Loneliness is a complex problem of epidemic proportions, affecting millions from all walks of life.
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Cleaning up emotional pollution
Steven Stosny, Ph.D.
Your only chance of getting the partner you most want to have is to be the partner you most want to be. The hard part is figuring out the kind of partner you want you want to be.
As with politicians, most of the arguments of contemporary couples can be reduced to the favorite two words of the toddler – one of them says, “Mine!” and the other says, “No!”
Contempt is the ultimate in self-fulfilling prophesy. That’s because contemptuous attributions eliminate all chance of improvement.
Most of the time, toddlers can get away with blame, denial, and avoidance, because they’re so darn cute. When adults do it, we’re not so cute.
Just about all lovers go through a stage of high emotional reactivity that threatens to destroy their relationship.
All alarm systems, negative feelings included, are calibrated to give false positives.
The painful disconnection that modern intimate partners constantly confront rises from attempts to get their partners to “meet my needs when both are in their Toddler brains.
One of the biggest mistakes we make in love relationships is assuming that our partners' experience is the same as ours.
The toddler brain facilitates emotional bonding through its principal way of discerning other people: projection.
Why do so many smart and creative people make the same mistakes over and over?
The story of a cold and cynical heart turned compassionate and kind is a blessing of literature, an inspiration of hope, and a curse on realistic expectations of change.
Basic humanity is like a muscle, it gets stronger with exercise.
We justify resentment by citing evidence of unfairness and how badly other people behave. The more adrenaline we need for justification, the more subject to confirmation bias.
We teach children self-regulation by modeling our more humane values.
Your chances of consistently managing anger, anxiety, resentment, and stress, without becoming a better person, are practically zero.
What people tend to regret the most near the end of life is that they have not been more compassionate, loving, or supportive to those they love.
As a life-saving alarm system, pain keeps us focused on distress, for the purpose of relieving it, that is, pain motivates behavior that will help heal, repair, or improve.
Anxious times seem to bring out the worst in people. It makes us intolerant of disagreement, divides us into factions, and leads us to demonize those who seem different.
If you’ve been nervous or anxious since the election, you’re not alone.
A few of the elements that make emotions so complicated are habituation, inhibition, constriction, and disinhibition/excitement.
Continual alerts from news sources, blogs, social media, and alternative facts feel like missile explosions in a siege without end.
While we are quite sensitive to negative emotional displays of those with whom we interact, we’re hardly sensitive at all to our own.
Our emotions are automatic responses to the emotional states of others.
Emotion, personal history, culture, religion, and historical moment heavily influence the brain’s construction of meaning, and these, of course, are often in conflict.
Certain attributes of emotions dynamically influence how we experience them and the meaning we give to them.
Some writers conflate the motivation of emotions, which is largely outside awareness, with conscious goals and intentions.
The aspect of emotional reactivity that makes it difficult to see is its illusion of free will. We think that we're acting of our own volition, when we’re merely reacting.
Committing to a relationship requires establishing a secure base and resolving any problems that threaten its security, safety, and well-being.
The fight to hold onto a sense of humanity inner voices of conflict, powered by covert guilt and shame. In most of us, these voices are faint. In some they bellow.
Fear of passionate surrender is rooted in an underdeveloped sense of self. Passionate surrender is a joyous function of a fully realized adult brain.
Steven Stosny, Ph.D., treats people for anger and relationship problems. His recent books include How to Improve your Marriage without Talking about It and Love Without Hurt.