Writing for Alternet, a San Francisco psychologist has decided to override the conventional wisdom of the “Goldwater rule” in order to psychoanalyze President Donald Trump in hopes of better understanding how and why he operates the way he does.
Michael Bader, a mental health professional and expert in pop culture analysis, wrote that he chose to pen an editorial about Trump’s mental and emotional state because he believes “media analyses have been too superficial and that understanding Trump more deeply can help us decipher actions and attitudes that might otherwise seem bewildering.”
Like Yale psychiatrist Dr. Brandy Lee, whose conference on the president’s mental health was referenced in the editorial, Bader also expressed a belief that analysis of Trump’s mental well-being is important given the calamitous nature of his short presidency.
According to Bader, Trump suffers from three overarching fears that lead to his self-aggrandizing and defensive behavior.
“I would argue that the emotions he dreads the most are inferiority, helplessness and shame,” Bader wrote. “This triad lies at the heart of what makes Trump crazy.”
These fears, Bader argued, manifest in a number of very public ways: his apparent misogyny (as exemplified by his disgust towards women like Hillary Clinton and Megyn Kelly) stems from feelings of shame, which he responds to with outward expressions of disgust.
“For someone plagued with feelings of helplessness, shame and inferiority, the danger of exposure is ever-present,” the therapist wrote. The president fears being “found out to be dirty and bad, unworthy and defective, instead of deserving and greatly valued.”
Trump is “consumed” by his fear of being “found out,” and that fear, according to Bader, lies at the heart of his combative relationship to the press and the intelligence community.
“His paranoia reflects his constant worry about the critical judgment of others, a worry that in his heart, Trump secretly fears is justified,” Bader wrote. “As a result, he is angrily fixated on being “found out” by investigative reporters or exposed from within by ‘leakers.'”
Rather than attempting the foolhardy task of offering predictions for Trump’s unpredictable presidency, Bader concluded by saying that a better understanding of the president’s mental health could allow for a more level-headed response from the press and other observers.
“Knowing what makes Trump tick doesn’t allow us to make specific predictions about his likely political positions, but it should make his chaotic and sociopathic maneuvering around the Russia investigation seem quite understandable,” he wrote.
Read Bader’s entire editorial look into the fears that dominate President Trump via Alternet.