Showing posts with label Psychology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Psychology. Show all posts

May 22, 2023

How many women supporting Trump are like Margaret Anderson from "Father Knows Best?"

 My perspective as a therapist who helped women break free from abusive husbands on women condoning Trump's abuse

By Hal Brown, MSW, Retired psychotherapist. More about me.

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In my 40 years as a psychotherapist I had many women in therapy who were married to men who were abusive. That's why these two articles piqued my interest this morning:

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The salacious and tawdry nature of what Trump did made the coverage of the recent E. Jean Carroll trial more compelling to many viewers. Let's face it, if there were reports of Trump emotionally abusing a wife or girlfriend it wouldn't have received the media attention it did, although Ivana's serious accusations made the news.

Since I worked in a community mental health center I not only counseled many women myself, but all of our clinicians also did.  Our program was in Mason, a rural suburb of Lansing, Michigan and most of our clients were blue collar with many of them working in auto factories. The area was mostly Republican. 

Rarely did we have female clients who were physically abused. By far the majority who came because of marital problems were emotionally abused by spouses who demeaned them, bullied them, had no empathy for their feelings or in the worst cases relished controlling and demeaning them. 

There is one case I can write about since our therapy was referred to in "The Burning Bed" The True Story Of An Abused Wife" which is a book about her. The book is about Francine Hughes. She became famous because she set her husband's bed on fire when he was sleeping and he died. Subsequently she was acquitted of murdering him by reason of temporary insanity. 

Although her husband did psychically abuse her, he also attempted to thwart all of the gains in self-esteem she made in therapy.  We talked about her wanting to advance her education. Then when she started at the  local community college he burned all her books. He did things to her that were much worse, but this act was symbolic and in retrospect his demise could be seen as karma.

If you search "abuse of women" on Barnes and Noble's website you come up with not merely 260 books, but 260 pages of books. If you go to the library or a bookstore you will see a large portion of the self-help section devoted to these books.

As far as I know, what hasn't been the subject of studies is how many of the women who support Trump who believe that he has physically abused women or has publicly demeaned and disrespected them would put up with the same behavior in their spouses or boyfriends. 

I think it would be enlightening to determine what percentage of these women have been or are in relationships with men who abused them, whether physically, emotionally, or both. 

We can speculate that there is a segment of society where women end up putting up with husbands who while not really at the extreme on a scale of abusiveness are still misogynistic. The 2018 NBC News article "Misogyny has become central to the Republican mission — and the GOP is dying as a result: Women are recoiling from the GOP because of Trump, but the problem is not just Trump, and it never was" says that this may hurt the GOP. 


You cannot pivot from your core identity. You cannot reshape a Republican party that likes or helps women, because it would no longer be the Republican party as we know it. The GOP is right to worry about its woman problem, because no party can survive if it loses women. But the Republicans’ best hope, at this point, is that women who have been shocked into new political awareness will become more complacent once Trump has left the picture.

For the rest of us, we can only hope that those women realize their problems go deeper than one bad president — and that their collective anger continues to erode the foundations of the GOP until the whole rotten structure tumbles to the ground.

The political problem with women who will vote for Trump no matter what his behavior with was, or his attitude about women all his adult life has been, is a psychological and societal problem. It is rooted in women's beliefs about themselves and is a combination of their accepting outdated views that women should be subservient to men and low self-esteem. 

A segment of society is stuck in the 1950's when "Father Knows Best" began on radio in 1949, and then aired as a television show for six seasons and 203 episodes.

  • Parents need to know that the classic series Father Knows Best is pretty mild when it comes to iffy topics, but reflects overtly sexist and subtly racist attitudes by today's standards.
  • Everyone gets along and tries to do the right thing. Dad is recognized as the head of the household. "Good" women are characterized as being feminine and not "like men"; the Anderson children are raised according to this standard. 

 Check out the expressions on the stars faces:

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I may be reading my own bias into this but it seems to me that Jim is far happier than Margaret. She can't fairly be called "a long suffering wife" because she was depicted as being satisfied with her marriage. Today if she came to me for therapy for depression I would work on how this was related to her self-esteem and how her husband might be holding her back from pursuing endeavors to build her feeling better about herself.

Today no show would be named "Father Knows Best" unless it was a parody.

There is no way that Jim Anderson would abuse Margaret. However, he was a husband of his times and in subtle ways he treated her as his inferior and she accepted this. 

How many Republican women are living their lives as if they are in a re-boot of "Father Knows Best"  is impossible to determine.

Somewhat related:

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May 7, 2023

Candid essay by author who has multiple personalities (Dissociative Identity Disorder) prompts ignorant and hateful comments


By Hal Brown, MSW, Retired clinical social worker, psychotherapist

An article in HUFFPOST by a woman who describes her experiences as someone who has dissociative identity disorder, or DI.D., which was previously called multiple personality disorder, caught my attention because I have had more experiencing treating such clients than most clinicians in general practice. 

Below are samples of the comments to the article in HUFFPOST which prompted me to weigh in with my own comments since some of them were either ignorant or hateful. Reading the candid article by Jamie Marich (below) also prompted me to excerpt and re-post portions of the blog I wrote about Herschel Walker not having to do with him since he has claimed he had dissociative identity disorder.

Here's the HUFFPOST essay:

I Have Multiple Distinct Dissociative Identities — And It's Nothing Like What You've Seen On TV


Here's a sample of comments:
  • This is complete nonsense. There’s no such thing as multiple personalities. One can have delusions that one has multiple personalities just like one can have delusions that one is a fire truck.
  • Check yourself into the booby hatch.
  • They/Them/Them
  • Borderline. Personality. Disorder,
  • Some people are just plain nuts and can't be helped.
  • Undoubtedly taxpayer dollars are being funded to support this useless bum who will never be anything more than a burden.
  • Actually… It sounds exactly like they describe it on TV.
  • If men can wake up one morning and decide to be a woman, you can certainly whomever you want
  • Does she just have a very active imagination coupled with a fiercely independent nature that allowed herself to become more than one identity? I guess we could all do this if we so desired. Serious role playing. It might even be fun in a more accepting society. I have no desire to do this, probably because it’s not socially acceptable, and my mother would have smacked me down if I tried. I also just like the one “me” and don’t like complications. Like invisible friends, some things you simply choose not to do, be or have when you grow up. Most people anyway.
  • Uh Ohhh...
  • A new letter... P... Plural.
  • That goes with the B for bisexual...
  • And the D for dissociative and the PTSD which brings us back to...
  • This is written backwards.
  • If you start with the logical part at the end (Think about the last time that you were bored...)
  • Then the workshop stuff... Then all y...
  • "Hollywood is obsessed with exploiting the lives of people with dissociative identity disorder". How do you figure that? When was the last time a movie was made on the subject? How many movies about it have actually been made in the last 50 years? What do you do, sit in a chair and watch those 6 movies over and over? Who's obsessed? people aren't concerned nor to they give a moment's thought to such things. Hollywood is obsessed with John Wick, Marvel, Violence, CGI, Star Trek, and action movies. Whose lives were "exploited" exactly? It's called drama and entertainment. "Dramatization". It's not MEANT to be real. No actual people were harmed in making those films. Playing victim isn't going to advance your cause - is that your 4 year old? Do you realistically think everyone should go out and get a degree in psychology? I'd be surprised if even half the country made it through high school.
  • Ohhhhhhh, "pronouns", she's "woke"! wait, they're "woke". All four of her! We need laws to prevent her 4 year old and 9 year old from engaging in adult activities! Child self abuse! Calling Ron DeSantis
  • How does she know what I've seen on TV? What if I saw HER?
  • My first thought at the idea of having a 4-year-old identity inside a 43-year-old body is that it’s not the same as being a 4-year old.
  • A 4-year-old is learning all the time and the things that she learns will help her as the 5-year-old she soon will be.
  • A 4-year-old identity is a simulation of a child. It would be frustrating to deal with such an identity knowing it could never truly mature.

Scroll down for my comments and the replies to them:

I wrote a long essay about Herschel Walker who has claimed to have DID. In it I describe my own experience as a therapist who treated at least five clients with complex DID (and several more with a questionable diagnosis of DID). There are those who understandably question the validity of the diagnosis but the majority of the MH community believes it exists (and it is in the DSM-5). Here's my essay:


In my 40 year career as a therapist I had eight clients who I was the first torecognize as having alter personalities. Some were simple, for example one with two alters who I ended up hiring as a mental health worker in my day treatment program after the dangerous alter was integrated. I had various others DD clients with between 3-10 alters. The most complex manifestation of DD was with a client who had more than 100 alters including sub-alters (alters of alters) who died of suicide after I moved out of state and she was picked up by other therapists. Her death came when her most malevolent alter decided to kill her body believing he would live on.

I think this is an illuminating article which hopefully can lessen the stigma associated with the disorder.

My comment:

I believe there are two schools of thought among those working with DID clients. One is that the goal of therapy should be integration of all the personalities, the other is to achieve peaceful coexistence and cooperation between the personalities crucially eliminating periods of amnesia. With either goal the problem is that in many, if not most, of those with DID there is at least one alter that identified with the aggressor, or abuser, in their life who is the person who was responsible for the person developing DID as a coping mechanism, a means for survival, using the amnesic dissociation. Unless that alter is rendered harmless they are always at risk of them taking control and, like with my client, with dire consequences.


  •  I suspect it should be up to the client. If they want to integrate, the work should be toward integration. If not, help them develop the coping skills they need. It's the client's brain. They should have the first say in how it works.
  • What a load of mystic nonsense. I probably have more experience and every bit as many credentials as you have. I have always tried to understand this particular subject from different perspectives, only to be shaken back into reality with actual client experiences. I have come to believe validating multiples/alters is just neglect of authentic client needs. Perhaps even abuse. Boundaries, reality testing, and some form of cognitive behavioral therapy loaded with education and diversion are what Borderlines need. Not magical thinking.

My comment: 

I consider DID to be a condition of where the person accidentally, not by choice, used self-hypnosis and created alters with amnesia which were used to avoid experiencing extreme trauma. The presentations of the client are frequently what you call theatrical. Some alters can be diagnosed as histrionic personality. In fact, various alters can have their own psychopathology while other are psychologically what would be called normal. Unless someone has actually worked with someone with DID and observed how different the alters, seen the extent of the amnesia between alters, are and gotten to know them it, is easy to consider it an ordinary personality disorder or just theatrics. This disorder more than any other demonstrates the power and potential of the mind. I have some concerns about the author of this essay, mainly that she doesn't describe whether she had a malevolent dangerous alter and how this was handled in therapy, but her basic description of her life experience dealing with DID rings true.


  •  She’s just driving a long-active, attention-seeking fabrication. It is much simpler. She has an ordinary personality disorder, and therapists like you have cultivated this theatrical behavior.

Every once in a while I find myself either reposting an old blog story or going back to update it. Because Herschel Walker is no longer in the news I won't repost all of the article about him and his dissociative identity disorder. You can read it here if you are interested.

What I will do is repost the portions of that article that have to do with dissociative identity disorder below.

During my 40 year career I have treated five patients with dissociative identity disorder of DID. I could write a book about them and my experiences in trying to help them avoid engaging in the self-destructive behavior which was caused by one or more personalities, or alters, trying to hurt or even kill the others. In some cases these alters didn't know that killing the body of another alter or alters would also end their lives. The belief system of such alters sometimes didn't include a recognition that they resided in the same physical body as the other alters. In fact when in control these alters often had far greater physical strength than the others and didn't experience pain.

Having read the comments I want to add that some of those who made them consider DID to be a personality disorder. It is not. It is considered correctly to be a sub-type of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is because it develops as a way someone undergoing extreme stress as a child, generally repeated sexual abuse by a family member or someone close to them and their family.

It should be understood that because the personalities, also called alters, are not only different ages and genders, but if evaluated separately would also have their own different psychiatric diagnoses. Not only that their IQ's would be different and there have been documented case where some would need eyeglasses and others would have perfect vision. Some could be extraordinary strong even though their body weight and physique wouldn't suggest this.

The following is based on my own experiences with DID patients, extensive reading, and attending workshops presented by experts. It is adapted from my Herschel Walker essay.

DID develops as a way to cope with extreme childhood abuse. It is usually sexual abuse of a female by an adult male in the family, usually a father, step-father, or other caregiver. DID in males in less common. The most well known case of a male with DID is Billy Milligan. 

For reasons not known, some victims are capable of creating alter personalities which experience the abuse and then instead of developing totally amnesia for it create, through a kind of self-hypnosis, another personalty which has no memory for it. 

In DID a patient can have only two personalities, one with the abuse memories and one with no memory of them. Other patients may continue to create new alters to deal with other incidents of abuse, and then use this ability to continue to spin off alters to deal with other life stress. In very complex cases an alter can have one or more alters.

Sometimes people with DID never seek treatment because despite periods of amnesia they don't feel much distress. Someone with DID may end up walking along a dark country road in the middle of their night in their pajamas and switch alters and have no memory of how they got there. They may accept this because similar things often happen so they'd just walk back home.

They may be used to finding things around the house they never saw before because another alter bought them. 

It must be noted that amnesias like these are hallmark features of DID. It can be incidents of amnesia that prompt them to seek therapy.

It is an unfortunate aspect of the disorder that in the worst cases the patient has an alter that identified with the authority figure who abused the actual patient who is perceived by this alter as a different person. While originally a protector they can develop to be a destructive force in the patient's life.

For the safety of the therapist it is crucial they develop a working relationship with any malevolent alter. They may want to sabotage therapy, or worse. I had a client who had a handgun and insisted on searching her handbag prior to each session.

A hallmark of DID is amnesia.  During many of the times when certain alters are in control various other alters have no memory of what was happening. For the therapist in complex cases figuring out the ways the amnesia functions between numerous alters is, to say the least, a challenge.

Here's a clinical example from my own experiences (with all names changed):

One of my patients first came to me with the presenting problem being that she was losing things, and when I pressed her to explain she reluctantly told me she was also losing track of time, sometimes entire days. In that first session I said matter-of-factly "is there someone here who'll tell me what happens when Alice doesn't remember what is going on. Alice was very puzzled by this question but I told her to bear with me and I asked again three or four times. She then changed her facial expression, looked me directly in the eyes, and said in a slightly different voice, "she's so stupid she doesn't keep her valuables in a safe place." I asked who I was talking to and my patient said "I'm Denise." Then I went on to talk to Denise and when I realized I was dealing with a full-blown case of DID I also ended up "meeting" the malevolent and dangerous personality who I eventually had to tell with in almost all of our sessions. This was George who eventually was created as a protector when Alice was being sexually abused by her father but when she was an adult also became her most destructive alters.

Successful treatment of someone with DID usually means working with the healthier alters to form alliances among them so they can resist having the dangerous alters take control. All of the therapy involves with these alters must be conducted with the therapist knowing that the dangerous alter is aware of your intervention and observing the session. That personality sometimes takes over so the therapist has to deal with him (with females it is usually a male) and works both an advocate for the vulnerable alters and tries to create a relationship with the dangerous alter. There are times when the therapist "makes deals" with the dangerous alter. 

Curing DID is exceedingly difficult and those therapists who claim they have done this may be deceiving themselves. A complete cure means that all the alters have integrated into one, that the memories of being abused have been dealt with in therapy, and there are no incidents of present day amnesia. The reports of amnesia with someone with DID means that another alter or alters were in control during the period of lost time.

A more modest goal, and with some the only realistic goal, is to work on developing a cooperative relationship between the alters. This seems to be what the author of the HUFFPOST article achieved.

Updated comment and my reply:

Comment: Thank you for sharing, The information you gave is very informative. 

  • Hal Brown
    18 seconds ago

    You are welcome. There are so many examples of how extraordinary this manifestions of DID are that I could have doubled the length of my blog describing just what I experienced. I would add for therapists with these clients that it is best to work with a co-therapist, have a good inpatient back-up facility available, and be able to see the client 2-3 times a week. One example from my practice is a client told us her malevolent alter observed what she saw with a third eye and then it appeared as a raised reddish circular welt in the middle of her forehead. After the session we asked each other incredulously "did you see what I saw?" Another example of when a malevolent alter took control in the hospital was when he took control of her 100 body and toppled large heavy tables over. It took rarely used chloro hydrate injections to calm him down.

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    May 3, 2023

    Tucker Carlson's unredacted text reveals a surprising side of him: Does he have a better angel?

     By Hal Brown. MSW, retired psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapist

    Scroll down for May 7 update.

    Click above to enlarge image

    Below is the section of the previously redacted (above with my image added) portion of the message which contributed to a chain of events that ultimately led to Mr. Carlson’s firing that is described in this NY Times article:

    Carlson’s Text That Alarmed Fox Leaders: ‘It’s Not How White Men Fight’

    It is being discussed on "Morning Joe" as I write this blog:

    A couple of weeks ago, I was watching video of people fighting on the street in Washington. A group of Trump guys surrounded an Antifa kid and started pounding the living shit out of him. It was three against one, at least. Jumping a guy like that is dishonorable obviously. It’s not how white men fight. Yet suddenly I found myself rooting for the mob against the man, hoping they’d hit him harder, kill him. I really wanted them to hurt the kid. I could taste it. Then somewhere deep in my brain, an alarm went off: this isn’t good for me. I’m becoming something I don’t want to be. The Antifa creep is a human being. Much as I despise what he says and does, much as I’m sure I’d hate him personally if I knew him, I shouldn’t gloat over his suffering. I should be bothered by it. I should remember that somewhere somebody probably loves this kid, and would be crushed if he was killed. If I don’t care about those things, if I reduce people to their politics, how am I better than he is?

    The line in the text, it's not how white men fight, that apparently alarmed Fox News executives expresses Carlson's racism. I wonder if Carlson was thinking of how Mike Tyson bit off a chuck of Evander Holyfield's ear when Holyfield. an underdog, was winning in their 1997 heavyweight championship boxing match.

    It was the rest of the text that I think is surprising. Breaking it down:

    * Jumping a guy like that is dishonorable obviously.

    This shows that Carlson can differentiate between what is honorable and dishonorable.

    I found myself rooting for the mob against the man, hoping they’d hit him harder, kill him. I really wanted them to hurt the kid. I could taste it.

    This demonstrates an ability to engage in self-reflection, to express how he feels about something. It also shows he can admit his own murderous impulses.

    * Then somewhere deep in my brain, an alarm went off: this isn’t good for me. I’m becoming something I don’t want to be.

    Crucially, this shows that he is cognizant of when his thoughts deviate from an ego ideal. In Freudian psychoanalysis this is the inner image of oneself as one wants to become. In the id-ego-superego (or conscience) Freudian model the ego ideal is part of the superego, that is "the individual's conscious and unconscious images of what he would like to be, patterned after certain people whom ... he regards as ideal."

    The Antifa creep is a human being. Much as I despise what he says and does, much as I’m sure I’d hate him personally if I knew him, I shouldn’t gloat over his suffering. I should be bothered by it. I should remember that somewhere somebody probably loves this kid, and would be crushed if he was killed. If I don’t care about those things, if I reduce people to their politics, how am I better than he is?

    The entire section above comes across as if it he has a better angel, his conscience, sitting on his shoulder whispering in his ear.

    I don't view empathy as an either you have it or you don't characteristic. Some people, malignant narcissists for example, are incapable of experiencing empathy, period, full stop. Donald Trump fits all the indices of being a malignant narcissist. I do not think Trump has empathy for anybody.

    I don't know if this is true of Carlson. He may have empathy for family members and his friends. 

    There are people who are sociopaths who aren't at all narcissistic. I think of depictions of Mafiosi in fiction. They can kill or order a hit on someone and still feel deep love and empathy for their family. This doesn't mean family members and girlfriends can rest easy. Uncle Junior ordered a hit on Tony Soprano, Christopher regretfully ordered Sylvio  to kill his girlfriend Adriana.

    Hitler, a psychopath who wasn't a grandiose narcissist like Trump, probably truly loved and had empathy for Eva Braun. He was extremely fond of his German Shepherd, Blondi, and even let her sleep in his bed in his bunker. Apparently Trump has never has a pet in his life.

    I've digressed, so I ought to conclude with my clinical assessment of Tucker Carlson. 

    I think he has many characteristics of malignant narcissism. He shares these with Donald Trump: extreme narcissism, antisocial behavior or sociopathy, sadism, being a bully, grandiosity, liking to raise hostility levels, and dehumanizing people and groups of people.

    He is different from Trump in one respect, aside from being much more intelligent. He has an awareness that he is incapable of empathy and that to at least some degree knows he'd be a better person if he felt it.


    Scoop: Tucker Carlson ready to torch Fox News

    My response:

    Thanks for reading my blog. Scroll down to make comments and share on social media. The archives and tags are on the bottom of the main page. If you are reading on Booksie,Substack, or Medium click below to go to the main blog web page. 

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    April 7, 2023

    A pschoanalyst assesses what's likely happening with Trump as he faces legal consequences

     By Hal Brown

    Justin Frank's book cover has a giant Trump head on the traditional Freudian couch. 

    I made the illustration below showing that Trump is not "normal" which I meant to convey just how atypical his personality is. This doesn't mean it is impossible to understand how his mind works, what motivates him, and how to best predict his future behavior. It means that this is a very difficult endeavor requiring a particular knowledge base and skill set.

    Thanks to Raw Story's Tom Boggioni, who summarized the Chauncey DeVega interview which was published in Salon, (link below) with psychoanalyst Justin Frank, MD (here 'Caged animal' Trump may need a 'secure padded cell' as trial progresses: psychiatrist ) I don't have to do it.

    If you don't read the interview at least I think you should consider reading the summary on Raw Story. Still, I think you will find the interview illuminating and I hope you read it.

    "He is visualizing burning things and blowing them up": How Trump may be coping with being caught

    Justin Frank, author of "Trump on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President," on this week's historic indictments

    These are the three quotes Salon emphasized:

    One more excerpt:

    Predators can massively regress in such circumstances and lose even a modicum of self-control. They lash out and need to be restrained for their safety and that of their caregivers. That's why we have secure padded cells (euphemized as "quiet rooms") inside locked wards in mental hospitals.

    These are colloquially often referred to as "rubber rooms". Illustration modified by HB.

    I have been writing about how people shouldn't assume that they know with absolute certainty what Trump has been feeling these days as he faces the legal consequences of his actions. (see footnote)

    Justin Frank doesn't do this. His comments are replete with modifiers which explain that Trump is most likely experiencing certain emotions and why this is the case with him given his personality type. 

    What Frank offers is an exposition of what I was too lazy to even try to write about. Besides, he is a psychoanalyst as opposed to a psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapist which I was for the 40+ years of my career. He simply is far better qualified than I am  to dig this deeply into what those in the mental health field call the psychodynamics of an individual.


    In this exclusive interview, Thom and Dr. Frank talk about psychosis, whether or not if it is contagious / hereditary, the presidency, plus much much more.

    Dr. Frank has also been on the Lawrence O'Donnell show.

    Update: This is gratifying

    Footnote (my previous blogs on this subject):

    Blogs are also posted on Booksie and Medium.

    Thanks for reading. Scroll down to make comments and share on social media. The archives and tags are on the bottom.

    April 2, 2023

    Nobody knows for certain how Trump feels except Trump

    Caricatures of Trump
    Caricatures by DonkeyHotey

    By Hal Brown, MSW, Retired clinical social worker and psychotherapist

    This is the title of a Washington Post (subscription) article today:

    Shocked and defiant: How Trump is responding to unprecedented indictment

    Since a grand jury issued charges related to hush money to an adult film star, the former president has cycled through a range of emotions and postures.

    This is an article by Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey

    I added this comment to the article:

    Nobody knows how Trump is feeling except Trump himself. All that can be reported on with certainty is what is observable. The words "as if he is" should preface any sentence purporting to describe how he feels. Thus even the title of this article makes assumptions. This to be accurate it should read Acting shocked and expressing defiance.

    Psychotherapists like me look at this through a different lens than many others. The public would gain a better understand of him if they looked up the term narcissistic injury. They will find this article by Mary Trump: Donald Trump's niece says her uncle felt "narcissistic injury" from being GOP's "biggest loser".
    Even Mary Trump, a clinical psychologist, is speculating each time she describes her uncle's inner life. Her describing Uncle Donald feeling narcissistic injury makes sense. Look at the definition here and see what you think.

    I am as guilty of speculating as all the other mental health professionals who have gone public with their psychological analyses of Donald Trump. Look my name up with Trump and this is what you'll find:

    Click above to enlarge image

    My articles and those by mental health professionals who are prominent in the field all helped inform the public as to the likely psychodynamics of Donald Trump, emphasize likely.

    If a research psychologist was to construct an experiment in an attempt to determine whether a subject met various diagnostic assessments such as their being a malignant narcissist they could begin with a list of observable behaviors they would predict would manifest themselves in the future if they had the theorized diagnosis. 

    Donald Trump has been diagnosed as both an extreme narcissist, a sociopath, and a malignant narcissist which combines the two disorders. We don't actually know, absolutely know, that any of these diagnostic assessments are 100% accurate.

    100% certainty is a standard rarely met with a psychiatric diagnosis. There's no MRI machine to scan Trump's brain. There's no pathologist's microscope to put a slide of his mind under to see just how malignant it is.

    As Trump will find out within a year or so, 100% certainty isn't even a standard relied on for conviction in a criminal court where the standard is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Ashley Parker and Josh Hawley, not to pick on them, are not mental health experts. Here's an excerpt of what is in today's article:
    Yet in the immediate aftermath of the grand jury’s decision related to hush money paid to an adult-film star, Trump was not happy, said one person with direct knowledge of his reaction. Others described Trump as “upset,” “irritated,” “deflated” and “shocked,” though some noted that he also remained “very calm” and “rather stoic, actually.”
    Even they are relying on second hand reporting, and they only say that "others" who aren't identified described Trump's behavior. We don't know if these are people who actually were with him.

    More people described in the article say they know how Trump feels:
    • “He’ll do Trump,” said David Urban, a longtime Trump adviser who is not working on his 2024 campaign. “He’ll show up. He’ll be indignant.”
    • “He initially was shocked,” said Joe Tacopina, a Trump lawyer, on NBC’s “Today” show Friday. “After he got over that, he put a notch on his belt and he decided we have to fight now, and he got into a typical Donald Trump posture where he’s ready to be combative on something he believes is an injustice.”
    • “He has never been concerned about any story that paints him as a moral reprobate,” one Trump ally said. “His whole life and career have been full of those stories and they’ve never harmed him, in his mind.”
    There's one quote at the end of the article which makes sense:
    But the defiant posture seems likely to remain. In a statement, Taylor Budowich, the head of MAGA Inc., railed against the indictment and promised it would deliver Trump another stint in the White House.
    The use of the word "posture" is accurate. The head of MAGA Inc. isn't saying he knows for sure what Trump is feeling. He is predicting how he will act. He's probably correct. 

    Only Trump is capable of knowing whether he's playing a role or whether he's struggling to avoid experiencing fear. I say "capable" because Trump, like anyone, has psychological defense mechanisms to prevent anxiety from percolating into conscious awareness.

    Bottom line:

    Only this guy knows what is happening in his conscious mind.
    By definition, nobody knows what is occurring in their unconscious mind. Self-aware people can make informed guesses about this but the unconscious is not conscious. It manifests itself though feelings, behaviors, and hints as to what is going on in the recesses of our minds often comes out in our dreams.
    An iceberg is often used to provide a visual representation of Freud's theory that most of the human mind operates unconsciously. Public domain


    Donald Trump faces the embarrassment of arraignment, fingerprinting and a police mugshot in Manhattan on Tuesday, but one legal expert suggested his worst nightmare will come from a jury made up of New Yorkers who know him all too well.
    Here again we see Trump being described as if he is psychologically normal. He faces what we would be embarrassed by, hell, we'd be mortified. There are two meanings of the word "nightmare" of which one is being applicable here, ie. a terrifying experience. Trump may find it exhilarating. What he can't control is an actual nightmare occurring while he is sleeping. I'd say there is more chance he'll have one or more of these than his actually experiencing conscious manifestations of anxiety.

    2) Michael Cohen told Joy Reid that Trump can put on fake bravado but is petrified. He has no way of knowing this is true. He ought to have said that Trump, if he was normal, would be petrified.

    3) There is one thing we know for sure abut Trump. It is that yesterday he took a motorcade to play golf (article). However this was arranged, it was done is such a way that he would pass by his supporters. I think it is significant that there were no photographs of him actually playing (at least none that I could find). These might have captured expressions that suggested he was feeling the stress of being indicted.

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    Does the GOP choice boil down to being between a psychopathic fascist or a sane one?

     By Hal Brown, MSW, Caricatures by DonkeyHotey Click above to enlarge.  The DoneyHotey caricatures show DeSantis looking sane  and Trump loo...