The Hidden Dynamics of Marital Strife

Many of us elect to betray love rather than look at ourselves.

When marital conflict leads to divorce, conflict in the human psyche is the culprit, not the institution of marriage. Many people are too conflicted and divided in their psyche to maintain the union of a loving relationship.

Rather than examine ourselves, many of us elect to betray love and skip town. We forsake our partner because we can’t stomach our own bile. We simply refuse to approach the unconscious part of us that harbors and cultivates the negative emotions that feed marital unhappiness. Through resistance and denial, we prefer to avoid the disturbing idea that we’re the architects of our own suffering. It’s just so easy to blame our tribulations on the annoying characteristics of our partner—or on faulty genes, biochemical imbalances, the malice of others, or the cold, cruel world.

In some cases, getting a divorce is the sensible thing to do. For various reasons, some feuding couples are too unlikely to re-establish harmony and love. Of course, many other marriages can be saved. Intimacy and love can be restored and enhanced if we look deeper into our personal issues. [Read more…]

The Psychological Roots of National Disunity

Inner conflict contaminates the national debate.

The moral philosophies of individualism and solidarity clash upon the withered plain, battling for the soul of America. Conservatives, for the most part, stand behind the former philosophy, while Liberals are tied to the latter. An intense conflict is disuniting the people, and we’re all suffering.

There need not be such division and antagonism between the two moral positions. They’re not mutually exclusive. The clash over which philosophy ought to prevail turns negative and hostile only because the human psyche is, in itself, so conflict-ridden. Through our resistance and denial, we’ve been hiding from our awareness the deeper elements of this strife. We suffer personally and politically because of psychological secrets we keep from ourselves.

As moral positions, both individualism and solidarity obviously have commendable aspects. Individualism represents self-reliance and independence, while solidarity or community represents social unity, common cause, and an expansive understanding of self-interest. All these aspects are important to our well-being.

It’s the unconscious part of our psyche that’s contaminating the debate, widening the divide, and creating unnecessary misunderstanding and hostility. [Read more…]

The Futile Dialogue in Our Head

Stop the needless yackety-yack!

Our mind is often the stage for the acting out of a recurring dialogue between two conflicting parts of our psyche. In people with mental disorders, one of these voices—inner aggression—can take over or “possess” the consciousness of these individuals and command them to commit dangerous or criminal acts. Yet the rest of us have troublesome inner voices, too.

Our voices are more subtle, restrained, and rational than in mentally disturbed individuals. Yet these voices or thoughts can still take control of our consciousness, make us jump to their commands and suggestions, and produce suffering and self-defeat.

Our oppressive inner dialogue consists, on one side, of the point of view of inner aggression. This dynamic or drive is seated in our inner critic or superego. On the other side of the conflict, inner passivity (seated in our defensive subordinate ego) functions as an enabler of our inner critic. Classical psychoanalysis has known about this inner conflict, but the universality of the problem, the self-damage it causes, and its mechanisms of operation are not being well communicated to people. [Read more…]

Psychologists of the World, Go Deeper

We need the insight that comes from going deeper into our psyche.

Many psychologists are afraid of their own shadow. They’re unwilling to confront their dark side. They may be smart but they’re lacking in consciousness. How else can we explain the third-rate knowledge that the profession passes along to a suffering world.

Psychological science has failed to recognize the existence and vital importance of unflattering facts about our humanity that we’ve been hiding, denying, and repressing in our psyche. Instead of getting to the heart of our dysfunction, psychologists are producing an expanding universe of subprime information and C-rated factoids.

I believe that many psychologists are choosing, unconsciously, to avoid a deeper study of human nature. They’re fleeing into the “scientific method” and abstract studies in order to get away from a full examination of their own personal issues and weaknesses. The deeper we go into human nature, the more we discover alarming gaps in our knowledge. Closing these gaps enables us to let go of old identifications and to make significant changes and improvements. [Read more…]