PTSD as in DONALD
PTSD AS IN: POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DONALD
The election of Donald Trump has left many in semi-shock… and confusion. I am presenting this as a shrink, more than a constituent since I am a registered INDEPENDENT voter and have voted for both parties in my life.
I have to post this (and vent) for my mental health too. There are the times a shrink needs a shrink also. In our lives we often reach points that require us to Process, Stuff or Escalate situations. In my Anger Management Book (Get Over It) that I wrote for my University Online course, I refer to ways of dealing with confrontation and point out some of the things that ADD to our Anger, but that venting, sharing, processing is needed or it builds and builds.
This blog started as an email to friend’s daughter who told her dad that everyone was stunned after the election night at her University back east (we live in California). She said tears were flowing as the shock hit of the new reality. I suggest that we all are in shock mode – both the victors AND the defeated – to have this happen when even the victors themselves were not unified and had much divisiveness and contention in their own ranks. We have a major unknown now – i.e., if a “regular/traditional” Republican or Democrat had won, it would have been politics as usual and we would have standard expectations of the future politics and attitude of the situation. BUT this election is like an MIA issue where we can’t fully grieve or rejoice … yet. There are too many unknowns in the direction and decisions that might be made.
Mr. Trump, consistent with his varying DSM diagnoses that were mentioned during his time as a candidate, had his own ‘here and now’ realities that he was able to quote and refer to depending on where he was located, who he was talking to, and/or his needs to ‘reassure himself’ and his listeners at the time. Folks need to realize he was never really lying about anything, they were honest answers in his mind. I remind students in my Psychotherapy classes at MSMU, the Sociopaths make great salesmen and politicians because they don’t have a real conscience as we know it. They can say what they say with no emotion, no signs of lying because at that moment they believe what they are saying based on many varying causes that they believe at that moment. Thus, I suggest to my students who will be in the field at some point, “Remember this person believes totally what they are saying, so it is not what I call ‘premeditated lying'”. Premeditated lying being where the person has put thought into the act of lying to deceive the other person vs this type of person who creates their own reality for the situation and TRULY believes in what they are saying. Witness the many religious evangelists who get folks to give them their LAST dollar as the folks believe that it will buy them heaven, or peace, or some ‘unleavened bread’ as one was selling that would get them close to God. Yes, at some point these perpetrators really do believe in their reality, so they don’t come across as liars!
In my email to my friend’s daughter, I address that my friend had mentioned how his daughter and her fellow students were reacting to the ‘election’ with lots of tears and emotions. I teach at a Mt. St. Mary’s University, an all girl Catholic U with probably 85% of the students with Hispanic background so many worried about Trumps call to order that he would deport IMMEDIATELY aliens and start his infamous 30 foot wall between US and Mexico AND that Mexico would foot the bill. So, the day after the election, my students had tears and emotions flowing heavily, as did many of the staff, myself included. At stake were women’s issues, cultural issues, LBGT issues with lots of fear, anxiety, angst and pathos. Oh my. Duh, as we have seen, he is already having his newest version of HIS reality as he mentioned to someone that maybe a fence would do instead of big wall, and only aliens with criminal issues would be deported. I have basically turned my classes into group sessions with talking, sharing, teaching about Conflict Resolution which is so much an issue now. ROUGH TIME.
So, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress DONALD) is a bit of our current reality. We live in a new time, one that makes celebrities of Reality show folks, as well as we have FB/Instagram/Twitter/YouTube created “celebs” who have a million followers just for being present on the internet! A time when no one can NOT be a ‘winner’ as the Millennium Generation folks say (Gen Me – “I have been told that there is nothing I can’t be or do”). Gen Me have grown up with trophies for all participants so no one feels bad. I’m tired of folks saying Trumps voters were stupid. NO. NO. NO. Throw the car in PARK. They were followers! Not stupid but naive folks who connected with his anger, hate and narcissistic aggressive behavior. They wanted to believe in what he said, and turn their faith in the future over to him. Folks who have their own anger and frustration as we all do, but they related to and believed, as those who follow the infamous evangelists do, that he had ‘the answer’ for all. In Germany, after World War One, Germany was badly battered and Germans were distraught. These were smart folks, the ones who invented the Jet Engine powering the plane you fly in and were the top scientists in the world at the time. But they needed someone to tell them ‘it would be Good Again!’ at some point. Adolph (yes diagnosable too!) had the right words, the right energy to get then rallied up.
Sadly, Donald turned the campaign into a ‘blood sport’, not really about bettering America but a blood sport to hurt and destroy opponents to win rather than present what really would be the best for America both in the primaries against his own party members and in the general election. He stayed on strategies that allowed the tearing down of all his opponents and made him look good. Think of rallies for sports like Football, World Soccer, no one is talking about how ‘we are all humans and love and care about each other, and we wish all a great night and lots of warmth and social interaction’ but rather that we will sack you, destroy you, and win the game.
In reality folks, if Hillary had won, it would have been HELL for her and the world. She would have been under the microscope and attacked on every thing she tried. She would have likely been a one termer. Assange hated her and showed it as we know. The Koch brothers wanted/backed Pence in 2004 and 2008, now they have a pawn in DT. Pence will likely be in charge, ala Cheney and others in the past including when FDR was so sick in his 3rd term and was part of the ‘pre-dead’ when he started the 4th term so both parties play the game and work the situation. And for the Koch Bros, they can buy control of DT by paying off all his law suits such as the ones for Trump U, the varied women he has assaulted et al.
Oh yeah, and Bernie would have not done better – the election was won by appealing to the WASP middle America! Mid-west “AMURICA”… WASP as in White Anglo Saxon Protestants. They would not be ready for a Jewish President yet, particularly since they were reeling from having 8 years with a Black Pres.
So, for now realize you and your friends are not alone. As the Dali Lama says, – When we lose, we should not lose the lesson – but rather after we vent, yell, cry and attend to our immediate wounds, we should rescue what we can, preserve what we need and still move forward through the damn new obstacles. Grow stronger. MIA issues will subside as more concrete decisions are made and we can process them out one at a time.
Yup, it is a different time… Gen Me and all! to have to wake up to the complacency that lingered. Good luck to us all. And have some cheesecake to make us better… or at least fatter.
Jim Gordon, Ph.D, MFT Beverly Hills Counseling / 204 S. Beverly Dr, #116 Beverly Hills, CA 90212 310-271-3784 / BHCounseling@gmail.com