Back in 2011, Leon F Seltzer Ph.D. wrote an article for Psychology Today titled The Narcissist’s Dilemma: They Can Dish It Out, But… In his article, Dr. Seltzer writes: “When criticized, narcissists (those afflicted with narcissistic personality disorder) show themselves woefully incapable of retaining any emotional poise, or receptivity. And it really doesn’t much matter whether the nature of that criticism is constructive or destructive. They just don’t seem to be able to take criticism, period. At the same time, these disturbed individuals demonstrate an abnormally developed capacity to criticize others (“dish it out” to them).
Although narcissists don’t, or won’t, show it, all perceived criticism feels gravely threatening to them—the reason that their inflamed, over-the-top reactions to it can leave us so surprised and confused. Deep down, clinging desperately not simply to a positive but grandiose sense of self, they’re compelled at all costs to block out any negative feedback about themselves. Their dilemma is that the rigidity of their defenses, their inability ever to let their guard down, guarantees that they’ll never get what they most need, which they themselves are sadly oblivious of.”
Later in the article Dr. Seltzer notes: “The narcissist’s marked lack of accurate empathy for the feelings, wants, and needs of others is all too well known. But what is less appreciated is that this deficiency represents an unfortunate consequence of their growing up so preoccupied with their own frustrated needs, and emotional distress generally, that they could never develop sufficient sensitivity to others. Intensely driven to succeed, or at least see themselves as successful, their focus inevitably became myopic, pathologically self-centered. Others simply weren’t in their line of (tunnel) vision.”
One of the interesting byproducts of this whole Coronavirus mess is that Trump’s narcissistic personality disorder is on full display. If you have been able to stomach watching even ten minutes of his daily press briefings, you quickly realize that he spends the vast majority of his time praising the job that he is doing or telling the world about all the “cures” he has hunches on that will work.
When he is not on camera it appears Trump spends most of his day crafting pushback tweets, I hear that Fake News CNN just reported that I am isolated in the White House, wondering out loud, “when will life return to normal?” Does anybody really believe that? There was no leak, they made it up – they are CORRUPT & FAKE NEWS I have been packed all day with meetings, I have no time for stupidity. We’re working around the clock to KEEP AMERICA SAFE! or retweeting the people that extol the job he is doing, Gallup poll shows strong 60% approval of President @realDonaldTrump’s handling of Virus Crisis: Overall Job Approval Rating Up to 49%, despite only 13% Democratic support. I know that this won’t come as a big surprise but at the end of the day the Coronavirus is all about Donald Trump, the rest of us are expendable.
The latest proof that Trump can dish it out, but he can’t take it concerns the upcoming election. Trump’s Coronavirus response, or lack thereof, has created a smorgasbord of video and audio clips for the Democrats to use against him and he is a little touchy about one commercial running right now in particular. So much so that he is threatening legal action and we all know how much Trump loves to sue people.
One point that Trump vehemently denies is that he called the Coronavirus a hoax. During his February 2020 redneck rally in South Carolina, Trump compared the Democrats’ criticism of his administration’s response to the new Coronavirus outbreak to their efforts to impeach him. Trump said that “this is their new hoax.” But also, during his riffing and ranting he downplayed the severity of the outbreak, comparing it to the common flu. Seems a little confusing doesn’t it?
Nevertheless, what is not confusing is despite all his protest there are plenty of tweets, interviews, and quotes that confirm he didn’t act quickly enough and certainly didn’t take the threat seriously. We will see all these gaffs once again on a continuous loop when the presidential race heats up. There is also no confusion that the only reason he tried to whitewash the issue was to protect the stock market value which is how he validates the “tremendous”, “powerful” job he is doing.
Dr. Seltzer concludes that narcissists like Trump “need to be viewed as perfect, superlative, or infallible” and that this need “makes them so hypersensitive to criticism. And their typical reaction to criticism, disagreement, challenges can lead to the “narcissistic rage” that is another of their trademarks. To protect their delicate ego in the face of such intensely felt danger, they’re decidedly at risk for going ballistic against their perceived adversary.” Ask Peter Alexander with NBC if he agrees with this observation.