I begin this article being very clear that I am not a lawyer and I do not look at cases or tragic situations within families from the perspective of evidentiary evidence. As a Clinical Psychologist I observe behavior, actions and narrative to get underneath the story that is unfolding before me whether in my practice or as a media psychologist. I have been working with victims of trauma and sexual abuse for over 2 decades. My experience and clinical intuition told me as early as September 2008 that there was something deeply and characterlogically wrong not only with Casey Anthony but also with her parents George and Cindy Anthony.
Many solid clinicians have been able to see that Casey Anthony meets all the characteristics of someone with Borderline Personality Disorder. Which is a chronic personality disorder that impairs functionality and has a negative impact on all relationships. These individuals are manipulative, charismatic, lack empathy and create chaos in their lives as well as those around them.
The question is HOW did Casey Anthony become the person she is today. For some by simply asking this question we clinicians are seen as terrible evil people blaming the poor parents of this crazy psychopathic person/murderer. This is the problem with the media and the sound bite culture that really doesn’t want to hear the long tragic truth of how a vulnerable innocent child becomes the Casey Anthony we have seen in the courtroom. We want to only pity George and Cindy who of course are in pain and have tragically lost their granddaughter Caylee.
What we know as psychologists is this about BPD:
The most critical factor in developing this disorder is poor or uniformed parenting. These include repeated emotional, physical or sexual abuse by someone within the family or outside the family itself. Also, inconsistent care and unsupportive care or early separation from one or both parents can contribute to the formation of this personality structure. We also find a parent who has failed to protect the child from repeated abuse by the other parent, another family member or an outsider.
In watching George and Cindy in front of the media they seemed coolly detached from their daughter Casey or ragingly connected in a defensive posture. I had no doubt that Casey Anthony had severe emotional problems when she lied about her daughters disappearance and her strange and immature responses around where she was during those notorious 31 days. I also noted odd behavior by her parents that felt to me there was more that they knew about Caylee’s disappearance than they were revealing.
The facts that came out in the case regarding George and Cindy’s denial of Casey’s pregnancy as well as the “Perfect Persona” that Cindy Anthony seemed to want to show to people around her as well as her undercurrent of rage which bubbled to the surface on many occasions showed me that she was a narcissistic mother who was self-involved and lacked empathy.
The jailhouse letters in which Casey began to reveal the possibility of sexual abuse made sense in the reporting of the incidents and also her hedging around them as well. Often with victims of sexual abuse when they begin to reveal the shameful family secrets it is let out a little bit at a time to see how they will be responded to before they keep going on to say what the whole truth is for them. What really made it clear that something was not right in the Anthony home was Cindy’s response to h Casey, “So that is why you are a whore.”? This is sadly a classic response by a mother not wanting to face what she may actually already know herself. This was also reinforced by Lee Anthony’s testimony about the extremely confictual relationship between Casey and their mother. Lee’s testimony also reinforced to me clinically that this was a deeply disturbed family with each person struggling for power and control wrapped with rage, anger and confusion.
George and Cindy Anthony when I reviewed their various interviews in the media while “looking” for Caylee felt contrived, confusing and strangely self-focused (but not on their granddaughter) with a martyrdom quality that didn’t sit right with my clinical gut. In watching the interviews with Tim Miller, who investigated Caylee’s disappearance early on in August 2008, his reactions appear to be the most convincing that something was being covered up and not only by Casey but by George and Cindy as well.
It is my impression that George did know that Caylee was dead close to when either the “accident or murder” occurred in June 2008. His actions around deflecting Cindy and her brother seem odd and show me a consciousness of knowledge and also a desire to keep distance from the truth of her being dead. His actions when her car that smelled of a “dead body” at the tow yard which he testified under oath that he did believe it smelled like a human decomposing body also seemed suspicious to say the least and guilty of trying to hide evidence at it’s worst. George a seasoned former detective did not call the police worried and sick that something has happened to his daughter or grandchild. George drove that car home and parked it in the garage. It was Cindy who called the police hysterical. George had gone into work.
It seems to me from the variety of interviews before and after Caylee’s remains were found in December 2008 that George, Cindy and Casey were all possibly spinning a variety of stories to try to keep themselves and “The Anthony name” clean of any wrong doing. George and Cindy appear to be in part fighting for the “image” of themselves and their family. As with narcissistic and possibly an incestuous family dynamic within the Anthony home they are doing just what that type of family does, which is to deflect the obvious (like Casey’s pregnancy), protect their own image as “good” parents all the while trying to maintain that they are actually looking for a live Caylee.
In part what the Anthony’s may fear the most at this point is an investigation into the fraud that there daughter perpetrated in keeping the “Caylee is Missing” story going until her remains were found and identified in December 2008. If my clinical observations are correct about George and Cindy and what seems to be their own knowledge of and active participation in this enormous lie and manipulation upon the police, investigators and the country maybe, just maybe they will be held accountable financially and morally as much as Casey is at this point in the eyes of the public.