As we’ve now officially crossed into the era of President Trump, some of the important terms we now know or need to know better:
A Johns Hopkins college syllabus (JHU) that went viral post-election states that it involves “personal and political gain marred by intolerance, derived from wealth, and rooted in the history of segregation, sexism, and exploitation.”
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
If President Trump indeed suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or NPD, most in my field won’t publicly declare it because of an ethical code that prohibits such diagnoses without an appropriate in-person professional assessment.
However, last November three noted female psychiatrists (see previous post) provided President Obama supporting information about NPD—in case of its possible relevance.
A particularly salient point from their letter (Richard Greene, Huffington Post):
There are only two ways to deal with someone with NPD, and they are both dangerous. There is no healthy way of interacting with someone with this affliction. If you criticize them they will lash out at you and if they have a great deal of power, that can be consequential. If you compliment them it only acts to increase the delusional and grandiose reality the sufferer has created, causing him to be even more reliant on constant and endless compliments and unwavering support.
We’re all born with a basic nature that is our temperament. As child development expert Jerome Kagan has put it, “As soon as the bun is out of the oven, you can see how irritable the baby is, how active the baby is, how hard it is to soothe, how restless it is” (Drake Baer, Science of Us).
When I watch Donald Trump, I sometimes feel like Ingrid Bergman — not European and glamorous, but unnerved, as though I’m being gaslit, as in the famous plot of her old classic movie ‘Gaslight.’ The lights are flickering, but her character’s husband, who is secretly a seriously bad dude, is convincing her that no such thing is occurring. He is trying to get her to question her sense of reality, to think her mind is playing tricks on her — in short, to convince her that she is going slightly crazy, a tactic that can be scarily effective.
Post-truth was named Oxford Dictionary‘s 2016 international word of the year: “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”
Indeed, as was confirmed just yesterday, Trumpism actually employs “alternative facts”—or what the rest of us call “lies.”
Not only is it bad for one’s own mental health and social functioning, reports Kevin McCarthy (Healthline), those who have toxic masculinity are less likely to seek help. Among the associated traits are exertion of power over women, misogyny, violence, and homophobia.
The Word of 2016 picked by Dictionary.com is xenophobia, described as “fear of the other.” Katy Steinmetz, Time, notes that both listed definitions reflect sentiments that apply here:
1. fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers. 2.
According to New Republic, “Normalization is saying yes to racism, sexism, and homophobia. It is saying yes to deplorable and offensive behavior. And it is saying no to those who believe differently, reaffirming that our definition of normal in this country most often comes from one dominant group.”
Trump Anxiety and Trumpsomnia
Anxiety and sleep disturbance often go hand in hand. Scott Timberg, Salon: “One of the ironies here is that several of those suffering from Trumpsomnia describe the election as ‘a bad dream.’ But it’s one they don’t seem to be able to wake up from.” Sleep remedies may provide only a short-term fix. Though, “Impeachment would work,” said one sufferer.
Speaking of bad dreams, Merriam-Webster‘s 2016 Word of the Year, surreal, means “marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream; also: unbelievable, fantastic.” About sums it up.