Credit: “Woman Warrior”/unknown artist
I’ve hesitated about writing about this because it sounds both a little grandiose and a little woo-woo. But for quite some time now, I’ve believed those of us who were hurt badly and broken emotionally by narcissistic parents, spouses, lovers, or friends — and who were able to rise above that and escape our prison and begin the long healing journey that made us realize exactly what we had been dealing with — have been rewarded with a kind of vision and clarity about the world that the average person who never suffered this kind of abuse doesn’t have privy to.
We have learned — the hard way — how to discern lies from truth, and good from evil, and we are courageous and observant enough to call out lies and evil when we see it. Without the excruciating educations we received years ago, we would not fully understand the spiritual darkness that undergirds what has happened in our country now. We have developed emotional armor and X-ray vision that keeps us from being taken in by the lies and the manipulation and the coldhearted evil of the cabal of bullies and sociopaths who have hijacked our once-benevolent though never perfect nation.
Trump isn’t the problem. He is merely a huge mirror reflecting back to us our own darkness as a people: greed, avarice, lack of empathy for the most vulnerable among us, and massive-scale narcissism. Carl Jung would call this our shadow. Trump is really doing us a great service by showing us what we became – but that still doesn’t mean he’s not a grave danger. We must be on our guard.
The problem in America didn’t start with Donald Trump. It has existed for decades, starting with Reagan’s feel-good rhetoric about self sufficiency, positive thinking, and bootstrap-pulling. It was seductive and happy rhetoric, but was also a slippery slope that led to the jettisoning of empathy and eventual scapegoating of the most vulnerable. Soon we were placing the blame for all the nation’s ills on our most vulnerable citizens, deriding fictional “welfare queens” (always imagined as black or Hispanic, even though most people on welfare were actually white), poor single mothers, and the LGBTQ community and their non-existent “war on family values.” The list of the nations’ scapegoats who were blamed for the bad economy and everything else that went wrong soon expanded to the working poor, the addicted, the middle class, non-Christians (especially Muslims), and in the last stages of our national sickness, even to the disabled, elderly, chronically ill, liberals, and even children. Why? Because we are all “takers,” “parasites,” and “worthless non-producers.” We all became scapegoats of this soulless cabal of wealthy grifters, liars, narcissists and criminals and we are at the moment at their mercy — of which they have none.
Along with this divide and conquer strategy of separating and fomenting hatred between the “winners” and the “losers” and the wholesale scapegoating of the “least among us” came deregulation (the dismantling of laws that protect us from corporate exploitation and environmental hazards), more and bigger tax breaks to the most wealthy and powerful at the expense of the poorest and weakest citizens, the naming of soulless corporations as “people,” billions of dollars given to fund the prison-industrial complex instead of college grants and money for schools, the denial of both climate change and science itself, the beginnings of voter suppression, gerrymandering districts, rich donors like the Kochs and Mercers using their vast wealth to ensure a Republican takeover, more and harsher prison sentences for minor drug offenders (mostly poor or of color) at the same time defunding rehabilitation and mental health programs that could help those with addictions.
All this evil was done with the blessing of the Christian Right, a loosely organized group of evangelical and fundamentalist churches and religious groups that believe in a strict, legalistic, authoritarian brand of dominionist, Calvinist Christianity based on the Old Testament (rather than the Gospels), whose doctrine teaches the prosperity gospel: the unbiblical idea that unlimited power and wealth are bestowed on the most righteous (God’s elect) and the rest of us are weak, sick, disabled, powerless, and lack wealth because we are somehow morally lacking and therefore deserve our sorry lot. Like all narcissists, they blame the victims. These fake Christians self righteously proclaim we only need to be “saved” and the riches and health will come, as if God is a cosmic lottery machine. And they call us the elitists! This is spiritual abuse.
But all this is nothing new. It’s been going on for decades. It’s only worse under Trump because we finally reached the point where we were ready for someone like him to rise to power. He’s like the nasty boil that erupts that makes it no longer possible to deny there’s a serious underlying infection (and yet many still deny the infection in spite of clear evidence right in front of them).
We got what we deserved, and Trump is only mirroring back to us our national sickness. The sickness I speak of is pathological narcissism on a national scale, which perhaps began as the result of too much pride following our WWII victory. Even as far back as the sixties, there were glimmerings of what was to come, but it was only seen in what was once dismissed as “the loony fringe.” It didn’t really begin to come into its own until the 1980s and the era of deregulation and tax cuts for social programs, tax breaks for the powerful CEOs and corporations, and the aggressive union-busting that went along with that (the last bastion of protection for the working class).
My point is this. All the traits of pathological narcissism we know well from our own toxic families are now writ large on the national scale. We survivors have been schooled in how this illness works and what it does to individuals and to families. Now we are seeing what it does to an entire country. America is a huge dysfunctional family, with narcissistic parents (the president and his underlings) who shower gifts (but never love) on their golden children (the wealthy and powerful and white and those who make them look good) while shaming, scapegoating, smearing, and threatening to punish (by taking away healthcare, education, regulations that protect us, and clean air and water) those who are different, don’t make them look good, call them out on their hypocrisy and lies, or dare to blow whistles on them. They gaslight us by calling what we know to be true ‘fake news.’ Scapegoated children are always silenced, but we won’t be silenced, just like our own narcissistic families failed to silence us. Instead, they trained us. They were our harsh teachers. We told the truth about their toxic behavior and emotional abuse, and made our own way in the world anyway, even though we might have lost our families’ blessings, money, or their fake love.
I don’t think there’s any coincidence that the great army of us who discovered that our own brokenness was a result of narcissistic abuse came about a mere ten or twenty years before this conscienceless, sociopathic cabal of self serving narcissists, con artists, criminals, and their flying monkeys (enablers and sycophants) rose to take power over our nation and maybe the world. I truly believe that as painful and unfair as our suffering was, if we were able to recognize it for what it was and escape from it, we are the ones with the right sort of training and emotional resilience to lead the fight against the darkness that is threatening to destroy the world. It’s a kind of holy war, but it has nothing to do with religion. It has to do with good versus evil, and because we got to see firsthand in our own families of origin (or our abusive marriages or other close relationships) how damaging and pernicious this type of evil can be, we have a huge advantage over most of seeing through to the truth of things (and where there is truth, there is goodness and justice). We have to be careful not to let this knowledge go to our heads or become arrogant about it, because that itself can lead to its own form of narcissism and defeat our goal of returning goodness, love, and caring to the world. I don’t think it’s too late. Because there are no coincidences, I think there was a reason we got the harsh preparation we did (most often, we were the truth tellers, the most vulnerable, and the most emotionally healthy people in our own families), and the time has come to put our hard won skills and our capacity for empathizing with the underdog to use.
As for people who endured narcissistic abuse and are aware they did, but who still support this president and his dangerous and heartless policies (unbelievably, some of these folks completely deny his narcissism), I believe most of them are suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, in which they are still identifying with their abuser unconsciously and still haven’t completely come to terms with their own anger and shame. I can only hope and pray they see the truth and join us in the fight.
I want to post a long comment from a reader of the N-Continuum, a better than average blog about narcissism and narcissistic abuse. Pay attention to the way this reader (who is a survivor of narcissistic abuse) makes excuses for Trump (I have bolded the more outrageous assertions) and completely denies his obvious narcissism (calling it “healthy narcissism,” LOL). S/he also buys into the delusion that Hillary Clinton was a far more dangerous narcissist (a common sentiment among Trumpsters), that Trump’s decision to back out of the Paris Agreement was a good thing, and that climate change is a hoax:
It’s so interesting that Hillary is displaying many signs of NPD post election. She is too angry to hide it. Her latest interviews are full of delusions and blame towards others. Even the interviewers are scratching their heads.
Those that know her want her to stop talking and also are revealing she has never admitted to failure on any count in her entire life. It’s all out there on youtube, even left wing media (which is most) are looking embarrassed.
I have still only seen Trump doing his best for American citizens, constantly under fire by manufactured “scandals” 7 days a week. All of which amount to nothing.
A little information for those that don’t know. Trump has been very interested in and commenting on politics plus has been considering running for 25 years. He didn’t just suddenly change.
That Travelgate debacle Hilary was involved in was black hearted. Really nasty, accusing the guy that worked at the WH travel agency of embezzlement because he wouldn’t use her friend’s charter service for general contracting. She could have just fired him, but no, she made a false accusation. This is all on record. He had to go through the court system and was found innocent. This is the kind of thing a toxic narcissist does. Her false statement is officially called False by the courts. This is just one shady truth about H.
I don’t think people should say Trumpers have diseased brains (Silver) or they are uneducated, have the wrong life experience, are “just seeing what they want to see”. Maybe none of this is correct and those that think Trump is a narcissist is wrong? anyone on here consider that?
I still have heard and seen nothing in particular that suggests he has NPD. I see healthy narcissism but not NPD.
I ask this question of people at the Forum and none are given. It is always the immediate leap (conflation) to full blown NPD with nothing offering the bridge to this OBVIOUS CONCLUSION that everyone on here seems to agree with.
Can someone point out just ONE thing that would tick the NPD box please? just one? besides being a bit sexist and rude on occasion? The “experts say” thing just isn’t it. Experts say “these pants will make you thin” also. Experts can be bought, can be partisan. Trump is so dividing people are abandoning their own principals to announce him NPD.
He is doing his best to keep his promises. Does anyone watch his speeches? his exiting the Paris Agreement speech today was full of heart and real concern, he picked through the layers of concern. He isn’t lying. What does he have to gain? money? power? he already had that, he didn’t need to be POTUS. Could it be he wants to help?
If he HAD stayed in the agreement the media would have said he broke his promise. Instead the news tonight opened with calving icebergs at the top of the hour. . . . disaster, the world is ending.
Actually we are in a normal interglacial period and return to an ice age is more likely. Anyone else notice “global warming” has become climate change? (so if it gets colder it’s still “correct”).
In a later comment, this commenter reveals that she has recently become “born again” and realized that God has deemed that men should have dominion over women. Perhaps it’s simply sexism that causes some religious Trumpsters to hate Hillary so much? Because she’s one of those “uppity women” that upsets the patriarchal apple cart of white Christian male supremacy? Does this abuse survivor really think an abusive narcissistic husband is in his right by abusing his woman, just because he has God’s blessing to do so? One has to wonder.
Here is a PDF article I just read that has a similar message to mine: the idea that survivors of narcissistic abuse have a special role in helping to guide the nation through this dangerous historical minefield. It’s definitely worth a read.