THE TRUMP MADNESS

As investigations into Trump intensify, I start to notice that he and his closest followers are mentally breaking down even more than usual. I always wondered what drew his cult to him and I think I found the answer in a comment on Youtube:

“Trumpism is by definition, a shared psychosis. A shared psychotic disorder is a rare type of mental illness in which a healthy person starts to take on the delusions of someone who has a psychotic disorder. For example, let’s say your spouse has a psychotic disorder and, as part of that illness, believes aliens are spying on them. Trump convinced his followers that President Obama spied on him. People with psychotic disorders have trouble staying in touch with reality and often can’t handle daily life. The most obvious symptoms are hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t real) and delusions (believing things that aren’t true, even when they get the facts). Shared psychotic disorders can also happen in groups of people who are closely involved with a person who has a psychotic disorder (called folie à plusiers, or “the madness of many”). For instance, this could happen in a cult if the leader is psychotic and their followers take on their delusions. The most obvious example of this is what happens in a cult, if the leader is living with a mental illness and transfers their delusions to the group. In a larger group setting, this might also be termed mass hysteria. Scientific American asked Bandy Lee, a forensic psychiatrist, to comment on the psychology behind Trump’s destructive behavior, and what attracts his followers to him. “TheReasons are multiple and varied. I have outlined two major emotional drives: narcissistic symbiosis and shared psychosis. Narcissistic symbiosis refers to the developmental wounds that make the leader-follower relationship magnetically attractive. The leader, hungry for adulation to compensate for an inner lack of self-worth, projects grandiose omnipotence—while the followers, rendered needy by societal stress or developmental injury, yearn for a parental figure. When such wounded individuals are given positions of power, they arouse similar pathology in the population that creates a “lock and key” relationship. “Shared psychosis”—which is also called “folie à millions” [“madness for millions”] when occurring at the national level or “induced delusions”—refers to the infectiousness of severe symptoms that goes beyond ordinary group psychology. When a highly symptomatic individual is placed in an influential position, the person’s symptoms can spread through the population through emotional bonds, heightening existing pathologies and inducing delusions, paranoia and propensity for violence—even in previously healthy individuals.” Destructiveness is a core characteristic of mental pathology, whether directed toward the self or others. When mental pathology is accompanied by criminal-mindedness, the combination can make individuals far more dangerous than either alone. In my textbook on violence, I emphasize the symbolic nature of violence and how it is a life impulse gone awry. Briefly, if one cannot have love, one resorts to respect. And when respect is unavailable, one resorts to fear. Trump is now living through an intolerable loss of respect: rejection by a nation in his election defeat. Violence helps compensate for feelings of powerlessness, inadequacy and lack of real productivity.”

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