Ex, narcissists, politicians, politics, Trump

Battening down the hatches and bracing for impact…

This morning, I’ve been listening to pundits talk about Donald Trump’s “special announcement”. I think we all know that Trump is going to announce his run for the 2024 presidential election. Or, at least that’s a very likely scenario, as Trump hasn’t made it a secret that he intends to run. But… he’s doing so against the wishes of people close to him. Melania doesn’t want to be FLOTUS again. Ivanka wants to focus on her kids. Jared Kushner has distanced himself. Tiffany just got married, and no doubt wants no part of her father’s ridiculous and increasingly desperate antics in his bid to stay relevant. And… it looks like the Republican Party would like Trump to go away, too.

Yes, the Republicans totally deserve this turn of events.

Of course, had the midterm elections been more in favor of the Republicans, I’m sure the politicians would be fully supporting Trump right now. But as we all know, the supposed “red wave” that so many people were predicting simply didn’t come to fruition. Election deniers and extremist Trump loyalist “crazies” mostly didn’t succeed in winning their races. The more “normal” Republicans, desperate to save their party, have tried to get Trump to go away. Sadly, it doesn’t work like that with narcissists. Especially when they’ve gotten close to something they value. Once a narcissist has had someone or something, they usually can’t let go of it, even after they’ve devalued and discarded it.

I will caveat that last comment with a disclaimer. Bill has had encounters with some narcissists who did totally walk away, seemingly forever. For instance, his old “war buddy”, who was very publicly fired for abusing troops in Iraq, hasn’t been in contact with Bill in years. He may never hear from him again. Or, maybe he will… like, if they run into each other somehow. If war buddy sees Bill, he will be reminded that Bill is a super nice and thoughtful person who can do things for him. That former supply would be like fresh meat to the war buddy, and then he might want to tap into that. But, right now, Bill is out of sight and out of mind. He currently isn’t obviously useful to his old war buddy. If that should ever change, I would not put it past him if, somehow if he was reminded of that supply, he decided to try to worm his way back into Bill’s existence and mess with things. This is why it’s so important to go no contact with narcissists. It’s easier said than done with some people.

Trump, as a malignant narcissist, can’t stand being labeled a loser. He had a taste of being the most powerful man on Earth. In spite of his disparaging comments about the White House, Trump LOVED being president, if only because it made him so very powerful. He was in the news every day. He’s still in the news today, but not for the right reasons. He wants that power and esteem back, and if he ever gets it, he won’t ever want to let it go again. I think Trump as POTUS again would be a huge disaster. I think the more normal people in the Republican Party can see it, too. But now, they have a monster on their hands, and slaying him won’t be easy. He won’t go away quietly, and won’t stop trying to get what he thinks is his until he’s dead. Unfortunately, there are a lot of disenfranchised, unhinged, misinformed people out there who will not stop championing their hero, Trump… who wouldn’t deign to piss on them if they were on fire.

I am so grateful to sensible voters, particularly in Generation Z, who rejected the extremist right wing rhetoric being promoted by Trump and his acolytes. Trumpism is rapidly going out of style, but unfortunately, the Republican Party opened a Pandora’s Box. Trump is like the worst drug seeker, trying to get that hit again… that hit of power and influence that is the sweetest fuel to a narcissist of his caliber.

Republicans, noting that their influence is rapidly dwindling, in part due to Trump, are now scrambling to right things. Some have even proposed raising the voting age, to keep the tolerant youth from influencing elections. Meanwhile, their elderly base is slowly, and literally, dying off. And I’m afraid Trump’s influence is here to stay for awhile, even if Trump himself doesn’t get back into office. I won’t be surprised if he ends up forming his own party, which will split some voters away from the Republican Party.

The voting age is a Constitutionally protected right, but some Republicans want to change that.

You see, this is why I think people really should learn about narcissists and narcissism. Too many people– especially high ranking, and likely very narcissistic people themselves– didn’t understand that unrelenting and insatiable narcissistic thirst for supply and power. It’s like a drug for them. And for a guy like Trump, being the POTUS is the most potent hit of power there is. It’s killing him that Joe Biden beat him. He can’t accept it, and won’t stop trying to get back in power until he’s dead. So that people who put him in power have created a monster, and they will have to deal with him until Trump inevitably dies or becomes so disabled that he can no longer meddle with the Republican Party’s business. Once something or someone becomes a source of supply, they don’t ever totally let go or forget, even if someone or something is out of sight, out of mind for awhile.

Look at my husband’s narcissistic ex wife. She has negatively affected so many people– even people like me, who have never met her in person. That, in a way, is a form of legacy that is powerful. But her presence, by those who know who and what she is, is rarely welcomed. Even close family members don’t want her around, and don’t want contact with her. She continues to try to claim them, even if they have tried to set boundaries. And what’s very sad for people directly connected to Ex is that the people they have relationships become part of the network. My husband’s stepmother is now in Ex’s network, even though she wouldn’t even know Ex if not for Bill. Younger daughter’s husband is now in Ex’s network because he married Ex’s daughter. Even I am in her network, due to my connection with her ex husband. When I Google myself or Bill, invariably, one or more of those Spokeo type Web sites come up. I see my name affiliated with Ex’s, even though we’ve never been in the same room. Why? Because we were married to the same man, and now share acquaintances and relations.

And yet, I have found that when those of us in her network get together, we all have similar stories to tell. Most of her direct victims don’t want to be near her again. She keeps trying to infiltrate, though. I have no doubt whatsoever that if I weren’t married to Bill and she thought he was available, she WOULD contact him and try to re-establish contact. We’ve seen her do it repeatedly, especially to anyone who can give her what she wants. What she wants is money, people to do the work of daily living for her, and people to prop up her image. She doesn’t actually care about other people, and is completely incapable of love. She says she loves, but she doesn’t, really. It’s all fake, although she expects real love from other people. She can’t reciprocate. She doesn’t know what love is. She just wants what comes from good people– love, regard, respect, but most of all, money, power, and resources. And she always leaves them weakened, damaged, and poorer, just as if she was a vampire who’s sucked away some of their blood.

Trump, likewise, loves no one but his own false image, and simply wants to drain the American people. He loves nothing but power and money. He is an empty shell of a person, delusional and suffering from extreme withdrawal. That makes him desperate. Eventually, he will weaken, but not before he does a lot of damage… even more than he’s already done. So I hope the Republicans are satisfied with what they’ve wrought. They’re about to go through a NASTY divorce with Trump, not unlike the one Bill experienced. And there will be a “custody fight” over the will of the nation.

I hope some of the ones who aren’t narcissists themselves will learn more about what narcissism is, and what narcissistic people do. It’s the only way to vaccinate oneself against their lies, manipulations, distortions of reality, gaslighting, and overall craziness. While most people have narcissistic traits, people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are a whole ‘nother ball of wax. I am convinced that Trump has NPD off the scales. And I suspect Ex does, too.

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book reviews, mental health, narcissists, politicians, politics, Trump

A review of Trump on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President, by Justin A. Frank, MD…

When Donald Trump was still POTUS, I bought a bunch of books about him. I haven’t managed to finish them all, even though he was voted out of office in 2020. I’m an avid reader, but I can’t read books as fast as I once did, when my eyes weren’t so old and I didn’t need to nap so much. Besides that, I find reading about Trump alternately infuriating and terrifying, even though he’s also a fascinating character. It shocks me that he’s able to get away with what he does, although it now appears that special super power could soon be about to end.

From the beginning of Trump’s “reign”, I have believed very strongly that he is a narcissistic sociopath or a malignant narcissist, or something of that order… I remember hearing back in the 80s what a scumbag he was, but at that time, I didn’t really care too much. I was a kid. Now that I’m middle aged, and see the damage that can be wrought by corrupt leaders who are so power hungry that they completely lose sight of responsibility and decency, I care a lot more about Trump and the many people who emulate and admire him.

In late March 2020, I downloaded Justin A. Frank’s book, Trump on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President. Frank is a psychiatrist with several decades of experience in practicing and teaching psychiatry. According to his page on Amazon.com:

Justin Frank M.D. is a highly regarded psychoanalyst and teacher. A clinician with more than thirty year’s experience, Dr. Frank used the principles of applied psychoanalysis to assemble a comprehensive psychological profile of President George W. Bush in his 2004 New York Times bestselling book Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President (HarperCollins). His newest book, Obama on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President is being published by Free Press/Simon & Schuster on October 18, 2011. 

Dr. Frank currently writes a biweekly column for Time.com. He also contributes to HuffingtonPost.com, DailyBeast.com and Salon.com, and is a frequent writer and speaker on topics as diverse as politics, film, and theater. He is Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at George Washington University Medical Center, and the co-director of the Metropolitan Center for Object Relations in New York.

Dr. Frank did his psychiatric residency at Harvard Medical School and was chief resident at the Cambridge Hospital. He was also awarded the DuPont-Warren Fellowship by Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Frank lives in Washington DC.

As you can see, Dr. Frank has written several “on the couch” books about presidents. I haven’t read the other books, as before Trump came along, I didn’t care very much about politics. It’s been said that no person is 100 percent “bad”. I suppose that if I could say one thing good about Donald Trump, it’s that he has motivated people like me to care about who is leading the country, and whether or not they are fit to be in such a position. I have never thought Trump was “fit” to be president, although I do remember thinking he’d do better than Ted Cruz. At this point, though, I think I was mistaken about that.

After I finished Mary Trump’s book about what led the people of the United States to elect her corrupt uncle, I decided to read Dr. Frank’s book. I thought it would be a good follow up. I was right, even though Trump on the Couch was published in 2018, when Trump was still parking his fat ass in the White House. Even though Trump lost the election in 2020, he’s still very much in the news, still affecting our lives with his blustery rhetoric and uncanny ability to stimulate people with the worst of values to act in destroying our democracy. Trump will never change and, in fact, I think he’s gotten even worse. Dr. Frank explains why that is, as he introduces readers to Trump’s psyche, and what caused him to turn into the unhinged orange nightmare that he is today.

Trump on the Couch starts with Trump’s story, from the very beginning. Frank writes about Trump’s family history and the dynamics that shaped Donald Trump. I noticed that Frank seems to place a lot of emphasis on Trump’s Scottish mother, Mary, who left her homeland at age 18, fleeing the poverty she was raised in during the early 20th century. Mary Trump (Trump’s mom, not his niece) came to New York and found work as a housekeeper and nanny, until she met up and coming real estate magnate Fred Trump, Sr. They married, and had five children: Maryanne, Fred Jr., Elizabeth, Donald, and Robert.

Frank explains that Mary Trump was quite reserved under normal circumstances, and she had servants to do most of the housework. Consequently, she wasn’t a very “hands on mother”, even when she was healthy. But, when Mary gave birth to Donald’s younger brother, Robert, she almost died due to severe hemorrhaging. She had to spend many months resting, and afterwards, was left in fragile health. According to Dr. Frank, this less than devoted mothering had a profound effect on Donald, who was a child who needed a lot of attention. I found myself copying and sharing some of the passages from Frank’s book explaining this:

He was also kind of mean to his little brother, as Frank notes:

He was a creep, even when he was a child.

Because Trump was such a bratty little bastard, his father, who was quite strict, but mostly absent, decided to send Trump to a military boarding school. Trump went to New York Military Academy, where he ended up doing somewhat well, because it was a place where being ruthless and competitive was celebrated. But being at boarding school further separated Trump from his mother, and exacerbated his anxiety about maintaining control in every situation. Frank also writes that he thinks Trump may have a form of dyslexia, which makes it hard for him to comprehend language the way that most people do and causes more anxiety, which makes him less empathic to other people.

I noticed that Frank focused a lot on the psychodynamic aspects of mental health evaluation. His theories came across as very Freudian to me, with a lot of emphasis on Trump’s childhood and parents– particularly his mother. I found his observations to be interesting and mostly accurate, although I’m not sure the Freudian approach is always the best one when analyzing people today. But then, I know I don’t have Frank’s expertise or experience. Frank also frequently mentions the Austrian-British psychoanalyst and author, Melanie Klein, who was also very much influenced by Sigmund Freud. I wondered what approach Carl Jung would have taken toward Trump.

Frank follows Trump’s life to his time as POTUS, where he notes a lot of the antisocial and, frankly, unacceptable attitudes Trump brazenly displays toward women, people of color, or anyone else whom he doesn’t consider a “winner” of some sort. I enjoyed the analysis of Trump’s childhood the most interesting part of the book, as Frank explains how Trump’s upbringing helped make him in to who he is today. Once again, I found myself sharing astute quotes from the book:

There were a few times when I found Frank’s observations rather alarming, even though Trump left office. A lot of people would like to see Trump re-elected in 2024. I fear that outcome, because Trump can’t be controlled, and if he has nothing to lose, he will stop at nothing to get what he wants. He can’t legally run for a third time as president, but he made it very plain during his first term, that he’d like to change the laws so that he can stay in power for the rest of his life. And Frank makes it plain that Trump is the type of person who absolutely hates to lose, and can’t tolerate playing fairly. He has no sense of honor or decorum.

Dr. Frank’s book, Trump on the Couch, is very comprehensive, with detailed chapters on what he thinks makes Trump tick. He includes an extensive bibliography, as well as a glossary, that includes some Trump specific terms that explain certain traits and behaviors specific to Trump. One reviewer on Amazon.com recommended reading the glossary before reading the book. I don’t think that’s a bad idea. The reviewer also included this comment from Frank about Trump’s behavior and other people’s reactions to it:

“Idealization is the product of extreme splitting, beyond the simple internal world of good and bad, and into one that is ideal and awful. It transforms the perception of reality into something better; it may lay dormant in the unconscious and emerge when one falls in love or has a baby. Just as lovers see themselves – their best selves – in another, the electorate usually idealizes their candidate for higher office. Thus, Ann Coulter sounded like a betrayed lover when Trump signed a budget that didn’t include funding for the wall he promised her. When people feel understood by a leader – or by a therapist – they idealize that person. Trump’s base felt that he understood their frustration and pent-up rage, so they idealized him more than any American president in decades. He promised to ‘drain the swamp’ and destroy the self-centered elites. They [Trump’s supporters, not the self-centered elites] idealized him so much that he said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose a vote, and no one corrected or contradicted him. They loved him: never have there been such long lines at campaign rallies as there were at Trump’s. He tapped into unconscious recall of the infant’s love for the parent, who can magically understand the child even before he has words” (pages 245-246).

However, because this book is hostile toward Trump’s image, I feel quite certain that Dr. Frank’s analysis comes only from books, interviews with people who know or have been exposed to Trump, and watching the way Trump behaves in public. He clearly didn’t interview Trump himself, which I think would make it difficult for his “diagnosis” to be taken as seriously as it might. And some people will read this book and think it’s “unfair”, because it’s biased against Trump. It’s quite obvious that Justin A. Frank is not a Trump admirer. But he does have to sell books to make the endeavor worthwhile, so my guess is that he sort of pandered to the “base” who would be interested in reading this book.

Overall, I found Dr. Frank’s analysis of Donald Trump to be accurate and interesting. Trump on the Couch is a quick and easy read, and will probably offer “confirmation bias” to those who are concerned about Trump’s influence on people. I do think it’s worth reading in 2022, even though it was written when Trump was still in office. Trump has made it clear that he’s not giving up on another run at the White House, even though he’s currently plagued with serious legal and financial issues. Dr. Frank makes it plain that people like Trump don’t change, and tend to get worse instead of better. Trump himself has said that he’s basically the same person he was when he was about eight years old. Let that sink in… and vote accordingly.

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book reviews, politics, Trump

A review of The Reckoning: Our Nation’s Trauma and Finding a Way to Heal, by Mary Trump

In August 2020, when the world was still in the desperate throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Donald Trump was still the POTUS, I read and reviewed his niece, Mary Trump’s, book Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man. I remember feeling vindicated as I read her words about her uncle, Donald Trump, whom I had correctly identified as a malignant narcissist or sociopath. Mary Trump wrote about what it was like to grow up in the Trump family, and how much she suffered, even though she was a member of a very wealthy, powerful, and celebrated clan. Unlike her uncle, Mary Trump is a basically normal person with an excellent intellect and a fully functioning id and superego. Mary’s first book was very interesting, but it was also terrifying. At the time I read it, I was genuinely frightened of what was going to happen if Trump won in 2020. Thankfully, that is not what came to pass, in spite of Trump’s relentless and nonsensical insistence that the presidential election was stolen from him.

I liked Mary Trump’s first book, so when she published her second book, The Reckoning: Our Nation’s Trauma and Finding a Way to Heal in August 2021, I was quick to download it. It’s taken me a year to finally read Mary Trump’s book, because it kept getting supplanted by other books. This morning, I finished it; it was a refreshingly short read, long on history and theories as to how the United States finds itself in the horribly polarized, angry, unhinged state it is in right now. Some of The Reckoning was uncomfortable to read, as Mary Trump unflinchingly writes of how Black people were treated before and during the Civil War era, as well as in the decades that followed it. She reminds her readers that slavery officially ended in 1865, but the persecution of Black people has continued since then, and only in very recent years have people of color had a chance to succeed in the country they helped build against their wills.

Mary Trump rightfully points out that American high schoolers are not taught enough about American history. What they are taught is the “white” perspective of American history, and now that people are insisting that more of the whole truth is taught, many white people are fighting to prevent it from happening. Trump explains that every white person is born with inherent privilege, simply for having white skin. However, she also mentions poor white people, who also suffer due to classism that also exists in our society, and the mistaken belief that sharing resources means having less for themselves. And she reminds readers that there are many people who, consciously or unconsciously, are doing all they can to maintain things the way they’ve always been. Her uncle, after all, won the highest election on his platform, “Make America Great Again”, having never before held public office. Lots of people in the United States are terrified of evolving into a nation that plays on more level ground for everyone. Below are a couple of key quotes from Mary Trump’s book that really summed up things nicely, in my view:

I remember when I was an English major at Longwood University (then Longwood College), my advisor gave me a hard time because I didn’t want to take a Shakespeare class. Instead, I was interested in the Women’s Literature and African American Literature courses that were being offered. I thought I would be more interested in the subject matter, having already been exposed to Shakespeare in high school and college. Good ol’ Dr. Stinson, who also used to tease me about all the music classes I insisted on taking for fun, sighed and signed me up for both classes. I took both courses during the same semester, and got a huge dose of studying lesser known books by women and people of color.

I didn’t do particularly well in either of the lit courses; because to be honest, I was kind of a lazy English major. I wanted to write things, not read and analyze literature. But I learned new things in spite of myself. Both courses exposed me to works written by Black authors, Black women’s writings, as well as slave narratives, which were bits of history that had been withheld from me in the years leading up to college. I now believe that high school students should read at least one slave narrative. The subject matter is tough, but it definitely inspires empathy and a broadened perspective from writers who should get a lot more recognition.

I mention my college experience and the attitude surrounding the importance of Shakespeare, because Mary Trump repeatedly explains that most Americans have a poor understanding of history. And today, in high schools across the country, there are legislators, school boards, and parents who are lambasting against “Critical Race Theory” being taught in schools, and trying desperately to suppress the truth about America’s past. I never thought I’d see the day when so many school systems were being pressured to ban certain books, and teachers, already overworked and underpaid, were being forced to catalog their libraries and submit them to scrutiny by third parties. I was heartened to see the outraged response to one Tennessee school district’s decision to ban Art Spiegelman’s excellent graphic novel, Maus. I had not read that book myself, before it made the news. But because Maus was in the news, I decided to read the book. It was life changing. I now know that simply by writing a few blog posts about Maus, I helped inspire other people to read the book.

Mary Trump’s comments were unpleasant to read at times. She states outright that it’s “impossible” to be a white person who grew up in the United States and not be racist. She’s probably right, although I hesitate to use words like “all, every, or impossible”, because experience has shown me that there are almost always exceptions to every rule. And given the family that raised her and what her family spawned, I was caught between disbelief that she was making such a statement, and relief that she could acknowledge racism in a way that was surprisingly humble.

I also found this book a little bit depressing and hopeless. Yes, it’s important to acknowledge problems. That’s the first step in correcting them. It’s important to atone for wrongs committed. That’s the best way to promote healing. BUT… she makes the problem seem so entrenched and deep seated that fixing it seems extremely difficult. It won’t happen in my lifetime, although the more optimistic side of me acknowledges that in my 50 years, there’s already been some substantial progress made. I was born in an era when things were a lot more “black and white”, so to speak. It wasn’t uncommon to hear people casually toss around the “n word”, for instance, especially on television. But that progress is hindered, because of Trump’s uprising and the many emboldened racists who are desperately trying to stop progress, and resorting to cheating and violence to get what they want.

Anyway… The Reckoning offers a lot of food for thought. It’s a short book, and easy to read. Mary Trump’s writing is engaging and informative. Maybe some readers will be uncomfortable, or even offended, by her comments. Some people might have trouble believing that someone with her background can have true empathy for the downtrodden; she is a Trump, after all. But in spite of that, I found Mary Trump’s commentary steeped in truth, and eye-opening. I think this is a good book. But don’t come to it looking for dirt on Donald Trump. She wrote about him in her first book, and The Reckoning is about a different topic entirely. The Reckoning isn’t about Trump; it’s about what led us to Trump. And it offers an important warning to us all to open our eyes and our minds and vote accordingly… or else.

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book reviews, narcissists, politicians, politics

Reviewing Mary Trump’s Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man…

I decided not to write a new post this morning because I was eager to finish reading Mary Trump’s brand new book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man. Released a couple of weeks ago, slightly ahead of schedule, this book, written by Mary Trump, the daughter of Donald Trump’s older brother, Freddy, was bound to be a fascinating page turner. Having just finished reading this afternoon, I can confirm that this book is quite a shocker for those who don’t know anything about malignant narcissists. Unfortunately, for those of us who have been exposed to malignant narcissists, it just confirms what we already know about 45.

Although I have not been compulsively reading all of the books that have come out about Donald Trump, I did decide that I wanted to read Mary Trump’s book. Why? Because not only is she Trump’s niece, she’s also a doctoral level psychologist, having earned a Ph.D. in psychology from Adelphi University. As a trained clinical psychologist, she’s surely run into her share of narcissists… and one of the most famous and most toxic of them is her uncle, her father’s younger brother, Donald John Trump, who happens to be the POTUS right now. Hopefully, Americans have come to their senses and will do their part to get him out of the White House in November. This is a very serious situation. If he’s not voted out, I truly fear for the future of the United States.

Before Mary Trump became a psychologist, she studied English. She has a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and a master’s degree in English from Columbia University. So, not only does she know about psychology, she also knows how to write. And although lately it’s been my habit to fall asleep when I read, I did find her account of growing up Trump a real page turner.

Just in case anyone is wondering, yes, Mary Trump voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. She was despondent when her uncle became POTUS, knowing that he was in no way fit for the job. And yes, she does an excellent job explaining how and why Donald Trump should have never been considered presidential material. But she also explains how and why he ended up in the position he’s in. This is a man who has lived a life like the emperor who got new/no clothes. He’s been enabled by people his whole life, and they have contributed to his grand delusions that are so harmful because they alter his judgment and make him blind to reality. Most of all, he simply doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about anything but money and his own interests.

I’ve looked at a few of the reviews on Amazon. Many of them are positive, because a lot of people are bright enough to see why Trump is terrible for America, but they also recognize that Mary Trump’s book is a very good read because it offers a unique look at who Trump is through the eyes of one of his relatives… who also happens to be a trained clinical psychologist. The negative reviews, not surprisingly, are dismissive, not very insightful, and clearly written by dyed in the wool Trumpers. For instance, here’s the best rated positive review.

Now, have a look at the “most helpful” negative review…

I don’t know who “Sheryl” is, but she clearly admires people who are abusive sociopaths and doesn’t recognize a harmful person when she sees one. And sadly, she has a lot of company.

Mary Trump starts at the beginning, as she explains how it is that a German couple originally from Kallstadt, in the Kingdom of Bavaria (now part of the Palatinate, located about an hour from where we currently live) wound up in the United States. Friedrich Trump came to the United States at the age of 16 because he didn’t want to do military service for Germany (sounds like someone else we know). He worked hard in the United States and made some money, then went back to Kallstadt, married his wife, Elizabeth Christ, and took her back to the United States, where they had a daughter named Elizabeth.

When Friedrich’s wife, Elizabeth, missed home, they tried to move back to Germany, but Bavarian officials stripped Friedrich of his citizenship because he had not done his military duty. The young Trump family, with Elizabeth then four months pregnant with Donald Trump’s father, Fred, moved back to the USA. Fred Trump and his younger brother, John, were born in New York in 1905 and 1907 respectively. John Trump went on to become a famous scientist. Fred Trump, born with a head for business, went into the real estate game with his mother, Elizabeth, after Friedrich Trump died of Spanish Flu in 1918.

According to Mary Trump, Elizabeth Trump was ruthless, and had a thirst for making money, which she shared with her older son, Fred. In fact, for all of the contempt the Trump name has, I have the sense that it was really Fred Trump’s mother who started the chain of fuckery that has resulted in Donald Trump being the 45th president of the United States. Trump’s paternal grandmother was also a piece of work.

Fred’s wife, Mary Anne MacLeod Trump, came from the scenic Isle of Lewis in Scotland. She’d come to America because all of the young men in her small town had gone off to fight in World War I. The ones who weren’t killed were coming home by sea when, just a mile off the coast of the harbor, their ship hit rocks and sank. Most of the people on board died, and Mary’s family told her that if she wanted to get married, she’d need to leave town. She went to America to work in the homes of wealthy people and, perhaps, find a man to marry and have children with someday. She met Fred Trump, and instead of being hired help, she was the lady of the house. But that didn’t stop her mother-in-law, Elizabeth, from coming over wearing white gloves to check on Mary’s housekeeping (there must be something in the Bavarian water).

Fred and Mary went on to have two daughters and three sons. Their eldest son, Frederick (known as Freddy), was Mary’s father. He had married Linda Clapp, who was a flight attendant for TWA (Trans World Airlines). Freddy Trump had very briefly been a pilot for TWA, going against his very overbearing father’s wishes and not going into the family business. Because he made the decision to try to live his life on his own terms, Fred Trump treated his namesake like shit. And Donald Trump, his second eldest son and fourth child, stepped into the role as heir apparent.

In gripping prose, Mary Trump explains how Fred, and to a lesser extent, Mary Anne MacLeod Trump treated her father, who died of alcoholism at age 42. She also explains how she and her brother were basically screwed out of their inheritances as they were expected to stay loyal to the family. When Freddy Trump died, apparently so did his children’s connections to the Trump family. Mary and Fritz Trump got medical benefits through the Trump family and their signatures were needed so that Fred Trump’s will could go into probate. But Fred Trump disinherited them. Their father’s twenty percent of the Trump fortune was redistributed to the rest of the family. Why? Because Fred Trump didn’t want Freddy’s ex wife, Linda, to have access to any of the Trump fortune. And the rest of the siblings wanted to cut Mary and Fritz out because– well– they’re greedy people with no empathy.

I wrote a post yesterday about how the Trumps and the Duggars have things in common. Well, Mary Trump pretty much lays it out how family was treated. There was no love or camaraderie in that family– except for money and power. And Donald Trump was basically molded into the monster he is today by his parents, especially his father.

I was shocked by some of the stories… yet I was also not shocked, given that I know the type of person Trump is. This is a family entirely driven by greed– so much so that they didn’t care about each other, let alone people who worked for them, rented from them, or otherwise had business dealings with them. All of their “friends” were people who could do something for them, especially people who had powers that could be exploited legally. For example, Maryanne Trump became a judge, not necessarily because she was a brilliant prosecutor, but because she could help the family out legally. Anyone who didn’t do what Fred Trump wanted them to do was ostracized, yet still expected to be loyal. And those who weren’t loyal were treated with extreme contempt. Sadly, if you want to break free of the Trump cult, you have to expect that you’ll be cast out completely, in all ways. And if they suddenly start being “nice” again, that’s the time to be the most on your guard.

Fred Trump didn’t seem to like anyone… except for Donald, whom he carefully groomed in the ways of screwing over people for his own gain. However– as Mary points out– there is an important distinction between the two men. Fred Trump had a genuine head for business and making money. Donald Trump does not. His father and his father’s powerful friends propped up Donald for many years, bailing him out when his ludicrous business ideas turned to shit.

Trump is now surrounded by yes men and men who are much smarter than he is, yet know how to stroke his ego to get exactly what they want. His ego takes precedence over everything, which is why he is unfit to be the president. He doesn’t care about running the country. He doesn’t care about anyone but himself. And people like Vladimir Putin and Mitch McConnell are know what to say and do to get Trump to do what they want.

Both Fred Trump and Donald Trump like young women. Even into his 90s, Fred Trump made a habit out of carrying around a photo of a half naked girl who may very well have been younger than 18. Likewise, Trump enjoys young, beautiful women… and won’t hesitate to “grab ’em by the pussy” if they let him.

I have never made it a secret that I despise Donald Trump. For me, it was very easy to see why he was not fit to be dog catcher, let alone president. But Mary Trump’s book lays it out in black and white and confirms a lot of what I know, but also includes some passages that were eerie, because they were the same kinds of things Bill heard from his narcissistic ex wife and a narcissistic colonel with whom he went to war and who was later very publicly and well-deservedly fired for abusing troops. Toward the end of the book, as Mary Trump was winding up her conclusion, I read a passage aloud to Bill. It was about how Donald Trump has “suffered” and how, if you want to be in his good graces, you’d better agree that he’s “suffered”, or he will do his best to get revenge. It was the same kind of shit he heard from his ex wife and his wartime boss, both very damaged souls indeed. But Ex and former boss are not running the country… and really, neither is Donald Trump. He is just filling the POTUS role until we get someone more competent in charge.

Seriously… I know many people have fallen hook, line, and sinker for Trump’s bullshit. I think they will very extremely embarrassed in the future. It will be akin to being a Hitler supporter. And they won’t want to read Mary Trump’s book, because they think she’s just bitter, jealous, and petty. But, I promise you… if you know anything about narcissists, the behaviors she writes of are uncannily similar. These folks seem to have the same playbook. They’re bullies with no imagination, and no souls.

One last thing… I found Mary Trump’s book interesting for an unrelated personal reason. It turns out Fred Trump was a big fan of Norman Vincent Peale’s. It so happens that Norman Vincent Peale’s son, John Peale, taught me philosophy at Longwood University. I recently reposted a review I wrote of John Peale’s book about being raised by his famous father. I did not have a good experience in John Peale’s class, although apparently, before he experienced serious health problems, Dr. Peale was a much beloved professor at Longwood. When I had him, I didn’t even know who Norman Vincent Peale was, and I never found out until a friend, whose parents also loved Norman Vincent Peale’s books, told me who he was. Anyway, Norman Vincent Peale’s famous advice was to think and be positive. Mary Trump called him a “charlatan”. I don’t know that I’d go that far… but apparently, she’s bitter about Peale because Fred Trump took his advice to heart and “thinking positive” was Fred Trump’s answer for everything. And “thinking positive” is not always going to work. Sometimes, you have to face reality and do what needs to be done, lest a disaster strike.

I think Trump’s presidency has been one long, horrific, surreal disaster and I hope to God we’re rid of him soon, before he destroys the country. I know some people think that’s hyperbole, but honestly… if you haven’t spent time with a malignant narcissist, you don’t realize just how incredibly destructive they are. And Donald Trump and his ilk are off the charts in being malignant narcissists. So I urge those who want to know more about who Donald Trump is, and how he came to be who he is, to read Mary Trump’s book. She’s not full of shit or affected by “sour grapes”. She’s written the truth.

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Duggars, narcissists, politicians, Trump

What the Trumps and the Duggars seem to have in common…

I’ve been reading Mary Trump’s new tell all book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, all about growing up Donald Trump’s niece. I’m probably about halfway through it at this point. I also fell down a couple of YouTube rabbit holes yesterday. I found this lady’s Duggar centered channel…

Okay… it’s not actually Duggar centered. But she does have a lot of Duggar content.

Without a Crystal Ball is run by a dark-eyed, light-haired woman named Katie Joy. She has videos about a lot of shows, but I found her because she does a lot of Duggar videos. Somehow, YouTube knows I’m a sucker for Duggar videos.

As I was reading more of Mary Trump’s book this morning, it dawned on me. JimBob Duggar is probably a narcissist. So was Fred Trump, Donald Trump’s father. So is Donald Trump. You can see by the way these men handle(d) their business that they are extraordinarily controlling, and they think they know more than they actually do. They don’t take counsel from other people, and those who are in their sphere know better than to cross them.

About an hour ago, over breakfast, I read a passage in Mary Trump’s book about how she had wanted to go to boarding school. Mary’s parents, Linda and Freddy Trump, had divorced, but even before their divorce, they were pretty much governed by Fred Trump, right down to Freddy’s being pretty much ostracized and disowned for deciding to be an airline pilot instead of going into the family’s real estate business.

The decision to allow Mary Trump to go to boarding school was to be decided by Fred Trump Sr., not Freddy Trump and his ex wife, who were Mary’s parents. Freddy served as a living warning to Fred and Mary Trump’s other children, not to cross Daddy. Freddy managed to get his father to consent to allowing Mary to go to boarding school (which was paid for with Freddy’s trust fund). The day before she was to go off to school, Mary went to her grandparents’ house to say goodbye to her dad. He was staying with his parents because, since the failure of his career as a pilot and disastrous stint in the real estate biz, Freddy had become an alcoholic. The alcoholism was so bad that it had destroyed his health. He got very sick and, with nowhere else to go, was forced to live in his old childhood bedroom.

When Mary reached the familiar back door to her grandparents’ house, she was greeted by her grandmother, who said her father wasn’t there. She was acting awkward and weird. Mary noticed, but didn’t press. Grandma Trump said she’d have him call her. Freddy never did call. Two weeks later, Mary was told she needed to call home. Her grandfather basically told her nothing was wrong and that she should call in the morning. Not believing her grandfather, Mary called her mom, who told her the sad news that Freddy had died of a heart attack at age 42.

When it came time to bury Freddy, Mary tried to let her elders know of her father’s final wishes. He had not wanted to be buried, and was very adamant about that. She had also wanted to see her dad before he was cremated. Not only was Mary denied the right to see her dad one last time, but after he was cremated, Fred Trump buried the ashes, despite Freddy’s wishes not to be buried. And when it came time to distribute his personal effects, Mary got nothing. Her brother, Fritz, got Freddy’s Timex watch.

So what does this story by Mary Trump have to do with the Duggars? Well… I have heard and read from many sources that Duggar kids go against their father’s wishes at great risk. Derick Dillard has gone against JimBob quite publicly and he and Jill quit Counting On, and Jeremy Vuolo has whisked Jinger away to Los Angeles. Sources reveal that both couples are a bit on the outs with Boob. Jill and Derick, for instance, are not allowed to go to the Tinker Toy Mansion without JimBob’s permission or presence. Jill had once been Daddy’s “favorite”. Now, she’s an outcast, but it looks like she’s embracing a more mainstream lifestyle. Same thing with Jinger. However, it appears that freedom comes with great cost.

I think Derick Dillard may contribute to Boob’s inevitable downfall.

If you’ve been reading my blogs over the years, you know that my husband was kept from seeing his daughters for many years, due to their narcissistic mother’s insistence that they disown him. In March of this year, Bill finally saw his younger daughter. It had been fifteen years, and younger daughter, now 26 years old, is finally able to make her own decisions. She seems to have come to terms with the idea that if she wants to live her own life, she may have to do so without contact with her siblings who are still on their mother’s side.

This is a common tactic narcissists use to stay in control of their relatives and others who are close to them. They handle the money, the major decisions, and set things up so that if you go against their wishes, disaster will strike. Or, even if disaster doesn’t have to strike, they train their relatives so that it seems like there will be a disaster that will befall anyone who leaves the fold. It’s not unlike being in a cult. That perception of impending doom can be very powerful. It takes a lot of courage and will to leave a narcissistic family system. It basically means you have to strike out on your own. And if you come from a really powerful family and have limited access to money or transportation, that can be an extremely daunting task.

In Freddy Trump’s case, being Fred Trump’s son meant that he couldn’t get loans, because his father was buddies with all of the powers that be at the local banks. That meant that instead of buying himself a nice house in Long Island, he was forced to live in a shitty, slummy apartment building owned by his father, that his father refused to fix. It meant that instead of doing the work he wanted to do, Freddy Trump was forced to work for his father, doing work that didn’t interest him. The hopelessness of it, along with those Scottish genetics from his mother, probably contributed to his severe alcoholism and eventual early death.

Jim Bob Duggar is probably not as powerful as Fred or Donald Trump, but he does have a lot of power. He owns many properties in Arkansas, has plenty of lawyers and money to pay them, and has trained an army of children, over half of whom are now young, healthy, strong adults. He also has their spouses, many of whom were kind of brokered into the Duggar family by their parents. It takes a certain type of person to marry a Duggar child… someone who will toe the line.

However, it’s plain that Boob failed to notice that Derick and Jeremy, and probably Austin Forsyth (Joy Anna’s husband), aren’t going to take his shit forever. But JimBob clearly sees as people in his family as slaves. He tries to “own” them. I can see that getting out of his clutches isn’t an easy endeavor, especially as the adult children have children of their own. Those children and their total dependence on their parents make it much harder for the Duggar adults to escape Boob’s narcissistic clutches and strike out on their own. There are a few exceptions, though. I think John David pretty much tells his dad to buzz off when he feels like it.

I’m mostly enjoying Mary Trump’s book… some of it is very sad, though. I get the sense that the malevolent streak in the Trump family doesn’t even so much come from Friedrich Trump, who ironically died in the last major world pandemic, back in 1918. He got Spanish Flu. It seems to me that the real culprit of the Trump nastiness came from Fred Trump’s mother, Elizabeth Christ Trump. She was the one who really got the business going, and, according to Mary Trump, she treated Fred’s Scottish wife, Mary, like dirt.

I’m sure it was tough for Mary Trump to decide to write this book. She basically reveals her family’s dysfunction for all that it is. Her Uncle Donald is, for now, one of the most powerful men on the planet, and he is royally fucking things up. It’s probably very embarrassing for her. She seems like a good and decent person with empathy and, in fact, it appears that most of the Trumps aren’t terrible people… just a few of them who have that malevolent, narcissistic streak that compels them to enslave and exploit people. I’m sure that Mary Trump might even fear for her safety after having written her book. I think she was brave to do it.

Likewise, I hope Derick Dillard or Jill, or someone else in the Duggar family spills the tea about JimBob. But then, I have seen his type enough times to recognize the behavior. I know he’s a narcissist and that his family members are mostly neatly under his thumb. I even remember someone on their reality show– can’t remember which one– saying that you don’t say no to JimBob. If you do, you might live to regret it. He’s a bully.

As for Without A Crystal Ball… I don’t know if I’ll keep watching her videos. I just happened to stumble across them a couple of days ago and they fit with today’s post. Hopefully, I’ll be able to review Mary Trump’s book soon.

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