One of the best books I've read this past year is "Dear America: Who's Driving the Bus?" by Linda Goudsmit (Contrapoint Publishing). I would recommend it to anyone who wants to understand school shootings, millions of abortions, fatherless homes, the Deep State, today's social chaos, and just about any other new millennium societal problem. I wish I had read the book before I married... certainly before I had children. It would be great input for a first-time voter, too.
As Goudsmit explains it, the "Bus" is you. It's me. It's the narcissistic amoral teenager who killed 10 and injured 10 people in Santa Fe, Texas last week; it is the narcissistic amoral teenager who has been charged with 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the February 14 shootings in Parkland, FL. Donald Trump, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and all familiar political names have a "Bus." Each of the treasonous Deep State participants who think they know better than the people what's good for America has a "Bus." It is who is carried on each of our busses that make the Never Trumpers think they have the right to undo the results of a democratically-elected President and try to force him by crook and hook to leave office – a coup of which any third world dictator would approve. The "Bus" is each individual liberal who thinks decisions are best made with emotions rather than logical facts and truth — and the "Bus" is each conservative who disagrees.
Goudsmit explains that each of us carries within us the personal hurts and emotional traumas suffered at various times of our lives – mostly from childhood. These personalities, buried so deeply within each of us that they are often totally unknown to us, are passengers on our individual busses. We are unaware that these personalities live within us. When life circumstances create a mirror-like threat that shouts "danger" to one of these trauma-induced personalities from childhood, they often try to take control of the way in which we respond to the perceived threat. If our adult identity chooses to let the emotionally traumatized childhood personality dictate our response to the perceived threat, a child is driving our bus.
Soldiers who suffer PTSD are good examples of how trauma suffered as adults can impact behavior when circumstances sound an alarm. Goudsmit provides the example of a soldier traumatized in battle who returns home and, upon hearing a traffic helicopter overhead perceives he is still on the battlefield and is under attack. Or, he sees a truck on the road and perceives it as an enemy convoy. He may hear a loud noise and react as a soldier on the battlefield rather than an adult civilian relaxing at home whose wife just dropped a large pot on the kitchen floor. He is under attack only in his mind but if he allows the soldier personality which perceives it is under attack to dominate his adult civilian reality he will behave as a soldier in battle who, in reality, is a civilian in a peaceful setting. People may be hurt if he is unable to acquire a reality-based sense of time. He needs the civilian that he is, not the soldier that he was, to drive his "Bus."
We all drive our own busses and the passengers we carry are the various personalities we've picked up on our journey through life.
Did you know that from the moment of birth, infants are not only helpless and dependent, they are totally self-absorbed? As Goudsmit puts it:
"We exist in a state of fusion, unable to distinguish self from other. The task of childhood is to emerge from this state of total narcissism; the method is learning. The child slowly learns to become an adult by gradually relinquishing the total self-absorption of infancy. The child learns to identify self by discovering the reality of other. The objective is to grow up and become a responsible adult able to care for another human being so that the cycle of life can continue."
Once we understand the task of childhood is to emerge from the state of total narcissism (which says "I am everything and everything is me") through a process of learning, it should be easy to understand that the job of a parent is to teach the child that others exist in the world who have equal rights to live their lives. If how they want to express their growth experience brings no harm to the self or to the other, the child must accept the other's right to do so. The parent's job is to be done as lovingly as possible but it must be done or the child will never mature into a healthy, happy adult.
And therein lay the core of the problem we have in America.
Goudsmit's book deals with dozens of issues and explains common sense reasons why so many Americans who are chronologically adult are letting their psychological child drive their "Bus." It would take a book to explain the value of this work. The author makes clear that the primary problem of American society and politics is narcissism... adults who have never gotten past the "I want it, I want it now, give it to me" stage of childhood. As she says: "Society must realize that it is time to say no to the adult narcissists among us if we are to preserve a civilized way of life in America."
Those who think that cleaning the swamp will solve our nation's problems need to think again. Who is there to replace James Comey and Robert Mueller and Rod Rosenstein, Christopher Wray, Andrew McCabe, Bruce Ohr, Sally Yates, John Brennan, Peter Strzok, Loretta Lynch, and all the others? Another group of narcissists who were raised by the same social scientists who believe emotions are more important than the intellect... those who approve of parents giving their authority to raise their children to government, that's who. It is a problem we, as a total society, must recognize and work to correct.
In my February 25th News With Views article that asked if public school shootings were being used as a tool so guns can be taken from the hands of American citizens I pointed out the importance of character. I perceive lack of character to be the villain in school shootings. It is also the villain in school boards, law enforcement and legislators who are unable to solve the problem without removing all guns from all American hands. Mrs. Goudsmit points out in her book why problems exist in getting those with character within the ranks of executive management at our intelligence agencies and the Department of Justice and within our Congress: The people who fill these positions never shed their narcissistic, childish traits... never became adults. Children will always give in to the lure of power. One of the most difficult parts of growing to adulthood is the development of character that provides sufficient personal strength to avoid the pitfalls of power abuse that is destructive to others.
When you think of what is required to be a politician it makes a great deal of sense. Narcissists have never psychologically grown to be adults and are children who may be highly-developed intellectually and may hold enormously influential positions. Emotionally, however, they are very underdeveloped. Think for a moment about the kind of personality required to stand in front of large groups of people and tell them why they are the best person to cast their vote for in a coming election. It often takes a narcissist. It takes one to pick up the telephone and call strangers to ask for money to fund their political campaign, too. No wonder we have so many narcissists in Washington, D.C.
It takes a narcissist to think he or she has a right to ignore their vow to uphold the Constitution of the United States and replace the laws that flows from it with his or her own ideas. They totally overlook the blood of America's founders required to write the Constitution and made it sacrosanct for those who would in the future be elected to office to represent the people of this nation. When you see a politician who will not support Donald Trump's announced objectives but has a political party responsibility to do so, you see before you a narcissist. Why? Because no matter your personal beliefs, no matter your political party, he is the person a majority of the people chose to be the President of this nation! When they insult President Trump, they insult us and they violate their Oath of Office.
"What about Donald Trump?" All liberals and progressives will ask that question. "Isn't he a narcissist? He's an egomaniac!"
One of the things I learned during the twenty years I researched the attitudes of affluent people is this: People who achieve at high levels in life attain a form of self confidence that is often misperceived as egotism. It is certainly misunderstood by those who have not achieved high levels of success because they have not had the opportunity to learn the lessons that come with experience. High achievers have earned their right to a personality that suggests great success because they have achieved at high levels. Those who have not achieved at high levels perceive the attitude as egomania when, instead, it is merely a reflection of their life experiences. That is not to say high achievers do not exhibit their egos periodically. It simply explains that egotism displayed by a very successful person has been earned and is often misunderstood.
By the way, to "achieve at high levels" means becoming highly successful while risking your own personal assets. It does not mean becoming successful because of money left to you by a successful family or by risking the assets of investors, partners, taxpayers, or anyone else's assets. There are many successful people who attain great success, but "attaining" and "achieving" are two different things. Politicians "attain." Most corporate executives do, too. Entrepreneurs usually "achieve."
Linda Goudsmit's book should be read by every parent, politician, military officer, and corporate executive. It especially should be read by all millennials (who probably won't learn much from it because so many of them are infected with childhood narcissism).
The last words of wisdom by Goudsmit I will share are these: "How do we achieve a civilized way of life? A civilized society requires its chronologically adult citizens to be developed emotionally. It demands a public and private commitment to the growth process of its children."
If our children were being exposed to the growth process that eliminates the narcissism with which they were born, there would be no Santa Fe, Texas; there would be no Parkland, Florida. There would be no Deep State (which I have decided to call a non-constitutional country surreptitiously built within a constitutional country against the will of the people).
© 2018 Marilyn Barnewall – All Rights Reserved
Author Email: [email protected]
Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall began her career in 1956 as a journalist with the Wyoming Eagle in Cheyenne. During her 20 years (plus) as a banker and bank consultant, she wrote extensively for The American Banker, Bank Marketing Magazine, Trust Marketing Magazine, was U.S. Consulting Editor for Private Banker International (London/Dublin), and other major banking industry publications. She has written seven non-fiction books about banking and taught private banking at Colorado University for the American Bankers Association. She has authored seven banking books, one dog book, and two works of fiction (about banking, of course). She has served on numerous Boards in her community. Barnewall is the former editor of The National Peace Officer Magazine and as a journalist has written guest editorials for the Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News and Newsweek, among others. On the Internet, she has written for NewsWithViews.com, World Net Daily, Christian Business Daily, Business Reform, and others. She has been quoted in Time, Forbes, Wall Street Journal and other national and international publications. She can be found in Who's Who in America, Who's Who of American Women, Who's Who in Finance and Business, and Who's Who in the World.