The “Impactful” visit from Trump: Does Trump Suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder ?
In my continuing research into the mind of Donald Trump and his imminent visit to the UK next week, and from the further exploration of his personality characteristics, I can see the most outstanding personality trait as being that of narcissism. The more recent analysis of his interviews, transcripts speech acts and behaviour point to dark narcissism, but what exactly is it, and how will this trait influence his social perceptions of the forthcoming protest organized by the equally narcissistic Lord Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and his oligarchy of left wing wealthy labour millennials?
Politicians and political commentators throughout the UK and further afield have seen this distinct trait which gives rise to the enigmatic personality he radiates in his authoritarian oriented speeches. Trump the negotiator Trump the business tycoon, Trump the Politician, Trump the most powerful man on earth, Trump the social influencer, Trump the Christian and so on. Each of his roles appear to be totally contradictory and this is reflected in his highly skilful use of words phrases clichés and adjectives. He is continually in a state of what psychologists call cognitive dissonance, or a state whereby ones mindset and beliefs are not consistent in their everyday behaviour. There is a conflict between what one fervently beliefs and what one actually does in the context of social behaviour.
The intended mockery planned and inspired by a few upcoming wealthy labour followers by using a helium filled balloon effigy of the President of the US, is a foolish act, which could have profound negative consequences and cause further loss of jobs on the high street and plunge the UK further into depression. With all the narcissistic American pomp and overexaggerated security with Air Force One, there is no doubt that Donald Trump knows how to utilize his personality characteristics to full advantage.
In today’s press report, The Daily Telegraph Saturday 7th July, I noted that Trump will see the “Trump baby” blimp hovering sky high over Westminster. Never before have I witnessed the visit to London of previous US Presidents facing the onslaught of political irony and fullscale mockery. But then Trump manifests tough poise and high emotional resilience. It will be like water running off a duck’s back. How ironic it is that when he visits Winfield House amid the massive protesters, he will hear the call to prayer from the Central Mosque next door besides the animals at London Zoo close by. Such a stark contrast to the healthy narcissism of his first lady Melania, who seemingly has little or no influence over her husband’s extreme narcissistic traits that determine his radical repertoire of political behaviours.
Aristotle in his Christian teachings defined narcissism as “the sin of pride” and a “ quick path to hell,” Freud claimed that narcissism is prescribed at birth and we fall in love with ourselves as part of the developing personality during infancy and childhood. However, we have as adults both healthy narcissism and unhealthy narcissism. It can be seen more clearly on a scale from one to ten, where zero refers to the abstinence through to a score of ten which refers to addiction or dark narcissism. Like you and I, individuals with a good psychologically healthy lifestyle would score in the centre range of the spectrum between four and seven, we normally operate as healthy narcissists”. This personality type means that we have high self esteem ambition, creativity, emotional intelligence and resilience.
So instead of regarding narcissism as a one for all situation, the fact of the matter is that we can be anywhere along the spectrum between 1 and 10. As we grow and develop in interaction with our social environment we move across the scale from left to right and being able to self monitor when we feel our personality traits might be getting out of control. This the scenario when we do not self monitor, and we end up embarrassingly flaunting our extreme narcissism to all who listen and try to reason with us. Life at either extreme is not a desired place to be. President Trump appears to remain at the end of the spectrum at point ten or above. Since birth we have to experience our parents drumming into our little heads that humility is best in life and to avoid being proud and telling all others about our good successes and so on. In most cultures around the world on my travels, I note that selflessness is the most deeply valued trait. Love for others and love for our neighbours is the vital link in the peace building initiative and one common psychological motive built into our finite brains. In Donald Trump’s enigmatic speeches we often have to analyse directly contrasting concepts that show what we call “cognitive dissonance” an inner conflict in one’s mind between our thoughts attitudes and behaviour. It may be in conflict with our Christian values as in Trumps case.
Indeed most people would agree that we deserve special treatment at certain times in our lives such as when in grief, and as the Muslim lady was some time ago after losing her son in the Iraq war, and when Trump showed her no empathy whatsoever. At centre stage we may experience an uplift of mood when we feel empathy or psychosocial support. Healthy narcissism kicks in and helps I us cope. Not so with the President of the US. His extreme dark narcissism clouds human empathy to the extent that I find it inconceivable how he expects to engage in meaningful political dialogue in London next week. This psychological trait plays a very specific and vital role in the precursors to trade deals and also to the logistical and both economic and political consequences of his business dealings on this trip as it does in and across other cultures.
I believe there was a time during his teenage years, even though it was very temporary, where he did show some evidence of being within the healthy mid range of narcissism. It did not last for long, as soon his dominance and grandiosity took deep root and prevailed to this day.
Life at the top end of the scale is bleak for most, but not for Donald Trump. While people at zero assiduously avoid the limelight, those at the extreme right scramble to be consistently in the spotlight They self focus usually on their grandiosity and become virtually obsessive about their self importance whether it be legitimately or illegitimately gained. They Like trump are addicted to attention by media governments others who hold State power and also he would see these other statesmen like peers as competitors, playing out strategic mind games that fuel his addiction to power and authority. Had Donald Trump been a President who was moderate in his narcissistic state, he would score somewhere in the middle of the spectrum showing moderation intense ambition, with occasional arrogance. At 5 in the middle of the scale, Trump would have been driven by intense political and economic power to become the most effective politician and business tycoon in the entire world. Such was his inner emotional drives and motivational state.
Narcissists fall into many categories, and extroverted narcissists are plentiful They are loud vain and easy to spot no matter where they are in world politics. A common characteristic among these extroverted narcissists is their emphasis on wealth, obsessive wealth, power, status and craving world attention. By contrast, the introverted narcissist in world politics fear criticism so viscerally that they shy away from conferences, people. and attention from media.US Presidents are more narcissistic on average than most ordinary citizens.
The fact of the matter is that President Trump’s mindset is well prepared for massive protests in London and potentially in other parts of the UK. How will he react one may ask? The dark narcissist has a blend of other personality traits that they skilfully muster together in order to maintain his magnanimous statesmanlike self image and charismatic presence on the world stage. He will draw from his traits of toughmindedness, dominance, impulsivity together with boldness and tough poise. He has high superego strength infused with radicalism and shrewdness, calculating to the very end. Within his personality his extreme narcissism crowds out any sense of human empathy with coldness and astuteness. World political leaders like Trump who exhibit extreme narcissism, have enormous ability to manipulate others and charm the socks of anyone on their radar. Even those with narcissistic personality disorder can be great company when they are feeling good about themselves, However their charm wears thin as we might witness this coming weekend when Donald Trump manipulates his overused rhetoric and phraseology as he evaluates the demonstrators across the UK and especially in London. He like other extreme narcissists is likely to dodge normal feelings of vulnerability, including sadness, fear, loneliness and worry. We can see unhealthy narcissistic traits in his dealings with his stunningly attractive wife and First Lady Melania, when he pushes her out of the way in public and rarely shows any romantic gestures in public. Human interaction poses a scary problem for extreme narcissists who are deep down extraordinarily insecure people. One of their strategies in coping with this is to rest on their supreme feelings of self awareness and self confidence on the world stage showing their super ego strength when with other political peers. They focus intensely on their imagination and self sufficiency rarely admitting to their anger as we will see on trumps 12th July visit to London and Scotland. He will need those few rounds of golf at his ten star golf resort and a health spa to evaluate the fact that his business trip was unwanted by many and welcomed by others. How will Theresa May feel at this intrusion into the delicate nature of the UK’s intricacies with Brussels at the moment. Superiority is the keyword for Trump the dark narcissist. He will show his condescending attitudes towards the political fraternity but cautious enough not to hoodwink her majesty when he has afternoon tea at Windsor, The Queen does not suffer fools gladly but is still razor sharp in her 92nd year and can see through Donald’s motives and gestures. They are keen to point out the various ways others are lacking in trade deals and will be quick to point out errors in others thinking patterns. He will like other dark narcissists, avoid his own emotional phobia, and those of others too. He may also engage in playing out the emotional hot potato, It’s a more insidious form or projection in which people will deny their real feelings by claiming they belong to someone else. In this case, the people don’t simply confuse their own feelings with someone else, they actually coerce you into experiencing the emotions they are trying to ignore in the first place.
It’s like this. When Donald sees the massive helium blimp hovering over the Houses of Parliament he will deny his anger to himself, outwardly demonstrating his super ego identity and making a negative attribution to the organizers of the political and unneeded gesture. On average the dark narcissist would not be seen to show his or her anger, but in this case my view is that by the time he has encountered his business talks, the anger will rise like a hot potato in an explosion of expletives that will make Sadiq Khan feel that this was a huge mistake.
Another common feature of the extreme narcissist is that they often out close friends or their spouse on a pedestal, sometimes knocking them down. How I often have we seen this happening in the White House? When one with dark narcissism compulsively place their friends lovers and bosses on a pedestal, it’s their way of feeling special. Their logic is interesting in that they say “ if he or she is so very special then they must also think that I’m very special too. This is ok in small doses.
I’m intrigued by Trump’s obsessive use of Twitter and social media . The So Me attitude to political life can be used in such as ay that it satisfies his inner motives and basic desires. His basic desires feed into his everyday motivational state ubiquitously causing concern across the worlds media and providing an outlet for his frustration and inner anger. As one reporter points out “ he shoots from the hip” and what he tweets he means. Many of these were impulsive blasts of banality or political venom dressed up with toxicity to provoke a response. In the extraordinary world of So Me it’s not too difficult to stand out from the crowd and be noticed. When your Donald Trump the world takes notice. So Me is a stage where we are like puppets on a string as Peter Berger wrote several decades ago in his classic work, The Social Construction of Reality. But for the dark narcissist, no one pulls the strings but themselves. In their world of extremism fantasy is an essential ingredient. Its so hard in the world of So Me to hide our addictions and vulnerabilities. They are the fuel that causes one to individuate and be noticed the “ Hey guys look at Me ! “ We present our best selves in cyberspace We become highly selective in what we share online and often post impulsively without any thought as to the consequences of our actions’
NARCISSISTIC PERSONALIY DISORDER
Therapists, researchers, psychologists, and experts in mental health appear pretty consistent in their belief that Trump suffers from narcissistic traits consistent with Narcissistic Personality Disorder:
“Textbook narcissistic personality disorder,” echoed clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis. “He’s so classic that I’m archiving video clips of him to use in workshops because there’s no better example of his characteristics,” said clinical psychologist George Simon, who conducts lectures and seminars on manipulative behavior. […] “Remarkably narcissistic,” said developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Maria Konnivoka, writing over at the Big Think over a year ago nicely summarized the evidence for Trump’s personality symptoms. But for a reminder, let’s look at the symptoms for this disorder one by one.
Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
Trump does this regularly, exaggerating every achievement of his. Remember when he proudly proclaimed he “knew” and was “friends” with Russia’s President Putin, then later acknowledged he had never even met him?
Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
Trump constantly proclaims how great everything he suggests he will do as president will be “fantastic” or “the greatest.” His entire business career appears focused on creating the impression that this is one successful, brilliant, power guy. But he’s actually been a pretty mediocre businessman according to most yardsticks.
Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
Trump bought and refurbished the 118-room, 20 acre, multi-million dollar estate called Mar-a-Lago in Florida, allowing him to associate with only those others who can afford the $100,000 membership fee and $14,000 in annual fees.
Requires excessive admiration
“All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected,” said Trump at one point.
Has a very strong sense of entitlement (e.g., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations)
“I’m running against the crooked media,” said Trump. Trump apparently wants to eviscerate the First Amendment, arguing that Congress should “open up our libel laws” (making it easier for people to sue for libel). If someone prints or says something negative about Trump, he immediately attacks back (usually with a name-calling tweet).
Is exploitative of others (e.g., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends)
After 9/11, apparently Donald Trump — not a “small business” — took advantage of $150,000 in government funds to help small businesses. He’s also been accused of taking advantage of the tragic Orlando shooting and U.S. bankruptcy laws — exactly as you’d expect a billionaire to do.
Lacks empathy (e.g., is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others)
When a grieving U.S. Muslim mom and dad who lost their son during the Iraq war in 2004 appeared at the Democratic national convention to berate Trump for his proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the country, this was Trump’s tangential, non-empathetic response to their grief: “His wife … if you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.” (Or, look at the way he mocked a person with a disability.)
Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
While I’m certain Trump believes others likely envy him, there’s not as much support for this one: “One of the problems when you become successful is that jealousy and envy inevitably follow. There are people—I categorize them as life’s losers—who get their sense of accomplishment and achievement from trying to stop others” (p.59, Trump: The Art of the Deal).
Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
Trump: “You know, it really doesn’t matter what (the media) write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.” (Or, again, look at the way he mocked a person with a disability.)