I began to study psychology when I was 15 and first read Freud. I was an undergraduate psychology major and got my masters in social work on the clinical track. I worked 40 years as a psychotherapist diagnosing and treating people with a wide variety of mental health problems. As director of a mental health clinic and clinical supervisor I was familiar with thousand of patients.
Nowhere have I come across a person with the personality of Donald Trump. I have tried to diagnose him but he defies standard diagnostic categories because he exhibits characteristics of so many diagnoses from the DSM and in addition has paraphilias (groping, toucherism, and possibly frotteurism) and pathological lying (which isn’t even a listed disorder). Megalomania, obsession with the exercise of power, especially in the domination of others, isn’t in the DSM and of itself isn’t a psychiatric disorder. Trump’s oral impulsivity is unusual if not unprecedented in a presidential candidate. I could go on, but all this leads up to his apparent believing in tin-foil hat dire conspiracy theories.
The latest wrinkle in his diversionary tactic from the sexual allegations is, of course, his claim that the elections are rigged despite having no rational evidence that this is true. And the latest wrinkle in this is that 1.8 million dead voters are going to vote for Hillary.
What can anyone, whether a clinician or a lay person, make of this?
Damned if I know.
Here’s a story just out on The New Yorker about Melania believing in conspiracy theories:
Her interview expressed a fixation, instead, with stories of the riggers and the media plotters seeking to deny her husband power. “People think and talk about me, like, ‘Oh, Melania, poor Melania,’ ” she told Cooper. “Don’t feel sorry for me.” It’s a deal.