Play­ing with a full deck?


Our pres­i­dent has been di­ag­nosed by some men­tal health ex­perts as hav­ing a nar­cis­sis­tic per­son­al­ity dis­or­der. This is based on his ob­vi­ous self-ab­sorp­tion, com­pul­sive be­hav­ior, near-in­tu­itive ly­ing and loose as­so­ci­a­tion with re­al­ity.

Although he calls Trump “a world-class nar­cis­sist; grandiose, self-ab­sorbed, un­em­pathic etc,” Dr. Allen Frances, for­mer chair of the Duke Univer­sity School of Psy­chi­a­try, says Trump ex­hibits lit­tle ac­tual dis­abling psy­cho­log­i­cal dis­tress, im­pair­ment or other ev­i­dence of psy­chosis. Frances de­scribes Trump as “more bad than mad.”

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ir­re­press­ible nar­cis­sism is a per­son­al­ity dis­or­der, not a psy­chosis. The ma­jor symp­toms are para­noia, an an­ti­so­cial per­son­al­ity and sadism, all of which Trump has ex­hib­ited to vary­ing de­grees. His re­peated ly­ing (mul­ti­ple ex­am­ples), a dis­re­gard for the rights and feel­ings of oth­ers (the Trump Univer­sity fraud and re­peated sex­ual as­sault al­le­ga­tions) and his per­sis­tent de­mo­niz­ing of the press, mi­nori­ties and any­one else who op­poses him are clas­sic symp­toms of ma­lig­nant nar­cis­sism.

His un­re­strained im­pul­sive­ness emerged af­ter he viewed up­set­ting pic­tures of gassed Syr­ian chil­dren on the TV News. With­out fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion or con­sul­ta­tion he im­me­di­ately launched 59 Tom­a­hawk mis­siles at Syr­ian dic­ta­tor As­sad’s de­fenses. A sud­den lethal move such as this, es­pe­cially one that is con­trary to our long­stand­ing Mid­dle-east­ern poli­cies, is dis­turb­ing to say the least. One jour­nal­ist com­mented: “A for­eign pol­icy based on Trump’s gut re­ac­tions to the images flash­ing be­fore him on cable news is dan­ger­ous.”

An­other ex­pert ob­served, “If we take Trump’s words lit­er­ally there is lit­tle doubt that he is delu­sional. The only ques­tion is one of de­gree.” A delu­sion is a fixed false be­lief that is re­sis­tant to rea­son or con­fronta­tion with ac­tual fact. Ex­am­ples: De­spite the to­tal ab­sence of any sup­port­ing ev­i­dence, Trump still in­sists that his New York of­fice was bugged by Pres­i­dent Obama. Also, in the face of con­tra­ven­ing pho­to­graphic proof, he still claims his in­au­gu­ra­tion drew the big­gest crowd size of any in his­tory. But is that delu­sional, or just plain ly­ing?

As pre­vi­ously noted, Trump seems to lie in­stinc­tively and re­flex­ively. As Hitler and oth­ers be­fore him re­al­ized, Trump seems to un­der­stand that des­per­ate, an­gry peo­ple who feel they have been dis­pos­sessed are in no mood to hear log­i­cal ar­gu­ments based on fact. They pre­fer to be se­duced and com­forted by “al­ter­na­tive facts” (read: lies) and false prom­ises. They want an­swers, not ex­pla­na­tions, choices or chal­lenges.

Dr. Allen Frances says, “Hu­man ir­ra­tional­ity in the face of stress has a long past and may, un­for­tu­nately, en­joy a great fu­ture.” But again, much of Amer­ica’s per­ceived stress was largely a Trump in­ven­tion de­signed to stir up the emo­tions of his po­ten­tial sup­port­ers. In fact, the econ­omy, along with job growth, was up, crime was down and about as many Mex­i­can il­le­gals were go­ing home in 2016 as were com­ing north. But, as I’ve said be­fore, if a lie is re­peated of­ten enough peo­ple will be­gin to be­lieve it from the mere rep­e­ti­tion.

Af­ter Obama saved some ma­jor cor­po­ra­tions from bank­ruptcy early in his first term, in 2012 U.S. eco­nomic growth be­gan a steady climb, stock and bond prices rose, we en­joyed 72 con­tin­u­ous months of pri­vate-sec­tor job cre­ation and the rates for most types of crime de­clined. Most lowskilled job loss has been due to tech­no­log­i­cal dis­place­ment, not to im­mi­grants, il­le­gal or le­gal, or from U.S. cor­po­ra­tions flee­ing to es­cape ex­or­bi­tant taxes. Let’s get real about our sit­u­a­tion be­fore we get into more trou­ble from listening to Trump’s lies. We made a start with Novem­ber’s con­gres­sional elec­tions.

George B. Reed Jr., who lives in Rossville, can be reached by email at [email protected]­


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