During the past few months — since Trump got elected — I’ve become more judgmental and less trusting. Now it’s true that due to being a victim of narcissistic abuse and suffering from several disorders and C-PTSD due to the abuse I endured, I’ve always been suspicious and hypervigilant of others’ intentions, always assuming the worst, or that they have some hidden agenda. My motto has always been, “if you think the worst will happen, you will never be disappointed and your heart will never be broken. If the worst does happen, you won’t be devastated because you will have expected it.” It seemed foolhardy, even stupid, to be an optimist or expect the best from others. Emotionally, I couldn’t do it anyway.
But that’s a rotten way to live and certainly not a recipe for happiness or even contentment. You walk through life being paranoid and suspicious of everyone all the time, always wondering what others are planning to do to hurt you. You can never attain any semblance of happiness with a mindset like that.
Since I’ve been blogging and been in therapy, and since I’ve become a Christian, this had been improving. I was feeling happier, trusting others a little more, and not always assuming everyone had a knife hidden behind their back. I was beginning to find what I think God’s purpose for me is. I noticed that people were actually treating me better, fewer negative things were happening, and best of all, more positive things were happening. Changing my mindset to a more positive, hopeful one did indeed seem to attract even more positive things in my life. I realized that while it’s perfectly normal and even desirable to acknowledge and express “negative” emotions, that walking around with a perpetual black thunderhead hanging over my head wasn’t helping me or anyone else. It was a defense mechanism that worked in its way, but was never going to allow me to be happy.
Trump got elected just as my SAD was kicking in, and the combination of the two sent me into a depression that seemed as bad as those I had when I was still married to my abusive husband. It got even worse since his inauguration, and the ensuing (and immediate) shitstorm of chaos and fear-mongering that seems to have been unleashed since January 20. It was so triggering for me that I began to distrust almost everyone again, no matter if they were on the right or the left. It seemed as if there were no good people left in the world, and the world itself was going insane. After all, how could a good person vote for such a leader, and yet, here he was. Somehow, evil appeared to have won. I’ve been scanning the news every day like a meerkat scanning the horizon for predators.
But even worse, I’ve become judgmental. I never used to judge others for their political or religious beliefs, even if I disagreed with them. I always believed that people have a right to believe what they believe, for whatever reason, and just because I disagreed with them doesn’t mean they are inherently bad people. But lately, I’ve been adopting a hateful belief that all Trump supporters must be horrible people. This is unlike me, and I knew judging others this way was wrong, but I couldn’t help it. If someone was an asshole to me, even if they were just a driver acting like an asshole on the road, I’d say to myself dismissively, “they must be a Trump supporter.” To my way of thinking, anyone who voted for Trump had to be a “bad person.” Even though I knew several Trump supporters who are actually very kind people, I couldn’t seem to shake the judgmental thinking and stereotyping of Trump supporters as being a bunch of “deplorables.”
Today I was working in the home of an older retired couple who I knew had voted for Trump. They listen to Rush Limbaugh and have a “Make America Great Again” bumper sticker on their SUV. I also knew these were very nice people. The wife, Doris, always has homemade baked goodies, and they always tip. Both are extremely friendly and just seem like good, salt of the earth people. Okay, so I knew intellectually that Trump supporters weren’t all asshats, but I couldn’t accept this on an emotional level. I also haven’t been able to accept on an emotional level that there are ANY really good people left in this country.
Today they proved me wrong on both. The husband, Alan, started asking me questions about my car and then went out to look at it. I thought it was a little odd, but maybe he was just a car buff and curious about my car.
He came back inside and said, “Your tires look like shit.” He knew I was driving to Florida in a few weeks. Somehow I felt on the defensive. I started to explain I intended to get new tires before my road trip, but he interrupted me. “I want to buy you a new set of tires. There’s a tire shop down the road.” Whoa, what? I stood there, my mouth hanging open like a dimwit.
“Oh, no!” I said. “I can’t let you do that.”
“I want to and I will,” Alan said. That was final. He wasn’t giving me a choice. “Wait here a few minutes, it’s just down the road.”
I gave Alan my car keys. I was in shock. I felt like I should offer to pay him back or something, but he wasn’t having it.
When he got back from dropping off the car, Doris and Alan invited me into the kitchen where we sat down and had some cake she had baked and some Cokes. Alan started talking about God. It turned out he’s actually agnostic. He said, “I don’t know if God exists or not, but if He does, then He works through people helping others. I want you to understand why I did this today. Doris and I never had children, and we are retired and comfortable. We’re not going to take all this with us when we die, so we like to help our friends and neighbors when we can.”
Driving home on my four brand new tires, I realized in my heart and not just in my mind, that angels can be found in the most unexpected places. There are genuinely good and even altruistic people left in the world after all, and yes, some of them are even Trump supporters!
We should never judge the hearts of individuals, regardless of their beliefs. We are all brothers and sisters under God.