Paper Tigers

The Time magazine cover story for January 31, 2011 has sparked a heated national debate on how best to raise children. Amy Chua, a Yale law professor and mother of two, author of “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”, her proudly politically incorrect account of raising her daughters “the Chinese way”, arrived in bookstores last month. To simplify, the Chinese way appears to involve extreme regimentation, sever discipline, academic achievement, and a zero tolerance for activities not directly related to excellence and productivity. By contrast “the Western way” is characterized as overly permissive, indulgent, and obsessed with a child’s self-esteem.  As is typical for this kind of emotional/intellectual jousting, supporters of each view trot out their respective horror stories, cite questionable research data, and when all else fails, resort to personal attacks. Ms. Chua has of course been demonized, called a monster, a child abuser and worse. Apparently a nerve has been touched for many, many people. However,we of the Primal minority have a much deeper understanding of raising children and parenting in my view. We know that parenting can never be condensed into any kind of manual or how to book, or even reduced to a one size fits all philosophy. We know all too well that a child’s experience of his or her life is more than just what a parent decides to consciously say or do.

Better Than a 747

It seems to me that this whole quest to find the best way to raise children is itself a danger sign. It is certainly misguided at least, and for me, hints at a certain alienation from healthy parental instincts, a kind of estrangement that can cause many parents to seek out experts for what should be the most natural thing in the world. After all, we were all children at one time. So, the 747 I mentioned above refers to Boeing’s widely known commercial airplane. This jumbo jet has something like 5 backup systems for all crucial operations. This built-in redundancy I believe they call it, backs up many times over, all vital systems. The engineers know that indeed things can and do go wrong, but the plane is over-engineered so that it can survive numerous types of failure. Only if many, many things go horribly wrong all at once, is safe flight compromised.  Children are also over-engineered, equipped to thrive in a wide range of conditions, including highly stressful environments.  This wonderful capacity liberates us from having to vision quest some notion of the best way to parent.  All styles of parenting across a wide variety of conditions will allow a child to thrive within certain parameters. What exactly are the parameters?  Well, even our 747 with all its back up systems cannot survive a wing falling off mid-flight. The failure is too great; it exceeds all reasonable parameters for safe flight. You will go down!  A plane without a wing is an easy thing to spot, not so for parents with equally dangerous structural problems. What then separates the parents that can support and nurture a new being into adulthood from parents that fail their children? We know from 40 years of clinical experience that the repressed (unconscious) unmet needs of the parent become the child’s mandate. This is the parameter, which if overburdened, endangers the child, i.e.; brings the plane down in flames. Whatever is repressed or unconscious in the parents become the demands placed upon the child. The tentacles of repressed pain spread out covertly and overtly for the child, and like the iceberg that sunk the Titanic, the biggest danger is below the surface. Our understanding of dialectical processes helps us to see the many forms that parental pain may take in the parent-child dyad. Make no mistake; they can be quite lethal for a child’s natural development. As Dr. Janov brilliantly stated many years ago, often the very reason a person decides to become a parent sets the child on a path towards neurosis. Examples of parental pain becoming a child’s mandate are all too familiar. The more obvious ones are having a child so we can finally be loved, or the ultra popular parental opiate, insisting on the child’s success at school, sports, music, etc. to quell the parents own sense of failure. Parents do not do this knowingly, but the damage is great nevertheless. The fatal flaw (for the child) of these parents is their need to use the child for pain mediation. A parent with significant repressed childhood pain has no choice but to use his child to keep that pain under wraps. If a parent grew up with Nazi style discipline, he or she will often raise their child in much the same way hoping to validate and perpetuate their own self-deception. To be more flexible, or permissive, or softer, requires at least some painful acknowledgment of the cruelty and sadness that was their childhood.  What a miraculous yet lamentable situation, without significant repressed parental pain, almost all styles and approaches, across a wide spectrum of conditions, will allow children to thrive. With significant parental pain, albeit unconscious, no approach, style, or set of ideas will protect the child, making a child’s natural development unlikely. Both sides in this debate may make the occasional good point, both sides may have the best intentions for the well-being of their children ­ but without a deeper understanding of Primal forces they are doomed to failure. “The Chinese way” puts great emphasis on preparing children for the future, which is simply code for career and earning potential. Ms. Chua even states, “Excellence builds self-esteem”, I would agree, provided there is a self to build it upon! Achievement and excellence, no matter how hard-won, if imposed upon us in parental indentured servitude, leaves behind bewildered adults with a dull ache and emptiness they find difficult to define or articulate. For many, it is a treadmill they can’t get off.  Perhaps, they reason, more achievement will stop the ache. Such is the price for childhood lost. Nor is blind permissiveness and overprotection and lack of childhood demands any better. Over the years, we have seen how the post WWII generation has done equal damage. The same repressed parental pain, acted out but stylistically different, has produced legions of what we call handicapped royalty, adults who have few skills and resources to navigate through life. The dialectic again, born from parental deprivation, I will give my child everything I never had (whether the child wants it or not), produces anxious, fearful adults with a pseudo sense of entitlement that masks a Kafkaesque self-loathing. The most important thing about childhood is to actually have one! A time to grow and develop at ones own pace, versus playing the lead in a parent’s repressed drama where every day is Showtime! Oppression is oppression no matter how well-intentioned or well executed. Fascism, whether political or personal is still fascism. Choice is never an option. Primal pain removes real choice and freedom for both parent and child, what a tragedy!! It is really quite sad that despite ones best intentions, a parents unresolved pain will always undermine the child’s welfare. We see this everyday at The Primal Institute. We are powerless to act in truly healthy ways regardless of our great desire to do so. One cannot do right by our children or ourselves unless and until we embrace our own history of suffering and sadness. Most parents today desperately want to raise healthy and happy children. The cycle of repression and oppression spares no one until the courage can be found to face the past. Child rearing debates and philosophies of the moment can never address the more potent forces at work. Oppression always serves the needs of the oppressor, never the oppressed, and on and on we goŠ…                                                          Barry M. Bernfeld

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243 Responses to Paper Tigers

  1. petercliff1 says:

    Very well said Barry. The “Tiger Parent” in question was in the UK yesteday promoting this book all over the media and my partner and I were discussing it. Your best line, among many above, is ” The most important thing about childhood is actually to have one!”. Parents, as you point out, are either overly ambitious for their children to make up for their own lack of achievement or, as often, not interested. I despair for the future when I see so many young people spending a very large part of their lives fiddling with their smartphones or on Facebook. When are they going to have time for their own children? We even had one woman in the UK who dumped her very young children in a nursery each morning and then went home and spent all day playing some fantasy family game on the Internet! That was obviously a lot easier than having a real family. Regretably, another generation with a toxic childhood is well on its way into adulthood. Peter Clifford

  2. Margaret says:

    [email notification set up for Margaret]

  3. Larry says:

    Your riveting, eloquently and gently expressed insights are keenly shared by us in the Primal community. I hope the rest of the world’s parents read your blog Barry, and begin to look at how their own lives mandate their child rearing. But to quote from your last paragraph, “We are powerless to act in truly healthy ways regardless of our great desire to do so. One cannot do right by our children or ourselves unless and until we embrace our own history of suffering and sadness.” Those hordes of multitudes of parents are going to need help, but the psychology community doesn’t seem to be there for them yet. I hope enough of those parents who “desperately want to raise healthy and happy children” will read articles like your blog and bring pressure for the wider psychology community to change and finally adopt wisdom, insight and practice that is truly healing.

  4. Thank you Barry for this eloquent and thoughtful post. As a clinician and writer myself, I have been wrestling with how to respond to what seems at times like utter lunacy. Are we really debating whether a parenting technique that includes calling your child garbage and denying a bathroom break until a musical piece is played to perfection will produce a happy and healthy human being? It is truly mind boggling and quite disheartening.
    Unlike any other responses to the book, you managed to steer clear of the superficial issues and gone right to the heart of the matter. Any parent who uses their child to satisfy old, unmet needs will have trouble truly seeing and responding to the child’s needs and this ought to be acknowledged whenever parenting techniques are discussed.
    I also love your 747 metaphor and am seriously thinking of stealing it…may I?:>

    • Yes,you may “steal” anything you like, and thanks for being part of the blog community. Let’s find a better word than “blog”! -Barry

      • Jack Waddington says:

        Barry: You say; “Let’s find a better word than ‘blog’! “what word do YOU suggest? The word “BLOG” has become a colloquialism (style or usage), and, I contend, there is a general understanding in the internet community, what it entails/signifies. As I understand it, it is a forum for expressing your ideas/opinions/feelings about the subjects/matter in question. what it is NOT is ‘therapy’ though it can be very therapeutic. It’s a shortening of web-log;- log:- ‘logging on’. I feel it’s best left alone. Jack

  5. Also, I love the new format of the blog. It is so much easier to navigate. Well Done!

  6. Margaret says:

    Even though this can be true, it does sound just a litle pointless for all the people that can’t do any therapy but still want to make an honest effort to raise their children in the best way. I know you did say they should follow their instints, but as old feelings and desire to act them out could easily be mistakenb for instincts by nonprimal people, couldn’t you try to make this sound just a bit less black or white, isn’t there any other kind of advice for those peole?
    Some advices like “Give your children kindness and attention”, “Talk with them”, “Let them know and feel you love them”, “Let them express themselves”?
    I know very well how insufficient this kind of advice really is, but I still think it is better than nothing, and even a not too smart Supernanny occasionally does make some important changes for the better in my opinion. Not that they don’t also can make huge mistakes, but that is not my point here.
    I just react on the message of “Either it is primal therapy or it is a lost cause”.
    I am playing devil’s attorney here, I also do think Primal therapy is the one way to fundamentally make changes for the better, but there is also the reality to deal with of the huge mass of people wanting to learn how to get in touch and trust their parental instincts again, and I do think some good advices can be tremendously useful to ease and prevent unnecessary damage and hurt.

    • Pat Torngren says:

      Hi, I just wanted to share this link:

      The mom who wrote the poem said she didn’t think it was anything “un-ordinary” and was surprised that I thought it was so great. I guess she must have got some “primal parenting” herself from her own mother, without her mother knowing it, so her “instincts” are on track.

      I’ve seen some primallers make wonderful parents and have really feeling kids.


  7. Jack Waddington says:

    Reading this post made me so, so angry. So angry I feel the need to respond directly on the blog to my anger, in-fact almost rage … not almost … I am OUTRAGED. But my feeling is twofold and here, for now I will respond to the first fold. I feel like wanting to strangle Amy Chua, which I am aware is an inappropriate rage on my part, but it so infuriates me I can hardly type straight. In-fact I’m not even sure i can think straight. Right now I am not able to take this back to where it REALLY belongs (my own childhood) and need to keep in the present … least-ways til IT takes me there. You fucking stupid scurruous bitch; do you even beeeeeeegin to know what this is doing to a poor innocent child/children ….. you fucker. I just wanna scream and scream you fuckin twat Yaaaaah! Maybe I should just get hold of a buddy and do it there cos writing it is gonna go on forever. Trouble is half the population of the planet believes this fuckin bullshit.

    Some time later: didn’t get hold of a buddy so I sat on the floor and screamed a lot of it out and bashed away at the sofa. Just hope I didn’t get the neighbors to call 911. Feels a bit better, but I know there’s lots more where this comes from. Oh! the insanity of it all.

    In my book I wrote a short chapter on child-rearing, yeah, yeah, yeah from someone that never brought a child into the world let alone reared one. I attempted to write that chapter from the child’s perspective having been one of those kids. On this re-reading of that chapter I am not ashamed of what I wrote but not sure what I was able to get across to the neurotic ‘maddening’ crowd out there. How the hell are we able to turn all this around? … are will we ever be?. Nuf of me for now Jack

  8. Jack Waddington says:

    Barry: My second fold. I’m in the Margaret camp on this one. Sure there is no ‘how to’ but I feel strongly that there are many things that could be said to help those couples and single mothers that have the best intentions and are looking, however, indefinite, for some sort of guild-line. I do believe both you and Gretchen are in a unique position to offer a lot of this. Yeah yeah yeah, you need to protect your professionalism and also your personal family stuff, but there is a way round this if you set out to try. (maybe you are doing this already) I referred to Frederick leBoyer’s “Birth Without Violence”, Jean Leidloff “Continuum Concept” and “Kangeroo Mother Care”, the Australian TV program for starters. I stressed allowing abortion if the pregnancy is unintended. I was outspoken about the barbarity of circumcision, both male and female, the absurdity of Cesarean Section except in EXTREME circumstances. Like Margaret I suggest following your own feelings, BEST YOU CAN, about ones natural instincts specially during pregnancy, and also the need for even the care-giver to express their feelings, provided that they are not dumping, blaming, hurting or confusing the child in doing so. I also mentioned NOT needing to make everything child-proof which stems out of principles … rather than feelings.

    There was one point I did mention which could be almost impossible to get through to non-primal people and that is if the child has been traumatized earlier, that nature in-and-of itself, attempts to get the child to ‘self-primal’ and this is confusing since it seems that child is crying or having a tantrum completely out of context of anything in the present, and here, all that is needed is for the care-giver to just hold the child; allow it to feel safe, (again, best as one can) and let it ride it through. One last point there could be clinics to suggest all this stuff to those contemplating having a child or pregnant with one, offering this kind of guild-line. Something that could be set up by Primal patients and not necessarily therapist. If these clinics were just able to state that trauma during pregnancy and the first year were the most crucial, there-after not having the same devastating consequences, we might be able to eliminate 90% of the neurosis that abounds.

    Anyway: that’s my take on this … and I’m sticking by it. Jack

    • Larry says:

      In response to Jack and Margaret, I believe the kinds of messages are already out there that you want to give to parents, along with a whole bunch of other contrary points of view. The emotionally healthier parents will instinctively treat their children somewhat like human beings. The sicker parents won’t no matter what whoever tells them. Look at us. Did any advice you were given change your behaviour, until you finally felt the pain underneath and came to know what was blinding you and driving you?

      • Jack Waddington says:

        Larry: a couple of things. Your belief that these message are out there; I ain’t seen them. Talking of “emotionally healthier parents will instinctively treat their children somewhat like human beings”, is too ambiguous. Healthier, is a gradation and then “somewhat” is equally ambiguous. It is my feeling there needs to be something much more definitive, otherwise it’s all waffle waffle.

        If most were really caring and could use their instincts then you may have a point, but that’s not the way I see it. Asking me if I have ever taken advice without seeing the pain underneath; millions of times. Jack

        • Larry says:

          My own parents did the best that they could to give their kids a good start in life. When I was growing up, I was often angry at them because their best was far short for me and I wanted them to change. Now I’ve felt enough and know throughin and throughout my soul that any advice to them on parenting would have only made them feel distressed, inadequate, angry and distant and in reaction I would have been made to feel the problem. They were victims of their upbrining that was devoid of the love and attention they needed, and suffocated the humanity in them. I feel sadness how their childhood was destroyed and they had no chance like we do to redeem their lives and become the parents they were robbed of being. No advice to them would have changed their parenting, unless they were prepared to feel their pain. I know deeply sadly that is the truth of my reality. My intuition says a parent is going to take whatever advice is out there that fits their neurosis. If they take primal advice, their pain is going to bubble up. Who is going to be there for them when that happens?

          • Larry says:

            In my third sentence in my paragraph preceding this, I meant “Now I’ve felt enough and know throughin and throughout my soul that any advice to them on parenting when I was a child would have only made them feel distressed, inadequate, angry and distant and in reaction back then I would have been made to feel I was the problem.

  9. Steve Morrow says:

    I met my wife in the “primal therapy” that Rhoda Wadler was managing, and I do think it helped me, and, I thought, my future wife. What I learned about myself was that I knew my parents were pretty fucked up – dad, a big, quiet man with the power to shut me up through fear, my mother a wanna be star who gradually developed a drinking problem. When Eileen & I got married, we both wanted to have a child because we had discussed how the shit from the past would stop with us. Hah!! The tentacles of neurosis are deep and repressed, but we did the best we could. We gave Colleen tons of attention, she and I developed a strong bond, and Eileen & I would generally give her the freedom to play just about where ever we were. She went to 2 different vocational schools, and works in a Vetrinarian hospital, and seems pretty happy. But, I see some problems she has, which I know I contributed to from my own neurosis, and her mom turned into a right-wing religious fanatic, and moved to Chatanooga, TN. So, the upshot of my story is that even though I swore not to be like my parents when they raised me, I still feel like I fell short. If I didn’t, I probably wouldn’t be in Primal Therapy. I carry some bitterness and anger these days, and, with time and continuous therapy, I can live a more conscious life and raise my next child (not born yet) with some better tools.

  10. MAR says:

    Thanks Barry for your fantastic article on child rearing.
    As my experience says (I have been a teacher for many years) , most parent are only interested their children achieve , to get good marks and it is very difficult if somebody points out in another direction.
    On the other hand I have got my Master Degree in Family Therapy.
    But techniques and advises are only meaningful if the real issues are addressed .These are the unconscious motivations parents have and to raise their children. If you tell a parent about those unconscious motivations, even though parent did something about it, the unconscious forces are still there. That means that as we know in Primal therapy, though it is important to know about unconscious motivations, but most important is to feel and resolve through therapy those motivations, those forces. And the sad true it is most parent do not want to know about the hidden agenda they carry to have children and raise them. Even if they knew it only a very few would be ready to feel it and resolve.

    Of course schools children go are important and most are a disaster (especially public schools) as are important the sometimes difficult situations children have to pass through their lives. But as Barry says, children are prepared to solve these problems, what they are not prepared is to overcome parents hidden unconscious motivations.

    And I agree with Barry is that there are not how to books. Healthy parents will have healthy children and unhealthy parents will have unhealthy children.

  11. Jack Waddington says:

    Larry and Mar: There seems to be an assumption that most people are somehow emotionally healthy and therefore telling parents in hindsight they didn’t do the right thing could make matters worse. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that we tell parents after the fact, even though that is what happened to both Art and Vivian. My contention is that we suggest ways to avoid traumatizing ones off-springs before we start … a whole different approach, which is where Barry and Gretchen started out.

    Before he died I talked to my father about my therapy and what it meant to me. I think he knew that I was not blaming him, or my mother (already dead), because I also asked him about his childhood and also my grand parents childhoods and the potential horrors they all went through. I made no claim that I was cured; just helped. He seemed satisfied with what I said.

    What I am promoting is that we look to PREVENTION … not figuring out what happens after being traumatized and then try to mend it, best we can. Primal Theory is so simple and so, so elegant and if the theory could be articulated simply, briefly and in a way that was interesting to people way outside the mental health field, I feel strongly it could catch on (just my feeling, I don’t really know, but I do feel it would be worth a try)

    One last point which has pre-occupied me since I read “The Primal Scream” is just how many of us are neurotic. To a greater or lesser degree, it is my CONTENTION no-one escapes it … Jack

    • Larry says:

      Many of us who write to this blog worry about protecting our privacy here. We each decide how much of ourselves we will share. Some of us don’t even use our real names, not even our first name. I feel you are stepping over the line of decency Jack when you start throwing around the full name of a private citizen who isn’t a participant of this blog and who might want their privacy preserved.

  12. Jack Waddington says:

    Larry: Couple of phrases you write here feel, to me, there’s a little more going on here Larry with you, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. The phrases are “stepping over the line of decency” and “throwing around ………”.

    You could well be right … but what was your take on the whole of my comment? Or does that become irrelevant in light of my indecency?


    • Larry says:

      I’ve expressed my point of view on the parenting issue. You’ve shared yours. Good. We seem to be in disagreement. Interesting. Uhhmm. There’s nothing more I need to say on it at the moment.

      Privacy is a different issue. As well as our own, we seem to want to respect the privacy of those in our lives who we talk about on the blog but who never participate in the blog. We seem to never mention their names. Private citizens in no way involved with this blog should receive the same courtesy, even more diligently I feel.

  13. Atty says:

    It’s not my intention whatsover to “censor” anything written on this blog, but I did remove my niece’s name from your comment as I truly feel that it is not appropriate to use someone’s full name without their permission, especially a young adult who is not associated (personally) with the Institute. You should be aware that using her name here may cause her name to pop up on a multitude of search engines in the future attached to this blog. I’m sure you did not think about that, and I hope you are not offended.

    • Jack Waddington says:

      Atty: No, I did not think about that. My apologies to anyone that was offended by it, but there was some president in making this, since some years ago Barry did publish in the Newsletter an article about his family, which I admired Barry for. I did intend that it was a compliment to both Gretchen and Barry. Sorrry guys.

      Larry: agreed. Jack

      • Larry says:

        I’ve never met you Jack, so I don’t know you well, but I feel better about you from your statement.

        • The Ultimate Guru says:

          Think Amy Chua would like to meet him?

          • Fiona says:

            Yeah UG! Jack could meet her wearing a hockey mask and straight jacket whilst securely strapped to a porter’s trolley? … nice glass of Chianti anyone?

            Well done Jack! (re Atty’s comment) When I first read the blog topic I thought of you, and what might be your reaction. This one is right up your trigger.

            • The Ultimate Guru says:

              It’s funny you should mention straight jackets because I was thinking just the other night of an incident that happened to me..
              My paternal grandmother and great-aunt had a large marble table in their living room. When I was 4 years old I slipped and fell right on the edge of the table slicing a huge gash on my forehead. I lost a lot of blood. My aunt panicked and picked me up, carrying me over to my neighbor’s house trying to get a ride since neither of them could drive. She went up to the neighbor’s front door with blood everywhere.
              Off to the emergency room we went. My limbs were in a furious kiddie panic on the operating table for the surgeons had to hold me down in a straight jacket to stitch my forehead. (It was a serious forehead wound, more than a dozen stitches.)
              Many times I find myself needing to lay down and really bundle up tightly under the covers…still not sure whether it has something to do with this incident or wanting warmth from a missing mom.
              At least the scar is gone, though.

              • The Ultimate Guru says:

                The marble table also disappeared the next day too, lol!

              • Fiona says:

                This is an awful story! I wonder if you will ever find out which it is – wanting warmth and feeling “safe” or … well how DO you feel when you bundle up? ??

                • The Ultimate Guru says:

                  Hi Fiona:

                  I will answer your question by saying, “It keeps me warm and protected against a cold, cruel world by bundling up tightly for a few minutes.” I kinda feel like I spoke a bit too prematurely for it still is very cold outside right now. You were busy focusing on Jack and I went on my own little tangent there…

            • Fiona says:

              ….by well done Jack, I meant that I like how you just accepted your mistake. My comment seemed ambiguous. I meant it as another compliment!

  14. Steve Morrow says:

    Fiona, you forgot the Fava beans! However, you made a good point, knowing Jack more than me. I have been known to foam at the mouth hearing the type of child rearing the oriental lady actually wrote a book about. However, when you consider how many books have been written about that subject – and I must include Benjamin Spock’s 1950’s American favorite, it’s no wonder we’re all fucked up. But, I can’t just blame him; and I can’t blame anyone, really. Neurosis is a malady that’s been around since prehistoric man’s brain developed the ability to think, so I think we have a LONG way to go. I know all mankind, 6 billion and counting, will never become well, so I just start with myself, and my Primal friends, and go from there.

    • Fiona says:

      Hi Steve. The reality is I don’t know Jack at all; apart from taking note of his passionate responses on the blog. Such desperation to help children everywhere should not go unrewarded! His ideals are in the right place.

      I was going to respond to your writing from Feb 10th, as you were brave enough to point out your own imperfection in parenting. Hard to do – but I (yet again) have to admire your courage in standing up and accepting it when you make a mistake. I was going to write a bit about making my own mistakes regarding children; but I am not actually a parent; I did, however end up helping to care for twins for 3 years. (LONG story). I have been reluctant to write in detail about those years because I KNOW it will be hard for me to face up to the mistakes I made. I will have to look hard at when I did not do the right thing in being a carer for those children. This is my second step. The third will be to allow the horror of NOT being the perfect carer to overwhelm me. Jack is probably having kittens wondering why I am TALKING about feelings, and not just getting to it! I just don’t want to look. I don’t want to know how bad I was. I don’t want the details so precisely etched in my consciousness. I can’t change what I did or said. It doesn’t help if I say “I did my best!” I was not perfect – I should have done better.
      There are no excuses. Children come first. I did not hit them or anything…. not so extreme. I just was not patient enough, got frustrated etc. I am not looking to confess; I am looking to access feelings I know are there; that I have locked away because I am ashamed.
      Not sure if I want that shame so public on here either.

  15. Jack Waddington says:

    Fiona: Thanks. I make a lot of mistakes and admitting to them is the easiest path in the long run. I caught on early in my therapy that defending wasn’t doing anything for me and my reputation wasn’t any great shakes either so others knowing my fuck-ups eventually became no big deal. Course all my life, starting with my dad, I was always being told, my mother too, but no so much. Course, that doesn’t mean I always recognize them. But then there are others out there more than willing to remind me; that’s ok too … for the most part Jack

  16. The Ultimate Guru says:

    This is a longshot post in the dark being made for Rebecca “lebeegees”:

    Many months ago you made a great statement along the lines of “What sort of hell has life wrought next?” I forgot exactly how you worded the phrase at the time, but it was brilliant (at least for me). If you happen to visit here, could you please let me know how you worded that phrase if you happen to remember it? Thanks. I appreciate it.

  17. Margaret says:

    Haven’t seen evidence of Rebecca on this new site, UG.

  18. Fiona says:

    I have become even more aware of just how easy it is to ‘damage’ a child (since embracing a primal lifestyle), but now I find it increasingly difficult to just ignore injustices (as I see them) towards babies/children. Telling myself that the parents/carers just don’t understand offers no solace. I cannot explain the damage they are doing. Even if I were able to convey the message, how can I expect needy unloved people to suddenly be able to selflessly ‘GIVE’ to their children?

    Thankfully, when I was in my 20’s, I saw other people making the mistake of, “… having a child so we can finally be loved”, that Barry cited above. I knew, back then, that I would probably never have children of my own. I was unable to provide a stable environment including a loving Daddy. Nature is hard enough on a child without nurture adding an unnecessary toll. That is a sad thing for me; not having a child triggers biological and expectational hurts.

    Trigger: ‘I missed out on that, too’. A common feeling for me.

    • Margaret says:

      I also made a terrible mistake when as a teenager I was looking after a group of children. I am ashamed about it now and have in the meantime cried and expressed how sorry I feel about it, but I have done it at the time, and it wasn’t even to be mean. One boy was throwing a tantrum about something and wouldn’t stop screaming in anger. At the end of my ideas I threatened him first and then held him briefly with his head under the cold water tab. I feel terrible about it now but can’t undo it.
      But my point is also that I still think that if ever someone had taken the trouble of talking with me about this and making me reflect on what the child might feel and opening my mind to other options it would have reached me. We are all basically wellmeaning and a truth tends to resonate unless someone is too severely damaged, in my view. If part of my consciousness would already be doubting my behaviour, it wouldn’t need much to be open for change. It is in my view not because primal therapy is thé way to make a definite and fundamental change for the better, that no gradual smaller changes are possible in any other way.
      Actually one of the things I still admire in my own mother, is her consequent attitude in calling people upon unfair or antisocial behaviour if she spottes it. She will tell teenagers not to cross the red lights when there are children around as they give a bad example,she will ask young boys to pick up theiir garbage and throw it in the bin, hey, she actually asked a bunch of Moroccon guys in my neigborhood if they thought it was right a Moroccon guy had tried to mug her blind daughter, and if they could try and protect me? I wish I could have seen those guys sheepishly nod at her. She asked them if they had a leader, and then him if he had boss over him, and he said “yeaahh”, and she said:”Well, tell him too!” She must have been about 76 then.
      It is one of the things I regret in our modern society, people seem to be less willing to take up responsability. Most people would never even ask someone laying on the floor if he needed help, well, I in most cases would. If I would see someone being mugged I would at least call the plice and probably even shout I had done so to stop the violence, a simple hting to do but most people wouldn’t and that is really sad.
      It is discouraging homeless people are becoming such an ‘accepted’ part of the city scene it is becoming ‘natural’ not to be bothered. One could be dying from say asthma when he could be easily rescued but noone would choose to make the effort of calling 911. That seems to be a value my uupbringing has given me and I feel grateful and proud of it.
      I wish it could still be common decency for everyone, some of these oldfashioned values like courtesy and, for example, respect for old people have their worth to me.
      Any comments on this?

      • Jack Waddington says:

        Yeah, Margaret I take your point but to me it is easier to see it in terms of feelings rather than principles of politeness and decency etc. BUT, I concede, how does one show how to be feeling-full? That’s the conundrum. Jack

      • Larry says:

        I was reading the other week how we evolved to be able manage interactions with about 150 people in our social group. When our hunter/gatherer ancestral clan grew larger than 150, it split into two and each went its separate way. We seem predisposed to feel a kinship with our group, and everyone else are outsiders.

        In everyday life in a big city, we can encounter hundreds of people. We manage the stress of those prospective new social encounters by not seeing those people. We get on an elevator or a bus and don’t talk to strangers. We act as if those people don’t exist.

        It is easier to be more human to those in our group. Civilized societies are stratified into unequal groups. I just picked up a book that outlines evidence that inequality fosters alienation and violence. For example, one of the graphs in the book shows how homicide rates rise with income inequality. When scores of countries are compared, Belgium is at the low end, Canada is in the middle, and the USA is at the top, in income inequality and in violence. Another graph shows how the index of health and social problems gets worse as income inequality rises. Agan, Belgium is nearer the bottom, Canada in the middle, and the USA at the top with the worst health and social index and the highest income inequality. I haven’t read the book in depth yet but it seems to be drawing the conclusion that if we look out for and care for those less well off than ourselves and resist material inequality, then the community/city/country is more cohesive, healthier, and happier. I’ll bet it makes better parents too. It fascinates me that though the problem and the solution are as old as civilization, the book front cover advertises that equality is “a big idea, big enough to change political thinking” and ‘a sweeping theory of everything’ .

        It’s dry but the best comment I can come up with Margaret.

        • Jack Waddington says:

          Larry: I find it very hard to buy into any of this. Having spent many years contemplating most of your ideas; in the end I rejected them based on what I discovered conjecturing ‘the nature of thinking’ and why we ‘think’; when I contend we were initially a feeling creature. Jack

          • Larry says:

            That’s fine Jack. You have an interesting point that I have some differences with, but I appreciate your view. I just wonder whether in a more equal society (more equally fair to everyone) it would be easier to be more ‘feelingful’ to one another. The question is which comes first, a more fair respectful arrangement of society engendering more feelingful people, or vice versa.

            One reason why I posted on Jan 14 was because I wanted to share and test with readers some insights that are percolating in me, that seem to relate to Margaret’s comment and this blog, and especially because I was hesitant to post them. I was afraid someone would be dissatisfied with what I wrote. The way I took it, you were gentle in your opposition. Thank you.

            But this is maybe going off on a tangent away from the impetus for Margaret’s post.

            • Jack Waddington says:

              Larry: We are forced to learn cognitively in childhood how to be respectful, courteous, kind, caring, considerate, ethical and a whole host of other THINKING stuff, which invariably leads for the child, in the learning process, by being told, they are selfish, inconsiderate, disrespectful, uncaring, wrongteous, by parents that were bombarded in their cognitive (thinking brains) by all this stuff in their childhoods, such they then concentrate on teaching all this to their off-springs instead of letting them be feeling-full (their natural right/left brain integrategrated selves).

              Your question:- “which comes first ……” at this point, to me, becomes irrelevant cos we’ve already bombarded the child (fucked them over) out of it’s natural FEELING-FULL-NESS; so we are now compelled to TEACH IT RULES, which by my way of reckoning, befuddles all of us for the rest of our lives … needing to go for therapy to re-learn how to FEEL What a fuck-up!!!! Left to being feeling creatures, none of this would be necessary.

              Larry: in my ‘efin’ book I went into all this, with a progression of hypothesizing from the concepts of Primal Theory all the way through to the very NATURE OF THINKING and why we neurotics had to LEARN TO THINK, turning it onto this DEBILITATING disease (neurosis) in the first place … what a fuck-up ! ! ! ! Jack

            • Margaret says:

              I agree with moving away from what I prefer to talk about, and that is one’s own particular feelings and reactions im moments where taking up responsability needs effort and choice. And again I’d rather hear about personal interactions than about whether or not to support Greenpeace, and I am not saying that that would be useless.All those little choices we can make all day long between only thinking of oneself or doing what is also helpful for others, does matter in my opinion, and it seems good to stimulate that in anyone else, even if not by primal therapy, that is the subject of what I was writing about. Things matter, attitudes and actions matter, being nice is not just an actout but a choice and a skill that is its own reward. I am just letting my mind freewheel here, this can be discussed in many ways.

        • Margaret says:

          I only got half of your commment by mail, but it was already making me react. When I talk about taking up responsability for someone in the street being ill, I am not talking about bonding with one of the 150 ones in your social group, it is about doing what you know should be done but push away by reasoning it has to be done by someone else, or it is not your business; I am not even talking about kneeling down with the person, but about calling at least 911 here. Coming from highschool already I was shocked how people just walked around a person laying on the street, which was extremely unusual without doing anything. I did kneel down and a bit later the person got up, maybe had had a sugar problem or something, but I did ask what was the matter. I also stopped at a car accident and held the hand of a dying motordriver until the ambulance arrived. I call that human empathy, not bonding with a group.
          As for Jack, this is merely reflecting on a situation and on a set of feelings , which i also do apart from having or expressing feelings.
          Any reason why not?

          • Margaret says:

            I am still thinking about what trying to be a nice person means to me, I think it includes finding a balance, it can require some effort, but also mostly feels good as it feels right, and the moment it starts feeling like to much effort can either be caused by a genuine instinct that lets you feel the other person won’t benefit anymore if you continue to offer help, or you have reached the limit of your capacity in that moment,which to my experience can vary, the happier a person feels, the more there is usually to give to others.
            I am just throwing up some ideas here, the contradiction being nice should come naturally but also does take a bit of effort sometimes.
            An example, I have known a person that had become completely deaf and blind by meningitis,and the only way to communicate with him was by special signs in the palm of his hand. It did take a bit of effort to learn the signs for the letters of the alfabet, and then talking with him after a while also took up energy. I was so unpleasantly surprised at how few peole, though all of them said “poor huy,and he is so nice and so couraeous!”, took the trouble of learning the signs and talking a bit with him. It does take empathy to imagine to be isolated like that and effort to be able to reach out, which I did, but then at some point I also ran into thelimits of how much I was able to give, some days more, some days less, very much depending of my own needs. I canalready feel very isolated sometimes, but I dread the way I would feel in a situation like that, I don’t know if I would cope.
            By the way, that guy has a really nice girlfriend now, a woman with normal hearing and eyesight.

  19. Fiona says:

    Suddenly feel really ‘observed’ and judged here. I have heard that many people come and look and read the comments here; and then email privately, leaving no comment. There is no evidence of their presence. I feel observed.

    Yes, yes, I am well aware that I choose to write some of my most personal ‘stuff’ here for everyone to see. But now I am getting cold feet. In recent times, I have reason to feel judged and, I feel, wrongly accused of being false. I have been told that I am searching to be ‘a good girl’ here. That I am playing the role of the good patient.

    Last retreat, one of our therapists noted that I am NOT the same person within a therapy ‘group’ setting as I am outside. I think the point the therapist made was in reference to the fact that I am/was subdued in group. That I did not speak up, as I do in all other social gatherings. I am a social addict, in a way. I enjoy company, and the exchanges that occur. I NEED to be liked. I am inclined to seek the limelight, and that is why I try really hard NOT to do so in group. It is hard to be quiet sometimes. It may not have been the best plan of mine though.
    Last retreat, I think that the particular therapist in question noted that I was not speaking up when I ‘needed to’. That I was avoiding saying ‘negative’ comments in response to others. Which was SO TRUE! This was not said to me as such – I guessed … and may have been mistaken.

    Saying how you actually feel then and there??!!! What the…? Voicing a reaction that is …. other than positive?? No way. Not ‘allowed’ at all – totally out of the question!

    With that one little subtle nudge (which may have been meant in another way! Without asking, I will never know.) I was able to access the negative feelings that would usually just fester and seethe ominously beneath my skin… poisoning me during groups. Almost everyone causes a ‘reaction’ within me that makes me want to say something; to object, agree, question…. etc. I do not want to ‘go totally the other way’ and monopolise it all either. That is just as bad, or worse!

    It does make me sad that people have suffered due to the sharpness of my diamond tipped tongue! I did tell people that I thought they were wrong! I did voice my feelings….. sometimes…. not all! I was too scared for ALWAYS being free to speak my mind. I keep looking for a balance. Not suddenly bellowing my displeasure at anyone and everyone who isn’t scintillating me.

    I did feel freed at that time though. It seemed to be the start of a healthier, more adult relationship with the world. I search for ‘KNOWING’ that it is ok to be mad at any given situation. I constantly question ‘ am I within my rights’ to feel this or say that?
    And in writing here, as in group, I am learning when I feel ‘allowed’ or at liberty to speak my mind. I risk each time being bashed down, and told I am wrong. I risk making people unhappy with me…. in fact I make people positively angry at me.

    I am doing the right thing for me at this time. I am NOT just pleasing people. I am letting go of struggles, and I am letting go of the pointless hope that people (mom) will love me for who I am not who I can ‘bend’ to be. If it means I am being a goody goody patient for now, then so be it. Think what you will. One day it wont matter to me what ‘people think’ of me. One day I wont feel judged just because someone doesn’t know my motivations or understand why I did a particular thing. One day I wont care that people judge me. One day it wont matter that I cannot defend myself. One day I will be secure that I know I was fair or that I did nothing wrong. One day I wont feel bad that everyone here knows that my inside leg measurement is 28 inches, and that one boob is slightly bigger than the other. One day I will be content to be loved by those that love me, and disliked by those that dislike me.

    ….. I wish that was now, though.

    Thanks to all those who do have the guts, and who enjoy adding their comments and thoughts here. It does seem like it is ONLY the’ usual suspects’ who are addicted to the blog (like me) and comment regularly. I would like there to be more people who comment. Leave a bit of yourself here to keep my stumpy 28 inch inside leg company. Otherwise I will continue to spew my inner musings for ‘the usual suspects’ to read. Actually, I lied… I will still write, I think. I just have doubts….

    • Jack Waddington says:

      Fiona: Barry once said in a group “Just say the first thing that comes into your head” My take: chances are it’s a feeling. Mulling it over before saying anything … chances are you are repressing a feeling. If someone says something about something you have said and it hurts you; just say “Hey, that hurts.” For me, that’s the royal road to not giving a fuck what anyone says or thinks about you. Might be worth a try. Jack

      • Fiona says:

        It is worth a try Jack – absolutely…. so… just need some balls to actually do it. It was Barry who said I was different in group! Thanks for the input.

        • Jack Waddington says:

          Fiona: sounds to me like you are half way there. Vivian was very fond of saying at retreat groups; “take a risk”. I liked that.

          In your case i don’t think having the ‘balls’ would help; having the guts might. LOL. Jack

          • Fiona says:

            LoL! Yes Jack; in the absence of balls I will be forced to use my guts instead! Good point. Been thinking about what you said and I agree to go with the ‘first thought’ as it is probably the feeling, but I will think to hold back a little…. see if the feeling comes without having to monopolise the group.

            Margaret, thanks again for your support. Isn’t it funny how many people relate to the same things.
            Your crocodiles are a brilliant picture your mind gives to your fear. Fear is scary lol!

            I remember when I first wanted to write on the blog, I thought; I have nothing to say…. I will be laughed at… I don’t know much about how to do my therapy, and those that have been here for years will laugh at my feeble attempts to point myself in the right direction. I DID write though, and only NOW I wonder if I will stop because of this feeling of exposure and judgement. I can understand why people would be nervous of adding their comments. It is just so helpful to me – as in group – where nothing much is happening on the ‘feeling front’; when all of a sudden someone says a simple phrase and whooooosh! Bang comes a huge feeling comes from nowhere. And you can see little pockets of emotion erupting in different corners of the room. Fascinating! I miss it, and hate it still, too.

            • Jack Waddington says:

              Fiona: Don’t worry about monopolizing the group … Barry will stop you from doing that as he did me. If HE doesn’t someone else will. Jack

            • Larry says:

              I remember too Fiona when you first wanted to write on the blog, but were afraid to. What seems so important is that you followed through on what you wanted. It is fascinating how this therapy gives us a way to take the driver’s seat. Instead of accepting being driven by our fear, we can accept our fear and be the driver. After almost three decades of taking on the driver’s seat and my life unfolding in ways that I wanted, I still fear the uncharted path I want to venture on. But even more I shudder at how diminished my life would have been had I let fear hold me back. Margaret’s dream of crocodiles reminds me of a dream I had a few nights ago. In my dream I was for days successfully able to evade Mafia henchmen hunting for me. Then one evening in my dream I arrived home to find my door open, my residence broken into but nothing else amiss. In my dream I was filled with the fearful deadening knowing I was defenseless. The henchmen could get me at their will, any time, even in my home in the middle of the night as I slept. In my dream there was no escape, other than abandon everything dear to me and forever try to run and hide…not much of a life really. In my dream I chose to accept and live in stifling dread of final confrontation with the henchmen.

    • Margaret says:

      great comment! I can relate to all of it, even after many years of therapy I struggle with the fear to allow myself to express anger or negative feelings specially to someone I need appreciation from, it is so terribly scary I can go half crazy with my internal struggle to work out what is appropiate or acceptable or rightful and what would be a ‘shameful actout’.
      In my case I try to explore the feeling for a while and then comes the moment to take a risk.
      My actual fears are big, in my nightmares they take the shape of enormous crocodiles getting really close and about and eager to devoure me.
      This is a great letter Fiona, honest and inspiring, courageous and hopefully an example for others to share more of themselves.Not only are you doing yourself a favour but this is also a valuable gift for anyone that reads it, thanks!

      • Margaret says:

        what you say about being scared to talk and feel stupid reeminds me of a recent feeling I had .
        My mom did ask me questions occasionally about me, she would ask for example “How was your day at school?” But immediately she would go on with”Did you have a good time? Why don’t you get changed? I prepared you this little snack. etc etc” Her behaviour left me with the feeling nothing of what I had to say mattered at all. I still can have the hardest time to tell a clear and structured story if people do ask me a question and give me the time. I never learned to do so and I often get tense and loose my concentration and then automatically start feeling afraid my audience looses interest, in a way a selffulfilling prophecy.
        It is engraved somewhere in my system what I could have to say is of no interest and will be ignored or disdainfully disapproved of.
        Of course this is luckily not continuously the case, but lately I seem to be getting in touch with feelings that get so bad they come close to psychosis when I am in the feeling, I cannotice it gets hard to stay in touch with reality and I think my system might have waited so long to let those dragons or crocodiles loose because now I do have just enough sanity somewhere to grasp on to when I feel I could lose control. Then I literally remind myself as diving out of the water to take a gulp of breathing air, of how my rational outlook on the situation was, before the feeling starts overwhelming me again and distorts reality again into some kind of ugly nightmare.
        I am just getting in touch with these mommy feelings so I am afraid this is gonna get much harder and I might have to feel at some point I go crazy. I am scared .

        • Fiona says:

          You are doing great. You are walking straight up to one of your ‘crocodiles’ this month. You are going to cope with all and everything that comes up (feeling wise) because you endured it all before in your childhood, right? This time around you can integrate it, and grow from it. Take a deep breath, and go for it! ….. and don’t forget to tell me all about it later!!

          • Margaret says:

            thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words, they really touched me and made me feel again how scared I am and how much I can use support like htis in order not to just run away from that hideous looking crocodile.
            I told off my mom a bit yesterday about some stupid remards she made about my sister in law going into therapy, and just that little event, not a big thing as the day went on nicely afterwards, triggered all kind of feelings. She said therapy is an excuse not to have to take responsability and it is an easy way not to have to do anything. First I tried arguçing but soon lost my patience and got angry , and I told her what she said hurt me tooand that she was giving strange and byass opinions without knowing much about it. But very quickly she looked so vulnerable and frightened I also started feeling extremely guilty and concerned about her. The only small consolation is that in the end of our discussion she still muttered:” But I do have the right to my own opinion, don’t I?”, which does make me feel she was not too devastated and her fierce little fighting spirit took over.
            I ended up feeling worse about telling her what was on my mind thaan the bad feeling of her having such a shortsighted view on therapies in general.
            I have told her about therapy years ago and she was supportive after her first defenses, but now she said:”But you do it for your physical handicap!”,so she must have given it that turn in her mind now as to protect herself . She is 80, I should have known better than to loose my temper,but it was the second time in a week this topic came up because of my sister in law, and as I hadn’t said much the first time I had too much pressure built up.
            Her boyfriend was present and it teared my heart apart to see how she looked like a scared little child about to be scolded,fiddling about with her spoon and only throwing quick glances at him to check his reactions. I think her worst fear was to be made a fool of or to be humiliated or insulted in front of him. Luckily he is a quiet reasonable and patient guy and him and me could sort of end the discussion by agreeing therapy could be useful, as well as like she preferred, turning to your family or freinds for emotional support. But this event illustrates that all my feelings, specially the angry ones are mixed in with tons of fear, fear to hurt her and be rejected, rejected by the one person I need most. There is so much there, I don’t know where to begin.
            Does this sound familiar to anyone?What do you do when your old mom drives you to the limit of your patience?It hurts and feels terribly difficult not to react in a way that makes things worse.
            Iwould love to hear how you guys deal with this, Margaret

            • Larry says:

              Margaret, correct me if I’m wrong, but sounds like nothing too much bad happened. You said your Mom didn’t seem so devastated by your outburst as you feared she would be, and her boyfriend was reasonable and understanding. Sound like the worst that happened was how you felt afterward about your outburst. Sounds like you’re asking us to help you protect you from what you’re feeling.

            • Vicki says:

              I wonder, Margaret, were you angry at her for something she said or did in the present, or were you triggered by her, from something old between you. And it’s not clear whether you had reasonable communication with her, or not. You said, “First I tried arguing but soon lost my patience and got angry.” “I tried arguing” sounds combative, so I wondered already how you were talking to her, and if you were already in anger, so that the fuse was already lit.

              I just know for myself, the times when I was most able to get through to my mom, in a way she could handle it, were when I brought the least amount of force to bear. When I responded the most specifically to whatever she said or did that was the present problem, I was more likely to get a real response, in return. Even when “telling her off”.

            • says:

              Yes,I think it is real that you have to pay attention to someone who is that age,my mother is 86.She phoned me some month ago and I was constantly aware that I could not go too far.But indeed when you pull back too far you get the risk that she makes use of it to throw every responsibility back on your plate.
              But I managed to react just in time to avoid that and say that she has been acting out constantly (scapegoat) on the weakest,pointing to my youth. And then she said yes…….to my surprise,actually she has the complete picture right,she said that she should have cuddled me more,she sees it nowadays around her that other people do that.And she thinks that she couldnot do it because their parents never cuddled her……

  20. The Ultimate Guru says:

    I do realize Fiona, Margaret, and Jack are having a big discussion right now and I don’t want to detract from it. I wanted to write this non-related topic down in case I might forget it later.

    I suspect one huge reason why primal therapy is not widespread as it would have been hoped for back in the 70’s and 80’s has to do with therapeutic efficiency. Primal is a very intense therapy in terms of human labor. Many many hours of human time and labor can be spent on one patient. Compare this to psychopharmacological treatments. Even though the makers of Prozac, Wellbutrin, etc. had to conduct a lot of expensive research & development at the outset, the drugs are a very efficient “therapy delivery” mechanism once they pass through the hoops at the Food & Drug Administration. It is much more efficient logistically to make a central product (in this case, a drug), that services a market of potentially millions of users rather than tending to the primal needs of each patient for many hours, one patient at a time. Sure, the Primal model does foster a terrific intimacy and potentially great breakthroughs, but the highly inefficient means of administering the therapy itself is a huge impediment because of all the therapy hours needed. The pharmaceutical approach is much more efficient from a business standpoint.
    Please note I am NOT comparing which therapies are more effective here; I am only pointing out that Primal unfortunately has a significant logistics problem in administering therapy compared to the pharmaceutical model.

    • Larry says:

      UG, snake oil salesmen have always understood the effectiveness of the business model for selling a pill or elixir to alleviate people’s ills. The risk is to the consumer as to whether he or she is getting therapeutic efficiency. 🙂

    • Fiona says:

      It is a true, but sad point UG, that you make. Pills instead of treatment of the causes. Like painkillers to kill the pain of continuously stubbed toes… when the long term, but hard work option of a ‘cure’ would be to move the furniture that you keep stubbing your toe on!
      I think one main reason that this therapy is not widespread is that it is so hard to explain! I didn’t ‘get it’ from the ‘book’ like everyone else seems to have done. No, I ‘got it’ from hearing people I know and trust giving accounts of their own story of healing. Hearing about their triggers and the ……not evolution of the journey back, but the ‘re-volution’. The memory links and their history showing them where their problems originated. The journey to the pain of the past.
      Every time I try to explain this therapy, I get cold feet. I can’t explain it – even though I KNOW how it works; I feel like I sound crazy just saying how it is.
      Besides – I am WAY too English to even consider therapy as an option. We just “pull ourselves together” and keep a stiff upper lip” etc.

      Another besides is – Jack Margaret and I were just chillin’ – you speak up – say what YOU want. It is what I seem to do. I can’t stay on topic.

      • Jack Waddington says:

        Fiona: I never had a problem telling others about the therapy; even before I started therapy. I never found it difficult to explain either: maybe that was just me I turned on a few people to the therapy who have now done it. I turned on others wanting to do it, but never got round to it, for varying reasons

        I wasn’t the only one, and the ones they turned on have since done the therapy also. Some, meantime have rejected it, others went so far, then got on with their lives, and a couple, like me continue with it. Of course, as one person said to me; ‘Ah! but just how many did you turn off it?” … more than I turned on. Jack

        • Fiona says:

          Yeah, Jack – I am sorry to say that telling people triggers yet another feeling in me. That they will think badly of me because of what I do. That they will think I am crazy…. (hey!!) …. that I am involved in some weird cranky hippy freak-show. For me, it’s that ‘being judged’ thing again! I fear not being able to give the therapy a good review; or that I mislead someone. I believe it takes a long time to explain it properly. Not everyone WANTS to give up that time to listen.
          I wish I could suddenly ‘not care what people think of me’! It should not matter to me, but it does. I am not there at all.

  21. The Ultimate Guru says:

    Larry, I have to interrupt our discussion of Big Pharma for a second so I can visit an angry feeling after reading this news post earlier today:

    NEWS ARTICLE: 93-year-old Leon Barbanell, won a nearly $2 million verdict against Philip Morris USA for the 1996 death of his wife of 56 years from lung cancer. Shirley Barbanell smoked up to two packs of Chesterfields, Marlboros and other cigarettes a day for 50 years and could not quit despite many efforts, her husband said. He’s worried that, because of appeals, he may die before he ever sees a cent
    MY FEELING: You FUCKING GREEDY OLD MAN!!! Get the hell out of the courtoom!!! Mr. Barbanell, why don’t you come visit my dad and I? He lost his wife when she was only 30 with only two seconds’ notice to a car crash with no chance to say goodbye!!! You had 50 FREAKING YEARS to say goodbye to your wife!! So fuck you, Mr. Barbanell, I don’t know why I wasted my time reading about you except to get mad at you.

    • Fiona says:

      Big trigger moment for you UG! Great to see you getting some of it out! There is so much anger attached to this devastating part of your history. You are stuck with the horror of your loss. I can’t imagine how that must have felt at the time. It’s too much to cope with. How old were you?

      • The Ultimate Guru says:


        I know you asked what you perceive as simple question here but I am afraid answering it would open its own can of worms. I’ve been having a very difficult time deciding whether to answer your question. The answer is 28 months of age, but the purpose of my comment was not to have anyone feel sorry for me. I just wanted to have my anger listened to for a couple minutes and just….”move on”.

        Now that I’ve cooled down a bit I can see the Barbanell case as being partially a product of overly-aggressive lawyering on the behalf of one person at the exclusion of everyone else. Also, I’d like to say on the record I have nothing against the $200 billion+ Master Settlement the tobacco companies were forced to pay here in the US for smokers’ healthcare costs. (Unfortunately most of this money was spent elsewhere since taxes on the wealthy are cleverly manipulated into being kept super-low here in this country and the states were forced to dig into this Master Settlement to make up for it.)

        I just felt like, “Something’s awfully wrong here” when I read about that guy….

    • Vicki says:

      And you lost your mom, with no notice, and no chance to say goodbye.

  22. Jack Waddington says:

    Margaret: You ask how others of us deal with our parents/family. For me, firstly tell them how it makes me feel, and this often can be done gently. In my case I have learned how to even be angry; gently. What I have become aware of is the effect of one person expressing themselves and the spiraling effect that has on the other which in turn keeps the spiraling going, to the point of a screaming match. It has become relatively easy for me to intuitively know how to prevent that ‘spiraling effect’ over time. What that means for me is that I am still able to express my feeling, which I need to do, without necessarily sparking off the other. If and when that does happen, I just let them have their feeling; listen then take mine to my buddy at a later time. Not alway easy and does require practice; even then, I sometimes fail. Jack

  23. raindog says:

    Interesting comment, Jack. Someone said to me recently that they no longer believed in telling others how they felt, since it was usually only used against them, or it backfired in some way. They are of the opinion that, with some people, it is better to just say what you want, and have the feeling privately. I’m somewhere in between, and aspire to your approach…


    • Jack Waddington says:

      Erron: I agree, your feelings can sometimes be used against you, especially if you are specific about what you feel, however, you can also be brief which could eliminate much of it being used against you, like:- “That upsets me” or “That hurts me” or That saddens me” or “That frightens me”. To me, often the come-back starts with;- “You piss me off” or worse “Fuck off”. Notorious triggers IMO. Jack

  24. raindog says:

    I remember many years ago complaining to Graham Farrant about the way folks would sometimes needle me with questions and criticism, etc. He told me to turn it back on them with a simple ‘why do you ask/say that?’ I’ve found it very effective over the years, when I remember to use it. What ‘hit me’ at the time was the way I’d often used this as a kid at school, but forgotten it. I had rough schools, was puny and got bullied. If I ever asked some thug who announced his intention to smash me why he’d do that, it almost always stopped him in his tracks. At least long enough for me to run lol…

    • Anonymous says:

      …. and why did they needle you with questions and criticism? I mean, did you always go to schools and live in neighbourhoods where there was a lot of bullying happening? Just wondering. It seems it would be so difficult to endure. I was the victim of threats a few times, and that was bad enough, but thankfully they never deteriorated to actual physical abuse.

  25. Margaret says:

    Vicki and Jack,
    thanks for your feedback,you both have good points. I did get angry, that is true, and lost my patience. I had her on the phone yesterday and that topic was brought up again by her and discussed briefly in a gentle way, neither one of us wnts the other to feel bad, or wants to feel bad herself.
    It is old frustration about not communicating that set me off and made me sabotage it alltogether by snapping at her.I should try that gentle approach or practice at it.
    Larry, even though or maybe because you are right your comment ‘upset’ me as Jack would say.
    It is partly true and on the other hand sharing things on the blog makes it possible to sort theze felings out much easier than fretting on them all by myself.
    I might have minded less if there would have been more than just that in your comment. Do you react taht way because it is something you do too?Are you ‘upset’ with me by any chance?

    • Larry says:

      No Margaret, I have no reason to be upset with you. My first impulse was to be nice and safe and not react to your Feb 20 post, because I truly felt you were wanting us to help you hide from something, and it would take me a long time to figure out how to say that nicely to you. But since this is the PI blog, I decided not to play safe and ignore you, but to share with you my blunt impulse without thinking through too much how to be nice about it and make it safer for me and less blunt. Now I feel bad that I might have hurt you.

      • Margaret says:

        I didn’t say you hurt me, I was just wondering why you said what yousaid. Now again you saying I try to hide from a feeling does sound a bit strong to describe someone talking about it on a blog. I admit I was trying to stop the hurt , but ‘hiding’?
        Anyway, maybe I do know what you are referring to, even if I wouldn’t call it like that, and I can cope with any comment so feel free to say what is on your mind.

        • Larry says:

          You are right Margaret. The phrase “trying to protect yourself” better conveys what I meant when I wrote “trying to hide”. In my case, I do tend to hide on the sidelines. Now that I spoke up, and pointed out something that is maybe hurtful for you, I feel like a bad guy. That is my feeling that I have to deal with. Actually, I do feel ready for a cry, about a bunch of things all piled up, mainly about me doubting that I am a good person and needing reassurance in an empty world. I believe I’m going to have that cry now.

    • Jack Waddington says:

      Margaret: Just one other thought; getting involved in a communication with parents is bound to involved “old feelings” unless … you’ve had ALL your primals. A forlorn hope IMO. The only alternative is let them have theirs and take yours to a buddy where, ostensibly, you can let it all ‘fly’. Jack

      • Margaret says:

        that is good advice, as I can have some good communications as well as frustrating ones with her, I keep giving it a try. But it is very true that I better save my emotions for the buddying, and practice your gentle communicating more.It is true you can say anything in a nice way, without causing damage and taking things in a relaxed way as far as it gets. But that is the theory, I still need a lot of practising,to get better at it still.
        Sometimes it does seem to make a difference to express a feeling to the person itself instead of only doing it with a buddy. I am still exploring this field so can’t say much about it, but it is an interesting question, “When is it important to communicate your feelings to the person involved?”
        What makes the difference between it being productve or not?

        • Vicki says:


          The reason I mostly stopped expressing the intensity of my feelings, to my mom, was because I had sometimes tried that, and it normally didn’t help — she couldn’t “get it”, and usually just believed and felt I was unfairly accusing her of something. She was unable to see that this was the 500th time she had done the same rude or cruel thing that I was fed up with, and just how much harm she had done. It was long since old feelings for me, but still uncharted, unfelt and deniable for her. We were not on the same level.

          So it was important for me, at times, to try and say some of what I felt to her, in order to find out the reality, and what “a wall” I was facing, and just how hopeless that was. To learn what she could understand, and what not. But then it shifted, as I tried and learned what would work, what I really could say, and what she could grasp, in the present, and we could have SOME real communication. Rather than the none at all, as it seemed most of my life had been.

          I still needed to try and reach her, however I could. As much of a fucking awful bitch she was, she was my mother, god save me, and I still cared about not wanting to feel I was an utter, implacable, failure of life, if I didn’t make an effort. I could not stand the endlessly hopeless relationship that was my childhood, with my mom. So to the end of her days, I kept on putting one foot in front of the other in trying to relate, however it might be possible. I just had to. Not to be left with the feeling that I didn’t try, that I didn’t do the best I could — which was all I could do.

          I certainly got off on my own tangent here, but I’m sure you get the point.

          • The Ultimate Guru says:

            I know you were looking into a sad past with your mom when she was alive. Still it was a great description of what was going on; it left me feeling like I was right there with you and your mom. It also reminded me of how often I have to carefully walk on eggshells many times when I talk to my dad or else he would emotionally fall apart into many tiny little pieces….but that’s a story for another day.

          • Fiona says:

            Neither of us will ever be good enough!

          • Margaret says:

            thanks for telling me about you and your mom, I could relate to all of it and it felt like a real support to hear you feel the same way about wanting to communicate with your mom as well as possible.
            I am glad knowing more about how it was for you, and how you kept trying to make contact,it makes me feel closer to you, thanks for sharing.

  26. Ulrich says:

    In Germany there is a similiar discussion regarding Amy Chua’s book, but actually it’s a discussion mainly propagated by neoliberal media. To me both, book and recent discussion is plain disgusting. Barry found nicer, more diplomatic words for it, but in the end it’s a book about how to hurt a child without any actual need to beat it up physically.

    It’s fascinating to see, that parallel to the aftermath of the 68 revolution and PT as a logical part of it, a very strong counter revolution took place in the shadows of the war against racism and social and sexual discrimination. Despite two generations of ‘love & peace’ and all the progress they made for humanity, a bunch of neocons managed to establish a society based plainly on Skinner’s behaviorism. I see Amy’s book not only as the diary of a personal tragedy, but also as an attempt to reproduce basic neoliberal rules, which in itself produce brainless followers reproducing basic neoliberal rules etc. And as the wide majority of American people cheered to Clinton’s ‘welfare to workfare’ law in ’96(?), a majority’d also cheer to Amy’s basics, I’m afraid. It’s not only Amy’s message, that worries me, it’s the ideology behind it and the strong arm of the media, that transports it.

    PT on the other hand stands for a different point of view, as we all know, but unlike Larry I don’t see neither theory nor therapists threatened. Neoliberals might be ‘natural enemies’, but actually they are just interested in establishing a big pool of poor people, willing to take any work for a penny. The fact of loosing 1/3 of society by doing so seems to be no big problem, since neoliberals don’t feel responsible in a way of caring about people – and most of the poor don’t vote any more anyway. So what we got here is a society devided into underdogs (to who I count myself), a more or less stable middle class and ‘the upper 10.000’ or so. How does PT fit into this? For the ‘system’ (not really a system but the result of greed and manipulation) PT is just another tool to fix those Amys, who can afford to seek help. In a world, that sings along with the Eagles ‘Get over it’, PT is nothing more than a strange way of ‘carrying trash in through the front door that others carry out the back door for the trash men to get it.

    By the way: I’ve seen a swedish movie lately called ‘As it is in Heaven’, directed by Kay Pollak. If you have a chance to get it, go for it. It’s about a seriously ill musician, who trains a choir in a small swedish village and what he finds there is pretty much how I would describe a community of primal people. It’s a very intense and very emotional picture and worth every minute watching.

    • Ulrich says:

      […] Amys, who can afford to seek help, when they don’t function any more. [Sorry, very often I think faster than I write. And more often I publish too fast as well … ;-)]

    • Margaret says:

      Hi Ulrich,
      interesting comment!

    • Larry says:

      Ulrich, I am enjoying reading your postings. I’m confused by some of the terms you use, like “neoliberals”, but I agree with the gist of what you write on the pressures shaping western society. I share in common the views expressed by you and UG. I see coroporate interests creeping in, influencing, and hijacking our “democratic” governments. Like you and UG, I see society more and more being moulded to favor the already rich and powerful. So long as they benefit, they seem to not care about the effect on the rest of society. The effect seems to be more and more poor and powerless as inequality grows. Eventually, when the middle class is shrunk to almost nothing and people start to wake up to what has happened, there could be riots in the streets and the powerful using force to quel it. Demagogues and simpletons promising easy solutions could easily become false saviours of the disenfranchised and lead society into chaos. Like many, I disagree with the stance of the previous US administration on how to tackle the world’s (the US’s) problems. During the tenure of that administration, it became dangerous to proclaim you were a muslim, or a liberal, or an atheist. A friend in “enlightened” California had to remove anti-Bush bumper stickers from her car, for fear of violence against her after getting nasty notes on her windshield. It frightened me to realize how easily a liberal democracy could potentially erode.

      When a powerful elite feel threatened, they fight back. I’ve read of many cases of practitioners in the health field, who arrive at radically new insights and alternative treatments for health problems, but they are treated as crackpots and their careers ruined by established medical authority not yet ready for change. In our lifetime, nothing in our understanding of human consiousness and knowledge is so revolutionary as Primal Theory. The backlash from a powerful establishment that feels threatened could be ruinous. I fear engaging in a hopeless struggle with them. But I just realized, and like you said, there is no need to struggle with them. Primal Theory and therapy can be absorbed by those who want it. We will each in our own small way, living our lives as best we can, be a piece in the puzzle that becomes the shape of society.

      • Vicki says:

        Larry, I had forgotten about that! Yes, I did remove my “Wars, Lies & Big Oil Ties Beat Bush -Vote!” bumper sticker from my car, after getting a nasty note left on my windshield, in a supermarket parking lot. And I think something else happened, a verbal comment or other note at home. The craziness bothered me, but I didn’t want to risk my car being damaged.

        After the events of 9/11, so much fear was let loose, a lot of people actively supported Bush’s “anti-terrorism”, fervently. I remember a friend began watching more Fox news, as his beliefs shifted rightward. This was before the news about the WMD justification lie for the Iraq invasion, became more generally known. In such a time of free-floating paranoia, normal “speaking up” became more unsafe. And it was frightening, how quickly and easily it all happened, and so much changed.

  27. Miguel says:

    Vicky , the description you made about the struggle you had with your mother during your childhood and adolescence is so good , it touched me. It reminded me the struggle I had had with different women in my life. Jack, thank you for your good points in how to use this therapy outside the Primal Institute, what to say your feeling, how to say and how to interact with people outside the therapy. Thanks Fiona for your humour and spontaneity. Thanks to Margaret, Larry and Guru for your contributions. What is true is that this group is getting better, and deeper. It reminds me of a group session. It is a virtual group session or it is becoming.
    Regarding Ulrich comment. I agree with you most what you say. I do not agree that the situation is due to this or that political group. I think there is hope, but what has been done till now is not enough: “Barry found nicer, more diplomatic words for it, but in the end it’s a book about how to hurt a child without any actual need to beat it up physically. And also: “a bunch of neocons managed to establish a society based plainly on Skinner’s behaviourism.” I understand Barry because in his position with his responsibility he has to care the way he writes.
    This discussion between two opposite sides has been going on for many years as far as I can remember. In 1960 Scottish A.S. Neill published Summerhill based on a famous boarding school called Summmerhill a revolutionary way of educating, and teaching children. This school gave absolute priority to emotions and feeling, over intellect. Gave children lots a freedom, (not licence), created a warm and encouraging environment and a self government. Neill believed that children are not bad, and if treated with love and respect, children will developed and their own peace and will be responsible and productive grown ups. The effects of this school will last for many, many years. Neill believes in human nature, he believes in unconscious forces. And that if you gives a child lots of attention, freedom to choose and avoid manipulate him/her, if your treat with respect he will flourish, will be a good person and a responsible grown up. These are the same as we in Primal Therapy believe.
    Summerhill was a best seller and was especially popular in the sixties in Germany. Really Neill was using psychology with children (We will see that Psychology has been used in schools for bad purposes (manipulation), and still today is like this). He took from psychoanalysis only what mattered to him and his school. He said things like that. “The school evades the Basic issue- all the science and maths and history in the world will not help to make the home more living, the child free from inhibitions, the parents free from neurosis•” “”the goal was to use childhood and adolescence to create emotional wholeness and personal strength. Neill thought than once this wholeness had been achieved children would be self motivated to learn what they needed academically. The key to this growth was to give children freedom to `play for as long as they felt the need in an atmosphere of approval and love.” The children were given freedom but not licence, Warmth, optimism, independent and self reliance are contagious qualities at the school”…many of the benefits of a Summerhill education are not apparent until later in life”. Remind of Primal therapy. Art Janov dedicated some books in his honour.
    Many teachers and parent learned from Neil´s ideas.
    In spite of the sixties revolution: What has happened? Have, Neill, Primal therapy failed. Everithing is useless, must we lose all hope? We have to understand the problem to find solutions. WE had not failed in the most important. Neurosis is very powerful, it tentacles,are very long and windy. We must understand we are fighting against a terrible and powerful enemy and that we are in the right track, but is not enough, and that a bunch of people knowing what they are doing, and wanting and decided can do much to change things, for the sake of children, for ourselves and the sake of humanity.
    Neill´s ideas as those of Primal therapy were rejected for most part of society, for governments, for educational authorities, but his ideas are there. I went to primal therapy thanks to Neill and I think that is true fro some others patients. In some Teaching Schools Summerhill is still red.
    The only thing that has been changed has been the outside. There is no more corporal punishment as far as I know in Westerm countries, no more ears pulled, no more
    Stroke of the cane in hands and buttocks, but what has happened with psychological punishment? Should we deepen and broaden the mistreatment toward children? Shouldn’t be children equals in rights as some minorities groups in society:, women, colour people, homosexuals etc.? Is not a child a slave if she has to do so many homework’s, exams, and his/her has no time to play with his/her friend? Psychological punishment is much worse than corporal punishment and besides has a hidden agenda, and they are designed in a way that is very difficult for the child to realize because supposedly they are for the child welfare.
    Most psychologist have turn their back on children psychological punishment and not only that most have contributed to it, because they have been using the school as a experimentation field. That has been the case with behavioural and cognitive schools of psychology where the school have been used as a therapeutic communities. They have used manipulation and children have been used in schools as experimentation grounds, as subjects of a Skinner´s box . These ideas are very well explained in John Taylor Gatto´s book called the Underground History of American Education. This is the link: Mister Gatto was a school teacher for many years and I think he lives in New York
    It is important to me that both skinner and Amy are both professors of very important universities: Skinner Harvard and Amy Yale.
    We´ve got to be smarter

    • Ulrich says:


      Agreed. But I guess I didn’t make myself clear enough. I don’t see any political partys at work, cause the worst (of I would consider negative) changes of the last decades had been fired up by ‘left wingers’ (like Clinton’s welfare reform). I see it more as a corruption that has infiltrated all stages and classes of society – but as it is so strong in our so called ‘elite’ it gives me the creep.

      And despite feeling hopeless in certain aspects of my life, I don’t feel hopeless regarding the topic in place. But it’s a real serious situation we have here, with enough potencial to destroy societies, people, the life of anybody and in the end all of our ressources – and in fact people do get killed in every second for the favor of few. At any given time a child dies, because his or her lost chances had been transformed to some rich guys toilet papers. (That’s what I meant by saying ‘not feeling responsible in a way of caring about other people’ in my comment above.)

      The reason I don’t feel hopeless is, that I deeply believe ‘good and evil’ are neither two sides of the same coin nor ying & yang. I think, evil just comes to existance as soon as love dies. It just pops up and grows on empty and deserted places. So one can’t really fight evil, even though you sometimes have to like the war against nazi germany. Actually fighting evil is a contradiction, taking place where evil lives. But you can strengthen love step by step, wherever you are and whatever you do. That’s why I mentioned the movie. It’s – among others – a movie about people who defeat evil ‘just’ by caring about each other, without necesseraly beating up the bad guy. You do this, evil just vanishes like a bad dream. PT as I understand it, does it this way, and Summerhill as well. The bad news: Fighting evil is easier than slowly regaining love. Otherwise we all wouldn’t struggle so much, don’t we?

      • The Ultimate Guru says:

        Hey Ulrich,

        I’ve noticed a couple times you mentioned how “left wingers” are passing evil legislation here in America, particularly with Clinton and the “welfare/workfare” bill. Here in America it is the RIGHT wingers who are doing all those things you’re referring to. (In Germany this seems to be totally different and they are apparently referred to as “left wingers” over there.)

        I’m not a serious political buff but I remember the fights Clinton had with the Republican (right-winger) Congress at the time. In 1994 or so the Republican right-wingers wrote up a “Contract to America” in which they wanted to cut taxes for the wealthy and try to cut social services to make up for the cost. Clinton was against many of these things in the “Contract” but signed this “welfare/workfare” bill to appease Republican right-wingers because he was facing a hostile Congress at the time. I’m pretty sure if Clinton’s allied Democrat left-wingers were running Congress at the time Clinton wouldn’t have signed that bill. I do also know that the relationship between Clinton and the right-wing Congress was so acrimonious at the time the U.S. Government had a brief shutdown in 1995 because no one could agree on anything.

        So….just to clarify…E.V.I.L = German left wing = American right wing (sort of like water going down the drain in opposite directions in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres)

        • Ulrich says:

          Hello UG,

          Whoaa, slow down, don’t let it get confusing. I’m sorry to say, but Clinton did 1996 exactly the same our left wing government repeated a few years later. Even the propaganda and political marketing campaigns had been identical – except that our ‘left wing’ politicians cut the so called ‘welfare queen’ and of course ‘poor black people, that don’t want to work’ since we don’t know such terms. (Funny thing, though, cause over here a guy named ‘Florida Fritz’ (or Karl, don’t remember) had been the target, accused of receiving state money while living in Florida, of course unwilling to go to work.)

          So that’s why a wrote, I saw a serious situation here, that frightens me, since at least here in Germany and over there in the USA, a left wing government passed a law, one would expect from neocons or worse.

          Correct me, if I’m wrong, but at the time in question (96), Clinton faced a republican majority in Senat and the House of Representatives, while Congress had still been ruled by democrats – as far as I know. Also 3/4 of all Americans had been pro PRWORA, so I just guess Clinton blackmailed his democrats in congress (‘with this law we will win’) and sold the poor people to get reelected. It works out fine for him, didn’t it?

          Of course you know your country better than I do, since I got my knowledge from reading while you’re living in it, but in this case I think you got the wrong imagination of my intentions.

          Take care, Ulrich

          • The Ultimate Guru says:


            I think I understand a bit more of where you’re coming from, and the best phrase I could come up with is called “marginalizing the fight itself”.

            I’ll try to give a simple example of what I think you mean with “marginalizing the fight”. Suppose 30 years ago you had the left wingers and right wingers fighting over a $100 billion pie. Right-wingers back then would say, “No, no we only want to give $15 billion to the poor.” while the left-wingers cry out for $40 billion.
            Fast-forward to today and the right-wingers say, “No, no we only want to give $5 billion to the poor.” while the left-wingers cry out for $10 billion.” The right-wingers already have a huge victory in this example because they are marginalizing the spoils of the fight itself.
            This example has no direct bearing on real-life occurrences; I am only writing this to try to clarify what I think you mean. So yeah, the left-wingers of today might indeed be more stingy than the right-wingers of 30 years ago because the stage itself was marginalized.

    • says:

      It still exists that summerhill :
      see also:
      We had a project here called ´iederwijs´ ,where children decided what they wanted to learn themselves but that got a lot criticism but it is not gone yet.

  28. Ulrich says:

    Yeah, UG, you added a great picture here. It’s like Houdini: While one stares at the left hand, the right hand empties his pockets.

    • The Ultimate Guru says:

      Just so you know, Ulrich, I agree with and understand your point in my own way. It is my belief that the media places a tremendous amount of attention on our country’s and the various states’ deficit problems without bothering to look at how much the United States has lowered taxes for the highest income earners compared to the 1970’s and before.
      To me, that is the root of the problem: there are too many clever wealthy people feeling tightly entitled to everything they own regardless of any societal costs they have incurred upon others while they accumulated their wealth.

      You know of Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and the world’s second richest man, yes? Bill Gates’ father wrote a book detailing some of the problems I explained above, “Wealth and Our Commonwealth”:

  29. says:

    You must be the Barry from Janov´s blog I suppose.
    What does your – art,art,art,art – mean? (I know it his name 🙂

    • Anonymous says:, We can’t answer what was meant by “Art,Art,Art,Art” as this is NOT the Barry who wrote that on Janov’s Blog. I do recognize you as the from his site however. You can always determine that it is Barry Bernfeld as he would sign his full name to any comment he might make. In any case we are happy to have you on our site and we welcome your feedback. Gretchen

  30. Fiona says:

    Politics – schmolitics! Another struggle! “I can’t make ‘you’ understand; I’m too small; ‘you’ don’t listen; I don’t matter”. Old feeling. Short comment!

    • Ulrich says:

      Hello Fiona,

      [cite: Politics – schmolitics!] No, I don’t see it this way, cause it’s a reason to cry all the time. Literally. ‘A child for a roll of toilet papers’ is no metapher I use for manipulation and chuckle all about in my spare time.

      Amy Chua’s book is a manifestation of what’s going on in society and politics. Because it’s a declaration to sell your sons and daughters to the favor of a few. I should know, cause I had a similiar situation with my son. He is very bright, but was also not willing to show any efforts in school. We tried to interest him, tried to sail around his handicaps (drugged at birth, isolated after birth) and in the end he and I had a long argument (at age 11/12, now he’s 19), where I could see it in his eyes, that he lost his trust in me. I talked to him lately again about this situation and cried a lot, while we talked cause I still feel so sorry.

      Now he’s done with school, went to college for two years and attends another education step. So in the end he will be a perfectly well situated middle class citizen (and not an underclass dog like his dad) – but if you ask me, if it had been worth it I had to say NO. If you ask me, if I would do it agin, risking loosing him, I had to say YES. That’s one of the reason why I hate politics and other psychopathes. They canalize your struggle for surviving for their own profit. It is disgusting and it makes me sick and that’s no struggle of mine. It’s a plain reaction to a disgusting and sick situation.

  31. Kimmie B says:

    Hi All –
    I know this is pretty far of the subject of the blog, but I figured if anyone would appreciate this, it would be you. And my FB friends know how I like to quote other people’s work!! Anywhom, from Pandora:

    “Tears for Fears were always more ambitious than the average synth pop group. From the beginning, the duo of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith were tackling big subjects — their very name derived from Arthur Janov’s primal scream therapy, and his theories were evident throughout their debut, The Hurting. Driven by catchy, infectious synth pop, The Hurting became a big hit in their native England, setting the stage for international stardom with their second album, 1985’s Songs From the Big Chair. On the strength of the singles “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” and “Shout,” the record became a major hit, establishing the duo as one of the leading acts of the second generation of MTV stars. Instead of quickly recording a follow-up, Tears for Fears labored over their third album, the psychedelic and jazz-rock-tinged The Seeds of Love. While the album was a big hit, it was the end of an era instead of a new beginning. Smith left the group early in the ’90s, and Orzabal continued with Tears for Fears, pursuing more sophisticated and pretentious directions to a smaller audience.”

    • Fiona says:

      … and how does this make YOU feel, Kimmie! LOL!! Where’s YOUR input on the subject?

      That album was a huge part of my life back then. Still is now, on occasions. It really moved me, and I wasn’t sure why. Little did I know back then that I would be ‘Hurting’ and shouting to ‘let it all out”! It really does hurt. This album is high up on my ‘all time top 10’.

    • Kim, I guess we mistakenly assume that you all know every story in the Primal history books ! Not to mention “Tears For Fears” connected to Primal? – it does make sense. I do love their music and it does bring back some interesting memories. Gretchen

  32. Ulrich says:


    the comments are getting confusing, cause the e-mail-notifies don’t seem to work. I hope, I didn’t oversee anybody’s reaction:

    UG: Thanks for the link. I also have one for you. Maybe you already know:
    It’s a book called ‘Punishing the Poor’ by L. Wacquant, a french sociologist. Loads of numbers, but also very intelligent.

    Miguel: Thanks for your impressions of Summerset. Never heard about it before. Sure sounds interesting and worth to open your heart to it.

    Larry: Yes, I see danger as well, but I also think, you have to be some sort of psychopath to destroy a society just or your own interest – and psychopath usually don’t see feelingful people as a threat. Insetad they feel superior and therefor ignore you – hopefully 😉

    Thanks for all your input, especially Fiona and Miguel, you helped me touching my heart.


  33. sabine says:

    Hey everybody!
    As being a teacher, I am following here the discussions about what´s the best way to treat/raise/ teach kids with interest.
    For those who don´t know me so well, I am teaching guitar in a public music school. Students in my country are usually not all day long at school like it is in many other countries. They can decide whether they wanna learn an instrument, but they have to do every three years an exam to show they are doing in properly, because 80 % of the costs are paid by the public and only 20% by their parents.
    By the way I see quite many of the parents seem to be caring and grown up.
    But I also see a lot which concernes me. Many of them seem to be completely fed up with all what is put into them, knowledge, knowledge and even playing an instrument is often felt as another thing they should do. Teachers put more and more into the students and the students get worse and worse. Within the last years Austria´s students showed pretty bad results at the international pisa tests. Teachers are endlessly complaing and getting more and more frustrated. The immigrants are probably the one who will get the jobs in future, because most of our youth doesn´t show much interest at school and are not willingly to make that much efforts.
    And where are the kids? On fridays I see most of them very exhausted, mentally and physically. They are at school five, six, eight, ten hours. And then they are supposed to do their homework and to study for the tests. And then they are often doing a few other things: ballett, dancing, soccer, music school…And they spend hours over hours on theirs pc´s, play stations, tv´s. Where is there time for relaxing, for spending time with their families, for playing, for seeing other kids, for sports?
    I see many of them suffering by that a lot. I see many of them are defending themselves of getting put in more and more stuff. Some of them are probably so distracted by their situations in their families, by their pain, that they can hardly concentrate. When I talk to other teachers about it, they have two explanations for it: the student is stupid, the student is lazy.
    Most of them, especially the older ones are under horrible performance stress. There is nothing like learning in their speed. They have become objects. They are usually not revolting, though. They want to follow the footsteps of their parents and become even richer and more successful. Who cares how they feel? Their teachers, their parents, the students? Who cares about a healthy way of growing up? What is good for them? I am also concerned seeing a student who doesn´t make much efforts, who doesn´t do what it takes to progress. I am concerned that they will have a hard time finding a decent job then.
    And my situation? Can I seriously ask the students for doing more, when they often don´t manage their school work well? But studying an instrument does take a lot of efforts and consequence. And I am not a private teacher, where the parents pay for it fully. I have to prepare them for student concerts and exams. The public discussions about our school problems goes in a direction of how to manage to increase achievement and how to increase properity. I am wondering about my part and my possibilities, how can I support the kids? What´s really helpful to them in that situation? Any inputs?

    • says:

      I don´t have experience with this but one thing that appeals to me.this is also used in these iederwijs-schools ,that is the sociocracy-principles:
      Maybe an angle?

      • Margaret says:

        Hi Paul,
        good to have you here, we must be almost neighbours, me being Belgian. Therapy has worked out extremely well for me so far and I find it hard to express how good it feels to keep exploring that inner world of mine.
        I am curious about you and hope to hear more from you,

    • Margaret says:

      as you will never be able to make things right for them in general, just giving them a good feeling about what they do and who they are and support their love for music is a big achievement already.
      I can only speak out of my own experience with my singing teacher, who never loses her temper and ‘tunes in’ to the person she works with to choose what that person prefers to sing and from that starting point works on the techniques in a relaxed and pleasant way. Her own enthousiasm is very inspiring, and in the end we put toghether complicated performances with lots and lots of joy, in which all kinds and degrees of skill can be displayed under the best circumstances. I must say I feel very lucky and privileged with that teacher, as she is very special, a bright personality with a great sense of humour;
      My point is probably keeping the focus on the positive learning process and the fun of the performing is essential, but I think you know and are constantly improving and learning already; I hope you bring your guitar next summer, Margaret

    • Jack Waddington says:

      Sabine: You ask, “about what´s the best way to treat/raise/ teach kids with interest.”

      Way back in the early part of the 20th Century a teacher came up with an idea (that he got from a probation officer) to let the children RUN the school AND ran his school that way. His name was A.S. Neil and his school was called Summerhill, which is still in existence to this day. He wrote a book of the same name. “Summerhill” Let the children tell YOU how to teach them. Not teachers telling the kids, nor parents, nor school boards, but in order to do this you’ll need to THINK outside the box. Jack

    • Jack Waddington says:

      Sabine: an addendum … Stop teaching … permit learning Jack

      • Irena says:

        Interesting what you say. I remember we had this discussion years ago when I visited you. It is certainly true than children are under tremendous pressure today. As are most adults in their jobs situation.
        What worries me is that children are being put into school at such an early age here in England instead of being nurtured at home. Hard working parents have no time for their babies and toddlers and are glad to ‘shove’ them off where they’re ‘looked after’ and learn at the same time. I tried to change this with my own son and he did not enter school before he was 7 years old. But then was forced to start at 2nd grade and the pressure top catch up was hard for a while.

        The idea of the Summerhill School, as Paul and Jack suggested is really something to look at and see if you could translate it into your structure.
        I was teaching art for a few years at a school. It was an after school activity and I was asked to implement it. I was very worried that there would not be enough students attending. Or if they would, they might get fed up and leave after a while. What I didn’t want to do was giving more orders to follow, more ‘pressure to learn’ after a day of just that. But it was important that they would grow, that they gained a sense of pride and achievement, that they could create and be proud of the result. Instead of teaching them to draw I taught them to see. A concept that was already out there and seemed to make sense to me. This way the pupils had a certain amount of control themselves instead of feeling being controlled. Long story longer; I ended up with a packed classroom ranging from age 11 to age 56, which was the librarian of the school. Students learn when they are allowed to discover in their own way, I guess.
        They practise because they WANT to grow.

        Good luck.

  34. Margaret says:

    Thanks for your reply. I am glad to say since that time I lost my patience, that same subject was brought up two times, and it was nice to find out remaining calm and friendly opened the gate to communicating and even made my mother say, a bit like yours, things I was surprised about and could agree with.
    Isn’t it a great thing to discover how even these lttle shifts in our behaviour, we become free to do, can make such fundamental changes in the interaction and avoid so much pain and frustration?
    When I look back, I can’t believe what a way I have come since I have started therapy, with the help of my fabulous therapists and fine fellow patients, ha, and I am hopeful the best is yet to come…

    • says:

      Hi Margaret,

      Thanks too for your replies.
      I only have read some reactions randomly,are you at the primal institute or in Belgium? I have no knowledge that there is primal in Belgium so I guess it will be the first option…..I have studied in Gent.


      • Margaret says:

        I go to the Primal Institute more or less once a year since ’96, but I live in Antwerp, and have ‘studied’ for a short while in gent too.
        Feel free to mail me if you would like to know more, I already said I am curious about you, I will arrange to have my email address put on to the P. I. chatzy page that you spoke to Jack on, and you can email me if you want to.
        Do you live in L.A.? Have you been in therapy? Yeah, just curious as you can see!

  35. Renee says:

    Since Summerhill has been mentioned a few times I thought I would add my voice to the discussion. I was lucky enough to work there a number of years ago, as a houseparent. I first heard about Summerhill when I read Art Janov’s book, “The Feeling Child”, when I was around 14. There is a brief mention of the school in reference to it’s founder A.S. Neill, who rewarded children who stole. When I read that, I was curious to know more, and ended up reading many of Neill’s books. Five years later, when I travelled through Europe, I visited the school, which happened to have an opening for a houseparent. I had to lie about my age to get the job, since I was only slightly older that the oldest students, but it was the best lie I ever told! I was able to witness first hand how freedom for children works, the importance of letting them have their feelings, and that they really can be trusted to know what they need to learn and when they need to learn it. Since I was raised with the exact opposite beliefs, it was like a breath of fresh air to see children treated with such respect. The most profound way that it changed me, was that I got to see children as just regular people, who don’t need any special kind of treatment, be it be “permissive” or “authoritarian”. Of course, therapy has helped too. The more I’ve felt and remembered what happened to me as a child, and what I needed, the easier it has been to treat children with respect and understanding.
    I know that A.S. Neill read The Primal Scream. I also know that the Janovs visited Summerhill in 1970 when they were in England and met him. I would love for Vivian to write a blog of her recollections…….


    • Renee, I remember reading Summerhill in my teens and wishing I could find some way to visit this remarkable place. You are so fortunate to have had that incredible experience. I would think it had to be life changing . Should I assume this was your most significant influence in your decision to teach? Since A.S. Neill believed in rewarding the child who stole I wondered if you ever confessed your lie and what was your reward ? HA! Gretchen

      • Irena says:

        I had a hard time in Primary school. My teacher was a nice guy, very expressive and kind. But he thought that giving a lot of time to just one pupil, was doing the right thing for the pupil, which was me.
        I was weak in maths. And anything to do with lots of numbers. Good in grammar and arts. My teacher, Peter, thought if he explains to me with exuberance and infinite patience I’d then understand. What happened instead I became more and more aware of the fact that I was being singled out. The other students were being ignored. They had all the answers, but were not allowed to give them, since they had to wait until I ‘got it’ and then the lesson could continue. Only I didn’t get it. The minutes turned into weeks and the hour turned into infinity. All eyes on me. Deep breaths of exasperation throughout the class room. Blankness inside my head, panic and shame inside my heart. I was the only person left on the planet.
        It left me feeling I was one of those stupid kids other kids laugh at. The relief, when finally the attention on me was shifted, was unspeakable.
        Sometimes Peter thought he might give up his break (and mine) and while all the kids had their snacks and played in the court yard, sit me down and explain some more.
        I remember my throat burning like acid, from holding back the tears because I wanted and needed that break. I didn’t want any more of the teaching and explaining.

        Every morning I got up and it felt like I had to go into battle. We had maths every day except Saturday. And this scenario was repeated daily. For 3 years.

        • Vicki says:

          It sounds like you never expressed anything of what you were feeling, to him, or to anyone else — was that true? Then, why?

          • Irena says:

            Vicki, good question. Yes, I never told him. I don’t remember whether I might have told my Mum. I was raised not to express an opinion. They would have said than he meant well, I ought to be greatful. What I felt was not important. I didn’t count. I’m not important. I don’t matter.

            • Irena says:

              ….there is nobody there FOR ME.

              • Margaret says:

                That is a bad feeling. Does it make you angry, or mostly lost and sad?
                Or maybe it is just a feeling on its own, I guess that is what it seems most to be in my case,caused by my mother’s dominance, though of course it does feel pretty lonely,

    • Margaret says:

      nice to have you participating!

  36. sabine says:

    Thanks to everybody – Margaret, Jack, Renee´, Irena for all your responses. I appreciate also the links and I have looked through a lot of it. At the moment I let all the inputs sink into me and see where it goes.

  37. sabine says:

    After sleeping over the whole subject here are my reaction:
    I don´t want to get sent to summerhill! I want to be with my parents! I want them to see some of what I am doing. I want them to have interest in what I am doing. I want them to care. I want the teachers to care. I want have good examples. I wanna have parents where I look up to. I don´t wanna lead a school. I am little. I wanna play. I want the adult to act as adults. I don´t wanna think about what I might need to learn for me adult life. I don´t know about that. I want the adults to be responsible and I wanna be a child. I want to be surrounded by caring grown up adults. I want orientation. I want safety. I don´t want everything being up to me.

    I didn´t had to fulfill expactations. I had to raise myself. I couldn´t be a child. I wanted to grow up as fast as possible and getting able to do all that what the not grown up adults didn´t manage. Where is the trust in adults? Where is the trust in me? When somebody says to me: Sabine – you are such a loveable person! I react in the best case in starting crying. And often : okay, I am loveable and how is the wheather forecast for the weekend?

    • Margaret says:

      wow, this is the clearest description of your feelings you could ever give I think, and very sad. This explains so much of who you are, or should I say who you have had to be all these years? Because it sounds like you are making important progress all the time.

    • Larry says:

      Wow Sabine, that says so much about you. Your words are so clear and honest that I get it. I would have thought that anyone would want to have been a student at Summerhill, but now I see the other side, where Summerhill is not enough without the kind of parents we need.

  38. Margaret says:

    I am cchecking the mail over and over hoping for new comments. I couldn’t bring myself to go tangodancing today, it felt like a relief to cancel at first, and I did do some housecleaning, but now it is backfiring and I start feeling so very damned lonely.
    I hate it when leading a full life seems to need such efforts for so little reward sometimes, I am so tired of being alone, but frightened to feel so tired I won’t vring up the courage anymore to keep sruggling and make myself go out, feeling lonely and scared, but doing the only thing that can make me meet someone to share nice moments with. I am so fed up with having to work and struggle all the time, when wil it ever get easier. I know having a boyfriend at my side makes everything feel like fun, everything that feels now like a chore or frightening. I know this is a passing feeling and I will scrape myself together again, will even function fine at some point, it just sucks every now and then, and being so blind doesn’t help much really. Going for a walk used to help when I could still see well, and now it is just another scary and stressful undertaking. just wanted to share a bit, at least I will feel less isolated and hopeless. It is working already, as long as my life keeps moving in some way, for the better preferably, haha, anything can happen.
    And ok, I do need a break every now and then, and I shouldn’t feel too bad about that.It does seem to make me feel scared I make myself miss out on life, but sometimes it just seems to get too hard.

    • Larry says:

      mmmmhhhhhhhhmmmmm. I wish your life circumstances weren’t so difficult for you Margaret. Your courage in confronting your life is inpsirational, and makes me feel I am silly for feeling I have hardships and loneliness. If it helps you at all to know this, I too check the blog several times a day, even now while on holiday 800 km away from where I live, staying with relatives and enjoying visiting with family and friends here. This blog community brings added depth and dimension to my life that I seem to want to always be part of it. You guys help me feel more grounded and more able to confront life.

  39. sabine says:

    Thanks Margaret and Larry for your touching and understanding comments!

    Margaret: I am sorry what you are going through. I can imagine how hard is is for you sometimes. Just let it out and you we will feel better. You are not alone!

  40. Jack Waddington says:

    There was something in this comment of yours Margaret that inspired me to make this long comment. I have not made many long comments on this blog as I don’t use it for my therapy, I have buddies for that and also I am able, these days, to have many of my feelings on my own. I read and respond to blogs more in order to express myself about the many things that are blogged about. I go on quite a few blog sites, but here goes:- with this inspirational comment.

    I too have felt very lonely many times in my life and luckily, or unluckily for me, I had an ‘act-out’ that kept this feeling to manageable proportions. However, should I get deported, if my appeal is not granted, it could be I land in England (I would hate the weather there) with no-where I want to live or anyone I know there that I would even want to spend more than a couple of weeks with in order to settle before finding somewhere for myself. This I am almost certain would bring up more of those lonely feelings I have had in the past, and all the therapy I have used since, to feel those feelings, rather than run away from them, which my act-out enabled. I would say I spend at least one or two hours a week crying about my loneliness, currently. I do this on my own here in my trailer and go very deeply into my early childhood where most of this is really rooted. I don’t need to go into the details here.

    Sure, I have someone in my life right now, Jim my ex lover of 18 years, he is not a Primal person nor has any desire to be. We do not live together anymore, but we meet for coffee four mornings a week and I phone him three or four times a day. I love him dearly as I know and feel he does me, and that is such a great asset and gives ‘reason d’etre’ to my life. Jim is my greatest lover/companion, though there has been no sex since we brook up, some 12 years ago. Perhaps, having him in my life, is the greatest factor that allows me to feel many of my feelings alone. I am aware that for most of us, we are only able to feel some of this deeper stuff when we are ready, but my reason for saying all this here is; I hope my comment might be an inspiration to others by just knowing that it is possible to reach a point where we can feel … on our own, or inspire us to find and create buddies. A therapist is great, but often can be financially out of reach.

    As for having a great loving companion; is something that has to be worked at, and takes time. Creating buddies also requires working at, but, I say, is a worthwhile endeavor. I hope for those of you willing to plow through this comment of mine may be inspired to see a goal to accomplish, knowing that at least this one guy got there, even though we are all different, with different backgrounds and life circumstances. Good luck Margaret Jack

    • Fiona says:

      “also I am able, these days, to have many of my feelings on my own.”
      Do you feel like you need ‘witnesses’ to your feeling Jack? Is that why you prefer to buddy to get to a feeling, rather than just being alone with it. Or, like some of us; using the blog to gain access to it. I feel it is obviously MY feeling creeping in with this comment. Not much to do with you. I feel I was alone when in my past; alone for my original pain, and I am still alone when I have my feeling in the present.

      I raise the subject genuinely, Jack. In your initial response to the lunacy of Ms Chua (wa)’s insane book, you seemed to be RIGHT in the feeling … yet you craved a buddy to hear you out. Were you not ‘there’ already? The feeling was there and you had it. So why the need for a buddy?

      Like I say, probably MORE to do with me than you Jack. I am exploring something that was pointed out to me, about me. Just not brave enough to go all the way yet.

      Loneliness is awful for all of us. Having a loving, supportive partner does not necessarily mean that we are suddenly NOT lonely any longer. It is still there… I am still lonely. My partner is not answerable to my old need!

      Good luck with the appeal.

      • Jack Waddington says:

        Fiona: first thx for wishing me luck with my appeal. I’m gonna need all the luck I can get.

        The difference between feeling on ones own and having a buddy is there is an old feeling component (as you said) to the first, whereas with a buddy, its like, least-ways for me, getting feedback, which is a sort of re-assurance. In short, it’s better if there is some other person listing (and present if possible). Then having a therapist is even better cos they keep it all (hopefully) in perspective. The downside is having to pay for it and doing it at their convenience. not mine. Where possible I like to have my feeling there and then, but again not always appropriate.

        No Fiona, I dd not feel with any of your response had more to do with you than me, only in-so-far as when we utter anything it has to do with ourselves. I saw clearly what you were saying. Taking my “ravings” to a buddy was only to facilitate matters if the neighbors came round and wanted to call an ambulance or, police or a lunatic van. What is good with a buddy present, is they can take care of ones surrounding and leave us in a relatively safer place.

        Yeah, my Jimbo also is not answerable to my needs either, but he is more prepared to listen than he used to be. Yep, loneliness is gawd awful. Jack

  41. The Ultimate Guru says:

    I feel like I might be a bit insensitive to Jack, Larry, Margaret, Sabine, Irena, and Renee with the superficial comment I’m about to make…but I’m sorry I really DO have to post this because I might easily forget what I need to say here while I press on with other activities.

    I took a careful look at the word “Therapist” today and noticed it can be broken up into “The Rapist”. What does this mean? Any thoughts? A little research revealed that Will Ferrell already poked fun at this coincidence on a “Saturday Night Live” television skit once.

    • Ultimate Guru, I can’t help but notice that your moniker, if unscrambled, contain the words, GRIM MULE GUITAR TIT. It is very clear and no coincidence if you ask me! Gretchen P.S. I have to go play some Beatles songs backwards!

      • Fiona says:

        Ha Ha Ha Ha!!! ecin eno nehcterG. Evol taht margana! U.G. for short or just plain TIT! I know which I’d choose.

        Yes UG – it was insensitive.

        • The Ultimate Guru says:

          A part of me says, “Let them do what they want…I have other things I need to worry about right now.”

          Another part says:
          And starting to launch personal attacks on me because I showed how a simple word can be divided in a weird way is NOT insensitive? Unlike you two doing it for me, I even threw in a sensitivity warning for the crowd.
          PS. Gretchen, your anagram has more letters than my name.

          • Hey UG, It was the best I could do on short notice, I am surprised I was even close. Actually I was just kidding and I had no problem at all with your question,in fact, I thought it was interesting. Did you think my response was an attack? I am a little confused by what you are saying. Gretchen

            • The Ultimate Guru says:

              Your comment alone didn’t bother me, but when Fiona teamed up with you it felt like, “This has gone a bit too far.”
              I actually laughed about your anagram at first and shrugged it off.
              I was 95% sure the “therapist” oddity was simply ammunition for comedians, but I think most of us instinctively know that there have been stories of “therapy gone bad” (as Vicki pointed out). This simply led to the other 5% of me wondering aloud on the blog as to whether there was a deeper meaning to therapist word being divided.
              I suppose I started to feel like some sort of a whipping boy when Fiona teamed up with you; your comment alone didn’t push it over the edge for me.

              • The Ultimate Guru says:

                In light of what I just wrote, I have to wonder how politicians and business leaders can withstand criticisms from large crowds of people that may not like them. It seems to take a strength of character and fortitude I just don’t have…

              • Ug, I was going to start this by saying “Are you calling me an oddity?” But see, this is my quirky sense of humor again. I did not see Fiona’s reaction as teaming up against you but clearly you will need to ask her. I thought she just found me amusing HA! As for being sensitive to criticism – it is difficult to put yourself out there and sometimes you will get hurt. Personally I think it is better to be showing yourself than not, whatever the reactions. Hiding just takes so much energy. Gretchen

  42. says:

    Fun stuff for the comedy factory!

  43. Vicki says:

    U.G., the Urban Dictionary says that Sean Connery often used the joke when playing celebrity Jeopardy, with “I’ll take the rapist for 500”. But it’s just coincidence, that became fodder for comedians, as people like to poke fun at “therapy”, much of which has little or nothing in common with Primal.

    “Therapy” is rooted in the Greek “therapeia”, for “curing, or healing”, whereas “rape” is derived from Anglo-French, in turn from Latin “rapere”, which meant to “seize, abduct, carry off by force”, and rarely, “sexual violation”.

    Some people online don’t think “Therapist=The Rapist” is a joke at all, as they talk about the mentally ill having treatment forced on them, violating international human rights standards. Others write that therapists “are mind rapists”, and “Even when they hooked up people to electric prods it was called medicine.” There are plenty of “therapy” horror stories, not hard to find.

    An old friend of mine was put into a mental institution for a year and a half when she was 15, where she had numerous electroshock treatments, because she had a “crush” on a neighbor lady, and her father didn’t know what to do, and he decided she was “out of control”. When I first began P.T., we had a Primal box at my house, and this friend saw it (from the outside), but was so frightened by it, she could express nothing, and it was many months before she told me what the problem was, from her past.

    • The Ultimate Guru says:


      Thank you for your mature, balanced, and thoughtful response to my inquiry into this eerie coincidence. There are very few “redivider” words in the English language, and “therapist” just happens to have an ominous redivided meaning for the reasons you stated. I seriously wasn’t 100% sure it was a coincidence when I first noticed it.

      • Vicki says:

        U.G., I also had some doubts as to whether your question was serious, especially when it just took seconds to find the actual word derivations, so I figured you could have easily answered your own question. But I also had the suspicion you wanted to be taken seriously. So I chose to respond.

        Later, when I saw Gretchen’s & Fiona’s responses, I laughed, but then wondered if you would feel some hurt. It’s hard to take risks, and “blurt” things out, i.e., “be yourself”, without being more vulnerable, emotionally. It kinda goes with the territory. I don’t think it’s a weakness.

  44. Renee says:

    Margaret — Thank you!

    Gretchen — Didn’t you start therapy when you were in your teens? Just think how your life might have turned out differently had you visited Summerhill and ended up working there. You might never have ended up at the Institute!
    As for my lie…….well, I never confessed it. But I was actually both rewarded and punished for it. I was rewarded by getting to work at the school, which was a dream come true for me. But I was also punished in a way. Neill’s wife, Ena, told me that she kept all the staffs’ passports so I would need to give mine to her. I was haunted by guilt feelings the whole time I was there that she had checked my date of birth and knew I had lied. That did not feel good.
    You are right, though, in that working there changed my life. After that, I knew my passion was to work with children and I would spend my life doing it. But not by teaching them, I’ve never been interested in that. Rather by allowing them to teach me….. about being fully in the present, authentic, creative, spontaneous etc. And I find that these qualities come out much easier in me when I am around them. Does this make sense to anyone?

    • Renee, Yes, it makes perfect sense. I think you probably just described the perfect teacher. I might add that I once had a teacher that in many ways changed the course of my life. It is amazing to think you may have done that for some of the children you have worked with as well. By the way did you ever wonder if Ena did indeed look at that passport? Maybe all things considered your age turned out to be not so important. Gretchen

  45. Irena says:

    Back to Margret
    I feel very sorry that you are having such a lonely time. It must be a dark world, your world, sometimes. I would think your isolation can be severe. Prehaps we sometimes take it for granted what we see, that we have friends and lovers in our lives. It can’t be easy when you have experienced something during the day and – coming home, there is nobody to share it with. Even the smallest thing. And many things must be hard work for you in everyday life. We swiftly go about our ways multitasking without thinking twice.
    You are a brave, brave woman. I have great respect for you, the way you go about your life and do your therapy.

    • Jack Waddington says:

      Renee: Yes, it make perfect sense to me. Children are closer to their feelings, until parents and sometimes teachers traumatize them out of it. Just being around feeling-full creatures (children); some of it just has to rub-off; unless you’re totally fucked-up, then the tendency it to fuck them over, like you/we were, believing/hoping that you are you’re civilizing/teaching them.

      For me; the act of believing, is neurotically crazy (course, neurosis is always crazy). You either KNOW or You DON’T KNOW AND … You can only ‘know’ WHAT YOU FEEL. All other knowing is learned … reasoning, NOT feeling.

      For many, this may constitute a conceptual leap. Jack

    • Margaret says:

      Dear Irena,
      that was such a nice sensitive comment, I really felt you sensed how it often is for me, it means a lot to me.
      And Jack, I like that inspiration of yours, way to go!
      I feel a bit worn out right now, got a busy day in a lot of ways. It is true Irena, missing a person to share things with is a big void, one consolation, a big one too, is this: I was crying on my couch, after a session, and as often happens when I am like that, a pair of long whiskers ticckled my face and a tiny little nose touched mine. My lovely pussycat is so good at cheering me up and brightening my days, she makes me smile so very often, and cuddling her relaxes my soul and body.

  46. Margaret says:

    Hi all,
    as my mom used to be my teacher for a short while when I was 4 to 5 years old, this relates a bit to the teaching topic, as well as being my feeling after the session I just had.
    My mom used to repeat over and over how extremely smart and intelligent I was, and how I could become anything I wanted, a doctor, an astronaut, a nuclear physician, no kidding, I am serious.
    It did give me selfconfidence to some degree, quite a bit actually, but the down part is I was also left with a terrible fear of disappointing her. It feels as if only spectacularly outstanding and impressive would feel like good enough for me to feel safe, so even simply doing my best might leave me feeling not good enough.It is a terrible feeling to ‘disappoint’ your parents, and I am stuck with it in a way as I have messed up my life pretty badly overall, if you leave aside the great inner achievement of regaining the capacity to love myself.
    But being a good teacher can make such a diference in someone’s life, I remeber all the teache(rs that smiled to me approvingly. Mostly language and gym teachers now I think of it, certainly not the math ones, ha!
    I love my mom crocodile, want her to be nice to me, it is not her fault she has theze big sharp teeth.

  47. Leon says:

    Billy Joel:

    Everybody’s got a million questions
    Everybody wants to know the score
    What you went through
    It’s something you
    Should be over now

    Everybody wants to hear the secrets
    That you never told a soul before
    And it’s not that strange
    Because it wouldn’t change
    what happened anyhow

    But you swore to yourself a long time ago
    There were some things that people never needed to know
    Guess there’s one that you keep
    That you bury so deep
    No one can tear it out

    And you can’t talk about it
    Because you’re following a code of silence
    You’re never gonna to lose the anger
    You just deal with it a different way

    And you can’t talk about it
    And isn’t that a kind of madness
    To be living by a code of silence
    When you’ve really got a lot to say

  48. Renee says:

    If anyone is interested in an educational critique of Amy Chua’s book, check out the link below, from Psychology Today. It compliments Barry’s psychological critique very well. It also reminds us that our educational system is not that different from the Chinese one that Chua describes.

    I particularly like this part:
    “If we want a system of education that is consistent with our beliefs about freedom, self-determination, and the democratic ethos that many of us still claim to hold dear, then we need to found it on the philosophy of the real tiger mother, not that of the tiger trainer in the circus. Real tiger mothers let their cubs play, because they know that cubs are designed, by nature, to play in ways that teach them what they need to learn to grow successfully toward tiger adulthood. Tiger trainers, on the other hand, use the whip to train young tigers to do all sorts of things that tigers don’t want to do, just for the purpose of entertaining others and showing off the trainers’ skills.”


    • Renee, Wow, that is great and so true. It is comforting to know that we are not alone in our views about the failure of our educational system. Maybe there is hope yet that there can be a change in the future. Thanks for posting that! Gretchen

    • Fiona says:

      Yes Renee! What an excellent quote to choose. A perfect analogy of where it all goes horribly wrong. Great input, thanks.

  49. sabine says:

    I read the comments already 15 minutes ago and realized that I need to response and in the meantime there are two more comments and I am feeling even more discouraged by them. Anyway: I am very interested in learning more about summerhill and co, because I am convinced that there are parts which are very beneficial for my students. I also like the tiger story and – Renee I would love to talk more to you about that subject. I don´t have really the insight how you are “learning” with your students, but I can imagine that you have been very important for you students.
    But there is so much where my heart is revolting and screaming: no, no.
    Gretchen: I fully agree that we can learn so much from kids and I am so happy about how people are deep inside, the way we are born, until neurosis comes in…and kids are still so close to that and I love it.
    But I don´t agree that kids are little adults and should be treated as that. The kids brain and systems are not fully developed as you and many of us know better than I. It feels the whole subject is seen from a perspective of experiences of repression, abuse, having no rights…And of course the major american aim: wanting freedom.
    When I think at my teaching situation even at the first lesson where I tell kids how to hold the guitar and how to plug the strings. I provide them to learn from thousands of people´s experiences. When they have already get used to not useful movements it´s incredibly hard to unlearn.
    I think when we treat kids like adults, we are horribly overtaxing them, they are lacking orientation, safety, they might feel uncared and unloved. Haven´t we already learned that from history?
    I had so much freedom and self-determination, it was a lot more damaging than the abuse I also experienced.
    Not so surprisingly the same about therapy: I did classical psychoanalysis for five years before I started PT. Again a therapist behind me, who wouldn´t say a single word the whole session, who wouldn´t respond to my questions. I had every freedom, I could do everything, say everything. But where was my freedom when I decided I want to learn about something. When I want a response? When I want a help? Why going to a therapist then? Where is my freedom to decide whether I wanna go with the old feeling or want to work on something in the present? Well I had the freedom to leave, what I finally did. Two therapists.
    I don´t think that I ever got understood in my needs, because this: it´s all up to you mentallity, also tells me that someone else knows better than I what I need.
    I have probably learned the most when I was emotionally away from Pt, with an attitude : I don´t listen to anybody anymore and figure out everything by myself, learning through trial and error and observation. But I didn´t learn trust in anybody else that way. I didn´t feel understood, I didn´t feel helped.
    Jesus Christ – at home I am surrounded of people who think I am crazy for what I am doing and now here in the primal community I also against probably everybodies
    opinion. How many people will crucify me?
    But I need to be myself and I need to show who I am. And I am alone with probably nobody who agrees. It feels alone against the rest of the world. And I am never right for others the way I am.
    Rereading this comment before I sent it makes me feel very sad about those parts I have experienced in therapy.

    • Margaret says:

      Am I right when I say your point is children, and you, need advice and help?
      Didn’t you get any of that in the present from your therapists? I am just asking, as what you write might sound like that to people that don’t know much about you.

    • Larry says:

      Sabine, the negative aspects of freedom that you write about sound more like unhealthy permissiveness. The mother tiger doesn’t abandon her kitten to complete freedom to go find its own food, wandering on its own across the sarengetti into the jaws of a hyena. The freedom that you write of experiencing sounds more like you received irresponsible neglect and outright abandonment.

    • Sabine, I could be wrong but I think you may be misunderstanding something. I don’t believe that anyone is suggesting we treat children as “little adults” in fact, I believe it is quite the opposite. I think you may be confusing the difference between allowing children the freedom to be children and the lack of respect for a child’s liberty that we often see. In terms of old feelings you may be unclear about the difference between autonomy and what is really neglect. In the present we often struggle with what is actually in the past and what is happening in the present. I think you will find, as you confront the painful childhood memories, that concepts like freedom will hold little relevance anymore. I actually think you might feel that your “freedom” can never again be threatened. Gretchen

    • says:

      Some time ago I saw documentaries about those anti-authoritarian kindergarten,you can indeed say that there was to much freedom.Grown ups decided not to intervene,so some children really terrorized the others.
      They discussed whether they should do something in case one child beats the other with a hammer on the head.
      Looking back on that time now they concluded that these ideas were more an expression of their own unresolved trauma´s.

      • Paul, What is a bit shocking is that anyone would need to discuss how to handle a child hitting another child with a hammer! ” Let me see, what should I do when when little Susie gives little Joey a concussion ?” I could have suggested they not supply their kindergarten with hammers to begin with! The adults decided they had unresolved issues ? I guess, but again, this scenario has nothing to do with freedom – in my opinion their first mistake was believing that it did . Gretchen

        • says:

          Gretchen,these were ideas in the seventies of the protest generation.Indeed real hammers and real nails.They had the idea that children would learn how to behave when they saw the consequences of their actions,that a friend had to cry or got angry and might not be a friend anymore.

          But actually the adults felt very guilty afterwards when they did not intervene.Paul

          • Vicki says:

            There’s something robotic about that kind of lock-step experimentation. Some callousness going on. Reminds me when my dad “taught me” the wrong way to stand for a baseball pitch, by letting me get hit with the ball, instead of warning me and explaining. He thought it was funny. I just remember feeling I couldn’t trust him, he will let me get hurt.

            • Jack Waddington says:

              Vicki/Gretchen: I lived through that period in the hippy enclave in Ibiza, Spain and there was never, to the best of my experiences, any parents, kindergartens, or others, suggesting that “letting children do their will” If I had seen it happening I would have immediately taken anything lethal from the child, hitting the other and intervened if they had been hitting one another with fists or kicks. I am certain that any parent seeing me do that would NOT have stopped me either, but would have re-acted in a similar manner. However, that was in Europe. I had little idea what was happening in the United States, other than following Richard Nixon’s escapades.

              The, so called, permissiveness, would have been better represented by suggesting that what we all were aiming for, was the ‘POWER OF LOVE’. Children were present at all the parties we had, and there were many and they were treated as children and allowed to express themselves relatively freely. They seemingly loved the parties as we adults did. It was for me a powerful time in my lifetime history and it was there I read “The Primal Scream” in 1973. It took me another seven years to get to Los Angeles and start therapy. Jack

              • says:

                Did see something of that enclave on Ibiza on television.I think it was called an artists colony here.
                With all that sunshine that must have been some kind of paradise,but that is probably disregarding all the negative sides.

                The interesting thing of the previous mentioned conflict between those boys and the hammer is that conflict and fight can arise in a matter of seconds.They both wanted the hammer,desire,and had the hammer in their grip and started pulling very hard.All right under the nose of the adult,a parent.One won it and the other started to cry but when he noticed that did not help he wanted to take the hammer again.The other boy (~4 years) now threatened him with a raised hammer to beat him if he did not back off.At the end nothing happened.
                Interesting question is,can you trust children of this age that they do not severely hurt each other?

            • says:

              It is a pity,but there is no longer video material online anymore from this documentary.That robotic kind of behaviour was also why these adults got strong conflicts with each other,most of them could not do it .
              Still it has been a strong influence,that everything should be possible to do and that has now been corrected by going back in time towards more authoritarian thinking.

              Thinking of those hammers,that was a point for me as a child too.I wanted a real hammer too.What I got was that childplay stuff that was totally useless.With that you could not get a nail into wood.

              • says:

                Correction: The word useless should be unusable.
                And it was not whether they should intervene with the hammer conflict between the two boys but when.

  50. The Ultimate Guru says:

    Don’t let my comment distract you from answering Margaret’s question if you want to. Your post moved me just enough to shed one single tear today. To keep my post as short as I can your comment about “freedom and self-determination without orientation” being damaging seemed to do it for me.

  51. Renee says:

    Fiona and Gretchen: I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Yes, it is good to know that we are not alone in our views. Even though it might feel that way a lot of the time. And I particularly liked that last paragraph of the article —I think it’s beautiful reality check…… remember what real tigers do!

    Sabine: What makes you think people will crucify you for what you have written?


  52. sabine says:

    A cat takes a dead mouse to their kittens when they are about three weeks old. At the age of four or five weeks she brings a living mouse to her kittens.
    My two cats didn´t make this experience. The one of them wasn´t interested in hunting at all till she was about 1,5 years old. The other cat was very interested in hunting, but she didn´t know what to hunt. It was pathetic watching her on her way to figure out what it is all about although she clearly felt her hunting instinct. She came home with leaves, stones, mud, shaked it ( to my fun all in my kitchen) and was cluesless. She climbed the ladder up to insects and co. She learned finally hunting at the age of about 9 months. In nature both cats would have died, without mothers teaching and example.
    Wild animals who are born in captivity, needs a special training to get able to survive in freedom.
    In the first ten years of my therapy I experienced that my life was getting worse and worse. Because of loosing way too much, way too fast defences, I was in incredible overwhelming pain, where I couldn´t find any floor under my feet any more. I was obsessed with wanting to die. When time went on I got more and more sick. The lack of sleep because of my sleeping disorders became serious, I had often fever for weeks or months, inflamations on and on. I was more and more becoming a wrack. Friends told me I am crazy doing this therapy. But for me it also was against all my instincts. Therapy is supposed to help me and not making everything worse. I was endlessly confused, didn´t often know if I am doing the right thing,was looking for orientation and the safety that I would survive. It was also extremly painful for me, experiencing that the people I loved the most, weren´t interested in or capable of dealing with what I was going through.

    I learned to survive in nature and found my ground under my feet again. Fortunately after ten years I finally starting benefitting from therapy. But now I am very concerned as I am seeing that I can´t trust, can´t connect, can´t get close any more what I easily could in the beginning of Pt. So I am on my way through the pain, the very old and the less old to recover those essential abilities to love and to recieve love.

    So Margaret, I hope I answered your question.
    Renee, I find it especially dangerous admitting that there were parts in therapy, I was very unhappy with and don´t agree with. I think many people react very strongly to that.

    • Margaret says:

      what happpened that makes you not feeling able to trust anymore?You seemed to be feeling better and better not so long ago. What do you need to?

      • sabine says:

        Yes, I am feeling better and better, but considering from where I am coming from, that doesn´t mean that everything is going great now. But I am very glad about this change.
        What happened that I lost trust? There were a lot of hurt over years and that of course on the top of my old pain. I think grieving is the most important thing what I need to overcome this. Positive experiences now also would help. Thanks Margaret for your interest!

    • Vicki says:

      Sabine, you said, “In the first ten years of my therapy…”, and later, “after ten years I finally starting benefitting from therapy.” But in an earlier comment, you said, “I did classical psychoanalysis for five years before I started PT.” Are you including your five years of psychoanalysis as part of your ten years of therapy? I would think they are very different “therapies”, so I am not sure what you mean.

      And since you don’t live here in L.A., you’re not in continual Primal therapy on an ongoing basis. There’s a difference between working with your therapist regularly, and being all on your own most of the time, with only occasional or irregular involvement in actual therapy. In some of what you wrote, it sounds like you felt you needed to isolate yourself in some ways (“I don´t listen to anybody anymore and figure out everything by myself”). It sounds like that was because you felt overwhelmed, “endlessly confused”, and having your defenses crumble. Is that correct?

      If so, I can say I know that feeling, as I have been there myself. But while I felt my feelings, and did learn some things “all on my own” while I had no choice, the other side of that coin, unfortunately, is that my aloneness became more entrenched. Not wanting that to continue, I finally found my way back into P.T., and have been consistent about it ever since — through ups, downs, and whatever. And persevering has made a difference.

      • sabine says:

        Yes Vicki, I included the five years of analysis in those 10 years. In the analysis I experienced it was all about feelings, so I count it. I am now nearly seven years in Pt and I live the primal therapy every day. I did a phone session and two till four buddy sessions a week during the whole time and spent more than 1,5 years counting my stays together in Los Angeles. So I think I am more than involved in therapy, even when I can´t attend the groups when I am at home.
        I became extremly desperate, because I was working that hard, feeling and feeling, connecting and connecting with my old pain and became worse and worse and my health suffered more and more by my emotional state. People at home told me I am crazy that I do this therapy where it obviously makes everthing worse, people in primal told me I just need to feel more (?). I didn´t get help and explanations why this is all happening and got more and more confussed till I decided I figure that out on my own. I finally learned how things are working, how to handle it and I finally got support from Barry.
        I am very glad that this is over for me, but thinking at those horrible ten years is still so painful. I wish things would have gone very differently for me. I wish I would have gotten understanding and support and care from the people I was closest to, I wish I would have gotten explanations, help, guide,warmth… I got some of that, but the majority of reactions were negative and made it even worse. Even now when I am writing I feel sooo sad and hurt and my tears are falling at the keyboard. Thanks, Vicki

  53. Jack Waddington says:

    Barry: You say; “Let’s find a better word than ‘blog’! “what word do YOU suggest? The word “BLOG” has become a colloquialism (style or usage), and, I contend, there is a general understanding in the internet community what it entails/signifies. As I understand it, it is a forum for expressing your ideas/feelings about the subjects/matter in question. what it is not is ‘therapy’ though it can be very therapeutic. It’s a shortening of web-log;- log:- ‘logging on’. I feel it’s best left alone. Jack

    • Fiona says:

      I thought it was log as in ‘Ships log’. Meaning to write down as a record of… or as in a diary???

      How about calling this a “Bent” as in: a web vent (-ing of feeling)?
      … or a “Prog” as in Primal log?
      I could get silly here – but that would be way too unusual for me.

  54. Jack Waddington says:

    Paul NL: I find it interesting how we neurotics use words in a manner to emphasize our own ‘point of view’. The word in question here was “permissive” . Permissive times, allowing people to demonstrate against repressive governments is a whole different matter than permissively allowing children to beat one another up. The aforementioned A.S. Neil in one of his books talked about how he dealt with a student taking his anger out on a dog. (The boss give you a bad time so you come home and kick the dog; syndrome). Children fighting and attempting to harm others are involved in misplaced responses to their feelings. They need an outlet to express the feeling. The Primal notion is to take the response (expression of the feeling; emotion) to where it REALLY belongs, in order to prevent neurotic responses, yeah?.

    We hippies at that time, never thought of ourselves as over indulging in permissiveness. We certainly were questioning many conventional pre-conceived notions.

    Sadly, the hippy invasion of Ibiza was the beginning of the degradation of that beautiful Island. Not by most of us, but by the tourists that followed in our wake. Jack

  55. says:

    Jack,Yeah? Well I came across some other ideas then primal thinking and that is that conflict is inherent to human beings.Philosopher Rene Girard,his books are unreadable as many philosophers,says that conflict arises when two people desire one and the same thing.
    That is the situation of those boys,there is not one reacting on the other,they both want the same thing and are fighting equally.
    And it is not permissive,at least in this case,to beat each but to let the children solve their own conflict.You can say that same situation could also happen when there are no adults around.I don´t know what is good I just find it interesting.

    For me personally it has to do with repression of fighting,that that has been negative for me,from birth to childhood.

  56. Jack Waddington says:

    Paul NL: I don’t feel/believe CONFLICT is inherent to human-beings. To me, that is another ASSUMED notion by neurotics. Further, I don’t feel/believe we humans are inherently neurotic: we acquired it in our evolution/development … not too long ago evolutionary-wise. I feel/believe we are inherently CO-OPERATIVE … but we lost that ability on becoming neurotic. There is a way back IMO, but going into that requires a little more space than I would have on this blog. However, in short: it’s re-thinking our parenting practices. Jack

  57. says:

    Did you find evidence for what you think,even our neighbours the chimpansees have conflicts in the wild and can kill.For me that is reason to believe that there has been no era in mankind without conflict or fight.

  58. Jack Waddington says:

    Yes Paul. Jack

  59. erron says:

    apropos of nothing:

    love that piano…


  60. Fiona says:

    My feeling today – sung by Alanis:

  61. erron says:

    thanks Fiona, sent this to my wife…

    • Fiona says:

      Interesting, Erron…. sent for you or for her?? just curious…. actually; just plain nosey. Triggers me into big feelings, and I am never sure if the song triggers first, or if I listen to it BECAUSE I am close to those feelings. I think feeling first, song because….

  62. raindog says:

    probably for both, Fiona. I like music that makes me feel, and that reminds me that I’m not alone, which is often how the world I inhabit makes me feel (yeah yeah, I know it’s an old feeling too ;-))

    • Fiona says:

      I didn’t realise just how much my choice of music has always been influenced by my ‘current’ brewing feeling! I mean; grunge/metal when I am angry, or dance when I am on a high as examples. It was only during my intensive that I became aware of the link. Since then I have exploited the fact, and will make efforts to listen to a particular song IF it keeps going through my mind. When I listen I am often amazed at the shockingly precise lyrics involved. How can they sing what I feel anyway. And what’s more to the point – why don’t I get any royalties??

      Anyway – I am glad you shared with me Erron. I felt less alone because you enjoyed it…. actually I felt less UN-usual, and less of a freak.

  63. Larry says:

    I’m glad you shared some of your music triggers Erron and Fiona. They are touching songs. I’m going to follow your lead and post a choice of mine, even though it feels selfish of me to do it, because so far I haven’t found anyone else who likes this unconventional artist, and the vocals are unintelligible to me. The visual imagery is straightforward though, and combined with the music transports me back to the relentless battle my wife and I faced in the diagnosis of her cancer and ultimate loss of her innocent life, and as well as finds me regrouping at the threshold of my future, my demons poised to destroy me as I step alone into it.

    • Fiona says:

      Larry, is this the same group as you posted on the other blog. I prefer this song. I assume they are speaking French.
      The imagery is so powerful. I can understand why it relates to Noreen’s plight. That never ending, ever changing fight with cancer.

      A relentless attack, Larry. I am so sorry that Noreen lost her battle; and that you lost out on her.

      • Larry says:

        They are speaking Icelandic Fiona.

        I hesitate to share here significant feelings that I had recently. I wonder why post it. Odd when I think how much we encourage each other to express our feeling. The thing is that these are feelings already felt. A lot of you have supported me on my journey of grief over the loss of my wife one and a half years ago. We all have a journey of some sort of grief. I want to share with you a kind of milestone in mine.

        In Canada in February my soul is at its bleakest, darkest, coldest of any time of year. Even this morning, so close to Spring, the temperature outside was -25C. In me had been brewing a longing to drive the 850 kilometers across the frozen prairie to Winnipeg for a few days visit with family, some friends, and especially a lady friend. I felt I risked falling flat on my face, since my visit didn’t coincide with any official holiday and I feared everyone I visited would politely tolerate me but wonder what am I doing in Winnipeg?

        My fears were groundless. My visit was warmly received by everyone. I found myself feeling more full, more grounded, more of the whole person
        After my visit in Winnipeg and my return to Sasatoon, I basked in the glow of warm feeling until about Friday evening. Then emptiness caught up with me and I couldn’t evade it. I had a very long cry this Saturday afternoon. I was putting some items away in a closet that I rarely use, when my eye fell upon our parkas that my wife and I used to wear when living in Winnipeg, now hanging long unused in the closet. I brought out her parka, from an early hopeful young time in our marriage, hugged it close to me and cried and cried. I cried revisiting how stunned we were with the diagnosis of cancer, and how it mercilessly brought an end to her life and our life together. I cried feeling how much she brought to my life, and how empty it feels now without her. I cried feeling the love from her. I cried calling out I love you in a way that I eventually couldn’t in our marriage, because I couldn’t move to the west coast for her then, and she feeling hurt, exclaimed that I didn’t love her, and so I was thereafter unable to tell her I loved her, since I must not since I wouldn’t move west for her. I cried for all that missed opportunity for telling her that I loved her, and cried telling her now. It feels so empty without her now. I cried for my parents love, for them to please let down their walls, let go their defenses for a moment, just for a moment be human and love me when I was little and let me love them back and feel like their son. I cried because I love them anyway, but their time with me is past. I cried imagining myself on the edge of the Pacific, at Tofino, where my wife loved to holiday with me, where I scattered her ashes. I cried imagining being there, where her ashes are, knowing that this is as close as I can ever get to her physically now, and I want so much to be with her. I cried because they gave me insurance money following her death and I felt no, this can’t be, I want her, not this nightmare money. I cried because she is gone, and our time together is all over. I cried because if I am ever to share life deeply and meaningfully with someone else, I have to feel how my life with my wife is ended and the past. I cried because it hurts so much and nobody can make it go away and I need her and miss her and I cried and cried for what I had for a little while in my life and don’t anymore and miss so much.

        • Larry says:

          #@!@#@!$#~% That wasn’t ready for posting yet. I was still in the process of cutting and pasting and editing. Shit. We need a delete option for accidental not yet ready postings.

          • Jack Waddington says:

            Larry: there obviously is a delete option since Atty used it in part on one of my comments. Maybe Atty can tell us how it’s done. One caveat we should only be allowed to delete part or all of our own comments … not anyone else’ Jack

          • I fixed it Larry ! Gretch

            • Larry says:

              Thanks Gretchen. It was mostly names I wanted removed, of people who’ve never participated on this blog. I can live with the rest of my not-ready-yet accidental post which includes and unfinished transition paragraph to my cut-and-paste write up of my feelings.

        • sabine says:

          Wau, Larry! Thanks for sharing this. I am again touched by your grieving and I think you are doing a wonderful job. It´s so important to let it all out and express it and wandering more and more towards the possibility of a new love. I am glad you had such a good visit in Winnipeg, too. Is there more you wanna say about your not moving to the west coast?

          • Larry says:

            Sabine, all I would add about moving to the west coast is that the job I was doing was a very important part of who I am, and I was unlikely to get a job like it again if I quit. My wife had a history, that she acknowledged on her deathbed, of always wanting to be somewhere else, which threatened to seriously disrupt our life together. In our late marriage, after some years of training, she got a very good job well suited to her talents and that she didn’t want to leave and finally didn’t have the urge to be somewhere else.

            I go to a weekly bereavement group here, non-primal. Most of us in the group are shocked when some of the members latch onto whoever else in the group it seems will have them, though to us they seem ill suited for each other. Many in the group won’t contemplate having a new relationship, and instead look forward to seeing their partner in heaven one day. Though some of us in the group dare hope for one, we feel we can’t yet responsibly enter a meaningful relationship with someone new while still emotionally deeply involved with our departed spouse. I can see that I am healing more completely than the others because they are unable to let go of wanting their deceased partner, whereas I am able to do lots and lots and lots of crying good-bye and accept deep truths that she is gone and our time is over. I still have lots more to go. Having feelings for someone new in my life makes me want to shed my wound and be whole and intensifies my passage through that pain of loss, out of my numbness. I feel sad that the others in my group have to live out their lives trapped with all that bottled up unresolved feeling of loss and emptiness. More than they, because of primal therapy, I’m able to see the journey of pain I must take and I feel I have a chance of healing and having a healthy meaningful relationship one day, with all of its ups and downs and give and take.

            • Larry says:

              I know how we feel afraid of taking too much time and space here. That’s how I feel right now. But just before I exit the stage, I’m going to risk posting one last song:

  64. Jack Waddington says:

    Is there a reason The Primal Institute is leaving this blog posted (4 weeks)? Maybe Barry or Gretchen will answer me. Just seeing it, cos i can’t/won’t read it again, it makes me so angry. Anyone, I contend, that has re-lived (revisited) their early childhood would not be able to write this stuff that Amy Chua wrote. It’s bizarre.

  65. Jack Waddington says:

    A couple of months ago I asked my doctor to change my HIV medication to the ‘one pill a day,’ without food. I have been taking it now for 5 – 6 weeks but still being affected by some side effects. The first one is experiencing extremely vivid and sometimes weird dreams. Another; is feeling ‘high’ (as in smoking marijuana) for most of the daytime. More recently the dreams for me are ‘horrendous,’ reliving my early childhood and a couple of even womb experiences. When I awake from them I am flooded with insights and left over-awed for quite sometime. These are not new experiences for me, however nearly every night is new). The child in me calls them “HORRID”. Just needed to say all this to folks that (hopefully) understand. Jack

  66. Jack Waddington says:

    Are these experiences due to the new medication? – or – a new stage in my therapy? – or – on nearing my own death? Anyone any ideas? Jack

    • Fiona says:

      Jack – In reading your comments on these blogs over the months I am aware that you seem to be VERY aware of your … maturity. You are not at the beginning of your life, and you know it. You are also deeply ‘into’ your P.T and live it to your fullest, as far as I can perceive what you relate here.
      You also seem to be experiencing the side effects of the drug alteration.

      It could be all three that are affecting you.

      What does it leave you with?
      Do you feel overwhelmed?
      If you feel ‘high’, does it affect your ability to feel properly?

      I don’t feel I can offer you any clever or even useful insights. I would be glad to help if I could; but that is MY neurosis speaking for me again!

      Are you asking for help?

      • Fiona says:

        I took the contraceptive pill for a few months. I HATED IT! I felt weird the whole time. I could almost feel it inside me. Changed me so much I couldn’t wait to stop. And that is just ‘the pill’ which isn’t supposed to do all that! Usually I am totally un-affected by side affects of drugs. So I found it strange to notice that I did not feel like ‘me’ when I took it.
        Besides; no matter how hard I try I never manage to get pregnant! LOL!

        If you feel like this drug is better for you in the long run, is it worth persevering. Was the old regime of drugs unmanageable? Could you go back to that?

      • Jack Waddington says:


        You are giving me the idea that I felt most, that it has to do with ALL THREE. I suspected that, but threw out the question. No I am not overwhelmed, just as i put it over-awed (if there is a difference, which I think there is). Feeling ‘high’ actually, for me, facilitates feelings. I wasn’t asking for help, I was asking for ideas, and you gave me yours, and that was great. Just what I was asking for. Thx Fiona

        • Jack Waddington says:

          I could go back if I wished, but I don’t want to do that. The old one was too much hassle, taking it with food two pills twice a day

        • Fiona says:

          [Big smile] Glad to help a bit. Also glad you are ok, was a bit worried. I agree there is a difference between overwhelmed and over-awed; not that it matters, because it is your perception! Wonder what Larry thinks?

    • Larry says:

      Jack, have you ever before experienced entering a “new stage” in your therapy? Over time for me access opens to earlier and earlier feelings and memories, sometimes scarier than others when I shed another defense, but my experience of the process of therapy has always been the same, expected, predictable, understandable. I’m curious as to how it is for you?

      • Jack Waddington says:

        Larry: Experiencing a new stage in therapy? yep many times. Therapy for me is an ongoing process, as you also state, going deeper and deeper, to the point of pure sensations when experiencing womb stuff. It’s just that this experience of a new medication is new and different and almost nightly. That’s why I used the blog to comment on it. But thanks for you response Larry. Jack

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