The pathology of the dictator's mind(Part I & II)

By Girma Tassew / May 3, 2009
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Let me first recap the Malign narcissistic grandiosity that is characteristic of all dictators and tyrants. Typical symptoms of grandiosity that can be observed in your typical autocratic ruler/megalomaniac like Meles Zenawi are:

The massive turnout of Ethiopians for burial of the legendary Ethiopian singer Tilahun Gessese may have ticked his deranged mind to envy and made him turn to his usual shock tactic and arrests 35 people on fabricated charges.

His narcissistic cruelty can be demonstrated by his use of strong words and phrases intending to govern by fear and intimidation. May 2005 after loosing the election he said: “Anyone to subvert the constitutional order will be crushed in the buds. Once the red line is crossed , the only option we have is to fight and all that happens in such circumstances will happen” This amount to deceleration of war on Ethiopian people who crossed his red line demanding freedom and democracy. Meles didn’t stop at his words, he did kill many and sent thousands to concentration camps.

Let's remember that these tyrants are not psychiatric patients. They do not seek help; nor do they believe that anything is wrong with them. They believe they are entitled to unlimited praise and deference. They believe that their will and their desire is all that is important.

An individual with such psychological characteristics may have had some advantages in rising to power, and his behavior may have been an effective response to some real-life factors, but once he has consolidated his position his reality-testing capacities diminish. Fantasies held in check when his power is limited are apt to become his guides to action. As a consequence, his behavior becomes more erratic, he runs into difficulties in meeting his goals, and his paranoid defenses become more exaggerated. The finale of a tyrant's career depends on the particulars of his political and social situation.

The political and social situation in Ethiopia now is more than favorable to force him to his well deserved narcissistic breakdown. The opposition political parties can play a pivotal role in this process if they just can understand the nature of the beast they are dealing with. First, with regard to a narcissistic it must be remembered that what you are confronting is basically a bully . And a bully will only stop bullying when it is absolutely clear to him that he cannot win. In other words, a show of overwhelming force that is direct, clear and unambiguous is what is needed. If he senses any ambiguity or lack of resolve on the part of the political parties , he will snicker at his cleverness and exploit your indecision to the fullest possible extent as he did on several occasions previously. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior; and Zenawis past behavior gives us nothing much to support optimism that he will suddenly exhibit good behavior`.

Evil must be addressed, head on and relentlessly. If you are unsure about what is and isn’t real evil, you are indeed an idiot or inverted narcissist (= The narcissist willing mate) who helps prolong the suffering of Ethiopian people.

The only cure for malignant narcissist is for him to meet reality he can not fake .Usually the treatment is fatal and the cure is permanent. The reality treatment is best applied by Ethiopians and not by anyone else. Ethiopia desperately needs a democracy which encourages peace,human rights, accountability, economic sanity, respect to creeds, respect for the weak and leadership by peoples choice and not by imposition.

The pathology of the

The past and present dictators like Adolf Hitler ,Saddam Husein , Mugabe and others have a clearly defined psychiatric diagnosis called Malign narcissistic personality disorder. Meles is no different, he has the severest form of this pathological personality disorder.

Spectrum of narcissism can extend from benign form which most of us have (certain degree of self interest is healthy) to a more serious forms of self-obsession including malignant narcissism and psychopathy. Malignant narcissism is high end of narcissistic severity which all dictators share .

Deciding what is normal mental health and what is not is tricky. Sometimes the answer is pretty clear. Individuals like Melees Zenawi, Adolf Hitler, Idi amin, Mugabe and the likes can never be classified as mentally healthy.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is a 2-inch-thick book which classifies and describes more than 300 types of mental disorders. The book, published by the American Psychiatric Association, is used by mental health providers to diagnose everything from anorexia to voyeurism. According to DSM the above individuals fall in the category of mental disorder called Narcissistic personality disorder

The Following are some of the symptoms narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) that can be seen in the the tyrant Melese:

He misrepresents facts, opportunistically shifts positions, ignores data that conflicts with his fantasy world, is overly confident and acts as statesman despite commensurate merits and narcissistic life achievements. Considers himself above the low, displays false modesty while sublimating aggression and grudges. As a narcissist he has the emotional maturity of a child, or even an animal, but the intellect of a man. What makes this guy dangerous is his lack of consciousness combined with his high self-serving intelligence and his superb performance that has fooled and outsmarted many. As a malignant narcissist his survival is dependent upon having control or the perception of control. When the control is challenged , he feels threatened and responds as though his very survival is at stake.

He has surrounded himself with codependents, enablers and followers and if anyone of them challenge his authority he just discards them as they never existed, because the victim only matters in relation to how he can support the grandiosity of the tyrant; beyond that he is faceless nameless and worthless.

Malignant narcissism is a syndrome consisting of a cross breed of the narcissistic personality disorder , the antisocial personality disorder as well as paranoid traits, all of which manifested in our dictator. The sufferer of this disorder is an emotional vampire, cruel and sadistic and enjoys other persons suffering. Most of the serial killers fall in this category.

We should all agree to the idea that those who want to be leaders of any country submit to rigours mental check-ups prior to being trusted as prim minsters or presidents as millions of lives depends on sanity of these leaders.

The writer can be reached at