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Behind the scenes, Joseph Jackson pushed his sons to succeed; it is reported that violence was used at times. At the age of 13, Jackson launched a solo career in addition to his work with the Jackson 5.
Jackson and his family relocated from their quiet homeland in Indiana and took residence in the very high profile city of Los Angeles. For several years, Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 maintained a busy tour and recording schedule, which robbed them of the opportunity to live their childhood life like other children in their age groups. Despite Jackson's individual achievements and the group's great success, there was trouble between the Jacksons and their record company to which they were assigned.
Jackson's won numerous Grammy; these victories showcased the diverse nature of his work. Jackson also won Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male for "Thriller" and Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male for "Beat It." That same year, Jackson embarked on his final tour with the Jacksons to the support the album Victory. The one major hit from the recording was Michael Jackson's duet with Mick Jagger, "State of Shock." Releasing his follow-up to Thriller in 1987, Jackson reached the top of the charts with Bad. Jackson spent more than a year on the road, playing concerts to promote the album. Raised as a Jehovah's Witness, Jackson was a shy and quiet person off-stage. By the late 1980s, Jackson had created his own fantasy retreat-a California ranch called Neverland. To some, it seemed that Jackson perhaps was exploring a second childhood. In 1991, Jackson released Dangerous, featuring the hit "Black or White." In the video's final minutes, Jackson caused some controversy with his sexual gesturing and violent actions; Jackson's music continued to enjoy wide-spread popularity in the upcoming years. Jackson gave a rare television interview, which was aired in February of that year; in which, he broke his silence about the abuse he suffered from his father. Allegations of child molestation against Jackson emerged later that year. The following year, Jackson settled the case out of court with the boy's family. Other allegations emerged, but Jackson maintained his innocence.
The writer posits that, the violence experienced by Jackson from, the problem with the recording company and the relocation process contributes to the development of psycho- pathology in him. In addition, the allegations of sexual abuse against children by him, is in the view of the writer, played a part in the development of his psychopathology and how he was raised by his parents (reserved and shy off stage).
In August 1994, Jackson announced that he had married Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of rock icon Elvis Presley. The couple spent a few months together and later annulled their wedding. Jackson wedded Nurse Debbie Rowe later that year; the union produced two children, Prince Michael Jackson and Paris Michael Jackson, who were born in 1997 and 1998 respectively. Rowe and Jackson divorced in 1999 with Jackson receiving full custody of their two children; he would go on to have a third child, Prince Michael Jackson II, with an unknown surrogate.
Michael continued to produce great songs such as: "You Are Not Alone" and his duet with his sister Janet Jackson, "Scream." Jackson's reputation was served another blow in 2003 with the television documentary, Living with Michael Jackson. British journalist Martin Bashir spent several months with Jackson, and he got Jackson to discuss his relationships with children. Jackson said that sometimes he slept with the children in his bed. Jackson was again acused of molesting male children. However, on June 14, 2005, Jackson was acquitted of all charges. Jackson soon found refuge in his friendship with the prince of Bahrain, Prince Salman Bin Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa, who assisted him financially; Khalifa later went on the sue Michael, because he felt that he was used by the pop star.
In addition to Jackson's external troubles, it also became steadfastly clear that the love Michael Jackson received from his father had a lot of conditions attached; his father's love was conditional on Michael meeting the obligations he had set for him. Miller (1997) maintains, "Far too many of us had to learn as children to hide our own feelings, needs, and memories skilfully in order to meet our parents' expectations and win their 'love'". Pinsky & Young (p. 107) stress that, "A secure attachment to a parent nurtures empathy, high self-esteem, and self-awareness". It seems evident that not only did Michael Jackson's parents fail in providing psychological security, but that Michael Jackson had to learn as a young child to hide his emotions, needs and memories in order to meet his parents' expectations and win their love. Where Michael appeared happiest - where he could express his emotions - was the place he received his greatest accolades: on the stage singing and dancing. This is where his idealized self was reflected back onto his trade-mark mirrored glasses. These instabilities throughout Michael's lifespan, is in the view of the writer, set the foundation for his psychopathology.
On June 25, 2009, Jackson suffered cardiac arrest in his Los Angeles home. News of Jackson's death resulted in an outpouring of public grief and sympathy. His doctor, later told police that he believed Jackson had developed a particular addiction to propofol, which Jackson referred to as his "milk."
Michael is having difficulty dealing with his childhood abuse; his legal problems and the effect of the fame his job has brought upon him. In addition, Michael his also having problems with his identity.
Based on what Michael reported that he is experiencing, I diagnosed him in accordance with the DSM-IV-TR. It is the view of the writer that Michael Jackson's Multi-Axial Assessment is as follows:
Axis I: 305.9 Drug Abuse
300.7 Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Axis II: 301.81 Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Axis III: Vitiligo
Axis IV: Victim of Child Abuse, Effect of Fame/Job, Legal Problems
Axis V: GAF = 55
Narcissism stems from the historical figure, Narcissus. Narcissus, because of his love for himself and how he scorned an admirer, was destined to forever watch his own reflection. He did so until he died. It is from the myth of Narcissus that Narcissistic personality Disorder (from here on will be refer to as NPD) is based. According to the DSM-IV-TR (p. 714), NPD is a "pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathyâ€¦ are often preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal loveâ€¦their self-esteem is almost invariably very fragileâ€¦may fish for compliments, often with great charm". It is with this in mind that the writer postulates that Michael had NPD. The DSM-IV-TR (2000) states that individuals with NPD "believe they are superior or unique and expect others to recognize them as such" (p. 714). At times Michael Jackson would stand motionless on the stage for three minutes could be considered a means in which he defined himself as superior and unique, giving credence to his self-defined title as the King of Pop. Michael had shown me a video of him performing at the 1992 Budapest concert, there was a brief second where a glimpse of a grandiose smile escapes Michael Jackson's stoic stance. Essentially, in watching the concert footage, it is apparent that he affected every person in the stadium in that he brought the crowd to an uncontrolled screaming, passionate frenzy. In essence, he brought the crowd of over seventy thousand to his knees; the crowd's adulation seemed to feed his NPD needs.
Furthermore, as noted in the DSM-IV-TR (2000), another diagnostic feature of NPD is that, "these individuals may use others to advance their personal gains" (p. 714). Michael Marriage to Lisa could be seen as a way to catapult his carriage when it had slumped. His Marriage to Rowe can also be viewed in a similar light, where he used her to mother his child and then took custody of the children and later divorced her. His last child was had through surrogacy, which in the view of the writer can also be viewed as a way of advancing his personal goals in life (to have children). In addition, Narcissists "tend to form friendships or romantic relationships only if the other person seems likely to advance their purpose or otherwise enhance their self-esteem" (DSM-IV-TR, p. 715). Narcissism is "also associated with indirect strategies for gaining status and esteem, such as "acquiring 'trophy' romantic partners" (Livesley, 1995, p. 98).
It is in the view of the writer that Michael Jackson fit Freud's classical analytic theory as it relates to narcissism in that he fit Freud's definition of the ego ideal (Freud 1914/1925): he was charming and assured in knowing that his talent was extraordinary. However, it seems his ego ideal was set up as a result of (and to protect) his fractured personality. This brings to fruition the reality of how difficult it is to treat those such as Michael Jackson - especially when consulting the DSM-IV-TR (2000). The DSM-IV is structured in such a manner that it would be easy to diagnose him with virtually any disorder, which seems to not only validate Ronningstam's (2005) view that, "narcissism represents a syndrome of relatively diverse behavior" (p. 22), but also Livesley's view (1995) in that NPD, "is in fact particularly problematic in its overlap with other personality disorders" (p. 215). The DSM-IV is also problematic in the sense that, "People with pathological narcissism that range beyond the DSM-IV criteria setâ€¦ will not be correctly identified" (Ronningstam, p 27).
The public etiological history of Michael Jackson is such that prior to 1993, Michael Jackson was thought of as having an idyllic life. His success and large family presented an image of love, support and unity (that together, the family rose from great poverty to success). In February 1993, that façade started to crack when Oprah Winfrey interviewed him. During that interview, Michael spoke about his abusive father, Joe Jackson. Michael said of his father that, "I love my father, but I don't know him". He described what his father would do to him, say to him, and what he expected of him. Michael further explained to Winfrey that his mother was perfect love and that he idolized his mother, saying, "I love my mother. To me she's perfection" (this, because of Michael's relationship with his father, could be diagnosed as Freud's Oedipal Complex). What became apparent during the interview was that Michael was an extremely disciplined and guarded yet fractured person. What also became apparent was his extraordinary intellect and intuition, but also his lack of comprehension about his own truth as it related to his childhood. In essence, Michael lacked the proper weaponry to heal the fractures in his personality, which was brought on by his troubled life.
Michael Jackson's friendships seem to fit this diagnostic feature of NPD. He said that was Elizabeth Taylor present at the 1993 interview with Oprah. He reported that he enjoyed, seeing and hearing, Taylor speaking of him so warmheartedly. He went on to say that she was praising him for his abilities and complimenting him and admiring him for his intelligence, gifts, and intuition. He said that on hearing what Taylor was saying, he was frozen, gazing straight ahead - until Taylor started talking about him as though he were a perfect being. As noted in the DSM-IV-TR (p. 716), "Those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder specifically need that attention to be admiring".
Moreover, another aspect of narcissism is fluctuating self-esteem. NPD has included in its diagnostic features that, "Vulnerability in self-esteem makes individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder very sensitive to 'injury' from criticism or defeat" (DSM-IV-TR, p. 715). Michael's physical experience was closely tied to his father's statements. Michael conveyed that his father would tell him how ugly his nose and pimply his face was; that he was visually repugnant. Michael stated during the Oprah Winfrey interview that his father nickname for his son was "Big Nose". Seemingly, it is due to his father's early statements about his looks that drove Michael to seek physical perfection. However, even with all the changes, he forever struggled with his childhood experience. During the 1993 interview as well as subsequent interviews, when Michael Jackson was asked about his face and skin, he became very uncomfortable; he denied the extent of his morphosis with disdain and defiance.
As noted in the DSM-IV-TR (2000), and as noted earlier, one of the diagnostic criteria for NPD is a preoccupation with ideal love (p. 717). Not only was Michael's perception of his mother perfect love, but the world of Peter Pan also enraptured him. The story of Peter Pan is such that he presides over the Lost Boys who are "children who look to his leadership but who he needs as much as they need him. The Lost Boys live in the same big room as Peter and they all sleep in the same big bed" (Nun 1987). Michael Jackson, in his 2002 interview with British journalist Martin Bashir, emphatically stated:"I am Peter Pan".
While the features associated with NPD and narcissism are perceived more negatively than (perhaps) its intention, the feelings for those who seek fantasy, protection and ideal love as linked with Peter Pan Syndrome is not in an uncaring way that narcissism connotes. Rather, "They simply feel a dreamy, imaginative comfort inside of their own minds - an attraction of introspection that is positive and well-meaning" (Bailyn 2008). There are aspects of Michael Jackson that are fantastical and dreamy and very childlike.
It is to be noted, that the effect of childhood trauma does not appear in the diagnostic features of the DSM-IV-TR. Yet, both Miller (1997) and Pinsky & Young (2009) determined that childhood trauma is a feature of NPD. Another feature that is not present in the DSM-IV-TR is loneliness. Miller (1997), Pinsky & Young (2009), and Svrakic (1985) found that loneliness is a common symptom of those with NPD. Michael Jackson discussed his childhood trauma in various interviews. In June 2009, Deepak Chopra, a long-time friend, stated that Michael's personal loneliness was known intimately to him. Michael was experiencing other disorder such as Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
Michael Jackson's morphing appearance - his continual striving for physical perfection -could be diagnosed as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (from here on will be refer to as BDD), which could be considered a co-morbid condition of NPD. Michael's ever-changing nose and facial features is indicative of BDD in the sense that those with BDD are preoccupied with the "â€¦shape, size or some other aspect of the nose, eyelids, eyebrowsâ€¦ lips, teeth, jaw, chin, cheeks, or head" (DSM-IV-TR, p. 506). The DSM-IV also puts forth that those with NPD, "may profess a commitment to perfectionism and believe others cannot do things as well" (p. 716). Michael Jackson's quest for perfectionism was apparent in every aspect of his life - especially his performances. After Michael's problems with NPD and BDD came Substance Abuse Disorder.
Michael Jackson was reliant on Propofol, a short-acting hypnotic agent. Schulte et al (2000) determined that Propofol has an effect on the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine. As reported earlier he referred to this drug as "milk". Michael Jackson's use of drugs can be seen as a way for "compensating narcissistic vulnerability and self-esteem fluctuations, for maintaining self-control and for self-protection and strengthening boundaries between the internal and external world" (Ronningstam, p. 127). The writer postulate that Michael's drug abuse could also brought on the psychosomatic symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder. In addition to His diagnoses on Axis 1 and Axis II he also suffered from Vitiligo on Axis III, which is a medical condition.
Research has revealed that the exact cause of narcissistic personality disorder is not known. However, many mental health professionals posit that it results from extremes in child rearing. However, in Michael's case, the writer agrees with Miller (1999) who posits that "Narcissistic personality disorder might develop as the result of neglect or abuse and trauma inflicted by parents or other authority figures during childhood". Michael's development of BDD is believed by writer to have been developed by drug abuse and the constant negativity towards by his dad concerning his nose. The writer believes that the Substance Abuse Disorder was developed with Michael's effort to deal with the psychosocial problems that he was experiencing.
Michael will be treated with continuous psychotherapy. The reason for this is to try and help him develop greater insight into the problems that he is experiencing, as well as his attitude which can effect a change in behaviour. In addition, the writer would like to help Michael develop a better self-esteem and a more pragmatic way in dealing with others.
In effecting the treatment plan the writer will use the following therapeutic approaches. Psychoanalytic therapy will be used to help Michael explore his past and to help him to recognize the genesis of his problems. Person-Centred Approach will be used to show Michael unconditional positive regard and empathy. Cognitive-Behavioural therapy will be use to help Michael change his thinking pattern which can bring about a change in his behaviour in relation to his substance abuse and BDD and finally the Gestalt Therapy which would help him to function in the here and the now.