James Flory's MEMORY-HOLED BOOK REVIEWS

The Majority is Always Wrong.

Category: Family Relations

THE INTIMACY FACTOR by Pia Mellody

Though this one is a more recent work, nevertheless FACING LOVE ADDICTION, by this same author, is a much more valuable work than this. There are some occasional exceptional insights and advice here, but really, this book seems to have been written for professional therapists as opposed to those who (haplessly) find themselves in such dysfunctional relationships as the disastrous addict/avoidant mess. This is mainly a bunch of too loosely organized anecdotes–apparently both fictitious and non-fictitious–and a bunch of procedural advice for shrinks. Skip this and read FACING LOVE ADDICTION. See my review on that other book.

Rating: Δ Δ
7/2013

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ATTACHED by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller

These authors/relationship therapists examine the exact same dysfunctional relationship problem that is described in the book FACING LOVE ADDICTION by Pia Mellody. They have a different explanation as to its origins, and for the most part offer different advice for how to cope with or heal from the problem, but it is extremely obvious they are describing the same problem

Unlike FACING LOVE ADDICTION, which maintains that people’s “attachment style” (as Levine/Heller phrase it) is something profoundly shaped by their primary caregivers when they were children, and unlike FACING LOVE ADDICTION, which maintains that two out of the three “styles” are actually dysfunctions, this book, ATTACHED, teaches that there is nothing necessarily dysfunctional about any of the “three styles of attachment” and that the “styles” are not learned behavior when we are very young, but rather are a trait with which people are born. As is a recurring pattern all throughout the book, unsourced “science/studies/research” is airily given to support this and other claims.

Indeed, there are are very many casual references to some or other “scientific studies, ” very many claims that “research shows” this or that. However, there are extremely few actual specific source citations anywhere in the book. Apparently, very, very often the reader is just supposed to take the authors’ word for it that these “studies” or this “research” have/has actually been done, and apparently it is of little consequence by whom.

Whereas FACING LOVE ADDICTION is written in an even-handed, diplomatic tone, this book, ATTACHED, is decidedly biased against “avoidants” and in favor of “anxious” types–which the former book calls “love addicts.” I must admit, being a “love addict/anxious” type myself, I was constantly tempted to esteem this bias; still, I do recognize it as bias, especially in a book which refers so much to supposedly unbiased endeavors like “science” and “research,” and it is a wonder these authors didn’t temper themselves a bit more.

Whereas FACING LOVE ADDICTION is about healing dysfunctional relationships, this book tends to emphasize the avoidance of, and the getting out of, such relationships. In fact, so much does this book emphasize the latter–the severing of such malfunctional relationship–that it does not view marital vows with a proper reverence, and too many paragraphs of this book could be used as an excuse by hard-hearted married persons to justify to themselves the pursuance of divorce. Thus, this book should NOT be used as a self-help book for married people; a single individual looking to be in a healthy relationship, however, might receive some benefit from reading this–but frankly, if they are planning on getting married someday, then they too should not read the portions relating to married people, or they too might be infected with the cavalier attitude of marital vows evinced by these authors.

Finally, and fittingly, as with all the other blustering references to unsourced “science/studies/research,” these authors give a couple of extremely vague references to “evolution” as a basis for their findings, as though “evolution” itself was an established scientific fact. Ah yes, how fitting indeed.

Rating: Δ Δ
3/2013

FACING LOVE ADDICTION by Pia Mellody

Most “self-help” popular psychology books are long on fluff and short on practical help. This is a rare exception. This book almost exactly described the dysfunctional relationship my wife and I found ourselves in. It was eerie to read; however, in demonstrating that there is an actual recognizable pattern, an observable cycle of destructive actions and reactions that my wife and I were acting out, and an explanation of why this was so–this knowledge revealed in this book goes a great way towards helping my wife and I begin to finally, at long last, heal ourselves and fix our relationship.

I am, or have been, what the author calls a “Love Addict”; my wife is what the author calls a “Love Avoidant.” In most relationships, the situation is reversed: the male is the Avoidant and the female is the Addict. Leave it to me to be different, I guess. Anyway, apparently, “Love Addicts” marry “Love Avoidants” quite often, and then comes the calamity–more calamity than the average dysfunctional relationship–having lived through it now for over a decade, I would personally attest to “much, much, MUCH more calamity” than the average dysfunctional relationship.

A little bit of psychology goes a long way with me; so much of it is defiantly godless and arbitrarily theoretical, bereft of empirical proofs. But from time to time, some psychological book does come along and make some sense. Years ago, the Meiers-Briggs Personality System, and even moreso the work on Temperament by David Keirsey which refined the MBTI, were a profound epiphany to me; years later, my wife and I benefited somewhat from Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages. Basically, when it comes to psychology and self-help books, I have to see it to believe it, because what I have seen for the most part from such sources is a lot of commercialized balderdash and innate hatred of God’s rules.

This book doesn’t mention God, really, but it doesn’t foolishly try to undermine Him, either.

Apparently the author, Pia Mellody, suffered from being a “Love Addict” herself.

“Love Addicts,” in case you are wondering, are created when a young child is in some way abandoned by their parent(s) or caregiver(s) at an early age. The abandonment might be physical or it could be mental or some other form of abandonment. In my own case, I realize now from having read this book that when I was six there was a drastic and life-altering event in my life: My father’s work schedule had suddenly changed severely, and my mother’s personality had undergone a disastrous change for the worse; my loving father had become more and more physically absent out of financial necessity, and my loving mother had become extremely verbally abusive and schizophrenic. What this book showed me was that this event in my life set me up for failure later on in so very many areas; the biggest and most current failure being this marriage I have going on right now. This book explained what was happening, how my behavior was contributing to and exacerbating the problems between my wife and me. The “Love Addict” adult constantly fears abandonment, whether consciously or subconsciously.

And thankfully, unlike the last sugar-coated feminazi “Christian counselor” marriage therapist my wife and I were seeing for a few months, this book showed that it wasn’t all my fault, that my wife’s behavior was likely as much to blame. This book explained how some events in my wife’s childhood had rendered her a “Love Avoidant.” Have either my wife or myself been officially diagnosed by a licensed shrink? No. But when so very many extremely specific descriptions of patterns and histories line up verbatim, over and over, page by page, paragraph by paragraph, what’s a non-licensed, non-shrink layman got to do? I am reminded that the American Cancer Institute doesn’t care a wit if someone should market a cure for cancer, legitimate or not, as long as the inventor/discoverer/marketer does not use the trademart word “cancer.” Same thing here. All right. I won’t use “love avoidant.” How about if I describe my wife as an “emotionally and physically and sexually walled-off person.” There. That better? Anyway, the “emotionally and physically and sexually walled-off person” fears being “enmeshed” by their partner, even though they typically enticed their “abandonment-phobic” partner into the relationship in the first place by initially, and predictably, promising a form of intense intimacy to the “abandonment-phobe” (the reason for this is explained in the book) which in fact soon makes the “walled-off” person feel smothered once the relationship officially commences, and then the–aw, forget it, I’ll just use the trademark terms already; not like I am marketing anything, right?–and so then the “Love Avoidant” inevitably pulls away from the relationship in some noticeable manner, becoming more distant, staying busy busy BUSY doing other things, ANYthing but spending time with the spouse, which in turn triggers the fears of abandonment on the part of the “Love Addict,” and then the whole thing just revolves and repeats and cycles in and cycles out as the relationship/marriage spirals down into hellish dysfunctionality and all kinds of other insanity-inducing fun and games. It’s truly a vicious cycle, and it is described in much better detail in the book than I can do here.

Putting a “Love Avoidant” and a “Love Addict” together is a recipe for matchless disaster, but apparently these two types of people very, very frequently do marry each other (which may be why more people read this book review than any others I have done) precisely because of their respective, cruelly puzzle-piece-fitting corresponding dysfunctionalities. Pity the poor couples who go on like this all their lives without being able to identify the pattern, a pattern which is, again, predictable once someone as astute as this author points it out.

Just knowing this stuff, complete with visual aids–alarmingly accurate yet simple graphic diagrams provided by the author–this has already helped my wife and I be able to function better around each other. There is a very real difference in our marriage, and for the better. I just hope the healing carries on. I have work to do about that yet, of course. Pia Mellody has suggestions of exercises to help in the healing process, to help get over oneself, get beyond one’s unhealed childhood wounds, and get on more successfully with one’s adult relationships. Most of these exercises are journaling exercises. I can do that; I anticipate that many people would not, however. But even without doing the journaling exercises, just this knowledge alone should help most any reader who is suffering from this pattern of dysfunctionality which, in my own mind, and scripturally speaking, I suppose I would liken to discernible generational sin patterns in families.

Since the pattern of “Love Addicts” and “Love Avoidants” marrying one another is apparently so common, I would suggest that most anyone who is having marital strife should read this book and see if it doesn’t ring a bell. Hey, if one’s marriage is a living hell, it certainly couldn’t hurt.

(Addendum: There is only one very minor flaw which I did find with the book: On one page, the author, or rather the author’s husband {who chimes in for a couple pages of authorship} alludes to a certain well known short story from the late 1800s called “The Lady or the Tiger” by a writer named Frank Stockton. Unfortunately, in describing the elements to this story, an obvious mistake is made. Anyone reading this page from this book who then goes back and reads that famous short story from start to end will readily be able to recognize the mistake that occurs in this book regarding the storyline of that short work of literature. Like I said, in the context of the usefulness of this book, the mistake is very minor indeed.)

Rating: Δ Δ Δ Δ Δ
3/2013

FASCINATING WOMANHOOD by Helen Andelin

REVIEW: Great and Timeless Advice

Wow, this book should be standard reading material in public high schools for young women. My wife got this book. I read it covertly without her knowing. Holy smokes–everything in it would work. It’s like Ms. Andelin was picking my brain! I can’t believe that women these days have been brainwashed into being unhappily rebellious, unhappily “liberated”, when they could be attracting and keeping more men than they ever believed, if they just chose to follow Ms. Andelin’s advice. Trust me, as a guy, the stuff Ms. Andelin writes about would drive men wild and want to stay with a female like that!
Why do women allow themselves to be brainwashed by modern radical feminism, which is so different from actual FEMININITY? Why do women today, in this culture, want to be unhappy, as they obviously are? Don’t they want to be loved? (That last one was a rhetorical question.) A man would conquer things he never could have otherwise conquered for a woman who followed the advice in this book. Such a woman would be exceedingly rare, exquisitely precious in today’s rebellious, feminist culture. Wow.

Rating: Δ Δ Δ Δ Δ
1/2006

THE EXEMPLARY HUSBAND by Stuart Scott

THE GOOD:
1. The author professes Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour, and nearly all of the advice for husbands in this book is wise and Scriptural counsel.

THE BAD:
1. As usual, here’s another case of a Christian pastor/author who works for, or is affiliated with, a 501c3/state incorporated ministry writing and teaching as though the 501c3/state incorporated “Church” has some kind of authority in our land, when the reality is that they do not.
2. The author doesn’t know what the real Bible is. He quotes from the John MacArthur Study Bible throughout, which is an NASB version, which is a counterfeit bible.
3. The occasional computer-generated black and white line graphics did nothing to assist this reader’s comprehension.
4. Like a lot of others affiliated with Pastor John MacArthur’s ministry and/or insular seminary (and I speak from personal experience here), the author’s advice, for all its obvious virtues and wisdom, is out of touch with the times in which we live. For example, the author seems to be of the antiquated mindset that, for the average American family today, the husband is the only one working outside the home fulltime, and the husband and father has all the rights in our society, often at the expense of our womenfolk. He honestly seems to have no clue that it is typically to a large degree the other way around these days.

Relatedly, the author seems completely oblivious to the widespread ravages of modern radical feminism upon society and upon American families, for he never even mentions this elephant in the living room.
It is painfully obvious that the author has led a very insular life which, while it is probably a blessing upon his own life, it nevertheless makes it harder for him to reach us regular folk in the New World Order’s communistic world of upside down relationships and rampant deception everywhere a discerning person turns. John MacArthur’s incorporated ministry, though within its walls it is by and large a wonderful place filled with wonderful people, is nevertheless also an extremely insular environment which makes it difficult for those inside it to understand what is actually happening in the real world all around them. Put it this way: to the degree that U.C. Berkeley is insular in producing hippies and Marxists who are out of touch with traditional American society of old, similarly with John MacArthur’s college and seminary, it produces well-meaning and virtuous (and republican) Christians who are out-to-lunch regarding societal realities all around them.
5. Speaking of the NWO, the author has zero understanding of the babylonian monetary system which has grown up all around our society today, and he shows zero appreciation for the Lord’s proscription against unjust weights and measures (Dt. 25: 13-16) for, at one point in the book, he gives advice on how to properly borrow money from money lenders, thus endorsing this anti-scriptural practice. This is rotten, worldly-compromising lukewarmness.
6. This reader also did not agree with the author’s statement on p. 97 that a husband “should not expect respect from his wife.” Whatever the author’s intent was when he wrote that, he needed to couch his words more carefully, because that’s a little bit like telling a wife that she “should not expect love from her husband” and this, as we all know, is very unscriptural indeed. It is this reader’s opinion that the author’s blind spot regarding the horrendous damages of modern radical feminism, stemming from his insular lifestyle working (and living) safely inside the walls of “Fort John MacArthur,” allowed him to write such a thing as to tell a young husband that he “shouldn’t expect respect from his wife” treading extremely delicately. Our society has enough emasculated, hen-pecked nancy-boys posing as men and husbands. We don’t need anymore.
7. Finally, the author makes too many pedantic charts and lists instead of just writing and staying in paragraph form, and this only serves to distract the reader much more than it ever assists.

Rating: Δ Δ Δ
6/2008