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I have seen people claim that Trump has “a personality disorder” and this annoys the hell out of me.

First of all, you don’t mean “a personality disorder”. There are lots and lots of different personality disorders and most of them Trump obviously doesn’t have. For instance, he probably isn’t avoidant (characterized by feelings of inferiority, extreme sensitivity to criticism, and a tendency to avoid social interaction even though they are unbearably lonely). It is also quite unlikely that he’s schizoid (characterized by being solitary, secretive, and apathetic, although having a rich fantasy life). I’m also going to guess he doesn’t have obsessive compulsive personality disorder (characterized by being perfectionistic, obsessed with following rules, and a compulsion to make lists and schedules). What you mean is “a cluster B personality disorder”, aka the asshole cluster.

(I’m cluster B, I can say that.)

Second, we simply do not have enough information to diagnose Trump with anything. It’s true that Trump’s behavior is consistent with a cluster B personality disorder. It’s also consistent with bipolar I, an addiction to cocaine or amphetamines, delusional disorder grandiose type, and being an enormous dickbag with a poor brain-to-mouth filter surrounded by sycophants. If I were Trump’s therapist, I would have access to certain information, such as whether he is currently a cocaine user, that we as members of the public simply do not have.

Third, who cares? Trump is an impulsive and criminal person. We do not know if he is an impulsive and criminal person because of bipolar I, a cluster B personality disorder, substance abuse, a delusional disorder, or just happening to be a person who is impulsive and criminal with no diagnosable mental illnesses at all. Would it somehow be a good thing that we have elected an impulsive and criminal president if it turned out he was impulsive and criminal because he has bipolar I? Would we be like “wow, no problems here”? Of course not. That’s ridiculous. The problem is Trump’s behavior, not the mental health conditions that may or may not have caused it.

It seems to me that the most parsimonious explanation of many people’s diagnoses of Trump are not that they enjoy speculating about the mental health conditions of celebrities. (Which is a fun game. I personally am a big fan of the Ted Cruz Is Autistic theory.) If they did, they would probably specify which personality disorder he has, probably some people would be speculating about bipolar I as well, and their speculations would be tinged with empathy for the struggle that people with personality disorders go through. It is because they are using “personality disorder” as a symptom for “evil incomprehensible monster.” As a person with a personality disorder, I object to this.

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