There have been many articles written about Donald Trump’s alleged NPD, some written by bona fide mental health professionals, others by armchair wannabe psychologists–but this is the first one I’ve read that actually talks about Trump’s strange and painful childhood and his spotty memory of important events in his early life–and the surreal way this rather tragic figure (in spite of his billions) is now self destructing in front of the whole world. This entire election has been like a huge reality show — and no doubt the end of the show will prove to be very bit as dramatic.
Donald Trump, Narcissism, and Diagnosis as a Political Sport
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during a rally at Southeastern Livestock Pavillion on October 12, 2016 in Ocala, Florida. (Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)
By GABOR MATÉ
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Oct. 14, 2016
The consensus as to Donald Trump’s psychiatric issues is nearly unanimous. “Textbook narcissistic personality disorder,” according to clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis, quoted in Vanity Fair. He is just one of many who have reached the same conclusion. Noting his motor mouth, chronic inability to pay attention and shockingly deficient impulse control, others diagnosed Trump as a severe case of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Tony Schwartz, Trump’s ghostwriter for his 1987 bestseller, The Art of the Deal, reported that his client had no attention span and fidgeted “like a kindergartner who cannot sit still.”
In an election cycle where a candidate has been accused of unprecedented misconduct, including the latest allegations of sexual assault by multiple women, psychiatrists are bypassing the long-held professional standard, called the Goldwater rule, which stipulates that no psychologist should make a diagnosis of a person he or she has not examined face-to-face.
As a stressed electorate tries to make sense of a campaign unlike any other, they’re demanding to know: What is the root of Trump’s bizarre displays?
Making inferences about someone’s mental health is common sport with public figures. We don’t have the same data a psychiatrist or psychologist might have, but as candidates’ histories are revealed in biographical articles or books, and their behaviours are scrutinized in public forums, certain patterns become clear.
What we perceive as the adult personality often reflects compensations a helpless child unwittingly adopted in order to survive. Such adaptations can become wired into the brain, persisting into adulthood. Underneath all psychiatric categories, Trump manifests childhood trauma. His opponent Hillary Clinton evinces her own history of early suffering, even if milder and far more muted in its impact.
The ghostwriter Schwartz reports that Trump had no recollection of his youth. There is always a reason for such amnesia. People have poor recall of their childhoods when they found reality so painful that their minds had to push memories into the unconscious. “I don’t like to analyze myself because I might not like what I see,” Trump admitted to a biographer.
According to biographers, Trump’s father was a workaholic, a ruthless, cold and authoritarian man who believed life is a competition where the “killers” win.
Donald’s elder brother drove himself into alcoholism, a common escape from pain, and to an early death. The younger, favoured child is now self-destructing on the world stage.
Lying is such an endemic aspect of Donald Trump’s personality that he does so almost helplessly and reflexively. “Lying is second nature to him,” Tony Schwartz told The New Yorker. “More than anyone else I have ever met, Trump has the ability to convince himself that whatever he is saying at any given moment is true, or sort of true, or at least ought to be true.”
Read the rest of this article here.