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Understanding Grief and Loss: Navigating the Path of Healing

Understanding Grief and Loss: Navigating the Path of Healing

Grief and loss are universal experiences that can deeply impact our lives. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, a job, a relationship, or even a pet, the emotions that come with grief can be overwhelming and complex. Let’s explore the journey of healing and how to navigate through the process.

Understanding Grief and Loss

Acknowledging the Pain

The first step in healing from grief and loss is acknowledging the pain. It’s important to recognize and accept the emotions that arise, such as sadness, anger, guilt, or confusion. Each person’s grief is unique, and there is no right or wrong way to feel. Give yourself permission to grieve and understand it’s a natural response to loss.

Seeking Support

During times of grief, it is crucial to seek support from others. Surround yourself with trusted friends, family members, or support groups who can provide comfort and understanding. Talking about your feelings and sharing memories can be therapeutic and help in the healing process. Consider reaching out to a professional therapist or counselor who specializes in grief counseling. They can provide valuable guidance and support as you navigate through your grief.

Self-Care and Coping Strategies

Taking care of yourself is essential when dealing with grief and loss. Engage in activities that bring you comfort and solace, such as exercise, journaling, or spending time in nature. Practice self-compassion and allow yourself to grieve at your own pace. Establish a routine and maintain healthy habits, such as getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, and avoiding excessive use of substances like alcohol or drugs.

Finding Meaning and Purpose

As time goes on, you may find yourself searching for meaning and purpose in the midst of grief. Consider exploring activities or practices that bring you a sense of meaning or connection. This could include volunteering, joining a support group, or engaging in creative outlets like art or music. Finding ways to honor your loved one’s memory or creating new rituals can also provide a sense of purpose and healing. (Considering your Core Values may help you work through finding meaning in your loss.)

Embracing the Healing Process

Healing from grief and loss is not a linear process. It’s important to recognize that healing takes time and there may be ups and downs along the way. Be patient and allow yourself to experience the healing journey in your own way. Healing does not mean forgetting or moving on, but rather finding ways to integrate the loss into your life and continue living with purpose and joy.

Grief and loss are profound experiences that require time, support, and self-compassion to navigate. By acknowledging the pain, seeking support, practicing self-care, finding meaning, and embracing the healing process, you can gradually find solace and move forward on the path of healing. You are not alone, and there is hope for brighter days ahead.

The Last 10 Books on Dr. Guess’ Audible

The Last 10 Books on Dr. Guess’ Audible

I love getting book recommendations from clients and I tend to listen to a podcast and want the book written by whoever is interviewed. I thought it might be a cool idea to list out the most recent books on my Audible account.
These books have no particular themes, but I feel like all of them gave me a little something. The topics include: coping with grief, finding strength in unexpected places, as well as confronting fears head-on. Here are my thoughts on the books and I hope one or two might speak to you. Here it goes

#1: The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin

I love this book! I bought the audible and about half way through I broke down and bought the hardcover version as well. It is dog-eared and marked up. Did I say I loved this book?

Rick Rubin’s The Creative Act is an inspirational and insightful book that delves deep into the creative process. This book presents a variety of strategies to get more creative, including exploring different types of creative media and developing a creative lifestyle.

On a deeper level Rubin’s book spoke to that part of me that drips with the fear of being “not enough” or wondering “who do I think I am”. He emphasizes all humans are creatives and we are only limited to what we allow to filter into our awareness. I was pleasantly surprised with the approach to confronting all those existential crises that occur throughout our lives.

I bought this audiobook after listening to an interview with Rick Rubin on a podcast. I’m so glad I ran across him. The Creative Act is an invaluable read for anyone looking to get more creative or explore the depths of their creativity. Highly recommended!

Read this book so you can …

  • Learn strategies to get more creative
  • Develop a creative lifestyle
  • Gain insight into the creative process
  • Feel inspired and motivated to explore your inner creativity
  • Live a richer and more meaningful life
  • Connect with your own potential

#2: The Mountain is You: Transforming Self-Sabotage into Self-Discovery by Brianna Wiest

I decided to listen to this book after a session with a client. The Mountain Is You by Brianna Wiest is a must-read for anyone wanting to make meaningful and lasting changes in their life. This inspiring and informative book speaks to how to break through our self-imposed limitations, move past fear and uncertainty, and begin living with the courage, confidence, and clarity that comes from embracing who we are and what we want.

The Mountain Is You presents the tools to build a life that is built on their own terms and filled with joy, adventure, and success. The author shares her personal story of transformation, which makes the lessons learned easy to relate to. Her message of using mountain-climbing metaphors as powerful reminders of our own resilience and strength is both uplifting and inspiring.

The Mountain Is You offers practical advice on how to shift our mindset, create meaningful and sustainable changes in our lives, and move forward with intention. The exercises throughout the book are there to help readers develop a growth mindset while also helping them challenge themselves and push past their comfort zone.

Read this book so you can …

  • Learn how to break through self-imposed limitations and move past fear and uncertainty.
  • Gain the courage, confidence, and clarity that comes from embracing who you are and what you want out of life.
  • Discover practical advice on how to shift your mindset, create meaningful change in your life, and take action with intention.
  • Find a source of inspiration to reach new heights in your life journey with ease and motivation!

#3: The Winners: A Novel (Beartown Series) by Fredrik Backman

Fredrik Backman is one of my guilty pleasures for sure. I love his books and most of them have been “beach reads” – which are wonderful. However this series of books (The Winners being the 3rd in a trilogy) hits a little harder than a beach read.

The Winners is a compelling and inspiring story about the power of community, resilience, and hope. Set in a small Swedish town called Beartown, the novel follows the lives of its inhabitants as they struggle to rebuild their town after a devastating tragedy.

Through an engaging cast of characters (some of who I felt like I knew) and a powerful story, Backman conveys the idea that while we cannot always control our circumstances, we can work together to overcome them. The Winners is an emotional rollercoaster of a novel that left a lasting impression. It was hard not to think about the story even when I wasn’t actively reading.

Backman’s writing style is engaging and incredibly moving. He is able to capture the nuances of human emotions and experiences in a way few other authors can. This book is an absolute must-read for anyone looking to gain insight into the power of community and hope in times of adversity. There are valuable lessons to be learned from Backman’s characters and their individual stories, which make this novel not only enjoyable, but also thought-provoking.

Read this book so you can …

  • Experience the power of community, resilience, and hope in a small Swedish town called Beartown.
  • Receive insight into the nuances of human emotions and experiences through an engaging cast of characters
Get Fredrik Backman’s Beartown Series:
Beartown by Fredrik Backman on Audible or Paperback
Us Against You by Fredrik Backman on Audible or Paperback
The Winners by Fredrick Backman on Audible or Paperback

#4: Never Finished by David Goggins

Okay, first of all, this guy makes me feel super lazy! Second of all – if any of you know me – my daughter the hiker and runner bought it and told me to read it. I’m not sure if I should be insulted. I’d also like to recommend the audio version that includes extra features of conversations at the end of each chapter.

Never Finished is a powerful and inspirational book that touched my heart and made me want to push past my comfort zone (and I’m not a big fan of being uncomfortable). It details Goggins’ remarkable journey from a humble upbringing to becoming one of the most accomplished endurance athletes in history, showing readers how setting goals and taking steps to achieve them can lead to lasting change. Goggins outlines his mental and physical strategies, inspiring readers to take control of their own paths in life by pushing themselves beyond what they think is possible.

Goggins’ story is an inspiration to anyone looking for motivation to push their limits and take control of their own lives. The lessons outlined in this powerful book will help readers break through barriers and find the strength to succeed. Never Finished is a must-read for any reader looking to make lasting change.

Read this book so you can …

  • Learn how to set and reach ambitious goals.
  • Gain insight into the power of breaking through comfort zones.
  • Understand the importance of perseverance in achieving success.
  • Discover motivation for making lasting changes in your life. 

#5: Starry Messenger by Neil deGrasse Tyson

I am a little bit of a Neil deGrasse Tyson fan girl. If I hear or see him on a podcast, or youtube, or some Netflix special then I’m going to pause and listen. I love how he makes astrophysics – of all things – somehow relatable.

Starry Messenger by Neil deGrasse Tyson is a captivating, educational, and insightful book. Drawing from centuries of observation and study, the renowned astrophysicist provides an incredibly detailed look at our place in the universe. He touches on topics such as how the Earth’s position in the Milky Way impacts the night sky we see, why the stars twinkle, and the beauty of constellations. As he guides us through these celestial wonders, Tyson presents a captivating overview of our understanding of the cosmos, often peppered with his trademark wit and charm … I love his trademarked wit and charm.

The writing style is accessible to readers of all ages, from beginner stargazers to experienced scientists. Even those without a background in astrophysics will find it engaging, as Tyson’s passion for his subject shines through on every page. With its abundance of diagrams, photographs and illustrations, the book helps to develop the reader’s understanding even further. Make sure to download all the images on the audible version.

While exploring our place in the universe can be daunting, Starry Messenger is an incredibly rewarding read. It offers an opportunity to learn about our universe in a fun, informative, and entertaining way.

Read this book so you can …

  • Learn about our place in the universe in a fun, informative and entertaining way.
  • Develop an understanding of topics such as why stars twinkle and the beauty of constellations.
  • Gain insight into astrophysics without needing any prior knowledge or background in the subject.
  • Enjoy Tyson’s passion for his subject that shines through on every page.

#6: The Myth of Normal by Gabor Mate

Gabor Mate is one of the rockstars in the field of psychology. Pretty much if he has a new book, then I’m going to read it. This one really spoke to the normalization of all of those defense mechanisms we developed in childhood that may not be working for us anymore – you know, like when we’re 50.

Gabor Mate dives deep into the psychological, neurological and biological causes of mental illness. He dispels many of the myths and stereotypes that people have come to accept about those living with mental illness.

Mate begins by discussing how modern science has revolutionized our understanding of mental health. He then delves into why so many of us struggle with emotional, psychological and even physical issues. Through his thoughtful analysis, Mate demonstrates that issues such as anxiety, depression and addiction are often caused by underlying biological and environmental factors rather than simply being a matter of “weakness” or poor character.

Read this book so you can …

  • Gain insight into how our minds work and why we may struggle with certain illnesses.
  • Gain a greater understanding of the psychological, neurological and biological causes of mental illness.
  • Understand how different individuals may be affected by their environment or biology in terms of mental health issues.

#7: Educated by Tara Westover

Confession: I have read this book more than once and have listened to it more than once (mostly on long trips). This book is amazing! I made both of my daughters read it and neither one complained.

Educated by Tara Westover is an incredible and inspirational story of a woman’s journey from growing up in a fundamentalist, survivalist family in rural Idaho to becoming a Cambridge University graduate. The book chronicles Tara’s personal struggle for self-formation, as she faces difficult decisions about how to reconcile her past with the future she wants to create for herself.

Tara’s story is so beautifully written, and her courage in facing the challenges she faced is truly remarkable. The book left me feeling inspired to take stock of my own life and make a conscious effort to stretch beyond the limitations of expectations and reach for the future I want.

This book is a must-read for anyone looking to be inspired to break the boundaries of their upbringing or simply grow as an individual. It’s a beautiful story of self-discovery and courage that will stay with you long after you finish reading it. Highly recommended!

Read this book so you can …

  • Gain insight into the struggles and triumphs of a woman’s journey from rural Idaho to Cambridge University.
  • Feel inspired to take stock of one’s own life and reach for the future you want.
  • Learn how to break boundaries, face challenges, and grow as an individual.
  • Receive motivation to push beyond comfort zones.
Get Tara Westover’s Educated: A Memoir on Audible or Paperback.

#8: Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

Okay, another confession. Matthew McConaughey is not only nice to look at, he’s fun to listen to. For the love of all that is worthy – listen to the audible.

Matthew McConaughey’s Greenlights is an inspiring, uplifting and refreshingly honest memoir about life, love, and the pursuit of personal growth. The book chronicles McConaughey’s personal journey from his childhood in Texas to his eventual superstardom. It is a deeply personal exploration of the many highs and lows of his life and career, sharing timeless lessons to be taken away.

McConaughey’s book provides a unique perspective on the meaning of success and how to live your best life. Through honest storytelling, he offers readers insight into what it takes to succeed – from hard work and determination to personal growth. Greenlights is an inspiring read for anyone looking for a little motivation or seeking to uncover their own life’s purpose.

Whether you’re just starting out on your journey or are already well on your way, Greenlights is a great reminder that life is all about following your passions and making the most of every opportunity.

Read this book so you can …

  • Gain insight into what it takes to succeed in life and career.
  • Learn timeless lessons about hard work, determination, and personal growth.
  • Feel inspired to pursue your passions and make the most of every opportunity.
  • Get motivated by McConaughey’s uplifting story of success.
Get Matthew McConaughey’s Greenlights on Audible or Paperbook.

#9: I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

Even though the title is a little scary – and especially since my daughter told me to read it – this was an incredible read. Despite the author being a child-actor from the days my kids watched “kid-TV”, I could relate so much to her story.

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy is a poignant and powerful exploration of grief, loss, and finding strength in unexpected places. The book is a raw portrayal of one woman’s journey through her mother’s death, and how she navigates the complex emotions that accompany it.

The narrative follows Jennette as she deals with the death of her mother, and the struggles that come with it. Jennette describes in vivid detail how she copes with her loss, from long days spent alone crying to moments of anger and confusion. Through these experiences, she discovers a strength within herself that she never knew existed before.

The writing is heartfelt and honest, capturing all of Jennette’s raw emotions. At times, it is hard to read, as she confronts her deepest pain and fears. Yet the narrative never feels exploitative; instead, it has an authentic and compassionate voice that truly resonates with its readers.

Overall, I’m Glad My Mom Died is a moving story of resilience and perseverance. Its honest and brave exploration of grief is both inspiring and heartbreaking, and it will stay with you long after you finish reading. If you are dealing with the loss of a loved one, this book can provide comfort, understanding, and hope. It’s definitely worth a read!

Read this book so you can …

  • Understand and cope with grief in a healthy way.
  • Find strength in unexpected places.
  • Connect with an authentic and compassionate narrative.
  • Gain hope and comfort from a story of resilience and perseverance.
  • Learn to confront pain, fear, and other difficult emotions head on.
Get Jennette McCurdy’s I’m Glad My Mom Died on Audible or Paperback

#10: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Yet another confession. Not only do I have the audible, but I have bought this book about a half dozen times. I keep giving it away. This is a book I return to over and over. It is a short, easy read and whenever I am feeling that resistance pop up – it’s my go to. I made my oldest daughter read it … well kind of. She quit half way through because she was going to “lose it” if she saw the word “resistance” one more time.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield is a must-read. This work provides powerful insight into the psychological blocks that can stop individuals from achieving success and offers useful strategies for overcoming these negative influences.

Pressfield examines the inner struggles that many individuals face when attempting to move forward with their lives, and he offers an interesting perspective on what separates those who succeed from those who fail. He speaks candidly about the idea of “resistance” — namely, the negative inner voice that keeps one from taking action and moving toward their goals. He then goes on to discuss strategies for combatting this resistance, from recognizing and accepting it to developing daily rituals that help one stay focused and motivated.

The War of Art is a great read for those looking for an inspiring guide to overcoming the psychological blocks that impede success. It’s packed with practical advice and wisdom that can be applied in any situation, making it an essential companion for anyone looking to break through their current obstacles and find success.

Read this book so you can …

  • Gain practical advice on how to tackle resistance and other negative inner voices that can hold individuals you back from achieving goals
  • Gain powerful insight into what separates those who succeed from those who fail
I hope you have enjoyed my reviews of the most recent books on my audible account. Please shoot me a message if you have any recommendations of a book that has made an impact on your life.
Let’s Discover the Psychology Behind Your Reading Experiences with Dr. Guess!
Narcissistic Personality Disorder with Real-World Examples

Narcissistic Personality Disorder with Real-World Examples

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a relatively uncommon disorder, but it can be challenging to treat. Individuals with NPD may also have other disorders like substance use, mania, and depression.  Pretty much every week, the idea of narcissism will come up in a session.  It’s a popular topic in the psychology world and one could argue that it’s the the spouses, children, parents, and friends of those who display narcissistic behaviors who often seek out therapy.

Cluster B: Personality Disorders

The current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5-TR) indicates personality disorders as a “Cluster B” diagnoses.  There are four Cluster B personality disorders including NPD, as well as Antisocial, Borderline, and Histrionic Personality Disorders.

Personality disorders can be difficult to treat because they involve deeply ingrained patterns of behavior and thought that have likely developed over a long period of time. In many cases, these patterns are rooted in past traumas that have shaped an individual’s sense of self and their relationship to others. This can make it challenging to address the underlying issues that contribute to the disorder.

What Does NPD Look Like?

People with NPD may exhibit a variety of characteristics, including a need for constant attention and admiration, a lack of empathy for others, and exaggerated feelings of self-importance. Individuals with this disorder often have difficulty recognizing their own behavior as problematic. They may have a sense of entitlement that leads them to resist authority or rules, making it difficult for them to comply with treatment recommendations.

The nature of NPD can make it challenging for individuals to seek treatment or even acknowledge that they have a problem. Because symptoms of NPD can change over the course of an individual’s life, treatment may need to adjust over time to remain effective.

To receive a diagnosis of NPD, an individual must meet at least five of the nine criteria outlined in the DSM-5. The rest of this post will go through the nine criteria and include examples of behavior from the celebrity, sport, and political arenas.  In case you were wondering, the people used in the examples are not my clients. Therefore, I have not officially diagnosed these individuals with anything.  The following examples represent behaviors that were in the news that suggest symptoms of NPD.

1. Grandiose Sense of Self-Importance

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and it’s okay to recognize and celebrate your strengths while working on areas of growth.  However, sometimes individuals with NPD may have an exaggerated sense of their own importance or value compared to others. 

Someone with a grandiose sense of self-importance may interrupt others frequently in conversation, believing that their own thoughts and opinions are more important than anyone else’s.  They may also become defensive or angry when you challenge their ideas, unable to tolerate anyone questioning their expertise or authority on a topic.

I’ve watched a couple of the documentaries about Lance Armstrong. He put on a great show to the public (I drank the kool-aid at the time) all while showing multiple criteria for NPD.

Narcissism Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong:

One real-life example of a highly regarded person whose career was affected by NPD symptoms is Lance Armstrong, a former professional cyclist. His behavior on and off the bike was affected. He often exhibited grandiose behavior, such as insisting that he could beat cancer because he was Lance Armstrong. He also had a need for admiration and had a tendency to belittle others.

Armstrong’s NPD led him to engage in unethical behavior that ultimately led to the downfall of his career. He was accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, and he vehemently denied the allegations despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Armstrong’s grandiose sense of self-importance and need for admiration made it difficult for him to admit that he had done something wrong.

In the end, Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, and his reputation was severely damaged. His NPD behavior made it difficult for him to maintain relationships with his teammates and cycling officials, and it ultimately led to his downfall.

2. Preoccupation with Fantasies of Unlimited Success in One or More Areas

Narcissism Kanye West

While it’s okay to have goals and aspirations, it’s not uncommon for individuals with narcissistic personality disorder to have REALLY big goals and aspirations. Sometimes, this mindset can lead to excessive focus on the idea of achieving unlimited success in one or more areas.

They may spend a lot of time researching successful business people and comparing themselves to them, feeling inadequate if they don’t measure up. They may also be unwilling to take on lower-level roles or work their way up in a company, feeling like they deserve immediate success and recognition.

I’m not really of the generation where Kanye West was relevant, but my kids made me listen to Taylor Swift (Okay, I wasn’t complaining).  When he yanked the award away from her at that award show, it was obvious he was not playing by the same rules as the rest of us.

Kanye West:

Kanye West is a well-known rapper, producer, and fashion designer who has achieved immense success in the entertainment industry. However, his preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success in various areas has caused several difficulties in his personal and professional life.
West has displayed some of the criteria for NPD. He shows an inflated sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy for others, and a preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, and brilliance. These traits have led him to make grandiose statements about his abilities, including his claim that he is the “greatest living artist and greatest artist of all time.”
One of the main difficulties that West has faced due to his NPD is his tendency to engage in impulsive and erratic behavior. In 2009, he infamously interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech, claiming that Beyoncé should have won the award instead.

3. Belief That One is Special and Can Only Be Understood By Others Who Are Also Special.

Even though everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, sometimes people with NPD may describe themselves as unique or gifted and want to be surrounded by only those with a similar status.
I think this also applies outside of the world of celebrities.  The politics of small towns, local organizations, and even the parents at kids’ sports can bring out the worst in the grab to sidle up to the popular crowd.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Mariah Carey’s music.  She is of my era. I remember first hearing her range when I was still in high school and thought, “Dang, she’s my age.” It was only later when I heard about the diva behaviors.  Whatever, I still randomly sing, “It’s a sweet, sweet fantasy baby ...” without near the range.
Narcissism Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey:

Mariah Carey is a well-known singer, songwriter, and actress who has achieved great success throughout her career. However, her belief that she is special and can only be understood by others who are also special has caused significant difficulties in her life.
Carey’s behavior has been characterized as demanding and diva-like. She has been known to make outrageous demands, such as requiring a room filled with white roses or puppies, and insisting on being carried everywhere she goes. She has also been involved in numerous public feuds with other celebrities and has been accused of being difficult to work with.
While many celebrities may exhibit diva-like behavior, Carey’s actions have been particularly extreme. Her behavior has been linked to her NPD, which has caused her to believe that she is entitled to special treatment and that others should cater to her every whim.
Unfortunately, Carey’s NPD has also had a negative impact on her personal life. She has been married and divorced multiple times, and has had reportedly difficult relationships with her family members. Her belief that she is special and can only be understood by others who are also special has made it difficult for her to form meaningful relationships with others.

4. Requires excessive admiration.

Narcissism Teal Swan
People with narcissistic personality disorder require a lot of admiration and can be sensitive to criticism or self-doubt. They may become upset or defensive if they feel there is not enough praise or recognition.
Everyone needs validation and encouragement. But it’s also important to be able to accept constructive feedback a without becoming overly defensive or upset.
I first saw links to Teal Swan videos on YouTube.  I’m assuming all my self-help listens made her jump on my YouTube algorithm.  At first, I thought it was pretty good stuff … then it got weird.  The damning documentary, The Deep End, may not have been altogether fair. However, I had made a hard-pass on her videos long before the documentary came out.


Teal Swan

Teal Swan, a self-help author, motivational speaker, and spiritual teacher, has been accused of exhibiting traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). One of the ways in which she demonstrates this is by requiring excessive admiration from her followers.

For instance, Teal Swan requires her followers to make videos testimonials about her, which they must then publicly share on social media. This not only shows that she craves admiration but also that she wants others to see it. She wants to perceive her as larger than life and as someone who has a significant impact on her followers. This behavior is typical of individuals with NPD, who often seek admiration and validation from others.

Overall, Teal Swan’s excessive need for admiration is a clear indication of her NPD. She is a prime example of how individuals with NPD can use their charm and charisma to manipulate and control others to satisfy their own needs.

5. Possesses a Sense of Entitlement.

People with narcissistic personality disorder may feel that they deserve special treatment and may be confusing or upsetting when others don’t do things for them.

They may feel entitled to more than they’re given and may struggle to understand why others don’t see things the same way.

It seemed like the O.J. Simpson trial dominated the news cycle for years.  I knew O.J. as the incredible football player (The Juice)  and his “Naked Gun” character Nordberg.  It was hard to believe this apparently likable guy had so much darkness going on in the background.

Narcissism OJ Simpson

O.J. Simpson

O.J. Simpsons a former American football player and actor who was famously acquitted of the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in 1995. However, Simpson’s sense of entitlement, which may be from NPD, has caused him difficulties in other areas of his life.

For example, in 2007, Simpson was arrested and charged with armed robbery and kidnapping after he and several accomplices attempted to steal sports memorabilia that Simpson claimed to have owned. Simpson was ultimately convicted and sentenced to 33 years in prison, with a minimum of 9 years before parole eligibility.

During his trial, Simpson’s sense of entitlement was on full display. He refused to take responsibility for his actions and instead blamed others for his situation. His behavior ultimately led to his conviction and imprisonment.

6. Is Interpersonally Exploitative

Narcissism Putin

People with narcissistic personality disorder may form relationships based on how they can benefit from them, rather than on mutual respect and kindness. They may be attracted to people who boost their self-esteem, and may not consider the other person’s needs or feelings.

This can lead to a pattern of taking advantage of others for their own gain, which can be hurtful and damaging to the relationship.

When I consider Putin, I can’t help but remember the video of him publicly reprimanding members of his staff.  His coldness and the look of fear on his staff spoke volumes.

Vladimir Putin

Reports have suggested that Vladimir Putin exhibits interpersonal exploitative behavior, which is a common trait among those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). One of the examples of such behavior is the case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a Russian businessman who was once the richest man in Russia and a political rival of Putin. In 2003, Khodorkovsky was arrested and charged with fraud and tax evasion, which many have argued were politically motivated charges.

During Khodorkovsky’s trial, Putin made several public comments suggesting that Khodorkovsky was guilty. Putin’s comments were widely seen as an attempt to influence the outcome of the trial and to discredit Khodorkovsky. This is just one example of how Putin’s interpersonal exploitative behavior, a trait commonly associated with NPD, has caused difficulties for those around him.

Another example of Putin’s exploitative behavior is his treatment of political opponents. Critics of Putin have been imprisoned, exiled, or even killed. One prominent example is the case of Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian spy who was poisoned with polonium in 2006. Litvinenko had accused Putin of ordering the assassination of another critic of the Russian government, and many believe that Litvinenko’s own assassination was ordered by Putin in retaliation for his criticism.

7. Lacks Empathy for Others

People with certain personality traits may have difficulty empathizing with others. While they may understand empathy at an intellectual level, it can be challenging for them to identify with the feelings or experiences of others.

This can lead to difficulty building and maintaining meaningful relationships with others, as well as a lack of understanding or consideration for the needs and feelings of those around them.

The name Kim Jong-Un brings fear to much of the world.  It’s not his physical size or even the size of his country, but rather it’s his blatant disregard for life.

Narcissism Kim Jong-Un

Kim Jong-Un

The North Korean regime, under Kim Jong-un’s leadership, has been accused of committing numerous human rights abuses.

One real-life example of Kim Jong-un’s lack of empathy for others is his treatment of political prisoners. According to Amnesty International, the North Korean government has imprisoned an estimated 200,000 people in political prison camps, where they face inhumane conditions, including torture, forced labor, and starvation. In some cases, entire families are imprisoned, including children and elderly relatives. Kim Jong-un has shown no concern for the suffering of these prisoners, who are often held without trial and subjected to brutal treatment.

Another example is the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, Kim Jong-un’s half-brother, in 2017. Kim Jong-nam was killed by two women who smeared his face with a deadly nerve agent while he was in a crowded airport terminal in Malaysia. The assassination was linked to Kim Jong-un’s desire to eliminate potential rivals to his leadership. Despite the fact that this assassination endangered countless innocent bystanders, Kim Jong-un showed no remorse for the harm caused.

Overall, Kim Jong-un’s lack of empathy for others is a significant problem that has led to widespread suffering in North Korea and beyond. His willingness to use violence to maintain power and disregard for the well-being of others are hallmarks of narcissistic personality disorder, and have had devastating consequences for countless individuals.

8. Is Often Envious of Others and Believes Others are Envious of Them.

Narcissism Paris Hilton

People with certain personality traits may exhibit symptoms of envy towards others and may believe that others are envious of them.

This can lead to a pattern of devaluing the successes of others and overvaluing their own accomplishments.

Paris Hilton has definitely changed the narrative around her “party-girl” and “tone-deaf” personas when she started speaking out against the “troubled-teen” industry back in 2020.  It is a great example to show how narcissistic characteristics can often be a cover for a deeper wound.

Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton has been very open about her struggles with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). In a 2011 interview with Piers Morgan, Hilton revealed that her NPD had caused her significant difficulties, including difficulty forming genuine relationships, trust issues, and feelings of loneliness and isolation.

One of the most challenging aspects of her NPD was her belief that others were envious of her. She had developed a deep-seated belief that she was superior to others and that they were jealous of her and her lifestyle. This belief caused her to become envious of others, leading to a vicious cycle of envy and loneliness. She would become envious of people who had something she did not, such as a happy relationship or successful career. This jealousy would then lead her to feel even more isolated and alone, fueling her NPD.

In addition, Paris Hilton admitted that her NPD had caused her to become overly defensive and to lash out at others who she perceived as being critical of her or not giving her the attention she felt she deserved. She would often respond aggressively to perceived slights, leading to damaged relationships with friends and family.

Paris Hilton’s struggles with NPD highlight the difficulties that people with this disorder face. Despite her wealth and privilege, her NPD made it challenging for her to form healthy relationships and lead a fulfilling life.

9. Shows Arrogance and Haughty Behaviors or Attitudes. 

People with certain personality traits may come across as snobbish, disdainful, or patronizing. They may believe that they are better than others and may act in ways that make others feel inferior or unworthy.

It’s important to remember that everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, and that it’s okay to celebrate your accomplishments while treating others with kindness and respect.

Charlie Sheen almost felt like a cartoon character with some of his quotes and behaviors.  It was in such a contrast to his work from the past.  I loved Wall Street and Major League and it was hard to believe he is the same guy.

Narcissism Charlie Sheen


Charlie Sheen is a well-known actor who has publicly struggled with addiction, legal troubles, and erratic behavior. He has also exhibited symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which may have contributed to some of his difficulties.

Sheen’s behavior has been characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. He has made grandiose statements about his own abilities and accomplishments, and has been known to belittle and ridicule others who disagree with him.

In 2011, Sheen was fired from the television show “Two and a Half Men” after a series of public outbursts directed at the show’s creator, Chuck Lorre. Sheen made derogatory and insulting comments about Lorre’s appearance and personal life, and refused to take responsibility for his own behavior. This behavior may have been driven in part by his NPD behaviors, which can make it difficult for individuals to accept criticism or admit fault.

Overall, Sheen’s struggles with addiction and behavior have been well-documented, and his NPD may have been a contributing factor to some of his difficulties.

4 Reasons Engineers May Struggle in Therapy

4 Reasons Engineers May Struggle in Therapy

The very thought of engineers in therapy can be a difficult idea for engineers … and often mental health professionals. Engineers want to solve problems in a “shortest path” or optimized approach. Unfortunately, that’s not really how therapy works – even though I would absolutely love it if it did.

Mental health is a critical component of overall wellness. However, finding a mental health provider who understands the unique perspective of logical thinkers can be challenging.

Let’s explore some of the reasons why logical thinkers may struggle to find a mental health provider who understands them.

1. Expressing Emotions

If you’re someone who usually relies on reason and logic, you might find yourself struggling when it comes to emotions. Emotions rarely rely on reason or logic. The idea of just “feel your feelings” is frustrating and not helpful.

I get it. Expressing emotions can be tough because we don’t always see the practicality. We often feel emotions are unimportant or irrelevant to the task at hand. You may ask yourself, “What is the value of dealing with this crap right now?”

We don’t want to fight your goto strength of logic, but rather, maybe we can use it. A more structured and logical approach to facing these feelings may help bridge the gap for you to identify and express your emotions.

Finding a mental health provider who is patient and understanding can be a game-changer. It helps if that provider has been in the field and has some experience with these struggles herself.

2. High Standards

Logical thinkers are known for their analytical and problem-solving skills. They are often able to approach situations in a structured and logical way, which can be helpful in many areas of life. Yet, when it comes to mental health, those high standards can make it difficult to find a therapist who meets their expectations.

One of the main reasons for this is that logical thinkers tend to prioritize methodology. They want to know the therapy process is going to be effective and the therapist has the knowledge and experience to provide the type of treatment they desire. They may also prefer a more structured approach to therapy, with clear goals and measurable outcomes.

If you’re a logical thinker who is looking for a mental health provider, don’t be discouraged. There are therapists out there who understand the unique needs of logical thinkers and who can provide treatment that meets your high standards. Take your time, ask questions, and choose a provider who fits your needs.

3. The Subjective Nature of Mental Health

Mental health can be a complex and multifaceted. While it’s a subjective experience, it’s important to understand that mental wellness is not just the absence of mental illness. Rather, mental wellness is also a state of well-being that allows us to realize our potential and cope with the normal stresses of life.

It’s understandable you may find it difficult to navigate the subjective terrain of mental health. This is not a reflection of your intelligence or capabilities, but rather a reflection of the complexity of mental health. It’s okay to feel uncertain and hesitant about seeking help from a mental health provider.

Through a collaborative approach, you can work together with a therapist to identify objective markers of progress and set achievable goals to ensure continued growth and improvement. A good exercise is to start with defining your Core Values.

Please don’t hesitate to seek out a provider who can provide a healthy and understanding connection. Your mental health is important and you don’t have to face your challenges alone.

4. Asking For Help

Logical thinkers are often hesitant to seek help for their mental health, even though it is just as important as physical health.

It’s okay to feel uncertain and hesitant about seeking help, but it will be worth it. Taking proactive steps towards mental wellness can lead to a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Healing is something that happens in relationship. If you truly want to fast track your healing, your emotions must be witnessed. Not an easy task for most engineers – and I’ve received a lot of pushback with this idea.

When you are in the mental health field, it is always amazing how shame, guilt, and all those difficult emotions begin to melt once witnessed.

Asking for help and truly being seen may be the hardest obstacle to overcome, but again, it will be worth it.

Let’s Get it Started

It can be tough to prioritize self-care, especially when you’re used to solving problems on your own. But you don’t have to face your challenges alone.

Do your research, make some phone calls, and schedule an appointment. It may take some time to find a good fit and you may have some false starts. I hope you stick with it because even engineers have emotions.

If you’re a logical thinker who is considering therapy, Dr. Guess may be a good fit for you.

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5 Gaslighting Examples in Relationships

5 Gaslighting Examples in Relationships

Gaslighting examples, displaying that sneaky form of emotional abuse. It is like a twisted game of “Is it real or is it in my head?” The abuser tries to make their partner doubt their own memory, reality, and sanity, leaving them feeling confused, anxious, and paranoid. It all starts with little things that make you question your own judgment, but then it escalates into a full-blown mind warp. (Also see The Impact of Narcissism on Relationships.)

The following are some examples of gaslighting you may experience in a relationship:

1. Gaslighting Example: Denial of Truth

Your partner denies things that have happened or things you have said, making you question your own memory and perception of reality. Your partner may deny they said something hurtful to you, even though you clearly remember the conversation.


Sarah started to notice Alex would deny things that had happened or things she had said, making her question her own memory and perception of reality. At first, she brushed it off, thinking maybe she was just forgetful. But as time went on, Alex’s behavior became more frequent and intense. He would deny things Sarah was sure had happened, making her feel like she was losing her mind.

Sarah confronted Alex about his behavior, but he told her she was overreacting and nothing was wrong. Sarah started to feel like she was going crazy and began to doubt herself. She became anxious and paranoid, wondering if she could trust her own memory or if she was losing her mind.

It wasn’t until Sarah talked to a friend who had experienced gaslighting when she realized what was happening to her. She began to recognize the signs and sought help from a mental health professional. With the help of therapy, Sarah was able to rebuild her self-esteem and confidence and set boundaries with Alex. Eventually, she realized she deserved to be treated with respect and kindness and ended the relationship.

2. Gaslighting Example: Blaming

Your partner blames you for things that are not your fault, making you feel guilty and responsible for things you didn’t do. Your partner may blame you for her own mistakes or shortcomings, leaving you questioning if everything that does not go perfect in his life is somehow your fault.


The relationship was going great for the first few months for Tom and Rachel. Tom started noticing small indications something was not right. Rachel began blaming him for simple actions or decisions he made that she labeled as “mistakes” or for things that were out of his control. Over time, Rachel’s blaming only became more frequent and intense.

Tom tried to talk to Rachel, but she responded with anger and defensiveness. She told him he was overreacting and he needed to figure out his own insecurities. As time went on, Tom began to feel more and more responsible for Rachel’s behavior. He started to question his own judgment and wondered if he was the cause of all their problems.

One day Rachel said to Tom, “What have you done lately to help my happiness?” and it clicked with Tom that Rachel’s happiness is not in his control. The experience of being blamed for everything had a profound effect on Tom, but with the help of therapy and support from loved ones, he was able to learn to trust his own decisions again.

3. Gaslighting Example: Withholding

Withholding information, affection, or attention can be used as as a way to punish and promote insecurity. Your partner may stop talking to you for days without any explanation, leaving you wondering what you did wrong.


From the outside Emily and Mark seemed like the perfect match for the first few years of their relationship. However, Emily was feeling more and more left out as Mark seemed to be withholding information, affection, and attention leaving her feeling punished and insecure.

It started small, with Mark giving Emily the silent treatment for a few hours or not responding to her messages. But as time went on, Mark’s withholding became more frequent and intense. He would stop talking to Emily for days without any explanation, leaving her wondering what she did wrong.

Emily tried to talk to Mark about his behavior, but he told her she was overreacting and she needed to learn to recognize when he needed space.

As time went on, Emily began to feel more and more insecure in the relationship. She started to question her own behavior and wondered if she was causing Mark to withdraw. Her final straw was during an event they attended. He was kind and friendly to anyone but her – not just his friends, but also strangers or people she knew he did not like. She finally saw Mark’s withholding behavior for what it was.

Emily started on her quest to rebuild her confidence. With the help of her therapist and supportive friends and family she was able to understand her own worth.

4. Gaslighting Example: Projection

Your partner accuses you of doing things they are actually doing, making you question yourself without reason. For example, your partner may accuse you of cheating on them, even though they are the ones who have been unfaithful.


Max was charming and attentive at first, but as time went on, Lily began to notice Max’s behavior was becoming increasingly unpredictable and erratic. He would accuse her of things she had not done, and he would become angry and defensive whenever she tried to talk to him about it.

One day, Max accused Lily of cheating on him. Lily was shocked and hurt by the accusation. She had never cheated on Max, and she couldn’t understand why he would think she had. Max became more and more convinced of her infidelity, even though Lily tried to reassure him that she was faithful.

Lily started to question her own behavior. She wondered if there was something she had done to make Max think she was cheating. She tried to reason with him and explain she had not been unfaithful, but Max refused to listen. He became increasingly paranoid and controlling, even going so far as to check her phone and social media accounts for evidence of her supposed infidelity.

Lily eventually learned Max’s accusations were actually projections of his own infidelity onto her. Max had been cheating on Lily, and he was using gaslighting to make her doubt her own behavior and cover up his own wrongdoing. Through this experience, she learned she was not crazy or irrational. She deserved to be in a relationship where she was valued and respected.

5. Gaslighting Example: Minimizing

Your partner downplays your feelings or experiences, making you feel like they are not important or valid. Your partner may tell you that you are overreacting or being too sensitive when you express your feelings.


Ava loved Jack deeply and thought he felt the same way about her. But, as time went on, she started to notice Jack would often downplay her feelings or experiences. Whenever Ava tried to express her emotions, Jack would tell her she was overreacting or being too sensitive. He would make her feel like her feelings were not important or valid and she was making a big deal out of nothing.

At first, Ava tried to brush off Jack’s behavior, thinking maybe he just didn’t understand her. But as time went on, Jack’s minimizing became more frequent and intense. He would be dismissive of both her feelings and experiences. Ava felt like she was walking on eggshells around Jack. She started to doubt her own emotions and wondered if she was being irrational.

Through therapy and support from her family, Ava learned her feelings were valid and important. She deserved to be in a relationship where she was valued and respected.

Trusting Your Perspective

Recognizing gaslighting can be a difficult and confusing experience. Trusting your instincts is the first step in protecting yourself from this harmful behavior. If you feel like you are being gaslit, know you are not alone and help is available. Seeking support from a mental health professional can help you develop coping strategies to deal with the effects of gaslighting and rebuild your self-esteem and confidence.

It’s important to set boundaries with your partner and communicate your needs clearly. Remember you deserve to be treated with respect and kindness. If your partner is unwilling to change their behavior or seek help, it may be necessary to end the relationship. This can be a difficult decision to make, but prioritizing your mental health and well-being is crucial.

Reclaiming your truth and breaking free from the mind games may feel overwhelming, but working with a therapist or counselor can provide a supportive and empathetic space for healing. With time and support, you can overcome gaslighting and regain your confidence.

Reclaim your truth and break free from the mind games – work with Dr. Guess to overcome gaslighting and regain your confidence.

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