Dr. Judy 24/7
Thursday
Jun092011

Weiner’s Wife’s Pregnancy triggers Madonna-Prostitute Syndrome 

Shamed Congressman Weiner's sex urges might get worse when baby comes.

Huma Abedin was one wife caught up in her political husband’s sex scandal who surprisingly did not “stand by her man” – at least at his press conference where her Congressman-hubby admitted to techno-sex with numerous women even when newly wed. But with news of her pregnancy, it appears she really will stand with her man. 

 

Described by colleagues as an Alpha woman, and a powerful political figure herself (as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s close aide called her “secret weapon” during Clinton’s Presidential run), Huma does not theoretically have to stick with a techno-cheater.  Especially when he carried on under her nose, pictured on their couch, with their cats (he crudely called “pussies”), in front of the family photos.  (Weiner doesn’t get a pass for not having physical contact, as he tried to rationalize).   

 

But even Alpha women have reasons to stick with a misbehaving man. They may be emotionally dependent, have cultural or familial pressures, convince themselves they “love” him, or hope he’ll change.     

 

More often, they stay for the children. Now Huma has their baby on the way.

 

Should she still stay with her baby daddy?  Odds are, she will, for now.  Being a mother for the first time alone is not easy.  There’s also the child to consider; it’s better to have a repenting father than none at all.  

 

Huma should, however, insist that her wanderlust Weiner go into therapy. The cheating Congressman needs to delve deep into the reasons why he sacrificed everything to satisfy sexual and psychological urges. His explanation that his actions were simply “frivolous” and “dumb” is frivolous itself.

 

It’s more like narcissism and exhibitionism, with an added sense of entitlement, poor impulse control and exceptional poor judgment. 

 

While the condition of sex addiction has of late been grossly misused as an excuse in celebrated cases (infamously by lotharios like Tiger Woods), the criteria fits Weiner in three ways:  inability to control (stop) the behavior; acting out that causes trouble with  relationships and career; and getting in trouble with the law. 

 

Controlling the urges, as all 12-step programs for addiction direct, is a “one day at a time”trial. 

 

Very interestingly, men like Weiner suffer from what’s called the “Madonna-prostitute” syndrome (not Madonna the rock star, but Madonna the mother of Jesus) -- which only gets worse as the pregnancy progresses and when the child arrives.  The man splits women into two distinct roles – the pure mother figure who nurtures his child and takes care of him, and the sexpot who indulges his every sex fantasy and behavior.  He feels compelled to keep the wife/mother figure “pure”, so he finds other women for “wild” sex or whom he can defile. 

 

To cure this syndrome, the man has to admit he’s splitting, and allow his partner to be warm (nurturing) and also hot.

 

Such men also have to explore fears of intimacy. Their “approach-avoidance” towards women “equal” to them, and choice of younger prey, porn stars or prostitutes, usually betrays low self esteem and intimidation underlying bravado and false confidence. Inside he feels the gorgeous, successful woman couldn’t possibly go for the “nerd” he remembers he once was in high school.  Now he recaptures teenagehood nad raging hormones, making up for missed opportunity, acting like a stud, cashing in on his power position that women would fall for. Consequently, the man is only comfortable with women “beneath” them or over whom they can exert power without fear of competition or criticism.     

 

The couple also needs marriage counseling.  Since Weiner said his wife knew about his internet antics before they tied the knot and since his behavior continued, she needs to explore what in her judgment or self-esteem allowed her to put up with it or to be blind to the signs or his lies (no matter how good a pathological liar he is). 

 

Such couples also need sex therapy, with homework like setting aside time to be lovers and not just parents, and how to satisfy sexual needs not currently being met in the union (Weiner even said certain women would not engage in certain sexual acts).

 

Can Weiner be reformed?  Tough case, in my opinion. Strong fantasies and needs as those revealed in the sextexts and phone sex can be suppressed but persist, especially when the need is so strong to have his body parts, and his self, adored by many women.  Those needs do not go away without intense therapy and a strong desire to change.  

 

My advice: Go to acting classes, to get attention (he’s good at acting anyway). Throw himself into extreme sports to get his thrills, take risks and drain sexual energy. Hitting the wall in running releases the highs from the rush of pleasure-chemicals (endorphins) that are as pleasurable as orgasm.

 

Write a book about your life. Get a TV show like disgraced former NY governor Spitzer.

 

Other dangers foretell that their sex life could get worse.  As a new mother spends more time and attention on the baby, the man feels more deprived, frustrated and resentful, and seeks satisfaction elsewhere.        

 

The new mother is also too tired for sex, or hates her fuller or flabbier body. 

 

If the baby was not planned, the working mother may also resent that she cannot pursue her career.

 

Some couples gamble that having a child will cement their commitment and stave off a man’s urge to stray. This last ditch effort often does not work.   

 

Other betrayed political spouses provide opposing role models.  Elizabeth Edwards stuck it out until the end (her sad death from cancer) despite Presidential hopeful John Edward’s long-time affair and love child with a former employee. On the other hand, Edwards’ lover, Rielle Hunter, now raising that love child, is now dumping him (as he faces indictment), willing to go it alone. 

 

Maria Shriver knew about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s behavior – the press exposed his groping and harassing other women years ago, even during Maria’s pregnancy with four children.  She stayed, long suffering – until finally he was out of office and her father and her uncle Teddy Kennedy - who reportedly suggested she stay since Kennedy women stand by their men -- was dead. 

 

Huma could suffer a similar long-suffering fate, if Weiner does not get rehabilitated.   

When newly married and childless, it would have been easier to kick a louse to the curb. For now, Huma needs to give Weiner a second chance.  But if bad behavior rears its ugly head at any point, she should not fall victim again, and instead of standing by her man, she should stand up for herself.      

Wednesday
Jun082011

More of Dr. Judy on Anthony Weiner's Sext Scandal 

Tuesday
Jun072011


Tuesday
Jun072011

Monday
May302011

Lights Go Out as Songwriter Commits Suicide at time when Father and Son both Face Serious Assault Charges

     73-year old Oscar-wining songwriter James Brooks and his musician son Nicolas, 25, both faced assault charges – until the father trumped the law by ending his life.  On HLN’s Issues show, Jane Velez Mitchell asked me, “Is it coincidence or bad blood?”

    My answer:

     There is a genetic predisposition to violence, aggression and even suicide. The father was luring Hollywood hopefuls to his apartment and forcing them to have sex, and the son was charged with murdering his designer girlfriend in a fancy New York hotel.

     Psychologically, behaviors are usually a mix of “nature-nurture.” Some determinants are in the genes and a proportion is learned by experience or example.

    Brooks, the “You Light Up my Life” songwriter, won an Academy Award in 1977 for his cheery tune but his life hardly matched his lyrics. His horrific demise is worse than the story lines of the cancelled ABC-TV soaps. The skeletal elderly man  (looking like death warmed over, likely from years of drug abuse) died from a crude home-made “suicide kit” (also called an “exit bag”) that causes asphyxiation by wrapping a plastic dry-cleaning bag around his head, with a tube attached to a helium gas tank.

     My suspicion:

     Though it was officially called a suicide, could someone else have been involved? Brooks was feeble from two strokes and reportedly couldn’t even open a juice bottle he purchased that morning, so how could he wrap a towel tightly around his neck, which was part of the “helium hood” contraption to insure he got gassed?  Besides, the gruesome technique is described in online euthanasia how-to’s – and euthanasia usually means “assisted suicide.” On top of that, a woman had supposedly been helping him lure the women into his sordid lair.

     Committing suicide in that manner is rare; people do asphyxiate themselves in cars but it is far more common, and less elaborate, to overdose. Psychologically the method of suicide always has some significance; for example, it matters how violent the action was (a self-inflicted gunshot obviously reflects more anger than quietly going to sleep after taking pills). Also, the asphyxiation method has a sexual component -- considering that helium gets people high, which was consistent with Brooks’ sexual perversion.  

     Clearly this sad rapist had nothing to live for.  There are plenty of examples of people who are facing legal charges they clearly will not beat, who take their own life rather than face conviction and consequences.   

     My good friend Jane Velez Mitchell likes to call such stories “cautionary tales” and  indeed this is one. Women need to stop falling prey to bad men (even Brooks’ daughter called him a bully, scary and intimidating) Hollywood hopefuls need to stop falling falling into the casting couch.

Monday
May302011

Raped 11 year old Girl Gives Birth

 

     In another example of how real life can be more drastic than the soaps (recently cancelled by ABC-TV), a 12-year old girl, with special ed needs, gave birth to a baby boy after being raped and infected with a sexually transmitted disease  That means she was impregnated when she was 11 years old!  Sad. Shocking.  

     How astounding is it that one report has estimated that up to one in four 6 graders in Philadelphia have reportedly been sexually active.

     Girls are maturing at younger and younger ages, due to hormonal changes.  Just in our lifetime, baby boomers were getting their period at 15 or 16; then the next generation of girls were menstruating by 13, and now the age of sexual maturation has plunged as low as 8  -- even more reason to support comprehensive sexuality education as a solution instead of blaming such sex ed, as some do.

     The rape happened in a YMCA camp, by a 17 year old boy -- even more reason to have life skills education in schools, for boys to learn how to keep their hormones in check, how to treat young girls, what sex is and what constitutes rape.

Monday
May302011

Dive IN to life, says my alma mater Smith College commencement speaker

      Graduation season is a time to inspire young people at a time of monumental life transition.  It’s a big job for any commencement speaker.  The honor this year for my alma mater, Smith College, went to a woman pioneer in a traditional male field. Sylvia Earle is a noted underwater explorer, dubbed a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress – consistent with the spirit of Smith as a school that nurtures female leaders nad change-makers, like Gloria Steinem.  Barbara Bush is also a famous alum.

     Funny I can’t remember who my commencement speaker was – and I was intrigued to find out how these speakers are now picked.  Students are presented with a list and vote on their preferences.

     Appealing to the radical Smith population, Earle could not resist taking a political jab in the context of applauding the traditional illumination of the campus, by quipping that “most of the world lives in the dark all the time, not just Washington D.C.” She also clearly aimed to please by continuing the light theme by saying that the class is “bringing light to the world,” and telling a female-power story about a young boy reading her book about her undersea adventures and asking his dad, “Dad, when I grow up...I mean...well, can boys get to do things like this, too?”

     Of course it befits Smithies to foretell their future as trailblazers and leaders.  Earle told the Smithies, “You, lucky you, are here to fly the aircraft, write the songs, dive the subs, find the cures, run the companies, lead this country, lead this world to a better, more prosperous future for all of life on earth.”

     And she particularly pleased me – someone who has been accused of being a workaholic but whom the Friars Club feature re-framed as a “playaholic” -- when she called herself a “Hope-aholic.” She named female pioneer anthropologist Jane Goodall as a hopeaholic, listing her four reasons to hope: the human mind, our ability to craft solutions coupled with the human spirit, the resilience of nature, and belief in the youth of today who don’t know what they can’t do and “who don’t realize that there are things  ‘impossible’ to change.” Earle added, “You have the power..”

     Her final comment hit a high note.  In the spirit of the obligatory inspiration to new graduates, she invited the Smithies to “take a deep breath and dive right in.”

     It was a clever allusion to her career “diving” under water.

     My cherished former Smithie summer interns – whom I was exceedingly thrilled to see graduating that day – are certainly diving in.  For example, Julianne Casey is coming to New York to work with a music management company. And Amanda Calvo is going to Jordan as a journalist.  I’m proud to know I had a hand in nurturing those skills and goals. 

     Commencement speeches are also a challenge for the student speaker  The senior class President, Ketura’h Edwards, impressed her fellow classmates – and me -- (given Smithies’ reputation for being accomplished young women leaders) by saying, “We are ambitious, confident, savvy, and fearless Smithies… So whether you are starting a career, going to grad school, joining Teach For America, embarking on an international adventure, or taking a breather at home before pursuing your dream to be the first female president of the United States; be confident knowing you will be successful.” I resonated with the latter, as when I was interviewed for the 6th grade school newspaper about whether I would like to be the first female President of the United States I said an emphatic “Yes… I would like to serve my country” (some of the other girls said it would be too much work).

     Among the graduation caps, a few hardhats stood out – a sign of Smith’s new engineering major. 

     At the end of the ceremony, as the caps went sailing into the air in the traditional gesture, one couldn’t help but feel the thrill of a new generation of young women making one of the most important transitions of their life and being enthused about their future.

Tuesday
May172011

Terminator will likely not be baaack to wife in light of love child 

In light of the shocking revelations of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s admission about having a love child, I beg women not to steal another woman’s man, and to avoid players. 

 

 

Recent Presidential candidates -- John Edwards – and even former Presidents – Thomas Jefferson – have done it.  So have Hollywood stars -- Mel Gibson. Now, former muscle-man turned politico-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger joins the dubious list of married men who have had a love child.

 

What makes them do it?  They can.  Narcissicism.  Power.  Over-sexualization. A sense of entitlement. Women throwing themselves at them.  A thrill personality style.  Add a dash of arrogance – how dare they do that under the nose of their wife and children, and think the public will never find out. 

 

Arnold can be smug that he pulled off a cover-up of the existence of this love child for 10 years and got away with two terms in political office keeping the scandal under wraps. John Edwards wasn’t so lucky; he got found out right away and blown out of the top-office race.

 

All of us – besides his wife Maria – have been fooled.  We didn’t know. 

 

The fiasco proves:

1)      Men will be unfaithful regardless of whether they have an ‘el primo’ wife who has it all – beauty, smarts, even pedigree, like Maria Shriver from the Kennedy dynasty.  Men have affairs for multiple reasons, including their own needs, having nothing to do with whether they are happily married or sexually satisfied.  For one, their ego may demand exorbitant attention (psychologically I note the consistency with a reference in Arnold’s statement that, “I deserve your ‘attention’…[not my family]”.

2)      Women will dig their nails into any man, with no shame, or respect for other women or for their own husband (Arnold paramour was apparently also married). 

 

In my many years on the radio giving advice, I pleaded with women to be honorable to other women, and not “steal” another woman’s man.  “Be a sistah!”  But sadly, many do not heed that; too many women will go for any man for their own selfish needs.  I beg again, women of all ages, watch out for your sisters.  Remember the Golden Rule- do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Or think of karma—bad energy comes back to haunt you in the end in some form.  


I predict women will throw themselves at Arnold now.  They’ll think, ‘look at her (the mother of Arnold’s love child) – she got a kid and now she’s set for life.’  It tings of anthropology, that women are out to protect their children – and what better way than to snare a daddy who will support them for the rest of their life.  

 

Sadly, some men get away with it, and even prosper.  I predict that Arnold will sell more copies of the memoir he’s supposedly preparing, get thousands of dollars for speeches and appearances, and score big roles in Hollywood.  People will want to see the man who could have such “cahounas.”  Too bad our culture is built on rewards to celebrities for bad behavior.     

 

In such an extramarital sexual act, one can ask, “Where was Arnold’s head when he should have been thinking of contraception?”  Not using protection shows really bad judgment, and impulsivity, with a little head overruling a bigger one. Not a reliable quality in a person- or a leader.

 

On Channel 11 News this morning, the anchor said Arnold needed to have read my book “The Complete Idiots Guide to A Healthy Relationship.” In it, he would have learned how to honor Maria.

 

Arnold’s behavior is a grave insult – and the ultimate betrayal -- to Maria, especially having this affair in her own household, under her nose, and secret for so long.  Does the child look like Arnold, or resemble Arnold Maria’s four children (the love child’s half-siblings)? 

 

Maria certainly had warning signs, with all those reputed dalliances of his over the years.  Some reached the level of ugly accusations.  Leopard’s don’t easily change their stripes.

 

Raging hormones lead to sexual acting out; and the body builder was vulnerable to that years ago – even at their first meeting when she found him intriguing (despite defying her parent’s uneasiness over the match, by her own admission).  I saw the glow first hand when I was at their engagement party all those years ago.

 

It will take a long time for Maria to rebuild trust in any relationship.  Now we certainly have more understanding about the raw revelation and appeal she made on the web. She certainly needs the support and love for which she has expressed appreciation on that posting.

 

Maria denied on an Oprah show years ago that she was “bred” to “stand by your man.” Certainly after this compounded betrayal -- especially as she stands for the empowerment of women in her annual women’s conference -- she has to set an example for all women, and for herself, about how a woman has to respect herself, have high self-esteem, trust her independence,  and not put up with bad behavior.

 

In this case, the Terminator should not be baaack.

 

 

 

Tuesday
May032011

The Big "O" is dead! Re-trauma or closure?

 

The demise of the symbol of evil, hatred and terrorism  - Osama bid Laden – has unleashed a plethora of emotional reactions. 

 

Relief, jubilation, celebration, victory, pride – over finally “getting the man” who caused so much pain on that fateful 9/11 day.  But also, there is resurrected grief and anger over what happened that day, as well as increased fears from the reminder that we are still not safe and suffer the possibility of retaliation. The man as the symbol of evil is dead, but the terrorist organization will likely strike again.

 

Psychologically, it is important to accept such a range of emotions, all expected, normal and ripe for processing – especially in light of the imminent tenth anniversary of 9/11.

 

In my years of working with survivors and doing psychological first aid after disasters (natural and man-made) around the world – I know that people are divided about how they react:  some need to express, share and connect, and others want to withdraw and forget.

 

Today, a fireman who dug in the pit for his fellow firemen who perished in the terrorist attacks, told me he wants to be out of town on 9/11/11.  “I spent too much time there, lost my job, and got cancer, I don’t want it in my life anymore.”

 

In stark contrast, a young woman who rushed to Ground Zero as soon as she heard the news about the killing of bin Laden, had the opposite reaction, “I need to be there, to honor those who died and to be part of what my country went through.”

 

I saw the range and intensity of emotions, too, when being a first responder after 9/11, giving mental health support.   On the night shift at Ground Zero, my assignment was to walk around the pit, offering bottled water and knit gloves (on some cold October nights) to those working on the site, and being available to talk when someone wanted to. Some needed to share tears and anger; others wanted to stay silent. Later at the Family Assistance Center, we manned the booth for those who wanted support, after visiting the booths of help for legal and financial issues. 

 

I was affected personally too, as a New Yorker and an American.  I knew people who died.  I was panicked not being able to contact my husband -- who worked for then-Mayor Giuliani and was sequestered in a bunker somewhere.  I go to the WTC Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program at Mt. Sinai Hospital for some medical issues resulting from working at the site . 

 

Personally I like – and need -- to process (not surprising for a psychologist).  For years I attended 9/11 anniversaries, in the first few years as a mental health volunteer (when such services were offered), and then playing at memorial concerts with my band, the Stand Up for Peace Project.  A student of mine from Columbia University Teachers College had composed a song for the class project I assigned the students to do something healing.  “Towers of Light” (www.towersoflightsong.com) -- which I helped write by adding psychologically relevant phrases -- honored the heroes and the souls that took flight that day.  We’ve performed it many times  -- at interfaith memorials every year on the Hudson River Pier, in Mexico at a UN NGO disarmament conference, and in Japan every year, including for the Dalai Lama (who crossed the stage at the International Peace Festival in Hiroshima, took our hands and said, “Very powerful”).   

 

I’ve been upset when the number and attendance of events and memorials every year in New York dwindled, and when some politicos justified the reduction, saying, “Enough. Move on.” For some, it’s not enough.

 

When I watched the President’s speech Sunday night, I welled up in tears, with grief over what happened and what could happen, and with pride for my country, and for the military and intelligence agents to carried out the courageous mission (which resonated with me, as an army brat who is now so patriotic).   

 

The extent of the crowds assembled at the White House and Ground Zero so quickly after news of the operation that led to bin Laden’s death was released, proves an important psychological point:  people still need to gather together to share momentous events and intense emotions.  Such spontaneous mob-formation counters the infection of isolation.  It’s mindful of whathappened in Cairo with thousands of people coming together. Coming together is a psychological gold standard in healing.  It is evident in the immediate aftermath of 9/1l, with people creating spontaneous memorials, laying wreaths, signage on walls, and gatherings in parks to talk and sing.  Deaths of celebrities (like Princess Diana and pop star Michael Jackson) have elicited the same public response.

 

The jubilation, cheers and chants (“USA, USA”) reminded me of Super Bowl fan fever erupting over their winning team.  Expressions of winning (too bad that Charlie Sheen polluted that word) are not just fanatic but can be healing.   

 

I've been asked, as a psychologist commentator on Jane Velez Mitchell’s Issues TV show on HLN this evening, whether bin Laden’s death re-traumatizes people – or brings closure.  Certainly any reminder revives traumatic feelings from such a major loss, but in such cases as this, it is healthy for everyone to continue to process emotion s from the experience.  In doing so, there are several questions I suggest people ask themselves: “Where was I on that day?” “Who was I with?”  “What did I experience then and what do I feel now?”  “Why do I feel this way? For example, if I want to run from the feelings, what am I running from? And if I am reacting in the extreme, what other losses or pains I am suffering today does this event trigger?”

 

Ask others to share feelings if they like. I was touched when in the green room, my old friend from Z100 radio days, Showbiz Tonight host A.J. Hammer, told me his experience.  Reading the New York Times on the Sunday before 9/11, about another bombing in Israel, he and a friend remarked about the contrast between that horror and their safe haven.  Then two days later, the planes hit the twin towers and his perspective on life was forever changed.    

 

The bin Laden demise does not bring full closure.  For example, families who lost loved ones will always feel the pain and can be helped with ongoing processing.  Also, fears may not end, as the specter of future terrorist attacks looms.   

 

Some people are even left with suspicion, no matter the photos or DNA of bin Laden’s body after being shot in the head.  They questioned, “Was it really him – since his body was gone in a day” and “Why did it take so long to get him?”

 

An interesting, other, observation: the military used simulation to rehearse the attack on bin Laden’s safehouse with an exact replica. Such simulation has long been used in training for space travel, and now it’s being applied in surgery (I recently went to a presentation at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital debuting plans for simulation surgery).  Such rehearsal is also a psychological technique, proven successful in sports: to insure success in a real endeavor, rehearse the exact experience in your mind and “feel” the successful results. 

 

Use bin Laden’s capture and death for some lessons in life, like about identifying your own style of dealing with traumas (expressing or repressing); not giving up (it took ten years but “we finally got him”); and resilience (you can bounce back from any disaster).

Friday
Apr292011

Flamboyant sexuality is in, what with Michael Douglas set to play LIberace in a movie about the extreme entertainer's life, and "Priscilla Queen of the Desert, the Musical" on Broadway.  I spotted the hit years ago when I saw it in Sydney Australia, and told my Boardway producer friends to mount it!  This morning, after the roal wedding kisses, Drama Desk award nominations were announced at the Friars Club, with Priscilla agrnering some (wellearned!).  My psychological interpretation:  them ore stressed out lide, the more extremem we need our entertainment escapes. 

Similarly we are not holding back with words - given the Boradway play title, "Motherfu-ker with a Hat"- who would have thought we could put that on a marquee?  Viev Shreiber, who announced the nominees, with Audra McDonald, let the word roll of his tongue with aplomb, while the gathered audience giggled. 

Shrieber also got laighs when he referred ot himself as the "Jackie Chan of Yiddish theatre."

As is psychologically typical, opposites create balance, so Broadway also has thought-provoking fare, like a revival of Sharkespear's Merchant of Venice (with Al Pacino).   

Surprise that the Trey Parker and Matt Stone of TV satire are now on the Broadway boards, with the Book of Mormon... Let that be an inspiration to you that you can transfer your skills, and do anything.

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