Josh Duggar reportedly enters “treamtnet”

Yesterday I posted painfully after much professional self deliberation on one segment about the evolving soap opera of “America’s Family,” the Duggars, the TLC channel tv family with “19 and Counting,” children. This show had been on for years and as it turned out was too  good to be true. It emerged earlier this year that the eldest son who molested young girls outside the family and as a teen had incested reportedly two of his own sisters. The family concealed all this from the TLC folks and just about everyone else. They referred the lad for “treatment” {and truly I use that term very loosely and with the greatest of reservations] to a friend of the family, a law enforcement person who put him to work for three months, had no mental health experience and as far as is known this lad received no real counseling, and was not reported as sex offender which the media seems to have forgotten would have been the legally mandated duty of this officer. The family waited until the statute of limitations was expired for such a crime of an adolescent, then the story started to emerge when the son was the front man for a Christian morals advocacy organization and his escapes even as an adult were emerging.

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Secret Closed System Families and the Duggers

I have held off posting on the sad evolving tragedy of the Duggars who until both intra-families INCESTUOUS molestation of youngers sisters and molestations reported by national media encompassing such predatory repetitious behaviors with girls outside the family for over a month now. I had wished to gather my thoughts and center my psychiatrist thoughts around a unifying them that added something more of value to the media circus that has gone, not helped to die down by the Duggars themselves.

The newest  current article, entitled, “Duggarville’ Exposed: Jim Bob ‘Is Like a Dictator’; How He Controls His Clan ,with a Secret Codeword,” has furnished the theme to me. The link to the article in the current just out edition of People magazine is People magazine article on the Duggar Family, is a fairly well done piece but sort of misses an important point.

In the clinical arena of “family therapy” which is one of the more inclusive of different brands of mental health professionals, we call these families, “secretive families,” or my more favored descriptive phrase” closed family systems.” Those of us who trained in intensive family therapy, have long seen these families.Their family wife pathology is more often than not centered around, naturally enough a family secret, no surprise there I suppose but an issue that is still perhaps not as familiar to the public as it should.

Often it’s based on keeping something the family is deeply ashamed of, hiding and sheltering a chronically mentally ill relative. Some the classic great writers of Southern literature would have a literary character who was kept hidden away in the big multi-story home. Horror films has bastardized this notion with the over the top Hollywood theme of the crazy [forgive the crude term and vernacular that comes from these movies] who murders people anonymously and the family has varying notions some is badly wrong and resorts to keeping them locked up in the cupola tower of the home and all the other themes along these lines we have seen since the 1950’s or so.

More often the family secret is INCEST. Some adult who is supposed to be what I call the “true steward of the [parent-child usually] relationship, guard the child and one’s one boundaries with the child, violates this and it becomes the big secret.Time and again we have heard these humiliating secrets from persons who publicly come forth with their tales of incest publicly. For instance it is estimated that incest is far more common than realized. Some years ago the startling statistic emerged from confidential surveys incoming collegiate freshman women that one in four to at most, one of eight (!) had experienced at least one or more episodes of sexual assault by college, though of course not at all it within their families of origin.

Closed family systems have other characteristics too. They are secretive by nature. They are usually controlled by a dominant parent and threatened all their suffering lives at home to “keep the secret.” The above article emphasizes that the Duggar father, in essence, exerted dictatorial control over his children with a “code word” used I expect to shut them up when discussion with any outsider came too close to the secret. They are usually experts at presenting pervasive facades as I judge the Duggars to have done in their overdone Christian religiosity. They are unique as closed family systems take great pains constantly to be very isolative, closed off from the community but there are many such families that are exceptions to this trait of such families.

I have no doubt that the Duggars will continue to present themselves as the all-American wholesome family in some way or other. I fear that they may not deal the apparent and reported cancer of incest residing in their family by the evasive, delaying manner they handled son Josh’s unconscionable incest. In my clinical opinion, had this family come the attention and help of any responsive mental health provider of ANY discipline, DSS Child Protective Services would have been notified as well as the authorities and Josh Duggar would be a lifelong registered sex offender as he should be in my humble from the sidelines vantage point. The tragedies will not stop with the “corrective publicity,” and in years to come I would predict that other offspring in the Duggar clan will come forward with their own sad stories.


But He Came From Such A “Nice” Family

The above title to this post is actually a favored euphemistic comment offered by Southerners, and perhaps in other regions of the the USA, when perplexed observers, especially small townsfolk, offer to explain the seemingly inexplicable, ‘when someone goes bad.’ I think in the history of the Old South, it was used to describe people’s reactions to news that a well regarded person in the community had surprised if not stupefied everyone who knew that person, by doing some totally out of character bad deed. The local long time lawyer embezzling an elderly lady’s fortune, the head of the local town and sometimes only bank in the 1930’s making off with the bank’s funds and bankrupting the entire town etc. But much more often the scenario would involve that old bugaboo of sex. A scandalous affair, murder of a previous secreted paramour, backsliding into “sin,” and committing some crime “under the influence.” The reason/excuse/rationalization or just plain befuddled explanation offered to one’s friends or even if only to oneself, was the shibboleth, that ‘he [still] came from a nice family.” This harkened back to the days of the Antebellum South where good taste, being racially true and pure, whatever that was, always opening doors for ladies, always being polite and courteous to your worst enemy of romantic rival, having :good rearing,” by a “respected family” that was very successful, as somehow in most societies, perhaps perverted to an extreme in our modern business emphasis of greed and wealth as the only true standards of measure of a person, success equaled inviolate certainly of a steady moral compass in that person.

This past week we have had two nearly simultaneous scandals involving on the one hand, one of our lauded and over-idealized families of the national psyche, and a former highly regarded, middle America, salt of the earth, pillar of the community politician and warmly regarded former leader of Congress, emerge under new undeniable clouds of nefarious and to use a dated perhaps non “PC” [politically correct] phrase, “perverted’ circumstances. Of course I am referring to the public plights and perhaps overly well deserved media lashings now being suffered by Joshua Duggar of the “19 Kids and Counting,” TLC family reality television show about the now famous Duggar family, and, the former and longest serving in USA political history’s Speaker of the House, the former Honorable Dennis Hastert of the Midwest, the moral center point of our nation’s moral center if there is one.

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