I’ve been writing for a while that Donald Trump suffers from the mental disorder of acute narcissism as defined by the Merriam Webster medical dictionary. Last week the eminent psychiatrist who literally wrote the manual on diagnosing narcissistic personality disorder, a professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Duke University Medical College, Dr. Allen Frances, sent a letter to the New York Times rebuking a group of renowned American mental health professionals who think Trump’s mental condition makes him unfit to serve as president.
Thirty-five psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers, while acknowledging they were in breach of professional rules against evaluating public figures, deemed Trump’s unstable mental condition too threatening too ignore.
Their letter to the NYT asserted:
“Mr. Trump’s speech and actions demonstrate an inability to tolerate views different from his own, leading to rage reactions. His words and behaviour suggest a profound inability to empathise. Individuals with these traits distort reality to suit their psychological state, attacking facts and those who convey them (journalists, scientists).
“In a powerful leader, these attacks are likely to increase, as his personal myth of greatness appears to be confirmed. We believe that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president.”
In a subsequent letter, Dr. Frances told his colleagues that saying Trump is mentally ill is unfair to those who truly are.
His words are also worth repeating:
“Most amateur diagnosticians have mislabelled President Trump with the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder. I wrote the criteria that define this disorder, and Mr. Trump doesn’t meet them. He may be a world-class narcissist, but this doesn’t make him mentally ill, because he does not suffer from the distress and impairment required to diagnose mental disorder.
“Mr. Trump causes severe distress rather than experiencing it and has been richly rewarded, rather than punished, for his grandiosity, self-absorption and lack of empathy. It is a stigmatizing insult to the mentally ill (who are mostly well behaved and well meaning) to be lumped with Mr. Trump (who is neither).
“Bad behavior is rarely a sign of mental illness, and the mentally ill behave badly only rarely. Psychiatric name-calling is a misguided way of countering Mr. Trump’s attack on democracy. He can, and should, be appropriately denounced for his ignorance, incompetence, impulsivity and pursuit of dictatorial powers.
“His psychological motivations are too obvious to be interesting, and analyzing them will not halt his headlong power grab. The antidote to a dystopic Trumpean dark age is political, not psychological.”
I stand corrected by Dr. Frances, which allows me to go back to calling Trump a Mango Megalomaniac and an Evil Orange Clown without fear of disrespecting the mentally ill.
But what does it say when calling the U.S. President mentally ill is deemed an insult to those who suffer from mental disorders.
It says there are a hell of a lot of dangerous fruit cakes in the Divided States of America.
Watching interviews with Trump supporters, some of whom look normal on the outside, is to see mass delusion. These people still believe their Mango messiah is the best thing since chicken-flavoured Cheetos.
- They listen to his compulsive boasting and hear a plain-talking man of the people who will help them become the winners they have never been.
- They see chaos in the White House and dismiss it as a vast media conspiracy.
- They watch as their leader praises America’s arch enemy Russia and see a friend in dictator Vladimir Putin, in direct opposition to what most of them have believed since their childhoods in the nation’s hollows, swamps and trailer parks.
- They listen as Donald Trump tells them the election he won was rigged and see millions of brown illegal voters streaming to the polls.
- They hear about the Bowling Green massacre and insurrection in Sweden and reach for their guns.
The greatest threat to America is not immigrants, refugees, ISIS, Korea or even Russia. Instead it exists within its own borders in the heads of tens of millions of American citizens, heavily armed delusional fanatics who view an ignorant, incompetent, paranoid Reality TV star and pathological liar as the saviour who can transport them back to a time that never was, except in their distorted imaginations.
I ask again: Sane Americans, what have you allowed to happen on your watch? And more importantly: What are you going to do about it?