The American Pyschological Association (APA) is formally considering adding "assholism" as an official personality disorder to the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, as announced by a leading psychiatrist, who wished to remain anonymous, at a major U.S. medical facility.
The addition was proposed following a clinical study of 500 alleged "assholes" - culled from the ranks of both houses of Congress, boardrooms of major U.S. corporations, and selected cast members of reality TV shows, including Duck Dynasty, The Apprentice, and Real Houswives - over a period of six months in 2013, too late for the condition to be added to the current edition of the DSMMD.
It should be noted, however, that the term "asshole" is now considered both impolite and derogatory when referring to people suffering from this type of disorder. The terms "assholic" or "assholoid" are now regarded as more socially appropriate and less stigmatizing.
According to psychiatrists behind the proposal, the addition was inspired by two recent studies, one by Cambridge professor Hieronymus Gauche entitled Assholoids: How to Spot Them and another by Yale professor Marge Simpson simply called Coming to Grips with the Assholistic Spouse. In the views of both scholars, American society is awash with them - but only slightly ahead of the percentage found in Britain, whose incidences tend to spike during football (soccer) season, distorting the Bell curve.
The basic premise of each study is they're everywhere! If you're a male, chances are good that you are one and don't even know it. If you're a female, other epithets apply, all adding up to the same thing.
Little hope is offered for a cure. Once an assholoid, always an assholoid, seems to be the motto of both studies. So how do you know if you are one?
According to inside sources, the APA is defining a set of criteria for the disorder. You are most probably suffering from assholistic personality disorder (APD) and may be diagnosed as an assholic or, more properly, assholoid if you meet the following three conditions over the course of any six-week period:
1. A total failure to return compliments directed your way.
2. A tendency to display aggressive behavior in public, such as cutting in line at a ticket window, tailgating for more than one mile at a stretch, etc.
3. Vehement, audible cursing at obstacles to social progress that others would regard as minor, such as a severe weather bulletin interrupting a favorite TV program or a checkout clerk running out of cash register tape while your order is being rung up.
A distinction should be made between chronic assholism and more sporadic, isolated incidents. For example, during certain holidays, outbreaks of assholism occur more frequently, such as the trampling of others during Black Friday sales after Thanksgiving. This type of assholism is crowd-induced and temporary.
However, as with any personality disorder, extreme caution should be taken with self-diagnosis. If you suspect you are an assholic or assholoid, you should consult with a qualified therapist for testing.
A frequently asked question is: Are there steps you can take to curb the tendency? The first step, as always with personality disorders, is to recognize that you have a problem. The remaining 11 steps of a proposed 12-step program for curbing assholistic tendencies are being drafted by committee. Medications targeting this specific disorder are also being developed, although approval by the FDA may be several years distant.
In the meantime, self-help gurus recommend practical exercises such as the following:
1. Stop to smell the daisies. No - don't pluck them! Didn't you see the sign about a fine for picking wildflowers?
2. Let someone out when you're lined up at a red light. Resist the urge to flip the bird. He's not cutting in front of you. You're letting him out as a courtesy, remember?
3. Put someone else in charge of the remote this evening - you know, like your spouse. And please, don't bark at her when she flips to a rerun of Little House on the Prairie. You could learn a few things from Charles Ingalls.
4. Don't park in the handicapped spot. It's true you have a handicapped visor tag that you secretly borrowed from your great aunt Susan on your last visit to the nursing home and it's not like she needs it anymore. But there's nothing physically wrong with you. And a little exercise couldn't hurt.
5. You want to drink that last beer in the fridge. You've given the cap a partial twist - but hold everything! It belongs to your roommate who happened to buy the six-pack in the first place and you've already sucked down five, thinking maybe he wouldn't miss them.
6. Avoid being rude to the customer service rep. All she'll do is press the mute button and make fun of you with her coworkers until your tirade is done.
7. You're responding to a sports blog that has ridiculed your team. Avoid joining the fray with words like "idiot," "ass," "jerk," etc. Show restraint. Use terms like "respectfully disagree" or "with all due respect." Of course, you'll probably be called an "idiot," "ass," or "jerk" just the same. Bite your lower lip.
Other exercises may be added at the discretion of the sufferer: don't text and drive, set your cell phone to vibrate in a movie theater, tip your server 20%, courtesy flush in a public restroom … But this should give you the basic idea.
Several psychologists who are specialists in APD suggest daily repetition of the Possum Lodge men's prayer from the Red Green Show: "I'm a man, but I can change, If I have to, I guess." Women are advised to come up with something similar if necessary.