Wed 18th June 2008, 6:18pm
QUOTE(Piperdown @ Wed 18th June 2008, 5:37pm)
is there anyone on WP with a high profile that isn't a psycho?
This deserves its own thread, but personality disorders of one type or another are very common in society. At least 1% of people are remorseless sociopaths, if not outright psychopaths (depending on your definition) and it's even more if you believe these things are the mere tail ends of a narcissistic-spectrum disorder which extends from the simple delusion of person X who thinks he's proven all Einstein's theories wrong (not withstanding his lack of decent math skills or any advanced degree) to the full-blown type who believes that they never make moral mistakes, and hardly ever make mistakes in fact. These people have no real self-insight. They are children of age 3 emotionally, and never improve.
And god help you if you cross them and they happen to be in a position of power. They can make terrible and relentless enemies, and if they have an admixture of paranoia (not uncommon) they're all the worse. Paranoia and narcissism go hand in hand because the one can be used to explain the failings of the other. The narcissist asks subconsciously: if I'm practically-perfect and amazingly bold and smart, how come I'm not ruler of my own kingdom? Well, obviously the world is out to get me in some fashion, due to their recognition that I have the insight to bring the whole rotten place down!
These genes for this disorder survive because they are sometimes useful. One may even find narcissists running major corporations and in high positions in government (though usually not elected ones). They can also make excellent lackies and often spies, but do not make the mistake of firing one, because they've usually been collected and duplicating all the dirt on your organization for years, and they're just the kind of people who can threaten a really nasty employee lawsuit, using records to name names, dates, places, small accounting errors, and so on. Since no organization is perfect, one finds them going from job to job to job with undisclosed legal-settlements each time. And there is also a string of similar divorces.
If you'd like a little taste, consider Salinger's firing of SlimVirgin, in her incarnation as journalist-wanna-be. In her mind, that could not have been for incompetence. Thus, either a conspiracy of terrorists, or (aha!) Salinger had suffered from dementia for his last 10 years, and perhaps (we may infer) some pre-effects even before that. If your boss has great credentials, you have few recourses if he fires you and you can't blame yourself. Only a demented person would fire a practically perfect employee, unless coerced by the Dark Forces. And it took Slim years to get that into Salinger's unauthorized bio on WP. But she did it. Even death does not save you from the wrath of the narcissist.
Did I mention danger and time? People who kill their spouses almost always fit neatly into this category. Short of murder, the costly divorces of rich narcissists (think of the film The War of the Roses
) are what give narcissistic divorce lawyers nices houses in the Hamptons. Roy Cohn didn't make all that money working for Nixon!
So quite frequently, it's not worth the time to fight one of these people, once you identify them. Don't hire them. Don't work for them. For godssake, stay away from venues where they have power, if you can. If you were suckered into it, find ways of disconnecting in ways that hurt the least.
Sometimes justice and outrage demands you do something about eggregious ones, but if, in your mind, you have the idea that you're going to "win," and have them admit error and/or gain self insight, forget it. Many imprisoned persons are raging narcissists. But you cannot punish a narcissist-- all you can do is HURT them. They learn nothing from it. So if you're on your crucade to de-fang on behalf of the next person in to be mauled, good luck. If you're in it to acheive a football or poker victory, you don't understand the game. This is not a person who will let you have the pot with a smile. They'll accuse you of cheating. They might shoot you. In the end, any poker chips you get won't be worth the emotional cost.