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, narcissists, politicians, politics, Trump

My thoughts on The Trump Tapes, by Bob Woodward…

Happy Friday, everybody! As I wrote in today’s travel blog post, we had gorgeous weather yesterday. We went to the weekly market, since Bill is pretty much done with COVID. Afterwards, we came home and listened to the last of Bob Woodward’s Audible book, The Trump Tapes: Bob Woodward’s Twenty Interviews with President Donald Trump. I must admit that I was glad to hear the end of the book, not because I don’t think Woodward did a good job, but because I hate listening to Donald Trump. And because this is an Audible book, it doesn’t exist in a print version. I can understand why it’s not in print, as I don’t think people would get the same experience from reading text as they do actually hearing Trump speak, but I still find listening to Trump a very painful experience. However, I am not sorry I bought Woodward’s first solely Audible effort. It was very educational.

“I’m doing something here that I’ve never done before, presenting the lengthy, raw interviews of my work. In the fall of 2019 through August 2020, I interviewed President Trump 19 times for my second book on his presidency, Rage. I had also interviewed him in 2016 when he was a presidential candidate. I decided to take this unusual step of releasing these recordings after relistening in full to all 20 interviews. As I listened to them again I was stunned by their relevance to understanding Trump. Hearing Trump speak is a completely different experience to reading the transcripts or listening to snatches of interviews on television or the internet.”—Bob Woodward from The Trump Tapes

While I can’t speak for everyone, I know that Trump’s effect on my attitudes regarding politics has been remarkable. Just a few short years ago, I was one of those people who didn’t pay a lot of attention to politics or politicians. I didn’t care who people voted for, and I mostly didn’t care who ran for office. I mean, sure, in my 40s, I cared more than I did when I was a young woman. But I mostly didn’t think it mattered much who was in office. Trump’s time in the White House changed all of that, and now I find myself watching political pundits on YouTube and CNN. I find myself deeply resenting unhinged, extremist politicians who seem to be hellbent on destroying democracy. And I think Donald Trump is the main reason this has been allowed to happen. While I do appreciate that he’s made me a less apathetic American voter, I despise Trump. I did hesitate before I downloaded Woodward’s project, but ultimately decided that it was something Bill and I could share. So, over the past three nights, we’ve been listening to Woodward’s interviews… as best as we were able to, anyway.

I’ve read a few books written by Bob Woodward, who has enjoyed a long career as a journalist for the Washington Post. He is an excellent writer and researcher, and he’s a very good, patient interviewer, as he obviously had to be to have conversations with Trump. The Trump Tapes was released on October 24, 2022, and the work represents twenty interviews the ever patient and professional Woodward had with Donald Trump, before and during his presidency. Woodward has interviewed many politicians and former presidents, as well as our current president, Joe Biden. He is well qualified to undertake this project. I think he did a good job, although I know this project will obviously not be a hit with everyone. Trump still has his cheerleaders, after all.

As we listened to the eleven plus hours of content in The Trump Tapes, I noticed that at the beginning of his political “career”, Trump seemed a lot more rational than he does today. The first interviews start off sounding somewhat sane and sensical. By the end of the book, Trump talks over Woodward, interrupting him constantly, spews lies and obvious untruths, and makes some truly ridiculous comments that are easily disproved. He honestly sounds like a deranged maniac by the end of the book, and I couldn’t help but really appreciate Woodward’s ability to stay cordial, congenial, and professional as he struggled to cover his subject. Woodward has what sounds like a strong Midwestern accent, and it’s obvious to me that his strengths aren’t necessarily in narration. Still, I had no trouble understanding him, except in a couple of interviews when the audio quality wasn’t as good due to the circumstances of when and where the recordings were made.

An interview about Woodward’s latest project, The Trump Tapes.

I mentioned in yesterday’s post, when I mentioned The Trump Tapes, that Trump is very friendly and forthcoming to journalists who convince him that they’re “on his side.” Woodward manages to stroke Trump enough to get him to speak in an astonishingly forthcoming manner, which as an American citizen who also has a tendency to be outspoken, was shocking even to me. Trump speaks to Woodward as if they’re old buddies, casually referring to him as “Bob”, while Mr. Woodward deferentially calls Trump “Mr. President.” You know that Trump was LOVING and expecting that “respect” and deference, right?

Hats off to Mr. Woodward for his incredible patience, which allowed him to achieve that impression of respect for Trump. I think that’s what made it possible for him to deliver the goods in the form of a hell of a story. That’s a true gift, in my opinion. I don’t think I could have done it. Trying to interview Trump is obviously extremely frustrating. Listening to him is frustrating, too; but I think that was Mr. Woodward’s point. A person who is running the United States shouldn’t act or speak like Trump does. There were times, especially toward the end of the book, when Trump sounded a bit like a lunatic. And yes, as to be expected, Trump constantly self-aggrandises and congratulates himself. It’s infuriating, yet illuminating.

I see that a lot of reviewers on Amazon are polarized on the subject of The Trump Tapes. Woodward is, after all, preaching to the choir. People who like Trump aren’t going to buy and listen to his blather as put out by a journalist who obviously has a negative opinion of their orange Jesus. In fact, those of us who agree with Woodward might not want to buy this book either, because we don’t want to listen to Trump. I know I paused before buying for that reason. I did notice that a lot of people who clearly didn’t buy the book left one star reviews and accused Woodward has having TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome). Frankly, I think if anyone is deranged, it’s the people who doggedly defend Trump, in spite of the overwhelming evidence of what and who he is.

I certainly didn’t need to hear Trump’s unhinged bullshit to know that I won’t ever be voting for him or his acolytes. However… I am actually glad that Bill and I listened, because it confirmed what we already know, and I gained new appreciation and respect for Mr. Woodward’s skills as a journalist. He might not make a lot of money on this project, but I think he’s done a great service for the nation. Truly. Some people are saying that maybe these interviews were “edited”. I don’t think so. I’ve heard enough of Trump to know that he’s as bad as he sounds. I suspect that some of his supporters, even in the face of actual recordings, don’t want to believe that they voted for someone this corrupt. It’s a hard thing to admit. We all make mistakes. I just hope some people will open their eyes and make better choices before it’s too late.

One person complained that this book is only available on CD or on Audible, which they said they didn’t want to join. I want to comment that I don’t make a habit of buying Audible books. The only title I have, besides this one, was James Taylor’s book Break Shot: My First 21 Years, which was only available on Audible. I didn’t have to “join” anything to get these books. I just bought them on their own. I double checked my Amazon subscriptions, and I’m still just a member of Prime. Maybe Audible is included in that. I do see that people can join Audible Plus, which I guess offers books for a monthly fee. I prefer to read rather than listen, so I wouldn’t want an Audible Plus account. I don’t know. I do have an Alexa device, so maybe that was also an issue for the people who complained. The commenter also asked who has a CD player these days. Actually, I have one of those, too. In storage, I have several hundred CDs, so I’m going to keep my equipment for as long as it functions. I also still have a VCR, but I’m not sure if it still works.

I wouldn’t want to subscribe to Audible Plus just for this book, but I am glad that I was able to download it. I’m also glad I’m done with it and don’t have to listen to it again. As important and valuable as I think Woodward’s book is, I don’t want to subject myself to it again. I’m hoping I won’t need to, as Trump someday rides off into the sunset… or finally passes away, as even he must mercifully do at some point.

Below is a screenshot I took of an Amazon review that I think pretty much sums up what I think about the content, only she says it better than I can. I will admit that we were a bit distracted as we were listening; I didn’t take notes, either, so the experience is a bit of an aural blur. What I do remember is that a lot of his emphasis was on the stock market, money, and whether or not people were with him or against him. In other words, it’s nothing we haven’t heard before from Trump, or any other obvious narcissist.

Yes… Woodward really does shine a light on Trump, and how completely inappropriate his presidency was. I do remember listening to Trump’s disrespectful comments about Jim Mattis, who was and is a highly regarded Marine general.

Should you listen to The Trump Tapes? Well, that depends. As I mentioned, I didn’t find listening to this book particularly pleasant, nor did I pay attention with rapt concentration. But I did hear concrete evidence as to why I can’t ever vote for anyone affiliated with Trump or his minions. A lot of innocent people suffered and died due to Donald Trump’s insatiable greed and complete lack of regard for the citizens of the United States, particularly during the height of COVID crisis. He is an irresponsible, arrogant, incompetent, and uncaring man, and he has no business serving as an elected official. I knew that before I listened to The Trump Tapes, but now I am even more convinced. Basically, we had the Wizard of Oz in the White House for four years. It’s time for us to wake up and elect someone who cares, and actually wants to deliver something to every citizen, not just the super rich and powerful elites. If you need further proof as to how disastrous Trump is, then yes, you should listen to The Trump Tapes… if you can stand it, that is.

As an Amazon Associate, I get a small commission from Amazon on sales made through my site.

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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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condescending twatbags, controversies, narcissists, politicians, politics, social media, YouTube

It was fun while it lasted… and pointless political conversations…

Yesterday, I noticed that someone hit one of my recent posts about H.G. Tudor and his YouTube channel about narcissism. H.G. Tudor is a British guy who says he is a narcissistic sociopath, and claims to provide a service to the world by explaining narcissistic behavior. Last month, he posted many videos of himself, reading Tom Bower’s book, Revenge, about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. I enjoyed listening to the videos, as H.G. Tudor mostly uses static images, rather than slideshows or video. He read aloud from the book, then explained his interpretations of (mostly) Meghan’s behaviors in an often delightfully saucy way.

Anyway, I often visit the posts that people click on, and when I did so yesterday, I discovered that all of H.G. Tudor’s videos were taken down. When I clicked on one of the absent videos, I noticed that H.G. Tudor had posted an explanatory video on one of his other channels. It seems that CBS Viacom, or whomever holds the copyright for Revenge, had issued a copyright claim. H.G. Tudor says he and CBS Viacom worked it out amicably, and he agreed to take down all of the videos regarding the book. However, in spite of having worked it out, and both parties having notified YouTube, they didn’t remove the automated mechanism that shut down his Ultra Narcissism channel. So, that’s why the videos on that post no longer work.

So this is what happened.

When videos go dark, and I am aware of them going dark, I usually take them down. I don’t know if I’ll do that this time, since I wrote a few posts about H.G. Tudor and I’m pretty sure I always included videos. And sometimes, the text doesn’t make sense without the videos. If I leave up the “ghosts”, at least those who read the posts will know that there used to be more there. I don’t know if I have the time or inclination to go back and edit a bunch of posts that aren’t particularly popular and might only get a few hits henceforth.

I do think H.G. Tudor puts out good content. It’s interesting, entertaining, and informative. And I agree with him that he probably is a narcissist, although he’s remarkably introspective for a narcissist. He may claim to have a severe diagnosis of narcissism, because as a narcissist, he no doubt wants to be the “best”… or the “worst”, as the case might be. It’s not unlike someone with an eating disorder wanting to be the sickest. If you’re healthy, you might think that sounds crazy. But, some people with certain eating disorders take pride in the behavior. Many of them see it as a badge of honor– a testament to their will power and level of control. I would imagine narcissists have similar issues, because part of being a narcissist means wanting to be above everyone else. I can see how the ones who know what they are would want to “worsen” their diagnoses, even if they don’t actually warrant a worse diagnosis. But personally, I have a hard time believing that he’s as severe as he claims to be, simply because he genuinely seems to care more than the worst narcissists would.

I am grateful to YouTube content creators who put out content about narcissism. I do think that listening to an actual narcissist is educational. However, I think I appreciate the therapeutic takes on narcissism more, simply because the people who make those videos understand the behavior and empathize. A lot of people who come into contact with a narcissist are left wounded and bewildered. The non-narcissistic therapeutic approach is edifying and uplifting, a reminder that it’s not the victim’s fault that the narcissist does what they do. It’s part of their nature. I still shake my head when I think of some of the narcissistic people I’ve encountered in my life, wondering what I did to deserve that kind of treatment. And now I know, at least intellectually, that I didn’t do anything to deserve that shit. That’s just how narcissistic people are. It’s their nature– just like the frog and the scorpion, or Lucy Van Pelt pulling the football away from Charlie Brown before he can kick it.

I’ve also learned that when you know someone is a narcissist, you don’t want to get close to them. You won’t be an exception. They WILL eventually do something hurtful or hateful, and deep down, they won’t care that you were injured by them. In their mind, it’ll be your fault, because it’s NEVER their fault. It can’t be. Narcissists believe they are above all reproach.

I’m not surprised there were copyright issues with H.G. Tudor reading the book on YouTube. As compelling as the videos were, the bottom line is, he was still reading a book to thousands of viewers who might not have decided to buy the book themselves. I did buy the book and read it on my own, which I’m glad I did, since Tudor didn’t read the whole thing. And now that I’ve read it, I’m reading to move on to the next topic.

Edited to add: I am now watching a video H.G. Tudor just put up, saying that his channel has now been reinstated. Glad to hear it!

Moving on…

A couple of days ago, a childhood acquaintance who happens to share my liberal proclivities posted about Jared Kushner. I try not to comment too much on his posts, since he has some pretty obnoxious Trump supporting friends. It doesn’t surprise me, either, since he lives in Roanoke, Virginia, and that’s close to where a lot of my relatives live… and they’re all Republicans. I’m sure it’s not easy watching Trump go down in flames, especially since they all believed in him, voted for him, and assumed that they were right to do so. For some reason, when it comes to voting for politicians, some people are willing to overlook a lot of stuff they would never accept in someone they know in person. Many people will simply vote for parties, and they trust that whomever their party has chosen to run for office is going to be the better choice for them than their opponent will be.

Of course, having studied narcissism and having been around for a few decades, I knew what Trump was when I saw him. I didn’t think he was as bad as he turned out to be, but I knew that when he proudly spoke about grabbing women by the pussy, and being ALLOWED to do it, because he’s a “star”, that he would NOT be a good leader. It had nothing to do with his political party. It was all about him. I knew he wasn’t a good husband, father, or boss, and that meant he would be a terrible president. So I didn’t vote for him.

Then I saw Trump’s acolytes coming out in the form of loudmouthed, ignorant, obnoxious, extremists, both in terms of politicians, and rank and file citizens. I knew I couldn’t vote for Republicans again. At least not until this current crop of miscreants is driven out of politics. I don’t agree with all liberal agenda. I’m more of a moderate. But, I do think the Democrats, for now, have put out candidates who are more acceptable to me. You’d think this would be my right to come to this conclusion, as a “free” American, right?

Well, I left my old childhood friend a comment, and sure enough, one of his Trump friends came at me. I could tell this guy was sucking hard on the Q Anon teat, as he kept trying to tell me what a pervert Biden is, and how his family is “sick”. I told him I wasn’t interested in his conspiracy theories. He kept coming at me, so I asked him if he thought it was “effective” to try to engage in arguments with people he doesn’t know. How many people does he know who have changed their political beliefs because of anything he’s posted?

Do you really think it’s effective to argue with people you don’t know in comment sections? I get that you don’t like Biden. I don’t really care. 

As far as I’m concerned, Trump is the worst president we have ever had. He never should have been allowed to run, in my opinion. I have a lot of reasons for feeling the way I do, just like you have your reasons for not liking Biden.

Let’s just leave it at that. H and I are politically on the same page, so my comment was mainly for him, anyway.

He kept trying to goad me into a debate. He even wrote that he wouldn’t argue with me if I would just tell him why I prefer Biden to Trump. It was a request, or even a demand, to explain myself– which I didn’t feel inclined to do. I knew that explaining it would not change his mind, because he is already very convinced of all of the things he’s read and heard from far right sources. He strongly believes that his views are the correct ones, and all other perspectives are 100% wrong.

I finally posted this:

No, because if I do that, you will just tell me I’m wrong, and that will inevitably lead to an argument. I have a right to my opinions, just like you have a right to yours. Moreover, it’s a beautiful Saturday here in Germany, and I want to spend it with my sweet husband.

I would rather frost my pubic hair than get into a political conversation with someone whose mind is as made up as yours obviously is. It’s an exercise in futility, and liable to be more painful and pointless than chemical burns would be on my private parts. 

So I am going to fuck off of this conversation and go have a beer. Have a good one. 

It used to be that people could have different opinions. It used to be that politics and religion were taboo topics for polite company. Social media has changed that, of course, and now people seem to think it’s incumbent on them to change hearts and minds to whatever their political persuasion is. Like I said, I know that people have their reasons for their beliefs. I might agree or disagree with them. But, if we live in a free society, people should be allowed to vote their consciences. I wish that the parties who put forth politicians would put forth humane, ethical, decent people to lead. But those people are often seen as “weak” by a significant number of voters. So then we get charismatic, but cruel and incompetent, people like Trump to run. He has proven to be as corrupt as they come. Some people will never believe it, though. They can’t believe they chose someone who is so fundamentally awful… or they just don’t want to admit it. That’s okay… and it’s understandable, until they try to deny the rest of us the rights to come to our own conclusions.

I have a pretty good brain. I’m logical, reasonable, and sometimes even insightful. Some people don’t like me, or what I have to say, but few of them who actually know me would call me “stupid”. Those who would call me “stupid” are not exactly good judges of intelligence. I know some intelligent people who prefer conservatism. I’ve got no problem with that. I just wish they would champion conservatives who aren’t total narcissists. Because I know that real narcissists don’t care at all about anything or anyone but themselves, and that inherently makes them awful leaders. I won’t willingly vote for that, no matter how high gas prices and inflation get… and, by the way, those problems are global– they aren’t Joe Biden’s doing.

I don’t know if my friend’s right wing, Trump supporting, Biden hating friend is “smart”. I don’t know him at all. But I’ve had a couple of run ins with him, and he’s always beating the same fucking pro Trump/pro Republican drum. I suspect he does it to me because he has a penis, and I don’t. It’s like talking to my cousin, who thinks that his dick and his experience selling life insurance overrules my education and experience in public health/healthcare management. If I were a man, I doubt he’d be so insistent about correcting my “silliness”. For the record, I’m not in need of “special help” from a man who thinks his mind/viewpoint is superior to mine. Most of them quickly prove that’s not the case at all. And anyone who still thinks Trump is innocent and deserves another chance to be a good president is probably in need of some IQ testing themselves… or maybe a psych evaluation.

Well, it’s time to close this post and play some guitar. Hope y’all have a good Monday. Catch you later.

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Biden, Ex, money

Interesting reactions to Joe Biden’s controversial decision to forgive student loan debt…

I’m sure you’ve heard about it by now. Yesterday, President Joe Biden announced that many borrowers with federal student loans will be forgiven $10,000 of their debt. Those who borrowed and also got Pell Grants qualify for an additional $10,000 of forgiveness. This applies to anyone earning less than $125,000 per year, or married couples jointly filing tax returns earning less than $250,000. Loans after June 30, 2022 aren’t eligible.

Although I won’t be personally affected by this plan, I think it’s a good idea. Bill and I paid off my student loans in 2018, nine years early. But we were able to do that because we’ve been extraordinarily fortunate. Living in Germany has been very good for us in most ways, but especially financially. We don’t have children or elderly relatives to support, and we don’t own a home. Back in 2007, when Bill went to Iraq and got a temporary bump in pay, I made paying off my loans a priority, so we wouldn’t be burdened with them as we aged.

I was also very lucky in that in 2002, just after I graduated from the University of South Carolina with dual master’s degrees, I was able to take advantage of a very low interest rate that probably isn’t available anymore (although I haven’t checked). I consolidated my loans and locked in that rate (3.75), and that really helped me a lot. I remember thinking the $57,000 in Stafford Loans I owed would never get paid off– but I was able to do it, little by little. Now I realize that I actually got a bargain. Some people borrow that much for just one degree. I managed to get three.

Even though we managed to pay off my loans in full, I have a lot of empathy for today’s borrowers. The cost of higher education has skyrocketed since I was last in school. At the same time, salaries have stayed pretty stagnant. Then we had the pandemic, which caused a great deal of chaos for people in the workforce. Bill and I were responsible, and we did make paying the student loans off a focal point. But that’s only because we could. Not everyone has that choice. And when you’re working your ass off for employers who don’t necessarily value you with decent pay, it can feel like you’re on a hamster wheel. I know how it is. I was there myself when I was single.

It seems like Mr. Biden can’t do anything to please some people. I’ve noticed many folks whining about this new plan to help borrowers. So many folks think it’s unfair to forgive debt, especially if they’ve paid off their loans. I’ve seen a lot of people who are shocked that people earning up to $125,000 will qualify. Do those people understand that some areas of the country have a much lower standard of living than others do? Someone making $125,000 may seem “wealthy” in rural Kentucky or Arkansas, but they would be far from wealthy in California, New York, or parts of Virginia. I’m also willing to bet that a lot of Republicans will gladly take advantage of this plan, even as they complain about Biden.

I know it’s normal for people to complain when their preferred politician isn’t in office. The level of contempt some people have for Joe Biden is pretty sickening. I don’t understand it. I mean, I get that he’s not the most exciting we’ve ever had. He inherited quite a mess, though. I don’t remember any other incoming president facing the level of chaos Mr. Biden did in January 2021. Moreover, Donald Trump has literally done things that are CRIMINAL. People still think he should be in charge, in spite of his obvious propensity to lie, steal, cheat, and molest. I don’t understand why more Americans don’t want a law abiding, decent, responsible person in the White House. But try to ask some people about this, and they will accuse you of having “Trump Derangement Syndrome” and being a “hater”. I wouldn’t “hate” Trump if he didn’t act like he’s above the law and make the United States a laughing stock around the world.

Count me among those who think Mr. Biden has done remarkably well, under the unusual circumstances he’s faced. I don’t know if he’ll make it to a second term, but I will vote for him again if anyone like Trump or De Santis is running for president in 2024. I do think it would be good if he bowed out of a second term, mainly because he is so elderly and being POTUS has got to take a severe toll on him. I would like to see a younger person run for the Democrats. But I would take him ANY DAY over Trump, simply because he’s humane and decent, and he doesn’t steal classified documents, constantly golf, mug for the camera, or post on social media, nor does he brag about grabbing women by the pussy. Anything good Trump did for the United States was done at someone else’s expense. He is a classic narcissist, and they are never good for anyone but themselves.

Speaking of narcissists, I did take a peek at Twitter and noticed that Ex was crowing about this news. She claims her loans are paid off, but this will “help” her children. I couldn’t help but shake my head, because I know the reality behind her comments. Below is how she responded to one person who was lamenting about student loans:

That’s horrible! It’s like loan sharks just like another poster said. My student loans are no longer owed but my husband and several of my children have student loan debt and this will help our family tremendously! The only thing I’m worried about is my daughter in college now!

Ex forced Bill’s daughters to drop out of high school, get GEDs, enroll in college, and take out student loans, of which she helped herself to the excess after tuition was paid. The loans were taken out in her daughters’ names, which means that they alone were responsible for paying them off, even though it was Ex who was using the money. Younger daughter explained all of this to us, and told us that she had managed to pay off the debt, even though she doesn’t have a degree to show for it.

I also know that Ex has declared bankruptcy several times, including one time when she and Bill were married. Besides the bankruptcy, there was also a foreclosure. But there’s ol’ Ex, acting like she’s fiscally responsible. I don’t understand why she feels the need to lie to strangers on Twitter, but I guess it’s just a facet of her “extra” personality. When I met Bill, his credit rating was abysmal, and he was carrying credit cards with loan shark level interest rates. He now has an excellent credit rating, but that didn’t come without significant hard work and several long years of being very diligent about our finances. The end result is that we’ve both managed to recover from the financial disasters she wrought.

I probably shouldn’t pay any attention to her… but she is genuinely fascinating. If she’s out there in the wild, you know there are a lot of others like her. So many people feel like they have to fake it until they make it, and present a false self to everyone.

I’m glad that Joe Biden is doing something that will help middle class student loan borrowers. I know that some people don’t think this measure is enough, while some are resentful that they paid off their loans and won’t be benefiting. I, for one, think this is a good decision. What I think would be even better is if the cost of attending college went down significantly, as alternatives to college are also offered to those who would fare better learning a trade.

One thing I think Germany does right is offering higher education to those who are most likely to succeed, while also offering people the chance to learn skills or trades. Not everyone is cut out for academics, and not everyone needs a college degree to succeed. I am very grateful I had the chance to go to college and graduate school, and obviously, I could handle the work. But I often feel badly about the fact that I went to school and use my education, mostly, for this blog and entertaining Bill. It seems like a waste… even though I know that when I started graduate school, I had no plans to marry anyone. I was sure I was going to be an old maid. It’s funny how life changes just when you least expect it.

For those who wonder how I managed to pay off my loans… I’m going to offer my best tips. It may not work for you, but this is what worked for me. It’s pretty simple, actually. I started by paying an extra $20 per month on my minimum payment. At first, that extra money didn’t make a big dent, but it did help pay off interest faster, which led to the principal finally going down on a steady basis instead of staying the same. Always remember that if you’re paying the minimum, you won’t get anywhere with any expediency. That minimum will just pay for interest, and you want to work on the principal, which will also lower the amount of interest you get charged.

As time went on, I continued to add to the extra amount I paid each month. Maybe six months after I started paying an extra $20, I bumped the extra amount to $50. Then I went to $100 extra, and watched with delight as the principal diminished. I started getting letters from my lender, letting me know that I was paid ahead and didn’t need to keep paying extra. I ignored those letters and paid more and more, until I had finally whittled down my principal to about $2000. At that point, we had the money to just pay off the last of the loan, so that’s what I did. Boy, was that a good feeling! Again… we accomplished this nine years ahead of time! I’ve successfully used the same technique on car loans and paid them off ahead of time, saving money on interest and ridding myself of stress and headaches caused by debt.

It may initially seem very difficult to part with that extra $10 or $20 when it feels like you can’t keep ahead of your bills. But, if you’re buying $4 coffees or other little luxuries, you probably can afford to pay a little extra on your loans. It won’t seem to make a difference at first, but as time goes by, you will find that the little bit adds up, and you will soon have a cushion that will make paying off the debt more comfortable and less stressful. Of course, you do have to keep at it– consistently pay a little extra, and consider adding to the amount extra over time. That takes discipline, diligence, and determination. But if you set your mind to it, you will find that it really pays off in the long run. Just my one little pearl of advice to anyone who reads this.

Well, it’s time to practice guitar… got to do my Thursday vacuuming, too. It’s another hot day, and our poor backyard is just parched. I am praying for some rain.

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