Saturday, October 27, 2012
Dissertation on shame. Chapter 18.3 Body as subjective experience
The way Linda speaks above about disconnecting herself from her body can in my opinion be viewed as a handling strategy (appendix 20) she developed as a child. Margaret and Linda go further with this description and argue that sexual abuse can be so painful that you choose to disconnect from the body and leave it, which in my opinion is also a handling strategy (appendix 20) for shame. You let go of your body, depart from it, and see yourself from the outside. If shame is a part of the body, it seems to be necessary for survival to let go of one’s body if one cannot grasp one’s shame. It may seem to be the only way of coping with one’s shame.
Margaret: I just can’t accept my body…I go in and out of my body…No it’s true. I go in and out of my body. Some things are so strong that I’ve been outside of my body and seen my body from above. ((Points behind her right shoulder))…The physical pain becomes too strong and then you have to close up in order to survive. You lose your body and you leave (.) because you just can’t stay in your body during the abuse, what happens is just too horrible (.) You let go of your body and just let it be ((Points with her right hand over her shoulder))
Linda: Yeah. You divide your head from your body. I also moved outside my body during the abuse…You depart from your body. You see yourself from the outside. Many people have told about experiencing the same thing here, especially when they’re playing with dolls here.
Margaret and Linda introduce here, in my opinion, an interesting perspective of the relation between mind and body and give grounds to claim that body is a subjective experience. Skårderud (1994) argues that we must re-evaluate our view of the body and mind. Our culture fragments the body from the soul, as the concept of psychosomatic illness illustrates. The concept describes the body and soul as two different elements, a dualism, and when they overlap in certain conditions, we label it psychosomatic. He argues that it is imperative that we re-evaluate our view of what the body is and restore a perception of the body as a subjective experience (Merleau-Ponty 1945/2006). When individuals describe the experience of leaving their bodies, then this must be considered to be a subjective experience and should be taken seriously. Kirkengen (1990) argues that the body is the stage where life is expressed. Fuchs (2003) argues that shame and guilt may be regarded as emotions which have incorporated the gaze and the voice of the other, respectively. The self has suffered a rupture; in shame or guilt we are rejected, separated from others, and left to ourselves.
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