MAY 2013 - SECOND MARY KENNEDY SUICIDE ANNIVERSARY
Online sites are digging deeper into the facts of the 2011 suicide of Mary Kennedy, wife of environmentalist lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
All the behavior signs of Borderline Personality Disorder Mary Kennedy exhibited are in the articles -- hospitalized for anorexia at age 22, two suicide attempts before she met Bobby (10 percent of Borderlines successfully commit suicide), marital counseling witin three months of the wedding date, regular use of alcohol and drugs, clean and sober thru AA meetings in 2005, and the acting out ("flyig into almost nightly, rage-filled, verbally abusive tirades, threatening suicide and picking fights, often physical").
The June 18, 2012, issue of Newsweek (not currently available online), stated that Bobby Kennedy asked for a divorce only three years into the marriage. Mary threatened suicide if he left, so he stayed, fearful for what his children might discover when he wasn't in the home.
Yet the headline of The Journal News of Valhalla NY said "Mary Kennedy's Death Remains a Puzzle for Friends".
The Journal News article says, "Many are mystified at the confounding end to a life of privilege and accomplishment, how it unraveled amid the splendor of a million-dollar home of her own design, while attached to one of America's most famous names."
The men reading this who have been in love relationships with women suffereing from Borderline Personality Disorder will just sigh and shake their heads. They've walked the painful, now sometimes misunderstood, pathway that Bobby Kennedy walked.
Even the Daily Mail newspaper in the United Kingdom chimed in with an article detailing how Mary Kannedy "practiced tying a hangman's knot -- practiced it on a bandana foundf in her bed -- in the days before she hanged herself in her barn." Dreadful.
The Daily Beast does the best job, 28 pages of A to Z documentation of the classic, diagnosable pain of a woman suffering from severe Borderline Personality Disorder . . . a woman who was unable to admit that she indeed had a serious problem and needed treatment for it.
And therein lies the dilemma -- not only is most of the general public totally unaware of Borderline Personality Disorder and unable to recognize the telltale behaviors that indicate the illness -- the Borderline is just as ignorant as the public is of the reason for their pain!!
It's like a person being a diabetic and not knowing they shouldn't eat cake! How can a person be willing to seek treatment for an illness that's almost unknown?
It's like trying to tell a blindfolded person that there's a light on in the room -- since they're unaware that they even have a blindfold on, how can they be willing to take it off so they can see?
But there were friends who weren't surprised at what Mary did. One friend said, "Was I surprised that Mary killed herself? No, because she threatened it so often."
John Hoving, a social worker and Kennedy friend, said, "I understand why some people say that it's Bobby's fault. What Mary projected to the world was not someone with an illness. She kept most people at arm's length, giving the impression that she had it all together. But I lived it. There was no way that this woman was not very, very sick."
You can read the full tragedy in The Daily Beast article. The author, Nancy Collins says it best. Given the depths to which Borderline Personality Disorder took Mary Kennedy, Collins says, ". . . the surprise is not that she died so young, but that she willed herself to stay alive so long."
Part of me does wonder, though. Where was her family in her time of such desperate need? One article said she had five siblings. Where were her sisters . . . .? Perhaps she had alienated them along the way also. Borderline Personality Disorder can do that.
People with this disorder sometimes end up suffering so alone.
(Below are the two previous poss I've written about this sad story.)
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UPDATE JULY 8, 2012 -- The newspapers are full of the toxicology reports re Mary Kennedy having three antidepressants in her system at the time of her suicide. Medical professionals I consulted with say this isn't unusual, given her emotional challenges. But none of them would have caused a suicidal act. Only children under 18 may have suicidal thoughts, and even that's not fully proven.
Bobby Kennedy Jr is taking a beating in the comments online, most blaming Mary's suicide on his actions (evidently there were affairs during their marriage). However . . . those of us having lived through a Borderline relationship know the depression and despair of watching the person we fell in love with turn into a raging monster.
Comfort for the man married to Mary (from the rest of the world who never saw her Borderline rages) doesn't seem to cross the radar of the uninformed online commenters.
The Indians say, "Walk a mile in my moccasins, and you'll know why I do what I do."
More importantly to me is a piece by Laurence Leamer (the Kennedy family biographer who wrote the original Newsweek cover story) on the Daily Beast web site. I wrote below of my concern that it looked like Mary Kennedy didn't get the treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder that she needed.
Leamer says that Mary began treatment for the Borderlikne disorder in 2006 with Sheenah Hankins, "a well-known Manhattan psychotherapist". He reports that, ". . . just as Hankin was making headway with her patient, Mary left her treatment, and the Kennedys seem to have gone diagnosis shopping [emphasis added]."
Well, those of us who have had Borderline partners have lived that one also, haven't we? It's very hard for a Borderline to accept that they are the person causing their problems, because if we didn't do what we do (come home late from work), they wouldn't feel the way they do (fear of abandonment).
Even if we get our Borderline partner to cooperate with therapy, as soon as the light is turned on their behavior, they usually quit.
So yes, Borderline Personality Disorder did take Mary Kennedy down. More evidence of how desperately needed the knowledge of this disorder is, for lovers and families -- but most of all for the Borderlines themselves.
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JUNE 2012 -- I settled in recently for some catch-up reading, picking up the June 18, 2012, issue of Newsweek magazine. The cover had a picture of Mary Kennedy, the wife of Robert Kennedy Jr. (son of assassinated Senator Bobby Kennedy).
The title of the story was The Last Days of Mary Kennedy - She was the love of Bobby Jr.'s life. Then everything unraveled. I thought I was going to read a story of one person's struggle with depression. As I read more, the behavior was just all too familiar.
The behavior symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder began to jump out at me from the pages.
I felt sad as I read the story -- the financial problems, the impending divorce, that Bobby Kennedy had been granted temporary full custody of the children because of Mary's drunkenness, her hanging herself in the family barn, the housekeeper and Bobby finding her, the pain.
Then I read that Bobby had allowed the writer of the article to read his sealed 60-page court affidavit he filed during the divorce proceedings. I believe Bobby Kennedy must have allowed this to finally speak to the public about what he had endured and to say that he had really tried to help his wife.
Mary Kennedy was very accomplished -- an architect with a prestigious design firm before staying home with her children.
However, Bobby said in his affidavit that Mary was physically abusing him in the marriage (she was a trained boxer!), and even hit him in the face with her fist before they were married, her engagement ring damaging a tear duct.
At their wedding, Bobby said he felt like he'd finally found the woman he could spend his life with. A good friend was quoted as saying, "They couldn't take their eyes off each other. They couldn't keep their hands off each other."
After the wedding, however, the article says, "Few people had any inkling of what was happening inside the family house in Bedford."
Sound familiar? High-functioning Borderlines are able to maintain their behavior outside in the real world, but behind closed doors with their intimate partner, their emotions get triggered, the rages start and the abuse begins.
Detailing the behavior in his affidavit, I read that "Bobby couldn't understand what was happening to this beautiful woman he adored. She would be fine during the day, but he came to dread the evenings. Her behavior alternated between rage and self-pity, with violent, destructive behavior."
One time she attacked him with scissors as he was bathing. Sometimes he would wake in the middle of the night to find her beating him. One time he jumped out a second-story window to escape.
He asked for a divorce after only three years of marriage But whenever he mentioned it, Mary would threaten suicide.
What stood out for me were the words, "Mary sought the help of psychiatrists and therapists. There was all sorts of family counseling (emphasis added). But nothing got better."
Well, of course it didn't. Family counseling and communication techniques will not soothe the raging emotions of an unrecovering Borderline.
In 2006, a therapist Mary was seeing finally told Bobby that Mary was suffering with Borderline Personality Disorder.
Of the nine behavior characteristics of Borderlines, Mary seemed to have every one of them.
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Okay. Now you know the story. What puzzles me is that Marsha Linehan created Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Borderlines in the late 1970s and therapists began getting training to treat Borderlines in the early 2000s.
Why wasn't Mary treated for that? Or was the 2006 therapist attempting to give her that treatment and she wasn't participating?
Nothing was mentioned in the article about treatment.
They did have a visit with Dr. John Gunderson, the Harvard psychiatrist who is known for giving the disorder its name. But Gunderson's quote in the article makes no mention of treatment either.
Bobby Kennedy states in his affidavit that he pleaded with Mary's family to help him with an intervention for Mary. But interventions are usually for addictions. Even tho she was drinking, that wasn't what she needed an intervention for.
He says her family refused.
But treatment for the disorder she suffered with? I'm so sad for her that it looks like she didn't get the help she needed. Mary Kennedy was a bright, creative, talented, energetic woman. That's clear from all that her friends said about her.
I'm disppointed that the author of this article didn't take the opportunity to educate the public about this disorder, so more tragedies like this could be prevented.
Borderline Personality Disorder is so unknown in this country and others. I know, because at least 30 percent of my Boomerang Love ebooks on Amazon are sold to buyers out of the country.
People are hungry to learn about this disorder.
The title of this Newsweek magazine article should have been Borderline Personality Disorder Takes Mary Kennedy Down.
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What do you think about this story? Have you experienced behavior like what Bobby Kennedy lived thru? Do you know someone with Borderline Personality Disorder who doesn't know they have it? Comment below.