Instead, Oscar Pistorius, the former Olympic and para-Olympic track star, actually may be suffering from a different – and very real – mental disorder, one that explains his peculiar behaviour in and out of court.
Does his behaviour prove that he has narcissistic personality disorder?
Oscar Pistoriusâ??s (recent) performance in court was a tour de force, though probably not as the defence intended. If it proved anything, it may be that Pistorius has narcissistic personality disorder.
To me, Pistoriusâ??s behaviour, not just in court on Day 17 yesterday, but today and every day since he shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentineâ??s Day last year, speaks volumes of his utter self-absorption and lack of empathy, and asking others to accept blame â?? all hallmarks of narcissistic personality disorder.
Iâ??m not a trained psychologist, but I studied it at university, and study it informally. Iâ??m fascinated by the dark side of human behaviour that makes people commit horrific acts, then act as if they have special dispensation that absolves them from responsibility for their actions.
Was heartfelt, tearful apology part of Rouxâ??s strategy?
Defence attorney Barry Roux probably thought he was being brilliantly strategic in getting Pistorius to start off with an apparently heartfelt, tearful apology to Reevaâ??s mother, June. Roux must subscribe to the adage that late is better than never.
As for all those tears and ramblings from Pistorius about his God, his God of refuge, who helped him win, and get through the last year â?? Johannesburg forensic psychologist Leonard Carr points out in a Jacaranda FM interview, it was all about what God can do for Pistorius, not any sense of apology or responsibility towards God.
Nightmares, sleeping tablets and dogs
Pistorius laments at length about how he canâ??t sleep despite taking anti-depressants and sleeping tablets, the nightmares, how he wakes terrified, the smell of blood in his nostrils, how he loves dogs, how he leapt from his car brandishing his gun to save a taxi driver being beaten up on the roadside; and generally is exhausted from it all.
Itâ??s so obsessively all about him, it makes me want to do what Pistorius does so often in this trial to get all attention focused on himself: vomit.
What doesnâ??t seem to occupy Pistoriusâ??s mind, says Pretoria clinical and forensic psychologist Ivan de Klerk, is that Reeva will never sleep, be tired, or sad, or happy about anything or anyone ever again, thanks to him.
Overwhelming need for admiration
De Klerk says he canâ??t diagnose Pistorius with narcissistic personality disorder, without consulting him, but agrees that Pistorius demonstrates many of the hallmarks, along with an overwhelming need for admiration, and especially a lack of remorse.
Whatâ??s that, you might say â?? did De Klerk say lack of remorse? Surely thatâ??s exactly what Pistorius thought he was demonstrating in court yesterday?
If he thought that, then he failed miserably, De Klerk says. Pistorius missed the remorseful boat completely. The time for that was more than a year ago, right after February 14, 2013 to be exact. Then he should have shown remorse, declared, â??Mea culpaâ?, acted as if he believed he had done something terrible and deserved to go prison.
First legal action was to fight the bail application
Instead, Pistoriusâ??s first legal action was to fight the bail application, demand his passport, the right to travel, train and race again if he felt like it. In other words, be free, and not have to take responsibility for what he had done â?? hardly the actions of a remorseful man, says De Klerk.
He says remorse in the legal sense is the key on which these types of cases hinge, and it can mean the difference between a life sentence or 12 years for Schedule 6 murder â?? premeditated murder Â â?? which Pistorius currently faces.
So far, De Klerk says he hasnâ??t seen anything to suggest that Pistorius is truly remorseful
â??People cry and say theyâ??re sorry not necessarily because theyâ??re remorseful, but because they got caught.â?
Carr is equally damning of Pistoriusâ??s performance in and out of court. On Jacaranda FM, he describes Pistorius as a vain man, driven by image, and a life â??centred around performanceâ?, one who clearly has anger and impulse control issues.
Carr finds â??very strangeâ? reports that Pistorius employed a PR team from England (since dispatched) to manage his image immediately after the shooting, quickly returned to training, has been flirting, is in a new relationship with a 19-year-old, but suddenly is presented in court as â??this vulnerable bloke suffering from chronic post-traumatic stress despite being on a cocktail of medicationâ?.
Is Pistorius being sincere?
Carr says: â??I may be cynical but it reminds me of (Hollywood) actor George Burns who said: â??The secret of great acting is sincerity. If you can fake it, youâ??ve got it madeâ??.â?
Initially published on Biznews.com Republished by kind permission of Editor, Alec Hogg, and author Marika Sboros.