What's the Matter with Bob Filner and Where's Waldo?

What’s the Matter with Bob Filner?  

It’s become this week’s national Where’s Waldo.

I haven’t personally assessed Bob Filner, however, from my desk, and in the diagnostic world, Filner would probably fall in the Axis II category, somewhere along the Personality Disorder continuum.

Maybe he’s a Narcissist. Those gents (not always men) cannot imagine that their wily ways are not supremely wonderful. Bill Clinton was often lay-diagnosed as a Narcissist. Narcissists aren’t always bad, and in fact, their chi pushes the world forward. Only humongous egos would think, “I’m going to do something that no other human being has ever done before…invent a hand held computer,” or, bring back Irish dancing for one billion people to enjoy!

Women can be Narcissists too, but they are less professionally and culturally tolerated. Somehow, really large confidence  is seen more jocular in ambitious men. Of importance related to Filner, Narcissists will not see the error of their ways. The guy on his 11th DUI still blaming “the law” (true story) is colossal denial. Narcissism is more than denial – it’s more than an individual with an external locus of control (blaming outside forces for one's station in life).

The other Personality Disorders that may stick for Filner would be something like Borderline Personality Disorder, or Antisocial Personality Disorder, formerly known as Sociopathy. There are dramatic differences in those clinical diagnoses but what matters here is the treatment of choice for a Personality Disorder. 

The Psychiatric community knows full-well that these Axes do not respond positively to traditional psychotropic medication, leaving a treatment choice that falls along the same path that we use to treat men who beat their wives (sociopaths)…”You cannot beat your wife because you’ll go to jail” (an external consequence). The wife-beater often doesn’t grasp that hitting his beautiful wife is disrespectful, unkind, and ultimately damages the very foundation of intimacy and trust. 

No, this man psycho-educationally learns, like a mantra, that “hitting wife leads to jail and I don’t wanna go there.” This is a first order change and doesn’t require a deep psychic shift in perception.

Much like the way we teach teenagers to drive, “Don’t speed or you’ll get a ticket.” The more mature driver naturally learns, over time, with a developing brain and experience that speeding increases the chances of harm to myself or others, the risk outweighs the benefit, and may incur great cost to my person (a second order change).

In Filner’s case, it’s reasonable to imagine that he can be taught, actually learn, as one tediously learns how to say, fly a plane, the intrinsic consequences of sexually advancing towards women. The mechanics of empathy can be taught, but that isn’t the real goal. The real goal is behavioral, "You cannot be in a room alone with a woman." And with further psycho-education and rehabilitation, "No touching a woman without her verbal approval, after I ask."

Prisons are not concerned with teaching the mechanics of empathy to inmates, and that seems to be a model that we culturally embrace, so, one could say that the first order changes are sufficient to keep a safe and civilized existence for our society. And, along those lines, the single most common characterological flaw amongst the incarcerated is lack of impulse control.  “I want it. I’m taking it.” One can only assume that Filner's grossly unacceptable behavior was enabled by his co-horts  (friends, family, colleagues). 

As public allegations seem to read, Filner harassed and violated highly educated, well-resourced women. Has there ever been so many well-appointed yet frightfully quiet victims to one deviant?

Are there others like him, male or female? Of course there are. 

Sexual aggression is about power and control. It is not about physical gratification - that’s easy to come by. Power and control are about using others as objects, with no concern for reciprocity or mutual pleasure. If this sounds like a retarded stage of development, reminiscent of toddlerhood, it precisely is. Toddlers learn through repetitive socialization, the curbing of Id, “Let’s ask her if we can share the shovel today? Oh, she says no. That’s ok, let’s move on to the bucket and play over here. Maybe we can come back later.” 

Like the bull elephant running rough shod over the herd, until he's sent away at age 14; a growing teenager overpowering his tired mum, or the wolf mommy knocking back her pup as he attempts to steal her fresh meal - healthy ego formation is either going checked or unchecked - one million auto corrects. 

Ideally, one begins to tolerate not getting what one wants.

For Friends and Loved Ones of Addicts/Alcoholics,

Addiction &  Alcoholism: The Living Losses

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Encinitas Community and Senior Center
1140 Oakcrest Park Dr.
Encinitas, CA 92024


Facing My Water Fear

As a teenager, I suffered a near-drowning episode at The Wedge,in Newport Beach, in one of the largest September swells ever. Having loved the ocean and body boarding up until that point, I have since developed a fear and (healthy respect) of large bodies of water. 

But, I love to fish - usually finding local lagoons, lakes, and shore break good enough to catch surf perch, Corbina (yum), pretty leopard and sand sharks (always throw those back!). 

I recently faced my deep-sea fear, heading out on the half-day boat, Premier, with HM Landing, a highly recommended company in Point Loma.

It's always astonishing to watch a group of men over 50 starting their morning off with smoking, beer, and hot dogs (no lie - it was 7am). Being on a boat is a lot like being in a casino; time starts to feel like some man-made pretext. I can only imagine, a casino, on a boat.

But they were good-ol' boys and nice as could be. See one proof.

Every time we do something that frightens us, and nothing bad happens, it's disconfirmation of our belief system. It's exposure to the anxiety-provoking stimuli, which, over time, wears away the traumatic memory. It's all G...

While we didn't come away with any great fish tales, we saw an amazing dolphin show (vid below).


Christmas in July, Free Family Event, July 27th, 2013

Free Family Event 


Parking special event area opens

FCCSB Booth opens

Silent Auction
DJ Dave kicks in

Tiki carving by Tikiman begins
Face painting free for everyone
California Pizza Kitchen opens

Bull Taco opens

Lifeguard demonstration

Magic show and games for the
“kids in all of us”

Santa ride through the park

Pictures with Santa and gifts

Presents for all children in attendance

Prize Giveaway


Doctors Don't Prolong Their Own Lives...Why Do Patients?

But doctors still don’t over-treat themselves. They see the consequences of this constantly. Almost anyone can find a way to die in peace at home, and pain can be managed better than ever. Hospice care, which focuses on providing terminally ill patients with comfort and dignity rather than on futile cures, provides most people with much better final days. Amazingly, studies have found that people placed in hospice care often live longer than people with the same disease who are seeking active cures. I was struck to hear on the radio recently that the famous reporter Tom Wicker had “died peacefully at home, surrounded by his family.” Such stories are, thankfully, increasingly common.

To administer medical care that makes people suffer is anguishing. Physicians are trained to gather information without revealing any of their own feelings, but in private, among fellow doctors, they’ll vent. “How can anyone do that to their family members?” they’ll ask. I suspect it’s one reason physicians have higher rates of alcohol abuse and depression than professionals in most other fields. I know it’s one reason I stopped participating in hospital care for the last 10 years of my practice.

Ken Murray, MD, is Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at USC. This post was originally published at Zócalo Public Square, a non-profit ideas exchange that blends live events and humanities journalism.


Pornography and Sexual Performance

Is there an unsuspected link between today's porn and potency?
Through a fluke of fate, my website has become a hangout for some amazing people, including men determined to wean themselves from porn. Their efforts have taught me more than I ever wanted to know about this subject. A few years ago one wrote,

I am sure that if a study were actually done with honest men, we would see correlation between porn viewing and erectile dysfunction. The porn industry takes advantage of the uninformed public and makes billions. Then the pharmaceutical companies sell us costly sexual enhancement drugs to treat the side effects—and make billions.
I've been looking at Internet pornography since I began college 13 years ago. Around age 24, I noticed difficulty getting aroused with real women. Generic Viagra off the Internet allowed me to have real relationships with few problems until the age of 29. Then, it became increasingly difficult to have real sex, even with the pills.
Realizing my problem, I tried several times to give up porn. The longest I lasted without it was 3 weeks. During this time, I could not get aroused thinking about normal sex, so the frustration built. My only escape was to fall back into the only thing that would arouse me: fantasizing about fetishes I developed when watching porn. Then it was back to porn. I need to be cured of this.
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Happy Little Clouds
 from Bob Ross...
such a lovely human being.


Teen Dads...

Children's Hospital L.A. program reaches out to teen dads

The L.A. Fathers Program aims to reach the often forgotten partner in teen pregnancies, providing young dads with free parenting and relationship classes, job placement and social services.

Frank Mariano, 16, a participant in the L.A. Fathers Program at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, plays with his 1-year-old daughter, Anabell, in their Koreatown home. (Susannah Kay / Los Angeles Times / July 10, 2013)

Frank Mariano plays with his 1-year-old daughter, Anabell

  • Help for teen fathers 

Frank Mariano walked up the block and made a right turn toward a group of carefree teenage boys who spent the muggy summer day in Koreatown skateboarding and checking their phones for text messages.

Frank approached the youths — who eyed him with puzzled looks — but then the 16-year-old pushed a stroller into the playground where he would spend the afternoon with Anabell, his 1-year-old daughter.
Frank would later leave the toddler with her 17-year-old mother and head to Children's Hospital Los Angeles to meet with two dozen other fathers — between the ages of 14 and 25 — to discuss their shared struggles and to learn skills to help ease their lives.
The L.A. Fathers Program at the hospital is designed to reach the often forgotten partner in teen pregnancies and dispel the stereotypes attached to the young men — deadbeat, irresponsible or absent fathers.
The voluntary program scours some of the poorest neighborhoods in Los Angeles to find young fathers and provide them with free parenting and relationship classes, job placement and social services. In about a year, they've had nearly 250 teen fathers go through the program. They receive free food, diapers and condoms for attending.
It has developed into a haven where the young men feel safe to relax and talk about the challenges they each face — and sometimes to vent about their "baby mama," if needed.
"A lot of young dads feel alienated and experience a lot of judgment — from their family, from their friends, at school," said Frank Blaney, the program's coordinator. "Here, there are other dads that are going through the same experience they are."
The program, which began last summer, aims to help the young men learn the skills to become responsible parents and be active in their children's lives. The hospital has long had a similar program for teenage mothers, and hospital officials recognized a need to reach young fathers as well.
The program includes 10 weekly classes on job skills training and nonviolent parenting and relationship classes. Program coordinators find the youths by reaching out to social workers, school counselors, and mental health and probation offices. This year, they launched an ad campaign on buses and trains around the city.
During a recent class, Blaney asked participants to raise their hand if they grew up without a father figure; nearly all raised their hands.
He then asked what they were taught about what it means to be a man. "Have a lot of women," said one. "Men don't cry," said another. "Control your woman," someone said. Blaney explained that those are the prevailing stereotypes — but men can be sensitive, loving, caring and still be a man.
Then one shouted: "Provide for your family!"
"That's right. There's the player — then there's the man who is at home holding it down for his family," Blaney replied. "We can pick the path we want to take as men."
The pressure to immediately be providers, however, can be detrimental in the long term, Blaney said. Often, teenage fathers immediately drop out of school to get whatever work they can because they feel that a man should be the breadwinner. They frequently get stuck in low-paying, low-skilled jobs as a result. "It becomes a dead-end trap," Blaney said.
The program stresses finishing high school and continuing their education if possible — stressing the higher earning potential — and helps them find jobs that can accommodate both.
"It's very difficult for most of these guys to have a long-term viewpoint," Blaney said. "They have such immediate needs."
The program is funded by a three-year, $784,500 grant from the U.S. Office of Family Assistance. For the funding to be renewed, officials must demonstrate that they have been effective in getting participants jobs. Blaney has been reaching out to local employers to explain that the program involves young, highly motivated men who are looking for work. "It's basically, 'Please — give our dads a chance,'" he said.
Frank Mariano has been able to balance school and work. He continues to go to high school and works in construction on days off. He hopes to attend culinary school after graduation and become a chef. His girlfriend, the mother of his child, recently graduated from high school and will attend junior college in the fall.
"I put school before work," Frank said. "Without my education I won't be able to complete my goals."
The class also saved his relationship, he said. In 2011, Frank said, he was arrested on suspicion of domestic battery after a fight with his girlfriend. He was put on probation.
They argued often and lacked communication. It was a session with Ben Wright, who conducts the parenting courses, that marked a change.
Wright brought out two animal hand puppets — which always draws skeptical laughter from the guys — each representing separate approaches to parenting and relationships. The jackal represents an aggressive, angry form of communication rife with criticism, judgment and blame. The other puppet, a giraffe, represents cooperation and understanding. The giraffe's heart, Wright explains, is large because it must pump blood all the way up its neck to the brain.
The fathers act out situations with each — demonstrating the hurtful and long-lasting effects the jackal can have on their children and their partners. "When I saw him take out the puppets I was like 'What the hell?' " Frank said. "But after — he had a point."
He added: "I'm more giraffe than jackal now."