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Sun, Nov. 17

Letter: Trump psychoanalyzed


I’ve been carefully observing our presidential candidates for months now, especially Donald Trump, who continues to dominate TV news. In my opinion, Trump’s endless free publicity, overshadowing virtually all other candidates, and his apparent Republican presidential nomination, has plenty to do with his newsworthy, crass bravado, along with his audacious promises, contradictions and character assassination of others.

Needless to say, this guy both offends and worries me. In my judgment, his appeal may have more to do with his clearly self-aggrandized, bombastic personality peculiarities than any civic achievements.

As for me, a retired clinical and forensic psychologist, I’ve noticed a few behavioral symptoms that seem seriously overlooked or perhaps the news media is just reluctant to mention them. His endless campaign speeches are certainly hard to ignore, while unintentionally inviting some diagnostic impressions by this retired shrink. As a footnote, you may view my further comments as some sort of a spontaneous behavioral portrait. I’ll leave a careful, clinical diagnosis to my colleagues still in practice.

His principal focus seems to be on aggrandizing himself while viciously denigrating others, including Hillary Clinton, with such epitaphs as “liar,” “crook,” “useless,” etc. Such impressions of him by others have also included egotist, iconoclast and imperialist, reminiscent of fascism in the ’30s.

Incidentally, this article has little to do with my political affiliations; I simply care for our nation and needed to share with you my clinical observations and concerns about such a self-serving person further disrupting our increasingly vulnerable democracy!

Years ago, during graduate school, I was introduced to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 3), with its list of symptoms. Those earlier classifications of symptoms included psychopathic personality; while in the current updated DSM 5 classifications include antisocial and narcissistic personality symptoms. Many of Trump’s repeated behaviors and attitudes are indicative of some of these symptoms, including a grandiose sense of self-importance, lack of empathy, and a callous, cynical contempt for the feelings and rights of others, especially those that disagree with him. Personally, I still think he fits many of those psychiatric symptoms of the original psychopathic personality.

Although I’ve never met Trump in person, I truly cringe in imagining such a psychosocially insensitive, egocentric person as president of the United States! For those of you, however, who are not particularly interested in clinical diagnostics, Webster’s dictionaries contain the more common term “demagog” that also seems to fit Trump’s candidacy with incredible accuracy: “a person who wins over followers by appealing to emotions, prejudices, etc. in order to win them over quickly and gain power.”

Larry Wonderling, Ph.D.

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