Is Trump Derangement Syndrome a Mental Illness?

  • Post category:Opinion

As Time Goes By, All Signs Point to “Yes”

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When I saw Donald J. Trump with his amazing wife Melania come down the golden escalator to announce his run for the presidency of the United States of America, something rose up in me. It was a gut feeling, a knowing that something exciting was about to happen. It didn’t feel like wishful thinking, and it didn’t feel foolish. This feeling felt like a connection to something so important.

I was calm and excited at the same time. Watching them come down the escalator, I knew that this man, this couple, were going to change everything. Luckily they were going to take me along for the ride! Try telling this to most people and their reaction was to laugh.

Hillary Clinton, Patient Zero for Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS)?

As the competition fell away over the next several months, Hillary Clinton
actually called us “deplorables.” She and her cronies actually attacked us
and the others who agreed with us with that label. She attacked us by using terms that put us down and shamed us. Hillary set a new standard in politics, a new low, because basically she couldn’t stand us.

Candidate Clinton had a strange way of alienating us, instead of trying to engage us, as a rational person would do. Presumably because anyone who wasn’t going to vote for her was disgusting. She didn’t try to hide her feelings. Degrading the people who weren’t voting for her became her standard.

Her followers joined her. We had to hide our political choices for fear of retaliation. Cars were getting keyed so we were afraid of using pro-Trump bumper stickers. Houses were getting egged and worse, so we didn’t put out signs.

Then it got even worse – people were getting beaten up for wearing a red hat that had MAGA on it. Fist fights and other attacks were breaking out in the streets of our beloved country by people wearing masks. What are Personality Disorders? Personality is the way we think, feel, and behave in our ordinary daily life. It is the way we relate to self, others, and the world over time.

Characterizing Personality Disorders

Our personality is influenced by our experiences, environment (surroundings and life situations), and inherited characteristics. Our personality typically stays the same over time. A personality disorder is a way of thinking, feeling, and behaving that deviates from cultural expectations. It causes distress or problems functioning and lasts over time.

Personality disorders are long-term patterns of behavior. They are also inner experiences that differ significantly from what is expected. The pattern of experience and behavior begins by late adolescence or early adulthood. Usually it causes distress or problems in functioning among our relationships. Without recognition, diagnosis and treatment, personality disorders are usually long-lasting. Personality disorders affect at least two of these areas:

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  • thinking about oneself and others
  • responding emotionally
  • relating to other people
  • controlling one’s behavior

Among the various kinds of Personality Disorders are the following:

  1. Antisocial personality disorder: A pattern of disregarding or violating the rights of others. A person with antisocial personality disorder may not conform to social norms, may repeatedly lie or deceive others, or may act impulsively.
  2. Histrionic personality disorder: A pattern of excessive emotion and attention seeking. People with histrionic personality disorder may be uncomfortable when they are not the center of attention, and may use physical appearance to draw attention to themselves or have rapidly shifting or exaggerated emotions.
  3. Narcissistic personality disorder: A pattern of need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. A person with narcissistic personality disorder has a grandiose sense of self-importance, a sense of entitlement, takes advantage of others or lacks empathy.


Diagnosis of a personality disorder requires a personal visit with a clinician. They look at long-term patterns of functioning and symptoms. Diagnosis is typically made in those 18 or older. People under 18 are typically not diagnosed with personality disorders, because their personalities are still developing. Many to most people with personality disorders do not recognize that they have a problem.

Some may have more than one personality disorder. Some may have what has been called a Mixed personality disorder (or PD-NOS or Personality Disorder Not Otherwise-Specified). Up to an estimated 9 percent of US adults have at least one personality disorder. Having worked with and studied Personality Disordered people for decades, we learned that they have no conscience.

They have no moral compass to persuade them that what they are doing is wrong. Place one person with a personality disorder in a smooth running weekly psychotherapy group, and the group will commonly break down. Many members will leave the group, and the personality disordered person will claim they are the victim. How many politicians and celebrities fit this description?

Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS)

TDS isn’t an “official” disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) (The sometimes-called “Bible” of psychiatry). It has emerged though as a kind of “folk” disorder. TDS is a mental condition in which a person has driven themselves effectively insane due to their dislike of Donald Trump. Even to the point at which they abandon all logic and reason. Symptoms for this condition can be diverse, ranging from hysterical outbursts to a complete mental breakdown.

TDS can also result in the sufferer exhibiting violent, homicidal, or even genocidal desires. Sufferers have also been known to wish direct harm on themselves (such as increased taxes, a desire for an economic recession, and even nuclear war). Provided of course, that an action might in some way hurt Donald Trump. One of the Best Definitions of “Trump Derangement Syndrome” we found is from The Federalist Papers July 23, 2018.

The Youth are Most Vulnerable

Our grandchildren, who are in college, could be the “Poster Children” for TDS. They don’t understand that they are basing their political opinion on the opinions of others. Namely their professors, social media and late night talk show hosts. We elders are basing our opinions on our experiences over decades watching socialism and communism starve and murder millions of people.

People with TDS drink the kool-aid like it is a fine wine, and they become intoxicated by it. Their actions reflect the traits of personality disordered people. When Trump started talking about “Draining the Swamp”, perhaps that included exposing the faceless side of our society that secretly harbors personality disorders. History may look back on this period as the exposing of truth that had been hidden for years.

Exposing and draining the elite swamp in Washington DC is also the exposing and draining of attributes in the general population. It is a pattern of disregarding or violating the rights of others because of a lack of empathy for our fellow humans. TDS is being exposed as another form of a personality disorder. Living in a society where some are exposing themselves as having a weak or no moral compass is where we are now. At the same time, our experiences have showed us that this is also a great time of healing. We are exposing the darkness and bringing it truth.

For more, see: Whitfield, C. The Truth about Mental Illness: Choices for Healing. Health Communications, Inc. Deerfield Beach, FL 2004.
Barbara Harris Whitfield
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