Saturday, June 17, 2017

We are both Masculine and Feminine

In our recent blogs on relationships (click here to see series) we stated it is easier to understand parental influence on children if we  have a clear definition of the masculine and feminine roles in relationships. The interesting thing about this type of definition is the fact the roles of masculine and feminine are actually part of each individual even apart from a relationship.
Robert Johnson, who penned several books dealing with the interaction of the masculine and feminine aspect of individuals,  developed the concept that the masculine, also known as the Animus, is the part of each person and is the warrior/conqueror. It is this part of each of us that drives us toward greater achievement and accomplishment. It is also the aggressive part of our makeup, which can be destructive if not consciously guarded.
The feminine side is called the Anima, and is the aspect of each individual which reflects compassion, nurturing, healing, and the gentleness of living. In each person, the goal would be to have the Anima and Animus work in harmony allowing a power of accomplishment to be balanced with a harmony of compassion. In most cultures the woman reflects the feminine side while the man reflects the masculine part of our emotional makeup. However, if the individual is not in touch with the opposite side of their emotional universe, then they are out of balance. More information on Robert Johnson may be found at (
A male, who is not utilizing his feminine side, will be seen as aggressive and uncaring with a detached and non-nurturing persona. A woman who is not in touch with her masculine side will appear as soft, weak, and dependent. 

Obviously, the goal in the individual journey is to bring these two sides into harmony. Further, in the relationship of man and woman, it is also necessary to bring these sides into balance if there is to be harmony and true love. As discussed in the previous blogs on Mother/Son and Father/Daughter relationships, our early lessons on this Masculine/Feminine balance are discovered by all children at an early age and become part or our unconscious definition of who we are and how we relate to others.
 Over the last centuries, the dominant male and supportive female roles have been a fairly normal interaction. However, in modern relationships, the masculine and feminine are not compartmentalized into defined roles and now the individuals in relationship need to find a balance in masculine and feminine not only in their individual walk, but also in the evolving romantic relationship with each other. No longer are the defined roles of masculine and feminine allocated to male and female, but now each individual is learning to embrace both their individual “anima and animus’ in order to live in harmony with each other.  

Understanding the impact of our parents on our own masculine and feminine emotional systems is essential. We suggest you go back to the last three blogs on parent/child relationships and read them again with this understanding of the masculine and feminine sides of our emotional makeup. 

Share your thoughts with us by email to or even better, share a comment below so all can journey together. Join our blog by entering the Follower and Friends box to the right or check the FaceBook or Twitter  LIKE button. We also offer counseling at our New York office or online with Skype or FaceTime on internet.

If interested in a faith based approach to counseling see my book Inner Space (click here)

Monday, June 12, 2017

Comments on Mother/Son and Father/Daughter Blogs

We introduced the thought that adult relationships are formulated, to a large extent, by childhood. We received a lot of comments and will share a few. We do appreciate your email comments, but would also like to have readers comment on the post page so others can dialog and we can share together. First email response:

Dr. T and Dr. J

Thank you for your post about father/daughter relationships. I am 45, divorced mother of two (19 and 25). My father was a very hard working man, but he was totally absent from any emotional contact with the family. He made contact with my older brother through sports, but he had no real attachment to women (including my mother). I vividly remember how I would go out of my way to make sure his paper was by his chair each day so he could sit and read it when he got home. I did a thousand other things to get his approval, but never really felt like it worked. I went to college and became very sexually active as soon as my feet hit campus. It gained me attention and admiration from the men. I now realize it was not me that got the attention it was my sexual behavior.

When I married, I had a husband who was a great provider, but totally detached from the marriage and from the household. I realize now that I married my father. I kept looking for his approval and did everything I could to please him. My husband  finally ended up having an affair with a younger woman and left me behind. I assumed I had once again failed, as my performance was judged by him and I came up looser. Your quick little post hit me like a lightning bolt. I need help. I am tired of riding the opinion of men as my sense of worth. What can I do? Thanks RLK

We responded to RLK and she is now in sessions with our SKYPE counseling. The beautiful part about RLK’s letter was her ability to see how her unconscious childhood had continued to run her adulthood. When we become conscious, we are 90% healed of past wounds.

Here is another email comment:

I am 28, married for a year, and no children. When I read your “mother/son” post I checked to see if you had sent it directly to my attention. My husband has a very strange relationship with his mother and it is now playing out in our marriage. She is a very controlling woman, who is successful in life, but not in relationships. She has been married several times, and my husband’s father is not in his life since he was a baby. I knew she was a strong woman before I married, but in the last several months, she has been more intrusive than normal. Nevertheless, I am not bothered by her actions as much as my husbands. It seems that the more she tries to run our lives, the more my husband seems to be angry with me. From what you shared in your blog, I think the “Mother Complex” is working and I am getting the brunt of his destructive behavior. I am concerned about this, and would like some guidance in this problem. Thanks for any help and know that your posts are real life savers many times.. MK

We responded:

MK. Thanks for your email. Unfortunately, you seem to be correct in your evaluation of your husband’s reaction to his mother. Because we don’t know him and are only relying on your input, we may be wrong, but it does appear that he is looking for you to provide him the “mothering” that his own mother refuses to give. Most likely she has been a very dominant part of his life since he can remember, and perhaps not the highest level of nurturing. The more she becomes negative about your marriage, the more he feels like a failure and demands that you nurture him. Unfortunately, because the complex is being fed by the negative input of his mother, there isn’t enough positive input available to make him feel better.

The answer is for him to become conscious of his reaction to his mother and separate childhood from adulthood. The two of you are a new unit, and as such are not subject to the mother’s evaluation. Set goals and objectives for your marriage that reflect who the two of you are and, as you meet those goal, celebrate the victory with great enthusiasm. If you set a goal to travel more, when you take a trip, have a great dinner celebration marking the fact that you are doing what you both set out to do. Mom will not change and you can’t change your husband. He has to be willing to see his reactions and consciously move into a better place emotionally. However, you can make the new journey together a place that is a reflection of positive love and acceptance.

Share your thoughts with us by email to or even better, share a comment below so all can journey together. Join our blog by entering the Follower and Friends box to the right or check the FaceBook or Twitter I LIKE button. We also offer counseling at our New York office, on line, or with Skype or FaceTime on internet.

If interested in a faith based approach to counseling see my book Inner Space (click here)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Father and Daughter Relationships

In our last blog on the Mother/son relationship (Mother Dearest) we stated the premise that a happy childhood generally produces happy relationship and vice versa. While this is a broad and general evaluation, which opens an arena for those who disagree, psychological research demonstrates we are a product of our childhood. Studies show the relationship of a child with the parent of the opposite sex is a key component to healthy or unhealthy evaluation of self. To continue this thought, let us explore the Father/daughter relationship.

The symbol for the masculine side of emotions and relationships is the sword. It is the place of conquest, strength, and power.

The symbol for the feminine side is the harp and signifies healing, nurturing, stability, and peace.
As a child, the woman is exposed to both the sword and the harp through the interaction with her mother and father. 

Generally, the woman will touch the feminine part of her world through her interaction with her mother. Here she will find the ability to express nurturing and peace. Obviously, not all mothers are whole and healthy, thus the young girl my not find all these characteristics with her mother. However, both her natural instinct as a woman and the norms of society  provide a general understanding of how to react through the feminine side. Then there is the impact of the father. A woman will discover her feminine side with the mother and the world around her, but the father will provide her sense of worth and strength as a woman.

A distant, emotionally detached father produces a daughter who learns how to perform for approval. She will look at the world around her, see if she is receiving approval for her effort, and if not, will assume she is wrong and try to work harder for approval. If the father is nurturing and emotionally available, the young woman will feel the sense of acceptance for who she is, and will not base her worth on others approval. This is a very general overview of childhood development, but is appropriate as a foundation for understanding female self-esteem.

In relationship, a woman will approach the male based upon the self evaluation system established in childhood. One of the strongest unconscious goals of a woman is to maintain the relationship with the father, even if the relationship was not healthy. To accomplish this, she often marries a male who is “just like her father”. Why? Because her worth, as a woman, was established by the impact of the first dominant male in her life; her father. It is the sword that will conquer, and often, it will determine the trust a woman has in her own harp. For a woman to be healthy in relationships, she needs to truly understand the impact of her father, and walk a conscious journey of defining herself based on who she is today, rather than the voice of who she was as a child.

Some questions to consider in this contemplation are:
1. How did my father define me? Was it a positive or negative relationship?
2. Did I feel accepted by my father or was he distant and detached?
3. How does this understanding of my father reflect in my relationships with men today?

This balance of the masculine/feminine parts of our emotional system is key to heathy relationships. We will expand this outlook in the next post, and share some of the comments sent in by readers. As always, we appreciate your thoughts here in the blog by placing a comment below. Become a follower by signing in at the Follower box on the right or press the I LIKE button for Twitter or FaceBook. Our Facebook page is found by Clicking Here.

A good study of long-term relationships is my book Forever Yours. (click here) for more details.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Mother dear

It often seems relationships are movie screens on which we play out our childhood experiences. A happy childhood will generally produce happy relationship and vice versa. While this is a broad and general evaluation, which will open an arena for those who disagree, it is psychologically a fact that we are a product of our childhood. Studies show the relationship of a child with the parent of the opposite sex is a key component to healthy or unhealthy evaluation of self.

We will discuss the father/daughter relationship in the next blog, as it provides its own intricate maze and needs to be explored individually. Never the less, the mother/son relationship is also a vast territory to explore, and one providing some unknown and scary places. 

The primary relationship between the male and his mother is simply that of “Mom”. Each "Mom" relationship is unique to the individual and reflects the culture and social norms of the family. Mom is the embodiment of the feminine characteristics and usually the source of nurturing for the male. If mom is nurturing, the male will have a better sense of self and not depend on others opinions for self esteem. If mom is detached, then the boy will learn to perform for approval and carry this trait into adulthood. Again, these are general statements and there will be exceptions.

The second relationship a boy has with his mother is the “mother complex”. This aspect of mother resides in every male and is generally an unconscious relationship. The “mother complex” is the regressive capacity which drives a male to be dependent on his mother and be a child again. It is the core of man’s unconscious desire to fail, be defeated, desire to die, and generally a demand to be taken care of rather than self sufficiency. In the male psychology, this unconscious complex is pure poison.

Two major problems arise out of this unconscious mother complex:

1. Blame mom for his failure. Because of the highly dependent nature of this perspective, a male who allows his mother complex to contaminate his relationship with his actual mother will often see her as a witch who is trying to defeat him. This male will go to victim and his desire to find comfort and care will be couched in a underlying anger coming from the mother complex.

In order to cope, he may either rebel against his real mother because of this complex or develop an overly dependent relationship with mom, which is totally crippling in his journey. He will, in this latter stage, blame her for his failure, but addictively cling to her (or her memory). In his addictive drive to be taken care of and be dependent, he may believe the world owes him a living – preferably without effort on his part.

2. Project his complex on his wife or partner. The wife or partner is the flesh and blood person who shares his life journey and is his companion. In this place, the male caught in the mother complex will demand his wife or partner "mother" him instead of being a companion or partner. He will demand she fulfill his mother-expectation for him, and will go to victim if he believes she is failing him, which, because of the mother complex, she always will. He may become very demanding and abusive as his addictive nature becomes stronger, or he may collapse at the feet of his mother complex and become completely broken and dependent.

The key to healthy adulthood is obviously a healthy childhood. Unfortunately, the vast majority of families fall into a category of dysfunctional to some degree, producing children more insecure in modern society than in any previous time. 

Therefore, the only hope for the adult is to consciously explore his childhood, recognize the good, the bad, and the ugly, then actively live his adulthood as a non victim, “responsible-for-myself” type person. In a relationship, it is important for each partner to understand the history of their significant other and provide a safe but secure place for healing of wounds. A partner cannot heal the other person, they can only provide a safe place for rebuilding. 

Knowing each other is why we have this process called “dating”. It is a place to understand the other person, not a quick launching pad for marriage. Exploring our potential partners parental relationships is generally a good reflection of how they will handle adult relationships. In dating we walk slowly and observe carefully, but that is another topic all together.

What are your thoughts? Email us at or comment below. If you want to be a follower of the blog, click on the box in the upper right corner of the blog.. The blog is also on Twitter at

A good study of long term relationships is my book Forever Yours. (click here) for more details.

Monday, April 24, 2017

A Cyber Date - the modern neighborhood bar

When I started dating, one of the hardest problems was calling a possible girl to ask her out. This was mostly in high school as meeting in a local bar or club took over in and after collage. Today one of the more popular meeting places is on the internet using the cyberspace as a local bar.

Watching commercials for internet dating is like watching advertising for the lotto. It sounds so easy and everyone has a chance to win. However, as in everything in life, there are very few shortcuts to successful relationships. Our clients who have used the internet report a mixture of results, which seem to fall into some interesting categories. Let's explore some of the positive and negative aspects of the internet romance:

1. The most positive impact provided by internet dating is the ease of finally meeting someone without having to go out on a blind date. The negative part of this same impact is the ease of making things up about yourself and pretending it is true. We have heard of some real shipwrecks because a person advertised they were something they were not. Some of the dating sites use testing to help out, but you really never know what a person is until your truly spend time together. We suggest our clients set up the first face to face meeting as a lunch date. That way, if things aren't positive in the date, you aren't stuck with a long night of difficult interaction.

2. Another positive aspect of the internet date is the ability to dialog with someone without having to actually enter into the vulnerability of a date. Emails, telephone, text, video, and other modern tools provide a means of exchange allowing us to know a great deal about a person without having  to actually go out with them. The negative part of this is the lack of true emotional understanding the internet provides. If I receive an email that says "I have a hard time understanding you," in all honesty, I will have no idea what this means. It may mean I have a bad connection; I don't speak clearly; you and I are not communicating; or the person is partially deaf. Unless I am given some idea of the emotion behind the words, they really could mean anything.

3.  A third aspect of internet dating that may be seen as positive is the building of understanding, which can take place before the pressure of performing. Every early date is a place of performing for approval. We show our best behavior (hopefully), most charming conversations and best emotions. While all this is good, it does preclude actually getting to know someone until the second or third date. With the internet, information is exchanged and we get to know more about education, goals, dreams, etc. Again, the danger is the person who gives false information. That is why a lunch date is the safest first date. Find out what is really true, and then go forward or go home.

Some tactical guidelines to internet dating:

1. Text with a purpose - don't just fill a page with cute little phrases and non-essential emoji. Be clear in your purpose.

2. You are the person dating, not your phone. Statistically only one in three online dates actually work out, so don't hide behind your phone. Get into tangible groups, activities and other places to meet real people face to face.

3. Don't disappear. If the internet person is not one you're looking for, be honest, don't just drop out of sight. Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you.

4.  Be open as to what you are looking for in a partner. A millionaire with a big yacht is wonderful, but not the best perimeter for longterm relationship. What do you really want in a partner? If you are not honest, you will get a lot of strange replies to your vague request. 

Remember, as we said in our blog on Modern Romance (click here), Unconditional Self Acceptance (USA) is key to successful relationships. If you cant love yourself, who can you love.

My book about finding balance in relationships is called FOREVER YOURS. It is the fictional story of a man and women who fall in love in the 60's, raise a family and learn how to overcome the challenges of life in order to truly find their own relationship together. You can find out more at Amazon (click here). Or go to my website for more information. (Click here)