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What's wrong with Trump?

More and more people are wondering.  Here's an insightful analysis from a psychiatric social worker.  Please reshare.  It's not light reading, but we need to understand what we're dealing with here.


The Billionaire's Baffling Behavior Explained

Recently, Mr. Trump's words and actions in various situations have become headline news. Suddenly, many people are alarmed and are questioning temperament, his emotional stability. Dementia? Campaign tactics?

No, it's not an illness that can be treated so he can return to his usual state of health. It's not like when a car's brakes don't work and the mechanic fixes them. It's more like the car came off the assembly line without them.

It's a structural problem.

We're witnessing textbook Cluster B Personality Disorders come to life, revealing his intra-psychic structure, particular lens on reality and associated defense mechanisms.

Clinically, it's fascinating.

Politically, it's frightening.

This is who Trump is, how he sees the world and others in it and how he will continue to function. At 68, without acknowledging any internal difficulties and/or any desire to change them, this is how he will continue forever. Introspection and self-analysis are rarely typical of personality disordered individuals. These behaviors are no surprise; in fact they're utterly predictable.

Before I continue though, let me head off some opposition.

YES, everyone has some level of narcissism; a certain amount is actually healthy. It allows one to advocate for oneself, not be taken advantage of and, based on a reasonable assessment of one's strengths, take risks to apply those abilities to start a new business, try out for a minor league MLB slot or take a step up the occupational ladder, for instance. Politicians, ALL of them, have more than the average person, required to withstand the vagaries of our current election process.

But, "healthy narcissism " differs from Trump's version. His is "grandiosity ", a rigidly held, yet fragile exaggerated sense of self-importance where one is special, unique, superior to others, often without the associated level of grand accomplishment.

"Healthy narcissism " is reasonable self-confidence when an accomplished person says "I have some good ideas that could help solve this problem."

In contrast, you see Trump's "grandiosity " in the statement "I alone can fix it."

How grandiose to believe one can run for the highest political office in the land without a day of previous experience or even a modicum of interest in geo-political issues. Trump's grandiosity led him to waltz into the casino & "education" businesses with no prior experience and look at the results. Anyway, back to psychology:

A personality disorder is essentially a developmental arrest, a mosaic of maladaptive personality traits which create a distorted lens through which one views self and others and influences one's interactions. We all have these aspects to our personalities, but with PD's [personality disorders], it's a matter of greater frequency and degree. Certain psychic defense mechanisms are correlated with specific phases of development in more or less chronological order. They basically function to help the person moderate internal needs and desires to the demands of reality. When those are at odds, defenses are meant to help protect the core "self" from the resultant anxiety. When lower level, more primitive defense mechanisms are the characteristic mode of behavior one relies on, it moves into the personality disorder category.

Underlying all PDs, no matter the external "flavor", is the failure to have reached the psychic developmental level where disparate, opposing aspects of self and other are able to be mentally integrated into a cohesive whole. This underlies one of the most important associated defense mechanisms, that of "splitting ", which becomes the filter through which self, others & events are perceived.

In splitting, discrepant aspects of an image or object cannot be held in consciousness at the same time. Everything's either "all bad" or "all good" but never both together at the same time. Look at Trump's constant usage of these superlatives when describing others. No integrated "sometimes he's ok, sometimes not." If you listen carefully, you won't hear this type of response unless the wording has been previously crafted by another in a speech or statement. No supportive factual content, just one sided emotional reactivity. Never an explanation why a person is "horrible, the worst" or "very good guy, great person", just the judgemental superlatives.

This non-integration usually goes hand in hand with "projection" and "projective identification " (it's complicated.) It's much simpler to categorize others that way and initially, it wards off anxiety associated with cognitive dissonance,but it prevents the assimilation of all information. Without all the discrepant data about self or other though, invariably the "unexpected " will appear, for which one is unprepared, then: anxiety! This leads to that chronic hyper-vigilance often seen with PDs. The fear provoked by this amorphous unknown is then "projected" onto an object, which becomes a concrete target.

Negative aspects of the self cannot be integrated into a positive self-image (i.e. criticism like "ignorant " or "arrogant ") so are often projected onto another and then denigrated. The most recent example of projective identification is that for the past week, people have been questioning Trump's mental stability. Yesterday, he called Hillary Clinton "unstable" and "unhinged ", the same words recently used to describe him. No example to support the claim... I imagine he was vaguely instructed to criticize Hillary without specific guidance. Although there is more than enough ammunition, his obsession with "self" and "image" is apparent in his choice of off the mark insults.

Back to splitting:

Because self and others aren't seen in their full conflicting, complex reality, PDs hold mental representations akin to superficial caricatures. They tend to disregard the thoughts and feelings of others and fail to consider the consequences of their own actions on others because their mental representations of others just aren't imbued with these qualities. The self focus of NPDs is so constant and obsessive, there's no room or concern for consideration of others. In other words, others just don't matter. This behavior is what some happily, but mistakenly announce is his not caring about being "politically correct". Actually, it's really a symptom of his disturbance.

Splitting is also the explanation behind what are his constant examples of contradictory statements about a multitude of subjects over time. It differs qualitatively from "lying" per se, although I'm sure he does that too.

Lying is an intentional deceptive act often associated with some secondary gain, such as avoidance of consequences. The person is fully aware that what they are saying differs from the actual facts. In splitting, the contradictory concepts cannot mentally coexist at the same time. Trump believes what he says when he it. Because his mental state may differ today from two weeks ago, his view point on the same subject will vacillate too. Contradictions for most cause conflict but his psychic makeup disavows discrepancy before it gets to that point. But remember, this is an unconscious process... it just doesn't go in, it remains foreign, it's not "owned" and explained (in spite of video). Contradictory statements will, at best, be minimally acknowledged in terms that they've occurred, but disregarded as unimportant, shrugged off because they no longer connect on an intra-psychic level. He's almost surprised that these discrepancies are attributed to him all. Thus, they cause no anxiety.

I truly pity his team of campaign strategists having to negotiate this mine field. PDs are notorious for leaving chaos and distress in their wake while they go happily along without any care in the world.

PD's are a product of both nature and nurture. As one goes through maturational phases, the demands of reality increase and through experiencing the invariable failures, frustrations and disappointments, more evolved mechanisms like "repression " or "rationalization " ideally develop and replace the more inadequate primitive ones. For most people, but not all.

We are seeing Mr. Trump struggle to use his inadequate set of rigid, primitive defense mechanisms to manage real world demands, apparently for the FIRST TIME.

The very rich really ARE different.

If you recall, while Donald was growing up, his father Fred was one of the richest men in the world.

The very wealthy have the resources to create a universe which, while protective, also serves to reinforce any dysfunction. Critics or nay-sayers are removed from their orbit, replaced with loyalists who rationalize or ignore the dysfunction. Often in the presence of celebrity or great wealth, otherwise intelligent reasonable people become fawning syncophants.

Trump never had to follow any rules; they didn't apply to him. Punch a teacher? Simple fix: change schools. Potential draft material? Find a doctor to submit a medical deferment (bone spurs in the foot prevent military service but don't prevent playing baseball?). He went into the family business so never had a critical boss. Keep digging and you find his claims of great ability exaggerated or actually non-existent; doesn't matter that the narrative is false as long as it reinforces the self-image.

Anyway, back to the present:

The goal with an NPD [narcissistic personality disorder] person is to protect & reinforce the simultaneously fragile & grandiose core. It's almost as if without the constant attention, it's feared that the self may disintegrate. Because the self-image is so tenuous, they need inordinate amounts of external approval & rely on a defense called "mirroring"... You're great because you think I'm great, etc.... He gets this at his rallies with core supporters. This inordinate need for excessive approval may also underlie his reluctance to disavow questionable supporters, like David Duke.

With criticism, an ego this brittle experiences it as an impending attack which threatens the very existence of the core self and triggers what's called "narcissistic rage" followed often by a reflexive aggressive response.

He calls it "counter-punching" but it's truly acting out in response to the rage.

This has always been his response.

Within the security of Trump World, no one criticized this behavior before, ever. In one video of him, he seems truly baffled that anyone would view him differently than he views himself. He says "Even if you don't like me, you have to vote for me. You have to."

He's had no prior experience with this type of ego threat from long-term microscopic scrutiny. Previously, it's been intermittent or his public presentation has been structured to coincide with his inflated self-image, such as his reality show.

Someone with such a fragile self-image will take the bait constantly , whether it's from a Gold Star American family or another world leader.

He cannot help himself. It's ego life or death.

Splitting also explains his lack of coherent political philosophy; issues are presented piecemeal, disconnected from other. If some of the data is conflictual it can't exist in the consciousness, so no possible way to create a grand plan based on a cohesive frame of reference. Just not possible. It also explains the apparent self-defeating behavior toward prominent Republicans. Each slight is responded to in isolation without any comprehension how one spat, like with McCain or Ryan, affect his relationship to the whole group.

No, he isn't "calculating" and "crazy like a fox", although he may be decompensating under stress.

He may not become truly psychotic in the classic Axis I sense of the definition; however, there seems to be more paranoia emerging as he hasn't developed psychic resources capable of effectively warding off the disequilibrium brought on by the onslaught of scrutiny and criticism. Recently he's said the current administration has allowed "thousands upon thousands " of terrorists into the country, fears the election will be "rigged" without ANY factual basis for support.

This kind of thinking will probably remit when there's less pressure, but it will resurface anytime stress intensifies.

It is no surprise that his children function better than he; for much of their lives they were raised in separate home environments by his ex-wives. Both divorce settlements were accompanied by "non-disclosure agreements", aka "gag orders".

Trump's "missteps", "misstatements" and "walk backs" which characterize his campaign are not due to his "rookie" politician status. They are a true reflection of how he functions.

And the "he tells it like it is" assertion? That actually used to be a euphemism meaning "truthful ". He tells you what he's thinking at the moment but it doesn't mean it has any connection to reality or fact.

Please stop "Waiting for him to change". He cannot. (There's no Easter Bunny either, by the way.)

Just admit you were star-struck, misled by his grandiosity or made incorrect assumptions about his business acumen based on 24k gold bathroom fixtures and call it a day.


This is from here:

I thank +Boris Borcic for pointing it out.
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