Monday, June 06, 2016


Could this happen?

Beutler isn't the only person thinking this way. Jim Snyder in my comments points out that the comment thread at this Kos post includes much speculation about a possible Trump withdrawal:
I’m starting to wonder if he will drop out of the race before the convention under some inane, bogus pretense.

I honestly don’t think the guy has any interest in being president.


Agreed and it concerns me. The guy is the dog who caught the car, and was just trying to have some fun.


He would couch it in some spectacular and phony excuse that makes him think he’s going out as a hero.


... I think he might end up bailing out, to avoid the humiliation of having his butt kicked by a lowly female.


... I predict a bogus health crisis. That would get him off the hook and sympathy.
None of this is going to happen. Nor is this:
Five bucks says he has a nervous breakdown before Election Day.
Trump loves what's going on right now. You can say that Trump is enraged by the hits he taking on Trump U and on his criticism of Judge Curiel, but Trump loves being enraged. Trump draws nourishment from being enraged.

If the general election consisted of a series of contests between Trump and Clinton over the next several months, and Trump were to lose so many of them that he couldn't possibly win -- if, in other words, the general election were like the primaries, but with different results for Trump -- then he might drop out short of November. But there's one election. Even if there are a hundred polls saying he's losing, he won't believe he's losing until Election Night -- and then he'll believe he was the victim of fraud. (Which, of course, makes him a typical Republican.) Trump cannot fail. Trump can only be failed.

A Bloomberg story seems to depict a rudderless campaign, with Trump contradicting his own senior staff:
An embattled Donald Trump urgently rallied his most visible supporters to defend his attacks on a federal judge's Mexican ancestry during a conference call on Monday in which he ordered them to question the judge's credibility and impugn reporters as racists....

When former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer interrupted the discussion to inform Trump that his own campaign had asked surrogates to stop talking about the lawsuit in an e-mail on Sunday, Trump repeatedly demanded to know who sent the memo, and immediately overruled his staff.

"Take that order and throw it the hell out," Trump said....

"Are there any other stupid letters that were sent to you folks?" Trump said. "That's one of the reasons I want to have this call, because you guys are getting sometimes stupid information from people that aren't so smart."

... A clearly irritated Trump told his supporters to attack journalists who ask questions about the lawsuit and his comments about the judge.

"The people asking the questions -- those are the racists," Trump said. "I would go at 'em."
Josh Marshall calls this a "meltdown." It's not. Trump thinks he wins through intimidation and Trump thinks, in this case, that Fox News talking points can be a key component of that intimidation. He's just energized.

And I worry that there just aren't that many Americans in this majority-white country who think what he saying right now is particularly awful. He's only down 5 to Clinton in a new IBD/TIPP poll conducted this past Tuesday through Sunday. (Yeah, I mentioned a Reuters poll over the weekend with Clinton up by 11, but most polls still have Clinton with only a small to medium-size lead.)

Trump has family, friends, and a massive ego -- his mental health is just fine, if you discount the extreme narcissism. Trump enjoys the fray. And Trump is still not getting blown out. So he's absolutely going to hang in.

If, for some reason, he starts consistently trailing Clinton by double digits between now and the convention, and if polls show him seriously endangering downballot Republicans, he might still be forced out by the GOP. But he is absolutely not going to quit.


Victor said...

I agree, Steve.

Unless he strokes out during some biboted and hate-filled rant, he'll stay in.

What's fun is watching all of the GOP's muckity-mucks trying to ever more support him, using some pretty distorted "thinking!"

Feud Turgidson said...

At some point he is goikng to receive so many warning of ground game heat death that he's going to call on the Poll Watchers idea, the one of which we heard a lot and saw some in 2008 and heard even more but saw even less in 2012.

Trump will talk past the GOP's decrepit GOTV system he'll have been leaning on, and out of the sense of urgency and lack of all other stretegies, he'll call on war creatures of evil from the Ragnarök, the Dagor Daorath, the War of Wrath, the End of the Elders - fully-armed white supremacist screwballs showing assembling in parking lots adjaecent to Election Day polling sites and looking all loaded up, locked down and intimidating.

You think I kid, or exaggerate? Last two presidential elections there were stories that IMPLIED this might come, but in both instances the GOP nominee was insulated from it (McCain disavowed it but Romney and his campaign's spokesmean actually went further and condemned and washed their hands of it.) You really think Trump and a campaign headed by Lewandowski and Manafort will do the same. Manafort has spent most of the last decade CONSULTING TO DICTATORS AND TYRANTS! Lewandowski is a quintessentially American Brownshirt. Trumps very DNA shows ties to white supremacist crowd.

What is it that Trump ALWAYS says? If someone goes after him, he pushes back with everything, no restraints or limits at all - no prisoners.

That'll be the Trump battle cry at the tend: NO. PRISONERS!

Rand Careaga said...

Count me among those who would feel aggrieved, now that we have reached this point, were Trump to let the presumptive nomination slip through his tiny fingers prior to the Gathering of the Tribes in Cleveland next month. If the GOP is to wrest the prize from him, let them do this with the cameras running. It would make for excellent television, and the fratricidal mayhem would be comedy gold.

Ten Bears said...

Would. Not. Be. Surprised.

Yastreblyansky said...

Steve, please don't forget to watch the Likely Voters screen. The Hillary-way-ahead Reuters poll on Saturday was likely voters, today's IBD poll is not.

Anonymous said...

I can see him dropping out of the race. He's panicked over disclosing his finances.

Jim Snyder said...

@SteveM: thanks for the h/t.

Trump reminds me of three or four individuals I have known.

If that comparison is valid, talking about "meltdowns" and/or "what Trump loves to do" misses the reality of what Trump is: an individual with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

Narcissists do narcissism. Narcissists have a self-image that they value above all else. They will act to protect that self-image at all costs:

(in particular see the comments about "self-image")

Extreme / aggressive narcissists are not tethered to reality: they bend reality to their will ... as long as they can.

When they can't bend reality to their will, they "exeunt stage right" so that they don't have to see themselves as "losers". They've been betrayed, or whatever.

(Which, parenthetically, is why Trump would be so existentially dangerous as president. Would he accept "losing" to Putin? I would be surprised. The alternatives are not good.)

Narcissists don't do accountability.

For whatever my opinion is worth (to wit, not much) I seriously doubt that Trump will bow out ... unless&until the writing on the wall tells him that he cannot scam his way out of a general election loss... at which time he might well withdraw, never mind whatever damage his withdrawal might do the Replicant ticket.

As best I can tell (IANAPsychiatrist, so pay no attention to that man behind the curtain) narcissists are not really aware that there's anyone else in their universe. Narcissists see the rest of us as kinda like Roomba vacuum cleaners... more flexible, voice-operated, autonomous, occasionally a source of strokes, occasionally useful ...

... but also underfoot, insufficiently respectful of their owners, and generally annoying pests.


No way ...

Narcissists tend to be self-unaware: their lack of self-awareness is a defense mechanism that protects them from having to take responsibility (in their own minds, of course; after all there isn't anyone else) for the disasters they leave in their wake...

... think Tom and Daisy Buchanan in the Great Gatsby:

"They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together and let other people clean up the mess they had made..."

If you think of narcissists as spoiled 6yo children, you won't go far wrong. It's not just their reactions and irritability and lack of self-control, it is who they are. They think like 6yos ... because their social / emotional development stalled out at age 6. They are 6yos.

I have little sympathy for Erica Freeman - lie with dogs, rise with fleas - but her e-mail is common sense, and likely was vetted by Lewandowski and Manafort ...

... nonetheless, to the extent one can tell from the reports, she didn't deserve to be called out and pissed on. Chances are she's looking for a job this evening.

What sort of human being deals with subordinates that way?

[a pause that refreshes]

An extreme narcissist.

sdhays said...

I agree that I don't see him dropping out. But he's now getting a taste of what not being on top feels like, and it's not a feeling that he's likely used to or likely cares for. He's now actually being called on his racism, his bigotry, and his lying, and it's going to increase to a crescendo over the next several months. He clearly really enjoyed winning the Republican Primary, but the days of being "the amazing Donald Trump" are over. If the polls continue to slide, particularly after Bernie edges back from the brink, and continue for months and months, he'll have a loser-stench that will bother him. Like the good narcissist he is, Trump is needy of public adulation. He's going to be denied that, except from him core supporters, which is going to be hard on him.

I don't think he'll drop out, but something in him might break. He doesn't deal with frustration well. If we didn't have that totally credible report from that totally credible doctor who totally checked him out, I might wonder if he'll have a heart-attack or a stroke before November. At this point, I certainly think it could be possible if he actually has the gumption (or arrogance) to try to debate Hillary in October...

Jim Snyder said...

@SteveM: you write:

"Trump has family, friends, and a massive ego -- his mental health is just fine, if you discount the extreme narcissism."


This misunderstands personality disorders.

NPD is not "mentally healthy". People with NPD are disconnected from reality. What's important to them is not sync'ing their "internal reality" with empirical reality, what's important is coercing (their perception of) empirical reality into conformance with their self-image.


Perhaps one can't appreciate this until one has actually dealt with a colleague with NPD. Or perhaps I'm delusional. [shrugs]

But if I'm right, people with NPD are different from "normals". Not to beat around the bush, people with NPD are 6yo.

Jim Snyder said...

@sdhays: My opinion is free, and worth every penny you paid for it, but this sounds plausible to me.

Curious how "something in him might break" would evince..

jsrtheta said...

No, I don't find this argument at all persuasive.

Trump has a history of walking away and blaming others for his failures. This is a very common trait among those who are as insecure as he is.

First, he doesn't give a shit about how that would affect the Republicans. He has never demonstrated a concern for others, and they would hardly be a starting point for him.

Second, understand that whatever Trump does, it's never his fault. He can blame the party, he can claim they never delivered the money he says he needs, he can claim that he's been treated unfairly all along. The excuse won't matter. The facts will be that for mere mortals, it can be nothing but an excuse. For Trump, it will be that he was dealing with total losers, who never gave him what they promised.

Like any other major insecure guy, he will bail as he realizes that he might even succeed. It was never about him succeeding. It was about Trump showing all those losers that he could do it if he wanted to. None of this has any relation to reality. But it will serve as a justification to him for why he is unappreciated.

The agenda all along was to show the could be president if he wanted to. Once he thinks that's been proven, then he's made his point.

Do you really think he wants to do this job? Not in a million years.
When the going gets tough, Trump gets going.

rclz said...

I was just thinking this the other day. He's down by big double digits, drops out and the GOP goes with Ryan.

jsrtheta said...

No, Ryan is not that stupid.

Should Trump drop out, he will ensure the party is going down. No one ever benefits by being the choice in those circumstances. Such a nomination only means falling on your sword. Ryan wants to be president someday, and those who fall on their sword never get a second chance. Running a second time is dicey at best. Running after you've already lost? Not doable. Not now. Not since Nixon.

This is a poisoned election for Republicans. Every candidate will bear the taint. Cruz, Bush, et al, will never get the nod in the future, because they will forever be tainted by Trump. And running as the white knight is a kamikaze mission. Sure, everyone is grateful. Because you fell on your sword. And once you fall on your sword, you can never get up again.

jsrtheta said...

Easy for you to say.

petrilli said...

This weekend Trump was melting down. Hillary landed solid hits. As did Judge Curiel. Trump was far from the happy warrior, smug provocateur in his response. He was a screaming drunk on a bar stool. If the incompetence meme set up by Clinton holds and grows, and Trump can't deal with it, some GOP elites might well do it for him. I also think Ryan is deluded enough by his own Randian self righteousness to pick up the nomination if the party elders lay it at his feet. Ryan has a bleak future as speaker ahead of him that won't help his 2020 ambitions anyway.

Unknown said...

D. Trump says a judge who is an advisor to La Raza is prejudiced. Many Judges have long ruled that all-white juries are prejudiced. There is absolutely no difference, none, in the underlying concept of the two positions.

petrilli said...

@Unknown: Curiel is a member of non-controversial, La Raza Lawyers of California. Trump and his campaign have been dishonestly trying to associate him with the activist, National Council of La Raza. Most people, most news organizations haven't bothered to look up the difference. To their credit, when I looked it up, I found the explanation on Red State of all places.

Unknown said...

While I agree that he will not drop out of the race I think he is melting down. This is the first time in his freakin life that he has not been able to stamp his feet and get his way. How dare we ask for his tax returns. How dare we cry foul when he slanders people. How dare we question the greatness of tRump.

rclz said...

Jeff the reason I said Ryan is because if Trump drops out they have to put someone credible in because of the Supreme Court. If there is even a whisper of a chance they have to jump at it. I think, they think, Ryan is there best chance and I'd of said he was too smart also but he took the speakers job and that was about as dumb as it gets. That was never going to serve him well so I can well see him running in Trump's place.

RAM said...

Trump won't drop out, at least not willingly. I think there's more of a chance he'll have a mental breakdown. The guy's obviously unstable.

Granted, he's been in tough spots before as a businessman, but that stuff was, in effect, behind closed doors, between him and his creditors, or whoever. This is very much in the public eye, where he's invested his entire self-image.

Digby had an interesting piece in Salon the other day suggesting Trump thought he'd weathered the worst of the campaign's attacks during the primaries, apparently not realizing they were nothing, really. His primary opponents couldn't attack him for his racism and authoritarianism because they either held the same beliefs, they wanted to make sure they didn't antagonize his supporters, or both, Digby said, noting the general election is a whole new ball of wax.

Trump is sounding more and more desperate, and the conventions haven't even been held yet. As his (largely unearned) reputation as a successful businessman is shredded into ever finer pieces, as his legal problems escalate, as his personal life comes under more and more scrutiny, and as attacks on his racism and authoritarianism continue to increase, I think there's a real possibility the guy could totally lose it.

Anonymous said...

Unknown, judges have not "ruled that all white juries are prejudiced".

Trump isn't an insecure person. The ranting and attacking is not because he is insecure. He's ranting and attacking because nothing matters to him more than him. He feels that he is entitled to rant and attack anyone who criticizes him, and he apparently believes that others are only motivated by winning a competition, too.

Jim Snyder said...

@Jeff Ryan: Assuming you're referring to the original post.

The history you provide - "walking away and blaming others", "it's never his fault", "total luzers who never gave him what they promised", and "... insecure ..." - are all characteristics of NPD.

FWIW, here's an oft-referenced post on "narcissistic traits":

"This is a poisoned election for Republicans."


@petrilli: "melting down" vs. "happy warrior". The two aren't mutually exclusive.

Trump, like many narcissists, gets his jollies out of demonstrating that he's the GREATEST!!!. He does this by leveraging his "assets" (generally defined) to dominate and humiliate others.

It's not so much fun when his attempts to humiliate backfire.

The thing is, narcissists are masters of denial. When their interactions with others go south, it isn't because they screwed up or misbehaved, it's because they were failed, or someone (else, of course) behaved unfairly or was mean or whatever. (Meaning: that's what they tell themselves; that's what they believe.)

Narcissists edit empirical reality for themselves to protect their self-image. As that article on Lance Armstrong says, a narcissist's self-image is his'r'her reality.

Trump might have "wanted" to be president... or it might have been a lark, or "brand management". I've wondered. But Trump has skin in the game now.

Well, make that "ego in the game."

But Trump's pursuit of the office will always be conditional, not in the sense of the usual (rational) cost / benefit trades we all engage in; rather, he'll stay in as long as he can protect his self-image (in his own mind).

I'll give reasonably good odds that if Trump is losing massively (15+ points) in September, he'll find a reason to drop out and blame others... because the damage to his ego of having to concede to a detested inferior would be YUUUUGE. But he won't be pushed out. Not by the Republican Establishment, anyway, which in any case is tip-toeing around him and saying "pretty please, Mr. Trump, please play nice." [disgustedly]

(As I keep saying, IANAPsych; what I (think I) know about narcissism comes from reading the pop psych lit subsequent to multiple unpleasant interactions with narcissists. I could be entirely off-base... but the match between NPD and "my" narcissists and Trump is remarkably good. You'd kill for that level of agreement between theory and empirical data in almost any venue.)

Personally speaking, I don't find "melting down" to be a useful characterization unless&until the implications are spelled out. OK, Trump "melted down" and peed all over a mostly blameless aide who was trying to protect the campaign narrative. Pity the poor aide, but other than that, so what? Peeing on others is what narcissists do - they make someone else a fall guy when things go wrong, then they continue on their merry way with at most a minimal course correction. After all, whatever went wrong wasn't the narcissist's fault, was it? How could it be? Narcissists are always right.

"Melting down" would be interesting only if it entails some major / discontinuous change in the trajectory of the campaign. Blaming a fall guy is not a change in trajectory.

My two Euros.

Jim Snyder said...

@jeannegenie: "[Trump] is ranting and attacking because nothing matters to him more than him.


But Trump is insecure. Even Megan McArgle, an individual who is described as insightful only in the vicinity of an odd number of negations, called Trump (paraphrasing) "incredibly needy".

(Extreme) narcissists are almost always insecure. I haven't been able to find the post, but several years ago Sully quoted a psych to the effect that (paraphrasing) "a narcissist expends an enormous amount of energy every day deflecting the contradictions to their glorious self-image that Reality throws in their face."

Of course narcissists are insecure! They're legends in their own minds, but "Nature cannot be fooled". Empirical reality is always leaking through the dike.

IANAPsych, but it's an easy guess that Trump's over-the-top blowhard personality is one of the ways he deflects empirical reality (that contradicts his self-image).

It's a guess that might even be correct!

Anonymous said...

I'm a psych, but a school psych, and children are not diagnosed with personality disorders, so I can't claim professional expertise.

I cannot call what narcissists experience as insecurity. Insecurity is self-doubt. Trump doubts the rest of us, but not himself. In my opinion, it presents to use as insecurity because that's what we [people without personality disorders] are feeling when we go to such an extent to defend ourselves. A nacissist isn't feeling insecure, he's feeling misused, because of course he deserves everything, all respect and dignity, in all situations.

maxk1947 said...

If Trump drops out, how does he get back the campaign loans?

Can the Repub establishment manipulate the convention rules to stop him on the first ballot - for example, require 60% to win, or bring in voting SuperDelegates, or challenge a state delegation (didn't the Democrats once try to reduce a couple of delegations to 1/2 votes for some rules violation?)?

What would happen if Trump doesn't resign the nomination, but refuses to campaign, holing up in Mar-A-Lago with his lawyers?

rclz said...

I'm the unknown above that thought Ryan would get dragged into this if Trump decides to take his toys and go home. I figured out how to log in. duh.....

If the republicans could change the rules and not have an uprising of not only Trump supporters but people who think you should at least pretend to play fair they would do it in a N.Y. minute. I think they're at the damned if they do and damned if they don't point. If they were going to monkey with the rules they should have done it months ago.

If Trump refuses to campaign and holds up at his castle I'm going to spend four months laughing my ass off. :) Unfortunately I don't see him doing that for the simple reason that he wouldn't get the attention he needs so badly.

Glennis said...

I find it discouraging that Trump's reprehensible attack on Judge Curiel is being discussed only in terms of his racism. I find it even more disturbing that a defendant in a lawsuit can use the bully pulpit of his campaign for the highest elected office in the land to attack the impartiality of the courts, simply because the judge has made a preliminary ruling against his case.

We don't do that in America - or at least, we're not supposed to. We're not supposed to try cases in the court of public opinion and we're not supposed to mingle the rule of law with popularity. Of course it happens - look at OJ, look at Casey whatshername. But neither of those parties spoke to rallies of 5,000 people, had their speeches broadcast on TV, while railing against the impartiality of the individual judge. It's not right - it would be appalling if he were some private industrialist or CEO defendant; it's ever more disturbing that this bully who believes in intimidating the federal judiciary aspires to head one of the three branches of our government.

I wish there was more focus on that than on just the racism aspect (which is also appalling).

rclz said...

Aunt Snow I think the only reason it doesn't happen more is that most people don't have that kind of stage to work from. I think in most cases if someone is being sued or tried for some crime, they are going to use whatever leverage they can to get things to go in their favor. Trump just has more to work for at the moment. Sure it shouldn't be done but.....

petrilli said...

@Jim: Personally speaking, I'm confident everybody here knows what the term "melt down" means. It's a comment section, not a research paper.

rclz said...

I want a melt down like the guy in that move A Face in the Crowd.

It been years since I saw that one but I seem to remember it was quite good.

Ten Bears said...

If Trump drops out, how does he get back the campaign loans?

Nailed it. Screwed, glued and tattooed.

jsrtheta said...

@Unknown - Curiel is a member of the La Raza bar association, not the larger civil rights group "La Raza."

So your facts are wrong and don't support your argument to begin with. The La Raza bar group is a Latino bar group. There are women's bar groups, black bar groups, etc. Membership in such bar groups has never been a basis for recusing a judge, and never, alone, should be. Membership in a specialized bar association that assists members of the same gender, race or ethnicity is merely a means of addressing problems facing lawyers who belong to groups that historically have suffered discrimination, and who also have concerns unique to that group.

"Many judges have long ruled that all-white juries are prejudiced." No. You are wrong as a matter of law, even putting aside your vague category of "many judges." You are not even close to understanding the law on this issue, and, clearly, none of this is in your wheelhouse.

Finally, your conclusion - that membership in La Raza is equivalent to an "all-white" jury is false, and not even logical. It is a false equivalency of two very different things.

I would say "stick to what you know," but I'm not sure just what that would be.

jsrtheta said...

@RAM, I disagree. Trump has walked away from many things. And he never gives a shit who he's hurting.

There's an article somewhere that I saw recently that was a good primer on Trump's M.O. Basically, that amounts to being the greatest guy in the world while you're making a deal, sensitive, solicitous. Once Trump gets what he wants, he then either refuses to pay, or demands a steep discount based on phony "dissatisfaction" with the work rendered. When the other side balks, or demands payment, Trump bullies them with a mountain of lawsuits, pleadings and intimidation.

As a result, people either give up, or settle for pennies on the dollar.

Or, as many criminal codes call it: "Theft by Deception."

But will he bail? He damned well might. Don't forget, Donald never fails. He always has an excuse for walking away, and he always blames someone else. Because he rationalizes his failures in this way to himself, he is stunned that others might not agree. He doesn't want to be president. He couldn't take the transparency required, nor the work, nor even the loss of freedom.

jsrtheta said...

@Jim Snyder: "My two Euros"? Not a Brit, then, I take it?

I largely agree. As for NPD, I think a word search of Trump's rants might reveal that the most common word might be "unfair," or variants thereof.

Almost makes me wish there was an afterlife. I can hear him bargaining with God, accusing the deity of being "totally unfair" to him.

The high cost of atheism: You forfeit the satisfaction of knowing that assholes will get theirs.

jsrtheta said...

@rclz: You mean Andy Griffith? Oh how young you must be!

rclz said...

@Jeff, Yea, Andy Griffith. I'm pretty new around here. (someone posted a link from Wonkette a while back and I've been dropping in ever since) I don't really have a feel for the general age group around here so I had to wonder if anyone would get the reference. :)

jsrtheta said...

@rclz: I have no idea of the ages here, either. I suspect I'm fairly older than most, but who knows?

I re-watched A Face in the Crowd recently. What a masterpiece.

It spurred me to do a little research on Griffith. I discovered that he was a true Son of the South and a huge liberal supporter of civil rights and other worthy causes. Turns out the guy was actually one hell of a mensch. I had no idea.

petrilli said...

Trump is better than Lonesome Rhodes. Lonesome Rhodes was finished when his evil was exposed. Trump leads publicly with that kind of talk. In Trump World, Patricia Neal's character would be very disappointed.

Jim Snyder said...

@petrilli: sure, it's a comments section, but the interesting point (to me, anyway) isn't the meltdown (or whatever it is), what's interesting is how the meltdown affects the trajectory of the campaign.

Different strokes and all that, but if the only outcome of Trump's meltdown is another aide covered in urine, what difference has his "meltdown" made to anyone but that aide?

A "Trump melts down" story is a "dog bites man" story.

Jim Snyder said...

@jeannegenie: "I'm a psych, but a school psych, and children are not diagnosed with personality disorders, so I can't claim professional expertise.

I cannot call what narcissists experience as insecurity. Insecurity is self-doubt. Trump doubts the rest of us, but not himself. In my opinion, it presents to use as insecurity because that's what we [people without personality disorders] are feeling when we go to such an extent to defend ourselves. A nacissist isn't feeling insecure, he's feeling misused, because of course he deserves everything, all respect and dignity, in all situations."

I'm on the road and have limited access to the Intertoobz, so I am writing a long note because I don't have the time to write a short one...

Only a fool would argue with a professional in that professional's profession. [he says, foolishly rushing in ...]

Perhaps psychs have a more specific handle for what us amachooors perceive as insecurity?

Because everything I have read in this area says "extreme narcissists are extremely insecure". Joanna Ashmun leans on the point very heavily (IIRC). Most of "my" narcissists are quite insecure, despite being leaders in their fields.

As best I understand the argument therapists make, the reasoning runs like this:

1. Narcissists worship at the altar of their lambently refulgent self-image. The self-image of a reality-based individual is aspirational. The narcissist's self-image is his'r'her reality.

2. Since there is and will always be daylight between one's self-image and reality, narcissists have to deal with real-world challenges to their glorious self-image on a daily basis. (So must we all...)

3. Normals confronted by such contradictions tend to nudge their self-image to reduce the separation between self-image and reality, or else adjust their behaviors to be more in line with their self-image.

Narcissists are different: they "edit" the reality they acknowledge to themselves so that that edited reality conforms to their self-image.

A normal says: "I screwed up." A narcissist says "I was misused."

I've exceeded blogger character limits so will finish this in a follow-up post.

Jim Snyder said...

@jeannegenie: the rest of my response.

As the blogger says (

"The ego reaches out and blocks [the narcissist's] apprehension of reality from contradicting the needs of the ego. In other words, the narcissist’s convenience becomes their reality principle, the determiner of how they see reality.

... apprehension of reality is, in effect, policed before it can provide a contradicting perspective.

[The narcissist's] deepest problem is fear: narcissists are profoundly fearful people. They are so terrified of having to bear responsibility for their actions that reflect badly on themselves that they make their (defensive ego) convenience their reality principle. Their psyche is profoundly out of balance ..."

(IMO this is the most insightful post I've read anywhere about narcissism. The prose is a bit clunky, but it's reasonably clear what he's saying.)

In effect, narcissists lie to themselves at a "pre-conscious" level.

You say that Trump has no self-doubt. I'd put it differently: Trump represses self-doubt (amachoor's version of "represses"), because that's what narcissists do: they police the perception of incoming reality so that their edited reality serves the needs of their self-image.

Narcissists are masters of denial.

Nonetheless, reality leaks through at some level... and when it does, the narcissist has a (ahem) meltdown. Blames everyone around him'r'her, or absents him'r'her-self from the sources of the conflict, whatevs. One of "my" narcissists had anxiety attacks every time I pointed out daylight between reality and self-image.

I could be wrong (no, really, it's happened! ... once or twice) but I'm not convinced that there's a YUUUGE difference between what you're saying and what I'm regurgitating. In particular: "feeling misused" is an outcome, not a root cause; it is a reaction. I'd argue that Trump "feels misused" because the conflict with reality has unsettled him. I mean, seriously, if your reality principle is "I win all the time because I am better than all you luzers", ya gotta be "profoundly fearful" when events queue up a loss ... fearful that people will see you as the luzer. Perhaps that's not what a psych calls "insecure", but "insecure" is good enough for me. :-)

My two units of currency.

Jim Snyder said...

@jeffryan: "not a Brit".


Bitcoins or travelers' checks in the future.

"high cost of atheism": sux, don't it... sad!

Trump to God: "you're fired!"

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