Criminal Mind

The link between childhood abuse and criminality.

Well everyone it’s been a while for which I apologise. Lets just say I’ve had shit on and have been chasing my tail for a month!

So I thought I’d explore the link between childhood abuse and criminality and how that fit in with my childhood trauma. We know there’s a often a link between the two but I think sometimes it’s assumed that the link is more of a socio-economic one rather than anything more complex.

According to the NCI in 2017 “Among women, having an antisocial romantic partner was linked to affiliations with antisocial peers, which in turn increased criminal involvement. For men, having an antisocial partner was associated with less partner warmth, which in turn predicted an affiliation with antisocial peers, itself a proximal predictor of adult crime. Relationships with antisocial peers and romantic partners in adulthood may increase criminal involvement by normalizing crime and reinforcing coping skills that promote criminal behavior among both men and women.”

This statement was directly referring to adults who had suffered abuse as children, and then gone on to commit crime as adults. The socio-economic situation of these adults wasn’t really the focus. Which I personally can well believe is true. My point, is that you don’t have to be poor or from a poor family to suffer abuse. Abuse happens in all demographics, in all countries on the planet. Abusers often live in plain sight.

My own mother was a criminal. She hadn’t always been. She’d also been badly abused as a child. But meeting a guy with whom she had an affair when married to my step father ,and later married, seemed to bring out this whole other personality. It started with her being the manager of a night club that was notorious for dealing class A drugs. At the same time she had an arab lover (yes another one) that ran a large criminal gang in the city. They dealt mainly in drugs and money laundering. The people that came and went from our posh little city flat weren’t street criminals. They wore Rolex and had drivers. The charming Americans had guns (and they were charming) Texans I believe, (not something we were used to in old blighty!)

And so this criminal element to homelife built in pace and momentum. At some point my mother decided that her partner and her would launder around 100k in from abroad. A great plan. Until they got caught of course. My mother got a suspended sentence – in her own words “Because the judge took pity on me having 3 kids…” and her scumbag partner got a minimum term in Belmarsh, later to move to Nottingham. The sentence included deportation on release. So atleast we had something to look forward to.

Or so I thought.

He would write to us as if we were his loving devoted children. I could barely hide my disgust. At my mother’s behest I visited him once in each place with her. It made my skin crawl to see his fake smile and overly enthusiastic hug. Knowing that when he got out he was being deported was the best fuckin news I’d had in the 2yrs years she’d been with him.

Thank fuck, I thought. I’ll finally be able to sleep without checking if the door is locked.

Just before his release, my mother sat me down and wanted to have a chat. I presumed it was going to be some shit about how she was going to miss him when he got deported home. But alas, not. In her fragile mind she’d realised a solution to the problem of him leaving her (in her mind)….. the solution was that we were all going to go with him to start a new life in his home country.

Fuck me. That added insult to injury. My life just got a whole lot worse, and at 12yrs old, I felt completely powerless to do a single thing about it.

Boundaries And Relationships

Understanding how boundaries and relationships are affected by childhood trauma.

One of the many possible long term effects of childhood trauma is how we cope and behave within relationships and boundaries. Generally speaking, we’re a bit shit at both. I’ve had difficult relationships with loved ones on and off for most of my adult life. Mainly because I’ve kept them all at arm’s length. On the flip side to that I’ve allowed others to cross the line repeatedly by not setting healthy boundaries and sticking to them. In my case this behaviour is most apparent with my siblings and with my partners. I guess it was to be expected with my siblings, as they have boundary issues too as a result of our traumatic experiences as children. Between us, we’ve been like the poster child for how not to treat each other at times, something that we witnessed in our aunts and uncles too who also suffered childhood trauma of their own. I see a fucking pattern here.

My mother had 6 siblings. All separated into foster care at a young age. Over the years my siblings and I have watched them treat each other horrifically. Intentionally hurting each other is like a national sport in that side of the family. They use hurtful comments to connect and communicate, and go out of their way to fuck up each other’s lives a bit more. Astounding when you think they’ve already had a shit time. The closer the siblings, the worse they seem to hurt each other. My mother and her closest sister seemed to go out of their way to hurt each other, and yet still turned to each other in hard times. I can never keep up with who is talking to who, who’s fallen out with whom or what bloody drama is going on now. Needless to say I don’t keep in touch with any of my mother’s siblings really, mainly because they’re all mentally unstable in my opinion. The direct result of childhood trauma.

My point, is that they all have boundary issues too. They cross the line repeatedly.

My siblings and I have done the same although never to the same extent and certainly not with such venom.

As children connected by trauma, we’ve overstepped the mark with each other in many ways. I once had a casual boyfriend that I met whilst working abroad, broke up with, but arranged to fly home with and let stay with my sister. Let stay with my sister. Not my home. Not a family home. HER home. With HER child. I wasn’t even staying with her. He didn’t speak English either. She agreed to let him live with her because she had no boundaries either. Don’t get me wrong, he was a good guy, but he was also a recreational drug user. I took him on his word that he’d ‘behave’ whilst staying with her. Luckily, it worked out, but could so easily not have.

The lack of healthy boundaries meant that I overstayed my welcome at my step father’s home. My brother overstayed his welcome at my sister’s home, and my sister overstayed her welcome at my home. So you see we’ve all done the same shit. Now I look back and understand the root of the behaviour which gave me a chance to course correct. I have healthy boundaries in my life and my relationships have improved overall. Everybody wins, except maybe for the toxic people I’ve cut out over the years, they don’t seem like winners to me.

I’ve had difficult relationships with partners too (here’s where I make the joke that I married the most difficult one then remember that he’ll probably read this later 😂).

And now I’m working daily on my relationships.

It’s a struggle at times.

But it’s never a struggle I shy away from. My family are worth every difficult day. And for that, I’m always grateful. Grateful that I have something in my life that makes me want to work on myself. The drive for self improvement comes after the healing from trauma.

An empty cup can’t quench anyone’s thirst.