Back in the day when my children were young, I came to understand that my middle child, my son M, had a problem accepting responsibility for his own actions. I should have understood this when he was around four years old and had been outside playing with his sister and friends. He came rushing into the house and breathlessly exclaimed “whatever they say I did, I didn’t do it!” This should have thrown up a major red flag, but instead, I laughed it off. Later, when he was in high school and failing miserably in one class, he said it was not his fault, it was the fault of the teacher. My daughter had taken the same class under the same teacher the year before and done very well, but M swore that the teacher had “something against [him]”. By this time, I was beginning to see a pattern, but was not quite sure what to do about it. The final straw came when he came home drunk one night at about the age of sixteen. He had been out with an older cousin, and when I began to read him the riot act, he said to me “mom, it isn’t my fault! It was D’s (the cousin) fault!” I asked if his cousin had held him down and forced alcohol into him. Long story short, it finally came around to him telling me it was my fault for letting him go somewhere with his cousin, that I should have known this would happen. It was at that point that I fully realized this child of mine never accepted responsibility for a single one of his own actions.
Being a fairly private person, I do not often share stories of my family life, but I shared that one because I think it is very apropos of what is happening today with in the Trump campaign. Following a week marked by his controversial comments, and reversals, Trump called for Governor Kasich to resign from the race, claiming that Kasich, the winner of only his home state’s primary, had no right to continue on the campaign trail accumulating delegates if he has no chance of becoming the nominee. “He doesn’t have to run and take my votes,” he said. It never occurs to him that he is losing “his” votes by his misogynistic rhetoric, his disjointed, ignorant responses to serious questions, the fact that he sanctions hatred and violence in nearly every speech makes. No, for that would mean accepting responsibility, and he will not do that. If he loses Wisconsin today, which seems inevitable, he has already made it clear that he will blame talk radio hosts for his failure, he will blame Governor Kasich for his failure, he will probably find a way to blame women for his failure. But the one person he will not blame is himself, the only person truly responsible for his failure. “In certain areas — the city areas — I’m not doing well. I’m not doing well because nobody knows my message. They were given misinformation.”
Trump’s refusal to accept responsibility is only one symptom of a greater disease, one that I mentioned in a post just last week – he is a classic narcissist. Narcissists tend to be quite adept at attracting followers. They are spontaneous and free from constraints, and think they are invincible. As a narcissist grows in power, he disregards advice from his subordinates and does not try to persuade those who disagree with him but instead he ignores them, or has them deposed or otherwise gotten rid of. Narcissists are defined by a sensitivity to criticism, being a poor listener, and a lack of empathy toward others. (Burgemeester, The Narcissistic Life, 01 April 2013). Need I say more?
Just like my son, Trump’s antics and bluster were at first humorous, producing a clown-like character that nobody took very seriously. Unfortunately, he began attracting followers, people who wanted so badly to believe in his message, wanted to believe that here was a man who could actually “make America great again”, that they did not ask questions, did not expect answers. He knew the buttons to push, the strings to pull, and his following grew, even further inflating his ego to the point where he claimed “I have the most loyal people, did you ever see that? I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot people and I wouldn’t lose voters.”
Trump hurt his image among women last week by his cruel and thoughtless comments that women should be punished for having abortions. He hurt his image among intellectuals and scholars long before. It is time, however, for all to awaken from the spell Trump has cast and clearly see what he is. He has had nine months to learn about foreign policy, nine months during which he could have listened to advisors, studied the situations in the Middle East, Europe and Asia, and developed at least a moderate understanding. Instead, he chose to spend his time tooting his horn, the result being that in two interviews last week, he was unable to answer a single question about foreign affairs. He suggests that the U.S. needs to distance itself from NATO, yet he does not understand the scope and purpose of NATO. This is the danger that is Trump. Muammar Qaddafi, Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, and Joseph Stalin are examples of leaders with narcissistic personalities. Narcissists become dictators, rarely leaders of a democratic nation.
I said in a recent post that I do not believe Trump actually wants the job as President of the United States. I firmly believe that, and the evidence is mounting. I certainly hope I am right. Meanwhile, I call upon … nay, I challenge anybody who still believes in Trump, to read the transcript of his interview with the Washington Post or the New York Times (links provided below) and count the times that what he says or how he says it closely ties to the traits of a narcissist.