Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers ideas for maintaining your mental health.

Evil, Bad, the Opposite of Mandela-Mugabe

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Jan 31, 2014 9:38 PM

I saw a beautiful depiction of the complexity of evil last night on stage in New York. The play was "Breakfast with Mugabe." The dictator, appropriator of land, and mass murderer of Zimbawe for many years, the opposite of a Mandela, experienced Hamlet-like paranoia and hallucinations in the play, and for real. His personal psychiatrist, a White man, a landowner by birth, married to a Black frredom fighter, helped him achieve therapeutic catharsis and insight about guilt and grief connected with his first wife's death,  and rid himself of many symptoms. Yet, he remained cruel, autocratic, narcisistic, and an evil dictator and murderer. In the end (spoiler alert), the psychiatrist himself becomes the victim of land appropriation and his wife is murdered by the regime. Needless to say, he loses part of his sanity in his grief.

No matter how much benefit someone gains from good therapy, it is possible to remain BAD or EVIL. This play was scary because it's true. The same conclusion holds true  about some of the terrorists and criminals in our midst. Some people aren't going to change as a result of conversation, friendship and help. I'm sorry. Politicians beware and abused people beware. Try but take caution in case you're dealing with one like Mugabe, not the normal or opposite.

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