America’s Abusive Relationship

by Jean McGuire in Society
     

An abusive relationship is a manipulative relationship. An abuser may or may not hurt you physically, but they all try to brainwash their victim into believing that their behavior is “normal.”

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, but I keep getting the feeling that our current administration feels a lot like the country is in an abusive relationship with Donald Trump. When I looked to see if I could find any documentation to support this feeling I found numerous websites that listed the signs of an abusive relationship, and it was almost frightening how dead-on my instinct was.

An article I found on The Huffington Post, Early Signs of An Abusive Relationship, written by Bonnie Koehn, states:

One of the reasons women get caught up in unhealthy relationships is that abusers can be very charming. They can appear confident, attentive and sweet, and they have an intoxicating energy when pursuing a woman.

Donald Trump exhibits so many of the same behaviors as an abuser. When I forced myself to check his Twitter account for tweets to support this analogy, and even though I was looking for it, I was shocked by how the stench of an abuser wafts through his Twitter page. The following are the 15 points made in the above referenced article about the signs of an abusive relationship:

  1. Love-Bombing – Abusers may use “Love-Bombing” to win you over.

Trump loves powerful men and always seems to have nice words to say about them, regardless of who they are or what they’ve done. His attitude towards Vladimir Putin is well-documented, and while he is not always flattering, but as documented in a post from 2017 on CNN.com, he most certainly seems to admire the Russian president. Trump’s own tweets frequently support this:

  1. Monitoring – At first it may seem romantic that he wants to know everything about you.

The only media who appears to have the approval of Donald Trump is Fox News. All other journalism has been branded “Fake News” and his followers are discouraged from listening to any media other than the Trump approved sources.

  1. Isolation – …Pay attention to how he behaves around your friends. Is he possessive? …Is he critical of your friends and family?

Donald Trump is not a fan of NATO, and has been quite outspoken about it.  At this week’s summit, he left our allies with a sense of disbelief:

“It’s like the world has gone crazy this morning,” one senior European diplomat told CNN. “Trump’s performance was beyond belief.”

  1. Shoulds – Comments about how you should or shouldn’t cut your hair, whom you should see, what job you should take, how you should speak, etc. are an indication that your partner believes he knows more than you do about yourself and your life.

Donald Trump has had an ongoing battle with Rosie O’Donnell for almost a decade now. As near as I can tell, his sole ammunition has been based on her weight and appearance. I understand that for a man who only marries models he has pretty rigid standards, but no one has the right to criticize others on the basis of the looks.

  1. Permission – There’s a difference between being considerate about what your partner might prefer and feeling like you have to ask permission in order to avoid consequences such as sulking, withdrawal of affection, silent treatment, or a verbal lashing.

On July 10th, Trump was asked whether or not the government would be able to reunite the families separated at the border as ordered by the courts. His response? “Come here legally.”

In a CNN.com article posted on July 10th, authorJill Filipovic states:

“Come here legally” sounds simple enough, but we don’t let in the overwhelming majority of people who want to come here legally. And so people take calculated risks.

Know this: Virtually no one crosses the desert with a scared child or children for fun, or even for greed. When we talk of immigrants as faceless hordes or as insects who “infest” our country, it’s too easy to forget they are simply human beings who don’t have the same good luck Americans did to be born here.

  1. “Us against them” – Since abusers have a hard time maintaining lasting relationships, when they find themselves alone they work hard to recruit kind and compassionate people who will rescue and feel sympathy for them.

Donald Trump wants to be sure that his followers feel that if they don’t see things his way, then they are part of the opposition. He will draw his opposition in solid shades of black to make his point.

  1. Hot/cold – Random reinforcement is a common technique used to keep you engaged.

On July 10th, in reference to Germany, Trump said that Germany is a captive of Russia.This criticism not only burns Germany, but it does not put Russia in a favorable light.

That same day, Donald Trump stated that a planned meeting with Vladimir Putin would probably be “the easiest of all,”which puts Russia in a very favorable light.

  1. Manufacturing jealousy – Abusers love reassurance that you want only them

The current occupant of the White House hates any reference to his most immediate predecessor and seems to be on a mission to obliterate all of the advances made or championed by Barack Obama. Recently as July 10thof this year he tweeted:

  1. Constant togetherness – If you find that you can’t get a minute alone, take note.

Donald Trump expects the entire world to love him and to admire everything he does. He takes credit for anything even marginally positive accomplished by his administration while finger pointing and name calling anytime something goes wrong. If you, for whatever reason, follow him on Twitter, you can expect to be inundated with tweets. On May 28th, he posted a tweet blaming the Democrats for the policy of separating families at the border. I tried to find the original tweet on his account, by scrolling through hundreds of tweets, but that tweet appears to have been removed. However, there are 9 other posts from that same day. I am not running a country, but I certainly don’t have that much time to spend posting on social media. You can check out his Twitter accountyourself if you’d like.

  1. “Starting over” together – If he wants you to leave behind everything you know just for the sake of “starting over” together someplace new, he may be seeking to destabilize your life.

Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” was directed to all of the disenfranchised voters who felt that they were no longer getting the same size piece of the pie that they were used to receiving. By promising his followers that they could start over and at the same time go back to their former level of preferred treatment, he was appealing to the lowest of common denominators. This phrase is so catchy, it has been used by politicians and organizations for decades. Unfortunately, it is also eerily reminiscent of the Ku Klux Klan slogan “America First.”

  1. Picking fights – Abusers like to assess how much you will take.

Donald Trump will strike out against anyone if he feels he has been slighted. Even former allies can be turned into enemies in an instant. He and Jimmy Fallon got along great until Jimmy expressed regret for tousling Donald’s hair during an interview during the campaign.

  1. Violence of any kind – An abuser may test the limits of emotional abuse for a few years before it becomes physical.

Trump has no fear of threatening violence. According to an article by CNN.comon January 23, 2016, Donald Trump said: “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

  1. Criticism – . . . of anyone and anything, all the time.

Donald Trump loves to call his opponents derogatory names. If you do not agree with him, he will do his best to decimate you on his favorite platform.

  1. Comments about exes – If he describes his exes using derogatory terms, question it. Even if things ended badly, degrading a past partner isn’t OK.

Donald Trump is on record making horrible, sexist comments about women he pursued in the past. The most famous is the Access Hollywood tape that was released shortly before the 2016 election.  From theNew York Times October 10, 2016article, Transcript: Donald Trump’s Taped Comments About Women:

Trump:Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

Bush:Whatever you want.

Trump:Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.

  1. Superiority – This can look like confidence at first, but with an abuser it can turn out to be egomania or abrasive arrogance.

Donald Trump stated repeatedly during his election campaign that he was the only person who could fix all the problems in America. In July of 2016, during the Republican National Convention, he reiterated his statement. According to an article in The Atlantic on July 21, 2016;

“The most striking aspect of his speech wasn’t his delivery, even though his tone often strayed over the line, from emphatic to strident. It wasn’t the specific policies he outlined, long fixtures of his stump speech. It was the extraordinary spectacle of a man standing on a podium, elevated above the surrounding crowd, telling the millions of Americans who were watching that he, alone, could solve their problems.”

Like anyone who has suffered from abuse, America needs to look at who we are dealing with and do our best to step away. As the earlier referenced article on abusive relationships in the Huffington Poststated:

“… sadly, it is just not statistically likely that an abuser will change. The world is full of healthy people and happy relationships. Don’t be afraid to trust yourself and start again. It’s not easy to walk away from an abusive relationship, but I promise you, life is better on the other side.”

 

 

 

 

 

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