Republican Party Must Come Together For Emotional Wellness

by Dr. Karen Ruskin on June 4, 2016

Whatever side of the isle you are on politically, the relevancy of the Republican party not coming together as a team thus far, cannot be ignored in it’s significance in the emotional affect on voters. The lack of the Republican Party fully coming together hurts the emotional wellness of the Republican Party whole, including voters. Below you will find 9 talking points to consider as to the negative role this lack of team, may be playing on mental health and wellness. Talking points in this blog article includes:

  1. Republican party not coming together and talking negatively about Trump hurts the Republican voters emotionally.
  2. Talking smack about Trump creates emotional personal and relational disharmony between and among both parties. Thus stress and anxiety symptomology creeps in.
  3. Systemic Theory.
  4. Where’s the ‘team’ in Trump?
  5. Do Trump haters feel threatened?
  6. Is Trump a Bully?
  7. Government reliance leads to symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  8. Has in office counseling changed with Trump as a candidate?
  9. Do we vote due to familiarity theory?

The Republican Party not coming together and talking negatively about Trump hurts the Republican voters emotionally.

As odd as this might sound at first glance, take a moment to think about it. If with consistency voters experience politicians on air who are supposed to be on the same team (Republican party) as the man who is representing the Republican party (Trump) in an effort to become the next President, with passion and observable disgust politicians share their upset and animosity toward Trump, how might that affect the mind of the viewer/voter who is on ‘Team Republican’? Certainly it affects a person emotionally in a negative way when one’s ‘team’ is not acting as a team, and rather is stabbing itself from the inside out.

In turn, the viewer/voter spends his/her emotional energy talking negatively about someone who is saying that he wants to make America great again. From an observable perspective this is interesting in that one cannot deny that Trump has been a proven achiever in management and business. The philosophy of standing up for the values and the belief system America used to stand for (e.g., freedom of speech, there is right and wrong in terms of rules and they are to be followed, work hard and achieve) is what Trump has been presenting representing. Thus, it makes sense that a viewer/voter may experience emotional turmoil. Specifically, a voter on team Republican who sees a candidate holding the values in which one believed in, though may have slid off of that belief system over time since the cultural climate is in opposition to those very philosophies, now experiences emotional conflict.

In essence, the mind may be in conflict and in battle with it’s own self as one sensibly and logically wants a person to be the President of the U.S.A. who holds the values that were. Yet, if what is being discussed with repetition on air from many of those whom are supposed to be on your team, the Republican team, negativity, that negativity will indeed affect one’s thinking. Breathe negativity, taste negativity, smell negativity, see negativity, you will not feel so well.

Talking smack about Trump creates emotional personal and relational disharmony between and among both parties. Thus stress and anxiety symptomology creeps in.

As a Psychotherapist, from a mental health and wellness perspective I am concerned about the friction, break, and combativeness: a) between voters among themselves (i.e., within the family unit and friends), and b) politicians on air in the same party who talk smack about Trump. Certainly friends and family for as far back as the mind can recall, Republicans and Democrats have their differences in their communication and in home/family friendly debates. The lack of political support among Republicans within their own party plays a role in contributing to the strength of the Democratic party emotionally in their conviction and verbal interaction with those who are Republicans. For a broken team is easier to dismantle than a solid team.

It is this disharmony that hurts: a) the person expressing their feelings, b) the recipient if talking to a friend/family, c) the Republican party, and d) the country as a whole. The way in which the country as a whole is hurt is as follows. Healthy debates between people of different parties with different view points is stimulating. In contrast, vile interactions with anger between people of different parties (of which I believe is influenced by and exacerbated by the in house fighting) is unhealthy and creates undue stress and thus angst. When one talks negatively about the Presidential candidate representing one’s very own party, when one speaks with angry passion about a person who is saying they want to: ‘Make America Great Again’, it creates a feeling of stress and anxiety symptomology for one feels like he/she is in a maze with no way out. Stuck with no options. In terms of the human mind and as such human behavior, when a person feels stuck, it is not uncommon to feel stressed and experience anxiety symptomology. How to become unstuck? That’s where the Republican party may split. Having an alternative to Trump (Independent Party Presidential Candidate) as an option, even if one does not know anything about the person, some will indeed simply make a vote for the alternative to alleviate the anxiety and/or emotional discomfort.

Systemic Theory – Republican party needs to come together.

For emotional harmony within one’s own personal health and wellness to occur, for healthy disagreement between parties to exist, the Republican politicians and the Republican party whole needs to come together. Not all members of a team agree with one another all the time. On any team. That’s healthy and OK when there is an overall experience that the team is together even within it’s conflict. It is through dialogue that resolutions are made. Conflict resolution through healthy solution resolution strategies is not an uncommon therapeutic theme in my work with families who are in conflict. When the family team is in conflict that affects each individual in terms of their own health and wellness, how they interact within their team with one another, and how they interact with those outside of their team. The same concept is true in terms of the Republican party. Systemic thinking in therapeutic terms is about the understanding of how each member within a system affects self, affects others within the system, and the system functioning whole. The system affects the whole and the individuals within the system. Just as the individuals within the system affects the system functioning whole. This is a circular pattern of interaction not linear.

If we view all Republicans and all Democrats as within the system, and are a system, that means how they interact with one another affects each other’s health and wellness and the system whole. Furthermore, take it apart, and consider the separate system within the system (i.e., Republicans as one system and Democrats as another system). If the Republican system is in conflict within itself, then certainly it will not have a healthy strong base interacting within it’s own self nor with the Democrat system. Thereby also influencing how the Democrats interact with the Republicans.

Where’s the ‘team’ in Trump?

The lack of ‘team’ we are having regarding Trump, meaning, the fight against Trump within his own team (Republican party) on air (politicians, etc.) is important to address from a psychotherapeutic perspective because I believe it is damaging us as a people. Specifically, it is my recommendation that we become more mindful of the damage this is doing to us as individuals (destructive to the human psyche), to our family, in our friendship relationships (adults and kids), and our country as a whole. Think of it with an observational analytical lens. When a team-mate doesn’t have your back (whether it is sports e.g., baseball, basketball, football, whether it is a dance troop, cheerleading squad, whether professional sports or kids in school), it is that team-mate that is hurting the entire team. So, if Republican politicians do not have the back of the Republican selected by the people Trump, then we are not being mindful of: “by the people, for the people”. Which thus destroys the philosophy of America and it’s constitution, thus destroying the team of America by the hands of destroying the Republican party by the Republican party.

Do Trump haters feel threatened?

In my analysis of Trump’s words and actions in it’s affect on the public, it is the very behaviors Trump has that are his strengths and people who love him recognize in him and thus are excited about and want him to be president, that others hate him for. At times, in terms of human behavior, hatred of another is about feeling threatened. Thus, let us take a moment to consider this notion. Trump’s skill to raise money, in sync with his skill to create jobs (consider all the jobs he created due to the various businesses he created), those who understand that, want that for America and thus view this as a skill and a positive. Those who view him through the lens of; narcissist, they feel that that he’s high on himself, that he thinks he can do whatever he wants. Instead of him being viewed through the lens of all the good he does, Trump haters view him as someone who “just thinks he’s so great”. Another example, when he tells-it-like-it-is with his passionate physical (body language) and tone inflection style, some love that. Indeed they view him as passionate. The likeability factor of Trump is a topic I shared my insight on FOX News Channel’s The Real Story With Gretchen Carlson. For those people, they experience Trump’s energy and style as infectious and intoxicating. Trump haters in contrast view this style as him being a bully.

From a Psychotherapist’s lens I am cognizant of the point that Trump believes his actions are ultimately: teaching a man to fish, rather than simply giving the fish. My concern is that there are many in our culture who have rather learned and adopted the philosophy that we want to be given the fish, and we want to be served and fed the already cooked fish– time and time again. The feeding of the fish philosophy shines through in our country (e.g., Obama’s speech to Howard University). This concerns me deeply from a mental health lens, for I have seen it time and time again with the many men and women and children I have met through the years that it is when one works harder than hard and then one sees and experiences the outcome of one’s hard work, that is what brings much self-worth, and what drives humans to achieve. If we take on the philosophy that we achieve due to luck, that we did not create what we have, that leads one to lack in self-empowerment and lack in self-fulfillment. It also leads to a lack of taking ownership of one’s behaviors. It is those folks who will likely feel quite threatened by the opposing philosophy. It is those folks who will not feel strong emotionally and rather more likely experience anxiety for they do not feel in control of their own life.

Is Trump a Bully?  

As I consider the notion that there are those who state Trump is a bully, from an analytical lens within a Psychotherapeutic perspective, there are four reasons I wish to address, that lends itself to why that term is being used.

New York-Like Style

First, through the lens of a Psychotherapist who has personally lived in various states through my years, as well as I have a clinical understanding of cultures, this may offend some, excuse me, Trump’s style is very ‘New York like’. Seemingly pushy, assertive presenting as aggressive. For some that cultural style is not only offensive, it is labeled by some as bully-ish. It does concern me that the term ‘bully’ is being used so freely in this regard. I take labels and terms very seriously, whether it is a diagnosis or a term in general. As a Psychotherapist, I believe one should consider if the behavior truly warrants the label by definition. Does having a New Your like style mean you are a bully?

Freedom of speech/Tell-it-like-it-is style

Second, it is my observation that we have become a culture when we don’t like what someone is saying, their perspective, we have learned that the way to shut down an opposing voice is to call that person a bully. Freedom of speech has turned into freedom of the right kind of speech, and if you don’t have the “right kind” then you are a termed a bully. Trump’s tell-it-like-it-is style within the freedom of speech concept, some view this as aggressiveness that thus leads some to label him a bully feeling that Trump is pushing his perspective. From the lens of a Psychotherapist, this notion also concerns me. Whatever side of the political isle you are on, we must all advocate for advocating. Yes, we must all advocate for advocating! To stand up and advocate for one’s beliefs is an important quality and life skill for man, woman and child. Additionally, from an analytical stand point, are not all candidates perspective pushers? Certainly Trump’s style one would deem as; in-your-face. It’s a confront-style. Thus Trump’s style presents as bully-ish for some. Would it be so bold as to suggest that through the years voters are used to a more behind the scenes or masked-approach-style?

Government reliance

Third, the notion that Trump will not take care of us as people, is the belief some have and as such leads some to label him as a bully by default. Concerning to me from a mental health and wellness perspective is the movement Obama has articulated and Hillary Clinton presents as believing in, specifically that people are not able to take care of themselves. Rather the government needs to take care of them. This government reliance development I view as quite controlling. Not unlike a controlling parent rather than a parent helping their children to gain independence, this is creating dependency.

Trump’s reported desire to create jobs, for an example, represents the perspective that people are indeed capable, which is not being a bully, when I take a moment to analyze. Though some may feel that he is being a bully because he does not want to give them free stuff, so to speak. He wants people to work for what they get. As such in turn, some feel like he is being a bully because he wants to take away from  them what they feel they are entitled to have, and thus not taking care.

As grown adults most are capable beings, and yet the seed that has been planted and growing into an epidemic of philosophical thinking that we need to be taken care of. The fear some have is that Trump will not take care of us, thus feel threatened by him. Yet the fear of him not taking care of America and the feeling threatened by his aggressive assertiveness thus feeling bullied, if you view this psychotherapeutically, for those who are pro Trump believe that he does actually wish to take care of America just as he did in NY.

Rules

The fourth potential reason that has led some to view Trump through the lens of ‘bully’ and thus label him as such is due to his belief that there is a right and wrong behavior with regards to rules. He presents that rules are to be followed. A specific example of this is the building of ‘the wall’ which created much reaction and controversy. Which led some to believe he is being a bully by not allowing people to come and go, as they so please, so to speak. As I analyze this I consider the notion that those of whom do not believe he is being a bully feel that he simply wishes to have a country where rules are followed. Where there are laws and perhaps thus order.

Bully – Bottom line

Trump’s interest in freedom, freedom of speech, freedom in terms of what America used to stand for- the freedom to work hard, achieve and receive the reward outcome of that, that there’s rules/order – these are not traits of a bully. If one considers what being a bully is. Though one can understand how those themes can be translated into a bully label. How much of what is absorbed via the media (TV, radio, print) plays a role in the thoughts, opinions, actions, interactions and feelings of the public?

Government reliance leads to symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The recent study addressing that a high percentage of young adults believe that government should take care of them is very concerning from a mental health stand point. The feeling that one is entitled to receive and should receive rather than working harder then hard, I vehemently believe affects one’s self worth and confidence. The less a person feels in control of their own destiny, the higher their anxiety and depression symptoms. I have seen this time and time again in my work as a mental health and wellness counseling professional. Reliance breeds feelings of lack of sense of self confidence and ability/capability. Motivation, passion and drive is tied into personal fulfillment for accomplishments and desired and achieved independence. Government reliance is government control and thus loss of one’s own control of one’s own current and future.

Has in office counseling changed with Trump as a candidate?

In my 20+ years as a Psychotherapist, this is markedly the most I have experienced clientele spending time in session talking about the Presidential election with such conviction and passion about their opinions. There are many clientele of whom although they enter my office to discuss their problems initially (e.g., marriage, parenting, depression, anxiety etc.), they often take a moment of their session to discuss their thoughts and feelings regarding Trump. For an example, one theme that upsets some is the media’s negative portrayal of him where it turns out to be something the media stated is a misrepresentation. Inaccuracy is emotionally frustrating for the human mind. This disappoints many and stresses some people out. Two most recent examples includes; the misrepresentation of Trump in his interaction with women, and the negative commentary in connection with him and the money he raised for vets.

Do we vote due to familiarity theory?

When it comes to human behavior, often familiarity leads to a feeling of safety and security. Even if an unfamiliar opportunity may be just what a person needs, it is not uncommon to go with what is familiar. Trump’s tell-it-like-it-is direct style, his calling in news stations to assure he has the opportunity to share his side to defend his position when someone has stated something inaccurate, this is not familiar to many. Typically politicians will try to sweep controversy under the rug. Keep it on the down low. Trump addresses it head on like he does all things. This feels emotionally uncomfortable for some and down right upsetting, as it is unfamiliar. Is this a good thing? A bad thing? Whether one deems it as good or bad or is indifferent to this, the fact is that it is unfamiliar. Is it possible that his fight for what he believes in and believes to be true, this fight-style, has opened up the door to others to feel combative (whichever side of the political isle one is on)?

The saying that “all politicians are liars” is a statement we have all heard unfortunately for many years. It is this notion in my observation has left the public with an acceptance of this behavior. For the longer in time a problem behavior occurs in the relationship dynamic between people, whether it is: a) the relationship government has with we the people, whether it is b) the marital relationship dynamic, c) parent-child relationship, d) a relationship one has with one’s boss, etc., if the behavior does not change many humans get to a point of acceptance. Just as I have seen men and women remain in an abusive relationship because it is familiar, I am concerned that Hillary Clinton as the familiar, and Trump as the unfamiliar leads some to see Trump as therefore a problem rather than a solution. Whereas those who see Trump’s unfamiliar as what they need view him through the lens that he could truly be the difference that makes the difference in what America needs. To make a decision based upon familiar vs. unfamiliar is not enough. Thus, let us all be mindfully aware of why we are thinking what we are thinking, not just taking action due to familiarity theory.

Those who are in the Republican party who see Trump as different but they want the familiar, ultimately push the familiar to come true without mindful awareness that is what they are doing by talking negatively about him. Those who see his difference and want his difference, or the potential of what his difference may mean for the country are pro Trump. Is the familiar working for us as a country? Do we vote for familiar? Depending on who you ask, the answer will most certainly be different.

The health and wellness of the American people are of the utmost importance, is it not? Thus, the Republican party must come together so that the entire system can function smoothly with emotional health and wellness making mindful decisions.

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