NARCISSISTS: DECODED

by Leah McElrath (@leahmcelrath)

"I've suffered a severe narcissistic injury so now I'm targeting you for
annihilation."

In case you thought the word "annihilation" used above was an exaggeration in re Trump's response:

Trump's statement is an eerie replica of psychological manipulations made by abusers after episodes
of abuse. Let's break it down.
There are three stages in a relationship with a narcissist:
1. Seduction (or Idealization)
2. Devaluation
3. Discard
Donald Trump has entered the Discard phase of his relationship with the GOP. During the Discard
phase, the Narcissist attempts to destroy/annihilate the other entity within the relationship.
Narcissists are not satisfied with simply leaving a relationship. They are compelled to destroy everything
in their path on the way out. We are seeing this played out at a meta level with Trump and the GOP

now. Following in the typical Narcissist Handbook pattern, Trump is now engaging in a campaign of
slander and attack against his "ex": the GOP.
Additionally, we can anticipate Trump will eventually target individual Republicans by name. Trump will
select who he targets individually within the GOP based on three factors:
1. Did the person slight Trump publicly or did he *perceive* them to have done so? (Many fit this
description.)
2. Did or does Trump ENVY that person for some reason? For ex: do they have a position or
attributes he wished he had? (Fewer meet this. This can include the obvious like wealth or true
alpha male status but also ephemeral things like integrity or empathy, which he lacks. This ENVY
is a CORE aspect of his character pathology and why diverse people like President Obama, Mark
Cuban, Senator Warren & Khizr Khan get under his skin.)
3. Was Trump close (or did he *perceive* himself to be close) to the person he now perceives to
have abandoned him? (Greater closeness = greater rage in response to perceived narcissistic
injuries or perceived/actual abandonment.) For the individual GOPers who meet any/all of the
above criteria, Trump will likely engage in a campaign of public and private slander.
What will the slander look like? We've seen hints of it in the campaign already: he will project his
weaknesses onto others. Directly. (MANY people use projection as a psychological defense under
stress, but you rarely see projections as pure & unfiltered as you do with Narcs.) If he continues to
follow Narcissist Handbook, Trump is likely to cast aspersions on the mental health of his targets and
call them "crazy." (I want to be clear here: there is NO actual "Narcissist Handbook." Their behaviors
are, however, amazingly similar & often predictable.
In addition to engaging in campaigns of slander, Trump will likely continue gaslighting as part of his
efforts to destroy his targets. "Gaslighting" is a form of psychological torture in which a perpetrator
overtly denies the reality of their victim. We have seen A LOT of gaslighting in this campaign. Picture
Pence shaking his head and verbal denial when Kaine *quoted* Trump's own words. The GOP as a
whole also has engaged and continues to engage in gaslighting of the entire electorate. For example,
by acting shocked by Trump's misogyny, the GOP is gaslighting American women even now. The GOP
has ALWAYS KNOWN (and not cared). Gaslighting works as torture because it makes targets doubt
themselves: their memory, their perception, their judgement, their very reality. Gaslighting is one of the
most damaging forms of abuse because it engages the victim as a self-tormenter on the perpetrator's
behalf. Another (usually early & lasting) effect of gaslighting is the creation of a sense of
confusion/mental fog within the mind of the target.
If you follow a lot of journalists (or are one), how this manifested with Trump was the "nothing matters!"
exclamations by reporters early on.
Let me explain my use of the word "annihilation" in this thread. It's important. I'm not talking about
merely damaging or injuring. Malignant Narcissists often have well-developed personas that enable
them to function in the world. A persona is NOT the same as a personality. A persona is thinner. It's like
a wrapper without the candy inside.
All people have many personas. Most healthy people have personas that, while circumstance based,
are fairly well-integrated. So, while we're one way at home with our partner, another with our children,
another with colleagues, we also have a core. We have slightly different, adaptable wrappers, but the
candy inside (our core personality) always remains the same. That's healthy.

With malignant Narcissists, on the other hand, it's all wrapper and no candy. There is virtually no core
self. (I'm coming back to annihilation and politics shortly, I promise. Stay with me. The tangents inform
the whole.) The lack of a core self is a helpful thing for a person like Trump: They can change personas
at will, quickly and easily.
The lack of a core self also means the absence of core values. Again, this is functional for people like
Trump: it makes lying easy. (Most of us, when we lie, experience conflict at some level. Without core
values, there is no conflict. Hence profligate lying with ease.) However, there's a drawback to having
ONLY personas & no core personality: one is equipped with only the most primitive psychological
defenses. The MOST primitive defense is something called "annihilatory rage." Picture a newborn infant
SCREAMING when its needs are not met. Annihilatory rage is "NO!" at its most primal form. We ALL
have it within us. But people like Trump have little else. Annihilatory rage is NOT anger. It is the desire
for "the other" to cease to exist or to *ever* have existed.
In healthy adults, such rage is felt only in response to real threats to survival. For ex: it might enable us
to kill to protect our child. In people like Trump, who have only the thinnest of wrappers containing such
rage, it might be triggered by... a bad hair transplant.
This is Trump's ex-wife Ivana under oath describing Donald attacking her while in such a rage. (TRIGGER
WARNING)
The book, by former Texas Monthly and Newsweek reporter Harry Hurt III, described a
harrowing scene. After a painful scalp reduction surgery to remove a bald spot, Donald
Trump confronted his then-wife, who had previously used the same plastic surgeon.
“Your fucking doctor has ruined me!” Trump cried.
What followed was a “violent assault,” according to Lost Tycoon. Donald held back Ivana’s
arms and began to pull out fistfuls of hair from her scalp, as if to mirror the pain he felt from
his own operation. He tore off her clothes and unzipped his pants.
“Then he jams his penis inside her for the first time in more than sixteen months. Ivana is
terrified… It is a violent assault,” Hurt writes. “According to versions she repeats to some of
her closest confidantes, ‘he raped me.’”
Following the incident, Ivana ran upstairs, hid behind a locked door, and remained there
“crying for the rest of night.” When she returned to the master bedroom in the morning, he
was there.
“As she looks in horror at the ripped-out hair scattered all over the bed, he glares at her and
asks with menacing casualness: ‘Does it hurt?’” Hurt writes.
(http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/07/27/ex-wife-donald-trump-made-feel-violated-during-sex.html)

Imagine the danger of having a person with thinly contained annihilatory rage in charge of the
most powerful military in the world.
Imagine the danger of having a person with thinly contained annihilatory rage in charge of... nuclear
weapons.