Unpacking Donald Trump’s Psychopathology

trump-mentally-ill

Although Donald Trump does not have an official diagnosis of a personality disorder, many mental health experts believe him to have some combination of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder (sociopathy), and Paranoid Personality Disorder.  When these disorders appear together in the same person, we call it malignant narcissism.

Malignant narcissism is different from garden variety NPD in that, due to the presence of ASPD, the person very often has a blatant disregard for the law or the rights of others. There is also an element of paranoia, which lends itself to a toxic belief in conspiracy theories and a belief everyone is against them. The malignant narcissist will often seek retribution or revenge on others they believe have wronged them.   Often, they are sadistic and actually enjoy inflicting pain on others (I believe Trump is one of these).  Garden variety narcissists are toxic and usually unpleasant to be around, and they can certainly be abusive if you are unlucky enough to have to live with or be in close contact with one, but unless they are also malignant, they aren’t necessarily sadistic or likely to engage in criminal or deliberately cruel behavior.  A few might even have selective empathy, though their “empathy” could just be an act to get what they want.  A malignant narcissist has no empathy and no conscience, and they cannot change.

Donald Trump certainly appears to be a malignant narcissist, based on what he says and does.  The Dark Triad is another term for this combination of dangerous disorders.  Trump seems to have all 9 traits of NPD (per DSM IV, which I prefer to DSM V), and most or all of the traits of ASPD.  He also has some traits of PPD.   While most mental health professionals still stand by The Goldwater Rule and refuse to give Trump a formal diagnosis, some are so certain that he is a malignant narcissist that they chose to disregard this tradition due to the clear and present danger they believed Trump posed to the country and the world.  They believed it was their duty to warn others.  Their conviction resulted in a book that was published early in Trump’s presidency called “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,” a compilation of essays by 27 psychologists and psychiatrists describing what makes  Trump so dangerous and which serves as a warning of the existential danger of a Trumpian future.

Due to this book, as well as a number of other well known people, books, and groups openly discussing Trump and his likely personality disorder has broadened the reach of the narcissistic abuse community and made terms such as gaslighting, NPD, narcissism, and blame shifting household words.   We are all victims of narcissistic abuse under this man.  Before Trump, the concept of narcissistic abuse wasn’t well known outside of the online narcissistic abuse community. That is no longer the case, so in a way, Trump has indirectly helped to educate the world about narcissism and the suffering and chaos it can create in relationships, families, countries, and the world.

This article I’ve linked to doesn’t describe Trump’s narcissism so much as it explains how someone like Trump could rise to power and infect an entire country with his pathology.  A Trump (or a Hitler or a Stalin or a Duterte or a Bolsonaro) cannot rise to power without the cooperation and encouragement of a sizable segment of the populace who can relate to or share Trump’s rage or even his pathology, and a political environment that is rife for someone like Trump.  The United States, a country that has rewarded narcissism and selfishness and punished empathy in recent years (a good example is Border Patrol police arresting Good Samaritans who left food and water in the desert for  migrants), was a Petri dish for someone like Trump.   He could not have risen to power forty or fifty years ago or even twenty or thirty years ago, when the idea of the greater good and the values of democracy were still the rule, not the exception, in the top tiers of of government.  Trump isn’t the cause of our downfall, but he is the glaring sympton of a desperately sick society and is certainly helping to fan the flames of destruction.  We can either address the problems that led to a demagogue like Trump, and fix the things that made us so sick, or we can ignore the warning siren and fall even deeper into the abyss of fascism.

The only issue I have with this article (and it’s a small one) is that I’m pretty sure more than 1% of the population (at least in America) suffers from NPD.  But as a society that rewards narcissistic behavior and punishes compassion, it might just seem that way, as such a society encourages even non-disordered people to emulate the traits of narcissism.

Unpacking Donald Trump’s Psychopathology Helps Explain the Toxic Reality Facing America 

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Further Reading:

Narcissistic Abuse in Trumpistan

We Need a Lot More Awareness About Narcissism and Psychopathy

Sociopaths Rule America

Trump’s Personality Disorder Brings Out the Worst in Everyone 

Hypermasculinity and Trumpism 

He was “just joking.”

It hasn’t been a year yet since I posted this article, but in light of Trump gaslighting America by saying his advice to ingest or inject cleaning chemicals into the body was “sarcasm,” I’m reposting this.

Lucky Otters Haven

trumpclown

Some of Trump’s aides and enablers have been excusing Trump’s threats by insisting he was only joking.

Here’s a tweet I saw from an anonymous source:

He’s “just joking” when he says he’ll pardon aides for illegal acts, just like he kids about staying past his term

Trump himself regularly insists he was only joking when he’s called out about some of his threats to do things that are illegal, immoral, or cruel.   His flying monkeys back him up on this and then blame our side of having “Trump Derangement Syndrome” when we don’t fall for these lies.   This is gaslighting.

But Trump is a malignant narcissist, and malignant narcissists have no sense of humor.  They do not joke, and therefore Trump does not joke.   The only kind of “jokes” sociopaths and malignant narcissists understand are mocking or making fun of the  weaker and more vulnerable.   Unless you’re a fellow…

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Beware of narcissists posing as victims in the narcissistic abuse community.

Originally posted on November 24, 2014

 

 wolvesinsheeps

I came across this post today on PsychForums. It’s by a woman who’s the moderator of a site for victims of abuse (she does not specify which site). She talks about how she is triggered and angered by forum members who she perceive as “better” in some way–smarter, prettier, richer, what have you–and then proceeds to play head games with them, make it difficult for them to log in or even bans them, without ever giving a reason. This poster admits getting pleasure from making the forum members suffer and thinks it’s a fun game. She admits her own life is a shambles and she is deeply miserable. The fact she posted this on a psychological forum indicates she is are aware this is a problem and knows it’s wrong, but she says on the forum she feels like “God” and doesn’t seem to want to stop playing so cruelly with the forum members.

I’ve read a number of blog posts and articles that discuss this problem, which is much more prevalent than you might think. It’s disturbing and scary. It’s hard enough for victims of narcissistic abuse to trust other people, and they come to blogs and forums to find a haven of like minded people who have been through the same shit they have and find support. But not everyone they meet in these online havens are who they say they are. Some may be psychopaths out looking for prey, and what better prey is there than the members of a website for victims of abuse?

Psychopaths and malignant narcissists are attracted to blogs and forums focusing on narcissism and abuse, because these are places where the “prey” is abundant. They can have a field day playing with the minds of vulnerable, hurt victims, especially if they are the admin or owner and have created a website for the abused. I’m not talking about someone like Sam Vaknin here–at least he’s upfront and honest about his narcissism, and he’s actually helped many victims of abuse (I still can’t quite figure out what his true motives are–they must be primarily self-serving, but his writings have helped many). Rather, I’m referring to website and blog owners who focus on narcissism and psychopathy but are malignant narcissists themselves, yet they pose as victims or sympathetic “gurus” who only want to help but do anything but.

Bloggers and forum admins, by nature, are probably at least a little narcissistic, but as long as it’s not used to hurt or manipulate or be used against members of the community, then it’s not a problem. But there do exist those who run sites for the abused who pretend to be caring survivors but are anything but. In fact, they hate and envy those who post on their sites.

flyingmonkey

How can you tell if a forum or blog owner is really a malignant narcissist–a wolf in sheep’s clothing? How do you know that when they talk about “their psychopath” or “their MN” that THEY are really the MN or psychopath and the “abuser” is the real victim?

Unfortunately, there’s no sure way to tell. Narcissists have very tender feelings. They are easily hurt and love to whine about how they’ve been “victimized” by other people who have had the guts to call them out, retaliate, or complain about their evil behavior. They fail to take into account that they had it coming and deserved the “abuse.” When you can hide behind the anonymity of the Internet, it’s all too easy for a narcissist to leave out pertinent facts–such as what THEY might have done to deserve the “abuse” they had coming to them. Their lies and half-truths about their victimization may seem very believable. They can make their victim sound like a raging psychopath should they choose to do so. It’s a form of online gaslighting and they are very good at it.

While there’s no foolproof way to tell, especially online, who’s a malignant narcissist posing as a victim and who’s a real victim, there are some red flags to look for.

1. Does the forum or site owner ban people easily, delete posts, or not approve posts? (I’m not talking about trolls or abusive posts here)
2. Is there a lot of infighting and antagonism between the members? If so, suspect an admin or a person with power on that site playing a “divide and conquer” game with the members to turn them against each other.
3. Is there a member who constantly complains about their victimization but never seems to do anything about it, does nothing but trash their abuser’s character, or never seems to get any better? You could be dealing with a narc posing as a victim.
4. Is there anyone who seems envious or resentful of another person’s recovery or improvement, or even just fails to acknowledge that person’s good fortune, or changes the subject?
5. Is there a self centered person who only talks about their own case, but never offers support or encouragement to other members? That person could be a narc.
6. If there is someone who is openly critical or judgmental of another person’s case or behavior, that person is almost certainly a narc.
7. Is the site owner uninvolved with the members and never seem to interact with them? If so, you may be dealing with someone who is looking to achieve Internet “fame” and really isn’t interested in the subject or its members.
Narcissism and psychopathy are hot topics these days, and blogs and websites about these disorders are almost guaranteed to get a lot of hits and views. Someone who wants to achieve Internet “fame” may start a blog or site about narcissism or psychopathy just because it’s popular and trendy, even though they don’t have much interest in the topic. These blog owners probably own other blogs and sites, and those sites will focus on other “hot topics.” But if the owner is really that detached or disinterested, the site will eventually lose members and fizzle out. It’s hard for members to stay involved, when the owner isn’t even interested.

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Further reading (with my personal experience):

9 Ways to Tell if the Victim Blog You Read is Run by a Narcissist 

A field guide to the most common narcissist subspecies.

I dug this one up from the archives. I’d forgotten all about it.
Happy New Year!

Lucky Otters Haven

hunter

Narcissists are predators, but they can be turned into prey fairly easily. Here’s a quick field guide to the most common types of narcissists you may find out in the wilderness of real life. Binoculars are good to have on hand to spot them, but make sure you keep yourself camouflaged well and carry the weapon of Truth. Truth to a narc is like garlic to a vampire–they will run faster than Montezuma’s Revenge.

It’s easy to learn how to identify the subspecies of common narcissists by using this Field Guide to help you identify the most common types, their preferred habitat, and chosen source of supply (food). They can all be either male or female, but where a particular gender is more commonly seen, it will be indicated in the subspecies description.

1. Narcissus grandiosis.

conceptual caricature of caucasian businessman in suit he whips employee pulling him around in chair

N. grandiosis is the “classic”, grandiose, aggressively ambitious (and often successful) narcissist. Usually male…

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The 7 things narcissists are most afraid of.

I know I haven’t posted anything new for a long time. Hopefully I’ll return very soon with some new posts. In the meantime, here’s an oldie but goodie, and one of my most popular posts since it was first published almost 4 years ago.

Lucky Otters Haven

rejection-attention-affection-perfection

I was actually going to try to post funny search terms again, but alas, they were just not funny, so I nixed that idea.  However, I did find one that inspired me to write this post:

what 6 things are narcissist most scared of

It’s a good question.  Are narcissists afraid of anything? You bet they are, and there are 7 things that scare them silly, not just 6.

1. Abandonment and rejection.

love_me

Narcissists can’t stand being rejected or abandoned.   That’s why they fly into rages and punish and threaten you if you threaten to leave them, and love bomb you if you do manage to get away.  To reject a narcissist means you are rejecting the false self they have so carefully constructed to impress you.  To reject that false self negates their entire reason for existing, since whatever true self they may have left is completely inaccessible…

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A narcissist’s prayer.

The mindf*ck.

narcprayer

The Narcissism of Capital

I don’t agree with everything in this article (I don’t think capitalism is a bad thing if it’s kept under control with regulations and checks and balances), but I still really like the author’s comparison of capitalism with narcissism. He’s not wrong, especially in his observation that people with high levels of narcissism, even fullblown NPD, tend to be attracted to careers that reward with power and wealth.  This is why CEOs and top executives of multinational corporations, and politicians are so much more likely to have psychopathic or narcissistic traits than the “proles” (the rest of us).

Comments are disabled.  Please leave comments under the original post.

O Society

by Mawr Gorshin Infinite Ocean edited by O Society Mar 13, 2019

silhouette of statue near trump building at daytime
Photo by Carlos Herrero on Pexels.com

Introduction

Analysis of the 1944 film adaptation of Gaslight, leads to a recognition of ‘political gaslighting.’

In abusive interpersonal relationships, the abuser fabricates, denies, and distorts the truth to disorient the victim. The super-rich, as well as the politicians and the media who work for them, also do this lying and disorienting, but to the public as a whole.

We all know how emotional abuse can happen in families, school, the workplace, and online: psychological abuse on the ‘micro’ level. Now, let’s discuss it on the ‘macro’ level, how it exists on the geopolitical level, for this is, no doubt, a far greater problem.

Many parallels are seen in the comparison of narcissistic abuse and class conflict. Donald Trump is as obvious a narcissist as he is a…

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Are you a victim of gaslighting?

gaslight

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse where a person is made to doubt their own reality or judgment.  It’s a very common way that narcissists, psychopaths, and other abusers manipulate their victims.

The term comes from the 1942 movie of the same name, in which the heroine is victimized by her abusive husband into believing she is going insane, when she notices the gaslights in their home going on and off seemingly by themselves, when it is actually he who is doing it to torment her.

Here are a few examples of gaslighting:

Your partner calls you hurtful names, and when you object, tells you you are being “too sensitive,” “acting crazy,” “playing the victim,” etc.  (blaming the victim is very common in abusive personalities).

Your parent, who was physically abusive to you as a child, says it never happened and you are just imagining things.

Your partner steals money from you while you’re asleep, and then when you bring it up the next day, says you must have misplaced it or didn’t count it right.

Gaslighting occurs on the societal level too and is a favorite tactic of sociopathic leaders to maintain control of their narrative and keep their opponents off balance and fearful, but that is beyond the scope of this short post.  I have covered that topic elsewhere in this blog.

Gaslighting is death by a thousand cuts.   While an individual incident of gaslighting might seem minor and nothing to get that upset about (and all of us, at one time or another, have probably gaslighted someone else),  these incidents tend to add up over time and cause a person to doubt their own reality to the point of developing symptoms of trauma or even PTSD.

A person who is the victim of gaslighting becomes fearful, unsure of themselves, feels as if they’re “walking on eggshells” all the time, afraid of doing or saying the wrong thing.   If you feel uncomfortable, ill at ease, or fearful around a particular person, or clam up when you are usually more outgoing, chances are you are being gaslighted.

Here’s a handy table that will help you know when to tell.

gaslightingfacts

How a narcissist really sees you.

I saw this meme yesterday describing how narcissists really regard their victims.  This analogy is as accurate as anything I’ve ever seen, and it’s true.   There’s no need to elaborate any further.

I have no idea who wrote this, so I can’t give credit.

narcissisttowel

 

Trump’s military spectacle in DC is anything but patriotic.

Jason Heuser’s illustration was meant as an ode to Trump, but actually is an accurate depiction of his narcissistic sense of grandiosity and toxic masculinity.

Trump has a funny way of taking bipartisan things that traditionally unify people and make them divisive and political — and always all about him.

Just as he has done with Christmas and football, Trump has politicized the 4th of July, by using our tax money to pay for a ridiculously expensive — and ridiculously tacky —  spectacle of power and military might complete with tanks and salutations by the various branches of our military to Dear Leader himself.    Not only that, but he has designated a VIP section just for his wealthy donors.   And just like with his endless golf trips and tax breaks for the rich, WE are paying for it. 

There is absolutely nothing patriotic or American about this disgusting spectacle making its way down Pennsylvania Avenue today.   It’s intended solely to please Trump’s base and donors.  It’s basically a very expensive rally for his reelection campaign.   It’s also meant to impress Trump’s dictator buddies like Putin and Kim Jung Un, who also hold military parades in their own countries.

When asked if the United States should have a military parade to “show off its might,” President Dwight Eisenhower once said, “Absolutely not. We are the pre-eminent power on Earth. For us to try and imitate what the Soviets are doing in Red Square would make us look weak.”

Eisenhower was right.  Modern democracies and countries with real strength don’t lower themselves to putting on military parades.  These ostentatious displays are the province of two bit dictatorships and banana republics, and Trump’s military parade is an announcement to the world that the United States has become a two bit dictatorship and is using a display of military might to compensate for its growing weakness in the world.  We now have concentration camps that torture and imprison children and innocent families who try to apply for asylum.  Why not show how big and tough we are by having big ugly tanks roll down the middle of our Capital and salute Dear Leader too?

Public spectacles of military prowess are nothing more than preening displays of power by insecure and cruel leaders who use bullying, punishment, torture, and intimidation to “govern.”   They are not intended to be celebrations or patriotic traditions for all the citizens to enjoy, but are meant to intimidate and scare the populace, to show them they better not mess with Dear Leader.   That’s what Trump is doing.  This parade is also intended as a massive dose of narcissistic supply, which Trump regularly infuses himself with by holding his partisan hate rallies, among other things (like those nauseating meetings he has where his cabinet members, sitting around a long table, each have their turn to shower Trump with praise as he sits there gloating).

I know I won’t be watching Trump’s stupid narcissistic display of toxic masculinity.  I’ll stick to the Macy’s Day Parade, fireworks, and hamburgers cooked on the grill.

Happy Fourth, everyone!