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The hidden malice in Britney Spears’ Conservatorship: An Independence Day story.

Ronan Farrow and Jia Tolentino in The New Yorker write about the conservatorship that Britney Spears has been under for the last 13 years. Farrow is probably the right guy to take this on given his background and I think this article clarifies something about Britney that almost everyone has been missing.

Let’s back up for a moment and talk about Britney’s possible diagnosis of bipolar disorder. I don’t think that’s what got her sectioned in the first place. I think she was suffering from some serious post partum depression that was exacerbated by her lifestyle. But I also suspect that most really successful performers have some form of bipolar disorder. That’s because they have to be able to let go of some inhibitions when they perform. It’s not merely overcoming stage fright. They have to be able to transcend the moment. That “IT” factor is not just talent. It’s a kind of incandescence and it helps if that little hit of hypomania makes your dance moves all that more provocative, rapid, on the edge of out of control. I’m not a big Britney fan but I definitely did notice a difference in her performances before and after her meltdown. Afterwards, her dancing seemed almost robotic. It lacked that incandescence. She wasn’t feeling it.

Bipolar disorder is no joke. It has to be managed carefully. Stress can trigger symptoms. But like I said, there are many successful performers who seem to have it. They are not in conservatorships.

At first I thought that the conservatorship was overly controlling because that is the nature of conservatorships and that they should only be used for people who were mentally incapacitated to take care of themselves because they have Alzheimer’s or severe autism or something like that. But it turns out that conservator abuse is not uncommon. Still, it is primarily the elderly and mentally disabled people who end up in them. These are people who really can’t function. And if you’ve ever seen a person with uncontrolled bipolar disorder, not merely hypomania, they couldn’t do what Britney has done. She has worked like crazy since her conservatorship and never broken down or gone off the rails at any of her Las Vegas performances that I’m aware of.

So, call me skeptical about the severity of her mental illness. I don’t think that’s the whole story and if it hasn’t gotten Demi Lovato locked up, there’s no reason why Britney should be locked up.

No, I see a completely different potential diagnosis here. But as far as I know, the person who may really have a problem has never been evaluated. And that is her father. There are plenty of witness accounts and Britney’s own testimony that point to her father, Jamie Spears, as being the primary reason why Britney seems crazy.

I won’t go over some of his abusive behavior. Go read Farrow’s piece for that. It’s disturbing. What sealed it for me was hearing Britney’s own words that her father wouldn’t have a role in her life if it weren’t for the conservatorship.

Her situation and behavior strongly suggests to me like her life has been taken over by a malignant narcissist. Jamie has complete control of every aspect of her life, money, image, social life, parenthood of her kids, everything. And he loves it. He’s got access to a mountain of cash and he’s got a mule that has been appointed by the state of California to work for him and pay his bills indefinitely.

Oh, it gets better.

Because she entered this arrangement when she was having a breakdown, his initial acts are seen to be like a caring father who is stepping in to look after her welfare. And every action is seen in this light, that the courts must err on the side of protecting Britney for her own good and against her true behavior if she were left to her own devices.

How convenient.

Narcissistic parents are crazy making. That’s because they feed off their children. They desire control over everything else. They are really good with smear campaigns. They conscript unwitting or naive enablers to help them get what they want. Those enablers collect information for the narcissist, allow the narcissist to amplify anything that’s not 100% perfect into something insidious. The enablers make excuses, help the narcissist gaslight the target. As time goes on, the target is isolated from people who might have been able to help. The enablers help the narcissist abuse.

The narcissist lacks empathy. He or she doesn’t care about the amount of pain inflicted on the target. The narcissist doesn’t care about the mobbing by enablers. All the narcissist cares about is getting their way at the expense of others. That could mean taking over the target’s life for financial gain or just because the narcissist wants to change the target’s personality.

The narcissist’s overbearing lust for control and the steps they take to get it, can make a target look and sound crazy. The smear campaign is relentless. The target’s character is completely dismantled and trashed. A naive target who doesn’t understand manipulative techniques will have a very hard time combatting them. And narcissists bide their time, like spiders, waiting for the target to have some kind of personal crisis. It’s when the target is most vulnerable that the narcissist will rush in and take control, take your life, tell you what religion to practice, how to conduct your sex life, whatever it is they want.

At the point when this happens, it’s usually too late for the victim to do anything about it. The narcissist has carefully stacked the deck in their favor. The target will look unreasonable if they complain. Really subtle narcissists will make themselves look like the victims, relying on societal pressure to get the target to give in or be made to look like the bad guy for not honoring their parent. This can go on for a lifetime. And frequently the target has no idea what is happening because the gaslighting and smearing and manipulation has been going on for as long as the target can remember. It’s almost all they know.

The targets that resist will have the full weight of the narcissist’s tactics thrown at them. The cruelty, the name calling, the meanness and degradation will happen behind closed doors where no one can witness it. The narcissist will use money to ensure that the target complies. Behave exactly like the narcissist wants and you get a few privileges or your allowance or your inheritance. Resist in any way and you get nothing.

To be vulnerable and under this much control is crazy making. As in, it will make you crazy. The smear campaigns can make the people who should be your allies turn on you. The claims that you’re crazy or have an anger problem are reinforced when the whole situation drives you crazy or makes you mad. That legitimate reaction will be interpreted as proof of what the narcissist says about you.

This is what is happening to Britney Spears. She can no longer defend herself without looking crazy. But unlike the rest of us who have the option to divorce our narcissistic parent or spouse, she has been condemned to live under his thumb-indefinitely. The fact that Britney is resisting and speaking up for herself and getting the attention of the rest of the world speaks well of her personality. But it is also dangerous for her because any expression of resistance is going to be interpreted by the courts and mental health experts that Jamie has manipulated as signs of Britney’s continued mental illness.

Imagine having your entire life controlled by a man you can’t stand and being unable to do anything about it.

That’s what it’s like to be Britney Spears.

She can’t go “no contact”. She isn’t entitled to the very basic unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that the Declaration of Independence says we are endowed by our creator.

Jamie Spears is her creator and the state of California is allowing him to drain the life out of her.

These days, you can’t even adopt a pet without a thorough assessment of your fitness to be a pet owner. But parents like Britney’s are allowed to take over a life by simply being concerned.

The state of California owes it to Britney and all such people in conservatorships to subject Jamie Spears to a thorough mental health examination to see if he displays any cluster B personality traits of antisocial behavior and narcissism. To do double down on his control of her is making her own mental health worse.