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).

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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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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?

Mary_Anne_Trump
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.

Trump’s Neanderthal toolbox.

caveman_trump

Artwork by Roman Genn

This is a brilliant Twitter thread by @HoarseWisperer, who often posts threads about Trump’s probable NPD/sociopathy.   In fact, I think this short write up about Trump’s narcissism is the most spot on description I have ever read, so I’m posting the thread here in its entirety (with the author’s permission).

I also like the sense of hope it left me with.   The nightmare will not last forever because of the nature of NPD is ultimately self destructive.  Trump will burn all his bridges before he can take down an entire nation.   At least I hope this is true.

Here is the thread.

1.  As I’ve often talked about, I’ve seen Trump’s narcissism up close. It’s as familiar as an old movie, so let me put today in some context…

2.  People with severe narcissistic personality disorder like Trump are driven solely by the shallowest of primitive impulses. They are incapable of complex reasoning. They are emotional cavemen.

3.  Their entire world is an endless, futile effort to avoid facing the humiliating shame their own failings deserve. Their lives are empty, contrived caricatures of what they think others will approve of and admire. They’re broken child-actors.

4.  Trump exists solely to mimic what he imagines is worthy of esteem… and since that is so vulgar, crass and unsuccessful, he fails and fails and fails. He’s an actor addicted to the reviews but who gets panned after every performance.

5.  A functional person would be capable of insight and reflection. They’d be capable of learning. They’d take social cues. They’d adapt. They’d grow. Again, back to the caveman bit, Trump is incapable of any of that.

6.  The only primitive tools Trump has in his Neanderthal toolbox are anger, blame and lying. Whenever he feels the weight of his own failure, he pulls out a combo of those three clubs and beats on someone. Sometimes the media. Sometimes someone around him.

7.  The net result – and it is always this way with severe NPDs – is that there is endless chaos in their inner circle. It only briefly calms when they’ve turned over the entire cast – because they briefly think the new cast buys the shtick.

8.  Trump is going through the automatic destruction cycle of an ordinary narcissist. The narc I know well went through it every two years. I could set my watch to it. Entire circle burned to the ground and replaced…

9.  Trump isn’t done yet. He will fire and replace numerous others. He will purge multiple others he sees as disloyal… …but he will leave a few people who merely hide their disdain and put on a better act.

10.  Those people will carry the tribal knowledge of Trump’s failings to the newest members. They’ll poison the new cast… …and within weeks, we will be hearing rumblings of the next purge wave coming.

11.  While the replacement of a Tillerson with a Pompeo stokes the fear that an authoritarian is building a regime, in reality, Trump is a deeply, deeply dysfunctional man utterly incapable of keeping from burning down his own house. Trump is a destroyer of his own circle.

12.  There is no chance that Trump will assemble a new cast that will survive and work together functionally. Trump is a toddler gorilla utterly compelled to fling his own feces on everyone around him. Thus it is. Thus it will be.

13.  If you are worrying that Trump is building something that will worsen and endure, breathe a little easier. This is a cycle. It will repeat and repeat. Today’s appointees will be next month’s casualties. There will be nothing more than build-and-burn loops.

14.  Last year it was Bannon, Gorka, et al. Now it will be Pompeo and newbies. This cast won’t last. No one will ever last. Narcissists burn down their own houses. No one lasts.

15.  So, as best you can, breathe deep and exhale. This is the cycle of narcissism. It’s a rollercoaster. Watch with detachment. After all the hills and drops, a month from now, Trump’s dysfunction will be right where it is today. No better. No worse.

16.  As they say in the support world: Don’t get blown about by every breeze. Today has been windy but we shall not topple. Stay strong, stay centered. This too shall pass. We shall make it so.

caveman_trump2

 

 

 

 

The “red flag” you should never ignore.

Reblogging to test the reblog button’s functionality, and also because this article deserves to be seen again.

Lucky Otters Haven

red_flag

When it comes to narcissism, there’s a lot of talk about red flags: behaviors that are associated with narcissistic abuse, such as lying, gaslighting, lack of empathy, grandiosity, and refusal to admit wrongdoing.

But there’s one red flag that’s underrated because it’s so subjective: your own intuition.

When you first meet a narcissist, they may seem like the nicest person you ever met. You might not see any of the usual “red flags” immediately. Before you know it, you’re involved with a person who only has ill will and will make you feel like you’re going insane. When you finally realize what you are dealing with, they may have already wreaked havoc in your life–stolen your time, your patience, your trust, your money, your self-esteem, your job, your spouse, your sanity, your identity, even your soul.

Pay attention to the way you feel around someone you just met. If you…

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We need a lot more awareness about narcissism and psychopathy.

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 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.

 

Was Betty Broderick actually a victim of narcissistic abuse?

Originally posted on September 27, 2016

thebrodericks
Dan and Betty Broderick at their wedding, 1969

Sometimes the delineation between being a narcissistic abuser and having been a victim of narcissistic abuse is not very clear.    A famous example is Betty Broderick,  the jilted wife who broke into the home of her ex-husband, Dan Broderick, and his new wife, Linda Kolkena, and shot them both to death as they slept.

The entire story is documented in Bella Stumbo’s excellent true crime book, Until The Twelfth of Never, which I read a number of years ago. The story of this tragedy haunted me for weeks, but Dan’s treatment of Betty prior to the murders haunted me even more.  In fact, it downright bugged the bejeezus out of me.

Betty was eventually prosecuted and her appeal for parole was denied.   She will probably spend the rest of her life in prison.

Did Betty murder in cold blood?  Absolutely.   Did she ever admit guilt or show any remorse for her actions? No, she did not.  Was she manipulative and did she show self-centered behaviors?  Yes.  Did she use her children as pawns in her one-woman crusade against her cheating ex husband?  Again, yes.  Was the diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder she was given by the prosecuting psychiatrist correct?  Very likely. (She was also diagnosed with Histrionic Personality Disorder).

I’m not defending what Betty Broderick did.   She is a pre-meditated murderer who killed in cold blood as her victims slept and showed no remorse for her crime.   She used her children as pawns against her ex in their hostile, drawn out divorce, not thinking or seeming to care about their needs, only her own.   Two of her four children don’t speak to her and one has written a book against her and testified against her in court.

But even taking all this into account, I always had a huge problem not seeing Betty as the real victim, in spite of her heinous crime.   From their marriage in 1969 until 1983, when her husband’s affair (which he had lied to her about) came out in the open (and the shit hit the proverbial fan),  Betty was by all accounts a loyal and faithful wife, very much bound by her strict Catholic religious upbringing (and probably, how she appeared to others).   She was a typical 1950s-early 1960s-style housewife, whose main interests in life seemed to be marriage and family.    She wasn’t a go-getting feminist or a a dissatisfied wife who longed for a career or an outside life; she was perfectly happy taking care of the house and playing second fiddle to her successful attorney husband Dan (who had both a law and medical degree), proud of being seen with him at the many functions he attended, and dutifully raising four children (a fifth one died shortly after birth).   If she really had NPD, perhaps much of her perfect-wife persona was for show or to be well regarded in the community, but Stumbo’s true-crime book described a woman who, if anything, was doing everything she thought she had to do to be a good wife and mother,  who never cheated on her husband or showed any interest in expanding her interests outside their family.   Granted, she was never easy to live with, and could be very demanding, needy, and high maintenance, but I wouldn’t say she was malignant, at least not in the beginning.  If she was a narcissist, she was a covert one with a lot of borderline traits.

I think it was her husband who was a much more grandiose and obvious (if not more malignant) narcissist.   He was charming, overly concerned with his image and status, wildly successful, cold and unfeeling to his wife and children, and seemed to lack any empathy for his wife’s many emotional needs.  She did seem to be the more emotionally unstable of the two of them, but such is often the case with the partner who is being victimized–especially if the abuser has flying monkeys (and Dan had a whole community of them due to his power and reputation).

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Dan Broderick and Linda Kolkena, circa 1983

When Betty was in her 40s, she had gained some weight (as many women do around that age) and Dan began to show how little he valued his wife and their marriage, now that she was no longer young and beautiful.  He started an affair with an attractive young woman in his office named Linda Kolkena, who he promoted to his personal assistant.  He spent less and less time at home and even took his new assistant on vacation (saying it was a business trip).  Betty suspected something was going on and asked Dan about it.  He lied to her and said there was nothing and she was imagining things (sound familiar)?     Eventually the truth could no longer be hidden and he admitted he’d been having an affair with Linda all along.  But it didn’t stop there.  He also told Betty he had fallen in love with Linda and wanted to marry her, and told Betty coldly that he wanted a divorce.  Shortly after he left her, Linda fell pregnant.  They flaunted their happiness cruelly in front of Betty, who always had self esteem issues.

The divorce was drawn out, dramatic, and ugly.   Betty became increasingly deranged, and showed stalking behaviors and began to involve her children in her one-woman crusade against her cheating ex.   But Dan and Linda also ganged up against Betty and made fun of her, leaving abusive phone messages where they could be heard laughing together and making fun of Betty’s age, weight and intelligence.    Such a thing would certainly make ME see red!  For Betty, an insecure woman whose entire identity had been tied up with being Dan Broderick’s wife and the mother of his children, his cruel and malicious behavior must have been unbearable and something eventually snapped.

Dan was able to convince everyone that Betty was insane–not to mention fat, stupid and old.   He was expert in gaslighting and triangulation, turning most of their friends and even their own children against her.

What Betty did was wrong.  There’s no way around that.    She was spiteful, manipulative, and completely out of control.  She lied in court.   She didn’t seem to have much, if any, empathy for their children (by that point, I would completely understand if she had no empathy for her ex and his new wife, given their shabby treatment of her during the divorce proceedings).

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Betty Broderick during the trial.

But I wonder how much she may have been driven to act as she did.   Dan seemed cold-hearted and emotionless from the get-go, almost psychopathic.   For 14 years, Betty put up with this b*stard and obediently played the role of the trophy wife that he wanted.  When she was too old, he unceremoniously dumped her for another woman.

In my opinion, Betty Broderick was a victim of narcissistic abuse who was driven to become a narcissist.  Even if she was already a narcissist, I don’t think she was malignant or that she would have gone to the extremes that she did on that horrible day in 1983 had she not been driven to to the brink of insanity by her arrogant, compassionless, egotistical cheater of a husband.

This case has always fascinated me, in part because I think so much was brushed under the rug during the divorce proceedings and the trial. I always felt a bit of sympathy for her, in spite of her horrible crime. Here’s another article I found in defense of Betty Broderick.  Betty was certainly no angel, but I don’t think Dan Broderick was as good a guy as the press and popular media liked to make him out to be — not even close.

Betty Broderick: Victim or Victimizer

Grumpy old men: narcissists in old age.

Now I just think “Donald Trump.” I get irritated at the mainstream media that keeps looking for his nonexistent empathy, and keeps speculating that the smallest “nice” thing he does means he is changing. All it means he is appeasing his base/donors or he has been ordered to act that way. Giving him a gold star for just doing his job (which is hardly ever) only enables him. Donald Trump is incapable of changing and proves it daily. He doesn’t even have the self-awareness to realize he is a pathological narcissist, as someone like Sam Vaknin was able to do. Without that, there is no hope for change at all — especially not at age 71.

Lucky Otters Haven

grumpy_old_man

It’s been said narcissists grow worse with age. As they lose their looks and mental acuity and become less sexually desirable and more unemployable, they lose the ability to attract the supply they need to feel like they exist. Most will fall into deep depression and a few might even commit suicide. Growing old and having to confront one’s own mortality is the ultimate narcissistic injury. The only thing they have left to obtain supply is their advanced age itself.

Some will become the stereotypical “get off my lawn” grouchy old man or woman, demanding their entitlements (or what they think are their entitlements) be met, no matter how unreasonable. They don’t bother with “charm.” They don’t even try to hide their self-centeredness or contempt for others anymore or make any attempt to be “nice.” They’ve given up playing the games they used to attain supply when they had their…

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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.

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

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Further reading:

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

Learning to become the mother I wish I’d had

Amazing and insightful post written by a diagnosed NPD (non-malignant) who has been working hard to stop the generational transfer of NPD and raise an emotionally healthy and empathic son, while she works on herself. They are learning together, and she may have prevented her child from developing a personality disorder by using the techniques discussed in this post.

I sure wish my mother had become self aware enough to do this with me.