I’ve been busy with the start of the school year and a second job, and have also been more open with some of my thoughts on ye old Twitter. For the first time, I’ve broken my silence on some conservative Republican issues, but only because Trump is so abhorrent and the hypocrisy so flaming and obvious that any fear I may have had at defying my family has ceased. If decent people who believe in small government can’t see that this guy is a wacko, it’s no longer my job to please them.
Except that my protests aren’t enough, so as always, I will come here to vent. My credentials are life experience and, while never completed, about half a master’s degree and a minor’s worth of psychology classes–in other words, worthless on any official level–but let me just say something about three months too late:
Dear “Classy,” Sensible Republicans,
Trump is not sane. He is not “going to pivot.” He doesn’t give a fuck about you.
I keep hearing these incredible claims that this is all a “show,” that he really is a “great businessman,” and most insanely from Republicans (based on my childhood indoctrination against Bill Clinton), that “a man’s private life doesn’t matter.” And apart from more philosophical debates, I am in a great deal of anguish because the truth is that this man doesn’t exist.
It is not a show. It is an embarrassing display of American corruption, of what happens when a rich daddy finds a way to muzzle and hide a son’s inanity, and of what happens when a culture is built to intimidate women into silence and make them question themselves when their boundaries are crossed. In other words, this clown simply had enough people to cover for him until he made it to a national stage. That doesn’t make him a great anything. It just makes the people around him codependent and unwise.
Let me tell you something about narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths from hard-won knowledge. But first, let me address a straw man argument. Someone close to me recently said, “Have you met him? How can you judge him?”
This is ridiculous, but just in case anyone thinks it’s a credible question, let me address it. No, in response to this person’s incredulous question, I haven’t met Donald. I am not qualified to make an official psychiatric diagnosis. Besides, some professionals have already pitched in their two cents here and here.
I’m just not an idiot. In addition, I am following everything I was ever taught as a Christian. “You will know they are Christians by their love” (well, obviously there’s a lot of other arenas in which this plays out disingenuously, but I think it’s safe to say Trump’s words aren’t loving, and he sure isn’t some baby Christian, unless evangelicals have drastically changed the meaning of the term). “Out of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Every single verse in the Bible about a fool. (Each word in that last sentence links to a different verse about fools that is oh-so-applicable to our dear GOP candidate. More that apply here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Go to this site for a full list of delightedly accurate descriptions of Trump; scroll down to Proverbs for the most obvious.)
By the way: have you met Hillary? If not, how do you have any claims as to NOT vote for her?
Telling me I can’t judge a man like Trump based on his very public actions–that I cannot draw a conclusion when you have already drawn one in his favor, DESPITE the evidence–is like telling me that I can’t say that a murderer is a murderer when I witness him kill someone.
In other words, the things I judge Trump on, and with which I make the following statements, are based on his very public words and acts. I very much doubt the private man is different, given his marital habits and the consistency with which his accusers’ words match his public persona.
Now that that petty excuse is out of the way, let me say this: Trump is not rational. He is not a showman. He is a narcissist. They are attention whores with no real psychological core–no sense of who they are at the bottom–no driving force except to receive unadulterated adoration. That’s it. He wants attention, and the more, the better. This driving, amoral force is how he is able to make up different positions, to praise Planned Parenthood in one debate and then say that women who get abortions should be jailed when talking directly to a crowd who hates the organization. In his case, he’s a really clumsy chameleon, perhaps because his worst transgressions used to be behind closed doors in business deals–but now his idiocy and automatic hypocrisy as part of his gluttony for attention is on full display. They also lack all empathy–literally, for full-blown narcissists, cannot feel it. Which is why it’s so pathetic when people I love try to believe he will care a shit for them after the election. Unless it serves him, he won’t; and as his denouncing of the GOP and current ego-inebriated state of destruction shows, even then, his own lust for power and undivided adoration will outweigh his reason.
Oh, my dear friends and family who claim that he will “pivot.” What a fun word. But it displays a depth of thought and feeling that the man cannot display.
This is where my friend’s question comes into play with a tiny bit of legitimacy. How the heck can I know that a man I’ve never met has no inner life? Let’s be honest: I am going into this with a kind of blind fury that it makes it hard to type. Because one of the hardest lessons I ever had to learn in this life was that when someone shows you who he/she is, believe it. Anything else is a recipe for disaster.
I have spent a very long time trying to work with some students–a very rare, low percentage of the general population–who have this kind of disorder. They are manipulative, they are often attractive and charismatic, but they are occasionally clumsy and almost always immature. They are the kids you have to document, document, document about, and never forget to be careful in the way you interact with them.
Then there are young teachers I once mentored, the ones who wrote me long, exasperated philosophical treatises on how dumb lesson plans are or didn’t show up for the first day of student teaching, leaving high-needs students in a lurch, because somehow they were beautiful snowflakes who have been able to make it through life based on charm, and were horrified when they realized that they were the emperor with no clothes, and all their pretty charm wouldn’t get work done.
And finally, they are certain people I have known, to whom I’ve grown close, whom I have prayed and begged to change and listened to lie, lie, lie, lie, and manipulate, only to realize weeks or months later that there was never even a chance. That at these persons’ cores, there is simply nothing other than this glut for attention, for fame, for any kind of positive affirmation–and never, ever, ever for any kind of remote or perceived criticism, or you feel. the. wrath.
This is how I know. Because Trump turned against the GOP the exact same way a manipulative individual turns on his partner, boss, friend or parent when that person doesn’t offer 100% allegiance. It is an ego beyond all reason, and it is now fucking with our electoral system.
This is different than entitlement. People with personality flaws can be taught, can learn through the hard parts of life, how to be less selfish or self-righteous, how to gain humility. People with narcissistic personality disorder, or sociopathy or psychopathy, cannot.
There is desperation in the psychiatric community to believe this is not true. The idea also flies in the face of the conservative theology in which I was raised. (If a narcissistic or sociopathic “sinner” can never truly repent–can never acknowledge a need for forgiveness–how can he be “saved”? And if he cannot technically ever go to heaven, how is that fair? No matter how fucked up Trump is, I wouldn’t wish him an eternity in hell.) Both of these groups’ denial comes from the fact that an incurable psychological disorder indicates a lack of free will in some contexts, and that terrifies both evangelicals and humanists–at least, some of them. What do we do if we cannot control our own destinies?
At the moment, I don’t care about Trump’s eternal destination. I just don’t want to see him ruin our electoral process. I’ve been angry enough, but when I see that unchecked narcissism now extending to a system and a process that he can’t control– because he cannot control the Americans who hate him and would never vote for him–I have two reactions.
One is an unfettered wrath at the forces that have buried their heads in the sand to let this horrible person’s ego ruin an election season, a campaign, and now, maybe, our very process of electing a leader;
the other is a sad, despairing, gut-wrenching laugh. Because there is no “pivot,” people. There is no man behind the curtain. What you see is what you get, and the sooner you acknowledge that, the sooner we can get rid of this destructive individual–and maybe, in the future, some of us will be wiser. Heck, knowing the traits of narcissism can help you in almost every arena of life, since most of us will encounter several over the course of a lifetime.
Just don’t let this one ruin our country.