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Scathing obituary about abusive Nevada mother goes viral

Posted: 13 Sep 2013, 07:38
by brandtrn

WOW!!! I must say, I was shaking my head when I read this story, and would be interested to hear thoughts on this issue from my fellow Neo-BF'ers. If everything written in this obit is true (and I have no real reason to believe that it isn't), then I have great sympathy for all that this woman's children suffered...truly, I do! Still, I understand that this woman's children legally severed their parent-child ties with their mother and hadn't seen her in at least the past 30 years. With that in mind, WHAT business did they have writing her obituary? Legally, if they severed all ties with her, they WEREN'T her "survivors" or "next of kin," so shouldn't have had any hand in writing her obituary whatsoever. I also feel that it's sad, that after this many decades out of her life, they're still so completely consumed with hatred toward her. Are they justified? Perhaps yes...but since they hadn't had any contact with her within the past 30 years or more, I think it was incredibly petty of them to air their family's "dirty laundry" and attack the woman the moment she was dead and could no longer defend herself or her reputation.

How do these people know that she wasn't regretful of the many poor, hateful decisions she made as a young woman? How do they know what possible good she might have done for others in the years since they'd last had contact with her? All they've managed to show the world, in my opinion, is that they haven't been able to move forward with their lives one iota, and that their experiences as children have left them forever crippled emotionally. Somehow, that's NOT the kind of impression that I'd want to show to the world! Supposedly, their intentions are "good," i.e., they want to stimulate a "national movement" against child abuse, but I can't help but imagine that there's a good bit of a desire for petty revenge in their actions, as well. Their actions, upon learning of the death of their "former" mother, were both shameful and sad... :vrysad:

Re: Scathing obituary about abusive Nevada mother goes viral

Posted: 13 Sep 2013, 08:44
by Yogi
I'm sure that as a nurse you are familiar with PTSD. Unless you have experienced it personally, the hellish fear during a lifetime of fighting this disorder cannot be appreciated. There is no amount of counseling, no drugs powerful enough, and not enough time in the universe to heal the scars of child abuse. To my way of thinking the Johnson-Reddick's children may have been less than tactful, but their emotional damage will follow them to their graves. This obituary was proof that their mother had held the reins of fear in her children in spite of the fact they legally separated from her thirty years ago. Again, it's hard to imagine how this is possible if you have not experienced it personally. (no, I have not in case you are wondering) The obituary was a sigh of relief that their lifelong tormentor was finally gone. Unfortunately, the memories are forever.

Re: Scathing obituary about abusive Nevada mother goes viral

Posted: 13 Sep 2013, 09:16
by brandtrn
I am, in fact, familiar with PTSD. And I have some understanding re: child abuse, as I grew up in a home with a fearsome tyrant of a father, who beat my mother on a regular basis in front of her children and, in later years, started in on his kids, as well. Yes, I can sympathize with what they've been through, having endured several years of physical and emotional abuse myself. The abuse to my mother was so intolerable for her that in the end, she committed suicide rather than living in fear of his relentless stalking if she should leave him (as happened so many times when she'd left him before). Heaven only knows what he, as well as the former "mother" of the kids who penned that obituary went through as children to lead them to believe that their behavior was somehow an effective way of coping with one's frustrations in life. Still, I've found (in my experience, at least), that forgiveness is empowering. Forgiving the person who's harmed you, either physically or emotionally, isn't something that one does for the person who's wronged them. In my case, I forgave my father for my own sake. Once I was able to do so, I was able to finally begin putting the past in its proper place and to move forward with my own life. To be honest, I *don't* have that much personal contact with my Dad anymore...I see him a few times a year, and we e-mail back and forth fairly regularly. Honestly, with all the "baggage" attached to my relationship with him, I don't believe that I'll be heartbroken when he passes from this Earth. Still, in recent years, as his health has deteriorated, he's expressed regret for his actions as a young man, and has reached out, attempting to be a father to me at long last. And yes, I do appreciate that, as it's helped me considerably with my own emotional healing. Sadly, I'm the only one of his three children who'll have anything to do with him. What can I say? With all his faults, he's the only father I'll ever have, and the only parent I have left. And yes, I know that the memories are "forever." I still have a pathological dread of angry confrontations, and still tend to "shut down" emotionally when faced with one. But I'm fortunate in that I've found a way to move forward, and to forge relationships which are, for the most part, "healthy" ones. I just think it's sad that so many others find it so difficult to move forward from a difficult past.

Re: Scathing obituary about abusive Nevada mother goes viral

Posted: 13 Sep 2013, 15:48
by Ice.Maiden
Anyone can write an obituary, but that one was a very sad indication of how mental and/or physical abuse can affect children into their adult lives, and something which sometimes never leaves them and can make their own relationships difficult.

You sound to be lucky that you've been able to move forward and develop a semblance of a decent relationship with your father, despite the past leaving you with a dread of confrontation. In that respect, it has, indeed had an affect on you, but you're an intelligent woman and obviously have a lot of warmth in your heart, so you've managed to make the most of a once-bad situation - if only for yourself - which's commendable.

However, not everyone can do that. The hurt, rejection and mental scars can linger on for many, and I feel, as Yogi does, that the emotional damage's been too great to write off. By writing such an obituary, the Johnson-Reddicks' have (probably finally) poured out their anger at what they suffered. It might not seem right, but now they're trying to use this scathing obituary to make people aware of how the abuse affected them - and in a sad way it's working, because the harsh obituary's gone viral and'll strike at the hearts of others who've suffered.

A few years ago, a woman I know who'd undergone "hideous mental torment" from her husband, celebrated his demise by dancing on his grave! She swore she'd always do that if he went first, and she got her wish. Some people found it shocking, others amusing, but it was a sad example of how years of mental cruelty can have these sort of effects on those who're left. The woman has 8 children, 3 of whom refused to even go to their father's funeral because of what he'd done to their mother, but the other 5 turned up because they felt duty-bound. All of them've told me that they don't blame their mother for her attitude, as they witnessed and heard some terrible things as they were growing up. They were never the recipients of direct abuse themselves, but it'd lodged into their minds so deeply, that they understood their mother's behaviour, whether it was out of order or not.

Some people can cope with what life throws at them, but child abuse isn't a grey area. We have a health visitor and a psychologist in the family, and they've both said that children of abuse are ALWAYS affected in some manner, and whilst they might not be aware of it, the repercussions can manifest in different ways. Thankfully, some folk are able to move on without too much angst, but for others, it's a lifetime sentence.

Re: Scathing obituary about abusive Nevada mother goes viral

Posted: 13 Sep 2013, 17:05
by brandtrn
I suppose you're right, Ice Maiden...but the word is full of people who've had crappy childhoods, for one reason or another, and damaged lives. Some of us are capable of putting things in perspective and moving on with our lives, and others just can't seem to drop their baggage. I must say, though, I find it interesting that one of the main forces behind this obituary now has a career as a "psychology consultant." I sincerely hope that said psychology consultant has access to a decent psychiatrist, because it sounds as though she surely needs one.

Re: Scathing obituary about abusive Nevada mother goes viral

Posted: 13 Sep 2013, 20:13
by Ice.Maiden
Ha ha ha - I love that last comment. I sometimes wonder if there's any point in these sort of people trying to figure out what's in the hearts and minds of those they listen to, because if you have 10 people who've suffered or done the same things as the next one, you might get ten different perspectives on the why's and wherefore's, and how can anyone say what's right or wrong unless you were there at the time? I think the daughter who's become a psychology consultant deliberately chose the profession to try and look into herself, as well as to find out how and why others act as they do.

I totally agree with you that some people are capable of moving on, whilst others are stuck with their destructive memories, but childhood abuse has far-reaching repercussions which may not materialise immediately.

I think this's because while we're growing up, experiences are being logged at a terrific rate. As we get older, recent events blur, so that some people can't remember what they did yesterday, let alone last week or month, but a situation which's emotionally damaged a child isn't forgotten easily.

If children hear their parents screaming at each other, for instance, the fear can remain inside them forever. An adult might not register the damage they're causing - it was "just another argument, right?" but the effects of what's been heard can be profound on a young mind.

I'm probably like yourself, in that I can brush things aside and just get on with my life, but I think we can all remember things which happened when we were young - something which was said to us, or something that we witnessed. Some of those memories are good, some bad, and it's those experiences which can shape the sort of people we turn into and the way in which we think.

Personally, I think the obituary was terrible. Imagine how relatives/friends felt on reading the thing, but it's obvious that these people felt a need to get it off their chests and let everyone know "the truth". In fact, I imagine it came as no surprise to those who knew the woman and her family, so it seems unusual that it should all come out now, years after their painful experiences happened, and it really serves no purpose apart from the children themselves having off-loaded their anger or hurt.

Despite that, they'll now have to live with the consequences of their actions, which'll range from empathy to ridicule, but it may help others who've suffered the same sort of violent upbringing to seek help.

You sound to be a strong person Cindy, but a compassionate one as well. This's probably helped you to move on with the attitude which you have now. Others aren't always so lucky. Emotions are complex. One person who's suffered a terrible childhood might be determined not to repeat the experience with their own family, and yet another might think it's the "norm" and do to their own children what was done to themselves. All too often we see patterns repeating themselves within families, because there's been no decent role model and the children grow up expecting life to be the same, and then you get the others, like yourself, who're fully aware of how horrible their situations were, but who can overcome the negative feelings, put things into perspective and keep the past where it belongs, or at least be able to forgive.

You say that: *Legally, if they severed all ties with her, they WEREN'T her "survivors" or "next of kin". Yes, but the Johnson-Reddicks' ARE survivors, despite their resentment, and biologically they WERE her next of kin. A legal piece of paper doesn't alter that. It's the same with children who're adopted from a very early age. Most of them are very wanted by their adoptive parents, and the children can be extremely close to them. Even so, many are curious to find out about their birth parents as they get older, and welcome getting to know those parents. It's a natural feeling for the majority of adopted children, although it doesn't always work out for the best. The Johnson-Reddicks' must've been full of anger when they devised the obituary; it'd probably been simmering for years. It's a cowardly way out when the object of their derision isn't there to explain her actions, but I doubt she could've quelled her childrens' hatred, and what's the betting that she'd been or felt like an unloved child herself?

Just how I see things Cindy, if you can make head or tail of what I've put. It wasn't a very nice thing to do, but at the same time it's possibly understandable. Abuse in any form's unacceptable.

Re: Scathing obituary about abusive Nevada mother goes viral

Posted: 14 Sep 2013, 04:18
by brandtrn
The fascinating thing about this is that the daughter of the "psychology consultant" left a comment after the original obit was published online (the original obit has since, unfortunately, been taken down, but hopefully the comment can still be found elsewhere), basically accusing her mother of doing the "pot calling kettle" thing. Yes, apparently the psych consultant, the one so keen on starting the "national movement," was an abusive parent, herself. It would seem that folks shouldn't be quite so keen to publicly criticize the landscaping of others when their own backyard could stand to be cleaned up. Hypocrites like that are, in my opinion, even worse than those whom they so publicly condemn. You can imagine, given my own life experiences, that I find the current public discussion regarding this subject to be quite fascinating.

Re: Scathing obituary about abusive Nevada mother goes viral

Posted: 14 Sep 2013, 04:23
by brandtrn
And yes, Ice Maiden, I absolutely agree with your statement that abuse in *any* form is unacceptable. Truer words were never spoken!

Re: Scathing obituary about abusive Nevada mother goes viral

Posted: 14 Sep 2013, 09:01
by Yogi
The obituary was a necessary closure for the Johnson-Reddick children. While we can all understand why it was written, very few people want to be bothered with somebody else's drama. Thus the original is now gone. Hopefully the pain that motivated the writing can now be erased as well.

My feelings on this whole topic are based on stories I've heard from other people who have gone through the trauma of abusive relationships and/or childhoods. I guess I've lead a sheltered life because recently I've met a lady from Wales who is in her mid fifties and still has nightmares about her father raping her. She claims to have remained silent about it all until I spoke with her. While I was shocked at the time, I've since met others who will not leave an abusive spouse, for example, because they "love" them. Incest goes unreported because of the shame the victim fears it will bring to the family. I've become disillusioned in my old age. Good does not triumph over evil every time, if ever.

Then there are people like Cindy who are strong enough to establish a reconciliation with the past. From what I can determine she is in the minority. There are studies suggesting as many as 30% of all females have been molested and abused before entering adulthood, and that is the statistic only from the surveys. The actual number is probably higher. An equally frightening statistic is the incident of teenage suicide. Is there a correlation? I don't know. Perhaps we should do a study of the situation and find out.

Life is not fair. I know that. It's just that I feel helpless in knowing a single act by a miscreant parent is enough to destroy the entire life of a child who by circumstance must be submissive. The solution? Move on or die. The world is a better place thanks to those who did not choose the latter. As the saying goes, "what does not kill you makes you stronger."

Re: Scathing obituary about abusive Nevada mother goes viral

Posted: 17 Sep 2013, 15:20
by pilvikki
this is quite interesting, just lately have i have realized that both my parents were bad cases of PTSD, but they each handled their situations differently. and neither way did us kids much good, but they did the best they could. after all, in their day it was "suck it up!" the condition wasn't even acknowledged but any manifestaion of it ridiculed as something only a weak person would be affected by. when you have an entire damn country suffering from it, and nobody wants to deal with it, where's the support?

anyway, i got off lightly, there was no physical abuse, but i have met people with absolute nightmares for lives. there were rapes, beatings, humiliation. and not just for the girls...

in one case i one day realized that a young man had married his half sister, their not knowing what i knew. i didn't say anything, what would be the point, but perhaps it would have been considerate for the parents to have mentioned the relationship? but hell no... they weren't going to own up to anything.

his brother had been used and abused to badly that he had blocked most of his childhood. he never did have the curage to sort it out for himself after his sisters told him, while his 2 sisters faced the music and took the bull by the horns. they are now ok with themselves but have no children for the fear of carrying the "family curse" further. out of the 5 kids only 2 had children of their own and both are drug addicts.

i could babble on about others with an even worse fate, but i'll leave it alone. it just saddens me so to think that we only have one life and it's tough enough without this kind of start for it. people have to start speaking up; kids and spouses are not property to do whatever one feels like at any irrational moment.

i'm happy for you cindy! people like you give me hope. :love:

Re: Scathing obituary about abusive Nevada mother goes viral

Posted: 04 Sep 2014, 14:25
by Ice.Maiden
Well put Vikki, and ((hugs)) Cindy. You've been brave to post about your own situation. I admire your strength of character, and to everyone else who's been through a tough childhood and managed to get through with insight and understanding.