The Chimps wonder how long the media will report on America’s Number 2™ without the context it obviously deserves: his glaring, obvious, and easily diagnosable personality disorder. That would be malignant narcissism – a disorder just one standard deviation removed from psychopathy or sociopathy (which, in Trump’s case, might be better diagnoses – time will tell).
Given how many Americans have had to deal with malignant narcissists in their lives (is there anyone out there whose family doesn’t include a tyrant, a ne’er-do-well, or a tornadic crazy uncle?), it’s odd that people aren’t willing to call Trump what he is: an incurable emotional Blastocyst who sees himself as the hero or the victim in a play where other human beings are mere stage props. Indeed, any good shrink will tell you that malignant narcissism is just a sloppy euphemism for pure evil; the driving symptom, either way you characterize it, is a complete inability to empathize with others.
Much has been written about this disorder, largely because so many of us have found ourselves wading through the debris it leaves behind after this tsunami of dysfunction hits full on; the flood recedes, but never quite leaves us dry again. If you’ve had to go through a relationship with one of these people, you know what we mean.
And one of these people is now to be president of the United States. Reporters and commentators still act as though they’re mystified by everything this monster does, as though anything he does is even a little bit mystifying. It’s not; it is entirely predictable and explicable. Lately, the media has collectively been asking, why won’t this man just listen to intelligence officers who want to provide him with presidential daily briefings? What is so hard about that? What is Trump’s problem?
The problem, obviously, is malignant narcissism. Many malignant narcissists (they form a critical mass of the ne’er-do-well variety) can’t finish college. You know why? Because they can’t stand having to listen to dumb, inferior, condescending assholes lecture them about how the world works. (Those assholes are commonly called professors.) If I’m a malignant narcissist, the spectacle of you lecturing me about anything is not just an affront, but an intolerable psychic injury. (If a malignant narcissist does finish college, like Trump did, it’s not by listening and learning, but by begrudgingly regurgitating enough academic slop to get the degree.)
Here’s some information about malignant narcissists that resulted from a quick Google search. See whether any of it brings a certain president-elect to mind:
1. They make it clear they know everything.
Narcissists don’t hesitate to educate lawyers about the legal system or enlighten doctors about medicine. After all, they know more about everything than anyone else, and they’re not afraid to show it. In fact, they can be expected to argue, educate, and inform you about virtually every topic you bring up in conversation: “Here’s where you got that wrong.” “That’s what most people think, but that’s not actually true.” They don’t shy away from disagreements or opportunities to tutor others about their way of thinking.
Right. So who is some intelligence officer to tell Donald trump about intelligence? Trump knows more about ISIS than generals — haven’t you heard? How is somebody who already knows everything about everything going to be lectured by mere bureaucrats, for Christ’s sake? It’s not just preposterous; it’s insulting and injurious.
2. They insist on being the exception to the rule.
Rules are for people who aren’t smart enough to make good decisions on their own, the narcissist believes, but they know they’re exceptional. And so the usual rules, laws, or policies don’t apply to them. They’re often good at manipulating others to bend the rules for them, reinforcing their belief that they shouldn’t have to succumb to the same regulations as everyone else.
Sure, normal presidents need to be told how the world works and what courses of action might be available. But this is Donald Trump we’re talking about here. He already knows how the world works and he could come up with the best, most fantastic courses of action ever known to man. He doesn’t need any help. So if a presidential daily briefing is some kind of a protocol or rule, well fuck protocols and rules; they don’t apply to Donald J. Trump.
3. They project an image of superiority.
Narcissists care greatly about their image. They want to make sure they appear wealthy, popular, and elite. They’re often materialistic and greatly enjoy name dropping, as associating themselves with the hottest brand or famous friends makes them feel important.
Let’s not deny what’s right there in front of us, in stark relief against the elegance of Barack Obama’s preternatural calm and caring. Everything Donald Trump does is the predictable act of a malignant narcissist. The rest of us are just stage props — each of us nothing more than a dispensable throw-away in somebody else’s story. We shudder to think how that story might end.