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SECRETS IN THE FAMILY by Lily & Christopher Dare Pincus



Pub Date: June 30th, 1978
Publisher: Pantheon

The psychoanalytic aspects of skeletons in the closet: how buried memories, early fantasies, and patterns of unconscious longings and fears, derived from first relationships, are reactivated in adulthood and may be repeated in the lives of one's children. Pincus and Dare use a lifecycle framework to demonstrate how children reenact their parents' conflicts and how childhood feelings, often as acute as the originals, may be reawakened in times of crisis or as one's children mature. As examples, they present numerous case histories--three generations of women who married men who disappeared abruptly or a couple whose repressed memories of deceased siblings surfaced to cloud the birth of their own first child. ""It is interesting that whenever a family member is able to challenge a family secret, then the attitude of other family members towards the secret also seems to change; the collusive system is broken and new facts and fantasies come into the open."" Pincus, a social worker and founder of the Tavistock Institute for Marital Studies, and Dare, a psychiatrist, both work with a firm allegiance to psychoanalytic principles, refer frequently to the writings of Freud, Erikson, Winnicott, Klein, and Balint, and see the oedipal period as most critical: conflicts unresolved at this time, especially incestuous desires, are the most prevalent sources of later difficulties. Pincus wrote Death in the Family (1974) in the same demanding but not formidable idiom, using well-chosen examples and some jargon, which makes this most appropriate for specialists.