A while ago, I noted this based on my experience with a narcissistic boss:
There’s a reason–when you have a narcissist as a boss, you live in a constant environment of lies:
Just like the addict’s primary goal is to get that fix, the narcissist’s primary goal is to maintain the fantasy. They will construct elaborate mechanisms to deny unpleasant realities. Plainly put, they turn everyone around them into liars. You have to lie as a self-defense mechanism in order to fend off and manage the impulsiveness, the bouts of inadequacy, the hare-brained ideas, and the laziness and ineptitude. If you are a reasonably honest person, this is soul-crushing.
From The Atlantic (boldface mine):
But that is not the half of it. Tillerson casually said of Trump in an interview on Meet the Press on Sunday “I have to earn his confidence every day.” One does not earn Donald Trump’s confidence by calmly conveying to him some unpleasant but essential truths. Rather, one earns his confidence by truckling to him, and by lying to everyone else. Now, what Tillerson, Powell, and McMaster said are not quite lies, but they are the kind of parsed half truths that are as bad, and in some cases worse. This is how one’s reputation for veracity is infected by the virulent moral bacteria that cover Donald Trump. Friends will watch, pained and incredulous, as they realize that one simply cannot assume that anything these senior subordinates of the president say is the truth. And having stretched, manipulated, or artfully misrepresented the truth once, these officials will do it again and again. They will be particularly surprised when they learn that most people assume that as trusted subordinates of the president, they lie not as colorfully as he does, but just as routinely. Perhaps the worst will be the moment when these high officials can no longer recognize their own characters for what they once were.
While the damage sociopaths can wreak is part of popular culture, narcissists can be just as psychologically abusive, and, as Cohen notes, in some ways worse, as you willingly participate in your own degradation (by lying).
This leads to an interesting observation–all of these leaks about Il Trumpe’s instability aren’t coming from ‘covert Democrats’ or Obama holdovers, they’re coming from Trump’s own appointees. If you’re wondering why they would do this, well:
When you work in such an environment, you have the desperate need to tell the truth to maintain your own humanity. To survive emotionally in such an environment requires you tell someone the truth. If doing so harms the person who is making you miserable, that’s another benefit.
Again, if you haven’t personally experienced it, it’s hard to explain just how psychologically debilitating surviving a narcissist is.
Here’s the problem Trump is facing, one he hasn’t had to face previously: the people working for him aren’t doing it for money, they’re working for him because they want to do some good (really). You can’t buy them off with a high salary, because that’s not an option in government work. So when they can’t do the things they thought they would be doing (and want to do), there’s no way to placate them. Hence, the leaks.
There will be no balm in Gilead for those sin-sick souls.