Archive for the ‘Psychiatry’ Category
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.
Insider Threat SNOWDEN:
The insider threat has always been and always will be the bigger of the threats or so the aphorism goes. In reality it certainly seems to be the case in the Snowden affair and the NSA is still stinging from it as I write this. Snowden leveraged his administrative access where he could and used technical and social means as well to gather the information and access he wanted to ex-filtrate out of Ft. Meade. Since Snowden was so successful and the NSA and IC has been blindsided by the ease of the attack and their stunning lack of controls the government and IC has been re-thinking their security around insider threats. Since much of today’s technology allows for ease of access and people tend to be the weakest link in the security chain (on average) the NSA is looking to more proactive controls against this type of exploit. Since they failed logically and technically to stop an insider attack I assume that they are in a real bind trying to assert control over not only the data they house but also the custodians of that data and architecture as well.
The Insider Threat Has Always Been The Largest:
Since the dawn of time the insider threat has always been a go to if possible in waging war against anyone. The Trojan Horse for example is the greatest use of the “insider” by placing outsiders inside and making the opposition the method of their own doom. Insiders though are commonly traitors or spies (sleeper or other) inserted or bought to work for the opposition to gain access inside the confines of the sanctum. In the case of hacking and digital malfeasance this often times takes the shape of an insider who feels they have been wronged in some way and either steals IP or destroys operations within a company or org to cause great damage. What has come to light though over the years and now has been brought to the fore are the psychological and social cues or traits that make a person more likely to be an insider threat.
In the case of espionage the recruitment of spies really is the tale of an insider threat. What makes someone become an asset for a service like the CIA? Within the IC (CIA) a lot of time was spent on the psychology of recruitment and handling of assets. MICE was the standard by which the CIA handled recruitment and handling up until recently when a new paradigm was put forth (RASCLS) which is much more reciprocal instead of just carrot and stick. Where all of this touches on insider threats though in the common vernacular of INFOSEC is where the motivation lies for someone’s actions. In a paper put out recently called “Inside the Mind of An Insider” the focus is on technologists and insider attacks that they have or may carry out and their personal motivations as well as proclivities to do so within the tech sector. I however would assert that this take is only a sub header within the larger umbrella of motivations and actions that an insider whether or not they are a spy or just an aggravated tech worker would have or carry out.
in the paper (cited above in picture at top) the writers lay out the “six characteristics” that coincidentally make up much of the same ideals and motivations that you will find in a recruit-able asset within the IC sphere. In fact, I would assert as well that if in fact Snowden were at all contacted by an outside security services to do what he did, these motivations would have been leveraged within him as well. What it all comes down to human nature. We are all subject to wants and desires as well as feelings of being under appreciated or not appreciated at all in our daily lives. This makes anyone potentially an insider whether they self activate or are handled by someone.
Countermeasures And Technologies:
The NSA though has been working on some technical means of detection and deterrence of an insider attack where other logical means have failed. These consist of programs that monitor behaviour patterns of users and access as well as I can only assume their outside activities such as internet access, browsing, and comments on sites. Can such programs really detect accurately the mind of a person and their motivations to lock down on them as a potential threat? I am sure that the technology is getting much better at this heuristic behaviour detection so sure but I don’t think it will be infallible however. I also suspect that it will also mark people as bad actors when in fact they may never even entertain the thought of actually carrying out some plan against the NSA or whatever company that might employ such tech. I would also assume that the people at the NSA will be undergoing more frequent and rigorous Poly sessions as well as perhaps psychological profiling which does not bode well for many I think who want to feel as though they are part of a team. Generally the job is stressful enough when you cannot talk about anything you do and are always fearing that you might slip at some point and give away information that you shouldn’t. The psychological stress of cleared life is hard and this will all just make it a little harder in the post Snowden world.
Whether you call it an “insider threat” or a spy, saboteur, or insurgent the same psychology applies. People are motivated by things that are personal to them. Desires they have for money, power, or fame as well as a myriad of other reasons for their actions. To attempt to detect and deter this activity will be quite the undertaking and hard enough in the classified world. Now imagine that you are not a cleared individual but instead an corporate employee, how are you going to feel about such activities and programs attempting to tell whether or not you might turn on the company and damage their servers? I somehow doubt that many corporations will undertake the threat modelling here for insider threats as seriously as the NSA but I can see where some might want some insight. We already have things like Websense and IDS/IPS/SIEM tech that follows traffic but with the advent of the likes of Facebook, how long will it be until they offer a service that tracks users behaviour and sells it to your security department? If companies are sufficiently worried about their insider threats then they will begin profiling and putting in countermeasures.
Welcome to the brave new world…
On Sunday Defcon 20 had a talk that I had previously written about on the idea of using statistical analysis of word use to determine psychopathy in individuals online. As I sat through the talk and steadily watched people get up and leave I too had the urge to walk away as well. However, I had a mission and that was to confirm if there was any evidence that would say to me this was a viable means of detection for psychopaths.
What I came out with, after many slides of numbers, was “nope not really” Which, I pretty much had thought before. There are just too many variables to this type of venture and you would, in the end, need to have a trained psychoanalyst to talk to the individual to determine whether or not they are a true psychopath.
Sorry Sugg.. It was an interesting idea and I am wondering just where this will go if the author of the original paper tries to expand upon this process. You see, for this to work online possibly, is that the trained individual would chat with the “patient” or “UNSUB” as the case may be, to ask specific questions to elicit responses. See, that would work I think, but it is a manual process not a big data solution. So, while it was an interesting trip into what psychopathy is and possibly how to spot it in word use, it was a failed experiment in my book.
Now, another twist on this idea might be to take the transcripts of anonymous and other IRC chats and wash that through your program… There’s a lot going on there mentally and might show some traits, but, are they really suffering from some sort of psychiatric illness or are they just maladjusted? This has been something I have written about before an the vernacular used as well as the mindset that seems to be prevalent warrants some looking at perhaps.
Maybe next year?
Overall though, I surely hope that the governments and law enforcement bodies out there do not take up this idea and begin to mine people’s chat logs for psychopathy
Ding Dong! It’s the forensic psychiatrist.. We saw your tweets and thought we’d have a chat? What? these cops? They’re just here to visit too!
Asperger syndrome or Asperger’s syndrome or Asperger disorder ( /ˈɑspərɡərz/ or /ˈæspərɡərz/) is an autism spectrum disorder that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of linguistic and cognitive development. Although not required for diagnosis, physical clumsiness and atypical use of language are frequently reported.
Since the Gary McKinnon case, the use of the diagnosis by a defence team of “Asperger’s” seems to have become a go to position, at least that is presently in the U.K. justice system. The recent arrest of Ryan Cleary for cracking and DD0S attacks on sites such as SOCA also seems to be showing a penchant in the UK legal system toward launching a kind of an “Insanity Defence” by proxy of a declaration that Ryan is a high functioning autistic (Asperger’s) and that because of it, he may have not been able to stop himself.
While this theory may be in fact be the case in with both of these defendants on some level, the LEGAL aspect of this is this;
“Did they know they were committing crimes? Furthermore, can it be proven without a doubt that they both suffered to the extent that the compulsive behaviour was inescapable?”
If the answer is definitively that they had no control, then they should be treated and perhaps NEVER allowed access to the Internet again. This might be the way to punish them as well as keep them out of the penal system (even the mental health facilities therein) as opposed to putting them into the general populace in prison. However, I do not feel that the diagnosis of Asperger’s can really allow for their innocence of the crimes that they are charged with. Both of these guys are functionally capable of interacting with others around them and certainly capable of holding technical knowledge and acting upon it for their own ends.
The one point that the lawyers will make though is this notion that Asperger’s sufferers display obsessive behaviours concerning specific things that interest them. Some collect things, others memorise things. In the case of McKinnon and Cleary, they both obsessively hacked into things and stole data. In the Cleary case though, he was caught in the act of DD0s’ing a UK police site when they caught him. As far as I know, this is not necessarily a known Asperger’s syndrome effect or behaviour. (see below)
People with Asperger syndrome often display behavior, interests, and activities that are restricted and repetitive and are sometimes abnormally intense or focused. They may stick to inflexible routines, move in stereotyped and repetitive ways, or preoccupy themselves with parts of objects.
Pursuit of specific and narrow areas of interest is one of the most striking features of AS. Individuals with AS may collect volumes of detailed information on a relatively narrow topic such as weather data or star names, without necessarily having genuine understanding of the broader topic. For example, a child might memorize camera model numbers while caring little about photography. This behavior is usually apparent by grade school, typically age 5 or 6 in the United States. Although these special interests may change from time to time, they typically become more unusual and narrowly focused, and often dominate social interaction so much that the entire family may become immersed. Because narrow topics often capture the interest of children, this symptom may go unrecognized.[7
So, basically we have the lawyers in the UK trying to say “You can’t put Rainman in jail!” My question is just how long will it be before the US legal system catches up to this defence tool too? Can you imagine the next cases in the US being tried and the legal team for the accused finding a shrink that will testify that the cracker could not help himself..
He has Asperger’s after all!
This does not fly with me and I don’t see the court system or juries buying into it either, but you know they will try. Presently, the cases in the UK are being spun up and in the case of McKinnon, he has been fighting extradition for quite some time for hacking NASA. All the while his people have in fact been fighting the case in the media playing up that he is mentally unstable in the hopes that pity will prevail. The very same thing seems to be shaping up already for the Cleary case with videos (him stoned off his ass from huffing glue or perhaps just 420’d) showing up online and the diagnosis making the front pages of many news outlets.
Sorry.. But I don’t buy it. Sure, you may be mentally ill Ryan, but, I still think you knew what you were doing and are high enough functioning to be put in the pokey for it. Which brings me to another statement that is sticking in my craw;
LulzSec disbands: Hacking group LulzSec announced it was disbanding Saturday, 50 days after its first publicised hack. A member of the group told The Associated Press that the group was “bored” and denied that it was stopping its public attacks because of pressure from law enforcement. The LulzSec member did, however, say that some of the chat logs and information about hackers’ identities was correct.
From The Washington Post
Bored? BORED? Really? How about you go out and get some exercise or maybe read a book? Bored, I know that this likely is just a ruse in this case as the Feds are investigating all those DOX put out on you all but really, bored. This does though make me ask why they are doing this, and just how do they all rationalise in their heads about the right and wrong of it.
Does Lulzsec have Asperger’s en toto? Or have we raised and are we will raising generations of sociopaths with computers I wonder? Looking at 4chan, one can see where the Lulz came from and frankly, while some of it is damn funny, other things there are a bit disturbing. The conventions of society seem to have been stripped in the digital world and it is anything goes… AND this is the crux of the issue isn’t it? After all, now the hacking and the cyber bullying etc have begun to manifest real life physical outcomes today because we have networked our lives so much.
The Lulz actions to date really did not amount to much in the sense of destroying lives as far as I know of. However, they have broken many laws and thought themselves to be outside of their dominion. I am pretty sure that some, if not all of them, are about to find out otherwise, but, it is a disturbing trend isn’t it? Because the internet is so new and the parents of these kids likely have had little interface with it, they have not even thought about trying to apply the norms of how they should act in the real world and society to the digital world.
That is the problem.
It’s time to give out the digital spankings.