Article on slapping kids upside the head

I came across a Nigerian article on the subject of slapping kids upside the head in punishment, based on research done by Nigerian researchers.  Now, I get the impression that the writer and researchers don’t yet realize that other forms of physical punishment such as an “all-out whipping with a belt or paddle” are just as abusive and damaging as smacking a kid on the head.  So be warned.  But I’m glad to see awareness being raised in other parts of the world about damages that smacking does to the brain.  Some quotes:

Although, such an act may not make the child lose consciousness, medical experts warn that repeated blows to the head may lead to worrying consequences, including increased susceptibility to concussion, long-term cognitive decline and chronic traumatic encephalopathy – a degenerative disease associated with people who have suffered multiple head injuries.

 

Paradoxically, little blows to the head can add up to big risks, even a continuous habit of hitting a child on the head. A growing body of evidence suggests that repetitive head trauma may increase the risk of a variety of progressive brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and the muscle-wasting condition, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, otherwise known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

–From abdussalam’s Knocking a Child on the Head Can Affect Memory, Thinking Abilities

 

 

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Reblog: Subtle Signs of a Killer: Non-fatal strangulations point to future homicides

The following article, written by Brian Bennett, is very informative about strangulation and research done in recent years.  Some quotes:

An idea was promulgated for decades that there must be external signs of injury such as marks on the neck and/or petechial hemorrhage in the eyes when strangulation occurred. It was believed that without those injuries the assault could not be proven and likely did not occur. This idea is far from the truth.

 

It can take as little as five pounds of pressure for six to ten seconds to render a person unconscious. … Signs and symptoms known to be associated with strangulation now include a raspy or hoarse voice, difficulty breathing, vision changes, fluid in the lungs, vomiting and involuntary loss of bladder/bowel control.

 

If a person loses consciousness because the brain has been starved of oxygen then there is permanent brain damage.

 

In reality, the act of strangulation itself is a lethal act regardless of an offender’s intent. It tells us that the offender has a propensity to use lethal violence and I would argue also demonstrates a mindset that lethal violence is justifiable against anyone. If an offender is willing to harm their intimate partner, child, vulnerable adult or anyone using strangulation, then they can kill anyone….

A study of 300 “choking” cases by the Family Justice Center Alliance in San Diego and Institute on Strangulation Prevention showed that a woman who is strangled even once is 750 percent more likely to be strangled again and 800 percent more likely to be killed later.

 

Research is showing that many of the domestic mass shooters in the U.S. also had a history of domestic violence and strangulation prior to their mass killings.

This worries me because my ex-friend Richard strangled his own step-daughter, who was only 9, until she passed out.  He, by the way, was some 400 pounds at the time, according to court records.  She reported it herself, which must have taken amazing courage–and there must have been physical evidence.  Since so many incidents don’t have physical evidence, and this was the following day (IIRC), Richard must really have pressed hard.

The information in this article makes me worry that 1) he could do it again, 2) he could murder somebody, 3) she had permanent brain damage from this, and 4) his step-daughter could end up with some guy who chokes her again.

Especially since he used to do stuff for the Mafia and once told me his plans to kill an apartment manager.

Especially since, in an e-mail to me, Richard and/or Tracy jeered at me for “not having all the facts” in this case.  Um…Exactly what “facts” make it okay that you strangled your daughter?  Even if they become so-called pillars of the community, I know what kind of people they really are: the kind who would minimize strangling a child and threaten and make fun of and stalk the person who discovered the truth.

But back to the article.  Lots more good information is in the article here.  I encourage you to read it if you’re with an abusive spouse/parent/caregiver/etc.

 

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Repost from 2011: I learn that my narcissist ex-friend choked his daughter

In July 2011, I learned that my ex-friend Richard, a narcissist, had been charged with Child Abuse with High Probability of Great Harm and Second-Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety.  I did not, however, know any details: which child, what did he do, and was it even the same Richard?  It was his name and birthdate, yet the address was different.  

On September 12, 2011, I found out the truth.  I was waiting anxiously for the police department to release its investigation into the Cruckson case that day.  James Cruckson had raped his ex-girlfriend, and while holed up in his house, shot and killed a police officer–then himself. 

Because the ex-girlfriend was reportedly physically abusive to him and her child, this case was highly controversial in the community, as people argued over whether or not she was really raped, did she try to set him up, etc. 

I followed a conversation in the comments of a local blog, and was especially interested because this was supposedly a woman abusing a man. 

I had become an advocate raising awareness, on Facebook and my website, of women abusing men, because of Tracy abusing Richard, and Chris’ wife abusing him as well.  So it was a big deal when the reports were released to the public.

While watching the website for the Fond du Lac newspaper, waiting for the reports to be released, I happened to come across a feature I did not previously know about: weekly court cases, presented with mug shots and a short description. 

I had been watching the print version’s court cases for years, but lately they’d been missing.  So that’s where they put them! 

I began poking around, scanning through the archives, looking for information on what Richard did.  And there it was, in the March 4, 2011 court cases! 

No more doubt that it was the same Richard, because the address was different–That was him in that mug shot!  And with such an angry look!  I yelled at the picture for what he had done to that girl.

The old court cases were purged from the Net in 2013, but I still have the printouts. 

As I had been doing ever since the “friendship” ended, I went to my real friends for support, expressing my shock and anger at what he had done to his own daughter. 

(My friends are far away, but we are connected by e-mail and Facebook; I also reconnected with some old friends here in town who had drifted off.) 

Their comfort and support helped me realize that my reaction matched the situation, that this was an evil deed. 

This was important, because my own Stockholm Syndrome still affected me a year after the end of the friendship, still made it hard to tell myself that Richard was not the kind, gentle, loving soul I always thought he was. 

I posted the following on my website two days later:

Now I know what happened, something so terrible that Todd is so disgusted that he has dropped Richard even from Facebook, and regrets ever having let Richard into his life, let him influence him, etc. etc.

[Added 3/17/14: I don’t know if Todd told Richard why he dropped him from Facebook.  But I do know that he said that Richard is a “f**king scumbag” and that Richard–who at the time had an icon of a saint for his Facebook profile picture–is a hypocrite

Todd also said that if Richard kept coming to my church, then Richard and my husband needed to have a little talk about Richard not going there anymore. 

Todd has also seen some of the nasty e-mails Richard and Tracy sent to us, and knows about the abuse.]

The details are on the local newspaper’s website, in its weekly listing of court cases and mug shots, from the week of 3/4/11:

On September 21, 2010, the oldest child, who was 9 at the time, was being a typical child, not listening to Richard or cleaning up, when he strangled her until she passed out, and she awoke on a couch.

(He often complained that the kids did not listen to him and clean up.)

She told the police the following day, he admitted to the police that he did this and why, and said that he apologized to her when she woke up.

He was summoned to court and officially charged on March 1, 2011, the same day I posted my letter to CPS, and released on bond.  His court date is very soon.

Now I’m told that when this same daughter was very small, he got so angry with her once that he beat her mercilessly.  This poor girl has been through so much crap in her young life, and now this?  Kudos to her for telling the police instead of pretending everything was okay.

This incident tells me that Richard is not worth my grief, that I should not regret losing his friendship, that his and Tracy’s opinions on anything and everything–including me–are suspect, questionable, and not to be taken seriously or sleep lost over it.

He and Tracy are just big, violent bullies who want to push other people around and intimidate them until they get their own way, and punish them–verbally or sometimes physically–for having their own minds and feelings about things.

I thought for so long that he was so awesome and cool; turns out he’s just a big bully.  He had told me a couple of times that he had abused the children in the past, but that he wasn’t doing that anymore.  

But this incident was in 2010, not 2006 or 2005 or 2004 or whenever he might have done the previous abuse.  This shows that he is not reformed, after all.

Especially because of his size (6’5 and 400 lb.) and strength, this shows that he is not safe for anyone to be around, whether small child, woman, man, anybody.

He deserves to sit in jail for a long time, and he just might.  It puts his comments that he wanted to “strangle” me for something once, into a whole new, disturbing light–because it may have been literal.

This LIAR told me that Tracy was the abuser, when he himself was also abusing the kids.  This also means that when he told me Tracy was abusing him, while I could see that she was truly abusing both him and the kids, he was probably abusing her as well!

This, at last, is the “ah-ha” moment I needed to put this issue to rest in my mind, all the self-reflection, wondering if something they said may have been correct, wondering if I should’ve done something different.

It shows me that I was correct to think they are abusive and manipulative bullies, vindicates my letter to CPS, vindicates me.

It shows me that they have absolutely no business lecturing anyone about right and proper behavior, or boundaries, because they don’t respect the boundaries of others and behave very poorly, selfishly and boorishly.

It tells me that Richard manipulated me into thinking that Tracy was the problem, and that he had learned to control himself through religion, when he himself still has violent tendencies.

It tells me that Tracy’s opinions of me and my behavior, and her justifications of herself, are just so much dung to be thrown into the sewer.

It tells me that when Richard blamed me for anything, or lectured me for anything, or told me it was stalkerish to save all my letters, or told me I shouldn’t get upset about him not calling when he said he would or responding to my e-mails, or told me that even little kids know that giving a compliment is your cue to start a conversation–that his lectures also needed to be thrown into the sewer.

It tells me that yes, Tracy is indeed a malignant narcissist and/or narcissistic borderline personality disordered person who only seeks her own twisted ends and doesn’t care about the rights or opinions of others, that I was probably right to suspect that she twisted anything I did or said when reporting to Richard about it, so that he believed her and thought badly of me.

(Once he told me she said I had manipulated Jeff into doing something, when that wasn’t true at all!)

[2014 note: I added “narcissistic” to “borderline” after discovering that there are different kinds of BPD.  I want to distinguish between those who do and do not wish to cause harm.]

It tells me that yes, Richard is indeed a narcissist who twists his way into your heart (whether you’re male or female), manipulates you into doing what he wants you to do and then lets you take the heat

(such as when he began manipulating me into thinking it was perfectly right and proper for him to give me long hugs or put his head on my shoulder when Jeff and Tracy weren’t around and then let Tracy blame me when she found out, when he knew full well what Tracy’s temper was like while I had never even met her before),

then sucks you dry and tosses you aside when your narcissistic supply becomes old or inconvenient.

It tells me that I’m done grieving over the loss of his friendship, done wishing things were different, because there is no way on this earth that I’m going to be friends with child abusers.

[Addendum written 2014:] On September 12, 2011, at 8:13pm, 6 hours after posting a link to the Cruckson case report, I posted to Facebook in a fury I could no longer contain for social niceties,

The one I thought was my awesome, best friend–I was SO fooled. Whatever he and his wife may have thought, the true reason we “broke up” with them was that they’re both violent bullies–verbally and physically.

I witnessed and was told of domestic & child abuse. The LIAR, he told me SHE was the abuser.

But the local newspaper says that HE *choked* his eldest till she passed out. CHOKED her. Confessed to it. And will probably go to jail for it. I NEVER want to see those creeps again!

Todd replied,

What the F**K? They did sh*t so bad it’s in the newspaper? That’s disgusting. And to think I was friends with them once, too. Do you have the link to the article?

He was especially disgusted after seeing the mug shot and court records for himself, since they were freely available online.  One friend said to let CPS protect the kids and not dwell on it.  I responded,

It’s hard not to when for about 5 years I thought he was so cool…when we had seemed like such close friends…when he told me the awful things his wife was doing and that he had to be around to protect the kids from her….

Now to find out that HE is also capable of awful things.

Then I think back and remember: some details of his violent past, being arrested dozens of times for I know not what, how he almost assaulted his landlady until his wife talked him out of it, how he threatened physical violence against my husband for sticking up for me when my “friend” and I were having problems, how he used to be a thug of some kind (I didn’t get many details) when his friends were doing shady activities back in college [that’s the Mafia thing], that he told me if his wife ever cheated he’d take a baseball bat to the guy (just like the Apostle), that if she ever hit him in the face while punching him he would fight back as if she were a man….

Keep in mind that he’s very big and powerful…..I shudder to think what it was like for the eldest girl, only 9 years old at the time, getting choked by him.

It makes me wonder why my husband and I both witnessed the family all together back in June, three months after the charges were filed. I can only hope CPS is working closely with them and getting them to make changes, for him to be allowed to be so close to them.

Another friend wrote,

Oh Nyssa.  That is so very sad. I can’t even imagine why that child is still with parents like that. I agree with you and hope CPS is working closely with them. Also, I’m sure that must be difficult news to find out about your exfriend. Prayers!

The first friend wrote,

Ok, that is too much to forget about. Maybe you should write about your experiences with them to start yourself on the path of recovery? Please know that your true friends would never manipulate you like that and we support you whatever your decisions.

If you saw them in a public place in June, maybe CPS was nearby. But then again, maybe not. This seems like the type of couple that can play a part to manipulate a judge.

I wrote,

Yes, I’ve been writing down my experiences….It seems that the more I remember, the angrier I get….

I saw plenty that the wife was doing–screaming, cussing, smacking around, belittling the children. I heard her yelling at my “friend” and screaming and cussing at others….

She made all sorts of nasty comments to me and deliberately in my hearing and kept getting angry at me. I didn’t get too close to her because of that, but of course, she acted like *I* was the one with the problem, that I was making excuses of shyness etc. for not talking with her much, and tried to force me to befriend her to “prove” that I wasn’t out to “move in on” her husband. (We were just friends!)

And he just kept enabling her. Who needs that kind of drama?

After she became especially nasty one day after an e-mail which she read into all sorts of things that weren’t there, and posted on FB that she’s having a GREAT day because she finally was allowed to scream at me, Jeff and I dropped them like hot potatoes.

But I thought that my “friend,” at least, was a gentle person trying to tamp down his violent past and be pious…. Then I began to write and remember….

My husband told me how, on the day we ended the “friendship,” this guy tried to get into his face and tower over him (he’s very tall) and scream at him, and Jeff yelled at him, “You SIT DOWN! Don’t intimidate me like that!”

And they both went on about how 99% of people would react even more severely than his wife did, etc. etc…..

For so long I’ve been mourning the loss of the friendship and wishing things were different and wondering if maybe, someday, it can be restored. Constantly going over my own part in things and wondering if I should have done some things differently.

But now that I have proof–from our local newspaper and the state’s public court case website–that my “friend” has done something horrible–NO WAY. All the self-reflection can now STOP. All the grief can stop. There’s nothing here that I want back.

My friend wrote,

And there is nothing you did that was wrong. You’ve turned the other cheek to them so often you’ll be spinning for the better part of a year. Keep on writing and maybe go to the batting cages to release the anger.

I wrote,

And yes, I have reported them to CPS–ironically, posting my letter to them the same day he was charged with child abuse. So they know what I know. I’ve done all I can.

At the time, I thought the report would lead to services offered to the family, such as parenting classes and anger management and the like, and CPS would work with them to improve their lives.

When a guy shot a cop and himself after a domestic abuse situation with his ex-girlfriend here in town, I thought, “I hope that my letter to CPS means that my ex-friends won’t turn out like this!”

I had no clue that the same day I sent the letter, one of them was being charged with intentional child abuse causing injury (high probability of great harm) and 2nd-degree recklessly endangering safety, both felonies which could lead to many years in state prison.

At the time, I was very low spiritually, wondering how God could have led these people into my life and then ripped them out again in such horrible circumstances.

Now I see His leading, helping me find the spiritual answers I was seeking 6 years ago, but also putting me in position to witness things that needed to be brought to the attention of authorities.

I was there to try to influence them if possible and save them from themselves, I think, because I did try, but they scoffed at my opinions.

Then God yanked me out of the situation just in time–only two and a half months before this horrible thing happened.

And kudos to that little girl for having the courage to tell the police what happened.

Another friend wrote,

God works mysteriously, and thank God that girl had such courage. I’ve been in situations as a teacher where I knew abuse was occurring, but the child had been so well trained to lie and protect the parent.

Nyssa, you are a beautiful soul. It is so Christ-like to see the good in such a person. I remember the pain you suffered when the friendship ended, but in hindsight: what a blessing!

I’ve made some really sorry choices sometimes in friendships too, so please don’t beat yourself up about it. Lesson learned. Blessings and prayers!

I wrote,

Thanks! It’s painful to think of someone I trusted and thought was a good person, doing something like this….

But I’m told that when this girl was very small, he beat her mercilessly once. What kind of person does such a thing to a little girl??? And now he’s proven that he’s not reformed, after all.

The only good place for him is in jail, sad to say.

And of course, when it became clear that Tracy was still with Richard, some of us wondered WHY?  HOW can you stay with the man who nearly killed your daughter?  One person said she had seemed too smart for that.  We were all quite puzzled by the whole thing.

 

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Anger and Grief after my Spiritual Mentor was convicted of choking his child: Repost from 2011

[This was originally posted here–https://nyssashobbithole.com/main/fighting-the-darkness-newspaper-blurb-richards-conviction/–on November 11, 2011, with many updates added later over time.]

First, the local newspaper reported Richard’s summons on their website’s weekly court cases.

Every week (except for the week Richard was convicted, naturally), they post mug shots and details of selected court cases in the county.

The week of 3/4/11, there was his mug shot for all to see, and what he did, along with his confession.  There was no mistaking that was Richard.

But the week of his plea/sentencing hearing, they posted nothing.  So I had to get details from the state’s court website.  Finally, today, 11/11/11, the newspaper printed in the “Day in Court” section:

Richard —-, [address], one year probation, [fine], battery.

It’s heartening to see that his sentence was actually worse than similar convictions in that section.  The person below him got battery (domestic abuse, repeater) and disorderly conduct (domestic abuse), and two years probation, but a much smaller fine.

Another person was charged with battery and also paid a smaller fine, no probation or jail.

Another person got battery (domestic abuse), one year probation, and a much smaller fine.

Apparently, the local courts are trying to keep people out of jail, getting money from fees rather than paying money for their room and board in prison.

When I look at his mug shot, I try to identify his demeanor: Angry at his daughter for turning him in?  Angry at the police?   Sheepish?  I just can’t figure it out.

I can pick up many body language cues these days, but nuances still can elude me.  Sometimes I think he looks upset with himself for getting himself into this mess, and hope that means he’s willing to change.

But lately, when I look at it, I think he looks angry.  My husband agrees.

And that disturbs me, because why should he be angry if he’s truly sorry for what he did?  Why did he plead no contest instead of guilty, even though the newspaper website stated that he did confess after his daughter reported him?  Is he or is he not taking responsibility for his actions?

My husband thinks he’s angry because he doesn’t think the government should be telling him how to raise his kids.  I wonder why it took five months for the police to charge him, when his daughter reported him the next day.

But she was a brave little girl, doing what so many abused children do not do, whether because they’re brainwashed into thinking their parents are just disciplining them and they deserve it, or because they’re too scared to report their parents and enrage them further.

But there you go.  The public knows thanks to the newspaper.  (No, “Richard” is not his real name.)  And because the public knows, he must know that Hubby and I know, and I hope the thought shames him.

I thought he was cool.  I thought he was awesome.  I thought he was gentle, godly and pious.  I thought he was fun to be around, and would never hurt his own children, other than one time when they were little.

But now everybody knows the truth.  How was I so fooled?

We are not to blame.  His wife is most likely borderline personality disordered/malignant narcissist, making all her opinions of me worthless. 

(Borderline is described by NAMI as a serious mental illness, her mother has it, and she was abused herself as a child, making her higher-risk for developing it.)

[Update 5/10/14: I have since learned of a borderline spectrum.  She is more likely to be high-functioning borderline, which is more under control but less likely to recognize one’s own emotional instability–and also more likely to be narcissistic as well.]

Besides her behavior which matches everything I read about borderline, I witnessed her hanging half her body out of their van as Richard drove along the street, very dangerous behavior which I’m told is common with borderlines.  One of the traits of BPD is impulsive and reckless behavior, and this may also be considered suicidal or self-harming behavior, another trait.

Richard, as well, could be personality disordered/narcissistic, especially from living with someone with BPD traits. 

Nobody who was not disordered in some way, would betray and threaten friends who had been extremely kind to him, or choke a child within an inch of her life.

My mind is still reeling from the juxtaposition of what I thought he was and what he’s been proven to be.

(Update 11/13/11):
Another look at the case on the state’s free public database, reveals a page I wasn’t aware of before:

I figured Social Services (or CPS) was involved, because they work together with law enforcement on child abuse cases.

But there on that page was proof that Social Services is indeed involved here, that they set rules which the court ordered to be obeyed as conditions for Richard’s bond:

28
03-01-2011
Signature bond set
Anger and Grief after my Spiritual Mentor was convicted of choking his child: Repost from 2011 1
Event Party
Amount
Anger and Grief after my Spiritual Mentor was convicted of choking his child: Repost from 2011 1Richard…
[I redacted]
Anger and Grief after my Spiritual Mentor was convicted of choking his child: Repost from 2011 1
Additional Text:
Anger and Grief after my Spiritual Mentor was convicted of choking his child: Repost from 2011 1
Follow rules of informal agreement of DSS. Fingerprints and photo.

[Update 2/2/15: DSS is an acronym for “Department of Social Services”: See here, where “DSS” is used in the address and e-mail address for the department, which includes protection of children

The use of an “informal agreement” for a case that has been charged in court is confusing, because the description here is,

If the case is handled informally an Informal Agreement is signed outlining rules of supervision and appropriate services for the family.   This signed contract means that the case does not go to court and is in effect for six months.

The family may or may not continue to work with the Dept. of Social Services beyond the initial six months depending on whether or not the informal agreement was satisfactorily met.

But the above does not fit the actual court case AT ALL.  First of all, contrary to the above description, it DID go to court.

If the court has made following the agreement a condition of bail, and a criminal charge has now been made, it no longer fits the above description.  It sounds more like Court-Ordered Supervision. 

Since it took more than four months for the charges to be filed, I wonder if they made an informal agreement but broke it–then got charged and forced to follow it.  I also suspect the rules of probation, which were not stipulated online, were to follow this agreement.

Also, the charges were formally made on the same day I sent a letter to Social Services describing Richard’s own abuses: He told me he put the kids in the closet and smacks them on the head.  I often wonder if the results of the investigation into that letter, were used in the court case, which took seven months from initial appearance to conviction.]

So they’re working with the family, and Social Services also has a letter I wrote (completely separate from this case, which I did not know about at the time), so they know what I know.

So I do hope that in time, conditions will turn around in this family, that Richard and Tracy will learn how to control their anger and stop the abuse, and some sort of friendship will be possible between us again–though only if the past can be dropped and I can be allowed to be myself.

Because I want to be back in the lives of the precious little children whom I felt led to protect with that letter to Social Services. 

Because I hate having enemies, especially ones who were once friends.

It helps that I have not used their real names, and that I did not publicly shame them.  That Richard did it himself–and now his name is in the paper as convicted of battery, and on the newspaper’s website and the online database as a child abuser. 

He screwed up his own life and dreams.

According to my priest, he’ll never be ordained now that he has this on his record.

Any political aspirations would be cut short as soon as the media dug it up, and any potential employers can Google his name and find his online case file on the very first page. [2/2/15: I’m told that employers are allowed to refuse to hire someone with abuse on their record, if it would affect the job.]

He has no one to blame for his public shame but himself.

(Update 11/15/11):
Until October, I hadn’t cried over this for many, many months.  But the depression is back.  The sadness keeps weighing me down like a lead blanket.

Seeing his name in the newspaper court records on Friday, has put me into a funk again.

I can’t help crying at what he’s done, how many people he’s hurt: his former friend Todd, his little girl, Hubby, me, numerous people in his past.

The proof is there–I need no more evidence–that he has done a horrible thing, been convicted of it.

It’s no dream, no fantasy I dreamed up.

He did such a bad thing that Social Services was involved before they even got my letter, giving him rules that the court ordered him to follow.

This guy was my friend.  I thought he was such a pious, gentle, harmless person, who loves his little children dearly and wants to protect them, who would never harm me, either.

I went to him with spiritual and religious questions, as a fellow searcher who had already found his path.  He guided me every step of the way until I found my way into Orthodoxy, helped keep me there even when the fundamentalist converts on the Net made me waver.

He even offered to be my godfather if I decided to be chrismated (made Orthodox).  (I said no because he was a man my age, so it would be too weird.)

He had a similar religious background to mine, so we both had dealt with many of the same things in our old churches.  I saw him as my spiritual mentor.

Now I see someone I’m afraid of, whom I once loved as my best friend.

Someone who nearly killed his daughter, someone who went along with his wife’s abuse of me and began bullying me as well to save his own skin.

Someone whose circumstances I kept crying over and trying to help with, only to be tossed away like an annoyance for some petty thing.

Things like this don’t just go away overnight; you don’t just forget them.

Breakups with boyfriends in college and the funk they put me into, seem like nothing compared to the betrayal and loss of someone I considered my best friend forever, someone who had my back, only to turn around and stab me in it.

I still keep hoping that one day–especially if Social Services succeeds in helping him turn his life around, counsels him on anger management and parenting and such–that he will come to us and repent of what he’s done to us. 

Because despite everything, despite my anger and disappointment with him, despite how I feel about his politics and his opinions on NVLD, a part of me still wants my friend back.

(Update 11/26/11):
Another examination of the mug shot, along with some googling for how to identify facial expressions, reveals a more disturbing interpretation: not just anger, but also contempt.

The rest of his face looks angry, and one corner of his mouth curves down–but one corner of his mouth curves slightly upwards, causing just enough wrinkling to look like the beginning of a smile.  In other words, a sneer.

The other basic emotions all have basic facial symmetry, but contempt shows on only one side of the face.  And while both his eyebrows curve downward in the middle, one side of his face definitely looks different from the other, and he’s looking down.

Everything I read says this is a classic contempt expression.

Contempt?  Contempt for whom?  You’ve just been summoned to court for nearly killing your daughter, and your face shows both anger and contempt?

“A feeling of condescension towards another person, or a feeling of moral superiority is the root of the emotion of contempt” –(http://www.facscodinggroup.com/universal-expressions).

 

“Guilt, shame, and contempt are each based on meeting expectations: Guilt: I did not meet your moral standards and expectations, Shame: I did not meet my own standards of behavior, and Contempt: you did not meet my moral standards and expectations” —(http://www.emotionalcompetency.com/contempt.htm).

This is extremely disturbing!  If he were angry at himself, his face would show shame, not contempt.  Contempt means he’s angry at somebody else–but he’s the one who did the terrible deed!  Who is he angry at?  Who did not meet his moral standards and expectations?

Researching “contempt” also brings to mind Tracy’s claims of feeling snubbed.  Well, if she felt snubbed or like I felt contempt because I was reacting to her many acts of abuse of Richard and/or the children while I was right there–well, it’s her own fault!

If you verbally or physically abuse somebody right in front of me, what other expression (other than surprise or fear or being appalled) could I rightfully assume, in all justice toward the victim of bullying and abuse?

(Update 12/4/11):
It’s also baffling to see things turn out like this.  In the beginning, Richard seemed like a good guy, a decent sort, gentle and god-fearing.  He would get excited about theological points and articles just as I would, so we could talk about these and search out what Orthodoxy says about such topics as literal interpretation, End Times, original sin, and universalism.  He was happy to read an article I lent him on what an Orthodox writer says about the salvation of all.

There is a part of him that desires the truth and could still lead to his salvation.  But somewhere along the way, he got lost in all this violence.

I pray that he finds his way back Home again.  Not just for his salvation, but because I miss the friend who once was.

Not what he turned into, which was a jerk, but the friend he was in 2005-2007, the one I told about my family crisis in 2007 even though I only knew him via phone and Internet, because we were that close and comfortable with each other.

But did that person ever really exist, or was it just the facet he showed me?

I pray for the social workers and probation officer, so that they can help this family stop the abuse and begin to heal.  Otherwise the misery could continue for years, because these beautiful, sweet, innocent children will most likely carry it on into their own relationships and families.

(Update 12/20/11):
In trying to find out what happened to a guy I went to school with, who still lives in my home state and is rumored to be in jail now, I discovered a multi-state inmate locator.  So what the heck, I checked it for my state.

Two things I found out: The guy I mentioned a few posts back, who annoyed my SCA shire in 1999 and ended up getting charged with photographing teenage girls a couple years ago?  His stayed sentence has been revoked, and he’s in jail now.  He has to register as a sex offender for many years to come.  LOL  Guy’s a sociopath.

Also, I found that Richard took five updated pictures in November for the state, which were posted on this site.  When he showed up at my church a week or two after the verdict, and showed some signs of repentance (for one, holding himself back from the Eucharist, which you do when you’ve committed some grave sin and need to do penance), I hoped he was sorry for what he did and working on it.  These new pictures were taken after that.

I had hoped to see some evidence of repentance and change in his pictures; all I found was more contempt.  More hatred being sent to the camera.  More “you are scum” being sent to the camera.

More of it than before, because now he has his head up and cocked to one side (all the easier to look down his nose at the picture-taker), his mouth is curled upwards more clearly on one side, and he’s looking up instead of down, so the look in his eyes is much clearer to see.  (Before, he was looking down, but his eyebrows were angry.)

Heck, I could swear it was my brother’s expression when he bullied me.

The old mug shot has more anger in the eyebrows; the new pictures have more raised eyebrows, making the contempt win out over the anger.

There are five pictures, not just one moment in time like the mug shot, so you can see it’s not just a posed half-smile; all three of the front-facing pictures have the same expression.  It’s a scary look.

I spent so much time with him and got so comfortable with him that I could hold eye contact and pay far more attention than I normally do to people’s body language; I felt I could read him extremely well at times; I don’t recall ever seeing a look like this on his face.

I saw joy, sadness,  religious devotion, humor, annoyance at his children, happiness to see good friends, playfulness, or anger with his wife, even anger at me once, but I never saw him look like this.

And I see it very clearly in these new pictures.  I see that side of him that I never could quite believe in before, that violent side.

Hubby says he looks like the cat who swallowed the canary, like he got away with something.

I see that my suspicions of narcissism–as much as I hoped I was wrong about that–are confirmed.

[Update 7/16/13: To see what I mean, see this post.  I found a picture of George Zimmerman which matches Richard’s expression.]

I had hoped for better than that.  I had thought he was better than that.  What the heck has happened to him?  Yuck.

Somehow I have to stop wishing he’d call me up and say he’s sorry, say he wants to make things right.

Lately, I’ve been missing him and wishing that would happen.  Well, I don’t know if I can ever stop wishing for that; I’ve had bullies and exes do that, so why couldn’t it happen here, too?  Even my abusive ex *Phil* apologized to me.  I know Richard has made peace with people in his past before.

But to long for it, wish for things to be the way they were in October/November 2007–somehow I have to let go of that.

It does help to keep looking at these court records and pictures, because the contempt I see in them is disgusting.  I do it again and again to try to drive the longing for reconciliation out of my heart.

What he did was disgusting.  But still that part of me keeps hoping for change…..

But I am so frickin’ GLAD I sent that letter to Social Services in March. 

I am so glad I told them he talked about putting the kids in the closet. 

I’m glad I told them he might strike Tracy one of these days if she hits his face. 

I’m glad I told them about the crap Tracy was pulling. 

And I hope that the probation officer sees (or probably took) those pictures, sees the contempt in his face, and either makes him do the full sentence, or asks to have the stayed sentence revoked so he can go to jail for ten days.  [Update 2/2/15: Richard served the full probation sentence.]

(Update 3/12/12:) After reading what the District Attorney said about my former boss, that he gave him a deferred prosecution agreement so he could have more control over my former boss than “if he had just pled to the felonies,” such as anger management, medication, etc.–I wonder if it was the same thing here.

Did the plea agreement result in probation so the District Attorney could have more control over Richard, get him into counseling and the like, make sure he followed the agreement with Social Services?  I do hope so.

(My boss went ballistic when his wife wanted to leave him.  It seems he’d been physically abusing her.  He drove the red pickup truck I remembered, into the kitchen and did lots of damage to the side of the house; he resisted arrest; he caused damage when the police hauled him in.)

One of the most fascinating aspects of Zimmerman’s latest incident was that he himself called the police to counter his girlfriend’s call, and offered another dispatcher a separate set of facts. He said that the girlfriend had “gone crazy” and had broken a table in the apartment.

“I just want everyone to know the truth,” he tells the dispatcher. “She got mad that I told her I would be willing to leave.”

There’s no telling what exactly happened before their respective calls to police. But, if Zimmerman’s girlfriend is telling the truth, then his effort to turn the tables and make his girlfriend sound guilty is again a classic case of something domestic violence prevention advocates call “minimization, denial and blaming,” which is when abusers make the victim feel as though they are responsible for the abuse, or crazy for thinking any abuse occurred at all. –Annie-Rose Strasser, What George Zimmerman’s story can teach us about domestic abusers

 

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On the Katrina Kennedy-Flores Video

Yes, screaming IS abuse. 

It’s not the cuss words themselves that make it abuse–especially for a toddler who probably doesn’t know the difference between a cuss word and a “regular” word–but the anger behind it.  The kid recognizes the anger.  And yes, physical abuse followed, but the screaming alone was verbal and emotional abuse.  You can hear the terror in that poor kid’s voice.  He’s just a baby!

A few links with good information on this case:

Child abuse video posted on Facebook: Katrina Kennedy-Flores arrested, child in protective custody

Mother arrested for child abuse; bystander cited for recording, not intervening

Mother, 27, arrested after sickening video of her punching and threatening to KILL her two-year-old son for losing her phone charger was posted online

The links also discuss the bystander who filmed the abuse, Sue.  People are saying nasty things about her and making death threats, but the story is that she can barely walk or move, and made the video to prove her allegations.  That she had spoken to the mother before, and was frustrated at no results from CPS in the past.  She said she and her son, also in the video, were frightened for their own lives.

I also got the impression, while watching, that they were trying to find the charger to try to pacify the mother and stop the tirade.  I’m not quite sure what someone who can barely move is supposed to do.  As for her son, I see comments that he’s mentally disabled; I don’t know what that means in his case.

She has been charged for not intervening, so she’ll get her day in court to have a jury decide if she was able to intervene or not.  Let them do it, not Facebook lynch mobs.  I know for myself how you can be terrified by a wild woman, and afraid to do anything but watch in disbelief and horror as she smacks a kid around.

In any case, she says herself that she didn’t do enough.  But she made the video to get evidence so something would finally be done about the abuse.  And something has finally been done.  Let’s not make it even harder for people to get the courage to report abuse.  It’s already scary enough; I was terrified when I reported Tracy.

I detest the Youtube etc. comments on Sue’s weight, even saying her weight is probably her disability.  Excuse me, but do you know anything at all about her medical history?  Maybe her weight came from her disability, not the other way around.  Maybe she has a tumor or glandular problem.  Maybe her legs are paralyzed or arthritic.  You don’t know, so don’t presume to know, and don’t fat-shame her over it.

I’ve seen comments on this video–as you typically do every time one of these videos comes out–that screaming is not abuse.  But I was glad to see responses that yes, it is, screaming is very harmful to a young child, and people should learn about child development before making statements like that.

I’ve written about the abuses I witnessed from Tracy here; this not only traumatized me, but drove me to post here and on Facebook so adamantly against child abuse.  It’s my way to work out the trauma.

I’ve heard her scream at her children in decibels like in the video.  And yes, I was frightened of her, too.  The abusive episodes didn’t last long enough for me to do anything about it, probably tempered because of my presence.  But her husband told me about more intense episodes, especially when she lived with her parents and away from his influence.

I reported Tracy for it, but I have no idea if Social Services did anything about it, or just dropped the ball as often happens in these cases–including the Kennedy-Flores case before this video was made.

Keep in mind cell phones didn’t have videotaping abilities back then, so I couldn’t have made a record; I can only hope Tracy’s children had the courage to speak up and substantiate what I reported.  But children can often be too terrified to do so.

This is what made me want nothing to do with Tracy.  And while sometimes her husband would tell me she was abusive toward their children, sometimes he defended her and even said screaming is not abuse.

So it encourages me greatly to see people step up and say, No, this IS abuse, and it causes serious harm to children even without bruises or broken bones.  It gives me hope that one day, child abuse of all kinds will diminish.

It also encourages me greatly to see that something was done in this case, and the mother is up on charges.

Though many appear to share my frustration that other crimes often seem to get tougher charges and sentences than ones for child abuse, such as Tracy’s husband–also an abuser–only getting probation for choking his kid.

This is another reason why I post about these things: because the system so badly failed in prosecuting Tracy’s husband, giving him a misdemeanor and probation, when he originally was charged with felonies and should’ve gotten prison time.

So obviously, while our country has made many good changes, it still has a long way to go to stamp out child abuse.  The laws need more teeth–and not for people who simply let their kids walk to the park alone, but for people who emotionally, verbally and physically abuse their kids.

Hopefully Kennedy-Flores won’t simply walk with a plea deal for probation as well.

Update 5/21/16: From this page:

The home owner claims she uploaded the video to the internet because police were not acting fast enough to take the child away after her son allegedly handed the footage into police.

Sue’s sister said she and her family are receiving death threats from Flores-Kennedy.

Sue has been charged for not intervening but claims she couldn’t because she is disabled and was scared for her teenage son’s welfare who was in the house at the time, ABC 7 News reports.

Women like this child’s mother frighten not just small children, but adults as well.  Keep that in mind, and how scared the child was just by screams, before she even touched him.  The above link also includes a video of an interview with Sue.

Woman Who Called Police

 

According to the study, researchers analyzed 75 studies that involve more than 160,000 children in a span of 50 years.

They found spanking a child leads to bad behaviors, not better manners.

Researchers said spanked kids are more likely to be aggressive and antisocial. They said their findings are incredibly consistent, and show no correlation between spanking and positive outcomes.

“Our analysis focuses on what most Americans would recognize as spanking and not on potentially abusive behaviors,” said Elizabeth Gershoff, an associate professor of human development and family sciences at The University of Texas at Austin. “We found that spanking was associated with unintended detrimental outcomes and was not associated with more immediate or long-term compliance, which are parents’ intended outcomes when they discipline their children.”

Spanking and physical abuse results had the same detrimental child outcomes in the same direction and nearly the same strength.

“We as a society think of spanking and physical abuse as distinct behaviors,” Gershoff said. “Yet our research shows that spanking is linked with the same negative child outcomes as abuse, just to a slightly lesser degree.” —Study: Spanking leads to bad behaviors, not better manners

 

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One simple reason why screaming at children is not effective

I can still remember well what I thought as a child.  My parents didn’t scream at me, but they did yell, and I can remember how I felt when they did.  And that very easily translates to how a child would respond to screaming.

It was quite simple: The more they yelled, the less I complied.

I’d already be trying to hurry up and get ready, but with NVLD, executive functioning and time management are huge challenges.  I rushed around and tried and tried, but still ran late.  My parents would yell.

Did their yelling make me hurry up?  Heck, no: I moved SLOWER out of resentment.  After all, I was already doing my best to be on time, but treated like I was being deliberately slow.  So might as well be slow, if you’re going to be treated that way anyway.

If my husband comes to me respectfully with a problem, we can resolve it peacefully.  But if he yells at me instead?  Heck, no!  All yelling does is make me resentful.  It does NOT make me comply.

When Richard and Tracy criticized and punished me for being quiet and shy, I did not turn into the life of the party.  When they decided to use yelling, cussing and screaming to get me to comply, I slammed the door on their friendship.

When people yell at me or criticize me for being quiet and shy, I become EVEN QUIETER and more reserved.  I noted this way back in 1998.

This is how I respond to not being treated with respect.

And you can be sure children are responding the same way.  THIS is why yelling/screaming is counterproductive.

 

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About that new video of a Baltimore mom smacking up her son: white praise linked to oppression

What’s disturbing is how many people are calling this behavior “mom of the year.”  She’s screaming cuss words at her son and smacking him on the head, which causes brain trauma.

I would be okay with her getting angry and pulling him away, and certainly applaud her for going to get him.  I also understand that she is frightened and doesn’t want him to get killed.

But the cussing and the slapping are NOT okay.  Many people have noted that embarrassing her son on national television will only cause harm, and have given other means she could have used, such as talking to him, validating him, but telling him this is not the way.

We can understand WHY she did this, and sympathize, but we need to stop condoning such behavior.  We need to know there are other ways to raise children that WORK.

And let’s not excuse abuse because a parent was “under pressure.”  Abuse victims have heard all sorts of excuses, yet it traumatizes them anyway.  Don’t forsake the victim for the sake of “not judging” the abuser.

Also, when people say they “turned out okay” after such harsh, outmoded “parenting styles,” or even defend what their parents did, it sounds like Stockholm Syndrome.

Some have also noted that this video’s popularity demonstrates white America praising the beating-down of blacks.  See, for example, Joan Walsh’s The hideous white hypocrisy behind the Baltimore “Hero Mom” hype: How clueless media applause excuses police brutality

Also see Why is America celebrating the beating of a black child? by Stacey Patton, who demonstrates how praising this behavior is part of white supremacy and systematic oppression of blacks:

The kind of violent discipline Graham unleashed on her son did not originate with her, or with my adoptive mother who publicly beat me when I was a child, or with the legions of black parents who equate pain with protection and love.

The beatings originated with white supremacy, a history of cultural and physical violence that devalues black life at every turn. From slavery through Jim Crow, from the school-to-prison pipeline, the innocence and protection of black children has always been a dream deferred.

I see almost nothing in the comment section to Patton’s opinion piece except calling her an idiot and saying the mother’s actions are not abuse.

To that I say, YOU’VE GOTTA BE FRICKIN’ KIDDING ME!

WHAT THE HECK????!!!!!

Do we really still have THAT many abusers left in this country, who think that smacking a kid around is NOT abuse?

Obviously we still have TONS of work to do to get the word out!  THIS IS ABUSE!!!!

Also Sunn m’Cheaux:

This is about the utilization of her actions as propaganda by the very elements of society who created the conditions that led to her believing what she did was the best course of action. This is about the shameless hypocrisy of media that selectively demonizes the behavior of Blacks, depending on how said behavior fits into their agenda. This is about the fact that the media–including social media–is now more inclined to indoctrinate us with narratives than inform us of news. –Post here

Abuse leads to bad behavior, and does NOT stop it.  Yet in various comments people are complaining that “liberals” are somehow the problem if they see this as abuse.  Um, NO.  Obviously the complainers don’t understand that abuse at home does NOT create well-behaved kids.

My blog/website is FULL of pages against screaming at, cussing at and slapping kids.  It has become my mission to fight this, ever since I saw Tracy doing this kind of crap to her kids.  My most popular posts include “Slapping kids upside the head causes traumatic brain injury.”

She then turned around and became my worst nightmare, psychologically abusing me and trying to intimidate me in various ways, and now my cyberstalker, because I dared to say she’s an abuser.  She threatened to sue me if I went to my priest for mediation if she began coming to my church full-time.  Yet asking him for mediation was the only way I could handle it if she became my fellow parishioner, which was a real danger because her church has now closed.

I also unfriend anybody who says crap like, “Parents, beat your children.”  I’ve actually seen this in my Facebook newsfeed, and was absolutely appalled.

Yet now I find people praising behavior like this, saying the lack of screaming/cussing/smacking around kids is why this country is so screwed up, and calling the woman in this video “mom of the year,” and complaining that “idiot liberals” are probably going to sic CPS on her.

(Yet spanking is still done by the majority, so that kid you see acting up, is probably spanked at home.  And my generation got spanked plenty, yet WE acted up plenty as well: cussing, disrespectful comments, promiscuity, not obeying, all the stuff people blame on lax parenting.)

How can I possibly be okay with this???!!!!

And now I find that many blacks are not okay with this, either, are horrified at the glee with which whites praise it.

Also see Violence for Violence: A Mom’s Turmoil in Baltimore:

Finally, a mom doing parenting right, the world seemed to scream.

It made me profoundly sad, and quite honestly, confused.

The very same people who recognize that violence is not the answer in retaliation to the police somehow find violence an appropriate response when it’s coming from a parent?

From Unschooling Momma and Poppy’s Only in America would an abusive mother receive the title “Mother of the Year”:

The real problem here is not whether or not this is abuse but the fact that abuse of children is so widely accepted in America and often sugar-coated under the umbrella of “discipline.”

Watch this video and imagine this happening in any other context outside of a parent child/relationship and tell me if abuse would then be too harsh of a word to describe this scenario.

If a man dragged and beat his wife like this to “protect” her it would be abuse. If an employer slapped his employee like this to teach him a lesson it would be called abuse. If I protected my dog from being killed and proceeded to beat him, it would be called abuse.

People would be outraged! Animals have more rights and are offered more protection than our children! Yet, this woman is seen as a hero on national TV because she showed up to beat her son.

….I know there are plenty out there who disagree with my “bleeding heart” approach to parenting but I say America needs more bleeding hearts! We need to be people our children can look up to and respect. We need to practice what we preach.

We need to value our children as humans and not hurt them. We need to open up our eyes and see by physically punishing children we are treating them that is how they deserve to be treated.

They feel worthless, they have no self-respect and it opens up the doors for them to be more likely to be abused in the future “out of love.”

We need to model the behaviors we want to see in our children, violence begets more violence. Violently attacking a child does not teach a child not to partake in violence!

Respect is taught by feeling respected. Children develop respect for their parents and ultimately authority by being respected themselves not by being beaten down.

For a time, I felt alone in my feelings on this case, when usually there are lots of voices speaking out against an abusive incident.  I wept for humanity.

But now I’m finding all sorts of blog posts and people on Facebook speaking out against it: friends, strangers.  And they, too, say, “I felt alone in this.”  Here, I’ve only posted a few such blogs which I have found so far.

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