Newsweek International - - DANGER - BY LANCE DODES, M.D.



a very public fig­ure for many years, we are in an ex­cel­lent po­si­tion to know his be­hav­iors—his speech and ac­tions— which are pre­cisely the ba­sis for mak­ing an as­sess­ment of his dan­ger­ous­ness, whether we as­sess him us­ing the Amer­i­can Psy­chi­atric As­so­ci­a­tion’s Di­ag­nos­tic and Sta­tis­ti­cal Man­ual of Men­tal Dis­or­ders cri­te­ria for an­ti­so­cial per­son­al­ity dis­or­der, as be­low, or whether we ap­ply our knowl­edge of ma­lig­nant nar­cis­sism, both of which in­clude the signs and symp­toms of so­ciopa­thy. Let us con­sider these in turn. Lack of Em­pa­thy for Oth­ers; Lack of Re­morse; Ly­ing and Cheat­ing Trump’s mock­ing the dis­abil­ity of a hand­i­capped re­porter, un­con­cern for the safety of protesters at a rally (“Get rid of them!”), sex­u­ally as­sault­ing women, threat­en­ing phys­i­cal harm to his op­po­nent in the elec­tion (al­lud­ing to gun own­ers elim­i­nat­ing her), re­peat­edly ver­bally at­tack­ing a fam­ily who lost their son fight­ing for the coun­try, de­grad­ing peo­ple who crit­i­cize him (call­ing them in­sult­ing names, as he did in both the Repub­li­can pri­maries and the gen­eral elec­tion), a history of cheat­ing peo­ple he’s hired by not pay­ing them what he owes, and tar­get­ing and ter­ri­fy­ing mi­nor­ity groups all pro­vide over­whelm­ing ev­i­dence of pro­found sociopathic traits. Loss of Re­al­ity Trump’s in­sis­tence on the truth of mat­ters proved to be un­true (“al­ter­na­tive facts”) is well known, even when such de­nial is not in his in­ter­est. He has falsely claimed that Pres­i­dent Barack Obama is not an Amer­i­can and that he wire­tapped Trump’s build­ing, that his loss in the pop­u­lar vote of the gen­eral elec­tion was caused by il­le­gal aliens, that he had the largest in­au­gu­ra­tion crowd in history and so on. To­gether, these show a per­sis­tent loss of re­al­ity. Rage Re­ac­tions and Im­pul­siv­ity Trump’s rages have been re­ported on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions, lead­ing to sud­den de­ci­sions and ac­tions. He fired and sub­se­quently threat­ened the di­rec­tor of the FBI af­ter hear­ing

him tes­tify in un­wanted ways be­fore Congress; launched more than 50 mis­siles within 72 hours of see­ing a dis­turb­ing im­age on the news, reversing his stated Mid­dle East pol­icy; pre­cip­i­tously vi­o­lated diplo­matic norms, creat­ing in­ter­na­tional ten­sions (as with re­ports of threat­en­ing to in­vade Mex­ico, hang­ing up on the prime min­is­ter of Aus­tralia, an­tag­o­niz­ing Ger­many, France, Greece and oth­ers); and is­sued il­le­gal ex­ec­u­tive or­ders, ap­par­ently with­out vet­ting them with knowl­edge­able at­tor­neys.


While there have surely been Amer­i­can pres­i­dents who could be said to be nar­cis­sis­tic, none have shown sociopathic qual­i­ties to the de­gree seen in Trump. Cor­re­spond­ingly, none have been so defini­tively and so ob­vi­ously dan­ger­ous. Democ­racy re­quires re­spect and pro­tec­tion for mul­ti­ple points of view, con­cepts that are in­com­pat­i­ble with so­ciopa­thy. The need to be seen as su­pe­rior and a lack of em­pa­thy or re­morse for harm­ing other peo­ple are in fact the sig­na­ture char­ac­ter­is­tics of tyrants, who seek the con­trol and de­struc­tion of all who op­pose them, as well as loyalty to them­selves in­stead of the coun­try they lead.

The para­noia of se­vere so­ciopa­thy cre­ates a pro­found risk of war, since heads of other na­tions will in­evitably dis­agree with or chal­lenge the sociopathic leader, who will ex­pe­ri­ence the dis­agree­ment as a per­sonal at­tack, lead­ing to rage re­ac­tions and im­pul­sive ac­tion to de­stroy this “en­emy.” Trump’s sociopathic char­ac­ter­is­tics are un­de­ni­able and cre­ate a pro­found danger for Amer­ica.

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