Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Missing Mariah: Mother's Language
When a child goes missing, it is a direct assault against the powerful instincts of protection that a mother has.
We like to hear the mother of a missing child use her child's name. This is due to the psychological protective capacities that indicates genuine closeness of the mother-child bond. The lack of use of the child's name, while missing, is concerning. It is to distance oneself from the victim; something we do not expect to hear a mother do. Deborah Bradley, mother of Baby Lisa, struggled to use her child's name. Guilt is a powerful motivator of distancing from a victim.
"Notice" in analysis.
Kristy Woods told authorities that she woke up Monday morning November 27, 2017 “and noticed her daughter was missing from her bedroom. She says the last time she saw her daughter was around 11:00 p.m. Sunday when she went to check on her.”
This is a quote from a news source; not from the mother.
Did the mother say she "woke up and noticed...?"
The word "noticed" is often used in open statements signaling that one was "looking for" or had an expectation. We find it in deceptive statements where a person wishes to express surprise, rather than experiencing surprise.
"I noticed there was a black gun on the table..." is a statement which is analyzed for an actual connection to the gun, with "noticed" a signal of expectation of seeing it there, and the color a signal of having personally handled it. The need to convince the reader/listener that this was happenstance suggests that this was not a chance "noticing" of the gun.
I do not know if this is what the mother said or if it is how the media editorialized it. If it is what the mother said, it is concerning.
How do we expect to hear a statement? Given the child's young age:
"At 6, I went to check on Mariah but she was not there, so I..."
We do not expect the word "notice" regarding a child of this age. "Notice" is happenstance or unintentional. We don't "notice" our toddlers, unless we are:
a. doing something else
b. have a need to persuade the reader/listener that it was by chance rather than by deliberate looking.
We don't "notice" a child that we are checking on. We "notice" peripheral things.
"Angel". This is a term we sometimes hear in cases where the child is deceased: the child is elevated to "angelic" or Deity-like status.
We like to hear the mother address the child by name. The lack of use of her name can be psychological distancing at a moment (missing) when the mother's instincts should be pulling them close in. Here she does not use the name, but only references the name in concerning distance language.
“If anybody knows where she is at or any information, just please call the sheriff’s department or notify anybody. She could be anywhere. She is very sweet loving girl. Long brown hair, blue eyes. Goes by Mariah. She has walking difficulties, so please, if anybody sees her. She is 3-years-old, please notify them."
"goes by" is distancing language.
I’ll do anything that I can, whatever you want. Just bring her home please safe and sound. She’s my baby. She’s my everything."
The distancing language is also found in homes of abuse/neglect.
She wrote on Facebook:
“I am sitting here can’t sleep just thinking of m my babygirl, mommy loves you praying your safe and i will see you and your beatuiful smile. Plz everyone pray thank you for everyone who has helped today it shared her pics.” '
Guys plz look for my baby and pray she is safe,”
Mother said she would never let her go "again":
Question: Did mother "let her go" and now wants a re-set or second chance?
The distancing language is consistent with households under investigation for child abuse and neglect. The hours mentioned in the timeline are also concerning.
Concern for Victim
We want to hear the mother say she is concerned about what Mariah is currently experiencing; not that mother cannot sleep or that it is "my" baby. We want to hear words that show concern about Mariah's leg, her food, her blankie, who is caring for her, etc.
The protective instinct is powerful, and unfulfilled, will bring frustration.
Mother shows care of her self, focuses upon self, but not about the victim.
Does Mariah have her favorite bedtime toy?
Does Mariah have her braces?
Does Mariah have her medicine?
Does Mariah know who has her?
Is she crying, upset, afraid?
These are things we expect a mother of a missing child to focus upon: what the victim is experiencing.
The comment about having her tubes tied after Mariah was born is also alarming. I would like to have the full transcript for analysis.
The biological father's questioning of how someone could get in and out of the home without being heard are legitimate. Guilty knowledge of a crime will also show in the need to distance oneself from the victim at a time when closeness is instinctively evident.