When I don’t like a controlling person it’s usually because of my own control issues; I know it when I see it because I am it.

Years ago, I was introduced to an interesting technique called “Mirroring” at a Hyde School parent seminar. Our facilitator gave us the assignment of writing a letter to someone we found “difficult.”

At the parent seminars, the directions from facilitators were to work on ourselves rather than focus on "fixing" our children because “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”; understanding oneself can explain where the child is.

In the exercise, the letter is read in front of the group. In the letter, someone might write, “you are so negative” or “you are passive aggressive and don’t say what you mean,” et cetera.

After all the letters were read, the facilitator had us reread them, inserting the word “I” for the word “you”. It was an “aha” moment for many to see the very things we found disturbing about others was part of our inner code. Not liking someone who is controlling is often because you like to be in control and passive aggressive; you know it because you use it, too.

Mirroring can be useful for understanding who we are and growing from it. It helps if we want to meet people where they are at, rather than shunning just because they don’t believe in the same things we do.

Recently, a friend has been posting on their wall (and sometimes others’ walls) about Trump being great, repeating Trumpisms including “fake news” whenever the facts or science don’t fit the narrative.

In an effort to have a discussion with my posting friend on the subject, trying to be polite and consistent, I made comments like: “I don’t believe the president is truthful or cares about anyone except himself. In Trump's own words, he tells Bob Woodward, in a taped interview, that he deliberately misled the American people because he didn't want them to panic. That seems indisputable, except to supporters who claim Trump to be Churchill-like in keeping his populace calm. Except Churchill never called Hitler or the German army a “hoax” or promised his people the German army would disappear when the weather got hot or they could repel them by drinking kitchen supplies. Churchill didn’t ignore science, use fear to lead, tell 20,000 plus lies or think he was the smartest and best person in the history of mankind.”

Anyway, readers can judge my Facebook opinions from the above text; I tried to be on point, respectful and based on facts, not emotions.

My friend has been relentless in his defense of Trump (“We need a businessman in the White House”), but when asked how it would feel not to get paid if you were in the path of one of Trump’s many failed businesses (six bankruptcies where laborers and contractors got stiffed) or my comment that Trump’s bully style is not negotiation that serves the long-run because playing fields constantly change, so keeping friends close and enemies closer is a preferred style; instead of an answer, my friend pivoted.

It finally came time for the last word; my friend said I could have it. When it didn’t fit the narrative, the pointed response to me (so much for my having the last word) was … “grow up.”

Hard to meet someone where they are at when that is final salvo, but having “mirror, mirror” to fall back on gives perspective. “You need to grow up” turns to “I need to grow up” and perhaps that is the only truth that came out of the exchange. That and love; Facebook posts by Trump supporters are consistently about how all non-supporters “hate” Trump and we are all “sheep.” Makes more sense to me (mirror, mirror) that the Facebook poster is the “hater” and part of the Trump sheep herd.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Look who Fred Trump was and look who Donald Trump is. Look at his children. All cut from the same cloth. The Kennedys were the opposite; a family destined to help people not born with silver spoons like themselves.


In another incident, in a restaurant overhearing boisterous discussion among siblings, one sister said, “I don’t want my grandchildren growing up under communism and socialism like what will happen if Biden is elected.” Then adding, “He goes around sniffing little girls.” And on and on it went. “Mirror, mirror”; Trump’s love of Putin and the love letters shared with Rocket Man tell exactly how Trump would love us to be an authoritative state with no checks or balances. “Sniffing hair versus hiring a prostitute, cheating on all three wives, one when she was pregnant” should then matter to his supporters.


Trying to understand this subject is like nailing jello to a wall — perhaps sharing jello shots when working to find common ground would bebetter; “mirror, mirror" — I’m all in on that.


“The sons of torture victims make good terrorists.” — Andre Malraux, novelist, adventurer, art historian, statesmen (1901-1976)

Reade Brower is the owner of these newspapers.