Author Topic: King Henry VIII, was he a bipolar tyrant or just obssessed with wanting a son?  (Read 27274 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Kimberly

  • Moderator
  • Velikye Knyaz
  • *****
  • Posts: 3143
  • Loyaulte me lie
    • View Profile
Re: King Henry VIII, was he a bipolar tyrant or just obssessed with wanting a so
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2006, 05:46:41 PM »
Yep, with a bit of Narcississm thrown in for good measure.
Member of the Richard III Society

Offline Romanov_fan

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4611
    • View Profile
Re: King Henry VIII, was he a bipolar tyrant or just obssessed with wanting a so
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2006, 10:56:42 AM »
He was defintely narcissitic; isn't there a narcssistic petsonality disorder?

Offline Kimberly

  • Moderator
  • Velikye Knyaz
  • *****
  • Posts: 3143
  • Loyaulte me lie
    • View Profile
Re: King Henry VIII, was he a bipolar tyrant or just obssessed with wanting a so
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2006, 11:16:49 AM »
Yep, look back at Helen's post, its an interesting llist and I bet that we can all see a little bit of ourselves in some of those descriptions ;D
Member of the Richard III Society

helenazar

  • Guest
Re: King Henry VIII, was he a bipolar tyrant or just obssessed with wanting a so
« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2006, 01:03:05 PM »
Yep, look back at Helen's post, its an interesting llist and I bet that we can all see a little bit of ourselves in some of those descriptions ;D

It's true, everyone has a bit of each of these symptoms in them, but I think it only becomes a "syndrome"/ disorder when there is enough symptoms combined together. I think Henry definitely had enough classic symptoms to be considered either Paranoid or Narcissistic or Histironic, or even all of the above! This is why I am pretty convinced that if he had lived in modern times and was evaluated by a psychiatrist, he would have been diagnosed with personality disorder. And it has nothing to do with him being a king, he would have probably been this way regardless, except he wouldn't have had the power to act upon it. This is why hereditary absolute rule is so dangerous - you never know when you end up with a certifiable ruler - and there would be nothing anyone could do to stop him!  :o


bell_the_cat

  • Guest
I'm not sure that Henry had many symptoms that today would be today certifiable.

However he had some personality traits that, as Helen says were potentially dangerous for someone in his position.

He definitely was suspicious, verging on paranoia. I'm reminded of the saying "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you. I think Hanry as a young boy would have been well reminded by his mother (mindful of what had happened to her brothers) to make sure he watched his back. Given that his dynasty was not well established, paranoia would seem to me a sensible precaution!

The other trait is a certain fastidiousness or prigishness, an inability to see things other than in black and white. This maíght have it's origins in his (rather lonely) adolescence. After Arthur's death he grew up too soon and didn't hang out with the guys (à la Prince Hal). He was always taking the moral high ground, for example when he lectured his sister on her untidy private life. Instead of having as many mistresses as he could, like other kings, he preferred to be faithful to his wives, the only main exceptions to this rule being Elizabeth Blount and Mary Boleyn, both of whom were sent away.

In "the King's Great Matter",  Henry wasn't happy just to have an anullment. He wanted the Pope to say that the prevoius dispensation had been mistaken, so that he could go to Anne Boleyn's bed armed with papal approval, and the relevant bible passages! In the event, in order for this to happen with his clear conscience, the whole kingdom was shaken up.

So, I think he had some ordinary quirks of charcter, which combined to produce a sort of madness, if that means an inability to function to established rules of behaviour. But I don't think it was of medical origin. In later years, his illness made things worse. This was basically an ulcer on the leg, which is extremely painful. A relative of mine suffers from the same thing, and it can't be cured. It heals up and breaks out again from time to time. The inactivity it causes leads to obesity and circulation problems.

I've never seen a convincing argument that he had syphilis - apart from the one that goes "it was very common in XVIth C Europe, so Henry must have had it. In fact Henry's puritanical obsessiveness meant that alone among contemporary monarchs, he did not sleep around!

Offline stacey

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 158
  • I wanna be a princess when I grow up!!
    • View Profile
    • Knowitall
AHEM!

Stacey steps forward, waving her Psychology Degree. (Yes, I do have one--oh no, please stop groaning, I promise to be gentle!  :P).

I don't think Henry was bipolar. He didn't have the dramatic manias (highs) of someone with BP (short for bipolar disorder). He could be very merry and high-spirited with his friends, but fortunately that does not count as mania! Because believe me, mania can be extremely destructive--not to others, but to the person suffering from it. (Manics can, for example, go on ruinous spending binges that can leave them virtually penniless, in extreme cases.) Yes, Henry spent tons of money, but he was a king! And yes, he could fall into black depressions, but these usually had a clear trigger--such as marital/fertility problems, pain from his ulcerous leg, etc. Bipolar depressions often seem to "come out of nowhere".)

Personality disorder? Yes, I think Henry probably would qualify here. He certainly (esp. later in life) displayed paranoid traits. So there are possible signs of a paranoid personality disorder--or at least some paranoid personality traits. Histrionic personality disorder? Umm...maybe. He was given to a lot of "peacock" displays and had plenty of vanity. I would say more "histrionic traits" than full-blown disorder I think. Borderline? He did engage in a lot of black-and-white thinking, and Lord knows he had massive rages, but I'm not sure I would classify him as having Borderline personality disorder. For example, I don't see the terrible fear of abandonment or the self-harming behaviors common to borderlines.

The one I think fits him best is Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Henry had a massively overgrown ego and he was almost totally self-absorbed. He truly thought that everything revolved around him. He could be ruthless with anyone who harmed his imagine of himself or who stood in his way. There is a more extreme kind of narcissism known as "Malignant Narcissism"---that is how many psychiatrists would diagnose a Hitler, a Stalin, or a Saddam Hussein. People whose narcissism and egotism are so enormous that they lose all sense of restraint and all morality.

I don't think Henry went quite that far--altho he came pretty close sometimes. (He had that bad habit of beheading wives and friends who crossed him, after all.) But I would say severe Narcissistic Personality Disorder fits Henry pretty well.

Having said all that...I must add the usual disclaimer and add that while I do have a degree in psychology, I am not a doctor. And even a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist would hesitate to "diagnose" someone so far removed in time and place.

Still....I think our Henry was a Narcissist....with a capital "N"!  :P
Sola Nobilitas Virtus

helenazar

  • Guest
I don't think Henry was bipolar. He didn't have the dramatic manias (highs) of someone with BP (short for bipolar disorder). He could be very merry and high-spirited with his friends, but fortunately that does not count as mania! Because believe me, mania can be extremely destructive--not to others, but to the person suffering from it. (Manics can, for example, go on ruinous spending binges that can leave them virtually penniless, in extreme cases.) Yes, Henry spent tons of money, but he was a king! And yes, he could fall into black depressions, but these usually had a clear trigger--such as marital/fertility problems, pain from his ulcerous leg, etc. Bipolar depressions often seem to "come out of nowhere".)

Personality disorder? Yes, I think Henry probably would qualify here. He certainly (esp. later in life) displayed paranoid traits. So there are possible signs of a paranoid personality disorder--or at least some paranoid personality traits. Histrionic personality disorder? Umm...maybe. He was given to a lot of "peacock" displays and had plenty of vanity. I would say more "histrionic traits" than full-blown disorder I think. Borderline? He did engage in a lot of black-and-white thinking, and Lord knows he had massive rages, but I'm not sure I would classify him as having Borderline personality disorder. For example, I don't see the terrible fear of abandonment or the self-harming behaviors common to borderlines.

The one I think fits him best is Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Henry had a massively overgrown ego and he was almost totally self-absorbed. He truly thought that everything revolved around him. He could be ruthless with anyone who harmed his imagine of himself or who stood in his way. There is a more extreme kind of narcissism known as "Malignant Narcissism"---that is how many psychiatrists would diagnose a Hitler, a Stalin, or a Saddam Hussein. People whose narcissism and egotism are so enormous that they lose all sense of restraint and all morality.

I don't think Henry went quite that far--altho he came pretty close sometimes. (He had that bad habit of beheading wives and friends who crossed him, after all.) But I would say severe Narcissistic Personality Disorder fits Henry pretty well.

Having said all that...I must add the usual disclaimer and add that while I do have a degree in psychology, I am not a doctor. And even a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist would hesitate to "diagnose" someone so far removed in time and place.

Still....I think our Henry was a Narcissist....with a capital "N"!  :P

Thanks, stacey. I agree that Henry was definitely not bipolar (not sure why that was proposed) and that he was most likely narcissistic, with possibly a nice mixture of other personality disorder traits thrown in... It would have been so interesting to have him officially diagnosed according to modern standards!   :o


Offline Romanov_fan

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4611
    • View Profile
Oh yes, it would be!!! He was a bit extreme even for his age, but he was larger than life. And what interesting history came out of his life and that era. If nothing else, his being the father of Elizabeth I was important. She was in my view, England's greatest monarch ever.

Offline Lucien

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 7349
  • Courtier
    • View Profile
Yep, with a bit of Narcississm thrown in for good measure.

King Narcissus,as a banner at the GREMB. ;D

http://members3.boardhost.com/Oranjes/
Je Maintiendrai

boleynfan

  • Guest
Henry was not crazy.  Remember, he was a star in all categories - - athletic, brilliant, handsome, popular.  It was only in his mid to late 30's that he really became more unstable.  It was around this time that he suffered the leg injury that was going to plague him with pain and infection for the rest of his life.  He was unable to stay active, putting him in a bad mood and increasing his girth.  I think the frustration and physical changes that came along at this time really turned him into the caricature of the man he became.

Offline mcdnab

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 217
    • View Profile
i really dislike the modern tendency to impose diseases and their symptoms on historical people no doctor or psychiatrist would diagnose a patient without having the chance to treat them on a personal level but its perhaps natural that we do it.

Henry VIII was arguably a spoilt child by our standards with the removal of his elder brother to Ludlow he was brought up in an almost entirely female household where as the male child was the "STAR" attraction. Unusually for a prince of his period he was brought up largely by his mother and in the presence of his sisters. He clearly doted on his mother Elizabeth of York and I think you could reasonably argue that her early death at the same time as his elder brother died denoted an end to his otherwise happy and contented childhood. Some have argued that his desire for an heir, his search for the perfect family life was largely dictated by his wish to return to his happy childhood days.

Politically no monarch would regard lacking a male heir as acceptable but that was intensified in a country were the reigning dynasty was a new one and when the country had suffered a civil war over dynastic squabbles about the succession. Also it is worth bearing in mind that for a very pious man the lack of an heir, which was seen as punishment by God, was hard to take.

Henry saw himself as the perfect image of the renaissance prince and went out of his way to prove it - but like many active sporty men an injury in his late thirties combined with an inability to adapt his diet to a more sedentary lifestyle saw his weight and health problems increase, which may well have affected his mood and behaviour.

His increasing despotism was due to the simple reason that as head of both church and state he was all powerful domestically which freed him from the constraints of his ancestors = one of the main attractions of luthers statements and reliance on biblical teaching was that unlike Popes Kings did appear in the bible...to many monarchs protestantism had attractions - certainly Henry was essentially a catholic to his death but he was aware that as head of the church in England his powers and therefore the power of his dynasty was increased it also played well with the general xenophobia of his subjects.

Despot he might have been but he died immensely popular and well regarded as a "great" king.

Offline Yelena Aleksandrovna

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 3730
    • View Profile
    • *Glitter Of The Past*
In my opinion, he was just obssessed with wanting a son

Romanov_Fan19

  • Guest
Slightly Manic/ Narcissistic

Offline Terence

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 208
    • View Profile
Slightly Manic/ Narcissistic

Slightly Manic/ Narcissistic...Slightly!

If that is your call, let me wish you good luck in your future relations w/ the opposite sex. (For those that don't get humor, this is my sense of humor, forget any outrage, as we are psychoanalyzing long dead folks and this is all an exercise in absurdity).

Besides murdering (legally at the time executing) several of his wives, one of his saddest killings was of Margaret, Countess of Salisbury.  She was an old woman at the time, had been a great friend/mentor to his daughter Mary for many years.  His mother's first cousin, she was the daughter of the attainated George Clarence of York.

When one of Margaret's sons expressed some objection to Henry VIII's actions, he had her imprisoned for 2 years and then executed.  At age 67 and not in good health she still didn't go willingly.  The details of an executioner taking several tries to chop off her head with an axe are particularly gruesome.

Even for those times, he was particularly murderous and cruel in his expression of power.  JMHO

T


Offline Vecchiolarry

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 759
    • View Profile
Hi Terence,

Yes, this is my humble opinion too...
This was a truly despicable act - to execute a harmless old lady, who probably would have died within the year anyway.
And I say, good for you Margaret - - you did not go calmly out of this world but did protest most vigourously the cruelty of your demise.

She is one of my "heroines of history"...

Larry