|Image from: https://themindsjournal.com/10-things-ive-learned-about-gaslighting-as-an-abuse-tactic/|
Oh, geez, where to start with this one! If you haven’t seen the 1944 film Gaslight, you need to. It’s an amazingly frustrating foreshadowing of the tRump administration…except that it’s a story that ends after 114 minutes, whereas the tRump circus just goes on and on and on.
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Rebecca Lee, in a PsychCentral post on gaslighting, wrote that gaslighting is “an extreme form of emotional manipulation” that seeks to “[control] the way someone sees themselves and their reality” and “destabilize a person from the outside in” through “tactics such as denial, lying, and contradiction.” Other writers add deflection, story changing, blame shifting, and emotional/psychological/verbal abuse to the mix of gaslighting behaviors. In most cases, the abuser has a personality disorder, like narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, etc.
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Unfortunately, gaslighting also describes very well the tRump White House’s modus operandi in dealing with the public and true to form, this past week has seen several attempts at gaslighting from the big cheeseball himself and his cadre. Let’s look at the “shithole” debacle for a moment. Last Thursday in a meeting with legislators, tRump complained about having to take in immigrants from “shithole countries” like El Salvador, Haiti, and African countries. First off, tRump’s comment was a kind of contradiction to the apparent goodwill performance at the bipartisan immigration meeting he hosted at the White House just two days before…so there’s one symptom.
Then there was this fecal nugget from the White House staff:
The President's "shithole" remark is being received much differently inside of the White House than it is outside of it. Though this might enrage Washington, staffers predict the comment will resonate with his base, much like his attacks on NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem did not alienate it. (From the CNN article in the previous link)Yup, the White House is counting on support for tRump’s racist, xenophobic remark, expecting that his devotees will not just accept his abusive speech, but prefer and defend it. A second symptom.
Since tRump's oral diarrhea, pundits have tried pass off the comment as simple “bar talk,” a kind of deflection in that they have tried to steer attention away from the White House resident and towards some amorphous group of drunk everymen and everywomen. Symptom three.
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For a fifth symptom, we have denial on several different fronts. First of all, tRump himself denies having said it, Homeland Security Secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen swore under oath that she did not hear the comment, Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue deny that the comments were made, and there have been efforts to say the Adolescent-in-Chief said "shithouse" instead of "shithole"...as if that makes any difference. All these claims and claims of absence run the gamut from obfuscation to outright denial. Actually, they could also be considered a sixth symptom, story changing.
Lastly, symptom seven: lying. On Sunday tRump said in a quick interview that he is not a racist:
“The least racist person”? Whatever he was trying to say with that that little scatmint is hollow as his own head in light of the many instances of racism in his ridiculous history from unfair housing practices, to advocating for the death penalty for the Central Park 5 (who were exonerated in court, but the Donald still maintains they did it), to leading the birther crapgumbo, and on. If you need a refresher, this opinion piece in the New York Times could help out.
Oh, and there was this verbal defecation from Sarah Huckabee Sanders:
I'm not sure how to classify this unmitigated stupidity. Her claim that tRump having a show on NBC shows he's not racist is mindbogglingly asinine. What, TV shows are immune to racists and racism? No. As a matter of fact they are full of institutional and cultural racism...better now than in the past, more racism-lite than racism-free. I guess sheer idiocy must be a new symptom. Number eight.
Given tRump's horrid diet, his gas stinks. Just stinks.