There is a narcissist in the White House, and we are all in grave danger.
From Dr. John Gardner’s Duty to Warn to several Ivy League psychiatry professors’ recent call to remove him from office, mental health professionals are speaking out. But is it too late?
As someone who was raised by abusive, narcissistic parents, the problem is obvious to me. But it breaks my heart to see so many “Good Americans” continue to enable and make excuses for this horrible man. Manipulation tactics and cognitive distortions are no stranger to politics, but with a narcissist in the white house, these toxic forms of control are magnified and elevated as the new normal.
Education is necessary to recognize and disarm narcissists, sociopaths, and other people with Cluster B personality disorders. They are, by definition, toxic and abusive people. It is common for their unsuspecting victims to walk right into their traps because they simply thought it was possible to reason with them. Personality disorders are different from mental illness. The common trait of Cluster B’s is that they lack empathy. Yes, they are aware of what they are doing, yes, they can control their behavior, and yes, they do intend to harm. Narcissists are generally considered untreatable, because they lack the insight of what’s wrong with their own behavior.
Narcissists, and others in the Cluster B category cause incredible amounts of damage in their environment. They are pathological liars who will do anything to destroy those who contradict or expose them. Their victims experience serious trauma, which can develop into PTSD and Complex PTSD. If there is a narcissist in your life, the best possible solution is to go no contact. But what to do when a narcissist is running your country? In light of recent events, here are some common terms to know.
Projection: When a narcissist blames someone else for his own behavior. Remember “Crooked Hillary” accused of colluding with the Russians? How about giving a platform to the extremist, alt-right media, Breitbart, and calling CNN and other mainstream, non-biased outlets “fake news”? What’s interesting about narcissists is that their projections are actually confessions of their own behavior. Whatever they falsely accuse someone else of doing, it is almost certain it is something they are doing themselves. Knowing this one fact about narcissists means you and automatically disarm them the next time they offer a projection.
Victim Blaming: When a Nazi hate group plows a car into a crowd of innocent people at a counter protest, and the president says the counter protest was at fault for not having a permit.
Gaslighting: A form of manipulation used to make the victim question reality, such as when a president says there are many sides to a Nazi hate crime. When an innocent person dies from being run over by a car in a Nazi hate crime, and the president claims there is violence on “all sides.” When the president says there are “fine people” who attend Nazi hate rallies.
Flying Monkeys: People who enable abusers, make excuses for them, and agree with them, usually so they can receive some form of false sense of protection from the abuser. They are the snot-nosed kids on either side of the schoolyard bully saying, “Yeah!”whenever the bully takes a stab at an innocent person. They are also the GOP who think sticking with a Nazi sympathizer president is still somehow protecting their base.
Scapegoats: Anyone who stands up to a narcissist, calls them out, or speaks truth, will become the scapegoat, or target of abuse on which all of the world’s blame is heaped upon. Several brave CEOs who left the manufacturing council became scapegoats this week, starting with Ken Frazier, CEO of Merck, who left as a result of Trump’s support of white nationalists in Charlottsville. Trump’s twitter response: “Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!” Emphasis his.
Normalizing: When all kinds of lies and bullshit goes down and everyone is so used to it, they no longer get upset. It’s when people are so worn down by crazy and outrageous behavior, they can no longer muster the appropriate amount of outrage and resistance. When a billionaire makes such an outrageous and obviously false claim about citizenship, so often, and so adamantly, that the president has to provide his birth certificate to prove him wrong, this is normalizing. There is nothing normal about Trump’s presidency, what he says or does, yet there is such a constant barrage of toxic lies and garbage every single day, we’re all used to it. Collectively, we know it’s wrong, but all we have energy to do anymore is roll our eyes and shrug.
There are, of course, many other terms to become familiar with. The first step in dealing with a narcissist is to recognize that a narcissist can not, will not, change. Most narcissists are several steps ahead of their victims. They know how to manipulate and control those who don’t see them coming. People become victims of narcissistic abuse because they falsely assume that all people are like them- good-hearted and capable of meaning well. Good people do not typically suspect others of malicious behavior, because they cannot fathom thinking or behaving that way themselves. There is no reformation or rehabilitation for a narcissist. The only thing you can do is save yourself from their abuse before it is too late.