Psychological Self-Help

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shop every two weeks or so. In that situation, if the children were
starving neighbors would give food, but if the children were beaten or
kept home from school or "married off" at 13, no one would intervene.
In those years the heroes were explorers, like Daniel Boone, and the
pioneer settlers--rugged, self-reliant, "free" individualists. Today, no
one is that independent. We are far more reliant on suppliers of goods,
on governments, on service agencies, on police and courts, on social
and church organizations, on schools, on friends, on TV and music,
etc. As we become more and more dependent on other people,
including on our families until age 22 or so, we are more needy and
more likely to long for social contacts when none is available. We are
unaware of our ever increasing dependency (see chapter 8). The
struggle between the values of self-reliance (Republican) and
governmental support (Democrats) continues to be a fundamental
conflict in our political system. (I believe in self-help and in caring for
needy others until they are independent, so which party should I
About 26% of college students report feeling "very lonely" during
the last few weeks; over 80% of adults have been lonely (Flanders,
1976). What feelings are involved in being lonely? Rubinstein and
Shaver (1982a) found four kinds of emotions: (1) desperation
(helpless, afraid), (2) depressed (empty, self-pity), (3) impatient
boredom (bored, angry, and restless), and (4) self-criticism (I'm ugly,
stupid, and worthless). Loneliness seems to lower our self-esteem and
low self-esteem seems to contribute to loneliness. It is circular... and
both contribute to depression. 
Why are we lonely? There are 100's of answers: we have lost a
relationship; we feel unneeded and different from others; we are
aggressive and bossy and drive people away; we are misunderstood;
circumstances force us to be alone; we recently moved; we have
unusually strong social or intimacy needs; poor family and peer
relationships in childhood lead to loneliness; the discrepancy between
what we want socially and what we get generates disappointment; a
mobile society forces us apart; shyness, lack of social skills, and low
self-esteem increase isolation; difficulty self-disclosing limits
friendships; watching TV deepens loneliness; cultural values of
competition and independence may isolate us; no close, personal
relationship with God increases aloneness; the foolish but romantic
belief that love solves all problems may increase loneliness. Let's
discuss the last reason a little more. 
Gordon (1976) thinks success in our society is defined in terms of
having a "best friend" from 7-13, a "boy/girlfriend" from 13-23 or so,
and a spouse ever after. In fact, our culture still encourages us to
believe that romantic love and marriage will solve all our problems.
Then, when we marry our "true love," we destroy our love by
expecting too much of it. In the end, our partner can't meet all our
needs, we have left our family and old friends behind, we have lost our
dream and, now, aren't sure how to meet our needs. Research
confirms that marriage isolates women (but not men) from friends,
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