2019: The Year of Narcissism


Him. Photo: Getty

This year has been characterised by a ridiculous amount of public figures- from Trump to Boris to Kanye- making their presences felt in particularly pernicious and divisive ways. The extent of this is global, with far- reaching consequences, from Brexit to claims of omnipotence, to asking for foreign intervention in political campaigns and curbing immigration.

All three of these men are arguably narcissistic.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder, known as NPD as a medical diagnosis, is characterised by the following traits:


Lack of empathy




Poor Boundaries


And so forth: essentially, an inability to relate to others on a purely human level, while simultaneously suffering deep-rooted self-esteem issues.

The recent bizarre behaviour of Trump, increasingly so during the week of his impeachment, has led to medical experts, politicians and even friends questioning not only his sanity, but leadership abilities and whether or not he’s suffering NPD or dementia.

He certainly seems to suffer from the above traits. Recently, he’s shown little to no empathy to the wives and families of fallen congressmen; walked in front of the Queen (!) has tweeted eighty times (!!) during the impeachment announcement and generally shut down naysayers or critics of his term in office, preferring instead to surround himself with braying sycophants.

His parental issues notwithstanding, Donald J Trump is the classic narcissistic personality sufferer, the boy man with poor boundaries who never reached emotional maturity.

Like Arthur Fleck, brilliantly portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix in one of the year’s best films, Joker, something has to give, but to what end? Will we see him sashaying on the steps of the White House to a creepy seventies pop star, or something even more malignant?


An expert on this condition, Dr Ramani Durvasula, has helped me make sense of this, as I’ve wrestled with my own NPD peeps. She specialises in this field and is funny, watchable and outspoken.

Let’s hope 2020 brings public figures more akin to Time’s woman of the year Greta Thunberg, the antithesis of Trump in many ways with her positive climate change activism and gentle, subtle humour. Here is to compassion and respect, in its myriad forms.

For more on NPD, see Dr Ramani Durvasula on the You Tube channel or find her at: 


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