Trump’s Tower of Vulnerability – Part 1
Donald Trump’s overt objectives in life are highly transparent. His copious public record quickly reveals three, and only three, life objectives:
- financial wealth
- social status
There does not appear to be any consistent prioritization among these objectives, because any of them may be triggered by more basic unconscious needs in different circumstances. The fact that no single overt purpose drives Donald Trump is a signal to profilers that his true motivations are unconscious and inaccessible to his conscious mind.
In terms of his perception of self and his expectations of others, Trump has left a very consistent record. He sees himself as a “winner” and as a brilliant intuitive thinker. He expects others to show him deference and loyalty. Anyone who fails to do so is branded a “loser,” which then provides Trump with the personal permission he needs to subject that person to an unrelenting stream of ad hominem attacks, insults, and public verbal abuse. Trump’s twitter insults are legendary. What profilers see in Trump’s tweets are three things: first, how mean and dehumanizing they are, second, how unprovoked they often are, and third, how widespread they range in terms of targets. Trump has attacked anyone and everyone, he is an equal opportunity insulter. Although Trump sees his Twitter insults as an offensive weapon, these unusual characteristics will indicate to profilers that something more defensive and unconscious is going on.
It is well known that Trump had a history of physical violence as a child, which apparently led to his banishment to a military academy at age 13, but his pattern as an adult has been, for the most part, to limit himself to verbal violence (his interactions with women may be an exception). In justifying this pattern of behavior, he regularly claims he “had no choice” but to attack. In Trump’s conscious mind, he lives in a zero-sum world in which all are pitted against all, and winning can only occur if someone else is losing. In such a world, any challenge to Trump’s own dominance constitutes an existential threat that must be met with merciless counter force. Consciously, he takes great pride in his ability to insult and demean, often bragging about how he has defeated an enemy through verbal abuse. This behavioral pattern was on full display during the primary and general election campaigns, as “low-energy Jeb,” “lyin’ Ted,” “little Marco,” and of course “crooked Hillary” can attest.
Trump’s claim to be a brilliant intuitive thinker allows him to see himself as intellectually superior without having to put in the work that thinking normally requires. An “intuitive” thinker does not need to read, study, or learn the depths and intricacies of issues or problems. Being an intuitive thinker and decision maker also conveniently puts the onus for failure on others, while maintaining the intuitive thinker’s self-perception of intellectual superiority. If something goes wrong, it is not because the wrong decision was made, but rather because others have failed to provide the right information to the decision maker. As long as others are held responsible for the mundane drudge work of “thinking,” the self-proclaimed intuitive thinker can always be right and thus, circularly, always maintain a self-image of brilliance and infallibility.
Donald Trump’s conscious need to be right, and to claim that he has always been right on any topic, is well-documented in the public record. His need to remind people of his unique powers of prediction is so strong that he often will persist in claiming infallibility even when indisputable facts contradict his claim. Trump’s insistence that he opposed the Iraq War from the beginning is the best known case in point. What is significant to the psychological profiler is not so much this particular claim of predictive infallibility itself, but the ferocity with which it was maintained, and is still maintained, despite the fact that it was obviously untrue.