There is a certain type of personality that I find very difficult to be around, and that is the self-aggrandizing blowhard. We all know the type – the guy who barges into places, talking too loudly, mostly about himself and his real or imagined accomplishments, and who only values the people around him for what they can do for him. Look at me, be impressed by me, you matter little to me! Stomping around like Godzilla through a bed of tea roses, these people lack any sort of humility, sensitivity or perspective.
I worked for one of these people for many years. Fans of our show and Facebook friends of mine know the stories I have told about my Evil Overlords at my previous day program, and he was the head of the Overlords. What a difficult man, in so many ways. If you told a funny story, he had to tell a story that he imagined was better than yours (even if the rambling conclusion was not always clear, and not always funny). If he gave direction in an unclear way, he would bellow and belittle any attempt at clarification, and you certainly would have your head handed to you for making a mistake. He was the hero of every story he told, the mastermind who knew better than the experts in the room, and could be incredibly spiteful of any attempt to overshadow his “perfection”. Does any of this sound familiar in the current climate?
I suffered a lot of emotional damage at that job, and found that his style of sometimes being beneficent and kind, followed by outrageous bouts of rage and bluster, gave me a type of PTSD. I would silently rage while he would speak to me as if I was a slow child, insulting my intellect and position at the same time. It occurs to me that some of the most unappealing parts of his personality and behavior are mirrored by our current Liar in Chief. I am outraged by the behavior we are all witnessing, but I am also feeling incredibly triggered – reliving some of the more egregious incidents that made me a nervous wreck. It’s hard to parse which is more enraging, the current outrageous daily assaults on Twitter and the daily headlines, or the past unbelievably unprofessional behavior I had to deal with. Either way, I find myself to be in a nearly daily state of anger and despair.
In the old day program, I felt trapped in a job, overseen by a blustering megalomaniac. Today, I feel unable to change anything while watching decisions made by our blustering leader that feel so clearly to be based on lies, unscientific gut feelings, ego, and promises to powerful enemies. That feeling of helplessness mixed with anger washes over me just as it did a few years ago, and I feel physically sick from it. It’s just so similar. Other people saw the behavior of the Evil Overlord, but did nothing to curb his more overbearing behavior for years on end. Good people who could leave did so, and others who were not as able to leave their positions were stifled under the weight of his ego and unchecked power. Now, I see people actively demonstrating and resisting the same kind of monster, and yet no matter how many tea roses get crushed, this Godzilla is still loose in the garden, destroying everything it sees, and no one seems able to stop it. It is soul-crushing to live through it on both a micro-, and now macro- level.