Post written by Jennifer Allende, Program Director
Hey pulse readers, it’s Jenn from Honey. On my latest episode, I talked about society’s obsession with perfection which got me thinking about the obsessions I have. I began to recall the days I spent huddled in a blanket as I wiggled along to the Law and Order SVU theme song (Seriously one of the best and one of my favorite theme songs ever, I’ve attached it here). I’d sit watching for hours on end, delving deep into the traumatic and heartbreaking cases the detectives were faced with show after show. If you’re currently completely confused as to what I’m talking about and or have been living under a rock since September of 1999, Law and Order SVU is a television series in which the detectives that are part of NYPD’s Special Victims Unit deal with crimes involving cases like rapes where the victim survives and assists the authorities in the investigation. I believe that it’s a show that reminds its watchers of the reality of the traumatic events presented in the show and the lasting effects it can have on a victim.
The latest episode of Law and Order SVU that I watched had to deal with a mother who had a rare behavioral disorder called Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Munchausen syndrome by proxy is a psychological disorder marked by attention--seeking behavior by a caregiver through those who are in their care (WebMD). The behavioral disorder reflects the actions of a “helicopter parent” (a parent that is overly involved in the life of their child) and doesn’t seem like a big deal until you are presented with the harsh reality this mother put her daughter through. The mother in the episode essentially robbed her daughter of her childhood by convincing her that she was severely ill which lead her to spend most of her childhood and life around doctors and specialists trying to find the thing her mother insisted was wrong with her. In the end, there was nothing wrong with the daughter and upon receiving the news about her mother being diagnosed with MSP, she was filled with rage and hatred for her mother. This is an understandable reaction because the daughter was never ill in the first place and at one point, was on a variety of counteractive medications that hurt her (she had a seizure at one point in the episode because of two of the medications counteracted) all because her mother requested her to be put on them. Long story short, the daughter ended up murdering her mother because of the rage that filled her and was supposed to go to prison (and potentially receive the death sentence) because she felt absolutely no remorse and displayed those emotions of hatred and anger towards her dead mother in front of the jury, but there was a mistrial and she ended up only getting community service and mental health checks every few weeks.
All that being said, obsessions. In a sense, the daughter became aware of the obsession her mother had with her well-being. When the daughter realized that she wasn’t ill at all, she ultimately became obsessed with the idea of freedom and getting to live a life she never thought she could. Now, murdering her “helicopter mother”, wasn’t a good idea and is just wrong, but one could say that her obsession with freedom became too much and the reason why she murdered her mother was because she saw her mom as someone who could take that freedom away from her by never leaving her alone to enjoy her newfound peace.
My advice to you is to become aware of your obsessions and determine whether or not they are healthy ones. Nurture the healthy obsessions and discard of the ones that could bring you harm.