This volume is a comprehensive study of parentification in the family—children who fulfill the role of parents to their own parents or to their siblings, almost always at the expense of their own development. The book is divided into two sections: theory and research and contextual perspectives.
Chapter 10: The Archetype of the Parentified Child: A Psychosomatic Presence
The Archetype of the Parentified Child: A Psychosomatic Presence
The contextual historical roots and inevitable psychosomatic effect of parentification on adulthood are discussed in this chapter using the metaphors of Athena, Hermes, and Sisyphus, figures from Greek mythology. Athena's utilization of intellectualization contrasts with Hermes’ avoidance and denial as metaphoric examples with which to broaden our phenomenological understanding of the development of the child's defenses against the diminishing or loss of a central self identity associated with parentification. With each of these complex interior stances, examples of related body symptoms are included to highlight the indiscriminate effect of a narcissistic wound on mind, body, psyche, and soul and experienced, thus, as an alienation from embodiment. The ...