Fathers Who Fail: Shame and Psychopathology in the Family System

Fathers Who Fail: Shame and Psychopathology in the Family System

by Melvin R. Lansky
     
 

ISBN-10: 0881631051

ISBN-13: 9780881631050

Pub. Date: 10/28/1992

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

Despite the burgeoning literature on the role of the father in child development and on fathering as a developmental stage, surprisingly little has been written about the psychiatrically impaired father. In Fathers Who Fail, Melvin Lansky remedies this glaring lacuna in the literature. Drawing on contemporary psychoanalysis, family systems theory, and the

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Overview

Despite the burgeoning literature on the role of the father in child development and on fathering as a developmental stage, surprisingly little has been written about the psychiatrically impaired father. In Fathers Who Fail, Melvin Lansky remedies this glaring lacuna in the literature. Drawing on contemporary psychoanalysis, family systems theory, and the sociology of conflict,
he delineates the spectrum of psychopathological predicaments that undermine the ability of the father to be a father. Out of his sensitive integration of the intrapsychic and intrafamilial contexts of paternal failure emerges a richly textured portrait of psychiatrically impaired fathers, of fathers who fail.

Lansky's probing discussion of narcissistic equilibrium in the family system enables him to chart the natural history common to the symptomatic impulsive actions of impaired fathers. He then considers specific manifestations of paternal dysfunction within this shared framework of heightened familial conflict and the failure of intrafamilial defenses to common shame. Domestic violence, suicide, the intensification of trauma, posttraumatic nightmares, catastrophic reactions in organic brain syndrome, and the murder of a spouse are among the major "symptoms" that he explores. In each instance, Lansky carefully sketches the progression of vulnerability and turbulence from the father's personality, to the family system, and thence to the symptomatic eruption in question. In his concluding chapter, he comments tellingly on the unconscious obstacles - on the part of both patients and therapists - to treating impaired fathers. The obstacles cut across different clinical modalities, underscoring the need for multimodal responses to fathers who fail.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780881631050
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
10/28/1992
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
270
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Ch. 1Symptom, System, and Personality in Fathers Who Fail3
Ch. 2The Paternal Imago17
Ch. 3Shame in the Family Relations of the Borderline Patient37
Ch. 4Blame in the Marital Dyad51
Ch. 5Preoccupation as a Mode of Pathologic Distance Regulation77
Ch. 6The Explanation of Impulsive Action93
Ch. 7The Borderline Father: Reconstructions of Young Adulthood113
Ch. 8The Psychiatrically Hospitalized Father131
Ch. 9Violence, Shame, and the Family144
Ch. 10Shame and Domestic Violence158
Ch. 11Murder of a Spouse: A Family Systems Viewpoint180
Ch. 12Shame and the Problem of Suicide: A Family Systems Perspective195
Ch. 13Escalation of Trauma in the Family of the Patient with Organic Brain Disease210
Ch. 14Posttraumatic Nightmares and the Family223
Ch. 15Conflict and Resistance in the Treatment of Psychiatrically Hospitalized Fathers237
References247
Index253

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