Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

As a family therapist, the inside look at the Casey Anthony family was all too familiar.  Family members lying, covering up for one another, accusations of incest, neglect, cut off, lack of empathy and out of control behavior. It is the type of behavior therapists like me see in inpatient units at psychiatric hospitals.

Children like Casey Anthony learn to be dysfunctional based on their family system and the environments in which they grow. While Casey is responsible for the choices she made as an adult, she was also influenced by those responsible to raise and nurture her. And that highly dysfunctional family system was paraded daily before our eyes with no intervention, just pathology. That made it hard for me to watch.

During the trial, I watched Cindy Anthony mouth the words, “I love you,” to Casey and Casey raised her eyebrow and turned away. My heart sank. A mother and daughter so hardened to each other. Then listening to the accusations of incest made me think again about how many children are violated by those who are supposed to protect them.  For me, it was painful to watch the unraveling of betrayals, delayed reporting, lack of empathy, keeping secrets, strained sibling and parental relationships, denial and a family clearly out of control and poorly functioning for years. Sadly, rather than seeking help, they continued on a destructive path of lies and pathology. In the end, an innocent child died and no one knows how or why.

I wonder, will Casey ever seek help for her severe pathology or even realize that she even needs help?

And my worse fear is that she will become some sick media celebrity who writes a book and goes on tour.

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