Also posted on The Policy Think Site – http://jaygaskill.com/NarcissistMeltdown.htm
…A NARCISSIST’S MELTDOWN?
A Note of Concern for our President and the Country
By Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law
The inevitable meltdown of a narcissistic personality is a terrible thing to behold. The term inevitable is appropriate because the world never quite conforms to the aggrandized fantasies of the true narcissist.
“NO,” the world eventually insists, “YOU ARE NOT THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE. WORSE – YOUR ILLUSION OF INFALLIBILITY IS EXPOSED. YOU ARE SCREWING UP.”
For the confirmed narcissists among us, such moments of truth are too difficult to bear. The classic narcissistic personality typically insists that the world must be wrong, and reacts unpredictably when the world pierces his or her illusions. Such confrontations with reality are particularly dangerous if a narcissist occupies a key position of power and responsibility. The responses to such unpleasant realities (they can manifest singly, serially or in combination) include these five:
- Blame your subordinates.
- Double down on your mistakes.
- Retreat from the world by avoiding decisions, seeking distractions, hiding in the trappings of success, protected by a circle of approving acolytes.
- Indulge in paranoia.
- Escape through high risk (even passively suicidal) behavior.
This is no armchair diagnosis, but I am far from the first observer to call attention to the narcissist elements in our president’s personality. This president was at his happiest appearing before uncritically adoring crowds. Those moments are gone. Now the president seems happiest on the golf course or flying aboard Air Force One, surrounded by the trappings of power at least 40,000 feet away from his nearest critics.
I worry that only a conformed narcissist, caught up in the attractive delusion that no one would seek to harm “such a beloved leader as myself”, would tolerate lax security at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
In such a situation, security personnel would be conflicted. Trying at the same time to please and protect a classic narcissist is an impossible task.
The cure for narcissism is character. Unfortunately, character is acquired over time; and cannot be quickly acquired.
There is no character app.
Narcissists sometimes dream of posthumous vindication, of the grieving multitudes suddenly sorry that they ever doubted the wisdom and greatness of the wonderful person they have just lost. “How could we have ever doubted his leadership?”
In this self-indulgent dream, everyone rallies around the cause of the fallen hero, who looms larger in demise than ever in life.
That POTUS might, consciously or unconsciously , indulge in this dream is my personal nightmare.
I fervently pray that I am wrong. But I have been disturbed by the thought that someone with a narcissistic personality caught in a large scale failure mode might secretly entertain some version of that dark dream.
The recent security laxness at the White house was a tell.
Fortunately, this president does not seem to exhibit Nixonian paranoia. Mr. Obama’s attachment to his family is a heathy sign. But his seeming laxness about his personal security (and of our national security for that matter) is unacceptable.
My concern goes well beyond party politics.
Copyright © 2014 by Jay B Gaskill [Permission to forward, or to use pull quotes with full attribution, is granted. For everything else, contact the author via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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