Here’s what’s psychologically wrong with Donald Trump (UPDATED)
Karen Wehrstein writes at DailyKos:
With all the talk of Donald Trump’s mental health status, I’ve decided to do something I’ve put off for a while: write a diary that shows he is a textbook case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), and spell out what that means in terms of what to expect from him and how to deal with it. Certainly the term “narcissist” is being applied to him a lot, but most people don’t know the entirety of what that means, psychologically.
I am not a psychiatrist or psychologist, but for personal reasons I have educated myself about NPD. It generally conceals itself and is little understood—but has a devastating effect on the lives of others close to the narcissist or to organizations he is involved with. Knowing NPD creates a coherent picture that explains Trump’s behaviors. That will help you not only understand Trump, but enable you to spot people with NPD who want to enter your life, organization, etc., so that you can act accordingly. This is an educational moment in history. It is very rare that the symptoms of NPD are on such massive public display.
If you find yourself completely baffled by Trump’s behavior, that’s because mentally-healthy people generally find NPD-rooted behaviors incomprehensible. The narcissist violates social norms that healthy people hold instinctively and therefore assume (usually correctly) that others hold—while at the same time he creates a semblance of normalcy, because being able to do so is part of the disorder. Because the rest of us cannot relate to, often cannot even imagine how a narcissist thinks and feels, it seems outside the realm of plausibility, and so his semblance of normalcy will fool us. Not only Trump voters but fellow Republicans and even Putin have shown signs of buyer’s remorse with Trump. That’s because he fooled them all. Narcissists can do that.
So, since he’s a textbook case, let’s hit the textbook. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) – the American Psychiatric Association’s guidebook for mental health diagnosis – gives diagnostic criteria for all mental illnesses. Between the fourth and fifth editions, the criteria for NPD changed, so I am going to use both to paint a fuller picture. If you’ve been following the presidential news for the last few months, you’ll likely be able to think of at least one and probably several examples of Trump demonstrating every single diagnostic criterion below.
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy.
1. An exaggerated sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
2. Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
3. Believes he is “special” and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
4. Requires excessive admiration
5. Has a sense of entitlement
6. Selfishly takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends
7. Lacks empathy
8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him
9. Shows arrogant, haughty, patronizing, or contemptuous behaviors or attitudes
From DSM-5 . . .
If you’ve ever been in a relationship with a person who meets the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you know just how bad it can be. And now the US has a relationship with just such a person.
The worst part is the distorted picture of reality you get from being constantly gaslighted. You’re convinced (though there’s this nagging feeling…) and then, after the relationships imploded and ended, the gradual reconnection with reality, which feels exactly like coming out of a fog, with the reasons for various earlier odd events falling into place over a fair amount of time: months.
Scroll down in the comments to get more info, such as:
How to Spot a Narcissist
In the comments, I asked if people wanted me to add a guide to the diary on how to identify someone with NPD. I got lots of yeses, so here it is. Reason it’s needed: one thing I didn’t mention in the diary is that every personality disorder is an extreme version of something normal. So, say, borderline PD is an extreme version of the childishness we all have, and dependency PD, the needfulness we all have. NPD is an extreme version of the natural human desire to look good and put our best foot forward. Accordingly, narcissists are very good at making striking first impressions, and they’ll lie and fake and do Oscar-worthy acting to do so. If you know the signs, you have some defense against this. Note: all of them will not apply to all narcissists, so don’t eliminate the possibility if not all of them are there.
1) Appearance is attention-seeking, flashy, seductive, trying for star quality, has fake aspects (e.g., Trump’s hair).
2) Seeming intimidatingly impressive. If you wonder how their accomplishments are possible, they actually might not be.
3) Their Internet presence doesn’t match their story. Google is your friend here.
4) Dominating conversations, either one-on-one or holding court at a social gathering. Narcissists just love to be heard and are much less interested in listening to you or anyone else. You are spell-bound by the conversation but come away feeling steamrollered.
5) Talking about themselves without insight or self-examination.
6) Name-dropping, claiming to have notables and celebrities for friends. Find a way to verify it. Social status is of great concern to them.
7) Straight-out bragging. It’s not subtle, but some just can’t help it.
8) Complaining that the world doesn’t seem to recognize their awesomenessand give them enough credit. Also not subtle, but some just can’t help it.
9) Drama and tension in the air. Narcissists are the original drama queens and not at all at peace with themselves.
10) Love-bombing. This comes up on the dating scene. A male narcissist will sweep his date off her feet, with adulation, outings, generous gifts; a female narcissist will be more seductive. Avowals that the romance is somehow extraordinary or unprecedented – meant to be, you are soulmates, it’s the best ever, it’s yuuuge! And yet something whispers to you that this person somehow doesn’t seem to see… you. As an individual. Listen to that whisper. Note that cults use this same technique to draw in love-starved people.
11) Controlling behaviours: directs the topic of conversation, decides where you will sit, etc. May not mean narcissism, but whatever it means isn’t good.
12) A sense that you are privileged to be receiving their attention, so special a person they are. You feel flattered to be in their glow. You’re being groomed to become their minion.
13) You find yourself making excuses to yourself for behaviors that seem a little off, such as flashes of selfishness or meanness. I repeat: normalizing is gaslighting yourself.
14) Their emotions seem superficial, they don’t laugh naturally, their smile is bottom half of the face only, and you feel you never know what they’re really thinking.
15) A sense that you need to walk on eggshells with them, never criticize them. You feel compelled to give up your freedom of speech.
16) They don’t apologize for an overstep, or else they make a non-apology or an apology followed by self-justification. Or any other form of not taking responsibility for their actions.
17) Feeling an attraction that has a sense of excitement and even a frisson of danger. That frisson of danger is your intuition telling you “Stay away.”
18) Perhaps the most central: you come away from an encounter or a conversation with a sense that you are kind of… not there. Or at least diminished, or not seen in your individuality. Narcissists can fake all sorts of things, but there is one thing they cannot fake: normal human social relations.
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