Month: July 2014

Anxious-Preoccupied: Activating Strategies

High Maintenance

High Maintenance

My book, Bad Boyfriends: Using Attachment Theory to Avoid Mr. (or Ms.) Wrong and Make You a Better Partner, is more of an overview of attachment theory and its application to finding a good partner. The older popular book on the topic, Levine and Heller’s Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love, is an excellent self-help guide focused more on case studies, and especially on the problems of the anxious-preoccupied who are more likely than the other types to seek out self-help books.

One of the topics they discuss in detail is hypervigilance — the anxious-preoccupied are intensely focused on keeping track of the emotional state of desired partners:

[A study found that people] with an anxious attachment style are indeed more vigilant to changes in others’ emotional expression and can have a higher degree of accuracy and sensitivity to other people’s cues. However, this finding comes with a caveat. The study showed that people with an anxious attachment style tend to jump to conclusions very quickly, and when they do, they tend to misinterpret people’s emotional state. Only when the experiment was designed in such a way that anxious participants had to wait a little longer— they couldn’t react immediately when they spotted a change, but had to wait a little longer— and get more information before making a judgment did they have an advantage over other participants.

Hair-trigger misjudgments and mistakes are more likely with this group and can get them into trouble. The anxious-preoccupied should work toward taking the time to consider all the evidence before reacting negatively, so their fine sensitivity to others’ emotional states will serve them better.

The anxious-preoccupied will sometimes explain that they feel very strongly and so can’t help themselves when overreacting to perceived threats to their relationships. The real explanation for their paranoia is not so much the intensity of feeling, however, as it is their insecurity and lack of understanding and trust in others’ good intentions. Because they are so wrapped up in the fear of losing attention or affection, they don’t take the time to see matters from the point of view of their significant other and so blunder into misunderstandings and attempts to control their partner through protest behavior.

Levine and Heller describe this behavior well:

Once activated, they are often consumed with thoughts that have a single purpose: to reestablish closeness with their partner. These thoughts are called activating strategies. Activating strategies are any thoughts or feelings that compel you to get close, physically or emotionally, to your partner. Once he or she responds to you in a way that reestablishes security, you can revert back to your calm, normal self. Activating Strategies:

• Thinking about your mate, difficulty concentrating on other things.
• Remembering only their good qualities.
• Putting them on a pedestal: underestimating your talents and abilities and overestimating theirs.
• An anxious feeling that goes away only when you are in contact with them.
• Believing this is your only chance for love, as in: “I’m only compatible with very few people—what are the chances I’ll find another person like him/ her?,” or “It takes years to meet someone new; I’ll end up alone.”
• Believing that even though you’re unhappy, you’d better not let go, as in: “If she leaves me, she’ll turn into a great partner—for someone else,, or “He can change,” or “All couples have problems—we’re not special in that regard.”

Protest behavior is a term originally coined to describe children’s screams and cries when separated from their caregiver, now applied by analogy to adult attempts to display unhappiness with a lack of attention or responsiveness from partners. Some protest behavior is part of every relationship — “Hey! You said you’d text me when you got home.” But the clingy, insecure anxious-preoccupied protest so frequently they run the risk of turning off and driving away their partners. When someone is said to be “high maintenance,” that means they are excessively needy and need more communication and reassurance than is reasonable. Protest behaviors are intended to force a reassuring response from the partner — and resorting to them frequently is bad for any relationship.

Levine and Heller have a good list of Protest Behaviors:

• Calling, texting, or e-mailing many times, waiting for a phone call, loitering by your partner’s workplace in hopes of running into him/ her.
• Withdrawing: Sitting silently “engrossed” in the paper, literally turning your back on your partner, not speaking, talking with other people on the phone and ignoring him/her.
• Keeping score: Paying attention to how long it took them to return your phone call and waiting just as long to return theirs; waiting for them to make the first “make-up” move and acting distant until such time.
• Acting hostile: Rolling your eyes when they speak, looking away, getting up and leaving the room while they’re talking (acting hostile can transgress to outright violence at times).
• Threatening to leave: Making threats—“ We’re not getting along, I don’t think I can do this anymore,” “I knew we weren’t really right for each other,” “I’ll be better off without you”—all the while hoping [partner] will stop you from leaving.
• Manipulations: Acting busy or unapproachable. Ignoring phone calls, saying you have plans when you don’t.
• Making him/ her feel jealous: Making plans to get together with an ex for lunch, going out with friends to a singles bar, telling your partner about someone who hit on you today.

Case of Anxious-Preoccupied Protest Behavior
Type: Anxious-Preoccupied

[The contents of this post have been added to the Type: Anxious-Preoccupied page.]


Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.

 


Gluten-Free Diets: The Nocebo Effect

Gluten-free Singles

Gluten-free Singles

I recently noticed my bottle of Ca-Mg-Zn (calcium-Magnesium-Zinc) tablets has a large “GLUTEN-FREE” on the label. This seems odd since I wouldn’t expect a lot of gluten in a tablet! Just as cereals once sported “Cholesterol Free!” labels, manufacturers have discovered some consumers will react positively to a label associated with healthy eating even when the food in question never contained any of the supposedly hazardous substance.

Celiac disease is a serious digestive disorder where even small amounts of gliaden (a component of gluten protein found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye) causes an auto-immune inflammation of the bowel, leading to malabsorption of nutrients, chronic constipation or diarrhea, and discomfort and low energy.

Less than 1% of the population suffers from true celiac disease. A larger group seems to have problems digesting wheat and other grain products, often called non-celiac gluten sensitivity, but this diagnosis has never been well proven, and recent studies show the digestive difficulties of these people are not due to gluten as such, but to other components of wheat and grains.

So like many memes, the “gluten-free diet” meme started from a truth: people with celiac disease suffer greatly if they consume anything with gluten. Added on was another truth: a larger group has some sensitivities to wheat and other grains. But then it became a runaway train of half-truths and marketing, where manufacturers discovered they could charge more and sell more by offering gluten-free products to meet demand mostly from those who had no real reason to avoid gluten.

From Canadian magazine MacLean’s:

Gluten-free products are a $90-million enterprise in Canada alone, and the sector is expected to grow at least 10 per cent each year through to 2018—an astounding feat for what is primarily a food-based category. In the United States, the market is valued at $4.2 billion and climbing. A landmark study by researchers at Dalhousie University in Halifax, published in the Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research in 2008, revealed that gluten-free foods were, on average, 242 per cent more expensive than their “regular” counterparts, and up to 455 per cent pricier in some cases. “If I was to manufacture a product,” says Dron, “there is no way that I would not have a gluten-free option in today’s day and age.”

With all these products, one might assume the need for gluten-free items is epidemic in Canada, that without them a public health crisis could emerge. In reality, the explanation for the recent explosion in demand is a spectacular mix of real medical concerns, changing views on what accounts for a healthy diet, savvy marketing and celebrity influence. Sports stars Steve Nash and Novak Djokovic insist going gluten-free has turned them into the finest and leanest athletes in the world. Public health messages have shifted focus from low fat and sugar-free to low-carb, partly to stave off rampant obesity. And the best-selling book Wheat Belly, by American cardiologist William Davis, published in 2011, has convinced millions to stop eating, as the author puts it, “a perfectly crafted Frankengrain” that “has exerted more harm than any foreign terrorist group can inflict on us.”

Note that it is easy to avoid gluten by not eating breads and cereals, and that changing your diet this way based on a false belief gluten harms you does, in fact, help most people lose weight — but because of the reduced carb consumption, not the lack of gluten.

Science Daily reports on a University of Florida study on popular beliefs about gluten-free foods:

Unlike their conventional counterparts, refined gluten-free foods, for the most part, are not enriched or fortified with essential vitamins and minerals. “If I’m a college student, and I want to lose weight, and I read on the Internet that a gluten-free diet is the way to go, I may start avoiding products that contain essential nutrients such as those found in cereal grains fortified with folic acid,” Shelnutt said. “The problem is you have a lot of healthy women who choose a gluten-free diet because they believe it is healthier for them and can help them lose weight and give them healthier skin.”

One of Shelnutt’s doctoral students, Caroline Dunn, wanted to know if gluten-free labeling has any impact on how consumers perceive the foods’ taste and nutrition. In a one-day experiment on the UF campus in Gainesville in February, 97 people ate cookies and chips, all gluten-free. Half were labeled “gluten-free”; the other half labeled “conventional.”

Participants then rated each food on a nine-point scale for how much they liked the flavor and texture. They also filled out a questionnaire, said Shelnutt, a faculty member with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

About a third of participants said they believed gluten-free foods to be healthier than those labeled “conventional,” a figure she thought would be much lower. While avoiding gluten-containing foods can reduce carbohydrate intake, thus helping some lose weight, many health experts say a gluten-free diet is no healthier than a conventional diet except for those with celiac disease.

Paying high prices for gluten-free products is necessary for celiac sufferers, and the gluten-free diet fad has improved their access to gluten-free foods a great deal — which is good. But for the vast majority, it is simply superstition and pseudoscience; while it probably is a good idea for most people to eat less bread and grains (and starches and sweets!), there is no reason to pay high prices for special gluten-free foods.

A nice wrapup in Forbes on the careful scientific experiments showing the apparent nonexistence of non-celiac gluten sensitivity:

In 2011, Peter Gibson, a professor of gastroenterology at Monash University and director of the GI Unit at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, published a study that found gluten, a protein found in grains like wheat, rye, and barley, to cause gastrointestinal distress in patients without celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder unequivocally triggered by gluten. Double-blinded, randomized, and placebo-controlled, the experiment was one of the strongest pieces of evidence to date that non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), more commonly known as gluten intolerance, is a genuine condition.

By extension, the study also lent credibility to the meteoric rise of the gluten-free diet. Surveys now show that 30% of Americans would like to eat less gluten, and sales of gluten-free products are estimated to hit $15 billion by 2016 — that’s a 50% jump over 2013′s numbers!

But like any meticulous scientist, Gibson wasn’t satisfied with his first study. His research turned up no clues to what actually might be causing subjects’ adverse reactions to gluten. Moreover, there were many more variables to control! What if some hidden confounder was mucking up the results? He resolved to repeat the trial with a level of rigor lacking in most nutritional research. Subjects would be provided with every single meal for the duration of the trial. Any and all potential dietary triggers for gastrointestinal symptoms would be removed, including lactose (from milk products), certain preservatives like benzoates, propionate, sulfites, and nitrites, and fermentable, poorly absorbed short-chain carbohydrates, also known as FODMAPs. And last, but not least, nine days worth of urine and fecal matter would be collected. With this new study, Gibson wasn’t messing around.

37 subjects took part, all confirmed not to have celiac disease but whose gastrointestinal symptoms improved on a gluten-free diet, thus fulfilling the diagnostic criteria for non-celiac gluten sensitivity.** They were first fed a diet low in FODMAPs for two weeks (baseline), then were given one of three diets for a week with either 16 grams per day of added gluten (high-gluten), 2 grams of gluten and 14 grams of whey protein isolate (low-gluten), or 16 grams of whey protein isolate (placebo). Each subject shuffled through every single diet so that they could serve as their own controls, and none ever knew what specific diet he or she was eating. After the main experiment, a second was conducted to ensure that the whey protein placebo was suitable. In this one, 22 of the original subjects shuffled through three different diets — 16 grams of added gluten, 16 grams of added whey protein isolate, or the baseline diet — for three days each.

Analyzing the data, Gibson found that each treatment diet, whether it included gluten or not, prompted subjects to report a worsening of gastrointestinal symptoms to similar degrees. Reported pain, bloating, nausea, and gas all increased over the baseline low-FODMAP diet. Even in the second experiment, when the placebo diet was identical to the baseline diet, subjects reported a worsening of symptoms! The data clearly indicated that a nocebo effect, the same reaction that prompts some people to get sick from wind turbines and wireless signals, was at work here. Patients reported gastrointestinal distress without any apparent physical cause. Gluten wasn’t the culprit; the cause was likely psychological. Participants expected the diets to make them sick, and so they did. The finding led Gibson to the opposite conclusion of his 2011 research:

“In contrast to our first study… we could find absolutely no specific response to gluten.”

Instead, as RCS reported last week, FODMAPS are a far more likely cause of the gastrointestinal problems attributed to gluten intolerance. Jessica Biesiekierski, a gastroenterologist formerly at Monash University and now based out of the Translational Research Center for Gastrointestinal Disorders at the University of Leuven in Belgium,* and lead author of the study alongside Gibson, noted that when participants consumed the baseline low-FODMAP diet, almost all reported that their symptoms improved!

“Reduction of FODMAPs in their diets uniformly reduced gastrointestinal symptoms and fatigue in the run-in period, after which they were minimally symptomatic.”

Coincidentally, some of the largest dietary sources of FODMAPs — specifically bread products — are removed when adopting a gluten-free diet, which could explain why the millions of people worldwide who swear by gluten-free diets feel better after going gluten-free.

For more on diet and weight loss:

Getting to Less Than 10% Body Fat Like the Models – Ask Me How!
Starbucks, Jamba Juice Make You Fat
Fat Doesn’t Make You Fat. Government Guidelines Did!
‘Fed Up’ Asks, Are All Calories Equal?
Fructose: The True Villain?
More on “Fed Up”, Sugar Subsidies, and Obesity
Another Study on Diet Drinks
LeBron James Cut Carbs for Lean Look
Why We’re Fat: In-Depth Studies Under Way
Almonds: Superfood, Eat Them Daily for Heart Health
Fish Oil Supplements Ward Off Dementia
More on Diet Drinks: Best Studies Show They Aid Weight Loss
Vani Hari: “Food Babe” and Quack
Cleanses and Detox Diets: Quackery
Sugared Soft Drinks: Health Risk? (and What About Diet Soda?)
Gluten-Free Diets: The Nocebo Effect
Acidic Soft Drinks and Sodas: Demineralization Damages Teeth
Fish and Fish Oil for Better Brain Health
Salt: New Research Says Too Little May Be Unhealthy
Bulletproof Coffee: Coffee, Oil, and Butter for Breakfast?

For more on useful supplements and life-extending habits:

Low-Dose Aspirin Reduces Pancreatic Cancer
Daily Aspirin Regimen Reduces Cancer Rates
Lower Back Pain: Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Paracetamol) Useless
Scams: Multi-Level Marketing, Herbalife
Vitamin D: Anti-Dementia?

Sugared Soft Drinks: Health Risk? (and What About Diet Soda?)

Sodas in 2-liter bottles

Sodas in 2-liter bottles

When I was a child, one of the greatest treats in our small world was to go to the five-and-dime (a store where many items used to be that price, kids! Example, Woolworths) which had a soda fountain, a long bar serving concoctions like sodas and milkshakes. One of my favorites was a cherry coke — soda water mixed with Coca-Cola and cherry syrup. Serving size for this very sweet drink was probably about 8 oz., or 250 ml. The combination of sweet and carbonation was out of that world! (In other words, a taste combination that stimulated evolved preferences for sweet but far beyond what was usually available in the diet we evolved with.)

Now, of course, sweetened sodas are available everywhere, and sold in much larger serving sizes. My brother was addicted to 7-11 Big Gulps — a massive 30 oz. soda for drinking on the go. Cane sugar was replaced by cheaper HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) as corn was subsidized and sugar controlled at an artificially high price by agribusiness lobbying of Congress. Hamburger fast-food chains built an empire on burgers, fries (potatoes, also a high-glycemic-index food), and soft drinks.

There is evidence that high-carbohydrate diets in general, and sugar in particular, are the cause of the great increase in obesity. Even natural fruit juice and concoctions served in coffee bars have more sugar in one quickly-absorbed dose than is wise.

Politicians have attempted to reduce overconsumption of sweetened soft drinks by limiting serving sizes or proposing special taxes. Most people find these efforts intrusive and they haven’t gotten very far in the political system; like many pleasures, soft drinks don’t cause problems consumed in moderate serving sizes and only on occasion. Trying to force people to change their habits by law or regulation is unlikely to be very effective; widespread public understanding of the problem does seem to be working, however, as soft drink consumption is down and obesity seems to be leveling off in the US though still increasing elsewhere.

Scientists are still studying the effects of sugar on the body, and a recent study reviewed in Science Daily shows another downside of sugary drinks and the large blood sugar spikes they cause:

Research to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB) finds that daily consumption of beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup or sucrose can impair the ability to learn and remember information, particularly when consumption occurs during adolescence.

Both adult and adolescent rats were given daily access to sugar-sweetened beverages that mirror sugar concentrations found in common soft drinks. Adult rats that consumed the sugar-sweetened beverages for one month performed normally in tests of cognitive function; however, when consumption occurred during adolescence the rats were impaired in tests of learning and memory capability.

The lead author, Dr. Scott Kanoski from the University of Southern California, says, “It’s no secret that refined carbohydrates, particularly when consumed in soft drinks and other beverages, can lead to metabolic disturbances. However, our findings reveal that consuming sugar-sweetened drinks is also interfering with our brain’s ability to function normally and remember critical information about our environment, at least when consumed in excess before adulthood.”

In addition to causing memory impairment, adolescent sugar-sweetened beverage consumption also produced inflammation in the hippocampus, an area of the brain that controls many learning and memory functions.

Which confirms another hazard of frequent consumption of highly-sweetened soft drinks: a period of poor learning ability after each serving. Which is likely to give ammunition to schools that ban them in lunchrooms or vending machines.

But what about diet drinks sweetened with the usual artificial sweeteners like aspartame or sucralose? One concern has been that these drinks set off the body’s insulin release because they trigger sweet receptors just as sugar does, but the insulin causes more harm since it has nothing to work on — the body has been tricked. This theory has been used to support the idea that diet soft drinks will increase cravings for sweets and cause other problems that make avoiding them wise. But the evidence of this is very thin, one recent study showed no ill-effects, and I personally enjoy occasional diet soft drinks without problems. Most likely diet soft drinks in moderation cause few problems for those who aren’t sensitive to the specific sweeteners used.

Note that many sodas — and fruit juices like orange juice — are highly acidic and can erode tooth enamel over time. In other words, if you drink Diet Coke all day long, your tooth surfaces will quickly be decalcified and start to deteriorate. This is another good reason to avoid frequent consumption of these drinks.

For more on diet and weight loss:

Getting to Less Than 10% Body Fat Like the Models – Ask Me How!
Starbucks, Jamba Juice Make You Fat
Fat Doesn’t Make You Fat. Government Guidelines Did!
‘Fed Up’ Asks, Are All Calories Equal?
Fructose: The True Villain?
More on “Fed Up”, Sugar Subsidies, and Obesity
Another Study on Diet Drinks
LeBron James Cut Carbs for Lean Look
Why We’re Fat: In-Depth Studies Under Way
Almonds: Superfood, Eat Them Daily for Heart Health
Fish Oil Supplements Ward Off Dementia
More on Diet Drinks: Best Studies Show They Aid Weight Loss
Vani Hari: “Food Babe” and Quack
Cleanses and Detox Diets: Quackery
Gluten-Free Diets: The Nocebo Effect
Acidic Soft Drinks and Sodas: Demineralization Damages Teeth
Fish and Fish Oil for Better Brain Health
Salt: New Research Says Too Little May Be Unhealthy
Bulletproof Coffee: Coffee, Oil, and Butter for Breakfast?

Limerence vs. Love

Love and Limerence

Love and Limerence

Limerence is an involuntary state of mind which results from a romantic attraction to another person combined with an overwhelming, obsessive need to have one’s feelings reciprocated. Psychologist Dorothy Tennov [1] coined the term “limerence” in her 1979 book Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love [2] to describe the concept that had grown out of her work in the mid-1960s, when she interviewed over 500 people on the topic of love.[3]

Being “in love”—limerence—is involuntary; you have no conscious control over the creeping obsession and the hormonal-biochemical imperative to Pay Attention to this Fascinating New Creature in your world. One common explanation for limerence is that it serves the evolutionary purpose by irrationally binding couples long enough to rear children. Some recent reading suggests a higher-level game-theoretic signalling purpose: to demonstrate that one’s commitment to the other is irrational and therefore unlikely to be broken by the attraction of a more suitable and advantageous partner. Someone considering a partner can be convinced to commit more easily when evidence shows the partner will not break the commitment just because a better opportunity comes along. The persuasive power of a display of unconditional and irrational love is enormous.[4]

Culturally, limerence is either seen as the desirable state of hyperexcitement all romances should begin with, or the tragic downfall of clueless losers who throw themselves at people they barely know because of some delusional intuition that they must be soulmates. Both of these views are oversimplified—many or even most good long-term relationships start off with a long, slow period of getting-to-know-you, gradually easing into partnership. The limerence that may be present in one (and occasionally both!) prospective partners can help get over the initial hurdle of superficial difficulties in getting them together. Being “in love” is not a necessary or sufficient condition for partnering with someone, but neither does it hurt.

But our culture glorifies drama and passion. Novels, opera, movies all tell us sexual attraction plus passion equals Really Living. Dr. Lewis has some thoughtful comments:

Our society goes the craziness of in love one better by insisting on the supremacy of delectable but ephemeral madness. Cultural messages inform the populace that if they aren’t perpetually electric they are missing out on the pinnacle of relatedness. Every pop-cultural medium portrays the height of adult intimacy as the moment when two attractive people who don’t know a thing about each other tumble into bed and have passionate sex. All the waking moments of our love lives should tend, we are told, toward that throbbing, amorous apotheosis. But in love merely brings the players together, and the end of that prelude is as inevitable as it is desirable. True relatedness has a chance to blossom only with the waning of its intoxicating predecessor.

Loving is limbically distinct from in love. Loving is mutuality; loving is synchronous attunement and modulation. As such, adult love depends critically upon knowing the other. In love demands only the brief acquaintance necessary to establish an emotional genre but does not demand that the book of the beloved’s soul be perused from preface to epilogue. Loving derives from intimacy, the prolonged and detailed surveillance of a foreign soul. [5]

The rush of initial limerence is so powerful it is analogous to a psychoactive drug—indeed, some of the same neurotransmitter receptors may be involved. And by analogy, we have Roxy Music’s “Love is the Drug.”[6] A self-help book, Peele and Brodsky’s Love and Addiction[7], covers the topic of people addicted to the rush and unable to stop craving it. Stalkers are people who have fallen into a pathologically deep limerent hole, unable to overcome the delusion that they have a special relationship with the stalked.

But long-term relationships are built on a much deeper jointly-built understanding, and a more real limbic connection between partners. This requires regular physical contact, a long history of supportive message exchange, and a deep sense of trust and knowledge of the other:

Because loving is reciprocal physiologic influence, it entails a deeper and more literal connection than most realize. Limbic regulation affords lovers the ability to modulate each other’s emotions, neurophysiology, hormonal status, immune function, sleep rhythms, and stability. If one leaves on a trip, the other may suffer insomnia, a delayed menstrual cycle, a cold that would have been fought off in the fortified state of togetherness. The neurally ingrained Attractors of one lover warp the emotional virtuality of the other, shifting emotional perceptions— what he feels, sees, knows. When somebody loses his partner and says a part of him is gone, he is more right than he thinks. A portion of his neural activity depends on the presence of that other living brain. Without it, the electric interplay that makes up him has changed. Lovers hold keys to each other’s identities, and they write neurostructural alterations into each other’s networks. Their limbic tie allows each to influence who the other is and becomes.

Mutuality has tumbled into undeserved obscurity by the primacy our society places on the art of the deal. The prevailing myth reaching most contemporary ears is this: relationships are 50-50. When one person does a nice thing for the other, he is entitled to an equally pleasing benefit—the sooner the better, under the terms of this erroneous dictum. The physiology of love is no barter. Love is simultaneous mutual regulation, wherein each person meets the needs of the other, because neither can provide for his own. Such a relationship is not 50-50—it’s 100-100. Each takes perpetual care of the other, and, within concurrent reciprocity, both thrive. For those who attain it, the benefits of deep attachment are powerful—regulated people feel whole, centered, alive. With their physiology stabilized from the proper source, they are resilient to the stresses of daily life, or even to those of extraordinary circumstance.[8]

Being “in love” is the Fool’s Gold of attachment: non-nourishing, short-lived, and more a hindrance to long-term achievement than a help.


[1] Dorothy Tennov in Wikipedia
[2] Tennov, Dorothy (1999). Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love. Scarborough House. ISBN 978-0-8128-6286-7.
[3] Limerence
[4] A fascinating operetta by Stephen Sondheim about obsessive limerence and its persuasive power : Lapine, James. Stephen Sondheim’s Passion. Image Entertainment, 2003.
[5] Lewis, p 206
[6] Roxy Music’s Love Is The Drug:
[7] Peele, Stanton, and Archie Brodsky. Love and Addiction. New York: Penguin Group, 1991.
[8] Lewis, p 207

For more, see my book Bad Boyfriends: Using Attachment Theory to Avoid Mr. (or Ms.) Wrong and Make You a Better Partner.


Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.

 


More on Divorce, Marriage, and Mateseeking

Marriages Happening Late, Are Good for You
Monogamy and Relationship Failure; “Love Illuminated”
“Millionaire Matchmaker”
More reasons to find a good partner: lower heart disease!
“Princeton Mom” Susan Patton: “Marry Smart” not so smart
“Blue Valentine”
“All the Taken Men are Best” – why women poach married men….
“Marriage Rate Lowest in a Century”
Making Divorce Hard to Strengthen Marriages?
Student Loan Debt: Problems in Divorce
“The Upside of ‘Marrying Down’”
The High Cost of Divorce
Separate Beds Save Marriages?
Marital Discord Linked to Depression
Marriage Contracts: Give People More Legal Options
Older Couples Avoiding Marriage For Financial Reasons
Divorced Men 8 Times as Likely to Commit Suicide as Divorced Women
Vox Charts Millennial Marriage Depression
What’s the Matter with Marriage?
Life Is Unfair! The Great Chain of Dysfunction Ends With You.
Leftover Women: The Chinese Scene
Constant Arguing Can Be Deadly…
“If a fraught relationship significantly shortens your life, are you better off alone?
“Divorce in America: Who Really Wants Out and Why”
View Marriage as a Private Contract?
“It’s up there with ‘Men Are From Mars’ and ‘The Road Less Travelled’”
Free Love, eHarmony, Matchmaking Pseudoscience
Love Songs of the Secure Attachment Type
“The New ‘I Do’”
Unrealistic Expectations: Liberal Arts Woman and Amazon Men
Mark Manson’s “Six Healthy Relationship Habits”
“The Science of Happily Ever After” – Couples Communications
Free Dating Sites: Which Have Attachment Type Screening?
Dating Pool Danger: Harder to Find Good Partners After 30
Mate-Seeking: The Science of Finding Your Best Partner
Perfect Soulmates or Fellow Travelers: Being Happy Depends on Perspective
No Marriage, Please: Cohabiting Taking Over
“Marriage Markets” – Marriage Beyond Our Means?
Rules for Relationships: Realism and Empathy
Limerence vs. Love
The “Fairy Tale” Myth: Both False and Destructive
When to Break Up or Divorce? The Economic View
“Why Are Great Husbands Being Abandoned?”
Divorce and Alimony: State-By-State Reform, Massachusetts Edition
“Sliding” Into Marriage, Small Weddings Associated with Poor Outcomes
Subconscious Positivity Predicts Marriage Success…
Why We Are Attracted to Bad Partners (Who Resemble a Parent)

The Affordable, Effective University: Indiana and Mitch Daniels

University of Indiana - logo

University of Indiana – logo

Reason‘s Robby Soave writes about Mitch Daniel’s efforts to reduce administrative bloat at the University of Indiana:

The bottom line is this: Universities can’t have it both ways. They can’t provide an affordable education to middle class and low-income families while also hiring a bajillion more residential advisors, vice presidents of sustainability, diversity coordinators, and other paper pushers who never set foot near a classroom.

Many Democratic politicians who claim to sympathize with the suffering students, such as President Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, believe the best way keep college affordable is to loan students a bunch of money on the taxpayer’s dime and then forgive their debts—so long as they find their way into government service. But that doesn’t actually keep costs down; it merely tricks students into thinking they can manage.

The best method for preventing tuition increases is actually much simpler: University presidents and regents need to stop raising tuition to cover non-educational nonsense. Kudos to Daniels for understanding that, daunting though the challenge may be.

More on education and child development :

Student Loan Debt: Problems in Divorce
Early Child Development: The High Cost of Abuse and Neglect
Child Welfare Ideas: Every Child Gets a Government Guardian!
Tuitions Inflated, Product Degraded, Student Debts Unsustainable
Free Range Kids vs Paranoid Child Welfare Authorities
“Crying It Out” – Parental Malpractice!
Brazilian For-Profit Universities Bring Quality With Quantity
Real-Life “Hunger Games”: Soft Oppression Destroys the Poor
“Attachment Parenting” – Good Idea Taken Too Far?
Real Self-Esteem: Trophies for Everyone?
Public Schools in Poor Districts: For Control Not Education
YA Dystopias vs Heinlein et al: Social Justice Warriors Strike Again
Steven Pinker on Harvard and Meritocracy
Social Justice Warriors, Jihadists, and Neo-Nazis: Constructed Identities

Rules for Relationships: Realism and Empathy

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie

Hara Estroff Marano has written a good post at Psychology Today with a handy list of rules for happy relationships. If you are still seeking, read the whole post, but I’ve excerpted some of the best points:

• Choose a partner wisely and well. We are attracted to people for all kinds of reasons. They remind us of someone from our past. They shower us with gifts and make us feel important. Evaluate a potential partner as you would a friend: Look at their character, personality, values, their generosity of spirit, the relationship between their words and actions, their relationships with others.

• Know your needs and speak up for them clearly. A relationship is not a guessing game. Many people fear stating their needs and, as a result, camouflage them. The result is disappointment at not getting what they want and anger at a partner for not having met their (unspoken) needs. Closeness cannot occur without honesty. Your partner is not a mind reader.

• Respect, respect, respect. Inside and outside the relationship, act in ways so that your partner always maintains respect for you. Mutual respect is essential to a good and fair relationship.

• View yourselves as a team, which means you are two unique individuals bringing different perspectives and strengths. That is the value of a team—your differences.

• Know how to manage differences; it’s the key to success in a relationship. Disagreements don’t sink relationships. Name-calling does. Learn how to handle the negative feelings that are the unavoidable byproduct of the differences between two people. Stonewalling or avoiding conflicts is NOT managing them.

• If you don’t understand or like something your partner is doing, ask about it and why he or she is doing it. Talk and explore, don’t assume or accuse.

• Solve problems as they arise. Don’t let resentments simmer. Most of what goes wrong in relationships can be traced to hurt feelings, leading partners to erect defenses against one another and to become strangers. Or enemies.

• Listen, truly listen, to your partner’s concerns and complaints without judgment. Much of the time, just having someone listen is all we need for solving problems. Plus it opens the door to confiding. And empathy is crucial. Look at things from your partner’s perspective as well as your own.

• Take a long-range view. A marriage is an agreement to spend a future together. Check out your dreams with each other regularly to make sure you’re both on the same path.

• Sex is good. Pillow talk is better. Sex is easy, intimacy is difficult. It requires honesty, openness, self-disclosure, confiding concerns, fears, sadnesses as well as hopes and dreams.

• Apologize, apologize, apologize. Anyone can make a mistake. Repair attempts are crucial—highly predictive of marital happiness. They can be clumsy or funny, even sarcastic—but willingness to make up after an argument is central to every long-term relationship.

• Some dependency is good, but complete dependency on a partner for all one’s needs is an invitation to resentment at the burden and unhappiness for both partners. We’re all dependent to a degree—on friends, mentors, spouses. This is true of men as well as women.

• Maintain self-respect and self-esteem. It’s easier for someone to like you and to be around you when you like yourself. Research has shown that the more roles people fill, the more sources of self-esteem they have. Meaningful work—paid or volunteer—has long been one of the most important ways to build and exercise a sense of self.

• Don’t just run away from a bad relationship; you’ll only repeat it with the next partner. Use it as a mirror to look at yourself, to understand what in you is creating the relationship. Change yourself before you change your partner.


Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.

 


More on Divorce, Marriage, and Mateseeking

Marriages Happening Late, Are Good for You
Monogamy and Relationship Failure; “Love Illuminated”
“Millionaire Matchmaker”
More reasons to find a good partner: lower heart disease!
“Princeton Mom” Susan Patton: “Marry Smart” not so smart
“Blue Valentine”
“All the Taken Men are Best” – why women poach married men….
“Marriage Rate Lowest in a Century”
Making Divorce Hard to Strengthen Marriages?
Student Loan Debt: Problems in Divorce
“The Upside of ‘Marrying Down’”
The High Cost of Divorce
Separate Beds Save Marriages?
Marital Discord Linked to Depression
Marriage Contracts: Give People More Legal Options
Older Couples Avoiding Marriage For Financial Reasons
Divorced Men 8 Times as Likely to Commit Suicide as Divorced Women
Vox Charts Millennial Marriage Depression
What’s the Matter with Marriage?
Life Is Unfair! The Great Chain of Dysfunction Ends With You.
Leftover Women: The Chinese Scene
Constant Arguing Can Be Deadly…
“If a fraught relationship significantly shortens your life, are you better off alone?
“Divorce in America: Who Really Wants Out and Why”
View Marriage as a Private Contract?
“It’s up there with ‘Men Are From Mars’ and ‘The Road Less Travelled’”
Free Love, eHarmony, Matchmaking Pseudoscience
Love Songs of the Secure Attachment Type
“The New ‘I Do’”
Unrealistic Expectations: Liberal Arts Woman and Amazon Men
Mark Manson’s “Six Healthy Relationship Habits”
“The Science of Happily Ever After” – Couples Communications
Free Dating Sites: Which Have Attachment Type Screening?
Dating Pool Danger: Harder to Find Good Partners After 30
Mate-Seeking: The Science of Finding Your Best Partner
Perfect Soulmates or Fellow Travelers: Being Happy Depends on Perspective
No Marriage, Please: Cohabiting Taking Over
“Marriage Markets” – Marriage Beyond Our Means?
Rules for Relationships: Realism and Empathy
Limerence vs. Love
The “Fairy Tale” Myth: Both False and Destructive
When to Break Up or Divorce? The Economic View
“Why Are Great Husbands Being Abandoned?”
Divorce and Alimony: State-By-State Reform, Massachusetts Edition
“Sliding” Into Marriage, Small Weddings Associated with Poor Outcomes
Subconscious Positivity Predicts Marriage Success…
Why We Are Attracted to Bad Partners (Who Resemble a Parent)

Histrionic Personality: Seductive, Dramatic, Theatrical

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe

While my book Bad Boyfriends: Using Attachment Theory to Avoid Mr. (or Ms.) Wrong and Make You a Better Partner is primarily about attachment types, I also try to help readers recognize the more troublesome personality disorders (abusive narcissists, sadists, psychopaths, and histrionic personality.) Here’s an excerpt about the histrionic personality type:

From the Latin for actor, histrionicus, the histrionic personality is characterized by excessive drama, display, and acting out of emotions. At about 2% of the population and usually associated with women (80% of those diagnosed with histrionic personality disorder are female), these characters can be engaging and attractive but exhausting in their need to be the center of attention. Often flirtation and seduction are used as tools to gain attention, and histrionic women can run into trouble being seen as pass-around party girls or “teases.” Examples of the type in fiction include Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire, and Marilyn Monroe’s seductive film persona. Manipulative and vulnerable by turns, a histrionic type is easy to feel sympathy for and tempts one to try to “rescue” them, but as an extreme form of the anxious-preoccupied attachment type, the histrionic woman (or man) is, like the narcissist, typically unable to achieve a secure, equal intimacy with others—the pressure of her need for attention is too great.

PRAISE ME is a useful mnemonic for the signs of histrionic personality disorder (HPD):

• Provocative (or seductive) behavior
• Relationships are considered more intimate than they actually are
• Attention-seeking
• Influenced easily
• Speech (style) wants to impress; lacks detail
• Emotional lability; shallowness
• Make-up; physical appearance is used to draw attention to self
• Exaggerated emotions; theatrical[1]

In less extreme forms, where the woman is seen as overly dramatic or hysterical but not so extreme as to be unable to function in a relationship, this can be charming to those who don’t know her well:

The live wire. Seductive and engaging, she can often make people feel there’s no one on earth they’d rather be with. Often diagnosed as a hysterical character, she is scattered, charmingly incompetent, and easily thrown into a tizzy by schedules, details, and responsibilities. Her dramatic flair makes her popular. Male neighbors delight in meeting her in the hall, and they wonder: “Why is she married to him?” But she flees from intimacy, and like the ambivalent child, she tends to be demanding or clingy, immature, and easily overwhelmed by her own emotions.[2]

It’s emotionally draining to maintain a relationship with such a needy person, and it’s often a caretaking arrangement, with the stable partner smoothing out the difficulties of the real world for the histrionic partner and accepting all her drama and unreliability for the sake of the relationship. Unless that’s something that sounds appealing to you, steer clear.


[1] Pinkofsky, H B. “Mnemonics for DSM-IV Personality Disorders.” Psychiatric Services (Washington, D.C.) 48, no. 9 (September 1997): 1197–1198.
[2] Karen, p. 392


Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.

 


More on Attachment and Personality Types:

What Attachment Type Are You?
Type: Secure
Type: Anxious-Preoccupied
Type: Dismissive-Avoidant
Type: Fearful-Avoidant (aka Anxious-Avoidant)
Avoidant: Emotions Repressed Beneath Conscious Level
Serial Monogamy: the Fearful-Avoidant Do It Faster
Anxious-Preoccupied: Stuck on the Dismissive?
Anxious-Preoccupied / Dismissive-Avoidant Couples: the Silent Treatment
nxious-Preoccupied: Clingy and Insecure Relationship Example
Domestic Violence: Ray and Janay Rice
Malignant Narcissists
Teaching Narcissists to Activate Empathy
Life Is Unfair! The Great Chain of Dysfunction Ends With You.
Love Songs of the Secure Attachment Type
On Addiction and the Urge to Rescue
Sale! Sale! Sale! – “Bad Boyfriends” for Kindle, $2.99
Controlling Your Inner Critic: Subpersonalities
“Big Bang Theory” — Aspergers and Emotional/Social Intelligence
Porn Addiction and NoFAP
Introverts in Management