I am proud to announce that a Special Edition of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology has been published and I was lead editor and a contributor. The journal is titled “Addressing the Elephant in the Room: Stories of Ethical Activism in the Age of Trump.”
Thanks to my insightful and diligent co-editors Steve Wruble, M.D.; and Bandy X. Lee, M.D., and to our contributors for their personal narratives about difficult decisions leading them to resist Donald Trump and his dangerous behavior.
Below is an abstract for my article, which is titled “In Praise of Indignation.” The full article can be accessed here for a fee.
As a survivor of interpersonal violence and expert in recovery from relational abuse, I instinctively reacted with indignation when I recognized Trump as an abusive personality. Indignation advocates righteous anger in opposition to immoral, disgusting, or unfair behavior aimed at reducing the dignity of others. Accessing indignation to confront abusers is essential for the health of interpersonal relationships. In the same way, I had a moral obligation to be a truth-teller about Trump in service of the country. Prosocial emotions help manage antisocial behaviors universally judged as nonreciprocal. When Trump’s mental health was first discussed, I predicted it would be frustrating, because the medical model of psychiatry has lost its way in many regards, notably its disavowal of the role of emotions. Evolution designed emotions as essential guides for healthy human relationships. A case formulation model I designed advocates identifying those like Trump as other-blamers—people with low self-worth who manage shame and social downranking by blame-shifting. They are attracted to partners with low self-worth who readily accept blame (self-blamers). The profession should educate on the power of shame, the widespread harms of narcissistic abuse, and help clients access indignation and assertiveness. Moral elements should be reintegrated into psychology.