Saturday, July 25, 2009

Weasels I Have Known

I'm at work on a new book, tentatively titled How to Be a Man, not a Weasel: Written by a Guy Who's Heard it All. Most of my clients are women, and every day I hear stories about how their husbands, fathers, sons, bosses make complete asses of themselves, totally obliviously. I wince inside.

For instance, there's the guy who calls his wife to tell her he'll be home at 8:30. When he arrives at 9:15, the first words out of his mouth are, "I hope you're not going to spoil the evening just because I'm a little late."

Or the couple where his drinking has become a real problem. On one occasion he's caught in a total lie; he's been drinking and denied it up and down, but there's proof. Within 24 hours he's turned things around so that he thinks he deserves credit for being honest.

Not unlike Mark Sanford, caught dead to rights at the Atlanta Airport by a reporter, whom he tries to con. He gets on the plane to Charleston, has some time to think it over, and decides he'd better fess up. Then his supporters claim he's a great guy for coming clean.

It seems to me that men are much better at massaging reality to make themselves look good than women are. I don't know why this is but I hope to find out in doing my research for this book. The awful thing is that women generally know when we're doing this, and they go along with it to protect our fragile egos.

Men feel they have to prove themselves to be a man; whereas women are just women. Guys turn weasel because they don't know exactly how a real man would act in a certain situation, so they try to have it both ways. I invite you to share with me your own stories on these themes. Maybe you (anonymously) will get into my book.

Introducing myself

This blog will contain features from my books, Undoing Depression and Happy at Last, as well as commentary about mental health and society. I'm a firm believer that mental illness is not simply a brain disease (though the brain is definitely affected)--rather it arises from childhood experiences, quality of parenting, trauma, and relationships, including how the individual is treated by society.
I've been a therapist for 30-plus years now, a rich experience that has definitely made me a little wiser about how I conduct my life. I've also been a depression sufferer. That doesn't mean I haven't enjoyed my life; but if you have depression finding joy and satisfaction requires more work--difficult, sustained work--than it does for other people.
Many people tell me they have benefited enormously from my books and lectures. Blogging is something new for me, but I hope it will help others, and give me the opportunity to muse on subjects that don't fit into a book.
I hope you'll become a regular reader of this new endeavor.