Synopsis I have written a book about misogyny, cultural and politics that highlights the forces that have held women back from achieving their rightful places in society. Current aspects of the American, political landscape are also woven into the contextual framework of my work. My book tells the story of women who have been erased, dismissed and devalued while putting forth a hypothesis about why the phenomenon occurs and what can be done to change this dynamic. It is told through a discussion of four women and five groups of people, primarily woman, who have suffered because of the needs and/or the unconscious desires of others. It also includes a discussion about change and how the propensity to suppress can be ameliorated. To illustrate my major hypotheses, I have also included case studies as well as theoretical constructs, both historical and current, that exemplify what I am conveying. The interpretive and clinical value of connecting projective identification with mentalization is also thoroughly explored in the context of attachment and relational theory. Because I believe that knowledge comes from experience, my book includes brief connective elements of memoir that are interspersed throughout the book to illustrate psychoanalytic principles such as the nature of strong attachment, the threat of mysterious illness, and how new narratives can be written in people’s lives with the help of another. My book begins by describing the experience of some high-achieving women who have known, at least for a time, the violence of insult and obliteration. Their lives range from 1850 to the present: Eleanor Marx, Clara Thompson, Hillary Clinton, Anne Case. I chose women who, with a strong sense of personal agency, threw themselves into events with less reserve than more vulnerable people. They survived, made (or are making) changes to their world. Thompson, from my own field of psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapy, was the source of my original question and the fire in which my hypothesis was formed. Despite the power and intellect of all four, Clinton’s name is likely to be the only name recognized by many readers. For her and for Case, we cannot yet know the full scope of their accomplishments – or how long memory of them will last. Next, I present the violent experiences and the erasure of four groups of anonymous women over the last century: World War II women pilots, sex-trafficked girls (and boys), women assembly-line workers in radium factories, Rwandan women of Tutsi and Hutu backgrounds and all-too-similar victims of wartime violence. I also discuss what can happen in a group setting when people lose the capacity to think as individuals and instead appear to follow the ill-chosen positions of others. These explorations demonstrate that energetic women at any socio-politico-cultural site can suffer physical and emotional damage that is readily extinguished from memory – or even contemporary notice. These chapters provide a social context for my thesis about projective identification – although the mechanism is not most often applied to groups, so might be read as a metaphor – in terms of pressing contemporary issues. In the case of human trafficking, I want to raise awareness of atrocities that continue on a daily basis, usually beneath the radar of the world’s people – and media. In the chapters on Rwanda – initially, and in the section on recovery – I do my best to express the implications of my theorizing for cultures beyond the European-American that I know personally. All these examples will help the reader understand the nature of the complex phenomenon that I am addressing. The innovation in my book lies in my hypothesis about one reason why all these cases of psychic violence arose. Of course, all such complex events are multi-determined, but unconscious motivation is a powerful explanatory element. My training in psychoanalysis offers one specific cause that explains the ruination of another’s progress toward the common good. That reason is the unconscious psychological need of one person (or sometimes many people) to get rid of what they cannot accept about themselves: a failure that is painful, an action perceived as bad, something as simple as a personal quality. For the failings they cannot bear to acknowledge in themselves, such people blame or defame someone else – often a woman. In psychological terms, they project the qualities and potentialities they despise onto another, ridding themselves of unwanted ways of being and acting. 1 Current developments in neuroscience are woven into aspects of attachment that are known to support major hypotheses described in this book. A new term, redactional identification, is introduced and defined. It includes intention and is a way one creates an aspect of the self that is ego-syntonic—a desirable, active and knowable part of one’s inner being. 1 Although projective identification was originally thought to be an unconscious mechanism, some theorists believe it can also involve conscious processes (Zinner, 2001).