As always, let’s start with the golden rule of narcissism:
Narcs care only about avoiding shame and soliciting adoration.
There is nothing more inside them.
There is no deeper capacity for thought or decision-making.
They are primal, caveman-like self-dealers wired to serve only those two needs.
At all times.
Being forced to face unavoidable public shame is like being boiled alive to someone with Trump’s wiring. It is worse than death. Excruciating.
There is nothing a narcissist wouldn’t do to avoid that.
1) Insulate the people they wish to control from everyone else
2) Control the flow of information
3) Evict and villainize any critic or source of contradictory information
5) Insist they are actually heroically solving the problems they, in fact, caused all on their own
6) Demand they be adored for the heroic way they have led in crisis (which, again, they caused)
He is literally and truly incapable of running a different play at the line of scrimmage.
He has an adversarial relationship with information and expertise.
After all, his ignorance leads to him being embarrassed and per all the above, he is wired to fight that.
1) The situation is fluid
2) Experts must be in charge
3) The president must reduce themselves to being the chief advocate for direction set by experts
4) Their best role is as a Comforter in Chief
He is quite literally a simple machine constructed of only a few simple wires soldered together in a way that enables only one canned approach to every situation no matter how they differ.
He cannot defer to experts because that would be an acknowledgment that he isn’t one.
1) That would mean acknowledging a problem came to exist under his watch which he cannot heroically fix
2) He exists solely to serve two primal impulses (shame-avoidance & seeking adoration) and frankly cannot even understand, let alone care about, the feelings or needs of others.
In fact, others’ anxiety makes him angry because it, in and of itself, shames him.
Remember when Trump lashed out at the reporter last week who merely asked what he’d say to the worried?
Narcissists show themselves in full technicolor for brief moments.
People are always shocked by how very “off” the reaction was but can’t really process that it isn’t ‘behavior’. It’s wiring. It’s who they are.
1) A situation of his making
2) Which he cannot solve
3) Intense public scrutiny
4) Rival sources of information who he cannot silence
5) The reality it will get worse
It is so excruciating, they double-down on their worst impulses - even as they’re told it will actually make things far worse.
They live in only this very moment. This very second.
And he is absolutely commanded to do the worst possible things.
And that will absolutely make it worse.
1) Insist he has already “succeeded” in stemming the spread
2) Insist severe restrictions can be eased or lifted by next week
3) Silence people who contradict him inside the admin. e.g. Fauci
5) Insist on doing a victory lap of some kind to collect worship and adoration. A rally or trip or prime time appearance on Fox News. Something.
Within a week, he will be consumed with his grievances more than with even the growing problem of COVID-19 itself.
He will be forced by the escalating crisis to eventually succumb to the wisdom of experts.
But first, he will make all of this much worse.
It will be an attempt to avoid being seen as responsible for it to begin with.
It will make it worse. People will have told him that. He will do it anyway.
He is incapable of otherwise.
People always respond to the issue of Trump’s shame-avoidance by saying “He is incapable of feeling shame!”
That’s only half-true.
Trump does not feel shame for his actions. He is, however, shamed by others seeing him as shameful.