I have to admit I agree with this article. Life has become too stressful for too many people, unless you’re rich. The title may offend some, but I think it’s accurate.
Why are people being forced to adapt to a sick (and dying) system that favors only the wealthy, rather than the system itself being adapted to serve us?
Especially in America, capitalism has taken a dark turn toward fascism and even neo-feudalism (authoritarianism in either of these forms is actually a sign of end-stage capitalism — the final culmination of unregulated capitalism, with the rich not bound to the laws the rest of us are, and a dangerous lack of governmental checks and balances). Neither form of end-stage capitalism is conducive to or compatible with human happiness or even simple contentment.
Yet we keep being told there’s something wrong with us if we can’t adapt and feel stressed out all the time. We’re told to just smile and think positive thoughts, and everything will be hunky dory. We spout shallow platitudes at each other and stick post-its with flowery affirmations on our bathroom mirrors. But the stress never really goes away.
Why? Because the truth is, the stress we feel is a normal reaction to the abnormal. Nothing about our system is normal or healthy for real human beings, and it needs to change. All the sunny advice we are given and all the positive affirmations are nothing more than emotional Bandaids for our existential malaise. They can’t and never will fix the underlying problem which none of us can fix as individuals, but must be addressed by the entire society working together for the common good.
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.
Women rounded up to be sent to “The Colonies,” Handmaid’s Tale, Season 2.
My most fervent prayer is that Trumpism comes to an end. Obviously, the best way for that to happen would be for Bob Mueller to make his findings known, and then we can celebrate as we watch the entire evil regime be removed and arrested on national TV, so they can never hurt anyone else. That would be an event worthy of a new national holiday.
Of course, it might set off a civil war. Trumplicans have promised that. Whatever. At this point, I’d welcome a civil war if it meant we could be rid of the orange menace and his cabal of anti-American, antisocial ghouls. Bring it on.
But each day this horrific human being stays in office, the worse things get. When I look back over the past eighteen months, it’s startling how much we’ve normalized and the unnerving way he’s been able to accelerate and intensify his assaults on democracy. We are so much closer to being a fascist state than we were eighteen months ago. Essentially we have one-party rule now, and no one ever holds Trump and the converted Republican Party (which is now the Party of Trump) accountable for anything, no matter how heinous or cruel their actions. The crippled but still functioning free press is the only thing left that keeps us still tethered to a thread of democracy. How much longer that (and our freedom of speech and assembly) will last I don’t know, and I don’t want to know.
So I’m not getting my hopes up about the Mueller investigation. If he’s even allowed to finish his investigation, the complicit GOP Congress, which is supposed to provide a check on the president’s absolute power, is likely to do nothing. Trump will skate — even if he’s found guilty of treason, which seems more likely every day. He literally could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and nothing would happen to him. That might have been the one thing he ever told the truth about.
More likely is that we could neuter Trump’s tyranny by turning the House and Senate blue in November. But because Russia has shown every intention of still meddling in our elections, because of blatant gerrymandering and voter suppression on the part of the GOP, and because of the Trump regime’s daily assaults and smear campaigns on Democrats, the free press, and democracy itself, our side is being discredited and weakened. The Democratic Party is growing, since many never-Trump conservatives have left the corrupt, Trumpicized GOP and independents have also seen the writing on the wall and have vowed to vote blue in November. But we don’t have much power and our voices are drowned out by the much louder, wealthier, and more aggressive Trump GOP.
If we manage to succeed, Trump could be rendered fairly harmless and impeachment proceedings could finally begin with a Democratic House and Senate. It could happen, but even with all the excitement about the impending “blue wave,” I’m not getting my hopes up. Putin is an evil genius who knows exactly how to turn things in Trump’s favor, and the GOP, with all the Putin/Koch/Mercer/Adelson money behind it and almost unlimited power and control, will almost certainly do their best to make voting as difficult as they can, and gerrymander districts even more than they already are. So even with renewed Democratic motivation to vote, we could still wind up losing.
If they win, it will be too late. America as we know it will be over. Back in January 2017, when Trump took office, Amy Siskind, an expert on authoritarian states and the author of the book, “The List,” which documents in horrifying detail each week of the Trump administration (every week, the assaults on our democracy have increased in both number and severity) predicted we had less than two years to save our country. After that, it would be game over. Well, we are there. It’s been almost two years. Honestly, I don’t have high hopes. Of course, I’ll still do whatever I can to turn things around, and you’d have to kill me before I wouldn’t show up at the polls this November. But I’m not feeling too optimistic.
I know I couldn’t survive in the sort of regime that will result when Trump seizes full power — which he will certainly do if we fail in November. My temperament isn’t suited for totalitarianism and fascism. I couldn’t physically, emotionally or spiritually handle a political environment of such mysogyny, cruelty and watch the exploitation and institutionalized abuse of the most vulnerable members of society.
This regime seems very hostile to women in particular, and coupled with the powerful influence of Dominionism and far right evangelicalism, they are poised to overturn not just Roe vs. Wade, but also use “Old Testament Law” (the “Christian” version of Sharia Law) as justification to take away all our rights, including contraception and even possibly the right to vote or own property, just like they do in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia. As an unmarried (divorced) older female without much in the way of financial means, I’d be an easy target for the emboldened regime to exploit, marginalize, and abuse. Social security and Medicare, which I’m counting on in a few years since I have very little in retirement savings, will be gone — and everything I paid into it over four decades effectively stolen from me by insatiably greedy oligarchs who believe they deserve everything and the “little people” deserve nothing.
Right now, I don’t see any way I’d be able to flee the country, and I wouldn’t leave without my adult children anyway, who are also vulnerable to exploitation and abuse by this regime for reasons I won’t get into here. They would also be targets.
I fear death. Maybe faced with a dystopian future of wasting away in a concentration or slave labor camp reminiscent of “The Colonies” in The Handmaid’s Tale (the “Colonies” are the grim hard labor camps that older and infertile women, and female dissenters are sent to shovel toxic waste until they die), that fear might disappear. At that point, suicide might be an option. I don’t know. I can’t imagine such a thing now. I still have too much hope that things can’t stay like this — even though intellectually I know they can.
Every day I pray that a miracle gives me back the country I love, or barring that, that an opportunity for escape opens up for my family and I to start over in a new country. If neither of those outcomes are in the cards, all I want from God is a quick and merciful death to spare me from the horror and pain of the alternative.
The Department of Homeland Security now wants to compile a list of all journalists, bloggers, and “media influencers.” In particular, they’re keeping tabs on journalists, bloggers, and media influencers who oppose or criticize our Dear Leader Trump. The DHS was created to combat terrorism, not punish people for exercising their First Amendment rights. But in Trump’s America, journalists and bloggers who are critical of him are terrorists. So I guess that makes me a terrorist.
Soon they’ll come knocking at my door at 4 AM and issue me an armband identifying me as a “dissident” and then ship me off in the darkness to a Trumpian concentration camp. It’s not a matter of if but when — unless I can find a way to escape this country before that happens. Or unless democracy survives (which is definitely possible — I refuse to stop being optimistic, as hard as it is at times).
One thing’s for sure. I’m not going to shut up or let them win. I’ll spit in their faces as they cart me off. I’ve had enough of that sort of abusive crap all my life from other narcissists and sociopaths. I’d rather die than be their bitch.
Big Brother has arrived.
ICE and Border Patrol roundups, incarcerations, and deportations are happening at an increasingly alarming rate in recent weeks, and the abuses inflicted on those targeted are also getting worse. While border security initially focused only on criminals from entering our borders, now that definition has expanded to include non-criminal immigrants who live respectable lives and have families. Targeted individuals now include children and Dreamers, the elderly and the sick. Kids, even babies and toddlers, are being cruelly separated from their parents, and husbands are being torn from their wives. People who have lived and worked in this country for decades and contributed to society in countless ways are now being rounded up for deportation by border patrol agents, who appear to act without mercy or compassion, and often with force and violence. The other day, I read with horror about a busload of people in Florida all being forced to produce ID proving their citizenship. Those who couldn’t prove they were born here were arrested and detained. That is un-American!
On this day, a day of remembrance for the millions of people who lived (and died) during the Holocaust, it’s beyond sobering to realize that Hitler’s Third Reich began almost exactly the same way. Jews and other targeted groups weren’t initially sent to concentration camps and gassed to death. The first step toward extermination was identifying them as “not one of us,” dehumanizing them, and emboldening the “base” (Hitler’s adherents) to ostracize, shun, and attack them.
The Holocaust began with profiling and targeting such as ICE is doing and Trump’s base is encouraged to do. The German people were mostly able to normalize or dismiss it. In less than 12 years, things escalated to what is shown in the two bottom pictures.
Trump is doing exactly the same thing Hitler did. Muslims, Mexicans and other “non-white” immigrants are only the first groups to be targeted and rounded up — they are the new “Jews.” Eventually, just as Hitler did, LGBTQ people, the disabled, the mentally ill, political dissenters, and anyone else who doesn’t fit the Trumpian ideal of straight, white, Republican, rich, and Christian will be targeted as well. That means most of us, and it includes many in Trump’s own base. If not stopped, this targeting will eventually involve a “final solution,” just as Hitler’s Germany did. Concentration camps are not far off, unless this trend is stopped.
History tends to repeat itself when the oldest generation still alive no longer has a living memory of the atrocities of the past. Most people who had reached adulthood by the time of WWII and the Holocaust are no longer with us. I’m sure most surviving WWII veterans, who fought the Nazis, are horrified at what they see happening today.
May we never forget.
Remember the Holocaust — Or It Will Happen Here (Millennial Politics blog)
It’s an uphill battle trying to remain upbeat and positive when your country is being decimated by a group of amoral thugs who seem to have limitless power and money to do whatever they want, especially when no one seems to be able or willing to stop them. It’s even harder to be positive when you are going to be personally affected by their cruel policies, which have the potential to destroy your life or the lives of your loved ones.
Yes, the situation is bad. It would be dangerous and foolish to deny that. But as the old cliche goes, there is always a silver lining to every dark cloud, and in the midst of all the evil, there are reasons to feel hopeful that good will triumph and we may emerge from this stronger than we have ever been.
Here are 12 reasons why it’s okay to feel hopeful.
1. Robert Mueller knows what he is doing and who he is dealing with. In spite of GOP efforts to stop or discredit him, Mueller knows ways to throw a monkey wrench into their efforts, and is tenaciously pursuing justice for us all. Even if the unthinkable should happen and Trump is able to somehow stop Mueller, I can tell you right now that people aren’t going to just lie down and accept it. I guarantee half of the country will be storming Washington, jamming the phone lines, and showing up in huge numbers to protest against it. Besides that, firing Mueller now would leave no doubt of his guilt. It would be a huge problem for Trump, as it was for Nixon. I realize it’s not 1974 and government is alot more broken than it was then, but I have to believe that it will still work as it’s supposed to, even if it’s not doing it well.
2. There are a lot more people who oppose Trump and his administration than there are supporters. And that number is increasing.
3. Trump’s base is eroding, albeit slowly. Pew just reported that Trump’s approval rating just sunk to 32%. That’s the lowest it’s ever been. Hitler’s approval rating was always much higher, even at the height of his power.
4. George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn, and most likely others too, have flipped and are giving Mueller vital inside information that will hasten justice and eventually end this nightmare.
5. Despite GOP efforts to undermine the free press and honest investigative journalism, it’s stronger than ever. Readership of newspapers that stay as close to truthful reporting as they can like The New York Times and Washington Post have seen record numbers of subscriptions this year and are still rising. At the same time, Fox News, once the most popular cable news channel, has sunk to third place, behind MSNBC and CNN. Rachel Maddow’s show is the most popular news show on television. As long as the free press remains relatively intact, we will not descend into full fascism or totalitarianism.
6. There is strength in numbers. There are a lot more of us than there are of them. Together, we can do a lot of damage. Snowflakes, while fragile and weak on their own, are formidable when they coalesce to form a blizzard.
7. The Republican Party is self-destructing. While the Democratic Party may not be in good shape either, people are leaving the GOP in droves, even people who have voted Republican all their lives. Among progressives, while there is bickering between Never-Hillary democratic socialists and establishment Democrats, the divisions within various factions of the GOP are much deeper and less likely to mend themselves.
8. People are more motivated to vote than they have been in decades (conservatives have always voted, so those numbers will not increase). Don’t forget the recent blue sweep across many states last month, even a red state like Virginia. Democrat Doug Jones may very well win Alabama, even though that state is deep red and extremely conservative. He and Moore have been polling very close. If a state like Alabama can turn blue, that’s a very good sign for us all.
9. The country is rediscovering its soul and realizing what we have lost under four decades of increasingly right-wing policies. Trump is both the end result of this and the shadow we have refused to face or denied. Now we are compelled to face the truth and make necessary changes. Most of America is finally starting to care about issues that have been increasingly discredited or demonized by Republicans and ignored or dismissed by Democrats. We are waking up to what’s really important. In a sense, Trump is actually doing the country a huge service, as long as we do our part and don’t give up and keep resisting.
10. TIME just gave its Person of the Year award to the women of #MeToo. Sexual abuse is being exposed and addressed at all levels in a way it never has been before.
11. History is being made. If you’re familiar with generational/turning theory, every 80 years or so, the country enters into a Crisis period (the last three were the American Revolution, The Civil War, and The Great Depression/WWII.) in which America reinvents itself. America has always come out of these crisis periods stronger and better than it was before. I have to believe this time is no exception. This won’t last forever.
12. Related to #10, the Millennial Generation (people born 1982 – 2004) is the most politically progressive generation in modern history. They can’t be stopped, because there are so many more of them than Gen-X and even Baby Boomers, who are starting to die off. Most Millennials are politically aware and aren’t allergic to the “s” word. They realize, like Franklin Delano Roosevelt did, that capitalism works best when seasoned with a good helping of European-style democratic socialism, as it was from the late 1930s to the early 1970s when we had policies that actually benefited We the People and not just the corporations and the wealthy. Millennials realize that trickle-up economics (recognizing that jobs are created and the economy thrives when the “little people” are living better), works better than trickle down economics, which has never worked for most Americans. This is the generation that is beginning to have its effects felt in government and politics and is only going to keep increasing.
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.
When I was a little girl back in the ’60s, life was good. There was a sense — even among children as young as I was — that America was a good place: prosperous and powerful, but also with a large, healthy middle class, a strong public school system, an effective safety net and strong labor unions that kept the vast majority of people from falling into poverty, institutions that actually worked, and a sense that the President of the United States would always be a man of high moral character and compassion for others.
Community was important. Libraries, public schools, the post office, and the infrastructure in general were there to serve the greater good, and they did their job well. No one questioned their existence. It was unheard of for people to complain about having to pay taxes to support the community or to have nice things like public schools, fire departments, libraries, safe and well-kept roads, Social Security for the elderly, federal grants so kids could go to college, poverty-relief programs like Medicaid or food stamps, and national or state parks. The rich — of which there were only a few — weren’t that rich: in the 1950s, the wealthiest 1% paid 91% of their income in taxes (now they pay only 35% and that number is about to drop even more under the Trump tax plan). If anyone complained, you never heard about it. Everyone assumed that it was only fair the wealthy pay more in taxes, because the common good was seen as more important than the few wealthy being able to buy yet another mansion or yacht (or use their vast sums of money to influence politicians and buy votes).
Politicians and leaders were generally seen as trustworthy and benevolent. A few were not, but they hid it well (or were slapped down quickly) if they weren’t. If they broke the law (like Nixon with Watergate), there were consequences — and they apologized and gracefully stepped down. Most seemed to care about the average American. Both Democrats and Republicans seemed supportive of public institutions that helped everyday people and worked to build things instead of tear everything down. As the sixties turned into the seventies, measures began to be taken to clean up the environment, and formerly polluted rivers and cities began to heal themselves as new regulations were put into place that put people over profits. The EPA was established.
When something bad happened, you had faith that the President was someone who was able to comfort and identify with the people’s pain. You could rest assured that whether Democrat or Republican, the president was a person not only of high moral character but also of high empathy.
Where I lived in the New Jersey suburbs, I was pretty much sheltered from all the social changes until the very late sixties or early seventies. I heard about hippies on the evening news, but they seemed like some sort of fascinating exotic creatures to me, very far from my own sheltered childhood reality of homework, kickball, and Barbie dolls. The Vietnam War seemed like something happening on another planet, a terrible but abstract thing I never had to worry about.
I was too young to realize that women did not have many choices or that racial segregation was still being practiced, especially in the South. As the civil rights movement began to change society, all it meant for me was that my school became more integrated. Since I lived in an all-white part of town, having a few non-white students around made things more interesting. If there was any pushback, I wasn’t privy to it. Gradually, my grade school textbooks began to have photos of black and Hispanic kids in addition to the WASP-y looking people that populated the textbooks of my first and second grade years. In 1972, we sold our home to a black family, and I found out later the neighbors’ reaction was pretty negative, but we had already moved away by then so their reaction didn’t matter.
As the women’s movement came along and women began to chafe at their limited roles as housewives and mothers, there was a more negative effect on me personally. As a preteen, I needed my mother (or thought I did), and her suddenly leaving my dad and spending so much time away from home and embarking on a career made me feel, well, as if she no longer loved me. Of course, my mother’s narcissism — which was the real problem, not her feminism — has been written about here many times, but this post isn’t about that.
In spite of the problems ’70s-era feminism caused for me (or seemed to cause), as I got a little older I embraced it. The world seemed wide open with possibilities and choices. It was exciting to stand on the brink of adulthood and know I could be anything I wanted to be (things didn’t quite work out that way, but again, that’s another topic that has more to do with my individual background and poor choices). What’s important is that back then, the future seemed like a carnival of brilliant colors and endless possibilities.
In 2017, things are vastly different today than they were forty years ago. I don’t even feel like this is America anymore. We are a country under siege by a corrupt group of selfish, compassionless, greedy criminals and their financial donors who pull all the strings to funnel ever more money away from the rest of us and into their own pockets. They are actively trying to tear down the institutions that made us great and built a strong sense of community back in the postwar years. Everything that helps families and children is being gutted. Democracy is a thing of the past.
They are trying to legislate a repressive, authoritarian form of evangelical Christianity that would not only roll back hard-won rights and freedoms of women, minorities, and LGBTQ people, but also marginalize and punish those same people. It seems like what they really want is a return to the Gilded Age, only with an ISIS-like religious theocracy in place of the Constitution.
Incredibly, they are shoving their oppressive religion down everyone else’s throats and infiltrating the highest reaches of politics in the name of religious freedom. I’m afraid we are dangling on the precipice of becoming a totalitarian state which wouldn’t look too different from Gilead in The Handmaid’s Tale. At the very least, we are on the brink of civil war between the Trump-emboldened far right Christian extremists and white supremacists and everyone who believes in liberty, justice and freedom for all. Violence is glorified and even after last week’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, certain Republicans are actually blaming the victims of the shooting for not doing enough to defend themselves instead of placing the blame where it belongs: on the need for stricter gun laws. Talk about gaslighting!
If all that wasn’t bad enough, we are in real danger of being decimated by nuclear war. Our own government (aided by Russia) has declared war on us from within, but oh no, that’s not our only problem. Our president — a conman and pathological liar who would have already been in prison 40 years ago — is engaged in a schoolyard pissing contest with North Korea’s dictator, and is threatening and abusing us all by making veiled threats about nuclear annihilation on Twitter. I cannot trust this president to do the right thing. In fact, I’m pretty sure his intentions are malicious. I really do feel like our own president has declared war not only on the most vulnerable Americans, but also on those who still value decency and compassion and community.
It’s ironic to me that Trump is rolling back laws that require employers to cover contraception and women’s healthcare, since Trump’s America is not any place I would want to bring a child into. If I were of childbearing age, I’m pretty sure today I would choose not to have children. I worry about my own two kids, who are just starting their adult lives in this new, mean version of America, a collapsing empire now infested by unspeakable evils we couldn’t even imagine a few decades ago. I actually hope my kids remain childless until (and if) things get better.
This country that held so much promise as I entered adulthood has been gutted from within. All I can see is a dystopian nightmare future. I would never want to foist it on an innocent child. I feel very sorry for kids being born today. I don’t understand how anyone with a soul would want to have a child under this oppressive, toxic, uncaring, hateful, and dangerous regime. They will never know the same America that I knew.
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.
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 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.
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 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 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.