Sunday, 11 June 2017 12:11

The consequences of having personality disordered persons in high political offices, Trump.

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Ozodi Thomas Osuji

In June of 2015, Donald J Trump declared his intention to compete to become the President of the United States of America. Prior to that date I did not know much about him.

Upon the declaration of his intention to become the president I did a little research on him; I read up on him.

His speeches struck me as that of a third grader at an elementary school, a boy of about eight years old. His diction was pedestrian. Clearly, the man was not well educated. I wondered whether he even completed high school but learned that, in fact, he did go to college.

I decided that he is a semi-illiterate. But that is no matter; there is nowhere it is written in the US Constitution that you have to be college educated to be the president. Harry Truman did not go to college but was a self-educated man; he knew as much about history as anyone else. So, I ignored Trump's apparent lack of sophistication and began paying attention to his behavior and character.

It did not take me more than a few days of observing the man to realize that he has narcissistic personality disorder with features of anti-social personality disorder.

He has malignant, pathological narcissism and thinks like a criminal. He has no social conscience and tells lies all the time; he wants to be seen as very good; he wants to be the center of social attention and to be perpetually told by all people that he is good.

Generally, as a child, the narcissist was pampered by his parents and therefore was raised to feel that he is very good. Generally, he is good at sports and schooling. Many of them actually have good records at school.

The point is that narcissists are no dummies. Trump is no dummy; if he were a dummy he would not have made billions of dollars from the real estate business.

Narcissism has nothing to do with the individual's intellect but with his psychological functioning; the person feels inordinately inferior and inadequate and wants other people to tell him that he is the best at whatever he does. Generally, he works hard and accomplishes a lot in life. Many business moguls and military generals are narcissistic.

The narcissist tends to have no qualms in using people to get what he wants. He uses people to get to where he wants to go and then discards them as if they are useless garbage.  He does not feel bad using people; to him people are inferior beings to be used by the superior person to get what he wants and not pay attention to their feelings.  Who cares about inferior persons feelings, is his approach to people.

The narcissist generally marries beautiful women. He does not love the woman he marries but marries her for her beauty. In his mind other men would be admiring him for having a smashingly beautiful woman around him. She is an appendage to his grandiose ego and makes him feel like he is the envy of the men he is competing with. The woman is a parlor trophy. She is given all the creature comfort, placed in a penthouse but not loved. She feels not loved but contend herself with the money and luxury that surrounds her.

Narcissistic Trump married beautiful women and used them to decorate his surroundings and when they get a bit old and ugly he discards them like rag dolls and gets on with other beautiful women.

After about a month of observing Trump, I wrote a piece on him; I said that he has narcissistic personality disorder with traits of anti-social personality.

I tend to be fascinated by folks with high IQ (IQ over 140, the geniuses of this world) and do not really care that much about average persons (average IQ is 85-115; above average IQ is 118-130; Superior IQ is 132-139; anything above 140 is genius; about 2% of the people have superior IQ; 2% have mental retardation, IQ under 70;  about 10% of the people have above average IQ, the rest of humanity is average). Trump seemed to me mediocre, average and, therefore, of no interest to me so I tuned him out.

However, recently, I have been thinking about Trump. I am thinking about what it means to place a man with personality disorder in a high political office.

Persons with personality disorders create havoc in the lives of those around them. In the 1930s Germans elected Adolf Hitler, a man with obvious genius level IQ but a man with paranoid, narcissistic and anti-social personality disorders. He wrought havoc on Europe. His desire to be the most powerful man on earth, to compensate for his sense of being utterly inferior, made him go to war and brought suffering to Germany, Europe and the world.

In America we have elected a personality disordered man and within six months in office he has given us a taste of what lies instore for us. This man is showing us what it means to have a personality disordered person in high political office.  Fortunately, unlike Hitler who was a genius, Trump is not smart so we can actually manage him!

If we surround him with healthy and assertive persons he is not going to do a lot of damage. Nevertheless, he is going to give us political excitement. The mad king is not going to be boring.

A personality disordered person is like you and I except that his habitual pattern of behavior is problematic. He is not mentally ill.

Mental health professionals define mental illness as those with schizophrenia and or mania, delusion disorder and depression but not those with personality disorders.

You may not know it, the person next to you, even you, may have a personality disorder. The person with personality disorder may seem perfectly normal. It takes professional mental health professionals (psychiatrists and psychologists) to differentiate personality disorders from normalcy.

American Psychiatry recognizes ten personality disorders: paranoid, schizoid, schizotypal, narcissistic, histrionic, borderline, anti-social, avoidant, dependent, obsessive-compulsive and passive aggressive personality disorders.  If you read up on those you probably will find traits of some of them in you; the fact that you are normal does not mean that you are not a bit crazy! What is mental health, anyway, and who defines it, human beings or God?

Folks with personality disorders are found in all walks of life; many of them are professors, medical doctors, engineers, judges, police men, military generals etc.

Psychoanalysts used to call those we now call personality disordered neurotics. According to psychoanalysis all of us have some neurosis. Have you in your entire life seen a perfectly mentally healthy person, and what does he or she look like? I have not seen a mentally healthy person!

Since we all have some mental health issues, in my view, we ought to test all high school kids' personalities and intelligence; we ought to give all of them the MMPI (personality test) and WAIS (IQ test) and give them feedback on their personality and level of intelligence and ask them to try to understand their issues.

The thesis of this essay is that folks with personality disorders tend to disturb the human polity. As we have seen, Donald Trump is disturbing not only the American polity but the entire world.

Mister Trump tells us that he is a billionaire; he is always bragging about how rich he is. Of course, it is nice to be rich. Wealth can give you access to the good things of this world; it is not a virtue to be poor!

Human experience also teaches us that wealth does not change folks' psychological states. If you have personality issues having all the monies in this world would not change you, unless you work at changing.

Mr. Trump, like all human beings feels worthless. That is correct; all human beings feel like they have no value, worth and importance. Why?

Existential thinkers like Jean Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Jasper and Heidegger tell us that the nature of our existence makes us feel worthless. We are born in bodies. Our bodies are weak; our bodies are meat that are not different from the meat we buy from grocery stores. Meat does rot and smell bad.

We live, may be, up to 120 years, and die. The bodies we had worked very hard to provide for decay, rot and smell like feces.

Natural events like earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, cyclones, bacteria, virus and fungi kill us. Indeed, if other people wish to kill us they can do so (so we perpetually try to protect ourselves from potential killers). These facts make us feel like we are nothing of significance.

We do not see meaning in our lives. However, in pursuit of meaning we establish religions that posit gods that supposedly protect us and welcome us to their heaven when we die. When we think about those gods they seem mere myths not facts; at any rate, in this phenomenal world the gods do not protect us; only we protect us.

Have you been around a dead and decaying human body? You would close your nose for the smell is awful.

The awareness of our lack of existential specialness makes us feel lacking in worth.  If you care to think about it, and at some point in your life, especially during your teenage years, you did (that is why teenagers tend to commit suicide), you realized that our bodies are nothing.

Our minds are like those of the gods (of our imaginations) but our bodies are literally shit waiting to happen! As a result of this reality we feel worthless.

Of course, no one likes to feel worthless. Therefore, all of us try to do something to cover up our sense of worthlessness.

Human beings use what psychoanalysts call ego defense mechanisms to mask their deeper awareness of who they are. The defense mechanisms are: repression, suppression, denial, projection, displacement, rationalization, sublimation, reaction-formation, fantasy, minimization acting out, anger, fear, guilt, shame, pride and so on.  We compensate with a sense of worth where hitherto we felt worthless.

A normal person is a person who has used the various ego defense mechanisms to avoid conscious awareness that he feels like nothing and therefore appears to have good self-esteem and works hard to provide for his self and for his loved ones.

If, perchance, ones sense of worthlessness enters ones conscious mind one may overtly strive to seem superior to other people and in the process develop what the psychoanalyst, Alfred Adler called neurosis.

Psychosis, that is mental disorder, actually occurs when the individual's usual ego defenses break down; he is decompensated; he no longer has an effective way to defend his ego; he panics from feeling of non-being, depersonalization and de-realization and tries to re-compensate with a more grandiose self-concept and self-image. Where the neurotic wished to be god and powerful, the psychotic now says that he is god and powerful. As god he believes that he has all the power to make the universe do as he wants. Of course, that is fantasy power, not real power.

In psychoses the individual hallucinates in one or more of the five senses (auditory and or visual hallucinations are most common) and has bizarre delusions (belief in what is not true as true, such as believe that one is God or Napoleon). There is no hallucination in personality disorder.

A narcissist is a neurotic person who is acutely aware that as a human being he is nothing. He cannot deal with that idea and therefore denies it and compensates with desire to be important. Beginning in youth he works hard to seem socially hence existentially important.

In social and economic success he manages to avoid thinking about his underlying sense of nothingness. If he did think about it he would read philosophy and religion and become a thoughtful person rather than be like Trump, a man who does not read. Trump is literally a child in an adult's body!

The narcissist and those with other types of personality disorders pursue the appearance of importance; they do so in what Alfred Adler call "all or nothing" manner. That is, they seek success in an obsessive-compulsive manner, as if an inner force pressures them do so and they cannot resist it; they cannot let up, relax and smell the coffee and roses. If they let up they sense that they are nothing!

Addiction to work, like other addictions, such as to alcohol, drugs, overeating and sex, are used to veil our existential angst.

In Karen Horney's psychoanalytical terms, the neurotic has basic anxiety, for he sees his real self as no good and rejects it and uses his imagination to create an alternative self that he thinks is perfect and pursues it; he feels anxious from the possibility of failing attaining his ideal self, for to fail is to be returned to his dreaded and rejected real self.

Thus, neurotics always have free floating anxiety. Trump has underling anxiety; this is from his fear of failure and becoming the nothing he thinks that he is.

By and large, narcissists tend to succeed and as the world sees it they are successful persons. Neurotic Trump is a billionaire; he could also have been a great scientist or general in the military; but deep down he knows that he is nothing. However, since he does not want to acknowledge his existential nothingness he must struggle to seem important and have people tell him that he is important.

Trump feels like he is shit. Yes, despite his billions of dollars he feels like feces. He denies that feeling and tries to seem important. Since he is in denial and seeks prestige he will do whatever he can to seem prestigious in his and other persons eyes.

Trump's drive for importance includes him manipulating the polity and telling lies. The man may even take us to war. He knows that only those Presidents who went to war and won them are judged great presidents. George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodor Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Franklyn Roosevelt were war presidents hence evaluated as great presidents.

Trump may provoke a war and take millions of American kids to it to go win glory to gratify his narcissistic desire for glory.

The point is that persons with personality disorders do things that disturb or excite the human polity. These people, like them or hate them, one thing that you cannot say about them is that they are boring.

Is Trump boring? See, I judged him an average kind of guy and tuned him out but he is nevertheless engaging my attention hence this writing!

Whenever a leader is personality disordered the human polity becomes exciting; think of the famous leaders that you know of, such as Napoleon Bonaparte, Otto Von Bismarck, V.I. Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill, Mao Tso Tung, Fidel Castro; all of them had personality issues; were they boring? We are always talking about them, as we are already talking about Trump (even though he has actually not accomplished anything yet; not one of his proposed big policies, such as health care reform, tax reform and infrastructural development, and building the Trump great wall at the border with Mexico has passed Congress!).

Think of African leaders, are they boring? Many African leaders have what psychiatrists call Axis one mental disorders, not just personality disorders (which are axis two disorders).

My dear reader, we are in for four years of excitement during the reign of the new American king. So, go grab cans of beer, sit back and relax and enjoy the freak show and hope that it does not become nightmarish and bring death to us.

The American president is an elected king, he has more power than even the sun king, France's Louis the fourteen.

Let us enjoy the show given to us by our narcissistic king. I actually believe that such shows are occasionally necessary in the human polity. Normal leaders like Barack Obama are often boring.

I believe that sometimes we need semi mentally ill persons as our leaders. Wouldn't you say that Winston Churchill was a better leader than the normal Neville Chamberlain?

Personality disordered Hitler attacked Britain so Britain needed a mad dog to lead it to fight back; it did not need the civilized and gentle Chamberlain to fight the Hun on rampage!

In our age, mad Muslim Jihadists are running amok cutting off people's heads; we may need an equally crazy man to go cut off their heads.  Trump may be what we need to defeat Muslim jihadi terrorists.

So, let us understand our semi mad president but keep him around for he may well be what the universe thinks that we need to fight Muslims bent on returning mankind to prescientific life styles.

Sometimes what society needs are the rule of personality disordered persons, not the gentle but boring Barack Obamas of this world (that man would lay the carpet for Muslims to walk on and come take over the Christian world).

Finally, there are no cure for mental and personality disorders. Cognitive behavior psychotherapists like Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck try to heal personality disorder with their cognitive behavior therapy. I believe that a person with personality disorder can learn about his disorder. As to whether he can change himself, well, I have not seen one person do so (medications are not called for in treating personality disorders).

We, therefore, must brace ourselves to live with Trump and not have the illusion that we are going to heal him or that he is going to change his ways. We just have to learn to live with the child-man (he behaves like an eight year old child); we have to accept seeing him always telling us that he had great accomplishments that he did not have. We must learn to be amused by this clown in the White House.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

June 11, 2017

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Dr. Osuji can be reached at (907) 310-8176

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Ozodi Osuji Ph.D

Ozodi Thomas Osuji is from Imo State, Nigeria. He obtained his PhD from UCLA. He taught at a couple of Universities and decided to go back to school and study psychology. Thereafter, he worked in the mental health field and was the Executive Director of two mental health agencies. He subsequently left the mental health environment with the goal of being less influenced by others perspectives, so as to be able to think for himself and synthesize Western, Asian and African perspectives on phenomena. Dr Osuji’s goal is to provide us with a unique perspective, one that is not strictly Western or African but a synthesis of both. Dr Osuji teaches, writes and consults on leadership, management, politics, psychology and religions. Dr Osuji is married and has three children; he lives at Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

He can be reached at: (907) 310-8176