This article by David M. Reiss, MD and Seth Davin Norrholm is a must read!
There hasn’t been one morning since Trump became president that I haven’t woke up with my stomach in knots and my heart racing. It’s impossible to get back to sleep and the first thing I always do is pull up Twitter to find out what the latest calamity is.
I’m edgy with people, edgy at work all the time, edgy with my family. I can barely function due to the constant nerves. And it’s all because of the political situation which occupies my mind 24/7 and is growing worse with each passing day.
Self care (which I recommend!) is only a temporary respite from the endless rollercoaster of anxiety, anger, dread, and depression. Going on vacation helps, but I can’t afford to do that more than once or twice a year. And even then, in the back of my mind, is the heavy feeling of knowing that soon, I’ll once again have to face our dark reality. Self care activities are necessary, but all they do is keep me from falling into the abyss. They don’t remove me from its edge.
I have NEVER had this kind of reaction before to ANY president. Even when I didn’t particularly like the president or his political platform, in the back of my mind I always knew he knew what he was doing, was going to protect democracy, and that we were more or less safe from terrorism, both foreign and domestic. I could focus on other things besides politics. Since January 9, 2017 I can’t.
I read somewhere that in functioning democracies, people don’t obsess about politics. They can actually live their lives. Since January 9, 2017 I feel like my life has been on hold and I can never relax.
Maybe in 9 days, we can put some much needed checks and balances back in place to keep this despotic president under control. Perhaps then I can relax a little. But I have a feeling no matter how the election goes, calamity will ensue. Trump’s base is so huge, so violent and so full of hatred toward most Americans, that I fear if we win, there will be civil war waged against us (which Trump himself has threatened). Already there seem to be bands of roving vigilantes and right wing militia groups sprouting up like metastatic tumors in the body republic, and not just at the southern border (where they await the “caravan” which consists primarily of women and children seeking asylum, not rapists, MS-13, and murderers). I have no faith these groups will be kept in check by our military, and no faith our military will even take our side (even though they’re supposed to protect the Constitution, not the president).
Two days ago, pipe bombs were sent through the mail to Democratic leaders and reporters by a Trump supporting white supremacist (yet the Trump camp, as they always do, blames the victim, claiming Democrats sent the bombs to themselves). We were fortunate this time that the bombs were intercepted and defused before a disaster (or many disasters) happened, but next time, someone may die. And there will be a next time. We have become as tribal and violent as a third world country — and the violence isn’t coming from Antifa (which is a tiny minority on the very far left that engages in vandalism, not violence against actual people) or the left. Resistance protests have been peaceful, with any violence that occurs stirred up by counterprotesters (Charlottesville) and far right domestic terrorist groups like the Proud Boys and other far right extremist groups. The left (which now includes what used to be moderates and Never Trumpers due to the rightward shift of the Overton Window) has been gaslighted, demonized, and smeared by the Trump regime and its cult members to the point that anyone who disapproves of Trump and the toxic fear based rhetoric he spews at his rallies is seen as an enemy. We have been identified and marginalized. Removal of our rights and finally elimination will follow. People are going to die.
If we lose, I don’t even want to think about what’s going to happen. It’s too terrifying to contemplate.
I just want this madness to end. I don’t want to have to obsess about politics anymore.
I just want my life back.
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.
I can’t take this anymore. I’ve had about enough of the crapfest coming from the Trump White House, and the firing of H. R. McMaster, one of the only sane people left in his administration — only to be replaced with the warmonger and Fox News commentator John Bolton as his National Security Advisor — just about sent me over the edge. It’s exhausting and terrifying, and I think it’s especially upsetting for those of us who were raised or had close relationships with narcissists or sociopaths.
John Bolton wants war. He wants to nuke both Iran and North Korea. Such a stupid and dangerous move could set off global nuclear war. Now, with Trump consolidating power and leaving most abandoned posts empty or filled by people much like himself who will never disagree with him or criticize him, I’m really afraid there’s nothing left to keep Trump from pushing the nuke button.
I spend a lot of time on Twitter these days, and most people are really afraid we are on the edge of nuclear war — possibly the end of humanity and destruction of the planet. I have no doubt Trump would start nuclear war just to distract from the Russia investigation, the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, and the revelations from Stormy Daniels. He’d blow up the planet just to save himself from having to eat some humble pie. He is that disordered.
That’s why I hope Mueller decides to go ahead and charge Trump and his cabal now, rather than wait until his investigation is complete, which could be months away. We may not have months left. I’m sure Mueller has enough dirt on Trump to arrest him now. Everything he’s done is being exposed, and it’s 10 times worse than anyone could have imagined. I’d rather have the Mazda now rather than have to wait for the Rolls Royce and maybe never get it.
Here’s my conundrum. I’ve had enough of this crap, and continuing to stay “woke” is really messing with my mental health and triggering my PSTD bigtime. I could save myself a lot of grief by simply deciding not to follow the news anymore. I could choose to be blissfully ignorant instead.
But I know I won’t do that, because by ignoring the truth and acting like all the crapisn’t happening, I become complicit in the damage Trump is doing to our country and the world. By writing about it, by calling it out, by talking to people, I’m making a difference, even if it’s a tiny one. Even if I can only change one mind or get one person to rethink their views, I’m doing something. I wish I could do more, but being blissfully ignorant is not an option. It sure is tempting though. The shit’s flying so fast and furious now that just taking breaks doesn’t seem to help much anymore.
The second reason I won’t give into the temptation to shut off the news for good and pretend none of this is happening is because that’s exactly how Hitler’s Germany happened. Too many people were either too afraid, or too ignorant, and did nothing. They went on with their lives as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening. Hitler took advantage of their tacit compliance to do the unspeakable things he did. Trump wants compliant, ignorant sheep who turn a blind eye to all the damage he is doing.
Of course, there are good things happening too. In fact, lots of good things are happening. Some days I even feel encouraged and hopeful that the tide is turning. But if Trump vaporizes us all, none of that will matter. Hiring John Bolton as Trump’s national security advisor just makes that so much more likely now.
I feel like a victim again. I was doing pretty well emotionally until this year. Since I left my ex in 2014 and started blogging, slowly I began to feel freer and lighter emotionally. I felt like I was finally rid of most of my C-PTSD/BPD symptoms and the emotional work I was doing both in and out of therapy was reaping benefits. I came to realize that I had been repeatedly victimized by others for most of my life because I acted like a victim and kept telling myself I was one. I became my own abuser. Although I will never blame myself for what happened to me or the psychological problems I developed because of it (which in their own warped and unhealthy way protected me), I realized, like Dorothy did in the Wizard of Oz, when Glinda The Good Witch told her she always had the power to go home but just didn’t realize it, that I always had the power to be a non-victim, to not live in mortal fear of everyone, but didn’t realize it because the abuse I endured had made me blind to the fact I was as worthy and powerful as anyone else and deserved to be treated well by others. I was finally seeing what was possible for me without all that paralyzing fear, shame and self-hatred dragging me down.
But the political abuses of our monstrously narcissistic and sociopathic president and his equally malicious administration has retriggered a lot of the Bad Old Me, the scared-of-everything-and-everyone me. I won’t go into the specifics of what those abuses are since this is not intended to be a political post and I know I’m not alone in feeling so terrified and depressed at the same time. All of us, especially those of us who survived narcissistic abuse, and especially if it was sustained over a long period of time, all know why he triggers us.
2017 has been a horror show for me. I feel like an unwilling participant in the Trump Reality Show, all the while knowing I’m on the losing team. This doesn’t just mean obsessing over the latest upsetting news story and worrying about the effect its outcome might ultimately have on my freedom, financial status, health, and general well-being. I’ve also been doubting myself again. My feelings are hurt more easily, I ruminate and obsess for weeks over insults and rejections, even by people I don’t know well. Often I feel like I can’t function at all. I’ve returned to feeling like a victim, and even while I know that such a self-defeating, negative attitude tends to draw in even more negativity, I can’t help it. Almost a year after Trump’s inauguration, I’m generally in one of three moods: fearful, depressed, and angry — sometimes all three at the same time. Sometimes I feel dissociated, like nothing is real anymore. Sometimes I slide into a kind of numbness where cynicism and fatalism take over. I think about death a lot.
But something odd has happened too. In the midst of the darkness, my faith in God has intensified. I know he has a plan for me, which involves illuminating the truth and serving as a voice for the vulnerable. Even while my emotional life is presently in turmoil, I feel like God is very near and no matter what happens, I should not be afraid or give into despair or hopelessness. Even if I become one of the casualties of this president’s policies, and even if I have to die, it will have meant something and I would have fulfilled His purpose for me.
As my faith has grown, my heart has changed. I used to consider myself self-centered and unconcerned about others, even to the point of not being able to feel much empathy to others. But that was because I felt like I constantly had to protect myself from being hurt. It’s strange to me that even though a lot of those old “poor me” emotions have come back, this newfound concern about the world at large has not faltered and always exceeds my concern for myself. That is definitely something new.
I realized about two years ago that the narcissistic abuse I had to endure as a child wasn’t just some random thing that happened. It was ultimately a teacher that gave me a doctoral level course in how narcissists operate. It was schooling to prepare me for what we are facing now on the national level. After my rage at my abusers (and people with NPD in general) burnt itself out, I began to wonder if I was a narcissist myself, or even had NPD. I looked at those traits I possessed that resulted from not having been validated as a functioning, worthy human being by my parents — my self centeredness, my envy of others, my tendency in the past to not take responsibility and project fault onto others, my rage, my frozen empathy, my tendency to hate (or fall in love with) people easily — and concluded that I was myself a narcissist. I made it my mission to rid myself of my narcissism, but at the same time (or actually, slightly prior to it), I entered an odd phase where I began to sympathize with narcissists and sought to understand them rather than keep bashing them. I wrote posts criticizing what I felt, at the time, was an unjust demonization of people with NPD by the narcissistic abuse community. I even started a blog documenting my self-healing journey and later, my therapy. (That blog has been inactive since April and I have no interest in ever posting in it again).
As it turned out, that weird phase was short lived. I had insisted that my therapist give me an NPD diagnosis, since I was so certain I had it and couldn’t work on myself properly if I didn’t have the actual label. My therapist didn’t think I even qualified for the BPD diagnosis I had been given in the ’90s. Instead, when I kept pushing for a diagnosis, he said he thought I had PTSD (more accurately, C-PTSD), maybe with a few narcissistic traits (“fleas” in narc-abuse parlance), but certainly not fullblown NPD. Gradually I stopped sympathizing with narcissists too, and developed indifference toward them. The whole topic of narcissism, in fact, had begun to bore me. Today I could care less about narcissists, although I don’t actively feel hatred toward them. I just feel — nothing toward them.
I’ve been puzzling over why I developed that weird empathy toward narcissists (and my conviction that I was one), because I’m feeling none of that now, with this malignant narcissist president, or toward narcissists in general. Yesterday I finally realized why that happened. The darkness and evil we are facing is so dangerous and so powerful, that for me to have remained in a state of hatred (which is normal for people who have recently left narcissistic relationships) would have kept me from being able to reach out and give hope to others. Hatred, no matter if it’s born of righteous anger, is just another form of darkness, and blocks any light from getting through. Not only would it have hindered me from doing the work that God planned for me, it would have eventually destroyed me. Hatred eats you alive and exacerbates any narcissistic traits one has. In order for me to let go of my hatred I had to look inward at my own narcissism and rid myself of it. I would not have been able to see what I was doing to myself with such clarity had I remained stuck in hatred.
I know I’m not explaining myself very well, but I know I’ve changed, and all these psychological stages I had to go through happened as part of my training. Knowing that, none of this is easy. In fact, it’s excruciatingly painful but in an existential, rather than personal, way. It hurts to know there are so many horrible people in the world who have no conscience, no moral center, no respect for the truth or for justice, and do not care about anyone but themselves. It hurts to know that greed and narcissism is decimating everything good in the world. It hurts knowing that we have a bunch of men running the country who have made it clear they want most of us to perish and are actively trying to make that a reality and are gleefully going about their mission to destroy. It hurts to know that, to them, I’m worthless, a useless parasite who deserves to die. Their soullessness and cruelty makes me question my own worth and is making me doubt myself again and making me act in the old ways that bring about abuse. I’m prey and they can smell that. But this time, it’s not just about me. It’s about all of us who have been targeted. The evil we are in the midst of feels eternally powerful, oppressive, almost biblical in its malice, some dark force not of this world. It’s overwhelming. It’s overwhelmingly sad. And scary. And very, very hard not to give in to hate.
Nevertheless I must soldier on. I can’t go back. My past gave me tools to do the work I have been asked to do, whatever that work may be. No matter what happens, God has my back. But it’s so hard.
Every day when I wake up, I check the news headlines. Maybe it’s just hypervigilance and wanting to reassure myself that Trump hasn’t started nuclear war yet. This presidency makes me feel like I’m back in an abusive relationship and as a result I feel on guard all the time.
But at the same time, there’s a certain thrill I get from reading stories that seem like they would have been headlines from The Onion just a year ago. It’s not a good kind of thrill, but the kind of thrill you get from doing something you know might kill you but feeling compelled to try it anyway — like, oh, maybe sky diving or trying methamphetamine. Only the sick thrill is always accompanied by that awful, sinking, helpless feeling you get when you realize you are totally fucked and there’s not a thing you can do about it. Maybe it’s a familiar feeling to me and somehow comforting, but I know people who didn’t come from narcissistic families or abusive relationships and report they feel exactly the same way about this presidency and the endless stream of unthinkable news that it’s unleashed.
I want my news to be boring again.
On the plus side, more people than ever before are getting an education in basic civics (now that civility is a thing of the past) and how government works (now that it doesn’t).
I think we’re also learning to be more discerning about which news is fake and which is not. Sometimes it’s hard to tell, especially when the president is waging war on truth.
If you can get angry and stay angry instead of allowing the news to make you depressed or emotionally numb, then there is hope. Every revolution in history began because a lot of people were mad as hell and weren’t gonna take it anymore.
I realize my last couple of posts have been dark and depressing, but there’s no sugarcoating the fact that what Trump is doing to Americans is abuse.
I began this blog three years ago as a way to talk about the narcissistic abuse I was forced to undergo at the hands of my parents (mostly my mother) and my ex-husband, after I finally found the wherewithal to leave him for good.
Starting this blog gave me an outlet to write about my abuse, and doing so proved extremely therapeutic for me. In time, I was able to purge all the anger and rage, and the person I was meant to be was slowly revealed to me. I also found out that I was not such a loser and a bad person after all, and that what happened to me was not my fault. I realize that I had been lied to for years. I grieved those wasted years, but at the same time felt grateful that I still had some left to grow into the person God meant for me to be.
With a boost in self esteem, I gained the courage to look inside myself — at the ways I was holding myself back because I was so afraid of everything. I entered therapy. I became much more spiritual and developed a real faith in God for the first time. I began to take small risks and make better choices. I can honestly say that had I not been able to start this blog, I doubt I would have come as far as I have. God gave me the ability to write so that I could tell my story, and in the process, heal not only myself, but also help others who had suffered similar experiences.
Until Trump became president, I shied away from writing about politics or religion, because they are such divisive topics and I didn’t want to run off anyone who might have different politics or religious beliefs than I do. But Trump’s presidency has infected my peace of mind and threatened my recovery, because he is so triggering and toxic, especially to those of us who are already familiar with the destructive effects malignant narcissists and sociopaths have on our souls.
So just like I did with the abusers in my personal life, I also need to write about Trump and the insidious and dangerous ways he threatens my (and many others’) mental and spiritual health.
The truth is, the man absolutely terrifies me. His vision for America terrifies me even more, since in his dystopian vision, I’m an expendable “loser”: a financially challenged (I don’t want to say poor) older woman without a husband, who is also an intellectual and a dissenter (he hates both), morally and in every other way opposed to everything he and the powerful people who surround him stand for.
So here are ten ways Trump’s policies and his vision for America shake me to my core with terror and dread.
Child labor during the Gilded Age.
1. Repealing the ACA. This is #1 for me because it directly affects me and could cause me to die early and suffer horribly. I have been unable to obtain healthcare through a job, and certainly can’t afford to buy it on my own, so I am dependent upon the ACA in order to have health insurance. And at my age — closing in on 60 — the prospect of losing my only access to healthcare is absolutely terrifying, especially if I should develop a chronic illness that an emergency room can’t treat, such a cancer.
2. Losing my savings. I have a very small nest egg that if I should become seriously ill and need hospitalization, I will lose (and it still won’t even make a dent in the astronomical medical bills I no doubt will receive). Unless I publish a book and it becomes a bestseller, or win the lottery (which I don’t play), I have very little chance at my age of ever being able to earn enough to invest in any meaningful way.
3. No Social Security and Medicare. I am getting close to retirement age, but it’s still some years away, and by the way things are going, I don’t expect that either social security or Medicare will still be around in my old age. Being a fairly low wage earner (I’m not at poverty level but I don’t qualify as middle class either), I have not been able to save for retirement (except for the small nest egg I mentioned above). I don’t work for an employer who offers a 401K or any retirement benefits. And forget about a pension. Hardly anyone gets those anymore. Since I am a single woman, it looks like my only option when I can no longer work is to move in with one of my children, and with all the financial struggles they have been having (Millennials have inherited an economy that forces many of them to live at home until well into their 20s and 30s), I’m not at all sure they will be able to support me in my old age (and it would kill me to place that burden on them anyway). As for medical care, if the ACA is gone, it looks like I will have to go without healthcare altogether if Medicare is gone too. Since more states are legalizing pot though, maybe it will be legal in my state by then and I can just smoke weed all day to ward off any physical pain.
4. A dystopian future for my children. Much progress has been made in the past fifty years — civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, New Deal policies, the EPA and other environmental protections, and many other things that make life bearable and have made America the lively and vibrant place that so many people from other countries (until recently) have wanted to make their permanent home in. Trump is trying to roll back all these things, and the hardliners in Congress are making progress in removing laws and protections that have made life in America the envy of most of the civilized world.
A coal miner and his son.
5. Corporate tyranny and authoritarianism. Trump’s America promises a scary future of corporate tyranny or modern-day feudalism, in which insanely wealthy corporate rulers (freed of having to pay any taxes at all) dictate to the hordes of impoverished, sick, beaten down and broken people enslaved to the “system” and forced to work for almost nothing (the hardliners want to eliminate the minimum wage too) until death takes them, usually at an early age. I see a future much like the Gilded Age, in which people were treated as disposable chattel by rich robber barons until they finally died of some preventable disease or work injury, a time when there was no middle class or any hope of escaping a life of poverty and endless toil, when there was no social safety net, no public education, and poor children (which were most of them) were forced to work as soon as they reached the age of 6 or 7 (what we call school age today.
6. The rollback of women’s health. While women’s reproductive rights may not affect me anymore, they do affect my daughter. I’m afraid she will not have access to healthcare, and given that she has medical problems that might affect her ability to bear children safely or at all (Crohn’s Disease and back problems stemming from an accident she had at 16), that is a problem. She may need surgery before she can safely have a child, but if she loses her healthcare, she will not be able to have that surgery. Should she become pregnant, she could die. If she loses access to healthcare and isn’t married to someone who can provide it for her, she could also go bankrupt from constant uncovered trips to the emergency room to treat the intermittent Crohn’s attacks that plague her periodically. In addition, she suffers from mental health issues (caused by her father’s abuse) and she takes medication to control bouts of almost suicidal depression. Should she lose her access to mental health care, who knows what could happen? If the Christian dominionists have their way, most forms of birth control or medical abortion could be outlawed or made almost impossible to obtain.
7. Increased intolerance toward the “different.” My son came out as gay at age 17, and in this climate of growing hatred and intolerance toward people that don’t fit the “white, straight, Christian” ideal, coupled with Trump’s empowerment of hate groups and the rise of The Christian Taliban, I’m afraid he could be attacked by members of a hate group for just being who he is, forced to undergo some sort of traumatic “conversion therapy” that Mike Pence is proposing for gay people, shunned from employment opportunities, or just made to feel like he is “less” for being the person he is.
White supremacists and neo-Nazis march in Charlottesville.
8. An unhealthy and ugly environment. In Trump’s dystopia, all public lands and national parks would be sold off to huge corporate entities, where they would be destroyed and pillaged through oil drilling, fracking, coal mining, and built up with even more gated communities for the wealthy ruling class. The rivers and air would be polluted, and people would die early of preventable illnesses caused by contamination, without even access to healthcare that could treat their symptoms. The very wealthy have built underground bunkers where they could escape the worst of the environmental ravages. Roads too would be privatized. Imagine living in a country where most people are hobbled from free road travel because all roads have become inefficient and expensive toll roads. And I don’t even want to think about the horrors of privatizing air traffic control.
9. Ignorance. Besides the abolishment of public schools, in Trump’s America there would not be any public libraries or museums either, because all those things are “socialism.” Everything would be privatized and cost the people money. The intent is not only to get rid of anything that allows everyone to take part in public life and educate and enrich themselves, it’s also to keep people stupid and ignorant, so they can no longer ask questions or think for themselves.
10. Nuclear war. All of the above dystopian scenarios may be a moot point should we get into nuclear war with North Korea. I read one statistic that said there is a 20% probability the entire west coast may be nuked. Trump probably would love that too, since the states that line the Pacific Ocean are also the bluest of states and we all know how he feels about liberals.
I can only keep hoping and praying none of this happens, and we don’t have to suffer Trumpism too much longer — because it won’t be long before it’s too late to turn back.
I’m not handing all the bad news well today, especially now that I have to worry about a major hurricane possibly hitting where my son lives next weekend. All my C-PTSD and BPD symptom are triggered — dissociation, hypervigilance, obsessive monitoring of the weather/news in general, physical symptoms (fatigue, headache), snappishness, mood swings, isolation, feeling helpless, and intense anxiety are all symptoms that have returned and threaten to overwhelm me.
I recently quit therapy because I felt guilty about not wanting to talk about anything but the political situation, but dammit, it’s so triggering and I take it very personally, given my background of abuse. So I might have to go back soon.
I’ve been busy on Twitter (I’m meeting a lot of fellow #resisters there and it’s how I get the most up to date news). Today I just had to sound off. It was just stream of conscienceness venting. It feels good to get all this off my chest, even if no one was really paying attention. (Read bottom to top).
I chose my new Twitter user name because it makes me laugh and I need all the laughs I can get. Gallows humor does help.
Some days it seems like they are winning. Now we even have State TV. The reason we had regulations were to keep something like that from happening. I feel like a character in Orwell’s 1984 and we are creeping closer to fascism every day.
Most days I feel hopeful. I want to think that goodness will always trump evil. I want to think most people have good hearts and can tell the difference between truth and lies. I want to believe there is a way out of this darkness and justice will prevail.
Other days I’m not so sure. They have so much power, so much money, and are taking over everything like a cancer. Today is one of those days. On days like this I feel like giving up. I feel like nothing will change and will only grow worse. I feel like I’ll never live to see my country as it used to be ever again.
I know that’s exactly what their intention is. To wear us down, exhaust us, make us give up, make us buckle under and become sheep who never complain, and just do as we’re told because we know there is no better choice.
I know I have to fight this malaise and negativity, but on days like this it’s so hard. I just feel so depressed and tired. I want to succumb to it, to let the darkness engulf me and take me down with it.
Maybe I should just ignore what’s going on, not read the news, but I can’t do that either. They want us to be ignorant. To ignore what’s going on is to become ignorant.
We are being threatened from the outside, and also from our own government. There is no safe place to retreat to, nowhere to run.
Somehow I have to maintain my desire to resist and push back against this assault on the people — their assault on me and everything and everyone I know and love feels so personal. But it’s getting so hard, and today I feel like nothing can be done and hope is gone. My C-PTSD has been retriggered by this president. It’s traumatizing to a lot of people, but especially those who have been through this kind of abuse on the personal level.
It’s only been 7 months and I feel numb. I feel like a prisoner on death row who is innocent of any crime but can’t get a fair trial, can’t get an appeal, so I just sit in my cell counting the days until they come to walk me down the green mile.
I’m a nervous wreck today. I didn’t go to work because of my nerves, and even though I always spend the whole day feeling guilty about staying out of work, I keep doing it anyway. I tried to sleep in, but wasn’t able to because the anxiety kept flooding in and making my heart pound. I finally gave up on trying to sleep. I got up and tried to identify what was making me so jittery but I just can’t. Every little noise I hear makes me jump. I don’t feel like going out or doing anything, but if I stay inside I will go nuts. I turned off the TV because the news makes me crazy. I tried to read a book but it’s hard to focus. Maybe I’ll bake something or just drive somewhere. I hate this feeling. I feel like jumping out of my skin. It helps a little to write about it though. Usually in the evenings it’s better, so I just have to wait, I guess.