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2013 Movies, accompanied by text from Lloyd DeMause



"Her" 

The power of this fusion fantasy can be seen in a simple experiment that has been repeated over and over again by Silverman and his group. They showed subliminal messages to hundreds of people, and found that only one—"MOMMY AND I ARE ONE”—had an enormous emotional effect, reducing their anxieties and pathologies and their smoking and drinking addictions measurably. “Daddy and I are one” had no effect. 



"Iron Man 3"

Warriors become fused with the powerful mother that masturbated them during menstruation; they then decorate themselves with menstrual blood-red paint so they can appropriate the fearful power of their Killer Mothers.

Wars in early civilizations are fought on behalf of and against Killer Goddesses, bloodthirsty mothers like Tiamat, Ishtar, Inanna, Isis or Kali. Typical is the Aztec mother-goddess Hiutzilopochtli, who had “mouths all over her body” that cried out to be fed the blood of soldiers. Scholars of antiquity conclude: “The oldest deities of warfare and destruction were feminine, not masculine.” Jungian analysts called her the Terrible Mother archetype, a Dragon-Mother with “a mouth bristling with teeth…so that it may devour us.”  Ovid captures the mother of antiquity by picturing Pentheus crying out “Oh Mother, gaze at me! She screamed at him, and shook her flying hair. Then Agave ripped his head from fallen shoulders, raised it up [and] cried, ‘Here is my work, my victory.’”


That wars and sacrifices also act out the child’s revenge against the mother can be seen in the details of the sacrifice of women (about a third of all the sacrifices), where female victims first make a prodigious show of their female power, then are laid down on their backs and their breasts cut open and their bodies torn apart. The two aspects of the Killer Goddess are demonstrated when the Aztec warrior takes the sword that he had used to behead the Goddess victim and “terrifies and annihilates our enemies with it.



"Gravity"
Furthermore, the weight of the fetus pressing down into the pelvis can compress blood vessels supplying the placenta, producing additional placental failure. Practice contractions near birth give the fetus periodic "squeezes," decreasing oxygen level even further, while birth itself is so hypoxic that "hypoxia of a certain degree and duration is a normal phenomenon in every delivery," not just in more severe cases. The effects on the fetus of this extreme hypoxia are dramatic: normal fetal breathing stops, fetal heart rate accelerates, then decelerates, and the fetus thrashes about frantically in a life-and death struggle to liberate itself from its terrifying asphyxiation.

It is one of the most basic principles of psychoanalysis that massive quantities of stimulation, particularly intensely painful experiences, result in a severe "trauma" for the individual, particularly when the ego is too immature to prevent itself from being overwhelmed by the affects. That fetal distress is traumatic can hardly be doubted, as the fetus has as yet none of the psychological defense mechanisms to handle massive anxiety and rage. Therefore, as psychoanalysts long ago found true of all traumatizations-from early enema-giving to war-time shocks or concentration camp experiences-the psyche then needs to endlessly re-experience the trauma in a specific "repetition compulsion" which, as Greenacre first pointed out, is similar to "imprinting" in lower animals. As no psychic apparatus is as open to trauma as that of the helpless fetus, no repetition compulsion is as strong as that which results from the "imprinting" of the fetal drama of repeated feelings of asphyxiation, blood pollution, and cleansing, climaxed by a cataclysmic battle and a liberation through a painful birth process. Although the form that this endlessly repeated death-and-rebirth fetal drama takes in later life is determined by the kind of childrearing which is experienced, the basic "imprinted" fetal drama can nevertheless always be discovered behind all the other overlays, pre-oedioal or oedipal.
The "imprinted" fetal drama, then, is the matrix into which is poured all later childhood experiences, as the child works over the basic questions posed by his experiences in the womb: Is the world hopelessly divided between nurturant and poisonous objects? Am I to be eternally helpless and dependent on the life-giving blood of others? Must all good feelings be interrupted by painful ones? Do I always have to battle for every pleasure? Will I have the support and room I need to grow? Can one ever really rely on another? Is entropy the law of my world, with everything doomed to get more crowded and polluted? Must I spend my life endlessly killing enemies?



"12 Years a Slave"
It is only when one realizes that we all carry around with us persecutory social alters that become manifest in groups that such unexplained experiments as those described in Stanley Milgram's classic study Obedience to Authority become understandable. In this experiment, people were asked to be "teachers" and, whenever their "learners" made mistakes, to give them massive electric shocks. The "learners," who were only acting the part, were trained to give out pained cries even though the "electric shocks" were non-existent. Of the 40 "teachers," 65 percent delivered the maximum amount of shock even as they watched the "learners" scream out in pain and plead to be released, despite their having been told they didn't have to step up the shock level. The "teachers" often trembled, groaned and were extremely upset at having to inflict the painful shocks, but continued to do so nonetheless. That the "teachers" believed the shocks were real is confirmed by another version of the experiment in which real shocks were inflicted upon a little puppy, who howled in protest; the obedience statistics were similar.

Social scientists have been puzzled by Milgram's experiments, wondering why people were so easily talked into inflicting pain so gratuitously. The real explanation is that, by joining a group-the "university experiment"-they switched into their social alters and merged with their own sadistic internalized persecutor, which was quite willing to take responsibility for ordering pain inflicted upon others. Their "struggle with themselves" over whether to obey was really a struggle between their social alters and their main selves. Although many subsequent experiments varied the conditions forobedience, what Milgram did not do is try the experiment without the social trance. If he had not framed it as a group experience, if he had simply on his own authority walked up to each individual, alone, and, without alluding to a university or any other group, asked him or her to come to his home and give massive amounts of electric shock to punish someone, he would not have been obeyed, because they would not have switched into their social alters. The crucial element of the experiments was the existence of the group-as-terrifying-parent, the all-powerful university. Not surprisingly, when the experiment was repeated using children-who go into trance and switch into traumatized content more easily than adults-they were even more obedient in inflicting the maximum shock. Subjects were even obedient when they themselves were the victims: 54 percent turned a dial upon command to the maximum limit when they had been told it was inflicting damage upon their ears that could lead to their own deafness, and 74 percent ate food they thought could harm them, thus confirming that they were truly in a dissociated state, not just "obeying" authority or trying to hurt others, and that it was actually an alternate self doing the hurting of the main self. The only time they refused to obey was when experimenters pretended to act out a group rebellion, since the social trance was broken. Milgram could also have tested whether it was simple obedience that was really being tested by asking his subjects to reach into their pockets and pay some money to the learners. They would have refused to do so, because they weren't "obeying" any old command, they were using the experimental situation to hurt scapegoats.



"Filth"
The only neurobiological condition inherited by boys that affects later violence is they have a smaller corpus callosum, the part of the brain that connects the right and the left hemisphere. The larger corpus callosum of infant girls allows them to work through trauma and neglect more easily than boys. Furthermore, boys who are abused had a 25 percent reduction in sections of the corpus callosum, while girls did not. This means boys actually need more love and caretaking than girls as they grow up. If they do not receive enough interpersonal attention from their caretakers they suffer from damaged prefrontal cortices (self control, empathy) and from hyperactive amygdalae (fear centers), their corpus  callosum is reduced further, and they have reduced serotonin levels (calming ability) and increased corticosterone production (stress hormone). All these factors make them have weak selves, reduced empathy, less control over impulsive violence and far more fears than girls.

The central psychobiological question, then, is this: Are boys given more love and attention than girls by their caretakers in order to help them offset their greater needs? The answer, of course, is just the opposite: boys are given less care and support, from everyone in the family and in society, and they are abused far more than girls, so by the time they are three years of age they become twice as violent as girls. Boys’ greater violence by this time, including their propensity to form dominance gangs and to endlessly “play war,” are the results of their greater abuse and distancing by adults and being subject to demands to “grow up” and “be manly” and “not be a crybaby” and not need attachment attitudes taught by their parents, teachers and coaches. By age four boys’ play is full of provocations that test their selfworth: “At 4 years of age, girls’ insults to one another are infrequent and minor…Boy/boy insults, however, are numerous and tough.” The so-called “aggressiveness” usually ascribed to boys is in fact wholly defensive, as they try to ward off their greater feelings of  insecurity and hopelessness. It isn’t “aggression” males display; it’s bravadodefensive testing and disproof of their fears.

The mother, of course, is the focal point of this widespread distancing and insecure attachment pattern. High levels of violence and of testosterone have been shown to be associated with poorer relationships with mothers, not fathers, since mothers are the primary caretakers in most families (even in America today, fathers spend only an average of eleven minutes a day with their children). It is not just genetics but more importantly maternal environment that Tronick and Weinberg blame when they see from their studies that “Infant boys are more emotionally reactive than girls. They display more positive as well as negative affect, focus more on the mother, and display more signals expressing escape and distress and demands for contact than do girls.” This is because from infancy boys are expected to “just grow up” and not need as much emotional care as girlsindeed, boys are regularly encouraged not to express any of their feelings, since this is seen as “weak” or “babyish” in boys. While mothers may sometimes dominate their little girls and expect them to share their emotional problems, they distance their boys by not making contact with them and expect them to “be a man.” This begins from birth: “Over the first three months of life, a baby girl’s skills in eye contact and mutual facial gazing will increase by over 400 percent, whereas facial gazing skills in a boy during this time will not increase at all.” Boys grow up with less attachment strengths because careful studies show that mothers look at their boys less, because both parents hit their boys two or three times as much as they do their girls, because boys are at much higher risk than girls for serious violence against them, and because boys are continuously told to be “tough,” not to be a “wimp” or a “weakling,” not to be “soft” or a “sissy.” As Tom Brown told his chum when he wanted him to appear more manly: “Don’t ever talk about home, or your mother and sisters…you’ll get bullied.” Real boys don’t admit they need their mothers. When William Pollack researched his book Real Boys’ Voices, he asked boys “Have you ever been called a ‘wuss,’ ‘wimp,’ or ‘fag’? ‘Oh, that,’ one boy said. ‘That happens every day. I thought it was just a part of being a boy!’” Another said, “Boys are just as sensitive as girls are, but we’re not allowed to show our feelings. We’re put in this narrow box and if we try to break out, we’re made fun of, or threatened.’” Pollack accurately shows boys are not more “aggressive”—they are just more often shamed if they show their feelings. He accurately says “bravado is a defense against shame we too often mistake for ‘badness’ what is really covert sadness and frustration about having to fulfill an impossible test of self.” This intense sadness and rage at being abandoned is deeply unconscious, dissociated—what Garbarino terms “the emotional amnesia of lost boys.”




But the crucial variable is the distancing and lack of care given to boys by most mothers in all societies. Whether it is because mothers are female and can more closely identify with the needs of their girls or because the boys are male like their husbands and are blamed for their failings and lack of help in child care or any one of dozens of other reasons that we will examine in the next chapter, mothers teach their boys that “it is not enough to separate from her; he must make a total, wrenching split [and] exorcise any aspect of his mother from his own personality….The battle between establishing distance and clinging to dependence takes hold of a boy almost at the moment that he learns to differentiate himself from his mother or sister as a male, rather than a female.” The only way boys sometimes are allowed to get close to their mothers is when they are sicktimes that are remembered by men as blissful since only then can they admit their desperate need for nurturing. In contrast, “over 80 percent of the men in my study remembered a recurring childhood nightmare of coming home from school and finding their mothers gone. With mounting terror, the little boy would run from room to room looking for his mother…most of the men described memories of a deep loneliness, feelings of being totally helpless.”

Texts
"Foundations of Psychohistory"
"Emotional Life of Nations" 
"The Origins of War in Child Abuse" 

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