Amongst all the division of political ideologies, class, race, and propaganda (or fake news), it is hard to escape what Donald Trump shows about us. As the leader for the most powerful country in our world, his representation shows us qualities about the modern world, that reflect who we are and the qualities that we have in us that we wouldn’t proudly want to share in normal conversation with others. I believe Trump’s behavior of narcissism, greed, and prejudice are traits that we have in all of us. Donald Trump shows all of us, even if we are unwilling to pay attention, even if we are laughing and scoffing at it, what it looks like when someone abuses their power over the lives of others in pursuit of fulfilling their pathological needs.
I created the table below to illustrate a couple hypotheses:
- Donald Trump displays pathological narcissism.
- There is a correlation between NPD Symptoms, Greed, and Prejudice.
Using Donald Trump’s media persona, I’ve matched them to all nine NPD Symptoms. In the three sections below, I use a few examples to support these hypotheses.
|NPD Symptoms||Greed||Prejudice||Donald Trump|
|Grandiosity, with expectations of superior treatment from others||Narcissism feeds on power and control and supports an individual’s sense of grandiosity. Materialism is a display of power and control, which also supports this sense of grandiosity.||Nazi eugenics helped shaped the belief that they were the master race.||Trump believes in eugenics.|
|Fixation on fantasies of power, success, intelligence, attractiveness, etc.||Success and power are perceived through material displays, which feeds into narcissism.||Institutional racism is a form of oppression designed to keep material wealth out of reach of those being discriminated against.||Trump has a deep-seated fear about public embarrassment and being forgotten. These fears drives his preoccupation with success and power.|
|Self-perception of being unique and superior||A narcissistic approach to resource is greed, which is antagonistic to communal solutions. From a narcissistic framework resources are not to be shared, because elites need power to fulfill their sense of superiority, and uphold their sense of uniqueness.||Neo-Nazism with respect to Ultranationalism and eugenics is an example in which oppression is justified to carry out ideologies of uniqueness.||Trump is obsessed with media, and being in the media makes him feel special and unique. Trump makes vague remarks about Nazi superiority: “You know I’m proud to have that German blood…Great stuff.”|
|Need for constant admiration from others||A narcissist’s appetite for admiration is fueled by materialism. We can understand admiration through materialism by car advertisements in which female models are often displayed with nice cars. This type of advertisement speaks to the stereotype that women love expensive things, and wealth attracts attractive women. This fits into the framework that all of this is to be acquired and admired.||Propaganda in Nazi Germany was successful in promoting admiration for ultra- nationalism and Aryan pride, as well as in disseminating fear and anti-semitic sentiments.||See any news clip of his rallies.|
|Sense of entitlement to special treatment and obedience from others||Studies have shown that narcissistic entitlement is directly linked to materialism. This is because monetary rewards are exactly what a narcissist feels entitled to.||Plantation owners felt entitled to own slaves for their business.||Trump’s temper tantrums show his self-entitlement.|
|Willingness to exploit others to achieve personal gain||Karl Marx is considered the most influential theorist of exploitation. Marxism asserts capitalism suffers from a class struggle between the ruling class that exploits the working class for their labor to support the wealth and power structure.||Slavery in the United States was an economical exploitation of Africans and African Americans for material profit.||Trump exploits through fear and racism. He is also known for not paying his bills, and exploits government loopholes to stiff contractors.|
|Unwillingness to empathize with others’ feelings, wishes, or needs||Research shows that materialism is antagonistic to pro-socialist values, and a lack of empathy arises as money is involved.||Many proponents against welfare among White voters have been shown to be related to their attitudes toward race.||Hours after the Orlando nightclub massacre Trump tweets: “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism”|
|Intense envy of others and the belief that others are equally envious of them||Envy is the desire for other people’s material possessions. Desire for a narcissist’s material possessions supply an excessive need for attention or admiration.||In 1921 the Tulsa race riot in America’s “Black Wall Street” resulted in the massacre of hundreds of Black residents by White residents that destroyed an affluent Black community.||Trump, “The old rich may look down their noses at me, but I think they kiss my ass.”|
|Pompous and arrogant demeanor||Materialism is at its core both arrogant and domineering given its pursuit to fulfill endless desires, which is unsustainable and antagonistic toward nature, and life in general.||The New Order (Nazism) was a political order to ensure a state of total post-war continental power over conquered areas.||Most anything quoted from Trump is arrogant and domineering.|
Donald Trump’s Narcissism
Donald Trump shows us what pathological narcissism looks like. Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification driven by egocentric admiration and insecurity. Long-term patterns of abnormal behavior can lead to a condition called narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), measured through DSM-5 criteria. There is a lot of speculation as to whether Trump has NPD. We cannot diagnose Trump from a distance, but we can evaluate his words and actions, which share many characteristics with a malignant narcissist (aka: dark triad).
Healthy amounts of narcissism help shape our self-esteem. However, studies show that narcissism is on the rise, possibly connected to the spread of social media, reality tv shows, and the entertainment industry in general. Actors and actresses are prone to narcissism because of their trade, which should make us question what we are learning from them as we consume their products. Donald Trump is no exception, as a reality TV star who regularly engages in late-night Twitter storms. On almost every public address, Trump makes the topic about himself, whether it is appropriate or not. His tweet “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism,” only hours after the Orlando nightclub massacre, shows a lack of empathy.
Donald Trump’s Greed
Greed in America can be seen in the economic crisis that it created and how capitalism encourages materialism. Materialism is a preoccupation with material wealth and status, which is essentially the definition of greed. There are correlations between narcissistic and materialistic behavior; materialism can feed narcissism. Studies show that both narcissists and materialist are inclined to be insecure. Materialism and consumer consumption is on the rise while our well-being has declined. Narcissism feeds on power, control, and the appearance of success, which materialism spurs on as it plays into the perception of those qualities. Materialism also supports a narcissist’s lack of empathy, because when money is on the line, morality can often be ignored or distorted to justify one’s materialistic greed. Narcissism and materialism lead to segregation. The narcissistic traits of grandiosity, superiority, and exploitation can only thrive on the perception of separation and the use of divide and conquer techniques. Narcissism objectifies people and materialism dehumanizes people because both treat human beings as resources. Trump supported the privatized prison industry immediately after taking office by rescinding Obama’s executive order, which essentially allows capitalistic greed to turn human beings into cattle for material profit. Trump was quoted saying, “(Mexico) They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with them. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” Trump has increased the deportation of illegal immigrants, which keeps privatized prisons more than full. Donald Trump is costing taxpayers billions of dollars by funding his lavish lifestyle. Amidst all of his many vacations, he still finds time to cut education funding and defund the poor. Trump came into the office owning a lot of money through bungled business deals, but now he reports that he is getting richer as President.
Donald Trump’s Prejudice
Narcissism and materialism are a platform upon which prejudice stands. Narcissism, materialism, and prejudice are qualities we have in all of us, and Donald Trump is showing us what it looks like when it goes unchecked. While hate crimes have risen in America since Trump entered the Oval Office, racism has always been present. Narcissistic and materialistic tendencies are easier to identify and accept in yourself than racism. Try thinking of all subtle moments in your life when implicit bias, split-second judgments and decisions, dictates your actions. Do you have stronger emotional reactions to babies of lighter or of darker skin color? When you are in a vulnerable situation does someone’s skin color become a factor in how you feel? A recent study supports evidence for racial bias by showing that White test-subjects reacted to pain suffered by Black people significantly less than that suffered by White people.
Narcissists have a sense of entitlement, which is also a theme in many racial topics such as White privilege. White privilege is an often misunderstood term, which means that people who are identified as White have not only a world whose rules and prejudices are stacked in their favor, but also the privilege of not knowing they have racial privileges or seeing discrimination. Despite the increasing amount of viral videos circulating on the Internet of African American men being unjustly brutalized and killed by police, Black Lives Matter has been met with the backlash of Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter and, most recently, White Lives Matter movements. These movements are admissions that they don’t understand/accept African American plight, and instead of using the power of empathy and compassion, justify ignorance and maintain White privilege through a show of solidarity and mob mentality.
The behaviors of narcissism, greed, and prejudice are inherent in the ideology that has infiltrated, organized, and shaped the culture that we live in. Donald Trump and those like him are a byproduct of a system that promotes these behaviors. They are showing us the consequences of these behaviors in there extreme form including:
- Sexual assault and rape culture
- Police brutality
- Disregard for environmental health
- Mass shootings
- Large scale corruption
When we are born into this system and shaped by it, we are all the more susceptible to having materialist, racist, and narcissistic tendencies that we have to recognize with within ourselves. By accepting that we have some of Donald Trump’s narcissism, greed, and prejudice in us, we can understand that we have the capacity to be like Donald Trump.
By using Donald Trump as a mirror, we can better understand the complexities of ourselves, and by understanding ourselves we can better understand the complexities of others. Our level of understanding reflects in our ability to unite or divide. This type of understanding isn’t just about individual bandages, more importantly, it is about allowing for new ideologies for dealing with hard issues.
Our old ideologies might have served some of us in the past, but they don’t seem to be serving most of us now. We must change the way we see our world. How do you see our world? The change must come from us, not solely from those we put in power.