The Spiral Staircase Of Life

Psychiatrist Stephen Marmer was a guest on Dennis Prager’s radio show Friday.

Dr. Marmer: “We work and rework all of the main challenges of development. Every time we do it, we can add to our happiness and reduce our unhappiness because we get another shot at working at a problem that has come up in the past and will come up again in the future. No problem is ever solved 100%.

“Imagine you are climbing a spiral staircase in the tower and at each vista, there’s a window. You get to see the fields from a different angle.

“There are four basic developmental challenges — dependency, mastery, grandiosity and feeling small in a big world.

“You will face these challenges over and over again.

“We will experience these windows one way in childhood, another way in adolescence, another way in early adulthood…and another way in the geriatric phase.

“When you’re feeling dependent, remember when you had mastery. When you’re feeling grandiose, remember when you were feeling small in a big world.”

“It’s a recipe for balance and for not feeling overwhelmed by any of these four stages because each one of them modifies the other.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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