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Saturday, December 23, 2017

Borderline Personality Disorder alert: Rosie O'Donnell

Rosie O'Donnell was in the news recently for having offered $2 million apiece to Senators Jeff Flake and Susan Collins to vote against the tax bill. In another tweet, she offered $2 million to any Republican Senator who would vote no. This may or may not have been an illegal offer of a bribe; opinions on that seem mostly determined by one's political outlook.

In any case, after seeing the picture accompanying the article, it occurred to me that I'd never seen a picture of O'Donnell where she's wearing a normal smile. In every situation where she's supposed to smile, she's wearing a weird forced grimace instead. Here are a few examples of that:


Rosie with adopted (and now estranged) daughter Chelsea:


Rosie and first wife Kelli Carpenter (their marriage was annulled the year they got married):


Rosie and second wife Michelle Rounds, to whom she was married for three years:


Google-image "Rosie O'Donnell smiling" and you won't find a single picture of her actually doing that.

I've seen people with Aspergers who, when they're supposed to smile, just open and widen their mouths instead. But O'Donnell doesn't have Aspergers.

I've also seen sociopaths who never smile. But that tends to be more of a dominance thing, a statement that everyone else is there to please him, and show him they like him, not vice versa.

But O'Donnell's not a sociopath, either. She's not charming, nor is she a skillful liar, nor is she a con artist. And if she were a sociopath she'd have more self control, and would know how to simulate, at least for a short while, decency.

Nor is she an ordinary narcissist, since she never appears happy with herself -- witness her inability to smile.

But she obviously has some identifiable syndrome. The way she flies into rages, her never-ending, countless spats, and the fact that none of her relationships last for any length of time all point to an extremely difficult personality.

It has to be borderline personality disorder.

She's just constantly in a rage, and it appears to be something she has no control over. (The Left tries to apply the label "hater" to the Right all the time, but if you want to see what a real hater looks like, look at the pictures above.)

She was an extremely demanding boss, as former staffers on OWN's The Rosie Show seem to be more than willing to attest. She constantly belittled her staff and changed her mind about what she wanted.

Before that, in 1996, she had her own daytime TV talk show on NBC. When it started, she announced that she wanted to be known as the "Queen of Nice" (in contrast to Leona Helmsley, the hotelier who at the time was known as the "Queen of Mean"). But that didn't quite square with the fact that O'Donnell fired four separate executive producers in her first year on the show.

If she had fired just one, it would be possible to believe the producer was incompetent, or otherwise lacking. If she'd fired two, it still might be possible. But once the number got to three, it became pretty obvious that the producers weren't the problem. At four, there was no room for doubt.

What really made that galling was her public pose as the "Queen of Nice." That was about as credible as the crush she claimed to have on Tom Cruise.

According to Wikipedia, there is a "strong correlation between child abuse, especially child sexual abuse, and development of BPD." O'Donnell claims that she was sexually abused as a child.

One of the hallmarks of BPD is fear of abandonment, and O'Donnell's mother died unexpectedly of cancer when Rosie was 11.

Neither of these things are her fault, of course. But that doesn't help the people she regularly lashes out against.

Borderline Personality Disorder is an ugly syndrome, and Rosie is its poster child.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can you do one about a histrionic?
-Ga

John Craig said...

Ga --
Honestly, I can't think of any famous histrionics off the top of my head.

Actually, I just looked it up on Wiki to refresh my familiarity with it, and one person occurred to me: Jim Carrey. I'll get to him sooner or later. (Two-thirds to three-quarters of people who are diagnosed with it are female.)

John Craig said...

Ga --
PS -- Just Googled "famous people with histrionic personality disorder" and one list included Megan Fox, Marilyn Monroe, Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, and Anna Nicole Smith. I guess the whole widely despised "famous for being famous" crowd is far more likely to have it.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, the #1 sign of narcissism is an inability to tolerate criticism, and the #1 sign of sociopathy is unprovoked malicious behaviour.

Based on involuntary field research, I'd say that the #1 sign that someone is borderline is willingness to talk about (alleged) mistreatment. Borderlines will readily tell all and sundry about how badly they were once abused, even to people they barely know. I'm sure abuse does happen tragically often, but normal people keep it between themselves and a few trusted confidants. The borderlines I've known seem to relish talking about it, just as much as I enjoy picnics on warm summer days. They love thinking of themselves, and being thought of, as victims. They twist stories, too. Investigate a borderline's story closely enough, and you'll sometimes find details added to spice up an otherwise mundane tale.

My involuntary 'field research' as taught me to spot Cluster B types early. Basically, take note of how people talk about others. How they talk about others behind their backs is how they'll talk about you when you're not there. The Desiderata says "avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit", and I think its author was referring to Cluster B types, whether he consciously knew it or not.

- Gethin

Anonymous said...

I think that Rosie is doing the best that she can. She's had quite a lot of traumatic events in her life, especially the loss of her mother.

- birdie

John Craig said...

Gethin --
I agree with you about the number one sign of narcissism. As far as sociopathy, that's definitely one of the leading indicators; I'm not so sure that constant dishonesty doesn't rank ahead though.

Regarding BPD, I just haven't known enough of them (knowingly, at least) to be able to say. What you say sounds plausible, but of the two I've known best, neither talked about having been abused in the past. (I suspect both may have been, though not necessarily sexually.) I agree completely about the twisting of stories; one would always twist things so that she was the victim, and then she would use that twisted version to work herself up into a rage that would last for days.

I hadn't been familiar with "The Desiderata of Happiness," had to look it up, thank you for turning me on to it. What a beautiful poem. (I think I've heard parts of it before.) When you mentioned it, I thought it was a part of the Bible. Agree, he was referring to Cluster B persons, though they weren't called that back in 1927. The Bible actually makes reference to sociopaths, too, though of course it doesn't use that term.

John Craig said...

Birdie --
You're a lot more sympathetic than me. I acknowledge that Rosie can't help but have BPD. But her behavior makes it awfully hard to sympathize with her, and I've been reading about her in the news for a long time.

Here's one example you may not be familiar with: she actually forbade her first wife, Kelli Carpenter, from breast feeding her own biological daughter after the first month or two, because it angered Rosie that those two were having that bonding experience. what kind of woman forbids another woman from breast feeding her own baby?

Anonymous said...

Histrionic disorder is heavily based on the older diagnosis "hysteria". I see that word pop up 100x of times in old Freudian aged books or diagnoses. Hitler was diagnosed as a "hysteric/histrionic" dozens of times and the psychiatrist who treated him in WW1 I think gave his opinion he had "hysteria". It sounds histrionic was thrown around a lot.

I imagine a lot of disruptive prankster types on youtube, the ones like this guy:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NH3CkZ99Y0I
Are either pretending to be histrionic/hysteric for stupid fun or are a little bit histrionic.

I don't know much about Jim Carrey, but if he puts a little bit of himself into his movies or shows, I can see he is a bit of an attention seeker:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZDeAMNIXg8
He is like Nicholas Cage, an actor that plays "himself" in almost every movie.
And I googled and found this clip of him on Ellen:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAwD_9XY5CA

I wonder what his relationships romantic and platonic are like, if he is histrionic/hysteric.


-Ga

Anonymous said...

Gethin, what is the no. 1 sign of histrionic in your opinion?
-Ga

John Craig said...

Ga --
I've heard a lot of different analyses of Hitler, I'm not sure what to believe. To me, he's a little like Kim Jong Un in that he really doesn't fit into any of the standard molds all that well.

The guy in that Youtube clip would seem to be histrionic, and maybe he is, but that clip was only a small snapshot, and he was obviously hamming it up for the camera. Plus, t's my impression that black people don't always fit into the same categories for the same sets of reasons the whites do.

I've always found Carrey to be intolerable. And yes, he acts like that all the time. Now that I think of it, Robin Williams was the same way, and was always maniacally trying to be the center of attention even when off stage. I wonder what would have happened if those two had ever met, both needed to badly to be the center of attention.

Anonymous said...

I realize that Rosie has a difficult personality, that she can be aggravating. People with BPD struggle with jealousy (correct me if I'm wrong). She might have seen the baby as competition with her love interest, Kelly, at the time that the child was being nursed. I suspect that my mother had this disorder and she would sometimes get jealous if my dad was just conversing with a family female friend. They're difficult personalities to say the least.

- birdie

John Craig said...

Birdie --
Must have been hard of you growing up with another with BPD. Did your mother eve go into rages that would last for days?

Anonymous said...

She would go into rages, but they didn't last days. Once she blew up, stewed a bit, she was back to her usual self. She had zero remorse over her blow-ups. My mother could explode on anyone.

- birdie

John Craig said...

Birdie --
So you must have grown up with some amount of Stockholm Syndrome. It's my impression that people who have to deal with BPD people have to essentially walk around on eggshells all the time.

Anonymous said...

Ga: probably making stories up, or adding false details to true stories *on a constant basis* (not just maliciously like borderlines, but also for fun - like sociopaths do). Histrionics are drama queens; they gossip *all the time*, and they tend to have poor concentration spans. I love the chick flick 'Mean Girls' for its (somewhat exaggerated) portrayal of the condition. I'd argue that the histrionics are the biggest loud mouths of the whole Cluster B family, and so the easiest to spot and avoid. As such, they're less able to hurt others because people see through them early.

John: I've also heard all sorts about Hitler, and I can't place him. He lied in 'Mein Kampf' about doing better in school than he did do, but I'm not sure whether that's significant for diagnosis. The book is frustratingly disjointed: he meanders and doesn't seem to be able to think clearly. Before publishing, someone with a PhD tried to edit it to make it more readable, but Hitler just changed it back. This reminds me of the sociopaths who defend themselves in court, as though they can do better than trained lawyers. But he didn't have the superficial charm common in sociopaths, hence why he's an enigma.

- Gethin

John Craig said...

Gethin --
I'm reluctant to just say Hitler was a sociopath because his mother adored him, he was fond of animals, in fact was a vegetarian, and he seemed to have a long-term, stable relationship with one woman (Eva Braun). I'd always meant to read Mein Kampf, but never got around to it, after hearing your opinion, I'll take it off my list.

Someone like Josef Mengele is far easier to pigeonhole as a sociopath.

Anonymous said...

One of the best portrayals of borderline I've seen recently is Kylo Ren from the sequel Star Wars trilogy. His grandfather Darth Vader was diagnosed by professionals as being a good fictional example of very accurate Borderline. So maybe there is a hereditary component.

I do want to muse, I suspect there is a character defect borderline, and something else more organic. The former seem to enjoy hurting and manipulating, don't seem out of control but know well what they are doing, the latter would be the group that wishes they were normal which I've seen in a few youtube comments about the condition, are self aware, it could be a problem with neuroses and the psyche or something like that, problems with the amygdala or wherever, a brain condition, not a personality, more primal, less complex, manifestion of symptoms.

The former type, I believe many engage in behavior to justify or create a narrative. Since BPD makes a person sensitive to emotions around them, they may misinterpret this as being a very "sensitive" or "deep feeling" person. You can find on their facebook walls pictures of flowers, art they draw, and they put up a display of being a "free spirited" deep person, they then claim their attacking behavior is them "crumbling under the pressure of this world" or "I am such a sensitive person, I've been hurt in the past, it's so hard when people are so cruel in this beautiful world". They choose to be open and nice to someone, acting very civil, while ranting and spitting vitriol behind a persons back later because they showed up 5 minutes late.

Where do I get this? I know a person who is like this, I suspect these are all borderline signs, and her other behaviors make sense to me if you factor them in like that. Now is she
a stereoptypical female borderline? Do many of them act this way?

Of course this is just one person I know about. A male borderline? I never met one, but Kylo Ren or Darth Vader/Anakin Skywaler seem to be what I imagine.

-Ga

John Craig said...

Ga --
I wonder if the "character defect" variety of Borderline you see aren't actually sociopaths. The things you quote them saying remind me a lot of some of the Prison Pen Pal advertisements you see. But you make a good point about those kinds of quote, they do come from people who aren't criminals as well, and what does it mean? I hadn't thought of those statements as being reflective of a particular syndrome before, merely as a sort of pretension; but you could be right, maybe they do hint at borderline. One thing I do know, people who tell you that they have a "high emotional IQ" not only have average regular IQ's, but the emotions they're in touch with are generally only their own.

Anonymous said...

I've heard a theory that Hitler might not actually have known about all the stuff that went on in the concentration camps. He certainly hated the Jews (he says enough about that in 'Mein Kampf'), but it's unclear about whether he meant for them to be treated as they were, as his (initial) plan was actually to deport them to Madagascar. The theory goes that his underdogs might have misinterpreted his antisemitic rants and implemented what they did without his direct approval. When the Soviets captured Auschwitz, his reply was "oh" and then he immediately started asking about something else. Had he known more detail about Auschwitz, the theory goes, he'd have expressed more concern ("oh no, I hope they didn't find anything incriminating", "I hope the guards destroyed the evidence" and not just "oh"). I'm not saying I necessarily buy the theory because there may be alternative explanations for his behaviour, but it's food for thought. So, if there is any weight to this theory, the fact that he was a vegetarian and animal-lover might not be too inconsistent.

I've heard rumours that he was an Aspie, though! Could there be any truth to that?

- Gethin

Anonymous said...

Did you see the recent Star Wars films? I really think Kylo Ren is the epitome of borderline, even moreso than his grandfather Vader.

If you haven't seen it, well...c'mon you gotta treat yourself to some popcorn flicks once in a while. Just switch off your brain sometimes and watch something fun.

-Ga

John Craig said...

Gethin --
I've heard that theory too.

I have a hard time believing that an Aspie would have been as successful as Hitler at bending the German people to his will, at stirring up crowds the way he did with his speeches, and at leading the nation for as long as he did.

John Craig said...

Ga --
I like switching off my brain as much as anyone, but sorry, even with my brain switched off, I just don't consider Star Wars fun.

Anonymous said...

Gethin,
Maybe Hitler had something we have not yet discovered. People didn't know about Polio hundreds of years ago, they just though people for no reason couldn't move all of the sudden, but then someone discovered it exists and it has been causing people to lose control of their limbs.

We've barely scratched the surface, someone once said psychology/psychiatry is like a bunch of medieval scholars being presented with a computer (the brain) and trying to figure out what makes it tick, they have no clue how a computer would work, but they could figure out some cause and effect from it, they could use the monitor to crack walnuts and pass that off as an amazing discovery.

They don't even know where or how memories are stored, if they are even "stored" as if they are made up of some substance.
https://aeon.co/essays/your-brain-does-not-process-information-and-it-is-not-a-computer

Or you can go with what almost everyone said back in the 40s about Hitler "paranoid hysteria". Did you read the OSS report on him by Walter Langer?
http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/people/h/hitler-adolf/oss-papers/text/profile-index.html
It's all over the place, it says he is this and that instead of giving a diagnosis of one modern condition.
"A neurotic who lacks adequate inhibitions" "A hysteric, not a paranoiac as commonly believe" "learned or acquired, not natural, schizoid (not schizophrenia, it means a lack of appreciation for objective reality) behavior" "not insane, but not fully in touch, rather he is trying to adjust his enviroment to stay in touch and is aware of his actions but supresses it" "inverted sense of morality rather than lacking one altogether" "not a natural brute, but role playing as one to satisfy his narrative" "will commit suicide in the final year of the war when the weight of his actions catch up to him and his grandiose plans crumble (he predicted this correctly)."

So yeah....in other words no straight answer from him even. But not everyone fits into a neat category, ever person develops in a unique direction, we have categories based on whether we can group some people together for convenience, but if we look at the organic aspects, it becomes blurry. The genes for numerous disorders overlap, some people with genes never develop any, some without do somehow, even identical twins differ despite identical DNA. One can be gay, other straight, so many factors we are blind to.

In the future, we may lose many categories, and gain new ones. Dwarfism is over two dozen conditions unrelated resulting in short stature. Each one has something in common to be called dwarfism, but the individual manifestations differ greatly in certain areas.

And there are people who occupy areas between our currently named disorders, whose behaviors don't fit any one.

Like schizoaffective, given to people who have bipolar symptoms but not enough for bipolar diagnosis, and schizophrenic symptoms but not enough for a diagnosis. They give off a different vibe than a person with diagnosed with both conditions though. And it's likely many people bridge the gap for numerous disorders which leaves us confused since they have a different air about them than someone with two disorders.

I'm on the autism spectrum, but talking to one other person on it, she has told me "You aren't so vanilla like me or other's I've met. You are a bit less stereo-typically autistic in some ways but have more problems in other mental health areas. You can be paranoid. You are sorta different even among other people on the spectrum."

To sum it all up: We don't know that much yet. There are unique people, outliers, everywhere. We barely have scratched the surface, people 100 years from now will look back and think we were ignorant.

-Ga