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Many things have been said about Donald Trump, but most people have overlooked that he may be a model for mental health.
After all, whether he's really a billionaire or a millionaire, and without any obvious preparation for a presidential campaign, he's a candidate for President of the United States, and most people reading this article aren't. He must be doing something right, at least in terms of his personal success, whatever one makes of his suitability to lead his country.
Nice Guys Usually Don't Finish First
No one is going to accuse Donald Trump of being encumbered by modesty, empathy, or humility. At least in his presidential persona, he's not a nice guy. And he seems to have an almost (or actually) delusional self-assessment of his abilities.
Many people will tell you that they dislike Donald Trump, but psychological research discloses that most people evaluate narcissists like Donald Trump as more successful, more confident, and more attractive. Narcissists are more likely to win contract negotiations. They are more likely to enjoy success at job interviews. They are more likely to have sex. If this is what it is like to be crazy, is being crazy all that bad?
Narcissism Is a Mental Illness But Narcissists Are Not Necessarily Mentally Ill
Psychologists and psychiatrists consider narcissism to be a continuum of behaviors. Everyone is at least a little narcissistic. There are some people who are so self-possessed that they are out of touch with shared reality. Their beliefs about themselves are delusional. Their need for attention is desperate. However, people like this number only about one or two percent of the general population.
While there is significant downside to a narcissistic personality, narcissists score well with regard to some of the "big five" personality traits. Narcissists are extroverted. A narcissist's brain secretes more of the pleasure chemical dopamine when attention is given. It also secretes more of a hormone called prolactin, which causes bonding between the narcissist and the people who offer that attention.
Narcissists usually aren't neurotic. They aren't afraid of things that don't make sense to be afraid of. The size of a region of the brain known as the amygdala, the "fear center" of the brain is smaller in narcissists. They can appear to be courageous in the situations to which they choose to expose themselves.
Narcissists also tend to be open (you don't have to guess what is on their minds), conscientious, and low on agreeableness, which is to say, nobody is going to push them over.
Good Narcissism and Bad Narcissism
Psychologists don't actually categorize narcissists as good and bad, but they do characterize them as vulnerable and grandiose. Vulnerable narcissists believe they are special, but they just don't have the personality, talents, or appearance to draw attention to themselves. They are prone to outbursts of anger and frustration when they don't get attention. Grandiose narcissists are able to draw attention to themselves through socially acceptable activities (or activities that appear to be socially acceptable). They can be insufferably pompous, but they can also be charming. Most successful narcissists are grandiose.