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My New Book, Resurgence, Is Here! (Plus Other News)

My New Book, Resurgence, Is Here! (Plus Other News)
By Dr. Karyne Messina  • Issue #18 • View online

Thank You!
Dear friends and colleagues,
I am happy to share with you that my new book, Resurgence of Global Populism: A Psychoanalytic Study of Projective Identification, Blame-Shifting and the Corruption of Democracy is available in print! ($39.95) and as an e-book ($29.99) from all major retailers and from many of your favorite independent booksellers. However, if you purchase directly from my publisher, you can get an extra 20% off the list price by using the code FLA22 at checkout.
It feels like this book has been a long time coming, and I am so grateful to each of you for your encouragement and kind words–thank you for your support.
And if you happen to be in the DC-Maryland-Virginia area next month, I would love to see you at the Write Women’s Book Fest on October 8 ( in Glenn Dale, Maryland. Tickets are free but space is limited: The Write Women Book Fest 2022 Tickets, Sat, Oct 8, 2022, at 12:00 PM.
Early Reviews for Resurgence
It’s been a busy lead-up to publication! This month’s newsletter is devoted to shameless self-promotion; thank you for indulging me. Below are a few excerpts from early reviews:
“Karyne E. Messina considers the driving forces for the emergence and propagation of populism, closely examining the logic from which corrupt systems evolve and are promoted and fostered…. In essence, Messina advocates for readers to cultivate a sense of resilience, whether when dealing with an authoritarian ruler or negotiating social media minefields.
The result is a powerful blend of history, social and political inspection, and psychological investigation that operate on both a global and individual level to provide readers with food for thought and tools for response.
- Reviewer’s Choice, The Bookwatch, Midwest Book Review
“Karyne Messina has her psychoanalytic hand on the pulse of growing authoritarianism throughout the world…. Students of international relations and all who care about the health of our planet will benefit from sharing her examination.”
David Scharff, MD; Winner of the 2021 Sigourney Award in Psychoanalysis; Co-Founder, The International Psychotherapy Institute
“Messina describes how the vitriolic blame game that these leaders employ is leading to immense human suffering and environmental damage. This important book stands as a stark warning that the mental health of elected leaders is a vital issue that impacts us all.”
Ian Hughes, author, Disordered Minds: How Dangerous Personalities Are Destroying Democracy
“This important book cogently applies psychoanalytic thinking to a host of serious dangers that threaten democracy and even our very survival in the United States and in the rest of the globe. Messina is a role model for psychoanalysts who want to apply their understanding of individual and group dynamics beyond the consulting room.”
Richard M. Waugaman, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Georgetown University School of Medicine, USA
“While it is uncommon for psychoanalysts to venture into the realm of the political, Karyne Messina has done so with an astute eye, a deep well of social, historical and theoretical knowledge, and a willingness to face head-on the question on everyone’s mind: "How did we get here?”
Anne Adelman, Ph.D., Teaching and Training Analyst, Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis; Teaching Analyst, Contemporary Freudian Society; Co-Chair, New Directions in Psychoanalysis, WBCP.
“This book certainly puts the spotlight on how the current, very critical and global situation has come about, although there is less about how to counteract it on a grass-roots level. It is still an engrossing, if sobering, read.
- Lynda Stevens, Netgalley
“I admit to usually being skeptical of any psychological approaches to large societal issues. Not because I think they aren’t accurate or even helpful to a degree but because most issues don’t come down to the psychological make-up of a single person. This book and this particular issue are definitely an exception.
- Jack Messer, Netgalley
Recent Podcast Appearances!
Back to Psychoanalysis: Understanding Hungary's PM, Viktor Orban, Is Key to Understanding That Country's Predicament
The European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to say that Hungary can no longer be considered a democracy, that it is now a “hybrid regime of electoral autocracy.” In 2020, a European Court of Justice ruling found that Hungary was in breach of the rule of law and the values upheld by the EU.
Though symbolic in nature, this most recent vote does signal how stark the situation in Hungary has become.
Viktor Orbán, like many populists profiled in my book, is a study in contrasts: He hates immigrants and is alleged to be dismantling democracy—yet people call him a hero.
Despite the fact that some European leaders have shunned Orban because of his authoritarian behavior, Donald Trump still finds him to be a great guy, that, “Viktor Orbán has done a tremendous job in so many different ways.” In fact, many Hungarians would agree. His speeches routinely attract large groups.
And yet, every political institution in Hungary has been affected in what increasingly seemed to be Viktor Orbán’s country. As Orbán gathered more control, all manner of events and atrocities occurred daily with little political fanfare, while the press faced daily scathing criticism for undermining his authority. In Hungary, policies are often changed without public support. In this case, many legal but questionable changes occurred after democratically held elections brought Orbán to power. In a space of a few short years, he refashioned the government in his image.
Viktor Orbán, the Prime Minister of Hungary and Donald Trump, the former President of the United States have a lot in common when it comes to leadership style. In short, both leaders do what they please without fear of repercussions. They are brash, bold, and undeniably charismatic. But neither seem to have defined political beliefs, save for one: whatever the people will follow. 
Order Resurgence to read more about Orbán and how he employs projective identification to maintain authoritarian rule over Hungary.
A 2020 Paper Examines "Destructive Populism" and Donald Trump; References Freud in Analysis
To my ears, “Destructive populism” is projective identification by another name. In October 2020 the International Journal of Psychoanalysis published a paper by Karin Johanna Zienert-Eilts examining “the appearances and formation processes of destructive populist developments in the Western world from a psychoanalytical perspective, using the example of Donald Trump and his voters.” The author points to psychoanalytical concepts developed by Melanie Klein and, interestingly, Sigmund Freud.
In his book, Totem and Taboo (1912), Freud argues for “the existence of a collective mind, in which mental processes occur just as they do in the mind of an individual” (Freud, 1912-13a, p. 156).
Zienert-Elits says Freud believed that, in certain cases, “when affects are heightened in masses or in large group processes, moral barriers fall and the ability to think and judge is lost.” Eventually the feelings of the group outweigh those of the individual. If I were to take the author’s findings a step further, I would argue that this is Freud describing projective identification as it manifests with charismatic leaders.
To wit, Zienert-Elits describes Trump as a destructive populist who employs conscious and unconscious means of manipulating his followers. And I agree: his behavior, and the behavior described in this article, is projective identification by another term. (I wrote a whole book in it, in fact: Aftermath: Healing from the Trump Presidency.) It is exciting to see these kinds of pieces appear that are, to my mind, so clearly articulating a phenomenon that leads to such corrosive behavior.
Green Briefs
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Dr. Karyne Messina

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