Thursday, June 2, 2016

Ad hominem of my dreams

Here I graduate from writing cattily about other therapists to goosing the admirers of a pathological louse, candidate Trump.

There have been women, such as the BTK* killer’s wife, who completely failed to see the lizard-brained psychopathy of their husbands for all the years of their marriage. These women can be excused. The serial killers, entirely false selves whose human core burned out probably at birth, must be pure manipulation from the first moments of their life. They – all shell with only painful hateful fire beneath – had all the time in the world to paint and polish the shell and grow the skills of deceit.

But the followers of Trump hear, see and feel the acid discharge from their lover’s illness – a seamless narcissism. Their spirits attach to someone who has publicly demonstrated a complete absence of empathy. Their curved antennae receive his self-deification and mistranslate it as power and goodness, a strong father, man-in-charge, or hear it (unawares) as reflective support of their own narcissism, where a healthier person would see only sickness. Our surface self says nothing: Anyone can talk love, respect, benevolence. It is the psyche of Trump’s followers that receives justice, revenge, power in his contemptuous soul. Their disturbance is ratified by his.

Long before I crashed into my own botch (and became a therapist) and grew compassion for myself and others, I was a Libertarian and adherent of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism. There were in those days many Randian militant individualists, pleased to be stalwart “traders”: everything earned, nothing given. No taxes, no welfare, no mooching government. Each man (or in my case, teenager) an island, rationally happy to know we were superior to knee-jerk, linked-at-the-belly-button communal do-gooders, the liberal leeches.
This was pure psychology, pure pathology. One can’t be so alienated, so dreamy about personal inviolacy, so elevated above normal people with normal feelings and needs without being sick. But sickness abounds in the world and we use principles and lofty ideas – distanced rationalizations – to cover it. Like a paranoid schizophrenic who escapes his annihilated ego in delusions of grandeur, we feel superior to strangers. We project the knives embedded in our heart, from childhood, into others. As Alice Miller noted, speaking of Hitler’s Germany, people harbor a secret hatred and seek to legitimate it. These are the energies at play in the admirers of a demagogue like Trump, energies buried under labels like patriotism, capitalism, conservatism, strength.

There is no solution for this other than the process of feeling one’s own pain, in our roots and bloodstream. Such an exotic pilgrimage, which seems so remote from our adult truths, our beliefs and philosophies! Yet it’s the only way to question, to pour out the poison that bends us and binds us to diseased ideas and their carriers, the warmongers, haters, revenge-seeking father figures, the heartless egomaniacs.**

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* Dennis Rader, the “bind, torture, kill” serial killer.

** Of course, much of my argument could apply to Hillary’s people, too.

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Comments are welcome, but I'd suggest you first read "Feeling-centered therapy" and "Ocean and boat" for a basic introduction to my kind of theory and therapy.