Study: Men Seek Social Standing, Women Seek Companionship

Do you get self-esteem from being in a relationship? A fascinating article scheduled for publication in the journal Psychological Science shows that both men and women do – but that the source of self-esteem from relationships is different based on gender. The self-esteem that men get from a relationship comes largely from the social standing of being partnered. The self-esteem women get from a relationship is largely from the companionship and connection they feel with their partner.


Study: Stress With Dad and Attachment With Mom Shape Adult Relationships

Most of my patients are pushed into therapy by what they see as a problem – maybe it's an eating disorder or a specific relationship issue like mistrust or infidelity. Many of these patients simply want the problem to go away. But a study recently published in the journal Advances in Life Course Research reinforces the idea that it's rarely that easy. Many of your current problems aren't the result of your current circumstances and instead require looking deeper into the transformative experiences of your childhood for anything that might resemble a long term fix.

Body Image

The Attention Trap Part 2: Validation Competition

Just because you're in a room with someone who gets attention, does that mean you get less? In other words, is there a limited pool of attention that you have to compete for with other people?

In my practice, I see so many people who struggle with this question – or, not with the question itself but with their unconscious answer. "Yes!" their unconscious screams, "if she is getting attention and approval and adoration, then I am not!" When someone else gets attention, it makes these patients feel threatened.

Body Image

The Attention Trap Part 1: Narcissism and Validation Addiction

Picture yourself at a party. What do you do? Do you scan the room looking for someone to flirt with? If no one flirts with you, do you feel less desirable? Do you feel best when flirting with a person whom you know is attached to someone else in the room?

As humans, once our basic needs are met, much of our conscious and unconscious behaviors are meant to make us feel loved and valued. But this love and value can come from external or internal sources. Internally, the source of love and value is self-esteem. And externally, this love and value tends to take one of two forms – either the long-term reinforcement of the self that comes from good friends, family or a committed relationship, or the short-term benefits of narcissistic behaviors in which we seek attention, admiration or adoration. One is a band aid, the other is a cure.