Masculinity is under attack. If you haven’t noticed, then you've been living under a rock. By now, you’ve probably heard that the American Psychological Association has joined the fray by reframing masculinity as a mental illness. The APA claims that “traditional masculinity—marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression—is, on the whole, harmful.” Who’s to blame for corrupting innocent boys with these toxic urges? According to the APA, it’s the patriarchy. So men are to blame for ruining men. And now it’s up to therapists to save their damaged psyches by encouraging them to be more like women, which shouldn’t be too hard since it’s only misguided societal pressures that make men masculine: “Indeed, when researchers strip away stereotypes and expectations, there isn’t much difference in the basic behaviors of men and women.” … [Read more...] about Reviving Romeo
Guilt trip wiki
Perhaps the most internally mutative experiences for me around “going home” came through the late life of Nelson Mandela as he emerged from a 25-year-prison sentence to become the president of South Africa. He became an internationally acclaimed example of a human being who surmounted hatred and personal torture to lead a divided nation toward integration, forgiveness, and reconciliation. When he died, I found myself in New York, weeping and weeping again, deeply sad, as if I had lost someone near and dear. Again, my emotions surprised me. It took time for me to get it. And getting it, came through remembering what Freud (1917) taught us: Through mourning, we become more able to take back and hold within us forever what we have lost. Psychoanalyst Ken Corbett says it helpfully too: It is grief that ultimately lifts us out of the “fraught circular insanity of melancholia” (Corbett, 2010, p. 391). … [Read more...] about Going Home, Again
It used to be true that one thing all forms of psychotherapy had in common was the discussion (not the “validation”) of emotions, so that all patients learned to manage their feelings better—by greeting them with curiosity rather than indulgence and, via discussion, getting used to functioning in their presence. Different theories accounted for this with different language. For some, exposure to emotion kept it from triggering fight-flight reactions; for others, organizing principles became more realistic and inclusive, so that certain emotions did not disrupt self-coherence. The result in all kinds of therapy was that patients recognized their emotions better but also did not react to them with such immediacy. Parents raised children similarly. There’s a world of difference between a society that says, in effect, “You’re angry but you still have to carry on” and one that says, in effect, “You’re angry and they shouldn’t have … [Read more...] about The Tyranny of Emotion
But, as addressed in Positive Evolutionary Psychology: Darwin’s Guide to Living a Richer Life (Geher & Wedberg, 2020), when it comes to our social psychology, our minds are riddled with ancestral adaptations and processes that evolved under social conditions that are, in many ways, very different from our large-scale modern worlds. Before the Neolithic revolution, which took place a mere (in terms of organic evolution) 10,000 years ago, all humans were nomads, living in small clans—surrounded by kin and by others whom they would see repeatedly across their lifetimes. Our minds didn’t evolve under conditions in which we co-existed with strangers. And small-scale ancestral groups were, for practical reasons, capped at about 150 (see Dunbar, 1993). … [Read more...] about Et tu, Brute?
One huge mistake parents make these days is trying to control their child’s health and body by making rules about what they eat. There are undoubtedly a few good rules, which should apply as much to adults as to children: moderation, balance, less or no processed food and more plant-based foods. These are rules of thumb, however, as opposed to strict imperatives: they address diet broadly rather than micromanaging what we eat. But many parents go well beyond such big picture food rules: no soda, no refined sugar, no starch, no dessert, no dairy, etc., etc. While these dictates generally arise from a desire to do right as parents, they reveal what a terribly misguided route we’ve taken in addressing food and weight with our children. … [Read more...] about Break Your Food Rules