Mean behavior isn't always mental illness

OK – I continue my streak of NYTimesing (lookee! A verb!) and post a link to an essay by Dr. Richard Friedman about how chronically "mean" people may not have a mental illness. They are just… well, mean.

Friedman raises an interesting point about how psychiatry and psychology try to explain away so much of people’s behaviors via diagnosis that people aren’t left any room to be "normal." Mean people don’t need to be lumped into a category of "anger disorder" or some crazy nonsense like that. Perhaps there are people who have extreme issues with anger and need to learn behavioral techniques to get it under control. But other people at their very core like to hurt, manipulate, and demean others. This is not a mental illness. This is a human, sinful nature.

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2 Comments

  1. Bob Thompson said,

    February 28, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    The last sentence covers quite a bit of why people act like they do.

  2. Rick said,

    February 28, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    I’ve been intrigued by the diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder lately. I believe I have an ex spouse who could very easily fit the criteria.


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