“Oscar was a disaster waiting to happen. And everyone who witnessed his cross behavior, and didn’t caution him he shouldn’t own a gun, is actually complicit with what happened. If you add all the incidents together, this was inevitable.” – Leonard Carr
A few weeks into trial in 2014, while the media and most expert contributors were
reluctant to make their opinions known [most still are today], expert psychologist Leonard Carr made no bones about saying what many of us were thinking…
“[Reeva] was in a typically abusive situation.” – Leonard Carr
From the Times Live article titled, Is Oscar Pistorius the Boyfriend from Hell?
Carr said the messages between Pistorius and Steenkamp suggested “a highly controlling relationship”.
“He controlled her with jealousy, with isolation. From these [messages] he looks like someone who is unable to really love. He doesn’t show any empathy for her; he doesn’t show any deep respect for her.”
Pistorius was “highly manipulative” and had “an overdeveloped sense of entitlement”, said Carr.
Nick and I have always believed that Oscar is a narcissist. Despite the watered down test results from Scholtz, and the endless stream of sympathetic defense witnesses touting Oscar’s simply a man suffering from anxiety, a thorough investigation of Oscar’s life tells us something very different. Something much darker and more frightening. Although, at times, Carr expresses that he doesn’t believe Oscar’s a “bad” person. Nick and I are not on that same page with Carr. However, we do all agree Oscar is damaged.
“Oscar is a person who from infancy has always relied on mechanical, external prosthetic devices for a sense of wholeness and power, and his gun was no exception to that. His gun was always on him – always a part of him. I think it was totally natural for Oscar to pick up his gun the same way he’d pick up his prosthetics.” – Leonard Carr
Our motivation for our narratives has always been shining a blazing light on the truth. So too, Leonard Carr. In WHITE HORSE III, just released this week, we asked Leonard to contribute more of his fascinating views in the chapter titled The Bottomless Pit.
Today we had the opportunity to speak with Leonard some more. In an hour long discussion we covered some of the topics that have been burning up social media. Here are some of his responses:
What do you think about the absence from the state in countering the endless defense testimony from Scholtz and his experts?
CARR: “I think the psychological evidence on both sides was incredibly weak. For the state side, it was virtually non-existent. And it would have been so simple to destroy the defense’s psychological evidence but the state never presented much of a case in that regard.”
“One thing you’ll notice about Scholtz’s report is that he’s talking from data based on tests and he hasn’t really integrated the data into observations. For example, where he says that Pistorius shows no signs of narcissism, I mean, even if we take the Reeva Steenkamp story out of it, if you just look at someone with his kind of drive, his kind of career, sacrifices that he’s made; he’s driven this to get ahead, his behavior on the sports field… I mean you can from that pick up narcissistic traits. To say that he has an absence of narcissism, then you have to ask well then how did he get to where he got to. They don’t even have healthy narcissism.”
How did Oscar’s childhood/parents help shape his future?
CARR: “His [Oscar’s] mother’s message, and they repeated it many times, was actually a very negative message. The positive way of saying the message is ‘you are different than everybody else because you’re not an able-bodied person but in no way should that make you feel less than and no one should ever put you down because of it.’ But when you say to a child you are the same as everybody else and your stumps, your prostheses and Carl’s legs are exactly the same, what you’re doing is you’re rendering his disadvantages and vulnerabilities illegitimate. Then put that with what he also said very proudly that his parents used to make him deal with bullying himself and go to the principal’s office alone without their support to fight his battles. The fact of the matter is that to achieve equality in life, you have to build in handicaps for people who have got challenges. I mean, that’s what they do in sport all the time. So, he’s never been allowed to acknowledge his vulnerabilities, he’s never been able to admit weakness or pain or shortcoming or whatever it is, or to ask for help.”
What effect did it have on Oscar to teach him ‘there’s no such thing as I can’t’?
CARR: “I perceive the Pistorius family as having a kind of sense of entitlement. They’re like a sort of self-appointed royal family. And everything they do, there’s always a suggestion of we’re extraordinary, and therefore, you know, we deserve special privileges. And I think Oscar’s grown up in that atmosphere. But remember there’s another message as well. The weird thing is the double message that his father also rejected him at the point that he had his amputation. So on the one hand there’s the entitlement and specialness but on the other hand there’s the rejection.”
“I think that Oscar’s a very wounded person. And actually, if you want to know what I would loved to have been involved in, in this trial, if I had been given a role to pick, I would have wanted Oscar to plead guilty right at the beginning and then for me to have written a report for him in mitigation. Because I think there’s a very very strong case in mitigation but of course, you can’t bring a strong case in mitigation if the person shows no remorse.”
Carl’s been pretty vocal lately including recently speaking to a school as a sort-of mentor for the students. Yet, his claim to fame is basically that his (former celebrity athlete) brother killed somebody. Isn’t that pretty narcissistic? What’s the deal with him?
CARR: “I think that his approach, even in the media, has been incredibly arrogant. He gives me this impression of having this kind of holier-than-though approach. Let’s not forget for a minute that Carl himself killed someone. And the fact that they couldn’t find that he was drunk or whatever it is, and they kind of blamed the victim… but if you look at how the Pistorius’ operate, that seems to be their modus operandi.”
“I think the whole family has been cast into a public role. I think, to put it crudely, I think they’re quite low-class. They’re rough around the edges. And Uncle Arnold’s got lots of money and now they’re playing this role of like self-appointed royalty. Like the Middletons, they’re like suddenly cast into the spotlight after leading a relatively ordinary life, and I think that that’s what they’re playing to.”
Reeva didn’t fit Oscar’s usual mold for a girlfriend. He historically dated young women, even teenagers at times. But he worked hard to “woo” Reeva and win her, and she in turn seemed to ignore several red flags dealing with his nasty criticisms in order to stay with him. Can you talk a little bit about the dynamics of narcissistic relationships?
CARR: “First of all with Reeva, there was the financial aspect. Oscar was supporting her financially, and he was giving her parents money. I think that very possibly, Reeva was an aspiring model and Oscar was like a bridge to get instant celebrity. But I think this issue is actually the core of all the issues in the relationship. Number one, to go where you started, Oscar is very low on emotional intelligence. I would even go so far as to say Oscar’s not too bright in general. I think Oscar’s poor performance is not because he’s a bad person, I think he genuinely doesn’t understand the issues. That’s number one. Number two, I think that he went out with little girls of 18 and 19 because that is his emotional level. That’s because of all the issues we discussed and especially his lack of experience in [all] relationships in general because of his relationship with sport.”
“[Reeva] was way out of his league in terms of intelligence and sophistication, and social and intellectual and academic accomplishments. So I think there was a sense of inadequacy there from the beginning.”
[Carr acknowledges at this point he’s speaking graphically to explain his point] “Now, can you imagine as a man, you might look great in a suit and you might be on the front cover of Time Magazine, but you want to go to bed with a woman, you take off those prostheses and you have these horrible little stumps, it must creep a girl out. Obviously in the context of a loving, established relationship, it’s not an issue, you know, because obviously abled people aren’t damned. But if you look at this kind of relationship, the appearance vs. the reality, in the bedroom Oscar’s not this Olympic champ. For a person with a fragile ego, and his lack of emotional intelligence and relationship skills, I can’t imagine how well he would deal with that. I can’t imagine he’d deal with that with maturity and finesse.”
“The younger women, from an unconscious pressure point of view, you’d feel much more in control with a young woman who’s being a sycophant than with an older, accomplished woman who’s more challenging and you know has had experience probably with other guys.”
The recent “suicide attempt” story from prison was very bizarre. What do you think that was all about?
CARR: “I think that Oscar is a PR nightmare. And I think the Pistorius family want their cake and to be able to eat it. On the one hand they argue he’s so vulnerable and psychologically precarious that he deserves his special treatment… um, they go to court with a psychologist saying he’s fragile and suicidal. When he acts fragile and suicidal [supposedly] they don’t want him to look like a pathetic, manipulative wimp, so they deny it. He just fell out of bed and happened to cut his wrists.”
So you think he really did try to commit suicide?
CARR: “Look, first of all, I think he’s a drama queen, so who knows.”
To read more of Leonard’s views on narcissism and Oscar, below are additional articles:
Pistorius Charmed the World with Idealised Image
Parenting in the Age of Oscar Pistorius
The Oscar Trial: Aspasia and Psychologist Leonard Carr on Cliffcentral
Some of Scholtz’s BS
To read the full copy of Scholtz’s Psychological Report on Oscar [from Oscar’s time at Weskoppies in 2014] click here.
All three WHITE HORSE narratives are available on Amazon Kindle