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Posts Tagged ‘psychology’

In a sea of recovery memoirs, each one more determined than the next to provide a blueprint for how to recover from the unspeakable, Meera Atkinson’s recently released Traumata stands out like a welcome sore thumb.

Meera Atkinson's TraumataIn tight evocative prose, it lays bare the mutually sustaining relationship between trauma and patriarchy and asks us to look at the ways in which patriarchy creates, sustains and feeds voraciously off the pains of those most impacted by misogyny, racism, and capitalism.

you can read the rest of this review here at Eureka Street.

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The story of how psychology framed women for their own assaults began, as so many of psychology’s stories do, with some trapped animals. In the late 1960s, psychologist Martin Seligman conducted a series of behavioural experiments with dogs. He electrically shocked them at random and observed their responses.

After being locked in cages and subjected to pain that was unpredictable and uncontrollable, the dogs eventually gave up their attempts to escape, even when their cage doors were opened. In a now classic case of reframing, Seligman coined the term “learned helplessness” to describe their responses.

This new theory was incredibly attractive. It neatly and conveniently located the problem in the victims of violence, and manipulated their reality-based perceptions of a toxic and life-threatening environment.

Learned helplessness was such a socially palatable label for repeated victimisation that it’s still regularly applied to many victims of social, institutional and interpersonal violence. This includes, most notably, women subjected to domestic violence.

Like the slippery concepts of low self-esteem, Stockholm syndrome, co-dependence or traumatic bonding, learned helplessness has entered our vernacular. It has swallowed up socially accurate explanations for violence, until nothing is left but to blame the victim.

You can read the rest of the article here

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