You’ve already figured out that my specialty is the psychology of men and marriage. That’s an unusual topic for a woman to take on. I got into that because of my family history.
You probably know that a lot of people in the mental health profession are most interested in an area of specialty because of something that happened in our own lives. We want to understand and to not repeat those things in our lives. But we also want to help others not bump up against the same sort of things that we did.
In my first book, I told part of my story.
My parents separated before I turned three years old. In my mind, my father left me. But the reality was, my mother packed up everything while my dad was at work one day, and she left him. For years I kept thinking my dad left me, my dad left me, my dad left me. It colored everything that I did. I didn’t believe anyone could ever love me. That’s probably why I got married so young. I was 18. My husband was also 18, and he was in college.
We got married the summer after his freshman year.
Three years later, just 6 weeks after he graduated from college, we had our first son. We moved several hours away from our families, had two more boys, and then divorced. Suddenly I was a single mom with a high school diploma. I wanted to figure out how to raise my boys to become good men.
A few years after the divorce, I started college.
I had always wanted to be a psychologist. And just like any other older student, I wanted to research and work on things that had meaning in my own life. That’s why I chose to study boys and learned as much as I could about single mothers raising sons. I didn’t want to do anything that would mess them up.
And I knew that I had a lot of stuff in my life.
My dad never did try to see me, so in essence, he had abandoned me. My mother had her own dysfunctional issues. How in the world was it going to raise my boys? Consequently, everything I did was around understanding these young men and how to be a really good mom with no dad at home to help guide them. I grew up with no dad around, so I knew what a hard time it was. I know I failed my sons in so many ways.
Fortunately, they played the cards they were dealt, just as I had mine. They have become excellent men, with their own families, and I’m very, very proud of who they are. The process wasn’t easy for any of us.
I went on to grad school, earned a master’s degree and a doctorate.
Through it all, I kept studying men. I learned a lot about myself in the process of earning those degrees, as well as in my own therapy.
I began to understand was going on with my dad after my mom left him.
I finally searched for and found him. What kept him out of my life for 37 years? We had a deep conversation about him never trying to contact me. Why didn’t he come to visit or spend any time with me growing up? What was going on in his mind? Why did he do the things he did? What was his perspective on things? It was like I’d been trying to put together a thousand-piece puzzle all of my life with only five hundred pieces. Suddenly, the day I met my dad, the other five hundred got dumped on the table. I was overwhelmed by it all.
And I learned the power of a woman in a man’s life.
My mother had tremendous power over that situation. My dad never blamed her. He only had kind words to say about her. He just never understood why she left.
Yes, because of my own life experience, I have a passion for understanding why men do the things that they do. They don’t always make sense to a woman.
Surprisingly, what men do doesn’t always make sense to men either.
Many times, in psychotherapy sessions with my clients, I asked a man, “What were you thinking when you did that?” I was never sarcastic about it, and they knew that about me. Even so, their response would often be, “I have no idea.”
As a clinical psychologist, I worked specifically with men and their wives.
I observed the effect a woman’s words have on her husband. There are very few places in this world where a man can really let down and be who he is. He wants to do that with the woman he loves.
I want to share all that I’ve learned with you.
It takes time and effort, of course, but understanding just makes a huge difference. I don’t know if my own marriage would have turned out differently, but I know my life after learning the truth has turned out very, very differently. You don’t have to be in therapy to make huge changes. It happens all the time for women who are willing to experiment by doing things just a little differently.
I encourage you to take advantage of my free class: The Art and Science of Influence. I’ll put the link in the description below so you can begin right away.
And if you have any questions or comments, please let me know. Remember, I’m here to help.