One of the most intense feelings that arise in the context of love is jealousy. Jealousy can make us suicidal and urge us to commit murder. Evolutionary psychologists speculate that we are jealous because it was evolutionarily beneficial to our ancestors. Men go nuts if they think that their partner has sex with another man, […]
The Narcissistic Lover
Did you fall in love with a narcissist? Yes? Bad news. Narcissists are incapable of having a healthy loving relationship. The pathological kind of narcissism comes in two forms: The first, which is found primarily in young adulthood, is characterized by a grandiose sense of self, promiscuity and disagreeable behavior. The second form, which is […]
Is Romantic Love an Emotion? A Reply to Helen Fisher
According to Biological Anthropologist Helen Fisher, it is not. It’s just like sex and attachment: A drive. Fisher’s argument for this claim is that romantic love is associated with activation of neurons in the mid brain that secrete dopamine. As the dopamine system is a more primitive system than the emotional brain and the cortical […]
Don’t Necessarily Trust a Man Who Can Cry
Crying improves our well-being. It releases stress hormones from the body and increases the level of the body’s natural pain-killers endorphines. According to William Frey, former Research Director of the St. Paul-Ramsey Dry Eye and Tear Research Center, emotional tears contain: Leucine-enkephalin, a mood-elevating endorphine, ACTH, a hormone that is a reliable indicator of stress […]
When you fall in love, your bodily chemicals go haywire. The exciting, scary, mysterious and unpredictable elements of love stem from hyperstimulation of the limbic brain’s fear center known as “the amygdala”. Hyperactivation of the amygdala gives rise to a physical stress response in your body. Hans Selye, a Canadian endocrinologist, was the first to […]
While your main question is how to kill your libido, you might benefit from addressing issues that make you want to do that: (1) feeling disconnected from people and (2) obsessing about women and compulsively acting on these obsessive thoughts.
One form of self-therapy to consider is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT can be helpful to those with mild cases of depression or anxiety. If you weren’t being facetious about being a “self-diagnosed schizoid” and believe you have a severe mental illness, you should set up an appointment with a clinical psychologist.
You say: “I’m a loner and used to being ignored by people who have no practical use for me…I’ve accepted that and have decided to become a recluse.”
You say only those who want to use you pay attention to you. How do you know that’s true? Unless your social interactions always involve someone trying to overtly, or subtly, manipulate you, you must have interactions in which people don’t try to manipulate you. In those cases, if you think people still have an angle, you might be having a cognitive distortion called ‘mind reading.’
David Burns discusses this concept in his book Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy. A cognitive distortion is an automatic thought process that is not based in reality and may perpetuate negative feelings (e.g. depression, anxiety). ‘Mind reading’ is a kind of cognitive distortion Burns aptly calls ‘jumping to conclusions’. ‘Jumping to conclusions’ refers to assuming a negative conclusion, which is not based on evidence. ‘Mind reading’ refers to assuming people are having negative thoughts about you when there’s no evidence for that.
Burns warns, “This self-defeating behavior pattern may act as a self-fulfilling prophecy and set up a negative interaction in a relationship when none exists in the first place.”
Whether animals can experience romantic love is unknown. But there is some evidence that they are capable of experiencing the same range of emotions as we can. The brains of many mammals are surprisingly similar to the human brain. Take as an example the brain of a cat. A cat’s brain is small compared to ours, occupying only about one percent of their body mass compared to about two percent in an average human. But size doesn’t always matter. Neanderthals, the hominids that went extinct more than twenty thousand years ago, had bigger brains than Homo sapiens, but they probably weren’t smarter than the Homo sapiens that beat them in the survival game. Surface folding and brain structure matter more than brain size. The brains of cats have an amazing surface folding and a structure that is about ninety percent similar to ours. This suggests that they could indeed be capable of experiencing romantic love. But we will probably never know for sure.
There is one thing we do know though: your dog or cat doesn’t regard you merely as a food dispenser. Pets as well as zoo animals form strong attachments to their caregivers. As attachment is a form of love, animals are indeed capable of loving their caregivers.
Dogs have been reported to love their masters so deeply that they mourn their death for many years. Such was the case of Greyfriars Bobby, a Skye terrier in Edinburgh, Scotland. He served as Constable John Gray’s companion, until Gray’s death in 1858. After Gray’s funeral, Bobby was spotted sitting on top of his master’s grave in Greyfriars Kirkyard. The loyal police hound is reported to have spent every night at his master’s grave until his death fourteen years later. Read more »
When it comes to navigating personal relationships, it’s to our advantage to be sensitive to mental health issues. Our mental health as well as the mental health of those we love is crucial to successful interaction. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, aroundone in four adults in the United States is diagnosable for one or more psychological disorders in a given year.
It’s not easy to determine what is a psychological disorder. The DSM-IV explains, “…the concept of mental disorder (like many other concepts in medicine and science) lacks a consistent operational definition that covers all situations.”
Psychologists define a psychological disorder broadly as psychological dysfunction in an individual that is associated with distress or impairment and a reaction that is not culturally expected. When considering if something is a symptom of a disorder, consider the three Ds: Is it psychologically dysfunctional? Is it distressing or handicappingto the individual or others? Is it associated with a response that is atypical or deviant?
Psychological dysfunction refers to the cessation of purposeful functioning of cognition, emotions or behavior. The comedian Maria Bamford has obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which is expressed in cognitive dysfunction. Any disorder may be expressed in a myriad of ways depending on the person. Bamford has obsessive thoughts about hacking people up and having sex with their body parts. She doesn’t want to have these thoughts. They are involuntary, intrusive and not based in reality. These thoughts distress Bamford.
It won’t be long before my book on romantic love comes out. I am handing in the final draft today. In the meantime you might want to check out the breakup cleanse app for iPhone. It’s rather simple in its approach, as we are still experimenting with it. Later updates will have fanciful graphic and more choices. I think one virtue of the app, as it appears right now, is that you receive several pop-ups each day, making the app seem like a bit of a companion.
The Breakup CleanseAppacts as a life coach over a 10-day program. Each morning, afternoon and evening, the app notifies its user’s iPhone and gives a piece of advice, an exercise or a quiz based on studies in neuroscience and psychology. By following the program, users practice detoxing stress chemicals from their bodies and fostering emotional stability. (Symptoms of stress toxicity include achiness, stiffness, lower back pain, shoulder pain, loss of appetite, social withdrawal and uncontrollable crying.) By learning to promote pleasure chemicals of the parasympathetic nervous system, users may offset stress chemicals of the sympathetic nervous system that flood the body after traumas.
Find out more about the app on its support page, bucapp.lovesicklove.com. Also, all purchases include any future updates to the app. We hope to continue to improve the app and appreciate any comments, questions or suggestions from users. Email us at email@example.com.
Previously we explained how ignorance of our own personalities can impede our personal growth and relationships. Blind spots to self-knowledge, or what I’m calling ‘self-blindness,’ is so common it seems basic to the human condition. How can we overcome it? First, we can indicate barriers to self-knowledge, and second, practicing mindfulness may help us gain self-knowledge.
Those familiar with Buddhism might be confused with the idea of getting ‘self-knowledge’ through ‘mindfulness.’ There are Eastern traditions that consider mindfulness part of the path to realizing there is no permanent, individual self to know. However, for the sake of this discussion, let’s assume we have personalities capable of knowing. Let’s assume you and I each have tendencies of mental states and behaviors that don’t change drastically day-to-day without a distinct cause.
According to self-perception theory, people come to know themselves by observing their states and behaviors during given situations over extended periods of time. For instance, remembering my prior reactions to being near steep drops, I can guess that if I’m standing near a gorge or on a precarious bridge, I’ll feel uneasy. I also know if I’ve had two beers, I’m likely to speak louder than if I were completely sober. Self-blindness occurs when there is insufficient information of the personality or when the information available is incorrectly understood. Psychologist Simine Vazire’s work (2010) offers two barriers to self-knowledge Read more »
You’re lunching in the office lounge, and your coworker Daphne is bogarting the conversation. Whenever someone introduces a topic, she interjects a long anecdote about herself. Phil brings up a movie. Daphne cuts in, talking about a time she saw someone who looks like Tom Hanks at IHOP. Molly mentions her son’s graduation. Daphne follows with fifteen minutes about her daughter’s lawyer boyfriend. Daphne is being annoying. You see this. So does everyone else. But Daphne is oblivious.
Daphne may even think she’s evoking admiration with her conversational skills. She doesn’t know she’s alienating others. Her cluelessness results from blind spots to self-knowledge. While ‘self-knowledge’ has various connotations, I will refer to it here in terms of knowledge of one’s personality. Daphne’s habit of interacting with others is one thing that constitutes her personality. She doesn’t recognize her negative effect on the group’s conversation, so she experiences a blind spot toself-knowledge. This self-blindness puts her in discord with her coworkers.
As we see in Daphne’s case, a deficit in self-knowledge can lead to a deficit in social harmony. Self-knowledge of personality refers to knowledge of one’s own tendencies of behavior or ways of being. While some people experience it more than others, we all suffer blind spots to self-knowledge to varying degrees and in various areas. The possible impact of self-blindness entreats each of us to “know thyself” better*. If we consider what causes self-blindness, we may better understand ways to counteract this chronic condition of humans everywhere. Read more »
Earlier this May, Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus escaped from a partially boarded-up home in Cleveland, Ohio. The nation suspects 52-year-old Ariel Castro individually kidnapped the women over a decade ago, imprisoning them in his home and psychologically and physically torturing them until their escape.
Cuyahoga County assistant prosecutor Brian Murphy said that Castro made “premeditated, deliberate and depraved decisions to snatch three young ladies … to be used in whatever self-gratifying, self-serving way he saw fit”. (CNN staff 2013)
Let us assume that Castro committed these crimes. Just reading about it in the news emotionally pains us. For years Castro heartlessly ignored three people’s visible suffering, using them as props for his private horror film. How could anyone possibly behave this way? Castro’s actions demonstrate an extreme inability to empathize with others, or what Simon Baron-Cohen calls empathy erosion.
Empathy erosion occurs when people fail to attend to the humanity—the feelings, interests, kinship, etc—of others. Either they don’t cognitively understand others’ feelings or they aren’t emotionally affected by others’ feelings. We all vary on the empathy spectrum at any given time, but some people persistently express poor or absent capacities to empathize. In your romantic relationships, you may want to avoid people who lack empathy. If your partner doesn’t empathize with you or other people, trying to be in a relationship with him is a losing battle. Read more »