Season 4 of Billions pressed the Reset Button… and became a snooze fest

I’ve been a fan of Billions since season 1, so much so, I would say I was addicted to season 1 and 2 of Billions.  However, my steam began to dissipate in season 3.  I don’t know if I was just burned-out on the entitlement, self-aggrandizement, greed, the sheer chaos and rampant tantrums of this current presidential administration that I just couldn’t stomach any more of this shit even if it was a scripted TV show. Characters that started out smart and savvy in seasons 1 & 2 became one-dimensional characters that made extremely stupid decisions, consumed with revenge to the point that season 4 felt like a boring and tired soap opera.  We saw old, inconsequential characters come back into the fold for very little interesting moves, which I thought, “that was a total waste of my time.”  For example, and this is only one example of many this season.  The episode which Axelrod takes his dead friend’s now grown-up son out on to the water to do some bonding through fishing sans cellphones.  As these two are ‘bonding,’  Axelrod has his team go after all of this man’s clients, simply because this now grown-up pays Axelrod back with a check and decides not to work with Axe any longer.  Really?  What was the point of this episode?  To show us how vengeful Axelrod is?  It felt like a filler episode and a waste of time.


Me, during the whole Season 4 


I’ve grown tired of the 1-trick pony characters to the point that I asked myself if they are even relevant to the success of this show or the day to day operations of Axe Capital. Also, I was irritated with everyone’s characters except for Taylor’s camp, but felt the dynamic of Taylor and his father was rushed and used solely for the set-up between Axe and Taylor.  Who do you root for when you know Axelrod will always win?  Is the show still thrilling when the viewer already knows that Axe will always come out on top?

Yes, Dollar Bill is necessary for the spontaneity and wild card of the bunch to bring in the money and some humor.  But, Dollar Bill fighting Mafee in a boxing-ring and egged on by Axelrod and Taylor.  Really tho? Really?  Ridiculous and not in a funny kind of way.

Wags’ clever banter and his random pop culture references were on point and funny throughout each season, but not even balling his eyes out with a professional hugger this season contributed to any character dimension.  Wags has had periodic yet fleeting existential moments throughout the seasons, in which he questioned his life, his work and his relationships or lack thereof, unfortunately, that’s where it stops. So, I ask, Is Wags just Axe’s business butler at this point?

Ari Spyros, WTF is his character there for anyway?  Comic relief? He espouses random movie references and literature quotes as if he’s on a Broadway stage.  Ari, the proverbial awkward kid that just wants to belong trying to edge his way into the group, yet falls flat every time.  I cringed every time his mouth opened. What exactly does Axe really need him for?  Compliance so Axe doesn’t go to jail. Ari, please just STFU and do your job or leave.

Then there’s Wendy.  She is so out of bounds and a total shit show that I’d say please get rid of her.  She is the Svengali of Axe Capital who manipulated, crossed major lines and boundaries to best….Taylor of all people.  Taylor, who has been authentic with Wendy from day one.  Wendy, by trade, is to ‘do no harm,’ yet she meticulously set out to destroy Taylor.  Who is Wendy?  A therapist, trader or consultant?  Pick one and stay in that lane.  Needless to say, I enjoyed when Taylor read Wendy her filth while Wendy’s response was one of a self-righteous, bible-thumping, pearl-clutching lady with a ‘how dare you!’ look.  If there ever was slap therapy, I’d use it on Wendy.


Taylor made a complaint to the board and Wendy’s license was up for suspension, but Axelrod comes to her rescue by bribing, I mean ‘donating’ 25 million to a Pancreatic cancer research facility.  Wendy sees this online via her Ipad, and really starts to see Axelrod in a whole different light as in  ‘Axelrod.. he really cares for me’ because in her mind, since Chuck didn’t put his job in any more danger to fix hers, somehow, he doesn’t love her.  So, she packs a bag and leaves the marital home she shares with Chuck and runs over to Axe’s penthouse because a hotel just doesn’t seem right.  Excuse me?  Makes me want to puke.  She has all that money she made with insider trading knowledge plus her Axe Capital bonuses in the millions during the season 2 finale and she just can’t find herself in a hotel?  Girl, bye.  Get a room, order room service, get a spa package, and have housekeeping clean up after you. No husband, no kids  = some peace.

How I feel about Wendy…


Which brings us to Chuck’s camp.  The icing on the cake for this patchwork season was the whole father-son sting to get Connerty.  You mean to tell me they had the foresight to set up a sting to get Connerty?  Not buying it.  They also made Connerty stupid for being blinded with revenge (key word throughout this season) going after Rhoades.  Aren’t there many more cases and issues to look into besides one person? Connerty was one of the brightest lawyers on the team concerned about integrity yet he tumbles so quickly putting his job, career, reputation and law license in that kind of jeopardy by breaking and entering into Chuck’s dad’s house- himself?????!!!!!! And we’re supposed to believe this?  Chuck gets off free of a dirty real estate deal. Chuck’s dad gets off free of the same dirty real estate deal.  And Connerty goes down?

Come On! Not Buying it.

On a Sidenote: Remember Ira, Chuck’s friend that Chuck steamrolled and made Ira lose all of his money?  We saw Ira, this season with his wife having a baby.  Huh? We last saw Ira’s ‘wife’ when she was grifting him out of money with her boyfriend in season 2.  Chuck threatened something to her about leaving Ira, returning his money and she wouldn’t be prosecuted.  But Ira, the schmuck, decided to stay because he couldn’t really afford to divorce.  Somehow, she’s now put her grifting ways aside and pushed out a baby?  This girl was ALL about money and now she’s a happy homemaker?  Again, where did this come from???!!!  Doesn’t even make sense.  So many things this season just doesn’t make sense.

One last icing on the cake that made this season a whole bunch of eyerolls for me was Axe’s Grey’s Anatomyesque diatribe explaining to Rebecca (his girlfriend) why he cut her off at the knees in his take over of Saler’s- her company.  I was done.  When does Axe use those many words to get his point across?

Obviously, by the end of the finale, we see season 4 was a reset button.  Taylor and her team (Mafee) are at Axe Capital, Axelrod hasn’t really lost anything, Wendy still has her license, and Chuck is still a government lawyer.  Now, Chuck is pissed and feels Axelrod is honing in on his relationship (a feeling that was slightly explored in seasons 1 & 2).  Season 4 was about revenge, Axelrod’s and Chuck’s revenge, actually everyone’s revenge and it made for a very long and boring season.  Season 5 seems to be set up with Axe and Chuck being adversaries again.  We’ll see if it becomes the thrilling and intelligent show it started out as or just another patchwork filler on TV.

Some Ideas and some questions:

Character development either through flashbacks or present-day problems. Flashbacks of how Wendy came aboard AxeCap.  We’ve heard the lingo in season 1 or 2, but we lost all the body language.  Was there a triangle between Axe, Wendy and Axe’s Ex-wife?  Was Wendy already married to Chuck when she met Axe?   Flashbacks could breathe new life into these relationships and dynamics.

Loose ends either explored or tied up with an explanation so that the viewer isn’t thinking, “Where the hell did this come from? or “Did I miss something?”

Where are all the kids that were introduced in season 1?  Are they now adults with their own lives?  Highly Doubt it. What kind of fathers are these two men to their growing children?  What is their relationship with their children?  What is Wendy’s? Does this affect all parents involved? How does it affect the kids?  Are Axe’s kids entitled?  Are Chuck’s and Wendy’s kids angry?  You can’t have all that undercover sexual BDSM seeping out of parents and kids not pick up on it somehow.  Impossible. Think Porn, lack of boundaries = sexually ‘suggestive’ at a young age, drugs, need for control, eating disorders etc.  Are the kids getting bullied at school since Chuck outed himself as BDSM?  Why wasn’t this addressed in this season or maybe I slept through it.

Where is Axelrod’s Ex? Does she have a new man?  if so, make him in the same industry. Would Axelrod care?  Can Rebecca invest in Axelrod’s Ex-wife’s venture?

I would like to see Axelrod get bested at something, however small.  Let him be rejected by a woman that he really desires, or maybe his kids reject him. Explore Axelrod’s and Wendy’s present-day relationship.  It seemed Axelrod didn’t listen to her advice yet still said she was valuable to the team.  Wendy felt slighted.  Having Axelrod lose confidence in Wendy’s ability, but still wanting her to work at AxeCap would be interesting to see.  Why does he rescue Wendy and keep her around if he’s lost confidence in her?  Does Axe really love her?  Will Axe now see her as too needy (needing to sleep at this place) or does he see her as property that he fully cannot have- until now?  BTW- Axe has pretty much controlled Wendy with his money.  Now that he has her, does he really want her?  Would Axelrod keep her at arm’s length and be interested in someone else?

Will Wags and Taylor’s right-hand woman bond?  Will Wags actually spend more time in his existential crisis? If so, how can he work for Axe Cap and fill his void?

As for Wendy, If she’s still practicing, have Axelrod and some on the team lose confidence in her skills. How does she handle that?  Is Wendy trading one man for another thinking they are different only to find out these two men are the same? She’s a therapist after all, fully aware of patterns.  Also, Wendy was so concerned why Chuck chose her, but why did she choose Chuck?  What boundaries has she crossed to appease the men in her life?  After all, she did agree to be the Dominatrix to her husband to save his career prior to Chuck’s outing. Flashbacks into their relationship as it turned toward his BDSM would be interesting as well as her own original family.   Psychologically, these two found each other for a reason and she keeps the same type of men in her orbit.

Finally, can we get rid of the guest spots by the creme de la creme of the NY and TV cooking world and billionaires of this country?  I understand the show wants the viewer to be reminded that Axe’s money can literally buy a personal chef for a dinner, but there is often no screen fluidity with these scenes. The real-life chefs have no screen presence and the viewer is taken out of that scene.  Instead of me saying, ‘Axe has all the money in the world to get a personalized dinner from a famous chef,’  I’m instead saying, ‘wow that real life chef cannot act,’ and just like that the viewer is taken out of the show.  This is becoming like those random guest spots on Empire, instead of black people, music, and fashion, it’s white people, food and money.  Use an actor and keep the viewer in the story.

As a viewer, I had no investment into these characters this season and no real desire to learn what happened to them next.  It was a snore to see Axelrod so petty and trifling, concerned with small fish.  Is he now Trump?  It’s also boring to see Axelrod, Chuck, and Wendy win all the time.  What story is there to tell if they all, always come out on top and unscathed?


What are your thoughts about Billions season 4?  Do you still enjoy Billions?  Is it still worth your time?







Apathy: Stage 3 w/a Narcissist

I can’t. I just can’t. 

Are you tired of and overwhelmed from the constant chaos from our Administration and the Media’s sensationalism that apathy has seeped into your life?  I know I am.  Actually, I vacillate between caring (giving a damn) and being apathetic (not giving a damn).  In my orbit, the stress point for people has definitely increased regardless of political affiliation. When people (and animals for that matter) become stressed, anger and anger outbursts are natural symptoms.  In a previous post, Sorry, But it Never Gets Better with a Narcissist, I shared some tidbits about narcissism and what you can look forward to being in relationship with a narcissist.  Even knowing that life only goes from bad to worse with a narcissist and having the psychological insight to expect chaotic and inconsistent behavior doesn’t immune me from becoming affected.

Relationships with narcissists are often very difficult for partners to leave because the narcissist has created an environment of control and dependency over a length of time. However, nothing is one sided, sometimes the partner has a dependent personality or dependency issues in which they feel they can’t survive unless depending on someone else for their livelihood.

One aspect of being in relationship with a narcissist is at some point you stop caring.  You’re tired of the chaos because it’s something different, more outlandish and inexplicable day after day.  You’re tired of the lies.  You’re tired of fighting and you’re tired of placating.  You’re tired of standing up for and defending yourself and others. You’re also tired of acquiescing. You’re. just. plain. tired.

Nope. Not gonna happen

If you’ve reached this point where you just had to stop caring about what the narc (president) does and distanced yourself from the relationship (such as not reading about or watching the sensational news. I still don’t get how every damn tweet that man does ends up on the news as if it’s breaking ‘news.’ Smdh. What a waste of time and resources). But I digress. If you’ve reached a point of ‘why bother,’ then you’re in the middle stages of the relationship.  This feeling, unfortunately is very normal. Distance will give you some respite.  Usually, by this time in the relationship you have unknowingly and knowingly given some, if not most of your power away to this person, meaning you are somewhat dependent upon him and stay in the relationship because you can’t yet see a way out.  Maybe he’s or she’s taken control of the money saying that he’s better with it or knows what to do with it.  You can’t really move (leave)…to Canada or overseas, so you’re kinda stuck where you are.  This is when the wind gets knocked out of your sails and you get the case of the ‘Meh’s’ and the ‘Blah’s.’ You become apathetic, losing interest in some of the things you’ve enjoyed in the recent past. Nothing sounds fun or interesting. Forget about Self-care because nothing really rocks your boat right now anyway. ‘So what’s the point?’ This is apathy, where you stop giving a shit.

You’re tired of being steamrolled. Confronting a narcissist on their lies is like playing wack-a-mole. As soon as you confront one lie, he’s telling another lie to get out of that lie and another until he actually tells on himself! You say, ‘Aha! There it is!’ thinking you’ll get some accountability. Instead, you’re left there holding the mallet, knowing you got-the-mole, but scratching your head wondering if you really did get him, because somehow, the mole keeps moving.

Nationally, it’s easy to feel depleted and apathetic when the president continues to be enabled by Congress, his cabinet, and the DOJ. You wonder if anything you do or say really matters to the narc and as you wonder, you know the answer. “No.” You’ve come to know the reality of your partner, the relationship and the future doesn’t look so bright to you. So, you become a little more depleted and tired of caring.  With each transgression, you care less and less.

Some of your faith in and luster for life may have been depleted,- without realizing it. If you’re feeling this or have felt this, then you’re normal.  Just applaud yourself for caring in the first place despite not caring now.  You did this out of protection for your well-being.

To remedy the ‘Meh’s’ and the ‘Blah’s’ you must be concerned with and take care of your own well-being because he won’t. Actually, no one will. This is your job. The narc will continue to trample you and do things that tell you, ‘You don’t matter’ and ‘You aren’t important.’ Not true.  You are.  You are important. You do matter.  You just need a break from the chaos otherwise you become chaotic. The trickle down effect of chaos and uncertainty from this relationship (administration) is stressful and it’s ok to take a break, but you must get back in Your life at some point.  Otherwise, who you’ve known yourself to be will diminish. Your spirit will diminish. With this, Depression can sink in over time and this is not good. Regardless if you stay or leave, instead of fighting for the relationship you so dearly want but will never have with a narcissist, fight for your way back to you.

There’s always hope.  Start with doing, again, what you once enjoyed. Start small if you don’t have the motivation or energy. You can seek help to build your self-esteem, set boundaries and leave the relationship if that’s best for you.

For the rest of us, there’s still Russia and Mueller.

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

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.