Elizabeth Nyblade, Ph.D.
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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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The Verbal Abuse of Donald Trump
05/18/2016 Elizabeth Nyblade, Ph.D.


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.

A verbal abuser is someone who speaks negatively and punitively toward the target of the
abuse. The verbal abuser intends to control others with those punishing words. Some forms of
verbal abuse are subtle and we won’t all agree that particular statements are abusive. But we
do agree that calling someone a hurtful name is verbally abusive.



Donald Trump is not unique in using foul language and personal attacks on others. Like all abusers he believes that attacking others makes him powerful. He believes that he can control others and defend himself with verbal abuse. He’s trying to insult his way to the presidency by dominating the conversation with name-calling. Hurting others excites him. When he is outrageous, he controls the news cycle and he keeps everyone talking about the subjects he chooses. You’re a fan if he’s convinced you that he is superior and everyone else is inferior. His verbal abuse keeps him from looking (or being) presidential, but it makes him look powerful to his fans. It works, so he continues doing it.

Verbal abuse is a common strategy in relationships. Both men and women use it. I wish I could say that verbal abuse is a losing strategy. I wish that bullies always failed and polite society excluded them because others wouldn’t tolerate abuse. But I know better. Bluster and bullying do work, most of the time. Sixteen other Republican candidates fell by the wayside while Trump pulled away from the pack. The other candidates tried everything they knew, from ignoring the attacks to responding with their own vicious abuse. However, they all failed to stop his attacks and failed to stay in the campaign for the presidency.
 
Trump supporters are people who admire the verbal violence and see Trump as a winner. They envy his willingness to verbally attack other politicians and the government. Trump provides them with vicarious revenge on others they wish they could attack. Trump’s fans don’t support him despite his verbal abuse. They support him because of it.

I’m not an expert on politics, but I am an expert on verbal abuse. Donald Trump may be the least insightful man on the national stage, but he knows what he knows. He knows he’ll lose his fan base if he becomes “presidential” because his fans don’t want him to act presidential. They want to cheer and boo him the way fans cheer and boo boxers from the ringside. They want Trump as entertainment. They believe that verbal abuse and bullying will work on Congress and other world leaders. They believe that America used to be great, but isn’t any more. They think America can become great again by military threats and verbal attacks on others.

What does Donald do when someone disagrees with him or tells him he’s wrong? He doesn’t give a rebuttal to the argument. He changes the subject by insulting the other person talking. Like magic, Trump makes the original issue go away. He hasn’t defended his position in the argument. He has only made an attack that changed the subject. He is helpless if he can’t change the subject or walk out of the room. He has no experience at defending himself by persuasion or evidence.

Can you successfully defend yourself from verbal abuse without becoming a verbal abuser?

Stay tuned for the next blog post: “Why Donald Trump Won’t Give Up the Verbal Abuse.”

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


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