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Extreme narcissist Trump ‘more bad than mad’ and a reflection of American society

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A Med Page Today interview with Allen Frances, M.D., looks at Donald Trump as a reflection of American society.

Dr. Frances is professor emeritus of psychiatry at Duke University and the creator of the diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder.

Among his remarks:

“Well, Trump is absolutely a world-class narcissist. He has every criteria met except for two. In addition to having the features of being grandiose, unempathic, self-involved, selfish, all the things that go into being Trump, you have to have distress or impairment, significant distress or impairment.

“Trump is a man who causes immense distress in others, but doesn’t seem to experience it very much himself. Although he’s created tremendous impairment for our country and for his business colleagues, he, himself, has been very well rewarded in politics and also in business for being a narcissist. I think that it’s reckless for people to attribute the damage he’s causing to mental illness. He’s much more bad than mad.”

“To lump Trump with the mentally ill is a tremendous insult to them. It stigmatizes them. Most people who are mentally ill are well meaning and well behaved, and really fine people. Trump is none of those. So that when we confuse mental illness with bad behavior, we, first of all, insult the mentally ill, and secondly, we underestimate just how evil Trump is and how dangerous.”

I think the thing about Trump is that he’s completely irresponsible, quite ignorant, impulsive, insulting, corrupt, self-serving, that he’ll say and do anything at the whim of the moment. But I think we confuse the behaviors of a trickster and a conman with real mental illness. I think it makes us ineffective in dealing with him. The taming of Trump will be a political taming. It won’t be psychiatric name calling. Trump will not be removed from office under the 25th amendment because he’s unfit psychiatrically. That would require Pence and the majority of the cabinet voting him unable to continue in office. That will never happen.”

“The American public bought this and now they must have buyer’s remorse. Attributing {his actions} to mental illness makes it sound like Trump is a one off and that it’s all his problem. I think that’s a mistake. I think that Trump is a mirror on our soul and this is a shock treatment kind of moment where we should be wondering about ourselves. What’s wrong with us that we could possibly put the future of mankind, the future of our children and our grandchildren in someone this reckless? So, I think this is an important opportunity for society to take stock of ourselves, not to just make the false claim that it’s one man’s mental illness.”

To read the interview, please hit this link.



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