How Narcissism Harms Your Relationship

Narcissism = Selfishness = Egotism: Are you more focused on yourself than on your partner?

[Note: In this article, I speak as a masculine man in relationship to feminine women. Please adjust the gender terms to suit your relationship life.]

In previous articles, I described narcissism as an extreme form of selfishness. But narcissism goes beyond mere self-interest. It’s more akin to egotism — an excessive or exaggerated sense of self-importance. In the extreme, a narcissist exists alone at the center of his (or her) known universe. Other people appear as instruments that serve a purpose: to satisfy the narcissist’s needs, wants and desires. If they don’t, they are considered useless (or worse) and can be easily discarded.

If that’s the extreme, where are you on the scale of narcissism?  I have always considered myself an evolving “conscious male,” so my own narcissism was submerged, hidden in the subconscious shadows. I couldn’t see it — but the women in my life could.

Continue reading

Stop Having The Same Arguments Over And Over (And Over) Again

Always fight about the same things? Find out what’s really at the root of your problem.

After decades of being relationship experts who help guide others through their challenges, my husband and I decided to treat ourselves to a workshop for couples, created by the Gottman Institute. We figured that everyone could use a “relationship tune-up” from time to time — even those of us who are seasoned relationship healers.

The Gottmans conducted 40 years of research to clarify the indicators of future divorce and they offer trainings to couples for improving their chances of success. It’s based on their rich scientific documentation of watching couples in action and seeing first-hand what damages the trust and love between two people. Why not prevent the negative impact in the first place with information and guidelines for conflict resolution?
Continue reading

6 Secrets for Harnessing The Power of Love

When it comes to love, everyone wants one thing: MORE!

We all need love. And no one ever complains about having too much of it.

If you want more love and if you want to enjoy extraordinary relationships in your life, don’t sit around hoping for a miracle. Take positive actions to make it happen. It’s possible to turn ordinary, dissatisfying relationships into deep and positive experiences for both you and your partner. This applies to your romantic relationship, but also to your relationships with friends, family members, children, and even your colleagues. Here are six secrets that will help you enjoy the power of love in your life:
Continue reading

Why Your Child Rebels & How To Nurture Your Child’s Healthy Will

Children can be stubborn, willful, and infuriating.
But maybe that isn’t such a bad thing.

Whose needs are more important? Yours or your child’s?

Have you ever been dominated and controlled by another person? How did it make you feel? Did you want to push away from them or run away to escape their control?

This is a common feeling that many children have every day — because their parents are insensitive to their needs for independent self-expression.

Children are complete human beings, with a full spectrum of human needs: safety and security, love and connection, boundaries and independence.

Every child has their own unique temperament and personality, shaping their response to parents, family members and their environment. All children share the need to express their own will. Will is the faculty that enables an individual to make their own decisions and act in accordance with their internal needs and desires. Parents can either suppress their child’s natural will — or empower it.

During most of our western culture’s history, willfulness in children has been associated with obstinacy — a refusal to bend and comply with the wishes of a superior. We assume that our children should obey our commands, demands and instructions — maintaining a positive and cheery cooperation all the while.

Continue reading

The Power of Sharing Your Childhood Secrets

If you don’t feel secure with your partner, it’s difficult to open your heart and your body to receive the joy of love.  For many people, feeling insecure in an adult relationship is a product of unresolved childhood pain.  Old fears and hurts can leak into your bond and interactions with your lover.  If you experienced trauma when you were young, it may have left you feeling chronically insecure, afraid, or confused.

To resolve those deep, dark feelings, it’s important to be honest and open with your partner about the difficulties of your past. Hiding or minimizing the past can impact your feelings of safety, and impact your partner’s feelings, as well.

To resolve past traumas, you first need to understand how your past is affecting your present.  A history of abuse, injury, or severe loss can deeply impact your sense of trust and love in your relationship.
Continue reading

Talk About Cheating With Your Spouse – BEFORE It Happens

We’ve all heard (or lived) some variation of this experience: The phone rings. It’s my friend, Cynthia. Cynthia of “the perfect couple with the perfect marriage.”  She and her husband hold hands in public. They show up together at all the kids’ soccer games. They’re clearly in love.

She’s crying. A frantic tone scrambles her words. Her usual, cheery SuperMom voice is gone. She mentions Larry, her husband. Her hysteria makes me afraid he’s been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Then I hear the words that send chills down everyone’s spine: “He cheated on me.”

This shockwave is followed by heavy sobbing. I fear she might collapse.

You may have lived some variation of this scene in your lifetime, either as the victim of betrayal, or as the betrayer. If so, you’re a member of a very large club.
Continue reading

The Building Blocks of Love:
Co-Creating a Happy Relationship

[First published in Rick Hanson’s “Wise Brain Bulletin,” February 14, 2014]

Most of us are somewhat confused about love.

We yearn for love, and we need love.  But what does healthy love look like?  And how can we create it?

Our confusion leads to all sorts of unconscious and irrational behavior, uncomfortable feelings, and reactivity in our relationships. It can impact our ability to make or keep commitments. It can result in anxiety or withdrawal, even abandonment and betrayal. Confusion about love creates a lot of unhappiness.

What we yearn for is something very particular. It’s often missing in our closest relationships. We’ve wanted this simple feeling since we were born: it’s the feeling of secure, dependable love.
Continue reading

What’s Really Sexy: To Care and Repair

What does the word SEXY conjure up for you? Pictures of an ideal partner? Bedroom allure? A favorite sexual fantasy?

As a couple, when we think of sexy, it always includes matters of the heart.

Care Is Sexy

For us, feeling sexually turned on and fulfilled is a natural outcome of the care we show for each other – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. CARE is what makes us feel hot. It’s the sensual lubricant for our highly passionate relationship.

Continue reading

The Secret to Great Sex


Lion Goodman explores one of the most important but ignored keys to intimacy


I finally figured out something about my relationship with women that my Dad never taught me because he didn’t know it. It’s something my Mom didn’t know either because she likely didn’t understand it about herself.

You can create a deep and passionate relationship by learning and practicing this simple and important secret. In the process, you’ll discover that a lot of your confusion about women will get cleared up. Without it, your relationships may continue to be frustrating and confusing.

Continue reading

Sudden Reaction Syndrome

The Impact of Trauma in Your Relationship

Has this ever happened to you?  While having a normal conversation with your partner, one of you gets triggered into a sudden extreme reaction. It may become a hot volcanic explosion, or a cold freeze when one person shuts the connection down completely.

We call this “Sudden Reaction Syndrome.”  Perhaps you were talking about a chore to be done or a bill to be paid. Maybe it occurred during a simple discussion about an upcoming event, or another person. Without warning, and often without explanation, there’s yelling, blaming, bickering, or abrupt withdrawal.

Many people try to fix the conflict by asking, “Who started it?”  This is not a very helpful question.  It’s better to inquire: “Why does this keep happening?” Even more important is: “What can we do to prevent it from happening again?”

Continue reading