34 thoughts on “When Did Narcissism Become Presidential?

  • August 10, 2015 at 8:36 pm


    Thank you for the courage to point out the elephant in the room. And I agree with you wholeheartedly – it’s bigger than just politics. It’s rather disturbing that so many people would view this behavior as “leadership”.

  • August 10, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    My apologies for addressing you as Sandra. Small screen – but no excuse.

    • August 11, 2015 at 9:21 am

      Not a problem!

  • August 11, 2015 at 3:52 am

    Terrific article and well-stated. Trumps’s eRly-career book, “The Art of the Deal” was a favorite of mine. He talked about having an idea for surpassing the real estate management his father did (making Dad sound like a slumlord) but whatever positives the you ger Trump had seemed to end with his first marriage. Now he seems to embody the “Greed is Good” mantra I see around me and appears to think he is the secret voice of many Americans. I shudder to think it while I fear he is right.
    He’s also on record as having made leering and terribly explicit comments about his daughter that made me very uncomfortable when I heard them. The saving grace of a narcissists contemptuous dismissal is they don’t realize how easily they can be brought down.

  • August 11, 2015 at 6:52 am

    No mental health professional should be attampting to diagnose by media. I am no Trump fan, but this is irresponsible.

    • August 11, 2015 at 9:20 am

      Irresponsible in what way? To whose detriment?

      • August 11, 2015 at 2:16 pm


        It is important to share your observations and impressions through the prism of your profession. Trump is a pernicious blemish on the Presidential race. Perhaps Republicans in general might be suffering from a diagnosable disorder?

      • August 11, 2015 at 6:58 pm

        Not sure the Democrats would fare that well either in a diagnose-off….

    • August 11, 2015 at 11:13 am

      He’s running for President, it’s part of his character, of course it should be discussed. I’m finding it quite fascinating really. A little depressing, but interesting the way many justify supporting him. His political positions are all over the place, he has said many outrageous things, but his polls hold strong. It’s like people identify with him so strongly, they don’t care what he says or believes in, they just feel like he is on their side.

    • August 12, 2015 at 11:33 am

      Thank you Holly for creating awareness.

      I am a counselor and I agree 100% with your comments. It was a concern to me as well that the public idealises Trump. He is not a bad role model for young people. The world needs more icons that have good emotional intelligence.

      • August 13, 2015 at 3:37 am

        Sorry I made a bad typo…

        I meant to say, “He IS a bad role model for young people.”

  • August 11, 2015 at 10:08 am

    I respectfully disagree that Donald Trump is a narcissists any more or less than our current President, and all the other ones behind Obama, Donald doesn’t try to hide it, as the others try but fail. I am surprised you don’t see it in all past presidents.

    • August 11, 2015 at 7:06 pm

      “Public service” can often be an excuse for private enrichment, but I haven’t seen narcissism championed in quite this raw a form before.

  • August 11, 2015 at 11:53 am

    I find this article to be really on target and, coincidentally, almost running parallel – in the fact of how it’s all “about me type of thing” with something I posted this morning in response to a post a friend on Facebook shared. I’ve included the direct link but I’ve also posted the ENTIRE thing right here.

    First, the shared post:

    Renee Spears
    I spent Friday on the streets of Portland and learned so much. Here it is:

    1. It’s not a big deal to hold a sign asking for money, because everyone ignores you. I found an unoccupied corner right off 405 and stood there for an hour holding a sign saying ‘Local business owner trying to understand our homeless problem. All funds to be donated’. Nobody made eye contact with me. They fiddled with the radio, texted, looked everywhere else. I did make $25.52 in that hour, thanks mostly to one woman that gave me $20. All the people that gave me money were women. I plan on donating $250 to Sisters Of The Road in honor of this experience.

    2. Right after holding the sign, I met an 82 yr old woman sitting on her walker, holding a cup for money in front of Whole Foods. I asked if she sat out every day and she said ‘only when my social security runs out and I need to eat’. She wasn’t interested in talking. I touched her arm when saying good bye and she teared up and said ‘I can’t remember the last time someone touched me’. People just walked by ignoring her too.

    3. I saw a man washing his clothes in the Saturday Market fountains. He then laid them out to dry in the sun. They looked great! I was impressed.

    4. I had some wonderful conversations with complete strangers. I wore my ‘Kindness Matters’ t-shirt and a woman commented that kindness is often mistaken for weakness and we had a deep 5 minute conversation on the philosophy of kindness on a street corner. I now also know everything about poodles, the breakdown of society in Somalia and the different types of immigrants (economic and political). These were deep, smart conversations.People are very lonely and just wanted someone to listen.

    5. It’s exhausting being homeless. My body hurts from walking and carrying a backpack. There’s nowhere comfy to just relax. By 4pm, I was exhausted and took a nap on a park bench. All of these years, I thought that the people sleeping on the sidewalk in the day time were just totally strung out druggies. I’m sure some are, but the people I met told me that they sleep during the day because it’s safer. They can’t rest as deeply at night and they are tired! After one day out there, I was grumpy, tired and dehydrated. It sucks! I can’t imagine the toll that a week out there would take on a body and spirit.

    6. I only saw one policeman the entire time. He was harassing an old man in a wheel chair that was trying to sell some of his homemade stuff on the sidewalk. He told the man to move because he didn’t have a permit.

    7. Nobody tried to sell me drugs but 3 people asked me if I had some for sale.

    8. I fell in love with Portland in a whole new way. This city is alive and I felt alive in it. I saw a TV show taping, dancing in Directors Park, a dude beautifully playing a flute in front of Powells, three different music acts at the Bite, a miniature stonehenge made out of bananas, numerous history plaques, another band and the movie Grease on Pioneer Square. I walked by hundreds of people on their phones missing the whole thing.

    9. The line between the haves and have nots was very apparent. I was on the outside of the fence at the Bite of Oregon while watching people pigging out on the inside of the fence. I was two feet away (thru a window) of a delicious steak at Ruth Chris Steak House.

    10. There are different groups of homeless. There are those interested in drugs down on the waterfront, there are those with mental illness wondering around everywhere, but most of those I met were having a crisis of spirit and trying to find themselves. There was an executive from Seattle whose life fell apart when his wife left him and he is trying to pick up the pieces. There were many people here from other cities because Portland is a great place to be homeless. I understand this after spending a day falling in love with the city too.

    11. What can we as a city do? Clearly we need to address the bigger issues of poverty, mental illness and addiction but we can do better right now. We need more public restrooms. There aren’t enough and they are too far apart. We need more water fountains. We need a public laundromat and bathing facility. We need a public place for people to come in from the elements and relax in safety. We need a place for people to store their belongings so they don’t have to carry them around all day, and it litters up our city.

    12. What can YOU do? Remember they are people! Talk to them. Listen to them. Acknowledge they exist. Show some fucking compassion! They are tired, sore, thirsty, malnourished, ignored and being out there takes a huge toll on your spirit. Put down your phone and pay attention to what is going on outside of yourself.

    13. I ended up going home in the early morning hours. My intention was to learn from the people there and I did that. I didn’t feel unsafe for one minute. I found the people kind and friendly. I wondered what would change if we all just opened our eyes to what is happening instead of ignoring it.

    Thank you for excusing my typos and poor grammar. I’m a visionary, not a writer.

    Now, my response to it:

    There is no way to say “going to sleep” without that not being the truth. When I lay down to go to sleep, my brain starts going over a lot of things and sometimes I “drift” in that active brain stage for more than an hour. So… as I was “going to sleep” last night, I was thinking about how many people there are in the United States of America (legally and non-legally) and then thought of how many people are actually in “the government”.

    As a country, the people who are not in “the government” are the majority. That would seem to be a rather loud “duh” but… I guess it’s not. Because a great many of these non-government people seem to think that we, AS THE MAJORITY, can’t *do* anything. I beg to differ.

    The *reason* “we” can’t do anything is that not enough of the majority seems to be actually and actively concerned with DOING ANYTHING. That, for being the majority and having the actual man-power to get things done, “we” simply don’t. We don’t concentrate on getting rid of poverty; we don’t concentrate on eradicating the homeless situation; we don’t concentrate on balancing the have’s and the have-not’s….

    I saw the other day that Robert Downey Jr. is the highest paid actor at $80 million dollars a year. With all due respect to Mr. Downey, because he’s certainly paid his dues, I don’t believe he’s worth $80 million dollars a year. I don’t believe ANYONE is worth $80 million dollars a year. Heck, I don’t think any one individual is worth more than… let’s say, $120,000.00 per year.

    The way I see it is that, anyone who makes more than $120,000.00 per year is not only eating his/her piece of the pie but is *also* eating Tom’s, Dick’s, Harry’s, Martha’s, Patricia’s and Mary’s. And they are not doing that once, they are doing that thousands of times over and over again.

    You’d think that sooner or later, people would start actively *DOING* something about someone taking the pie away from them. And, if you don’t like or can’t eat pie, put in your choice of food, ok, if that helps you understand this situation.

    You know, the people of the United States of America haven’t really had any type of revolution – where we actually went out and physically fought/went to war over what we believe in, against others of our own country – since the Civil War. … At this time, I think the majority of the majority of citizens in the United States don’t do anything with regards to making our government work for us, to actively work for change and changes is because we are too spoiled and simply don’t care.

    We seem to have lost any respect we have for ourselves. …. Example: I tried to get a group started a few months ago to put out a book with regards to introverts. I had LOTS of people commenting that this would be awesome. I had LOTS of people coming up with a name for the group. I had LOTS of people giving ideas and suggestions. I had 20 people out of those LOTS say they would be interested in putting a group together. I had 6 or 7 actively join a group that I created. And then no one could make any decisions on what the book should be about, how the book should be put together and then… nothing at all. And I closed the group due to no participation.

    This is a country, made up of people, who continually “pass the buck”. They think that, “ah, someone else will vote”, “naw, someone else will do it”, “no, I don’t have the time”, …. and all the other EXCUSES that people come up with.

    “Our government” will continue going about its business unfettered, unrepentant, unresponsible, passing the buck, cutting freedoms, spending money on the rich so they can get richer, taking money from the lower classes so the lower classes can be poorer and poorer and all that stuff because WE, THE PEOPLE, LET THEM.

    Our ancestors, the great men and women – the ordinary men and women – would be so ashamed of us. They literately died to bring us the freedoms that we have and all we are doing is whittling them away with our silence, our non-action…

    And how many of you are going to read this and think, “oh, this is good” and, by the end of the day, completely forget about it? How many of you are going to shrug and say, “that’s life”? How many of you simply don’t care? How many of you think that this really doesn’t apply to you? How many of you think that “the government” will take care of us, sooner or later, and continue on?

    Frankly, I’m sick of what our country has become. Filled with respectless, irresponsible people who are sue-happy, stand-on-the-backs-of-others to get what they want and fuck-the-rest attitudes of people. I’m ashamed of the way humans treat other humans and take everything for granted without a glance at the history or the sacrifices that other people – including ones you see on a daily basis – have made to get “us” here… where we squander everything and don’t give a shit about anyone or anything unless it affects us PERSONALLY.

    How many people would simply let “the government” come into their homes and tell them that, “you will do this” without a word? Why?

    WE, THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES, ARE THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY. If we want our government to change, if we want to actually make peoples lives better in all walks of lives and not just continually work to better our own and fuck the rest, all we have to do is say ENOUGH.

    What? You think the government will actually tell us no? If they killed or arrested all of us, who would go to work at Walmart? Who would farm the land? Who would work the water filtration plants? Who would maintain the transportation systems and infrastructures? … And if the government turned on us, simply for wanting things to be better for every single human being in our country, is it a government we truly want in power? Making decisions for ALL OF US?

    As far as I’m concerned? HELL NO.

    So… what do we do about it?

    • August 12, 2015 at 3:15 pm

      Are you kidding me? A Narcissist? A man who wants to make America great again is a narcissist? He has to be strong, he has to be honest, and he has old school up bringing, he see’s what is broken and he is against the communist movement in America, and you call that Narcissist? I remember when our nation was a great powerful nation, we had large families that were happy and could afford to go on vacations, never worried about bills and food on the table, we didn’t live to work, we worked to live. nothing was free, but we could afford what we needed…. Our values were full of good intentions, our children had good values because our parents shared their good intentions and we were happy and grateful for what we had….. That is the world that Trump remembers as well. He is spending his own money to straighten out this mess that Obama, Bush and Clinton destroyed…. We have a nation that people make their own decisions, we were thinkers. Now we live in a nation where the Government has signs all over the place to tell us what to do…. That is not freedom! We are not allowed to think for our selves, we have been conditioned as slave mentality, live to work for the man, struggling to pay the bills is not an option we have to do it every day, self thinkers are criminals, and children are all conditioned in the public schools and churches to obey! And you call a man that is for ‘self independent thinker’ a Narcissist? Then evidently so am I. I don’t think political correctness is necessary, I don’t believe that the government needs to make us Obey. I believe that being free and creative is a wonderful thing. because I have experienced it, and I believe that everyone should experience the freedom to make choices that impact our lives. This entire article is very deceiving…. It’s fear mongering and full of conditioning…. Come back to the real world where you don’t need someone to tell you the way it is, experience it for yourself…. Stop being owned! it’s a cruel world out there and we need to stick up for what it right because in the end nobody will fight for you, Trump has a passion and if he appears to look like a narcissist, then you have been reading too many books that are designed to condition your thoughts, have your own thoughts for once…. is that even possible?

      • August 12, 2015 at 5:38 pm

        While I don’t agree with this particular diatribe, I’ve chosen to allow the comment. I will let the other readers think for themselves, as I, too, am a believer in independent thinking.

      • August 13, 2015 at 4:32 am

        Lyn, I suspect you do not have any training in psychology or human behaviour, hence your comments which is probably the reason why people vote for Trump.

        I am sure Holly’s article is not based a personal issue with Donald Trump, but rather what she can identify through his behaviour. I am not a psychologist; I am a counsellor and due to my training I can clearly see where Holly is coming from. Donald Trump ticks all the blocks of a narcissist.
        The good qualities you mentioned about being strong, honest, old values, etc which are not the defining behaviour of a narcissist.

        Maybe you do not know, but narcissists are bullies and the will do anything to get your own needs satisfied. They will even mimic “good” behaviour. The main aspect of narcissists is that they lack empathy; therefore, they do not understand the suffering of others.
        How can a president that lacks empathy be a good governor of a nation? A good example if this is North Korea. Is that what you want America to become?

  • August 11, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    This was simply superb. Thank you for having the courage to highlight empathy and it’s strengths in a selfish and self centered society.

    • August 11, 2015 at 6:58 pm

      You’re welcome!

  • August 11, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    Well said! I think he’s an idiot.

  • August 11, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    I don’t get whats wrong with narcissism. As you point out, some of the most successful people are narcissists. The very nature of our economic system rewards people who only think about themselves. People hurt others, whether it be intentionally or unintentionally, so I think its good to think about yourself. Yourself is the only thing that you can really rely on and its the thing that will always be there for you. Heck, I wish I was a narcissist. My life would be miles better than it is now. Now im not a psychologist and I don’t know every aspect of narcissism, but still, it seems very appealing to be one because of how they always get what they want.

    • August 13, 2015 at 3:47 am

      James, Holly might be better in answering you on your statement about wishing that you were a narcissist.

      Believe me, if you knew the full impact of such a behaviour you would not wish for that. Narcissists are actually very insecure people and their grandiosity is just a mask for their false sense of inferiority. They need constant reminders of how awesome they are to boost their poor self worth. They lack empathy completely therefor they are not interested in others peoples pain or problems. Their focus is only on their own self satisfying needs.

      The bottom line is, narcissists do not build close and lasting relationships and will destroy people who are in their way. They are the bullies of the world.

      • August 13, 2015 at 9:10 am

        Well-put! Thanks for highlighting the bullying part of Trump’s behavior (which was certainly on full display at the debate.)

  • August 12, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    I am Canadian. As such I get to watch the Trump circus. It’s frightening, very, very frightening how popular he is. How do people not understand what damage he is capable of doing because he just doesn’t care about anyone else but himself and what he believes in. God help us all.

  • August 12, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    Sadly, I am afraid that the Trump phenomena is a reflection of how self-absorbed
    our culture has become, and the ever increasing gap between the haves and the have
    nots will not end well! Those who forget the lessons of history shall surely repeat

  • August 13, 2015 at 3:13 am

    When I read the title I thought the article was about Obama.

  • August 17, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    I imagine that many people feel powerless and resentful, and when a Trump says something that seems to echo what they think, they feel more powerful by identifying with the powerful person – at least for a moment. They don’t examine, say, how he has made his millions, or how he has bullied people to get where he is, or that . But not all are completely taken with themselves.he would be equally disdainful of them ( take a look at how he treated, say, Scottish neighbors who opposed his golf course). There’re also a lot of people who want to attack immigrants, or women or some other group, and when a powerful man engages in this behavior, they feel justified.

    Everyone in politics has a sizable ego – you’d have to to withstand the campaigns and attacks – and to think that you are someone who can lead. We know that whether out of their own personalities or through the recommendations of advisers, pols almost never say they are sorry or made a mistake. Trump takes it up several notches- lying about the amount of wealth, implying he owns property bearing his name, when he doesn’t ( and bailing out by declaring bankruptcy frequently). If you read about his background, it’s his sly use of public funds and NY political connections that put him where he is. The most scary thing about people who are enamored of him – he’s a tyrant, who has no plans beyond scapegoating some groups. People are frustrated with the stalemates in Congress, but many don’t seem to grasp that he isn’t offering a solution.

  • August 17, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Adding: I live in a Town where Trump acquired some property, which he, at one time, said he wanted to develop into another golf course. He basically sent his lawyers, etc, to the town to demand that their project be approved, without having to actually go through any legal approval processes, or to comply with local and state environmental regulations. He (through his people) did not do anything required, but verbally attacked local officials for doing their jobs. He’s not a nice guy when things don’t go his way immediately.

  • August 26, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    The answer to the question leading this article is…when George W. Bush took office. Calling himself “the decider”, like a pimp instead of a world leader,as he unilaterally donated America’s life and treasure to avenging his father’s insult at the hands of Saddam Hussein, who had nothing to do with 9/11 or the Bush administration’s inept neglect of national security. Or walking onto an aircraft carrier afterward, dressed like a fighter pilot fresh from warfare. Or to think that his selection of a horse breeder should be all we need to assure us that Katrina would be alright, because, much like Trump, he “knows” “good people. Or nominating the president of your fan club to be on the SUPREME COURT! One could certainly go on….

  • October 14, 2015 at 4:12 am

    If anyone can wear out a ridiculous leader it is the people around him. Narcissists have little or no regard for the people they can manipulate…that list includes everyone who has ever had to experience their wrath. Im not sure where this guy leads ruthless dictator or polished figurehead. lets hope that the people around him endeavor to lead effectively and don’t washout in early burnout. I have no doubt that this guy is a manipulator…I wonder where his humanity lies. I hope this nation chooses wisely in 2016.

  • October 20, 2015 at 12:52 am

    Why didn’t you ask this question 8 years ago? It was clear to half of the American citizens that obama is a classic narcissist, and his behaviors over the past eight years bear that out. Why are you just now jumping on the bandwagon with Trump? the narcissist trend began with obama.

    • October 20, 2015 at 8:53 am

      I hadn’t heard that take on Obama, to be honest. Obama doesn’t appear to actually like the spotlight very much, and he does appear to have empathy, so it doesn’t really fit, from my perspective.

  • October 20, 2015 at 9:31 am

    Cate, if half of the American population thinks Obama is a narcissist then they have no clue what the behaviour of a narcissist looks like.

    Trump’s behaviour is classical of a narcissist, hence the reason I think Holly decided to write this article.

  • March 23, 2016 at 11:40 am

    Once again, blindness prevails in the name of politics.

    By now everyone should be well-versed in identifying what a narcissistic is. We’ve trained in recognizing the however subtle traits, for at LEAST 7 years.

    The blunt truth: this country is severely divided and everyone is accusing the other of the exact same blunder.

    The effect? We are screwed.


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