WITHIN THIS TOPIC ARE:
1. Are you ready to move on after your breakup?
2. WHY YOU FEEL HOW YOU FEEL
3. 45 tests for you to take !
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Take this test to determine if you are ready
to move on after your breakup.
If the link doesn't work by clicking on it,
copy it into your browser.
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WHY YOU FEEL HOW YOU FEEL
Robert M. Roerich, M.D., author of WHY YOU FEEL HOW YOU FEEL, represented by New York literary agent
Meredith Bernstein, is known for his research on preventing suicide in SWAT Police and Special Forces Military in Europe.
He is the American founder of Roadmind University Online with free online access at Road Mind. A member of the American Association for the Study of
Mental Imagery, he will unveil his groundbreaking research to the American public at the annual conference of the Association
of Suicidology in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on April 24, 2003.
Editor's Note: Dr. Roerich's RPI was statistically
validated by Romanian Government Psychologists at the Center for Psychosocial Studies in Bucharest, Romania in September,
2002. Psychologist Stefan C. Lita's pilot research study of Dr. Roerich's work will be published in a peer reviewed psychological
journal in Romania in 2003.
Why You Feel How You Feel
Among the Blind Pit Vipers of Life the One Eyed Snake
My job as a researcher is to help you understand your
secret emotions. I do this by analyzing your answers in describing an imaginary journey. This is not a game. My work involves
helping governments prevent suicide in their SWAT Police and Special Forces Military. If you want to be amused or read theories
about stuff that can't be statistically proven, then go read some other article. If you want to take a look at those secret
emotions only you know and learn about them then read on.
Your emotions and important life events are stored
in memory as mental imagery. This is what pops in your head when you think about someone or something emotionally important
to you. You can't help it. A mental image popped into your head when you read the title of this excerpt from my book WHY YOU
FEEL HOW YOU FEEL. What does "Among the Blind Pit Vipers of Life the One Eyed Snake is King" make you think of? If you thought
of sex you are normal. If you thought of being hurt, then you need to read my book. This may sound like a snap judgment, but
in the world of emotions that is just how it is. You are either happy or sad, proud of yourself of ashamed, feeling loved
by others or not. This is called primary process thinking. It is the mind of the child, who is a very emotional kid. We are
all kids deep inside. As we grow older we are supposed to control our primal instincts and needs. Some of us do, and some
of us don't. Some become upright citizens, some become criminals. Some live a happy life, others commit suicide or become
murderers. It is all up to you, your choice.
Your mind only remembers the stuff that means something
to you, not what you ate for breakfast last Tuesday. That is just how survivalist we are inside the most important organ of
the body: the brain. No, not the other one! Mental imagery is like a movie of your life with all the sights and sounds of
the important stuff. Why is this secret? Inside the mind are positive and negative emotions. Which teacher do you remember
most from grade school? It is probably the teacher that created strong emotion within you. If this is a positive experience,
like being praised or rewarded, your unconscious mind made note of it. But if you remember harsh words or punishment, then
this is engraved in your memory. You remember the important events the most and if these are more negative than positive it
is emotionally overwhelming. In order to function in everyday life you have to keep the negative emotions secret.
You will be surprised at what you can imagine and understand
about your mental imagery hidden in your memory vault of emotions. Your emotions are your most valuable possessions. They
are what make you unique. Even identical twins are different depending on what particular emotions each of them experience.
This book is about you. It is your life story. You will understand why you feel how you feel just by looking at the mental
picture or image you paint. You will discover 15 secrets about you that only you know.
Questions 4-7 of the Roerich Psychodynamic Inventory
Imagine that you are walking on a road. You come to
a river that must be crossed.
There before you is a river; the size and width are
up to you. You cannot go around it but must imagine a way to cross. Whatever you need to cross the river is already in your
mind—just imagine seeing yourself do it.
4. How do you cross the river?
5. How clean is the
6. How fast is the current?
7. Is there anything in the water? If so, what?
NOTE: Answer these questions before reading ahead to
understand what your mental imagery means. No cheating!
STOP HERE ~~ ONLY GO FURTHER AFTER YOU HAVE FINISHED THE TEST.
The river is a sexual, fluid road of sorts on our journey
through life. It can range from a clear stream or pristine beach to a muddy swamp. It may have living inhabitants or not,
be narrow or wide, have slow currents or perilous rapids, or no movement at all. It is colored in different hues of light
or dark and can be a place of pleasure or pain, depending on our emotional experiences in the sexual sphere of our lives.
What does sex have to do with a river?
The mind expresses sexual content on the RPI through
images of water, with more water appearing on the journey among the sexually preoccupied. Some stages of life compel more
sexual expression than others. Adolescence, because of the many changes brought about by puberty, focuses on sexual issues,
which is normal. As we become adults, our level of sexual activity tends to decline due to physical changes, but the mind
replays sexual scenarios if a need has gone unfulfilled or a sexual experience has occurred which is causing unresolved anxiety
In our subconscious mind, sex equals water, whether
it is puddle, river, or ocean. Both have depth, direction, and force. The river may be a once-forded adventure or a frequent
watering hole, a foreboding obstacle or a much-anticipated oasis.
Means of Crossing The River
What does the manner of crossing the river tell us?
How a person crosses the river illuminates aspects
of trust in our most intimate relationships. If we completely trust, we get our feet wet, take the plunge. If there is concern
or caution for some reason, then we distance ourselves from the water; we do not get our feet wet. We may choose to walk safely
over a bridge, jump across the river, even fly! One person decided to board an airplane on one side of the river and fly to
the other side. This person was feeling extreme aversion to sex, having been violently gang-raped.
The farther from the water, the less trust is present.
We therefore show a certain degree of inhibition or not in our sexual relationships. Often times, trust is there initially,
but may be lost if we are hurt in that intimate relationship. Letters of the alphabet are used to distinguish the different
ways of crossing the river. An "A" crossing shows strong coping skills and minimal stress in this area, with an "F" crossing
showing severe mistrust, poor coping skills, and high stress. What is your grade regarding sex or intimacy?
A. Uninhibited ways of crossing the river
Note that there is contact with the water in both these
examples. This person is trusting.
B. Mildly inhibited ways of crossing the river
• Walking on rocks – awareness of
• Walking on a fallen tree – victimization
• Walking on a log – focus
on men or maleness
C. Moderate inhibition
• Boat, canoe, or other floating vessel
D. Marked inhibition
F. Extreme inhibition
• Jumping – significant avoidance
• Flying – greatest avoidance of intimacy or sex
The color of the water can describe additional feelings
about our intimate relationships, as well as the particular circumstances of the sexual activity.
• Black – sadness
– family problems
• Blue, clear – enjoyment
• Blue, murky – enjoyment with
• Fecal – depreciation and contamination
• Gray – confusion
Muddy – depreciation and deception
Contents of the River Water
• Alligators – victimization
Branches, twigs, leaves – victimization
• Goldfish – pleasure and
• Piranha – victimization
• Trout – pleasure
• Snakes – victimization, possibly intimate
turtles – victimization
• Trash, litter – depreciation
River Current Speed
The speed of the current indicates the speed of the
intimate relationship. Our involvement may have elements of caution or of spontaneity. Impulse, however, may bring pleasure
at an emotional cost, especially when emotion overpowers reason.
Fast, white water – excitement with
Moderate current – excitement with
Slow current – exploration with
Stagnant – entrapment without enjoyment
4. How do you cross the river?
|Boat–am moderately inhibited|
Flying over–am extremely inhibited and afraid of getting close to anyone
Riding a horse–am mildly inhibited but tend to trust men
Swimming–am trusting and uninhibited
trusting and uninhibited
Walking on a fallen tree–am mildly inhibited and feel hurt by men
Walking on a log–am
mildly inhibited and enjoy the company of men
Walking on rocks–am mildly inhibited and am aware of problems here
4. Concerning intimate or sexual matters, I_____________________.
The closer you are to the water the more you trust
intimacy or sex. The farther away you are the more you fear or avoid intimacy with people.
5. What does the water look like?
|Black – sadness|
Bloody – someone's
Blue, clear – absolute enjoyment
Blue, murky – feeling deceived
Fecal – feeling depreciated
and contaminated by someone
Gray – confusion
Muddy – feeling depreciated and deceived by someone
5. In the intimate or sexual sphere, I am dealing with
issues of ________________________________.
6. How fast is the current? ________________________
|Fast, white water – am impulsive and excited
Moderate – am excited but somewhat cautious
Slow – I enjoy it and take my time
I don't enjoy it because I feel trapped by someone
6. When I think of intimacy or sex, I ___________________________.
7. Is there anything in the water? If so, what? _________________________________________________
|Alligator – that I am a victim of someone|
leaves – that I am a victim and a part of me is missing
Fish, goldfish – that sex is fun but has its price
piranha – that I am a victim of someone
Snakes – of someone being hurt by men
7. … and there are feelings__________________________.
Pleasant images describe pleasant feelings; the opposite
is true, as well.
The following is an example of how a sexual issue in
a young man revealed why he was so stressed.
Fear of the Black River: Lex
Lex was a young college student with a violent temper
and a history of trouble with the law. He had broken up with yet another girlfriend and considered himself quite a lady's
man. Lex liked sex but one thing really bothered him. He had inexplicably lost a lot of weight and was angry and depressed
about it. His description of the Road as he imagined it revealed much about his fears.
He described what he walked as a hard, dirt road. Along
it were several stop signs. The fact that the road was made of dirt showed that Lex had feelings of worthlessness about his
life. Financially struggling and feeling sickly, he felt as if his life was ending. The stop signs along the road kept him
from making any significant progress, just as the circumstances of his life seemed to suggest that he was a failure.
When Lex went to the river, he easily swam across it;
there were no inhibitions in his relationships. The house he visualized along the road was a trailer in good condition (
The HOUSE is described in more detail in Chapter Four), and he saw himself living in it; this indicated he was very
When he came to the obstacle in the road, he described
a black, filthy river contaminated with sewerage (The OBSTACLE is described in Chapter Six).
"Are you afraid of something, Lex, something that might
be a threat to your life?"
"Yeah, I'm afraid, Doc. I'm afraid of dying of something."
"Do you think that something could be AIDS?"
Lex looked at me with surprise. "Yes, I'm terrified
of getting AIDS! How did you know that?"
"Your obstacle is a river, which symbolizes intimacy
or sex. The river is contaminated and black, which could mean that the intimacy is contaminated by something sad or even deadly,
like the Black Death or, in our times, AIDS."
When Lex realized the source of his fear, he could
face it and move on with his life, dealing with the issues that had given him feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness.
A Male Sexual Abuse Profile
Luis was a twenty-seven-year-old Hispanic male who
was hospitalized because his parents feared he would try to commit suicide. He had a history of hospitalizations, alcoholism,
depression, and suicidal thoughts. He claimed to have heard voices since he was a young boy that told him to hurt himself
and others, and to steal. To escape the voices, he began taking drugs and drinking when he was ten years old.
Luis's family life was a prime example of a dysfunctional
home. Both his parents were chemically dependent; his mother had a medical problem that gave him access to prescription drugs.
All the members of his nuclear family became users and continually had addiction problems. Luis was sexually molested at age
10 by an older brother; the molestation lasted four years. When he was in junior high school, he overdosed on Valium in an
attempt to escape his home life. However, his parents denied that this was a suicide attempt and did not seek any sort of
treatment for him. As had been done to him, he molested one of his younger siblings.
After Luis graduated from high school, he attended
college and at the age of twenty married. At twenty-one he joined the Navy to escape his family and marriage. When first married,
he and his wife both drank heavily; but after the birth of their child, his wife became sober. Luis's continued alcoholism
and drug use became the problem that resulted in divorce after a year of marriage.
After four years, Luis left the Navy and worked at
various odd jobs. His drinking made it impossible for him to hold a steady job. The lack of a career or any focus in life
exacerbated his feelings of hopelessness. Yet he failed to make any connection between his chemical dependency and his lack
"Luis, tell me what you see far off in the distance
from where you are on the road."
"A sandy area, like a desert. It is covered with dark
gray and blue sand, and there is a palm tree in it. The season is summer."
"What do you see between yourself and the desert?"
"A city, a big city with gray buildings. There are
cars passing by me. People and taxi cabs. I see a bum standing on the street nearby."
"You are walking down a road. Describe the road."
"It's a black, asphalt road; it's dry and smooth, straight
"When you come to a river, what do you see? What's
the water like?"
"It's murky. The current isn't too fast or too slow."
"Do you see anything in it?"
"How do you get across?"
"In a boat."
"O.K. Now you come to a house. What does it look like?
Is there anyone in it?"
"It's white, in good shape. I'm not sure if anyone
"Did anyone live there before?"
"My family and I used to live there."
"You walk past the house and come upon a cup. What
is the cup like?" (The CUP is described in Chapter Five
"White, ordinary, in good condition."
"Is there anything in it?"
"Yeah, hot, steaming fresh coffee."
"What was in it before?"
"Just clear water, and only for a little while."
"Now you walk along the road some more and come to
an obstacle. Describe it for me."
"It's a big tree knocked over by the wind."
"Was there anything there before the tree?"
"Yes, a red car was stalled in the road before the
tree fell over."
"Was there anything else there before the car?"
"Yeah, some light gray snakes."
"What do you see beyond the obstacle, Luis?"
"Nothing. There's no road after the tree. Just thick
green bushes and wild animals. Nothing else."
When I studied the descriptions Luis shared with me,
I came to understand that he was preoccupied with and confused by an unstable situation. The fact that he saw a desert in
the distance with dark-colored sand was a clue that he felt deserted by some authority figure in his life. Luis felt that
life was passing him by, like the cars, taxis, and people in his image of the city. He felt sad and unproductive, like the
bum he visualized beside him. Yet all this paled in comparison to Luis's pain from the past.
The snakes in Luis's river are phallic symbols, indicative
of a preoccupation with male sexuality. The water was murky, concealing what lay beneath the surface. Luis felt deceived in
some way by someone close to him. The house he pictured was white, the color of innocence. The fact that it was in good condition
but that his obstacle (the fallen tree) indicated victimization, suggested that Luis was in denial about the support he needed
from others or himself. That Luis had lived in the house before but now saw no one inside revealed that he felt good about
himself earlier, perhaps during his childhood, and had had an intimate relationship that boosted his self-image. The description
of a white cup in good shape was another indication of denial that victimization had occurred. The presence of hot, steaming
coffee was a clue that Luis had a commitment with someone, but he refused to say who that person might be.
The fallen tree across Luis's road, blown over by the
wind, was a symbol of himself as a victim of someone more powerful than he. Wind, as an invisible but potent force, symbolized
the passive, invisible anger that Luis felt toward this abusive authority figure. The red car stalled in the road before the
tree fell referred to Luis himself; he may have felt stalled in an intimate relationship, not progressing as he believed he
should have been. The gray snakes, symbols of male sexuality, may have reflected Luis's concern about his own sexuality and
the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of his brother.
Luis saw animals, green trees and bushes beyond his
obstacle. Animals symbolize instinct, and bushes that are green are signs of adolescence. These symbols were evidence that
Luis was in a state of denial about a pleasurable intimate relationship that occurred during his youth, something he needs
to resolve. Luis's feelings of support (occupied house in "good" condition) and of not being hurt in relationships (cup in
"good" condition) together with the symbol of victimization (the fallen tree) suggest that he was in denial of issues that
needed to be resolved (For information about the relationship between a house or cup in good condition and a symbol of
victimization, see the Workbook section).
I suspected that Luis's "voices" were not hallucinations
at all, but may have been memories of male voices heard at the time of the abuse. He may have been suffering from Post-Traumatic
Stress Disorder; the flashbacks and nightmares were probably something he felt embarrassed about and unable to share. Luis
would need long-term therapy to help him face the deep and complicated causes of his pain.
A Female Sexual Abuse Profile
Mary, an elderly grandmother, sits in her room in the
elegant Golden Memories Nursing Home in rural Ruby, Texas, feeling like a bird in a gilded cage. Doctor Ivers is worried about
her escalating nervousness and violence, and he writes an order for a psychological consultation. The young psychologist walks
into Mary's room with books and pages full of examinations in hand.
"Now, Mary, I want you to answer these questions True
or False. I know there are a lot of them but do the best that you can, and I'll be back later this afternoon." Eric placed
the thick booklet of questions and two pencils on the table in front of her.
Later that afternoon Eric returned to the testing room
only to find that Mary had not answered a single question but instead had crossed out page after page with large Xes.
"Go away and leave me alone!" yelled Mary as Eric offered
to ask the hundreds of questions one by one out loud.
Puzzled about what to do next, Eric decides to use
a mental imagery research software program he recently received from the local medical school.
Louise is present as Eric explains to Mary that she
must give a detailed description of her walk down an imaginary road. Shaking and tremulous, Mary complains, "These are silly
questions, I don't know what to think."
Eric waits patiently and asks the question again: "What
color is the road, Mary?"
"It's the color of any road! Are we playing a game?
What a ridiculous question." Finally, she says, "Look, I can't see anything. It's very stormy and windy and the road is dark."
"You come to a river and have to cross. How do you
"How should I know? I don't know how to swim. Go away!"
"You can cross it any way you want to. How do you cross
"I don't want to cross it. I would rather ride a bull
and jump as high as the moon to get over it."
"You have crossed the river and come to a house. Describe
the house for me."
"It's just a deserted shack with spiders and rats in
it. Now, leave me alone."
"You come to an open field and come to a cup lying
on the ground. What does the cup look like?"
"It's a paper cup, all crumpled up and old looking."
"Okay, Mary, we're almost through with the questions.
You now come to something that blocks your path, prevents you from going any further; there's an obstable on the road. Describe
"I don't see anything blocking the road. I see a board
with a big nail sticking out of it. Under the board is a big muddy hole in the ground. It looks deep."
Returning from the computer with a two-page printed
report, Eric shares what the Road reveals. "Mary, there are indications here that you are actually very depressed to the point
of agitation, and that you have a lot of anger about being hurt by a man."
Suddenly, Mary began to cry. The tears just came flooding
out, accompanied by long wails of, "Why did it have to happen to me, what did I do to deserve this?"
"It's all my fault, I am being punished by God! I would
rather be dead and in my grave than go on."
The daughter and Eric give each other puzzled looks.
Mary's daughter puts her arm around her mother, but Mary refuses to be comforted. "Don't touch me, go away and leave me alone!"
"Mary," Eric says softly, "would you mind sharing with
us what's wrong?"
Mary looked deep into her daughter's eyes and apologized
for her behavior. Then she began her story.
"I was one of ten children living with my family in
the Texas valley, and my mom and dad were having a hard time making ends meet. Mom knew of a rich family living across the
border in Mexico who wanted a young American girl to live with them and teach the children English. They would pay handsomely,
they said, and Mom decided I should work for them and send the money back home.
"The Mexican family was prominent for producing products
they exported all over the world. The father was well liked and respected by everyone in the community and was known as a
shrewd and clever businessman. Everyone thought it was a great idea to take the job, so I moved in with them, just five miles
from my home in Ruby."
Mary stopped her story to relate that for many years
she had this recurring nightmare:
"I was in a dark and scary house with many doors and
secret passageways. I was running. There was a man coming after me, speaking in Spanish, telling me to come to him. He smelled
of tequila and cigars. I was frightened and kept running, looking for hiding places under beds and in closets. All I ever
saw of him were the rough cowboy boots he wore.
"In later flashbacks, I could see the blue Levi jeans
he had on. I didn't know who it was then, but in later flashbacks I was able to make out more. I noticed he was wearing a
thick brown belt with a shiny buckle with a large star on it. He was not wearing a shirt, and he had muscular arms with large
tattoos and a very hairy chest.
"Finally, after going through all those flashbacks,
I was able to make out his face. It was Don Pedro, the man who had hired me to be a live-in governess. I have kept this secret
for years. The questions made me remember."
Mary began to receive psychotherapy from Eric, who
had won her confidence, and in the weeks that passed, each day brought a calmer and more peaceful mood. Mary no longer required
nerve medication and she walked with a steadier gait. She was on the way to recovery from the sexual abuse she suffered so
Though years may pass and memories seem too embarrassing
to utter, each step we take on the Roerich Psychodynamic Inventory (RPI) is a step towards healing the hurt of the past and
the anger and depression of the present.
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