Currently, three convicted criminals are running in the 2018 congressional races as Republicans. Even in the era of Trump, I find this a shocking statement. These are alleged crimes, accusations or arrests, but actual convictions. 

This is proof that the Republican Party and its voters not only tolerate but elevate those who are immoral and violate the law. What was once called the “law-and-order party,” is now the party of blatant and unrepentant law breakers. From the presidency on down, the party is filled with those who exhibit behaviors of corruption, vulgarity and distain for social and legal norms. It is also supported by sycophantic voters and enablers who ignore or even support these illicit behaviors. 

From a psychological standpoint, this is all further evidence (as if we needed it!) that the GOP has become the party of the narcissist, the sociopath, and the authoritarian cult leader who can do no wrong. These may seem like strong labels, but I believe these types of people all exhibit common character traits. They are what I call severe Other-Blamers — toxic types who cannot tolerate shame in a healthy manner, so they learn to blame-shift to others rather than be accountable. 

This article about the “Convict Caucus” highlights behaviors and beliefs of these Other-Blamers. We must all learn to recognize these behaviors in others, especially those we elect to public office, because Other-Blamers are unhealthy in all types of relationships. Some of the toxic behaviors of Other-Blamers include:

— Other-Blamers believe they are above the law. Generally, if a person is convicted of a crime, they should feel guilty and ashamed. Shame tells us that what we did was immoral, and we should slink away and exhibit remorse for our deeds. Instead, these three candidates are parading around proudly, running for office, and saying what they did was was justified or appropriate. 

— Other-Blamers engage in blame-shifting. These GOP criminals are making excuses and attempting to transfer guilt to someone else, rather than being accountable. They are saying that voters should ignore their convictions because law enforcement officials are corrupt, exhibiting a complete lack of accountability for their immoral actions. 

— Other-Blamers like to play the victim. Similar to blame-shifting, this tactic adds in the element of pity:  “Poor me, I’ve been harmed and victimized by liberal prosecutors and Barack Obama. That is who is to blame.” 

— For Other-Blamers, facts don’t matter and are dismissed or ignored. Other-Blamers don’t like facts, because facts can prove them wrong. So anyone who presents evidence that they don’t like is also dismissed as “fake news” or somehow incompetent or having a partisan agenda. 

— Other-Blamers have a pathological tendency to lie. When Donald Trump says at a rally that he supports the rule of law when all his other words and actions says clearly he does not, this can only be judged as a lie. But Other-Blamers are good at lying, because they lie to themselves constantly every day. Blame-shifting requires a constant state of denial and delusion all in an attempt to help the Other-Blamer maintain a belief system that they are perfect and above criticism.

These are just a few of the behaviors that Other-Blamers engage in, but the GOP exhibits these and more on a daily basis. 

It is deeply concerning that so many leaders of a major political party appear to be deeply mentally unwell. They are getting a free pass from the GOP voter for engaging in immoral behaviors that in the past would have kept them from running for office. 

To me, this clearly indicates that GOP voters are also largely Other-Blamers who do not want to be held accountable for their faults. This has frightening implications for our country, because without accountability and the rule of law, we are not going to be able to sustain a democracy. We will continue to slide into autocracy and dictatorship, which are based on a cult of personality — and that personality is one of a malignant narcissist who cannot tolerate shame. 

For more on this topic, check out blogs on Understanding How Narcissistic Traits Relate to Shame Intolerance, and Shame: The Emotion that Drives Trump’s Behaviors and Causes Tyrants, Narcissists, and Sociopaths (Three-Part Series) and Trump and His Followers: A Mutual Admiration Society of Deeply Troubled Psyches

…be kind to yourself

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