By Arnold Dodge
As America gets ready for four years of stewardship from Donald Trump, a reality that is inconceivable but every day looks more and more likely, we may want to ask ourselves a question: With all we know about this man’s inadequacy to be president—for starters, his ignorance of domestic and foreign policy—what else should we be aware of?
Daily, the Hillary Clinton camp beats the drum that Trump doesn’t have the temperament to be president, a charge that seems obvious if you believe that a steady hand is required in the Oval Office. There is, however, certifiable evidence that brings the temperament criticism to a whole new level.
Direct from the Mayo Clinic—not from Dr. Oz—is a word-for-word description of a narcissistic personality disorder. Hold onto your hats.
As the Mayo Clinic staff describes it, you have a personality disorder if you have a “rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking, functioning and behaving. A person with a personality disorder has trouble perceiving and relating to situations and to people. This causes significant problems and limitations in relationships, social encounters, work and school. In some case, you may not realize that you have a personality disorder because your way of thinking and behaving seems natural to you. And you may blame others for the challenges you face.”
Many experts use the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, to diagnose mental conditions. DSM-5 criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include these features:
Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
Exaggerating your achievements and talents
Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
Requiring constant admiration
Having a sense of entitlement
Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
Taking advantage of others to get what you want
Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
Being envious of others and believing others envy you
Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner
There you have it. Frightening isn’t strong enough. Terrifying is more like it. The most powerful person in the world will soon be someone who has—by definition—a personality disorder. Choosing a shameless, vainglorious self-promoter as our leader will surely be seen by other nations as a failure of our democracy, one that will haunt America for generations to come.
Unlike FDR’s polio, which did not hamper his ability to govern with compassion and dignity, Trump’s medical condition is freighted with destructive impulses. Sad to say, the Mayo Clinic does not offer much hope for recovery given the severity of Trump’s affliction:
“When you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may not want to think that anything could be wrong because doing so wouldn’t fit with your self-image of power and perfection. People with narcissistic personality disorder are most likely to seek treatment when they develop symptoms of depression, often from perceived criticisms or rejections. If you recognize aspects of your personality that are common to narcissistic personality disorder or you’re feeling overwhelmed by sadness, consider reaching out to a trusted doctor or mental health provider. Getting the right treatment can help make your life more rewarding and enjoyable.”
But would White House doctors present this recommendation to President Trump? Here’s a guess what his answer might be: “Depression? Rejection? Overwhelming sadness? I’ve hired thousands and thousands of depressed, rejected and sad workers, many of them Hispanic. I love these people.”
Should Trump become president, one can only imagine the salvos he will launch against those who question his brilliance. And what about the most dangerous moment when he succumbs to his trigger-happy inclinations (aka the nuclear option) to prove he is “king of the world”?
After his inauguration, Trump, you can be sure, will be designing a new hat for himself, emblazoned with a slogan to trumpet his title:
There’s no “you” in America—there’s only me.
Arnold Dodge, PhD, is an associate professor of education at the C.W. Post campus of Long Island University, where he serves as the chairperson of the Department of Educational Leadership and Administration. Dr. Dodge is a former teacher, principal and superintendent. In his 45th year in education, he is particularly focused on the effects of high-stakes testing on schools.