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The Betty Broderick Case

I have been interested in True Crime for many years. And Dr. Grande, a shrink/YouTuber, has a substantial following due to his analyses of all kinds of “true crime” or oddball public events. First, he gives a summary of the event and provides background information. Then he does a psychological analyses of the main players which—whether I agree or not—I usually find very interesting.

I have followed the case of Betty Broderick since the late 1980s when she murdered her ex-husband and his new wife in their bed. It was quite a to-do. Many women supported Betty and felt that her rage and resulting crime, while extreme, was justified. That was because—I believe—many women of the pre- and early baby-boom era bought into the traditional womanly role—cooking, cleaning and running a home, having and raising babies, being a so-called “soccer mom “ while supporting their husbands careers and being a beautiful socialite. Husbands worked outside the home, earned and managed the money—and controlled everything. Betty really thought she was going to live like the Cleavers on “Leave it to Beaver.” Many of us today scratch our heads at Betty’s unrealistic assessment of what family life should be. However, I do believe that Betty believed it, although I don’t think social and martial disappointment should be an excuse for murder.

However, after several books, at least two movies, multiple TV True Crime treatments, many talk show interviews from prison and now, a podcast series, Betty remains volatile and unrepentant. Perhaps still dangerous although that is controversial.

So Dr. Grande’s analysis is interesting in many ways. First, he is a long ways from that generation. Second, psychiatric ideas and theories have evolved over the years. And finally, some things remain inexplicable because they are inexplicable. It’s unlikely any good answers will ever be possible. Thirty years later, Betty—the unrepentant self-described victim—has yet to be released from prison. Perhaps that’s for the best.

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