Arrogant, Childish and Divorced from Reality; Analysis

By Gardner, Alex | Daily Mail (London), June 29, 2001 | Go to article overview

Arrogant, Childish and Divorced from Reality; Analysis


Gardner, Alex, Daily Mail (London)


Byline: PROFESSOR ALEX GARDNER

EMBROILED in a characteristic row with his radio station, Chris Evans has again demonstrated those traits of vanity, bombast and towering egotism which have made him one of Britain's most controversial celebrities.

What intrigues me, as a psychologist, is the way Evans's conduct fits the pattern of his career.

So often before, we have seen Evans playing the same game: ferocious arguments with colleagues; questions about vast sums of money; moans to the Press about his unfair treatment; and noisy boasts of his unique talent.

That was certainly what occurred during the combustible saga of his departure from Radio One.

It is well established that, according to the psychological theory of Transactional Analysis, certain individuals like to set up situations where they can reenact a well-rehearsed role and thereby replay familiar feelings.

Now those feelings might be negative, like anger, resentment or self-pity.

But the crucial point is that, because they are well-known to the player, they provide a form of security.

This appears to be happening with Chris Evans in this latest bust-up, as he finds comfort by repeating his favourite lines, such as 'I'm really angry' and 'People just don't understand me'.

Metaphorically, Britain's most famous DJ is replaying an old record he knows by heart.

Perhaps the most striking feature of Evans's tone over recent days has been its childishness.

'It's simply not fair' and 'I'm very upset' could have come straight from the school playground. This is because of the imbalance in the Evans psyche.

Each of us has three elements to our inner personalities which direct our actions. First, there is the parental voice, which can alternatively be controlling, setting out the rules to follow, or comforting, like a mother's warm embrace.

Second, there is adult's voice, which enables us to carry out the rational processing of our decisions.

Third, there is the child's voice, where feelings are often expressed without recourse to rules or social norms.

In the well-adjusted person, these three influences work in harmony, with none of them predominant.

But in Evans's case, the child seems stronger than the other two, making him both egocentric and unable to handle authority.

That is why he cannot take orders from producers who try to change the format of his show.

In addition, Evans increasingly appears to believe his own mythology. …

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