Emperor Nero

Classical Narcissist

The problem the GOP has with Donald Trump is not solvable.  Politicians are notoriously self-centered, but they understand that, for the most part, supporting the party is good for them.  Trump, however, does not think that way. There are cries from the GOP leadership for unity.  For them that means supporting the decades long ideals of small government, tax breaks for the wealthy – on the pretext that that will be good for business and ultimately for everyone – and bedroom issues.

Trump has horrified many of them by suggesting that those ideals are negotiable.  For The Donald, everything is negotiable.  When Trump talks about party unity he is talking about supporting him in any guise.

Trump is not a team player.

Trump is a classic Narcissist.

DSM V (diagnostic and statistical manual, fifth edition) is used by psychiatrists and clinical psychologists as the standard for psychiatric diagnosis.  There are nine criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  Not every narcissist displays all nine, but it is required to have most behaviors displayed to make the diagnosis.  The criteria are:

  1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance.
    2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
    3. 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).
    4. Requires excessive admiration [regularly fishes for compliments, and is highly susceptible to flattery].
    5. Has a sense of entitlement.
    6. Is interpersonally exploitative.
    7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others. (Many would say that they are unable to recognize or identify with other’s feelings.)
    8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.
    9. Shows arrogant, haughty [rude and abusive] behaviors or attitudes.

Please point out the behavior that Donald Trump does not display.

Looking at the above listed behavior you might be surprised to know other characteristics of narcissists.  The following are a list compiled by Leon Selzer, PhD who has 30 years of experience as a psychologist.

  1. Low self-esteem.  This seems to be contrary to the outward behavior of narcissists, but it is the basis for many of their other behaviors.
  2. Are highly reactive to criticism or anything they interpret as a negative opinion of something they identify with their own beliefs.
  3. Can be inordinately defensive and self-righteous.
  4. React to contrary viewpoints with anger or rage.
  5. Project onto others qualities, traits, or behaviors that they can’t – won’t – accept in themselves.
  6. Have poor interpersonal boundaries.  Narcissists have been said to be unable to tell where they end and another person begins.  Perhaps this is the source of Trump’s bizarre comments about his daughter’s sexiness.

It is important to note that this personality exists along a continuum of severity.  Lists of famous people with narcissistic traits include not only Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin, but Margaret Thatcher and Barack Obama.  In the entertainment world they include O.J. Simpson and Donald Trump, but, also, Madonna and Joan Crawford.  Clearly those individuals are not all at one end of the spectrum.

Many in the field note that this disorder seems to be produced by a narcissist’s mother.

Narcissists, perhaps because they are only aware of their own needs and feelings, and manipulate others to meet those, are at first very engaging and popular.  It is only after an individual or group has been swept into the sphere of a narcissist’s influence that the pain begins.  The same ability to manipulate others with flattery at first enables a narcissist to be cruel, derisive, and threatening to those they have made useful.  They are masters at this behavior.  The beautiful girl that a narcissist woos as arm candy in order to make him more handsome is often manipulated into believing that she is stupid, ugly and unlikable to anyone but the manipulator.  I’m sure this works in other gender relationships, as well.  Some narcissists learn that certain behaviors bring about unwanted results and avoid those activities, but usually are unable to resist occasional socially unacceptable behavior over the long term.  Trump certainly seems to have been attracted to a “type”.

Ivana Trump with husband Donald

Marla Maples, Trump’s Second Wife and Daughter, Tiffany

Donald and Melania Trump

Narcissists are often quite successful in life.  They may be businessmen, executives, military leaders, or of course, politicians.  Their success comes at a terrible cost to others around them.

Please note that the author is not a mental health professional.  All of the comments above came from individuals who are, rephrased for brevity and clarity in some cases.

Views: 409

Comment by koshersalaami on May 31, 2016 at 2:47pm

Yes, and

Unity? Trump ran Against the Republican Party from within the Republican Party. 

Comment by Valerie Lynn Stephens on May 31, 2016 at 3:36pm

Rodney Roe: I concur. ;-))

Comment by Zanelle on May 31, 2016 at 4:09pm

Interesting ideas and I have heard this is the narcissistic age so Trump fits right in.  My mom was a narcissist and once I realized that it was lots easier to deal with her.  Interesting that she had no boundaries about where she began and others ended...she overlapped with everyone and wanted them all to be like her.  Definitely no empathy.  Definitely successful until the shit hit the fan and then useless.  

Comment by JMac1949 Today on May 31, 2016 at 4:20pm

What is the classic diagnostic pathology of a megalomaniac looney tune who cannot express a coherent thought without resorting to some kind of lie?


Comment by Rodney Roe on May 31, 2016 at 5:40pm

This is a fairly common disorder; some estimate 1/20 people have Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  As Zanelle points out it is easier to deal with them once you understand.  I've had a medical partner and son-in-law who were pretty far along the spectrum.  One characteristic that was not mentioned above is that there is no in-between with them.  You are either perfect or awful depending on how you appear to be working for their  ego support, and the perception can change in a microsecond.

Comment by Rodney Roe on May 31, 2016 at 5:42pm

Also, I'm not the first to make the diagnosis on Trump. 

Comment by koshersalaami on May 31, 2016 at 6:52pm
Perfect or awful? That sounds remarkably familiar.
Comment by nerd cred on May 31, 2016 at 6:53pm

My mother fit all 15.

But I don't think the "produced by mother" thing still applies. It used to be that every psych thing was caused by mothering. It may be that early abuse contributes but there are distinct differences in the brains - not clear if structure or activity. Probably nature + nurture like every other thing.

Comment by Rodney Roe on May 31, 2016 at 7:31pm
Just read an article quoting three "experts". They talked about compensatory behavior. In some cases it is for overly demanding parents. In other cases to overly permissive parents who try to live vicariously through a child, demanding from them, perfection at the same time being too lenient and protective in disputes between kids. Can be a mother or father. In Freud's case it was mother.
Comment by koshersalaami on May 31, 2016 at 9:13pm
Speaking of narcissists, guess who just endorsed Donald?

If you don't know, you won't guess this one.



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