March 10th, 2008
08:38 PM ET

Spitzer: Breaking the Rules

Eliot Spitzer seems to be the latest in the long list of politicians who appear to be champions of morality publicly, while privately struggle with some very amoral urges.

Every person has secret fantasies.  Many of these fantasies are quite normal and even healthy.  There is a big difference between having fantasies or thoughts and acting on them.  This means that it is normal too to have fantasies that you would never dream of acting on because the behavior would be morally reprehensible to you.

What happens then when you feel your thoughts are wrong? What happens when the urge to act on a morally bad thought is strong and it makes you anxious and guilty? Can this lead to a career of fighting the very urges you struggle with?

A tremendously conflicted thought or fantasy which is unexamined and suppressed has a lot of power.  Power to make you behave in ways you normally would not act.

In addition, the mind tries extremely hard to deny such thoughts exist.  This is the set up for creating a man who seems to be leading a secret life.  Craig, Foley, Baker and McGreevy... all pillars of society who seemed to be the champions of a highly moral cause and all using their positions to conceal urges to break the very rules they espouse.

– Dr. Gail Saltz, Psychiatrist

Program note: Dr. Saltz is the author of "Anatomy of a Secret Life."  She is a guest on Monday's 360° at 10p ET. 

Filed under: Dr. Gail Saltz • Eliot Spitzer
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