I would say that what’s unique about Trump’s narcissism is how extensively he’s been able to indulge in it for his entire life, first by being born into privilege, and later after had acquired wealth and power on his own. I know people who would love to live like him, but they weren’t born into wealth, and/or were unable to obtain it on their own. They got into legal trouble they couldn’t get out of; their families deserted them; they succumbed to substance abuse; etc. The world smacked them down. Trump seems to have succeeded at smacking the world down.
There was a discussion in Cafe Society on the classic Twilight Zone episode “It’s Good Life”, about a 10-year old boy with frightening telekinesis powers, which he indiscriminately uses to commit terrible atrocities. Adults (including his parents) are constantly indulging him because they’re afraid he’ll turn them into a jack-in-the-box, or some other monstrous fate from a child’s imagination.
Someone in the thread posed the question of what that boy would be like when he grew up, and the consensus was: Donald Trump.
I would guess he is dumber than the average narcissist. I am not familiar with the breed but his inability to read a briefing report is evidence of that, I imagine. I would be willing to bet that if the tax returns are ever made public it will turn out that, rather than being a billionaire he was well below water in 2016. Quite a feat to start with $400 M and end up seeply in debt. Of course, he valued his name at $1 B and that is now utterly devalued, so he may have ended up losing money even while profiting enormously from being president. Call him anti-Midas; he turns gold into straw.
I believe there are covert narcissists and more overt ones. Trump is more overt. The covert ones (the ones that I’ve known) can put on a facade of normalcy for years and years until there is a threat to their ego or sense of control over others, then they become extremely manipulative, vindictive, emotionally fragile, etc. Overt ones like Trump are very grandiose, emotionally fragile, ego-centric, etc from day one.
If there is a spectrum of 1-100 of narc disorders Trump would be very highly rated, his symptoms are pretty intense. Almost everything is about protecting his fragile ego and he has no connection to reality. Trump will lie blatantly but all his lies are basically designed to protect his ego or denounce people he sees as threat to his ego. His lying, from what I know of it at least, is pretty consistent in this.
But I also assume his life of entitlement (being able to use his fame and wealth to avoid consequences) made him much more blatant than other narcissists, the same way a sociopath who is born the son of a dictator will be much more blatant with their evil intentions than a sociopath who is born poor in a democracy.
[THREAD=892572]What will Anthony from the Twilight Zone “Good Life” episode be like as an adult?[/THREAD]
We’re just fortunate–maybe–that all Trump has are access to the nuclear arsenal. If he could literally make the rest of the world that dislikes him disappear, all he would have left is Sean Hannity, the cast of Fox & Friends and the Deep South.
As for how he compares, well, he’s awful, but that is mostly in the context of how much power he has managed to acquire. Back when Trump was just a third rate real estate developer with bad taste and a penchant for overextending himself, he was the butt of jokes from Spy Magazine and his petulant responses were a source of endless amusement for Graydon Carter. Now that he’s managed to elevate his status to President of the United States, or perhaps more accurately lower that office to his level, he has the attention of major news networks who should really be more responsible than to give him unfiltered air time to vent his spleen and dog-whistle to racist asshats. I have known narcissists who were every bit as terrible as Trump in their behavior but I was able to walk away from them with only some limited amount of financial damage and a modest amount of resentment requiring some quality time with a speed bag. With Trump, he sticks to the soles of your shoes like day old dogshit and that smell never goes away.
I would dispute the creating wealth part on his own. He inherited $413 million dollars according to wikipedia, and has been saved by his family keeping him afloat since.
His current value is hard to say, although I will agree he certainly did accomplish power, and has his hand in the cookie jar.
His wealth was estimated online at about $3 billion, and has dropped to
$2 billion since the virus.
According to MarketWatch - here is what would have happened if he had just bought an index fund. "Assume Trump inherited $1 in 1974, right on Jan. 1. If he had invested that dollar in the broad stock market and reinvested all dividends, by the end of 2016 he would have had $84.11.
Scaled up, the $200 million in “starter” money from his father today would be worth $16.8 billion. That’s a far cry from $3.5 billion."
It is impressive what a mere few hundred million dollars can do for one’s wealth.
I’ve known a couple of pathological liars, and I would’t number them among the narcissists I’ve known. The liars were congenial blokes, their friends liked them and learned not to believe trivial facts they dispensed. And the narcissists got along decently, we just laughed at them behind their backs.
I was married for many years to a guy who was clinically diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder. (He would not/could not accept the diagnosis, which is typical and is one reason NPD is so hard to treat successfully.) From what the therapist told me:
People with NPD have egos that are huge but fragile. My metaphor is a shiny Christmas bulb ornament: big but fragile and hollow. They cannot accept themselves as fallible humans, so they tend to project what they see as their worse faults onto others. Those who criticize them are subject to incendiary wrath because they’ve threatened the narcissist’s essential identity.
Narcissists usually believe they’re uniquely deserving of attention, status, and/or money, and many believe they’re extraordinarily good lovers. They’re also thin-skinned and have difficulty letting criticism roll off them.They often have an exaggerated sense of their own talents and skills and are jealous of others.
I’ll leave it to others to draw comparisons and reach conclusions, but this was my experience.