Published with permission from Alternet
In recent weeks, a slew of political commentators have opined that Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, is losing his mind; in a lengthy take-down of Trump’s recent attacks on the Khan family, HBO’s John Oliver even called Trump a sociopathic narcissist.
Dr. Drew Pinsky of Celebrity Rehab fame said he disagreed with Oliver’s diagnosis of sociopathy, noting the close relationship Trump maintains with his children. But this week, Pinsky took to CNN to examine the very real possibility that Trump is dealing with some other psychological problem.
“It is unfair because sociopaths are usually tied up with really, serious problems with criminal behavior, but, you know, you can be manipulative, can be narcissistic and still do okay in life,” Pinsky said. “But, again, your relationships usually have extreme pathology. It’s very difficult to raise healthy kids, very difficult to have sustained marriages if you’re deep into narcissism.”
Pinksy, a known Republican, said people tend to label Trump with narcissistic personality disorder, but argued it’s a “tough thing to do at a distance.” Pinksy noted narcissism “can be a good thing,” and “most political leaders have some degree of narcissism, that motivates them to go into these areas.”
Pinsky noted the question was whether “some of the reckless qualities that everyone is getting so disturbed about on the campaign [are] going to be translated into office should he get elected”
“That’s a pretty hard thing to predict,” Drew said. “I don’t know if this is just somebody playing politics, or is this somebody who really can’t contain their impulses?”
“When I hear people that are impulsive with their speech, I worry about hypomania and bipolar types of conditions,” Pinsky said noting Trump’s frequent boasts about his boundless energy. “Again, a little hypomania can be great. There are a lot of hypomanic businessmen that get a ton done. Containing your speech, be thoughtful, take a beat before you say something, for those people it can be very, very difficult.”
“Let’s just assume that most people that would choose to be in a very high-profile race like this would have narcissistic tendencies,” Pinksy reasoned, noting narcissism tends to lead to rage when the subject feels injured. “If you injure—if you really shame somebody—they tend to be sort of teflon when it comes to shame. If you shame them, they can react with extreme aggression and extreme rage. So this seems to be that kind of a psychological process.”
But, Pinksy also noted that most of the people he speaks to don’t really care about Trump’s extreme personality. Instead, they say, “If somebody is going to fight back, they’re going to say, whatever, and I don’t care what he says as long as it’s extreme and pushing back and he’s putting my country and my job first, I’ll get behind him whatever he says,” Pinksy said. “There’s disregard for the content.”
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop in Tampa, Florida February 12, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Carlson/File Photo