Saturday, November 16, 2019

Why the ‘Psychological Injury Model’ Will Ultimately Triumph

I went through this at my job of nine and a half years, but no one out there seems to care!
"Toxic Boss as Psychological Injury
The third group of psychological injuries (after childhood traumas and highly stressful life events in adulthood) is not in our personal life, but our work life.
Every single week in my private practice as a psychologist, a brand new client comes in.
They say they are so depressed that they want to die, or that they wake at three in the morning quivering with fear.
And when I ask why they are in so much pain, they say, “I think it is my boss.” They describe managers who tell them that their work is a 2 out of 10, but give no feedback on how to improve it.
They talk about bosses who claim that their co-worker Kelly dislikes them, but when the person checks in with Kelly, he honestly says that everything is fine.
As they tell me these stories of abuse and manipulation, they start sobbing in my office.
One person, who had been selected employee of the year for a multi-billion dollar company, came back from vacation and was assigned to a bully of a boss. Within weeks of reporting to the toxic manager, he told me he was going into the woods with a weapon and not coming out.
If toxic managers can shift people from employee of the year to being suicidal in just three months, it shows how deep the psychological injury cuts.
We spend the majority of our waking hours at work, reporting to a manager who has the power to promote or fire us.
People are also quite psychologically invested in their work, as we evaluate status in our society by the prestige of our occupation.
At social gatherings, people will announce that they are “just a housewife,” indicating they are near the bottom of the ladder of status.
If someone else says they are a neurosurgeon, they automatically receive high status. And not only do our managers influence our status, but getting fired by them can financially ruin people. It also sends a message that the person is a bad employee, and should be avoided by future employers.
This is not just a clinical observation. A study of 4234 employees in Denmark asked them how much they trusted their manager, and how fair the policies were in their workplace.
16 They also assessed the employees on 13 other variables, ranging from personality variables to smoking history and more.
The researchers followed the people for two years. Even after controlling for the 13 other variables, they found that people who had low levels of trust in their boss, or felt the workplace policies were quite unfair, had three times the risk of developing depression compared to people with good managers and fair employers.
This shows that toxic bosses cause depression, in the same way that smoking causes lung cancer."

Read about my experience with toxic bosses and co-workers in the link below:
I too, write about these psychological mechanisms in my book A Dance to Freedom the author of this article writes about.
I wonder if this author is real or is writing only from his intellect, but still repressed like most people in our society and if someone triggers the repressed fears of the child he once was will lash out like the sociopath at my job of nine and a half years did.
My book triggered the repressed fears and they rather destroy me to manage their fears than face and experience those fears within the context of their own childhoods.
Many professionals out there, do great analyses and understand well the reasons for mental illness, depression, addictions, and chronic illness, that is linked to childhood loss and trauma, and I quote few other professionals in my book to prove that are out there, other professionals saying what Alice miller says, but how they go about to heal those traumas, they use the same old tools like yoga, meditation, 12 steps, and controlled drugs, that all it does is manipulate people's feelings, and repress their authentic feelings all over again. 
And as long people go on repressing their authentic feelings, they will be driven by them into the state of compulsion repetition of doing to others, themselves or both, especially their own children, what once was done to them when they were defenseless little children. 
It’s the repression of our authentic feelings that cause us long-term harm and not the trauma itself.
Just as I wrote in my book A Dance to Freedom, pages 61 and 62: “Alice Miller often talks about the “life-saving function of repression.”27 As defenseless little children, we have no choice but to subconsciously repress our negative feelings for two reasons. First of all, we need support from others. And second, we just don’t have the ability to understand how the people we must rely on could actually be cruel to us. 

In the short-term, repression can have a positive effect in traumatic circumstances. But the subconscious actions that we think are saving our lives as children are what really keep us down as adults. 

In fact, Alice Miller believed that it wasn’t so much the traumas we experience that harm us, but “the unconscious, repressed, hopeless despair over not being allowed to give expression to what one has suffered and the fact that one is not allowed to show and is unable to experience feelings of rage, anger, humiliation, despair, helplessness, and sadness.”28 

Abused and otherwise traumatized children are forced to repress their true feelings unless they’re lucky enough to find someone to comfort them. 

But because enlightened witnesses (and even helping witnesses) aren’t always readily available, most of us develop what Alice Miller calls a false self — usually for the sake of our parents — only to pay for it later in life. In an article entitled “The Essential Role of an Enlightened Witness in Society,” Alice Miller writes that “it seems clear to me that information about abuse inflicted during childhood is recorded in our body cells as a sort of memory, linked to repressed anxiety. If lacking the aid of an enlightened witness, these memories fail to break through to consciousness, they often compel the person to violent acts that reproduce the abuse suffered in childhood, which was repressed in order to survive. 

The aim is to avoid the fear of powerlessness before a cruel adult. This fear can be eluded momentarily by creating situations in which one plays the active role, the role of the powerful, towards a powerless person.”29 

This is how the vicious cycle of parental abuse continues for generations. And in extreme cases, the repetition compulsion can lead to violent atrocities against humanity."

Also on pages 172: and 173 I write:  "I’ve removed all the barriers of false morality and am totally free to experience all my feelings, take them seriously and decide whom, if anyone, to share them with. I’ve faced my past and can deal with my present circumstances in the context of growing awareness instead of childhood fears.

These words by Alice Miller express how I exactly feel: “If I allow myself to feel what pains or gladdens me, what annoys or enrages me, and why this is the case, if I know what I need and what I do not want at all costs, I will know myself well enough to love my life and find it interesting, regardless of age or social status. … I will know that I have lived my own, true life.”81 It really is a powerful feeling, and you’re likely to find yourself possessing a power that will be threatening to a lot of people. Society is on the side of the status quo, so be prepared."

Saturday, November 9, 2019

The Dangers of Narcissism in Politics

A Facebook friend shared with me the Understanding Narcissism Summit "The Dangers of Narcissism in Politics" This mental health professional seems to be authentic and the things he says are very accurate! He is showing a lot of courage -- a must-read. 

These words are so true! "Even as they are bullying and aggressing, they will call themselves victims. And so these are the kinds of things that will pressure you to do the opposite of what is needed." 

That's exactly what the malignant narcissists did at my job of nine and a half years after I publish my book "A Dance to Freedom" sharing my life experiences and psychological discoveries. You can read more in the link below if you like about my experience with a mob of sociopaths.

I find malignant narcissists in the mental health profession to be -- just as dangerous as those in politics -- if not more dangerous -- besides Dr. Alice Miller -- every mental health professional I have met has tried to manipulate my feelings, perceptions and change my reality!  
I kind of have given up on humanity! Especially those in the mental health profession -- pretty much most of them -- have only intellectual knowledge -- talking a good talk – but they themselves have not resolved their own childhood repression and use their knowledge in psychology to play with people’s minds.  
To prevent a malignant narcissist Like Donald Trump to get into power at the highest level is to expose them at the local level.  Like I wrote in my blog Big Cover-Up sharing about my experience with a mob of very bad players, sociopaths or whatever you like to call them.
 “Everyone is focused on the sociopaths in the white house, but how we prevent sociopaths from getting into the highest office of the land is to expose them and their corruption at the local level. 
We fight corruption from the bottom up and not from the top, but as we witnessed at my place of work -- where I worked for nine and half years -- no one had the courage to expose the sociopaths and their corruption. And no one cares that my livelihood was almost destroyed by these very bad players."
If people really are serious about saving the world we need to start the conversation about the dangers of childhood repression in the stage of the world -- until then -- no matter what anyone says -- and does -- it will not matter -- it might help us feel a little better in the short term -- but in the long run -- nothing will change -- and humanity will continue to be driven by the dead hand of their own repression to covertly or overtly destroy themselves and others.
I agree with Dr. Lee that the enablers around the president are the real problem. I have been saying it for a long time: the world is messed up because of the powerful enablers around the malignant narcissists. The media is the most powerful enabler and full of malignant narcissists also.

Understanding Narcissism Summit “The Dangers of Narcissism in Politics” Bandy X. Lee, MD, MDiv [MUSIC PLAYING] 

JEFFREY RUTSTEIN: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Understanding Narcissism Summit. My name is Dr. Jeffrey Rutstein. And today I’d like to introduce assistant clinical professor and forensic psychologist at Yale University, Dr. Bandy X. Lee. As the author of the New York Times best-selling book The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, I’m thrilled to speak with Bandy today to discuss the topic of narcissism, dangerousness, and positions of power. Welcome, Bandy. Thank you for joining us. 

BANDY LEE: Thank you very much for having me. 

JEFFREY RUTSTEIN: So I want to tell you that this book that you and your colleagues put together has been so helpful to me, so helpful to my colleagues, that I feel very honored that you’re here today to join us. And I’d like to start with a basic question for some of our viewers who may not be familiar with you or the book. What motivated you to gather together your esteemed colleagues and take on this publication? 

BANDY LEE: Well, there was an occurrence in that there was a presidential election in 2016. And actually, a close colleague of mine from many years ago, Dr. Judith Herman, had written a letter to, at the time, President Barack Obama about her concerns of the mental instability of the new president-elect. And she and two other wonderful women colleagues have written a request that the 
president perform a mental health exam on the new president-elect

And I actually agreed with that. My concerns were just as high. And of course, nothing really happened. 

And he proceeded into the position. And we could foresee, at that point, all the dangers that would unfold for the years to come. In fact, what has unfolded through this presidency has been exact in terms of the type of dangers that would manifest, as well as our timeline was very precise. 

In other words, our understanding of the personality traits and the character traits that we were seeing and the signs of danger were very much as we saw them. And human behavior is not random. It follows a certain pattern. 

And the patterns are often pervasive. And so what we understood to be of concern at the time turned out to be, unfortunately. So what I did at the time was, when I was trying to gather-- I was hoping to write similar letters to Congress members at the time and tried to gather signatures among my colleagues. 

And at the time, whenever I would have conversations with my colleagues, they had the same opinion. In other words, the dangerousness we saw was near consensus among all my colleagues. But they wouldn’t put their name to the letters, because usually, the reasons I would hear about or concerns about keeping their license. 

They thought they would be litigated against by this litigious president and be fighting for their licenses their entire careers or that they would be physically in danger by his violence-prone followers. And they would have to fear for their families and their own lives. And these were the reasons that I was sometimes given for people not signing on. 

And so I thought this wasn’t very good, that we ought to be able to speak about these things. 

And so I thought I would organize a conference, where a bunch of us would get together and have a discussion. I thought it would be wise to start with an ethics discussion. What do we do as professionals at a time like this? Should we speak up? And if so, how?  

And what were the ethical considerations? What were the duties that we had? And so I organize a conference at Yale School of Medicine. 

And it wasn’t explicitly to speak about the mental health of the president, but about the ethics of speaking up and the pros and cons, if you will. 

And in the prime auditorium space that could have seated 500 people, only about 20 showed up. 

This is after I had invited some of the most famous psychiatrists in the country. 

In fact, if you were to count the first, second, and third, I had all of them there, including Drs. Robert Jay Lifton, Judith Herman, James Gilligan, and actually one person from the American Psychiatric Association Ethics Committee. 

And so I actually thought it was a total failure. I had never organized a conference where so few people had shown up. 

But then hundreds had tuned in online. They were only afraid to be seen. But they were very interested in the content. And then thousands eventually got in touch with me from around the country and around the world. 

There was, of course, news coverage. And it was covered nationally. It was covered in at least 20 or 30 countries that I know of in Europe, and the Middle East, in Asia. 

And they were all getting in touch, in fact, so much that I was forced to form an organization. In fact, some other people got together and formed the National Coalition of Concerned Mental Health Experts to address this issue specifically. 

And we later became the World Mental Health Coalition, joining with our international partners. And it’s a coalition of mental health professionals only. 

And we are trying to step in where the American Psychiatric Association has failed in leadership, in our opinion; because, in addition to this unprecedented event of all these mental health professionals coming forth once they found out about this conference, the American Psychiatric Association also went on an unprecedented campaign to try to silence mental health professionals, using-- actually, distorting-- what is called the “Goldwater rule.” You may have heard about that rule. I can explain-- 

JEFFREY RUTSTEIN: Can you-- yeah, please. 

BANDY LEE: --a bit more later. Or shall I explain now? 


BANDY LEE: Well, the Goldwater term came about because there was an incident during Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign. 

But this was 55 years ago. Just briefly, Fact magazine put out a survey. 12,000 psychiatrists were surveyed. And about less than 10 percent-- a little more than 1,000-- made irresponsible diagnoses, made comments that were not defensible by scientific evidence at the time. 

And so Barry Goldwater lost by a landslide to Johnson. And he sued the magazine. And the psychiatric profession was embarrassed. 

Even though it really shouldn’t have been, really, news-- it was really less than 10% that were speaking irresponsibly-- the magazine had hyped it up and said, “More than 1,000 psychiatrists are calling Barry Goldwater unfit.” 

But it was only entered into the ethics guidelines-- because psychiatrists don’t really have a primary responsibility to public figures-- but we have a responsibility to promote public health and to better our communities. 

And it is a call to action. In fact, it is an affirmative obligation. So what the Goldwater rule really says is: participate in activities that improve the community and better public health. 

And when you’re asked about public figures, educate the public in general terms. Just don’t diagnose. That’s what the Goldwater rule says. 

But with Donald Trump’s campaign, the APA came out and amplified the “do not diagnose” part too, “do not say anything about any aspect of a public figure, even in a national emergency.” 

It’s actually very surprising. So basically, as a professional, you cannot say anything whatsoever, without exception. And it’s an absolute rule. 

So there’s no room even for moral agency. So if you think about the importance of information, that the public be informed, especially about danger to themselves, and in the danger in the face of tyranny, what the American Psychiatric Association did, I often make an analogy to what the attorney general did recently. 

The attorney general, who was supposed to defend the law, actually distorted the law in order to protect power. So the APA, which was supposed to uphold and set standards for professional ethics, actually distorted ethics to protect power. 

And the CEO of the APA actually later confessed that he did it to protect federal funding. 

So an association that is willing to put the public health in danger, in order not to upset the government, it actually is in conflict with the World Psychiatric Association’s universal pledge, which is the Geneva Declaration, which explicitly says that physicians are prohibited from colluding, in a sense, with a destructive regime, either through silence or active participation. 

And this came out after the experience of Nazism-- that medicine was never to be used to help a destructive regime. 

So you can see how professional ethics was distorted. 

And yet, in pretty much an unprecedented public relations campaign, the Goldwater rule became widely known, even among laypeople, whereas science and practice actually went in the opposite direction. 

And even the APA was considering discussing abolishing the rule before the Trump presidency, because science was actually going in the opposite direction. 

And diagnostic practices are no longer based on introspection, which it was during Goldwater’s time. Now it’s based on observation. 

So even the fact that you cannot diagnose without a personal exam doesn’t really hold. 

So the book was supposed to be a proceedings from the conference. 

And at this point, we had hundreds of people now willing to speak up. 

And so we collected abstracts and chose the best ones and included 27 of them in the first book. 

And that alone was another unprecedented event, in that special experts writing specialized essays in a multi-authored book becoming an instant New York Times bestseller, I think, is something that’s unheard of. 

But we felt that it spoke to the thirst among the public. 

JEFFREY RUTSTEIN: Yes. I was just going to ask you about that. That is unheard of, that a professional book like this gets such a wide reception. Did that feel gratifying? And did that tell you that there was a chord that was resonating with what you and your colleagues were sharing?

BANDY LEE: Well, we hoped for that effect, because the book, from the beginning, was meant to be a public service. 

And in order to remove any financial conflicts of interest, none of us took any revenues for it. 

And all was donated for the public good. And so we were all the more energized, if you will, to the need to educate the public and share our special knowledge, because the book had three messages.

First was that the current president was more dangerous than the public was willing to or able to perceive, and that he would grow more dangerous with time as the grandiosity and the narcissism expands, and thirdly, that eventually, he would become uncontainable. 

In other words, that level of pathology, being in a powerful position, will then spread among the general population. 

And we would not be able to respond in a way. So in a sense, we were gratified. But we also had an urgency, where we had to get this message out. 

And we had to get the message out quickly. And in fact, there was a breakthrough moment, in a sense, January of 2018, when I revealed to the public that I had met with Congress members-- in fact, more than 50 Congress-- actually, when I revealed that fact, I had met with a dozen Congress members: 11 Democrats and one Republican. 

The Republican was a little by chance while we were meeting with the staffers. 

But when I had revealed that fact, that they or intermediaries had gotten in touch with us because of the book, because of the meeting that I had organized when they had heard of this-- and at an earlier time, they even wanted me to testify before all of Congress. 

But it didn’t happen along the way. So it was this private meeting with 12 Congress members. 

I was keeping it private until it was clear to me that Congress members were not going to be able to act, that the Democrats were telling us that they felt they shared our concerns. 

In fact, many of them were deeply concerned and just as urgent and eager as we were. And they knew of Republican members who were also concerned and also considered this an urgent issue. 

But they would not let their sentiments be known to the public. 

And it was really the December tax bill, if you recall, in late 2017 when all the Republicans were rallying behind the president at that time, that’s when I started to see that it was only going to grow worse over time. 

So I decided to take on an educative role with the public. 

And so I revealed the fact that I met with Congress members and decided to no longer consult with them, because, at that point, I met with over 50 Democrats, at one point, because of a large meeting that took place. 

And I also wanted to be open to Republican Congress members. 

I’m a medical professional. I’m not a political person. I’m not doing this for any political reasons. 

It’s the medical need for public safety that I was doing this. 

And so I wanted to make sure it was clear I was open to both parties. 

So this was when I revealed it to the public. And after that, there was a firestorm of media interest. 

I was actually interviewing 14 hours a day. I could not get to any of the studios, because I was getting more requests than I could fulfill. 

And I was asked to be on all the major shows-- the biggest ones with the greatest audience on both CNN, MSNBC, even Fox News.

And at that time, I refused the biggest shows in order to keep the discussion more nuanced. And longer term, I thought it would be beneficial. 

Unfortunately, the APA did a very public campaign, denouncing me as an armchair psychiatrist, as being unethical, using psychiatry as a political tool, and using it for self-aggrandizing reasons, whereas individuals I thought were self-aggrandizing themselves came on to all these shows, using the book as an excuse, presenting themselves as examples of ethics while they were actually parroting what was in the book, but presenting the book as being the opposite of what it was, promoting the mis-impression and presenting it as breaking the Goldwater rule, whereas, in fact, we were careful not to break the Goldwater rule. 

In fact, we call out the APA of its distortion of Goldwater rule, because I, myself, have been a proponent of the Goldwater rule for 20 years. 

I’m also against changing ethical guidelines for political expedience or in submission to the political pressures. It’s especially during those times that we have to keep with professional norms and standards and keep with the evidence and science and be an example of neutrality in the face of political [INAUDIBLE]. 

JEFFREY RUTSTEIN: So after you shifted your role and you told the public about this, I understand you encountered also some blowback. 

BANDY LEE: So for a while, the mental health of the president was the number one item in the news. 

And we would have liked to have seen-- medical neutrality does not mean that you remain simply silent. 

It means that you are neutral to the pressures. You simply call out the medical situation, commensurate to what its objective presentation is. 

And so when you see a very dire situation with a great medical need for public protection, because we’re speaking about the mental stability and capacity, really, of a president to be able to fulfill the duties of his office and not to needlessly put the public in danger, not to bring on wars or, God forbid, make use of nuclear weapons, because he is in sole command over them and we have a nuclear arsenal that is able to destroy the world many times over. 

And this is a dangerous situation, even with the clearest-minded of presidents. 

But here we had a president who has shown multiple signs of danger and of severity of danger, severity of impairments. 

And so I did get a lot of blowback. So first, the APA gave the right wing media, especially, a lot of ammunition. 

They are really the ones who said, “This is an unethical psychiatrist who is breaking the Goldwater rule,” even though I hadn’t. 

I hadn’t diagnosed the president. I hadn’t expressed any conclusion. I was simply outlining the signs of danger and calling for an evaluation, specifically to avoid armchair psychiatry. 

So if you look at the distortions of the time, and once the APA came out and did this, the media stopped calling. It was precipitous, in terms of effect. And other mental health professionals became all the more reluctant to speak up, because they saw that even though this is one professional association of only one form of mental health profession-- namely, psychiatry

And psychiatry has multiple associations. The American Psychiatric Association is the main one. And it’s a guild rule. It’s a voluntary rule. They cannot enforce it on everyone. 

And I, myself, had resigned from the APA more than 10 years earlier because of their growing ties with the pharmaceutical industry. 

And those financial ties had actually changed their policies from being, in my mind, very patient-centered to now pharmaceutical treatment-centered. 

And now we see their government funding playing a role, in that they are public figure-protective-- a public figure who is not a patient and not one of our primary responsibilities. 

The APA ethical guidelines themselves say in their preamble that our primary responsibility is to patients, as well as to society. 

So those are our primary responsibilities. So they were willing to stop us from fulfilling our societal responsibility in order to protect a non-patient public figure, to protect their own funding. 

So I think this is important to highlight, because if professionals stop being thinking intellectuals and hand over their moral agency and become technicians who will simply do what they’re told, not only does that enable tyranny, it also allows for professional associations to operate unchecked. 

And we actually compared what the American Psychiatric Association had done-- manipulating ethical guidelines in this way under political pressure-- to what the American Psychological Association did not too long ago under the Iraq war. 

Under governmental pressure, it actually became an architect and facilitator of torture and used their psychological knowledge for effective torture and human rights abuses when medical knowledge is meant for humanitarian purposes. 

And that was the intent of the Universal Pledge of the Declaration of Geneva, which is considered the modern Hippocratic Oath. 

JEFFREY RUTSTEIN: So you were victimized by the professional association that’s supposed to represent psychiatrists. And that was just the tip of the iceberg, because I also know that you got death threats, too, didn’t you? 

BANDY LEE: Yes. There was about a month or so. I was actually on Twitter. Someone suggested it’s a good way to correct misconceptions. 

But not knowing there were bots and trolls, I was getting 1,000 messages of threats and death threats a day by Twitter, and also by email and voice messages. 

And there were postings around the internet of my office location, saying that we needed to put this doctor out before he puts out the president. 

And so there was about a month when I was afraid to go outside.

And I didn’t go to my office. And I went out in disguise only. But when the death threats stopped, that was disheartening, as well, because it meant that our voice no longer mattered. And the powers that be had won. And so after that, I felt that we missed a key opportunity when the public was really listening and the media were really presenting the situation as it was, instead of doing this dance of turning everything political and pretending that mental health issues do not exist and pretending that this is a normal presidency. 

And that is actually the next stage of danger, when you start normalizing a malignant situation. 

JEFFREY RUTSTEIN: Right. And I want us to go to that. But before we go to that, do you believe that the death threats and the hatred that you had thrown at you, do you feel in some ways that that’s an expression of some of the dangerousness that the president himself has helped unleash? 

BANDY LEE: Oh, yes, absolutely. When you have an authority figure who is violence-prone himself, not only does he demonstrate violence-- verbal aggression, incitement to violence, taunting hostile nations with nuclear power, threatening and showing attraction to powerful weapons and nuclear weapons-- not only that, but also promoting violence and condoning violence, simply saying that neo-Nazis and the counter demonstrators are the same, have the moral equivalency, gives those who are violence-prone and prone to terrorism a legitimacy and would not only increase-- and by now we’ve seen multiple incidents not only in this country, but abroad-- of people who engage in mass murders or terrorism sucking their inspiration from the president. 

But that’s actually only the tip of the iceberg. The real violence is the unspoken daily murders. And now we know that we have unprecedented spikes in hate crimes that happened since the day after election and have continued unabated. 

We have unprecedented levels of-- we had a doubling of white supremacist killings. And we have a 25-year high of gun murders and 25-year highs of suicide rates that had been going up-- gun murders had been going up since his campaign. 

Suicide rates had been steadily going up. But all of these have accelerated. 

And we know that violence is not random. And even individual violence is actually more inspired by social, cultural, and political factors. 

And so there is actually a saying, that “sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can kill you”-- that words, especially coming from a powerful position, can lay down the groundwork for a culture of violence and incite epidemics of violence in ways that individual factors could never do. 

JEFFREY RUTSTEIN: So you were about to mention the idea of a pitfall that we can all fall into is normalizing this behavior. Can you talk a little bit more about what you mean by that? 

BANDY LEE: Already we know from his followers that his followers are-- so when you have mental pathology, especially in a position of power-- and dangerous mental pathology is overrepresented in positions of power, because they often hunger for power and hunger for that kind of a position. 

But of course, when they get to power, they do not put it to any healthy use. They use it for their own self-gratification. 

And because they’re such ineffectual leaders, they will scapegoat. And they will distract. And they will subvert our notions of reality, where the healthy becomes wrong. And the malignant and pathological becomes what is right and what is healthy in their paradigm, if you will. 

So in a healthy democracy, we do not see many of these kinds of dangerous leaders. 

But in a broken democracy, where many people are suffering or many people have already succumbed to mental vulnerability themselves, that’s when we see these types of leaders rise to power.

And it’s very much like what happens in a household when you have someone who is unwell and untreated. 

And you leave them in a household of healthy individuals. It’s not the person who is ill who becomes healthy. It’s the healthy individuals who take on the symptoms and characteristics of the illness that this one individual has. 

In other words, the one sick individual overwhelms the rest of the family in a very dramatic phenomenon that we call “shared psychosis.” 

And the treatment for that is, first, extraction of the sick individual from that family. And almost immediately-- almost every mental health professional who has treated serious mental illness has experienced this. 

Almost instantly, the family becomes normal again without that kind of exposure and pressure every day to, in other words, reverse their notion of reality. 

In other words, delusions become real. And reality becomes delusion. 

And malignancy becomes the desired state. And healthy directions are avoided. 

So once you extract the individual and give them proper treatment and then educate the family and place them back, then they can function in a way that that phenomenon doesn’t happen. 

But we have also seen this happen to nations. And it is, in a sense, happening to our nation simply by the natural course of mental pathology, because we aren’t giving the president the right treatment. 

We’re not managing him according to the proper standards of what we should do. In fact, we let him loose back-- well, we allowed him to enter into this nation family of, could have been, largely healthy individuals at the start. But the longer his presidency progresses, the sicker the nation will become. And that is what we’re seeing.

JEFFREY RUTSTEIN: So tell me a couple of examples of how you see the nation as a whole becoming less stable, less healthy, because of the example and the interactions that Trump is doing. 

BANDY LEE: Well, first of all, you almost cannot catch up, for example, his lies. When he has told 10,000 lies, we can point that out and try to cognitively tell ourselves, 

“He is someone who cannot be trusted. He tells all these lies.” But when you’re bombarded with those lies all the time and trying to put yourself in a whole different state that you’re not used to being in, where you’re constantly bombarded with lies and you have to push back all the time; and it’s coming from a very powerful person, nonetheless; those who have already succumbed, in a sense, to a state of poor mental health will actually welcome his lies and be very drawn to that. 

And in fact, someone who is delusional, and especially paranoid and delusional, is actually more effective in rallying large populations than a healthy individual. 

So the fact that they’re effective doesn’t mean that they are strategic. 

It doesn’t mean that they are well-aware of what they’re doing. 

We often hear about Mr. Trump saying that he listens to his gut more than anything else. 

That’s actually often what happens with pathology. The primitive part of your psychology pulls you in. 

And you will not be able to listen to reason, not be able to take in reality, facts, or even consider their importance, because you’re so strongly pulled by this primitive impulse and this primitive drug. 

JEFFREY RUTSTEIN: Thank you for that. Could you also explain the relationship between narcissism and dangerousness? 

BANDY LEE: Well, narcissism is a full spectrum, I should first say-- that narcissism by itself is not pathological. And of course, there’s a whole developmental progression. 

When someone is stuck in narcissistic personality disorder, for example, which is just a very small proportion but a very dangerous proportion of those of the full spectrum of narcissism-- so there is healthy narcissism. We need narcissism to function. 

As children or teenagers, we need narcissism to prop ourselves up.

And until we can build a true foundation of self-love and self-confidence, we rely on that narcissism to go on. 

Where it becomes pathological is when, at an adult stage, you don’t have the inner resources, because you weren’t given the nurturance or the cultural support, or there are genetic factors, as well. 

A confluence of factors have not given you what you needed to progress to the natural stage of maturity, where you would be free of that kind of pathological narcissism, where you cannot think of anything else. 

You cannot think of other people. You cannot have empathy for others. 

You cannot even consider-- you simply have no room for consideration of national interest, because you are engulfed in that need for adulation and approval. 

And because you have nothing internal, you’re constantly trying to elicit from the outside. 

And so you draw people into a pathological symbiosis with yourself, where you give them the ideal strongman figure: the protector that they’re longing for, or that somebody they can identify with, because they’re feeling so powerless. 

So you create that grandiose facade, which has nothing to do with reality. 

It deflates very easily. That’s why it’s so fearful for these individuals. 

And they become paranoid and sometimes even go into a psychotic spiral in order to convince themselves that they are truly that strong and capable and expert in everything and a stable genius, if you will. 

And by giving people this inflated kind of cartoonish image of an unreal person-- which buttresses the self, as well as brings in the approval and adulation they direly need in order simply to exist-- for that to fall away, we, as normal individuals, cannot even imagine the catastrophe that they would feel at that moment, that that grandiose self-image, which is really a house of cards-- an inflated balloon that really does deflate easily through criticism or revelation of facts or falling away of followers-- then that represents a catastrophic moment, where even destruction of the world would be preferable to the experience of that humiliation.

And because often these individuals cannot consider consequences, they do not have empathy, do not have any guilt feelings about killing millions of people at a time, they could easily press the nuclear button, for example. 

In fact, weapons such as nuclear arsenals will be very attractive to them. 

And we know from Mr. Trump’s own conversations that he is very attracted to nuclear weapons. 

He asks, “Why do we have them if we don’t use them?” 

He has pursued policies-- the Nuclear Posture Review-- which makes first nuclear strike possible, that he has encouraged usable nuclear weapons, which are still the size of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs (so, able to obliterate entire cities). 

And this would actually be something they would be very drawn to do, even without needing to eliminate the observing eye. They would love to project their power and would look for opportunities to do that, especially if they felt cornered or criticized. 

JEFFREY RUTSTEIN: So basically, if I’m getting what you’re saying correct, is that the narcissist person has certain vulnerabilities and sensitivities that would incline them to react potentially in dangerous and extreme ways to whatever they feel is an assault on their self-esteem or their imperviousness or their grandiosity. 

And that’s really the heart of the danger. So it seems to me that narcissists, in particular, may or may not be dangerous unless they’re in a position of great power. 

BANDY LEE: That’s right. So “dangerousness” is not a diagnosis. It does not have to do, really, with the particular individual as much as the situation. 

Mr. Trump as a private citizen may not be such a danger. In fact, he may just screw over maybe dozens of workers and cause some harm at the level of a real estate developer or a reality TV personality or any other manner. 

But he would not have within his grasp the power to destroy human civilization. 

JEFFREY RUTSTEIN: And I remember that in the first book, it accurately predicted a tremendous amount of the behavior and the changes that we saw in Mr. Trump. What’s your worry about if he remains unchecked? 

BANDY LEE: So I am worried that we have been as correct as we have been. And in fact, it’s been a near consensus among mental health professionals. Many mental health professionals have said, I don’t have to see what happens. In fact, everything was clear from the very moment of the start of the presidency.

And the prospects for the future are very frightening. I don’t even know how we will get through the rest of his term. Most people who are not attuned to the psychological aspects are simply thinking of his presidency politically.

And since we have endured all his psychological signs this far, we’ll endure it for another year and a half or however more it might be. Well, it doesn’t quite work that way. Someone who has had the taste of power will expect greater power. And we can see from his blatant assumptions that he should be above the law and he should be able to get his way. If not, he will simply make an executive order or declare a national emergency or use any of his enablers around him. 

And that’s another normalization process, where he has now surrounded himself. He has stripped away the moderating forces and surrounded himself with enablers and those who agree with his
mentality or who are there to actually make use of his weaknesses and therefore have extreme agendas or dangerous agendas in mind. 

So the likelihood is that this will accelerate.

And the danger levels were already unacceptable at the beginning of the presidency. It will be increasingly unacceptable. And I simply do not know how much more we can hold on to our
democracy, hold on to checks and balances, hold on to the limits of what is possible and what is acceptable.

And those things are largely social contracts. They are mental agreements. And when you mess up the mind, in a sense, and if you tyrannize the mind, then anything becomes possible. And there is simply no way to counter that.

And that was the third prediction that we made, that eventually this presidency, if we allowed it to go on for too long, it would become uncontainable. I’m not so sure we are not at that state right now. 

I’m still, with my colleagues, doing what we can.

In fact, we have a lot of solidarity among us. It may seem like I’m the only voice or not many of us are speaking up. But in fact, there are hundreds and thousands of us, in fact, eager to speak up.

But the media will not cover us. No one will give us a voice, a platform. And pretty much the APA has given most of the media the excuse to avoid an uncomfortable topic or the ammunition
to counter us.

And that is why education is so important. Knowledge on the part of the public is power and often the one guard that the people have against tyranny. And when you take that knowledge away
or block that knowledge-- and in certain cases, that knowledge may happen to be specialized knowledge-- then the public is disempowered.

And I feel that there was a critical moment when the public needed critical information. And that was what mental health professionals had to give. It’s somewhat like an individual-- an individual
who is spiraling into a state of mental psychosis, if you will.

A state of psychosis, there is a small window of time when they will be able to respond to the problem they’re experiencing, to get help, and to take a course that will be life-affirming and not
bring them further into illness and damage to the self. 

And the ability to do that is called “insight”-- the ability to recognize that something is wrong. And that is something that goes away, in the case of mental pathology.

And in a society, mental health professionals represent that insight: the ability to recognize that something is wrong, to recognize what is abnormal from what is normal-- because most people, in general, are, for the most part, exposed to healthy individuals and would not be able to imagine what living with pathology is like and even less recognize what needs to be done. 

In fact, what needs to be done is often quite counter-intuitive or goes against what you are pulled to do when you are in the presence of a pathological individual, who will press you to submit to their version of reality, who will bully you into accepting their ways, who will pressure you into postponing impeachment or backing away or not intervening in the kind of assertive ways that are necessary.

Even as they are bullying and aggressing, they will call themselves victims. And so these are the kinds of things that will pressure you to do the opposite of what is needed. 

So it takes specialists, who deal with mental pathology day in and day out and know the protocols of management-- that you actually need aggressive, early intervention in these cases, that the longer you let it go on, the more emboldened the person will be, the more uncontainable the person will be, and the more victimized and incapable of holding on to reality and help all the other people will be. And this is the kind of information that we had to give and were blocked from being effective in our delivery of it.

JEFFREY RUTSTEIN: So again, I really, truly want to commend you for the effort of that. And I want to ask a two-part question here, because we have a few moments left. And one is that,
again, our audience today is mixed. There are professionals watching. And there are lay individuals watching.

And so I do think that knowledge is empowering. And I think that people are eager and interested in how they can participate. So what advice might you give to mental health professionals? 

And what advice might you offer to just lay citizens of our country or any country who would like to have a voice in pointing out dangerousness or being able to raise a voice and say, “The emperor
has no clothes”? What might you say?

BANDY LEE: Well, to my fellow mental health professionals, I will say, don’t be afraid to take up your own moral agency, to act on your conscience, that there are many of us. 

And mental health professionals-- health professionals, in general-- are trained to practice according to standards and protocol. 

And so they easily fall in line when they’re told to do things a certain way. 

But our professional organizations will not be held accountable when they are being unethical and they are exerting their power in unseemly ways. 

And we have to hold them accountable-- there’s no one else to do so-- and to retain our moral agency, our independence of thinking, our sense of duty, because the ethics are clear. Our responsibilities are to humanity, to patients, and to society, not to power, not to tyrannical regimes.

In fact, we are the moral voices and often the neutralizing grounds for partisan power or political abuses, that we can help bring all parties back to reality and be a grounding force, because our
practice is science-based. Based on evidence and research and observable clinical phenomena, we know what pathology looks like. 

So do not be afraid to speak up, to say what you see and
what you know to be true.

To non-mental health professionals, I would say, as citizens of this country, of this world, that the people are the ones who hold power, that tyranny begins by hijacking the mind. 

In fact, I consider the tyranny over the mind to be the greatest form of oppression. 

And Steve Biko and other scholars have said so, as well. And Edmund Burke has advised that there’s nothing that enables
tyranny as much as silence, or something to that effect; and so to take charge of that power that we already hold as the people.

And we have the truth on our side and the power on our side. And no small group can gain control over us, as long as we exercise that power and know that even the most powerful man in the
most powerful country in the world is still an employee of the people and a public servant and should have the mental capacity to be able to serve in his office. 

And it should be let known. And he should be held accountable in that sense and that he should have the capacity to serve in an office, even if he were elected. If it were through manipulation or deception or in spite of the lack of capacity, we should call that out and demand that we have a capable leader.

JEFFREY RUTSTEIN: So in short, while the advice is somewhat different, the similarity is about speaking truth-speaking truth about what we observe, speaking truth not based on a preference
or a belief or a distortion, but just on observable behavior, observable facts. 

And so if we see something wrong, if we see something that is pathological or dangerous, we should be empowered
enough to not be silent, to be joining other’s voices so that there’s more, I guess, power within people versus the tyranny of power at the top.

BANDY LEE: That’s right. And as your audience becomes more educated and aware of how narcissism manifests, they will recognize the signs and traits and that it’s pretty uniform when it

manifests pathologically in an individual. It’s not hard to miss-- it’s hard to miss. And they will be better able to protect themselves and act in their own interest.

JEFFREY RUTSTEIN: That is our hope. If mental health professionals would like to join the coalition, what’s the website that they should go to?

BANDY LEE: It is “Dangerouscase” all is one word, “dot” org, taken after The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, the title of the book.

JEFFREY RUTSTEIN: Thank you. Well, Bandy, thank you so much for this time today. It was both very rich and very helpful. 

And also, I really want to express a debt of gratitude that I feel as
a mental health professional and as a citizen towards you and your colleagues for being the first to speak up and organize about this and to take the risks that you did to express this truth. So thank you so very much.

BANDY LEE: Many of us are in this together. So I’d actually like to use this opportunity to honor the thousands of mental health professionals who have joined, who have actually organized
the coalition themselves, and have allowed many things to happen, because together, we are able to do a lot more. And thank you for the work that you do. And I’d like to express my gratitude for your putting in this kind of effort for a very worthwhile discussion, as well.

JEFFREY RUTSTEIN: Thank you, Bandy. Thank you so much. And thank you to those of you who joined us for today’s session. 

Please note that the recording of this session will remain accessible
for free for 24 hours.

And if you wish, you can purchase the entire summit with lifetime access to each recording, transcripts from each session, and bonus gifts from our presenters. For Sounds True, this is Jeffrey Rutstein. waking up the world.