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Oct 212014
 

Today,Tues 21 October, Oscar Pistorius received a five year jail sentence for the culpable homicide of his late girlfriend,  model and law graduate, Reeva Steenkamp.  Pistorius was controversially acquitted of Steenkamp’s murder on 14 February 2014 at his Pretoria, SA, home. He was convicted of her “culpable homicide.”

Oscar’s trial has attracted international coverage and  speculation about what may have driven Pistorius’  actions on the night of Reeva’s death. He claims to have fired at Reeva through a locked toilet door having mistakenly assumed she was an intruder.

Family Arrested blog readers who have been following the trial and  who are familiar with the traits of the “Cluster B” personality disorders may be interested in the conclusions of the psychiatric report on Pistorius’ mental health and personality, which was conducted by Dr. Jonathan Scholz.

 Judge Thokozile Masipe suspended the Pistorius trial for four weeks back in May 2014,  to have Pistorius sent for extensive psychiatric evaluation in Pretoria’s Weskoppies hospital. Dr. Scholz was asked to determine if Pistorius  could be held liable for causing Reeva’s death, and whether some mental impairment had influenced his actions that night.

 Oscar’s defence team had told the court that he suffered from a Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

 Pistorius’ behaviour in court – he repeatedly sobbed in an uncontrolled manner and frequently appeared to be about to vomit – raised questions about his fitness to stand trial.

 The Scholz report concluded that the athelete did not show signs of either borderline or anti-social/psychopathic personality disorder. It states that he showed symptoms of depression and stress, but that his levels of anxiety were in the normal range. Therefore the defence’s claim of G.A.D. was not supported by Dr. Scholz.

 The report can be read here:

 http://www.enca.com/oscar-trial-defence-releases-psychiatric-report

 It makes for interesting reading, and, I think, raises a number of questions as to the accuracy of its findings. The report appears to have been based largely, or entirely, upon interviews with, and examinations of, Pistorius himself. Oscar has been found to be rational, and he clearly had a vested interest in presenting himself to the team at Weskoppies hospital in a favorable manner.

 Dr. Scholz’s report advised Judge Masipe  that, ‘’no evidence could be found to indicate that Mr Pistorius has a history of abnormal aggression or explosive violence..He does not display the personality characteristics of Narcissism and / or Psychopathy that are mostly associated with men in abusive relationships. Those who know him describe him as gentle, respectful and conflict avoidant…His style of conflict resolution is to talk through the situation or remove himself from the situation.’’

 Yet these conclusions appear to be contradicted by documented reports of Pistorius’s unstable, intense moods, impulsivity, aggression, need for control in intimate relationships, and his fixation on guns, (which was unusual, even within a society as riven with violent crime as South Africa). These unfavorable aspects to Pistorius  appear to suggest the possibility that the athlete may, in fact, have pronounced borderline traits and perhaps, psychopathic traits.

 There is no mention in Dr. Scholz’s report of the association between borderline personality traits and abusive males. But , the  link between BPD and domestic / intimate partner violence is well-documented in  peer-reviewed literature (e.g. Ross and Babcock, 2009; Hines, 2008; Dutton and Tweed 1998; Porcerelli et al , 2004;  Tong, 2004). It is possible that Dr. Scholz did not reference BPD here, despite  Pistorius’ intense, highly emotionally unstable behaviours in court , as he may have consider these to be signs of PTSD.

 Dr. Scholz appeared to be  relying exclusively upon Pistorius’s self-reporting , and the positive reports of his close family and supporters , for evidence of his personality traits . His ex partners do not appear to have been consulted.

 This is problematic as borderline and psychopathic personalities are able to lie , even under stress, convincingly, in attempts to manipulate reality for their own gain. Both personality types are able to use the ‘pity play’ , and Pistorius’ self-presentation as a tormented, pitiful figure in court appeared strangely theatrical and manipulative to many, rather than as genuine psychological distress at the loss of his girlfriend and the pain he had caused her family.

 A reminder of the traits of borderline personality:

 -dramatic mood swings

 -sudden, intense bouts of  intense anger and aggression

 -unstable intimate partnerships involving ‘splitting’ ( a marked tendency to perceive others in unrealistic and extreme terms, either ‘all good’ or ‘all bad’ with rapid shifting between these two extremes possible)

 -persistent feelings of emptiness

 -unstable / confused self-image

 -harmful patterns of impulsivity

 -suicidal threats and / or attempts

 -when mentally distressed, paranoia, dissociation and brief episodes of psychosis are all possible

 Dr. Scholz’s reported  that Oscar Pistorius ‘’ does not display the personality characteristics …that are mostly associated with men in abusive relationships. Those who know him describe him as gentle, respectful and conflict avoidant’’. This view is not shared by his ex-partner Samantha Taylor and her mother Trish, who have spoken publically of Pistorius as showing traits of emotional instability and given to bouts of rage :

In an interview with CBS correspondent Debora Patta this year, Taylor said Pistorius was “very controlling.” “He always wanted to know where I was and who I was with,” Samantha Taylor told Patta. “If he didn’t believe me, he would phone my family.”

As is typical for abusive men, Pistorius was “very charming and respectful” when the two started dating, according to Taylor. But after about three months, she said he became ‘’agitated’’ and was prone to sudden rages.

 When apart from him, he insisted that Samantha send him photos of herself to show him how she was dressed and who she was sitting next to, as he required proof that she was not with other men, or partying. Taylor’s mother, Trish Taylor, said Pistorius’ behaviour towards her daughter were ‘’manipulative’’ and “very abusive” .

In September, Samantha Taylor gave another interview to the British Daily Mirror:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/oscar-pistorius-threatened-london-2012-4246667

Pistorius threatened not to run at in the 2012 London Olympics unless Taylor flew from South Africa to care for him, despite the fact that the couple had split up, due to Pistorius’ cheating and his controlling and aggressive behaviors:

 ‘’In a flurry of calls, emails and texts from London – sometimes 30 a day – he begged Samantha Taylor, 20, to join him.’’ ‘’He fumed, pleaded and sobbed down the phone to her at her home in South Africa.’’ Samantha said: “He was an emotional rollercoaster. He told me in an email if I don’t come over then he doesn’t want to participate in the Olympics.’’

 “He often cried just before a race while on the phone to me, and when he got up to get awards I could see he was sad. He also put his glasses on when he was on TV because he cried a lot.”

Sansone and Sansone in their Borderline Personality and Externalized Aggression ( Innovative Clinical Neuroscience 2012; 9.3)describe the following ways in which a borderline personality may externalize their aggression:

 -Intimate partner violence (both men and women)

-Non intimate assault (i.e., assault of individuals known to the perpetrator)

-Aggressive criminal behaviors (e.g.property damage, disorderly conduct, public     drunkenness/intoxication)

-Murder (e.g., familicide, serial killing)

 In 2009, Pistorius spent a night in the police  cells of the Boschkop police station after a student, Cassidy Taylor-Memmory, accused him of assaulting her during a party at his home. Pistorius initially faced a charge of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm that was subsequently downgraded to common assault. Pistorius settled the case out of court after mounting a claim for loss of earnings against Taylor-Memmory and damages for libel.

In 2012, Pistorius traded threats of violence in front of witnesses with TV producer,Quinton van der Burgh in a VIP room at the Kyalami racetrack. The animosity between the two men escalated, with Van der Burgh receiving numerous texts from Pistorius, including a threat to ‘’break his legs’’. Van der Burgh told the SA media that he was “scared for his life”.

 Former SA football player Marc Batchelor, who  socialised with Pistorius, described him to the media as someone who “had a trip switch”  and was quick to get angry and fight.

Pistorius applied for six gun weeks before killing Reeva with a licensed 9mm pistol. Video evidence emerged in the trial of Pistorius shooting repeatedly at a watermelon with the 9mm pistol and saying: “It’s a lot softer than brain, but **** it’s like a zombie stopper”.

Sean Rens, manager of manager of the International Firearm Training Academy near Johannesburg, told the court the double-amputee had “a great love and enthusiasm” for guns.

 Michael Sokolove, a sports writer for the New York Times , visited Pistorius in South Africa in 2011. “Oscar was more than a little crazy’’ he said. “We were driving 150 miles an hour… We were on some state’s turnpike, and he’s weaving in between cars and tailgating them. And just really insane driving. He saw it as sport.’’

In July 2014, whilst bailed to reside with his uncle during his murder trial proceedings, Pistorius had an altercation with businessman Jared Mortimer in the VIP section of a nightclub in Johannesburg. Mortimer said Oscar was intoxicated and started to poke him in the chest. Bouncers removed Pistorius after he “had a confrontation with another man”, Mr Mortimer was quoted as saying in  SA’s The Star.

Hours after the incident, the Olympic sprinter , using Twitter for the first time since killing Reeva, tweeted a bible verse, a collection of pictures of his charity work and a quote from Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning.

Here is a link to a piece in South Africa’s The Times, in which clinical psychologist Leonard Carr assesses the Whatsapp messages between Reeva and Pistorius which were entered as evidence during the trial; Carr sees signs of their relationship as abusive, with Pistorius displaying  narcissistic, controlling, manipulative and entitled attitudes:

 http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/2014/03/31/is-oscar-pistorius-the-boyfriend-from-hell

 Prosecutor Gerrie Nel presented evidence of these negative aspects to Pistorius’ personality to the court, and this was presumably taken into account when Judge Masipe determines the five-year sentence for his culpable homicide conviction.

 If Pistorius is personality disordered, rehabilitation attempts will not alter his negative personality traits, and further impulsive, aggressive or violent acts by him are highly likely.

 

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  53 Responses to “THE BLADE RUNNER MURDER Written by Blogger RHIANNONR

  1. Well, well, well… It just gets better and better all the time, doesn’t it???

    Pistorious granted bail- $692

  2. you know he rode his disability to stardom and now he is throwing a HUGE PITY PARTY, pooooor disable baby just can’t stand the rigors of prison….you know if he could run like the wind with his artificial legs, why can’t he walk like a man into prison for what he has done.?

    Well of course he can’t, because he is a narcissistic man who would kill a woman for trying to leave him. Why the court is falling for this I will never know

  3. Zen you are right there…my spelling has gotten awful and my typing is still fast but my fingers don’t always hit the right keys any more. So I definitely empathize with Phoenix, but your point is taken too….we don’t have to be perfect and I thought my whole life since I wasn’t perfect, I wasn’t good enough. But I tried to HIDE that I wasn’t “good enough” and thus the IMPOSTER SYNDROME….the spell check here just told me imposter was spelled wrong, but I double check it and it is right. Odd…anyway my first memory of feeling like I was hiding my imperfections was back in 7thn or 8th grade. I was the only one out of a class of 30 kids to get 100% on a spelling test and the teacher congratulated me as she handed out the papers on such a good job…and my first thought was “boy did I FOOL HER” So anytime I was complimented I DEVALUED that compliment and chalked it up to “fooling” people into thinking I did something right.

    Talk about LOW SELF ESTEEM….and yet, my performances were excellent but I kept on thinking I had “fooled” people into thinking I was doing well. Because I KNEW I was not perfect and anything less than PERFECT was NOT ACCEPTABLE.

    Of course I can look back NOW into my childhood and see where this feeling that I had to be PERFECT to even be acceptable came from, but of course children don’t know that this is being taught them because to a child the adults are the PERFECT example to strive for and even if the adults are mean to you, belittle you, well…of course YOU DESERVE IT because you are not up to standard…i.e. perfect.

    Once you can see that you were belittled in your childhood and by whom and why, you can somewhat “reparent” yourself and teach your “inner child” that not being perfect is OKAY. That if someone else doesn’t like you, it is THEIR problem not yours. That if someone you love betrays you, you do not have to ALLOW this continued behavior, you can walk away.

    I recently got a copy of the NEW OXFORD ANNOTATED BIBLE and have been reading it from Genesis onward. The annotations are very very interesting from both a historical point and a religious one. I’m still in the old Testament but it is interesting how many times even in the Old Testament the message is STAY AWAY FROM TOXIC PEOPLE…of course it is not worded like that, but that’s the message. “Evil companions corrupt good morals” and we are warned of the dangers of associating with evil people.

    Even if you are not a believer that the Bible is God’s word, there is much in there that is GOOD ADVICE for living a healthy life and staying away, going NO contact, with people who are abusive or criminal is a very good start to living a healthy life.

  4. Guys, I can spell, it’s just that some days I can’t TYPE worth a darn. lol Of course I clicked on Submit before I proofread and there you have it folks…. *sigh*

    Joyce, you NAILED IT when you said this- “if he could run like the wind with his artificial legs, why can’t he walk like a man into prison for what he has done?” Oh there is soooOOOooo much TRUTH to that!

    The part about being perfect and how adults are supposed to be perfect in a child’s mind… I have seen this too in my own kids. One of them brought home a spelling test they did not get 100% on. It was the first and only time it has happened. My son FREAKED OUT over it. OMG you would have thought his world was about to end! He put such pressure on himself to ‘compete’ in school, do his absolute best and BE the best at everything he tries to do…. He’s six and in his world he does not think it is ok to NOT be perfect at everything. Boy is this a new concept to teach him.

    • Phoenix, “perfection” comes from trauma, as far as I’ve learned. And, the “trauma” doesn’t necessarily have to be family dysfunction, but a dysfunctional family most certainly creates that fear. Why is that? Well, a child is caused to “feel” responsible for whatever adult issues are going on. They either shut down and totally disengage as a family member, or they try to “fix” things by being “better.” For me, regardless of what I attempted to do, of course, nothing EVER got better, so I would try harder and beat myself up for longer periods of time with the expectation that I would somehow develop whatever skill was required to create a “perfect world” within the family. This carried on into relationships, friendships, and places of employment. If I made myself indispensable, then I would not be used, abused, and abandoned.

      Now, having typed all of that, there is a tremendous amount of pressure on children, these days, that carries through public education – they are NOT learning anything of significance (typically) and are simply being prepared for testing. “Every Child Left Behind” has done no service to the countless participants in that farce, from children to teachers, to parents, to administration! So, that also has an influence on the perception of “perfection.”

      Blade Runner…………..VERY good point, Joyce, that he could OVERCOME his disability to win medals, but he’s TOO disabled to endure prison. WOW……..wow. Just…………wow…………..

      Spleeling………….spleeling isn’t impertent iz lung iz de pint gits a cross. (wink, snort, chortle)

      • Zen, I laugh at the spell check and the auto correct features of our computers. If I am typing an article I try to use the spell check, but for some reason on my internet I can’t access it so I just do a quick “once over” and go with it. LOL I’m getting to where I don’t beat myself up for not being perfect. LOL

  5. Zen that you so much for what you said in your first few sentences. This helps a lot in understanding some of the issues I’m having with the kids. The older kids get it that dad was a bit off his rocker and something wasn’t right. They know what was going on and seen/heard thing that were said and the bs that was going on. I’m pretty sure the younger one seen it too, but may not have had a grasp on what was actually happening, let alone the underlying issues.

    Add to the Every Child Left Behind the Core Curriculum being crammed down everyone’s throats and its a recipe for disaster.

  6. Phoenix, the stresses on kids now with the teachers having to “teach to the test” and what goes on at home with a disordered parent can sure make a difficult childhood for kids. I was speaking to a recently retired 4th grade teacher and she mentioned what a FARCE the new way they had to teach was and how it left the kids confused.

    Several of my friends with young children are home schooling their kids…REALLY home schooling them but unfortunately too many times both parents have to work and school is at best a baby sitter while the folks work. And of course single parents can’t home school their kids.

    The number of kids with a high school degree who can’t even make it in a community college disturbs me our local community college has a “remedial” first year for these kids who are learning to READ AND WRITE in “college” and yet they got a diploma from HS that said they had “passed” these requirements of learning.

    Little kids don’t deserve that kind of stress which only stresses them more when they go out into the “real world” where there are still more stressors.

  7. There’s a lot of discussion about the Core Curriculum being forced in the schools. It doesn’t make sense and keeps the parents from being able to help their kids with their homework. If the parents struggled in school without CC, what are we to expect of their kids if they are struggling in school With it?

    I was lucky to find a school that doesn’t focus on the CC method of math. They go over it enough to give the kids the idea of how to use it and get thru the tests, but it isn’t the Be All End All of mathematics. There’s always more than one way to do things.

  8. Phoenix, I actually took one of my kids out of public school back when it was illegal to do so and home schooled him for a while until I could get a private school I could afford that met his needs and I finally did find one. I’m sure glad I don’t have a kid in school now, I’m afraid I would be down at the school on a daily basis. LOL

  9. Joyce & Phoenix, it is a completely different world for kids, today. Schools are not teaching. They’re prepping for testing.

    However, what children have forever experienced is family dysfunctions and the effects can be devastating.

    I don’t blame ANY parent for taking their child out of public school as long as that parent is making an informed decision and NOT flying off the handle. If I could go back in time, I would have sorted out some means to send both of my sons to private schools – probably Parochial – even if I had to trade doing work in the school for tuition.

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