In July of 2015 I said that Donald Trump was not a sociopath
because he was so artless with his lies. (Smart sociopaths tend to make good liars, not lousy ones.) Two days ago I used pretty much the same logic to say the same thing again
In response, commenter Alter Ego replied:
"Even when it was apparent that his inaugural crowd wasn't larger than Obama's, Trump had to insist that it was. . . . And in a roundabout way, it shows he's not a sociopath."
So Trump tells an easily refutable lie about the size of his inauguration crowd (not to mention the bit about 3M people voting illegally) and that's proof that he's NOT a sociopath?? You lost me there, John.
Good question. What I'm referring to is the STYLE of his lies; they're more childlike, more pathetic in a way. It's almost as if he's an Aspie. I've known people with Aspergers who will lie in the most transparent way, insisting on something being true (or untrue) when it's not, and the feeling you get from them is that they think if they say it, it will be so. I've known two different Aspies who would say something, and then a minute later deny having said it. It's pathetic, and they're fooling no one, but they do it anyway. That seems to be Trump's style of lying. He's INCAPABLE of admitting that he's not the best at something, just the way he's INCAPABLE of not responding when someone insults him, no matter how much it makes him look as if he's punching down (against a Kizr Khan, or an Alicia Machado, or an Alec Baldwin, for example). A sociopath would be much more slyly manipulative, much more aware of how to polish his public image, much better at appearing "noble" and "gracious" while sticking the knife in.
The Aspies I know who've lied like that are definitely not sociopaths; for the most part, they're straightforward and honest. And when they lie, they're more pathetic than scary. Trump's lies are more the former; it comes across more as if he thinks that if he says it, it's true.
Having said this, I don't think Trump is an Aspie, either. And I have to admit, I've said in the past that the second surest sign of sociopathy is pathological lying (the first is serial killing).
And Trump does seem to stretch the truth on a regular basis; this article
provides one good example.
So, I have to ask myself, am I giving Trump the benefit of the doubt just because I agree with his platform? Was I so overjoyed to see him defeat Hillary that I refuse to see the bad in him?
I don't think
I am. I certainly haven't been averse to making fun of him. I compared him to Goldfinger here
, put him in a competition with el Chapo here
, have pointed out that he has ADHD
, and in yesterday's post I basically called him a fatso.
But if I were to claim to be without bias, that would just prove what a fool I am, as we all have biases. And to not strongly consider the possibility that a billionaire who becomes President might not be a sociopath would be the height of naivete.
But let's take a closer look. Last month I posted a fairly extensive list
of the flags which tend to indicate sociopathy. Look through them again, I see a few traits which Trump can be said to have:
He doesn't get nervous or flustered, as shown by his performance in the various debates last year.
His lying could be a sign, as mentioned above.
Another red flag I listed was that they "often think they are fooling people when they are not. If someone tells you an obvious lie, and acts as if he expects you to believe him, beware." Trump does act as if he expects people to believe him when he lies.
And there's another red flag which Trump may or may not wave: to respond with "uninhibited viciousness when it comes to those who anger them." It's true that Trump never lets an insult go unavenged (with a return insult); but, he generally leaves it at that. (Sociopaths usually escalate.)
There are also many signs that Trump is not a sociopath. He speaks well of his parents. He has good relationships with his kids, all of whom seem to have turned out well, not a drug addict in the bunch. More impressive, he even has good relationships with his ex-wives, both of whom endorsed him for President. (Very, very few sociopaths have good relationships with their exes.)
And while the NY Times turned up a few people from The Apprentice
who said that Trump had commented on various women's sexual appeal, the vast majority of his former employees seem to like him. (And if commenting on a woman's appearance is a sign of sociopathy, then the incidence of sociopathy is far, far higher than 3% of the population.)
Trump is given to spontaneous acts of generosity, as documented here
. More tellingly, he didn't seem to do them for the positive publicity they might have generated. (Contrast this to the typical rich sociopath whose every gift is well advertised.) And while he stretches the truth about things like the height of his apartment buildings or the number of people who attended his inauguration, he doesn't seem to make up lies out of whole cloth.
And, he never exhibits the emotional falsity that characterizes so many sociopaths.
Another thing to keep in mind is that just because the media accuses him of lying, that doesn't mean that he's actually lying. Often the MSM simply wants to cover up the truth. When Trump said that Mexico is not sending us their best, it may not have been diplomatic, but it's true. And when he said that Europe is a "mess" because of all the unwanted immigrants, again, it may not be a pretty sentiment, but it's true. When he said that there was probably a lot of voter fraud in this past election, the MSM immediately responded by saying that those suspicions had been "debunked." But how could they possibly have been debunked without a full investigation?
So, in fact, Trump lies far less often than you'd think from just reading the New York Times and its ilk. And bear in mind, being blunt is in fact the opposite of being dishonest.
A lot of people -- even a few who are regular commenters on this blog -- seem to be getting the impression that Trump is a sociopath from the MSM, which on a daily basis does its utmost to paint a picture of him as Adolf, Jr. And even when you realize how slanted the MSM is, sometimes it's hard not to be influenced by their constant onslaught.
Okay, so where does the lying come from? I don't think Trump's an Aspie, and I don't think he's a sociopath. The best explanation I can come up with is that it's an outgrowth of his narcissism, possibly spurred on by a strong sense of insecurity. In the same way that most narcissists can't own up to a mistake, Trump can't admit that he's not the best at everything, which, in his mind, would be admitting that he's wrong.
Look at old clips of him talking about his various real estate projects. Everything is "the best," "world class," "first rate," and so on. To him, anything less would be shameful, and that's something he has a hard time dealing with. He's also obsessed with winning, and to admit a loss would also be tantamount to admitting that he's wrong, as well.
So, we're left with half-truths and exaggerations.
Remember, Trump doesn't engage in sport lying (lying for the pleasure of fooling people). And when he tars his opponents, he sticks to the truth, even if that's somewhat subjective, and even if he does hit below the belt at times. It's only when people question him: the height of his buildings, or the number of people who showed up for his inauguration, that he is prone to exaggeration.
A sociopath never goes out of character. He may pretend to be something he's not, but the pretense never lasts long, and in any case doesn't stands up to close examination. If Trump is a sociopath, he's spending most of his time out of character. And that just doesn't square with sociopathy.
Anyway, for now, I'm going to say Trump is a very narcissistic personality, but not a sociopath. It's possible I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure I'm right.