When egocentricity is wedded to a will to power—as it is in someone like Donald Trump—it provokes a countermovement within the psyche aimed at reining in the ego. The ego is meant to serve the psyche and, specifically, the creative, ordering and healing core of the psyche, what Carl Jung called the Self. But the egocentric ego essentially tries to commandeer the psyche. It attempts to exercise authority over the entire personality.
This can be looked at as a kind of coup attempt by the ego, placing itself over and above the rightful authority of the Self. It is an insurrection, a hostile takeover. But, if achieved, it is also a precarious win, a time-limited pseudo government, for it goes against the natural order of the psyche. It is a violence against the soul. Much like the immune system, which roots out and expunges a foreign bacterium from the body, so the psyche turns against the rogue ego that would subvert the personality to its own, narrow ends.
The psyche has very little patience for the ego that has begun to play God. It will humble and put the errant, inflated ego in its place. Oftentimes the egocentric ego does most of this work itself, for in its arrogance and blind will to power, it makes foolish and short-sighted decisions. (Consider Senator Ted Cruz’s recent Cancun debacle.) In its lust for power, the egocentric ego is deaf to the voice of caution and good judgment. It does not listen and it does not hear any corrective message. It is too confident, or too belligerent, in its own false knowledge to really consider what does not align with its own beliefs, goals or vision.
As the egocentric ego doubles down on its efforts to rule the personality, some predictable scenarios typically play out. For example, paranoia may creep into its thinking. The ego knows that it is no match for the unconscious and that its power is achieved under false pretense. In fear of being overpowered, it multiplies its efforts to control. This is seen in Donald Trump’s firing people on his staff who disagreed with his policies and goals, or who refused to play the game as he wanted it played. He replaced them with people who would cheer on his perspective (i.e., family, corporate buddies and legislative leg-riders).
Sometimes, if the conflict between ego and Self becomes sufficiently intense and the ego is weak, the individual may become psychotic. He may be convinced that the government or others are out to get him. His inner psychology is projected outward onto the world.
The ego that is in a state of severe, or pathological, egocentricity may rely on various defense mechanisms, such as denial, rationalization and projection, to defend itself from discordant or threatening truths. It builds a wall between itself and the unconscious, and between itself and outer naysayers so that it can avoid consciousness of the truth. For Trump, this means calling every inconvenient truth “fake news.”
Finally, the egocentric ego clings to a worldview, a set of goals, lifestyle or value system that has outlived its usefulness and creativity. This is what in Jungian psychology is called the “senex” or “old man/old king” personality. In its effort to preserve itself it resists change and transformation. It resists new life, for the ascension of the new represents the death of the old.
If we now step back and look at these things within the context of Trump’s presidency, especially the last year of it, we can see how the reality of his pathological egocentricity and megalomania has come to be expressed in outer events. For example, of course Donald Trump was focused on building a wall between the United States and Mexico, and of course he instituted travel restrictions on Muslim countries. Foreign people symbolize the unconscious, the unfamiliar, the unknown. Egocentric people build walls within their psyche as a defense against the unknown and they tend to do the same in external reality. Beneath xenophobia is a fear of the unconscious. The wall that Trump built within his own psyche became the wall he strove to build around the United States.
Of course Trump worked to undo the normal checks and balances within government, for the egocentric ego is a dictatorship. It does not want true democracy, inclusion, equality or the sharing of power. It does not want questioning or opposing voices. It wants agreement, compliments and a “yes, sir” attitude. It wants an echo chamber.
Of course division, conflict and violence have come to grip the country. The egocentric person is at odds with himself and engages in violence against his own unconscious and soul. Our society became as polarized as Trump’s personality. His behavior triggered latent conflict within society as a whole, and then fanned the flames of that conflict.
Of course delusional ideas and paranoia took hold and then proliferated within our country (e.g., QAnon), because Trump projected his own evil/darkness onto others. In desperately clinging to the outworn vision of his ruling worldview and conscious identity, he alternately abused, repressed, subverted and exploited the transformative and youthful energy seeking ascendency and recognition within him. (This energy sought to overthrow the old king.) What better outer reflection of his inner psychological state than the literally absurd, but symbolically accurate delusion—projected onto the enemy Democrats—of a covert, deep-state child pornography/slavery cult. Our country came to unconsciously reflect Donald Trump’s repression and exploitation of his own inner child and healthy impulses of transformative renewal.
The next question is, why was, and is, our nation so susceptible to the perverse psychology that is Donald Trump?.....
Copyright © Andy Drymalski, Ed.D. Excerpts may be used provided full and clear credit is given author with link to original article.