A Psychological Thumbnail of Donald J Trump’s Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Its Implications
DSM-V Narcissistic Personality Disorder:
As you may have noticed of late I have been pretty quiet here. Since the election I have been taking stock of what is happening and trying to assess what is yet to come and what courses of action might be appropriate. As they say, when you are quiet you can hear more, unfortunately in this environment of late the cacophony is 24/7 and now has so many ‘alternative facts’ it is hard to parse it out and keep one’s sanity. I have though pondered 45’s psychology because he has been giving us all quite the window into his psyche since his inauguration. Of course if you have been paying attention to Trump throughout the years you have seen glimpses of his disorder but one could just shrug that off because he was a celebrity and not the president. Now though, he is in the presidency and he has control of many levers of power.
With that in mind I would like to acquaint you all with NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) from the clinical point of view and expand a little given what we all have seen unfolding in the media as he overreacts to those things that challenge his own reality of grandiosity. As you can see from above, the diagnostic keys for NPD align to much of what we have seen of Trump over the years but in particular highlighted recently with regard to his exceeding need to have the “largest ever” crowd at an inaugural. Let’s map his recent actions with the DSM shall we?
- Identity: Excessive reference to others for self definition and self esteem regulation; exaggerated self appraisal may be inflated or deflated, or vacillate between extremes; emotional regulation mirrors fluctuations in self esteem
- I have the best people
- I have a great brain
- I had the biggest turnout at an inaugural
- The rain stopped and the sun shown down on me during the speech
- The media is at war with me
- The CIA is acting like the Nazi’s against me
- His whole Twitter feed
- The Spicer incident with Trump ordering him to have his first press conference to trumpet his own reality of exceptionally large crowds at the inaugural post the Women’s march
- Self direction: Goal setting is based on gaining approval from others; personal standards are unreasonably high in order to see oneself as exceptional, or too low based on a sense of entitlement; often unaware of own motivations.
- All of Trump’s products with his name on them proclaim to be the ‘best’ the gold standard
- He is the son of a rich man who he sought to please but has always held the entitlement of being a “winner” per his fathers ideology of winners and losers
- Gaining his fathers approval was key in his youth (being a winner)
- As to motivations, he has vacillated on topics to garner attention in the media on many occasions then lies about being pro or anti anything even after the footage is produced
- Empathy: Impaired ability to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others; excessively attuned to reactions of others, but only if perceived as relevant to self; over or underestimate of own effect on others.
- Mocking the disabled
- Othering of lower classes
- Reactions only when the attacks are against his own self worth or perception thereof (See debates “I’m like the smartest guy I know”)
- Intimacy: Relationships largely superficial and exist to serve self esteem regulation; mutuality constrained by little genuine interest in others‟ experiences and predominance of a need for personal gain
- Most telling, when asked who his friends were by a reporter he said “I don’t really have any”
- All relationships therefore in light of that comment (which was then backstopped) are then for gain of some kind as perceived by Trump
- Pathological personality traits in the following domain:
1.Antagonism, characterized by:
A. Grandiosity: Feelings of entitlement, either overt or covert; self centeredness; firmly holding to the belief that one is
better than others; condescending toward others.
B. Attention seeking: Excessive attempts to attract and be the focus of the attention of others; admiration seeking.
C. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual‟s personality trait expression are relatively stable across time and consistent across situations.
D. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual‟s personality trait expression are not better understood as normative for the individual‟s developmental stage or socio cultural environment
E. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual‟s personality trait expression are not solely due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., severe head trauma)
- See all indicators above
- See arc of his personality over time in the media
- He has no sense of the disorder whatsoever, in fact admitting such would only dimish his own portrait of esteem
- We are not aware of drug abuse or trauma to the individual
You can see where he is lining up with the DMS-V categories and I could go on with citations but we don’t really need to do we? All of this should be rather apparent and become even more nauseatingly clear as we move along in his presidency. It is also of note that leaks have started to appear due to the president’s outbursts from his narcissism at his staff. He is already alienating staff and likely will continue to alienate others around him who must work with him as his narcissistic tendencies assert themselves against them.
Another narrative I would like to bring up is the whole kompromat against Trump and how the NPD plays in this milieu. If there is kompromat on Trump then it is likely to be the one thing that would really work against a sufferer of NPD. Imagine the amounts of schadenfreude Trump would have to deal with if such documented evidence were to be released? Particular to this vein of thought would not be the sexual foray’s, I should think that some part of Trump would rationalize this as is overt manliness and sexual prowess (if only sex acts with hookers, if it was in fact being urinated on, well, that is another bent that may lead to diminishing his self perception) and use it to self re-enforce his beliefs. The kompromat that would be most damaging to him would be financial and call into question the quality of his businesses and his products. Alternatively the evidence of bad business dealings, dirty deals, and most of all, Trumps not being his own man but being beholden to others (i.e. monies lent and lost etc) that would diminish his grandiosity and perception of his world.
In summation I would just like you all to have a look at the DSM-V on this and his pathology he has shown us all and will continue to as time goes on during his presidency. I would also like you all to consider this thumbnail as a core aspect of how you might resist against him. Mocking him seems to be the best tool to use to flummox him and cause a reaction, perhaps I should say over reaction really. Additionally, look at this in light of how other countries will react to him and maybe learn to use this model as well. The way I assess it, if he is mocked enough and in the right ways he will over-rotate and cause ripples around him. Those ripples will come back at him and cause him to react more, it is a feedback loop that may in fact lead to his presidency ending through impeachment.