Welcome to the archived web site of
Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. Psychologist (1950-2013)
California License No. PSY 10092
Specializing in Presence-Centered Therapy
balancing mind and heart, body and spirit
Now in memoriam - This website is no longer being updated
Articles by Dr. Friedman (except where noted otherwise)
Links: Resources for Life | Search Links
Couples / Marriages: Unworkable Behavior Patterns, Infidelity, Domestic Violence & Divorce
(also known as relationship addiction) is a concept that historically comes directly
out of Alcoholics Anonymous that describes two or more enmeshed or fused people
with a tendency to behave in overly passive or excessively caretaking and self-sacrificing
ways that negatively impact one's relationships and quality of life: Each
person in a codependent association is dependent on the other, like the planks
of an "A-Frame" building locked into holding each other up, and often
with the fear that if either grows and stands up more independently they will
both fall down. It is often characterized by control patterns, excessive compliance,
low self-esteem and denial. Typically the codependent person is strongly attached
to another person for acceptance, approval, agreement, love, sustenance, respect,
conversation and/or interaction. Codependency is in sharp contract with hyper-independence,
and both are quite different than the far healthier interdependency.
this subject, you can peruse Dr. Friedman's article "Transforming Entangled
Involvements INto Genuine Relationships: A-Frame & II-Frame Involvements-->
Couples fighting and how to stop fighting
What couples fight
over, the health consequences paid, fair fighting, how fighting can be destructive
or can improve relationships, and how to stop fighting: An October 2007 New
York Times article details the findings of a recent study published in July
2007 issue of Psychosomatic Medicine of nearly 4,000 men andIt showed
that 32 percent of men and 23 percent of women bottle up their feelings or "self-silence"
during a marital spat. In men, keeping quiet during a fight didnt have any
measurable effect on health. But women who didnt speak their minds in those
fights were four times as likely to die during the 10-year study period as women
who always told their husbands how they felt, according to the July report in
Psychosomatic Medicine. It found that the top reasons men list for arguing
in order of frequency are sex, money, leisure and children, while the top reasons
women list for arguing in order of frequency are children, housework, money, leisure,
alcohol and sex. Other links give other perspectives on reasons couples fight,
including two articles by Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D. addressing why couples
would rather right than get along and 10 rules for friendly fighting for couples.
Most importantly, links address what experts suggest to defuse marital disputes
and top fighting
2010 research shows that it is how we fight, where, when what tone of voice
and words, and whether we hear each other out fairly, that determines whether
fighting is destructive or improves our relationship.
to stop fighting
Emotional Blackmail / Incest / Betrayal / Affairs
Blackmail is a form of relationship abuse and describes a key form of psychological
manipulation, particularly the use of a system of guilt, threats and punishment
perpetrated on a person by someone close to them in an attempt to control their
behavior: Emotional blackmailers use fear, obligation and guilt in
their associations and authors Susan Forward and Donna Frazier invented the acronym
FOG standing for just this. These authors distinguish "four faces
of blackmail": punishers, self-punishers, suffers and tantalizers. Nothing
healthy occurs in the face of emotional blackmail and healing approaches all
look at being assertive, truth-telling, setting appropriate limits as well as
stating clear consequences for continued emotional blackmailing behaviors and
following through in actions as you take back your quality of life, freedom of
choice and "buying out" of what has no place in your life.
or Covert Incest: Emotional / Covert Incest describes a relationship between parents
and children that is sexualized and expects a child to fulfill adult emotional
roles, though without actual incest. Without exception, emotional or covert
incest is defeating, destructive and unhealthy for all concerned.
Betrayal / Affair: An emotional affair (aka, an "affair of the heart")
is an affair, which excludes physical intimacy, that includes emotional intimacy
and can begin as innocently as a friendship. When the affair breaches an agreement
in a monogamous relationship of one of the partners to the affair, the term infidelity
may be more appropriate. Often emotional affairs start between co-workers, friends,
old classmates on social networking sites like Facebook or exercise / gym buddies.
About half of emotional affairs do eventually lead to full-blown affairs, sex
and all, according to MSNBC. Instead of blaming the spouse who had the emotional
betrayal / affair, it is important to see the situation as one in which both partners
contributed to in some fashion, usually in NOT having one or more important needs
met in their marriage.
Couples that are Unhappy
People who drink heavily were more
likely to marry later and have shorter marriages than those who don't drink,
January 2011 research findings show: Alcoholism/problem drinking can have a negative
impact on marriage, leading to separation and divorce. This recent research shows
that the effects of problem drinking/alcoholism on relationships can begin even
before the marriage vows.
disorders/challenges can take a toll on relationshipsWith the estimated
4 percent of adults having attention disorders/challenges and that as many as
half of all children with A.D.H.D. (Attention Disorder/Hyperactivity Disorder)
do not outgrow it and continue to struggle with symptoms as adults and that many
adults with attention/hyperactivity never received the diagnosis as children,
A.D.H.D. is being recognized as impacting marriages in regard to spouses behaving
in inconsistent ways, being disorganized / disordered, being constantly distracted,
and struggles with keeping one's focus, all of which contribute to a constant
source of conflict in relationships.
Infidelity in close relationships mostly
occurs with physical intimacy and emotional intimacy (sexual betrayal and emotional
betrayal, respectively). Some fine resource books are Surviving Infidelity
(3rd Edition, 2005) by Rona B. Subotnik & Gloria G. Harris, Getting Past
the Affair (2007) by Doublas K. Synder, Donald H. Baucom & Kristina Coop
Gordon, and Infidelity: A Survival Guide (1998) by Don-David Lusterman.
Mira Kirshenbaum has written When Good People Have Affairs (2008) in which
she identifies seventeen types of affairs and encourages honest answers to critical
questions regarding the affair. Read a thumbnail description of all these types
and an interview with the author in the links below. [An observation: the title
of this book seems particularly unfortunate for moral fundamentalists given that
there is no allowance for the possibility that good people can do bad hurtful
things.] The book Not Just Friends (2004) by Shirley P. Glass, Ph.D.
with Jean Coppock Staehell is a fine resource for anyone going through
this experience. An on-line nearly complete copy of this book is available at
the link below.
challenged: Can infidelity across a spectrum of what is acceptable for a couple
in honest communication and agreement help save a marriage and keep family stability?Sex/Relationship
columnist Dan Savage with his syndicated Savage Love column and his "It Gets
Better" campaign, aimed at letting troubled gay teens know there's life after
bullying, are featured in a July 2011 New York Times Magazine full-length
article titled "Married, With Infidelities". Provocative, to say the
least. For the sake of staying together, Savage coined his famous acronym, "G.G.G.":
lovers best be good, giving and game (that is, skilled, generous and up for anything),
according to the article. Research results are cited from the Journal of Family
Psychology in 2001 that estimates between 20 and 25 percent of all Americans
have engaged in sex with someone other than their spouse while still married,
and it cites another 2010 NORC research that found that among those who have ever
been married, 20 percent of men and 14 percent of women admitted to affairs.
Couples: Domestic Violence
Domestic violence, abuse and sexual
assault: For over a decade Women's
Law has provided a tremendous site with extensive resources for people victimized
by domestic abuse and violence along with those who provide services for them.
They offer relevant state-by-state and federal laws, a broad range of resources
for women living with or escaping domestic violence or sexual assault, and also
give help through email directly to women and advocates throughout the United
States. A link below provides a national domestic violence hotline with 24-Hour
access from all 50 states. Feminist Majority Foundation provides a host of important
resources including contact information for state hotlines, networks and organizations
to address domestic violence. Helpguide.org
provides help for abused and battered women. The Wikipedia listing on domestic
abuse is another great resource. Research findings published in the March 2010
issue of the journal Violence Against Women show that over half (54%) of
women in abusive relationships still saw their male partners as dependable and
one in five (21%) felt the men in their lives possessed significant positive traits
such as being affectionate. Given the well documented pattern of many women remain
in abusive relationships with their male partners, these findings may partly shed
light on why they stay.
Researcher Linda Kelly in a 2003 Florida University Law Review article makes an important contribution in looking at domestic abuse in terms of how women batter men and the role of the feminist state in regard to "female violence is denied, defended and minimized." Surprisingly, incidence of domestic violence is essentially the same between men and women, and wives were found to engage in more severe acts of violence than husbands. Excerpts:
"Over the last twenty-five years, leading sociologists have repeatedly found that men and women commit violence at similar rates." and "However, the various surveys consistently reported that women not only use violence at rates similar to men, but that women match, and often exceed, husbands in the frequency with which they engage in violent behavior." and "Wives were also more likely than husbands to kick, bite and punch. They were also more likely to hit, or try to hit, their spouses with something and more likely to threaten their spouses with a knife or gun. Husbands, on the other hand, rated higher in the four categories of pushing, grabbing and shoving, slapping or hitting, beating up, and actually using a knife or gun. Yet, such per category differences did not evidence that men were unquestionably more prone to acts of severe domestic violence than women. Combining the data collected on the last five categories of physical violence to create a "Severe Violence Index," wives were found to engage in more severe acts of violence than husbands."
Divorce and its effect on Children
One in four children in
the U.S. are raised by a single parent, higher than other developed nations,
according to an April 2011 report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation
and Development (OECD): Of the 27 industrialized countries studied, the U.S. had
25.8 percent of children being raised by a single parent, with Ireland second
at 24.3 percent, New Zealand at 23.7percent. The average was 14.9 percent across
the other countries with Greece, Spain, Italy and Luxemborg having among the lowest
percentages of children in single-parent homes. According to a July 2009 report
"Increasing the Percentage of Children Living in Two-Parent Families"
for the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore, Maryland, research showed that
in 2007 nearly one-third of children in the U.S. (32 percent or 22 million children)
were living with one parent, usually their mother. The report cited the 2008 research
from Amato finding that the share of children in one-parent families has nearly
tripled since 1970, when the rate was 11 percent.
listening to your inner voice can result in a divorce (and you knew it wouldn't
work when you married!): A survey of 1,036 people and in-depth interviews
with dozens more across the United States in Carl Weisman's new book Serious
Doubts: Why People Marry When They Know It Won't Last (2009) had one thing
in common according to the author: "They all ignored their inner voice. They
knew it wasn't going to last." Weisman offers four categories of reasons
people gave to set aside serious doubts and get married anyway: (1) External pressures
from parents, partner or others; (2) Misguided motivations (infatuation, to escape
parents); (3) Personal beliefs (such as that the partner will "change");
and (4) Thinking they won't find anyone else because of personality traits or
rates in America varies: first marriage is 41% to 50%; second marriage is 60%
to 67% and third marriage is 73% to 74% from different sources. The lasting impact
of divorce on children is significant. Statistics support the United States
having the highest divorce rate of 34 countries surveyed along with several European
countries with divorce rates climbing in Korea, India and China. Both articles
under how to protect your kids during a divorce are helpful, particularly the
superb one by psychologist Joan B. Kelly, Ph.D. Recommended.
of divorce on children:
to protect your kids during a divorce:
Divorce-Busting, Alternatives and Resources
to Divorce: Given the very high costs of divorce to the spouses and particularly
the children, you may be inclined to consider alternatives to divorce, including
a trial separation, couple/individual counseling, and legal separation. Michele
Winer-Davis, MSW and a Marriage Family Therapist (MFT) has written Divorce
Busting (1992) and The Divorce Remedy (2002) which can be helpful resources.
Gentler Ways to Divorce and keep costs down: Kitchen table, Mediation, Collaborative
and Litigation. When all other healthier alternatives are exhausted and the
decision to divorce is made, it is invaluable to be highly informed of your options.
Dr. Friedman's article with colleague Shendl Tuchman, Ph.D. entitled "Collaborative
Divorce: Divorce is a Family Problem, Start with a Family Specialist"
Download a free colored or Greyscale e-book workshop
called, "My Family Has Two Houses." This workbook is based on the activities used
in the DivorceSmarts Program for children ages 6 to 12 who live in two households
by Sharon Shenker , an early childhood educator and coach.
It is a supportive resource for kids as well as parents during a most challenging
© Copyright 2013 by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D.
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