Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Radical Honesty by Dr. Brad Blanton Book Review


Here is a critical look at relationship book, Radical Honesty by Brad Blanton, if you want to see why nothing more than a degree is needed to publish a relationship book read here, for a look at a book that does solve the marriage problem please visit

Friday, April 3, 2009

Lessons from a Recovering DoorMat: Saying No to Complacency


Lessons from a Recovering Doormat is pleased to announce an interview with relationship expert and author Tim Kellis

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage Book Review


Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage book review, please visit to find out more

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pick Up a Copy of the Marriage Solution Today


For a copy of the solution to the marriage problem please visit

for your copy today, at a 20% discount

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Getting The Love You Want, A Guide For Couples by Harville Hendrix, PhD Book Review


Here is a critical look at another national bestselling relationship book, Getting the Love You Want, A Guide for Couples by Harville Hendrix, PhD, for a look at a book that does solve the marriage problem please visit

Monday, March 23, 2009

Book Review by Bettie Corbin Tucker from Independent Book Reviewers

Hello.  I wanted to share with you a recent book review by Bettie Corbin Tucker from Independent Book Reviewers.  To view the review online please visit the following link:

“Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage” Book Review

If you would like to pick up a copy of the book you can get it for a 20% discount at the following link:

20% Discount on Book

The Quest for the Happy Marriage
Tim Kellis
Gilgamesh Publishing
ISBN:  978-0-9799848-0-8
440 pages 

When I began reading Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage, by Tim Kellis, I expected to read a typical counseling book such as those that fill the shelves of bookstores. Most of these are written by experts in the field of counseling who have degrees in psychology, psychiatry, or pastoral ministries.  I was totally wrong in regard to the word “typical.”  This book delves deep into the mind, reminding readers of historical happenings, successful businesses, politics, education, religion, family backgrounds, and the scientific work of many individuals, all which, according to the author’s findings, can unlock some of the mysteries as to what is behind the 50 percent divorce rate among couples who promised to love one another “for better or worse.” 

Although written for couples, this is also a self-help book for individuals who may find answers as to why happiness has always seemed to elude them. The author stresses that individuals must be happy within themselves before they can be happy in a relationship.    It is not a book to be read in one setting since it is scholarly, philosophical and informative—a book that needs to be studied with an open, fervent mind.  Much of the book is autobiographical as Mr. Kellis describes his early home life, education, successful career, various dating experiences and finally what happened when he met Suzanne who captured his heart—someone he truly believed that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.  At first the relationship was wonderful…it was beautiful…it was exciting…it was passionate…it was everything they both wanted.  Tim and Suzanne got engaged, fought, went to therapy sessions, and eventually broke up.  How could such a perfect beginning end so badly?   There had to be answers, and he would find them! 

The words “common sense” and “logic” are the threads that connect the chapters of this book through the author’s insightful research and obvious intellect.  Let’s take a look at the word “equality” and its role in a couple’s relationship.  Though Mr. Kellis talks about past traditions, he emphasizes that the movement toward equality between men and women was, and continues to be, a progressive move that is morally and legally justified.  He states that in a relationship both individuals must share equally in the feeling and thinking side of the psyche of the relationship. Men do feel and women do think; also men do think and women do feel! The author also believes that common sense leads a couple to take on the world together, rather than arguing with one another.  Instead of becoming involved in faultfinding, both parties need to concentrate on problem solving by using logic and common sense to help resolve issues.   

Among the many resources for his research, the author uses and critiques relationship books written by various authors and also studies the findings of scientists and health professionals—those from the past as well as those considered to be experts in today’s society.  Mr. Kellis has concluded that most of today’s therapists do not actually understand the problems in a relationship, or if they do, they don’t go far enough to actually find answers.  He also believes that they don’t know how to stop disagreements from turning into arguments. As someone who has done considerable counseling, I, too, believe this is true and that something is amiss with the training these professionals have received. The author emphasizes that faultfinding and simply defining a negative relationship does not lead to happiness; problem solving, on the other hand, gets to the root of problems and can save marriages. Readers are given a lot of information as to how the mind works, including how we all too often fall in love with someone because of looks and money, not understanding that we stay in love because of character. A very important lesson to be learned is that we must choose to get over our past experiences—including anger toward parents—or we will transfer such negative emotions onto our spouses. Face and forgive are two key words to avoid such transference.  When an individual first falls in love, this is experienced in the conscious as happiness; however, if there are unresolved issues in the unconscious that have not been dealt with, the result will be fear and unhappiness. The author, through the help and advice of friends, was able to forgive his parents for negative childhood memories that he had carried around for years; only then did he find the key to experiencing real happiness.  Suzanne, on the other hand, had never confronted her past and subsequently found fault after fault with him, a man she had loved so much—in the beginning.   

Tim Kellis touches briefly on the works of Dr. Sigmund Freud whose hypothesis was that our behavior is determined by the brain we are born with.  This leads to the conclusion that we can do nothing about our troubles. The author does not accept this theory but does embrace the work of Dr. Carl Jung who theorized that we have minds that develop and that we can correct our insecurities through the impact of our unconscious on our conscious. Dr. Jung spent his entire life delving into the workings of the mind.  

This book encompasses a vast amount of information for the reader to digest; however, it is a book for those who have chosen to find the path to real happiness—perhaps to turn their backs on many established therapy practices and think for themselves. Think, feel, and behave! Equality: the Quest for the Happy Marriage will help make this possible. 

At his last therapy session, the author received permission from his therapist to record the conversation.  Readers are given a word-for-word transcript of the session and can reach their own conclusions as to what was accomplished. 

It is my opinion that this book is unique and could prove to be a very helpful resource for individuals, couples, and professionals involved in counseling.   

Bettie Corbin Tucker
For Independent Book Reviewers 

March 12, 2009

Tim Kellis 

Relationship Rescue by Dr. Phillip McGraw Book Review


Here is a critical look at the national bestselling relationship book, Relationship Rescue by Dr. Phil, for a look at a book that does solve the marriage problem please visit

Friday, March 20, 2009

Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus by John Gray Book Review


Here is a critical look at the national bestselling relationship book, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, for a look at a book that does solve the marriage problem please visit

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Online Chat Tonight on Relationships with Author Tim Kellis


I wanted to invite you to a chat I will be hosting tonight (Tuesday March 17, 2009) on relationships.  Please visit to find out more.  

Monday, March 16, 2009

The "Logic" of Professional Psychologists

If you want to know why we have a 50% divorce rate you need to look no further than the “logic” used by the professionals.  And I have a wonderful example for you.  Below you will read a comment that someone actually posted to a blog interview I hosted.  To see the full blog interview please visit the following link:

I also want to let you know that there is a 20% discount on my relationship book “Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage”.

Bob Snider said…

I wish I had had the opportunity to read your book before posting a comment here. I think that we may disagree on possibly many points. Since I have not read your book, I am not sure what your total approach to the concept of “equality” is, however, as you can see from the following excerpt from my chapter on “Men & Women,” we probably disagree.“Let’s take a look at a phrase that has caused a lot of changes in our society. The simple phrase “men and women are equal” or phrases like it carry a lot of emotional weight, but what does this phrase really mean?  

Let’s remove some of the emotional charge from this phrase so we can examine it better. By using the word bananas in place of the word men and replacing women with the word peaches, we have the statement “bananas and peaches are equal.” 

Now, if I place a banana and a peach in front of you and say, “This banana and this peach are equal.” 

What is your reaction? 

Well, first the statement doesn’t make a lot of sense. What do you mean by equal? They are different, how can they be equal? How are you defining the term equal so that they can be considered equal?

My response is, why should the statement “men and women are equal,” be considered a logical statement full of reason when the statement, “bananas and peaches are equal,” has no reason or logic? The fact is that men and women are different just like the bananas and peaches and the term equal makes no sense at all.” 

I want to encourage you in challenging the establishment. With a 50% divorce rate, somebody is doing something wrong. I suspect that your book will provide comfort to a lot of the people that read it. 

Bob Snider

Tim Kellis said…

Bob I got a real good chuckle when I first read your post, but then realized the unfortunate reality of what the message that men and women are not equal, that they are different.  

Unfortunately, my friend, I have to give you a few historical facts that unfortunately completely refutes your stance. 

First, the concept that we as a nation used to continue to keep our African Americans unequal to us caucasians after the end of the civil war was referred to as “separate but equal”. The sad thing about your logic was at least this concept tried to logically establish racial equality, but your comment that men and women cannot be equal doesn’t even give each gender the benefit of a doubt. 

The unfortunate reality is that if you try to promote any concept that does not balance the perspective of others then you will continue our long-established patriarchal society system of beliefs.

You cannot balance the relationship unless you balance the perspective of each, what we have learned from our democratic way of life. If you try to keep the genders separate then you cannot find equality, or balance in the relationship. 

And just to explain my notion of equality. Mentally speaking, we all experience two sensations, thoughts and feelings. If each in the relationship do not have access to both then it becomes impossible for each to be able to relate to the other, and find balance in the relationship. 

I must admit, though, the analogy of men and women with bananas and peaches is about as ridiculous as trying to extrapolate the behaviors of mice and monkeys to determine the behavior of humans. 

Thank you for your comments. Unfortunately you are simply promoting the same prejudices as the rest of the psychology industry, as demonstrated by the ridiculous belief that men and women are from different planets. Last time I checked we were both from earth.


Now there you have it, advice at its finest.  Thanks for reading.

Tim Kellis

20% Discount on Book

Handling conflicts in your relationship


Here is a discussion on how to handle conflicts in your relationship.  Please visit to find out more.  

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Blog Interview on Relationships Sponsored by Kelly Moran


I wanted to post a blog interview on relationships sponsored by Kelly Moran.  

Please visit the following link to participate:

The interview will commence on Thursday March 12 at 12 noon, and finish on Saturday March 14 at 12 noon.  

Please join in on what is sure to be an interactive discussion on relationships.  Feel free to post your thoughts.  

The discussion will cover a wide breadth of relationship issues.  

Thank you for your participation.


Tim Kellis

Blog Interview on Relationships Sponsored by Kelly Moran


Blog interview on relationships sponsored by Kelly Moran, please click on the link to participate in the discussion and visit to find out more

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

When your spouse makes a drastic life change


Discussion of how to handle the situation when your spouse makes a drastic life change, please visit to find out more

Thursday, March 5, 2009

My Inspiration for Writing the Book "Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage"

My biggest influence, and the reason I have taken on the challenge of saving marriages, were my parents, who just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  And their influence wasn't because of anything they ever said to me, but what they did, stayed married.  What makes this more important was they had the typical marriage of couples of their generation, full of fights, but the managed to stick it out.  They taught me that divorce was not an option, that quitting was not the path to take.  

My mom actually had my career mapped out when I was a kid to be a priest, something I took very seriously.  I was an altar boy (no, I do not have any stories) and studied the bible intently.  Although I haven’t read the bible since I was a kid I have used a lot of what I learned in my book.  And then I discovered girls.

Although my career was extremely successful I never met a girl who lit up my passion, until at the height of the stock market (I worked as a Wall Street analyst) in 2000 I met a girl I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with, and then we started arguing.  Towards the end we went to a therapist looking for help solving our relationship troubles.  When I realized he wasn’t really helping I decided to tackle the issue myself, although that relationship ended.  Writing this book was my cathartic reaction to that pain.  

When I met this girl I had worked for 5 years as a semiconductor analyst on Wall Street.  So I studied like a Wall Street analyst, reading over 100 books in a period of 10 months, which equates to 2 ½ books a week, straight for 10 months.  I believe this may be one of the most researched books ever written. And at the end of this research my confidence in my ability to solve the relationship problem resulted in the book, after 9 months of writing.  

The bottom line is a professional psychologist could not have written such an expansive book as “Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage” because of the limitations of the industry.  My joke is the 100 books read included nearly 2 dozen relationship books and the only books read that were fiction were the relationship books.  In fact, the first title concept I came up with was “Men Are From Earth, Women Are From Earth” to demonstrate just that point.  

by Tim Kellis

Tuesday, March 3, 2009 | Book Review: Equality and a Happy Marriage


How Do You Each Handle the Intellectual and Emotional Side in the Relationship

The notion of development has been hotly debated for centuries by men and women of knowledge, as demonstrated by the difficulty in accepting the theories of Darwinism.  Within relationships, this concept becomes even more significant, because if you understand the notion that you are developing a relationship, then you are better prepared to understand how to manage that development.  The simple reality is that we are not stagnate creatures.  And we develop both emotionally and intellectually, with the objective of each within a relationship developing both. 

Describe within your relationship how each handles the emotional and intellectual side.  

by Tim Kellis

Thursday, February 26, 2009

When Only One is Working on the Problems in the Relationship

Lisa Says:


I have a question and a couple of comments:

1. Do you address these issues from the standpoint that there may only be one partner in the marriage working toward solutions? Sometimes only one will see the pathway out of the conflicts, while the other refuses to discuss or work on any of them.

2. I love the fact that you mention the futility of ‘behavioral modification.’ People CAN change their behavior, but if the belief system and thought patterns of that person do not change, the modifications will break down quickly, or become a means of manipulation.

3. I’d like to see more regarding hidden and unresolved issues - it is something I will look for in your book when I begin reading it. These can be very debilitating in a relationship - it’s much better to discuss the ‘elephant in the room,’ and then things can be worked on.

Thank you for the invitation to the interview - looking forward to reading your book.

Tim Kellis Says: 


Excellent question about one working on the relationship and not the other. My thought with this may be the approach that one is using in working on the relationship. I bet if you were to ask the other if he or she was interested in working on the relationship the answer may be yes, or it should be.

But if the approach to problems is based on the fear that problems may occur, instead of solving problems that do occur, then again the perspective is in the wrong direction.

I use a personal story to demonstrate my point. I worked on Wall Street as a semiconductor analyst, which basically means that I am one of dozens of analysts with opinions on the stocks I follow. I became negative on one in particular after being bullish on it, and the stock fell by 30%. After the market closed Intel bought the company and the stock doubled the next day.

My point is I was castigated on the chat rooms for being so stupid. Smart Money Magazine even wrote an article about me entitled “What Was He Thinking” about how stupid I was to downgrade the stock before Intel bought the Company. Professional investors know the difficulty in predicting where stock prices are going in the future.

The point is if you are addressing problems logically before they occur, or emotionally after they occur then you are basing your perspective on the underlying fear. The objective is to base your perspective on problems logically after they occur or emotionally before they occur. This is actually an extremely important difference between positive relationships and negative ones. And basing them emotionally before they occur basically means addressing the solution to problems before they come up with the goal of a happy outcome.

And yes to your point on behavior modification without an understanding of the underlying belief system and thought patterns. The reality is our character traits cause our behavior, and our character traits are nothing more than system of beliefs that we learned growing up. Obviously the objective is to have positive character traits, to be nice, but unfortunately in our material world we also learn negative character traits. Until these are changed solving problems in marriage becomes very difficult.

And the point about hidden or unresolved issues is until they are revealed you cannot address them because you do not know they exists. But the reality is anger is our way of exposing our insecurities. If we could only learn to neutralize our own defense mechanisms when our spouse gets mad then we could also learn to address anger, or sadness, when it is revealed.

Lisa I look forward to hearing more from you.


Tim Kellis

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Quid-Pro-Quo in the Relationship

WendyK Says:

I don’t really have any questions. Sounds boring I guess. But we seem to be doing good. After nearly 13yrs of marriage we have our rough stops, our fights but honestly we can’t imagine NOT being married to each other. We both agreed when we got married, it was forever. No divorce option is there. We agreed it doesn’t exist to us. So we try to talk out our issues. I’ll admit we have times…………LOL but honestly we are best friends as well as lovers and we make a choice to be in this together. I think that’s a big thing for us. I think I’ll try to get your book, because it never hurts. And I honestly think that early in our marriage we read the FIVE LANGUAGES OF LOVE and it helped us ALOT to see that we had different ways of showing our love. Didn’t make it less, just that he saw love one way and I another.



Tim Kellis Says: 


And congrats on your marriage. Sounds like you address conflicts in the appropriate manner. There are 2 paths taken with conflicts, arguments and disagreements, and the one I am trying to teach is through disagreements, which are logical discussions, even over emotional issues. Arguments, which are emotional discussions, are not resolvable. If you cannot address logically the why with conflicts then you have issues that become unresolvable which lead to what are referred to psychologically as “psychic lesions”, issues that become mental blocks because they are not resolved.

And to address your comment about “The 5 Languages of Love”, if this concept is addressed positively then it can be very helpful. This book has been a huge success. I was at a marriage conference about 6 months ago and Gary Chapman was one of the speakers. He spoke intelligently, eloquently, and very humorously. The languages (acts of service, physical touch, quality time, gifts, words of affirmation) do encompass a wide perspective of the different needs within relationships. If you could understand which one is more important then you can comprehend how best to understand your spouse.

The only problem with this approach is in reality it promotes a quid-pro-quo relationship in negative relationships. “If you give me physical contact then I will buy you things”, and this doesn’t work in negative relationships. Quid-pro-quo never works, the notion of conditional love. What is needed for successful relationships is unconditional love. In reality this concept is an extension of “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus”, which promotes that the key is to appreciate the differences between men and women, and unfortunately the notion of “separate but equal” didn’t work as we have seen with our racial struggles.

And the other problem with that book, and this problem also shows the materialistic approach of the professionals, is its materialism. The reality is he is promoting labor, sex, behavior, money, and communication, but he misses the most important languages, internal languages. The reality is the 2 pillars of happiness, and really the key languages to success are respect and empathy. Unfortunately you will have difficulty finding professionals discuss these 2 concepts because they have yet to breach the ivory walls of the psychology industry.

Please keep in mind with my critical words about the pros, but we as a society expect them to solve our marriage problems and they have yet to do it.

Again, thanks for your comments.

Tim Kellis

Monday, February 23, 2009

What If Your Spouse Gets on Your Nerves

Periodically I will post from Q & A Sessions I have on blog interviews.  Here is a question about what to do if your spouse gets on your nerves:

Dorothy Says:

So excited to see Tim out there! I just received his book in the mail…this book is excellent! I’ll throw a question out there to Tim. Tim, your book is about understanding your mate in order to improve the relationship. What if it’s impossible? What if you are with someone for 13 years and he just gets on your everlasting nerve? What if your daughter (not his) hates him and you side with your daughter? Is this a doomed relationship?

Tim Kellis Says: 


You bring up an excellent question, and one that shows how difficult marriages get with divorce, the notion of a child from a previous marriage.

I do want to address the question first of him getting on your nerves. Because we are so much more educated now than ever before many more of us are cognizant about what we can find wrong with our spouse. The quote I use in the book to demonstrate this point is:

“Our present condition is, Legislation without law; wisdom without a plan; constitution without a name; and what is strangely astonishing, perfect Independence contending for dependence…The mind of the multitude is left at random, and seeing no fixed object before them, they pursue such as fancy or opinion starts. Nothing is criminal; there is no such thing as treason; wherefore every one thinks himself at liberty to act as he pleases.”

What this in essence is saying is that you can argue over anything. Unfortunately the notion that you can find fault over anything leads to your relationship developing into a regressive state. And the reason for this is the perspective of the person being critical, which is backwards because of the fear that a subjective behavior which is not thought of ahead of time by the one behaving badly, could result in problems. The reality is there are 3 types of behavior, 2 which should result in anger, and the third which unfortunately cannot be resolved. If your husband is behaving illegally or immorally then you have every right to get angry with him, but if you are getting angry at him because of subjective behavior that you fear might lead to problems then you might be looking in the wrong direction.

And as far as your daughter goes, the only thought I have is the need to work together with your husband to handle the issue with your daughter. After all she is the youngest. Unfortunately I do not know the issues between the 3 of you, but in divorce you have to also deal with her other family, something I suspect may be a source of the conflict. Again, the goal is for the parents to work together raising the children, not the children and one parent battling the other parent.

Dorothy this may raise a few more questions so feel free to post them.


Tim Kellis

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Forgiving Your Parents: An Excerpt from the Book

Here is an excerpt from the book "Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage"  

A life-altering conversation

Only about a month later I would have a conversation with my friend Kent that would change my life forever.  I call this day the most important day of my life.  I had an epiphany. 

My plan with buying a house was to find roommates to help with the mortgage payments.  I had done this in Virginia.  I had two roommates which made my mortgage payments quite low.  In Dallas I convinced Kent to move in one of the two spare bedrooms I had.  I had bought a large three-bedroom house with two living areas on the west side of the Dallas/ Ft. Worth Airport. 

Shortly after Kent moved in we stayed up late one night talking about our different upbringings.  We sat up literally for hours in a tête-à-tête; each of us trying to prove who had the more difficult childhood.  The only problem with my argument was that every time Kent mentioned his problem he ended by saying he still loved his father.  And the point of his comment was that his father had to be more difficult than mine because it was written in the article in the pool house.  Plus, except for my dad’s many prejudices he is really a nice guy, which is the best way to describe him.  Today my dad gets along with everybody even my mom.  When he is not mad he is like a big teddy bear. 

Just like my conversations with Laurie I went through the litany of complaints about my bad parents.  I started out by saying my parents did “this”, explaining one of the many faults I had found with my parents, and he would respond by saying that “my dad sent me to military school, and I still love him”.  And I would say, “but my parents did something else”, and he would say his father never showed any love for him, and he still loved his father.  I would bring up something else my parents did that destroyed my childhood, and he would respond with “my father never had the time to attend any of my school events because he was so busy at work, but I still love him”.  This one really hit home because my dad never missed any sporting event I had ever played in.  He loved his sports and seeing his kids involved in them.  Like I said, this went on for hours.  He broke me down.  I ran out of arguments, and for probably the first time in my life I admitted I was wrong. 

The conversation brought me to tears.  Ten years would pass before I would cry again.  What Kent taught me that wonderful night was the pain I had as a child didn’t matter.  They were my parents and they taught me what I needed to know about life to be successful.  They did the best that they could with their limited resources and we turned out to be pretty good kids.  I actually got on the phone with them in tears telling them how much I loved them and thanked them for being such great parents.  I even called up Laurie in tears telling her of my epiphany about my parents. 

This was important to me because it opened up my mind to my future.  I no longer had the anger of my childhood clouding up my conscious and unconscious mind.  I could look at life objectively.  I learned what is probably the most important lesson in life.  I believe that maturity actually begins when you come to this realization.  Mental growth really begins when you let go of the painful memories of the past.  The difference between a truly healthy positive mind and an unhealthy negative mind is the healthy one has forgiven his or her parents for being parents.  There have been no rulebooks on raising kids.  My parents thought the best way was with the belt, but they did it in love. 

The reality is most parents love their children, they just might not be able to show it but you cannot live the rest of your life blaming your parents or anyone else for the problems in life.  If you think about your parents from their perspective you would probably have to understand that your parents love you, regardless of how they treated you, they brought you into this world.  Think about that!!! 

I have looked back at that lesson for many years and have been forever grateful for the lesson Kent taught me.  This lesson brings me to the point of this book.  I have learned the most important thing you can teach yourself to have a healthy mind, which is an absolute necessity for a healthy relationship.  If you can forgive your parents for the way they brought you up then you can get over the past and begin to live for the future. 

Again, it is faultfinding vs. problem solving.  Faultfinding is having those negative experiences of the past and then having you interpret that they may occur in the future, except this time it is not by your parents but by someone else, your partner.  If you want a happy and healthy relationship then it is absolutely essential that you look at your partner for who he or she is, not by who your parents are.  Your partner is obviously not your parent. 

Problem solving is looking at each problem as it occurs objectively, with an open mind, without the painful experiences caused by someone else.  Life is actually quite simple today; we are the ones who make it more difficult.  We can eat.  We have houses over our heads.  We have cars, cellular telephones, all of the trappings in life.  But getting along with our partner is actually easier than not getting along.  We don’t need to make life more difficult than it really is. 

Since that conversation with Kent I have never found fault in anything my parents have ever done to me.  I have actually looked at all of the good things they have taught me.  I am not a bad person, and it is thanks to them.  I like to joke that my goal in life is to simply stay out of jail, though seriously speaking my parents have taught me how to live a morally good life. 

If you can get over your past you can live your future!!!  

by Tim Kellis

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Can Love Last: The Fate of Romance Over Time Book Review

Can Love Last: The Fate of Romance Over Time
By Steven P. Mitchell, PhD.


If Radical Honesty is ridiculous to the point of being hilarious, then Can Love Last: The Fate of Romance Over Time by Stephen A. Mitchell, Ph.D. is equally frightening. What is amazing is the book is so intelligently written!

Dr. Mitchell expands Nietzsche’s theory in Thus Spoke Zarathustra that God is dead (Zarathustra was an ancient philosopher who philosophized on the concept of monotheism, or the belief in one God) written just before Nietzsche went crazy, by concluding the relationship is dead, that long-term love is impossible.

How does he do this? Dr. Mitchell elaborates that the only path to a long-term relationship is by deadening the emotions by taking Freud’s sexual theory to its fiery conclusion. 


If you want to read a book that clearly shows the essence of the genre of relationship books consists of merely describing negative relationships, then this is the one to read. He first bases his theory of the relationship on Freud’s conclusion that we are animals just like the rest of the animal world. “…The human being is not even ‘master in his own house’: we do not even run our minds. Mind is…a ‘hierarchy of superordinated and subordinated agencies, a labyrinth of impulses striving independently of one another toward action.’” Unbelievably, the notion that our bodies rule our mind, that thinking is not an active process, is still believed in psychology today.

And when it comes to love and romance, well really sex, Dr. Mitchell states that Freud concluded our relationship problems were caused by a “psychosexual inhibition, a constraint in the capacity to arrive at and sustain desire itself, a kind of psychological flaccidity. A man might be capable of performing the physical act, going through the motions, but without passion, without intense desire.”

He follows this with a comment Freud made in 1916 that “Society must undertake as one of its more important educative tasks to tame and restrict the sexual instinct…Otherwise the instinct would break down every dam and wash away the laboriously erected work of civilization.”

In other words, the basis of the author’s conclusion of the relationship is it eventually peters out. Notice there is no theory from a female perspective. In a most extreme example of circular logic, the path to happiness is by developing emotionally to an extremely unhappy state-of-mind.

This theory is followed up with the conclusion a romantic, loving, harmonious relationship is impossible because, “it easily degrades into something else, much less captivating, much less enlivening, such as sober respect or purely sexual diversion, predictable companionship, or hatred, guilt, and self-pity.” In other words, because we are animals without the use of our minds then our biological beings eventually take over this predictable relationship we are supposed to have with the person we fell in love with.

This book is an extremely significant cop-out on the psychological industry’s inability at understanding the problems in negative relationships to the point of being able to fix them. “Romantic love has been regarded as, at best, a brief prelude to a more stable, ambivalent love.”

Does the author use case studies to present his point? Of course he does, but his case studies are the most extreme of any written. Amazingly, Dr. Mitchell points out that childhood traumas provide the foundation for the problems, but does he fix them? No. A number of his male patients are impotent. One requires the services of a dominatrix for sexual relief while another masturbates in public.

The author does give us a hint of his own psychological health when he states, “the momentary aggressive fantasies I generate in relation to strangers are nothing compared with the intensity of the homicidal fantasies I harbor toward those I live with and love most deeply.”

So does this book help unhappy couples? Not even close!

by Tim Kellis


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Radical Honesty by Dr. Brad Blanton Book Review

Radical Honesty 
by Brad Blanton, PhD.


If you want to find a book that clearly demonstrates not much more than a degree is required to publish a book on relationships, look no further than Radical Honesty by Brad Blanton, Ph.D. Please keep in mind the words in quotes do actually come from the book.

Even the person writing the foreword to the book has trouble with its contents. The foreword begins with “I don’t agree with everything Brad Blanton has to say…”


This book is also one of the best examples of authors revealing their own insecurities in the writing. Dr. Blanton wears his over-sized ego on his sleeve, like a badge of honor. As he explains in the section on why he is writing this book, “I am writing this book to become famous…I want to be smarter than anyone else. More precisely, I want to be thought to be smarter than everyone else.”

He shows his intelligence with his fantasy about being questioned on a morning talk show about his book. “I love to imagine putting down one of those dumb-assed interviewers on the morning talk shows for their sniveling, wimpy ways, pushing people to hurry up and say something…I love hating them because it makes me certain that although I may be bad, I am not as fucked up as those people.”

He then follows up with “I want to make money from writing this book…I am already rich but I’m greedy and I want more than most people have.” In one section where he teaches his patients the process of telling the truth he says, “the client loves me and thinks I am greater than Socrates.” “Every asshole who writes a book is a neurotic megalomaniac just like me.”

Does anything else need to be said about our Dr.?

The basic tenet of the book sounds like it makes sense. If you want to have a successful relationship then you must be honest with your partner at all times. Sounds simple enough. After all, the unfortunate fact about people with insecurities is they hide behind what psychologically is referred to as the “true self” with a “false self”. As Dr. Blanton states many times throughout the book, “how we are all liars”. Although, he must have some crystal ball to know that everyone lies. He apparently doesn’t realize people in positive relationships are always honest with their partners. After all, they have nothing to hide because they do not behave in a manner their partner would not agree with. The person who tells the truth is the most free, most alive kind of adult human being you’ll ever see.

Blanton’s logic is the only way to remove the insecurities of the false self is to be honest about the sources behind the insecurities. He does begin by discussing the psychological problems of adults who have been raised as children by unhealthy parents. Honest enough.

The book takes an amazingly bizarre twist in logic after this. First he explains that moralism “is characterized by hysterical faith in the mind. We are all sick to death from moralism. The world of human beings may die from it.” And later, “Moralism is a disease in which ‘good’ and ‘bad’ become more important than ‘alive’ or ‘dead.’” Unfortunately, the Dr. doesn’t understand one extremely significant key to the positive relationship is treating your partner in a moral fashion. Treat others as you would want to be treated, i.e., empathy, is a central tenet to the teachings of religion.

In wonderful Freudian fashion, the book attempts to explain that the mind “is a terrible thing; waste it,” dutifully following the most basic premise of the founder of psychoanalysis. He follows this with “Minds are developed and lead us away from the experience of being,” trying to conclude not that the mind is nonexistent, but it is the source of our mental troubles. “The secret of the good life is not suffocating in the mind’s bullshit.” He really shows his own mental state when he declares, “The mind resists freedom. Freedom is antithetical to mind…The mind is a bullshit machine.” He sums up his theory of the mind in his description of “growth from birth to maturity consists of: 1. the birth of being, 2. the growth of the mind, 3. a period of domination of the being by the mind, 4. liberation of the being from the mind, and finally 5. a mind used by the being.” In other words, he is saying the mind may develop but the goal of the positive relationship is to suppress it by letting our bodies and brains dictate our behavior!

The most illogical aspect of this book is the author’s attempt at justifying anger as part of his truth-at-any-cost theory. “The wayanger is expressed has everything to do with the outcome of an argument.” He basically states that if you tell the whole truth and express your anger directly at the cause when doing so then you get over the anger and move on.

So what is the cause of the anger? That he doesn’t cover. Also, he states that if you don’t express your anger then you must be denying it. Honest Brad doesn’t realize that if we are going to get over our anger then we must figure out its source, not rationalize its existence. But his logic, “We human beings are all selfish and unfair and it’s worse than useless to pretend we aren’t.”

So what is his psychological theory on mental problems? “Neurosis is essentially a refusal to accept what is happening in the present. Neurosis involves denying the truth about any form of excitement, here and now,” committing the same blunder of mainstream psychology by not understanding how yesterday’s negative experiences impact today’s thoughts and feelings.

And how successful is he with his patients? He describes one couple he had been treating because the guy decided to leave his girlfriend to move in with another. He convinces the scorned woman to meet with this ex-boyfriend and tell him the truth about her feelings. They talk together, they sleep together, he returns to his new girlfriend. Afterwards she feels okay, he commits suicide! After all, “No change matters…All change is futile…avoiding change…is an equally futile way to live.”

The most incredible section is his advice on sex. The first bit makes sense. You should tell your partner everything about your sex life from the past. This is as important as anything else in your background positive couples share with each other. He also says couples should be open about their desires together. Fair enough. But then he rationalizes sex with other people. “If you do have sex with other people together or separately (italics mine), be sure to tell each other what it was like for you and how you felt and feel about the other person…Whether you are monogamous or polygamous is not the most critical factor in having a successful couple. Whether or not you tell the truth is (italics his).” He further states, after all, “one-night stands are just as good as lifetime relationships.”

So how successful has Dr. Blanton been? He has been married four times. Also, he comments about kicking patients out of his office if they do not follow what he tells them to do. “What bothers me more and more is that even though we are right, if we kicked everyone out who deserved being kicked out for not cooperating with us for his or her own good, there might not be anyone left, including ourselves.” Now there is a revelation!

Our mind is the great gift from God. How can we rationalize not using it?