These are scary times we live in.
We are literally waking up every single day not sure if we will find ourselves in the midst of a nuclear war, a race war, or one of many other possible tragedies caused by the hasty words, actions and decisions of our nation’s “leader”. Beyond all of that, as if that is not enough on its own, I have numerous mental health-related reasons why Donald Trump scares me.
Mental illness has become an epidemic of global proportions. According to recent statistics released by NAMI, an estimated one in five people in this country, over 43 million people, struggle with it every single year. Currently, only 41% of people struggling with mental illness are receiving mental health services. Watching Trump whittle away at health coverage means that even less people will be able to afford to get the mental health treatment they need.
My fears regarding Trump extend far beyond the medical coverage he is systematically and vengefully stripping away from our citizens that need it most. There are many other reasons I am sincerely afraid of our current president.
The fact that he openly mocked a disabled reporter for his condition in front of the press corp is mortifying. Looking through his list of tweets provided by The New York Times, he has repeatedly taken jabs at his opponents and adversaries, hurling insults commonly used to mock the mentally ill like “crazy”, “wacko”, and “a real nut job”, acting as if mental illness is a joke. Mental illness is a bonafide disability that has been battling stigma and fighting to be taken seriously for far too long. Trump has made it clear that he has no respect for those with disabilities. We do not need nor deserve to become another one of his punchlines.
I have personal experience with narcissists in my past and have spent a great deal of time reading about and researching narcissistic personality disorder. Many of the actions and behaviors he exhibits are commonly known and widely accepted markers for this mental disorder.
In one breath, Trump proudly declares that it is perfectly fine to grab a woman inappropriately and that he has done so in the past, suggesting that, as a man of power, he can get away with it. He admitted to it in his own words in an interview with Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush:
“I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women]—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 … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”
To forcefully touch a woman without her consent is sexual assault.
The next moment, he is touting that any accusations of sexual assault made against him are complete lies and fabrications, claiming the allegations are “totally phoney”, “100% made up”, “already proven false”, and “made up events THAT NEVER HAPPENED”. That is classic gaslighting. When someone is gaslighting, they repeatedly insist past events never happened or minimize their actions, trying to make the victims appear crazy even when clear evidence exists to the contrary.
His narcissistic entitlement goes beyond women. During his campaign trail, he happily declared that “I could stand in the middle of 5th Ave. and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” Though Trump paid $25 million dollars to settle the case out of court, he continued to dispute allegations made against Trump University and did so “without an acknowledgment of fault or liability.” People with narcissistic personality disorder believe themselves to be above other people, sometimes even above the law.
The narcissistic personality traits do not end there. He actively “love bombs” those who support him, only to discard them and replace them with a new supply when they are of no further use. He has repeatedly used triangulation to play opposing sides against each other, a common narcissistic tool. He appears incapable of accepting any responsibility for his own actions or words. He is overly arrogant and self-inflated, has an inherent need for approval and a lack of empathy for anyone else.
Perhaps the biggest thing that scares me about Trump, though, is that there is no question in my mind that he himself needs serious mental health treatment yet is highly unlikely to seek it out. Narcissists are incapable of accepting that there is anything wrong with them. The problem always lies with everyone else. Yet, everyone who has dealt with someone with an untreated or undertreated mental illness can spot the signs. I know I can.
I grew up with a mother who struggled with often untreated, always undertreated bipolar disorder. I lived through the ups, the downs, the irrational, delusional behaviors and potentially dangerous choices with no consideration for their consequences. I suffered through the relentless lashing out and honing in on one specific target until the horse was beaten well past death.
I see so many of those behaviors mirrored in Trump and it terrifies me. Whether he is going after Hillary Clinton, the NFL, the media, Obamacare, or Kim Jong Un, once he sets his sights on a target, he is incapable of stopping himself. He keeps going back with an unfettered and illogical, unwarranted rage, intent on obliterating his target by any and all means necessary.
I’ve seen that rage before. I grew up with that rage. I grew up watching untreated mental illness that is fueled by that rage. I know how it ends and it is not pretty.
With my mother, it ended with her showing up at my father’s work and shooting him twice in the head.
It isn’t a pistol, however, that Donald Trump is armed with. As our president, he has the ability to deal damage and wreak havoc on not only a national but a global scale. Among other things, he has the ability to both take affordable health care away from millions of people struggling with mental illness and the ability to start World War III. His potential devastation is only limited by whatever his mind has honed in on at that particular moment as a target worthy of annihilation.
Nobody realized how dangerous my mother was until she had her pistol in hand.
I know the signs. I’ve already lived through this story once on a smaller scale.
I don’t need a bomb to drop to accept how badly all of this could end if he is left unchecked and untreated.
It is a terrifying world out there.
And I am justifiably scared.