I’M A PSYCHIATRIST, AND I CERTIFY THAT TRUMP IS NOT MENTALLY ILL — but he is certainly out of sync. If he was out of his mind, he couldn’t function the way he does. Real mental illness stops you in your tracks — but Trump keeps going, even when all the signals are on red. He doesn’t stop. Until, abruptly, something did stop him. On January 6, he incites insurrection — “we love you”. Next, he calls it “heinous”. Black then white. Why? Something turned the switch in his head — but what? We need to know, before his lunacies finish us.
Where are his limits? What did make him pause? Nothing had left even a scratch on him before. He’d survived impeachment. He’d told more lies than truths. Each indiscretion lead to worse. Nothing mattered. Nothing gave him pause. Then, without warning, he abruptly reverses — why? Suddenly meek and mild, civilised and “concerned” — where had all that been before? And just what was it that had cut through all the make-believe, all the lies? What?
This is not medical — it’s civilisation. If you’re treating an illness, mental or otherwise, you begin by looking for where it comes from — you don’t start by calling for the 25th Amendment, or brandishing a second impeachment. If you don’t find the root, the disease wins. You may not be medical, but you are a citizen, and governance falls on your shoulders too. You need to make sense of the 45th President — before he makes a nonsense of you.
Trump’s behaviour matters to every citizen, not only in the US, but around the world. Our world is getting hotter, because he believed it wasn’t. Or so he said. What politicians do, matters to us all. It is up to everyone of us to dig into the background of Trump’s patterns, and find where they really went wrong. Until we establish what happened to bring this on, then we deserve to let it happen to us all over again, with someone else, someone similar, or even someone worse.
Now medicine is an inexact science. Some of it is fantastic, much of it is blur. The key is to pick out the few things which really do make a difference, and put all your weight behind them. Pandemics are caused by viruses. Smallpox maimed and killed innumerable people before it was eliminated by vaccination — now it no longer exists anywhere in the world. So where’s the anti-Trump vaccine? What can remedy his grotesqueries? In the middle of our pandemic, vaccines sit on shelves instead of in people’s arms — where’s the governance, the federal funding? Trump’s “policies” kill — why was nothing, effective, done to stop him sooner?
Unhappily the “blur” of medicine festers in psychiatry. So, again, we need to start with basics, things that are obvious to all, before we can begin to make an impact. When smallpox was really rampant, viruses hadn’t been heard of — now they are, we can take effective, scientific action — or we could, if we could get our act together. The same applies to medical treatment of the mind. Here, we have an advantage — where viruses were invisible before we had electron microscopes, the key factor in good mental health is much more obvious — but only for those flexible enough to adapt, to look at things rather differently, in the way I now advocate.
So where are the straws in the wind? So much of human behaviour is a blur, especially in politics — are there no consistencies, no points which keep repeating ad nauseam, as if there was something real behind them? Well, my money is on childhoods. Look at the lampooning that has been directed at Trump. The blimp of him is of an infant in nappies/diapers. Melania Trump is notorious for coming to his rescue at a turning point in her husband’s election campaign in October 2016, by going on TV and describing him as a child — “I have two boys at home. I have my young son and I have my husband”. It’s as if being childish exculpated him — when it should have been the other way round.
When there’s nothing else to go on, it pays to pick up the smallest clues, rattle them, and see if they start to make sense. This is exactly what Edward Jenner did. In 1798, he noted that cowgirls kept on not getting small pox, then a fearsome killer disease with a death rate of 10 to 20%, even worse than Covid. The word vaccine comes from the Latin for cow. Jenner made a leap in the dark — and had the bravery to inject a small boy with the cow version of the disease — the rest is history. But look what calumny he risked being wreaked upon his head — what medical nonsense — smallpox was caused by flux or another unknown agent — not by an invisible particle no one had ever heard of — what rot.
So when I suggest Trump’s folly is caused by faulty childhoods, be careful you don’t jettison the idea as swiftly as you would have, pre-Jenner. Look at those straws. Look at the commentaries — Trump has another “tantrum”, he cannot stand “losers”, his political utterances are all good solid kindergarten banter. Rejection, as for any infant, is toxic. People are either benign, especially when of a similar ilk – or hostile, for the least disparagement. It’s the good parent/bad parent divide writ large. Do you have a better explanation? If you do, better make it quick.
All right, I’ll come clean. I’ve been pursuing the extrapolation of child strategies into adult life for over 30 years. I even managed to dissuade a serial killers from further slaughter, by persuading him to grow up and stop being such a child in his head.
And as for Trump? Well, look at his antics as you would at those of any other spoilt child. The only thing that really matters to an infant is the quality, or otherwise, of parental care. Are you being looked after, fed, kept warm — respected? Because if you’re not, then you’re history. So you pay 99% attention to whether people like you, or don’t. If they don’t, then you could die. That’s the level of drive behind it. It ceases to be true — once you’re an adult — but what if the very insecurity of childhood itself meant you never had the self-confidence enough to rid yourself of the damage? In effect, the trauma of childhood insecurities continues indefinitely — who can you possibly trust to put a stop to it?
Check out what Mary Trump has to say. Listen extra carefully to her warnings. They are all too real, as the death rate from Covid confirms.
If you will suspend disbelief and half-concede that Trump never grew up emotionally — then his volte-face, his sudden change from favouring insurrection to finding it heinous, comes from a change in his parent-figures around him, who had, to date, supported his presidential and infantile antics, howsoever gross. Look to his loyal nursemaids in the US Senate. What happened? Well Ossoff won, that’s what happened. Trump’s senatorial “minders” were demoted. He could no longer count on quasi-parental emotional support from there — “we love you whatever you do — we’ll stop the nasty impeachers even hearing the evidence against”. No wonder he got ever worse. Being indulged by those who the constitution had set up to curtail him — his indulgences knew no bounds. Once they faltered, so did he.
Now politics is even more inexact than medicine. Human beings come up with the most amazing, the most unexpected behaviours — don’t they? If it’s your job to intervene, and try and sort out the worst behaviours, the most painful thinkings, then you look around, see what makes sense, and follow up those that with most promise. This is what I’ve done in a career in psychiatry for 60 years. It all falls sickeningly into place — childhood tantrums destroy. As Alec, my favourite serial killer put it, eventually –“when you’re four and have a tantrum, you stamp your foot on the floor — when you’re 24, someone dies.” Sadly this applies all too heavily in politics too — nor is the UK immune. What do YOU propose doing about it, while there’s still time?
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this appeared first on https://drbobjohnson.substack.com
Saturday, 9 January 2021
Dr Bob Johnson (retd) Consultant Psychiatrist,
Empowering intent detoxifies psychoses
How Verbal Physiotherapy works — https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/892956
e-mail DrBob@TruthTrustConsent.com www.DrBobJohnson.org
GMC speciality register for psychiatry reg. num. 0400150
formerly Head of Therapy, Ashworth Maximum Security Hospital, Liverpool
formerly Consultant Psychiatrist, Special Unit, C-Wing, Parkhurst Prison, Isle of Wight.
MRCPsych (Member of Royal College of Psychiatrists),
MRCGP (Member of Royal College of General Practitioners).
Diploma in Psychotherapy Neurology & Psychiatry (Psychiatric Inst New York),
MA (Psychol), PhD(med computing), MBCS, DPM, MRCS.
Author Emotional Health ISBN 0–9551985–0-X & Unsafe at any dose ISBN 0–9551985–1–8