The truth is. I don’t exactly know yet. What to do.
I do have some thoughts…
Democracy allows for people we disagree with to win. So that part we suck up.
We comfort each other and practice respect for all people, unless they get violent. Then we fight.
We stand up for our friends.
We gather and think.
Writers write, we do our work. And that can be meaningful. But it’s not enough.
We consult. We make a plan of ACTION and we get to work.
But one thing we can’t do?
We can’t waste time believing we can bring out the better nature in Trump and his ilk. We can’t fool ourselves into thinking that there is a better nature there. Because there isn’t.
Over the last few years, I’ve had incredible good fortune in work and life. I’ve had the opportunity to hang out with and collaborate with some of the best people. Spectacular actors who also respect everyone they work with. Incredible writers and directors. Crews who care passionately about every aspect of filmmaking and at the same time, creating a loving and fun environment. And supportive and smart executives who make everything better.
But in work (and in dating) I’ve also encountered bonafide, real life… I want to write “monsters.” People who, when empowered, suck the life and sanity out of anybody willing to play their games.
Monster. I know that’s overly simplistic. I believe these folks have genetically enhanced bees in their brains. They don’t want to be bad, they were just born that way. And if I learned ONE THING about dealing with people who in all likelihood have some type of genuine clinical issue — reason does not apply.
Often these people are AMAZING. They are attractive. They are charming. If you meet one of these beasts at a party, you’ll probably find them brilliant, warm and incredibly engaging. They have the art of seduction down. Not only will you feel good about them, you’ll feel good about yourself. In their light, you feel elevated. Why yes, you ARE fabulous! Numbers are exchanged. You walk away thinking “I’m a little bit in love.”
And at first you will be in love. Because that person is in the “collecting and cultivating” stage. They want something from you. In dating, this person often thinks they want a relationship with you. They BELIEVE that, which is part of why they are so seductive. What you don’t know about them yet, is that they only want you until the moment you no longer fit the story ABOUT THEM that they’re always living and creating in their buzzy-bee brains. The minute you become an individual with needs that conflict with theirs, they either scheme ways to change you, or become disenchanted and angry. Never for a deep or meaningful moment do they consider that they are wrong or uncompromising. They may appear to — they say the right things, they seem to feel real life feelingy feelings. But with this type of human, nothing sticks. They live in a very small loop of grandiosity and victimhood.
And this type preys on people they sense are “weak” in some way. Some circumstance in life and/or trait of personality that makes their quarry want to be liked, helped or filled up. The person they set their sights on will consciously or unconsciously leave themselves unprotected. The front door may appear locked, but the “monster” senses an open window. They’re masterful at it.
Any of this sound familiar?
Sound a little “pussy grabbin”? Sound like somebody who lives for attention and praise, and who lashes out when people question them or they don’t get what they want?
I’m lucky I’m too old for Trump. I’ve lived my life painfully attracted to this type of person. On every level. It’s taken me years and years to get past the base-level assumption that I am broken in some fundamental way that people will see if they get too close. So who better to chase then someone who will never actually get out of themselves enough to see me? For me to be a real person? I knew this was an issue with men, and I’ve gotten smarter. I’ve had some wonderful guys in my life.
(Things still went south. But that’s another post. NOTE TO SELF: write about my fucked up cycle of presenting a false self to my object of desire — the person who meets all their needs — and how they feel betrayed when we discover I can’t sustain that and worse, I look at them and go “why don’t you meet all my needs!?)
Getting off track.
It’s only recently I really got down to the hard work of dealing with this type in my personal and professional life. And let me say it again: REASON DOES NOT APPLY.
If you can, the simplest thing is to GET AWAY FROM THEM. RUN. QUIT. CHANGE YOUR NUMBER. DELETE THAT ACCOUNT. (DON’T VOTE FOR THEM — *sob*) But we don’t always have that luxury.
What you can’t do is play by traditional rules of fairness. This is hard if you consider yourself a “nice” person who wants to be liked. Forget that shit. Liked is not on the table. But you can make yourself USEFUL to this person while always keeping all your inside doors and windows and vents locked. Do not show this person your tender belly. Do NOT share anything that could be used against you. Always assume they are lying. They lie. Because truth is constantly shifting for them. This is the kind of person who genuinely BELIEVES the lies they tell. They are fact-proof. A true monster is so crazy they make YOU feel crazy. The bees. It’s the Goddamn bees. Those crazy chemical bees.
Sound familiar? Yep.
Trump makes me crazy. I’ve worked hard not to let his language and lies under my skin. Not to get sucked into a echo chamber of past hurts and regrets.
But you don’t negotiate with a monster. You figure out a way to way to do a few things:
One — Make them hang themselves on their own petard. This is a long game. It requires a great deal of patience. It usually involves giving them exactly what they think they want. What they think they can do but actually don’t have the capacity for. This may be exactly what is happening to Trump. We’ll see. But when somebody is enabled by a lot of other people, this strategy may not actually work. And we certainly can’t wait or hope for it.
Two — Obstruct their ability to act. Throw up roadblocks. Flatter and distract. Give them busy work that appears meaningful. The smart play for the people around Trump was what appeared to be happening — they put him in front of an audience on the road. He WAS the puppet. How WE can do a similar thing is help aid every single legal challenge, every single meaningless distraction and side track. It’s not nice. But it’s effective. Play dirty.
Three — Show them again and again that they are weak and powerless over YOU. They hate that. It makes them furious. It may, in fact, be the thing that destroys them in the end. It’s what Hillary did to Trump in the debates. The last one in particular. She found ways to belittle him in the same way he routinely did to her. That’s why we’re taking to the streets right now. Not just to express our outrage and grief, but to get under his big baby carrot orange skin. Yes he has the nuclear codes, but here’s something comforting — he doesn’t want to die more than he wants to start trouble. Because in the end — it’s all about HIM. So go ahead, make him and his buddies lose it. Regularly and spectacularly. Because this guy in a tizzy makes mistakes. He tweets and says dumb things. He bites every hand. Right now Trump and his advisors can look at the unrest and say — “Crybabies!” “Whiners” and so on — but if we keep it up, we will be a thorn in their fucking side.`If we remind Trump every single day that he LOST THE POPULAR VOTE by pretty big number, he’ll feel it. He’s too much of a narcissist to look the other way.
Those are three ideas about how to deal with a monster. Go GILES on this shite. Get strategic. Because we’re in for quite a fight and this one takes strategy supreme.
Oh. And don’t date those guys (or girls or people). Just don’t. They can be fun friends but protect your naughty bits unless it’s just a romp. Even then — don’t be surprised if they suck in bed. You think Trump is a giving lover?