Six months before the election

Trump says what most people think, but won’t say. He tells it like it is. He’s not inhibited by superficial niceties and political correctness that have kept politicians from dealing directly and honestly with problems. He’s his own person, not beholden to anyone, not “owned” like the other so called leaders who grovel for money from wealthy donors and then must do their bidding. The country is slipping, hog tied by old assumptions and reluctance to use our power, by fear of offending or of rocking the boat. Trump sees through the falseness and fear; he is just the kind of bold, independent and strong leader we need now.

If this is how you view the candidacy and potential leadership of Donald Trump, consider something before you vote. Whether you love him or hate him, there’s no denying he is a classic example of grandiose narcissism, and narcissism has been classified as a personality disorder, a mental illness, for a reason. Anyone who has lived with a true narcissist can confirm what I’m about to say.

First, it’s critical to understand that a narcissist must win, must come out on top in any challenge or competition. Whether that challenge is real or perceived, if the narcissist feels his image is being threatened, he will…he must do whatever it takes to be seen as the winner, or at least to see himself as the winner.

Another critical feature of narcissism is a lack of empathy. Quite literally, a narcissist doesn’t care how others feel. From his detached perspective—and reportedly narcissists are more frequently men, he looks for and sees people’s sensitivities, their self-consciousness and uncertainties. This gives him a kind of strength, or more precisely, power. He sees people who worry about hurting others’ feelings, or who would defer to a valued relationship, as weak. And weakness is something to exploit in the narcissist’s never ending quest to prevail.

These characteristics matter for two reasons.

First, if you think Donald is speaking for you, or is going to look out for your interests, or even America’s interests, watch closely and think again. A narcissist sees all of life as a play with him or her self as the central character. Everyone else…yes, even family, is on stage to support his lead role; all are there to reflect his image. Trump’s bankruptcies, tax evasions, and his treatment of Sarah Palin, Chris Christie or any of his endorsers almost painfully reveal this utilitarian view of people who theoretically should matter to him. You hear no long term friends, relatives or business partners offering sincere personal testimonials to his loyalty, kindness, or generosity. And you’re not going to.

Second, the empathy deficient narcissist will put anything and everything on the line, including relationships, to win and to protect his self image. Nothing is more important. The fact that he doesn’t care how people feel, or will feel, gives him a competitive advantage in confrontations and negotiations. Trump boasts of being a “great negotiator.” How would his business associates and those with whom he has negotiated describe him? Think about this when you imagine him representing the United States in the world and wielding its military power.

Donald Trump’s narcissism has been evident his entire life, but never more publicly displayed than in his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination. Whether his new campaign managers will be able to tone it down for the election campaign remains to be seen. But watch and listen and ask yourself: Is his ruthless defiance of conventional civility an admirable strength, or a callous indifference to everyone and everything that isn’t Donald Trump?

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