Need treatment? Find help or get online counseling right now!

Archives for Shame

Mental Health

Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” — The Perils of Living in Fantasy

For years, I was a major Woody Allen fan, and to this day I adore many of his movies -- Annie Hall, Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters and Stardust Memories, to name but a few. But after his marriage to Mia Farrow blew up following the affair with Soon-Yi Previn, I stopped going to see his films, mostly due to a kind of moral loathing.

Long years have since passed, however, and I'd...
Continue Reading

Anger and Hatred

Emotional Ownership in Parenting in “Rachel Getting Married”

In Rachel Getting Married (2008), Anne Hathaway plays Kym, who is released from rehab in order to go to her sister Rachel’s wedding, which takes place at the home of her father, Paul and step-mother, Carol.

The particular scene I’ve chosen illustrates what happens when a parent doesn’t or won’t acknowledge her feelings and/or proper share of accountability and responsibility, in today's terms "owning her own stuff."  The child is then left...
Continue Reading

Love and Romance

Lady Gaga: ‘Bad Romance’ and What It Really Means to be Authentic


I find Lady Gaga such a fascinating figure, not because of her artistic talents as much as the paradoxical nature of her public self. On the one hand, she often comes across as naive or simplistic, with the "love yourself" message she constantly sends out to her adoring fans. As I've written before, you can't achieve authentic self-esteem in that way, but she nonetheless seems genuinely to...
Continue Reading

Ambivalence

Exploring Mother & Daughter in “Postcards from the Edge”

Further exploring various dynamics of the mother and daughter relationship [For the first part in this series click here], we’ll have a look at a scene from Postcards from the Edge (1990).

This film is based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Carrie Fisher (daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds). Suzanne Vale (Meryl Streep) plays the addiction-prone actress daughter of movie star Doris Mann (Shirley Maclaine). Doris is portrayed...
Continue Reading

Anger and Hatred

Wholeness vs. Goodness: Pleasantville (Part II)

In Part I, we saw big changes in Pleasantville, now: the Mayor tries to regain control of the situation by organizing a town hall meeting. He represents the fascistic part of our Super-Ego clinging on to old value systems for dear life by rallying defense mechanisms.

This part rejects, banishes, and excludes those aspects of ourselves that bring up unwanted painful and shameful emotions in order to keep things...
Continue Reading

Defense Mechanisms

Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ Music Video and Her Triumph Over Shame

Lady Gaga's music video for Born This Way begins with a creation myth about the origins of an imaginary Manichaen world.  Her voice-over, accompanied by stunning visuals and set to portions of the magnificent Bernard Herrmann score for Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, tells of the "infinite" birth of "a new race, a race within the  race of humanity.  A race which bears no prejudice, no judgment, but boundless freedom."  On the same day that...
Continue Reading

Anger and Hatred

Wholeness vs. Goodness: Pleasantville (Part I)

“I’d rather be whole than good.” ~ Carl Jung

Though there are many themes presented in Pleasantville (1998), those that will be explored here are the shadow side of our emotions, the dangers of not dealing with them consciously and the rewards of living in connection with all parts of our ourselves.

The film shows that the cost of living in “black and white” is a life that is flat, bland...
Continue Reading

12