Sure, we all know what a pitiful human being Donald Trump is. Weak, a crybaby, narcissistic, egotistical, incapable of empathy -- to name but a few of his pathologies.
But it took reading the book by his niece, Mary Trump, a Ph.D. psychologist, to make me fully appreciate how badly our country is being served by a president who is utterly incapable of meeting even the most basic demands of the office he holds.
Last week Barack Obama made a right-on comment in his speech at the Democratic National Convention.
Donald Trump hasn't grown into the job because he can't.
Today I finished Mary Trump's book, "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man." With the Republican National Convention starting tomorrow, I thought this would be an opportune time to share excerpts from a concluding chapter where she summarizes some key psychological insights into Trump's screwed-up psyche.
Enjoy. Or, not.
Either way, these truths have to be told, because the United States absolutely has to get rid of Trump in the November election. Read on...
Donald today is much as he was at three years old: incapable of growing, learning, or evolving, unable to regulate his emotions, moderate his responses, or take in and synthesize information.
Donald's need for affirmation is so great that he doesn't seem to notice that the largest group of his supporters are people he wouldn't condescend to be seen with outside of a rally.
His deep-seated insecurities have created in him a black hole of need that constantly requires the light of compliments that disappears as soon as he's soaked it in.
Nothing is ever enough. This is far beyond garden-variety narcissism; Donald is not simply weak, his ego is a fragile thing that must be bolstered every moment because he knows deep down that he is nothing of what he claims to be. He knows he has never been loved.
So he must draw you in if he can by getting you to assent to even the most seemingly insignificant thing: "Isn't this plane great?" "Yes, Donald, this plane is great." It would be rude to begrudge him that small concession.
Thus he makes his vulnerabilities and insecurities your responsibility: you must assuage them, you must take care of him. Failing to do so leaves a vacuum that is unbearable for him to withstand for long.
If you're someone who cares about his approval, you'll say anything to retain it. He has suffered mightily, and if you aren't doing all you can to alleviate that suffering, you should suffer, too.
...Though Donald's fundamental nature hasn't changed, since his inauguration the amount of stress he's under has changed dramatically. It's not the stress of the job, because he isn't doing the job -- unless watching TV and tweeting insults count.
It's the effort to keep the rest of us distracted from the fact that he knows nothing -- about politics, civics, or simple human decency -- that requires an enormous amount of work.
For decades, he has gotten publicity, good and bad, but he's rarely been subjected to close scrutiny, and he's never had to face significant opposition. His entire sense of himself and the world is being questioned.
...The walls of his very expensive and well-guarded padded cell are starting to disintegrate. The people with access to him are weaker than Donald is, more craven, but just as desperate. Their futures are directly dependent on his success and favor. They either fail to see or refuse to believe that their fate will be the same as that of anyone who pledged loyalty to him in the past.
...When Donald Trump became a serious contender for the Republican Party nomination and then the nominee, the national media treated his pathologies (his mendacity, his delusional grandiosity), as well as his racism and misogyny, as if they were entertaining idiosyncrasies beneath which lurked maturity and seriousness of purpose.
...After the election, Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, and Mitch McConnell, all of whom bear more than a passing psychological resemblance to Fred [Trump's father], recognized in a way others should have but did not that Donald's checkered personal history and his unique personality flaws make him extremely vulnerable to manipulation by smarter, more powerful men.
His pathologies have rendered him so simple-minded that it takes nothing more than repeating to him the things he says to and about himself dozens of times a day -- he's the smartest, the greatest, the best -- to get him to do whatever they want, whether it's imprisoning children in concentration camps, betraying allies, implementing economy-crushing tax cuts, or degrading every institution that's contributed to the United States' rise and the flourishing of liberal democracy.
...Every time you hear Donald talking about how something is the greatest, the best, the biggest, the most tremendous (the implication being that he made them so), you have to remember that the man speaking is still, in essential ways, the same little boy who is desperately worried that he, like his older brother, is inadequate and that he, too, will be destroyed for this inadequacy.
At a very deep level, his bragging and false bravado are not directed at the audience in front of him but at the audience of one: his long-dead father.
...If what he was doing during the 2016 campaign hadn't worked, he would have kept doing it anyway, because lying, playing to the lowest common denominator, cheating, and sowing division are all he knows. He is as incapable of adjusting to changing circumstances as he is of becoming "presidential."