Welcome to my podcast, “Mysteries of the Mind.” My intent here is to take up a different topic in psychology each week, topics that highlight the interesting and powerful ways our unconscious minds affect our lives. I’m aiming this podcast at lay people, not professional therapists.
Mysteries of the Mind | Episode #53 | Remember How We Used to Leave the House Without Masks? How I Miss Being Free of Paranoid Anxiety
Among the many losses in this current pandemic is the loss of the ability to leave one’s home and go out into the public world without paranoid anxieties. Even the measures we take to protect ourselves and others e.g. masks, social distancing, etc., are triggers reminding our brains and minds that we should be careful, cautious, and vigilant. The result is a flooding of our systems with stress hormones and a great deal of tension and distress.
People today are suffering from a lot more than the ability to leave home without worry. Still, every form of suffering is legitimate to talk about and toward which we should feel empathy and sympathy. In the end, we have to try to get through each day without hurting ourselves or others.
Mysteries of the Mind | Episode #52 | Quarantine is Forever
Among the many stressors that are causing psychological suffering during the current quarantine is the sense that there is no end in sight to the various deprivations that we’re all living with. In this sense, reality mirrors the logic of the depressed mind which always suffers in the belief that one’s current distress will always be there, that the present predicts and determines the future. The feeling that the restrictions with which we’re living will go on “forever” adds a special topspin to the stress we’re going through.
There are few psychological “tips” that can readily make this situation better. Yes, we can and should stop blaming ourselves and, yes, some form of meditation or mindfulness practice is likely beneficial. But the main thing we should be mindful about is that, rather than strive to be “productive” or “creative” during these days of self-quarantine, we should, instead, simply strive to get through each day without hurting ourselves or others. That’s right—just get through the day.
Mysteries of the Mind | Episode #51 | “Trump and the Psychology of the Victim”
Donald Trump is committed to being a victim. He is always being misunderstood and subject to unfair treatment by the Democrats, media, and “deep state.” The psychological function of holding oneself out as a martyr is to reassure oneself and the world that one is not guilty or ashamed, that one is innocent. Secondarily, however, victimhood enables one to continue to do hurtful and bad things. It’s like a “get out of jail free card.” Since one is being victimized, anything goes; any hostile or aggressive action is justified. Given that Trump feels he’s always getting a raw deal from everyone, he’s entitled to retaliate, meaning he’s entitled to do bad and harmful things (which he does). Impeachment is especially provocative for him since it’s a public accusation that he’s done bad things. As a result, he feels sadistic rage which then makes him have to present himself as even more of a victim.
Mysteries of the Mind | Episode #50 | “Christmas Depression”
Most people dislike the commercialization of Christmas. Impossibly unrealistic appetites are stimulated and happiness is equated with giving or receiving just the right commodity. There is also a more personal psychological dimension to this corruption. I explain how, since gifts are symbolically equated with love, the wish for perfect love is stimulated and then inevitably frustrated. This brings up trauma from childhood in which one’s wish to be special and perfectly understood and recognized was frustrated and, thus, feelings of being undeserving or abandoned are triggered.
Mysteries of the Mind | Episode #49 | “Saying Goodbye”
In this podcast I show how many of psychological dynamics that I’ve been discussing this year—especially those involving the role of trauma in development—apply in my own personal life. I do so by reading an essay I wrote 10 years ago called “Saying Goodbye” from a collection called The Face In the Mirror: Writers Reflect on Their Dreams of Youth and the Reality of Age, edited by Victoria Zackheim. The essay is about saying goodbye to my terminally ill father for the last time. For the text of the podcast, please go to the source.
Mysteries of the Mind | Episode #48 | “Trump and the Psychology of Grievance”
When someone feels aggrieved, that person is usually feeling betrayed and helpless and often responds with envy and anger. Trump voters often felt a sense of grievance about being left out and left behind – economically and culturally. This feeling generates envy and a need to blame others, in their case, liberals and people of color. It’s important to empathize with Americans who feel that the system has given them a raw deal and who identify, as a result, with similar messages they get from Trump.
I love this podcast as well as Dr. Bader‘s written works. I highly recommend this for anyone looking to gain insights about the complexity of our experiences, both personally and collectively.
Thought-provoking, helpful podcast you should try!
I was thrilled to discover Dr. Bader's work - his eye-opening books on male and female sexuality - and his podcast on the mind. His insights have had a profound impact on me. You will benefit from subscribing to this excellent podcast that will give you permission not to be so hard on yourself!
I believe Dr. Bader is a genius. I’ve followed his work for a long time and was thrilled to see that he had a podcast. You won’t be disappointed. It’s already helped me so much.