Many high-profile individuals seem larger than life when they are looked at from a distance, and can even seem unapproachable in regards to how successful they have become in their lives. While those individuals are no less human than the next person they still often exude a sense of such self-worth that the average person feels awkward, clumsy, even lessened in their presence. Quite often it is seen that those who enjoy the status of a celebrity are considered to be worthy of attention and praise that others might not ever experience. Donald Trump, whether people revere him or despise him, is a man to whom many people cannot relate.
The psychology of Trump is one based largely upon narcissism as many would believe. He is without a doubt a man who does not do anything halfway, and seeks to attain perfection in all things he touches. From his life to his wives to his business dealings Trump has proven that he not only seeks out the best, but that he believes he deserves the best. He has even been put on record stating that he routinely overcharges his projects in order to make matters more difficult for those who deal with him as a means of control. In the Trump’s estimation the world needs to stand up and listen when he speaks. But if another person has something to say that he feels is worth listening to, he still cannot be expected to expend the time.
Born in Queens, New York in 1971, Trump was the fourth of five children, and was
exposed to the type of life he made for himself early on in real estate and development. An
energetic and assertive young man, he was sent to the New York Military Academy during his
teenage years in order to instill some sense of discipline that might better serve him in his later
years (D’Antonio, 2015). Not only did he do well throughout his high school career, but he
excelled at athletics and in social circles as well, swiftly becoming one of the more influential students at his school. By this extension it would seem that Trump was, early on, quite sociable and able to relate to others.
When looking at the five factor model of personality it would appear that early on Trump
exhibited the need and desire for at least a few factors if not all of them. In regards to being open to experience there is no doubt that his entrepreneurial spirit took hold as he grew and eventually
took over his father’s business. He has shown repeatedly that he is more than willing to take
new experiences head on and eventually dominate them in the way only he seems to know how.
Even during his few periods of financial distress he was shown to be capable in utilizing new and
old methods to dig himself back into the black.
His extroverted personality is no doubt well known to most people, as he is hardly shy when it comes to dealing with the individuals and even the general public. To date he is not only a mogul in the business world but also a noted television personality. He has appeared on such shows as The Apprentice, WWE, and even had cameos in several motion pictures. There is no doubt that Trump is a very outgoing person, though he is likely borderline narcissistic in ways that many would use to describe him as a rather brash and arrogant individual. For the sake of remaining neutral however it would be fair to say that his attitudes and beliefs have managed to get him quite far despite his social shortcomings.
Added onto his already extroverted tendencies would be the current events that have seen
him place his bid for the presidency. As of 2015 Trump has been on a decided roll in
campaigning to become the next president of the United States of America. This is a position that
does not allow for weakness, shoves an individual into the spotlight on a constant basis, and
promises vast amounts of both criticism and praise. In short it is a position that seems tailor-
made for a man like Donald Trump.
This is not to say however that he is the favored amongst the several that now run against him, including amongst his own Republicans. Like many extroverts he is brash, speaks his mind, and his arrogance as some would call it is at times rather astounding. Where others layer their words and carefully craft their speeches to either hide or obscure their true meaning, Trump is blatant and does not mince his words. He is to many the answer that is needed for America to stride into the future, where to others he is a dangerous narcissist that should never hold office.
While this was not the first time he decided to run for the presidency it is by far the most extensive attempt to date. While many politicians exude a carefully crafted mien that speaks to being professionally prepped and coached by individuals who excel in such matters, Trump acts in a manner that seems to disdain such preparation. While his words are not always clear and his ideas even less so, he speaks in a manner that many people can more readily identify with, and find refreshing in a candidate for such an office. The downside of this is that such speeches make him seem rather sure of himself as well as oafish in the blundering way he goes about the issue, much like a large child that was never given the proper instruction on how to act around others.
Strangely enough Trump is well-versed in how to act around others as an adult. It is odd
then that throughout the campaign the verbal attacks he has launched and the manner in which he
has conducted himself during debates speaks more to an immature, narcissistic adolescent than a
confident, grown man. Many would see this as a PR stunt, a means by which to endear him to
those who wish to see a Republican back in office, and will forgive him a great deal. Others
instead see a man who seeks to bully his way into the presidency with a churlish attitude and
As far as being conscientious and agreeable that leans heavily upon the manner in which
others absorb his personality upon meeting the man. Many would claim that anything even
remotely close to conscientiousness is simply not in Trump’s DNA, and his agreeableness is only
present when he is able to get what he wants in the manner he desires. So far as neuroticism is
involved it is not likely something that Trump would ever openly admit to, as he is quite the
opposite in front of the camera and all who have dealt with him. In no way does he seem weak,
awkward, or fearful of others, as he has openly stated more than once in the past.
Having come from a family that was not poor, nor overly rich, Trump likely felt at least
somewhat superior to others from a young age. In fact it is safe to claim that he was given the
opportunity to believe that he was in some way better. As he has already exhibited he believes
himself to be above the common citizen, though he will no doubt pander to them in order to push
forth his own agenda. That he is arrogant is not hard to believe, but that he does anything
without a plan to profit from it later on would be the height of folly. Trump is without a doubt a
man who seeks to plan ahead, and a man who always has something in the works regarding how
he can make another profit (Henriques, 2015).
In order to psychoanalyze Trump it is necessary to look at his beginnings. As it has
already been stated he was born into a family that was not insanely rich, but also did not struggle
with finances. Being the fourth child of five Trump no doubt might have had to fight at least in
part for the attention he received, perhaps finding a way to curry favor with his father and
thereby cement his status within the family. Such an explanation would go a long way towards
helping others to understand the manner in which he conducts himself now, which is to
essentially bull and push his way to the forefront so that he might be noticed. There is no sense
of timidity in Trump, and as a result it is easy enough to assume that as a child he was quite
assertive in making his voice heard.
His ego is also shown quite prominently in the fact that once he took over his father’s
company he immediately changed the name from Elizabeth Trump & Son to the Trump
Organization. There is no shortage of grandstanding from Trump, as he is always eager to stamp
his name upon his territory. Also, he is not the least bit shy or even reserved when it comes to
voicing his opinions, as an interview with Larry King proved when Trump went so far as to lean
back and vaguely insult the talk show host concerning his personal hygiene. While some might have considered such a move a social faux pas, Trump merely considered it being honest and truthful, and did not excuse his blunt manner in any way. This speaks of both arrogance and a level of self-assurance that many people could never hope to attain out of fear for being ostracized in society or else offending another human being.
Trump however has modeled himself in such a way that he considers himself quite above
and beyond other people, whom those of his stature often call the “little people” (Konnikova, 2016). His ego is such that he has been quoted and even documented as believing that he is in fact better in many ways than others, a sentiment that many would argue vehemently about and perhaps even oppose in a way that would, in truth, make a man such as Trump laugh. This is the mark of an arrogant and egotistical individual, who likely exhibits classic narcissism in several different ways. However successful he is and however much fortune he amasses in whatever way he sees fit, Trump is still very much a model for narcissistic behavior as well as an interesting study in what makes such a person.
For a man like Trump, who seems to thrive on the next big deal and continuing to
outshine everyone around him by making money hand over fist, attachment doesn’t appear to be
a factor. Perhaps in relation to his money and status would be the best form of attachment he
displays in public, though even this he seems to throw around far more casually than most. In
truth it would appear that Trump is far more addicted to the idea of elevating himself above others. Attachment is the last thing that man like Trump worries over it would seem, as everything in his personal world can be replaced just as easily as it can in his working environment.
Many who look upon Trump either love him or hate him, as he has done little to garner
any other such emotions in his professional career as a developer and mogul. He’s been a
destructive force to those who stand in his way, and a boon to those who seek to make their
fortunes off of his dealings and leavings. There is no stretch of imagination to claim that he
moves forward without looking back, as achievement is not only his legacy but his goal and
drive. Trump lives to excel as it has been shown from a young age, and will do whatever it takes
to achieve what he desires. It is very true that those who fail cannot help but hate those who
succeed. However in the case of Donald Trump the act of hating him only drives the man onward, determined with every ounce of breath to make those who hate him eventually come to respect him.
It is believed that if one looked at the definition of narcissism they might see the telltale
symptoms of which Trump so obviously displays. Displaying the classic traits of such a
personality he manages to show over and over again that his view of himself is in some ways quite accurate. He is supremely successful even when he has seen great financial distress, he has taken the company he began with to heights that were never dreamed of by his family, and he continues to amaze those around him to this date. His bid for the presidency in this current day, though not the first attempt, continues to stun his supporters and detractors. Not only is he brazen and brash in his words and his blatant verbal attacks upon his fellow candidates, but he is
proud of his behavior.
Where some individuals come from poor families, impoverished neighborhoods, and otherwise substandard lives to accomplish great things, Trump is not among those. He lived a good life according to many sources, and did not want for anything. In fact, if truth be told he was more akin to those who had privilege and could afford to do what they wished. In other words, he was not a poor kid growing up, but a rich kid with capabilities beyond the average child. Even being the fourth among five children did not deter him from ascending as the primary owner of his father’s company.
Looking at such a trait however might better help one to understand just why Trump became the man he is today. While it is well known and documented that children with older siblings experience different syndromes that can affect their lives in various ways through the developmental years, it would stand to reason then that Trump would have been treated almost like a middle child, with indifference and a mild sort of neglect at times. But according to the same sources that seem to revel in his life story, as a young child Trump was anything but neglected or ignored. This could have owed to the fact that he was quite an energetic and driven individual even as a young man, though that in turn could be further explained as to why he grew into the man he now is.
Sibling rivalry is very real and can affect an individual at a young age. As the fourth child
Trump stood a chance of being treated as not the favored child but more of an afterthought, much
as the second and third child would have as well. In turn he might well have been more
energetic and driven in order to stand out, to make himself be seen and heard amongst four other
competitive siblings who were vying for their parents’ attention. This would go a long way to
explaining how becoming an extrovert helped to shape his life into what it became.
As he grew that feeling of needing to stand out obviously continued, driving him to
greater heights as he was enrolled in a very prestigious military academy where he excelled in nearly every way. So forceful did the need to stand out become that Trump pushed himself further and further until success was not only a desired outcome, but one that he expected more often than not. This is more than evident in his current day attitude, as he has gone on record stating that he doesn’t expect to lose, doesn’t respect losers, and in general has a very dim outlook upon losing. While the failed bid at the presidency contradicts this attitude slightly there is little doubt that Trump saw the missed opportunity as a slip not by his own hand but by the efforts of others. Narcissists rarely if ever take blame when it is due.
Trump is once again up for nomination and is at the current moment decimating the other candidates by asserting himself in a confident and arrogant manner. It doesn’t appear to matter that his words are often a call to borderline racism in some cases, or that he seems to revel in the discomfort of his fellow speakers, Trump always seems to be composed and capable of firing back at his detractors. He is a magnet to others, an idol in some cases in that people look upon him and wish to be like him. People attempt to relate to Trump, and yet he shows no sign of reciprocating most times unless it is within the scope of gaining yet more attention for his campaign.
He is a mogul, a successful businessman, and a favorite to become the next president of
the USA, though Trump is anything but a man of the people. While some would claim that such
an obvious flaw in a presidential candidate is an afterthought, the idea of having an obvious
narcissist in office terrifies others. Trump is perhaps one of the last men that the average person
could possibly relate to, though many at least attempt to understand his motivations. If anything, he is a man that many seek to emulate, but few can ever hope to fully follow.
D’Antonio, M. (2015). Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success. New York,
NY: Thomas Dunne Books.
Henriques, G. PhD. (2015). Trump: A Psychosocial Analysis. Psychology Today.
Konnikova, M. (2016). Less Than Artful Choices: Narcissistic Personality Disorder According to
Donald Trump. Big Think. Retrieved from