|Caricatures by DonkeyHotey|
By Hal Brown, MSW, Retired clinical social worker and psychotherapist
This is the title of a Washington Post (subscription) article today:
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.
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:
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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.
Only this guy knows what is happening in his conscious mind.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|
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.
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.