Spoiled Children of Divorce

Problematic Children of Divorce – Tess Damm

The story that has caught my eye right now is the story of Tess Damm, the 15 year old from Colorado whose boyfriend murdered her Mother. The kids stuffed the Mother in the trunk of the car and kept her at home for almost a month the whole time using up money from the Mother’s Debit cart to party with two of their friends. On February 28 somebody called the cops who took them into custody and found the Mother’s body.

There’s a collection of the daughter’s blog profiles at this link: http://www.truecrimeweblog.com/2007/03/screams-painted-on-walls.html. It’s really tragic reading about the stress she was going through that led her to commit this act. The boyfriend, Bryan Grove’s blog entries are also added.  He was just sentenced to 40 years.

There’s really no mention of Tess’ Father in the news article and apparently he hadn’t been in her life for a long time.  The Mother was a raging alcoholic. Tess turned to alcohol very young and then was diagnosed Bi-Polar. I don’t understand how a shrink could put a teenager on drugs for a major Mental Illness while leaving her to fend for herself in this type of atmosphere.  Suppose it takes 10 years of Medical School to understand this logic.  Why didn’t anybody diagnose the extremely stressful conditions that she was living in?

As I grew up with a raging Alcoholic Mother I get really upset reading about Tess’ problems. My Mother would stay up for days screaming her head off and insulting and taunting everyone. She would threaten to kill me while I was sleeping because I shouldn’t have been born. It was impossible to sleep or even eat if she was around.  It’s impossible to feel the level of anguish that these episodes would bring up.  Sometimes I would claw at the skin on my legs just so that I could at least feel physical pain.  Sometimes I would scream for her to shut up and she would call her other alcoholic friends and tell them about how psychotic I was while laughing hysterically.

Women like this need really need to be outed.  Of course they are hurting and need help but Alcohol and Drugs make people very cunning and manipulative and a kid growing up in that environment really can’t win.  Unfortunately by the time the problem is so bad the neighbors know about it the kid is too far gone.  My Mother became paranoid about letting me be around other people because she figured I would talk about her behavior.  Years later my Father and Aunt both tsk, tsk’d about how awful it was trying to sleep with her raging.  The adults all knew about her behavior and seemed to think that it wasn’t a problem for a kid to live inside of it.  I was so in tune with her cycles (rapid cycle) that for years after moving out I knew exactly when she would be drunk and when she would be sober.

It makes me want to choke to read the CrimeBlogger people have a morbid fascination with it, the Press just wants to make money off of it. The Mother’s siblings finally got onto the Internet and published the stressful conditions that their niece was living in. Their Mother had been the same way apparently.

Apparently as the boyfriend while trying to strangle the Mother she was so busy insulting her daughter she didn’t think to scream for help.  The boyfriend became more enraged and grabbed a knife and stabbed her in the throat and mouth 18 times I assume just to shut her up.  I’m sorry to say that I feel very sorry for these kids.  Truth is, this kind of thing is fairly common.  Neighbors are immediately disgusted and can’t intervene.  The kids have difficult personalities.  If someone does intervene it is just to call the police which just inflames the Parent.  In this case, Social Services was notified but didn’t follow up.

The Boyfriend, Bryan Grove, apparently had a rough childhood.  I’m not exactly certain about his story. He was born in Pakistan and adopted to live in the United States.  He was considered most likely to succeed in his class at High School because he was graduating early. If you read his poetry that’s on the link up above you will understand how intelligent he is — and frustrated.

So, anyway, I’ll probably be tracked and hospitalized for writing my own secrets on the Internet.  I’m a pretty old lady, too.  Unlike Tess I didn’t kill my Mother, she did that to herself by not getting control of her problem, but like Tess I live in a sort of psychological jail.  And, fortunately, I knew to never have kids.

3 Comments so far
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I feel very sorry for this girl.

Comment by witchybitch

I feel sorry for her too but there is never an excuse for murder.

Comment by Dana

Thanks Dana. You are right, of course. But, it’s pretty easy to see why Tess did it. The fact that Tess tried to move to a relative’s house shows that she was aware that she was stretched to the limit emotionally. I wish there were some sort of safety net for kids in these situations so that they can choose to get away if they are being exposed to something very bad. The psychology of these situations is so complicated by society’s view point that it really seems like a lost cause unless the parents start taking responsibility again for their children’s welfare. Tess was a teenager, not an easy age for an outsider to take on if there are problems. In this case, the Mother was completely incompetent and a negative influence and the Father and his side of the family were alienated and not able to take responsibility for past mistakes with regards to Tess.

I had nothing but screaming drunks in my life at that age and I can see exactly what happened to this girl. I was fortunate in that I was focused on music and had an incredible music teacher who was a great influence and parents who would pay for the lessons, although sometimes they only came once a month due to financial problems. That’s the only thing that got me through it.

In the end, it’s up to the kids to try to keep their stuff together in negative family situations. Others have done it, just takes a heroic attitude and hopefully exposure to some healthy adults somewhere who can set an example in following a path. How cool would it have been if a college professor would offer an hour of time to Tess maybe once every two weeks to help with her poetry writing. It would have given her so much self-esteem to be offered that little extra bit of one on one attention in something where she was showing some talent and interest. Oh well.

Comment by toothless

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