Spoiled Children of Divorce

Philip Markoff – Jekyll and Hyde Or Child of Divorce?

Between Apr. 10 and April 16 three women were bound and robbed in Hotel Rooms in Boston, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  They had all advertised as masseuses on CraigsList.  One of the victims, Julissa Brisman, was shot multiple times and subsequently murdered.  The other two women survived.  23 year old medical student Philip Markoff has been traced to all 3 attacks and is currently being held in jail.  A gay man is also said to have contact with Markoff through an email (news about that is sketchy right now).

The media is going on and on about Markoff’s impending marriage which was to be held in August.   It sounds as if Markoff’s family history is quite strained as well and, although, I can’t find the full picture, this is what I’ve figured out so far.  The information may change.  One thing is certain:  Markoff is a Child of D.

People are blind sided by Markoff’s Double Personality.  (Why are people never blind-sided by a Double Childhood that results from growing up in a Divorce?)  Markoff is described as being very nice, clean cut, sort of nerdy (there’s that nerdy description again applied to a Child of D).

As an aside, I’ve tried to find information about Markoff’s alleged victims’ childhood status to see if they also were from Divorce.  His alleged Murder victim, Julissa Brisman, had the same last name as her Father while her Mother’s last name is given as Guzman so there is a possibility that Julissa’s parents are divorced.  In that case,  it is not surprising that, like Markoff,  Julissa led a double life.  Her friends, apparently, had no idea that she worked as a masseuse.  Children of D grow up as involuntary voyeurs of sorts.  They witness much behavior in their families that can’t be discussed with anyone else due to extreme emotional behaviors, secrets, allegiances, betrayals, loyalities that it is not surprising to see how double lives can manifest later in life. Innocence doesn’t exist for Children of D.  Distorted sense of lack of positive authority figures also is lacking.  In a very few people this experience of childhood into extremely advanced states of consciousness and wisdom.  In others it can cause problems as the child continues to show signs of normalcy to the outside world.  And who knows?  Maybe Markoff (assuming he’s guilty of course) is just a bad egg.

It would be interesting to know whether or not Markoff’s fiancee is from a Divorce or Intact family just for comparison’s sake but she’s going through enough Hell right now and doesn’t need any more scrutiny.

Markoff’s parents were divorced when he was very young.  I don’t have an age.  Right now I just know that it happened before he was 5 years old because that’s when his Mother gave birth to his sister who was his Step-Father’s child.

I’ve read that Markoff’s Father, Richard Markoff, is a Dentist so that probably puts Markoff in a wealthy class on his Father’s side.  I’ve read that his Mother is or was a Casino worker.  That definitely means that his Mother is not wealthy.  If it’s true it paints a much different attitude toward money in that household and that Markoff would have constantly tried to reconcile two great schisms of class into his life (all the while trying to grow up).  Children of D often grow up in two completely different financial classes.  One can pretty accurately assume that the poor parent expresses great resentment over the other parent’s financial status.  Even if that doesn’t happen, the child is a witness who is stuck in between.  This can create detachment and just plain old weird behavior.

Markoff has an older brother, Jon, from his parents’ marriage.  It seems that Jon is his closest relative. News reports showed that the Brother spent the most time visiting with Markoff in jail.  Siblings in Divorce often have to take over as supports.   One might imagine that Markoff’s parents probably can’t stand each other and are adding to the tension for Markoff.  Anybody who has endured bringing both parents together for family “celebrations” like graduations and weddings knows how tense those situations are.  Imagine if you’ve just been stuck in jail for murder and need emotional support from self-absorbed parents.  At any rate, the Rich Dentist Father is probably so tired of hearing from the Mother about financial support problems that he’s not about to help his kid out here (my assumption about situation which is hopefully wrong).

Both of Markoff’s parents reportedly have remarried which means that Markoff was blessed with Step-Parents on both sides.  Maintaining a sweet, nerdy disposition was probably Markoff’s greatest survival tool during childhood.  He made everyone comfortable and was well liked for never making a fuss.

Markoff’s older brother reportedly moved in with his Father and Wife while Markoff lived with his Mother and her Husband.  Don’t know what age.

When the oldest child moves out this can possibly show a couple of things.  Who knows if they apply in Markoff’s case.  First thing to think about is that the household that the only child is leaving is problematic.  Second, the younger sibling will go through feelings of rejection, loneliness and grief over having been left behind.  There could have been money problems, addictions, gambling, lack of compatibility.

By Age 5, Markoff had a younger half-sister through his Mother and Step-Father.  So there are birth order changes as is typical of step-families.

Markoff’s Mother is said to have split from his Step-Father four years ago.  Her last name at the time was Carroll.  I heard on a News Cast that her current last name is Haines so perhaps she has remarried or perhaps the media just couldn’t get the all the family mish-mash information straight.

Either way, it looks right now as if Markoff’s Mother’s 2d divorce would have occurred in 2005.  This is the same year that Markoff is said to have met his Fiancee.  I believe he would have been around 19 years old.

Source:  http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2009/04/alleged_craigsl.html#commentshttp://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2009/04/26/2009-04-26_suspect_and_victim_led_secret_lives_med_student_gambled__actress_gave_massages.html?page=0

What Other People Say
March 10, 2009, 2:29 am
Filed under: Courts, Custody, money

One of my most prominent memories from my parents’ divorce was the discussion over the Child Support.  This is a real bartering tool during Divorce and lets the children know exactly how much they are valued.

So, I was reminded of it by reading this gossip column/forum type thingee concerning a Celebrity Divorce.  Although it’s a bunch of anonymous people ranting anonymously on the Internet it actually does remind me of the types of verbal “considerations” that were going on in my family.  And no doubt in my community.

The link to the article is here:


The Celebrity involved is Baby Phat dress designer Kimora Lee Simmons.  She has two daughters with her ex-husband Russell Simmons.  She won a Child Support settlement of $480,000 “for her children.”

The discussion, of course, discussed how the children would obviously be brought up as spoiled rich kids.  I doubt this discussion would have happened if their parents had remained married.  It just totally amazes me that people will pick on kids who are going through this situation.  No one, absolutely no one on the board felt any sense of loss for the children.  After Death, I doubt that these people would have discussed the Children’s financial situation.

Of course, the Mother, Kimora was ripped to shreds.  All the usual.  She was called a gold digger, a slut, a bad mother.  People were saying they would no longer buy her clothes.  People, I suppose, expect her to be a victim.  Women work well in that situation.  I assume that most of the people on the forum were females but on the Internet you never know.  This may just be a publicity stunt.  At any rate, the comments were very accurate discussions of how people in communities discuss their friends’ divorces.  Some of the participants were praising her shrewdness.   Marriage is a business deal, after all.  Everyone took a side.

Moving On – Tess Damm’s Father

Tess Damm is the Colorado teenager who allowed her boyfriend to murder her Mother.  The teenagers than put the Mother’s body in the car and partied for about a month before neighbors called authorities.  Tess’s Mother was what sounds like a raging alcoholic and her boyfriend, an adopted boy from India, had a split personality.  I talked briefly about Tess Damm a while back and went back to see if I could find any new information about her situation as regards to her parent’s divorce because obviously this was an impossible situation which led to tragedy.

I found an article about Tess’ Father, Michael Damm, who left her Mother, Linda Juergens, when Tess was around 1 1/2 years old.


The Father’s attitude towards his daughter was totally distant.  He said that “he didn’t know those people.”  As is typical in Divorced families the Father can’t handle the stress of maintaining a relationship with the Mother who is totally insane.  And he simply disappears.  I tend to see how this is a practical way to lead one’s life.  Unfortunately, from the child’s point of view this is very destructive.

According to the article, Tess’ parents married on June 29, 1991. Tess was born a month later so obviously she was a “mistake” child.  The Father walked out in September 1992.  He tried to maintain a long distance relationship with his daughter and was given what looks to me like very difficult rules to follow in order to do that.  For example, he had to give 30 days’ notice in order to visit.  Juergens filed for divorce in April, 1999.  That’s a long time to remain separated so I sort of assume that he really was having struggling with trying to maintain connection with his daughter at least.

I wonder if it’s easier if these parents just cut the cord quickly.  The child then doesn’t build up any false hopes and can live with reality much better.   Of course, the best option would have been if he had been given custody since it sounds like he was the more stable parent but who knows?  He may have been as unstable as the Mother.

The Father at the time of the writing is now living in Wisconsin, is remarried and has more children with his current wife.  He talked very coldly about his daughter’s situation which I think is the attitude that a lot of Children of D receive from the missing parent.  The child must suffer the Loss like a Death but also the Rejection of being Unworthy.   The Father said he hadn’t talked to her in 10 years and didn’t intend to reestablish a relationship now.  At any rate, one can see the Father’s coldness being projected into the mind of a daughter who plotted and carried out her own Mother’s death.  He is quoted as saying:

“I have a family, and I’m living and loving life in Wisconsin,” he said.  “I moved out of that situation when (Tess) was about 2.”

He is quoted repeatedly as saying that he has moved on in life.  His Mother, Tess’ Grandmother, was also interviewed as saying that the family had moved on.  Tess really was worth nothing to her family.  Most Children of D don’t kill their parents, but they do share a similar style relationship with one of their parents.

The great philosopher Martin Buber said that the greatest evil in the world comes not from bad deeds but from indifference.

Exemplary Children of Divorce: Sean Wilsey “O The Glory of It All”

While in the bookstore this morning I also picked up a remaindered copy of O The Glory of it All by Sean Wilsey.  I had already tried to listen to the audiobook version of this which wasn’t that great.  Don’t know if it was the narration or what but this book is better off as a “reader.”  (which means that I’ll probably never make it through the whole thing).  This is the Child of D’s version of Dave Eggars’ Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. It’s sort of a surreal, larger than life version of Divorce.  Closer to the one I and my friends grew up in than the ones described by the therapists, ah hem….  Wilsey’s parents divorced in 1980 when he was around 9 or 10 years old, but they continued to fight over money for many years after.

Here’s the blurb written on the back of the book:

Sean’s blond bombshell mother regularly entertains Black Panthers and movie stars in the family’s marble and glass penthouse.  His enigmatic father uses a jet helicopter to drop Sean off at the video arcade.  The three live happily together “eight-hundred feet in the air above San Francisco; in an apartment at the top of a building at the top of a hill:  full of light, full of voices, full of windows full of water and bridges and hills.”  But when his father divorces his mother and marries her best friend, Sean’s life blows apart.   His memoir shows us how he survived, spinning out a “deliriously searing and convincing” portrait of a wicked stepmother (The New York Times Book Review), a meeting with the pope, disastrous sexual awakenings, and a tour of “the planet’s most interesting reform schools.”

The Step-Mother Dede sounds a lot like my Step-Mother.  Part of Wilsey’s description:

This is what Dede did.  She got to know Mom, found her greatest weakness (pride and vanity), stole her greatest asset (family), mocked Mom’s presence in a world where she didn’t belong (society), lit Mom’s fuse, and watched her explode.

The book starts off like this:

In the beginning we were happy.  And we were always excessive.  So in the beginning we were happy to excess.

The Courts and The Kids / Newspaper Series
February 10, 2008, 3:33 pm
Filed under: Courts, Custody, links to articles, Uncategorized

Today’s San Jose Mercury News is running the first part of an expose on how the Family Courts fail. The story, written by Karen de Sa is called “How Rushed Justice Fails Our Kids.”

It’s a typical morning in the court system designed to protect California’s children from abuse and neglect: Justice is being strangled by the clock.

In this Sacramento courtroom, attorneys spend two minutes on the case of a 3-year-old sent to the children’s shelter after being found in a filthy home. The case of a teenager anxious to reconnect with lost siblings gets three minutes, yet his desperation cannot be felt; he’s absent from his own hearing. Should a mother’s right to her child be terminated? The court date opens and closes in 60 seconds. Parent and child are legally severed for life.

By 11:30 a.m., 14 cases into a 21-case morning, Sacramento Superior Court Referee Daniel Horton is anxious. “C’mon folks, we can do this! Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!” he shouts. “OK, counsel, we can do this, let’s go, let’s get it done. It’s like driving a car. Sit down and buckle up.”