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  • Denis Pepin

Donald Trump the Grandiose Leader: Societal Peril in the Shadow of Narcissism

Updated: May 12

Donald Trump
Donald Trump (CyberNesco)

Grandiose narcissism, a salient aspect of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), is characterized by an exaggerated sense of self-worth, a sense of entitlement, and an insatiable desire for admiration. This personality trait can lead to confusion and exasperation among those who encounter it. This article examines two distinct manifestations of grandiose narcissism: one that may arise in personal or professional relationships, such as with a colleague or family member, and another that emerges in individuals holding positions of national leadership, as exemplified by Donald Trump.

The Hallmarks of Grandiosity

The grandiose narcissist's world revolves around a distorted perception of their own superiority. They exhibit a pervasive arrogance, radiating an air of being "above it all." Conversations become one-sided affairs, dominated by their self-aggrandizement and a relentless stream of exaggerated accomplishments. Often lacking genuine empathy, they dismiss or belittle the opinions and experiences of others. This insatiable need for control extends to social settings, where they strive to be the center of attention, readily resorting to manipulation to ensure their dominance.

The Quest for Validation: Beyond Material Success

Interestingly, grandiose narcissists can achieve significant professional success due to their unwavering self-confidence and drive. However, their primary motivation isn't intrinsic satisfaction, but the external validation and status that accompany achievement. Money, power, and prestige become trophies, symbols of their perceived superiority. Criticism, a chink in their armor, is met with defensiveness, rage, or attempts to deflect blame.

The relentless pursuit of admiration fuels their every move. They crave constant praise and recognition, often orchestrating situations to elicit these desired responses. Social media platforms become battlegrounds for crafting a meticulously curated image, a highlight reel of their perceived brilliance and success.

The Shadow Side: The High Cost of Grandiosity

Despite the outward facade of confidence and success, the grandiose narcissist's internal world is often riddled with insecurity. Their inflated sense of self-importance serves as a fragile shield, masking a deep fear of inadequacy and a desperate need for external validation. This relentless pursuit of admiration creates a constant sense of emptiness, a void that can never be truly filled.

Furthermore, their grandiose behavior fosters superficial relationships. Their manipulative tactics and lack of empathy alienate those around them. True intimacy, built on mutual respect and vulnerability, is virtually impossible for a grandiose narcissist.

General Behaviors that are Often Associated with Grandiose Narcissism

Exaggerating achievements: Claiming responsibility for major successes or stating to have skills and talents that might not be substantiated by actual achievements.

Seeking constant praise and admiration: Requiring excessive admiration and validation from others to feel self-worth.

Fantasies about unlimited power or success: Having an obsession with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.

Belief in being special and unique: Believing that one is special and can only be understood by or should associate with other special or high-status people or institutions.

Sense of entitlement: Expecting special treatment and compliance with their expectations.

Interpersonally exploitative behavior: Taking advantage of others to achieve personal ends.

Lack of empathy: Being unwilling or unable to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.

Envy of others or belief that others are envious of them: Believing that others are jealous of them or being envious of others’ achievements and advantages.

Arrogant and haughty behaviors or attitudes: Displaying arrogance, acting in a haughty or superior manner.

These behaviors can manifest in various contexts, including personal relationships, workplace interactions, and public life. It’s important to note that while these behaviors can be indicative of grandiose narcissism, they should be considered within the full context of an individual’s personality and actions.

Navigating the Grandiose Narcissist: Strategies for Self-preservation

If you find yourself interacting with a grandiose narcissist, here are some strategies to maintain your well-being:

Limit your exposure: Minimize unnecessary interactions and set firm boundaries.

Don't engage in their manipulation tactics: Recognize attempts to control the conversation or evoke a reaction.

Maintain a neutral and objective demeanor: Don't provide the emotional validation they crave.

Focus on facts, not opinions: Avoid getting dragged into arguments fueled by their inflated sense of self-importance.

Prioritize self-care: Interactions with grandiose narcissists can be emotionally draining. Make sure to prioritize your own mental well-being.

Beyond the Diagnosis: Seeking Help for Grandiose Narcissism

While grandiose narcissism isn't an official diagnosis, it's a significant component of NPD. Individuals with NPD often struggle to recognize their own behavior and the negative impact it has on their lives and relationships. However, with professional help and a genuine desire for change, therapy can be transformative.

Grandiose narcissism presents a complex personality trait. Understanding the motivations and underlying insecurities that fuel their behavior can equip you to navigate interactions with them effectively. Remember, self-preservation is key. By setting boundaries and prioritizing your mental well-being, you can protect yourself from the negative impact of grandiose narcissism.

Narcissism in Power: The Perils of Grandiose Leadership Through History


The potential consequences of having a grandiose narcissist as a leader can be severe and far-reaching, both for the leaders themselves and for the society they govern. This has been evidenced throughout history, with numerous examples of leaders who exhibited traits of grandiose narcissism causing significant harm to their countries and people.


One infamous example is Adolf Hitler, whose extreme grandiosity and narcissism led him to orchestrate some of the most horrific atrocities in human history. His belief in his own superiority and entitlement to power resulted in the devastation of millions of lives during World War II.


Similarly, Joseph Stalin was also known for his grandiose narcissistic tendencies. He saw himself as an all-powerful dictator, disregarding the well-being of his people and purging anyone who questioned or challenged him. This resulted in countless deaths and widespread fear within the Soviet Union.


In more recent times, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has also been cited as a textbook example of a grandiose narcissist in leadership. His extravagant lifestyle, constant need for admiration, and disregard for rules ultimately led to numerous scandals and controversies during his time in office.


Psychological research has consistently shown that individuals with grandiose narcissistic traits are highly likely to engage in unethical behaviors such as lying, manipulation, and exploitation for their own gain. They are also prone to making impulsive decisions without considering potential consequences or seeking advice from others.


Moreover, these leaders often have a distorted sense of reality that can lead them to make reckless choices that have detrimental effects on their country's economy or international relations. Their inability to empathize with others can also result in policies that neglect marginalized groups or perpetuate social inequalities.


As seen from past examples and psychological research, having a grandiose narcissist as a leader can have dire consequences not only on an individual level but also on a societal level. The unchecked pursuit of personal goals at the expense of others and the lack of accountability can result in toxic and unstable leadership that puts the entire nation at risk.


Donald Trump: The Psychological Warnings and Societal Implications


According to Dr. Ramani Durvasula, a renowned clinical psychologist and expert on narcissistic personality disorder who has been vocal about her concerns regarding Trump's behavior, "Electing someone with grandiose narcissism can be dangerous because these individuals have an exaggerated sense of self-importance and are highly sensitive to criticism." This sensitivity can lead them to lash out at those who disagree with them or challenge their beliefs.




Dr. Craig Malkin, a Harvard Medical School lecturer and author specializing in personality disorders also shares similar concerns stating that "the danger lies in their inability to regulate their emotions and impulsive behavior." He goes on to explain that individuals with grandiose narcissism tend to have a distorted view of reality and may act impulsively without considering the consequences of their actions.

Moreover, experts have also expressed concern about how people with grandiose narcissism could use their power for personal gain rather than serving the greater good. According to Dr. Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University and author of "The Narcissist Epidemic," such individuals tend to prioritize their own needs above all else and may disregard the well-being or opinions of others.


In addition to these concerns, experts have also highlighted the potential impact of electing someone with grandiose narcissism on society as a whole. Dr. Durvasula explains that "these individuals often lack empathy and compassion for others, which can lead to division and polarizing behaviors." This could result in a more divided and hostile society, rather than one that promotes unity and understanding.


The dangers of electing someone with grandiose narcissism are numerous and concerning. As mental health professionals have warned, such individuals may struggle to effectively lead and make decisions in the best interest of their constituents. Voters must consider these expert opinions when making their decision at the polls.

 “Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump” - A Critical Examination


The documentary “Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump” delves into the mental health of the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. Mental health professionals and members of The Duty to Warn Coalition have engaged in a rigorous analysis of Trump’s psychological condition, leading to significant concerns about his fitness for office.

The film underscores Trump’s malignant narcissism as identified by mental health professionals, a condition that is notably more intense and harmful than grandiose narcissism. This term encompasses a spectrum of narcissistic traits with varying degrees of impact.

Understanding Malignant Narcissism

Considered a more severe and toxic form of narcissism. Malignant narcissists may engage in more destructive and harmful behaviors, showing little regard for the well-being of others.

Paranoia: The documentary suggests that Trump displays paranoid tendencies. His constant suspicion of others, belief in conspiracies, and obsession with loyalty align with this aspect of malignant narcissism.

Anti-Social Personality Disorder: Trump’s behavior often disregards social norms and ethical boundaries. His impulsivity, deceitfulness, and lack of remorse are consistent with this personality disorder.

Sadism: The film raises questions about Trump’s sadistic tendencies. His enjoyment of others’ suffering, aggressive rhetoric, and divisive actions contribute to this assessment.


In essence, while grandiose narcissists may cause distress due to their self-centered behavior and need for admiration, malignant narcissists pose a greater risk due to their aggressive and often cruel actions. Malignant narcissism is associated with a higher likelihood of engaging in unethical or harmful behaviors.

The Danger to the Nation

The central argument of “Unfit” revolves around the potential danger Trump poses to the nation. Here are the key points:

Impact on American Society and Culture: The film examines how Trump’s leadership style and divisive rhetoric have influenced American society. From immigration policies to racial tensions, his actions have left a lasting impact.

Institutional Challenges: Trump’s disregard for democratic norms, attacks on the media, and undermining of institutions like the FBI and intelligence agencies have raised concerns about the stability of American democracy.

Ethical Debate: Goldwater Rule vs. Tarasoff Rule:

Goldwater Rule: This ethical guideline discourages psychiatrists from offering professional opinions without conducting a direct examination of the individual. It aims to prevent armchair diagnoses.

Tarasoff Rule: In contrast, the Tarasoff Rule emphasizes a duty to warn when someone’s life is at risk. Mental health professionals in the documentary argue that Trump’s behavior warrants breaking the silence imposed by the Goldwater Rule.

Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump” provides a science-based analysis of Trump’s behavior, psyche, and stability. While opinions may differ, the film underscores the importance of considering mental health when evaluating fitness for the highest office in the land. Whether through the Goldwater Rule or the Tarasoff Rule, the conversation about Trump’s mental health remains critical for the nation’s well-being.

More Expert Opinions

Recent authoritative sources provide further insights into Trump’s mental health:

Dr. Harry Segal (Cornell University): Speaking on the David Pakman Show, Dr. Segal expressed concern about Trump’s cognitive decline. He cited signs of onset dementia, emphasizing the danger posed by an erratic individual near the White House. Segal’s observations align with the film’s thesis.

Dr. Lance Dodes (Harvard Medical School): Dr. Dodes, a retired Harvard professor, asserts that there is “overwhelming” evidence of Trump suffering from dementia. He highlights Trump’s confusion about reality and argues that the 25th Amendment should be invoked if he were to become president.

Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals: Several experts have questioned Trump’s cognitive abilities. Suzanne Lachmann, a New York psychologist, notes Trump’s incomprehensible word salad—a behavior frequently observed in dementia patients. John Gartner, a former professor at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, has petitioned for recognition of Trump’s unmistakable signs of dementia.



In the realm of personal relationships, dealing with a grandiose narcissist can be a challenging but manageable task. Family members who exhibit such traits may cause distress and dysfunction within the family unit, but their influence is often limited to those within their immediate circle. The strategies for self-preservation, such as setting boundaries and limiting exposure, can be effective in mitigating the impact of a narcissistic family member. The ability to distance oneself physically and emotionally from the individual can minimize the negative effects on one’s well-being.

In stark contrast, the presence of a grandiose narcissist in a position of national leadership presents a far more complex and unavoidable challenge. Unlike a family member, a leader’s decisions and behaviors have a profound and pervasive impact on the entire country and, potentially, the world. Their grandiosity and self-serving actions can shape policies, influence international relations, and affect the lives of millions. The citizens of a country cannot simply opt out of the consequences of their leader’s narcissism; they must endure the societal and economic repercussions that result from the leader’s pursuit of personal glory and power.

The difference in scale and scope between a narcissistic family member and a narcissistic leader is immense. While one can create personal strife, the other can alter the course of history. The grandiose narcissist in the family may seek admiration and control within a limited domain, but the narcissistic leader’s quest for validation and dominance can lead to widespread societal issues, including the erosion of democratic values, the spread of misinformation, and the exacerbation of social divisions.

Ultimately, the key distinction lies in the level of influence and the potential for harm. A narcissistic family member’s impact can be contained and managed through personal strategies, but a narcissistic leader’s reach extends far beyond the personal sphere, affecting the fabric of society and the well-being of a nation. It is a sobering reminder of the importance of psychological awareness and vigilance in the selection of our leaders, as the consequences of grandiose narcissism in power are not only immediate but can resonate for generations to come.

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Don’t let the Trump-Abyss Drag You Down!

Trump-Abyss is a blog that reveals the harmful truth of Donald Trump. His actions have undermined democratic principles, provoked unrest, and disseminated false information. He has brought us perilously close to a nuclear conflict, estranged friendly nations, and strengthened adversaries. His conduct has demonstrated a profound disregard for the welfare of society and the principles of justice.

Share the Trump-Abyss blog with your friends, and family, and on social media platforms. The more people are aware of the dangers of a Trump’s presidency, the more they can take action to prevent or mitigate them. Together, we can defend our democracy and our planet from the Trump-Abyss. You have the power to stand up for what is right and fight for a better future. Whether you choose to vote, protest, donate, or educate, you are making a difference in the world.


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