Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Lessons in Projection: Trump’s Definitive Gift
Decades from now, the debate over the efficacy of Donald Trump’s presidency will linger. Scholars will disagree and discuss.
Meanwhile, the country remains frighteningly divided about his competence. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, however, his popularity—even among his base—dwindles.
Thank you, Donald, for at least offering the world lasting lessons in psychoanalysis!
When have people spoken so frequently of the idea of malignant narcissism?
You’ll be amazed at how well it fits with what is easily observable in Trump’s behavior.
The last two days offered particularly a particularly vivid curriculum, a Trumpian psychoanalytic crash-course on the commonly known psychoanalytic word:
First, he blamed the media for misrepresenting his handling of the coronavirus situation.
As Daniel Patrick Moynihan noted, we are entitled to our opinions.
We are not entitled, however, to the facts.
Truth is truth.
The facts regarding Trump’s mishandling of the Covid crisis are unequivocal.
Check the BBC.
Check the Economist magazine.
Every single reputable news organization has documented how Trump failed to address this pandemic effectively.
Check out the clips of his virus-related press conferences during February and March 2020.
Look up worldometer.com to confirm how statistics for the US, allegedly the richest and most powerful country in the world, reveal his failure of leadership.
Literally as of today, only .6 percent of the US population has been tested for the virus.
A few weeks ago, Trump said,
Anyone who wants to get a test will get one.
Not true then.
Not true now.
The central idea of projection, formally known as projective identification, is spewing out unwanted mental content onto others.
Extremely jealous people will project their jealousy into others; extremely angry people do the same.
Pretty much any painful thought, emotion, or attitude is prone to projection.
The more immature the personality, the more projection will occur.
Passive aggression provides an easy-to-understand example. People who run late, fail to complete work assignments, or otherwise passively express their anger elicit:
Rage in those around them.
You’ve had the experience.
But let’s return to Trump.
Second, just yesterday Trump stopped funding the World Health Organization (WHO).
Trump said he needed to investigate its competency.
See the pattern?
No one needs psychoanalytic training, or even a basic understanding of psychology, to comprehend it.
Drowning in the mounting evidence of terrific failures, illuminating narcissism at every turn (as in his name appearing in the memo line of government relief checks), and ignoring advisor’s advice, Trump would have a nervous breakdown—quite literally—if he personally and emotionally experienced his own failures.
Instead, Trump projects that mental pain out, into those around him, into the world.
Two days ago, it was the media.
Yesterday, it was the WHO.
Trump will definitely find another container into which to project his incompetency.
It will happen later today and, again, tomorrow.
For more information about projective processes, please see my May 2017 post on the same topic:
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