The real reason Donald Trump lies

The president’s greatest ambitions are neither financial nor political — they’re psychological, writes Stephen Grosz

.. Does Trump’s invention feel to you — like it feels to me — a male thing? Let me pose a connection between Trump’s lying and masculinity. Masculinity is complex. For the most part, all of us, male and female, start life loving our mothers. But love is not simple. When a boy loves his mother, he will empathise with her thoughts, feelings and desires. He identifies with her. At times, he will even wish to be her. Because Trump’s in no one’s heart, he wants to be in all our minds One classic study asked three-to-eight-year-old boys and girls whether they wanted to be fathers or mothers when they grew up. Unsurprisingly, boys four or older wanted to become fathers, and girls four or older wanted to become mothers. Three-year-old boys and girls were different. As expected, most of the girls wanted to become mothers. But, unexpectedly — so did the majority of the boys. In other words, for a period of his childhood, a boy will want to be a woman. And it is upon this foundation — the desire to be a woman — that masculinity is built. In our “girls like pink, boys like blue” world, a boy quickly learns that he is expected to feel whole and confident of his masculinity. His feelings may be conflicted, shifting, but he is expected to conceal this internal struggle from others as well as himself. A “sissy”, “mama’s boy” or “wimp” will be shamed and humiliated, sometimes assaulted. To have a masculine identity, a boy must reject what he once loved. The upshot of all this is that a boy’s development leaves him with the fear that there is something feminine in him, that he’s not a real man — at any moment, he can be exposed as a fake. Trump makes heavy use of this fear. To show you how, let me take you on what may seem like a digression — Trump’s love of professional wrestling.