This is a collection of resources about various aspects of relationships, including our relationships with ourselves, and our mental health, our relationships with others, including parenting, sexual relationships, sexuality and so on.
I'm putting this right at the top because much of what's on this page applies to normal people, but what applies to normal people does not apply to narcissists. We see this in the behaviour of people like Boris Johnson and, especially, Donald Trump, but there are lower-profile narcissists in ordinary walks of life who may appear entertaining and exciting, helpful and eager to please, sympathetic, maybe downtrodden, to those not intimately involved with them. But to those closely involved, especially intimate partners once the initial "love-bombing" honeymoon phase has worn off, the exerience is horribly different.
There's a good description of what it's like being with and breaking up from a narcissist, and how people get to be narcissists, in the first chapter (which you can read online) of the book "Divorcing a Narcissist" - and if you are in the situation of divorcing one then the book is well worth the £24 (including postage) it costs. (Also even if you can't afford to be represented by solicitors - and many narcissists' victims are also impoverished by financial abuse - there are sources of more affordable legal help, including our own saviours Family First in Oxford who even do free legal help sessions on facebook.)
Parenting and education
Philippa Perry's "The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did)" is brilliant. This video [also here] gives a taste of her (not so) common sense approach to children and parenting, and here is a similar written (PDF) piece. Here's an hour+ long video "What Every Parent Should Know with Philippa Perry".
There's an interesting article in The Atlantic "There’s a Better Way to Parent: Less Yelling, Less Praise" based on an interview with NPR journalist Michaeleen Doucleff, author of "Hunt, Gather, Parent: What Ancient Cultures Can Teach Us About the Lost Art of Raising Happy, Helpful Little Humans".
the radical idea that children are fully formed people, due the rights and respect due to all the other people. When we treat adults as untrustworthy, when we seek to guide, coerce, trick or otherwise manipulate them, when we correct or offer false praise or unsolicited advice, we are generally considered to be jerks of the highest order. Yet somehow, many of us, maybe most of us, live in a world in which it's considered normal to treat children this way.
I tend to assume that things with acronyms — like PACE – Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy — will be trite and cringey. But I think this one is profound and humane:
PACE is a way of thinking, feeling, communicating and behaving that aims to make the child feel safe. It is based upon how parents connect with their very young infants. As with young toddlers, with safety the child can begin to explore. With PACE, the troubled child can start to look at himself and let others start to see him, or get closer emotionally. He can start to trust.
Read about it here
"Why would you ever choose to be with someone who is not excited to be with you?"
Fuck your feelings Mark Manson
"Look, I know you think the fact you feel upset or angry or anxious is important. That it matters. Hell, you probably think that because you feel like your face just got shat on makes you important. But it doesn’t. Feelings are just these… things that happen. The meaning we build around them–what we decide is important or unimportant–comes later."
"One of my biggest interpersonal struggles is deciding how to respond to passive communication from others."
Sexuality and sexual relationships
I've lived as a man & a woman -- here's what I learned by Paula Stone Williams (TEDx)
Doctor Nerdlove is a good problem-page type of website generally aimed at straight, geeky men.
monogamy, polyamory, and kink
Are monogamy and non-monogamy an either/or choice? Or is it more of a continuum?
Monogamy explained (video) - about monogamy and non-monogamy in human culture and other primates.
Every single relationship problem I have ever encountered in my life has been because of a lack of appropriate boundaries.
Love Unlimited - Polyamory in Scotland is a short BBC film about a poly "thruple".
Cultivating Compersion: The Magic of Feeling Joy for Others Elisabeth Sheff, Psychology Today [PDF]
A polyamorous trait useful for anyone who struggles with jealousy.
BDSM Isn't Just Good for Your Libido, But Your Mental Health Too Laura Dorwart, Playboy [PDF]
Rethinking infidelity ... a talk for anyone who has ever loved Esther Perel; YouTube; 21 May 2015
Infidelity is the ultimate betrayal. But does it have to be? Relationship therapist Esther Perel examines why people cheat, and unpacks why affairs are so traumatic: because they threaten our emotional security. In infidelity, she sees something unexpected — an expression of longing and loss. A must-watch for anyone who has ever cheated or been cheated on, or who simply wants a new framework for understanding relationships.
How, as straight men, can we be in this world?
How do we deal with the sexism, misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia of the culture we've grown up in?
What is patriarchy and who does it fuck up?
What is feminism? Can men be feminists? Should we?
How do we love our fellow man without being sexual, and how do we negotiate love and sexuality with women?
And how do we get laid?!
The opposite of rape culture is nurturance culture Nora Samaran
The opposite of masculine rape culture is masculine nurturance culture: men* increasing their capacity to nurture, and becoming whole.
This is a long article referencing Attachment Theory
Everyone needs to love and be loved -- even men. But to know love, men must be able to look at the ways that patriarchal culture keeps them from knowing themselves, from being in touch with their feelings, from loving. In The Will to Change, bell hooks gets to the heart of the matter and shows men how to express the emotions that are a fundamental part of who they are -- whatever their age, marital status, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
Wanted: Men Who Love bell hooks ; filmsforaction.org ; Feb 25, 2015
This page also contains excerpt from The Will To Change book
In an excerpt from a speech about his new book The Shepherd’s Hut, the author says it is men who need to step up and liberate boys from the race, the game, the fight
Why I'm done trying to be "man enough" Justin Baldoni; TED women; Nov 2017
Justin Baldoni wants to start a dialogue with men about redefining masculinity -- to figure out ways to be not just good men but good humans. In a warm, personal talk, he shares his effort to reconcile who he is with who the world tells him a man should be. And he has a challenge for men: "See if you can use the same qualities that you feel make you a man to go deeper," Baldoni says. "Your strength, your bravery, your toughness: Are you brave enough to be vulnerable? Are you strong enough to be sensitive? Are you confident enough to listen to the women in your life?"
Power in Vulnerability Mark Manson
When most men hear the word “vulnerability,” their immediate reaction is to associate it with weakness. In general, men are raised to withhold their emotions, to not show weakness, and to ignore any hint of introspection. On top of that, most of the popular pickup advice out there encourages guys to be aloof, stand-offish, judgmental, and at times scathing towards women.
...making yourself vulnerable doesn’t just mean being willing to share your fears or insecurities. It can mean putting yourself in a position where you can be rejected, saying a joke that may not be funny, asserting an opinion that may offend others, joining a table of people you don’t know, telling a woman that you like her and want to date her. All of these things require you to stick your neck out on the line emotionally in some way. You’re making yourself vulnerable when you do them.
In this way, vulnerability represents a form of power, a deep and subtle form of power. A man who’s able to make himself vulnerable is saying to the world, “I don’t care what you think of me; this is who I am, and I refuse to be anyone else.” He’s saying he’s not needy and that he’s high status.
The fear that lies behind aggressive masculinity George Monbiot; The Guardian; 16 Jan 2019
Why do so many men love Jordan Peterson and hate the Gillette ad? If they’re truly strong they don’t need to prove their virility
That Gillette Ad
We Believe: The Best Men Can Be Gillette; YouTube; 13 Jan 2019
Boys Leaning In Jonathon Reed; Medium; 17 Jan 2019
Three stories from a boys' program facilitator
I work directly with boys on gender and masculinity. During school, I facilitate gender-transformative boys programs with Next Gen Men. In the summer, I coordinate a positive masculinities program at Camp Arowhon. Throughout the year, I create a podcast on boys’ inner lives called Breaking the Boy Code.
I’m writing this in order to shine the spotlight on boys engaging in topics like homophobia, misogyny and mental health. The boys I work with are eager to define their masculinity with more authenticity, more integrity and compassion. This is what that looks like.
Debunking the Myths about Boys and Emotions Vicki Zakrzewski; Greater Good Magazine; 1 Dec 2014
Research has found that boys can connect emotionally with others at a very deep level—we just have to make it safe for them to do so.
At a recent workshop I gave, a man raised his hand to tell me that his discussion partner had to “talk him down off the cliff” because he wasn’t able to feel compassion during a compassion-inducing exercise I had just led everyone through. He wondered if, as a man, his capacity for compassion was limited.
This experience spoke to me of the tragedy in our society that labels men as unable to feel or connect to the same degree that women can. And that maturity in men means emotional stoicism, autonomy, and self-sufficiency—a lonely existence, for sure, particularly as research time and again shows we all need human connection to thrive.
Yet scientists are discovering that what society says about men’s (and boys’) social and emotional abilities is simply not true, and that cultivating their natural capacity for emotional attunement and relationships is critical to their overall well-being. But we can’t wait till they’re men to do so—we need to start when they’re young.
Going From Boys to Men With Our Fathers Joe Kort; Huffington Post; 02 Feb 2016
The day comes when we must go from boy to man with our fathers. When I became a man with my own father, he could not bear it. Sadly, it ended our relationship, but I have never regretted doing it.
Modern Masculinity Iman Amrani; The Guardian; 14 Aug 2019
Is modern masculinity in crisis? Guardian journalist Iman Amrani speaks to men across the country about the issues affecting men and boys today.
Two series of videos
Misogyny, anti-feminism, MRA, incel culture etc
Young, Male and Anti-Feminist – The Gen Z Boys Who Hate Women Hannah Ewens; Vice; May 2021
Half of young men in the UK now believe that feminism has “gone too far". How did it get this bad?