Thursday, October 25, 2012
Dissertation on shame. Chapter 18.0 Body
All of the participants speak of the relationship between shame and the body in one form or another in the interviews. They speak of the body a total of 225 times and the body was only surpassed by shame as a theme in the interviews (appendix 4). Because of this vast interest of speaking of body when the theme for the interview is shame, seems therefore, in my opinion, to indicate that this relation may be important. Linda and Margaret speak of the importance of gaining control of their bodies. Being sexually abused is for many experienced as losing this control; the abuser takes over the control of ones body. One way of gaining control is through eating. One can shape one’s body by eating or not eating. Margaret argues that being overweight can be seen as a type of defence mechanism. The way many take ones body bake seems to be negative and destructive. Some seem to destroy their bodies instead of taking good care of it.
Linda_1: (.) ((Looks from side to side)) Some people can gain control of their bodies by destroying them. Food is one way of destroying it. It’s a conscious and controlled act.
Margaret_1: They need to have control of their bodies. So many of them eat too much and throw up afterwards. They try to have as much control as possible. They create an image of themselves and if they lose that image, then they lose control and they panic ((Bundles her hands together in front of her)). Food can be used to comfort but also as a defence. Many people are big, fat, heavy, and that can be a defence (.) one uses. They’ve got control. Like bulimia, they throw up. It’s a kind of control. That’s the way I see it. I can’t say that that’s the way it is for everyone. But that’s the way I see it. It’s a question of having control.
Food seems to one of many ways people victims may choose to destroy their bodies. Trying to take control of body again assumes that one knows what this control is. The control many victims have learned through their experience of sexual abuse is destructive, and they have maybe not been allowed to develop a healthy form for body control.
Kaare T. Pettersen
Pettersen,Kaare Torgny, 2009: An Exploration into the Concept and Phenomenon of Shamewithin the Context of Child Sexual Abuse. An Existential-Dialogical Perspectiveof Social Work within the Settings of a Norwegian Incest Centre. PhD 2009 Department of Social Work and HealthScience Faculty of Social Sciences and Technology Management. NorwegianUniversity of Science and Technology, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway. Doctoral theses 2009: 184