Saturday, March 11, 2017

Parsing The "Hitler - Trump Psychiatric Files": The Takeaway? Not Good!

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The narcissist authoritarian parallels between Trump and Adolf Hitler are delineated even further when one considers the psychiatric files of Hitler and the ones currently being compiled on Trump.

No, there are no actual released and documented psychiatric files for either Adolf Hitler or Donald J. Trump,  What we do have are expert analyses by psychiatrists in different eras (for Hitler) who've examined ex post facto everything he's done and said over his life, and a similar body of work now developed for Trump over his life - especially since the 2016 campaign. (See Addendum at the end to do with the 26,000 psychiatrists who've signed a document declaring Trump mentally ill based on their proxy assessments ). Hence, one could say the existence of a Trump-Hitler compendium of files already exists for each, based on comprehensive proxy analyses.

Five months ago I drew parallels between Hitler and Trump in terms of consideration of their premoral characters, e.g.

In each case, I showed the gestation of the particular narcissistic authoritarian complex arose from the mistreatment by parental figures: Savage beating by his father Alois in the case of Hitler, e.g.

And abandonment by his parents to a New York military academy for Trump (for making specialized switchblades, testing them on helpless animals). The effect of such treatments was spelled out by Harvey Hornstein in his book 'Cruelty & Kindness: A New Look At Altruism and Aggression' (p. 41):

"The baggage of their youth is filled with inescapable hates and fears. Mistrusting their own impulses, they are wary of others and the impulses they might possess. Their world becomes a jungle which must be carefully scrutinized because it is filled with human beings who harbor the 'evil' that they painfully learned to deny in themselves."

These preliminary findings prompted me to examine further parallels after seeing Harvard Prof. Lance Dodes recent discussion of Trump's "malignant paranoid narcissism"  on a  'Last Word' (segment titled "Mental-Health Experts Say Donald Trump Is Unfit to Serve." )   To that end I got hold of the book, 'Hitler:The Psychiatric Files'  by Nigel Cawthorne and examined the detailed traits attributed to him by Henry A. Murray of the (then) Harvard Psychological Clinic.  Murray was able to compile a file through the ex post facto examination of Hitler's thinking, e.g. as given in his book, 'Mein Kampf', as well as through the historical records of his speeches and actions, especially as captured on archival films.

The traits he found, included:

- Hitler at one time or other exhibited all the classic symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia including: hypersensitivity to criticism, panics of anxiety (especially when left alone, forcing him to awaken early and pen missives of 'retribution', delusions of persecution by outside forces, delusions of omnipotence .  Murray at times wondered how Hitler could have escaped confinement at a "dangerous psychopath". (p 33).

Of course, one sees immediately many parallels to Trump's own behaviors, especially the incredible sensitivity to any kind of criticism - especially from the media (why he calls the press "the enemy of the people") as well as his belief he's being persecuted by outside forces - namely the intel agencies which Trump compared to "Nazi Germany".

-  Hitler exhibited a pronounced absence of objectivity, which translated into his tendency to project his own ego on external reality "to the point of delusion" (p. 51).  Analyzing his speeches and writings Murray found a disorganization of ideas and uncommon inability to express himself which at times verged on the pathological.  At one point (p. 52) Murray comments that:

"Hitler operated on thalamic energy rather than rational planning"

All of these have been observed in Donald J. Trump as well, from his notorious ability to distort reality by projecting his own ego and wishes onto it ("biggest inauguration crowd ever",  "greatest electoral win since Reagan" etc.), to the inability to express himself as a rational, mature adult man ("Believe me you're gonna luv it!"), to his tendency to operate according to his "gut" and "instincts" (thalamic energy).

- Murray dubbed the attribute he called "narcisensitivity" (p. 61) whereby he constantly exhibited a low tolerance for any depreciation, criticism, or contradiction - along with an inability to take a joke. Similarly with Trump one beholds an almost pathological sensitivity such as displayed in his ranting tweets against Meryl Streep for her innominate critique of him, as well as against Alec Baldwin for his Trump portrayal on SNL ("inability to take a joke")

- Among the most prominent characteristics of Hitler was self-exhibition, including self-display, extravagant demands for attention and obedience, desire for applause and vainglory. All of these are also evident in Trump, and we've seen how he went after Arnold Schwarzenegger for his perception he was second rate in filling the CEO role at 'The Apprentice'.  Recall Charles M. Blow's description:

"things had to be gilded to be glamorous. All modesty — either real or contrived to guard against exposure — was absent from the man. He was a glutton for attention and adoration. He chased the spotlight and pimped celebrity for profit. He valued flaunting over philanthropy"

Recall also Charles Krauthammer's comment:

"Trump's own instincts and inclinations (are responsible). A thirst for attention that leads to hyperactivity. He needs to dominate every news cycle which feeds a compulsive tweet habit. It has placed him almost continuously at the center of the national conversation and not always to his benefit".

- Verbal depreciation in belittling the worth of others, especially rivals and potential critics. (Fusion of verbal aggression and rejection).

As with Trump: Recall how he belittled a disabled NY Times reporter who criticized him about post 9/11 lies), as well as assorted others including the intel agencies, and the press. Also how he has chronically belittled women as "cows, pigs, dogs etc."

- Counteractive Aggression - always to repay in insult in double measure: A tooth for a tooth to avenge an injury perceived or other. Always to attack opponents, critics and frustrators. Inevitably the mandate is to: accuse, condemn, depreciate or mock an enemy - to his face or behind his back. Often by "unwarranted criticism, smear campaigns

All of which has also applied to Trump and his assorted tirades, and attacks on others. Once described by conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer:

"Trump simply can’t resist playground pushback. His tweets gave Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes screed priceless publicity. His mocking Arnold Schwarzenegger for bad “Apprentice” ratings "

(Recall Trump's claims against Ted Cruz' dad, accusing him of a role in the JFK assassination).

In terms of this counteractive aggression,  Murray points to one of the bases was a quote from Hitler's Mein Kampf (p. 62):

"One can only succeed in wining the soul of a people if - apart from a positive fighting for one's own aims- one also destroys the supporter of the contrary"

- The incessant craving for superiority" (winning at all costs, devil take the hindmost) that actually arises out of an unbearable feeling of inferiority".

As Prof. Murray points out, Hitler derived his sense of inferiority from living in Vienna for four years as a destitute artist.  Also, even after attaining the Chancellorship he was keenly and painfully aware he himself came from peasant stock and there was not the slightest trace of the Nordic (Aryan) "superman" in him, that he came to obsess over and hold as a model to the German people.

NY Times op-ed columnist Charles Blow has pointed out how Trump hasn't accomplished anything in his first days on the scale of Obama, hence nursed resentment. Also, he's always been painfully aware of never having been accepted by NYC's upper class while Obama has been.  As Mr. Blow writes ('A Ticket To Hell'):

"With a hustler’s spirit and some sleight of hand, he made it, but not in total.  He made the move, made the money and made his mark on New York’s skyline, but he never quite made it into the inner sanctum of New York high society. I’m convinced that this is part of his obsession with former President Barack Obama. Obama was quickly granted the thing Trump never had: upper-class acceptance and adulation."

In like manner, Hitler never enjoyed the acceptance and appreciation allotted to Paul von Hindenburg, the previous Chancellor.

The aspect that bodes most alarmingly for the U.S. populace under Trumpism, as it did for the Germans over the years 1933 -45, is the deep seated insecurity which fed into the vitriol and aggression.

As author of the 'Hitler Psychiatric Files', Nigel Cawthorne, observes (p. 107):

"The insecurity would not go away because the security he sought was not outside but within himself and should have been gained by conquering unsocial impulses when he was young. Thee insecurities gnawed away at his psyche like termites."

And these 'termites' led to reaction formations that compensated by extreme verbal or other aggression. Cawthorne noted (ibid.) that "some psychopaths manage to suppress their unsocial ad anti-social impulses completely but not Hitler. This was also manifested in certain sexual proclivities wherein "the individual derives sexual gratification when a woman urinates or defecates on him."

Which behavior was documented by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele in his dossier, via the "piss video" of Trump made in a Moscow hotel in 2013, for purposes of "Kompromat".  Of course, the buzz is that this "has not been verified" - but hell, virtually everything else has in that document. And all we need now is to get Steele to spill the beans and it will be clear to all the extent of Trump's psychosexual aberrations. Not that this would matter to Trumpies.

The most red alarming warning of all, pertaining to Hitler (ibid.):

"The great difference between Hitler and other psychopaths is that he managed to convince millions of other people that the image was really himself."

Once that threshold was crossed, essentially the entire German nation fell into its own psychopathy. The  question for now is: Will the U.S. population fall into the same trap? First, normalizing Trump, and then making the error of being convinced that the image of a "real leader and President" is more real than the actual egotistic, psychotic narcissist underneath. 

Only time will tell, but a good proxy indicator will be to keep an eye on Trump's approval ratings. If they begin rising from their 42-43 percent we may all be in deep shit.

Btw, some in the media (Jeet Heer, 'Horrible Histories' in New Republic, April, p. 52) have claimed "to compare Trump to Hitler instead of to George Wallace is to perpetuate the reassuring myth that Trump is un-American"

But he has the wrong end of the stick.  First, while Wallace may have been extreme in his positions, he was not psychotic and could also form coherent sentences.  Second, the key issue is not to overlook Trump ascending as a demagogue from "American roots" but to emphasize the psychological afflictions and mental disease matrix he exhibits is not confined within any given national boundary. By extension, the mind virus that can infect a people is also not geographically (or historically) confined.  To see Trump's dysfunction only in terms of nativist criteria is to miss the larger picture - as Heer appears to.

On January 31 of this year, Psychology Today’s editors posted Shrinks Battle Over Diagnosing Donald Trump: Chaos in the White House Fuels Discord Amongst the Experts. The article reported on a petition by author and psychologist John Gartner, Ph.D., declaring that Trump has “a serious mental illness that renders him psychologically incapable of competently discharging the duties of President of the United States.” Gartner, a former professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, is currently in private practice in New York and Baltimore. To date, more than 26,000 psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental-health professionals have signed his petition, which has no legal power but drives home the point that these professionals are gravely concerned about the mental health of Trump. Clearly, these professionals believe there is ample material for a psychiatric file -dossier on the looneytune now in the Oval Office.


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