What is up with the Balloon Boy family? Why would the parents go to such extreme measures for fame?

Richard and Mayumi Heene put their needs before those of their child’s and even went so far as to exploit Falcon on national TV. His vomiting during “The Today Show” interview suggests overwhelming anxiety related to a conflict: wanting to please his parents by complying with the story, but knowing it is wrong.

Two old-school psychology terms help explain the mindset of the parents: narcissism and rationalization. Narcissists are infatuated with themselves, as the ego drives their reckless behaviors while they selfishly pursue their ambitions. This pursuit of fame is fueled by what they think it may provide them: social acceptance and wealth.


– Jonathan Alpert is a licensed psychotherapist. www.jonathanalpert.com

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