Is Donald Trump the Mirror of America?

It’s impossible to read, watch, or listen to any media today without being bombarded by Donald Trump news and his latest tweets and actions. Some believe he is the savior of the working class. Others believe he is leading our country to disaster. Some believe he is bridging the divide between the U.S. and her adversaries. Others believe he is a dupe for the Russians.

As a psychotherapist and healer for more than forty years, I believe that Donald Trump is a mirror to America. He taps into different aspects of our collective personality, both the good and the bad. If we want to deal with Donald Trump and get our country back on track we must do some healing ourselves. Carl Jung said, “Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens.”

I was waiting in line at the Western Union office to send some money to my daughter, Angela. I was late for an appointment and I was in a hurry. The person ahead of me was a Hispanic woman who clearly was having trouble understanding English and following the instructions of the clerk.I found myself thinking thoughts that I would have despised if I heard them from Donald Trump. “Why can’t she step aside and let me take care of my business? And why doesn’t she learn English if she’s going to live in America? I was horrified by my own thoughts. The woman finished her business and hurried away. I suspect she could feel my negative “vibes.”

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How to Help an Angry Man: And Stop the Fights That Harm Your Marriage

I’ve been helping men and the women who love them for more than 40 years. When I ask men what’s most important to them in their relationships, I hear many variations on a simple response. Men want more sex and fewer fights. When I ask women what they want they also give offer variations that are consistent. Women want to feel save and emotionally connected with their partner. Disagreements and misunderstandings are inevitable in any relationship, but fights undermine a marriage and can poison a relationship.

When couples fight, they rarely remember what caused the disagreement or how it escalated into a fight, but pain embeds itself in our bodies, minds, and spirits, and acts like a strong acid corroding the very foundation of a relationship and undermines a couple’s trust for each other. We may make-up and think everything is O.K., but the foundation of the relationship becomes a little weaker and over time may collapse.

I’ve helped more than 25,000 couples stop fighting and heal the misunderstandings that lead to fights. The key to my success has been to teach couples how to understand male anger and how cool it down before bursts into flames. Before I tell you what I’ve learned, I’ll tell you where I’m coming from. [Read more…]

How to Fix Your Relationship Without Talking About It

Dear Dr. Jed,

            My boyfriend and I have been together for just over four years and I’m noticing terrible mood shifts that are increasingly difficult to live with. He becomes extremely frustrated, irritable, angry, and depressed. I can tell that he is becoming more distant and I’m worried he’s thinking of leaving.

            Whenever I try and get him to talk about his unhappiness or what I can do to make things better, it seems to make him angry and he pulls away even more. I love him very much and I know he loves me, but I feel our relationship slipping away and I don’t know what to do. Please, can you help?  BL

I get calls and emails like these every day. A man is becoming irritated, angry, and depressed. The relationship is in trouble and both people are hurting. The woman wants to talk and the man reacts with anger and becomes more withdrawn.

For men, the five most off-putting words in the English language are, “Honey, we need to talk.” The words can be said with love or anger, compassion or disdain, with despair or hope. It seems no matter how they are presented, they are met with a resistance bordering on terror by most men.

“I feel caught in a horrible trap,” one woman told me. “If I let things alone and don’t say anything, our relationship continues to go downhill. “If I try and talk to him about ways we can fix things, he acts like I’m trying to kill him. He refuses to talk and our relationship continues to deteriorate. What do I do to save us?”

Why should a woman’s desire to talk be met with such resistance? The simple answer is this: While talking about their relationship usually helps a woman feel better, it usually makes a man feel worse. My wife, Carlin, and I got a glimpse into this dynamic while we were driving into town from our home on Shimmins Ridge. [Read more…]

Trees Saved Our Lives: Creative Artists of the World Unite

Our home attracted death like a magnet. When I was five years-old my 42-year-old father took an overdose of sleeping pills and was committed to Camarillo State Mental Hospital, north of Los Angeles. He was a writer who became increasingly angry and depressed when he couldn’t make a living to support his family. In a journal I found years later, the final entry read:

“November 8th:

A hundred failures, an endless number of failures, until now, my confidence, my hope, my belief in myself, has run completely out.  Middle aged, I stand and gaze ahead, numb, confused, and desperately worried.  All around me I see the young in spirit, the young in heart, with ten times my confidence, twice my youth, ten times my fervor, twice my education.

I see them all, a whole army of them, battering at the same doors I’m battering, trying in the same field I’m trying.  Yes, on a Sunday morning in early November, my hope and my life stream are both running desperately low, so low, so stagnant, that I hold my breath in fear, believing that the dark, blank curtain is about to descend.”

He survived, but our lives were never the same. Earlier that year, a close friend of the family shot himself. I remember going to the service, confused and afraid, but no one talked about why he died, but everyone knew it was suicide. Later that year my closest friend, Woody, drowned in the river near our house. My mother was so glad I was alive, she couldn’t listen to my own grief or feelings of loss.

My mother was pre-occupied with death. She was afraid she would die before I graduated high school and paid for a life insurance policy she couldn’t afford so I’d have some money when she was gone. She also bought an insurance policy for me. “You should always be prepared to support your family, even when you’re gone,” she told me. I hadn’t yet turned six.

Trees saved my life.

Being at home, literally felt like a death sentence. By the time I was six, I would leave the house whenever I could and climb the tallest tree in the neighborhood. I felt most alive when I was in a tree. I would climb to the very top and feel at one with the tree as I’d sway back and forth in the wind. [Read more…]

Male Menopause: The Hidden Cause of Mid-Life Marriage Meltdown

“If menopause is the silent passage,” says author Gail Sheehy, “Male menopause is the unspeakable passage. It is fraught with secrecy, shame, and denial. It is much more fundamental than the ending of the fertile period of a woman’s life, because it strikes at the core of what it is to be a man.” When I started doing research on what I came to call “male menopause” in 1995, I had never heard of Gail Sheehy. I just knew I was having difficulty with erections, my libido was way down, I was more irritable and had less energy, and my marriage was in danger of going under.

I also knew that I wasn’t the only one who was having problems. When I told people I was doing research on men between the ages of 35 and 65 and the changes they were going through, I began to get e-mails from people describing what they were experiencing.

“I know I’ve been struggling with all facets of my life lately,” said 34-year-old Rob. “Everything from not enjoying the things I have always enjoyed, to losing my latest girlfriend over unknown reasons of which erectile dysfunction at some level was a factor. I have had problems with just everyday living, confusion, and lack of direction in my life. I happened to come across an article you wrote. Wow! What an enlightenment. Just knowing what is happening is a major relief and reduction in a very high level of anxiety. What do I know now?”

I also heard from women who were describing how these changes were impacting the man in their lives.

“I have just discovered your website, and was referred to it by a friend who knows the man I live with. He is 48-years-old and has been getting more and more frustrated, irritable, angry, and depressed over the last year. He’s had all kinds of tests. One doctor thought he might have ADD and he’s taking medications for that, thinking it might help. It hasn’t. After reading about the symptoms of male menopause, I’m convinced that this is his problem. But I’m having trouble getting him to get checked out for that. Can you help?”

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Male-Type Depression: The Second Hidden Cause of Mid-Life Marriage Meltdown

I have a particular interest in preventing mid-life marriage meltdown, a problem that is becoming I increasingly prevalent today. My first marriage came to an end when I was 33 years old. We had two children and had thought our marriage would last forever.  I healed the wounds of love and loss and eventually fell in love again. My second marriage lasted less than three years.

As a psychotherapist and marriage and family counselor, I felt guilty and ashamed that I was counseling others on what should work to insure a happy marriage and joyful life, but I couldn’t seem to make it work in my own life. Before trying again, I vowed to learn the secrets of real, lasting love. I read everything I could find from the experts. I went into therapy myself to learn how my past wounds from childhood created a faulty love map and caused so many of us to lose our way.

I’m happy to say I found what I was looking for. I met and married Carlin and she and I have been joyfully married now for 37 years. But we are the exceptions. Not only do 50% of first marriages end in divorce, but 66% of second marriages don’t make it, and 73% of third marriages fail.

I’m offering two free webinars on the 3 Hidden Causes of Mid-Life Marriage Meltdown on Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 5:30 PM Pacific time. I’ll cover the same information on April 27th at 5:30 pm in order to accommodate different time zones. Please sign up for the one that works best for you.

Thursday, April 20th at 5:30 pm PT: Register here.
Thursday, April 27th at 9:00 am PT: Register here.

Mid-life can be the best time to be married. We are not so caught up with children and work. It’s a time we can really enjoy each other and be true partners as we age. “Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be.” These words by the poet Robert Browning capture what a lot of us long for as we move into mid-life and beyond. However, as a marriage and family counselor I see too many relationships fall apart, just when the couple could be enjoying their lives the most. I see too many people that want to start again, but they are afraid of what they might face. [Read more…]

Irritable Male Syndrome: The First Hidden Cause of Mid-Life Marriage Meltdown

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”

Charles Dickens could have been describing mid-life marriage instead of the times leading up to the French Revolution in his epic 1859 historical novel, A Tale of Two Cities. Whether we are in our first marriage when we approach our 40s, 50s, and 60s (We are living longer and longer so mid-life extends through three decades), or whether we have been married previously, mid-life is a turbulent time and marriage can be difficult.

I suspect there may be two kinds of people in the world—Those who watch Dr. Phil and those who don’t. My wife is one who does and I’m one who doesn’t. That’s not unusual. 82% of those who watch Dr. Phil are women and only 18% are men. More than half the viewers are between the ages of 35 and 64.

For more than 40 years, I’ve been helping mid-life men and women prevent mid-life marriage meltdown. When I began writing this article I looked up “Mid-life Marriage Meltdown” on Google and found this interesting 1-minute promo to a Dr. Phil episode.

The show speaks to a number of issues I deal with daily in my practice as a therapist and marriage and family counselor:

  • Increased relationship stress and disconnection.
  • One person saying or feeling, “I love you but I’m not in love with you anymore.
  • Betrayals that cause the marriage to enter melt-down mode.
  • Regret and a desire to repair the marriage and heal the wounds.

What is rarely discussed are the underlying causes of these problems. Surprisingly, I’ve found that often the hidden causes are related to unresolved men’s issues including the following: [Read more…]

Why Is My Husband So Mean to Me?

For more than 40 years I have been helping men and the women who love them. In recent years, more and more women are contacting me who are concerned about their husband’s anger and how its impacting their lives. Here’s how one woman described her confusion and concern:

“For about a year now, I have gradually felt my husband of twenty-two years pulling away from me and our family. He has become more sullen, angry, and mean. The thing that bothers me the most is how unaffectionate he has become. My husband used to be the most positive, upbeat, funny person I knew. Now it’s like living with an angry brick. I want my husband back. Can you help us?”

I developed a quiz for men and for women who were asking why the man in their lives had suddenly become more irritable and angry. It was eventually filled out by more than 60,000 men and women. When the results were in, I thought of writing a book titled The Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome. This seemed to capture the way a man could change from being loving and supportive to being angry and mean.

In reminded me of the novella by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, written in 1886, titled “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” The novella’s impact is such that it has become a part of the language, with the very phrase “Jekyll and Hyde” coming to mean a person who is vastly different in moral character from one situation to the next.

Another woman described her husband’s changes in similar terms. “My husband’s personality suddenly changed from my funny, loving Dr. Jekyll into an angry, resentful, and controlling Mr. Hyde. He grew increasingly angry with me and seemed to withdraw from our marriage. I just can’t be happy staying at home, especially when I’m slapped in the face with a bunch of criticism and anger. What is going on here?”

But though the transformation from “Mr. Nice to Mr. Mean” was clear, there was still a mystery about what causes the change. My first clue about the root cause of this shift came from a Scottish biologist in Edinburgh, Dr. Gerald Lincoln, who was studying the impact of hormonal changes on animal mood and behavior. He found when testosterone levels dropped the animals became irritable, ill-tempered, and edgy. These were some of the same symptoms I was seeing in my own work. [Read more…]

Testosterone: 10 Surprising Things Every Woman and Man Needs to Know

In her book, Eve’s Rib:  The New Science of Gender-Specific Medicine Marianne J. Legato M.D says, “Everywhere we look, the two sexes are startlingly and unexpectedly different not only in their internal function but in the way they experience illness.” To begin with there are 10 trillion cells in the human body and every one of them is sex specific. The poet, Robert Bly, glimpsed this scientific truth when he wrote that boys need to be in the company of older men “in order to hear the sound that male cells sing.”

Until recently scientists believed that our genomes were 99.9% identical from one person to the next. “It turns out that this assertion is correct,” says David C. Page, M.D., professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT),  “as long as the two individuals being compared are both men.  It’s also correct if the two individuals being compared are both women.”  New research from Dr. Page’s lab shows that the genetic difference between a man and a woman are 15 times greater than the genetic difference between two men or between two women.

One of the most significant differences is in our levels of the hormone testosterone. Testosterone is often called the “male” hormone. However, both men and women produce this hormone.  Did you know?

  1. Men have 20 to 40 times more testosterone (T) than do women.

This is one reason why our sex drives are so different. Men don’t think about sex all the time as some people believe, but we do think about sex, generally, more than women.

  1. Testosterone is responsible for the sex drive in both men and women.

When our sex drive begins to diminish as we age, the problem may be low T in men and women. Many women, and men, don’t realize that testosterone is important in keeping a woman’s sexual desire up.

  1. Testosterone can be converted to estrogen, but not the other way around.

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The Woman’s Guide to Men: 6 Things Men Want Women to Know About Sex, Love, and Talking

For nearly 50 years I have been helping women understand the men in their lives and to have relationships that are more joyous and intimate. I’ve been in a men’s group that has been together for 38 years and my wife, Carlin, believe that our 37-year marriage owes a lot to the fact that I’ve been in a men’s group. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what men need and what we wish women knew about us.

I recently wrote, “The Man’s Guide to Women: 5 Things Women Want Men to Know About Fear, Sex, and Love.” Here are six things that men want women to know.

  1. Men do think about sex more often than women, but that’s not all we think about.

There’s a popular myth that men think about sex nearly constantly. This isn’t true. It goes along with another myth that men all men want is sex and that “sex” is synonymous with intercourse. In my article, “The One Thing Men Want More Than Sex,” I said that men want a Save Harbor. Sex isn’t just for making children and giving and receiving pleasure. It’s also for being fully seen, cared for, and nurtured.

Edward O. Laumann, PhD. is a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago and lead author of a major survey of sexual practices, “The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States.” He says, “The majority of adult men under 60 think about sex at least once a day. Only about one-quarter of women say they think about it that frequently. As men and women age, each fantasize less, but men still fantasize about twice as often.”

Sex is the reason all of us are here and sex is a source of great pleasure. But sex is more than just sex. For men, sex is our safe harbor, a place we can be taken in, loved, and cherished.

  1. There are important differences between males and females.

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