Written and Submitted by Kathy Patikan RN MSN
How to deal with a Narcissist
We live in times where it seems we are inundated with narcissistic personalities. By definition, narcissism is a mental disorder in which people inflate their own sense of prominence, with a desire for inflated admiration, without showing or feeling empathy for others. With a President-elect that exhibits these dismal qualities, I would like to discuss how this affects us as a culture of men and women – listening to a boastful, pretentious man who belittles other people as inferior to him.
We watch in astonishment, as this man becomes angry when he does not receive special treatment – or makes degrading responses to any form of criticism, by the press or individuals. We observe the backlash of his wrath, upon any form of challenge to his position or the authority he demands. We see his abuse of power over others as a rich, white, privileged male. He seems to live with a team of lawyers, dedicated to destroying people for stating their realities, such as allegations of sexual harassment, rape, slander or swindling. In so doing, he and his lawyers show little or no regard for the truth.
The soon-to-be leader of the free world then exploits his own over appreciation for self by holding a campaign like rally in Cincinnati, OH, on 12/01/2016, to demonstrate how his fans adore him. He does not unite opposing sides. This disjoints and further divides our nation as he gloats and self-inflates his own illogical positions. Another narcissistic maneuver by the president-elect was to respond to parody done on Saturday Night Live skit by Alec Baldwin (Pallotta, 2016). This commences a twitter storm of wondering how we are to be governed by a man obsessed with being seen in a certain admirable way when his behaviors such as twitter rants, argumentative and name-calling is not part of his own self-adjustment or self-reflection. None of these behaviors are normal. We much not normalize these actions as normal by a president or by a human being. It is our duty to express the issues of this person to not be able to self-control his own impulsive, inappropriate behaviors.
This is an above the rules mentality, with an implicit expectation of superiority in all circumstances, and with no accountability. It degrades our ability, as a society, to trust the new leader of the free world. Power is now in the hands of a man who uses power in purely selfish ways, as revealed in every level of his life that has been shown to us.
The PEOTUS has candidly supported sexual assault upon women, voicing these views with revelry and in lewd language as if such statements were devoid of degradation upon women. His boastful statements made clear his attitude – that he can have his way with women because of his status as a self-proclaimed “star” (Smith, 2016). The message has been reinforced by demeaning appointments to a Cabinet without diversity. His actions send a clear message of his exaggerated dominance and supremacy to anyone different, such as all minorities, the LBGT community, women, the disabled, and the impoverished. This arrogantly racist stance is leading us down a road of hatred and fear. I strongly admonish that without empathy in our leaders, how will they be able to compassionately protect the people of our nation?
This leads my thoughts to the idea that, without empathy we continue to support a rape culture. With all of this cruelty prevailing around us, how do we as women cope – in a world that fosters this hateful rape culture ideology? The President-elect has demonstrated that he supports despicable behaviors, without empathy for women. Sexual violence can come in many forms, which are sustained by a rape culture that prevails within our patriarchal populace.
What is patriarchy, and why does it matter? This question was addressed in an article by Robert Jensen, noting that “the definition of patriarchy is the manifestation and institutionalization of male dominance over women in a society in general (2014).” Basically, the bottom line in our patriarchal society is that men hold the power. As Jensen further explains, this does not mean women are powerless. However, feminists have strongly articulated that “rape is about power not sex (2014).” Rape is a crime that is perpetrated upon 12-18 million women in the United States annually***?, using the narrow definition of forcible penetration (Raphael, 2013). These numbers do not include the prevalence of sexual misconduct and harassment that we see all around us, and now in a world leader.
Not all men are rapists. However, there is a societal ideology that protects men who are raised to believe that men hold power over women, by dominance and force. In order to take sexual violence seriously we must first identify the issue – and then help correct the problem – of how boys turn into men who see themselves in power, and women as sexual objects only. We have witnessed that justice through the criminal courts is not always served – or that judicial action is not persuasive to change the behaviors of men against women.
This is where we need to take seriously the actions of women as a group, trying to change this gender dominance identification. We as a society can change the perceptions of how women are treated – by raising children to be less role-identified as dominant by race, gender, sexual orientation, and more by respect for all. We must continue to speak against the central theme mandated by patriarchy – which the message is about men’s pleasure only. Instead, what we see before us now is a country that feels like it has regressed, retreating from the small positive steps that have been made over the past fifty years.
But I would urge that we keep doing what is needed, to overcome these prevailing dictates of our society. We need active censorship of exposure to the dominant behaviors of the men who currently hold power over our children. We must teach respect by showing respect – to our children and young people. And we must ensure, as best we can, that women and men support each other through these trying times, embracing our humanity. We will work diligently toward 2018, to decrease the power through congress of a president without respect for women. And we must build momentum for the 2020 elections that we know will be crucial.
Jensen, R. (2014). Rape, rape culture and the problem with patriarchy. Retrieved from
Pallotta, F. (2016). Donald Trump bashes ‘SNL” on Twitter after sketch about him tweeting too much.
Rapheal, J. (2013). Rape is Rape: How Denial, distortion, and Victim Blaming are Fueling a
Hidden Acquaintance Rape Crisis. Chicago Review Press.
Smith, A. (2016). Shocking audio emerges of lewd comments Trump made about women in
2005. Business Insider. Retrieved from online edition