Some psychologists are beginning to question President Trump’s state of mind.
During the build-up to the November election, Hillary Clinton called Trump “temperamentally unfit”, and now some psychologists who had kept their thoughts to themselves are speaking out, according to the Independent.
Psychologist John D. Gartner, who is widely published in journals and books, believes that the 45th president of the U.S. “is dangerously mentally ill and temperamentally incapable of being president.” The author of In Search of Bill Clinton: A Psychological Biography pointed out that the Manhattan billionaire was exhibiting signs of “malignant narcissism.” The Campbells’ Psychiatric Dictionary defines it as a “mix of narcissism, antisocial personality disorder, aggression and sadism.”
Another psychologist, Dr. Julie Futrell, speaking to the New York Daily News agrees that narcissism is an obvious trait of President Trump. According to her, the trait makes him insensible to reality and hard for him to listen to his advisers.
“Narcissism impairs his ability to see reality so you can’t use logic to persuade someone like that. Three million women marching? Doesn’t move him. Advisers point out that a policy choice didn’t work? He won’t care.”
A group called Citizens Against Trumpism made up of thousands of psychologists have also come out to highlight the president’s mental complications in a published manifesto. The manifesto opines that degrading perceived threats, debasing critics or rivals, generating anger and fear, and reinventing the truth were only a few schemes the Trump administration had used to blindfold the American people.
However, other mental health experts have countered this notion, saying it is impossible for a psychologist to diagnose a person they have never met in person. Daniel Smith pointed out that it was in poor taste for mental health professionals to make such reckless comments without any assessment. Smith, a professor of Psychiatry at the University of Glasgow, also revealed there was a clear distinction between mental illness and a personality disorder, telling his professionals counterparts not to bundle them together.
But the psychologists who believe that the president’s situation is a worrying one are arguing that there is no need to scrutinize him up close. According to them, his actions since he assumed office has spoken volumes about his state of mind.
Their arguments include that he has continued to hinge on the belief that millions of people voted illegally. His trade war with Mexico and abruptly canceling a meeting with the nation’s president smacks of a person who puts self-image before national interest. The argument over his inaugural crowd size to them pinpointed his puerile need for attention.
Jean Fitzpatrick, a relationship therapist based in Manhattan, said that President Trump had surrounded himself with people who would not question his authority or his views. According to Fitzpatrick, journalists did not share the same school of thought which made them the “opposing party.” The therapist said that people like President Trump are “all about meeting their needs and getting constant strokes.”
A former employee of the real estate mogul, Barbara Res, recalled an article published by the New York Daily News about narcissism in 1982. According to her, a colleague had brought the newspaper to work and they all had agreed that everything written snugly fitted their boss. Three decades on, Res says the traits are still there, adding that things are much worse now. The former construction manager, who worked for the “blue collar billionaire” for 18 years, went on to described Trump as a sexist.
But a story in the Daily Mail contradicted her claim. According to the paper, Res was initially a staunch supporter of Trump, describing him as the “least sexist boss that I ever had.” However, when she lost her job and Donald Trump refused to hire her, she stopped saying nice things about him and has been one of his most vocal critics ever since.
In 1964, some psychologists had questioned whether Barry M. Goldwater was fit to run for president. FACT magazine in a special issue titled “1,189 Psychiatrists Say Goldwater Is Psychologically Unfit To Be President,” had made the controversial assessment. Over 40 percent of mental health professionals interviewed cited that the senator from Arizona was immature, unstable, mistrustful, and schizophrenic.
The controversial headline prompted the American Psychiatric Association to introduce the “Goldwater Rule” that asserts it is unethical for a psychiatrist to proffer a professional opinion until he or she has carried out a physical examination of the person they are talking about.
The Citizen Therapists Against Trumpism have flouted the rule, adding that it is difficult to “remain silent as we witness the rise of an American form of fascism.”
[Featured Image by Alex Brandon/AP Images]