A psychologist from Yale University did an interview with Raw Story about Donald Trump’s psychological pathology, his tendency to create an alternate reality and seek revenge on those who make him feel inadequate. Dr. Bandy X. Lee identified, correctly in my view, the root of his pathology — emotional fragility.
Raw Story: The Mueller report, according to Attorney General William Barr, found no evidence of conspiracy to collude with Russia by the Trump administration. Yet the report did not exonerate the President on obstruction of justice. Nevertheless, the President’s response was to tweet out that he’d been fully exonerated. What accounts for the President’s reaction?
Bandy X. Lee: We have seen on multiple occasions that he cannot tolerate the slightest criticism or even unpleasant realities to the point where he has to fabricate his own, declaring real news “fake” and repeatedly attacking all those who remind him of his inadequacies, even posthumously. This gives away his level of emotional fragility, and we can expect that he will aggressively overplay aspects of the report that favor him and underplay parts that do not. Hence, it is inevitable that whatever he says will be distant from reality, including “complete and total exoneration.”The problem is, instead of containing his sickness, we as a nation have enabled it, allowing him to put in place individuals and structures that echo his distorted views, such as the new attorney general. This is what I meant when I said, since two years ago, that not treating mental impairment as a mental problem will cause it to become uncontainable—pathology coopts normal structures to destructive ends, not the other way around. We offer no benefit to Donald Trump, either, when we pretend he is a normal politician instead of offering proper treatment.
I think this is exactly right. It explains why he is so astonishingly thin-skinned and why he has a constant need for the praise and adulation of others, which he will often substitute with his own self-aggrandizing praise of his own genius. It explains his need to relentlessly attack anyone who questions him and, more importantly, anyone who is genuinely better than him. It explains the alternate reality he creates to soothe his fragile ego. In his own head, he is the hero of an epic story and he cannot understand why anyone else doesn’t see that. He is exactly the wrong person to be in charge of anything, especially the world’s most powerful nation.