Donald Trump has been a money maker, story breaker and career-defining media sensation ever since he became the Republican candidate for the 2016 election back in July of last year.
He has provided a litany and seemingly inexorable torrent of stories, material and retweets for the media that have been invigorated at a time when the very notion of media was becoming a blur. With subscriptions waning, print presses shutting down, and a very dismal outlook for journalists and writers alike because of blogging sensations, pre-President Trump, has Donald saved the media as we know it today?
Courtesy of Raw Story
If he has, he probably won't ever recognize his contribution publicly, as currently the two are going through a very public and nasty break-up, leaving nobody unscathed.
The five stages of grief for a break up of this magnitude would usually read 1. Denial; 2. Anger; 3. Bargaining; 4. Depression; 5. Acceptance. Only, this is not your typical break-up. And perhaps neither party is suffering a loss to grieve from - they are however suffering a collapse in a relationship that will have ramifications throughout the world and will cement Trump's presidency (if it isn't already) into presidential history as one of the most torrid since the conception of The United States of America.
It's no secret that this relationship has been tested before - it is one that is constantly fraught with difficulties, deceits and betrayals. It had its ups and downs, breaks, and has needed outside counseling - but somehow, through thick and thin, the media and the White House have always emerged on the other side - a unified whole, a well-oiled working machine. The relationship is one that, like many, depends on honesty, communication and a deft belief in one another to provide substance, care and sometimes even some love, for the other half. The two have been known, like a regular couple, to celebrate each others achievements, and chastise (even berate) each others downfalls. Perhaps the media is the more critical of bodies in this particular love affair - but hey, there's always one.
It was Nixon's presidency when last the relationship was as tenuous as it is now, ironically, being that he was the president that gave the media their very own room in the White House - the briefing room, a move that in a regular relationship would term "moving in." It was Roosevelt who first initiated an office for White house reporters, but it was the man with whom (before Trump) had the most difficult and sensational relationship with the media that allowed them into his house and gave them let's say, some wardrobe space - room for a toothbrush, even though they were always fighting and he too called them liars, at the end of the day - he made the first move.
Nixon assumed a similar language to that of Trump's in the past week, calling on media outlets to reveal sources - disavowing 'leakers' and really tearing into the core values of his other half in this equation. He of course was eventually brought down by the infamous duo Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein and their confidential informant 'deep throat' and some would propose this is why the current president is calling for sources to be revealed - because he's arrived there's a scandal afoot of watergate proportions. In order to hide or deflect from this worry, he has used abusive language, publicly defamed the media and chastized individuals for their Washington reporting.
I wouldn't go so far as to say the media has been hurt, by their companion's words - they have a thick skin. It's the president who has been the more vulnerable and easily moved by taunting matches - you might go so far as to say that in this relationship, he resembles the stereotypical 'hysterical woman.'
His reactions are volatile, presumptuous and completely out of control. This week, members of the media were left out of a gaggle(a short, off camera press briefing) in an unimpressive and belligerent show of force from the White House, in what appears to many and myself to be the president resigning himself to the fourth stage of grief:
Keeping some members of the press out of the gaggle - kicking a news agency or two out of a White House briefing has absolutely no effect. It's a sad and frankly disturbing tactic and I would go so far as to say it's an indication that Mr. Trump is deep into the depression stage, now remaining a recluse from parties. He has decided to opt out of the Correspondents' dinner - an event at which the pair usually shine; dance together; make fun of each other publicly, and well, parade themselves as a happy couple even just for one evening. Trump's refusal to go could be read as a sign of anxiety, a symptom of depression - knowing that on the night in question he would be the butt of perhaps one too many jokes.
I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2017
It's difficult to pinpoint at what stage of grief the media are at in this particular break-up. They are indeed a much larger and more multi-faceted body than the president; their personality and intellect on an entirely different scale; their ability to digest a loss or grievance, significantly superior to that of their White House companion. I would say, they reached acceptance at Fake News and are currently past the stages of grief and into the rebound phase, or, point of attack. While there may be no reasoning with the gruff secretary Spicer or talking Ms. Conway down, there is someone that can be reasoned with, that will listen. The lovechild of this pugnacious pair...
For me, it's the most important factor in this break up - as in many. The child. Who gets the child?
The child here of course, is America. It is temperamental, wild, oftentimes outrageous, and in need of a stable, competent parent at. all. times. Over the next weeks and months the break-up will no doubt continue to tear the two parties asunder until under duress there will perhaps come a tipping point, similar to that in 1974. History determines that it is the media - the free, outspoken and imperturbable press that come out winning in this particular scenario.
Marriage can be a tightrope act: when everything is in balance, it is bliss and you feel safe, but once things get shaky, you are unsure about next steps. Add outside forces into the equation like kids, work, finances or a personal crisis and now there's a strong chance that you'll need extra support to keep you from falling.
My husband and I are no strangers to misunderstandings, which are expected in any relationship, but after 7 years of marriage, we were really being tested on how strong our bond was and it had nothing to do with the "7-year itch"--it was when I was diagnosed with PTSD. As a survivor of child sexual abuse who is a perfectionist, I felt guilty about not being the "perfect partner" in our relationship; frustrated that I might be triggered while being intimate; and worried about being seen as broken or weak because of panic attacks. My defense mechanism is to not need anyone, yet my biggest fear is often abandonment.
I am not a trained therapist or relationship expert, but since 2016, I have learned a lot about managing survivorship and PTSD triggers while being in a heterosexual marriage, so I am now sharing some of my practical relationship advice to the partners of survivors to support my fellow female survivors who may be struggling to have a stronger voice in their relationship. Partners of survivors have needs too during this process, but before those needs can be met, they need to understand how to support their survivor partner, and it isn't always an easy path to navigate.
To my fellow survivor sisters in romantic relationships, I write these tips from the perspective of giving advice to your partner, so schedule some quality time to talk with your boo and read these tips together.
I challenge you both to discuss if my advice resonates with you or not! Ultimately, it will help both of you develop an open line of communication about needs, boundaries, triggers and loving one another long-term.
1. To Be or Not to Be Sexy: Your survivor partner probably wants to feel sexy, but is ambivalent about sex. She was a sexual object to someone else and that can wreak havoc on her self-esteem and intimate relationships. She may want you to find her sexy and yet not want to actually be intimate with you. Talk to her about her needs in the bedroom, what will make her feel safe, what will make her feel sexy but not objectified, and remind her that you are attracted to her for a multitude or reasons--not just because of her physical appearance.
2. Safe Words = Safer Sex: Believe it or not, your partner's mind is probably wondering while you are intimate (yep, she isn't just thinking about how amazing you are, ha!). Negative thoughts can flash through her mind depending on her body position, things you say, how she feels, etc. Have a word that you agree on that she can say if she needs a break. It could be as simple as "pause," but it needs to be respected and not questioned so that she knows when it is used, you won't assume that you can sweet talk her into continuing. This doesn't have to be a bedroom only rule. Daytime physical touch or actions could warrant the safe word, as well.
3. Let Her Reconnect: Both partners need attention in a relationship, but sometimes a survivor is distracted. Maybe she was triggered that day, feels sad or her defense mechanisms are up because you did something to upset her and you didn't even know it (and she doesn't know how to explain what happened). If she is distant, ask her if she needs some time alone. Maybe she does, maybe she doesn't, but acknowledging that you can sense some internal conflict will go a long way. Sometimes giving her the space to reconnect with herself before expecting her to be able to focus on you/your needs is just what she needs to be reminded that she is safe and loved in this relationship.
4. Take the 5 Love Languages(r) Test: If you haven't read this book yet or taken the test, please at the very least take the free quiz to learn your individual love language. My top love language was Touch and Words of Affirmation before remembering my abuse and thereafter it became Acts of Service and Words of Affirmation. Knowing how your survivor partner prefers to be shown love goes a long way and it will in turn help your needs be met, as they might be different.
5. Be Patient: I know it might be frustrating at times and you can't possibly totally understand what your survivor partner is going through, but patience goes a long way. If your survivor partner is going through the early stages of PTSD, she feels like a lot of her emotional well-being is out of her control. Panic attacks are scary and there are triggers everywhere in society. For example, studies have shown that sexual references are made anywhere from 8 to 10 times during one hour of prime time television (source: Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media). My husband is now on high alert when we watch TV and film. He quickly paused a Game of Thrones episode when we started season 2 because he realized a potentially violent sexual scene was coming up, and ultimately we turned it off and never watched the series again. He didn't make a big deal about it and I was relieved.
6. Courage to Heal, Together: The Courage to Heal book has been around for many years and it supported me well during the onset of my first flashbacks of my abuse. At the back of the book is a partners section for couples to read together. I highly recommend it so that you can try to understand from a psychological, physical and emotional stand point what your survivor partner is grappling with and how the two of you can support one another on the path of healing and enjoying life together.