Psychological Self-Help

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mystifying, so Matthews (1990) provides a general guide for women
going through the first few years of marriage. Arond & Pauker (1987)
also focus on the first year. 
Although professionals often do not recommend his books highly,
few people have written as much or as well about love as Leo
Buscaglia (1972, 1984). He does not rely heavily on research nor does
he deal with psychopathology, but his messages about the joys and
foibles of love are masterpieces. He motivates you to be loving, rather
than informs you. Read at least one of his books--or watch one of his
tapes--if you are serious about loving someone or everyone. More
recently and more focused on the problems of desperately seeking
love, John Bradshaw (1993) describes how we self-sacrifice and lose a
sense of our true selves in love relationships. He helps us see the hurt
little child in our parents... and in ourselves (see discussion of shame
in chapter 6). We select lovers who we hope will take care of our inner
child's hurts, and when the partner's kisses fail to "make everything all
right," we may blame the partner. We must learn to take care of our
own hurts, then we can develop our own ideas of love, not just
struggle to comply with our parents' notions of love. Bradshaw is
saying that self-understanding, security, and mature thought about
our purpose in life are necessary for "soulful love" in the broadest
sense. 
Obviously, many relationship problems can be traced back to early
childhood experiences and to gender stereotypes in our family and
culture. Another series of books analyze men's need for intimacy and
their fear of it (Osherson, 1992; Rhodes & Potash, 1989; Carter, 1988;
Carter & Sokol, 1993). It isn't that men can't love or show their
feelings; indeed, they hunger and long for closeness and approval but
are inhibited. Psychoanalytic theory suggests that it is frightening for
men to become totally intimate with and under the control of a woman
again. All men had to struggle to get away from and become different
from mom. So, for many men, it seems shameful to express
dependent, soft "feminine" feelings, because family dynamics and our
culture require all 5-year-old males to "become a big strong boy,"
renounce these unmanly characteristics, and separate psychologically
from his mother (see chapter 9). Both women and men could profit
from studying personality development and their own childhood
experiences. 
Perhaps 15 or more highly publicized but of dubious quality books
have attempted to explain male-female relationship problems. The
titles are loaded with phrases which state or imply "women love too
much," "women make foolish choices," "women who love men who
hate and abuse them," "women hide their fears behind castrating
anger," "women who are born to please," "men dislike aggressive
successful women," "men can't love," "men leave women they love,"
"men who hate women," "men run from women," etc. The titles make
it sound like women are foolish and men are sick and hateful. Most
likely we have two groups of writers who have identified different
villains--women or men. 
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