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Trump Diagnosis of Malignant Narcissism Confirmed by Many Experts

June 5, 2017

Diagnosis of Malignant Narcissism Vindicated by Many Experts

The distinguished San Francisco-base psychologist & psychoanalyst Michael Bader has a new article on Donald trumps’ mental health posted on AlterNet.org  on June 3, 2017.

He joins other renowned psychiatrists and psychologists, including John Gartner , Ross Rosenberg, James Gilligan, Leonard Cruz,  Bandy Lee, and her collegues in identifying Trump’s malignant narcissism and calling attention to its dangers.

Since I posted on this subject before the election (“Donald Trump: The Face of Malignant Narcissism”),  I have been very pleased to see my diagnostic identification,  and most of my  perceptions confirmed & elaborated on by experts with far more credentials and renown than  I have ever had and speaking out on the same basis: that thee “duty to warn” takes precedence over the soc-called “Goldwater rule”.

Of coerce I can’t take any credit for inspiriting them. I’m sure they never head my obscure blogs and posts, but it is heartrending to see this confirmation from a growing number of other mental health professionals. I knew I was on to something.

Btu Trump’ psycho pathology is less important than hat of his true-believing followers. A leader is not a leader without many voluntarily followers, normalizing and enabling him.  Without these supporters he’s just a powerless lone crank.

Even more urgent is to follow the attack on all citizen rights (“government regulations”), the moves towards police-state measures (“Keeping America Safe”) an removing any obstacle to unbridled looting of the public sector to subsidize the private for-profit capitalist set or (“from whom all blessing flow”).

 

The Transparent Pathology of Donald Trump

May 12, 2017

Those of us who pointed out what a malignant narcissist Donald Trump is were not wrong. So much of his seeming puzzling behavior is readily explained once we understand this is a very rigid, limiting behavior pattern his disorder has him trapped in.

Authoritarian leaders seek total control. He believes he has the power to define truth and reality. “Truth is whatever I say it is! My assertion makes it so!” followed by “If I don’t admit it’s real, it’s not!” Magic belief in the power of denial.

Intensely narcissistic personalities select their inner circle on the basis of blind loyalty to him (or her); that is, “yes-men” who will never disagree or doubt his wisdom. This is a mistake that can be fatal to his ambitions.

Narcissists are obsessed with image, appearance, and given to dramatic gestures, grandiose claims and pronouncements. Lot s of “positioning,” posturing and posing. “It’s all about the façade,” as someone said. There is often little real substance underneath the self-dramatizing  performance he puts  on.

They feel entitled to lie.  Their emotional need to to appear perfect leads them to lie a lot. Their lying is conscious and intentionally chosen. They feel entitled to life and do so without any guilt or shame.

They also believe they have a “right” to demand to be believed in their lies, even when spouting transparent falsehoods. They  either “double down,” repeating and extending the lie, hoping to pound the square peg into the round hole, or they may suddenly drop the lie and adopt another one that blatantly contradicts the first one, without blinking.

They feel misunderstood, attached, persecuted, and/or victimized when their lies are not believed. Anyone not taken in by the lies is an enemy, a persecutor out to ruin him. There are no dissenters, only malicious enemies.

He may flee from those who see through him. He cannot relate to them or engage them in any way except to attack them. Narcissists are full-time salesmen. What they are selling of course, is a (false) image of themselves. If they can’t make a sale they move on.

How sensibly they face unpleasant reality, how they handle frustration or defeat, and how flexible they can be, determines a lot. Their detachment from and denial of reality is what often makes them their own worst enemy and sets them up for self-destruction.

If such a leader has a strong circle of shrewd supporters who expect to profit greatly by propping him up he can keep up the act indefinitely. But if not, such leaders are vulnerable to sudden collapse when the act doesn’t fly anymore.  Once the balloon is burst the fall can be sudden and swift.

I’m not predicting, just sayian’

 

 

 

 

Riverside Church April 4,1967: Fifty Years Ago Today

April 3, 2017

Riverside Church April 4, 1967:

The Fiftieth Anniversary of MLK’s Challenge to America: the Need for a Revolution in Values

April 4, 2017

[I have been reposing this for several years on MLK Day because it remains timely and gets to the heart of America’s dilemma. In 2015 American military forces dropped over 26, 00 bombs on Muslim-majority countries. Imagine our reaction if they had one that to us! Ye Americans persist in this fantasy of fake innocence: “what did we ever do to them?” while continuing to invade, bomb, disrupt, undermine other countries and kill thousands, if not millions their people. One year to the day before his assassination Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made this powerful speech that was both a challenge and a warning. Fifty years later it is still rings true. The names of the countries we wage war in have changed but the dead-end mindset remains the same and we are reaping the predicated consequences. Read this speech, and then tell me he was not prophet.}

Annual observances of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day tend to focus almost exclusively on the struggle for juridical equality for southern blacks. Since blacks in the south can now vote, serve on juries, use the public libraries, darkling’s cause is now portrayed as over, as history, safely consigned to the past. They ignore his broader vision, his sweeping vision of the ongoing need for what he called “a radical revolution in values.” This year, I thought I would remind everyone of the broad, continuing challenges he issued to America, challenges that still resonate today, that are indictments of the contemporary status quo in America and the world. In 1967 he warned, “When machines or computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme nationalism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” That is from his magnificent speech at Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967, exactly one year before he was assassinated. All the quotations in this piece are from that speech, which John Lewis and others considered his single best, most substantial speech.

“I knew I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today–my own government.”

(During 2016 the U.S. government dropped more than 26, 00 bombs on seven nations with Muslim majorities. Imagine the reaction if they had done that to us).
“If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read: Vietnam.”
“How can they trust us, when now we charge them [the Vietnamese] with violence, while we pour every new weapon of death into their land?”

The US invasion of Vietnam under a false flag resulted in three million deaths and destabilized all of Southeast Asia, paving the way for the rise of the Khmer Rouge, a bloodthirsty regime ultimately put down by the communist NVA,  not  the “freedom-loving” Americans))
“They must see Americans as strange liberators.” [Said of the Vietnamese but obviously applicable now to Iraqis, Afghans, Libyans, Somalis, etc.]
[On how war is brutalizing and traumatizing American soldiers]: “We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know…that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved.”

“There is nothing but a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering of our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war.”
“If we do not act now, we shall surely be dragged down that long, dark, and shameful corridor of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.”

“A nation that continues, year after year, to spend more money on military defense that on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”
Not surprisingly, none of these quotes were chosen for the new MLK monument on the Tidal Basin, across from the Jefferson Memorial. A little too much ‘sting’ in them, obviously. But read them again. Who can say he was not a prophet? A prophet for 21st century America as well as for the 20th century. He is a man of the present and the future, not of the past.

A sound recording and the printed text of his 1967 Riverside Church speech can be found at http://4amoreperfectunion.blogspot.com
the entire, detailed exposition of the speech is well worth reading or hearing in its entirety.

 

GOD FORGIVE AMERICA

January 20, 2017

GOD FORGIVE AMERICA:

HUMANITY & HISTORY

WILL NOT

The psycho pathological is political”

 

In what order do you think the following predictable events will occur?

*A “Reichstag Fire” event—a terrorist attack, real or a fake false flag, that is the excuse to give Trump special emergency powers, restrict civil liberties and cow the press, demanding all Americans shut up and blindly follow the leader’s bullshit or be branded “u-un-American” and “unpatriotic.” It will be a huge boost to Trump’s falling popularity, just as 9/11 boosted George W. Bush’s approval rating from below 50% to 90% overnight.

*Another Middle Eastern war under a false flag, under false pretenses. This one may result in 200,000 American casualties and bring the American Empire crashing down. That might actually be a good thing. Like the Soviet empire in the 1990s, it is more fragile than most imagine. Almost no one saw that collapse coming either. We can only hope it doesn’t bring down the American homeland as well.

*A stock market bubble, which will be euphorically proclaimed to be evidence of strong economic growth until the bubble bursts, resulting in a crash more severe than that of 2008 but not as deep as the 1930s.

*The imposition of a brutal austerity budget slashing services to the poorer 70% of Americans, causing massive suffering, necessitated by endless rounds  of increased corporate welfare and tax cuts for the rich. As always, the poor and minorities will be blamed for the greed and rapacity of the rich.

How soon do you think these events will happened (they surely will happen)? Within six months? Twelve? Perhaps eighteen? Are you a betting man or a betting woman?

Welcome to the Trump Era!

 

 

 

*

 

Dr. Martin Luther King’s Continuing Challenge: the Need for a Revolution in Values

January 17, 2017

January 22, 2013

 

[I have been reposting this for several years on MLK Day because it remains timely and gets to the heart of America’s dilemma. In 2015 American military forces dropped over 26, 00 bombs on Muslim-majority countries. Imagine our reaction if they had one that to us! Ye Americans persist in this fantasy of fake innocence: “what did we ever do to them?” while continuing to invade, bomb, disrupt, undermine other countries and kill thousands, if not millions their people.]

Annual observances of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day tend to focus almost exclusively on the struggle for juridical equality for southern blacks. Since blacks in the south can now vote, serve on juries, use the public libraries, darkling’s cause is now portrayed as over, as history, safely consigned to the past. They ignore his broader vision, his sweeping vision of the ongoing need for what he called “a radical revolution in values.” This year, I thought I would remind everyone of the broad, continuing challenges he issued to America, challenges that still resonate today, that are indictments of the contemporary status quo in America and the world. In 1967 he warned, “When machines or computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme nationalism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” That is from his magnificent speech at Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967, exactly one year before he was assassinated. All the quotations in this piece are from that speech, which John Lewis and others considered his single best, most substantial speech.

“I knew I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today–my own government.”

(During 2016 the U.S. government dropped more than 26, 00 bombs on seven nations with Muslim majorities. Imagine the reaction if they had done that to us).
“If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read: Vietnam.”
“How can they trust us, when now we charge them [the Vietnamese] with violence, while we pour every new weapon of death into their land?”

The US invasion of Vietnam under a false flag resulted in three million deaths and destabilized all of Southeast Asia, paving the way for the rise of the Khmer Rouge, a bloodthirsty regime ultimately put down by the communist NVA,  not  the “freedom-loving” Americans))
“They must see Americans as strange liberators.” [Said of the Vietnamese but obviously applicable now to Iraqis, Afghans, Libyans, Somalis, etc.]
[On how war is brutalizing and traumatizing American soldiers]: “We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know…that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved.”

“There is nothing but a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering of our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war.”
“If we do not act now, we shall surely be dragged down that long, dark, and shameful corridor of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.”

“A nation that continues, year after year, to spend more money on military defense that on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”
Not surprisingly, none of these quotes were chosen for the new MLK monument on the Tidal Basin, across from the Jefferson Memorial. A little too much ‘sting’ in them, obviously. But read them again. Who can say he was not a prophet? A prophet for 21st century America as well as for the 20th century. He is a man of the present and the future, not of the past.

A sound recording and the printed text of his 1967 Riverside Church speech can be found at http://4amoreperfectunion.blogspot.com
the entire, detailed exposition of the speech is well worth reading or hearing in its entirety.

 

Bye=bye Obamacare!

December 9, 2016

Bye-Bye Obamacare!

Bye-be Medicare!

Bye-bye Medicaid!

Bye-bye Social Security!

Oh wait! That last one won’t be abolished. It will just be…”reformed”…”restructured”…”strengthened”..And  “privatized”: the $2.6 trillion  dollar surplus it has generated since 1935 will  transferred to the Wizards of Wall street, the ones who brought up the Crash of 2008, to play Casino Capitalism with. And with Dodd-Frank and all regulatory obstacles repealed, think what unlimited prosperity that infusion of trillions will bring about! As they say in Las Vegas, if you don’t play you can’t win!

We will finally “get off government dependency” and get on corporate dependency which is so much better. You can individually negotiate with the giant health insurers to get coverage. Show them your discount coupons (“voucher”)! It might get you 10% or even 30% off your $500 monthly insurance premiums or  that much of a discount on  your open-heart surgery, or that treatment your children need. The Magic Voucher is your Key to Real Freedom! Think how great that will be!

Donald Trump: What Malignant Narcissism Looks Like

November 2, 2016

“The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior”

Note: This does not pretend to be a formal psychological evaluation. While I am a 30-year veteran mental health professional who has assessed, evaluated,  diagnosed and treated many hundreds of clients and who was for a number of those years particularly interested in the special challenges of working with people with personality disorders, I free admit this is an informal series observations and thoughts based entirely on Donald Trump’s public behavior and is based on public records of his words and deeds.

There is normal narcissism(AKA healthy self-esteem), there is  the attention-seeking show-off always seeking an admiring audience (often harmless & entertaining), there is Narcissistic Personality Disorder (301.81 in DSM-5) where  arrogance, entitlement, grandiosity, exaggeration and pretense, a lack of empathy, a need for constant  admiration and  constant confirmation of his/her superiority, demanding constant stroking of his/her inflated self-image (called ‘narcissistic supplies’), dominates a person’s life and interpersonal  behavior. Ironically the narcissist doesn’t really love himself or herself. They love a false self-image not grounded in reality. They are not self-sufficient lone wolves—they need a circle of fawning admirers. Narcissists rarely seek help from metal health professionals: there is nothing wrong with them, only with other people of failing to see their superiority and uniqueness and failing to appreciate how lucky they are to be subjected to his narcissist displays. Such displays and harangues are often seen as unselfish gifts his audience should be grateful to receive.

Do you know anyone like that?

Then there is Malignant Narcissism when a sever NPD is also infused with traits of malice and of paranoia. These latter traits tend to make the person much more dangerous and destructive. Such a person will see anyone who doesn’t obey him, continually feed her and reinforce his/her grandiosity, as disloyal traitors or vicious enemies. Anyone who criticizes him or her will be seen as a sadistic enemy, bent on destroying him, threatening his status and entire identity. Paranoia often leads to murder and other forms of violent attack, believing they are engaging in necessary self-defense against an imagined threat. Any attempt to get them to question their perceptions gets you labeled one of “them,” the evil conspirators trying to destroy them.

Sound familiar?

“Always seek revenge” is ax central theme in Trump’s book Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and Life. In public speeches Trump also forcefully advocates trusting no one, especially good employees. “Be paranoid, he preaches. David Cay Johnston recounts a striking example of this behavior in his recent bestseller, The Making of Donald Trump, involving an unnamed female employee he employed for years then fired when she declined a directive from him saying she felt that would be an unethical. Did Trump care about ethics? No. Not content to fire her, Trump brags of waging an ongoing campaign of degradation and malicious depictions of her to others. “I went out of my way to make her life miserable,” Trump boasted.
When someone offends you or annoys you, “Screw them back fifteen times harder!” he crows. At a 2000 speech in Loveland, Colorado, he spent much of his time denigrating former wives and employees, calling one former wife “as ugly as dog” and sneering “I love losers because they make me feel good about myself.”

These are Trump’s own words. His own unforced behaviors. He not only admits to them, and brags about them but he also advocates that everyone do the same, offering himself up as a role model. An insatiable thirst for revenge against real or imagined slights appears to be an organizing principle of his life, one of his guiding tenets.

In his book Johnston makes the important point that Trump’s only real value in interpersonal relationships appears to be blind, total loyalty to him. That is the supreme value: unquestioning obedience and continual flattery. Not only are empathy and integrity missing but so also is respect for truth, ethics, the law, and standards of honesty and common decency. Johnston points out that total and blind obedience to the will of the great leader is the mindset of a mob boss or dictator. Are self-styled “values voters” blind to this?

Megyn Kelly’s “crime” against The Donald was to ask him a question he didn’t want to answer. For that he raged at her for over a week, heaping sneering contempt, a stream of smears, and blatantly dishonest characterizations on her head. When newsmen asked why, he replied that she had attacked him. Therefore he was entitled to defend himself by any means necessary. Paranoid people always claim to be attacking in self-defense against a vicious, unwarranted attempt to destroy them: “I have to bring her down before she brings me down!”

A huge sense of entitlement is another defining trait of intense narcissist. “I have a right to have my own way all the time! If I don’t get it someone is cheating me! I’m going to identify that person and kick their ass!”It is horribly unfair if I don’t get my way all the time. It means I’m being robbed, victimized, deprived of what is rightfully mine!!” Failure or frustration is never acceptable or fair. It is never the narcissist’s fault and never just. While usually unspoken, this underlying attitude usually isn’t hard to detect.

Such personalities arrogate to themselves the right not only to be somewhat of a law unto themselves but to define reality for others. In their minds, they are the final judge of what is truth, facts, evidence, justice, and reality itself. So they believe. Denial is pervasive:

“If I don’t recognize it, it doesn’t exist”

“If you can’t make me confess, I didn’t do it”

“If I refuse to see it is not there (or not real)”

“You can’t possibly be aware of something I am not aware of”

“No one knows better than I do!”

“I have the final word on everything!”

“Racism isn’t racism if I don’t call it that!”

“Lying isn’t lying if I don’t call it that!”

Of course, denial is a dysfunctional defense mechanism. The person is denying reality which does not change the reality. But intensely narcissistic types can be extremely self-absorbed, believing their view is reality itself.  They may seem t o be incapable of reflection or self-questioning. They are only interested in others’ views when those views can be sued to bolster his own.

The flip side of denial is “Whatever I assert to be true is true.”  Passionate assertion makes it true! The world is what I say it is! They recognize no standards of truth or falsehood outside of their own ego. They may act like someone with godlike powers (“God said ‘let there be light’ and there was light” Genesis 1:3). The world has no independent existence. “The world is what I say it is because I say it is!” I impose my omnipotent will upon the world.  This may help us see the overlooked meaning of the title of Leni Riefenstahl’s 1934 Nazi propaganda film “Triumph of the Will.”   The leader’s aggressive self-assertion overwhelms truth and reality and redefines those terms.

There is much more to b said on the subject of malignant narcissism but I will only mention two more characteristics:

“Headline knowledge,” meaning the orator appears knowledgeable, articulate, persuasive and well-ironed until a closer look (and perhaps a probing question or two)   reveals no real understanding, no depth, systematic thought, only bombastic platitudes, slogans, clichés, buzzwords and empty exhortations. Sam Harris has a number of short videos on You Tube analyzing Trump’s thought processes, arguing that how a person talks reveals how he thinks. I recommend them to you.

Finally, intensely narcissistic people often have a love for apocalyptic fantasies of total destruction and annihilation. They may become fascinated win the Book of Revelation or Apocalypse; a book Harold Bloom noted was full of vengeful resentment not love, and devoid of wisdom. goodness, kindness, or affection. They may long for some apocalyptic war, probably beacons they see the world as only an extension of themselves and cannot imagine that he universe will go on after they are gone.

Malignant Narcissism is not a “disease” or an “illness” but a character disorder, a warping and distortion of the personality and character. They rarely want to change, attempts at change often fail, and many mental health experts consider them untreatable.  Prognosis for serious change is poor.

Trump’s politics is another topic for another day. However it is fascinating to understand how much his personality nd character determine his politics

Donegal Descendant

(please excuse my typos. My sight is fading and spell-check isn’t always reliable.).

12/22/16 update: I am delighted to see more and more well-respected psychologists and psychotherapists taking up the theme of malignant narcissism with regard to Donald Trump.  They include Ross Rosenberg, Steven Buser & Leonard Cruz in their book A Clear and Present Danger Dan P. McAdams’ long article in   The Atlantic, and several articles appearing on http://www.alternet.org I can take no credit for their work but it’s good to see others elaborating on what I wrote and saying it better than I can. It is good to know I’m not a voice crying alone in the wilderness.

The point if not to stigmatize Donald Trump with a DSM-V label but to lay bare the psychological drives that always determine his actions much  more than any political agenda or “philosophy.”

Also to resist pressure to “normalize” what is blatantly abnormal and unprecedented.