Kim Jong-Il died on Dec. 17, 2011, ending his brutal reign over North Korea. It was reported that he possibly died of heart attack on an armored train just outside Pyongyang. For years, Kim Jong-Il ruled his country with an iron fist. His personal life was kept under wraps as he lashed out against the United States and its allies and consistently defied sanctions.

What made a man such as Kim Jong-Il rule his country the way he did? How did someone, who appears to be so unstable, control a vast arsenal of nuclear weapons and a country of 25 million people?

It is very unlikely that anyone will be able to get a face to face interview with some of the worst dictators on Earth. However, in 2007, Dr. Fredrick Coolidge and Dr. Daniel Segal attempted to analyze the behavior of Kim Jung-Il and his personality. They recruited experts to help analyze Kim Jong-Il's behavior. They assigned him a numeric score on 1 to 100 scale of 14 personality disorders. 

Personality disorders, Dr. Coolidge tells IBTImes are normal personality traits gone awry. Coolidge created this test originally as a way to study Adolph Hitler and Saddam Hussein. After applying the test to Kim Jong-Il, Coolidge said he discovered that the three dictators, not surprisingly, appeared to exhibit the so-called big six disorders that include being sadistic, antisocial, paranoid, narcissistic, schizoid, and schizotypal.

Below is a list of their full analysis on Kim Jong-Il.

Personality Disorder
































Psychotic Thinking


(Source: Is Kim Jong-il like Saddam Hussein and Adolf Hitler? A personality Disorder Evaluation)

Dr. Coolidge, a psychology professor at the University of Colorado, says that Kim Jong-Il's personality disorders had clear and profound influences on his rule.

It isn't that he is psychotic. It is that his personality is so disordered that he comes to believe he is a divine leader, says Coolidge. He continued to say that it is possible that his narcissism drove him to act so erratically.

The primary feature with narcissism is that they are power-oriented, he said. In fact, he determined that it is extreme narcissistism that drives people into the political realm in the first place.

Dr. Mary Ellen O'Toole is a former FBI Special Agent and criminal profiler. She has studied serial killers and their crimes for nearly three decades. Through interviews and investigations, Dr. O'Toole has an accomplished track record and has worked on some of the most high profile crimes in the country.  Recently, Dr. O'Toole helped give a criminal profile on the Long Island serial killer for IBTimes' Crimes of New York.

Based on his actions, there seems to be a little bit of magical thinking combined with a whole lot of power and authority, says Dr. O'Toole, referring to alleged statements by Kim Jong-Il claiming that he invented the hamburger.  Dr. O'Toole says that based on her observations of Kim Jong-Il, there appears to be an immature ideology combined with being the leader of a potentially lethal society.

Dr. O'Toole seriously questioned the leadership of Kim Jong Il. She wondered how a leader could simply let his people starve.  

Is there a disconnect or profound lack of empathy? she asked.  Are you raised to think people always have what they need? Are you are not getting out and about in the country? She also wondered if the magical thinking was part of being isolated?

Dr. Coolidge suggested that Kim Jong-Il's narcissism allowed him to act violently on his own people without any qualms. Coolidge also suggested that being born into a political elite class only caused to exaccerbate his personality disorders.

Kim Jong-Il was born into fortunate circumstances. Combine that with these personality traits and that's what makes him the 'Great Leader,' he says.

Dr. O'Toole says that these narcissistic tendencies had a major impact on Kim Jong-Il. It was possibly the root cause as to why he made some extremely questionable foreign policy decisions that could have potentially brought his country and several other nations to the brink of another world war.

Kim Jong-il's antisocial features, such as his fearlessness in the face of sanctions and punishment, serve to make negotiations extraordinarily difficult. Even 'submitting to negotiations' makes many antisocial individuals unwilling and hostile, Coolidge and Segal wrote in their analysis. Kim Jong-Il appears to pride himself on North Korea's independence, despite the extreme hardships it appears to place on the North Korean people. This behavior appears to emanate, in large part, from his antisocial personality pattern.

Unfortunately, Dr. Coolidge says that personality disorders are commonly passed down to the second generation.

There is clear evidence that these traits are highly heritable, says Coolidge. His son is very likely to inherit some of the tendencies. However, although it is likely for Kim Jong-Un to inherit personality traits from his father, it is difficult to determine if he will act like his father.

It is a genetic crap-shoot, says Coolidge.

Now that the Leader is dead, however, it is still important to analyze the situation in Korea, notes Dr. O'Toole. There will be power plays being made and it is important to analyze what is going on.

Things are changing behind closed doors, says Dr. O'Toole.  In the next couple of weeks and months, I would expect to see group dynamics change. Dr. O'Toole says it is important to attempt to understand the psyche behind Kim Jong-Un, Kim Jong-Il's heir apparent. She said that, although it appears that Jong-Un and his uncle have the control of the country, the United States must be aware about what is going on. Things change in a heart-beat, especially in a country with nuclear weapons.

It's going to be curious and frightening, she said. Watch, look and listen, because things are going to be changing.