But now I’m back – and I have a lot to say.
Last week’s press conference birthed a new focus for my writing: the parallels between Doug, (the leader of the destructive group that I was in for over 19 years) and President Trump.
I am most struck by the way that Trump communicates. Throughout the entire hour and 17 minute press conference, he kept up a casual banter about ‘the dishonesty in the Press’. Occasionally he would throw an excoriating dart, but for the most part it was numerous, off-handed cavalier statements.
Friends: beware. This is a repetitious and calculated technique to garner loyalty where there is a threat. Keeping it casual and using simplistic language is part of its power. On the one hand he almost playfully dismisses the need for the Press and on the other, makes it clear that there are a ‘few good reporters’. It’s all about “us” versus “them”. In this way, much of the underscore of President’s Trump’s communication in this press conference could be distilled into “Are you with me or are you against me?”
I recognize President Trump’s strategy because I experienced it for 19 years when I was under Doug’s tutelage. Throughout his lectures and during individual sessions, Doug sprinkled negative comments about people or groups who had challenged him. While under Doug’s influence, I did not perceive these comments as problematic. I was grateful for his warnings and made sure that I steered clear of those people. I did not want to associate with those who did not understand the truth of Doug’s brilliance. I was proud to be one of his loyal students and I worked diligently to stay in his good graces. It was not uncommon for Doug to end a session, playfully asking, “Are you ‘wit’ me or ‘agint’ me?” And I was ‘wit’ him more than I knew – until I wasn’t!
During the last two months, I felt frozen by the divisiveness of our current political landscape. I want to be clear: my work as a cult awareness educator is not about politics. My passion is to bring more awareness of destructive group dynamics regardless of the particular politics, religion or belief systems. My goal is to educate about dynamics and not to choose sides.
It is my greatest hope that by becoming more educated about Trump’s destructive traits that all Americans will be thinking for themselves and refusing to fall into the trance that many of our fellow citizens and officials appear to be in right now. It is our birthright to protect our powerful, beautiful nation from undue influence by any one individual.
To this end, I need to ask: if Doug digs Trump, what do you dig?