Donald Trump is going to snap very soon, and here is how I know


I believe that rather than smashing our own glass houses to pieces in the act of destroying Donald Trump’s Presidency, we need to be aware of our own inner Trump, to reflect on our own tendencies to think and behave in catastrophically immature, venal and insecure ways. I therefore offer up this short account of my own personal emotional development, and then explain why I think it helps explain why Trump is heading for a breakdown very, very soon.

I used to suffer from a quite disabling insecurity, particularly when it came to things like being creative and forming relationships with other people. I got better, partly by virtue of living in and studying Portugal, learning about its people’s tendency to swing between moments of self-aggrandisement and self-abnegation, from ‘we are great’ to ‘we are nothing’. I also learnt about my own habit of projecting my own feelings onto others, both people and countries. The work of the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa showed me that we’re all characters on a stage acting out different roles, and that that is okay. I identified strongly with the philosopher Eduardo Lourenço’s diagnosis that Portuguese people tend to suffer from taking on too many identities, and I took enormous inspiration, consolation and guidance from his insights that Portugal is ‘marvelously imperfect’, ‘no worse and no better than anyone else’, and that progress comes from accepting one’s limitations.

Living in China taught me to accept the existence of other perceptions of my own identity, even if I feel embarrassed about it, particularly in terms of my national identity. Everyone has one and I can’t let the fact of my British or Englishness inhibit me unduly. Writing about my misunderstandings of Chinese society and about my role there helped me accept that I, like everyone else, have an ego, and also that I can use writing as a vehicle for making connections between things and to help find people who’ve noticed the same things, who share my perspective. Spending time with a Lacanian psychoanalyst in London helped me develop confidence in my own voice while also teaching me about the foibles of my tendency to overthink. I got better (although not necessarily good) at identifying and cultivating friendships with other people. I met the woman who later became my wife, who loves me for who I am rather than who I pretend to be. Through my job I became better at listening to people and more accepting of others and myself. I learnt that honest self-reflection is a more effective medium for personal development than alcohol is. Through acquiring other languages I discovered that learning is one of the things I most enjoy and value about being alive.

I still screw up, as we all do, but I accept that doing so is part of life, and when I do or get something wrong I try to apologise without fear or recrimination. I know that I’m not mad in any meaningful sense. I accept that I have some ability to write entertainingly and insightfully, and I have less fear than I did before of saying what I want to say. I have a wonderful editor in my wife and I accept that I sometimes miss things and perhaps expose some parts of myself to criticism and ridicule. I know that what I write doesn’t and doesn’t have to please everyone. I accept that everyone is fallible, and that it takes hard work to produce writing of quality. Sometimes I don’t put in enough hard work, and that’s my fault. I try hard not to depend emotionally on the responses or lack of responses to what I write. In a nutshell, I’ve matured, to the point where I can now face the prospect of becoming a father, something which, say, 15 years ago was (so to speak) inconceivable.

All this means that I understand something of the fragility of Donald Trump’s ego. Having struggled to maintain friendships in the past, I can see how Trump can get to a point where he has, according to a piece in Newsweek based on several months spent around him, no close friends. As I’ve acknowledged before, it’s essential for us to have the humility to recognise that we don’t have the ability to diagnose Trump at a distance. But that there’s something of the manchild about him is inescapable.

These first two days of his ‘Presidency’ saw paranoid and recriminatory tweets, a speech to the CIA in which he ranted bitterly about media reports of his coronation, and his press spokesperson being sent out to deliver another paranoid self-pitying rant. People are mercilessly taking the piss out of the piss-poor attendance at his pitiable inauguration, and Trump appears to be following every single one of them on Twitter. It’s clear to me that whatever means he’s used to survive up until this point aren’t going to work in his new role. There’s simply too much scrutiny and ridicule, and it’s going too deep. He’s too much of a shallow narcissist to ignore it. Trump is going to learn the wisdom of Jacques Lacan: “the madman is not only a beggar who thinks he is a king, but also a king who thinks he is a king”. Whatever monster he has buried in his mind is going to rise up to bite off huge chunks of him from within.

Trump is famously hostile to the notion of learning: no-one has anything to teach him. He was born rich, and that means he’s a genius and that everyone must respect him. He appears to have no ability for self-reflection. The mirrors he has in his mansion may be framed in gold, but he’s never been able to bring himself to look into them for more than a few seconds. Instead he’s surrounded himself with people who tell him what he wants to hear, who repeat back to him his inner mantra: you’re the richest, the best, the greatest writer, builder, statesman, etc etc etc. But it’s his inner voices that are the problem, the ones that tell him that he’s nothing, a failure, that everyone sees him as a joke. The ones that (presumably) sound a lot like his father.

His tweets in particular reveal that at some level he knows that his self-aggrandising self-image is hollow and brittle. So he lashes out, including physically. And it’s getting worse. People are laughing louder. He’s now put himself in a position where the entire world knows that he is venal, insecure, stupid and deluded.

He’s become in two days the paranoid and deluded ruler of so many novels by Latin American and African writers. Usually this point is reached after several decades of rule and the imposition of terror and a cult of personality. He’s the kind of leader that the U.S. has imposed on so many other countries; there is an element of chickens coming home to roost. He obviously took enormous consolation from his media image, the idea that he was ‘America’s CEO’. He believed this and seems to have internalised it, but is also taunted by a nagging awareness that it was little more than a joke, a stupid slogan to sell a TV show. His supporters may not know that, but some will learn. He’s already starting to turn some of them against him. As he attacks their standard of living and doesn’t have the political skills necessary to calm their anger, they will see through him to the delusion, insecurity and vanity within. He’ll have no more dgefences and will be unable to hide from the stark fact that his flatterers don’t respect him. Putin in particular is evil but not stupid. He knows that Trump is an absolute moron. And he can’t control that smirk of his.

Lacan said that what matters in psychoanalysis is not so much what the client says, but what falls out of his pockets while speaking. Trump appears to have absolutely no idea what he has in his pockets, and now everyone on the planet is picking up things, inspecting them and telling him what they are. They are teaching him things about himself that he cannot bear to learn. He also knows that he is President in name only, and that’s not enough to sustain his ego.

He will snap very, very soon.

Our job is to increase the tension.

New post: ‘Trump is going to snap -a rejoinder’.

TWO YEARS ON: I guess (and there’s a great deal of guesswork in this piece) that I underestimated how tenacious Trump would prove to be in his pretence of being President. More importantly, I failed to predict how slavishly and irresponsibly the mainstream media would collude in that pretence.

369 thoughts on “Donald Trump is going to snap very soon, and here is how I know

  1. the big yuuuuuuuuge problem is Trump is at once genius at a tiny specialized skill set and at the same time something of a moron on basically literally anything he’s not a genius at. he can’t go wide or broad at all. he’s not *entirely* mad, though. and he did manage to be smarter than everyone else, because he’s the guy that won the election. Trump is a genius at 2 things and 2 things only:

    1) Being an Asshole
    2) Recognizing that Being An Asshole is what gets votes

    1+2=3 He won the Facebook Like-Whoring Contest. Oh Great.

    I’m very proud of some of the parts of this article, specifically asking us to address our own Inner Trump (I have a lot of fun with mine, frankly. I don’t deserve forgiveness, I just need it. 😀 )

    I do not think that instructing people to ”increase the tension” is what will help.

    Trump is waking up to people not respecting him. I think however, it people that pity him, like me, that are upsetting him the most, and he’s just downright ignoring anyone that fits his description of ”just haters gonna hate”. Which I know, is quite Ironic.

    We need to be very Careful with this situation, not Reckless. Tension I think is better reserved for Private, not the Public Forum. That’s my belief and you’re welcome to both disagree and test it, but I am not really comfortable noticing how increased the tensions are already.

    If he can be safely deflated, someone please do so. Maybe the Patriots NFL team can help. However, popping him on purpose doesn’t sound like a benevolent plan to me.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes, ‘safely deflated’. I think there is a risk that when he snaps, he’ll want to go out with a Big Bang as a revenge. And his access to the red button makes that too easy.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I agree! He has shown us already that he goes after anyone that makes fun or ridicules him. So if the nature turns on him he will get revenge on the nation. I pray to God it’s not with nuclear weapons!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Surely there is some protocol to stop any president from simply pressing a red button to create a nuclear catastrophe? Surely he must pass through some kind of security and discussion? There is a lot of this debate about President Trump which plays out like something from a staged movie with worst case scenarios. Mind there are so many crazy ‘leaders’ out there in the world all posing as ‘saviours’ of the ordinary folk but lining their pockets and rewarding/buying the other greedy people who support him as he does it. Zimbabwe has Mugabe; we have Zuma and in Korea, China, Russia, Turkey to name but a few, there are other people who are lost in their own manic world of self-delusion! Trouble is that decent, principled and idealistic people cannot lie, deceive or fight dirty!
        So how do you find a president who fights clean and works hard for others and the welfare of the planet?? Oh well! You had him for 8 years and people blamed him for all the bad stuff that he inherited. World gone mad!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Good points about a Narcissist and holds resonance but from 9 years old I lived with a stepfather who had all the same attributes as Trump and know well the hallmarks this personality carries, so have studied him quite closely.
      I have grave doubts that he has any ability for self reflection and learning from it as you and I do because we are naturally introspective and …’well we have had to’. We are capable of that. Any evidence of him being self reflective would be for show and manipulation. The fragile ego and his toxic heart may well help him to step out of the role of President but more so because its your loss that he goes and not some noble token gesture Everything else in your article is spot on. The 9 year old inside me is no longer afraid of the Narcissist that inhabited my world . We should be very afraid of one like this as a world leader. He is a disgusting moron, who will inflict a lot of damage. I think Obama is right he is not an ideologist, he is too lazy for that shoots from the hip at whatever upsets him at that moment. It is our job to increase the tension, always speak up against his wrong doing and never give up. If that gets him out for what ever reason, I will say amen to that.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. I think this writing has several valid points. I dislike Trump’s attitudes towards everything that he doesn’t like or only because he wants to show an opposition behind the issue may be right. I honestly enjoyed reading this article that mage me think about my own humanity reflected on Trump. Would any of us be the same or worse than Trump if we had the chance to be in his shoes? I loath him so much, but what have I done in order for someone like him to get out country’s presidency?


  2. Very insightful. In medicine, especially psychiatry, it’s known that there are iceberg effects with majority of illnesses hidden from people including professionals. Lots of illnesses are misdiagnosed. Only 25% of illnesses like depression get treated out of 50% that may get picked up. This modern human life is fraught with madness known and unknown. Mr Trump has very probably if not definitely got undiagnosed mental health issue on top of some personality disorder. My suspicion is he has aleast element of Adult ADHD… with core symptoms of impulsivenesss, Inattentiveness and hyperactivity. In undiagnosed form it is extremely destructive especially if individual also is in denial when they don’t have insight. Hope vice president might make a better president incase the president has mental breakdown!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “He’s the kind of leader that the U.S. has imposed on so many other countries; there is an element of chickens coming home to roost.” That line smacked me right upside the head and needs more fleshing out. I hope you find time in the massive upheaval in your household coming. 🙂 Congrats!


  4. Once we analyze the problem we must prepare and implement a solution!

    I heard apply pressure and not apply pressure!

    We must get back to “what would benefit the greatest good”! Even if NOT OUR IDEA!

    We must learn to “disagree” but ” agree” because honestly the other idea may work or the two together!

    We fight and argue too much! It’s accepted and some say even healthy!!!


    Just my 2cents.


  5. Trump’s an egomaniac to the Nth degree. His man-boy self-esteem is extremely fragile. He is always making the pitch to sell his viewpoint no matter how much resistance he gets. If you don’t believe him he’s relentless. If you chide him he throws a hissy-tweet. Failure is not an option to him. (especially if he does fail) He has no problem with blowing off any contention by adversaries. They lied! He pushes back twice as hard and when he realizes he’s wrong by blaming anyone or anything to distance himself from the original issue. Like Obama’s birth certificate. It was the democrat’s fault that it ever came to light. Forget about the years of torment he put on President Obama. That was nothing more than “Brunch at Tiffany’s”. A minor happenstance that really didn’t involve Trump. Just like brushing off dandruff which lighted on his shoulders from beneath his goldtone locks.
    It’s easy to label Trump from the way he exhibits himself. Only years of intense therapy could say what alternative dimension his mind is in. He’s a chameleon, perverted, tyrannical, apathetic, manic, paranoid, unyielding, imbalanced, and allegoristic, to name but a few. The only dimension you should find a person with that combination of traits is in the dimensions of a psychiatric ward for the criminally insane. We do have to continue to let Trump know that some 66,000,000 people, illegal or not, are never going to think he won the election and certainly doesn’t deserve the title of President. Resist!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Since the election, I’ve thought that the best revenge against little Donnie Trump would be for him to go completely insane from lack of adulation. I hope they find him curled up in the fetal position under his desk crying for his mommy. He may be the first president to resign from the office or, maybe, to spend most of his term committed to a mental institution.


  7. Thanks for your brilliant insights on this horrid misanthrope. All my worst fears are coming true and now the ban on Muslims. I do think you are on to something when you say he will snap. He is like a vampire and if his life’s blood is attention we must see that he starves. If that fails we may need a silver stake or maybe that huge windbag will just spontaneously burst in to flame. Let’s hope it happens soon before he does serious harm.


  8. I wouldn’t wish “snapping” on him. What would that mean? Pence takes over?….I have snapped five times in my long life. It is decidedly unpleasant. I would wish some mental health for him. It is best not to be vengeful on your enemies, but compassionate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment. I’d like to agree but it’s hard to be compassionate for someone who is so lacking in awareness of the suffering of other people. He’s devastating people’s lives for his own gratification. At this point I’d just like to see him locked up. There are more deserving cases for sympathy.


  9. Buncha armchair monday morning amateur psychoanalysts on here, all of you scrambling to agree with the original hit piece. Fact is, you’re the delusional ones, and Trump will continue to thrive while you remain irrelevant. Sure, go ahead, increase the pressure. You sound like mean high school girls goading someone to commit suicide, but it ain’t gonna happen.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. What does that have to do with anything? Are you off your meds? Do you get a little more delusional than usual when someone disagrees with you? Are you perhaps the narcissist here?


    1. Well sir, you may indeed be correct, as Dame Fortune has certainly smiled upon the Orange one thus far. Who would’ve thought that he’d end up in the White House? (Michael Moore, Scott Adams and other intelligent observers, as a matter of fact, did so.)

      But tell me now Richie, when you observe the new President in the White House, in the oval office, at his desk, do you think he’s looking good? Is he enjoying the new post? What do your own eyes tell you about the people around him?

      I’d put a lot of faith in that impression. Camera doesn’t lie (of course it does but my eyes can peel back the lie, and so can yours).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Interesting questions. First of all, I was sure she was gonna win. When was I finally convinced? After the stumbling into the SUV incident on 9/11 day. That clip told TPTB had finally thrown her under the bus. Why? Because she was too toxic, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she doesn’t make it through the year.

        Trump in the oval office? Yeah, I see he looks tired, puffy, slightly dazed, isolated. Guy’s been working hard for a year and a half, needs a rest. He’s also probably trying to digest some of the really, really nasty secrets they had to let him in on when he was in fact finally inaugurated. He may be a narcissist, but he’s no sociopath, as was his opponent. His new knowledge has shocked him.

        The people around him? Some of them, mainly Pence and Priebus, want his head on a plate. Jared Kushner wants to control him, or at least try to. Steve Bannon loves him. They’re all standing back more than seems natural, maybe because he’s a germ freak. But yeah, he looks isolated.

        I think he’ll be doing (like Shiva) a lot of shocking and radical things in his first term, and won’t be running again. He’s already made this decision. It frees him up to do what he wants to do without worrying about 2020. But he’s not mentally ill, although he probably relishes the idea that so many people think he is. It allows him to get away with more stuff, just like Reagan did by being perceived as stupid, which he wasn’t.


  10. Why are people being so crazy since Trump was elected?

    Scott and Sam: Here’s an article with some actual metrics and information/opinion on whether they will be a success. The article is divided into three parts: 1. Low Chance of Success 2. Muddling Through 3. High Chance of Success “How We’ll Know if Tr…


  11. The closest I can come to comparing him to somebody in recent times is to the newspaper ‘magnate’ Robert Maxwell. Maxwell came from an entirely different background (which was shady, to say the least, but certainly not wealthy) and was more self-controlled when it suited him to be. But his narcissistic behaviour was similar in many ways, and it caught up with him in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One conjecture is that Maxwell was iced by Mossad agents – even though he had been a fast friend of Israel and great supporter of its cause he was running out of control and no one could do anything about it. Many, many little people suffered because of his crookedness and recklessness.

      Ditto for Agent Orange. All the sex stuff and multiple marriages – so what. That’s his business.

      I was however bothered deeply by the stories of the average Joes he screwed – painting contractors, furniture manufacturers, mom’n’pop operations that in some cases went bankrupt thanks to The Donald’s deciding not to pay them. “So sue me. Or I’ll declare bankruptcy and you get nothing.”

      If that is not sociopathic then my understanding of the condition is lacking.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes. The fact that so many people suffer when a person or business goes bankrupt seems to have gone right over Trump supporter’s heads? He is actually quite proud of his business practices and nobody has tried to evaluate how many thousands of people have lost businesses and income and suffered as a result of his arrogance and stupidly. His tax affairs are obviously also very revealing or he would show them off to everyone. How long has he been screwing the U.S. and proud of it? That Behaviour is so despicable in someone who proposes to “Make jAmerica Great Again”. Great for whom? All the billionaires? He couldn’t care less for all those loyal supporters and they cannot see it.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Judy Moo – Your emotional assessment notwithstanding, the billionaire class, almost to a man, supported Hillary. If you think he only wants to help the rich, why did/do they oppose him so vigorously? Seriously, why, IYHO?


    1. This is not a great time for complacency. Trump’s nazi mentor won’t have any respect for the Constitution and Trump hasn’t read it. In fact he probably couldn’t, i seriously think he wouldn’t be able to name more than five Presidents. I don’t understand your comment about the money, sorry.


      1. Thank you! I love this point. I went back and forth on leaving the NYC comment on there… but I am fairly certain the fried chicken love is real. Thanks again!


      1. Too clever. You condescenders are why Trump won, and is consolidating power as we speak. You try to push this baloney about his mental state, while he spends his time taking over. Lol at you. He’s so far ahead of you, it’s almost sad. You’re being manipulated, but you can’t see it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re right, the man is an intellectual powerhouse with a full sense of the gravity and complexity of the role that history has bestowed upon him and a total command of his mental and emotional faculties.


      3. Well sir, he certainly knows how to draw fire. He remains the focus of attention of parties on all sides, and the media as well, even though his election and assumption of office is a fait accompli. Still, drawing fire does not really seem to be an optimal role for a Chief Executive. Not very productive either.

        This is the key reason I have been led to conclude that The Donald, aka ‘Agent Orange’, is in fact a stalking horse, allowed to generate wild passions while the sinister (if apparently dumb) Pence is the end-game: inexperienced, corrupt, frightened (when TD gets whacked) and thus easily-manipulated by both Congress and Deep State.

        Meanwhile poor The Donald is looking around to see what hit him. Unless he’s playing his celestial harp (that would not be surprising).

        Liked by 1 person

      4. If he is playing a role, at the moment it’s that of a senile and paranoid dictator in his final phase. Even his own cult supporters are starting to shy away from someone who clearly has no control over what comes out of his mouth. This nonsense about how every media outlet is ‘the enemy of the people’ is the sound of a mind collapsing under the pressure. I’d say Pence must be terrified right now. Trump is about a week away from actually locking himself in his terminal bunker.


  13. Byron my man, What?

    But wait, it’s starting to dawn on me! Are the people saying Trump is nuts actually nuts themselves!?! What is it, projection or something? Is that what it’s called?

    Anyway, there’s a good bit of method to his madness, as in rope-a-dope. The more he’s denigrated, the less credibility his critics have. So far, it’s working perfectly. He bobs and weaves, everybody says “OMG! You’re soing it wrong!” Yet in the meantime, he’s consolidating power.

    And oh yeah, if I were a betting man, which I definitely am, I’d say he doesn’t get whacked.


    1. He’s consolidating power on behalf of whom? A bunch of nazi geeks, a coven of corporate interests and the Russian mafia? What’s your stake in this? Why defend someone whose interests are so clearly inimicable to those of the human species as a whole? Which planet are you from, Richie?


  14. Hey Richard, your insecurities are starting to show, I hope YOU’RE not about to snap.

    Now, he might be more intelligent than I am, but are you really as smart as you want people to think? Meanwhile, the clock is ticking, and Trump’s still in charge, moreso every day.


  15. when the truth comes to the light trump will be caught in lies and if you really belive that trump never met putin just go to google images of trump and putin sitting at a table together in Russia in 2013 photos tell the truth everytime he owes china three hundred and fifthteen millon and Russia three hundred millon how could American voters put a man in the whitehouse that owes two different countries millons of dollars?


  16. theguardian – “Following the report of Trump’s latest threat to press freedom, Brian Karem said: “There is no question that we have to be more determined than ever. I don’t care if you are covering Madonna and Justin Bieber or the Trump administration and Russia, this is a call to arms for all journalists, editors and publishers.”

    Your article is interesting and insightful. Keep up the good work Richard!!


  17. […] As someone smart pointed out at last night’s event, who would want to be Brazilian President at this moment in time, with the economy sluggish as a midday cachaça drinker sleeping off a hangover, and staggeringly violent drug gangs taking over where the state has failed? It would appear to be a poisoned cálice. Maybe even only someone who wants power for its own sake, another Duterte, could relish the challenge ahead. hat said, Brazil’s situation is not all that different from Mexico’s, where at least the leading candidate for the Presidency is not, for once, and for all his faults, a violent reactionary fanatic. If AMLO should (and is allowed to) win in Mexico, that might change the international picture somewhat. He could conceivably turn out (very unexpectedly) to demonstrate some of Lula’s trademark political acumen, and there could be a limited repeat of the wave that bought Morales, Correa and Kirchner to power. None of those names exactly inspire confidence in 2018, but anyone remotely progressive would surely any one to a man who would make Donald Trump seem like Carmen Miranda. Personally, for what its worth, I think Marina Silva would make an ideal Brazilian President. Whether news of my endorsement will set Brazilian social networks alight remains to be seen. It’s worth remembering, to be fair, that my powers of political prognosis são uma bosta. […]


  18. As insightful and candid as this article is, and as timely a reminder that we all have an inner orange baby… let’s get one thing clear: Trump is a monumental stain on America, and on humanity and not one of us would ever fall to his deplorable depths, nor find ourselves in the sequence of enablings that brought him to the place he occupies.
    A comment on another page said it the best: Donlad Trump is disease speaking.


  19. The main assertion here fails to take into account that people with NPD, by definition, almost _never_ ‘snap’: This pathology is a defense mechanism of absolutely breathtaking strength and resilience. Most narcissists go to their grave never having had to face reality at all.


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