IDOLATRY IS STILL PART OF OUR EVERYDAY LIVES, by Art Smukler, author & psychiatrist

Ancient civilizations used inanimate objects, animals, and multiple gods to pledge their allegiance and find solace in life’s travails. Obviously there were many! No microwaves. No Netflix. No Facebook. No coronary stents. No Middle East crisis. No Trump lookalikes. Well, for 2/3 of the ancients that was probably seen as a blessing.

Then a miracle happened. Over 5000 years ago there was a “scientific” breakthrough and Judaism “discovered” that there was only one true god. Hallelujah! Plus,they really lucked out. They were the chosen people and got all the rights and options to worship this one true god. Hosanna on the highest!

Well, mankind has had over 5000 years to find proof of god’s existence, but what they came up with is the discovery of a lot of other “gods “or deities to worship – Mohammed, Jesus, Buddha etc. Obviously, discovering the microwave and mounds of data on the Big Bang theory did nothing to detract from mankind’s need for a God.

I’m sure you see where this is going.

When Trump really got on a roll and started pushing his snake oil, millions of people decided that there was a chance he really could cure the world. The US needed jobs and protection from the thousands of Mexicans who mow our grass and he promised CHANGE. He called everyone and anyone names, flaunted his sexual exploits, and guaranteed the world that his orange hair was real.

He was elected president of the USA! Since he was now god, we’d all be saved. He had the answers to everything. He proclaimed that no matter what he did, even stab someone in broad daylight, that his base would still love him. “I’m the greatest. I won the popular vote. Anything I don’t like is fake news. I didn’t have sex with Stormy and didn’t tell my lawyer to pay her $130000. Why he did it I have no idea. I’m inviting Putin to meet me here. We have a wonderful relationship. He is almost as wonderful as I am.”

So why do so many people LOVE him? Even with Facebook and microwaves in every home, life is still scary. Maybe Trump really does care about us? Right? He loves us! We’re the chosen people. He came down from the mountain (Trump Tower) with the Trump Commandments, I AM THE BEST, I LOVE ME, KISS MY RING AND I’LL BLESS YOU WITH RICHES, ME ME ME, THE POPE IS NOT AS SMART AS ME, I CAN GROPE ANYONE I WANT, I CAN LIE AND IT’S THE TRUTH, I DON’T NEED ADVISORS, IF YOU DON’T PRAISE ME I WILL DESTROY YOU, I KNOW EVERYTHING!

So here we are. Anyone who wants to worship The Trump Idol is in luck. He wants and needs to be worshipped and the dangerous world around us produces the insecurity that leads millions to want and need to worship this orange-haired Wizard of Oz. Please keep in mind that as you’re enjoying your day in the church of Trump, our environment, ethics, children attacked by assault rifles, and the world stage are on the verge of possible catastrophe. Plus, and this is a big one, would you want your child to behave like The Trump idol? If I were one of his professors at the Univ. of Penna I’d be horrified. He brags about his wonderful education! Oy Vey, as they said in ancient times.

If you enjoyed reading, Inside the Mind of a Psychiatrist, you might also enjoy Dr. Smukler’s novels, Chasing Backwards, a psychological murder mystery, Skin Dance, a mystery, and The Man with a Microphone in his Ear. All are available as paperbacks and eBooks.

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Posted in Bullying, Politics, Psychiatry, Raising Children, Self Examination, World events, a psychological view | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

666, THE DEVIL, THE DONALD & POOR, POOR JARED, by Art Smukler, author & psychiatrist

Do you believe in symbols? The devil? 666 as the devil’s number?

Even atheists have to admit that there is evil in the world. Men and women who lie, manipulate, and cheat without any sense of conscience. Guilt for them doesn’t exist, only anger and frustration when their ploy fails.

How ironic that Jared Kushner bought the 666 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan NY, skyscraper. He paid twice what anyone else ever paid for Manhattan real estate (1.8 billion dollars) and has a 1.4 billion dollar loan. Then the real estate market crashed and he was left with a big problem. To solve the problem he needed to use the airspace above and add 40 stories. What’s another 6 billion give or take a few bucks? So he followed the money to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Russia and who knows where else. Oh no, poor Jared. They weren’t and aren’t interested.

But wait, someone is very interested, Robert Mueller. He also wants to follow the money. Your money! And, he wants to know what you also promised them? The Brooklyn Bridge? The new LA subway? A part-share in Air Force 1?

So religious or not, 666 may not be the devil’s number, but the beginning of the fall of the apocalypse that is the Trump presidency.

I couldn’t picture “The Donald” taking the oath of office, but maybe now my imagination can watch him take the perp-walk — dressed in orange to match his hair.

Psychiatrists use fantasies all the time to help patients. They also use them to help themselves…

Thanks to Clive Irving for his informative article in The Daily Beast, THE CURSE OF 666 FIFTH AVENUE, THE SKYSCRAPER THAT COULD SINK THE KUSHNERS.

If you enjoyed reading, Inside the Mind of a Psychiatrist, you might also enjoy Dr. Smukler’s novels, Chasing Backwards, a psychological murder mystery, Skin Dance, a mystery, and The Man with a Microphone in his Ear. All are available as paperbacks and eBooks.

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A PSYCHIATRIST THINKS ABOUT PORN STAR STORMY DANIELS AND DONALD TRUMP, by Art Smukler, author & psychiatrist

The mind of this psychiatrist is very focused on the porn star Stormy Daniels (real name is Stephanie Clifford), and her alleged affair with Donald Trump. What? Another sicko shrink obsessed and focused on sex? Untrue! Not sicko! But yes, definitely a shrink and yes on sex and obsessed.

There was a recent study in the Journal of Sex Research showing that men think about sex 19 times a day and women 10 times a day. Another obscure tally shows that men think about sex 7 times a minute! Wow. Not much time to become a gold-plated billionaire…

On 1/26/18 Stormy visited a Vegas strip club and allowed some “lucky” men to take pictures with her and fondle her breasts. Hmm. I wasn’t there and didn’t do any fondling, but I read about it in the LA Times. My wife was sitting right beside me at the breakfast table. Honest!

So why should a shrink be obsessed and interested in strippers, sex and very attractive Stormy Daniels? Well, since you didn’t ask, I’ll tell you anyway. I wrote SKIN DANCE, a mystery, about a psychiatrist, Jake Robb, who goes to a strip bar and what follows is an exercise in psychological prowess and courage (I actually took a course in how to start and run a strip bar — background research!).

But, why do so many men avail themselves the services of prostitutes and strippers when they are married and supposedly happy? Molly Bloom, in the recent movie MOLLY’S GAME said it well. She was running a high-stakes poker game in Los Angeles and one of the players told her how much he loved her. She responded (I’m paraphrasing), “You all love me. I surround you with all the forbidden things — sexy women, alcohol, gambling, and someone showing you a lot of attention without the expectation that you have to give it back. All the things you don’t get at home.” Men may make a lot of money and score touchdowns, but deep inside are needy and long for love (often in the form of sex).

So Donald Trump had a pregnant wife, wasn’t getting his share of validation and “intimacy with release” and sought it elsewhere. Somewhat understandable — especially if one is a full-out narcissist. So he chose a consenting porn star (Not from Russia), paid her a lot of money, and then more money to keep it hush-hush. No law against any of it. Stormy wasn’t coerced or threatened; she sold sex for profit to a lonely, needy man.

This is the most understandable of Trump’s many HUGE transgressions. Wouldn’t it be interesting if this was the one that finally brought him down?

If you enjoyed reading, Inside the Mind of a Psychiatrist, you might also enjoy Dr. Smukler’s novels, Chasing Backwards, a psychological murder mystery, Skin Dance, a mystery, and The Man with a Microphone in his Ear. All are available as paperbacks and eBooks

Posted in Politics, Psychiatry, Self Examination, Skin Dance, a mystery, World events, a psychological view | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

CHOOSING A SPOUSE; LOGIC OR SOMETHING ELSE? by Art Smukler MD, author & psychiatrist

I’m taking a break from writing about all the illogical people in Washington; since compromise is way too logical for them… So instead I’ve picked a really logical subject to understand — marriage and how we pick our spouses.

Wait! Did I say logical? Hah. Not exactly. Now we have to deal with the logic of the unconscious.
You doubt me. You think that you chose your spouse logically, by your own free will?

“She was a knockout. It was love at first sight.”
“We sat next to each other in class and one thing led to another.”
“He was the only one who wasn’t obsessed with sports. We had so much in common.”

Is it that simple? Lust? Common experience? Meshing personalities?

I don’t think so. Year after year, for 500 years, I’ve listened to the underlying reasons. Most of the time, what is apparent is that ancient parental conflicts do the “picking” for us. The cold and abusive father, the distant and unavailable mother, the father who abandoned the family, the good-time, flirty mother — All are recycled in our choice of a spouse.

Why? Why are spouses picked by the conflicts that tortured us? For sure it’s not a conscious decision. Who in their right mind would marry someone who perpetuates the pain of our childhood?

Once again, it’s the unconscious at work. Freud ‘s concept of Repetition Compulsion is still alive and valid. We keep trying to prove, over and over, that mommy and daddy really did love us. Getting a spouse to do what a parent never did is the object. We’ve replaced our parent with our spouse and can now spend the rest of our lives trying to get him or her to do what daddy and mommy never could. Good luck. There’s a reason 50% of marriages end in divorce.

Does this happen all the time? Of course not. There are many good marriages. But it happens enough to give us all something to ponder. Anytime we substitute an object(person) from our past with an object(person) from the present, there can be major problems. We expect too much or too little from our spouse and get furious when our needs aren’t met. How can our expectations be realistic when they’re driven by old unconscious wounds?

What’s there to do about it?

Sometimes nothing. Sometimes it just doesn’t work.

Sometimes it is wise to examine our own needs, the past, and whether our expectations are reasonable.

Would you expect anyone else to behave the way you’re expecting your spouse to behave when you use that obnoxious demanding tone? If you did, would they still be your friend?
Is there anyone else that you would dare to demand absolute, utter respect? Aren’t most friendships built on differing opinions? Are you capable of allowing your spouse a totally different perspective from yours? Some people from UCLA still have happy marriages when their spouse is from USC. Who would have thought?

Your ideas and thoughts are always welcome.

If you enjoyed reading, Inside the Mind of a Psychiatrist, you might also enjoy Dr. Smukler’s novels, Chasing Backwards, a psychological murder mystery, Skin Dance, a mystery, and The Man with a Microphone in his Ear. All are available as paperbacks and eBooks. Continue reading

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A SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO SUCCESS, By Art Smukler MD, author & psychiatrist

Everyone has a theory on how to be successful — work hard, save money, make careful decisions, listen to your parents, don’t listen to your parents, be true to yourself, get a college degree, follow your heart, don’t be risk adverse and on and on. A good argument can be made for every single idea.

BUT… after reading about Penn State’s president, Eric Barron Ph.D., with credentials in geology, oceanography and supercomputing, I was moved and enthused by his approach to life.

First, it might be helpful to know that before taking the job at State College, Dr. Barron spent two years at the University of Texas building the Jackson School of Geosciences, another two years as director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and four years as the president of Florida State University.

Everywhere he worked, he approached the task like the scientist he is, with countless hours individually interviewing key people and then facilitating these people to get together to continue the discussion. Only after all the data was in did Dr. Barron make his OWN decision.

On first thought, this doesn’t sound like such a big deal, but just another logical approach.

On second thought, it really is a big deal. It’s what good leaders and parents and psychiatrists do. Listen. Understand the issues. Validate other points of view. Work together to find a solution. It’s all about evaluating data, both conscious data and unconscious data.

Whatever the goal, if you evaluate what is needed, what a company wants and needs, what your spouse wants and needs, what your child is struggling to say, you will surely be more successful than doing everything in your power to prove how smart YOU are and how much YOU know. MOST people don’t like know-it-alls. Most people love it when they are heard and respected, even if they are proven wrong.

Dr. Barron is a gem and Penn State is fortunate to have such a man leading the university. Also, and the main point of this post, is that we have the opportunity to learn from Dr. Barron and from people like him who are willing to learn from others and use what science and practical experience have to offer. Not knowing something can always be corrected. In fact, knowing you are weak in a particular area is a good thing! Now you know what to focus on…

Art Smukler is the award-winning writer of Chasing Backwards, a psychological murder mystery, Skin Dance, a mystery, and The Man with a Microphone in his Ear. All are available as paperbacks and eBooks.

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THREE RESPECTFUL RECOMMENDATIONS TO A DISRESPECTFUL MAN, from Art Smukler, author & psychiatrist

Donald Trump probably has more money than the net worth of every psychiatrist on the planet. What he doesn’t have is the respect of most psychiatrists and the respect of at least 66% of the population of the United States. I know how he can turn this around within twenty-four hours. Plus, this advise is free. It’s for the good of our country and to save all of us from the continued chaos that surrounds the White House and the entire government.

Mr. Trump, you say you are a smart man. You brag about your education from Wharton School of Business. Why are you not doing the three things that would unravel all the criticism and anger towards yourself?

One. Let the world see your taxes. You say you’re not involved with Russia. Prove it! Then there’s nowhere for anyone to go except to say, Sorry. You have been treated unfairly.

Two. Apologize for your immature name-calling. I saw the expression on your face when you gave a group of young children candy in the Oval Office. You looked like a kind and gentle man. That is what our country needs. Not a clever wise-ass who disrespects his peers and anyone who crosses him. Maybe your counter-punching works in the marketplace, but not when three hundred million people are depending on you. Being respectful and gentle doesn’t mean you can’t be tough when world decisions (like North Korea) depend on it.

Three. Admit you called Africa and Haiti shitholes, AND MAKE AMENDS! Call the leaders of these countries and do what a normal, healthy, caring person would do. SAY YOU ARE SORRY! Too much to say sorry? Then LEAVE THE WHITE HOUSE. You are not fit to serve as our leader.

Respectfully, Art Smukler MD

If you enjoyed reading, Inside the Mind of a Psychiatrist, you might also enjoy Dr. Smukler’s novels, Chasing Backwards, a psychological murder mystery, Skin Dance, a mystery, and The Man with a Microphone in his Ear. All are available as paperbacks and eBooks.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Inside the Mind of a Psychiatrist.

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WHY DO AT LEAST 67% OF AMERICANS DISRESPECT TRUMP? by Art Smukler, author & psychiatrist

I have never witnessed the level of disrespect for the president of the United States that Americans and foreigners have for Trump. No one even cringes when he’s referred to as a child, or a liar, or a thief, or a moron, or a narcissist, or a misogynist etc. by both democrats and republicans.

You don’t have to be a psychiatrist to understand why these feelings are so pervasive. The man has no clue that he is one of the most insensitive and disrespectful people EVER to have held public office. If you cross him, he simply calls you a name and does everything in his power to humiliate you. “I’m a counter-puncher,” he says. What he means is that if you disagree with him he will attack. Since he’s never wrong, that means no one can ever have an opinion that differs with his. It’s shocking that this man is our president. He takes no advice from his “advisors” and has placed our country in jeopardy.

Disrespect and rage? Of course.

Even in the seventies when Nixon was so reviled, we didn’t fear for our country’s existence. Nixon was a liar, but we felt he still put country before self. Trump is incapable of putting anyone but himself first.

So, it is understandable why so many disrespect the man. It is not so understandable why still so many are not negatively moved by his behavior.

It is also horrifying that more of our elected officials won’t take action.

Children can’t stand up against abusive parents. WE ARE NOT CHILDREN. THIS MAN IS ABUSIVE. WE CAN AND SHOULD STAND UP!

If you enjoyed reading, Inside the Mind of a Psychiatrist, you might also enjoy Dr. Smukler’s novels, Chasing Backwards, a psychological murder mystery, Skin Dance, a mystery, and The Man with a Microphone in his Ear. All are available as paperbacks and eBooks.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Inside the Mind of a Psychiatrist.

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A PSYCHIATRIST THINKS ABOUT YOM KIPPUR, by Art Smukler, author & psychiatrist

I think a reprise is in order.

Yom Kippur is the Jewish day of atonement, the day when God will either write you into the “Book of life” or not. Holy Moses! (To coin an appropriate cliche). This is serious business. If you don’t make the godly cut, you’re no longer counted as one of 13.75 million jews that make up 0.2% of the 7 billion world population. You are officially part of the stuff that helps plants grow.

Obviously, I’m making light of the most solemn day of the Jewish year, but because I don’t believe that God has a GPS unit tied to all 7 billion of us doesn’t mean that I don’t think there are valuable aspects to this day and valuable moral and ethical things to learn. It is a day of coming together with family and friends, a day of reflection and tradition, a day when we are encouraged to make amends for any hurts and wounds we might have inflicted on another person. It is a day of personal reflection.

In my opinion, the key here is MAKING AMENDS AND REFLECTING ON OUR LIVES AND OUR BEHAVIOR. (Sadly, since the man in The White House never mistakes and is always right, he’s exempt.)

You aren’t absolved of your transgressions by a high-priest rabbi and you don’t have to kill any non-believers. You simply have to do what you should have done all along, fix whatever bad thing you might have done. In some cases, “sorry” may be enough. In others, you may need to do some real cash reimbursing or spend whatever time and effort is necessary to right the wrong.

If indeed there is a god who has all 7 billion of us hooked up to his Garmin or Google Maps, we’d be making him/her very proud. What a relief that he doesn’t have to keep a record of all our good and bad deeds or whether we paid 14% or 50% on our taxes. Acting like a decent human being will take a lot of pressure off the “big guy or big gal”.

If you enjoyed reading, Inside the Mind of a Psychiatrist, you might also enjoy Dr. Smukler’s novels, Chasing Backwards, a psychological murder mystery, Skin Dance, a mystery, and The Man with a Microphone in his Ear. All are available as paperbacks and eBooks.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Inside the Mind of a Psychiatrist.

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IF ONLY TRUMP DIDN’T KNOW EVERYTHING, by Art Smukler, author & psychiatrist

The best leader is a humble listener and willing to be a student. How can a person provide leadership if he/she doesn’t really understand the issues?

We didn’t understand how supporting slavery would create chaos and hate over 200 years after it was abolished.

We didn’t understand the issues in Vietnam and thousands of young men and women were killed and damaged.

We didn’t understand the issues in Iraq and thousands of young men and women were killed and damaged..

So here we are with a president who won’t read or listen and only wants the world to know what a wonderful man he is — how smart, how rich, how powerful, blah blah blah.

He says whatever he wants without working out a strategy with his team (except for the manipulators and cowards who spend their lives sucking up to him). Because actually his team is our country. This narcissist who feels he has the right to blab whatever comes into his head doesn’t understand that he doesn’t just speak for himself, but he represents all of us!

When will someone in congress or the military or the justice system do the right thing and using rules of law, protect all of us from this immature narcissist?

If you enjoyed reading, Inside the Mind of a Psychiatrist, you might also enjoy Dr. Smukler’s novels, Chasing Backwards, a psychological murder mystery, Skin Dance, a mystery, and The Man with a Microphone in his Ear. All are available as paperbacks and eBooks.

Posted in Bullying, Politics, Psychiatry, Self Examination, World events, a psychological view, Writing | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

DONALD TRUMP, A SUPERHERO GONE BAD, by Art Smukler, author & psychiatrist

Donald Trump was elected on the premise that he would “clean the swamp” and have the leverage to be a new force in Washington with no political ties — a true new-age superhero.

Well, he replaced the swamp with a cesspool of impulsive, immature, uneducated tweets supporting neo-nazis and whatever other random thoughts crossed his troubled mind. Even Fox news, a bastion of “support Trump at any cost”, is stating the obvious. There’s something wrong and dangerous about this man.

Also, a bevy of courageous republicans are finally speaking out against this immature, uneducated bully. Yes, I know he attended the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business, but “so sad”, he only learned how to toot his own twisted horn.

Maybe a new superhero will emerge? This one will have his/her brain connected to his cerebrum rather than his tongue.

If you enjoyed reading, Inside the Mind of a Psychiatrist, you might also enjoy Dr. Smukler’s novels, Chasing Backwards, a psychological murder mystery, Skin Dance, a mystery, and The Man with a Microphone in his Ear. All are available as paperbacks and eBooks.

Posted in Bullying, Politics, Self Examination, World events, a psychological view | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments