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Trump: The Shadow of the American Unconscious

It's not just HIM, It's US

The Electoral College, a structure built by America many years ago, has decided on the next President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. Like every other public figure he has become an Icon, which represents something of the American consciousness. He represents our shadow.

It’s hard to see what’s in the shadow, because the shadow is the unconscious. We do not know it, except by its external representations. Then typically we blame the external representation and continue to fail to accept that what we see outside of us is also inside of us. But it is not until we can accept, begin to love and utilize for conscious consumption the energies of the unconscious that we will be whole persons. Rather we will be split in half, with one part of us operating consciously and the other operating unconsciously. The election of a President, which has caused such visceral responses from the majority of the American public, is an opportunity for us to become conscious of what is hidden from us in the collective American unconscious.

So that we may be clear of exactly what we are talking about, below you will find some of the words the media has used over time to describe Trump, compared to the characteristic unconscious acting out of the American psyche:

Wealthy and famous

The two most important indicators of success, for most of America, are wealth and fame. Even as early as grade school our children are telling us, showing us that they dream only of wealth and fame. Somewhere along the line we stopped being people who wanted to live from an authentic inner base, and became people who wanted to live into an image.

Image conscious (i.e., fake tan, comb-over)

The citizens of America are so very much invested in image that we spend far more on cosmetics, exercise and age-erasing products than we do on therapy, education and other activities meant to make us more self-aware.

Speaks first, thinks later (if at all)

All one has to do to measure the critical thinking of the American public is to interview people on the streets of America. Not only do we not have the facts about history, science, religion and other important, even critical, areas, we don’t know how to think through any conversation to come to important decisions. Rather, like Trump, we just do what will win the approval and applause of those who like us.


We are a society which does not truly support the love of Self. Rather we support the love of image. And we are constantly looking in the mirror of the selfie to see if we measure to the socially prescribed standard.


Because it is true that we are always trying to measure ourselves to fit a standard, we actually think that there is a standard—ergo differentness from the standard does not get accepted. All kinds of marginalized persons fit under this category of differentness, from LGBT folks to Muslims. We are frightened of difference and we do not want to look in the mirror to find it.

Andrea Mathews
Source: Andrea Mathews


We live in a rape culture, where women in particular are singled out as objects who can be molested at any time by anyone, just because they are in the room. Not only do men objectify women in this way, but women objectify themselves, seeing themselves as images only—images that must match the standard—which is made of objectification. Women who step out of this assigned role, are considered to be bitches, and are ostracized, treated with hostility and hated.

Lazy and distracted

We are a lazy people, who want things to come to us right now, and without much effort. And we are easily distracted. Put some hot news item in front of us, and we’ve already forgotten that last week Trump was talking about grabbing women’s body parts.

Lacking empathy

While we are a nation that knows how to give money to various issues and populations, we are a nation that, in general, lacks empathy for each other. Rather we tend to judge each other based on the need for self-approbation. We want others to show us that we can self-approve. When we judge them, we feel better about ourselves. The mommy wars, the bullying, the constant critiquing of how others look, walk, talk, think, act—these are the myriad ways in which we demonstrate that we lack empathy.

The above are just some of the ways that President Elect Trump carries for us an image of ourselves that we can look to in order become a more whole people. Once we are willing to look at him, as he represents hidden aspects of ourselves, we can begin to grow. We can begin now to look within to engage with the inner core of who we are and thereby develop self-empathy, and an accurate self-image that we can begin to live out in authenticity. Rather than spending our time hating all of those people (whoever they are for us), we can begin to self-love,

Andrea Mathews
Source: Andrea Mathews

self-correct, and rely upon our deepest authenticity, rather than image, to carry us through.

More from Andrea Mathews LPC, NCC
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