Of politics, personality disorders, and me

Of politics, personality disorders, and me October 18, 2017

 

"Narcissus," by Caravaggio
When I was younger and not nearly so psychologically disturbed, I served as the model for Caravaggio’s painting of “Narcissus” (ca. 1594-1596)  (Wikimedia Commons public domain)

 

As a conservative, I’m far from displeased with everything that has been done by the Trump administration.  But I continue to be very concerned about Mr. Trump himself.

 

You may or may not be able to gain access to it — I can’t give you access, legally — but this Wall Street Journal article by Peggy Noonan is an important one:

 

“What Bob Corker Sees in Trump”

 

In case you haven’t followed what Senator Corker (R-TN), the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has recently said about our president, here are some samples:  Senator Corker has observed that, thus far, Mr. Trump has not yet demonstrated the “stability” and “competence” to be a successful president. To which Mr. Trump responded with a tweet mocking Senator Corker’s 5’7″ height.  To which Senator Corker replied with a tweet that read “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center.  Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”

 

Senator Corker has confessed that “the president concerns [him].”  He comments that Mr. Trump’s “volatility” is “alarming,” adding that the president’s tweets have been “very damaging to us,” especially on foreign policy matters, and that other senators, including many of his Republican colleagues, share his deep worries about this presidency.  Mr. Corker feels that he can now say openly what many are evidently saying privately, because he’s announced his intention to retire from the Senate.

 

Peggy Noonan’s column goes on to illustrate why more than a few people are nervous, indicating that members of the White House staff are finding it increasingly difficult to manage Mr. Trump.

 

And here are some additional relevant pieces, starting with one from George F. Will:

 

“The Chaos Grows”

 

“Trump vs. the First Amendment”

 

“Donald Trump: America’s Talent-in-Chief”

 

“Why Not an IQ Test?: Take Trump Up on His Challenge”

 

“White House Watch: Tillerson Refuses to Deny He Called Trump a ‘Moron,’ Again”

 

You may recall that articles like this one, and with similar titles, have been appearing in fairly large numbers since even before the 2016 election:

 

“Narcissist-in-Chief: A psychological take on a political reality”

 

***

 

Of course, I’m scarcely the person to point a finger at Mr. Donald J. Trump for alleged psychological and behavioral issues.

 

A few days ago, a dispassionately scientific observer of (as he put it) my “characteristic behaviors” who publishes on a mostly atheist ex-Mormon message board observed that my signature traits — which include an utter disregard for the feelings of others (curiously combined with a desperate craving for their admiration and a deep resentment of them), a sense of personal entitlement,  an inability to tolerate even the slightest criticism, and a complete lack of decency — mark me almost certainly as a sufferer from “narcissistic personality disorder” or NPD.  Indeed, my sad case seems to be growing worse and worse with each passing year.

 

Now, this distinguished anonymous scientist acknowledges that, according to DSM 5 — the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association — NPD must, ideally, be diagnosed by a professional.  Still, my case seems pretty unambiguous.  After all, as he notes, manifesting a mere five of the following nine traits is enough, according to DSM 5, to clinch the diagnosis:

 

  • A grandiose logic of self-importance
  • A fixation with fantasies of infinite success, control, brilliance, beauty, or idyllic love
  • A credence that he or she is extraordinary and exceptional and can only be understood by, or should connect with, other extraordinary or important people or institutions
  • A desire for unwarranted admiration
  • A sense of entitlement
  • Interpersonally oppressive behavior
  • No form of empathy
  • Resentment of others or a conviction that others are resentful of him or her
  • A display of egotistical and conceited behaviors or attitudes

 

I cite the precise list above as it’s given at “Narcissistic Personality Disorder DSM-5 301.81 (F60.81),” by Dr. Helen Okoye.  “The definition of NPD,” writes Dr. Okoye, “states that it comprises of [sic] a persistent manner of grandiosity, a continuous desire for admiration, along with a lack of empathy. It starts by early adulthood and occurs in a range of situations.”  And she’s probably never even heard of me!

 

Well, there you have it.  As they say, it is what it is.  Objective science has spoken its verdict.

 

It’s probably time, in that light, to flee the state of Utah, and perhaps even the country, lest I be hauled off to an asylum.  And it’s surely time to unveil my new theme song.

 

***

 

I’ve been accumulating binders full of Mitt Romney material over the past two or three weeks — and not merely because he’s published in Interpreter — so I think I’ll share a few such items:

 

“Romney praises McCain for ‘Lincolnesque’ speech”

 

“Opportunity knocks on Mitt Romney’s door”

 

“Commentary: Mitt Romney must run for president in 2020”

 

“Send Mitt Romney to Puerto Rico:  The island needs an adviser to navigate Washington, Wall Street, and an uncertain future. He’s perfect.”

 

I still find myself wistfully contemplating — when, that is, I’m not totally focused on admiring myself in a mirror or a reflecting pool — how things might have been different had Mitt Romney won the 2012 presidential election.

 

 


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