I am a fan of the innovative writer and psychoanalyst, Erich Fromm (1900-1980). As a man ahead of his time, Fromm understood the ills of the modern world before most of us knew that we were in trouble. He saw that a modern life is often empty and can lead to desperate behavior, all in an attempt to “be happy.” In short, Fromm warned that we were increasingly becoming alienated from ourselves and others, leading to addictions, a lack of healthy satisfaction, and disposable relationships. Boy, I wonder what he would have thought of Facebook, Twitter and even texting.
Erich Fromm wrote a slew of self help books: The Art of Loving (1956), Escape from Freedom (1941) and Psychoanalysis and Religion (1950) are among my favorites. Here’s the thing; the problem of modernity is also its strength – a powerful sense of the individual. What’s good for me reigns king. A sane modern society encourages individuals to individuate and thrive – while imposing little on others. The rub is that while this sounds good in theory; love, family and community can get lost in the translation.
Misery in marriage and divorce: Marriage and divorce first interested me because I saw how angry marriages and messy divorces simply hurt children. And the data bears this out. Kids exposed to parental nastiness—in a marriage or in a divorce—have a less optimistic outcome than those who are protected from such drama.
It’s not hard to have compassion for a failing marriage—or worse—a failed divorce. There are few psychological pressures more painful than not being loved—or fighting for what seems like survival with someone who had once loved you. For better or worse, after seeing so much purposeless pain, I was driven to start The Intelligent Divorce Project…Read more