The Legacy of Distorted Love

Recognizing, understanding and overcoming the debilitating impact of maternal narcissism

Casey Anthony: Out and About

Is the defense theory deceptive or speaking truth?

In Orlando, Florida, Casey Anthony was released from jail today. As she walked out the front door of the jail at 12:10 AM, she was accompanied by her attorney and surrounded by law enforcement, machine guns, and security. Video sketches show them walking briskly, and Casey emotionless as she mouths a "thank you" to a guard. They entered the "get away" car and amongst a caravan of vehicles were whisked away to an unknown location. A crowd had gathered, some had set up tents, and others brought their children! The crowd yelled "killer!" at yet another media crazed event in the continued saga of Casey Anthony.

Casey Anthony remains an enigma. The press and the public continue to try to understand what makes her tick. While we hear people say, "we will never understand," is there an attempt to understand? There is an outpouring of grief and rage that a child died and we hear many saying they want to prevent child abuse in the future. But why is there little attempt to understand the other side of the story? The mob mentality seems to rule and the press continues to engage. If we want to make a difference in preventing child abuse, is there not common sense in merely taking a look at the other side? If we care about kids, it appears there is wisdom in looking at all facets of an unfolding and mysterious family drama.

Let's start with forensic psychologist, Dr. Harry Krop. The named psychologist reportedly spent twenty hours in the jail conducting an evaluation of Casey Anthony. He clearly stated that his bill is paid by the state of Florida. He said he abides by his ethics of forensic practice. While agreeing to be interviewed on various talk shows, unfortunately he too, gets hate calls? Why not listen to what he has to say?

Dr. Krop reported that Casey does not have any diagnosable mental illness. On the MMPI personality test, she scored within normal limits on such scales as validity, lying, faking and defensiveness. He clearly states she does not have a narcissistic personality disorder and is not a sociopath. He also states that Casey conducted herself in a very professional manner with him and he did not feel manipulated by her. The doctor says she had some narcissistic traits, (common for children from narcissistic families,) was immature, not developmentally delayed and she has an average IQ. He said it would be out of character for her to be a negligent or abusive parent and she lacked a history of violence. Most interesting is that Dr. Krop stated that if he had testified in the trial he would have talked about dysfunctional family issues.

We also have guards who spent many hours with Casey in the jail who state that she was polite, kind, and not agitated. Not to mention a jury of twelve people who sacrificed weeks of their time, away from their families, to hear all the gory details presented in this horrific case. They came back with a unanimous "not guilty" verdict in less than eleven hours. Dorothy Simms, defense attorney, has spoken on talk shows saying that she liked Casey and grew to trust her. Dorothy Simms has children herself and seems like a reasonable, intelligent woman. Casey's fiancé spoke kindly of Casey as did his father. In fact, the fiancée's father stated that Casey has low self-worth and somebody didn't love her enough to do something about it. They speak of her neediness and insecurity. They also reported dysfunctional family issues in Casey's family.

If we had the issues in this case as described by the defense, and played out in some of the videotapes, it is possible we had a narcissistic family, an incest family, and lots of dysfunction in the family system.

If there was maternal narcissism in Cindy, Casey's mother, that would explain the conflict in the mother-daughter relationship. If she was an engulfing narcissistic mother, she would be all about herself, and of course would want to visit Casey in the jail. The glitch, however, if maternal narcissism is playing out it would be for herself not necessarily to support her daughter. She would also be able to show authentic grief but again for herself. To understand more about maternal narcissism read the prior blog posts here in "The Legacy of Distorted Love" or find deeper understanding in the book: Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers. Maternal narcissism is one of those taboo topics that is little understood.

If there was incest in the family, that would also explain the conflict in the mother-daughter relationship. See prior blog post on incest families.

If the child drowned accidentally, and Casey was threatened she would go to jail for child abuse and negligence, and simultaneously George was threatened that he would be reported for child sexual abuse, that could explain a possible conspiracy. The conspiracy could have been to hide the body and make it look like a kidnapping and murder. That's immoral and wrong, of course. But, it does offer an explanation to those scratching their heads to understand. The fact that George was a prior homicide cop, could also play into the weird aspects of the remains found that resemble the burying of the family pets. Incest and narcissistic families engage in behaviors that emotionally damage their children, but they don't typically kill.

Cindy's grief shown in the trial could be explained by the fact that in the beginning she did not know about the conspiracy between George and Casey. This also explains why Lee and Cindy seemed the most believable and authentic on the witness stand, as they could have been in the dark about what really happened. George on the witness stand was not so clear. The jury and many others found him to be suspicious, including the suicide note and attempt. He was argumentative, defensive, and appeared frightened.

If there was an accidental drowning and Casey had done the right thing, she would have immediately called 911. But, if the defense theory is correct and the family dysfunction is similar to what I have described above, she could have been controlled by her narcissistic parents. Then, when Casey was asked to lie, she perhaps couldn't hold up to such a horrific cover-up. This could explain why her lies seemed so crazy and her behavior erratic, while none of this really fits with her prior personality according to the fiancé, his father, and the evaluating forensic psychologist.

When the lead detective, Melich, says he can't understand why Casey lied so much...if he was an investigator for sexual abuse of children, he would have had a deep understanding that victims do lie to protect themselves, their families, and often the offender.

The prosecutors in the case were viewed as doing a good and thorough job. It just may have been hard to prove a murder if no murder happened? In hindsight, if they been able to charge some kind of child neglect resulting in death and then a cover-up, would Casey be walking today?

If we are to only look at blame and not try to understand, how can we prevent things like this from happening in the future? Narcissistic family dynamics are not well understood. Incest family dynamics are not well understood. We hear pundits saying things like "why didn't she report till now?" and "she doesn't act like a victim of sexual abuse." Are they trained in the family dynamics of both narcissism and incest? Did the media play tapes of the grief counselor who testified and try to dissect that with the help of trained professionals?

With such a horrendous tragedy, people everywhere want to understand and have justice for the child. None would disagree. But, the mob mentality of wanting blood without really attempting to understand the deeper issues is disturbing at best. It allows a venting for a distressed public, a fascination of a drama unfolding, but not a venue for further education if all sides are not assessed. Children are too important. Child abuse is a growing, frightening and repulsive aspect of our culture. It is worth unpacking a whole lot more.

It could be very interesting to hear Casey tell her own story. It is being predicted that this may happen. Is there also a prediction that the family will step forth and tell their truth? That could end up truly being the missing piece of the mysterious puzzle. But, lies and secrets are at the core of narcissistic and incest families. As Pressman and Pressman say in The Narcissistic Family, these families are like, "The shiny red apple with the worm inside."

Once again, it is not my intention to diagnose or blame but to look at family dynamics for the importance of research and prevention of child abuse. Without all members of the family coming forth with truth, no one will really know what that truth is.

Additional Resources for Recovery:

Resource Website: http://www.willieverbegoodenough.com

Book: Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers http://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/the-book-2/buy-the-book

Audio Book: http://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/the-book-2/buy-the-book

Workshop: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers Virtual Workshop. Work recovery in the privacy of your own home, complete with video presentations and homework assignments:  http://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/workshop-overview-healing-the-daughters-of-narcissistic-mothers

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DrKarylMcBride

Twitter: http://twitter.com/karylmcbride

Daughter Intensives: One on one sessions with Dr. Karyl McBride
http://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/resources/daughter-intensives

“Is this your Mom?” Take the survey: http://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/narcissistic-mother

Karyl McBride, Ph.D., is a licensed marriage and family therapist and author of Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers.

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