The mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik (he murdered 77 and injured 315 people, most of them children and young people, in and outside Oslo in Norway 2011) had a personality disorder as a child has been known before. But in connection with a trial between the mass murderer and the Norwegian state that was underway 2016, more information is now emerging from the investigations that the State Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (SSBU) made of Anders as a young child.

Anders’ mother became pregnant with him at the age of 17 and was reportedly complained about the baby during her pregnancy. According to the investigation, she said she perceived the child as evil. When her son was born, she stopped breastfeeding him because she felt he was “sucking the life ” out of her.

Documentation shows that Breivik exhibited a disturbance when he was two-year-old and that he was rejected by his mother, who called his young child evil and mean. She was also judged to be trying to project her sexual fantasies onto her son. Anders’ mother, in turn, came from a troubled childhood. Her mother had polio when she was born and became lame from the waist down. She developed schizophrenia and, according to medical investigations, blamed her daughter for the disease. For SSBU, Breivik was a typical third generation. In the police investigation, the psychologist develops this:

“At this time, they were working on something called the third-generation principle. You have parents who have had a difficult childhood with their parents and then are unable to relate to their own children and then it will go really crazy for this generation.”

In 1983, the family, which also consisted of an older sister, was admitted to the SSBU Family Department for Observation. Anders was diagnosed as a “difficult child” and lacked the joy of life that a normal four-year-old usually exhibits. Breivik told her son, “I wish you were dead.” She was deemed to be on the verge of psychotic. While she rejected her son, she tried to cling to him.” Anders falls victim to his mother’s projections of paranoid aggressive sexual fear of men in general” and “she projects her primitive aggressive and sexual fantasies onto him”. The SBBU believed that Breivik should be placed in foster care, but social services said no.” An incompetent Barnevern (equivalent to social services) and the mother’s aggressive lawyer prevented this,” said the psychologist who was questioned by police ahead of the trial. The psychologist noted that it was obvious that Anders was at risk of developing difficult problems, but that SBBU could not do anything because it was the social service who had the last say. The psychologist said: “It is tragic that nothing was done about the care situation at the time, because then Anders’ development would have been completely different. It’s an extreme expression of the price society pays for having a weak social service.”

No matter how terrible Anders’ act is, it’s still hard not to feel sorry for the child Anders who must have lived in hell. The worst part is that this was known by the authorities, but they did nothing to help him out of this. The consequence of this is terrible. The Breivik case should be a reflection at a time when we are cutting back on health, education, and social care, not only from the perspective that the children affected by the cuts may later in life become a burden on society, but also from a purely humane perspective, it’s about children who get hurt.