Do We Become Our Mothers?

Gypsy Rose Blanchard murdered her mother, who murdered her own mother

Amy Punt

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A striped tabby cat looking at the viewer. He has questions in his eyes.
Photo of Link by author

Previously published on Substack

I’m working on a longer piece regarding Gypsy Rose Blanchard, the young woman who planned the murder of her mother and whose boyfriend carried it out. Her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard, confined her daughter to a wheelchair her entire life. She manipulated doctors into performing all kinds of unnecessary surgeries on Gypsy and even changed her birth certificate to keep her a child. Dee Dee, a former RN, created symptoms to mimic certain diseases by giving Gypsy medications that caused the desired side effects. Doing so allowed her to defraud charities like the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and Habitat for Humanity out of hundreds of thousands, possibly millions when you add up all of Gypsy’s surgeries.

At 19, Gypsy attempted an escape, and Dee Dee retrieved her and chained her to the bed, starving her intermittently. She then had papers drawn up by lawyers labeling Gypsy an incompetent. If she ever tried to get away again, Gypsy would have no legal recourse. Meanwhile, Dee Dee had other surgeries planned.

Gypsy didn’t snap. She premeditated the murder. It took several years before all the pieces were in place, and the person she believed was her knight in shining armor was ready to do the deed. But make no mistake, Gypsy acted in self-defense. The prosecution saw the scope of her abuse and confinement, and she pled guilty to second-degree murder. In December of 2023, after serving eight and a half of a 10-year sentence, Gypsy walked out a free woman.

I’ve poured over her interrogation and watched every documentary and nearly every interview, of which there are countless now. In doing so, however, I walked into her psyche, took up residence in her trauma, and now I cannot find the exit door. I wake up trapped in the bed with her and her mother, twisting and turning uselessly in the oily bed sheets. I can’t breathe. My thoughts trapped in a lava lamp that’s been on too long, heating up, stifling, morphing slowly over the same shapes, patterns, endless patterns of domination, obsession, infantilization, devaluation, annihilation, powerlessness, and chaos. It’s a swirling vortex of starvation, sorrow, and…

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Amy Punt

As a child, writing saved my sanity. As an adult, writing saved my life. Now, I write in hopes of helping someone else.