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Trump’s worldview forged by neglect and trauma at home, writes his niece, a clinical psychologist

The Washington Post reports:

A tell-all book by President Trump’s niece describes a family riven by a series of traumas, exacerbated by a daunting patriarch who “destroyed” Donald Trump by short-circuiting his “ability to develop and experience the entire spectrum of human emotion,” according to a copy of the forthcoming memoir obtained by The Washington Post.

President Trump’s view of the world was shaped by his desire during childhood to avoid his father’s disapproval, according to the niece, Mary L. Trump, whose book is by turns a family history and a psychological analysis of her uncle.

But she writes that as Donald matured, his father came to envy his son’s “confidence and brazenness,” and his seemingly insatiable desire to flout rules and conventions, traits that brought them closer together as Donald became the right-hand man to the family real estate business.

Mary Trump’s father, Fred Jr. — the president’s older brother — died of an alcohol-related illness when she was 16 years old in 1981. President Trump told The Post last year that he and his father both pushed Fred Jr. to try to go into the family business, which Trump said he now regrets.

The memoir chronicles Fred Jr.’s fruitless efforts to earn his father’s respect as an employee, and how his younger brother Donald reliably ridiculed him as a failure who spent too much time following his passion of aviation, and not enough on the family business.

Donald escaped his father’s contempt, Mary Trump writes, because “his personality served his father’s purpose. That’s what sociopaths do: they co-opt others and use them toward their own ends — ruthlessly and efficiently, with no tolerance for dissent or resistance.”

The book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” became an instant bestseller based on advance orders, underscoring the intense interest among the public about the forces that shaped the man who became president. Mary Trump, 55, has a doctoral degree in clinical psychology.

Kellyanne Conway, White House counselor, told reporters Tuesday that President Trump loved his late brother and always speaks favorably of him. Of the president and his niece, Conway said, “He’s not her patient, he’s her uncle….As for books generally, obviously they’re not fact checked, nobody’s under oath.”

The president, Mary Trump says, is a product of his domineering father and was acutely aware of avoiding the scorn that Fred Sr. heaped on the older brother, called Freddy. “By limiting Donald’s access to his own feelings and rendering many of them unacceptable, Fred perverted his son’s perception of the world and damaged his ability to live in it.”

Trump pressured his alcoholic brother about his career. Now he says he has regrets.

From an early age, Mary Trump writes, the future president demonstrated a willingness to cheat and a penchant for ridicule, once telling a neighborhood girl how “disappointed” he was by where she attended boarding school.

Donald delighted in tormenting his younger brother, Robert, whom he perceived as weaker. Donald repeatedly hid his brother’s favorite toys, a set of Tonka trucks he received for Christmas, and pretended he didn’t know where they were. When Robert threw a tantrum, “Donald threatened to dismantle the trucks in front of him if he didn’t stop crying.”

After graduating from military school and living at home with his parents and commuting to Fordham University, Donald decided to apply to the University of Pennsylvania, which he perceived as a more prestigious school, but worried his grades alone wouldn’t win him entry.

Mary Trump says that Donald’s sister, Maryanne, “had been doing his homework for him,” but that she couldn’t take standardized tests in his place. To hedge his bets, Mary Trump writes, Donald “enlisted a smart kid with a reputation for being a good test taker, to take his SATs for him. Donald, who never lacked for funds, paid his buddy well.”

For years, Donald Trump said that his admittance to what was then called the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania was proof that he was a “super genius.” The Post reported last year that the admissions officer who interviewed Trump was a close friend of Fred Jr., that the majority of applicants to the school were admitted at that time, and that he did not see any evidence that Trump was a “super genius.”

Mary Trump writes that her grandfather’s children routinely lied to him but for different reasons. For her father, “lying was defensive — not simply a way to circumvent his father’s disapproval or to avoid punishment, as it was for the others, but a way to survive.”

For her uncle Donald, however, “lying was primarily a mode of self-aggrandizement meant to convince other people he was better than he actually was,” Trump writes. [Continue reading…]

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