icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

A Psychologist's Thoughts on Clinical Practice, Behavior, and Life

Understanding The "Gone Girl" Kidnapping

While reading the past bestseller, "Gone Girl," I incidentally viewed the Netflix documentary, "American Nightmare." Then learning of the events which almost destroyed an innocent couple as police and reporters depicted a horrific crime as hoax.
Which would be odd enough but for the identity of the real criminal: a handsome former Marine and Harvard educated lawyer, Matthew Muller, who is now serving a lengthy prison sentence for his crimes.
Largely ignored in this puzzling series of events is that Muller's crimes of kidnap and rape allegedly began with peeping at women through windows which is clinically termed "voyeurism." Despite Muller's attorney describing him as suffering from untreated anxiety, depression, and Bipolar Disorder, there was apparently no psychological investigation to determine what childhood experiences might have motivated his adult crime spree.
A psychoanalyst once wrote of treating a physician who felt compelled to expose himself publicly despite the risk of prosecution. During treatment it was discovered that, by doing so, this doctor was showing his mother how potent he was through a compulsion that began during childhood.
Could Muller's first crime of voyeurism have derived from an unconscious need to resolve an early life trauma, something witnessed but not understood involving a naked female or the sexual act? Yet because looking can never bring about the reassurance sought, it tends to be insatiable and increase in intensity, becoming associated with shyness ("look don't touch") or adopting a sadistic element. Adding to Muller's puzzling behavior was his attempt to reduce the psychological damage to his victim by denouncing the widely publicized allegation that she had committed a hoax and, in what must be unique in the annals of crime, driving her home after the kidnap and rape.
The unconscious is very powerful and one must respect its power.

Be the first to comment