The Abandoned Child Within: On Losing and Regaining Self-Worth

Overview

Lack of self-worth is an affliction that has become of increasing concern in all industrialized societies. It is the main symptom of what psychiatry calls narcissistic disturbance, a phenomenon far more widespread than it was when Freud and Jung developed their concepts of depth psychology. The lack of commonly held values has contributed to it, but is not its cause. In this in-depth examination, Kathrin Asper, a noted psychotherapist and president of the Swiss Society for Analytical Psychology, addresses the ...
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New York, New York, U.S.A. 1993 Soft Cover First U.S. Edition Very Good Minus 0880642033 Front cover is slightly curled. Spine is tight; pgs are unmarked.

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Overview

Lack of self-worth is an affliction that has become of increasing concern in all industrialized societies. It is the main symptom of what psychiatry calls narcissistic disturbance, a phenomenon far more widespread than it was when Freud and Jung developed their concepts of depth psychology. The lack of commonly held values has contributed to it, but is not its cause. In this in-depth examination, Kathrin Asper, a noted psychotherapist and president of the Swiss Society for Analytical Psychology, addresses the real cause: lack of self-worth as a direct consequence of physical or emotional abandonment during childhood. The wounded inner child lives on in the adult, expressing himself in such symptoms as fear of abandonment, lack of feeling, grandiosity and depression, insufficient awareness of one's own life, disproportionate rage, and unclear needs. However, those suffering from a lack of self-worth tend to forget the early-life incidents that hurt their inner self: the child within suffers, but is mute. To heal the early wounds, we have to get in touch with the inner child and make her talk. In The Abandoned Child Within, Dr. Asper shows how this is accomplished. Using concrete case histories from her own practice, paintings by patients, dreams, fairy tales, and myths, she vividly describes the consequences of abandonment, and ways to unleash the creative powers of the unconscious, which can initiate a healing transformation.
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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
In The Abandoned Child Within: On Losing And Regaining Self-worth, psychotherapist and analyst Kathrin Asper presents an impressive and cogent examination of the "wounded inner child" present in every adult who has experienced physical or emotional abandonment. Asper also presents an effective therapeutic approach for overcoming the devastating consequences of such early wounds to the psyche with their consequent symptoms of impaired self-esteem, depression, disproportionate rage, and inarticulate needs. The Abandoned Child Within is a superb contribution to psychological studies.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780880642033
  • Publisher: Fromm International Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 8/1/1993
  • Series: Psychology Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 359
  • Product dimensions: 5.84 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 5
Ch. 1 Narcissistic Phenomena: Causes - Theory - Symbolism 21
Ch. 2 Abandonment in the Mother-Child Relationship 39
Ch. 3 Abandonment as Narcissistic Disorder 60
Ch. 4 Symbolic Images of Narcissism 94
Ch. 5 Symbolism: Case Material and Therapeutic Approaches 119
Ch. 6 The Family Situation: Perspectives on the Causes of the Narcissistic Disorder 128
Ch. 7 Emotional Abandonment and Its Consequences 147
Ch. 8 Approaching the Suffering 194
Ch. 9 Therapeutic Approaches 223
Ch. 10 Integrating the Unconscious 247
Ch. 11 Return and Transformation 284
Notes 319
Bibliography 336
Glossary 345
Index 348
Index of Cases Cited 360
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2001

    Flamboyant

    This book is ambitious and the subject is very topical. However, the exposition is markedly lacking in scientific rigour. Narcissism seems to include virtually every neurotic symptom and the theoretical assumptions are questionable. For instance, Asper argues that typical of the narcissists is that they don't remember their childhood. Hence, one must insist that they try to remember. This is very questionable, as patients easily can fabricate memories. For example, one patient finally remembered that her mother said to the little girl that she should 'dig her own grave every day' and that she should allow no rewards for herself and only think of others. One wonders whether this is not a fabricated image of the 'archetypal witch'. But what is most disturbing about the book is the extreme reduction of the myths and fairytales she retells. They are reduced to neurotical etiologies of a disturbed ego. However, the individuals in the fairytale are really abstractions, that is, they are 'archetypes'. What's more, the story concerns not neurotical symptoms but are in fact expressions of the hardships and problems that we all encounter during life's course. Her reductive interpretations are detrimental to the healing element of the myth. In reality, the fairytale and myth try to occasion a transcending of the trivial little ego-world so that we can see the whole perspective. But in Asper's understanding, it's the other way round. It concerns nothing but this little ego-world. Thereby the fairytales are trivialized. Nevertheless, the book contains much information about this particular type of neurosis so it is definitely not useless. /Mats W

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2001

    The Spectrum of Abuse

    This book is a vivid delight: patients' case histories, patient drawings and the paraphrenalia of a therapist's existence. Underneath this colourful maelstrom lies an hypothesis: pathological narcissism is the direct outcome of early childhood abuse and trauma, mainly in the form of abandonment or neglect. Narcissism, in other words, is a defence against hurt and emotional injury. To eradicate it, one must revert to one's roots and deal with unrsolved pain and conflict with caregivers and significant others (in other words, one's mother). This is the orthodoxy and it is supported by a large body of therapeutical experience. Yet, the author neglects to review the entire spectrum of abuse - from physical to verbal, from smothering to ignoring, from doting to absence. A child treated as a parent's precious extension, the parent's only shot at wish fulfillment and a parent's favourite toy is no less abused than a child abandoned and beaten. this book, in other words, deals with a niche - with ONE of the possible dynamics that lead to narcissism. Otherwise, this is recommended reading.

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