Trumpenführer is a classic narcissist. Not being a psychologist or psychiatrist I had to read about him. Unfortunately for me I'd started reading about the subject in the context of other narcissists and violent persons, before Trump ever moved into the limelight. Indeed I paused in writing about the subject because I never thought he'd get elected.
Attributes of Narcissistic Personality Disorder Map to High Social Dominance Orientation (EMAD)
One website for professionals (https://www.bpdcentral.com/narcissistic-disorder/hallmarks-of-npd/), lists the symptoms:
- Narcissistic Traits
- Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
- Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
- Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
- Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
- Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
- Requires excessive admiration
- Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
- Believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
- Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
But here is the thing. That list overlaps the list from Altemeyer's book of "EMAD" traits (see: EMAD Trump:
- Trump is EMAD:
- E: Trump is Exploitive!
- M: Trump is Manipulative!
- A: Trump is Amoral
- D: Trump is Deeply Dishonest
All 4 EMAD traits flow out of "interpersonaly exploitative" behavior, and lack of empathy:
People like Trump are containable but not curable:
So EMAD people are a special case of Narcissistic personality Disorder. N Ziehl Writing in Medium.com writes, specifically about Trump that his Narcissistic Personality Disorder is:
"not curable and it’s barely treatable. He is who he is. There is no getting better, or learning, or adapting. He’s not going to “rise to the occasion” for more than maybe a couple hours. So just put that out of your mind."[Ziehl]
And a Narcissist is deeply dishonest and Amoral. Ziehl Continues:
"He will say whatever feels most comfortable or good to him at any given time. He will lie a lot, and say totally different things to different people. Stop being surprised by this. While it’s important to pretend “good faith” and remind him of promises, as Bernie Sanders and others are doing, that’s for his supporters, so *they* can see the inconsistency as it comes. He won’t care. So if you’re trying to reconcile or analyze his words, don’t. It’s 100% not worth your time. Only pay attention to and address his actions." [Ziehl]
Narcissists usually work with other EMAD/Narcissists, some better at it than others. Some are less narcissistic than others and are able to exploit the narcissism of others.
"You can influence him by making him feel good. There are already people like Bannon who appear ready to use him for their own ends. The GOP is excited to try. Watch them, not him. President Obama, in his wisdom, may be treating him well in hopes of influencing him and averting the worst. If he gets enough accolades for better behavior, he might continue to try it. But don’t count on it." [Ziehl]
And critical for dealing with him is understanding his feelings of entitlements. It's no accident this dude has a Gold Apartment on the Top Floor of a Palace named after him.
"Entitlement is a key aspect of the disorder. As we are already seeing, he will likely not observe traditional boundaries of the office. He has already stated that rules don’t apply to him. This particular attribute has huge implications for the presidency and it will be important for evedryone who can to hold him to the same standards as previous presidents." [Ziehl]
And this guy that like Midas, no amount of gold or power can fill.
"We should expect that he only cares about himself and those he views as extensions of himself, like his children. (People with NPD often can’t understand others as fully human or distinct.) He desires accumulation of wealth and power because it fills a hole. (Melania is probably an acquired item, not an extension.) He will have no qualms *at all* about stealing everything he can from the country, and he’ll be happy to help others do so, if they make him feel good. He won’t view it as stealing but rather as something he’s entitled to do. This is likely the only thing he will intentionally accomplish." [Ziehl]
And like Midas, everything alive that he touches is likely at risk to die. The warnings of cacostocracy are no joke. He has no empathy, no real empathy. Normalizing this dude is a mistake!
"While often intelligent, charismatic and charming, they do not reliably observe social conventions or demonstrate basic human empathy. It’s very common for non-disordered people to lower their own expectations and try to normalize the behavior. DO NOT DO THIS AND DO NOT ALLOW OTHERS, ESPECIALLY THE MEDIA, TO DO THIS. If you start to feel foggy or unclear about this, step away until you recalibrate." [Ziehl]
Flying Monkeys and Authoritarian Followers.
"People with NPD often recruit helpers, referred to in the literature as “enablers” when they allow or cover for bad behavior and “flying monkeys” when they perpetrate bad behavior on behalf of the narcissist. Although it’s easiest to prey on malicious people, good and vulnerable people can be unwittingly recruited. It will be important to support good people around him if and when they attempt to stay clear or break away." [Ziehl]
So we can see that "Authoritarian Follower" flows from the Flying Monkey behavior of those those who enable narcissistic persons with hierarchy by accepting their authority.
The Authoritarian Follower, might be somewhat Narcissistic, but the main characteristic is that they accept and enforce hierarchy, usually out of fear and conventional thinking (see links at end of post). And they fall into this hierarchy and it's levels reflexively. At the least offensive level are the simple enablers.
At the most offensive level, there are the flying monkeys who enforce hierarchy on others and help the leaders gaslight those in that hierarchy. Pro.Psychcentral who will spin your head around:
"The narcissist’s enablers, are masters at overlooking red flags, blatant abuse, and the fact that the narcissist is causing and not resolving any of the problems, stating, “There are two sides to every story.”" [Pro.Psychcentral]
We've run into them! And with Trump we need to take the advice from Pro.psychcentral:
"It truly is amazing. And a victim needs to be stand even stronger still, as she takes on more nightmares in this narcissist’s drama. The target needs to be armed with defenses because she not only has to fight the narcissist and her own inner codependency issues; she also has to fight a myriad of other people whom she may have originally thought would be her allies or support system. The target ends up feeling like she has to climb a mountain with no tools, while those around her are gossiping about her and throwing rocks her way!"[Pro.Psychcentral]
The article quotes "a woman named, Cherilyn Clough:
“They invite you to play a game you can never win.” [Pro.Psychcentral]
The Term for what Authoritarians and their Narcissistic leaders do is called "Gaslighting" from a Hitchcockian drama, where a woman was made to think that everything she thought was right was wrong and everything we thought was true is false. And Dealing with these Authoritarian followers we need to take her advice:
"As long as targets remember this “truism,” they can stop trying to defend themselves and even learn not to care what other people think." [Pro.Psychcentral]
We have to learn to see through the gaslighting. Ziehl agrees. We have to develop a thick skin for what is coming:
"Gaslighting — where someone tries to convince you that the reality you’ve experienced isn’t true — is real and torturous. He will gaslight, his followers will gaslight. Many of our politicians and media figures already gaslight, so it will be hard to distinguish his amplified version from what has already been normalized. Learn the signs and find ways to stay focused on what you know to be true. Note: it is typically not helpful to argue with people who are attempting to gaslight. You will only confuse yourself. Just walk away. [Ziehl]
All forms of authoritarianism really center around creating and enforcing hierarchy. Once we understand the cravings, we can fight the sick people who create the hell that is hierarchy and tyranny, and create hierarchies that are not authoritarian, and maybe healthy, with a place for everyone so that people aren't always fighting for their place in the Chicken Narcissist Flying Monkey Pyramid. Trump would be no problem without his enablers, Flying Monkey's and Authoritarian Followers, who help him gaslight the rest of us. It's gonna be a Long ride.
Sources and Further Reading
- EMAD Trump -- why the wheels won't come off in Time
- Altemeyer on Authoritarian Followers:
- Hallmarks of Narcissistic Disorder:
- Flying Monkeys:
- More on Gaslighting
- Video: https://www.facebook.com/gbpotus/videos/1466234253409953/