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Missed Diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder in Oscar Pistorius case?

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A misdiagnosis happens more often than people think. Just because someone is a "professional" doesn't mean they have equal knowledge in all areas of their field. For example a neurologist with special expertise in epilepsy, may miss a stroke diagnosis on a child because of their bias toward their own specialty, despite the availability of appropriate testing.

So Oscar was diagnosed by criminal psychologist Jonathan Scholtz with major depressive disorder, which is a more run of the mill disorder vs the more stigmatizing narcissistic personality disorder.

Questions that should be asked are:

1. How familiar is Dr. Schultz with how people with disabilities perceive their environment? How many people with physical disabilities has he evaluated?

2. How often has Dr. Schultz been able to determine a Narcissistic Personality Disorder in his years of practice? How familiar is Dr. Schultz with that particular diagnosis?

3. How often has Dr. Schultz spoken with victims of emotional abuse? Does Dr. Schultz recognize emotional abuse as a precursor to a one time event of physical violence?

In many cases of domestic violence, there are no undue outward appearances since the emotional and/or physical abuse happens behind closed doors. The narcissist is a master at deception in real life and in the clinical setting. Often the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder is made only because the victim comes in for treatment of anxiety, and in the process of unraveling the cause of the anxiety, it is "accidentally" discovered that her partner has Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Some of Dr. Schultz' findings can be construed as biased: Oscar Pistorius feeling more vulnerable due to his disability and therefor more likely to to have a fight vs flight response when confronted with a potentially dangerous situation. Is that a disability excuse that all people with disabilities can use to explain why they killed someone? Would short people be able to use that same excuse? How about by virtue of being a woman, would that make us feel more vulnerable too?

Many people with physical disabilities would vehemently disagree with such an excuse, especially in Oscar Pistorius' case where his mobility was not impacted all that much, compared to a paralyzed person for example.

Oscar Pistorius has been juggling many different personas during the trial, and it seems that his "poor me" persona may have deceptively influenced Dr. Schultz's findings.

Already Oscar has been juggling three different personas in court:

The boyish wonder he stage-managed for the global media – who will challenge any obstacle and which refutes his disability; the humble, controlled, grieving Oscar for public consumption in the courts and the suave flash Harry, fast cars, gung-ho image of Oscar with adoring women draped on his arm.

Not only is the diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder difficult because of the deceptive nature of the narcissist, and how well they can stage a different persona for different occasions, but even among professionals there is a major discomfort and unfamiliarity with diagnosing this personality disorder. After all it's an ingrained pattern of behavior in which the narcissist expertly hides their disordered behavior to the point where even victims often have a hard time figuring out what is happening to them, until they've already left the relationship.

Of course there are people who were interviewed by psychologist Dr. Scholtz that describe Oscar Pistorius as gentle, respectful and conflict-avoidant. That's how he's portrayed himself to them.

There is no wisdom when crowds engage in fickle adulation of sports heroes. This false wisdom of crowds then spurs heroes on to greater inappropriate behaviour because they are so forgiving.

The diagnosis of major depressive disorder instead of Narcissistic Personality disorder could indicate another case of preferential treatment. After all, even professionals can be biased in favor of a celebrity.

Dr. Scholtz may have been taken in by, as Sam Vaknin, author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited, says:

The narcissist's deceiving emotional messages. The narcissist mimics real emotions artfully. He exudes the air of someone really capable of loving or of being hurt, of one passionate and soft, empathic and caring. Most people are misled into believing that he is even more humane than average.

They fall in love with the mirage, the fleeting image.

Even a complete battery of tests, administered by experienced professionals sometimes fails to identify abusers and their personality disorders. Offenders are uncanny in their ability to deceive their evaluators. They often succeed in transforming therapists and diagnosticians into four types of collaborators: the adulators, the blissfully ignorant, the self-deceiving, and those deceived by the batterer's conduct or statements.

Though the many forensic psychologists who identified major narcissistic traits in Oscar Pistorius' behavior didn't have the luxury of meeting with him daily for several weeks, their impression of Oscar didn't at all get validated by this one psychologist. Keeping in mind that the diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is on a continuum, much like autism spectrum is, there should have been some indication of narcissistic traits in the report instead of none as is purported. Very odd.

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