A Thank You Note to Donald Trump
Dear Mr. Trump: Thank you. Sincerely yours – Ramani
Never dreamed I would be thanking Mr. Trump, but here we are. For the last 3 years I have been working on a revolutionary new book on love and narcissism (it comes out on November 1 of this year – best and most useful holiday gift ever!), and he gave me just the hook I was looking for. Who knew that his icky invectives could end up as a marketing juggernaut for me? I for one, am hoping his campaign lasts until at least the new year.
I have been studying narcissism for a long time, and watching it devastate lives a day at a time. Narcissistic co-workers, bosses, parents, friends, and most importantly – partners (husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends). Narcissists destroy those near them, like a parasitic worm that eats someone from the inside out. The absence of empathy means that they can barrel through the world effortlessly, unworried about the damage they sow. My book will save many many people from the tyranny of being stuck with a narcissistic partner – and perhaps a narcissistic presidential candidate (which is of course most of them).
At this time in history, narcissism is the new black. Without this charming trait, it is really difficult to get ahead. Our competitive economy incentivizes cruelty, carelessness, and mindlessness – shoot first, apologize later (if you ever apologize). Apologies are now written by publicists to ensure that stock prices don’t fall or platform is not lost, not as a means of acknowledging genuine responsibility. And when the measure of success is power, consumption and excess – forget about depth, it’s all about superficiality – and superficiality is the narcissist’s playground.
So back to the Donald. Because narcissism is a modern epidemic – it is ubiquitous, and we barely notice it anymore. Insensitivity and tweetable meanspirited taglines are an acceptable way to issue an opinion in a very noisy world. As long as you get the prize, it no longer matters how you get there. Hemingway said “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” Not so much anymore – journeys and conduct are becoming irrelevant– the ends justify the means, the racist banter and the degradation of McCain’s war record (and who knows what is next in his political sideshow) – all’s fair in love, politics and war.
But Trump hit a nerve – didn’t he? Perhaps he figured out that a subset of folks who are too busy with their own lives to care about the implications of his blowhard braggadocio, who feel threatened by an ever diversifying culture, who want to be entertained, and who no longer feel part of a community, but rather want to take their goodies and run – that these people will listen and even rally. In a world where the bombastic bad behavior of reality TV and social media trolls are our new benchmarks, then he as the mouthpiece of pathological narcissism is able to successfully prey on and even mobilize a narcissistic society. It’s hard to be empathic when most people are working harder for less money, and the 1% fiddles while our communities are imploding. Life has turned into the granddaddy of reality shows – Survivor. We are spending our days figuring out how to “outwit, outplay and outlast” each other. Is it any wonder that Donald Trump’s vitriol and divisive rhetoric are “trumping” many of the other candidates?
We tend to burn out on narcissists and bullies. They are sort of fun to watch for a while, and what sounds like “Fox-y” straight talk, is recognized as grandiose blather. Whether Trump’s narcissism can stand the test of time remains to be seen. For the first time in history, given the new narcissism, I think it can.
Trump may get elected, he may not. I won’t vote for him, others will. However, to me, Donald Trump is the canary in the coal mine. While he was a mere gadfly in past presidential bids, this time he is getting a foothold. A reminder that narcissism is becoming so normative that his acid diatribes may no longer give us pause. We are faced with the prospect of wondering whether it is a disorder any more? (perhaps the new disorder will be Empathic Personality Disorder – given to those us out there who give a damn about others, work hard, can’t pay our bills, and waste our time on ethics and kindness).
For those of you who don’t find empty rhetoric, empty partners, and overall meanness an acceptable new world order – have I got a book for you! Stay tuned – pre-orders can be placed in a few weeks. And even if you are a fan of Donald Trump – trust me, you will find lots of useful stuff within my pages.
Again – thanks Mr. Trump, much obliged.
I’ll be sure to get a copy out to you post-haste.
Tags: Narcissism, Politics, Relationships