Fragile Power

Fragile Power

Why Having Everything Is Never Enough; Lessons from Treating the Wealthy and Famous

Paul L. Hokemeyer


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A revealing exploration of people whose wealth, fame, beauty, and social status grant them immense power. Celebrity culture drives us to aspire to be like the few who seem to have figured out how to have it all. But is it possible that they simultaneously have everything and nothing at all?

Having treated some of the world’s most successful people, psychotherapist “Dr. Paul” sets out to answer why so many people who have everything end up feeling like their achievements are never enough—as well as what that pattern can reveal about ourselves and the society in which we live.

The exclusivity of living behind the velvet rope or the gilded gate doesn’t guarantee happiness for the rich, famous, and powerful; there are downsides to attainment as well. We all—including people who seem protected by their privileged lives—can experience the self-destructive behaviors common to modern life, including chronic stress, addiction, anxiety, imposter syndrome, infidelity, negative body image, and narcissism.

Division marks our era. There’s a growing separation between the haves and have nots, men and women, as well as the empowered and the disenfranchised. At the same time, our culture is defined by celebrities, and the powerful, affluent people we put on a pedestal to idolize and emulate. Too often, we think our lives would be better if we could have what they have or be more like them. It’s time to realize that even the most admired people can go through life feeling unloved and unable to escape their problems.

From the therapist’s chair, we learn how feelings of shame, insecurity, abandonment, and emotional pain are all part of the human condition. With empathy, we can overcome our sense of isolation by realizing that we all crave—and deserve—understanding, intimacy, and real connection.


Paul L. Hokemeyer:
Dr. Paul L. Hokemeyer is a renowned clinical and consulting psychotherapist who works with individuals and families around the world; he has specialized in treating ultra-high net worth individuals and celebrities. A member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists, he’s a licensed marriage and family therapist and was certified as a clinical trauma professional. In addition to holding a PhD in psychology, Dr. Paul holds a doctorate in law. He has appeared on CNN, Al Jazeera, Good Morning America, FOX News, and the Today Show; he has been quoted by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, MarketWatch, WebMD, Daily Mail, Men’s Health International, Prevention, Women’s Day, Yahoo, and others.