Trump is "not well"

This is the kind of lovely image I’d love to place next to the casket for a deceased Trumpster’s viewing.

“Aww, she looks like she did when she was alive.”



(I should give credit to the user on Talking Point Memo who originated the image but I have since lost track of where on the site I grabbed it from. There’s this one as well, which is perhaps more disturbing.)



It turns out if you ask narcissists if they are narcissists most of them say they are. One of the features of being a narcissist is that you don’t think there is anything wrong with being a narcissist. Taking Trump as an example, it seems like Trump’s entire understanding of other people is projection. Trump doesn’t think there is anything wrong with behaving that way because in their mind, everyone does.


his misogyny, predatory sexual behavior, and sexualization of his daughters



I am reminded of Roman Polanski’s defense, basically “Everybody wants to sleep with little girls…You’re just jealous.”


It’s not an either/or, though. People with mental illnesses can also be ignorant, horrible people with a vast array bigoted ideas, and separating out which specific act is attributable in which measure to which trait is impossible.


I’ve always felt the abusive or dysfunctional family models fit well with most of how societies work because most institutions follow the same pattern that an abusive spouse or parent would take. Rarely do institutions admit to their mistakes and when they do they try to include the behavior of their victims as a mitigating factor much like how an abusive spouse/parent would. Trump just amplifies such bad behavior and for voters that are use to this in a personal/familial setting this just seems ‘normal’ to them rather than a dysfunctional (traumatically so) way of living. I’m not saying therapy will help but really some of Trump’s voters need therapy to get over such bad behaviors and maladaptive traits.


Thing is, The Goldwater rule is outdated. At the time of its formulation, much if not all of the information you could gather about a person was hearsay. You rarely actually got to see the person in question. This is most definitely NOT the case now what with video cameras being practically ubiquitous. In some cases, Trump say, there is such a huge body of video that it would be nigh impossible for any one person to see it all, but certainly there’s enough information to be had to make a cogent diagnosis. Not saying that Wehner is qualified to do that, but any competent psychiatrist could.


Lady, he’s not asking for your permission to do that.




I think there is a big difference between shaming or speculating if someone who has a mental illness, and observing behavior and pointing out that it clinically matches certain issues and there are repeated examples where this is becoming a real problem.

Like one popular example is speculating on the mental condition of a mass shooter or other murderer or abuser. It is rather difficult to discern if someone is mentally ill or just evil based on actions alone. They did psyche profiles of a bunch of Nazis after the war, and the findings was that they weren’t any more psychotic than the rest of the population. Most of them had mental gymnastics they did to justify their actions. But they weren’t crazy. So in these examples, speculation isn’t especially helpful.

But I think pointing out the various behaviors of Trump, of which there are so many examples, and how they fit certain diagnosis is a worthwhile discussion. He is doing X, Y, Z - what is that indicative of?

I think avoiding the topic for fear of shaming mental illness is a disservice to public discourse, but such discussion should take care that we are focused on observations and looking at what that means, and not just hyperbole.

Of course, BB is free to figure out what is and is not ok to discuss and where the line is on that.


Correction: he has so little in common with actual adult humans who you associate with.

Go drive through the rural south and you’ll find actual adult humans who have very much in common with him.

Exception: don’t do that as a minority because it could be unsafe.

Toddlers, even if raised feral, would and should take insult to that.


But why should anyone bother separating Trump’s failings into buckets? We may feel better (less “surprised” as Wehner would have it), but we gain little. Understanding why Trump is irrational or impulsive won’t make him less so, and protected as he is by Moscow Mitch and a supine Republican party, it isn’t going to nudge him an inch closer to the door. Nor do I see any value at all in having that information “complicate the picture just a bit, though, eliciting some pity and sorrow for Trump.”

I propose a corollary to Hanlon’s Razor - Do not attribute to mental illness that which is adequately explained as the act of an awful person.


On the one hand duh!

On the other hand, no duh!


As the article says, it’s not a revelation that Trump is psychologically aberrant - we all knew that.

Furthermore, it would surprise me to learn that any modern president wasn’t aberrant. The competition and requirements of securing the job filter out anyone who has anything resembling normal psychology, in the same way that the Olympics filters out anyone with typical physiology, selecting for deviance that optimizes for just a few characteristics. What’s new about Trump is that the deviance isn’t concealed, and perversely it’s even celebrated by many.

The refusal to conceal the deviance is more important than the deviance itself, in my opinion. American leaders have a long tradition of being contemptible individuals, but it’s downplayed and hidden, because even though we’re fine with a ruling class which behaves sociopathically behind the curtain, the public has tended to see the overt performance of sociopathic attitudes as crude and undesirable. The collective revelation that blatant pathology can be a successful political strategy is having bigger consequences than anything that Trump personally does, but Trump as a symbol is the reason for that revelation.

Also notable is that despite having an utter madman as President, the United States of America as an empire pretty much just keeps on trucking. This is worth keeping in mind any time we start to get hopeful that putting someone like Bernie or Warren in place of Trump would significantly change our lives. The President is a symbolic office, actual power rests with all of us.

I’m not a psychiatrist, but my understanding is that diagnosis is predicated on a therapeutic relationship between the practitioner and the patient. IMO, a large corpus of recorded behavior should not be substituted for that relationship.


I mention that because I’ve heard at least one psychiatrist agree with me, or rather I’m agreeing with them. That said, the Goldwater Rule may still be official canon.


Hundreds of mental health professionals agree that Trump has a malignant and pervasive personality disorder of the antisocial variety and that his tenuous grip on reality will continue to decline as opposition to his administration grows both from within and without. This extraordinarily alarming state of affairs is not a “cop-out”; it explains why Trump’s erratic behaviour is worsening before our eyes in realtime and how dangerous that is to both domestic and international security.

What is missing in the author’s piece is corroboration from mental health professionals like Yale forensic psychiatrist Bandy Lee, who spearheaded the book ‘The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump’ and the website ‘Duty to Warn’, co-authored by twenty-six other highly esteemed mental health professionals, and eventually signed by hundreds of others.

Also missing is an academic explication of the dangerous pathology that grows between the personality-disordered leader and his increasingly deranged followers. As laughable as it is to non-believers like you and I Trump has established a dedicated cult of personality, aided and abetted by a complicit GOP, a largely spineless Democratic leadership and an infotainment-based media ecosystem, which don’t forget helped propel him to where he is in the first place. Go back and watch Hitler or Mussolini speak and wonder again how in the hell people took such a madmen seriously. The mental health angle best explains a worsening phenomenon we have been observing throughout Trump’s presidency, and should be ringing alarms throughout the media and the public. For sensible, rational people it is easy to underestimate the danger Trump poses. Comedians make fun of him, the press obsesses over every demented tweet, we see the utter absurdity of it all, roll our eyes and turn away. Meanwhile the underpinnings of civil society and democracy are eroding before our eyes. In short, the risk of violence, even extreme violence, either domestic or international, grows with every passing day this lunatic is in office.


Lots of things pretty much just keep on trucking, until they don’t. That semi overturned on the expressway kept on trucking for hundreds of thousands of miles before it wrecked and spilled its contents all over the road.

The Presidency has a lot of symbolic aspects, but it is not a symbolic office. It has enormous influence over the course our country takes on in the long-term and short-term, and I don’t think it’s reasonable to discount that power as “symbolic.”