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THE CHOICE OF A SURVIVING SIBLING AS “SCAPEGOAT” IN SOME CASES OF MATERNAL BEREAVEMENT—A CASE REPORT

Authors
Journal
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
0021-9630
Publisher
Wiley Blackwell (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Economics
  • Medicine
  • Psychology

Abstract

— This paper presents a description of a pathological variation of the mourning process in mothers who have suffered a narcissistically damaging psychological or actual loss of a child. A surviving sibling chosen as a displacement object for the mother's sense of guilt and self-hatred. The parent-child estrangement continues for years after the trauma with an extremity and severity that often necessitates court intervention. A case illustration is presented and a concluding suggestion that counseling by available professionals at the time of the bereavement would be both economical and effective in forestalling this variety of pathological family scapegoating.

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