[Written in 2008.]
NOTE: THIS IS A TONGUE-IN-CHEEK ESSAY…
“The schizophrenogenic mother” – a mother who creates schizophrenia in her child – is presently a hated, taboo topic in psychology because it blames mothers. The only modern articles that refer to the concept anymore label it as incorrect and disproven. But they invariably fail to say WHY it is incorrect. So I have taken the liberty of doing it for them. [Note, with humor aside: I actually strongly dislike the term “schizophrenogenic mother” because it lets fathers, who bear half the responsibility for child-rearing, off the hook. Please keep this in mind as you’re reading this list!! I much prefer the non-sexist terms “schizophrenogenic parent” and “schizophrenogenic family.” That said, other factors beyond parents do contribute to causing schizophrenia, but I still hold parents and their bad behavior and lack of protection of their children to be the biggest causative factor, BY FAR!]
1) Look, neophyte, schizophrenia is a biochemical imbalance in the brain. Everyone knows that!
2) If mothers caused schizophrenia, then that would mean schizophrenia is a psychological disorder that could be cured through therapy, which everyone knows is completely impossible!
3) Although many recovered schizophrenics claim that their mothers played a significant role in causing their schizophrenia, clearly those people were never REALLY schizophrenic at all, because no one with schizophrenia EVER recovers!
4) Plus, if those supposedly recovered liars really WERE schizophrenic, you can’t take their claims seriously because everyone knows that schizophrenics are by definition unreliable!
5) I once asked the mother of a schizophrenic if she caused his madness. She said she didn’t. Therefore, since mothers are known to be 100% truthful, what more proof do you need?
6) Schizophrenia is treatable ONLY with life-saving, antipsychotic medications, which are prescribed by ethical, caring psychiatrists, some of whom are mothers of schizophrenic children themselves! So how could the greatest healers also CAUSE schizophrenia?
7) Schizophrenia is a genetic illness, lodged in your DNA. And your DNA has NOTHING to do with your mother.
8) Schizophrenia is a crapshoot, a mystery, a random occurrence, a neurological misfiring, a stroke of bad luck, a freak accident of Mother Nature. Yes, Mother Nature might be schizophrenogenic, but NOT the lovely, boundariless despot who ruled the roost of my family, thank you very much.
9) You insensitive jerk, it really hurts mothers’ feelings and causes them terrible guilt when you place the blame on them. And hurting a poor mother’s feeling IS JUST PLAIN WRONG. SO BACK OFF. GOT IT?
10) If anything, mothers are the greatest VICTIMS of schizophrenia. Do you know how PAINFUL it is to see your child expressing delusions and hallucinations that metaphorically tell the whole world just how horrible you were as a mother?
11) Schizophrenia is caused by excessive masturbation. I know that for a FACT. My mother told me.
12) Well, your mother may have caused YOU to be schizophrenic, but NOT MINE! So don’t you dare universalize your silly concept!
13) You Freudian ding-dong, not EVERYTHING is the mother’s fault. I suppose you also blame Multiple Personality Disorder on mothers?
14) Since one of the prime symptoms of schizophrenia is hallucinations, if the schizophrenogenic mother concept were true wouldn’t that also mean that some mothers are “hallucinogenic”? Totally ludicrous!
15) Mothers have a deep, innate, unbreakable instinct to protect – and not harm – their children. Everyone knows that!
16) Harry Harlow PROVED repeatedly that the worst, craziest, lousiest monkey mothers consistently raised the healthiest, most well-adjusted, non-psychotic monkey children. (Or did I get that backwards?)
17) Some people with schizophrenia were abandoned by their mothers at birth – and raised with no mother at all. So how in the world could a non-mother also be schizophrenogenic? Ponder that one, smarty-pants!
18) Here’s one for all you snooty anti-psychiatry folks: Thomas Szasz, in his book “The Myth of Mental Illness,” proved that there is no such thing as schizophrenia. Therefore, how could a mother cause something that doesn’t exist? Ha, gotcha!
19) Schizophrenia was long thought to be the result of demon possession. Mothers, on the other hand, have long been known to be saints. Therefore, it is nonsensical to think of a saint causing demon possession.
20) Identical twins separated at birth show higher concordance rates for schizophrenia, PROVING that schizophrenia is a genetic disorder! (And don’t even try holding mothers responsible for rejecting and separating their kids at birth. Maybe she gave them away for a good reason…)
21) If, hypothetically, a mother did cause schizophrenia, that would beg the question of what in her own childhood so severely damaged her to cause her to be such a horrible mother. And then we’d have to blame her parents, and her parents’ parents, and ultimately all parents, all the way back through the generations. And that would mean that our entire species is totally insane, which of course it isn’t!
22) All the pharmaceutical companies state that we don’t know what causes schizophrenia. And they are on the cutting edge of scientific research – because if they weren’t all the big universities and research institutions and academic researchers wouldn’t gobble up their money.
23) The National Alliance on Mental Illness (which also takes tons of drug company money) states pointblank that families (aka mommies) do NOT cause schizophrenia. And they know. They’re an organization started BY mothers! And mothers always know best!
24) What about all the terrible mothers out there who raise healthy, non-schizophrenic children? Take George W. Bush’s mother: She was lousy yet raised a perfectly sane, healthy, normal child.
25) Schizophrenics have a tendency to be violent. So it’s a very bad idea to go insulting their mothers.
26) Progressive modern research shows that people with schizophrenia were MUCH more likely to have been sexually abused when they were children. And everyone knows that mothers do NOT sexually abuse their children.
27) Just the fact that you, Daniel Mackler, agenda-laden creator of this parent-bashing website, would even consider exhuming and reconsidering this dead, evil concept is proof enough!
28) Dr. Frieda Fromm-Reichmann, creator of the “schizophrenogenic mother” concept, never had kids, and non-parents have no business criticizing parents. They lack the requisite perspective and empathy. (Granted, Fromm-Reichmann was the beloved therapist of Joanne Greenberg, who happens to be one of the most famous recovered schizophrenics, not to mention the author of “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden.”)
29) The schizophrenogenic mother concept is politically incorrect, and therefore invalid. Period. Goodbye.
30) If you have ANY desire whatsoever to advance your career in the psychology field, I suggest you stop thinking about this matter immediately, navigate away from this website, and write your mother a nice, loving, greeting card.
31) Schizophrenia is caused by smoking marijuana. And NO mother supports that kind of sick, criminal behavior!
32) You sexist pig, mothers do NOT cause schizophrenia. It’s fathers that do. Those bastards! Pigs! Perverts! Scum!