Trump’s Divided-Mind Pathology—A Simpler Diagnosis

Trump’s Divided-Mind Pathology—A Simpler Diagnosis

Donald Trump’s inconsistent, contradictory, and sometimes apparently lying behavior has been discussed by psychologists and other experts as either sociopathic or psychopathic, or both. The diagnoses are often technical and difficult to fully apply to his erratic and sometimes incoherent expressions of his thinking. There is a less complicated explanation, one that is based on long-recognized research. He is at war with himself.

That humans have a divided-brain, split-brain, double-brain, which sometimes results in internal conflict has been recognized for centuries. Recent research by Roger Sperry and older analyses by Carl Jung, Ian McGilchrist, Leonard Schlain, Jean Gebser and others (cited in G. Lachman, Secret Teachers of the Western World, 2015) is clear on this. How it relates to Donald Trump is easy to illustrate, because he reveals his “war with himself” so clearly when he “goes off script” at his rallies and speeches, as he cannot refrain from doing.

His pathology is obvious—he repeats himself, then changes the words, then addresses the issue differently, then goes on to another, sometimes irrelevant, topic, then becomes emotional and dismisses any pretense of logic or reasonable disagreement. He then may assert that “he alone” may have to deal with the issue. Other obvious symptoms are fear, anger, vengefulness, sensitivity to criticism, and NEVER apologizing for anything he has said or done. The media have developed list of “the last 10 things”(of many more) he has said or done that are contradictory of illogical or lies, but it changes almost daily.
Further evidence of this “divided-brain” syndrome is the need for a “minder” that is now being reported in the press He has already had at least three since the beginning of the campaign. None of them has yet succeeded in preventing “Trump from being Trump,” and the resulting confusion, conflict, and chaotic consequences have been obvious. Trump may sometimes defer to his minders, but not always.

But who will dare tell a President of the United States that he CAN’T do what half of his brain tells him he must?

The Clinton campaign has identified the obvious—Trump CANNOT and often will not even try to control himself. A 70-year-old man, he has succeeded in “having his way” more often than not, though he has rationalized most of his failures, and covered his tracks when he can. However, the continued scrutiny of the media (at first entranced by his antics), who have increasingly commented upon the worldwide fear that this man, without normal behavioral controls, might have access to a nuclear arsenal that would destroy civilization.
Unfortunately, the media are not the final deciders here. It is the American people. The “Goldwater” scare of a half-century ago was ended because American’s use of a nuclear weapon had been recent. Today, every child who has an iphone or video game can call up serious fire power to destroy their enemies. (And many Trump supporters appear to see the campaign as a “game” which they can win of they elect Trump—who will then destroy their “enemies,” that is, anyone who does not agree with them.
The symptoms of a “split brain” are clear—because of the media they actually are on exhibit every time Trump goes “off message,” by disobeying his “minders” and saying what is on (one part of) his mind at the time. Lack of ability to even make a decision and stick to it without continued conflict and vacillation–(immigration is the major example—to deport or not, be soft or hard, pass new laws or use existing ones, what kind of wall—etc.)–depends on which side of his brain has “control.”
But when he (neither of the halves of his brain) cannot agree, it often seems that he will listen to the last person who speaks to him before he goes public with his latest “policy.” (These are always subject to change and with limited expiration time—usually when he tweets, or gets angry or vindictive about something personal someone as said.)
We repeat: Trump may now sometimes defer to his minders, but not always. But who will dare tell a President of the United States that he CAN’T do what half of his brain tells him he must?


John H. Langer, JD, Ed.D. Retired Federal agency manger, former professor of education, public school administrator, and writer of a number of articles and publications on education, public affairs, substance abuse and social issues. In writing a book on attention and memory as it relates to education, this blog is helping to focus attention n current issues, and hopefully, add something useful as well.

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