Thoughts from the Psychology Couch

The Unconscious... it's where we live.

Dr. Julie Armstrong

Dr. Julie Armstrong
Los Angeles area, California, United States
August 25
Forensic & Clinical Psychologist
Julie Armstrong Psy.D. QME
I am a Forensic Psychologist and Clinical Nurse Specialist. It is my job to analyze the cause and nature of an individual's behavior, symptoms or distress. I enjoy the analysis of interconnecting phenomena, behavior and psychology, society and psyche, popular culture and the mind. We all live in the unconscious...


JUNE 10, 2011 10:44AM

Casey Anthony Trial pt. IV Breakdown

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As the details are described in court with obsessive and detailed precision, Casey Anthony is no longer stoic; she has begun to cry, and feel sick. Casey has begun to break down as she can no longer avoid the truth. Her defenses are breaking down as the holes in her story are filling in.

The internal conflict has been avoided until now, she has been able to split off her feelings, and simply not feel the weight of the information emerging. Of course this was true before Caylee died too.

Casey used the partying, the sexuality, the drinks and drugs as a means to avoid the internal conflict about her role as mother. (Of course she also had issues about  her battles with Cindy before Caylee was born, and she avoided addressing those too.)

Casey wanted to play, to have fun, she resisted growing up. And George indulged her; so did Cindy, both of them complaining about her behavior while giving her noney.

But Casey got pregnant, and wanted to keep the baby. Perhaps she saw this as a sign, a vehcle to finally get it together and grow up. She did want to be a good mom, but as every mom knows, babies are a burden. Sometimes, at times..., we hate that burden.

But  now she can no longer party, she can no longer split off the reality and horror of her participation in Caylee’s death. Her defenses don;t work anymore, and she doesn't have access to the activities that helped in the past.

Why is it so hard to believe that her tears are not real. We are complex animals and frequently we are overwhelmed with conflicting emotions.

Today..., finally... Casey is simply beginning to feel overwhelmed. As we hear the story of the breakdown of little Caylee's body, we witness the breakdown of Casey. Casey is identified with the broken baby.

Casey is Caylee, broken..

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Fascinating to watch. She is indeed having to face a very painful reality and needs to hear it, whether she is guilty of the murder of her daughter Caylee or not. When court was adjourned early because of Casey's "illness" in response to the testimony, I wondered if she'd even show up in court today or whether or not they'll proceed. It will be interesting to see how she holds up going forward, and what plot turns will take place as this trial progresses.
Casey in fact did not want to keep the baby. She had a friend named Kiomarie (a real person!) who offered to adopt the baby and Casey readily agreed. When Mama Cindy got wind of it she was enraged and absolutely forbid Casey putting the baby up for adoption. Cindy wanted the baby; Casey, not so much. Once Caylee Marie was here, Casey realized the baby was her "meal ticket" as it were--the Anthony's allowed her to live with them, free room and board and childcare and financial support. As Caylee approached the age where she would be verbal enough to start "telling" on her mother (ie, no job, all the boyfriends, sleeping in bed with her mother's lovers, etc.) she became an increasing liability and was eliminated. I wonder how Caylee's life would have been different had the Anthony's allowed an adoption or adopted Caylee themselves. It almost seems that Cindy was using Caylee to create jealousy and manipulate Casey into staying home, settling down and being a good mother. Does the fact that Casey wanted to give the baby up and was shut down by her mother affect your views about Cindy and Casey's relationship at all? Their's was an extremely complex bond, most of it acted out unconsciously, i agree. i do think professional and amateur psychologists alike will be analyzing this one for some time to come. Thank you for the blog!
kattrinka, do you know any of these people? I agree with your theory.
kattrinka I hadn't heard that. Of course it is in ,ine with Casey's behavior. There are other unconscious elements at play. CIndy certainly wanted a do-over. Even Casey at some level may have wanted a do-over, a proof to her family that she wasn't a flake. But of course she was quite envious about the love and attention the baby got as well; Caylee became her competition at an unconscious level, "Mom-(Cindy) loves Caylee more than me." It's not too hard to find the rage that follows...