A mental health professional makes a strong argument against diagnosing Trump.

'Bad behavior is rarely a sign of mental illness, and the mentally ill behave badly only rarely.'

Donald Trump is a narcissist and everybody knows it — at least in the colloquial sense of the term.

The 45th president of the United States built his brand on being self-absorbed, self-obsessed. He's the type of man who's spent the better part of the past several decades living in a gold tower with his name emblazoned on the outside. He's put his name on everything from steaks to board games to vodka. He's a real-life Narcissus, gazing into his own reflection. He is pride, he is arrogance, he is vanity.

To untrained observers, he's the embodiment of narcissistic personality disorder. And yet, at least one man thinks that we're not giving Trump enough credit — and he's perhaps one of the most qualified people to make that assessment.


Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

In a letter to The New York Times, Professor Allen Frances — who literally wrote the book the subject — offered a defense of Trump against claims that the president has narcissistic personality disorder.

The letter, titled "An Eminent Psychiatrist Demurs on Trump's Mental State," came in response to a letter the previous day signed by 33 mental health professionals who called for a lift on the American Psychiatric Association's 1973 Goldwater Rule against evaluating public figures. That letter argued that Trump suffers from a "personal myth of greatness" and "grave emotional instability" that makes him mentally unfit to serve as president.

In his letter in response, Frances explains that he personally wrote the criteria that defines narcissistic personality disorder as part of the team that wrote the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM-IV), and that Trump simply does not meet that criteria.

"He may be a world-class narcissist, but this doesn’t make him mentally ill, because he does not suffer from the distress and impairment required to diagnose mental disorder," wrote Frances.

Allen Frances. Photo by Angelika Warmuth/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images.

Frances cautions that by diagnosing Trump with NPD, or any other form of mental illness, from afar, we risk further stigmatizing people who live with mental illness.

"Mr. Trump causes severe distress rather than experiencing it and has been richly rewarded, rather than punished, for his grandiosity, self-absorption and lack of empathy. It is a stigmatizing insult to the mentally ill (who are mostly well behaved and well meaning) to be lumped with Mr. Trump (who is neither)," wrote Frances.

"Bad behavior is rarely a sign of mental illness, and the mentally ill behave badly only rarely."

"Bad behavior is rarely a sign of mental illness, and the mentally ill behave badly only rarely. Psychiatric name-calling is a misguided way of countering Mr. Trump’s attack on democracy. He can, and should, be appropriately denounced for his ignorance, incompetence, impulsivity and pursuit of dictatorial powers."

Psychoanalyzing Trump won't do anything to put a stop to what Frances calls "a dystopic Trumpean dark age." The solution, he argues, "is political, not psychological."

Donald Trump greets supporters after a rally in Mobile, Alabama, in 2015. Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images.

Stigma remains a big issue in the mental health and disability communities. Even if Trump does have a mental illness, it's probably not a worthwhile argument against his leadership.

David Perry, a journalist focused on disability rights, says he doesn't see any political benefit to trying to discredit Trump on the basis of perceived mental illness. To start, Perry explains, one has to work under the presumption that there are voters who are OK with someone who demonstrates questionable behavior — like lying, bragging about sexual assault, and being prone to outbursts, and all the other criticisms people have about Trump — but who would be be dissuaded from supporting that person only on the basis of mental illness.

"Does that voter exist?" Perry asks. "If so, isn't that a perfect example of using stigma — against 'crazy' people — to gain political advantage? It's possible that voter does exist, since such stigma is pretty pervasive, but I'm skeptical that Trump supporters are capable of being persuaded by anyone's internet diagnosis anyway."

Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images.

Mental illness affects people all around us. That doesn't make them, as Trump might call them, "bad hombres."

"So I get it. ... We're going to speculate," says Perry. "But every person I know who has a mental disability finds that speculation painful, because it suggests that you might expect them to behave like Trump due to their diagnosis. So that matters to me."

Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, roughly 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness in any given year. That's more than 43 million people. The problem, though, when it comes to mental illness, is that shame and stigma prevent many people from seeking care in a timely fashion. The truth is that when treated — whether that's with talk therapy, medication, exercise, diet, or something else — most forms of mental illness are pretty manageable.

Stigma makes seeking help a scarier process than it needs to be, so can we all agree not to add to it by trying to diagnose Trump from afar?

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Family
Youtube

Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

Most Shared
via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

Keep Reading Show less
Family