Many people, inside and especially outside this country, believe that the American president is nuts, and is taking the world on a suicidal path. As a board-certified psychiatrist, I feel it’s my duty to share my understanding of his psychopathology. He’s a complicated man, under tremendous pressure from both his family/junta, and from the world at large. So the following is offered with humility and questioning, in the form of a differential diagnosis. From the Freudian point of view:
Dubya may be acting out a classical Oedipal drama–overcome Daddy to get Mommy. By deposing Saddam, when his father did not, he may want to prove himself more worthy of his mother’s love. His rationale that he is avenging the assassination attempt on George, Sr., may be a reaction formation- his way of hiding the true motive from himself. From the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Fourth Edition:
Antisocial Personality Disorder–301.7
There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others since age 15 years as indicated by at least three of the following: 1) failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest; 2) deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure; 5) reckless disregard for safety of self or others; 7) lack of remorse by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated or stolen from others. Another possibility from DSM IV:
Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly Multiple Personality Disorder) 300.14
A) The presence of two or more distinct identities, each with its own enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to and thinking about the environment and self.
B) At least two of these identities or personality states recurrently take control of the person’s behavior. This disorder is typical of people raised by satanic cults, and might explain how Dubya can think of himself as a born-again Christian and yet worship money, oil and profit, and sanction killing thousands of innocent Iraqi and Afghani children. Another possibility:
Narcissistic personality disorder 301.81
1) has a grandiose sense of self-importance- exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements;
2) in 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- unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations;
6) is interpersonally exploitative;
7) lacks empathy, is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others;
9) shows arrogant, haughty behavior or attitudes.
This set of characteristics may describe Rumsfeld and Cheney better than Dubya. Or, for those who feel that he’s just a puppet for others:
Dependent Personality Disorder 301.6
1) has difficulty making everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others;
2) needs others to assume responsibility for most major areas of his life;
3) has difficulty expressing disagreement with others because of fear of loss of support or approval;
4) has difficulty initiating projects or doing things on his own because of a lack of self-confidence in judgment or abilities.
5. goes to excessive lengths to obtain nurturance and support from others, to the point of doing things that are unpleasant. From a Jungian point of view:
Dubya may be identifying with an archetype (as Hitler did with the ubermensch)–something out of Revelations, perhaps, whereby he sees himself as an instrument of God’s will to bring about Armageddon.
Dr. Carol Wolman is a board certified psychiatrist, in practice for 30 years. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org