The End of Magical Thinking: America, Welcome to Your Four-Year Abusive Relationship with a Narcissist


I am still as much in shock about last night’s election as anyone else who believed in the power of love to conquer hate, the power of a pantsuit nation of beautiful women (and men) to stand tall and together and to put a dent in the wall of misogyny this country has built around us.

I have yet to wrap my head around what it means for me as a white woman and an activist, for the future of my daughter, the animals, the gay and transgender community, and our nation’s minorities and refugees. My emotions have swung wildly from “we’re all gonna die” to “maybe it won’t be that bad.”

I’ve read so many amazing blogs and articles already today on what this means for us, and found that these also fluctuate from “now they’ll see what they’ve done” to “maybe it REALLY won’t be that bad.”

I had to cut myself off right quick from the magical thinking of hoping that somehow Donald Trump will change for the better, though, and I hope you do too, so you can emotionally survive the next four years. Sometimes the bitter pill needs to be swallowed so you can man or woman up and deal with the reality in front of you.

Here’s why: if you know ANYTHING about narcissists and narcissistic personality disorder, you too will acknowledge that they don’t change; they don’t do better; and it WILL be that bad. That I can promise you.

I don’t claim to be a psychiatrist, nor do I play one on TV. Sometimes, yes, over a few glasses of wine I can all too eagerly get into amateur hour, but my services don’t generally seem to be appreciated by the masses. As with any of the information or misinformation you find floating about the web, you can take my words with a grain of salt and go back to your unicorns in the sky if that will make you feel better.

I just don’t recommend it.

I’ve co-habitated with three narcissists in my 52 years of life—yet never, before ten years ago, did I understand what the term ‘narcissist’ actually meant and why I needed to steer clear of these folks for the rest of whatever remains of my days on this cheery planet.

That lack of knowledge would prove repeatedly to be to my detriment, and—understanding that now—I feel compelled to warn the half of the country who DIDN’T sign up willingly for four years of Trumpdom to buckle up: it’s gonna be an ugly ride, and I don’t know who all will make it off at the end. Forewarned is forearmed and all that happy horseshit.

The first narcissist I was blessed to share a household with was my father (more about him in this blog), and I spent almost 45 years trying to be the daughter he could be proud of and maybe even love. It took many, many long years to finally get it through my thick skull there would NEVER be a time that came true. I finally learned to love myself enough to release him from my life.

I lived with the second narcissist just briefly before coming to my senses, but the biggest thing I learned about narcissists from him is that they can charm every stranger they meet, yet what happens behind closed doors is rarely so nice.

The third narcissist I married, because I still didn’t really understand narcissism and why I continued to gravitate toward this kind of man. I lived through years of misery trying to ‘make it work’, and when I finally asked for a divorce, he immediately tried to ‘steal’ our child by picking her up and literally walking out the door with her. Through my struggle to keep him from taking my baby away, I ended up getting a protection from abuse order against him; this order gave me custody of my daughter and, coincidentally, ALL the power.

That’s when things changed. He realized he had lost that round, but the war was still up for grabs. So he did what narcissists do when the stakes in the game have changed but they aren’t done yet; he turned nice. He cried and begged and pleaded with me that he only wanted his half of our daughter’s time.

Of course I gave it to him, against the advice of my lawyer. Because to my mind, that was only fair. He then plotted and schemed for 8 years until she was old enough for him to try it again, at which point he won the war.

Why? Because I was naive. Because I didn’t know what was happening to me. Because I didn’t know what a narcissist was. And because I didn’t know that there IS NO WINNING with a narcissist.

There is only getting out alive.

Once I understood what had happened to me, once I read enough about parental alienation and narcissistic personality disorder to learn what I never knew, I was horrified. I was horrified that there are people who are so damaged or evil or devoid of the ability to love and to be honest with those who try to love them that they will deliberately destroy them.

For revenge. Or for fun. Or just because. But mostly to WIN.

I made a promise and a vow to myself that I would NEVER EVER be caught in an abusive relationship with a narcissist again.

And I’ve kept that promise.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday, against my will, I entered into a fourth abusive relationship with a narcissist.

That man is Donald Trump. And, with the exception of death or fleeing the country, I will not be able to escape this relationship; neither will you.

If you magically think “It will be ok. He’s not really as bad as he seems. He won’t really treat our people that way, right?” I ask you to spend some time googling narcissism until you too understand what we’re up against. It’s not pretty.

When you don’t understand what’s happening, you become a very real target for the abuse. Half of the country signed us up for this, and the other half of us are stuck in an abusive relationship with Trump and those who follow in his footsteps for the foreseeable future.

I’m done crying (for today), I’m done gnashing my teeth (for today), but I’m not done mourning my fate and the fate of all those who didn’t sign up for this hell. That will take me awhile.

My eyes are open. And I can only hope and pray yours are too.

I’m sorry. For all of us who cared enough to hope. It was indeed audacious of us.

Here are a few of my favorite reads so far. Enjoy, and treat yourself with kindness. It’s all we can do today.

“Hillary supporters believe in a diverse America; one where religion or skin color or sexual orientation or place of birth aren’t liabilities or deficiencies or moral defects. Her campaign was one of inclusion and connection and interdependency. It was about building bridges and breaking ceilings. It was about going high.” Read more at:

“I don’t know if Hillary is going to win on Tuesday or even if she does, what kind of continuing nonsense she’ll have to overcome from Trump and his followers.

“I just know that when I marked that circle and put my ballot in the machine, there was a sense that there was and is no going back. Hillary may not win, but we as women will win. Maybe not this election, but because of this election, there’s no going back — no putting this genie back in the bottle.” Read more at:

“The Trumpers never expected their guy to actually win the thing, and that’s their problem now. They wanted only to whoop and yell, boo at the H-word, wear profane T-shirts, maybe grab a crotch or two, jump in the RV with a couple six-packs and go out and shoot some spotted owls. It was pleasure enough for them just to know that they were driving us wild with dismay — by “us,” I mean librarians, children’s authors, yoga practitioners, Unitarians, bird-watchers, people who make their own pasta, opera goers, the grammar police, people who keep books on their shelves, that bunch. The Trumpers exulted in knowing we were tearing our hair out. They had our number, like a bratty kid who knows exactly how to make you grit your teeth and froth at the mouth.” Read more at: