Trump: The Critical Need For Better Understanding And Treatment Of Mental Illness In Our Nation (#285)

TrumpTrump’s behavior this last weekend was alarming. His inability to confront white supremacy in Charlottesville was frightening and unbelievable. We know the legacy that Nazism wrote on the walls of history. I can’t believe any person in their right mind would advocate for a return of white supremacy… for any reason.

Yet Trump seems incapable of understanding the threat that hatred, racism, and bigotry present to the world, not just America. White supremacists trample the very core values that make our Nation great.

Capitalism made us wealthy, but the values of freedom of speech and a free press made us great. Americans are proud of who we are as a people, as a nation, and the values we stand for.

So why is Trump so unable to embrace those American values? Why is he unable to confront those who threaten our identity as a nation? We saw an attack on the American people and all of the values America stands for in Charlottesville this last weekend. Yet Trump lumped those who stood for freedom, peace, and justice with the cowards carrying torches and Nazi flags. What would cause an American President to ignore the threat that those “white nationalists” represented to our nation?

It doesn’t surprise me that strong feelings turned violent in Charlottesville, but Trump refuses to address the evil reflected by the gathering of alt-right white supremacy, the KKK, and Neo-Nazi’s supporters. They represented the worst crimes against humanity in our nation’s history and memory. In the words of CNN’s Stephen Collinson, “ Trump’s meltdown (at Tuesday’s 8/15/2017 press conference) will stand out as a moment ripped from the darkest pages of history and transposed into the 21st center.”

I don’t condone violence, but good and evil were two very different realities present in the conflict that erupted in Charlottesville. There was no moral ambiguity in that violence. Trump’s attempt to reflect moral ambiguity is unbelievable.

The Deeper Issue That Needs To Be Acknowledged

So why is Trump so unable to embrace our American values? I believe the answer to that question speaks of a deeper issue. Namely the ignorance and lack of understanding regarding mental illness currently reflected in our nation. Our Nation has tried to pretend that mental illness doesn’t exist. We have even been unwilling to effectively prevent those with mental illness from purchasing guns. Despite knowing that 20 to 25 percent of the homeless in our nation are struggling with severe mental illness, we have refused to acknowledge this suffering and fund the treatment of mental illness. [See Footnote*1]

Trump’s narcissistic personality disorder has been evident for years. I have to believe that a voting population better educated regarding mental health issues in our Nation, would not have voted for a person with a severe narcissistic personality disorder… especially for someone running for President of our nation.

President Trump Is Unfit For Public Office

I believe it’s time for the American people and members of Congress to acknowledge that President Trump has a severe Narcissistic Personality Disorder that makes him unfit for public office. The DSM-5, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the U.S lists the following characteristics of a severe narcissistic personality disorder… [see Footnote*2]

  • A grandiose logic of self-importance
  • A fixation with fantasies of infinite success, control, brilliance, beauty, or idyllic love
  • A credence that he or she is extraordinary and exceptional and can only be understood by, or should connect with, other extraordinary or important people or institutions
  • A desire for unwarranted admiration
  • A sense of entitlement
  • Interpersonally oppressive behavior
  • No form of empathy
  • Resentment of others or a conviction that others are resentful of him or her
  • A display of egotistical and conceited behaviors or attitudes.

No reasonable, thinking person could, with integrity, ignore the reality that President Trump fits this description.

Our Responsibility As American’s To Act

As Americans, we all have a responsibility;

  • to act when we see hatred marching in our streets.
  • to act and speak up when bigots march in our cities.

When white nationalists feel emboldened by a mentally ill President in Washington,

  • we have a responsibility to act and speak up,
  • to speak for inclusion, compassion, and justice,
  • and confront the threat of white supremacy in all of its forms.

Charlottesville was not an isolated incident. Neo-Nazis and “alt-right” white supremacists are a real and tangible threat to our American values and way of life as a nation that protects its people and freedom.

Our President is mentally ill and needs to be removed from power. We are facing a potential disaster in North Korea. The potential for Kim Jung un or Trump to act irrationally is extremely high. Both are extreme narcissists. Both need to be admired. Both struggle with very low self-esteem. [See Note 2 below]

When we have overwhelming evidence that the President of our nation is suffering from a serious personality disorder we have a responsibility to act and speak up for the impeachment and removal of that President.

No mentally ill person should ever have the power to launch atomic weapons simply to distract the American people from his inability to govern or function responsibly as the head of our nation.

This is not a time for political correctness. It’s a time for action. The future of our Nation is at risk… and perhaps the future of our world if the conflict in North Korea turns into an active military conflict. Trump is not the creator of hatred in our nation, that responsibility goes back many generations. But his rhetoric is fueling hatred in our Nation, and he needs to be held responsible.

 Conclusion

I want to end this article with this final thought. I believe that President Trump has a severe narcissistic personality disorder and he has to be experiencing significant pain and suffering when 70% of voters in our nation are vocally critical of the job he is doing as President. His need for admiration is real. And when a severe narcissist fails to get that admiration it causes that person real and significant pain.

As a retired Mental Health Therapist I have compassion for that kind of suffering. I spent most of my career helping people heal from that kind of pain. But my fear regarding President Trump is that the pain he has to be feeling can too easily turn into anger and depression. He is human. And humans project their pain onto others. President Trump is not playing golf seventeen times in his first six months in office because he enjoys golf, he is distracting and removing himself from Washington because it is too painful for him when confronted daily by those who would criticize his performance as President. His emotional well-being depends on being admired. And when that admiration is missing, it creates pain… .and that pain is being directed by tweets onto those he feels are withholding their “loyalty” and “admiration.”

The last thing we need is an angry, depressed, President looking for ways to project the pain of rejection and lack of admiration into the world. And that threat is very real with President Trump. I believe the most compassionate thing we can do is remove him from office and let him go back to his role as a billionaire CEO where firing people has far less potential to destroy the world.

Our world is increasingly dealing with global crises. Our President is manifesting a severe personality disorder. He is mentally ill. And it’s time we the people acknowledge that frightening reality… before it’s too late.

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*1 – In a report from the Treatment Advocacy Center estimate that approximately 33 percent of the homeless are individuals with serious mental illnesses that are untreated; many of these people suffer from schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder or major depression. A substantial number of the psychiatrically ill live in the outskirts of cities, under bridges and even tunnels that carry subway trains beneath cities. Though homelessness is an accepted part of the urban landscape for city dwellers in public spaces, there are many individuals who suffer and go unnoticed.

  • The homeless population has increased steadily in cities and small towns since the 1970s. An estimated
  • 27 and 36 percent of people released from mental institutions become homeless within 6 months.
  • Previously hospitalized people were three times more likely to obtain food from the garbage.

Though officials believe that they are saving money by releasing patients from mental hospitals, there is a significant cost to the patient and to society at large. In 2001, a University of Pennsylvania study that examined 5,000 homeless people with mental illnesses in New York City found that they cost taxpayers an average of $40,500 a year for their use of emergency rooms, psychiatric hospitals, shelters, and prisons.

 In Seattle in 2013, the mayor called the number of untreated mentally ill people on the street “an emergency.” Unless local and national measures are taken to protect and treat the mentally ill, this trend will likely continue well into the future.

(According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 20 to 25% of the homeless population in the United States suffers from some form of severe mental illness. In comparison, only 6% of Americans are severely mentally ill (National Institute of Mental Health, 2009) ).

*2) Note: The following information was copied directly from the

https://www.theravive.com/therapedia/narcissistic-personality-disorder-dsm–5-301.81-(f60.81)

The most important characteristics of NPD are grandiosity, seeking excessive admiration, and a lack of empathy (Ronningstam & Weinberg, 2013). These identifying features can result in a negative impact on an individual’s interpersonal affairs and life general. In most cases, on the exterior, these patients act with an air of right and control, dismissing others, and frequently showcasing condescending or denigrating attitudes. Nevertheless, internally, these patients battle with strong feelings of low self-esteem issues, and inadequacy. Even though the typical NPD patient may achieve great achievements, ultimately their functioning in society can be affected, as these characteristics interfere with both personal and professional relationships. A large part of this is as result of the NPD patient being incapable of receiving disapproval or rebuff of any kind, in addition to the fact that the NPD patient typically exhibits a lack of empathy and overall disrespect for others.

Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

The definition of NPD states that it comprises of a persistent manner of grandiosity, a continuous desire for admiration, along with a lack of empathy. It starts by early adulthood and occurs in a range of situations, as signified by the existence of any 5 of the next 9 standards (American Psychiatric Association, 2013):

  • A grandiose logic of self-importance
  • A fixation with fantasies of infinite success, control, brilliance, beauty, or idyllic love
  • A credence that he or she is extraordinary and exceptional and can only be understood by, or should connect with, other extraordinary or important people or institutions
  • A desire for unwarranted admiration
  • A sense of entitlement
  • Interpersonally oppressive behavior
  • No form of empathy
  • Resentment of others or a conviction that others are resentful of him or her
  • A display of egotistical and conceited behaviors or attitudes

2 Responses to Trump: The Critical Need For Better Understanding And Treatment Of Mental Illness In Our Nation (#285)

  1. Ana Mali August 19, 2017 at 4:22 am #

    Dear Dick
    Why don’t we see the real big problem with pathological narcissistic people as a necessary contribution to our human evolution?
    I admire your work and thank God for giving us people like you.
    Warmest regards

    • Dick Rauscher August 19, 2017 at 1:09 pm #

      I would agree Ana. Mental health is a real issue in our nation and needs to be addressed.
      Thanks for the feedback on the article.
      Dick

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