Today I feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach and recovering from some terrible illness at the same time. I have no energy. I just want to pull the covers over my head and sleep. But I can’t sleep because I’m so on edge.
It’s a beautiful, sunny day and I’ve spent the entire day lying in bed. I’m depressed and anxious and everything hurts. I’m stress-eating, doing pretty much nothing but staring at the ceiling and dropping the crumbs from the loaf of lemon pound cake I bought this morning all over my clean sheets. At least I haven’t watched the news today (I need a break from it, after this past week). I’ve been trying to read a new book I just bought, but I can’t concentrate. I must have read the same page about ten times and didn’t comprehend a word of what I read.
As a survivor of narcissistic and sexual abuse, this whole Kavanaugh drama that’s been on the news 24/7 for almost two weeks now has been extremely triggering and making my C-PTSD symptoms flare up. It’s not much comfort to know I’m far from alone though. What this government is doing is narcissistic abuse writ large, and it’s negatively affecting millions of women and children, people of color, immigrants, and even many men. Brett Kavanaugh is an abuser. Even if he wasn’t a sexual predator (and I think there’s enough evidence that he is), he is predator and an abuser of women. You can tell by his smug demeanor and his fake tears, by his narcissistic rage, by his entitlement, and by his abuser non-apology (“I didn’t mean to lose control, but SHE made me do it”). Trump loves Kavanaugh because he’s a mirror image of himself and he will do his bidding and make him immune to the law.
So now that this predator, serial liar, and all around awful person has been confirmed to the highest court in the land, I feel personally threatened. Not by Kavanaugh personally, since I will never have to deal with him. I feel threatened by this entire regime which seems to grow stronger and meaner every day. The abuse they inflict seems to keep getting worse, and now it’s getting personal. First there was the Muslim ban, then the horrible treatment of the people in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, there was Heather Heyer being killed in Charlottesville by a white supremacist, and then football players taking a knee and being condemned for that. As terrible as those things were, they didn’t seem that personal. They were just terrible news stories, distant from my own life. I still had hope things would turn around, people would wake up to what was happening, and good would triumph over evil.
But real life isn’t a movie with a happy ending, and things continued to deteriorate. There were reports of migrant kids from Central America locked in cages and forcibly separated from their parents. I remember waking up in cold sweats from nightmares about little Hispanic children crying and screaming behind bars in cold dark cages, reaching their little hands out through the bars toward me, tears streaming down their small brown faces, and not being able to do a thing to help them except pray for them. My nightmare wasn’t far off from the reality of what was actually happening. Kids in concentration camps. No privacy, not enough food, forced to drink dirty water, denied medical care or comfort. Provided only with an aluminum foil blanket for warmth. Ripped from their mothers’ arms and then not even allowed to comfort each other. Abused and mocked by cruel, sociopathic guards in some cases. Children fortunate enough to be returned to their parents looked shell shocked, their faces devoid of emotion. They’d obviously been traumatized and were forced to bury their feelings because living like that, in cages, away from the family that loved them, not understanding what they did wrong to deserve such treatment, hurt too much. These little kids will be damaged for life, because a fat orange faced dictator felt like it was necessary to “deter” immigrants from coming here, and these innocent little lives were used as a tool and a warning.
And this travesty is happening in America. In the land of the free. In the the shining city on a hill. “It can’t happen here.” Really? Oh, yes, it can. And it is. Who will be targeted next?
Women. Women are being targeted now. Especially women who dare to come forward and tell the truth about their abusers. This regime has no empathy for survivors of abuse, sexual or otherwise, especially if they’re female. Trump mocked Dr. Christine Ford at one of his rallies, and his supporters cheered. A sexual predator gets confirmed to the Supreme Court, after lying under oath, committing perjury, and after a sham FBI investigation was run that turned out to be nothing more than a way to get “the left” to shut up.
Now Democrats and liberals are being targeted. I avoid reading Trump’s tweets, but I couldn’t ignore this one, because it made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck:
You don’t hand matches to an arsonist, and you don’t give power to an angry left wing mob. Democrats have become too EXTREME and TOO DANGEROUS to govern. Republicans believe in the rule of the law – not the rule of the mob.
Let’s unpack this tweet. First of all, it is blatant gaslighting and projection, which this man does every day. It’s the Party of Trump (formerly the Republican Party), that has become extreme and dangerous, they are the ones who are trying to install a fascist, authoritarian government, remove our rights and freedoms, and now they appear to want to squash the First Amendment rights of anyone who doesn’t fawn at Trump’s feet.
I have never heard any president in my lifetime ever refer to the opposite party as a “mob” or “dangerous.” Such labels were reserved for outside enemies, like ISIS or Al-Qaeda. Our protests have been peaceful, much more peaceful than the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally that ended in the death of a counterprotester, or all the hate-filled Trump rallies where his followers chant mindlessly, “Lock her up! Lock her up!” two years after Hillary lost the election (even though she didn’t lose the popular vote) — and even though repeated investigations found she was innocent of any wrongdoing. THEY are the mob, not us. The Trump party does NOT believe in the rule of law because its leaders are corrupt to the core and break the law every day. Its followers are fueled by hate and fear, and they are growing more aggressive, as Trump stokes their rage at his rallies and encourages bullying and violence against anyone who is different from them, or anyone who doesn’t worship Trump, which means most of us. I fear there is going to be a crackdown against us very soon, a curtailment of our rights, even though we have done nothing wrong.
In America, the bullies are winning. Evil is winning. It’s so triggering. I am reminded of being the bullied, sensitive kid at school who was chased home every day by a rowdy group of cruel boys and mocked by the popular girls because of my social awkwardness. Our president is a sadistic bully and he is surrounded by and rewards other sadistic bullies, while gaslighting and blaming and cruelly mocking everyone who has ever been a victim — or even anyone who is just a decent human being — by him and his merry band of flying monkeys.
When I think back to two years ago, or even a year ago, I realize with a jolt how much worse things have become since then — and much worse than I ever thought they could get. I certainly thought Trump would have been impeached or removed under the 25th Amendment by now, but nothing he does or says — locking kids in cages, committing treasonous acts with Putin and Kim Jong Un in plain sight, alienating our allies, mocking women and abuse survivors who are brave enough to come forward and tell their stories — nothing at all seems to force him to be accountable. He is apparently already above the law. His new SCOTUS pick, Kavanaugh, was chosen primarily because he will make sure Trump stays above the law and is never held accountable for his many criminal acts and brutal deeds. Our system of checks and balances has been hacked away at and has failed us, and now all three branches of government are completely under Trump’s control.
Even the breaking news story the other day in the New York Times that provided proof that Trump is a tax cheat and fraud who lied about his inheritance and businesses, made barely a blip in the news. It got buried under all the Kavanaugh drama, and no one even seems to care. No one is going to hold him accountable for his crimes. Even if the Mueller investigation somehow isn’t shut down, Trump will skate, no matter how bad the charges may be.
Things have gotten worse, so much worse. I feel it in my very cells. It’s different now than it was even a few weeks ago. Trump is consolidating power, he’s become more blatant and open in his cruelty and his lackeys don’t even try to hide behind a pleasant facade anymore (Lindsey Graham is a good example — it’s almost like he’s possessed or suddenly removed his “soft spoken southern gentleman” skin suit).
The GOP has declared open season on women who dare to call out a man for abuse or for rape, and on all Democrats. This isn’t normal. A president is supposed to bring people together, not divide them. Democrats have been demonized and identified as the enemy, and Trump’s tweet is preparing his base for aggression and violence against us. To Trump and his supporters, we are the enemy, every bit as bad if not worse than ISIS. We are fair game for whatever Trump wants them to dish out. Martial law and curtailment of our freedom of speech is probably next. We may even be rounded up and put in reeducation or forced labor camps. Private prisons can make a hefty profit off our free labor.
As a Democrat and a woman and abuse survivor, I don’t feel safe in this country anymore. I’m hypervigilant and constantly stressed. Things seem to get better for awhile, I see a ray of hope — and then something happens and it feels like I’m on the Titanic as it was sinking, knowing there’s no way to save myself. Or like I’m in hell, trapped in a torturous game of two steps forward, three steps back, for all eternity. It’s as if I’m back in my abusive marriage, only this is worse because there’s no escape, no way to go “no contact.” Trump dominates everything, he’s an oppressive presence even when I’m not seeing or hearing him. I feel like I can’t breathe. I wish I could flee the country, but I lack the means to do that. And I’m so jealous of those who will be able to.
If things have gotten this much worse in less than two years, I’m absolutely petrified of what is coming down the pike next year, or two years hence. I lack the right kind of emotional makeup to be able to survive living in a fascist dictatorship and once it’s established (if we lose the midterms I am sure it will be), all I have to look forward to is the relief of death. I worry about my children facing a future under such a cruel and heartless regime, where my daughter can be targeted because of her gender, and my son can be targeted because of his sexual orientation. I don’t feel like they’re safe here either and I worry about them.
Besides being terrified, I’m also heartbroken. I remember the way things used to be here in America, how bright the future seemed. I remember the way we took our many freedoms and rights for granted and never dreamed anything like this could happen. I’m filled with grief so profound and heavy I can barely move. I often wonder if this is the way women felt in Afghanistan or Iran before Sharia Law took over or the way the people of Germany felt in 1934 before Hitler seized total power.
I never thought it would happen here. But it has. America is dying, and this is what is feels like.
Please pray for us.
Here is a similar, but more hopeful, article from Chris Kratzer’s amazing blog. Its central message is that if what is happening in America makes you feel sick, nauseous, angry, sad, fearful, or disgusted, there is nothing wrong with you. In fact, if you feel those things, it’s an indication you have a working soul.
If Today, Your Heart Breaks and Your Hope Is Fading