Secrets in the Cellar the

This makes her angry and she probably tends to isolate the mother. The mother understands the rejection thus becoming angry with the daughter. All communication is interrupted and the relationship is maintained at an artificial level.

Returning to the father figure, the desperate actions through which he tries to impose and demonstrate his power are directed more at himself than at the ones he harms. The truth is that he feels helpless, vulnerable and dependent (because this is how his mother had made him feel). It is from the complete state of powerlessness that the cruelty derives. Fritzl needs to convince himself that he is powerful and not vulnerable, but in a position which allows him to use the vulnerability of the others.

The relationship with his mother must have also led to insecurity regarding his own masculinity (therefore the “need” to rape women). He is surely alienated from his wife to whom he does not reveal his real self. Just like all the fathers who rape their daughters Fritzl demonstrated low impulse control and a low frustration tolerance- which enhanced the need for immediate gratification.

The fact that his mother had rejected him caused a low ego strength as well as low self-esteem, which he tried to compensate through power abuse. (Crossen)

The daughter must have had a low self-esteem in the initial phase, which combined with the awe and fear for and from the father and the lack of communication and trust with the mother accepted the abuse. Once in the cellar she had no more means to defend herself. Taking all these factors into consideration, it could be stated that little could have been done in order to change the development of the story. A stronger relationship between the mother and the daughter might have lead the girl to confess the abuse when it first happened and that may have saved.

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