By Arthur Hyatt-Williams

The road that separates those that kill from those that basically give it some thought, and from those that injure themselves, is frequently thinner than we think. Convicted murderers serving life-sentences in England are one of the matters of this in-depth mental learn of what makes humans kill. 350 pages.

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Extra resources for Cruelty, violence and murder : understanding the criminal mind

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Some mention needs to be made of the way in which a victim is chosen by his or her assailant. Sometimes a victim is a person hated, wanted, or simply in the way. This is the direct method of choice. Sometimes the victim is chosen narcissistically, that is to say, in the image of the self of the aggressor. Sometimes the victim is chosen in the image of the hated parent, wife, sibling, or child who is also loved, so that a dangerous situation is compounded by the fact that the scapegoat victim chosen for attack is not loved, but receives only hatred and destructiveness.

At best, there is a transformation of the death constellation brought about by work at the depressive position, so that the person with such a modified psychic balance is less dangerous to himself or others. In some, it can be said that there is minimal risk. 2. pressure toward action of the impulses renders the situation less dangerous as far as acting out in a life-risking way is concerned. It must be emphasized, however, that risk of action is exacerbated at times of crises. Such times are menopause, the male climacterium, retirement, bereavement, 1054of employment, being left by a spouse, and so on.

It may be useful to assume that evexyone begins life by being The Death ConsteLlation (I) 17 at risk. The difficulty in symbolizing and the tendency to slip from depressive anxiety to paranoid-schizoid anxiety causes the not fully developed capacity to symbolize to revert to concrete thinking (symbolic equation, described by Segal [1981]). At this point there is a tendency to act out concretely. The polarization between life and death instincts normally achieves a better balance; also, as psychic conflict between life and death instincts can be managed less dangerously, the individual is later able to resolve or mitigate attacks on the processes of life.

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