{July 26, 2012}   Skeletons in the Closet

A question I’ve always wanted to answer is, “Why do some mothers single out one child in the family to abuse?” I’ve looked around the internet, read books and asked friends what they think. Here’s some explanations I’ve come across:

–Scapegoating. Definition: a person who is blamed for the wrongdoings, mistakes or faults of others. One person in a group or family singled out for scorn and/or shunned by the group.

–Negative Mother Complex, a Jungian term for the woman who wants complete control over a child. As they grow older, she becomes angry and jealous of their independence and the lessening of her control. The child is abused emotionally and physically so that the mother can cling to her power. She will sabotage the child’s development to keep the child subservient.

–Triangling. This dynamic was called “the drama triangle” by Dr. Steven Karpman in 1956. It involves three people and three roles, like parts in a play. One person takes on the role of the Persecutor. S/He blames, disrespects, attacks, ignores, and/or criticizes the Victim for something. The Rescuer defends the Victim but it may shift and roles may change with different conflicts.

–Divide the children. The mother does this so that she will have an ally. Often the sibling who is her ally will help abuse the isolated child.

–Resentment of the father.  A mother may take her anger out the child who favors, speaks, acts or has mannerisms like the other parent.

–Jealousy. The singled out child is usually the oldest child and a daughter. The mother resents the attention the father may show the first baby. The resentment grows as the child grows until the mother sees her daughter as a rival for her husband’s attention.

–Some parents abuse their children because they themselves were abused when young. Their brain is wired from a young age to be violent.

–A mental or chemical imbalance of the mother.

–Some people just like being mean and exhibit sadistic behavior.

Comments about this question, as well as stories are welcome!





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