Thursday, February 25, 2016

Presidentiables on the Psychiatrist’s Couch


Six years ago, at the peak of his electoral campaign, Noynoy Aquino found himself tagged as “Noynoy Abnoy” after gossip circulated that he suffered from an alleged mental illness in his teenage years.  Even Miriam Santiago, in her presidential bid 24 years ago, was not spared from a smear campaign taunting her with nicknames such as "Brenda (short for 'brain damage')," "Kring ( short for 'kringkring')" and "Tillie (short for 'tililing'). ”

Presidentiables as neurotics

Personally, I don’t believe that we have to single out Noynoy or Miriam for having an alleged psychological abnormality.  My premise is that ALL presidential wannabes, to some degree, are psychologically abnormal.  Think about this:  It’s difficult enough for anyone to manage one’s own personal, relational, household, and work affairs, so why would anyone even aspire to shoulder the gargantuan task of managing the affairs of an entire nation? 

It implies the presence of a deep psychological void, need, egotism, or compulsion to want to be president of the land.  So whatever you call it- whether it be a messianic complex, Machiavellian complex, Icarus complex, or whatever complex, one certainly has to be neurotic to be a presidentiable.     

Now when I say “psychologically abnormal” or “neurotic,”  I do not mean those terms in a condescending way.  Psychological abnormality, statistically speaking, simply refers to having a mentality which is unlike most people’s.  As for neurosis, it refers to exaggerated traits in one’s personality or character.  

Psychological abnormality and neurosis are technically neutral, and are therefore neither good nor bad.  They are what makes each of us unique individuals.  Psychological abnormality and neurosis, however, turn people into sinners or saints depending on whether they affect others in bad or good ways.  

Common personality disorders among presidentiables

Since psychiatrists and clinical psychologists like me are concerned with human life problems, we do not focus on all types of neuroses but more on the problematic ones.  These problematic neuroses are psychiatrially termed as ‘personality disorders.’  In the case of the presidentiables (of both past and current elections), I have observed 4 personality disorders that are commonly found among them.  They are as follows: 
  1. Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD):  Presidentiables with APD are sociopathic individuals.  They can be charismatic leaders, but underneath their charisma lies a criminally-inclined disposition.  They are con men who engage in deceptive and unlawful behaviors and show no conscience/ remorse for their wrong-doings.  For presidentiables with APD, they are either (1) notorious for graft and corruption, and/or (2) they carry a “bad boy,” "thug," or “macho” image often associated with tough-talk, guns, goons, womanizing, and vices.  Presidentiables with APD have their own warped version of the law based on a poorly developed sense of morality.  They may enforce martial law and practice vigilantism in the belief that the end justifies the means.        
  2. Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD):  Presidentiables with NPD are arrogant, insensitive, and conceited.  They have a strong sense of entitlement and have a strong need to be admired by others.  Because most everyone else is their “underling,” they demand special treatment and blind obedience from them.  When offended, they get enraged and manifest anger management problems.  Since they consider themselves to be special and privileged people, they find it unneccessary to empathize with the feelings and needs of the ordinary person.  Presidentiables with NPD have a “superiority complex.” If they ever do good deeds, it is never out of compassion but a strategy to get admiration from those they help and to force upon them a debt of gratitude.  
  3. Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD):  Presidentiables with OCPD are work horses with a perfectionist streak.  They possess high standards and force those standards upon others.  They prioritize productivity and efficiency at the expense of smooth interpersonal relationships.  Hence, they are perceived as rigid, stubborn, and unfeeling.  They are goal-oriented, organized, and meticulous, and expect others to be the same.  They are “control freaks” and cannot tolerate people who are not as smart, productive, and efficient as them.  Because of their extreme devotion to work, presidentiables with OCPD commonly suffer from burn-out, emotional conditions, and stress-related medical illnesses.  As compared to the APD and NPD, OCPD is apparently the least of the 3 evils.
  4. Mixed Personality Disorder:  Most presidentiables will actually have a hybrid persona composed of the 3 personality disorders mentioned above, in varying degrees. 

The psychological profile of an ideal presidentiable

In light of these personality disorders, the presidentiable with the best psychological profile should have the least trace of antisocial, narcissistic, and obsessive compulsive traits.  In other words, the ideal presidentiable should be:
  • Law-abiding, morally upright, and honest (rather than criminally-inclined)
  • Egalitarian, compassionate, and sensitive to the needs of the people (rather than arrogant, conceited, and insensitive)
  • Goal-oriented and driven, but also flexible and person-oriented (rather than stubborn, rigid, and unfeeling) 

The elections as a personality test

This you ought to know:  Choosing a presidential bet is like taking a personality test.  Whoever you choose as president is either:
  1. A reflection your own personality.  (Ask yourself:  Which traits or attitudes do you share in common with the presidentiable you admire?)  
  2. Or, the antithesis/direct opposite of your personality.  (Ask yourself:  Which traits or attitudes do you admire in your presidential bet that are absent or lacking in yourself?)
Your presidential bet could also be a reflection of your parents (parent figure), or the parents you wish you had.  

As for the presidentiable that you detest, they tell something about your personality, too.  Ask yourself these:  

  • What traits or attitudes don't you like in that presidentiable? 
  • And how much of those traits is actually your own?  

Because truth to tell, what you don't like in others may be the traits you don't like in yourself.  In psychological jargon, this follows the concept known as "projection." That is, we project onto others the despicable traits we have.  Even the Bible mentions that the splinter we notice in another's eye might be a huge log in our own.

Personality is generally stable over time

Thus, in choosing who to vote for, it is best to keep this psychological principle in mind:  The best predictor of how one will be in the future is how he or she has behaved and performed in the past.  Remember that one’s personality- bad traits and character flaws included, remains generally stable and unchanging over time.  Don’t expect the presidentiable to be a better person or leader as president than what he or she currently is. 

So people, let's avoid being emotional and argumentative!  Let's exercise critical thinking!  Let's all vote wisely!

It is said that in a democracy, people get the leaders and government they deserve.  

Knowing that majority of Filipinos are still swayed by paid advertisements, hyped-up promises, manipulated surveys, and bribes, I desperately pray to God Almighty that the presidentiable that wins in 2016 is someone the Philippines DOES NOT deserve!  

(Note 1:  The memes and tables in this blog article
are viral images downloaded from Facebook.)

(Note 2: In this blog article, I carry the perspective of a psychiatrist-
a medical specialist in psychological aberrations. Thus, I chose 
not to elaborate on the presidentiables' strengths and redeeming qualities 
which, needless to say, all of them surely have.)

(Note 3: Please do not ask me for my presidential bet
because I don't want to endorse any.  Currently, even I am at a quandary about 
who to vote. But at this stage of the elections, we don't need to jump the gun.
What's needed is to reflect much and exercise more critical thinking.)

(Note 4: As for the personality disorders, 
sure, I possess some of those traits, too (hopefully, very few traits) 
Bawal magmalinis. After all, we're all human, aren't we?)


  1. OMG sir Randy! I like the Presidential Deathmatch you made. :D

    1. Haha! I wish I made it Korjal Gil, but all the photos in this blog article are viral pics found on the net :D Thanks for visiting :D - Randy :D

  2. This article has opened my mind.

    Thank you so much Dr. Randy

  3. Thank you sir randy finaly an in-depth perception of presidentiable profile through psychological perspective was released! Hehehe

  4. Thanks Dr. Randy for this insightful psychological guide for voting in May 2016! God bless you!

  5. Thanks Dr. Randy for this insightful psychological guide for voting in May 2016! God bless you!

  6. This made my brain cells function at their utmost capacity at this very moment. Should definitely exercise #CriticalThinking. Teehee! Thanks Dr. Randy for this profound article. :)

  7. At least i have a guidelines now on who to vote in 2016... Thanks Dr. Randy... See you sa center...

  8. Dear Admin,
    Humihingi po kami ng kaukulang permiso para gamitin ang litrato/video na sa aming pagkaka alam ay pag-aari ninyo.
    Kami po ay walang kakayahang magbayad. Ang tanging maisusukli namin ay bigyan po kayo ng karampatang kredito para sa inyong likha.
    Ang natukoy na video/litrato ay gagamitin po sa aming programa THE NEXT FACTOR, ang kauna-unahang on line television program para sa netizens ng Pilipinas. Ang programa ay makikita rin sa ilang cable stations sa kanayunan. Sila po ang kaakibat namin sa pagtataguyod ng sari saring talino at likhang Pinoy na matatagpuan sa internet.
    Ikararangal po namin na mapasama ang inyong material sa aming programa. Sakaling kami po ay bibigyan ninyo ng kaukulang permiso, mangyari po lamang na sagutin ninyo ng “Opo. Binigyan ko ng kaukulang permiso ang programang THE NEXT FACTOR para gamitin ang material na tinutukoy dito”.
    Ipadala po ang inyong tugon dito rin sa FB messenger karugtong lang ng mesaheng ito.
    Maraming salamat po sa inyong pagpapa unlak sa aming hangarin.
    Ang materyal na aming tinutokoy ay makikita sa link na ito -