I used to work at a large law firm as a paralegal with a team of paralegals. I had, what I believed to be, severe interpersonal problems with firm personnel. Early in my employment a senior attorney (David P. Callet, Esq.) noted that I seemed to work very hard. Does that attorney’s observation shed light on my difficulties? Perhaps. Let’s rephrase the attorney’s observation. “You come to the office to work. That’s it. You don’t seem like the type of person who comes to the office to gratify your psychological needs.” That would be a true statement. In fact you could call me something of a freak in the workplace. According to Dr. Kernberg most people in groups, including work groups, pool their psychological projections, idealize narcissistic supervisors, and look to the group-as-a-whole as a soothing breast-mother substitute. I don’t do any of those things. My real mother was not a source of soothing for me, so I certainly don’t look to a work group, of all things, to sooth my tensions! I look to Beethoven to do that!! I do not look for a cosmic emotional experience in the workplace, like many people. I look to social interaction in the workplace as an incidental gratification — not a driving force in my relations with others. Dr. Kernberg would agree that that makes me a freak, an individualist who will be a target of group envy and scapegoating.
The following are pertinent excerpts from Dr. Kernberg’s book: Ideology, Conflict, and Leadership in Groups and Organizations.
If Dennis Race and Malcolm Lassman in fact spoke with Gertrude Ticho, M.D. about me in late October 1991, can you fathom that she didn’t discuss the above issues with him?