Most of the time our little obsessions are somewhat inconvenient, mostly to other people, but doing no real harm to others or ourselves. The frequent, repetitive behaviors we use to pass the time and soothe our emotions can quickly turn into an obsession that may lead to self-abuse.
To some degree we are all self bullies, letting our emotions rule over sensible behavior. We may overindulge in food, drink, work, play, television, computer, gaming, gambling, social media, or any other activity. And, who has not castigated oneself for doing something so utterly dumb, embarrassing, and/or senseless, vowing never to do that again? Yet, we do it again and again.
But obsessions and addictions, while bullying to our sense of self, can make us a bully in turn. Who has not demanded a loved one give “just one more minute while I finish this game…cup of coffee…tv show…newspaper...”
Unfortunately, at some point, our seemingly harmless obsessive behavior may cross the line and negatively impact the lives of other people. Sometimes the act becomes not only a moral issue but a legal one, too, and the victim has a responsibility to report the behavior seek help.
In writing a previous article, Consequences, I researched and reported on an anesthesiologist, Dr. Arthur Zilberstein, who has had his license suspended for sexting, having sex with a former patient, and illegally prescribing drugs while on duty at a local Seattle hospital.
As reported by Carol M. Ostrom at the Seattle times,
“The patients listed in the statement of charges were undergoing various surgeries, most often deliveries, including cesareans, but also for a cardiac-probe insertion procedure, a laparoscopic esophagus repair and a laparoscopic pediatric appendectomy, from April through August 2013.
The charges say those were just examples, taken from six days while Zilberstein was on duty.
In one case — the esophagus repair — the state says Zilberstein exchanged 45 text messages with sexual innuendo in less than an hour and a half, with 21 initiated by Zilberstein.”
I think it would be safe to say that the man-who-can’t-keep-it-in-his-pants has, at the least, an obsession with, and likely an addiction to, sex. It is an example of addiction becoming the bully, as the self becomes the victim of uncontrollable behavior.
It is confusing to me that someone with the wherewithal to make it through medical school, not to mention the aptitude and fortitude to go through the rigorous training to become a doctor, could exhibit such an extreme lack of regard for his profession, peers and patients, ethics and the laws.
But that is the nature of obsessions that become addictions. While he slides down the slippery slope, (in his case I would call it an avalanche), he takes with him a whole lot of people, those who know him as a son, brother, uncle, friend, lover, student, as well as colleague. It would seem an easy decision to get professional help so readily available, but like a bully who has the victim under his domination, the addict, or obsessed person, cannot always make rational choices.
I applaud those who have wrestled their demons into submission, who have entered therapy, twelve-step programs, group meetings or self-help regimens. Bullies of whatever size, shape and dimension can be converted, can be transcended, transformed or transmuted. Now I have to go; there is chocolate waiting for me.