Can Your Body Express Multiple Emotions Simultaneously?

All feelings–vs. thoughts–have a certain physiology to them. You cannot experience an emotion without at the same time experiencing a corresponding bodily sensation (or sensations). And each of your emotions resides in a particular place(s) in your body–their “native home,” as it were. Unless you feel an emotion so intense and overpowering that it’s all over your body

Can You Feel Two Emotions at Once?

Have you ever felt happy and sad at the same time? Or experienced an emotion as bittersweet? Or had feelings so mixed that you were compelled to vacillate between two courses of action—or reaction? If you can relate to any of these possibilities, this piece should help you better understand those times when you're feeling uncertain, confused, or ambivalent.

Contemplating Infinity: 6 Sets of Illuminating Quotes

The physical—and metaphysical—topic of infinity can be reflected upon in various ways. Yet, in examining a multitude of quotes on this most fascinating subject, I discovered a delimited number of themes. And regardless of how divergent some of the quotes below might seem, my main criterion for including them was that they be intellectually or emotionally stimulating,

Inside Every Introvert Extrovert

Many people would view my title as oxymoronic—as in, “Introverts can be charismatic?! Really?” But that’s only because in our predominantly extroverted culture, there seems to...

The Rarely Recognized Upside of Anger

I’ve published so much on anger’s toxicity that it may seem odd that I feel the need to write something far more positive about it. But there’s one aspect of anger that invaluable.

Every Couple's Key to Peace

In employing the term “understanding” here, I’m not referring to some impersonal, objective comprehension of your partner's viewpoint. Rather, it's used to. . .

The Vampire’s Bite: Victims of Narcissists Speak Out

Because narcissists don’t think or feel like we do, it’s really not possible to establish a mutual relationship with them. And because we can hardly help but expect them to respond in ways similar to our own, their dissimilar reactions can confuse and surprise us--at times, deeply upset us as well. . . .

9 Enlightening Quotes on Narcissists—and Why

Whether as a character trait or a full-fledged personality disorder, the nature of narcissism just teems with irony and paradox. Take, for example, this ambiguous quote that, without explanation, may well seem baffling: “I thought narcissism was about self-love till someone told me there is a flip side to it. . . . It is unrequited self-love.”

The Do’s and Don’ts of Emotional Ventilation

This post complements my earlier piece, “The 12 Virtues, and Vices, of Venting.” In that post I suggested it might not be very prudent to air out your frustrations directly to the person who caused them. Here I’ll elaborate on this notion while suggesting—if such ventilation is necessary and potentially beneficial—just how to most effectively confront your "provocateur."

6 Virtues, and 6 Vices, of Venting

Any scrupulous appraisal of airing out your frustrations with others must conclude that its value—practically as well as ethically—is somewhat ambiguous. Undeniably, emotional ventilation has many positive features. But just as indisputably, such venting has its negative aspects as well.

Unconditional Love is Possible—But Only From Yourself

I’ve long contended that to have a conflict-free relationship, what’s necessary is to create a clone of yourself (though if you’re “straight,” one that’s gender-opposite). And then, of course, marry that clone. But, at least for the foreseeable future, such technology isn’t yet available...

The Downside of Compassion

In deciding how to act, you have every right to give top priority to your own welfare. But if you're a caring, considerate person and your rightful behavior causes another pain...

Between Therapist and Client: The Great Divide

For clients, perhaps the single, most valuable function of therapy is the unprecedented freedom of expression it allows them. Assuming that the therapist is competent, clients have full license to share themselves without fear of criticism or negative judgment. In stark contrast, therapists themselves are governed by an enormous number of constraints.

How Fair Is Your Marriage?

What—or who—determines whether or not a marriage is fair? The simple, though perhaps surprising, answer is that finally it’s what any particular couple agrees on is fair. But much of the time partners’ subjective assessment of relational fairness is that it’s not really that equitable at all...

What If Your Ambivalence Can’t Be Resolved?

There’s a common belief that with the right mind set virtually all conflicts are resolvable. But many times making such an assumption is simply unrealistic: a fiction, a fantasy...

Don’t Confuse Revenge With Justice: Five Key Differences

The terms revenge and justice often get muddled. And that’s hardly surprising, for in the course of history they’ve frequently been used interchangeably. As meanings alter and evolve over time, the connotations of these two words have increasingly diverged.

Five Biggest Problems With Revenge and Its Best Remedies

This post will lay out the reasons that—both ethically and pragmatically—your viewpoint on revenge should be decidedly negative. I’ll back up my own unfavorable perspective on this all-too-frequent phenomenon by including a large variety of quotes that, to me, represent the wisest, most incisive thinking on the subject.

What If You Hate What You’re Good At?

It may seem counter-intuitive that you could be highly skilled at something, yet actually loathe it. Most of the time if you really dislike some subject, process, or activity, it’s because you’re not particularly adept at it. But it’s hardly uncommon to detest (or come to detest) what you excel at…

Praise as Manipulation: 6 Reasons to Question Compliments

As long as another’s praise doesn’t sound patently insincere, you’ll probably welcome it. Being recognized for what you do—or who you are—feels good. But praise has its dark . . .

The Anger Thermostat: What's the Temperature of Your Upset?

Sometimes just thinking about your anger can help you to regulate it and keep it from escalating. Additionally, assessing the intensity of your negative emotional arousal can . . .

The Intriguing Upside of Manipulation

In an earlier post for PT I considered the legitimacy of using manipulative tactics if they were executed for another’s welfare. Just recently, I felt obliged to take note of an elaborate response to this piece. For of all the many comments I’d received on my more than 200 posts, I saw this one as perhaps the most originative--not to say, the most cunning and pragmatic.

The Real Reason Why Couples Use Baby Talk

It's been said that “the very essence of romance is uncertainty.” Assuming that this curious perspective is on target, what might be some of the most effective ways that lovers reduce their doubts—even though, ironically, such doubts might be intrinsic to their romance? What might help enamored partners assure themselves they were every bit as loved as they were loving?

Can Your Therapist Be Your Friend?

Though so-called “dual relationships” are typically frowned upon by the mental health community, most therapy clients require a close, trusted friend almost as much as they do a therapist. So how can such a professional—ethically and practically—function simultaneously in both roles?

What Should You Do When Your Judgment Is Impaired?

There’s a supreme irony here. If your judgment is temporarily impaired, then—now afflicted with such a deficit—how could you possibly know it was impaired? And realistically, how could you even be expected to act prudently in a state where cautiousness or circumspection may totally elude you?

6 Signs of Narcissism You May Not Know About

Pathological narcissists project onto others traits and behaviors they can’t, or won’t, accept in themselves. Because they’re compelled to conceal deficits or weaknesses in their self-image, they habitually redirect any unfavorable appraisal of themselves outwards—unconsciously trusting that doing so will forever keep at bay their deepest self-doubts.

Is There Something Unethical About Beauty?

The people we identify as truly beautiful represent such a small minority, such a marked deviation from the mean, that we might legitimately view them as “aberrations.” So just why are matters of physical attractiveness so important? Simply because beautiful people—purely through happenstance—have all sorts of built-in advantages that most of us can never lay claim to.

How Do You Know What's Good Enough?

How can you tell whether what you’ve done is good enough? Or what would make it good enough for you? Personal standards come into play here. But where do these standards originate?

The Three Surprising Types of Spontaneous Orgasms

It’s fascinating that spontaneous orgasms—meaning sexual climaxes occurring independent of any physical stimulation—“embody” three distinct forms. It’s also intriguing that such episodes are not necessarily experienced as pleasurable. As strange as it may seem, in sufficient quantity and intensity they’ve even led people to suicide.

Giving to Get vs. Griping to Get

It’s really baffling how many of us act as though we believe that deprecating our partner will help us get what we want from them. Why? Because venting frustration this way will...

The Paradox of Seduction

Seduction, and the so-called “Art of Seduction,” is laden with ambiguities and apparent contradictions. So much so that it might almost be viewed as a paradoxical phenomenon. Similar to rape, it’s undeniably manipulative. But, contrasting with rape, it implies a certain curious mutuality—connoting at least some degree of consent.