What do you get when an Upper Lesser Type B Narcissist collides with an Upper Mid Range Narcissist on television?
A bitter and chaotic 2020 US Presidential “debate”.
The fact is that many politicians and most political leaders are narcissists. It is a circular environment. To survive the political environment the skill set and mentality of the narcissist is the most effective. This then draws more and more politicians to that world which means in order to survive it, you are best off being a narcissist and on it goes. Not every leader is a narcissist and there are some notable exceptions (who they are and which ones are narcissists can be found in these links along with famous examples from other fields and genres, dive in, you will find confirmation and surprise – The Naughty Forty,
Last night, two political narcissists faced off. The incumbent, President Donald Trump who is an Upper Lesser Type B engaged in a televised metaphorical food fight with presidential candidate Joe Biden who is an Upper Mid Range narcissist. If you are unfamiliar with my categorisations of the different schools of narcissists then you can learn more about them here . However, I will give you a brief overview of the differing nature of these two individuals who are both narcissists.
President Trump does not know that he is a narcissist. He has no awareness at all. He is self-entitled, has an unwavering conviction that he is always right and anybody or anything else that challenges his perception of being right is, well wrong (“Fake news!”). He is not subtle at all. He is bold, brash, bullying and a braggart. Such traits serve him well in certain situations and create significant problems in others. He has no emotional empathy. He is right, if you do not agree you are wrong and your views count for nothing. He is right and if you disagree you will be ignored, shouted over or removed from your position. He is right and his narcissism rewrites history, conveniently ignores anything to the contrary and creates in him his wrecking ball mentality. He is arrogant, superior, utterly convinced of his effectiveness (“I am the expert”) and he does not hide his behaviour behind a facade. He will suggest grabbing your pussy or that she be locked up and if you do not like it, well too bad, because he is right and you are wrong, so hit the road Jack! He knows he is going to solve everything and if you suggest he cannot, you are wrong and if you say it has not been solved, well, you do not know what you are talking about because you belong to the fake news media. Anything which challenges him is written off as incorrect, slanderous, invented and not worthy of a second glance. He steamrolls through everything and his black and white thinking, shared by all narcissists, is so apparent through his vocabulary of somethings being “great, great, really great” or “awful, horrible, really bad.” You are either with him or you are against him. Trump is belligerent and he does not care, he is of the view that he will upset some people but that is their problem. He knows that some people need to be told they are wrong and his style is direct and bombastic but he regards it as effective. He subscribes to the position of you cannot make an omelette without breaking some eggs.
Presidential candidate Joe Biden does not know that he is a narcissist. He has no awareness at all. He is self-entitled, has an unwavering conviction he is always right, he is arrogant and can be haughty. He does operate a facade whereby his narcissism behaves whereby it has cultivated, on his behalf, an appearance of being decent, caring someone who is fighting “for the soul of the United States”. Whereas Trump is brash and in your face, Biden is more measured but that does not mean you will not see that fury from time to time. He will snap and he will lash out, but that aspect to his narcissism will not appear anywhere near as often as Trump´s haughtiness owing to the operation of the facade. Biden is of a greater level of intelligence which is part of the reason why he is classified as Upper Mid Range. Whereas Trump is direct and to the point, Biden´s Mid Range classification means he is prone to long-windedness, self-indulgent monologues based on his perception of self-importance. He has no emotional empathy, he does have cognitive empathy so he is able to give the impression that he cares, but it is artificial. It is a means of asserting control and achieving The Prime Aims . He has at times demonstrated a degree of polish, he is not polished in his performances but can exhibit a degree of polish, part of being the Upper Mid Range Narcissist. Biden is prone to showing entitlement and a lack of awareness through his remarks but retains the Mid-Range belief that he did not mean to offend. He is able to understand why people may get upset by the things that he says and does (whereas Trump does not and more importantly he does not care because he knows he is right), but he did not intend for that to happen but the fact is he still made a haughty observation or a self-entitled observation without any emotional empathy for its impact. He is blinded to the offence caused, some of the time, but can understand it after the event but only does so as part of false contrition in order to maintain control. There is more passive aggressive behaviour about Biden, but as an Upper Mid-Range Narcissist you will see flashes of rage and haughtiness based on self-perceived notions of superiority commensurate with the mindset of the narcissist.
This article is not here to discuss the comparative rights or wrongs of President Trump or Joe Biden, you can make your own minds up about that. Instead, this article provides you with insight into explaining for you why the behaviours you witnessed, if you watched the debate or read about it , happened as they did. I do this because nobody else in the media is explaining this for you. People may be unimpressed by the performance of the two individuals, they may criticise the lack of statesman like behaviour, they may question the lack of serious policy debate or they may feel the exchange made a mockery of a serious political matter, but what the majority of people do not realise is this – you were watching what happens when two narcissists collide.
You may think this debate was about who becomes POTUS. You may think that this was a show down between two politicians each trying to persuade the swing voters to vote for them. You may think that this was an exercise in demonstrating ability or fitness for office. Those things and more besides are what you are given to understand is happening. Indeed, it is what these unaware narcissists also believe they were doing, but it was not.
These two narcissists were seeking to achieve The Prime Aims and chief amongst those Prime Aims what Trump and Biden were seeking (but they did not know this because it is happening in their unconscious) is that they are seeking fuel (basically the emotional response of others) and control.
They want to assert control over each other, the audience in the studio, the audience watching on television, the audience that will watch repeats or extracts on the news, the audience that will write about the debate, the journalists, the bloggers, the people discussing it over coffee, by the water cooler, the radio host analysing it on the drive programme. Trump and Biden wanted that control because that is what their narcissism wants and must have; control and fuel.
The reason there was such a collision is because Trump must control Biden and Biden must control Trump. When Biden is criticising Trump´s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic he is threatening Trump´s control. When this happens, Trump´s narcissism will not stand idly by, it must do something, so it causes Trump to respond by interrupting Biden as he seeks to assert control over Biden. If Trump was a Mid Range or Greater Narcissist he would have interrupted far less, indeed, possibly not at all and instead showed apparent good grace and manners by allowing Biden to speak and then he would have responded to the threat to his control by providing an answer which would seek to assert control over Biden by rejecting his attempt to control Trump. The response might be a polished one, made in an articulate manner referencing statistics or perhaps recalling some error on the part of Biden to demonstrate hypocrisy (hypocrisy being prevalent amongst narcissists). However, Trump is an Upper Lesser Type B – a belligerent bruiser. So he has not time for letting the other person speak, he does not do polish, he goes for the jugular and is the pugilist that his narcissism makes him.
Such debates can be heated and impassioned. Some debates are where the relevant narcissist maintains an iron-rod of control, responding with glacial coolness, deftly scoring political points, using intellect and experience to preserve their facade whilst asserting control over their opponent. Deferential responses, supposedly respectful replies all done from within the facade but still seeking to assert control. Such performances come across to the unwitting viewer as professional, polished and statesmanlike. Where the responses are measured but passionate, the viewer sees a person committed to the cause, a believer in the principles of their political persuasions, but even so that individual, where he or she is a narcissist, is still seeking to assert control.
Given the two schools of narcissist that Trump and Biden are, the debate became chaotic and fractured. This is no surprise. Every time Trump sought to assert control over Biden, Biden´s narcissism caused him to respond by rejecting that attempt by asserting his own attempt over Trump. Biden´s response thus threatened Trump´s sense of control and thus he has to reject it. What you witnessed was a tennis match of manipulation and counter manipulation all in the name of control and fuel. Furthermore, their narcissism was fighting to assert control over one another AND at the same time was seeking to assert it over those asking the questions, those listening and watching. You believe the political stakes are very high – the control stakes were even higher.
What were some of the key moments from the debate and what was really going on?
- Both candidates talked over one another. This was naturally each candidate trying to assert control over the other, failing to exhibit emotional empathy (since they have none) by showing patience and excellent listening skills, having no boundary recognition and acting out of self-entitlement. All hallmarks of narcissists.
- President Trump interrupted Joe Biden 73 times. Trump will not respect the boundary of Biden´s observations, he has no truck with politely waiting his turn, his narcissism demands immediate action and interrupting someone, despite it being ill-mannered and impolite does not matter. In Trump´s world Biden needed to be interrupted because Biden was wrong and was talking nonsense. What was actually happening was that Trump needed to interrupt Biden to assert control over him.
- President Trump repeatedly hectored Biden when the two discussed healthcare. Again, Trump´s need for control means he can talk when he talks (entitlement), he does not recognise the boundary of remaining silent to allow his opponent to speak, his lack of emotional empathy manifests in being rude and haranguing.
- In response to this threat to control, Biden´s facade repeatedly fractured because of the level of sustained threat to the control. Ordinarily, the narcissism seeks to preserve the facade AND assert control, so a narcissist will not slap his wife at the dinner party, he will whisper a threat to her only she can hear to bring her under control whilst smiling at the rest of the table and preserving the facade. However, when there is a clash between control and the facade, control must win and thus the facade will be repeatedly fractured as was the case with Biden, hence his retort of calling Trump a “clown” (Verbal Insult). Hardly empathic respectful behaviour by calling POTUS a clown and evidence of his haughtiness driven by his narcissistic need for control.
- When Biden was asked about expanding the number of Supreme Court judges, this challenged his control. In this instance, his narcissism selected Deflection and Silent Treatment as he refused to give an answer. This response was caused by his narcissism wanting to get control back.
- Biden´s facade was fractured again under Trumps´repeated interruptions and hectoring which affected his control as he lashed out with “Will you shut up, man?” Hardly the behaviour of a political statesman and demonstrates how even the facade of an Upper Mid-Range Narcissist can give way under sustained threats to control. He followed up with “Keep yapping man.” (Contempt and Verbal Insult)
- Trump resorted to Verbal Insult himself when responding to these threats to his control by goading Biden by describing Biden as having achieved nothing in 47 years of politics. A haughty and dismissive retort, sweeping away a lifetime of political involvement, but Trump does not care, his narcissism needed control and it was going after it in a direct fashion.
- Trump´s control was threatened when he was asked if he was going to denounce the far-right group Proud Boys. Trump was not going to do so because such denouncing would have conceded control to the questioner and conceded control within the electorate at large Instead, his narcissism opted for him answering with “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by, but I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left.” (Flattery and Deflection) He rejected the threat to his control by the question and asserted control over the Proud Boys with his remark, his narcissism was not going to let him lose control over part of his likely supporters.
- Trump was asked if he would encourage his supporters to be peaceful if results of the election were unclear. “I’m encouraging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully,” he responded. This question threatened his control by suggesting that POTUS was someone who would support potentially unlawful action to reject an unclear election outcome. Trump dealt with it through another deflecting answer and then asserting control over his supporters by issuing an instruction to them, denoting his grandiosity in maintaining that his supporters will follow his instructions.
- When Trump said Biden would be at the behest of the left of the Democratic Party over health and environmental policy, this was again an assertion of control over Biden and a threat to his control. Mr Biden responded: “I am the Democratic Party right now”. This is an excellent example of the arrogant grandiosity of an Upper Mid Range Narcissist and evidences the narcissist dynamic of seeing others as an extension of himself. Biden regards himself as the Democratic Party and his response was an assertion of control through superiority and a rejection of Trump´s challenge.
- Trump waded in with another Provocation through Insult by getting personal. He brought up the past drug use of Biden’s son, Hunter, who was discharged from the navy in 2014 for taking cocaine. This challenge to control again rattled the facade of Mr Biden causing him to shout over Trump, (Entitlement) Biden said: “My son, like a lot of people, like a lot of people you know at home, had a drug problem. He’s overtaken it. He’s fixed it.”
- Biden said Trump had “panicked” over the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 200,000 Americans.”A lot of people died and a lot more are going to die unless he gets a lot smarter, a lot quicker,” Biden said (Provocation, Insult). Trump objected to Biden using the word “smart.” Trump fought back against that threat to his control with “You graduated either the lowest or almost the lowest in your class,” the president said. “Don’t ever use the word smart with me. Don’t ever use that word.” (Insult, Threat).
This bickering and haranguing went back and forth and meant that any substantive discussion was largely lost. Reaction around the world to the debate generally summed it up as an unedifying experience which portrayed American politics in a poor light with the repeated mud-slinging, interruptions, heckling and insults.
What none of the media outlets did was explain why it panned out as it did. The debate was this way because two narcissists fought repeatedly to assert control and to reject threats to their control alongside gathering fuel. They chiefly behaved in this manner towards one another but also with regard to the wider audience. Understand that this is what is driving their behaviours and it provided you with an excellent example of what happens when two narcissists of their schools collide. Digest it and understand it, because you will be getting more of this in the weeks ahead.
Please share this article to allow people to understand what is at the heart of the Presidential election and to allow people to gain understanding of narcissism as a whole