Table of contents:
- Covert Abuse Networks
- If relationships become overvalued
- What drives the Aggressor?
- What is behind the behavior of the Victim?
- "Before I sleep." UK, USA, France, Sweden, 2013
- Director: Rowan Joffe
- Cast: Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and others
Fans of complex films with deep psychology may be interested in the thriller Before I Fall Asleep based on the novel of the same name by CJ Watson. The idea behind the storyline was inspired by a story read in a newspaper about a man with a very specific type of amnesia. Every night during sleep the patient lost his memory and started the morning "from scratch", not remembering anything about his previous life. In this state, he spent almost 60 years, having lived a long life. The amnesia was caused by a head injury from his youth
The plot of the novel and the film based on it differs from a newspaper story - it was created by the writer's fantasy, but Watson borrowed the idea of this type of amnesia. The protagonist, suffering from memory impairment, is a middle-aged woman named Christine (Nicole Kidman). Her life is shrouded in mystery - otherwise there would be no detective plot to the delight of readers and viewers.
Christine wakes up every morning in the arms of her husband Ben (Colin Firth) and wonders: who is this next to her? Records and photographs hung on the walls, her husband's story, and a special technique help her to restore the events: she secretly keeps a video diary, recording the facts found.
Covert Abuse Networks
The main mystery lies in Christine's long past. About ten years ago, she was attacked, the attack resulted in brain injury and amnesia itself. But who did it? The suspects include a doctor, Michael's lover, and a loving husband
We will have to solve one of the mysteries of the film, otherwise we will not be able to discuss the topic of which the film is a perfect illustration: the topic of hidden abuse in relationships. Such a caring, simply ideal (at first glance) husband Ben, who creates an atmosphere of love and care around his wife, is in fact an abuser who suffers from an emotional dependence on Chris and keeps her isolated. For him, she is a personal property that has acquired super-significance.
Despite all the touch of civilization and the declared values of humanism, violence in modern families remains a large-scale problem. And often - a secret problem
As long as violence remains a mystery, it is highly likely that the situation will not change and it will repeat itself over and over again. In Chris's life, there is practically "Groundhog Day": she learns all the new hard-hitting facts about her husband and marriage, but the next morning she forgets everything, and the situation repeats itself.
Violence can be not only overt, but also latent, and it is latent violence that turns out to be longer. The victim and the Aggressor repeat the same scenario over and over again, this is a vicious circle that they themselves cannot open (and do not always want to). Usually outside help is needed. But others may not be aware of the hidden problem or not interfere. The one who knows about the crime and is silent becomes an accomplice in the crime. This is true of laws, both legal and ethical.
If relationships become overvalued
Olga's personal life did not work out. For many years she wanted to start a family, but only got married at 40, meeting a former classmate at a reunion. He teased her, behaved passively-aggressively, ridiculed her, and then said that he was “just joking” and she had no sense of humor. He told her that no one but him needed her. And if not for him, no one would have married her. Relationship with her husband acquired supervalue for Olga.
They had a son, and the husband began to behave with him even more aggressively than with his wife: he shouted obscenities at him when he cried, threatened to throw him out the window, and when the child grew up, he began to beat.
Olga had conflicting feelings: she understood that her husband was wrong, worried about the child, but did not protect her son, because she was afraid of losing her husband and being alone. Personal therapy helped her build boundaries with her husband. She announced that if her husband once again raised his hand against the child, she would immediately write a statement to the police. And a little later she gained strength to get a divorce.
What drives the Aggressor?
Problems with their own aggressiveness, destructiveness can manifest themselves in different ways. What can cause aggression?
1. Sometimes the Aggressor "discharges" in this way, using the Victim as a "lightning rod"
And there is a reason for the outbreak of aggression, it just has nothing to do with the Victim, it has become a “substitute object”.
Vitaly and Oksana are a young married couple. Vitaly is a project manager in a large company, Oksana is in charge of the house. By his behavior, Oksana immediately understands what is happening with her husband's current project. If he comes home and nagging his wife, the job is not going well. If he's cheerful and compliments, the project is going well.
We see that Vitaly does not take responsibility for regulating his emotional state, and Oksana agrees to be in the role of a "lightning rod". She turned to a psychologist in the hope that her husband would change. But a psychologist cannot, and will not change her husband. And she herself is not yet ready to change her behavior. Most likely, this "game" in their family will continue.
2. Sadistic tendencies can also be behind the abuse, when the Aggressor enjoys the process itself and the Victim's pain
It is important to remember that sadism can be not only physical, but also emotional.
Alexey seriously studied music in the piano class. He ended up with a teacher who was considered a talented teacher, but with a difficult character. She led some of her students to good results, but some of them "broke." In the classroom, the teacher switched to personal insults, bullying, humiliated her dignity and continued until the student began to cry. But I never did this if the student's parents were in the class or other teachers dropped in.
Some parents knew about this behavior of the teacher, but forced their children to endure and be silent in the hope of results and success. Alexei had a hard time, because "the boys don't cry," and he held on. Once, enraged by his silence, the teacher slammed the lid with force, and the boy miraculously managed to remove his hands from the keyboard. Otherwise, he could have had real injuries. Only after this episode did his parents take him away from the teacher.
3. The aggressor can raise self-esteem through domination, superiority, permissiveness
Cyril's father was a domestic tyrant, while suffering from alcoholism. A drunken dad walked around the apartment and shouted: “I am the owner here! Everything is mine here! " And he said to Cyril: "You are nobody, you are nothing, you are here only because I have allowed!" We see that dad had problems with self-esteem, he asserted himself at someone else's expense. Cyril could not resist his father, instead he headed the yard company, in which he became an absolute tyrant leader, repeating his father's behavior. His father had hurt his dignity; to rehabilitate himself, Cyril wounded the dignity of other children.
Subsequently, Cyril began to use alcohol and drugs. He ended up as a patient of mine in a rehabilitation center and was able to rethink his story. According to him, for the first time he felt what "dignity" is.
4. Revenge on the Victim can also sometimes cause aggressive actions
Vera recalls that as a child she hated her little sister because she took the attention of her parents away from her, and even had to look after her and take care of her. Taking advantage of the difference in age and her sister's naivety, she cruelly "made fun" of her. For example, I once persuaded to try dog poop on the street. As an adult, she remembered this with regret and guilt.
Important! Whatever the Aggressor's motives, this does not entitle him to destructive behavior
What is behind the behavior of the Victim?
1. Victim behavior - the inability to defend oneself, and often the lack of understanding that one can and should defend oneself
It is very dangerous if the Victim agrees with the Aggressor: "Serves me right", "I deserve it."
Nastya cooked soup for her husband, left it on the stove and left for the dacha. She returned a few days later, and her husband poured sour soup on her, accusing her of not putting the soup in the refrigerator. And at first Nastya thought that her husband was right, that she was a careless mistress, worthy of punishment.
2. If a child grows up in a situation of abuse and he is not protected, they do not say that it is wrong, then he begins to consider violence as the norm
He may develop masochistic tendencies when he takes violence for love and attention. And provoke them.
Orphanage children adopted by families begin to provoke their adoptive parents to violence, because this may be the only language of love they understand.
3. Victimization has hidden benefits
The victim is spared, he receives attention, compensation for damage.
Often in wealthy families the scenario is repeated: a husband who is guilty before his wife gives an expensive gift. Then the wife can herself provoke her husband to become guilty, so that later he will atone for his misconduct with money.
4. The victim may be ashamed and scared to tell others about the abuse
Society can blame the Victim for the abuse. With his silence, the Victim confirms the behavior of the Aggressor, the violence is repeated - in relation to her or to the next Victim.
When Polina was a teenager, she liked the boy from the next class. He invited her to visit. She was counting on romantic courtship, but a "surprise" awaited her: there were several guys in the apartment. They forced her into sexual intercourse, while saying that no one would believe her if she told someone. Everyone will consider her a "whore." Polina said nothing. And after a while they did the same with her classmate, but she did not become silent. Polina long blamed herself for the fact that her silence led to another tragedy.
Important! A crime left unpunished is highly likely to repeat itself. Without defending himself, without stopping the Aggressor, the Victim confirms the correctness of his behavior
The heroine of the film "Before I Sleep" did not accept the situation, did not want to be a Victim, but resisted. How her story ended - you will see for yourself when watching.
PS Thanks to the readers of Our Psychology for recommending the film!