Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Psychopath Couture

Sarah Palin is weighing heavily on my mind, today. This is not going to be a fun post. Neither is it going to be a gung ho, go get 'em post. It is going to be an empathic post. Empathy is a quality lacking in our culture, while self-pity and victim-aggrandizement of the priviledged oppressed favored are the norm. My inner spritual ear is all agley.

So I can really identify with the woman, where one of my own children is concerned. Not the publicity, since the only publicity I get is that which I generate myself. No. That doesn't bother me. My troubled child has a MySpace site, which is the Blasphemous Shrine to that Unholy Trinity of Me Myself and I and all others be, like totally damned, LOL!...and thus, she is as much a part of the voyeuristic culture as the rest of the world. It is impossible to have secrets in this day and age.

Trying to love a child who refuses all counsel, who is determined to destroy herself and many others in her wake is a tough, tough thing. I can see her mother's knees going weak, when Bristol told her that she was pregnant. The father's jaw tightening, and knuckles turning white. I can really identify with every emotion her mother and father must have gone through when the words, "I'm pregnant, mom." dropped out of her face.

So far, we have had two false alarms when the pregnancy news bomb was tossed into our laps. But the girl didn't think she was preggers, she was lying to people, telling them she was. She told them she miscarried the first time, and secondly, that she'd had an abortion. This is more unnerving than it would be if she had to deal with an unplanned pregnancy.
So it was not really a relief to know that she wasn't really pregnant, because this, to us, showed a deeper spiritual problem. This beautiful daughter of mine, now an adult, I worry, may be a psychopath. Oh yes, the disease itself has changed its name several times, from 'moral idiocy' to 'psychopathic' to 'sociopathic' to the now fashionable 'bi polar' or 'antisocial behavior'. Whatever. It is the plague of our generation. It is the spirit of the age, fed by a century's worth nihilism.

Simply put, the girl has no conscience. Here are her qualities. every. single. one of them.

Dr. Robert Hare's Symptoms of Psychopaths
© 1993 by Robert D. Hare, PhD. Reprinted by permission of The Guilford Press.

Interpersonal traits

Glib and superficial
Egocentric and grandiose
Lack of remorse or guilt
Lack of empathy
Deceitful and manipulative
Shallow emotions

Antisocial lifestyle

Poor behavior controls
Need for excitement
Lack of responsibility
Early behavior problems
Adult antisocial behavior
The complete picture

These qualities describe my daughter in a nutshell....sorry for the pun. If I could describe a moment of observation: Brushing her teeth. She squeezes toothpaste on the brush....and keeps squeezing, til the paste is puddling, wasted in the sink. Deliberate act of toothpaste vandalism. It might not seem like anything important, but it isn't silly, either, when you consider how expensive toothpaste can be in a household of 6 people. What is worse is the glee bathing her face as she is squeezing out the toothpaste. Why would someone do this? It is inexplicable to me.
She had managed to hide her true face from teachers, until last year, when she careened out of control. After she was in juvenile detention for a month, we began to see the first sign: Glibness. Charm. Smoothly assuaging everyone's fears that she would behave from now on. Lies. Lies. All lies.

And now, we have come to the conclusion that we can no longer control her. We can no longer cover for her or intervene on her behalf. She is now an adult and it is time to let her sail free. I am not hopeful, but I am prayerful. My belief is that she will not do well. Simply, she has not acquired the skills necessary to survive. I am hoping those skills she will discover, and work toward developing, but one of my fears is this: She is bright, beautiful and stoopid. Gullible and deceitful all at once. She is both a predator and easy prey. I simply don't know what the future will hold for her.

Any parent who reads this, whose heart is broken by the child you have lovingly raised, given every tool in life to succeed, only to sit by helpless, while she wallows in filth, ignorance and depravity, can understand where I am. If anything, I can understand where Sarah Palin may be, too. I truly hope Bristol and Levi and their families can work through the public madness swirling around them. They would be like any other young couple faced with a difficult future as young parents, were it not for the Hurricane of politics and the cannibals of the press eager to feed.

This too, shall pass.


  1. You've probably seen this, but it not, it can't hurt right now...

  2. No, I haven't seen it, but it's great! Thank you!

  3. Never give up hope. We all change. The only question is whether it's for better or worse.

    Too bad she's lovely. It's harder for the beautiful people, you know.

    I think I told you, but my daughter got knocked up at fifteen. I'm not sure how I lived through it. She'll be thirty-one soon, and she's still nuttier than squirrel shit, but she turned out OK, considering.

    So, yes, I know all about what Mrs. Palin has just survived, and I know what she's going to soon experience.

    I also feel for you. The worst feeling is the helplessness of being powerless to effect any positive change in kids gone astray. It comes through poignantly whenever you write about her.

    You take care, Jewel. You and the hostile hottie are in my prayers.


  4. Thought for sure my nephew would have an (il)legal career. Certain he was headed for a stint or two (or three), in the hoosgow.

    Didn't happen. He didn't turn out majestic or such ... but not as bad as seemed preordained. Back then.

    World's a truly crazee place. Can't imagine growing up in this day and age. Glad that my time on earth was/is now.

    As someone who was a card carrying member of the booyah tribe (freebase cocaine), for a good five years. The passage of time can sometimes ... luckily allow one to crawl out of the abyss.

    Got no answers/Good Luck/G*d Bless

  5. My prayers are with you both.

    I enjoy your blog. What you write is worthwhile and touching, and also humorous. I followed you here from JW/DW. My very warmest wishes for you and your daughter. You never know. Odds are, there will be bad and good both, as there usually is.

  6. Thank you all for your kind comments. I have committed myself to not be surprised by anything but good things. And not to be judgmental and disappointed by the negative things. I realize that many parents are going through what I am going through, and for some, it is a never ending drama, for others, tragic endings, and still more, and in fact, the majority, something clicks inside and a child may turn around. I think it depends on how much I really am willing to let Go and let God, so to speak. But again, thanks for your encouragement.

  7. It took me awhile to be able to come back and comment on this. I felt your pain. I have one who was troubled and seem he always will be but hes a good kid. As time passes the mistakes start to add up and he hurt more and more, I had to put it to him. Do you want to live like this? Only you can change it. And so as he heads toward his mid life crisis time....I finally see changes and as a mom feel I can finally relax.

    The one thing that helped get thru it all was the fact that I knew I was a good mom but they are separate entities. While others see them as extensions of us, they really aren't. If that were true, rich kids with all the advantages would be the best people in the world and we know so many that aren't. And we all know of poor folk whos kids put themselves thru medical school to become Drs.

    You can only try to teach them right and wrong and values. You cant make them accept the lessons. I do know tho that many things I said that I thought were lost to the ethers...came back later on. So say all the words of wisdom you can while shes still there. You will think she doesn't hear you and isn't listening. But somehow the words get embedded in the brain and when the time is right......they get the aha moment and mom was right.

    I just wish there was a way to make it happen so I could have avoided all these gray hairs.

  8. I know what you mean, seanymph. I have decided to distance myself from the 'mother' self and to be as firm and realistic about what is going on. That helps immeasurably. It also frees me from inflicting the guilt trip that I as mom would inevitably do. By deciding ahead of time that "She's crazy, so don't act crazy yourself," I have managed to keep far saner than my grown children, who would like nothing better than to reach out and smack her. When she steals and lies, I no longer worry about wondering, I simply tell her, "You aren't telling the truth. There is no argument, here." And I go about my business without raising my voice. The anger levels have really dropped since I have taken this stance.
    It is comforting to see so many of you who are going through this, or have gone through this as well.


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