Dr. Lance Dodes makes the case that the president suffers from a dangerous sociopathic disorder
Lance Dodes: Mr. Trump is a sociopath, in that he meets every diagnostic criterion for the official diagnostic term “Antisocial Personality Disorder.” The fact that this is a personality disorder, rather than simply a single symptom such as anxiety or depression, means that all his actions are signs of this severe, continuous, mental disturbance.
To understand his actions, it is essential to keep in mind that sociopaths have only one goal: to enhance themselves, and that in pursuing their self-interest, they lack both normal human empathy for others and a normal human conscience. Cheating, conning, lying, stealing, threatening are all done with no remorse.
When stressed with facts that would require them to admit failure, or even that others know more or are more capable than them, sociopaths lose track of reality, becoming delusional with insistence on the truth of what they psychologically need to maintain their superior view of themselves. Indeed, nobody matters except to the degree they can serve the sociopath’s personal needs.
That’s why loyalty is demanded, but as soon as an associate disagrees, the sociopath turns on them with a fury; there was never a real relationship to begin with.
Mr. Trump’s denial of the facts about Mr. Warmbier is consistent with his sociopathy. He ignores reality, is unremorseful about lying and does not hesitate to sacrifice the feelings of others such as Mr. Warmbier’s family. We don’t know exactly why he lied in this case, but one possibility is that Mr. Trump has heavily promoted his relationship with Kim as evidence of his superior ability to manage world tensions and thinks that confronting Kim would interfere with that, hence personally diminishing Mr. Trump. In any case, Mr. Trump’s absence of feelings for Mr. Warmbier or his family is the same as his absence of feelings for the disabled reporter he mocked, for religious and racial minorities, for children separated from their parents at the border and on and on.
Lance Dodes: Mr. Trump has a long history that proves his diagnosis. If you consider the 7 traits that define Antisocial Personality Disorder in the DSM-5, he meets every one of them:
Rarely has a political party more deserved the destruction the Republican Party may be about to suffer at the hands of President Trump’s former strategist, ideological guru and onetime puppeteer Steve Bannon. It was obvious during the earliest days of the campaign that Trump never intended to be either the leader or the protector of the Republican Party. He had contempt for the party. For one thing, it was a proven loser. For another, it crumpled like stick figures under his steamroller. Who could respect people who fell so easily, and so willingly?
Party leaders were especially contemptible in Trump’s eyes. They couldn’t even see what he was doing to them, or if they did, they were too cowardly to stop him. He had contempt for them when they tried to distance themselves from his racist, sexist and all around antisocial behavior. But he had even more contempt for them when they nevertheless came crawling back to him, again and again, pledging their fealty. He knew they came back not because they approved of him but because they feared him and the political following he commanded. He had stolen the hearts of their constituents, and therefore he owned them. He would use them as needed, and dispose of them when he could, knowing they could do nothing about it. “I saw them at Munich,” Hitler said of his British and French counterparts, whom he dubbed “little worms.”
.. Trump could even pretend to support the establishment’s choice, but his voters would know better. The result would be a rout. Some establishment Republicans would lose, either in the primary or the general; others would be afraid to run for reelection; others would try to suck up to Bannon in the hopes of persuading him not to unleash the hounds; all would try to mimic Trump. And it didn’t matter which path they took: These would all be victories for Trump.
.. Republican leaders cry, “You’re helping the Democrats win!” But that doesn’t matter to Bannon and Trump. For one thing, it may not even be true, for who can be sure that a thoroughly Trumpist Republican Party won’t be able to defeat a Democratic Party apparently bent on nominating unelectable candidates on the left? But either way, Bannon and Trump undoubtedly believe it is more important to turn the party into Trump’s personal vehicle, to drive out the resisters, the finger-waggers, the losers, the proud scions of the responsible establishment who could not stop Trump and apparently cannot legislate their way out of a paper bag.
.. Should we have rooted for Republican leaders to fight back? Sure. And we did. The party would be worth saving if it contained even a dozen women and men of courage. But of course if it did contain such people, it wouldn’t need saving.
.. The rest of Republican voters should leave the party until it earns back the right to their support. They should change their registration and start voting for Democratic moderates and centrists, as some Republicans did in Virginia recently, to give them a leg up in their fight against the party’s left wing. A third party of “good Republicans” is a fantasy. This is a two-party country. To defeat one, you have to support the other, either directly or indirectly. Right now the country’s best hope is for a moderate Democratic Party that speaks for that sizable majority of Americans who recognize the peril of seven more years of Trump in the White House.
this concocted dumb show of loyalty only served to suggest how unsustainable it all is.
.. The reason that this White House staff is so leaky, so prepared to express private anxiety and contempt, even while parading obeisance for the cameras, is that the President himself has so far been incapable of garnering its discretion or respect. Trump has made it plain that he is capable of turning his confused fury against anyone in his circle at any time.
.. blamed the Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, for the legal imbroglio that Trump himself has created.
.. The President has fired a few aides, he has made known his disdain and disappointment at many others, and he will, undoubtedly, turn against more.
Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Jared Kushner, Jeff Sessions, Sean Spicer–––who has not yet felt the lash?
.. Trump’s egotism, his demand for one-way loyalty, and his incapacity to assume responsibility for his own untruths and mistakes were, his biographers make plain, his pattern in business and have proved to be his pattern as President.
.. Veteran Washington reporters tell me that they have never experienced this kind of anxiety, regret, and sense of imminent personal doom among White House staffers
.. by retailing information anonymously they will be able to live with themselves after serving a President who has proved so disconnected from the truth and reality.
.. Pat, who on vacations resided separately from the President.
.. making sure that Henry Kissinger was no longer seated at state dinners next to the most attractive woman at the occasion.
.. Nixon, who barely acknowledged, much less touched, his own wife in public, resented Kissinger’s public, and well-cultivated, image as a Washington sex symbol.
.. Incident after incident revealed Nixon’s distaste for his fellow human beings, his racism and anti-Semitism, his overpowering personal suspicions, and his sad longings. Nixon, the most anti-social of men
.. It was all for the sake of “history,” Nixon said.
.. Kennedy and Johnson had taped selectively, but Nixon wanted it all for the record––his own records––but no one was to know.
.. there is little evidence that the show of bogus loyalty performed last week has any basis in real life.
.. Will Bannon, Spicer, Conway, Sessions, Kushner, and many others who have been battered in one way or another by Trump, keep their counsel? Will all of them risk their futures to protect someone whose focus is on himself alone and the rest be damned? Will none of them conclude that they are working for a President whose honesty is on a par with his loyalty to others?