Trump is a ‘textbook example of a shame-driven personality’: Mental health expert
Donald Trump crosses arms when asked about Robert Mueller investigation (Photo: Screen capture)

Dr. James Gilligan spoke with Bill Press in part three of Press' series on the dangers of President Donald Trump. Dr. Gilligan, who served on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, has become an expert after working with some of the most frightening people in our culture.


"I've spent 50 years working with most dangerous people our society produces," said Dr. Gilligan. "Murderers, multiple murderers, serial murderers, serial rapists, you name it. What I discovered in all of them is that they're enormously all hypersensitive to feelings of shame and humiliation. When I ask them why they killed somebody they say, 'Because they disrespected me' or 'He laughed at me.' Trump would be a textbook example of what I call a shame-driven personality. I could put him in a textbook!"

He recalled the speech Trump gave to governors saying that they'd look like "a bunch of jerks unless they stopped being too careful with the people protesting." Trump also attacked Minnesota, saying that they all look like "fools." These are examples of what Trump finds to be the biggest afront to anyone and something he personally can't handle. The reality is that Trump is fearful that he will become a "laughing stock" or a "fool."

"Because he's hyper-sensitive to those themes, he hands them off to other people," said Dr. Gilligan. "The way the people who feel inferior or inadequate deal with that, in my experience, is by trying to put it onto other people. Trump specializes in thinking up insulting nicknames to ridicule anybody who criticizes him. This is his way of making sure they won't ridicule him. He's sometimes misunderstood as being shameless. In fact, there's never been a more shame-dominated president in our history."

He noted that the reason Trump is generally seen as "shameless" is because he's not ashamed of things that most normal people would be mortified of. That's similar to what the criminals Gilligan has researched also tend to do.

The infamous moment when former President Barack Obama mocked Trump for his conspiracy theory about his birth certificate, some have speculated, was a guiding moment for Trump, who was publicly humiliated in a way he couldn't handle.

“That evening of public abasement, rather than sending Mr. Trump away, accelerated his ferocious efforts to gain stature in the political world,” wrote the New York Times.

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