Trump is "not well"

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/09/10/trump-is-not-well.html

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The article doesn’t say a whole lot more of substance beyond Rob’s pullquote other than the author’s Republican bona fides, but it is worth noting that almost every noun, verb and adjective from that pullquote is a link in the original article to an example of each.

I cringed a little when the author called Trump an “emotional misfit” He’s unrelenting and psuedo-clinical in the rest of the article but this seemed a little too cute and too " deplorable-meme-ready" He also didn’t really hit on the naked greed and corruption quite enough. The “this is a broken, erratic, sick man” narrative has a dangerous tendency to gloss over the ways in which he is actually “winning” in the sense of enriching his empire of rats.

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There is zero doubt in my mind that if Trump had been granted the power to change the course of Hurricane Dorian he would have directed it to hit Alabama, because loss of innocent life doesn’t bother him nearly as much as getting called out on a mistake.

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Wehner makes some good points, but ultimately blaming Trump’s behavior on mental illness is a cop-out. He behaves the way that he does because he is an ignorant, horrible person with a vast array of bigoted ideas and enough money to force us all to take him seriously.

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He may not ever be clinically diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, but based on his public behaviour over the past several decades I’ve never seen any harm in assuming for myself that Biff in particular has it. The same goes for assuming for myself that there’s some form of arrested emotional development at work that makes him still act like he was at the age when Fred finally got fed up and sent him to military school.

It’s the anti-social behaviours that matter at this point, not the underlying clinical or other causes for them (sometimes a bullying arsehole is just a bullying arsehole). What’s far more worrisome is that at least a quarter of the electorate finds those behaviours attractive and commendable.

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I think writing an article like this without unpacking the vast difference between antisocial/narcissistic personality disorders and other mental illnesses is pretty irresponsible.

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I think they are two separate issues. It would be hypothetically possible for a person to be as chaotic, inarticulate, incoherent, impulsive and, to speculate, illiterate without being a horrible person. They’d still be a horrible president, mind you.

But if you can imagine someone who instead of wanting to build a wall on the south border, wanted to plant a vast forest over the entire midwest or someone who instead of creating trade wars just wanted to open up all markets completely. Someone who on a whim decided to decimate the military. Someone whose rambling late-night tweets were of a more positive, if still ridiculous, nature.

No, I think his bigotry and self-centredness is a core part of who he is and I suspect he would still be an awful person even if he were more competent (see Pence).

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Yeah, “not well” is not a good shorthand for narcissism. Imagine describing someone with ebola as “not well”. You end up implying either that it’s not that bad or that we need to quarantine cancer patients.

In most cases people without mental illnesses are far more dangerous to people with mental illnesses than vice versa.

Right now our society is set up to promote narcissism and narcissists. And I’m not talking about Instagram, I’m talking about the hiring practices of big companies and the strategies of politicians. We nearly need to invert our criteria for determining who should be in charge of things.

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Yah - Wehner’s editorial runs afoul of the rule here on the BBS not to speculate on people’s mental health, and for all the reasons that rule was put in place. Saying that Trump is mentally ill is only useful if you intend to invoke the 25th amendment. In other instances, such speculation only muddies the water and removes our focus from his administration’s inexorable advance towards autocracy.

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For those of us who are not in a position to provide treatment or get him into treatment, I’m not sure that the distinction is important. For the rest of us, the question is how we deal with him, how we predict his actions to minimize the consequences. “Asshole,” while satisfying, is too general to be of much help. “Narcissistic personality disorder” even if it hasn’t been established in a clinical setting seems to give us a bit more of an ability to predict his behaviors. And that is one of the central points of the article: you should no longer be surprised when he acts in ways that are cruel but ultimately weaken his own position.

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Completely agree; I didn’t mean to imply that ignorance is a prerequisite for horribleness. My dad is ignorant about lots of things, but I love him anyway.

This.

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I’m actually legit surprised there isn’t a high profile lawsuit to strike narcissostic personality disorder from the DSM, given how much it overlaps with the “rational self-interested actor” of Chicago-school economics…

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I have a wild, naive dream that the only people who should be allowed to serve in any form of public political capacity should be willing to wear an electronic tag and have their every movement, physical or electronic, monitored by the public, including complete transparency of finances. An inversion of the surveillance state, where the state is surveilled by the public it serves.

One can only dream.

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This is key, not only for us as individuals but also for members of the press and politicians. For example, here are some tips for dealing with someone with either NPD or narcissistic tendencies:

  1. See them for who they really are
  2. Break the spell and stop focusing on them
  3. Speak up for yourself
  4. Set clear boundaries
  5. Expect them to push back
  6. Remember that you’re not at fault
  7. Find a support system
  8. Insist on immediate action, not promises
  9. Understand that a narcissistic person may need professional help
  10. Recognise when you need help

[more details on each in the article]

None of these are unreasonable ways to deal with someone who behaves like Il Douche, whether or not he has the actual disorder. Unfortunately for the country, the corporate media and establishment politicians have been doing the opposite on most counts for the past three years.

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Of course none of this is news, in that it is isn’t new information, but it’s helpful to see it all compiled.

Everything about Trump speaks directly to a large part of his base who are childish, proudly ignorant, selfish assholes themselves. For a lot of them this article is meaningless and will be dismissed as propaganda, even if they can’t articulate how any of it is inaccurate. 1e3e30ca7e5afbf928de851cc6f6ea4edd87e191_2_453x500

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Honestly, it seems to me like trump is a fake personality for the most part. He has so little in common with actual adult humans that everything about him is outright fake, a fabrication of his own making, or some kind of apologetic made up by someone who has an interest in trying to make him look like a real personality.

At best he’s about as much of a person as a feral toddler.

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I think this is what I was trying to get at with the difference between these and other mental illnesses. Contrast this to the “tips” for “dealing with” someone with depression. Basically, it’s the difference between “watch your six” and “be patient and loving”

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“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” —Kurt Vonnegut

I guess one could say Trump has spent his entire life pretending to be a loud mouthed racist misogynist narcissist dipshit, and if there was ever anything more to him than that it withered away long ago.

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