Adjustment Reaction

The COVID-19 Pandemic: Adjustment Reaction Explains the Public’s Response & Trump’s Failure to Respond

I think we all had a we’re so fucked moment as the Ol’ Pussy Grabber’s remarks at his lie-and-lie-some-more event at the White House in which he lied to the American people about the coronavirus and the US response to the impending disaster. It’s funny. Most people will experience an adjustment reaction when faced with a disaster as great as a deadly pandemic. The Ol’ Pussy Grabber just remains flaccid, which is the generous way of describing the appointment of Mother “the highest breasted queen to ever grace Blair House (allegedly) Pence as covfefevirus czar.

Adjustment Reaction

The term adjustment reaction denotes a combination of the stress response and compensatory adaptive mechanisms that characterize the behavior of an individual who experiences disruptive life events, usually of an unpleasant nature, according to Stella Chess and Mahin Hassibi.

When facing an impending disaster, most people will react in much the same ways. Adjustment reactions often occur around public health crises. We’ve seen it in the face of the climate crisis, the wildfires in Australia, mass shootings, and terrorist attacks. Maybe you remember the ebola outbreak in 2016 when all the ISIS terrorists were going to sneak across the border with Mexico with the hordes of immigrants to infect us all and cut off our heads. Some people were so worried about what they could do to prevent the spread of ebola, they got real creative and combined all the fear demagogery into one far-fetched tale: ISIS terrorists, undocumented immigrants, and ebola! See? Necessity really is the mother of all invention.

Most people will follow a predictable pattern of response when they hear about a serious threat to their health or well-being. According to a Peter Sandman article about adjustment reactions on his website, Risk Communication, these reactions include the many of the things we’re seeing the general public do in response to the coronavirus pandemic:

Avoiding doing dangerous activities

You stop doing things that will put you at greater risk. In the case of the coronavirus, many Americans are questioning their travel plans. Way back in January, right after the US reported its second infection, I encountered a father on my Twitter feed who worried about traveling with his immune compromised son to an area of the country where it was spreading. We had two infections. It weren’t spreading anywhere in the country, but his worry, especially for his vulnerable son, was understandable.

Nowadays, conferences are being cancelled, sporting events go unattended, travel postponed. Gathering in dense groups of people feels dangerous, so people don’t.

Seeking more information

People are now more focused on news about the coronavirus. Any blog post that mentions the coronavirus is likely to garner much more traffic than ones that don’t. Again, it’s understandable, people are looking for information. Information helps feel safer whether it is the bullshit conspiracy foolishness being shat upon us by the everyday sadists in the White House. Again, on my Twitter feed, someone was suggesting that the covfefevirus was deliberately planted to make our Incompetent-in-Chief look even more incompetent than he normally does.

When you are worried about something that you don’t understand well, you are even more motivated to find out more about it. However, you’re also much more vulnerable to the bullshit coming out of the Ol’ Pussy Grabber’s apologists’ asses, you know, like Hannity, Ingrahm, and Limbaugh encouraging people not to listen to the CDC because fake news.

In times of crisis, only use trusted news sources like the CDC or a reputable news organization which strikes Fox off the list. Can you believe the cynical callous disregard for basic health and safety that these yahoos are engaged in to make a quick dubious political buck?

Envisioning how you will be affected

The risk tends to become personal. We all imagine what it would be like to be infected with the covfefevirus and how horrible it would be. It’s the response that the conservative demagogue relies on most as they flog their conspiracies and scary quad-truths.

We all see the stories of infected people and think, there for the grace of god go I, and then, just like buying earthquake insurance AFTER the earthquake has happened, we swear to god that we’ll be good people as long as god protects us from the covfefevirus because god knows — and she does — the Ol’ Pussy Grabber and Mother Pence won’t.

Being overly cautious

We become extra-cautious. That’s why people in the US are buying up the useless or at least mostly useless masks and wearing them. Apparently, the masks don’t do much to keep YOU from getting sick, but they do do something to help you from getting others sick after you are. Really, the best thing you can do is wash your hands and use hand sanitizer.

This part of the adjustment reaction also helps explain things like the rising anti-Asian sentiment that is occurring in the country. People are just being extra-cautious by beating an elderly Asian man while he was collecting recyclable cans. You know. As you do.

The one good thing about adjustment reactions is that they prepare you for the real thing. An adjustment reaction happens BEFORE the crisis occurs. By being overly cautious, envisioning yourself being affected, seeking more information on it, and limiting activities that seem dangerous, you are prepared for the whatever it is. And, you might actually succeed in preventing or limiting the damage it does to yourself and loved ones. Isn’t the evolution that Ted with the punch punch punch punchable face, the face that all the mothers love to punch Cruz doesn’t believe in wonderful?

The Ol’ Pussy Grabber’s mental health diagnosis — unproductive malignant narcissistic personality disorder — makes him unable to respond to a crisis such as this in anyway that is helpful. His extreme narcissism causes him to categorically be unable to accept anything that even remotely seems to be his fault or diminishes him in anyway. His sadism (malignance) causes him to take every opportunity to inflict harm — real harm, up to and including death — onto people. And his executive dysfunction means that he can’t regulate his emotions, plan, reason, or execute a plan. It’s why he blurted to the surprise of all, but especially the high-breasted queen (allegedly), Mother Pence, to “head” his covfefevirus response.

The Ol’ Pussy Grabber’s response is the exact opposite of adjustment reaction. Seriously, it is. Let’s walk through the adjustment reaction steps:

  • Avoiding doing dangerous activities: The Ol’ Pussy Grabber just avoids doing anything like requesting more money for the CDC to purchase an adequate number of testing kits, retaining the disease response protocol and team that Obama put in place for ebola, or even accepting the advice of the scientific community.
  • Seeking more information: The Ol’ Pussy Grabber doesn’t so much seek information as he actively avoids it as do most of his supporters. So, it is no surprise that te put the science denier who left an HIV outbreak in the state of Indiana to spiral out of control and inflict untold harm and misery on his constituents while he was governor. We can only assume because he thought it was god’s will and who was he to interfere with god’s will? Just like he thinks it is god’s will that he become president, which is the probably the whole reason he is willing to humiliate and prostrate himself before the Ol’ Pussy Grabber.
  • Envisioning the crisis affecting you personally: The Ol’ Pussy Grabber is a narcissist. He’s perfect. No pandemic is going to affect him! And since l’etat c’est moi, if he ain’t affected, the country ain’t affected either. Since his narcissism means he is perfect, nothing he does can be wrong. Literally. So, no matter what happens, he knows he has made the best decisions in the history of the human kind. Whatever happens after that is on someone else… Mike, maybe? And, the rest of us, we just don’t matter to him.
  • Being overly cautious: Being cautious is for pussies and we all know how the Ol’ Pussy Grabber treats pussies. Since he makes perfect decisions, he doesn’t need to be cautious.

You see how this is a we’re so fucked moment? It is because this is what happens when you give an extreme narcissist any kind of power at all.

Image Attribution

The image was found using a Creative Commons search. It was found on Public Domain Pictures. It was made by Petr Kratochvil. It was licensed as CCO 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

17 replies »

  1. And amidst of this crisis, he tweets that he might pardon Michael Flynn. Does he really think that he can stop the flood of anger and discontent now drowning his Presidency?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Not only does Trump not seek more information, as his recent personnel decisions show, he shoots the messenger. He, being perfect, cannot make mistakes, therefore anyone who suggests that he might have or be about to make a mistake is proved to be disloyal.

    Also, as someone pointed out, this crisis is the only one of his Presidency so far to which he has been forced to pay attention for more than the time of a Tweet which is not of his own making. And none of his accustomed tactics will work on a virus or panicked stock traders.

    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” – Philip K. Dick

    Liked by 2 people

    • Howdy Bob!

      We have been so lucky these past three plus years not to have any worse crises or disasters than we have had. Puerto Rico and our immigrants have been bad enough. Enough people have suffered and died there from his incompetence and callous indifference to their welfare, we needn’t have him inflict any more misery onto anyone else. However, I am afraid that our luck has run its coarse. The people he hurts now will be real live white Americans living in real live American cities. I guess he’s hoping the virus doesn’t make it into the rank and vile in rural America that it stays confined to the evil liberal coasts. He seeks to inoculate himself from blame for the damage it causes by claiming that the Democrats are trying to demagogue the pandemic in order to hurt him. We’ll see as we lay in our hospital beds, our families grieved and bankrupted by our medical bills, whether anyone continues to believe his propaganda and lies.


      Liked by 2 people

      • Some will continue to believe to their dying day, whatever gymnastics of motivated reasoning might be required. Still, it is looking as though the first shock to the loyal base will be economic – shut or slowed factories (disrupted supply chains), stores without customers (fear of crowds), and shrinking 401Ks.

        For someone who puts so much emphasis on the Bull Market and low unemployment, the looming prospect of continuing fall in stock prices and layoffs in several major areas, the result can only be increased paranoia and lashing out. Add to that that this individual is already contagion phobic, and I have to wonder how he will do his rallies if this disease take hold.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Howdy Bob!
          The level of cognitive dissonance that people have engaged in over the past four years or so should be fatal. There’s a reason why the economy is the deciding factor on re-electing a president to a second term. Just ask Poppy Bush. It’s also why Trump’s abysmally low approval ratings and surprisingly high approval ratings are such an enigma. The economy is “good,” at least on paper. It just isn’t good to the average working Joe.

          I thought the tariffs on farm goods would break Trump’s rural support as small and mid-sized farmers go bankrupt. I thought the palpable loss of jobs as factories close would break his support. It may be that if we hit a major recession because of the coronavirus, that might just break his support. There is only so much economic manipulation can make up for.

          Here’s “hoping,” if you know what I mean.


          Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, one more thing: It is reported that all Administration messaging about the virus is supposed to go through Czar Pence (the official scapegoat). I have to ask, how do they get Trump to shut up about it? That is a thankless and doomed task for some poor soul.

        Liked by 2 people

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