During M&M rounds, we will examine some fictitious cases and evaluate the facts and consider some solutions to these problems.
Gary is a 21-year-old Caucasian male who presented for not being a reasonable freaking human being. Lisa is a 26-year-old Asian-American female who presented for the same. The symptoms for Gary include yelling at customer service people about things beyond their control, interrupting, and treating everyone as if they owe him something. The symptoms for Lisa include freaking out about any little thing and dragging others into her drama, complaining constantly, and is only nice to people if she needs something from them.
Gary’s history is that he saw his father solve problems by getting angry and being rude to people. His father would have road rage and constantly yell at other drivers. When Gary got a “B” in high school chemistry, he cornered the teacher and badgered him until he was given an “A”. Gary has not been very successful in relationships, leading him to be bitter towards the world. Gary is now trying to get letters of recommendation for vet school, and isn’t being very successful.
Lisa’s history is that she saw her mother act very upset when anything went wrong and had a group of friends she would call to rant. When she was young and cried, her parents gave her whatever she wanted. As she grew up, she found she could smile and get her parents to get her another toy or a treat. Lisa has had a series of boyfriends but has ultimately dumped them all. Lisa has been on clinics during her fourth year of vet school and has gotten several comments from the faculty about her lack of professionalism.
As we can see, a series of life events and family situations have led to these personality flaws. Unfortunately, such ingrained behaviors are very hard to change, and these individuals probably lack the self awareness and self-honesty necessary to identify the problem. Nonetheless, if it is pointed out to them, or they reflect on why they have not been successful, they may find the motivation to become RFHBs.
The treatment is going to be a series of therapy sessions with competent psychologists who can help unpack what is going on with their upbringing and life approach. Ultimately, this will be a long path for them.
Although these examples may be stereotypical, I see these students all the time. Are you one of them? “If you meet one a-hole a day, maybe they’re the a-hole. If you meet five a-holes a day, maybe YOU’RE the a-hole.” Being an RFHB is not a high standard, so check yourself to make sure you are meeting it. If not, please find a competent psychologist to help you.
I think there are two lessons to be learned here. One: you are a sum total of all the experiences you have had and decisions you have made. Your family and upbringing have a tremendous impact on who you are. Two: EVERYONE should pause and reflect on their approach to life and dealing with other humans. Just because you are “successful” (as our society measures success, i.e. wealthy, etc.) doesn’t mean you are a “good” person. There are plenty of narcissistic sociopaths out there running corporations (and countries).