How Donald Trump Is Our Country's Narcissistic, Abusive Father Figure

Narcissists may seem overly-confident — even bombastic — on the surface.

How Donald Trump Is Our Country's Narcissistic, Abusive Father Figure getty

Note: As experienced therapists, we wrote this article to help readers understand what they might be experiencing based on observed behavior of Donald Trump. We respect all political beliefs and preferences but believe we can offer useful advice to people struggling within the current environment.

In the past 45 years of our careers in mental health, we have counseled hundreds of children and adults who grew up in families with an abusive, narcissistic father.


Abuse assumes many form but in this case, we are talking about the kind of father who never thinks of anyone but himself. When faced with the needs of others or even a simple fact of reality, abusive and narcissistic fathers go into a rage and do some of the following things:

  • Tell ridiculous lies and punish anybody in the family who won’t believe those lies
  • They need to be right all the time
  • Blame everyone else and never take any responsibility
  • Express contempt and go out of their way to humiliate
  • Call children and family members by demeaning names such as "fatso", "wimp", and "four eyes".

Does this sound like anyone you recognize?


Narcissistic abuse and addiction often go hand in hand, but that’s not always the case. Donald Trump doesn’t drink nor smoke, but he’s addicted to a narcissistic need for attention at all costs.  

RELATED: I Was Raised By A Narcissist Who Abducted Me When I Was 10

That need drives him to act out in abusive ways and this is why Americans are now experiencing the kind of anxiety that accompanies living with an addictive father figure.  

Children who grew up in that kind of environment can tell you what they had to worry about:

  1. Is dad telling the truth or not?
  2. Can he be trusted?
  3. What do we have to do to keep dad from flipping out completely?

The result of living with dad’s irrational behavior and hair-trigger temper results in a state of chronic anxiety for those who have to tiptoe around him.


Sadly, this is the very thing that dad feeds off of. Narcissistic, abusive fathers will take attention any way they can get it.  

Why Donald Trump Behaves The Way He Does

Narcissists may seem overly-confident — even bombastic — on the surface. They may be charming and win over people — and even win an election. But, beneath the larger-than-life exterior, you’ll find a very wounded, insecure, fearful little boy who feels small and unseen — the result of unhealed childhood trauma.  


(Women can be narcissistic too, but unresolved trauma more often shows up in the form of other personality disorders.)  

When you look at Trump’s mouth, you can actually see that he has been traumatized at an early stage in life. The way that he curves his mouth into an "o" as he speaks — well-lampooned by Alec Baldwin on Saturday Night Live — shows signs of an oral fixation, which is usually the result of a feeding disturbance in the first six months of life.  

Trump’s particular pattern is called "oral unsatisfied", which means he didn’t get enough nurturing early on.  

Regardless of the kinds of trauma Trump suffered, nobody acts out in the way he does without having experienced unresolved wounding at an early age. Because Trump feels deeply wounded and empty at his core, he has to act out by showing he is triumphant.  


RELATED: 6 Signs You're In Love With A SERIOUS Narcissist

The key here is "unresolved" wounding. Many of us have experienced some kind of trauma early in our lives. But we evolved past the stage by facing our traumas and healing them.  

A narcissist hasn’t done this. He’s stuck at the wounded age — and acts out from that same place.

Big And Scary: What Makes A Man?

The wounded little boy who never grew up may fill a man’s shoes, but he’s still scared on the inside — yet, he doesn’t know it.

It is so painful for a narcissist to confront his original wounds, that he will seek to avoid this at all costs. This is why he takes on an overbearing, paternalistic persona because this is what he thinks it means to be a man.


He plays out his life in this false role, without regard to what others may feel. In order for him to feel big and strong, he must make others feel small and weak.

That’s why a narcissist will act out in all sorts of untenable behavior — taunting, disregarding, lying, and being downright mean. As long as he does this, he thinks he can keep the wounded little boy inside quiet.

In The Line Of Fire: Why You’re Scared

Living with a narcissistic, abusive father plays all kind of tricks on you. He will never own his faults, but he will criticize every inch of you. Most often, his criticism takes the form of accusing you of the very thing he’s doing.


If he’s rude, he’ll chastise you for being rude. If you speak up about something hurtful he said, he’ll tell you it was your fault, to begin with.  

When you are in an environment like this, you start to doubt your own experience. You question what’s real and what’s not. The narcissist can be so persuasive — because he believes his lies and projections without question — that you start to wonder if maybe you are wrong after all.

RELATED: How To Parent Your Child When The Other Parent Is A Narcissist

It’s called "gaslighting" — a term originating in the 1930s play by the same name, where a husband tried to drive his wife crazy by continuously dimming the gas lights in the house.


 When she brings up her observation, her husband says she’s imagining things.

When a narcissist disregards your experience, diminishes your feelings, and outright lies to you — and he’s your father — your entire world gets turned upside down.

This is strikingly similar to how the country is responding to our new president. And it explains the rising sales of classic dystopian titles such as George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984. We’re scared.


How Do We Cope?

Part of the recovery for children of abusive, narcissistic fathers involves validating their own experience and learning to trust themselves again.

When you live with an abuser, your energy is constantly invested in what the abuser is or isn’t doing. You spend a lot of time in your head trying to figure this out. As a result, you lose touch with your inner compass, your feelings, and your intuition. You give your power away.

In order to release yourself from the anxiety, you need to turn the focus squarely on you. Your power lies in getting back into your body where you can feel your emotions — all of them.  

Here, in your body, is where you will know when someone is lying to you, and it’s where you know when a situation isn’t right — because it doesn’t feel right. You will stop questioning your sanity and instead look for the answers where they have always been, all along — in your body.


The narcissist avoids feeling his feelings. Your freedom lies in tuning in to yours. From there, you will act from the most empowered place and create the safety you need.

In our next article, we’ll discuss how to talk with your children about the president and protect them from experiencing abuse.

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