Privacy vs. Secrecy?Who Owns the Secret?

People tend to justify some inappropriate secret-keeping with the self-righteous claim that, “It’s no one’s business,” or–better yet–“It’s private.” So what is the difference between privacy and secrecy–and how do you know if you’re being private–which is okay–or secretive, which can… Continue Reading


How Do You Know if Your Spouse is Controlling?

What are some warning signs you can and should learn to pick up on early in the relationship, signs that the person you are with is a controlling partner? As a general indicator, a huge warning sign that you’re involved… Continue Reading


Dividing Financial Responsibilities

So if you’ve spent some time thinking about it, in an organized fashion, you’ll probably realize that there are fundamentally only four different permutations of ways to divide financial responsibilities. You’ll also probably be intimately familiar with one of them.… Continue Reading


The Triangle–What It Looks Like In Family Life

Molly* is a difficult [in my more honest moments I think of her as nearly tyrannical] early adolescent, who makes her mother’s life a horror. She picks on Mom’s clothes, her hairstyle–the way she chews her toast in the morning.… Continue Reading


But I got here first!: How birth order can effect sibling roles

I’m a bit of a softie for sibling roles in family dynamics, and although there are definite limits to the validity of utilizing birth order to explain behavioral and personality traits, some value yet remains. Older research asserted a variety… Continue Reading


Running For Your Life: Depression and Exercise

Unlike the lovely Ms. Diller, I love to exercise. It gets me going in the morning, it gives me energy throughout the day, it fights the ravages of age. I love it enough to want to talk about it–a lot.… Continue Reading


The Family Hero, or “Morticia and the Psychiatrist”–Part II

In his book, Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls, Robert Burney writes that “there are four basic roles that children adopt in order to survive growing up in emotionally dishonest, shame-based, dysfunctional family systems.” The children take these roles because… Continue Reading


The Family Hero, or “Morticia and the Psychiatrist”: Part I

Remember the wondrously insane and macabre Addams family? (“They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky/They’re all together ooky. . . .”) They were the anti-Partridge family, the inverse Brady Bunch, fabulously perverse, with two ghastly children, Wednesday (as in… Continue Reading


Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Changing the Ground Rules #3: “I Changed My Mind”

Betty and Brian* were confirmed atheists, and had been since they were teenagers. So when her Catholic family and his Jewish family protested about their marriage, they laughed at the small-mindedness of their parents and threw themselves a huge wedding… Continue Reading


Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Changing the Ground Rules #1: Losing a Career

Before I leave the topic of issues to consider when you’re thinking of leaving your marriage, I wanted to bring up a few situations that make the decision to stay or go vastly more complicated. What happens in a marriage,… Continue Reading


Depression and Eating Right, or ‘The Twinkie Defense’–Part II

So back to Dan White, the San Francisco city supervisor who had been let go–and had returned to plow bullets into Mayor George Moscone and his own supervisor, Harvey Milk. And how he got away with, well, murder. To make… Continue Reading


Under My Thumb–Controlling Spouses, Part VII: Taking Back Control #1

At one end of the relationship gradation is patriarchal violence [and, as I’ve mentioned before, if you are in a physically abusive relationship in which you are beaten to the point of physical harm, this blog is not for you.… Continue Reading