I am quite concerned about Donald Trump’s candidacy for President. I am both a physician and lawyer. For ten years I studied borderline personality disorder in order to write a book that would make the mental illness more understandable to the public. Mr. Trump has been compared to Adolf Hitler who was diagnosed with the disorder. I think this should be given serious consideration. The following is a summary of my assessment.
DOES DONALD TRUMP HAVE THE SAME MENTAL ILLNESS AS ADOLF HITLER?
Many are likening Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. That begs the question, does he have the same mental illness that Hitler had? The two psychological biographies, The psychopathic god: Adolf Hitler and Hitler’s psychopathology both agree that Hitler had borderline personality disorder.
The most important symptom displayed by individuals having borderline personality disorder is constantly finding faults in themselves and others. They see everything in black-and-white, all-good or all-bad terms. Anyone who disagrees with them is all-bad. Time magazine summarized Borderlines’ outlooks on life in their article, “Masters of denial: As far as these patients are concerned, the problem is yours, not theirs.” When Trump speaks, is there no end to his faultfinding? Borderlines rarely if ever apologize for their hurtful actions. Does Trump apologize for any of his insulting comments?
Borderlines also inwardly criticize themselves. They won’t admit it, but many of their actions are aimed at countering this poor self-image. This may include aggressive self-promotion and putting others down in order to bolster their image of themselves. How many buildings need to have a Trump sign on them? Will Donald only feel good about himself when a large neon billboard at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue reads “Trump’s White House”?
People can have more than one personality disorder. They can have both narcissistic personality disorder and borderline personality disorder. Trump could be both a Narcissist and Borderline if he meets the criteria.
There are nine criteria for borderline personality disorder. A person has to display five of them to be diagnosed with this mental illness. Let’s start counting how many Trump may be displaying.
1. The first and most important symptom is extreme faultfinding. That appears to be a given.
2. Reckless impulsivity in spending or sex or other areas. Trump’s businesses have declared bankruptcy four times. In the area of sex his own comments are quite revealing. He has gone through three wives. And what is the story behind his owning the Miss USA Pageant?
3. Intense mood swings. So volatile are some of these individuals that dealing with them is called “walking on eggshells.” Trump is not boring and that attracts attention and helps up the television ratings. But, do you want someone who is emotionally unstable to have their finger on the nuclear button?
4. Intense and even uncontrolled anger. This is a defining theme of Donald’s campaign. Not only does he frequently express it in his media appearances, he thrills in provoking it in his audiences.
5. Serious identity disturbances. They often change their personalities and beliefs to match the people around them in order to be accepted or to gain an identity. They can become very good actors in the process. They have been called social chameleons because of their ever changing personas. So what does Donald Trump really believe? Who is he really? He changes his so called beliefs almost as often as the seasons change. His political affiliations have been Democrat, Republican, Reformed Party, Democrat, Republican, Independent and now Republican again.
6. Suffer from chronic feelings of emptiness. In order to fight these feelings they can become obsessed with seeking unending stimulation, possessions, love and admiration. No matter what you do for them, they are never satisfied. They can never have enough. One phrase that describes them is, “It’s all about me.” Observe Donald Trump’s bottomless pit of neediness for attention and his ostentatious displays of wealth. Does he really care about others? One report circulating on the Internet is titled: “Donald Trump: The least charitable billionaire in the world.”
7. Borderlines can have transient stress-related paranoia or unreality episodes. His repeated utterances and the media evaluations point out his paranoid ideas about all the “bad people” he imagines. His statements about how Congress and the world will run when he is President clearly extends into the realm of unreality.
8 & 9. Suicide attempts or self-mutilation and frantic efforts to avoid abandonment. I cannot speak concerning the last two criteria. Others may have information that may relate to these or know if Trump has ever had a psychological assessment or therapy.
Borderline personality disorder is the hardest to understand and diagnose of all the personality disorders. Its non-descriptive name makes the situation worse. Six percent of the population has borderline personality disorder, but only one out of four has been diagnosed. Many who have not been diagnosed are high-functioning and can be very successful such as doctors, lawyers, professors, CEOs of companies, and leaders of countries. Unfortunately, they can make the lives of those who have to live or work with them miserable.
Borderline personality disorder is the deadliest mental illness in all of human history. Up to 10% of diagnosed Borderlines commit suicide. Mao Zedong, who was responsible for seventy million killed, was diagnosed as Borderline by his physician. Hitler was responsible for twenty-one million killed. Clearly things are not as bad as they were in the Weimar Republic when Hitler took over.
If Donald Trump may have borderline personality disorder, it is imperative Americans find out before going to the polls.
Mark Osterloh, MD, JD, RPh