Who really would have believed that Donald Trump could become president of the United States of America. It really happened. Even though much has been written about Trumps megalomania and narcissist behavior we would like to shed some light on the root-cause of his behavior and what this means from a Lifestyle Prescriptions® Root-Cause Analysis and META-Perspective.
First let’s analyze megalomania on the basis of the psychological aspect and then review the META-Perspective which forms the diagnostic foundation for Lifestyle Prescriptions® Health Coaching Programs.
Narcissist Personality Disorder (Megalomania)
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), formerly known as megalomania, is a form of pathological narcissism, first diagnosed by the psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut, in 1968. A rigid pattern of behavior that drives a lifelong quest for self-gratification, NPD is characterised by a grandiose sense of self-importance, an insatiable need for attention and a chronic lack of empathy.
In many clinical dictionaries, Megalomania is defined as an abnormal mental state that exhibits delusions of grandeur and an inflated sense of self worth, power or greatness. It is a psycho-pathological condition where the person has an unreasonable obsession with grandiosity.
Megalomanic traits are parallel to Napoleon Syndrome and Narcissist Personality Disorder (NPD) – a mental state in which a person shows extreme self-worth and self- admiration. However, this trait is just the “tip of the iceberg” to mask the person’s low self-esteem and hidden insecurities.
The American Psychiatric Association published the criteria for NPD in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and a person with NPD may show some or all of the traits mentioned below:
- Exaggerated sense of self-worth
- Sense of superiority over others
- Self- proclamation of one’s own talents and achievements
- Constant self-admiration
- Exploiting and taking advantage of others for one’s personal gain
- Feeling envious of others and feel others envy you
- Arrogance and aggressive nature
- Inability to empathize with others
Generally, the behavior of narcissistic people masks a highly sensitive streak that reacts to minute remarks or negative feedback. This sensitivity to perceived insults can trigger aggressive qualities in them. There is also a marked lack of empathy and respect.
Thus, narcissistic people tend to behave in a socially upsetting manner, especially when they don’t receive the level of admiration they feel they are worth.
As they become increasingly difficult to interact and work with, people with NPD can face problems particularly in their social life: relationships, educational institutes, and workplace, etc.
Jose Romero-Urcelay, a forensic psychiatrist and the director of therapies at the Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorders unit at Broadmoor, West London Mental Health Trust, says: “It’s crucial to distinguish between narcissistic traits, which may be advantageous – such as confidence, a need to get to the top, the need for praise – and NPD. Those with personality disorders are exploitative, and likely to cause significant distress to others.”
In traditional medicine the cause of NPD or megalomania is yet unknown, though genetic and social factors are believed to be the possible triggers. It’s been theorised that NPD can be the result of the parent-child relationship that indulges in either excessive pampering or extreme criticism.
The META-Perspective of Megalomania
First, we have to go beyond a traditional perspective and consider the Body-Mind-Social Connection and how specific traumas and significant emotional events affect our personality and our behaviors. I would like to explore:
- How a megalomania/NPD personality is formed?
- What causes the narcissistic behavior and spurts of anger or insults?
- What can we expect from megalomania personalities like Donald Trump as president?
Consider what happens is someone makes you feel stupid, not good or strong enough, criticizes you constantly or has extremely high expectations that are almost impossible to fulfill? How would you feel?
There seem to be several ways people will react if they experience ongoing self-devaluation “triggers”, experiences that make them feel not strong-good-valued enough:
- Low Self-Esteem
- High Self-Esteem
- Megalomania or Narcissistic personality
In Lifestyle Prescriptions® we know that our self-worth, our strength is closely related to our skeletal system.
1. Low Self-Esteem: If we experience a self-devaluation conflict, as described above, if a heavy weight is on our shoulders, we feel intellectually or physically not strong enough, then our skeletal system (bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons) will feel or absorb that stress. Over time this may affect our posture, cause back or shoulder pain or with long and ongoing processes we can even see osteoperosis and other degenerative symptoms.
2. High Self-Esteem: What seems to happen though is that some people even though they are feeling devalued they do not react with “low self-esteem” but they pull themselves out by feel superior then others.
I am sure you’ve heard these statements:
- I am the best (prettiest, tallest, smartest, …..).
- I can do everything I set my mind to.
- Nothing can stop me.
- I am so good!
Sounds very much like the motivational and inspirational messages we often hear, right?
Now, I am not saying this is wrong or the same like megalomania. Actually the opposite.
We can change our inner state of feeling self-devalued by changing our behavior.
But what’s interesting is that even though we express these high self-esteem thoughts and behaviors deep down we might feel that sense of insecurity.
3. Megalomania and narcissistic personality disorder is the most extreme behavior based on feelings of “self-devaluation or insecurity.” It usually happens after many years of being triggered again and again.
These triggers may include highly critical parents, an environment that is filled with almost impossible expectations that we are expected to fulfill or other highly emotional or traumatic life experiences.
We know that many “self-devaluation” conflicts in conjunction with limiting beliefs and negative emotions form over time what we call “narcissistic personality disorder”.
It’s all about ME.
Strategies to make ME feel better-higher-superior are:
- Putting others down
- Criticizing others
- Creating beliefs that I am right and the others are always wrong
- Using anger and verbal abuse to scare or frighten competitors
- Basically doing everything needed to WIN and be the BEST!
It’s interesting to learn that Frederick Trump, who built the real estate empire from 1930-1970, has been known to be extremely strict with high expectations and constantly criticizing his children. He was a high achiever and forced his children to be high achievers too.
Donald Trump’s older brother Freddy started drinking and died of alcoholism.
And it seems Donald Trump, who was the mentally stronger of the brothers, coped with that intense criticism by building a megalomanic and narcissistic personality that was visible early on.
It seems obvious that Donald Trump has a very thin skin. Interestingly, he also has Borderline OCD, germ phobia and admits that he is afraid to shake hands, particularly with teachers. Trump also refuses to push the ground floor button of an elevator because he says that there are germs there … We’ll cover the root-cause of Borderline OCD in a later post.
But that “thin skin” shows with megalomania and is reflected in being highly sensitive to even minute remarks or negative feedback. As we know it can trigger aggressive qualities, showing lack of empathy and respect for others … or tweeting aggressively at 3am!
Is Trump fit for presidency?
Does Donald Trump have narcissistic personality disorder? Well, this is up to the medical community or you as a reader to decide. But one thing is for sure:
- He does express many megalomania and narcissistic behaviors
It will be “interesting” to watch how this plays out.
Many leaders have megalomania traits and we can only hope that when Donald Trump feels the power and importance of the presidency and how many lives it will affect that he uses everything he’s got to make the world a better place.
Because he has achieved what he felt all along: Being the most powerful MAN in the world.
Written by Johannes R. Fisslinger, Founder Lifestyle Medicine University Foundation and Lifestyle Prescriptions University