Dear Fellow Voters,
I've been watching all of the presidential candidates with great interest—and deep concern. Concern for us. Concern for the fate of our country. Concern for our world.
As an expert on narcissism, I'm not especially worried that narcissists might make it to the White House. According to research, they've always been there. And that shouldn't scare us anyway, because, just to be clear: Being a narcissist is not a diagnosis. It never has been. Narcissists are people higher in narcissistic traits than the average person, and while they may or may not be disordered, they all share one thing in common: They feel special. Some feel special enough to lead a nation, in fact.
You have the power to shape the future of this country.
Politicians are groomed by us—by our applause, by our polls, by our votes. Whatever you seem to love or hate, they'll embrace or reject. So be careful what you applaud or attack. It matters what they—and all the little future leaders watching them—think you want in a leader.
That's why this isn't another rant about Donald Trump being a narcissist because:
Instead, I offer a guide, based on research, for what keeps leaders healthy, so you can applaud the right behaviors, and, I hope, punish the dangerous ones.
People high in healthy narcissism inspire without undermining. They lead with conviction not cruelty. They bring out the best, not the worst, in the people around them. That's who we need leading the nation.
So here are some dos and don'ts:
It's up to you, America. Narcissists will always be drawn to politics. But you have the power to make sure the narcissist in the Oval Office, or in any other elected office, isn't so addicted to feeling special that they forget the needs of the people who put them there in the first place.
P.S. Don't forget to vote!
Dr. Craig Malkin
Where do you fall in the narcissism spectrum? Too high or too low? Take the narcissism test and find out.
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A version of this post originally appeared on The Huffington Post.
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