A Salon author recently interviewed several psychiatrists after Pres. Donald Trump sent a six-page bonkers letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the eve of the impeachment vote. The doctors had a consensus: this mofo is nutz. Here is a synopsis of what they had to say (we’ve written about this in the past, so this is something that keeps coming up.
Dr. Bandy Lee, Assistant Clinical Professor, Yale University School of Medicine and President of the World Mental Health Organization: Donald Trump Is “Uncontainable”
Dr. Lee expressed concerns that not only is Trump mentally unsound, but that he also brings out the instability of his followers.
[…] should alarm not only those who believe that a president of the United States and a commander-in-chief of the world’s most powerful military should be mentally sound, but also those who are concerned about the potential implications of such a compromised individual bringing out pathological elements in his supporters and in society in general.
The dangers of gaslighting
Lee said that even reading Trump’s tweets “gaslights” people and reforms their thoughts in unhealthy ways.
Without arming yourself with the right interpretation, you end up playing into the hands of pathology and helping it — even if you do not fully believe it. […] You start taking on the person’s symptoms in a phenomenon called “shared psychosis.”
And she essentially described what has happened to some of the conservative people in my life.
I have seen some of the most intelligent and otherwise healthy persons succumb to the most bizarre delusions.
“Uncontainable” mass hysteria
Dr. Lee further explained that when psychosis is shared at a large scale, it’s also called “mass hysteria.” And she says that Trump is conscious of exactly what he’s doing. Also, she says Trump will grow more dangerous with time and become “uncontainable.”
Dr. Lee edited a book titled “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.”
Dan P. McAdams, chair and professor of Northwestern University’s Department of Psychology: Donald Trump Is Venomous and Vitriolic
McAdams says that it’s evident to him that Donald Trump is “obsessive focused on the self and nothing else.” He even suggests that Trump’s letter from any previous president would have gone down in history as something as notable as the Gettysburg Address.
For over 50 years, Donald Trump has lived this way. Trump has fought ever day of his adult life as if he were being impeached by his enemies. And there have always been countless enemies, because his antagonism brings them out of the woodwork.
Donald Trump’s philosophy of life (it’s terrifying)
McAdams also pointed to a quote Trump told People Magazine the reporter asked him to share his “philosophy of life.” Here is Trump’s quote.
“Man is the most vicious of all animals and life is a series of battles ending in victory or defeat.”
Well that’s not scary at all.
And that is why he’s excited about the impeachment fight. It’s the only way he’s ever known how to experience the world. McAdams says that Trump “needs enemies as much as he needs air to breathe.”
McAdams wrong “The Strange Case of Donald J. Trump: A Psychological Reckoning.”
Dr. David Reiss, Psychiatrist and Expert in Mental Fitness Evaluations: Donald Trump’s Feelings Define Reality
Reiss says that Trump’s feelings define his reality. The doctor also believes that Donald Trump did not write that letter and that the letter accurately reflects Trump’s innate immaturity.
Whoever actually wrote the letter, it accurately reflects Trump’s immaturity that has been obvious in public as long as he has been a public figure: insisting that his needs be met in a child-like manner; having very poor problem-solving ability; having an inability to take responsibility for anything and projecting his own negative attributes onto others; an inability to look at consequences of his statements or actions.
Essentially, Reiss says that Trump is looking for a parent who will protect him and “make the bad people go away.”
Dr. Lance Dodes, Harvard Medical School, Retired Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry
Dodes points out a key trait of the pathological narcissist: Donald Trump is incapable of recognizing other people as having worth or as separate beings from himself. In fact, he asserts that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is actually invisible in his eyes and unworthy of even existing.
Donald Trump practices simple-minded projection
The doctor also says that Trump is, as usual, doing simple-minded projection, meaning that he accuses others of doing exactly what he has done, and in precisely the same language.
When confronted with violating the Constitution he says his accusers are violating the Constitution. When others point out that he undermines democracy, he says they undermine democracy.
Dodes adds this rather terrifying bit.
Through these very simpleminded projections he deletes others’ selfhood and replaces who they are with what is unacceptable in himself.
Dr. John Gartner, Co-Founder of the Duty to warn PAC: Trump’s Letter Is “Unhinged, Paranoid and Manic”
Gartner says that Trump’s letter shows the “usual properties” of one of Trump’s many rants. In other words, Trump sees himself as the victim of an evil conspiracy and projects onto his enemies the bad things that he himself is doing.
All of these doctors are united in one key thing: if you want to know what Trump is doing, listen to what he’s accusing others of doing.
Gartner co-edited “Rocket Man: Nuclear Madness and the Mind of Donald Trump.”
Dr. Justin Frank, Former Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, George Washington University Medical Center
Frank’s most significant takeaway of Donald Trump’s letter to Nancy Pelosi was this.
I marveled at the ease with which he shared what goes on in his mind openly, and without reservation.
The doctor also pointed out something about Trump that is troubling: he believes the lies he tells.
I’ve been saying that. I hate that I know narcissists so well, but alas…
The good that will come of Trump’s high-profile insanity (and this doesn’t help…)
However, there’s something awesome that will come out of Trump’s insanity: he’s turned his presidency into a “treasure trove” for psychiatric residents.
Finally, the letter is a treasure trove for psychiatric residents who want to study the psychotic mind. Trump’s paradoxical sleight of hand makes him think he can hide in plain sight.
Frank authored “Trump on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President.”
Nancy Pelosi’s Response to Trump’s Letter
Although not a psychiatrist, Speaker Pelosi agrees with the evaluation of these good doctors.
Pelosi's first reaction to Trump's letter. "I don't have a reaction. It's ridiculous," she told me. I asked her why no reaction: "I mean, I haven't full read it. We've been working. I've seen the essence of it. It's really sick." pic.twitter.com/pPhvsb0axh
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) December 17, 2019
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