We need a lot more awareness about narcissism and psychopathy.

Originally posted on January 28, 2018.   Comments are welcome.

Lucky Otters Haven

darktriad

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…

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Trump is deliberately isolating us from our foreign allies.

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Trump refuses to shake Angela Merkel’s hand at a meeting in the White House last year.  Notice how she is trying to engage him but he refuses.  This is deliberate on his part.

Trump  is busy imposing sanctions on countries we have always been friendly with, creating trade wars with these countries, so now they are imposing tariffs.   This, of course, will drive up the prices of everything even higher (while our wages remain as stagnant as they’ve always been).   Notice how the price of gas has skyrocketed since we pulled out of the Iran deal?

But it’s about a lot more than trade wars.  It’s not just Middle Eastern countries Trump is reneging on deals with or putting sanctions on.  No, Trump is deliberately alienating our former allies in Canada and advanced Western European democracies (not to mention Mexico, our formerly friendly neighbor to the south),  in favor of aligning us with other authoritarian regimes, regardless of their ideology — Russia, NK, China, and Saudi Arabia are the most obvious examples.  Because none of these regimes are democracies and are in fact brutal dictatorships, they could not be of help to us.  They serve as Trump’s allies and even as his flying monkeys, even if he is only using them for his own selfish ends and to enrich himself, his family, and his benefactor cronies.

It’s entirely predictable Trump would do this. Like all narcissistic abusers, he is separating us from outside parties who could or would help us if we needed it (and we might).  Abusers do the same thing: they isolate their partners from friends & family so the victim is totally isolated & alone and has no where to turn when things get really ugly or their lives are in danger.   Isolating is a very effective technique used by sociopathic narcissists to weaken and cripple their victims from ever leaving or getting help from outside parties.  Isolationism and alienating former allies has the same effect on the populace of a country cursed with an authoritarian, sociopathic leader.

Not only will there be no help coming to rescue us after Trump has turned all our allies into our enemies, we will also be left behind technologically, scientifically, educationally, socially and in every other way, as the rest of the developed world moves far ahead of us, while we regress back into the Dark Ages.   It’s just so sad, so incredibly sad.

 

Narcissism, politicians, and Trump.

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Most successful politicians are narcissists, or at least have more than average narcissistic traits.    Narcissism is almost a requirement to be a successful politician, since it takes a high level of self confidence and an affinity for self-promotion.   One must be competitive and like being in the public eye.  People with high levels of narcissism are attracted to professions that put them in the public eye or give them power and influence over others.

If one looks at past presidents (pre-Trump), it’s fair to say that almost all of them have been narcissistic to varying degrees.   Bill Clinton is one of the most obvious examples, given his actions with Monica Lewinski in the Oval Office and his subsequent lying about it.   Nixon was also a narcissist, and in many ways his actions during Watergate and the hearings that followed mirrored Trump’s, but even he had his limits and eventually resigned, apologizing to the American people  — which proves even Nixon still had a conscience.    Nixon also accomplished good things during his presidency — he created the EPA and expanded Medicare and Social Security.   He tried to pass a bill that promised a guaranteed universal income.   The only president in my living memory who may not have had an excess of narcissism was Jimmy Carter.   He may not have had enough narcissism to be very successful.   Carter’s humility may have been one of the reasons why he didn’t get a second term.  Humility is what made Carter an exceptionally good man, but not really fit for the presidency.

While most politicians are narcissists or at least have an excess of narcissistic traits,  most probably fall short of full-blown NPD and are not sociopaths.   Past presidents had  narcissism of the healthy variety.   There were limits to their narcissism, and they were not devoid of a conscience or empathy.   Trump’s narcissism is an entirely different animal from other presidents.’   He is a narcissistic sociopath — a malignant narcissist — which means that he shows all the signs of someone with NPD as well as those of Antisocial Personality Disorder.   It’s extremely dangerous for any nation when it elects a leader with this particular combination of Cluster B disorders.

Dictators and despots throughout history have had the same dangerous pathology as Trump.   Devoid of a conscience or any sense of accountability to their country or their people, they believe themselves to be above the law and their actions are thoroughly corrupt and cruel.    They lie more easily than you or I breathe.  In fact, they lie even when it’s not necessary to lie, because they literally can’t see the truth.  All they see is their own reality, an extension of their narrative of invincible greatness, and woe be to anyone who dares challenge their greatness or who tries to uncover the truth about them or hold them accountable for their immoral actions.   To a narcissistic sociopathic leader, who sees everything in black and white, there is only “us” and “them.”  If you are not with them, if you do not kiss the ground they walk on, you are the enemy.   That’s why Trump can’t work with Democrats or liberals and why he regularly demeans and insults them, something no other Republican president has ever done.

Trump holds his rallies to garner narcissistic supply for himself, all the while telling his rabid supporters grand lies about all the great things he’s accomplished, the size of his inauguration crowd (which he’s still obsessed with after a whole year), how many jobs he’s brought back, how his tax bill will help middle class people (it will only help the rich), how much he is loved, and how leaders of other countries admire and revere him.   He emboldens his crowds by suggesting it’s okay to physically attack journalists or protesters.    He demeans the free press, even tweeting offensive memes in which he’s stepping on the CNN logo like a bug.    There’s an odd timing to his rallies — he holds them whenever the press has been especially critical of him.

Trump, like all narcissistic sociopaths, attracts people much like himself who serve as his sycophants and flying monkeys.    It’s astounding how sociopathic everyone in the Trump administration seems.  Has any one of them ever apologized for anything, or shown any sense of accountability or empathy for the people Trump’s policies are hurting?    These people lie for him, back up his lies, and attack those who challenge those lies.    People with any conscience have already left the administration or been fired.  Trump cannot afford to have anyone with a conscience or who is critical of him in his cabinet, so if they don’t leave on their own, he gets rid of them.

No other president has so egregiously attacked past presidents (Obama), political rivals (Hillary Clinton), politicians belonging to the opposing party (Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren, Democrats in general), people and organizations trying to uncover the truth about his connections to Putin and Russia (Bob Mueller, James Comey, the FBI), or anyone else who challenges him, tries to hold him accountable, or doesn’t treat him like he’s God.

No other president has held meetings in which his cabinet members are required to shower praise on him, as if he’s some two-bit dictator in a banana republic.    Like his rallies, these meetings give him the adulation he craves in order to function, especially when he’s feeling too vulnerable because his malignancy and cruelty is exposed or called out.

No other president has been so unempathetic and self-congratulating when a national tragedy strikes.  His insensitive, tasteless tossing of a roll of paper towels at the people in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the island said everything we need to know about how he feels about the Puerto Rican people.   He made fun of the Mayor of San Juan and said the people weren’t helping themselves enough (even though under the circumstances, they had no way of doing so without outside help).   After two of the recent hurricanes, he told people who had lost their homes to “have a good time.”  What president with an ounce of empathy says that?   Nor has he ever apologized for anything he’s said and done, no matter how insensitive or wrong, because Trump’s malignant narcissism will not allow him to.    People do not exist to Donald Trump.   People are objects to him; they are either useful to him or they are enemies.   There is no middle ground.

No other president has banned words, the way Trump has done with his list of seven words the CDC is no longer allowed to use, knowing full well this will hinder their ability to do their job properly.    The fact the words “vulnerable,” “transgender,” “entitlement,” and “diversity” are in this list of banned words tells us everything we need to know about how he feels toward vulnerable people, including those needing social services (“entitlements”), transgender people, and minority populations.    Trump’s contempt for science and scientific research is evident in his banning of the phrases “science-based” and “evidence-based.”  The banned word “fetus” is obviously a dog whistle to his evangelical donors and supporters.    Banning words and otherwise undermining our First Amendment rights is very Orwellian and dangerous to a functioning democracy.  It’s a slippery slope that leads to totalitarianism.

No other president has mocked the disabled (the way he mocked a disabled reporter) and bragged about grabbing women by their private parts — and then lying and insisting he never said it, even though it’s on tape that he did.

No other president has openly admired authoritarians and dictators like Russia’s Putin, Turkey’s Erdogan, and the Phillippines’ Duterte, while dismissing or insulting democratic leaders of the developed western world such as Germany’s Angela Merkel or Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull.

Every day this malignant narcissist gaslights the nation.  He insists lies are truth and truth are lies.  Anything critical of him becomes “fake news.”    This has resulted in many Americans feeling extremely stressed because he makes them question their own reality and sense of what is true.    I’ve read articles where mental health professionals say Trump is all their patients talk about.   They are feeling traumatized, under enormous stress, and off balance because of this president.   He’s having the same effect on an entire country that a malignant narcissist parent has on their children.    And just like a family headed by a malignant narcissist, he has scapegoats (Democrats, the free press, his rivals and critics, vulnerable populations, and anyone who speaks the truth), golden children (his sycophants in the White House and others who support him, and of course, his daughter Ivanka), and his enablers and flying monkeys (white supremacist and neo-Nazi hate groups, far right evangelicals, and his base of deplorables who attend his rallies).

No other president has had such a toxic effect on this country.   Trump, unlike other presidents who may have been narcissistic, has done nothing beneficial or good for the people while in office, but he’s certainly created chaos and destruction.  He has not fulfilled any of his promises, but he has broken many.   Rather than making America great again, he and his administration are deliberately and systematically destroying everything that made America great and transforming it into a dystopian nightmare.

 

“How to Spot a Collapsed Narcissist”

A year ago I correctly predicted Donald Trump was a narcissist who, with access to unlimited power (while at the same time aware on a deep subconscious level he was utterly unqualified for his position), would become a “collapsed narcissist.” He was already in the process of collapsing, but has become much worse. Although the term “collapsed” makes them seem harmless, that is not the case at all. A collapsed narcissist is likely to be at their most dangerous and destructive as they begin to decompensate, which actually means they consolidate power.  That’s the point we’re at now with Trump. Please read on.

Lucky Otters Haven

archie-bunker

The following is is a very interesting article I found on a site called  Flying Monkeys Denied, that explains how to identify a narcissist who has “collapsed” –in other words, a narcissist who has been denied adequate supply (leading to narcissistic injury), perhaps by having failed to meet his or her goals or obtain the admiration they thought was their due.    He (or she) will spiral into “pit bull” attack mode in their last ditch efforts to force others to provide them with supply.   They become hypersensitive, hateful, rage filled, tantrum throwing, angry, snappish, intolerant, and sometimes even violent.   Any pretense of niceness or charm they might have formerly displayed when things were going better for them disappears and the rage just underneath the mask of pleasantness comes out full throttle.

They still cannot accept any blame or criticism of themselves.    They project their…

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We have officially entered the Twilight Zone.

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Credit:  Stephen Crowley/The New York Times 

Only four months into the Trump presidency, and America feels like an alien planet occupied by tentacled overlords who have taken we, the people, hostage.  Yes, even Trump supporters, who seem to be suffering from a mass case of Stockholm Syndrome.  The horror author Stephen King probably summed up the situation most chillingly when he tweeted that no horror novel he ever wrote matched the horror of what is unfolding before us ever since Trump became our president.

Shortly after Trump’s inauguration, he tried to impose a ban on Muslims entering the country, which, like everything else he has tried to implement, ended in failure and the ever-growing ire of people who champion human rights and sanctuary for refugees escaping authoritarian regimes.    The crazy thing about the Muslim ban was that it did not ban any countries where Trump has business interests, and this includes Saudi Arabia, a country that Trump has himself criticized for its human rights abuses and the way they treat women, children, and gays.   Let’s also not forget the  fact that Saudi Arabia may also have been behind 9/11 — or at least Trump has said they were.  Donald Trump has denigrated Islam and promised to protect us from the “Islam takeover” that exists only in his own mind, which was his purported reasoning for the infamous Muslim ban.

So, why is Trump in Saudi Arabia before he’s made any visits to American allies like Canada, Europe, or Mexico?   Why is he kissing up to their high government officials and accepting medals, the royal treatment, and signing agreements? Most unfathomable of all, why do the Saudis seem to love Trump as much as he seems to love them now?  Why does he treat them with more respect than he treats Germany’s Andrea Merkel or Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull or Canada’s Justin Trudeau?

The easy answer to Trump’s stunning hypocrisy (and the seemingly only way to resolve our collective cognitive dissonance) is the adage “follow the money,” and obviously money is a big part of it.    Although Trump tweeted yesterday that his visit was to promote peace between the US and the Islamic world (yeah, right, I really believed that one), we now learn that he was really there to sell billions of dollars of weapons to Saudi Arabia.   That’s right — he’s selling weapons to a country he has himself said was behind the 9/11 attacks.   Whether they were or weren’t behind the attacks isn’t the point.    Signing a weapons treaty with Saudi Arabia proves he doesn’t really care about the well-being of Americans.  It’s always all about the money.    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

And yet his supporters scream and rant about people who protested against the Muslim ban.  They accuse us of helping give Islam a way to infiltrate our “Christian” and “democratic” way of life here.   They can’t think critically enough to understand that granting Muslim refugees (mostly women and children) sanctuary here doesn’t mean we sympathize with the jihadists or approve of fundamentalist Islam — in fact, it means we have compassion for the victims of fundamentalist Islam’s human rights abuses and recognize that these vulnerable people are human beings who need our help.   But they are perfectly okay with our Muslim-hating president who seems to be cozying up to the very people they fear the most.

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Credit:  N/A

It’s no different than his attitude toward the Russians.    While Russia is no longer a communist country and they haven’t been thought of as an enemy in many years, they aren’t exactly an ally either.   Or they never have been until this presidency.   Donald Trump seems to worship the Russians, even emulate them.  Last week, he held a secret meeting in the Oval Office with Russian officials where no American press was invited but Russian photographers were.    Trump supporters have resolved their cognitive dissonance over Trump’s inexplicable behavior by taking up his own attitudes — to the point of chanting “RUSSIA IS OUR FRIEND” at one of their protests.    They can’t think critically enough to see their hypocrisy.   No, to them, it’s the media that’s the enemy now — a beloved right protected under the 1st Amendment — because Trump has declared they are an enemy. Now those rights we take for granted are endangered.

Again, the easy explanation for the inexplicable is “follow the money.”  Like Saudi Arabia, Russia is a country where Trump has business interests.   If the investigation turns out to bear fruit (and I am certain it will if it isn’t stymied or somehow silenced), we will see that Russia at least partly financed his campaign, rigged the election, and has been funneling money to him and his far-right billionaire cronies all along.    Of course, if the investigation finds collusion with Russia, his supporters will still find a way to defend him, or cry “FAKE NEWS!”  They truly believe Trump is more trustworthy than the FBI.  What kind of crazyworld are we in when we actually start to look at the FBI as the heroes — and even the victims? We have really fallen down the rabbit hole into an alternate universe with an alternate reality where we doubt our own perceptions and the truth is no longer required.    It’s gaslighting writ large.

It’s much more than a money trail, though.    In fact, money may not even be the primary reason behind Trump’s love for Saudi Arabia and Russia.   Trump has shown an affinity for authoritarian leaders, regardless of their ideology or their religious beliefs.   We all know about his massive mancrush on Vladimir Putin and his minions, but he’s also praised North Korean president Kim Jong Un, one of the most fearsome — if not THE most fearsome — dictators in the modern world.  He seems to admire and emulate dictators, because he himself is an authoritarian personality who believes in a harsh, punishing, “strongman” approach to governing as opposed to the democratic, egalitarian one favored by the western world.   He insults and denigrates leaders who espouse fairness, equality, and compassion — or at the very least he ignores them as if they don’t matter.    His refusal to shake hands with Germany’s chancellor Andrea Merkel compared with the hearty slaps on the back and simpering secret-sharing with Putin is very telling.

I spent much of last night and this morning puzzling over why Saudi leaders seem to fawn all over Trump and have given him a red-carpet welcome to their country worthy of a king — in spite of the fact he has repeatedly insulted their religion and culture.  Of course, we can follow the money; with Trump, that’s a given.   But there’s another reason.   They love Trump because he is so much like them.   They can identify with a man who shares their own values of repression, sexism and authoritarianism.   A dictatorial approach to governing, in their minds, trumps religion (no pun intended).   And the same applies to Donald Trump.   Unlike our past presidents (even the most conservative among them), Trump has far more in common with King Salman or Putin than he does with Andrea Merkel or Justin Trudeau — and that should be a grave concern to anyone who calls themselves an American or who cherishes freedom and democracy.

There’s one other reason why Trump loves the Saudis and the Russians, which is perhaps the most important one of all: they give him the narcissistic supply he so craves.    They probably know how fragile his ego is — after all, they are not stupid.   Trump, like many narcissists, is naive enough to think they love him, they really, really love him, when in fact they are most likely laughing at him whenever he leaves the room.    The weird thing about narcissists like Trump is the paradox of power.  Narcissists, although predatory and dangerous to most, are also very emotionally needy.  That neediness makes them incredibly naive and therefore easily manipulated.   Their unreasonable demands for adulation may cause most people (who they see as beneath them) to cringe in fear, but they will gladly grovel before most psychopaths.   Thus they become putty in the hands of psychopathic or sociopathic leaders like Vladimir Putin, who appear far less insecure and requiring of worship than Trump does.   They will do anything they are asked and jettison any values they insist they have (which they really don’t) when they see that the tradeoff is a healthy dose of narcissistic supply.    They’re the ultimate sellouts. Trump pretends to have values but it’s all a sham.  The only thing he values (besides money and power) is being worshipped and adored.

And so now we are witnessing the spectacle of our president — who promised protection from terrorism — fawning all over Islamic jihadists in Saudi Arabia.   No, I realize most Muslims are not fundamentalist crazies or jihadists, but the sentiment on the far right is that all of them are (at least up until now).    As for Trump, he doesn’t care whether they are or not, as long as they’re giving him the praise and adulation he so craves.     In comparison, the freedoms we enjoy here in America are a threat to his ego and a painful reminder of the things he refuses to see in himself.  Here in America, instead of the red carpet treatment, bouquets of flowers, and medals of honor, he must face critics on Twitter who make memes poking fun at his hypocrisy and lies, angry protesters who force him to look in the mirror, bloggers and pundits calling him out on his duplicity,and now a high profile investigation into possible treason. But the biggest insult of all to Trump’s fragile sense of self is the evil media and “fake news” that has the temerity to shine a beacon of harsh white light on the truth which he so hates — the media that, for all its faults, is keeping most of us from slipping into into an inescapable abyss of alternative facts, twisted values, and rewritten history that would drive even George Orwell insane.

ALERT: TODAY’S ARMS DEAL MAY BE ILLEGAL!

The Current Political Situation (reblogged from Nyssa’s Hobbit Hole)

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I’m sure my friend Nyssa from the Hobbit Hole won’t mind me reblogging this post she wrote today.    I think politics is dominating many of our minds these days, especially  for those of us who are survivors of abusive families or marriages and are triggered to the point of hypervigilance and paranoia by the constitutional chaos and hatred that seems to have suddenly taken over ever since Trump came into office.  It’s as if the world has gone mad.

Every day since this president took office is more WTF than the last.   Staying glued to the legitimate media (oh wait, I mean ‘fake news’) is almost an unconscious reflex that has its roots in our C-PTSD.    But our morbid fascination and vigilance doesn’t have to be in vain.  It can and should be a call to take action and (peacefully) protest and expose the truth, instead of listening to the shitstorm of hatred, lies (oops, I mean alternative facts), and national-level gaslighting and projection this Hitlerian president and his army of brainwashed ‘deplorables’ is engaging in, while they gleefully gut democracy in their attempts to turn us into a banana republic with a cruel and dictatorial ruler who wants to silence the free press, dismantle all regulations, build walls, shut down the EPA, and run our nation as if it’s a religious cult.

All I know is this:  If I have to die under this new regime (and many probably will, either through acts of internal terrorism and violence, natural disasters due to unregulated plundering of our natural resources, disease caused by “mythical” global warming, or because they lost their health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, or social security – those are all next on the table to be axed under this administration), I don’t want to die as a victim.  I almost did already and I’m never going there again.  I’d rather die fighting for truth and justice, whatever that might mean.   I’m not going to succumb and die as one of the scared sheep who did nothing.

So, here is Nyssa’s article.

The Current Political Situation.

Nyssa’s Hobbit Hole

So much is going on that I can barely keep up.  My friend Lucky Otter calls it hypervigilance, says that the abuse is now happening on a national scale…. We have the flying monkeys in large numbers….

I’m starting to burn out on news from the White House.  It’s nonstop crapstorm every day.  I spend hours just checking news feeds on Twitter. But I keep hearing that we should all be vigilant so we can protest through various channels and keep our voices heard.  But I do have other things to do….

Then I watch movies of the White Rose Society, and hear how Germans didn’t do enough to stop the Nazis, for various reasons.  We can keep the same thing from happening here, and it looks like we just might do so–but not if we stop watching.  But what about the other things I need to do?

I’m following not just American newspapers, but German and British ones as well, to get more global perspectives.  Der Spiegel is about to publish the English version of a scathing series on Trump.  That’s the magazine which also put a controversial picture on the front cover, of Trump beheading the Statue of Liberty.

It’s all maddening.  Those of us who have experienced narc abuse and other kinds of abuse, we can recognize what’s going on, but the flying monkeys call us “libtards” and laugh at us.

*****

Read the rest of Nyssa’s article here.