Happy Relationships Blog

Archive for the ‘psychologists’ Category

Periodically I will post from Q & A Sessions I have on blog interviews.  Here is a question about what to do if your spouse gets on your nerves:

Dorothy Says:

So excited to see Tim out there! I just received his book in the mail…this book is excellent! I’ll throw a question out there to Tim. Tim, your book is about understanding your mate in order to improve the relationship. What if it’s impossible? What if you are with someone for 13 years and he just gets on your everlasting nerve? What if your daughter (not his) hates him and you side with your daughter? Is this a doomed relationship?

Tim Kellis Says: 


You bring up an excellent question, and one that shows how difficult marriages get with divorce, the notion of a child from a previous marriage.

I do want to address the question first of him getting on your nerves. Because we are so much more educated now than ever before many more of us are cognizant about what we can find wrong with our spouse. The quote I use in the book to demonstrate this point is:

“Our present condition is, Legislation without law; wisdom without a plan; constitution without a name; and what is strangely astonishing, perfect Independence contending for dependence…The mind of the multitude is left at random, and seeing no fixed object before them, they pursue such as fancy or opinion starts. Nothing is criminal; there is no such thing as treason; wherefore every one thinks himself at liberty to act as he pleases.”

What this in essence is saying is that you can argue over anything. Unfortunately the notion that you can find fault over anything leads to your relationship developing into a regressive state. And the reason for this is the perspective of the person being critical, which is backwards because of the fear that a subjective behavior which is not thought of ahead of time by the one behaving badly, could result in problems. The reality is there are 3 types of behavior, 2 which should result in anger, and the third which unfortunately cannot be resolved. If your husband is behaving illegally or immorally then you have every right to get angry with him, but if you are getting angry at him because of subjective behavior that you fear might lead to problems then you might be looking in the wrong direction.

And as far as your daughter goes, the only thought I have is the need to work together with your husband to handle the issue with your daughter. After all she is the youngest. Unfortunately I do not know the issues between the 3 of you, but in divorce you have to also deal with her other family, something I suspect may be a source of the conflict. Again, the goal is for the parents to work together raising the children, not the children and one parent battling the other parent.

Dorothy this may raise a few more questions so feel free to post them.


Tim Kellis



Here is an excerpt from the book “Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage”  

A life-altering conversation

Only about a month later I would have a conversation with my friend Kent that would change my life forever.  I call this day the most important day of my life.  I had an epiphany. 

My plan with buying a house was to find roommates to help with the mortgage payments.  I had done this in Virginia.  I had two roommates which made my mortgage payments quite low.  In Dallas I convinced Kent to move in one of the two spare bedrooms I had.  I had bought a large three-bedroom house with two living areas on the west side of the Dallas/ Ft. Worth Airport. 

Shortly after Kent moved in we stayed up late one night talking about our different upbringings.  We sat up literally for hours in a tête-à-tête; each of us trying to prove who had the more difficult childhood.  The only problem with my argument was that every time Kent mentioned his problem he ended by saying he still loved his father.  And the point of his comment was that his father had to be more difficult than mine because it was written in the article in the pool house.  Plus, except for my dad’s many prejudices he is really a nice guy, which is the best way to describe him.  Today my dad gets along with everybody even my mom.  When he is not mad he is like a big teddy bear. 

Just like my conversations with Laurie I went through the litany of complaints about my bad parents.  I started out by saying my parents did “this”, explaining one of the many faults I had found with my parents, and he would respond by saying that “my dad sent me to military school, and I still love him”.  And I would say, “but my parents did something else”, and he would say his father never showed any love for him, and he still loved his father.  I would bring up something else my parents did that destroyed my childhood, and he would respond with “my father never had the time to attend any of my school events because he was so busy at work, but I still love him”.  This one really hit home because my dad never missed any sporting event I had ever played in.  He loved his sports and seeing his kids involved in them.  Like I said, this went on for hours.  He broke me down.  I ran out of arguments, and for probably the first time in my life I admitted I was wrong. 

The conversation brought me to tears.  Ten years would pass before I would cry again.  What Kent taught me that wonderful night was the pain I had as a child didn’t matter.  They were my parents and they taught me what I needed to know about life to be successful.  They did the best that they could with their limited resources and we turned out to be pretty good kids.  I actually got on the phone with them in tears telling them how much I loved them and thanked them for being such great parents.  I even called up Laurie in tears telling her of my epiphany about my parents. 

This was important to me because it opened up my mind to my future.  I no longer had the anger of my childhood clouding up my conscious and unconscious mind.  I could look at life objectively.  I learned what is probably the most important lesson in life.  I believe that maturity actually begins when you come to this realization.  Mental growth really begins when you let go of the painful memories of the past.  The difference between a truly healthy positive mind and an unhealthy negative mind is the healthy one has forgiven his or her parents for being parents.  There have been no rulebooks on raising kids.  My parents thought the best way was with the belt, but they did it in love. 

The reality is most parents love their children, they just might not be able to show it but you cannot live the rest of your life blaming your parents or anyone else for the problems in life.  If you think about your parents from their perspective you would probably have to understand that your parents love you, regardless of how they treated you, they brought you into this world.  Think about that!!! 

I have looked back at that lesson for many years and have been forever grateful for the lesson Kent taught me.  This lesson brings me to the point of this book.  I have learned the most important thing you can teach yourself to have a healthy mind, which is an absolute necessity for a healthy relationship.  If you can forgive your parents for the way they brought you up then you can get over the past and begin to live for the future. 

Again, it is faultfinding vs. problem solving.  Faultfinding is having those negative experiences of the past and then having you interpret that they may occur in the future, except this time it is not by your parents but by someone else, your partner.  If you want a happy and healthy relationship then it is absolutely essential that you look at your partner for who he or she is, not by who your parents are.  Your partner is obviously not your parent. 

Problem solving is looking at each problem as it occurs objectively, with an open mind, without the painful experiences caused by someone else.  Life is actually quite simple today; we are the ones who make it more difficult.  We can eat.  We have houses over our heads.  We have cars, cellular telephones, all of the trappings in life.  But getting along with our partner is actually easier than not getting along.  We don’t need to make life more difficult than it really is. 

Since that conversation with Kent I have never found fault in anything my parents have ever done to me.  I have actually looked at all of the good things they have taught me.  I am not a bad person, and it is thanks to them.  I like to joke that my goal in life is to simply stay out of jail, though seriously speaking my parents have taught me how to live a morally good life. 

If you can get over your past you can live your future!!!  

by Tim Kellis


Can Love Last: The Fate of Romance Over Time
By Steven P. Mitchell, PhD.


If Radical Honesty is ridiculous to the point of being hilarious, then Can Love Last: The Fate of Romance Over Time by Stephen A. Mitchell, Ph.D. is equally frightening. What is amazing is the book is so intelligently written!

Dr. Mitchell expands Nietzsche’s theory in Thus Spoke Zarathustra that God is dead (Zarathustra was an ancient philosopher who philosophized on the concept of monotheism, or the belief in one God) written just before Nietzsche went crazy, by concluding the relationship is dead, that long-term love is impossible.

How does he do this? Dr. Mitchell elaborates that the only path to a long-term relationship is by deadening the emotions by taking Freud’s sexual theory to its fiery conclusion. 


If you want to read a book that clearly shows the essence of the genre of relationship books consists of merely describing negative relationships, then this is the one to read. He first bases his theory of the relationship on Freud’s conclusion that we are animals just like the rest of the animal world. “…The human being is not even ‘master in his own house’: we do not even run our minds. Mind is…a ‘hierarchy of superordinated and subordinated agencies, a labyrinth of impulses striving independently of one another toward action.’” Unbelievably, the notion that our bodies rule our mind, that thinking is not an active process, is still believed in psychology today.

And when it comes to love and romance, well really sex, Dr. Mitchell states that Freud concluded our relationship problems were caused by a “psychosexual inhibition, a constraint in the capacity to arrive at and sustain desire itself, a kind of psychological flaccidity. A man might be capable of performing the physical act, going through the motions, but without passion, without intense desire.”

He follows this with a comment Freud made in 1916 that “Society must undertake as one of its more important educative tasks to tame and restrict the sexual instinct…Otherwise the instinct would break down every dam and wash away the laboriously erected work of civilization.”

In other words, the basis of the author’s conclusion of the relationship is it eventually peters out. Notice there is no theory from a female perspective. In a most extreme example of circular logic, the path to happiness is by developing emotionally to an extremely unhappy state-of-mind.

This theory is followed up with the conclusion a romantic, loving, harmonious relationship is impossible because, “it easily degrades into something else, much less captivating, much less enlivening, such as sober respect or purely sexual diversion, predictable companionship, or hatred, guilt, and self-pity.” In other words, because we are animals without the use of our minds then our biological beings eventually take over this predictable relationship we are supposed to have with the person we fell in love with.

This book is an extremely significant cop-out on the psychological industry’s inability at understanding the problems in negative relationships to the point of being able to fix them. “Romantic love has been regarded as, at best, a brief prelude to a more stable, ambivalent love.”

Does the author use case studies to present his point? Of course he does, but his case studies are the most extreme of any written. Amazingly, Dr. Mitchell points out that childhood traumas provide the foundation for the problems, but does he fix them? No. A number of his male patients are impotent. One requires the services of a dominatrix for sexual relief while another masturbates in public.

The author does give us a hint of his own psychological health when he states, “the momentary aggressive fantasies I generate in relation to strangers are nothing compared with the intensity of the homicidal fantasies I harbor toward those I live with and love most deeply.”

So does this book help unhappy couples? Not even close!

by Tim Kellis



Radical Honesty 
by Brad Blanton, PhD.


If you want to find a book that clearly demonstrates not much more than a degree is required to publish a book on relationships, look no further than Radical Honesty by Brad Blanton, Ph.D. Please keep in mind the words in quotes do actually come from the book.

Even the person writing the foreword to the book has trouble with its contents. The foreword begins with “I don’t agree with everything Brad Blanton has to say…”


This book is also one of the best examples of authors revealing their own insecurities in the writing. Dr. Blanton wears his over-sized ego on his sleeve, like a badge of honor. As he explains in the section on why he is writing this book, “I am writing this book to become famous…I want to be smarter than anyone else. More precisely, I want to be thought to be smarter than everyone else.”

He shows his intelligence with his fantasy about being questioned on a morning talk show about his book. “I love to imagine putting down one of those dumb-assed interviewers on the morning talk shows for their sniveling, wimpy ways, pushing people to hurry up and say something…I love hating them because it makes me certain that although I may be bad, I am not as fucked up as those people.”

He then follows up with “I want to make money from writing this book…I am already rich but I’m greedy and I want more than most people have.” In one section where he teaches his patients the process of telling the truth he says, “the client loves me and thinks I am greater than Socrates.” “Every asshole who writes a book is a neurotic megalomaniac just like me.”

Does anything else need to be said about our Dr.?

The basic tenet of the book sounds like it makes sense. If you want to have a successful relationship then you must be honest with your partner at all times. Sounds simple enough. After all, the unfortunate fact about people with insecurities is they hide behind what psychologically is referred to as the “true self” with a “false self”. As Dr. Blanton states many times throughout the book, “how we are all liars”. Although, he must have some crystal ball to know that everyone lies. He apparently doesn’t realize people in positive relationships are always honest with their partners. After all, they have nothing to hide because they do not behave in a manner their partner would not agree with. The person who tells the truth is the most free, most alive kind of adult human being you’ll ever see.

Blanton’s logic is the only way to remove the insecurities of the false self is to be honest about the sources behind the insecurities. He does begin by discussing the psychological problems of adults who have been raised as children by unhealthy parents. Honest enough.

The book takes an amazingly bizarre twist in logic after this. First he explains that moralism “is characterized by hysterical faith in the mind. We are all sick to death from moralism. The world of human beings may die from it.” And later, “Moralism is a disease in which ‘good’ and ‘bad’ become more important than ‘alive’ or ‘dead.’” Unfortunately, the Dr. doesn’t understand one extremely significant key to the positive relationship is treating your partner in a moral fashion. Treat others as you would want to be treated, i.e., empathy, is a central tenet to the teachings of religion.

In wonderful Freudian fashion, the book attempts to explain that the mind “is a terrible thing; waste it,” dutifully following the most basic premise of the founder of psychoanalysis. He follows this with “Minds are developed and lead us away from the experience of being,” trying to conclude not that the mind is nonexistent, but it is the source of our mental troubles. “The secret of the good life is not suffocating in the mind’s bullshit.” He really shows his own mental state when he declares, “The mind resists freedom. Freedom is antithetical to mind…The mind is a bullshit machine.” He sums up his theory of the mind in his description of “growth from birth to maturity consists of: 1. the birth of being, 2. the growth of the mind, 3. a period of domination of the being by the mind, 4. liberation of the being from the mind, and finally 5. a mind used by the being.” In other words, he is saying the mind may develop but the goal of the positive relationship is to suppress it by letting our bodies and brains dictate our behavior!

The most illogical aspect of this book is the author’s attempt at justifying anger as part of his truth-at-any-cost theory. “The wayanger is expressed has everything to do with the outcome of an argument.” He basically states that if you tell the whole truth and express your anger directly at the cause when doing so then you get over the anger and move on.

So what is the cause of the anger? That he doesn’t cover. Also, he states that if you don’t express your anger then you must be denying it. Honest Brad doesn’t realize that if we are going to get over our anger then we must figure out its source, not rationalize its existence. But his logic, “We human beings are all selfish and unfair and it’s worse than useless to pretend we aren’t.”

So what is his psychological theory on mental problems? “Neurosis is essentially a refusal to accept what is happening in the present. Neurosis involves denying the truth about any form of excitement, here and now,” committing the same blunder of mainstream psychology by not understanding how yesterday’s negative experiences impact today’s thoughts and feelings.

And how successful is he with his patients? He describes one couple he had been treating because the guy decided to leave his girlfriend to move in with another. He convinces the scorned woman to meet with this ex-boyfriend and tell him the truth about her feelings. They talk together, they sleep together, he returns to his new girlfriend. Afterwards she feels okay, he commits suicide! After all, “No change matters…All change is futile…avoiding change…is an equally futile way to live.”

The most incredible section is his advice on sex. The first bit makes sense. You should tell your partner everything about your sex life from the past. This is as important as anything else in your background positive couples share with each other. He also says couples should be open about their desires together. Fair enough. But then he rationalizes sex with other people. “If you do have sex with other people together or separately (italics mine), be sure to tell each other what it was like for you and how you felt and feel about the other person…Whether you are monogamous or polygamous is not the most critical factor in having a successful couple. Whether or not you tell the truth is (italics his).” He further states, after all, “one-night stands are just as good as lifetime relationships.”

So how successful has Dr. Blanton been? He has been married four times. Also, he comments about kicking patients out of his office if they do not follow what he tells them to do. “What bothers me more and more is that even though we are right, if we kicked everyone out who deserved being kicked out for not cooperating with us for his or her own good, there might not be anyone left, including ourselves.” Now there is a revelation!

Our mind is the great gift from God. How can we rationalize not using it?


What does Valentine’s Day mean to you and how can you take advantage of its message to improve your relationship?

All comments are welcome.

Here is another media inquiry, requested during the time that Hilary Clinton was still running for president.  The question concerned what to do in a relationship when the woman made more money than the man.  

We just may have a First Matey in the White House. In this day and age, is there still a sticking point when the wife is more successful than the husband? We’ve seen Academy Award-winning actresses losing their men after winning the little golden one. How is Bill going to deal with Hill being the big chief? University professors, marriage counselors who are psychologists/psychiatrists/M.D.s — I need good studies or long-term experience to back up statements about the pitfalls of a wife’s super success. Have the times been a-changing? And how to make the marriage work? Also, if you are a woman who is success-driven, what kind of men should you look for? 

Well, the primary purpose of the psychology industry is supposed to be to help individuals within a marriage learn how to have a balanced ego.  Unfortunately, because of Freud’s biology conclusion this message is lost.  And a woman who is more successful than her husband is a perfect example, given the financial pressures on marriage today.  Because of the lack of focus on balancing the ego the industry has also not embraced another concept, and that is happiness is not possible if the individuals define themselves by what I call the 2 false Gods, looks and money.  If you define yourself based on your looks or level of income, then you will not be able to find happiness within your marriage.  What this means with our question above is that you cannot define yourself based on your job, whether a man or a woman.  If a woman is using her status with her job to gain power in the relationship then the relationship cannot be balanced.  

And if the man is intimidated by his wife’s success then he cannot find balance in the relationship.  In fact, this brings up one of the more humorous points with marriages, the situation where the woman does make more money than the man, and the man is intimidated.  Are you kidding me!!!  I would be doing high-fives all the way to the bank if my wife made more money than me.  I just do not understand men who are intimidated by a successful wife.  There is not balance in that situation. 

Here is the way I answer the situation in the book:

The best way to look at the interaction of the partnership is that both people in the partnership have exactly fifty percent of the say in the decision making process.  No one person can tell the other person what the solution to the problem will be.  Both perspectives must be taken into consideration.  If you are not able to see the perspective of your partner then you cannot understand the other side of the discussion.  The right relationship is a fifty-fifty partnership between two people where the outcome of the discussion is what would be best for both people on an equal basis.  If you want ten dollars and the best solution for both of you is for you to have nine dollars then you get the nine dollars, and you understand why!  The path to happiness leads directly through the road of compromise. 

No this does not mean that you do half of the dishes and she does the other half, or you decide where to go to dinner on Tuesday evenings and he gets to decide on Thursday evenings, or that you both must make exactly fifty percent of the income of the household.  Even more importantly, this does not mean that if you make eighty percent of the income then your partner must make up the deficit in another manner.  Pessimists would argue that if you structure a relationship based on thinking then you take all of the emotion out of the relationship, you get bored.  Common sense, though, would tell you the exact opposite.  

If you have a relationship based only on love then the only emotion that is growing in your unconscious is the emotion of love.  That other emotion, of unhappiness, is not even present.  Emotions are never stagnant.  They either grow or they shrink.  If everyday your relationship involves only love then you only grow the emotion of love.  Life is actually a lot of fun.  Guess what, you become happy.  Granted life is tough because of this and because of that, but is it really that tough?  Getting along with your partner is actually one of the best investments in life you can ever make.  It is actually free.  You can only get there though if you develop a relationship based on the psychological notion that both get to share equally in the thinking and the feelings that go into developing the emotional bond called love. 

Getting The Love You Want, A Guide For Couples
By Harville Hendrix, PhD. 


Another relationship book that has sold extremely well is Getting The Love You Want, A Guide For Couples by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. Dr. Hendrix has been a featured guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show. She introduced him as the best marital therapist she has ever known. So does the esteemed Dr. impart some wonderful wisdom that really helps relationships overcome their difficulties? Well, yes and no.

The first statement he makes in his book that is yet to be understood in mainstream psychology is the position of the therapist in therapy. Because of Freud’s ego the therapist has maintained a position of status over a patient that has yet to be rescinded. If the industry were to understand this notion, then the path would be cleared for understanding the objective of therapy, balancing the ego. Dr. Hendrix’s wife actually realizes what their concept does when she states “you’re shifting the emphasis to the relationship between the couple, not the relationship between the client and the therapist.” Way to go Helen! Freud is probably turning over in his grave. To him, the individual patient was insignificant.


So what major breakthrough does he offer the reader? To his credit, Dr. Hendrix fully understands the impact parents have on the individual. He realizes that if one or both parents were either too loving or too remote then the child grows up to be a wounded adult, the personal history of the individual is the cause of the trouble in the marriage. What he does with this knowledge unfortunately does not help the reader other than pointing out this fact. Dr. Hendrix is also blinded by his heritage, the heritage of Sigmund Freud.

He, too, falls into the biology trap. “…we instinctively select mates who will enhance the survival of the species. Men are drawn to classically beautiful women…Women select mates…with pronounced ‘alpha’ qualities, the ability to dominate other males and bring home more than their share of the kill.” He does at least admit, “We select mates who are more or less our equals.” This, though, is the last you read about equality.

To him, the process of the relationship is nothing more than biological. He defines the processes as romantic love, the power struggle, transformation, and “spontaneous oscillation.” What is “spontaneous oscillation?” Friendship! Yes, the objective of the relationship, according to him, is not love and happiness, but friendship. Argue until you become friends.

At least he is not pontificating a dulling of the emotions. He even explains romantic love from a biological perspective, and what changes romantic love. “Scientists can’t explain the release of these potent chemicals [that are released in our brains when we fall in love], or what causes them to diminish.” Jung would call them the psychic energy called the anima and the animus. Falling in love is not a biological phenomenon.

And how does he develop his theory of childhood development? He argues we develop biologically, of course. He states that as children we develop our “old brain” as children, which causes the problems as adults. Does he then explain the only way to overcome our childhood traumas is by forgiving them? No, we cannot change our biological makeup.

What he does explain is that when we reach adulthood and find a mate we unconsciously choose someone who has the same negative character traits as our negative parents.

Unfortunately, here is where the logic becomes illogical. He does state when we find a mate we hide our insecurities. We reveal our “false selves” in new relationships when we have insecurities. “One bit of make-believe in which virtually all lovers engage is trying to appear to be more emotionally healthy than they really are.” What is so illogical about this point in the relationship is that because people with insecurities hide their insecurities until they become comfortable enough to expose them is, “how do you know that the person you fell in love with had the same insecurities that your parents had?” You don’t! The insecurities are not revealed until the arguments begin. Dr. Hendrix rationalizes arguments by stating you were looking for them in the first place!

How does he tiptoe around the subject? “It’s impossible to define precisely when the [power struggle] stages occur.” This is another perfect example of a cop-out for trying to resolve the arguments in the first place.

Harville doesn’t seem to grasp the objective of the positive relationship is to behave equally, not letting the relationship degrade into the power struggle. This “stage” is the figurative fork-in-the-road; you either take the road to happiness or the road to unhappiness, which is paved with the power struggle.

In an example of the illogic of a psychologist, Dr. Hendrix makes a statement about his patients using the term always and never by saying this is a “clear indication that [the patient] was in a regressive state,” which he then follows by stating his belief that “all people have a dark side to their nature, a part of their being that they try to ignore.” How does he know that everyonehas a dark side?

Until we explain the cause of anger we will not resolve the problems in our relationships. Does he explain the psychology behind the relationship? He doesn’t need to explain our relationships from a psychological perspective. In his mind, we are simply biological beings.


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