Showing posts with label John Gartner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Gartner. Show all posts

January 23, 2023

Those of us at Duty to Warn should have called Trump a narcissistic sociopath

 In retrospect those of us at Duty to Warn should have called Trump a narcissistic sociopath
By Hal Brown, MSW





Duty to Warn (website) is a group composed of mental health professionals and others formed by clinical psychologist to want about Trump's dangerous pathology. It was originally advocated for this removal from office through the 25th Amendment. It was formed by Dr. John D. Gartner (Wikipedia profile). He was the first mental health professional to describe in the media why Trump fit the criteria for being a malignant narcissist. This was way back in 2017.

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Here's a YouTube report about Gartner's diagnosis:

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I also wrote about this in 2020.

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Here's the first page of a web search on DuckDuckGo for Trump malignant narcissist:

In light of Donald Trump 's unprecedented behaviors during phone conversations with two of our closest allies and his continuing early-morning habit of tweeting out his pathology in the form of foreign policy, I have created this brief checklist describing the signs of one of the most severe expressions of personality as described by mental …

While this was true it wasn't a good descriptor as far as conveying to the general public what Trump was.  My contention ins that we are talking about marketing concepts here, about words that have the most impact on the general public.  Sociopath and sociopathic have more impact than narcissism. Some writers, even those who weren't mental health professionals like George Conway put the later into their articles: NEWSWEEK

Donald Trump's Pathological Narcissism and Sociopathy Leave Him Unable to Function as a Proper President, Says George Conway

Here's another Newsweek article, this one form 2019:

Trump Is a 'Successful Sociopath' and a Predator Who 'Lacks a Conscience and Lacks Empathy,' Says Former Harvard Psychiatrist

My point is that "sociopath" should have been used much more frequently.

The far better term is finally being used:

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There's no way to know whether the labeling many mental health professionals used to describe Trump as a malignant narcissist would have had more impact if he was called a narcissistic sociopath.

The reason I wonder about this is because the the first term emphasizes "narcissist" and 
the second term empathizes "sociopath." 

While "malignant" is well understood as something that is dangerous and often deadly I am not sure combining it with "narcissist" did more than confuse the public who had never heard of malignant narcissism.

Everyone, even diehard Trump cultists, know that Trump is narcissistic. Narcissists can range for being mildly annoying to those they have relationships with to being toxic, or I suppose you could call them malignant. 

There are lots of narcissists in public life. This doesn't make them dangerous. 

The most dangerous people in positions of power and authority are the sociop
aths whether they are narcissists or not. From what I've read about Hitler he wasn't known for being a narcissist. Putin with his proclivity of being photographed shirtless on horseback on the other hand probably has some narcissistic traits but is certainly a ruthless sociopath. Idi Amin was generally photographed with a chestful of medals.






 If American presidents wore uniforms I can imagine Trump having one made which would rival a four star general's. Just about all Trump can do is wear a red baseball hat and sell digital trading cards of photoshops of himself, or (upper left) posting a photo of himself in front of Mt. Rushmore (read story here).



Trump has been compared to the emperor with no clothes in the Hans Christian Anderson.
The fairytale emperor's vice was his vanity. Trump's obsession with his hair and facial makeup has been roundly mocked. The emperor for all his gullibility and grandiose narcissism was depicted as moron but never as a malevolent leader. 

Trump, on the other hand....

December 12, 2022

The normalizing of delusional sociopathic grandiose narcissism

 The normalizing of delusional sociopathic grandiose narcissism
By Hal Brown

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I was a practicing psychotherapist for 40 years before retiring, the first 20 of those I work as the director of a small mental health center. I have posted numerous articles online about the dangerous psychopathology of Donald Trump. 

There are myriad examples of people in the news who demonstrate by their behavior, their actions and words, that they, to put it bluntly, have one or all of their hinges so loose that if they were the door on the jam it would be hanging and about to fall.

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I don't have to tax my brain by coming up with a list of clinically deranged people in public life. Just a look at the stories on various websites will provide many examples. A Salon article by one of my favorite columnists, Amanda Marcotte, this morning offers a list of five:

Of course these five are just losers even though Trump could actually become president again. We still have winners like Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Loren Boebert who are still in the House and now that the GOP controls it have even more power.

From Elon Musk whose unhingedness knows no bounds as he just yesterday tweeted "My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci, a sentiment supported by said Rep. Greene who is saying that if she was in charge of the January 6th attack on the Capitol the crowd would have been armed (something that could end her in front of a grand jury), to Ye and Herschel Walker (who I wrote about here) 

There are enough people to be analyzed for in a PhD dissertation titled "Abnormal psychology as manifest in people in public life."

In some ways it is more disturbing to know that there are so many ordinary citizens who embrace the Big Lie and the conspiracy lunacy of QAnon. There are uncountable millions people not just in this country but around the world who, if objectively assessed by mental health professionals, would be diagnosed with one or more psychiatric conditions listed in the DSM-5.
There are several hundred diagnostic categories in the DSM  and new ones are periodically added, for example:

  • Binge Eating Disorder.
  • Caffeine Withdrawal.
  • Cannabis Withdrawal.
  • Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder.
  • Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder- DMDD.
  • Hoarding Disorder.
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder – PMDD.
 "According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about one in five adults lives with a mental disorder (any mental illness in the US, and about one in 18 American adults has a serious mental illness. Some psychiatric conditions may be temporary, occur occasionally, and never return again." Reference includes entire list.

It should be obvious that most people with psychiatric disorders actually suffer, thus the term "suffering from" one or another disorder. There are other people who don't suffer themselves. They make  people in their lives including family, friends, and co-workers, suffer. Just consider the number of books about being married to a narcissist.

Of all of these the two most relevant disorders to consider when looking at the people I am writing about are what is now called antisocial personality disorder but is often referred to by the previous name, sociopathic disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder. Some people meet enough of the criteria for having both and would be considered to be malignant narcissists. This diagnosis never made it into then DSM but in my opinion and the opinion of many mental health professionals including, notably, Dr. John D. Gartner, the founder of the Duty to Warn society, Donald Trump has this disorder. Gartner wrote about this in 2017:
If any single person could be described as causing an extreme and dangerous mental pathology as becoming normalized it is Donald Trump.

Gartner is, as far as I know, the only mental health professional critical of Trump to appear on Fox News. In 2017 he was on "Watters World" in an interview which, to put it mildly, did not go well. Here's the video:


Full disclosure: Dr. Gartner and I have had a relationship since the formation of his Duty to Warn society. 

Currently the media, with some notable exceptions like MSNBC which regularly has clinical psychologist Mary Trump on and others experts discussing Donald Trump, reports the behavior of Trump and people like those mentioned above as if it is normal. 

I have followed the media closely since 2017 to see whether any mainstream publications addressed the issue of public figures like Trump, Taylor-Greene, Herschel Walker by interviewing mental health experts. 

Salon stands out for having Chauncey DeVega who often publishes interviews with mental health experts like psychiatrist Lance Dodes like "Trump is a dangerous sociopath — but he's sane enough to stand trial" and Psychiatrist Bandy Lee says White House officials told her Trump was "unraveling".

Of course, Salon with its progressive slant, can't be considered mainstream the way USA Today can. As far as I have been able to tell USA Today is the only widely circulated publication to publish a story about Trump's dangerous psychopathology.

It is about time that the mainstream media, including publications that the far right fringe considers to be fake news like The New York Times and The Washington Post, have regular columnists who are mental health experts who can analyze the behavior of public figures based on their knowledge of personality.

It is about time dangerous psychopathology stops being normalized by the media. It must be called out for what it is.

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