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Does President Donald Trump Have a Dangerous Form of Mental Illness? - PART 1

Updated on January 13, 2019
My Esoteric profile image

MY ESOTERIC likes to think of himself as a bit of a polymath with degrees in Statistics, Accounting, Computer Science, & Operations Research

Experts Speak Up

This article helps explain what I am trying to say below.

New Title

Based on some reading I am doing, I modified the title to this hub to be more precise. Previously, I simply asked if Donald Trump have a mental illness. I have been reminded that this framing is unnecessarily pejorative. One can have a mental illness and function perfectly fine.

The real question is if the mental illness, if he has one, make him dangerous to himself, America, and the world. While this article focuses mainly on defining Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and whether Trump is suffering from it, I leave it to the end of the piece to delve in to whether it is "dangerous".

President-Elect Donald Trump

NOW THAT DONALD TRUMP HAS BECOME PRESIDENT1, this becomes an even more critical question ...

"Has America Elected Its First Mentally Ill President?"

LESS THAN 6 months into his presidency, there were some distant mutterings throughout social media asking the same question. http://money.cnn.com/2017/06/30/media/mika-brzezinski-joe-scarborough-respond-to-trump/index.html

Now that he has served almost a full year, those mutterings have become full-throated questions in mainstream media, political opponents, and political supporters. It has gone so far that Democratic congressmen and women (and apparently one Republican senator) have asked for and received briefings from professional mental health experts as to the stability of President Trump and his fitness for duty.

1 Trump won by less than 100,000, split over 3 Blue-leaning states (PA-67,000, WI-22,000, MI-11.000). Clinton, on the other hand, beat Trump by aloost 3 million votes nationwide.

Mental Illness and the Presidency

THIS, OF COURSE, IS A VERY SERIOUS AND SENSITIVE SUBJECT. If a person is not mentally capable of performing the duties of the Office of the Presidency in a consistent, coherent, thoughtful, balanced, calm manner that won't endanger the national security of America, then the People need to know. While I may have made fun of President Bush's mental acumen, it was never serious and I have never questioned any candidates mental stability as it relates to performing the job in the past; and that would include people like Senator Cruz whose politics I find abominable. There have been good people running for office that have been destroyed because of careless, pointless claims by the opposition that they are unfit for the job because of past mental issues, mainly depression. So I don't take what follows lightly, but the stakes are much too high not to bring it up.

The Atlantic did a wonderful piece on Donald Trump that fits right with the hub, The Mind of Donald Trump

Psychiatrists Speak Out In Defense of America

I recently purchased the above book and have begun reading it. While a bit stilted in delivery it is mesmerizing. The book is a series of essays written by a variety of professionals which look at Donald Trump from many different angles. I will delve into each as an addendum at the end of this hub.

The first part of the book goes to great lengths to explain and justify why they are publishing such an eventful book without having the opportunity to sit down and talk with Donald Trump. As they explain, the mental health field has progressed very far indeed including the tools and techniques needed to make necessary judgments when an emergency is at hand.

They feel (as do I) that Donald Trump is just such an existential emergency.

Anti-Social Personality Disorder

THIS IS THE BROAD CATEGORY OF MENTAL ILLNESS which I think might apply to Donald Trump. I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist; I am not a medical professional in any shape or form. What I am is a concerned citizen who can read, think, reason, and analyze information. In fact, my background is in economic and cost analysis which means collecting information processing it and drawing reasoned conclusions from it is what I did for work. I feel that qualifies me to identify relevant information regarding symptoms of mental disease as well as well documented behavior and present the two side-by-side for the reader to draw their own conclusions.

Any specific mental illness, like every other feature of human life, has symptoms and characteristics spread over a continuum. Take depression; of which I am personally familiar with. You can be temporarily depressed, like over the loss of a loved one; it is very real and may even express itself outwardly; but it will almost always go away. Then there may be more chronic depression which extends over time which may have impact ones ability to function normally, or at least not at full capacity (that was me for about 8 months sixteen years ago). Depression can also worsen into what I will call clinical depression requiring serious intervention by professionals and will probably result in serious deterioration in the quality of ones life, possibly leading to suicide. It would be my opinion that is this one of the few conditions that would make one unfit to run the country is the last one; or maybe more serious forms of the second example. I effectively and successfully held down a fairly high profile, somewhat stressful job during those eight miserable months; but I sure didn't want to.

That is what I mean by the continuum. While all examples are forms of a mental illness, only the most extreme versions make one unfit, in fact in some cases downright dangerous, to place the kind of responsibility required for the President of the United States.

So, What Do We Observe of Donald Trump?

BEFORE GETTING INTO THE SPECIFICS OF WHAT APPEARS TO ME TO BE troubling Donald Trump, let me describe in some detail the outward behavior I see which has been confirmed by many others.

  1. Donald Trump is an over-the-top, larger-than-life character
  2. He brags about himself every chance he gets; not just normal self-promotion, but promotion to an excess
  3. Their isn't a speech he gives where he doesn't come across as conceited
  4. By looking at his life style he appeas to be very pretentious, he wants you to know he is wealthy and he brags about it.
  5. There is hardly a time when speaking to the public that he doesn't belittle somebody, often several somebodies
  6. He clearly cannot take the tiniest of criticisms without lashing out in great verbal assaults, Hillary was quite right when she famously observed that Trump "can be baited by a tweet".
  7. He obviously thinks he is more important than anybody else
  8. There is no question about his desire to be admired
  9. He has a long, recorded history of taking unfair advantage of others to get what he wants
  10. He repeatedly claims how great he is, that nobody is a good has him clearly demonstrates is oversized egos.
  11. His making fun of a disabled reporter or denigrating the Kahn Gold Family strongly.indicates a distinct inability to recognize the needs of others or feel empathy.
  12. Can anyone doubt he constantly behaves in a haughty and arrogant manner?
  13. He is charming, self-assured, engaging, slick, and verbally facile; he is not afraid to say anything, no matter how inappropriate or insulting
  14. At his rallies he sometimes looks to be a great listener and easily fakes empathy while zeroing in on his targets’ dreams and vulnerabilities, to be able to manipulate them better. An example of this is when he recently mollified a mother at a rally whose baby was crying baby by saying "he loves babies ... don't worry. Then two minutes later he tells the mother he was just kidding and "get the baby out of here" or some such words.
  15. "Only I can do it" is an example of his grandiose self-worth
  16. Politifact and other rating agencies have found that more than 50% of his claims are lies, (personally I think it is higher) many of them bald-faced lies. He is, in my opinion, a pathological liar.
  17. I have seen no indication what so ever that he feels any guilt for his outlandish behavior
  18. At least in one regard he exhibits, at least in public, a limited range or depth of feelings; interpersonal coldness in spite of signs of open gregariousness and superficial warmth.
  19. Almost every time I seem him he appears irritability, annoyed, inpatient, aggressive, threatening (at least verbally), verbally abusive, unable to control his anger. and acting hastily (Trump acting thoughtfully, haven't see it yet.)
  20. Donald Trump has yet to accept responsibility for anything wrong he has done while campaigning; he always blames someone else.
  21. Even with what everybody else knows are serious missteps and that have caused him political harm, he has almost without exception, failed to learn from it.
  22. Donald Trump appears to remain calm and to be immune from anxiety and worry that would be normal for people in disturbing situations. He easily maintains his poise and confidence in situations when you and I would be embarrassed, confused or insecure,
  23. Trump is one of the most impulsive people I have ever seen, at least in campaign mode

The Great, The Only, The Donald

Source

Let's Leave It Here For the Moment

I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE FUN, if I can get your participation in the poll below to see 1) how correct or incorrect I am and 2) what y'all, together, think his real characteristics are. Above are 23 different impressions I have of Donald Trump that I have gained over the course of this election plus what I have seen of him in his past life. What I am curious about, and which will help me finish this hub, is how many of those 23 you AGREE with.

Now, each of you will agree or disagree with different sets of those I have listed, but it is the total each of you come up with that is important to the rest of this hub. Once I see where this is going, then I can continue on and let you know how your votes guide what I write next.

HOW MUCH ARE WE IN AGREEMENT

Simply Count the Number of Statements I Made That You Think Describe Donald Trump?

See results

Continuing the Hub (9/19/16)

HAVING WAITED LONG ENOUGH FOR A FEW VOTES TO COME IN (!!), it is time to move on with the rest of this hub and get into the meat of it.

Below is another survey asking about your political orientation. So far, about 1/3 identify as Left-leaning, somewhere in the middle, or neither Left-leaning, Right-leaning, or Independent. None of the respondents think they are Right-leaning. This information can be used to provide context to the results of this survey.

At the moment, 3 people think Trump matches 0 - 22% of the choices, 1 thinks he matches 22 - 70% of my observations; 1 more thinks he matches between 70 and 83%; while the remaining 15 think Trump's statements and actions fit between 83 to 100%.

Based on Demographic Survey #1, we can assume that 36% of the 20 respondents to the above survey (7.2) are self identified Liberals, the remaining 12.8 people self-identify as independent or none-of-the-above (neither Right, Left, nor Independent).

If we allow that all 7 Left-leaning respondents thought that Trump fits at least 20 of the symptoms for Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), then that means 8 (61.5%) of the unbiased voters thought so to. So, at least at this point, I concluded that unbiased voters agree with my assessment that President Trump probably suffers from NPD.

Do you agree with my assessment?

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

EARLIER I GAVE A SECTION THE TITLE OF Anti-social Personality Disorder, APD for short. This one is titled Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). APD and NPD are two related yet distinct disorders. Other names for APD are Psychopathic PD and Sociopathic PD; APD is the latest incarnation. Also know that APD is much more sinister than NPD. That said, it is my opinion that Donald A. Trump certainly suffers from NPD but also exhibits some of APD's less violent characteristics.

The Table below details the basic symptoms from the DSM IV, the psychiatrist's bible to mental illness. In terms of NPD, if 5 of the 9 symptoms are present, then NPD is possible.

SYMPTOM
NPD
APD
QUESTIONS
A grandiose logic of self-importance - An exaggerated sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
X
 
1, 2
A fixation with fantasies of infinite success, control, brilliance, beauty, or idyllic love - Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
X
 
 
A credence that he or she is extraordinary and exceptional and can only be understood by, or should connect with, other extraordinary or important people or institutions - Believes he is "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
X
 
 
Requires excessive admirationA
X
 
6
Has a sense of entitlement
X
 
 
Interpersonally oppressive behavior - Interactions between people where individuals use oppressive behavior, insults or violence.
X
X
 
Lacks empathy
X
 
 
Resentment of others or a conviction that others are resentful of him or her
x
 
 
A display of egotistical and conceited behaviors or attitudes - Shows arrogant, haughty, patronizing, or contemptuous behaviors or attitudes
X
 
 
Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest.
 
N/A
 
Deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure.
 
X
 
Irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults.
 
N/A
 
Reckless disregard for safety of self or others
 
x
 
Consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations.
 
X
 
Lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing.
 
X
 
The individual is at least age 18 years.
 
X
 
There is evidence of Conduct Disorder with onset before age 15 years.
 
Unk
 
The occurrence of antisocial behavior is not exclusively during the course of Schizophrenia or a Manic Episode.
 
Unk
 

TABLE 1

DEMOGRAPHIC SURVEY #1

To Help Gauge the Results From the First Poll; Please Let Me Know Where You Stand Politically

See results

Results Analysis

From the first survey we see that and overwhelming number (79%) of the respondents think that Trump exhibits most, if not all of the characteristics associated with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. On the other hand, 7% think Trump has none or just a couple of those symptoms.

Now let's look at who offered their opinion. First, I would say that 7% who think Trump is fine would be fellow right-wingers. But I would be wrong because none of the 7% are right-wingers, at least any that identified themselves as such. So, those 7% must be either left-wingers (unlikely) or part of the 74% that say they are in the middle.

So, how about the 79% who say Trump fits almost all of the symptoms. Well you can almost certainly surmise that the 26% who self-identify as on the left would think that. What does that leave us? It leaves us with a whole bunch of people in the middle who also feel Trump has some very, very serious problems.

Who Can Forget This Sure Sign of Mental Disorder

Part 2

This Hub was getting rather lengthy, so I will move on to examples in Part 2.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2016 Scott Belford

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