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?
She’s that same columnist for The New York Times, best-selling author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the most acclaimed prize given to writers for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism. Earlier this month, he called her “wacky,” “crazy” and “a neurotic dope” after she told him it was wrong that violence was being incited at his rallies and that journalists were being hurt. Women like Megyn Kelly, the television anchor who also an attorney, is mocked as a “bimbo” when she confronted Trump on his habit of calling women “pigs,” “fat” and “disgusting.”
The fact is that Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for president of the United States, is an abuser.
Encourages followers to punch, hit and kick
He has encouraged violence toward others for years – like when he said that actor Sasha Baron Cohen “should have been pummeled” for a prank at the Oscars in 2012. He regularly encourages his followers to punch, hit and kick protestors at his rallies – “knock the crap” out of them, he said during one rally. He’s even threatened to hit people himself, on numerous occasions. “I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell you,” he said of a protester on Feb. 22 during a Las Vegas rally.
He calls his opponent, a highly accomplished woman and a proven national and world leader, names. He has said that his supporters might want to shoot his opponent – voicing this thought not once but twice, most recently suggesting that she should not have Secret Service protection.
He thinks torture is all right, and that the family members of terrorists, including children, should be killed. He voices demeaning words about former prisoner of war John McCain, a respected U.S. senator, and about the family that lost their soldier son, who saved lives of other soldiers in Afghanistan.
He praised past and present dictators around the world who have murdered and tortured people and trampled on their civil rights.
He repeatedly called president Obama the “founder” of the terrorist group ISIS in August, telling Time magazine a few days later that it was meant to be “sarcasm,” a joke.
Defended name calling
He isn’t stopping. During the first debate – designed to demonstrate who is best suited for president! – he defended his name calling of Rosie O’Donnell, saying that “everybody would agree that she deserves it,” and the next day insisted that he was justified in referring to Alicia Machado, the Venezuela-born woman who won the Miss Universe contest in 1996, as “Miss Piggy” because she was “fat.”
Last week, when the “Acesss Hollywood” video and audio was revealed -- which recorded Trump saying he liked to kiss or touch women any way he wanted, including grabbing their genitals, it became clear that Trump is not only abusive emotionally, verbally and physically, he is also sexually abusive.
These are not rumors, gossip or accusations. Anyone with a simple Internet connection can call up his Twitter account and read this information online, then visit the sites of news channels and YouTube videos and listen to his actual recorded words in every one of these situations.
We must stop using euphemisms like “This is an election like no other,” and stop asking Donald Trump questions as if he is an authentic presidential candidate with “controversial” ideas. We must stop referring to him as “immature” or telling him to “grow up.” We must stop referring to him using words like a school yard “bully,” as if he takes little kids’ lunches and throws them in the trash.
We must clearly speak to him, and tell it like it is.
We must clearly speak about him, and tell it like it is.
We must clearly speak to our government and political leaders, particularly those to claim that they that support him.
We must clearly speak to Christian pastors who have written sermons that support him.
We must speak to television show hosts who lean over and laughingly mess up his hair.
We must stand firmly on our own two feet. Speaking plainly and clearly, we must call him out.
We must call him out.
We must call him out, as an abuser:
You are abusing people. You must stop this now. This is not civilized behavior. It is not appropriate behavior of a person who wants the job of president of the United States, or any country, or any person. We will not talk to you or listen to you until you can speak with respect, humility and honesty.
If we do not, we might as well go down to the jail in Hot Springs, Ark., and happily applaud Mr. Reed, the man who brutally beat that little girl black and blue.
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.