Here’s an interesting, informative article from Patheos.com in which the author, Andrew Spitznas, makes an excellent case for Donald Trump being afflicted with Malignant Narcissism — Antisocial Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and traits of both Paranoia and Sadism. Donald Trump displays all four elements, and the author gives examples of each.
My only criticism is the author states that malignant narcissism is the same as psychopathy. I disagree. Psychopathy (as opposed to sociopathy, which it’s often confused with) is a congenital condition in which the brain is missing the structures responsible for the development of a conscience and empathy. Thus, a person can be a psychopath even though there was no unusual trauma during childhood. Psychopathy is not a personality disorder, but really a developmental disorder of the brain. Psychopaths are often “bad seeds,” but not all psychopaths are criminals and some can even be trained to be prosocial (even though prosocial behavior will never come naturally to them).
Malignant narcissism is NPD plus ASPD (antisocial personality disorder), with traits of paranoia and sadism, and it is not a congenital condition. Both NPD and ASPD are Cluster B personality disorders that develop due to early childhood trauma or neglect. Children are not born with personality disorders; they are acquired. While malignant narcissists are quite sociopathic and usually lack a conscience (garden variety, non-malignant NPDs are not sociopathic, they usually have a conscience, and even sometimes have limited amounts of empathy), they are not psychopathic. The sociopath’s — or malignant narcissist’s — emotional development was arrested so they never developed empathy or a conscience. There is no evidence that anyone has ever been cured of malignant narcissism, though in rare circumstances, they may become self-aware. Donald Trump is most certainly not self-aware, nor is he likely to ever become so.
While it’s entirely possible Donald Trump may be both a malignant narcissist and a psychopath, they are not the same thing. It’s possible to be one without being the other. I think the confusion arises because the behavior of a psychopath and a malignant narcissist (or a person with antisocial personality disorder/sociopathy) can be so similar.