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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