Remember the old cliche’ used by parents and teachers to “train” a child to control his anger? “Sticks and stones can break my bones but names can never hurt me.”

Well, the theory goes that name calling can’t physically hurt you. But is that really true? Ask Jeb Bush if being called “low energy” by Trump doesn’t make him feel physically ill. I heard Jeb speak a year before the Republican primary, and thought he’d make a great president. I wish he’d appropriately retaliated to Trump’s obnoxious words and didn’t let him get away with it. I assume that the entire Bush family will never forgive Trump. I wouldn’t.

How about John McCain? Trump, who never served in the military, likes people who weren’t captured, negating all that McCain suffered and gave to our country. Do you think that the anger inside McCain doesn’t still hurt? Here’s another family who will probably never forgive Trump.

Name calling and devaluing trigger our autonomic nervous system, the place in the brain where Fight or Flight is regulated. Think of the times you were enraged — the burning in your stomach, jaw clenching, sweating, trouble catching your breath… All physical symptoms.

I could go on and on, but let’s consider what this man is now doing to ALL OF US! He names the Russia investigation, Spygate and a Witch Hunt. He’s a genius at name-calling.

What he is not a genius at is being a good human being. If someone disagrees with him, he attacks. He calls himself a counter puncher. I call him a brilliant name caller who hurts a lot of people and is hurting our country.

What is also OBNOXIOUS is that Republicans are afraid. Some heroes scale walls, like in France, to save a child, others can stand up and call Trump out. That hero can save our country.

If you enjoyed reading, Inside the Mind of a Psychiatrist, you might also enjoy Dr. Smukler’s novels, Chasing Backwards, a psychological murder mystery, Skin Dance, a mystery, and The Man with a Microphone in his Ear. All are available as paperbacks and eBooks.


In horrific detail, we learned from the Joe Paterno nightmare that having the most victories in college football can become meaningless. The McCourts taught us that tons of money and greed are just wrong. Donald Trump made it clear that power and arrogance may sell TV spots, but it’s not a style we wish to emulate.

Victories, money and power are all interesting, but for me there is a much simpler way to bring value to the world.


Really hear what a person is saying. Respond to his concerns. Don’t spend your time while he’s talking formulating your response; so your story tops his story. If you really listen, the person you’re hearing feels better about himself, feels better about you, and wants to be your friend. You become special and he feels special.

Imagine what it’s like for a child to be heard, for a parent or aunt or uncle to crouch down to his level and take the time to understand what his concern might be. The reassurance that comes from being appreciated and understood can obviate the need for hundreds of victories, greed and power. It creates a sense of inner peace and satisfaction.

I had an uncle who really listened. He wore shapeless turtleneck sweaters and baggy corduroy pants, decided at the age of fifty to become a psychologist, and went out of his way to appreciate the wisdom of the person he was listening to.

I know what heroes are made of…