Elizabeth Nyblade, Ph.D.
Gateway Centre
1313 E. Maple Street
Bellingham, WA 98225
 
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Why Trump Won't Give Up the Verbal Abuse
Donald Trump is many things. . . businessman, entertainer and politician. But did you know that he is a verbal abuser?
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The Verbal Abuse of Donald Trump

The presumptive Republican Candidate for President is a verbal abuser. Donald Trump has called his political opponents names like “hypocrite,” “weak,” “a pathetic figure,” “liar,” “choker.” And he relishes repeating nasty nicknames for his opponents: “Crooked Hillary,” “Lying Ted,” “Low-energy Jeb.”

I have seen and treated many targets of verbal abuse over my last forty years as a practicing psychologist. With Donald Trump as a candidate, we can all see the cycle of abuse playing out on the national stage.

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Part III: How to Take an Adult Timeout
The abuser is in a timeout from you when you can no longer hear, see or pay attention to the abuser. Your goal is to take a timeout as rapidly and as consistently as possible when your partner says something that is verbally or emotionally abusive.
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Why Trump Won't Give Up the Verbal Abuse
05/19/2016 Elizabeth Nyblade, Ph.D.

Donald Trump is a verbal abuser. He has shocked and frustrated most politicians, journalists and professionals with his verbally abusive behavior. His advisers and his opponents have tried to inspire him or force him to stop the verbal abuse. They’d like him to be more civil and mature. The disadvantages of Trump’s verbal abuse are obvious. He has the highest unfavorability rating of any major party candidate.

But Trump’s fan base wants him to continue to insult others. Many of his fans are low information voters. They don’t know what the president does so they don’t see why Trump wouldn’t do a good job in the White House. The fans won’t give up their fantasies unless Trump has a major implosion on the campaign trail. While the debits of his verbal abuse are obvious, Democrats are not paying attention to the positive features of Trump’s verbal abuse, at least for Trump!

•    Trump won’t give up his verbal abuse of others because he credits his success in the primaries to the abuse. He conflates his abuse with “telling it like it is” and “being authentic.” He recognizes that his high entertainment value to his fans is because of the abuse. He comments that he would be “boring” if he became more presidential. He believes everyone would stop listening to him and he would lose his free access to the media if he gave up the abuse. He’s probably right on both counts.

•    Trump is emotionally fragile. He can’t cope with the give-and-take of social intercourse between ordinary people, much less the criticism and confrontation that political candidates endure. Trump is too self-centered to tolerate disagreement or obstacles to his goals. Because of his inflated view of himself, he believes that others are intentionally trying to destroy him when they disagree. He has no armor around his ego.  He wraps himself in money and materials to feel superior to others. He is too fragile to ignore anything that looks like an attack. He must constantly beat down any hint of disagreement or criticism by hitting back ten times harder.

•    Trump uses the verbal abuse to defend himself. When he feels attacked, he can’t defend himself with rational arguments built on evidence. He must constantly attack others because he thinks his only other choice is to allow others to victimize him. He attacks because he doesn’t have assertiveness skills, the ability to defend himself verbally without attacking others. He can dish it out but he can’t take it.

•    Trump won’t give up the verbal abuse because it protects him from realizing how empty, ignorant and uneducated he is. He doesn’t use a college-level vocabulary. He has no understanding of world affairs, world history, economics 101, or even business 101. He constantly, and successfully, changes the subject of the conversation to his criticisms of others. If he didn’t, others might learn how little he knows. The verbal abuse allows him to shuck and jive to protect his belief that he is “smart.”

In other words, there’s no sense trying to give Trump “insight” so he sees the verbal abuse as a losing strategy. It hasn’t been a losing strategy, so far. He has a huge number of fans because he is verbally abusive. To stop Trump’s abuse, others need to (1) punish the abuse (2) Show his fans that his abuse is no longer working and (3) keep the conversation on the substantive issues that Trump is avoiding. It’s not necessary to learn good techniques for delivering verbal abuse. But you do need to learn to deflect it.

Look for my forthcoming book, Stop the Verbal Abuse: How to End the Verbal Abuse that Controls You , by Elizabeth Nyblade, Ph.D. SpiritARROW Press, 2016

Stay tuned for the next blog post, “What to Call Donald Trump.”


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