Sometimes I like to have a "What was on my mind last year on this day?" anniversary. Well, here it is - "TODAY'S QUOTE" from June 27, 2008, and a piece about lying.

TODAY'S QUOTE (6/27/08):

“Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are your own fears”
Rudyard Kipling

Posted by peter loffredo, lcsw at 6/27/2008:

Lies and the Lying Toddlers Who Tell Them

I was having a talk with someone the other day about the way that people lie. It's true. People lie. Blatantly at times, and seemingly without shame. How is that possible?

Well, there's an interesting little piece in today's NY Times called, "YOUR BRAIN LIES TO YOU, "by Sam Wang, a professor of molecular biology and neuroscience at Princeton, and Sandra Aamodt, a former editor in chief of Nature Neuroscience. Wang and Aamodt are the authors of “Welcome to Your Brain: Why You Lose Your Car Keys but Never Forget How to Drive and Other Puzzles of Everyday Life.”

Without going too much into into the technical details in the article of how the brain accepts lies, and then even reinforces the non-truths, I'll just summarize by saying that the authors claim that the brain stores lies in the hippocampus, a structure deep in the brain, but in the recalling process, the source of the lie is forgotten.

Here's Wang and Aamodt:

"Every time we recall it, our brain writes it down again, and during this re-storage, it is also reprocessed. In time, the fact is gradually transferred to the cerebral cortex and is separated from the context in which it was originally learned. For example, you know that the capital of California is Sacramento, but you probably don’t remember how you learned it. This phenomenon, known as source amnesia, can also lead people to forget whether a statement is true. Even when a lie is presented with a disclaimer, people often later remember it as true."

This is a very convenient truth for psychopaths and politicians, of course, who both want their lies believed and hope you'll also forget the context in which they've said things. But what makes some receivers of lies so much more susceptible than others, and what makes one person a more effective liar than another?

The authors of the Times piece say that "Adding to this innate tendency to mold information we recall is the way our brains fit facts into established mental frameworks. We tend to remember news that accords with our worldview, and discount statements that contradict it."

Okay, now we're talking my language. Molecular biology aside, what I know is that the more we hold onto beliefs and are ruled by established thought patterns, the more we get slammed by reality in our lives. I have often said that opinions are what we hold onto when we don't know the truth, and the stronger the held opinions and beliefs are the more ignorant the person usually is. We all know this. People of very rigid opinions and dogmatic belief systems aren't interested in new information that contradicts what they believe. As Jack Nicholson's character might have said: "They can't handle the truth."

We don't need beliefs, people. They stagnate our thought processes, and they freeze in place our ability to grow and assimilate new information. Eventually, we become so afraid to challenge or let go of our beliefs that we will defend them with all of our resources, at great expense to ourselves and those around us. Sad, because the more we surrender our beliefs and opinions, the more we can see the truth in every situation because we are in a flexible state of mind, able to follow the facts wherever they lead.

Back to politicians and psychopaths, or as Al Franken would call them "the lying liars." Here's the thing - a liar who knowingly lies is not going to be very effective because he or she is feeling out of alignment with themselves and so, their lying will show in their body language - shifting eyes or various other tells that make for a bad poker player, for instance. Indeed, a lying liar who doesn't have a psychopathic character structure will often not be believed by most people, and will easily get caught.

A psychopath has a distinct advantage here. Why? Because true psychopaths believe their own lies. In their brains, they are continually rewriting history and reality to suit their manipulative intentions in the moment. This is not unlike the mind of a two or three year old, as parents can tell you. If said child is not in the mood for apple juice today, for example, he or she will say, "I never liked apple juice," even though they loved it just yesterday. Are they lying? Yes. But that child in that moment doesn't know it's lying because it's still developing mind and ego hasn't attained fully the ability to look into the past for context, and he or she still cannot tolerate frustration or contradiction very well.

Sounds like some successful politicians you know? Yes, but ultimately, who wins if you've got a psychopathic politician on one side, and a belief-free, open-minded person on the other side? Hands down. Who wins if you've got a manipulating 2-year old child versus a mature, clear-thinking and self confident adult? Same thing.

Some of my friends don't believe me when I say that I'm not "political," that I don't subscribe to any dogma or philosophy. They don't believe me because I've supported the nomination and election of Barack Obama. But you see, for me, it's not Obama's policy statements that are moving me to vote for a presidential candidate for the first time in 28 years. It's his body language, his alignment with himself, the clarity in his eyes that make him a potential leader like we haven't seen in the better part of our adulthoods (if you're my age). I know and trust what I'm seeing through my own clear eyes. Obama is not a lying liar.

Remember folks, it's always the adult side of us, and the truth, that ultimately wins in life. Shed your beliefs, open your mind, seek the truth, and the lying liars will become mere toddlers in your life.


"I have a lot of anger right now at the enabling doctors that perpetuate this, there's a tradition, there's a culture of this in Hollywood, and I think it's about time we did a real investigation into this culture of legalized drug pushers; that's what they are."
Deepak Chopra (on Keith Olbermann last night discussing the nefarious contribution of the medical profession to Michael Jackson's death)


I'm Starting With The Man In
The Mirror
I'm Asking Him To Change
His Ways
And No Message Could Have
Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World
A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself, And
Then Make A Change
Take A Look At Yourself, And
Then Make A Change

Clarence Thomas Stands Up for the Right to Strip Teenagers Naked!

Yep! Thomas, the right wing Bush, Sr. appointee, was the 1 in the 8-1 decision making it illegal for school officials to strip teenagers. Here's an excerpt from a piece by Andrew Bergman on the matter:

"Hats off to Justice Clarence Thomas for his courageous stand on behalf of school officials' right to strip teenagers naked in an effort to find prescription pills. This great man has more than justified George H.W. Bush's faith in his character, dignity, and wisdom. Hopefully, one day school administrators will be free to strip all children bare-ass naked each and every morning, perhaps during the Pledge of Alliance and the Prayers to God, so that parents can rest assured that pills of any sort will be kept out of class, not to speak of the weapons of mass destruction that could easily make their way through our nation's school doors. Is it too much to suggest that with the Republican Party in such a moral wasteland with the activities of Messrs. Ensign and Sanford, that its leaders look to Justice Thomas to lead them back to the promised land in 2012?"


This may have to be the start of a new column, like the one I ran last year - "HOW STUPID ARE WE?" (Sorry Rick, but like Forest Gump's mother said, "Stupid is as stupid does.")

Anyway, here's a breaking headline from our nation's sexually repressed capital:

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a high school's strip search of an Arizona teenage girl (as in 13 years old!)accused of having prescription-strength ibuprofen was illegal. The court ruled 8-1 on Thursday that school officials violated the law with their search of Savana Redding in the rural eastern Arizona town of Safford. Redding, who now attends college, was 13 when officials at Safford Middle School ordered her to remove her clothes and shake out her underwear because they were looking for pills - the equivalent of TWO ADVILS!!!

Now, here's the uncomfortable question I'm asking you - do really think that no part of this was about making a teenage girl get completely naked in front of an intruding adult? Are you kidding me?!


Here's Rush Limbaugh on what led Governor Mark Sanford to go AWOL and pursue an affair with a South American reporter:

"The South Carolina Governor had emerged a broken man from the battle over stimulus funds. With the battle lost, and only a limited time before the Federal Government took over and set about abolishing freedom, Sanford decided: 'What the hell? the federal government is taking over, I want to enjoy life.”




Here's an excerpt from a column by Gail Collins in today's NY Times, called "THE LOVE PARTY," on the sexual peccadilloes of hypocritical Republican blow-hards:

"First of all, we may want to consider the possibility that the governor’s decision to reject the federal stimulus money was not a mighty stand against government spending but instead an early sign of total nuttiness.

"Second, perhaps it is time to rethink the idea of constantly electing middle-aged heterosexual men to positions of high importance.

"Third, although the governor-run-amok thing is worrisome, South Carolinians can take comfort in the fact their state gives its chief executive slightly less power than a game warden.

"Fourth, before this search for a presidential nominee goes any further, I’m thinking it’s time for the Republicans to apologize for putting us through the Clinton impeachment. We seem to have pretty well established that sexual stone-throwing is a dangerous sport."


Another righteous, right wing "family values" politico that is!

After going AWOL for seven days, Republican Governor Mark Sanford admitted Wednesday that he'd secretly flown to Argentina to visit a woman with whom he'd been having an affair. He apologized to his wife and four sons and said he will resign as head of the Republican Governors Association.

According to OnTheIssues.org, as a Member of Congress, Mark Sanford voted repeatedly against abortion rights, against gay marriage, civil unions, and gay adoptions, and for - LOLOL!! - posting the Ten Commandments in the public square!

"I've let down a lot of people, that's the bottom line," the 49-year-old governor said at a news conference where he choked up as he ruminated with remarkable frankness on "God's law, moral absolutes and following one's heart!"

His family did not attend.



Senator John Ensign who stepped down from a top leadership post due to his adultery confession.

I guess his ruthless attacks on Bill Clinton and Larry Craig—and his strident defense of the “sanctity of marriage”—are coming back to haunt him?


"Republican Senator John Ensign of Nevada didn’t tap his foot in a bathroom stall like Larry Craig or spirit away to pricey bordellos like David Vitter, but like Newt Gingrich, he had an extramarital affair with a young staffer on his payroll.
Ensign admitted his affair Tuesday, declaring, 'I deeply regret and am very sorry for my actions.' According to Politico, Ensign only revealed the affair when the husband of the woman involved demanded 'a substantial sum of money' to keep quiet.
Ensign’s affair undermines his carefully cultivated image as a stalwart against liberal judges, feminists, and homosexual activists."

Yeah, well, whataya gonna do, huh, boys?!


The endless parade of right wing Republicans who advocate sexual abstinence for unmarried people, no rights for gay people, no rights for women over their own bodies, these bellicose blow-hards who proclaim the "sanctity of marriage" (which should only be allowed between a man and a woman, by the way, according to said blow-hards)... these preposterous, self-righteous, middle-aged men, one after another, pulling their pants down in public, no different than the priests who'd taken vows of celibacy then had sex with the young boys and girls in their parishes... THIS IS NO COINCIDENCE!!


I'll say it again - if you're not having a vibrant, gratifying, fulfilling sex life with someone you love, or you're not working on getting one... STOP PREACHING TO THE REST OF US! YOU ARE A MENACE!!



"The more important a call or action is to our soul's evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it. Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work. It will perjure, fabricate, falsify, seduce, bully, cajole. Resistance is protean. It will assume any form, if that's what it takes to deceive you. It will reason with you like a lawyer or jam a nine-millimeter in your face like a stick-up man. Resistance has no conscience. It will pledge anything to get a deal, then double-cross you as soon as your back is turned. If you take Resistance at its word, you deserve everything you get. Resistance is always lying and always full of shit."
Steven Pressfield

Repost: "Why Relationships 'Fail' - In Pursuit of Eros"

I can't count the number of people I've seen for couples counseling over the years. Struggles in relationships are among of the most frequent of reasons people seek out therapy. How one measures "success" in a course of therapy with a couple is a matter for debate in my profession, I suppose, but if the yardstick is whether or not the couple holds their relationship together instead of splitting up, then I am an abject failure. I would have to guess that somewhere around 75 to 80 percent of the couples I see for therapy end up separating. One of my friends calls me "The Separator."

Indeed, when I first see a new couple in treatment, one of my first ground rules is that it must be understood that we are not engaging in a process to "save the relationship." I explain that we are going to use the venue of the relationship to increase the self awareness and understanding of each individual, and then, see where that leads. Interestingly enough, very few people are really thrown by that at first, because by the time a couple arrives to therapy, things have gotten so bottled up with anger, pain and resentment that saving the relationship is not really what they're desiring (even though they will need help admitting that).

But, what causes relationships to end? Well, first let's eliminate the word "fail" here as meaning ending, and redefine it this way: a relationship is "failing" when either the Eros has died and the couple is refusing to admit it, or the flame of Eros is still alive and the partners in question are not doing what it takes to fan the flame so it can grow higher. These are two very different situations and a necessary part of self-work within a relationship is to clarify the problem.

In my favorite Pathwork Guide lecture - "The Forces of Love, Eros and Sex" - the Guide, channeled through Eva Broch, says this:

"Eros lifts the soul out of sluggishness, out of mere contentment and vegetation. It causes the soul to surge, to go out of itself. When this force comes upon even the most undeveloped people they become able to surpass themselves. Eros gives the soul a foretaste of unity and teaches the fearful psyche the longing for it. The more strongly one has experienced Eros, the less contentment will the soul find in the pseudo-security of separateness. How then is Eros different from love? Love is a permanent state in the soul. Love can only exist if the foundation for it is prepared through development and purification. Love does not come and go at random; Eros does. Eros hits with sudden force, often taking a person unaware and even unwilling to go through the experience."

Yeah! Many of us have had a taste of that, some of us more than a few times! The Guide calls it "Eros." Most of us refer to it as being "in love." I often refer to it as the "Free Pass" from the Universe that gives us a taste of how great life and love can be. But if as the Guide says, Eros can "come and go," then how can we get to keep it in the context of one relationship? Well, the first part of the answer to that is kind of Zen, like Sting's lyric above - by setting it free. By not trying to keep it.

Mark Epstein, my favorite Buddhist psychotherapist, in his fantastic book, "GOING TO PIECES WITHOUT FALLING APART," says it this way:

"Clinging is as much of a problem in lovemaking as in the rest of life. In order for sexual relations to be deeply satisfying, there must be a yielding of this clinging in a manner that actually affirms the unknowability and separateness of the loved partner. It is the peculiar convergence of awe and appreciation with pleasure and release that characterizes the best sexual experiences. Separate and together cease to be mutually exclusive and instead become reciprocally enhancing and mutually informative. There is wisdom in this state, not just raw instinct."

So, Part One of how to keep Eros, like anything else you want to "keep," is to let it go. (I know. I know. Keep trying to wrap your head around it. It will come to you.)

Part Two is to try and penetrate that "unknowability" that Epstein refers to, and simultaneously allow your own hidden self to be penetrated, even though you will never be completely successful.

Here's the Guide again:

"Eros strengthens the curiosity to know the other being. As long as there is something new to find in the other soul and as long as you reveal yourself, Eros will live. The moment you believe you have found all there is to find, and have revealed all there is to reveal, Eros will leave. It is as simple as that with Eros. But where your great error comes in is that you believe there is a limit to the revealing of any soul, yours or another's. When a certain point of usually quite superficial revelation is reached, you are under the impression that this is all there is, and you settle down to a placid life without further searching."

Okay, to summarize - the way to keep Eros alive is to first, not cling or grip onto it, or the person who is the object of your desire, and second, to simultaneously seek to know that person at greater and greater depths while revealing yourself in the same way. Now, let's be honest - this is rarely done but most couples, mainly because it requires very intensive and persistent self-examination and staying connected to the full range of feelings, including pain and sadness. Many more couples would rather either settle into a "comfortable" relationship without any passion, or have serial experiences with a lot of partners to get that initial rush when Eros provides its universal "Free Pass."

However, on those rare occasions when the "whatever-it-takes" effort is made, the result is a soaring, sublime experience of the depths of love and pleasure and soulfulness that is nothing less than the first and main reason we all became human. And know this, if you achieve such a state at any point in your lifetime, you won't care when it is or how old you are. You won't look back and regret that you didn't find such joy when you were younger. You'll be way too busy being happy and satisfied for regrets.

Now, can it all still end, even if you make all of the above efforts? Well, again the answer is a Zen "yes" and "no." Sometimes people come together for a particular soul purpose, to accomplish something together - like bringing a child into the world, or to work on a developmental task - like overcoming one's repetition compulsions from childhood up to a point. In such a case, the Eros that may have brought said couple together will come to the natural end of its lifespan between those two people. They will fall out of love. Not coincidentally, in such a situation, the couple will lose their motivation to continue the intensive, in-depth revelation process with their mate. So, couples counseling also comes to an end.

Which brings us to another subject for another day - how to end things. So much is damaged and lost during endings because we're so "bad" at them, and fear them so much, when in fact, a healthy ending can be the very crowning glory of a relationship when all of the love that was there and all that was accomplished can be integrated and made permanent in the psyche. But again, that's a talk for another day


"Yeah. Aren't you familiar with Noam Chomsky? He's been saying that for over 20 years."


I am familiar with Noam Chomsky, but important thoughts are always worth repeating.
Thanks for responding to the quote.


Well, here it is, the final installment of my take on the five "Character Structures," those defensive cocoons we build in our first five or six years of life to protect us from the slings and arrows of an imperfect childhood. As a reminder of how a character structure is formed - When the child’s basic needs are not met, rage, terror, and grief are the ultimate affective responses to that reality. Because the child cannot live in such a state of chronic negative emotion, a defensive structure will be created to ward off these incapacitating feelings. The particular defenses used will be a function of the severity of the trauma, the age and developmental level of the child at the time of trauma, and the child's genetic strengths or weaknesses. That difference will largely determine the defenses chosen to avoid the painful feelings and cope with the dysfunctional environment. Similarly, the development of the ego, of the self, and of the expression of life force will be stuck at the point at which these defenses are chosen and cemented into the character structure.

This character structure, the Rigid Character Structure, is where the history of psychoanalysis began. Formally known as the "Hysterical Character Structure," or the "Histrionic Personality Disorder," people with the conflicts described below were typical of Freud's first patients back in the early part of the 20th Century. Usually attractive and successful, even wealthy, and often held in high esteem by society at large, this defensive structure not only didn't sabotage success, it demanded it, ruthlessly. While this person may be open to the idea of therapy as yet another form of self-improvement, they are usually not open to the emotional surrender necessary to break through the character structure. In addition, society at large usually heaps great rewards upon this person for their high levels of achievement. Unfortunately, all of that vicarious support only makes it more difficult for this person to find happiness.

Let's see why -


PRESENTING PROBLEMS (when first coming to therapy)

- Unwillingness to fall too deeply in love or engage in a long-term, monogamous love relationship;
- Series of broken relationships, marriages or extramarital affairs in which either some sexual or emotional gratification is experienced, but never the two together with the same person;
- Drivenness, competitiveness, restlessness, hyperactivity, relentless need to “look good” and “achieve”;
- Feelings of unfulfillment in spite of substantial success in work-life; never feeling satisfied;
- Intense fears around vulnerability and betrayal and concerns about looking foolish;
- Hysterical outbursts, psychosomatic symptoms, insomnia;
- Primary falling fear: falling forward (on one’s face);
- Primary holding pattern: holding back;
- Primary longing: to surrender;
- Primary survival struggle: the right to love sexually.

(Developmental Period – 40th to 60th Months)

- Child’s natural erotic strivings and expressions, including masturbation, were greeted with anxiety, rejection, severe disapproval or punishment by sexually repressed parents;
- The parent of the opposite sex reacted to the child’s amorous advances, flirtatiousness and romantic fantasies with rejection, possessiveness, or overstimulation;
- The parent of the same sex vicariously encouraged the child to express that parent’s repressed sexual feelings (mother dressing daughter up in “sexy” outfits, father encouraging son to be a “ladies’ man”, encouraging coy, provocative behavior, etc.), or that parent inappropriately confided in the child about the details of the marital relationship;
- The parent of the opposite sex was significantly absent from the child’s life during the 3rd to 5th year of life (due to work, illness, death or divorce, etc.);
- A major trauma (severe illness, surgery, accident, etc.) occurred in the child’s 3rd to 5th year of life.


- Though the body is generally integrated and harmonious, with body parts proportionate, there is often rigidity and excessive uprightness in the posture;

- Rigidly held straight back and neck (correlates to pride);

- Pelvis is pulled back, while the chest is pushed out with exaggerated authority or seductiveness (“You can want me, but you can’t have me.”);

- The jaw is often set in a look of determination;

- In men, the face may be sharply masculine and very hard-looking; in women the face may be doll-like;

- Physical armoring tends to be superficial and can move around; there are spasticities in the extensor and flexor muscles that create the rigidity in the posture;

- Walking or gesturing tends to be sexual and flirtatious, or very businesslike;

- History of unexplained psychosomatic (“hysterical”) symptoms that appear and disappear without any apparent physical cause (vertigo, fainting, loss of vision, skin rashes, allergies, hyperventilating, heart palpitations, paralysis, etc.);

- Chronic areas of tension: the long muscles of the body, inner thigh muscles, vaginal muscles in women.


- Strong, vigorous energy charge, but held back somewhat at the periphery of the feeling side of the body, allowing for the movement of energy internally and through the will, but with a controlled receptivity;
- Energy is often directed to “getting things done”, often with some hyperactivity; the “rest” rhythm is resisted, while all of the will centers are active and open;
- There is little capacity to bind energy with armoring, so this person is prone to the development of psychosomatic symptoms;
- Chakras (energy centers): Crown - (spiritual connection) varies, can be open or closed; Third Eye - (intuitive abilities) developed and open; Throat - (self-expression) partially blocked; Heart - (love feelings) developed, but partially blocked; Solar Plexus - (universal wisdom) partially opened and asymmetrical; Sexual - (pleasure and creativity) developed, but partially blocked; Base – (grounding and connection to physical life) open.


- Love and erotic feelings are strong, but are controlled by the mind and will; there are intense fears of having one’s “heart broken” in love;
- Surrendering to another is deemed unacceptable and collapse is unthinkable;
- The mind is developed, with an efficient, but unyielding intellect that is trusted much more than feelings or impulses; thinking tends to be very linear, with good concentration, but little capacity for abstraction; creativity is controlled;
- Pride is the driving force in this structure and great efforts of the will are directed towards performance and outer appearances (always being attractive and never appearing vulnerable or foolish);
- Aggression, is generally expressed through competitiveness in socially acceptable ways, without much inhibition.


- An inadequate sense of self caused by the separation of love feelings from sexual feelings;
- A strong Reality Principle that dominates a mistrusted Pleasure Principle;
- Intense pride and competitiveness with an excessive focus on accomplishments, appearances and performing for self-esteem;
- Feelings of emptiness, boredom and dissatisfaction caused by the resistance to receiving from and surrendering to others and feelings;
- Passivity and submissiveness are intensely avoided and experienced as weakness, while stubbornness and rigidity are seen as strength;
- Repressed sexual feelings are pathologically expressed through psychosomatic symptoms, in frequent sexual activity without any love involvement (“flings” or affairs), restlessness, hyperactivity or “flighty” behavior”, or diverted into ambitiousness in the material world (“No time for love in my busy life.”);
- Unresolved Oedipal conflicts are repressed, causing deep longings for the opposite sex, but with persistent fears of betrayal; there is intense competitiveness with the same sex, but with fears of retaliation (“castration anxiety”);
- Constant attention-seeking, trendiness, and a need for compliments pervade the personality;
- Main defenses: repression, sublimation, somatization, identification;
- Typical masks: the flirt or tease (“I’m available…not!”), the alluring temptress (“I’ll give you my magnificent beauty and unimaginable sensual pleasures…maybe if you’re lucky!”), the real man (“I take what I want!”), the serious man of business (“There’s no time for fooling around or getting involved. There’s work to be done.”), the “Barbie doll” (“I’ll be the perfect girlfriend, cheerleader or trophy wife, the ‘Perfect Ten’, just for you!”), the proud one (“At least I’ve got my pride.”), the high society lady or gentleman (“Manners, formality and civility are all that really matters.”);
- Childhood history may include driven perfectionism and competitiveness in learning situations, extreme frustration around any perceived failures (“sore losers”), constant participation in activities that are socially approved of (sports, school plays, musical training, religion, etc.), constant attention-seeking through performing, intense same-sex sibling rivalry, psychosomatic symptoms (allergic reactions, fainting, nosebleeds, etc.); early “dating” or going steady and a preoccupation with romance and gossip.


- Relationships often exhibit a push-pull quality, especially around sexual contact, with a constant seeking out of sexual situations and simultaneous flight from them; often one person is chosen as a sexual partner, while another is chosen as a love partner;
- Relationships are often sought out with people who are seen as having status in socially acceptable ways (the "checklist"); others are often related to as either competitors (to be defeated) or suitors (to be seduced);
- There tends to be a superficial or formal quality to interactions, though often with undertones of intrigue (gossiping or a soap opera kind of drama as the style of communicating), argumentativeness, or there may be an hysterical quality to self-expression;
- Something is always held back in relationships to maintain interest and mystery and an “edge”;
- Sex is primarily sought after for validation of one’s attractiveness and prowess and secondarily for pleasure; sexual energy is often re-routed into external or material accomplishments;
- Sexual desires are often experienced as incestuous;
- Sexual pleasure and full orgasm are possible, but often avoided out of the fear of surrendering and appearing vulnerable; orgasms, when allowed, may take a long time and a lot of effort.


- “If I love, I will be vulnerable.” “I will get love by appearing invulnerable and attractive.”
- “If I desire sexually, I will be rejected.” “I will get sexual gratification by controlling my sexual longings.”
- “I will accept praise, attention and accomplishments as a substitute for love and pleasure.”
- “No one surrenders to another.” “I will survive by never surrendering.”
- “The world is a rejecting, competitive place.”


- Tremendous passion and connection to the sensuality of human relationships, with a true appreciation for and capacity to express the wonder of coming together physically in love with another;
- Great capacity to let go and surrender to the flow of love, to fall in love with life and with others;
- Genuine capacities to make and sustain commitments;
- Strong organizational skills combined with flexibility, patience and acceptance of new approaches to situations;
- A deep appreciation for the beauty of physical life, and sensibilities to integrate the elements of form to create beauty.


- Develop the capacity to experience love and sexual passion at the same time, connecting the heart and genitals energetically;
- Bring into consciousness and release the guilt feelings and judgements for having had loving desires for the parent of the opposite sex, and reverse the repression of those desires caused by fears of retaliation by the parent of the same sex;
- Develop the capacity to yield to others and to surrender to feelings without fears of becoming weak, vulnerable or losing face;
- Develop the capacity to experience the full pleasure of sexual release without ego control, and the joy of falling (falling in love, falling asleep, etc.);
- Become able to make and sustain commitments without fears of being rejected;
- Relax the fierce competitiveness and hyperactivity and constant need to prove oneself;
- Develop flexibility in the body, particularly the back of the body and neck (will centers) and the tensor and flexor muscles; develop natural sensual movements rather than exaggerated gestures of sexual “come on”;
- Develop flexibility in approaches to life’s tasks and relationships, relinquishing the exaggerated pride and need to hold back;
- Eliminate psychosomatic symptoms by making the connection with the repressed impulses behind them, and allowing those impulses to be felt;
- Become aware of and open up to the true depth and beauty of the self that exists beyond the superficiality of appearances and performances;
- Acknowledge and experience the different aspects of the personality, opening the lines of communication between them, while establishing an identification with the adult self;
- Become aware of the erroneous conclusions, images and beliefs of the mask/false self, and the limitations and unreality of the idealized self image;
- Experience pleasure and expansion, and recognize and express one’s Higher Self aspects with less fear of embarrassment;
- Primary raw negative expression that needs release: “I won’t surrender!”
- Primary positive self-affirmation that needs assertion: “I have the right to love.”


- Establish a respectful and professional environment, acknowledging the person’s genuine accomplishments in life, and the seriousness and concern for how he or she has successfully managed many aspects of adult living; also acknowledge the confusion and disappointment the person feels that in spite of these achievements, he or she is bored, lonely, restless and dissatisfied;
- Engage the person’s subtly provocative manner with warmth and an accepting neutrality; do not initially confront any seductive behavior or offer praise for superficial attributes;
- Use unsatisfying experiences in adult relationships to make connections with childhood experiences, particularly to illuminate times in which the child may have felt disappointment and rejection by the parent of the opposite sex, or an uncomfortable possessiveness by that parent (i.e. – not allowing dating as a teenager); also uncover memories in which the parent of the same sex may have shown moralistic disapproval towards, competitiveness with or vicarious involvement in the person’s young love life (i.e. - being overly involved with the teenager’s boyfriends or girlfriends);
- Encourage the person to give examples of having had his or her heart broken in relationships, and the vows they may have made secretly to never be vulnerable again; surface the controlled longing to “have it all” (love and passion) in one relationship, but the fear of surrendering to that longing or believing in its possibility;
- Use stretching, bending, massaging, rolling and vibrating to loosen the rigidly held back and neck, and the spasticities in the tensor and flexor muscles; use pelvic thrusts and rotations to release the holding back in that area and to allow for the experience of pleasure moving through the pelvis; use hitting and kicking to express aggression and pride and refusal to surrender; use massage and hands-on touch over the heart to help opening up to the love feelings, and use visualizations to help the person focus on connecting their heart center to their sexual center; this person will experience the body work as embarrassing, so a professional and technical explanation of its usefulness can be helpful;
- Analyze the meanings of psychosomatic symptoms, their timing, the part of the body affected, etc., and make connections to guilt or anxiety about sexual feelings, competitive impulses, etc.;
- Explore hidden and emerging feelings, desires and fantasies towards the therapist as a love object in a matter-of-fact way, including using dream interpretation, to decrease guilt and anxiety about the feelings, to normalize them, and to begin undoing the pride defense that anticipates rejection or exploitation; when transferences are made to the therapist (i.e. – accusing the therapist of being seductive or rejecting), clarify them as they occur;
- As this person’s heart and genitals become connected and the powerful onrush of integrated love feelings comes forward, he or she will become very sensitive to any perceived insults to their pride or any abuse of their perceived vulnerability; simultaneously, because of the openness, the person will feel exhilarated yet relaxed, confident yet supple, secure yet not rigid; re-assure the person that those new feeling combinations are real, and that now in fact he or she is truly not vulnerable, because of the flexibility and strength of being open;
- Help the person recognize their Higher Self aspects, especially their capacity to love fully, to see that their gifts are there even when hidden behind the mask, and that although they have a wounded aspect in their personality, they need not identify with that aspect in order for it to get the help it needs; in the later stages of therapy, as the person drops the mask and releases the raw negative feelings, fear of pleasure and expansion must be addressed as it comes up with reassurance, based on their own new experiences, that they can tolerate the energy now and that the fear is not a regression or a setback.


Hysterical Personality: (also known as “Histrionic or Repressed Personality) vain, attention-seeking, sexually provocative, dramatic presentation of the self, with a history of many vague symptoms, chronic feelings of disappointment, excitability and exaggerated emotionality; primary repressed conflicts center around genital incestuous strivings.

Identification: the process by which one either blurs or eliminates the distinction between the self and others by extending his or her identity into another, borrowing one’s identity from another, or fusing identities with another (merging).

Oedipal Complex: the dilemma of early childhood, occurring after the 4th year, in which the genitally charged child focuses on the parent of the opposite sex as a primary love object, and comes into internal conflict over perceived competition with the parent of the same sex.

Repression: the process of banishing from consciousness ideas or impulses that are deemed unacceptable.

Somatization: bodily disorders arising from deep-seated emotional and mental conflicts through which repressed instinctual tendencies gain expression.

Sublimation: the modification of an instinctual impulse, expressed in such a way as to conform to the demand of societal norms.



"Long as I remember the rain been comin down.
Clouds of mystry pourin confusion on the ground.
Good men through the ages, tryin to find the sun;
And I wonder, still I wonder, who'll stop the rain.

I went down Virginia, seekin shelter from the storm.
Caught up in the fable, I watched the tower grow.
Five year plans and new deals, wrapped in golden chains.
And I wonder, still I wonder who'll stop the rain.

Heard the singers playin, how we cheered for more.
The crowd had rushed together, tryin to keep warm.
Still the rain kept pourin, fallin on my ears.
And I wonder, still I wonder who'll stop the rain."

Creedence Clearwater Revival


We're still watching the Beatles Anthology around here, and last night's installment covered the period leading up to their last concert, at Candlestick Park in 1966. Turns out a major factor contributing to their decision to stop performing in public, besides the screaming which made it impossible to hear themselves play, was that a growing volume of hate from right wing extremists was being directed at them, including death threats. Christian fundamentalists, conservative politicos, even the Klu Klux Klan threatened the lives and livelihood of the four musicians.

We tried explaining to our eleven year old what a right wing extremist was and why anyone would want to kill four young men who made lovely music for a living. We told him that the Beatles represented something new and different and that some people are terrified of anything different from what they know or who they are. When he saw the KKK guy in his get-up in one scene, burning Beatle albums and grimly suggesting something deadly to come, I added: "It's a kind of craziness." Our son responded: "Obviously."

In talking about it later, I realized that it was also the "light" that shone from The Beatles that made those filled with hate and fear want to destroy them. Those who live in the dark are frightened of the light shining upon them. If you've lived in a cave for decades and someone comes in with a bright lantern, it terrifies you, hurts you, and your first response is to try to put it out. To kill it. It's why every giver of light from Jesus to Gandhi to Martin Luther King to Jack and Bobby... to John Lennon... was snuffed out. It's why so many want to kill Barack Obama, now. They all talked and talk about love and oneness and peace, and transcending differences.

Think about it.

The Beatles music wasn't political, nor were their songs ever labeled as "protest songs," like their contemporaries, Bob Dylan or Joan Baez. Even John's song, "Revolution," was against hate and ego, be it on the left ("If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow.") or right ("You tell me it's the institution, well, you know, you better free your mind instead.") .

A couple of weeks ago, in my blog post about being a "disgruntled curmudgeon," I noted the fact that right wing leaders never seemed to get assassinated when I was growing up in the 1960's, only the progressive leaders got murdered. Now, I understand how that makes sense. I know many people who sincerely hate the Dick Cheney's and Rush Limbaugh's of the world, who legitimately hated George W. Bush for the extreme damage he inflicted on our country, etc. But I don't know any of those "haters" who would have systematically figured out a way to murder those guys. Why not? Because you can't kill for peace and love and enlightenment. You can only die for it. Right wing extremism isn't really about anything forward-moving. It isn't about making progress, growing, learning, and it certainly isn't about peace and love. Right wing extremism, in and of itself, is about hate for hate's sake. Killing, therefore, is an integral part of it.

The Beatles mostly wrote and sang about love or matters of higher consciousness. Love and higher consciousness. Just like every great spiritual, social, political or cultural leader did. But you see, that is the most radical message of all, isn't it. That is the most threatening. Always has been. Peace and love.


"By profession, I am a soldier and take pride in that fact. But I am prouder – infinitely prouder – to be a father. A soldier destroys in order to build; the father only builds, never destroys. The one has the potentiality of death; the other embodies creation and life. And while the hordes of death are mighty, the battalions of life are mightier still."
Douglas MacArthur


This is an episode from the first season of my TV series: CITY ROCK, a streets of New York series that takes place in the early 1980's.



My father was 20 years old when I was born in 1954. My mother was 21. Although being married and having children at that age was pretty much the norm in those baby boom years, when I think about it now, as a grown man who has raised children, and as a psychotherapist who’s worked with people of all ages, it is stunning. My parents, for all their good intentions, had no real wisdom to offer a growing child. They couldn’t. Developmentally, they had just begun the early stages of adulthood.

Erik Erikson, one of the few well-known psychologist who wrote about the developmental stages of adulthood,and who I referenced for a class I taught on adulthood, said this about the young adult:

“It is only after a reasonable sense of identity has been established that real intimacy with others can be possible. ‘Generativity’ is primarily the interest in establishing and guiding the next generation. This is a stage of growth of the healthy personality, and where such enrichment fails, regression from generativity to an obsessive need for pseudo intimacy takes place, often with a pervading sense of stagnation and interpersonal impoverishment. The mere fact of having, or even wanting children does not itself attest to generativity.”

The person I called “Dad” back then, now the 75 year old man I will call tomorrow to say “Happy Father’s Day” to, had issues… and consequently, so did I. And not just because he was young.

But as I’ve often said to people, underneath our character structure elements lies the true light of our higher selves, of our souls.

Technically speaking, my father’s main character structures were psychopathic and masochistic. By clicking on the words, you can see the problems that caused him... and me. His grandiosity, his need for attention, his sadistic style of relating to his underlings (both his kids and his employees) caused me, among other things, to think I was "too sensitive" as a child, so by the time I'd reached adolescence I had learned how not to cry (When I finally broke through my character structure as a 40-year old man, and once again became able to cry fully, it felt like the greatest gift imaginable.).

But there's more to our stories than the slings and arrows we must endure as children at the hands of our parents. If you check out the “higher self” part of the charts, you will find my true inheritance from my “old man” (still so young it’s embarrassing at times!) and perhaps yours.

My father embraced life. He got up every day, and still does, with an energy and attitude that said it was good to be alive, that there were things worth doing in life, and not just out of obligation, but out of desire. As a result, even though we were a working class family, and no matter what the economic ups and downs of the decades of my youth, our life always felt abundant. It was primarily my father's attitude that inspired that feeling. As a painting contractor, and then later a home improvement contractor, my father worked for some very wealthy people. I spent my summers working for him in the incredible homes of some of the rich and famous. Yet, we entered those homes, thanks to my father, like we belonged there, like we were partners in a project with the home owners, not like lowly laborers. (If anything, at times it seemed as if the customers were working for my father and not the other way around!)

My father created things. He was always building or re-building, designing or redecorating something, and it really made him happy to do so. It was (and still is) a family joke among my siblings that when dad was worried or anxious about something, he'd add another room or a deck or some kind of addition to our house.

We tend to form our personalities in both emulation of and in defiance of our parents, very often the one of the same gender. Miraculously, like everything that seems to "randomly" occur in life, our soul makes use of that material to fulfill our destinies. So, I am a psychotherapist in spite of my father, who even just recently referred to my profession of inner world exploration as not being "in the real world." But I am also a writer who has written music and screenplays and has this blog because I, too, in identification with my father, am fired-up by the need to create. And like my father, I don't doubt that even in my fifties, if I want to become a successful writer, I can.

So, thanks, Dad - for the good, the bad and the ugly! For dishing it out, and for taking a few blows in return.

And folks, take heart - if you do the work to face what was negative about your parents and your childhood, you don't end up empty and bereft. By surfacing the dark stuff into the light, it dissipates, and you end up with what was good about your childhood, and you can understand why your soul chose those parents to be born to.

Happy Father's Day!


"The key question isn't what fosters creativity? But it is why in God's name isn't everyone creative? Where was the human potential lost? How was it crippled? I think therefore a good question might be not why do people create? But why do people not create or innovate? We have got to abandon that sense of amazement in the face of creativity, as if it were a miracle if anybody created anything."

"The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself."


You can find a very intelligent article, definitely worth reading if you're into the sociological and economic philosophy side of life, in VANITY FAIR, entitled "WALL STREET'S TOXIC MESSAGE," by Joseph Stiglitz.

Stiglitz postulates that the current economic disaster caused by the unbridled exercise of free-market, American-style capitalism is leading to the demise world-wide of... free-market, American-style capitalism! As a sociologist by degree, who once even had a double-major in economics and accounting ages ago, I strongly agree with Stiglitz.

"With the collapse of great banks and financial houses," says Stiglitz, "and the ensuing economic turmoil and chaotic attempts at rescue, the period of American triumphalism [economically] is over. So, too, is the debate over 'market fundamentalism,' the notion that unfettered markets, all by themselves, can ensure economic prosperity and growth. Today only the deluded would argue that markets are self-correcting or that we can rely on the self-interested behavior of market participants to guarantee that everything works honestly and properly."

Indeed, JS, and I would go further and say that the whole concept of market forces controlling the economy to everyone's benefit is grossly naive, at best, and inherently corrupt, at worst.

Here's why...

The notion that competition and a "profit motive" would inspire companies to make the best products at the best prices is rooted in a belief in an imaginary business person who is not pathologically greedy. In fact, an individual in business who truly gets "enlightened self-interest" - the good of the many equals the good of the one, and visa versa - would be, well... enlightened. And how often do you find the word "businessman" and "enlightened" in the same sentence?


In reality, what the profit motive unfettered has brought us instead is planned obsolescence, price fixing, subliminal advertising, usurious interest rates, inferior products at higher prices, corrupt politicians and lobbyists, the despoiling and destruction of our environment, the exploitation of labor in Third World countries and a cycle of busts and booms that regularly ruins lives.

Now, remember, this blog is called FULL PERMISSION LIVING. It is rooted at its core in what some would call a libertarian understanding that "human beings are by first nature sane, loving, cooperative, creative, humorous, intelligent, productive and naturally self-regulating," as I state on the home page. But... and it's a big but... in order to live from one's first nature, one's second nature, manifested in our defenses and insecurities and festered negative feelings, must be surfaced into consciousness and systematically dismantled. How many businessmen do you know who are engaged in that process?! I've been doing therapy for thirty years and I can count on one hand the number of corporate business types that have crossed the threshold to my office.

So, what's the answer? Well, in the short-run, however many years or decades that is, we must have adult leaders, like Barack Obama, enforcing reasonable regulations to prevent greedy, destructive acting out on the part of disturbed, unevolved people in business. In the long-run, and it doesn't matter how long this takes, we must, and we will, do the healing self-work necessary to become a species that lives from its first nature.

As the banner says: "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness through Self-Actualization."





"Children taking stimulant drugs such as Ritalin to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are several times as likely to suffer sudden, unexplained death as children who are not taking such drugs, according to a study published yesterday that was funded by the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institute of Mental Health."

How long have I been talking about this?! And yet, people will follow the nefarious mainstream medical-pharmaceutical cartel to the gates of hell before they grow up and take responsibility for their own bodies and protect the minds and bodies of their children. Ugh!


"For a flavor of the political atmosphere in Tehran, Iran, last week, I quote from a young Iranian comrade who furnishes me with regular updates: I went to the last major Ahmadinejad rally and got the whiff of what I imagine fascism to have been all about. Lots of splotchy boys who can't get a date are given guns and told they're special. It's hard to better this as an evocation of the rancid sexual repression that lies at the nasty core of the 'Islamic republic."
Christopher Hitchens (writing for SLATE.COM)
For some of my postings on how sexual repression leads to violence and destruction, CLICK HERE.


Definitely worth reading, there's a piece at SALON.COM, entitled, "Voluntary childlessness 'unnatural' and 'evil."
It exposes once again the blatant hypocrisy of the anti-choice psychiatric disorder masquerading as the "pro-life" movement.


THIS - 300 NAKED PEOPLE RAISING THE PEACE SIGN to mark the 40-year anniversary of the 1969 Isle of Wight Festival, headlined by Bob Dylan and the Band?



"Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves, too."
W. H. Murray (in THE WAR OF ART by Steven Pressfield)


Well, okay, since I posted the "Masochistic Character Structure" a couple of days ago, I guess I shouldn't hold back any longer with everyone's favorite in the series.

So... how about the "Psychopathic Character Structure," a real favorite of students, patients and practitioners alike, although very few therapists are willing to work with this personality. In fact, there is a lot of thought in the field that someone with this character structure is untreatable through psychotherapy. I disagree. It's just that the challenge for a therapist in working with this person is that the level of manipulation, seductiveness and distrust in this patient is so great that the practitioner has to really roll up their sleeves and get involved. Most therapists would rather not.

Just to clarify, "psychopathic" is not synonymous with "sociopathic." While all sociopaths are psychopaths, not all psychopaths are sociopaths. In fact, many "heroes" - cops, soldiers, politicians, CEO's and Captain Kirk-types - are psychopaths, in terms of their basic defensive structure.

Again, the description below is from a 6-hour class I taught on the Psychopathic Character Structure - the fourth of five classes on character structures, which are sets of defenses that we create in early childhood and affect us deeply for the rest of our lives. Every aspect of a person's being is affected by character structures - mind, body and emotions. We create them to survive the slings and arrows of our imperfect childhoods with imperfect parents, but like the cocoon of a caterpillar, when we are ready to become self-actualized adults, we must shed them, "break through" our character structures. Not easy. It requires help. But there's no end run around it. The good news is, as you'll see in the last small but significant section below, that underneath it all is a Higher Self with great capacities and gifts to give to life.


PRESENTING PROBLEMS (when first arriving to therapy)

- Intense fears of being defeated, humiliated, controlled, or used;
- Feelings of falseness, insincerity, and a lack of integrity;
- Feelings of emptiness and boredom, counteracted by episodes of recklessness, risk-taking and thrill-seeking behavior;
- addiction to intensity;
- Conflicts with authority (including employers, institutions and the legal system);
- Impulsive sexual acting out, promiscuity, many shallow relationships, but no real intimacy or trusting friendships;
- Criminal, sociopathic behavior; antisocial personality disorder;
- Primary falling fear: falling down;
- Primary holding pattern: holding up;
- Primary longing: to have integrity;
- Primary survival struggle: the right to trust.

(Developmental Period – Birth to 4 Years)

- One or both parents manipulated, seduced, sexualized, or otherwise used child (covertly or directly) for their own narcissistic purposes; parents instilled in the child an image of how they wanted the child to be in order for the adults to feel good about themselves;
- The parents used the child as a buffer or weapon against each other; the child was overly involved in the marital relationship;
- There was a role reversal in which the child was maneuvered, often with sexual overtones and promises of love that were never delivered, into being the pseudo-spouse or pseudo-parent to a parent (frequently of the opposite sex); the child was expected to be more than he or she was to that parent (“Mommy’s little man”; “Daddy’s little princess”);
- One or both parents invested child with feelings of specialness and importance and then rejected or ignored child, or otherwise became unavailable (frequently the parent of the opposite sex);
- One or both parents competed with the child, feeling threatened by the child’s real or imagined accomplishments, and sadistically exploited the child’s weaknesses to humiliate, control and diminish the child’s self-confidence;
- Child experienced horror from witnessing events that could not be understood or integrated, such as verbal or physical abuse (either of a violent or sexual nature); a major trauma occurred in the child’s life, usually after the second year, that could not be understood intellectually by the child and was experienced as a betrayal; (i.e. – hospitalization and surgery, exposure to sex acts by adults, witnessing extreme violence, etc., while being told that all was well by the adults, or blaming the child for the trauma);
- Parent of the same sex was significantly absent from child’s early life (due to work, illness, death or divorce, etc.).


- Body is “designed” to serve the purposes of dominating or seducing and can take almost any form, following whatever main image the person is primarily attached to (i.e.- athletic and powerful, youthful and innocent, sexual and alluring); generally, however, there are two types of body formations typical of this character structure:
1. The “overpowering type” which is inflated on top, “blown-up” looking, with a barreled chest, broad shoulders, and large head, while rigid and small in the pelvis, with small buttocks and thin legs, particularly the calves; or 2. The “seductive type” which is inflated in the pelvis (but numb to feelings there), with broad hips and hyperflexibility in the back, while deflated and immature in the chest area;
- Armoring is particularly marked in the chest, diaphragm, legs and shoulders;
- Eyes are highly charged, often large, and frequently gleaming or sparkling; in the dominating type, the eyes are penetrating and compelling; in the seductive type, they are soft and intriguing, cunning, dreamy or sleepy looking (“Bette Davis eyes”);
- Often, there is a pronounced split (correlates to a lack of integrity in the personality) between the head and the body (mature body, with a small child-like face and head, or visa versa); this split is facilitated by severe tension at the base of the skull and in the shoulder girdle, which holds the head tightly in place (“I must never lose my head.”);
- Arms tend to be immobilized and away from the body (due to the inflated chest and severe shoulder girdle tensions);
- Feet tend to be “pulled off the ground” and may be small; calves and thighs may be short and thin, even when the torso is heavy;
- Physical illnesses are often not felt or manifested until late in life due to extreme willfulness and numbness (later life problems may be in the hips, prostate, pelvis in general, or the heart);
- Spine may be twisted or fused and immobile;
- Chronic areas of tension: base of the skull, shoulder girdle, chest and rib cage, including the diaphragm, waist and abdominal muscles (which are often hard and clenched to pull sexual energy away from genitals), pelvic area in general, genitals specifically.


- Highly charged, with energy displaced and pulled upwards into the top half of the body and away from the pelvis;
- Eyes are particularly highly charged, used to penetrate, intimidate and/or seduce;
- Energy is directed outwardly to control, hook and dominate others, and directed inwardly to deny feelings in the self by contracting all feeling centers;
- Energy is not allowed to flow downwards, cut off by severe tensions in the pelvis, waist, diaphragm, shoulders and base of skull;
- Chakras (energy centers): Will Centers – (in the back of the body) are open; Crown - (spiritual connection) can be open and lopsided; can be collapsed; Third Eye - (intuitive abilities) open, but exaggerated; Throat - (self-expression) contracted; Heart - (love feelings) contracted; Solar Plexus - (universal wisdom) partially contracted; Sexual - (pleasure and creativity) severely contracted; Base – (grounding and connection to physical life) contracted.


- The will is powerfully exerted to control others and to control feelings; feelings are alive in the body, however, but denied recognition by the mind;
- Feelings and the body are denigrated and not trusted, so neither are the external senses; therefore only what’s in one’s head, only one’s own ideas in the moment, are treated as valid and real;
- Power rather than pleasure is sought from life;
- The mind is the servant of the will in this structure, so reasoning can be dramatically inconsistent, though capable of brilliance; arguing both sides of a situation or mixing lies with truth is common if it suits a manipulative purpose to gain power or be “right”; one’s own lies are often believed; there is also a tendency to poor judgement and an inability to learn from mistakes;
- Pain is numbed, and genuine feelings are denied, but dramatic emotionality and false feelings are acted out to achieve some purpose, like intimidation or seduction;
- Fear of being wrong or of submitting to the will of others is extreme and is powerfully denied;
- Intuitive capacities of the mind are formidable, with very strong abilities to read what is going on inside of other people, although the understanding of the meaning of what is going on is often very distorted.


- An inadequate sense of self due to a lack of integrity and treating the self and others as objects for manipulation and control;
- Lack of empathy or compassion and a lack of conscious feelings of remorse or guilt due to numbness defense (numbness is often augmented by alcohol and drug abuse);
- Craving for intensity and excessive stimulation to counteract numbness;
- Poor impulse control and an intolerance of boundaries and structure;
- Paranoia about being controlled or humiliated underlying an extreme need to be in control of feelings, others and all situations; intense fears of losing power, being defeated or helpless, and collapsing into desperate neediness (orality);
- Aggression is used as a defense against surrender to feelings (which are equated with weakness) or to the will of others;
- Powerful investment in and identification with idealized self-images; desperate need to be special and important;
- Main defenses: displacement, numbing, denial, acting out, rationalization, confusion;
- Typical masks: grandiosity, self-dramatization, outlandishness (“I am the one and only of my kind, the greatest, the best, the most, the first, the worst, the baddest”. “There’s nobody like me.”), exaggerated false sincerity (“I would never lie to you.”), the hero (“Only I have the power to save you.”), the guru (“Only I can take you to the light.”), the great promise giver (“I know what you want and I can give it to you.”), the courtesan (“I will control you by letting you use me…on my terms.”), the chameleon (“I can be whatever the situation calls for in order to get my way.”); Idealized Self-images: “Don Juan” or “Venus” (the God or Goddess of Eros), “the Godfather” or “Black Widow” (“I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse.” “I always get what I want.”), the “blowfish/monster” (“I am a very scary, dangerous person, so be afraid of me.”);
- Childhood history may include: restlessness and hyperactivity, dangerous behavior (i.e. - fire-setting), severe tantrums, spectacular achievements (in school, sports or the arts) coupled with spectacular self-sabotage or delinquency, cruelty to animals or other children, premature sexual behavior, “troublemaker” persona, inappropriate lack of fear and a lack of crying when hurt.


- People are primarily related to as objects, as sources of “narcissistic supply” to support images of power and specialness; since others are objectified, anything can be said or done to get what is wanted from another without concern for the other’s feelings or well-being;
- A “divide and conquer” approach is often taken to gain control of others, individually and in groups, pitting people against each other, then sometimes taking the role of mediator or peacemaker;
- Eccentric, radical, dramatic, unpredictable or extreme behavior and appearance are often used to gain attention and/or to keep others off balance;
- The need to have “followers” is felt as an essential reason to engage with others; it is through the “needing to be needed” that the person with this character structure maintains his or her feeling of power, while denying the inherent dependency (orality) of the dynamic at the same time;
- Antisocial behavior may be engaged in with very little provocation, though it may be seen as justified by the person in the moment; these actions are not followed by feelings of remorse afterwards; only getting caught or confined is of concern, not hurting others or the self;
- This person looks directly at others, but doesn’t really see them as real (whereas the schizoid character sees but doesn’t look!);
- Sex is seen as a means to an end, or a contest, often used to gain power, not pleasure, or to express revenge feelings; sex is related to as a conquest of the other person and as further proof of one’s prowess;
- In men, maintaining an erection is more important than having an orgasm, and extreme pride is taken in the penis; in women, likewise, being seen as sexually powerful and technically skilled is more important than sensual or orgasmic pleasure; feelings in the genitals are greatly diminished, so performances of great endurance are possible, but genuine surrender to sexual feelings and orgasm is experienced as humiliating or terrifying.


- “I must never surrender.” “If I surrender, I will be helpless.”
- “Everything is a lie, including love, including me.” “Whatever I believe in the moment is the truth.”
- “I must never be wrong.” “If I am wrong, I will be humiliated.”
- “I must get others to need me, so I can control them, in order to get what I need.”
- “If I acknowledge my feelings, I will be weak and get abused.” “The world is an abusive place.”


- Great leadership and executive qualities and capacities to bring people with differences together in a harmonious effort;
- Strong abilities to guide and inspire others to accomplish their chosen tasks in life and see their own specialness without competitiveness or separation;
- True innovators and adventurers able to travel “the road not taken”, or “to boldly go where no one has gone before”, without recklessness or excess;
- A genuine seeker of truth, with genuine humility, honesty, loyalty and unwavering integrity;
- A truly big heart full of love and fearlessness to surrender to the flow of feelings, life and the Higher Self.


Develop the capacity for empathy and compassion by reversing the numbing of pain in the body and the denial of feelings in general;
Deflate the grandiose self-images by facing their falseness and discovering the longing for truth, sincerity and integrity in the self;
Deflate the overcharged upper half of the body and become grounded and energized in the lower half of the body, allowing for the experience of real pleasure and safety;
Release the tensions at the base of the skull and shoulders, and in the diaphragm and abdomen, allowing for the flow of energy between the mind, heart and genitals;
Become aware of the feelings of emptiness from trying to “win”, “be right”, “be on top”, “get revenge”, “have it my way”, etc., when the real desire is to be able to trust;
Face the horror and confusion in childhood that came from being lied to, used and manipulated by the parents that the child was dependent on and helpless to defend against; confront the illusions that the abuse by the parents meant the child was special, powerful or bad;
Express and release the feelings of hurt and rage at the betrayal by the parents that are hidden by the mask of pride and grandiosity and the fear of humiliation, and discover that those feelings are not devastating to the self now;
Acknowledge, feel and release the early dependency feelings and neediness underneath the fear of collapsing and falling down;
Release the addiction to intensity, overstimulation and exaggerated expansiveness by experiencing the true aliveness of surrendering to feelings;
Acknowledge and experience the different aspects of the personality (child, adult, higher self), opening the lines of communication between them, while establishing an identification with the adult self;
Become aware of the erroneous conclusions, images and beliefs of the mask/false self, and the limitations and unreality of the idealized self image;
Experience pleasure and expansion and recognize and express one’s higher self aspects with less fear of being humiliated;
Primary negative expression that needs release: “My way!”
Primary positive self-affirmation that needs assertion: “I have the right to trust.”


Establish an honest and sincere environment being clear and direct about the nature and boundaries of the therapeutic relationship, understanding that this person will test them to discover where the hidden agendas and lies are; do not make promises about the outcome of therapy;
Engage playfully with this person’s challenging manner to begin confronting his or her efforts to be in control of the therapy and the therapist; it is important to establish a balance in which control feels and is shared, but not at the expense of the therapy; allowing acting out against the therapy or therapist will undermine the person’s feelings of trust and safety, which are minimal to begin with;
Encourage the person to talk about the betrayals he or she has experienced, and the desire for revenge, beginning with current circumstances, then tracing back to related childhood experiences; help the person face the reality that the desire for revenge is a cover for the feelings of helplessness and impotent fury he or she felt in childhood when they were being used by parents;
Use rolling to begin softening up the rigidity in the chest and to open up to feelings; use kicking, including on the roller, to begin opening up the pelvis; use massage of the neck, shoulders and chest to soften up the armoring there and to begin establishing contact with the person, providing an experience that is physically intimate, but not sexualized or abusive; use hitting and vocalization to access the real rage underneath the “blowfish” mask; use grounding and vibrating to get energy moving downwards, reversing the upward displacement; generally, a person employing this character structure will resist the bodywork early on, and maybe for a long time, experiencing it as “embarrassing”, “silly”, “not what I need”, etc., and when the feelings do start to come they may feel humiliated afterwards; acknowledge those feelings and explain the reasons for the body work, but let the person know that it’s his or her decision whether or not to do it;
In group, this person will want to “take over”, one way or the other, by challenging the therapist’s role or approach, by trying to be the smartest, funniest, most advanced, most dramatic member, etc., or by being disruptive; it is risky to directly deflate this mask with confrontation publicly, because it will feel like a re-creation of the intense feelings of humiliation from childhood, but it may be necessary to maintain the integrity of the person and the group; as an alternative to confrontation, openly support the genuine special qualities of the person and his or her genuine importance to the group; remember that this person carries a deep longing to be genuine and to constructively bring people together;
Tell this person the truth to counteract the belief that everyone lies; with the highly developed intuitive capacities that this person has, he or she will readily sense things going on inside of the therapist, but often misinterpret their meaning; within the boundaries established, it’s helpful to answer personal questions, especially about how the therapist is feeling in the moment; it is also helpful to this person to hear about the reasons for what the therapist is choosing to do, and to have diagnostic updates, encouraging the person to join with the therapist in assessing their progress;
When the underlying feelings of helplessness, dependency and abandonment first begin to surface in this person, it will be a very tenuous moment; even after a long-standing positive relationship, a person using this defensive structure can “turn on you”; impulses to quit therapy or attack the therapist may be acted out; acknowledge that the person always has the power to leave therapy, but that acting out against the therapist is not allowed; give a clear and compassionate diagnostic understanding of what is going on, and “leave the door open” for this person to come back if they want to;
When this person’s powerful feelings of rage have been released, and the body has become more supple, deep grieving may emerge, along with the true courage this person has, as well as a deep capacity to give and receive love;
Help the person recognize their Higher Self aspects, especially their integrity, to see that their gifts are there even when hidden behind the mask, and that although they have a wounded aspect in their personality, they need not identify with that aspect in order for it to get the help it needs;
In the later stages of therapy, as the person drops the mask and releases the raw negative feelings, fear of pleasure and expansion must be addressed as it comes up with reassurance, based on their own new experiences, that they can tolerate the energy now and that the fear is not a regression or a setback.


Acting Out: a discharge of tension, impulses or feelings through action that attempts to alter or control the environment as if that environment and those in it were part of a transferential (from childhood) conflict or threat.

Denial: a primitive defense consisting of an attempt to disavow the existence of unpleasant reality.

Confusion: a defense that creates a disturbance of consciousness in which awareness of time, place, or person is unclear; this also serves the purpose of keeping others, perceived as a threat, off balance;

Displacement: the process by which energy, feelings or impulses are transferred from one idea, experience, place in the body or object to another; the substitution of one object for another as the target of feeling.

Numbing: a defense mechanism that causes insensitivity to feelings and sensations in general, and in particular, pain.

Rationalization: making a thing appear reasonable, when otherwise its irrationality would be evident; meant to act as a screen, to cover up ideas or actions intended to gratify an unconscious need.


I was born in 1954.

When John F. Kennedy was assassinated, I was nine, and horrified beyond belief. When the Beatles first appeared on Ed Sullivan, I was almost ten years old, and I was mesmerized beyond recovery. Then came Martin Luther King's murder and Robert Kennedy's murder, when I was fourteen. I was stunned at the obvious deliberateness of the killings. At fifteen, I wanted to go to Woodstock, but my parents wouldn't hear of it. So, I never stopped worshiping the event and its participants.

Yet, contrary to what you might think, when I became part of the first generation of 18-year olds who had the right to vote in 1972, I voted for Richard Nixon. I admit it. I voted for Richard Nixon! I confess.

Why? I was scared by the killings I'd witnessed on the news, and Nixon was (ironically) the "law and order" candidate, and I started undergraduate school as an accounting/economics major because my father was a Republican businessman.

And I was a kid.


By 1976, after Kent State and Watergate and Cambodia, and a few years of actual living under my belt as a young adult, I joyfully voted for Jimmy Carter in 1976, and again in 1980. But when Ronald Reagan was elected that year, I was so totally, completely shocked that I dropped out of politics for the next 28 years, realizing that I must be on some other planet in terms of my understanding of events. I honestly couldn't believe it. Ronald Fucking Reagan?! A man so simplistic, so inane, so living in a Hollywood fantasy where John Wayne and Rock Hudson weren't gay, where Americans never committed atrocities against African-Americans or Native-Americans or women, and where Gordon Gekko was a hero? Were you kidding me?!

Why am I writing about this? Because I need to clarify that my positions on the matters that I write about on this blog aren't rooted in "politics." I trust myself and my assessment of the Truth, because I do not have an ideology that I've always blindly adhered to. I am in search of the Truth and I have evolved as such. And some of the Truth is that the the "pro-life" movement is anti-sex and anti-women. The NRA is rooted in paranoia and racism. Racism is in itself a psychiatric disorder. The AMA is the author and perpetrator of some of the most heinous scandals of the last two millenia. Three-quarters of those in the media are prostitutes to corporate interests. And on and on.

We are not all the same, folks. We are not all sane. In fact, most of us are not nearly sane at all. But if you are sane, and you know who you are, stop pretending. Step up and be the adult that you know you should be. Stop drugging yourself to get through the horrors of everyday life. Stop placating others in order to be liked. Stop distracting yourself with electronics or work or over-indulging your kids. Clear up your consciousness and be yourself. We need you. The world is crazy. Help.



WASHINGTON — The Senate struck a historic blow against smoking in America Thursday, voting overwhelmingly to give regulators new power to limit nicotine in the cigarettes that kill nearly a half-million people a year, to drastically curtail ads that glorify tobacco and to ban flavored products aimed at spreading the habit to young people.

President Barack Obama, who has spoken of his own struggle to quit smoking, said he was eager to sign the legislation, and the House planned a vote for Friday. Cigarette foes said the measure would not only cut deaths but reduce the $100 billion in annual health care costs linked to tobacco.


"Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, and Ann Coulter are the pop culture equivalent of necrotic carrion beetles, crawling with insectile determination from one infected open wound in the American psyche to another. The wounds include fear of race, fear of foreigners, fear of sexuality, fear of difference, hysterical religious fundamentalism, violent nationalism, and paranoia. They lay their eggs in the infected abrasion, then scuttle away. When the eggs hatch, disgorging rage and discontent, they start counting money. When challenged on the inherently destructive nature of their enterprise, they invariably claim that their First Amendment right to free speech is being abrogated. Or, like Ann Coulter defensively does in those instances, they cite their place on the New York Times bestseller list. Or the ratings. In other words, since people buy it, watch it, or listen to it in huge numbers, it must have merit, and it must be right."


Last year, I wrote a piece called, "SAY IT: RACISM IS A PSYCHIATRIC DISORDER." My point in that blog entry, and in several others I've written on related subjects, is that until we call things what they actually are, and stop acting like every extreme, retrogressive, moronic, or hate-and-fear-filled paranoid delusion is just another point of view or political position, we will not be rid of the violence recently inflicted on Dr. George Tiller and others.

The ludicrously self-labeled "pro-lifers" who are calling Dr. Tiller's murderer a hero are psychiatrically, clinically insane, no less so than the lunatic who shot up innocent people at the Holocaust Museum in Washington 2 days ago, killing a man. They are not part of any social or political movement, folks! These barely human beings are terrified of anyone who appears different from them, they are terrified of sex and sexuality, of the feminine side of emotional life, of women having control over their own bodies, etc. TRAGIC AND IRONIC, these same "pro-lifers" by a vast majority support torture and executions and preemptive war as public policy. Hello?!

To that point, people who are rabid about having no restrictions on gun ownership are not of a particular philosophical mindset about the Second Amendment's meaning. They are people who want to reserve their personal option to kill, including and especially, if it is felt to be necessary for their delusional fantasies, with automatic assault weapons that can kill a lot of people in seconds.

Keep going? Sure.

Politicians and corporate executives who rail on about how we don't need any government regulation of businesses or the markets aren't "Free-Market, Trickle-Down, Supply-Side" advocates because they believe it's best for the economy and most people in the country. It's because they are pathologically greedy psychopaths and sociopaths.

Religious zealots aren't individuals who are spiritually connected to a loving God and want to spread the "good news" that we are all loved and all one. They are childish, repressed, control freaks battling with their own homosexual and pedophilic impulses in so many cases.

We are allowing the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter and Pat Buchanan to perversely "entertain" the pathologically bored by displaying their madness over our mass media and not insisting that they receive some kind of treatment before they can have access to the airwaves that they are polluting.

This is a country with a constitution that guarantees that anyone can say almost anything they want to say publicly, as long as it doesn't directly incite violence or harm others exercising their same constitutional rights. That is a good thing. But if we don't at least start by being honest and calling things by their accurate name, we will stay stuck in the cycles of violence, greed and dysfunction that we all suffer from. HELLO?!

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