The definition of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is “a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this make-up of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.”
I guess to be a successful politician it is best if you are at least 50 per cent narcissistic. Politicians, especially those who aspire to hold the highest political offices, believe that he/she has the power to change the world.
In their mind, this person truly believes that they can make a difference, introduce life-changing legislation that will positively impact everything from the air we breathe to the money in our pockets; you name it, they can do it.
Narcissistic people have low self-esteem and feel the need to control how others regard them, fearing that otherwise they will be blamed or rejected, and their personal inadequacies will be exposed.
Narcissistic leaders are self-absorbed, often to the point of grandiosity. They also tend to be inflexible and lack the empathy necessary for being great leaders.
Take the current president of the US, Donald Trump, who I guess is the most recognised narcissist in power today.
His paranoia is visible every time he meets a journalist who asks him a challenging question, or any staff member who doesn’t kiss his ring.
He is convinced there is an army of people out there to get him and this fuels his anti-social personality disorder (the constant lying, the lack of remorse about even the most destructive things he does), along with the thousands of vicious attacks and insults in his tweets) and all his other narcissistic traits.
His followers, mostly older white people who have become a permanent underclass and who have become strangers in their own country, see themselves as victims and Trump will sort things out for them.
He provides them with emotional support every time he tweets his racist and xenophobic feelings; fuel to the fire.
In the old days in America, you had left and right politicians but today we are witnessing the rise of politics based upon a culture.
The Trump camp emphasises authoritarian and xenophobic values which have nothing to do with traditional Republican values which support free market capitalism.
Those who do not support Trump are both Republicans and Democrats and are more educated, liberal and freethinking.
They accept woman’s emancipation, LGBT rights, rights for the physically handicapped and citizenship for all. When was the last time you saw or heard from Trump anything about the handicapped or women and men suffering abuse from their partner? We have in the recent past had narcissist presidents of the US such as Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, but the ultimate narcissist must be Donald Trump. His name has appeared on buildings, casinos, parks, planes... basically wherever he could put it.
Aside from his ineptness in politics and his total lack of self-editing in person and on Twitter has made his narcissism a fascinating thing to watch.
Once again in the run up to the November election we get to study this widespread personality disorder up close and personal.
The worry for the world must be another four years of Donald Trump as the president of the US.
Gordon is the former president and chief executive of BMMI. He can be reached at [email protected]