So. Josh had a rotten childhood.

I found this very detailed article going into Josh Powell’s childhood and his parents’ marriage and his psycho father. Josh tried to commit suicide as a young teenager, and also threatened his mother with a knife once. His father beat him and, during the older Powells’ divorce proceedings, alienated Josh against his mother. (They made up later and she supported Josh’s bid for custody.)

[Josh’s mom’s sister] observed that the older boys had a “very distorted image of their own unquestionable right to do anything they darn well please … combined with a very deep contempt towards women in general and any authority at all” — all encouraged by their father.


“With the kind of disrespect the kids have learned to have regarding laws, I worry about what they will do,” [Josh’s mom] wrote. “It seems like there is a sickness pervading my family and I have been powerless to stop it.”

Well, this is all very sad and I feel sorry for the child Josh was…but not for the man he became. People have choices. He could have chosen to behave differently than he did. He could have chosen not to murder Susan. He could have chosen not to murder Braden and Charlie. He could have chosen to go into therapy, etc., to try to fix the damage done to him when he was young. He chose the wrong path every step of the way.

15 thoughts on “So. Josh had a rotten childhood.

  1. Eva Marie Leger February 11, 2012 / 5:36 pm

    This will sound harsh but my sympathy lies with Susan and her boys – I wish he had succeded in his suicide attempt.
    I’m tired of people using the ‘bad childhood’ as an excuse. Screw that. I know plenty of people who had HORRIBLE childhoods. I have a girlfriend who as a child was SOLD by her own drug addicted mother. And she’s one of the best people I know.
    He had choices and he didn’t take advantage. He should have killed himself.
    At this point in my life I doubt I’ll ever date again because I don’t want anyone having intimate contact with my daughter. I’ll gladly give up male companionship for my daughters safety, well being, and happiness.

  2. Saffy February 11, 2012 / 5:55 pm

    some people have ‘normal’ childhoods and do horrible things. My family wasn’t exactly like Family Ties but i could never ever imagine anything like that. considering josh’s father, none of this is surprising.
    Even when I saw him being interviewed, i thought, what a creepy, cretinous psycho. I can only wonder what Susan was thinking when she married him. What possessed her? were there no normal men? I don’t BLAME the poor woman but even her parents thought he was a creep and look at his family! who would want to marry into that? so sad all around. and the poor kids.

    • Meaghan February 11, 2012 / 6:00 pm

      Psychopaths are very good at putting on a “normal” facade, and are often very charming. Susan didn’t know what hit her until it was far too late.

      • Saffy February 11, 2012 / 6:57 pm

        yeah, but there was nothing charming that I could see! he was a slob! he wasn’t charming, he wasn’t interesting, and her parents could see what a creep he was. He didn’t even seem to have a NORMAL facade. He acted like a creep!
        I think they were right, she probably saw him as a project, that she could make him happy.

      • Meaghan February 11, 2012 / 7:03 pm

        The problem is, you’re seeing him after the fact. Who knows what his behavior was like when he was courting Susan.

        My parents, for a long time, hated my boyfriend. I think my mother still does. He’s a wonderful man.

      • Kristen February 15, 2012 / 1:46 pm

        I agree completely. Ironically, killers can be some of the most charming individuals. Consider Ricardo Caputo for example.

  3. Christopher February 11, 2012 / 7:12 pm

    His childhood is no excuse for what he did at all.

  4. Princess Shantae February 11, 2012 / 7:24 pm

    Probably her parents not liking him just made Susan want him that much more. Women are so often stupid that way.

    • Saffy February 11, 2012 / 9:49 pm

      sad but true. Sometimes i think of how many horrible crimes happen because of abusive men and women who make poor choices….it’s like almost every crime show or story is an abusive psycho guy and the woman who either didn’t see it or saw it and tried to leave him, or who ends up committing crimes with him. But the worst is when kids are involved and the kids suffer.

  5. Princess Shantae February 12, 2012 / 9:09 am

    Women need to start taking responsibility for things in their lives and the choices they make. Susan B Anthony and all those others didn’t go through alll they went through so that women today could do stupid things and then blame everything on a man. Being equal doesn’t mean you get to just act stupid and when it goes bad claim you couldn’t help it because some man was more important to you than anything else.

    • Meaghan February 12, 2012 / 10:53 am

      Well, it sounds like Susan Powell was trying to take responsibility: she tried to save their marriage and when it became clear that Josh was unsalvageable, she began making preparations to leave and presumably take the children.

    • Kat February 13, 2012 / 8:52 pm

      You know, Princess, this is totally off topic but your comment really struck a chord in me. Every time I see a commercial for NEW! BETTER! EASIER! etc birth control, I have somewhat the same reaction. There are women from long ago who fought for womens rights to such things, and to some extent still do, and now all these ads seem to indicate that people are too lazy to take the pill, so do this every month, no, every three, no, every year. It just kills me. I’m sure some early activists are rolling in their graves. Sorry, I just had to comment on the whole come so far and yet dumb thing. 🙂

  6. Kat February 13, 2012 / 8:47 pm

    They all have rotten childhoods, every single person that does something wrong…it’s the number one go to for blame, and just like when battered woman’s defense got out of hand, it takes away from those who REALLY had shitty childhoods and could use it for a valid defense. Look, I had a awful, abusive childhood, and I haven’t done anything bad. Ok, I shoplifted a magazine, once, when I was 13. But I don’t use it as a go to every time I lose my temper or life doesn’t go my way. I’m doing my damn best to make sure that it doesn’t go another cycle in with my kids, and really hope any of it isn’t genetic. But who knows. Some of those spoiled rich brats do crazy things too…at any rate, if Josh couldn’t live without his kids, then he should have done so. Alone. As has been said a million times, it was all about control and hurt, and well done at that. Here’s hoping they may find Susan at some point.

  7. Gra February 14, 2012 / 12:54 am

    GO KAT!!! Big “you go girl” from Sydney, Austraila xx

    • Kat February 16, 2012 / 10:41 pm

      Why, thank you! :). Nothing makes me madder than that sense of entitlement, world owes me a favor stuff.

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