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The Crocodile Tears of the Turpins and other Abusive Parents

After a year of appearing in court stony-faced or smiling flirtatiously at her attorney, finally Louise Turpin is shedding tears supposedly for the thirteen children she birthed and then tortured. And we are expected to believe that she feels regret!? Shame? Empathy? Oh aye…and the moon is made of lemon meringue!

So let’s talk about abusive parents who wring their hands and shed great big tears, trying to wheedle their pissed-off, burned-off children back to the narcissistic nest. And we, like the good, soft-hearted, codependent people they raised us to be, are mightily tempted to go back. After all, Mom may be a raging narcissist, but she’s in poor health. And Dad may’ve done the the unthinkable but, but, but… They took care of us when we were little and they’re ill and not getting any younger!

If/when your consciences smites you, remember this:

They worked hard to drive us away.

The pace of this world is fast, so I’ll repeat it slowly so it sinks in.

They worked HARD to drive us away.

It wasn’t a goof. A momentary lapse. An eccentricity. No! What they did was abuse and they did it cognitively, rationally, analytically and purposely.

It can be difficult to see, from the inside, just how hard they worked at it. Each incident may appear (as it does for me), isolated. It’s difficult to see the aggregate. That’s when others can help us to see the big picture as they see it. The 10,000 foot view that horrifies our friends on our behalf and should horrify us as well.

That’s why I’m baffled by aging narcissists who write greeting cards, enclosing a little cash, claiming they miss their adult child and just want to see them from time to time.

Why!? You treated them so shabbily as a sensitive, vulnerable child, why the heck do you want to see the face of your guilt now!? Here’s a classic example:

Once upon a time, there was a little boy who accidentally blew himself up with black powder. Literally. Here’s the story as I posted it on Facebook:

Just when I think it can’t get any worse, Michael tells me that when he blew himself up at the age of nine and crawled back to his house, arms and face charred black, hair burned off, completely blind … his drunk father didn’t rush him to hospital. Didn’t call the ambulance. Didn’t give him ice or a cool towel. No, he made Michael sit under a tree for an hour until his mother came home…. It’s only by the Grace of God and the kindness of surgeons who rushed from their nearby convention to the hospital that his eyesight was saved and his face flawless…except for his purple eyelids. They didn’t charge a dime. I have no words strong enough, no anger hot enough for…

Why would a parent like that care or expect to see their ACON/ACOA ever again? Why would their ACON/ACOA want to see them!? How can they possibly expect it? I suppose, somewhere, there’s a crumb of maternal love but, well, as Danny Kaye said in White Christmas, “If that’s love, somebody goofed!!” And if that’s family, somebody goofed! Give me the kindness of strangers any day over the cruelty of so-called family.

Which brings us back to David and Louise Turpin who are scheduled to be sentenced on April 19th! Why the sudden tears? Why did Louise Turpin turn beet red in court on Friday, February 22nd and dab at flowing tears with a tissue? Why? Why now after a year of court dates in which she appeared either bored, smiling, laughing or making goo-goo eyes alternately at her husband and her attorney.

Here’s a theory. The Turpins were in court to change their plea from “not guilty” to “guilty.” They’re taking a plea deal: Twenty-five years in prison! I think it finally hit Louise. I think she honestly believed she’d walk free and finally get that reality TV show she always wanted. She was weeping because the truth of her lifetime incarceration had finally sunk in. So those big ol’ crocodile tears were not for her children at all, but for herself. Tears of self-pity and possibly anger.

You cannot, absolutely cannot, tell me that a woman who set an apple pie on the kitchen counter in front of her starving children, and tortured them with the sight and smell of apples and cinnamon they were forbidden to eat, while it mouldered untouched on the kitchen counter has an ounce of empathy or regret. What she and David did was thoroughly thought out, carefully planned and systematically enacted. The phrase “with malice aforethought” comes to mind.

That goes for all abusive parents. Spare me the tears! The hand-wringing. The tortured, guilt-slinging phone calls, especially at Christmastime. Spare me your surprise that your children want nothing to do with you. Drop the act, Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse! You’re play-acting the part of Perfect Parent that never existed except in your fevered imaginations.

It was long overdue, your children vamoosing! You Abusive Parent, worked mightily hard to drive your children away. It is only by our grace, our kindness, our patience, our long-suffering and our forgiveness…and yes, stupidity, naivete and false guilt…that you had the blessing of our presence in your lives for as long as you did. Much longer than you deserve. You should get down on your marrow bones and thank the Good Lord above for us instead of blaming us for not sticking around to be abused even more!

We went slowly. Oh, so slowly! It years and years of work to finally drive us away. Our fuses were very long indeed. But when we blew, we blew permanently. Just like the black powder that blew up my husband when he was a little boy.

So spare me the crocodile tears that you hope will give you a lighter sentence, Louise Turpin. The entire nation sees straight through you and we’re so glad your children need never see you nor speak to you ever again!

The Crocodile Tears of the Turpins and other Abusive Parents

Lenora Thompson

Lenora Thompson is a syndicated Huffington Post and YourTango freelance writer and entrepreneur. Her readers call her the "Edward Snowden" and "Wikileaks" of narcissism because of her no-holds-barred-take-no-prisoners approach to writing about narcissism. “Narcissism Meets Normalcy” is the real-life, ongoing story of her healing journey from being held “hostage” by a multi-generational, cult-like narcissistic family. It's gritty and real, bloody and bruised, humorous and sarcastic. Lenora Thompson considers herself a “whistleblower,” shining a spotlight on narcissistic abuse so others can also claim their freedom and experience healing. To learn more about Lenora, subscribe to her bi-weekly e-newsletter, contribute to help her husband fight his extremely rare lung disease, Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis and shop her e-store, please visit

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APA Reference
Thompson, L. (2019). The Crocodile Tears of the Turpins and other Abusive Parents. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 20, 2019, from


Last updated: 11 Mar 2019
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