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'Trump Baby' balloon could have psychological impact on president, experts say

Korin Miller
Writer
Giant baby Donald Trump balloon floats over London. (Photo: TF-Images/Getty Images)

President Trump is in London to meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May — and many people aren’t happy about it. British protesters have floated a giant, 20-foot balloon that looks like the president depicted as an orange, screaming baby in a diaper.

London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan gave the final approval for the “Trump baby” to fly over Parliament Square in London, CBS News reports. Scottish police were also asked for permission to fly the balloon over Trump’s golf course on the country’s west coast while the president is playing. That request was denied.

“I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome, no reason for me to go to London,” Trump told the Sun in a new interview.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to march through the streets of London to protest Trump’s visit and his policies.

Leo Murray, who has dubbed himself “Trump baby’s daddy,” told CBS News that the balloon was chosen because Trump “is uniquely vulnerable to personal insults, so we just got right down at his level, to speak to him in a language that he understands.”

Clearly, Trump isn’t pleased with the balloon. But the reality is, no one would be.

“Nobody feels good being made fun of,” David Klow, licensed marriage and family therapist, founder of Chicago’s Skylight Counseling Center, and author of the book You Are Not Crazy: Letters From Your Therapist, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “While we all have the ability to laugh at ourselves and not take ourselves too seriously, it also can be quite painful when we’re mocked and parodied

Seeing a parody of yourself can also cause humiliation, which is one of the most difficult emotions for most people to handle, Klow says. But when it comes to a parody and how it can be perceived by a person, context matters, Simon Rego, chief psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. When celebrities are roasted, for example, it’s often seen as a compliment. But if a parody is done in a negative context, it can have a pretty severe impact on someone’s psyche, especially if the person has a psychological vulnerability, he says. In that case, it can lead to anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, rumination, and worry. “It can have lasting effects on someone, especially if it’s done at a vulnerable age or a lot of people are piling on,” Rego says. 

“Psychologically, seeing a parody of yourself can be hard, especially if your sense of self is more tied to others’ perception than your own,” licensed clinical psychologist Alicia H. Clark, PsyD, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “The more confident you are in who you are and aren’t, the less painful something like this will be. The less secure you are in yourself, the more painful a parody can be.” 

It’s also important to keep this in mind, per Klow: “Being parodied over and over must be a challenge to withstand for anyone.”

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