Many of us at Liberal America “diagnosed” likely mentally ill Pres. Donald Trump with…SOMETHING…long ago. Most of us aren’t medically qualified to make a diagnosis (some of us are, and have), but some of us (read: me) have enough experience dealing with pathological narcissists to at least make an educated guess about THAT.
Twice a day since the beginning of the Trump administration, a special folder is prepared for the president. The first document is prepared around 9:30 a.m. and the follow-up, around 4:30 p.m. Former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and former Press Secretary Sean Spicer both wanted the privilege of delivering the 20-to-25-page packet to President Trump personally, White House sources say.
These sensitive papers, described to VICE News by three current and former White House officials, don’t contain top-secret intelligence or updates on legislative initiatives. Instead, the folders are filled with screenshots of positive cable news chyrons (those lower-third headlines and crawls), admiring tweets, transcripts of fawning TV interviews, praise-filled news stories, and sometimes just pictures of Trump on TV looking powerful.
Many in the White House refer to the folders as “the propaganda document” because the only feedback they’ve ever gotten from it is “It needs to be more fucking positive.”
Apparently there’s a specific process for compiling this narcissistic supply folder for our Emperor-With-No-Clothes:
- The Republican National committee’s “war room” (which has 4-10 staffers) is tasked with monitoring news, social media, and print media.
- At 6:00 a.m. every weekday, three of these staffers arrive to “monitor” (watch?) the news shows from CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News.
- Approximately every half hour, the staffers send the White House Communications Office an email with chyron screenshots, tweets, interview transcripts, and news pieces.
- Staffers then cull the info and push favorable headlines to a list of journalists.
- If there aren’t enough positive chyrons, staffers will pull together some flattering photos of Trumpkins.
Apparently, their reasoning is this:
“Maybe it’s good for the country that the president is in a good mood in the morning,” one former RNC official said.
It should be noted that former Press Sec. Sean Spicer denies the precise nature of the “propaganda folder.” Via an email to Vice:
“While I won’t comment on materials we share with the president, this is not accurate on several levels.”
Right, and we totally believe
nothing anything Sean Spicer says. Vice notes that he didn’t respond when Spicer was asked “what about the story was inaccurate?”.
Here’s what David Axelrod, senior adviser to Pres. Barack Obama during his first two years in the Oval Office, said about the folder:
“If we had prepared such a digest for Obama, he would have roared with laughter. His was a reality-based presidency.”
RNC spokeswoman Lindsay Jancek offered this mind-numbing response:
“The RNC is always going to work to defend the White House, the administration, and its members of Congress, and our war room’s efforts help capture and drive how our team can echo that defense.”
Well that clears it up. NOT.
But all of this begs the question: where did the idea for this “propaganda folder” come from?
Priebus and Spicer!
An unnamed White House official said that the idea for pumping up the president twice a day came about as a “survival” effort on the part of former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer.
“Priebus and Spicer weren’t in a good position, and they wanted to show they could provide positive coverage,” the official said. “It was self-preservation.”
Keeping it serious, though, narcissistic supply is a real thing. A genuinely pathological narcissist has a difficult time functioning without it. To fully understand Donald Trump, and any narcissist, you have to understand the narcissist’s addiction to narcissistic supply. The most renowned expert on pathological narcissism — Sam Vaknin, the author of Malignant Self Love, Narcissism Revisited — explains narcissistic supply.
Publicity (celebrity or notoriety, being famous or being infamous) is a trigger of narcissistic supply because it provokes people to pay attention to the narcissist (in other words, it moves sources to provide the narcissist with narcissistic supply). Publicity can be obtained by exposing oneself, by creating something, or by provoking attention. The narcissist resorts to all three repeatedly (as drug addicts do to secure their daily dose). A mate or a companion is one such source of narcissistic supply.
To the narcissist his “achievements” can be imaginary, fictitious, or only apparent, as long as others believe in them. Appearances count more than substance, what matters is not the truth but its perception.
Narcissistic supply comes in two forms: animate (direct) and inanimate (indirect). Inanimate supply is comprised of all expressions of attention which are communicated impersonally (in written form or via third parties, for instance) as well as aggregate measures of popularity and fame (number of friends on Facebook, views on YouTube, readers of his blog, etc.) Animate supply requires an interpersonal interaction with a source of narcissistic supply “in the flesh.” To sustain his sense of self-worth, the narcissist requires both types of supply, but especially the animate variety. He needs to witness first-hand the impact his False Self has on living, breathing, flesh-and-blood human sources and on his immediate environment.
It’s equally important to note what happens when a narcissist fails to obtain enough narcissistic supply. From Vaknin:
Very much as a drug addict would react to the absence of his particular drug. The dwindling or absence of supply is a trauma and the narcissist experiences post-traumatic stress.
The narcissist constantly consumes (really, preys upon) adoration, admiration, approval, applause, attention and other forms of Narcissistic Supply. When lacking or deficient, a Narcissistic Deficiency Dysphoria sets in. The narcissist then appears to be depressed, his movements slow down, his sleep patterns are disordered (he either sleeps too much or becomes insomniac), his eating patterns change (he gorges on food or is avoids it altogether).
He is subjected to violent mood swings (mainly rage attacks) and all his (visible and painful) efforts at self-control fail.
This explains why Trump gets on Twitter in the middle of the night and early morning: he is craving his fix of narcissistic supply and has been deprived of it for several hours.
A narcissist projects a “False Self” to the world, an imaginary facade that portrays exactly what the narcissist wants people to see: rich, powerful, well-connected, desirable, intelligent, etc… A narcissist needs (seriously, NEEDS) reactions to this False Self in order to maintain the facade.
Here’s the thing. Donald Trump has likely never in his life been unable to obtain narcissistic supply. What happens if he doesn’t get it? Just how bad would it be? This bad:
The lovely person you know will start to disappear as the damaged part of them emerges, the things they do to impress you will become fewer and farther between, you will start to feel less and less special to them as they start to treat you badly and show their frustrations (overtly or covertly) at your inability to meet their needs more frequently. This is known as your “Devaluation”.
Without Narcissistic Supply the narcissist crumbles, like the zombies or the vampires one sees in horror movies. It is terrifying and the narcissist will do anything to avoid it. Think about the narcissist as a drug addict. His withdrawal symptoms are identical: delusions, physiological effects, irritability, and emotional liability.
They’ll just go and find another NSS to replace you. (via)
Priebus and Spicer were wise to think of a way to protect themselves, but the problem is that they failed to truly understand the narcissist and this one key aspect of pathological narcissism: narcissists don’t really see people as individual human beings. They see everyone as extensions of themselves.