Yes, I’m going to go there. There’s a good reason for it, though.
First off, I’m not a clinician or a psychologist. We’ll get that out of the way. I cannot diagnose a certain disorder, officially. In fact, there is a little rule that psychiatric evaluators and clinicians abide by when it comes to diagnosing persons other than their own clients called the Goldwater rule. This makes it unethical to officially evaluate a person’s mental health without physically evaluating them. So, keep that in mind with this write-up. Nobody can officially make a diagnosis here, except a clinician that physicially evaluates Donald Trump.
However, Trump’s behavior has caused some notable clinicians to speak out about his mental health, because the personality disorder symptoms he exhibits are clear enough to surmise that he may be suffering from this mental disorder, and it’s a VERY dangerous disorder for a person with power to have. Trump’s running for most powerful man on earth, essentially, therefore some clinicians have felt the need to speak up. That particular personality disorder is Narcissistic Personality Disorder – a cluster B personality disorder that gives a person an inflated sense of self, a need for power, and a need to be accepted.
DSM-5 criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include these features:
- Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
- 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 by 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 needs and feelings of others
- Being envious of others and believing others envy you
- Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner
Although some features of narcissistic personality disorder may seem like having confidence, it’s not the same. Narcissistic personality disorder crosses the border of healthy confidence into thinking so highly of yourself that you put yourself on a pedestal and value yourself more than you value others.
The big problem with Narcissistic Personality Disorder sufferers is that they don’t have the capacity to look back, inside themselves and inside their choices in life, to see any destruction done to their lives and others because of their behavior. Often, the NPD sufferer leaves a huge path of destruction in their wake, including personal, financial, and business relationships.
Being as how I don’t have a heavy background in psychological studies, I’m going to leave the discussion to quotes of many notable persons in the field:
“Remarkably narcissistic,” said developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education.
“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. “Otherwise, I would have had to hire actors and write vignettes. He’s like a dream come true.”
“He’s very easy to diagnose,” said psychotherapist Charlotte Prozan. “In the first debate, he talked over people and was domineering. He’ll do anything to demean others, like tell Carly Fiorina he doesn’t like her looks. ‘You’re fired!’ would certainly come under lack of empathy. And he wants to deport immigrants, but [two of] his wives have been immigrants.
“There is help available, but it doesn’t look like the help people are used to. It’s not insight-oriented psychotherapy, because narcissists already have insight. They’re aware; the problem is, they don’t care. They know how you’d like them to act; the problem is, they’ve got a different set of rules.”
Licensed clinical social worker Wendy Terrie Behary, the author of Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed, said, “Narcissists are not necessarily liars, but they are notoriously uncomfortable with the truth.” (The article notes that Trump positions himself as a possible savior to the economy despite the fact that four of his companies have declared bankruptcy.)
“Textbook narcissistic personality disorder,” echoed clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis. “This man is known for his golf courses, but, with due respect, who does he think works on these golf courses? Mr. Trump’s bullyingnature—taunting Senator John McCain for being captured in Vietnam, or saying Jeb Bush has “low energy”—is in keeping with the narcissistic profile.
“Regardless of how you feel about John McCain, the man served—and suffered. To degrade people is really part of a cluster-B personality disorder: it’s antisocial and shows a lack of remorse for other people. The way to make it O.K. to attack someone verbally, psychologically, or physically is to lower them. That’s what he’s doing.
“He’s applying for the greatest job in the land, the greatest task of which is to serve, but there’s nothing about the man that is service-oriented. He’s only serving himself.”
To me, it sounds like a resounding ‘yes, Donald Trump may have a dangerous personality disorder,’ but you can decide for yourself.
If you pay attention to Donald Trump, whether it be his speeches, rallies, or social media interaction, he displays some particular patterns. He’s constantly insulting critics, boosting his own importance and superiority, talking about himself and his accomplishments constantly, insisting that this group or that group really loves him – feeding his need for acceptance, and treating huge masses of people with zero empathy. He constantly brags about how he’s done and is doing everything on his own, without the help of others, and asserts that he needs no help to get his way.
The problem with this ideology is that it’s remarkably fascist. I’m not going to say, specifically (at least not in this article) that Donald Trump is facist, but he’s probably as close to one that the current political atmosphere of the United States can provide. His platform stances either constantly challenge or go against Constitutional standards in this country, to which he arrogantly asserts that when he’s the boss, people won’t say no. Civics class would be a great thing for Mr. Trump, as he doesn’t seem to understand he’s not running for a dictatorship.
In my assertion, he’s at least a borderline, or he truly doesn’t understand the democratic process set forth in this country.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder has been attributed to many dangerous dictators and rulers of history’s past, including Alexander the Great, Henry VIII, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, and Muanmmar Qaddafi. See – there’s a reason why clinicians are bucking the Goldwater rule and speaking out. Honestly, I think we should listen.