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Friday, June 30, 2017

Does Donald Trump have the same personality structure as a serial killer?

Every day, Donald Trump takes to Twitter to release his id. Every day, I read those tweets and sigh, or roll my eyes, or listen to my husband swear. But this morning, one of those tweets stopped me cold.

This morning, Donald Trump forgot his act, forgot his con, and wrote:

If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!

What Trump is saying in this message is clear: Throw millions of people off healthcare because he can't get his way. He doesn't care about the ramifications of this, he has no empathy for US citizens who depend on the ACA for insurance, he wants them to suffer. He wants us to suffer. The parents whose child has leukemia, the single mom with MS, the 9/11 first responder struggling with COPD or PTSD, the grandfather with Alzheimer's. Trump doesn't care about any of us, he only cares about Trump.

His supporters don't understand, in any way, what they are cheering. Much like the women who were lured to their death by Ted Bundy's fake broken arm, Trump's fans are falling for a dangerous confidence game. A game that could, for many of them, result in their demise. Because their hero is a narcissistic sociopath.

It's important to note that antisocial personality disorder (sociopathy) cannot be cured, anymore that narcissistic personality disorder can. These are both part of the B Cluster of personality disorders, along with histrionic personality disorder and borderline personality disorder. From the Mayo Clinic:

Cluster B personality disorders

Cluster B personality disorders are characterized by dramatic, overly emotional or unpredictable thinking or behavior. They include antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder.

Antisocial personality disorder

  • Disregard for others' needs or feelings
  • Persistent lying, stealing, using aliases, conning others
  • Recurring problems with the law
  • Repeated violation of the rights of others
  • Aggressive, often violent behavior
  • Disregard for the safety of self or others
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Consistently irresponsible
  • Lack of remorse for behavior

Borderline personality disorder

  • Impulsive and risky behavior, such as having unsafe sex, gambling or binge eating
  • Unstable or fragile self-image
  • Unstable and intense relationships
  • Up and down moods, often as a reaction to interpersonal stress
  • Suicidal behavior or threats of self-injury
  • Intense fear of being alone or abandoned
  • Ongoing feelings of emptiness
  • Frequent, intense displays of anger
  • Stress-related paranoia that comes and goes

Histrionic personality disorder

  • Constantly seeking attention
  • Excessively emotional, dramatic or sexually provocative to gain attention
  • Speaks dramatically with strong opinions, but few facts or details to back them up
  • Easily influenced by others
  • Shallow, rapidly changing emotions
  • Excessive concern with physical appearance
  • Thinks relationships with others are closer than they really are

Narcissistic personality disorder

  • Belief that you're special and more important than others
  • Fantasies about power, success and attractiveness
  • Failure to recognize others' needs and feelings
  • Exaggeration of achievements or talents
  • Expectation of constant praise and admiration
  • Arrogance
  • Unreasonable expectations of favors and advantages, often taking advantage of others
  • Envy of others or belief that others envy you

Envy, anger, paranoid ideation, attention-seeking, speaking dramatically without facts or details, disregard for other people's feelings, repeated violation of the rights of others. This is Donald Trump.

Trump also shares a number of key personality structures with one of the most infamous and prolific serial killers in U.S. history, Ted Bundy. In 2007, a group of psychologists were asked to participate in a study focused on the personality of Ted Bundy. Because Bundy's personality disorders did not meet one criteria over another, the psychologists used the FFM (Five-Factor Model) along with the DSM to define Ted Bundy:

Of course, the most notable aspect of Bundy’s FFM profile was the consistently low ratings on all six facets of antagonism, indicating that the clinicians saw him as manipulative, deceitful, mistrustful, arrogant and callous. However, consistent with the reports of Bundy’s success in political endeavors, the clinicians also rated him highly in the domain of extraversion, describing him as assertive, active, and thrill-seeking although also extremely low in the extraversion facet of warmth.

Bundy was described as being particularly low on all the facets of neuroticism, with the exception of angry hostility. This indicates that he was seen as relatively free from experiencing negative emotions such as anxiety, depression, and self consciousness, but also as having great difficulty controlling his anger. Perhaps the most noteworthy finding from the FFM ratings was his generally high ratings on the domain of conscientiousness.

In contrast with the impulsive, undercontrolled behavior that one would typically expect from an antisocial criminal, Bundy was described as being competent, orderly, achievement oriented and deliberate. Perhaps it was his characteristic style of careful planning and deliberate execution that enabled Bundy to avoid capture and arrest for so many years. 

Donald Trump has all the same traits as a violent predator: he's sadistic, he has no empathy, he believes he's more special than everyone else, he's arrogant, he has very frequent displays of intense anger, he lies, and he's even used aliases in the past.

When law enforcement arrest a serial killer or serial rapist, there are always people-friends, family members, neighbors-who stutter through an interview and say things like "He was so friendly, he was quiet, I had no idea." In Trump's case, we did have an idea, and yet, last November, it didn't matter. It didn't matter that he bragged about sexually assaulting women, it didn't matter that he enjoyed causing other people pain, it didn't matter that he objectified women, it didn't matter that he believed he deserved to be president because he was rich, it didn't matter that he's a racist, it didn't matter that many people already knew he had Cluster B personality disorders.

We are now a country run by a sadistic sociopath, who has zero regard for other people, who believes he is the smartest person in the world, who is all id, who rages against anyone and anything he deems less than, who hates women, who hates people of color, who sees the world's population as his own special plaything. 

Donald Trump has the launch codes. He is Commander in Chief. Donald Trump is the leader of the free world. And he has the same cluster of personality disorders as a serial killer. 

You can find a link to Trump's quotes about women, including where he says you have to treat women like shit, here.

Disclaimer: I am not a mental health specialist. However, having spent 30 years traversing the mental health landscape, coupled with decades of research, I am offering my opinion on Donald Trump. This article should in no way be viewed as a diagnosis.

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