Election Commentary

We are Donald Trump’s enablers, and it’s time for an intervention

We are Donald Trump’s enablers, and it’s time for an intervention

According to Greek legend, a young man was so fascinated, awestruck, and enraptured by his own image reflected on the surface of a pool that he sat lovingly gazing at water’s edge for so long that he succumbed to his own vanity and eventually transformed into a flower that carries his name, “Narcissus.”

The American Psychiatric Association, in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual II (DSM) from 1968 lists “Narcissism” as an emotional problem and “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” (NPD) with a number of characteristics. These include

• An obvious self-focus in interpersonal exchanges

• Problems in sustaining satisfying relationships

• A lack of psychological awareness

• Difficulty with empathy

• Problems distinguishing the self from others (having bad interpersonal boundaries)

• Hypersensitivity to any insults or imagined insults

• Vulnerability to shame rather than guilt

• Haughty body language

• Flattery towards people who admire and affirm them

• Detesting those who do not admire them

• Using other people without considering the costs of doing so

• Pretending to be more important than they actually are

• Bragging and exaggerating their achievements

• Claiming to be an “expert” at many things

• Inability to view the world from the perspective of other people

• Denial of remorse and gratitude

In summary, this condition results in the over-inflation of one’s self-importance.

One does not have to have earned a Ph.D. in psychology to identify Donald Trump as someone suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder since he clearly manifests many, if not all, of its symptoms. While he definitely has not transformed into a beautiful fragrant flower as did the character in the Greek legend, we nonetheless have to ask some critical questions, which include:

How did Trump, as someone who may suffer from a serious emotional character disorder, garner so much support from the electorate to have vanquished 16 other candidates to win the mantle of the Republican Party for the presidency of the United States?

Does Trump’s meteoric ascendancy reflect a sort of collective Narcissistic Personality Disorder in the larger U.S. body politic?

Narcissistic Personality Disorder falls within the overall category of “sociopathology,” in which a person’s antisocial behavior demonstrates a lack of a sense of moral concern or responsibility or a deficit of social conscience. The American Psychiatric Association’s DSM classifies this condition as “Antisocial Personality Disorder” (APD), which it defines as “a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood.”

On a macro level, from Colonial times through the Revolutionary War and beyond, whose rights were considered important and included in the founding documents of the United States, and which groups of people were disregarded or not even considered?

And after so many years, have these violations been corrected at all?

Did any of the leading Republican primary candidates or the person (Trump) who went on to win, specifically identify and target any group or groups to disregard and violate their rights? And if so, did this candidate or candidates gain traction in terms of the vote count by employing this tactic?

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