Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man by Mary L. Trump, Ph.D. (Simon & Schuster, 2020)

 

I admit it. I couldn’t wait to get my copy of Too Much and Never Enough by President Donald Trump’s niece, Mary Trump. Mary, whose father, Fred, was Donald’s  older brother, was shunned by her grandfather and cut out of the elder Trump’s will, has earned a Ph.D. from the Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies. She has taught graduate courses in trauma, psychopathology, and development psychology. Therefore, it is fair to say that Mary Trump is qualified to study her uncle’s personality traits and make a qualified diagnosis regarding his behavior and psyche.

The unpleasant aspects of Donald Trump’s personality, alleges Mary, can be traced to his father, Fred Trump, whose emotional distance from his sons made each of them vie for their Dad’s respect and love. Mary writes, “Having been abandoned by his mother for at least a year, and having his father fail not only to meet his needs but to make him feel safe or loved, valued or mirrored, Donald suffered deprivations that would scar him for life.”  The emotional void in which Donald grew up, asserts Mary, resulted in displays of “narcissism, bullying, and grandiosity.”

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Mary Trump goes so far as to label her grandfather  a “sociopath,” a malady not as rare as many people think.  “Symptoms of sociopathy include a lack of empathy, a facility for lying, an indifference to right and wrong, abusive behavior and a lack of interest in the rights of others,” the author explains. When the elder Trump’s wife, also named Mary, fell ill and had to have an emergency hysterectomy, it affected her both physically and emotionally, causing her to be vacant in the lives of her children. Thus, the children, particularly the youngest, had no framework for developing morals.

Although Fred Sr. knew that his two youngest sons, Donald and Fred, suffered greatly from the withdrawal of their mother, “The greater their distress, the more Fred rebuffed them.” Instead of giving comfort and warmth, he continued to be distant from the boys. “For Donald and Robert, ‘needing’ became equated with humiliation, despair, and hopelessness,” states Mary. As a result of the emotional void, Donald continued to lie, bully, and fail to empathize with other people.

When the family found out that Donald was running for President of the United States, their immediate reaction was not to take it seriously. However, Trump’s sister, Maryanne called Donald “a clown,” a fading reality show star. His siblings and other family members could not believe that a man who had experienced five bankruptcies, made racist statements in public, and despised women, had a chance of being elected. Other then Donald’s wife, Melania, and his children, no one in the family endorsed his political campaign and no one celebrated his win.

In Mary’s analysis she writes, “The atmosphere of division my grandfather created in the Trump family is the water in which Donald has always swum, and division continues to benefit him at the expense of everybody . . . It’s weakening our ability to be kind or believe in forgiveness, concepts that have never had any meaning for him.”  Her uncle, she reveals, doesn't know anything about history, constitutional principles, geopolitics, or diplomacy either. 

Ultimately, Mary Trump’s purpose in publishing Too Much and Never Enough, on the cusp of the November election is obvious. She is taking an opportunity to let the American public see Donald Trump as she sees him.

Here’s the thing, though. If you are a Donald Trump fan, most likely you will put down her understanding of her uncle, as lies. Just lies. However, if you detest the present president, Mary’s book will just confirm what you know already about him. 

Too Much and Never Enough is not a tell all about the Trump campaign and tenure in office. It should be viewed as an analysis of a dysfunctional family whose lack of functionality on any level has put this country into chaos.