When Marilyn refers to her own mother, she offers many details about mental illnesses that run rampant through her mother’s bloodline. Along with biological factors that include her grandfather dying in a mental hospital, her great grandmother dying in a mental hospital, and an uncle who committed suicide, she was subjected to slavery-like conditions and the many foster homes she was placed in. Her mother too died in a mental institution. With her family’s experiences with mental illnesses, it was almost certain that Marilyn would also have some sort of mental disorder.
There is also talk of her grandmother, Della Monroe, attempting to smother her with a pillow in the summer of 1927 (Taraborrelli, 2009, p. 26). Marilyn does not remember the incident. Those who do remember told her about the incident. Whether the disorders were a result of knowing her family history or the unfortunate circumstances she endured in her childhood is almost impossible to know without a doubt. I believe her fragile mental state was the result of both.
She daydreamed to escape life (Marilyn p.8). She was placed in orphanages on and off throughout her childhood. When placed in a foster home, foster parents seldom believed her if the subject of her complaint was the biological child of the foster parent...
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...ma to cushion Marilyn from painful circumstances. This may seem like a good way to shelter one’s self, but because of her family history this kind of coping can only lead to further problems.
The more Marilyn calls upon Norma to shield her, the more likely Norma is to become a completely separate persona. The brain learns to “switch people.” When she allows her imagination to create an alternative to experiencing bad stuff, her brain will find switching people easier each time she allows it to happen. What she really needed was some good friends who could offer stable and consistent companionship. I would recommend a prescription for an anti-depressant. If she committed suicide, the appropriate anti-depressant may have been the thread she needed to hang on. Taking an anti-depressant may have given her enough of a boost to allow her to accept her past and move on.
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