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Garrido Sex Slave “freed”: How Can This Be?

As enslaved Jaycee Dugard emerges from her 18 years of captivity, raped and kept in squalor, accompanied by her two children (11 and 15 years old), the world wonders, How can this be? What will become of them?  I've given unique analysis questions below, and answer some pressing questions asked of me an a pre-interview for an on-air live interview with the talented anchor Don Lemon, aired on CNN this evening at 10:30 pm.

How could Jaycee have stayed for 18 years in captivity when she was in a backyard tent from which she could have escaped and from which she also emerged in public on several occasions with her abuser. 

I have my theory that I have not heard spoken of elsewhere:  Jaycee Lee Dugard was brainwashed, as were her kids. Philip Garrido had her in his cult and was practicing mind control, even through rape – along with her two daughters (which he fathered), and his legal wife. 

They constituted a “family,” so this protected her from death from which other young women might not have been spared (given accusations that he had murdered other women, including prostitutes).

Garrido claims he was transformed by having a child (by Jaycee); and it helped cure his sexual aggressiveness (from previous rape and assault behavior, for which he received a jail sentence).  He put this in his manifesto which he was enthusiastically wanting to release to the world and for which he expected a positive reception.

What is this man’s state of mind? Basically, Garrido is psychotic – a different variety from other major cases covered on the news, where abductors and killers – like the spa- shooter and the Holocaust museum shooter - were likely psychopaths.

This psychosis has classic signs: thought disorder indicated by his ramblings (on his blog), messianic delusions of grandeur (hearing angels, being a messenger of God), feeling as thought he has a message to save the world.

Garrido snared Jaycee into his cult.  He brainwashed her and the kids, and his wife – who was described as a robot )(not unlike other females who follow such a messianic maniac, like a Svengali).  Garrido may even have had some others coming and going, temporarily. One neighbor described others entering the place and other little girls. Garrido was caught because he emerged, ready to spread his word of being the saviour – to a college campus, with his daughters in tow, which raised suspicions of the female cops who called the parole board, which then brought his house of cards crashing down.

Garrido is like other psychotic messianic perverts.  Like Charlie Manson and David Koresh, he even had a shrine set up for him and was working on a manifesto about life the way he sees it and how it should be.  Like them, he corralled young impressionable, insecure and lost females to follow him; who look up to him as the messiah in fact, he was the only male in the household).   Like Manson, he was even a two-bit musician.  Jaycee was an impressionable, shy 11-year old who knew no better when she was kidnapped. 

Drugs added to the brainwashing and the forced devotion of others to his psychotic vision.

His blog reveals his psychotic character: rambling, disconnected, delusional, with biblical references about being close to angels and God. 

Garrido did his brainwashing well – he changed Jaycee’s identity – she was turned into “Alissa” and raped until she was fertile enough to give birth, so he would be her protector and “father” (e.g. God) figure as well as “lover” – which would all serve to make her devoted to him and confuse her even more.

Jaycee’s stepfather said she has developed a strong emotional bond to Garrido.  Of course, Garrido and his wife were the “family” she knew and grew comfortable with – no matter how dysfunctional. Garrido could have told he that she was meant to be whisked away, and that her parents were “bad” for letting her go, causing her to resent them. After a while, kids become used to dysfunctional parents, with severe psychiatric disorders.  Especially when the children were born, this band became a “family.”

There are assualtive and non-assualtive child abductors and pedophiles, and those who are childless and those who aim for a cult. Garrido is a mix, of being both assualtive and also non-assaultive, and also childless and aiming to establish a cult.

Jaycee cannot be just thrust into her past family circle and expect to be the same or adore them and re-integrated with her biological mother whom she hasn’t seen throughout her growing up period.  Consistent with this, her mother called her sister when Jaycee was brought “home” to her because she didn’t feel connected- even though she didn’t use the word “brainwashed,’ the sister thought she implied it. The experience is like being in a trance – like the captor’s rambling teachings and music .

Garrido’s father described his son as sick and reported he used LSD.  Cult leaders use drugs to fuel their own delusions of grandeur and also to brainwash their captives/followers.  Likely Jaycee was given mind altering drugs.

Her daughters – reportedly looking glassy eyed and distant (scary by some accounts) probably also had been given drugs, and also because they have not related to other people socially before so are really inept. . They appear odd because they cannot relate to society and should not be forced to do so, as they cannot adjust quickly, since all they know is the life they had. They are not socialized with other people or peers.  They cannot be shaken brutally from their assigned identity – under names like Starlot and Angel  -- and lifestyle.  That would be a secondary traumatization (no matter how joyous the public is that they have be saved or re-united.)

Everyone wants to say that it is great that they are re-united with their biological family (mother).  It is poltically incorrect to say otherwise, but such immediate reuniting is not the perfect solution. The biological parents have to be counseled to deal with this new turn of events and that their “daughter” is not free –and certainly not the same as the 11 year old daughter they “lost.”  Garrido and wife– as psycotic as they were  – were still the only family Jaycee and the girls knew.  They will undoubtedly be depressed about losing them; like a second traumatization after the abuse they first endured.  They will endlessly feel guilty about leaving Garrido, and even sympathetic since he claims he has changed; as happens with abused children who forgive their parents and blame themselves. 

Their life inside what we see as littered squalor had its own chaotic sense of home.  There was a welcome sign, lots of clothes, Barbie dolls, a pail, cartoon sheets, baskets of flowers, make-up containers, CDs (which are modern) and a book titled “Self-esteem: a family affair.” And there were indications of pets (every child’s desire) – an aquarium and a collection of cats (even if only dolls or procelain).  Other books were varied, for any educated children. The authos include suspense master Dean Koontz to romance writer Danielle Steele to science fiction writer Isaac Asimov.  Of course, we’re missing the mathetics texts; and disturbingly, the link between these three books are that they are all about fantasy – not reality!  So, they are not helping the girls adjust to the outside world.

This story is very different from the Missiouri Monster who raped his daughter and kept her in a closet and killed the children and buried them in a water cooler.  These girls of Jaycee were out in fresh air, even if emerged from squalor tents.  They were not shackled, and they went outdoors with their captor. 

I have to say I have mixed reactions to his maifesto about his transformation from sexual rapist monster to man capable of intimacy.  Some parts make sense; others are still ramblings. But his effort deserves some credit. 

Garrido thought he had cured his sexual impulses that drove him to commit unspeakable acts of aggression: through spiritual transformation.  It is a noble mission, in my view, that he was seeing – and thought he found -- the cure for the things he did that caused pain to others including his wife and family “whom he had victimized (good that he acknowledged that and doing self reflection) by ‘examining the issues that cauesd pain in myself and in those who are victimized by those behaviors”. 

Garrido said he had this epiphany when having sex with his wife – the act had “changed” him. As repored in the NY Post, he wrote in his manifeesto, “One day when we were having intercourse and I ejacualited, I got up, and in great anger I realized I never needed to act or do the thing I thought were so great.’ “I began to weep, telling her, ‘I am so sorry for the things I did in the past.’ (Good that he is showing remorse). At that time a feeling of remorse came over me, one that I never knew or felt before or thought was possible.” “When I had intercourse with her, the feelings were so powerful and exciting that every time we have intercourse now, it is as though I just met her (this part sounds healthy and can be transformation of people who are into sado-masochism who suddenly discover intimacy).  He goes on, :”You know the kind of excitement we all find when we first meet someone, we keep thinking of them during the day and can hardly wait to be with them. You have no idea how rewarding it is especially for me, as I always wanted to get away from a woman after it was concluded, no longer needing or desiring to touch.”

In my view, this is the explanation that is consistent with a man who goes to prostitutes or murders prostitutes, and who mixed sex with aggression  – he cannot feel love or intimacy.  And this is an ephinany of a man who no longer needs to mix sex with aggression, who can FEEL something for the person he has sex with, without hurting himself or them out of anger or out of need to feel anything even if it is pain 

In his manifesto, some things are true, i.e. that “out of control behavior” is everywhere, in every walk of life, undermining the lives of many of its victims.” To know this, we only need to look at the staggering statistics of alcoholism, drug abuse, and sex abuse. 

However, in his manifesto, there is still rambling, but kernels of valid thoughts: As Garrido describes how to go from sexual deviant to model human he describes, ‘we need a quality means of understanding the internal controls of the human mind and body, and a way to supply people with a value system that is constructive…then a person can see and feel the effects of healthy thinking and the rewards that come along with it.”  It is the age-old struggle between right and wrong that is holding the human race back from discovering a freedom so capable that the renewing of ones mind become a simpler reality than anything we have believed. 

Another part is a little clearer, as it sounds like behavior therapy and thought control in a healthy way (not the mind control he was doing in an unhealthy way), outlining what exactly what you do when unacceptable impulses arise: ‘For example, every time I would see a woman who was attractive, I began to examine  my own thoughts directly, not allowing my eyes to turn aside to avoid those issues…Looking allowed my self-talk to provide pictures and words that dealt with reality, saying to myself that people are beautiful and attractive"..  (he is on the right track psychologically about the technique of self talk but he needs to continue the exercise, for thought stopping, to switch his attention to something else that is not related to his obsession about women). 

He continues, “as time went on, I gained contol over my body by taking the next step (controlling masturbation) as it is key in opening the mind up to more problematic developing.”  He is right to control his masturbatory thoughts and actions.

The general ideas are there- they are not clearly worked out, as a therapist would help him to do.

”I began to weep telling her I am so sorry for the things I did in the past.  All that time a feeling of remorse came over me, one that I never knew or felt before or ever dreamed was posssible.”  (this remorse is of course a positive emotions for such a perpetrator).

It futher seems to me that Garrido was wanting to give up.  He walked on the campus requesting he be heard with his maifesto, with his two daughters in clear view and being honest about them; this made the cops susipicious, who later set the wheels in motion to call his parole officer and the truth came out. 


Other answers to questions CNN asked me to prepare, for my 10 pm interview with anchor Don Lemon on August 30, 2009:

1. Can you explain how an individual can remain with her captors for so many years without any apparent physical threat?

The 11-year old child (Jaycee) was “brainwashed” and traumatized, to the point where the captors became her new “family” which she would not desert.  Essentially the little girl developed an emotional attachment over time to her captors, as they were the source of her survival.  This was all set in motion by changing her identity.  The process usually starts with physical threats and then includes some acts of kindness – just as Garrido himself said,  the story was “disgusting” at the beginning but “I turned my life around” (presumably when the first daughter was born.) The captor becomes the source of survival and the abducted child becomes dependent on the captor (like on a parent).  In this case, there was also a wife, who becomes the replaced mother-figure. Over time, Jaycee is inoculcated into his “cult” -- sealed by his altering her identity, indicated by changing her name to “Alissa”.   Garrido and his wife Nancy become the surrogate parents – the only parents she now knows.  They form a new “family” sealed by the (evil) stepfather fathering her children, making her even more dependent on them.  Then they start to live an abnormal (to us) “normal” life where Garrido runs a printing business and Jaycee apparently even becomes his assistant.  So she is not only the mother of his children but also his business partner. 

She may even have been given many drugs – since Garrido himself may have been on LSD (mind altering drugs).

Her dependency and succumbing to captivity can be explained by what is called the “Stockholm Syndrome” whereby hostages become loyal to their hostage-takers.  Jaycee’s “adjustment” to this dysfunction is remindful of the 11-year old boy kidnapped and held captive by a Missouri man, where the boy went out in public and did not tell anyone and also took on his captor’s last name.  Garrido’s psychotic behavior is similar to that of Charles Manson and his “family,” with Garrido hallucinating and thinking he is a messenger of God.  Family members get used to that bizarreness, and even excuse and follow him.  

2. What type of psychological and physical abuse does an individual endure in a situation like this?

First there is abuse and then after several years of such long captivity, the abuse can stop if the victim becomes compliant. Likely in the beginning, there was abuse on all THREE levels: physical, psychological and sexual – it’s a one-two-three punch assault and the resulting trauma is three-times as intense.  First likely came threats that she or loved ones would die if she told anyone or tried to escape. Then, she was likely physically beaten and also repeatedly sexually abused (clearly she was impregnated – when she was 13 and fertile, since she is 29 and her older daughter is 15).  For an 11- year-old, all this is massively confusing.  After a while, the young victim becomes numb to any abuse, as the abusers are the source of survival. 

3. Describe what will need to happen next as Jaycee is integrated/reunited with her family? 

I think she needs a “halfway house” and intensive therapy for re-establishing an identity, and get re-acquainted with her old “family.” While we have heard from Mr. Smart, this is a different case from Elizabeth Smart – who was only captive for less than a year.  Even Elizabeth Smart has said that “life will not resume; she may wonder about her captors.” This captivity was over so many years, and being parents and business partners, that Jaycee is now “Alissa” and a mother whose children are  a result of rape of her captor, who has become her surrogate “father,” a kind of  “husband.”  Her identity has been built on being “Alissa.”  She cannot just be expected to be torn from that environment and placed with her original biological family and be “normal” again, or happy to be reunited with them!!!  She will have CONFLICTED feelings!  Besides any relief people all expect her to have, she may resent being “freed” and also be unable to adjust to “normal” society (even buying groceries or talking to neighbors).  She will have to be prepared to face social scrutiny.  She definitely needs to be away from media attention.

Jaycee’s father says she feels “guilty” for developing an emotional attachment to her captors—but this can be what she thinks she HAS to say as it is politically incorrect for her to admit anything else.  Her “guilt” has to be absolved.

4. How important will it be for Jaycee and her family to receive counseling during this time?

CRUCIAL.  They ALL need counseling individually and then together, as they will ALL have conflicting and extreme emotions; not just relief but also anger (at each other and the system).  INDIVIDUALLY:  Jaycee’s mother and sister (the mother apparently has some cognitive disability) and her stepfather (who apparently lives separate from the mother) need counseling to learn how to deal with her and her children, and not to force her to love them as before.  The stepfather really needs therapy to get over his anger at all he went through (his marriage dissolving and being held as a suspect all these years, even though he is now absolved).  Jaycee needs counseling individually to express her feelings and process her experience and her CONFLICTING emotions about her captivity and her present life.  And THE CHILDREN (one a teenager) need counseling – they will be the most disturbed of all.  Then, much later they should have family counseling to monitor how they are adjusting to each other and accepting each other. 

The whole public needs healing sine the Garrido “family” lived among real people as neighbors, one of whom noted problems, and who notified authorities who did nothing.  Also, they did business with real people.

5. Now that Jaycee has children, how does this compounds this situation?  

The situation is tremendously compounded.  Now that Jaycee and her children are “freed,” it has to be decided where the best place would be for her and her children to live (not necessarily with the mother or the stepfather, whom the children have not ever known as “grandparents”).  The children are likely VERY dysfunctional and cannot be integrated into society right away.  They have been reported as staring blankly and disconnected.  They have been ripped from the family environment they have known all their lives, which must be acknowledged.  They can’t be immediately told that life was “sick” or made to feel wrong or bad. They do not know how to interact with others socially, other than with their immediate “family.”  They need to be in a very safe, still-somewhat protected and isolated home, where they can be gradually taught social skills and “de-programmed” from the cult-like life they have been living.  They are teenagers who likely have very arrested development; may also have been under the influence of drugs.  They also need “de-programming.”  The first daughter (15 year old ) will feel guilty and conflicted since her “father” (Garrido) claims that he turned his life around because of her!   

ADDENDUM: IN MY VIEW, the internet needs to be filtered for psychotic people and potential murderes and perpetrators!

Garrido kept a blog, that could presage some of his acts.

Once again, the internet has revealed signs of a potential disaster –  as in the gym-slayer, and the Holocaust Museum shooter.  This raises issues of potential filters or policing the internet – while others can criticize this approach on the basis of First Amendment rights. 

It was reported that “Ironically, more than a year ago Garrido referenced the potential for psychotic symptoms to cause violence against children. (he wrote that) A woman who drowned her 3 children in the San Francisco Bay was, "led by a powerful internal and external (hearing) process that places the human mind under a hypnotic siege that in time leads a person to build a delusional belief system that drives them to whatever course of action they take."

This case also shows serious failure of the legal system – evidenced by his being paroled after only 10 years of a 50-year rape sentence, and by his current parole officer knowing nothing of his life, and by the inept investigator who failed to enter the home after a neighbor’s complaint.