What drives a mother to kill her own children?
22-year-old Elyse Marsyl Colon stabbed her sons, 3-year-old Jose Luis Garcia and 1-year-old Guillermo Garcia, to death on Tuesday.
When a police officer who responded to the scene asked "What happened?," Colon allegedly responded with, "I killed my babies."
What is going on with all these murdering moms? Well, it seems that it is not that uncommon -- it is just horrifying to our sensibilities as caring and loving mothers. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, from 1976-1999, 30% of murdered children under the age of 5 were killed by their mothers, while fathers were responsible for 31%. Momlogic spoke with psychologist Dr. Michelle Golland to find out what could drive these moms to murder.
Dr. Michelle Golland: Some of the issues involved with these moms include mental illness, isolation, anger, and fear. They also have poor coping skills to handle stress and may have little emotional support from family or friends.
What has been found is that murdering moms usually fall into one of the following categories:
Altruism: These women believe their children are suffering or are in some type of pain and they believe killing them will put them out of their misery. These moms usually are severely depressed.
Psychosis: These moms suffer from schizophrenia or another psychotic disease such as postpartum depression with psychotic features. They often hear voices telling them to kill their children.
Unwanted Children: This mom doesn't want her children. They are inconvenient to her lifestyle. These moms usually have narcissistic or borderline personality disorders.
Maltreatment: This is the most common category. These mothers kill their children in the course of abuse without the intention of murder.
Revenge: These moms want to punish the father by taking away what she believes to be the most important thing to him: his kids.
Women from the first two categories are suffering from a true psychotic disorder, and once on medication are horrified and devastated by their actions. In many other cases, drugs and alcohol play a significant role as well. One common theme is the lack of emotional support, either perceived or real, that these mothers feel.
Many of us may have been at the end of our "rope," but something stops us from taking such devastating and murderous actions. I ask you, what do you do when you reach your limit or you are worried that a fellow mom is reaching her limit?
|Dr. Michelle Golland is a USC graduate and a licensed Clinical Psychologist (PSY#16974). She works with adults, teens and is an expert in the field of marriage and relationships. Dr. Michelle Golland has given her expert advice on CNN, HLN, MSNBC, ABC, and Fox news. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two wonderfully exhausting children.|