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.

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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)

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Modern Romance

                        The term modern romance often conjures up thoughts of hot steamy love affairs with fantasy men and perfect women. While this may be part of the focus for some modern romance, the core to understanding modern romance has to be an understanding of the modern woman.

The sixty’s provided a backdrop for the emergence of the modern woman into a world that was, in many ways, ill prepared for her arrival. While the women’s movement paved a new road, the true modern woman was not defined by or constrained within social\political ideals. Rather, she is simply a woman who walks upon a stage as an equal, and not as a possession. While she still struggles with equality in many segments, her main stress comes not from without but from within. “Now that I can be what I want, who am I”?

Just how does this play out in modern romance and relationships? What is equality in relationship and how does it work?
Obviously, equality is a belief I am not better nor worse than my significant other.  It is a place of harmony. In modern relationships, I find there is much lip service given to “equality”, but there is not a heartfelt desire to see our partner as an equal.

Generally, equality is extended as long as the other person does what I want and acts as I require, but if they don’t fit into my pattern of understanding they are no longer my equal, they are my enemy.  

I will love you forever, as long as you don’t leave the cap off the tooth paste, don’t track in muddy shoes, don’t lie to me, don’t provide less than I am entitled to in life. If you don’t live up to my demands and expectations, then you are a terrible person who I must either attack or retreat from for my own protection.

I often hear couples say, “My partner just seemed to change after we got married. I don’t know what happened.” 

The simple answer is both partners lost their ability to see each other as equals.  As equals, we are mutually loving and mutually screwy, and that is just who we are!

So how do we maintain equality in relationships? Unconditional Self Acceptance (USA). If we really can accept ourselves unconditionally, love ourselves even with our crazy ways of living, and be at peace with our own illogical thinking and behavior, then we can obviously feel the same way about others. However, if we don’t like ourselves, then how much of a chance does our partner stand? USA – Unconditional Self Acceptance. How unique would that be in relationships?  

We will explore the complexity of this modern outlook in the next few blogs, but for now simply spend some time thinking about how you view yourself through the eyes of Unconditional Self Acceptance. Feel free to share your thoughts and questions in the comments below. To be a regular part of our blog simply fill in the signup section on the right side of the page.

We developed our counseling practice to accommodate the hectic schedule of our clients by integrating online therapy through the Internet. The following is a example of how this works.

 For more information, click here.

Sunday, April 2, 2017


Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.”

Daily we meet people who are living in some type of fear, and generally it is destroying their life. Some people stay in bad relationships out of fear of being alone. Some stay in bad jobs out of fear of not having money. Parents often live in a place of fear for their children and all of us have a place where we entertain some fear we hope will never come into our lives weather it is sickness or even death.

There are two main boundaries in life and they are “Love” and “Fear”.  In many cases we view these boundaries as “bookends” holding the volumes of our life experiences on the bookshelf of our journey. As a Christian, I believe in the teachings of Jesus and use them as guidepost for my journey. One main focus I use and try to impart to others is this:

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

Not all my patients are Christian but generally all are on some type of spiritual journey, which can incorporate this guideline. Unfortunately, religion often functions contrary to this guideline by using fear as a main component of the journey of life. However, for a life journey designed to be one of peace, a positive spiritual understanding is more important than a rigid religious experience.

If God has not given me a spirit of fear, then why does this segment of our experience become so powerful?

Oprah Winfrey tells us; The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”

We may not all be disciples of Oprah, but she does provide a good insight on a non-fear driven life. If I celebrate life then what is there to fear? If I have not been given a spirit of fear, what have I been given?

Power – a great gift to offset the often-stated weakness of human existence

Love - the core of all life and stability

Sound Mind – a gift designed to offset the often-found insanity of this earthly journey.

A place of daily meditation would be to focus on this fact: if fear is not part of my spiritual make up, why do I even pay attention to it. Instead, let me focus on the fact I have been give the ability to walk in power; love in abundance; and have a sound and peace filled mind.

The Dalai Lama once taught: Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.
Without them, humanity cannot survive.

Let each day be a place of love and compassion and not fear. It will have to be a conscious decision to follow this thought, but the results will be well worthwhile.

Please share your thoughts on this in the section below. If you want to become a follower of our blog please fill in the information in the upper right corner of the page.

Fear and Love are key factors in understanding our journey. In my book, Off the Hook, a woman leaves a life of fear and finds true meaning in a place of love and spiritual understanding. Check it out at Amazon (click here)  or on my website (click here).