Some Common Mortgage Loan and Finance Terms Explained

The common terms used to describe a mortgage involve the “creditor,” the “debtor,” and “mortgage broker.” It may be self-explanatory as to what those terms mean, but there are other terms involved with a mortgage as well that a homeowner may not be completely familiar with. Let’s cover some of them here:

Creditor

The creditor is the financial institution, typically a bank, who provides the money in the form of a  loan  for the mortgage amount. The creditor is sometimes referred to as the mortgagee or lender.

Debtor

The debtor is the person or party who owes the mortgage or the  loan . They may be referred to as the mortgagor.

Many homes are owned by more than one person, such as a husband and wife, or sometimes two close friends will purchase a home together, or a child with their parent, and so on. If this is the case, both persons become debtors for that  loan , and not just owners of the property.

In other words, be careful of having your name put on the deed or title to any house, as this makes you legally responsible for the mortgage or  loan  attached to that house as well.

Mortgage broker, financial advisor

Mortgages are not always easy to come by, however, because of the demand for homes in most countries, there are many financial institutions that offer them. Banks, credit unions, Savings &  Loan , and other types of institutions may offer mortgages. A mortgage broker can be used by the prospective debtor to find the best mortgage at the lowest interest rate for them; the mortgage broker also acts as an agent of the lender to find persons willing to take on these mortgages, to handle the paperwork, etc.

There are typically other parties involved in closing or obtaining a mortgage, from lawyers to financial advisors. Because a mortgage for a private home is typically the largest debt that any one person will have over the course of his or her life, they often seek out whatever legal and financial advice is available to them in order to make the right decision. A financial advisor is someone who can become very familiar with your own particular needs, income, long-term goals, etc., and then give you the best advice on what your  loan  needs may be.

Foreclosure

When the debtor cannot or does not meet the financial obligations of the mortgage, the property can be foreclosed on, meaning that the creditor seizes the property to recoup the remaining cost of the  loan .

Typically, a home that is foreclosed upon will be sold at auction and that sale price applied to the outstanding amount of the mortgage; the debtor may still be liable for the remaining amount if the property sold for less than the outstanding balance of the mortgage.

For example, suppose a person still owes $50,000 toward their mortgage, and their home is foreclosed. At auction, the home is sold for only $45,000. The debtor is still responsible for that remaining $5,000 difference.

Most banks and financial institutions will try to avoid foreclosing on any of their debtor’s property if at all possible. Not only do they run the risk of not being able to sell the home at auction for any price, but there are also additional costs and risks incurred when the home is vacated by the previous owners. This includes vandalism, squatters (persons who trespass onto vacant land or into vacant homes and stay there until forcibly removed), fines from cities for unkempt yards, and so on.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

The APR is not to be confused with a mortgage’s interest rate.

The APR is a  loan’s  interest rate plus the added costs of obtaining the  loan , such as points, origination fees, and mortgage insurance premiums (if applicable).

If there were no costs involved in obtaining a  loan  other than the interest rate, the APR would then equal the interest rate.

Breakeven Point

The breakeven point is the length of time it will take to recover the costs incurred to refinance a mortgage. It is calculated by dividing the amount of closing costs for refinancing by the difference between the old and new monthly payment.

For example, if it costs you $5,000 in fees, penalties, etc., to refinance your mortgage, but you save $300 per month on your payments with your new mortgage, the break-even point is after 17 months (17 months x $300 per month = $5,100).

ARM

This refers to an Adjustable Rate Mortgage; a mortgage that permits the lender to adjust its interest rate periodically.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage

A mortgage in which the interest rate does not change during the term of the  loan .

Cap

ARMs have fluctuating interest rates, but those fluctuations are usually limited by law to a certain amount.

Those limitations may apply to how much the  loan  may adjust over a six month period, an annual period, and over the life of the  loan , and are referred to as “caps.”

Index

A number used to compute the interest rate for an ARM. The index is generally a published number or percentage, such as the average interest rate or yield on U.S. Treasury Bills. A margin is added to the index to determine the interest rate that will be charged on the ARM.

Since the index may vary with ARMs, many people considering refinancing do well to keep aware of the standard interest rate as set by the federal government, as this is typically used by lending institutions to calculate that index.

Prime Rate

The interest rate that banks charge to their preferred customers. Changes in the prime rate influence changes in other rates, including mortgage interest rates.

Equity

A homeowner’s financial interest in or value of a property. Equity is the difference between the fair market value of the property and the amount still owed on its mortgage and other liens, if that value is higher.

In other words, if the fair market value of the home is $200,000, and your mortgage (and other liens, if applicable) is only $150,000, then the home has $50,000 in equity.

Home Equity  Loan 

 Loans  secured by a specific property that were made against the “equity” of the property after it was purchased.

Using the illustration above of a home that has $50,000 in equity, a homeowner may take out a  loan  up to that amount, using the home as collateral for that  loan . A lending institution knows that if the homeowner defaults on the  loan , they can seize the property and sell it for at least that much, getting back their  loan  amount.

Amortization

The gradual repayment of a mortgage  loan , usually by monthly installments of principal and interest.

An amortization table shows the payment amount broken out by interest, principal, and unpaid balance for the entire term of the  loan . These tables are useful because when a payment is made toward a mortgage, the same amount does not get applied to the principal and interest month after month, even when the payment amount is the same. This is often a difficult concept for those not in the real estate or banking business to understand, so an amortization table that spells out how each payment is applied to the debt over the life of the  loan  can be very helpful.

Cash-Out Refinance

When a borrower refinances his mortgage at a higher amount than the current  loan  balance with the intention of pulling out money for  personal  use, it is referred to as a “cash out refinance.” In other words, the mortgage is not simply for the home itself but an additional amount of money is being financed as well.

Appraised Value

An opinion of a property’s fair market value, based on an appraiser’s knowledge, experience, and analysis of the property. The appraised value of the home is a key factor in how much the home can or will be mortgaged for.

Appreciation

The increase in the value of a property due to changes in market conditions, inflation, or other causes.

Depreciation

A decline in the value of property; the opposite of appreciation.

Appreciation and depreciation are important concepts to remember; as we’ve just mentioned, the appraised value of the home is a determining factor in the home’s mortgage. When refinancing, it’s important to understand that your home may have appreciated or depreciated in value since the original or first mortgage was obtained.

Lock-in

An agreement in which the lender guarantees a specified interest rate for a certain amount of time at a certain cost.

Lock-in Period

The time period during which the lender has guaranteed an interest rate to a borrower.

This is a different concept than a fixed rate mortgage, as the lock-in period for a mortgage may be temporary rather than over the life of the  loan .

As we said previously, many of these terms you may already be familiar with, but it doesn’t hurt to review them and see how they are all tied in together with your mortgage and the refinancing process.

So now that you have these basic terms in mind when it comes to a mortgage and the lending process, let’s discuss the process of refinancing in greater detail.

Public Liability Insurance – Do I Need It?

We hear so many horror stories through the media about people being injured or having their home or their car damaged as a result of accidents involving tradesman. There are so many things that can go wrong.

If you are a gardener or painter & Decorator, – you may think that your business is low risk and there are very few things that could happen to leave your business exposed. Have you considered that you may use a power tool that blows the electrics causing hundreds of pounds of damage to electrical equipment in the customer’s home? Have you considered that if your client was to trip over a tin of paint and fall down the stairs you could be eligible to pay compensation for any injuries caused and any loss of earnings for the client as a result of those injuries?

Most people associate Public Liability Insurance to more high risk trades such as Gas Fitter’s and Electrician’s for obvious reasons – and whilst it is important for those trades to be adequately insured, it is important for anyone working with, and around the public to be insured. Public Liability Insurance can be low cost and is directly rated to the risk of the trade. Gardeners and handymen could expect to pay considerably less than gas fitters for example – the risks are different.

Sadly we live in a time whereby people look for reasons to claim for compensation and use the smallest of mistakes to make complaints – any sole trader or business owner who wants to risk their reputation and financial future ‘trusting’ their clients not to trip over their a wire, or slip on a wet surface and try to claims hundreds and thousands of pounds in damages – could be seen as foolish?

With premiums for Liability Insurance starting at around £56 per year, it is an unnecessary risk; There are many insurers that offer comprehensive liability policies to suit your trade and needs perfectly. You will be able to get quotes online and over the telephone quickly. You may even find that some of your clients will ask to see a certificate of insurance before they agree to enter into a contract with you, this is perfectly acceptable and is fast becoming the ‘norm’. Clients want to make sure that if anyone is injured, or any property is damaged – the tradesman is insured adequately to cover the damages.

Educational Problem Solving

Abstract

This article introduces the educational solutions module of the world’s most recent personal and professional problem solving site, describing competitive offerings, the customer profile, problem-oriented solutions, target markets, product offerings, and usability features. It concludes that the module is a major contribution to the information superhighway.

Introduction

The aim of this article is to introduce to the world the educational solutions module of the world’s most recent personal and professional problem solving site. The article is addressed to those readers who may have an educational problem bogging them and who may therefore be looking for a way out of their predicament. The reader may be a parent, child, or student.

It is a common fact of life that we all have problems and that we are often frustrated or we tend to lash out because of our inability to find accessible and reliable information about our problems. This specialist site fills this need – as our pragmatic friend for solving our educational problems.

To be of the greatest use to people a problem solving site must combine pragmatic discussions of their personal or professional problem with merchant products that provide more detailed information. Typically, the web site will provide free information in the form of news, articles, and advice, which direct the visitor on what to do to solve her problems. Complementing this, the web site will also provide merchant products which discuss in detail how the visitor can go about resolving her problem. This means that the most effective, visitor-oriented problem-solving site will be an information-packed commercial site – and so is the world’s most recent personal and professional problem solving site and its specialist sites.

The approach that we have adopted below is to describe competitive offerings, the customer profile, problem-oriented solutions, target markets, product offerings, and usability features.

Competitive Offerings

The following are the top educational sites on the Internet, along with their offerings.

US Department of Education. It defines the US education policy and provides information on financial aid, educational research and statistics, grants and contracts, and teaching and learning resources.

Educational Testing Service. It provides a range of test resources.

FunBrain.com. It provides educational games for K-8 kids.

PrimaryGames.com. It provides fun learning tools and games for kids.

GEM. It provides educational resources such as lesson plans and other teaching and learning resources.

Education World. It provides advice on lesson plans, professional development, and technology integration.

NASA Education Enterprise. It provides educational materials and information relating to space exploration.

Spartacus Educational. It is a British online encyclopedia that focuses on historical topics.

Department for Education and Skills. It is a UK government department site that offers information and advice on various educational and skills topics.

Times Educational Supplement. It offers teaching news, teaching & educational resources, and active forums to help UK teachers.

All these sites are useful in the domains that they cover. Their main limitations are as follows:

1. They tend to cover only a very narrow segment of the educational market.

2. They do not take as their starting point the daily educational needs of the typical family.

3. They lack a problem focus; i.e., they do not formulate the typical learning and educational problems that pupils, students, and parents face on a daily basis.

4. As a result of the preceding point, the solutions offered are not as incisive (i.e. as problem-centred) as they could be.

5. They do not offer merchant products that deepen the visitor’s understanding of her problem and of the consequent solutions.

The educational solutions module of the world’s most recent personal and professional problem solving site addresses these problems by targeting a multiplicity of market segments, adopting a customer profile that fits the typical education-pursuing family, considering the specific needs or problems that this family may face, offering incisive (problem-centred) solutions to the various problems, and offering a range of merchant products that deepen the visitor’s appreciation of her problems and of the solutions that are applicable to them.

Customer Profile

The customer profile or target visitor characteristics of the educational solutions module is the same as for all specialist sites of the world’s most recent personal and professional problem solving site. The site has been designed to meet the needs of visitors who have an educational problem bogging them. It is designed for both males and females, even though it is often convenient to refer to just one sex when writing.

This visitor uses search engines to research information about her personal or professional problem, with the intention of finding solutions to it. The visitor is serious about solving her problem and is therefore willing to buy products that help her to achieve her mission, provided that she can find reliable and honest information about relevant products so that she can make an informed decision about which ones to acquire. This information will help her to apply her finances economically, and hence avoid wasting money.

The visitor will want a money-back guarantee so that if a product does not live up to expectations or if she were misled into buying a product she can get a refund. Such a guarantee absolves her of purchase risks.

The visitor is intelligent (without necessarily being a genius), educated (without necessarily being a PhD), computer literate (without necessarily being a computer guru), and money-minded (without necessarily being a freebie hunter or an unemployed person). This of course does not mean that freebie hunters or unemployed persons cannot gain a thing from the site. To the contrary, there is a great deal of free information on the site. Just that it is hard to see how anyone can gain the full benefits of the site without buying products.

The visitor wants high quality information products (usually in digital form) and wants to pay the cheapest price for these (without paying so much emphasis on price that she compromises quality). The visitor also wants free bonus offers that are attached to the purchased goods.

The visitor is self-reliant and can cope on her own by reading, digesting, and applying advice about her problem until she solves it or discovers that she needs help from a professional, at which point her acquired knowledge will help her to reduce her consulting fees. As a result of the knowledge gained, the visitor will be able to assess consultants in order to avoid incompetent or fraudulent ones.

Problem-Centred Solutions

Our free solutions are organised in the form of pragmatic articles that are written by top experts. Each article addresses a specific daily problem, but does not go into detail. It explains the problem and tells the visitor what she must do to solve her problem. However, it does not tell the visitor how she must solve it – this is too much for an article. To find out about the how, the visitor must buy a product (usually an e-book or e-book set) that goes into greater depth.

The set of educational articles that we have chosen, to provide initial solution to a visitor’s problem are as follows:

Signs of a Gifted Child – Informs parents on how to identify whether or not their children are gifted.

Essential Parenting Lessons for Enriching Your Child’s Education – Teaches parents how to enhance their child’s education.

Using Positive Affirmations to Be a Better Student – Teaches students how to use positive affirmations to improve their performance.

They Are Just Afraid of Writing – Teaches writing skills to students

How Can Parents Encourage Their Children to Read? – Shows parents how they can improve their children’s reading skills.

Test Preparation Tutoring – Discusses the topic of tutoring students to prepare for tests or exams.

Test Taking Strategies – Discusses various strategies for taking and passing tests or exams

Playing and Winning the Scholarship Game – Describes how to win scholarships.

How to Get a Scholarship to a UK University – Describes how to win scholarships to a UK university.

Saving Money for College – Instructs students on how they can save money in preparation for college.

Student Loans: When Your Educational Dreams Can’t Compete with the Cost – Explains to students the benefits of a student loan.

Education Loans Can Fund a Higher Degree to Boost Your Career – Also explains to students the benefits of a student loan.

The Secret to US Department of Education Loans – Teaches students how to get a US DoE loan to finance their higher education.

Student Loan Consolidation – Save Money, Pay Less, Spend More – Explains to graduates how to make use of loan consolidation to reduce their student loan repayments.

Higher Education: Finding the Right College for You – Explains to students how to find the right college or university for their higher education studies.

Mobile Learning – An Alternative Worth Considering – Explains the concept of mobile learning and its place in education.

Online Degrees – Is Online Education Right for You? – Analyses the merits of online learning as compared to traditional learning.

An Online College Education Overview – Reviews the whole concept of online learning.

Finding the Right Quotation for Your Paper or Speech Online – Shows writers and speakers how to find the right quotation to use in their writings or speeches.

Collaboration: An Important Leadership Development Skill – Explores the useful concept of collaboration and its role in leadership development.

At the end of each article is a list of merchant products that supplement the article’s content. A link is also included for accessing the educational product catalogue.

Target Markets and Product Offerings

Now let us turn to the target markets and their associated product offerings. We have positioned the segments to address the various needs of a visitor over a period of time, and at any given time a customer may belong to one or more of the market segments. There are three general classes of products offered: ClickBank products, Google products, and eBay products. Google and eBay products are presented on each page of the site. ClickBank products are grouped into product categories that match the target markets. These categories and their markets are as follows.

Children and Parenting. This consists of visitors who want parenting solutions for improving their children’s upbringing. Their needs are met through the Children and Parenting section of the educational product catalogue.

Difficult Admissions. This consists of visitors who want to learn how to get admission into top universities. Their needs are met through the Difficult Admissions section of the educational product catalogue.

Esoteric Needs. This consists of visitors with unusual needs. Their needs are met through the Esoteric Needs section of the educational product catalogue.

Financial Aid. This consists of visitors looking for scholarships, grants, or loans. Their needs are met through the Financial Aid section of the educational product catalogue.

Leadership Skills. This consists of visitors looking to develop their leadership skills. Their needs are met through the Leadership Skills section of the educational product catalogue.

Learning. This consists of visitors who want to improve their learning ability. Their needs are met through the Learning section of the educational product catalogue.

Mental Speed. This consists of visitors who want to explode their mental speed. Their needs are met through the Mental Speed section of the educational product catalogue.

Positive Affirmations. This consists of visitors who want to transform their negative dispositions into a positive mindset in order to improve their performance. Their needs are met through the Positive Affirmations section of the educational product catalogue.

Speaking. This consists of visitors looking to improve their speaking skills. Their needs are met through the Speaking section of the educational product catalogue.

Tests and Exams. This consists of visitors looking to master exam technique. Their needs are met through the Tests and Exams section of the educational product catalogue.

Writing. This consists of visitors looking to improve their writing skills. Their needs are met through the Writing section of the educational product catalogue.

Usability Considerations

Usability has been enhanced to make it easy for the visitor to find solutions to her problem, by following these steps:

1. The first thing the visitor sees are a set of articles whose titles represent the specific problem area they address. The articles are accessed from the Educational Problem Solving menu of the navigation bar to the left of the screen or from the Educational Problem Solving main page. By scanning these articles the visitor can identify whether or not her problem is covered. If not the visitor can check the educational product catalogue through the Product Catalogues menu of the same navigation bar, to see whether a product exists that answers her query. If she finds nothing she knows that her problem is not addressed. She can proceed to the Related Sites pages, which are accessible from the left navigation bar.

2. If the visitor finds an article that addresses her problem then she can begin to explore that; at the end of the article she will find products that discuss her problem more deeply. She can also access the educational product catalogue through an article page.

Conclusion

This article has introduced the educational solutions module of the world’s most recent personal and professional problem solving site. The article has examined competitive offerings, the target customer profile, problem-oriented solutions, target markets, product offerings, and usability considerations. It concludes that the module is a major contribution to the information superhighway.

The Common Benefits Of Game Testing Jobs

The industry of gaming continues to grow in appeal and following among interested people around the world. There are many different companies in existence that create this type of entertainment experience, for interested consumers, in the form of various consoles and systems, as well as specific games that are created for playing purposes. Anyone interested in this type of position should understand the known benefits of game testing jobs.

Industries that are as closely followed and ever expanding like this one is known to have quite a few options available to people that are interested. Many companies are in existence today within this industry that are continually expanding and offering up a tremendous opportunity for people that join their teams. There are now an overwhelming number of people around the planet today that are filling various positions within this field of technology with varied layers of success.

The people that are hired to actually sample newer games that are created are actually filling a vital role. These are the people that are able to demonstrate any weaknesses with any new design before it is marketed to the general public. People that understand the benefits of this type of position are usually able to partake in a very rewarding career.

An initial and popular benefit of performing this type of job is the ability to actually keep the games that are being sampled. There are many people that actually seek out these types of positions for this very reason. This becomes a foundational source of allowing people an opportunity to get paid for amassing an enjoyable collection.

A significant number of positions that are filled of this kind are home based in creation. People that fulfill this type of role are known to merely require a computer or television in which the new creation is able to be sampled. This helps make the entire job prospect much simpler and more appealing, in general.

Simplicity and fun are definitely benefits of this type of position. Most people find that positions of this kind are very simple to fill and easy to work within which makes them quite powerful to anyone interested. This usually provides quite a bit of excitement for anyone involved.

Game testing jobs are finally beneficial in that they are generally well paid. These are positions that are offered at higher wages which provides a great quality of life for people involved. Many positions allow people unlimited earning potential throughout the course of their workmanship.

A Psychological Profile of Tony Soprano

Tony Soprano is one of the most intriguing and enigmatic characters in the history of television. Understanding him psychologically is a difficult proposition, although many of the shows other character’s have proffered some ideas. In one early episode, Dr. Melfi’s husband Richard refers to Tony as Alexithymic, the short definition being “the inability to talk about feelings due to a lack of emotional awareness.” This definition is definitely somewhat accurate, as Tony often reacts with rage during periods of confusion and frustration.

One classic example of this comes when Tony enters his office and sees that someone has purchased a “Big Mouth Billy Bass” and placed it on his desk. Seeing the singing fish reminds Tony of his dream about Big Pussy, and this memory floods Tony with multiple emotions that he is unable to process or understand. Tony reacts to this emotional flooding by beating Georgie, (A favorite pastime) who he learns placed the fish in his office, as this choice allows him to temporarily exorcise his uncomfortable feelings through this physically violent reaction.

At one point Dr. Melfi suggests Tony has an Anti-Social Personality Disorder. People with this disorder often show a persistent pattern of conduct disorder in their teen years which involves breaking the law, poor academic performance, disrespect for authority as well as several other more severe criteria including torturing animals and starting fires. Throughout the series we learn several things about Tony’s younger years. In Season 1, we learn from Uncle Junior and Livia that Tony and his friends stole a car, and also that Tony used to sell stolen lobsters in an effort to earn some extras cash. In another episode we see him skipping school, breaking into his father’s car, and generally being very willing to bend the rules.

Skip to Tony’s teen years and we learn that Tony has become good enough at sports to become a “varsity athlete” despite Junior’s claim that he wasn’t. He graduates from High School and attends Seton Hall for a semester and a half, before he “got into some trouble” (revealed to Meadow during the episode “College”) and goes to prison for a short while. While Tony is insisting to Dr. Melfi that he never engaged in Homosexual activities, we learn his time in prison was relatively short, and we can therefore assume his crime was relatively minor. Around this same time Tony robbed Feech Lamana’s card game, which was a major turning point in his life where he became officially respected as a gangster.

From this brief look at Tony’s adolescence we learn he probably did meet many of the characteristics for conduct disorder but possibly not enough to make a firm diagnoses. Which moves us to the diagnoses of Anti-Social personality disorder, which according to the DSM-IV, involves “a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three (or more) of the following:

(1) failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest

(2) deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure

(3) impulsivity or failure to plan ahead

(4) irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults

(5) reckless disregard for safety of self or others

(6) consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations

(7) lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another

B. The individual is at least age 18 years.

C. There is evidence of Conduct Disorder with onset before age 15 years.

D. The occurrence of antisocial behavior is not exclusively during the course of Schizophrenia or a Manic Episode.

So, does Tony meet at least three of these criteria? The answer seems to be that yes of course he does. Although he does not seem to meet the criteria for number 6, there have been multiple examples of his actions meeting the criteria for the other 6 components. But does this diagnosis truly encapsulate Tony Soprano? It doesn’t appear to. The fact is that Tony is capable of unselfish and extremely generous acts, although often these actions have ulterior motives. Therefore to truly get a sense of the patterns of Tony Soprano’s life, it is extremely useful to use an Adlerian model to examine the patterns of his basic convictions. The Adlerian model looks at key components of a person’s life, and also at their early recollections in an attempt to examine several key determinants that Adler believed made up a person’s unique lifestyle.

Gender Role Preparation perceived through Gender Guiding Lines and Role Models

Through observing their parents and the gender patterns they adopt in their relations, a person learns to conceptualize a personal definition of what a man is and what a woman is. From watching his father, “Johnny Boy” Soprano, a respected and feared Mafioso, Tony formed several impression of what it is to be a man. First and foremost Tony learned that the man is the breadwinner in the family, and that he needs to do whatever it takes, regardless of the law, to provide for his family.

Tony also learned a great deal about conflict resolution from watching his father deal with people from around the neighborhood. One particularly important observation was watching his father handle a man named Satriale who had been avoiding him because he owed him a debt. When Tony watches his father chop off the man’s finger as a result of this dispute, Tony formed an early impression that a man goes to any lengths, despite the law, when that man owes him a debt. This impression was again confirmed when he watched his father brutally pummel a neighbor named Rocco, who also owed Johnny a debt.

Tony also learned a great deal from watching his father’s work habits throughout the years, and this affected his own adult attitude towards work. The beatings Tony witnessed in the previous situations were both over an attempt to collect a debt, and Tony saw that a great deal of Johnny’s income was simply taken by force or the threat of violence. Therefore he learned that men don’t need to work if they can take things from others, and this was a lesson that appeared to resonate.

In one notable event that occurred in Tony’s teen years, he covers for his father to his mother when she correctly assumes he’s been with another woman. In this situation, Tony, who has most likely learned through watching his father lie many times before, that it’s OK for a man to lie when confronted by an uncomfortable situation.

Through Tony’s interactions with his mother he learned that a woman, although she works in the home, holds a great deal of power and control in interpersonal relationships. One early impression came from watching his father and mother interact after his father brings home a large order of meat, and Tony observes that this was the only time his mother was ever really happy. Tony also makes the connection that when his father brought gifts it was “probably the only time he got laid” which also created the impression for Tony that a woman only provides sexual gratification to men when they are given gifts, and this was an idea that also seemed to translate to his adult life.

Interpersonal Style perceived through Experience of Family Atmosphere

The family atmosphere in the Soprano family was one of storm and strife. As Tony’s sister Janice correctly explains to her husband Bobby, “In my family it was dog eat dog.” This was an accurate description of the Soprano household, and much of this difficulty stemmed from the interactions between Livia and Johnny which were based on repetitive patterns of incessant nagging on Livia’s part and extreme deceit on Johnny’s. Livia’s tyranny over the house may have even eventually contributed to Johnny’s physical decline, as in Tony’s estimation she wore this very strong man into a “little nub.”

Livia Soprano’s love was conditional love. Livia was extremely critical of her children and she did not demonstrate encouragement and support of their endeavors which appeared to stimulate a lifelong pattern of self-doubt in both Tony as well as his sister Janice. Discouraged children often grow up to be angry and unfulfilled adults, as they begin to feel that everything they do will not live up to someone’s standards. In these situations a kind of “learned helplessness” (Seligman 1965) can take place, where kids simply give up rather than continuing to compete in a seemingly hopeless situation. This appeared to be the case with Janice Soprano, who spends a lifetime avoiding any kind of useful activity rather than have to be judged a failure as she has so many times before.

Tony on the other hand compensated for this lack of love like his father did by lashing out at others, finding temporary gratification though many sexual conquests, and finding solace in acquiring material possessions.

Livia also talked openly of killing her children when Tony was a young man, which he must have seen as a great devaluation of his importance and worth in his mother’s life. In one notable instance Livia tells Tony she could “smother him with a pillow” which terrifies Tony and makes him question how far his mother might really go in enforcing punishment in the Soprano household. Johnny Soprano on the other hand freely used corporal punishment in the house, and in Tony’s words, “the belt was his favorite child development tool.” Johnny clearly demonstrated though many of his actions in the house that violence was an appropriate response to frustration, and this was also a value that Tony seemed to inherit.

Johnny Soprano was also consistently deceitful in his dealings with his family, and his constant deceit was often the trigger that sent Livia flying into a rage. One early example of Johnny’s deceit came following his arrest at a kid’s carnival, where he tells his children the cops made a terrible mistake and arrested the wrong guys, which would be difficult for even a child to believe.

Another important event that confirms Johnny’s constant deceit occurred when Tony was a teenager and Livia was in the hospital having suffered a miscarriage where she was in dire physical danger. Johnny, who was staying overnight with his mistress, concocts an elaborate lie that hinged on Tony supporting the lie and confirming the story for his hospitalized mother. Tony does go along with the lie, and this event marked as major turning point where he embraces the deceitful lifestyle and begins to head down the path his father has paved for him.

Personal Code of Conduct perceived through Acceptance / Rejection of Family Values

When Tony embraced his father’s lying ways, he was essentially accepting the Soprano family values, all of which were also modeled by Tony’s Uncle Junior. Although Tony made a brief attempt at following a different path by going to college, his robbery of Feech Lamana’s card game demonstrated an early lesson learned from his father that if someone wants something that it is easier to simply take it from others than to actually work for it. This idea was strongly reinforced when Tony was caught for this act and he was not only not punished, but in effect promoted into the “family” following this brazen and irresponsible action.

For Tony the term “family values” obviously had more than one meaning, but upon close examination the values modeled in the Sopranos household were the same that were necessary to survive and even thrive in the mafia “family” Tony was also a part of. For instance Livia used the threat of killing someone weaker than her to retain order in the house and get people to comply with her wishes. The exact same thing is used by the mafia family, as the threat of pending violence is one of the key ways the family perpetuates its wealth.

The family value of deceit in the house was also a necessary value to succeed in the larger Mafia family. The code of “Omerta” implies silence and avoidance of even discussing the organization, and this is an interesting connection to make considering the fact that Livia was so against Tony going to therapy as she felt he was there to “talk about his mother.” Livia, who preferred the family secrets stay buried, was so consumed by feelings of anger from thinking that Tony would reveal her secrets to a therapist, that she in essence convinced Junior to have him killed. Returning to the moment of the idea Tony is Alexithymic, one can speculate that this condition might stem from his mother’s absolute inability to promote the sharing of feelings in the Soprano household.

Perspective on the World perceived through Experience of Psychological Birth Order

As the second born child of three, Tony’s assumed the position of the classic middle child. The second born child often takes their cues from the oldest child, who has been in the world longer and provides a roadmap for the second child to follow. Second born children are often the rebels in the family, as the first borns tend to be responsible and can often even be like a second parent. The second child therefore often finds belonging through acting distinctively different than the first, as the first is naturally better at things because of their advanced age and physical development. This was partially true in Tony’s case, as Janis appeared to enjoy flaunting her position as the eldest, and at least in her early childhood convinced her father she was a well-behaved and accomplished child. Tony on the other hand showed immediate rebellious behavior, and found belonging through being as Junior described a “little hellion” who learned to fit in and get attention through misbehavior.

Adler made a strong point of emphasizing that birth order also had a psychological component to it, where the literal birth order may differ from the physical birth order. This can happen when the first born son usurps the first born female child and becomes the de facto leader of the children, as he comes from a culture that values males over women. This dynamic appeared to manifest itself in the Soprano household. In Tony’s case Janis, who enjoyed the power of being the first born but not the responsibility, in effect passed the torch of responsibility as the first born to Tony, who became responsible for the family as he entered into adulthood.

Range of Social Interest perceived through Other Particularities

Adler believed that the extent and degree that a person takes an interest in his or her fellow human beings was an excellent predictor of their mental health. Tony never developed this interest in others, and instead came to value others based on their personal usefulness to him. There are many examples of this in Tony’s life, one example being his relationship with Paulie, who fell out of Tony’s favor following a financial downturn in Season 4. Even in his dealings with Artie Bucco Tony often sizes up how Artie can be useful to him, and despite their imbalance of power Tony finds little ways to exploit this friendship for his personal gain.

Tony’s odd obsession with animals also demonstrates his inability to share emotions with other human beings, and again this behavior might have some its roots in the lack of love and support he received from his mother. Tony often projects feelings onto animals that he is unable to feel for human beings, and this trait shows how confusing and upset Tony gets when confronted by negative emotions.

Conclusion

In conclusion Tony Sopano’s life is one lived with little insight or mindfulness. This lack of insight has lead to an external locus of control where he views the bad things that happen to him as bad luck His statements “I can’t catch a break” and “I’m like king Midas in reverse” are example of this behavior, and these claims don’t jibe with the many, many fortuitous events in Tony’s life.

Tony also likes to present the idea that he is a “sad clown” but again the evidence in his life does not seem to support this. When Tony is angry or hurt he nearly always responds with physical violence, and occasionally with em0tional violence such as when he calls Melfi a “cunt” following her rebuke of his advances. The sad clown motif indicates the sense of pity Tony often feels for himself, and his general pessimistic attitude towards life.

Adler felt that by gaining insight into your behavior you could begin to understand the patterns and faulty thinking and logic that these patterns then created. Melfi, after many years has uncovered some of these patterns, but doesn’t seem to offer much assistance as to how to process this information. The result has been that Tony continues to repeat many of the patterns directly inherited from watching his parents, and despite his often empty promises to change his life, this is really not possible without going back to the beginning.

Adler referred to this idea as “soft” determinism, meaning a person’s patterns of behavior were firmly and deeply entrenched, and very, very difficult to change without a tremendous amount of insight. Although nearly dying was a kind of apotheosis for Tony, it is likely he will return to much of his former behavior as he falls back into these familiar patterns.