By Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP
Just a few weeks ago, a disturbing news account told the story of a four-year-old girl in Hot Springs, Ark., who showed up at a hospital. Her lower back and buttocks were spotted with purple bruises, and her face showed a black eye, a swollen cheek and a mark on her forehead.
The hospital called the police. When police asked the little girl what her name was, she responded, “Idiot.”
They learned that the mother’s live-in boyfriend, a man by the name of Clarence Reed, not only battered and beat the child, he regularly called the girl “Idiot,” and she actually thought that was her name.
Later, when the man was arrested with the child’s mother, who apparently did not stop the abuse, he reportedly told police that he meant the name calling as a joke.
An article in the local newspaper about this child’s injury led to an outpouring of online comments from across the nation about the welfare of the child. Some people wanted to adopt the child or send cash or toys; others condemned the violent man and the girl’s mother who seemed to approve the violence.
Although not all abusers are alike, they do have certain characteristics in common. They hurt people by their words and actions and encourage other people to do the same. They typically deny or minimize their hurtful actions. They often have little empathy for the people they hurt. They blame the people they hurt rather than take responsibility for their behavior. They are often charming – particularly with those people they want to impress, and often draw others into relationships with them very quickly. They tend to project their insecurities and shortcomings on others rather than take ownership of these traits. They appear emboldened when they are not confronted about their abusive actions. When confronted, they downplay their actions by saying they were “kidding” or misunderstood. Often they attack back, physically or verbally.
Now to Donald Trump.
Now to Donald Trump. In 1999, Donald Trump called poor people “morons” in an interview with Maureen Dowd, a columnist for The New York Times. A review of Trump’s Twitter account shows that he frequently calls people “morons,” including NBC journalist Chuck Todd, columnist George Will and the sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s funeral. U.S. politicians, the British prime minister, talented entertainers and others get a similar treatment, like “loser,” “dummy” and yes, “idiot.”
And Maureen Dowd?
Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP, is an author, trainer and psychotherapist who promotes, practices and teaches experiential methods including psychodrama, Family and Systemic Constellations, sand tray, mindfulness and Tarot imagery.