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Does President Trump Have ‘Narcissistic Personality Disorder?’

[Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

A narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in many areas of life, such as relationships, work, school or financial affairs. You may be generally unhappy and disappointed when you’re not given the special favors or admiration you believe you deserve. Others may not enjoy being around you, and you may find your relationships unfulfilling.

Narcissistic personality disorder treatment is centered around talk therapy (psychotherapy).

Narcissistic personality disorder is one of several types of personality disorders. Personality disorders are conditions in which people have traits that cause them to feel and behave in socially distressing ways, limiting their ability to function in relationships and other areas of their life, such as work or school.

If you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. You often monopolize conversations. You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior. You may feel a sense of entitlement — and when you don’t receive special treatment, you may become impatient or angry. You may insist on having “the best” of everything — for instance, the best car, athletic club or medical care.

At the same time, you have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. You may have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation. To feel better, you may react with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make yourself appear superior. Or you may feel depressed and moody because you fall short of perfection.

Many experts use the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, to diagnose mental conditions. This manual is also used by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.

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.

When to see a doctor

When you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may not want to think that anything could be wrong — doing so wouldn’t fit with your self-image of power and perfection. People with narcissistic personality disorder are most likely to seek treatment when they develop symptoms of depression — often because of perceived criticisms or rejections.

If you recognize aspects of your personality that are common to narcissistic personality disorder or you’re feeling overwhelmed by sadness, consider reaching out to a trusted doctor or mental health provider. Getting the right treatment can help make your life more rewarding and enjoyable.] excerpt from the Mayo Clinic website at this link.  http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder/basics/symptoms/con-20025568

President Trump is 70 years old.  It may be that, during the political campaign leading to his election, few of us spent time speculating about this health, his physical and mental fitness for office and, not being a physician, I am as unable as most of us, to confirm a diagnosis but, surely, we can see these symptoms in the President.  Arguments about the television audience ratings for Trump compared to Obama’s inauguration in 2009, asserting that Tump’s ratings were higher, despite the fact that Obama’s ratings were higher, opens the door to media speculation.  The fact that Trump denies that the crowds who attended the inauguration were larger than the crowds in 2009 for Obama is a classic symptom.  The fact that press releases from the Trump White House attempted to overlay photos of Obama’s crowds taken in 2009 to represent the crowds at the Capitol for Trump’ inauguration cries out for  professional diagnosis and treatment.

This morning, while watching CNN, a female representative from the White House used the term “alternative facts” to explain the difference in the assessments of the crowd gatherings.

I don’t think I have felt more sorry for America than I do now.  Their President, with his finger (figuratively speaking) on the atomic button may have a personality disorder.  It may be that he cannot tell the truth, that he cannot discern the difference between fact and fantasy.  The next four years may not be his responsibility.  Ironically, the female representative at the White House may be more correct than she knows.

23 Jan. 2017

Just three days into the Trump administration, Americans must be wondering what they had done in the November election.  I doubt anyone imagined that a Trump Presidency might be shaped by an untreated personality disorder.  In reply to my comment in ipolitics magazine, an anonymous reader LDub offered an opinion that contributed useful nuance to my post.

I’ve observed this about Trump before several times on this site. My mother was an extreme narcissist, so Trump’s behaviour and tactics are familiar. Trump knows that he is lying, but he believes he can change the truth because he is smarter and better than anyone else.

For example, my mother had no musical ability whatsoever – she was tone -deaf. Nevertheless, she criticized other people’s performances; determined what instruments her children would learn; went to the music store on her own and decided which instruments to purchase; ranked her children’s talent; hired and fired the music teachers; and so on. She brooked no argument; if we objected she raged, bullied, refused to talk, and took revenge in other areas (you don’t like the clarinet? Well, no TV for you this week). The truth, in her view, was what she decided it would be.

Narcissists are not very treatable. They have to accept there is something wrong with them, and their truth is they are superior in every way, and there’s something wrong with everyone else. Never them.

Trump will probably set himself up for impeachment in other ways. Having him declared medically unfit is probably the long way around.

Imagine working in the White House.  Perhaps it was an ambition since university and, now there, you find an oppressive, alienating work environment.  Anyway, I thanked LDub for his (or her) reply.

31 Jan. 2017

I found this article today, entitled, “How to Build An Autocracy,” by David Frum, senior editor at Atlantic Magazine.  It is essential reading for anyone trying to understand America, Donald Trump, and the decline of government in our closest neighbour.  It is a long read but articulate and insightful.   Sadly, one must overlook the American grammar, but David Frum, once a Canadian, is proudly American and is entitled to exercise his language preferences.

I have added a section under my tab “web links” (click the menu button to find it) entitled,” Trump’s America” where I am providing links to articles.  It can be challenging to find an article quickly when you need to find it.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/03/how-to-build-an-autocracy/513872/

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geoffreyjohnbrittan

Professional. Retired. Canadian.
http://www.geoffreybrittan.com

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