Sunday, January 23, 2011

You Learn From Experience

This is a pretty random true story I thought of one night while thinking of Bobby’s mom, Frances (played by Rita Moreno).  As we all know, she was schizophrenic.  We saw many sides of her on the show:

Before I begin, I feel obligated to say some words about her.  Odd, right?  So, she actually really upset me.  I guess I should change that to present tense - she really upsets me - because she still does even though she’s long gone.  I’m speaking of Goren’s mother, of course, not the actress.  These feelings of hatred only occur because of the pain Bobby went though.  I felt, I feel so bad for Bobby.  Knowing he had to deal with her his whole life broke my heart.  I often speculate as to whether he felt like he was compelled to take care of her or if it was just second nature to him.  Bobby is so kind-hearted.  He’s such a great son that most of the time, he more than likely didn’t think twice about it, you know?  He probably wondered why this life, why did he end up with this life, but he never stopped caring for her.  Why?  Because it’s apparent that he’s the type of man that would take care of her no matter how much it fucked up his life.  And I have a feeling that was the main reason for him being single for so long (that and his job of course).  Then by the time she was gone, he probably thought why bother.

But I don't think anyone will argue with me that he had it rough and it messed with his psyche; even permanently screwed him up to a point.  It would affect anyone to some degree.  Look at what Nicole Wallace did to him when she brought it up. 

Simply put, his whole family was crap.

I had a lot more written, but I deleted it and decided to just move onto my point and story.  As always, feel free to add your thoughts and opinions about anything on this topic.  I welcome all comments.

One of my law professors a few years ago told me a story that I’ll probably never forget.  She’s the chief of police in a city here in Washington so I listened intently figuring she knew what she was doing.  I actually didn’t care for her too much, but I paid attention nonetheless.  She told us a story of something that happened early into her career as a police officer.  She heard a call through the radio late at night and promptly responded.  When she arrived on location, sure enough (just as the dispatcher had said), there was a man standing in a field of grass completely naked.

She was pretty new on the job and hadn't encountered anything like it before.  The boy (I believe she said he was in his mid-teens) just stood frozen, not once attempting to move or speak. 

...And then she yelled at him to lie down.  He turned and ran in the other direction.  Eventually she caught up to him, tackled him and then handcuffed him.

Later that night she spoke to the boys mother whom informed her that her son was schizophrenic and that's he'll do anything you ask as long as you don’t, yes you guessed it, yell or scream at him.  This is obviously some very useful information.  Now obviously she didn’t know he was schizophrenic at the time (I think she said she thought he was just some drunk kid), but it still helps to know what you’re dealing with and, more importantly, how to deal with it and even recognize the signs if such an instance occurs again.

There’s a lot of information on schizophrenics and I can’t help but think, god, the reading Bobby must have done.  He was so good and patient with his mother.  And sure he’s smart and, in his own words, “resourceful” (Siren Call), but I’m sure he did many long, hard hours of research.  Especially when he knew his mommy wasn’t like all the other mommy’s.  Oh, I’m just killing myself here with the quotes.

I’ve personally witnessed what schizophrenia can do to a person and how to handle them.  No, no one (including myself) in my family has it.  You can speculate all you want as to where I was.  I just remember I heard screaming and ran into this persons room just in time to witness her hitting herself.  I dealt with it as best as I could until someone more qualified came to the rescue.  At the time, I didn’t panic nor was I scared. But thinking back on that experience, damn, it's some crazy shit.  I've studied psychology for years and I knew at the time she was hearing voices that were telling her to hit herself.  The only thing I could really do was try to restrain her until someone else came.  Having to witness it for a short time period is one thing, but dealing with it your whole life, well, I couldn't imagine.

Just one more thing that makes Bobby amazing.


  1. A truly insightful post Snyder,just thinking on some of the things concerning bobby,his mother,his brother,his feelings,situations...brought me to tears..i myself have known a few people with schizophrenia throughout my life,and it is terrifying to witness,i did the best i could to understand it...once again very good post..

  2. From what I understand it was Brady who sent her over the edge and she really had'nt got Schizophrenia.

  3. I've done quite some research into schizophrenia for FF, and because I'm interested in psych, and from what I can tell, it's not "that easy". Schizophrenia has so many shapes and forms, it's hard to diagnose, and to treat and... you get my point.

    I do agree that it's always been very hard for Bobby, but I think the picture that has been presented to us in S6 cannot be applied to all other years. Bobby went away with the Army for years (so who took care of her then?), and, when his parents divorced, Frances got custody of the kids. I think this proves that at times, she must have been lots better and have been medicated quite well. And Bobby didn't only take care of her because he felt it was an obligation, but because he loved her. He loved her for the times it was good. I think this relationship has many, many shades, and one has to be careful not to get caught up in one of them.

    I once had Bobby say the following lines in a FF of mine, and this sums up how I feel quite well:


    "It wasn't always bad though," he continued, turning to look out the window, but Alex knew that he was really looking inside himself. "At the beginning, her meds worked well and she was a good mom. She tucked me in at night. Took me to the library with her, shared her enthusiasm for books with me. When she was lucid, she was sharp as a tack."


    He shook his head, but it really meant that he understood. "You don't have to. I'm not sure I always do. When I was young, I was angry. Angry at my mother for being ill, because it caused my father to leave. But in the end I understood that my father's behavior had contributed to their divorce, too, and she's my mom. I love her no matter what."


  4. TJARA thats just how I see it. She was his Mum and he loved her even though she always threw at him how 'great' Frank was. Of course we understand why now, he (Bobby) was a product of a rape.

  5. Judith, there's often an event or experience that triggers schizophrenia in a person who's susceptible. The trauma of Brady's attack would have set it off for Bobby's mother. But the tendency to succomb is hereditary, and I think Bobby may have avoided becoming a father in case he passed on the gene.

  6. I don't think Bobby was the product of rape. I know it can be concluded from what's said in Endgame, but the way I gathered it, Frances was seeing "Unlce Mark" for a while before and even after Bobby was born, and I doubt she would've stayed in yet another abusive relationship - she already had her husband (Mr. Goren) for that. In fact, Brady says about Francis that she was "the one he could have loved" and Frank seems to remember Uncle Mark "fondly", which I doubt he would if Brady had constantly hit their mother. Frank is not that blind. The attack ("Cooperstown disaster"), when Frances came back black and blue, was when Bobby was four and Frank was seven. I suspect that Frances wanted to leave him, or didn't want to tell him whether Bobby was his child, and that's what caused Brady to snap and lash out at her. Somehow, she got away.

    As far as I know, schizophrenia can be caused by a traumatic experience, but that's not always the case. I suspect Frances descend into madness was somewhat "slow" (with an onset of a first full-fledged a couple of years later). Cooperstown may or may not have been the trigger. Bobby tells Nicole he was seven when he noticed his mother was different, but it doesn't really tell us whether this was when she had her first episode or when he simply noticed she was different.

    I have very little doubt that Bobby wants (biological) children, though. Bobby put his life on hold to take care of his mother (no time for a relationship or his mother), but he was thrilled to hear about Donny and when Nicole mocks him about not having a family, he says "Don't count me out yet."

  7. WOW what a great discussion and so many different and good points. I love 'em all.

  8. Wow guys. Okay, since there's this big conversation going on I missed, I'll just reply as one comment instead of individually like I normally do.

    Unfortunately, Sarah, I don't know anyone with schizophrenia. Everything I've learned about it is from the psychology classes I took in college.

    I'm going to have to agree with Val here. Judith, like Val said, there's often an event or experience that triggers schizophrenia in a person who's susceptible and I believe that Brady was the event. In Frame Declan mentioned how a significant event can trigger it, but that Bobby was too old. I think he's well past the age of having to worry about it. Do I think he wants kids? No, for fear of passing along his gene.

    T'Jara, you're comment made me laugh. Oh, the research we've done for FF's. The medical part (i.e. if someone gets shot) is the hardest for me. I hated my anatomy and physiology class. LOL. I'll check our your FF story but if it's Bobby/OC or something in that category, I can't read. I'm pretty picky about what I read and usually stay with the same authors.

    I often wonder if Frances held Bobby accountable for leaving (going into the Army). But he came back. I guess that's all that counts. He was young, he wanted to get away. Can you blame him? I hate how Frances always wanted Frank. He was always the better son. It sucked and I know it hurt Bobby. You could see it in his eyes every time she asked about him. "Bobby, where's Frank?" *sighs*

    As far as Bobby being a product of rape, well, no. I don't see it that way. The way I interpreted it is that his mother had a...fling. His so-called real father was always away. Maybe she wanted someone, a companion. If she was raped, I highly doubt Brady would have continued to come around and be Uncle Mark. And the fact that Frank remembers him tells me that it most definitely wasn't a rape.

    I know some people like to see his early childhood as good but I just can't see it. Maybe, maybe when he was very young (almost too young to remember) but if he remembers his mommy not being like all the other mommy's at that age, then I'd say it wasn't the best. Sure, it wasn't all bad. But he knew something was wrong.

    Anyway, thanks for the great discussions guys! That's why I post blogs, to have people talk out their own opinions. I love getting different views on things. Thanks!


  9. My theory of 'rape' thrown up into flames Sarah and you proved me wrong very nicely, the other comments did too. It sounds like Bobby's mother was Schizophrenic from the start and as Val. said something triggered it off. Maybe that was Brady or perhaps her husband. She must have been hard to live with I think for him to leave. It also seems he had his own issues.

  10. I like disuccsions like this, too, Snyder and it's blog posts like yours that make me check out the other blogs, rewatch episodes, have ideas for FF or my own blog...

    No, this particular FF of mine is not Bobby/OC. I write (and read) it all - B/A, OC, no ship... for me, the story itself and the style matters.

    And I don't think his early childhood was "all good", I just don't think it was "all bad" either.

  11. Judith - Yeah, I believe she was and Brady just sort of...set it off. I believe trying to deal with that would be difficult for anything...especially if it isn't treated.

    T'Jara - I'm glad I can help. =) I was thinking of posting a blog asking for people to come up with topics they'd like to discuss. Then I'd just post it and let people talk/debate/discuss away. Ya know? Good idea, bad idea? Any thoughts? You have your own blog? Is it on here? I shall check it out!

    Yeah, I just have a feeling that the part that wasn't all bad, he was too young to remember. I mean, sure, he probably remembers some of it. But I think after 50 years, the bad pokes it's head through more.


  12. Snyder, I see you have found the blog... far as topics go... just post those that come to your mind!! We'll be here to disucss them, I'm sure...

    I still disagree on the childhood, but I guess we'll have to agree to disagree here. ;-)