I find it interesting that there is so much emphasis on the female personality disorders, and in fact, this section I’m about to quote is almost an after thought from the book “Understanding the Borderline Mother” By Christine Ann Lawson. When male personality disorders do happen, they tend to be more pronounced, and associated with more anti-social behavior. Although I did several google searches, there isn’t very much info about male borderlines except for the most self destructive types. Here are some excerpts from Chapter 8 about the borderline “king.”
The king has a heightened sense of self importance, and feels entitled to special treatment. He embellishes his accomplishments and may blatantly lie in order to be perceived as superior to others… Katie had many embarrassing memories of her father’s behavior in restaurants and airports when service did not meet his expectations. He could be ruthless, demanding, and intimidating. If service was slow, he expected a discount. He complained to manages, demanded, refunds, and threatened lawsuits over the slightest inconvenience, announcing, “I run a $10 million industry and if I ran my company anything like this we’d go bankrupt!”
This was a spot on description of Alex Cornfeld’s behavior. Everything from the giant “Alex – The man who knows” wall sized artwork in the Brooklyn bowl, to his incessant need to have others act ingratiatingly towards him, I believe it was exceptionally difficult to find someone who would not feed his narcissism, but rather, called him out on it. I recall a time when we went out to a very hot sushi place in Studio City called Asanebo, which at that time served omakase only. We sat at the bar and were served some of the freshest fish I had ever tasted, on warm rice, which was unusual. His response to the sushi chef was “this was good, but not quite so good as that first time I came.” I found this kind of funny and I later called him out on it, letting him know that I thought that was kind of an ass-hole thing to say, but he became defensive.
I recall one other time when we stayed at the Crown Plaza in Irvine for one of Alex’s squash tournaments. The room was fine, clean, and I slept very agreeably in the bed that night, however, the next morning, he went down to the front desk and complained that he had not been able to sleep all night due to a “noise” in the room. I was in complete shock, but I didn’t say anything, given that I am generally a sound sleeper when I’m not under stress, it was possible that I had not hear the noise. He demanded that the front desk clerk go up to the room, and he held up one finger and demanded, “listen.” I strained my ears for a few moments, but I didn’t hear anything except for the very soft, barely perceptible hum of the central a/c. I looked at the clerk for a second, trying to keep a straight face, but he seemed very intimidated, and said, ok, yes, we’ll comp you the room for the evening. I would have broken down laughing except that I was in complete shock that this could have even happened. This over sensitivity, combined with numerous annoying tics, i.e. repeated tracing of his lips with his finger, toe picking while reclined, and inappropriately and obsessively touching his penis, albeit in a non-sexual way, in front of elderly relatives, was just another symptom of his neurosis.
The king’s grandiosity is an attempt to compensate for his fear of dependency. The king strives to be perceived as the ultimate provider … and when others are unappreciative, he either withdraws or explodes with rage.
Here again, a picture perfect description of Alex Cornfeld. He likes to brag about how many millions he makes, but of course, he never mentions the fact that his father put up the first million for his investment, and then later was the majority investor in all his subsequent ventures. The fact that Alex never truly had to struggle for anything in his life was one of the things that I most reviled about him. If he had had a bit more graciousness and acknowledgement of his privilege, I would have found it much easier to get along with him. I found his inability to compromise and his difficulty seeing past his own narcissism to appreciate others completely intolerable.
Despite the king’s grandiosity, his self esteem is fragile, thus, he requires continuous attention and admiration in order to feel valued … and [he is] preoccupied with his appearance, his possessions, and how well his business is doing.
Although Alex likes to put on a grandiose face, the truth of it is that he at various times expressed deep insecurities about his attractiveness to me, and even his penis size. He asked me so many times when we first met if I really thought that he was attractive that I finally decided to stop being diplomatic and I yelled at him “you’re not as bad as you think,” which seemed to finally, at long last satisfy him, to my befuddlement. He almost seemed to enjoy the backhanded compliment, and I did notice that he seemed to enjoy repeatedly provoking me into an angry response… almost to the point where it was a sexual turn on for him.
I find it interesting in our society that the qualities of narcissism, self-aggrandizing behavior, trash talking, and belittlement of others are ok in several situations 1) if you are male 2) if you have a lot of money, but even then mostly if you are male. The same qualities present in a female which are considered golden in a male are reviled, attacked, and scorned, especially by women, which is most ironic of all.