Personality Library


F E A T U R E D    A R T I C L E

Alien Landscapes? Interpreting Disordered Minds

November 6th, 2014
In the latter half of the nineteenth century, psychiatrists were called alienists. That archaic term is given a nod in the title of philosopher Jonathan Glover’s new book as he describes the often foreign-seeming terrain of a disordered mind and the ways that we have historically analyzed it. A professor of ethics at the School of ...

How to Change Your Attachment Style

How to Change Your Attachment StyleWe’re wired for attachment -- that's why babies cry when separated from their mothers. Depending especially upon our mother’s behavior, as well as later experiences and other factors, we develop a style of attaching that affects our behavior in close relationships. Fortunately, ...

Book Review: Living Independently on the Autism Spectrum

BOOK REVIEW.
Lynne Soraya grew up in a world that did not always make sense. She did learn to make her way through, but it was difficult. As an adult, she was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome — then life began to make much more sense. Soraya’s book, Living Independently on the Autism Spectrum: What You Need to Know to ...

High Maintenance or Histrionic Personality Disorder?

Boundaries and Getting Your Needs MetA man walks into your house wearing a heavy gold chain around his neck and a Rolex watch. He tells you he is the mayor's closest friend. He has come to your house to introduce himself because he

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Book Review: Lifting the Veil

BOOK REVIEW.
When I began reading Lifting the Veil, it seemed clear that the main theme was dissociative identity disorder — previously and popularly known as multiple personality disorder. The book appears to be a first-hand account of one therapist’s experience in treating a complicated patient. It is an interesting disorder to treat and to write about as ...

Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect

BOOK REVIEW.
Sometimes one has the pleasure of reading a book that provides genuine insight and discusses a concept previously unnamed. Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect, by clinical psychologist Jonice Webb and contributor Christine Musello, was one such book for me.  It is no secret that I consider many self-help books questionable, or, at best, critically lacking ...

The Neuroscience of Human Relationships: Attachment & the Developing Social Brain

BOOK REVIEW.
I had barely started this book and was already recommending it to friends and colleagues. Early in the second edition of The Neuroscience of Human Relationships, psychology professor and private practitioner Louis Cozolino challenges traditional Western philosophy of the lone and separate individual. As Cozolino writes, “Individual neurons or single human brains do not exist in ...

The Sociopath at the Breakfast Table

BOOK REVIEW.
Consider the following scenarios and see if any of them sounds familiar. Fifteen-year-old James was an intelligent only child from a wealthy family. He often became bored and listless, he skipped school by faking illness, and he was adept at manipulating his parents. He targeted certain classmates and engaged in emotional abuse, smear campaigns, and other ...

Frustration with Video Games Leads to Aggressive Behavior

Frustration with Video Games Leads to Aggressive Behavior The debate about whether the violence in video games perpetrates violence in real life is an ongoing one. Many parents, wanting to ensure the best for their children, remain uncertain about whether to allow their children to play ...

Survival of the Nicest: How Altruism Made Us Human & Why It Pays to Get Along

BOOK REVIEW.
“Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of ...

What Makes a Hero? The Surprising Science of Selflessness

BOOK REVIEW.
Are heroes born, like Superman, or are they made, like Spiderman? Elizabeth Svoboda investigates this question in What Makes a Hero? The Surprising Science of Selflessness. Is altruism nothing more than genetics, or can a person compile a heroic identity “like a puzzle, piece by piece, over time?” Svoboda tackles this with the craft of a journalist such ...

The Birth of Intersubjectivity: Psychodynamics, Neurobiology & the Self

BOOK REVIEW.
“The moment a child is born, a mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” ~ Rajneesh, spiritual guru To be human is to engage in relationships with other humans, and, by these interactions, to be transformed. In The Birth of Intersubjectivity: Psychodynamics, Neurobiology, and ...

Six Ways to Help Your Perfectionist Child Find Balance

Six Ways to Help your Perfectionist Child Find BalanceFour-year-old Max would crumple his paper when his drawing wasn’t perfect. He would start over, and often grow angry and eventually give up. His parents noticed his rigidity, but hoped he would grow out of it. When he ...

Child Temperament: New Thinking About the Boundary Between Traits & Illness

BOOK REVIEW.
Are you the firstborn child of your family? Did you turn out to be the most responsible, the parent-pleaser, or the motivated one? According to Alfred Adler and researchers of personality and temperament, firstborns tend to “outperform” their other siblings. In fact, about 21 of the 23 astronauts and the majority of U.S. presidents have ...

How to Manage a Critical Mom

How to Manage a Critical MomCasey’s mother is coming to visit next weekend. She doesn’t feel she can say no. After all, her mom and dad often have been very helpful. They paid for the two kids’ camps last summer. They are generous at birthdays. But ...

How Do You Grab a Naked Lady?

BOOK REVIEW.
Before they fell out of vogue, roughly 40,000 lobotomies took place in the United States. “Took place” being a rather passive, arm’s-length way of saying that, on 40,000 separate occasions, a person with an advanced medical degree decided to slice another person’s brain. Often, against their will, and sometimes, with an ice pick through the ...

Power, Control & Codependency

Power, Control & CodependencyPower exists in all relationships. Having power means to have a sense of control, to have choices and the ability to influence our environment and others. It’s a natural and healthy instinct to exert our power to get our wants and needs met. ...

Our Superheroes, Ourselves

BOOK REVIEW.
What does Lex Luthor have to do with gossip? According to two of the psychologists in Our Superheroes, Ourselves, our penchant to dish about people and our delight in hating supervillains are very much connected. Both exercise an instinct to identify so-called good from bad, moral from immoral. And both bring us pleasure. Pleasure is, in ...

The Human Spark: The Science of Human Development

BOOK REVIEW.
Few writers have made me feel this lucky for being a book reviewer, but Jerome Kagan has done it with The Human Spark. In his survey of human development that includes conception and first years, mental health, morality, and the effects of birth order, Kagan clearly, concisely, and empathically identifies specific actions and reactions in every ...

Helping Your Anxious Child Become More Assertive

Helping Your Anxious Child Become More AssertiveThe other day, I heard a grandfather talk about a phone call he received from his daughter. She told him how his elementary school-aged grandson had been teased and bullied at his local church when he wore glasses for the ...

Affirm Your True, Authentic Self

Affirm Your True, Authentic SelfEvery time you affirm your true, authentic self, every cell in your body cheers “Yes!” Every time you negate yourself or allow others to do so, it has negative biological consequences. Affirming your true self means taking action to meet your needs; ...

The Secret of What Makes a Winner

The Secret of What Makes a Winner“Quitters never win and winners never quit.” That was a playground cheer when I was growing up. It turns out there was something to it. Let’s first define “winning.” For my purposes here, winning means meeting a long-sought-after goal. It means ...

Low Self-Esteem is Learned

Low Self-Esteem is LearnedLow self-esteem is learned -- learned, inaccurate information that you’re in some way not enough, that you don’t matter, that your feelings are wrong, or that you don’t deserve respect. These are false beliefs that many people grow up with. They may not ...