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Is Pathological Narcissism Destroying Floyd Mayweather?

Posted on 11/26/2010

“Just when certain people seem to have it all, their kingdoms come crashing down.”

Not long ago I read about the theory by a respected American psychologist (Doctor X), about how some very successful people destroy their careers. He termed it “pathological narcissism.” It brought to mind the sad case of Floyd Mayweather, who appears to be on the path to self destruction after the recent alleged cases of assaulting a woman, a security officer and the road rage incident of running an acquaintance off the road with his vehicle. Here are some of the Doctor X’s quotes which I edited and applied to Mayweather’s case:

(Note: This theoretical diagnosis does not even consider the appearance of Manny Pacquiao. This illustrates Mayweather’s emotional/mental illness long before he even had to deal with the jealousy, envy and fear of having to share the spotlight with another boxer he fears being brutally knocked out by – Manny Pacquiao.)

Doctor X: “He appears to be healthy. He marshals resources and legions of loyal followers. But he carries in him a germ seed – or he is affected by his own success in a manner such that he will ultimately implode. He will get to a point in life which he can’t go further.”

“Why, after the big success, did he start behaving so irrationally with the assault of the girlfriend, security officer and episode with the Bentley?”

“What causes the germ seed of the ‘healthy’ narcissist to explode is really the success beyond which he can’t comfortably proceed. It creates a level of arrogance at which he stopped following the rules. That’s really the classic undoing.”

“You don’t feel efficacious or psychologically competent when people bring you carefully selected opponents who pose minimal threat. There is no challenge. You may feel rich, but you can’t buy the feeling that you’re great from beating a completely overmatched, disadvantaged opponent. And when the rewards are coming in faster than you can count them, they become meaningless. That doesn’t give you a sense of psychological well being.”

“Mayweather can turn it around and say, Look how important I am that all these people care about my life. Look at my impact on the boxing world.”

“Something, probably an ego deficit, made him obsessed with proving competence. He carries an open wound that he’s running to escape from. He finds that material success does nothing to assuage the injury. At a certain level, success exacerbates it, making him feel alone, arrogant, adventure seeking. He strives and strives to get more. Then he wonders, How would I ever know if I am loved independent of my success? If everything was gone? In a very primitive sense, he almost has to dive off the cliff to test it. There’s a pressure keeping up the narcisstic facade and masking the depression. This is not a happy person.”

“He doesn’t derive self esteem from multiple sources. He’s a boxing gym rat. There may not be anything else for him to do. He could be a fundamentally limited man.”

A possible cure for Floyd?

“What may be missing is a deep community or religious activity that goes far beyond boxing or gambling or partying. Maybe he has to subordinate himself to a greater cause. When you do that, you don’t take advantage of people, you don’t exploit them. It’s the only antidote for narcissim. Be an indian, not a chief. Lose your identity in a group. The healthiest people have that commitment.”

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