Trump on the Couch

Posted on January 24, 2019


Contrary to what some Loyal Readers may be thinking at this moment, this post is not about Life in the Boomer Lane’s experiences (or anyone’s else’s), canoodling with POTUS.  Neither is LBL extending a magnanimous offer to POTUS, should he be tossed out of office and have n place to stay.  It is, however, about something that many people would like to do to him, that is fun and won’t require the services of a good defense attorney.

LBL is talking about a psychiatric assessment of our best-ever-most-smartest-and-best-spellor-and-best-user-of-Capital-Letters-and-best-everything-else-you-can-possibly-think-of President of the USofA. Some Readers might be apprehensive about attempting to analyze Trump without any credentials in this field.  To allay your fears, LBL has good news: Justin Frank.

Frank, a Harvard-educated psychoanalyst, with a list of accomplishments that is longer than Trump is tall, has done this for you.  His book “Trump on the Couch:Inside the Mind of the President,”  is a gem. LBL has just started to read it and she is hooked. It’s literate, deeply thought out, deeply researched, and, if you can set aside the giant black hole that has taken over your brain since election day, enjoyable in the face of terror.

LBL was lucky enough to have attended a luncheon yesterday at the Democratic Women’s Club in Washington, DC, in which Frank was the speaker.  He talked about his book and the research that went into it.  He spoke about Trump’s family (a hotbed of dysfunction), Trump’s learning disabilities and inability to live up to his father’s expectations, his emotionally absent mother, and his stilted emotional development.

Much of what Frank talked about, LBL already knew. But the way he drew all pieces together to explain the man was worth the price of admission. What emerged was a complex picture of one of the most powerful people in the world, who is incapable (not unwilling) of relating to that world.

A question and answer period followed. People asked all the questions we ask ourselves: Why does his base stand firm in spite of anything?  Why is the GOP complicit in all this?  What can we do about any of this?  And, most important, why hasn’t Trump given Nancy Pelosi a nickname?  Believe it or not, Frank’s answer to this one was fascinating.

LBL will not go into any further detain about the book. Instead, she will urge you to read it. Your reading will not change Trump in any way.  It will not change the complicity of the GOP.  It will not change the slavish adherence to him by his base. It will not end the government shutdown.  But it will give you a direction in which to turn, one that doesn’t involve putting your sanity or your TV screen at risk.

A snippet from the intro: Trump’s presidency caps a lifetime of dysfunction and disorder that is not likely to be healed while he is in office, just as Trump’s ascendency among voters gives expression to long-standing trends in the American electorate’s psyche that are not going to be easily addressed. However, if we can identify certain aspects of those disorders and trends that may have contributed to Trump and his voters fusing into a shared belief system, then we have a better chance of fostering the kind of honest cultural discussion that will be necessary in order to contain and begin to repair the damage that has already been done. 

Trump on the Couch, by Justin Frank. Well worth reading. 

Posted in: book review