For more years than I’d like to admit I worked hard to make myself small, to get through life on the fringes of awareness. I have tried and then tried again to find ways to avoid myself, to dilute my power, to circumvent my truth. For years I numbed myself out with masochistic love affairs, exercise, isolation and on and on.Read More
I was recently on The Family Brain Podcast with Megan Gipson, LCSW, Ed.M discussing my recent essay Failing to Grow: Why Rescuing Your Kids in Not Helpful. Megan and I are old classmates from Georgetown and talking to her is like no time has passed at all. I hope you will find the conversation engaging and insightful. Please enjoy. Please share.Read More
I understand groupthink intimately. In college I became consumed with this topic as it relates to cults, mobs, prison culture and the like. Right around the same time I also began therapy for the first time. In the confines of that therapy room I began to piece together my own narrative and how my neurobiology was wired in the minefields and shadows of this type of mod mentality.Read More
I recently wrote an essay titled Sabotage: An Inside Job. Many readers contacted me and asked for a list of things to be mindful of when observing self-sabotage at play.
So even though my regular reads know I have an aversion to “lists”, in this blog I will list the six sneaky (and highly common) ways people engage in self-sabotage and don’t even realize it. Remember, it’s our unconscious patterns that rule the roost. Start to observe the things you don’t even recognize as unusual.Read More
My son has never been a maverick. Let me be clear. He is cautious and ponders his choices deeply; this allows him a kind of wisdom that is hard to come by at the ripe old age of ten. I have noticed in the past an instinct to circumvent, to avoid, to sidestep risk. But as he has matured his relationship with avoidance has mutated, taking on a very different look and feel. Lately, his relationship with avoidance has begun to also feel like a habit; one that he relies on with greater frequency.Read More
Defense mechanisms are like your personal department of homeland security; they are taxed with the job of protecting your interior landscape from domestic threats of psychological terror. Defense mechanisms protect you from the intensity of your feelings. Their intentions are always in your best interest, despite the consequences of their tactics. And there are always consequences. It just how it goes.Read More
I had the pleasure of talking with Megan Gipson, LCSW of The Family Brain Podcast (and a fellow Hoya class of 97' alumni) where we discussed neurobiology, brain development, birth order, positive psychology, and many other topics. Please enjoy this installment wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Click here to listen to episode #14.Read More
This weeks installment from The Padded Room comes in the form of a podcast appearance on Not Another Anxiety Show. On this episode Kelli and I explore the role of fear in our psychological and emotional worlds. Additionally, we cover mindfulness, meditation, TM, therapy, and a host of other interesting and compelling topics that will help you think about your feelings through a new and different lens.
To enjoy this episode please click on the link below and look for episode #141.
I work in clandestine realms. Shadowy and furtive by nature, I orbit in the background, the underbelly of your mind.
You will not see me coming.
I’ve infiltrated the velvet ropes and I have free reign over your unconscious landscape. I roam pathways and corridors that even you don’t know exist.
You cannot hear me coming.
I am suspicious of change and progress. I detonate, undetected, as soon as I feel threatened. I live parasitically inside of you.
You will always be caught flatfooted.
My networks are savvy, tactical, and coordinated.
You will not smell, feel, or anticipate my presence.
I am relentless and I am unpredictable.
This is an inside job.
Do you know who I am?
I am sabotage.Read More
There is power in the pivot. Momentum, agility, and instinct converge to create a (seemingly) sudden action that that has the potential to change the course of our life. Literally. The ability to pivot, to course correct, is an integral component of psychological wellness. To master this ability means to re-examine the meaning of failure, disappointment, loss, and self-doubt. Our ability to change our mind, to change our behavior is a critical component to our ability to adapt and adjust. This concept is at the heart of what psychologists refer to as resiliency. Also layer into this notion the idea of emotional agility and grit and you have the making of something profound. But also deeply difficult to achieve, maintain, and sustain.Read More
We all know the overt and obvious ways that fear operates, such as phobias, panic attacks, and the like. But in this blog we are going to examine the covert language of fear. I want you to start to observe how fear is also a master of disguise. It cloaks itself in other more seductive costumes, like bravery, perfectionism, anger, arrogance, people pleasing, FOMO, and adrenaline junkies (to name only a few). Often the very parts of our personality we are most wedded to are simply efforts to compensate for, keep ourselves distant from, or otherwise control fear. And most of the time, because of the power of the unconscious, people are completely unaware of how these dynamics operate in their life.Read More
It was one of those dreams that felt so real that even while I was dreaming I was trying to figure out the blurry and disorienting line between waking and sleeping. Within the dream I remember telling my dreaming self “this is just a dream.” But I was also in that partial state of wakefulness, where your body is heavy and your mind is foggy.Read More
What's in there?
Only what you take with you.
I love this scene in Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back because I believe it perfectly illustrates the role of the unconscious in our lives. In this scene, Luke turns to enter a spooky and dark cave and what he comes face to face with is the feared (and unconscious) forces of darkness and anger personified by the presence of Darth Vader. In his vision, he enters in to battle with Vader and eventually decapitates him. The cinematic insinuation is that Luke has deeply unresolved issues related to his own core identity as a man and a Jedi.
By all accounts, Howard Stern is pretty damn squeaky clean compared to his peers in the entertainment industry. As a feminist, I revel in that irony. I really gloat in the hypocrisy that Howard Stern is the alleged face of social perversion, meanwhile the list of politicians, business execs, and supposed rainmakers being taken down, one by one, by the #MeToo movement is cataclysmic. If this isn’t a case of the emperor having no clothes, I don’t know what is.Read More
This months installment comes in the form of a podcast I did with Kelli Walker for her series, Not Another Anxiety Show. On this episode we "got deep under the hood" of my previous post about Deconstructing Anxiety. Please have a listen (click episode #102) and see what you think and feel about our discussion. There's a lot of content to get your head around and start to better understand your own anxious process. And, as always, please pass it on if the spirit moves you. I rely on word of mouth and social media to grow my audience, so your gesture of support is much appreciated.Read More
What do I mean by the Myth of Specialness? Isn’t everyone special in his or her own right? It’s true. We are all special on a certain level. Everyone has a unique temperament and personality they bring to the world. This is what and how you impart your own unique set of influences and dynamics on the world around you.Read More
I’ll point out the obvious right off the top: Perfectionism is often applauded in our society and I get it. I am someone who is steeped in the art of achievement and accomplishment. I speak that language, intimately, and I have been in the vice grip that is the pursuit of perfection at various times throughout my journey and in various domains of my being.Read More
Anxiety moves in circular motion. Although you are constantly spinning you are never truly gaining traction and moving forward. Perpetual loops of speculation, avoidance, rumination, and worry will hold you hostage to growth and internal contentment.Read More
I knew it was coming. I’d felt a change in his relationship to magical thinking – sensed that he was starting to put the puzzle pieces together in a way in which reason and logic were starting to conquer fantasy.Read More
We call it wisdom, I suppose. Wisdom doesn’t just come with the passage of time though. You don’t “age in” to being wise. It takes decades to achieve that type of interior transformative perspective on life.Read More