Psychoanalyst Howard Kovitz,* author of the Nazi/Schmazi blog is among the mental health professionals not hesitant to apply his half century of experience with treating the disordered mind to the Republican candidate. Note he doesn’t diagnose him:
“I don't know how to diagnose Donnie-Boy ... Don't know if I would if I could. And it has nothing to do with the Goldwater Rule for me. I have no way to know if this isn't a persona, like Colbert's. It certainly appears as if the man shares none of his Real Self with the World ... if he has areas where he feels vulnerable, he doesn't particularly want to share them. The persona, though, is of a person without empathy, as Mr. Khan noted at the DNC Convention. That is, the persona is of one who sees others as objects and not as Subjects in their Own Right. Any case, this appears to be the only persona he's willing to exhibit and -- from my perspective -- should not be encouraged to be in positions of authority. ... So, I write!” Howard Clovis
Here’s his most recent essay, which reminded me of the symbolism I employed in finding an image to illustrate the flame-out of the Trump campaign.
Maybe that's the thing with Bullies. They're just too Freudian. Long time ago, I treated folk from the Italian neighborhoods of Philadelphia ... the ones memorialized in the doggerel of TA Daley. A number of women reported a comment that their Moms had made to them while growing up. Apparently, these Mothers would tell their daughters:
"Stiff Pricks have No Conscience!"
It didn't sound like my mother but, then again, I grew up a Boy with beginnings in Brooklyn ... Yeah, yeah ... I'm another Old Jewish Man who started in Brooklyn. But back to my riff for the day. Maybe that's the largest part (admitted in spite of my revisionist Freudian writings) of the Bully, after-all. The sexual reflex-arc in both sexes is set off and then has its way with us. It may start in the prefrontal-cortical new-brain but once it gets goin' it's all old-brain ... no conscience. Decision making and even planned sequencing is lost in those darker recesses in the backs of our heads where the central category ... the only salient dichotomy ... is Limp or Shtiff with, again, no sense of Conscience. Perhaps, the simplest definition of health comes out of a three part process:
- Determining whether acting on them would cause Self or Other harm.
- Acting on those (that cause no more than minimal harm).
So, yeah. Maybe Bullying is Old Brain stuff where as the caring Italian Mothers advised ...
Achtung! Gefahr ... Beware of those whose conscience is absent or temporarily short-circuited.
Joy Reed was in discussion, last night, with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC which on the same night carried serious interviews with Rachel Maddow and Kellyanne Conway and, another, with Lawrence O'Donnell discussing similarities in their differences with Glenn Beck.
Lordie, Lordie! Bless My Soul!?
It was also the same day that Drumpf-Kopf accused Hillary Clinton of having at her convention hollywood types who "weren't so hot, anymore."
Next time, Ms. Secretary,
see if you can trade a Meryl Streep
for a Chachi from Happier Days ...
or for that HOT afternoon TV star--
what was his name?
Howard ... You're having too much fun!
I suppose so. Still and frankly, it is difficult to adjust to Tragic Farces, suchg as the Trump candidacy. A Boy who never quite grew up but would be King and those who follow him hoping that he, indeed, has found the Magic Beans that Jack sought ... the formula for a better day. His followers, I suspect, are a group like any other ... one third? really decent and thoughtful folk looking for hope in a dangerous World. Another third? perfidious swine ... who are looking for someone else to blame/hang for the exigencies of life in a culture that is struggling to redefine itself in the midst of inevitable changes. And a final third? folk who are somewhere in the middle and good to have lunch with from time to time. You name the group? It seems to trifurcate along those lines.
Excerpt from “Pivot on this Donnie:”
What is so patently clear is that Herr Drumpf has shown himself to be lacking ... I don't know that he's a racist or a bigot ... I'd almost prefer that level of honesty. No. I see nothing but a late middle-aged man (like me!) who has failed to demonstrate to me the existence of any reservoir of interest in much more than self-aggrandizement. Nothing appears to matter beyond the recognition by his audience that he is a great man ... the greatest man! Whenever, whoever or whatever shows a chink in that thin armour? That moment, that person, that reality must be sufficiently depreciated so as to restore that grandiosity. A clown with many masks and no one in the costume. It's not that the Emperor has no clothes but rather that the Emperor is no more than his costume. Sad! from “Pivot on this, Donnie.”
Dr. Clovis brings a unique perspective and style to his blog when he writes about politics. He is a good satirist and not hesitant to pick the low hanging fruit and point out in humorous ways that the shiny apple has worms in it.
I have refrained from doing this as much as I am tempted to do so being aware that some readers are highly sensitive to a psychotherapist stigmatizing people suffering from one or another psychiatric disorder. Even though Dr. Clovis hasn’t gone all technical the way I have by citing the diagnostic manual, most everything he writes about Mr. Trump’s behavior could easily be plugged into various characteristics which meant healthy professionals use to make a formal diagnosis. In this day and age anyone wanting to parse out a diagnosis for someone in the limelight who offers enough grist for the DSM mill can Google up the same information psychiatrists use.
* From his blog: "Dr. Covitz is a late middle-aged pundit and psychoanalyst, new to but interested in a style of rhetoric that he's learned from one of the Presidential nominees. His more serious interests remain in finding simpler, more elegant or elemental approaches in forming theories that describe human relationships and their difficulties. He was long-time Director of the Institute for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapies (Bryn Mawr, PA), has published many papers and is the author of Oedipal Paradigms in Collision (read review by
Elio Frattaroli, M.D. excerpt from review:
Howard Covitz has done us a great service by making public this long unacknowledged aspect of the psychoanalytic process and showing that it is actually inherent in the Oedipal conflict. By framing Oedipal development explicitly as a line of moral development, Covitz invites us to come out of the closet in which we have been hiding from the values that are part and parcel of our daily practice (and our human nature!) and to expand our theory so that it explains what we actually observe, whether it is scientifically kosher or not. )
Disclosure: From Dr. Clovis — “I was never a fan of the Clintons and still blamed POTUS Bill and his philandering for Gore's loss to der Shrub ... but I do trust Senator-Secretary Clinton to be -- as has been popular to say during the past Year of the Potentially Tragic Farce -- the Adult in the Room who will do the best with an almost impossible situation.”
From me: I have been commenting on Nazi/Schmazi since I discovered it by chance a few weeks ago. I have encouraged him to post his daily essays on Daily Kos where more people can read them. It’s been lonely here for me as one of the few, if not the only, psychotherapist who regularly posts diaries about psychology as related to the presidential race.