OFTEN in today’s political conversations, we come across leaders and politicians who are labelled by their critics as narcissists. Whatever does this mean? Here’s the lowdown on this disorder from the folks at the Mayo Clinic.

“Narcissistic personality disorder is one of several types of personality disorders. Personality disorders are conditions in which people have traits that cause them to feel and behave in socially distressing ways, limiting their ability to function in relationships and other areas of their life, such as work or school.

If you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. You often monopolize conversations. You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior. You may feel a sense of entitlement — and when you don’t receive special treatment, you may become impatient or angry.

At the same time, you have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. You may have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation. To feel better, you may react with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make yourself appear superior. Or you may feel depressed and moody because you fall short of perfection.

Although some features of narcissistic personality disorder may seem like having confidence, it’s not the same.

Narcissistic personality disorder crosses the border of healthy confidence into thinking so highly of yourself that you put yourself on a pedestal and value yourself more than you value others.

I used to wonder why Donald Trump could not stop tweeting the stupid comments that he does, even if he is already the president-elect of the United States. Some people would probably tell him to “quit while you’re ahead, stupid!” After all, he is already the president. Why else would he still have to have a dig at CNN? Why does he need to inform one and all that Arnold Schwarzenegger is a poor host for his erstwhile claim to fame “The Apprentice?” Why, oh why? Why in heavens can he not simply just shut up?

Well, it’s because he simply can’t. It is a disorder after all, this narcissistic thing.

The folks at Mayo have it all wrapped up for us, in terms of a reason for Trump’s excessive amor propio. The man can’t stand the reality that the universe does not revolve around him. To him, he is the sun, the moon and the stars. Everyone else is moon dust. So when anyone so much dares as say anything that may not be to his liking, he feels compelled to respond, to have the last word, to have the final say. Regardless of whether what he says actually makes any sense. Which evidently, many times it does not.

Closer to home we have our own version of Narcissus. Someone who compares himself to far greater individuals than he. Who always trumpets about his accomplishments in his little town, little though those accomplishments may be. But he has an inflated sense of what those deeds are. Hence he gloats, he trumpets, he boasts. The sad thing is, all narcissist leaders end the same way, without exception. Hitler, Stalin, Napoleon, Mussolini. And closer to home—Marcos.

In Greek mythology, we have the example of a narcissist who thought of himself too much, he eventually burned himself to death in the process. As Icarus flew too close to the sun and finally had his wings melted, he fell to his doom. So will these leaders now whose excessive love of self blinds them to their egregious faults, that will surely lead to their own downfall.

(http://asbbforeignexchange.blogspot.com & http://twitter.com/asbbatuhan)