Trump’s Malignant Pattern: He Woos People, Rips Them off and Then Abandons Them—and He Won’t Stop
Trump has followed the same manipulative script over and over again, in politics as in business.
Salon, Aug. 6, 2017
It’s not just that Trump’s loyalty is only to himself, as should have been obvious given the scores of associates he’s wooed, ripped off and discarded over his long career, including his own lawyers. Rather, it’s the centrality of this cycle to the way that Trump operates. It’s not a bug, or a feature, it’s the feature of his career — a window both into his abnormal psyche and into the cultural and political dynamics that have allowed him to flourish in the midst of more general ruin.
There was also the matter of how Trump justifies the prospective discarding of associates, and how he lays predicates for wooing, ripping off and discarding the next crop of eager, willing victim/accomplices. But the how of this intended discarding can only be appreciated in terms of the larger pattern — a pattern that has received far too little notice, given how much attention has been given to Trump’s mental health, or lack thereof.
There’s been a great deal of commentary about Trump’s apparent psychological abnormalities. The pattern consists of a three-phase game plan many psychopaths in corporate settings use a when engaging with victims, “a natural outgrowth of their personality” that is often more automatic than consciously planned:
First, they assess the value of individuals to their needs, and identify their psychological strengths and weaknesses. Second, they manipulate the individuals (now potential victims) by feeding them carefully crafted messages, while constantly using feedback from them to build and maintain control. Not only is this an effective approach to take with most people, it also allows psychopaths to talk their way around and out of any difficulty quickly and effectively if confronted or challenged. Third, they leave the drained and bewildered victims when they are bored or otherwise through with them.
Whether or not Trump qualifies as a psychopath or a malignant narcissist (they are closely related), he has a long public history of behavior patterns that fit this description. Those qualifications, which would loom large for any therapist treating Trump, pale in comparison to the similarities that matter to us as citizens. Trump has traversed the trajectory described countless times, with customers, business associates, lawyers and wives. Why shouldn’t he do the same with everyone in the political world as well?
The large mass of the 3,500 Trump-involved lawsuits exposes the reality of how Trump operates. He rips off everyone he works with, from hourly workers to the biggest banks. No candidate of a major party has had anything approaching the number of Trump’s courtroom entanglements. The fact that he even stiffs his own lawyers and has several times been sued by them is a prime indicator of his overall pattern.
While Trump has certainly kept his eye out for particularly big scores, his willingness to cheat business associates out of even trivial amounts of money puts him in the class of opportunistic, aggressive predators.
Trump-as-winner is clearly one of his favorite psychopathic fictions, part of the foundation of virtually everything he’s done in business or politics. But Trump-as-everyman is another psychopathic fiction that’s always ready at a moment’s notice. The two fictions feed each other in multiple ways. The two fictions fused into one during the presidential campaign: Trump as true champion of a once-great America, who alone can restore its lost glory.
Здешние политиканы, «эксперты», подконтрольные ЦРУ СМ»И» нахваливают псевдодемократическую, якобы процветающую Америку.
Те, кто любит «наших американских (государственных) партнеров», «забывают» о грязных, злых уродах США. О таких, как коварный и крайне опасный мошенник, расист, лжец, неофашист и убийца Дональд Трамп. И о таких, как порочный Конгресс, кровавые милитаристы США, нацистские ФБР — ЦРУ, лживые американские СМ”И”…
Арнольд Локшин, политэмигрант из США