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Steven Olsen
Steven Olsen, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education
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I, and two more people in the following two years, was a

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I, and two more people in the following two years, was a junior coworker with a professional scientist in Australia in the 1960's. Was he a psychopath? He was:
1. Outwardly charming in manner and speech to newcomers.
2. Enjoyed publicly humiliating his juniors, but publicly apologized when his victim turned out to be right.
3. When no women present, talked only of defecation, flatulence, or sexual intercourse. 4. Once fired a rifle at an aeroplane high above, because, as he said, 'There are air hostesses in it.'
5. Enjoyed shooting emus when they came close.
6. Ignored data that contradicted his interpretation of evidence.
7. Was uninterested in others' interests.
8. Got an Ivy League University to award him a PhD with a thesis based on work done before entering that university; did no new research for the thesis, and typed it in large font with overlarge margins all round to increase number of pages.
9. Denigrated one of the kindest and most good-natured scientists I worked with after I left his control.
10. Asked his first junior coworker (myself) to write part of the report on the year's work, then ignored it, took coworker's name off the list of authors, and sid nothing of this until the report was issued, under his name alone.
11. In 2008, complained that no-one ever asked him to any social occasions.
12. In 1996, burst into tears at a private dinner with a long-time colleague and his wife in the mid-1990's.
13. Earlier this year (2010) wrote a 4-line note of apology to his first junior co-worker (myself) after reading the MS (in prep) of my book describing the events that occurred in my 40 years' fieldwork, including the first year, with him.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Steven Olsen replied 7 years ago.

It is difficult to tell if he is a psychopath or simply narcissistic, with very strong antisocial traits. The cruelty to animals, cruelty to unknown and known persons as well as a complete disregard for social norms, respect and conventions supports your belief however.

Without doubt he clearly has anger and aggression issues and is self centered, untruthful, deceptive and self absorbed. However, true psychopaths, in the purest diagnostic sense have no conscious whatsoever, and are the ultimate self for self in terms of motivation. This could be the case here but there is the issue of the apology statement that he made in early 2010. This is an anomaly in the pattern and unless it has an ulterior motive, is uncharacteristic of the disorder.

Is he a sociopathic personality? Perhaps. He is definitely making a strong case for the diagnosis, that is for certain

What should you do? At his age, the odds that he will change are not good, guarded prognosis actually. Most experts simply say that the best way to handle someone with this issue is as you have, via avoidance. If you have to meet, meet only on your terms so that manipulation and harm potential are kept to a minimum.

I will say that you question is fascinating and I hope your book turns out well. You colleague appears to be an excellent person to avoid...

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