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Victim Shaming and Blaming

With all the allegations coming to light about sexual abuse perpetrated by celebrities, including Harvey Weinstein (no relation to the author of this article), Roy Moore, Louie CK and Kevin Spacey, it seems timely to write an article, about supporting survivors, how to avoid victim shaming, even if it took years to speak up, ways to prevent abuse, as well as means to deal with disillusionment when our icons commit such crimes.

First and foremost is the acknowledgment that sexual assault, whether it comes in the form of words or touch, is about power and control. Sex is merely the vehicle of transmission. It dehumanizes. It steals sovereignty. It robs a person of their sense of safety in their own environment and their own skin. There is no ability to consent when someone has power over another, whether it is economic, legal or by virtue of having given birth to the victim.
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Apologies after Sexual Misconduct: Genuine or Phony?

Many men must be shaking in their boots.

How many more accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior will make the front-page news? And when it does, how will the men respond?

If they take their lead from the President of the United States, who was called on the carpet for his sexually degrading remarks during the election season, they will make an apology that is insincere, inadequate and insipid. “I said it; I was wrong; and I apologized” was designed to call off the dogs and get back to the business of attacking Hillary.
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Marriage and Divorce

The Key to Success for Marriage-Minded Singles

Often a woman (or man) who wants marriage can get in her own way without knowing it. Ambivalence about marrying can cause her to stay involved with a man who won’t commit or to reject any man who will. For various reasons, she may become involved with a man or with a series of men who lack qualities essential for her happiness. After such a relationship or after a disappointing marriage, she may become stuck in bitterness and cynicism about being able to have a successful marriage. Lana’s story below shows how this can happen and how she overcame her self-defeating pattern and is now happily married.
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Children and Teens

Behind the Mask: What the ‘Good Daughter’ of the Narcissistic Mother Would Tell You if She Could

As a psychotherapist treating Adult Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers, I see how her daughter, trapped in the role of the "Good daughter," hides her true self behind a mask of faux perfection. In this article, I explain how she becomes disconnected from her essential self to please her mother and lives a life that is not her own. 

You might miss her unless you know what to look for.

Plastering on a beauty queen, camera-ready smile that functions more like a mask than an expression of joy. It's the smile that insists, “I’m fine, perfect in fact. Why would you ask?”

There is no joy, nor ease in that smile. It is more militant than confident. The smile is designed to keep you out rather than invite you in.
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The Power of Preying: Why Men Target Women in the Workplace

The recent firestorm of allegations made by several female actors of unwanted sexual advances and rape seems to have exposed yet another powerful man, Harvey Weinstein, as an apparent sexual predator. Like that of his counterpart Anthony Weiner (and the alleged conduct of Bill Cosby), Weinstein’s alleged predation appears to have been fully calculated. Different than the garden-variety rapist who looks for opportunity in the moment, then lunges in an adrenaline high at his victim, such men in power deliberately orchestrate a scenario forcing their prey to service their deepest, darkest perversions and to remain silent.

These men have ample opportunity to groom the innocent by garnering their trust, seducing them with false promises, and banking that their terror of exposure will keep the victims from exposing the perpetrator. The predator, of course, knows that where he leads, the vulnerable prey must follow because they want or need something from him. When the predator finally strikes, the victim becomes disorientated -- a trusted, admired other has violated her. Sexual acts happen swiftly, sending the victim into a haze of confusion or freezing her ability to move or to determine what’s okay and what’s not in that one moment.
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8 Everyday Thoughts that Limit Your Success and How to Change Them

Why do some of the most intelligent people sabotage their own success? It all goes back to unconscious everyday thoughts, also called cognitive distortions, first identified by psychologist Aaron Beck and Dr. David Burns.

It’s typical to have these irrational thoughts every now and then. Mindset missteps are common among even the brightest, most well-meaning people. We can all relate to that feeling of getting in our own way.  It’s simply part of being human, an evolutionary response designed to keep us safe and protected.
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#MeToo: You Too?

A viral campaign that has been making the rounds on social media comes equipped with a hashtag and an attempt to bring attention to the prevalence of sexual harassment and abuse, both in the workplace and in personal life. It arose because of the not so secret secret of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein (no relation to this author) threatening and assaulting women.

On October 15th, 2017, actress Alyssa Milano tweeted: "If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet." She
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Is He Ready for Marriage? Put Him to the Test

If you’re looking to marry, how do you know if he’s the one? Besides giving due weight to chemistry and other concerns, you can do some “litmus testing” to find out which qualities he has that you can accept and which ones spell trouble.         

Marriage-readiness is necessary. It can’t be forced. When he’s ready, he’s ready and not a moment before. If you’re able to manipulate a not ready man into marrying you, he may resent you for a long time. You don’t want that, do you? So do test for readiness.     

The "Sex and the City" television characters once compared a marriage-ready man to a taxi: At a certain time, he becomes ready to commit. His "available" light goes on and the next woman in his life gets the ring.
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Gender Differences: Some Thoughts on Female Embodiment and Disordered Eating

In September 2016, Psychology Today ran a cover story about narcissism. The accompanying visual was of a young, white, conventionally attractive woman preening into her cellphone. She was wearing a tight little mini skirt and had the body of a fashion model. Leaving aside the tedious misogyny of this image -- with some difficulty, but that’s not what this article is about -- I do want to say something about the host of assumptions about women and their bodies encoded in this image.

What are those assumptions? That stereotypically attractive women (that is, women who are white, young, small, and in clothing that reveals their bodies) are vain and narcissistic; and that such women gleefully use their physicality as a commodity to promote themselves. The image both uses and enforces the idea that female-bodied beauty takes a specific form. It also both uses and enforces the connection between women and their bodies as social capital, and moreover as social capital that women themselves delight in and profit from. The realities of rape culture, of the ways women are objectified and commodified and tacitly understood to be cultural property, and the toll this takes on the personhood of so many women, these realities are actively denied by this image.
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Broadening Your Mind Through Friendship

I have a friend from high school. It’s the classic sentence that starts every character evaluation, diagnosis, and competition. Maybe it’s because high school is frozen in a space outside normal time where friends became more than the person who sat next to you in social studies. Close friendships have an undeniable power that can affect people long after childhood. Especially for women.

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How to Survive in an Unhappy Marriage and Thrive

You’re unhappy in your marriage, but you’ve decided to stay. It’s been a gut-wrenching decision, and you’re beginning to wonder how you can stay and keep your sanity. You alternate between wanting to leave and praying that it will get easier.

This article shows how to make the best of an unhappy marriage. It takes a lot of soul-searching to make this decision. When you’ve been together for several years (or longer) and there are kids, making this choice can weigh heavily on your heart.

Despite being in an unhappy marriage, there are reasons you are willing to stay.
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