My Inner Critic

Do you have that voice in your head that criticizes you when you do something? The one that wants you to be perfect in everything? The one that triggers a sense of blame? Alfred Adler, the Austrian psychiatrist and therapist, held that, “To be a human being means to possess a feeling of inferiority which constantly presses towards its own conquest.” His Individual Psychology was based on this belief. He has stated that “… a child enters the world. It is helpless, small, and needs attention. What effect does this have on the child? What influences how the child adapts […]

On Ghosting

Have you been ghosted? Have you ghosted someone? If you go back some years, this term would merely evoke visions of Casper the Friendly Ghost. Now it seems to have become a thing. I hear mostly from people who have been ghosted and how they dont like it. Once in a while someone talks about doing this to another and accepting that it is an easy way out. Uncoupling is not a pleasant process whether you are the initiator or the target. What factors do you look at to end a relationship? Love is gone? Too boring? Partner has become […]

Love & Empathy

Valentine’s Day brings up all kinds of emotions, some positive, some negative, and perhaps mostly mixed. There are memories of lost opportunities, of climactic meetings, of joyful reunions, and of bitter breakups. Then there also those who couldn’t care less about the day. However one may think of V-Day, it does bring up the discussion on what love is, how one defines it, and how any of us is affected by it. Love comes in different contexts: Romantic love, parental love, love for friends, for the country, and even love for preferences (Chocolate, anyone?). Whichever form of love you want […]

Do We Need Conflict in a Relationship?

Imagine this scenario: Your partner and you have similar temperament. You both like some solitude and time for yourself separately, and then enjoy being with one another and with friends. You are on the same page with political views, religious beliefs, and even follow a vegan diet. Heavenly? Or not? Personality theories on relationships predicting harmony vary from it being enhanced by similarity or by compatibility. The more similar we are to our partners, the less the conflict. However, one of the glitches in the human mind is that change towards improvement does not come when all is well and […]

New Year, New You?

So we are close to starting to write “2020” on all communications that require a date. Without getting into the perennially useless new year resolutions, what are you looking forward to doing better in your relationships? This does not only refer to romantic ones, but also to family, friends and colleagues. The oft-used slogan has been “New year, new you.” I prefer to look forward to improving the connections I already have while being open to new ones. A recent blog in Scientific American ( discusses which aspects of our personality contributes most to a sense of well-being. The well-known […]

First Date Red Flags

Grindr, Tinder, Zoosk, PinkCupid, whatever.… So you’re going to meet. Or, you already met somewhere and now it’s the first real date.… What do you pay attention to? What gives you the feeling this is good? Or really bad? Signs to keep going, or bail out? Malcolm Gladwell, in his recent book, Talking to – Strangers, discusses the how, why, and why not of trusting and believing other people. To each new situation and encounter, we bring our own beliefs, opinions, and views. How we approach a person is affected by those existing mental sets. For example, if you are […]

Do We Need Passion in a Relationship?

Who can deny the joy in connecting with another and experiencing the height of emotion, the passionate encounters and even that peaceful time after the peak? Dictionary definitions of passion include: “Any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate. Strong amorous feeling or desire; love; ardor. An instance or experience of strong love or sexual desire.” So, there is a mixing of feeling or emotion and chemistry or sexual desire. Can one feel passion for another as desire but not love? Alternately, can one love another without desire? This is a really tough area of relationships to […]

Time to Leave?

At the beginning, it was exhilarating … Looking into each other’s eyes, holding hands, hooking up, savoring the physical and the emotional highs. Then, slowly, all seemed to be calming down. You started to notice little quirks that annoyed you. The same quirks that you used to think were oh so cute …. You asked: Why do you leave the wet towels on the floor? Who do you think should be putting them in the hamper? For a few days, that behavior improved, and then, back to the old ways… So for every relationship, there does come a time when […]

Are You Overreacting?

How do you measure whether your emotional reactions are completely out of proportion to the situation? If I start crying because I lost my pen, it would be an overreaction. But if the same response was to putting my cat/dog to sleep, it may not be. Cultural factors and expectations play a huge role in evaluating emotional expressions and their intensity. Many boys and men have been raised being taught that “boys don’t cry.” There are those who have grown up with the belief that being angry, or even very happy, is a no-no. Family traditions, religious thought, and gender […]

Who, Me? Anger

How would you finish this sentence: “I get so angry when my partner…”? You may know that we all have a roughly almond-shaped mass of gray matter in our brain: the center that is involved in the experiencing of emotions. So when we feel angry, it means that center, the amygdala, has been triggered. Based on how we were raised, what we were taught about feelings, and what our inborn temperament is, this emotion is expressed, or suppressed. Some of us may deny we are angry. Some may fly into a rage. However you experience it, and however you express […]