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In this paper, an extension of an earlier paper (Sonne, 2002b), the author advances the thesis that murderous sibling rivalry, one of the psychological and social consequences of the threat of being aborted, is a major dynamic operative in "ethnic cleansing," eugenic movements, racial, religious and international conflict, mass murders, serial killings, and sometimes even in marital and parenting behavior. Destructive acting out in a variety of social contexts is a universal phenomenon that has been operative throughout the history of the human race for centuries, and it is still prominent today. To explain these behaviors as derivative from abuse, conflicts of desire, or self-object distortions occurring during oedipal or pre-oedipal stages of development leaves much to be desired, whereas explaining them as abortion survivor symptoms derivative from trauma occurring during prenatal life is much more illuminating, and is applicable to a wider range of social interactions. In particular, considering tyrannical murderous sibling rivalry as a dynamic in such well known public figures as Adolph Hitler, Francisco Franco, Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini, Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden can be of great help in understanding the origin and motivation of their destructive behaviors. The theme of tyrannical siblings is, "No one can have what I didn't get, what is rightfully mine that has been taken away from me. I will psychologically or physically destroy these persons, and also anyone who gives or gave to them or supports them. Revenge is what I want more than anything else, and this is more important to me than being loved or cared for. I hate others, but I also loathe myself so much that if I die in seeking this, I will only have gratified my own wish for suicide."

KEY WORDS: Tyrants, abortion survivors, prenatal psychic trauma, threat of being aborted, sibling rivalry, revenge, murder, suicide, love, religion


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John C. Sonne, MD

Paper presented September 20, 2002 at the 15th World Congress of the International Society of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine, Budapest, Hungary, September 19-22, 2002. Correspondence to: John C. Sonne, MD, 13910 Swantown Creek Road, Galena, Maryland 21635, USA. Phone and Fax: 410-648-5392. Email: jsonnemd@dmv.com. Paper reprinted with permission from the Int. J. Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine Vol. 14 (2002) No. 3/4, 261-276.