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The soap opera continues

June 22, 2009 - Michael Palmer
To everything - turn, turn, turn There is a season - turn, turn, turn And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die A time to plant, a time to reap A time to kill, a time to heal A time to laugh, a time to weep

The Byrds sang those lyrics in tribute no doubt to Ecclesiastes 3:4, which says, " A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance."

My wife walks into the room where my daughter and granddaughter had stayed while living with us. The sadness and emptiness of a child leaving home is Empty Nest Syndrome, and can be devastating for a parent. In this case, the sadness and worry is both complicated and magnified by the presence of an abusive husband.

Not yet physically abusive, but this man is way out of control. Think a really angry Robert Francis 'Bobcat' Goldthwait coupled with the Drill Sergeant from Full Metal Jacket.

It is painful and confusing to see your child live and deal with a sick partner, whether you call it sociopath, psychopath, or antisocial personality disorder. That is correct, he is mentally ill. Therefore, he can not hold a job because he does not deal with other people in a civil manner.

Disordered people can't deal with the reality of their behaviors. On some level they realize how hurtful they are, yet accepting this major flaw in themselves is just too painful. So disordered abusers spin our reality to make theirs less painful. One of the most common defense mechanism they use is projection. In projection, a characteristic of themselves that they find just too painful to accept is projected onto us. And the most frequently projected characteristic is mental illness. "I don't have a personality disorder. YOU have a personality disorder." Another of the son-in-laws’s defense mechanisms is blame shifting. It's not ever his fault it’s your fault this happened because blah, blah blah blah...And explanations are delivered at high volume with flailing arms and a red face.

Example: After exhausting their income tax refunds on an apartment and furniture, they were broke. The stress caused a violent episode where -let’s call him Bobcat - and his brother got into a brawl at the apartment that brought the local police. Neither was jailed, in fact Bobcat went into a self induced illness mode, he appeared to be ill and in fact was, from stress. His brother explained that he has done this since a child to avoid punishment. My daughter borrowed my car to go to the grocery store, upon returning, her husband gets into the car and demands to be taken back to his parents home.

She brings him and his brother to our house and Bobcat locks himself in the car with a can of gas and violently rocks in the seat while pounding on the cars interior. He threatens to burn himself if she does not comply with his demands. He goes as far as setting his shirt on fire and throwing it out in the road to smolder. His brother goes out with a key and physically yanks his brother out of the car. Bobcat is now locked out and repeatedly tries to break the windows out of the car to reenter. The Sheriff was called and at this time Bobcat goes into full pity mode. He begins crying and screaming that it is not his fault. He blames the behavior on not taking his medicine, his brother and of course me. The whole problem was that no one would talk to him, he told deputies, all he wanted to do was talk to his wife. The reality, she had been talking to him almost non-stop for the past three hours. The sad news, my granddaughter was a witness to and a victim of this madness.

His grandmother came and rented a moving van and without as much as a word to her parents, my daughter moved with him to his parents house. As recent as this Sunday he kicked her out of that house, but, she later that day, went back to live with him. WHY? Brainwashing.

While researching, I found experts on mental illness say an essential part of the person’s dealing with their mental illness is learning to brainwash their family and friends. They are practiced con artists and work to isolate their spouses from people who give a more balanced perspective and question their distortions. They will also often deprive their family of sleep. And then they can hammer away, on and on repeating their distortions. Anyone living with this is vulnerable to it, and it leads us to question our own beliefs about what is appropriate and what is right and wrong. I even found myself questioning my motives in attempting to protect my daughter and grandchild.

However, this man is mentally ill and now, tragically now, so is my daughter.

Several personality disorders lead to behavior that is abusive. These include borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder, which can be called sociopathic, psychopathic, or just sociopath. Alcoholics often suffer from these disorders even if it isn't recognized. People who suffer from these disorders have extreme emotions, which lead them to actions that can range from puzzling to brutal. Personality disorders are aptly named, because the minds of people who suffer from these disorders work differently than healthy people. Their reactions, both thought and emotion, to otherwise normal situations can be extreme and puzzling.

People with all of these personality disorders have serious maladjustments in coping with life. Thus, they live in emotional turmoil. They seek to present a very together appearance, hiding their disease from most people. It is only when we get into a close and private relationship with someone with these personality disorders that the abusive behavior comes out. And because their lives are wracked with emotional turmoil, there is a lot of pent-up emotion that can be focused on us.

This man is on a path to substance abuse and his behavior will eventually turn to physical violence on my daughter just as it has on his brother. Unfortunately, I have no recourse in this situation but to wait, pray and hope that my daughter will put her child’s welfare before her compassion for a very sick husband and leave.

It has been a week now since anyone has heard from her. My wife lives with this everyday and I am extremely proud of how she has handled herself through this family crisis. We both have had tough times dealing with this and we have had to harden our hearts against our child and grandchild until either she is ready to resolve this or Bobcat crosses the line and the legal system finally steps up and incarcerates him for what is obviously criminal behavior.

Footnote: There will be NO jailtime for the TWO assault and domestic violence charges filed from the brawl with his brother for either incident.


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