The Rise of the Narcissist

15 10 2016

This election cycle- unlike any other in U.S. history- truly terrifies me. Not because I’m scared that some ‘other party’ will win (I believe in issues & values, not political parties). I’m scared because there is a man running- successfully- to be the ruler of the free world, who is a textbook case of narcissism.

Believe me, I should know. I grew up with one in my household.

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1-181I want to be clear- my dad is nowhere near as insidious as Donnie Trump. My own father never claimed that, “If [Kelly] weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.” That would be beyond gross, right?!? I’m sure what Donnie meant was “look at what a fabulous specimen I created- my genes are THE BEST.” Every narcissist is unique, and being in a relationship with one is extremely dangerous to their victims. In my own case, I was born into this situation, and his subtle and persistent comments about my physical appearance and eating habits left a lasting impression on the adolescent version of myself. I’ve learned to recover from this toxic relationship, and America can too. 

If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to be involved with a narcissist, you know how difficult and manipulative they can be. They are masters of deception and mind games. They have a super power that enables them to somehow make everything someone else’s fault. They are always “the best” at everything they do. They have to be the best, or else life isn’t worth living. And they aren’t just good at deceiving others. They believe their own lies. 

s-l300Simply by stating that his goal is to “Make America Great Again,” Donald Trump is already asserting that America is a pathetic, disgusting loser, and should be so lucky to have him as president. We are already being collectively pushed into the position of a narcissist’s victim, which can be a sticky web to pull out of, but it is possible.

 

We all have some healthy levels of narcissistic traits necessary for survival, but for about 1% of the population, unusually high levels develop into a pathological form known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).  For actual Narcissists,  the “patient overestimates his or her abilities and has an excessive need for admiration and affirmation.”

So how do you know when your presidential candidate (or another person pervasive in your life) is suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder? Hotchkiss identified the seven deadly sins of narcissism. See if any of these sound familiar:[9]

  1. Shamelessness: Shame is the feeling that lurks beneath all unhealthy narcissism, and the inability to process shame in healthy ways.
  2. Magical thinking: Narcissists see themselves as perfect, using distortion and illusion known as magical thinking. They also use projection to “dump” shame onto others.
  3. Arrogance: A narcissist who is feeling deflated may “reinflate” their sense of self-importance by diminishing, debasing, or degrading somebody else.
  4. Envy: A narcissist may secure a sense of superiority in the face of another person’s ability by using contempt to minimize the other person or their achievements.
  5. Entitlement: Narcissists hold unreasonable expectations of particularly favorable treatment and automatic compliance because they consider themselves special. Failure to comply is considered an attack on their superiority, and the perpetrator is considered an “awkward” or “difficult” person. Defiance of their will is a narcissistic injury that can trigger narcissistic rage.
  6. Exploitation: Can take many forms but always involves the exploitation of others without regard for their feelings or interests. Often the other person is in a subservient position where resistance would be difficult or even impossible. Sometimes the subservience is not so much real as assumed.
  7. Bad boundaries: Narcissists do not recognize that they have boundaries and that others are separate and are not extensions of themselves. Others either exist to meet their needs or may as well not exist at all. Those who provide narcissistic supply to the narcissist are treated as if they are part of the narcissist and are expected to live up to those expectations. In the mind of a narcissist, there is no boundary between self and other.
Does this describe Donald? Are these traits ‘unbecoming’ of a president?
Surprisingly charming. Narcissists often do not initially come across as ‘bad’ people. In fact, they are quite charming! They are verbose storytellers, eagerly fabricating any version of truth necessary to twirl their audience around their little fingers. They will say anything to win you over, regardless of whether or not they believe it. The most important thing is that you believe in them and their abilities. Donald uses dominating words, with bold, overarching statements, spoken repetitively and with extreme enthusiasm. And it works. 
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Excessive vanity. He truly, genuinely, believes that he is the most handsome person around, and everyone is attracted to him. For this reason, narcissists also do not age well, struggling with severe depression once they can no longer believe the lies they are telling themselves about their own perfect appearance. In 2004, Trump told the Daily News: “All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.”

 

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Willing to change  his opinions only when required to be liked (or right). A narcissist doesn’t just care what people think, they NEED to be liked- though they will never admit that. And if that requires flip-flopping on an issue, so be it (as long as the change of heart was due to their own reasons, not anyone else’s). According to the UK’s Telegraph, Donnie Trump, “having previously supported the pro-choice lobby, Trump has now changed his stance on abortion to fit in with the Republican party.”

 

All of his accomplishments are attributed to him alone. Narcissists don’t think they need anybody else, which is good since they have no real friends. Even if you think you are their friend, they will drop you like a hot potato the second you question them. They will rarely acknowledge others who helped them to get to where they are, instead making you feel like you should be grateful just to have had the opportunity to work with them. “I alone can fix it.” –Donald Trump in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, July 21, 2016 cl6bcblwcaaxp1w

 

Distorted sense of reality. Narcissists think they are the best of the best. Everything they do is perfect, and they shit bricks of solid gold. And if you don’t believe them, it’s because you’re too stupid to understand (you’re clearly inferior, duh!). “I will be so good at the military your head will spin.” — “The Hugh Hewitt Show,” 2015donald-trump-narcissist

It’s never their own fault. This one took me years of psychology and sociology courses to figure out. In my own life, my father did something that involved repeated lies to hide, and when he was caught in his lies, he denied it, refused to apologize, and refused to admit fault. I poured open my soul to him, describing in great detail why his actions hurt me so deeply, thinking that the combination of my extensively laid out logic and the tears streaming down my face would lead to his epiphany and an apology. It didn’t. He just got mad at me for blaming him. I’ve since realized that I will never, ever hear a real apology from a narcissist, since they truly believe they’ve never done anything wrong. They are infallible. Similarly, in the first debate, Donald worked hard to turn every opportunity into a chance to place blame on Secretary Clinton, resulting in this exchange:
Clinton: “I had a feeling by the end of this evening that I’d be blamed for everything.”
Trump: “Why not?”
So, America, you are in a toxic relationship. It’s not too late to get out. Don’t blame yourself (although the Narcissist WILL blame you). Don’t try to rationalize that their good qualities outweigh the bad (no amount of cocktail party stories will make up for the emotional abuse). Don’t try reasoning with them (no amount of logic can penetrate such an overly inflated skull). And don’t tell people, “I’d leave him, but…” Just like your mom taught you as a kid, it’s okay to disagree with someone, but it’s not okay to badmouth other people, and you shouldn’t put up with someone who puts you down.
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You ARE great. You ARE beautiful. You ARE smart. And you are worthy of someone better. You deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Go vote for someone who treats you right, and let’s stand up to our narcissistic abusers like Donnie Trump.

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