A disturbing number of women have come forward and accused Donald Trump of sexual assault and harassment in the past few weeks. The claims range from groping (ick) to ogling teen beauty pageant contestants while they were changing (seriously gross) to full-on sexual assault. Trump is denying the allegations, no surprise, but some new research could hurt his case.
A study published in the latest issue of Violence Against Women suggests that a certain personality trait is linked to sexual aggression.
Want to guess what it is?
That's right. Narcissism.
The word's been casually -- and frequently -- used to describe Trump since he won the Republican nomination. And you don't have to be a psychiatrist to figure out what it means.
People who are narcissistic have a self-inflated sense of importance. A deep need for admiration. A fragile ego. A lack of empathy for others. They monopolize conversations. Belittle people they view as inferior. And when they don't receive the special treatment they feel they deserve, they get pissed.
Did you just have a flashback to this entire election season? Déjà vu, man.
Of course, it's not just Trump who seems to be living directly by the narcissist's playbook. It's many other men as well. But how, exactly, do you go from annoying egomaniac who thinks they're awesome to someone who perpetrates sexual violence?
The distance between the two is closer than you may think.
"The root of narcissism is rage," explains Jeanette Raymond, PhD, a licensed psychologist in Los Angeles. "Dominance over someone physically is .... an attempt to say 'You're supposed to pay attention to me and care in ways that feel good, but you don't, so I'm going to hurt you and make you feel my pain.'"
Narcissism isn't even necessarily a personality trait, Raymond notes, but "a demonstration of the insatiable hunger and sense of entitlement that they put out there, only to find more disappointment when the hunger is not satisfied."
But that begs the question -- is it ever possible to have a relationship with a narcissist? We don't mean a president-citizen relationship, although that would be bad enough, but one where you're partners, raising a family together?
Sorry to burst the rom-com bubble, but someone who's a narcissistic prick before you tie the knot won't magically change once you do.
"By definition you can't have a healthy relationship with a narcissist, because they're not healthy," Raymond explains. "They're stuck in their development and will bring you down to where they are."
More from CafeMom: Good Job! How You're Turning Your Kid into a Narcissist
Narcissists are so obsessed with themselves that they can't really see you as a separate person. They'll value you only according to how well you meet their needs. And forget about empathy; they honestly don't get what it's like to be in your shoes.
The crux of this problem, Raymond says, is why you're attracted to a narcissist in the first place.
True, they can be charming as hell. But sometimes people are drawn to narcissists because one or both of their parents were that way, Raymond explains. "They're still trying to win them over and get their needs met -- have a do-over -- but when they realize it's more of the same, if not worse, then they want out."
Chances are you'll keep repeating the pattern until you get some professional help. "Therapy will break those ties by offering a different experience of a good and healthy relationship," says Raymond.
And the narcissist in your life SHOULD start therapy, too, to learn to priortize self-compassion over self-esteem.
Unfortunately, they're not going to think they need it.
If you've been a victim of sexual assault, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at (800) 656-HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault provider in your area. You can also get help online 24/7 at online.rainn.org
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