President Donald J. Trump is not only the answer to the prayers of conservatives, he is also the solution to the psychological problems of millions of American women. Oh, you thought the solution was electing the first female president? Not at all. Let me explain.
Many women are using the current political climate as an opportunity to reveal that they were victims of abuse by male authority figures. “Women who I have seen for years are only now bringing up physical and sexual trauma from their past,” says Atlanta psychotherapist Melissa Olson. “I think this election is re-traumatizing them. Verbal and emotional abuse, sexual abuse, rape, discrimination … There have been many reminders of experiences that so many of us have had.” These women are transferring the painful feelings associated with their traumatic experiences to the president, who serves as a convenient substitute for the original male authority figure in their lives.
This unconscious defense mechanism is known in psychiatry as transference, or transference neurosis, where feelings and attitudes originally associated with important people and events in one’s early life are attributed or redirected to others in the present. “Others” in this case refers to the ultimate authority figure and alpha male, President Trump.
Women are coming out of the woodwork to express their outrage against Trump. They say he is a misogynist and sexual predator who has abused women by grabbing their vaginas. His objective, they insist, is to take away women’s rights. They are angry that a sexual predator has risen to the post of commander-in-chief. While I empathize with the pain of these trauma victims, I cannot condone their lack of judgment in substituting Trump for their abusive father or husband or uncle or whomever.
The charge that Trump is a sexual predator is totally unfounded. It is based on false allegations made by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and perpetuated by the mainstream media. The evidence is strictly circumstantial: an 11-year-old video in which Trump uses some off-color language under the mistaken assumption that the microphones are turned off; referring to Clinton as a “nasty woman”; calling a former Miss Universe “Miss Piggy”; threatening to sue women who have claimed that Trump assaulted them. On the infamous video, Trump says, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” Trump is describing consensual sex. He never says he grabbed a woman’s crotch without her consent. Enjoying consensual sex does not disqualify anyone from serving as president.
Unfortunately, as in so many examples of political correctness, the facts do not assuage the anger. Consider the out-of-control rage expressed by actress Ashley Judd in her tantrum at the Women’s March in Washington. Screaming that Trump is Hitler in disguise, that Trump is having incest with his daughter, that he is guilty of racism, homophobia, fraud, white supremacy, and on and on. How convenient it is to have someone like Trump upon whom to focus all of your accumulated angst. But convenience does not add up to “right” or “justified” or “appropriate.”
Judd and other participants in the Women’s March want to act out their anger in violent and destructive ways. I call this emotional vandalism. They don’t care about facts because they have been transformed from adults into adult children who are interested only in their feelings, with contempt for the feelings of others. “Dysfunctional anger does not help us to do the right thing,” says New York psychologist Robert Fraum. “Dysfunctional anger can be destructive, out of proportion, and inappropriate to the circumstances.”
An example of emotional vandalism is offered by the Huffington Post:
“Right now you’ve got a lot of angry women to contend with. And let me remind you, Mr. Trump … hell hath no fury like a pissed off woman who’s tired of this sexist bullshit. We are calling you out, Mr. Trump. We will not go quietly into any good night. We are loud. We are in your face. And we don’t put up with the kind of bullshit you’re selling. We see your sexism and your bigotry and your racism. We see right through you.”
In response, a female Trump supporter said, “I think it’s great, do your thing, but I just don’t know what they’re doing it for. They’re talking about rights, women’s rights, but what rights are being taken away from any women?” The point is that no rights are being taken away from any woman by the president. It may be healthy for women to enjoy a catharsis from their psychic pain, but it is not healthy when they transfer that pain to the highest office in the land. Taking into consideration that the entire argument against Trump is based on falsehood, it also constitutes serious male bashing.
What is the practical alternative? A few years of serious psychotherapy are in order. In a supportive therapeutic environment, someone like Ashley Judd can explore reasons why her destructive transference occurs and help prevent its recurrence without resorting to extreme behavior.
Copyright © 2017 Ed Brodow. All rights reserved.
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