A Fractured Mind
My Life with
Robert B. Oxnam
(Hyperion)Part IRobert B. Oxnam has long been a hot-shot in the America-Asia lecture and advisory circuit. He ran the Asia Society for more than a decade, led financial-cultural tours of China for Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and President George H. W. Bush, and did a stint on the Board of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Thus he hangs out with people you and I can only read about on the society pages of the New York Times.When he is not guiding the rich around Tokyo or Beijing, Oxnam is dealing with eleven or so characters running around inside of him. He has what's known as MPD or "Multiple Personality Disorder." (More recently they --- those who are elected to give out names to all our oddball behaviors --- have decided to call it DID or "Dissociative Identity Disorder.")Whatever you want to label it, you don't want it. According to Oxnam, it's a real stinker. Until he and his psychotherapist finally figured out what was going on he was having black-outs and temper tantrums. He --- with more assets than you can shake a stick at --- was shoplifting cleats and brass clocks and suchlike from a snooty marine shop where he got the fittings for his modest thirty-eight-foot sloop. He would then turn around and spend his evenings watching porn flicks, feasting on peanuts, on vanilla ice-cream, and Scotch ... not your ideal Adkins Diet.
He would then toss all his cookies in the bathroom. It's known as bulimia, but it usually visits young ladies filled with the fits of being 'twixt twelve and twenty.Turns out these gambits were not the fault of Robert B. Oxnam but, rather, a product of Bobby, or Robby, or Tommy, or Bob; or maybe Baby, or the "Eye," or perhaps even the Witch. It was a regular kaffeeklatsch inside there.
Robert explains that while he was trying to run the world (and run around the world), he was getting sucker-punched by these characters fighting with each other, throwing bottles through the window, sulking in their chairs, hissing and snarling at each other, or Robert, or Bob, or Dr. Smith --- his shrink --- or Robert's (or Bob's, or Bobby's) wife. She was, not surprisingly, only interested in having one husband, not an army of them. The shrink was fascinated.
From ten years of psychotherapy, it was determined that before the age of five Oxnam was brutalised by someone (we never learn who; it could have been a baby-sitter or someone who was to care for the child when his parents were away). Gradually, a second child evolved within, and spawned others to cope with growing up, becoming adult, living in the adult world. But Oxnam never dreamed he had this zoo within until he began blanking out, blowing up, bingeing etc.
You and I probably have several different personalities lounging about inside of us. But if we (and they) are integrated, we can make it through our days without going bonkers or trying to shoplift anchors from our local marina. It is assumed that our distinct selves --- and we all have them --- are more or less communicating with each other, living with what Oxnam's doctor refers to as a "shared consciousness and memory."
Thus, according to the theory of personality propounded in this book, as long as your inner selves communicate with one another, you should be safe from the catastrophe that befell the author. Or, should we say, the several authors of this book.