The scenes at the southern border last year evoked grief and outrage across the political spectrum. But why were these stories so much more provocative than the equally tragic stories of children in poverty or living in families that routinely neglect them? The answer has to do with the universality of attachment needs. All of us harbor feelings of loss growing up and we vicariously protest against them in our reactions to border separations. In addition, the fundamental innocence of children evokes disavowed feelings of innocence in the rest of us.
Based on his extraordinary autobiography, Born to Run, I offer some reflections on the psychology of Bruce Springsteen. His life long struggle with depression was a result of chronic strains and traumas in his childhood home. He responded to this emotional wasteland with a fierce determination to separate and an unusual ability to focus on […]
I present my work with a woman who was constantly suicidal for a year, frequently phoning me from the equivalent of “the ledge.” I felt overwhelmed with guilt, worry, and responsibility. I eventually was able to understand what was going on and how to help her. She was turning “passive into active” and testing me to see if I would be as traumatized by caring for a suicidal woman as she felt with a suicidal mother. I passed her test by confronting what was going on in a way that helped her identify with the healthier parts of myself.
I review three aspects of Trump’s psychology—First, his need to lie all the time in order to ward off humiliation, Second, his inability to separate his personal and public lives, and third, the ways that his need to denigrate women comes from his fear of them. All three dimensions of his psyche are worsened by the pressure of Impeachment and the resulting threat of failure and humiliation.