We teach our children not to lie, because the likelihood that they will not be believed when they’re actually being truthful increases exponentially with each lie they tell. We proclaim that honesty is a virtue and expect our elected officials to tell us “the whole truth and nothing but the truth” whenever they speak on the public record. We deem perjury a punishable crime even for unelected everyday citizens, because lying without compunction has generally come to be accepted as a betrayal of societal norms and the public trust.
But what happens when a man whose whole existence is predicated on habitually lying to himself and others becomes our president? What happens when for 71 years his entire sense of self-worth and emotional stability has been rooted in his imaginary competence, popularity, and perfection, even in the face of mounting objective evidence to the contrary? If the flagrant patronization and ego stroking on display at
Trump’s first cabinet meeting are any indication, the most likely occurrence will be his Republican enablers’ persistence in fertilizing the soil from which his grandiose delusions grow.
Much like the embattled family and friends of the average narcissist often do, the “yes” people in Trump’s inner circle have necessarily learned the delicate art of temporarily diffusing his rage by echoing the self-serving lies he’s always told the man in his mirror.
Following a week in which his chronic, pre-existing narcissistic injury was exacerbated by record disapproval ratings and fallout from former FBI Director James Comey’s damaging testimony, his closest confidants met for an intervention to feed him the hyperbolic praise his narcissistic supply so desperately needed. As anyone who’s ever conducted group psychotherapy can attest, their collective efforts to placate a megalomaniac on constant verge of a meltdown were all too familiar.