The Essays

Copyright 2013 by Richard A. Grossman, Ph.D.    All Rights reserved    E-Mail: ragrossman@voicelessness.com


     Why Do Some People Choose One Bad Relationship After Another?
   Psychoanalysts, citing Freud's
                                            "pleasure principle", have suggested masochism as the answer. Why else would
                                             people suffer the same pain and humiliation over and over again?  Here's another

Why Can't Some People Maintain Intimate Relationships?   Many people retreat from close emotional
                                             contact, frustrating spouses and partners.   Here's a look at the problem from the
                                             perspective of childhood "voicelessness."

Voicelessness: Narcissism  Narcissism is a misnomer. At their core narcissists don't love themselves -- in
                                             fact their self barely exists, and what part does exist is deemed worthless. All
                                             energy is devoted to inflating the self...
     Couples Counseling:  Is Better Communication Enough?  We've read it in all the popular magazines:
                                             better communication leads to a happier marriage. But is better communication

     Narcissism (the disorder) vs. Healthy Narcissism  What is the difference between pathological narcissism
                                             and "healthy narcissism"?

Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents

     Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents:  Is Love Enough?
  Even in situations where love is present,
                                             something critical is missing.

     Little Voices    Deprived of voice in childhood, some people shrink or twist themselves like a pretzel to fit into
                                             others' worlds.

     Narcissistic Parents:  Voice Wars   Some children lacking voice aggressively and self-destructively strive to
                                             regain agency in childhood.  Later, these adaptations interfere, often dramatically,
                                             with adult relationships.
     The Four Questions  Who am I?  Do I have any value?  Why doesn't anyone see or hear me?  Why should
                                             I live?

     Do Narcissistic Parents Love Their Children?  A survey of members of the Voicelessness and Emotional
                                             Survival Message Board.
Depression and the Subtext of Family Life  In the psychology of children and adults from narcissistic
                                             families, hidden messages rule.    


     Giving Your Child "Voice"    Fundamental to a child's self-esteem and emotional well being is their sense of
                                             "voice." How do you ensure your child receives this lifelong gift?

     Voice Lessons:  Littleton, Colorado    What can be learned about parenting from the Columbine High School
                                              tragedy?  (Guest column reprinted from the Brookline Tab, May 13, 1999 and
                                              excerpted  in Massachusetts Psychologist, June, 1999)


     Psychotherapy and Humanism    Life experience has taught me that humanism plays a critical role in the
                                               healing process. 
     Therapy on the High Seas: A Search for Self  What happens when an adult child of a narcissistic family
                                               faces progressive heart failure? Consider this account of a man's struggle for
                                               physical and emotional survival.

     Dreams, Imagined Dreams--Failed Therapy  Therapists can not only heal, they can hurt.

     So, You're Thinking of Becoming a Therapist   Learning about subtext is critical.  Here's an exercise
                                               based upon Robert Frost's poem, "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening."

Talks and Personal Essays
     Vulnerability: The Roots of Compassion   Response to the 9/11 terrorist attack  (Guest column reprinted
                                              from The Brookline TAB, September 27, 2001)

     Bump, Bump, Bump  Sometimes life gets off to a rough start--and one can be shaken for life.  (Invited talk:
                                             Contemporary Spiritual Experience, Brookline, MA, September, 2002)

     Have an Abnormally Good Year!   (Invited talk:  Contemporary Spiritual Experience, Brookline, MA,
                                             September, 2005)

     Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Meaning   (Invited talk:  Contemporary Spiritual Experience, Brookline, MA,
                                              October, 2006)

     What Dare We Hope?  (Invited talk:  Contemporary Spiritual Experience, Brookline, MA,
                                              September 2007)

"Reality Book Group" & 3 other short plays

    Reality Book Group  What's more important: the book or the members? In "Reality Book Group," three college professors invite a book loving ex-convict to join them. Selected from 53 plays written by New England's premier playwrights, "Reality Book Group" was top-billed in the Boston Globe and performed at the 2012 Boston Theater Marathon. The comedy will be print-published in Boston Theater Marathon XIV, 2012 Anthology (Smith & Kraus).

    Bluefish  Bluefish (and humans): "Once they're hooked, they fight for their lives!"  John, an odd, motherless third-grade boy follows his teacher, Ms. Willoughby, everywhere after learning she is pregnant. "Bluefish" was shortlisted for the 2013 Boston Theater Marathon.

    Room with Maintenance   Harold, an intellectual with a swollen leg, and Frank, a crude carpenter, find themselves locked in a room together after they die. Each reminds the other of his ex-wife. Are they in Heaven, Hell, or someplace entirely different? Why were they "placed" together? And who's going to fix the broken toilet??? 
   Medium Security 2025  The year is 2025, and Linda, the wife of an art history professor, has had enough of her husband Ronald's philandering with students and confronts him (and a coed) at the art museum in front of his favorite painting, Van Gogh's "Postman."  "Medium Security 2025" will be a 2014 Boston Theater Marathon entry.


For books on narcissism and its effects on relationships and families, see the Voicelessness Reading List.


Voicelessness and Emotional Survival

The Essays
by Richard A. Grossman, Ph.D.

Voicelessness and
Emotional Survival
Professional   Services