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Growing Up With Emotionally Detached Parents

emotionally detached parents

I live with my girlfriend in what you might call a mutual arrangement. It’s about all we can handle. Neither one of us wants to be married. We’re both successful career people. It works for us. That is until recently. Last week my girlfriend said she would like to have a baby. I half facetiously asked her, “Well I suppose you want one with me?” Many of her women friends were having their first child and she felt like odd person out. Now raising a child is at the bottom of my list. Neither one of us is into cuddling, … Continue reading

So Just How Important Is a Simple Act of Kindness?

John Driggs

Love is something if you give it away, Give it away, give it away. Love is something if you give it away, You end up having more. It’s just like a magic penny, Hold it tight and you won’t have any. Lend it, spend it, and you’ll have so many They’ll roll all over the floor. — Melvina Reynolds, first verses of the Magic Penny Song, 1949 Most of us think our small act of caring for a neighbor was no big deal, it was just the right thing to do at the time. Few of us even see our … Continue reading

When We Live Without an Observing Self

John Driggs

The oblivion we once hid from danger has now become our invisible prison. — Anonymous Have you ever said “Why can’t he see what he is doing? Isn’t it obvious to everybody!” or “Gee I never saw it that way before. Maybe you’re right” Most of us have moment of cluelessness, especially in matters pertaining to ourselves. However when we are continually out of touch with seeing ourselves or not aware that we don’t see ourselves very accurately we have a serious problem on our hands. If this is the case for you then you are certainly in good company. … Continue reading

When Good-Hearted Men Marry Selfish Women

“The Knife and the Wound Both Need Each Other.” — Sheldon Kopp, Psychoanalyst and Writer I’ve been married to Laura for 25 years and I’ve never been able to please her. We go for a period of time with things going well between us. Then out of the blue she gets bent out of shape over some imagined worry that preoccupies her. I understand that I may not be the most sensitive husband at times but Laura goes nuts and exaggerates how bad things are between us and rants for hours. She slams doors and usually wants nothing to do … Continue reading

Living a Meaningful Life

  “Being empty is a lot like knowing the words to a song but not knowing the music. Feeling full is just the opposite. You know both the words and the music to the song and are able to sing them aloud with your whole heart.”   “I don’t know why I’m I so unhappy. I’m proud of being successful. I make a comfortable living with a good job. My wife is gorgeous and we are reasonably happy together. Our kids do well in school. We have savings for our retirement years. We go to many parties with our friends … Continue reading

Being Used is Different from Being Loved

John Driggs

“It’s not the pretending, but the pretending that we are not pretending that hurts us.” — Sheldon Kopp, psychoanalyst and author Most of us at least intellectually understand that real love is different from exploitive caring. Caring for someone because of what they do for us is not the same as caring for someone because of who they are. However such clarity soon fades when we become emotionally vulnerable in relationships. Often then, the mind cannot see what the heart already knows. Inevitably heartbreak happens in exploitative relations. Often what hurts us the most is not having our hearts broken … Continue reading

Managing Stress in an Impaired Culture

John Driggs

“You are not entirely your circumstances. Work on your own life and happiness. Never give up. For starters, embrace the miracle of love, love strong enough to guide or drive one into the great estate of maturity, or, to put it another way, into the apprehension and acceptance of one’s own identity. Do this with everyone you meet, where possible and with cautious respect where impossible. Your worries will be birds that take flight and unburden your shoulders.” Adapted from a quote by James Baldwin, 1964 In case you haven’t noticed it already, we’ve just had a very traumatizing presidential … Continue reading

Can I Leave My Partner After Years of An Unfulfilling Relationship?

marriage and divorce

Our greatest life decisions are always made on the basis of incomplete information. ~Sheldon Kopp, psychoanalyst and author Probably the most difficult decision we’ll ever make in our lifetime is deciding to stay or leave a life partner when the relationship has been continually unfulfilling. Certainly the right decision is generally unclear to us. Most of us can’t even stand the thought of ever separating from a loved one even when we are continually unhappy. We automatically put our own happiness on the back burner and stay loyal to the bitter end. We deny how bad things really are. This … Continue reading

Do I Really Need to put up with my Crazy Family

John Driggs

It never fails. About this time of year every year I start getting a pain in my gut and dread with no clear explanation why. Upon later reflection I realize why. It’s because I have to see my family — who are incredibly crazy… and the holidays are coming. I feel guilty thinking this way. Shouldn’t I feel grateful for even having a family? Doesn’t everybody have to put up with relatives they don’t like? Am I not responsible to love them all no matter how they act? After all, my relatives are family. They are the only family I … Continue reading

Hidden Shame: A Curse and a Blessing

John Driggs

Hidden shame is a powerful emotional and physiological reaction. It fills our being in covert ways. It can cause us to become violent or withdrawn from life and it can prompt us to bring out the better parts of ourselves in ways we never expected. It is both a curse and a blessing. Typically we may have some glimmer of how it operates in our lives but mostly we’re unaware of how much of our existence is driven by shame. It is often the obscured answer to such questions as: “Why did he murder all those people? or “Why can’t … Continue reading