Having Election Anxiety? Therapists Report Trump Trauma

If you’re finding that your emotional well-being is being challenged by this presidential election, you are not alone. The Washington Post writes, “Psychologists and massage therapists are reporting ‘Trump anxiety’ among clients.” According to the Post, what seems to be anxiety producing is, “How can Trump be so divisive AND popular at the same time?”

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My own case of Trump Trauma started shortly after the Republican candidate called Mexicans “rapists.” Like many, I thought, “Well, that will end his campaign.” But that didn’t happen. His rallies grew and so did my anxiety level.   

His insults continued. He mocked the disabled and people of color, and he body-shamed women. We then saw tapes of him bragging about sexually assaulting women while proclaiming, “No one is more respectful of women than me.”

And yet, Republicans didn’t get out of endorsing him while I was having a hard time getting out of bed. Seeing women wave “Women Support Trump” signs, I took to having a cocktail – maybe two -- after the evening news.

There was no 12-step program or halfway house to get over the mania. Going “Trump Free” was impossible as he was on every iPhone news feed, the subject of every Facebook conversation, and even sleep provided no escape as he appeared in my dreams to tell me I was not a 10.  Still, I heard him saying, “You’re fat, you’re old, I’m going to grab you by your pussy, and you can’t stop me!”

In that dream, Trump’s face was replaced by my father’s. Although there was little resemblance between his family and mine, in therapy, the connections surfaced. Both Trump and my father had an undue sense of privilege. In the 1950’s, men were thought of as princes. When nights became violent, my mother made sure that by morning everything looked perfect. The man leaving our home, in a coat and tie, was off to work, providing for his family and a dutiful wife who took care of the house. Those who knew the truth about what was going on in our family – my mother, some neighbors, even the police – did nothing to try to stop it. Men were given a pass.

Trump revealed by his own words that he was a sexual predator. My father didn’t have a videotape with Billy Bush, but he kept a meticulous journal of all his conquests. When I found it after he died, I saw that my mother wasn’t his only victim. If he were alive today, I can imagine my father putting a Trump spin on it, “That never happened. Believe me, she was ugly and flat chested.”

And the women – Melania, my mother, and others – lack the courage to stand up to the monsters sleeping next to them or giving them a pass by chalking it up to "Boy talk."

But, understanding the roots of my Trump Trauma and writing this blog, my anxiety has lessened. Also helping has been the polls showing that others are crossing political lines making a statement that this behavior is not acceptable.

Unfortunately, there will always be men like Trump and my father. But if anything productive comes from this election, I hope there will be more honest conversations about them, and we will unite to help women protect themselves and their children from these men.

1 comment:

  1. We had to take the hubs to the ER a few days after the election because he thought he was having a heart attack. It was anxiety. :(


Judy's Blog

Judy Carter blogs on comedy, storytelling and public speaking techniques, using personal stories and her adventures as a stand-up comic turned motivational public speaker. Her weekly blogs are read by fans of her books, “The Comedy Bible” (Simon and Schuster) and “The Message of You” (St. Martin’s Press), which include comics, speakers, and entrepreneurs. She is also known for teaching the value of humor and storytelling to businesses as a leadership and stress reduction tool.