FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

A Psychological Portrait of Donald Trump

Last October, before he was elected President of the U.S., I, among others, put forward the hypothesis that Mr. Donald Trump was a narcissist. I based my interpretation on the fact that he fulfilled practically all the criteria included in the classification of narcissism established by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). This is the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in many countries all over the world.

The symptoms of this syndrome include the following: Grandiosity; fantasies of power and personal attractiveness; self-perception of being unique; needing constant admiration form others; sense of entitlement; exploitation of others for personal gain; intensely envious of others and pompous and arrogant demeanor. His behavior at the time, which became even more evident since becoming President, only confirmed this hypothesis.

More recently, however, John D. Garner, a practicing psychotherapist who advised psychiatric residents at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, went a step further and stated that Trump has “malignant narcissism” which is different from narcissistic personality disorder and which is incurable. “We have seen enough public behavior by Donald Trump now that we can make this diagnosis indisputably,” says Garner.

Not everybody agrees with this assumption, however. Rep. Chuck Fleishmann, R-Tenn. states that Trump is “passionate” and “vocal” in his approach to the presidency. According to Fleishmann, “Many traditional politicians get elected with one persona and one set of values and rhetoric and then get here and then morph into something else,” which is not the case of Trump, he concludes.

Shrinks don’t generally analyze public figures. During Barry Goldwater’s 1964 run for the presidency, Fact magazine published a special issue titled “The Unconscious of a Conservative: A special issue on the mind of Barry Goldwater.” The article prompted the American Psychiatric Association to issue what it called the “Goldwater Rule” that says: “It is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination.”

Although many psychologists and psychiatrists accept that their work could never be done without direct contact with the subject of their analysis, there are enough manifestations of Trump’s public persona and character to allow for his psychological characterization, one that is of a deep concern for everyone.

In that regard, one could say that Trump’s psychological characteristics are consistent with a person with Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD), which is characterized by a pattern of disregard for, or violation of, the rights of others. Also apparent in this disorder is a history of legal problems and of impulsive and aggressive behavior.

Individuals with this disorder generally have no compunction in exploiting others in harmful ways for their own gain and pleasure. They frequently manipulate and deceive other people through a façade of wit and superficial charm, or even through intimidation and violence.

What makes this disorder particularly dangerous is that among its other characteristics those who have it are often reckless and impulsive, and fail to consider the consequences of their actions. In addition, they are often aggressive and manifest a lopsided temper, lashing out with violence to what they perceive is a provocation.

Robert Caro, President Lyndon Johnson great biographer, said, “Although the cliché says that power always corrupts, what is seldom said…is that power always reveals.” Anyone who has observed President Trump’s actions since assuming the presidency cannot fail but notice his increasingly impulsive decisions, his notable frustration at not receiving the response that he expected and a failure to admit that he has been wrong or apologizing when harming others.

What we have is a situation where the most powerful person in the world is tainted by personality characteristics that can be of serious harm to world peace. The extent to which these harmful characteristics can be controlled may well decide the future of the world.

More articles by:

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article “Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
July 17, 2019
Manuel García, Jr.
Ye Cannot Swerve Me: Moby-Dick and Climate Change
Charles Pierson
Sofi’s Choice
Gary Leupp
Epstein, Jane Doe, and Trump
Rebecca Gordon
I Had an Abortion and Now I’m Not Ashamed
Peter Bolton
In the US and Brazil, Two Trends Underline the Creeping Fascism of Both Governments
Michael Kidder
“Go Back Where You Came From:” an Episode From Canada
Steve Early - Rand Wilson
How Big Strike 30 Years Ago Aided Fight for Single Payer
John W. Whitehead
Sexual Predators in the Power Elite
Michael Welton
Teach the Children Well: the Unrealized Vision In Teaching and Learning in the Residential Schools
Khury Petersen-Smith
Iran’s Not the Aggressor, the US Is
Russell Mokhiber
Kip Sullivan and Dr. Matthew Hahn on How Value Based Programs Are Undermining Medicare and Single Payer
George Ochenski
A Fearless and Free Press is Essential to Our Democracy
Lawrence Wittner
Billionaires and American Politics
Dean Baker
Cheap Shots at the Trump Economy
July 16, 2019
Conn Hallinan
The World Needs a Water Treaty
Kenneth Surin
Britain Grovels: the Betrayal of the British Ambassador
Christopher Ketcham
This Land Was Your Land
Gary Leupp
What Right Has Britain to Seize an Iranian Tanker Off Spain?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Democratic Virtues in Electing a President
Thomas Knapp
Free Speech Just isn’t That Complicated
Binoy Kampmark
The Resigning Ambassador
Howard Lisnoff
Everybody Must Get Stoned
Nicky Reid
Nukes For Peace?
Matt Johnson
The United States of Overreaction
Cesar Chelala
Children’s Trafficking and Exploitation is a Persistent, Dreary Phenomenon
Martin Billheimer
Sylvan Shock Theater
July 15, 2019
David Altheide
The Fear Party
Roger Harris
UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Bachelet’s Gift to the US: Justifying Regime Change in Venezuela
John Feffer
Pyongyang on the Potomac
Vincent Kelley
Jeffrey Epstein and the Collapse of Europe
Robert Fisk
Trump’s Hissy-Fit Over Darroch Will Blow a Chill Wind Across Britain’s Embassies in the Middle East
Binoy Kampmark
Juggling with the Authoritarians: Donald Trump’s Diplomatic Fake Book
Dean Baker
The June Jobs Report and the State of the Economy
Michael Hudson – Bonnie Faulkner
De-Dollarizing the American Financial Empire
Kathy Kelly
Remnants of War
B. Nimri Aziz
The Power of Our Human Voice: From Marconi to Woods Hole
Elliot Sperber
Christianity Demands a Corpse 
Weekend Edition
July 12, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Skull of Death: Mass Media, Inauthentic Opposition, and Eco-Existential Reality in a Pre-Fascist Age of Appeasement
T.J. Coles
“Strategic Extremism”: How Republicans and Establishment Democrats Use Identity Politics to Divide and Rule
Rob Urie
Toward an Eco-Socialist Revolution
Gregory Elich
How Real is the Trump Administration’s New Flexibility with North Korea?
Jason Hirthler
The Journalists Do The Shouting
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Pâté Politics in the Time of Trump and Pelosi
Andrew Levine
The Electoral Circus as the End of Its Initial Phase Looms
David Swanson
Earth Over the Brink
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail