Sam Vaknin, a mental health expert and author, has studied over 600 hours of Donald Trump footage and made the harsh conclusion that Donald Trump is not simply a classic narcissist — he is, in fact, a “malignant and, probably, psychopathic narcissist.”
In an extensive interview with American Thinker, Vaknin explains that he first connected narcissism to the political stage in a 2008 essay where he suggested that then-senator Barack Obama was, in fact, a narcissist, but he also wrote that Obama was intelligent and pro-social, and that while Trump repeatedly to be the former, he is “definitely not the latter,” and that he should be considered “much more of a menace than Obama ever was” to the United States.
There are, Vaknin explains, nine criteria that a narcissist meets, and there is little doubt that Trump is “writ large” on every one.
A narcissist feels grandiose and self-important, and often exaggerates to the point of lying his or her accomplishments and skills. A narcissist is obsessed with fantasies of “unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence.” The narcissist is convinced that he or she is special and, because of that, should be treated as a high-status person. A narcissist requires “excessive admiration” and feels entitled, demanding special and often unreasonable treatment. A narcissist is “interpersonally exploitative,” using others to achieve his or her own goals, and is also devoid of empathy. A narcissist is also envious of others and will seek to hurt or destroy people, and, lastly, a narcissist “behaves arrogantly and haughtily,” and “rages when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted by people he or she considers inferior to him or her and unworthy.”
None of the traits are flattering, to say the least — and the idea of the president of the United States holding not just one but all of them should be frightening, say mental health experts.
One of many mannerisms of Trump that concerned Vaknin is his unwillingness to tell the truth which may, in fact, be less of an unwillingness to do so and more of an inability.
“Trump confabulates a lot and has grandiose fantasies, which he has come to believe in, thus partially and intermittently losing touch with reality (delusionally ‘failing the reality test’),” Vaknin explains.
Another area of concern is Trump’s hypervigilance, which is to the point of actual paranoia. He feels “besieged by conjured enemies and imaginary slights to his person, appearance, or accomplishments,” Vaknin explains. “He reacts aggressively and vindictively to such perceived narcissistic injuries and humiliations. His is a siege mentality.”
And, the fact that Vaknin described Trump as a “compulsive attention-seeker” who is willing to go to any length in order to get the attention will surprise no one, even Trump supporters.
Another trait that Vaknin noted during the 600 hours of footage of Trump he watched is the fact that Trump “places a premium on appearances rather than substance.”
When asked how Trump plans to accomplish an of his plans — such as building a wall, or what he plans on replacing the Affordable Care Act with once he “repeals it,” as he has repeatedly said, Trump’s answers have no substance but, instead, have a lot of misplaced confidence.
“I will build a great wall – and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me – and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
Vaknin describes Trump as “counterdependent,” and states that he “abhors authority, rules, traditions, and ‘The Establishment’ and rebels against them vociferously and ostentatiously. He is manifestly defiant and abrasive.”
Of course, these traits are what so many of Trump’s supporters find attractive about the GOP frontrunner.
According to Vaknin, Trump’s extreme and malignant narcissism also manifests itself through the candidate’s oft-noted “thin skin” and his need to address every insult, perceived or otherwise.
“Trump is disproportionately aggressive, hypersensitive, and defensive, faking superiority which, in all probability is compensatory: it masks a deep and unsettling sense of inferiority and extreme awareness of and an agonizing dependence upon what other people think of him.”
A shining example of this would be Trump’s willingness to lower the discourse of a nationally televised debate in order to assure the viewers that his hands, as well as another certain body part, are above standard size after fellow candidate Marco Rubio ribbed him about his notoriously small hands.
Perhaps most chilling is Trump’s willingness to hurt others. In fact, Vaknin says, he “clearly enjoys embarrassing and hurting other people gratuitously. Such antisocial misconduct makes him feel (and, in his mind, actually renders him) all-powerful and God-like.”
Trump has, since announcing his candidacy, alienated Hispanics by referring to them as rapists, alienated women through callous comments denigrating everything from their looks to their menstrual cycles, openly mocked a talented journalist who has a physical disability, and has made the idea of banning Muslims from entry into the United States based on their religion part of his platform.
And not only does Trump enjoy hurting others, Vaknin says, he actually has a talent for it.
“Trump has an inordinately developed ‘cold empathy’: the kind of an ‘x-ray vision’ that allows him to immediately spot the vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and chinks in the armor of his interlocutors, adversaries, partners, and enemies and to leverage this knowledge to his benefit by penetrating their defenses. He therefore resonates powerfully and intimately with the hidden hopes, dreams, fantasies, delusions, and negative emotions (rage, hatred, fear) of his ‘constituencies.’ He is a consummate predator.”
In conclusion, Vaknin says, the diagnosis for Trump is rather easy, although he does qualify that with the fact that no mental health professional can make a true diagnosis without lengthy testing and engaged dialogue with the person being diagnosed. But based on 600 hours of observation, Vaknin feels confident that Trump is a disturbed person.
“To my mind, Trump is the most perfect example I have ever come across of a malignant and, probably, psychopathic narcissist. Of course, he cannot be fully and assuredly diagnosed this way. Only a qualified mental health diagnostician can determine whether someone suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and this, following lengthy tests and personal interviews. But the overwhelming preponderance of presenting symptoms and visual and textual evidence for tentative profiling is definitely there.”
To see what other mental health experts have to say about Donald Trump, click here.
[Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images News]