This article concentrates on an analysis of the Crime Minister’s three principal diagnoses:
paranoid, narcissistic and psychopathic personality disorders.
Attention will focus on the diagnostic criteria, delusions and defence mechanisms utilized in each condition as well as explicate the behaviours the above set of symptoms elicit.
Our Crime Minister has earned the diagnosis of being a Paranoid, Narcissistic, Sadistic Psychopath. But what exactly does this really mean? How does his psychological disturbance effect the citizens of Australia who are subjected to the unpredictable vagaries of his behaviour and decisions that ultimately controls their lives? This article aims to examine firstly the real meaning of his diagnoses and, secondly, the effect that his psychological disturbance has on the citizens over whom he presides.
Generally speaking, it should be noted that all personality disorders share the following characteristics: (i) an inability to deal appropriately with stress; (ii) an inability to respond to the restrictions imposed by work as well as the demands associated with being in a loving relationship; (iii) the capacity to continuously elicit interpersonal conflict; and (iv) a strange capacity to ‘get under people’s skin’ to the general distress of those who are so effected.
Personality disorders fail to manage their anger appropriately which can lead to overwhelming rages. They also fail to adapt to the real world by virtually demanding that the world adapt to them and their insatiable needs. Personality disordered individuals lack the capacity for empathy and fail to see themselves as others see them. This constitutes a complete lack of insight. Thus, patients with a personality disorder are frequently rejected by clinicians because they are so irritating in the treatment situation. Personality disordered individuals believe it’s the world that is the problem rather than themselves.
THE MEANING OF PARANOIA.
There are three kinds of paranoid conditions: (i) paranoid schizophrenia, (ii) paranoid psychosis and (iii) paranoid personality disorder. Paranoid schizophrenia is the most serious condition that is, fortuitously, treatable. The second most serious condition is paranoid psychosis that, once again is responsive to treatment. The third form of paranoia is least serious condition, but unfortunately, is not amenable to treatment by neither medication nor psychotherapy.
THE DIAGNOSTIC CRITERIA FOR PARANOID PERSONALITY DISORDER.
A pervasive and unwarranted tendency to interpret the actions of people as deliberately demeaning or threatening, as indicated by any four of the following: (i) an expectation of being exploited or harmed by others, (ii) questions the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates, (iii) reads hidden demeaning meaning into benign remarks of others, (iv) bears grudges and is unforgiving of insults or slights, (v) reluctant to confide in others for fear the confidence will be used against oneself, (vi) is easily slighted and can react with anger or counterattack, (vii) questions a partners’ sexual fidelity. (1)
The paranoid personality disorder is capable of unfeeling and cruel acts towards others in concert with such acts being common in the antisocial personality disorder and the psychopath. They are also liable to be litigious, moralistic and a collector of injustices. They are prone to exhibit rages and pathological jealousy. Their perceived demons are often very similar to the self, they fear both love and hate which leads to a rejection of intimacy. The set of delusions commonly found in paranoid conditions are many.
Those most common are:
(i) delusions of being controlled by some unspecified external force, (ii) grandiose delusions (including religiose delusions) that gives the person an exaggerated sense of importance, power and knowledge. The person may also harbour the delusional belief that he/she enjoys a special relationship with God, (iii) nihilistic delusions that involves the belief that either oneself or part of oneself does not exist, (iv) persecutory delusions in which the paranoid person believes that others intend him/her harm, (v) delusions of jealousy that includes the false belief that one’s partner is being unfaithful. This is usually associated with morbid jealousy. (1)
The paranoid personality also employs a number of immature defence mechanisms. These include acting-out, thought blocking, introjection, projection, passive aggression and regression. Of these, the four main defences used by the Crime Minister are: acting-out in which the Crime Minister verbally abuses and attempts to humiliate those with whom he disagrees.
Introjection in which the Crime Minister internalizes the aggressive characteristics of another. Projection in which he repeatedly engages in ‘blame-shifting’ in association with a total denial of all responsibility. Passive Aggression in which the Crime Minister repeatedly turns his back on Members of the Opposition when they are speaking and by disallowing Opposition Members to speak by gagging them with the ‘move that they no longer be heard.’
Thus, the above set of delusional ideations and the employment of immature defence mechanisms begins to paint a picture of the psychological disturbance exhibited by the Crime Minister. But the worst is yet to come.
NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER.
The Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) has been well described and researched in the psychoanalytic literature but has received much less attention in clinical psychiatry. However, the broad characteristics of NPD are thought to range from extreme vanity to immaturity and self-centeredness.
THE DIAGNOSTIC CRITERIA FOR NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER.
(i) reacts to criticism, with feelings of rage, shame or humiliation, (ii) is interpersonally exploitative: takes advantage of others to achieve his/her own ends, (iii) has a grandiose sense of self-importance, for example, exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be noticed as special without appropriate achievement, (iv) believes that his/her problems are unique and can only be understood by other special people, (v) is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love, (vi) has a sense of entitlement: unreasonable expectation of especially favourable treatment, for example, assumes that he/she does not have to stand in line when others must do so, (vii) requires constant attention and admiration, for example, keeps fishing for compliments, (viii) lack of empathy: inability to recognize and experience how others feel, e.g., annoyance and surprise when a friend who is seriously ill cancels a date, (ix) is preoccupied with feelings of envy. (1)
The last cited criterium is of critical clinical importance. The Psychoanalyst, Melanie Klein (2) formerly of Tavistock Clinic, London, wrote an impressive essay on Envy and Gratitude. Klein believed that envy was the root cause of all psychopathology.
This is particularly evident in narcissistic and psychopathic personality disorders. She argued that behind an individual’s lust for power is also the lust for the money that bestows power. She believed the main object of such lust was to reverse the envy equation. The envious person wants others to envy him for his worldly goods and public success in order to spare himself the pain of experiencing envious feelings.
Klein’s insight is readily evident in the Crime Minister’s behaviour. He brags about his enormous salary on Facebook that has grown exponentially from #500.000 plus to $700,000 plus in less than 2 years. He brags about his Faith, his private Jet, his populism but, sadly for him, few people are impressed.
In addition to the above, the Narcissistic Personality Disordered person relies on the use of six immature defence mechanisms. The first is projection, in which the person projects his/her unwanted and uncomfortable feelings onto another and then accuses that person of doing or feeling precisely that which they feel themselves.
The second common defence is projective identification. Here the narcissist transfers unwanted feelings into another in order to feel compatible with the object of the projection. Alternatively, the narcissist is prone to ‘DUMP’ the bad parts of himself into another which could well be the real basis of domestic violence.
It also explains why the victim finds it so difficult to leave, due to the unconscious need to ‘DUMP’ the unwanted feelings back into the perpetrator. Projective identification is an unconscious mechanism (as are all defences) that regularly occurs between people, such as partners, workmates, and those with whom one socializes.
The third defence is primitive idealization in which the narcissist categorizes objects as either ‘all good’, wherein the object is unrealistically idealized, or ‘all bad’ in which the object is devalued. The narcissist cannot tolerate idealization of an object for long without his considerable envy being aroused.
Devaluation of the object rapidly becomes the inevitable consequence as a means of ameliorating his envious feelings. Fourth, is splitting in which objects are again split in to either ‘all good’ or ‘all bad,’ but here an object can suddenly oscillate between these two categories in accordance with the internal contradictory feelings of the narcissist.
The fifth is denial, a defence the narcissist employs in order to avoid responsibility for some painful aspect of reality that was, in fact, the narcissist’s doing. The sixth is distortion in which the narcissist transposes some aspect of reality in order to satisfy some inner need.
Such distortions can be hallucinations, wish fulfilling delusions, megalomaniacal beliefs and sustained feelings of delusional superiority and entitlement. Distortion can also be manifested in religious beliefs.
From the foregoing it can be readily seen that the Crime Minister satisfies the psychopathology described in both Paranoid and Narcissistic Personality Disorders. Attention will now turn to his third diagnosis, that of Psychopathy.
THE PSYCHOPATHIC PERSONALITY DISORDER.
In recent times, the term ‘antisocial personality disorder’ (ASPD) has replaced the term ‘psychopath’ but Schlesinger (3) has reemployed the original terms ‘psychopath’ and ‘sociopath’ in order to distinguish between the three types of ASPDs.
Schlesinger reserves the term ‘psychopath’ to refer to the middle-class con man who rarely excites psychiatric attention and equally rarely invites penal incarceration. For Schlesinger, the ‘psychopath’ is a person of ‘good intelligence, loyal to oneself and lacking emotional depth’.
Conversely the term ‘sociopath’ is reserved for those who are substance abusers and engage in substance abuse-related crime, while ‘antisocial personality disorder’ refers to the criminal underclass, congregating in correctional institutions and who are predisposed to commit crimes of violence.
The nomenclature in relation to psychopath, sociopath and antisocial personality disorders has changed so often that the differentiation of these conditions has become extremely confusing.
However, Schlesinger’s diagnostic differentiation has now earned widespread acceptance. There are 20 indications of the psychopathic personality disorder, originally articulated by Hare (4) and referred to as the Hare Psychopathy Checklist
THE DIAGNOSTIC CRITERIA OF A PSYCHOPATH.
1. Glibness and superficial charm, 2. Grandiose sense of self-worth, 3. Need for stimulation, prone to boredom, 4. Pathological lying, 5. Conning and manipulative, 6. Lack of guilt and remorse, 7. Shallow affect, 8. Callous lack of empathy, 9. A Parasitic lifestyle, 10. Poor behaviour controls, 11. Promiscuous sexual behaviour, 12. Early behaviour problems, 13. Lack of realistic long-term goals, 14. Impulsivity, 15. Irresponsibility, 16. Failure to accept responsibility for actions, 17. Many short-term marital relationships, 18. Juvenile Delinquency, 19. Revocation of conditional release, 20. Criminal versality.
Given Hare’s check list, it can be readily seen that the Crime Minister regularly displays many of the 20 above mentioned behaviours.
He is a prolific pathological liar, devoid of empathy and is never willing to accept responsibility for his actions. He invariably blames others for his multiple mistakes and consistently denies they had anything to do with himself.
When confronted with his lies and dereliction of duty he obfuscates and continues with his insistence that the error is someone else’s fault. Sports Rorts immediately comes to mind. He is both impulsive and highly irresponsible, palming off his constitutional responsibilities onto the Premiers, particularly in relation to Aged Care and Quarantine.
Thus, when a given situation goes badly, he can readily blame the States, but when a situation goes well, he steals the credit for himself.
He is more than capable of turning on his superficial charm especially during an election campaign. During the last campaign he openly ‘love-bombed’ the voters and they loved him for that in return. He ate pies with them, he ate burgers with them, he drank beer with them and played sport with them. He was gregarious in extreme, and the voters thought he was a great guy.
That is until all his promises came to nought, especially with respect to the major con about delivering $30,000 worth of Franking Credits, promised if they voted for him. Those poor Pensioners had no idea what was meant by a Franking Credit and they were all unmercifully conned!
His grandiose sense of self was observed daily during the Victorian Lockdown. Whenever the Crime Minister was able, he commandeered the Victorian Premier’s Press Conference time slot. This behaviour became so regular and persistent that the Premier stopped releasing advanced notice as to when the Presser would be held.
The Crime Minister also had a very annoying habit of butting in when others in his group were addressing political issues on TV. He is so desperate for attention and admiration that he takes over the Presser and waffles on about absolutely nothing. His unscripted deliveries are terrible, full of circumlocution, repetition and verbiage.
These are more examples of his grandiose sense of self coupled with the narcissistic need to steal other’s thunder and to always be in the limelight himself. It is also an indication of his unbridled envy and his difficulty in generously sharing with others.
There is no effective treatment for psychopathy in terms of medication or psychotherapy. James Fallon MD (2013), a neuroscientist in the UC Irvine School of Medicine conducted a series of Positron Emission Topography (PET) scans on dozens of psychopaths. He found reduced activity towards the centre of the brain, called the orbital cortex, an area that regulates emotions, impulses, morality and aggression. In another study conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the researchers (unspecified) found that psychopaths have reduced connections between the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), the part of the brain responsible for sentiments such as empathy and guilt as well as in the amygdala, which mediates fear and anxiety.
Kent Kiehl PhD (2014), University of Mexico, also conducted a major study and found at least two abnormalities in the brains of adult psychopaths.
There was a lack of grey matter in the section involved in processing emotions while the area that reacts to excitement and thrills was overactive. Brain deficits have also been found in the prefrontal cortex in an area that facilitates cognitive flexibility and open mindedness (researchers unspecified).
Now that the abnormalities of brain structures have been revealed on PET scans, understanding psychopathy as a biological condition that can be genetically transmitted becomes more intelligible. Attention will now be turned to the effect that psychopaths have on others.
REFERENCES. 1 Kaplan, Harold I., and Sadock, Benjamin I. (1989). Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry/V, Volumes One and Two. Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, ML 2. Klein, M. Envy and Gratitude, (pp 176-235) in Envy and Gratitude (1988). Virago Press, London. 3. Schlesinger, Abigail M.D. Contributor to The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Personality Disorders. (2014). 4. Hare, Robert D. (2003). Manual for the Revised Psychopathy Checklist, (2nd ed.). Toronto, Ohio. 5. James Fallon MD (2013), Neuroscientist in the UC Irvine School of Medicine. California. The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist’s Personal Journey to the Dark Side of the Brain. (2015). Penguin. 6. Kent Kiehl PhD (2014). University of Mexico. The Psychopath Whisperer: The science of those without a conscience. (2015). Crown Press. New York