During my clinical practice, family therapy was probably the most difficult task that I had to tackle. I’m sure this was because I, too, grew up in a very dysfunctional family and with these families I had to stare at my own unresolved issues stemming from growing up in an enmeshed family.
But the dysfunctionality of families is also present in all groups and is usually kept beneath the surface by the “structure” of the group which dictates what will be allowed into “reality.” Just as with a dysfunctional family, the “identified patient” of a group will often “go off the reservation” and begin to articulate with word and deed the hidden secrets of the group. And this brings me to the delightful comedy of the current Republican Party’s campaign for the presidential nomination in 2016 and the “Donald Trump Show.” Mr. Trump for the past three months has been almost daily “acting out” by boldly and brazenly voicing what the establishment of his party tacitly embraces but would never admit to. For example, he has taken overtly racist and misogynist positions and when attacked has merely “doubled down” and thrived as a result. This is because the base of his party is delighted with a politician who is “telling it like it is” and is promising to “Make America Great Again.””
The “fun part” of this is to watch the Republican establishment squirm and begin to take pot shots at “the Donald” all of which would give most men and women pause and lead them to “chill out.” But Trump refuses to back down and as a result continues to prosper in the popularity polls. Yesterday one of the “siblings” in his dysfunctional family, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal…tired of being almost totally ignored…decided to push things a step further and pointedly addressed the core issues of Trump, calling him a “narcissist” and “egotist,” declaring at one point that Trump’s half-hearted and awkward efforts at posing as a Christian were totally insincere.” For example, Jindal declared, “We know he does not read the Bible, because he is not in it.”
Trump is the Republican Party’s “enfant terrible” and is functioning as their “bull in the China closet”…and they can’t stop him as the base of the party loves it! Yes, he is “telling the truth” that the party establishment will not tell but doing so without any respect for decorum and respect. He is the classic narcissistic and does not know that “Truth, like love and sleep, resent approaches that are too steep.” (W. H. Auden)
Let me emphasize that this “comedy” is merely an illustration of the “comedy” of daily life. We all live in families, including groups, and each of them have their “secrets” which are carefully guarded, kept buried in the collective “unconsciousness.” But as long as a group…or individual…fails to acknowledge the dark morass of the unconsciousness, it will continue to simmer and control their decision-making. As Carl Jung succinctly noted, “What we resist, persists.”