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By Tim Stevens
This report is a meta analysis of several therapists' session notes for one Obadiah Stane as requested by the District Court in reference to case number 56732503.
Obadiah Stane was an adult male of above average physical health for his age. He presents as confident to the point of arrogance and very intelligent. In session, the client was calm and collected but quick to react to what he perceived as underestimations of his abilities or character.
At the time of his death, Stane was the CEO of Stane International, a highly regarded Fortune 500 company that produced weapons for, amongst others, the United States government and S.H.I.E.L.D.
While the client was quick to reject any therapist he deemed unworthy of him or unequal of his intellect (which seemed to be all of them) and thus was never formally diagnosed, it is clear to the writer that Stane did suffer from two Axis II diagnoses. The first of these, Antisocial Personality Disorder, was evident in all Stane's business dealings. He was ruthless to the point of illegality and beyond and never showed one moment of remorse or regret for his actions. The best example of this behavior actually comes from Stane's youth. Facing a tough opponent in an upcoming chess match, Stane dedicated himself to ferreting out the other youth's weaknesses. Finding none that had to do with the game of chess, the client focused on the opponent's life outside the game and was able to discover that the boy had a dog he quite loved. From there, the solution was simple: Stane killed the dog, his opponent was distracted by his grief, Stane won the match. The client discussed this event with each therapist with a sense of pride.
This pride leads us to the client's second personality disorder. Stane was a near perfect representation of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, fulfilling, in the opinion of this writer, at least eight of the nine symptoms of the disorder. He exhibited a sense of self-importance, a belief that he was better than everyone around him, a total lack of empathy, arrogance, envy of others (as exhibited by his unchecked aggression towards other corporate entities), a sense of being owed something by the world, a hunger for unlimited power and wealth, and was wildly manipulative of others.
The client also had a clear Axis IV diagnosis of a family history of suicide as his father had committed suicide, seemingly be accident, while playing Russian Roulette in front of a young Stane.
It is also worth noting that, while the writer can provide no specific diagnoses on this matter, the client noted several times in sessions that he viewed life as a game and that he had no intention of losing. In this way, he was forever in competition with everyone around him. Every interaction, be it at a party or in a boardroom, was a chance to best an opponent. From telling the best story to having the most profitable company, Stane viewed it all as an arena in which dominance must be proven.
These final three factors, NPD, family history of suicide, and an orientation towards constant gameplay with an inability to accept loss, are no doubt the cause of the client's suicide. They commingled to create a worldview that was so inflexible that the client would do anything to maintain it. As such, when faced with an untenable situation, his own fallibility, he had to kill himself. The alternative, total ego destruction, was simply inconceivable to him. In fact, had the client not killed himself, it is very likely the resulting PTSD would have rendered him near catatonic for a substantial period of time.
Therefore, it is the determination of this writer that Iron Man bears no responsibility, criminally or civilly, for the client's actions. While the bodyguard was involved in the events that culminated in Stane's suicide, he did not act in a way that was improper or unethical, given the context. The client made a conscious decision to end his own life and did so of his own volition. Short of allowing Stane to defeat or, more likely, kill him, there is nothing Iron Man could have done to prevent the suicide.
Tim Stevens is a Mental Health Supervisor currently pursuing his Psy D who has been intensively trained on Dialectical Behavior Therapy.
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