Years ago, I knew someone who was a psychology major in college and I kind of became hooked on the subject myself. Learning more about human behavior and why we act the way that we act is really a fascinating and worthy endeavor. For those unaware, both psychiatrists and psychologists use the Diagnostic and Statistical Mental of Mental Disorders, or DSM for short.
If you follow the criteria set forth in the current DSM-V, it becomes very easy to understand why President Trump acts and reacts the way that he does. Let’s begin:
- Having an exaggerated sense of self.
- Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it.
- Exaggerating your achievements and talents.
- Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty, or the perfect mate.
- Believing that you are superior and can only be understood or associate with equally special people.
- Requiring constant admiration.
- Having a sense of entitlement.
- Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations.
- Taking advantage of others to get what you want.
- Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the feelings of others.
- Being envious of others and believing others envy you.
- Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner.
The characteristics described above are that of someone who suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (otherwise known as NPD), and sadly; our president exhibits all of them. Let’s look at a few examples:
- When matters of national security were brought up during the primaries, candidate Trump assured voters that he “knew more about ISIS than the generals” simply from watching the Sunday morning shows.
- While running for president and since becoming president, Trump has consistently assured the American people that he and he alone has the innate ability and skills necessary to fix all of the problems that plague America. Just think of all the deals and all the “winning” Americans would see under his watch.
- His constant attacks via Twitter at anyone who dares speak less than glowingly of him.
More dangerously though, The Donald shows signs of hypomania. Which is a mild and more functional expression of bipolar disorder that manifests itself in energy, confidence, creativity, little sleep, as well as arrogance, impulsiveness, irritability, and diminished judgment.
All of this is seen clearly in two articles written about Trump. One was written in 2016 by Michael Krause entitled “1988: the Year Donald Lost His Mind.” In the Politico article, Mr. Krause writes that, “His response to his surging celebrity was a series of manic, ill-advised ventures” that led to bankruptcy and divorce. His ego was being propped up at the time because his book, The Art of the Deal had just been released.
The other article was written by David Brooks of the New York Times, and describes then Republican nominee Trump this way: “With each passing week, he displays the classic symptoms of medium-grade mania in more disturbing forms: inflated self-esteem, sleeplessness, impulsivity, agression and a compulsion to offer advice on subjects he knows nothing about.”
There are steps that can be taken to distance ourself from the narcissism of President Trump, and the first step to take is to disassociate ourselves with him as much as possible. We need to stop feeding what’s known as his “narcissistic supply.” Narcissists, by nature, feed on the feelings of those around them and it never ends well for those being fed off of. The only thing that hat matters to our president is his own gratification, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to degrade anyone that comes across their path. Mr. Trump did this constantly during the campaign, from Little Marco to Lying Ted to Crooked Hillary. He sees things in a completely black and white view. People are either for him (which is good) or their against him (which is bad) and those against him need to be degraded to the point of irrelevancy. When his supporters foolishly applaud his childish behavior, they’re giving him the narcissistic supply he needs.
The thing that is truly messed up, is that even the comments President Trump made this weekend about the NFL and the players kneeling, the reaction he received from those against him filled him with the sense of self-importance he needs to keep going. I can almost promise, that all of the players who knelt or chose not to participate in he Star Spangled Banner ceremony this past Sunday made Trump feel powerful, and made him feel like he somehow manipulated these people into taking that action. So first and foremost, the most important step that we as Americans can take is to stop giving him the attention he is looking for.
We need to realize that what Mr. Trump has isn’t a chemical imbalance, like depression would be considered. It isn’t a mental illness that can be cured if he were to go on medication. What our president has is a very serious and dangerous personality disorder. One that cannot be changed, because it occurs from an altered brain due feelings of unworthiness or trauma as a child. He does not have the ability to reflect on the way he acts, and lacks the self-assessment necessary to see that his outbursts aren’t normal human behavior.
Unfortunately, the only way to rid yourself of a narcissist is to completely cut yourself off from them, which stop giving them the narcissistic supply they need. Sadly, I feel that trying to impeach him would only serve to turn him into a martyr, just as it did to President Clinton in the 90’s. The American people spoke last November, and as is so often said “elections have consequences.” I only hope that in 2020, we’ll have learned from our mistakes and vote for someone who isn’t as deeply psychology disturbed as is our current president.