iPersonic Blog

by Felicitas Heyne, Psychologist and Book-Author

Topics: Career Communication Crisis Education Happiness Health Introversion Life Love Personal Development Personality Psychology Self-Confidence

Lessons for Life I learned from Cats

Since we have moved here to Gran Canaria, my husband and I have initiated a project for the protection of cats. We always have had cats ourselves but here we also care for homeless cats by trying to find homes for them and also for entire colonies of street cats. As a result I have more cats for company than ever before and the more I interact with them, the more frequently I feel that humans can learn a lot from them benefitting our lives. For a start by learning by imitation as psychologists call it (i.e. emulation) and also by interacting and truly getting involved with them provides us with any number of opportunities for the progression of our own personality. Continue reading ...

How to guard against the Empty Nest Syndrome

Last week friends of ours happened to become parents for the first time – an adorable little girl, large dark eyes and a thick dark shock of hair and the entire package presented in candy-pink flannel. Simply irresistible! At that even I was made to admire the 338th photo on daddy’s mobile phone. There are truly many perspectives and numerous situations where one can take a photograph of a new little addition to the human race! Especially the newly baked daddy is overwhelmed with exultation. According to his very own account (I am not inventing this, honestly) he occasionally sits for two to three hours simply in wonderment next to her crib and watches the little beauty while she is sleeping! Sweet, or? I agree! I already look with great expectations forward to the day in fourteen, fifteen years when the sweetheart brings a pimpled youngster home with her and introduces him to her dad as her first love. How I would love to be the fly on the wall! It is going to get very exciting when daddy’s crest is rising and he cuts that scamp who dares to make a pass at his jewel, down to size. . . . Continue reading ...

True Love isn't Found. It's Built.

In just about two weeks Valentine’s Day looms on the horizon again! (Well, already been thinking about a gift for the loved one? Table reserved for the romantic dinner?) Sufficient grounds to tackle the subject Love once again. Love and the need for bonding with others is probably the feeling characterizing and having an effect upon us humans most of all. Today the subject will be the changes these eternally same and yet always new emotions are subjected to in the course of human life. Continue reading ...

Thirteen Tips for stressed-out Mothers

Recently a client asked me to help her develop a few good ideas how she could react differently to the every-day stress situations involving both of her (in this case a two and six year old) children. („Differently“ in this case means: other than reacting under pressure, in a foul mood, yelling, doubting motherhood or considering to make the kids available for adoption). Since these and similar questions seem to be the perennial subject in family therapies, I figured that it would be worthwhile to put our collective effort into writing and make it available to you who may be facing similar problems. In case you are also a mother (or father) you may even find this or the other suggestion to be helpful. Continue reading ...

Even more tips to fight your Seasonal Affective Disorder

As every year during these weeks search requests for our blog article on the subject Seasonal Affective Disorder are beginning to pile up. No wonder: Summer is clearly a thing of the past, fall and winter with their long, dark nights and unfortunately also frequent bleary days await. The nights are already uncomfortably cool. During these months the inherent light deficiency affects the emotional state of many. Studies show that during fall and winter many people complain about depressions, lack of energy and a ravenous appetite for something sweet. Psychologists describe this seasonal dependent depressive mood as SAD – seasonal affective disorder. As we face the threat of the blahs during the dark-cold season it is now high time to fight them with a few new tips from us! Continue reading ...

Anorexia – when the Soul is starving

Anorexia (Anorexia nervosa) usually begins with the desire to be – or to become slim. Many of those afflicted eventually slide into this disease via a diet. At one point the starvation diet gets out of control and starts to dominate the entire life. The fear for gaining weight increases to the point of creating a strictly controlled food intake – all the way to a complete refusal to eat. The worst part of all is: The afflicted develop a progressively distorted body image and finally see themselves as fat and bloated while in reality by now they are only skin and bones. When during therapy an anorexic person is asked to paint a picture of him/herself, the body silhouette always differs far from reality. Most of them are totally stunned when they lay down on a large sheet of paper and the therapist traces the girth of their body with a pen. They would have never imagined that both are images of the same person. Continue reading ...

Dreams, nightmares and their meaning

Dreams - a subject that my clients often bring up in the course of their therapy hours with me. “I dreamt this or that – what does it mean?” – “I always keep having the same dream, what is it telling me?” Those and others are the questions on this subject. Dreams are by their nature an interesting subject and not just as they relate to psychotherapy. Many people wonder about the meaning of their dreams and many researchers have of course already literally forever dealt with the subject of sleep and dreams. Continue reading ...

Is that truly my dream career?

On iPersonic I have already frequently addressed the subject of how important the right career is for one’s happiness and life satisfaction. And therefore, it is so very important to know oneself and one’s own personality in order to make the correct decisions in this area. (You can take our free career test here!) Continue reading ...

Why women suffer from a distorted self-image

It’s been a while since I wrote the last time about the subject “Blind spot” here on iPersonic. That subject occurred to me yesterday for very personal reasons. As happens occasionally to all of us, yesterday I had obviously gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. With a few things very much on my mind I had not slept all that well. So, while brushing my teeth and already in a mousy mood, I dismayed to be “confronted” by my reflection in the mirror above the sink. Bags under the eyes, clearly lots more wrinkles than yesterday and then that strange new liver spot right next to my nose – could that possibly be the forerunner of senile freckles? And then I made the dumbest strategic mistake any woman can possibly commit in a situation such as this – I stepped on the scale! That pretty much did it for the day. I was tempted to go right back to bed. My already lousy mood hit bottom and established itself there for good. Continue reading ...

The new iPersonic Health Coach eBook

Health is not so much a Condition as an Attitude, and it thrives with the Enjoyment of Life.
Thomas Aquinas
This insight of the Italian Theologian and Philosopher Thomas Aquinas dates from the 13th Century and yet, it is incredibly current! In his blog the Swiss happiness researcher Bruno S. Frey put an excellent point to it: “Recent research provides a clear answer to the question about the correlation between happiness and health: Increased life satisfaction is related to better health and a longer life”. As a matter of fact, the latest research demonstrates: A happy life not only prolongs overall life expectancy by 14% (amounting to 10 years in the industrialized countries!), it also has a substantial impact on physical health. Consequently in this iPersonic eBook we are not only going to deal with the physical aspect of health for your personality type but frequently with the psychological aspect, as well. The fact is that emotional and physical health benefit each other, they are intricately linked.  Continue reading ...

Career Guidance in a Global World

At iPersonic we believe that career guidance should be made available to everyone. A fulfilling career is the cornerstone of a fulfilled life. This is of course also true for developing countries. "Career guidance can perform a valuable role in raising the aspirations of the disadvantaged and individuals in poverty by making them aware of opportunities, and supporting them in securing entry to such opportunities.",  states a World Bank-commissioned report. Unfortunately resources are very limited in such countries. They need to prioritize their investments, and career guidance is not one of them.  Continue reading ...

Understanding Paraverbal Communication

Whenever we think of the key word “communication” the spoken maybe even the written word generally comes to mind. However, between two people this represents only one of three levels composing communication – and by far not the most important! After all, seen from the perspective of its evolutionary history the word does not stand alone– other channels of communication were at least equally important! Maybe you already have had similar experiences that you can express a lot more with a glance or a gesture than with an endless sermon. Or you have listened to someone volubly trying to convince you of something while you were thinking to yourself: “he/she is lying down his/her throat”. In that case you are already aware of the other two channels people use to communicate with each other and which are going to be today’s primary subject. Continue reading ...

The end of your life will reveal whether you knew who you were

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The "Be Spontaneous" Paradox

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our “the day we first met” anniversary. One would think that those days should be a great occasion for couples to make a nice day of it or at least memorable evening. Unfortunately all too often they fail miserably – for instance when one of the parties involved (usually the male part) either totally forgets the day or at least shows up without the obligatory bouquet of flowers or else forgets the “real” present. Continue reading ...

Can a Trauma be inherited?

An U.S. study of more than 50.000 women has recently brought a strange causality to light. “When a woman was the victim of severe sexual abuse as a child, the danger that she’ll later as a mother will give birth to a child suffering from autism increases by more than 60% (!) when compared to a non-traumatized woman. Our survey suggests that the fallout of childhood abuse resonates across generations,” says scientist Marc Weisskopf in an article published in the german magazine "Der Spiegel". The researchers included an impairment of the immune system and stress resistance of abused women as contributing factors as potential causes for the negative effect on the pregnancy and the embryonic development. Continue reading ...

The Fairy Tale about Spontaneous Sex

A while ago a couple of studies caught my attention. Both were dealing with every-day stress and sexuality in a partnership (and didn’t sound very encouraging): In Great Britain 35% of all working women stated that they were not interested in sex because day-to-day life was absorbing too much energy. After having to deal with their household chores after work they are simply too tired for sexual activities. I tend to believe that these results probably apply to most women on this planet. And I know lots of working mothers who, - particularly during school vacations – after a busy day with their brood on the playground, at the open air pool or similar “relaxing” pastimes would probably also wholeheartedly agree. But then the survey by a woman’s magazine indicates, that German men don’t appear to be a whole lot better off: During the last 30 years, stress and burnout have reduced their libido by more than 50%. For instance, in 1976 18 – 30 year olds still indicated to have had sex 18 – 22 times a month; by 2006 the frequency of their sexual activity was only 4 – 10 times a month. It appears that the daily routine has a similar libido dampening effect on both, men and women. Once one has dealt with everything that needs to be done, one is also done in oneself to the point where one just wants to be left alone and has no interest in sweaty acrobatics between the sheets. Continue reading ...

Will a fling kill your relationship?

As long as there are relationships, there will always be flings, those quickie affairs. Sexual revolution, or not – for instance in surveys 43% of all Germans state that for them a fling is sufficient reason to terminate even a longstanding relationship. And almost two thirds consider it to be the beginning of the end when a partner cheats. The values in other industrial nations are similar. Particularly fascinating considering the fact that since the fifties one figure shows up with stunning regularity (that is to say since Kinsey’s research on this subject): According to studies, at one time or the other, 50% of all long-term relationships are subject to adultery. Men are not always the culprits. They are only the cheaters in 30 – 60% of all cases, while in 20 - 50% the females give in to temptation. The difference is the way in which the situation is being handled: Men enjoy boasting with their adventures while the females keep their mouth shut and indulge in silence. Thus the former are more likely to get caught than the latter. Continue reading ...

Life at a Crossroads

Popular wisdom states: „There are no sign posts on the crossroads of life.“ That often comes to mind when I sit in my practice with people who are facing important decisions in their lives and just don’t know where to go. The same obviously applies when I face the same dilemma, myself. Sooner or later and more or less frequently all of us find ourselves on those life’s crossroads when we have to decide on an alternative and at the same time bid farewell to other opportunities. Changing the job or better not? Continuing a relationship or put an end to it? Emigrate or preferably stay in my native country? Having a child or not? The choice between professional education or an academic career. And . . . and . . . and. Continue reading ...

Start the New Year with a Letter to Yourself

Well, we did it again! New Year’s Eve is behind us and the New Year is upon us – hopefully all went well for you? Most of you probably threw a proper New Years Party - maybe even accompanied by some fireworks. All in all, for most of us the New Year’s celebration is a rather noisy and merry affair fortified by the proper beverages. Continue reading ...

Children need Fairy Tales – a Plea for Santa

I recently had a conversation with a dear friend and colleague with the propensity to second-guess herself. The occasion was this year’s December 6th – traditionally her family’s day to celebrate Saint Nicklaus Day with friends. On those occasions, my friend’s neighbor appeared as Santa to both her children (who are eight and six years old, by the way). The older son grew increasingly suspicious because it had occurred to him that the neighbor always showed up late because something urgent had come up and therefore he “missed” Santa’s visit. “I bet there is no Santa Claus, that is probably Christian from next door”, he self-importantly told his little sister. Continue reading ...

Tough Time for Realists

I have always thought that our modern world tends to fit certain ipersonic personality types rather more than other profiles. Ursula Huber’s lead article in the recent “Psychologie Heute” (Psychology Today) again reminded me of this subject and in a way confirmed my reflections. In her intro she writes: “The world is an uncertain place. One cannot depend on anything any longer: not on the Euro, not on love, not on politicians, not on job security.” And she quotes the psychologist Ernst-Dieter Lantermann at Kassel University who summarizes: “ Modern living conditions are precarious living conditions.” Continue reading ...

13 new Tips to beat the threatening Seasonal Affective Disorder

On the occasion of the first days of November - giving us the first serious beginning of winter in Germany! – I have yet a few more tips designed to help you face the blues brought on by the cold outside! Below you’ll find an entire assortment of new suggestions for making the best of autumn. (It goes without saying that the tips in my previous article on the subject “autumn” remain valid – fortunately something like that won’t expire). Continue reading ...

Animals as Therapists: how Cats, Dogs and Co. benefit the Soul

I admit: I am biased. Animals have always played a predominant role in my own life. I could not even imagine my life without at least one cat being with me. One of the reasons may well be that I occasionally resort to four-legged assistants when working with clients when the occasion arises – and usually with decidedly positive results. Continue reading ...

13 Tips for Fighting Seasonal Affective Disorder

Well, there is no denying it any longer: Fall is upon us. It officially began on September 22th (an astronomical perspective). The days are already beginning to be noticeably shorter. The first trees are starting to change color and although the days are often still comfortably warm and sunny, the nights are already cool. As the pop group A-ha used to sing: “summer moved on”. Continue reading ...

Flirting Online will ruin your Relationship

Porn sites are not today’s sole web sites interfering with real relationships. Other online-overtures are also busy creating the illusion of a maximal availability of never-ending supplies of alternative partners and in that way secretly, clandestinely and through the back door undermine actual relationships. Flirting exchanges, chat rooms, news groups, online role-playing, and social networks – wherever one looks, everywhere alternatives to vanilla sex at home. It was never any easier to experience the security of a real relationship and the titillation of flirting and cheating at the same time. A tempting opportunity to thumb one’s nose at every day’s stress. My husband is more interested in the super bowl than in me and has once again forgotten to bring the soda along? Let‘s just see if I can’t find more willing partners for a conversation on Facebook. My partner is constantly griping at me and is rarely interested in sex? Why not register at Match.com just for fun, just to see what my chances are . . . Continue reading ...

Is the Internet a Relationship Killer?

When the internet precursor the so called ARPANET was initially deployed in 1969 on behalf of networking among universities and research institutions, no one probably even suspected that this represented the beginning of a development that would end up exerting a decisive effect on love relationships around the globe. In 1990 the U.S. National Science Foundation decided to harness the Internet for commercial purposes. It was at this point in time that the public gained access – a development that was rapidly accelerated by the market maturity of first graphics compatible web browsers. Subsequently commercial offerings as well as its user numbers exploded. The digital revolution was in full swing. Beginning with the year 2000 the proliferation of broadband connections with high data transmission rates also enabled the transmission of movie files – some movie files! Continue reading ...

Women and Depression

In its September issue the German periodical “Psychologie Heute” features a very interesting excerpt of the latest book by Ursula Nuber. It's called: “The relationship syndrome – why women become depressive and men are not really at fault.” The fact that worldwide twice as many women than men suffer from depression has been known for a long time. Experts have speculated about the possible causes for this unequal distribution among the genders for almost as long. Subject of discussions is women’s greater disposition of discussing psychological problems (and thus they are more likely to be diagnosed as being depressive), hormonal irregularities (catch-word PMS or Menopause) and also women’s more frequent inclination of questioning themselves and then getting caught up in unproductive brooding-loops. All of it correct and plausible but I believe that the explanation presented by Ursula Nuber’s approach in her book is actually a lot more exciting: namely women’s stronger relationship orientation as a stress- (and in the long-term depression) trigger. Continue reading ...

Little Secrets Sustain Your Partnership

“We keep no secrets from each another!” – “In a good relationship one partner tells the other all about him/herself.” Its heart-warming to hear these or similar sentiments from some couples. And at first one may even think: Great! when there is that much openness and honesty present in a relationship! Careful: Psychologists and couple therapists increasingly come to the conclusion that it is not all that wonderful when partners know everything about each other. Everyone should retain some secrecy. However, which secrets are constructive and benefit the relationship and which ones are those that are destructive and jeopardize love? Continue reading ...

Why You Should Start a Love Diary

Today I would like to introduce a neat idea that I swiped from Jennifer Louden and that I like to use in the course of my couple therapies. In case you feel like it and if you happen to be in a relationship as you read this, you may want to try. It is perfect for touchy subjects, particularly points that continually provide causes for arguments and also for times when one does not see all that much of each other and there is never enough time for conversations. One can also use this idea for its very own sake simply as an additional way of communicating with each other without any major problems in the relationship, just to kind of document the relationship or even just because its fun. Continue reading ...

How to Have a Healthy Argument and Save Your Relationship

For many of us next to our job, the partnership is the second important mainstay of life. It determines whether we tend to be happy and satisfied rather than unhappy and frustrated. As a couple one can spend a weekend just like the one just past together in many different ways which then reflects this morning’s start into the new work week. How did it go with you? Harmonious, well-balanced, energizing, inspirational, relaxing, active? Or is it with you like with so many others: One is really looking forward to a free weekend together but somehow one still always ends up in some stupid argument about something trivial that spoils part of the relaxation? In that case you are not the exception: In more than a quarter of all relationships arguments during the vacation or days off are a common occurrence; in four of five relationships it happens at least frequently. Continue reading ...

Communication Skills Part 2: Pay Attention, catch the Meaning!

Do you remember the first blog entry about communication skills? You may have already figured out with which one of the four “ears” you hear best? Or which of the four aspects are pivotal, when you “send” a message yourself?

Today we are going to take a closer look at the potential consequences when one of the four ears becomes the primary means of communication. Because depending on that choice, miscommunication can easily be the result and in the worst-case scenario one can easily careen from one argument into the next. On the other hand (particularly in love relationships but also in commonplace inter-personal day-to-day life) it can be very helpful to consciously put special emphasis on one of the four ears. Continue reading ...

How to Dominate your Inner Drivers

You may still remember the blog posting where I introduced you to the five inner drivers defined by the transaction analyst Taibi Kahler as being typical for human self-control. Today the subject will deal with enabling you to put your personal inner drivers in their place when they tend to overdo driving you. Continue reading ...

Communication Skills Part 1: You don’t hear what I say . . . or vice versa

Just as there are different personality types, there are naturally different ways to communicate. An extroverted person talks a lot, preferably about him/herself, easily establishes contact and generally has no problem to assimilate lots of information. An introverted person, on the other hand is more reserved, does not reveal a lot of him/herself and tends to retreat in the face of too much exterior stimuli. Over time, in the course of this blog we will deal with communications idiosyncrasies of the different types. There are two objectives: First of all it helps to recognize how someone prefers to communicate because then one is able to adjust to his/her respective style and there is a better chance for a productive exchange. Secondly it is always interesting to analyze one’s own communication strengths and weaknesses and possibly tweak them a little to be more successful in everyday life and become more confident in dealing with others. Continue reading ...

Bringing Body and Soul into Harmony

Body and soul are not independent but influence one another. You probably already know that about yourself: When you are sick and feel weak and tired, your mood is rather more gloomy and you don’t feel nearly as ready to face challenges as you do when you are healthy. Conversely, that which moves your soul also reflects in your body: When you are happy or proud your posture generally tends to be rather more erect, you hold your head high and appear to be taller. On the other hand, sadness or shame literally push us down: We double over, hang our head and shoulders and somehow become smaller. So much for the generalities.
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Stress and Relationships Part 2

In my previous article on the subject Stress and Partnership I already reflected on about how much your partnership can be taxed by stress. As promised, here are now the first ideas illustrating what good stress management in the relationship can look like. Most of them are out of, or are based on the already mentioned book by Guy Bodenmann (that I would like to again recommend in the strongest terms, but unfortunately only exists in German). Continue reading ...

Stress and Relationships

We generally tend to be unaware that all those major and apparently unimportant everyday stress experiences cumulatively have an impact on us and that includes an impact on our relationship: A strenuous, time consuming day at work, demanding children, the partner’s varying needs and sensitivities, hassles with the colleagues and/or the relatives plus all those small annoyances like the washing machine giving out, a missed appointment, noisy neighbors, a traffic jam on the way home, the lost wallet ... Continue reading ...

My Blind Spot - The Difference between Self-Awareness and External Perception

iPersonic continuously deals with the question of one’s own personality and identity and how we see others and ourselves. This represents the intriguing question as to how much and to what extent we are even capable of truly assessing ourselves. Where do we see ourselves as we actually are and how others perceive us? And where may we possibly even be incapable to see ourselves as we really are? Continue reading ...

How to quickly ruin even the best Relationship

In the course of his studies with couples the relationship researcher John Gottman identified five behaviors that he actually christened the “The Five Horsemen of the Apocalypse”.

According to his research, the Horsemen of the Apocalypse represent communication patterns with a sufficiently destructive influence that, if given a free reign, almost pre-ordain the demise of even the most perfect relationships. In case you are living in a relationship – or are entertaining the thought to do that (again) – it would probably be beneficial to identify these threatening creatures and in that way get a bead on your mutual enemies. That gives you the opportunity to unmask and banish these harbingers of doom while you still have the chance!
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Are introverted and extroverted Partners a Match?

Question of a Reader: "I am an introvert myself but my friend is totally extroverted. At first it was no problem because I tend to believe that he likes the fact that I am very quiet. And I also liked it because he is a funny, lively chap and because there are aspects to his nature I am lacking but find interesting. On the other hand the problem is that he is extremely talkative and inquisitive. While he always tries to draw strangers into conversations regardless of the location, be it the drug store or the hot dog stand in order to learn something new, I am the exact opposite. I prefer to avoid getting involved in conversations with others because it just isn’t my thing and I would rather be left alone, most of the time I wouldn’t even know what to say. Originally, we saw our contrast in a positive light and told each other that we would be able to help each other - I to get him to quiet down and keep his feet on the ground and he by helping me to open up a little. However, the reality is that he is a person who truly enjoys conversations, who knows a lot about lots of things and who can talk for hours. And that is the point when things get very stressful for me. I am always being delegated to the corner and can’t get out of it. When I happen to say something, he immediately has something to contribute and is right back in control of the conversation. Conversations are wonderful if everyone gets his or her turn but it's a bit much for me when I am always relegated to the role of a listener. Beyond that I fear to bore him when I say nothing. Can this relationship work nonetheless?"
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A Word about Panic Attacks and Anxiety Disorders

A subject that I have not yet (to my very own surprise) discussed in this blog: anxiety disorders. Something that frequently surprises me personally is the fact that this psychological disorder is during a patient’s first visit to his/her physician frequently not at all or incorrectly diagnosed. Instead, patients are very often handed antidepressants – or if it happens to be a homeopathically inclined physician – treatment with St. Johns Wort or something similar is then recommended. At first I thought this was a random phenomena in my practice but according to what I have been reading that is apparently not the case. In the course of a study a professor for psychosomatics at Witten University determined that it usually takes seven (!!) years for this disorder to be properly treated – and – even more bewildering to me – that “even psychiatrists prefer diagnosing a depression as anxiety disorder.” It is a fact that anxiety disorders are the most prevalent psychological disorders of women and that at one point or the other in their lives 15% of all Germans are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and I have decided that it is high time for me to post a few blog contributions on the subject! Continue reading ...

What is Personality?

Philosophers, authors and scientists have been challenged since ancient times by the question as to what constitutes human personality. The physician Hippocrates (460 – 377 BC) developed one of the oldest personality models we know. He divided humans into four different temperament types: sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric, and melancholic and attributed not only certain character traits but also the propensity for certain diseases to each of them. Obviously Hippocrates’ personality model has long been superseded, but even as of today researchers have been unable to agree on a common definition for what constitutes personality. Our personality can probably best be defined as a complex construction of our daily perceptions, thoughts and activities. Conversely our personality also influences our perception of the world, our way of thinking and acting. Continue reading ...

Do you know your Drivers?

During the course of my continuing education I recently came across the concept of the so-called „Drivers“ that immediately downright fascinated me. This concept originates from transactional analysis (a theory dealing with the human personality and a related psychotherapeutic procedure). The “Drivers” are a model for inner patterns, one could also call them motivators: they influence our thinking, feeling and behavior. As so many of our inner patterns they also date back to our infancy; they basically represent the voices of external authorities (primarily those of our parents but also those of teachers, other important persons or society in general). Step by step, we tend to internalize the demands and expectations of these authorities to the point where they become an integral part of our very being. Continue reading ...

The Effects of Ex-Partners on new Relationships

It‘s mostly after the first two or three failed relationships that one can‘t avoid to figure out that partners without a past relationship are difficult or not at all to come by. Once one has made it past 30 the possibility that the new love also comes attached to a bunch of kids is relatively high. After all, today every third marriage ends in divorce; some studies even suggest that soon it will be every second marriage. What are the effects of the “ex” on the new relationship? And how can a “second wife” or “second husband” deal with them? Continue reading ...

My 10 Rules for Life

Here, on iPersonic the subject of happiness in all its facets is obviously always on my mind, including the question whether there is something like a “universal formula” for being happy. Those readers who have already dealt with their personality type a little more extensively (and maybe have even read the LifeCoach for their type) already know that THE universal formula for a happy life just does not exist. Personal ambitions, aspirations and needs of various personality types are much too different. For instance, something that would make an extrovert happy could well be extraordinarily stressful for an introvert and vice versa. With this understood, every person must decide for him/herself which are the building blocks for his/her personal road to happiness. Continue reading ...

Are you a Steve Jobs personality?

A lot has been written about the personality of Apple founder and visionary Steve Jobs since his death. Speaking in terms of iPersonic personality types Steve Jobs was a perfect example of a Groundbreaking Thinker. The corresponding description of this personality type really hits the nail on the head:
(... ) You really bubble over with energy and like to take centre stage. You love variety both professionally and privately. You tackle changes consistently with your optimism and firm belief in your own abilities; you are always on the look-out for improvement possibilities. (...) Hierarchies, rules and regulations arouse your opposition and you love outsmarting the system. It can happen that some people feel somewhat duped by your flexible, spontaneous nature. (...)

(You can read the complete description of the Groundbreaking Thinker here.)
Definitely Steve Jobs! And what about you? Are you a Steve Jobs personality? Find out by taking our free personality test! Continue reading ...

Can Relationships with Major Age Differences work?

Sometimes readers do send me suggestions for topics. For instance, Diana recently wrote: “Dear Felicitas Heyne, at some point I would love to read your contribution on the topic major age difference in relationships. After all, one hears about «it can really work well because so much can be learned from each other», to «hell no, this only involves emotional hang-ups». I know that this is a wide field and in the final essence, everybody has to make his/her own choice. Nevertheless, I would very much appreciate your comments. Maybe you can also recount some of your own professional experiences regarding this subject.” Continue reading ...

Is your Relationship stuck in a Communication Loop?

Today the subject again deals with different personality styles, this time with the focus on the traits “extroverted” and “introverted”, respectively. If you diagnosed your type with the help of our free personality test, you already know whether you are an extrovert or an introvert:

Extroverted: Energetic Doer, Laid-Back Doer, Determined Realist, Social Realist, Spontaneous Idealist, Engaged Idealist, Groundbreaking Thinker, Dynamic Thinker

Introverted: Individualistic Doer, Sensitive Doer, Reliable Realist, Good-Natured Realist, Dreamy Idealist, Harmony-Seeking Idealist, Analytical Thinker, Independent Thinker Continue reading ...

How to cope with a difficult Mother in Law

In surveys 25 – 30% of all women regularly report that their partnership is suffering from a difficult relationship between themselves and their mother-in-law. Today experts assume that one of the two partners’ mother-in-law plays a decisive role in approximately 12.5% of all marriages ending up before a divorce court. In other words, every eight marriage (also) fails due to the mother of one of the partners. In surveys the daughters-in-law clearly outnumber the sons-in-law with their grievances. Although the latter enjoy telling ribald jokes about their mother-in-law at the regulars‘ table, all in all they generally appear to be at least satisfied when asked a little more seriously. Continue reading ...

How to make a Borderline Relationship work

Therapies for couples can be a demanding affair all on their own; for the therapist it is frequently like walking on eggshells between empathy and neutrality among the wishes of both partners and the struggle not to be made into an ally in a bad triangle. If one of the two partners is borderliner as well, as a therapist I then feel as if I am dealing with a relationship powder keg ready to explode at the smallest wrong move. Continue reading ...

Here's why we need a World Introvert Day

If you have already read my past contributions on the subject introversion, you already know that introverts have a more difficult life in our, by extroverts dominated society. In addition to the increased risk to their physical and psychological health (as for instance disorders like depression, affective disorders, burnout and others) they are also less equipped to deal with stress than extroverts: They handle stress more poorly and generally are less satisfied with their life than extroverts. Consequently introverts are more easily attracted to drugs, addictive substances or prescription drug abuse and apparently also choose suicide in hopeless life situations more frequently than extroverts. Continue reading ...

How Idealists can find Meaning in their Lives

The primary aspiration of all Idealists (Spontaneous Idealists, Dreamy Idealists, Harmony-seeking Idealists and Engaged Idealists) is self-discovery and self-actualization. If you are an Idealist, life represents one continuous search for a deeper meaning: Who am I? Where am I going? What is my destiny? This already describes the most important pillar of your personal concept of happiness: The meaning of life! Continue reading ...

Idealists need a Vocation, not a Profession

There are for idealistic personality types in the iPersonic Typology: the Spontaneous Idealist, the Dreamy Idealist, the Engaged Idealist and the Harmony-seeking Idealist. You can take our free personality test to find out if you belong to one of those iPersonic personality types. If you do, only a profession that is important and worth your while is going to satisfy you in the long run. The latter was not intended to imply something material. Since you have a profound personal value system and your need for meaning in all areas of life is strong you must make sure that this aspect becomes a part of your professional every day life, as well. A pure bread-and-butter profession you only practice to make a living and without conviction – or, even worse: contrary to your innermost conviction - is a guarantee for unhappiness. Therefore, you should ask yourself whether your today‘s profession satisfies you in this regard or whether there is need for a change. Continue reading ...

About the iPersonic Personality Test

Our free personality test is extrapolated from a typology which was originally developed by the psychoanalyst Carl Gustaf Jung and later differentiated by Isabel Meyers and Katherine Briggs. This typology is based on different temperaments and attitudes respectively that are widely held to be hereditary. They take influence on our perceptions, thought process, feelings and behavior. This typology is based on four opposite pairs of personality dimensions. These are: Continue reading ...

Introverted - and happy in love

Besides their profession, for most people a partnership is the most important component of their life. Research proves that a lasting, happy loving Besides their profession, for most people a partnership is the most important component of their life. Research proves that a lasting, happy loving relationship is actually one of the most important, if not the most important key to individual happiness. Most of us appear to know this instinctively and therefore – except for a very few solitarily folks among us – at some point most of the singles sooner or later are again looking for a (new) partner. Introverts admittedly often hesitate longer than extroverts. For one that is because they can deal better with being alone and therefore value the advantages of being single more than extroverts. Apart from that, for them it is difficult to approach other people – and that is naturally the basic prerequisite when one is looking for a new partner! Continue reading ...

Introverted – and happy in your Job!

In many respects an introvert’s life in today’s society is tough. In our western culture, the qualities of the extrovert are at first glance much more valued than those of the introvert: Quick, competitive, socially competent, action orientated, assertive, sociable, active … the list is almost endless. “Just do it!” the athletic company Nike’s slogan puts a point to it: Get going, move, and act! And that with a healthy dose of self-confidence, optimism, candor and a touch of the old elbow action, if you please. Then you are successful, professionally as well as privately. Then the world is your oyster, people admire you and seek your company. You are the radiant center of the party and no one has the chance to miss your professional achievements. You don’t just take the initiative and strive for quick results but you are also familiar with, and heed the old proverb: “You have to blow your own trumpet.” You cultivate contacts and networks for all they are worth and not merely in real life, in the virtual sphere of social networks, as well. You are the master of the extraversion claviature and work it with a fine ear for society’s demands and rules. Continue reading ...

Introversion - a Health Risk?

Are you one of the introverts among our personality types? (Take our free personality test, if you're not sure!) If that is the case, you are a person who prefers to recharge his/her batteries during his/her alone time – you are one of the famous “still waters”. Because you won’t let others get truly close to you, for them it is probably not all that easy getting to know you better. You are a better listener than speaker and take your time to think before you talk. Because too much company tires you, you probably prefer a few selected friends. As opposed to the extroverts, you manage social contacts better in homeopathic doses. Retreating and being by yourself are your elemental sources of energy. Continue reading ...

How love rituals can help you improve your love life

A while ago we were once again invited to a civil marriage ceremony. Since the registrar in charge limited herself to coming up with a dry, boring “boiler-plate” program on the subject of marriage, love, partnership instead of a personal presentation I could not help myself but to let my thoughts wander while listening to her. I was once again pondering the question about the role played by rituals in our every day lives including our partnerships. Continue reading ...

40 Tips for a Happier Life

Since the end of the 90s a new branch of the science, also known as Positive Psychology has been dealing with the essentials for happiness. In order to help you find out which happiness potentials are maybe lying idle with you, I have summarized the 40 most important insights on the subject “happiness” in an abbreviated format in the following “checklist”. Continue reading ...

I don't want to live anymore

This comment to one of my articles motivated me to comment on the subject of suicide. If you are one of those people who either happen to harbor the thought about suicide as you read this or frequently think about suicide because you wonder whether suicide might be a suitable solution for a momentary personal crisis, I would like to offer a few (hopefully helpful) thoughts. Continue reading ...

Give your life a meaning

Born in 1905, psychiatrist Viktor Frankl founded a special psychotherapy school of thought: the Logotherapy. The Greek word “logos” stands for meaning and this basically already outlines the central content of this therapy concept. Frankl sees the search for meaning as a human fundamental motivation: As the only living creature aware of its finiteness, and so as not to despair, the human being must give its existence meaning. If his innate “need for meaning” is frustrated, the resulting sense of futility manifests itself in emotional disturbances such as depression, aggression, or addiction. Conversely, one could say: happiness is to have found the meaning to one’s life. Continue reading ...

Am I a burnout? What can I do about it?

The concept Burnout (syndrome) has become a major element of our every day vocabulary. The Californian psychologist Christina Maslach first examined it in 1976. She identified the syndrome’s three components:

  • Emotional exhaustion: The sense of being exhausted and depleted by professional contact with other people.
  • Depersonalization: Apathy, insensitivity, disinterest in people, work processes and –performance.
  • Reduced productivity: The feeling of no longer being capable to accomplish a task well and successfully.
Continue reading ...

Do what you enjoy doing!

The American psychologist Mihály Csikszentmihályi did research on the subject of happiness in the middle 70s and came to the conclusion that people experienced the most happiness when they were in a state that he called „Flow“. Flow means that we are totally immersed in an activity while everything else becomes secondary. Time and space, even our own needs recede and lose their significance. We are totally concentrated, the task completely absorbs us, and we merge with whatever we are doing, so to speak. This is indeed an important character strength for the achievement of your happiness: Enthusiasm! Enthusiasm represents the ability to meet the world with excitement and energy, to be totally involved with what one happens to be doing at the time. Continue reading ...

How career profiling can improve your job satisfaction

As in all other areas of your life, your personality plays a decisive role in the things you enjoy or don’t enjoy. It plays a role in why you are more successful in a particular area with less effort and why some areas might be more difficult for you and require more effort. Your personality affects how you affect others and how you see them. In addition to your personal partnership, your profession should ideally be the second sustaining mainstay in your life. Continue reading ...

Gratitude is a key to happiness

On the first weekend of October most German religious communities again will celebrate Thanksgiving. (In the USA it is not celebrated until the end of November although the basic idea is quite similar.) Here in the rural area where we live as well as in the cities people are doing their very best to decorate church sanctuaries with fruit, vegetables and flowers. In my opinion it represents a wonderful tradition because at least once a year it breaks with this matter of course habit of our, usually thoughtless daily excursions to super markets and stores. We are rarely aware that compared to the rest of the world, we are magnificently provided for.  Continue reading ...

How problems can make you feel happy

Yes, you read correctly: Problems will make you happy! In psychological research something that looks like a contradiction at first glance, turns out to be a simple but important truth. Because, whoever is never confronted with obstacles or difficulties also never gets a chance at a very important happiness component: The sense of having faced and mastered a challenge. Continue reading ...

Salutogenesis: Why it is healthy to give your life meaning

The word salutogenesis is composed of the Latin word salus (= inviolacy, happiness) and the Greek word genesis (= origin). Thus it stands for the origin of health and was coined in the 70s by the Israeli-American medical sociologist Aaron Antonovsky. Antonovsky was looking for an explanation for his observation that, while many Holocaust survivors were suffering from severe after effects (physical and emotional illnesses), others did not show any such symptoms, at all. He intended to find out, which factors determined whether a person would cope with the same traumatic experiences more easily or with more difficulty than another. Therefore he was interested in the origin (or retention) of health – even under difficult and stressful conditions. Continue reading ...

How to start living your personal, happiness-supporting lifestyle

In recent years hardly any other psychological field of research has grown as intensively and has received as much attention as the so-called positive psychology. In the early 90s of the last century, a group of psychologists asked themselves why so much attention had been focused on the origin of psychiatric disorders and their elimination by way of therapies, and very little attention had been dedicated to the origin of mental health and the circumstances supporting it. These psychologists wanted to change this, and to that end, began to increasingly dedicate themselves to researching the prerequisites of happiness, contentment, and mental health. Continue reading ...

How to fight procrastination

Whatever you can do today can surely be put off till the day after tomorrow as well … or something like that. Who of us is not familiar with that thought and especially where it concerns something unpleasant, tedious or boring or, to make matters worse, if there are a lot more titillating alternatives begging for our attention. Not a problem if it happens occasionally, just as long as it does not get to be the rule. On the other hand, there are people with whom putting things off has become chronic and in extreme cases manages to mess up their entire life. The technical term for the tendency to continuously postpone things is procrastination; there are folks who actually have to be treated with psychotherapy because they just can’t manage to begin or complete their tasks on time. In those cases writing a dissertation can take years… Continue reading ...

Analyzing your self-image (Self Confidence, Part 4)

During the last time while on the subject of self-confidence I proposed that you establish a “Benevolent Inner Observer” as the counterweight to you “Inner Detractor” within yourself. It is meant to help you treat yourself a little more leniently and gently in your normal every day life as well as in times of stress and frustration, than you probably normally would. Most people with low self-esteem are very good at tearing themselves down and calling themselves names because they are not used at motivating and building themselves up. Today I would like you to take one step further and analyze your entire self-image one more time. If I am not totally off base with my assessment, you have been lots more generous with the darker colors while you simply ignored a lot of brightness and beauty. Continue reading ...

The Benevolent Inner Observer (Self Confidence, Part 3)

Today I am back to one of my favorite subjects on this Blog: The subject of self-confidence. Part 1 dealt with all sorts of reasons for a lack of self confidence, while in part 2 you already received your first tips how you may be able to question a potential innermost negative dialogue with yourself and how you may be able to replace it with one that should be more helpful. With this contribution I would like to try and give you some support in dealing a little more friendly with yourself in every day life.

Experience shows that people with a reduced sense of self worth like to live according the motto: “Love your neighbor more than yourself!” Surely a socially acceptable mantra and for those around you obviously quite comfortable and agreeable! However not a particularly fertile soil for the growth of a sound self-confidence and innermost equilibrium – and if one is inclined to believe the bible, even God is less exacting in his demands of us and He probably knows why… Continue reading ...

Dealing with negative thoughts (Self Confidence, Part 2)

As already discussed in Part 1, today we don’t deal with the potential reasons for an underdeveloped feeling of self worth but with helpful strategies to make some changes. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula that would help to change low self-confidence into a stronger sense of confidence over night. I personally don’t think much of weekend workshops when brain washing is supposed to change negative thinking into a positive attitude within a few hours. Our thought processes are the result of years, decades of evolution and programming and these patterns are deeply embedded. To change that takes lots of discipline, effort and time (after all, it took lots of effort and time to embed it in us that deeply, in the first place!) Therefore, the most important appeal to you going in: Please have patience with yourself! If you take too much on in the beginning and then are disappointed and blame yourself you are already in the middle of a totally counter productive process! Because now you put yourself down to begin with instead of dealing with yourself a little more lovingly and fairly. It is much smarter to set yourself small and attainable goals and not to give up if you occasionally have the feeling of not getting anywhere. It is worth it, I guarantee it! Continue reading ...

First impressions in a job interview: why they really matter

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.“ How true! Personnel directors and job coaches have emphasized the importance of the first handshake and eye contact on the occasion of the first job interview for years. It is obvious that the first impression also plays a role when flirting. Indeed, a study at Princeton University clearly demonstrates how quickly the counterpart’s – at any rate temporary – judgment is reached. It states that we only have one tenth of a second to catch the interest of our opposite number. With a little bad luck we could well have landed on the trash dump of history’s flirts after that. Or have messed up the chance for a new job.

The study’s participants had to judge portrait pictures according to traits like “attractive”, “likeable”, “trustworthy”, “capable”, or “aggressive”. The photos initially appeared on the screen one tenth of a second, then half a second and finally for an entire second. Each time the test subjects had to give their evaluation and at the same time state how sure they were of their judgment. With one exception the test subjects did not change their assessment even after they had an opportunity to look at the picture for a longer period of time; then they were even more sure of their valuation. Social psychologists call this phenomenon the Halo-Effect that is actually based on an erroneous perception: A person’s individual characteristics create an overall impression that can be extremely persistent. For instance, classic examples are the assumptions “attractive” = „lovable, nice“, or “wearer of glasses” = “intelligent, wise”, “blond” = “dumb, ignorant” … etc. Continue reading ...

How to find a job that makes you happy

On iPersonic we do offer you important resources for your dream job search with our career test and our iPersonic Career Profile. An article I recently came across demonstrates the desperate need for this. Its content with the heading “Every third person dislikes his/her job” shocked me. The results of a representative survey conducted on behalf of the German Labor Union gives food for thought:

Of the 6168 questioned on average only 12% described their work as “good”, 54% as “mediocre” and for 34% it was just “bad”.

The numbers fluctuated somewhat depending on the professional branch; when asked the unskilled laborers – who is surprised – were especially dissatisfied. Not one of them liked his/her work and 61% responded to the question with “bad”. Temporary workers turned out to be above average unhappy, as well. One the other hand, engineers and members of professions involving natural sciences were satisfied with their work 23% above average while 21% were the most seldom dissatisfied. According to the study they have a “high measure of influence- and development opportunities, meaningful work, a minimum of physical and emotional stress, a commensurate income combined with a high degree of professional security and supportive, development- and learn conducive work organizations- and environments.” Continue reading ...

Learning to trust yourself (Self-Confidence, Part 1)

During recent conversations with my clients I frequently thought about how many of their concerns and emotional hardships were rooted in the concepts of self-confidence, self- respect, feeling of self-worth – or rather the lack of it. Whether you are the young man who is tired of being single but has lost almost all hope because he really can’t find anything worth loving in himself. Or the woman in her best years whose children are past the most difficult stages and now nothing stands in the way of her return to professional life – except her conviction that she won’t be up to a work day and its demands. Or the pretty girl in her mid twenties who has postponed a vital operation for much too long because the thought of a scar disfiguring her otherwise perfect body is just too terrible to contemplate. Somehow it’s always the same thing: “I don’t like myself.” “I am not good enough the way I am.” “I am useless unless I am perfect.” “I am incompetent.”

Self-confidence, the feeling of self-worth, self-esteem – in the final essence they are all rooted in self-respect and the appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses making us the person we are. Those who have been fortunate were given a healthy portion of it during childhood: They had parents whose demands were neither too high (and thus asking too much) nor too low (and thus lacking stimulus for an optimal development). They may have received many positive impulses from home and other people, experienced lots of love, affection and interest and therefore developed the feeling of being liked by others regardless of their own achievements. If they were truly children of the sun they were even fortunate with their friends and fellow students – these days described as a peer group. They were accepted, became a part and were made to feel comfortable and appreciated. Usually this represents the “fertile soil” for a pretty solid feeling of self-worth, the sense that one is alright and going to somehow manage dealing with life’s demands - albeit sometimes a little more easily than at others, but satisfactorily, nevertheless. Then one takes minor adversities or negative experiences in stride; they don’t begin diminishing one as a person in one’s own eyes. Continue reading ...

How the iPersonic Compatibility Color Coding System works

Today a few words about our color system and the principle behind it. You may have already asked yourself: "Why do they claim that similar colors stand for certain personality types that are a good match and what is this all about?"

In the vernacular we find two totally contradictory proverbs on the subject of attraction, love and friendship. All of us are familiar with: “Birds of a feather flock together” and the other one: “Opposites attract.” When one scientifically deals with the question why we feel more comfortable in the company of one person but not of another, you find that there is a lot of truth in the vernacular. Research tells us that to a point both principles have their justification.

In general, we instinctively prefer the company of people who are similar to ourselves regarding the important aspects of our personality, our origin and convictions. That stands to reason. In one respect this similarity makes dealing with them easier, communication works more smoothly, and all kinds of conflicts don’t even make their appearance because one agrees in the important matters anyway. This is obviously a lot more agreeable than endless discussions about every triviality in order to finally reach a compromise. Beyond that, we appreciate people who validate our view of the world rather than those seeing everything differently. This conformity is assuring and gives us self-confidence. Research even has a term for this phenomenon, i.e. choosing a partner: Homogeny. Multiple studies in a variety of scientific categories substantiate this tendency to choose someone similar. Continue reading ...

Intuition – Knowledge on a Gut-Level

Eight of our sixteen personality types in the third dimension prefer intuition to sensing: All Thinkers (0ppp, Groundbreaking, Independent and Dynamic) and all Idealists (Spontaneous, Engaged, Dreamy and Harmony-seeking). However, what does that actually mean for their every day life?

Neuroscientists have known this for a long time: Our consciousness is not even close to being able to handle all the information that continuously floods it. Consequently, it focuses on the immediate and important and continuously blocks the majority of external stimuli out. Just now, as you read this, your subconscious receives all kinds of signals which your consciousness deliberately ignores because otherwise you would not be able to concentrate on the text: information about your physical posture (or were you even aware up to now which parts of your body were touching the chair and which were touching the floor? how warm or how cold your hands are right now? or if a little tension in your neck is coming on?), a number of environmental information (brightness, background noises, temperature, the presence of a colleague sitting on the neighboring table…) and countless more things. All these informational units end up in your subconscious and with incredible speed are processed, evaluated, sorted and filtered. They are usually only transferred into the foreground – i.e. your consciousness – when they become urgent (when your chair collapses under you, for instance!). Continue reading ...

Discover your Strengths

As you know, our 16 Personality Types are distinguished by totally different preferences, dislikes and naturally also different strengths (and development potential, but that is not our subject today). For instance, the “Thinkers” are outstanding analyzers who can handle abstract and complex subjects especially well and for whom even the most complicated problem solutions are a breeze. The “Idealists” usually possess a special creativity and a sparkling charisma that frequently make them into gifted artists and fascinating conversationalists. One can only envy the “Doers” for their inexhaustible energy and drive just as for their uncomplicated pragmatism that stands them in good stead during tumultuous times. And nobody has as much staying power and determination where his/her objectives are concerned as the “Realists” who are also blessed with a sound common sense. (You can determine your professional strengths in our free career test).

These are only some examples – the list can obviously be increased at will and gets more differentiated when not just the four primary groups but also each type is considered individually. In every day life we always tend to concentrate on our weaknesses and mistakes. We all too easily loose sight of our strengths. That is how we remember it from our childhood (unless you were really fortunate with your parents, of course!) and that is how we often deal with our partners, as well (or have you praised yours for something he or she has done yet today?). Of course, if one wants to change something or make sure not to repeat a mistake, it sometimes makes sense to deal with one’s weaknesses. On the other hand those who are constantly wearing deficit-oriented spectacles are going to end up having a problem with their self-esteem and sooner or later will lack a healthy self-confidence. And after all, those are important requirements for a happy life. Continue reading ...