From the book: The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump by Bandy Lee, MD, MDiv
Trump is an extreme example of “Other-blamers.” Domestic abusers are also examples of “Other-blamers.” They have low self-worth and poor shame tolerance. That leads to vindictive anger, lack of insight and accountability, dishonesty, impulsivity, entitlement, paranoia, lack of remorse and empathy, inflated self-importance, and attention-seeking. They rarely admit feelings of inadequacy because they believe that would make them vulnerable to the same abuse they perpetrate. They seek out and surround themselves with those who are willing to be controlled, manipulated or intimidated – sycophants who avoid questioning the leader out of fear.
As children, Other-blamers likely had parents who were abusive, shaming, rejecting, or neglectful. Some parents may have been overly permissive and conflict avoiding and did not teach accountability. Others may have been overly focused on achievement and compliance engendering fear of failure. All these experiences can cause children to feel unloved, unprotected and inadequate.
Donald Trump has lived almost all his life in survival mode. He has described his father as demanding, difficult and driven. Their relationship was businesslike. Donald Trump’s older brother became an alcoholic and died at age 42. Donald developed a warrior attitude in childhood and never outgrew it. Winning was essential, and he felt losing was obliteration. Even his massive failures (casinos, a rival football league, a college, an airline, etc) had to be presented to others as successes. He seeks to dominate in everything he does. He does not value empathy, compassion, generosity, self-reflection, a conscience, or delayed gratification.
Chronic exposure to fear leads to impulsivity, hyperactivity, irrationality, volatility, impetuousness, poor frustration tolerance, and poor concentration – all of which Trump exhibits on a daily basis. Other-blamers are in constant fear of being judged and found unworthy. Rage and abusive violence are often triggered when an abuser feels challenged, demeaned or rejected. Even minor or perceived slights may throw them into uncontrollable rage.
Other-blamers have difficulty being introspective and find admitting fault or expressing remorse to be devastatingly humiliating. They do not like being held accountable. They do not believe they must play by the rules. They do not like laws. They shift blame, make excuses and deny their own behavior. They are highly resistant to change and often become tyrants.
Tyrants develop in societies with the right conditions, such as an oppressive economy and social inequality. A feeling of inequality engenders a sense of superiority that engenders further inequality. Inequity leads to fear, moral confusion and chaos and then to a breakdown of social norms and growing disregard for a large portion of the population and for higher values. Oppressive, dehumanizing systems cultivate an us/them mentality. People project their own vices onto Others and their grandiose self-image onto the narcissistic leader.
Ruthless competition, jealousy and aggression grow within unjust nations toward Others and toward other nations over humiliation from perceived unfair treatment. Elites remain oblivious to the suffering of the underclass and the fate of the nation. German elites and moderates, for example, did not believe most people would take Hitler’s bombastic buffoonery seriously. The wealthy also were blinded by Hitler’s grand vision for the country and their own selfish greed. Tyrants do not stand out except in socially approved ways – resolve, charisma, decisiveness, and ability to inspire others. Tyrants don’t promise tyranny. They promise law and order, better economic conditions and restoring the nation’s glory. Autocrats pit people against one another because it makes it easier to dominate and control them.
Once a psychopathic narcissist gains power, he distorts reality and truth and perverts morality. His propaganda includes lies, denials, obfuscations, and use of increasingly centralized and controlled media. He uses magical thinking and contempt for reason to create an absurdist reality. The process is gradual, but eventually violence is used against persistent objectors, and freedom of speech, the press, and assembly are suppressed. People have a propensity to submit to inhumane rules established by a pathological authority. Many so-called normal people follow the orders of an authority because it absolves them of responsibility. A tyrant expects loyalty from a majority of society, and he eliminates those who oppose him.