Projection and Trump’s snake story.

thesnake

When someone shows you who they are, believe them.
— Maya Angelou

 

Several times at his rallies, Donald Trump has done something out of character — he has delved into literature to make a point, specifically poetry.  Ironically, the poem Trump has chosen to recite to refer to the immigrants he dislikes so much was written by a black 1960s soul singer and social activist, Oscar Brown Jr.

The other day, in front of the White House lawn, a huge crowd of supporters gathered,  and once again, Trump recited the words of “The Snake:”

On her way to work one morning

Down the path alongside the lake

A tender-hearted woman saw a poor half-frozen snake

His pretty colored skin had been all frosted with the dew

“Oh well,” she cried, “I’ll take you in and I’ll take care of you”

“Take me in oh tender woman

Take me in, for heaven’s sake

Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake

She wrapped him up all cozy in a curvature of silk

And then laid him by the fireside with some honey and some milk 

Now she hurried home from work that night as soon as she arrived 

She found that pretty snake she’d taken in had been revived

“Take me in, oh tender woman 

Take me in, for heaven’s sake

Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake

Now she clutched him to her bosom, “You’re so beautiful,” she cried

“But if I hadn’t brought you in by now you might have died”

Now she stroked his pretty skin and then she kissed and held him tight 

But instead of saying thanks, that snake gave her a vicious bite

“Take me in, oh tender woman 

Take me in, for heaven’s sake

Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake

“I saved you,” cried that woman

“And you’ve bit me even, why?

You know your bite is poisonous and now I’m going to die”

“Oh shut up, silly woman,” said the reptile with a grin 

“You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in 

”Take me in, oh tender woman 

Take me in, for heaven’s sake

Take me in oh tender woman,“ sighed the snake 

To those of us who have a knowledge of malignant narcissism and have connected that to Donald Trump’s poisonous character, the snake he refers to here isn’t actually the immigrants he so despises — it’s himself.    The “tender-hearted woman” who took him in are his gullible supporters, who “took him in” and continue to support him, even though his policies will hurt them too.

Donald Trump is the snake, and he knows it.   In almost everything he says and does, he reveals who he is.   This is a psychological defense mechanism known as projection, which is really a form of gaslighting.   It’s also sometimes known as blame-shifting.

Pay attention not to who he demonizes and blames, for that is not the real message he is sending, but to what he is blaming them for.   His negative projections onto others are code (probably unconscious) for what he himself is doing or feeling.   In that sense, he is very transparent and doing us a huge service by warning us how dangerous he is.   There are so many examples of him doing this I won’t even list them all here.

All malignant narcissists project, and once you’re aware of it, you can’t miss it.   A narcissist always reveals himself or herself through the blame they try to shift onto others.  Whenever a narcissist starts pointing fingers, listen to the words they use and then put the narcissist in the place of the person or group they are projecting onto, and you will learn the truth about who they are.   It’s a very handy skill.

 

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The most effective defense against gaslighting.

bytheirfruits

Narcissists and sociopaths not only try to make you think you are insane, they can literally drive you insane.   They do this most effectively and insidiously through gaslighting, a method of mental manipulation in which you are made to doubt or question reality or told your feelings are invalid.   This occurs on a personal level with narcissistic people and extends today all the way up to the national and political level. It is always extremely damaging.  People who are constantly gaslighted by a narcissist or sociopath often develop PTSD or Complex PTSD (C-PTSD).

Examples of gaslighting in relationships:

“I was joking. Stop being so sensitive.”

“That’s not what I said.” (when they definitely have said it).

“You are imagining things.”

“It never happened.”

Trump gaslights his political rivals, his enemies, and the entire country on a daily basis.   I can’t and won’t attempt to list all the examples, but his Twitter account is a treasure trove of gaslighting if you can stomach it.   Perhaps the most egregious example to date is his recent denial of the Access Hollywood tape where he now denies he ever said he could “grab women by the pussy.”  Another good recent example is Roy Moore (who I believe is as sociopathic as Trump) justifying his pedophilia by comparing himself to Jesus being persecuted — he is pinning the blame on the truth-tellers (projection and blame shifting) and denying reality (gaslighting) at the same time.

When our own reality is questioned or denied, or when actual events are called “fake news” and the free press “the enemy of the people,” it’s not uncommon for us to begin to question the truth itself.   You begin to think that maybe, just maybe, the gaslighter is actually the one telling the truth and you are just nuts (which the gaslighter will happily confirm).

My favorite Bible verse ever is this one, from Matthew 7:15-20 (New Living Translation) because it’s so useful in gaslighting situations.

Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.  You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit.  A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit.  So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.

When a gaslighter makes you question the truth or wonder if your honest feelings are invalid, I’ve found this verse stops any doubt I’m having and calls out the abuser for the liar they really are at the same time.   Look at what the person is producing.    If they’re creating nothing but chaos, destruction, fear, and misery, if they’re sowing discord instead of unity,  if they always break their promises,  don’t believe anything they tell you.    They are lying and will never produce any good fruit, no matter what they might want you to believe.

Narcissistic abuse in Trumpistan.

Much has been written about Trump’s toxic psychology, specifically his malignant narcissism.  In spite of The Goldwater Rule (an agreement between mental health professionals to never diagnose someone they have not evaluated), so egregious is 45’s bad behavior that thousands of mental health professionals are breaking their own rule and speculating that he does indeed suffer from both Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Psychopathy/Antisocial Personality Disorder (the non-clinical term is “malignant narcissism” when both disorders appear together).

But the problem isn’t limited to Trump.  Our “president”  (I’m sorry, but I refuse to refer to him as president without adding scare quotes for irony) has surrounded himself with a cabinet full of people as entitled-acting and seemingly lacking in human empathy and devoid of conscience as he is.   If they are not sociopathic themselves, they are enabling cowards who keep making excuses for Trump’s horrible behavior and the toxic, abusive things he says.   Some seem like programmed robots with no minds of their own, and others actually seem terrified to ever criticize or disobey him.

As for Trump’s pathologically loyal supporters, they really do seem unreachable.   No amount of logic, facts, reason, or even appealing emotionally to their “better angels” seem to move them.   Like Manson’s young followers who continued to defend Manson’s evil behavior and insane beliefs even to the point where they were willing to murder on his behalf, to his supporters, Trump really could “shoot someone on 5th Avenue” and they would not budge from his side.    When presented with facts — even outright proof that their views are wrong — I’ve noticed a tendency for Trump supporters to double down on their pro-Trump beliefs (for example, if science has found that climate change is real, they will tell you that scientists are liars or are misinformed).   Much more so than his opponents, Trump supporters seem to resort to personal attacks or angry outbursts, and, when that fails, they will cut you off from further discussion, even blocking you on social media so they don’t have to engage with you further or have their views challenged.

There’s two other situations in which you see this unholy trinity of egotistic authoritarian leader, sociopathic or sycophantic lackeys and enablers, and followers who seem to have no ability to think or act for themselves:  in religious cults and in political dictatorships.   Trumpism resembles a cult, and in fact it is one.   Trump uses the same Machiavellian mind control tactics on his followers and those who carry out his bidding that cult leaders and dictators do.

I do believe we are being tested, and Trump is the logical conclusion of where we’ve been headed since at least the 1970s.   His election signals that we have reached rock bottom and are being forced to be accountable — or self-destruct.   If we are being tested, then it follows there is a solution, but it’s imperative that we do not allow ourselves to ever normalize what is happening or become so beaten down emotionally, mentally, and spiritually that we feel like there’s nothing we can do and succumb to the abuse — and yes, it is abuse.

The first step in fighting encroaching totalitarianism (let’s not mince words here because that’s exactly what this administration wants to install in place of democracy) is knowing the nature of the beast that threatens us, but to do that, we need to name it.

This is narcissistic abuse.   It’s just as incapacitating, soul-destroying, creativity crushing, sickness-engendering, trauma-inducing, and crazy-making as the kind wrought on us by malignantly narcissistic parents, teachers, “friends,” relatives, lovers, and spouses.

But it’s a lot worse than that.   It’s worse because it’s narcissistic abuse on a massive, nationwide, possibly worldwide scale.   Unlike a toxic family or workplace or marriage, it’s a lot harder to go No Contact when the leader of your country is an abuser.   In fact, going No Contact may not even be possible, should WWIII, enslavement, or internment in modern day concentration camps come to pass.  This is not hyperbole or conspiracy theory:   if things are allowed to continue the way they have been going since January,  a high-tech feudalism, modern day replay of Nazi Germany, or even a Christian Taliban with Old Testament law replacing the Constitution will be our new reality.

Because what we are enduring is narcissistic abuse writ large, the same terminology and lingo used by narcissistic abuse survivors to refer to abusive parents, coworkers, lovers, friends, bosses and spouses certainly applies here as well.

So I’m going to present some of these narcissistic abuse terms, define them for those who aren’t familiar with what they mean, and use examples of how they are being used by this administration in their attempts to control us, beat us down, and eventually destroy us.

Gaslighting.

Gaslighting is probably the most well-known term used by narcissistic abuse survivors, and can now be seen in many articles about Trump as well.   The term “gaslight” is taken from the 1942 psychological thriller of the same name, in which an abusive, sociopathic husband attempts to make his wife believe she is going insane by telling her she is imagining noises in the attic, the gaslights in the house going on and off by themselves, etc. when he is actually the one doing it without her knowledge.    Gaslighting someone is an insidious and cruel mind control technique intended to make the other person question their own observations and beliefs, and even reality itself.

Trump gaslights us all every day through his demonization of the press (it’s all “fake news” and journalists are “enemies of the people”),  liberals and Democrats, people who refuse to give him the worship he craves, and the truth itself, which he insists is a bunch of lies made up by the “lying media.”   Hitler did the same thing, calling the media “lugenpresse,” which literally means “fake news.”    He gaslights us by telling us that his abusive words and rhetoric are just “honesty” and that “political correctness” (avoiding abusive language and unfair policies) is the real evil that must be done away with.   The intention is to wear those of us who value the truth down mentally and emotionally, while at the same time normalizing and encouraging those who pacify him and believe or deny his lies.

Divide and Conquer.

Divide and Conquer is a technique in which a cult leader or other sociopath in a powerful position deliberately sets people or groups against one another, the end result being that once a large group is fighting among themselves, they are easier to control or unleash abuse on without them really being aware of what is really happening.

Divide and Conquer can be seen in this administration, in which Trump encourages aggressive and violent behavior by the supporters who attend his rallies against reporters, people of color, and non-supporters who disagree with Trump or his policies.

Language is a powerful tool and Trump uses it to divide and conquer.   Non-whites, Mexicans, Muslims, Democrats, and other groups Trump dislikes are dehumanized through language which normalizes aggression and violence against them.   “Rough them up,” he says when speaking about reporters, and then later defends himself by saying he’s “joking” (which is a form of gaslighting).    No other president has ever used language so destructively to deliberately encourage hatred and division, but it’s common among sociopaths and malignant narcissists like Trump.   It foments hatred among his supporters against “the Other,” and they begin to normalize aggression and violence, even acting out on it or threatening civil war against Trump’s enemies, since Trump seems to think it’s okay.    When a nation is divided in this manner, they are weakened and less unified, and thus easier to control and terrorize.

Projection.

Malignant narcissists have extremely fragile egos, and therefore cannot tolerate any criticism.  Deep inside they are actually painfully aware of where they fall short, but this will never enter their consciousness. Should you ever call them out on their faults, be prepared for them to retaliate against you or target you for abuse.    To defend against the knowledge of their own faults coming to awareness (thus destroying their image of themselves as perfect), they will project their worst traits onto others rather than admitting any fault in themselves.  The fact that they have an uncanny way of blaming others for the very things they themselves do indicates that subconsciously, they know where they fall short.

Trump’s projection onto others is most obvious in his tweets, in which he regularly blames others for things he himself is doing, or accuses others of having character traits he himself possesses.   Thus,  it’s others who are weak, who are obstructionists, who lie, who are “very bad people,” who are disloyal, who are not nice, or are “bad hombres” — never him.

Flying Monkeys.

Flying monkeys is another term borrowed from the movies — in this case, “The Wizard of Oz.”   When the Wicked Witch tried to keep Dorothy from getting to Oz by targeting her for torture and death, she enlisted the help of an army of flying monkeys to do her bidding.  At the end, after Dorothy accidentally killed the Witch, we finally found out the flying monkeys were really the Witch’s slaves and were actually grateful to Dorothy for freeing them.   In real life, flying monkeys may be lesser narcissists, or just normal but weak-willed people who are codependent to the abusive leader and become the leader’s enablers and cheerleaders.  Sometimes they are not aware they are being used as flying monkeys, especially if the leader has convinced them that the targeted person or group is the real enemy and they are the ones being victimized (see DARVO, below).

Trump uses his cabinet members, his family members, and his supporters, including the people who attend his rallies, as flying monkeys to normalize and defend his hateful rhetoric and policies that will hurt the rest of us, including the flying monkeys themselves, who seem like they’re brainwashed.   This was already discussed in the second paragraph of this post, so I won’t go into more detail here.

DARVO

DARVO is an acronym that stands for Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender.    It’s common for narcissists to deny saying or doing something, but then attack YOU for accusing them, thus making themselves out to be the victim, and YOU as the one who is doing the abusing.  It’s a form of both gaslighting and projection, with the added technique of feigning victimization to garner pity and support.

Trump is always playing the victim, complaining about how it’s always others who are obstructing him or lying about him, or who want to take him down.   One of the most infamous examples to date is when he addressed a graduating class of the Coast Guard and proceeded to whine about how he was the most persecuted politician in the history of our nation.   By making himself out to be the ultimate victim (and of course making everything about him and ruining these graduates’ special day), he also diminished the experiences of other politicians, war heroes, and former presidents who had suffered far worse.

Scapegoating.

This term is self-explanatory.  It comes from the field of family dynamics.  Malignant narcissists (and sometimes substance abusers such as alcoholics, who tend to have Cluster B disorders) almost always select a scapegoat to project the lion’s share of blame onto and thus the scapegoat becomes the designated carrier of toxic shame that the narcissist refuses to own.  In a family headed by one or more narcissistic parents, one child may be selected to be the family scapegoat.  That child is blamed for everything that goes wrong in the family, and is told repeatedly they are stupid, worthless, evil, ugly, crazy, or bad.  They are punished more than the other children, even when they did nothing wrong.  Their achievements are dismissed or even treated as something bad that must be punished. The scapegoat may also be bullied and abused by siblings, who act as the parent’s flying monkey(s).   A scapegoated child tends to enter adulthood with depression, low self esteem, a pervading sense of danger, and other psychological problems that tend to reinforce their role as scapegoats even as they move beyond the family.   Because scapegoats aren’t quick to defend themselves, are fearful and lack self esteem,  predatory personalities seem to be able to smell them out and proceed to dish further abuse and rejection on them.

Scapegoats are usually the most physically or emotionally vulnerable, the most sensitive, or most thoughtful individuals in a toxic family or other group, and/or they are the whistle-blowers or the truth-tellers who refuse to become flying monkeys or enablers of the narcissist.   Ironically, in a toxic family, they may be the most emotionally healthy individuals.   Malignant narcissist parents or other leaders wish to silence anyone who tells the truth or blows the whistle — or who is a constant reminder to them of how dangerous and toxic they really are.    Narcissists hate the “weak” and vulnerable, and they also hate those who tell the truth and expose them for what they are.     They may also scapegoat those who disagree with them or criticize them.

Every week, it seems that Trump has a new scapegoat.   While mainstream or liberal reporters and journalists (the truth tellers and whistle blowers) and groups of people who are not white, male and Christian seem to receive the lion’s share of his abuse and vilification, from week to week, Trump also targets a new individual — almost always someone who he perceives as being critical of him or obstructing his harebrained and wrongheaded policies.   Obama is a constant target, since his very existence threatens his fragile ego  (it’s obvious to me Trump hates Obama for having the temerity to be both more popular than he is and black), but he has also targeted Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, and John McCain, as well as former and current insiders like Sean Spicer, Mitch McConnell, James Comey, and Jeff Sessions for abuse, which he usually metes out on Twitter.

Blame-Shifting.

Similar to projection and DARVO, blame-shifting is when a narcissist or sociopathic person refuses to accept or own blame and instead shifts responsibility onto someone else.    Malignant narcissists will never ever admit wrongdoing or say they’re sorry, because to do so is admission that they are less than perfect and that is intolerable to them.    The abusive husband who makes excuses for beating his wife (“she asked for it because of her nonstop nagging”) is shifting blame onto his wife instead of owning the fact that beating her was wrong.

Trump is constantly shifting blame to others.   Not once during his entire 8 months in office has he ever apologized or said he’s sorry for anything.   He’s made a lot of mistakes, some pretty terrible — but it’s always someone else’s fault.     When his unpopular and unconstitutional policies fail to pass, it’s never his fault — it’s always the “Obstructionist Dems,” Mitch McConnell, the “FAKE NEWS” lying to the people, or whoever the villain of the day happens to be.   He even makes excuses for the deplorable behavior of some of his white supremacist supporters, as he did when he said there was violence on both sides in Charlottesville — which there wasn’t.   In so doing, he also sent a clear signal to his white supremacist and neo-Nazi supporters that Trump was okay with their particular form of terrorism (running a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a young woman).

Splitting.

People with Cluster B disorders tend to think in terms of black-and-white, us-versus-them. There are NO shades of grey, NO mitigating circumstances, NO ambiguities.  If a malignant narcissist has decided you are “bad,” there is NOTHING good about you.  You might as well be Satan himself.   If you have been labeled crazy, you are a word salad blabbering lunatic fit to be put in a straitjacket and locked up in the loony bin until the day you die.    If you have been deemed an enemy, you can NEVER become a friend, nor do you have ANY redeeming qualities.   Since you will inevitably disappoint the malignant narcissist, eventually he will turn harshly against you.

This is called splitting, and Trump does it all the time.   Trump is incapable of seeing how complex people are, because he has zero insight into himself or any curiosity about human nature.   If someone insults him, they couldn’t just be having a bad day, because Trump lacks the empathy to be able to put himself in someone else’s shoes.   He would never consider that they might be right, either, because doing so would be intolerable to him.    Insult Trump and you become the Enemy — fair game for dehumanization, vilification, and retaliatory abuse.   There is no in between.  If you are not loyal to him, you are Other — and Other is always very bad.

Devalue and Discard (D&D)

After a period of love-bombing (see below), in which you are the most perfect, wonderful, loyal friend or ally ever (because to the narcissist, you are either ALL good or ALL bad),   you will inevitably (because you aren’t perfect) do or say something that hurts the narcissist’s feelings or causes him narcissistic injury.  Once that has happened, they will turn on you like a pit viper and will proceed to make your life hell.   In relationships, this may be the point at which the person who yesterday showered you with roses, candlelit dinners, and love letters now refuses to take your calls and blocks you on Facebook.

Trump has done this with many of his staff members, who were once confidantes and allies, and who he now attacks and vilifies because they failed to be “loyal” to him or were critical of him in some way. To Trump, other people are objects to be used or to provide narcissistic supply (worship and adulation), not imperfect human beings with both good and bad points.

Love-Bombing.

This is the initial phase of a relationship with a narcissist, in which you are the most perfect person in the world, but really you are just a mirror reflecting back to them what they want to see in themselves.  Once that image is tarnished (because you found fault with the narcissist), the abuse and/or devaluation begins.

Trump employed love-bombing during his campaign, when he made all kinds of promises that “only he” could fix.  He promised “healthcare for everybody” when his real agenda was to give a huge tax break to the wealthy while taking healthcare away from the most vulnerable, which included many of his own supporters.   He promised lots of new manufacturing jobs, a border wall that “the Mexicans would pay for,” and all sorts of other things that he had no intention — or capability — of turning into reality.  The only thing he’s kept his promise on is his neverending war on political correctness, but that’s turned into a war on anyone who dares criticize or question him.

Narcissistic Injury/Narcissistic Rage.

When you point out a narcissist’s faults or failures, he will enter a state of narcissistic injury — which means he is suffering a massive blow to his ego.  Most people, when hurt, have a healthy enough sense of self that they will deal with the emotional blow honestly — by talking about it, admitting their feelings were hurt, making a joke about it, or just telling themselves it really doesn’t matter and trying to move on from it.   But a malignant narcissist is incapable of making a joke or moving on or God forbid, admitting their own vulnerability.  Because their sense of self is so fragile (and is really just an overlay for the emptiness within), the only way they can feel good about themselves again is to attack you and deflect blame.   This is called narcissistic rage.   Narcissistic rage can take many forms:  gaslighting, outright verbal or physical abuse, threats, triangulation (secretly ganging up with others against the perpetrator), splitting, bullying, blame-shifting, deflecting, denial, the “silent treatment,” and D&D.

Trump displays many or even most of these behaviors whenever he perceives someone or some group has insulted him.   You can see it in his face and body language when he’s enraged.  His lips purse, his whole body goes stiff, and his eyes narrow and turn almost black with hatred and spite.   He’s frightening to look at when he’s in the midst of narcissistic rage, which is often.  I won’t list examples here because there are simply too many.   Trump is paranoid and constantly battling real or imagined enemies.   Eventually, everyone becomes an enemy to Trump.

False Self.

Narcissists have  a very fragile sense of self and feel empty inside.   To compensate, at an early age, they develop a “false self” — a kind of mask that shows others what they want you to believe they are.   If this mask is threatened or attacked in any way, they risk their “real self”  (the vulnerable and insecure child the mask hides) being exposed.   This is why you cannot criticize a narcissist. Rather than listen to you and agree you may have a point, they will  fight you to the death to maintain their image of perfection.    Being seen as vulnerable or defenseless is simply too frightening to them.   That’s one of the reasons they hate the vulnerable so much — people they perceive as “weak” fill them with shame of that which they need to hide.

A false self can take many forms, but for a classic or overt narcissist like Trump, it’s usually invulnerable and appears tough and self assured.   If the mask isn’t challenged, this type of narcissist can appear to be very competent and confident.   Some male narcissists, especially if they’re highly malignant like Trump, maintain a mask of toxic masculinity.   Trump admires dictators and “strongmen” types like Vladimir Putin.  He admires authoritarianism and political tactics that intimidate, terrorize, and oppress vulnerable populations.   I don’t know the details of Trump’s early childhood, but I’ve heard his father was emotionally abusive and empathy and kindness were not qualities he valued in a male child.  Only financial and material success were valued and rewarded.    I wouldn’t doubt it if Trump’s desire to please such a difficult and unloving father is at the root of his narcissism and the “strongman” style of his false self.

Fear-Mongering.

Narcissists and sociopaths, in order to gain control over others, often resort to instilling fear and even terror in their subjects.   Cult leaders, some religious leaders (especially fundamentalist leaders, whether Christian or Muslim), and dictators (as well as abusive husbands and mean bosses) are all known for this.   They threaten and bully.   They demand obedience and “loyalty” — or else.   They believe their bullying behavior makes them seem strong and invincible, but anyone who needs to resort to threats and schoolyard bully tactics to get cooperation and support is pathetically weak in character and devoid of any real strength.

Trump bullies others and makes veiled threats against his opponents all the time on Twitter.   He demands loyalty and calls people names.   Many of his staff members seem intimidated by him and almost afraid to be honest or do the right thing.    I sometimes wonder what he has threatened them with if they fail to cooperate.

Worst of all, Trump also tacitly encourages bullying behavior by his supporters against his opponents by failing to criticize their violent actions adequately or at all (Charlottesville), and by “jokingly” encouraging terrorist-type behavior and violence against his detractors at his rallies.   But Trump is not joking.  He is quite serious.  Malignant narcissists are incapable of any real humor.

Obfuscation/deflection.

Another tactic malignant narcissists use to deflect blame or avoid responsibility is obfuscating — confusing the issue or creating chaos.   Trump does this in a variety of ways, but all are intended to instigate chaos or create a new crisis that serves to obfuscate (hide) something he wants to deflect attention away from (such as the Russia investigation).   Every day, some new drama comes out of this White House.   Every day, he’s fighting with someone else, threatening someone, or someone else has quit or been fired.  It’s like a reality show from hell.

All the constant drama is intended to create chaos and confusion, and keep both his opponents and supporters off balance.   Leaders like this can be extremely dangerous because they are likely to incite something serious (like nuclear war with North Korea) in order to deflect negative attention away from themselves and their dishonest, unethical, or illegal activities. I don’t know about you, but I don’t care for the idea of being nuked because a petty and childish old man’s ego was wounded.

Another way narcissists obfuscate is through a special kind of “word salad” in which nothing they say makes any sense, although on the surface it may seem to.   They leave you feeling confused and scratching your head, wondering what the hell they really meant by what they just said.   Of course, if you question them or force them to make their message more clear, they will blame YOU — for being stupid or not understanding.

Our Nation Suffers From C-PTSD

I found two articles that I think many of you will find helpful and informative.  I know I did!    I completely agree with the author that our nation’s most vulnerable — immigrants, the poor, women, the old, the disabled, people of color, gay and transgender people, etc. — are being gaslighted and smeared by this administration so that WE are the monsters, while the real monsters paint themselves as the victims.   This is a common manipulation tactic used by sociopaths called DARVO (Deny, Attack, Reverse the roles of Victim and Offender).

We have never had a president like Donald Trump before.   This is NOT politics as usual, nor is it normal.  You have every right to feel the way you do.  You are not crazy.

What other administration acted the way these people do?   What other president was hell-bent on destroying the truth? What other president waged a Twitter war against his predecessor and others who disagree with him?   What other president was so obsessed with the number of people who voted for him or who showed up at his inauguration?   What other president was so destructive,  hell-bent on tearing down any and all agencies and programs that benefit and protect the everyday people, our environment, and democracy itself?  What other president admired dictators and authoritarian regimes, and thumbed his nose at other western democracies as being “weak”? What other president used scare tactics and hatred to divide and conquer, the way Trump does at his rallies and on Twitter?  Most politicians have more than average levels of narcissism, or they wouldn’t survive long in their jobs (or even be attracted to politics as a profession).    But I think, in most cases, they had healthy narcissism, not the sort of malignant narcissism Donald Trump clearly suffers from.  Nor do they surround themselves with equally sociopathic, destructive personalities.

It hit me how truly monstrous these sociopaths were when I saw this picture of them laughing after their “healthcare bill” that would toss 23 million people off healthcare passed the House back in May.

<> on January 7, 2016 in Washington, DC.

Until, then, like anyone who’s being abused, I wanted to believe they somehow had our best interests at heart.

They don’t.   They have no conscience and no empathy.   They are entitled and think they are above the law.    They use toxic religion to manipulate and scare the religious into submission and to shame the vulnerable.  Their intention is to destroy us and all that we hold dear.   That is no exaggeration or crazy conspiracy theory (as they want us to think), and he is riling up his flying monkeys at his rallies.   Most Trump supporters have authoritarian personalities, and authoritarianism is highly correlated with narcissism and antisocial behavior.

Even Republicans are abandoning their own party because of what it’s become.  They aren’t a political party anymore.  They are a cult.  They show all the signs of being a cult, and Trump’s followers act like cult members.

Many people are being traumatized by Trump and his policies.  Even his own staff are being abused and manipulated.   Most of those who still have a conscience have already fled the White House or been fired (it’s my opinion that Sean Spicer was being traumatized and spiritually destroyed by his job).

I think those of us who endured narcissistic abuse have a special advantage because we recognize exactly what we are now faced with.  We can and should call them out on their BS.    I think we have a responsibility to fight against this darkness and our own abuse prepared us for this.  And I believe that in the end, justice and truth will win.   It always does.

It would be nice if we could go No Contact with our country, but for most of us, that isn’t a possibility.   It’s not all hopeless though.   We can fight back and resist, but we also need to take care of ourselves. The author of the C-PTSD article also wrote a post about how to survive what’s been dubbed Trump Trauma.  Even therapists regard it as a real malady and are seeing a spike in their patient rolls since January.

Our Nation Suffers From C-PTSD

A Practical Guide to Surviving Trump

How DARVO could prove which of us is telling the truth (reblog)

darvo

This is a good article I reblogged from Nyssa’s Hobbit Hole.  I think this information about determining accountability is not only useful on a personal level for those of us who have had to deal with narcissists, but as a useful way to decipher who are the real liars and truth-tellers in the current political mess we’re in.   Narcissists and sociopaths use all kinds of tactics such as gaslighting, smear campaigns, and playing the victim while making the real victim the “enemy.”    Of course, in our current political situation, both sides accuse the other of the exact same things, so it can be hard to determine who are the real victims and perpetrators.    Personally I think a quick determination of who are the real liars and truth-tellers can be made by observing who protesteth too much and which side acts more aggressive.    This can also be applied to dealing with people on a personal level and is very effective if you’re paying attention.

I have left Nyssa’s links in place.  Her ongoing tale about narcissistic abuse by two former close friends who sunk to new lows by stalking her blog is riveting and educational.

How DARVO Could Prove Which of Us is Telling the Truth

By Nyssa McCanmore, Nyssa’s Hobbit Hole

DARVO refers to a reaction perpetrators of wrong doing, particularly sexual offenders, may display in response to being held accountable for their behavior.

DARVO stands for “Deny,, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender.” The perpetrator or offender may Deny the behavior, Attack the individual doing the confronting, and Reverse the roles of Victim and Offender such that the perpetrator assumes the victim role and turns the true victim into an alleged offender.

This occurs, for instance, when an actually guilty perpetrator assumes the role of “falsely accused” and attacks the accuser’s credibility or even blames the accuser of being the perpetrator of a false accusation.  –Jennifer J. Freyd, What is DARVO?

While re-reading this article on Shrink4Men, I came upon a section which hit me as proof to my readers (who can read Tracy and Richard‘s bizarre, intimidating and remorseless e-mail to me in the “Now I’m Being Stalked” post, and how they’ve been trying to stalk and intimidate me online and off for the past few weeks) of which of us is telling the truth:

Of course, not everyone who denies wrong doing is engaging in DARVO. Many partners and exes of abusive women are accused of things they didn’t do or of things that never happened.

Naturally, when this happens, you deny the accusation and perhaps feel a little (or a lot) bewildered. How do you know if an individual’s denial is the truth or an instance of DARVO? Freyd (1997, pp. 23-24) proposes:

“It is important to distinguish types of denial, for an innocent person will probably deny a false accusation. Thus denial is not evidence of guilt. However, I propose that a certain kind of indignant self-righteousness, and overly stated denial, may in fact relate to guilt.

I hypothesize that if an accusation is true, and the accused person is abusive, the denial is more indignant, self-righteous and manipulative, as compared with denial in other cases.

Similarly, I have observed that actual abusers threaten, bully and make a nightmare for anyone who holds them accountable or asks them to change their abusive behavior.

This attack, intended to chill and terrify, typically includes threats of lawsuits, overt and covert attacks, on the whistle-blower’s credibility and so on.

The attack will often take the form of focusing on ridiculing the person who attempts to hold the offender accountable. The attack will also likely focus on ad hominem instead of intellectual/evidential issues.

Finally, I propose that the offender rapidly creates the impression that the abuser is the wronged one, while the victim or concerned observer is the offender. Figure and ground are completely reversed. The more the offender is held accountable, the more wronged the offender claims to be.”

Please click on this link to read the full article.

Religion is Gaslighting

Here is a slight rebuttal to my post of the other day, but also some excellent points are made here and I don’t disagree — particularly her comment about the commandment “Honor Thy Mother and Father.” Some parents simply do not deserve to be honored, at least not in the way we normally think of honoring them. It would be doing a disservice to ourselves AND our parents to continue to enable toxic ones. No Contact may be the best way to “honor” such a parent. I don’t agree with everything here, but much of it I do.

Please leave comments under the original post.

CLUSTER B

fascismA dear friend of mine, Lucky Otter, has a blog post criticizing Christian Dominionism called Christian Dominionism has taken over the GOP. I appreciate 99% of what she has written but there is one statement that I not only disagree with, it has inspired this blog post.

Now, the old Testament has much to recommend it, and of course the Ten Commandments are just plain old common sense. Personally, I have no objection to the Commandments being displayed in courthouses or “In God We Trust” being printed on the dollar bill, because these things don’t necessarily favor only Christians and they’re simply good advice for anyone. They don’t repress, oppress, or marginalize anyone. They don’t hurt people or the environment. They don’t undermine the Constitution or our freedoms. People who object to these things really ought to turn their minds to more important issues that actually affect their lives.

View original post 1,754 more words

Gaslighting.

I’m pretty sure more people in 2017 know what gaslighting means than they did in 2016 or earlier.   It’s left the domain of the narcissistic abuse community and become a household word now that we have a leader who does it on a daily basis, largely via Twitter.   I see this term everywhere now.  In one sense, it’s a good thing, since people are becoming educated about what it (and malignant narcissism) looks like in a leader.    But it’s very bad that the whole world is being gaslighted now.   It’s even worse that so many people fall for the lies and act as flying monkeys who call those of us who value the truth ‘snowflakes.’

gaslighting_def

 

RIP USA

usrip

50 days in. The United States is a far different and sadder place than it was on January 19. America is now run more like an organized crime syndicate than a proper country — and no one seems to have a clue as to what to do to reverse the devastation, or any power to stop him. Trump could murder someone and he’d get away with it. He’d just find a way to blame Obama and he’d be believed — the same way he’s taking credit for the “job growth” which actually began on Obama’s watch, not Trump’s.

We are no longer a democracy, we are a third world country run by a lying, corrupt dictator and his minions.   We need a new name.  The United States of Russia, perhaps?

If Paul Ryan’s horrific “replacement” for the ACA goes through (and it probably will, since no one seems to have any power to stop any of them), expect more crime (the sick poor will have to commit serious crimes in order to receive healthcare in the prison system), more suicides (by newly uninsured people who develop a life threatening illness), and possibly rioting and even civil war.    “Just let them die” seems to be what Ryan wants for the “nonproducers.”   Unfortunately, I’ll be one of the 15-20 million who will lose their insurance if this bill passes.  At my age, that is terrifying.   It’s also extremely unsettling the way this disaster of a replacement is being jammed down our throats without even giving us time to process what is happening.

Medicare and social security are next.  Expect any environmental protections, public education, and unemployment benefits to go too.  Expect more police and more laws (against the little people, not the rich and powerful) and no more freedom.   Expect depression, despair, and terror on  a level that would make the Great Depression look like a warmup.    Causing mass human suffering for their own enrichment is the Trump administration’s idea of “making America great again.”

We were lied to, and people still believe the lies, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that this presidency is a massive bait and switch.

We are told to just “get over it” and “stop being sore losers.”   I could go on and on about this evil and corrupt administration and the many ways it’s gutting our democracy and thumbing its nose contemptuously at the Constitution.

I can’t deal with this anymore.   I wish I could pack my bags and just leave.  I have no idea how much worse things are going to get.

2timothy

‘Snowflake’ is a term used to gaslight those who dare speak out against the new authoritarianism.

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‘Snowflake’ (sometimes ‘special snowflake’) is a slang term used in recent years, usually directed against “entitled” Millennials who complain about the America they inherited — one full of debt, minimum wage jobs,  exhorbitant student loans they can never hope to pay back, and few opportunities.

The term “snowflake” has its roots back in the 1990s and early 2000s when Millennials were still schoolchildren.   In those days, it was fashionable for teachers to recognize that “every child was special” and give awards and prizes just for participating, etc.  so that no one would feel left out.    A real snowflake is a common and unremarkable thing, as common as dust.  But since, purportedly, no two snowflakes are alike, every snowflake is special.

Over time, “snowflake” became a pejorative term, intended to shame a person for allegedly wanting “special” (or in most cases, maybe just “fair” or “just”) treatment.

Since Trump’s win in November, the meaning of ‘snowflake’ has shifted to a more political definition and is no longer confined to Millennials.    The formerly non-political insult has been used frequently by alt-right Trump supporters to dismiss and minimalize the concerns of  “the lib’ruls” (another insult they frequently use against those who oppose their far right views).  “Snowflake” is used to trivialize the very real concerns of those who oppose the Trump presidency, regardless of their generation.  It’s used against anyone of any age who dislikes Trump’s authoritarian, cruel, and controversial policies.  So, if you’re an aging person and afraid you might lose your health insurance or Medicare or social security, are worried about accelerated climate change and the shut down of the EPA when we need it the most,  fear and loathe Trump’s dismantling of democracy, are deeply offended by his war on truth, or oppose the Muslim ban, then, according to the Trump supporters, you are a pathetic snowflake who just expects special treatment or entitlements, when all you really expect is decent and humane treatment and your civil and human rights to not be taken away from you.

Calling people ‘snowflakes’ under these circumstances is gaslighting and shaming.   It’s only one small example of the nationwide narcissistic abuse this administration is already dishing out on all of us, but it’s one of the more obvious (and annoying) ones.   Complain because your mother has cancer and may lose her health care and die, and you’re a snowflake.    Speak out against the president’s constant lies and twisting of the truth into “alternative facts” and “fake news” and you’re a snowflake.   Express concern that this administration’s bigoted policies may  bring back discrimination and sanction public bullying of non-whites, and you’re a snowflake.  Object to Trump’s discussing women like chattel and sex objects, and you’re a snowflake.

In Trump’s strongman world, there is no room for anything feminine, sensitive, or soft.  There is no room for compassion, kindness,  or empathy, for in Trumpland, all those things are weakness.   If you’re bullied, well, you probably deserve it because you’re a loser anyway and probably a snowflake too.   Already I hear stories about bullying of kids who are “different” now being condoned among the kids of alt-right parents. They feel empowered to bully those who aren’t like them, because  Trump is the President and he says it’s okay and he does it himself, so it must be okay.

This administration is bringing out the worst in everyone.  For Trump’s  supporters, they now feel emboldened, because they now have permission to bully and abuse those who don’t agree with them or are different than they are, and for everyone else — especially those of us who suffered abuse —  we feel triggered: dissociated, afraid and hypervigilant, caught in a downward spiral of increasing chaos, hopelessness, and despair.

“The War on Unhappiness” (Harper’s Magazine/PDF)

discontent1
Meme with a victim-blaming (gaslighting) sentiment typical of the “war on unhappiness” movement.

Following is a PDF file of an excellent (and long) article from the September 2010 issue of Harper’s Magazine tracing the rise of the positive thinking movement, and how it’s been taken to ridiculous and heartbreaking extremes, leading to the victim-blaming mentality and society-wide narcissism so pervasive today.   This attitude that we can all be our own gods and have everything we want if we’re just “happy enough” even infiltrates its way into churches, where “Christian” preachers like Joel Osteen are basically telling their flocks that if they only plaster on a winning smile and just be happy all the time, all their problems will evaporate.

Just like magic!  Magical thinking saves the day!

awesomemonocle

Besides being a blatant lie (your problems are NOT just going to go away, but you might be able to delude yourself they don’t exist), the nasty flip side of this is that if you are a victim of any misfortune — illness, financial problems, loss of a job, a divorce, mental illness, any other losses of any kind — that it’s your own fault because you weren’t positive or “happy” enough.

Even worse, such victim-blaming tactics turn even darker: they allow a person to not have to take any responsibility for the way you feel.  If they say or did something that hurt you, they don’t have to say they’re sorry, because after all, saying you’re sorry is admitting guilt, and guilt is a Very Bad Thing.  No, so instead, they GASLIGHT you by telling you it’s YOUR problem that what they said or did upset you.  “I’m not responsible for the way you feel,” they say. “That’s YOUR problem.”  Case closed.   Door slammed in your face.

My parents, especially my mother, was notorious for projecting blame back onto me,  but both of them did it long before it became a thing. And of course, no emotions except happiness were allowed. The sad irony is that no one in our family was happy — we were all fucking miserable. But showing misery was verboten because in a narcissistic family, well, you just don’t show your feelings because no one wants to deal with them!

Now don’t get me wrong.  There’s nothing wrong with positive thinking, of course.  It’s a great skill to develop and will make your life a whole lot better than wallowing in a cesspool of self pity and marinating in a stew of misery all the time.   But taken to extremes, anything good can become bad.    This is a perfect example of another of those excesses Americans are so famous (and infamous) for.

The War On Unhappiness: Goodbye Freud, Hello Positive Thinking
By Gary Greenberg

http://www.garygreenbergonline.com/media/harpers.pdf

*****

Further reading:
How Positive Thinking “Nazis” Jettison Responsibility
Where I Stand on Positive Thinking