And yes, mental health professionals are freaking out about it.
in·sane. (adj.) 1. in a state of mind that prevents normal perception, behavior, or social interaction; seriously mentally ill. 2. shocking; outrageous. — SOURCE
On January 6, 2018, at 7:27 AM, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to defend both his intelligence and his mental stability. Three events seemed to have prompted this. The first was when news broke the day before that a Yale Psychiatrist named Dr. Brandy Lee had briefed members of Congress about Trump’s fitness for Office. The second was the release of the book Fire and Fury, by Michael Wolf, which had been released the day after. And the third was a segment on Fox & Friends, which had aired just 10 minutes prior:
Here are the tweets Trump sent in response:
Now that Russian collusion, after one year of intense study, has proven to be a total hoax on the American public, the Democrats and their lapdogs, the Fake News Mainstream Media, are taking out the old Ronald Reagan playbook and screaming mental stability and intelligence…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2018
….Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart. Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard and, as everyone knows, went down in flames. I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2018
….to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius….and a very stable genius at that!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2018
There are a few points worth noting here. First, his assertion that the Russian collusion has proven to be a “total hoax” is false. The investigation is still ongoing. Second, Ronald Reagan’s mental health really was compromised, so it makes no sense for Trump to bring him up. Third, Trump did not win the Presidency on his first try. He ran on the Reform Party ticket back in 2000, but was defeated by Pat Buchanan. Finally, people who are mentally stable and intelligent don’t need to defend either.
Five hours later, flanked by GOP Leaders at a Press conference at Camp David, the President was asked why he felt the need to defend himself. His rambling, incoherent, and delusional response did not disappoint. You can watch it here:
It’s not the first time that Donald Trump has had to defend his sanity, but the need for him to do so seems more and more necessary these days, as evidence continues to mount that calls into question his ability to lead a nation. Simply put — Donald Trump is insane. Let’s cut the shit. He’s going to get people killed if Congress does not act to remove him. Do we really need to wait until there is a body count?
For the past 14 months, many mental health Professionals have grown increasingly alarmed by Donald Trump’s behavior since defeating Hillary Clinton and being sworn in as the nation’s 45th President. Over 1,000 psychiatrists have started a movement to warn people about the danger he represents. That number represents a tiny fraction of all the doctors and masters-level therapists who are genuinely concerned about the man’s ability to govern.
Back in December of 2016, Richard Greene at The Huffington Post was one of the first journalists to report on the mounting concern that many were expressing over Trump’s fitness for office. Regardless of your political affiliation, this is a big deal. Mental health professionals are usually tight-lipped. Not so with Donald Trump. Many of us believe we have a moral, ethical, and even legal imperative to speak up.
Here are two videos from the article where experts in the field of psychology offer their candid analysis. It is worth taking 20 minutes to listen to what these experts have to say.
These two are on YouTube:
Both of these experts are talking about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. And while they are careful to avoid applying that diagnosis specifically to Donald Trump, it’s easy to see how it applies. Trump’s behavior on Twitter alone practically warrants such a label. And now, with Trump himself espousing his own mental stability, is it not the appropriate time — yet again — to have a candid discussion about it?
Privately, with all the psychologists that I’ve spoken to… we all agree that there is something really wrong, there’s a mental pervasive disorder characterized by self-interest, aggression, instability, lying, stealing, cheating, and grandiosity, and it actually has a deteriorating course. So, he would just get worse.”
— Dr. Lynne Meyer, Clinical Psychologist
There are mental disorders — depression, bipolar, generalized anxiety, etc. — which respond well to treatment, and personality disorders, which usually do not. Mental disorders can be addressed with therapy, medication, and exercise. Personality, on the other hand, is who you are. Even with Borderline, arguably the most treatable of the 10 recognized personality disorders, treatment fails about 70% of the time. So it’s not like Donald Trump could just start seeing a counselor. And he wouldn’t, either. A narcissist won’t admit anything is wrong. Their capacity for self-delusion cannot be overestimated.
Trump’s narcissism has received much attention in the media over the past few years, but not in a way that really explains why it should be so concerning to the rest of us. That’s why I value videos like the ones I’ve posted — they have a way of hammering the point home.
In terms of scale, Narcissism is to Narcissistic Personality Disorder as a puddle is to the Grand Canyon. Whereas narcissism is merely a characteristic, NPD refers to a specific set of criteria. Read the following criteria and decide for yourself if they describe Trump. This is from the DSM-5:
The essential features of a personality disorder are impairments in personality (self and interpersonal) functioning and the presence of pathological personality traits. To diagnose narcissistic personality disorder, the following criteria must be met:
A. Significant impairments in personality functioning manifest by:
1. Impairments in self-functioning (a or b):
a. Identity: Excessive reference to others for self-definition and self-esteem regulation; exaggerated self-appraisal may be inflated or deflated, or vacillate between extremes; emotional regulation mirrors fluctuations in self-esteem.
b. Self-direction: Goal-setting is based on gaining approval from others; personal standards are unreasonably high in order to see oneself as exceptional, or too low based on a sense of entitlement; often unaware of own motivations.
2. Impairments in interpersonal functioning (a or b):
a. Empathy: Impaired ability to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others; excessively attuned to reactions of others, but only if perceived as relevant to self; over- or underestimate of own effect on others.
b. Intimacy: Relationships largely superficial and exist to serve self-esteem regulation; mutuality constrained by little genuine interest in others’ experiences and predominance of a need for personal gain
B. Pathological personality traits in the following domain:
1. Antagonism, characterized by:
a. Grandiosity: Feelings of entitlement, either overt or covert; self-centeredness; firmly holding to the belief that one is better than others; condescending toward others.
b. Attention seeking: Excessive attempts to attract and be the focus of the attention of others; admiration seeking.
C. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual’s personality trait expression are relatively stable across time and consistent across situations.
D. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual’s personality trait expression are not better understood as normative for the individual’s developmental stage or socio-cultural environment.
E. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual’s personality trait expression are not solely due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., severe head trauma).
Does any of that sound familiar? Yes, it’s not proper to diagnosis someone you’ve never met, nor are we the sum of diagnostic criteria, but let’s cut the shit. Trump himself is now talking about his mental stability. In a free society, it is our duty to question our leaders. We do it on policy. We do it on trade. We do it on budgets and on military actions and on foreign affairs. Why would Trump’s mental state be off the table? Especially when he’s bragging about how stable he is!
Trump’s not the first leader to have a narcissistic personality, nor is he even the first President to be impaired in office. Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke in 1919 and the Democrats at the time went to great links to hide it. Roosevelt famously hid his wheelchair from cameras. Reagan suffered from early-onset dementia. Is it really that hard to believe that we have a President who was impaired?
One of two things is true. Either Trump is pretending to be stricken with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or he actually has it. There is no third option. And if he is pretending — playing a character, as many of his supporters argue, to distract the lying Mainstream Media or whatever — do his actions not recklessly endanger American lives? Take, for example, his nuclear brinkmanship with Kim Jong Un. Wars have started for far, far less.
Here’s something that most people may not know about mental diagnosis. When we do assessments, we only have about 60 minutes to gather information to make one. These diagnoses are legally binding. They affect insurance premiums and can keep people from getting certain jobs.
With Trump, we’ve had 30 years to observe him. And in the past 24 months, there’s been an overwhelming amount of data that he has provided. Way more than we’d probably ever get in a clinical setting. Way more than one needs to make an informed decision.
If Trump does, indeed, have NPD, it is a grave problem. It’s not funny. It’s not a joke. It’s not political. It’s a disaster waiting to happen. It’s a live grenade with a faulty fuse. There is a reason they are called “disorders.” This implies pervasive impairment of social interaction, impulse control, and cognition. And NPD happens to be one that is chronic, progressive, and incurable.
This article was originally published in Bullshitist.