A self-proclaimed love doctor with an enviable love story of her own. A desire to help others transformed and in fact increased by personal loss. Science blended with spirituality, infused with an ardent and encouraging belief that in fact, love - all love, romantic, platonic, familial - never dies.
Meet Dr. Jamie Turndorf aka "Dr. Love," a therapist and author who has dedicated her life to helping others find happiness in their relationships. You can find her on various radio programs and in her talk with GaG, she tackles universal concepts like conflict resolution and the theory of endless love. We've chatted with therapists, doctors, dating experts and life coaches (feel free to check out our chats with Kimberly Seltzer, Dr. Jane Greer, Stephan LaBossiere, Jonathan Alpert and Cheyenne Bostock), but GirlsAskGuys loves those personal stories, too, and Dr. Turndorf's is one well worth reading.
If you don't feel a little better about life in general after reading this, seek help, 'cuz you're just far too cynical. ;)
GaG: We’ve spoken to a lot of relationship experts about the importance of self-esteem and confidence. What role do you think these traits play in the game of love?
Dr. Turndorf: “Well, I’m going to throw you a curveball here: I’ve been a shrink for 35 years and my method focuses on helping people identify and heal what I call the old scars from childhood. These old scars always effect who we choose as partners and the relationship difficulties we eventually fall into. Low self-esteem does play a role in relationship conflict, but low self-esteem is just a symptom of a deeper problem, which is the old scars we suffered as kids. In order for our self-esteem to heal we must first heal our old scars. And when our Old Scars are healed, our self-esteem naturally rises.
For example, let’s say you were raised by a mother who never had any time for you. You’re not going to feel lovable or wanted, and as a result, you’re not going to have a good self-esteem. When you identify the old scar and heal it, your self-esteem and self-confidence goes up. "I am lovable," you’ll finally say to yourself. When you lance the identify and heal the old scar, your in born, God-given self-love and self-esteem will naturally shine through."
GaG: People seem to have such difficulty resolving conflict; they often let it dominate their love lives. What is the simplest advice you can give people with this problem?
Dr. Turndorf: “Ah, so now we're talking about my specialty--conflict resolution. In my first Hay House book, Kiss Your Fights Goodbye: Dr. Love’s 10 Simple Steps to Cooling Conflict and Rekindling Your Relationship, I explain that the old scars from childhood are actually the underlying cause of most of our relationship conflicts. What's so tricky is the fact that couples get so caught up in overt fight content; i.e., ‘you left the toilet seat up’ or ‘you didn’t give me enough foreplay' not knowing that the current fight acts as a smokescreen that veils the actual issue--the old scar. So, I teach couples how to strip – and I’m not talking about getting naked – to reveal the old scar that lurks beneath.
Unless we uncover the old scar, we’re always going to get caught up fighting about overt content.
As another example, a husband and wife are out to dinner at a restaurant. The wife notices her husband keeps checking his watch (not knowing he wants to make sure to feed the parking meter on time). She goes crazy: "If you can’t wait to get rid of me, let's just get the check and get the hell out of here." Now they’re fighting about watches and parking meters, but not about what the fight is actually about. If we strip away the overt fight content, we find that her father never had time for her, and her intense hurt and anger is actually coming from her past.
Intense reactions to relatively minor events in the present are due to what I call the Emotional Lake Effect. Just as a storm gathers force as it picks up moisture in its sweep across the Great Lakes, our psyches operate in much the same way. As the psyche dips into the reservoir of our unconscious mind, we dredge up a monsoon of emotion stemming from past similar hurts, and then we dump the emotional storm on our partners, which creates relationship fighting. In Kiss Your Fights Goodbye, I show how to strip away the overt fight content to uncover and heal the real root of the issue, the old scar. Using my method, partners become allies rather than enemies, and our relationships can then serve their highest and most divine purpose--to help each other heal our old scars. As we heal these scars, the relationship fighting magically goes away."
GaG: As our site is called “GirlsAskGuys,” we see a lot of differences between the sexes in regards to dating, love, sex, etc. What do you think is the biggest difference between males and females when it comes to intimacy?
Dr. Turndorf: “Yes, there are differences between the sexes, and relationship conflict often results from a lack of understanding of these differences. In another one of my books, Make Up Don’t Break Up: Dr. Love’s 5-Step Plan for Reconciling With Your Ex, I explain that men and women differ in some very essential ways. Specifically, what we need to feel satisfied (what I call the Relationship Essential Nutrients) are different. As an example, the male gender role is instrumental or task-oriented; meaning guys are all about wanting to perform and provide for those they love. When a man loves a woman, his life is devoted to doing things to make her happy. Therefore, a man's Relationship Essential Nutrients consist of his being recognized for his efforts. I call his Relationship Essential Nutrients the "Two A's (Admiration and Appreciation).
Women need the Two Ss: Safety and Security. Now I know you may be thinking women can earn what men earn, they don't need a man to provide safety and security for them. But, economic equality doesn't alter our basic biology, and on a biological level a woman is still wired to want to be protected and provided for. That’s why research shows that women who earn a lot of money still choose men who earn even more.
Speaking of women, the fact that women tend to be emotionally expressive is also a cause of relationship conflict. This is because men’s bodies are hard-wired to be hyperreactive to stress and danger. This wiring dates back to prehistoric times when men were hunters and needed to react with lightning speed--to flee or fight dangerous prey. Modern danger isn't the ferocious tiger; it's the pissed off wife or girlfriend. And when a woman comes at him with a lot of emotional heat, his body sees danger, which triggers a chemical imbalance that triggers the fight-flight response. The fight-flight response sets off the Demand-Withdraw Negative Escalation cycle –or ‘husband withdrawal’ for short. This is the no. 1 fight pattern and the no. 1 cause of break-ups and divorce. When the chemical imbalance occurs, a man is hard-wired to withdraw from the conflict (to flee rather than fight her).
There are many ways in which a guy withdraws, from outright leaving the room or house, to more subtle forms of withdrawal, which include mentally shutting down and even escaping responsibility by making excuses. The point is, no matter which way a guy withdraws, a woman thinks he doesn't care enough to stick around and work this out with me.
She gets hurt; her hurt morphs into anger, which triggers more chemical imbalance and more withdrawal and fighting. In Kiss Your Fights Good-bye, I show women how to break this cycle by cooling down their communications, which instantly stops the chemcial imbalance and ends the withdrawal behaviors. When guys stop withdrawing, they can actually stick around to resolve the conflicts, which is easily done following the step-by-step plan in Kiss. I'm happy to say that my method resolves the fighting for the majority of couples who use it."
GaG: What is your response to the classic phrase “love is forever?” Does your recent work lend that phrase new meaning for you?
Dr. Turndorf: “When I was a young girl, I had a premonition of the guy I was going to marry. I saw his face and his body and I decided to wait for him to appear. And, he actually did appear on the first day of my freshman year at Vassar College. I walked into this man’s office, and I had an out-of-body experience in which I shot through a tunnel to the end of my life. When I came back into my body, I knew he was going to be everything to me one day. This man’s name was Emile Jean Pin. I later found out that for most of his life Jean had been one of the world’s most renowned Jesuit priests. He founded the Liberation Theology movement designed to fight Church oppression from within and he actually launched to international fame when he publicly opposed the Pope and the Catholic church in their fight to block the legalization of divorce. He actually won and got the Divorce Bill passed and changed the course of Italian history. Meanwhile, I was raised by two devoutly atheist Jewish parents who taught me not to believe in God or the afterlife! So, no, I didn’t belief that love could last forever.
In the last year of my college life, I needed help with my thesis. I had heard that Jean had also been a famous statistician, so I asked him if he’d help me, and within a few weeks, we knew we were soul-mates; twins separated at birth. From that moment on, we were inseparable for 27 years. So, Dr. Love had her own amazing love story. In the last year of Jean's bodily existence, we both had a premonition that he would die in an accident of some kind. This prophesy came true: While we were sitting on a beach in Italy, a bee swooped down and stung his left hand at the exact location of Christ's stigmata, and I watched my beloved suffocate to death in front of my eyes. From the moment he left his body, he began making his presence known, proving to me that we don’t die and our relationships are not meant to end in death. I share our amazing eternal love story in my latest bestselling Hay House book, Love Never Dies: How to Reconnect and Make Peace with the Deceased.
In the book, I also teach my new Trans-Dimensional Grief Therapy, which vastly diverges from the Western approach to grief--grieve, let go and move on, which only leaves the bereaved at a great loss. Instead, my method shows the bereaved how to say hello, not good-bye, without a medium, channeler or psychic. And, my method also offers the first vehicle for making peace with those in spirit, which Western grief therapy also offers us no way of doing!"
GaG: What is Trans-Dimensional grief therapy and is it for everyone, or just certain people?
Dr. Turndorf: “It’s for everyone. I don’t know a soul alive who doesn’t have unfinished business, and there are also so many people who need to stay connected: Children who have lost parents, parents who have lost children, the elderly, who may not wish to form another primary attachment. Because our loved ones in spirit become our spirit guides, we can also reconnect to obtain support and guidance as we travel down the bumpy road called life. Loved ones in spirit are also here to help us achieve our full destiny and, interestingly enough, we’re coming full-circle to your question of self-esteem and self-confidence.
In Love Never Dies, I tell the story of how my husband helped me heal my self-esteem. I was raised by verbally and physically abusive parents. And even though I had spent 27 years with a man who adored me, deep inside there was a part of me that was still wounded. I still heard my parents’ mean voices putting me down. I didn’t love myself enough; I was still tormented by those voices. One day after Jean left his body, I was speaking about my issue in my professional training group. All the top shrinks said, 'Just tell your parents to shut up.' That method never worked for me or my patients!"
When I got home, I got down on my knees and prayed to my husband to help me find true self-love. He suddenly appeared before me as the embodiment of love. He was surrounded in golden light and he took my face in his hands and said, "Jamie, listen to me, let my love for you fully enter you.
Suddenly, I was healed. I realized that I needed to wait until he left his body to be healed because he need to be free from the physical vessel of his body in order for his soul (and all his love for me) to enter me unimpeded. In that moment, his love for me became my self-love. The point is I had to wait for him to leave his body for this healing to happen. This is the ultimate point of Love Never Dies. Reconnecting with your loved ones in spirit is your fast track to self-love. Reconnecting allows those in spirit to heal every corner of our souls--mind, body, spirit and emotion. Reconnecting also transforms our hearts into overflowing wells of love, love that we can now offer that to the world. That's Love Never Dies!"
GaG: You only recently lost your husband; do yout think it’s possible that love could happen again for you?
Dr. Turndorf: “Love happens for me again and again every day. I’m not searching for anything. I’m just allowing life to be as it’s meant to be. The more we live in the now, the more we realize that we can’t write scripts for our futures; we can set goals, but ultimately we must learn to turn our palms up and let our destinies unfold. I’m certainly open to whatever life brings.”
There. Put on a smile, be a bit more hopeful, and get up tomorrow morning and channel "The Shawshank Redemption" and say to yourself, "no good thing ever dies." We'd like to thank Dr. Turndorf for donating her time and her inspirational story, and please feel free to check out her site, her books (all linked above), along with her Twitter and Facebook pages.