Watching Trump campaign for the presidency is much like watching a man running an Olympic marathon wearing clown shoes. Granted, the hefty, course-mouthed self-promoter was surprisingly fast out of the starting blocks, but Trump now trips over his feet with every clownish misstep—two of his most recent being: denigrating the Muslim Kahn family who lost their U.S. officer son serving in Iraq, and not endorsing his party’s acknowledged leader, Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, in his reelection bid.
Yet, Trump’s most ardent fans continue to encourage and cheer him on. What’s wrong with this picture? A number of things, obviously, but foremost, about forty percent of Americans are essentially irrational, believing as they do that a blustery basket case of disjointed diatribes and capricious, xenophobic, vituperative ramblings against minorities and women will make a desirable and effective President.
What adds a stunning breadth to Trump’s ineptitude is his narcissistic[i] lack of boundaries. What squirrely thoughts rattling about between Trump’s ears soon tumble unimpeded from his mouth. He has little or no control over what he says—no boundaries—and he is incapable of thinking or caring about how people will view or react to what he says.
When the narcissist is applauded, adored, pampered, or told how smart, great, or wonderful they are, they purr and preen, basking in their own prefabbed glow. When Putin said he liked Trump, Trump responded in kind, lauding Putin—ignoring the potential fallout—because Trump is incapable of doing otherwise. This is classic Trump and precisely why Trump would be so dangerous a President—he’s just so damned easy to manipulate. Putin is salivating at the thought of a Trump presidency. Stroke Trump’s ego and he will pay out like a broken slot machine. And this is what makes Trump so erratic—a few word of praise or criticism can deliriously please him or send him off on a narcissistic rage.
Consider: a prime benefit of consciousness is that it allows us to recognize not only that we are being observed by others, but also how we are being perceived. We put ourselves in the other’s place to understand how they think, how we think we appear to them, to establish boundaries with them for good relationships, and to adjust our behavior to get along with others to cooperatively work together. Narcissism severely impairs this part of consciousness.
Trump’s inability to recognize or understand the impact of his words have on people is a significant narcissistic personality defect that would render him incapable of administrating or governing coherently this country, or dealing with world leaders positively or in our best interests. We clearly see the rampant chaos of his campaign. Now imagine four years of this chaos on a national and international stage with him as President.
Trump’s narcissism has been bandied about quite a bit lately. One of my parents was a raving narcissist, so while I am not a psychologist, you can take what I tell you next about narcissism to the bank: narcissists have no interpersonal boundaries; there is no line where they leave off and you begin. Zip. Nada. People are merely extensions of themselves put on earth to reflect back to them the beautiful, megalomaniacal image they have of themselves. When this does not happen, the narcissist often becomes angry or enraged, as Trump usually does when criticized.
Certainly Trump can play the god in his personal real estate fiefdom or the TV show, Celebrity Apprentice, but not on a national or international stage where arrogance, stupidity, and narcissism have dire consequences—thank you, George Bush, for taking God’s personal advice when he told you to start a war in Iraq.
“God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did …”
— George W Bush, according to Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas[i]
Trump coming this close to the presidency should be a frightening prospect to any rational, thinking person. The evangelical Christian arrogance and intrinsic stupidity of George Bush pales in comparison to the damage a narcissistic Trump could inflict upon the world.
[i] Narcissus was the beautiful Greek lad who so loved himself that he spent most of his time by a quiet pond, gazing at his image reflected back to him. Hence, you have the root name of the personality disorder and the flower often found by the water’s edge.