children of narcissists

Why adult children of narcissists can be so money and not even know it

I have a very smart and wonderful client, Karen*, who recently said: “I feel like you are always telling me that I’m right and everyone else is wrong Isn’t it somewhere in the middle?”. Her question gave me pause. Was I erring on the side of being too supportive and excusing her of responsibility? Had I abandoned ‘therapeutic neutrality’ in …

Good Will Hunting

‘Good Will Hunting’ through the lens of Control-Mastery Theory

Good Will Hunting is one of my favorite movies. Will’s character is so compelling. By day he hangs out with his hard-living friends. By night he exercises his genius by solving quadratic equations, reading voraciously, and thinking big thoughts. Put another way, his public self seems to contradict his private self.   And the contradiction goes in an unusual direction. …

parentification

Kids taking care of parents: Why The Godfather and Dave Chappelle say parentification is bad

Don Vito Corleone in the Godfather was not a paragon of gender equality. Witness his famous statement: “I spend my life trying not to be careless. Women and children can afford to be careless, but not men.” His statement on women is false and misogynous but he offers a truth about children: they need to feel safe being careless.   …

Eagle Fans Therapy

Eagle Fans: Super Bowl Therapy

I moved to the Philadelphia area in sixth grade.  Coming from southern California, I had trouble finding friends who loved football as much as me.  The first Tuesday morning at my new school in the Philadelphia suburbs, all my classmates were talking about the Eagles performance against the New York Giants the night before.  I thought I was in heaven.  …

fear of success

Fear of Success: When It Feels Too Dangerous to Stand Out

‘Fear of success’ can occur in at least two ways.  Some people truly desire success but fear failing.  Others find the prospect of not failing more scary than failing.  That may not make a lot of sense at first blush.  If we dig a little deeper, a logical – but more complex – explanation emerges.  This post is about a …

“I must convince the world to like me” – Moving Towards People

Do you feel fundamentally unlikeable unless you are doing something for others?  Perhaps you counteract this feeling by acting in ways that generate positive responses from others.  Termed “moving towards people”, this can mean attuning to and meeting others’ emotional needs, and/or finding it necessary to be helpful to others.  In isolation these kinds of behaviors are worthy character traits. …