"It feels good to be the most important person in the world"

Is President Obama a Narcissist?

Dr. Sam Vaknin, an expert on narcissism, has asserted that President Barack Obama is a narcissist, basing his conclusion on several points of character and behavior that have become well-known and observed by the American Public.

According to Vaknin, “Obama’s early life was decidedly chaotic and replete with traumatic and mentally bruising dislocations. Pathological narcissism is a reaction to prolonged abuse and trauma in early childhood or early adolescence…The source of the abuse or trauma is immaterial: the perpetrators could be dysfunctional or absent parents, teachers, other adults, or peers.”

The American Thinker expands on that idea, and indeed, builds on the foundation of President andMichelle Obama stating that Oprah Winfrey is their “global role model” as they attempt to change the world from how it is into what they want it to be. According to The American Thinker, not only is Winfrey also a narcissist, but also her spiritual mentor, Eckhart Tolle. “Barack Obama looks to OprahWinfrey as his ‘global role model’ for change. To effect this worldwide change, Oprah, in turn, relies on the ‘infallible’ teachings of her guru, Eckhart Tolle. Tolle, in turn, looks in the mirror and makes friends with the backwards image of himself, thus enabling him, and others who see themselves in the same backwards way (Obama and Oprah), to ‘change the world.’ All three mock the Judeo-Christian tradition. All three are determined to remake the world ‘as it should be.'”

That President Obama has a rather lofty opinion of himself is without question. More so than even President Bush, his sense of personal entitlement and right-by-virtue seem to outstrip any known figure not currently residing in Hollywood. As Charles Krauthammer asked in July of last year, “Has there ever been a presidential nominee with a wider gap between his estimation of himself and the sum total of his lifetime achievements? Obama is a three-year senator without a single important legislative achievement to his name, a former Illinois state senator who voted “present” nearly 130 times. As president of the Harvard Law Review, as law professor and as legislator, has he ever produced a single notable piece of scholarship? Written a single memorable article? His most memorable work is a biography of his favorite subject: himself.”

But this is The United States of America, in the 21st Century, and the greatest subject to fascinate anyone is themselves, the passion and desire for a life of celebrity, and to a lesser extent, the latest scoop on the ascent and collapse of celebrities. We build celebrities from pure obscurity, place them on a pedestal, worship them, then in true dionysian fashion, eventually, tear them to pieces. We have television shows based on the concept. The entire “pop culture” mystique revolves around it.

So it would seem natural that America would succeed in placing in the most demanding and powerful office in the entire world someone who captures the public imagination–not someone who was a war-hero, or a hero in government, or even a Hollywood Icon like Ronald Regan, but a complete unknown. As if the script for our selection of President of the United States of America was based on the same rules as American Idol, too much experience disqualifies, and rank amateur gets you in the door. Racial politics aside, which is an entirely different subject all together, as the racial cronyism that propelled President Obama into office, coupled with well orchestrated and strategized proxy-race cards, and abbracadabra, here’s the keys to the nation Mr. President.

Says Vaknin, “Narcissistic leadership often poses as a rebellion against the “old ways”: against the hegemonic culture, the upper classes, the established religions, the superpowers, the corrupt order. Narcissistic movements are puerile, a reaction to narcissistic injuries inflicted upon a narcissistic nation-state, or group, or upon the leader.” Another insight by Vaknin, “In the narcissist’s surrealistic world, even language is pathologized. It mutates into a weapon of self-defence, a verbal fortification, a medium without a message, replacing words with duplicitous and ambiguous vocables. Narcissists (and, often, by contagion, their unfortunate victims) don’t talk, or communicate. They fend off. They hide and evade and avoid and disguise. In their planet of capricious and arbitrary unpredictability, of shifting semiotic and semantic dunes – they perfect the ability to say nothing in lengthy, Castro-like speeches.”

Indeed, the great orator President Obama’s greatest speeches seem to be the ones that hover around saying the least about nothing. The “Audacity of Hope”. “Change We Can Believe In”.

What change? What is changing? Is anything changing other than the guy sitting in the Oval Office, and the rats scurrying amongst the hallowed halls of The White House?

What was the Hope? The hope that Obama would be elected? To what end?

It’s too late to ask these questions, because the deed has been done, and the results we must now all live with, but these would have been good questions to have asked sometime before Election Day in 2008. We as a nation had the audacity to hope for nothing in particular. Of course the answers would not have meant much to all those who superficially chose their president based on the color of his skin, or on the grandiosity of his hollow speeches, because the result would have been the same.

The emptiness of President Obama’s accomplishments prior to arriving in the White House are also a hallmark of the narcissistic personality. Says Vaknin, “The narcissist’s biography sounds unusually rich and complex. His achievements – incommensurate with his age, education, or renown. Yet, his actual condition is evidently and demonstrably incompatible with his claims. Very often, the narcissist lies or his fantasies are easily discernible…The narcissistic leader prefers the sparkle and glamour of well-orchestrated illusions to the tedium and method of real accomplishments. His reign is all smoke and mirrors, devoid of substances, consisting of mere appearances and mass delusions.”

And regarding recent attempts by the Obama Administration to strike back on outspoken dissenting members of the media, according to Viknan, this is also a modus operandi of the narcissist, “The narcissist perceives every disagreement – let alone criticism – coming from people whom he does not consider to be his “peers” (e.g., the media) as nothing short of a threat. He reacts defensively. He becomes indignant, aggressive and cold…He devalues the person who made the disparaging remark. By holding the critic in contempt, by diminishing the stature of the discordant conversant – the narcissist minimises the impact of the disagreement or criticism on himself. This is a defence mechanism known as cognitive dissonance.”

Many leaders of our country have had narcissistic traits, in fact, many would say that a feature of personality that would compel someone into a life of public service would be parts of the narcissistic personality make-up, but the danger comes when we find that we have an empty suit in the drivers seat, that the great man the American Public assumed they were electing into office proves to be wholly inadequate and incapable of bringing about a solution to the growing world crisis. The specter of the “Age of Obama”, as Gwen Ifill has termed our time period, may be a false-shadow that leads to catastrophe.


The Washington Post, The Audacity of Vanity, Charles Krauthammer
The American Thinker, Obama, Oprah, and the Guru: Malignant Narcissism, by Robert Bowie Johnson, Jr.
Barack Obama – Narcissist or Merely Narcissistic?, Dr. Sam Vaknin
Do You Recognize Barack Obama in These Texts?, Dr. Sam Vaknin


(*Originally published March 12, 2009 on the Yahoo Contributor Network)

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