It is interesting that the social worker sees her as "innocent" and that she feels that the drug and alcohol abuse has contributed to her being able to interact with her children. Although this may be true, there is another issue that should be addressed that include her fear of abandonment and anti-social behaviour. This behaviour, along with her ambivalence towards her children could be an indication of an attachment injury that she received during the sexual abuse.
Sue would not have been able to attach well to her parents because her father was bipolar and her mother suffered from chronic depression. Her parents history of mental illness would also mean that her parents were unable to bond with her or take care of even her basic needs. From the case study, the counsellor cannot ascertain whether Sue is mentally ill or whether the drugs and alcohol are responsible for her behaviour. She may be mentally impaired since her IQ results are within "borderline range of intellectual functioning," She could have mental retardation either intellectually or environmentally.
Sue was raised by a depressed mother and a bipolar father. This indicates that her needs probably were not met as a child and that her home life was very erratic, so attachment may have happened but not in a very positive way. According to Sorbello, Eccleston, Ward & Jones (2002), female offenders who have been abused or neglected have a "higher rate of psychological dysfunction than men" (p. 200). For Sue, this is shown through her need for alcohol and drugs. Although the case study does not specifically comment on whether Sue is bipolar or suffering from depression, her drug and alcohol problems could be triggered by episodes of depression. This would be something that the mental health practitioner should examine.
Because Sue was sexually abused as a child, this issue must be