Soul Murder: The Effects of Childhood Abuse and Deprivation by Leonard Shengold came out in 1989. To abuse or neglect a child, to deprive the child of his or her own identity and ability to experience joy in life, is to commit soul murder. He says that a soul murder is neither a diagnosis nor a condition.
It is a dramatic term for circumstances that eventuate in crime—the deliberate attempt to eradicate or compromise the separate identity of another person. The victims of soul murder remain, in large part, possessed by another—their soul in bondage to someone else. A consummated soul murder is a crime most of committed by psychotic or psychopathic parents who treat the child as an extension of themselves or as an object to satisfy them or their desires.
Child abuse is the abuse of power. And the trauma that results is a sort of too-much-ness that creates sadomasochistic sexualization of future experiences. Soul murdered children often become psychopathic themselves. It is an endless cycle of abuse.
The term was first used in 1903 by Schreber. Soul Murder often includes brainwashing. The victim must register the parent as good even if it is delusional. This split between what the parent should be and what they really are can cause mind splitting, fragmenting and compartmentalizing. The parent will become a sort of Sphinx or Strangler.
Indifference will often mask their murderous rage at having their soul murdered and later killing others themselves.
Rats have come to symbolize child abuse and soul murder. Rats were once used to torture prisoners. Rats are aggressive and are destructive, voracious and omnivorous. The Penis can be symbolized by the rat because it can have teeth and bite so to speak. Rat Children can bite and be bitten or they are abused and can turn around and abuse others.
Metaphors and Symbols can lead to recovered memories of trauma. The memories can lead to insight and that can lead to healing eventually.
As the inside flap says, it is provocatively original in its approach to literature and psychology, unsettling in its vivid portrayal of the darker side of human nature, far-reaching in its conclusions, Soul Murder will stand alongside such works as Alice Miller’s The Drama of the Gifted Child as one of the most important studies of the psyche to appear in decades.