Once more, Judith Herman’s book, Trauma and Recovery [*affiliate link], provides us with wonderful insight into why so many church leaders minimize, trivialize, and dismiss abuse victims. Listen to Herman’s summation here of what Sigmund Freud found in the early years of his research on “hysteria” (i.e., Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder):
This empathic identification with his patients’ reactions is characteristic of Freud’s early writings on hysteria. His case histories reveal a man possessed of such passionate curiosity that he was willing to overcome his own defensiveness, and willing to listen. What he heard was appalling. Repeatedly his patients told him of sexual assault, abuse, and incest.
Following back the thread of memory, Freud and his patients uncovered major traumatic events of childhood concealed beneath the more recent, often relatively trivial experiences that had actually triggered the onset of hysterical symptoms. By 1896 Freud believed he had found the source. In a…
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