THERE’S a film coming soon called True Story — because it is — about an American nobody named Christian Longo.
So inflamed was Longo’s narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), he pretended to be a New York Times journalist — a real one called Mike Finkel.
Longo was arrested in Cancun, not for impersonating a journalist, but because he had murdered his family.
The existence of his wife and three small children had been obstructing his view of himself as a dashing, talented individual, so he killed them.
NPD is different from digital narcissism — and by different I mean incomparable.
Nor does it make you a murderer — Longo is an extreme case — but can it make you a presidential nominee? With potential access to nuclear weapons, a potential mass murderer?
The symptoms of NPD, according to the current Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — the DSM-5, published by the American Psychiatric Association — include “having an exaggerated sense of self-importance, expecting to be recognised as superior even without achievements that warrant it, exaggerating your achievements and talents, [and] being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate.”
America is in thrall to an individual with Godzilla levels of NPD.
Someone who insists his name appears in giant letters on top of everything he owns.
Someone who makes statements about loving non-educated people — so long as they continue to wave his banners.
Someone whose inherited wealth and privilege he tries to pass off as his own.
Who rates half the population — guess which half — on how they look, and is so consumed by narcissism he has no conception of the whole world laughing at his hair.
It’s as though, in allowing Donald Trump centre stage, America wishes to give the world an increasingly unsettling masterclass in NPD.
The DSM-5 symptoms read like a Trump online dating profile: “Requiring constant admiration, having a sense of entitlement, expecting special favours and unquestioning compliance, taking advantage of others to get what you want, having an inability or unwillingness to recognise the needs and feelings of others, being envious of others and believing others envy you, and behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner,”
You don’t need Washington Post op-eds to confirm how Donald Trump’s mental health is unravelling in front of us. So advanced, unfettered and untreated — and formally undiagnosed — is his NPD that he is lashing out indiscriminately, even at such sacred American cows as dead soldiers, while grasping the war medals of others for himself.
There is even a petition, #DiagnoseTrump.
Obviously, this is not about stigmatising mental illness.
Far from it.
But for the Republicans to allow such an openly crazed individual access along the path to global power is in itself insanity. Power madness.
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