Individuation and differentiation

There are some concepts that I have tried to put in simple language, about the emotional development needed for a grownup adult relationship (See Guidelines for Grownups). I’d like to introduce another type of language.  Murray Bowen, a psychiatrist who was Director of the Family Studies Center at Georgetown University, has developed some terminology that…

Joyless, mindless, loveless messages

Based on what happened to us early in life, what we saw and experienced, we made decisions about life that are still operating today. These form our invisible life scripts and control our choices. For example, a young man grew up in a home that was filled with strife and tension. He left home early,…

Becoming non-defensive

What do we have to do to be able to hear complaints or criticism? We first have to be willing to know and to accept ourselves. We really have to believe that we are good enough, lovable, and entitled–entitled to be happy, to make mistakes, and to ask for help. “I am good enough” is…

Improving self-esteem

Strengthening our self-esteem means examining the old scripts our families and society have handed us, or that we created ourselves under their influence. That means learning to let go of some of the old scripts we’ve lived by, and write new ones that suit us better. We must learn to value ourselves, and try to be…

Self-esteem as our autoimmune system

One way to look at self-esteem is to think of it as something we do!! Many of us walk around feeling more or less OK until something happens to trigger off our doubts about ourselves. Perhaps something we are building does not work, a friend criticizes us, or a lover acts cold. Suddenly we are…

Our secret fears

Most of us walk around with one of two secret fears: I am not lovable, or, I am not good enough. Some of us walk around with both of them.

Self-worth and intimacy

Nothing is more important to intimacy than our sense of self-worth. How we feel about ourselves in relation to other people is a major factor in the quality of intimate relationships. Trouble in a relationship almost always involves a problem with self-esteem.