By Joyce Alexander, RNP (Retired)
I was reading an article about Steve Jobs’ new biography that came out this past week, and some of the stories about his life. There is no doubt in my mind that Steve Jobs was one of the smartest and most savvy guys in the Twentieth Century. The inventions that he fostered or personally thought of have changed our society and our culture, and remarkably changed the communication field. An amazing man!
You may have read the title of this article and are already wondering how Steve Jobs was killed by a “psychopath.” Jobs died of the terminal stages of pancreatic cancer. He was diagnosed with this very serious form of cancer. Apparently, according to what I read, it was a slower growing kind of this cancer, and if he had had surgery right then, there is a good chance that he might have actually effected a cure and be alive even today.
That wasn’t what Steve chose to do, though … he chose to deny the seriousness and the urgency to take drastic action immediately to exorcise the tumor out of his system. He did not essentially “go NO CONTACT” with the toxic, malignant entity that had silently invaded his body. As smart as Jobs was, and even though he had access to the best and most knowledgeable physicians in the world, he did not take the “appropriate action” to have the surgery. Jobs told his biographer that he did “not want to be cut open like that.” He later regretted that decision and even realized that it may have cost him his life.
His biographer says that he ultimately saw that the colon cleansing and other “new age” treatments did nothing for him, and nine months after he turned down after recommended surgery, Jobs finally decided to have it—what is called a “Whipple procedure” to remove the tumor. It was too late; he had missed that narrow “window of opportunity” in which he could have saved his life. He “got a divorce” from the tumor too late, the damage had been done. Though Steve Jobs fought valiantly for the next decade, the ultimate “win” by the psychopathic cancer was a foregone conclusion. He had failed to excise the cancer from his life while it was small.
Psychopaths as cancers
Too many times, I see psychopathic relationships with “malignant” individuals, and like cancers, they may grow inside us without being detectable as toxic until one day, even before we know they are toxic, the fatal damage has been done. Or, we may get a chance recognize them and to excise them when they are “small” in relationship to the rest of our lives. We can remove them without leaving large scars or holes in our lives. If we get this chance to remove the “malignant” people from our lives and we, like Steve Jobs, decide on a “want and see” plan, we allow them to grow and infiltrate our lives more fully, so that if and when we do decide to “surgically” remove them from our lives, the hole and the scars that they leave is much larger and more debilitating than if we had “done the surgery” when the situation wasn’t quite so ingrown.
Jesus talked about “if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, if thy hand offend thee, cut it off,” and went on to analogize that it is better to live a life with one eye or one hand than to live in “hell” with two eyes or two hands. Sometimes I think the “surgery” necessary to remove the psychopathic personality from our lives is very much like “plucking out your own eye” or “cutting off your own hand” with a rusty butcher knife. But the point of the situation is that in order to live a good life, or in some cases to live at all, we must make the hard decision to excise the toxic person, or the malignant tumor, from our lives as soon as we know what they are. Waiting around, treating this toxic, malignant issue with “kindness and love,” isn’t going to remove it from our lives or our bodies, or change it into something benign. We must take drastic and surgical action to remove this malignant person from our lives completely.
Removing those around the psychopath
That may also mean taking out the “lymph nodes” of the people around the cancerous person, just like the doctor will remove lymph nodes from around a breast containing cancer where that malignancy has spread into those nodes so that they, in turn, don’t spread the toxin to the rest of the body. It is unfortunate but true that a toxic psychopath will frequently have spread their lies and toxins to other people around us that we may also love … their families, our mutual friends, etc. A “cure” from the toxic psychopath may require us to be NC with those people too, and excise them from our lives as well. The longer the psychopath has been in our lives and the more deeply involved, the more likely this will be necessary. Failing to “bite the bullet” and do this as well may result in a recurrence of the malignancy this person leaves in our lives.
Steve Jobs was a significant personality in our culture. Of course there is no guarantee that if he had elected to have the surgery sooner rather than later, that he would have lived longer or better, but I can guarantee that living with a psychopathic person longer, or trying every “alternative” cure, except total surgical removal, isn’t going to improve your life in any way.
I think even in his death, Steve Jobs left us one more important thing … a lesson for anyone involved with a toxic relationship of any kind.