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Shuffling The Deck - By Chris Gearing

Monday, August 22, 2016

How do parents, siblings, and families fare after a child leaves for college?

Ushering a child off to college is a landmark event, but most people tend to focus on the new college undergrad and not the family they left behind. How do they redefine their new household now that one member has left the nest? In order to navigate this special time in your family’s life, here are some common myths and the real science to dispel them.

Lets look at mom and dad first:

Myth: Women fall apart when the children leave

Are you picturing a woman sitting forlornly at the kitchen table drinking her third glass of wine before noon? Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, most women reach new heights once they are released from the daily grind of taking care of children. Leading researchers say that most women already have a defined role separate from the family – perhaps a career, in the community, at church, or even in a PTA or a neighborhood association. They often come into their own as leaders and decision makers once the kids go off to college.

Myth: Men are always strong and sturdy once the kids depart

The days of distant dads are gone! According to research, fathers struggle more than mothers when the kids leave home. In contrast to their wives, men don’t prepare for or process the changes to the household until it’s too late. With that “stiff upper lip” mentality, they remain stoic and strong until the reality hits them all at once. Their precious son or darling daughter is now an adult and won’t be home for dinner. If it really hits them hard, they can even withdraw into a significant sadness or even depression about what could have been or how they should have handled things differently.

Myth: Marriages suffer once the kids are grown

Marriages “after children” tend to reset. Understand that child rearing has dominated the marriage for decades, and now they can revert back to focusing on their relationship and dating! In fact, these marriages are often closer since they have achieved an important landmark in life and withstood the test of time. Now they have time to engage in all those activities and hobbies that have been on the back burner. Marriages often become more romantic and may return to the earlier patterns of adventure seeking and carefree fun that was more typical of early courtship and dating.

How do siblings fare when big brother or sister hits the door?

Myth: Without their older siblings, most kids are lost

Most of the time, the younger siblings fare pretty well. In fact, they often come into their own and develop a new role within the family. Now that their older sibling no longer overshadows them, they can fully define their new identity, interests, and life direction. Naturally, they often receive much more time and attention from mom and dad than before. However, this can sometimes backfire. Greater scrutiny can cause more tension and conflict to come to the surface, especially if there were already underlying problems that have never been addressed.

Myth: Undergrads often return to find the family exactly the same

The family may seem very different to a returning student. When any family member leaves, the family must renegotiate the household roles. We revisit who the mediator will be, how decisions are now being made, and even the division of household chores. Left behind family members do tend to either become closer or more distant depending on how each family member behaves. Either way, “home” will be very different.

Myth: Younger siblings always have their own independent path

Watching your older sibling rocket into a new phase of life makes most of us consider our own next steps. Younger siblings who are close with their departing brother or sister embrace them even more. They are much more likely to emulate their older sibling’s fashion sense, political views, and career choices. They may even choose the same college. In fact, a study from Harvard University and the College Board found that 69% of younger siblings enrolled in the same type of college as their older siblings while 31% of younger siblings actually applied to the exact same institution. Surprisingly, about 20% of younger siblings went to the exact same college when it was time for their decision.

So, what can parents do for younger siblings left at home?

A Teachable Moment

Use this change in your family as a teachable moment. We always want to show our children that change is not necessarily a bad thing. More importantly, the changes that come in the life of a family are inevitable and can lead to wonderful new opportunities. Children need to see their parents approaching difficult or sad situations as something that is temporary and focus on the next exciting step for the future.

New Rituals of Connection

When a sibling leaves for college, the entire family is in state of redefinition. Using the new freedom of parents and the remaining siblings, the family can now embark on new family adventures, explore different hobbies together, and bond around a new family identity. Discover new restaurants, explore new travel destinations, try paintball, check out a new museum, or even have a “stay-cation” to finally enjoy a family night of baseball out at the ballpark. Families now have an opportunity to bond in an unprecedented way and try out new methods of connection. Maybe the departing older sibling wasn’t a baseball fan!

A Growing Circle

When the children begin to leave the nest, parents and kids have an opportunity to expand their social circle. Research shows that mom and dad often reconnect with their own siblings, extended family, and long lost friends at this important time. Younger siblings also have an opportunity to create a closer bond to their parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and community at large. Again, the family relationships realign and reset to encompass a community that may have been overlooked during the busy years of child rearing.

For More Information:

http://www.apa.org/monitor/apr03/pluses.aspx

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/09/19/research-suggests-relationship-between-siblings-college-enrollment-choice

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/galtime/college-bound-the-impact-on-the-siblings-left-behind_b_3721334.html

https://www.noodle.com/articles/helping-younger-siblings-cope-when-your-child-heads-to-college

Christian Grey's Need For Control In "Fifty Shades of Grey" - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing and Chris Gearing discuss why Christian Grey has such a desperate need for control in the new hit film, "Fifty Shades of Grey" - txt to link goes here.

Trauma and Romantic Relationships In "Fifty Shades of Grey" - By Chris Gearing

Monday, February 23, 2015

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing and Chris Gearing discuss how trauma affects romantic relationships in the new hit movie "Fifty Shades of Grey" - click here.

Christian Grey's Childhood Trauma In "Fifty Shades of Grey" - By Chris Gearing

Friday, February 20, 2015

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing and Chris Gearing discuss the role of childhood trauma in the new hit film, "Fifty Shades of Grey" - click here.

The Psychopath In "Gone Girl" (SPOILERS) - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Who is the psychopath in "Gone Girl"? - click here.

PSYCHOPATHS - Is Louis Bloom In "Nightcrawler" A Psychopath? - By Chris Gearing

Friday, January 30, 2015

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss whether or not Jake Gyllenhaal's character in the movie "Nightcrawler" is a psychopath - click here.

What do you think of when you hear the word “psychopath”?

Most of us think of characters in movies like Heath Ledger’s Joker or Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lecter. The word has become an umbrella term for describing those we view as violent, manipulative, and dangerous. However, the work of Theodore Millon and Roger Davis on psychopaths has discerned ten distinct types of psychopaths.

Jake Gylenhall’s unsettling portrayal of Louis Bloom in the hit movie “Nightcrawler” is a brilliant portrayal of the unprincipled psychopath.This psychopath lives to prey on the weak, influence others to execute their will, and do whatever it takes to advance their self-centered agenda. They aren’t afraid to take calculated risks, but they truly believe that consequences only apply to those too stupid to avoid them.

Predator or Prey

Highly narcissistic and lacking any conscience, they stalk the streets as a predator looking for an opportunity. Normal human emotions including empathy are discarded since they are deemed unbecoming of the unprincipled psychopath. Exploitative, arrogant, and immune to the pain of others, the unprincipled psychopath approaches the world as a zero sum game. Winning is always at some else’s expense. He considers himself superior, self-disciplined, and incredibly effective.

Friend or Victim

Interpersonally, the unprincipled psychopath is a disaster. They manipulate situations and motivations to seduce others into their exploitative schemes. Other people are interesting only as long as they are useful or exciting. They are often able to temporarily maintain a charming façade and can even be well liked by certain people. Once they have triumphed, people are discarded ruthlessly, quickly, and even sadistically.

Defeat Thy Neighbor

The unprincipled psychopath enjoys using humiliation as an instrument of revenge. According to Millon, their mantra is, “Do unto others before they do unto you.” They extract every useful resource from the other person, and then they sadistically enjoy watching the confusion and subsequent horror of others when they discover the true agenda. Contemptuously, he enjoys the process of seduction and the subsequent suffering of his prey as they struggle to escape his web of deceit.

Source:

"Psychopathy" by Theodore Millon, et. al.

"The Psychopath Test" by Jon Ronson

"The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout

PSYCHOPATHS – Spotting The Psychopath Next Door, Part 4 - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing share the final five signs of psychopaths and how you can spot the psychopaths in your life - click here.

Psychopaths live among us.

They can be found in prisons and the criminal organizations you would expect, but they also have a grip on many of the power centers of our society. They are quite common in the fields of politics, business, the professions (law, medicine, etc.), and in your neighborhood. They walk among us silently and without notice, and they are often difficult to detect due to their charming personalities and well-honed ability to manipulate and deceive us.

Despite the ten different types of psychopaths, there seems to be a very useful system for spotting them called the Hare Psychopathy Checklist—Revised.

Here are Hare’s final five common characteristics of psychopaths:

16. Externalizing Blame

Accountability is not in their vocabulary. They blame everyone else for what went wrong and deny their part in any wrongdoing.

17. Unable To Commit

Long-term commitment is difficult and avoided at all costs. Psychopaths may enter and exit many marriages without achieving a true attachment to any partner. People are objects to be used until a better, more alluring partner appears.

18. Juvenile Delinquency

They often get in trouble with the law early in life. Defiant to the end, they are not intimated by the legal system or any form of authority.

19. Rebuking Authority

A running theme, any form of authority is to be disobeyed and, if possible, undermined. Even with lesser forms of oversight like probation, they feel compelled to rebel and often commit yet another infraction that results in more severe consequences.

20. Opportunistic Criminals

Criminal activity can take thousands of forms and can be found at every level of society. Psychopaths are experts at finding illegal opportunities to engage in. The depth and range of criminal activity reinforces the psychopathic mindset of “the ends justify the means.”

Sources:

"Psychopathy" by Theodore Millon, et. al.

"The Psychopath Test" by Jon Ronson

"The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout

PSYCHOPATHS – Spotting The Psychopath Next Door, Part 3 - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing share the third set of signs of psychopaths and how you can spot the psychopaths in your life - click here.

Psychopaths live among us.

They can be found in prisons and the criminal organizations you would expect, but they also have a grip on many of the power centers of our society. They are quite common in the fields of politics, business, the professions (law, medicine, etc.), and in your neighborhood. They walk among us silently and without notice, and they are often difficult to detect due to their charming personalities and well-honed ability to manipulate and deceive us.

Despite the ten different types of psychopaths, there seems to be a very useful system for spotting them called the Hare Psychopathy Checklist—Revised.

Here are Hare’s common characteristics of psychopaths, eleven through fifteen:

11. Sexual Promiscuity

Sexual gratification and promiscuity are a part of the psychopath lifestyle, and sexual partners are selected, used, and discarded on a whim. Psychopaths use coercion, exploitation, and even sexual assaults to meet their sexual needs.

12. Early Evidence

Many psychopaths portray these characteristics early in life, and they often demonstrate antisocial behaviors and interpersonal cruelty as a child or teen.

13. Stealing Dreams

Psychopaths are predators of the hopes and dreams of others. They have difficulty creating and executing goals and plans of their own, and they want quick wins with little work. They choose to excel by exploiting the labors of others and stepping in to take all the credit.

14. Impulsivity

Temptations are difficult to resist, and they recklessly pursue any pleasurable opportunity with little thought of the consequences. They feel that they are invincible, and they don’t need to worry about the consequences that normal people face.

15. Irresponsibility

Psychopaths fail to honor their obligations or their promises. They often betray the trust of others by repeatedly walking away from financial, social, and business agreements.

Sources:

"Psychopathy" by Theodore Millon, et. al.

"The Psychopath Test" by Jon Ronson

"The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout

PSYCHOPATHS – Spotting The Psychopath Next Door, Part 2 - By Chris Gearing

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing share the second set of signs of psychopaths and how you can spot the psychopaths in your life - click here.

Psychopaths live among us.

They can be found in prisons and the criminal organizations you would expect, but they also have a grip on many of the power centers of our society. They are quite common in the fields of politics, business, the professions (law, medicine, etc.), and in your neighborhood. They walk among us silently and without notice, and they are often difficult to detect due to their charming personalities and well-honed ability to manipulate and deceive us.

Despite the ten different types of psychopaths, there seems to be a very useful system for spotting them called the Hare Psychopathy Checklist—Revised.

Here are Hare’s common characteristics of psychopaths, six through ten:

6. Lack of Remorse

Psychopaths experience no guilt or remorse when they witness the destruction that they cause in the lives of others. Why should they feel badly? You were simply out played.

7. Shallow Emotions

They may try to give the appearance of appropriate concern for the welfare of others, but they lack the empathy required to pull it off. Sooner or later, it soon becomes clear that their agenda is the only thing that ever mattered to them.

8. Cold As Ice

Psychopaths are ruthless and cold to the core. They have no tolerance for the emotions of others, and they do not regret or even think about the destruction and trauma they inflict upon others.

9. Parasitic Lifestyle

They regard the labors and resources of others as their property to be used for their own selfish gain. They are convinced that hard work is not required, and the ends justify the means without any thought of morals or decency.

10. Emotional Outbursts

Psychopaths lack the ability to control the expression of powerful and intense emotions that flare in reaction to the every day disappointments and frustrations of life. Even though they are emotionally abusive to those around them, they rationalize their impulsive verbal tirades and emotional assaults on others as deserved or justified.

Sources:

"Psychopathy" by Theodore Millon, et. al.

"The Psychopath Test" by Jon Ronson

"The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout

PSYCHOPATHS – Spotting The Psychopath Next Door, Part 1 - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing share the first five signs of psychopaths and how you can spot the psychopaths in your life - click here.

Psychopaths live among us.

They can be found in prisons and the criminal organizations you would expect, but they also have a grip on many of the power centers of our society. They are quite common in the fields of politics, business, the professions (law, medicine, etc.), and in your neighborhood. They walk among us silently and without notice, and they are often difficult to detect due to their charming personalities and well-honed ability to manipulate and deceive us.

Despite the ten different types of psychopaths, there seems to be a very useful system for spotting them called the Hare Psychopathy Checklist—Revised.

Here are Hare’s common characteristics of psychopaths, one through five:

1. Superficial Charm

Hare says that the critical difference between normal charm and psychopathic charm is the utter absence of conscience. They glide through our society like a snake often giving the appearance of decency and decorum.

2. Grandiose Self-Worth

Psychopaths view themselves as better than those around them and they hold an inflated view of their intelligence and abilities. They live to exploit the gifts of others and then dispose of them in the blink of an eye.

3. Thrill Seeking

They seek out adventure and constantly search for the next task to give them that rush of adrenaline. They feel that ordinary lives are beneath them.

4. Pathological Lying

All forms of lying, everything from omission of details to deliberate misdirection, are acceptable to the psychopath in the pursuit of their goal.

5. Exploitation & Manipulation

They love to use deceit and trickery to fool you into doing what they want – no matter the cost to you. In addition, they expect you to always fall for their deception since they are convinced that you are too stupid to figure them out.

Sources:

"Psychopathy" by Theodore Millon, et. al.

"The Psychopath Test" by Jon Ronson

"The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout


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