Aren’t all politicians?

The Washington Post asked in late July Is Trump a textbook narcissist?

For the four days of the Republican convention, the word “narcissism” was never more in vogue, but what does the word actually mean? More importantly, what would it mean for America if one of the nominees for president of the United States is a narcissist? Aren’t all politicians?

The way Trump is? No, certainly not.

Arguably they can’t be, because politics doesn’t work that way. Trump’s election is an anomaly. People who put their own ego ahead of everything else are going to put people off, and their political careers won’t get off the ground. Trump is an “outsider,” which means he didn’t do any political work to get to this point. He’s always been at the top of his own ladder, giving orders, so he’s never had to learn to get along with people, so he’s never been forced to stop putting himself first.

A simple narcissist is someone who is self-absorbed, says Peter Freed, a psychiatrist at the Personality Studies Institute in New York City. On the other hand, people with narcissistic personality disorder are so self-absorbed that they are indifferent, even oblivious, to how they appear to others.

That’s our boy, wouldn’t you say?

Pathological narcissism is not, strictly speaking, a mental illness. Rather, it is classified as a personality disorder, afflicting someone whose behavior and beliefs lie far outside the norm. Unlike many mental illnesses, the origins of personality disorders are generally considered more familial and environmental than genetic.

Freed thinks narcissism is the “great, undiagnosed character pa­thol­ogy of the modern age,” even though few in psychiatry want to even use the word narcissism, he says, because of its pejorative connotation. The American public “is hampered by a lack of education about a syndrome that is real” and causes “real suffering.”

Ultimately, he said, regarding highly successful people, narcissism works — until it doesn’t. Usually those who suffer most are not the narcissists, Freed says, but those around them, the people who have to cope with the “mood swings, walking on egg shells, the demand to be sycophantic.”

“Right now Trump is not having a hard time” he said. “The hard time will come if he loses.”

Or, it turns out, if he wins but many people continue to say he’s a terrible human being.

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