What do you grab on to, when all you know is gone?


Change and transformation.  Many people are fortunate enough not to be faced with having to change or transform themselves during their lifetime.  Most people who are fortunate in this way, don’t ask or have to ask those inner-world questions such as, “who am I separate from my parents?” “Do I believe [xyz] like my parents do?”  “Am I living for the approval/validation of my parents or society?”   Change is difficult but transformation is gut-wrenching.  You can change jobs, cars, houses, cities, spouses, lovers and friends, but transformation is about altering or creating a new self-identity.  I disliked the word transformation when used for counseling and coaching, because transformation is such a loaded word with so many expectations attached.  But, I do use it when there is no other word to describe a situation for someone having to build themselves again from the ground up because everything they’ve known has been removed or torn away.

Identity is like a house.  To build a strong or sturdy house, you need a foundation that supports it.  Guess who primarily laid that foundation?  Your parents or primary caregiver and to a lesser extent, society.  Who you are, who you believe yourself to be, are shaped by your family and environment.  Your parents, no matter how old you get, are still a foundation.  As a child, you relied on your parents for comfort, support, love, nurturing, feeding, shelter etc.  You may be an independent and self-sufficient adult,  but this subconscious feeling of relying on your parents doesn’t necessarily go away, until you have to grapple with the finality of the loss of your parents.

Identity, in this society is also shaped by work.  We live to work (sadly), so work is important.  It’s important because it provides a foundation for you as an adult in which you rely to take care of yourself. Providing for yourself allows you independence from your parents and an opportunity to create and provide for your own family.  However, we, through society have intertwined who we are (be-ing) with what we do (do-ing/job).  Don’t believe me?  A common question we ask children is “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We ask a college-aged person the same question in the form of, “What do you want to study?”  As you get further into adulthood, when you first meet someone, how long in the conversation until someone asks, “So, what do you do?”  I get it.  Knowing what someone does for a job may tell you a little, a lot or nothing about that individual.  It’s  the ‘I do” vs ‘I am (Be).’  For instance, I do counseling vs. I am a counselor, I practice law vs. I am a lawyer, I practice medicine vs. I am a doctor.  The job can be anything.  Mom, Dad, Welder, Writer, Plumber, Chef etc… We often identify ourselves by what we do.

But what happens when your foundations are removed?  How sturdy is a house without a foundation?

Tiger woods was recently arrested on a DUI and his mugshot plastered across every news outlet.  There seemed to be a certain amount of glee in the media.  Understanding someone else’s experience leads to compassion and empathy.  In 2010, it was reported that Woods entered an in-treatment facility regarding his behavior (multiple women).  Since that time, I have wondered if Woods would remain in competitive golf or give it up.  First let me state my disclaimer.  ***I don’t know Tiger Woods.  Period. Because I don’t know you, the reader personally,  your individual behaviors or family dynamics, I cannot use your personal experiences as examples to explain psychology, behavior and family insights to educate, so I identify people already in the public eye.  Although we’re all different, we all pretty much have similar family and life issues no matter how much money or fame you have.  Ok, end of disclaimer.***

Here’s why I wondered about Woods’ remaining in golf.   When someone enters into in-treatment rehab, the program usually consists of 4-5 weeks of intensive inner-work. The individual is invited to excavate and explore their inner world.  Part of that program, depending on the facility, focuses on what led to this behavior such as family history, family patterns and looking at and sharing past experiences that may or may not be trauma related.  So, when Tiger entered rehab he most likely looked at those aspects of self.  I figured it was only a matter of time that he would let go of competitive golf.



  1. He most likely looked at golf from various perspectives.  Perfection being one.  His dad was in the military, so there’s a certain amount of perfection that gets passed down to kids, even subconsciously.  I haven’t met an adult child raised in a military family that doesn’t have some sort of perfectionism, no matter the outward appearances, me included.  Golf is a game of perfection.  You compete, first with yourself then with others.  After so many divots, I didn’t have the patience for it.  Bye-bye golf.  Anyhoo, the amount of pressure that comes with sustaining perfection is unsustainable.  At some point, there is a breaking point.  Sustaining perfection for many years only leads to combustion.  Many people can cope with perfection, striving for perfection their whole life, but for the most part people get burned out and tired.  Or they find some unhealthy coping mechanism to blow off steam.  Perfectionism is also about what you tell yourself mentally, do you ruminate over and over about your bad decisions with regret, wanting to do it over, perfectly or the right way?  Otherwise, a mistake = failure.  This is the psychology of perfection and it eats away at your spirit.
  2. Tiger was introduced to golf at a young age by his father.  It was a shared experience with his father, something that they bonded over.  How many fathers bond with their sons through sports?  How many fathers want to bond with their sons through sports?  How many fathers don’t know what to do or how to bond when their sons don’t like sports? Lastly, how many sons who may or may not be athletically inclined want to bond with their father?   Umm..every son.  This is a form of enmeshment, where the needs/desires of the parent takes precedence over the child’s needs.  The parent who subconsciously lives through their child, covertly or overtly pushing their child to fulfill the parents’ unfilled passions, desires or dreams.   Example: pageant moms.  This is an extreme example, but this can be any dream, passion or family business such as lawyer, military, police, fireman, politician, etc etc…Now, I’m not saying that was the intention of Tiger’s father or any parent.  It could’ve been simply wanting to share his passion with his son, but the parent’s passion became the son’s.   It’s like wearing a coat of your parents and you make it fit, but after a while, as you grow up, the coat becomes a bit too tight realizing that the coat was never really ‘you’ to begin with.  Most, if not all kids will do what pleases their parent even if it’s not important to the parent.  This could be going into a certain line of work, study, marriage, or family business, based on your parent’s desire or to make your parent proud.
  3. Tiger Woods began golfing at the age of 3! He is now 41. He has trained for hours, daily for years on end. Golf was and has been his LIFE.  This is like a 40 year marriage.  Did Tiger go into this as a professional because he enjoyed it and excelled or were those by-products of choosing a profession that would make his father proud?  Did Tiger really enjoy playing competitive golf, or was it what he knew or was expected to do? There is no doubt that Tiger’s identity is and has been intertwined with golf and his father.  Golf has been, virtually his longest relationship.
  4. Tigers marriage also dissolved, yes, due to his own behavior.  That’s another loss.  I’m not making excuses for his behavior nor absolving his accountability.  Woods himself, has repeatedly owned up to his behavior throughout his process, at least in the public eye.

If any of the answers above were because it was expected, implied or would make his father proud, then golf was not his true choice and had a definite shelf life.  After the passing of his father, there was nothing really tethering him to golf.  It’s as if his body has been telling him, “I’m done with golf” but his mind said otherwise.  Golf has been a foundation in his life, something that he knew, was comfortable with, excelled at, relied upon, and enjoyed unlimited success, until he didn’t any longer.  Grief alone is a loss of foundation and extremely overwhelming to navigate.  No matter what your relationship with is/was with your mom/dad, the loss of your parent is the loss of a foundation.  Someone who nurtured you, supported you, loved you no matter what.

I understand the difficulty for people to have compassion and empathy for someone who has the financial means to give up a career and explore their next stage in life without the fear or worry about taking care of their needs. Most people, who lose their foundations, or just about everything, don’t have the luxury of financial freedom.  However, losing and building your self-identity is a struggle regardless because your self-identity isn’t linear, tangible, nor can you hold it in your hand like you can an object. Your self-Identity is fluid.

Without a foundation, or with your identity in flux, is like standing on a piece of flat wood in the middle of the ocean.  You’re alone, struggling to feel some sense stability and strength within yourself, and grasping at something that isn’t there to support you.  This seems to be what Tiger has been doing since 2010, trying to catch his footing but he’s been doing it by going back to the thing that he’s outgrown; golf.  Golf is no longer sustaining him, and he hasn’t yet ‘found’ what will.   Have you gone back to an old lover only to be reminded that, “Oh, yeah. That’s why we didn’t work out the first time.” Or, maybe you went back to an old job position or career because you don’t know how to change it, or you can’t see another, better possibility.   What about remaining in job or relationship in which the stress is literally making you sick? Would you find it easy to leave?  Would you find it easy to leave a 40 year marriage?  No one jumps from the fall of an identity directly to a new fully-formed identity (foundation).  It is a process that could take someone months or years to create.  The best anyone can do in times of major flux is to let go and work with the flow. There is no control in that, and that’s scary..for everyone.

Questions to ponder:

What makes up your identity?

If all you knew was gone, what would you reach for?  When there is uncontrollable change in your life, do you attempt to control it or go with the flow?  Have you ever gone back to something familiar knowing that it wasn’t the best decision for you, knowing that you’ve outgrown it?


**Lastly, there’s a caveat to this situation.  Woods clarified that it wasn’t alcohol but a mixing of prescribed pain medications. Unless he was just being honest, there’s an issue with this statement because it implies a justification of use and a DUI because they were prescribed medications.  For many people, the fact that the pills are prescribed means they cannot abuse them. It’s like a glorified drug-user. By no means, do I think or know if Woods’ has an issue with pills, but the statement would lean toward a future possibility.  I hope I’m wrong.


Entitlement – The Slow Erosion of Morality

Entitlement has been discussed when talking about younger generations, as in being entitled to something without working for it.  But entitlement entails much more, and just because you work hard doesn’t mean you’re any more or less entitled.   What happens when the highest office in America continues to behave entitled?  By most accounts I haven’t been phased by Trump’s behavior because it’s been expected, however, what concerns, appalls, and scares me is the lack of accountability or denouncement of his behavior or rhetoric by Congress or the Department of Justice.  Where is the integrity?  Should I be surprised? No.  Congress is happy to enable and co-sign this madness just so they can squeeze whatever reforms and laws into existence.  There is no better diversion than chaos.  There has been no checks and balances, until recently.  People may have continued their validation of electing Trump by stating that, “Well, it doesn’t really matter who the President is or what he does.”  But it does and it’s disheartening and appalling on so many levels.

This is Entitlement at its finest and clearest.  I’m not talking about entitlement to unalienable truths as stated in the Constitution, such as Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. This entitlement comes from a place of empowerment.  I am talking about entitlement that takes power from others, walks on, and abuses another for the gratification of your own desires and wants regardless of the impact to another.  Entitlement is self-serving, taking what you want, when you want and from whom you choose simply because you think, believe and feel you have a right to do so.  Like most behavior, Entitlement is learned and entitlement is not always connected to privilege.  A broke thief can steal your money just as easily as a wealthy thief, and a poor person can take your life just as easily as a wealthy person.   Entitlement crosses all demographics, genders, socio-economic levels, cultures, and colors etc.  We all feel entitled to some degree, some more than others.   `Entitlement is created and flourishes because there are no boundaries and no accountability.  When you are entitled, then you won’t know, care or respect boundaries.  Boundaries are meant to be crossed because they don’t really apply to you, at least that’s the belief of ‘being above it all,’  the hallmark of a narcissist.

Entitlement is learned and created.  For example, a parent buys their child a toy every time they go to the store.  The parent does this to silence the child so the parent can have a ‘smoother’ or quicker experience shopping.  Only thing is, the child has learned that when he/she goes to the store, he/she will get another toy.  The problem becomes when the parent sets a boundary, the child throws a tantrum and the parent, in a rush to calm the child, acquiesces to their child’s desires. The child knows what he/she needs to do to get what they want.  Fast forward to teenage years, and let’s say the teen wants a car but not any car will do.  The parent wanting to please their child (for whatever reason, validation, outside image etc) buys their teen a muscle car, BMW or Mercedes.  This isn’t a problem within itself, unless the message that the teen gets is that “I can get/have anything I want” and also where does the teen go next?  What is the next level of satisfaction?  This is how entitlement is learned.  Entitlement can also be created even if you didn’t have experiences as a child.  Celebrities, politicians, athletes, lawyers etc can become entitled based on their position, performance and power within society.  These individuals may have worked extremely hard to attain their success and status.  This hard work can also be justification for their entitlement as in, “I deserve xyz because I’ve sacrificed so much or worked so hard.”  The problem with this statement suggests that anyone else with less financial success and status doesn’t work hard.   Also, no one can deny that certain doors and experiences open up to these individuals and over time they become used to preferential treatment and begin to expect it, regardless of their behavior or status.  For example, an individual that gets probation for a crime (theft, assault, drug use) that others would be imprisoned for.   For entitlement to flourish, it must be enabled. Congress is enabling. DOJ is enabling. Citizens are enabling.  Enabling says, “It’s ok. You keep behaving this way, and I’ll keep making excuses and defending you and your behavior.  Business as usual’

Why is entitlement so important?  A lack of boundaries, limits and being held accountable tells the Entitled that they literally can do anything and get away with it, that they are untouchable and above the law.  Entitlement means that nothing is ever enough and can set someone up to be a never-satisfied pit of wanting, having and taking. Without accountability, entitlement slowly erodes your moral compass and values. Entitlement doesn’t have integrity.  We can see this now, more in our country and society.

Here’s the trickle down effect of entitlement from a mass psychology perspective.

When the highest office in the USA employs a man who is entitled, it reverberates through all of society.  Trump stated before being elected: “when you’re a star [women] they let you do it, you can do anything … grab them by the pu$$y,” and “I could shoot somebody and not lose voters.’  He told us just how entitled he was and felt.  As it has trickled down, you can see the entitlement in the people and industries that are important to or at a minimum represent the president and his congress.  Businesses such as the Airlines injuring and dragging passengers off the plane; law enforcement harassing, arresting and killing individuals just because with little to no accountability; public servants (government officials) assaulting reporters and hate crimes being lobbed across the country.  Just today, a man who harassed two women on a train in Portland with ‘go back to your country,’ stabbed and killed two men that intervened.  This man felt entitled to harass these women and take the lives of two people in the process.  Click here  There is no empathy, shame or remorse in any of these behaviors which is the height of entitlement.

What is appalling and disheartening about all of this, is that there is no accountability. Not from Congress who is supposed to be the checks and balances. There is no denouncing of any of this behavior and especially these awful hate crimes from the highest office in the land.  There is no denouncing from the Department of Justice.  When will it be enough for the presidency, his administration and congress to denounce these behaviors and say and mean “Enough is enough, this is not who we are as a people, as a nation.”?

This entitlement needs to stop for the health and well-being of this country or this cancer will continue to spread throughout our  society.   This entitlement needs to stop lest we all become morally bankrupt in the process.






The Gift of Grief

In our society, you are revered when you ‘don’t let your emotions get the best of you.”  Grief is rarely talked about openly and is considered taboo. The average bereavement time a person receives after the loss of a family member is around 3 days and that might be generous. Three days is just enough time to attend the funeral/memorial services but not enough to mourn, yet we are expected to return to our jobs and lives without missing a beat and be fully functional. The loss of a family member is a devastating experience that alters a person for the remainder of their lives.  Grief can encompass many losses in your life such as divorce, loss of a job, house or a stage of life.   Even with good changes, there is still a feeling of sadness and loss of what was.  Grief is relative.  Some people say that divorce is like a death, and it is in the aspect that your hopes and expectations die, such as of growing old with your partner and being a support to one another.  However, with the change and death of a relationship, you still have a choice on how you want your Ex to be a part of your life going forward. When you lose a family member to actual death, you have no choice.  You have no choice on burying the hatchet in the future, sharing time or a conversation with each other, or co-parenting.  These are all choices that you still have, whether you choose to exercise them or not.

We don’t talk about grief, unless it comes in the form of a divorce or loss of a job, things we know we can replace.  Your grief will unknowingly make people uncomfortable.  It’s easier for people to digest the loss of a job, house or relationship because they often come with inspirational sayings such as, ‘when one door closes another one opens,’ or ‘you’ll get a better job, there’s someone better suited for you out there’ and on and on.  But, when you lose someone to death, the people around you won’t know what to say or what to do, some may even disappear from your life.  As you attempt to step outside of your grief for a brief moment and into your old routine seeking some normalcy or respite from your new reality, people may wonder ‘how can they do (that),’ ‘why aren’t they at home grieving,’ ‘there’s no way I could do that?’  This will  have little to do with you, and more to do with the person’s difficulty and inability in dealing with the enormity of the situation and sometimes their own emotions. The secondary experience of grief may feel too intimate, too real for someone in your orbit.  I don’t necessarily think this is a fault, it is just a response, some people just can’t be present to another person’s pain or because they can’t take your pain away and fix it.  Grief can make the people around you take stock in their own lives, questioning what is real and worthy in their own lives and this is uncomfortable for most everyone regardless of the circumstances that precipitated it.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross has identified the 5 stages of grief, but know there is no right or wrong way to grieve there is only your way. The stages of grief are fluid.  You might stay in one stage much longer than other stages, you may go back and forth between the stages and right when you think and feel you’re at the tail end to acceptance, you might circle right back to the beginning stage during your grief. Because of this, grief can feel like it’s The Never-ending Story or Groundhog Day the movie only not a fantasy nor funny. Grief isn’t linear and if you think it is, you are being a disservice to yourself and others.


One thing for sure is that grief will change you in some may. One never really heals from the loss, instead you accept the circumstance.  To ‘heal’ would suggest that you are the same as before the loss, that you will never feel the pain or think of the loss.  You may be able to organize the loss in such a way that it ‘makes sense’ to you, but you can’t really go back to who you were prior to losing someone close to you.  The term, “Time Heals All Wounds’ really isn’t true.  What Time gives you is the opportunity to accept the reality of the loss and get comfortable with not seeing, hearing, speaking to or sharing milestones with your loved one.

The loss of a loved one can set the stage for self-examination and can be an opportunity to re-evaluate what is important to you.  What you value may become crystal clear to you and others.  This is the biggest gift because the loss may propel you to live as authentic and honest as you want. Forget about living via the constructed expectations of society, family, friends, or self.

Loss will change you, even when you think it hasn’t.  The experience of losing someone you love is traumatic and therefore will alter you in some way. You will be changed regardless of how much you want to be yourself prior to the loss. Loss is experienced viscerally in the depths of your nervous system. The bigger the shock the bigger the trauma. Put it in simpler terms, shock gets experienced by your body (nervous system) and becomes registered in your long-term memory. Once an overwhelming experience becomes locked in your long-term memory, you register it as trauma. Because this trauma is recorded in the limbic system, your behavior may change based on subconscious experience.  For instance, abandonment and trust issues may be amplified.  Such as, ‘I don’t (subconsciously) trust you to be here for me, you will leave me, I can’t rely on you.’  Have compassion for yourself.




The loss of a family member is devastating, even when a loved one has lived a long life. To lose a parent is tantamount to losing the foundation beneath you. You are having to grapple with the loss of your life-long and unconditional support/love and not being ‘taken care of’ any longer even though you’ve been self-sustaining for years and also have your own family. To lose a child, well, I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.  To lose a sibling is like losing your childhood, your camaraderie.

For myself, the loss of my brother in my teens changed me and family. It is no wonder that I became fascinated with psychology with ‘what makes people tick’ and spirituality with ‘what does all of this mean?’ in a search to answer my own internal questions.  Since the loss, what I value most is Time, family and real, honest conversations.  I value the time that I have and others take to spend together, however mundane.  I also value deeper conversations with others, so I have little interest in the superfluous conversations.  Money, things, jobs I can always replace, but I can never get back Time to spend with my brother.


What or whom have you lost?

What do you value most now?


Know that:

You will laugh again, for real.

You will feel joy again.

Your life may change to exemplify what is truly important to you.

Your empathy may increase.

Remember to:  Be patient with yourself. To love yourself. To have compassion for yourself.


Sociopathy and the men of Billions….

Hey all, I’m not sure about you but I’ve been addicted to Billions, the show on Showtime with Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti?  This is a show about two bulls locked in a battle with U.S Attorney, Chuck Rhodes played by Giamatti attempting to put Wall Street billionaire Bobby Axelrod, played by Lewis away (somehow) for securities fraud.   I thought Billions was going to be a scripted tv-show based on displaying the ‘gluttony’ of the wealthy 1%, but with my two favorite actors, it is so SO much more.  It is about wealth, class, inequality, politics, the intricate and convoluted weaving between politics and Wall Street, who has power over whom and the psychology of it all.  It really could be a character or psychological study of our financial and political times of today.  And I F-ing love it!

This was me the other night watching the prelude to the season 2 finale :

I was on pins and needles during Sunday night’s episode, with the many twists and turns like a cloak and dagger mystery. And as usual, I look through the lens of psychology when looking at some tv-shows and this one is so brilliant, that it keeps me guessing about the characters’ psychology/sociopathy scale. It’s no secret that the Wall Street, Political, Law, Business, Marketing/Media industries and high-level individuals have a propensity to score higher than average on the narcissism, sociopath index scales (Hare, R. Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us, 1999;  Konnikova, M. The Confidence Game, 2016).  Besides the current real-life administration, Billions provides a glimpse into the psychology.

Again, there are many elements that Billions addresses but I’m most interested in the psychology of various characters, especially the main characters. Both men are…complex, like all of us.  Life is complicated and so are you.

Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) head of Axe Capital has acquired his billions through gut instinct, knowledge, bribery and some other not so nice behavior.  He wants to win, to be the top dog.  Winning and acquiring (money, companies) are his thing.  He makes the plays, the decisions and manipulates the world financial market in his favor.  Needless to say, making these decisions while increasing his coffers, will destitute the many others that have no face and he doesn’t lose sleep over it.  Limitations are meant to be crossed.  Bobby also has a henchman that finds other people’s weakness’ or soft spots to exploit or threaten them to his favor when needed.  Yet, Axelrod has been faithfully monogamous to his wife of 15 years with telling one lie in those 15 years. Despite being able to buy just about anything and anyone, Axelrod isn’t out with other women, escorts, strippers and the like until the wee hours of the morning nor does he lie to his wife.  So, by all accounts, he is loyal, monogamous, doesn’t use substances and is honest (direct) with his wife.  The relationship seems to be his rock, his stability despite his love for making money and besting others, but does he love his wife or does he see her as a possession or his property?  What’s interesting about this, is that a narcissist, sociopath will mistreat and abuse his/her spouse yet they are dependent upon them, so when the spouse has had enough and wants to leave, the narcissistic/sociopath will become unglued and attempt to ‘destroy’ their partner any way they can.

Verdict so far:  He has some deficiencies and may exhibit characteristics but Bobby Axelrod isn’t a full-blown sociopath.   What gives it away is: Although he compartmentalizes his behavior, he isn’t reckless with his relationship, he doesn’t lie or cheat on his wife nor does he engage in substances.  You see his entitlement through what he can purchase, but that entitlement hasn’t carried over to his marriage-yet. Personally, I’ve been waiting for how Axelrod will let off some steam in his personal life because he is very well-controlled and well-controlled people can’t do that for too long before some (possibly deviant) behavior arises.  It’s like a politician that looks squeaky clean on the outside proclaiming the importance of family values (monogamy and anti-gay) but finds himself trolling for men in a public bathroom or a politician who made it his goal to clean up the prostitution industry in his city only to procure the services of an escort on a regular basis.

Which brings us to Chuck Rhodes, another complex character.  Giamatti’s character is a U.S. Attorney fighting for justice for the underdog with political ambitions in season 2.   He’s the highest of the law in his jurisdiction, so what kind of pressure do you think he’s under on a daily basis?  Well, to let off some steam, Rhodes enjoys S&M Bondage with him submitting, taking orders and being ‘punished’ with pain – by his wife. That was their agreement, otherwise if news got out, it would cost him his position.   Having worked with and heard many, many things as a counselor which no longer draws a surprise, this was a brilliant characterization by the Billions writers and pretty spot on.  I can understand it, psychologically.  High pressure, high level jobs and having to perform (profits) as well as having multiple professional and personal responsibilities on your shoulders, and the power or wealth that comes with the position wields a lot of stress for one individual and can be exhausting.  It’s no wonder that he would enjoy being dominated and told what to do.  What a breather that must be for him to submit to the will of another albeit momentarily.   Psychologically speaking on this subject, the backstory can go anywhere.

On to sociopathy for Rhodes.  Rhodes set Bobby up at the literal financial expense of losing his Trust (worth millions), his father placing all of his liquidity (is that a word?) as well as Rhodes’ friend, Ira selling his shares back to his law firm and just about quit his job.  Should I put friend in quotes? Probably.  Rhodes knew what he was doing.  He served his father and his friend up like a platter of sashimi for his own needs, to ruin Axelrod.  Rhodes knew or at least hoped that Axelrod would do something to make the stock plummet.  This is where Axelrod’s bribing comes in. He bribed a chemist for vials of a bio-hazardous material that would leave the recipient with stomach issues for a week, kind of like Chipotle.  Axelrod also paid people to ingest this hazardous material while drinking the Ice Juice.  Come to find out, Rhodes was the brainchild of this sting.  In addition to flanking his father and his friend, Rhodes seemed to use his wife’s position as Axelrod’s company therapist to gain information.   After Wendy, Rhodes’ wife visits him at his office to warn him (btw- she risked violating confidentiality) that Axelrod is shorting the stock and to get out of the stock ASAP, Chuck treated her like the enemy and spoke to her with such condescension and disdain that he left her head spinning. Where the hell did that come from?

Verdict so far:  Even though Rhodes fights for the underdog, does he do it for justice because it’s the right thing to do or does he do it to win, to gain in his position?  Since Rhodes masterminded this whole sting (he lied), knowing and not warning anyone close to him such as his father and friend about not investing their life savings, and using his wife for information to fulfill his own needs and desires without thought of the devastation to the one’s closest to him or his marriage, I’d say this is calculated and reckless behavior.  So, I’d say he’s pretty high on the narcissism/sociopath/machiavellian scale.

Sociopathy and narcissism are fluid and progressive depending on circumstances and environment, they’re not born, they’re made.  Power and money are great aphrodisiacs and will bloat the ego exponentially.  Are these two characters simply blinded by pride, revenge, and winning?  The writers do a great job with walking that fine line and they do an even better job with no clear answers of who the  ‘good guy’ vs ‘bad guy’ really is.

This show.  So. Damn. Good.

The Surrogate Spouse

Recently, The New York Times flubbed and called Ivanka the wife of her father.  An honest mistake, some people say, while others may think this was premeditated.  Immediately when I saw that in the news, I thought ‘yep, surrogate spouse.’  The New York Times may have made a mistake but they actually called out a dysfunctional family dynamic that impacts many children and later, adults.  Usually family dynamics are played out in dramatic fiction in TV shows or movies, but with this WH administration (family) we get to see family dynamics play out in real life and not a scripted ‘reality’ show.  We get to observe what it looks like to have a father, husband, and co-worker who is a narc, and it’s educational.

What is a surrogate spouse?

The parent uses the child to fulfill his/her own emotional needs.  Some therapists also call this Emotional Incest, which is a ‘harsher’ term for people to swallow, grapple with or acknowledge that they were or still are a surrogate spouse.  Please hear,  children don’t know nor do they have a say in this dynamic. Adults often don’t realize that they are playing the role of spouse because this is all they’ve known since childhood.

What creates a surrogate spouse? Remember this begins in childhood, but it begins within the dysfunctional marriage/relationship between ADULTS.   Let’s say the narcissist (husband) loves to work and travels for work so much so that he buries himself into work creating a distance within his marriage.  That’s not the only reason, throw in consistent infidelity and verbal abuse (constant criticisms and expectations) and his wife will begin to distance herself for self-preservation.   Over time, there is a division between husband and wife and the kids pick up on it.  When the husband is away working, traveling, using alcohol, drugs or with multiple women, the wife (or husband) is left with the family/kids.  This division creates teams, with the spouse and kids on one end and the narc on the other.  (Ivanka’s mother has stated Trump didn’t want anything to do with the children while they were small.  We can also see this with his child (she’s a young adult) from his second marriage as well as his third with Melania.  As they are not in his family business, you rarely see Trump with these kids unless there’s a photo op.)  So, while the narcissist spouse is out doing exactly what they want when they want, their spouse is left with the family.  You’re married but not really married because it’s not a partnership.  The spouse becomes lonely.  

Here’s where Enmeshment comes in.

Like narcissism, Enmeshment is a continuum. Enmeshment is a subject on its own, but it’s basically a relationship between parent and child that has little to no boundaries, which means a child can be enmeshed in various ways and can be enmeshed by both parents.  You can be enmeshed through working for the family business, having to live into and up to the expectations of the dominant (controlling) parent ( in this case Trump).  You can be enmeshed by becoming (or rather used) as your parent’s confidant and emotional caretaker.

Let’s continue with the example.  Once the spouse becomes lonely, she (he) will confide in their child(ren)    leaving the child to take care of his/her parents feelings. Maybe the spouse confides that she/he is unhappy in the marriage because their father/mother are never around.  Maybe the spouse begins to rely on his/her children for advice and emotional comforting.  The spouse may also rely on their child by doing things with their child because their husband/wife is unavailable (like going out for a meal/movie/travel) that the spouse really wants to experience.  Instead of cancelling the plans,  going alone or with friends, the spouse instead takes their child/children.   How often do you think Trump’s wives travelled solely with their children, without Trump in tow?

As a child/teen, a surrogate spouse, may provide advice, counsel and be the confidant to their parent regarding dating, relationships, sex and household responsibilities.  This can look like the parent confiding to their child how miserable they are in their marriage and how their spouse is ‘never’ around or available.  This can also look like a parent confiding in their child/teen about their sex life or dating life, asking for advice and opinions on partners or even asking/expecting the child/teen to keep secrets of infidelity.  These are adult subjects and behaviors that should be discussed between adults and specifically between spouses.  (It was reported that Ivanka once told her father as a teen not to date anyone younger than her.  Clearly, Ivanka knew certain information and insight into her father at an early age.). Being a surrogate spouse is not really a good or beneficial role for a child or adult child to play.  This role can come between marriages, with adult surrogate spouses more concerned and playing the husband or wife to their parent rather than their own spouse. Therefore, creating the pattern all over again in their own family system. 

Here’s what I see, Ivanka is clearly the favorite and her Dad would probably do most anything for her (have you noticed in the media that his sons are basically in the background while Ivanka and her husband take front and center?).  It’s ironic, I know, but how his daughter views him is extremely important, so Trump is probably more willing to bend in the direction of his daughter.  He wants to be seen in a positive light by his daughter.  Yes, it’s still about image, his image.

However.  Here is the plus for us, the people of these divided United States.  Ivanka has played and does play the surrogate spouse to her father.  You can see this through her campaigning for her father, doing interviews on behalf of her father, attending women’s conferences and sitting in on ‘Heads of States’ functions, duties usually designated for wives and First Ladies.  Ivanka is now an adviser to her father, which sent many people and the media in an uproar.  Anyone familiar with family dynamics and narcs will know that this is NO surprise.  Narcs don’t trust, so to employ his family as advisors is only predictable. However against I am with employing family members in the WH simply because it reeks of the emperor-dictator vibe,  I am slightly relieved that Ivanka is officially his confidant and here’s why.  She is the one person her father will listen to.   Ivanka can tell her father No without him going ballistic on her and he is likely to listen to her advice, which I do think and hope is more humanistic than her father’s (or Bannon’s).  Her advice may not all be good, but I bet you, her father would be more likely to make changes in his staff and to his decisions based on her advice.  He may think in the Now, as in how does this benefit me now, while she may think in legacy terms as in how will this look upon us in the long-term.  We’ll see tho…..


It really does take a village….

“You can tell the wealth of a nation/country by how well its women and children are treated.”

Ok, I don’t remember who said this, but this quote speaks volumes.  The connection between mother and child is paramount to your development.  Needless to say, your development impacts society as a whole.  Our connection to our mothers has been found to impact our overall current and long-term health and well-being. Studies have linked stress levels in children to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, anxiety and addiction (Neil Schneiderman, Gail Ironson, and Scott D. Siegel).  This is not to negate the role of fathers, by any means. Fathers are, of course equally important (we’ll get to that later in another post), but the focus is on women today due to 1. Women being the ones actually carrying to term and giving birth and 2. Women still being the majority primary care-giver.  Because the connection between mother and child is paramount to development, we must look at the environmental factors that can impact this bond or connection.  BTW, environmental factors don’t start for the child when they are birthed, it begins in utero, but that’s another post also.  There’s so much stuff to get to!

Sustained subtle stressors = trauma.  Overwhelming stress = trauma. Stress and trauma impacts you, because it impacts/impacted your development in some way. If stress and trauma impacted/impacts you, your relationships and your health (mental, emotional, physical) are all also impacted.   In a nutshell, environmental factors and your connection with your mother (and father) impact your health, work and relationships

In this country, we have been conditioned to think in terms of  ‘I,’ ‘Me,’ ‘My’ and ‘Mine.’ We think about how something (system, experience) or someone can help or hinder Me and My family. We don’t think about how a system, circumstance or experience will impact the ‘We,’ ‘Us,’ or ‘Our.’ This is the reductionist, individualist, competitive social society that doesn’t fully foster or allow for Connection. However, Connection (attachment) is about all of us as connection contributes to the strength and health of a nation (society).

We’ve read of studies about connection as it relates to loneliness and the negative effects on physical health and an increase in depression.  Studies have indicated that the stress and trauma a child experiences can contribute to their physical, mental and emotional health as an adult. Stress and trauma can contribute to the rise of addiction, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. In addition, stress and trauma have been linked to anxiety, depression and other mood disorders (Neil Schneiderman, Gail Ironson, and Scott D. Siegel). Our healthcare system is and has been at a crux with the increase of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke being among the top ten killers as well as the increase of drug/alcohol use and addiction contributing to a rise in death rates primarily among White Americans. These are for the most part, preventable diseases.

If we as a society began to view parent-child connections (relationships) and the systems that can support the relationship as a necessity to the long-term productivity, success and health of our society, then we (society) can begin to alter our long-term health and healthcare system through preventative care. The probability of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and addiction would likely be reduced, due to the reduction of stress endured, therefore reducing the long-term need and long-term cost of maintenance band-aid healthcare.

I don’t know who the Artist is to give credit.

What systems (communities) impact the connection (relationship) between parent and child?

Childcare. Childcare is expensive.  Infant childcare can range between $5,000+ to $16,000 a year depending on which state you live in.  Childcare, on average takes 10%-25% of the yearly joint income of a married couple, while single moms have to spend 30%-80% of their yearly income on childcare.  HALF! of your yearly income just on CHILDCARE! so moms can go to work to provide for their families.  For a family on or near the poverty line? They’re looking at an average of 50%- above 100% of their income on childcare.  This means, that people on or near the poverty line ‘spend’ what they don’t have on childcare, or the cost of childcare is contributing to their financial loss.  This. shit. is. CRAZY. when you look at the numbers.  The yearly cost of childcare is often running close to or near the cost for one year of in-state college tuition.  Living pay-check to pay-check increases the stress which often trickles down to children with parents unable to be physically and emotionally present due to working long hours/multiple jobs and then coming home to do the cooking, cleaning etc. How present would you be?  You can view the cost of childcare in each state at http://www.usa.childaware.org.

Healthcare.  This is a no-brainer.  Infants and children need to go to the doctor, many might be for emergency purposes.  Needless to say, adults also need medical care without going into debt or becoming bankrupt.  Prior to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) maternity care was NOT covered AT ALL, which meant being a woman was a pre-existing condition!  In addition to maternity care, Family Planning  is also necessary. Family planning including insurance covered, free or minimal cost for birth control as well as the right to choose for having a baby.  Taking away funding for Planned Parenthood sets up an increase in possible STI’s and an increase in unwanted children coming into this world  with little financial means or emotional development to support the child (teen pregnancy).   There are 14.5 million children living in poverty in this country today and lack of funding for Planned Parenthood would only increase these numbers.  How can one be against abortion yet be ok with taking away universal maternity care as well as meals for children?  Aren’t infants and children just as valuable as a fetus? With universal healthcare,  women and children would get the care they need, without the nagging worry about going bankrupt or further into debt.  Personally, an overhaul of the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries should be held accountable and tackled.   We’re coming up on tax day, and believe me, every year I throw my fists up into the air cursing Uncle Sam.  However, I’m all for universal healthcare and education even with higher taxes. At least these great financial burdens would be lifted and I (we) would get a direct payoff instead of my taxes contributing to corporate wealth.  I know many people are against universal healthcare, but can someone tell me how Cuba, a country with universal healthcare and education, yet considered well below the economic growth rate has created a vaccine (Cimavax) to halt the spread of lung cancer?  One of the deadliest cancers? Yet, billions have been raised for the Komen foundation for breast cancer, and yet there’s still no cure?  Can someone say Profits over people?

Ok, off my soapbox…Next.

Paid Maternity Leave.  Not just maternity leave, but Paid Maternity Leave. Having a newborn is one of the greatest gifts and joys, yet employs the biggest stressors.  As a parent, you are on duty 24/7 no matter what.  Your underlying feeling is worry.  Worry that you’ll be a good parent, worry that you provide for your child, that they get a good education, worry that you raised a good functional child into adulthood, worry that your child is safe especially when you have no control.  As your children become adults, you worry less and less often but the underlying worry is never-ending. Well, until you die.  But I digress. Having a newborn is stressful and a complete change of your life. Paid maternity leave is important in establishing a connection/bond with your infant through holding, cradling, feeding, soothing, eye contact, speaking, bathing, cleaning etc.  All of these actions are bonding, especially breast-feeding.  Maternity leave would allow for bonding between parent and child without the stress of financially providing by having to rush back to work.  Some people get three weeks paid, some get 6 weeks, while others get 3 months and others get leave without pay.  3- 6 weeks are not enough. Three months leave, much better.  Paid maternity leave is needed for every family, but for the single mom (dad) and the parent with minimal support, it is imperative.

Which brings us to….

Equal Pay (and a Livable Minimum Wage).  US Department of Labor states that 57% of women work outside of the home. Statistics share that women make .60-.86 cents to every dollar a man makes, with women of color (Black, Latina) making the least. This impacts all women and especially single moms who carry the majority of responsibility for day-to-day child rearing.  For the single parent household, the stress of financially providing for your child and the stress of keeping the job is most likely increased (overwhelm), which impacts the connection between your child. Women will lose 800+ BILLION dollars! this year alone due to inequality in pay. If the Equal Pay rights became law, this would greatly benefit women, single women and single moms by reducing  financial stress with the ability to provide more for their child or children.  In addition, many families have to work 2-3 jobs just to make ends meet and often that isn’t enough.  Here’s where the livable wage increase happens.  Wages have NOT increased with inflation through the years contributing to the 14.5 million children living in poverty.  Kids not receiving basic care, such as food, healthcare and for some, shelter. Basic needs.  I don’t know why this isn’t an outrage in America and with our politicians.

Yes, these are all separate issues affecting women, but these are all connected.  These systems are environmental factors that impact the well-being and development of children.  To think that a child’s development is solely impacted by the individual family is not seeing the entire picture for child rearing and development.

The lack of these systems being made available to support parents can contribute to increased stress.  You’ve read multiple times already in this blog, that’s how important it is.  Sustained stress becomes a form of trauma and therefore affects your reasoning which impacts your ability to think rationally. Stress also affects your emotions (i.e. being quick to anger, lashing out at your child or your partner), and affects your behavior with coping mechanisms like alcohol, drugs, food, tv, phone, FB and anything else to checkout (Frone, M; Russell, M; Cooper, M. Lynne,  1997).  Stress taken alone doesn’t sound so insidious, but sustained stress is deadly.

I could’ve written separate blogs regarding each system, but that would take this subject and make it linear with a one-dimensional view, when in reality many systems impact mother-child (parent-child) bonds.  Furthermore, when we see that there are many elements to supporting women and children, thus society as a whole, then maybe we can see that we are all connected and it really does take a village.  Maybe then, we are liable to take action in the direction of the whole rather than the individual.


Spiritual Privilege

lake yoga

Throughout my life I have been interested in spiritual concepts, studying and experiencing through yoga, meditation, and reading.  For a time in the early 2000’s, there were various books written about someone living an unfilled life (although they appeared to be happy to the outside world) ‘giving it all up’ or at the very least taking some time off from their everyday lives to travel thousands of miles across the Atlantic ocean to underdeveloped countries in search of a spiritual awakening.  The common theme that I noticed in these experiences and stories was the seekers usually traveled to places where they were often bewildered by the peoples’ acceptance of their circumstances of living in poverty or living without running water, electricity, or heat.  The traveler equated acceptance of circumstance with being at peace, therefore their learning consisted of “be peaceful within regardless of external circumstances.”   Personally, I couldn’t stand these stories for a few reasons,  but mainly because this viewpoint came from a place of unintentional arrogance that I just wanted to puke.  Why? It is arrogance to suggest that since someone or a People are living in squalor that they are accepting of their circumstance much less have feelings of peace about it.  This line of thinking, albeit without the poverty, was reiterated last week by Iyanla Vanzant when she tweeted, “Racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism have no power over you unless you believe they do.”  A people living in squalor, shacks, shanty towns or projects may have had little to no choice due to living in a caste-system, being born into poverty or systemic government ‘rules,’ limiting one’s options for power and advancement.  I would ask the seeker, “Do you think, the person/peoples you met,  given the opportunity, wouldn’t choose to have a better paying job, and live somewhere else with electricity, running water, surrounded with four solid walls and roof over their head? Or do you think the people would choose to stay in a life a poverty?”  Secondly, the traveling seeker, can leave and return to their normal lives in homes full of electricity, running water, and heat with no worry about food at any time.  The traveling seeker can turn the switch off and on, meaning they can go back into their lives and enjoy the comforts.  People living in poverty don’t have that option, so they have to eke out some way to find some kind of peace even if it’s momentary.

The seeker gets a momentary experience, an awakening and a shift in their perception, while the person/peoples continue to live a lifetime in poverty.  This is spiritual privilege.  It’s easier to see the ‘beauty in’ and accept a state of poverty or strife when you’re not really living in it.

Another form of spiritual privilege that I have seen grace the media recently, but has been a staple in the new thought prosperity teaching is the mind over matter, changing your perception of your situation. In an L.A. Times piece by Amy Kaufman Link Here a conversation ensued between actresses Jessica Williams, Salma Hayek and Shirley Maclaine in which Hayek posed a question to Williams, ‘Who are you when you’re not black and a woman?’  I understand what Hayek and Vanzant were attempting to say, but for some people and groups of people it’s not an option.  To ask “who am I (without my money, my job, my looks, my celebrity, my education, religion, culture and then list goes on and on…), beyond your humanness is a privilege that many people who are worried about or working multiple jobs just to put some food on the table don’t have.  People who are struggling to provide for themselves and their families don’t have the luxury of time, money or space to contemplate such questions and to do so is spiritual privilege.


Vanzant’s response to the experiences of numerous groups, especially given the recent political decisions and actions of our government is asking the people to go beyond their belief, even though their experience(s) have confirmed otherwise.  Agreed, I’m not a fan of the “Man keeping me down” frame of mind, and I’m all for accountability. But we cannot negate a person’s experiences by simply saying change your perception. You might as well just say, “You created it so you deal with it…I’ll be over here” no matter the circumstance.  Where is the compassion and Oneness, the Whole?   To tend to you is tending to myself.

How do you tell a woman who was passed over for a promotion by a man she trained that it’s best to change her belief or her perception of her situation?  Would you tell a child who has been relentlessly bullied to focus on the future of ‘this too shall pass” or do you tell the child to change his/her belief about the situation/circumstance, while continuing to be relentlessly bullied?  How about the person with cancer that has tried everything, including diligently and actively changing his beliefs about health and healing to no avail, or the person in chronic pain that finds it so difficult to believe in a pain free life because his body reminds him moment to moment?  Look, I am not devoid of this, I bought into this belief whole heartedly for many years, until I lost a friend to cancer.

Beliefs are an individual experience and to apply a belief to groups of people is a disservice to the collective reality. It is easier to tackle a belief when working with the individual, because the belief, although common, may express itself differently from person to person.  If you follow the ‘change your perception’ ideology, then you must do that individually, separately from the group, which diminishes the whole.  If everyone or most people did that,  we wouldn’t see systemic change throughout society.   Do we just close our eyes, go into prayer, change our perception of our situation and then have faith that the injustice will ‘at some point’ go away or be righted?  Who would do the work? Would we have had our Gloria Steinem’s, Martin Luther king Jr’s, or our Gandhi’s and Cesar Chavez’?  If we’ve settled for changing our perception to accept our situation to only worry about our Own standing within society, would these societal systems have changed?  I don’t think so.  If that were the case, then the Tibetans would have retrieved their nation back from China and experience less discord today about being occupied.

Individuals can lead but it’s the movements of the collective that bring about systemic change.


Sorry, It Never Gets Better with a Narcissist


Have you had the opportunity to experience being in a relationship with a narcissist/sociopath?  I’ve wanted to put out a PSA about it months ago.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to be in a personal one-on-one relationship, you are now.  You’re in a relationship with a narcissist/sociopath, yep and it’s the current POTUS.  Personally, I think many politicians are narcissists/sociopath because they’re just out for themselves, but this POTUS is such a classic textbook narcissist/sociopath that my therapist friends and I watched his campaign with bulging eye sockets, saying, “Can you believe this sh!t?!”   This real life living textbook example of what a narcissist/sociopath is a dream come true for the psychology instructor.

I don’t want to see the POTUS fail, yet in all honesty I am having difficulty with compassion considering there isn’t any compassion being displayed from him, his Fright Night cabinet or Congress. Some people aren’t aware of such behavior so they may not be able to see it, instead thinking that this is just for show. Some people are in denial and make excuses for his behavior, and still others are ‘comfortable’ with narcissistic behavior and don’t care.  But, anyone that has been in any kind of relationship or familiarity with a narcissist/sociopath knows that it never gets better.  It’s been less than 2 weeks and already it looks like a Comedy of Errors, only it’s not funny.  I wouldn’t be surprised if POTUS, his cabinet and Congress sought ways to limit the free press, access to it or instill the slow decimation of our constitutional rights. Watch, it will happen. For the people who think you’re safe, you’re not.  A narcissist/sociopath will turn on you and discard you just as soon as you are no longer needed for his plans.

Here’s what you can look froward to being in a personal relationship with a Narcissist/Sociopath. Red lettering are broad examples via the current POTUS.

In the beginning of the relationship (Campaign) you can look forward to:

  • Being swept off your feet through gestures of buying material objects, gifts, and trips.
  • Image is EVERYTHING to them and your image matters too. Makes a great impression in the beginning.  Needs the best of everything and extremely status/fame (recognition/adoration) oriented.  Loves adoration. Ever seen him or his family in a pair of sweats, with messed up hair walking on the streets of New York?
  • Being told exactly what you want to hear. Building a wall, Muslim Ban.
  • Moving fast (emotional or sexual intimacy) into a relationship, using terms such as WE and US.

In the middle of the relationship (now) you can look forward to:

  • Emotional distance perpetuated through physical distance such as
  • Working (a-holic), substance abuse, anywhere but with you.
  • Lack of Empathy for you and others.  This one is the most important. All other behavior stems from lack of empathy.  Throw in sociopathy and you have a lack of guilt.  Sound fun?  It’s interesting that people believe that this POTUS understands the average working man’s/woman’s plight.  Just because someone can identify someone’s vulnerability and use it for their own gain doesn’t translate into empathy.
  • Consistent criticisms, verbal abuse, anger outbursts, intimidation tactics escalating to possible physical abuse.  Angry Verbal attacks via twitter, attempted lawsuits.
  • Manipulations and lies even when faced with the facts and truth. You will hear bullshit more times than not. Inauguration photos. Making up numbers and information such as voter fraud, increase in crime, unemployment rates etc.  There will be much more.
  • Blatant disregard of and crossing of your boundaries.  Signing of defunding of Planned Parenthood after millions of women (men and children) marched around the world.
  • A sense of entitlement that is insatiable.  Multiple Executive orders WITHOUT going through the proper judicial channels.
  • Inability to physically or emotionally be present in times of crises, or when you need/want support such as having a baby, loss of family member, accident requiring hospital stay/assistance etc.  Repeal of ACA (Obamacare)Let’s see what happens when we have a natural disaster.
  • You’ll be blamed, shamed, and made wrong for their actions and behaviors. Blaming the media for calling out the lies and ‘alternative facts.’  This is the time in which you will begin to question yourself, and depending how healthy your sense of self is, you will feel crazy because you will feel like you entered the twilight zone. Seriously.  You try but just can’t make sense of his behavior. You will feel crazy and wonder if it’s you, but in order to appease the narcissist/sociopath and stay in the relationship you must buy into whatever alternate reality they spew. This will create anxiety and depression for you.
  • Inability to take accountability for actions and behaviors, hence you will rarely, if at all hear an apology UNLESS it has to do with something they want. The apology won’t be about you at all.  No apology has been stated.  Others take it as a positive as if being a maverick against political correctness. It’s not.
  • Constant effort to reassure your partner (no matter what you do, it will never be enough). You have to feed, coddle and burp a grown man!?  No thanks.  In POTUS’ administration, we can see and hear it by Spicer’s and Conway’s comments with the media. They spew alternative facts, otherwise they’d be fired. 
  • Consistent fighting, depending on if you set boundaries (use your voice) or just say yes to appease no matter what the cost is to you.  Marching is setting a boundary.
  • You will be objectified, they value by what they have and accumulate. The best of everything. You will have an undercurrent feeling of needing to be perfect (physically, intellectually, professionally, Status related) at all times. Again, no matter what you do, how great you look, how intelligent, or how successful you are, it will not be enough because the narcissist is always on the lookout for someone/something better. His Wives (previous models). Which brings us to
  • Affairs.  At some point, they will look and find someone else. They will have multiple affairs or long-term affairs.  Yes, and has been repeatedly accused of harassment by multiple women. 
  • Inability to maintain long-term relationships.  Multiple marriages.

Near the ‘end’ of the relationship you can look forward to:

  • Living separate lives under the same roof. This is done for self-protection, a boundary within the relationship.  If you choose to stay in the relationship long-term, this is how it will most likely be. Remember the media reported that his current wife wanted to stay in New York?. My therapist friends and I were like, “There it is!” Classic textbook. I feel for Melania, she was almost free.


So, How do you deal with a narcissist/sociopath?  There are only few options.

  1. With Kid Gloves, if you want to have some sort of relationship. Just know that the relationship will be one-sided and not in your favor.  Kid gloves = saying Yes to most everything regardless if your boundary, values or morals have been crossed.
  2. Don’t give them adoration.  Shut them out. It will drive them nuts. They will either rage or do a 180 for a time to regain the adoration.
  3. Leave.  Get out ASAP.   The healthier you are, the less likely you will tolerate being treated in such a way.  The narcissist/sociopath will often prey upon empathic or vulnerable people and will often create an environment in which their partner is financially dependent upon them. This way, they have control.  Therefore, some partners find themselves financially and psychologically trapped within the relationship.

A relationship with a narcissist/sociopath will deplete you emotionally, physically and possibly financially because they will slowly and methodically tear you down by criticizing  everything you do, everything you are until you yourself begin to feel hated and resemble just a shell of what you were.

*Note: For the national scale, what will be needed is consistent and firm boundaries (Marches/Protests) by the people of this nation.

If you choose to leave the relationship (set a boundary) before your narcissist/sociopath partner wants:

  • Be prepared for revenge tactics such as increasing financial hardship by stalling divorce proceedings thereby increasing the amount of money it takes for the divorce to become final, your partner seeking to take something of value away from you (your reputation, custody of the kids, money, house, child and spousal support, pets, tarnishing your relationship with your children by blaming you for the demise of the relationship, or using manipulation of money, material objects to sway your kid’s affection etc.).  Nice huh?

How do you know when you’re dealing with a Narcissist/Sociopath?

  • Set a Boundary and most likely you will see this person go into a rage competing with the best tantrums of the most experienced 3-4 year old.  Child.  In healthy relationships, you should be able to openly communicate with your partner. A narcissist/sociopath will see a boundary as a personal attack against them and turn the tables by attacking and blaming you. It’s their way or the highway because they don’t really care about you.  Sounds harsh, yes, but true.
  • Express a need or share with your narcissist/sociopath how their behavior affected you.  You will again, most likely get a wrath of words, anger and rage rained down upon you. See above.

Some people think that a narcissist can change.  There can be change with consistent long-term therapy.  However, I would say the change that will be seen will be fairly small. A baby takes bigger steps.  Without the empathy muscle, change is minimal.  I know I sound harsh maybe even gloomy, but this is reality when you’re dealing with a personality disorder and times2.   For the people refusing to see that this behavior is not ok because you think you’re safe, well, you’re not.  It NEVER gets better with a narcissist/sociopath.  It may appear so in the beginning, but underneath the smoke and mirrors is the truth.

“Don’t Believe the Hype.”