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The psychological condition that best explains Donald Trump's twisted worldview

December 25, 2018 in Blogs

By Jeremy Sherman, AlterNet

Think of our president as a hoarder. But instead of objects, he collects victories and vendettas.

Trump’s ghostwriter put these words in the president’s mouth: “Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game.”

I believe it about the money, though not about playing the game being his real excitement. If that were true, Trump wouldn’t be such a sore loser. He wouldn’t have said, on the last days of the campaign, that if he loses, “this will be the greatest waste of time, money and energy in my lifetime, by a factor of 100.” He wouldn’t have said of John McCain, “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” And he wouldn’t have said, “That makes me smart,” when Hillary Clinton accused him of not paying taxes for 18 years.

Trump’s sole value is being an impressive winner of the game. A neutral psychological assessment of his motivations wouldn't rule out the possibility that he ran for president because he was frustrated to see other people winning more than he was. He saw dictators around the world who had amassed more billions and had more power than he did. He realized that if he really wanted to win, he might do the same.

The evidence is overwhelming; Trump is a pathological climber. The self-declared “ratings machine” suffers from “impressive compulsive disorder,” a condition that is like hoarding, not of stuff but of impressive power.

You know that burning, sinking feeling you get when you're around someone who's more impressive than you? That's Trump's sole driver. There's nothing in him to upstage it, no greater good to temper it. Read between the lines, his worldview goes something like this:

Life is nothing but a dog-eat-dog game. The only value is being top dog. Winning is its own reward and the only reward. The power you gain by winning isn’t for anything else. Winners play the game undistracted by other values. All other supposed values are just means to that end. Duping others into thinking …read more


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