Monday, April 22, 2013

What Every Mother --and Every Psychiatrist -- Fears Most

Let me ask you: when someone commits an act of terror -- whether it be a spree shooting or a planting a bomb -- whose fault is it?  Was it a flaw in their childhood?  Poor parentingThe angry, violent child of angry, violent parents?  Should their parents have known and gotten them help?  What about their psychiatrist?  Should he have known and stopped the criminal?  When things go wrong, we all have theories and we all look for culprits.  
Today's blog post can be found over on Clinical Psychiatry News (no registration needed) in The Criminal's Keeper, where I wrote about the difficult roles of being a mother and a psychiatrist and feeling responsible for the behavior of others. 


jesse said...

Who has not wondered at times what the parents of total villains feel when they realize their offspring has turned out as they had? And who is the greatest monster the world has ever known?

Adolf Hitler's mother Klara died December 21, 1907. Her first three children died in infancy, and Wiki notes: "The death of his younger brother, Edmund, from measles on 2 February 1900 deeply affected Hitler. He changed from being confident and outgoing and an excellent student, to a morose, detached, and sullen boy who constantly fought with his father and teachers."

Klara was, in all reports, a kind and sweet woman.

Dinah said...

Interesting, so I know little about Hitler. Perhaps the childhood loss left him angry. In the days of measles vaccines, would Hitler have been Hitler?

I think it's always possible to look back and write a story, to find some outrageous thing a mother has said or done. Some mothers (and children) say awful things in anger, and they roll off an easy=going child, while something benign-sounding can be interpreted as awful by a sensitive soul.

The marathon bombing seems particular difficult to understand.

Feminist Voice with Disabilities said...

This post reminds me of the history of the schizophrenogenic mother. My mother never knew how to be a mother, but she didn't cause my Schizophrenia, and I'm glad that psychiatrists today know enough to avoid blaming her for it.