Letter: Understanding narcissism leads to understanding Donald Trump
October 5, 2017
Understanding what guides President Donald Trump in just about every action he takes is not that difficult. The key: Trump is a narcissist. Under "Diagnostic Features" in the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders," or DSM, used by mental health professionals in diagnosing patient disorders, is this:
"The essential feature of narcissistic personality disorder is a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration and lack of empathy that begins by early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts."
And under "Diagnostic Criteria" is the following:
1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements). Individuals with this disorder often routinely overestimate their abilities and inflate their accomplishments, often appearing boastful and pretentious.
2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love. They compare themselves favorably with famous or privileged people.
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).
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4. Requires excessive admiration. Their self-esteem is almost invariably very fragile. This often takes the form of a need for constant attention and admiration.
5. Has a sense of entitlement (i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations). They expect to be catered to and are puzzled or furious when this does not happen.
6. Is interpersonally exploitative (i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends).
7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.
8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.
9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.
So says the Manual. Could they be describing The Donald? Of course. He simply cannot endure criticism and lashes out at anyone who belittles or attacks his fragile ego. This is the man who is the titular head of our country and perhaps the free world. And he will not be changing any time soon; his narcissism is simply who he is.
His need to "win" is all-pervasive, and woe be to the persons who won't go along with narcissistic ways … as Sen. Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan are finding out. Perhaps it's time that our senators and representatives refuse to succumb to Trump's bullying tactics, poor choices and extreme ego needs. I'm guessing that many know in their heart of hearts that this guy is not the best fit when it comes to effective governing.
Avon and Edina, Minnesota
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