Showing posts with label malignant narcissism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label malignant narcissism. Show all posts

September 26, 2023

MAGA World loves that Trump's a malginant narcissist, will they care that he's become cognitively impaired?

 


By Hal Brown, MSW, Retired psychotherapist

Few residents of MAGA World read HUFFPOST. I can tell this from from the few trolls who comment of their articles. I doubt many will read this article: 

Befuddled Trump Can't Figure Out Which Bush Did What In Bizarre Rant

I won't even excerpt the article since this wouldn't do it justise. Vox associate editor sums it up in his post on X: 

if Joe Biden confused Jeb and George W. Bush, Hannity would anchor special coverage that would last until the 2024 election
Here's another article:


If you do a search on Google with the words Trump malignant narcissism (here) you find numerious articles. Scroll down to the 32rd and you'll find one of mine.

Here's what I posted on Daily Kos.

Click above to read

For this blog I've changed the illustration.

The HUFFPOST article decribes the most recent example of cognitive confusion that any objective clinician would see as alarming indications that their patient might be suffering from early dementia. The only other explanation that I can see is that Trump's confusion about which Bush was which is due to his being under extreme stress. Of couse one explanation doesn't preclude the other.

I am not a medical clinician but I have been trained to know when a patient has symptoms that require a referral to a neurologist for an assessment. If Trump was my patient this is what I would have done when I was in practice. A neurologist would do more than administer the MOCA.


I am not even sure that if Trump took the MOCA test (above) now he would be given a clean bill of health as far as signs of early dementia.

The question as to whether his hard-core MAGA cult would care about this is something to consider. The typical member of the Trump cult is White and poorly educated. Part of the - love is not too strong a word - for him comes from his being a grandiose narcissist who rants about vegeance against his enemies. They vicarously enjoy how he relishes expressing how he'd destroy his enemies if he become president again. They not only care about him wanting to also destroy democracy but practically drool over the idea he'd become a dictator who whould empower them and push policies that express their bigotted beliefs.

Trump has built a cult of personality. It is difficult to imagine MAGA World with anyone else as its ruler. Unlike Trump's good pal Kim Jung Un he wasn't groomed to be successor to a dynasty.
There's no way Donald Jr. and certainly not Eric, could out-Trump or eve come close to equal-Trumping the original.

The salient question for Trump's reelection is whether his cult wants someone who is the embodiment of the mad king from The Game of Thrones as their leader but who is also becoming senile.
Click to read article

I can't see any of the other GOP presidential candiates coming close to having the kind of charisma Trump exudes for his cult. Trump's madness is his brand.

If you add senility, or fast developing dementia, to his madness it will be fascinating to see if he can keep a grip on the hold he exerts over his cult.

Addendum:


The only GOP candidate who actually has their own kind of charisma is Chris Christi. I think this is why Trump fears him the most. While he can never be a cult leader, and I doubt he aspires to be one, there's no doubt that the man is a commanding pressense.

Christi can equal or better the bloviating of Trump, and he does so with a razor sharp wit using fresh rather than stale retorts and talking points the way Trump does.

If it comes down to Republicans wanting a Trump-lite candidate who promises a renewal of Trump's policies only from someone who has full command of their mental faculties they will go with DeSantis or Ramaswamy. They could want someone more in the middle like Nikki Haley. They won't want Christi who is more of a Republican like John McCain was or Mitt Romney is today. Christi doesn't represent today's  MAGA Republican Party.

If I was a small government Republican rather than a big and effective government liberal Democrat I'd favor Chris Christi. He doesn't believe in America First nationalism and he doesn't want to dismantle democracy and replace it with autocracy. He is also very, very smart.

Since the GOP has done an effective job of demonizing President Biden I actually think Christi would stand a good chance of becoming the next president if he pulled a rabbit out of the hat and won the GOP nomination.

It is possible if Trump's cognitive decline contiunes to the point that it is impossible to deny unless one is a totally brainwashed member of his cult. This will leave the GOP candidates to battle it out among thmselves and Christi will then have an opportunity, to use the Mafia term popularized in The Godfather, to make his bones, and take out the other candidates.


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July 16, 2023

Christi should educate Republicans about Trump's psychopathology




By Hal Brown, MSW














The following is from the Raw Story, above

"As far as what's going on with Donald Trump in terms of these charges, the fact is that he doesn't believe he won," he explained. "He was concerned before the election that he was losing, and I know that because he said it to me directly. So he knows he didn't win, but his ego, George, won't permit him to believe that he's the only person in America, outside the state of Delaware, to ever have lost to Joe Biden."

Christi makes a reference to Trump's ego here...

So he knows he didn't win, but his ego, George, won't permit him to believe that he's the only person in America, outside the state of Delaware, to ever have lost to Joe Biden."

What needs to be understood in this is what the ego is (in Freudian psychology and common parlance)

The ego is the personality component responsible for dealing with reality.

Everyone has an ego. The term ego is sometimes used to describe your cohesive awareness of your personality, but personality and ego are not the same. The ego represents just one component of one's full personality.

The ego operates based on the reality principle, which strives to satisfy the id's desires in realistic and socially appropriate ways. The reality principle weighs the costs and benefits of an action before deciding to act upon or abandon impulses. Reference https://www.verywellmind.co...


What Christi should have said was that "this pathological grandiose and delusional narcissist is unable to accept that he lost...." even though most people know what he means when he simply says ego.

Christi is in a position to remind people ignorant of psychology who never heard the message form so many mental health professionals that Trump is mentally unfit to be president. He can explain how his psychopathogy renders him dangerous to our democracy not only here but in the world.

Here on Morning Joe he says Trump is detached from reality. This is a diagnostic term in psychiatry.


Mental health professionals from those like the contributors to "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump" to comparatively obscure psychotherapists like me have been educating those willing to learn about Trump's psychopathology, his malignant narcissism, mostly to Democrats, Independents, and anti-Trump Republicans, since 2016. We need someone like Christi who will educate Republicans ingorant about his psychopathology and who will hear him as he campaigns for the GOP nomination. 

Addendum:

Back in April I published the following on my blog:

Nobody knows for certain how Trump feels except Trump

Caricatures of Trump
Caricatures by DonkeyHotey

By Hal Brown, MSW, Retired clinical social worker and psychotherapist

This is the title of a Washington Post (subscription) article today:

Shocked and defiant: How Trump is responding to unprecedented indictment

Since a grand jury issued charges related to hush money to an adult film star, the former president has cycled through a range of emotions and postures.


This is an article by Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey


I added this comment to the article:

Nobody knows how Trump is feeling except Trump himself. All that can be reported on with certainty is what is observable. The words "as if he is" should preface any sentence purporting to describe how he feels. Thus even the title of this article makes assumptions. This to be accurate it should read Acting shocked and expressing defiance.

Psychotherapists like me look at this through a different lens than many others. The public would gain a better understand of him if they looked up the term narcissistic injury. They will find this article by Mary Trump: Donald Trump's niece says her uncle felt "narcissistic injury" from being GOP's "biggest loser".
Even Mary Trump, a clinical psychologist, is speculating each time she describes her uncle's inner life. Her describing Uncle Donald feeling narcissistic injury makes sense. Look at the definition here and see what you think.

I am as guilty of speculating as all the other mental health professionals who have gone public with their psychological analyses of Donald Trump. Look my name up with Trump and this is what you'll find:

Click above to enlarge image


My articles and those by mental health professionals who are prominent in the field all helped inform the public as to the likely psychodynamics of Donald Trump, emphasize likely.

If a research psychologist was to construct an experiment in an attempt to determine whether a subject met various diagnostic assessments such as their being a malignant narcissist they could begin with a list of observable behaviors they would predict would manifest themselves in the future if they had the theorized diagnosis. 

Donald Trump has been diagnosed as both an extreme narcissist, a sociopath, and a malignant narcissist which combines the two disorders. We don't actually know, absolutely know, that any of these diagnostic assessments are 100% accurate.

100% certainty is a standard rarely met with a psychiatric diagnosis. There's no MRI machine to scan Trump's brain. There's no pathologist's microscope to put a slide of his mind under to see just how malignant it is.

As Trump will find out within a year or so, 100% certainty isn't even a standard relied on for conviction in a criminal court where the standard is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Ashley Parker and Josh Hawley, not to pick on them, are not mental health experts. Here's an excerpt of what is in today's article:
Yet in the immediate aftermath of the grand jury’s decision related to hush money paid to an adult-film star, Trump was not happy, said one person with direct knowledge of his reaction. Others described Trump as “upset,” “irritated,” “deflated” and “shocked,” though some noted that he also remained “very calm” and “rather stoic, actually.”
Even they are relying on second hand reporting, and they only say that "others" who aren't identified described Trump's behavior. We don't know if these are people who actually were with him.

More people described in the article say they know how Trump feels:
  • “He’ll do Trump,” said David Urban, a longtime Trump adviser who is not working on his 2024 campaign. “He’ll show up. He’ll be indignant.”
  • “He initially was shocked,” said Joe Tacopina, a Trump lawyer, on NBC’s “Today” show Friday. “After he got over that, he put a notch on his belt and he decided we have to fight now, and he got into a typical Donald Trump posture where he’s ready to be combative on something he believes is an injustice.”
  • “He has never been concerned about any story that paints him as a moral reprobate,” one Trump ally said. “His whole life and career have been full of those stories and they’ve never harmed him, in his mind.”
There's one quote at the end of the article which makes sense:
But the defiant posture seems likely to remain. In a statement, Taylor Budowich, the head of MAGA Inc., railed against the indictment and promised it would deliver Trump another stint in the White House.
The use of the word "posture" is accurate. The head of MAGA Inc. isn't saying he knows for sure what Trump is feeling. He is predicting how he will act. He's probably correct. 

Only Trump is capable of knowing whether he's playing a role or whether he's struggling to avoid experiencing fear. I say "capable" because Trump, like anyone, has psychological defense mechanisms to prevent anxiety from percolating into conscious awareness.

Bottom line:

Only this guy knows what is happening in his mind, and then only in the part of his mind he is aware of.
By definition, nobody knows what is occurring in their unconscious mind. Self-aware people can make informed guesses about this but the unconscious is not conscious. It manifests itself though feelings, behaviors, and hints as to what is going on in the recesses of our minds often comes out in our dreams.
An iceberg is often used to provide a visual representation of Freud's theory that most of the human mind operates unconsciously. Public domain

Updates:


Donald Trump faces the embarrassment of arraignment, fingerprinting and a police mugshot in Manhattan on Tuesday, but one legal expert suggested his worst nightmare will come from a jury made up of New Yorkers who know him all too well.
 
Here again we see Trump being described as if he is psychologically normal. He faces what we would be embarrassed by, hell, we'd be mortified. There are two meanings of the word "nightmare" of which one is being applicable here, ie. a terrifying experience. Trump may find it exhilarating. What he can't control is an actual nightmare occurring while he is sleeping. I'd say there is more chance he'll have one or more of these than his actually experiencing conscious manifestations of anxiety.

2) Michael Cohen told Joy Reid that Trump can put on fake bravado but is petrified. He has no way of knowing this is true. He ought to have said that Trump, if he was normal, would be petrified.

3) There is one thing we know for sure abut Trump. It is that yesterday he took a motorcade to play golf (article). However this was arranged, it was done is such a way that he would pass by his supporters. I think it is significant that there were no photographs of him actually playing (at least none that I could find). These might have captured expressions that suggested he was feeling the stress of being indicted.

June 30, 2023

Dr. Justin Frank, author of "Trump on the Couch" gives us understatement of the decade about Trump's behavior

 



By Hal Brown, MSW, Retired psychotherapist

Chauncey DeVega once again has provided a form for some of the nation's top mental health professionals to explain in depth the psychopathology of Donald Trump. Today's Salon column is titled on the main page "Digging his hole: Trump can't shut up" and titled in the article itself 

Why Donald Trump can't simply keep quiet — even when facing prison. 

He shares emails from both Justin Frank, MD, the psychoanalyst who wrote "Trump on the Couch" and Lance Dodes, MD, a retired assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a training and supervising analyst emeritus at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. I recommend you reading the short and to the point Franks and Dodes emails in the Chauncey DeVega column.

Whether one is a distinguished mental health professional like Frank or Dodes or a state university clinical social work graduate who, in a past life ran a small community mental health center, and now blogs about Trump's dangerous psychopathology (like me), we find ourself trying to explain behavior so far beyond the normal abnormal it is difficult to avoid coming across as hyperbolic.

I think I can speak for not only Justin Frank and Lance Dodes, but also for Chauncey DeVega who as far as I'm concerned has earned himself an honorary doctorate in clinical psychology (or Trumplogy, if you will) saying that we don't want to sound like we're exaggerating about how pathological Trump is.

DeVega describes his own frustration, which I share:

For those of us, myself included, who have direct experience with sociopaths and other such dangerous people, living through the Age of Trump and trying to warn the American people about the disaster has been and continues to be remarkably frustrating and exhausting. For most of the Age of Trump, people said we had "Trump Derangement Syndrome" when we were just telling an uncomfortable and unpopular truth.
Psychotherapists and well informed non-therapists like DeVega, and notably George Conway, were accused by Trump supporters of suffering from a made-up mental illness, Trump derangement syndrome. 

In fact, way back in 2017 mental health professionals tried to warn about Trump.

Clinical psychologist John Gartner, founder of Duty To Warn, was (as far as I know) the first expert to publicize the rationale for diagnosing Trump as a malignant narcissist. This was way back in 2017 and was published in USA Today: 

Donald Trump's malignant narcissism is toxic

Mental health professionals have a 'duty to warn' about a leader who may be unfit to serve.


The best seller "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump" edited by forensic psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee, was also published in 2017. The book had essays from 27 mental health professionals including John Gartner. It described the "clear and present danger" that Trump's psychopathology posed to the "nation and individual well being". Read table of contents here.

I don't think any of the warnings published by experts about Trump since 2017 were hyperbolic. 

I don't think I was stretching it to write in February of 2020 about adding a new diagnosis to the psychiatric manual to cover the highly unusual Trump diagnosis (read here). In fact, I think it was a mistake not to include the diagnosis of malignant narcissism when it was originally defined by Erich Fromm and others.

Click above to read my Daily Kos article

In that story, which I posted on Daily Kos, I cited a Chauncey DeVega interview with Justin Frank: "On a fundamental level, Donald Trump does not believe in America" which used one of the well known photos of Trump hugging the American flag.


Addendum:

While I want what I write in a serious vein to be taken seriously, I admit I am sometimes reduced to blogging snarky commentary and pictures of that flag hugging. I found it too hard for me to resist modifying them:

Top caption is "clinging to flag and anchor about
to sink" and bottom goes with this blog.


Further reading:

The Language of Lies: How Hate Speech Engages Our Neural Wiring to Foster Division

Excerpts:

Summary: Researchers analyze the language of dictators and hate groups, uncovering a common use of dehumanizing metaphors to fuel hatred. Such metaphors ‘switch on’ neural pathways in the brain, bypassing higher cognitive reasoning centers and steering focus towards certain ideas.

These mental patterns can become entrenched over time, making it challenging for individuals to revise their views even in the face of contradicting evidence.

The research underscores the potential dangers posed by such language, including the escalation of violence and political instability.

Not an optimistic conclusion:

What can be done?

Is there anything we can do to protect ourselves from the power of lies? According to Danesi, the best thing we can do is to understand the metaphors of the other party, and to examine one’s own metaphors.

However, history and science tells us that it is unlikely to work – research shows that once a lie is accepted as believable, the brain becomes more susceptible to subsequent lying.









January 12, 2023

Gen. Kelley called Trump dumb, immoral, ignorant, and lazy. Add this to the Dark Tetrad.

Gen. Kelley called Trump dumb, immoral, ignorant, and lazy. Add this to the Dark Tetrad.
By Hal Brown

DonkeyHotey has created uncountable caricatures of Trump, politicians, and others in the news, many of which are used on Crooks and Liars and other well known websites. I often find they capture the essence of Trump and use them in my blog, for example today. I spent a lot of time finding the right emojis for dumb, immoral, ignorant, and lazy and needed an image to put them on.

Click above to read article that prompted this blog

I am weary of writing variations of the same thing from my perspective as having been a psychotherapist for 40 years and analyzing Trump's psychopathology. Use DuckDuckGo to search my name and Trump delusional and the first three links are stories I wrote. Oh well, here's yet another.

Gen. John Kelley gives us another tetrad to add to an assessment of Trump in addition to the Dark Tedrad which is as follows:

The anti-social personality traits of narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and sadism. Narcissism involves the tendency to be overly concerned with one’s self-image, Machiavellianism involves the tendency to be deceitful and manipulative, psychopathy includes callousness and lack of remorse, and sadism involves pleasure from inflicting pain on others.

This is an excerpt from RAWSTORY:

Michael Schmidt told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" about what Kelly learned about the former president and his abilities. Schmidt appeared Thursday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" to discuss the upcoming paperback edition of his book, Donald Trump V. The United States: Inside the Struggle to Stop a President, which includes new revelations from John Kelly.

"So when Kelly came in as chief of staff, he thought that the problem around Trump was that he was not staffed properly and they needed to create a process around him, and that's what the chaos of the first six months of the administration was about," Schmidt said. "But when Kelly comes in as chief of staff, what he realizes is that the problem is not just the fact that there's not a process and that he's not being staffed as well as he could, but that Trump himself was the problem, that Trump was far dumber and immoral and ignorant and lazy than he ever thought he was."

 "Within a few days, he becomes terrified because here he is, the top staffer to the president of the United States, and he's realizing that the president of the United States is far more limited and potentially dangerous than he ever thought, and at that point, there was no one else to call," Schmidt added. "He was -- it was just him and Trump, and he basically spends the next 18 months trying to manage Trump as much as he could.

I don't know what to call being dumb, immoral, ignorant, and lazy. 

Add these personality traits to being an extreme narcissist prone to outbursts of rage when he feels attacked, a psychopath who has engaged repeatedly in criminal and antisocial behavior without remorse or empathy for those victimized, a sadist who takes pleasure in causing and observing the suffering of other, and believing that any means however unscrupulous can justifiably be used in achieving political power, i.e. Machiavellianism. 

While looking at Trump through the lens of my being a retired psychotherapist I have to add that if Trump believes some of the things he says he believes he is also showing signs of having a delusional psychosis. Read my blog from a a few days ago:


I characterize Trump as being a witches brew of toxicity emanating a deadly miasma which is intoxicating to members of his cult who unfortunately represent a base of voters that GOP politicians must pander to lest they risk not being elected. 

Those who should know better, who should realize that he, to reference another psychological concept, is a malignant narcissist. This includes the same traits of the Dark Tetrad. It is defined an extreme mix of narcissismantisocial behavioraggression, and sadism. Grandiose, and always ready to raise hostility levels, the malignant narcissist undermines families and organizations in which they are involved, and dehumanizes the people with whom they associate. 

A person with malignant narcissism exhibits paranoia in addition to the symptoms of a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Because a malignant narcissist's personality cannot tolerate any criticism, being mocked typically causes paranoia.

The social psychologist Erich Fromm first coined the term "malignant narcissism" in 1964, describing it as a "severe mental sickness" representing "the quintessence of evil". He characterized the condition as "the most severe pathology and the root of the most vicious destructiveness and inhumanity"


If one objectively adds up all that we know about Donald Trump we see that there as only a few aspects of personality that makes him different than despotic genocidal leaders like Hitler and Putin responsible is three of the four characteristics described by Gen. Kelley: his being dumb, ignorant, and lazy. Of the four what he has in common is being totally immoral.

Almost irrelevant to governing is the observation made by NY Times columnist Jennifer Senior that Trump is a preening narcissist (I wrote about this here). Historic despots haven't always been as narcissistic as Trump. Idi Amin and his garb comes to mind and Putin liked to be photographed bare chested or practicing martial arts.



Below from Schmidt's book: It was raining and Trump told Kelley he didn't want to go.He didn't want his hair to be ruined, and he didn't understand why he should go to a memorial site for troops who had been killed. "They lost" he told Kelley.... and then he went on to call them losers and suckers.
























January 8, 2023

Rep Cory Mills malicious malevolent tweet about Pelosi's husband shows why we need Twitter

  Rep. Cory Mills malicious malevolent tweet about Pelosi's husband shows why we need Twitter  

Today's blog is a twofer. I address both the malignant narcissism on the far-right and why Twitter is, like it or not, a necessary town square.

by Hal Brown, MSW

Read HUFFPOST article here.

I wish it wasn't so. I wish it was possible to dismiss the benefits of Twitter out of hand. I hate the fact that because so many newsworthy tweets are on Twitter Elon Musk is able to make money off the platform.

President Biden has 36.8 million followers there:

It isn't like it or not, I don't like it at all, but Twitter has become the national (and international) town square. We can try to live in fantasy land about Twitter just going away. Case in point, read the HUFFPOST article and see how tweets are used. Consider what this dirtbag would have gotten away with without Rep Swalwell posting on Twitter .

There's nothing to say about this despicable new member of the GOP contingent of the House that isn't in the HuffPost article except for me to add my perspective as a retired psychotherapist who has written a lot about a particular psychological personality type.

Brought into the public awareness by the founder of the Duty to Warn group Dr. John D. Gartner malignant narcissism was a conceptualization several psychopathologies described by noted social psychologist Erich Fromm in 1964.

Malignant narcissism is an extreme mix of narcissismantisocial behavioraggression, and sadism. Fromm described it as a "severe mental sickness" representing "the quintessence of evil". He characterized the condition as "the most severe pathology and the root of the most vicious destructiveness and inhumanity. Wikipedia

From Donald Trump, Elon Musk, and Tucker Carlson to a witches' brew of actors on the public stage like Putin and the two Steves, Bannon and Miller, those who love democracy, not only in America but in Ukraine and elsewhere, are suffering because malignant narcissists wield power. 

Back to Twitter and the story on HUFFPOST. You can see just from this one example how Twitter functioned as a worthwhile town square. 

Cory Mills, in his malignant narcissism, was unable to resist making a tweet which sent a message to hard-core extremists and showed his true colors.  When it proved to be against his own best interests he deleted it but it was too late since like with many similar tweets it had already been noticed and copied. In this case we can thank Rep. Eric Swalwell:

His tweet generated the dozen replies which augment the HUFFPOST article. None of them are notables. They are from ordinary people with Twitter names like Jack-O'Lantern and booklady2002.

Just as the open mic*, sharp-eyed photographer, or accidental video can catch someone whose impulses outweighed their good judgement, the ease of making a tweet without considering the negative consequences can reveal one's true character and beliefs.

Consider the recent example of a CSPAN camera catching liar Rep. George Santos making what appears to be a white power symbol.


C-SPAN video of the incident shows that Santos had pre-positioned his hand along his body in an unusual way to create the gesture.

Far-right extremists, mainly white supremacists, have coopted the gesture to symbolize a “W” and “P” for white power, according to the Anti-Defamation League. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center also categorizes the gesture as a white power gesture but explains that on the right, the gesture is often used to troll liberals. YahooNews 

Click "Read more" below to continue.  

Amazing! Trump just got some bigots pissed off. By Hal Brown, MSW

  I had to read the RawStory article shown above three times to figure out what happened. Trump was showing his supposed support for law enf...