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Eng 121 - Help I'm Going to Kill My Kids

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Thompson, Marciades



Position Paper

"Help I'm going To Kill My Children"

Children's imaginations run wild with visions of monsters under their beds, in the closet, and the shadows of the night. But what about the monsters that are not just in their imaginations but are in the form of someone they trust and love? Mary Shelley's imagination ran wild in her story of Frankenstein and brought nightmarish visions to the imaginations of readers for decades. Victor's lack of responsibility towards the creature that he created in this fictional book raised discussions on parental responsibilities toward the lives people create in our nonfiction world. Stephen King said, "Fiction is the truth inside the lie." He also said, "Sometimes human places create inhuman monsters." The reason horror movies are successful is because they prey on our instinctual need to survive. In tribal days, when the woman would scream, it was a signal of danger and the man would return to protect their pack. This is why it is usually the woman who becomes the victim of the boogie man. What if the woman was the boogieman? What if she was a mother?

The ability to take care of the lives people create usually falls upon the woman or a female caretaker, but many women lack the ability to take care of a young life. Often, women go unrecognized as being unstable. This can result in abuse, neglect, and when there is nothing left, they kill their children. This is happening more often and needs recognition, evaluation, and education for the problem that it is. PJ Resnick (Child Murder by Parents: A Psychiatric Review of Filicide) classified the reasons a mother would kill her children. He classifies the reasons as psychosis, accident, revenge and having an unwanted child. The American Journal of Psychiatry recognizes these reasons; however, there has been little research done into what other problems that contributes to these crimes. The parents psychodynamic and characterological problems have not been explored. You have to wonder if the mother and the child feels like this quote from Ralph Ellison, "I am invisible; understand, simply because people refuse to see me."

One would think that the extensive study of psychotherapeutic treatment of mothers who commit filicide, along with finding out what it is that they are no longer able to repress during their episode of psychosis or mania, would be included in studies. By looking deeply into the psyche of the individual, it is possible that we could better comprehend, recognize, and take action for the future well-being of our society. We need to be proactive and identify the vulnerabilities that cause breakdowns, depression, violent rages, manic depression, and the psychotic disorganization. Jill Corbin (anthropologist at Case Western University) said "we learn how to reduce auto fatalities among kids by putting seatbelts to use. We learn how to stop kids from strangling on the strings of their hoodies but with this phenomenon, we struggle."

Along with studying women such as Andrea Yates, Susan Smith, Caro Socorro, society needs to be educated about watching for the warning signs, just as we do with suicide, abuse, and other forms of mental health problems. Andrea Yates (Montaldo, Profile of Andrea Yates) was having parenting issues, was under a lot of stress, and was hospitalized for suicide attempts. She voiced to her doctor that she was no longer taking her antipsychotic medication and was having thoughts of killing her children. Andrea filled the bathtub with water and drowned her children. She placed her boys in the bed with her daughter positioned in the arms of her brothers and covered them with a sheet.

Andrea Yates psychosis is different from Susan Smith who just no longer wanted her children because they were in her way. Susan Smith (Montaldo) was sexually abused as a child and had a lifetime of untreated depression and suicidal thoughts. She was hospitalized for attempted suicide after a failed relationship. Her friends described her as being obsessive-compulsive with narcissistic delusions. Susan Smith's story of a black man hijacking her car began to unravel and the truth of how she pushed the car into the lake and watched her car sink with her boys belted inside. In all of the press conferences, she seemed more concerned with how she looked than with the disappearance of her own children.

Another case of infanticide involved Caro Socorro (Bruce McLean) was a well-educated woman that came from a good background; however, she was physically abusive to her husband and four boys. She was said to be under a lot of pressure and held a lot of resentment



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