Nancy Lanza: Did She Play A Role In Son’s Breakdown?

    December 17, 2012
    Amanda Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Nancy Lanza, the 52-year old mother of the gunman who took 26 lives in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday, is being portrayed as a potential source of the issues plaguing her son.

Lanza was an avid gun collector and was described by those who knew her as a “survivalist” who stockpiled water and food for an oncoming economic crisis. She was also loathe to let anyone into her home and friends and family say they rarely saw Adam Lanza; it’s been reported that he suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome, and some say the combination of the disorder and a lack of social interaction could be huge factors in what set him off last week.

Described by those close to him at school as a “genius”, Adam struggled with a learning disorder and spent much of his time at home on the computer, absorbed in his own world. Rumors that Nancy Lanza was so protective of her youngest son that she wouldn’t let him out of her sight–even to use the restroom–are being circulated after it was reported that she stopped working in order to spend more time taking care of him. Still, the anti-social behavior continued right up until the shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“You would say ‘‘hi’’ and he would say ‘‘hi’’ back but he didn’t give you a lot to work with. He wasn’t exactly welcoming,” said Kate Leen, who attended school with Adam.

An acquaintance of Nancy’s who spoke to her in a pub about a week before the shootings says she knew something was going on with her son but felt she couldn’t help him.

“Nancy told me he was burning himself with a lighter. In the ankles or arms or something,” he said. “It was like he was trying to feel something.”

Nancy Lanza was found shot to death in her bed after police raided the home, and a computer in Adam’s room was smashed to bits on the floor; investigators are currently trying to repair the hard drive in an effort to look for any small clue as to why Adam took off with his mother’s guns on Friday and ended so many lives.

  • lioness45385

    Of COURSE she did. She was fiercly protective-right into her grave and others.

    • http://yahoomail cristal

      she tried to steer her son into a positive direction but without medication all goes invain

      • Jennifer

        without medication all goes invain? really?? just because Adam wasn’t on medication doesn’t mean that’s why he went and did what he did. what he did was and will always be a tragic thing and there’s no excuse for why it happened but to say that he was “without medication all goes invain” is uncalled for. maybe the medication he was on wasn’t working right for his body or maybe he has parents who don’t believe in drugging their child just so they are more capable to deal with. I have adhd/add, when the doctors wanted to put me on medication my mother said no, we will find other ways to help her with this condition and guess what? i’m 31 yrs old and NEVER have i taken a medication to control my adhd/add, i have learned to do it on my own with constructive hobbies…..

        • http://yahoo bill

          Where was his father? Off in his own new world? Where was his brother? Away in his own new world? Who really cared about Adam? Anyone? How many others are out there? Lets also maybe think of Adam as a lost soul! Forgive people , do not fall into the evil one’s traps!!!!!!!

          • Jeannie

            I was wondering that myself. The father, according to reports, hadn’t seen his son in over two years. What the media should do at this point is look to the family, admit that they failed in so many ways, and stop blaming gun ownership and the fact that the killer had Asperger’s syndrome. It’s clear to me what was going on in that family. Personally any parent who has an arsenal of guns and doesn’t keep them locked up is negligent.

  • Mrs. R

    In watching the interviews with this lady’s friends, this article seems to have alot of false statements. They portray her as a very caring mother who was doing her best to help her troubled son. She enjoyed target practice and they say she was not a fanatic about it – simply a hobby. When asked about her being a survivalist they denied any knowledge of that. It is already such a sad situation and stories like these only cause further grief for the family and community.

    • Jim

      I agree with you. In their attempts to get the story out reporters seemed to be not too picky about making sure of their facts and showing proprietary behavior in interviewing little kids. I can’t imagine what it must have felt like to be Ryan Lanza to have his face over all the news as the killer.
      Adam had a genetically determined mental disorder which would have invited teasing from a young age which would make any mother protective. The fact that he returned to his elementary school to kill could be an indicator that he harbored resentment to children of that age – perhaps he was teased in elementary school

    • jane

      Every one else who knew them say different
      The people at the gun range say different. My friends would stick up for me too. I also saw her friends admit to not being allowed in her house,. either. They had to tell the truth on that one. They know something bad is in there. Just wait.

      • Judith

        I totally agree that something weird was going on inside the house. And what kind of mother follows her grown son to watch him in the bathroom? It’s also being reported that as part of the divorce, the mother had to go to parenting classes, but NOT the father. And the local bar she patronized is going to put a brass plate with her name on it on her favorite bar stool? What a monument to great parenting! The courts pretty much automatically give custody to the mother, even when that’s not the best solution for the child.

      • Judith

        I think something is going to come out about what was going on inside the house (unless the father, with his megabucks manages to suppress it). What kind of mother follows her grown son in the bathroom and watches him use the toilet? And the divorce shows SHE had to attend parenting classes, not the father. Why did the court not give the kid to his dad who apparently already knew how to parent? As a monument to Nancy, her favorite bar is going to put a brass name plate on her favorite bar stool. What a memorial to great parenting!!!!

  • Rose

    They are quick to label him autistic/asperger/social disorder .. the stigma that this is placing on the autistic world is disgusting! They should stop talking about things they know nothing about! Media come on really. You are making it sound like all autistic/asperger or children with a social disorder are at risk of doing an horrific crime! They aren’t leave the labelling out of it and focus on facts you know because you are obviously ill informed when it comes to dealing with these issues

    From a mum of an austic child!

    • jane

      What if you filled his head with doomsday nonsense and hoarding food and water so you can live while others die. My kid is not autistic and I think that would screw her up. What effect might that have on yours. Its not going to be about autism, I really think we are going to find out some disturbing things about that house. Would you exppose your child to that? Would you agree doing that to an autistic or asper kid could be very damaging?

      • Rose

        I don’t doubt that the consequences of her actions would have played a huge part especially if he is on the spectrum. More so probably than most. The media though are targeting that and as its one of the first things mentioned in many articles it is what will stick in most people’s minds.

        No I would never ever expose my child to something like that. I believe my children’s happiness is the first and foremost important thing in my world. Sadly though as the case may come to show not all mothers do that.

        There were many other roads she could have taken, including social therapy to help him learn to be around his peers without feeling insignificant and alone. The options are there but from what I have read it would seem she didn’t for what ever reason we may never know

  • jane

    Has anyone else wondered why no one was allowed to see inside that beautiful mansion? She wouldn’t even open the door, she would exit a side door and come to the front door from outside. What was she hiding? The cops seemed pretty sure they got answers from the search. That sounds like more than a broken computer. She kept the outside beautiful and the inside a secret. I’m thinking it looks like an episode of hoarders. If she had massive doomsday supplies she could easily put them away where no one could see.

  • Regular Mom

    Good Grief!!!! This reporter needs to do a tiny bit of research before blabbing a bunch of bull about Asperger’s Syndrome. I have two boys with Asperger’s Syndrome and it is a form of autism…NOT A LEARNING DISORDER. Most “aspies” are highly intelligent, make good grades, are sometimes “brilliant” but have social awkwardness. They definately do NOT have learning disorders. This reporter might, though, or either she is just lazy and parrots anything she has heard without checking out the facts. Has anyone seen the Big Bang Theory? Sheldon Cooper is the poster child for people with Asperger’s but they ARE NOT KILLERS. This kid may have had Asperger’s, but there was something else horribly wrong with him that he did not get help with that had NOTHING at all to do with autism.

    • Grandmother of a child with Aspergers

      My grand daughter has Asperger’s Syndrome and is VERY intelligent and one of the kindest, sweetest, most gentlepeople in the world. She would not hurt a fly!

  • Paul Harmon

    My son is a nut job who sets himself on fire? Should I provide him gun lessons?

    • Jeannie

      I agree completely. A parent, regardless of her child’s mental capabilities, should always keep the guns locked up. This woman I’m sure loved her son and tried to help him but her actions were totally irresponsible. If the boy was burning himself she should have admitted him to a psychiatric hospital for observation. That is most certainly what I would have done.

      • MRST

        We don’t know that the guns were not locked up and he somehow got the key. There are so many unknowns at this point.

    • Bittersweet

      You are such an A$$hole Paul! It just go to show that an idiot will do, say or write anything to try and be funny. In this case it was very lame!

  • Marianne

    Dear God, all those that went to school that morning, all those that sent loved ones with a hug or smile or kiss good bye never to see them again? Yes there is probably more to the story than we will ever know. All of us probably have some part–the parent that did not make contact for over 2 years leaving a son isolated; a mother that knew SOMETHING was wrong in the weeks prior to, thinking she could handle this troubled child preventing true help. Friends and helpers for the family that felt uneasy about lifestyle but did not confront her or notify agencies that could have stepped in. School counselors that recognized family and individual needs but allowed privacy issues to cloud assistance. Legally obtained guns that never asked the question of mental health status of members of the household just the gun owner. News and Information gathers that have given mportance to is kind of event making the next one [and there will be a next one] to be more spectacular. The gun lobby that espouses sales for assualt rifles as part of the Constitution for WHAT? to hunt down children in one of the safest places to be? The violent video games that are produced for anyone that encourages violence without feelig or empathy? Parents that believe their child can do no wrong and do not allow social contact with others not of their status. People that condemn people with psychiatric issues without offering help or contact. Those that support gun laws but let their congressmen off the hook because of the NRA. Yes, we all have a part because we don’t want to be involved. I think of the families that will forever have a emptiness in their hearts that will never fill, a future that was stopped when a person stepped into a school corridor and ended it within 15 minutes; leaving the living to make sense out of a senseless act.

  • Shell

    My friend has a mildly mentally retarded son who takes meds for schizophrenia but she says it is for tourette’s. I have never seen any sign of tourette’s. However when she is berating and screaming at him or slapping his face for not taking a bath or being slow to get up in the morning or any other minor infractions you can see the rage in his face and sometimes his actions. This happens on a daily basis but when they are in public she holds his hand and talks about how great he is. My point being, you never know what goes on behind closed doors.

  • A mother of an autistic child

    My son has Asperger’s, and he is far from capable of committing such a horrible act! This “reporter” needs to get the facts straight before running off at the mouth! Asperger’s syndrome is far from a learning disorder and it is far from a motive for murder. Individuals with Asperger’s tend to be super-intelligent and sweet in disposition. My son is one of the most intelligent, kind-hearted, loving individuals I have ever met… There had to be something dreadfully wrong in this person’s life other than the fact that he had Asperger’s syndrome for him to want to hurt so many innocent women and children. The world may never know anything further about his life with his mother or what his motives were, but PLEASE stop and think before you type. Making this world a harder place for individuals with Asperger’s to live in is NOT the answer. It’s hard enough already living with a label stamped to the forehead! My heart goes out to the victims and their families. I cannot imagine waking up without one of my children. But please, think before you pin this violent crime on Asperger’s syndrome. People with Asperger’s are SMART; THEY ARE NOT MONSTERS!

    • Jeannie

      The media has reduced itself to the lowest level of reporting that I have seen in my lifetime by attempting to make the connection between Asperger’s Syndrome and the killer’s rampage. Anyone who knows anything about these children with Asberger’s know that they are kind, gentle and loving and are not capable of acts of violence. There is something much more sinister here which I am certain can be traced back to his home environment. We may never know what occurred inside the home and inside of the mind of this monster but the fact that he had Asperger’s syndrome should not in any way be part of the dialogue.

      • Julie J

        Amen. I have a son with Autism, and i hate how they are focusing so much on the fact that he had Aspbergers which is on the Autism Spectrum. I just hope all the ignorant people out there don’t assume that all our kids are ticking time bombs or something.

      • elizabeth

        oh calm down! I too have a child on the spectrum. They said a combination of that and him not having the socialization ….. AND the fact that he was absorbed in his own world with out social interaction ….. no need to get so defensive

    • SGuerri

      I also have a son with Aspergers and he too is a very sweet, compassionate younf man. I agree that people need to be very careful in tying Aspergers in with the reason this horrific act was committed! Our kids have a hard enough time!!!!

    • Rochelle So

      I agree with you. Both of my sons have Asperger’s as well, they are both very smart and kind hearted and would never do horrific act as this. My oldest one, 17 years old, loves video game and fancy guns but he knows the difference between virtual and reality and would never hurt another human being. He loves animals and has compassion for people in need. I don’t like the way they portray Asperger’s syndrome in this article. My sons will not be monsters.

    • Out and About

      I’m glad that so many parents on here with Asperger’s have wonderful, brilliant children who are socializing just fine. It’s NOT that way for all of them, and I know first hand. My best friend has a daughter who’s been diagnosed with it. She’s 8 now, and becoming a major handful. My friend has had her to pretty much every doctor out there, has read every book, and has had the child and herself in counseling for support. The child has a temper like there’s no tomorrow. When she has a meltdown, there is no dealing with her, and it’s not just a screaming fit like so many Asperger’s kids. She becomes violent, kicks her mother in the shins as hard as she can, has broken a door at this age, has threatened to kill her, and numerous other things. And don’t even start blaming the mom, she’s the best mom possible under the circumstances. So…not all Asperger’s kids are little angels. You guys need to realize that while yours may be a wonderful, idealistic case, some of them out there ARE NOT. This child may end up being sent away to live somewhere where she and everyone around her are safe. It’s heartbreaking.

  • Jeannie

    The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world

  • Karen Williams

    I was thinking the same thing it was said that neither the Father or the older Brother have had any contact
    with him for over 2 years. Then her friends saying they were not allowed in the house. Wonder what was in that house ?? Wonder if we will ever find out why or what made him do such a horrible thing. I don’t think I have been so sad ever being a Mother of 4 children I just could never imagine loosing one of then. HORRIBLE

  • Mike

    The mother was a “survivalist”. What effect did this have on her son? Did he think the zombies and the world’s end were coming at the end of the week? Was it that he in his own “disabled” mind think he was doing a good thing by protecting all those he murdered from the end times? We will never know for sure other than we know our environment and what we hear, read and do each and very day of our lives impacts our thoughts and actions. I know this is far reaching but trying to piece together the connection with killing his mother and 20 children is the hard part. The teachers and administrators at the school may have been just in the way of what his true intentions were.

  • skeptic

    Tired of people trying to normalize Asperger’s Syndrome and other Autistic Spectrum disorders…that is no better than anyone trying to demonize such folks.

    They are capable of good behaviors, if you make sure that you Socialize them properly. They are just as capable of violence as anybody else, and probably more so for one simple reason:

    some of them tend to be more obsessive-compulsive, it is part of the symptoms:

    they *cannot* let certain things go.
    they cannot see the Whole Picture.
    they ruminate on details.

    They are NOT any smarter than anybody else just by virtue of having the Disorder, although many have Talents, and there are plenty who DO have Learning Disabilities…but many who do not. Just like the rest of us.

    Unless you believe that being able to relate to others with Emotional Intelligence and Abstact Reasoning are NOT important aspects of Learning ABILITY, then you would expect these kids to have certain difficulties in a Learning situation.

    Was Adam Lanza socialized properly?
    Was he able to interact frequently and successfully with other people and did he learn how to solve problems without Violence?

    With a survivalist Mother who would not let anybody into the home, I think the chances of him have sufficient Remedial Socialization experiences were pretty low.

    Stick to the facts on both sides, and everybody ought to back off being so quick to misread and misinterpret what others have written because of their own agendas.

    Yeah, we get it – you have a disordered child and you have a vested interest in making his life as Normal as possible…to the point that some of you Aspergers-philes want to act like your kids are superior and that they and YOU would not want them to be “normal” because they are simply Great the way they are!

    You can do that, but stop trying to deny that Asperger’s could have contributed to this disturbed kid’s tragedy.

    You can just look at him and see that his life was *not* going to be easy, given how thoughtless, cruel and self-centered most of us are.
    Many of you have demonstrated that in these posts, by not reading what has been written with an unbiased mind.

  • Tony De Bella

    The so-called incomprehensible, unfathomable crime visited upon the Sandy Hook babies is actually quite comprehensible. Unfortunately, the almost universal solutions being proposed center around gun control, mental health and even prayer. However the problem is much, much bigger. The roots of the real problem are not too difficult to uncover. We live in a society of unprecedented inequality, a backward political system void of any real substance and worst of all, an incredible level of violence perpetrated not only by our government, but joined by the brutalization of society as a whole. Television, movies, video games, music and yes, even individual attitude reflect the horrors of violence. Pick up any newspaper and read about the mothers being assulted by their children, the strangling of girlfriends, the small children being abused, all of it a part of a big picture, societal calamity. The character of these mass killings bear witness to certain regular features–the use of military-style weapons, assailants dressed in combat fatigues,the all-to frequent involvement of former soldiers, the tactical planning done so many times by assailants alleged to be intelligent, if not brilliant. We must bear in mind that the past quarter century have been years of unending war. The Sandy Hook monster, age 20, had spent most of his life during the “war on terror.” Society taught the likes of him about mass killing during the “shock and awe” episodes in Iraq. It tutored him about drone attacks that are implemented with full knowledge that the killing of civilians–including women and children, was necessary in the interest of national security. Our government and mainstream media urged him to praise these killings by honoring the young men and women of the US military as “heroes.” Can anyone seriously believe that this grand nation of ours and the sympathetic culture we ostensibly possess can overlook the violence we inflict on others and not suffer deadly consequences at home? No, Im afaid the horrible, mind boggling incident at Sandy Hook is a product of a profound social disease. I am sorry to say that the cure may no longer be within our reach. I hope, with all my being, that I am wrong.

    Tony D.

    • zoe

      You forgot to mention that rate of divorce is high in America…divorced family is now the norm…very sad and the children are the victims…

  • http://webpronews.com/n larry

    This young man apparently had no parental guidance. I feel he did what he did because of it. We cannot blame guns for this. We should look at his life as an individual who had not much of a normal home life. I do not think his father played any part in his mindset. I always believed that if you take your son hunting you won’t have to go hunting him. The point is this, PARENTAL GUIDANCE and CARE. Your child should follow by your actions and training in the home. It is our fault if he or she goes astray.There is a certain amount of responsibility on his part though. He apparently did not know or was not taught right from wrong. As for his medical condition goes, i too think he should have had medical attention. So let us all sit back and wait to see what unfolds. Just my thoughts… SEMPER FI…

  • Michelle

    It’s always the mom’s fault apparently. Even though he was 20 years old. Even though nobody in those 20 years knew anything more about him than, “he kept to himself” or “he was a loner”. Even though his father and brother (apparently) didn’t have contact with him the last two years. Even though he fed himself hours of daily doses of video games. Perhaps the fault comes from a plethora of circumstances. Perhaps even the perfect mom can’t fix something that is biological. I’m not saying that the mom had no impact on his actions. I’m just saying, the other one she raised is apparently fine and there are far more people and things in a person’s life that affect how he thinks.

    I guess it’s easier if we blame the parents. Then we don’t have to consider that violent video games or guns or even ignoring the loners have anything to do with it. We can continue to believe that all mental health is controlled by parents rather than chemical imbalances in the body. We can pretend that sensationalism in news, movies and television have no impact on anyone’s behavior. It’s an easy way to take all responsibility off of society.

  • Cora

    Why don’t we hear anything from the father? They had shared custody, he raised or at least lived in the same house with this monster, why so much guessing when the father could actually unravel the mystery?

    • Pan

      You call him a monster ? A “mother” that is a regular at the local bar who’s favorite subject is the automatic weapons she has.. A “mother” that isolates her disturbed child and let’s his entertainment be violent video games hours per day..A “mother” who appears social but has a deep aversion to letting anyone, family or friends, into her home..A “mother” who left her son alone while she took mini vacations but told others that she stopped working to care for him fulltime..the last mini vaction was when she returned home thurs night before Friday’s murders..A “mother” paranoid about impending doom of the world.. You are barking up the wrong tree looking for “the monster” behind the actions of Adam Lanza.. Just replace mother with monster in this post and you’ll find the monster.. Nancy Lanza had profuse time to be a regular at the bar and talk guns..She had ample time for mini vacations..She took time to teach her mentally disturbed, socially awkward son to use automatic weapons and left them where he could get them.. I personally believe Nancy Lanza had a severe undiagnosed personality disorder with at least one less severe personality disorder.. If the facts of her life that have been disclosed thus far, bear out to be true, then she was an extreme control freak and self centered.. I imagine that Adam’s mental problems were the least of his nightmarish life..

    • Pan

      You call him a monster ? A “mother” that is a regular at the local bar who’s favorite subject is the automatic weapons she has.. A “mother” that isolates her disturbed child and let’s his entertainment be violent video games hours per day..A “mother” who appears social but has a deep aversion to letting anyone, family or friends, into her home..A “mother” who left her son alone while she took mini vacations but told others that she stopped working to care for him fulltime..the last mini vaction was when she returned home thurs night before Friday’s murders..A “mother” paranoid about impending doom of the world.. You are barking up the wrong tree looking for “the monster” behind the actions of Adam Lanza.. Just replace mother with monster in this post and you’ll find the monster.. Nancy Lanza had profuse time to be a regular at the bar and talk guns..She had ample time for mini vacations..She took time to teach her mentally disturbed, socially awkward son to use automatic weapons and left them where he could get them.. I personally believe Nancy Lanza had a severe undiagnosed personality disorder with at least one less severe personality disorder.. If the facts of her life that have been disclosed thus far, bear out to be true, then she was an extreme control freak and self centered.. I imagine that Adam’s mental problems were the least of his nightmarish life..

  • Norton Howe

    I must have missed in the media and blogs what I believe is one of the key factors in the Newtown tragedy. If Mrs. Lanza knew Adam was drifting into some weird stage where he was burning himslf with a cigarette lighter, why did she not, firstly, secure her weapons in a gun safe and then, secondly, seek professional help for him and possibly herself?

  • zoe

    why blame only his mom…what about his dad? where is he and how has he been a role model for his sons?

  • Just Sayin

    I think he smashed his “prison” (the pc) and took care of the warden – first and foremost, as he did do. I think the truth is coming out that Mother DID play a role in his messed up thinking – the Barber had very revealing observations. So when your son is “different” you take him to target practice to form some kind of bond? She made him feel isolated and like a joke at school, he did not button his shirts to the very top-SHE did that. SHE spoke for him and would tell the Barber to re-do stuff. The only thing maybe he did right [in her mind] was SHOOT at target practice !

    So, he did what he did best. Lashed out with one big target practice.

  • http://SelfMutilation Just Sayin

    The self mutilation was him crying out for help. HELLO. He was internalizing the pressure cooker in his head. Basically confined to a room with a PC and a mother who sure did not help his hair cut-as his Barber said, SHE did all the talking and even answering for him. He was not allowed to have an original thought of his own and VERY isolated.

    When your son is trying to burn himself with lighters-WHY would you take him to target practice and let him have any gun? He needed to see shrink. I DONT CARE what they say about her being “nice. BS and I am glad people are coming forward about her locus of control. It was absolute and she was probably smothering him as he was her last kid out the door.

  • Pa

    Michelle I agree slightly with your opinion about other factors involved..But that’s even more reason to look at the mother, not less..if you have children or siblings, you know that kids don’t pop out of a mold all the same.. one child may behave better or
    get better grades or be more athletic or have a disability, etc..involved, loving parents teach their moral code n beliefs to their children, adjusting the method of teaching according to how best to reach each child..I was grounded much more than my sibling..my actions as a teen pushed my parents to seek outside help..we both were raised by both parents in the same home but our personalities were night n day.. if my parents had been focused on sitting at a bar talking or spent their time on a hobby or on mini vacations away from their kids, I guarantee that I would be living a very different life..Adam had a disability..Nancy told her bar buddies she wanted Adam to live a normal life..The father hadn’t been in the picture for several years the brother hadn’t been around for two years..My opinion is that they weren’t avoiding Adam, they were distancing themselves from her.. I wonder if those $200, 000+ alimony payments would have been awarded if she didn’t have custody of a child with a diagnosed mental disorder.. there has been no mention of child support that would have certainly been awarded..did the father fight for custody ? Would Adam had any different treatment ? We don’t know..but we do know he was supposed to be under his mother’s care and from details we’re being told, there was virtually none addressing his condition and there was stimulus for violence he shouldn’t have
    had in his life..not every person around guns or playing violent video games is going snap and one day kill..Adam was immersed in both and shouldn’t have been exposed to either..and he should have had at least the parent he lived with, as a role model and that would continue to seek and get him the best treatment and actively working to help him function in the world to his
    potential..instead, the parent responsible for him spent her time on a hobby of collecting semi automatic guns and spent time complaining to her bar buddies of the things she couldn’t do or places she couldn’t take Adam..while he sat in his room playing violent video games.. if all those details we’ve heard are true, it makes me wonder why he didn’t snap much sooner.. an isolated young adult living in a prison of privilege with no purpose in life and no one to help him use the intelligence he had in a productive healthy outlet..his handicap was his mother not a mental disorder in my opinion..