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A Psychologist's Open Letter to U.S. Voters

Discussion in 'Political Debate & Discussion' started by Crabtownboy, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. Crabtownboy

    Crabtownboy Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Feb 12, 2008
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    From: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/romance-redux/201509/psychologists-open-letter-us-voters
    1. Do applaud careful reflection.
      Please, for everyone's sake, stop making politicians worried, on either side, that changing their minds when they have new information will be viewed as a weakness. Ditch the reflexive and empty attacks on "flip-flopping." When someone gives careful reasoning behind changing their position, it's not weakness; it's strength. It's calledthinking. Weakness is barreling into a brick wall because that's the direction you first chose to head in, and, dammit, you stay the course. Want to know who worries most about seeming infallible at all costs? Extreme (unhealthy(link is external)) narcissists.
    2. Don't applaud insults.
      Here's a dead giveaway that extreme narcissists use to cover their insecurities: Putdowns(link is external). Like the schoolyard bully who beats people up to feel stronger, extreme narcissists hurl insults when they feel threatened; they name call, insult, denigrate. It's not clever and it's not mature. Therapists have a name for it: Emotional abuse(link is external). It doesn't belong on the playground, and it certainly doesn't belong in the White House
    3. Do applaud feelings.
      The world's going down in flames for sure if we choose unflappably stoic—that is,insensitive—leaders who never seem to shed a tear or get choked up over anything. Leaders who never seem openly moved by the plight of victims. Who disparage crossing party lines to offer or accept a hug in times of crisis that can, and should, bring the nation together. Extreme narcissists are emotion-phobes because they don't trust(link is external) people to support them—a problem called insecure attachment(link is external). So they rarely show sadness, fear, loneliness, worry, shame, or guilt. They just get angry, or attack, or become, you know, stoic. We don't need someone who constantly collapses in tears, but if you want good leaders, be aware that emotion is a basic job requirement.
    4. Don't applaud manipulation.
      Disordered narcissists betray three telltale signs: empathy-impairment, entitlement, and exploitation(link is external). If someone openly brags about paying others to do their bidding, then they don't view people as fellow human beings, but as chess pieces. And it's only a matter of time before you become a sacrificial pawn. Blatant manipulation isn't a guarantee that someone has narcissistic personality disorder(link is external), the most extreme form of unhealthy narcissism, but it sure is a terrible sign.(link is external)
    5. Do applaud collaborative behavior.
      Extreme narcissists don't like to be influenced because it makes them feel weak. It's the same reason they flee any hint of vulnerable feelings. They don't trust that anyone will be there for them. So instead of working with others, they get combative(link is external) and argumentative, and shout people down. They talk when they should listen. They're so invested in seeming perfectly self-sufficient that they dread listening to anyone else—another giveaway of extreme narcissism. It's only a matter of time before they grow deaf to what we, as a nation, are feeling.
    6. Don't applaud black-and-white thinking.
      We need leaders who can see the nuance in situations, who don't collapse the world into simple categories. In mental health, black-and-white thinking is known as a "cognitive distortion,"(link is external) not a great habit in a leader. Extreme narcissists love to divide the world(link is external) this way because they never have to feel vulnerable. They can flee, or label anyone who makes them feel unsure of their special status as "enemies," while cozying up to everyone else who bows to their will as "friends." Be very careful that you don't punish leaders for seeing the gray around them. People who think this way eventually draw up a list of enemies; and one day, you may find yourself on it.
    7. Do applaud apologies.
      We all make mistakes. But extreme narcissists are so addicted to feeling special, often by seeming perfect, that they can't admit(link is external) to even the simplest errors, let alone apologize for hurting others. Thanks to us, many politicians have gotten it into their heads that, somehow, saying they're sorry or acknowledging their missteps makes them appear weak—unless they're forced by impeachment. Hence the deplorable habit of making excuses for the most egregious behaviors. What keeps people from slipping into disorder is the capacity to repair relationships, whether the bond is with their partners or a nation. Put someone in office who can do that, please. Cheer for the candidate who can say "I'm sorry" without the pressure of a court order.
    8. Don't applaud evasiveness.
      Extreme narcissists excel at shallow, vague, and glib responses, especially the extroverted(link is external) types who seek power. Their speeches are all "show" with no substance; bluster without the details to back it up. No matter how confident the speaker, this kind of leadership isn't going to help anyone, except perhaps the narcissist. The devil is in the details—or in this case, in the lack of details.
    9. Do applaud curiosity.
      Smart leaders, and I've met a few, actively explore. They ask good questions. They don't always have answers and they let you know that. Their strength lies in their conviction that they'll solve a problem, not the certainty that they already have. They keep investigating the world if they're not sure where Russia is on the map. Beware the leader who's more invested in appearing to have all the answers than in asking the right questions. It's a sure sign that someone's more concerned with feeling special (link is external)than with helping you.
  2. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club

    Apr 8, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Then what should you applaud?