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The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President by Bandy X. Lee
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“pathological narcissists can lose touch with reality in subtle ways that become extremely dangerous over time. When they can’t let go of their need to be admired or recognized, they have to bend or invent a reality in which they remain special despite all messages to the contrary.”
Bandy X Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“Power not only corrupts but also magnifies existing psychopathologies, even as it creates new ones. Fostered by the flattery of underlings and the chants of crowds, a political leader’s grandiosity may morph into grotesque delusions of grandeur. Sociopathic traits may be amplified as the leader discovers that he can violate the norms of civil society and even commit crimes with impunity. And the leader who rules through fear, lies, and betrayal may become increasingly isolated and paranoid, as the loyalty of even his closest confidants must forever be suspect.”
Bandy X Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“In Donald Trump, we have a frightening Venn diagram consisting of three circles: the first is extreme present hedonism; the second, narcissism; and the third, bullying behavior. These three circles overlap in the middle to create an impulsive, immature, incompetent person who, when in the position of ultimate power, easily slides into the role of tyrant, complete with family members sitting at his proverbial “ruling table.” Like a fledgling dictator, he plants psychological seeds of treachery in sections of our population that reinforce already negative attitudes.”
Bandy X Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“People with NPD have a strong need, in every area of their life, to be treated as if they’re special. To those with NPD, other people are simply mirrors, useful only insofar as they reflect back the special view of themselves they so desperately long to see. If that means making others look bad by comparison—say, by ruining their reputation at work—so be it. Because life is a constant competition, they’re also usually riddled with envy over what other people seem to have. And they’ll let you know”
Bandy X Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“A paranoid, hypersensitive, grandiose, ill-informed leader such as Donald Trump, who has surrounded himself with a Cabinet and a set of advisers who either are unable to bring him out of his paranoid suspicions and insistences or, worse, identify with his positions, represents a multidimensional threat to our country and the world.”
Bandy X Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“In his constant attempts to redefine the truth against the wrongdoings he has enacted, Donald Trump behaves like an aggressive perpetrator who fundamentally has no respect for the rights and subjectivities of those in American society who disagree with him. He shows this through his insistence on overpowering and shaming individuals who will not bend to his opinion or his will.”
Bandy X Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“Thomas Jefferson insisted that an “informed citizenry” is the best protection for democracy. It is therefore extremely disconcerting that a staggering percentage of Americans cannot name our president during the Civil War or the country from whom we won our independence.”
Bandy X. Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“one way in which severe sociopaths do have a certain, frightening type of empathy. It is the empathy of the predator. A tiger stalking his prey must have an ability to sense the prey’s fear, or at least to be aware of the small signs of that fear (Malancharuvil 2012). The tiger is “empathic” with its prey, but not sympathetic or caring. Successful sociopaths are like that. They are closely attuned to their victim’s emotional state. Does the victim buy what the sociopath is selling? Does he need false reassurance, a compliment on his intelligence or appearance, a lying promise, or a friendly gesture to keep him thinking the sociopath is honorable? The successful sociopath’s predatory “empathy” reflects a definite perceptive acumen, making him a genius at manipulation. When this works, it produces a disastrous trust in him. Yet, like the tiger, he is unconcerned about the welfare of his target.”
Bandy X Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“Pathological narcissism begins when people become so addicted to feeling special that, just like with any drug, they’ll do anything to get their “high,” including lie, steal, cheat, betray, and even hurt those closest to them. Imagine this starting around 9 on the spectrum and getting worse as we approach 10. At these points, you’re in the realm of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).”
Bandy X. Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“people with NPD bend the truth to fit their story of who they are. If reality suggests they’re not special, but flawed, fragile, and—even worse—mediocre, then they simply ignore or distort reality.”
Bandy X Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“The human brain can protect us from seeing and feeling what it believes may be too uncomfortable for us to tolerate. It can lead us to deny, defend, minimize, or rationalize away something that doesn’t fit our worldview.”
Bandy X Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“to have poor shame tolerance. They learned in childhood to manage feelings of inadequacy by adopting unhealthy coping mechanisms to forestall or avoid shaming experiences. Poor shame tolerance causes behaviors associated with the just-mentioned DSM disorders, including vindictive anger, lack of insight and accountability, dishonesty, impulsivity, entitlement, paranoia, lack of remorse and empathy, self-importance, and attention-seeking. Trump is an extreme example, but “subclinical” versions of this behavior exist in millions of people, including domestic abusers.”
Bandy X Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“Even those with less-severe Other-blaming traits end up damaging relationships because they lack an ability to attend or respond to their partner’s emotions with kindness and caring. The resulting lack of emotional connection is a major reason relationships fail. In couples’ therapy, it is difficult to get an Other-blamer to pay attention to his effect on his partner. Even if his wife is crying, the Other-blaming husband may sit there unmoved or, worse yet, argumentative and defensive. He is so busy protecting himself from experiencing shame and blame that he has little capacity to be warmly responsive.”
Bandy X Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“In that regard, one final clarification is in order. Trump is now the most powerful head of state in the world, and one of the most impulsive, arrogant, ignorant, disorganized, chaotic, nihilistic, self-contradictory, self-important, and self-serving. He has his finger on the triggers of a thousand or more of the most powerful thermonuclear weapons in the world. That means he could kill more people in a few seconds than any dictator in past history has been able to kill during his entire years in power. Indeed, by virtue of his office, Trump has the power to reduce the unprecedentedly destructive world wars and genocides of the twentieth century to minor footnotes in the history of human violence. To say merely that he is “dangerous” is debatable only in the sense that it may be too much of an understatement.”
Bandy X Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“Other-blamers and abusers lie so frequently that their partners often do not know what to believe. How can a relationship of any kind withstand the betrayal of a constant barrage of deception, excuses, and denials?”
Bandy X Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“Freud focused on the puzzling development of conscience. He reasoned that the child begins life with a sense that all are present to serve him. A youngster eventually recognizes that others exist but not initially that they are complex beings with their own thoughts and relationships. Freud discovered that the child’s life changes dramatically when he realizes that others are subjects, just as he is: subjects in their own right (Covitz 2016). Until that time, the child understands others more or less only in their capacities to satisfy his needs: as either good or bad, as satisfying his demands or not. When the child accepts the complexity of family relationships and is able to understand that Mom and Dad have an independent relationship, he has begun to embrace them as subjects (i.e., as doers) with their own thoughts, feelings, and relationships. He has, Freud would say, developed a conscience (an uber-Ich, or a “Guiding I”). Those who fail to accept others as subjects in their own right comprise the personality-disordered subgroup of humanity.”
Bandy X Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“But as history and experience demonstrate, power-hungry narcissistic psychopaths do not look different from normal people; and if they stand out, it is often for socially approved reasons: their resolve, charisma, decisiveness, and ability to inspire others.”
Bandy X. Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“Other characteristics of abusive Other-blamers include: • Placing high value on personal loyalty, surrounding themselves with “yes men.”
Bandy X. Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“Isolating their partners and often convincing their victims that others do not have their best interests at heart.”
Bandy X. Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“Trump creates his own extreme manipulation of reality. He insists that his spokesmen defend his false reality as normal. He then expects the rest of society to accept it—despite the lack of any evidence.” This leads to what Lifton calls “malignant normality”—in other words, the gradual acceptance by a public inundated with toxic untruths of those untruths until they pass for normal.”
Bandy X. Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“I have always been troubled by that opinion, because it appears to me to have encouraged the intellectual and professional leaders of Germany to remain silent, even in the face of enormous and unprecedented danger. It does not seem to me that the German Psychiatric Association of the 1930s deserves any honor or credit for remaining silent during Hitler’s rise to power”
Bandy X. Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“And empathy? Even Trump’s former mentor, the notorious Roy Cohn, lawyer for gangsters and Joseph McCarthy, said that when it came to his feelings for his fellow human beings, Trump “pisses ice water” (Lange 2016).”
Bandy X Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“A notable difference between normal narcissistic personality disorder and malignant narcissism is the feature of sadism, or the gratuitous enjoyment of the pain of others. A narcissist will deliberately damage other people in pursuit of their own selfish desires, but may regret and will in some circumstances show remorse for doing so, while a malignant narcissist will harm others and enjoy doing so, showing little empathy or regret for the damage they have caused.”
John D. Garner, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“Trump managed a variation on Descartes’s “I think, therefore I am”: “I think it, therefore it is.”
Bandy X Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“we rely upon the voting populace to determine if a candidate’s intellectual abilities “measure up,” an inherently flawed system, as the populace has access only to prepackaged presentations and observations of a candidate in debates and while he or she is giving speeches—hardly an adequate database for accurately gauging intellectual ability.”
Bandy X. Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“Although sociopathy always means a lack of empathy, there is one way in which severe sociopaths do have a certain, frightening type of empathy. It is the empathy of the predator. A tiger stalking his prey must have an ability to sense the prey’s fear, or at least to be aware of the small signs of that fear (Malancharuvil 2012). The tiger is “empathic” with its prey, but not sympathetic or caring. Successful sociopaths are like that. They are closely attuned to their victim’s emotional state. Does the victim buy what the sociopath is selling? Does he need false reassurance, a compliment on his intelligence or appearance, a lying promise, or a friendly gesture to keep him thinking the sociopath is honorable? The successful sociopath’s predatory “empathy” reflects a definite perceptive acumen, making him a genius at manipulation. When this works, it produces a disastrous trust in him. Yet, like the tiger, he is unconcerned about the welfare of his target.”
Bandy X Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“The failure of normal empathy is central to sociopathy, which is marked by an absence of guilt, intentional manipulation, and controlling or even sadistically harming others for personal power or gratification.”
Bandy X. Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“factual evidence to the contrary. • Delusions are held with absolute certainty, despite their falsity and impossibility. • Delusions can have a variety of themes, including grandeur and persecution. • Delusions are not of the bizarre variety (“I am being poisoned by the CIA”) but, rather, seem like ordinary figures of speech except that each word is meant literally: e.g., “I alone am the chosen one, invincible, extraordinary beyond words, the very best of the best in every way.” • Delusional people tend to be extremely thin-skinned and humorless, especially regarding their delusions. • Delusions are”
Bandy X Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“Assessing dangerousness is different from making a diagnosis: it is dependent on the situation, not the person. Signs of likely dangerousness due to mental disorder can become apparent without a full diagnostic interview and can be detected from a distance, and one is expected to err, if at all, on the side of safety when the risk of inaction is too great.”
Bandy X. Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
“Only in an emergency should a physician breach the trust of confidentiality and intervene without consent, and only in an emergency should a physician breach the Goldwater rule. We believe that such an emergency now exists.”
Bandy X. Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President

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