As some of you may know, I am a magistrate. (Yes, we do sit on a raised platform. No, we do not get to wear fancy wigs and gowns. Yes, people do sometimes get confused and call us “Your Majesty”. Which I like enormously, as you can imagine.) What often surprises me is how loyal women can be to, let’s be honest, totally undeserving men. (I’m not talking about standing by your man when he has made a one-off error of judgement, and one reader in particular will know why I draw this distinction – I mean women who stick by complete scumbags. Technical legal term.) I once sent a man to prison for six months for drug dealing, and a perfectly nice looking woman at the back of the court called out as he was led away, “I’ll wait for you, babes!”. I wanted to grab her and say, “No! Whatever you do, do not wait for him – run as fast as you can in the other direction and make something of your life without him dragging you down.” It’s a mystery. And it’s on my mind because several stories in the press recently have illustrated what appallingly bad taste we women can sometimes exhibit.
Ruth Madoff, for instance. OK, so she and Bernie were childhood sweethearts, so there was a lot of history, but when he finally confessed to her – and only after it was all coming out anyway – that he had been a bit naughty with money, she agreed to enter into a suicide pact with him. What sort of a man lies to his wife for years and then asks her to kill herself with him? Thankfully, it seems that Ruth has realised the futility of her loyalty, and has cut ties with Bernie – but only after finding out that he had been having an affair for years. Earlier this month and closer to home, we had the story of great-grandfather George Evans and his drug dealing. Wife Anne helped with the laundering, and is now serving her own prison sentence. James Ibori, the corrupt Nigerian cashier-turned-politician managed the double: both his wife Theresa and his mistress Udoamaaka Okoronkwo were convicted of laundering money for him. Do they have neighbouring cells, I wonder?
Personally, I find it baffling. The money may be attractive, and we know that some women like bad boys. But the logic is flawed: if someone is a dedicated criminal, they make their living by lying and cheating and abusing. Why risk being with someone who may well bring those “skills” into their personal relationships? And from an AML perspective, it all demonstrates why we have to be so vigilant about joint accounts, and accounts sharing the same address, and close relatives (spouses, partners, mistresses) of PEPs.
Nice article Sue.
There is a tendency in the human psyche to repeatedly re-experience circumstances in adulthood that recreate the feelings of childhood. So, those with secure, happy childhoods tend to create similar adulthoods for themselves. Unfortunately, those with insecure or abusive childhoods also tend to recreate these same circumstances in adulthood. Witness women who repeatedly choose men who beat them, or the womein in the stories you have referred to. I think it is to enable them to understand and resolve emotional trauma that may have been lying dormant but almost certainly eroding the individual’s self-esteem from within. Some people understand love as a hurtful & painful experience, hence they end up in hurtful and painful relationships.
So, it’s not really a mystery as to why she shouts “I’ll wait for you”. It is because her experience of love is dysfunctional, and until she figures that out (through continued painful experiences probably, rather like putting one’s hand in a fire) she will continue to find herself in similar experiences.
It is sad – but in her version of the world, “I’ll wait for you babes” may just be one of the most fulfilling things she has ever experienced.
Wow – it’s been a long time since we worked together, and it’s good to hear from you.
I agree with what you say, and of course my blog is always written from the point of view of someone who dislikes criminality in all its forms. Being a magistrate, I see a parade not of evil, but of inadequate, confused and angry people who cannot make sense of their lives – and I am sure that you are right about much of this being formed in childhood. The interesting question is why our brains haven’t evolved to allow us (in general, rather than by exception) to recognise these destructive patterns and break free of them.
And I have no doubt at all that this woman did indeed wait for her babes, and even less doubt that she is worse off because of it.
Best wishes from Susan
The interesting question is why our brains haven’t evolved to allow us (in general, rather than by exception) to recognise these destructive patterns and break free of them…..
Mmmm, that is an interesting question.
I think our brains may have evolved to do this, however, certain raw ingredients of the emotional envrironment are required to enable it to break free. Rather like our bodies have evolved to perform all kinds of functons, but cannot do so unless they are fed and watered.
I think the foremost amongst these is truth. People are exposed to deceit throughout their lives. From the harmless fairy tales to the hugely damaging things like “I love you” …. – well, OK, but I’m confused, if you love me why are you hitting me?
Without truth in a person’s life, the brain has no way to figure out what is true and what is not. A destructive pattern can develop in the absence of this truthfulness.
Unless parents stop lying to their kids, lovers to each other and so on, the amount of emotional insight requred to work out what is true and what is not, and therefore what patterns are destructive and what are nurturing, is virtually impossible. If you believe pain is happiness, because that is the ‘truth’ you have been exposed to, in what sense is that destructive (to you)? To work out this stuff independently is very very difficult to do.
I’m wondering what the other emotional environmental factors are. Love? Sounds too pat. It is what people do that matter. So, a person exposed to compassion, sympathy, practical care and truth may have a fighting chance of breaking free if their background has led them to form destructive patterns in their adulthood.
Having said all that – wtfdIk 🙂