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Strange Syndrome?
February 27, 2006
1:23 pm
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zinnia
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I was just readig the news about a plagiarism accusation agaist an author, and it brought to mind some very peculiar behavior of my ex:

On two separate occasions, he claimed to be writing fiction that, when he described the plot & characters, turned out to be play-by-play rehashes of current movies.

The first time he did this, I recognized the story and the second time was in a very awkward situation:

We were in the halls of the courthouse for one of our many appearances there and my fiance had accompanied me for support.

We all knew each other from college and so my ex greeted my fiance as if this were a chance meeting in a club! Then he tried to make small talk, and told my fiance he was a writer now and he launched into a detailed narrative of his latest "book".

My fiance said "that sounds exactly like the plot of such&such movie,", which it was. I thought my ex was just doing one of his strange conversational games, but over the years my daughter said he really was writitng this book and it was an obsession.

Since then, I have seen it in his personal website, published as his own writing.

In both cases, he never seemed to be aware that he was repeating something he obviously had seen or read. He actually went through the physical effort of writing the stories out as if they were really his ideas.

Does anyone know anything about this behavior: is it a symptom of some kind? What might cause it? Is it more than manipulative attention seeking?

Just curious.

February 27, 2006
3:10 pm
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garfield9547
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Zinnia

You said

On two separate occasions, he claimed to be writing fiction that, when he described the plot & characters, turned out to be play-by-play rehashes of current movies.

This sounds like a N to me

More on the Petty Corruption of Everyday Life

Back to my earlier post on narcissism. and the issue of the workplace narcissist or (in the words of this site), a "workplace bully." Such a person ". . . may appear superficially competent and professional at their job, but behind the facade is inadequate, inept, poor at their job, often incompetent; survives only by plagiarising other people's work, and being carried by those they bully." We're back to the question of the kind of behavior that many observers see, but which, or whatever reason, seems to elude clear identification: "narcissists", "pathological narcissists", "socialized psychopaths", "serial bullies", "abusive bosses", or whatever other set of words you may

February 27, 2006
4:59 pm
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sewunique
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Have you ever thought of telling someone something and didn't but thought you had?

Ever tell a friend something and realize you never shared that information to the person you thought you had?

Our minds are strange creatures sometimes.

Maybe he just thought about it so hard and it was in his memory bank and then wrote it out as his own creation? It happens.

Just my humble opinion.

Sew

February 27, 2006
6:33 pm
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zinnia
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Sew,
but it went so far beyond a casual recounting of a story he mighthave forgotten.

He went into great detail, to the point he was clearly oblivious to the fact that no one there really wanted to have any conversation at all. By itself, it was part of his strange behavior, definitely "severe" N, that he could not pick up the signals that an encounter in the hallway of a courthouse is not a social occasion.

But the lengths he later went to, of spending time at his computer typing out the story, this was very extreme.

Yes, Sew, I have had the kinds of lapses you mention, and they are usually brief things, which as soon as you think about it you go "Oh, right, I never did mail that letter!" or something like that. But I was just noticing how utterly unlike "normal" behavior this "novel writing" was. Even a person who does plagiarize or imitate another doesn't do what my ex did.

Besides, my ex was not a writer. He was not even a reader. He made fun of books by their thickness. The only book I know of that he ever actually read was "Willy Wonka"! That is why I find the fact that he spent hours typing out this novel-length story so unusual.

February 27, 2006
6:54 pm
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lollipop3
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Zinnia,

I don't know what would cause this type of behavior. It seem almost psychotic to me...as if he's lost touch with reality. Of course, obviously I don't know that but it does seem very odd.

If it is just narcissism and he were to actually try to publish anything that has been plagerized....he'll certainly learn that lesson the hard way. Writers generally don't take kindly to people stealing their work and no doubt he would be called to the carpet.

Lolli

February 27, 2006
9:35 pm
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DoTheyNetwork
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zinnia is he using anything , Illegal drugs ?

February 28, 2006
10:03 pm
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readyforachange
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zinnia...I actually thought the exact same thing that garfield did....Narsicisst (I can never spell that word). Don't know if it's right, but it's just what popped into my head when you described this behavior.

March 2, 2006
1:19 am
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Worried_Dad
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I think it is a symptom of needing to take writing classes.

March 2, 2006
8:44 am
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revelation
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Could be N...definitly some sort of personality disorder...weird!!!

March 2, 2006
10:45 pm
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zinnia
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WD, *LOL*!!!!!

Actually, I know that he is "N" because the first time I ran into that term was when a family psychologist diagnosed him this way, and refused to try to help me "make him behave".

I thought it was a cop-out on the shrink's part, but in reality he was being honest about the futility of reasoning with my ex. I accepted his approach by concentrating on just trying to raise our daughter in spite of him. When I read the list of symptoms I understood why he was diagnosed, but I never saw this particular piece of behavior listed.

When I refer in posts to "severe N" it is him I am referring to, a true break with reality, a truly psychotic person.

And he was a pothead when we were together. I think he also did meth, because I found out some of his friends did, but he did not do that around me. He probably did a lot of other stuff, too.

Back in the early 70's I did my share of experimentation with lsd and psilocybin, but I never got into a habit with anything because I am one of those people who have a reverse reaction to marijuana and I had no interest in the people who did drugs. I dropped everything completely when I became pregnant.

My drug of choice always was and always will be a glass of beer or wine and the occasional margarita.

March 2, 2006
10:47 pm
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Worried_Dad
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Ok. It is a pretty common problem among writers, especially newbies, that they will be derivative or even plagiaristic in the work without even realizing it.

Classical N's are bastard braggars, though.

March 3, 2006
12:12 am
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DoTheyNetwork
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Hmm ? I did some experimenting myself. When you mentioned that he was talking lots it reminded me of someone I knew back in the 70's. He would just "Rap" at people. I think that was meth at times but it maybe other things to.

I like my coffee and a smoke (Cigarette:)

March 3, 2006
1:37 am
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zinnia
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wd, he is not a writer.

That was something he did years ago. He never wrote a book or an article or anything.

He did write some very strange letters when we were having fights over his child support payments, but they did not have any literary qualities.

But his only real creative writing was when he made out his financial reports to the court.

Now those, I dare say, were purely original fiction 😉

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