Sunday, January 8, 2012

Does it ever end?

Probable Cause Affidavit in the Hanna Williams case

If you will take the time to read the above link about the tragic death of Hanna Williams, one thing becomes painfully clear.  Child abuse is never one on one.  The whole family system is complicit in the abuse of a scapegoated child.  Now where older sibling are concerned, it is apparent that the vilification of the scape goated child was not their original idea.  Clearly it all comes from the parents and is taken up as accepted truth by the other children the way all the family truths are transmitted.  In most families, the truths are benign and even beneficial: one must clean one's plate before getting dessert, or bedtime is always nine o'clock on a school night, or one should always brush your teeth after meals.  Only sick twisted families pass on ideas like: the outcast child is rebellious, disobedient, a liar.

As you read through this affidavit, notice how often those three words are used about Hanna BY HER SIBLINGS.  These same children watched her freeze to death, all the while encouraging themselves to denounce and taunt her as faking her symptoms of hypothermia because she was a bad person.

The mother uses word forms of "rebellious", "refuse" and "pretending" in her statement.  She admits to using her older children to carry out her orders to "check to see" what Hanna was doing- not to help Hanna or make sure she was safe but merely to spy and report to mom what was happening.

When detective first interviewed the other children, they reported that "They all stated that HGW
was "rebellious" and disrespectful  to their parents and that HGW didn't mind their mother."  The emphasis on the word ALL  is mine.  This is how I grew up.  My other sisters would have said the EXACT SAME WORDS ABOUT ME had anyone ever bothered to intervene in our family while I was growing up.

When the surviving adopted child could not remember his birthday, the mother interjected that he "chose" not to take part in a birthday celebration.  All the abuse against this boy and his sister is excused in the family as being the fault of the victim.  The victims either chose it, or they deserved it, or they were lying about it or faking the symptoms of abuse.

The 16 yr old sibling "continually used the word "rebellious" and indicated that both HGW and IJW were rebelling  and would  be disciplined for their behavior."

The 11 yr old male sibling "said that HGW and IJW were rebellious and they were punished ... Neither one
were allowed  to celebrate  their birthdays  because they didn't deserve it."

The 11 yr old female sibling " indicated  me that (Hanna) lived in the closet for disobeying" and admitted she "didn't like (Hanna) but loved her as her sister..."  She further stated that "(Hanna) was spanked because  she was "disobedient"  all of the time. She stated that (Hanna) had to be outside "all of the time." She said (Hanna( was outside because (Hanna) could not obey"

The 7 yr old female sibling " said she saw (Hanna) on the night of her death and "(Hanna) was pretending  she was cold and couldn't  walk."..When asked why (Hanna) had to eat outside (she) stated "my mom said we don't want to look it her grumpy  face."  

The children boldly say that they did not like their sister, morever they said it was because she was rebellious, could not obey, was a thief and a liar and faked the symptoms of abuse.

My older and younger sister would have said the same things about me if you had asked.  They would maintain these suspicions about me today.  I just sent my older sister flowers and she reacted with suspicion.  Since they came from me, in her mind there had to be something sinister about my intention.  In her mind, I am incapable of good will from a good heart.  It's been over thirty years since we were children.

I don't think it is possible my my family of origin to stop the abuse.  My sisters may have been coopted into the abuse against their will as children, but it still forms their narrative of our family.  It will not be undone.  Maybe it can't be undone.  Mom will never recant any of her behavior or her lies, so if it relies on her then there will be no change of narrative.

And even though my older sister says she wants to see change in our family dynamic, she automatically shows anger and suspicion towards me every time we are together.  She fights it to some extent, but it is so deeply ingrained in her mind, it is as much a part of her narrative of life as that the sun rises in the east.

To her mind, Shadowspring is:

It will never end, as far as I can see. Abusive family systems don't change. The best that you can do is get the hell out and stay the hell out of these damaging families.  They won't let you be anything except what they choose to label you.  Thirty years out, the answer is still NO, IT NEVER ENDS.



    Oh, so that's the name for it. Confirmation bias occurs when you already believe something to be true (my sister is bad, mom is good) and so you evaluate all future actions with this bias. That which supports your bias you keep, that which refutes your bias must be discarded or reinterpreted. That's why my sending flowers was not accepted as a good will offering, but received with suspicion.

    Sister is bad, but flowers are good. If sister sends flowers, then the flowers must in this instance be bad too.

    Thanks Cindy, for explaining this phenomenon to me.

  2. "Abusive family systems don't change. The best that you can do is get the hell out and stay the hell out of these damaging families. They won't let you be anything except what they choose to label you."

    another reason that i'm glad i moved pretty far away. his family isn't too much better but at least it's different and i'm not emotionally connected to them yet. i can get over/through my family issues with distance i hope.

  3. I hope so too, kalipay. Plus I am so proud of you for refusing to be bullied. (((kalipay)))

  4. As shocking as this is, a classic symptom in any dysfunctional family is to rally around and protect the abuser. Almost every one of these families has a scapegoat and an escapee. Sometimes it is the same person, sometimes not. Time may soften and change members but watch out, they could stab you in the back when you least expect it. Keeping a good distance and iron boundaries with occasional reaching out attempts works best for most escapees. No guarantees can be made. But you're out. Rejoice and make a life for yourself. Good luck!