Sunday, March 17, 2013

Affections In Statements

Not doubting your love of your child or your husband, it is when we find these things in statements that we flag them for importance.

What's your marriage like?

Think of who is asking the question:

Police.  Journalist.  Investigator.

Your wife is missing and it is police that are asking about your marriage, or it is a journalist, or an insurance investigator:  in other words, this isn't found in casual conversation.

We find this also on Facebook.

The more one dedicates to the spouse, the higher the sensitivity.

How would you describe your marriage?

"Well, the word that comes to glorious."

Who said that?

Scott Peterson, who had murdered his beautiful wife, Laci, and her unborn child, Connor and gave this answer to a television journalist.

"Glorious" in a fallen world, among human beings who have bills to pay, imperfections, illness, personalities, and...well, any sober person understands that "glorious" is a word used to persuade, rather than truthfully account for a marriage.

We flag the terms of endearment, doing so with context firmly in place.  Content Analysis seeks to understand.  It is more than just taking a statement and reporting "deception indicated" and being done. It is with the Scientific Content Analysis that we are able to glean far more information than meets the eye.  A single word can make the difference.

Bobby Valentine.

His name often evokes a strong emotional response from baseball fans.

In 1973 (or so) he was a player with the NY Mets and had a reputation as being somewhat...narcissistic.  To say he likes himself might be an understatement of sorts.  Boston fans (and players) had no shortage of opinions on his tenure as manager in Beantown.

With the camera rolling the NY Mets were having a silly "bubble gum blowing contest" among players (the video can be seen on the show "Mets Yearbook" which plays regularly on the sports channels).

He went into detail about blowing a bubble, with a smile on his face, mock importance and was attempting to tell the interviewer that he knew, with certainty, that he had won the bubble gum blowing contest.

"Well, I just spoke to the two female judges..."

The additional word "female" made his meaning clear, as she flashed a broad smile on his face.

Each word that can be taken from a sentence while allowing the sentence to remain complete are deemed "additional" words and are very important to us.

There have been some objections to, "I kissed my daughter goodbye and she hasn't been seen since..." where someone says:

"but I kiss my daughter 'goodnight' each and every night of my life!"

I do, too.

But it is the need, in context, to say so that may be a need to persuade rather than report.

"I woke up, kissed my husband, 'good morning' and made coffee."

This is likely a truthful statement.

Yet we find that when a crime has been committed, for example, the 'stakes' are higher and each and every word is important.

Am I lying?  Here is the test:  "I am wearing ladies underwear" (from one of the Shrek movies) in which deception experts like to say that there is "nothing on the line", or there is "nothing at stake" for the person feigning a lie.

It is the need to persuade, while something serious has taken place, that we highlight.

Several years ago, I had highlighted the case of Haleigh Cummings and noted that within the statement of Misty Croslin was the inclusion of her washing the laundry and highlighted it as a possible linguistic link to sexual abuse.  Someone sent me a blog that wrote (I paraphrase) 'What a hack!  I washed my clothing, did I molest a child?' as a rebuttal of my analysis.

Although the willful ignorance remains (some people are not comfortable with learning) a formidable foe, it is those who seek to learn that may benefit from an explanation.

Little Bobby is a happy, bouncy boy, in the 2nd grade.  Like most boys, he has an affinity with dirt and at any time, his pockets are filled with small school-boy 'treasures' of whom only another school boy (at any age) would understand the value.

Before lunch, Miss Teacher must remind Little Bobby to wash his hands, which he does, reluctantly, as he has learned to obey his teacher.

One day, Miss Teacher notes that Little Bobby did not need a reminder to wash his hands.  "Great", she thought to herself, "my consistency has paid off!."  Pleased, she continues her work.

Over the next several weeks, she notices that Bobby not only washes his hands before lunch, but has been washing his hands more and more, so much, in fact, that she said to him, "Bobby, why are you washing your hands again?  They are already clean."

Miss Teacher is concerned about Bobby washing his hands repeatedly during the day and talks to him.

"Bobby, how are things going for you?" and questions such as:

"Tell me about your weekend" on a Monday.

"Who do you live with?"

"When did he move in?" and on and on she goes, seeking to avoid leading questions, but she is, as a caring professional, concerned about sexual abuse.

Bobby washed his hands.
Bobby was instructed to wash his hands.
Bobby used water to wash his hands.

Miss Teacher is not addressing "water" or "hands" but in her training, she knows that there is a correlation between water and sexual abuse.  Both victims and perpetrators will sometimes excessively wash or avoid washing; the key is change.

When a friend of the family moved in recently, Miss Teacher wanted to know more about him.

Everyone washes their clothing, but we do not all feel the need to tell others, yet, how much more so is every single word important when a child is missing?  Even from a liar, every single word must be listened to.

This is what the very highly paid therapists do:  they listen.  This is why ignorance and impatience are enemies of knowledge.

"This is potentially dangerous" was recently stated.


Ignorance is the danger, not analysis.

The skilled interviewer (analyst, teacher, counselor, investigator) asks questions.

Dangerous?  In many states, licensed social workers are sent out to investigate allegations of child abuse.  What do they do?

If the accusation is verbal abuse, for example, they will explore for sexual abuse in each and every case.

If the accusation is physical abuse, for example, the trained professional will explore for sexual abuse in each and every case.

In fact, the social worker will explore for all types of abuse and neglect, checking on food supplies, nutrition, signs of physical abuse, sexual abuse and so on.  The trained professional will look to see how pets are cared for, knowing that there is a correlation that sometimes shows itself between child abuse and animal abuse.  I have seen it, firsthand, yet I have seen neglected new borns while the dog received marvelous attention from the negligent mother. One must remain open-minded for all things.

I have interviewed too many sexually abused children to ignore any signals, whether they be excessive washing of the hands, or the linguistic need to mention water, especially in a needless manner.
No one is jumping up and down yelling "he's washing his hands, he must be abused!", nor racing to conclusions.  Even this form of ignorance can be quickly disproven.

Abusive parents are often the first to praise themselves in parenthood.

Here is the statement of a mother for you to analyze.  First, let me give you some details about her motherhood of a 13 year old daughter and 16 year old son and let you decide on her value as a mother:

*She introduced drugs into her household.
*She brought in a violent boyfriend into her household.
*She brought in pornography, including bestiality (the abuse of animals) and child pornography
*She brought in violent videos as a form of entertainment
*She abused drugs and alcohol in the home
*She stole from her employer
*She burned home-made tattoos into her 16 year old son

She was the proverbial "cool mom" that kids talk about, dressing and acting like a teenager.

What did she say about her own motherhood?

"I am a wonderful mother."

Neglectful parents are often the most vocal and the most difficult for teachers to deal with.  They make the lives of teachers stressful, in two ways:

1.  The teacher is stressed that the child is not doing his or her homework, nor being taught at home, and there is nothing that the teacher can do to get the negligent parent to work with the child and the teacher frets over the child's diminished prospects for a future.
2.  The teacher is stressed by the negligent's parent's presence.  Having neglected the child, the guilt comes roaring out in meetings (if the parent shows), blaming the teacher for the child's lack of success.

Teachers do not get paid enough to bear the stress of the negligent parent.

In statements, we find a need to persuade, even far beyond reality, the expressions of the love that is missing from reality in these settings.

Facebook is full of them.

"I just want to thank my wonderful, handsome, and so very generous husband because today he bought me..."

Uh oh.

Next up:  hyperbole in Statements.


john said...

I like these little refreshers,keep em coming Peter. :-)

john said...


Statement Analysis within Interviews and Interrogations

Anonymous said...

I have always thought something was hinky with FB posts that are overly smoochy about their spouse. Never bought it.

Anonymous said...

'uh oh'! lol! Tell more! love it.

Layla said...

Oh geez, the facebook posts praising the spouse...yikes! I have seen only one that said "While things have not always been perfect....happy anniversary to my husband!"
The rest are over the top!!!

Lulu said...

I rarely reference my husband on Facebook...we live together so I tell him thanks to his face. I don't see that every smoochy post means there's trouble in paradise, though. Couldn't it just be a 'shouting from the rooftop' type of happy proclamation?
Is it only worrisome if extra words are used?

Layla said...

Lulu--I think with the facebook thing, a compliment like "my beautiful wife put together a great birthday party for me" is not worrisome. But, the example Peter gave (which is commonly the type of thing written on facebook) where the person is using multiplt adjectives to show that the spouse is "perfect", where the person is gushing and/or when the person is using multiple adjectives to describe an
"idyllic" relationship is very worrisome. You could call it overcompensation.
My Dad once gave me an odd piece of advice. He said "Most people worry if their husband or wife is not saying "I love you" very often.". He said "But it's actually the opposite--you should get worried if the person is saying "I love you" all the time."
Kinda the same sort of dynamic with the facebook stuff I'd say.

~ABC said...

Agree Anon @ March 17, 2013 at 2:09 PM

And mothers who are overly motherly and people who have to announce on a regular basis how smart and "different" they are.

Peter Hyatt said...

Interesting cultural distinction about those who must be "different"...

they all look the same.

It is those wild FB declarations that Heather has been reading to me. Some use the posting to show how much money they have; others try to communicate to their spouses via FB.

I saw a good comment here about just telling her husband directly... this is kind of the gist of things.

A compliment is always nice to have, but we have to ask ourselves, to whom is this person writing and why public?

It makes for good discussion yet easily bruises the feelings of some.

Skeptical said...

Sometimes I watch Wheel of Fortune after the news. It is fascinaing to listen to the contestants answers when Pat Sajak asks about their families. There are some interesting answers.

~ABC said...

Agreed Peter. There are so many things that would be fascinating to discuss and amongst reasonable people it can be done. But some people are so easily offended you can barely ask an inquisitive question without it being interpreted as an interrogation.

I suppose I should elaborate on the "different" comment. I wasn't actually thinking about cultural differences, but more about those who feel the need to, in elaborate detail, explain their imagined superiority. Whether it be about money, love, intelligence, religion or whatever it may be. You can just feeeeel the persuasion happening. I always wonder what has happened to them in life to cause such deep insecurity.

Alli said...

I think some things depend on the dynamics of the individual relationship. My husband and I are very verbally affectionate with each other because we're both very romantic and verbal by nature. I don't think either saying "I love you" frequently or saying it rarely is necessarily a problem. Where I would be concerned was if a person's way of expressing affection changed very suddenly. I must say, though, I do have an acquaintance who constantly gushes about her husband on Facebook, and their marriage is the latest in a long line of unhealthy relationships for her. Most of my happily coupled friends will indulge in the occasional gushy post for a special occasion, but otherwise just manifest their affection in a casual, authentic way. Again, I think it's a matter of observing patterns. Also, "shouting from the rooftops" tends to be specific and often playful in my experience, rather than just stringing together a bunch of superlatives.

Anita said...

I am concerned about the ethics of using statement analysis in examples such as this. I understand the need in criminal investigations where guilt is suspected, but to use it on people who expose themselves on facebook, people who are likely not criminals, but just revealing human weakness, seems to me a trespass, even if they do expose themselves to it. Love covers, doesn't it? If you see someone naked, you cover them. Or put another way, just because someone leaves the keys in the door doesn't mean you have to walk in. It just doesn't seem to me like a loving thing to do to draw attention to them or call them out and strip them even more naked, or to use it for family amusement. I have conflicting feelings about it, but my instinct says, it's not right.

I read once that one reason people lie is to protect their boundaries. Knowing human beings can be vultures when another is in pain, I can understand why some couples may put on a brave front to keep more injury away. Maybe it is better if we keep it to ourselves, practice compassion, and pray for them rather than share a laugh over it?

It raises an interesting question though. Are there any ethics taught in, surrounding, or necessary in the use of statement analysis, Peter? And what are your feelings about this?

Mainah said...

I don't believe Bob Dylan's song to his wife Sara. "Staying up for days at the Chelsea Hotel writing Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands for you ~Sara by Bob Dylan

:) Oh, he may have stayed up for days at The Chelsea, and, he may have written "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" for Sara Lownds, however, his verb tense shows sensitivity, IMO.

Layla said...

Anita--I respect what you have written. However, it is the fake people on facebook who draw attention to themselves and put themselves out there.
I feel like one reason someone might joke about what they have written is because the tone of it is so braggardly and so "I'm better than you!". These people would be literally shunned if they went into a group of friends and said "my oh so gorgeous, unbelievably thoughtful, hardworking, brilliant husband just did such and such....I could never be happier!!!". Their tone is "I am superior, my marriage is superior and by virtue of this all others are inferior.". This attitude does not win many friends. hese people may deserve some pity but not much IMO.

Layla said...

Just wanted to add that I guess it is kind of human nature to want to be respected and admired for something, so maybe these people do deserve compassion because everyone wants to be admired. The people who do over the top bragging on facebook I think 2 things are going on 1) They are following facebook's narcissism rule too well and 2) the topic they are bragging about especially their relationship is something they are insecure about but yes I agree this can be viewed with compassion.

Lis said...

Anita, as long as we are discussing a general theory, and not the specific postings of random individuals, I don't see a problem.

I rarely take part in facebook anymore because there are so many weird posts. Why would you "post" something to the world that you should be saying to an individual? I like it when friends post photos and funny or interesting stories, but a lot of what is on there seems all wrong to me. Just because I add someone as a friend doesn't mean I want to know the intimate details of their love life, eek. I've also known a couple of manipulative women who would make it appear their boyfriend/husband had done something terrible or unfair in order to harvest a huge outpouring of sympathy from friends who automatically take their side, no questions asked. The other person is not on there to give their side of it. Ack, it gets sick sometimes.