10 April 2014

South Africa: Analysis - Will the Real Oscar Pistorius Please Stand Up?

Under pummelling cross-examination, Oscar Pistorius admitted Thursday that he had "no reason" to fire the shots that killed Reeva Steenkamp, as ... ( Resource: Pistorius at Trial Admits 'No Reason' to Fire Fatal Shots )


Oscar Pistorius' time on the stand is bringing out the pop psychologist in many of us. Of course, we're never likely to get anywhere close to the "real" Pistorius from watching him testify, or hearing the evidence led in his prosecution or defence. The former seek to portray him as an angry, narcissistic, responsibility-shirking gun fiend; the latter as a humble, religious, respectful young man. Neither version is likely to be wholly accurate.

There's a piece currently doing the rounds which suggests that murder-accused Oscar Pistorius is suffering from narcissistic personality disorder. It's not written by a trained psychologist, but that hasn't stopped it being shared enthusiastically. The piece seems to have struck a chord with many who feel fundamentally distrustful of Pistorius' emoting on the stand. The majority of these, it must be said, appear to have pre-judged him guilty of premeditated murder.

Narcissistic personality disorder is defined as "a condition in which people have an excessive sense of self-importance, an extreme preoccupation with themselves, and lack of empathy for others". Among the symptoms are a reaction to criticism with "rage, shame or humiliation", "unreasonable expectations of favourable treatment", and a need for constant attention and...

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