Saturday, September 03, 2016

How Would You Diagnose Monsieur Trumpanzeé?


There has been so much said about Trump's mental health-- lack of mental health-- that the American Psychiatric Association sent out a warning to its members not to diagnose the mentally ill without personally examining them and not to release the results without explicit permission. Our resident psychologist, Helen Klein, took a stab at diagnosing Señor Trumpanzee and found him to be severely afflicted with narcissistic personality disorder and probably a sociopath to boot. Others have dignosed him to be a full-on psychopath and... well, have you heard anyone who knows him-- or any Republican elected officials-- denying any of these assessments?

Watch this short TED talk video about narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder and see if it reminds you of anyone who happens to be running for president this cycle. The four basic traits you need to look out for, although in some cases, not very deeply:
A grandiose view of oneself
Problems with empathy
A sense of entitlement
A need for admiration
One little, tiny hint you might find useful: in recent years, social media provides narcissists a means to seek social status and attention.

OK, I'm persuaded. That said, Trump's single most persistent tactic in life has been projection. Anything you want know about Trump-- about what he knows or what he fears he is or even just what's on his prescription drug-addled mind-- just listen to what he says-- screams-- about his opponents. Think of every insult he's hurled towards any of them. He's describing his inner self. "Lyin' Ted?" Maybe... but I can think of someone who has a record of lying far more blatantly and consistently than Ted Cruz. "Crooked Hillary?" She's not my idea of moral rectitude... unless you compare her to her pal Donald Trump. He's Lombard Street compared to a gently curving, flat country road.

Unfortunately, the father of psychiatry, Sigmund Freud, never analyzed Herr Trumpänzee...  but one can easily imagine how that might have gone from Freud's writing. He defined "projection" as people trying to "defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others." Projection is usually present in people suffering from psychosis and in people suffering from narcissistic personality disorder. Know anyone you might consider a bully? Bullies are often known to project their own feelings of vulnerability onto the target of the bullying. That helps explain why no one knew how to handle Mr. Trumpanzee during those car wreck Republican debates. Has anyone ever behaved that way in a debate? Ever?

In Man and His Symbols, Carl Jung, wrote about guilt and conscience and suggested that projection is related to false accusations, both personal and political. Ready for a little Freud, at least some Freud via Karl Wolfe?
Psychological projection is the phenomenon whereby one projects one’s own thoughts, motivations, desires, feelings, and so on onto someone else (usually another person, but psychological projection onto animals, parents, children, neighbors, other drivers, political figures, racial groups, states and countries, also occurs).

According to the theories of Sigmund Freud, psychological projection is a psychological defense mechanism whereby one “projects” one’s own undesirable thoughts, motivations, desires, feelings, and so on onto someone else (usually another person, but psychological projection onto animals and inanimate objects also occurs). The principle of projection is well-established in psychology.

...Projection concerns externalizing the issues that we need to deal with ourselves. Usually we project onto others issues and problems that we need to address within ourselves, or are unable to manage properly.  Projection is irresponsible behavior as we dump our problem onto somebody else.  We justify these projections by blaming someone or something outside for the emotions  we do not want to feel.  We project our disappointments and problems onto other people, it is somehow their fault, we become a blamer.  Ultimately it is the person who projects that loses, as they never really sort out their own problems.
And, as though anticipating Trump, Wolfe added that "classic racism is an example of psychological projection; 'It’s all their fault that I feel they way that I do,' says the racist. I am a victim of another persons thoughts or actions."

I've read that one of the Trumpanzee daughters, Ivanka, is a very observant Orthodox Jew. That's probably an exaggeration but if she knows much about Judaism, she might remind Papa Trumpanzee about a Talmudic warning to the devout: "Do not taunt your neighbor with the blemish you yourself have."

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At 4:47 PM, Blogger bowtiejack said...

I would bet there are academics all over this country saving up video clips of Trumpanzee for classroom illustration of a typical narcissistic personality disorder and its various distinguishing characteristics.

At 1:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You just don't like him because he doesn't want to feel your pain. Or pretend to.

At 6:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the umlaut. It's a nice touch


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