If you do some reading of various mental health journals and pieces, one will find some common traits among some of history's worse tyrants. Here are a few snapshots:
It is argued that it is highly probable Adolf Hitler suffered from a multitude of severe psychological disorders including paranoid schizophrenia and narcissistic personality disorder.
Historically, this particular combination of 3 personality disorders was seen in all of history's worst tyrants (e.g., Hitler, Stalin etc.). These tyrants lust for wealth, fame and power, and callously destroy everyone that they suspect opposes them. As they gain more power, they become more grandiose, power-hungry, and paranoid. If unopposed, these tyrants initiate wars, which result in the mass slaughter of innocent civilians. The tragedy is that the public is easily seduced by these tyrant's grandiose fantasies of national "greatness", and their paranoid hatred of some scapegoated minority (e.g., Jews, Muslims, immigrants, or refugees). These tyrants know that is easier to mobilize people by teaching them hatred and paranoia, than by teaching them love and forgiveness.
So what are the traits of someone with Narcissistic personality disorder? Here's a brief description:
They show an exaggerated sense of self-importance, insensitivity towards the feelings and needs of others, and callous exploitation of others. They alienate others with their arrogance, self-centeredness, greed, and lack of kindness. They have feelings of entitlement; they often expect to be catered to and are furious when this does not happen. They are attention-seeking and admiration seeking. Their manipulativeness, deceitfulness, and callousness is identical to the selfish, callous and remorseless use of others that is seen in psychopaths.
Sound familiar? It should since it summarizes Donald Trump. Sadly, too many in the public know little or no history and are refusing to see the warning signs that Donald Trump in the White House would be a catastrophe. Whether or not you like Hillary Clinton, she doesn't have the traits as some of history's worse villains. A very lengthy piece in Huffington Post looks at just how dangerous Trump would be if elected to the presidency. The man is unfit for high office and America will likely face a catastrophe if Trump gains the White House. Here are article highlights:
In 1991, Sue Carswell, a reporter for People, experienced a phenomenon familiar to her peers: calls from supposed PR guys named “John Miller” or “John Barron”, gratuitously boasting about Trump’s wealth, business success and romantic prowess. Most bizarre, all agreed, was that the caller spoke and sounded exactly like Trump himself. But this particular call was immortalized on tape.As others had, Carswell recognized the distinctive voice and accent. Distinctive, too, was the callousness and narcissism of an abysmal- and unbalanced - human being.
Trump was 44 then, and living with his future second wife Marla Maples. Nonetheless, his boastful “representative” shared for public consumption that “Trump” had “three other girlfriends”, detailing at length his alleged romance with Nicholas Sarkozy’s future wife Carla Bruni. But not all women were so lucky- for the benefit of People’s readers “Miller” described how Madonna stalked Trump at a charity ball before facing the ultimate devastation: “He’s got zero interest that night.”
But here’s the thing which takes his performance from odious to pathological - Trump wanted a larger audience for his particular brand of self - aggrandizing swill, one in the millions, and was willing to assume a false identity to get it. It didn’t matter if he was lying; he didn’t care who got hurt. All that counted is what he needed in the moment.
To meet his needs, Donald Trump wants us to make him president. To meet its own needs, the media - particularly cable news - is helping him.
[T]here is nothing more “current” or important than Donald Trump’s psychological fitness to be president. All the hyperventilation of the media - parsing his “positions”, pontificating on his” strategy” and intuition- is a poisonous form of the “political correctness” he otherwise deplores, normalizing the abnormal by shoehorning him into the usual analytic boxes. And what it yields is, in great part, rubbish.
There is only one organizing principle which makes sense of his wildly oscillating utterances and behavior - the clinical definition of narcissistic personality disorder.
The Mayo Clinic describes it as “a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others.” This is bad enough in selecting a spouse or a friend. But when applied to a prospective president, the symptoms are disqualifying.
With Trump ever in mind, try these. An exaggerated sense of self-importance. An unwarranted belief in your own superiority. A preoccupation with fantasies of your own success, power and brilliance. A craving for constant admiration. A consuming sense of entitlement. An expectation of special favors and unquestioning compliance.
A penchant for exploiting or disparaging others. A total inability to recognize the needs of anyone else. An incapacity to see those you meet as separate human beings. An unreasoning fury at people you perceive as thwarting your wishes or desires. A tendency to act on impulse. A superficial charm deployed to disguise a gift for manipulation.
A need to always be right. A refusal to acknowledge error. An inability to tolerate criticism or critics. A compulsion to conform your ever - shifting sense of “reality” to satisfy your inner requirements . A tendency to lie so frequently and routinely that objective truth loses all meaning.
A belief that you are above the rules. An array of inconsistent statements and behaviors driven by your needs in the moment. An inability to assess the consequences of your actions in new or complex situations. In sum, a total incapacity to separate the world from your own psychodrama.
If your life’s work is building hotels and casinos, this pathology can work for you -especially if your dad has started you out with a few million dollars in chips. . . . . The annals of business are filled with such people, some of whom wind up in jail, others of whom die rich. But however puissant they become in their chosen realm, their sickness of mind and spirit cannot ruin a country. That power is reserved for presidents.
By the consensus of mental health experts, this emotional impairment has a last fatal ingredient - there is no cure. For a man like Donald Trump, life offers no lessons, no path forward save to continue as you have until, like Icarus, you fly too close to the sun.
He is afflicted with a comprehensive and profound character disorder which leaves no corner of his psyche whole. And this dictates - and explains - every aspect of his behavior.
Take his recourse to bullying and slander. “I’m a counterpuncher,” he rationalizes. “[I]’ve been responding to what they did to me.” Now we understand, Donald - your enemies made you do it.
This astoundingly graceless and unpresidential behavior is far too pointless and indiscriminate to qualify as strategy or tactics. The common thread in all this lashing out - often at those who can’t fight back - is that it has nothing to do with issues, or anything else one would expect from a normal candidate. It is another symptom of Trump’s pathology - the visceral reflex to humiliate and degrade anyone who displeases him, no matter the context or situation.
Opposition of any kind enrages him. He incites reprisals against protesters. He threatened violence in Cleveland as payback for the GOP’s “unfairness.” He fuels anger against Hispanics, Muslims, and other minorities whom he perceives as inimical. And never - not once - does he take any responsibility for stirring these toxic pots. For one of the symptoms of his disability is an absence of conscience or accountability.
Which brings us to a central problem of Trump’s warped psychology - he believes that filling the presidency requires nothing but the wonder of himself. This gives the lie to GOP’s most craven rationalization of its own capitulation: that a suddenly docile Trump will, as president, defer to a cadre of wise and experienced advisors drawn from the party establishment.
This is pernicious nonsense. Consistent with his character disorder, Trump proudly insists that his chief advisor is himself. Even were he so inclined, in order to learn from others he must know enough to discern good advice from bad. But such is his pathology that he feels no need to learn much of anything from anyone. And so, from the beginning, he has plunged us down the bottomless rabbit hole of his intellectual emptiness.
His ignorance and grandiosity form a lethal compound. He disowns NATO, unaware that he is playing into Putin’s hands; blithely proposes nuclear proliferation in Asia; muses aloud about using nuclear weapons; and imagines negotiating one-on-one with North Korea’s psychotic leader. He proposes a trade war potentially ruinous to the world economy. He abets ISIS and Al Qaeda by scapegoating all Muslims at home and abroad. Oblivious to the appalled reaction around the globe, he promises to compel the respect of world leaders through “ the aura of personality.”
His equally spurious domestic “proposals”, such as they may be, reflect nothing but the unreality of his own self-concept. His tax plan is absurd on its face. His astonishing proposal to trash America’s credit by defaulting on our debt reveals an inability to differentiate between running a casino and a country. His posturing for the NRA is as dangerous as it is dishonest.
One can forecast the inevitable day to day damage to our country - the lashings out, the abuses of power, the mercurial and confidence- destroying lies and changes of mind, the havoc his distorted lens would wreak upon our institutions and our spirit. But most dangerous of all is the collision between a volatile world, a leader unable to perceive external reality, and the often unbearable pressures of the presidency. That Trump’s judgement would crack time and again is certain - the only question is how dangerous the moment.
So how have we fallen prey to a man who, by the damning evidence of his own behavior, is psychologically unfit to be president? When did boasting top coherence; mindless posturing become strength; a talent for ridicule supplant experience or judgement; a gift for scapegoating surpass wisdom or generosity? Why must we even contemplate someone with this stunted inner landscape as the world’s most powerful man?
[T]wo institutions deserve special condemnation.
First, the Republican Party. For too long it fed the GOP’s middle and working class base easy scapegoats - Washington, minorities - while the Paul Ryans of the party contravened its voters’ interests: pushing free trade, reduced entitlements, and tax cuts for the rich. Trump is what happened to the party when its electorate spat this pablum out. . . . . Even more contemptible is the party’s embrace of Trump. For we have reached, as David Brooks wrote, the GOP’s “McCarthy moment” - a turning point when concern for country should override grubby pragmatism.
But, with honorable exceptions, the broadcast media has been even more shameful and complicit. Worst of all is cable news -in pursuit of revenue and ratings, they have given Trump $3 billion in free advertising, feeding his candidacy - and his ego - by spreading the mythology of his imperviousness and power. . . . . Wallowing in self interest, they have shrunk from saying what must be said: that Trump is unfit for higher office.
The Republican Party is beyond redemption. The media have five months left. Let them use it well.
Never in my memory have I been so frightened by a candidate for the White House and never do I remember a comparable blindness of so many to the threat that the nation faces.