When I heard the tragic news about Mary Kennedy, I also remembered her arrests for impaired driving. I noted the Kennedys & Richardsons trading blame. But it appears BPD may have been a factor:
This week’s Newsweek features an article based on a court document filed by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. The document alleges physical abuse against him as well as mostly emotional abuse against his daughter Kathleen from his first marriage. The article quotes two mental health professionals as saying she likely had BPD. The public reaction, based on the comments section in this article and related ones is telling. Many of the reactions boil down to:
1) Men can’t be abused
2) Doesn’t matter, because his cheating drove her over the edge. Or that they’re lying and it was solely his cheating
3) How dare they air this in public?!!!
To say that men can’t be abused is nonsensical. Even if a man merely tries to restrain a woman for attacking him, he’s at risk for domestic violence accusations. Courts tend to still award custody to mothers, so there are the
childrenhostages (picked this expression up from a wise member/mod of a support group) to worry about. And while money probably wasn’t an issue in Kennedy’s case, the overall lack of shelters for DV victims is even worse for male victims.
The cheating argument appears to imply there are no shades of gray. His infidelity doesn’t cancel her abuse. Her abuse doesn’t cancel his infidelity. I think they were two pretty damaged individuals who found each other. RFK Jr. lost his father young in highly traumatic circumstances. Mary Richardson Kennedy lost her father young as well and battled anorexia. Not to mention, Mary Kennedy herself was a participant in infidelity by cheating with RFK, Jr. with his first wife. I saw no mentions of his first wife killing herself, developing depressing or a drinking problem as the result of the infidelity. I’m not condoning infidelity and I do realize it’s a difficult thing to go through. But I think things are more complex here.
Then there’s the airing things in public. Such as this:
Almost every time Bobby drove her to the airport at the end of the weekend, she seemed to have lost something that created all kinds of unnecessary problems. One week it was the plane ticket. The next week it was her wallet. Bobby gently asked his daughter to be more responsible.
“Daddy, I think Mary is stealing from me,” Kick said, as Bobby recalled in the affidavit.
“Honey, don’t say that, Mary loves you.”
“No, Daddy, Mary hates me.”
Bobby went on to write in his affidavit that “a few weeks later, looking for something in Mary’s bureau, I found a collection of Kick’s lost items concealed beneath a layer of Mary’s clothing.” For all his sophistication and all the painful life experiences, Bobby turned a blind eye to what he saw. He did not go to his daughter and ask what other difficulties she might be having with Mary, according to the affidavit. For the first time, Bobby considered divorce.
It wasn’t until about five years after the original incident, he said in the affidavit, that “I learned from Kick and many others who had witnessed Mary’s conduct, the heartbreaking story of Mary’s long campaign of cruelty and abuse directed toward Kick.” He alleges that Kick told him that Mary would take her into a closed room to harangue her about her many supposed faults, including the way she dressed. On at least one occasion, she slapped Kick for speaking critically to one of Mary’s children, according to the affidavit.
I can’t speak for Kathleen Kennedy. But as the daughter of a mother who exhibits symptoms of both NPD & BPD, I’ve been subject to lying accusation campaigns against me, I can comment in general. This is an awful thing to go through. Someone you loved has turned on you. People who know the truth don’t speak up and/or deny the truth. You are told that the person who did this to you “loves” you. These kinds of contradictions would be confusing for an adult with significant life experience. They are completely distorting to a child without that life experience. It can distort their views on love, family and protection. I think we need more awareness of this, not less.
Provided the accusations are true, here is what I have to say to everyone who wants to criticize the airing of dirty laundry:
If you don’t like reading it, think about how the kids who have LIVED IT feel. At least you can hit the back button/turn the page. Many of us who’ve grown up with Cluster Bs are still sorting out the psychological damage they’ve inflicted. Damage which was worsened because cowards turned the other way when it was going on. I can understand my father was limited in what he could do. But other family members, neighbors and occasionally strangers (at say the mall) saw what was going on, including physical violence, and most did nothing. A neighbor did helpe as much as she could and that really helped a lot, just psychologically.
Too bad if it’s distressing or inconvenient for you to hear about it. Because it absolutely sucks to live it. If one family telling their story can help raise awareness and get some other kid in the same situation help, I’m all for it. Anna Valerious phrased it much more eloquently in her blog (I’ve bolded parts for emphasis):
Human evil is not of recent advent. It has been part of human existence for as long as humans have existed. Some of the evidence of this fact is found in the many legends of evil of which the Vampire bears some startling correlations to what we know about malignant narcissism. Of course, there is no one definition or legend of vampires but there are some persistent themes. I’ll list a few for your perusal.
The ability to hypnotize and/or charm their potential victims.
Light destroys them. (Light is analogous to truth.)
They are shape-shifters.
They are predatory. Especially of family and neighbors where they lived before they became “undead.”
They can only exist by draining the blood, life-force, of their prey.
Despite their human appearance they aren’t really human.
They can infect others with their vampirism.
Great powers of persuasion.
Hard to kill. Even starvation won’t kill it though it will render them somewhat insane. (Think here of the narcissist deprived of sources of supply. It won’t end up in a converted narcissist; crazy, yes, converted, no. They will survive until they find a fresh victim.)
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it is enough to supply the point that legends of vampirism find their close counterpart in the malignant narcissist. This blog is intended to be the sunlight that destroys these vampiric blood-suckers. Shine the light of truth on who they are and what they do and find them scattering to the dark corners of their lairs. At the very least, the sunlight dispels the hypnotic hold of the vampire on his victims and helps them get free.