“In order to retain his love, I was prepared to abandon my own personality completely…analyse why I have not been able to satisfy your material needs in every way.”Dr Elisabeth Maxwell, A Mind of My Own, 1994.
Ghislaine Maxwell’s parents: You can’t write about the Maxwell family without discussing the looming shadow of monstrous patriarch Robert.
This is especially relevant when it comes to his wife of 40 years, Dr Elisabeth Maxwell.
Ghislaine Maxwell’s Parents
Looking from a 2021 perspective, it appears she was totally obsessed with her husband, to the extent of being brain-washed.
But at the same time, her submission might have been a coping mechanism due to living under the iron-fist of a tyrant.
In a beautifully-crafted piece in The Guardian, Libby Brooks wrote of Elisabeth: “It was in the liberated Paris of 1945 that she met the freshly decorated soldier who was to become her life partner.
The daughter of wealthy Huguenots, Elisabeth was studying law at the Sorbonne when she encountered the newly monikered Robert Maxwell, an Allied fighter born into grinding poverty on the Carpathian mountainside.”
The Maxwells had had nine children, two sadly died before reaching adulthood.
Ghislaine Maxwell’s Parents
In my opinion, Robert Maxwell was a bloated, bubbling mix of various psychological issues: war trauma, sociopathy (the stealing), narcissism (ego) and psychopathy (potential war crimes).
Of Maxwell, Tanya Gold wrote: “It is the story of a man who hated himself so much for survival he could not, for 40 years, admit to his Jewishness, or to his childhood name. It is possible he even forgot he was once called Ludvik Hoch.
He invented modern British scientific publishing but had fake book spines in his study.
His mother was adoring and his father abusive: Stalin’s family dynamic, precisely, one designed to cultivate suspicion in a child.”
Elisabeth said it was her husband’s wish to replicate his large family of origin because almost all of his Czech relatives were murdered by Nazis.
There’s no doubt he brutalised his own family, emotionally and physically, including his wife.
Dr Maxwell was determined to “earn” her husband’s love.
“I want to live for you, I want to drown my soul in your desires,” she wrote.
You will only need to say what you want and it will be done, or to express a desire and I will satisfy it. Perhaps you will discover that the half-flayed created you have stripped naked still deserves to be loved.”
The Maxwell marriage reads like a nightmare, where she was able to accept his abuse with good nature and blame herself for his shortcomings.
“In order to retain his love, I was prepared to abandon my own personality completely,” she wrote.
Brooks writes of Elisabeth’s complete subordination to her tyrannical husband:
“Despite his infidelities, despite his manifest cruelties, it was safer not to surrender her love. And her own willingness to be dominated perhaps explains her passive collusion in the treatment of her children,” she wrote.
She wrote how she emulated it when she disciplined her own children.
Ian, at 15, the choice of taking ‘three of the best’ from herself or waiting till his father came home. ‘After momentary reflection, he decided to take the beating from me … I hated doing it and needed all the courage I could muster to perform such a hated punishment with the twins’ riding crop.’Elisabeth Maxwell, A Mind of My Own
What a bloody mess!
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