I was having a doppio on a recent sunny afternoon last week, and watched President Obama on television speaking about the sequester. He reminded our nation that the sequester would cause our nation great pain. Some of the supposed pain has been manufactured, including canceling all public tours of the White House, and the release of five thousand detained illegal immigrants. I suppose that we can expect much more manufactured pain to come. As a Bible-believing Christian and conservative who holds deep respect for our nation’s founders and the Constitution, I have always had a profound sense that when President Obama speaks, he lives in an alternate reality from mine. As we enter into the fifth year of his presidency, I can predict with 100% confidence that what I would say or do in near any political or economic situation is diametrically opposed to what the President will say or do. As I contemplated this, I was astounded at how truly predictable this man is.
I have often wondered whether he might just have a narcissistic personality disorder (“NPD”). This is what our parents’ generation referred to as megalomania, but NPD is a far milder and more benign diagnostic term, though it means the same thing. Although the President has admitted to extensive drug abuse, he has not released any documents regarding his medical or psychological history, except for a one-page doctor’s note in 2008. The new DSM-V, due to be published in May 2013, eliminates NPD as a personality disorder, but the condition has unfortunately not disappeared from our society. It is estimated that approximately one percent of the population has this type of disorder. As one can imagine, the elimination of NPD from the DSM-V has caused a great deal of concern among mental health professionals. Nevertheless, the symptoms of NPD, as defined by the DSM-IV-R, include some of the following typical characteristics:
Believes he is “special” and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions
Imagining unrealistic fantasies of unlimited success, power, and intelligence
Exaggerating one’s own importance, achievements, and talents, and expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements
Requiring excessive admiration, constant attention, and positive reinforcement from others
Has a strong sense of entitlement
Shows arrogant, haughty, patronizing, or contemptuous behavior and attitudes towards others
Is often envious of others
Selfishly takes advantage of others to achieve his ends
Reacts to any criticism with anger
Lacks empathy and disregards the feelings of others
Has trouble keeping healthy relationships
Becomes easily hurt
Wants the best of everything for himself
Although the causes of NPD are deemed to be unknown, some factors have been identified as possible underlying causes with most factors arising during childhood. These include:
Excessive admiration that is never balanced with realistic feedback
Excessive praise for good behaviors or excessive criticism for bad behavior during childhood
Overindulgence by parents, and/or other family members
Being praised for perceived exceptional abilities by adults
Unpredictable or unreliable care-giving by parents
Of course, we can posit that parental nurture is fundamental to the development of a healthy personality. When a person grows up with such childhood experiences, it makes it more difficult to form a healthy attachment to one’s parents. This results in a child’s perception as being unimportant to them. Thus, to compensate for a self-perceived personality defect that makes the child feel unwanted and unloved, they typically become self-absorbed, controlling, intolerant of others’ views, and blind to the effect of their behavior on others.
Even moderate NPD impairment results in the following behavior and attitudes: (a) missing days from work and household duties, (b) significant performance problems on the job, (c) frequently avoiding or alienating friends and professional colleagues, (d) significant risk of harming others by neglecting family, abusing others, ignoring laws, and committing criminal acts.
The Apostle John, writing in I John 1:4, commends us as follows, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world..” Thus, it is appropriate for us to consider what we see in the world around us. But am I the only one who is thinking that the President may have a serious problem?