I’ve written on here about my total disgust for Trump before. That hasn’t changed a bit. But it finally hit me not too long ago WHY I can’t stand him but I hadn’t gotten around to writing about it until now because the ear infection from hell has been so bad.
I can’t really describe, in words, my reaction to Trump whenever I see him or hear him.
The closest I get is this:
THAT’S what I want to do if I see him or hear him. I’m not a cat though, so it would look pretty ridiculous to see a grown human woman hissing and baring her teeth at what APPEARS to be a grown human man. I can’t see him as a grown ANYTHING, much less a human man, but whatever. A disgusting, oozing, pustule maybe. Or a tumor. Not a human man, though.
That’s what I instinctively want to do when forced to acknowledge his existence. I had no idea why he provoked that response in me but I first got an inkling of what the answer might be when I saw this headline: Donald Trump is Gaslighting America. One wouldn’t think Teen Vogue capable of such weighty subject matter, but it’s a damn good article. And after reading it, I did a brief online search and came up with a bunch of other similar results. My reaction made perfect sense to me after that.
If you’ve never had to deal with gaslighting yourself, I’m glad for you. It is not something you can shrug off and simply put behind you. Depending on each person’s circumstances, the damage can be lifelong. Yes, it’s abusive. You may not have scars or bruises visible on your body, but you will carry the psychological scars and bruises for a good long time. It doesn’t matter if your abuser intended to hurt you. A lot of the time, they probably don’t think they are hurting you. They’re probably victims of abuse themselves. It doesn’t matter. It is abuse. It is insidious. And it is what Trump is doing to this entire country right now.
In my case, I was a stupid little sixteen-year-old kid who thought she was in love and was convinced that no one else would ever want to be with her so she’d better cling to what she had. I KNEW he was cheating on me. I KNEW he was cutting me off from my family and friends. I KNEW that some of the stuff he did to me wasn’t normal. But he kept telling me over and over that what I knew wasn’t real. That I couldn’t trust what I knew. I could only trust him. And if I didn’t trust him, I was horrible. What made it worse was that his family contributed to this gaslighting and other abusive behaviors. His mother. His sister. His brothers. His mother told me repeatedly that she was a woman before she was his mother, and she would always treat me as a woman before treating me as his girlfriend – and later on, as his wife. I believed her. I believed all of them. I stopped believing what I saw and heard firsthand and believed what they told me because I honestly thought I couldn’t trust my sanity.
Gaslighting on its own is bad enough. I didn’t know it when I was sixteen but I was clinically depressed. That was diagnosed after my son was born. His dad and I were breaking up and I had threatened suicide. My fear of abandonment went back YEARS to before I even met his dad, but that relationship was one long, drawn out “I HATE YOU DON’T LEAVE ME!” drama on both sides. He and mother got really good at driving me right to the edge. They knew exactly how to play me to get me to lose it. I had threatened suicide, they called the cops, I was diagnosed with depression, and after three days at the psych hospital, I came home with a prescription for Paxil. The anxiety was diagnosed much later. But the fear of abandonment has ALWAYS been there and spending years in a relationship that was a living hell only made everything worse.
So when I hear Trump talking or see his lying, orange, smug face on a screen, I’m reminded of years of being subjected to psychological abuse that I’m still dealing with. That man lies as easily as he breathes and every time he denies having said or done something THAT HE HAS BEEN RECORDED SAYING OR DOING, I’m disgusted and sickened to my very core. To me, anyone that supports him is the same as every person that sees abuse carried out in front of them but does nothing. Every one of his supporters is that neighbor that turns up the TV when they hear the guy next door beating his wife. Every person that cast a vote for him is that coworker that pretends to not see bruises on his buddy’s neck from where his wife tried to strangle him. Every one of the politicians that are defending him are the cops that go along with the “oh, the baby fell down the stairs,” story.
I feel so much better after having come to this realization because it was actually kind of bothering me that I reacted so strongly to this guy that I’ve never actually talked to, never met, and never will. It now makes sense to me. I can even laugh that my mental image of my reaction to him is a cat, because the idea of “pussy” going on the attack seems appropriate. I hate the guy. I now understand why I hate him. And I might not be able to do much to oppose him and his supporters but even if it’s just writing something, ANYTHING, that makes me feel a bit better. I definitely won’t be silent. Me keeping my mouth shut about things that bother me usually isn’t a problem. I’ve donated to organizations that are committed to opposing him. If I can get over this ear infection in time for the Women’s March in San Francisco on the 21st, I’ll be going to that. (I have an appointment with the Ear/Nose/Throat Specialist this coming Thursday so hopefully it can be fixed by then!) But remaining silent? Not an issue. I will treat him with the same level of respect he’s treated women. And anyone that has ever dealt with gaslighting in their lives is onto his game and we are not going to play along.