Sunday, October 17, 2010

Blog Migration

This blog has moved to There is also a Facebook page now for the blog and the forthcoming book. If you came to this site looking for the Breakup Cleanse blog, click here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Why is the Unattainable So Hot?

We desire things we can't get, including unattainable romantic partners. Why is the unattainable so hot? Here is the standard answer: The unattainable is in some sense rare. Rare things are valuable. As we value what we know is valuable, we want that man or woman we can't get.

All this may be true. But I think there is more to it. A number of factors play a role in making us so obsessed with getting what we can't get. Here are the top three.

Potential Affirmation
If only you could get the guy or girl that you and no one else can get, you would be very special.

The Unattainable Leaves Room for Idealization
What stays at a distance is easier to see in a positive light. You are not exposed to the real person with all of his or her flaws.

The Unattainable is Mysterious
We crave what is mysterious. It arouses us and fascinates us. In that respect, the mysterious is similar to horror. Think of Halloween's Michael Myers appearing in the doorway of Linda van der Klok's bedroom. Lynda is filing her nails, patiently waiting for her lover to return with beer. Myers is covered by a white sheet and is wearing Lynda's dead lover's glasses. Or think of the final shot in the Blair Witch Project where Mike is standing in the corner, facing the wall. Even though these scenes are terrifying, we like the feelings they generate in us.

What is it about horror that is so fascinating? I think it's the fact that we cannot interpret the horror movie antagonists in normal ways. Standard theories of mind don't apply. Horror movie antagonists are generally uncommunicative. They don't say a whole lot, and they often have no facial expressions (e.g., they wear masks). We see them only briefly. They prevent us from assessing their intentions and emotions. We cannot interpret their facial expressions. We don't know what they are going to do next. They are unpredictable and unreliable. It's the fact that we can't place them in our ordinary schemes for interpreting people that inspires anxiety and fear. They puzzle us and allow our brains to dwell on them in order to try to understand them. That is what fuels our attraction.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The 28-Day Break-Up Cleanse, Part VI

Week 4: Fill your calendar with fun

Still no word from him? It’s time to move on then. Fill your calendar with fun activities. By "fun activities" I mean activities that are bound to make you laugh (or at least smile), things that would have been fun if your ex hadn't just broken up with you. You may not feel that this is something you can do. But you really need to do it.

Laughter is the best way to survive a breakup. Norman Cousins, a layperson with no prior medical training, was the first to suggest that humor can improve physical health through its miraculous effects on the brain. When diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a chronic inflammatory disease that can cause the joints in the spine to fuse, Cousins invented a healing system that combined massive amounts of vitamin C and humor. He recovered from near-paralysis and wrote the book "Anatomy of an Illness." He later used the same method to recover from a heart attack. Cousins' work has appeared in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Lee Berk, an immunologist at Loma Linda University's School of Allied Health and Medicine, has studied the effects of mirthful laughter on the regulation of hormones since the 1980s. Berk and his colleagues found that laughter helps the brain regulate the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. They also discovered a link between laughter and the production of anti-bodies and endorphins, the body's natural pain killers. Even the expectation that something funny is coming suffices to bring about positive effects.

Humor also helps the brain regulate the brain's dopamine levels, reports a Stanford research team in the December 4, 2003, issue of the journal Neuron. The Stanford team examined the brains of 16 study participants looking at cartoons that had been previously rated as funny or non-funny. They found that the funny cartoons activated a cluster of areas in the brain's limbic system that are crucially involved in the regulation of dopamine. The findings indicate that humor can have positive effects not only on mood, but also on motivation and feelings of reward.

To get the fun going, call friends you have ignored for weeks and arrange to meet them in the near future. If you don't have all that many friends, it's time to make new ones. Get a new hobby or two. Sign up for boxing lessons or rock climbing. Learn how to paint or join a single people's network.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The 28-Day Break-Up Cleanse, Part V

Week 3: Now what?

In week 3 it’s time to realize that if you haven’t heard from your ex at this point, you probably won’t hear from him in the near future. Don’t contact him at any point, unless he contacts you first. Have some self-respect.

Then get rid of physical reminders of your him use the trashcan, not the window). If you can't get yourself to throw them out, keep them in a box that is not easy to get to. Delete his phone number from your phone directory and delete his email and other easy ways of contacting him. Do not unfriend him on Facebook. Don't be silly. Nowadays people who have barely met are friends on Facebook. You can stay friends with him. But resist the temptation to check out his Facebook page or his other social media sites every two hours. You are done with that.

The rest of this week, use mental simulation to prepare yourself for situations in which in which your ex pops back into your life in unexpected and unpleasant ways, such as if you were to bump into him with a new girlfriend under his arm or if you were to see him hitting on another girl at a party. Find ways that you can stay sane even in these unpleasant circumstances. You also need to prepare yourself for down days, days where you suddenly miss him more than you ever did and might be tempted to contact him.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The 28-Day Break-Up Cleanse, Part IV

Week 2: What If

You made it to week 2. Congratulations! At this point, it's time to review the earlier posts on mental simulation and use this technique to prepare yourself for a potential call from your ex. It may not be over yet!

The less you have contacted him since he broke up with you, the more likely it is that he will contact you. The more feelings he had for you at any point during your relationship, the more likely it is that he will contact you or want to get back together.

If you have already pleaded with him to come back, contacted him multiple times and thrown serious temper-tantrums since the break-up, you may never hear from him again. And if he was never very much into you, you may never hear from him again.

But if your ex really liked you before the breakup, the breakup occurred recently, and you responded calmly to his decision and haven't contacted him since, then the likelihood that he will contact you is huge.

People don’t fall out of love suddenly. He is still into you. But it may not last long, depending on how you behave. If you contact him, make scenes and plead with him to take you back, then you are reinforcing his decision. You are basically giving him confidence that he has made the right decision.

By not contacting him, you are forcing him to face his decision. By not contacting him, you also maintaining some form of control and some dignity. He will be somewhat puzzled by your behavior. The standard behavior, after all, is to contact the one who broke your heart. That’s how people work.

What to do if he does contact you? Don't sound unnaturally upbeat. That is going to come across as fake. Don’t bring up the relationship at all. He ended it. He can bring it up. Convey that you have accepted his decision. Don't mention it. Act that way instead.

Prepare a few lines you can deliver confidently if he does contact you. Have something to say. It could be something interesting you have read, a fun story about your family or friends. It doesn’t matter, as long as it is fun and unrelated to your past relationship. If he asks you how you are doing, then you are doing fine. Feel free to ask him how he is doing. But, I repeat, do not bring up the relationship.

If he does bring up the relationship, don't get sucked into talking about it. Do respond in a friendly way. If he says "too bad it didn’t work out," agree with him. Then move onto a different topic. If he asks if you want to get together, don't sound too excited. Sound the way you would if a friend had called and asked you. You can agree to meet him for coffee, lunch, dinner, a movie, or whatever, if he suggests it. But don't suggest anything along those lines. And if you do get together with him, whatever you do, do not have sex with him. That is not going to get him back.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The 28-Day Break-Up Cleanse, Part III

Week 1: Habituation

A simple way to become less focused on your loved one is to wear down your brain. This method is also known as "habituation." It's a well known mechanism to avoid obsessions and has been used in cognitive-behavioral therapy for decades.

For habituation to work you must do something that seems quite counterintuitive at first. You must expose yourself to the things that make you feel bad. Over time this will desensitize you.

How to apply habituation to breakups? If you are going through a difficult breakup, thoughts of your ex now put your body into a state of fear or anger. This is because you implicitly associate thoughts of your ex with something negative, for example, the fact that he is no longer in your life, the loss of future experiences with him or the simple fact that he turned you down. Thoughts of your ex automatically trigger hyper-activity in your emotional brain.

To desensitize you can't simply stop thinking about your him. That could worsen the situation. Instead you need to break the associations by overexposing your brain to the fear-triggering stimulus.

Allow your brain to dwell on your ex and the things you did together. Put on some music that reminds you of your loved one. Think about the good times you had together, or the bad. Cry if necessary. The only thing that is off limits is making explicit contact with your ex.

Though it may not feel that way, extreme exposure to thoughts of your ex will likely tire your brain neurons. They may fire wildly at the beginning. It's going to feel awful. But your bran activity will slowly become less intense.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The 28-Day Break-Up Cleanse, Part II

How do you treat anxiety and depression associated with a breakup? The radical way would be to get a prescription from your doctor. The newest (affordable) drugs to treat anxiety and depression, also known as "selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors," raise the levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin in the brain.

According to Rockefeller neuroscientist Jennifer Warner-Schmidt, not only is this class of drugs effective in the treatment of anxiety and depression, it can also reverse the detrimental effects of depression on the brain. Warner-Schmidt and Ronald Duman of Yale University found that the serotonin reuptake inhibitors increased the production of vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF, in the hippocampus of rodents. The increased VEGF levels led to the birth of new neurons. Conversely, blocking expression of this growth factor led to an atrophy of cells in the hippocampus. So, it seems that serotonin reuptake inhibitors can help keep your brain healthy.

But wouldn’t it be nice if you could achieve similar effects without taking medication? The serotonin diet, if followed strictly, can do just that. It raises your serotonin levels without medication. Here are some foods and drinks to load up on to raise your serotonin levels.

1. Buckwheat
2. Whey protein
3. Flaxseed oil
4. Bananas
5. Sour cherries and cranberries
6. Fish and Sea food
7. Turkey
8. Eggs
9. Dark chocolate
10. Nettle tea

Buckwheat is high in tryptophan. Tryptophan is essential to the synthesis of serotonin in the brain. Your brain cannot make serotonin without the protein building block, or amino acid, tryptophan.

Whey Protein
Whey protein can greatly enhance your health. Whey regulates blood sugar levels and appetite and helps to increase the brain’s levels of serotonin.

Flaxseed Oil
Flaxseeds are great for weight loss and they contain high levels of tryptophan, which is an essential component of serotonin. Adding three to four tablespoons of flaxseeds or two tablespoons of flax seed oil each day can help to alter your mood.

Bananas are another kind of food that contains high amounts of tryptophan. Eat plenty of them as an afternoon snack, as a desert, in whey protein smoothies and in exotic Hawaiian or Thai dishes. Another serotonin-inducing fruits and vegetables include pineapple, avocado, spinach, asparagus and eggplant.

Sour cherries and cranberries
Sour cherries and cranberries contain plenty of melatonin. Melatonin doesn’t have a direct effect on serotonin but it can help you sleep properly, something that may be difficult if you have just experienced a hard breakup.

Fish and Seafood
The good fats in salmon, tuna and sardines can decrease the symptoms of depression and regulate mania. Fish is also rich in tryptophan, which helps the brain synthesize serotonin. You can also take fish oils as supplements.

Turkey is a high-protein food. Almost all high protein foods are high in tryptophan but turkey is particularly good as source of tryptophan. Did you ever notice how sleepy people get after thanksgiving dinner? One reason is that turkey raises serotonin levels, which makes your body relax.

Like salmon eggs are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, which helps stabilize brain activity. You may have to watch your intake of eggs if you have high cholesterol. However, there is no direct correlation between high cholesterol foods and high blood pressure. While egg yolks contain high concentrations of cholesterol, they also contain chemicals that lower blood pressure, reports a Canadian research team in the January 2009 issue of "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry." In a series of laboratory studies, the team found chemicals in fried and boiled eggs that, in principle, can turn into peptides with blood pressure-lowering activity in the stomach and small intestine. The findings are still to be tested directly on humans.

Dark Chocolate
Cocoa increases serotonin levels in the brain. Dark chocolate contains higher amounts of cocoa than milk chocolate. Cocoa also seems to lower bad cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

Nettle Tea
Nettle tea is thought to have numerous healing powers, including an ability to fight coughs, remove the symptoms of arthritis, heal urinary tract infections, prevent allergies and improve moods. It comes from the top leaves of stinging nettles. You may have to get used to the somewhat grassy taste. You can also eat nettles after cooking them. They are taste a bit like spinach. When stinging nettles are cooked or dried, the stinging chemicals histamine and formic acids evaporate.

Besides these foods you might want to consider adding the over-the-counter dietary supplement 5-Hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP, to your diet. In many countries 5-HTP is sold under the trade names Cincofarm, Levothym, Levotonine, Oxyfan, Telesol, Tript-OH, and Triptum. Unlike serotonin itself, the supplement crosses the brain-blood barrier and is transformed into serotonin in the liver and brain.

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The 28-Day Break-Up Cleanse, Part I

What you feared most just happened. Your heart was cut out of your chest with a butter knife and squeezed through a meat grinder.

Here you are. Alone. Empty. Yet full of love that has no aim.

Yes, he really did it. He unexpectedly broke up with you. You should have seen it coming. But you didn't. Now you want the pain to end.

I have some good news and some bad news for you. Here's the bad news: Nothing can completely stop the pain. But, and this is the good news, you can learn to live with the pain. You can make the pain less painful.


The remedy is called the 28-day break-up cleanse.

Why 28 days?

During any 28 day period (on average) the young female body goes through various hormonal changes. The sex hormones estrogen and progesterone change radically. Estrogen levels peak around day 14, and this triggers the release of an egg. Progesterone levels peak the last 14 days of the cycle, and this triggers the preparation of the uterus for implantation.

But the 28-day cycle is not all about reproduction. Your immune system, mental health and mood depend on where you are in the cycle. At times when progesterone and estrogen levels are high, women recover more quickly from strokes and traumatic brain injury. The high levels of progesterone during pregnancy may completely protect against extensive neurological damage. One reason for this is that the sex hormones offer protection against certain kinds of inflammation that can occur as a result of neurological damage.

The sex hormones also affect states of arousal. During ovulation women in general are more attuned to male pheromones (sweat, for example), and they are more easily sexually aroused than they are during the other phases. Before menstruation, mood changes are likely to occur, and the immune system offers less protection against foreign intruders.

So, why 28 days? Because if you want to get through your post-breakup blues as painlessly as possible, you must let your body go through a full cycle of mood changes, hormonal changes and changes in sexual arousal.

What’s the aim of the cleanse?

The aim of the cleanse is to train your brain to think of yourself as single and detach yourself from your former lover. You will learn to detach yourself from the man who broke up with you. You will also maximize the chances of him changing his mind but with you being the person in control.

To Be Continued ...

Love Chemicals

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 apply the word "stress" to physical and emotional strain. Before that, "stress" was just an engineering term. Selye, who did the bulk of his research in the 1930s, discovered that the stress hormone cortisol has detrimental health effects in rats. Together with other adrenal gland hormones such as adrenaline and noradrenaline, cortisol prepares the body for a "fight or flight" response.

Stress hormones are secreted in situations of perceived danger. They can be present, even when the danger isn't real. For example, they are present in generous amounts in people with fear of public speaking. They are the little bastards that make your heart break dance, your skeleton turn to gelatin and your new Mickey Mouse voice implant make little noises the first time you stand in front of a 100-person audience.

Falling in love then goes like this. Unpredictability, mystery and sexual attraction make the amygdala go into hyperactivation. This signals to the adrenal glands that something exciting, scary, mysterious and unpredictable is going on. This, in turn, results in the adrenal glands pumping a surge of adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream. Via the bloodstream, adrenaline increases heart and breathing rates, noradrenaline produces body heat, making you sweat, and cortisol provides extra energy fuels for muscles to use.

Love is stressful. Can you quit it? Not easily. When you fall in love, your dopamine levels increase. This motivates you to continue to perform the activities that generated the elevated dopamine levels in the first place.

Love is stressful and highly addictive. It also makes you feel bad, at least periodically. Increased amygdala activation is correlated with a heightened breakdown of extra-cellular serotonin. Serotonin makes you feel good. When your serotonin levels go down, you feel bad. You become depressed or anxious. This is what happens to people in love. They feel good when they are together and horrible when they are apart.

You can now see why one-sided love makes you miserable. Since you are never together with wonder boy or wonder girl, your serotonin-levels are constantly suppressed, your body wants the dopamine-high and your adrenaline glands pump huge amounts of stress hormones into your blood vessels. When you suffer from unrequited love, you are literally at your wits end.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mental Simulation to Change Your Behavior, Part V

Now that you have played out the scenes in your mind, it's time to play them out in real life.

But you don't want to go for the really tough situations yet.

Find some safe situations where you can practice your new behavior.

Suppose you are working on becoming more extroverted. Go to Starbucks and compliment the hairstyle of a customer, or ask a guy walking his dog a question about his dog.

The idea is to find situations that don’t matter if you fail. You are still practicing.

Now that you have done some real-life role playing, you are ready to practice your new behavior in situations that matter.

If you fail, don’t worry. Start from scratch. Maybe you will need to go back to the mental simulation phase for a while before you take your behavior out in the real world. Then try again.

Every time you are in a difficult situation, quickly play out the scenario in your mind the way you are now used to playing it out.

Act the way you do, when you imagine the situation. If you don't get the desired response, go back to the mental simulation phase.

Reevaluate your behavior. Perhaps there is a better response you can practice in situations that matter.

Mental Simulation to Change Your Behavior, Part IV

Mental simulation consists in acting out your new behavior in situations where you would normally respond in destructive ways.

But you don’t start out in real life.

Begin inside your mind.

Imagine yourself being in a difficult situation. Then you imagine how you would like to respond in this kind of situation.

Don’t do it once or twice. Do it repeatedly for many days or weeks.

The purpose of this is to train your brain to associate your new good behavioral patterns with the tricky scenarios.

When you create new thinking patterns, your brain creates new neural connections. You will eventually behave in more desirable ways in difficult situations because of the new pathways you have created in your brain.

To be continued...

Mental Simulation to Change Your Behavior, Part III

Mental Simulation Basics

Write down your exact aims.

If your aim is to settle for a loose connection with an emotionally unavailable man or a playboy you will be sharing with other women, and you have thought through your options and decided that's what you really want to do, then write that down. You will still need to change your behavioral patterns if you want to survive emotionally.

If you want to depend less on other people, write that down. If you want to become more extroverted, write that down. It's OK to have more than one aim.

Identify the personality traits or behaviors that stand in the way of you achieving your goals.

If you tend to put pressure on a guy in a relationship, if you tend to act needy or clingy, you are going to push the guy away. This is so, even if your guy is, in principle, emotionally available. So, you will need to change your co-dependent personality traits and behavioral patterns.

If your problem really is that you are too introverted to meet a good guy, then you'll need to change your introverted personality traits. What you'll need to change all depends on what your true goal is.

Once you have identified the personality traits and behaviors that stand in the way of your achieving your goals, identify the situations in which these personality traits or behavioral patterns become obstacles.

If you are too needy and dependent, this may show up as a tendency to check up on your guy constantly, texting him incessantly, continuously asking him to be with you or complaining about not seeing him enough.

You cannot change every unfortunate trait or behavioral pattern all at once. Pick one or two traits or behavioral patterns you want to change. Then focus on working on these.

Perhaps you are too introverted to meet new friends or men or too needy and clingy once you finally meet new people or too emotional to hide your destructive negative emotions. All of these traits of your personality are destructive. But you cannot change all of them at once. Decide which two specific features you really want to work on. Then work on them.

To be continued...

Mental Simulation to Change Your Behavior, Part II

When you suffer from lovesick love, you are sleepwalking through a large part of your life.

Your only concern is how to change an emotionally unavailable man (an impossible task), how to make someone who just isn't into you interested in you or how to get your boyfriend back.

Perhaps you want to know why the man in your life is emotionally unavailable, is behaving like a jerk or is not interested in you.

Perhaps you want to know why your boyfriend just broke up with you (by text?).

You may be filled with sadness and grief.

All of these destructive thoughts and emotions are fueled by your own personality traits and behavioral patterns.

You can change these personality traits and behavioral patterns.

You can choose to wake up and realize that you need to move on. You can affect your thinking patterns and slow down your inner tsunami of stress chemicals.

Slowing down this inner hurricane will make you act in more rational ways.

You can stop your own suffering.

You can stop wasting your life on a guy who is not going to commit to you or who isn't into you at all.

The most effective way to slow down your stress hormones and increase the "feel good" hormones in your body is to train your brain to think differently.

You deserve much more than an undefined connection with a guy -- a guy who isn't contacting you, who isn't really interested in meeting with you and who doesn't really care about you and your well-being.

By continuing to obsess over a guy, you are compromising. Worse perhaps: You are wasting your precious life.

You deserve better.

If your guy doesn't want to see you very often, he is either not feeling it for you, or he can’t attach to another person emotionally.

You cannot change your guy but you can change your own behavioral patterns by following a simple program called "mental simulation."

To be continued...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mental Simulation to Change Your Behavior, Part I

"An unfortunate thing about this world is that the good habits are much easier to give up than the bad ones," said English short-story writer William Somerset Maugham.

The insight behind this quote is that deep-seated habits, or behavioral patterns, are difficult to change.

People's deep-seated habits reflect their personality, the clusters of dispositions, thoughts and feelings that make them unique. These pattern-forming features are also known as personality traits.

Personality traits can change gradually or through extensive counseling but they normally are relatively stable over time.

The thought that people can literally change their personality is controversial. The famous Minnesota twin family studies conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota--Twin Cities, examined more than 8,000 pairs of twins to identify the degree to which personality is a result of nature or nurture.

Psychologist Thomas Bouchard found that monozygotic, or identical, twins reared apart were just as likely to have the same personality as twins who grew up together. Since twins who are reared apart are reared differently, the results seem to indicate that personality is primarily hereditary, just like eye color or height.

If personality traits are primarily hereditary, it might seem that people cannot change their personality.

However, there is room for change.

Just as childhood nutrition can make a small difference to a person's height, nurture can affect personality to some degree.

It is also possible that some of the qualities found between identical twins reared apart were due primarily to physical similarities. Two people who look the same, have similar voices, the same height, and so on are likely to get similar responses from others regardless of where they grow up. So, the environment may have played a greater role in shaping the twins' personality than the Minnesota twin studies showed.

Furthermore, the human brain is amazingly flexible. When people get a small stroke in the left prefrontal cortex, the regions around the damaged area can take over the functions the damaged area used to perform.

When the stroke is significant, the corresponding right side of the brain can take over the same functions.

Practice can make new neural connections!

If personality traits and behavioral patterns are at least partly grounded in the brain's neural networks, it should not come as a surprise that we really can change our personality and behavioral patterns.

To be continued...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What If Someone Lies About You?

By Relationship Expert Catherine Behan

"She did it! It's All Her Fault!!"

"She poisoned his mind against me. Things were going fine until he started spending time with his ex. It is her fault. He would be with me if she would just disappear."

Why is it so appealing to blame someone else for your heartbreak? Sit in any Starbucks around the country and you can listen in on a similar conversation. Frustrated women tell and retell the dramas of their love lives to anyone who will listen. And most of them stay alone, frustrating them even more.

Then if some cheerful Law of Attraction afficionado comes across your path and starts chirping that you must be creating all this drama and you are ready to pinch their head off. You can't be manifesting all of this heartbreak, all you want is Love and you have been chasing it for years to prove it!

So what is wrong? One word. Sabotage. Since starting my coaching practice nearly 10 years ago, I have met the most engaging and beautiful single women all with one common fatal flaw...a part of themselves bound and committed to keep them single, a personal inner saboteur.

This powerful force, similar to an actual force field repelling True Love, comes from inside your own heart. This True Love Saboteur has spent her life with one goal. Ironically it is the same goal for the Outer be happy and feel safe. Somehow, many singles carry a belief that Love hurts more than it heals. For many, Love has been something you have needed protection from. True Love is supposed to protect you.

Every time I ask, "Do you think a part of you actually likes being single?" I get a quick no but on further questioning, many long time singles admit that there are parts of the single life that work for them.


Inner conflict will always bring a luke warm mediocre vibration resulting in.....luke warm and mediocre results. Could this be you? Here are 5 signs that your True Love Saboteur has been working hard under the radar to keep you happy, safe.....and single.

1. Isolation. Are you spending too much time alone? Have your friendships shifted? Do you complain that you are the one who calls friends for social events and no one calls you? Is Facebook your main connection to the world? Isolation is safe, but at what cost? Besides, how can you meet anyone if you don't get out! Your True Love Saboteur works overtime providing reasons to be alone. Any little reason to miss a chance to be with people is enough.

2. Procrastination. Are you re-writing the same things on your to do list every day? Do you even have a list? Are you so busy doing the stuff of life that never gets done that you have zero fun going on in your life? The Saboteur loves using this tool, it is so easy to nurture procrastination. Look what an expert you are!

3. Self Criticism. Not only are you isolated and procrastinating, now you pick on yourself about it. Do you compare yourself to others? Do you dislike parts of your personality or physical appearance? Deep self unacceptance is one of the most powerful tools the Saboteur can use and she can wield it like a dagger. After all, if you don't accept yourself, could a Soul Mate ever have a chance? This is the Saboteur's use of victim energy in disguise. Not many recognize the victim vibe making it a sneaky block needing little maintenance.

4. Excuses. "I don't have money for the nicer dating sites." "I am so busy with work and the kids, there is no time for dating." "I hate my clothes. I would need a new wardrobe before I could date." "I hate my underwear." It doesn't matter what the excuse, it is still an excuse. Time is racing by, we are well into 2010. How long will you let an excuse stand between you and fulfillment? Your Saboteur is doing everything to keep you from making the decision you need to make. Choose what you want, make a clear decision and move forward. Do you want to be with a partner no matter what it takes?

5. Insatiable Need to Keep Trying. I love this one. As I said before, your True Love Saboteur wants the same thing you do. To be happy and feel safe. Somewhere deep inside, she as well as any part of you that is hesitant to try again, can't stop the desire to be loved and loved well. You deserve it and I am here to tell you it is possible. At 57, I am celebrating my fifth anniversary in Hawaii in a few weeks. Meeting Larry and taking the risk of getting close to a man again was the best decision I could have made. If I can do it, you can do it.

Your Saboteur is only valiantly doing the job you depend on her to perform. Her one and only purpose in life is to police your beliefs to make sure they stay true. Not talking about the wish list beliefs here or the affirmations you prepare. I am talking about the true deep secret beliefs that you hold about your self worth.

The cool thing is, once you start to recognize your self-sabotaging thoughts, behaviors and beliefs, you can do something about it. When your Saboteur realizes that you can feel happy and safe in new ways and that so can she, you will relax more deeply than you have in years.

We all want the same thing here after all. It feels amazing to be loved and accepted. Of course you are going to pursue that. Address your sabotage tendencies and take action steps to address each one. You will dramatically increase your personal magnetism as you accept yourself at this new level. There is nothing more irresistible than a person 100% comfortable in their own skin. It is always possible to deepen your sense of self worth. Make a decision, research your options and take action. As Gramma used to say, "Times a'wastin."

Wonder how strong Your Saboteur is? I have a few time slots available for my last Love Magnet Readings. Beautiful Jeanice, my assistant, will be doing the readings starting in September. She is fabulous and you will love her. If you do want to speak to me personally, however, you can register right here.

Catherine Behan
Your Soul Mate Attraction Mentor

Catherine Behan, CEO of Attract Your Soul Mate, has a single minded focus. Transformation. A leading authority in the Law of Attraction and the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), she has helped hundreds of people discover the truth about themselves….That even though they may feel unloved, they are not unlovable. A magnet to long time singles, she delights in helping those disappointed in love to launch new dreams for love and fulfillment. Catherine is the Creator of “Seduce Your Saboteur: How To Enchant, Engage and Enlist Your Strongest Ally and Find True Love In The Twinkling of An Eye.” Through the magic of the internet, she is serving seeking soul mates with her unique intuitive abilities and co-creating transformation in clients from all over the world.

Love Is Looking For YOU,
Your Soul Mate Attraction Mentor

Creator of "Seduce Your Saboteur: How To Enchant, Engage and Enlist Your Strongest Ally and Find True Love In The Twinkling of an Eye."

Are you ready for a little Soul Mate Magic of your own? Click Here for the First Step. See how strong your Love Vibe is right now!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Anxiety Expert

I wanted to share this link with you. It's a great site and highly relevant to the issue of obsession love. Here is a quote from the site on coping:
The issue of coping isn’t as straightforward as it might first appear. From my perspective as a psychologist, there are a mind boggling number of potential ways I could choose to assess it. This, to some extent, says something about the fact nobody has really pinned down the concept of coping or how best to examine it. Read the rest of this post >>

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Adult Attachment Anxiety

Everyone has an attachment style, a part of your personality that determines how you behave in interpersonal relationships. Insecure attachment styles include attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance. An avoidant attachment style is characterized by reluctance to trust and rely on others and fear of intimacy. An anxiety attachment style involves reoccupation with the other, a need for reassurance and fear of abandonment. When attachment styles interfere with daily function, the condition is considered an attachment disorder. Adults with attachment anxiety are more often depressed and perceive and react to other people's behavior more quickly, but less accurately, than more self-reliant adults.


Individuals with attachment anxiety are more likely to become depressed than more self-reliant people, reports a research team in the July 2005 issue of the Journal of Counseling Psychology. The researchers looked at the attachment styles of 425 students between 18 and 36 years old at a large Midwestern state university. They found that participants with high levels of attachment anxiety had excessive needs for reassurance. Not getting the needed level of reassurance led to symptoms of depression. Read the rest of this article >>

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Philosophy Student Reflects on his Weight Loss

My former student Adam Taylor reflects on his 156 pounds weight loss here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Princess Diaries

From my newest blog: There's Something about Mary: The Princess Diaries

The fairytale began on September 16 2000 when Mary Donaldson, an ordinary Australian girl, met Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark at Merivale's Slip Inn in Sydney during the Summer Olympics.

Three years later the Australian beauty and the crown prince decided they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. On October 2003 after a long-distance relationship, a short stay in Paris and a number of private visits to Denmark, Mary and Frederik got engaged.

During the ten years from the couple's first meeting until today, Mary underwent a drastic change from a sporty, sun-tanned sales director to crown princess, fashion icon, mother of two and charity activist. She is director of the Mary Foundation, an organization focused on improving the lives of children, adults and families who are socially excluded.

The changes the princess has undergone during the ten years are astonishing. Her hair has been coloured and restyled, she has undergone a body and skin transformation, her posture is more regal, and her clothing has become more classic and elegant with a clear historic influence.Read the rest of this post >>

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Extreme Jealousy in Relationships

Jealousy and envy are painful emotions that can be hard to distinguish from one another, says Aaron Ben-Zeév, philosophy professor at University of Haifa and the author of "In the Name of Love." When you are jealous, you fear that you may lose a loved one's affection or favoritism to someone else. When you are envious, you perceive yourself as getting the short end of the stick. Ben-Zeév has found that lovers of unavailable people experience both emotions. They want more, and they don't want to lose what they have. This puts them at risk for developing morbid, or extreme, jealousy. Love chemicals run amok, competitor genes and social conventions can also trigger extreme jealousy.

Morbid Jealousy

Jealousy in moderation is normal. It shows that we care about a spouse or partner. Morbid jealousy is pathological. It is an irrational emotion that signals a psychopathological disorder, according to forensic psychiatrists Michael Kingham and Harvey Gordon in Advances in Psychiatric Treatment. Read the rest of this article >>

Friday, May 28, 2010

Love is a Color

The Sex and the City 2 theme song, sung by Leona Lewis and Jennifer Hudson, has been released online. It tells us that love is a color and makes you shine. Everything else is just black and white, right? False. But it's a nice song.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Aftermath, by Steven Harris

Today's post is by fiction writer Steven Harris. I first met Steven at a conference in San Francisco some years ago. A woman Steven had loved for years, and who was then only recently divorced and living in LA, flew out to the San Francisco area to see Steven. Steven and his sister Angie stayed a day later than most. Steven is here recalling details from that day -- the morning after.


I rearrange the pillows again and you're still not here. This is the surgical kind of hurt. Clean and sterile. No mess. I just open my eyes in the same place, in the same bed and you're gone. I rearrange the pillows again, I roll over--this is the empty part of me, the part they cut out. It's the empty part of me that aches--that space, that coffin, that death rattle where once I held you close to me and thought I would never feel pain again.

I smiled and missed you terribly.

Before that the hotel room is dark and still. The curtains are drawn. The sliver of light between them, the only sign of life, gleams off the glass of rum and Coke. My Cary Grant nightcap you joked about the night before. On any other night I would have drained that glass four or five times over just to claim a few hours of clumsy desperate half-sleep. But instead the phone rings and I look up and the ice has melted and the glass is full. Across the room, half my pill bottles, more poisons, more toxins, more promises of forced unconsciousness left unopened, forgotten.

This is the third time someone has called. Before that you were standing on the sidewalk smoking and I kissed you good-bye. Angie lets the phone ring out, but she listens to the message all the same. I won't sleep again after this.

She listens then hangs up. "That was her," she says. "She's going to post something on the board later."

And you're really gone.

Angie's buried herself in the blankets again, but I don't even bother to try. That kind of peace is as far away as the smoky kiss on the sidewalk.

Off the elevator and the lobby is emptied out and full of whispers. The bold din of the crowd is lost, and all I notice of the people who remain are their coats. Brown and gray and black. Real fur or fake fur. Outside it's raining hard and everyone is scrambling for cover, dashing across streets, jumping puddles, holding newspapers and briefcases over their heads. Umbrellas fester. More and more swell up like a rash with every step. More black and gray and brown.

Right now. This place. It's like everything here, this whole town, only existed for the two of us, and now that you're gone it's closing down. People are packing up and leaving, people are being washed away. And I wonder what it means that I'm still here.

Call it post apocalyptic. Here I am at the end of the world again. I'm splashing through the rain water, my pant legs are soaked, I can barely see with the water streaming down my glasses, and I think, most things aren't worth the aftermath. Most things are fatigue or a bitter aftertaste, repetition and memories you don't bother to keep past Tuesday.

And then I think of the girl who took a drag on her cigarette and kissed me and tore the sky down. And I smile. The kind of hurt that makes you realize there's still something out there worth loving. And I'm walking. And pretty soon I'm just another black coat in the rain.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Love Story of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

Alexandrina Victoria was 18 when she became Queen of England. Her Uncle, King William IV, had no surviving legitimate children. So, Victoria became his heir when he died in 1837.

When Prince Albert, her first cousin, visited London in 1839, Victoria immediately fell in love with him. Initially Albert had doubts about the relationship, but he eventually fell in love with her too.

The couple got married in February 1840. During the next eighteen years Queen Victoria gave birth to nine children.

She loved Albert deeply. Albert was not only a dutiful husband and the father of Victoria’s children but also Victoria’s political and diplomatic advisor.

For 21 years the couple lived happily together. But the bliss abruptly ended when Prince Albert died of typhoid at Windsor on December 14, 1861.

Albert’s death completely destroyed Victoria emotionally. She was overwhelmed by grief and refused to show her face in public for the next 3 years.

People began to question her competence, and many attempted to assassinate her.

Victoria finally appeared in public but she refused to wear anything but black and mourned her Prince Albert until her own death in 1901.

Victoria’s 40 year long state of mourning earned her the nickname “The Widow of Windsor”. She never again became the happy and cheerful woman she had been when Albert was alive.

In preparation for her own death she asked for two items to be in her coffin: One of Albert’s dressing gowns and a lock of his hair.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Love Story of Napoleon and Josephine

The story about Napoleon and Josephine illustrates just how obsessive love can be.

In the 19th century one of the directors, Paul Barras, in Paris wanted to marry off his mistress Rose to Napoleon. Napoleon was immediately smitten when he saw the beautiful Rose. He renamed her ‘Josephine’.

Initially Josephine would not marry Napoleon but when Barras threatened to stop providing for her if she didn’t marry Napoleon, she agreed.

Napoleon loved her deeply, but she despised him and immediately took on lovers. When Napoleon heard about her infidelity on a trip away from Paris, he was destroyed.

His love for her was gone but for the rest of his life he would never really love another woman the way he had loved Josephine.

When Napoleon returned to Paris after his trip, Josephine had all of sudden finally fallen in love with Napoleon.

But it was too late. Napoleon no longer trusted her and went onto to have a series of affairs. Napoleon later divorced Josephine and married another woman whom he didn’t love.

Josephine continued to love Napoleon and when she was dying from diphtheria, Napoleon’s name was one of the last words she uttered.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Love Story of Prince Salim and Anarkali

The most tragic of love stories took place in India in 1615.

Prince Nuruddin Salim, son of Mughal Emperor Akbar, fell in love with the lovely slave girl Anarkali. Anarkali was known for her dancing skills and her remarkable beauty.

Akbar was shamed by his son’s love for a common servant and did everything he could to make Anarkali look bad in the eyes of her prince. A slave girl, he said, could never become the empress of India.

When Prince Salim heard about this, he declared war on his father.

But Akbar defeated his son and demanded that Saleem either surrender Anarkali or be killed.

Prince Salim chose death. But Anarkali intervened and offered her own life in exchange for one last night with Prince Salim. Akbar agreed to this arrangement, and the couple spent one last romantic night together.

In the morning the guards came and took Anarkali away. She was buried alive between brick walls. Her tomb still stands today.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Love Story of Tristan and Isolde

The tragic love story of Tristan and Isolde took place in the middle ages during the reign of King Arthur.

When King Mark sent his nephew, Tristan, to Ireland to ask for Princess Isolde’s hand and escort her back to Cornwall, Tristan and Isolde fell in love.

Isolde went ahead with the marriage to King Mark but continued to see Tristan.

As soon as King Mark found out, he banned Tristan from Cornwall but forgave Isolde.

Tristan moved to King Author’s court and later to Brittany where he met Iseult of Brittany. He was attracted to her because she reminded him of his true love. He married her but did not consummate the marriage because of his love for the “true” Isolde.

After falling ill Tristan sent for Isolde, hoping she would be able to cure him. The returning ship’s sails would be white if she agreed to come and black if she did not agree. Iseult, seeing the white sails, lied to Tristan and told him that the sails were black.

Tristan died of grief before Isolde could get to him. Isolde died soon after of a broken heart. Iseult immediately regretted her actions once she saw the love that the two had felt for each other.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Love Story of Cleopatra and Mark Antony

The most tragic episode of Cleopatra’s story of love is revealed in her affair with Mark Antony. Together with her father Pharaoh Ptolomy XII Cleopatra VII was a regent of Egypt. When her father died in March 51 BC, the 18 year old Cleopatra and her 12 year old brother Ptolemy XIII became joint monarchs.

Mark Antony, a friend and adviser of Julius Caesar, thought Cleopatra was responsible for Caesar’s death and wanted to meet her. Cleopatra turned him down several times but finally gave in.

She came to him on a boat dressed as the Goddess Venus. The two fell in love and Mark spent the winter at Alexandria, after which Cleopatra bore him twins.

Four years later, in 37 BC, Mark visited Alexandria again while on route to make war with the Parthians. Mark then renewed his relationship with Cleopatra. At the time he was married to Octavia Minor. But he left his wife and married Cleopatra.

Octavia’s brother Octavian brought the army of Rome to destroy them. When it was clear that the army of Rome was going to claim victory, Mark gave word to Cleopatra.

Cleopatra decided to leave the battle site on her ship. When Mark heard about it, he thought Cleopatra had left to die, and decided that his own life was no longer worth living. He committed suicide by falling on his own sword. Cleopatra followed suit a few days later, by purposely getting bitten by a cobra.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Love Story of Thisbe and Pyramus

Historical cases of broken hearts and obsessions are not hard to come by. The stories of Pyramus and Thisbe, Cleopatra and Mark Antony, Tristan and Isolde, Prince Saleem and Anarkali, Napoleon and Josephine, and Queen Victory and Prince Albert stand out as icons of tragic and deeply pathological love.

The story of Pyramus and Thisbe took place in Barbylonia in 331 BC. A young handsome boy Pyramus and a young beautiful girl Thisbe lived with their parents in conjoining houses. As they grew up to become young adults, they fell in love.

When their parents discovered their love, they refused to let them see each other. The two lovers could only talk through a crack in the wall separating the houses.

One night they planned to run away together. Pyramus told Thisbe the location of the place they would meet.

Thisbe was the first to arrive at the first Mulberry bush outside of the city, but as she was waiting, a lion appeared covered in blood from a previous kill that day. Thisbe, frightened at the sight, ran non-stop to the nearest cave. The lion caught her veil just before she escaped.

Shortly thereafter Pyramus arrived at the Mulberry bush. He was horrified when he saw in the sand the footsteps of the lion and Thisbe’s veil covered in blood and torn to pieces. He immediately thought that his only love had been killed by a hungry lion. Heartbroken he stabbed himself in the heart with his sword.

Thisbe soon got the courage to run back. By then Pyramus was only barely breathing on the ground. In a faint voice he told her what happened, and she cried in sorrow. Then she picked up his sword and jerked it through her chest.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Genital Revenges

The love affair between Abélard and Héloïse resulted in a genital revenge. Héloïse's uncle cut off Abélard's penis. Genital revenges didn't just occur in 12th century France. In fact, they seem more popular now than ever.

In 2000 Gail O'Toole invited her ex-lover Ken Slaby over to her Murrysville home to rekindle a friendship but got furious about Ken’s new love.

Gail waited until Ken was asleep. She then glued his penis to his stomach, his testicles to his leg, and the cheeks of his buttocks together. Finally, she poured nail polish over his head.

When Ken woke up Gail threw him out, and he had to walk one mile before he could call 911.

Ken was taken to the hospital where the nurses had to peel the glue off. He had several treatments from a dermatologist afterward. 5 years later Ken filed a lawsuit against Gail, which he won.

This is not the only reported case of the super-glue revenge. After Tracy Hood-Davis from Wisconsin discovered that her husband Donessa Davis was cheating on her, she encouraged three other scorned lovers to take revenge.

Donessa thought he was going to meet up with Therese Ziemann, one of his lovers, at a Stockbridge motel for a night of passion. When he arrived, Therese suggested he let her tie him up and blindfold him for a massage.

Once he was tied up, Therese cut off Donessa’s underwear with scissors and sent text messages to Tracy, 43-year-old Wendy Sewell, one of Donessa’s lovers, and Theresa’s sister 43-year-old Michelle Belliveau.

When the others arrived Therese slapped and punched Donessa in the face and used Krazy Glue to glue his penis to his stomach.

The women were charged with false imprisonment, and Therese was further charged with fourth-degree sexual assault. Since the incident Donessa has been arrested for child abuse, theft, unlawful phone use and harassment with a death threat in a domestic abuse investigation.

Genitals seem to play a lead role in jealousy revenges. In December 2009 Rajini Narayan, 44, from Adelaide in Australia learned that her husband Satish Narayan was having an affair. Sick with jealousy she poured methylated spirit on his genitals while he was asleep and set him on fire.

As the husband jumped out of bed, he knocked over the bottle of spirit, which set their townhouse on fire, causing substantial damages to the property.

Rajini was initially charged with arson and endangering life but the charge was upgraded to murder when her husband died in the hospital from his injuries.

Lesson: All you cheaters out there: watch your private parts!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Don't Think You're the Exception. The Excitement Won't Last

In a survey conducted by AOL Living and Women’s Day in 2009 52% of women surveyed say that their husbands are not their soul mates, 72% of the women surveyed said they had considered leaving their husbands at some point or another, more than 50% said they are either bored in bed or can't remember the last time they had sex, 60% said that they rarely or never have date nights, more than 50% said that they wished their husbands either made more money or made more time for them, and nearly 50% said that their husbands had changed for the worse since they got married.

Despite all this, 71% of the women surveyed expected to be married to their spouse for the rest of their life!

Are the women who are not fully happy in their marriages masochists? Probably not. It is more likely that they simply have realized that if you decide to enter a long-term monogamous relationship, you are in some sense settling. Things are not always going to be a dance on roses. The extreme excitement, obsession and ecstatic madness won't last. And why would you want it to anyway?

Well, apparently people do want it to last. The Pew Research Center and the National Survey of Families and Households report that couples become bored and unhappy sooner than was expected: more like three years into their relationship than seven, just after the end of the "honeymoon" phase of the relationship.

This is not to say that in a long-term monogamous relationship love couldn't continue to grow but only that people confuse madness with love. Or they write off calm and rational love as love-gone-away. Even when the madness is gone, love could continues to ripen (until it falls off the tree and rots in the ground).

When love ripens, it doesn’t feel the same, most of the time it doesn’t feel like anything at all, because love in its ripening phases is an in-between state of love. It has its ups and downs.

Over half of monogamous relationships suffer from one partner or the other becoming involved in an outside relationship. They miss the madness and excitement of the beginning phrases of the relationship. The secrecy and excitement of having sex on the side resembles the maddening phases of obsessive love. Cheating temporarily brings back the madness which so many people are addicted to.

The truth is, love starts out strong and intense only to fade or ripen a few years later. Later on it's never going to be the same again, unless the lovers actually separate for an extended period of time and re-kindle at a later point.

This is what happened for Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Richard and Elizabeth fell in love when they played Mark Antony and Cleopatra in the movie Cleopatra. They got married after divorcing their spouses.

But their marriage didn’t last. Ten years and many tempestuous arguments later, they divorced, only to remarry in Africa less than a year later and divorce once again after just 11 months.

Love doesn’t always fade but when the ecstasy and extreme longing lasts a lifetime it is usually because the lovers were barred from being together.

One of history's most famous everlasting love affairs is that between Abélard and Héloïse, who were prevented from being together by Héloïse’s uncle.

In 12th century France, Peter Abélard, a French Aristotelian philosopher and one of the greatest thinkers of the 12th century, persuaded Canon Fulbert, a priest of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, to hire him as the mentor of his beautiful and highly gifted niece, Héloïse.

After Abélard had moved into Fulbert's home, Abélard and Héloïse became lovers. Though they tried to keep their relationship a secret, Fulbert eventually found out and was furious. He demanded that the lovers physically separated.

But their separation did not make them love each other any less, on the contrary: "the very sundering of our bodies served but to link our souls closer together; the plentitude of the love which was denied to us inflamed us more than ever," Héloïse later wrote.

And sure enough: shortly after their separation Héloïse told Abelard that she was pregnant. Héloïse stayed with Abélard's sister until her son Astrolabe was born.

Longing for his lover Abélard proposed a secret marriage to Fulbert, who agreed. But Héloïse turned down the proposal. She was well aware of the opportunities Abélard would be passing up if he tied himself to a family.

However, Abélard insisted and shortly after their son Astrolabe was born, he returned to Paris to get married to his lover in secrecy. The couple separated immediately after the wedding, seeing each other only in rare private moments, in order to give the impression that they were no longer involved.

But Fulbert was determined to ruin Abélard’s career and refused to keep the marriage a secret. When his niece denied the marriage, he beat her.

To keep Héloïse safe, Abélard took her to the convent at Argenteuil. Héloïse’s uncle thought that Abélard had forced her to become a nun and arranged for his relatives to take revenge in the most gruesome fashion.

One night while Abélard was asleep in a secret room in his lodgings, the relatives ambushed him and cut off his penis.

After Abélard’s tragic injury Abélard could not stay in Paris without being subject to extreme ridicule. He decided to become a monk, and he convinced Héloïse to join the cloister. She agreed out of love for her husband. She wanted no other man.

But Abélard’s and Héloïse’s love affair continued in the form of letters, which were later collected in book form. In a letter to Abélard, Héloïse wrote:

You know, beloved, as the whole world knows, how much I have lost in you, how at one wretched stroke of fortune that supreme act of flagrant treachery robbed me of my very self in robbing me of you; and how my sorrow for my loss is nothing compared with what I feel for the manner in which I lost you.

After many years Héloïse and Abélard briefly reunited at a ceremony in Paris but never saw each other again afterwards.

They love affair nonetheless went on for 20 years. Six hundred years after their death Josephine Bonaparte ordered that the remains of Abélard and Héloïse be entombed together at Pére Lachaise cemetery in Paris.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Compassionate Love

Photo: People at oxytocin party taking tablets of the love and trust hormone oxytocin.

Whereas passionate love is fueled by low levels of "feel good" chemicals like serotonin and high levels of "reward" hormones like dopamine, the calm bonding effects of compassionate love are in part due to increased levels of serotonin, vasopressin and oxytocin. This package of chemicals is associated with increases in well-being, calmness, self-confidence and willingness to trust others.

The prime function of the neurotransmitter vasopressin is to regulate the body's retention of water, but vasopressin also has been found to increase pair-bonding. It makes males become more aggressive towards other males and more protective of their mates. It also has proven to have positive effects on memory.

Originally known to stimulate labor and milk ejection, oxytocin has been found to increase pain thresholds and decrease the anxiety we feel toward strangers. It has also been shown to improve the symptoms of asperger's syndrome and autism.

Oxytocin suppresses the activity in the part of the brain that processes fear. It is responsible for spontaneous erections and is released during female and male orgasms, during touch, and during the ingestion of food.

Oxytocin continually increases in popularity. You can now buy oxytocin sprays online. Though it hasn’t been proven scientifically, oxytocin sprays are advertized as trust sprays. Give your client, customer or sex buddy a few sprays of oxytocin in their nostrils, and they will trust you like the patient trusts his surgeon.

In Manhattan oxytocin parties are now all the rage. Oxytocin makes us warm and fussy inside. It creates smiles that stick to our faces like barnacles. Ideal for your uptown cocktail party.

Chemically, passionate love and compassionate love have contrary physiological profiles. Compassionate love is similar in its physiological profile to states of sleepiness and nutritional fulfillment.

Passionate love, on the other hand, is physiologically akin to obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and stressful body states such as hunger. Chemically speaking, it’s no wonder that passionate love, unlike compassionate love, involves intrusive, obsessive thoughts about the object of affection.

However, while being in love may make you high, being high does not make you fall in love. Spraying your long-term partner’s big nostrils with condensed oxytocin while he is sleeping may make him trust you, but dumping the content of fifteen bottles of oxytocin in your new hottie's chocolate martini won’t make him fancy you (it's a bit like filling his coffee maker with decaf for three weeks and then switching to espresso).

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Irrational Love as a Psychological Disorder

In my first post I introduced the idea of irrational love. Like other emotions, love can be rational or irrational. Love is assessable for rationality. One of my views of love is that irrational love is unhealthy. It is a mental disorder.

Though unhealthy irrational love is not included in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, it satisfies the criterion for being a disorder.

The obsessive phases of roller coaster relationships and intense love affairs tend to be irrational. In fact, their chemical profile resembles the chemical profiles of generalized anxiety disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Science tells us that the excitement of sexual and romantic love are due in part to increased levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine and low levels of serotonin.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that motivates us to continue to perform certain activities by causing a feeling of profound enjoyment in response to those activities. For example, dopamine helps to motivate us to continue to have sex by causing feelings of extreme pleasure in response to the activity.

It is commonly thought that people who are severely addicted to nicotine, amphetamines and cocaine have altered dopamine pathways that make the pleasure from the drug significantly stronger for them compared to non-addictive personality types.

Serotonin in the stomach regulates intestinal movements. In the brain it regulates mood, appetite, sleep, muscle contraction, memory and learning. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors inhibit serotonin from being absorbed by the body.

Inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin increases the serotonin levels in the brain. This has been found to enhance mood and decrease anxiety. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors have been used successfully for many years in the treatment of depression, generalized anxiety disorder and social phobia.

Love can be as addictive as cocaine and speed. A particularly severe form of love obsession is obsessive love disorder. When parents are unable to satisfy a child's emotional needs, he will continue to long for the parent's emotional attention. Consequently he will tend to become attracted to and fixated on unavailable and emotionally inaccessible partners because they are implicitly seen as the parent whose love the sufferer is longing for.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sick Love?

Welcome readers! This is my new blog devoted to the unconscious and irrational elements of love. If you are more technically inclined and love philosophy and psychology, you might want to visit my blog Lemmings. If love is your passion, stay put.

My view on love? You can love another person for just about any reason. Sounds strange? It’s not. You can kill for just about any reason, though very few are good reasons. Coral Eugene Watts strangled several women because he saw evil in their eyes. Belle Sorenson Gunness slaughtered her husbands because she believed men were evil. Ed Gein mutilated, skinned and gutted his graveyard goodies and his only live victim because he wanted to be a woman and believed he needed body parts for a sex change (or maybe to make a replica of his mother). None of these reasons are good reasons to kill, and not all reasons are good reasons to love. Still true love can, in principle, be love for any reason.

This idea that true love can occur for any reason is at odds with the view that true love is love for a good reason. In his acclaimed article "Love as a Moral Emotion” NYU professor J. David Velleman writes: "Being loved does not entail being valued on the basis of our distinctive qualities, such as our yellow hair; on the contrary, it entails being valued on the basis of our personhood, in which we are no different from other persons" (1999: 366).

In my humble opinion, our loved ones must possess particular physical attributes or personality traits in order for our love to be rational but they need not possess any particular physical attributes or personality traits in order for love to be true love. Or to put the point differently: Not all love is rational but rationality is no more of a constraint on love than rationality is a constraint on action.

Love is an emotion. Emotions can be rational. Your fear of Ted Bundy whispering in your ear that he is going to continue to have intercourse with your corpse until it putrefies is rational. So is your anger at the two 10-year old British boys who kidnapped 2-year old James Bulger and took him on a 5 kilometer walk, only to throw blue paint in his eyes, kick him and hit him with bricks, stones and a 10 kg iron bar, molest his tiny penis, place batteries in his mouth and anus and leave him on train tracks where he died before his corpse was cut in pieces by a goods train.

Like actions and beliefs emotions can be irrational. Ethan’s fear of flying is irrational because he knows that flying is safer than walking from the pool table to the restroom at the local pub in Detroit. Your anger when you first met John and he said, “Awright me old fruit, what gender are ye?”, is irrational because you know that half the people you meet are below average, that John is too stupid to be a smart-ass, and that his remark was meant as good-spirited humor. Anger in this circumstance is like borrowing cash from a pessimist because you believe that they won’t expect it back.