There Is Something about Donny

“When I look at myself in the first grade and I look at myself now, I’m basically the same.” Donald Trump

“He’s still a simple boy from Queens. You can quote me on that.” Maryanne Trump, Donald’s sister

I asked my husband where he’d place Trump on the spectrum of human chronological development. “He is a toddler,” was his reply.

If you too have thought that Donny reminded you of an overgrown toddler, you have excellent reasons for it.

Psychoanalysts believe that narcissism stems from a developmental arrest due to improper (inconsistent, unempathic) parenting and/or trauma (specifically a rejection by the mother/parents) in childhood. It is generally assumed that it happens during the first three, pre-verbal years of life (although other explanations of narcissistic pathology are also possible).

Choosing this point of view as a guide, and remembering that this is speculation and not a diagnosis, let’s count the ways in which Donny is (like) a toddler.

There is that toddlerish pout, the expression of hurt and/or contempt for others, permanently fixed on his resting (and not) face; the toddler-like hand gestures with characteristically splayed fingers which remind every parent of the time their child started walking and kept his arms outstretched in front, in an adorably defensive but ineffective posture (and reminiscent of the recurring SNL adult-toddler skit); and the infamous temper tantrums, complete with outbursts of hostile aggression when things do not go his way.

Then there is the fear of a punitive mommy so strong that it makes him run away from confrontations with assertive, intelligent women who dominate him intellectually and emotionally; the obsession with body functions and toilet activities, which disgust him in women so much that he cannot acknowledge their natural existence (shades of narcissistic overidealization of mother, possibly fixated during toilet training years, as psychoanalysts may speculate); and the tone he uses at his rallies, part a petulant tyke, part Big Daddy trying to reassure his young children that he’ll take care of them and make everything alright, there, there. The last one, playing Big Daddy, hints at what Donny imagines a good father – one he has not had and never was himself – would act like in trying to reassure and protect his children.

And then there is his speech.

Trump’s verbal output has been analyzed by linguists, speechwriters, political experts, and pundits, all of whom noted its strange effectiveness, despite its precious lack of substantive content — although it would be more accurate to state that its lack of substantive content is THE reason for its strange effectiveness. What they all agree on is that his peculiar communication style appeals to voters because of its uniqueness. People are tired of stilted speechifying and find Trump’s direct, highly emotional, and fact-free “telling it like it is” refreshing. Obviously.

The aforementioned analysts focused on either style or substance of his talk (because, as we are being reminded, what Trump does is talk rather than speak), but rarely on both. Style, however, is substance. The way we speak reflects the way we think. The way we think — and act — shows who we are. Who we are is demonstrated in our actions and words.

Trump’s speech, like his behavior, is notable for three major and interrelated features:

1. slipperiness:

1a. lack of substantive content, i.e., facts and their analysis that would show an understanding of how they relate to each other within larger patterns of reality, an evidence of abstract thought;

1b. frequent subject changes suggestive of distractibility, poor impulse control, and, given their emotionally defensive content, unusual psychic fragility;

1c. emotional manipulation, e.g., complimenting a reporter to divert her attention from the issue at hand;

2. high and dramatic emotionality that underlies his black-and-white concrete reasoning: much of what he says, if not all, is about feelings — his own, projected onto others; those feelings center on themes of his greatness, personal threats from others, and self-protection and vengeance  (e.g.,”they destroyed our country and we will take it back”); they give us a glimpse at Donny’s paranoid inner world where “you’re either with me or against me;”

3. solipsism — everything is self-referential, it is all about him; even when he uses others as props in his verbal psychodrama, each verbal output is an occasion for self-aggrandizement and/or expression of hurt and resentment over being treated unfairly.

One common characteristic of pre-verbal toddler cognition is believed to be poor or absent object constancy: infants and toddlers may not understand that things exist objectively and permanently out of their sight (although research in infant cognition shows that babies acquire object permanence, the cognitive basis for object constancy which is used by psychoanalysts in reference to the relationships with the child’s primary caregivers, much earlier than it was previously believed). When an object is in an infant / toddler’s field of vision, he can grasp its existence. When the object is removed, it may as well not exist. Out of sight, out of mind.

With time and the right experience — consistent, loving care giving with adequate mirroring of a child’s emotional states that a secure attachment between parent and child is based on — the child learns that objects, including his parents, come and go, but do not entirely disappear during the absences, and that he can depend on their existence. This forms a basis of his sense of security, in the world and within himself, enabling proper development of his cognitive and emotional capacities, relationships with others that are based on reciprocity and mutual appreciation of each other’s complexity and uniqueness, and explorations of the world beyond the familial sphere.

In cases of abuse, improper parenting, and/or trauma, the child’s development becomes disrupted or sometimes entirely arrested, leading to, among other possible outcomes, narcissism. One of its manifestations is an impaired object constancy capacity.

For an adult with the mindset characterized by the impaired object constancy, facts either do not exist objectively or do not matter, as they can be “disappeared” any time — gotten out of sight and/or wished away by closing one’s eyes, literally and figuratively. Such an adult would have a very tenuous relationship with reality and the truth as most of us know it, and it is not because he’d be lying — in a sense of purposely bending the truth with a specific goal in mind — but because facts for him are not solid entities that exist outside of his field of vision (consciousness); rather they are things that enter and leave it randomly and/or at his wish.

(Of course Donny also lies in the traditional meaning of the term, brazenly and without compunction, to create a self-aggrandizing narrative and to humiliate others, often spreading outright fabrications and insinuations about people whom he sees as his enemies. While we understand and may excuse such blatant truth-bending in very young children, who believe that fabrications would work for them to get them out of trouble, adults are a different matter. And adults aspiring to be president even more so.)

We can see the poor object constancy reflected in a narcissist’s speech, which is infamously impressionistic: vague, light on facts and figures, and full of poorly articulated, but always self-centered feelings and self-referential emotion-laden observations which are based on his (mis)interpretations of reality, as his acknowledgment of facts is only cursory at best. If object constancy is severely impaired, reality as most of us know it does not matter. Reality is not something existing objectively, outside of the narcissist’s mind, but it is only his mind’s reflection, good and/or bad, depending on whether it meets or thwarts his need for adulation. Unmoored from objective facts and not anchored in any values, such reality is always negotiable — to his benefit.

This is why there is so often no discernible, coherent train of reasoning in Donny’s pronouncements, no logical connection between statement A and statement B,  but rather seemingly disconnected emotional “jumps” based on either his deep-seated emotional problems (narcissistic insecurity) and/or fleeting impressions of any given situation / problem. To be sure, those fleeting impressions always express in some way his deep-seated problems — as we have seen, there is really no possibility in his judgment for even a modicum of objectivity; that sometimes his assessments do coincide with objective reality is a matter of luck rather than a correct understanding of facts or any internal deliberations. This is why his talks resemble a word salad – though, more accurately, a clause salad — heavily seasoned, as it usually is in a narcissist, with entitlement, grandiosity, a sense of victimhood, and resentment.  His broken and clumsy syntax reflects his fractured and unstable thoughts, unanchored in anything other than his changing emotions.

This is why Donny can say with a straight face — to the extent a grandiosely contemptuous pout ever allows such — that his financial worth depends on his feelings (My net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings). Facts are immaterial, or rather are what his feelings make them to be at any given moment — so yes, they change as rapidly as his feelings do.

This is one possible reason why Donny has problems with numbers — in his post-Orlando speech, teleprompted as it was, he announced spontaneously and apparently off-script, with distinctly fake concern and horror, that “So many people — it’s just hard to believe, but just so many people dead, so many people gravely injured,” because remembering specific numbers — 49 and 50 in this case — is not something an impressionistic mind struggling with object constancy does. That’s also why he couldn’t grasp how the Supreme Court most recent 5-3 abortion ruling worked, and why he could mistake 9/11 for 7-11 — there is really no more difference between the two elevens than there is between the two Corinthians.

The orange cat is out of the bag: Donny is numerically (and not just) illiterate – but don’t tell anyone or he will beat you up. And/or sue you (or worse), while telling you what a great guy he is, just awesome, believe me.

Knowing this, one is compelled to wonder just how exactly Donny has made those spectacular deals he likes to brag about so much – the few ones that were supposedly not fraudulent, as most of them appear to be — given that facts and numbers are not his strong suit (to put it kindly). And the answer to that lies in other facets of his narcissistic pathology, specifically his lack of conscience and manipulative approach to people where he uses cajoling, insinuations, bribes, or threats to achieve what he wants (giving us hints about the way he was treated by his parents who most likely made deals with him to control his behavior, or used threats and worse when deal making failed). He leaves the nitty-gritty stuff — facts and figures — for others (confidants and family) to iron out, further deepening his disconnect from reality, particularly its less pleasant aspects, those showing that he may not be as tremendous as he believes himself to be.

There is one exception to his numerical illiteracy, though: his poll numbers which he can remember and recite on demand. (Goes to show the strength of self-serving motivations in a narcissist.)

Narcissistic arrest has of course profound repercussions for emotional and social functioning, limiting it to the same stage of development (around 2-3 years of age), with all the consequences to follow. Those include extreme egocentrism; seeing other people as largely interchangeable and discardable objects of wish fulfillment; categorical good or bad — or nice or nasty, to use a young child’s vocabulary that’s characteristic of Donny — assessment of others based on how well they fulfill the narcissist’s wishes; lack of conscience; and more.

The effects of the arrest on his emotions are most visible when Donny tries to pretend to care about others. Not capable of empathy and pro-social feelings, he must mimic what he believes they look like, so he does it in a typical Trumpian fashion: with over-the-top drama of exaggerated facial expressions and preponderance of adverbs and bombastic adjectives meant to convey his understanding of other people’s pain. This was most apparent in his post-Orlando speeches where, like a bad actor that he is, he laid on thick his grief and horror; yet that performance fell flat – or left the observers uneasy, as it should — because it is obvious that Donny lacks any internal correspondence of the pro-social feelings he is trying to convey. This is why his expressions of them ring fake, even as he goes to great lengths to assure everyone that he is a caring and loving man.

Especially when he goes to such lengths.

The extent of his bragging about his caring and charitable nature appears to be directly proportional to his callousness and cruel stinginess which the bragging is meant to obscure. It is a rule of the Trump’s small thumb, as it is with all narcissists of his kind whose grandiosity functions as a cover for their conscienceless characters and a means of manipulating the world to their advantage: the more they boast about some virtue of theirs, the higher the chances their actual behavior is the exact opposite of the self-promoted virtue.

Poor object constancy is implicated in the rigid fragility of a narcissist’s grandiose persona that compensates for his lack of genuine mental and emotional flexibility; in his defense mechanisms that form his persistent and incorrigible biases; and his rage in response to frustration and, especially, to rejection / abandonment. He must control others, because he cannot trust them. He invests so much of his ego in the other person — who is never fully a person but an object / part of his narcissistic supply — that her (or his, as the case may be) leaving means a psychic death, not unlike his mother’s absence in infancy. The abandonment and the unsoothable terror it creates must be defended against at all costs, by annihilating the offending object if necessary, and sometimes himself right along with it. There is no other option, for there is nothing stable and reliable within his inner core (no authentic self with its values and interests independent of the narcissistic mirrors provided for him by others).

Severe narcissistic disturbance is believed to be largely incurable, unfortunately. The narcissistic arrest removes a possibility of psychological growth, limiting a person’s functioning to a very basic level. While a narcissist of normal intelligence will acquire a vocabulary and basic cognitive and social skills (the latter mostly through mimicry) to navigate life in ways that will help him in trying to meet, often very effectively, his insatiable narcissistic objectives (i.e., adulation and power, serving as protections for his fragile and underdeveloped self), his thinking and emotions will remain severely limited and this arrest will manifest in every aspect of his behavior.

In thinking, the arrest may reduce one’s functioning to concrete operations making it very difficult to develop broad abstract reasoning skills, and resulting, in narcissists of high intelligence, in being smart instead of being bright. Narcissists endowed with high IQ and special talents in specific domains — science, art, technology — may develop those talents to a remarkable extent sometimes; but other areas of their character, most notably the emotional / interpersonal sphere, remain on that very basic, arrested level, reduced to egocentric preoccupations, without a possibility of developing critical self-reflection and capacity for self-education or self-transformation. This will negatively affect all interpersonal relations, including the most intimate ones, which, more often than not, will resemble some forms of “deal making” that are based on an imposition of the narcissist’s terms and will upon others and “convincing” them to go along – or else.

In a rare moment of something almost resembling insight, Trump said once:

When you start studying yourself too deeply, you start seeing things that maybe you don’t want to see. And if there’s a rhyme and reason, people can figure you out, and once they can figure you out, you’re in big trouble.

It is a remarkable statement of a narcissistic vulnerability, within himself and in relation to others, as well as a perfect justification of cultivated narcissistic blindness.

A narcissist cannot look too closely (there is usually not much depth there) at himself, because this could possibly maybe reveal, to himself, the split between his grandiose persona and the primitive, underdeveloped, and/or empty self which the persona is created to cover up. He has no capacity to cope with this knowledge, so it must be denied: his existence depends on it. Of course he does not put it in those terms, but rather as a necessity of defending himself from “big trouble” caused by others, who could use this knowledge against him somehow.

One wonders what exactly Donny had in mind there — we’ll never know; but it shows how he himself sees his own “unpredictable” behavior as a way to defend himself against being taken advantage of / punished (shamed) by others. It’s better not to know one’s own “rhyme and reason” — it makes you “safer,” or so he believes in his magical thinking kind of way, like a toddler who sticks his head under the bed leaving the rest of his body exposed, and thinks that since his head is hidden and he cannot see anyone, others cannot see him either.


34 thoughts on “There Is Something about Donny

  1. >>> “… if there’s a rhyme and reason, people can figure you out, and once they can figure you out, you’re in big trouble.”

    I think it would be sublime poetic justice if some very clever capitalist predators figured out a way and managed to bilk little Donny out of his financial assets. Without his money and property, little Donny’s petulant narcissism would do him no good at all. Stripped bare and abandoned by his former “friends,” I wonder if Donny would react like the fictional commodities brokers Mortimer and Randolph Duke did in the underrated 1983 film “Trading Places.”

    I’m sure this fantasy of mine exposes some deep psychological issues of my own; but, what the hell!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Those clever predators would have to locate Donny’s assets first. They may or may not exist (the assets). Who knows what’s true and what’s fiction in his bizarro world.

      As to your own issues — we all have them when it comes to narcissists. They evoke a whole range of unholy emotions in people, with a desire to kick their ass being a prominent one.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m trying to picture Donald Trump on the day of the election if he does NOT get elected. I imagine him like “Shooter McGavin” in “Happy Gilmore” – where at the end, having lost the tournament, he snatches the prize jacket and tries to run away with it, claiming it is his be right. Will Donny stomp into the White House and sit in the big chair and claim the presidency regardless of the votes counted? Is that his back-up plan, or is he simply certain that he will be president? “I want it and it’s mine, all mine!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha ha! That’s quite an image, alright. Not improbable.

      Watching him as he loses this most spectacular gamble of his life will be interesting. IF he loses, that is. This is a humiliation on the scale that Donny is not used to experience and it will be televised without spin doctors present at first. With characters like him, there typically follows some retaliatory action meant to repair the injury to his ego — and the greater the injury, the nastier the retaliation. It may be taken on his intimates instead: wife and children.

      I can see the front pages of papers with huuuge headlines LOSER! — and Melania and Trump’s children scurrying around the house in fear, looking for a safe place to hide.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I actually think if he loses, he’ll gush over Clinton for a brief period of time, making it seem like he’s sincerely happy for her. Then when the dust settles, he’ll begin making remarks about how people were really off-base to elect her. Of course, it’ll eventually all die down, but I don’t see him letting go of the grandstanding right away. It’s simply not in his nature.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Of course. Grandstanding is his middle name — or is it self-aggrandizement? One gets confused.

      No matter the outcome, he’s gonna “win” in that his “brand” (I hate this word) will be strengthened in his own eyes.

      The question is, will he leave politics or continue to pursue his
      ultimate dream of glory? He will have this tremendous support of his followers, who will be angrier than ever. The rage that drives Trumpism is not going away, and if he is not going to use it for political purposes, someone else will.


      • Good question. I doubt he’d let someone else use it. That would take him out of the spotlight. I can’t see him running for any other office … that would be degrading in his eyes. Maybe he’ll turn back to TV and come up with some sort of political show where he gets to put all his “Trumpism” back in the spotlight. One thing is for sure … the Donald isn’t going away quietly.

        Liked by 1 person

      • No, he is not. He will run for The Emperor of the Universe and Beyond, because obviously.

        Seriously, though — Trump/ism is just a symptom of the disintegration we are facing. As such, it is not going away. If Hillary wins, we will prolong the process (which Donny would speed up), for better and for worse. Better — because maybe slowing it down would allow us time to correct the disastrous course we are on (very unlikely); and worse, because the longer we protract this misery, likely the harsher the ultimate confrontation with the dark reality.

        We will see what our collapse will look like. Or not, if it’s quick and explosive.


  4. Jeffries is the best. If you get the chance to see him live, I highly recommend it.

    Great read, Emma. I’m not sure what’s worse about Mr. Drumpf – who he is, or the fact that so many American’s fawn over him. Worst two candidate choices in American election history, I believe. Really disappointing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, VR.


      I understand why all kinds of Trumpists vote for Trump. However, those who genuinely hope that he would bring about positive change are mistaken.


      • I believe Obama had a rude awakening when he first got in office and found out how much and how little power the President has. (Remember Harry Reid – “I don’t work for Obama” and Pelosi pushing her agenda?”) I think it would be even worse for Trump, especially on immigration. Most things he tried would get blocked.

        To his credit, though, I do believe he’d put country first, meaning that I don’t think he’d bow to any lobby groups, but oh well.

        How’s the rest of your weekend going?

        Liked by 1 person

      • My weekend came and went peacefully enough, thanks for asking, VR. Hope yours was OK too.

        Trump’s presidency is inconceivable. Do think Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Ceausescu, and guys like them, because this is what we are dealing with here. People who do not realize that, or believe that he can be controlled and/or we have a system in place that would keep him in check, are dangerously deluded. (This is, BTW, what those who helped elect Hitler, Stalin, Ceausescu, and other guys like them thought too.)


      • I think it’s over-sensationalizing to try and compare Trump to Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Ceausescu. Those guys were delusional mass-murderers. Trump isn’t that. People also freak out over who’s got control of the nukes. There are people I know in California who were “absolutely convinced” that Bush would nuke some country. That was ridiculous, and as we’d learn, untrue.

        Trump’s an egomaniac, but I do believe he’d put the right people in place to get the job done – for the simple reason that on that level (i.e. military or security matters) he won’t want to look foolish.

        Beyond that, the issue I’m more concerned about is the direction of the country in general. You could see from the 60 Minutes interview – the press does not want another war because (I believe) they still feel bad for pushing Bush’s way back. There may need to be one, however, against ISIS and I don’t think Hillary is capable of handling it. I think her financial interests via the Clinton Foundation will get in the way of the right thing that needs to be done (ISIS wiped out) and I think her uber-PC policy and pro-illegal immigration policy at home is going to lead America to another serious attack.

        I think Obama’s and Bush’s terms should have been reversed. We had a wartime President during peacetime and a peacetime President during war, I think. Regardless of the right/wrong of that, I now believe we need a wartime President regardless of what the far left or the media happens to think.


      • Bush invaded Iraq, VR, illegally and immorally, causing a disaster of unfathomable proportions, the reverberations of which include ISIS and the ongoing and deepening refugee crisis that’s already unsettling the world. He did enough damage — as predicted by those who (like myself, BTW) correctly assessed his psychopathic pathology — without nuking anyone.

        However one feels about Hillary — and I’m certainly no fan — if you believe that Trump is capable of handling anything without causing destruction, you are mistaken, I’m afraid. Destruction is inherent in his character defect.

        I know people have hard time believing this, because, one, most people cannot comprehend the reality of those without a conscience; and, two, Americans — present company excepted — have been conditioned to worship people like Trump (and believe in Trump’s legend). Don’t take my word for it, though. Do read up on what this character defect looks like and what it does to individuals and societies: this is as good a start as any:

        Trump really is like Hitler and these other fellas in terms of his psychopathology. Nothing good ever, in the known history of human race, came out of electing people with his character defect into positions of power. There is not one example of a narcissistic psychopath in power contributing anything positive, long term, to his nation and the world — on the contrary. Destruction is but assured.

        Last but not least, see this:

        and this:


      • Just to be clear, I wasn’t supporting the invasion in my “switch” comment. I don’t believe he would have had the opportunity, or at least I think Obama may have gone after the Saudi’s since he didn’t have the same kind of ties (Hillary might have stopped him, though, with hers?) Either way…

        And re: Trump, I’ll definitely take a look at the links – thank you. One thing also to consider, however, is that Trump doesn’t really “run” his companies. His kids and his associates do. There’s an old unauthorized biography on Trump called “Trump Nation” (which Trump tried to sue/pull) that gives a really interesting look inside his company, and why Caroline Kepcher left him so long ago. Not arguing your points on psychopathy – you may be more right that I originally thought – just saying in the political context his bark may be worse than his bite if you look at the ways he “runs things” elsewhere.

        And as for worldwide destruction, you may have a point: I’ve been thinking mostly along the lines of Trump vs. ISIS, which I believe Trump would obliterate, but Trump vs. Assad, Trump vs. Putin, Trump vs. Hamas/Hezbollah? Very good point.

        Thanks – I’ll have a read! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll make a point here, Emma – perhaps you’ll disagree? All these people on the left blaming Trump for what his rhetoric incites (either directly or indirectly), and then I just see this morning two more cops dead in Baton Rouge. Who are liberals going to blame for this one?

        Liked by 1 person

      • This is absolutely awful. It it must stop. But I’m afraid it’s not going too, not any time soon. If anything, we can and should expect things to get worse.

        Trump did not create this awful problem, obviously, but he exacerbates it by his approving nods to violence. When you have people of public stature doing that, there are always consequences.


      • “Trump did not create this awful problem, obviously, but he exacerbates it by his approving nods to violence.”
        Trump is the reason cops are getting killed? I completely disagree, unless you can show me his latest rap song that says “F the Police”. 😉


      • I did not say that, VR. I said he exacerbates the problem, but he’s certainly not the reason for it. This is an issue that precedes Trump and is far larger than he is (hard as this would be to believe for him).


      • So you’re saying in regards to just heightening tensions? I would say that’s still a bit of a leap concerning the cops vs. BLM issue, but re: exacerbating things you have a point, for sure.

        Oh, and feel free to call me Vern, if you’d like. “VR” makes me seem like a robot.

        Gotta run – thanks for the dialogue, Emma. Looking forward to more.


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  6. You’ve written an excellent post. Anyone with any sense at all can readily see the man has big problems. I am fearful if he is elected. Racists, bigots, idiots and, big shots think he hung the moon. I shudder to think that one day he might carry the black box and he will get our country into an all out war. on home turf.d

    My sister called to tell me that he and his stooge were on 60 Minutes. Trump controlled the entire interview. The man has no self control and has to try to control every aspect of a talk or interview. Pitiful.

    I learned about your blog from “roughseasinthemed.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, pets! I saw portions of that interview. Predictable. Pence should realize that throwing his lot with a narcissistic psychopath won’t end well for him, but of course he’s too blinded by his own narcissism to do so.

      Yes, may fates help us if this man is elected — and he very well may be. We have seen this before, though not in America. Yet.

      Liked by 1 person

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