Thursday, May 14, 2009
Miller, Russell. "R. D. Laing: the Abominable Family Man." TIMES April 12, 2009.
Eighteen months before she died of leukaemia at the age of 21, Susan Laing, RD Laing’s second oldest daughter, was interviewed by The Sunday Times Magazine for a 1974 feature about the children of celebrities. Her contribution was unutterably sad. She claimed that her father, then the best-known psychiatrist in Britain bar Jung and Freud, could not get accustomed to his children being grown up. “We’ve got too many problems for him,” she said. “He can solve everybody else’s, but not ours.” It was a rare insight into the chaotic private life of a man lauded as one of the most controversial and remarkable figures in the history of psychiatry. RD Laing frequently asserted that mental illness was rooted in the family, yet he treated his own family abominably. He abandoned his first five children and left them in penury. He went on to father five more children with three different women, had innumerable affairs, was subject to violent drunken rages and became obsessed with his own fame. Yet he treated patients with extraordinary compassion and empathy, qualities he denied his own family. . . . Read the rest here: http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/families/article6058901.ece.