Why narcissists are more hated than psychopaths.

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Lucky Otters Haven

narcissism_vs_psyhopathy

All four Cluster B disorders are vilified, especially on the Internet, but for a long time I wondered why NPD seemed to be even more demonized than ASPD (antisocial personality disorder) and psychopathy and seemed to be regarded as the most “evil” disorder to have.   After all, most narcissists are not going around breaking the law, murdering people (not physically, anyway), and most at least pretend to be nice to you, at least if your relationship is only casual.  They make a good impression and most have families and respectable jobs.  They go to church, teach second grade, and volunteer at the food pantry. If you’re just acquaintances or casual friends with a narcissist, they can even be a lot of fun.    They also provide a lot of our entertainment, as narcissism (including NPD) is over-represented  among celebrities, and what would we do without our movie, sports, and pop…

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Donald Trump, Psychopath

dtangryface

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.

Donald Trump, Psychopath

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.

Why doesn’t Trump ever talk about his mother?

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Mary Anne MacLeod Trump

This is a very interesting article from Politico about Donald Trump’s relationship with his mother and what role she might have played in his personality development.   It’s interesting that he always praises his father but almost never talks about his mother, Mary.

The Mystery of Mary Trump

Most people who recognize Trump’s narcissism and sociopathy tend to think it was primarily his father who was to blame.   Fred Trump was very much like Donald, an emotionally distant and unsupportive taskmaster who instilled his own values of greed and materialism in his sons, and served as a role model for unscrupulous and dishonest behavior.   Donald Trump, the second youngest of five children and the middle son of three, felt unnoticed in his large family.  Desperate to gain the approval of his demanding father, who ruled his home with an iron fist, Donald essentially became a carbon copy of him.

Donald Trump Family
From left to right: Donald Trump, Fred C. Trump, Jr, Robert Trump, Elizabeth Trump, Maryanne Trump Barry.
 

While Fred Trump may have contributed to Trump’s character disorders,  it was his mother Mary who might have been unwittingly responsible for the development of his NPD (I know he has no official psychiatric diagnosis, but since he fits all 9 traits of NPD, I think it’s pretty safe to assume he has it, in addition to Antisocial Personality Disorder or sociopathy).

When Trump was two years old, Mary gave birth to his younger brother Robert.  While the birth of a younger sibling usually doesn’t pose a huge problem for toddlers other than the normal sibling rivalry,  the birth almost killed his mother and she was basically unable to care for Donald for two years due to her medical issues.

For a two year old, this is devastating.  Two year olds are too young to realize this may not be their mother’s fault and has nothing to do with a sudden withdrawal of love.  The child’s sense of self is still forming and the sudden emotional or physical absence of a parent (especially the mother) creates a void in the developing personality.    Attachment trauma before the age of 6 or so very often leads to personality disorders.  The toddler years, when the child is just learning they are a separate individual from the mother, are especially critical.

For Trump, “middle child syndrome,” combined with a father who was both unempathetic and a questionable role model, and a mother who was suddenly absent when Trump was a toddler, was a perfect storm of events that eventually led to Trump’s dangerous personality.   I also think the event that cemented his burgeoning personality disorder into place was his parents sending him away to military academy at the age of 13 — another critical age in psychological and moral development.  Being sent away to military academy both confirmed in Trump’s mind that he was too unloveable to be allowed to stay home, and further instilled hyper-masculine values that, combined with his narcissism and sociopathy, would lead to toxic masculinity and the worship of “strongmen” and dictators later on.   Almost sixty years later, he’s still trying to please his father and has taken America hostage in doing so.

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Donald Trump and his parents in the 1980s.

I find it both ironic and tragic that Trump is allowing Border Patrol and ICE agents to deliberately separate immigrant Hispanic children from their mothers and families.   Such egregious cruelty can only be carried out by someone who is lacking both a conscience and empathy.   Even if these children are eventually reunited with their parents (which is unlikely), they will almost certainly suffer serious psychological trauma, leading to attachment disorders such as RAD (reactive attachment disorder).  RAD very often leads to antisocial, borderline, and narcissistic personalities when these children reach adulthood if there is no psychological intervention.  At the very least they will struggle with lifelong C-PTSD and other trauma based disorders, especially if they are being farmed out to human traffickers.

It’s almost as if Trump is taking unconscious revenge on his mother for suddenly “abandoning” him by forcibly causing toddlers at the border to be separated from their mothers.

Sociopaths rule America — but there’s an easy way to identify them.

<> on January 7, 2016 in Washington, DC.
The above photo, taken at a beer party celebrating “Trumpcare” passing the House last May, drove home to me exactly how cruel and sadistic Trump’s people really are.   It hit me like a ton of bricks.  They are literally laughing over millions of people losing their healthcare.

Since the very beginning of his term, Trump has surrounded himself with people who seem to lack empathy, conscience, or any sense of morality or scruples.    The good people left this administration early on, or were fired.   Later, those people who weren’t so good, but who still had some semblance of a conscience or morals lost their jobs or resigned.

By a process of attrition, Trump’s cabinet is now almost 100% sociopathic.    Trump doesn’t seem to care if the people who work for him care about We the People or have any sense of right from wrong or duty to the country.  In fact, it’s better for Trump if they don’t.   All Trump cares about is their loyalty to him.      Never do you see a shred of empathy from any of these people.   Human suffering doesn’t seem to bother them.  In fact, they seem to delight in causing it.   They never apologize or admit wrongdoing.  In fact, they’re very likely to project their own wrongdoings onto others, smearing and gaslighting innocent people and groups.  Their greed, sense of entitlement, arrogance, and selfishness is bottomless.   We have grifters like Scott Pruitt, whose outrageous and illegal fleecing of the taxpayers for his own self-benefit and entertainment may rival or even surpass Trump’s own.   As if it’s not already bad enough he’s ruining the environment and destroying the EPA from within (which is entirely intentional).   And yet he keeps his job.   In fact, Pruitt may be the one who gets to fire Bob Mueller should Trump fire Jeff Sessions.

All of the people working for Trump, based on their actions and words, seem to have one of the Cluster B personality disorders, most likely NPD, Antisocial PD (sociopathy), or psychopathy.    Many of these people are likely malignant narcissists, like Trump himself.  They serve as his flying monkeys and yes-men. 

There may be one or two non-disordered people left in the administration, who have severe problems with codependency and therefore have some pathological need to be pleasing to Trump, but I think even most of those people have been fired.  People with normal levels of empathy, who don’t feel entitled to cheat and steal, who care about the rule of law, and who have any integrity at all are nonexistent in this administration, and that is scary.

Their one saving grace is it’s fairly easy to identify them.

You can see it in their faces.

One thing I’ve noticed about Trump’s cabinet members, his most fervent sycophants and enablers,  his three elder children, and many Republicans who support this president is the deadness in their eyes.    Their eyes are cold, hard, and flat.   Sometimes they appear black, as if they are lacking irises.  When they smile, the smile doesn’t reach their eyes, making the smile appear mocking or threatening, or at the least insincere.

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NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch showing those cold, dead, black eyes.  Her expression is constantly angry and hate filled.   I strongly suspect malignant narcissism.  Coupled with those eyes that look like miniature black holes, her overall appearance is extremely intimidating — and that may be the point of using her in their ads.

Jared-Kushner-Getty
Jared Kushner has possibly the deadest looking eyes I’ve ever seen on a living person.  He literally looks like he’s dead.   He sold his soul a long, long time ago. Trump’s three oldest children also have the same dead look, though not as pronounced as Kushner.

A few of these people, rather than having those dead reptilian eyes, have eyes that sparkle with psychopathic glee, and they often wear a smirk, especially when they know their policies are hurting others (I’m looking at you, Paul Ryan).

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When is Paul Ryan ever not smirking?   Sometimes I think it’s his only facial expression.

Trump himself has eyes that are so scary I really can’t look at them.   I can’t even look at his face anymore, because I feel evil emanating from the image itself.   I feel like something in my soul is being eaten every time I have to look at him.    Malignant narcissists like Trump get worse over time, especially if they are given access to a great deal of power and influence.  Narcissistic supply is like a drug that increases the malignant narcissist’s need for even more adulation and worship.  As they try to consolidate even more power, their malevolence increases, and this can be chillingly seen in Trump’s facial expressions over time.   He never laughs.  When he smiles, which is rare, his smile is fake and never reaches his eyes.  Most of his recent photos are like this one, showing a combination of malevolence and childish petulance.  Others show him looking as enraged as a rabid dog, especially the ones taken at his hate-rallies.

President Trump Holds Joint Press Conference With Japanese PM Shinzo Abe
Trump’s default expression (besides abject rage) is childish petulance mixed with malevolence and festering hate.

Jack Brown, MD, is a physician who is an expert in reading body language and facial expressions.     He said there is a particular expression that sociopaths and malignant narcissists use much more frequently than normal people: what he calls the Elevated Central Forehead Contraction with a Partial (Insincere) Mouth Smile.  It’s a closed mouth, fake smile with the eyebrows drawn together as if the person is frowning.  It’s similar to a smirk, but not quite.  The overall effect is  mocking condescension and cruel contempt.   Brown says this expression is used often by serial killers, mass murderers, hardened criminals, and by everyday bullies and other people who lack empathy.

Here’s a very obvious example of this expression on hedge fund manager and convicted felon Martin Shkreli (the guy who became infamous for jacking up drug prices to ridiculous rates, making them unaffordable for most people).  He used it continuously while on trial during questioning.

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Martin Shkreli on trial, displaying Dr. Brown’s Elevated Central Forehead Contraction with Partial Mouth Smile, a dead giveaway of a disordered personality.

Here is the same expression, on Trump (who seems to use it quite frequently):
trumpsmirk

Brown says the ECFCWPMS is a default expression for Vladimir Putin (it’s a lot more subtle on him but is ever-present).  Putin appears to be a pure psychopath, rather than a malignant narcissist (which is why Trump looks up to him and tries to curry his favor).  Pure psychopaths are “stronger” than “mere” narcissists, who have that pesky neediness and emotional vulnerability that bring them so much shame.

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Stephen Miller (below) combines a cruel smirk with the reptilian dead eyes.  I think of him as the Joseph Goebbels of the Trump administration.   Trump naturally adores this guy and will probably never fire him.

stephenmillersmirk

Identifying human predators. 

If you are face to face with a sociopathic personality, you may feel as if their eyes are boring into your soul.   This is because they are human predators — they are sizing you up as potential prey and victims.   On a date or with a new person, you may feel as if the predatory stare indicates sexual or romantic interest. Failing to make the distinction between the predatory stare and sexual/romantic interest leads many a woman (and man) into dangerous and abusive relationships with people who live only to use other people because they don’t see them as fully human.

Beauty tip:  Constant lying may ruin your appearance! 

Another thing I’ve noticed is several of the women in the Trump administration, especially those whose job requires them to lie constantly to the public, attain a facial asymmetry that gets worse over time.   It also seems to age them faster than normal.  I don’t know if there’s anything scientific behind this phenomenon, but I have come to believe that constant lying will do this to your facial features.  If you want to retain your physical beauty, then, tell the truth!   Lying is, apparently, bad for both your soul and your physical appearance!

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Huckabee Sanders looks like this whenever she’s lying.  Her eyes literally focus in two different directions and is very unsettling.   She’s only 35 years old but looks like she’s in her 50’s.  She has aged visibly since she took this post.

Kellyanne Conway
Can you trust a face that looks like this?   Constant lying has apparently done this to Kellyanne Conway’s face.  She used to be a fairly attractive woman until she took her job in the Trump administration.

The other day I read an article that said there is a new bill the GOP is trying to pass that will require a photo of Trump (and Pence) to be hung in every Post Office.   That’s something dictators do, not leaders of democracies.   Isn’t it bad enough we are daily inundated with sound bites and constant images of this president?  We can’t get away from him.  No other president has dominated the media, our conversations, our thoughts, and our very lives the way he has done.
What’s next — requiring that every American household hang a photo of Dear Leader in a conspicuous place, like they do in North Korea?

The old saying about “birds of a feather” are true.  Sociopaths and malignant narcissists like Trump attract other sociopaths and malignant narcissists, and they seek them out.   That’s because they know anyone with a conscience or empathy for others will refuse to work for them.    That’s where we’re at now.   We’re a country run by sociopaths.

For the sake of our own souls, our nation, and the world, learn to identify them.

We need a lot more awareness about narcissism and psychopathy.

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Elizabeth Mika is one of the 27 mental health professionals who contributed to the  bestselling book,  The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.   She is a psychologist who writes about narcissism, psychopathy and authoritarianism (specifically Donald Trump’s authoritarianism) on her Medium blog.  I follow her on Twitter (she’s under @yourauntemma if you want to follow her too) because I never want to miss one of her articles.    The other day, she tweeted this in reference to the many pleas to “remember the Holocaust”:

Unless we teach about the conscience-impairing character defects, like psychopathy & narcissism, shared by genocidal leaders & their followers, these calls for remembrance will remain hollow.

She’s absolutely right.   Even though the Cluster B personality disorders, specifically those in the Dark Triad — Narcissistic Personality Disorder, psychopathy (Antisocial Personality Disorder), and malignant narcissism (a combination of both disorders with paranoid traits)  — are getting a lot more attention than they used to, they still don’t get nearly enough.   There are a few terms formerly confined to the narcissistic abuse community such as  “gaslighting” and “blame shifting” that have recently become household words since Trump took office, but if you try to talk about narcissistic or antisocial personality disorder or malignant narcissism with most people you will still usually get a blank stare, especially if you try to talk about it in regard to the dangers these disorders pose to us all when a world leader is most likely afflicted with one or more of them.

Until — and if — the general public receives education in how these personality disorders work and how to recognize them, people will still fall prey to the phony charm and false promises of a narcissist in their personal lives, staying with friends and family members who are psychologically destroying them.  But even worse than that, people will still believe the lies and promises of con-men like Donald Trump or Adolf Hitler.  They will keep trying to find the goodness that must exist under all the flash and bluster, even though in all likelihood, there is nothing hiding under the mask but a black void of hate and fear.

Hitler rose to power because he promised to “make Germany great again.”  He promised jobs, a thriving economy, and a better life for all Germans, and people believed him, at least at first.  Later, when the deportations and roundups began, and militarized police began knocking on doors late at night, people may have begun to suspect Hitler was dangerous, but they still wanted to believe he was what Germany needed, so they told themselves what he was doing wasn’t really that bad or even was necessary (but well-meaning).   This is called “normalization” and it happens both in countries and in families headed by a malignant narcissist.    When there are too many outrages, people can’t process them normally, and things that were once seen as outrageous or shocking begin to seem normal.   As the dividing line between what is “normal” and what is “not normal” continues to shift, more and more “not normal” behavior is tolerated.   This is how a psychopathic or narcissistic leader conditions average, non-sociopathic people to accept the unthinkable.   It takes time, but eventually even genocide begins to be seen as acceptable or at least doesn’t raise any eyebrows.

hitler

Leaders with malignant narcissism and/or psychopathy tend to be very charismatic and forceful.   They seem extremely confident and this makes people trust them.   They say things like, “I alone can fix it” (this is always a red flag) or “I am all you need.”  They make lofty and unrealistic promises.  They brag about past accomplishments and  exaggerate what they have accomplished (which often wasn’t much).  They take credit for things others have done.  Whenever they are found to be lacking, or when they are called out for their lies and hypocrisy, they will never accept that blame and will either deny their wrongdoing, or blame it on someone else.   They never apologize.

They may seem to care about you, but they don’t, for they have no empathy.   They see everything in black and white.   They are blind to nuance in others.   You are not a person to a narcissistic or psychopathic leader: if you are not useful to them in some way (if you are useful they will shower you with praise — in relationships this is called “love-bombing”),  then you are the enemy.    And when you become an enemy, you are fair game for vengeance.   These people believe in revenge and “getting back at” their perceived enemies.

They speak in superlatives.  What they have done is always the best, the biggest, the most, the greatest.  They had the biggest crowd at their inauguration, they have created the most jobs, and they are the most beloved or respected leader in the entire world or even in all of history.   If their lies or misdeeds are pointed out to them, they become enraged.  Sometimes this rage manifests as self pity, and their self pity is as grandiose as their self-aggrandizement.  When they think they’ve been wronged, no one else has ever been so wronged or so mistreated as they have been!  They turn self pity into another contest of superlatives:  Trump whining to a group of Boy Scouts about how he was the most misunderstood and poorly treated politician in American history!

If they have deemed you an enemy (which doesn’t take a lot — you need only disagree with them to be devalued), you are the worst person on the face of the planet and have no redeeming qualities.  You will be devalued and called hurtful names, and that’s just for starters.    Leaders with malignant narcissism are very paranoid and always suspect others — often their political rivals or people who merely disagree with them, but have no ill intentions — of plotting against them, talking badly about them, or trying to destroy them or take away their power.    They pre-emptively fight back by attempting to discredit, dehumanize, or destroy their rivals or perceived enemies.

These kinds of leaders (who are almost always male) are fixated on toxic masculinity.  They admire and emulate those who they see as “strong.”  Thus, they glorify war, forceful oppression, abuse of power,  police brutality, and total control.   They value authoritarianism much more highly than democracy, which requires cooperation and some semblance of empathy.   They look down on higher values like compassion, humility, forgiveness, or love as “weak” or “feminine.”   They also like to “punch down” — which means enacting draconian policies or shifting blame onto the most  vulnerable or the weakest.   It’s schoolyard bully behavior writ large.  They hate anything they see as soft or vulnerable or “weak” because they are so afraid of their own vulnerabilities.   Deep inside, they have little to no self esteem and hate themselves, though they will not ever admit it and may not even be aware of it.   They puff themselves up to mask their own feelings of worthlessness.

Because these kinds of leaders can initially convince people they are strong and powerful and can fix every problem themselves, and because they seem so confident in their ability to do so, people continue to be duped by them and believe the lies they tell.    They ignore the red flags (which includes making lofty promises and saying “they alone” can fix things), because they have not been educated in what to look for.

malignantnpd

If awareness and education about NPD, malignant narcissism, and psychopathy were more widespread (perhaps it should even be a required part of school curriculums), people would learn how to recognize the red flags and avoid such people in their personal lives — and avoid voting for leaders who have these traits.   As long as people remain ignorant about the red flags of these personality disorders, we will still be vulnerable to electing sociopathic, dangerous leaders and being taken in by dangerous people in our personal lives.   We will still find ourselves under the thrall of people and leaders who see us as nothing but marks.

All that being said, there has been more awareness about this problem since at least the 1990s.   I wrote about the history of narcissism/narcissistic abuse awareness over the decades in this two part post — please give it a read!

How Did Narcissism Get So “Popular”? (part 1) 

How Did Narcissism Get So “Popular”? (part 2)  

So things are better than they’ve ever been, but we still have a long way to go.   If there was enough awareness, we would not be in danger of repeating what happened during the Holocaust.

 

Trump’s personality disorder brings out the worst in everyone.

manbaby

I think it’s pretty safe to say Donald Trump has a very malignant case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and appears to fit all of its psychiatric criteria.    Unfortunately, he’s only the tip of the iceberg, merely a symptom of America’s soul-sickness.

Trump has surrounded himself with a staff of other Dark Triad or Cluster B personality-disordered types.   Congress and the Senate are also populated by people who appear to have no conscience or empathy, and only feel entitled to take from others to enrich themselves.    Many of them appear to have antisocial or psychopathic personalities.

Narcissists like Trump become codependent and simpering in the hands of psychopaths, because of their emotional neediness.   Vladimir Putin appears to using him to achieve his own nefarious ends of world domination or at least the destruction of western democracy. Trump, being a narcissist and therefore far more emotionally fragile than Putin, doesn’t realize he’s only being used and exploited.

I could go for pages speculating about the psychology of Trump, his enablers, and those who are using him for their own ends (and many have), and I feel pretty confident saying that almost his entire administration is made up of sociopathic and codependent types, the latter of which have mostly already left or been fired (Reince Preibus and Sean Spicer seemed more codependent to me than personality-disordered themselves).

I don’t see any obvious Borderlines in the Trump administration, although Trump himself appears to have a few Borderline or Histrionic traits.    As far as I can tell, Trump is the only obvious case of NPD.   The rest seem more like people with ASPD or psychopathy to me, seemingly emotionless and willing to use and enable Trump for their own ends.

How Trump brings out the worst in everyone.

Authoritarianism and racism are highly correlated with antisocial and narcissistic personalities, and we saw the worst of society become violent at the KKK rally and protest in Charlottesville, Virginia today.    The undercurrent of hatred in this country runs deep, and our election of a black president in 2008 and 2012 did nothing to quell it — if anything, the hatred and racism that were always lurking beneath the surface became even deeper and more toxic than at any time since the Jim Crow days.

America is a sick country and only a sick country would elect a malignant narcissist for its president and psychopathic or antisocial people for high political positions.    Trump isn’t the problem, since the problem would still be there whether or not he was president.   He is the ugly symptom, and is now bringing all the darkness out in the open.   We are finally seeing how deep this cancer runs and hoping against hope it hasn’t reached Stage Four.

In some ways this is a good thing, since now we can see exactly how sick our nation has become and how deep and dark the divisions between us really are.   But Trump also has a way of bringing out the worst traits in everyone he comes in contact with, even indirectly — in his administration, in his supporters, in his enemies, and in his opponents.  Even though I’ve never met the man, whenever he’s on TV I feel as if all the oxygen has been sucked out the room.  He’s everywhere.  You can’t get away from him.

Trump enables his cabinet members and sycophants in their lack of empathy, lack of conscience, and crass greed and selfishness.  They use him for their own ends and they know he will never call them out if they just keep on flattering him and giving him the praise he wants.

Trump brings out the worst in his staff.   He causes drama and chaos whenever his bottomless need for admiration and approval isn’t met — he will attack, devalue or discard whoever he believes isn’t giving him the approval he craves, even those who could benefit him.     He always has a scapegoat, always — even among those who have been loyal to him, like Mitch McConnell or Jeff Sessions.   Never in my life have I seen a White House so filled with drama and discord.   Even the Nixon administration at the height of Watergate seemed like a sanctuary of sanity in comparison.  Trump brings out the very worst in his staff, while anyone with a semblance of a conscience or a soul left has already resigned or been fired.

Trump brings out the worst in his supporters.  He enables them to display their authoritarianism, racism, hatred, and ignorance — even to the point of violence, as we see happening today in Charlottesville.   On social media, the rhetoric of his supporters has become increasingly hate-filled and ugly, to the point of threatening non-supporters with terrorism and even civil war against them.    Trump appears complicit in all this, and acts  as if it isn’t happening.

Trump brings out the worst in his non-supporters.   Many people are suffering from PTSD or even C-PTSD that has been retriggered by his constant gaslighting, projection, threats,  need for revenge, and denial of the truth.   Depression, despair, feelings of dissociation and unreality, and dread are problems for many Americans right now, and therapists even have a name for it:  Trump Traumatic Stress Disorder (TTSD).   Anger is also being triggered in his non-supporters, though not in quite the same way as in his supporters.   Righteous anger differs from hatred, and it may be the only good thing he’s bringing about.   He’s forcing his opponents to expose the truth about what has happened in our country over the past few decades and demanding that we change course — drastically, if necessary.

I was involved in a discussion on Twitter about Trump’s fragile ego, and we agreed that he seems to be a collapsed narcissist, who knows it’s only a matter of time before the whole house of cards comes toppling down and he’s exposed, even to many of his supporters, as the criminal and fraud he really is.   As he grows more desperate, he increases the volume on his endless demands for admiration and approval, holding more hatred-enabling rallies and even threatening nuclear war over a perceived insult from North Korea’s equally unhinged leader.   That’s how bottomless Trump’s emotional void is:  that he would be willing to send millions of people to their deaths — even the entire planet — just to save his fragile ego.  It doesn’t help that many far-right religious leaders are stroking his ego even more by telling him he’s been anointed by God.

We can never begin to think of what he’s doing is normal, because it’s anything but.

trump_2

That’s the sound of your soul being sucked into oblivion. 

****

Further reading:

The Soul-Sucking, Attention-Eating Black Hole of the Trump Presidency.

Subtypes of ASPD.

heresjohnny

I never knew that Antisocial Personality Disorder had different subtypes, but it does make sense that it would.     These are Millon’s ten subtypes of ASPD (antisocial personality disorder).   Theodore Millon was a psychologist who specialized in personality disorders and subdivided them into various subtypes.   (In a future article, I’ll write a post about his Borderline Personality Disorder divisions.)

This was a post I found on Psychforums (in the ASPD forum).  I don’t know who wrote it, so I can’t give credit to the original source, only a link to where I found it.

In the post I found, the the term “psychopath” is used, but I think these types more properly describe people with ASPD, most who are sociopaths (an acquired condition due to trauma that may also involve brain dysfunction), not psychopaths (a condition of the brain you are born with that has nothing or little to do with early trauma).   There are also pro-social psychopaths (though all psychopaths lack a conscience), and none of these types seem very pro-social to me.  So even though many psychopaths may fit these subtypes, I think it’s misleading so I took out the term “psychopath” in the subheads.

Unprincipled 

Activities kept near or at the boundaries of the law; stereotyped social roles; con man, charlatan, fast-talking used car salesman.Expansive fantasies and exaggerated sense of self-importance.Willing to take advantage of and humiliate those who leave themselves open to deceit.

May cultivate persuasiveness or charm as a means of getting others to lower their guard, but sees all prosocial behaviour as ultimately self-serving.

Contemptuous of “the system”; working “the system” to avoid punishment seen as just “part of the game“.

Covetous 

Sees self as wrongfully deprived of life’s necessities, leading to envy and resentment.

Compensates by taking what he or she is entitled to as a means of revenging wrong and restoring “karmic balance” in life.

Sees self as a victim of external forces, misunderstood by others and by society.

Manipulates others as a meaning of proving own superiority, as well as avenging attributions of worthlessness.

Smug and contemptuous toward victims, who may be viewed as pawns in the larger game.

Prone to ostentatious displays of conspicuous consumption.

Risk-Taking 

Chronic underarousal leads to risk-taking as means of “feeling alive”.

Fails to realize the consequences of risk-taking; believes that social rules are unnecessarily confining of own sense of adventure.

Eschews normal desire for safety as evidence of cowardice.

Proves own mettle as a means of proving self-esteem and worthiness to self and others.

Disingenuous 

Superficial sociability (or even seductiveness) hides an impulsive, moody and resentful core.

Emotionally labile, prone to excitement-seeking, stimulus-dependant behaviour, lacking in forethought, with a high potential for painful consequences.

Rationalizes and projects blame onto others when attempts to solicit attention go awry.

Spineless

Aggression not intrinsically rewarding; psychopathic acts intended to others that the psychopath is not weak.

Has first-strike mentality; strikes whenever own fearfulness peaks (perhaps in episodes of panic), regardless of objective degree of threat.

Experiences fantasies of vulnerability; sees others as sadistic or exploiting.  [my note–I’m not sure what “fantasies of vulnerability” would refer to]

Abrasive 

Prefers to be overtly contentious, confrontational, antagonistic rather than indirectly manipulative.

Expects hostility from others, and pre-empts insults with own abrasiveness.

Prefers to escalate arguments; experiences pleasure by frustrating others, making them back down.

Inherently oppositional to any form of emotional control; seeks to break constraints simply because they exist.

Tyrannical 

Realizes pleasure through total control of others.

Employs violence instrumentally, to force perceived opponents to cower or submit.

Projects image of power or brutality; supports self-image of power and superiority by inflicting pain and suffering, if not power.

Explosive 

Low frustration threshold, resulting in episodes of uncontrollable rage and violent attack.

Episodes may be instantaneous reaction to frustration or perceived insult, and thus may be perceived by others as random and unprovoked.

Malevolent

Hateful, destructive defiance of values of social life.

inherently distrustful, ruthless, cold-blooded, revengeful, punitive.

Malignant 

Often isolated, paranoid, with ruminative fantasies of power and revenge.

Sees others as inherently persecutory or treacherous.

Uses hostility as a means of armoring self, forcin adversaries to take issue and withdraw.

http://www.psychforums.com/antisocial-personality/topic95961.html

Reparenting a Psychopath: is it possible?

I’m skeptical about this, and there are VERY few therapists even trained in this, but if it could work, it would be a great (and very expensive!) way to rehabilitate hardened criminals and deter crime. The speaker in this video (Dr. David Bernstein) is riveting.  One thing’s for sure–you’d have to have nerves of steel to make a career out of this.

The only “easy” thing about the patients Dr. Bernstein treats are that they’re not difficult to get into therapy, since these are forensic patients who are already in prison.   They can’t quit when things get uncomfortable.   Such is not the case with most NPDs, who usually aren’t in prison and don’t often seek out therapy for themselves.

How does malignant narcissism differ from NPD?

demonic

There’s a lot of talk about the narcissistic spectrum — the idea that narcissism runs on a spectrum from “normal” narcissism (healthy self esteem) all the way through malignant narcissism at the top. Somewhere in the middle, “normal” or “healthy” narcissism shades into Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

While I do think narcissism runs on a spectrum, I don’t think “healthy” narcissism has much, if anything, to do with pathological narcissism. Healthy narcissism is what makes us stand up for ourselves when we are being attacked. Healthy narcissism is what makes us feel proud of ourselves when we’ve accomplished something good. Healthy narcissism is what makes us want to look our best when we’re going on a date.

People who are narcissists, on the other hand, have little to no self-esteem. They either hate who they really are, or they don’t know who they really are, so they develop a false self to stand in for their real one. The false self can only survive by feeding off the reactions of others (narcissistic supply). That’s why narcissists can be so manipulative and dangerous. Since they are usually in their “false self,” and can’t risk exposure of their vulnerable real one, they will go to extreme measures to keep their false self intact, which includes projecting any bad traits onto others, denial, lying, gaslighting, and other tactics meant to deflect attention away from any flaws and transfer them onto others.

To a narcissist, you are not a real person, since a false self can’t acknowledge your humanity, only your usefulness to them. Like an infant who hasn’t yet realized they are a separate entity from their mother, your only purpose is to serve them and keep them alive. Narcissists, like babies, are emotionally unable to recognize that you are a human being who has needs and desires of your own.

You can be a pathological narcissist without being a malignant one, though. Malignant narcissism isn’t a person with NPD who is “more” narcissistic; it’s a person who has both Narcissistic and Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD)or an NPD with ASPD or sociopathic/psychopathic traits. Malignant narcissists are very dangerous because they combine the traits of narcissism with the traits of a sociopath or psychopath.

From Wikipedia:

The APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, text revision (DSM IV-TR), defines antisocial personality disorder (Cluster B):[19]

A) A pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others, occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three or more of the following:
–failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest;
–deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;
–impulsivity or failure to plan ahead;
–irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults;
–reckless disregard for safety of self or others;
–consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;
–lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another.
C) There is evidence of conduct disorder with onset before age 15 years.
D) The occurrence of antisocial behavior is not exclusively during the course of schizophrenia or a manic episode.
Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) falls under the dramatic/erratic cluster of personality disorders, the so-called “Cluster B.”

I probably don’t need to define NPD here, since so much of this blog is about that.  While several of the traits of NPD and ASPD overlap (lack of empathy, aggression, and dishonesty), there are some differences too.   Conscience isn’t entirely lacking in a narcissist (though empathy, which is different from conscience, probably is).  In fact, some narcissists are overly concerned with “right” and “wrong” (of course, they’re always right) and never do anything remotely illegal and may seem concerned about “morals.”   That’s why so many of them are so judgmental and they can so commonly be found in churches and the helping professions.   Narcissists are also over-sensitive to criticism and care very much what others think of them, since the mask they wear requires the approval or at least attention of others.   People with ASPD and psychopaths (the latter are merely people who were probably born without a conscience or the ability to feel empathy) have no need for narcissistic supply from others since they aren’t wearing a mask.     They just want to do what they want to do and don’t care what you think of them.   They are not what anyone would call “sensitive” but most narcissists are incredibly sensitive (about themselves).   Unlike narcissists, who have strong emotions which are hidden due to shame, people with ASPD seem to not have any emotions, or their emotions seem limited to anger or boredom.    People with ASPD are also much more impulsive than narcissists, and don’t plan their actions ahead of time.  They act on whim, according to whatever strikes their fancy at the time.   They are also much more likely than people with NPD to break the law and be incarcerated (so there are a lot more narcissists walking around than antisocial people, which makes them more dangerous).

Malignant narcissists are a deadly combination of antisocial and narcissistic traits.   Because they are still narcissists, they are oversensitive to criticism, but unlike garden-variety narcissists, they have no conscience or sense of right from wrong.  Or if they do, they don’t care.  They are sadistic and enjoy the suffering they cause others.   They go out of their way to hurt others, because hurting others makes them feel good.    If you cause a malignant narcissist to suffer narcissistic injury, they will react in very antisocial ways.  They are spiteful and seek revenge when they are hurt.  They also tend to be extremely paranoid and act out against others pre-emptively to prevent injury.  A garden variety narcissist, when injured, may annoy you to death, demand reassurance, project, gaslight, or disappear, but won’t deliberately seek revenge just to hurt you.   They are broken people desperately trying to keep their false self intact but are almost always unaware of this.  They may be paranoid, but not to the point of pre-emptive attacks to avoid narcissistic injury.   Malignant narcissists also like to create chaos and tend to thrive in chaotic environments, where other people (including non-malignant NPDs) would just fall apart.  They may not be criminals or do anything against the law, but they like to cause upheaval, chaos and suffering.

Non-malignant narcissists are manipulative and dangerous too, but they don’t go out of their way to hurt others.   They are probably unaware of the pain they cause other people, and just think they are always right and that others are just extensions of themselves.   They may truly believe they are doing the right thing, truly believe you are at fault, or truly believe the person they are victimizing is really victimizing them.   Some non-malignant narcissists, if they ever become aware of the harm they cause to others, suffer from feelings of guilt and shame and even remorse.    Not so with malignant narcissists, who are usually fully aware of the pain they cause to others and derive sadistic pleasure from it.

Malignant narcissists, outside of an act of God, probably can never get any better.  They will never voluntarily enter therapy because they don’t think they have a problem; it’s everyone else who has the problem and deserves their wrath.   If there are evil people in the world, people with malignant narcissism would fit the bill better than anyone else.  Non-malignant narcissists may be extremely disordered, but they aren’t evil.  They may have moments of humanity and even emotional empathy.  They may be very difficult to cure (NPD is probably the most difficult personality disorder to cure outside of ASPD) but sometimes they voluntarily enter therapy, especially after a great loss.  A malignant narcissist would never be caught dead in a therapist’s office.

No conscience, no empathy.

no soul

Once again, my MN/ASPD sociopath ex has proven what a conscienceless shell of a person he has become.  Maybe he’s always been this way but it seems to become worse the older he gets.    Maybe he just masked his true nature better in the past, and pretended to be a decent person, or maybe he’s really gotten a lot worse.  He used to have some emotions; now he appears to have none at all.   He doesn’t even bother pretending to be a decent person anymore.  He’s a man who is so cut off from all feeling and whose heart has turned so black that he can’t even squeeze out any empathy or drum up any human decency to his own children. To him, they are just objects to use for his convenience and maybe, for a few lulz at their expense.

Unlike some lower spectrum narcissists, this man is so malignant he’s beyond redemption.  He has zero self awareness and never will have it.   He’s way far too gone.   If the Dark Triad had a poster boy, he would be it.   A long time ago, he sold his soul and it’s never coming back.    One of his favorite forms of abuse is financial abuse.  He used to abuse me financially all the time, mostly by freeloading and refusing to work, although he used to steal from me too.

As most of you know, my daughter has been staying with me while she tries to save enough money to move into a place of her own.  She’s been working hard–faithfully going to her job every day where she works long, grueling hours,  and she’s saving money diligently, adding something to her apartment fund every time she gets paid.    Since she doesn’t make a lot, I don’t charge her rent so she is able to save more easily.    Her saving money and not spending it all is an improvement for her.  It’s a good sign that she’s becoming more mature and less impulsive–and she told me the other day how proud she is of herself for being able to resist impulse buys and save money instead.

But she made a mistake.  She didn’t put the money in a bank account.   She keeps it in a box next to where she sleeps.  She trusts me and knows neither I nor my housemate would ever dream of stealing money or anything else from her.

My daughter is a very codependent sort of person, and still thinks of her dad as her sun, moon and stars.  She loves him dearly, although he doesn’t deserve her love.  She knows how sociopathic and narcissistic he is, but loves him because he’s her father and the concept of family actually means something to her.

Today, while I was at work, she let him come over to the house for ten minutes, because they had been somewhere this morning and she wanted to change her clothes.  She was going to make him some coffee before he left.

I don’t allow this man into my house and she knows how I feel about him.   But at least she was honest.  She texted me and said he was only staying for ten minutes and then leaving.   I told her I wasn’t pleased, but that fine, make sure he leaves in ten minutes and watch him.  Don’t take your eyes off him for a second. He’s a thief and a snoop.

Right then she got a phone call from someone she’s dating and went into the bathroom to take the call, not thinking her father would have time to do anything.  When she returned, he told her had to leave.   She said fine, but before he left, she told me she had the urge to  go look in the box where she’d been keeping her apartment savings fund.   Unfortunately the box had been right next to her father the whole time.  She opened the box, and it was empty. All the money was gone.

She burst into tears of hurt and betrayal.  She told him she’d been saving money in that box so she could get a place of her own.  She didn’t want to accuse him of anything, but she knew he’d taken it.   She told him how hard she’d worked for that money, and how hard it was to save.  It wasn’t that much (only about $225) but it had taken about three months to save, being that she can only save about $20 a week.   Her tears didn’t move him.  She told me later she saw a flicker of something that might have been remorse or guilt, but that look quickly disappeared and was taken over by his usual expressionless, cold, flat stare.

“I didn’t take your money,” he said.  “You must have misplaced it,” he continued, gaslighting her.  “Or maybe your mother took it.”  Of course, there he went blaming me, even though I wasn’t even there.    She kept crying, but he showed no empathy, didn’t offer any words of comfort or a hug or anything.  He just started talking about the election instead, and then said he had to leave.    This is a man who doesn’t need financial help.  He gets over $2,000 a month in SSDI and gets food stamps and Medicare.   He has very few expenses and sits at home all day long trolling political websites and painting miniature lead soldiers.    He took her money because he could.  Because he’s a conscienceless POS.

I told her she needed to go No Contact with him. She knows it’s worked for me.  But she’s too softhearted and can’t do it.  “He’s still my dad,” she said.  She loves him even after this. I know she won’t let him in the house again.  She learned her lesson.  She knows how dangerous he is.   Maybe one day she will cut ties from him completely.   I can only pray for this.  She’s going to keep saving her money, starting from scratch, and put it in a bank this time.