a bridge to the other side of abuse

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Title: Dissociation : Volume 10, No. 4, p. 240-245 : Masochism: a bridge to the other side of abuse
Author: Howell, Elizabeth F., 1946-
Abstract: Masochism is a useful and meaningful term that can and should be rescued from the theoretical morass in which it has been buried. Victim-blaming connotations stemming from its historical linkage to the motivational concept of pleasure in pain disappear when masochism is reframed as an outcome of dissociation rather than of volition. In concert with an ever-increasing understanding of the centrality of dissociation in various types of psychopathology (Ross, 1986; Beahrs, 1982; Davies & Frawley, 1994; Putnam, 1997; Waites, 1993; Watkins & Watkins, 1997), this article presents a view of masochism as dissociation-based. It also describes the emergence of masochism from attachment need (specifically, attachment to the abuser); and how the interaction of attachment need with dissociation is at the heart of the syndrome. It then shows how masochism contains the seeds of its own transcendence. Recent research (Dell, 1997) and theory (Blizard, 1997; Blizard & Bluhm,1994) suggest that Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and Dissociative Disorder NOS (DDNOS) are heavily laden with masochistic (self-defeating) psychopathology. Although masochism is not limited to these diagnoses, dissociative processes appear to be central to the development of masochistic psychopathology.
Description: p. 240-245
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1794/1809
Date: 1997-12


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