The Stealth Group

It occurred to me recently that I probably get ten questions about group therapy for every one about anything else we do at the Institute. Many of us feel some confusion about the group process and I would guess that most of us have had an inclination to avoid it, at least initially. We tend to not only undervalue group in the therapeutic process but to misunderstand how and why it is so effective. So why the confusion? I think it begins with the idea that group is no different than the individual session only split into pieces to be shared with the other members of the group, a veritable therapeutic pie. Some of us come to group with an agenda, much like we might if we were attending an individual session. We might arrive hoping to discuss a particular issue and then struggle with finding our moment to speak. If group should end before we have taken our “turn” we will often feel we have not gotten our moneys worth. These approaches belie the efficacy of the group experience. I think we need to look at several important factors to better understand how group can make a difference in our therapy. First,how is a Primal group different than the many other therapeutic groups in any community? From a Primal perspective,we see group as a pathway to feeling, an aid in feeling. A trigger for specific memories that might otherwise be avoided within the individual session. Practically speaking,Primal groups are often larger groups then those we might see in the average therapist’s office. They are also much longer as most groups outside of the Institute will be completed in about an hour and a half. On the other hand we have found we need more time to run a productive Primal group. My group for instance runs at least three hours and is affectionately referred to as “The group that never ends”. Perhaps most important of all is that we are not looking to modify behavior based on how our group participants relate to each other. So what is our view? We see group first and foremost as a microcosm.It represents every group in a sense, the family,school and workplace to name just a few. Rather than describe our experiences in those settings we expose them within the group. We do not need to discuss our difficulties in maintaining relationships or our problems with intimacy because eventually,within the group,those concerns will be revealed and accessible. We see group as an absolute treasure trove of clues, all leading us toward the reality of our childhoods and to deeper feelings. As therapists we find so much to observe and process. Who is consistently late? Who sits in the same spot for each group or closest to the door? Who is struggling within each group or refusing to speak? One can see how feelings previously concealed and suppressed will soon become illuminated. Undoubtedly the perception that I will not get the attention I need or that I am having to share my therapist or worse yet that I am ultimately invisible within this setting are extremely painful feelings. At the same time we must recognize they are connected to very specific memories. Would those memories be triggered within the individual session? Yes and no. Yes, I believe more often than not they would be, but possibly not as compellingly or persuasively and no because it is the nature of neurosis that we will avoid what we most need to feel. Group will often conquer that defense with a sneak attack or a re-creation. I remember many years ago a woman who came to my group,we will call her Jill. Within a few weeks of starting therapy she had assigned specific group members the unspoken task of representing each of her family members. Jill would often say things like “Joe you remind me so much of my brother,you speak to me exactly as he did!” or “Sarah you are the embodiment of my sainted mother”. Then one day a couple of months into Jill’s therapy I noticed something about her behavior in group that changed the course of her therapy. In the individual sessions Jill would describe her family and often in discussing her mother something would just not feel right. Something was off but she could not tell me what it was nor could she get close to the real feelings she had about her mom. The only thing she was able to tell me was that she adored her mom and she was a beloved figure within the family. So I am watching Jill in group and I say to her “You know Jill I have a very clear picture of all the members of your family but the only thing you have to say about your mom is how much you loved and admired her. But Jill, I am perplexed, you describe Sarah here as an exact replica of your mother, right?” “Yes,just like my wonderful mother” says Jill. “Then why have we never seen you respond to Sarah with anything other than hostility in group, in fact, if I didn’t know better I would have to say you pretty much hate Sarah…what might that be about Jill?”  Gretchen

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270 Responses to The Stealth Group

  1. Margaret says:

    [Set up for Margaret]

  2. I remember group as being quite traumatic really, but I think that was because my main feelings were not verbal ones and I was quite overloaded. Having said that it was a good place to practise going against the imprint – of not speaking, trying to be invisible etc

    • David, I like that concept – practicing some of the things that have been difficult in the past – that is a very helpful way to get in touch with feelings we might otherwise avoid! Gretchen

  3. Jack Waddington says:

    Life, for me, is about re-acting to what is going on around me …and there always something going on around me. Some stuff I like, other stuff I don’t, and occasionally somethings that scares the hell outta me. What I have got from my 30 years of therapy is to “express” what I feel is going on … just a children normally do. I nearly always know what the feeling is, but what constitutes a full-feeling experience is expressing it … my way; and taking the consequences of that. There was a sense in the early days for me to want to reach a stage where I didn’t need to be coaxced into a feeling that had somehow been hidden in the depth of my being; a la Danny Wilson. Now I see it as much simpler. The emphases always, for me, expressing what is already there … that I came to group with or was invoked by the groups setting.

    I attend several groups but my main weekly one is my HIV group (which is free). I serves both as a weekly social event and a chance to put my 2 cents in. The uniqueness about this group is the therapist also vents her feeling about what is taking place with her. I find that very refreshing; it takes away from the separateness of therapist and group member. I also read and sometimes respond to a International Primal Therapy group, but find much of what goes on there as ingratiating (we all love one another). Group is great, retreats even better, but once over I get back to my life and my friends. There is no “end-game”, as I see it for Primal Therapy. The ‘end-game’ is death when I will cease to feel anything any more … much as it was before I was even conceived.


  4. Fiona says:

    I was always perplexed as to how other people seemed to ‘just KNOW’ when group had started. One minute there was a general hubbub of noise, and then; magically, one person spoke up, and we were off! I was usually surprised or amazed that people could speak first, without an invitation (or in my case – permission!). I seemed to be missing some vital clue that everyone else could see.

    At some point; and I believe it was Barry who said it, was that group could be considered more like a conversation. That was an interesting concept that I preferred to my permission, allowance, turn-taking, fair, equal, polite, balanced, p.c version that I was indoctrinated into believing should be the institution of any ‘group’.

    So imagine my surprise when I realised (just after this last retreat) that I had just started group! I remember pausing, and stumbling over my words as I realised that I had done something quite naturally. And no big deal to boot. It obviously made a big difference that I had something pressing on my mind to say; but nonetheless, I seemed to know it was time to start!

    Likening group to a conversation has helped me in a few ways. Conversations are malleable, and multi-faceted. We can say the same thing to 5 different collections of people and you will never get the same responses. From the initiation to the ends; the conversations will always be completely divergent in their outcomes, from that one original topic.

    By the way Gretchen – I feel like I want a bit more of a conclusion to your story. This topic ended somewhat like ‘The Italian Job’ movie! :0) What was Jill’s answer? What feelings came up etc etc. I know it is not really the point – but some of us have nosey-ness, and ‘finish the story properly’ issues!

    I like what you said about groups ‘becoming’ all those old painful places, “family, school and workplace to name just a few”. A good example of why I am so anxious before group starts. Which ‘place’ do I fit into within THIS group???

    Glad you posted a new topic. Thanks!

    • Fiona, I had planned to leave you in suspense but I will give you the synopsis. She instantly got my point and was able to acknowledge that there might be more going on below the surface than she had been able to look at. She was really quite furious with her mom and had been terrified to open that door for years. I also think she was quite shocked by her own denial. It is funny how easily we can fool ourselves. The other woman in group continued to represent her mother for quite some time and I believe was an effective trigger for some time. Eventually Jill began to separate the past and the present and could finally see that her fellow group participants were in fact not her family – then she could begin work on developing healthier relationships in the present. It was interesting to observe how far apart our words and our actions can be ! Gretchen

      • Fiona says:

        Phew! The synopsis was well received – thank you! It IS interesting, you are so right; how far apart our words and actions can be. It can be so hard to see ourselves and our own brand of denial. Thanks for the update… I can relax…. or not.

  5. Gretchen,Great description of Primal group process.Recently during his intensive a patient of mine described[after his first]how he felt “bombarded”by all the emotion in the room. It’s easy for us to forget the powerful forces of the Primal environment, from the physical space itself,the relative lack of time constraints,to the kindness and acceptance of fellow group members.Seen through the “new eyes” of my new patient I am reminded yet again, of the revolutionary power of the Primal process. My patient spoke only very basic English and we were forced to find very simple yet creative ways to communicate during the intensive. In my clinical experience over the years,limited English rather than being a hindrance actually helps the therapy. Basic language skills forces direct and simple communication.The patient simply cannot use many higher order intellectual defenses[many other defenses are created]and to a significant extent therapy is moved along quickly.He said group was ” scary and safe” “at same time” “I must leave-I must stay” I could’nt say it any better!-Barry

  6. Gretchen, It is not SOME of us that come to group with an Agenda, it looks to me like it is MOST of us! If group is likened to having a conversation, there will always be those very VOCAL group members who appear to talk and talk and talk, without respite, while the more introverted of us cannot get a word in edgewise. Of course you already know that growing up with such a person is my pain. But I cannot get revved up enough to scream SHUTUP AND LISTEN TO ME to any of the vocal ones. I am just too broken. Actually, I did say something about it once, but the vocal person took it as criticism, and after Barry calmed her down, she continued on with her OWN AGENDA! Since I was beaten down to crumbs in my youth, I went no further with this issue in that group again. And now, a few years later and stuck in a horribly hopeless feeling, I just really don’t give a shit to even try. Well, maybe just a little….Those times when somebody’s painful story reminds me deeply of my own horrors, and this causes me to weep, are worth sitting silently through some bullshit monologues about their fucking lives. Actually, I enjoy hearing about their fucking lives, but I still don’t feel a part of the group, and I never will.

  7. Rose Landerer McCabe says:

    I have been receiving/participating @ the Institute for over 20 years…I state this because my Original Therapist & my Bear, consistentently share their observations, knowledge, our imprints in their lives as our therapists. Again in Gretchen’s blog, all the words are true. And again I am feeling and remembering my place in group. What immense great fortune I have to have them in my lives 😉 Thank you for the blog, Rosie

  8. Pete Eade says:

    I am staggered at how my pains from my early family life continue to unexpectedly ‘crash’ upon me. And how these pains are still ‘growing’ instead of ameliorating! I often feel like I am trying to find my way in heavy fog. Constantly, often unconsciously, seeking help from someone, not sure who. Though of course I do know!!

  9. Joanna says:

    I see what you are saying Gretchen! Perfectly articulated about the group process. Scared to be in group, but wish I was there!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I enjoyed these last 2 posts. Somehow I missed the one about Figaro’s. Is that the place that used to have those crazy layered coffee drinks served in glasses so you could see the different layers of espresso and chocolate etc. I went there! That was a few years ago now long before I came to therapy. Anyway. I have to take exception to the idea that one NEEDS to know anything about the fundamentals of music to improvise. It is one approach and certainly a valid one. No, thankfully all you need is ears to effectively improvise. In fact preconceptions about what is established or appropriate can be limiting and even counter productive ( sound familiar? ) Creativity is a right brain function. Music theory resides in the left hemisphere. While some might argue Charlie Parker and John Coltrane new their theory well I would counter that Picasso famously said he could paint like a master early in his career but it took his entire career to learn to paint like a child.


    • Eric, Yes, it sounds like the same Figaro’s – it was across the street from the first building we used for The Primal Institute in West Hollywood. How come really talented people always think the rest of us” just need ears to improvise” ? I think I could have several sets of ears and still not manage it! As for the rest – I will let you argue that point with Barry but I tend to think what you are saying makes sense. You sold me with the Picasso quote! 🙂 Gretch

  11. John Strazzanti says:

    After many groups I made several great discoveries. One was I discovered “Real” the other was it had nothing to do with words.

  12. Wow Gretchen! So much food for thought…so little time:> After 18 years of participating in group therapy, I can say three things about it for sure:
    1. It works
    2. It’s hard
    3. I still have no idea what the hell is going on!
    Thanks for reiterating the issue of a group NOT being a private session with a bunch of people..that is easy to forget.
    And I love the example of Jill…it shows that our defenses never fail us..unfortunately! :>

  13. Miguel says:

    Gretchen, very good article.
    When the Primal Institute was in Almondd Drive (West Hollywood) we had to carry a pillow.
    For me it was always difficult to be in group. Feelings of rejection,, hostility, not from the group, but coming from my family early years. Difficult, very difficult, but I wished I could go to group again.

  14. Margaret says:

    fine article again!
    I must say for me it is both useful and painful as it puts a few fingers on a few sore spots of mine as it reminded me of several feelings that came up during the last couple of groups.

    I have been postponing writing about it but reading your post is a good incentive to finally do so.

    I am not going to do it here as it will probably become a long letter.

    Thanks and talk to you soon,

    • Margaret, You can feel free to write it here if you like but a letter is fine as well! I will look forward to reading it. G.

      • Margaret says:

        This time I prefer a letter as some of the stuff I wrote feels just too personal for general ‘literature’.
        It is not that I have anything to hide, all of it could come up in groups, but some of it is more private isn’t it?
        It is so nice to be able to choose, I appreciate that so much.

  15. Larry says:

    I think I rarely had an agenda when coming to group, except what I almost always wanted was to belong. I didn’t want to do or say anything that would risk that. But if I didn’t do or say anything, i wouldn’t really be part of it and wouldn’t really belong. One on one with a person I had a chance of connection, but in groups I expected to be overlooked. Afraid that in risking participation I would be ignored and inconsequential, quiet on the sidelines…inconsequential is what i became. In Primal groups, we are offered the wonderful chance to just be ourselves and be listened to just for that. It shouldn’t be frightening, unless I was two years old and understanding I wasn’t being listened to meant knowing all the rest of my life would be too empty and desolate too to endure. Primal groups are my family, where I became invisible rather than know I wasn’t seen. For me, talking and being listened to in Primal groups means opening to the horror of how I withered and hid from life because no one saw me when I was small, when I needed them and no one was there, no one but zombies.

    • Fiona says:

      The word ‘agenda’ seems so manipulative sometimes. As if having something important to say at group would be malicious and selfish somehow. Or that it would be intentional to monopolise the whole session. Sometimes we have feelings bubbling up to the surface, and other times all is quiet on the feeling-front!

      I do agree that some people DO monopolise groups – but is it up to the rest of us to add an opinion at the time, and say how it makes us feel (yeah! Like I would!!…[not!]). I know that some people just don’t get it too! They just drone on! I am NOT a group veteran by any means, demonstrated clearly by the fact that I have only just finished my book of ‘group passes’ that I received during my Intensive. So I have no idea about the concept of being at a particular group for years that is constantly monopolised by a (seemingly) ignorant few. I hate it on the occasions that it HAS happened. The people who do it, though…. do they “see” what they do? Can they see?

      Glad you wrote about yourself Larry. It does help to understand people’s past lives, and the impact it has had.
      Oh! And thank you so much for your support last night on the ‘Coffee at Figaro’s’ blog. I truly appreciate your support. I felt bad and inhumane in a way about what I wrote, and to see your response allowed me to think it was ok to feel and vent the way I did. I have my support at home (as you know) but to hear someone else say that I was honest, and just the fact that you ‘heard me’ really helped. I really appreciate it 🙂

      • Larry says:

        Thanks Fiona. You draw me out you know, and help keep me engaged here on the blog.

        What I wrote yesterday hurt today, seeing how grey and shrivelled and weak my life had been all alone, before Noreen, and now how difficult it feels sometimes to fix, all alone; feeling how much I need what I will never get, how much I need my parents love, who were stone cold incapable of it. Even with Noreen, I was too weak and shrivelled inside to leave the life I knew on the Prairies to live near the Ocean with her where she would have been happier. I am alone and scared and empty and need my Father, my Mother, Noreen. It’s a cruel painful life sentence that I can’t have them…no mercy. Yet somehow I still have to believe that if I participate in life I might be seen, and somehow I might find love. It’s easier to believe when in the Primal Community and sessions and groups. I’m glad I was once. That was life changing.

      • Fiona, I thought I should clarify this agenda issue. There are many times that coming to group with something specific to address can be very helpful. I was trying to point out that when the group becomes an individual session within a group it can become problematic. If each person shows up with their “agenda” and then the group waits while we each take a turn we might lose what makes the group dynamic important. Maybe we lose the experience of being in the moment and instead we are waiting . I also am not judging who speaks a great deal and who does not – It is all quite useful to look at I think! At the same time it is great when we say these responses ( just as you are doing 🙂 ! ) G.

        • Fiona says:

          I understand what you mean Gretchen. I am a bit frustrated with myself because I did not continue and complete my train of thoughts yesterday. What I wanted to say afterwards was that my preference at group is to ‘go with the flow’! I like to attend group without feeling bad beforehand (or at least not to know what I feel bad about). I can then just go with the group momentum and be influenced (or not) by the individuals around me; mostly by what they say and what that does to me. That is my preference.

          I often say to those close to me that I can not ‘prepare for’ a buddy session – or even a session with you for that matter because I don’t know which feeling will be present and pressing for the day. My body very much dictates to me what it is going to throw at my conscious brain. In fact I believe we have spoken on this matter before. I know this is the correct thing for me. I cannot choose to feel about missing my mum today if my body chooses to rid itself of anger towards my abuser. Margaret often misses out on hearing the full blown accounts of big feelings of mine because that was “so last week” to me, and is no longer important. That is why I prefer to go to group and ‘find out’ what what I feel as a result of being there within those interactions. I am a creature of whim and reflex.

  16. Margaret says:

    I appreciate you clarifying this issue, as it is so difficult to define it in black and white terms.

    Specialy while already in some painful feeling it often is so hard to decide whether to keep sitting on it and run the risk there won’t remain time to explore with the help of therapist and group, or whether to start talking.

    Both options can be useful or an act out, isn’t it?

    After this year’s experience I will try to keep Barry’s advice in mind to, in case of doubt, choose to suffer in silence. But so often that brings me to the next wquestion whether I am not just choosing the easy way again out of cowardy and fear of disapproval, remaining silent can also be easier than taking the risk of raising your voice.

    It will remain a neverending internal struggle to find the right balance I guess. Sometimes I feel it is becoming easier, but on other moments it again is as hard as it ever was, or worse.

    I also seem to be hit harder as i have been longer in therapy, by the ‘shame’ when I feel I ‘do something wrong’.
    Remember that last group at the retreat where I still wanted to go back to Fiona checking if she still had anything to say, and you and the whole group ointed out to me that that was exactly my problem, that it was Never Enough?

    That was so unsettling to me, specially because I was entirely convinced, while I spoke, I was doing it for Fiona.
    Then as all of you agreed in your reaction on me, that I was illustrating my act out, that is so scary, to find out how I can still be overtaken by my behaviour and old feeling without even being aware of it.

    It is a humbling experience,in a way, and scary as it makes me feel out of control and running the risk to alienate people.

    My only consolation is at that time I was very much in a feeling, and I can only hope I am more aware regularly in the ‘normal’ course of life.

    On a rtreat it feels safe enough to explore some limits.

    What my lesson in this case certainly is, just for me personally, and in a general way of speaking, is that need might specially be a feeling which might often be better to suffer in silence, as expressing it puts automatically pressure on people.

    I am just freewheeling here, maybe this is just my insight and truth of that specific moment.

    I think I get specially panicky and desperate to do something when my feeling starts to go from need to resentment and I want to reach out to prevent that. On such a moment I can be teribly clumsy.

    I am certain I will have to keep learning with a little help from my friends.
    Margaret ,

  17. Fiona says:

    I know I should not get paranoid about this ‘group thing’…. but…. I may be going that way. LOL! I just need a bit of clarification as to how “the group becomes an individual session within a group”. How does someone do that? – what do they do to make the difference? I could wait for my session with you to discuss this, so that I can hear an example that you might have. I just can’t see the difference between someone talking in group, and what the difference is if they ‘make group a personal session’. I will ask my partner if she knows what you mean. She often helps clarify things for me. (She and I discussed ‘fear’ last week as I have had a bit of confusion regarding that too; and she gave SUCH a good personal example that I understand what I have to do for me now! I was impressed! Not impressed about doing it for myself AT ALL though! :/ )

  18. Margaret says:

    This is triggered by the talk about how we should behave in group settings.

    I woke up in the middle of the night out of a dream.

    I had to wash industrial amounts of dirty dishes in a filthy huge facctorylike building, full of welded iron and rust and old cold grease , you know..

    I was working so very hard, the other workers were all going home already and I still had plates to finish scrubbbing and washing and after that a terrible job of cleaning huge deep sinks and working tables full of dried in old food and filth, old filth all over.

    But then instead of being able to focus on that overwhelming chore, I was suddenly expected to do some cooking too, somehting which wasn’t really part of my official job.

    I had to cook for the lady owner and her little son, who was stressed out and wanting to do her own things right too but who was under time pressure.

    I ran back and forth, finding pots and pans and ingredients I didn’t know what to do with, getting advice but not really managing to get it all done at once, even though I ran and ran and had several things on several fires all over the place.

    And then I still would have my original cleaning job that was waiting for me, that terrible old filth, and those plates in the far end stuck with old stale food, still waiting to be cleaned. I had no time to deal with that if I kept focusing on doing the cooking right, and the cleaning itself was already too much a task as I was so tired and it was so late already. Everybody else seemed to have gone home already, except me and the lady with the kid.

    Specially the anxiety of my struggle with getting the food right and seeing all that work I would still have to do in the corner of my eye, felt so overwhelming and then I woke up, thinking I should write this down.

    I think for me it is related to the feeling I and all of us already work so very hard to do what we need to do, in sesseons and in groups, having to clean up all that dirt is almost too big a task on its own.

    Asking us to do something else in the exactly right way, something that doesn’t really belong to our task, doesn’t fel fair.

    We should just be able to focus on the cleaning up, not on the fancy cooking that in my dream was really the task of that lady herself, who herself was really trying to do what was going to make her child feel good, giving it the kind of food he liked.

    My feeling might be I need help, I have such a hard time getting around with my cleaning and washing old dishes, please don’t ask me to do the fancy cooking on top of everything and then make me feel all anxious for not doing it right and not getting my own job finished.

    I could, instead of having to do that cooking, need a hand with the cleaning as I can’t cope with that in time either.

    Interesting dream,isn’t it?

    • Larry says:

      It is interesting Margaret.

      I never at all got the impression that Gretchen was instructing how we should behave in group. I never feel like I work so very hard to do what we need to do in sessions and in groups. I never feel that I am asked to do something else in exactly the right way, in groups. I’m writing this just to give you someone else’s perspective, mine, different from yours wherein you wrote “for me it is related to the feeling I and all of us already work so very hard to do what we need to do, in sessions and in groups,” and you wrote ” Asking us to do something else in the exactly right way, something that doesn’t really belong to our task, doesn’t feel fair.” I’m only offering you my perspective to be helpful. Feel free to ignore me.

  19. Margaret says:

    you are right, it is mostly my feeling and not Gretchen doing or saying anything wrong.

    But I don’t really understand what you mean when you say I ask you to do something, what do I ask you?

    It is interesting you feel so different about the struggle I refer to to do the right thing, I constantly keep scrutinizing myself.

  20. Margaret says:

    I read your comment over again and notice now I misread what you wrote, sorry for that.

    Yes, I do think I reacted out of feeling criticized and I am so tired of being scared and worried to be criticized while my feeling is I need to be reassured.

    If I wouldn’t have this old fear, I wouldn’t have felt adressed, I think I walk around expecting to be criticized so end up criticizing myself and being overdefensive and touchy.

    Just wanted to share this dream as it illustrates so clearly how I feel on the inside and better let it all out.

    The lady in my dreams did mean no harm whatsoever, she just wasn’t aware of expecting too much of me, putting too much presure on me, and I was at the end of my rope.

  21. Fiona says:

    I am tired after reading Margaret’s dream – I’m off to bed; I’ll do the dishes in the morning! (Al lies – the dishwasher does them!)

    I think Gretchen was just trying to clarify what Leticia (Hmmmm!) started saying about ‘going to group with an agenda’. I continued it – and it seems to be a big deal now.

  22. Margaret says:

    it just makes me aware of how big a deal this issue always has been for me, without these comments already.

    I am just a perfectionist ‘streber’ scared to death to be disapproved of by mommy dear who was her first teacher literally as well.

    From goddess to teacher, pretty threatening now that I think of it, in class between all these classmates insecurity has struck me with a blow I still haven’t recovered from.

  23. Margaret says:

    p.s. my feeling is please please don’t criticize me, as there won’t be anything left of me.
    I am shriveling away, feel like crying now Margaret

  24. Irena says:

    Thanks for the blog.
    ….do I know the story….??

  25. By the way, I am in Boston on Hurricane Irena watch :0 – hopefully planes will be leaving tomorrow and I will be on one of them – spooky! Gretch

  26. Irena says:

    There is a reason that they called this one Irene… 😉

  27. Margaret says:

    I Just spoke with my mother on the phone and need to ventilate hre.

    She drives me crazy by always bringing up the same problem.
    Her short term memory doesn’t funtcion well anymore so she should write everything down she needs to remember. She keeps getting in to trouble because she often wants to hide that and doesn’t write anything down,,then forgets whatever she promised and feels more embarassed still.
    I have reassured her at least a hundred times already she is not dementing completely and should try not to be embarassed and ashamed about a normal old age ailment, but it keeps coming back and triggering me big time.

    I can say what I want, she hears it and agrees more or less, but in the end keeps coming back to her old feeeling of fear and inferiority.

    When I tell her more clearly she has to accept and try to cope or she wll drive herself and us, me, crazy with repeating this over and over, she replies she does need to be able to talk to someone about it. And that someone is me.

    It is not that she doesn’t talk with anyone else but with me she becomes needier and feels more open to show her distress.

    I usually manage to make her feel bette, but afterwards I am stuck with tension fear and irritation.

    I notice I already start to call her less often, but I can’t just let her down either, I have to look for some balance.

    I am quicker to tell her this indeed must be hard and unpleasant for her, but it is a problem she can find solutions for if she accepts to use a little writing pad regularly.

    I get more firm with her, but I can feel how tense it leaves me and how it seems to trigger feelings of despair, agony, sadness, and probably anger I just can’t access because there is too much guilt standing in the way.

    I actually remember dreaming about her last night and telling her she shouldn’t be so negative. But in that same dream she also went out of her way to provide everyone with a huge breakfast. It is hard to be angry at a caretaker that is both vulverable and strongweilled, pigheaded and whose lifelong actout has been to be the helpless child .

    Sorry if this is all confused and doesn’t lead to a clear point, I am blowing off excess steam and can feel some of my tension is dissipating.

    That is really important as I get headaches for days and my neck and shoulders hurt like hell all too easily.

    Otherwise I am ok, really.

    does anybody have similar experiences with old and needy parents and maybe some advice?

  28. Fiona says:

    Does your mum TALK to you about her short term memory OR does she try to get you to solve her problem? It seems to me like she isn’t looking after herself when she does that. Which is not how she usually behaves, judging by what you say about her to me on the phone. Because of how I feel about my parent I am triggered and I feel that she seems to be demanding something from you. Taking! Parents are supposed to be the ones who ‘give’ to their children not demand and take.

    I am a needy person – and for some weird reason, that makes me 100% intolerant of anyone else DARING to be needy ‘at me’! (No not ‘of me’ ‘AT me’! It is an attack on my person it feels!)

    Your phrase “I usually manage to make her feel better, but afterwards I am stuck with tension fear and irritation” is telling. ALL THAT EFFORT you put into those conversations with your mum! If it is constant, or regular like this – it is exhausting. I am not sure if I am talking about me or you here??! Maybe it doesn’t even matter.

    Advice from me? Erh! Not possible – unless you take my only advice on this matter, and that is to buy a new parent. I’ve heard there are good deals on ‘’!

  29. Fiona says:

    Some feelings hit me with such ferocity that I am completely shocked even during the harsh event of it. Like yesterday: and it is a trivial thing by regular people’s standards; but for me, a huge betrayal of trust, and almost unbearable hurt.

    The simple trigger was being given something to eat by a loved one, and then the following day being told that it had meat in it. (I am a vegetarian). I could not believe that I had been deceived in this way by that person. I can barely think of it because I cannot believe that SHE would do that to me. I know that this error was not intentional, and more miss-understanding than anything. But, oh boy, did that hurt… still hurts!

    This ferocity of feeling that erupted from me only goes to show me just how much somebody deceived me and betrayed me in my past. The feeling that this usually goes back to is that somebody ….. I can’t say what the feeling is now. It is too much. Not like me really. I can usually relay things openly here. It hurts so much.

    This is NOT the first time that I have been triggered in this way. It has happened quite a few times now. I hate it when someone does not tell the truth of what is in some food OR that it is out of date OR that it has an ingredient that causes me to feel nauseous in it. It is not ok! Why can’t you just do as I ask?
    “Oh what she doesn’t know wont hurt her!”
    Well – if she is unlucky enough to find out it hurts even more. I am very unlucky – because I keep finding out, and I am unlucky enough to have my past provoking such a big reaction to having something in my mouth that shouldn’t be there.
    This distrust is hard to keep under control when people keep betraying me in the present.

  30. Margaret says:

    sounds awful. Good you write about it, brave too.

  31. Vicki says:

    Fiona, if it was “not intentional, and more miss-understanding than anything”, do you still feel it’s a “betrayal” in the present? Or are feelings not progressed enough, that past and present are not really all that different for you (I suspect)?

    • Fiona says:

      I have been thinking about this long and hard Vicki. It still feels like a betrayal in the present…. because IT WAS! I can elaborate more on the phone, but this was an incident that stands alone as a hurt in the present. The ferocity of the feeling was influenced (big time) by my abuse in the past, I can see that. If someone cares about me – and understands my reasoning behind vegetarianism and my NEED to KNOW what is going in to my mouth – then this event should never have happened. It has shaken my trust in her.

      It hurts that you wrote, “Or are feelings not progressed enough, that past and present are not really all that different for you (I suspect)?”

      • Vicki says:

        Sorry, but why does that hurt?

      • Larry says:

        You’ve probably moved on, Fiona, but I need to reply to this. In my experience trust can be shaken and we can be hurt by our partners. I know that my partner felt I shook some kinds of trust she had in me. As did she shake some kinds of my trust in her and she hurt me. Though an ideal of each other was eroded, a deep core trust between us persisted.

  32. Ok, I get the “triggering” or the “identifying with someone else’s story” effect that primal group brings. But I still need to talk, at least for a few minutes, to get the feeling to move up the pipeline. Well, sometimes I dont need to talk to get to a feeling, i can just go to a different room and cry when I feel the feeling come up, but as Barry has said, well I don’t know exactly what he said. Something about looking someone in the eyes and telling them how you feel. Actually, I can feel one feeling unaided, and then come back and talk about it in group and get even MORE into the feeling by saying it to the group. I need to speak EVERY TIME, and if I can’t open my paralyzed frightened throat to get the words out, then HELP ME! I think EVERY group member should be asked to speak, EVERY time. I saw 2 group members this week who USUALLY get to say nothing or little about themselves, and they said nothing again this weekend (or maybe they did when I was out of the room), and it just pisses me off so frigging much I could cry! AND WHY AM I ALWAYS LEFT TO BE ASKED AT THE END OF GROUP? I COULD HAVE HEAVED UP ANOTHER 24 CHUNKS OF PAIN, BUT I FELT RUSHED. BITCH WHINE MOAN. I GOT SOME RELIEF, AND FEAR ABATEMENT FROM FEELING THE FEELING, SO THANKS FOR THE HELP!

    • Fiona says:

      Is it important that you are asked to speak?

    • Snippy , Why might it be that you are asked to speak at the end of group? If that leaves you feeling rushed maybe it would help to speak earlier even if it is just to say that you feel paralyzed and frightened. What do you think? Gretch P.S. The name suits you 😉

    • Larry says:

      When you “can’t open (your) paralyzed frightened throat to get the words out”, would it help to say to the group “HELP ME”?

      I feel bad too when someone says little or nothing about themselves. I think it’s because I have an idea how it feels to be there, and I don’t like the feeling.

      I like how you write about getting “the feeling to move up the pipeline”.

  33. Jack Waddington says:

    I don’t really have a comment, but I have not been getting emails of the comments made to this blog. I suspect I did not check the check box after my last reply. Soooo! I will check it this time and hope I get the emails. I read them all.


  34. Jack, Let us know if that works otherwise we can investigate! Hope you are well. Gretch

    • Fiona says:

      I don’t seem to get the email notifications either, Gretchen. Surprising because I usually do. Will click the box again…. just in case. Margaret has been getting hers ok, I think.

    • Jack Waddington says:

      Still not getting emails of the comments to this blog. Something is not working and I haven’t figured out what. I must be losing it–may Alzheimer setting in. Oh well.

      Otherwise, busy writing a second book that I suspect will not mee4t with approval, but what the fuck. I love wring .. but don’t claim to be good at it.


  35. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    I wanted to say that I personally haven’t ignored anyones’ postings on this board. If I don’t say anything it means:

    a) I don’t know what advice I can give, and therefore I don’t say anything because in some ways it’s the path of least resistance and I don’t get too deeply mired or entangled in something.
    b) I’m currently wrapped up in my own life’s little struggles that boil down right now to having my body follow my brain’s wishes and thoughts.

    Yes, that’s right, a very simple but hard-to-follow concept for me sometimes. Simply having my body quickly follow up on everything that crosses my mind. So easy to understand, so hard to DO: Simply having my body follow up on everything my brain is telling me I should do.

    Eventually, I get many things I want finished actually becoming finished….but the procrastination is always a bad time-killer and, of course, many foreboding FEELINGS (winks at Jack Waddington’s favourite word) pop in along the way toward my goals. So easy to distract myself from the things I want to do…

    Can you help me? Can you help me to become the promiscuous billionaire playbody I’ve always wanted to be?

    • THE Ultimate Guru says:

      (typo) *promiscuous billionaire playboy

    • Vicki says:

      Guru, an interesting way to put it, namely, your “Simply having my body follow up on everything my brain is telling me I should do.” I find that hard too. I am finding more, that when I succeed at two things: getting enough sleep and eating healthy food, then I function better mentally and physically, and my chances of success at accomplishing all other things, are greater. Sounds simple, but is not, given my continuing flow of impulses in contrary and misleading directions. But the success and experience of feeling better, increasingly help me to remember that yes, I don’t want to just always give in to the impulses that will leave me feeling worse, afterwards, and then having to recover, yet again, before I can move in the positive direction I want.

      I struggle with this every day. But the more I succeed, the easier it does get, to get back on track with it, however ploddingly it goes. This is still way better than making no effort to improve my life, in every possible way.

  36. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    I love that sentence, Vicki: “Sounds simple, but is not, given my continuing flow of impulses in contrary and misleading directions.”
    I think it’s only fair to say that just about everyone on the planet would have at least a modicum of trouble with what you related in that quote. Of course, there’s a tremendous variance amongst the population as to how deeply those counterproductive impulses would affect their lives. I’m sure there are numerous academic journals and books at least indirectly related to impulse control. I would only say that I do believe our culture ENCOURAGES such distractions to a large extent. (Examples abound: Take a look at how many junk food commercials you see on any given night of watching TV. Tallying the exact number of junk food, alcohol, and fast new car commercials during three-hour sample of primetime TV should provide some sticker shock, yeah..)
    I just say this to try to forgive ourselves for any possible impulses we may blame ourselves for. With the experiences I’ve had in my own life, I’m more of a cynic and I tend to believe that “your impulse = someone else’s profit”. Some people simply WANT you to cave in to those impulses (but they won’t tell you, of course)!

  37. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    I know Vicki was talking about following through with the brain’s desires in how it relates to food (at least as I how I understood what she wrote). My case is different such that I recently had what seems to be an inspiring breakthrough on a working project that, even when broken down into bite-sized steps to press forward to completion…I’m still overwhelmed! Been avoiding this because the rewards aren’t guaranteed, it’s a very complicated and dry intellectual pursuit for me, and I don’t want to set up something that puts me into a huge letdown later. (I will admit, though, even in failure the results would make for an interesting academic study in some circles.)

  38. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    Taking a hint from what Vicki said…I’m actually desperate enough to start wondering if drinking tons of water would help me see this “dry” intellectual pursuit to completion. I have gallons of bottled water on top of my fridge, might as well..

    • vickib5 says:

      Guru. As a matter of fact, drinking enough water IS important. It helps with eating control & losing weight, prevention of dehydration, which is a factor in mental & bodily functioning, and dehydration is also the primary factor in kidney stone formation, as I learned this year, in real terms.

      As for your “I’m still overwhelmed” above, I find that behind that feeling is always fear, usually of even moving or doing anything. I try to do something, even if it seems like I’m moving in micro-millimeters. Even tiny progress helps make me realize I really can do more — otherwise paralysis stops everything, and I don’t want my whole life to be like that, simply stuck, a massive, lifelong, constipation of my being. Remembering you do have a choice, is necessary.

  39. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    There’s no justice in atheism:

    If you argue with a theist that there is no life after death, it doesn’t really matter because even if you are proven right you cannot return from a permanently obliterated consciousness to tell the theist, “HA! I told you so!”….

  40. Margaret says:

    Hi all,
    this has nothing to do with any of the comments, just a piece of my life I need to share.

    I went on a second date with someone that wants to keep seeing me.

    But at some point I noticed that even though we share a lot of common interests, I was the only one asking questions. It became more clear as time went by until at some point I noticed starting to feel lonely at a basic level.

    It feels sad again meeting someone that has a lot of positive qualities, he is even available and intersted, but I have a strong impression I would be emotionally standing in the cold.

    I felt a little better after I mentioned some of it in a freindly way and asked him to ask me things about me, but he only came up with inquiring if I had brothers or sisters, and no more spontaneous questions followed.

    The sad thing is I got my hopes up for a while, and this is an attractive guy with a motorbike, mobilhome and a sailboat, but the good thing is I notice so quickly what is missing and that makes it impossible to get really involved.

    I will have to be honest and hopefully some freindship will remain.

    This links in with one of my biggest old feeling, the lack of interes from my dad, so I wondered if I was just in a feeling, but no, that old feeling simply makes me aware immediately of an important reality.

    I would have to be able to live <with a person that would probably almost never spontaneously ask me how I am feeling or be really curious about me,and I would have to put up with that constant frustration.

    I feel sad about yet another close encounter of the wrong kind.

    Part of me keeps wondering if maybe, maybe something is wrong with me?
    Rationally I know my instincts are giving me important information, it just makes me sad to have to let go.


    • Larry says:

      It sounds like you are making the right decision to let go, Margaret. We all want someone who we are interested in and who is interested in us. It sounds like you tried to let him know your need and got little response. If you commit yourself to him, how will you find the person who really is interested in you.

      I met someone this weekend and I think we will have a second “date”. I’m interested in her but I’m not sure how much yet. It feels good that she is interested in me, but I wonder why she is. Having enjoyed being with her most of last Saturday unlocked painful emptiness last night. She lives far away and I wonder can this budding relationship really go anywhere, or do I even want it to. Am I afraid to find out whether it will, or am I wise to stop it now and save myself from disappointment. It is hard to sort out the feelings and choose the wisest path, especially when going for what we need now stirs up the pain of what we didn’t get as children.

      I know that when the right person comes along, it feels wrong to let them go. It’s when it’s almost the right person that it is difficult to know what to do.

  41. Margaret says:

    Hi Larry,
    I just received some advice from someone, and it made sense.

    It advised not to decide too quickly when dating, unless the person makes you uncomrotable in some clear way.

    Even if that person doesn’t turn out to be mr. or mrs. Right, there is a lot to discover in the process, or a nice friendship can remain.

    The text advises to have six dates before deciding, to break old patterns and to discover more about the other person and yourself, and to take the time to create a safer atmosphere to start opening up.

    It does make sense in a way, and of course it isn’t a low carved in stone either. It just sounded like good advise in case of doubt, we would hate to be discarded ourselves too quickly, isn’t it?

    It is true when I think back of my past, how some people have grown on me only after a while, so I would say, take your time, after all why rush anything, specially if the meetings are pleasant, I think we should enjoy them and take them for what they are, people getting to know each other.

    I think I will try it out, in the meantime being honest with the person and see how that goes.

    Good luck, and thanks for the feedback and support, I really appreciate,

    • Larry says:

      I like that advice you shared with me Margaret. I think it applies in my situation. I have been completely honest with her, even before we met in person. As for opening up, she now knows the core of my story. And I’ve learned a lot about her. The scary part is our feelings that we need to open up to and explore.

      Six dates feels like a good rule of thumb. Thanks Margaret. Do you charge a fee?

      • Margaret says:

        ha! If there would be any fee, it would be earned by a sweet and smart person we all know and that is not a therapist!Not me, just passing through some interesting advise.


    • Larry says:

      Six dates to break old patterns they say? Just one can be pretty effective. The lady who I met last Saturday fell back on her French heritage to explain her easy comfort with physical closeness and touching. Also she is a caregiver to seniors which gives her a practiced comfort with physical touch. She immediately disarmed me with her sparkling eyes, attractive friendly smiling face, almost chatterbox conversation, and her touching my arm, my shoulder, nudging my rib cage. I noticed in comparison how reserved I am and guarded in my emotions and personal physical space, an island unto myself, safe, until she found her way in. Despite or because of the ways that we are opposite, we were interested and excited in each other right off the mark, nervously stretching out our first visit together to eight hours. Afterwards I felt elated, more alive, hopeful, more joyful of life. Then even later, tension, anxiety and doubt eroded my outlook. Finally, sleeplessness led to crying the past few evenings, and all this afternoon. I feel very alone. She stirs awareness of how guarded I’ve been while growing up in my family, an awareness of how devastated I must have been but didn’t let myself know over not feeling accepted by my family. She awakens a deeper sadness and crying over what I had with my wife and will never have anymore, yet feels so strong and real and present. I realize I have plenty more of saying good-bye and letting go to do. I realize it’s not my fault that the things I need most in life were denied me or taken away, robbing me of much of what life means. I realize I have some anger at life for that capriciousness. I don’t know how other bereaved people manage who don’t primal feel the deep well of loss that there is. Sometimes I feel I’m barely started. I feel I am in a no-man’s land, and dating people like her will help me find my way through it.

  42. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    Just storming around the house right now. I’m so angry right now I can’t even think straight…

    It’s way too long and private of a betrayal story as to what triggered this umbrage my body is carrying out. These are the moments when some people would want to start tearing apart every piece of furniture in a room into tiny splinters.

    If you saw the fistfight in the latest episode of “Breaking Bad” it would accurately show this intense anger:

    I wish this angry “stomping around the house” in a helpless flailing rage imprint would disappear so I can get back to work.

  43. THE Ultimate Guru says:


    Look…uhh…I’ve calmed down a bit now, but I asked many months ago about the mysteries of brain plasticity (the brain re-inventing itself)…and, just how the hell do people like Michael Dell make hundreds of millions of dollars while still in their 20’s?? How are their brains creatively re-inventing themselves in such a breathtaking fashion like an Irish Riverdance? I know you tried your best by saying that “Some people are simply brilliant at what they do.”

    I’m sorry to say this answer is not satisfactory for me. I don’t blame you, necessarily, but Art mentioned something about affectionately rubbing the cranium of mice to make them “smarter”.

    Is this what I should do? Rub the top of my head like a genie lamp for million-dollar ideas?

    • Larry says:

      I know you addressed your comment to Gretchen UG, but I want to say I’m sure you do have million dollar ideas. I do, but I never pursue them because I don’t have the connections, the resources, the time, the energy, or the belief in myself. Then years later I see others making millions off my ideas.

      • Anonymous says:

        Funny, I don’t come by very often these days, and when I do, I just pick up a comment here and there to assure myself, there’s indeed a healthier world than mine, but this time I can even contribute 😉
        Barry once mentioned a book called ‘Outliers’ by Malcom Gladwell. It actually has some answers to your inquire. Well, to be honest, I forgot most of them by now, but it was worth reading back then.

        • Hey Ulrich, Yes, that is a good suggestion and a very interesting book. It basically looks at why some people find success while others do not. For instance, in looking at musicians they found that success came to those who practiced the most – in fact there was an exact number of hours required before finding the highest level of achievement – so hypothetically the gifted musician could fail while the less naturally talented could succeed depending on how much time and effort they put in ! Gretchen

          • THE Ultimate Guru says:

            On the flipside, though, at the very end of the Wikipedia article about Outliers was quoted:

            “Paul McCartney, former member of The Beatles, said in an interview on August 6, 2010:
            “[…]I’ve read the book. I think there is a lot of truth in it[…] I mean there were an awful lot of bands that were out in Hamburg who put in 10,000 hours and didn’t make it, so it’s not a cast-iron theory. I think, however, when you look at a group who has been successful… I think you always will find that amount of work in the background. But I don’t think it’s a rule that if you do that amount of work, you’re going to be as successful as the Beatles.”

            So, the question for me is: Sure, hard work is almost always a necessary component for self-made success…but how is success obtained for some and others not? I hate going on “Fool’s Errands”, so that’s why I inquired into issues of brain plasticity’s role…but assuredly other factors come into play as well (as Gretchen mentioned earlier).

            • THE Ultimate Guru says:

              Also….maybe we shouldn’t be discussing this in a public forum since it would make all readers smarter and more competitive (and, thus, harder to succeed for the original proponents of such questions?).
              Having said this, though, I have just revealed the value of hiding information so this post is a bit of a conumdrum all its own..

    • UG, I tend to think there are so many answers to this question – I am not sure any one answer would feel satisfactory – there is IQ, luck, connections and support to name a few – not to mention hard work. You could try that rubbing your head thing as well ! More importantly however … Do you want to talk about this betrayal you mentioned? Maybe that would help with the rage you said was being triggered. Gretchen

  44. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    Since you asked here..I will share a little bit here. Based on some reliable new information I picked up yesterday my perceptions of the suicide victim “friend” from June changed dramatically. I now feel seriously betrayed by him for reasons too long & sensitive to explain. (No, not gay stuff…something way different).
    I’m in “damage control” mode now. I can no longer scream directly at this guy and tell him what an asshole he is. He’s dead! He beat me. I’ve done all I can do…which is to remove and destroy any documents related to him in my home. Fuck him. The final project is simply to remove any last reference to him in all my brain cells. I have not conquered this yet.

    He turned out to be something totally different than what I had perceived him to be for years. I can only hope to trash his existence completely from my mind now (actually a fair few people in that doghouse for me…).

  45. Margaret says:

    that is such an inspiring sensitive comment you wrote.

    I got several text messages from my date yesterday evening, after sending him an e-mail about me wanting to take things slowly and in a relaxed way.

    He thought I meant we should end it all, so I replied I would still like to see him, but to start with only near my own home.

    I got several text messages back in which he expressed really being very interested in seeing me and hopefully doing lots of htings together and making the most of our lifes.

    I again told him I needed to take time to get to know each other.

    He seemed more optimistic again about his chances and kept sending messages and the last thing I told him was that he could start preparing questions to ask me about me, as I felt I was a 105 questions ahead.

    I don’t kknow if it was that or it being almost midnight that finally stopped his messages.

    But this morning I had a dream in which I was sitting in a car and noticed the driver was driving much faster than what felt safe to me. I was still considering mentioning it when suddenly he drove to the right and right before the window screen I saw rocks and a tree we were about to hit, when I woke up with a scream:”Help!”

    It is hard for me and scary, I really need to choose the setting and conditions carefully for my next meeting, so I can feel somewhat in control, or else I might just stop seeing him.

    I will try to talk about my feelings if possible, but another sensitive issue is I am not sure I can feel physically attracted to him, and how do you talk about stuff like that?

    I relate very much to you Larry, this brings up so much, and such a big part is not fun at all.


    • Larry says:

      Margaret, I am glad we are sharing how dating feels. I only have experience at it with one other person, and it is helpful to me to hear how it is for you. In monitoring my feelings while with my date last Saturday, I noted I was in some ways but was disappointed that I was not completely physically attracted to her. I’ll give myself time to see how my attraction to her evolves. Personally I wouldn’t tell her if I’m not physically attracted unless I was reading from her that she was wanting more from me now physically than I am wanting with her.

      • Margaret says:

        you are very right, and this seems exactly why it is on my mind.

        My date, who is also my very first internet date, seems to already know he is interested in a relationship, also physically.

        Usually I do feel some attraction already in an early stage, even if it is not certain yet, but in this case I feel under pressure as I don’t so far, while he does.

        I sent him a mail talking about my feelings of uncertainty in this first internet date, and how it confronts me with more new feelings about my handicap, on top of the normal stress with a new date.

        I told him my only way to keep the pressure under control was keeping the conditions for meeting as comfortabel and easy as possible, and told him I hoped he would understand.

        I feel keeping some control is the only way for me to be able to even go on with this dating.

        I think too often in my past I have used sexuality to keep or make a man interested, but now i feel I can’t and don’t want to do it anymore.

        On the contrary,the fear of losing control on a situation seems to haunt me as it never did before in my life.

        I guess part of it is because I feel so much more vulnerable now and scared to get stuck in a situation I can’t easily get out of.

        All I can do is stay true to myself to start with, and to be honest with him when necessary.

        I want to keep trusting my instincts, but I also don’t want to give in to my fears too quickly and give up before I am sure that is the best solution.

        I must say every now and then going back into my safe comfort zone seems véééry seductive. But then I htink, hey wait a minute, this person does have a lot going for him, I have to scrape my courage together and give him more time.

        As you also mention, opening up again is not easy in reality.

        In romantic daydreaming that frightening stage seems to be fastforwarded or even deleted.
        Also as long as a person is not really available, those fears don’t need to come up, do they?

        still, I’ll have to keep checking whether this doesn’t become too much of a struggle, but I definitely want at least another meeting to find out more about reality.

        Good luck, your person sounds quite nice really,

        • Anonymous says:

          Margaret, is the pressure coming from you or from him? If he is interested in you and wanting to do lots of things with you and get to know you and make the most of your lives, then he’ll want to go slow and give you the time you need to feel safe with him and WANT him as much as he wants you. He wouldn’t want to force or hurry you into something you don’t want.

  46. Margaret says:

    that is a very good question, I am not clear on the answer myself.

    I am aware a lot of my fear seems to come out of the primal reservoir. Part of it is probably I am scared to loose the interest and attention when I don’t give any sexual hopes, that seems to be a deeply engraved old pattern somehow.

    Even though I am rationally trying to tell myself I don’t act on it at all, there seems to be a deep subconscious force at work that is tearing me in different directions.

    I have been very clear and outspoken with this person about needing a lot of time and not knowing if this will become more than friendship, but as you say, a lot of the pressure seems to come from within.

    I think it might be my healthier part choosing to avoid any tricky situations by choosing only to meet in safe familiar environments, and thus to avoid crossing my own boundaries in trying to please and then not being able to escape an uncomfortable situation.

    It is a new and scary experience to force myself to be clear and outspoken about this, but in fact it makes me feel I do the right thing too.

    While in my past flirting was some kind of automatic second nature in trying to please, I am now discovering a ‘new’ more real but also vulnerable self.

    p.s. by the way, guru, sometimes I can’t read yuor coments to the end, wish you would be more direct

  47. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    I think it simply boils down to wanting to talk about what is important to us? You want to discuss the difficulties with dating and friendship thresholds and I want to talk about money and creativity. I see nothing wrong with either of us discussing what we want with Gretchen & Atty’s blessings superseding everything. I’m not expecting to charm every reader with what I have to say and anyone is free to ignore what I post.

  48. Margaret says:

    I know, that is true.
    I was just ventilating some of my impatience and frustration I guess, about you taking up all that attention, but that is my problem, not yours.

  49. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    (If there’s one post I would hope you won’t ignore, it would be this one!)
    I had already sensed that I had taken up enough time and space blogging for a little while before I responded to you. When you said it was “your problem” it put me in a logical bind because I really felt like my complaints about the news media spending way WAY too much time and attention on terrorism was legitimate. (Good luck in finding news articles admitting such an overshoot because I am perfectly willing to admit when I’ve overdone atttention-grabbing myself, and I don’t even get paid for it unlike news media employees!)

    Anyway, I’ll just adopt this mantra for primal groups and blogs from now on, OK?

    “Better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you’re a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” ~Mark Twain

  50. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    *EDIT- complaints about too much attention on terrorism WERE legitimate (plural reference error)

    • THE Ultimate Guru says:

      And, honestly, I cannot help but wonder slightly whether the widespread dissemination of that published Mark Twain/Biblical quote served as a repressive force in itself for many fearful, impressionable small children.

      Shutting up now, bye!

  51. Margaret says:

    there is something about how you phrase that last comment that intrigues me.
    Why do you use these almost negative terms like hooked and vulnerability,when it sounds or maybe it is my imagination, but it sounds like a woman showing her true self might make you want to open up more too?

    Or is that the scary part?

    • Larry says:

      It is interesting how you interpreted the terms as negative Margaret. I’ll try to explain the meaning that I intended in my comment that you referred to. You wrote that in the past you had tried to keep a man’s interest by flirting and giving sexual hopes. Trying to use a bit of humour, what I was trying to say is that flirting by a woman almost leaves me disinterested because to me it suggests lack of depth of feeling, whereas when she shares her real self and vulnerability, my interest in her is piqued, which I jokingly implied by saying that I almost too easily get hooked. Yes, I feel the most interesting, scary and alive part is when we both open up to each other, ….in any kind of relationship.

  52. Fiona says:

    ug – just say what you need to when you want to! You know there is no need for censorship here.

  53. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    Thanks Fiona, but even I can see that I’ve done a lot of yakking here lately. I’ll just let my heels cool for a bit.

  54. THE Ultimate Guru says:
    A total of 20 news sources covered the above incident killing 3 people. (I actually drove on this highway once, on my very first look at Las Vegas)

    The Troy Anthony Davis execution is now being covered by SEVEN THOUSAND sources.

    So, in essence 350 times as much attention is being paid to a convicted murderer as opposed to the deaths of three innocent people, one of whom saved a toddler last year.

    The news media is just…too weird for me to understand. Bye!

  55. Fiona says:

    How can I ask for help “when no one was there”?
    How can I ask for help when I didn’t know I needed to be helped?
    How can I ask for help “when they NEVER come in”?
    How can I ask for help when I’m still stuck in the old feeling?

    (Rhetorical of course!)

  56. Margaret says:

    Dear Fiona,
    the situation from your childhood you evoke and still suffer the consequences from sounds like pure agony.

    Sadly enough you will never be able to change that past and those persons.

    What you can do and are working hard at, is opening up your own doors now.

  57. Margaret says:

    I still feel a bit shocked about what happened to me yesterday.

    I saw my date for the third time on saturday. It was somewhat disappointing as there was some bad comunicating so instead of a nice evening in towwn, I almost got stood up and ended up with a quick few drinks in a nearby place. He proposed me to meet again the next day and told me I could let him know the next morning.

    After an awful nightmare with enormous spiders, I woke up feling I didn’t want to bother, as we had been supposed to hang out the day before, and I didn’t all of a sudden want to start making new plans the next day. So I sent him a friendly text message I couldn’t make it that day, and added I felt sorry about the miscommunication of the day before, but better the next time. I left it in the middle who was to blame, and right then he responded nicely saying he would go riding his motorbike.But then, late in the evening, completely out of the blue, I got this angry text message, saying what a nice day he had, that i could have been there but wasn’t and that I had said better the next time but that there would be no next time whatsoever.In fact I didn’t need to reply at all anymore. Heil Hitler!

    Specially that last phrase sounded really spooky. I don’t know whether he said it out of his conviccions or to freak me out, but it is equally scary really.

    The only thing that was ever said about stuff like this is that I mentioned the only thing I was allergic to being ultra right and racism.

    So I texted back: Charming. The true nature of the little beast starting to show?

    I am translating literally a Flemish saying hereand he replied he was a big beast and let’s end it here.

    I replied: I agree! You better look for someone else to act out your frustrations on.

    He texted back he had no frustrations, dropit.

    I didn’t reply anymore, but still felt shaky.

    No wonder I had nightmares every time after seeing him, even though he was always behaving very friendly, I must have picked up something. I wasn’t sure whether it was just old fears of mine being triggered, so I did my best to remain open and honest and gentle with him.

    The last nightmare I had after seeing him was one about my house being full of giant scary spiders, some of them hiding in corners, some of them on the ceiling right above my head.

    now this dream makes more sense, creepy being the key word.


  58. Fiona says:

    This is a bit of a horror story in the end, Margaret. It is sad that he, too, turned out to be one hell of a creep! You were right to rely on your gut instincts, and NOT go out of town with him in his ‘creeper van’! To stay in your local area was perfect. That way, when he showed himself in his true colours you were safely at home. What a nasty little freak he is. Just shows how trustworthy your feelings can be.

    Nasty way to learn who he is though. I hope you feel less shaken soon. We will buddy soon about this. I hope you are ok.

  59. Margaret says:

    thanks, yeah, still a bit shaken but ok!

    In a way I am glad I stayed in touch with myself and kept standing my ground about the whens and wheres to meet, as that was finally what triggered him into revealing his reality. Wew, I could have gone sailing off with a little Hitler, ha!

    It is funny, he is about to have a serious operation on his leg, and in my nightmare,I kept not only seeing spiders, but also spider legs that had come loose, big and hairy, and one of them actually got stuck in my hair! A nice detail was my mother was there and plucked away one of the spiders that came closest on some low ceiling, and in mydream, as opposed to in reality, she wasn’t scared of it.

    She was also supportive when I told her about that guys weird and creepy behaviour, and agreed no more contact whatsoever was in order.

    ha, interesting experience to say the least, I made it up to three dates, not six!


    • Larry says:

      Margaret, I’d feel better the farther you stay away from that creep. I don’t know why you’d say “In a way I am glad I stayed in touch with myself and kept standing my ground…”. I think it was absolutely vital that you stayed in touch with yourself and stood your ground.

  60. Margaret says:

    I guess I put it that way because at first there are so many questions and negative feelings coming up it was
    hard to make up my mind.

    it was really hard to be certain what was real and what was my old reality playing up.

    One of the first questions of course being have I done anything wrong? Am I partly to blame for any of this?

    Then gradually things clear up and indignation and incredulity takes over and it becomes easier to see this is someone elses craziness hsowing its ugly face.

    Only then it became really possible to start seeing I did nothing wrong, on the contrary. This guy was so good at nicely inviting me for all kind of trips and outings I almost started to feel guilty at some point to keep refusing, even for some innocent day trip.

    I even went through the trouble of sending him a long e-mail with a whole explanation about all the feelings being raised by this new experience of internet dating, in combination with my handicap and the tensions and fears that provoked.

    I told him how hard that was to deal with and why I preferred to make it easier by getting to know him at first in familiar settings, but obviously he didn’t really hear what I said or ignored it.

    Specially the confrontation with my limitations was very painful, not seeing much makes so many things not that much fun anymore.

    On the other hand I think with the right person that wouldn’t have mattered that much, I could almost do anything and enjoy it with good company at my side. That was really what made me cautious about this guy, I simply coulnt start feeling like spending a whole day with him, I sometimes even started feeling lonely in his company.
    from the beginning I felt this guy was more focused on himself and on adding me as some kind of extra convenience than on who I really am.

    But it was all so very subtle that i constantly kept scanning myself whether it was not just my fear coming up with excuses to choose some easy way out.

    So it took me several steps to get to the point where I could word and really feel I had been remaining true to myself and done what I needed to do and also had made the efforts to put myself out there ,.

    This was such an unexpected vicious attack out of the blue, he was trying to sweep my legs from under me emotionally, that I needed time to make up the sum of what happened, and when I came to the frase we talk aboutit was the one positive thing rising up out of the whole mess of the experience, and I was still a little hesitant to word it at first.,

    Since then talking about it, someone else actually frased how maturely I reacted and how well I had dealt with the whole experience, and only then could I really accept I had no blame.

    It is hard to sift out that one very possitive feeling and make it shine, so to say, in all that debris.

    Later on I also felt some grief about suddenly a seemingly starting relation being completely gone, even though I know that is very good, it does leave a sudden empty gap somehow.

    And I do feel hurt and misunderstood and rejected, be it in a very diminished degree, as I wasnet too emotionally involved yet.
    It leaves me feeling vulnerable and aware of the fact that with my handicap I really really need a nice and caring loving person.
    I might not meet him ever, but I’d rather be on my own than in bad company, I do enjoy my own company too much for that.

    • Larry says:

      Margaret, I understand now. Thanks for explaining how it all feels and unfolded for you. I think you deserve a nice and caring loving person whether you have a handicap or not.

  61. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    “The best art comes from pain.”

  62. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    ‘Where Children Sleep’: A moving look at what kids have – and lack

  63. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    This is going to be a bit of a shameless advertising plug for Primal Therapy. I have made some weird progress in a lot of inscrutable areas of my life over the years. One notable aspect was a follow-up from an email I once had with Atty many years ago where she urged me to consider the tons of people complaining about what they don’t have and be grateful for the little things I do have. Although I still have plenty of days where I complain about what I don’t have, the days have grown more frequent in which I say to myself, “Wow, this day was awesome, I am lucky and glad to be around just to see this day.”

    tl;dr – I am a 99.999% perfectly shiny person now and I will need a little more time to polish out the remaining imperfect 0.001%. Thank you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Talking about percentages … just read an article about the ‘99% movement’, original initiated by Anonymous, occupying Wall Street for about 10 days now – which gave me some wonderful moments. A nice package of saneness and rationality in a world out of control. Had a word with Barry the other day about gratefulness and complaining and I do agree to him saying there’s time for complaining as well as for being thankful. And then again: So much shit happened to me personally as well as to and in the world around me, that it would take decades of complaining to get somehow even. The sad thing is, it’s so very much, it covers gratefulness most of the time. Even though, I know I should concentrate more on the things I love (like those guys on Wall Street) – because it hurts – I concentrate more in fighting/hating the stock traders looking down on the protesters from their balconies, mocking them, drinking champagne and having their sick little fun.

      • THE Ultimate Guru says:


        I couldn’t help but remember my own primal roots of the “class warfare” complaints you mention. When I was a very young child (4-10 years) my grand-aunt, grandma, and dad would line the glittery family Christmas tree with an enormous number of wrapped gifts waiting for my grand Christmas day opening to see all the latest trendy toys, etc. Some of these years I can remember as many as forty (40) gifts wrapped up for me for Christmas. All mine! I was on top of the kiddie financial heap and even Santa would visit my house every year. By the time I was a teenager I had almost an entire basement garage filled with old Christmas gifts.
        Many of my classmates at school were jealous along with even my cousins at this childhood “largesse” I received. It certainly LOOKED like I was the Robber Baron! I was even trained a little bit to feel guilty over this, despite the fact that over the years it was only a few thousand dollars’ worth of toys. (What’s that…a month’s rent in Beverly Hills now?)
        Don’t get me wrong, I will always feel grateful to my family for trying to provide the best Christmases they could for me. They really tried their absolute best and I know it. It’s just that, I needed other things and a lot of bad things were going on in my life I couldn’t really begin to understand until my adult years…
        There’s a therapy session in here somewhere about the illusion of value and how even the greatest of my family’s loving intentions can sadly fall short (here’s your opportunity for “money is an illusion” theme, Jack!)

        Ulrich- If you made it this far in my post, I really don’t know for sure how this Christmas gift jealousy theme carries over to adult jealousy of CEO salaries, etc…..but for some reason I can feel it’s a similar dynamic in many ways.

        • THE Ultimate Guru says:

          This is a link covering the protests I believe Ulrich was talking about :

          I’m amused at the picture of Ben Bernanke with the caption of “Wall Street’s Secret Santa” since my last post had a long spiel about the parallels of other kids envying my semi-extravagant Christmases when I was very young.

          (Please note: I’m neutral on these protests.)

        • Anonymous says:

          🙂 Guru, I’ve never been interested in huge salaries as much as I’ve never been interested in piles of christmas gifts. I might be jealous of rich people’s mobility, cause rich people can actually go where ever they want to on this planet and I can not, ok, but in the end I’m not interested in what they earn or own or do or think. Neither are those protesters, I guess – but I certainly can not speak for them. All I feel is an understanding of their motivations, and I am not astonished, that there are so many young people among them. The sense of justice must be bigger, when you’re young. (I am not only not astonished, but proud of them as well. They actually do stand up against corruption and greed and they do it for you and me as well. There is less a missing agenda, as your article implies, but more a problem of many people to actually notice, that something different is going on ‘under the hood’. Something sane in my opinion.
          So #OccupyWallStreet (Twitter term, if you’re interested) is more like this:

          and this:


          • THE Ultimate Guru says:

            There have been some widely-publicized studies in recent years that primates already had a sense of “fairness” (with justice being perhaps a more complex extension). The grapes, peppers, and cucumbers for primate fairness studies might translate into protests over the Wall Street bailouts & sweetheart deals for the rich?

            If these experiments hold water it would seem that justice and equality virtues were already hard-wired into our systems from the very start. Not sure whether the sense of justice diminishes with age, as Ulrich implied, but it’s possible.

          • Larry says:

            It is interesting Ulrich, that as I watched the youtube video that you posted about the protesters in the street and the people watching from the balconies, I never had the impression at all that the people in the balconies were mocking the street protesters. To me, the people in the balconies just looked curious and fascinated in witnessing what was perhaps a momentous change in the wind, a historical groundswell of opinion seen growing in the street below them.

            • Anonymous says:

              Well, I guess they would have been welcomed to join …

              – ulrich

              • THE Ultimate Guru says:

                As the days slowly go by I am starting to feel slightly more sympathy for the protesters. Just letting you know I am veering away from my original neutral stance. Even though it appears to be many variations of the social inequality theme from the individual protesters, I myself would be protesting about something different than most of those people…but it still seems like it would be fun to join them for a day or two, yeah..

  64. Margaret says:

    Thanks Larry.

  65. Fiona says:

    I hate getting stuck in a feeling. You just have to sit it out, knowing the whole time that thinking rationally is out of the question.

    I am stuck in ‘being totally useless’, ‘unworthy’, ‘un-likeable’, ‘never good enough’ etc etc. Roll on tomorrow when I can look forward to being scared and angry again….. or maybe it will be the day after… you see; I am not clever enough or good enough to predict when it will change! [Half hearted lol!] I am glad it does though.

    Sorry guys, [Ulrich, Ug and Larry] can’t do the political thing…. another ENDless struggle.

    • THE Ultimate Guru says:

      It’s not a problem with me, Fiona.
      Figured it was understood a long time ago that anyone could talk about anything unless it was some sort of explicit public internet sexual orgy or sets of bombmaking instructions being passed around ???

    • Larry says:

      Me too, Fiona, I’m mired in the leaking of a feeling that might take many months or more likely the rest of my life to feel and drain out. This weekend, though with friends on Friday evening and on Sunday, but with no one who I knew on Saturday except for a phone call from UG thank you, I cannot long escape feeling that I am so socially crippled and my life so empty and bleak as to be not salvageable. I miss Noreen impossibly much. I never had such a friend as her, or known a love like hers that filled the bleak windswept hollow in my core and propped me up. I need her. I can’t believe she is really dead. I NEED her love that healed me and let me feel whole and connected to the universe. I imagine that to be a totally helpless baby without love and hope must feel….deathly.

  66. Fiona says:

    Ug – I meant that I can’t keep up with the political issues, owing to a lack of knowledge, coupled with that old “I can’t make them SEE” feeling. It always puts me off adding my ‘opinion’. But you guys go for it – of course. :0]

    Larry. Your pain is so huge! From your past {childhood] as well as the more present terrible loss of your Noreen. I dare not even think of being in your position. I am sorry that your pain seems so endless, Larry. It has helped put my situation into perspective. I hope you get occasional relief from your sadness.

    • Larry says:

      I don’t think my pain is any worse than yours Fiona. I am more alone than you are. Not so alone that I can’t bear it though. For instance I’d rather be alone than be with the wrong person. I do get relief from my sad emptiness. I cried some of the feeling yesterday evening. That always gives relief for a while, until I’m ready to take on more of it. Being at work today and spending some time with a few long term work friends who want to spend a few moments with me now and then to see how I’m doing helps take away the sadness. Getting a phone call this evening from a friend from my bereavement group to see how I’m doing helps. Nurturing an online relationship with a couple of ladies from a dating service helps. In fact it just might be the growing of those budding relationships that opens my chasm of emptiness. It was such wonder, and I was so proud to meet Noreen, to find us falling in love, to proudly introduce her to my parents and family, and to see her over the years become a treasured part of my family. Now my father is gone, my mother is in a nursing home with dementia, and Noreen is gone. That magic time in my life is all over and I can’t believe how it just totally vanishes. I’m looking to start over with someone new, but at our age and stage of life, it can’t ever be the same as it was back then for Noreen and I, and I still have little Larry in me who never got what he needed but is still trying for it. I’ve got to get him to give up hope and to accept his eternal empty desolation, and at the same time reach out into my life and fill mine. It’s hard to do, but not impossible I think. But it’s upsetting to be hit with the realization that so much of what mattered so much to me is gone, leaving me almost alone in what feels like a world of strangers. I guess that’s also how a 2 year old would feel when given away by his parents.

      I saw a funny cartoon today, titled Communication. It should have been called Mis-communication. I wish there was a way I could attach the cartoon here. In it, a wife is sitting in her living room armchair, looking at her husband who is standing facing her and leaning with his arm on the fireplace mantle. She says to him, “You never listen to me. You only hear what you want to hear.” Looking back at her, he replies “Sure. I’ll have a beer.”

  67. Margaret says:

    your latest coment both touched me deeply and made me smile.
    Thanks to everyone who still goes on keeping this blog alive and kicking.

  68. Fiona says:

    I had a dream that my pervert brother started primal, and was in my group. Everyone (the group and the therapist) were defending and being really supportive of him! I couldn’t take it. My safe haven had gone.

    I felt so attacked and alone. And then my ‘wonderful’ partner was there; sticking up for me, and comforting me. She stood up to the group. She was (AND IS) a rock for me. I HAD to tell her first thing this morning just what that meant to me.

    The thing is – she IS there for me, and it is good to know that my subconscious knows that too.

    Booo Hiisssssss nasty group people! Lol!

  69. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    Today has just been a bad, bad day. The world seems upside down. I am left with similar feelings as Fiona when she talks about, “No one will ever understand me (or where I’m coming from)”.

    –Art is decrying how unfair the world was to a fabulously famous and successful billionaire (Steve Jobs). I’m not even going to approach the topic of how much aggregate press coverage over the world’s 30,000+ newspapers his death has already received….too much to quantify and too many sheep following suit. (“BOO HOO HOO!”)…If Art thinks 56 is dying young, what about the thousands of teenagers killed in car accidents in the US every year?
    –Lost $16k today on a practice account trying out a new system today (glad it was fake money)
    –My 2nd best Primal buddy’s phone is disconnected today and I have no idea how to reach him anymore
    –Just to rub salt in the wound…my neighbors are shining spotlights into my windows again tonight.


    • THE Ultimate Guru says:

      Ok, just…let me finish being mad then and realize it’s not the universe conspiring against me. Just have to press on but still feel mad at this ridiculous confluence of “negative vibe” events today (even if randomly occurring). Bye!

      • THE Ultimate Guru says:

        I try to end this with a laugh as I think of my dad (former math professor) frequently musing to himself in a melodic way: “Random events tend to cluster…”

  70. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    I’m going to echo a couple of other peoples’ observations that the Institute’s blog seems “dead” these days. Fiona, Margaret, Larry, and I are the only ones stranded on this desert island…with Ulrich and Vicki occasionally dropping off supplies in their proverbial speedboats.

    I feel a bit like a lonely coyote in the darkness of night howling at the full moon when I speak here anymore…H-O-o-W-L!!

  71. Margaret says:

    Ultimate coyote,
    hoooowl back from a semi-deserted mountaintop in the middle of town in Belgium.
    And a little meow from next to my feet, I do have company.
    Margaret and cat

  72. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    Hi Margaret:

    I looked up at the moon tonight and saw that it IS full! H-oo-O-o-W-L..

  73. Fiona says:

    Bark! !

  74. Anonymous says:

    Hi everybody
    Guru, this fabulous billionaire, Steve Jobs was given in adoption when he was a child. That means he was an unloved or an unwanted child, and I think that is terrible, that is the worst think that can happen to anybody. It is a big tragedy to start life this way, sooner or later what happens to us in childhood is so important, that it will show up one way or another when we are adults. Steve Job was a big innovator, a big person, but what about if he could had expressed his real feelings, would he still be alive creating new ipads, or iphones.?

    • THE Ultimate Guru says:

      Hi Miguel,

      Well…it’s an irony to be sure…but on a whim I checked the Wikipedia page about Primal Therapy:

      (Near the bottom of the link it says…)
      Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs briefly practiced primal therapy. A source states that Jobs “grew bored and disdainful of Primal Therapy.”

      Personally I have a more positive opinion of the Primal approach than Mr. Jobs apparently did. I am extremely cautious on the topic of adoption and all the discussions that can grow out of it where a person’s long-term development is concerned. I had a friend from high school who was also adopted and he just turned out to be a lowly pizza delivery driver with two kids and this old friend died of cirrhosis of the liver at age 34 from drinking a ton of whiskey every day. Is it because he was adopted? Not sure.

      I have an old Apple IIc with a bunch of floppy disks from the 1980’s in one of my closets. I didn’t buy or own any Apple products since then….What’s an ipad or iphone? 😀
      Does that make me a dinosaur?

    • Larry says:

      Hi Miguel. It’s nice to hear from you. How is your recovery from your health issues coming along?

      Your interesting question spawns another one for me, namely, if Steve Jobs could have expressed his real feelings, would he then have felt driven at all to create the communication devices, the ipad and the iphone?

      • Miguel says:

        Thanks Larry
        Recovery is slower than I thought but is going.
        If Steve Jobs could have felt his real feelings, probably he would had invented I pads or iphones anyway. People need to develop their capacities. But is he could have felt his real feelings he could probably had saved his life which is more important than technology.

  75. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    Concerning the Apple IIc…My dad wanted me to have this computer after watching the 1984 Super Bowl and running across this incredible old television commercial.
    (Make sure you have your George Orwell groove on to understand it.):

  76. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    Although I need to be working on other things right at the moment, I did give some very careful thought on the adoption issue. I believe part of any pain coupled with being given up by parents for adoption partially has to do with the length of time you grew to love that person.
    Somewhat akin to a sample parent giving me up for adoption at birth: If I had an acquaintance whom I only met a few times and he was suddenly run over by a bus, would it be as painful for me as losing a long-time friend whom I might have cultivated a feeling relationship with over a 5-10 year period? I think the pain is more severe when you’ve had a chance to love that person and/or develop emotional attachments to him/her. It’s a bit like the situation with Larry and Noreen. He had a chance to develop a loving relationship over many years with her and it’s much more painful to suddenly have to sever those ties forever.
    James Kunstler once referred to this as the psychology of previous investment only this is an emotional investment in a person, perhaps…
    I hope this viewpoint makes some sense to the reader! I tried my best in a hurry here..

  77. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    I should add…
    The above statement almost implies that a 90 year-old man losing his wife of 50 years would have earth shattering pain while a young child losing a parent would not (since the time to grow an attachment would be shorter for the child). In keeping with Janovian traditions, it would be best for me to say each year of attachment for a child might have the same impact as several years of emotional attachments built up by an adult, so a child would still be more vulnerable here..
    Hope that makes sense, bye!

  78. Fiona says:

    My mum only died a couple of years ago, and yet I long(ed) for her all my life…

    Perception of pain is way too individual for any broad generalisations.

    My own opinion is heavily swayed by the fact that a person is physically connected to their mother in the womb. A connection that is severed at birth.

    The strength of the bond denotes the pain of the separation.

  79. THE Ultimate Guru says:


    OK, I can accept that I made a broad generalization there…but what about Art and Jack? Could they be considered as cutting the same broad swath?

    • THE Ultimate Guru says:

      Once in a while Margaret will share a dream on the blog. Art has said that dream analysis is useless. Maybe…maybe not, I am neutral…but I had the weirdest dream last night and I am just writing this down for posterity. It may mean nothing. It may mean everything. Please ignore this at will…I am trying to write this down while memories are still fresh in the morning:

      I was working in a probation office handling paperwork for a large group of probation officers (which did happen once some years ago). The second-in-command at this office was a woman who was married to one of the officers. She took a liking to me and enjoyed talking to me on most days. Early in the dream she told me rumors of a legendary man amongst the criminal community called Harvey Tarantino, who happened to be a distant relative to famed movie producer Quentin Tarantino. However according to this woman Harvey was an expert at making bodies of crime victims “disappear” to hide evidence (usually murder victims).
      Anyway, apparently this woman grew disenchanted with her husband and she called me into her office one day to invite me to see a “secret hideaway” high up in an old building downtown accessible only by fire escape stairs. Reluctant but curious, I agreed to her request. We arrived at the building and she started climbing the long flight of stairs. Her husband suddenly arrives and starts to follow her up the stairs, but he slips and falls back onto the ground hitting his head on the sidewalk. He has a faint and weakening pulse. With some sort of contempt the wife yells at me to, “Come on up!!” I looked down at the dying husband and yell back, “But we must do something right now or he will have brain damage in a few minutes without oxygen if he isn’t breathing!” I hurriedly climbed up the fire escape stairs to follow her into this small studio apartment. As I enter I notice her with a small address book with her finger resting on Harvey Tarantino’s name.

      And then I woke up! I almost never remember any dreams and this is the first clear one I could remember in many, many months.

      • Larry says:

        Since you almost never remember your dreams UG, it is interesting that you clearly remembered this one.

        • THE Ultimate Guru says:

          Well for all I know, Larry, during the last part of the dream I could have simply been sleeping in a bad position that was shutting off my oxygen (perhaps sleep apnea) and I must do someething right now (wake up) to prevent my OWN brain damage?? I do recognize some bits and pieces that randomly connect to real-life events from my past that my own brain probably cobbled together.

          • THE Ultimate Guru says:

            Typo in last post: something

            • Fiona says:

              Hi Ug – In my case the dream uses my imagination; finding pictures, scenarios and concepts that fit the feeling that is pushing up from inside me. So dreaming about polar bears stalking me is about fear, for example. It sometimes takes me a while to figure out exactly what the feeling is that is lurking within the dream. Exactly your ‘cobbled together’ notion – but not necessarily linked to the exact people involved in the dream. They are just ‘the cast’ as it were!

              If that is the case for you, I wonder what the feeling was behind your ‘Tarantino’ dream?

              • THE Ultimate Guru says:

                Did you see the question I had up above for you, Fiona? (10-14-11…1:20pm) If you won’t answer my questions, why would I answer yours?

                • THE Ultimate Guru says:

                  It’s just aggravating when people don’t respond to what I ask, or they just ignore my question and then ask me something else (which, I suppose, is better than being TOTALLY ignored anyway).

    • THE Ultimate Guru says:

      Let me explain why I asked you this question:
      Let’s equate “cutting a broad generalization of pain” with stealing candy from a candy store. Two of my friends and I go into the candy store and proceed with our little heist. I get busted. The two friends (ie. Art and Jack) silently escape the scene with their candy (“broad generalizations”). In the store proprietor’s mind no one else did anything wrong except ME even though I know what I witnessed. I would think this would be a very annoying experience to endure for many people since not only did my two candy-stealing friends get away with something unscathed, I am the ONLY one being viewed as a crook.
      I was once on the “good side” of such an incident a long time ago at a drug treatment center. Four or five people, including myself, decided to smoke marijuana during their 30-day “treatment” program. Except for me, the consequences were very severe if the others in this group got caught. I was the only one that got away with it when the treatment center supervisors busted the rest of the group and hauled them back to prison. As the rest of the group was being processed to re-enter the legal system several of the busted group members had mean, angry glares reserved for me. I could certainly understand their anger …and this is why I asked you about whether Art and Jack may be “getting away with something quietly” when I am the only one being considered a “pain generalizer”.

  80. Larry says:

    I notice that information about the upcoming November retreat isn’t posted on this site, but info about the past summer retreat is still up.

  81. Margaret says:

    the question you are angry about not being answered by Fiona, sounded pretty retorical to me too, to be honest.
    Any chance you were angry to start with?

    Do you see any similarities in your life between that person in your dream you wanted to help, that person risking to die, and someone in your real life?

    And any similarity between the woman not staying around to help you?

    And was there any other feeling but bewilderment in your dream?

    • THE Ultimate Guru says:

      I finally had some time to write something here. The anger part was already covered; it was more aptly described as irritation.
      The dream questions you asked I couldn’t directly answer because the impact of the dream itself had worn off and it felt more and more insignificant.
      However, your last question is one I could answer. I do know that in most dreams….right at the end of most dreams I’ve had…I end up in a very anxiety-provoking “unfixable” binds of some kind. It’s like a mini-nightmare situation where I’m relieved to wake up. The nightmare is not of the bloody kind, usually, but more of a horrific moral or situation dilemma. It’s ALWAYS at the last minute or two before waking up when this panic sets in at some unsolveable situation and the only relief is to wake up.

      • THE Ultimate Guru says:

        I am tired, so forgive the spelling and grammar errors in my last post. I wanted to add that, in a nutshell, my dreams usually slowly slide into some anxiety or panic-provoking situation I can’t solve at the end and it’s a relief to wake up.
        On rare occasions I’ve had good dreams. I once dreamt of winning $500,000 in a poker tournament. It felt so vividly real and I was actually disappointed when I woke up from that one…

  82. Fiona says:

    Ug – I had no intention of ignoring you. Apologies for that misunderstanding. I didn’t ‘get’ the question part at all. So I didn’t answer. I decided in my little brain that there was a Jack/Art issue going on on another blog; something that I wasn’t aware of. For me it was not important enough to investigate Art’s blog and scroll through endless Primal theory to find out what they were arguing over. Anyway, help me understand your question, “Could they be considered as cutting the same broad swath?”

    It seems as though you felt criticised by my previous reply to you. Maybe because of this sentence, “Perception of pain is way too individual for any broad generalisations”. When reading it back, I can see that it infers that this was a judgement about what you wrote. It was meant as just my opinion about perception of a pain. I am sensitive about this aspect, because I feel like my ‘pains’ are not valid enough. That I have no right to feel as badly as I do, or to be as neurotic as I am.

    We do seem to be on different pages you and I.

    I am sorry you were … affected…in what seems to be an angry way, by me not responding to your question. No malice intended.

    • Larry says:

      I don’t want to sidetrack the thread that you guys are on. I just have to offer the small comment Fiona, that I feel that I have no right to feel as badly as I do or to be as neurotic as I am. On the other hand, from what I know about you, your neurotic avoidance of your traumatic childhood is perfectly understandable, and your trying to confront and open up to your pain is admirable and brave, because I see your pain as huge.

    • THE Ultimate Guru says:

      Fiona & Margaret:
      I read both of your posts and I can only squeeze in a couple of things here as I have a full roster going elsewhere at the moment.
      This is for both of you:
      LEVELS OF ANGER (from least to most)
      1) irritated
      2) annoyed
      3) aggravated
      4) angry
      5) outraged
      6) Lou Ferrigno’s Incredible Hulk vein-popping rage

      I use 1-3 interchangeably, but I can see where the word “aggravated” can be considered by some as closer to anger than simple irritation. I should have used the word “irritated” instead of “aggravated”!

      What I was asking had nothing to do with Art’s Center. You’re right that the blog has a very narrow scientific sort of focus and if that’s what Art wants on his blog, so be it. I’ve tried to comment in the recent past on there only to meet with the censorship stick like Vicki. (And I wasn’t even saying anything bad about primal either!)

      “The Worst Part of Censorship is ################”

      • THE Ultimate Guru says:

        Now I have a red face of embarrassment. I spent a few minutes double-checking Art’s blog and he DID end up posting my comment this time. Hah! My mistake there…My apologies to Art in this case then. I spoke prematurely about censorship where my case is concerned, but I cannot speak for others here, though.

      • Fiona says:

        “The Worst Part of Censorship is ################”

        LOL!! 🙂

  83. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    Just to be clear that statement is not my idea….just Google search “The Worst Part of Censorship” and click “Images” on the very top of the search results…all sorts of buttons and T-Shirts for sale…

    • Fiona says:

      Just made me laugh – that’s all. Claim it as yours! Live a little!

      • THE Ultimate Guru says:

        This is just for Fiona (anyone else just ignore unless you’re really bored):
        Speaking of laughs…I wanted to link this original Incredible Hulk trailer (2 minutes) just for you in case you weren’t familiar with what I meant when I discussed Anger stage #6 earlier (the highest level of anger). People might think of it as lame or boring, but it gave me some chuckles about ancient TV programming:

        • Fiona says:

          Oh yesssss! I loved the hulk as a kid, and the bionic man…. isn’t it one cringe after another to look back… oh god – Kung Fu too! We had so many of your American cast off tv series in the UK (Charlie’s Angels, Dukes of Hazard [Ugh!] Dallas and Dynasty) And in return we gave you…. Benny Hill…… LOL LOL LOL!!

          • Fiona says:

            Revenge is sweet!

            • THE Ultimate Guru says:

              My grand-aunt used to love watching Benny Hill 😀 I saw a few episodes when I was small. He was pretty funny (kind of a fat guy).
              She was once called for jury duty at a murder trial many years go and the defendant literally stated his alibi as having watched “Benny Hill” in his motel room. Of the twelve jurors my great-aunt was the only one who knew who Benny Hill was.

  84. vickib5 says:

    I haven’t had time to catch up here yet, but accidentally ran into another Blog nearby, called, “Mostly Bright Ideas”, with its current Post entitled “Don’t Ask, Don’t Yell”, which is actually quite clear about a few things between parents and kids.

    • THE Ultimate Guru says:

      That post was spot-on in many ways about how it was not safe to do many things around our parent(s) as a small child that was more vulnerable and fearful than an adult is. I safely do more things around my dad now than I did when I was little. Fortunately, though, he was patient with my own inane questions but he did have a hot temper I was afraid of at times (there were other triggers for that anger than asking him questions, though).

      • Vicki says:

        Yeah, I especially liked his retelling of endless questions his daughter asked, and how he figured out the meaning of it all:
        “Where is Christmas?”
        “Why can’t I see my eyes?”
        “Who was the first person to see dirt?”
        “Where does the sun go at night?”

        “The sun?” he said, “that’s a good question. Here, let me show you.” And then he assembled a model of the solar system, from stuff in the house, but by the time he had it ready, “the kids were long gone”. He “eventually figured out that they weren’t really looking for answers. They just wanted to know that it was safe to ask questions.”

        I think that’s true. My parents used to get aggravated at my questions, which didn’t seem crazy to me, but when they couldn’t think how to answer, they would tell me I asked too many questions, or just to “stop”. I knew they were no fun, and didn’t care about my insatiable curiosity.

        • THE Ultimate Guru says:

          In a scientific way it was good you brought this topic up, for I can see where studying the questions children ask their parents would be a fertile breeding ground of research into how the brains of young children operate. (cognitive developmental psychology or just pediatric cognition?)…The tip-off in your post for me was your saying that the questions “didn’t seem crazy to me” at the time.

          At any rate, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, Vicki, but you might have lost 10-20 creative IQ points when you were little? To me, the human brain is analogous to a big oak or maple tree with branches and intricate twigs representing neural pathways. Maybe your parents might have inadvertently cut off some valuable branches in the “brain-tree” by stifling your questions? (Don’t worry, you’re still smarter than me..but it might have kept you from being Marie Curie?)

  85. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    Since everyone is so quiet and it feels very dark and desolate in here to me…I am going to give out a fun Halloween movie recommendation…generously afforded to the populace from the Ultimate Guru himself!

    The Jerk with Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters

    Old movie from 1979 but very funny (at least to me). Bye!

  86. Margaret says:

    Hi ‘all’,
    a little positive news from Belgiuim.
    I just saw an item on the evening news about how more people should be supported and given advice as to be raising their kids in a more positive way right from the start.
    They mentioned a recent study from Minnesota stating how even babies are found to suffer the consequences of not getting enough positive bonding.

    It was quite a long item for such a subject, and I always consider it as a hopeful hting to notice how some of the primal truths seem to be seeping in into society.Does anyone know what kind of study this was in Minnesota?

    To me this is no news of course, I have done so much baby wailing already, but it still marvels me every time it happens.
    Are there any new interesting publications about primaling and its theory?

    • Larry says:

      Hi Margaret,
      I can’t think of any specific new interesting publications, but I am encouraged off and on to see signs here and there of some awakening to the truths of our biology and our emotional growth as human beings. But what surprises me still is how unaware the bulk of humanity is of their own inner life, how small and rare a group we primallers are, with our insights to our emotional selves that become natural to us but that few other people have. I infrequently sometimes still attend a bereavement group, and see some of the same people who were there when I first started going to it two years ago. It hurts me to see their ongoing suffering from being stuck in their grief, going over and over the same issues, blinded and unable to understand and process their pain and to heal. I feel so very lucky for all the help and healing I’ve received through this therapy. This autumn, one evening a week, I’ve been taking classes in a “spiritual care” course, which is designed to prepare the participants to be more effective emotional companions/visitors to the bedridden, such as being a volunteer visitor to hospital patients. The thrust of the course is to impress that what is most important as a volunteer visitor to the sick or dying is to be a companion, to listen, to foster an environment that allows the bedridden to talk their feeling. The subject matter being taught in the course is already so natural and obvious to me that I’m not learning much, except I’m dismayed by how foreign and new the ideas are to the rest of the class. The best way I can describe it is that we in primal therapy gradually and simply see the entire, real elephant, whereas everyone else in my class sees the elephant through a God or religious or some other distorting lens that blinds them to what the elephant really is. The course material itself, drawn from psychology and religious/spriritual psychology books/papers, seems unnecessarily obtuse. What I am really learning from the course is what a muddled view the others in the class have of the simple truths of our emotional biology that we in primal therapy know. I’m finding that the other people in the class don’t know what it is like to be listened to. They don’t know how it feels to be heard. They are unaware of the volcano of emotions upon which they sit, which sometimes seep out of them in class/ breakout group discussion. The more of my life that I live, the more I feel how lucky and privileged I’ve been – -how precious and transformative it is to be listened to and heard in the way that happens in this therapy. I am more deeply appreciating that to be listened to is a gift, and to be heard the way we are in this therapy, as simple and biologically natural as it seems, is precious and rare.

  87. Jack Waddington says:

    Still not getting email about new comments to this blog: So I am writing another, then will add my email address, and my name in the appropriate boxes and see if that works. Tried twice before without any luck.

    Meantime doing ok and protested the trailer park owner who is trying to demolish trailers so facilitate his closing it down. We got some press coverage and a 4 minute spot on the channel 5 news yesterday. They called the workers off but they may try again. It felt good for that little win and to be protesting; I love the Occupy Wall Street protest and hope and feel it’s the way of the future.


  88. Margaret says:

    I also receive the e-mails, but you’ll have to ask Fiona ‘how come…?’

  89. Fiona says:

    I don’t get them either. I set up Margaret’s with the usual email link when there is a new post. For some reason I never get the notifications.
    I wondered if it may be due to the fact that I became a member of wordpress. It is still not right.

  90. Margaret says:

    by the way, Larry, great comment a little while ago!

  91. Vicki says:

    Okay, when I get some time, I will try and figure out what might be the problem with the missing emails. Thanks

  92. Fiona says:

    During the week I read:
    “Since we were given two ears and one mouth, we should listen twice as much as we speak.”

    It came to mind while reading about your Spiritual care course.
    What are your reasons for taking the course, Larry? It is interesting.

    • Larry says:

      It’s difficult for me to answer your question Fiona,because in taking the course I’m venturing into a new domain, a part of the city, so to speak, that I only have passing familiarity with, and any time soon I might just decide to retreat to and remain in my comfortable familiar neighborhood. All of my grownup life I’ve immersed myself in science and nature. It absorbed my attention and gave me respite from my life’s problems. It was an emotionally sterile, emotionally safe place to earn a living. As long as I was challenged mentally and had the physical ability to do the work and it was meaningful to me, I was content. But having worked at this job for a few decades, there is no more challenge in it. To move to something more interesting, I’d probably first have to go back to school. I don’t feel pulled by natural science anymore as much as I used to be. I’ve become more interested in people, so far. I’m probably going to retire in a few years, but I need something meaningful to do with myself when I do. I’m considering volunteering part time at something helpful to people. I don’t know what that will be. The spiritual care course is beginning first steps at finding out where I might want to go. I’m afraid of the unknown. Through most of my life I had always been afraid of people. Who knows, maybe I’ll stay safe and dry and keep working at my current job until I croak. Or maybe I’ll retire to playing tennis all summer and ball room dancing all winter 🙂

      You’ve been quieter than usual on this blog Fiona. Are things going well? ….Ditto for Jack.

      • Jack Waddington says:

        Yep Larry, nothing inspired me to comment upon, Cept I wasn’t getting the emails like I used to. Tried a couple of times to re-invigorate that process, but to no avail. Vicki says she’ll try and sort it out. Thx Vicki.

  93. Fiona says:

    That’s what I remember you talking about last retreat, Larry. I just wasn’t sure if you had made further plans/progress with your wishes/hopes! I am glad that you take your future seriously – even the croaking part! 🙂

    I have been quieter than usual for two reasons. One is that I have been very uncomfortable to write about one of the subjects of deep feelings that have been plaguing me a while ago. More recently I have postponed writing about another topic that has had me ‘floored’ so to speak! I am ashamed and hurt and angry and self critical and self loathing and worthless and un-desirable and bad at my job and stupid and and and and……. (in no particular order – and a few omissions due to laziness! – but feeling all those persistently and constantly, in rotation – no let up or time off!)

    Just the past week or so has shown relief from that constant shit. I had planned to write, but it was the same when I tried to buddy about it all…. it seemed that my defences kicked in, and I just couldn’t be bothered to talk about each and every tiny feeling. Too much – so I just didn’t! When there is a lifetime of feelings related to something, it seems I fight tooth and nail NOT to go there. Something I THOUGHT I didn’t do… but sadly I am wrong. I preferred to think of myself as tackling things that came from within. I hope to write about my failure feelings soon.
    This failure stuff reminds me of how deep and varied the feelings are regarding my childhood x abuse. I always roll my eyes and say “oh no! Surely I don’t have to repeat it all again… I only remember …..” But last year, while talking with Gretchen, she persuaded me to repeat it ALLLLLL over again…. but in moaning about it, I selected one tiny thread of a feeling and just stayed with that tiny thing. That really helped, and I got somewhere. I just DO fight it…. the tiny threads of horror are…. horror.

    I will have to select a tiny thread…. and write.

  94. Larry says:

    The Fiona that I’ve gotten to know is an intelligent, sensitive person of integrity and courage. The only cause that I can see for you to loathe yourself is the pain put in you by someone else’s loathsome behaviour. I can identify with the feelings. I have a deep, gradually emptying reservoir of feeling unlovable, unwanted, …unworthy.

  95. Fiona says:

    It’s all about rejection… I remember now…. all my recent horrible feelings were triggered by rejection(s).

    Thanks for your support, Larry! 😉

  96. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    Hey all:

    I needed to ask something…uhm..
    I’ve been learning this brand new computer programming language for a specific project and it’s very deep gray matter stuff for me.
    While I have been working on this I was reminded of the William James Sidis story. He had an IQ of 250-300, went to Harvard at age 16, and learned over 40 languages fluently, but he eventually died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the relatively young age of 46. I can only guess his brain finally exploded after taking in so much information:

    Should I worry about my own brain exploding like this as I keep trying to work on my project? It left me feeling a bit anxious is all….

    • THE Ultimate Guru says:

      CORRECTION – Mr. Sidis went to Harvard when he was 11 years old, not 16

    • Larry says:

      There are a lot of highly intelligent people who moved humanity great strides forward in our understanding of the world around us, who didn’t die of cerebral hemorrhage. Leonardo da Vinci and Einstein come to mind. No one’s ever shown a correlation between IQ, feats of learning, and brain explosion. Perhaps Sidis’s brain was an anomaly, of a particularly unusual design structure that enabled him access to unusually great amounts of readily absorbed information, but also left him susceptible to hemorrhage, whether he put information in it or not. I’ve learned from the tragic experience of others in my bereavement group that people die suddenly of brain aneurysm. My young summer student’s father died instantly at the peak of his life of a brain aneurysm, leaving her, a young adult, to grieve him the rest of her life. It seems an aneurysm can happen any time to anyone who has a defect somewhere in their arteries. We don’t know which one of us has a ticking time bomb in our head. You probably need to have an MRI to detect whether you are at risk. Outside of that, you can lay on the bed hoping inactivity forestalls any chance of it bursting in case you have one, or you can live life as if it will never happen to you, as most people do. Some worry is useful, like the kind that makes me check to make sure I have my passport before I begin travel to the Nov. retreat. Even my worry that I will be alone the remainder of my life is useful in that it gets me out and mingling with people despite my insecurity amongst them. The approach I try to follow is to try to keep my worry to a moderate level, to try to understand the various reasons for the cause of my worry and what I can do about my it while trying not to let worry stop me from living. What does your worry about your brain exploding if you continue to work on your project tell you about yourself?

  97. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    Well, I can only say it feels like I need to take frequent breaks from my mind-blowing project, but not to procrastinate on it. I feel a bit stupid because there are so many good computer programmers out there and I am struggling in remedial school learning the basics.
    I do want to get this damn project finished, though, even if it’s only to confirm my idea was a useless one (but I have suspicions otherwise).
    Also, I agree any sort of sudden deadly aneurysm is a tragedy and I can see where some people might think I was making light of it with “brains exploding from too much information”. But, after going to Harvard at 11 years of age and learning 40 languages…doesn’t it make at least a small amount of intuitive sense? (yes, yes I read your competing suppositions about Einstein and da Vinci carefully.)

    • THE Ultimate Guru says:

      Years ago, I often suffered a great deal of “death anxiety” after reading enough of Janov’s books telling me death is the final end to consciousness. I don’t want to debate this point right now, but I only wanted to say my panic/death anxiety has abated over the years. My death anxiety was a fear of the wrong blood vessel going “SNAP!” and my dying of a brain aneurysm, and it did feel like it was going to happen RIGHT NOW!
      It just seems like when I become too deeply involved in something very complex and pioneering…the old brain aneurysm/death anxiety makes its return in a smaller way than in years past.

      • Larry says:

        That’s interesting.

      • Larry says:

        One more thing is interesting to me about what you wrote, UG. I read all of Janov’s early work too, long ago. I don’t remember ever noticing him saying anything about death being the final end to consciousness. No doubt he did say that, but it just flew right through my bell tower. It’s interesting how we each registered different reactions to the same thing that he said.

        • THE Ultimate Guru says:

          Maybe I zero’ed in on that area of discussion because it was (and perhaps still is in some ways) important to me? I agree with Jack in one respect, though, that Janov has written so much that if you read every single page you will be touched by something somewhere.

          “Eventually you will hit the barn if you spray enough bullets in all directions.” (eg. write enough pages about various things)

  98. Margaret says:

    I liked your coment about how you cope with your worries. It is inspiring to look at dealing with my own worries and fears by trying to keep them in proportion instead of trying to undo them and bashing myself on the head for having them in the first place
    Sometimes these simple solutions are so obvious and still hard to keep in mind.
    I guess it is having to acccept some of the pain as unavoidable that makes it hard.
    Keep on writing, you have a lot to share, Margaret .

    • Larry says:

      Thank you for your kind words Margaret. Truly I hadn’t realized I’d said anything that was worth much, and had to reread my message to grasp what it was that inspired you. I’m glad that you found it useful, and I feel good that I could be helpful. I think we all help each other by contributing here, and aside from the time and energy we put into it, it’s free.

      • THE Ultimate Guru says:

        Why do I have a feeling that Margaret has a crush on Larry? Am I wrong?

        • Larry says:

          That s a good question UG. Why do you have that feeling?

          • THE Ultimate Guru says:

            Well it seems like she seems to say how wonderful you are quite often. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to begin putting 2 + 2 together on it (but I will leave you guys an “out” and just say I could be mistaken.)

            • Larry says:

              But why does it seem to you that it has to be a crush. A while back you had the same opinion that Nadia must have a crush on Barry. I read the same things as you did that Nadia wrote about Barry, but I never saw any cause to form the opinion at all that she had a crush on Barry. Whether you are mistaken or not, what is it about you that finds you prone to tend toward that opinion?

  99. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    I actually took the time to research this, but you realize that my comment on the Nadja/Barry/YOYO incident took place back on May 4? That’s over six months ago. The circumstances were a bit different, too, because Nadja defended Barry in a spate of irritation against YOYO…..maybe like a counter-action on her part I didn’t fully appreciate at the time?
    Nonetheless, we completely recycle every single atom in our bodies every 7 years or so. I am a changed man now with about 7% of my atoms having already been reshuffled since then. I simply had a gut feeling that, whether it’s correct or incorrect, Margaret has a crush on you. It’s no big deal, but if you happened to feel embarrassed by what I said, then maybe I shouldn’t have said it!….but…then again this is a feelings group, etc.

    • THE Ultimate Guru says:

      And on a separate note, I am happy with the progress I’m making now on the computer programming. I was probably being too hard on myself a few days ago. After a week of intense study I am now making rudimentary skeletal programs on my own as a stepping stone to my larger project in the end. Go me! Just nervous that my idea will turn out to be a useless one, but only one way to find out….more work on it…

  100. Margaret says:

    this starts to feel insulting in some way. Has it ever occurred to you I respond on what Larry is actually sayin?
    Do you think any woman that makes a man a compliment has an hidden agenda?
    Larry, I really liked the way you responded to this too, haha, honestly!

  101. Margaret says:

    I don’t really like this talking about my feelings over my head as if I am not here.
    This only appkies to you, UG.
    The difference why I like Larry’s comments and yours sometimes, is that Larry is honest, shows his vulnerability and shows care and empathy for other people, while you seem to hide often behind sarcasm, articles and numbers, anger and a general sense of disregard or disrespect for other people’s opinions.

    I am not saying you do this all the time, but I only want to make clear my own feeling and why I pay Larry more compliments thhan you.

    You seem to be good at irritating me and why do I think you might actually enjoy it?

  102. Margaret says:

    Mr ultimate **** – you crossed a line here. You seem to be truly a selfish person, flying off on crazy tangents not caring about who you could hurt in the process. I am done with you.

    Pah! And I thought I was crazy. But hey! It’s just MY feeling and right now I don’t seem to care it may hurt you.

    • Fiona says:


      I responded so spontaneously that I forgot to add my email address not Margaret’s! (Will send you an email, Margaret, with what it appears that you have said above!)

  103. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    No, I’m not going to fall for it this time. Having two (perhaps even three!) people try to intimidate me with an angry Salem Witch Hunt just because I said I felt like Margaret has a crush on Larry is absurd. I have to get back to work.

    • Larry says:

      UG, the only contributor to the PI blog ever who has ever brought up the topic of a crush is you. You’ve done it twice, once with Nadia and Barry, and once with Margaret and myself. The statistical part of me sees maybe a pattern, and the rest of me is curious about what feelings in you generate that pattern. I asked you hoping that you might be interested to share what those feelings are in you that propel you toward presupposing that someone has a crush on someone else. I appreciate though that your feelings that generate your need to see a crush might not be something you want to share here. You must appreciate in return,that If I had a crush on Margaret, I hope I wouldn’t blab it to her here, but would man up and tell her in person and risk in person the consequences of her reaction. I’d appreciate it if she did the same for me. I don’t believe that you are purposely intending to be, but It comes across to me as grade school juvenile and insensitive to suggest in a public forum that someone has a crush on someone else, and I can’t help wondering why you do it.

    • Fiona says:

      Just bloody think about WHO you hurt!!! T H I N K boy!

      Stop defending.

      Did you say something wrong?

      • Larry says:

        Hmmmhhh. It didn’t occur to me Fiona that you had me in mind when you admonished UG to think about WHO he hurt. I thought you were just referring to people in general who he should think about before he made public statements that might put them in an uncomfortable public spotlight, or that maybe you were being protective of Margaret specifically.

        So you and Margaret were being protective of me, and I felt I was being protective of Margaret. I was worried about how UG’s comment about a crush would be affecting her, more than anything. And it seems like you and Margaret were, more than anything, worried about how his comment might embarrass me. Hence the stirring of the pot following UG’s crush comment, and the ever ratcheting up of feelings thrashed back and forth. If his comment had involved only me, I think I would have just ignored it. It is so interesting.

  104. Fiona says:

    Larry – your generosity to ‘im is so generous. You seem to try to see the pain of a person’s stupidity and selfishness, and still offer help and support. I get to a point where I have had enough if I feel like a person does not want to help themselves; or WONT even SEE that they have a problem in the first place.

    Oh Larry, I gave you a compliment…. maybe I should point out that I am gay, so that no one jumps to any ridiculous conclusions!

    • Larry says:

      Fiona, I don’t like that UG made public presumptions about my feelings. I would tend to accept his comments as juvenile and insensitive and ignore them. But it distresses me that Margaret is drawn into the net by association with me and that presumptions are publicly made about her feelings for me, simply because she took the risk to offer nice comments to me, My feelings are private. I only share them with people who I trust. I assume we all are careful about sharing our feelings. Just look how deep we have to dig for courage and how wary we are to post our feelings here in comments to the blog. It can irk me towards outrage when someone has the blind disrespect to presume to know and tell me what my feelings are. I was dismayed by UG’s disrespect for Margaret and myself, his disregard for my feelings and hers. I like UG. I don’t want to hurt back and be the cause of defenses being shored up. I am searching for openness and understanding and for friendships maintained. Life is too empty without friends. At the same time I find myself wanting to pull back a notch or two in my friendship with UG, in light of some of his lack of empathy for other people. Before I do, I’m struggling to give him a chance, struggling to salvage something with him here, hoping for an insightful response from him that I believe he is capable of. I may be wrong and it will be a bit of a sad lesson for me.

      Thanks for the compliment Fiona. I appreciate it. What particularly stands out for me is your reminder that you are gay. I get why you pointed it out of course, but for me that you are gay is a secondary or tertiary feature overshadowed by the intelligence, courage and integrity of the person that comes through to me as you.

  105. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    I feel deeply disturbed by everyone’s reaction to such an innocuous statement I made. As for you, Fiona, I am well aware of Margaret’s vision impairment but I also understood from other people I talked to that she wanted to be treated just like anyone else. She is swimming with the Primal sharks now like everyone else, Period!. So don’t give me this bullshit about how I must constantly treat her with kid gloves or to T H I N K about who I am hurting. I had always understood that Margaret could handle herself and that’s how she wanted it.

    The more you guys decry what I said, the more I’m T H I N K I N G that I must have hit the bullseye somewhere…

    • Larry says:

      UG, I don’t like when anyone presumes to know and tell me what my feelings are, as if they know me better than I do. In my fragile beginnings in life, I was told how I should feel and how I should be. There was no regard for who I was, or for what my feelings really were. I won’t stand for anyone to tell me what my feelings are or how I should feel, not even Gretchen. UG you haven’t once yet asked me what my feelings are in this. You are making a public statement about what you presume to be my feelings are, while not bothering to ask me what they are. You are treating me like I don’t matter. It pisses me off intensely when someone does that . You hit a bullseye alright UG.

      • THE Ultimate Guru says:

        Hey, Larry…YOU try dealing with three people ganging up on you and firing their bullets at you. I can’t even freaking find every post everybody is writing in here much less deal with everything being said individually.

  106. Margaret says:

    you really don’t have a clue do you?
    I wasn’t hurt in the least, just pissed off, and now it becomes even more clear you miss our points.

    Let me try to clarify in as simple words as possible.
    It is mainly juvenile, but also condescending to firstly form an unfounded opinion on someones romantic feelings, based on a dialogue that has nothing to do with personal feelings between me and Larry.

    Then it is even more out of place to to completely disregard my opinion, or feelings, and confront Larry with your unfounded and as you see it smart interpretation
    He responded gracefully to the position you put him in, but you also disregarded his feelings.

    Now you might again be jumping to the crazy conclusion this proves you were right in assuming romance is in the air.Try to imagine other options, ever heard of personal privacy and respect?
    You don’t know him and you don’t know me, so this remark of you is rude, and if you don’t get that I can’t explain more about it.

    Then you assuming Fiona’s reaction has anything at all to do with me possibly being hurt, or worse, me being hurt because of my visual handicap, is completely ridiculous, sorry, I can’t find any other word as it is so far from reality.

    You should look at the possibility you jump to conclusions about people out of your own coloured presumptions. I am not accusing you of doing so with bad intentions, I think you were merely joking, but still this does matter.
    Why do you come across as looking down on other people?
    You always end up feeling hurt after another confrontation you set yourself up for.

    If you want me to respect you, you’ll have to learn how to respect me.
    I am trying to get through to you, I am not angry.

  107. Fiona says:

    To – you know who you are!

    I was NOT thinking of Margaret at all really when I wrote.

    T H I N K about what Larry’s pain is mostly about over recent months. Larry is well able to look after his own feelings regarding your ‘blindness’ to Larry’s feelings. I did not want to comment in detail about how I felt about your error. In a nutshell; I feel that it is completely out of order to guess about someone’s feelings towards another; but WORSE is that you haven’t thought about how it might feel to be grieving terribly deeply for you wife while someone “jokes” about a “crush” regarding someone else. You idiot!

    What would this have to do with Margaret’s vision anyway? You REALLY do fly off on weird tangents.

  108. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    To…Fiona & Margaret:

    Fiona: Then why did you NOT specifically declare who you were thinking of instead of letting me try to guess in the dark??? Or did you assume that I could just guess what you were thinking?? To leave one guessing in the dark and then accuse that person of being an idiot because I guessed wrongly in the minefield of withheld information is dishonesty of the highest order, in my opinion.

    To Fiona, Margaret, and Larry: All you guys had to do was say I was wrong in my statement, period!! I would have easily dropped it after that. Back in May when I wondered aloud about Nadja and Barry, Gretchen intervened quickly and said I was mistaken. so I shrugged my shoulders and walked away. But with you three it’s been like those tiny words, “Maybe Margaret has a crush on Larry”, has elicited an emotional firestorm so huge that I cannot help but wonder what else is going on? Those six or seven itty-bitty little words have had an effect analogous to a few invisibly small microns of LSD forcing a 190 pound human to have a bad 12-hour acid trip. (No, I would never touch the stuff, so don’t bother inquiring!)

    • Larry says:

      In being sensitive to her feelings, there is no way I would declare publicly whether or not I have romantic feelings for Margaret, without discussing those feelings with her privately. There was no way I could respond publicly to your statement about a crush, which came out of nowhere, except to ask you what feeling made you ask the question. I don’t feel that you’ve really answered my question, but that’s OK.

  109. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    Here’s the laundry list of accusations that were hurled at me:

    –I carried a juvenile grade school mentality
    –I am stupid
    –I am selfish
    –I jump to ridiculous conclusions
    –I won’t help myself
    –I won’t SEE that I have a problem
    –I really don’t have a clue
    –I need simple words to explain things to me
    –I am an idiot!

    And to top it all off, the accusers say that I have disregard for THEIR feelings!

    Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!!!!!

  110. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    I have reached my limit. I simply cannot deal with three people hurling their worst at me. Larry is accusing me of ignoring him but I’ve been so busy trying to respond to what Fiona and Margaret were telling me that I couldn’t even notice his fucking posts to begin with!!

    Let this bloody, bullet-riddled carcass go…

  111. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    Man…..I feel like a worn-out porn star in some ways right now.

  112. Margaret says:

    you don’t answer to anything I have said.
    This doesn’t have to do anything with whether or not I have a crush on Larry, try to take in some of what I say if you really want to comunicate.
    And don’t tell us how we should respond, you are not in control.

  113. Margaret says:

    Well UG,
    doesn’t it make you just wonder a little bit why the three of us have such an unanimous reaction to your remark?
    Why don’t you try some honest selfexploration and see if you can find any responsability from your side at all?
    We are no sharks out to get you here, even if you look at me as some little Nemo between a bundh of primal sharks.
    We are only giving you honest feedback, it is up to you to brush it aside and behave as the poor helpless victim or to dare to search if some of our words do make sense to you.

    Why do our words get to you so much if they don’t contain any truth at all?
    The things we say are not meant to dismiss you but they are an attempt to point something out in a constructive way.

    It is sometimes your way of dismissing or ridiculing other people’s words that leads to more frustrated language.

  114. Margaret says:

    I can read the comments in real time, but my replies can arrive with some delay as they come in two steps, but I am sure it won’t take rocket science to figure it all out eventually.

  115. Margaret says:

    to be honest my reaction was immediate and about myself,and at first I also thought Fiona was referring to me possibly being hurt, but as you state it already, all of that doesn’t make that much difference, as it is not only about this specific comment, but more about the careless and casual way ithas seemingly been made.
    On a superficial chatsite this would be ‘normal’, but on a site where people try to be true, thoughtless remarks like this get what they deserve.

    UG, you can either lea’rn from it or dismiss it that’s up to you.

    Do you need to keep feeling misunderstood and superior or are you willing to listen and make yourself vlnerable?

    We have all put our foot in it sometimes, forgive me if I don’t get the saying right, it is not the end of the world, it would just be very nice if you get what we say about this.
    It is hard to make a mistake and it is hard to admit it, we’ve all been there and will be again probably.

    I have never felt hurt but owe myself and you honest feedback.

  116. Fiona says:

    I have missed a lot happening here while I have been at work.

    I have not read it all yet.

    I was wrong to call names and say “you were an idiot”. I am sorry for that.

  117. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    The Fiona/Larry/Margaret juggernaut team dynamic is a very sick and unhealthy one, in my opinion. Any courageous individual who dares to step on the toes of one shall meet the wrath of the triad who will relentlessly dogpile you like a tackled quarterback.

    Mark my words, Primal Blog readers. You’ve been duly warned.

    • THE Ultimate Guru says:

      And, no, I am the triad’s SECOND victim. Jack was the first.

      So yeah Larry, I see a fucking STATISTICAL PATTERN here!!

  118. Margaret says:

    Cut the crap UG, if you can’t stand up for yourself with real arguments and only come up with vague general accusations and insults, that’s a pretty cheap trick taht won’t fool anyone.
    Let’s try and keep this to the point and constructive.
    p.s. you still didn’t respond to the bottom line criticism

    • THE Ultimate Guru says:

      Obviously you can’t stand up for yourself Margaret..,…..”LARRY! FIONA! HELP ME!! SAAAVEE MEEE!!”

      • Larry says:

        I’ve been thinking about my role in this debacle, and have grown a little more aware of myself through it, and how easy it is to respond to being hurt by lashing back. It’s amazing how its taken me this long to process and get to the core of what initially bothered me about your claims of a crush, UG. This is what I wish had been my more direct response to your assertion about a crush between Margaret and myself:

        “When an assertion is made that there is a crush between two people, no reply from them is often interpreted as yes, there must be a crush. I felt that would make me self-conscious in any further dialogue with Margaret, ’cause that’s who I am. I feel very uncomfortable UG that you put me on the spot expecting me to reveal publicly whether or not I have romantic feelings for Margaret, and her for me. I am irritated to the point of getting my back up a bit, that you made a public presumption about what my and Margaret’s feelings are for each other, without ever asking me how I feel about her. As a friend, if you wanted to know I would have liked you to ask me in private what my feelings are for Margaret. Feelings are private and personal. Some of us voluntarily choose to risk sharing feelings on this blog that we are wrestling with and look for help through confronting them here. I thought that you can appreciate how difficult it is for anyone to talk about their feelings on this blog. Finally, if I have any, I feel unsure and protective of my romantic feelings for someone. If I have any, I want to be in control and able to choose whether the time is right and I am ready to reveal my romantic feelings, privately, to that person. Man UG, you put me in a really uncomfortable spot. “

        • THE Ultimate Guru says:

          I didn’t say I felt that you may have feelings for Margaret. I simply said that based on what I read over the past weeks and months, I was suspecting that Margaret had feelings for YOU. I felt like you were a non-issue here because I was looking for *Margaret* to answer whether I was right or wrong. In other words, Larry, you were the *target* of the potential crush.
          EXAMPLE ON THE OPPOSITE END OF THE LOVE SCALE: If you were the target of a hit-man wanting to kill you, would it make any sense for me as a detective to ask you how you felt about it or to go find the hit man?
          If I was wrong, then why even worry about such things? I felt the crush could just simply be a one-way street on Margaret’s part anyway and you could just rest easy in the rolling prairies.

          Margaret has made numerous PUBLIC (and I stress the word PUBLIC) declarations of how wonderful you are and I was growing weary of constantly hearing it for weeks and months on end without any firm conclusion on whether she had a crush on you or not.

          • THE Ultimate Guru says:

            Well look, I’ll try not to be such a brusque bull using the verboten word “crush” in the delicate China shop of private/public feelings anymore, but I wanted Margaret to get to the point dammit! She finally confirmed that she doesn’t have a crush on you and it’s all over in my book.

            • Larry says:


              But you didn’t ask Margaret anything.

              And I’m wondering why Margaret. Do you tire of the many public declarations I make of how wonderful Fiona is? Like, what is really going on. Do you have a crush on Margaret?

              • THE Ultimate Guru says:

                “You didn’t ask Margaret anything.”
                THE Ultimate Guru says:
                November 9, 2011 at 8:02 pm
                Why do I have a feeling that Margaret has a crush on Larry? Am I wrong?
                —Maybe I was a bit fearful to phrase it such that: “Margaret, do you have a crush on Larry?”….but even so, you took it upon yourself to jump right in just 9 MINUTES after I asked that question to give me the “third degree” about it (in a bid to protect your fellow Triad member Margaret).

                “Do you tire of the many public declarations I make of how wonderful Fiona is? ”
                I already knew that Fiona is gay (and I suspect you knew this too), so there were no “crush” cliffhangers to lurking in the background.

                “Do you have a crush on Margaret?”
                No. And, in case you don’t notice..that’s a lot more transparent than the “None of your business” answer Margaret finally says to me on 11/12/11 3:06 PM.

  119. Fiona says:

    Just had dad on phone for over an hour. It is now 4:40 am. He is having anxiety attacks. Just wants one of us (his children) to be there at his side every minute. He is terrified! Says “i just don’t know what to do” over and over.

    Feel quite useless to help. There is no reasoning, OBVIOUSLY!

    Other feelings involved but too tired to write.

  120. Margaret says:

    this interpretation of yours that I have been telling Larry for weeks and Months how wonderful he is without ever getting to the point, is so absurd it actually makes me smile.

    It only tells me you are very envious and maybe even feel you are the one who deserves all that socalled admiration.

    Maybe if you try to read back some of my comments to Larry, it will dawn on you I always respond on what he is actually saying.I usually also explain how it relates to my own life and feelings.

    You only seem to focus on him getting the positive attention and the sneering way you refer to it does show you feel resentful because of it.

    The reasons for that can only be discovered by you looking into your own heart, but that will take courage and honesty.

    and it would even take more guts to admit some of it.

  121. Margaret says:

    and by the way, why do you adress Larry if you want to hear from me whether I have a crush on him or not?

    • THE Ultimate Guru says:

      I addressed Larry as a courtesy to him when he suddenly decided to butt in just 9 minutes after I asked my original question for you (see my answer to Larry above).

  122. Margaret says:

    by the way I never responded to whether or not I have a crush on Larry, again you’re jumping to conclusions.
    I’ll give you the answer: it is none of your business!

  123. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    I’d like to finish by saying this:

    I don’t mind or care that the same people lavish accolades on one another over and over again. In fact, I ENJOY reading people heaping praise on one another… a point. After a while it begins to become an artificial, syrupy sweet experience much like the generic “Great Value” non-maple corn syrup you find at Wal-Mart. I know people hurt, I hurt a lot, too….Praise is needed and warranted in many circumstances…it can make people feel good about themselves..
    But when the same people do it OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER again my “bullshit meter” rises in temperature slightly and I begin to want to see what’s happening under the protective hood of all these compliments, which is why I asked about a potential crush by Margaret in the first place!!

  124. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    Good night!

  125. Larry says:

    I’m stepping away from this. It’s not worth losing friendships over. I respect that we’re each blinded by something here, and our wheels are spinning and not getting anywhere it seems.

  126. THE Ultimate Guru says:

    I agree with Larry:
    I am stepping away from this, too. Some small parts of me already feel like I’ve been brutal and punishing to Margaret and maybe Larry and that’s not how I wanted things to carry out.
    I had every right to ask: “Does Margaret have a crush on Larry?”
    Margaret had every right to answer: “It’s none of your business.”
    If those two simple statements had been said from the start a lot of heartaches and 50+ postings with lots of sticks and stones thrown in between would have been saved.

  127. Margaret says:

    all I can say is that if you can’t distinguish a phony syrupy smokecloud blown up someon’s ass from a real and genuine heartfelt comment to someone, that is too bad for you.

    You are still ful of resentment and being offensive and I have had it with you, goodbye.

  128. Margaret says:

    again, you refuse to see the point, which is all what you say would be true if you’d have adressed me,the problem is you weren’t direct.

    I do appreciate though you acknowledge having been somewhat brutal, this seems a storm in a glass of water, let’s move on, Margaret

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