Trauma, identity, and social justice

  • Marilyn CharlesEmail author
Original Article


Identity is built upon the early interactions with caretakers through whom we internalize a felt sense of what it means to be ourselves, including values and judgments that have been passed along the generations. Psychoanalytic theory and the attachment literature help us to understand some of the more subversive elements of that transmission process, ways in which unprocessed trauma and unresolved mourning provide a vehicle for passing along positive and negative aspects of personal, familial, and cultural aspects of identity across the generations. Because that transmission process directly impacts ways in which oppression and marginalization skew meanings for future generations, it is important that we consciously recognize and work with projective processes as they play out in our children and in ourselves. In this paper, I discuss ways in which projection and unprocessed shame can inhibit the type of active reflection required for ethical behavior and democratic process.


Austen Riggs ethics reflective function use of an object 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Riggs CenterStockbridgeUSA

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