Weiner’s deeper problem

Let’s not confuse the issue when we discuss Congressman Anthony Weiner tweeting his manhood over the Internet. It’s not about politics. It’s about, “What was he thinking?”

I think I have a clue. He thought the women to whom he was confiding these photos of himself really liked him. He thought he was safe. He trusted these strangers, enjoying a common male fantasy of camaraderie and loyal devotion. This was narcissistic of him. It’s a common problem. Charlie Sheen has been just as blindly besotted with both of his so-called “Goddesses.” Whenever any man is thinking with his testosterone the boundaries inevitably blur in the reading of other people’s feelings, much less his own deeper feelings.

How then might Weiner rectify this? I’m not one who thinks he should resign. Yet whenever any one us is guilty of some large act of narcissism, those we’ve hurt do rightfully require a sacrifice from us – a very real, unmistakably painful sacrifice – so that they can begin to forgive us. Hard to say what kind of sacrifice the public might require of Charlie Sheen, but it’s small wonder Weiner’s colleagues in congress immediately began asking him to step down. They need a concrete gesture of sacrifice, of real closure. Perhaps he should quit the Democratic Party, and continue to serve as an Independent, without the benefits of his once powerful alliances. Then his fate and future career are turned over to those who voted for him in the first place. Perhaps the public will be more compassionate than his colleagues. Either way, they too will need some dramatic renunciation for a healing to begin.

However we define it, sacrifice is the only cure for the wounds of narcissism

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