I have written about Donald Trump before and once again, I must acknowledge that diagnosing anyone from afar is unethical, irresponsible, and impossible. Essentially, there is no way to determine whether or not Trump’s behavior is authentic or choreographed and I get that. After screaming at my news sources multiple times, I’ve also come to accept the fact that collecting psychological symptoms are of no interest to politicians or to news reporters because symptoms are difficult to measure with 100% accuracy, especially with someone who has not volunteered himself to psychological assessment. It’s frustrating to acknowledge these roadblocks because you don’t need to be a psychologist to see that THE MAN IS NOT WELL. For what it’s worth, I just happen to be a psychologist and I need to, at least cathartically, get a few things off my chest.
I have never watched so much news in my entire life and, shamelessly, I am obsessed (and I’m not even American). Why? Because Donald Trump is a psychologist’s dream. Last Tuesday, President Trump addressed congress for the first time. He did well at reading teleprompters, remaining calm, addressing issues and pushing agenda items. Look, I am a self-proclaimed political dummy but, for what it’s worth, it looked like he did a really good job. However, all we had to do was wait. All we had to do was wait for a trigger that would inevitably set the Trumpster loose.
Before I explain, let me just say the following. Ladies and gentlemen, I do not think that Trump is first and foremost: racist, or xenophobic, or misogynistic, or anti-Semitic. Before the manifestation of any racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, or anti-Semitic behaviors, Donald Trump is firstly and fundamentally, a narcissist. Of course, this explanation does not condone or forgive the aformentioned behaviours; it simply explains the motive behind them. So essentially, when triggered, this man will stop at nothing to preserve his sense of self. Narcissists will relentlessly exaggerate achievements and admiration, and preserve a reputation of unlimited success at any and all costs. They do this to protect their very fragile self-esteem. You might find this psychological theory hard to believe but underneath Trump’s arrogant and haughty attitude is a desperate psychological need for attention, admiration, and favorable regard. He is sensitive to injury because his self-esteem is vulnerable. Criticism leaves a narcissist potentially feeling humiliated, degraded, hollow, and empty. While confidence can get them far in life, intolerance to criticism or defeat is their ultimate kryptonite!
Now, how does all of this translate into the real stuff we see from Donald Trump? I want to emphatically say that when he “flies off the handle” or becomes “unhinged” or gets on a “twitter tantrum” you can bet your money that he has somehow been triggered. Something happened that made him feel humiliated, degraded, worthless, unsuccessful or defeated. Once these emotions get triggered in his body he can easily stoop to extreme lows and engage in behaviors that are severely lacking in honesty and integrity. As I stated earlier Donald Trump addressed congress with rave reviews last week. I’m sure many people were under the impression that he may finally become presidential in his demeanor. Well, no dice! In the event of an appropriate trigger, fury is unleashed. Something Donald Trump read over the weekend (a.k.a.: the trigger) led him to accuse his predecessor, Barack Obama, of tapping his phones at Trump tower in December. He then went on a complete twitter tirade, causing a chuckle over Saturday morning coffees nationwide. …and this chuckle was not motivated by how false the ‘tapping’ claim could be (Obama might have indeed had a warrant to legally phone-tap, who knows). Instead, the quiet laughter occurred because he made a buffoon out of himself in the manner his discontent was expressed. It’s like, “Hey Donald, it’s clear that something pissed you off, but for the love of God, contain your emotions and take the troublesome situation back to the White House before announcing conspiracy theories to the entire free world! C’mon, really?!” It’s so maddening that he cannot see the error of his ways. Or if he does have some psychological insight into his problems, it’s unfortunate that he cannot use enough willpower to stop his unhealthy behaviors before making a complete ass of himself. It’s scary because “making a complete ass of himself” will not be the only negative consequence of his uncontrollable reactions. As I’ve said in a previous entry, he is unfit to be POTUS because he has proven time and time again that his narcissistic symptoms and reactions are powerful enough to overrule any rational pattern of thought. God forbid he puts America in danger as a result of some real or imagined trigger. To say the least: yikes.
For my own sanity and satisfaction, I will now be interpreting all Trump Tweets using a psychological filter. I gave it a go below using the Tweets from this past weekend. You will see that the majority of his twitter tirades are all desperate and immature attempts of a narcissist to protect a very fragile self-esteem and to preserve level of perceived favourability.