In today’s episode of Healing from Within, your host Sheryl Glick welcomes for a second visit on the show, Mark Rubinstein MD, author of his newest fictional psychological thriller Love Gone Mad guaranteed to raise goose bumps, but also to show how our early life memories and insecurities influence our choices for good or bad as we mature and how we develop a greater wisdom of our motivations and the deeper view of what is really important in our lives.
Dr. Rubinstein, a physician, forensic psychiatrist, and novelist who has written nonfiction medical advice books and is now focusing on mystery thrillers about people involved in life and death struggles with forces they cannot control, driven by their pasts, will blend his understandings of the mind, body and spirit not only to survive, but to thrive in the most challenging circumstances. He also blogs for the Huffington Post and is a contributor to Psychology Today.
A summary of the storyline starts with Mark’s main characters, a heart surgeon Dr. Adrian Douglas and Megan Haggarty, a pediatric nurse, who meet at the hospital where they are both recently employed. We soon discover they are both recovering from traumatic marriages which have wounded their hearts and altered their hopes for finding a truthful and fulfilling love relationship. Shortly after they begin dating, strange and frightening events begin happening to each of them. A stalker is after them and it soon becomes apparent that he is dangerous and clever. Megan and Adrian fight physically and emotionally for their lives.
The major themes of Love Gone Mad are fear and love, which are indeed the two main emotions we all deal with. All other emotions are but variations of love or fear. The book also explores adoption and its psychological effects on a child, childhood sexual abuse, marriage and divorce, competition in the work field, and the internet and its dangerous implications, also the great advantage that a loving environment has on the development on any child. It is observed that traumatic involvements with emotionally unbalanced or even mentally ill people can create conflict, chaos, and interfere with one’s quality of life. Disengaging from people who are unstable is a very involved procedure as we see in this story. Sometimes it is necessary to bring in police enforcement or medical professionals to support a decision to leave an unsafe relationship. People in your immediate family, workplace and others may be put in jeopardy as well. Other themes in the book include the search for intimate authentic and unconditional love, and how the early loss of parents as well as working with low vibrational people, may contribute to already troubled situations.
Dr. Rubenstein goes on to suggest that adoption, undoubtedly affects a person’s perception of life, themselves and others. Even when placed in a loving family there may be feelings of abandonment and loss of trust experienced by the adopted child. In coming to know the stalker in the book, Conrad Wilson, though described as an intelligent, attractive man with sensory abilities, he is also seen as quite primitive with a violent, angry presence. During the course of the story it is revealed that he was sexually abused repeatedly over a long period of time by his adoptive father. His adoptive mother, while aware of the abuse, did nothing to intercede. This young boy was denied the love and protection of supportive parents and his chances at a healthy, normal family life later on were gravely compromised. As a result of these continuous assaults , he was emotionally stunted and damaged. Even though he married a woman who loved him, it wasn’t long before his paranoid behavior actions came into play. He became violent with his wife and child. The young mother, Megan Haggarty, was lucky to escape the marriage with her life. It is years later when she meets Dr Adrian Douglas.
Dr. Rubinstein as a forensic psychiatrist knows we like to think people can change, and in some superficial ways, they can, but, deep long lasting personality templates are very difficult to leave behind. Once you become whoever you are, it is a permanent way of being. There is a perverse tendency to revert to the patterns that protected or kept you safe in childhood, no matter how un-gratifying or even hurtful they may be. Therefore, very deviant patterns of behavior, violence and anger, due to excessive abuse- sexual, physical, or emotional may create psychopaths who will never function in a healthy unrestricted environment. This beautiful story of mature love found by Adrian and Meghan is nearly destroyed by the actions of the past. Sheryl has touched on these topics in one way or another in many previous interviews on “Healing From Within” as it is believed childhood abuse is more prevalent than realized, and the consequences are devastating. With more thoughtful consideration to the needs of children, we would encourage adult figures to maintain a trusting, loving, honest relationship with their children, remembering to keep their promises to physically, emotionally care for them. When they cannot, for whatever reason, they should seek professional help before anyone is irrevocably damaged. Some facts attest to these assertions; 1 in 5 boys experience incidents of rape and 1 in 4 girls experience sexual abuse, making this a national and global issue that must be addressed. Returning to “ Love Gone Mad,” we can see the devastation of a person who suffered such abuse as a child when Conrad now on trial for attempted murder of his ex-wife, Megan and her new boyfriend, Adrian, yells to the jury, ”The jury didn’t matter, that nothing mattered…You can even kill me. It doesn’t matter. My soul is dead. He called it Soul Murder.”
As we all are aware, there are many bad or dysfunctional relationships and marriages. The often lasting imprints of such negative experiences can drive the soul and mind to desire a more meaningful, authentic, and loving union. However, there is a great deal of work to be done to achieve that type of relationship. Self awareness and becoming the loving partner that you wish the other person to be is the first objective. The Law of Attraction says we draw to ourselves what we are and in this novel, Megan, who had lost her parents at a very young age, and Conrad, adoptive and abused as a child, were initially drawn to each other because of their own inability to resolve their own problems. Their relationship was not based on a solid foundation which should in theory be a cooperative partnership with equal participants…it was based on neediness and fear. In Sheryl’s new book “The Living Spirit Answers for Healing and Infinite Love”, the true stories she relates touch on love and loss showing that love is the means for developing emotionally sound humans and also for developing evolved working communities. Spiritual teachers energy practitioners, psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers hope to assist people in discovering the buried traumas that cause their physical and emotional pain. Practitioners try to remove blockages, fears, and old wounds in order to help the person realize they are not victims. The way forward is to create thinking that allows for a joyful approach to everyday life. The goal should be to help everyone to explore their capacity to love and to love selflessly not only in regard for our own families but for all people. Until we have a healthier society this goal remains at the present moment a vision of the enlightened population.
Love Gone Mad is a well written and engaging story but beneath the story lie the vision Sheryl believes Mark wishes to share of what he has learned in his professional life as a psychiatrist and the values at this stage of his life that he holds dear. A quote from Mark’s book reads, “We worry about humanity and only kindness and love can bring us to a higher level of conscious and functioning in both our physical and spiritual life.” We are aware that family, love of all kinds, interacting with children and nature, pride in one’s work, and staying fit, are ways to improve our mental and emotional state of being. While Mark mentioned many times in the course of the book, a great deal about the appearance of the characters in the book and how they are physically fit, which are also important elements for our mental and physical well-being.
As Sheryl discovered in Mark’s last book, Mad Dog House, the places described are familiar landmarks, and there is synchronicity to Sheryl’s childhood days. A paragraph taken from Mark books reads, “Adrian realizes that the get together at Erin and Bob’s house reminds him of those Sunday afternoon dinners at his aunt’s house in Hempstead, Long Island. He has hazy memories of Dad driving from their modest attached house in Ozone Park, Queens, taking the Cross Island Parkway to the Southern State Parkway and then heading east to the Hempstead exit..A boisterous throng of aunts, uncles and cousins gathered around a large table”. Mark goes on to say he recalls the laughter and the feelings of those days and being part of a family. This description Mark gives sounds and feels like Sheryl’s early happy childhood memories. Sheryl imagines memories of safety and love sustain a person through the difficulties they may face later on in life. Sheryl is so grateful to have that support from her extended family when she was a kid. Sheryl believes Mark, as a forensic psychiatrist, wishes as does Sheryl, that there would be a greater awareness of how to make childhood a loving experience with values of trust and protection for the child, a predominant need for the development of a well functioning adult. Books like Love Gone Mad show how important it is for children to be in a loving environment and to where necessary alter the emotional landscape where violence and abuse are prominent.
Another important element in Love Gone Mad becomes obvious when Megan is sent flowers from the person stalking her and receives an e-mail that terrifies her. The theme of cyber stalking which is a reality of our computer age is on some people’s minds these days… The extensive involvement so many people have with social internet communication has been seen to heighten levels of stress, and can draw people with narcissist tendencies, ADHD, OCT, ADD and other conditions into a dependency on their technological tools.
In terms of understanding the life threatening attacks on the main characters in the book by Conrad, a very troubled individual, Mark speaks about forgiveness and gives a quote from Ephesians, Chapter 4. The verse says: “Get rid of all bitterness, passion and anger. No more shouting or insults no more hateful feelings of any sort. Instead be kind and tenderhearted to one another and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ.” Sheryl believes Mark offers this quote not as testament to religious philosophy, but as a means for how to live a more fulfilled, truthful and healthy life.
Mark shares the story of Pastor Wilhelm who shows that even a troubled soul through forgiveness can find redemption. Pastor Wilhelm who becomes a mentor to Conrad, tells his story of when he was a young man. He ran with a bad crowd and some of his friend’s parents abused or abandoned them..so his friends were full of rage, anger, even hatred and turned to crime. Some even went to prison..the same fate would have awaited him if he didn’t change his ways…he felt cheated out of life’s good things…anger burned within him and took its toll. After visiting his friends in prison, he figured his way out. One way was to turn to God and he found his calling and a new regard for himself and others…any tragedy or hardship that leads to hope, trust and love, can lead to new beginning past the poor parenting and damage inflicted early in life. It takes great inner work and a great support system and the desire of an individual to CHANGE HIMSELF.
At one point in the book Adrian takes about REM sleep disorders which can be related to sleep walking and usually affect children between the ages of four and eight. By their teenage years most outgrow it. Mark also mention the fact that Conrad’s unusual physical and mental abilities were not limited to speed, strength, agility, and intellect, but that a CT scan and MRIs of his brain showed a large olfactory bulb, the part of the brain’s neural system responsible for smell. In animals with a strong sense of smell the olfactory bulb is large while humans have a smaller olfactory center in proportion to the rest of the brain. Sheryl goes on to say many intuitive or mediums discern a great deal of information from heightened sensory awareness and the sense of smell or clairsmellience, like other forms of sensory awareness.. clairvoyance, and clairaudience are ways mediums gain information …just like service dogs can be trained to detect when blood sugar drops and can alert their diabetic owners.
In conclusion and in reference to the title “Love Gone Mad”, is Love indeed a state of madness or something else perhaps? Conrad, the antagonist asks, “Who defines crazy… The psychiatrists, the lawyers, the crooked judges, the corporate crooks and the union big shots, white collar robbers pick-pocketing the public and the union big shots..all a bunch of money maggots Who is anyone to decide what is nuts?” Indeed this is a good question. As people’s interests and agendas for fulfilling their own life needs may be in conflict with others on different paths.. it is necessary to assess what can be seen as criminal or harmful to others, otherwise, there will be a weakening of the moral fiber of a society which fuels improper dysfunctional actions by others.
Now to love and that is the question, and also the answer to everything meaningful in life. Mark writes and Sheryl wholeheartedly resonates in this knowing view….”So what if love is a form of madness? That’s just the way it is. I’m lucky to love and be loved. I’m the luckiest guy in the world.”
Dr. Rubinstein and Sheryl have shared through medical and legal searches in Love Gone Mad the way people may have been wounded and damaged early on in life. These conditions include poor parenting, early trauma, and life without true connections to family, friends and a support team of concerned and conscious citizens. In the end what is it that every soul craves and searches for? It is only love of self, kindness and trust for a world of people that offer beauty, peace, harmony and balance that can feed our physical and spiritual needs..Parents, teachers, medical and legal institutions must reevaluate the values of what constitutes a good life and a life well lived. Begin the road past the ordinary trials of daily life to experience the higher consciousness through combining spirituality, science and religion for a more comprehensive way to improve ourselves and the world community.