Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Is There a Cure for Narcissistic Alexithymia?

photograph: Juliana Lopes, Rio de Janeiro

In a column entitled “Trump’s Sad, Lonely Life,” (NYT, 10/11/16) David Brooks writes the following, “Trump continues to display the symptoms of narcissistic alexithymia, the inability to understand or describe the emotions in the self. Unable to know themselves, sufferers are unable to understand, relate or attach to others.” Unfortunately this particular illness appears to be contagious since it’s spawned so many conversations that are characterized by the kind of bulldozing that’s the result of people trying to force their will on those with whom they're speaking. Those who are opposed to Trump won’t listen to those who are for him and when you’re watching CNN Trump surrogates and their critics constantly interrupt each other in exasperation. But what about support groups for narcissistic alexithymia sufferers. If there were a 12 step program, the first step would be “We admitted that we were powerless over narcissistic alexithymia and that our lives had become unmanageable.” But who else would qualify for Brooks’ analysis? Is Kim Jong-un a victim of narcissistic alexithymia? Are admirers of Trump like Putin, who display narcissistic tendencies, possibly suffering from this ailment? What is the prognosis and what are the possible treatments? It’s doubtful you are going to find narcissistic alexithymia on the WebMD or Mayo Clinic sites, but is there any hope for both the victims and the victims of the victims of this malady? One final question, is the inability to apologize a recurrent symptom of those suffering from narcissistic alexithymia ("Donald Trump's Apology That Wasn't," NYT, 10/8/16)?

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