The occasional Trumpology series of columns are informed by my 40 years of experience as a clinical social worker and psychotherapist and my understanding of psychiatric diagnosis, psychology, and psychopathology as applied to Donald Trump who I consider to be a sadistic impulsive malignant narcissist.
Last night Saturday Night Live featured a reimagined an “It’s a Wonderful Life” if we all lived in a world without Trump. It is being reported on in many websites like Daily Beast where you can view it.
Obviously Trump can’t resist watching late night television where he is the omnipresent butt of jokes from the talk shows to the wildly popular Saturday Night Live. In 2015 in answer to the question “what’s your favorite guilty pleasure TV show?” This is what he told People Magazine: “My guilty pleasure TV show – SNL, staring me. They got great ratings. The best ratings in years. It was a terrific success. I enjoyed doing it. It was 50 percent more than Hillary [Clinton]’s show. That makes me feel good.”
It made him feel good in 2015. That was then. This is now.
Early this morning Trump was on another narcissistic Twitter rampage in his usual attack mode: He Tweeted about Michael Cohen “the rat,” Lisa Page, Peter Strzok (who he calls Peter S. probably because he can’t spell Strzok), the” pathetic and dishonest Weekly Standard and Bill Kristol,” which had a cover (left) that was not exactly flattering, and indirectly President Obama.
His first Tweet this morning was about the SNL skit and it is making the news:
The part of the skit that Trump focused on in his Tweets had to do with Michael Cohen.
But the cameo that seemed to really get under the real Trump’s skin was Stiller’s Michael Cohen, who as well as being in unusually high spirits in this alternate reality, rattled off (now ironic) affirmations of their “close” relationship. “I would never ever flip on you,” said alternate-reality-Cohen, who in this reality flipped on Trump and then did an interview about it. “You’re my best friend.”
“And since its Christmas,” Stiller said meaningfully. “I just wanna say that you taught me everything I know. Every single thing I’ve done is because you directed me to do it.”
The Cohen jokes seemed to really affect the president, who tweeted next that Cohen only flipped because the FBI raided his office.
The notion that a comedy skit making fun of a president should be tested in court would, as the president put it “be tested in court” would be laughable if it didn’t prove once again that 1) the president is woefully ignorant of the Constitution and 2) he wants to be a dictator.
Psychologically, what are we to make of a president who gets a rush out of bullying and has been described by mental health therapists, myself included, as a sadistic malignant narcissist, who also is masochistic enough to watch television show he knows will having their audiences laughing uproariously at their turning him into a clownish figure to be unmercifully ridiculed?
I never would have thought when as one of the early Duty to Warn therapists two years ago, I began to write about Trump’s psychopathology and why it made him unfit and dangerous to be president that I’d end up writing about topics like frotteurism (or toucherism), a psychiatric condition where (usually) a man gets pleasure out of surprising someone and grabbing their genitals, and urophilia (reference the pee-pee tapes).
Now I am back again finding Trump seems to have an unusual version of perversion. Sadomasochism is the giving or receiving pleasure from acts involving the receipt or infliction of pain or humiliation. While sadomasochism is often of a sexual nature and harmless when practiced by consenting adult, it can also be non-sexual. Of course he terms sadist and masochist refer to one who enjoys giving or receiving pain. However those who are sadomasochists may switch between activity and passivity.
Only the most brainwashed or ignorant can argue that Trump isn’t sadistic, and that he enjoys humiliating those he feels have insulted him. This is referred in the psychiatric literature as a narcissist’s reaction to a narcissistic insult with narcissistic rage.
The psychological question is why someone who as narcissistic as Trump would go out of his way to watch TV shows where his chain is unsparingly and hilariously yanked to the delight of live audiences, and where he has to know the funniest segments will be replayed repeated the next day? There are certainly late night movies he could watch.
I can see why he wouldn’t want to watch commentary shows on MSNBC or even CNN since all he will hear is how his presidency is under siege with experts explaining chapter and verse how his legal jeopardy escalates on a daily basis.
Most people, the nearly normal and the neurotic, or 99.9% of the population including everyone with a diagnosis in the DSM-5 find it utterly humiliating to be laughed at.
Trump’s narcissism is so extreme that he apparently can’t keep himself from tuning into shows where he knows he will be eviscerated by the best comic writers and performers in the country. There must be a part of him that thinks it is preferable to be mocked than to be ignored. In his own self-aggrandizing mind he has to believe that he can hit back harder than he’s hit.
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