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Intimacy, couple and family in times of confinement - Dr. Robert Neuburger

An excerpt from the web-conference:
"Intimacy, couple and family in times of confinement"
with Dr. Robert Neuburger

The confinement has led to a significant increase in violence in families.
In this new situation, we will find minor difficulties and sometimes violence between children, teenagers against parents and violence in couples. In the questions proposed, it is interesting to use the concept of crisis.
This is an important change leading to modifications, from creativity to leaving this confinement, hoping that it will be as short as possible. Dr. Robert Neuburger chose to start from the angle of intimacy. What is missing most is privacy and at any level. I'm talking about the intimacy that we can enjoy in normal times: a space, work, sport and other relationships...

A definition of intimacy:

« Intimacy indicates a fence, a border not to be exceeded. It is reserved for oneself or for certain people who are close relatives. The others, the foreigners, are excluded from it, unless they are invited.

Our society allows three intimate territories: personal intimacy, couple intimacy and family intimacy . It ensures their protection: there is a right to privacy and the law sanctions any invasion by the press, by any social organization or even by any individual, of the privacy of individuals, couples and families, for example the disclosure of certain documents, photographs, secrets without authorization. Society considers that everyone has the right to lead the existence that suits him in the privacy of his life, his couple and his family as long as they do not transgress common laws. We can define intimacy as Anglo-Saxon privacy, a space that is under its responsibility, that we manage according to principles that belong to us. We are not accountable, unlike other membership groups: there are no rules of procedure, no general meeting, no annual report, no supervision, free to open up or to close these spaces according to our will and to whom we wish. These are also free zones which benefit from a certain form of legal extraterritoriality: theft between spouses or between children and parents is not punishable, just as one spouse cannot be forced to testify against the other. In this sense, the intimate is the legally hidden.

Intimacy also exists in groups of friends, in fraternal or other relationships, but, unlike "official" spaces, recognized by law, these do not benefit from any recognition, any legitimacy...

Each territory of intimacy - the individual, the couple, the family - comprises three components: the physical space, the psychic space and the domain of competence, in other words, being, thinking and acting. » (Reference to the Book on « The territories of the intimate: the individual, the couple, the family »)

Intimacy is a right to dispose of a territory of which one is the manager , it is private . Having a territory of intimacy is the feeling of existing, a consistency, the feeling of existing in a couple, in a group. This intimacy, it contains but it is, itself, complex in its structure, with physical elements (body, proxemics, time), with psychic elements (dreams thoughts, convictions, all these private things) and a domain of competence (which is part of the privacy domain) that we don't like to question. It demands respect.

Family intimacy:

It is complicated. The family has become a world of significant complexity. Before, there was a head of the family and everyone behind. Now, the notion of family and family intimacy is not valued. There is a demand to exist as the separate couple of the family, a bit like a knock-down kit today. There is the couple which asks for a territory of intimacy, siblings who claim their territory and each being asks for a territory of personal intimacy which must be respected. There are all these territories of intimacy which claim a space.

Without confinement, it is already complex, so with confinement the complexity increases. Each of its elements has specific elements. And this is very interesting. It is made. Each of the couple gives up their personal intimacy to give it to the couple. The sexual organ belongs to the couple, in the intimacy of the couple. There is also the body, the clothing… does the money belong to the couple or does everyone manage it? Many questions about what will be composed, in the couple. What will give too much for the couple or not enough for the individual. We give of our body, our beliefs, and even share ideological myths, standards. There is a pooling of skills there.

The siblings will claim the same thing, private games, a territory, psychic elements, secrets, what is shared like the computer, for example. Everyone will claim their own space, a right to have ideas, beliefs, knowledge. Everyone has the right to develop their sporting and religious skills.

The family claims a territory, such as the house, the norms carried in the family, politics, ideologies, skills, learning.

We are going to find in competition 4 worlds of elements of intimacy which demand to exist.

Each of his worlds will be demarcated. There are limits but they are not borders. It is a semi-permeable membrane, with exits and entrances. There is an inner face which holds to keep elements and there is sorting. Likewise, there are sortings on what goes in and out like beliefs, skills, family secrets.  

For the territory of intimacy to be recognized, there must be respect for certain external norms, otherwise the group will be “attacked”. When there is rape or abuse in the group, he will be "attacked" by society or family.

There is a complexity in the situation from the moment there is this confinement , which not only brings people together but also prohibits others from entering except by modern means, such as chats or computer tools like Zoom or others. We are living in a confinement that is extraordinary. We have never known that. It is an incredible period, totally new. [...]


Notes C. Sinet Portelli

Tags: Challenges of COVID

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