Sometimes a Fatal Quest... Losses in Adoption

DAVID KIRSCHNER

The quintessential adoptee, to quote an adoptee friend of mine, author/ psychologist Betty Jean Lifton (1988), was Oedipus. Had Freud been an adoptee, he would have known that the pivotal issues in Oedipus' complex were abandonment and loss, a need to reconnect with genetic roots and buried, dissociated adoptee rage.

Oedipus' search for his past evolved into a fatal quest, in large part, because he was not told the facts of his birth that Laius, not Polybus, was his biologic father and Jocasta his birth mother. He had voyaged to Delphi to seek the truth from the Oracle, but was rewarded only with a cryptic message, that if he returned to his own land he would kill his father and marry his mother. The fact that he had been adopted by Polybus after being abandoned by Laius was kept from him, as the truth of their birth is often kept from most adoptees. The consequence was parricide and incest. We are left to consider the possibility that on a deeply unconscious level, Oedipus knew exactly what he was doing when he killed his father and took his mother to the marital bed: he was both taking revenge for having been abandoned as an infant and reconnecting with his genetic past.

Abandonment and loss are core issues in adoption. Loss of the birth mother is a primal wound, says adoptive mother/author Nancy Verrier (1993), likely no less profound than loss of significant relationships through death, separation or divorce. In adoption, however, there is also a loss of origins, loss of identity and loss of a completed sense of self. All members of the adoption triad experience profound loss. Birth parents lose their children, adoptive parents lose their dream of a child they wanted to conceive, and adoptees lose their birth families. Unlike other situations of traumatic loss, the adoptee's need to grieve is too often not validated by society, or understood by the adoptive family.

Speaking of adoption loss, Jean Paton, the grandmother of adoption reform (Paton, 1968) wrote me, when she was age 82:

 

I believe that there are two traumas in the average adoption life history. One relates to the rejections one has received in the search. The other seems to come from nowhere else except the separation trauma, from the birthmother. It lies so deep that one is lucky if it comes to life and can be unearthed.

If loss is not recognized, how can grieving and healing take place? It is only when the losses of adoption are addressed, that the gains of adoption can be more fully realized. Kubler-Ross (1997) has identified five stages that are worked-through in normal grief and mourning. Recognizing these stages of grief can reassure adoption triad members that they are experiencing appropriate feelings, even though grieving in adoption is different in some distinct ways from mourning a death: With death, there is at least a concrete ending that initiates the rituals of grieving. In adoption, there is no death, and no clear ending, but rather a kind of limbo, which has been described as similar to mourning a loved one who is missing in action.

In a landmark double murder case in 1986, 1 testified for the defense that 14-year-old Patrick DeGelleke had killed his adoptive parents (by setting their bed afire) as he felt that only by their dying could he be freed to search for and find his birth mother. When I suggested to Patrick that his birth mother, Barbara, might not be alive, his response was "but if I found out for sure that she was dead, at least then I could see her grave." Young Patrick, incidentally, was obsessed with fire, and with the story of the Phoenix, the mythical bird that is consumed by fire, but is reborn and rises in beauty from its own ashes. Patrick acted-out his festering adoption issues, but many adopted children internalize their pain and curiosity, rather than hurting the adoptive parents' feelings, or risking another feared rejection. Consequently, it is not uncommon for adoptees to remain stuck at the first stage of grieving, denial, or the second stage, anger, or the fourth stage, depression.

Adoption loss has been described as the only trauma in the world where the victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful. Psychologist/author Betty Jean Lifton, a mother figure of adoption reform, has called the secrecy based adoption system, "the game of as if." She wrote:

Everyone pretends as if the adoptee belongs to the family raising him or her ... The adopted parents embrace the child as if it were their own blood and ask the child to live as if this were true ... Inherent in this process is the expectation that the child regard the birth parents as if dead, if not literally, then certainly symbolically.
(Lifton 1988, P. 14)

Many adoptees, in fact, have even been told the lie that their birth mother was dead. One notorious/high-profile example of this kind of lie was David Berkowitz, the so-called "Son of Sam" serial killer, who terrorized New York City in the 1970s by shooting and killing young women in parked cars. Berkowitz, always told the lie that his biologic mother had died giving birth to him, nonetheless searched for and found her alive. She did not measure up to his idealized fantasy image. When he met her, she introduced him to a half-sister he never knew existed, whom she had kept, while giving him up for adoption. Shortly after this ill-fated reunion, the killing spree began, in the same section of New York City, the borough of Queens, where he had met his birth mother and sister. I speculated then (1975) that he was repetitively killing young women in mating situations to prevent other unwanted little David Berkowitzes from being conceived in parked cars and later abandoned, as he fantasized that he had been.

There is little doubt that adoption at its roots was meant to exist on a base of death and rebirth, writes adoption-activist Shea Grimm (2002). The adoptee was, and is, meant to be reborn (into the adoptive family) as if they are dead to their birth family, and the biologic family is dead to them. This concept is echoed in state adoption laws and court rulings, perpetuating the deep-seated notion that death and rebirth is intrinsic to adoption, and so a system of sealed records, falsified birth certificates, secrets and lies evolved to facilitate this process. Consequently in adoption, there is too often no acknowledged grief, no meaningful mourning, and no closure. Just a festering wound that cries out to be healed, so that the adoptee can truly bond, give and receive love, have a solid sense of self and identity, and not get stuck in pathological grief and unrealistic fantasies (of birth parents) that may last a lifetime.

There should/can be a rebirth/transformative experience in adoptees, but this is possible only in a climate of openness, honesty and validation that allows for grieving first. Where there is a failure to mourn, there will be a failure to bond.

Recent trends toward more honesty and openness in adoption, and increasing acceptance of the need of some adoptees to search (for their birth parents), has resulted in new beginnings and transformative experiences, in many adoptive families. Yet original birth records remain sealed in all but five of the fifty US states. Most adoptees continue to be frustrated and blocked in their search for information, closure and/or hope for a reunion with birth parents.

Since the early 1960s, I have seen hundreds of adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth mothers in psychoanalytic therapy. Since 1986 I have testified as a forensic psychologist in mom than twenty cases of adoptees who have killed (usually parricides, but also serial killers and killers of strangers) around the United States. I have repeatedly emphasized (Kirschner, 1980, 1988, 1990, 2006) that the vast majority of adopted children grow up to be psychologically healthy, productive, law-abiding citizens. I have also said (Kirschner, 1992, 1993, 1995, 2006) that there is a spectrum of adoption related issues/problems ranging from the essentially "normal" ones that most adoptees present and resolve to ego "splitting" or dissociative disorders (Kirschner and Nagel, 1996) for which only a small subgroup of adoptees at the extreme end of the spectrum are at risk. While it is just a small percent who are prone to commit violent crimes, we should pay attention to this group for, as criminologists Jack Levin and James Alan Fox (1985), Ken Magid (1988), and Joel Norris (1989) point out, adoptees are overrepresented in the criminal justice system and adopted serial killers have become household names.

Despite a wealth of clinical data and many replicated studies, with consensual validation among most mental health professionals in the adoption field indicating that adoptees are at greater psychological risk (Steed, 1989), them is still controversy about whether or not children of adoption are more vulnerable/at risk for emotional problems. Authors such as adoptive parent Elizabeth Bartholet (1993), adoptive father/sociologist William Feigelman (1986), adoptive mother Florence Klagsbrun (1986), and adoption agency lobbyist William Pierce (1990) all argue/maintain that adoptees are not any more prone to suffer from emotional/psychiatric problems than non-adopted individuals.

Adoption per se does not necessarily give rise to psychopathology. It must, however, be considered a risk factor, perhaps a precipitating one, in some families that are dysfunctional in terms of core adoption issues and parent-child interactions. Fortunately, not one of the hundreds of adoptees treated in my practice has ever killed anyone (thank G-d), though they all presented issues of loss, identity, anger/rage, etc., similar in kind, if not degree, to the twenty forensic cases who did act out in homicidal violence. What differentiates the few who kill from the vast majority of adoptees who work-through their issues of loss, abandonment, and identity and go on to lead productive lives? Why in these extreme cases is there pathological mourning, and an ultimately Fatal Quest instead of the healing,transformation, and new beginning that is often seen so dramatically, especially in the psychoanalytic treatment of adoptees? What can be learned from these cases at the extreme end of a spectrum?

For one thing, almost all of the twenty adopted killers whom I have seen had been in therapy (in childhood and adolescence), often with a number of different therapists, but the adoption issues were left virtually untouched in their treatment, and their therapists were not psychoanalytically oriented. Many therapists tend to minimize adoption as an issue in child and adolescent treatment. They often unwittingly enter into a folie a trois with the parents and adoption agency in which the adoptive family is viewed as being no different from birth families. Sociologist and adoptive father David Kirk (1964) believes this "denial of difference" as opposed to a realistic "acknowledgment of difference" is key to parenting emotionally healthy, adopted children. Therapists should also be aware that the transference of adopted children is quite special, and arises from the distorted parental images of many adoptees. The therapist may come to represent the birth parents and the patient may be intensely ambivalent, feeling both a strong need for attachment and a powerful fear of rejection. He or she will invariably attempt to sabotage the treatment. Adoption-sensitive, analytically trained therapists are best equipped to deal with this resistance.

My review of extensive treatment notes and reports on the twenty adoptees who killed suggests that their treatment was not adoption-sensitive, and did not focus on these issues. Almost all of them, as teenagers or young adults, had attempted to search for their birth mothers, but were blocked (by a closed adoption system) in this quest. Ironically many did have reunions in prison, as defense attorneys or investigators were able to find information on birth families in almost every case. In my opinion, had they been raised with openness and honesty; had their treatment been with therapists who were sensitive to adoption issues; and if they had been able to find their birth mothers prior to the events (the Son of Sam case notwithstanding), the killings would never have occurred.

This is not to say that reunions are always wonderful. Usually they do not result in long-term, close relationships. Reunion with the birth mother does, however, bring the adoptee back to the primal trauma. Revisiting this trauma, filling in the gaps and testing reality, no matter how unpleasant or painful, is often a major step in the healing process. In every case of the adoptees who killed, split fantasies of all-good or all-bad parent figures, dissociated adoptee rage, and the acting-out of an unconscious compulsion to repeat, was at the heart of the deed.

In Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Freud (1920) describes cases where patients display an unconscious need to recreate and repeat the primal traumas of their childhood, in successive relationships. He states, "There really does exist in the mind a compulsion to repeat which overrides the pleasure principle ... and this compulsion to repeat is part of the death instinct" (p. 24). Nowhere, in my opinion, is the connection between traumatic loss, pathologic grieving, the death instinct and repetition compulsion more dramatic than in cases of adoptees who kill.

For example, in 1989 1 examined then 45-year-old Steve Catlin, accused of killing his fourth and fifth wives, as well as his adoptive mother, with paraquat poison. Steve's third wife, Edith Ballew, raised suspicion about the deaths. The bodies were exhumed, traces of poison were found. I was called in to see if adoption issues could explain Steve's motivation and mitigate against the death penalty. When I evaluated him in prison in Bakersfield, California, I asked how he felt about being adopted. Steve, a macho kind of guy, started crying and said, "I can't believe you're asking me that. No one ever asked me how I felt about adoption before." When questioned what he had been told about his birth parents, Steve said that his biologic father was a Royal Air Force pilot during World War II who met his mother while training in the United States. He fell in love with her, went back to war, and was killed in the Battle of Britain. His birth mother, so he was told, upon learning of her lover's death, committed suicide by poisoning herself. I asked Steve whether be believed this story. He answered, looking me straight in the eye, "Ma Catlin would never tell a lie." But Steve poisoned Ma Catlin, his adoptive mother. Subsequent investigation revealed that the entire story was a fabrication. His birth mother had not poisoned herself. She was, in fact, still alive. Three other women were dead , however, poisoned by Steve who, I'm convinced, was in the throes of a fatal quest, a need to revisit his primal trauma, repetitively killing symbolic mother figures, poisoning them as, he believed, his birth mother killed herself when she abandoned him as an infant.

Joel Rifkin, the most prolific serial killer in New York State history (Pulitzer and Swirsky, 1994; Kirschner, 2006), was also on a fatal quest, a pathological search for his birth mother, when he killed seventeen young women in the New York City/Long Island area from 1989 to 1993. Adopted as a newborn, Joel played out his role of the "good adoptee" at home where , adoption was a taboo subject, virtually never discussed, in a family atmosphere of almost total denial. "We never talked about adoption in our family, not even close to really talking about it," Joel said. He spontaneously used the term dissociation to describe his adoptive mother Jeanne's tenacious denial of the importance of his adoption. Even the psychotherapists who treated him in childhood and adolescence (for "dyslexia," would you believe?) sided with this resistance, avoiding discussing adoption. Joel always fantasized about his birth mother and was convinced she was a prostitute (though she wasn't).

My first meeting with Joel was shortly after his arrest in 1993. Over the next twenty months, we met for more than 110 hours in the Nassau County and Suffolk County, Long Island prisons Though he thought of searching for his birth mother when away at college, he never did anything about it because, as he told me, "I didn't want to hurt my parents' feelings." Instead, he carried out this quest pathologically, in the throes of a (bizarre) repetition compulsion. Explaining that he always felt lonely, terribly lonely prior to each killing, and he would then troll for prostitutes, whom he felt a strong bond with, to counter his painful loneliness. Symbolically, even consciously, he identified the women he killed with fantasy images of his birth mother. He had no conscious anger toward them and described only a bond of affection with prostitutes from whom he sought the nurturing love he felt had been denied him. It was in their world that he sensed he belonged, feeling strangely at home. It was for these women, he insisted, that he felt nothing but affection. Though amnesic for the killings (which he called the "events") and what triggered them, Joel had total recall for the "disposals" of his victims, and his bizarre need to first return with the dead bodies intact to their source (where he searched for and found them) before dismembering them. If he did not return with the dead women to the source (scene of his symbolic reunion), he said, their life energy would not stay with him, to nurture him and counter his loneliness. In a tone as rational as a biology professor describing the body's need for nourishment, Rifkin explained that he needed the life-energy of these women - each his symbolic mother -- to survive emotionally, to fill the void and counter the pain that was always inside him. For this energy to nurture him, the women had to be dead first. If they remained alive, he reasoned, the energy would stay with them. In death, their life-energy would be released and absorbed into the body of their killer.

Parke Dietz, the prosecution psychiatrist in Rifkin's only trial, testified that Joel's motive, pure and simple, was "sexual sadism." I submit however, that even if there were elements of sexual sadism in Joel's acts, this did not fully explain his complex motivation. In Civilization and its Discontents, Freud (1930) could well have been analyzing Joel Rifkin in writing about the death instinct as follows:

It is in sadism, where the death instinct twists the erotic aim in its own sense and yet at the same time fully satisfies the erotic urge, that we succeed in obtaining the clearest insight into its nature and its relation to Eros. . . . In this way [by destructive behavior] the instinct itself could be pressed into the service of Eros, in that the organism was destroying some other thing, whether animate or inanimate, instead of destroying its own self.
(Freud, 1930, p. 78)

A great value in studying extreme cases, such as these adoptees who kill, is that they can demonstrate in pristine form, issues that may affect other adoptees, on a spectrum ranging from normal/minor to severe/extreme. "The importance to society of future research on this problem (adoptees who kill) is that only by acknowledging that it exists can we obtain the data and understanding to treat, and we may hope, to prevent further tragedies" (National Association of Homes for Children, 1986, p. 6).

REFERENCES

Bartholet, E. (1993) Family Bonds: Adoption and the Politics of Parenting. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

Feigelman, W. (1986) Don't stigmatize the adopted (letter to the editor). The New York Times, March.

Freud, S. (1920) Beyond the Pleasure Principle. Standard Edition, 18: 3-64. London: Hogarth Press, 1955.

----------- (1930) Civilization and its Discontents. Standard Edition, 21: 57-145. London: Hogarth Press, 1961.

Grimm, S. (2002) Sealed records and adoption reform: an historical perspective. www.bastards.org/activism/reform.htm, March 31.

Kirk, D. (1964) Shared Fate. New York: Free Press.

Kirschner, D. (1975) Son of Sam and the search for identity. Adelphi Society for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy Newsletter, June: 7-9.

---------------  (1980) The Adopted Child Syndrome: a study of some characteristic of disturbed adopted children. Report of the South Shore Institute for Advanced Studies. Merrick, NY: South Shore Institute for Advanced Studies.

---------------  (1988) Is there a pathological adoption syndrome? Paper presented at the American Adoption Congress National Conference, Boston, MA, May.

---------------  (1990) The Adopted Child Syndrome: considerations for psychotherapy. Psychotherapy in Private Practice, 8: 93-100.

---------------  (1992) Understanding Adoptees Who Kill: dissociation, patricide, and the psychodynamics of adoption. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 36: 323-333.

---------------  (1993) Understanding Adoptees Who Kill. Paper presented at the national convention of the Council for Equal Rights in Adoption, New York City.

---------------  (1995) Adoption psychopathology and the adopted child syndrome. Directions in Child & Adolescent Therapy, 2: 3-13.

---------------  (2006) Adoption: Unchartered Waters. New York: Juneau Press.

Kirschner, D. and Nagel, L.S. (1996) Catathymic violence, dissociation, and adoption pathology: implications for the mental status defense. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 40: 204-211.

Klagsbrun, F. (1986) Debunking the Adopted Child Syndrome. Ms Magazine, October.

Kubler-Ross, E. (1997) On Death and Dying. New York: Scribner.

Levin, J. and Fox, J.A. (1985) Mass Murder, America's Growing Menace. New York: Plenum.

Lifton, B.J. (1986) How the adoption system ignites a fire. The New York Times, March 1.

(1988) Lost and Found: The Adoption Experience. New York: Harper & Row.

Magid, K. (1988) High Risk: Children without a Conscience. New York: Bantam

National Association of Homes for Children (1986) Caring, 11: 4-7, Millbrook, NY: National Association of Homes for Children.

Norris, J. (1989) Serial Killers. New York: Anchor.

Paton, J.M. (1968) Orphan Voyage. New York: Vantage.

Pierce, W. (1990) "Family secret," CBS News: 48 Hours. Cable News Network November 28, transcript 132.

Pulitzer, L.B. and Swirsky, J. (1994) Crossing the Line: The True Story of Long Island Serial Killer Joel Rifkin. New York: Berkley.

Steed, C.A. (1989) Children of adoption: are they at greater psychological risk? A critical review of the literature. Paper, University of Minnesota Counseling and Student Personnel Program.

Verrier, N.N. (1993) The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child. Baltimore, MD: Gateway Press.

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Use, abuse, and rage

I love when names get dropped in these sort of theoretical-essays, because in matters of the mind, subjective opinion is all fine and good, as long as it's not seen as scientific-fact.  Heaven-forbid we require proof behind a diagnostic label.

I think far too many adoption-researchers forget how adults mold the childhood experience.  One does not have to be adopted to feel rage and betrayal towards a parent, but I believe the adoptee is at a much higher risk of emotional-removal and fits of grief-filled rage, simply because the fostered/adopted child loses more than most at a similar age. 

In terms of adoptee behavior, I especially enjoy the mention of Freud's Oedipal complex because he was the child of a young mother and an aged-father.  Maybe Freud had father-issues, maybe he was sexually frustrated and emotionally insecure, in any case, his work and ideas were supported and encouraged by a small group of family and friends, who in the end, may have extended the life-span of his struggling-soul:

his views on human nature were, of course, subjective. He had a deepset fear of death, and his own analysis of his dreams led him to recognize a lifelong hostility towards his father, and early childhood sexual feelings for his mother. He smoked often, and used cocaine as a stimulant, recommending it as a remedy for many ills (including morphine dependency). Further, in his 40s he told his wife that they would now live a life of celibacy, because he needed to sublimate his libido in order to have more creative energy available to him. (There have always been rumors that Freud was having an affair with his sister-in-law; Carl Jung claimed to know about it, but did so only after falling out with Freud).  http://www.simplyfreud.com/about-freud.htm

I wonder how many adoptees feel more grief and anger towards the loss of a responsible father than the loss of a mother?  And I wonder when Absent Father Syndrome is going to replace Adopted Child Syndrome.  Either way, parental-influence produces a variety of pathologies.  The question is, who's going to help create better parents?

 

Steve Catlin Paraquat killer

I was most interested in the interview with Steve Catlin mentioned in this article. Steve Catlin married my mother, Joyce, then poisoned her. He is coniving and manipulative. The fact that he cried when asked how he felt about being adopted, I think was an act. The story, about his birth mother killing herself with poison. Probably made up. He made up all kinds of things. My mother was murdered by him long before he was accused. But my father and my older siblings had already told us of some the weird things Steve would say or do. Odd things, that we could not even figure out why he would say them. I don't know much about the suffering of adoptees, but I would check facts when using the words of Steve to back up any theory on the issue. He is a sociopath, and a pathological liar and an adoptee, if that gives credance to your theories, fine. But his words are not reliable.

Kirschner

Thank you for your comment. The article you refer to is not written by one of our members, but has been posted by me for documentation reasons and to discuss it. The theories of David Kirschner are certainly not mainstream and his Adopted Child Syndrome is not without controversy, although some courts have accepted him as an expert witness.

I usually have my doubts about people that invent a disorder or syndrome that is not accepted by the larger community. There are more examples of diagnoses of this sort that turned out to be bogus than ones that were brilliant beyond recognition.

I can't comment on this particular case because I simply have no knowledge of it, but I do appreciate your effort to shed some light on it.

It is a numbers game

Though the sheer number of serial killers were adopted, they were also placed in conditions that led them down that path (Nurture trumps Nature in the upbringing of a human being).

If the adoption theory were true then it would be kin to say, because the prison population in the united states is 90% African American, even though African Americans are less than 10% of the Population, according to that theory an African american has a 90% chance of being a criminal regardless of parenting.

What do you think the following theory?
“ . . . most of them (serial Killers) also made the fatal link of compulsive repetitive masturbation at a very early age. Escalating this compulsive behavior with increasingly violent fantasies (usually sexual in nature) probably is a frequent trigger and root cause for the 'serial sickness'. Sexual arousal once coupled with anything can be a very destructive compulsion. After years of fantasizing they typically progress to animals then start experimenting on humans.”
BA

Adding to the numbers game quote

I posted the following

 

It is a numbers game

Though the sheer number of serial killers were adopted, they were also placed in conditions that led them down that path (Nurture trumps Nature in the upbringing of a human being).

If the adoption theory were true then it would be kin to say, because the prison population in the united states is 90% African American, even though African Americans are less than 10% of the Population, according to that theory an African american has a 90% chance of being a criminal regardless of parenting.

What do you think the following theory?
“ . . . most of them (serial Killers) also made the fatal link of compulsive repetitive masturbation at a very early age. Escalating this compulsive behavior with increasingly violent fantasies (usually sexual in nature) probably is a frequent trigger and root cause for the 'serial sickness'. Sexual arousal once coupled with anything can be a very destructive compulsion. After years of fantasizing they typically progress to animals then start experimenting on humans.”

BA

The above theory is most likely closer to the truth as we all know that not all Oedupus complex issues are sexual. On the other hand most serial murders are sexual in nature. Hence the masturbation theory.

AOMTG

HERE we go....

I most certainly agree with the statement:  " After years of fantasizing they typically progress to animals then start experimenting on humans."
I've done a lot of searching into my husband's past and found the constant masturbating with fantasizing; but have yet gotten him to admit the animal factor.  In fact, he denies it; and yet, I sorta think it may have been a factor.  To me this sort of human being is depraved to the point of the progression (from self satisfaction to needing something more and more to attain that satisfaction) that NOTHING would surprise me in what they would use in the progression...
I do believe my husband, once aroused, did not have a clue what he was doing.  My daughter was not even considered a human being in the act.  Once aroused, I feel that the sex addict is capable of doing about anything.  How long before murder becomes involved depends on the availability of "other" "different" arousals...
I do believe he could have become capable of murder; especially since hearing, from my daughter's own words, the depths of depravity he indulged in with her.  Her words describe an out of control lunatic who would stop at nothing to gain what he wanted.  And he did it with very little pain on her part, physically; and yet, the emotional abuse was WAY OUT THERE. 
So my question is this:  At what point do Pedophiles turn murderers?
Teddy is shaking after this...

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

Sex and aggression

My personal interest in this topic (sex and aggression) stems from my own childhood experience, (I was nine when the first molestation took place), so by no means do I consider myself a scholarly expert, but I do consider myself well-informed and enlightened, thanks to the many (very deep, very personal, and very honest) conversations I have been very fortunate to have had with many really decent men for almost three decades.  I don't know what it is about me, but guys with relationship problems have always felt safe to discuss their intimacy issues with me.  Maybe it's because I asked 101 questions... maybe because I was not the partner, but I had the female perspective.... maybe because I actually listened without getting defensive... maybe it's because I'm a sick pup who isn't afraid to talk about the sick sh*t people like to do behind closed doors.  Whatever the case was or tends to be, sex-talk with me has always been candid, friendly and non-judgemental, and above all, safe... as it should be.

I see three main groups of people: 

  1. Normal People.  They had good decent parents and did not experience sexual abuse, EVER.
  2. Messed-up People.  They were abandoned and/or abused and left feeling really confused about a lot of things.
  3. Sadistic Psychos.  They are dangerous mentally ill individuals and scare the living bajeebies out of me, because I can see it in their eyes.

So I don't necessarily believe masturbation itself leads to dangerous aggressive behavior, and I don't believe all adoptees (abused or not) are chronic mastubators OR dangerous and aggressive, for that matter. 

I do believe unresolved rage and resentment can turn a chronic angry masturbator into a homicidal maniac... but that's my own personal opinion.

Now, that's what I was looking for...

"I do believe unresolved rage and resentment can turn a chronic angry masturbator into a homicidal maniac... but that's my own personal opinion."

My husband was abandoned, and then adopted by his elder grandparents from his mother's side...  He appeared to be a very passive man who tried to get along with everyone.  Indeed, he was a chronic, angry masturbator who (as he explained it) would, at a very young age, masturbate until he was raw, only to turn around and do it again; only ?abstaining? for a day to let "it" heal enough to begin again.  He was a "pro" at the multiple orgasms game:  orgasm and then begin again and masturbate to orgasm/ejaculation.  He had it down to a science that he only used for his own pleasure (hind knowledge).  At 40 and with ED staring him in the face, he needed much more stimulation and so turned to a child...  In no way do I believe it was a sudden revelation; it was something from his past that he refuses to deal with now.  And even that escalated to the point of scaring the shit out of my daughter because he would forget she was a human being.  God have mercy on his soul...

The abandonment and subsequent adoption by older folks who didn't have a clue of the needs of him and his older brother (and there is another freak!) left him to "fend for himself" when it came to personal needs.  I see this as a very volitile situation since the older brother was a sex freak who "taught" him to masturbate in the first place.  And then the homosexual involvement with the cousin just adds fuel to the perverted fire.

I believe you described where my husband was headed with your statement, "I do believe unresolved rage and resentment can turn a chronic angry masturbator into a homicidal maniac... but that's my own personal opinion."

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

Key Questions

Not for nothin, BUT.... if I worked for a CPS agency, these are issues/questions I would look into.  Not directly, of course... that's far too easy.

No.... I'd ask far deeper questions to give me the answers I needed.  I would take the time to investigate.  I would take the time to learn who was doing what, and WHY.

THIS is why I loathe money-hungry adoption agencies.

THEY DON'T CARE.

<fetal position on the floor, crying my F'n eyes out..... Can you hear the silent SCREAM?!?!?!?>

Teddy... I'm there WITH you!!!!!  [Bless your precious soul]

What I would ask...

What I would ask if I was in the process of finding PAP's:
1.  Did your parents come from a two parent family and what was their relationship like to you and your parents?  Did they like each other and did they spend quality time together?
2.  Did your parents encourage eating at the table as a family; take time for each other such as dating; and did they show love toward each other in front of you and your siblings?
3.  Were there any divorces, abortions, or otherwise non-traditional situations in your grandparents and parents lives?
4.  Were there ANY family members, back to the great-grandparents who took medicine for depression; or had regular visits to a therapist, psychiatrist or psychologist?
5. Require there be a written family history by ALL members on both sides back to the grandparents; plus their opinions on adding a family member by adoption.  You could get some interesting answers.
6.  Have every physical dated and notarized by TWO doctors each.
7.  Require there be 3 separate days of evaluation by two different people from different  therapy offices.
8.  Require a waiting time before starting the process in which the agency checks each and every document for authenticity; looking for the red flags.
9.  Require that the PAP's sign releases for the agency to do their own checking in whatever way they decide is best.
10.  Ask if there was every any sexual abuse within the two families back to the great grandparents; also their opinion of what they would do if there was any suspicion of abuse in the home.
11.  Ask if either would have a problem calling the police in the case of sexual abuse being stated by the child.
12.  Ask for background checks for as far back as is possible for the PAP's and their parents, plus their siblings.
13.  Go into depth on questions of abuse within their own lives and the lives of the family members.
14.  Require monthly visits for the first year and every six months after until 3 years after placement.
15.  Require the adoptive siblings be involved in the questions about abuse: would they tell and had they experienced any abuse.
I think if it were this specific it would weed out some of the PAP's with the potential to be abusers.  It would have scared the crap out of me!  And if there were a mandatory 6 months with a therapist who was in the business of weeding out the possible abusers, it would leave less of an open-field for child trafficking.
JUST MY THOUGHTS!

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

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