The last couple of days have seen me with the most impressive writer's block. I am more of a publish a few times a month kind of gal and, with this advent, I have challenged myself to write almost daily.
But, I was provided little inspiration. Until a massive crowd of Trump supporters took control of the Capitol in Washington D.C. Until our president made speeches before, during, and after that incited these rioters and called for them to remain calm in the same breathe he uttered the election was stolen.
I have spent many years in psychology and, after brought to my attention by our prompt provider today, am realizing more and more the correlation between support for Trump and previous abuse. We, the American public, are in an abusive relationship with our president.
His favorite tactic of abuse? Gaslighting a nation.
Presenting Seditious Rhetoric Via Rally Gathering
A few hours before the members of the Senate and House gather to count the electoral college votes on January 6th, President Trump held a rally near the Capital.
At this rally, the president gives a speech that includes letting the crowd know that he doesn’t want to see the election stolen by radical Dems and fake news media. He then states that the election was indeed stolen and that he will never give up and never concede. *Cue roaring of laughter from a large crowd of supporters.
A few hours later, huge crowds of Trump supporters storm the Capital and make it to the Senate floor while they are counting the Electoral College votes. These rioters take over the Capitol for hours, breaking property and posing for photos at member's desks.
I would like to point out the level of hypocrisy embedded in calling these rioters protestors in the media. Peaceful Black Lives Matters protestors were called rioters and lost their lives while the Proud Boys ran through the nation’s capitol. But, that deserves its own piece of writing. I digress.
The response from the president came via Twitter and included him telling the rioters to remain calm and peaceful. He went on to remind his supporters they belonged to the party of law and order. While this would all technically fall under the felony criminal act of sedition, it also provides a peek into the gaslighting ways of our president.
Here are three ways President Trump has abused the nation in just one day.
Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality. -Stephanie Sarkis, Ph. D, Psychology Today
Gaslighting sign 1: Telling blatant lies
An abuser who is attempting to gaslight their partner is aiming for control. Abusers generally play on the insecurities of their partner in order to change what they think their experience is.
When Trump proclaimed in his rally speech that the election had been stolen, he is lying to his supporters in a play on their insecurities. These individuals see Trump as their leader and are probably feeling vulnerable with the blue wave that is ringing in 2021. On the day when the Electoral College is making the final call as to Joe Biden Jr.’s win for the president, a crowd full of supporters is living the reality that the election has ended.
But, their reality is warped when told by their leader that these results are not actually the final hoorah. This gives his supporters a warm blanket for the coldness that is uncertainty. And also fuels their suspicions of a false election, maybe leading to hundreds of them destroying the Capitol.
Gaslighting Sign 2: Abusers know confusion weakens people
Gaslighters are manipulators like tigers have spots. Keeping with the manipulation brings us to the art of confusion when dealing with an abuser and their partner.
Or, in this case, a president and his country.
Trump’s rally speech today before rioters descended upon Capitol Hill was pretty clear: The election was stolen by the radical left and the media was pushing fake news.
After rioters stormed into the capital, the president then tweeted that they should stay calm and lawful. The opposite of the inciteful rhetoric he was spitting at his rally.
This is classic manipulative speech. An abuser is attempting to convince his victim, victims in this case, that others around them are doing something malicious. Then, to stir the boiling cauldron of confusion he changes his stance.
We ignore that this election was declared the safest election in history and also was being finalized today with an electoral college count that was determined a month or more ago because our leader instills confusion.
Supporters are led to believe that the left and liberals alike are the cause of the problem as they are not given a directive or path to guide them.
Pause for a Cause
This can be thought of as a sort of small disclaimer before wrapping up this piece. I am including this because publishing, curation, fans, or opinions aside I really need my stance to be clear here.
The men and women who stormed Capitol Hill on January 6th are rioters and/or domestic terrorists. These individuals attempted to halt democracy with the halting of the electoral college vote and performed acts that darker skin would have been murdered for.
I do not stand by, support nor defend these men and women. I merely am providing a perspective.
Can Previous Abusive Relationships Explain Support for Trump?
No. But, presenting a possibility that many of Trump’s supporters are also survivors of childhood abuse and abusive relationships is a truth.
Psychological aggression refers to verbal and behavioral acts that are intended to humiliate, criticize, blame, dominate, isolate, intimidate, and threaten one’s partner
Almost half of all women and men in the United States have experienced some form of psychological aggression at the hands of their partner. It is common knowledge that individuals who have experienced previous violence in relationships will continue a cycle of abusive relationships.
We do this because these situations are comfortable for us. These situations provide us with security, no matter how false, and also do not force us to change which is almost as scary as the abuse.
It is not hard to draw together the dots that make up the possibility of millions of Trump’s supporters having some type of past that includes relational abuse. Allow that ink to draw you further to the conclusion that Trump being the manipulator he is can provide that false safety only an abuser can.
How can we heal collectively if our eyes are always covered with the same securities that cause us harm? We must dig deep to find that inherent peace and kindness within us, open our minds to the possibility of change, and break these cycles of abuse.