It’s hardly a new theory by this point that Donald Trump is the embodiment of the prototypical narcissist (yes, a word that’s been rather overplayed in the past year and a half—see: Kristin Dombek’s The Selfishness of Others). And, indeed, he displays all of the most overt symptoms at any given moment in his “policy” and comportment, including, but not limited to: sense of entitlement (the public is simply supposed to adore him for doing nothing), lack of empathy (the immigration ban, appointment of self-interested, unqualified officials to major positions of power and trans bathroom legislation, for a start), need for excessive admiration (hence his tearing down of those who openly don’t buy into his orange-tinted veneer, like Meryl Streep or Madonna) and being both envious of others while simultaneously believing that others are envious of him.
Nonetheless, the narcissist knows well enough when to admit he’s been licked in terms of pushing those he’s subjected to his behavior to the limit. After all, he doesn’t want to lose his adulation meal ticket. This is precisely why, for those scratching their heads about the seemingly about-face nature of Trump during his speech to Congress on Tuesday, it ought to be known that this behavior is only in keeping with what a narcissist does best: hoovering. No, this is not a perverse sex term, so much as a tactical move on the narcissist’s part to get back into your good graces, to win you over with promises of changing that he knows will reel you back in like the still-hopeful abused person you are.
This is precisely what Trump has done with his “speech of love,” making completely out of character statements like, “The torch is now in our hands. And we will use it to light up the world. I am here tonight to deliver a message of unity and strength, and it is a message deeply delivered from my heart.” But the narcissist doesn’t have a heart—at least not the kind we’re so accustomed to viewing as a metaphor for feeling. There might be a mass of ventricles where a heart is supposed to be, but other than that, the narcissist’s chest cavity is a gaping void. Everything said is part of a larger game he likes to play called: How Can I Fuck With and Manipulate Those I’ve Abused to My Advantage?
Preying upon constituents and demographics that have abhorred him from the moment he announced his intention to run for president, Trump made exactly the type of promises he knew they would want to hear, pretty words that are merely just that as he assured: “Crumbling infrastructure will be replaced with new roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and railways gleaming across our beautiful land. Our terrible drug epidemic will slow down and ultimately, stop. And our neglected inner cities will see a rebirth of hope, safety, and opportunity.” It’s almost as though Raffi or Marlo Thomas could have written a speech so rife with optimistic bullshit predicated upon zero plan regarding how to actually execute it.
Adding, for good measure, “Above all else, we will keep our promises to the American people,” Trump was sure to bring his reinvention as a semi-human to full fruition. But if you’ve ever been the victim of being in a relationship with a narcissist, then you already know all too well that the keeping of any promises—especially those that highlight change—simply won’t be the case. In short, don’t fall for any narcissist’s lines. They are the meaningless auditory vomit of a person out solely for the self.