find a diagnosis
April 21, 2010 11:29 AM   Subscribe

Help me find a mental health condition to slam the sycophants I work with.

After freezing wages and budgets for at least 2 years for the peasants, CEO gets bonus and promotion. The brown-nosers are so thrilled for him, they've worn out their exclamation point key writing memos.

I'm looking for a mental/behavioural condition where people lose their identities/dignity or derive well being from someone else. Co-dependancy kind of does it but I'm looking for something more...severe/drastic or medical sounding.
posted by larry_darrell to Health & Fitness (21 answers total)
I think you should abandon this idea. Trying to slam opponents by diagnosing them with mental illness is, at best, rude.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:32 AM on April 21, 2010 [8 favorites]

Stockholm Syndrome? Doesn't exactly fit, but seems appropriate. Cult of personality might work too, although it's not a diagnosis.
posted by electroboy at 11:32 AM on April 21, 2010

I don't think ass-kissing is a mental illness, and I'd suspect that you aren't going to get much help from the folks on here who work in the mental health field since you seem to be looking for a funny label for your co-workers.

Having said that, toady sort of describes the type of person you mention. Plus it just sounds nasty.
posted by jquinby at 11:34 AM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Agreed on Stockholm Syndrome, but also agreed that this is a squicky idea.
posted by Billegible at 11:34 AM on April 21, 2010

Do this only if you plan on not only leaving your job, but the field you work in. Calling the people you work with names (even if they irritate you) is generally not viewed as professional, and word can and does get around.

That said, the first thing that leapt to mind was "courtiers", as in, the hangers-on at court who try to curry favour with the king.
posted by LN at 11:41 AM on April 21, 2010

I think if you do this, you will make it appear as if you are the one with a mental health condition. I get how frustrating it is when people just brown nose too and bask adoration on authority members, but doing so isn't a sign of mental illness.
posted by bunnycup at 11:49 AM on April 21, 2010

Ya'll assume too much. He didn't say he was going to call them it. Maybe he has a blog or a short story or something he's writing, maybe it's how he'll tell his friends over cold ones.

Mebbe He's a she.

I like the idea of using the word "cog". "Coggery" or "MTOMR Disease" (Making the Other Man Rich...) or some other acronym.
posted by TomMelee at 11:52 AM on April 21, 2010

If people are obnoxious but not suffering from a mental illness, you should probably stick to "obnoxious."
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 12:02 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

The expression you are looking for to describe these brown-nosers is 'brown-nosers'.
posted by IanMorr at 12:13 PM on April 21, 2010

Maybe ask them some critical questions instead. eg "For what reasons do you think he deserves a raise?". "How has his vision and action improved the company?" Or, you could just join in with them in their thankfulness, rejoicing, and celebration to better understand why they would be grateful to the person who gives them a job.
posted by yoyoceramic at 12:23 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:36 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Mule psychology - "The mule psychology of the oats-aspiring animal is clearly demonstrated when Block meets Block. Whenever two of the species meet after being separated for some time you can always bet your life that the first question IS about a job. They make a great Hallelujah when they have one. These working animals accept degradation with a satisfied grin. Not only are they satisfied with a job, but they are also thankful for the privilege of slaving their lives away to make a heaven on earth for profiteers."
posted by Abiezer at 12:38 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Dunno what the clinical term is, but it sounds like they're acting against their own interests.
posted by rhizome at 1:12 PM on April 21, 2010

I guess Stockholm Syndrome, but do not be surprised if they find nasty things to say about you. After all, you're a loser who hasn't gotten a raise in two years, just like them.
posted by atrazine at 1:15 PM on April 21, 2010

I would urge you not to think of mental illnesses as possible insults. Those of us who do suffer from mental illnesses would appreciate it.
posted by brina at 1:32 PM on April 21, 2010 [19 favorites]

Please, consider how you would feel if a coworker used a medical condition YOU have in order to insult somebody they thought was cowardly and obsequious.
posted by Cygnet at 1:49 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'd say the people at issue are fearful and hoping their efforts to please will save them from worse than salary freezes. I'm a lot more sympathetic to this sort of behavior when jobs and incomes are at stake.
posted by bearwife at 2:44 PM on April 21, 2010

Y'know, I try to play this through in my head, and (pace) my admittedly limited imagination, saying anything about this is an inferior alternative to keeping your own counsel on this issue. Yes, they're pitiable wretches, but no, you don't need to say shit.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 3:47 PM on April 21, 2010

I'm not keen on co-opting a mental illness for what is essentially a learned behavior, but if you're just hoping to describe them in writing or over beers with true friends, I've seen this sort of person described as an "ostentatious toadie" before. It's a term borrowed from Great Expectations, but it fits.

You're also traipsing into "lord-and-serf" mentality, which may be another colorful way to describe your situation in writing.
posted by juniperesque at 3:59 PM on April 21, 2010

Not mental health, but...
What about Living Vicariously?
Or make up something using the words "by Proxy" - celebrating success by proxy?
Or greatly exaggerate the words "AS IF": They are acting AS IF they got the promotions themselves.
posted by CathyG at 7:04 PM on April 21, 2010

posted by Fortnight Bender at 9:38 PM on April 21, 2010

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