Tangled in the Narcissist’s Web

Let me begin by making clear that I do not like Donald Trump. Never have, never will. He has been on the scene my entire adult life, 30 plus years, and I was never impressed by his billionaire playboy persona. When he ran for president, I blew him off as another unfulfilled rich guy searching for more.

Yet here he is.

This post is not about him, though. It is about me, and people like me who, despite our dislike, have managed to get tangled in his narcissistic web. This tangling goes beyond Trump Derangement Syndrome. It is about boundaries, manipulation, and abuse.

Donald Trump is an abusive person. One need only read his angry tweets, watch his hate-filled rallies, and hear the insults he hurls at foes to know this. Yet it wasn’t until reading psychologist John Gartner’s take on Trump, in an article published by Salon, that I realized how the president’s malignant narcissism has damaged our collective American psyche. Whether you love him or hate him, Donald Trump is like an abusive, narcissistic husband and we, the American people, are the long-suffering wife.

The difference is one wife stays and enables the behavior, the other wife does what is necessary to survive while plotting her escape.

I understand not everyone will see it this way or agree. Some might lash out at me for saying so. I am opening up a can of worms here and I don’t care. Like a beaten, battered wife, I am saying enough. I am done allowing this man to manipulate and abuse me. I am setting boundaries.

My decision, in some ways my awakening, started with my oldest son. A Trump supporter, he challenged me to take one day off from posting negative articles and memes about the president on social media. I accepted his challenge and raised him a week. I am not so lacking in self-awareness that I don’t recognize my dislike of Trump is  unhealthy.

On the same day of my son’s challenge, I read the article mentioned above and something clicked. For over three years, I have accused Trump supporters of being manipulated by this president. I have felt angry over the way they  excuse and defend his poor behaviors. I have even felt sorry for them for not seeing how abusive he is, and speculated that something must be very wrong with them – perhaps racism, misogyny, internalized misogyny, low self-esteem, etc. –  to allow this.

That day I realized something was wrong with me. I, too, was equally tangled in the narcissist’s web.

For three years, I have lived in a near-constant state of outrage over this man. Every day I wake up, vow not to post anything about him, then start scrolling through the news online and become so riled up, it’s as if I have no control. Copy, paste, post or share. I work, spend time with family and friends, read, exercise, do yoga, go for walks and hikes, watch Netflix, drink wine, but in between these things Trump is too much on my mind.

What horrible, outrageous thing did he do or say today? What lie did he tell? What dumb thing did he proclaim, then later deny, much in the way a husband, caught with lipstick on his collar, might try and convince his wife it was her lipstick, even though she never wears the stuff? I have felt an almost civic duty to show people, especially people that I love who support him, that they are wrong. He is fooling them. He doesn’t care.

I have allowed myself to be driven crazy by this man, to be consumed by everything he says and does in a psychologically unhealthy way. This is exactly what the malignant narcissist wants.

No more, though I do expect some withdrawal symptoms as time goes by, even some relapses. Such is the nature of unhealthy relationships when you seek to end them.

17 thoughts on “Tangled in the Narcissist’s Web

  1. I don’t know why Trump bothers you on a personal level, but that probably you will have to figure out. Here in Canada there are people throw insults towards our Prime Minister. So mad about how he handles this or that. I try to not engage in that conversation. But that is because I lived personally in two other countries, and seen from inside how things are being handled. And I know that things could be much worse, and at least in Canada the government is willing to talk to you. Or give you the feeling that they care. And I try to focus on all the good things that are here. I do honestly think that your president is trying to do good for the Americans, bring more jobs to US , even if you disagree with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s difficult. Viewed from across the pond, it’s impossible to view him as anything other than self-centred, narcissistic, and amoral. I personally feel a revulsion for him I feel for very few others. As much as I dislike our own prime minister, Trump is just in a different league. I do not believe he cares a jot for anyone other than himself. I think if you can manage to detach emotion from your feelings about him you are doing a brilliant job.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Mick. It’s been refreshing the past few days posting normal, positive things on social media that have nothing to do with politics, as I used to do for many years until the last election. I gave up social media for the entire month of January (my version of dry January) and felt so much better mentally. Social media used to be a fun place to share personal news and photos about family and such. Now it is dark and hate filled from nearly every angle. I’m grateful to my son for this challenge and I hope it sticks.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I tend to keep off politics on my blog, Kim – that’s not what I started it up for. As a rule, the only posts I put up that are at all political are environmental, and that comes under many headings anyway. I stray occasionally, when something really gets me hot under the collar, but not often. And I don’t follow many others who do, either.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I hear you. I think I only posted about politics once before, the day after the election. I was hoping the focus on this post would be more emotional well-being in light of so much darkness and negativity. Also acknowledging my own role in spreading the negativity and making effort to untangle myself from it all. I hope that came through!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I try not to get into politics on here but it’s hard to turn away from some of things he says and does. I always try to support our presidents regardless of which party they come from. But this has been hard. For all the good there is as much bad. Hard to balance that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi George, same here about the politics. I’m quite sure the closest I came prior to this post is my post A Day in the Life of An American Voter, where I chronicled a 24 hour period of voting, watching the results come in, student reactions the next day, etc. and tried to do it objectively. This, for me, goes beyond politics or any political ideology – I, too, have supported all past presidents regardless of political party, etc. For me, this is about tolerance and boundaries, and what we as individuals and a country are willing to tolerate from our leaders. I wouldn’t tolerate a spouse who disrespected me by cheating, who bankrupted the family business multiple times, who had a reputation as a liar and it was hard to know what to believe, who insulted and name-called our family members, neighbors, friends, etc. anytime they disagreed with him or called him out, who berated colleagues and fired employees who in good faith offered a contrary opinion for the sake of the business, who in every conversation claimed expertise and offered bad and even dangerous advice as a result, who didn’t take responsibility when things went wrong and instead blamed me and others, etc. No person is perfect and we all must accept some character flaw/traits/behavior in our president (and spouse) that we would rather not, but hopefully the good far outweighs the negative. But to tolerate ALL of this in one person is unacceptable to me. I have higher standards! If we wouldn’t tolerate it in a spouse, we shouldn’t tolerate it in a president. Hence, why I need to set boundaries, because unlike an abusive spouse who I can leave, I am stuck with this guy, like it or not, and subjected to his abuse on a near daily basis as an American citizen. It is draining on the psyche. All I can do is stop reading, watching, etc. This scares me a bit because I have always prided myself on paying attention to what is going on around me, and speaking up when I see something that seems wrong, in having a voice. One of my biggest fears, and pet peeves, is apathy and complacency, turning a blind eye. I have never wanted to be one of those people because then there would be something vital missing in me as a human being. But here, I realize for my mental well-being, I just have to step away for a while. Anyway, thanks for commenting. I appreciate it. I understand many people shy away from this stuff and would rather not comment or be involved. I definitely do not plan to turn this blog into a political blog. Again, this was something weighing on my spirit and I wanted to release it, hoping that if even one person felt the same and would join me, my work was done. Thanks, George!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think that’s what this forum is for, Kim. Your opportunity to speak your mind and release the beast, so to speak. If people don’t like it, they can choose not to read but there’s no reason why we can’t all share our thoughts and have people respect each other’s views. It’s understandable, based on everything that’s going on and the players involved, that emotions and feelings are very strong and high. Don’t ever shy away. 👍

        Liked by 1 person

  4. In the words of my grandmother,”I don’t listen to Trump because I don’t take advice from crazy people.” I’m sure this isn’t politically correct, and also all “crazy” people are not narcissist; however, this is how I feel. I cannot watch the press conferences because I can’t tolerate the abusive behavior I’ve observed between him and CNN reporters. I can’t watch him lie to the public because I know they’re all lies and gaslighting…every…thing…he says…is a lie in some form, even if it’s misinformation.

    So yeah. I agree with you. Enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s been one week since my son’s challenge. No posts, and in fact I deleted all the related posts from my timeline and I am done FOR GOOD. I feel liberated! Love the words of wisdom from your Gram.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t know why I’m not getting your posts anymore, Kim, but somehow or another I’m not following you anymore. I think I’ve fixed that.
    Anyway, I’m glad that you accepted your son’s challenge to stop letting Trump have so much control over your emotional life. Because I agree, letting him get you that angry is giving him as much control as if you adored him and did everything he told you to do. I think it’s good to acknowledge our feelings and state our beliefs, but when we start to feel compelled to do that, it’s unhealthy… Narcissistic people just want your constant attention, and they don’t really care if it is negative or positive attention. (Personally, I think that desire for attention motivates a whole lot of his behavior, but of course I don’t know that for sure.) And I’m glad you wrote this post…our blogs are a platform where we can express our true thoughts and feelings, and that’s what you do!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Ann! I’m glad I finally woke up, too. I’m grateful to my son for the challenge. It’s helped me feel more positive. I’m not feeling the need to try to change minds anymore. The withdrawal isn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be, either.

      Liked by 1 person

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