Complex Relationship Quotes

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The relationship of a girl and her favorite novel can be complex indeed.
Andrea Cremer (Nightshade (Nightshade, #1; Nightshade World, #4))
An honorable human relationship – that is, one in which two people have the right to use the word "love" – is a process, delicate, violent, often terrifying to both persons involved, a process of refining the truths they can tell each other. It is important to do this because it breaks down human self-delusion and isolation. It is important to do this because in doing so we do justice to our own complexity. It is important to do this because we can count on so few people to go that hard way with us.
Adrienne Rich (On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose, 1966-1978)
All life is part of a complex relationship in which each is dependent upon the others, taking from, giving to and living with all the rest.
Jacques-Yves Cousteau
In any relationship, there will be frightening spells in which your feelings of love dry up. And when that happens you must remember that the essence of marriage is that it is a covenant, a commitment, a promise of future love. So what do you do? You do the acts of love, despite your lack of feeling. You may not feel tender, sympathetic, and eager to please, but in your actions you must BE tender, understanding, forgiving and helpful. And, if you do that, as time goes on you will not only get through the dry spells, but they will become less frequent and deep, and you will become more constant in your feelings. This is what can happen if you decide to love.
Timothy J. Keller (The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God)
When you notice someone does something toxic the first time, don't wait for the second time before you address it or cut them off. Many survivors are used to the "wait and see" tactic which only leaves them vulnerable to a second attack. As your boundaries get stronger, the wait time gets shorter. You never have justify your intuition.
Shahida Arabi
One of the things that we were trying to do with this show was the complexities of relationships and love. There is both passion and longing and a bittersweet quality to it that is a part of life.
Tim Burton (Tim Burton's Corpse Bride: An Invitation to the Wedding)
Recovery can take place only within then context of relationships; it cannot occur in isolation.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
Parents and children. The simplest relationship in the world and yet the most complex. One generation passes to the next a suitcase filled with jumbled jigsaw pieces from countless puzzles collected over time and says, ‘See what you can make out of these.
Kate Morton (The Clockmaker’s Daughter)
We have probably wondered in our many lonesome moments if there is one corner in this competitive, demanding world where it is safe to be relaxed, to expose ourselves to someone else, and to give unconditionally. It might be very small and hidden, but if this corner exists, it calls for a search through the complexities of our human relationships in order to find it.
Henri J.M. Nouwen
When you share feelings with someone, or secrets, it adds a layer of complexity to even the simplest things.
Paula Stokes (The Art of Lainey (The Art of Lainey, #1))
By developing a contaminated, stigmatized identity, the child victim takes the evil of the abuser into herself and thereby preserves her primary attachments to her parents. Because the inner sense of badness preserves a relationship, it is not readily given up even after the abuse has stopped; rather, it becomes a stable part of the child's personality structure.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
Relationships are complex,” Evelyn says. “People are messy, and love can be ugly. I'm included to always err on the side of compassion.
Taylor Jenkins Reid (The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo)
The symptoms of abuse are there, and the woman usually sees them: the escalating frequency of put-downs. Early generosity turning more and more to selfishness. Verbal explosions when he is irritated or when he doesn’t get his way. Her grievances constantly turned around on her, so that everything is her own fault. His growing attitude that he knows what is good for her better than she does. And, in many relationships, a mounting sense of fear or intimidation. But the woman also sees that her partner is a human being who can be caring and affectionate at times, and she loves him. She wants to figure out why he gets so upset, so that she can help him break his pattern of ups and downs. She gets drawn into the complexities of his inner world, trying to uncover clues, moving pieces around in an attempt to solve an elaborate puzzle.
Lundy Bancroft (Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men)
Love in any relationship, family or an intimate friendship, is only about putting the other person’s needs ahead of your own, and that, my friend, is just as simple and as complex as you make it.
Twinkle Khanna (Mrs Funnybones: She's just like You and a lot like Me)
Both men and women today see marriage not as a way of creating character and community but as a way to reach personal life goals. They are looking for a marriage partner who will 'fulfill their emotional, sexual, and spiritual desires.' And that creates an extreme idealism that in turn leads to a deep pessimism that you will ever find the right person to marry.
Timothy J. Keller (The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God)
I can disagree with your opinion, it turns out, but I can’t disagree with your experience. And once I have a sense of your experience, you and I are in relationship, acknowledging the complexity in each other’s position, listening less guardedly. The difference in our opinions will probably remain intact, but it no longer defines what is possible between us.
Krista Tippett (Becoming Wise Deluxe: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living)
If there is no fate and our interactions depend on such a complex system of chance encounters, what potentially important connections do we fail to make? What life changing relationships or passionate and lasting love affairs are lost to chance?
Simon Pegg (Nerd Do Well)
If you live your life to please everyone else, you will continue to feel frustrated and powerless. This is because what others want may not be good for you. You are not being mean when you say NO to unreasonable demands or when you express your ideas, feelings, and opinions, even if they differ from those of others.
Beverly Engel (The Nice Girl Syndrome: Stop Being Manipulated and Abused -- And Start Standing Up for Yourself)
...Singles, too, must see the penultimate status of marriage. If single Christians don't develop a deeply fulfilling love relationship with Jesus, they will put too much pressure on their DREAM of marriage, and that will create pathology in their lives as well.
Timothy J. Keller (The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God)
Today the network of relationships linking the human race to itself and to the rest of the biosphere is so complex that all aspects affect all others to an extraordinary degree. Someone should be studying the whole system, however crudely that has to be done, because no gluing together of partial studies of a complex nonlinear system can give a good idea of the behavior of the whole.
Murray Gell-Mann
All the green in the planted world consists of these whole, rounded chloroplasts wending their ways in water. If you analyze a molecule of chlorophyll itself, what you get is one hundred thirty-six atoms of hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen arranged in an exact and complex relationship around a central ring. At the ring's center is a single atom of magnesium. Now: If you remove the atom of magnesium and in its exact place put an atom of iron, you get a molecule of hemoglobin. The iron atom combines with all the other atoms to make red blood, the streaming red dots in the goldfish's tail.
Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
My relationship with him was defined by these complex emotions, this mixture of gratitude and resentment.
Otsuichi (Zoo)
First, the physiological symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder have been brought within manageable limits. Second, the person is able to bear the feelings associated with traumatic memories. Third, the person has authority over her memories; she can elect both to remember the trauma and to put memory aside. Fourth, the memory of the traumatic event is a coherent narrative, linked with feeling. Fifth, the person's damaged self-esteem has been restored. Sixth, the person's important relationships have been reestablished. Seventh and finally, the person has reconstructed a coherent system of meaning and belief that encompasses the story of trauma.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
Those dreaming of the perfect match are outnumbered by those who don't really want it at all, though perhaps they can't admit it. After all, our culture makes individual freedom, autonomy and fulfillment the very highest values, and thoughtful people know deep down that any love relationship at all means the loss of all three. You can say, 'I want someone who will accept me just as I am,' but in your heart of hearts you know that you are not perfect, that there are plenty of things about you that need to be changed, and that anyone who gets to know you up close and personal will want to change them.
Timothy J. Keller (The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God)
Choosing to love, in spite of all its complexities, is the only freedom there is.
Chriscinthia Blount
Marriage is so much like salvation and our relationship with Christ that Paul says you can’t understand marriage without looking at the gospel.
Timothy J. Keller (The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God)
Be transparent. Let's build a community that allows hard questions and honest conversations so we can stir up transformation in one another.
Germany Kent
Changes in Relationship with others: It is especially hard to trust other people if you have been repeatedly abused, abandoned or betrayed as a child. Mistrust makes it very difficult to make friends, and to be able to distinguish between good and bad intentions in other people. Some parts do not seem to trust anyone, while other parts may be so vulnerable and needy that they do not pay attention to clues that perhaps a person is not trustworthy. Some parts like to be close to others or feel a desperate need to be close and taken care of, while other parts fear being close or actively dislike people. Some parts are afraid of being in relationships while others are afraid of being rejected or criticized. This naturally sets up major internal as well as relational conflicts.
Suzette Boon (Coping with Trauma-Related Dissociation: Skills Training for Patients and Therapists)
If he could walk across the room and touch her he would be sane. But between them lay a treacherous and complex journey. It was a very wide world.
Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient)
Compassionate leaders honor the complexity of human relationships, nurture authenticity and create common grounds for blooming great ideas of individuals.
Amit Ray (Mindfulness Meditation for Corporate Leadership and Management)
Perfectionism. My perfectionism arose as an attempt to gain safety and support in my dangerous family. Perfection is a self-persecutory myth. I do not have to be perfect to be safe or loved in the present. I am letting go of relationships that require perfection. I have a right to make mistakes. Mistakes
Pete Walker (Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving)
This principle - that your spouse should be capable of becoming your best friend - is a game changer when you address the question of compatibility in a prospective spouse. If you think of marriage largely in terms of erotic love, then compatibility means sexual chemistry and appeal. If you think of marriage largely as a way to move into the kind of social status in life you desire, then compatibility means being part of the desired social class, and perhaps common tastes and aspirations for lifestyle. The problem with these factors is that they are not durable. Physical attractiveness will wane, no matter how hard you work to delay its departure. And socio-economic status unfortunately can change almost overnight. When people think they have found compatibility based on these things, they often make the painful discovery that they have built their relationship on unstable ground. A woman 'lets herself go' or a man loses his job, and the compatibility foundation falls apart.
Timothy J. Keller (The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God)
The price of admission to a relationship with an extreme narcissist is self-annihilation. One of my clients quipped: “Narcissists don’t have relationships; they take prisoners.
Pete Walker (Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving)
Simon's relationship with Meg was too complex for anything as simple as sex.
Anne Bishop (Murder of Crows (The Others, #2))
It wasn’t because you weren’t beautiful, talented, funny, creative or had everything in common. It was because some men prefer plain vanilla ice cream. It’s predictable and a safe choice. Confident and adventurous men prefer the complexity and layers of a sundae, even the ones sprinkled with a little bit of nuts on top.
Shannon L. Alder
It’s easy to weigh personal experiences against other people’s relationships, but we can’t see the ins and outs and complexities of other couples the way that we understand and live through our own.
Krista Ritchie (Fuel the Fire (Calloway Sisters #3))
The reason that marriage is so painful and yet wonderful is because it is a reflection of the gospel, which is painful and wonderful at once. The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope. This is the only kind of relationship that will really transform us.
Timothy J. Keller (The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God)
I could probably write a book on the complexities of our relationship, on my constantly shifting emotions, my ever-changing mind, but let's just say that nothing is ever as black and white as it seems, that love is not only blind but pathetic too. It can make us into victims and fools, reduce us to the kind of people who infuriate us on soap operas, the kind you want to scream at for allowing the creep or bitch to walk all over them.
J.M. Morris (Fiddleback)
Even if I tried to tell myself that I had given him nothing, that the children were mostly mine, that they had remained within the radius of my body, subject to my care, still I couldn't avoid thinking what aspects of his nature inevitably lay hidden in them. Mario would explode suddenly from inside their bones, now, over the days, over the years, in ways that were more and more visible. How much of him would I be forced to love forever, without even realizing it, simply by virtue of the fact that I loved them? What a complex foamy mixture a couple is. Even if the relationship shatters and ends, it continues to act in secret pathways, it doesn't die, it doesn't want to die.
Elena Ferrante (The Days of Abandonment)
So, here we are, all of us poor bewildered darlings, wandering adrift in a universe too big and too complex for us, clasping and ricochetting off other people too different and too perplexing for us, and seeking to satisfy myriad, shifting, vague needs and desires, both mean and exalted. And sometimes we mesh. Don't we? - Attributed to James Flynn, Ph.D.
Carl R. Rogers (On Encounter Groups)
Recovery can take place only within then context of relationships; it cannot occur in isolation. In her renewed connection with other people, the survivor re-creates the psychological facilities that were damaged or deformed by the traumatic experience. These faculties include the basic operations of trust, autonomy, initiative, competence, identity, and intimacy. Just as these capabilities are formed in relationships with other people, they must be reformed in such relationships. The first principle of recovery is empowerment of the survivor. She must be the author and arbiter of her own recovery. Others may offer advice, support, assistance, affection, and care, but not cure. Many benevolent and well-intentioned attempts to assist the survivor founder because this basic principle of empowerment is not observed. No intervention that takes power away from the survivor can possibly foster her recovery, no matter how much it appears to be in her immediate best interest.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
Theirs had been a complex relationship, two people who had been bound by disappointments and resentments the way others were bound by love. Helen
Lisa Kleypas (Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels, #2))
Complex PTSD consists of of six symptom clusters, which also have been described in terms of dissociation of personality. Of course, people who receive this diagnosis often also suffer from other problems as well, and as noted earlier, diagnostic categories may overlap significantly. The symptom clusters are as follows: Alterations in Regulation of Affect ( Emotion ) and Impulses Changes in Relationship with others Somatic Symptoms Changes in Meaning Changes in the perception of Self Changes in Attention and Consciousness
Suzette Boon (Coping with Trauma-Related Dissociation: Skills Training for Patients and Therapists)
A relationship is not a death row pardon. Being alone is not the end. Your own head is a beautiful place to visit. The architecture of your thoughts deserves recognition for its vast complexity and beauty.
Emm Roy (The First Step)
Sociologists argue that in contemporary Western society the marketplace has become so dominant that the consumer model increasingly characterizes most relationships that historically were covenantal, including marriage. Today we stay connected to people only as long as they are meeting our particular needs at an acceptable cost to us. When we cease to make a profit - that is, when the relationship appears to require more love and affirmation from us than we are getting back - then we "cut our loses" and drop the relationship. This has also been called "commodification," a process by which social relationships are reduced to economic exchange relationships, and so the very idea of "covenant" is disappearing in our culture. Covenant is therefore a concept increasingly foreign to us, and yet the Bible says it is the essence of marriage.
Timothy J. Keller (The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God)
It’s a tricky art, working with them in their purest form,” she mused. “Simultaneously simple yet infinitely complex.” It sounded like my relationship with Adrian.
Richelle Mead (The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4))
Parents and children. The simplest relationship in the world and yet the most complex. One generation passes to the next a suitcase filled with jumbled jigsaw pieces from countless puzzles collected over time and says, “See what you can make out of these.
Kate Morton (The Clockmaker's Daughter)
In this climate of profoundly disrupted relationships the child faces a formidable developmental task. She must find a way to form primary attachments to caretakers who are either dangerous or, from her perspective, negligent. She must find a way to develop a sense of basic trust and safely with caretakers who are untrustworthy and unsafe. She must develop a sense of self in relation to others who are helpless, uncaring or cruel. She must develop a capacity for bodily self-regulation in an environinent in which her body is at the disposal of others' needs as well as a capacity for self-soothing in an environment without solace. She must develop the capacity for initiative in an environment which demands that she bring her will into complete conformity with that of her abuser. And ultimately, she must develop a capacity for intimacy out of an environment where all intimate relationships are corrupt, and an identity out of an environment which defines her as a whore and a slave.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
Being properly mature involves a frank, unfrightened relationship with one’s own darkness, complexity and ambition. It involves accepting that not everything that makes us happy will please others or be honoured as especially ‘nice’, but it can be important to explore and hold on to it nevertheless.
The School of Life (PUK Rights) (The School of Life: An Emotional Education)
In the 1890s, when Freud was in the dawn of his career, he was struck by how many of his female patients were revealing childhood incest victimization to him. Freud concluded that child sexual abuse was one of the major causes of emotional disturbances in adult women and wrote a brilliant and humane paper called “The Aetiology of Hysteria.” However, rather than receiving acclaim from his colleagues for his ground-breaking insights, Freud met with scorn. He was ridiculed for believing that men of excellent reputation (most of his patients came from upstanding homes) could be perpetrators of incest. Within a few years, Freud buckled under this heavy pressure and recanted his conclusions. In their place he proposed the “Oedipus complex,” which became the foundation of modern psychology. According to this theory any young girl actually desires sexual contact with her father, because she wants to compete with her mother to be the most special person in his life. Freud used this construct to conclude that the episodes of incestuous abuse his clients had revealed to him had never taken place; they were simply fantasies of events the women had wished for when they were children and that the women had come to believe were real. This construct started a hundred-year history in the mental health field of blaming victims for the abuse perpetrated on them and outright discrediting of women’s and children’s reports of mistreatment by men. Once abuse was denied in this way, the stage was set for some psychologists to take the view that any violent or sexually exploitative behaviors that couldn’t be denied—because they were simply too obvious—should be considered mutually caused. Psychological literature is thus full of descriptions of young children who “seduce” adults into sexual encounters and of women whose “provocative” behavior causes men to become violent or sexually assaultive toward them. I wish I could say that these theories have long since lost their influence, but I can’t. A psychologist who is currently one of the most influential professionals nationally in the field of custody disputes writes that women provoke men’s violence by “resisting their control” or by “attempting to leave.” She promotes the Oedipus complex theory, including the claim that girls wish for sexual contact with their fathers. In her writing she makes the observation that young girls are often involved in “mutually seductive” relationships with their violent fathers, and it is on the basis of such “research” that some courts have set their protocols. The Freudian legacy thus remains strong.
Lundy Bancroft (Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men)
I don’t think the world should assume that we are all natural mothers. And it does. I don’t think it’s such a big thing anymore, but the idea that you sacrifice everything for your children—it’s a load of rubbish. It leads to very destructive living and thinking, and it has a much worse effect on children than if you go out and live your own life. You’re meant to adore your children at all times, and you’re not meant to have a bad thought about them. That’s facism, you know, and it’s elevating the child at the expense of the mother. It’s like your life is not valid except in fulfilling this child’s needs. What about all your needs, your desires, your wants, your problems? They’re going to come out anyway, so it’s better they’re acknowledged straight off. Having said that, I really do believe that children have to be protected. They have to be loved. Somewhere between the two, I think, something needs to be sorted out. The relationship between parent and child is so difficult and so complex. There’s every emotion there. We mostly only acknowledge the good ones. If we were allowed to talk about the other ones, maybe it would alleviate them in some way
Marina Carr
Some days I find myself convinced that I admire her more than anyone I've ever met, and other days I think of her as a liar and a cheat. I think Evelyn would be rather content with that, actually.
Taylor Jenkins Reid (The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo)
There are significant relationships, of course, between wanting things and caring about them..The notion of caring is in large part constructed out of the notion of desire. Caring about something may be, in the end, nothing more than a certain complex mode of wanting it. However, simply attributing desire to a person does not in itself convey that the person cares about the object he desires.
Harry G. Frankfurt (The Reasons of Love)
Abolition is not some disstant future but something we create in every moment when we say no to the traps of empire and yes to the nourishing possibilities dreamed of and practiced by our ancestors and friends. Every time we insist on accessible and affirming health care, safe and quality education, meaningful and secure employment, loving and healing relationships, and being our full and whole selves, we are doing abolition. Abolition is about breaking down things that oppress and building up things that nourish. Abolition is the practice of transformation in the here and now and the ever after.
Eric A. Stanley (Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex)
My ideal relationship with a book is that I will read it for the first time entirely unspoiled. I won’t know anything whatsoever about it, it will be wonderful, it will be exciting and layered and complex and I will be excited by it, and I will re-read it every year or so for the rest of my life, discovering more about it every time, and every time remembering the circumstances in which I first read it.
Jo Walton (What Makes This Book So Great)
We don't really want to get what we think that we want. I am married to a wife and relationship with her are cold and I have a mistress. And all the time I dream oh my god if my wife were to disappear - I'm not a murderer but let us say- that it will open up a new life with the mistress.Then, for some reason, the wife goes away, you lose the mistress. You thought this is all I want, when you have it there, you turn out it was a much more complex situation. It was not to live with the mistress, but to keep her as a distance as on object of desire about which you dream. This is not an excessive example, I claim this is how things function. We don't really want what we think we desire
Slavoj Žižek
There are so many different ways for someone to say your name. I’m not sure I ever realized that before I met Jesse. Prior to him, it was just Rose calling out to me with love and affection or Gideon relaying his quiet approval or disapproval. Crisp, clear notes. When Jesse says my name, it’s a chord, a mash-up of several intense emotions all reflected in two syllables.
Paula Stokes (Ferocious (Vicarious, #2))
There is often a close relationship between emotion and physical sensation. Physical sensations in the body often co-occur with feelings. Moreover, sensations of tightness and tension can develop as a defense against feelings. As unexpressed feelings accumulate, a greater degree of muscular tension is necessary to keep them under wraps. A child who is repeatedly punished for emoting learns to be afraid of inner emotional experience and tightens [armors] the musculature of her body in an effort to hold feelings in and to banish them from awareness. Holding your breath is a further manifestation of armoring. It is an especially common way of keeping feelings at bay, as breathing naturally brings your awareness down to the level of feeling.
Pete Walker (Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving)
I’m not really interested in the black and white, the 'goodies and baddies.' I find the complexity of the gray areas more compelling, more intriguing. As I have said before, there are angels and demons in all of us, and I am interested in the relationship between the two within the ‘ordinary’ person.
Jacqueline Winspear
Few of us have a healthy sense of boundaries. We either have rigid boundaries (“No one is ever going to get close to me”) or weak boundaries (“I’ll be anything anyone wants me to be”). Rigid boundaries lead to distance and isolation; weak boundaries, to over-dependency and sometimes, further abuse. The ideal is to develop flexible boundaries, boundaries which can vary depending on the circumstances.
Laura Davis (Allies in Healing: When the Person You Love Is a Survivor of Child Sexual Abuse)
This is one of God’s great purposes in marriage: to picture the relationship between Christ and His redeemed people forever!
Timothy J. Keller (The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God)
If it is your fault that your mother is miserable, it becomes a potentially fixable affront. Taking blame means that at least the hope of love is still there-all you have to do is deserve it.
Victoria Secunda (When You and Your Mother Can't Be Friends: Resolving the Most Complicated Relationship of Your Life)
Psychological patriarchy is a "dance of contempt," a perverse form of connection that replaces true intimacy with complex, covert layers of dominance and submission, collusion and manipulation. It is the unacknowledged paradigm of relationships that has suffused Western civilization generation after generation, deforming both sexes, and destroying the passionate bond between them.
bell hooks (The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love)
You shall not go down twice to the same river, nor can you go home again. That he knew; indeed it was the basis of his view of the world. Yet from that acceptance of transience he evolved his vast theory, wherein what is most changeable is shown to be fullest of eternity, and your relationship to the river, and the river's relationship to you and to itself, turns out to be at once more complex and more reassuring than a mere lack of identity. You can go home again, the General Temporal Theory asserts, so long as you understand that home is a place where you have never been.
Ursula K. Le Guin (The Dispossessed (Hainish Cycle, #6))
The assumption is that life doesn't need to be navigated with lessons. You can just do it intuitively. After all, you only need to achieve autonomy from your parents, find a moderately satisfying job, form a relationship, perhaps raise some children, watch the onset of mortality in your parents' generation and eventually in your own, until one day a fatal illness starts gnawing at your innards and you calmly go to the grave, shut the coffin and are done with the self-evident business of life.
Alain de Botton
The search for fusion regularly gives rise to various symptoms. Our own psyche knows what is right for us, knows what is developmentally demanded. When we use the Other to avoid our own task, we may be able to fool ourselves for awhile, but the soul will not be mocked. It will express its protest in physical ailments, activated complexes and disturbing dreams. The soul wishes its fullest expression; it is here, as Rumi expressed it, 'for its own joy.' Let's continue the fantasy of finding an Other willing to carry our individuation task for us. Well, in time, that Other would grow to resent us, even though he or she was a willing signatory to the silent contract. That resentment would leak into the relationship and corrode it. No one is angrier that someone doing 'the right thing' and secretly wishing for something else.
James Hollis (Eden Project: In Search of the Magical Other (Studies in Jungian Psychology By Jungian Analysts, 79))
To Graduate from the "School of Life" you need to have met the following criteria: Found your life purpose, know how the egoic mind operates, detached yourself from the egoic mind, lived in essence, been in essence in relationships, overcame duality, trusted life, became awake, reprogrammed beliefs, handled anger, forgiven everyone, loved yourself, dealt with fears, overcome anger you had with God/you, cleared your emotional complexes & negativity, let go of the past, dealt with difficult relationships and mastered loving all creations of the universe.
Marina G. Roussou
We cannot even imagine the complex forces behind every event that occurs in our lives. You never know how and when any life experience will reappear. You never know when a coincidence will lead to the opportunity of a lifetime.
Deepak Chopra (Synchrodestiny: Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence to Create Miracles)
People hear that you grew up religious, and they can’t imagine you’d have a complex relationship with faith. If you believe one part, you must believe it all. But who gets more chances to see the absurdities than the devout? An answer that’s satisfying on Sunday becomes contradictory by Wednesday night. Belief is a wrestling match that lasts a lifetime.
Victor LaValle (Big Machine)
What a complex foamy mixture a couple is. Even if the relationship shatters and ends, it continues to act in secret pathways, it doesn't die, it doesn't want to die.
Elena Ferrante (The Days of Abandonment)
if you do nothing but urge people to “look out for number one,” you will be setting them up for future failure in any relationship, especially marriage.
Timothy J. Keller (The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God)
Another reason it's dangerous to acknowledge that you were unloved is that it implies the possibility that your mother may have been right-you are unlovable.
Victoria Secunda (When You and Your Mother Can't Be Friends: Resolving the Most Complicated Relationship of Your Life)
Your relationship with your brother will be, in many ways, the most complex and bewildering of all the interpersonal connections you will form. An older brother is both authority and peer, friend and bitter enemy, partner and rival, and will play these contradictory roles to varying degrees throughout your life. At this point the rivalry is most prominent, owing to the difference in age and the resentment your brother feels toward you monopolizing your mother's attention. Try to remember, in the face of the poor treatment you receive at his hands, that more than a pure desire to cause you harm or pain, this is an effort on his part to win back some of that attention, even if it's only through being scolded and punished.
Ron Currie Jr. (Everything Matters!)
Even after Sonja graduated secondary school at the top of her class and matriculated to the city university biology department, their parents found more to love in Natasha. Sonja's gifts were too complex to be understood, and therefore less desirable.
Anthony Marra (A Constellation of Vital Phenomena)
Playing nice" comes naturally when our neuroception detects safety and promotes physiological states that support social behavior. However, pro-social behavior will not occur when our neuroception misreads the environmental cues and triggers physiological states that support defensive strategies. After all, "playing nice" is not appropriate or adaptive behavior in dangerous or life-threatening situations. In these situations, humans - like other mammals - react with more primitive neurobiological defense systems. To create relationships, humans must subdue these defensive reactions to engage, attach, and form lasting social bonds. Humans have adaptive neurobehavioral systems for both pro-social and defensive behaviors.
Stephen W. Porges (The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation)
Polyamory can feel threatening because it upsets our fairy-tale assumption that the right partner will keep us safe from change. Polyamory introduces the prospect of chaos and uncertainty into what's supposed to be a straightforward progression to bliss. But a healthy relationship must first of all be resilient, able to respond to the changes and complexity life brings. Nor is happiness actually a state of being. It is a process, a side effect of doing other things. The fairy tale tells us that with the right partner, happiness just happens. But happiness is something we re-create every day. And it comes more from our outlook than from the things around us.
Franklin Veaux (More Than Two: A practical guide to ethical polyamory)
Science seeks to understand complex processes by reducing them to their essential actions and studying the interplay of those actions--and this reductionist approach extends to art as well. Indeed, my focus on one school of art, consisting of only three major representatives, is an example of this. Some people are concerned that a reductionist analysis will diminish our fascination with art, that it will trivialize art and deprive it of its special force, thereby reducing the beholder's share to an ordinary brain function. I argue to the contrary, that be encouraging a focus on one mental process at a time, reductionism can expand our vision and give us new insights into the nature and creation of art. These new insights will enable us to perceive unexpected aspects of art that derive from the relationships between the biological and psychological phenomena.
Eric R. Kandel
We have a tendency to become detached observers rather than participants. There might also be a sense of disassembling a complex, flowing process to focus on a small part of it. If we expand our focus to include emerging, one of the first changes we may notice is the bodily sense of being in the midst of something, of constant motion, lack of clarity (in the left-hemisphere sense), and unpredictability.
Bonnie Badenoch (The Heart of Trauma: Healing the Embodied Brain in the Context of Relationships)
When we hold an ideal of friendship in our minds, believing it’s attainable, we hold a standard above the heads of real women God has placed in our lives, and then we wonder why we’re constantly disappointed by the realities, complexities, and difficulties in our relationships. That
Christine Hoover (Messy Beautiful Friendship: Finding and Nurturing Deep and Lasting Relationships)
Though many of my arguments will be coolly analytical — that an acknowledgment of human nature does not, logically speaking, imply the negative outcomes so many people fear — I will not try to hide my belief that they have a positive thrust as well. "Man will become better when you show him what he is like," wrote Chekhov, and so the new sciences of human nature can help lead the way to a realistic, biologically informed humanism. They expose the psychological unity of our species beneath the superficial differences of physical appearance and parochial culture. They make us appreciate the wondrous complexity of the human mind, which we are apt to take for granted precisely because it works so well. They identify the moral intuitions that we can put to work in improving our lot. They promise a naturalness in human relationships, encouraging us to treat people in terms of how they do feel rather than how some theory says they ought to feel. They offer a touchstone by which we can identify suffering and oppression wherever they occur, unmasking the rationalizations of the powerful. They give us a way to see through the designs of self-appointed social reformers who would liberate us from our pleasures. They renew our appreciation for the achievements of democracy and of the rule of law. And they enhance the insights of artists and philosophers who have reflected on the human condition for millennia.
Steven Pinker (The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature)
Linguists are no different from any other people who spend more than nineteen hours a day pondering the complexities of grammar and its relationship to practically everything else in order to prove that language is so inordinately complicated that it is impossible in principle for people to talk.
Ronald W. Langacker
Every relationship is different.” It’s easy to weigh personal experiences against other people’s relationships, but we can’t see the ins and outs and complexities of other couples the way that we understand and live through our own.
Krista Ritchie (Fuel the Fire (Calloway Sisters #3))
I'm very glad you asked me that, Mrs Rawlinson. The term `holistic' refers to my conviction that what we are concerned with here is the fundamental interconnectedness of all things. I do not concern myself with such petty things as fingerprint powder, telltale pieces of pocket fluff and inane footprints. I see the solution to each problem as being detectable in the pattern and web of the whole. The connections between causes and effects are often much more subtle and complex than we with our rough and ready understanding of the physical world might naturally suppose, Mrs Rawlinson. "Let me give you an example. If you go to an acupuncturist with toothache he sticks a needle instead into your thigh. Do you know why he does that, Mrs Rawlinson? No, neither do I, Mrs Rawlinson, but we intend to find out. A pleasure talking to you, Mrs Rawlinson. Goodbye.
Douglas Adams (Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Dirk Gently, #1))
We must concern ourselves not with what is beyond life, or what is life, or what is the purpose of life, but rather with the understanding of this complex existence of everyday life, because that is the foundation upon which we must build.
Jiddu Krishnamurti (Relationships to Oneself, to Others, to the World)
What, then, is marriage for? It is for helping each other to become our future glory-selves, the new creations that God will eventually make us. The common horizon husband and wife look toward is the Throne, and the holy, spotless, and blameless nature we will have. I can think of no more powerful common horizon than that, and that is why putting a Christian friendship at the heart of a marriage relationship can lift it to a level that no other vision for marriage approaches.
Timothy J. Keller (The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God)
After the sureties of youth there sets in a period of intense and intolerable complexity. With the soda-jerker this period is so short as to be almost negligible. Men higher in the scale hold out longer in the attempt to preserve the ultimate niceties of relationship, to retain "impractical" ideas of integrity. But by the late twenties the business has grown too intricate, and what has hitherto been imminent and confusing has become gradually remote and dim. Routine comes down like twilight on a harsh landscape, softening it until it is tolerable. The complexity is too subtle, too varied; the values are changing utterly with each lesion of vitality; it has begun to appear that we can learn nothing from the past with which to face the future - so we cease to be impulsive, convincible men, interested in what is ethically true by fine margins, we substitute rules of conduct for rules of integrity, we value safety above romance, we become, quite unconsciously, pragmatic. It is left to the few to be persistently concerned with the nuances of relationships - and even this few only in certain hours especially set aside for the task.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Beautiful and Damned)
Most of human behavior and its relationship to DNA is still undiscovered territory. We know what genes make rats afraid of eagles, and we know why birds fly south in the winter, but the complexities of human nature are still a mystery to science.
Emily Suvada (This Mortal Coil (This Mortal Coil, #1))
Crystal said, “Okay, sweetie. I’m on my way. Give me five minutes to put on a garter belt under my raincoat. I’ll be there in forty minutes.” She also asked Brett to wait downstairs for her in the rain with an umbrella, so she wouldn’t get drenched walking to the front of his apartment complex. He waited and waited and waited. Three hours later, it occurred to him like a stunning revelation: No booty cometh.
Sherry Argov (Why Men Love Bitches: From Doormat to Dreamgirl-A Woman's Guide to Holding Her Own in a Relationship)
Risk is the ultimate differentiator. I have always had a deep and complex relationship with it. I am not a reckless person, but taking risks is really the only way to consistently achieve above-average returns—in life as well as in investments. My father proved that when he left Poland. I am probably more comfortable with risk than most people. That’s because I do as much as I can to understand it. To me, risk-taking rests on the ability to see all the variables and then identify the ones that will make or break you.
Sam Zell (Am I Being Too Subtle?: Straight Talk From a Business Rebel)
sharing information would help build relationships and the two together would kindle a new, coherent, adaptive entity that could win the fight.
Stanley McChrystal (Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World)
Those three things - autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward - are, most people agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying. It is not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It's whether our work fulfills us. If I offered you a choice between being an architect for $75,000 a year and working in a tollbooth every day for the rest of your life for $100,000 a year, which would you take? I'm guessing the former, because there is complexity, autonomy, and a relationship between effort and reward in doing creative work, and that's worth more to most us us than money.
Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers: The Story of Success)
Their experiences led them to create assumptions about others and related beliefs about themselves such as "this is my lot in life" and "this is what I deserve". Some also learned that personal safety and happiness are of lower priority than survival and that it may be safer to give in than to actively fight off additional abuse and victimization. When abuse is perpetrated by intimates, it is additionally confounding in terms of attachment, betrayal, and trust. Victims may be unable to leave or to fight back due to strong, albeit insecure and disorganized, attachment and misplaced loyalty to abusers. They may have also experienced trauma bonding over the course of their victimization, that is, a bond of specialness with or dependence on the abuser.
Christine A. Courtois (Treatment of Complex Trauma: A Sequenced, Relationship-Based Approach)
Part of what trips us up is that we expect life and relationships to be easy. There is nothing easy about life, and relationships especially seem to stir up every hidden demon, every dusty complex, every latent unshed tear from our own life and our parents’ histories hidden away in the attics of their psyches. Relationships ask us to grow in ways that nothing else does or can.
Sheryl Paul (The Wisdom of Anxiety: How Worry and Intrusive Thoughts Are Gifts to Help You Heal)
Projects become complex because we try to solve it alone. Use your working relationships to help you problem solve. Your solution may be as easy as asking your online community for help and direction.
Lisa A. Mininni
The ancient art of alchemy shows a way: Pay attention to your deep and complex interior life, become more sensitive about your relationships, consider your past thoughtfully, and use your imagination at its full power. Work from the ground up toward finding the work that will make your life worthwhile. The
Thomas Moore (A Life at Work: The Joy of Discovering What You Were Born to Do)
Studies have shown consistently that while IQ bears a fairly close relationship to accomplishment among men, it bears essentially no relationship at all to accomplishment among women. (...) The adult occupations of the women, whose childhood IQ's were in the same range as the men's, were for the most part undistinguished. n fact, two-thirds of the women with genius-level IQ's of 170 or above were occupied as housewives or office workers. The waste of women's talent is a brain drain that affects the entire country.
Colette Dowling (The Cinderella Complex: Women's Hidden Fear of Independence)
Is six a.m. too early to watch The Bachelor and mock all the giggly, desperate women?" "Go for it. Though I bet it'd work better as a drinking game," Laurel said. "One shot for the flirty arm touch. Chug if they strip and bum-rush the pool." Anne hit play. "Like they'd get their hair wet." Laurel stared at the screen, laughed at Anne's comments but felt another weird pang upset her insides. "Would you say this show makes something incredibly complex--you know, relationships--into something mind-numbingly vapid? Or does it make something actually rather simple into a big fucking circus?" "Both. That's why I love it." "I couldn't stand competing for a man like that," Laurel murmured. "I don't have the right...programming for it. Like to fight like that. Some people get an adrenaline rush and they're like foosh, give me somebody to beat down. I just, like curl up into a ball and want to hide." "I'm somewhere in the middle," Anne said. "I'm like a ninja. I'll like, come out of my shadowy hiding space and beat you down, bitches. You won't even see me.
Cara McKenna (Willing Victim (Flynn and Laurel, #1))
We're all creatures of complex needs and desires. The only certain thing in a romantic relationship is that you will both change, and one morning you will wake up, go the mirror, and see a stranger. You will have what you wanted, and discover you want something different. You think you know who you are, and then you'll surprise yourself. In all the choices in front of you, Restless, one thing is clear: love is not something to be thrown away lightly. There was something about this man, beyond coincidences of timing and opportunity, that drew you to him. Before you give up on the marriage . . . give him a chance. Be honest with him about the needs that aren't being met, the dreams you want to pursue. Let him find out who you really are. Let him help you in the work of opening that door, so the two of you can finally meet after all these years. How do you know he can't satisfy your emotional needs? How can you be sure he doesn't long for magic and passion just as you do? Can you state with absolute certainty that you know everything there is to know about him? There are rewards to be gained from the effort, even if it fails. And it will take courage as well as patience, Restless. Try everything you can . . . fight to stay with a man who loves you. Just for now, put aside the question of what you might have had with someone else, and focus on what you can have, what you do have, at this very moment. I hope you'll find new questions, and that your husband might be the answer.
Lisa Kleypas
It is possible to feel you are “madly in love” with someone, when it is really just an attraction to someone who can meet your needs and address the insecurities and doubts you have about yourself. In that kind of relationship, you will demand and control rather than serve and give. The only way to avoid sacrificing your partner’s joy and freedom on the altar of your need is to turn to the ultimate lover of your soul. He voluntarily sacrificed himself on the cross, taking what you deserved for your sins against God and others. On the cross he was forsaken and experienced the lostness of hell, but he did it all for us. Because of the loving sacrifice of the Son, you can know the heaven of the Father’s love through the work of the Spirit. Jesus truly “built a heaven in hell’s despair.” And fortified with the love of God in your soul, you likewise can now give yourself in loving service to your spouse. “We love—because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
Timothy J. Keller (The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God)
Borders are about claims to land, but as soon as you draw one you limit yourself. Every border is also an act of denial, an acknowledgment of another’s rights. By contrast, the claim to want no borders, much prized by corporate executives and anticapitalist activists alike, is a claim to the whole world. Borders have a far more ambivalent and complex relationship to territory; they combine both arrogance and modesty, both demand and denial.
Alastair Bonnett (Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and Other Inscrutable Geographies)
Slow writing is a meditative act: slowing down to understand our relationship to our writing, slowing down to determine our authentic subjects, slowing down to write complex works, slowing down to study our literary antecedents.
Louise DeSalvo (The Art of Slow Writing: Reflections on Time, Craft, and Creativity)
I mean she's not exactly a complex figure. You can look at her and pretty much imagine what that whole relationship was like. She's like a dog. One bit of kindness and she's so grateful she forgets about what happened a minute ago.
Jonathan Dee
Identify your Radar – it’s your brain functioning optimally; not a vague intuition or cosmic sixth sense. Train your Radar in key areas like: evaluating people, personal safety, healthy relationships, physical and mental well-being, money and credit cards, career choice, how to get organized. Meet the Radar Jammers. They have the power to turn down or turn off our clear thinking Radars.
Some are well known: alcohol and drugs, peer pressure, infatuation, sleep deprivation.
Others are surprising: showing off, fake complexity, anger, unthinking religions, the need for speed, dangerous personality disorders, and even fast food!
Learn reasonable approaches and specific techniques to deal with them all.
C.B. Brooks
Domination and submission can be healthy traits in an environment of trust. But superiority complex in man and inferiority complex in woman forms a toxic circle. One becomes oppressor, the other becomes manipulative. Both harm each other.
Shunya
As I discussed in the previous chapter, attachment researchers have shown that our earliest caregivers don't only feed us, dress us, and comfort us when we are upset; they shape the way our rapidly growing brain perceives reality. Our interactions with our caregivers convey what is safe and what is dangerous: whom we can count on and who will let us down; what we need to do to get our needs met. This information is embodied in the warp and woof of our brain circuitry and forms the template of how we think of ourselves and the world around us. These inner maps are remarkably stable across time. This doesn‘t mean, however, that our maps can‘t be modified by experience. A deep love relationship, particularly during adolescence, when the brain once again goes through a period of exponential change, truly can transform us. So can the birth of a child, as our babies often teach us how to love. Adults who were abused or neglected as children can still learn the beauty of intimacy and mutual trust or have a deep spiritual experience that opens them to a larger universe. In contrast, previously uncontaminated childhood maps can become so distorted by an adult rape or assault that all roads are rerouted into terror or despair. These responses are not reasonable and therefore cannot be changed simply by reframing irrational beliefs.
Bessel van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma)
Certaines relations harmonieuses se créent et durent grâce à un système complexe de menues contre-vérités, de renoncements, une espèce de ballet complice d'attitudes et de postures qui peut se résumer dans un proverbe jamais assez cité, ou plutôt une sentence, cette désignation lui convenant beaucoup mieux, Toi et moi nous savons, mais tais-toi et je me tairai. (ch. 5)
José Saramago (The History of the Siege of Lisbon)
We want desperately to believe that every mother falls in love with her baby at first sight and that the complexity of relationships, so evident elsewhere as part of the human condition, is totally absent from the connection between mother and child.
Peg Streep (Mean Mothers: Overcoming the Legacy of Hurt)
But the gospel, brought home to your heart by the Spirit, can make you happy enough to be humble, giving you an internal fullness that frees you to be generous with the other even when you are not getting the satisfaction you want out of the relationship. Without the help of the Spirit, without a continual refilling of your soul’s tank with the glory and love of the Lord, such submission to the interests of the other is virtually impossible to accomplish for any length of time without becoming resentful.
Timothy J. Keller (The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God)
You learn a lot about relationships when your job, in some ways, is to break them up. But the truth is, almost every relationship has breaking points. Every relationship has fissures and cracks. That doesn’t mean it’s meaningless or bad or even wrong. We know that everything in our lives is complex and gray. Yet we somehow expect our relationships to never be anything but simple and pure.
Harlan Coben (Missing You)
Falling for someone romantically is more complex. Many of the old classic languages refer to three different types of love or affection. Roughly translated, they include general, brotherly and sexual love. When all three are present, a relationship is indeed rich.
Nicholas Boothman
In fact, when we listen to the church today, at least in the West, we are often left with impression that Christianity actually has very little to do with truth. Christianity is only about feeling better about ourselves, about leaping over our difficulties, about being more satisfied, about have better relationships, about getting on with our mothers-in-law, about understanding teenage rebellion, about coping with our unreasonable bosses, about finding greater sexual satisfaction, about getting rich, about receiving our own private miracles, and much else besides. It is about everything except truth. And yet this truth, personally embodied in Christ, gives us a place to stand in order to deal with the complexities of life, such as broken relations, teenage rebellion, and job insecurities.
David F. Wells
As infants, we see the world in parts. There is the good—the things that feed and nourish us. There is the bad—the things that frustrate or deny us. As children mature, they come to see the world in more complex ways, realizing, for example, that beyond black and white, there are shades of gray. The same mother who feeds us may sometimes have no milk. Over time, we transform a collection of parts into a comprehension of wholes.4 With this integration, we learn to tolerate disappointment and ambiguity. And we learn that to sustain realistic relationships, one must accept others in their complexity. When we imagine a robot as a true companion, there is no need to do any of this work.
Sherry Turkle (Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other)
Ours was a relationship of small talk. We'd never stayed awake long into the night hoping to find in that nocturnal physical conversation a connection of minds. We hadn't stared into each others eyes because if eyes are the window to the soul it would be a little rude and embarrassing to look in. We'd created a ring-road relationship, circumventing raw emotions and complex feelings, so that our central selves were strangers.
Rosamund Lupton (Sister)
Semanticist Wendell Johnson pointed out that we create many problems for ourselves by using static language to express or capture a reality that is ever changing: “Our language is an imperfect instrument created by ancient and ignorant men. It is an animistic language that invites us to talk about stability and constants, about similarities and normal and kinds, about magical transformations, quick cures, simple problems, and final solutions. Yet the world we try to symbolize with this language is a world of process, change, differences, dimensions, functions, relationships, growths, interactions, developing, learning, coping, complexity. And the mismatch of our ever-changing world and our relatively static language forms is part of our problem.
Marshall B. Rosenberg (Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life)
Whatever sex is, and it is at least a profound mystery, is easily misused. The primary psychological purpose of sex for those men who spend their lives in the cold, cruel world, and whose relationship with their own anima is frigid, is to reconnect with a warm place. Sex is a form of emotional reassurance, a narcotic to still the pain of the bruised soul. If life batters them, then sex, like drugs or work, may numb the wound. The sexual act offers a momentary transcendence. Orgasm can be an ecstatic experience; for the moment one may feel outside the iron confines of ordinary consciousness. It is the closest many men ever come to a religious experience. Thus the act of sex may mask a desperate search for acceptance, underneath whiсh lurks the mother complex.
James Hollis (Under Saturn's Shadow: The Wounding and Healing of Men)
The reason that marriage is so painful and yet wonderful is because it is a reflection of the gospel, which is painful and wonderful at once. The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope. This is the only kind of relationship that will really transform us. Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it. God’s saving love in Christ, however, is marked by both radical truthfulness about who we are and yet also radical, unconditional commitment to us. The merciful commitment strengthens us to see the truth about ourselves and repent. The conviction and repentance moves us to cling to and rest in God’s mercy and grace.
Timothy J. Keller (The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God)
The savior complex manifests differently for everyone, but for the most part it's a form of self-sabotage hidden in helping someone else... A desperate need to be understood by people who continue to show you that they barely understand themselves will shackle you to the most emotionally debilitating situations. But it's often deeper than just wanting to be understood. A lot of us want to feel needed, because with that comes a sense of purpose outside of ourselves.
Chidera Eggerue (How To Get Over A Boy)
I didn’t think of Steve in terms of being nice or mean, approving or disapproving. He was simply being straight with me. The relationship we would have over the years ahead would always remain that simple. Steve didn’t like Complexity in his working relationships any more than he liked extra buttons on his iPod.
Ken Segall (Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success)
I think of two landscapes- one outside the self, the other within. The external landscape is the one we see-not only the line and color of the land and its shading at different times of the day, but also its plants and animals in season, its weather, its geology… If you walk up, say, a dry arroyo in the Sonoran Desert you will feel a mounding and rolling of sand and silt beneath your foot that is distinctive. You will anticipate the crumbling of the sedimentary earth in the arroyo bank as your hand reaches out, and in that tangible evidence you will sense the history of water in the region. Perhaps a black-throated sparrow lands in a paloverde bush… the smell of the creosote bush….all elements of the land, and what I mean by “the landscape.” The second landscape I think of is an interior one, a kind of projection within a person of a part of the exterior landscape. Relationships in the exterior landscape include those that are named and discernible, such as the nitrogen cycle, or a vertical sequence of Ordovician limestone, and others that are uncodified or ineffable, such as winter light falling on a particular kind of granite, or the effect of humidity on the frequency of a blackpoll warbler’s burst of song….the shape and character of these relationships in a person’s thinking, I believe, are deeply influenced by where on this earth one goes, what one touches, the patterns one observes in nature- the intricate history of one’s life in the land, even a life in the city, where wind, the chirp of birds, the line of a falling leaf, are known. These thoughts are arranged, further, according to the thread of one’s moral, intellectual, and spiritual development. The interior landscape responds to the character and subtlety of an exterior landscape; the shape of the individual mind is affected by land as it is by genes. Among the Navajo, the land is thought to exhibit sacred order…each individual undertakes to order his interior landscape according to the exterior landscape. To succeed in this means to achieve a balanced state of mental health…Among the various sung ceremonies of this people-Enemyway, Coyoteway, Uglyway- there is one called Beautyway. It is, in part, a spiritual invocation of the order of the exterior universe, that irreducible, holy complexity that manifests itself as all things changing through time (a Navajo definition of beauty).
Barry Lopez (Crossing Open Ground)
Menopause had finally terminated her fantastically involved and complex relationship with her womb: a legendary saga of irregular bleeding, eleven-month pregnancies straight out of the Royal Society proceedings, terrifying primal omens, miscarriages, heartbreaking epochs of barrenness punctuated by phases of such explosive fertility that Uncle Thomas had been afraid to come near her—disturbing asymmetries, prolapses, relapses, and just plain lapses, hellish cramping fits, mysterious interactions with the Moon and other cœlestial phenomena, shocking imbalances of all four of the humours known to Medicine plus a few known only to Mayflower, seismic rumblings audible from adjoining rooms—cancers reabsorbed—(incredibly) three successful pregnancies culminating in four-day labors that snapped stout bedframes like kindling, vibrated pictures off walls, and sent queues of vicars, mid-wives, physicians, and family members down into their own beds, ruined with exhaustion.
Neal Stephenson (The Baroque Cycle: Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World)
In lying to others we end up lying to ourselves. We deny the importance of an event, or a person, and thus deprive ourselves of a part of our lives. Or we use one piece of the past or present to screen out another. Thus we lose faith even in our own lives. An honourable human relationship—that is, one in which two people have the right to use the word “love”—is a process, delicate, violent, often terrifying to both persons involved, a process of refining the truths they can tell each other. It is important to do this because it breaks down human self-delusion and isolation. It is important to do this because in so doing we do justice to our own complexity. It is important to do this because we can count on so few people to go that hard way with us. […] It isn’t that to have an honourable relationship with you, I have to understand everything, or tell you everything at once, or that I can know, beforehand, everything I need to tell you. It means that most of the time I am eager, longing for the possibility of telling you. That these possibilities may seem frightening, but not destructive, to me. That I feel strong enough to hear your tentative and groping words. That we both know we are trying, all the time, to extend the possibilities of truth between us. The possibility of life between us.
Adrienne Rich (Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying)
As my eyes are shutting, I think about the word ‘love’. It is multilayered, convoluted and as imperfect as all human emotions. It is not your heart beating fast when you look at him (I even knew a girl who would throw up each time she saw her beloved) or constantly wanting to be with the other person. Love in any relationship, family or an intimate friendship, is only about putting the other person’s needs ahead of your own, and that, my friend, is just as simple and as complex as you make it.
Twinkle Khanna (Mrs Funnybones: She's just like You and a lot like Me)
More than that, these adverts sell a dubious world view. They sell the idea that science is not about the delicate relationship between evidence and theory. They suggest, instead, with all the might of their international advertising budgets, their Microcellular Complexes, their Neutrillium XY, their Tenseur Peptidique Végétal and the rest, that science is about impenetrable nonsense involving equations, molecules, sciencey diagrams, sweeping didactic statements from authority figures in white coats, and that this sciencey-sounding stuff might just as well be made up, concocted, confabulated out of thin air, in order to make money. They sell the idea that science is incomprehensible, with all their might, and they sell this idea mainly to attractive young women, who are disappointingly under-represented in the sciences.
Ben Goldacre (Bad Science)
The universe was once conceived as the passive stage upon which the dramatic conflict of human wills was enacted and resolved. Today man has discovered that that which seemed simple and stable is, instead, complex and volatile; his own inventions have put into motion new forces, toward which he has yet to invent a new relationship. Unlike Ulysses, he can no longer travel over a universe stable in space and time to find adventures; nor can he solve intimate antagonisms with an adversary sportingly suitable in stature. Rather, each individual is the center of a personal vortex; and the aggressive variety and enormity of the adventures which swirl about and confront him are unified only by his personal identity.... The integrity of the individual identity is counterpointed to the volatile character of a relativistic universe.
Maya Deren (The Legend of Maya Deren: A Documentary Biography and Collected Works)
Chloroplasts bear chlorophyll; they give the green world its color, and they carry out the business of photosynthesis. Around the inside perimeter of each gigantic cell trailed a continuous loop of these bright green dots. They spun . . . they pulsed, pressed, and thronged . . . they shone, they swarmed in ever-shifting files around and around the edge of the cell; they wandered, they charged, they milled, raced . . . they flowed and trooped greenly . . . All the green in the planted world consists of these whole, rounded chloroplasts . . . If you analyze a molecule of chlorophyll itself, what you get is one hundred thirty-six atoms of hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen arranged in an exact and complex relationship around a central ring. At the ring’s center is a single atom of magnesium. Now: If you remove the atom of magnesium and in its place put an atom of iron, you get a molecule of hemoglobin. The iron atom combines with all the other atoms to make red blood, the streaming red dots in the goldfish’s tail.
Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
What rules, then, can one follow if one is dedicated to the truth? First, never speak falsehood. Second, bear in mind that the act of withholding the truth is always potentially a lie, and that in each instance in which the truth is withheld a significant moral decision is required. Third, the decision to withhold the truth should never be based on personal needs, such as a need for power, a need to be liked or a need to protect one’s map from challenge. Fourth, and conversely, the decision to withhold the truth must always be based entirely upon the needs of the person or people from whom the truth is being withheld. Fifth, the assessment of another’s needs is an act of responsibility which is so complex that it can only be executed wisely when one operates with genuine love for the other. Sixth, the primary factor in the assessment of another’s needs is the assessment of that person’s capacity to utilize the truth for his or her own spiritual growth. Finally, in assessing the capacity of another to utilize the truth for personal spiritual growth, it should be borne in mind that our tendency is generally to underestimate rather than overestimate this capacity. All this might seem like an extraordinary task, impossible to ever perfectly complete, a chronic and never-ending burden, a real drag. And it is indeed a never-ending burden of self-discipline, which is why most people opt for a life of very limited honesty and openness and relative closedness, hiding themselves and their maps from the world. It is easier that way. Yet the rewards of the difficult life of honesty and dedication to the truth are more than commensurate with the demands. By virtue of the fact that their maps are continually being challenged, open people are continually growing people. Through their openness they can establish and maintain intimate relationships far more effectively than more closed people. Because they never speak falsely they can be secure and proud in the knowledge that they have done nothing to contribute to the confusion of the world, but have served as sources of
M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth)
From the perspective of archetypal psychology, the survivor-perpetrator gains a unique vantage point on life. The devastation of the patient’s early life is juxtaposed with possession of a rare possibility of transforming his or her relationship to self, spirituality, and the human community in a way that non-traumatized individuals may never attain.
Harvey L. Schwartz (The Alchemy of Wolves and Sheep: A Relational Approach to Internalized Perpetration for Complex Trauma Survivors)
As connection to the therapist is established, the therapeutic relationship offers an opportunity for the client to experience a present attachment, but it also brings up transferential tendencies associated with past attach ment relationships (Sable, 2000). Informed by the experience of interperesonal trauma and betrayal, posttraumatic transferential relationships can be exceptionally potent and volatile. In response to the therapist, clients experience fear, anger, mistrust, and suspicion, as well as hope, vulnerability, and yearning, and they are acutely attuned to subtle signals of disinterest or interest, compassion or judgment, abandonment or consistency (Herman 1992; Pearlman & Saakvitne, 1995).
Pat Ogden (Trauma and the Body: A Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy)
In this moment, however you are searching, stop. Whether you are searching for peace and happiness in a relationship, in a better job, or even in world peace, just for one moment stop absolutely. There is nothing wrong with these pursuits, but if you are engaging in them to get peace or to get happiness, you are overlooking the ground of peace that is already here. Once you discover this ground of peace, then whatever pursuits you engage in will be informed by your discovery. Then you will naturally bring what you have discovered to the world, to politics, to all your relationships. This discovery has infinite, complex ramifications, but the essence of it is very simple. If you will stop all activity, just for one instant, even for one-tenth of a second, and simply be utterly still, you will recognize the inherent spaciousness of your being that is already happy and at peace with itself. Because of our conditioning, we normally dismiss this ground of peace with an immediate, “Yes, but what about my life? I have responsibilities. I need to keep busy. The absolute doesn’t relate to my world, my existence.” These conditioned thoughts just reinforce further conditioning. But if you will take a moment to recognize the peace that is already alive within you, you then actually have the choice to trust it in all your endeavors, in all your relationships, in every circumstance of your life. It doesn’t mean that your life will be swept clean of conflicts, challenges, pain, or suffering. It means that you will have recognized a sanctuary where the truth of yourself is present, where the truth of God is present, regardless of the physical, mental, or emotional circumstances of your life.
Gangaji (The Diamond in Your Pocket: Discovering Your True Radiance)
All disciplines of science are built on the causality of the relationships governing related events. Yet the theory of evolution is built upon the idea of accidental changes that resulted in complex living systems. I was unable to comprehend how the notion that an infinite number of random accidents systematically happened to produce living species, and kept improving these beings, is justified.
T.H. Janabi (Clinging to a Myth: The Story Behind Evolution)
But each of us comes to marriage with a disordered inner being. Many of us have sought to overcome self-doubts by giving ourselves to our careers. That will mean we will choose our work over our spouse and family to the detriment of our marriage. Others of us hope that unending affection and affirmation from a beautiful, brilliant romantic partner will finally make us feel good about ourselves. That turns the relationship into a form of salvation, and no relationship can live up to that. Do you see why Paul introduces the subject of marriage with a summons to love one another “out of the fear of Christ”? We come into our marriages driven by all kinds of fears, desires, and needs. If I look to my marriage to fill the God-sized spiritual vacuum in my heart, I will not be in position to serve my spouse. Only God can fill a God-sized hole. Until God has the proper place in my life, I will always be complaining that my spouse is not loving me well enough, not respecting me enough, not supporting me enough.
Timothy J. Keller (The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God)
Pablo's many stories and reminiscences about Olga and Marie-Thérese and Dora Maar, as well as their continuing presence just offstage in our own life together, gradually made me realize that he had a kind of Bluebeard complex that made him want to cut off the heads of all women he had collected in his private museum. But he didn't cut the heads entirely off. He preferred to have life go on and to have all those women who had shared his life at one moment or another still letting out little peeps and cries of joy or pain and making a few gestures like disjointed dolls, just to prove there was some life left in them, that it hung by a thread, and that he held the other end of the thread. From time to time they would provide a humorous or dramatic or sometimes tragic side to things, and that was all grist to his mill.
Françoise Gilot (Life with Picasso)
Many daughters live out their lives avoiding or abiding or arguing with their mothers-burying the long-ago injury or insult or childhood deprivation under a blanket of forgetfulness-and not confronting it head-on. It's humiliating to remember the ways in which one demeaned oneself in order to prevent being in a mother's bad graces, the willingness to do anything in order to not be rejected, when rejection felt like death.
Victoria Secunda (When You and Your Mother Can't Be Friends: Resolving the Most Complicated Relationship of Your Life)
Symbols, for me and for many, of freedom, whether it be from the prison of over-dense communities and the close confines of human relationships, from the less complex incarceration of office walls and hours, or simply freedom from the prison of adult life and an escape into the forgotten world of childhood, of the individual or the race. For I am convinced that man has suffered in his separation from the soil and from the other living creatures of the world; the evolution of his intellect has outrun his needs as an animal, and as yet he must still, for security, look long at some portion of the earth as it was before he tampered with it.
Gavin Maxwell (Ring of Bright Water (Ring of Bright Water, #1))
loss of bone density and degradation of the health of the bones also causes aging, diabetes, and, for males, loss of fertility and sexual function. We just cannot isolate any causal relationship in a complex system.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder)
Certainly we can say that the pace of modern life, increased and supported by our technology in general and our personal electronics in particular, has resulted in a short attention span and an addiction to the influx of information. A mind so conditioned has little opportunity to think critically, and even less chance to experience life deeply by being in the present moment. A complex life with complicated activities, relationships and commitments implies a reflexive busy-ness that supplants true thinking and feeling with knee-jerk reactions. It is a life high in stress and light on substance, at least in the spiritually meaningful dimensions of being.
Arthur Rosenfeld
...the story of liberty and its future is not only about the raw assertion of rights but also about grace, aesthetics, beauty, complexity, service to others, community, the gradual emergence of cultural norms, and the spontaneous development of extended orders of commercial and private relationships. Freedom is what gives life to the human imagination and enables the working out of love as it extends from our most benevolent and highest longings.
Jeffrey Tucker
In all death penalty cases, spending time with clients is important. Developing the trust of clients is not only necessary to manage the complexities of the litigation & deal with the stress of a potential execution; it's also key to effective advocacy. A client's life often depends on his lawyer's ability to create a mitigation narrative that contextualizes his poor decisions or violent behavior. Uncovering things about someone's background that no one has previously discovered--things that might be hard to discuss but are critically important--requires trust. Getting someone to acknowledge he has been the victim of child sexual abuse, neglect, or abandonment won't happen without the kind of comfort that takes hours and multiple visits to develop. Talking about sports, TV, popular culture, or anything else the client wants to discuss is absolutely appropriate to building a relationship that makes effective work possible.
Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption)
In place of maps, whiteboards began to appear in our headquarters. Soon they were everywhere. Standing around them, markers in hand, we thought out loud, diagramming what we knew, what we suspected, and what we did not know. We covered the bright white surfaces with multicolored words and drawings, erased, and then covered again. We did not draw static geographic features; we drew mutable relationships—the connections between things rather than the things themselves.
General S McChrystal (Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World)
This isn't a spotless life. There is much ahead, my immaculate little peach. And there is no way to say it other than to say it: marriage is indeed this horribly complex thing for which you appear to be ill prepared and about which you seem to be utterly naive. That's okay. A lot of people are. You can learn along the way. A good way to start would be to let fall your notions about "perfect couples." It's really such an impossible thing to either perceive honestly in others or live up to when others believe it about us. It does nothing but box some people in and shut other people out, and it ultimately makes just about everyone feel like shit. A perfect couple is a wholly private thing. No one but the two people in the perfect relationship know for certain whether they're in one. Its only defining quality is that it's composed of two people who feel perfectly right about sharing their lives with each other, even during the hard times.
Cheryl Strayed (Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar)
What does being understood do for you? It makes you feel safe and seen. It makes you feel like your flaws aren't 'that bad'. It enables you. But whilst being around people who make the effort to understand you is beneficial, you still need to inspect yourself. My way of releasing the unhealthy need to be understood by others often comes in the form of me accepting that I am a complex, multi-faceted being - it would be impossible for me to be entirely understood even by myself.
Chidera Eggerue (How To Get Over A Boy)
Take the word saved as it is used in the evangelical vernacular. It’s true, you are saved by grace, by love, by light … but it’s only half the story. The truth is that there is so much that you’re not saved from. You are not saved from pain or loneliness or the bite of reality sharp against your skin. You’re not saved from rained-out picnics, from disappointment, from the unkindness of strangers. You’re not saved from lost jobs or lost loves or cancer or car accidents. Saved. But they say, It’s not religion, it’s a relationship. They say, God loves the sinner but hates the sin. They say, Let go and let God. And they’re worse than cliché, really. They’re thought-terminating cliché, a term that psychologist, Robert Lifton, coined in his book Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism. In this type of cliché, “the most far-reaching and complex of human problems are compressed into brief, highly reductive, definitive-sounding phrases, easily memorized and easily expressed.
Addie Zierman (When We Were on Fire: A Memoir of Consuming Faith, Tangled Love, and Starting Over)
In all of these areas, the human brain is asked to do and handle more than ever before. We are dealing with several fields of knowledge constantly intersecting with our own, and all of this chaos is exponentially increased by the information available through technology. What this means is that all of us must possess different forms of knowledge and an array of skills in different fields, and have minds that are capable of organizing large amounts of information. The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways. And the process of learning skills, no matter how virtual, remains the same. In the future, the great division will be between those who have trained themselves to handle these complexities and those who are overwhelmed by them—those who can acquire skills and discipline their minds and those who are irrevocably distracted by all the media around them and can never focus enough to learn. The Apprenticeship Phase is more relevant and important than ever, and those who discount this notion will almost certainly be left behind. Finally, we live in a culture that generally values intellect and reasoning with words. We tend to think of working with the hands, of building something physical, as degraded skills for those who are less intelligent. This is an extremely counterproductive cultural value. The human brain evolved in intimate conjunction with the hand. Many of our earliest survival skills depended on elaborate hand-eye coordination. To this day, a large portion of our brain is devoted to this relationship. When we work with our hands and build something, we learn how to sequence our actions and how to organize our thoughts. In taking anything apart in order to fix it, we learn problem-solving skills that have wider applications. Even if it is only as a side activity, you should find a way to work with your hands, or to learn more about the inner workings of the machines and pieces of technology around you. Many Masters
Robert Greene (Mastery)
The relationship between the University and the Patrician, absolute ruler and nearly benevolent dictator of Ankh-Morpork, was a complex and subtle one. The wizards held that, as servants of a higher truth, they were not subject to the mundane laws of the city. The Patrician said that, indeed, this was the case, but they would bloody well pay their taxes like everyone else. The wizards said that, as followers of the light of wisdom, they owed allegiance to no mortal man. The Patrician said that this may well be true but they also owed a city tax of two hundred dollars per head per annum, payable quarterly. The wizards said that the University stood on magical ground and was therefore exempt from taxation and anyway you couldn't put a tax on knowledge. The Patrician said you could. It was two hundred dollars per capita; if per capita was a problem, decapita could be arranged. The wizards said that the University had never paid taxes to the civil authority. The Patrician said that he was not proposing to remain civil for long. The wizards said, what about easy terms? The Patrician said he was talking about easy terms. They wouldn't want to know about the hard terms. The wizards said that there was a ruler back in , oh, it would be the Century of the Dragonfly, who had tried to tell the University what to do. The Patrician could come and have a look at him if he liked. The Patrician said that he would. He truly would In the end it was agreed that while the wizards of course paid no taxes, they would nevertheless make an entirely voluntary donation of, oh, let's say two hundred dollars per head, without prejudice, mutatis mutandis, no strings attached, to be used strictly for non-militaristic and environmentally-acceptable purposes.
Terry Pratchett (Reaper Man (Discworld, #11; Death, #2))
If I offered you a choice between being an architect for $75,000 a year and working in a tollbooth every day for the rest of your life for $100,000 a year, which would you take? I’m guessing the former, because there is complexity, autonomy, and a relationship between effort and reward in doing creative work, and that’s worth more to most of us than money. Work that fulfills those three criteria is meaningful. Being a teacher is meaningful. Being a physician is meaningful. So is being an entrepreneur,
Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers: The Story of Success)
Each spouse’s self-centeredness asserted itself (as it always will), but in response, the other spouse got more impatient, resentful, harsh, and cold. In other words, they responded to the self-centeredness of their partner with their own self-centeredness. Why? Self-centeredness by its very character makes you blind to your own while being hypersensitive, offended, and angered by that of others.4 The result is always a downward spiral into self-pity, anger, and despair, as the relationship gets eaten away to nothing.
Timothy J. Keller (The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God)
He and Marianne can only talk about it over email, using the same communication technologies they now know are under surveillance, and it feels at times like their relationship has been captured in a complex network of state power, that the network is a form of intelligence in itself, containing them both, and containing their feelings for one another. I feel like the NSA agent reading these emails has the wrong impression of us, Marianne wrote once. They probably don't know about the time you didn't invite me to the Debs.
Sally Rooney (Normal People)
The act of consciously and purposefully paying attention to symptoms and their antecedents and consequences makes the symptoms more an objective target for thoughtful observation than an intolerable source of subjective anxiety, dysphoria, and frustration. In ACT, the act of accepting the symptoms as an expectable feature of a disorder or illness, has been shown to be associated with relief rather than increased distress (Hayes et al., 2006). From a traumatic stress perspective, any symptom can be reframed as an understandable, albeit unpleasant and difficult to cope with, reaction or survival skill (Ford, 2009b, 2009c). In this way, monitoring symptoms and their environmental or experiential/body state "triggers" can enhance client's willingness and ability to reflectively observe them without feeling overwhelmed, terrified, or powerless. This is not only beneficial for personal and life stabilization but is also essential to the successful processing of traumatic events and reactions that occur in the next phase of therapy (Ford & Russo, 2006).
Christine A. Courtois (Treatment of Complex Trauma: A Sequenced, Relationship-Based Approach)
Many survivors of relational and other forms of early life trauma are deeply troubled and often struggle with feelings of anger, grief, alienation, distrust, confusion, low self-esteem, loneliness, shame, and self-loathing. They seem to be prisoners of their emotions, alternating between being flooded by intense emotional and physiological distress related to the trauma or its consequences and being detached and unable to express or feel any emotion at all - alternations that are the signature posttraumatic pattern. These occur alongside or in conjunction with other common reactions and symptoms (e.g., depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem) and their secondary manifestations. Those with complex trauma histories often have diffuse identity issues and feel like outsiders, different from other people, whom they somehow can't seem to get along with, fit in with, or get close to, even when they try. Moreover, they often feel a sense of personal contamination and that no one understands or can help them. Quite frequently and unfortunately, both they and other people (including the professionals they turn to for help) do misunderstand them, devalue their strengths, or view their survival adaptations through a lens of pathology (e.g., seeing them as "demanding", "overdependent and needy", "aggressive", or as having borderline personality). Yet, despite all, many individuals with these histories display a remarkable capacity for resilience, a sense of morality and empathy for others, spirituality, and perseverance that are highly admirable under the circumstances and that create a strong capacity for survival. Three broad categories of survivorship, with much overlap between them, can be discerned: 1. Those who have successfully overcome their past and whose lives are healthy and satisfying. Often, individuals in this group have had reparative experiences within relationships that helped them to cope successfully. 2. Those whose lives are interrupted by recurring posttraumatic reactions (often in response to life events and experiences) that periodically hijack them and their functioning for various periods of time. 3. Those whose lives are impaired on an ongoing basis and who live in a condition of posttraumatic decline, even to the point of death, due to compromised medical and mental health status or as victims of suicide of community violence, including homicide.
Christine A. Courtois (Treatment of Complex Trauma: A Sequenced, Relationship-Based Approach)
One study showed that an individual in an open relationship tends to be "individualistic, an academic achiever, creative, nonconforming, stimulated by complexity and chaos, inventive, relatively unconventional and indifferent to what others said, concerned about his/her own personal values and ethical systems, and willing to take risks to explore possibilities." Because open relationships require well-developed relationship skills, people in them tend to have more self-awareness, better communication skills and a better sense of self.
Tristan Taormino (Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships)
Throughout the human life span there remains a constant two-way interaction between psychological states and the neurochemistry of the frontal lobes, a fact that many doctors do not pay enough attention to. One result is the overreliance on medications in the treatment of mental disorders. Modern psychiatry is doing too much listening to Prozac and not enough listening to human beings; people’s life histories should be given at least as much importance as the chemistry of their brains. The dominant tendency is to explain mental conditions by deficiencies of the brain’s chemical messengers, the neurotransmitters. As Daniel J. Siegel has sharply remarked, “We hear it said everywhere these days that the experience of human beings comes from their chemicals.” Depression, according to the simple biochemical model, is due to a lack of serotonin — and, it is said, so is excessive aggression. The answer is Prozac, which increases serotonin levels in the brain. Attention deficit is thought to be due in part to an undersupply of dopamine, one of the brain’s most important neurotransmitters, crucial to attention and to experiencing reward states. The answer is Ritalin. Just as Prozac elevates serotonin levels, Ritalin or other psychostimulants are thought to increase the availability of dopamine in the brain’s prefrontal areas. This is believed to increase motivation and attention by improving the functioning of areas in the prefrontal cortex. Although they carry some truth, such biochemical explanations of complex mental states are dangerous oversimplifications — as the neurologist Antonio Damasio cautions: "When it comes to explaining behavior and mind, it is not enough to mention neurochemistry... The problem is that it is not the absence or low amount of serotonin per se that “causes” certain manifestations. Serotonin is part of an exceedingly complicated mechanism which operates at the level of molecules, synapses, local circuits, and systems, and in which sociocultural factors, past and present, also intervene powerfully. The deficiencies and imbalances of brain chemicals are as much effect as cause. They are greatly influenced by emotional experiences. Some experiences deplete the supply of neurotransmitters; other experiences enhance them. In turn, the availability — or lack of availability — of brain chemicals can promote certain behaviors and emotional responses and inhibit others. Once more we see that the relationship between behavior and biology is not a one-way street.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
... every therapist must develop enough personal maturity, clinical wisdom, and capacity for good judgment to effectively and safely conduct psychotherapy, an imperative that is especially important in the treatment of this population. The emotion dysregulation and insecure and disorganized attachment of complex trauma clients elicit strong emotional reactions from others, even those in their support network, including therapists. Reactions can range from sympathy, sorrow, fear, and guilt to frustration, impatience, anger/rage, hostility, and disgust or contempt.
Christine A. Courtois (Treatment of Complex Trauma: A Sequenced, Relationship-Based Approach)
Mappo frowned. 'I have not heard that phrase before. Lost Elementals?' 'Scholars tend to acknowledge but four, generally: water, fire, earth and air; yet others exist. (...) Life, death, dark, light, shadow…possibly, but even that seems a truncated selection. What of, for example, time? Past, present, future? What of desire, and deed? Sound, silence? Or are the latter two but minor aspects of air? Does time belong to light? Or is it but a point somewhere between light and dark, yet distinct from shadow? What of faith and denial? Can you now understand, Mappo, the potential complexity of relationships?' 'Assuming they exist at all, beyond the notion of concepts.' 'Granted. Yet, maybe concepts are all that's needed, if the purpose of the elements is to give shape and meaning to all that surrounds us on the outside, and all that guides us from within.
Steven Erikson (The Bonehunters (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #6))
We are all mysteries, to those who love us and also to ourselves. When you find someone who embraces you, loves and desires you every moment, accepts your mysteries and flaws without judgement, you’ve struck gold. How delicious is the thought that this mysterious complex creature, chooses to share a life with you? Too many of us undervalue ourselves by digging too deep into the mistakes we have made or dwelling on when we failed at something like relationships, responsibilities, careers, whatever it might be. All those experiences make up the mystery and story of who we are. We are complex beings, all together in this fucked up but beautiful world. Whatever the mistakes or failures of someone’s murky past that leads them to your door should be experiences you are grateful for and that is cause for celebration. All of us have had experiences, good and bad, and those make up the intricate tapestry of who we are. I often feel insecure in so many ways, fragile and easily broken even when I know that is only a self-defeating perception that sometimes rears its ugly head. I am doing what I love, and deeply in love with someone with whom I want to share my future and write our own magical mystery story. I guess what I am trying to say is don’t dig so deep that you end up cutting your roots and the lifeblood that feeds and makes you. Match your energy and vibration with what you envision. Believe. You deserve love and success, so go for it.
Riitta Klint
They call this love, she said to herself. I know what it is now. I never thought I would know, but I do now. But she failed to add: if you can step back and identify it, is it really there? Shouldn't you be unable to know what the whole thing's about? Just blindly clutch and hold and fear that it will get away. But unable to stop, to think, to give it any name. Just two more people sharing a common human experience. Infinite in its complexity, tricky at times, but almost always successfully surmounted in one of two ways: either blandly content with the results as they are, or else vaguely discontent but chained by habit. Most women don't marry a man, they marry a habit. Even when a habit is good, it can become monotonous; most do. When it is bad in just the average degree it usually becomes no more than a nuisance and an irritant; and most do. But when it is darkly, starkly evil in the deepest sense of the word, then it can truly become a hell on earth. Theirs seemed to fall midway between the first two, for just a little while. Then it started veering over slowly toward the last. Very slowly, at the start, but very steadily... ("For The Rest Of Her Life")
Cornell Woolrich (Angels of Darkness)
Our language is an imperfect instrument created by ancient and ignorant men. It is an animistic language that invites us to talk about stability and constants, about similarities and normal and kinds, about magical transformations, quick cures, simple problems, and final solutions. Yet the world we try to symbolize with this language is a world of process, change, differences, dimensions, functions, relationships, growths, interactions, developing, learning, coping, complexity. And the mismatch of our ever-changing world and our relatively static language forms is part of our problem.
Semanticist Wendell Johnson
A few individuals, a few of the great saints, certainly knew what femininity was about. In the old matriarchies there was no feminine consciousness, only unconscious mother. The "I", the ego with values and truths of its own was not operating. In the Celtic world they died for the Goddess but they had no ego that said, "Life is worth living." They were like the terrorists...who don't have the ego strength to say life is worth living so they willingly die for a cause. Feminine consciousness has been operative in some individuals, but not in a whole culture. Now I think we're starting to get free of the old matriarchy and free of the patriarchy. In other words, we are entering into conscious relationship with our mother and father complexes. As a planet we're moving toward maturity. We're trying to find out who we are when we're not possessed by those complexes. And we're fighting against time.
Marion Woodman (Conscious Femininity: Interviews With Marion Woodman (Studies in Jungian Psychology By Jungian Analysts, 58))
Trust of others is in short supply for many adult survivors, as complex trauma generally involves major relational betrayal. It is, therefore, expectable (although paradoxical) that clients with these histories are predisposed to be mistrustful at the outset of therapy, precisely because of (and in proportion to) the actual trustworthiness of the therapist. When past experiences have thought hard lessons, namely, that one can least afford to trust the people who should be most trustworthy, it stands to reason that confusion about trust results. The therapist must understand and not take offense either personally or professionally and not react judgmentally or defensively. Practically speaking, this involves the therapist being prepared to patiently and empathically respond to active or passive tests or challenges to trustworthiness as legitimate and meaningful communication that deserves a respectful reply in action as well as in words.
Christine A. Courtois (Treatment of Complex Trauma: A Sequenced, Relationship-Based Approach)
To understand a child we have to watch him at play, study him in his different moods; we cannot project upon him our own prejudices, hopes and fears, or mould him to fit the pattern of our desires. If we are constantly judging the child according to our personal likes and dislikes, we are bound to create barriers and hindrances in our relationship with him and in his relationships with the world. Unfortunately, most of us desire to shape the child in a way that is gratifying to our own vanities and idiosyncrasies; we find varying degrees of comfort and satisfaction in exclusive ownership and domination. Surely, this process is not relationship, but mere imposition, and it is therefore essential to understand the difficult and complex desire to dominate. It takes many subtle forms; and in its self-righteous aspect, it is very obstinate. The desire to "serve" with the unconscious longing to dominate is difficult to understand. Can there be love where there is possessiveness? Can we be in communion with those whom we seek to control? To dominate is to use another for self-gratification, and where there is the use of another there is no love. When there is love there is consideration, not only for the children but for every human being. Unless we are deeply touched by the problem, we will never find the right way of education. Mere technical training inevitably makes for ruthlessness, and to educate our children we must be sensitive to the whole movement of life. What we think, what we do, what we say matters infinitely, because it creates the environment, and the environment either helps or hinders the child. Obviously, then, those of us who are deeply interested in this problem will have to begin to understand ourselves and thereby help to transform society; we will make it our direct responsability to bring about a new approach to education. If we love our children, will we not find a way of putting an end to war? But if we are merely using the word "love" without substance, then the whole complex problem of human misery will remain. The way out of this problem lies through ourselves. We must begin to understand our relationship with our fellow men, with nature, with ideas and with things, for without that understanding there is no hope, there is no way out of conflict and suffering. The bringing up of a child requires intelligent observation and care. Experts and their knowledge can never replace the parents' love, but most parents corrupt that love by their own fears and ambitions, which condition and distort the outlook of the child. So few of us are concerned with love, but we are vastly taken up with the appearance of love. The present educational and social structure does not help the individual towards freedom and integration; and if the parents are at all in earnest and desire that the child shall grow to his fullest integral capacity, they must begin to alter the influence of the home and set about creating schools with the right kind of educators. The influence of the home and that of the school must not be in any way contradictory, so both parents and teachers must re-educate themselves. The contradiction which so often exists between the private life of the individual and his life as a member of the group creates an endless battle within himself and in his relationships. This conflict is encouraged and sustained through the wrong kind of education, and both governments and organized religions add to the confusion by their contradictory doctrines. The child is divided within himself from the very start, which results in personal and social disasters.
Jiddu Krishnamurti (Education and the Significance of Life)
Environmental influences also affect dopamine. From animal studies, we know that social stimulation is necessary for the growth of the nerve endings that release dopamine and for the growth of receptors that dopamine needs to bind to in order to do its work. In four-month-old monkeys, major alterations of dopamine and other neurotransmitter systems were found after only six days of separation from their mothers. “In these experiments,” writes Steven Dubovsky, Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine at the University of Colorado, “loss of an important attachment appears to lead to less of an important neurotransmitter in the brain. Once these circuits stop functioning normally, it becomes more and more difficult to activate the mind.” A neuroscientific study published in 1998 showed that adult rats whose mothers had given them more licking, grooming and other physical-emotional contact during infancy had more efficient brain circuitry for reducing anxiety, as well as more receptors on nerve cells for the brain’s own natural tranquilizing chemicals. In other words, early interactions with the mother shaped the adult rat’s neurophysiological capacity to respond to stress. In another study, newborn animals reared in isolation had reduced dopamine activity in their prefrontal cortex — but not in other areas of the brain. That is, emotional stress particularly affects the chemistry of the prefrontal cortex, the center for selective attention, motivation and self-regulation. Given the relative complexity of human emotional interactions, the influence of the infant-parent relationship on human neurochemistry is bound to be even stronger. In the human infant, the growth of dopamine-rich nerve terminals and the development of dopamine receptors is stimulated by chemicals released in the brain during the experience of joy, the ecstatic joy that comes from the perfectly attuned mother-child mutual gaze interaction. Happy interactions between mother and infant generate motivation and arousal by activating cells in the midbrain that release endorphins, thereby inducing in the infant a joyful, exhilarated state. They also trigger the release of dopamine. Both endorphins and dopamine promote the development of new connections in the prefrontal cortex. Dopamine released from the midbrain also triggers the growth of nerve cells and blood vessels in the right prefrontal cortex and promotes the growth of dopamine receptors. A relative scarcity of such receptors and blood supply is thought to be one of the major physiological dimensions of ADD. The letters ADD may equally well stand for Attunement Deficit Disorder.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
Jim was the one who told me that my emotional life made him dangle his stethoscope like a snake charmer: my moods weren’t hard to see but they were hard to read, and even harder to diagnose. It was ostensibly a complaint, but I think he liked his metaphor, and liked that our moments of distance were subtle enough to require this kind of formulation. Meaning that I was a complex creature and so was he; that he became even more complex in his attempt to bridge the gap between our complexities; that he could create a complicated image to house this complex of complications. This is how writers fall in love: they feel complicated together and then they talk about it.
Leslie Jamison (The Empathy Exams)
The Christian approach begins with a different analysis of the situation. We believe that, as badly wounded as persons may be, the resulting self-absorption of the human heart was not caused by the mistreatment. It was only magnified and shaped by it. Their mistreatment poured gasoline on the fire, and the flame and smoke now choke them, but their self-centeredness already existed prior to their woundedness. Therefore, if you do nothing but urge people to “look out for number one,” you will be setting them up for future failure in any relationship, especially marriage. This is not to say that wounded people don’t need great gentleness, tender treatment, affirmation, and patience. It is just that this is not the whole story. Both people crippled by inferiority feelings and those who have superiority complexes are centered on themselves, obsessed with how they look and how they are being perceived and treated. It would be easy to help someone out of an inferiority complex into a superiority complex and leave them no better furnished to live life well.
Timothy J. Keller (The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God)
women have helped women birth, and there is a support a trained labor coach can provide that many partners can—and should—not. Labors can proceed more slowly when your adrenaline is higher than it ought to be, and a partner hovering over you can make your adrenaline go through the roof. This is not only because of the observation factor but also because of the complex emotional and psychological relationships we establish with our partners; expectations, preconceived perceptions about behavior and support, and even unresolved conflicts can unconsciously find their way into your brain during labor, and these can sometimes get transferred right to your cervix, causing it to close when you want it to open!
Mayim Bialik (Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way)
In 2011, Mark Brooks, a consultant to online-dating companies, published the results of an industry survey titled “How Has Internet Dating Changed Society?” The survey responses, from 39 executives, produced the following conclusions: “Internet dating has made people more disposable.” “Internet dating may be partly responsible for a rise in the divorce rates.” “Low quality, unhappy and unsatisfying marriages are being destroyed as people drift to Internet dating sites.” “The market is hugely more efficient … People expect to—and this will be increasingly the case over time—access people anywhere, anytime, based on complex search requests … Such a feeling of access affects our pursuit of love … the whole world (versus, say, the city we live in) will, increasingly, feel like the market for our partner(s). Our pickiness will probably increase.” “Above all, Internet dating has helped people of all ages realize that there’s no need to settle for a mediocre relationship.” From "A Million First Dates How online romance is threatening monogamy" in January/February 2013
Dan Slater (A Million First Dates: Solving the Puzzle of Online Dating)
... people with a secure attachment style view their partners' well-being as their responsibility. As long as they have reason to believe their partner is in some sort of trouble, they'll continue to back him or her. Mario Mikulincer and Phillip Shaver, in their book Attachment in Adulthood, show that people with a secure attachment style are more likely than others to forgive their partner for wrongdoing. They explain this as a complex combination of cognitive and emotional abilities: "Forgiveness requires difficult regulatory maneuvers . . . understanding a transgressor's needs and motives, and making generous attributions and appraisals concerning the transgressor's traits and hurtful actions . . . Secure people are likely to offer relatively benign explanations of their partners' hurtful actions and be inclined to forgive the partner." Also, as we've seen previously in this chapter, secure people just naturally dwell less on the negative and can turn off upsetting emotions without becoming defensively distant. The good news is that people with a secure attachment style have healthy instincts and usually catch on very early that someone is not cut out to be their partner. The bad news is that when secure people do, on occasion, enter into a negative relationship, they might not know when to call it quits--especially if it's a long-term, committed relationship in which they feel responsible for their partner's happiness.
Amir Levine & Rachel S.F. Heller (Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love)
THE METAPHYSICAL POETS Had we but world enough, and time, This coyness, lady, were no crime (Andrew Marvell, To His Coy Mistress) While theatre was the most public literary form of the period, poetry tended to be more personal, more private. Indeed, it was often published for only a limited circle of readers. This was true of Shakespeare's sonnets, as we have seen, and even more so for the Metaphysical poets, whose works were published mostly after their deaths. John Donne and George Herbert are the most significant of these poets. The term 'Metaphysical' was used to describe their work by the eighteenth-century critic, Samuel Johnson. He intended the adjective to be pejorative. He attacked the poets' lack of feeling, their learning, and the surprising range of images and comparisons they used. Donne and Herbert were certainly very innovative poets, but the term 'Metaphysical' is only a label, which is now used to describe the modern impact of their writing. After three centuries of neglect and disdain, the Metaphysical poets have come to be very highly regarded and have been influential in recent British poetry and criticism. They used contemporary scientific discoveries and theories, the topical debates on humanism, faith, and eternity, colloquial speech-based rhythms, and innovative verse forms, to examine the relationship between the individual, his God, and the universe. Their 'conceits', metaphors and images, paradoxes and intellectual complexity make the poems a constant challenge to the reader.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
I am not all knowing. Therefore, I will not even attempt to be. I need to be loved. Therefore, I will be open to loving children. I want to be more accepting of the child in me. Therefore, I will with wonder and awe allow children to illuminate my world. I know so little about the complex intricacies of childhood. Therefore, I will allow children to teach me. I learn my best from and am impacted most by my personal struggles. Therefore, I will join with children in their struggles. I sometimes need a refuge. Therefore, I will provide a refuge for children. I like it when I am fully accepted for the person I am. Therefore, I will strive to experience and appreciate the person of the child. I make mistakes. They are a declaration of the way I am - human and fallible. Therefore, I will be tolerant of the humanness of children. I react with emotional internalization and expression to my world of reality. Therefore, I will relinquish the grasp I have on reality and try to enter the world as experienced by the child. It feels good to be an authority, to provide answers. Therefore, I will need to work hard to protect children from me! I am more fully me when I feel safe. Therefore I will be consistent in my interactions with children. I am the only person who can live my life. Therefore, I will not attempt to rule a child's life. I have learned most of what I know from experiencing. Therefore, I will allow children to experience. The hope I experience and the will to live come from within me. Therefore, I will recognize and confirm the child's will and selfhood. I cannot make children's hurts and fears and frustrations and disappointments go away. Therefore, I will soften the blow. I experience fear when I am vulnerable. Therefore, I will with kindness, gentleness, and tenderness touch the inner world of the vulnerable child. - Principles for Relationships with Children
Garry L. Landreth (Play Therapy: The Art of the Relationship)
Mother trees have an effect on the oceans as well, as Katsuhiko Matsunaga and his team in Japan had confirmed. The leaves, when they fall in the autumn, contain a very large, complex acid called fulvic acid. When the leaves decompose, the fulvic acid dissolves into the moisture of the soil, enabling the acid to pick up iron. This process is called chelation. The heavy, iron-containing fulvic acid is now ready to travel, leaving the home ground of the mother tree and heading for the ocean. In the ocean it drops the iron. Hungry algae, like phytoplankton, eat it, then grow and divide; they need iron to activate a body-building enzyme called nitrogenase. This set of relationships is the feeding foundation of the ocean This is what feeds the fish and keeps the mammals of the sea, like the whale and the otter healthy.
Diana Beresford-Kroeger (To Speak for the Trees: My Life's Journey from Ancient Celtic Wisdom to a Healing Vision of the Forest)
Critical pessimists, such as media critics Mark Crispin Miller, Noam Chomsky, and Robert McChesney, focus primarily on the obstacles to achieving a more democratic society. In the process, they often exaggerate the power of big media in order to frighten readers into taking action. I don't disagree with their concern about media concentration, but the way they frame the debate is self-defeating insofar as it disempowers consumers even as it seeks to mobilize them. Far too much media reform rhetoric rests on melodramatic discourse about victimization and vulnerability, seduction and manipulation, "propaganda machines" and "weapons of mass deception". Again and again, this version of the media reform movement has ignored the complexity of the public's relationship to popular culture and sided with those opposed to a more diverse and participatory culture. The politics of critical utopianism is founded on a notion of empowerment; the politics of critical pessimism on a politics of victimization. One focuses on what we are doing with media, and the other on what media is doing to us. As with previous revolutions, the media reform movement is gaining momentum at a time when people are starting to feel more empowered, not when they are at their weakest.
Henry Jenkins (Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide)
For so long, I was stuck in "either or" thinking. Either I had to change myself, or change the world. Either it was his fault or my fault. Either you had to stop acting that way or I had to stop reacting this way. Either there was something wrong with me or something wrong with them. I would fluctuate between both ends of this dynamic. I'd blame myself for some time and do everything I could to change. When that became tiresome, I'd blame the other, doing everything I could to make them change. When the resentment and frustration became too strong, I'd blame myself again. I've learned that it's never either or. It's always both. I've also learned that, because it's always both, there's no such thing as fault. Fault is only something we can ascribe when we see things superficially. When we look deeper, we see multi-layered, complex systems of causes and effects which affect and are affected by all individuals involved. Fault is a useless concept. Responsibility, however, is the most helpful concept of them all. It's not my fault. It's not his or yours or theirs either. But it is all our responsibility. When we come together like this, we don't have to see-saw back and forth, passing on guilt and blame. We can grow. We can evolve. We can build a better world.
Vironika Tugaleva
...temporal experience is neither completely recurrent (in which case it would be wholly knowable) nor completely variable (in which case it would be wholly inscrutable). In effect, it is more like a piece of complex music, a Bach fugue heard for the first time. In one sense, we are excited and surprised by the novel disposition of tones and rhythms and by the uncanny variety of the treatment. In another sense, we realize that recurring ideas and cycles are what give the work its native character, and that the variations, however stunning, have significance only in terms of their relationship to these underlying themes. Conversely, the recurrent themes are realizable in their fullest sense only through the variations upon them. The careful student of time is thus as sure that certain things will recur as he is sure that they will recur in dazzling new forms.
Robert Grudin (Time and the Art of Living)
HUMAN BILL OF RIGHTS [GUIDELINES FOR FAIRNESS AND INTIMACY] I have the right to be treated with respect. I have the right to say no. I have the right to make mistakes. I have the right to reject unsolicited advice or feedback. I have the right to negotiate for change. I have the right to change my mind or my plans. I have a right to change my circumstances or course of action. I have the right to have my own feelings, beliefs, opinions, preferences, etc. I have the right to protest sarcasm, destructive criticism, or unfair treatment. I have a right to feel angry and to express it non-abusively. I have a right to refuse to take responsibility for anyone else’s problems. I have a right to refuse to take responsibility for anyone’s bad behavior. I have a right to feel ambivalent and to occasionally be inconsistent. I have a right to play, waste time and not always be productive. I have a right to occasionally be childlike and immature. I have a right to complain about life’s unfairness and injustices. I have a right to occasionally be irrational in safe ways. I have a right to seek healthy and mutually supportive relationships. I have a right to ask friends for a modicum of help and emotional support. I have a right to complain and verbally ventilate in moderation. I have a right to grow, evolve and prosper.
Pete Walker (Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving)
People who think that queer life consists of sex without intimacy are usually seeing only a tiny part of the picture, and seeing it through homophobic stereotype. The most fleeting sexual encounter is, in its way intimate. And in the way many gay men and lesbians live, quite casual sexual relations can develop into powerful and enduring friendships. Friendships, in turn, can cross into sexual relations and back. Because gay social life is not as ritualized and institutionalized as straight life, each relation is an adventure in nearly un-charted territory—whether it is between two gay men, or two lesbians, or a gay man and a lesbian, or among three or more queers, or between gay men and the straight women whose commitment to queer culture brings them the punishment of the "fag hag" label. There are almost as many kinds of relationship as there are people in combination. Where there are -patterns, we learn them from other queers, not from our-parents or schools or the state. Between tricks and lovers and exes and friends and fuckbuddies and bar friends and bar friends' tricks and tricks' bar friends and gal pals and companions "in the life," queers have an astonishing range of intimacies. Most have no labels. Most receive no public recognition. Many of these relations are difficult because the rules have to be invented as we go along. Often desire and unease add to their intensity, and their unpredictability. They can be complex and bewildering, in a way that arouses fear among many gay people, and tremendous resistance and resentment from many straight people. Who among us would give them up? Try standing at a party of queer friends and charting all the histories, sexual and nonsexual, among the people in the room. (In some circles this is a common party sport already.) You will realize that only a fine and rapidly shifting line separates sexual culture from many other relations of durability and care. The impoverished vocabulary of straight culture tells us that people should be either husbands and wives or (nonsexual) friends. Marriage marks that line. It is not the way many queers live. If there is such a thing as a gay way of life, it consists in these relations, a welter of intimacies outside the framework of professions and institutions and ordinary social obligations. Straight culture has much to learn from it, and in many ways has already begun to learn from it. Queers should be insisting on teaching these lessons. Instead, the marriage issue, as currently framed, seems to be a way of denying recognition to these relations, of streamlining queer relations into the much less troubling division of couples from friends.
Michael Warner (The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life)
Learning how to do psychotherapy is a complex process, much of which is transacted in the relationship between the beginning therapists and experienced supervisors. When the beginning therapists encounter problems that are beyond their range of experience, the supervisors usually assist in several ways. First, the supervisors offer an intellectual framework in which to understand the problem. References to the professional literature are often suggested. Second, the supervisors offer practical, problem-solving help with the strategies of therapy. Third and most important, the supervisors help the less experienced therapists to deal with feelings of their own that have been evoked by the patients. With the support of competent supervisors, the therapists are usually able to master their own troubled feelings and put them in perspective. This done, the therapists are better able to attend to patients with empathy, and with a confidence in their ability to offer help.
Judith Lewis Herman (Father-Daughter Incest: With a New Afterword)
Given that the historically most violent regions of the UK had virtually no black population at all and given that working-class youth gangs stabbing and shooting people had existed in Britain for well over a century - who do you think the gangs attacking our grandparents when they arrived were? - you can imagine my shock when I discovered that there was, in the UK, such a thing as ‘black-on-black’ violence. None of what occurred in Northern Ireland had ever been referred to as ‘white-on-white’ crime, nor Glasgow, nor either world war, the Seven Years War, the Napoleonic Wars, nor any conflict or incident of murder, however gruesome, between humans racialised as white. Despite hundreds of millions of ‘white’ people killing each other throughout European history, witch hunts, mass rapes, hangings, torture and sexual abuse, and despite the fact that the two most violent regions of Britain in the 1990s were almost entirely white, there was no such thing as white-on-white violence. Yet apparently working-class black Londoners had imported from America a rap-induced mystery nigger gene (similar to the slave sprint one?) that caused black people to kill not for all of the complex reasons that other humans kill, but simply because they are ‘black’, and sometimes because they listened to too much rap, grime or dancehall. This is, after all, what the phrase ‘black-on-black crime’ is designed to suggest, is it not? That black people are not like the rest of humanity, and that they do not kill as a complex result of political, historical, economic, cultural, religious and psychological factors, they kill simply because of their skin: their excessive melanin syndrome. The fact that yellow-on-yellow crime, mixed race-on-mixed race crime or white-on-white violence just sound like joke terms but black on black violence has ‘credibility’ speaks very loudly about the perceived relationship between blackness and depravity in this culture.
Akala (Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire)
We seem normal only to those who don't know us very well. In a wiser, more self-aware society than our own, a standard question on an early dinner date would be; "And how are you crazy?" The problem is that before marriage, we rarely delve into our complexities. Whenever casual relationships threaten to reveal our flaws, we blame our partners and call it a day. As for our friends, they don't care enough to do the hard work of enlightening us. One of the privileges of being on our own is therefore the sincere impression that we are really quite easy to live with. We make mistakes, too, because are so lonely. No one can be in an optimal state of mind to choose a partner when remaining single feels unbearable. We have to be wholly at peace with the prospect of many years of solitude in order to be appropriately picky; otherwise, we risk loving no longer being single rather more than we love the partner who spared us that fate. Choosing whom to commit ourselves to is merely a case of identifying which particular variety of suffering we would most like to sacrifice ourselves for. The person who is best suited to us is not the person who shares our every taste (he or she doesn't exist), but the person who can negotiate differences in taste intelligently - the person who is good at disagreement. Rather than some notional idea of perfect complementarity, it is the capacity to tolerate differences with generosity that is the true marker of the "not overly wrong" person. Compatibility is an achievement of love; it must not be its precondition. Romanticism has been unhelpful to us; it is a harsh philosophy. It has made a lot of what we go through in marriage seem exceptional and appalling. We end up lonely and convinced that our union, with its imperfections, is not "normal." We should learn to accommodate ourselves to "wrongness", striving always to adopt a more forgiving, humorous and kindly perspective on its multiple examples in ourselves and our partners.
Alain de Botton
This is a radical, even distasteful image for modern people. Servant? When Paul uses this metaphor, he is not saying that we are to relate to one another in every way that literal bond-servants served their masters in ancient times. What he is saying is this: A servant puts someone else’s needs ahead of his or her own. That is how all believers should live with each other. And if all believers are to serve each other in this way, how much more intentionally and intensely should husbands and wives have this attitude toward one another? This principle cannot be dismissed, however we define the husband’s role. While Paul writes that the husband is “head” of his wife, whatever it means cannot negate the fact that he is also his wife’s Christian brother and bond-servant, according to Galatians 5:13. Husbands and wives must serve each other, must “give themselves up” for one another. That does not destroy the exercise of authority within a human relationship, but it does radically transform it.3
Timothy J. Keller (The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God)
To eat responsibly is to understand and enact, so far as one can, this complex relationship. What can one do? Here is a list, probably not definitive: 1. Participate in food production to the extent that you can. If you have a yard or even just a porch box or a pot in a sunny window, grow something to eat in it. Make a little compost of your kitchen scraps and use it for fertilizer. Only by growing some food for yourself can you become acquainted with the beautiful energy cycle that revolves from soil to seed to flower to fruit to food to offal to decay, and around again. You will be fully responsible for any food that you grow for yourself, and you will know all about it. You will appreciate it fully, having known it all its life. 2. Prepare your own food. This means reviving in your own mind and life the arts of kitchen and household. This should enable you to eat more cheaply, and it will give you a measure of “quality control”: You will have some reliable knowledge of what has been added to the food you eat. 3. Learn the origins of the food you buy, and buy the food that is produced closest to your home. The idea that every locality should be, as much as possible, the source of its own food makes several kinds of sense. The locally produced food supply is the most secure, the freshest, and the easiest for local consumers to know about and to influence. 4. Whenever possible, deal directly with a local farmer, gardener, or orchardist. All the reasons listed for the previous suggestion apply here. In addition, by such dealing you eliminate the whole pack of merchants, transporters, processors, packagers, and advertisers who thrive at the expense of both producers and consumers. 5. Learn, in self-defense, as much as you can of the economy and technology of industrial food production. What is added to food that is not food, and what do you pay for these additions? 6. Learn what is involved in the best farming and gardening. 7. Learn as much as you can, by direct observation and experience if possible, of the life histories of the food species. The
Wendell Berry (Bringing it to the Table: Writings on Farming and Food)
Freud focused on the puzzling development of conscience. He reasoned that the child begins life with a sense that all are present to serve him. A youngster eventually recognizes that others exist but not initially that they are complex beings with their own thoughts and relationships. Freud discovered that the child’s life changes dramatically when he realizes that others are subjects, just as he is: subjects in their own right (Covitz 2016). Until that time, the child understands others more or less only in their capacities to satisfy his needs: as either good or bad, as satisfying his demands or not. When the child accepts the complexity of family relationships and is able to understand that Mom and Dad have an independent relationship, he has begun to embrace them as subjects (i.e., as doers) with their own thoughts, feelings, and relationships. He has, Freud would say, developed a conscience (an uber-Ich, or a “Guiding I”). Those who fail to accept others as subjects in their own right comprise the personality-disordered subgroup of humanity.
Bandy X. Lee (The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President)
The overarching principle of a therapeutic relationship is that therapists should be ever mindful of a variant of the Hippocratic oath and, to the degree possible, strive to "do no more harm" (Courtois, 2010). Complex trauma clients have already experienced considerable harm, much of it at the hands of other human beings. As a result of the ubiquitous processes of transference, attachment styles, and IWM [Internal working models], these clients often view the therapist's behavior and their relationship through the lens of their trauma-related negative interpersonal expectancies and unhealed emotional wounds and injuries. Therapists should not be surprised to be "guilty until proven innocent", not because clients with complex trauma histories are "unfair" or "unreasonable" but precisely the opposite - because the most realistic self-protective stance for them (given the fact that betrayal and harm have been more the rule than the exception) is to "distrust first and verify" (or to be hypervigilant) rather than to start with an expectation of safety and trustworthiness.
Christine A. Courtois (Treatment of Complex Trauma: A Sequenced, Relationship-Based Approach)
We know, however, that the mind is capable of understanding these matters in all their complexity and in all their simplicity. A ball flying through the air is responding to the force and direction with which it was thrown, the action of gravity, the friction of the air which it must expend its energy on overcoming, the turbulence of the air around its surface, and the rate and direction of the ball's spin. And yet, someone who might have difficulty consciously trying to work out what 3 x 4 x 5 comes to would have no trouble in doing differential calculus and a whole host of related calculations so astoundingly fast that they can actually catch a flying ball. People who call this "instinct" are merely giving the phenomenon a name, not explaining anything. I think that the closest that human beings come to expressing our understanding of these natural complexities is in music. It is the most abstract of the arts - it has no meaning or purpose other than to be itself. Every single aspect of a piece of music can be represented by numbers. From the organization of movements in a whole symphony, down through the patterns of pitch and rhythm that make up the melodies and harmonies, the dynamics that shape the performance, all the way down to the timbres of the notes themselves, their harmonics, the way they change over time, in short, all the elements of a noise that distinguish between the sound of one person piping on a piccolo and another one thumping a drum - all of these things can be expressed by patterns and hierarchies of numbers. And in my experience the more internal relationships there are between the patterns of numbers at different levels of the hierarchy, however complex and subtle those relationships may be, the more satisfying and, well, whole, the music will seem to be. In fact the more subtle and complex those relationships, and the further they are beyond the grasp of the conscious mind, the more the instinctive part of your mind - by which I mean that part of your mind that can do differential calculus so astoundingly fast that it will put your hand in the right place to catch a flying ball- the more that part of your brain revels in it. Music of any complexity (and even "Three Blind Mice" is complex in its way by the time someone has actually performed it on an instrument with its own individual timbre and articulation) passes beyond your conscious mind into the arms of your own private mathematical genius who dwells in your unconscious responding to all the inner complexities and relationships and proportions that we think we know nothing about. Some people object to such a view of music, saying that if you reduce music to mathematics, where does the emotion come into it? I would say that it's never been out of it.
Douglas Adams (Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Dirk Gently, #1))
If mind belongs to humans alone, then stones, trees, and streams become mere objects of human tinkering. We can plunder the earth's resources with impunity, treating creeks and mountaintops in Kentucky or rivers in India or forests in northwest America as if they existed only for economic development. Systems of land and river become inert chunks of lifeless mud or mechanical runs of H2O rather than the living, breathing bodies upon which we and all other creatures depend for our very lives. Not to mention what 'nature as machine' has done to our emotional and spiritual well-being. When we regard nature as churning its way forward mindlessly through time, we turn our backs on mystery, shunning the complexity as well as the delights of relationship. We isolate ourselves from the rest of the creatures with whom we share this world. We imagine ourselves the apex of creation -- a lonely spot indeed. Human minds become the measure of creation and human thoughts become the only ones that count. The result is a concept of mind shorn of its wild connections, in which feelings become irrelevant, daydreams are mere distractions, and nighttime dreams -- if we attend to them at all -- are but the cast-offs of yesterday's overactive brain. Mind is cut off from matter, untouched by exingencies of mud or leaf, shaped by whispers or gales of wind, as if we were not, like rocks, made of soil. And then we wonder at our sadness and depression, not realizing that our own view of reality has sunk us into an unbearable solipsism, an agony of separateness -- from loved ones, from other creatures, from rich but unruly emotions, in short, from our ability to connect, through senses and feeling and imagination, with the world that is our home.
Priscilla Stuckey (Kissed by a Fox: And Other Stories of Friendship in Nature)
No son ever develops into manhood without, in some way, being disloyal to his mother. If he remains with her, to comfort her and console her, then he never gets out of his mother complex. Often a mother will do all she can to keep her son with her. One of the most subtle ways is to encourage him the idea of being loyal to her; but if he gives in to her completely then she often finds herself with a son severely injured in his masculinity. The son must ride off and leave his mother, even if it appears to mean disloyalty, and the mother must bear this pain. Later, like Parsifal, the son may come back to the mother and they may find a new relationship, on a new level; but this can only be done after the son has first achieved his independence and transferred his affection to a woman, either in an interior way with his own inner feminine side or in an exterior way with a real female companion of his own age. In our myth, Parsifal's mother died when he left. Perhaps she represents the kind of woman who can only exist as a mother, who dies when this role is taken from her because she does not understand how to be an individual woman, but only a "mother.
Robert A. Johnson (He: Understanding Masculine Psychology)
great. This is a good description of Rovio, which was around for six years and underwent layoffs before the “instant” success of the Angry Birds video game franchise. In the case of the Five Guys restaurant chain, the founders spent fifteen years tweaking their original handful of restaurants in Virginia, finding the right bun bakery, the right number of times to shake the french fries before serving, how best to assemble a burger, and where to source their potatoes before expanding nationwide. Most businesses require a complex network of relationships to function, and these relationships take time to build. In many instances you have to be around for a few years to receive consistent recognition. It takes time to develop connections with investors, suppliers, and vendors. And it takes time for staff and founders to gain effectiveness in their roles and become a strong team.* So, yes, the bar is high when you want to start a company. You’ll have the chance to work on something you own and care about from day to day. You’ll be 100 percent engaged and motivated, and doing something you believe in. You can lead an integrated life, as opposed to a compartmentalized one in which you play a role in an office and then try to forget about it when you get home. You can define an organization, not the other way around. But even if you quit your job, hunker down for years, work hard for uncertain reward, and ask everyone you know for help, there’s still a great chance that your new business will not succeed. Over 50 percent of companies fail within their first three years.2 There’s a quote I like from an unknown source: “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.
Andrew Yang (Smart People Should Build Things: How to Restore Our Culture of Achievement, Build a Path for Entrepreneurs, and Create New Jobs in America)
Friendship is a crucible of positive and negative feelings that are in a permanent state of ebullition. There’s an expression: with friends God is watching me, with enemies I watch myself. In the end, an enemy is the fruit of an oversimplification of human complexity: the inimical relationship is always clear, I know that I have to protect myself, I have to attack. On the other hand, God only knows what goes on in the mind of a friend. Absolute trust and strong affections harbor rancor, trickery, and betrayal. Perhaps that’s why, over time, male friendship has developed a rigorous code of conduct. The pious respect for its internal laws and the serious consequences that come from violating them have a long tradition in fiction. Our friendships, on the other hand, are a terra incognita, chiefly to ourselves, a land without fixed rules. Anything and everything can happen to you, nothing is certain. Its exploration in fiction advances arduously, it is a gamble, a strenuous undertaking. And at every step there is above all the risk that a story’s honesty will be clouded by good intentions, hypocritical calculations, or ideologies that exalt sisterhood in ways that are often nauseating.
Elena Ferrante
I wasn’t sure where to go from here. From the outside it seemed so straightforward. Leave, run away, start again. Julia had a lot going for her. She could have a whole new life. It clearly isn’t this straightforward as there are thousands of women like Julia who don’t leave or run away or start again. I would never really understand the complexities of Julia’s violent relationship but one thing was very clear. When she said that Andy had nobody else, what she was really saying was that she didn’t have anyone else. She was alone and, however difficult and abusive her relationship was, she clearly felt that it was all she had.
Benjamin Daniels (Confessions of a GP (The Confessions Series))
Competition is the spice of sports; but if you make spice the whole meal you'll be sick. The simplest single-celled organism oscillates to a number of different frequencies, at the atomic, molecular, sub-cellular, and cellular levels. Microscopic movies of these organisms are striking for the ceaseless, rhythmic pulsation that is revealed. In an organism as complex as a human being, the frequencies of oscillation and the interactions between those frequencies are multitudinous. -George Leonard Learning any new skill involves relatively brief spurts of progress, each of which is followed by a slight decline to a plateau somewhat higher in most cases than that which preceded it…the upward spurts vary; the plateaus have their own dips and rises along the way…To take the master’s journey, you have to practice diligently, striving to hone your skills, to attain new levels of competence. But while doing so–and this is the inexorable–fact of the journey–you also have to be willing to spend most of your time on a plateau, to keep practicing even when you seem to be getting nowhere. (Mastery, p. 14-15). Backsliding is a universal experience. Every one of us resists significant change, no matter whether it’s for the worse or for the better. Our body, brain and behavior have a built-in tendency to stay the same within rather narrow limits, and to snap back when changed…Be aware of the way homeostasis works…Expect resistance and backlash. Realize that when the alarm bells start ringing, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re sick or crazy or lazy or that you’ve made a bad decision in embarking on the journey of mastery. In fact, you might take these signals as an indication that your life is definitely changing–just what you’ve wanted….Be willing to negotiate with your resistance to change. Our preoccupation with goals, results, and the quick fix has separated us from our own experiences…there are all of those chores that most of us can’t avoid: cleaning, straightening, raking leaves, shopping for groceries, driving the children to various activities, preparing food, washing dishes, washing the car, commuting, performing the routine, repetitive aspects of our jobs….Take driving, for instance. Say you need to drive ten miles to visit a friend. You might consider the trip itself as in-between-time, something to get over with. Or you could take it as an opportunity for the practice of mastery. In that case, you would approach your car in a state of full awareness…Take a moment to walk around the car and check its external condition, especially that of the tires…Open the door and get in the driver’s seat, performing the next series of actions as a ritual: fastening the seatbelt, adjusting the seat and the rearview mirror…As you begin moving, make a silent affirmation that you’ll take responsibility for the space all around your vehicle at all times…We tend to downgrade driving as a skill simply because it’s so common. Actually maneuvering a car through varying conditions of weather, traffic, and road surface calls for an extremely high level of perception, concentration, coordination, and judgement…Driving can be high art…Ultimately, nothing in this life is “commonplace,” nothing is “in between.” The threads that join your every act, your every thought, are infinite. All paths of mastery eventually merge. [Each person has a] vantage point that offers a truth of its own. We are the architects of creation and all things are connected through us. The Universe is continually at its work of restructuring itself at a higher, more complex, more elegant level . . . The intention of the universe is evolution. We exist as a locus of waves that spreads its influence to the ends of space and time. The whole of a thing is contained in each of its parts. We are completely, firmly, absolutely connected with all of existence. We are indeed in relationship to all that is.
George Leonard
... as Herman (1992b) cogently noted two decades ago, these personality disorders can be iatrogenic, causing harm to individuals as an inadvertent result of the social stigma they carry and the widespread (but not entirely accurate) belief among professionals and insurers that those with Cluster B personality disorders (especially borderline personality disorder[BPD]) cannot be treated successfully, cannot recover, and are a headache to practitioners. For example, the BPD diagnosis continues to be applied predominantly to women often, but not always, in a negative way, usually signifying that they are irrational and beyond help. Describing posttraumatic symptoms as a personality disorder not only can be demoralizing for the client due to its connotation that something is defective with his or her core self (i.e., personality) but also may misdirect the therapist by implying that the patient's core personality should be the focus of treatment rather than trauma-related adaptations that affect but are distinct from the core self. In this way, both therapists and their clients may overlook personality strengths and capacities that are healthy and sources of resilience that can be a basis for building on and enhancing (rather than "fixing" or remaking) the patient's core self and personality.
Christine A. Courtois (Treatment of Complex Trauma: A Sequenced, Relationship-Based Approach)
One feels, in this possessive relationship, enriched, creative, and active; one feels one’s own little flame of being is increased by another and so in order not to lose this source of completeness one fears the loss of the other, and so possessive fears come into being with all their resulting problems. Thus in this relationship of psychological dependence, there must always be conscious or unconscious fear, suspicion, which often lies hidden in pleasant-sounding words.. Though one is dependent on another, there is yet the desire to be inviolate, to be whole. The complex problem in relationship is how to love without dependence, without friction and conflict; how to conquer the desire to isolate oneself, to withdraw from the cause of conflict. If we depend for our happiness on another, on society, or on environment, they become essential to us; we cling to them and any alteration of these we violently oppose because we depend upon them for our psychological security and comfort. Though, intellectually, we may perceive that life is a continual process of flux, mutation, necessitating constant change, yet emotionally or sentimentally we cling to the established and comforting values; hence there is a constant battle between change and the desire for permanency. Is it possible to put an end to this conflict?
Jiddu Krishnamurti (Relationships to Oneself, to Others, to the World)
Given our socialization into dependency, women are also poor risk takers. (...) We avoid new situations, job changes, moves to different parts of the country. Women are afraid that if they should make a mistake, or do "the wrong thing", they'll be punished. Women are less confident than men in their ability to make judgments, and in relationships will often hand over the decision-making duties to their mates, a situation which only ensures that they will become less confident in their powers of judgment as time goes by. Most shockingly of all, women are less likely than men to fulfill their intellectual potential. (...) In fact, as women proceed into adulthood, they get lower and lower scores on "total intelligence", owing to the fact that they tend to use their intelligence less and less the longer they're away from school. Other studies show that the intellect's ability to function may actually be impaired by dependent personality traits. (...) Confidence and self-esteem are primary issues in women's difficulties with achievement. Lack of confidence leads us into the dark waters of envy. (...) envy must be recognized, seen, and fully comprehended; it can too easily be used as a cover-up for something that is far mroe crucial to women's independence - our own inner feelings of incompetence. These must be dealt with - directly - if we are ever to achieve confidence and strength.
Colette Dowling (The Cinderella Complex: Women's Hidden Fear of Independence)
The geneticist Antoine Danchin once used the parable of the Delphic boat to describe the process by which individual genes could produce the observed complexity of the natural world. In the proverbial story, the oracle at Delphi is asked to consider a boat on a river whose planks have begun to rot. As the wood decays, each plank is replaced, one by one—and after a decade, no plank is left from the original boat. Yet, the owner is convinced that it is the same boat. How can the boat be the same boat—the riddle runs—if every physical element of the original has been replaced? The answer is that the “boat” is not made of planks but of the relationship between planks. If you hammer a hundred strips of wood atop each other, you get a wall; if you nail them side to side, you get a deck; only a particular configuration of planks, held together in particular relationship, in a particular order, makes a boat. Genes operate in the same manner. Individual genes specify individual functions, but the relationship among genes allows physiology. The genome is inert without these relationships. That humans and worms have about the same number of genes—around twenty thousand—and yet the fact that only one of these two organisms is capable of painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel suggests that the number of genes is largely unimportant to the physiological complexity of the organism. “It is not what you have,” as a certain Brazilian samba instructor once told me, “it is what you do with it.
Siddhartha Mukherjee (The Gene: An Intimate History)
We’re in a period right now where nobody asks any questions about psychology. No one has any feeling for human motivation. No one talks about sexuality in terms of emotional needs and symbolism and the legacy of childhood. Sexuality has been politicized--“Don’t ask any questions!” "No discussion!" “Gay is exactly equivalent to straight!” And thus in this period of psychological blindness or inertness, our art has become dull. There’s nothing interesting being written--in fiction or plays or movies. Everything is boring because of our failure to ask psychological questions. So I say there is a big parallel between Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton--aside from their initials! Young feminists need to understand that this abusive behavior by powerful men signifies their sense that female power is much bigger than they are! These two people, Clinton and Cosby, are emotionally infantile--they're engaged in a war with female power. It has something to do with their early sense of being smothered by female power--and this pathetic, abusive and criminal behavior is the result of their sense of inadequacy. Now, in order to understand that, people would have to read my first book, "Sexual Personae"--which of course is far too complex for the ordinary feminist or academic mind! It’s too complex because it requires a sense of the ambivalence of human life. Everything is not black and white, for heaven's sake! We are formed by all kinds of strange or vague memories from childhood. That kind of understanding is needed to see that Cosby was involved in a symbiotic, push-pull thing with his wife, where he went out and did these awful things to assert his own independence. But for that, he required the women to be inert. He needed them to be dead! Cosby is actually a necrophiliac--a style that was popular in the late Victorian period in the nineteenth-century. It's hard to believe now, but you had men digging up corpses from graveyards, stealing the bodies, hiding them under their beds, and then having sex with them. So that’s exactly what’s happening here: to give a woman a drug, to make her inert, to make her dead is the man saying that I need her to be dead for me to function. She’s too powerful for me as a living woman. And this is what is also going on in those barbaric fraternity orgies, where women are sexually assaulted while lying unconscious. And women don’t understand this! They have no idea why any men would find it arousing to have sex with a young woman who’s passed out at a fraternity house. But it’s necrophilia--this fear and envy of a woman’s power. And it’s the same thing with Bill Clinton: to find the answer, you have to look at his relationship to his flamboyant mother. He felt smothered by her in some way. But let's be clear--I’m not trying to blame the mother! What I’m saying is that male sexuality is extremely complicated, and the formation of male identity is very tentative and sensitive--but feminist rhetoric doesn’t allow for it. This is why women are having so much trouble dealing with men in the feminist era. They don’t understand men, and they demonize men.
Camille Paglia
While women suffer from our relative lack of power in the world and often resent it, certain dimensions of this powerlessness may seem abstract and remote. We know, for example, that we rarely get to make the laws or direct the major financial institutions. But Wall Street and the U.S. Congress seem very far away. The power a woman feels in herself to heal and sustain, on the other hand--"the power of love"--is, once again, concrete and very near: It is like a field of force emanating from within herself, a great river flowing outward from her very person. Thus, a complex and contradictory female subjectivity is constructed within the relations of caregiving. Here, as elsewhere, women are affirmed in some way and diminished in others, this within the unity of a single act. The woman who provides a man with largely unreciprocated emotional sustenance accords him status and pays him homage; she agrees to the unspoken proposition that his doings are important enough to deserve substantially more attention than her own. But even as the man's supremacy in the relationship is tacitly assumed by both parties to the transaction, the man reveals himself to his caregiver as vulnerable and insecure. And while she may well be ethically and epistemically disempowered by the care she gives, this caregiving affords her a feeling that a mighty power resides within her being. The situation of those men in the hierarchy of gender who avail themselves of female tenderness is not thereby altered: Their superordinate position is neither abandoned, nor their male privilege relinquished. The vulnerability these men exhibit is not a prelude in any way to their loss of male privilege or to an elevation in the status of women. Similarly, the feeling that one's love is a mighty force for the good in the life of the beloved doesn't make it so, as Milena Jesenka found, to her sorrow. The feeling of out-flowing personal power so characteristic of the caregiving woman is quite different from the having of any actual power in the world. There is no doubt that this sense of personal efficacy provides some compensation for the extra-domestic power women are typically denied: If one cannot be a king oneself, being a confidante of kings may be the next best thing. But just as we make a bad bargain in accepting an occasional Valentine in lieu of the sustained attention we deserve, we are ill advised to settle for a mere feeling of power, however heady and intoxicating it may be, in place of the effective power we have every right to exercise in the world.
Sandra Lee Bartky (Femininity And Domination: Studies In The Phenomenology Of Oppression)
These stories are real, the dreams are real, yet the dilemmas each person faces are founded on the presences that haunt from their past. We see again the twin mechanisms present in all relationships: projection and transference. Each of them, meeting any stranger, reflexively scans the data of history for clues, expectations, possibilities. This scanning mechanism is instantaneous, mostly unconscious, and then the lens of history slips over one's eyes. This refractive lens alters the reality of the other and brings to consciousness a necessarily distorted picture. Attached to that particular lens is a particular history, the dynamics, the script, the outcomes of which are part of the transferred package. Freud once humorously speculated that when a couple goes to bed there are six people jammed together because the spectral presences of the parents are unavoidable. One would have to add to this analogy the reminder that those parents also import their own relational complexes from their parents, so we quickly have fourteen underfoot, not to mention the persistence of even more ancestral influences. How could intimate relationships not be congested arenas? As shopworn as the idea seems, we cannot overemphasize the importance of primal imagoes playing a domineering role in our relational patterns. They may be unconscious, which grants them inordinate power, or we may flee them, but they are always present. Thus, for example, wherever the parent is stuck—such as Damon's mother who only equates sexuality with the perverse and the unappealing, and his father who stands de-potentiated and co-opted—so the child will feel similarly constrained or spend his or her life trying to break away (“anything but that”) and still be defined by someone else's journey. How could Damon not feel depressed, then, at his own stuckness, and how could he not approach intimacy with such debilitating ambivalence?
James Hollis (Hauntings: Dispelling the Ghosts Who Run Our Lives)
But since we’re on the topic of identity and narrative voice - here’s an interesting conundrum. You may know that The Correspondence Artist won a Lambda Award. I love the Lambda Literary Foundation, and I was thrilled to win a Lammy. My book won in the category of “Bisexual Fiction.” The Awards (or nearly all of them) are categorized according to the sexual identity of the dominant character in a work of fiction, not the author. I’m not sure if “dominant” is the word they use, but you get the idea. The foregrounded character. In The Correspondence Artist, the narrator is a woman, but you’re never sure about the gender of her lover. You’re also never sure about the lover’s age or ethnicity - these things change too, and pretty dramatically. Also, sometimes when the narrator corresponds with her lover by email, she (the narrator) makes reference to her “hard on.” That is, part of her erotic play with her lover has to do with destabilizing the ways she refers to her own sex (by which I mean both gender and naughty bits). So really, the narrator and her lover are only verifiably “bisexual” in the Freudian sense of the term - that is, it’s unclear if they have sex with people of the same sex, but they each have a complex gender identity that shifts over time. Looking at the various possible categorizations for that book, I think “Bisexual Fiction” was the most appropriate, but better, of course, would have been “Queer Fiction.” Maybe even trans, though surely that would have raised some hackles. So, I just submitted I’m Trying to Reach You for this year’s Lambda Awards and I had to choose a category. Well. As I said, the narrator identifies as a gay man. I guess you’d say the primary erotic relationship is with his boyfriend, Sven. But he has an obsession with a weird middle-aged white lady dancer on YouTube who happens to be me, and ultimately you come to understand that she is involved in an erotic relationship with a lesbian electric guitarist. And this romance isn’t just a titillating spectacle for a voyeuristic narrator: it turns out to be the founding myth of our national poetics! They are Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman! Sorry for all the spoilers. I never mind spoilers because I never read for plot. Maybe the editor (hello Emily) will want to head plot-sensitive readers off at the pass if you publish this paragraph. Anyway, the question then is: does authorial self-referentiality matter? Does the national mythos matter? Is this a work of Bisexual or Lesbian Fiction? Is Walt trans? I ended up submitting the book as Gay (Male) Fiction. The administrator of the prizes also thought this was appropriate, since Gray is the narrator. And Gray is not me, but also not not me, just as Emily Dickinson is not me but also not not me, and Walt Whitman is not my lover but also not not my lover. Again, it’s a really queer book, but the point is kind of to trip you up about what you thought you knew about gender anyway.
Barbara Browning
To narrow natural rights to such neat slogans as "liberty, equality, fraternity" or "life, liberty, property," . . . was to ignore the complexity of public affairs and to leave out of consideration most moral relationships. . . . Burke appealed back beyond Locke to an idea of community far warmer and richer than Locke's or Hobbes's aggregation of individuals. The true compact of society, Burke told his countrymen, is eternal: it joins the dead, the living, and the unborn. We all participate in this spiritual and social partnership, because it is ordained of God. In defense of social harmony, Burke appealed to what Locke had ignored: the love of neighbor and the sense of duty. By the time of the French Revolution, Locke's argument in the Second Treatise already had become insufficient to sustain a social order. . . . The Constitution is not a theoretical document at all, and the influence of Locke upon it is negligible, although Locke's phrases, at least, crept into the Declaration of Independence, despite Jefferson's awkwardness about confessing the source of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." If we turn to the books read and quoted by American leaders near the end of the eighteenth century, we discover that Locke was but one philosopher and political advocate among the many writers whose influence they acknowledged. . . . Even Jefferson, though he had read Locke, cites in his Commonplace Book such juridical authorities as Coke and Kames much more frequently. As Gilbert Chinard puts it, "The Jeffersonian philosophy was born under the sign of Hengist and Horsa, not of the Goddess Reason"--that is, Jefferson was more strongly influenced by his understanding of British history, the Anglo-Saxon age particularly, than by the eighteenth-century rationalism of which Locke was a principal forerunner. . . . Adams treats Locke merely as one of several commendable English friends to liberty. . . . At bottom, the thinking Americans of the last quarter of the eighteenth century found their principles of order in no single political philosopher, but rather in their religion. When schooled Americans of that era approved a writer, commonly it was because his books confirmed their American experience and justified convictions they held already. So far as Locke served their needs, they employed Locke. But other men of ideas served them more immediately. At the Constitutional Convention, no man was quoted more frequently than Montesquieu. Montesquieu rejects Hobbes's compact formed out of fear; but also, if less explicitly, he rejects Locke's version of the social contract. . . . It is Montesquieu's conviction that . . . laws grow slowly out of people's experiences with one another, out of social customs and habits. "When a people have pure and regular manners, their laws become simple and natural," Montesquieu says. It was from Montesquieu, rather than from Locke, that the Framers obtained a theory of checks and balances and of the division of powers. . . . What Madison and other Americans found convincing in Hume was his freedom from mystification, vulgar error, and fanatic conviction: Hume's powerful practical intellect, which settled for politics as the art of the possible. . . . [I]n the Federalist, there occurs no mention of the name of John Locke. In Madison's Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention there is to be found but one reference to Locke, and that incidental. Do not these omissions seem significant to zealots for a "Lockean interpretation" of the Constitution? . . . John Locke did not make the Glorious Revolution of 1688 or foreordain the Constitution of the United States. . . . And the Constitution of the United States would have been framed by the same sort of men with the same sort of result, and defended by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, had Locke in 1689 lost the manuscripts of his Two Treatises of Civil Government while crossing the narrow seas with the Princess Mary.
Russell Kirk (Rights And Duties: Reflections On Our Conservative Constitution)
When we get down to potential versus reality in relationships, we often see disappointment, not successful achievement. In the Church, if someone creates nuclear fallout in a calling, they are often released or reassigned quickly. Unfortunately, we do not have that luxury when we marry. So many of us have experienced this sad realization in the first weeks of our marriages. For example, we realized that our partner was not going to live up to his/her potential and give generously to the partnership. While fighting the mounting feelings of betrayal, we watched our new spouses claim a right to behave any way they desired, often at our expense. Most of us made the "best" of a truly awful situation but felt like a rat trapped in maze. We raised a family, played our role, and hoped that someday things would change if we did our part. It didn't happen, but we were not allowed the luxury of reassigning or releasing our mates from poor stewardship as a spouse or parent. We were stuck until we lost all hope and reached for the unthinkable: divorce. Reality is simple for some. Those who stay happily married (the key word here is happily are the ones who grew and felt companionship from the first days of marriage. Both had the integrity and dedication to insure its success. For those of us who are divorced, tracing back to those same early days, potential disappeared and reality reared its ugly head. All we could feel, after a sealing for "time and all eternity," was bound in an unholy snare. Take the time to examine the reality of who your sweetheart really is. What do they accomplish by natural instinct and ability? What do you like/dislike about them? Can you live with all the collective weaknesses and create a happy, viable union? Are you both committed to making each other happy? Do you respect each other's agency, and are you both encouraging and eager to see the two of you grow as individuals and as a team? Do you both talk-the-talk and walk-the-walk? Or do you love them and hope they'll change once you're married to them? Chances are that if the answer to any of these questions are "sorta," you are embracing their potential and not their reality. You may also be embracing your own potential to endure issues that may not be appropriate sacrifices at this stage in your life. No one changes without the internal impetus and drive to do so. Not for love or money. . . . We are complex creatures, and although we are trained to see the "good" in everyone, it is to our benefit to embrace realism when it comes to finding our "soul mate." It won't get much better than what you have in your relationship right now.
Jennifer James
When tragedy established itself in England it did so in terms of plots and spectacle that had much more to do with medieval apocalypse than with the mythos and opsis of Aristotle. Later, tragedy itself succumbs to the pressure of 'demythologizing'; the End itself, in modern literary plotting loses its downbeat, tonic-and-dominant finality, and we think of it, as the theologians think of Apocalypse, as immanent rather than imminent. Thus, as we shall see, we think in terms of crisis rather than temporal ends; and make much of subtle disconfirmation and elaborate peripeteia. And we concern ourselves with the conflict between the deterministic pattern any plot suggests, and the freedom of persons within that plot to choose and so to alter the structure, the relation of beginning, middle, and end. Naïvely predictive apocalypses implied a strict concordance between beginning, middle, and end. Thus the opening of the seals had to correspond to recorded historical events. Such a concordance remains a deeply desired object, but it is hard to achieve when the beginning is lost in the dark backward and abysm of time, and the end is known to be unpredictable. This changes our views of the patterns of time, and in so far as our plots honour the increased complexity of these ways of making sense, it complicates them also. If we ask for comfort from our plots it will be a more difficult comfort than that which the archangel offered Adam: How soon hath thy prediction, Seer blest, Measur'd this transient World, the race of Time, Till time stands fix'd. But it will be a related comfort. In our world the material for an eschatology is more elusive, harder to handle. It may not be true, as the modern poet argues, that we must build it out of 'our loneliness and regret'; the past has left us stronger materials than these for our artifice of eternity. But the artifice of eternity exists only for the dying generations; and since they choose, alter the shape of time, and die, the eternal artifice must change. The golden bird will not always sing the same song, though a primeval pattern underlies its notes. In my next talk I shall be trying to explain some of the ways in which that song changes, and talking about the relationship between apocalypse and the changing fictions of men born and dead in the middest. It is a large subject, because the instrument of change is the human imagination. It changes not only the consoling plot, but the structure of time and the world. One of the most striking things about it was said by Stevens in one of his adages; and it is with this suggestive saying that I shall mark the transition from the first to the second part of my own pattern. 'The imagination,' said this student of changing fictions, 'the imagination is always at the end of an era.' Next time we shall try to see what this means in relation to our problem of making sense of the ways we make sense of the world.
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)
Here we introduce the nation's first great communications monopolist, whose reign provides history's first lesson in the power and peril of concentrated control over the flow of information. Western Union's man was one Rutherford B. Hates, an obscure Ohio politician described by a contemporary journalist as "a third rate nonentity." But the firm and its partner newswire, the Associated Press, wanted Hayes in office, for several reasons. Hayes was a close friend of William Henry Smith, a former politician who was now the key political operator at the Associated Press. More generally, since the Civil War, the Republican Party and the telegraph industry had enjoyed a special relationship, in part because much of what were eventually Western Union's lines were built by the Union Army. So making Hayes president was the goal, but how was the telegram in Reid's hand key to achieving it? The media and communications industries are regularly accused of trying to influence politics, but what went on in the 1870s was of a wholly different order from anything we could imagine today. At the time, Western Union was the exclusive owner of the nationwide telegraph network, and the sizable Associated Press was the unique source for "instant" national or European news. (It's later competitor, the United Press, which would be founded on the U.S. Post Office's new telegraph lines, did not yet exist.) The Associated Press took advantage of its economies of scale to produce millions of lines of copy a year and, apart from local news, its product was the mainstay of many American newspapers. With the common law notion of "common carriage" deemed inapplicable, and the latter day concept of "net neutrality" not yet imagined, Western Union carried Associated Press reports exclusively. Working closely with the Republican Party and avowedly Republican papers like The New York Times (the ideal of an unbiased press would not be established for some time, and the minting of the Time's liberal bona fides would take longer still), they did what they could to throw the election to Hayes. It was easy: the AP ran story after story about what an honest man Hayes was, what a good governor he had been, or just whatever he happened to be doing that day. It omitted any scandals related to Hayes, and it declined to run positive stories about his rivals (James Blaine in the primary, Samuel Tilden in the general). But beyond routine favoritism, late that Election Day Western Union offered the Hayes campaign a secret weapon that would come to light only much later. Hayes, far from being the front-runner, had gained the Republican nomination only on the seventh ballot. But as the polls closed his persistence appeared a waste of time, for Tilden, the Democrat, held a clear advantage in the popular vote (by a margin of over 250,000) and seemed headed for victory according to most early returns; by some accounts Hayes privately conceded defeat. But late that night, Reid, the New York Times editor, alerted the Republican Party that the Democrats, despite extensive intimidation of Republican supporters, remained unsure of their victory in the South. The GOP sent some telegrams of its own to the Republican governors in the South with special instructions for manipulating state electoral commissions. As a result the Hayes campaign abruptly claimed victory, resulting in an electoral dispute that would make Bush v. Gore seem a garden party. After a few brutal months, the Democrats relented, allowing Hayes the presidency — in exchange, most historians believe, for the removal of federal troops from the South, effectively ending Reconstruction. The full history of the 1876 election is complex, and the power of th
Tim Wu
Now to picture the mechanism of this process of construction and not merely its progressive extension, we must note that each level is characterized by a new co-ordination of the elements provided—already existing in the form of wholes, though of a lower order—by the processes of the previous level. The sensori-motor schema, the characteristic unit of the system of pre-symbolic intelligence, thus assimilates perceptual schemata and the schemata relating to learned action (these schemata of perception and habit being of the same lower order, since the first concerns the present state of the object and the second only elementary changes of state). The symbolic schema assimilates sensori-motor schemata with differentiation of function; imitative accommodation is extended into imaginal significants and assimilation determines the significates. The intuitive schema is both a co-ordination and a differentiation of imaginal schemata. The concrete operational schema is a grouping of intuitive schemata, which are promoted, by the very fact of their being grouped, to the rank of reversible operations. Finally, the formal schema is simply a system of second-degree operations, and therefore a grouping operating on concrete groupings. Each of the transitions from one of these levels to the next is therefore characterized both by a new co-ordination and by a differentiation of the systems constituting the unit of the preceding level. Now these successive differentiations, in their turn, throw light on the undifferentiated nature of the initial mechanisms, and thus we can conceive both of a genealogy of operational groupings as progressive differentiations, and of an explanation of the pre-operational levels as a failure to differentiate the processes involved. Thus, as we have seen (Chap. 4), sensori-motor intelligence arrives at a kind of empirical grouping of bodily movements, characterized psychologically by actions capable of reversals and detours, and geometrically by what Poincaré called the (experimental) group of displacement. But it goes without saying that, at this elementary level, which precedes all thought, we cannot regard this grouping as an operational system, since it is a system of responses actually effected; the fact is therefore that it is undifferentiated, the displacements in question being at the same time and in every case responses directed towards a goal serving some practical purpose. We might therefore say that at this level spatio-temporal, logico-arithmetical and practical (means and ends) groupings form a global whole and that, in the absence of differentiation, this complex system is incapable of constituting an operational mechanism. At the end of this period and at the beginning of representative thought, on the other hand, the appearance of the symbol makes possible the first form of differentiation: practical groupings (means and ends) on the one hand, and representation on the other. But this latter is still undifferentiated, logico-arithmetical operations not being distinguished from spatio-temporal operations. In fact, at the intuitive level there are no genuine classes or relations because both are still spatial collections as well as spatio-temporal relationships: hence their intuitive and pre-operational character. At 7–8 years, however, the appearance of operational groupings is characterized precisely by a clear differentiation between logico-arithmetical operations that have become independent (classes, relations and despatialized numbers) and spatio-temporal or infra-logical operations. Lastly, the level of formal operations marks a final differentiation between operations tied to real action and hypothetico-deductive operations concerning pure implications from propositions stated as postulates.
Jean Piaget (The Psychology of Intelligence)