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Elliot Rodgers - Parents

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posted on May, 27 2014 @ 11:04 AM
If I were his psychologist, I would note stages in his developmental pathology that went from

Developmental trauma -> Borderline Personality Disorder - Schizoidtypal personality disorder.

First, let me just point out that this sort of behavior is not common. Schizoidtypal characteristics are usually antisocial. Yet, as we can see, Elliots entire world revolved around social prowess. This is why it is necessary to posit borderline as the underlying pathology that his insane delusional thinking was built upon. The flat effect is also classic Schizoidtypal (this isn't aspergers).

But Schizoid doesn't just emerge in a vacuum. The world just doesn't become some "object" that he needs to bend to his will for no reason. A necessary precursor to schizoidtypal ideation is a history of trauma. I'm sorry if it bothers people who want to believe that the parents are innocent, but personality doesn't go awry as horribly as his did without a context of neglect of abuse.

Borderline means he didn't experience a sense of self; his sense of self became dependent and intertwined with the things he was likely exposed to in his early years of life: financial success, success with women. Imagine for a second that he had a father who hardly interacted with him in a loving way; as well as a mother who was absent. Young Elliot would have "learned the world" from a very removed, almost spectator-like distance. The conversations he heard, the things going on around him - his FATHERS problems (and I emphasize his father because the things which he yearned for so deeply seem to derive from him) - all of this became internalized and embedded within his mentalistic structures. Because he didn't receive the normal parent-baby communication patterns which makes the baby's affect the thing that matters, his affect - his feelings - reflected daddy's grown up emotions. So as his "self" developed, he wouldn't look for it within - from the place where mom and dad and other's had such an interest - but from WITHOUT. The external world was the world where his Self was located. And the Self was bound up with the things he constantly he heard being talked about: money, women. Clearly, his misogyny reflects his fathers own (lets say unconscious) misogyny. But for him it is much more disastrous. He doesn't have a self structure to reflect on OBJECTIVE REALITY as it exists. He can't do it. His self is bound up with it. If he doesn't experience his self - something that doesn't occur unless hes "acting out" and bending reality to his will - he becomes frustrated and rageful. The world is the source of his identity. And if girls reject him, and if he can't make friends and "control" his environment, literally, his entire mental-structure i.e. coherence, will fall apart.

Usually, people with borderline personality disorder - a remarkably difficult disorder to treat - don't go on rampages. So how did he "graduate" from borderline to such a pronounced schizoidtypal personality disorder characterized by intense delusional ideation? The only thing that can plausibly explain this situation in my mind is a context of neglect and indulgence. Dad gave him a BMW. He had clothing. He had spending money (none of which, of course, was good enough for him; and it would never be good enough). But this is all superficial and external and really not what Elliot actually needed from his family. This situation merely allowed his narcissism to grow out of control and for him to feel more and more empowered to contemplate massacring people.

Elliot would have been a difficult and confusing person to be around. The vast majority of people wouldn't have the first idea as to whats wrong with him. His flat effect and dramaturgical way of thinking would have made him look like a "try hard" to others. Bullying no doubt proliferates in this context. Of course, I'm not justifying bullying, but without awareness, this sort of behavior invites it.

So with Bullying, and all the # going on in his head, Elliot had a lot of time to plan and carry out this rampage. It should have been noticed. Gun control would not have prevented it from happening. If he didn't have a gun to carry out his slaughter, he would have found another means (and he did stab three people to death and hit others with his car).

posted on May, 27 2014 @ 11:39 AM
a reply to: redhorse

Further, throwing that entire "diagnosis" of borderline personality at the feet of his parents in a frothing internet screed is morally reprehensible.

Huh? Umm, I'm not quite sure how to respond to this. Have you, for a second, asked yourself: how much do I know about human psychological development? You should ask yourself that question. Or, on the other hand, expose yourself to the literature.

Human personality development follows a law-based system. You seem to be under the impression (in your ignorance) that someone can become as Elliot Rodgers became in a vacuum.

Here's a list of books that I suggest you pick up off Amazon:

Allan Schore: Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self
D.W Winnicot: Playing and Reality
Peter Fonagy: Affect Regulation, Mentalization and the Development of the Self
Philip Bromberg: The Shadow the Tsunami and the growth of the relational mind

I wonder if that would be fair to say to an engineer or a biologist when they dare to speculate at to the causes of an event. You think it's fair to call me "angry and crazy"? You don't think maybe, in your ignorance, you are building a sand-castle? That perhaps, if you knew more about the subject you deign to comment so heavily upon, you would realize how little you knew and change your perspective?

At the very least, you should recognize a) my compassionate focus to pin-point the causes of the matter. Accuracy of perception is everything. Elliot was a victim, in a sense. His parents, unbeknownst to them, allowed themselves to create a child who committed a horrible atrocity. They too are victims. Their ignorance of how poorly they raised their son will probably never be reflected upon by them; but the deeds he committed will no doubt haunt them. And for this, I am very sorry that they have to suffer with this. Most of all, of course, are the innocent bystanders who happened to be in his way. His innocent roommates. The poor girls sitting outside the sorority house. And the 11 others he injured.

EVERYONE was a victim to one extent or another. And in my life, I've learned that the way to combat this situation is with ACCURACY OF PERCEPTION. Knowledge.

I'm someone whose spent many hours reading many books on this subject. You aren't. You should recognize your own inaccuracy of perception by not only questioning the validity of my argument (without having any concrete base for doing so) and in particular for calling me angry and crazy for speculating as to the cause.

Everything in life is a matter of probability. Because I know how people become the way they are, I allow myself to speculate IN ORDER TO CREATE AWARENESS in other minds as to how things like this happen.

There may be a personality disorder skewing the mix and it may even be BPD, but it would be difficult to be that specific with the information that we have.

It's not that difficult. Again. Probability. There's a chance I'm wrong, but I believe theres a larger chance that I'm closer to the truth.

Spending so much time spewing hate and bile their direction just tells me that you have a disproportionate emotional aspect distorting your own perspective.

Show me where I spent so much time spewing bile and hate in their direction? Maybe it came off as dispassionate. But I don't think anything I've written would deserve the description of "bile and hate".

And I thank you for not making yourself look anymore foolish by trying to 'diagnose" me.

If I made any mistake, it was perhaps it not writing a disclaimer or putting more emphasis on how the parents too were victims of their own ignorance. They too had parents. The way they are, just as in the case of Elliot, was dependent upon early-life relationships. I do not hate them, and I do not think they deserve excoriation. But their INFLUENCE AND ROLE SHOULD BE ACKNOWLEDGED. If, of course, you care to think accurately about things.

There is quite a bit of debate on this actually. The nature vs. nurture argument will likely never be settled in terms of what percentage of what goes where with whom in many circumstances in psychology.

I'm constantly updating my knowledge on this subject. The consensus is Nature is modified by nurture. Were born with potentialities and those potentialities are modified by early life experiences. No one thinks in terms of nature vs. nurture, but nature AND nurture.

I'm guessing you would like to stick with the official explanation and say that he was likely Aspergers? Again, I'm not sure how many books you've actually read on the subject, or how many psychiatrists/psychologists and other professionals you've had debates with on this subject? Fill me up on what you know. The only thing that could possibly imply "aspergers" is his flat effect. And flat effect is better explained by developmental trauma and schizoid personality disorder than aspergers. To say this differently, his pathology is likely a consequence more of experience than of genetics.

posted on May, 27 2014 @ 12:29 PM
Assuming that his parents are typical rich, hollyweird yuppies, I'd say they had nothing to do with raising him. The nannys and other help did. Maybe that's what happened to him, assuming all of this isn't a scripted event. But you're right; Gun control would've done nothing. He killed half of his victims with a knife so why has this become about gun control?
edit on 27-5-2014 by Fylgje because: (no reason given)

edit on 27-5-2014 by Fylgje because: typo accidentally hit edit button also

posted on May, 27 2014 @ 12:30 PM
Have you heard of the strange situation index developed by Mary Ainsworth? Well, her student, Mary Mains, went on to develop something called the adult attachment interview. The purpose of this interview is to determine a basic dynamic of personality. The 3 types are: autonomous, dismissive, and preoccupied. The idea is, the person talks about their childhood and the psychologist assesses it on multiple different grounds: coherency, consistency and sufficiency. The remarkable finding from this protocol is that adult attachment interview predicts with a 70% accuracy (way beyond chance) how their child will respond in the strange situation. If a mother is determined to be "preoccupied" when discussing her past history, that is, she seems bothered by it and feels ambivalent feelings about it, then 70% of the time her infant will respond to the strange situation within the insecure-ambivalent category. The same occurs for autonomous-secure and dismissive-avoidant.

Of course, there isn't perfect agreement amongst scientists that attachment history is as relevant as the above studies suggest, but the vast majority of psychologists subscribe to attachment theory because it makes a lot of sense.

The Minnesota Longitudinal study also found a 70% consistency between early-life infant schema and adult outcomes. Giving further credence to the accuracy of the idea that HOW an adult relates with an infant/child guides that childs development.

That said, it's also important to point out that genes and intrauterine environment play a role in modulating response in the infant. Some infants are more sensitive than others. Some will be more resilient when faced with a dismissive and negligent parent, while others will go on to develop trauma and disorganized mental schema. Professor Jay Belsky at University of California, Davis studies the connection between genes and attachment and his research has justified the inclusion of "sensitivity" as a factor in development. For example, people with the DRD4 gene (7 allele repeat) produce dopamine at much greater amounts, making them more sensitive to environmental stimuli. This gene variant has been implicated in ADHD and autism. That said, early life experiences can modulate how this gene becomes expressed by the quality of attachment.

So there seems to be a 30% variance between how an adult relates with their child and how that child functions in the strange situation. This would mean that the primary input - 70% - is experiential based. And around 30% of children express greater resilience than would be expected from how their parents relate with them.

Most people take from this a sense of the importance of early life connection. Parent's literally provide the scaffolding for the future personality. How the child sees the world; how it's see others. Its capacity for positive affect - this is largely determined by the parents.

It is from this base of knowledge that I assumed a problematic early life. And, I think, many experts in the field would concur and probably do a far better job than I have explaining how a pathology as distorted as Elliots could materialize from sub-par parenting.

Personally, if I had a child exhibiting the kinds of issues that Elliot did, I would MONITOR his youtube page. I would monitor his internet usage. I would ask him what he was always writing about. And if he didn't tell me, I would find a means to discover: since, afterall, this kid has been in therapy since he was 8 years old - it seems important that I pay attention.

In this sense, I guess it says something about the parents, both the mother and father, that it took Elliots psychologist to notify them as to what had been on his youtube page.

posted on May, 27 2014 @ 01:13 PM
a reply to: Fylgje

You know what, thats the chief reason for why I've decided to target the parents.

His thinking was so absurd and his concerns about life so narcissistic and superficial, that I can't help but blame the environment i.e. growing up in hollywood, for filling his mind with such worthless nonsense.

Narcissism is a major problem in our society and it doesn't seem to be getting any better. I'm angry that this happened. And my anger is rightly focused on the parents. But the parents represent only an immediate cause i.e they raised him and allowed these values of his to proliferate without countervailing pressures.

What really repulses me is the fact that we live in a world so insanely narcissistic that a guy could transform the innocent-enough sounding hope of American Pie into a sadistic fantasy of revenge. Although there are many other reasons for why people would go on a rampage, I've never heard one so obnoxious and obscene as this.

posted on May, 27 2014 @ 01:21 PM

originally posted by: InTheLight

originally posted by: SearchLightsInc
I cant sympathies with Mr Rodgers.

I do accept that his parents should have been more on the ball and perhaps this could have been avoided. That's really the only lesson that can be learnt from this.

Trying to blame the rest of society for his actions just struck me as weak and somewhat pathetic. He was bitter that he couldn't get a girl, here's a tip: Drop your standards. Stop going for the beautiful, skinny, airhead blondes that wouldn't even fart your way.

I ask myself, why do some people not attempt to self-correct? It's obvious to me from reading some of his manifesto that he did not attempt it at all. So, can we blame his family - who by the way state that he was 'disturbed' - for not intervening in a more aggressive way? How many of us have family members that are disturbed, but we are helpless to assist them due to many factors? If he was truly a delusional narcissist then I believe he needed professional help that his family were not equipped to give.

Honestly, i just feel we know to little to sit here and pass judgement. We dont know how much help was actually offered to him, though that doesnt excuse his killing.

posted on May, 27 2014 @ 01:25 PM

originally posted by: Astrocyte

Further, throwing that entire "diagnosis" of borderline personality at the feet of his parents in a frothing internet screed is morally reprehensible.

Huh? Umm, I'm not quite sure how to respond to this. Have you, for a second, asked yourself: how much do I know about human psychological development? You should ask yourself that question. Or, on the other hand, expose yourself to the literature.

Human personality development follows a law-based system. You seem to be under the impression (in your ignorance) that someone can become as Elliot Rodgers became in a vacuum.

Huh? Umm...

I did not say that he became that way in a vacuum. I said that laying the entire blame for it at the feet of his parents with no proof is irresponsible and that making such assertions in such an accusatory, vitriolic way while waving the I'm A Psychologist flag to give yourself credibility is even more irresponsible. I read the rest of the post but I'm just going to comment here and on the autistic specific aspect because your reading comprehension begins to go awry here and just keeps getting progressively worse as you labor under the self-induced fallacies.

He may be on the autistic spectrum and he may not, as you said there are some characteristics in his demeanor that we can see in the videos such as that flat effect you and many others notice and mention. Reading his manifesto he seems to approach socialization in a very clinical, objective way missing many of the innate nuances that are natural for "neuro-typicals" which could indicate that he is on the autistic spectrum. Also the hobbies that he picks up with intense, often obsessive interest is another potential indicator. The apprehension and discomfiture he expresses with every change in routine is another potential trait that could indicate a place on the autistic spectrum. On the other hand those things alone are certainly not enough to agree (or disagree) with that diagnosis but... I might see the beginnings of how someone could come up with it.

I agree that the observed flat effect is probably more characteristic of something on the schizoid spectrum than Asperger's or... he could just be doped up frankly. With the obvious rehearsal so apparent in his dialogue it is difficult for me to tell much more than his delivery is indeed "flat", particularly for such an emotionally intense issue for him.

There is no way to tell from the information that we have whether his pathology has an predominantly environmental or genetic cause. Also a genetic component to autism is a fairly new admission by the psychological community. For a long time they blamed the parents and when Elliot Rodger was a boy was the time when most professionals just shrugged and said "We don't know why, but it's probably not genetic". They were (and in many cases still are) looking for an external, environmental cause for autism.

It's interesting that the flat effect is present in the schizoid spectrum and the autistic spectrum as well as "autistic thinking" and unusual ways of processing language. People that are on the autistic or schizoid spectrum both have genetic disruptions of many of the same genetic material (CNTNAP2 and NRXN1 are the only ones I can remember off the top of my head) although for people that are on the autistic spectrum there is a doubling while on the schizoid spectrum there are disruptions or complete deletions of much of that held in common genetic material. They do seem to be related but in a diametric manner on a fundamental level. Yet the milder manifestations of both share some traits and I do wonder how often one has been mistaken for the other.

To be honest, I have my questions about the Asperger's diagnosis but I never met the kid, I never worked with him, I never talked to his family and I just don't have enough information to see what they were seeing. I do think that even if he was on the autistic spectrum there is likely something else going on in conjunction. What that is... I don't know but I'm certainly not going to throw his parents under a bus at this point.

But um... Hey thanks for the reading suggestions.

edit on 27-5-2014 by redhorse because: (no reason given)

edit on 27-5-2014 by redhorse because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 27 2014 @ 06:26 PM
a reply to: redhorse

Actually, the assertions in the post I'm replying to are far more

unwarranted . . . to put it extremely politely . . . than anything Astrocyte wrote that you assailed him over.

Some of us do NOT need, at our point in life . . . a whole test battery to make reasonable assessments from a short summary of data.

However, I realize that insurance companies, supervisors, mal-practice insurance, et al insist on a range of test battery stuff out the kazoo . . . "just to be safe."

Yet, research indicates that most such test batteries in the hands of quality professionals do not add greatly to the diagnosis or assessment.

So much for the "professionalism" of your perspective.

As to Astrocyte laying too much at the feet of the parents . . . WHAT UNMITIGATED NONSENSE. I thought he was quite conservative and kind. I could have said a LOT more and a lot more harshly . . . all justifiably.

Parenting . . . particularly quality parenting worth the name . . . is a hugely lost art.

I've watched it closely all of my 60+ years. In that time, I've probably seen less than 12 sets of parents do it in a high quality consistent way.

I used to have preachers and fellow therapists, professors et al exclaim about how

"JOHNNY HAD SUCH PERFECTLY WONDERFUL PARENTS. He just twisted off inexplicably. It certainly wasn't his parents' fault."

It usually took me 2-3 questions to discover where the rot was in the parenting. Certainly no more than 4-5 questions.



That's just a fact.

Denial of the truth does not falsify the truth.

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