Letters to the Editor

Stephen Hessler: The fourth ‘D’: Donald

I never imagined that my Ph.D. in clinical psychology would prove helpful in selecting a presidential candidate. But this year is different.

This year we have a candidate who has a genuine mental disorder. Google DSM IV 301.81. A diagnostic profile is useless unless it has some predictive powers. In other words, one should be able to anticipate how individuals would react in specific situations based on an understanding of their emotional needs, psychological defenses, relationship style and self image.

For example, in my professional experience with people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, one could predict with great accuracy their reaction to criticism or challenge. I called this response pattern “The Three Ds.”

When challenged or criticized, they first deny the validity of the criticism (frequently by using a boldfaced lie); then devalue the criticizer (a schoolyard ad hominem attack comes easily); and, finally, distance themselves from that person (such as rejection, divorce or refusing to participate in a debate).

I urge the American electorate to educate itself about psycho-pathological narcissism before it is too late.

Stephen Hessler

Chapel Hill