Extrication from Trump.

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Nov 12, 2020, 21:37

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Trump won’t accept reality. Americans must force him to.

Supporters of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden celebrate downtown near Trump Tower after several major news outlets declared Biden the winner in the 2020 presidential race against incumbent President Donald Trump on November 07, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois.
Supporters of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden celebrate downtown near Trump Tower after several major news outlets declared Biden the winner in the 2020 presidential race against incumbent President Donald Trump on November 07, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Donald Trump has lost the election fair and square. The results are clear. Our shared national problem now is that Trump’s psyche cannot handle the reality of his repudiation. He is a psychopath with malignant narcissism who is addicted to power and constant adulation. He will not give it all up without a strenuous fight that creates chaos and turmoil and dysfunction.

Trump is throwing a huge temper tantrum. He is embarrassed and humiliated. He wants to bully his way to a second term. He thinks his conspiracy theories and magical thinking will somehow change reality. His narrative that he has been the victim of voter fraud is false.

When faced with failure or disappointment, Trump always reverts to the victim role so that he can garner sympathy and gin up the aggrieved anger of his supporters. He is acting like a 4-year-old child who is stomping his feet and holding his breath in defiance — and hoping that his parents will finally give in and indulge him.

And so Trump is filing meaningless lawsuits. He is sabotaging the orderly transition of power. Yes, we expect he will ultimately leave office on Jan. 20, 2021, but his victim mentality and false claims of victory will continue to be on public display for as long as he can find a platform.

So it is our responsibility to extricate ourselves from Donald Trump. We must make the extrication on our terms — not his.

Trump will be gone from power in 69 days. He will leave grudgingly and ungracefully for sure. But this is a critical first step in ridding ourselves of this disordered man and leaving this abusive relationship.

Psychologically, we must banish Trump from our minds. We must dismiss him. We must separate ourselves from him. We must stop attending to his tweets and comments and behaviors. We must stop responding to his antics. Remember this: The public’s attention is Trump’s oxygen. Without it, he will wither away and his impact will shrivel with it.

The media must do its part as well by minimizing Trump’s visibility and force. His tweets and interviews are all harmful and counterproductive to the good of the public. His lies and misinformation are toxic. The media must stop reporting his every utterance.

All of our collective attention now must focus on the positiveness and competence of President-elect Joe Biden. He is our future. He is the adult in the room whose temperament and skill set are aligned with the needs and wants of the American people. He is the healthy father figure this country needs after four years of divisive, dishonest, dangerous and inept governing.

Simultaneously, we must extend a welcoming hand to the millions of Trump supporters who are saddened and disillusioned by his loss. They are not our enemy. We have become so tribal and so disengaged from each other that we all feel misunderstood. It is time for us to reach out and reconnect in a genuine way. After all, our country was founded on the idea of individual liberties and national unity. Both components are vital to “a more perfect union.” Our country is the best when its citizenry is united in a common mission.

While we should all do our part to welcome ordinary Trump supporters back into the fold, as Biden has, extremist groups whose ideologies are racist or xenophobic or terroristic must be disavowed and rejected. They are not invited to be a part of our national unity. They are corrosive and intolerable. We must not let fringe groups sidetrack our positive trajectory with their hateful ethos.

Trump will be gone soon. But our psychological extrication from him is just beginning. A malignant narcissist like him will not let us off the hook. He needs the attention and will seek it in every way imaginable. We must own our repudiation of him. It is important to do to ensure our collective mental health going forward.

Extrication from Trump is our responsibility. Let us own it. And let us invite everyone to join in on our common quest for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Blotcky is a clinical psychologist in Birmingham, Ala. Norrholm is an associate professor at the Wayne State School of Medicine in Detroit, Mich.

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