The Elephant in the Room


In The Elephant in the Room: It’s time we talked openly about Donald Trump’s mental health, Psychology Today reports that “more than 26,000 psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental-health professionals have signed” a petition “declaring that Trump has ‘a serious mental illness that renders him psychologically incapable of competently discharging the duties of President of the United States.’”

And exactly what is the problem?

Lance Dodes, a retired psychiatry professor at Harvard Medical School, spelled it out in a TV interview:

Dodes was asked by O’Donnell to watch and comment on a much-played clip of Trump claiming during a debate that he had lost “hundreds” of friends on 9-11. Dodes’ said there were two pieces to Trump’s lying: First, he lies because of his sociopathic tendencies — “He lies in the way a person scams people; he’s trying to sell an idea or a product by telling you something that’s not true.” The other aspect of his lying was more serious — his loose grip on reality. For example, when he lies and has been told that what he said is not true, he still carries on with the lie. Dodes said that this indicates Trump cannot accept an aspect of reality and therefore rejects it, making his grasp on reality, and his attention to it, loose. “This is an extremely dangerous trait in a president,” Dodes continued. “And that makes him unqualified.”

Both [psychologist John Gartner] and Dodes agreed that as far as the depth of mental illness, this is the “worst case” scenario. Gartner added, “He’s just sane enough to ‘pass’ but is detached from reality.” Gartner argued that what is real for the president is fluid, meaning that it’s malleable. Combine this non-reality with paranoia, and being at a hand’s reach of the nuclear codes is troubling. “He actually imagines he is under attack by people who are not actually attacking him,” Gartner said, creating “a very dangerous combination of someone who can act on his paranoid fantasies in a way that can have catastrophic consequences.”

In sum,

Through our observations, we can see Trump as embodying an unconstrained present hedonist—living only in the present moment and saying whatever it takes to pump up his ego and assuage his inherent low self-esteem, without thought of past reality or potentially devastating future consequences. He is the poster boy for a time perspective that is totally unbalanced. Unfortunately, given his personality type, there is little hope of reversal or any meaningful improvement.

A tip of the hat to Lucy Maud here at Happy Acres for bringing this to my attention.