A nine-point checklist for narcissism

To make it all worse, there’s every reason to think Trump is psychologically, intellectually, and emotionally incapable of learning from failures or paying attention to criticism. Goldwater “Rule” or no Goldwater rule, it’s hard to deny that he’s a Malignant Narcissist. Malignant Narcissists don’t listen to no stinkin criticism.

Until recently, it was illegal for psychologists to assess public figures and talk to journalists about their findings. But this rule has now changed, and mental health experts are speaking out about Trump.

Ah no. It wasn’t illegal – how could it have been? No, it was a professional rule, and I gather that professionals considered it pretty binding, but that’s very far from “illegal.” At any rate the extreme menace of Trump has eroded the rule (and made it a menace itself).

In a bid to warn the public, psychologists are publishing their diagnoses of Trump. Most recently, John D. Gartner said Trump “is dangerously mentally ill and temperamentally incapable of being president.”

I read that story when it appeared, and was going to blog it, but Trump’s frantic activities got in the way.

He believes Trump shows signs of “malignant narcissism,” which is defined as a mix of narcissism, antisocial personality disorder, aggression and sadism in Campbells’ Psychiatric Dictionary.

Check check check check. He’s all of those and then some.

Just after the election, a group called Citizen Therapists Against Trumpism was created, which was joined by thousands of psychologists. They published a manifesto warning of Trump’s psychosis, citing the following as the signs to fear:

“Scapegoating and banishing groups of people who are seen as threats, including immigrants and religious minorities; degrading, ridiculing, and demeaning rivals and critics; fostering a cult of the Strong Man who appeals to fear and anger; promises to solve our problems if we just trust in him; reinvents history and has little concern for truth (and) sees no need for rational persuasion.”

The American Psychiatry Association has a nine-point checklist for narcissism – if someone displays just five of the traits, they have Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

  1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognised as superior without commensurate achievements).
  2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
  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).
  4. Requires excessive admiration.
  5. Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favourable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations.
  6. Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends.
  7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognise 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 behaviours or attitudes.

All nine of them fit him like a very tight leotard. He tweets most of them daily.

“With Trump, he’s a disturbed person who protects himself by building up his ego and tearing down others,” an anonymous psychologist explained to the NY Daily News.

One woman who used to be one of Trump’s construction workers, Barbara Res, emailed the NY Daily News with a story from 1982 when she was working on one of his construction sites. The NY Times had just published an article about narcissism, which one of the team-members brought to work.

“Being the team who was charged with building Trump Tower, we all knew Donald Trump very well, especially myself. To a person, we all agreed that the characteristics outlined in the article fit Donald to a ‘T’. Now, 35 years later, professionals are saying what we knew back then. Only now he is so much worse.”

And now he’s president, and can make people suffer in airports, and launch the nukes.

This should be the part where a magic being comes in and saves the day. Sorry, there doesn’t seem to be one.

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