Borderline Personality Disorder, Workplace Issues and Edvard Munch


People suffering from borderline personality disorder experience a pattern of varying moods, self-image and behavior. Initially they may feel good about something, but over a period of time they will start disliking it. During this swing of mood, they will experience anxiety, anger or depression.

Psychologist Robert Hogan considers this as a deralier in career. He called it as excitable personality trait. Unlike some people who are calm and level headed under stress. Excitable people behave exactly opposite. They will react to stress with volatile emotions (often angry outbursts), they will express disappointment with people and projects whom they had praised earlier. They may at times get directionless and will start regretting past decisions.

One such person suffering from borderline personality disorder was famous Norwegian painter Edvard Munch. Edvard Munch was prone to depression and this reflects in his art.

One of his most famous painting is “Scream”.


He had affair with British musician Eva Mudocci. It is said that he used to paint her as loving woman or bloodthirsty woman depending on his mood.




Constitution of India, Nandalal Bose and Prem Behari Narain Raizada

While author of constitution of India was Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, there were others who also contributed to creation of this document.

Sir Benegal Narsing Rao was constitutional advisor to constituent assembly in formulating constitution. For research he traveled to US, UK, Canada and Ireland. He prepared initial draft of constitution.

“The credit that is given to me does not really belong to me. It belongs partly to Sir B. N. Rau, the Constitutional Adviser to the Constituent Assembly who prepared a rough draft of the Constitution for the consideration of the Drafting Committee.”
-Dr. B.R. Ambedkar

Another prominent personality was civil servant called S. N. Mukherjee, who was chief draftsman of constitution.

“Much greater share of the credit must go to Mr. S. N. Mukherjee, the Chief Draftsman of the Constitution. His ability to put the most intricate proposals in the simplest and clearest legal form can rarely be equalled, nor his capacity for hard work.”
-Dr. B.R. Ambedkar

The constitution was not printed but was handwritten. The job of writing constitution was given to calligraphist Prem Behari Narain Raizada. He did not charge anything for his work.

The constitution also has illustrations by famous painter Nandalal Bose. It consists drawings from historical epics, historical figures, India’s freedom struggle etc.

The constitution was signed by members of committee. First to sign was Jawaharlal Nehru while Rajendra Prasad was last to sign.

It is interesting to know which pen Dr. Ambedkar used to sign constitution. It is said that he used orange coloured Wilson ink pen.

Jogendranath Mandal, Namashudras and Marichjhapi Massacre

Dalits or lower castes produced two powerful leaders before partition of India- Dr. B.R. Ambedkar from Bombay and Jogendranath Mandal from Bengal. Jogendranath Mandal belonged to Namashudra caste. Namashudras were lower caste Hindus who were dominant in East Bengal. Namashudras had always challenged authority of higher caste Hindus of Bengal. Jogendranath Mandal was influential enough to get Dr. Ambedkar elected to constituent assembly from Bengal when he lost election in Bombay.

Partition of India presented a very interesting situation for Jogendranath Mandal. He decided to support Muslim League as he believed that interests of Namashudras will be better served under Jinnah than upper caste dominated Congress.

He used his influence to get Sylhet district of Assam transferred to Pakistan. He also discouraged Namashudras from attacking Muslims during riots in Bengal.

“After the 3rd June 1947 announcement, Sylhet District was to vote in a plebiscite to join either Pakistan or remain in Assam [the state that was to become part of India]. The Hindus and the Muslims of the district equaled each other in terms of population. However, there were a large number of Untouchables, whose vote could sway the poll to either side. …

…following the instructions from Quaid-i-Azam, Mr Mandal arrived in Sylhet to influence the opinion of the Untouchables; when he departed from Sylhet it had voted to join Pakistan.”

– Ahmed Saleem, ‘Pakistan aur Aqliatien’ (Pakistan and Minorities)

Initially things went well for Jogendranath Mandal, he was close to Jinnah and was made first Law and Labour minister of Pakistan.

Pakistani writers like Ahmed Saleem and Pir Ali Mohammed Rashidi talk about fall of Jogendrnath Mandal. After death of Jinnah in 1948, the political situation in Pakistan changed. Hindus were no longer welcome in Pakistan. Jogendranath Mandal was insulted by bureaucracy and there were attacks on Hindus. Jogendranath realized his mistake and he resigned from ministry. He was forced to go back to India. This resulted in migration of Namashudras to India from Pakistan.

“Late Chaudhry Mohammad Ali had spent a major portion of his life in the service of the British Raj when he arrived in Pakistan from Delhi. As Secretary-General of the Cabinet Secretariat, he quickly garnered fame as the ‘architect’ and leader of the Pakistani bureaucracy. .. he tried to keep many cabinet documents away from the Law Minister. It was too much for Mandal. His pride was hurt. Before becoming a minister, he had offered huge sacrifices and as a Hindu, swum against the tide to support our Quaid in the Pakistan Movement…

…how could he possibly pocket the insult from a cabinet secretary, who had taken it upon himself to judge a Hindu minister for his political character and loyalty to his country? Mandal quit as minister and went back to Calcutta to spend the rest of his life being taunted by Hindus.”

-Pir Ali Mohammed Rashidi ,Rodaad-i-Chaman (A Garden’s Tale)

Pakistani Bengali Hindus migrated to India in waves. First wave was of higher caste Hindus, they were settled in West Bengal. Namashudras came in later stage, by then West Bengal government was reluctant to settle them in West Bengal, instead they were settled in other states esp. in MP and Orrisa in place called Dandakaranya.

But plight of Namashudras does not end here. They were asked by communist party to come back to Bengal. On their assurance Namashudras migrated from Dandakaranya to West Bengal. Some of them settled in Sunderban forest and called it Netaji Nagar. It was situated on island called as Marichjhapi, since it was island they has to visit nearest village of Kumirmari to get food, water, medicine etc.

“It was 4pm when police started firing on us. We were trying to flee to Kumirmari in a boat. There was utter panic. My granddaughter was only eight. She was shot and died in the boat. We had no choice but to float her down the river,”

-Mukunda Mondal, survivor of Marichjhapi Massacre

In 1979, communist government asked Namashudras to vacate Marichjhapi as it was part of Sundarban forest. Namashudras refused to vacate as they now were well settled in Netaji Nagar. The communist government under chief minister Jyoti Basu ordered police to vacate the land. Police and communist party workers cut supplies to island and soon the residents were attacked. It resulted in death of many residents. This episode came to be known as Marichjhapi massacre.

“The island was heavily guarded by 30-36 launches, packed with policemen and party cadres. We were not even allowed to get water from Kumirmari. They planned to make our life miserable. We started eating coconut leaves and grass (jadu palang). Many children died of green diarrhoea. On the 10th day of the blockade, we were desperate and tried to go to Kumirmari to bring water, food and medicine. We sent 16 women in a boat, thinking they won’t harm women. But a launch – Indrajit MV79 – sped towards the boat and rammed it. We could save 14 from drowning and later found the other two in the Bagnan forest office. They had been molested,”

-Narayan Mondal, survivor of Marichjhapi Massacre

Partition of Bengal and subsequent events declined the political power of Namashudras.



Office Politics, Leadership and Growth

“Condoleezza Rice is right: people will join your side if you have power and are willing to use it, not just because they are afraid of your hurting them but also because they want to be close to your power and success.”

― Jeffrey Pfeffer, Power: Why Some People Have it and Others Don’t

Gerald Ferris is professor of psychology, he came up with a inventory that measure political skills of a person. It was found that those who scored high ( i.e. were politically savvy) got promotions faster than others, thus grew faster than those who scored low.  He measured skills on four parameters- social astuteness, interpersonal influence, networking ability, and apparent sincerity. Politically savvy people are keen observer of others in social situations, build rapport with others, built connections with diverse group of people and were perceived as authentic.

David McClelland was professor of psychology at Harvard University. He came up with motivation theory which states that there are three motivators- need for achievement, need  for affiliation and need for power. Of these one dominates over other two for each person. It was found that those who had high need for power did better than others in their career. Those high on affiliation are interested in building relationship, want to be liked by others, while those high on achievement set challenging goals for themselves and work hard to achieve it. Those high on power control and influence others.

“The two fundamental dimensions that distinguish people who rise to great heights and accomplish amazing things are will, the drive to take on big challenges, and skill, the capabilities required to turn ambition into accomplishment. The three personal qualities embodied in will are ambition, energy, and focus. The four skills useful in acquiring power are self-knowledge and a reflective mind-set, confidence and the ability to project self-assurance, the ability to read others and empathize with their point of view, and a capacity to tolerate conflict.”

― Jeffrey Pfeffer, Power: Why Some People Have it and Others Don’t

Jeffery Pfeffer is professor of organisational behaviour at Stanford University.  He has written book called “Power: Why Some People Have it and Others Don’t”. In this book he states that your boss may not be interested in your career, it is your job to understand office politics and use it to further your career growth. Staying away from politics or being ignorant of office politics may result in stagnation. In any case even if you decide to stay away from politics, your peers, who are your competitors may use politics for their own growth.

“People will envy you to the extent that you start out with a group of people and you rise up the organization faster than them. Get over what your peers are thinking about you because your peers are also your competitors.”

— Jeffrey Pfeffer

Jeffery also writes that all successful leaders used their political skills to grow in organisation. But most of the leadership literature does not mention about it. In their articles or autobiographies they mention about hard work, sincerity, humbleness, being visionary etc. but rarely mention about how they used their political skills, which may create myth that they somehow grew in organisation without indulging in politics.




Gaslighting – The Game of Manipulation

 “When people are abused there are signs that you can point to that are much more obvious. Someone who has been hit or threatened for instance – it’s easy to see and understand how they have been hurt. But when someone is manipulating you, you end up second-guessing yourself and turning your attention to yourself as the person to blame”.

-Dr. Robin Stern

In 1938, Patrick Hamilton a British author wrote a play called Gas Light. Later a movie was made on this play with Ingrid Bergman playing lead role.

The story is about a husband who manipulates thinking of his wife so that he can declare her as insane. Actually husband is a criminal who has murdered aunt of his wife. He searches attic of her house for jewelry which he was unable to take with him after he killed the aunt.  While searching attic the gas is used this results in lights getting dimmed and she hears sound of footsteps. When she tells her husband about lights getting dimmed and sound of footsteps, her husband calls this as her imagination. But she happens to meet a police inspector who tells her that what she is feeling is right and they managed to catch her husband.

Word Gaslighting came from this movie. It means “Manipulate (someone) by psychological means into doubting their own sanity.”

Gaslighting is used by people to manipulate thinking of others for one’s benefit.

Dr. Robin Stern has written a book on this- “The Gaslight Effect”. In this book she writes in detail about how gas lighting is done. According to her it happens in 3 stages.

Stage 1 is Disbelief– You start wondering why other person who is otherwise nice, behaving like this. The so called weird behavior leaves you confused, frustrated and anxious ex. Your best friend may start criticizing you for no reason.

Stage 2 is Defense– You try to prove other person that what he/she things about you is wrong, try to get his/her approval and hope that things will be fine or back to normal

Stage 3 is Depression– You become desperate to please the other person, while you keep getting disapproval from him/her. You start feeling that you are wrong.

“We are living in a time where a lot of people are having a tough time deciding what’s real and feeling like they are being manipulated…If they know something is true and somebody tells you it’s not true, holding on to your reality is essential. You can’t be gaslighted if you stay inside your own reality and recognize the manipulation when you see it.”

-Dr.Robin Stern

Best way to get out of this vicious trap is to have faith in yourself and get out of relationship if things are not working for you. Worse thing is to tolerate abuse and keep thinking that things will get better in future.


Andrei Chikatilo, Dr. Alexandr Bukhanovsky and Forensic Psychology

Dr. Alexander Bukhanovsky , a Russian Psychiatrist was requested by police investigators  to help them find a serial killer. Alexander studied corpses of victims and based on his observations drew profile of killer.

The killer would be a tall man, in his 40’s, sexually impotent and must have had a difficult childhood which made him a sadist. He would either be single or if married, must be having a submissive wife.

Alexander faced other problems. As psychiatrist he was not welcomed by police force.The communist government of USSR refused to believe that serial killers existed in USSR; such people existed in Western countries. But Alexander and investigators were convinced that the murders were not committed by different people, but by same person and they had to catch this serial killer.

Profile prepared by Alexander helped the investigators, it matched with suspect called Andrei Chikatilo. The investigators had suspected involvement of Anderi, but each time he managed to escape. Infact when he committed first murder, he was prime suspect, but because of inefficiency of police, a person called Aleksandr Kravchenko was charged with murder and executed.

When Andrei was finally caught he refused to confess. So investigators asked Alexander to talk to Andrei. Andrei confessed of murdering 56 people. The profile prepared by Alexander was accurate. Anderi was married with submissive wife; he was impotent and he had difficult childhood, which had made him sadist.

In 1994 he was executed for his crime.

Marshall Goldsmith, Spotlight Effect and Illusion of Transparency

Marshall Goldsmith is one of the highest paid executive coach. He is easy going person and practices what he preaches. Once while getting on stage in a function he fell down on stage, but he casually stood up and laughed it off. He did not feel embarrassed at all.

Reason why we will feel embarrassed about our mistakes or goof ups is what psychologist call as “spotlight effect”. The spotlight effect is the phenomenon in which people tend to believe they are being noticed more than they really are. This fear of being noticed by others and laughed at makes us feel embarrassed. In reality people give little importance to our goof ups, since their mind is occupied with some other things which are of importance to them.

Similar to spotlight effect is another phenomenon called as “Illusion of Transparency”.  It is people’s tendency to overestimate the degree to which their personal mental state is known by others. In reality people rarely care about what is going on in your mind.