The Backlash Against ‘I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother’

As Liza Long, author of "I Am Adam Lanza's Mother," is critiqued, let's take a look at our long tradition of blaming moms

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@anarchistmom

A word of warning to any mother who writes about her child’s problems: you just might get blamed for them.

This lesson was made clear by the dramatic arc of a blog post by one Liza Long, who in describing the challenges of her seriously disturbed son garnered sympathy and praise for breaking the code of silence and shame around mental illness.

(MORE: ‘I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother’: When Parents Are Afraid)

Long’s post went viral, but soon one observer, Sarah Kendzior, took the time to read Long’s entire blog and found some not entirely sympathetic statements from the beleaguered mom, such as “I quit! Let the state take care of you and your compulsive inability to stop poking people.” Kendzior also noted that Long and her husband had been involved in a messy divorce, which, while not entirely germane to the question of how to best treat a mentally ill child, did not exactly put Long in a favorable light.

It was all somehow reminiscent of the days, not so long ago, when mothers of schizophrenic and autistic children were routinely blamed by the medical profession for their child’s illness. Labeled “refrigerator moms,” these women were said to have caused the social withdrawal of the child with their lack of maternal warmth and attention. We still don’t know nearly enough about Connecticut school shooter Adam Lanza’s psychiatric history, but we can be sure that his mother Nancy Lanza will, in this tradition, be scrutinized for what she did and didn’t do, should have or could have done.

Understanding this tendency, both in society and in ourselves, Long and Kendzior have already put their differences aside. In a joint statement, they proclaimed, “We are not interested in being part of a ‘mommy war.’ We are interested in opening a serious conversation on what can be done for families in need. Let’s work together and make our country better.”

497 comments
CynthiaCarlon
CynthiaCarlon

The BACKLASH??????  I got frustrated raising my two.....my husband was gone a lot when they were younger....and I worked full time as an RN in a busy hospital.......they didn't have blogs/internet back in the 70's.....i"m sure there would be days I would have posted "I QUIT"  too and my two were "normal" or average..... definitely weren't hyperactive, etc., and there were days I said to myself..."OK swing from the curtains, just leave me alone!!!!!!"  I just wanted to scream that.....so some self-righteous b*tch noticed negativity in her blog.....you have NO IDEA the problems she experienced unless you've lived them......the blog gave her an opportunity to vent when any other source wasn't available.

mad.the.swine
mad.the.swine

SMH at how frickin self-righteous and judgemental some of you are. I have zero judgements for this woman because there is zero preparation for a situation like "my kid is going to kill me or someone else". Yes crappy parenting can cause problems but NO ONE is perfect, not even you- person who's reading this and going "except me". Some people simply develop mental illness from a young age and no amount of hugs (or spankings) is gonna change that. There were mass murderers far before vaccines or SSRI's. The sooner we can accept that and stop playing the blame game, the sooner we can start doing something real about this problem.

tialand
tialand

Bravo! It's despicable when parents are blamed when psychiatrists give SSRI drugs to their kids, like in the cases of Adam Lanza, the Aurora Theatre shooter, Columbine ... They were all on mind altering drugs. Worse than that, those poor parents who lost babies to SIDS, immediately following a vaccine, and were accused of swaddling the child, or taking it to bed with them to console the unconsolable screaming. The pharmaceutical industry will not take responsibility, and you're not allowed to sue them. (However, they do pay out billions each year to vaccine and drug-related injuries; to families who threaten to go public. It's done privately.) I wish more parents would be so bold. But then look what happens if you go public. What horror. 

tanyakin
tanyakin

People simply don't understand mental disorders until they (or someone close to them) suffers from one.  Unfortunately there are too many people out there that lay blame on the parents.  Well, sometimes the parents can contribute, but sometimes its NOT the parents fault.  I thought "I am Adam Lanza's Mother" was very well written, and deep.  If there was more awareness and help available, mental illness could be controlled at least enough to avoid senseless killings.  I guess its easier for many people to continue pretending that mental illness isn't real.

DianaLenoreMiller
DianaLenoreMiller

I am Adam Lanza’s Mother” pissed me off a long time ago.At first I was drawn in, like a desperate working mother supporting her demented mother and mentally ill brother.I wanted to use “like a moth to a flame” but it is too trite, too cliché, too tired a trope to use in this instance.I have been supporting my family on and off since 2003.Mental illness runs deeper in us than coal in the Appalachians.I know mental illness.I know it better than the “anarchist soccer mom” could in her worst nightmares.I am writing in hopes that she realizes she should shut her mouth.

You are not Adam Lanza’s mother” sums up quite nicely some criticisms that I would have used as “Anarchist Soccer mom” tries to drug and humiliate and threaten her son into submission.Because she is too busy blogging, on the blogosphere.When was she planning on bringing up her children?Was she going to do it whilst inebriating them with antipsychotics?How then will they understand a word she says in the medication induced fog?Oh wait, if they do not understand she will have them incarcerated.I see.Was she ever aware that birth control was an option?Could she have used it?Why must we now be subjected to her insane spawn?

This piece elucidates the rationale behind the rhetoric.Long’s whines echo like my own mother’s hyperbole as she shuffles across the floor, bemoaning her life of self-induced oppression, always making the most of any situation, as long as it gets her a sympathetic ear and a way out of actual effort.

“Anarchist soccer mom” - what a wonderful moniker; this piece of detritus is an unemployed housewife trying to score off a national tragedy. I hope her ex-husband gets full custody.I hope her career as a “Freelance journalist” - code words for unemployed housewife, falls to pieces around her as she realizes that her very public lamentations are no use to those of us who have to accept our responsibility for our children.Did she divorce her attorney husband who provided her with the excellent lifestyle she repeatedly brags about because he found some sweet young trophy to take to parties or did he leave her because she was a useless piece of shit?


MBEZI1
MBEZI1

IS NO LONGER A NEWS WHAT IS HAPPENING NOW IN THE WORLD, EYES HAVE SEEN IT, PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS IS NOW REJOICING DUE TO DR SHANT TAMI INDI B1 HERBAL REMEDY DRUGS, THIS INDI B1 HERBAL REMEDY DRUGS CURED MY 5 HIV/AIDS, WHAT THE DOCTORS CAN,T EVEN CURE.
    I READ IT ON MEDIA FIRST I PICK IS EMAIL ADDRESS WHICH IS INDIANSPELL@YAHOO.COM, I DOUBT HOW THIS INDI B1 DRUGS IS GOING TO CURED MY HIV/AIDS,I NEVER KNEW IT WAS A SPIRITUAL HEALING DRUGS AND DR SHNAT TAMI  PLACE ME ON A DAY SPIRITUAL PRAYERS, AND REALLY HE SEND ME THOSE PRAYERS AND TOLD ME WHAT TO EAT AND WHAT NOT TO EAT.
  AND TWO WEEKS LATER THIS INDI B1 HERBAL REMEDY DRUGS REALLY CURED MY HIV/AIDS, DON,T DIE IN SHAME CONTACT HIM TODAY AT INDIANSPELL@YAHOO.COM AND FOLLOWED HE WILL TELL YOU TO DO AND YOU SHALL BE CURED PERMANENTLY.

bryanjturner
bryanjturner

I'm not knocking her parenting skills but I am knocking her leaving loaded guns laying within reach of some one she already knew had some serious problems; as far as I'm concerned she's responsible for those kids getting shot up.

aurorafisher64
aurorafisher64

I have a recommendation for anybody who wants one. Throw away your suit, cash in your chips, go to the website Traders Superstore and learn how to trade and then move to South East Asia and live a life that you never dreamed you could live. That's what I am doing now and very happy instead of being in fear all the time and stressed.

Ettina
Ettina

I don't know why people act like saying that parenting has caused a child's problem has to mean vilifying the parent. Parents are people, too, and they make mistakes. Some mistakes have an adverse impact on their children. Doesn't mean they're some kind of monster, just because they've made some mistakes.

The parents who in some way contributed to their child's issues are probably the ones in *most* need of sympathy and support. Many of them are struggling with their own mental health issues. Even if they aren't, the awareness of their own part to play in the child's issues is something they may need support coming to. And in many cases changing the parents' behavior can ameliorate or even cure these parenting-related issues, whereas the impact of modifying parental behavior is less (though not insignificant) if the cause had nothing to do with parenting.

Very few parents deliberately and callously harm their children. Most parents who harm their children do so unintentionally or unwillingly, and are just as committed to their child's welfare as competent parents are. We need to offer them support, not blame. But we also need to be honest, for the sake of the children.

tialand
tialand

@Ettina Yes indeed! Parents want the best for their children and shouldn't be vilified because they believed a "health practitioner" knew what they were doing when giving SSRI drugs (or vaccines) to children. Young parents are naïve and believe in the pharmaceutical industry. We need to educate parents, not blame them for being trusting.

MikeLand
MikeLand

Just abort Aspergers babies.  That's a start.

SouThao
SouThao

Adam needed to get his front teeth kicked in. He needed to have the living crap beat out of him. His mother needed to wear his ass out. Pain teaches people that it sucks to do something your not suppose to do. If we kicked in half of all the inmates teeth in the US of A then american would be a much better place. Everyone blames the father or mother, but we have no idea what was going on in that household. Regardless, the murdered will not return from the grave.

KenMayberg
KenMayberg

I don't think the problem of how Adam's mother raised him is as much of an issue as to why she exposed someone like this to semi automatic weapons.  

ClydeCorri
ClydeCorri

every shooter has a doctor and a pill. so why are we talking about guns and laws? a father stabs his 6 kids and stands outside blood soaked on the sidewalk to watch the house burn down. it wasn't Knives that did it..it was the Medications. my Brother has MS. he was on pills and he attacked my mother,. we cut the pills and now he doesn't attack anyone. he laughs and talks to himself. but he isn't attacking anyone.  for all the people dying in our country from Celebretes to Veterans to children. we need to look at the SSRI pills. Diet Pills, stop smoking pills, Depresssion pills. etc etc .. that are causing harm to people.

cfblakeman
cfblakeman

There is only one issue with Ms. Long's writing - she exposed her son to the world. She could have so easily done all of this without using her real name, and no one would be questioning her parenting.  

How sad that Ms. Long did not take the opportunity to apologize for exposing her son's very private issues to the entire world. She isn't blamed for his problems. He makes his own choices. She is blamed for one of the most irresponsible things a mother could ever do - expose her child to world wide judgement, and for judging him herself in public to all his friends, family and community. 

Kendzior's response isn't nearly as good as this one - A MUCH better response - You Are Not the Killer’s Mother and Your Kid's Privacy Matters http://tinyurl.com/d8jl3el

ThinkingWoman
ThinkingWoman

This woman blaming seems to be widely prevalent and has gone viral. One guy even blamed Pelsoi and Boxer for the shooting - the two most powerful women members of the Senate and the House.

Because of these kind of unfair judgments and blaming sometimes women who do need helps as mothers or anybody else don't get it, and women who do need some confrontation are not getting it either. As always patriarchal societies blame women and mothers for everything, they blame women activists and feminists for many problems and they spew their hatred of women, now growing in all countries where women are standing up and fighting patriarchy, without thought or basic decency.

You want to know how many emails I received threatening to kill me, rape me and torture me for writing about women's issues and gender issues twenty years ago? Nothing much has changed.

BigPaws12
BigPaws12

She's not comparing her son to a killer, she's afraid because she's intelligent, and she understands that 1) his behavior fits a type that is more likely (statistically) to be a Lanza-type. 2) She's not throwing him under the paparazzi bus, she's sacrificing her privacy in the hope that people like her and her son get more help. She is baring her honesty. She doesn't hate her son. Every parent of even typical children has their frustrations. That she is brave enough to share hers makes her LESS likely to be abusive or hateful because she can be expressive. People that throw blame around are ignorant and part of the problem. If you blame Mommy, then it's simply her fault, the community can simply hate her and her child both rather than support them - and she alone should do something about it. Only it's not her fault and when she can't get buy successfully and her kid kills your innocent kid in school, college, in the mall, at a fast food restaurant, well then you can blame yourself for choosing to do nothing but lay the blame. As the parent of a child with a disorder of most types your insurance runs out, Special Ed is a tiring uphill battle that frequently results in nothing in the way of progress (as Ms Long said, daily babysitting), there are few if any restrictive State institutions left, and so people that were otherwise harmless are sent to Juv. Detention or jail, where they learn to be VERY harmful. There's nothing left int he way of social or public supports for a child once they're an adult. In this case, Adam Lanza WAS an adult, his mother bore no more responsibility for him or his life or the consequences of his actions. Here's a community full of people who knew this boy, but somehow let him be invisible. Not just his mother, his community. It's shameful. 


momshelper123
momshelper123

Please check out my blog at http://lanza-epidemic-my-son-s-story.webnode.com/. I have started the blog in search of advice from others in a similar situation. I want to create a place where an on-going conversation can take place amongst parents with children who have neurologicaldisorders. All suggestions, stories, and comments welcome. I hope to find out how better to help my son, through listening to other parent'ssuccesses as well as failures.

Ulumur
Ulumur

What, no backlash over the fact that she is exploiting her child, publicly comparing him to a killer? People with ASD are not retarded, illiterate, or lacking feelings. Her son has certainly read the article, and if he was suicidal before, I hate to think what state of mind he's in now.But hey, mom got her 15 minutes of fame.

iwillnotsubmittoyou
iwillnotsubmittoyou

I call bs. She was called on her obvious hatred for her son by many autistic people who are tired of being abused by their parents and seen as a burden. Guess what? We do have feelings, we can talk, and we're pissed off. Autistics are highly likely to be murdered by their own parents. We know how unvalued we are. WE KNOW. You're feeling sorry for the wrong people!

sookiela
sookiela

Thank you, blessed and holy mother Liza Long, for offering up your child for sacrifice. 

Thank you for projecting the hatred the public feel for Adam Lanza onto your own child so that we now have violent mental illness, something new to hate.

Thank you for inextricably, erroneously, dangerously marrying mental illness with violence.

Thank you for creating a newer, more modern, Satanic Ritual Abuse-like hysteria for the new millennium. 

Thank you for reminding us that children do not deserve either privacy or dignity.

Thank you for everything, Liza Long.

nickr
nickr

It does not matter how much ppl will try to analyze her struggles "to reach" her son , to deal with his problems etc. One thing remains the fact is how DUMB , SELFISH and IGNORANT that woman had to be to continue having all the gun arsenal in her house knowing that her son is off the rocker. "Oh know we did think he ll hurt anyone.. Oh no he was the quite type" that is the problem!!!!! You just DONT KNOW so logical thing is remove those guns out of his reach JUST IN CASE. BUT no Nancy Lanza was "prepper" ...scared of the doomsday.. I dont give a flying f...ck about her doomsday ideas but the fact that she even took her deranged son the driving range shows how STUPID and ignorant she was. Take him to the golf range for christ sake NOT a gun range. I am speechless

SalveRegina
SalveRegina

What I found sad about her article was she used psychiatric treatment as a threat to her son, a mental health facility is no longer the "looney bin" of the past. As long as society shuns the mentally ill and stigmatizes them,people will go untreated. And as a mother of someone with a devastating mental illness I know what I am talking about. Through a class I took provided by NAMI (national alliance of the mentally ill} I learned mental illness is a sickness which CAN be treated, just as a physical illness can be. Any parents out there who are struggling, don't listen to friends or family who may mean very well, yet haven't lived through it. You need to seek out your own help and NAMI is the best start. Also, please don't feel guilty or afraid to have you son or daughter hospitalized, there is absoulutly no shame in it. I know the world will never understand what me and my son have been through. He will be labled forever by the many names people refer to mentally ill people. But we can take it. And though I found this woman's story somewhat foolish maybe it may help someone. I hope....

RobinMcLean
RobinMcLean

There's a lot more to the Lanza story then mainstream press is devolving. Search for the report from a former FBI agent and there is now FB messages from the his mother on line. Do your research.You are clever enough. When you drug children and give them subliminal suggestion this is how the story unfolds or go back to experiments on children is the US using LSD. It is simply called mind control in a violent society. Read about the Olson case still coming to light.

leefield
leefield

This affluent Mom had max access to health care. Her friend was the psychologist at Sandy Hook. Hmmm wonder what they talked about?  Adam specifically targeted her. for maybe two reasons. One being her Mom's friend, but I speculate, he was enraged from his mental health plan/care. For those whom are not aware, mental health field is aflame with money. The Psychiatrist just prescribe and unceasing array of drugs and dosages as this routine produces results (usually long term bad) and maximum income. They are working for big pharma. It's an unholy alliance....yes evil. The U.S. is experiencing an epidemic of mental health disease. BTW the prescription drugs do not cure anything. They are horribly unsafe, unhealthy, and long term destroy mental health making the patient dependent for life. When patients go off their meds and become dangerous, don't think as often sold per Psychiatrist as reveled mental illness. Conversely, the withdrawal produces horrible psychotic conditions as the brain is rapidly changing it's chemistry that was screwed up by the drugs. The brain will always attempt to chemically balance even with drugs. This biological process forever requires changing meds and dosages...to keep brain off balance. This can not be sustained and sooner or later the patient will stupefy or attempt to abandon the therapy realizing the futility of such health care. Some interesting stats I've read; U.S. consumes more psychotic meds than rest of world together and we are suffering more. This is akin to global warming excuses whereupon if the condition improves they claim credit and if the condition worsens they can claim accurate prognosis. Maybe like Public Ed where spending ever more money is pushed to bad solutions in hope of change. Check out the documentary "Mad in America".  Also, my nephew has Asperger's Syndrome, now in his 40's doing well. It's not a mental disease with chronic need of psychotic meds. He was fortunate to avoid the drug popularity nowadays. Anything throwing brain chemistry off is playing with dynamite.

matjohnson2112
matjohnson2112

Seeing as how other parents are coming forth and saying that they too have problems and relating to her post, maybe you parents with perfect little children should shut up and not tell her that shes abusing her child. Her child has violent tantrums that apparently cant be anticipated. Yeah she should probably just ignore them and give her child some cookies and milk. Since there is no clear cut way of treating or even curing mental illnesses maybe its time to be open to new approaches...such as a post about her children. Maybe this will help her child get the attention he needs. People keep talking about child abuse. No child abuse would be her strangling her child because he had an episode and threw a toy truck at her. Since you are not that child's parent you should worry about your own children.

Rachelweepingforherchildren
Rachelweepingforherchildren

Just for the record folks, Liza Long is a college professor with a doctorate degree.  Her ex husband (the children's father) is a well positioned attorney.  What is all this "no health care available" nonsense?  If she is "Adam Lanza's mother" (which I think is a shameful thing to say) it appears it is by  conscious and willful choice.  Look deeper people, look deeper...  Things are not always what they appear to be, nor what people claim online...  I arrive back at my original suspicion that she just could not wait to seize the opportunity to politicize the death of twenty innocent children and seven innocent adults and make the situation about herself.  It is in keeping with all of my reading of her thoughts.

sookiela
sookiela

First of all, what kind of parent compares their child to a mass murderer? And secondly, what kind of mother publicly compares their child--a child old and bright enough to understand the comparison, and therefore old enough to feel shame and humiliation--to a mass murderer and divulges all his personal problems to the entire world? What can it possibly do for him or his mother besides escalate the problems presumably straining their relationship and permanently smear his name with the indelible ink of a child killer?

Before the dust has settled, before those poor dead children's bodies had even cooled, before we even know what, if anything, was wrong with Adam Lanza, Ms. Long was out there loudly proclaiming her 13-year-old son has the same problems and publicly branding him a future mass murderer. Yet, unbelievably, people were not shocked by her carelessness or sickened by her selfishness but impressed, inspired! Ask yourselves, what possible good can this do for her son and, just as importantly, how would her story or cause have been diminished if she had posted it anonymously, thereby respecting her son's right to privacy, his just claim to dignity as a human being?

Furthermore, if there is a problem with mental health in this country, how will shackling mental illness with mass murder and demonizing mentally ill children help things? How is the discourse improved by inculcating and further entrenching the stereotype of the violent, knife-wielding psychopath? Why does the tone of Ms. Long's article suggest that she is as much, if not more the victim, rather than her son who is purportedly ill? Why do we not hear "Michaels" side of the story? Why do we rarely hear the child's side? Why is it that the public, in a display of almost complete solidarity, pity the mother, yet when one questions how Michael--the real victim (now in more ways than one, thanks to mom)--might feel about having his medical history publicly aired and his name forever tied to evil, that same benevolent, pitying public becomes outraged and indignant? Why are children so often patronized and ignored, even when--apparently especially when--we are clamoring to protect them? Why does no one consider how Michael might feel? 

BelindaBaggins
BelindaBaggins

Adam Lanza is clearly on drugs.  Just look at his pupils and how his face looks skeletal.  Looking at his elementary school pic, he looks happy and bright.  That was taken from him.  I bet the drugging started some time when he was in elementary school and his life was ruined.

Lilacgypsy
Lilacgypsy

Why did Adam Lanza's mother set into motion plans to commit her son to an institution, let him know she was doing it, and then take him hunting? If you feel that your child has a Mental problem big enough to get hin committed, What the hell are you thinking to let him play with your guns...

kmw81567
kmw81567

@panzertoysmail is that what I said..? or are you putting words in my mouth. yeah it says the backlash, but I just dont see too much of it going on here...maybe with 1 person there was, but you see what they were woman enough to do dont you....so why cant you