Narcissistic Alexithymia – A Psychological Diagnosis of Donald Trump

… a non-core concept in Leadership Skills and Atlas109

trumpandmentalillnessyConcept description

In his New York Times column of 11 October 2016, David Brooks wrote that “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.”

The Handbook of Body Psychotherapy and Psychology (2015) references Alexander Lowen (citation below):

“According to Lowen, the core problem that the narcissist struggles with is that he was socialized to live a false self, his “image,” and thus to deny his real feelings and his true self. He diagnosed this as narcissistic alexithymia, a severe inability to feel; but it needs to be stated that people with a narcissistic personality do not necessarily suffer from general alexithymia, but can be alexithymic in relation to specific feelings that they are particularly defended against, such as fear, dependency, etc.”

Allan Schwartz (reference below) writes:

“Alexithymia is a personality characteristic in which the individual is unable to identify and describe their emotions. The main feature of Alexithymia is an emotional unawareness, lack of social attachment, and poor interpersonal relating. Furthermore, those suffering from Alexithymia have difficulty recognizing and understanding the emotions of others. Alexithymia means there is:

  1. Difficulty identifying feelings and distinguishing between feelings and the bodily sensations.
  2. Difficulty describing feelings to other people.
  3. Limited imagination and, therefore, little or no fantasies and limited dreams.
  4. An unawareness of what is happening in their own mind and a very concrete way of thinking.”

David Brooks (2016), Donald Trump’s Sad, Lonely Life, New York Times, 11 October 2016, at, accessed 12 October 2016.

Gustle Marlock, Halko Weiss, Courtenay Young, and Michael Soth (2015), The Handbook of Body Psychotherapy and Psychology, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, California.

Alexander Lowen (2004), Narcissism: Denial of the True Self, Simon and Schuster.

Allan Schwartz (2012), The Loneliness of Alexithymia,, at, accessed 12 October 2016.

Atlas topic, subject and course

Managing Oneself (core topic) in Leadership Skills and Atlas109.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 12 October 2016.

Image: John Grohol (2016), Trump: Enemy of Those With Mental Illness?, PsychCentral, at, accessed 12 October 2016.