There are five basic personality traits that Donald Trump displays that explain every action he takes, every word he utters, every tweet he twitters, every position he maintains, and every flip he flops. They overlap in their effect, and reinforce one another into the model of duplicity, stupidity, arrogance and incompetence that infests the White House now. Everything Trump does reflects this personal pathology, a toxic cocktail betraying a diseased brain.
He is a narcissist
Professionals often differentiate between grandiose narcissists, who really believe the world revolves around them, and covert narcissists, who think their natural gifts deserve to have the world revolve around them, but are actually compensating for a glaring shortcoming known but to them which, if revealed, threatens their social standing. I believe narcissism is narcissism, and the flavor depends on whether you’re talented and introspective enough to realize the outer shell is, indeed a shell projected to others whose approbation is locked into your idea of self-worth, or whether the outer shell is all there is.
Trump is the grandiose type; other than the shell, there is no “there” there. In fact, like so many on the Right these days, introspection would kill him via suicide. If they had the gene to process irony, they would collapse under the weight of their own shame. But Trump’s projection is not a defense mechanism, not even subconsciously. It’s unwarranted, overweening arrogance, completely oblivious to his own hubris.
It’s why everyone else in the world who criticizes him at all is clearly lying, in his eyes. There is nothing in him that can admit of his being anything other than magnificent. It is also what justifies all his criminal behavior and his reflexive lying. Trump believes an act is “good” simply because his doing it makes it good. A “fact” is “true” simply because he stated it, and “how dare you call ME a liar.”
He has attention deficit disorder
Trump’s tragi-comically short attention span can be so debilitating that, at times, he cannot even finish a sentence. He digresses into a series of dependent clauses, or asides, or equivocations, and trails off into weak, open-ended finishes, or simply switches without segue into a new, unconnected thought.
Like many ADD folks, he CAN concentrate for an extended period of time on something that interests him. As far as we know, only one thing truly interests him: himself. So the hours he spends “working” is often just spent reading things about himself. The one briefing book he will peruse until dog-eared is the one prepared twice a day full of glowing encomiums about himself, and pictures of himself looking god-like if there aren’t enough good things written about him.
He demonstrates the Dunning-Krueger effect
Trump is deeply, intensely and sincerely stupid. Part of it is genetics, but his worldview of unmitigated superiority feeds into this as well. It cannot conceive of himself as someone who could be stupid. In addition, he is ignorant. His ADD prevents him from remedying this, because he can’t concentrate long enough to read in-depth analyses (let alone understand them) so he captures the world in sound-bites from TV, and briefings must have pictures and maps – he likes maps. His speech patterns betray this, as well. Very often, the words he uses to define a concept are really verbal cues about the concept, rough trigger words that, in normal people, set off a chain of other associative ideas. For Trump, the thumbnail IS the picture.
The Dunning-Krueger effect essentially says that some people are so dumb, they can’t conceive of how dumb they are. Their brains cannot conceive of a world more complex than they can understand, nor of any valid points of view other than their own. Any factoids Trump does manage to learn (“France is America’s oldest ally!”) must be little-known facts, that a lot of people don’t know (not just himself.)
He’s an authoritarian
The idea of the authoritarian mindset was developed post-WWII in an attempt to understand not just fascist leaders, but the followers of such leaders, as well. The characteristics of authoritarians include a Manichaean worldview, a personal, cultural and ethnocentric superiority complex, a difficulty in dealing with uncertainty, and thus a yearning for a clear, simple and direct chain of command. It roots and cloaks itself in a patina of morality, moral certainty, moral absolutism.
“Disgust” is a common conceptual framework for the “Other,” a set of racial, or sexual, or religious, or political boogeymen who are to blame for everything, and who dirty the body politic, or infest the homeland. Listen to how he often expresses disgust, especially for women and their bodily functions (Hillary was in the bathroom!) Female uncleanliness and ritual impurity has long been a trick used by authoritarian males to assert unwarranted dominance.
Trump has to keep up the glamour and prestige (in the magical senses of those words) of being the ultimate authority. It’s why he has the ironclad non-disclosures and insisted on always being called “Mr. Trump” by all his employees.
He’s a eugenicist
Being a grandiose-type narcissist, not only is he the most wonderful example of a human being, but history and nature conspired to make him so! Trump truly believes that he is a product of superior genes and that, by extension, so are all of his children. Also by whatever passes for logic in that mush melon of a head of his, white breeding is superior to non-white breeding, and rich breeding is superior to poor breeding. European breeding is superior to most, and European-American breeding is superior to all.
Therefore, if you are part of the Other, if you don’t share the characteristics of Trump, the apotheosis, in his diseased brain, of a man, then you DON’T deserve health care, nor regular food, nor clean water nor adequate shelter. If you had any worth at all, you could pay for these things yourself, and people who are not Trump-like actually are criminal sub-humans, undeserving of existence. The less you are like Trump, the less you are TO Trump, unless you bend the knee to him, and sing his praises; then, you are merely the exception that proves the rule, the sole credit to your Otherness.
These five personality pathologies clearly interconnect with and reinforce one another. Together, they comprise a man so fatally flawed, and so blind in his own hubris, that he is beyond the pale of normal comprehension, which is why so many people have asserted so bootlessly for so long that, WAIT! He soon will pivot to “normal.” WAIT! He’s gonna be “Presidential” now. WAIT! Reince Priebus, General Kelly, Ivanka and Jared, Somebody, Somehow, Somewhere will rein him in. All those folks are still WAITing, because abnormal psychology is Trump’s normal setting.
We who saw through him from the start? Sadly, we are not surprised by any of his behavior.
But we are, rightfully and righteously, disgusted.
Originally published at JuanitaJean.com