Insight Is 20/20

Exploring the pervasive, and unperceived, patterns that govern our lives

The Conflicted, Resentful Parent

Men and women who didn't get what they needed from their own parents as children will inevitably feel more conflicted and resentful as they parent children of their own - especially when their children are young and need vast amounts of attention. Read More

Casey Anthony Explained

Is that the reason why the mental health professionals
who examined Casey Anthony said she showed no signs of
pathology? Could it just be that the neglectful parenting
was passed from her parents to her, and from herself to her
child? She showed no signs of conduct disorder at all, prior
to killing her child.

Reply

Following the theory that Anthony truly killed her child, there's no questions that something was seriously off in her development. Now, whether that was early childhood experiences with parents, family or peers, or whether it was something more organic in terms of impulse control or even sociopathic traits - we don't know. I would need to see psych testing from her, including the MMPI, and would also need to interview her over a period of time to truly understand her psychological makeup. My (sad) sense is that Anthony may actually be sociopathic. Studies suggest that up to 50% of sociopathy can be ascribed to genetic factors, which means that there would still need to be some environmental component that was pathological in her young life. Was that family? Was that negative experiences at school? Was there any kind of physical, sexual or emotional abuse from a parent, coach, school staff member, etc.? Short answer: We really shouldn't blame the parents. There may have been insufficient parenting (an authoritarian or neglectful parenting style), but that simply can't explain the horrific act of abandoning or killing your child.

Thank you for a valuable post

I've always been somewhat mystified by parents who display disgust in reaction to their children's needs. Your post elucidated this attitude for me.

She Had No Conduct Disorder

Teacher rapist and murderer Philip Chism had Conduct
Disorder. He was 14 years old when he killed his teacher.
Just the other day he attempted to rape and murder a female
guard where he is being held.
Casey Anthony went bad at age 20. That's PAST the age for
Conduct Disorder. Therefore, she can't be a psychopath, but
possibly a sociopath.

Having both parents abusive

Having both parents abusive and neglectful, I greatly feared having a child...but finally did at 40. I love my son very much but I have some of the problems described in this post. Thanks so much for it!! I sometimes withhold affection or become angry when he wants SO MUCH attention. (he is 6) because somehow I think he has it "so easy" compared to my unstable, brutal childhood. I do not want him to be entitled or spoiled....that being said, I do tell him daily how much I love him.....I always wondered why I felt so odd and conflicted. This post is very helpful.

Thanks for the great article.

Thanks for the great article.

Now I'm curious about your thoughts on narcissistic parents, particularly narcissistic mothers. I imagine they would feel less remorseful than the parents described in your article.

so true!!

This is so true! I had an alcoholic father and an emotionally neglectful mother (she ignored a lot of the problems I had--depression and I was bullied. ) My father treated me as burdensome, was very resentful and is resentful of my success as an adult; always blamed me for problems. His mother was an alcoholic and left them. I feel like he projected his hatred for his mom onto me (I am a girl) and my mother. I don't have kids, but I want them, but I fear that I would be a terrible parent. I see it with my friend. She had a terrible mom and she is a bad mom. I feel like this is a really applicable real-life situation.

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Seth Meyers, Psy.D., is a clinical psychologist with the L.A. County Department of Mental Health.

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