The Difficult Choice Between Narcissism And Habitual Lying In 2016

While I have never met the two people currently vying for President of the United States of America and don't tend to get involved with politics, as a national radio show host who regularly speaks with people whose lives have been destroyed or decimated by a narcissist or a compulsive liar, I am fascinated by some of the characteristics I have seen on display by Donald J. Trump and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Let me be clear, I cannot give a clinical diagnosis to Trump and Clinton. I can only speak from what I have seen in media reports regarding the two candidates compared to what I know seems to be true of psychological disorders.

Diagnosed narcissists want you to believe it is all about "Me!" They spend almost every waking hour trying to convince anyone who will listen that the key to life and an amazing future is found "right here in me! Me! Me! Me!"

On the other hand, the habitual liar does the opposite. They repeat over and over their mantra of "Not Me!" When asked about an indisputable distortion of the truth, they deny no matter how obvious the big lie. "Not Me! Not Me! Not Me!" is the reflexive response to being asked if they lied and even when shown that they lied.

Narcissists act on a stage with obvious displays of an egocentric reality and must be at the center of it all, whereas compulsive liars act on a stage that distorts reality and must be believed above all.

And with the Time Magazine Cover that was just released, there can probably be no worse fear than for Me! to see his own image distorted and melting.

Neither a narcissist nor compulsive liar shares your pain. The narcissist does not feel your pain because there is no ability to empathize. The compulsive liar does not feel pain over deceiving you. All that matters for a compulsive liar is self-preservation and maintaining status and position that has become an entitlement to be secured. Deception becomes a tool "for the greater good."

The motives of each of these are quite different. A narcissist instantly feels entitled to do or say whatever defends his or her honor even when silence is the much better choice. A compulsive liar constantly feels entitled to tell you what he or she thinks you need to believe in order to maintain status. Both believe they know better than everyone and both put themselves before everyone else.

Both do good but one leaves a trail of destruction of hurt feelings and a lack of concern over the impact of decisions made at the top while the other leaves a trail of deception that becomes more and more destructive, as power and position become stronger.

Both may also accomplish some great things for you but neither has you in mind at the core of their motivation. Both are a risk.

Given these known characteristics of clinical narcissists and compulsive liars, the argument could be made this is the choice the American people will need to make in November when choosing our president. Will we vote for a possible narcissist - Trump, who holds daily press conferences, makes salacious comments on Twitter, and conducts interviews where anyone can ask anything - or a possible compulsive liar - Clinton, who avoids the media spotlight for as long as possible because each instance requires denial of the truth, dancing around the truth and even denigrating those who know the truth and are bold enough confront her with it?

Anytime you have to decide between a narcissist or a compulsive liar the most common impulse is to choose neither. Voting for neither may be the most comfortable choice but it is the wrong choice. It allows someone else to decide for you. It is a withdrawal from the democratic process that depends on people voting their choice or at least voting for the least destructive person.

If the most helpful thing you can do is vote for the lesser of two evils, then vote for the lessor. Sometimes the democratic process calls for us to vote against and not for.

Only a qualified, professional examination and diagnosis would we be able to determine if Trump and Clinton truly embody these conditions, but in going to the polls, I think we need to ultimately consider the character of our current candidates before making our choice.

Stephen Arterburn M. Ed, is a best-selling author with over 10 million books in print. His newest book, Take Your Life Back releases in October of 2016. He is also host of "New Life Live" and creator of the Women of Faith Conferences attended by more than 5 million women.