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A Warning to Trump Supporters From the Daughter of a Man Just Like Him

"I write all of this to you because the man you voted for in the hopes (or expectation rather) that he will support you and protect you has an uncanny resemblance to my father- so much so that my night terrors have returned."
Christina McDowell: Abandoned by her narcissistic father

Christina McDowell: Abandoned by her narcissistic father

I know how this story ends.

I was 8 years old the first time I flew in a private plane. I was raised in a 10,000 square foot mansion, the kind of home you see on celebrity reality tv shows. Wall Street types came over for dinner to suck up to my parents more times than I can remember. I hung around the sons and daughters of oil tycoons, movie studio executives, politicians, and media moguls - but as anyone who has actually spent time with children, knows they sniff out bullshit from a mile away. A part of me knew something was wrong - I never felt like I- or my family fit in. It wouldn't be until I turned 18 that the truth would reveal itself when the FBI arrested my father for fraud. 

Most people want more than they already have. My parents both grew up inside of hard working, middle class families. Never doubt a child's truth. I always doubted mine. I became my father’s crony (sound familiar?) As I wrote about this in an open letter to Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio and the "Wolf of Wall Street" three years ago that went viral, and later in my memoir, “After Perfect,” I once believed everything my father told me- why wouldn't I? I loved him and it was his job to support and protect me. 

I write all of this to you because the man you voted for in the hopes (or expectation rather) that he will support you and protect you has an uncanny resemblance to my father- so much so that my night terrors have returned. I wake up sweating, disoriented, crying. If you don't have experience with pathological narcissists and sociopaths, let me share my experience with you: My father was the kind of man who told me he loved me, that all my hopes and dreams would come true, that he would "make our family great again" once he came home from prison. He has the same cadence as your President- elect, the same finger pointing; he raised three feminist daughters while putting his beautiful wife on a pedestal; he has a miraculous and convincing way of selling you his version of our corrupt government. 

He always told me the reason for his imprisonment was that it was "the government's fault, Christina, the government lies!" He finally did come home to "make our family great again," and that's when we hit our biggest bottom. My father stole my identity and took out $100,000 worth of credit card debt in my name to save himself. He tried to get me dual citizenship for business deals he was working on illegally overseas (so that he could buy me that house in Beverly Hills and “make our family great again”!) Well my mother left him, and the government arrested him – again. Oh, and then the economy crashed let’s not forget. He acted above the law like your President-elect (who has defrauded students, discriminated against residents, bragged about sexual assault, and still refuses to release his tax returns). 

There were days I didn't have enough money to eat; days I didn't think I'd ever find another job, and days I had thoughts of suicide because of broken promises and lies. I know what it’s like to be poor. I've been supporting myself since my late teens; I don't have some hidden inheritance anywhere. I haven't seen or spoken to my father in almost 10 years. He abandoned me. All that he promised me was for the sake of himself, his own agenda. 

The truth is, I am the middle class— my medium income today is one of middle class. I am proud of that. But I didn't vote for Donald Trump. I want you guys to know, that when that day comes, when you discover that the jobs your President-elect is promising you will never ever come back, let me repeat that: will never ever come back, that we cannot re-create the past but only a future, I will be here for you. Because I have been there. I have been fooled, duped, betrayed. I get that you're scared, that you can't pay your medical bills. But the betrayal has already begun. He's trying to privatize health care- that’s a billionaire boys club, if you didn’t already know. We’re not welcome there. But I am here to let you know that I survived. It wasn't easy. There was hell to pay. I had to rise up. I had to cut him off, throw him out, and impeach him, if you will, from my life. And by the way, it wasn't denial that took me down it was the goddamn truth. As feminist Gloria Steinem once said, the truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off." Buckle up, Trump supporters. You're about to hit your biggest bottom.

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