Trump: Personality

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The Case Against Trump: A Five Part Series
By Ryan Schwertfeger

Part 4: Trump: Personality

trumppersonLove him, hate him, unsure about him, it would be a lie to say that personality will not play a role in this election and that Donald Trump plays a major role in this context. But usually if one says they don’t want to support Trump its either for one or two of the same reasons: you can’t stand his policies and/or it’s because you can’t stand him.

The guy who is known for bluster, being always on the offensive, and always finds the way to be supposedly right in any conversation is a uniter for people who share the same mentality and viewpoints and quite the divider amongst those who don’t quite see eye to eye to him. But we can all agree that Trump seems to be uniquely Trump in that he’s something in politics and life that we don’t normally come across in the sense of his self-promotion, the way he handles himself and others, how he thinks, etc. … or is it really that unusual?

I have a good friend who works as a therapist, and we like to talk about politics. We ran into each other in May and finally got to talk about the fairly inevitable match-up between Clinton and Trump. We both have similar feelings about the candidates and vented our frustrations as to the choices that are in front of us. Yet, most interestingly to me in this conversation, my friend noted that while he can’t diagnose Trump, as he never even met the man before, from what he can gather, he thinks that possibly Trump has a condition.

A condition? You might have said in your head? What? What? Again, before I go into this, please be reminded that this is his theory and that he has no scientific, clinical, or in-person experience to back it up but it does bring up an interesting facet to get into the mind of how Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for President of the United States, operates.

My friend thinks that “the Donald” has something called Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Which according to the Mayo Clinic is described as the following:

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.
Now I don’t know about you, but to me that just seems like quintessential Trump. Yes, I think we all knew Trump has very narcissistic tendencies, but an actual condition? Consider the different aspects of this disorder:

Inflated self-importance? How many times have we heard him say that “he’s great,” “fantastic,” and he’ll be the best jobs president God ever made? Consider that a check.

Deep need for admiration? Why hold ridiculously huge rallies all the time? Why say things revolving around showing everyone you are right … not just occasionally … but all the time? And what about all the groups that “love Trump”? Another check.

Lack of empathy for others? The one example I’m going to point to that should be enough was how he mocked the disabled reporter. Plenty of others, I’m just going to stick to that one because that should be enough for anyone. Check.

Mask of ultraconfidence and fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism? Did you see what Trump did to the Washington Post not too long ago by revoking their press credentials, calling them “phony and dishonest”? And how about this New York Times list of people, places and things Trump has insulted because he got angry about them? Last check.

In addition, a book called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, an industry standard book of personality disorders, had some information about criteria on this disorder. If I didn’t convince you before, consider these nine criteria to determining if you have this disorder and apply it to Mr. Trump:

1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized 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.
4. Requires excessive admiration.
5. Has a sense of entitlement (i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable 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 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 behaviors or attitudes.

To me, from that entire list, the ones that stick out most to me is #1, 5 and 8. #1 in the sense that Trump loves to say how great he is and how successful he is and the concept of humility doesn’t seem to exist at all. #5 with that he has a sense of entitlement that he deserves to see this, he deserves to be treated a certain way, he deserves to be treated fairly by the Republican National Committee, on and on. And #8, I flash back to when other candidates won elections, namely Ted Cruz after his Utah win, he went on an intense offensive against Ted, his wife, and Ted’s father. You know that when some liberals come to Ted Cruz’s defense, something is fundamentally wrong and a new low has been reached.

A lot of us have issues of some sense or another whether mental or physical but some of the actions and words seen by Trump have not only been not presidential, but they have been downright rude, inappropriate, and extreme. I don’t even always disagree with the premises Trump brings up when he talks about certain issues, but the way he goes after his adversaries whose name is not Trump is downright awful. I’m in favor of trying to stomp down the excessive political correctness in our country because I think it’s a stranglehold on trying to really address some of the root problems we have, but at the same time, that should not mean that in place of political correctness, rudeness and grandiose behavior should take its place.

So the next time you see Donald Trump on the campaign trail, take a look at these different criteria and you can make up your own mind for yourself as to whether you agree. Maybe it’ll help all of us try and understand the most interesting man in America right now.

In the next and last part, I will conclude this series and offer my final thoughts and suggestions about what to do now.

Click here to read the introduction to The Case Against Trump: A Five Part Series

Click here to read Trump: The Primary Behavior

Click here to read Trump: On the Issues

Click here to read Trump: The Back of His Background

Click here to read Trump Conclusion: What Is One To Do?