I Recognize You


I know how thin your skin, how deep your fear, how great your need for validation.

I know your superior air masks a noxious sense of inferiority.

I know the confusion felt by those who cannot fathom your ability to act appropriately only in circumstances in which you seek the approval and praise of those around you. People you have deemed worthy of your respect by dubious standards, people from whom you need something.

I know you are capable of charming moments that make it seem like behaving badly is a choice you make.

I know how your family can love you, though you are hateful.

I know you will put a strangle hold on your own children to keep yourself from drowning.

I am your children.

As with you, the list of my father’s offenses is inexhaustible.

Most of my life I believed, mistakenly, that if I could put the words together in exactly the right order, I could make him see the harm he does. Decades of attempts by written word, by pleading through tears. He has admitted no wrongdoing.

As with you.

I have not heard a single apology from my father to me or anyone else, when the poor excuse he calls an apology could be pried from him, that didn’t either blame the injured party for their reaction, or someone else entirely.

As with you.

He is not able. Without ability. I thought he was the only one like him. But it’s you, too. To the minutiae. Paper props even. I thought it was only him. But there are others. He is not unique. He is diagnosable.

As. With. You.

Because of my father I don’t need a psychology degree, or to have read the profile of narcissistic personality disorder. I am an expert. I have been inextricably entangled in the study of it my entire life.

My father and you.

Who walk into every room like you own IT, the building, and everyone inside.

Who dominate every setting.

Who glare down every stranger.

Who grow louder and more forceful the more you are at fault.   

Who accuse your accusers of what you have done.

My father and you.

Who require obedience.

Who demand respect but have none.

Who demonize who and what you do not know.

My father and you.

Who are blind beyond your narrow view.

Who bad mouth anyone who doesn’t personify your backward, bigoted ideals.

My father and you.

Who contort to impress those you admire.

Who admire based not on merit but status, perceived might and power.

Whose obsession with money and superficial appearance is so extreme, you publicly brag about and flaunt your money, exaggerate your wealth and decorate your home to resemble a goddamn palace. Gold tinted, and tasteless.

My father and you.

Who express outright by word and deed that you consider anyone who isn’t like you, a lesser human. Unless you’re assigned a Chinese doctor to perform your medical procedure. Then he’s okay, you know, for a Chinese. And women they're great, as long as they look right, serve you, stay in their place where you put them. Not smart enough to be intimidating, or stupid enough to cross you.

My father and you.

Who deny, and project, and divert attention over and over until instead of staying in the fight to convince you of your undeniable wrongdoing, those who call your foul are turned out spinning on their heads, left to try and convince themselves they didn’t only imagine everything they heard you say and saw you do.

My father and you.

Who are always wronged, never wrong.

Who are lonely and miserable.

Who are unable to comprehend your illness, because it is a characteristic of your illness.

My father and you.

Without ability.

You and my father.

I wrote about my father publicly for the first time in October before the election. It was around the time we heard you brag about sexual assault. It triggered in me such a severe reaction I felt I would explode to remain silent. I should qualify here my abuse has not been physical. I couldn’t call the police, or go public with a statement because my father fucked with my mind.  Psychological abuse... doesn’t work like that.

In that one move, I erased him. By choosing to speak out publicly, I demolished the rickety, abuse-tolerant relationship I built with him over my adult years by my one-sided effort. For the sake of taking solace with and defending my fellow citizens against you.

Since the election I study relevant history, policy, civics. I read federal code, excerpts of the constitution and impossibly complicated documents outlining your decades long connections to Russia. I follow authoritarianism experts, scholars, lawyers, investigative journalists. I’ve organized protests. I’ve created an entire website promoting resources dedicated to resisting you. What I will be able to learn quickly is limited, but I already have embedded—in my bones—perhaps the most powerful weapon against you.

I recognize you.

Your methods of abuse have been my life and I am thriving.

I was made for this.

I know how to use you for good. You, are a public example of psychological terror. My public example, all survivors’ example.

What we have suffered intimately, the world now suffers publicly. You, are ours to point at. You, are ours to name.

Elected officials, members of the media, most people have never faced anyone like you. They appeal to you to step up, to behave responsibly, to become presidential—and waste their breath.

I will tell everyone who isn’t yet aware: there is no chance of your hearing their cries. You are only capable of self interest.

I will offer this insight to strangers on the Internet, and at the grocery store, who easily say more kind words to me in passing than my father has ever.

I will keep their attention on what they can do to fight against you and remind them it is futile to get caught up in the details of your unceasing offenses. It is only the pathological pattern of your behavior that matters.

I will help to aim our battle at those with dark motives who have seeped into your favor to undertake obscene acts of hatred on historically marginalized populations.

I know there is no hope for you.

I know you will be your own defeat.

Because I recognize you.

Please visit Not-Up-For-Grabs.org a resource promoting resistance education and activism.