The tragedy of child murder and its significance, the reflection of Domenico Barrilà

Over the past two years, I have been repeatedly asked to comment on infanticide, all of which can be attributed to revenge or possession, rarely pathologies.

It is difficult to find other triggers in these tragedies, unfortunately incessant. In both cases, the small instruments, blunt instruments, are at the service of the relentless struggles that often accompany the breakup of a family, of a relationship.

The ones, the little ones, are part of the things that need to be shared or the weapons that need to be used. It was the fate of little Elena, killed in recent days by the woman who had brought her into the world.

I admit a certain fragility towards child murder, the danger precedes the professional. I had warned it for the first time about twenty years ago when a judge accused me of examining a mother who had drowned her three-year-old child in the same stream that once welcomed her mother, who committed suicide .

A trust in the grandmother and at the same time a violent rebuke to those who had selfishly left, leaving the daughter to face tasks that would prove to be ever greater than her, and sentenced her to a tiring life in the hunt .

I was CTU on that occasion, it was a matter of determining whether the woman was currently able to understand and would. A ritual formula that is too narrow for those who are called to investigate what is hidden in the mountains of such extreme acts, where the executioner is often also a victim, wiped out, without any of the neighbors noticing it, by destructive existential tensions, impossible to cope with his own strength.

About these long months I have very vivid, indelible memories, beginning with the photographs of the newly rescued child. A few hours earlier he had confided in his mother’s arms, he thought it was the safest fortress, but it had only been the penultimate station. I can almost see her sudden astonishment, which did not even manage to get desperate: the journey from her mother’s arms to the water that awaited her was too short.

The case of little Elena

Today it seems to see the same picture, the picture captured by the security cameras in the kindergarten where little Elena was watching. Also in this case, the child, mesmerized by the sight of his mother, who has come to fetch her, throws himself into these arms, clinging to himself with all his might, eager to inhale the granite security that not even the best teacher would has been able to provide.

That is what makes deception easy, betrayal of trust, cowardice, unforgivability and then astonishment. Unnatural like nothing in the world. When the threat comes from the parents, the children are helpless, also for this reason pedophilia thrives in “safe” places.

They can not stand the thought that their closest feelings can hurt them, convinced that a parent per. definition only acts for their best, so they shy away from it and expose themselves without protection. They are even willing to deny the evidence in order not to give up the certainty that father and mother love them. Like the man who sadly told me about when his father hit him violently in the head with a stick. “He wanted to kill me”, he commented, except to change his judgment the following week: “Dad was not bad, it was me who was too naughty, therefore he beat me, maybe it was my fault!”.

Impossible to accept that the one who gives me life can recall it, so I’m lying to myself, it’s preferable.

Values, vital necessities lurk in the parents’ love, “if they love me, it means I’m worth it”, a good push to pass the first tests. A stumbling block, the parents, the only one that a newly arrived being feels can blindly trust. The critical spirit is reset, there is only absolute abandonment.

However, precisely because they lack their own protection, children become increasingly mere means, even to those who think they are outside this operation. Many parents feel that they are the owners of their offspring, have misunderstood biological rights and think they can dispose of them without limits.

Last year, a mother hung up her teenage daughter and then did the same next to her. On the Facebook profile, the woman had expressed her perception of motherhood, of the pedagogical role. “When a parent calls you several times on his cell phone, he does not do it because he wants to annoy you, it’s just that his soul trembles when he knows you’re home safe. A parent never gives you the worst or want you. A parent loves you and asks you to have a better and happier life than his own. ” He invokes here the absolute right to control, for it is the mother who must be calm, she is the subject.

Being a parent can turn into pain when the child has become the ultimate cause of our personal history, in which those who look casually see only love, a lot of love, instead there is only fear, a proprietary spirit, the most subtle, supported by the idea that far from our shadow dangers offspring lost. This might have been true since the human young, incompetent by birth and condition, was very small. If it sticks right afterwards, something is not working because it means the pieces are fused together.

At this point, what we call the educational relationship has ended, replaced by something completely different, where there is room for every will, even the most extreme, the one who took Elena with her and in front of her armies of children and youth. But the little girl could not know it, it is already complicated for adults, even specialists, to guess what lies in the soul of a person who does not arouse too many suspicions, and who actually seems to apply himself with zeal , a true zeal, at least until when a life accident does not set its traps, breaks the acquired certainties and brings to light all the feelings of inadequacy that we thought we had won because someone had chosen it. It often happens when the person we designed with, or just had kids with, becomes the enemy. When you live in your own little world because you have nothing else and the little you think you have is taken from you, Anger can darken the whole sky and make you ready for anything.

Close to each of us, these worlds live and thrive in danger, but we hardly dwell, we notice them most when the glow of the explosion comes. Too late.

We are never strangers to remember – people, institutions, services – would make the loss of Elena less useless, even by just one gram.

Domenico Barrilà, Adlerian analyst and author, is considered one of the greatest Italian psychotherapists.
He is the author of about thirty volumes, all reprinted, many translated abroad. Among the latter, we remember “The bonds that help us live”, “What I do not see of my son”, “The super-connected”, “Tutti Bulli”, “We stay together. The strength of mutual dependence to be reborn ”, all published by Feltrinelli, as well as Bildungsroman“ La casa di Henriette ”(Ed. Sonda).
In his production there is no shortage of works for young children, such as the series “Growing without collateral effects” (ed. Carthusia).

He is the author of the service blog for educators,

Leave a Comment