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Donald Trump Through the Eyes of a Survivor of Emotional Abuse

| October 26, 2016

donald trump emotional abuse

Abuser-in-chief. (Mark Nozell)

By Jill Richardson

As an emotional abuse survivor, I get an eerie feeling watching Donald Trump.


In fact, a checklist of 30 tactics used by an emotionally abusive partner, published by the blog Live Bold and Bloom, reads like Donald Trump’s debate prep to-do list.

One of the telltale signs of such abuse, for example, is rooted in humiliation:

“They humiliate you, put you down, or make fun of you in front of other people.”

This seems to be a cornerstone of Trump’s political speech — like making fun of a disabled reporter, or placing the women who accuse Hillary Clinton’s husband of sexual misconduct in the audience at the last debate. (I wonder if Trump has ever heard that expression about glass houses and throwing stones.)

“They accuse you or blame you for things you know aren’t true.”

For example, accusing Hillary of laughing at a rape victim, which she didn’t do.

“They make excuses for their behavior, try to blame others, and have difficulty apologizing.”

Like the “locker room talk” apology that wasn’t.

“They call you names, give you unpleasant labels, or make cutting remarks under their breath.”

other-wordsRemember Trump’s use of pejoratives like Crooked Hillary, Lyin’ Ted Cruz, Little Marco Rubio, Low Energy Jeb Bush, and “Pocahontas”? (That last one refers to Elizabeth Warren.) There’s even a Donald Trump insult generator online based on the candidate’s penchant for name-calling.

“They make subtle threats or negative remarks with the intent to frighten or control you.

In the second debate: “You’d be in jail,” Donald threatened Hillary, if he becomes president.

“They play the victim and try to deflect blame to you rather than taking personal responsibility.”

After the 2005 video of Trump boasting about sexually assaulting women was leaked, he claimed the entire world was in a conspiracy against him — the media, the Clintons, the Republicans.

Poor Donald, everyone is calling him out for the racist and misogynist that he is.

Most familiar to me as an abuse survivor were Trump’s deflections of Hillary’s jabs during the second debate. In my experience, any time you confront an abuser with their past bad behaviors, you get one of three responses.

First, they might say they never did that. That thing never happened. This is called gaslighting. The name comes from a 1944 film called Gaslight. It’s used when someone attempts to manipulate you into doubting your own lived experiences.

Second, they’ll turn your critique back onto you. You don’t like that they humiliated you in front of your friends? You’re too sensitive. That’s your problem. It’s just one more item on the long list of things that are wrong with you.

Last, they reply to your critique of them with what they don’t like about you. And sometimes, the responses can be quite arbitrary.

Oh, Hillary doesn’t like that Trump bragged about assaulting women? Well, Bill Clinton had affairs. Never mind that Bill isn’t running for president, or that his well-litigated past isn’t the issue at hand.

True, Bill Clinton won’t go down in history for being faithful, but that doesn’t answer the question about Trump’s record with women and his qualifications to be president.

Emotional abuse can be hard to pinpoint when you’re the one being abused. So Donald Trump has just provided us all with a valuable service by demonstrating before a live TV audience what emotional abuse looks like in action.

The best way to deal with a bully? Remove them from your life.

jill richardson other words flaglerlive Jill Richardson is the author of “Recipe for America: Why Our Food System Is Broken and What We Can Do to Fix It.” She is a columnist for OtherWords.org. See a previous column, “The Reek of Hypocrisy Behind Federal Marijuana Laws.”

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31 Responses for “Donald Trump Through the Eyes of a Survivor of Emotional Abuse”

  1. Outsider says:

    Um, some of those “affairs” Bill Clinton had were with unwilling participants; it’s called rape, and Hillary threatened the victims to remain quiet. That is the relevance to her campaign.

  2. Wishful Thinking says:

    I agree word for word with ‘Outsider’ – Hillary viciously verbally and emotionally abused her husband’s cheating encounters…..She is a demon in disguise.

  3. Common Sense says:

    Below is a link to the official testimony of Juanite Broderick, one of the women who appeared beside Trump claiming to have been raped by Bill Clinton. As you can see, in her official court testimony she denied she ever made susch a claim.

    http://www.anusha.com/janedoe5.htm

  4. Dee Wynne says:

    You’ve got some nerve publishing that trash about Mr. Trump especially since his opponent is a career criminal with an impeached disgraced sexual predator fir a husband . The Clinton’s stole 2 billion fy the Haiti relief fund has stolen 6 billion from the state department funds and denies it after the Pentagon has made this public several times . This emotional abuse she talks about is experienced by everyone . Count the lives the Clinton’s have ruined. Flagler live no longer had any credibility as a news service you are. Flagler live is a puppet just like NBC, And CNN

  5. anonymous says:

    Not even going to respond to the article itself because I can’t stand to read it….”survivor of emotional abuse”….ok, you were bullied!! How long till liberals start “emotional abuse” as a real thing and start blaming men for it every time they yell at a woman.

  6. Nancy McDonald says:

    Flagler Live, after moving here was I impressed with your in-depth articles and looked past most of your editorial columns. This one has gone a bit far. The fact that the author suffered emotional abuse makes her opinions worthy?How about Donald Trump through the eyes of a taxpayer.

  7. melinda says:

    Donald Trump has a slim 2-point advantage in Florida, with independents breaking his way in the state, according to a new Bloomberg poll.

    The Republican has a 45-43 percent lead over Clinton among likely voters in a four-way race. In a two-way race Trump leads 46-45 percent.

    Among independents, Trump wins 44-37 percent over Clinton in a four-way race.

    “This race may come down to the independent vote,” said pollster J. Ann Selzer, who oversaw the survey. “Right now, they tilt for Trump. By a narrow margin, they opted for Obama over Romney in 2012.”

  8. DisgustedinPC says:

    As a physical abuse survivor, I call bullpuckey!! I went through many hours of counseling to get past what was done to me. Emotional abuse is very real and has long lasting effects. But this woman needs some serious counseling to help her. If you see or hear abuse in what is being said around you on a daily basis, you are not healed.
    People say and do things everyday that offend others. But how we react or interrupt those things is totally different. I am so tired of hearing women using the excuse that they are an abuse victim. At some point, once you get out of that situation, you become responsible for you!! How you react is up to you. You take back the control. If you have not done that yet, you have not healed.

    As for Trump and Clinton, they are both “bullies”. ( Which is a whole different story from abuse). Neither would have gotten as far as they have without being bullies at some time or another. But I would and can, deal with a bully over a woman who has lied about serious information and who allowed people to be killed. Bengazi will never be forgotten.

  9. ronald gannon says:

    Reading this article is giving me emotional abuse. Trump 2016!!

  10. Fredrick says:

    Yep Donald is a Turd. But better a Turd than the steaming pile of shit that we have with the lying conniving bitch Hilary. How you can read through all the Wiki mails (yes they were “stolen” but there are out there) exposing the corruption within the current admin and within Hillary’s organization, and still vote for her makes no sense. That corruption exists on both sides of the aisle and it is time to say no to the BS and the “elite” controlling establishment and send them the middle finger and let them know that it is so bad that we are willing to put someone like Trump in charge.

  11. Citizen says:

    Hillary’s decisions over the past 30 years has taken lives and ruined families, far worse than “emotional abuse”

  12. statethefacts says:

    How about the email scandal or Benghazi? Everyone wants to bash Trump but no one has gotten an answer from Hillary about the email scandal or Benghazi. A lot of people have been killed on the Clinton’s watch. If it were anyone of us we would be in prison for leaking those emails. What about the men and women of the military that died because Hillary refused to send support? People need to wake up and see what Hillary is really like. I’m not saying Trump was my first choice but he is the lesser of two evils and out of the two the best choice for President.

  13. Brian says:

    Poor Jill. Boo hoo to you. I’ll take “occasionally crude” over “consistently corrupt and incompetent” any day.

  14. Ben Hogarth says:

    I find it ironic so many Trump supporters defend clear and persistent abuse, harassment, and predation tendencies simply because they cannot identify or refuse to call it as such…

    As such are the ways of the abusers and the antagonists.

    It’s kind of like trying to explain the empathetic reasoning of animal cruelty to dog fighters..

    You really aren’t considering the audience

  15. Layla says:

    Seriously? One of these candidates is guilty of more corruption than we have ever seen and you focus on this?

  16. Tammy says:

    I am the survivor of 7 years of physical and emotional abuse, and I LOVE Trump! He is absolutely what this country needs! We can NOT survive 4 more years of lies and corruption! It’s ironic to me that you bash Trump for things he SAID, yet seem to give a pass to things Bill Clinton DID, and the things that Hilary herself has said and done which only promote mistreatment of women (expressing great joy at getting a minimal sentence for a child rapist; consistently accepting money on a quid pro quo basis from countries who promote Sharia law, which could not be more cruel and evil to women; committing treason; being responsible for the deaths of Americans in Benghazi, the list is too long to ). I know, I know, you have an excuse for all of the Clintons’ law-breaking, American-hating behavior, and the things Donald SAID are SOOO much worse than anything the Clintons have ever done. You are so love struck with the Clintons that you can’t tell evil from good anymore. I pity you.

  17. Common Sense says:

    Trumpians keep beating a dead horse to try and deflect from Trump’s long list of of insults and general bad behaviour.

    Eight Congressional investigations failed to find fault with Hilary’s actions on Benghazi.
    The FBI failed to find a “smoking gun” in their investigation.
    Where is the proof that she did anything to the women who accused Bill? Did she threaten to sue them as Trump has done? Did she call them liars in public?

    Trumpians tell you the liberal media is against Donald, when all they do is report on what he says and does.

    Where is the proof that Hilary is a career criminal?

    Think for yourselves, stop listening to FAUX, do some research.

  18. Knightwatch says:

    Um, Outsider… all of Trump’s abuses are with unwilling women. So… he’s a rapist, also. Are you voting for the rapist??

  19. FL voter says:

    Wow. The first several comments frighten me. Let’s see:
    @Outsider and Wishful Thinking, Dee Wynne, others: Um … no. Look at the link that Common Sense provides. That is one of many instances where President Clinton’s “victim” says they lied about the accusations. Don’t believe everything Fox News publishes. Do your own research, find multiple sources, instead taking statements from a biased news source (in one lawsuit Fox News even claimed they weren’t a new source, rather an entertainment channel )

    I will agree that FlaglerLive is roughly as biased liberal as Fox News is biased conservative.

    @Anonymous, Nancy McDonald, DisgustedinPC, others:
    Emotional abuse is absolutely real and has some telling characteristics. As the article points out (fact), Mr. Trump’s own words show that he follows those patterns of behavior. That much of the article is not opinion, it’s simply listening to what Mr. Trump says and seeing that his words meet the criteria for abuse.

    @Dee Wynne (again), Fredrick, statethefacts, and others:
    Emails? Benghazi? Did you follow those investigations? With Benghazi, NOTHING AGAINST SECRETARY CLINTON was found! Seriously. Several times, that committee reported NOTHING, and called for its conclusion. Unfortunately, some Republicans refused to accept that answer and kept wasting time and effort for years more that was needed. Some of the individuals who released statement against Mrs. Clinton, release long after the events, recanted their statements and admitted they lied! What was found against Mrs. Clinton regarding Benghazi: lies, lies, and a Republican witch hunt.

    Emails? Yes, she was a bonehead for using private/personal email addresses IN THAT WAY. The fact that she used private/personal email is perfectly fine. Sometimes it’s easier, quicker, more efficient that using a restricted official email address. The content of the emails becomes an issue. MOST of the “classified” material in the emails was classified AFTER THE FACT. was it worthy of a reprimand: yes. Was it worthy of jail time: no. That last isn’t my opinion, it’s the finding of the appropriate investigative bodies!

    Let Mrs. Clinton’s record speak for itself. She helped pass heath care reform for children, with the support of BOTH democrats AND REPUBLICANS. She supported 9/11 victims by helping them get appropriate health care. She , with Senator Lindsey Graham (Republican) expanded Tricare to National Guardsmen. She was one of the proponents for the mission that killed Osama Bin Laden. In fact, she’s described by many as “hawkish,” meaning she is willing to use military power when needed. She strengthened sanctions against Iran, finally getting them to open negations with us. She was instrumental in negotiating a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

    She has numerous other accomplishments promoting family health, family rights, women’s rights, and improved health care for children. At home on the “support our troops” side, she was instrumental in securing funding to rebuild after 9/11, she extended many military benefits to National Guardsmen and Reservists (beyond that mentioned above), and she is willing to call for military action when needed (again, more than just the raid on Osama Bin Laden). Internationally, she restored relations with several key allies, she expanded trade and exports with several nations, and she negotiated multiple cease-fire and peace deals.

    She accomplished much of this with bi-partisan support while First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State.

    If you don’t believe me, look it up.

  20. Lin says:

    This is journalism?
    Where is coverage of all the revelations about the pervasive corruption in our government, the hypocrisy of Hillary with her sham of a marriage to a man who has admitted to much worse acts in the white house than mere potty talk. And Hillary holding herself up as some sort of champion of the women’s movement is just a joke. She has done nothing for women except continue to take money along with Bill from misogynistic regimes to line her own pockets. Hillary’s lies re Benghazi, emails, lies to the FBI, congress, so many lies, can’t even remember them all. So many stupid decisions – Russia, Syria, Libya, Hillarycare. Did no journalist notice the poor Clintons leaving the whitehouse dead broke and becoming rich through the misuse of Hillary’s position as S of State. She has sold out our country and advocates open borders.

    We can sure have differences of opinion here but the media takes bias confirmation to a whole new level if this author only sees this course language as abuse and not the picture of a wholly corrupt human being as Hillary the candidate is.

    I read a lot of the leaked emails about the Hillary campaign colluding with the media to get Hillary elected, leaking debate questions, starting trouble possibly violent trouble at Trump rallies and blaming it on Trump, remarks about Catholics, positions different publicly and privately such as regarding the banks.
    Take me out of the basket of deplorable and white and woman and middle class and non-secular. Put us all back in the same basket as all Americans.

    I know government being made up of people isn’t going to be perfect
    But what we have now is so corrupt and anti-American (those principles our country was founded on like following the law) That I don’t recognize it anymore.

    The 4th estate by making the bad words a big story is a way to turn focus from the totally corrupt candidacy of Hillary and further their own personal agendas. I can barely stand it anymore. The author should read up from a safe space about real abuse around the world and even in our own country.

  21. Katie Semore says:

    How can one list of people’s opinions contain so much false and insane information? There are some seriously mentally ill people in our midst if they truly believe what they have posted. I will pray for their return to reasonable mental health after the election. Trump will get his well deserved mental and emotional abuse on Nov 8th.

  22. Marge Innovera says:

    Wow. Such unsolicited vitriol from the Trumpettes. Sounds like this article triggered all of you in a major way. Instead of responding to the criticism of your loudmouthed hero, you trash his opponent, as if that negates the demonstrated behavior this con man has always displayed. Misogyny, victim-blaming, logical fallacies, repeating smears, distortions and lies, gaslighting, namecalling… it’s like all of you obligingly responded to this article with spontaneous demonstrations of Trump’s own behavior. No wonder you all support him–in this blowhard narcissist, you see yourselves.

    As The Donald would say, “Sad!”

  23. Katie Semore says:

    FL Voter, you have actually suggested that people learn the facts as they really are! How dare you, what would the haters do if they actually knew anything factual about that which the post? Thank you for trying, but I fear it is a lost cause.

  24. Layla says:

    To Florida Voter, do you happen to have links and bill numbers for all those so called accomplishments? They don’t exist. I think that Wikileaks might prove you wrong over Benghazi and a few other items.

  25. Nancy McDonald says:

    5 signs of possibly being a serial killer include 1 Power Junkie 2 manipulator 3 egotistical bragger 4 superficial charmer 5 average joe. Both candidates are guilty of these. Yes emotional abuse is real, but many people who are not may be misconstrued to be just by meeting the authors checklist. Yes main street media supports Hillary, no we are not given facts just opinions. Just Saying!!

  26. Old Lady says:

    Thie candidates have spoken, debated and refuted. Now cast your ballots and get it over with! Happy Halloween y’all

  27. Jordan G says:

    The way this website only has negative things to say about a presidential candidate is absolutely pathetic, let people make their own decisions and stop forcing your liberal beliefs on others.

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      Jordan, I’m not sure how pixels on a screen have the capability of forcing anything on you other than light beams, and even those you can deal with by swiping to the next site in, oh, about a split second, but I’d be more concerned about your susceptibility to so easily be swayed. You might want to be careful on Halloween night. All those ghouls are not actually out to get you. Best of luck.

  28. Louise says:

    Dee Wynne I totally agree with you.

  29. Oldseadog says:

    I think this site has value—-but am fearful of the power of such. However, I do happen to
    subscribe to this quote from many years ago……………..

    “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

    ——-Thomas Jefferson

  30. Chris says:

    Here we have yet another attempt to distract the voter.
    The liberal approach is to get people to decide on emotion rather than to look at the policies offered by the candidates.
    One of Donald Trump’s greatest assets is his ability to pick the right people to get the job done. Hillary has a number of titles but no real positive and substantial achievements. Trump has outlined his plan to get America back on track. The dems want to make everyone feel like they’re victims.
    For decades democrats have controlled our major cities. How has that worked out for the inner city dwellers?
    Ask any Chicagoan. Some of the toughest gun laws on the books.
    The democrat playbook always relies on divide and conquer, whether it’s about social issues or economic ones. Under the GREAT UNITER we have the most divided nation in recent history.
    Cheat cheat cheat! Lie lie lie! Rinse and repeat.
    Liberalism is truly a mental disorder.

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