Trump’s psychology reveals certain universal psychological dynamics in great relief, highlighting conflicts that all of us have. All of us, all the time, seek to minimize, avoid, or otherwise get rid of unpleasant, painful, or threatening feelings. Often, the defenses we use to do so are what cause problems for us and for others. So, Trump’s grandiosity appears to be a defense against feelings of inferiority, helplessness, and shame. He fears exposure for being small, for being a loser, and so acts in paranoid and boastful ways. He also wards off shame by belittling others. Understanding this about Trump, it makes sense that he should be, of all things, fearful of any insinuation that Russia helped him win in 2016. All of us exhibit some version of these defenses, even if we don’t, of course, have the power of the Presidency behind us.
Some men have a powerful sexual fantasy of masturbating while a woman watches. And some of these men, like Louis CK, act out this fantasy. Since the women involved with Louis CK were not consensual sexual partners, their experience was to feel abused. But what makes a man like Louis CK excited is the belief that his female audience is excited. The psychological meaning to the man is that this scenario reassures him against a great anxiety / belief that his penis, his masculinity, is toxic or insignificant. The anxiety is so great and the need to relieve it so powerful, that the man fails to understand or care about the woman’s experience who is watching. Still, the man gets aroused because the situation reduces his anxiety and allows him to believe that he is potent and not castrated.
It’s important for individuals in a couple to understand the ways that they are different from each other. Each person has a special way that he or she prefers to be loved. For some, being helped with the tasks of everyday life feels like love. For others, being told in words about the ways that they’re loveable is the key to their heart. Problems arise when we convey love in the way we like to receive it, rather than in the way that our partner most needs to get it. A clinical example is discussed.
Are people selfish or altruistic? Are we basically aggressive or cooperative? The ethos of our capitalist culture seems to be that people are inherently selfish and competitive, so much so that this view of human nature seems to be common sense. There is a lot of evidence, however, that this view of human nature is wrong and that, instead, altruism and cooperation are hard-wired. Very young children routinely seek to relieve the distress of others. Studies of communities following natural disasters reveal that people overwhelmingly exhibit altruistic and communitarian behavior. We need to change our social institutions to make it safe for people to express their basic altruistic natures.