JEAN M. TWENGE, PhD: “Is Donald Trump Actually Insecure Underneath?”

I’m often asked how you can spot a narcissist. Here’s my standard list:

  • Brag or show off
  • Name-dropping
  • Name brands or flashy possessions
  • Look at themselves in the mirror a lot
  • Turn the conversation back to him/herself
  • Insults others
  • Declarations about being the “best” or “great” without details
  • Emphasizes his/her status

I wrote that list two years ago — long before Donald Trump started running for president. Yet it could have been written just for him. As others have pointed out, the Donald is a textbook case of narcissistic personality. He is clearly functioning well and thus can’t be classified as having narcissistic personality disorder, the clinical-level form, which by definition only describes someone whose traits are causing them difficulty. Trump, instead, displays narcissism as a personality trait — the type we focus on in The Narcissism Epidemic.

Here’s the question: Is Trump’s narcissism a cover for insecurity? This is known as the “mask model” — the idea that grandiose narcissism is a show to distract people from the deep psychic pain underneath. A recent piece in Time made this claim, arguing that Trump is trying to cover for a “profound insecurity and lack of self-esteem.”

Here’s the problem: At least for grandiose narcissism like Trump’s, there’s no evidence that the mask model is true. Narcissists have high self-esteem on average, not low, and the most aggressive people are those with both high narcissism and high self-esteem. Children who become narcissistic are not those shamed by their parents, but those told they are special.

Perhaps the best evidence comes from studies measuring self-esteem in a subtle way, such as with an implicit self-esteem measure recording people’s reaction time in pairing words like “I” and “me” with words like “bad” and “good.” People who score high on grandiose narcissism also score high on implicit self-esteem. In other words, deep down inside, narcissists think they are awesome.

This is also just plain common sense: Does Trump really seem like he is insecure underneath? Does he seem to be in a state of psychic pain, or even covering for one? No — he’s having the time of his life. So why does he seem to crave all of the attention and adulation? The Time article argues that Trump is trying to fill a deep “psychic hole.”

I have a more straightforward explanation: He likes all of the attention because he thinks he deserves it. It’s never enough not because of psychic pain, but because he thinks everyone should pay attention to him. Attention is fun and gratifying; it has nothing to do with insecurity.

Why the Mask Model of Narcissism Is Dangerous

I will go further: I think it’s dangerous to believe that narcissists are insecure underneath. Not only is it not supported by empirical evidence, but it promotes the idea that the way to deal with narcissists is to boost their self-esteem and heal their “wounds” through more love and affection. This is like suggesting that the way to cure obesity is by giving everyone more doughnuts. The narcissistic person who ruins relationships through his self-centeredness does not need more love or attention — he needs to get kicked to the curb. The young adult who takes advantage of everyone around her does not need her self-esteem boosted — she needs to learn responsibility.

Narcissism is known as the “disease that hurts other people,” and the cure for it is real life — losing a relationship because of selfishness, losing a job because you’ve alienated people. Yes, we should try to understand narcissists and realize that their behavior is explained by this personality trait. But that does not mean we should believe that they are actually insecure — that myth undermines our understanding of narcissism because it presumes that it’s only skin-deep.

Many, many people have been hurt in relationships with narcissists by believing that they can change the person with more love. If only that were true — but sadly, most of the time, it’s not. We can have empathy for people with narcissistic traits, but that does not mean we have to believe they are suffering underneath. Most of the time, they are making other people suffer. They won’t suffer themselves until bad things start happening to them, often as a consequence of their narcissism. It is sad, but it is not due to insecurity.

Trump is not insecure. We should not be looking for the source of his “psychic pain” or expect that someday he will break down and show his true, doubting self. He really does think that he’s that great, and that his ideas are that great. If we believe otherwise — about him or anyone else with these traits — we risk underestimating the true power of the narcissist.

 

~via PsychologyToday.com

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ALLISON ENGEL: “The Psychopath Archetype”

Generally speaking, when we think in terms of psychopathy, we think serial killers and a few names come to mind; Manson, Gein, Dahmer and so on and so forth.  What if the behavioral mechanism that constitutes these extreme behavior patterns weren’t that far from home?

In the archetypal suite, there is a fine line between spirituality and psychosis, a fine line between genius and madness.  We walk this line every day in our waking life.

  • Is there a torture chamber within the recesses of your subliminal reality?

  • Are you trying to escape a certain set of rules or trauma?

It is quite possible that obeying the rules of society is harder because of the anima/animus within your own psyche.

Anima/Animus possession will cause a neurotic, often narcissistic/egoic and predatory behavior in seemingly every day people.  It is the energetic imprint of trauma.  We know that trauma begets trauma, but what is the correlation and the energetic exchange between authority/aggressor/perpetrator/narcissistic parent and the child/victim/abuse?  It is the fact that these worlds actually collide.

The child/victim archetype merges with the perpetrator/predator and it fractalizes behavioral elements due to the loss of innocence and imprint of paralyses, shock, and horror.

  • Is it helpful to be shocked and disgusted by others or world events?
  • Does it separate you into a class of world citizens that are not also able to shock and disgust others with your beliefs?
  • How do you become a victim by being challenged into cognitive dissonance and by new thought processes or concepts?

Your shadow is trained to stay resilient by focusing and reminding you that the problem is out there and not within.

  • Is it more painful to be you than you would like to admit?
  • Is there still a traumatic imprint that hasn’t been healed from yet?
  • Is shying away from this archetype helping your hard-drive function or is it continuing to affect you and others in your experience?

This pressure cooker will continue to steam if we are not able to separate the facts from fiction in our waking life.  This serves as an analgesic and an escape route into the other realms.  When we experience anima/animus possession there is a voice in our head reminding us that we are never going to approximate to anything and at the same time augments into specialness or righteousness.  It is the ultimate bi-polar regimen.

The child is covering over its impermeable and nihilistic and confused frustrations with efforts to self-aggrandize and hold onto a layer of unneeded and unending suffering.  It is very much there to rob the individual of its accomplishments and of the present moment.  This is very much the issue with people who just can’t seem to get it together.

There is a need to separate the anima/animus from the shadow.

  • What do you believe about others in your experience?
  • Are they being de-humanized by your belief systems in your fragmented archetypes?

There will continue to be whispers of specialness with the savior archetype attached to the idea that the rules simply don’t apply.  There is a lack of linear time awareness and thus the regression into opposing archetypes happens quickly and like a landslide.

Due to the temporal deficit, the child is only able to micromanage other’s causes and effects and blame the institutions and parents, siblings.  Once the parents, the government, or institutions are fixed, then the child or self will be okay.  Unopposed this creates an unwillingness to conform.  Then it landslides back into the recesses of the unconscious to continue to blame and shame others.  There is any underlying need to fit in and an inability to accept rules.

There is a ghost in the archetypal suite that forms the base layers of consciousness that drives the ego.  The ego is not fully formed though, as it wears a narcissistic mask to hide the monstrous and tiny incoherent self.  The only way to stop this is to call out the shadow and at the same time observe the anima/animus and its effects.  The key here is to see the dark and the light attributes in both the father and the mother and coherently structure a self between the two perceptions of evil and divine in both.  When we are unable to see these distortions in our “selves”, we continue to project and augment others and the world strategy.

We continue to battle light and dark as if the human psyche within is not both capable of war and love.  Once these two concepts are de-fragmented, the light joins the shadow and it then can empower the individuation instead of the person’s power continuing to be withheld and outside of itself.

The psychopath archetype is an imprint of formidable psychosis that suggests that fear will best train and control the masses.  Just turn on the news and see if this energy resonates within your structure.  Are you either obsessed with listening or looking into the fear programs or is there a fear of hearing people with other ideas speaking?  Mass media has become a church that is subdivided in what will illicit and entice and what is safe and marks fervent debauchery.  How is this actually your own inability to be challenged or communicate effectively?  Are you not being heard and can you actually hear others?  Logic is not communicated easily when all affronts are up and ready for combat.  You can’t hear clarity if you have to protect a small self from identification with static ideas that serve nothing but self-gratification.

  • Is fear constituting your bandwidth on either side of this polarity?
  • Would you be able to be challenged outside of your comfort zone to see that psychopathy is leading and is possibly innate within each other’s own consciousness?
  • Would you be able to question the concept of sanity/insanity within authority or are you still subdivided within your own unconscious parts that store this energetic signature?

War is not love.  Murder is not a blessing in disguise.  Torture is not something to be shared on Facebook.  What is it in you that is so fragmented that sees brutality and thinks it is needed?  Delineation is hard when the formatted hard drive wasn’t in linear fashion.  This is anima/animus possession and is part of the loss of time constructs in the psyche. It is not readily talked about but can be seen as projected matter into the ideation of others.

Inconsistencies then rear their ugly head within the psyche until the archetypes are seen and heard and healed.

The archetypes are all polarized and have been for centuries.

Are you ready to fight the war within your own consciousness to battle directly and lovingly the consciousness of others?

Allison Engel

 

 

~via In5D.com