I included, in yesterday’s post, an editorial from the Denver Post that forthrightly called The Donald a liar, and I suggested that more such editorials could make a very big difference (maybe even a YUGE difference) in bringing about a realization, in this country, of what we are truly dealing with. Below are excerpts from an opinion piece (written by Connie Schultz) that appeared in yesterday’s Dallas Times, and was entitled:
“It’s time to call Donald Trump a liar”
“On Tuesday, I made a list of newspaper headlines on Donald Trump’s continued lie about nonexistent voter fraud.
The New York Times: “Trump Won’t Back Down From His Voting Fraud Lie. Here Are the Facts.”
The Washington Post: “Citing no new evidence, Trump continues to say there were millions of illegal votes.”
The Boston Globe: “White House defends illegal voting claim, without evidence.”
Los Angeles Times: “Trump’s unproven claims of widespread voter fraud trip up White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.”
Chicago Tribune: “White House doubles down on Trump’s claim that millions voted illegally, but provides no evidence.”
The Wall Street Journal: “Trump’s Claim of Massive Illegal Voting Gets Little Support From GOP Lawmakers.”
… Enough of this cat dance around what most of America already knows … we in the media must call this what it is: Our president is a chronic and unapologetic liar. And this is not normal.”
Trump is a liar
It’s very encouraging to witness the press calling it as they sees it. There will soon be no credible authority in this country that can deny the fact that Trump is a liar; and the man on the street, likewise, will have to concede the point or risk looking ridiculous.
Is Trump crazy?
Trump may be crazy. It appears that he cannot help himself, that he cannot stop lying, that he is a compulsive liar. All indications suggest that he suffers from a condition that is now being talked about quite a bit: narcissistic personality disorder, or NPD (see Addendum #1, in yesterday’s post). If true, this is much more alarming than the simple realization that “he lies”. It is the realization that he has lied and will continue to lie. And will, thus, put this country into ever-increasing danger.
So … this is the next challenge to the press. Will the press raise the issue of DT’s sanity? It will take backbone, to be sure, but is the necessary next step. Now is the time to ask both the country and Congress to consider this question: is the President able to discharge the powers and duties of his office?
by N. Ziehl
Coping with Chaos in the White House
A few days ago, I wrote a post for my Facebook friends about my personal experience with narcissistic personality disorder and how I view the president elect as a result. Unexpectedly, the post traveled widely, and it became clear that many people are struggling with how to understand and deal with this kind of behavior in a position of power. Although several writers, including a few professionals, have publicly offered their thoughts on a diagnosis, I am not a professional and this is not a diagnosis. My post is not intended to persuade anyone or provide a comprehensive description of NPD. I am speaking purely from decades of dealing with NPD and sharing strategies that were helpful for me in coping and predicting behavior. The text below is adapted from my original Facebook post.
I want to talk a little about narcissistic personality disorder. I’ve unfortunately had a great deal of experience with it, and I’m feeling badly for those of you who are trying to grapple with it for the first time because of our president-elect, who almost certainly suffers from it or a similar disorder. If I am correct, it has some very particular implications for the office. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1) It’s not curable and it’s barely treatable. He is who he is. There is no getting better, or learning, or adapting. He’s not going to “rise to the occasion” for more than maybe a couple hours. So just put that out of your mind.
2) He will say whatever feels most comfortable or good to him at any given time. He will lie a lot, and say totally different things to different people. Stop being surprised by this. While it’s important to pretend “good faith” and remind him of promises, as Bernie Sanders and others are doing, that’s for his supporters, so *they* can see the inconsistency as it comes. He won’t care. So if you’re trying to reconcile or analyze his words, don’t. It’s 100% not worth your time. Only pay attention to and address his actions.
3) You can influence him by making him feel good. There are already people like Bannon who appear ready to use him for their own ends. The GOP is excited to try. Watch them, not him. President Obama, in his wisdom, may be treating him well in hopes of influencing him and averting the worst. If he gets enough accolades for better behavior, he might continue to try it. But don’t count on it.
4) Entitlement is a key aspect of the disorder. As we are already seeing, he will likely not observe traditional boundaries of the office. He has already stated that rules don’t apply to him. This particular attribute has huge implications for the presidency and it will be important for everyone who can to hold him to the same standards as previous presidents.
5) We should expect that he only cares about himself and those he views as extensions of himself, like his children. (People with NPD often can’t understand others as fully human or distinct.) He desires accumulation of wealth and power because it fills a hole. (Melania is probably an acquired item, not an extension.) He will have no qualms *at all* about stealing everything he can from the country, and he’ll be happy to help others do so, if they make him feel good. He won’t view it as stealing but rather as something he’s entitled to do. This is likely the only thing he will intentionally accomplish.
6) It’s very, very confusing for non-disordered people to experience a disordered person with NPD. While often intelligent, charismatic and charming, they do not reliably observe social conventions or demonstrate basic human empathy. It’s very common for non-disordered people to lower their own expectations and try to normalize the behavior. DO NOT DO THIS AND DO NOT ALLOW OTHERS, ESPECIALLY THE MEDIA, TO DO THIS. If you start to feel foggy or unclear about this, step away until you recalibrate.
7) People with NPD often recruit helpers, referred to in the literature as “enablers” when they allow or cover for bad behavior and “flying monkeys” when they perpetrate bad behavior on behalf of the narcissist. Although it’s easiest to prey on malicious people, good and vulnerable people can be unwittingly recruited. It will be important to support good people around him if and when they attempt to stay clear or break away.
8) People with NPD often foster competition for sport in people they control. Expect lots of chaos, firings and recriminations. He will probably behave worst toward those closest to him, but that doesn’t mean (obviously) that his actions won’t have consequences for the rest of us. He will punish enemies. He may start out, as he has with the NYT, with a confusing combination of punishing/rewarding, which is a classic abuse tactic for control. If you see your media cooperating or facilitating this behavior for rewards, call them on it.
9) Gaslighting — where someone tries to convince you that the reality you’ve experienced isn’t true — is real and torturous. He will gaslight, his followers will gaslight. Many of our politicians and media figures already gaslight, so it will be hard to distinguish his amplified version from what has already been normalized. Learn the signs and find ways to stay focused on what you know to be true. Note: it is typically not helpful to argue with people who are attempting to gaslight. You will only confuse yourself. Just walk away.
10) Whenever possible, do not focus on the narcissist or give him attention. Unfortunately we can’t and shouldn’t ignore the president, but don’t circulate his tweets or laugh at him — you are enabling him and getting his word out. (I’ve done this, of course, we all have… just try to be aware.) Pay attention to your own emotions: do you sort of enjoy his clowning? do you enjoy the outrage? is this kind of fun and dramatic, in a sick way? You are adding to his energy. Focus on what you can change and how you can resist, where you are. We are all called to be leaders now, in the absence of leadership.
From an article published today in US News and World Report, by Susan Milligan, entitled:
Some say President Donald Trump’s personality isn’t just flawed, it’s dangerous.”
“John D. Gartner, a practicing psychotherapist who teaches psychiatric residents at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, minces as few words as the president in his professional assessment of Trump.
Donald Trump is dangerously mentally ill and temperamentally incapable of being president,” says Gartner, author of “In Search of Bill Clinton: A Psychological Biography.” Trump, Gartner says, has “malignant narcissism,” which is different from narcissistic personality disorder and which is incurable.
Gartner acknowledges that he has not personally examined Trump, but says it’s obvious from Trump’s behavior that he meets the diagnostic criteria for the disorder, which include anti-social behavior, sadism, aggressiveness, paranoia and grandiosity. Trump’s personality disorder (which includes hypomania) is also displayed through a lack of impulse control and empathy, and ‘a feeling that people … don’t recognize their greatness’.
We’ve seen enough public behavior by Donald Trump now that we can make this diagnosis indisputably,” says Gartner. His comments run afoul of the so-called Goldwater Rule, the informal term for part of the ethics code of the American Psychiatric Association saying it is wrong to provide a professional opinion of a public figure without examining that person and gaining consent to discuss the evaluation. But Gartner says the Trump case warrants breaking that ethical code.”