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.
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