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May 13th, 2013
11:45 PM ET

Dr. Xavier Amador on Ariel Castro: "If we look for the warning signs, this probably could have been prevented"

As investigators, journalists, and academics alike continue to study the past of Ariel Castro, on Monday night Piers Morgan invited Xavier Amador to offer his professional analysis of the man currently facing charges of kidnapping and rape – with murder a possibility – for imprisoning women over a ten year span.

"He's a man and like many men who do abuse, unfortunately, and we know a lot about it and we can find if we look for the warning signs, this probably could have been prevented," said the Clinical Psychologist and Columbia University Professor. "He is a garden variety abuser. Now, there's nothing garden variety about kidnapping and holding three women for that long and causing abortions and birthing this little girl that he's raised. Nothing garden variety about that. But what is garden variety is the way in which all the warning signs unfolded and all the ways in which he evidenced the signs of a classic abuser of women, someone who was very controlling, someone who people did see the warning signs, but they normalized it."

Referencing an apologetical note written between 2004 and 2005, Amador suggested there were episodes in Castro's own childhood that may have contributed to his adult wrongdoings:

"This is somebody who may have very well have been abused just first and foremost, statistically, men who abuse in this manner, tend to have been abused as children," said the author of eight books in a face to face "Piers Morgan Live" interview. "That's not the abuse excuse. Understand, this is about understanding. This is about explaining, not explaining away what happened. So that note says to me that there may be abuse in his history. Certainly he's an abusive person, and he's somebody who has insight into the fact that he's an abusive person."

Watch the clip, and listen to the interview, as Amador explains the difference between categorizing someone as a monster, versus saying a human being did monstrous things.
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  1. Sally Rodgers

    Piers Morgan SHAME ON YOU your coverage on the GOSNELL Murder of babies born after an abortion was abominable!!! You call yourself a CATHOLIC – where did you receive your catechism training? What do you teach your 4 children? You failed to do your journalist job when you did not call Gloria Alred out on her failure to address the babies that Gosnell killed. Not ONCE did Alred address the death of those children and YOU let her get away with it. You failed to invite a pro-life point of view on your show. You were not fair or balanced in your coverage of the Gosnell case. I realize that your strings are pulled by those who pay your paycheck BUT you failed to honor your role as a journalist to represent BOTH sides of the issue. Time-wise you also failed to give this topic the air time it deserved. Please do you viewers a favor and invite Lila Rose of Live Action or Mary Spaulding Balch, the National Right to Life Committee's director of state legislation. Piers thank you for reading and responding to this viewer’s comment.

    May 14, 2013 at 1:17 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • worldcares

      Wrong article to present this. I studied midwifery 37 years ago. I, also practiced natural birth control for ten years before I decided to have children. People , today, are not dedicated to anything, but their cellphones.
      That's a massive social disturbance of focus.
      "I can have my God and sin out my holy ass and it's okay."

      May 14, 2013 at 4:46 am | Report abuse | Reply
      • shepherdgregory

        No page on Gosnell,is there?Should be.

        May 14, 2013 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  2. worldcares

    This article and video was psychobabble.

    May 14, 2013 at 5:17 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mary

      Or: a way to help us understand, so we can prevent future horrific abuse. It's hard to change things if we don't understand their causes.

      May 15, 2013 at 10:59 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Gloria R. Leon

    Dr. Xavier Amador's comments last evening on the Piers Morgan show regarding the psychology of how Mr. Castro could have committed such monstrous deeds were excellent. I am a professor of clinical/personality psychology, and I greatly appreciated the humane, practical, and knowledgeable manner in which he discussed this case. He was able to clearly state the psychology of how one can perpetrate and maintain an abuse as extreme as occurred. His comments were measured, excellent, and obviously based on his professional experience. I wish other so-called experts would follow his example.

    May 14, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • shepherdgregory

      Nice to hear from you,Gloria,my family a long history with NHS Psychiatry;cat was out the bag for two seconds,and I thought of Fritzl.Doubt I'm the only one...

      May 14, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Greg

    As soon as you said "garden variety abuser" I felt quite uncomfortable. However, as you explained your meaning, I realized your comments were spot-on…although many will not react well to the "garden variety" reference. With both personal and professional experience in the mental health field, I feel your use of the term and positioning is accurate and appropriate. I myself have seen warning signs suggesting danger that could lie underneath...yet I "normalized" the behavior, as you said, or rationalized it (more accurately) not wanting to believe what I was actually witnessing. That rationalization nearly cost me my life. Thank you for having the courage to call it what it is...and for reminding us to see the truth...and not just our wishful thinking.

    May 14, 2013 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Jasper

    I think Dr Amador's comments are excellent. I think we live in a time when insanity of many forms is garden-variety. Literally popping up in our back yards, produced and consumed by average people on a daily basis. Anyone with an open heart who has done some amount of introspection should be able to see that. Sadly, though, there is a thick smog of distracting and hypnotizing mental chatter that keeps people from clearly seeing what's coming out of our gardens–that is, until the odd mutant head of lettuce bolts, or an over-blown zucchini pokes out and attracts enough attention to finally make our pathologies newsworthy. Then, as you say, our typical response is to label it as an outlier and ignore it after some chest pounding, rather than admit that it has anything to do with the state of the soil in our precious victory garden.

    May 14, 2013 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • America's Just A Bit Silly

      More metaphors than you could shake a stick at.

      Is that your real name?

      I don't quite understand your point as it ain't a cryptic crossword,it's Commander Morgan And The Dumb Yanks Express.

      May 18, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Bill Bond

    Dr. Amador offered an incisive, professional (nonjudgmental) analysis of a human being who did monstrous deeds over many years…he did not define him as a monster. That is the foundation of all human relations…acceptance without judgment. True – he behaved inhumanly, irrationally, monstrously…and the consequences are forever.

    But he is human….even so. This is why the L.E.A.P approach to communicating with those with mental illness works so well. We drop the judgment (putting ourselves over and above someone else) and relate to them where they are regardless of how irrational or depraved they are behaving. Certainly we all agree that people with such a history of abusive, murderous behavior must face the consequences. We likely won’t all agree on the consequences…but we have a judicial system to sort this out. But in the light of learning from what happened and to address the questions around what could have been done to prevent this…Dr. Amador's answer seemed courageous and spot on.

    Cordially,
    Bill Bond

    May 15, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. shepherdgregory

    Hi Bill,posting from Scotland.

    Get on their wavelength?I hear ya:my late mother worked in NHS psychiatric wards,and would go round tucking the
    blankets in,and frequently would have schizophrenics talking very off-the-cuff about the voices in their heads,and she
    would immediately indulge them NEVER belittle them,getting on their...you guessed it.

    In UK we have Claudia Hammond leading the charge on mental issues,frequently on BBC and committed to her patients.

    Sounds like you,Meestir Bond...

    May 15, 2013 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Kristy

    Find his house on Google Maps: 2207 Seymore Ave, Cleveland, OH, it is very eerie how he had his windows all boarded up the way he did with the "Keep Out" signs on his gates. If all other accounts for his strange behavior could be overlooked and rationalized, this should not have been one of them.

    May 17, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • shepherdgregory

      Yeah,I think he'd it all covered,Kristy,dogs the lot:noise,ward people off,all part of the DON'T COME IN HERE tactic.

      But the game's up.

      (Written about him elsewhere,like Rumsfeld,he's quite a few pages.)

      May 17, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Private Personal Training Long Island

    I agree labeling him a monster and pushing him away will get us know where. We need to learn from this monster. I hold heatedly
    believe there were warning signs.

    January 24, 2014 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply

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