Nicole Jeammet

Emotional Violence Publication date : May 1, 2001

This book is about people who exert hidden psychological violence on others. They are manipulators, though they may be unaware of it. They make those who are close to them unhappy. Under cover of kindness, a mother’s influence on her child can be deeply pernicious — as can the influence of a husband on his wife. This hidden violence can manifest itself in many ways: through powerful psychological ascendancy as well as through indifference, through morality or through envy.
Such destructive personality types are generally labelled “narcissistic”. They use others as a good mirror or as a bad depository. Their hypertrophic self is hidden behind kind, misleading words, which are an indirect source of violence. But none of this is visible: from the outside, everything seems calm and peaceful, while inside the poison is at work.
Drawing on the works of Shakespeare, Balzac, Proust, the contemporary French writer Annie Ernaux and many others, Nicole Jeammet describes and analyses some ordinary cases of psychological violence.

Nicole Jeammet is a psychoanalyst and lecturer at the University of Paris V.