I got this letter today, and also found out it was posted in the Sarnia Observer as well.
This guy makes a lot of very sensible points ....., as a matter of fact I'd say he hit the nail right on the head!
Several months ago I wrote a piece asking whether impeachment is in the future for U.S President Donald Trump. I began by comparing his behaviour to someone with a narcissistic personality disorder: fragile self-esteem, inflated sense of self, deep need for admiration and lack of empathy for others.
I was criticized by several Canadian Trump supporters. They complained I didn’t have the medical qualifications to make such a finding. One asked pointedly, “Who the hell are you to analyse Donald Trump?”
So I’ve found someone who has the qualifications to assess Trump’s mental state. He is one of more than 40,000 U.S. mental health professionals who have signed an online petition saying Trump “manifests a serious mental illness that renders him psychologically incapable of competently discharging the duties of president of the United States.”
Dr. Justin Frank practises psychoanalysis and is a clinical professor of psychiatry at George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He has written two bestselling books, Bush on the Couch and Obama on the Couch. Both delve inside the minds of presidents using applied psychology.
In recent media interviews, Frank revealed some preliminary observations about Trump’s psyche: He’s too impulsive to think clearly; he’s unable to reason and unable to engage in complex discussions; he may have a form of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); he’s a person who has a short attention span who doesn’t like to read, is impatient at meetings and has a pressing need to be heard.
Delving deeper, Frank says Trump has a serious impulse problem. He cannot contain his anxiety for long. Whenever he experiences anxiety, he has to get it out immediately. He doesn’t take the time to convert it into constructive thought.
Trump’s unnerving tweets are often a means of dumping his anxiety, usually on others. In the process he undermines his own ability to see and understand the bigger picture.
Trump’s questionable claim that Barack Obama, while president, had Trump’s Trump Tower offices wire-tapped is a classic example of both distraction and anxiety-dumping. Like successful dictators, Trump evacuates his fears onto the rest of the population.
Binging on Fox News and far-right Breitbart News makes Trump less anxious. They’re places where he finds agreement and support. Tweeting out his early morning angst is also cathartic for Trump.
Frank reminds us people with ADHD also tend to lie to themselves. So this behaviour leaves Trump with a dangerously narrow and distorted view of what’s really going on in the world.
Don’t expect this impulse disorder to change without treatment. “If he were my patient, I would insist he be hospitalized before attempting psychoanalytic treatment. A working therapeutic treatment requires the patient to have control over his impulses.”
Of the people around Trump, Frank thinks his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner are the two most calming influences. Others fall into two categories: those who abide his behaviour because they’re afraid of being fired, and those who use Trump’s anxieties and fears to further their own agendas.
Trump’s chief political adviser Steve Bannon, former chairperson of Breitbart News Network, has been channelling his alt-right ideology through Trump since early 2016. Bannon is one of the most powerful people in the White House because of his ability to manipulate Trump’s narcissistic personality for his own ends.
Asked why Trump has been so successful in reaching the American people, Frank says they hear in him a genuine sense of loss, injury and being ignored. This is traceable to his upbringing by narcissistic parents who sent a boy seeking attention to a military school.
Regardless of the psychological source, these are the same feelings — loss, injury and being ignored — with which many Americans are trying to cope.
In addition, Trump offers them simplistic solutions — the fantasy of “making America great again.” It’s a rallying cry that signifies loss and injury, righting wrongs and giving voice to those who have long felt ignored by the establishment.
And it’s all about Trump — how he’s going to make America great again. It’s an attempt to resurrect a less complex, more promising and white-male-dominated past — one that’s never coming back.
No one knows where all this will take America and the rest of the world. Maybe it’s better that Trump lets off steam with his finger on the tweet button rather than on that other button. Maybe it’s better that Trump has no real core ideology. No thought-out mission. No Hitler’s Mein Kamfp. No Stalin’s Five Year Plan.
Yes, he has a series of shallow, populist policies he’s in a great rush to implement. But already it’s clear that “draining the swamp” and getting things done in Washington are vastly more complex and demanding than Trump or his closest advisers imagined.
Trump’s lack of government or military experience is evident everywhere. His signature immigration policy is stalled in the courts. His attempt to change health care faced resistance from his own party.
Maybe the checks and balances around Trump will limit his future impact. Maybe he will begin with a bang and end with a whimper — an ineffective one-term president whose following melts away in disappointment and disgust.
Or maybe his tendency to double-down when challenged will bring us to and beyond the brink of nuclear war.
Both extremes still seem possible.
Frank’s initial psychoanalysis of Trump’s behaviour is revealing. But for me, the bigger need is to understand the society that elected Trump.