Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Pledge to Believe With Intensity and Desire

Believe with intensity and desire. You are what you think you are. You are able to enhance the scope and quality of your life. What do you think?
You were not born to lose or fail. Why would you even remotely think you are inadequate or not up to the task at hand.

Allow your inner drive to have purpose. Every day we must have a purpose to fulfill. Every day we must visualize our purpose. Our spirit is our energy to fulfill our purpose. Every day take small simple steps but always remember to enjoy the ride.

Come to terms with who you are. Who you are and what you want to be must be separated from what the world tells you who you are and what you will be. The world is a pretty poor judge of who you are and what you will become. The world is wrong 99.9% of the time.

Begin each and every day looking at yourself in the mirror and then say out loud something positive about your self. Through the day smile at every person you meet and experience a moment of Joy each day. Everyday go outside even if it is only to your front porch, close your eyes, turn your face to the sky and say Thank You outloud. End every day with a thought of ONE thing you did well that day.

Life is full of wonder, like a child ask what, how and why of things. Curiosity creates knowledge and knowledge begets power. Nurture that power by asking questions about every new thing you encounter

Energy is the currency of the professional world today. You get to choose the energy whether positive or negative. You have the power of choice so never chose to be negative about yourself. You do not have to wait you can choose to take the wheel now and be the driver of your own bus.

Visualize!!! What is your vision for your health? What is your vision for your career? What is your vision for your family? If you have a vision you will find a way to overcome obstacles. What we think about will show up in our lives.

To cultivate positive energy; Smile more, Breathe deeply, Be thankful. It is impossible to be STRESSED and THANKFUL at the same time. Become to blessed to be stressed.

Be enthusiastic, Be focused, Be thankful. Nothing great was every achieved without enthusiasm. Do not abdicate-be the Chief Energy Officer (CEO) of your life.

Make a list of the people who believed in you and demonstrated that belief in some tangible way. Locate them if possible, Contact them, Thank them and Ask them what was the spark, energy or talent they saw in you?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Why There Always Will Be Cougars

Cougars are women who date younger men. In our culture, we comment on that situation with a mixture of disdain, envy and suspicion. By contrast, it is expected that an older man will date a younger woman. A lady of a substantially younger age by a man’s side is his trophy wife or arm candy. But the reverse tends not to be true.

On my radio shows (, I interviewed a female eye surgeon who is having a dickens of a time finding a man her age or older who is single and her intellectual equal since her divorce. So she has been dating younger men out of necessity.

A little research explains why most men date older women, while women date people substantially younger then themselves.

For the past half century in the United States, there have been on average 1050 boys for each 1000 girls born each year. According to Census Bureau statistics, the number of boys compared to girls continually decreases until at the age group of 30-34 when women now outnumber men.

In the U. S. in the decade of 20 to 29 by the latest 2008 statistics, there were 623,000 more men than women. But between ages 30-39, women outnumber men by 262,000. And it just gets worse as people get older.

For a woman of 40, that means that there are not enough men to provide a partner for her and every other woman in her age group. So dating a younger man may become necessary if she choses not to be alone.

If you are a woman over 40 who is looking for a mate that is your educational equal and you have an advanced or professional degree, good luck to you. The disparity between men and women educationally is growing every year. Substantially more than half of the advanced and professional degrees are awarded to women today. So the numbers disparity will only increase.

As Safire the Uppity Blues Woman sings in her song “Middle Aged Blues Boogie”

“Well seems like men my age are all married, boring or tired…
Got to find a young man if you want to feel desired.
Now some of my friends are worried ‘bout what some people might say.
I say ‘age ain’t nothin’ but a number.' The good Lord made it that way.”

In addition to all of the factors discussed above, spending time as widow is reduced since men die sooner by at least 5 years than women. So ladies, permission granted. Get out there and find an appropriate “youngun.”

What Is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder?

On my radio show, "Relationships 101," I interview a man who has struggled with Posttraumatic Stress Order (PTSD) since 1979 when the airplane he was flying crashed. I listed a few of the prominent diagnostic indicators of this condition on air and promised that I would post the rest on my web site. Here they are, excerpted from the Diagnostic Criteria from DSM-IV. The DSM is the clinician’s Bible for diagnosing mental illnesses.
A. The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following
were present:
(1) The person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others.
(2) The person’s response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror.
B. The traumatic event is persistently reexperienced in one (or more) of the following ways:
(1) recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts, or perceptions;
(2) recurrent distressing dreams of the event;
(3) acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring (includes a sense of reliving the experience, illusions, hallucinations, and dissociative flashback episodes, including those that occur on awakening or when intoxicated);
(4) intense psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event;
(5) physiological reactivity on exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event.
C. Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness (not present before the trauma) as indicated by three (or more) of the following:
(1) efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversation associated with the trauma;
(2) efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the trauma;
(3) inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma;
(4) markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities;
(5) feelings of detachment or estrangement from others;
(6) restricted range of affect ( e.g., unable to have loving feelings)
(7) sense of a foreshortened future (e.g., does not expect to have a career, marriage, children, or a normal life span).
D. Persistent symptoms of increased arousal (not present before the trauma), as indicated by two (or more) of the following:
(1) difficulty falling asleep;
(2) irritability or outbursts of anger;
(3) difficulty concentrating;
(4) hypervigilance
(5) exaggerated startle response;
E. Duration of the disturbance (symptoms in Criteria B, C, and D) is more han one month.
F. Disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
Acute: if duration of symptoms is less than three months
Chronic: if duration of symptoms is three months or more
With delayed onset: if onset of symptoms is at least six months after the stressor.
As you look over this list of symptoms of PTSD, imagine the stress that this condition places on the individual who has this illness, as well as on his/her intimate relationship.

“Dear Anonymous”

I had two strong reactions when I read the comment you posted on my blog. First of all, thank you for leaving it. I invite all of my readers to comment. It makes me feel the caring community I am building online.

My first was heartbreak for you. After five years with this woman and three sessions with a counselor, you are primarily being beaten up? It sounds like you haven’t gone back to see the counselor, and I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t. It is possible for a well-trained family systems therapist to work individually with one member of a couple and then bring the other partner into joint therapy. However, in order for that to work, it requires that the therapist know how to balance alliances to and join with both of you.

Clearly, your relationship issue with your significant other requires more skill than the male-bashing that this counselor does in the guise of therapy. It may seem like she is helping your s.o. by siding with her. But look at it this way. After 3 years, she’s still suffering from the after effects of the divorce and the counselor is both allowing and encouraging her to remain in her misery? Your s.o. has won only a small victory!

Your story is exactly why I wrote my first book, Helping Men Change: The Role of the Female Therapist. It was not because I felt that men needed to do all the changing in a relationship. However, that was the prevailing sentiment at that time. It was a time of feminists’ backlash against the power men had claimed in relationships up until the 1950’s. Helping Men Change was published in 1993 after an editor who heard my presentation about my men’s groups offered me a contract on the spot at the end. She said, “I’ve been looking for two years for the right woman to write this book. If you want a contact, you’ve got it.”

What made me “the right woman?” My ability to see relationships as systems. I believe to my core that relationship are an interlocking web of covert agreements that people strike between them that stabilize and perpetuate their relationship. So to blame one of them for all the relationship’s woes is simply not accurate. Nor is it fair. It really does take two to tango.

My other reaction was anger at the counselor. Male-bashing is simply not an adequate therapeutic strategy! Nor would the reverse be appropriate if a male were to perpetuate it on female clients. Her response to both of you belies unfinished business of her own that has created a major blind spot for her and has crept into her work. I can only theorize about what that might be. But I can tell you this. It is indefensible.

How do I work with couples differently from this? The core of how I work focuses around a few key questions. Often, they are not answered the first, the third, or even the tenth time I ask them. These are abstract, emotionally-laden issues. But they must be answered by people.

1. What are you getting out of continuing to fight with each other about this situation?
2. How is it helping you? (Yes, you read that correctly.)
3. What do you suppose you two would be thinking about and working with if you weren’t struggling with the aftermath of her divorce?
4. What’s in it for both of you to stay?

I don’t have to tell you that five years is a long time and a lot of investment. So it behooves you to advocate for your relationship by finding the best therapist you can to help you. And if your s.o. refuses to see anyone other than the person she’s been working with (who, as you see, has not been very helpful) then get some help to sort through your feelings and questions on your own.

If you can’t answer the questions above and would like my help, remember I offer a complimentary consultation. Just call my toll free number (888-546-1580) to schedule a appointment.

Losing a Best Friend

Have you ever lost a best friend? Dealing with the grief from that is important but doubly tough because unlike the loss of a close family member, society does not come to you with compassion. The loss of a best friend occurs more often than not by breaking up rather than by death but both will feel the same and both must be grieved.

Hear Dr. Beth discuss this on her radio show Relationships 101 on on Monday, May 21, 2012 after it is posted on line at noon. This link will take you there directly. It will be the last half of this show.

An archived recent show is called Friendship Interrupted. Dr. Beth spoke with Judy Dippel about her book Friendship Interrupted. They talked about when you lose a best friend, whether by death, irresolvable differences, or growing apart. This is a profound and unsettling experience that must be grieved to move on.

Many of us know of someone who is hurting because of losing a best friend. Why don‘t you take a moment and send this message to them. I am sure they would be comforted by knowing you care.

If you go to and at the top of the home page click on the JOIN you can receive a weekly notice of the guests and topics of the show to be posted that week. I do hope you join my caring community of frequent listeners.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Who’s on the Family Tree? It’s Complicated

This was written a few weeks ago but it is such an important topic that I choose to release it here also. This is just one example of my Daily Words of Wisdom from Dr. Beth.

If after reading this article you would like to see more Daily Words of Wisdom from Dr. Beth just go to the following link and you will see a link to sign up to experience for free these suggestion filled daily posts of advice to become a better more in control happier YOU.

Join today! It is free for 30 days and there is no obligation to continue but I believe when you have a chance to experience this daily missive you like all others will find it daily reading that you cannot imagine not having.

I am asking you to at least give it a try.

If after reading this if you beliieve as I do that this information should be must reading for every person thinking about or may try to use advanced reproductive methods invite them to go to my website and read this article and suggest to them that they should share this information with their friends and acquaintencnes,


With the advent of many advances in reproductive technology, such as sperm donors, surrogate mothers, same-sex parents, stepparents and stepsiblings, and infertility treatments, it is difficult to say unequivocally who is related to whom. Time was, there were only two ways to become related: through marriage or along bloodlines. But now, family ties are murkier, relationships are more complex, and family trees have many more branches.

How "family" is defined is a crucial question on many levels. Beyond the debate over same-sex marriage, it affects income tax filings, adoption and foster care practices, employee benefits, inheritance rights, hospital visitation, and countless other legal matters and just as importantly the future of your health and means for treatment.
In this post, I will discuss how family trees are beginning to look like tangled forests and the implications of this increasingly complex 21st century phenomenon. And in order to comprehend these families, you have to be able to think complexly.

Census Data

For the last six years, according to United States census data, there have been more unmarried households than married ones. And more same-sex couples are having children using surrogates or sperm donors or by adoption. The California Cryobank, one of the nation’s largest sperm banks, said that about one-third of its clients in 2009 were lesbian couples, compared with seven percent a decade earlier.

New questions are being phased in nationally on the standard birth certificate questionnaire about whether, and what type of reproductive technology was used, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Aspects of This Issue

Tracing a family tree is more than an intellectual exercise. There are medical, legal, bioethical, and emotional dimensions to this issue. As the composition of families changes, a new set of questions emerges as to who gets a branch on the family tree.


If a child becomes seriously ill who was born using artificial insemination, how will that child ever know his/her health legacy? If s/he needs a bone marrow donor, for example, and there is no known sibling or father who could be located to serve as a match, that child is out of luck if his/her mother is not a match.


Who is a legitimate legal heir to a deceased parent’s estate? Who inherits property? Unless the deceased person specifically has named a child in his/her will who is not related by blood, for instance a stepchild, that individual has no legitimate claim to the deceased parent’s estate.

In addition, there is no regulatory framework in place that would protect the children who are born using Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) from harm. In the United States, there is no consistent regulatory framework to protect the children born using ART from harm. And the regulations that do exist are generally less effective than they need to be.

Bioethical Issues

Currently, few regulatory mechanisms are in place at either the state or the federal or state level that would protect unborn children from their parent’s decision to reproduce by any means possible.

Many issues of reproductive technology have given rise to bioethical issues, since technology often alters the assumptions that lie behind existing systems of sexual and reproductive morality. People contemplating becoming parents by any means possible need to consider issues like:

Just because we can do something, should we do it?

How do adults and we as a society balance The Right to Reproduce vs. the Rights/Best Interests of Children?

Alas, too few physicians and would-be parents contemplate such important questions before they proceed with choosing their best option for bearing a child. Witness the “Octo Mom.”

Further, it is not known how many “leftover embryos” that could be babies are sitting in cryogenic storage in fertility centers. Some estimates are as high as 400, 000 in the U.S. alone. Although it is unclear how many of these embryos will be discarded in the next few years, their presence has fueled the debate over human embryonic stem cell research.


Some children who have to comprehend and explain to others who their relatives are and how they are related may develop a sense of alienation from their peers who grow up in more conventional homes. Then, they also can experience a sense of isolation and a feeling of being odd and weird. Although, of course, it clearly is not their parent’s intention, the unconventional circumstances of their birth can cause these children emotional pain that can last a lifetime.

What of Other Children Fathered by the Sperm Donor?

Technically, they could be the child’s half-siblings. But especially if there is no chance of knowing who they are, they might better be called “donor siblings.”

It is even possible that half-siblings conceived with the help of a sperm donor might be attracted to and want to marry his/her half-sibling. This would be a case of accidental incest, and who knows what the legal ramifications of that might be!

Case Example

Many years ago, I treated a woman whose father was a sperm donor. Since Assisted Reproductive Technology has only been around for about 25 years, her mother must have been a pioneer in using artificial insemination to bear her daughter.

Her mother’s choice had profound implications for the daughter. Apparently, she thought nothing of them when she made the decision to exercise her personal right to bear a child by any means possible. My client spoke of a profound sense of loneliness and emptiness when she was unable to answer the question of who her father was. And she got little comfort from her detached mother who, in truth, only knew of the sperm donor’s approximate age, eye color, ethnic background, and that he was a medical student. She had no information whatsoever about her half-siblings who theoretically could number in the dozens.

All I could give the woman was a kind listening ear as she cried and railed at her unfortunate circumstance, which was precious little comfort, I’m afraid. But clearly, it was more than she felt she could get from her mother.

What This Means for You

• If you have already had a child using ART, be aware of the voids in that child’s psyche and soul.

• To never know both birth parents is a profound loss for these children.

• Parents need to help them grieve.

• This is true of other circumstances as well, such as a child whose parent is killed in a war before s/he is born.

• Being fathered by a sperm donor is the smallest scintilla of fatherhood there is.

• Who is in a child’s family is becoming increasingly more complicated for all concerned, and I suspect its complications will continue to grow exponentially

© Dr. Beth Erickson 2011

Are You Involved With a Serial Cheater

Hi Dr. Beth,

Your interview with Sterling Anderson "the recovering cheater" was fascinating..

I came across a cheater when I was in college when I met one of my classmates, Charles. He lived with a girlfriend and yet wanted to have a "platonic" relationship with me. It's interesting that Sterling talked about the "affairs of the heart" that begin with fantasy, but in the end is still a form of c...heating. It surprised me that Charles needed a 'platonic friend" even though he had a girlfriend. In the end, I walked away when I realized he was using me as I'm sure I was one of many female "friends" he engulfed with his "tentacles" to gratify his need for attention. Young women should learn early to recognize these parasites before they waste their time. I made a mistake by not walking away sooner.

You did a wonderful job at tackling the subject! Your "Daily Words of Wisdom from Dr. Beth" on this topic is a must read for everyone in or looking to be in a "relationship."

Go to find Relationships 101 and hear this great conversation.