I present my work with a woman who was constantly suicidal for a year, frequently phoning me from the equivalent of “the ledge.” I felt overwhelmed with guilt, worry, and responsibility. I eventually was able to understand what was going on and how to help her. She was turning “passive into active” and testing me to see if I would be as traumatized by caring for a suicidal woman as she felt with a suicidal mother. I passed her test by confronting what was going on in a way that helped her identify with the healthier parts of myself.
I review three aspects of Trump’s psychology—First, his need to lie all the time in order to ward off humiliation, Second, his inability to separate his personal and public lives, and third, the ways that his need to denigrate women comes from his fear of them. All three dimensions of his psyche are worsened by the pressure of Impeachment and the resulting threat of failure and humiliation.
Sexual fetishes refer to situations in which someone is sexually aroused by either an inanimate object or by a part of someone’s body or personality. They include such sexual interests as high heeled shoes, leather, and particular body parts as well as qualities like youth or independence. At the heart of fetishism is objectification which functions subliminally as a way of negating, counteracting, or disconfirming the repressive weight of feelings of guilt, worry, and responsibility that often inhibit sexual excitement. You don’t have to worry or feel guilty about a “thing.”
Therapists seem to routinely blame parents, particularly mothers, for everything that goes wrong in a child’s development. Following WWII there was a rise in so-called “child experts” (like Benjamin Spock) who laid responsibility for development at mothers’ doorsteps. But if looked at objectively, it’s important to remember that a child is utterly dependent on parents for psychological survival, for a sense of reality and morality. The relationship may be two-way but it is fundamentally asymmetrical. Parents affect children much more than children affect parents. But this doesn’t mean blaming parents, however. Parents were themselves victims of families when they were children. Most importantly, parents raise children in a social context. One can see that women, following WWII, were straight-jacketed in many ways that led to their unhappiness and distress which was later passed on to their children. Thus, we should have sympathy for both parents and children, each of which has to contend with forces beyond their control.