Sure, the Trump obsession is remarkable.
But then again, the level of whining and lack of perspective and self awareness on Trump's part is even more remarkable.
It's remarkable to witness in it's most evident form, at times shocking, but it's not perplexing if you understand it in context. It's been a while since I looked at the criteria, but I witnessed it in person with my sister's ex, and he and Trump were cut from the same cloth.
The term has been tossed around endlessly, and flippantly, but his behavior pattern is literally straight out of the DSM.
(H)ere are DSMâs requirements (link is external)
(slightly condensed, and with minor bracketed amendments) for âearningâ the unenviable diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality
1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance.
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 [regularly fishes for compliments, and is highly susceptible to flattery].
5. Has a sense of entitlement.
6. Is interpersonally exploitative.
7. Lacks empathy
: is unwilling [or, I would add, unable
] to recognize 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 [rude and abusive] behaviors or attitudes.
So whatâs left out here? Actually, as regards identifying descriptors, quite a bit. And Iâve no doubt that other therapists could add further to the six additional characteristics Iâll provide hereâfeatures that, although regrettably minimized or omitted from DSM, Iâve routinely seen displayed by the many dysfunctional narcissists Iâve worked with. So, to enumerate them, such individuals:
1. Are highly reactive to criticism.
Or anything they assume
as negatively evaluating their personality or performance. This is why if theyâre asked a question that might oblige them to admit some vulnerability, deficiency, or culpability, theyâre apt to falsify the evidence (i.e., lieâyet without really acknowledging such prevarication to themselves), hastily change the subject, or respond as though theyâd been asked something entirely different. Earlier for Psychology Today
I wrote a post highlighting this supercharged sensitivity called âThe Narcissistâs Dilemma: They Can Dish It Out, But . . . â
. And this aspect of their disturbance underscores that their egoâoversized, or rather artificially âinflatedââcan hardly be viewed as strong or resilient
. On the contrary, itâs very easily punctured. (And note here another related piece of mine, âOur Egos: Do They Need Strengtheningâor Shrinking?â
). What these characteristics suggest is that, at bottom and despite all their egotistic grandiosity, they...
2. ...Have low self-esteem
. This facet of their psyche is complicated, because superficially their self-regard would appear to be higher and more assured than just about anyone elseâs. Additionally, given their customary "drivenness," itâs not uncommon for them to rise to positions of power and influence, as well as amass a fortune (and see here my post âNarcissism: Why Itâs So Rampant in Politicsâ
). But if we examine whatâs beneath the surface of such elevated social, political, or economic statureâor their accomplishments generallyâwhat typically can be inferred is a degree of insecurity vastly beyond anything they might be willing to avow.
That is, in various ways theyâre constantly driven to prove
themselves, both to others and to their not-so-confident
âinner childâ self. This is the self-doubting, recessive part of their being that, though well hidden from sight, is nonetheless afflicted with feelings and fears of inferiority. Inasmuch as their elaborate defense system effectively wards off their having to face what their bravado masks, theyâre highly skilled at exhibiting, or âposturing,â exceptionally high self-esteem. But their deeper insecurities are yet discernible in their so often fishing for compliments and their penchant for bragging and boasting about their (frequently exaggerated) achievements. That is, theyâre experts at complimenting themselves!
And whenâdespite all their self-aggrandizementâ others are critical of them, they...
3. ...Can be inordinately self-righteous and defensive.
Needing so much to protect their overblown but fragile ego, their ever-vigilant defense system can be extraordinarily easy to set off. Iâve already mentioned how reactive they typically are to criticism, but in fact anything
said or done that they perceive as questioning their competence can activate their robust self-protective mechanisms. Which is why so many non
-narcissists Iâve worked with have shared how difficult it is to get through to them in situations of conflict. For in challenging circumstances itâs almost as though their very survival depends on being right or justified, whereas flat out (or humbly) admitting a mistakeâor, for that matter, uttering the words âIâm sorryâ for some transgressionâseem difficult to impossible for them.
This is in large part why his responses and behavior in given situations is entirely predictable. He's hardwired for this behavior, and effectively incapable of change. It's possible we've had previous Presidents meet this criteria, though I think he lacks the impulse control and wisdom to keep it even remotely concealed.
"Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing." -- Ron Swanson