When a malignant narcissist negotiates with a psychopathic dictator and ignores expert advice.

The ill-prepared President Trump came back from his meeting with Kim Jung Un in Hanoi as a clear loser in everyone’s eyes except his own. I think it would be naive to believe that if given the 70 plus page report by experts on North Korea (scroll down for excerpts) he would open it let alone read it. He is a person driven by egotistical psychopathology, not intellectual curiosity.

Not only was Kim a winner, but Vladimir Putin was as well. Kim and Putin are ruthless dictators who would probably score high on the Hare Psychopathology Checklist, a screening test for potential psychopaths, but they are not malignant narcissists who ignore their expert advisors and are driven by their needs to glorify themselves the way Trump does.

Clinically malignant narcissism is a combination of psychopathic characteristics and severe narcissistic personality disorder. There have been many dictators who were psychopaths but only a few were extreme narcissists who wanted to be worshipped as gods and surrounded themselves with opulence, Caligula and the Mongol emperor Tamerlane, and the Bible’s Herod the Great for example. Vlad the Impaler (left) is also said to have been a malignant narcissist sociopath.

Hitler was a psychopath but I’m not aware of psycho-historians (see “Insane or Just Evil”) suggesting he was an extreme narcissist, but history suggests that Josef Mengele and Reinhard Heydrich, the chief of the Reich Main Security Office (including the SD, Gestapo, and Kripo) may have been malignant narcissists.(from 10 Monumental Malignantly Narcissistic Sociopaths.)

The Russian foreign minister Lavrov “just happened” to be in Hanoi at the same time, and Putin got one thing (at least) that he wanted, the end of American participation in joint military exercises. The Washington Post reported that “Trump has given North Korea a valuable bargaining chip for free.” 

President Trump was right to walk away from a deal with the North Koreans last week. But he was wrong to walk away from annual military exercises with our South Korean allies. That move raises fears that walking away from our decades-long alliance could be next — something that would be disastrous for the United States.

The United States and South Korea have been allies since the start of the Korean War in 1950. With United Nations backing, U.S. troops rescued the South from a devastating invasion by the North. While the war ended in 1953, no final peace treaty has ever been signed. Our troops have stayed behind ever since, guaranteeing that a second invasion from North Korea would meet with a swift and massive U.S. response.

The training exercises are crucial to the alliance’s viability. They allow U.S. and South Korean forces to practice repelling an invasion by North Korea, ensuring that troops and commanders can work closely together in the event of an actual attack. They also signal continued U.S. commitment to the alliance itself.

SAN FRANCISCO — North Korean hackers who have targeted American and European businesses for 18 months kept up their attacks last week even as President Trump was meeting with North Korea’s leader in Hanoi.

The attacks, which include efforts to hack into banks, utilities and oil and gas companies, began in 2017, according to researchers at the cybersecurity company McAfee, a time when tensions between North Korea and the United States were flaring. But even though both sides have toned down their fiery threats and begun nuclear disarmament talks, the attacks persist.

In 2017, Mr. Trump mocked Kim Jong Un as “rocket man” in a speech at the United Nations, while North Korea tested missiles capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the United States. The attacks began soon after that. Though the two sides failed to reach an agreement last week, Mr. Trump struck a conciliatory tone toward his North Korean counterpart.

“This renewed activity, taken just two days afterthe inconclusive Hanoi Summitbetween President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, may indicate North Korean plans to demonstrate resolve in the face of U.S. rejection of North Korea’s demands at the summit to lift five U.N. Security Council sanctions enacted in 2016-2017,” the analysts said. As NBC News reported, Beyond Parallel, a project sponsored by the defense think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, recently identified 20 undisclosed missile sites in North Korea.

This is from an article on NPR:

Now, Bermudez  (a senior fellow for imagery analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies)says, the test stand appears almost completely reassembled, and the building has been rebuilt with all but part of its roof. The work happened sometime between Feb. 20 and March 2, when the commercial images were taken by the company DigitalGlobe. Given that the site has lain dormant for months, Bermudez believes the work probably took place after Feb. 28, when the Trump-Kim summit concluded unsuccessfully.

Even if Sohae is being rebuilt after the failed summit, Kim isn’t violating any agreement with the U.S., notes David Wright, co-director of the global security program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “There is nothing that restricts North Korea’s ability to do testing of its ballistic missiles,” he says. While Kim has maintained a voluntary moratorium on flight testing, ground tests at facilities like Sohae are unrestricted.

Donald Trump was desperate for a foreign policy win. He needed something, anything, to distract from the onslaught of investigations coming closer and closer to him and his family and his continued erosion in the polls.

The Washington Post’s Robert Costa writes that “Trump’s foreign policy is part nationalist, part conservative, part isolationist, part militaristic pageantry. He distrusts traditional alliances such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and slaps punitive tariffs on adversaries and allies alike.” What does “military pageantry” have to do with diplomacy?  It is pure narcissism! Costa comes close to suggesting this in his next sentence: “In many ways, Trump’s worldview has been boiled down to a mantra lacking labels and ideology: It is what Trump says it is.”

The president is notoriously and dangerously inclined to ignore the advice of experts and rely on his impulses. He may call going with his finely tuned gut instinct, but he’s a malignant narcissist whose overriding need is self-aggrandizement.

This has no place in a leader making and certainly no place in a president making decisions that can have life or death consequences.


Afterword: If Trump was the president we wish we had he would study this 70 plus page detailed report on North Korean policy recommendations. The report covers An Evolving North Korea, Objectives & Strategy, Economic Policy, Human Security, and Diplomacy. He would meet with the authors and have them lay out the reasons they made their conclusions.

The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) Report of the International Study Group on North Korean Policy, note the futility of trying to insist that N. Korea abandon its nuclear weapon program entirely and in fact say it has backfired. The scientists explain why a broader strategy is necessary in order to achieve success.

EXCERPT:

The pursuit of immediate disarmament has not only distracted from a range of pressing challenges; it has also exacerbated them. Allied deterrence and diplomatic policy has generated incentives for Pyongyang to expand, diversify, and conceal its nuclear arsenal. In its current form, the international sanctions regime has unnecessarily contributed to the suffering of the North Korean people from privation and infectious disease, and may have helped to enhance the regime’s overseas illicit networks.5 Attempts to isolate the regime have aided its attempts to isolate the North Korean people from the international community. The challenge of negotiations and a series of missteps have caused strains between Washington, Seoul, and Tokyo.

There is no mix of economic, diplomatic, or military pressure that can verifiably eliminate North Korea’s arsenal on accept- able terms in the next few years.6 The United States and its allies can no longer rely on the assumption that North Korea will rapidly eliminate its nuclear arsenal.

CONCLUSION:

North Korea has developed a credible nuclear capability in part because the United States and its allies were highly inconsistent in seeking a negotiated agreement with the regime. Now that the effort to prevent this capability has failed, main-taining political will and alliance coordination and devoting resources to managing and transforming North Korea has never been more imperative or challenging. Without the fiction of a proximate nuclear-weapon-free North Korea, policy successes are likely to be partial, gradual, or consist in the prevention of disastrous events. Even under the best of circumstances, failures will be commonplace—whether they are ongoing human rights atrocities or repeated attempts to break out of sanctions and deterrence restrictions.

Yet, a nuclear-armed North Korea makes it more important than ever that the United States and its allies continue to prioritize the issue. The regime’s ability to exploit technological changes to enhance its internal control and to circumvent international sanctions are unprecedented. The consequences of deterrence failure or accidental military escalation could be catastrophic. If North Korea policy is allowed to drift without a revision, the strategic and practical consequences could be grave.

The critical national security interests and moral responsibil- ities at stake require that the United States and its partners undertake a sustained effort to actively manage and transform North Korea. It is still possible to create a morally tolerable and stable Northeast Asia, provided that the United States and its allies craft a realistic strategy and devote to it the req- uisite time, attention, and resources to see it succeed.

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Copyright © 2019 Capitol Hill Blue

Trump’s CPAC rant: Cornucopia for psychiatric diagnosis

Scroll down for updates.


Trump walked out at CPAC and hugged the flag, for a second he rocked it back and forth as if he was dancing with it. I could say as if humping it but that would be rude.
If Trump planned to hug the flag prior to his entrance this would have a benign psychiatric explanation. If he did it on the spur of the moment I would wonder about his impulse control. If it was something in between and he got carried away and began to rock it back and forth a few times I’d begin to be concerned. This may seem to be a small thing, however, this is what clinicians look at when they do a psychological assessment. Unfortunately, the camera didn’t move to a close-up until he had started to hug the flag. Watch the video and see what you think.
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The flag hugging and the bulls*it comment are making worldwide headlines. What must foreigners think of us?
As a clinician, I saw numerous signs of his deteriorating mental condition and this is just from the clips I watched. I can’t stand to watch the entire two hours.
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Knowing he won’t ever get the Nobel Prize maybe he wants to get himself on Mt. Rushmore. I made two images before I decided to write a column to go with them.
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Journalists watched the speech and selected choice segments to report on. They’re getting paid to do this. I’m not. So I admit my impressions came from the parts I’d seen and read about.
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There is a cornucopia of clinical riches here from word salad to the looseness of associations. In psychiatry speaking in word salad “may describe a symptom of neurological or psychiatric conditions in which a person attempts to communicate an idea, but words and phrases that may appear to be random and unrelated come out in an incoherent sequence instead. Often, the person is unaware that he or she did not make sense. It appears in people with dementia and schizophrenia.Wikipedia
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In psychiatry, loose associations (technically derailment, asyndesis, asyndetic thinking, knight’s move thinking, or entgleisen) is a thought disorder characterized by discourse consisting of a sequence of unrelated or only remotely related ideas. The frame of reference often changes from one sentence to the next.

“In a mild manifestation, this thought disorder is characterized by slippage of ideas further and further from the point of a discussion. Derailment can often be manifestly caused by intense emotions such as euphoria or hysteria. Some of the synonyms given above (loosening of association, asyndetic thinking) are used by some authors to refer just to a loss of goal: discourse that sets off on a particular idea, wanders off and never returns to it. A related term is tangentially—it refers to off-the-point, oblique or irrelevant answers given to questions. In some studies on creativity, knight’s move thinking, while it describes a similarly loose association of ideas, is not considered a mental disorder or the hallmark of one; it is sometimes used as a synonym for lateral thinking.” Wikipedia

I could go through the speech minute by minute and parse out examples of dangerous psychopathology.  I’ll never be put on an official panel to evaluate his fitness to serve on 25th Amendment evaluation because I’ve expressed too many public opinions about this, as have other mental health professionals like Bandy Lee, M.D., Lance Dodes, M.D., and John Gartner, Ph.D. the founder of the Duty to Warn group of mental health professionals, in which I was an early member.

If this speech doesn’t prompt a movement to invoke the 25th Amendment among Republicans I shudder to think of what has to do in order for them to recognize he is perilously close to making a decision that will have grave irrevocable consequences.


Afterword from Michael Gerson in The Washington Post: “What happens when a narcissist occupies the White House?

Most of our politics now consists of seeing the same horror from new angles. America has a president who respects no rule of morality, tradition or law that conflicts with his own immediate self-expression or gratification. His only self-limitation, apparently, is plausible deniability — a moral framework that seems to be based on old episodes of “The Sopranos.” This is narcissism that has slipped its leash, roaming wherever it wishes across the wide world, and in our heads.

Years ago, I posed the question: What happens when a narcissist who thinks he is at the center of the universe is actually placed at the center of the universe? We are seeing what happens. The whole apparatus of a political party — including its legislative and religious wings — is now dedicated to the defense of one man’s feral will.


Addendum 1: What may be the least unhinged and most strategic thing Trump may have said was that he had been joking when, at a press conference in July 2016, he encouraged Russia to find his rival Hillary Clinton’s missing 30,000 emails, and blamed the “sick” media for using it to incriminate him. Lame as it is, this is likely to have been a planned defense should he end up being impeached.


Addendum 2: What about the Goldwater rule which says it’s unethical for psychiatrists to publicly diagnose or assess a public figure?

I am not a psychiatrist and even if I were I would ignore this rule. The rule is from an association not a governmental body like a licensing board and is not binding. A psychiatrist who belongs to a professional organization has the option of quitting and it would be up to them if they did so to object to a rule they promulgated for their members. This would not affect their ability to practice.  I believe mental health professionals are justified in applying the duty to warn mandate they have with their actual clients to Trump because of exigent circumstances, i.e., his disorders make him unfit and dangerous to have the power of the president. I also believe mental health professionals are in a unique position by dint of their expertise to share their knowledge of psychopathology as it applies to a president like Donald Trump so laypersons can better understand what drives his behavior. Although I am not a psychoanalyst and not a member of their association I agree with their position on the Goldwater rule:

American Psychoanalytic Association Statement on “Goldwater Rule”New York – July 25th, 2017 – The American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) seeks to clarify statements made in a recent article in STAT. APsaA is an autonomous mental health professional association which represents psychoanalysts from all mental health professions and academia. Our members include psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, psychologists, psychotherapists, and social workers. In an email to association members, our leadership did not encourage members to defy the “Goldwater Rule” which is a part of the ethics code of a different mental health organization, the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Rather, it articulated a distinct ethics position that represents the viewpoint of psychoanalysts. The field of psychoanalysis addresses the full spectrum of human behavior, and we feel that our concepts and understanding are applicable and valuable to understanding a wide range of human behaviors and cultural phenomenon. Our position statement regarding commenting on public figures is available here. Some of APsaA’s members are psychiatrists, and some of these psychiatrists are members of the APA and other professional organizations.  Any member of a professional organization is responsible for following the ethics code of every organization they belong to.  APsaA has not made any statement that would intrude in the internal rules and governance of another organization.


UPDATE: Capitol Hill Blue is decidedly not the mainstream media.

Donald Trump’s CPAC speech was completely unhinged. Why didn’t media cover it that way? Mainstream media is downplaying Trump’s bizarre two-hour CPAC rant. Have they seriously learned nothing from 2016? Salon, Amanda Marcotte

Trump unleashed a two-hour-plus rant that sounded at times, more like the delusional ramblings of someone hopped up on drugs or suffering a mental breakdown than anything resembling a normal political speech.

If that sounds like an exaggeration informed by partisan bias — seriously, it’s not. Trump kicked the thing off by hugging the American flag, and that might have been the least strange part of the whole spectacle.


UPDATE:

EXCERPT: Furthermore, assessing Trump’s psychology requires little speculation as we have available to us a life-long history of personal, romantic, business, and political relationships. With the exception of some of his predatory and criminal behavior, he has led his entire life in public. We know what he says and how he says it. Through his own words Trump has even let us in on what provokes him to act – primarily vengeance, vainglory, lust, greed, and an obsession with domination. It has been on this public stage, not behind closed doors, where we have witnessed him reward anyone who flatters him and punish those who fail to do so. His daily Twitter tantrums have constituted a kind of ongoing characterological EEG reading, as if the vicissitudes of his personality disorder produced brain waves that could be converted into a text form readable by all.

To discuss and explore his obvious psychopathology – a malignant narcissism and psychopathy that threatens us all – is not to adopt the Soviet-style use of psychiatric diagnosis in the service of political repression. Rather, as I will argue, it is understanding that can be put to emancipatory purposes. This is because knowing his psychology is central to the project of resisting his policies, and to the task of understanding his appeal to a significant plurality of Americans. If the central thesis of this essay is correct, that Trump’s pathology is isomorphic with his brand, then what may look to some of us as signs and symptoms of profound impairment is precisely what makes him the object of near delirious veneration on the part of his base. As he well understands, to them he can do no wrong. Or, rather, every wrong he commits is righteous.


UPDATE: Lawrence O’Donnell discussed Trump’s CPAC rant last night and quoted from the book “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.” Video story “bullsh*t” segment 6 minutes – this is only the first half of the segment.

UPDATES Mar. 6, 2019

REMEMBER, THERE ARE multiple reasons why Trump might cry foul and refuse to concede come 2020, and why he might also believe he could get away with it.
First, there is his personality. Trump is a malignant narcissist who values himself and his own advancement over everyone and everything else. Using and abusing his presidential powers to protect his prestige and position would be “very tempting” for him, to quote professor Bandy Lee, a forensic psychiatrist at the Yale School of Medicine and editor of the 2017 book “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.”
“When you have extreme narcissism,” Lee told me on my podcast, “Deconstructed,” last month, “the danger of it is that one can quickly go to resorting to violence and resorting to extreme measures to move away from the possibility of humiliation and to project force.”
Another article, this is from an Australian website owned by Rupert Murdoch:
Excerpt: “He’s become more aware of what needs to happen so he can continue to be what he is [US president].”
“And he’s just getting a little bit more wary of how he does that.”
She says Mr Trump, will always believe he is “Teflon man” because the malignant narcissist personality type always believes that it is the cleverest and is always right.
“Absolutely he thinks he’s cleverer than all of us, that he’s the cleverest leader of all and ultimately this will be revealed and shown,” she says.
Equally, the malignant narcissist goes on the attack with critics, and will “lie with ease” and reshape facts to suit themselves — hence, she says, Mr Trump’s term “fake news”, for anything he doesn’t want to hear or which paints him in a less than adoring light.
He believes he’s always right, and anyone who thinks otherwise is out to get him.
“Malignant narcissists are dangerous in that they say essentially say “it doesn’t matter what it costs, I’ll get what I want”, she said.
“They can be concerned and empathetic — as long as it benefits them.”

She says Mr Trump has his eye firmly on the next election.

Third: “Something is seriously wrong with Donald Trump: Let’s stop kidding ourselves about that” by Bob Cesca, Salon

Whether it was genuine madness or all an act, Donald Trump’s CPAC creepshow was evidence of profound crisis

TWO EXCERPTS: If you’ve only watched the clips and highlights from Donald Trump’s CPAC speech last Saturday, you’re not getting the full picture of the explosive horror show that is the worsening status of the president’s mental health. For reasons that defy comprehension, I decided to watch the whole thing live. At the outset, I tweeted that given the Michael Cohen testimony in the immediate rear-view mirror, Trump’s CPAC speech was going to be “next level crazy.” In hindsight, I feel like I low-balled it.
 
Before we continue, I’d like to emphasize that I’m not a mental health professional, nor am I an expert in the pharmacological effects of cognitive enhancers like Adderall or Provigil to make a judgment call on the specifics of what’s wrong with the president. However, I can say with confidence that something’s extraordinarily wrong with him, and it’s only getting more dangerous for the nation and by extension the world as time advances.
 
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The normalization of Trump’s unpredictable, spasmodic presidency, as well as the fact that so many of us don’t have the stomach to tolerate two-plus hours of watching him, are perhaps the only reasons why more Americans aren’t gathered as we speak, devising how best to legally remove him from office. For what it’s worth, I propose here and now that this conversation must begin in earnest.
 
Trump’s obvious mental instability and emotionally erratic behavior has reached a harrowing new depth. They need to be addressed by our political leadership with the same urgency as the myriad investigations into his crimes. This has to begin now before it’s too late. He will clearly do and say whatever it takes to secure his status, and it’s the presidency alone that’s keeping him out of federal prison. He’s at least competent enough to understand this, and he might be crazy enough to do anything to avoid accountability. We’re in new territory. There is no road map, and what we do now will determine whether Trump is the last Trump, or possibly the first of many Trumps along the not-so-lengthy journey into a permanent form of lunatic authoritarianism. It’s time to take his madness seriously now before he levels-up again.

FOUR:

Psychiatrist on Trump: “The president deserves medical standard of care, and he is not getting it”

Yale psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee examines President Donald Trump’s recent outbursts

A member of the public asked, “When Donald Trump wrapped his arms around the flag, it evoked Lennie from Of Mice and Men squeezing the mouse until it’s dead. Is the president going to destroy our country?”

I didn’t tell her this, but my answer would have been that he is well on the way, as long as we let him. How are we letting him? By colluding on the most basic point: by telling ourselves that the mental unwellness we see is not what we are seeing. Allowing him to give as long a speech as he did, allowing him to continue on Twitter, allowing him to remain in his position, and allowing his staff to turn over so that he has no one left but those who enable his illness—all this is the opposite of the proper treatment that he needs.

Containment and removal from access to weapons, urgent evaluation, and then the least restrictive means of management based on the evaluation, is the medical standard of care.

Even the president deserves medical standard of care, and he is not getting it. The natural course of disease is that it will engulf the afflicted persons and lead them to destruction, if left without resistance.

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March 7, 2019: “Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election strategy: Scaring white people with threats of violence” by Chauncey DeVega in Salon

“Mentally unwell old man hugs American flag; rants about ‘socialism’ and ‘baby killers.'”

That’s not a headline from a local newspaper somewhere in rural America. Instead, it is an entirely factual description of Donald Trump’s speech last Saturday at the political rodeo and hate festival known as CPAC.

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Copyright © 2019 Capitol Hill Blue

The idiocy that is Trump and his failed presidency

I don’t doubt that Trump planned to fire Jess Sessions some time after the election. Afer all the letter of resignation was not dated.

I watched the entire excruciating press conference today where emboldened reporters no longer showed respect and deference to the president and peppered Trump with questions. He either attacked the reporters for asking  questions he wanted to avoid answering or just simply ignored the question in his response.

You could see Trump getting more and more angry as his face contorted and he lashed back by insulting reporters.

Leading up to his press conference today Trump had to figure out a way to rationalize the loss of GOP control of the House of Representatives. In his speech before taking questions from reporters he presented his lame reasons why the Republicans really won the day in large part to Trump’s popularity. Without a modicum of shame for saying it he claimed it was because the winning Republicans embraced him.

When the time came for questions from reporters who had prepared provocative questions and treated him not as the emperor who could order them to the guillotine if they dared not bow down to him, but as a mere mortal who happens to be president and hardly deserved the respect that usually is given to the holder of that office.

My hunch is that he was so angry after the press conference that in a fit of narcissistic rage he decided to announce the so-called resignation in a Tweet not long after the press conference ended.

Narcissistic rage is a phenomenon which occurs when an extreme narcissist, one so extreme he meets the criteria for being called a malignant narcissist. In other words, when Donald Trump finds his grandiose sense of self, his megalomania, is being questioned or undercut, or worse that he may be in danger of losing his ability to control the narrative it triggers his rage.

I try to observe Trump’s behavior as objectively as possible through the lens of the psychotherapist I was for 40 years. I realize that I have a bias against him. Watching him perform in his press conference today only cements my opinion that he meets the criteria for a malignant narcissistic personality disorder who is prone to narcissistic rages.

Read more:

Psychologist Alexander Burgenmeester has a good article about malignant narcissism, but a simple Google search will find lots more information if you aren’t familiar with this disorder.

Trump’s sadistic, malignant narcissism

The most recent Trumpology column, How Trump’s compartmentalization may work against him. Dec. 7, 2018.


I am hearing more and more commentators on MSNBC talk about Trump’s narcissism when they address his self-centered response to the MAGA bomber. It is true as far as it goes. However, Trump is not a garden variety narcissist.

His narcissism is so extreme that it overrides any awareness that this is a time to at least pretend to be presidential.  His sarcastic dog whistles at his rallies showing his supporters he doesn’t mean what he reads off a teleprompter are proof of this.

Just this morning, when asked by reporters for his response to the Squirrel Hill synagogue murders his rambling unscripted answers show a lack of empathy. He focused on how he thought having an armed guard inside the temple could have prevented any deaths, and how we should have the death penalty for such crimes. He refused to answer questions about gun control and the NRA.

I am sure that what was on Trump’s mind was that he again lost control of a news cycle, and that coverage of this was going to be linked to his inciting his followers to act violently.

Wikipedia explains that “a notable difference between “narcissists” and “malignant narcissists” is the “feature of sadism, or the gratuitous enjoyment of the pain of others. A narcissist will deliberately damage other people in pursuit of their own selfish desires, but may regret and will in some circumstances show remorse for doing so, while a malignant narcissist will harm others and enjoy doing so, showing little empathy or regret for the damage they have caused.”

Malignant is one of the most frightening words many of us have ever heard. It usually refers to cancer which has spread and may be life-threatening.  When the preface malignant is applied to the word narcissism it describes Donald Trump.

Nearly two years ago one of the first mental health professionals to warn about the dangerousness of Donald Trump because of his psychopathology was clinical psychologist John D. Gartner. Over two years ago he started an online petition Mental Health Professionals Declare Trump is Mentally Ill And Must Be Removed which eventually had over 70,000 signatures.

On Jan. 27, 2017 US News and World Reports published Temperament Tantrum: Some say President Donald Trump’s personality isn’t just flawed, it’s dangerous. The article quoted extensively from John Gartner. This was the first mainstream media article to address the alarming situation of having a president so psychologically unfit he represented a grave danger to the nation. Here’s an excerpt:

“Donald Trump is dangerously mentally ill and temperamentally incapable of being president,” says Gartner, author of “In Search of Bill Clinton: A Psychological Biography.” Trump, Gartner says, has “malignant narcissism,” which is different from narcissistic personality disorder and which is incurable.

Gartner acknowledges that he has not personally examined Trump, but says it’s obvious from Trump’s behavior that he meets the diagnostic criteria for the disorder, which include anti-social behavior, sadism, aggressiveness, paranoia and grandiosity. Trump’s personality disorder (which includes hypomania) is also displayed through a lack of impulse control and empathy, and “a feeling that people … don’t recognize their greatness.

“We’ve seen enough public behavior by Donald Trump now that we can make this diagnosis indisputably,” says Gartner.

On May 4, 2017, in USA Today, Gartner had an article published titled “Donald Trump’s malignant narcissism is toxic: Psychologist” which explains what he means by malignant narcissism.

Much has been written about Trump having narcissistic personality disorder. As critics have pointed out, merely saying a leader is narcissistic is hardly disqualifying. But malignant narcissism is like a malignant tumor: toxic.

Psychoanalyst and Holocaust survivor Erich Fromm, who invented the diagnosis of malignant narcissism, argues that it “lies on the borderline between sanity and insanity.” Otto Kernberg, a psychoanalyst specializing in borderline personalities, defined malignant narcissism as having four components: narcissism, paranoia, antisocial personality and sadism. Trump exhibits all four.

His narcissism is evident in his “grandiose sense of self-importance … without commensurate achievements.” From viewing cable news, he knows “more about ISIS than the generals” and believes that among all human beings on the planet, “I alone can fix it.” His “repeated lying,” “disregard for and violation of the rights of others” (Trump University fraud and multiple sexual assault allegations) and “lack of remorse” meet the clinical criteria for anti-social personality. His bizarre conspiracy theories, false sense of victimization, and demonization of the press, minorities and anyone who opposes him are textbook paranoia. Like most sadists, Trump has been a bully since childhood, and his thousands of vicious tweets make him perhaps the most prolific cyber bully in history.

One of the most aptly titled books about the psychopathology of Donald Trump was published in the Fall of 2017: The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump. In 27 essays by mostly mental health professionals, the book explained how Trump was affecting the mental health of the people of the United States, how he put the country at grave risk of involving it in a war and of undermining democracy itself because of his psychopathology.

I think that what “The Art of the Deal” author Tony Schwartz told MSNBC host Ari Melber is part and parcel of Trump’s malignant narcissism:

“Given the time you’ve spent with him, what do you see as his relationship with the specter of violence?” MSNBC anchor Ari Melber asked. “Explain what you understand to be his fascination of violence and the way he’s infused that in his politics.”

“So when I go back to the late 1980s, his obsession were — he had two obsessions, one was with football … and the other boxing,” Schwartz recalled. “He was a huge boxing fan and boxing promoter.”

“He loved black people to commit violence against other black people — while he watched,” he explained.

Schwartz summed up Trump’s view as, “You do the violence, I’ll watch the violence. I wouldn’t go near it because it would terrify me, but I love watching it.”

“Why? Because underneath that is rage,” Schwartz concluded. “This is a man of great rage and the rage is, he’s aggrieved.”

“He’s in the business of being aggrieved, and he’s using that in these 10, 12 days leading up to the midterms in trying to bring it out in all the people that are possibly going to vote on the Republican side in this next phase,” he explained. AlterNet

Added to his malignant narcissism where those so inclined can find examples of every diagnostic criterion are the following other behaviors:

  • lack of any demonstration of having the ability to empathize
  • total lack of introspection
  • history of pleasure touching women’s private parts against their will (clinically called Frotteuristic Disorder)
  • his pathological lying
  • his impaired reality testing often to the level of having paranoid beliefs
  • his lack of verbal impulse control
  • his reckless ideas (as leaked from White House) stopped before he could act on them
  • and other characteristics that lead me to suggest he needs a diagnosis of his own.

One can argue about the clinical accuracy or ethics of making a distant diagnosis of a president, however, his behavior this week should dispell any doubt that there is something severely amiss in the psychological functioning of Donald Trump.

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P.M. Update:

On Day Of Mass Shooting, Trump Jokes He Nearly Canceled Speech Due To ‘Bad Hair Day’: Trump made the comment at the Future Farmers of America Convention in Indianapolis.

He recalled for the crowd (at the Future Farmers convention) that earlier in the day, he had been holding a news conference about the mass shooting ― which he referred to as a “very unfortunate news conference” ― when he became drenched from the wind and rain. The elements apparently left his hair looking not exactly the way he likes it.

“I said, ‘Maybe I should cancel this arrangement because I have a bad hair day,’” he told the crowd. “And the bad news ― somebody said, ‘Actually it looks better than it usually does.’”

Though he drew laughter from the crowd, many people found the joke to be in poor taste, given the circumstances. Read some of the social media reaction here.