Trump is both brilliantly calculated and simultaneously bereft of empathy and reactively unhinged.
These two character traits make Trump exceedingly unique and incredibly dangerous, as we all are bearing witness to -day in and day out. Tweet by deranged Tweet.
The amount of oxygen he sucks out of a room is monumental.
In his first interview since the inauguration with ABC News, one can see the ease with which Trump’s grandiosity merges with his absolute incapacity for any self-questioning or doubt which are absolutely necessary for reciprocity in relationships. We will get to that later.
Our President, absent the ability for reciprocity, thrives insatiably on a need for adoration. Any criticism is met with a backlash so disproportionate that it seems comical. “Seems” being the operative word. It is a window into Trump’s dysfunctional inner machinations. Please, keep your eyes on that window. As a candidate, Trump was a private citizen and that level of narcissism is not illegal, now he is not and it is dangerous.
As the United States of America has no psychological standards for the highest office on Earth it places an overwhelming pressure on Trump – one he is going to struggle greatly to manage.
Mental health concerns are medical concerns. I do not want to sound preachy, as I am a Clinical Social Worker who has testified as an expert witness on mental illness, but they are. The standard by which we measure the impact of those medical concerns on society is measured through a judicial lens. It is a relatively basic question courts must answer: “Does the mental health concern place the patient at an imminent risk of harming themselves or someone else?”
Now it is inappropriate for me, as a therapist to remotely diagnose anyone. That is generally a fabulous ethical principle for a Clinical Social Worker to adhere to in their practice. However, in this particular case, I do not give a damn as the stakes are too high and those who have a basic understanding of what is going on with Donald Trump should be speaking out, as did Dan P. McAdams is his piercingly in-depth article on Trump’s mental state for Atlantic Magazine. I highly recommend every American citizen read it.
Our nation, our media, our agencies of government, our neighbors and co-workers and family members are in a perpetual state of reacting to the next new insanity the now President of the United States unleashes in a fury of underlying panic and desperate insecurity.
When Trump describes himself, he does so without any semblance of impartial insight. He does so instead, as an urgent plea for how he requires others to see him at any given moment. Any failure to comply with Trump’s emotionally unhealthy demands, at the expense of others, for attention is met with a swift and massive developmentally inappropriate tantrum that seeks retribution by inflicting suffering on the source of the perceived slight. It is a level of externalized control so pathological and so intense in combination with his arrogant self-absorbed brilliance that we almost do not process it rationally as it is so alien to any culturally normative behavior.
Trump has rampaged through life leaving a wasteland of unpaid obligations, allegations of statutory rape and assault and a level of remorseless carnage so surreal it is almost inconceivable that he was never incarcerated.
My paternal grandmother suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder or N.P.D. I remember my father wistfully and sadly opining that she would die alone and no one would notice and that eventually her body would be found half eaten by her dogs.
That almost happened.
N.P.D. is not just a person being a complete and total asshole. It sure looks that way, but it is not. I pitied my grandmother for how she suffered. She was truly brilliant and that intelligence allowed her to essentially surf through life leaving behind a maladaptive legacy without any socially corrective consequence- just like Trump has surfed through life without any semblance of proportionate consequences for his egregiously hostile and deviant behavior.
Trump’s psychopathology is complex. As I said I pitied my grandmother. There is an immense amount of internal distress that Trump carries with him constantly. Without seeking pity for our POTUS I can just say dryly that possessing that level of strife and insecurity and discord is a massive burden that must be met with defenses that preclude Trump from recognizing the unhealthy impact he has on others.
For anyone with N.P.D. the ability to empathize would result in a catastrophic breakdown of control, and when those controls are externalized the damage can be potentially yuuuge. They act out, big league.
There is a reason why it has been postulated that many corporate CEOs have either Antisocial Personality Disorder or Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It allows them to be capable of making decisions that directly harm other people or the environment to generate profit (which is mandatory when incorporated to guarantee the wealth of shareholders).
In order to resist Trump I believe it is critically important to recognize that what you are fighting against may seem like an inhumane policy agenda, but have no doubt, Trump is not personally invested in championing any moral principles. Trump is only vested in the need to, moment by moment, have others glorify him in that never-ending need to avoid intense internal distress.
Because he is sick.
A clever narcissist can tell a person (or a large audience) preeeeee-cisely what they want to hear, but there is not one iota of emotional connection to the welfare of those who surround him. It is not solely due to cruelty. It is an actual personality deficit. The narcissist is completely devoid of the ability to generate compassion. They do not have a choice. They are hard-wired and damaged, and the prognosis for someone with N.P.D. is not good.
The maladaptive personality pattern is intractable and lifelong. The manner by which the person who suffers from N.P.D. can change their behavior is generally restricted to a specific fear of personal consequence. That is how a clever narcissist avoids prison and winds up the C.E.O. of a large corporation where their disability is seen as an asset by our profit-driven culture.
I leave you with Trump’s own words from his interview with ABC’s David Muir as reported this morning by the Washington Post:
“The way President Trump tells it, the meandering, falsehood-filled, self-involved speech that he gave at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters was one of the greatest addresses ever given.
‘That speech was a home run,’ Trump told ABC News just a few minutes into his first major television interview since moving into the White House. ‘See what Fox said. They said it was one of the great speeches. They showed the people applauding and screaming. … I got a standing ovation. In fact, they said it was the biggest standing ovation since Peyton Manning had won the Super Bowl, and they said it was equal. I got a standing ovation. It lasted for a long period of time.’
The most powerful man in the world continued:
‘You probably ran it live. I know when I do good speeches. I know when I do bad speeches. That speech was a total home run. They loved it. … People loved it. They loved it. They gave me a standing ovation for a long period of time. They never even sat down, most of them, during the speech. There was love in the room. You and other networks covered it very inaccurately. … That speech was a good speech. And you and a couple of other networks tried to downplay that speech. And it was very, very unfortunate that you did.’ …”
We are not just dealing with a petty want-to-be demagogue. Our President is a mentally ill, deeply insecure, and child-like man without the intellectual or emotional capacity to understand that he is all of these things and worse.
He will be expecting a statue of himself to be erected by this country. Anything less than that will be perceived as intolerable. He is not trainable. The only thing that he will respond to is a need to self-preserve. That is why, despite his arrogance, he has settled so many lawsuits.
That is how he must be dealt with now that he is the leader of the Free World (which is naturally quite frightening). We must access and motivate any and all legal channels to restrict Trump’s ability to cause further harm. Those in a position to set limits and who know what is right and do nothing to stop Trump need to be held accountable as well.
A legal threshold also should be enacted (if Trump does not start WWIII on Twitter) that sets up appropriate checks and balances based upon long-standing and proven psychological measures.
Donald Trump is our President. Failure to recognize him as such simply is burying one’s head in the sand, in my humble opinion. How he got here will be a story retold for a thousand years or more. Right now the only thing that matters is to mediate the damage day by day and work towards ensuring we take care of as many of our fellow neighbors in need as we can, as their needs will likely be greater for as long as he is in office unless they are billionaires.
N.P.D. is no joke, particularly when it manifests in the POTUS. It astounds me our nation is this woefully unprepared to deal with this reality.
And it is only going to get more and more real.
Hopefully, the following may provide some level of reassurance. In any of the over one thousand civil court cases I ever testified in as the State’s expert witness I can promise everyone that the outrageous and repeatedly documented pathological behaviors of a person presenting with a psychological profile resembling that of Donald Trump would result in that person being ordered to comply with a court-appointed psychological to determine their fitness to be permitted to play in the sandbox of life.
If it can be done in a small county court system in NJ, there must be some legal means to pursue some recourse to both alleviate the psychological distress that Trump endures while also reducing the risk of harm he poses imminently to the Planet Earth.
Video Of Trump’s First Interview As President With David Muir (ABC News)
Steve Rothrock, American News X