Commentary: The president’s condition is harmful to all of us

By Dave Gauger

“Delusional levels of grandiosity, impulsivity, and the compulsions of mental impairment, when combined with an authoritarian cult of personality and contempt for the rule of law, are a toxic mix.” So states Bandy X. Lee, M.D., Div. Ms. Lee is assistant clinical professor in law and psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine.

Another interesting mental malady is narcissistic personality disorder known among mental health practitioners as NPD. Craig Malkin, PH.D. lists three manifestations of NPD that include: Entitlement, acting as if the world and other people owe them and should bend to their will; Exploitation, using the people around them to make themselves feel special, no matter what the emotional or even physical cost to others …; Empathy-impairment, neglecting and ignoring the needs and feelings of others … because their own need to feel special is all that matters.”

Philip Zimbardo, PH. D., is professor emeritus at Stanford University and a noted author of psychology textbooks. Rosemary Sword is co-developer of an important therapy for PTSD. Together Zimbardo and Sword have addressed issues common to persons plagued with narcissist personality as often having very low self-esteem. They state, “Narcissists can’t handle criticism of any kind, and will belittle others or become enraged or condescending to make themselves feel better when they perceive they are being criticized.”

“Loyalty is highly prized by sociopaths because it serves their personal ends, but there is no real relationship.” That’s according to Lance Dodes, M.D., a retired assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Dodes goes on to state, “The more a sociopath needs to scapegoat others the more he genuinely hates them, making him even more aggressive and sadistic.”

Eric Fromm, in 1964 described malignant narcissism as “ …the most severe pathology.” A professional who survived the Nazi Holocaust, he is well known as one of the founders of humanistic psychology. He described narcissism as: “The root of the most vicious destructiveness and inhumanity.”

John D. Gartner, PH.D., stated: “When you combine these three ingredients, narcissism, antisocial traits, and paranoia, you get a leader who feels omnipotent, omniscient, and entitled to total power …” Dr. Gartner is a clinical psychologist who taught in the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University Medical School for 28 years. Dr. Gartner writes, “Success emboldens malignant narcissists to become even more grandiose, reckless and aggressive.” Further addressing a person with mental instability, Dr. Gartner writes: “… his thirst for adulation is rivaled only by his obsession for vengeance, even for the tiniest of slights.”

Finally, Harper West, M.A., L.L.P., is a licensed psychotherapist noted for her self-help book Auburn Reporterd Pack Leader Psychology — winner of the coveted Independent Book Publishers Association award for Psychology. She describes persons suffering from the personality disorders already described as “Other-blamers.” West writes: “The cause of their behaviors is low self-worth, which leads them to have poor shame tolerance.”

She notes: “Other-blamers instinctively seek out those willing to be controlled, manipulated, or intimidated. This sets up relationships with submissive people who will not challenge, correct, or blame them.” West continues: “Dictators throughout history have surrounded themselves with a coterie of family members and sycophants who avoid questioning the leader for fear of his angry retribution.”

If at all tuned into our nation’s political landscape for the last four years you have handily identified the object of these psychiatrists and mental health experts. That’s right they’re all referring to President Donald J. Trump. Their analyses are contained in a highly edifying book called “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump” first published in 2017. It’s a book written by 27 highly qualified mental health professionals with sterling reputations.

Washington State Representative (19th District) Jim Walsh’s record of silent support of Trump would indicate he’s one of the president’s compliant “… sycophants who avoid questioning the leader for fear of his angry retribution” to which Harper West refers. And let’s admit the discouraging fact that our Third District U.S. Congressional Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler also is one of Trump’s submissive, manipulated and intimidated followers. Why else would she have supported the president’s attempts to scuttle the Affordable Care Act with more than 50 votes?

Dave Gauger is a past president of Washington Newspaper Publishers Association (WNPA), and a former newspaper publisher and radio broadcaster in Raymond.