Dysfunctional families and dysfunctional family courts- We MUST interrelate issues.
Here are articles, books, commentary, some leading questions. 3/9/06 STG
1) “A Million Little Pieces,” by James Frey, ‘05- despite the controversy re some exaggerated scenes, at least 95% of the book is right on target. The theme that needs emphasizing is that the Hazelden center found that most patients became severely addicted to escape their anger, stemming from dysfunctional families. Addicts feel shame for having been abused, hence punish themselves.
2) “The Lost Children,” by Bob Herbert, NYT Op-Ed, 1/30/06- about how black and Latino students have high drop out rate, making them less likely to escape poverty, jail, etc., & will have hard time just surviving. He notes their higher birthrate means this will pose increasing problems for society. True, but don’t they need to include many kids of divorce in the same category?
3) “Empty Pockets, Angry Minds,” by Thomas Friedman, NYT Op-Ed 2/22/06- talks about how Muslim rage stems partly from being left behind- “even tiniest insult goes to very core of your being…. Too few young Muslims can aspire to success.” Hmm…sound similar for kids of divorce?
4) “No Justice, No Peace,” by Bob Herbert, NYT Op-Ed, 2/23/06- about a victim who wants US to admit torture was wrong. He feels his soul is trying to distract him from reality, reality that his life has been destroyed since he has become psychologically & emotionally distant from loved ones, depression interferes with them and finding/keeping a job. Hmm…. Kids of divorce, too?
5) “Inmate Convicted of Murdering Defrocked Priest,” by Katie Zezima, 1/26/06
Inmate had been unwanted from birth and had been physically and sexually abused since childhood. He felt he would be viewed as a savior of children by killing a priest who had been shuttled about to hide repeated sexual abuse.
6) “Beyond Rivalry, A Hidden World of Sibling Violence,” by Katie Butler, NYT
Science Times, 2/28/06,noted that growing evidence finds that repeated abuse
can be emotionally damaging for life, and occurs most frequently when parent is
emotionally absent as result of divorce. I fault this article some, though, because it
said that only 3% of parents attacked a child violently, ditto husbands attacking
wives, counter to other data which notes ¼-1/3 of families practice abuse.
7) “An American Obsession,” by Bob Herbert, NYT Op-Ed, 2/2/06- “There is
nothing more American than brutal violence. The country was built on it and
revels in it….Dr. King understood with unusual clarity the price to be paid for the
terrible belief that every problem could be solved by violence….We have honored
him but never listened to him. Our addiction to the joy of violence is far too
strong.” Dennis Kucinich and Walter Cronkite stated the same thing during
their 9/30/05 interview as did Michael Moore in his “Bowling for Columbine.”
Yet our media persist in sensationalizing violence. Will we do too little too late??
8) “City Was Told 6 Times of Trouble in Bronx Boy’s Home,” by Al Baker and Leslie Kaufman, NYT 2/1/06, noting “obvious evidence of chronic neglect.” Hmmm…. How about the tons of evidence media have received, but mostly ignored, for years about excessive family court costs, impoverishing one spouse relative to the other, and the most heinous ever-increasing removing custody from the primary caregiver, often even when other parent is abusive, emotionally or physically? Do we ever see those issues across the spectrum of media and debated repeatedly like the Abu Ghraib scandal? Isn’t it even highly likely that at least some of the perpetrators of that abuse were acting out their own cycling of abuse?
9) “Who’s at Risk,” by Stephan Golux, NYT letter-to-the-editor 11/1/05 referencing the 10/25 “Scare Yourself Silly, but the Real Terrors Are at Your Feet.” Stephan asks- “How many people have died of terrorism in the past 5 years compared to smoking?” STG- what could provoke more terror for child or protective parent than to have that child placed in unsupervised visitation or custody of abuser? PAS (Parental Alienation Syndrome) developed by Dr. Gardner has frequently been used to wrest kids from a here-to-fore perfectly good parent., even when credible evidence of abuse is present and the Amer. Psych. Assn. disavowed it. It is STILL used, though less and more subtly. BUT Gardner committed suicide by repeatedly stabbing himself in the heart! Doesn’t that bespeak a pathological mind & wanting to punish himself for causing unspeakable harm? He is widely quoted saying such things as, “every male parent has a bit of pedophilia in him.”
10) “Healing: Wounds Linger (literally) After marital Strife,” by Nichlas Bakalar, NYT 121/13/05- “Hostile interactions may slow healing of wounds, a new report says.” It is well documented all family members in divorce get sick more & longer.
11) “Why Love Heals,” by Chris Crowley & Henry Lodge, M.D., March, “Ladies Home Journal”- “Making deep emotional connections with friends and family reduces stress, creates more happiness and actually keeps you healthier.” Isn’t it obvious we need to do everything in our power to provide conflict management and challenges of good partnering and parenting to All our children as much as possible? Shouldn’t that be a required integral part of k-12 curriculums everywhere? Shouldn’t a few counseling sessions be required to get a marriage license? Shouldn’t there be all sorts of support to help keep marriages together?
Wouldn’t costs for these be offset by lesser medical expenses, less missed time from
work and school, enhanced creativity and productivity, etc.,etc.?
12) “The Happiest Wives,” by John Tierney, NYT Op-Ed 2/28/06 – study of over
5,000 couples- “Having an affectionate and understanding husband was by far
most important predictor of woman’s satisfaction with her marriage….. Happiest
wives were ones whose husbands brought in at least 2/3 of the money…. Men more
willing to take jobs paying premium in exchange for long hours away from home….
Women want equity but not necessarily equality.” All above works fine unless
marriage fails. Everyone knows women rarely have same earning capacity as men
for hosts of reasons, one being she carries babies 9 months & typically is more
nurturing. Custody must not be wrenched away & financial equity must be found.