Trump is an unapologetic, in your face kind of guy. A fair number of voters cast their approval of his unfiltered or “refreshing” candor, depending upon how you see it. At this point, he’s more than halfway towards the required delegate count for the GOP nomination.
So, why is Trump so popular and why does he make us squirm?
Political pundits, spin doctors, reporters, and the guy on line at the ATM all have their opinions on the subject. As a journalist who writes about divorce, I’m going to tackle the second part of the question first.
Anyone who has spent time in a dysfunctional relationship marred by emotional and verbal abuse knows the story. Abusers, especially the narcissistic brand, know exactly how to wrap us around their (little) fingers, promising the moon and the stars (or a really YUGE wall.) Narcissists have a bottomless hunger for ego strokes. The more you feed the monster, the more meat he’ll need.
According to a Psych Central blog post entitled Eight Mental Abuse Tactics Narcissist Use on Their Spouses, Mr. Trump’s rhetoric seems spot on.
8 Techniques Common To Trump And Emotional Abusers:
Twisting The Truth:
Playing The Victim Card:
Why are some people attracted to Trump while for others, he’s like fingernails across a chalkboard?
Some just like his in-your-face stance. “The biggest problem this country has is being politically correct. I don’t have time for politically correct.” People think it’s funny to read his tweets about the “bimbo” Fox anchor and the “blood coming out of her whatever” or that he has the balls to say, “It doesn’t matter what the media says about you as long as you have a hot young piece of ass.”
Plenty of people long for the days when that kid who didn’t get the math could be called a “retard” and it was perfectly acceptable to refer to that non-athletic boy in gym class a “fag.” Toughen up and don’t get your panties in a twist.
Most of us girls were probably taught to kill them with kindness. Don’t fight back. Be sweet! The problem is we grew up and married men who knew how to push our buttons and we had no idea how to handle conflict.
If we just put our husbands on a pedestal and acted nice, he wouldn’t attack us. We quickly got caught up in the drama, the adrenaline pump when we knew the rage was coming.
I suspect this is what fuels some of Trump’s supporters who are caught up in the cycle, especially those who belong to the groups he attacks. See gaslighting. When you’re told your truth doesn’t really matter, eventually you doubt everything plus your own truth.
Rage can be sexy. There’s a definite adrenaline rush when someone’s going for the jugular. It’s a powerful drug.
On the flip side are those of us who removed ourselves from the equation and are healing. Stinging words and the manipulations of narcissistic abuse pull us back into the chaos we fought so hard to leave. So, when Trump grimaces, points, and yells, we are right back in our bedroom, the car, or wherever else our abuser chose to take a swing. And if there was a cool down, there’s the “But you/the Mexicans, blacks, women, gays LOVE me!”
Of course, narcissistic abusers love to point fingers. It’s easy to blame the kids, the mother-in-law, the barking dog, the crying baby, your lousy cooking, your fat thighs, or whatever else. Trump knows this and how to get abusers to eat out of his hand.
If you were part of an abusive tango, you may be transported in a sort of time machine. It’s incredibly tough to watch the country go through what plagued you and your kids for years till you had the courage to get out.
With hope, no matter which side of the spectrum you’re on, we can heal as a gentler, more supportive nation instead of the tempestuous, raging mess that seems to have taken hold.