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    • John W Zuzich says:

      Yes, it did. Also got an email notification of comment.

    • FRED says:

      June 13, 2021

      This is my I think 8th sojourn into the uber-dimension where perhaps the personality of the late Arthur Janov is hanging around (that’s an accurate term).

      But first though, I’d like to once again be the clarion caller.

      People considering entering the healing profession of psychotherapy and counseling should not rely only on talk (“insight therapy” in Janov’s cosmology). Dr. Janov was not wrong when he advocated accessing feelings which necessarily involves an individual more honestly, step-by-step FEELING the hurts, the anger, the fear. As we all know that always brings on the tears, that flow from the heartbreak we’ve been running from. Dr. Janov pioneered the therapy and theory. Indeed both need to be and will be tweaked but the principal of “becoming that child, that baby” is a solid bedrock. No building a psychological theory on sand here.

      I also believe the Primal Institute and International Primal Center should prepare for the future; I hope there is an ongoing program. After all it’s not 1998 when I attended a public seminar at Dr. Janov’s International Primal Center called “Primal Therapy in the Millennium”.

      I think people in the “feeling community”, in the “regressive therapy community” who hear this “clarion call” should consider getting the necessary requisites for the state of California and other states, to practice therapy, utilizing some of the techniques and insights pioneeered by Arthur Janov. It seems that that is a brave and noble thing to do.

      Now, in order to bring up outrage in a few; pity in many, ridicule in the rest of this unique audience; and to stimulate conversation; I will once again indulge in an imagining of what a channeling session of Arthur Janov might be like; that is, information that the personality of Arthur Janov might convey to this group with a putative common interest.

      Part 8

      I now hear Dr. Janov coming through…
      _________________________________________________________________________

      All right.

      Here in this reality there is a great love that is far more perceivable than your “dense” dimension. This does not make this “place” better and in fact the same loving consciousness permeates your dimension.

      This place is a place of expansion while yours is more world of shadows but is extremely creative even if your self-imposed limitations largely occlude this magnificent aspect.

      In a certain way, where I am in a resting place, where a personality sheds the suit of beliefs willingly accepted upon birth. After all the beliefs largely were not successful, in your terms.

      Here there are, what you might term, schools. They can be described as “between lives” realities where the self absorbs any number of aspects of creation. Most, however, are geared for “physical reality living”, the realm of shadows which means “you’ll be BAAAACK!!!”.

      You would not believe the number of “souls” in the queue to enter the your physical reality. This is because the three-dimensional reality exposes all false belief. It is the place where you perceive your shadow. This kind of experience greatly facilitates learning in higher dimensions. It is a requisite for all souls, if you will. Without physical reality living a number of times, the self cannot become more itself. Some version of this experience will be created in order to accomplish this.

      You actually cannot “advance” in your terms, without, what you think of as, reincarnational existences.

      Paradoxically, reincarnation does not exist as you think of it because all “lives” are simultaneous.

      Okay, back to the “past”, as you think of it.

      Within you is the Feeling Child. It is intimately connected to your soul.

      What is the nature of the Feeling or Inner Child?

      It is the essence of innocense. It has power beyond your imagination but as I wrote rather eloquently, I dare say, its growth was stunted along the way. See “The Primal Scream”, “The New Primal Scream”, etc. for a ground-level explanation of the process.

      What is the Feeling Child’s thing?

      Well… it is to express its great unfathomable grief.

      “Please help me”.

      “Nobody loves me”.

      “Please pay attention to me”.

      It is pulling at you every waking moment to look his or her way. “Look what I know. Look what I perceive. PLEASE. This is an exigency. I’m broken hearted”.

      The Feeling Child lives more in the present than your half-world (my term) self and it (Primal) screams for your attention but you insist on spacing out due to the “Splits” (see Primal Theory).

      It doesn’t matter how you get to feelings: via emotions or thoughts. Either will lead you to the source, the heartbreak of the human race.

      There is a “ blessed holiness” to this realm of experience that flows from experiencing your feelings. It is basically free of time although it can track time. It actually is accessible now, not in “the afterlife”. You might say that you “can bring heaven to earth”.

      The three-dimensional world is not some “throwaway, heavy, dense place of pain, suffering, dismay, mayhem and “then you die”.

      Hardly; it is actually very spiritual and contains within it all the potential (with obvious limitations) of, what you call, heaven or paradise, or whatever concept you hold about such a reality. From my vantage point it rather glistens with wondrous loving energy. It’s amazing, really. All Creation is.

      Ultimately, it is the heritage of mankind but you are not at the mercy of a script, say a version of a script you learned in childhood from your parents or whoever raised you, as well as your institutions such as schools, religious venues, and popular culture.

      Remember, however, the present is insistent as is the Feeling Child.

      To paraphrase a popular homily of the Western World: Grief is such sweet sorrow.

  1. Sylvia says:

    I’ve arrived; thanks for the new page, Gretchen.
    S

  2. Bernadette says:

    I wanted to check out what the Good News Network had to say these days.
    There are quite a few inspiring stories, such as the guy who sits with his typewriter on a sidewalk in New York and helps people write letters to friends who have the blues. Another story is about a Pfizer coronavirus vaccine being 90% effective. And yet another one about Coloradans giving the thumbs-up to reintroduce gray wolves west of the Rockies, yay! For dog owners, this one is about a Vermont mountain retreat that is “the Mecca for dogs and dog lovers” — all you dog owners must check it out!

    But I chose to post this link. It’s about psilocybin mushrooms that are exceptionally helpful with depression and anxiety. My question…. where do I get that stuff???
    https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/cpcr-2020-study-on-psilocybin-as-treatment-for-depression/

    • superstarguru says:

      Well coincidentally shrooms were just legalized for therapeutic usage in Oregon during the election which just took place. Small amounts of street drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine, were also decriminalized in that state.
      I took shrooms a few times in college where a buddy of mine scored me a quarter-ounce bag. I did have a couple of good trips off of it before my tolerance became too high and there was no effect for me. Although the high can last about 6 hours and I did a lot of laughing at how stupid everything was around me, that also became the time I started to seriously wonder, “Why do I need to be taking this stuff? Is there really something wrong with my mind which necessitates my taking this? Why doesn’t my dad need to take something like this when I deem it necessary?”
      As you read what I just wrote, it’s worth keeping in mind I was groping around in an ultra-low information environment as a 90’s college kid with no internet and a few years before I ran into Janov’s books. Never mind the car collision problem in this country which also inflicted massive damage on my life without any broadened scope of knowledge about how our military-industrial overlords need to keep the human cost quiet, etc. The true dark ages.
      I view what I did as extremely risky, and I did it before my brain was fully developed (which takes place around age 25).
      Would I do shrooms again today? Probably not.

      • superstarguru says:

        As I wrote above, I was asking myself a host of disturbingly clueless and discouraging questions about why my life was so inexplicably mediocre and, once the shrooms wore off, my depression was enhanced by the persistent nature of those questions.
        No college course or library was offering this book at the time which would have helped me traverse those years on slightly steadier footing at the very least: https://www.amazon.com/Its-No-Accident-Behind-Senseless/dp/1411681568
        Looking back on this sparks my anger and ire once more. Why couldn’t our military-industrial overlords at least give me the fucking courtesy to tell me what the fuck was really going on instead of designing college courses for their own profit?
        Looking back with what I understand now, it was really unnecessary for me to take any shrooms. All I needed was a least a few answers as a starting point to latch onto, particularly in matters of life and literal bone-crushing death. My mother’s death certificate didn’t have a pretty description of her femur bones and our military industrial overlords didn’t give a shit. Keep the cars running.

        • Sylvia says:

          Hi, Guru. As you say, knowing why these senseless deaths keep happening on the road would have made some sense of why your mom died. You could focus your attention to blame for the devastation it did to your life. You feel it could have anchored you in some way against your lost feeling. But also the death of a family member for any reason would also be devastating, such as from cancer, though it would be more easily accepted as possibly a part of nature. That there is no general support or recognition about the greed that drives the damage on the roads makes it harder to bear. There was nothing to latch onto as when a soldier dies and his/her family has recognition and support.

          But I don’t think that just knowing the reason for your mom’s death was what would have made things better and easier to cope with, ultimately. I think all the confusion and lost feelings were from the trauma laid down of being wrenched from the person you were closest to at two and a half yrs old. Inclusive of that was the devastation your father felt at losing his life partner and how he was coping. That pain was there all the time you were growing up. Whether it was death of a parent from an accident or illness or another way of loss, a little child will be devastated and grow up probably asking–‘what went wrong?’ Adding to that is the feeling of being cheated from the life you should have had.

          I think what some of us deal with here is our very early years when the imprints were laid down that will affect the rest of our lives. And I think reliving those traumatic moments of loss, the need for safety and closeness and love from a parent that we didn’t get is what is finally freeing and resolving. Just my opinion.
          S

          • superstarguru says:

            Sylvia, it’s clear you’re trying to extend as much love, sympathy, and support as you possibly can for me here….and it feels as though I would be wrecking any future prospects of your gratefully received support if I spent any energy starting to explain more specifically why I have some disagreements with your opinion. I’ve decided at this time your support and sympathy is more important for me than those other considerations. It would take an enormous amount of carefully organized presentation work for me to explain our differences of opinion. I am not dismissive of Janov’s ideas, but rather it is only a fraction of the picture where I am concerned.
            I did spend an extra day quietly mulling over your post and I felt this is the best way to respond overall.
            I would need a healthy amount of lifetime income assurance from annuities, a beachfront Malibu home, and a hot pitcher of coffee while watching the sunset before I can begin pouring my entire heart and soul into absolutely all the little reasons why I can’t completely align myself with your opinion, which you graciously put forth in a humble fashion (much appreciated for that, thank you).

    • Phil says:

      This stuff probably just helps open up feelings. But we’re already doing that with primal and in a better way.
      Phil

      • David says:

        My thoughts, too, Phil; and perhaps in a negative way because the body’s ability to shut down, shut the door, when it has had enough is impaired.

  3. superstarguru says:

    Bernadette, I would exhaust all non-drug options as much as possible before venturing on to shrooms. It’s unfortunate that the answers beneath why I resorted to that option myself were so infuriating (as explained above). Maybe you just need a little more time to uncover personal answers safely before trying something which could radically alter your brain chemistry on a permanent basis?

    • Larry says:

      I like your advice Guru. I felt the same since my late teens regarding taking mood altering substances. I’m fortunate that I was never so overwhelmed that I needed to take drugs to shield me from reality. I came close, but luckily read the Primal Scream in time and the insight from it let me hang on to some hope and helped me to limp along until I could get to therapy.

      • superstarguru says:

        Larry, you know…I just finished talking about how the greed of the richest depends on endless automotive travel with all its dire consequences for many thousands of people, and shortly thereafter you talked about how FUN your truck is driving through the snow. I won’t try to stop you from saying it, but….it almost felt as though you were trying to torment me indirectly.
        Something like…Daniel talking about losing his grandparents to Hitler and I would come along and say, “Hey HEY everybody! Look how COOL my new iron wrought ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ sign is in my living room!”

        • Larry says:

          I read your recent posts Guru, but I can’t remember if that was before or after I posted here the copy of my letter to Gretchen. I was thinking only of all primal bloggers and friends in general when I posted it. My intention was to offer something upbeat for a change instead of always my feelings of hopelessness and emptiness. It never occurred to me that my post would torment you, although I can see why it could now that you’ve explained it.

      • David says:

        I used the, ” being a good boy,” good friend to all, opiate. The cool kids hated me and I thought they were cracked. Oh, fuck, to be honest, me and my guitar provided the mood music for my cool friends to make out to. I was too fucking numb to know I was overwhelmed. There’s a book, ” I’ve Been Down So Long it Looks Like Up to Me.”

  4. Margaret says:

    subscribing

  5. Larry says:

    It occurred to me this morning that I come to this blog and write about my life mostly when I’m in distress and am trying to sort out my life. So I think why not for a change share good news, about a day when everything worked out for me, because this therapy isn’t just about pain, it’s also about good outcomes. Here is what I wrote to Gretchen yesterday afternoon:

    Right after Zoom group on Sunday I underwent a few bouts of crying. I cried that it shouldn’t have been so difficult for all of my teenage and adult life to have a relationship with a girl, a girlfriend. I cried that I am still the same person right now, with exactly the same fear and difficulty regarding relationships as I had back then. I cried that as always I want to avoid relationships and retreat into the ‘imaginary’ bosom of my family, but there was in reality no such safe haven for me from which to gain confidence in risking life. Finally I cried how scared I am to move forward because I inherit from childhood the terror of moving forward alone, and yet how deadly it would be to just stand in place because then I will stay alone as I am and have been most of my life.

    We were having a blizzard of sorts here during Zoom group on Sunday that lasted to 3 am this morning. It wasn’t the worst blizzard I’ve experienced but it did leave a foot of snow, blown into higher accumulations in drifts in places. I was really keen to see how my RAV4 Hybrid All-wheel drive (with the option of TRAIL drive mode), with its high ground clearance and studded winter tires would handle driving in the foot deep snow. I was up at 5 am and outside at 6. First I had to sweep the snow off the RAV4 and shovel it away from the doors so I could get inside. Then off I went, one of the first vehicle in places through the condo parking lot and in the streets. IT WAS SO FUN. The way the RAV4 churned through that snow I felt like I was floating through it. I passed a few vehicles parked askew in the parking lot and in the street, abandoned by their unfortunate owners because they got stuck in the snow. I even passed by a City bus stuck and abandoned in the street.

    This was the first time I drove my RAV4 through streets and parking lot made impassable to most vehicles by snow. Having gained confidence in it’s performance, at 9 am I texted my special lady friend that I’d love the adventure of trying to drive the 5 miles or so to her place through the snow filled streets and I’d relish the physical exercise of shoveling the snow off her driveway. I thought she would say I was silly and to not risk the journey or the possibility of hurting myself with shoveling. But no, she replied ‘I would not want to deprive you of fun exercise so come on over.’ It was SO FUN plowing through the snow filled streets to her place. Not many vehicles were able to get through that snow. Mine felt like is was floating through it. After I arrived a her place, I totally enjoyed the physical exertion of shoveling her driveway for her.

    She came out and helped shovel for a while, as much as she was physically capable of without hurting herself. Sometime after noon I was done and went into her house to have some tea with her and visit for a while in her sun room. We fell into a really enjoyable conversation. I’m able to say more to her more openly and honestly. More and more I’ve discovering I can be entirely myself with her and letting her see who I am. She is appreciating it and is honest with me in return. I’m liking her more and more and feeling more and more comfortable with her. I’m trusting more and more that something special is growing between us.

    She wants to make me some soup in return for shoveling her driveway. I told her it really wasn’t necessary, I enjoyed myself, but I would graciously accept her offer of home made soup.

    I am happy.

    Larry

    • Phil says:

      Larry, that’s great news! Even a blizzard can’t slow you down.

      Phil

      • Larry says:

        Ha ha. For me blizzards are a special time, a kind of adventure when people pull together in community to help one another. Blizzards can be aggravating, scary, dangerous and even deadly, but my experience of them has been more positive than not, maybe because when growing up on the farm, playing outside in winter was normal and fun, especially in the piled up snow banks resulting from a blizzard, and having grown up on self-dependent, resourceful prairie farms my parents knew to take precautions and make preparations to optimize the comfort and safety of our lives and their farming livelihood through whatever winter could throw at us.

    • Bernadette says:

      Larry, what a great story, and so romantic! I am happy to hear that you are happy! I love hearing good news, so keep them coming 🙂 From the way you describe your new friend, she sounds really special, warm and caring.

      • Larry says:

        Thanks Bernadette. Every now and then I come up against and emotional wall though, where something about her tells me she is not the one and I feel I don’t want to go any further with her. Such is how I am feeling now after a phone conversation with her last night. I expect a primal is on the rise for me, after which I expect I will see more clearly what is/was preventing me from wanting to go further with her.

    • David says:

      Wonderful , Larry; and thank you for the good news story. I don’t know how to post from Youtube to this page, but for anyone interested, ” The World Could Use A Little Good News Today, ” Anne Murray; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOR6Vx-Ogbk

  6. Margaret says:

    Larry,
    I was really touched while reading your story.
    i am so happy for you, it is inspiring.
    Today I once more experienced how nice company entirely cheers me up, even while often on forehand it feels like too much to cope with and even scary for that matter.
    I would have lunch here with my best girlfriend, but texted her about an upcoming migraine this morning , and that I had taken some medication but still did not feel very good.
    luckily she did not notice my message and came over and by then my headache and nausea had subsided and we had a great meal and even greater conversation and laughed a lot.
    so more and more I am able when fear sets in before socializing to remind myself it will most likely be very enjoyable.
    and much much better than the safe but lonely and empty option of staying by myself at home and fight off depression by being busy or reading or eating etc.
    it is good to still have stuff to do and places to go to or people to meet, on Zoom or otherwise, despite of the partial lockdown here.
    I have two forms allowing me ‘essential travelling’, one from the nursing home, and one from the phone helpline volunteering service.
    that last instruction course is now mostly on Zoom but not always.
    tomorrow I visit my mom, sometimes before also feeling not very enthusiastic about it, and reminding myself I do it for her, and not necessarily for myself, but invariably I find out how well it makes me feel, I always feel very good on and after a visit.
    so I hope all those irrational fears will keep wearing off, bit by little bit.
    primal therapy did help me very much to get stronger and more sensitive and real, and has improved the quality of my life so much I have no words for it…
    Margaret

    • Larry says:

      Enjoying spending time with people has such a positive effect on us Margaret. Our species is wired to need and be social. That’s the key to our survival. Without connection we die. I’m glad you enjoyed time with your friend. I wish more of that for you.

  7. Phil says:

    Margaret,
    why could the prospect of company with your girlfriend be scary ahead of time? That’s great you went through with it and had a good time.
    Phil

  8. Margaret says:

    Phil,
    that is a good question.
    it is a person I feel most safe with actually, this morning it was for a big part the physical discomfort of the migraine , with some leftover old irrational feeling, irrational in this case, of fearing I would not be able to cope somehow.
    the ‘not feeling up to it’ might be a mixture of very early fear of not making it through birth, combined with the sum of awkward nesses and bad experiences that still make up some unprocessed residue.
    but the good thing is that with this girlfriend I feel really very safe and we laugh a lot and also are able to talk about painful stuff.
    time flies with her mostly, until we both start to sense it has been ok or one of us has to do something else. so it is very easy really and very enjoyable…
    M

  9. Margaret says:

    I was very moved by an item on the news about music therapy for people with dementia.
    an old Spanish lady with severe Alzheimer, who passed away since, was filmed sitting in her wheelchair lost in her own world, without contact with people around her.
    she had been a prima ballerina in her younger years.
    then Tchaikovsky’s Swan lake music was played loud enough so she would hear it, and you could see her lift her head, she slowly started making small movements with her hands in the rhythm of the music, according to the actual choreography of the original ballet that was showed as well.
    then gradually she started lighting up, smiling, and making bigger and bigger movements with hands and arms, sitting up straight and even lifting her arms up, it was really extremely touching.
    it is part of a video from a music therapy organization, who show it can also trigger alert and clear moments in the persons with dementia, as actually that same old ballerina was then asked about her former dancing, she was still smiling and responded to the questions.
    this video seems to be going viral, which is good as too many people don’t make efforts anymore to reach people with dementia, not even some relatives.
    i am still often amazed at how my mom keeps surprising me with some of our conversations or some of her actions and sense of humor.
    i am trying to convince the nursing home lately to stimulate her more, as they have diminished the amount of animation too much and it has a negative effect on many of the residents in her ward, who get depressed or angry, out of boredom and frustration and loneliness.
    when I go tomorrow it will be the third visit I make in six days, and then my brother will go on Sunday,.
    of course I can’t do that every week but I go minimally once a week and often twice.
    and i call her every day, and I notice that even with her forgetfulness she is starting to look forward to it and tells me every time she thought it would be me, and how happy she is to hear me…
    my brother just called me as well and asked about her and about me, which feels good as there had been some slight frictions between us lately.
    caring about the people around us feels linked to caring about oneself…
    M

  10. Margaret says:

    I think the lady, Conchita (?) Gonzales with Alzheimer that started suddenly making the dancing movements with her hands and arms and sat upright smiling, was so very touching because of the big contrast between her doing these proud graceful gestures and the image of the ‘poor dementing’, that people feel sorry for and often treat in a condescending way as if they are little children or don’t address at all.
    Inside of all of them is still a feeling person, a unique being with an unique story…
    worth looking up, this video, really!
    the words music therapy, ballerina and Tchaikovsky spelled possibly differently, and Gonzales, might do it…
    dignity is a key word for me in all of this.
    maybe it touches me even more as being blind and half deaf makes dignity an issue for me as well as opposed to shame and embarrassment and being or feeling like an outsider.
    respect is also a key word, too often not given to the elderly in general…
    M

  11. David says:

    A dear friend so diagnosed was non verbal, but when I remarked how much she enjoyed teaching she would, every time, begin conversing with me, those memories always intact, and clearly with appropriate emotions, and that she retired because she, “.. didn’t have the motivation anymore.” I feel sad that in this country the public senior care system offers only herd confinement.

  12. David says:

    Yesterday was the first time in months received a post or could access the page. Hope all are doing ok.

    • Sylvia says:

      David, since you said you have not been able to access the blog in months, perhaps you did not hear, sadly, of Jack’s passing. He died on September 18th, I believe it was a few days short of his 88th birthday. You may want to read some of the comments here on the blog in that week and the following week on page 4. He is missed.

  13. Jo says:

    Posts haven’t been coming in by email since page 5, not sure why, and have just got up to date.
    Larry, I’m glad your relationship is developing, and great that you’re fit enough to shovel snow so soon after your health problems..tho maybe you were fired up on adrenaline!!!

    • Larry says:

      I was fired up on something Jo. 🙂 Likely I was hit with a triple whammy of 1) post-blizzard effect that stirs able-bodied locals to help neighbours and friends recover from a bllizzard, and 2) sense of adventure and itch to try out new, high clearance, all wheel drive, small/medium SUV hybrid in city made impassable to most vehicles (including anything I’ve previously owned) by deep new snow effect, and 3) desire to engage in endeavour leading to high likelihood outcome of spending more time with special lady-friend and getting to know her more effect. #3 not only adds to but symbiotically intensifies 1) and 2). And lastly, d) post-blizzard aversion to feeling stuck, isolated, helpless and alone at home effect.

      I’d been exercising at the gym through the summer and fall during my health problems, so I have a reasonable feel for my physical limitations. I did only as much shoveling that day as I felt comfortable with without hurting myself, reveled in the physical exertion, was tired by the time I stopped and left the remaining half for her young renter to finish another day, and felt terrific about being a sort of rescue/hero–a way better feeling than being stuck alone and helpless at home post-blizzard. The next day I shoveled out a 78 year old lady friend’s car in the street. While doing hers I felt how tired I was physically from the previous day and it was a real chore to get her car shoveled out and recognized I could hurt myself here if I’m not careful. I am in recuperation now and haven’t touched a shovel in the two days since, nor do I have any desire to, oddly enough.

      As regards to the gym, a couple of weeks ago I stopped going because the number of new COVID cases per day keeps rising here and the community incidence feels too high for me to feel safe to workout at a gym, especially since no one else but me was wearing any kind of mask in the gym. I wore a locally available K95 to protect not only my community but especially to protect myself. More recently I bought N95s that I found online.

  14. Margaret says:

    Larry, thanks for your nice wish.
    actually it is surprising how busy my life has been lately despite the partial lockdown.
    with the visits to my mom, specially those with a nice cat-loving driver with which i am developing a friendship, the brief weekly visits of the caretakers who do my shopping and some administration, now and then a girlfriend still coming by for a lunch with mostly social distancing, and the Zoom groups , my household and the cats and all electronical and other problems to solve, and audio books to fill up the little gaps here and there, it is not empty at all.
    on Saturday the classes for the phone helpline are through Zoom, from 10 am till 3 pm, with a few pauses here and there.
    I just read up about this time’s subject, crisis calls and suicide calls, their backgrounds and how to deal with them in different stages of urgency.
    then Sunday Zoom group, and next week for a change two dentist visits hm….
    i also started a new course as the third statistics module does not work right now, practica cancellations and now private help by teacher due to Corona.
    so I started a new course in the meantime, Anthrozoology from a psychological perspective, about the relations and interactions between humans and animals, from the earliest times in evolution up to today, for many different animals, raised by humans or animals getting profit by hanging around them to pets and assistance animals.
    I am just starting but it seems very interesting.
    i am glad I did take those initiatives and don’t sink away in Corona isolation depression.
    yesterday during my visit to mom, I took her out in the garden and we ventured deeper into the wood, it is a large garden, than I usually do.
    mom sees stuff she wants to pick up and look at as she still revels about nature, leaves, chestnuts, feathers etc., so we wandered off and back on to some trails, and finally lost sight of our exact location.
    i told her to look through the trees to spot the buildings, but we ended up on some parking between cars , it was a bit scary bo be lost but I did not panic, could always call the home and well, not tell them to pick us up at a certain spot but to come look for us on their grounds on some parking lot for example.
    but luckily we finally encountered an old man who took us back through some shrubs to a spot I recognized and from which mom and I could make our way back.
    a whole adventure, haha, nothing better against threatening boredom and routine!
    but next time I won’t go that far anymore, stay with mom on the outsides of all those huge old trees so I can keep some track of where we are…
    M

  15. Phil says:

    Margaret, it sounds like you’ve got a lot going on, and that’s an interesting new course you’re taking. You and Larry have inspired me to share.
    My wife and I are now doing much better, quite good I would say, after having difficulties. I hope to keep it this way, and to move quicker when we seem to be going down hill., Usually I have a lot of trouble doing that.
    I’m happy with the used car we bought for my son because his new job involves a lot of driving, so he really needed it. He helped pick it out, and is quite pleased with it too.
    His old one is on it’s last legs and isn’t at all reliable. Yesterday before leaving with the new car, he was complaining a lot about his job. About the work distribution and how things are done etc.. He has always freely shared his complaints with us, and in a few days he may be feeling completely different about things. Whether the job works out or not, he deserves a good, safe, car., but I think and hope it will work out for him.
    Both our son’s will be coming home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s hard to imagine them not coming. One tries to be very careful, when it comes to Covid, but we don’t notice so much that he is. The other doesn’t try at all; he only does what’s mandated. It is worrisome considering what’s going on around the country. It seems only a matter of time before the number of cases sky rocket again here.

    Phil

    • Vicki says:

      Phil, I would be worried that the one son or both could pass Covid to you, if they’re not really being careful, and could be carriers, with no symptoms. Take care.

      • Larry says:

        As am I worried for you and your wife Phil. It is only one Thanksgiving to miss to avoid an elevated risk of catching COVID….a horrible illness, in my opinion. There will be many more Thanksgivings, if you stay healthy.

        • Phil says:

          Vicki and Larry, we’re thinking on how to deal with this for Thanksgiving and Christmas. One thing I’m thinking is we should wear masks if they do come, although that will feel weird. I have been going to work since the pandemic started and have been wearing a mask all day, every day. Or maybe they shouldn’t come at all. The case numbers are pretty low here but are starting to rise. The governor has just put back some restrictions on restaurants, bars, and gyms. I’m starting to think I’ll get the vaccine as soon as I can, even though it will be a new product that I might think of avoiding. I think it will be available first for hospital workers. It has to be stored in extremely cold freezers, which hardly anyone has. It’s going to take a long time to get everyone vaccinated.
          Phil

          • Larry says:

            True enough that the case numbers are pretty low in New York State and in New York City. Better than they are here. In fact, the US in general is doing better than Canada, in terms of # cases per 100,000 people in the last 7 days.

            Manitoba 202
            Saskatchewan 92
            BC 64

            New York 24.4 (excluding New York City)
            New York City 16.7
            California 17.1

            • Phil says:

              Our tentative plans have our sons visiting for the holidays and we will be wearing masks. Our kitchen has seating and opens up to a dining room, so we can have distance for meals. Sars-cov-2 is not invited to any of our festivities.

        • Vicki says:

          Sure, wear masks, Phil. But obviously not while actually eating — and even make sure you’re not talking loudly or singing, because those project more — what is the term, I don’t remember — volatile virus particles – “respiratory droplets”. So choirs catch it easily. And hopefully your sons are on-board with the plan, or I would bow out.

  16. Margaret says:

    Phil,
    thanks for sharing!
    M

  17. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    chopped liver, that’s what i am. dear gramma, missing mom, young aunt, middle aunt and mean uncle, old,aunt and uncle…could not pay any attention to me for too many seconds, minutes, hours, days, years…so it is natural that this is my 1st nature. then, now, and forever. what am i, chopped liver? yep

  18. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    at least that intense pain of ‘not even being alive’ is pushing off to the side my new intense. pain of ‘doggie death’. neat trick i learned.

  19. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    I LIED. THE PAIN OF LOSING THAT DOG IS ALMOST UNBEARABLE.

  20. Margaret says:

    yesterday we had a zoom group for more schooling for the free phone helpline volunteering.
    the subject was ‘crisis calls’ and ‘suicide calls’.
    after some theory and brief exercises there was a ‘mystery guest’, who made a so called call to the Tele help desk.
    we were divided in two groups of about 7 persons, who could freely take turns in the role of the one answering to the call.
    the mystery guest was a lady calling in distress, after she had had an argument with her partner who had left to go get drunk.
    she was very scared he would beat her on his return, and also worried about the two children.
    she did not have many persons to turn to and felt resistant to do so as well, and felt she depended financially on her partner etc.
    it was interesting to hear how the other trainee volunteers dealt with the lady, some good, others not so good in my opinion.
    of course I also tried, and actually then she was prepared to call a friend, which gave me a good feeling.
    of course it was an exercise, an experienced volunteer doing the role of the lady, but she did it really very well and we all learned a lot from the feedback.
    in the afternoon there was a second mystery guest, this time a young man who had been at the terrorist attack on the airport some years ago, who still felt extremely stressed and scared, especially around the date of the attack every year.
    he felt so bad he considered ending his life.
    he also played his role so well it was very convincing, and again we were a little group interacting with him when we felt like doing so.
    that too was a very interesting exercise, and again I felt some people did very well and some actually, in my humble opinion, not at all.
    it makes me wonder how the supervisors deal with someone that does not seem to be empathetic enough, even after all the coaching.
    but well, again I really liked the exercise, and it was especially nice I got a compliment for several of my interventions afterwards in a mail from one of the instructors.
    i am so very glad to start being part of this, to learn more as this is a specific kind of skill, as it is a specific situation, which can vary a lot with every single call.
    it feels very rewarding even just to learn and interact with the others.
    i don’t seem to have any time to get bored, with the university course about people and animals and all the other stuff to do, life feels surprisingly full these days, despite Corona.
    M

  21. Margaret says:

    Larry,
    just wanted to say thanks to you as well, in group I was too upset and overwhelmed to do so, but I did hear you when you stood up for me by saying I had already explained etc.
    It felt like a voice of sanity to hold onto somehow.
    i knew I also overreacted probably but well, better that then to bottle it all up i guess…
    it is strange, I felt so good at the beginning of group, how things ca change so quickly when some feeling gets triggered.
    now i am not feeling that upset anymore, guess it came on so hard as I had not seen it coming at all…
    have a very nice week, smiley, M

    • David says:

      ” i knew I also overreacted probably but well, better that then to bottle it all up i guess…” Margaret this touched something in me. Maybe it’s your courage to be vulnerable, first feelings of, wow, how great to be matter of fact, and sharing it; somehow that honesty feels very reassuring, safety. Now triggering my anxiety of reprisals, abuse, getting into trouble for making a fool of myself.
      Decades ago, and I may have written about this before, I was a Help Line volunteer trainer. The one element that sticks with me was sharing with them that whenever they took a call, regardless of any self perception, motivation to accept the position, they are exactly who the caller believes and needs them to be. I also believe that I was the recipient in my various volunteerings; the opportunity to serve.
      Good on ya Margaret. dave hardy

    • Larry says:

      Thank you Margaret. I feel that everyone’s nerves had become frazzled by the frequent and loud, irritating interruptions from the piano, and after the piano was muted hadn’t had time yet to calm down when interruptions from you digital assistant became the new source of people’s still pent up irritation.

      • Jo says:

        Hmm… not my take on it. I felt, and others indicated irritation from the start of group, with one person’s irritation exploding before the piano interference,

  22. Margaret says:

    hi Dave,
    thanks for your reply.
    next week I will be meeting my own personal mentor at the helpline, a long time experienced lady volunteer, and can listen to her answering some calls to learn from it, without hearing the caller for privacy reasons.
    i like our training, it is thorough and theoretically and emotionally well organized, a client centered approach with high standards of quality and respect for every caller.
    what did you find most rewarding and most difficult personally as a helpline volunteer?
    Margaret

    • David says:

      I was only a trainer, Margaret. I volunteered in other programs. A sad experience, a guy I’d been friendly with showed up at a session I was doing at a local hospital. He was a long time Help Line volunteer. We spoke briefly and he sat in the front row. At break he told me he had come because I was doing the session and gave me some accolades. I watched him during the second half and was convinced he had come to say goodbye. He slipped out sometime before the end. I argued with myself if I should drive out to his house and talked myself into thinking I was overreacting. He was dead by then, a self inflicted gunshot. He left a note which included a short message to me about how much I, or how I treated others, meant to him. I messed up. Although I believe people who make an accurate appraisal of their circumstances and reach a conclusion to suicide have that right. I recall a few folks I would never have wished forced to live.
      I do have a genuine deep caring for others. But I also have a neurotic caring response, I cared for a mother who several times tried to murder me. Then she disarmed my rightful feelings about that by telling me the horror stories about her own childhood abuse, a Dickensonian nightmare she then visited upon me. The perfect storm that birthed a social worker, a therapist, a self taught repairman who fixed clients’ and friends’ major appliances and cars, cut the hair of dorm mates…… I truly was looking for nothing from them. Just being there for them was enough.
      That’s also what volunteering gave me, the gift of being able to be there. I never saw the recipients as being fortunate they had someone to turn to, to receive; I was the lucky one, I owed them for that privelege, the privelege of serving.
      I once jokingly told my mentor I was sorry I’d ever met him, developed personal responsibility and had deep unconditional empathy because it was at times a cross to bear, and, just maybe the guy who worked at a brain numb job and regularly drank a 24 case of beer had it figured out…(:
      David

  23. Vicki says:

    I found this on Facebook, and and reposted it, and — it’s getting a lot of loves & likes, so I thought you’d like to see it:
    “In order to make a relationship last, you really have to flow with a person as they change. Give them space. My friend always told me about his grandfather who was with his wife for 60 years before she passed. His grandfather said that through all that time, his wife changed so much it felt like he had been with 8 different people by the end. But he said the secret to making it last was that through all those changes, he never suffocated his wife with his own idea of who he expected her to be. Rather he loved, fully, every new woman she became.”

    • David says:

      WOW !! 60 years in an enduring, endearing relationship. Would that mean she likewise reciprocated every time he became a, “new,” man ? I often think that I am the only one who is not extended the privilege of change in my relationships. I weary of that imbalance, I embrace changes and growth but my individuality I am supposed to compromise to compliment their newnesses.

    • Jo says:

      I read this on FB but thought it biased: I’d be great to see it a guide for everybody

      • David says:

        read what on FB, Jo ? Invisible ink or are ya toyin’ with us… be warned we’re a rough crowd, (:

      • Jo says:

        Hi David .. I was replying and referring to Vicki’s post above 😉

      • David says:

        ok, got it now… yes, yes ! It’s not only the princess that dreams of prince charming and forever and ever life long in love mating. That was my dream, still waiting for my lady soul mate to tap me on the shoulder…. (:

    • superstarguru says:

      The human body replaces all of its atoms every 7 years or so (give or take a few years for absolutely EVERYTHING).
      So yeah it makes sense that this grandpa felt as though he had been with eight different people within a single wife throughout sixty years (8×7 years = 56 years)

      • Phil says:

        Guru, all our atoms may be changed every 7 years or so but they are identical, as far as I know. One carbon atom is the same as every other, the same with hydrogen and oxygen. Water is water (but Coke is the real thing). I guess it’s the exact combination of all those atoms and molecules that matters.
        Phil

  24. David says:

    This new page is working GURRRRRRREAT, opens in a flash and posts nearly as fast. I take it , it’s THANKS to Gretchen.

  25. David says:

    A reworking of , ” A Little Good News,” Covid 19 inspired

  26. David says:

    No inspiring words from friend, Jack , ?

  27. David, Maybe you did not hear of Jacks death ? Gretchen

  28. Margaret says:

    Larry,
    while I only produce the Zoom announcement about being temporarily unmuted in a new screen on the moment I unmute myself, i ended up being blamed for noises that did not come from me at all.
    even Barry asking me ‘Margaret when will you finally fix that computer of yours?’, he was actually reacting on long repetitive sounds coming from somebody else using his spacebar to unmute, while accidentally also touching another kay, which indeed causes a continuous noise.
    that was not me at all but that actually set off the explosive chain reaction.
    i did try to say it had not been me but that did not make much difference. it was not only about my 5 seconds of noise I guess, other feelings played, as the one person who actually gets most upset by background noises actually stood up for me.
    i still feel hurt being under attack for a temporary thing that can be irritating at times, for me as well, but that is also a temporary side effect of the only tool enabling me to attend and participate in group.
    Margaret

  29. Margaret says:

    Larry,
    I felt like adding some more clarification about the Voice Over assisted working.
    it is not I cannot switch it off, that is not complicated at all, it is just I rather do not do so as it puts me in a tricky situation.
    for example, it did happen to me in the past that accidentally also the speech, a subfunction of the screenreader Voice over, had been separately been turned off.
    so then, when I use the short keys to switch Voice Over back on, it does do so, but says: Voice over back on, speech switched off.’
    then I am in trouble, because to fix that there are different options, but for some reason, sometimes a bug in some upgrade, ,the trackpad command gives no result, and I have to go into menus and submenus to switch the speech function of Voice Over back on, which of course I cannot do as there is no way to know where my focus is ending up exactly.
    then there still remains the option of completely shutting down the system, but also that without any feedback gets tricky when several applications are being used at that moment, as the computer starts giving pop up screens with warnings and questions and I have no clue as to what it is saying on the screen.
    if I start clicking I risk messing up the system more and more.
    then even if I can eventually close it and restart, it still is not entirely certain Voice Over will restart with the speech function again switched back on, and I risk messing up the logging in while trying to do so without any control or feedback.
    So you see, it is not at all that I cannot turn Voice Over off, but that I rather don’t do it if there is any way to avoid it.
    i have thought of some extra command I might try next Sunday when I unmute, to stop the computer voice from rambling on, that command always worked fine, until one of the big updates of the operating system, when suddenly it only functioned on rare occasions.
    now last Saturday I had another big upgrade to OSBig Sur, so we will have to wait and see how it responds to my command to shut up when it starts speaking when I don’t want it to. if it works I should be able to stop it even in mid sentence without really changing any of the basic settings.
    but you see, all of this is not what I felt like spending time on in group, it should be enough imo I say I have my reasons, but well, maybe that was not the case. ,
    the situation reminded me a bit, on hindsight, of my brother hearing me explain over and over why I don’t want to move to assisted living and like staying in my present home for the moment, and then he brings it up again and again and ignores all I have said and does not really respect my decision and judgement.
    but well, ok, the dust has been settling and we can move on hopefully.
    M

    • Larry says:

      From trying to help you to get on to Zoom group back in the Spring, I understand that there are technical complexities that you have to deal with that would frustrate even a normally sighted person, and how frustrating it would feel for you to have to explain your technical problems over and over again to people who don’t seem to be listening or how frustrating for you that some don’t accept and trust that you are doing the best that you can with trying to quiet your Voice Over Assist entourage .

      If you want to test the OSBig Sur upgrade before Sunday and practice telling it to shut up, I could set up a Zoom meeting for you and me and email you the invitation link. You are 7 hours ahead of me, so how about a Zoom meeting this Thursday between 3 and 9 pm your time. I’m tied up after 9:30 pm your time. You choose the hour.

      Of course everyone wants to live in their own home for as long as they can. If the person can manage it even with some assistance, my understanding is that research suggests it is in most cases the healthiest option.

    • Vicki says:

      Margaret & Larry, good Luck with troubleshooting OS Big Sur! At my work, we are advising students not to get it yet, as there are unsolved compatibility problems with other software the students must use. At least some software vendors have said that compatibility upgrades will not be ready before the new year. This new OS has significant changes, is a major update.

  30. Vicki says:

    Below are excerpts from a brilliant review of the film ‘I Am Greta’, which Jonathan Cook says isn’t about climate change — it’s about the elusiveness of sanity in an insane world.

    “Erich Fromm, the renowned German-Jewish social psychologist who was forced to flee his homeland in the early 1930s as the Nazis came to power, offered a disturbing insight later in life on the relationship between society and the individual.

    In the mid-1950s, his book ‘The Sane Society’ suggested that insanity referred not simply to the failure by specific individuals to adapt to the society they lived in. Rather, society itself could become so pathological, so detached from a normative way of life, that it induced a deep-seated alienation and a form of collective insanity among its members. In modern western societies, where automation and mass consumption betray basic human needs, insanity might not be an aberration but the norm.

    Fromm wrote:

    The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same forms of mental pathology does not make these people sane.

    Challenging definition

    This is still a very challenging idea to anyone raised on the view that sanity is defined by consensus, that it embraces whatever the mainstream prefers, and that insanity applies only to those living outside those norms. It is a definition that diagnoses the vast majority of us today as insane.”

    Jonathan Cook’s Blog, 17 November 2020:
    https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2020-11-17/greta-thunberg-film-sanity/

    • Phil says:

      That’s very interesting Vicki; it must be a good film. Phil

    • Bernadette says:

      Vicki, great article by Jonathan Cook! I especially like the “Four forms of insanity the adult world adopts in response to Thunberg” and his statement that “this insanity derives from unexamined fear.” How insightful! Which makes me wonder how many forms of insanity the American population adopts in response to the current political situation, haha!
      Reading the quote by Erich Fromm made me think back to my early twenties when I read some of Fromm’s books in German on my quest for “the truth.” Not that I remember much of it, but his concept that a person who appears normal and well-adjusted to society could potentially be mentally sicker than a person who appears not well adjusted and doesn’t fit in, was intriguing to me. I could relate to it, as I had a hard time finding my place in society, still do. Reading his books gave me hope and courage to keep looking for a solution for my dilemma, which then led me to Janov and primal therapy.

      • Vicki says:

        Yeah, Bernadette, I thought his writing is particularly intelligent, and I want to see the film about Greta. I had heard once that she has Aspergers, but had forgotten all about that, in the midst of the wonderful things she has said and done. I also read Eric Fromm in college, like friends did back then, but only retained that it had a “good vibe”, like a lot of other things we investigated. Some of what Jonathan Cook says, I have thought for many years, but seldom encounter others who echo those ideas.

  31. Renee says:

    Jack, I’m really missing you. And I’m also really angry with you. I don’t know if you remember, but I specifically told you please not to die. But you went ahead and died anyway. I know it wasn’t deliberate. But still. I wish you could come back. The blog is not the same without you.

  32. Margaret says:

    Larry,
    ok, the testing will just take a very brief try, it either works or not and is just one command to try in combination with the unmuting.
    will send you an e-mail or whatsapp about the time, thanks, it will also be nice hearing you, briefly as tomorrow my time is limited.
    Margaret

  33. Vicki says:

    I originally liked the music of Peter, Paul & Mary, and was saddened years ago by Mary Travers’ death, but didn’t know the circumstances until recently — she had leukemia, several rounds of chemo, and surgeries, but what killed her was some disease caused by the chemo, when she was 72 yrs. I am reading her book “Mary Travers: A Woman’s Words”, and especially struck by how natural and simple, unpretentious, and honest she writes. I’m really surprised at this, and at how much feeling she shows when she sings — she is passionate about the songs she sings. It has led me to look for more of their music, and one I found was made years ago, but I never heard it before, “Don’t Laugh at Me”. The link below is followed by the lyrics.

    I’m a little boy with glasses
    The one they call a geek
    A little girl who never smiles
    ‘Cause I have braces on my teeth
    And I know how it feels to cry myself to sleep.

    I’m that kid on every playground
    Who’s always chosen last
    A single teenage mother
    Tryin’ to overcome my past
    You don’t have to be my friend
    But is it too much to ask?

    Don’t laugh at me
    Don’t call me names
    Don’t get your pleasure from my pain
    In God’s eyes we’re all the same
    Someday we’ll all have perfect wings
    Don’t laugh at me

    I’m the beggar on the corner
    You’ve passed me on the street
    And I wouldn’t be out here beggin’
    If I had enough to eat
    And don’t think I don’t notice
    That our eyes never meet

    Chorus

    I’m fat, I’m thin, I’m short, I’m tall
    I’m deaf, I’m blind, Hey, aren’t we all?

    Well I’m fat, I’m thin, I’m short, I’m tall
    I’m deaf, I’m blind, In a way we’re all

    I’m black, I’m white, And I am brown
    I’m Jewish, I’m Christian, And I’m a Muslim

    I’m gay, I’m lesbian, I’m American Indian
    I’m very, very young, I’m quite aged
    I’m quite well fed, I’m very, very poor

    Don’t laugh at me, don’t call me names
    Don’t get your pleasure from my pain
    In God’s eyes we’re all the same
    Someday we’ll all have perfect wings, don’t laugh at me

    My country, ’tis of thee, oh, sweet land of liberty
    It is of thee, that I sing

  34. Bernadette says:

    OK, time to fess up! I have been hiding out. Let myself spiral down into depression and despair. Into helplessness, powerlessness, wanting to give up and die kind of feelings, what’s the point kind of feelings, and worse, separation and withdrawal, leave me alone, I don’t need anything anymore, and, most definitely, I don’t want to, cannot, give anything type of feelings. What pulled me out finally: Vicki posting the links to the previous page for David, where it all began – thank you Vicki! I read my previous posts and asked myself: who is this woman who wrote all this? This woman who has a voice and an opinion, a vision, a strong belief, an undeterred sense of moving in the right direction, who can express her thoughts and feelings with words and phrases and sentences – a skill that eludes me now? I am in awe of such a woman, because these days, I am in an entirely different place! I am angry, resentful, and worse: jealous and envious and hating myself for it, and brain amputated, not able to find my way out of this mess. I don’t recognize myself.
    How did I get here??
    I am trying to retrace my emotional steps that I took from “there” to “here” but can’t. Feelings I’ve had over the weekend come to mind; they might point me in the right direction. The conflicting feelings of: I deserve so much more vs But I am not getting it! The resulting helplessness and powerlessness, for not knowing how to get it, or give myself what I deserve. Not entirely believing that I deserve more and better than what I have. Doubting myself, maybe I don’t deserve more after all? Just shut up and be content with crumbs! It is based in an old feeling, obviously! But at least, finally admitting that I need something more, something else, or “something” instead of denying that I need anything. I am an expert in denying my needs! Why admit, even to myself, that I need something when part of me knows that I never will get it? Isn’t that the very thing that creates more pain? Gretchen knows all about this dilemma in me, but nobody else. Until now.
    The last feelings that I wrote about on this blog were about my dad. Him not seeing me, not wanting to acknowledge my existence, not taking any interest in me, my thoughts, feelings, talents, needs. See, I must be undeserving! But that can’t be true! I was an innocent child who needed her daddy’s approval and admiration and love! Ha! Like that would ever happen! I am feeling so psychotic right now! Something that I needed soooo badly but knew I would never, ever get. I feel my brain being twisted and jerked around as I’m writing this.
    There must be something so horrendously painful and having a long lasting permanent impact on me that when I hit these feelings, I spiral down into oblivion! My brain stops functioning and my entire being wants to give up.
    This is a first attempt to counteract this spiraling down. I want to fight this. I want to get through this. I NEED to get through this, or I will spend the rest of my life feeling resentful and jealous and envious of everyone who got what I don’t have and that I so desperately need myself!
    I realize that I am making myself utterly vulnerable by posting this. But I just don’t see any other option, if I want to grow and move forward with these feelings. I can’t deal with them in hiding. They have to be voiced and expressed. So, here I go.

    • Larry says:

      Thanks for sharing Bernadette. We’re all wrestling with similar stuff, although of course the details of experience and feeling are unique to each of us. Nevertheless it’s inspiring to hear you acknowledge and try to reverse a destructive pattern that is keeping you from getting anything and is killing you.

      • Bernadette says:

        Larry, sad to hear that “we all” are wrestling with this type of feelings. I thought I was the only one – just kidding, of course, after all it is only logical that everyone must be at some point in their therapy face these feelings. But honestly, one of the reasons of why I have not been able to express it – apart from it being extremely painful – is because I didn’t think people could relate to this dilemma. Maybe I conveniently have chosen to ignore it when I heard other patients talk about their feelings in this aspect, or I had “the answer” for them, or I was instantly in denial about myself or thought I could “handle” it. Who knows? Truth is, I have handled it, but I am tired of handling it. I want to feel it now and get a resolution!
        And I am happy that you are one of “we all” who is getting something precious and valuable out of life these days!

      • Larry says:

        Having almost died while being born must be an added dimension of terror underpinning all of your feelings about life and your primals Bernadette. You are a brave lady to go to those feelings.

        When I was 11 months old, my mother found me turning blue in my baby carriage. My parents rushed me to hospital where I was left (abandoned) in an oxygen tent for a week. Never in my decades of primalling have I yet tapped into that specific episode in my life. I’m convinced that what happened is that at 11 months old I realized my parents wouldn’t meet my needs. To protect myself from becoming fully conscious of that, I stopped crying out….I mentally and physiologically suffocated my need. I developed asthma. To this day it is triggered when I’m under emotional duress, and by allergens more so when I’m under emotional duress. Sometimes I experience a rise in my need for my inhaler, for days, weeks, or even months when I’m wrestling with disturbing reality and primals on the rise that cause me much anxiety. After the primal(s), for a while I’m not holding my emotions in check so much, my bronchial tubes feel cleared of stress and I breathe more easily.

        I go through those phases of dealing with my anxieties when stirred as I follow through with my desire to get to know my special lady friend and open up to my feelings for her. The process feels risky. In opening up to her, I open up to feelings that have been in me for all of my life, of devastating off-this-planet aloneness. Because she is worth it, I go there. I drag myself through those primals so that I can be with her. If she ever decides she doesn’t want me, I will be devastated. For a while I will feel untethered to Earth, alone in outer space. But so far we want each other, and to enable me to open up to this new special person, to make sure I don’t kill this, I drag myself through the burning coals of those primals. Then healing primal therapy happens, changing my life to an openness and self-confidence I’ve never experienced since I closed down in childhood. I talk to her a bit about my primals because she is curious and asks how I’m feeling and I want her to know that they are an aspect of my life. I’m sure she has no idea though of how being with her is changing my life right to the core, because I’m willing to primal into deadly aloneness to be with her.

  35. Margaret says:

    Bernadette,
    I would love to hear you, even if only from time to time, in sunday’s primal Zoom group!
    to me you always come across as a fresh mountain breeze, pure and sincere.
    I relate to craving attention and approval, from each one of my parents but in very different ways as a child.
    lately I noticed once more how I can be thrown out of balance unexpectedly even when only one person seems to dislike me.
    it merely has a temporary effect luckily, unless it comes from someone I really trusted and regarded as a friend.
    but still, I am surprised how I was surprised when Gretchen said that if you are yourself there will alwys be someone who does not like you…
    it makes sense, but it is telling it wasn’t obvious to me.
    it is still sinking in it is ok, I should not win over everyone, someone not liking me does not necessarily mean something must be wrong with me…
    and sometimes it is just my fear telling me someone does not like me which is ironic as my defense then tends to make me want to snap and growl at them, show my teeth, like don’t you even think of hurting me, so then I set myself up for not being liked at times…
    all complicated, and as you are very good with words and feelings I would love to hear more of you, you sound so genuine.
    you might meet my cats in group, they tend to make guest appearances…
    Margaret

    • Bernadette says:

      Margaret, yes, I agree, it takes very little to trigger these deeply hurtful feelings, IF I allow it. I was thinking the same today, as I had a very hurt reaction to my brother’s comment on WhatsApp. I had sent him a song that has been circulating, a Zoom performance of an inspiring song about the current situation that is affecting everyone in the world. The song touched me and brought up some tears, so I sent it to various people. My little brother (stinker!) made a comment that he couldn’t let himself wallow in sentimental feelings like me, and that he keeps himself busy to stay happy. I took it as a criticism and felt really misunderstood and rejected. I thought I was showing a vulnerable side of me by sharing the song, and felt his reply was a slap in the face. It obviously touched on some very deep and painful old pain in me and I let myself cry a few tears. But as you mentioned, it had only a temporary affect on me, as it sometimes happens to you, and after I felt the hurt, I wrote a good reply to him. I said that appreciating a beautiful song is not wallowing in sentimental feelings (=standing my ground) and I only wanted to give him some joy (=pointing out my intent). His reply then was that he did enjoy the song but all he wanted to say was that he didn’t have the same time for such things as I have (which is either an excuse or very sad or both).
      But I am inspired by you when you said that you snap and growl and show your teeth. I think it’s necessary at times and shows strength and personal power. On the other hand, of course you have to allow yourself to feel the hurt at some point and connect it to the old pain, which I know you do. Making myself vulnerable to people who don’t like my, I think would feel counterproductive to me. And yet, part of the reason why I can come out with all my deepest scariest feelings is precisely because I don’t need everyone to like me anymore. I have gained some personal power that allows me now to be more vulnerable. I hope that makes sense.

  36. Phil says:

    Bernadette,
    I hope you can get through these feelings and come out of the downward spiral you’re talking about.
    I can relate to a lot of what you said.
    For me, when when I seemingly have what I need, big feelings of something being wrong routinely come up anyway. I would like to escape completely from my
    pattern. Those thoughts came up after reading your message this morning.
    It happened for a few weeks while we were on vacation travelling, but that wasn’t enough. I guess it wouldn’t ever be enough because the problem is inside of me.
    Phil

    • Bernadette says:

      Phil, now you’re making me think, because just very recently I thought about how much in my life has gone right, in fact, I thought at the time that everything happened all exactly the way it was meant to happen. And this seems to be in total contradiction to the other feeling that I have, which is: I didn’t get anything that I wanted! But if I’m honest, even the things I didn’t get happened exactly the way it was meant to be.
      So, when you talk about the pattern of “having something that you need in the present bringing up feelings that something is wrong” – I think that is a common primal pattern. From the way I understand this primal concept is that we have to get something in the present that roots and strengthens us in the present, and in turn, this strength and personal power then allows us to make ourselves more vulnerable to face yet deeper and more painful feelings.
      Here are my thoughts: The feeling of “something is missing” that can’t be pinpointed, I think must be a very early feeling. So early in life that we were not able to form a mental concept about it. It’s a feeling based in utter physical-emotional need. As I’m writing this, a newborn baby comes to mind, just pushed out of a warm, safe, and comforting environment into the cold, harsh world. And depending on how well your birth process proceeded (in my case I almost died), and how you were received by your mother (mine was irritated and disappointed – yet another girl!) that would make your first impression of this new world either pleasant or painful. And would last an everlasting imprint on the brain.
      Being cuddled and comforted and entirely loved all the way around isn’t something that I was ever able to experience. Maybe that is what’s wrong (on top of being ignored by dad). Because in reality, as grown-ups, we are, or should be, able to give ourselves everything that we need. And if we can’t do it and can’t even pinpoint what it is that is missing but we need something, by definition, it must be based in an early unfulfilled need.
      But then again, we can’t really give ourselves everything – cuddles and being entirely loved all around we can’t give to ourselves. We need someone to give us the love. Which means making ourselves vulnerable and allowing it to be given.
      But enough of my rambling. Let me know your thoughts on this.

      • Phil says:

        Bernadette, you asked me for my thoughts and I posted a reply which disappeared, so I’m trying again. In response to what you said, I can say how it is for me.
        Because I still have unfulfilled needs, and other traumas to feel, my pain will continue to come up regardless of what I get or have achieved in the present. That’s because my feelings have been opened up and my primal process is active.
        I have a pattern of making changes in my life, then being unsatisfied, and wanting more changes. Even things I do have and stay with, start feeling not enough. It wouldn’t ever be enough, I’m afraid.
        Related to this is a feeling many times of being unable to get what I want, of not even being able to get started, feeling stuck. This was the big feeling which brought me to therapy to begin with.
        When I’ve gone deep with this, it seems to be birth feelings. I needed help and didn’t get it. When I feel like I get help and have a little success, then I can move through the feelings of being stuck, although they can easily reemerge.
        This was an ongoing pattern If my mother was maybe unhelpful for me during birth, she was definitely unhelpful later. There was very little, if anything coming from her, as her illness progressed. She already had it when I was born. Later on, I can say she literally forgot about me completely and couldn’t direct a kind word my way, or actually anything at all. so I gave up trying with her.
        My father was more available, and was around my entire childhood, but was also quite unaware and largely unhelpful. I found myself on my own emotionally.
        I could write much more on all this, but that’s enough for now.
        I hope you’ll stay with us on the blog and not disappear for long periods of time. I like seeing what you have to say, it’s very helpful. I hope you see the value of continuing here.
        Phil

  37. Vicki says:

    Bernadette, what you wrote early this morning, makes me wonder if that is what has happened before, each time you just “disappear” for weeks or months — that’s been a pattern for you, you have said that before, too. I remember I suspected years ago, that after an intense period of involvement and activity, you must just get really ‘down’ for some reason, and lose your way, direction, your will to go on, maybe even who you are. Just the thoughts I had, back then.

    • Hi Bernadette, I was wondering if your down cycle had anything to do with the additional info I sent you about my neighborhood situation? Just blinking once for ‘yes’ or twice for ‘no’ will tell me everything I need to know here, thanks.
      Also, I think Vicki might be onto something about these ups and downs possibly being part of a grander, natural cycle which we shouldn’t judge ourselves too harshly on?
      I can go for a week or two of being a chess grandmaster at computer programming and then burn out for the next two solid months, not able to stand the logical rigidity anymore with my brain needing pleasant free association and aimless reverie, plummeting my productiveness.

      • Bernadette says:

        Guru, I didn’t get your additional information on your neighbors. I was wondering about it because after I returned your initial email, I didn’t receive anything else after. Now I think it must have landed in the spam folder, or I accidentally deleted it with the spam that arrives daily in the swisslady inbox. Sorry!! Please send it again, if you don’t mind, I am still interested.

        Yes, Vicki is right about my off and on cycle. I have always been that way, and I am not judging myself for it, nor do I feel that she is judging me for it. As I wrote to Vicki above, I am now ready to do another cycle of cleaning out my primal cesspool. I think it is going to be a particularly nasty bit this time!! And I have caught myself this time before spending too much time in the “off” position. That said, I will not ignore my need for – as you so beautifully put – “pleasant free association and aimless reverie” without which I surely would drown in the cesspool! Yikes!

        • You didn’t see my mail?? Oh, geez! Yes I originally sent the info only about 24-36 hours after you replied to my first mail. OK, I will try again in a few days. Only this time, I will post here immediately after sending it so you can check your spam folder.
          See?? All this time I kept wondering, ‘Why didn’t Bernadette respond? Did I do something wrong? Did I say something creepy? Did I scare the poor gal? Am I too firmly of an outsider to a special coterie she may be in that I am not good enough for?”
          All these questions whizzed through my mind…all a variant of, “What exactly went wrong?”
          Since you caught my first mail and responded to it, I lowered the chances of your genuinely missing my second mail and took it for something more personal.
          These are the hazards of trying to operate on limited information, as I’ve complained about so much in the past.

          • I remember one time…..a LONG, L-O-N-G time ago…6-7 years ago Vicki was very upset about something on the blog, and I had a critical piece of info she needed to make the terrible feeling she had at the time almost completely dissipate for her in profound relief upon her learning what I knew.
            Unfortunately I completely forget what the subject matter was at time, but I do remember successfully resolving the incident to her satisfaction.
            Anyway, my point is sometimes we may be lacking some crucial piece of knowledge which can ease ongoing suffering all its own. Too bad it’s difficult to figure out what the missing puzzle piece might be in many cases. (“You can’t know what you don’t know”, etc.)

            • Bernadette says:

              Guru, I agree! One single word or phrase, or a comment to acknowledge or underline or even oppose for any good reason, can have a huge impact on the reader. I have experienced it myself in this very blog. Just one line someone wrote in response to someone else helped me gain my sanity back; it was not her intention, all she did, was express her opinion, and it fit into my pain perfectly to help relieve it. And you remembered the photo of my dad, which brought up a whole lot of stuff for me, I am glad you remembered it! I have to remind myself that anything I write here could potentially have a great impact on the reader.

          • Bernadette says:

            Guru, Your questions: “Did I do something wrong? Did I say something creepy? Did I scare the poor gal? Am I too firmly of an outsider to a special coterie she may be in that I am not good enough for?” — as Jack would say, it’s all your feelings! Nothing like this at all. I am not that easily put off and would tell you if I couldn’t help you or couldn’t handle it. That “not good enough” feeling, boy, do I know it! A particularly nasty feeling, but it’s just that: an old feeling! I will be super careful from now on before deleting spam!

    • Vicki, yes I still have significant trouble with the smoldering internal miasma where the predator is concerned.
      Dealing with a man in his fifties screaming at me, threatening me, and insulting me on my own front porch while furiously jumping up and down on my porch floorboards & warping them because I couldn’t park my car in the exact spot he wanted (because of traffic HE caused for HIS OWN COMMERCIAL GAIN!) on top of buying everything around my home, trying to pressure me over years of time to force me out. Numerous other shitty items to tell, etc.
      I already talked about how he forced four senior citizens out of their 30 year home next door and demolishing that, didn’t I?
      Unfortunately the porch incident was in 2003 and it still leaves me utterly FURIOUS to this day. I dearly wish I had had it taped. I though it was weird how he dropped dead just a few weeks later. Almost 1,000 people went to to his funeral, only seeing the smooth-talking pretty side of him…while I am seemingly the only one seeing the ugly side and screaming “FUCK YOU!” I still scream that to the walls today, never having had the courage to tell him to his face at the time.
      The Tenth Commandment of the Bible starts with, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors house…”
      A couple months after that man’s death I was mowing the backyard grass bordering their parking lot (previously the elderly family’s home now pulverized into featureless commercial asphalt). Along the borderline I saw a $10 bill fluttering in the slight breeze, stuck to my fence near the ground….The most money I ever found ‘in the wild’ in my life.
      $10 bill…10th commandment symbolism for the spiritually inclined?
      Or just desperately reaching mental gymnastics as the atheists would conclude?
      I know where the vast majority of this blog stands on such a question, no need to tell me.
      It’s just a story and I’m really fucking irritated that I am still traumatized by it.

      • The $10 bill was in crappy shape, worn and weathered though still spendable. I wish I had kept the bill as a lifetime souvenir, as I didn’t think about any possible Tenth Commandment symbolism until many years after the bill was long gone.

      • Vicki says:

        Guru, it might help you to focus on when he was jumping up and down on your porch, warping the floorboards, and what you were feeling at that moment, and write about that, and why you were unable to respond to him, and write what you should have said to him then, if you could have — just write that for yourself, not necessarily here (unless it seems appropriate). Writing what you might have really been willing to say to him, might help you more than raging and venting out loud endlessly now — because something different happened in between the original event, and your fantasy response now. Something stopped you, and that’s more important to uncover.

        • Thank you, Vicki, I’m too exhausted to say much more now except that it would have been extremely risky, even dangerous, to say to him what I say now (1,058-page explanation). One of my old friends (who knew the man very well) remarked that he was surprised the guy didn’t literally die of a heart attack on my front porch in front of me.

        • Bernadette says:

          Vicki, good advice to Guru! I agree that looking at what he wished he could have said but were unable to say is very important, and so is exploring the reasons why he couldn’t say it. Over the years, I have been doing a lot of writing for myself, pages and pages of it, and it helps expressing and documenting, even only to myself, the thoughts and feelings and wishes, including all the anger and frustration, agony and pain, and especially fears and anxiety. For me it was the start of expressing some ‘secret’ feelings that I had, next was expressing them to Gretchen, before I could express them in public. Your advice to Guru to write it down first, is thumbs up!

    • Bernadette says:

      Vicki, you have a good memory and know me well. Excellent observation! Yes, this is exactly what happened a few years ago (4 I think) when I spilled my guts here about my dad and got into very deep feelings about him. And then I disappeared again.
      Not sure what exactly happens. I’m sure there are several reasons for it. Maybe I can only go so far before I have to shut down again because of the intensity of the pain, and I can only take so much of it. Not knowing the answers to my pain makes me feel very unsafe and vulnerable, so I internalize it instead of verbalize it. Another reason could be that, in truth, I am not good at letting people close. I suck at it. So it is safer to withdraw and try to figure it out by myself. This works to a certain extent, but then it all has to come out into the open. Didn’t Janov say something along the lines of: Primal pain has to be shared and witnessed before it can heal? I think this is true, even if he didn’t say it (and if he didn’t say it, he should have, haha).
      But as I wrote above, I have grown in my personal power over the last three years thanks to a gazillion sessions with Gretchen, so that making myself vulnerable is now backed by a bit more strength and courage that I can hopefully make use of now. I am hell-bent to make it through another mountain – or rather cesspool – of primal pain. Now I remember Gretchen observing how many secrets I had, stuff that I had never revealed in therapy or to anybody before I opened up this time. Everything at its time, I guess!

      Regarding your post above about Peter, Paul, and Mary. I knew and liked them before and thought of them as a bit old fashioned but sweet, and their songs had something to say that I could relate to. I like the song you posted. But a few months ago I saw a 2014 documentary on them on PBS (they ran it during one of their pledge drives) and I was impressed. I got sucked in because I was fascinated by their personalities – kind and genuine – but especially by Mary. As you said about her writing, she came across so very genuine, open, relaxed, and emotionally present while singing. I think even P&P made comments about it, how much Mary “made” the group by being so much her true self, held her own as the only female member of the group, and how much impact she had on the audience.
      If you like here is the link on YouTube of the documentary.

      • Vicki says:

        What a coincidence, Bernadette — I had just ordered that video yesterday! I had no idea it was available online. As more than one person said, “Mary sings with her whole body”. I also wanted to know more about Peter Yarrow’s conviction for for taking “improper liberties” with a 14-year-old girl who went with her 17-year-old sister to Yarrow’s hotel room seeking an autograph. “Yarrow answered the door naked and made sexual advances that stopped short of intercourse.” He pled guilty, and In 1970 served 3 mos. in prison of a 1-3 yrs. sentence. Coincidentally or not, PP&M split up and all went solo in 1970. In 1981 Peter received a pardon from President Jimmy Carter; nonetheless, it has followed him ever since, periodically he is rejected from events and awards, even 50 yrs. later. He also exposed that he has been in an alcoholic recovery program. I would have loved to ask Mary how she felt about what Peter did. I know that they eventually reunited, and performed together regularly. The final four years of Mary’s illness, it was she who kept them singing — she very much wanted to.

        • Renee says:

          Vicki, your reference to Peter Yarrow’s sexual assault and his subsequent conviction and prison sentence, left me thinking about what occurred at the Institute in the early 1990s. When Rick was a therapist. If you, or any other blog readers, were there then, you will likely remember that he decided he wanted a romantic/sexual relationship with one of his clients. Which was an abuse of his power as a therapist, not to mention unethical and illegal. Many clients, including myself, were shocked and outraged to find out that the administration supported and enabled him to do so. And that they allowed him to stay employed at the Institute, as the receptionist. (His mother was a little wishy-washy when it came to setting boundaries with him.)

          A few years ago, I reconnected with someone who left the Institute due to these events. They mentioned to me that the client who Rick ended up in a relationship with, later sued the Institute. They did not know the outcome of the lawsuit. They wondered if I knew anything, but I didn’t. Unlike Peter Yarrow, I doubt that Rick was ever convicted of anything or did any time in prison. Sadly. My guess is that it was settled out of court, but I could be wrong. Does anyone here know anything about this?

          • I only went to LA a few years after that apparently happened, but I did hear a couple of rumors from elder patients corroborating your account, albeit in less detail than you’re providing.
            It seems obvious to me that a Primally-oriented therapy would be more prone to intimacy pitfalls which aren’t professionally sanctioned as opposed to a cognitive therapist with a client, for instance.
            When two people start to share sensitive lower-brain sensations with each other regularly, I could see how tempting it would be to throw hollow-sounding, sterile, and arbitrary words such as “patient” and “therapist” into a meaningless dustbin in favor of a richer intimacy of the present moment. I’d have to guess this is one of the reasons therapists are admonished not to share too many personal details with patients.
            In any case, Rick must not have stayed too long as the receptionist because Atty was already there when I arrived.

            • Renee says:

              Ugg, I’m confused. Are you saying that a Primally-oriented therapy includes something that happens when “two people start to share sensitive lower-brain sensations with each other regularly?” And how does this contribute to healing from childhood traumas, which I think is at the core of a Primally-oriented therapy? When many patients, as well as therapists, come from families where boundaries were either non-existent and/or inappropriate, how helpful is it to have therapists recreate that again in therapy? Doesn’t what you describe simply justify and rationalize all kinds of therapists’ abuses of power (of which Rick Janov’s behavior was just one example)? I don’t get it.

              • Before I go any further, may I put a much simpler question out of the way first? How come you refer to me as ‘Ugg’? I understand when people use ‘UG’ for ‘Ultimate Guru’, but when you use ‘Ugg’ it almost sounds derogatory, like ‘UGH!’, as though I am a disgusting creature. Is this what you are trying to convey?

                • Renee says:

                  Calling you Ugg, allows me to see beyond your often rough and prickly demeanor. It helps me to remember that you also have a soft, warm and fuzzy side, like my Ugg boots. Which helps me feel more connected to you. I don’t see you as a disgusting creature, although I can certainly relate to feeling like a disgusting creature at times.

                  • Renee..the reason I brought up “UGH” is that the letter “g” is immediately precedes the letter “h” in the alphabet, “ugf”..”ugg”…”ugh”…”ugi”…”ugj”….so yeah that’s why your using “ugg” seemed extremely close to “Ugh, something disgusting!”
                    I am embarrassed to say my fashion sense is in a shambles, and I had never heard of Ugg boots until just now, so I will accept the plausibility of your explanation, thanks for telling me.
                    Perhaps if I had had an eight or nine-figure settlement for what happened to my mother (a very reasonable demand given her past resume), I would have had more carefree energy for fashion sense instead of constantly worrying about long-term survival.

          • Vicki says:

            Renee, 1) You have converted Peter Yarrow’s conviction for “taking improper liberties with a 14 yr.-old” into “sexual assault”, which usually has a heavier meaning with more aggression and force, up to and including rape. But in this case, the girl said “No”, her older sister witnessed it, and it stopped before intercourse. We still don’t know all the details, it’s still not good, and still makes him untrustworthy, especially with his alcoholism, regardless of his acceptance of blame, and serving time in prison, and being in recovery. But online, what I found calling him a pervert, castigating him and wanting him punished forever, were people who don’t like his political and social activism, so I think they are just using his crime as an excuse and outlet for their hatred.

            2) Why are you telling this story about Rick Janov? I heard different versions, way back when, less glaringly sensational than yours, but I never wanted to use the story the way you have. You have some hidden agenda in writing about this, and you are not being honest about that. You are hiding your anger and pretending this story is a real issue you want to alert all of us about. And in a pattern I have seen you repeat, you again avoid writing about your feelings behind this, just as you ran away from your feelings in groups, in the past. For a practicing therapist, you really need to have the guts for your own therapy, and to write about your own feelings and real problems, instead of what you’re doing.

        • Bernadette says:

          Vicki, I love that “Mary sings with her whole body” – so true! I didn’t know about Yarrow’s “improper liberties” – very disappointing to say the least! What a creep! At least he had the decency to plead guilty and I am glad he went to prison for it. Knowing this now, I don’t think it was a coincidence that the group split up around that time. And yes, I would be also very curious what Mary felt about it. Let me know what you think about the documentary!

          • Vicki says:

            Bernadette, I loved the documentary online, altho I haven’t yet watched the DVD, which is supposed to have more songs. I did have a reaction to your comment “What a creep!” because I can’t see it that way easily. I would have to meet him, and see if he felt creepy — I have had that experience, so I know how “creeped-out” feels to me. He not only pled guilty, went to prison, and rehab for his alcoholism, but for 50 yrs. he has been rejected for some appearances and awards, and he has just accepted it, in his responses. I don’t know how deep that goes for him, but I would want to give him a chance to have redeemed himself, even while I would want to be careful.

            It is interesting that other crimes don’t seem to get as much lasting condemnation, as crimes related to sex. I am by no means in favor of “opening doors to predators”, but I also don’t assume that everyone “caught” is forever a “predator”, regardless of their efforts to live differently. I would have liked to have a conversation with him, and see what he says about the whole thing, if he makes any excuses or what. I don’t believe Mary would have rejoined the group, if she didn’t like Peter and the kind of person he was. I don’t think Paul would have, either.

          • Bernadette says:

            Vicki, my comment “what a creep” was mostly directed at Yarrow at the time of his transgression, and in part was a gut reaction in response to my old feelings that got activated (being a survivor of child sexual abuse myself). When I saw him on PBS supporting the pledge drive, I didn’t know about this and didn’t get a creepy feeling from him, the opposite was true, I thought of him as kind and feeling full. But when I read what you wrote, I was disappointed in him, and I also doubted my judgment, because I had judged him as kind and feeling full and thought I should have picked up that sex offender creepiness. Now I think, the fact that I didn’t, probably means that he must have changed over the years, after doing time in prison and rehab and taking the rejection from the public for such a long time. I agree with you that Paul and especially Mary would not have reunited the group, if he had not changed. If I had the chance to meet him in person, I probably would be a bit careful and wary of him. But I also would be open to find out if he has genuinely changed.
            I don’t know why sex crimes have such a long lasting impact on people. Though that doesn’t seem to be the same for everyone. When I think about Biden and his attack on Tara Read – I happen to believe her that *something* happened – everyone seems to forget about it and give him the benefit of the doubt or forgive him, etc. I had to cringe really hard when I marked Biden for the presidency on the ballot. I could only allow myself to vote for him because Trump is so much worse in so many ways and is truly dangerous for the safety of the country and democracy. Biden always evokes a bit of a creepy feeling in me, and that was even before I knew about Read’s allegations. He was definitely not my first choice for the presidency, just to say.

        • Bernadette says:

          In addition, I must say though, reading this brought up some yucky feelings and memories for me. I wish my high school teacher who took advantage of gullible me would have gone to prison for his sexual advances that also stopped short of intercourse! What a bastard he was! And I learned much later, that I was not his only victim. Apparently, he had his “favorites” in every class, year after year. And what’s worse, I believe that his superiors and colleagues knew about it, and nobody did a thing about it. It still makes me angry!

          • Vicki says:

            Bernadette, that really is awful! If it’s not too much to say, how did you stop him, or get out of the situation? He really needed his actions exposed.

          • Bernadette says:

            Vicki, it stopped after I left high school. He pursued me for a while when I was in college but because I felt stronger there and was not under his daily influence as I was in HS, I was able to tell him not to come see me anymore. He then disappeared out of my life. Not until 2010 when I lived in Switzerland for a while and I noticed him at the public swimming pool. I recognized his facial profile as he was swimming his laps. I thought about going over and telling him what I thought of him all these decades later, but then decided against it. He looked old and vulnerable. He died a few years later, around the same time as my dad, and I actually went to his grave and told him in a loud voice that what he did was fucked up, and that I hoped he would see and regret it now. It was important to me to tell him.

  38. Vicki says:

    One of the things I have lamented this year and before, are the vast beliefs in conspiracies and general-purpose lies that “our President” has fostered and incited world-wide, in striving to dominate. Abbie Richards, a 24 yr. old climate-science master’s student, analyzed currently-in-vogue conspiracies, and created a Conspiracy Chart, which I find illuminating the spectrum of “reality” from connected to disconnected. She intends to keep updating her Chart.
    https://www.webworm.co/p/i-talk-to-the-creator-of-the-conspiracy

    • Phil says:

      Vicki, what really astounds me is that Trump supporters seem to believe whatever Trump says, a lot of which is conspiracy stuff or just outright lies. So they believe he won the election and that his victory was taken away by fraud. And I guess they believe many of the other crazy things Trump says. He was preparing way before the election for this claim about fraud, and for ways to make sure he’d win regardless of the outcome. It’s all so outrageous. The day Trump leaves as president will be a day to celebrate.
      Phil

      • Viicki says:

        Phil, I have also read more than once, and a friend told me she heard it from a nurse — that some Trump supporters have Covid, are on oxygen and dying in hospital, and still don’t believe they have Covid. They believe it’s a hoax, and die gasping for breath, but continuing to believe Covid doesn’t exist. I think these must all be religious people who already have a history of fervently-held delusion, so “belief in Trump” is another plausible insanity for them.
        With the margin of “victory” so small — 72 million still voted for the Liar-in-Chief! — I have grave doubts about how effective Biden’s presidency can be (he will try). McConnell and others, and the right-wing dominated Supreme Court, I am afraid will do all they can to prevent Biden from accomplishing “anything”. Many Repubs are really that craven for power, lacking integrity, racist, and destructive of democracy. They have lost the ability to feel how painful life is for the millions who are not wealthy, and they no longer care about any except themselves. They are deluded about the damage our overpopulation of the planet has wrought, and humans are well on their way heading into an extinction event.

        • Vicki, I am familiar with that South Dakota nurse’s story and a lot of people are questioning her account since her colleagues weren’t independently witnessing similar occurrences: https://www.wired.com/story/are-covid-patients-gasping-it-isnt-real-as-they-die/

        • Phil says:

          Vicki, I don’t think Biden will be able to do big things, even if the dems get the senate majority by winning those two seats in Georgia. What he can do is reverse many of Trumps bad policies and decisions. I don’t think there will be any green new deal or public health insurance option, however. And Trump could try again and win in 2024, I’m afraid. It’s great to be getting rid of him for now, hopefully, but conditions are still quite discouraging.
          Today we went for a bike ride and I noticed a new flag at a neighbor’s house, replacing the Trump portrait flag which was there. It’s an American flag with a blue stripe in the middle. I looked up and learned that flag is meant to honor law enforcement, but has now become a symbol of resistance to the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s the first time I noticed that type flag. The country is just so divided with so much animosity. I hope people will give Biden a chance to do something about that, but it will be very difficult when Trump and his supporters will still be around. It would be nice to have a good option for leaving planet, or maybe some aliens from outer space can save us.
          Phil

        • Vicki says:

          Phil, did you see the post about Portland, that a group of white anarchists are co-opting the BLM protests, with violent, destructive results. It was in the L.A. Times, with the head of Portland’s Black Lives Matter chapter saying that “the activists had nothing to do with the social justice movement”, and in the minds of the public, anarchists have “melded with Black Lives Matter, but they’re 90% white and they don’t reach out to Black organizations.” She says her volunteers are giving out food, not smashing windows. So BLM wants to separate from the violence and those who will only damage their cause. Hopefully this distinction will become clearer, so BLM does not continue to be maligned.
          https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-11-16/portland-protests-anarchists-backlash

          • Phil says:

            Vicki, I never followed closely reporting on events in Portland. I didn’t realize how much anarchists have melded with the Black Lives Matter movement, with negative results. I don’t think anarchists are that active in other large cities around the country. I know there was a lot of vandalism and looting that didn’t necessarily have any connection to anarchy.
            People are trying to figure out why the dems didn’t do as well as expected, and why polling was so wrong.
            Trump clearly has charisma, even though it’s foreign to me. It’s negative, designed to benefit himself. Biden might end up being a good president, but he isn’t very charismatic. I don’t need that, but maybe that’s what many people need to inspire them to vote. Obama had it.
            The very high election turn out I think was mainly about Trump, either for or against.
            What I want is sane leaders who try to help us make progress with important issues like climate change, Covid, healthcare, racism, etc.
            Phil

  39. Phil says:

    We were finally able to make the decision here that our sons will be coming for Thanksgiving, after a lot of thinking on it. But they’ve agreed not to spend indoor time with their friends. One said he would not spend the whole weekend, in that case, which is fine. We’ve seen him quite a few times in past weeks and so I saw no reason not to for the holiday. Our other son works at a university where everyone gets tested once a week.
    None of this insures we won’t get Covid, of course. Our sons are glad about this, but to begin with my wife was leaning towards having no gathering. I think we’ve made a good compromise. Our numbers are still pretty low here and our gathering will be small.
    Phil
    Phil

  40. Bernadette says:

    Silvia, I was thinking of you the other day when I watched the documentary below. You mentioned a while back that you didn’t believe in many stories in the Bible and I said they were just parables and not to be taken literally. Here is a documentary that shows an interesting alternative about the Exodus based on scientific and archeological evidence. I thought you might be interested just for kicks.

    • Sylvia says:

      Hi, Bernadette, I just saw this, sometimes I don’t get notifications of posts. Thank you for thinking of me. I will watch it tomorrow.

      I just wanted to say something about the Mary Travers discussion you and Vicki were having. I was quite taken with the group when I was a teenager. I thought it was great that Mary really seemed to be the leader. I loved the group’s albums. “Peter, Paul and Mary”, what a delightful trio. As I watched them perform on the family tv, my mom said, “She’s a whore!,” meaning Mary. I didn’t know if it was true or not, and I doubt she knew if there was any prostitution in Mary’s background. I could not listen to anymore of their songs without the disapproval words of my mom ringing in my consciousness. I really didn’t care if it was true at all, but those poisoned words were forever coupled in my mind with admiration of their music.

      Years and years later, at a small Christmas gathering, my uncle received an album of “The Village People,” from my brother and his wife. He had told all of us before that he loved their music. My uncle was a macho guy and we all knew that he didn’t know that the group was gay. When he unwrapped the gift and was so happy to get the album…yes, my mom said, “You know they are gay.” I don’t think he ever played that record or enjoyed the group’s songs after that.
      So, just a cheery note before the holidays. A toast to bubble-busters.
      S

      • Vicki says:

        Sylvia, that’s horrible! Makes me so angry at your mom, for peddling such vicious lies about Mary Travers! What pleasure could she get, except knowing she hurt you? That is not an action of love. Especially if you weren’t able to fight it off, and enjoy the music! Your mom must have beern so angry, she bitterly derived happiness from ruining other people’s enjoyment of life! Oh, my god! And why else could she want to hurt your uncle. I am sorry she just chronically wanted to hurt you — and kind of amazed if you weren’t angry at her doing that, and making you more miserable. My mom hurt me in some similar ways, and tho I felt hurt, I also felt angry a lot, and fought back. I hope you did too.

        • Sylvia says:

          I’m not sure she deliberately set out to hurt me, though she knew I liked the group very much. I was used to her calling things as she saw them despite how it affected anyone. I was looking up some of the early critics of Peter, Paul and Mary and they were dubbed as two Jews and a Hooker, though that was untrue, but haters will be haters. I think my response to my mom’s ways was that I became accepting of everyone and didn’t discriminate like she did. But it did make me mad when she said the Beatles had no talent. I defended them noting the poetry in their songs, but I knew I could never persuade her of anything. That she got some joy from ruining my uncle’s Christmas, well, we said, “how could you”, she just laughed a tiny bit–she just couldn’t resist. He was kind of a blow-hard ex-cop and probably felt he deserved it. I’m not sure, I felt bad for him anyways that his big sister would do that.

          As to Guru’s mention of sadomasochistic pleasure, yes, I figure it was an act-out for sure from the pain my mom grew up with. Her early loss of a parent and violence, cruelty and poverty shaped her outlook and her suspicion of people. Ours was not a quiet household to grow up in. None of us kids can get together without talking about how strange mom was, and how scared we were of her sometimes.
          S

      • Yes, just as I had mentioned to Bernadette about how critical pieces of information can relieve suffering, they can also CREATE suffering as illustrated by Sylvia’s mom. Is there a subtle sadomasochistic undercurrent of pleasure when bursting bubbles like that? If I want the real truth at the deepest levels about something no matter how much it hurts, I should seek out people who enjoyed popping birthday balloons or popping mail package bubble wrap as kids.

      • Phil says:

        The group Peter, Paul, and Mary was significant for me too as a teenager. Some of their songs help me with feelings because of my history with them, and just because they were good songs which felt meaning full to me. I remember I got a new record player for Christmas one year and my sister gave me a Peter, Paul, and Mary album. She was actually leaving on a jet plane herself, which was very sad and difficult for me, not to return for several years.
        Phil

    • Sylvia says:

      Thanks, Bernadette, I finished watching the “Exodus” video. That’s interesting how Pharaoh interpreted the dying of first-born Egyptians sons as a sign that he should let “The people go.” Guilty conscious there. And that the parting of the Red Sea (Reed Sea) was coincidentally a coming together of geological events of a sliding lake and river colliding to raise enough land for the Chosen people to escape the Pharaoh’s soldiers and then a resulting cataclysmic tsunami covering the Egyptian pursuers–just like in the movie. That’s must be an example the universe’s synchronicity for sure, I think. Wonderful timing. The water turning to blood as an oxidation rust process, the locust and other plagues all scientifically explained. Good to know the researchers did good investigations. It was a good video. Thank you.
      S

      • Bernadette says:

        Silvia, I’m glad you enjoyed the video. I think the dying of the first-born sons was the straw that broke the camel’s back after the Egyptians experienced all the other plagues that came before. The Pharaoh had to surrender, finally,. I marvel at the scientific evidence that was discovered. The miracles that a believer takes on faith, now actually have some real basis. Maybe all synchronicities in our lives could be called miracles?

  41. Mary was in a lot of debt because she had to rob Peter to pay Paul.

    • Phil says:

      We were very into folk music at my house for awhile, due to my sister’s influence. She basically became a pot smoking hippie. I remember I smoked some at our kitchen table for the first time, my father too, I was only about 12 years old. But, that was a one time family event.. There was a much different environment, of course, then there is now around all this.
      Phil

    • Sylvia says:

      Still more rumors about Mary–ha, ha. funny, though.

      • I wrote that while chuckling, yes, but I would rewrite it now as ‘Mary was in a lot of debt, for…’ or ‘Mary was in a lot of debt since…’
        I would throw out the word ‘because’ for quality improvement.
        It’s becoming clear to me now that I often correct my grammar here on the blog as a carryover effect from the constant, mercilessly unyielding precision demanded by the little software programs I develop.
        Humans are a little more forgiving than that, for the most part.

        • Sylvia says:

          You’re right, no need to correct with us here, I think. I do that too, think, oh I could have said that so much clearer. It’s usually my fear of coming across as unsophisticated or stupid, though. Depends how tired I am at the moment of writing whether or not I can make myself clear and succinct, and without spelling errors.

  42. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    i am ranting loudly at the computer and most likely driving b crazy, since i have no soundproofing in my bedroom. my fingers are numb and hit the wrong keys a lot and i hate the people i
    work with and i hate this job, and as i told b yesterday while driving around, i am pretty much disappointed in Life. she wanted to drive around and see anything interesting and get some
    exercise,and she didn’t even have to say a word to me, but i laid a bunch of crap feelings on her anyways, since i was impossibly silent in group again. driving around, without the dog,
    looking for new things to see, and we went south towards playa del rey, to find some place to walk where there was no people with their droplets of covid hanging in the air, that just want
    to kill the 2 of us thereby dooming all these frigging cats to starving orphanism. too many people there, at the lake in playa, where many years before, we had released 2 ducks we had
    raised, because the 3rd one had gotten ravaged by a possum the night before in our backyard. the same lake where i had noticed a rowboat 30 years ago, and had thought in vain how i could
    get our young kids involved in something, my oldest the most, since he had gotten hooked on drugs and alcohol a while earlier. the same lake where someone had gotten married years back,
    maybe it was warren and janet, just dont remember. anyway, to make a long story short, we got as far as the sewage plant at dockweiler, so i wanted to get the fuck out of their, did not want
    to continue on to manhatten beach to see more happier-than-shit people dining outdoors in all the cute restaurants, when i haven’t been happy since 1968, so i turned left on a road with no
    uturns allowed and we ended up in inglewood near the airport, and i hate the ugliness of that area. so somehow finally got back to culver city, by marina del rey, where we lived a year or
    two, raising our children, barely, and driving all over there was so sickening to me, since so much had gone wrong there, trying to eak out a living and trying to raise happy kids in vain.
    so sickening, so drastically horrible was that time of our lives, and to tell the truth, not much better before or after. so it was impossible to not tell b how horrible i felt seeing that
    whole area where we had lived, and she listened, i don’t know why she listened, i was very very depressing. so, i address this to nobody in particular. although my poor grandmother used to
    talk to herself and god. and i am being frivolous, or in all events, assholish by mentioning her, because i did have some connection with her, although it was impossible to have much of a
    connection with her. maybe a little more than just watching gomer pyle together on tv. who knows, it is so long ago, but this shit makes me tear up anyways.back to work.just an exercise in
    releasing a tiny smidgen of the rock-solid pain i am embroiled in.

  43. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    sorry if i offend by saying inglewood is ugly. it is ugly to ME, as is that whole stretch of cities that were destroyed by the 405. santa monica is also ugly to me. in fact, all i see is ugly and scary, except my house and backyard, which are probably ugly to anyone who ever sees it.

  44. Bernadette says:

    Larry,
    in response to your post on November 22: Your experience when you were only a 11 months old baby, realizing that your needs wouldn’t be fulfilled and you suffocated your needs and developed asthma – it sounds extremely painful! Thanks for explaining the connection between the emotional triggers in the present bringing up an asthma attack. It makes so much sense! You are extremely brave facing your feelings of “devastating off-this-planet aloneness” over and over again in order to give yourself the chance to have a fulfilled life with this special person. It is so satisfying to hear you say that your life is changing, that you have access to “an openness and self-confidence” that you have not experienced before. You deserve it! And it gives me hope.
    You might think this is crazy, but for me, the feelings of dying are easier to feel than the feelings of needing and not getting. I have gone there many times, to the point of experiencing the giving up and dying, and I know now that I am not going to die, in the feeling anyway, and not yet in reality. But allowing to feel an unfulfilled need and the desperate attempt to fill a hole inside so that I can live with contentment and fulfillment, I find it extremely difficult to feel. I don’t even know where to start.
    My obvious physical symptoms are (more or less) chronic pains in my spine, shoulders, and especially neck, often resulting in headaches. I have scoliosis, and a chiropractor once told me that I was born with these injuries. I know this because I have felt many times my birth process, when I was stuck, lodged in, my mother pushing but not opening up and my neck and spine getting crunched up. I had to be pulled out with forceps.
    In the feeling, I know that I am very close to dying. The birth process all starts normally, I participate in the labor process, rhythmically moving and stopping when the impulse comes, and the feeling of a normal collaboration between mother and fetus occurs for a while, but then I get lodged in and can’t move forward. Then comes the time when I realize I am stuck and desperately struggle to move forward but can’t, until I have no more strength left and then I give up. At the same time I am being pushed but being stuck, my neck, shoulders, and spine get crushed. I sense my mom’s helplessness, powerlessness, and hopelessness, not being able to help me out, and my sense of abandonment is immense! There is a total disconnect.
    When I am under any type of stress now, emotionally or mentally, the physical pain gets worse. The more stress, the more pain. And since I hate taking pain killers, I had to find other ways to manage the physical pain. Yoga helps and conscious relaxation and meditation. When I need to do something that requires any type of effort, the pain arrives with it. It’s very hard to handle and no wonder I want to give up and die when life gets tough.
    But enough said for now.

  45. Bernadette says:

    Oh, I just realized that the birth pattern of “doing everything until I am exhausted and then giving up and not doing anything” – well, that’s very often my pattern in life. I’m either all in, or all out. Like with the blog, ha! I have never been able to pace myself in a healthy way. When I am in the “doing” phase, I can’t do enough, I can’t stop, I keep going like an Energizer Bunny, I constantly feel that I am running behind, there is not enough time to do everything I want to do, etc., this until I crash, and then I am dead to the world! At least now that I am more aware, this is something I can observe and maybe make some healthy adjustments….

  46. Bernadette says:

    Phil, in response to your post on November 22: I have lost some blog posts before as well, it can be frustrating, so I appreciate that you reposted! I appreciate your thoughts – and thank you for encouraging me to keep writing.
    I can relate to so many things you wrote. I hear you and I’m with you on the feelings of needing help and feeling stuck and it being related to the birth process (see my posts to Larry above regarding my birth). My mother couldn’t help me either during the birth process, like yours, though the difference is, although I wouldn’t call my mother a cuddly and emotionally accessible mom, at least she was there and helped me a lot during my life. I learned a lot of good things from her, and although she had her weaknesses, I also see her as having had enormous strength, courage, and perseverance. I am sad that your mother was not available for you, it sounds like such a huge loss. Do you think it would help you to write about specific memories?
    Like you, I also have frequently made changes in my life, and still want something else, or more. On one hand I think that is normal and healthy, that we want to grow and experience more things in life, improve our circumstances. But for me there is also a need to “arrive” like come to a point where I am content and relaxed and free from constantly wanting/needing something more. I have said many times, I am happiest when I don’t need anything. I want to achieve such a state, but the very desire to want to achieve a state of contentment creates the struggle. What a dilemma! A therapist once told me that life is trying new things, and when we are tired of one thing, try another thing, etc. But I actually disagree with that view. I see a futility in this process, a never-ending search for “something” that seems to be an old feeling in itself. Surely, there must be an arrival point? Of course there is a difference whether I start something new out of curiosity, in an attempt to build up on what I already have and appreciate, or in contrast, whether I run from one unfulfilled moment to another desperately trying to find some fulfillment. I hope that makes sense. What do you think?
    To your feeling of “feeling on my own emotionally” – I totally understand, I’m there a lot. And that in spite of being married for years, and a part in me expects or desires that my husband is my closest confidant and most trusted person. He is to a certain extent, but very often, I am not able to completely open up to him, I often keep my deepest feelings to myself. This pattern is becoming more clear these days, and I realize how destructive this is for the relationship, and that keeping certain feelings from him could potentially sabotage our relationship. I am aware that it is my responsibility to make steps to bridge that separateness.
    Now I am wondering whether bridging this separateness and achieving emotional togetherness would fill some of the constant need for something new or else? Hmmm…. Because deep down I think life should not be that difficult, it should be simple, we should be content and satisfied inside, a state that surely we can only achieve with emotional connections rather than material things. Let me know your thoughts.

    • Phil says:

      Bernadette, what I said about “feeling on my own emotionally” in my previous comment, was about childhood experiences. That’s what I had in mind, but the pattern certainly exists for me as an adult. For the most part, I can’t and don’t share my deepest feelings with my wife. It’s unfortunate, but to expect that kind of sharing would probably be unreasonable. Our relationship was originally based on having good times together and enjoying each others company, and not on sharing deep feelings. Maybe that’s one reason why we sometimes have problems. If I would have been looking for that kind of partner, maybe I would still be alone to this day. My deepest feelings are sometimes too negative and painful to expect anyone to relate to them.. My relationship with my wife started out with the necessity of hiding them. I do, at times mention my deepest feelings, primal stuff, but the truth is, she isn’t really ready or able to hear it all, understand, and relate to it.
      Yes, I think it’s different to be trying new things out of curiosity, as compared to running around desperately looking for fulfillment. It’s good to have curiosity and openness to new things, I think.
      It’s good your mother was there and helped you a lot during your life.
      In my case, negative feelings and memories are mainly what come up around my mother.
      During the last years of her life, when she was sick and in a nursing home, that was especially true. She went there when I was 6 and she was there until she passed away when I was 11. We visited many times and what I remember is she almost never remembered, acknowledged, or even spoke to me, which was very painful for me. That behavior had already started while she was still at home with us, and I think it wasn’t only because of her MS illness.
      On the positive side, a quality I associate with my mother is an emphasis on doing well in school. Long after she was gone, I rebelled against that as a teenager. Later on, however, I became a good student and finished a graduate degree. Another memory I have is having the opportunity to learn to play the violin, when I was in first grade. I felt special being among the small group of kids given the chance. I very soon found practicing the instrument to be boring and tedious. I wanted to be outside running around playing. My mother very much wanted me to learn the instrument. She was a good pianist herself, but I don’t ever remember hearing play. We had a piano which took up a lot of space in our small living room. I rebelled against learning the violin, and quickly gave it up. But that was a shame, because I’ve always loved music, maybe I got that from my mother. I’m learning now how to play the saxophone and having a lot of fun, and getting satisfaction from that.
      Phil

  47. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    JESUS H.C. SOMETHING IS HORRIBLY WRONG! I am in a good mood, for however long that lasts. either talking about my pain, but definitely it is my birth month, sagitarius, and i wish the f that that light-hearted and outgoing personality had not been tortured out of me at such an early age, and then year after year.

    • Bernadette says:

      Otto, glad to hear that you are in a good mood – enjoy!! My mom was Sagittarius; her light-hearted and outgoing personality was buried under a lot of grief and pain but occasionally came through. I’m sure it’s somewhere in you, waiting to erupt.
      I related to your lousy feelings you wrote about on the 23rd when you looked back on your life. I get that way sometimes. I’m glad you were able to write them down here, and even better, that you were able to tell b your feelings. My experience is that even though it looks all negative at times, when looking at it from a different angle, there a many positive things in it as well. Just a hint for the future, Playa del Rey is always crowded on the weekends, I usually avoid it, although during the week it’s wonderful; we bike there often.

    • David says:

      Otto, I meant to post it here but the Gremlins, repositioned it. Barry once told me when I reported feeling ok at a session, ” Don’t worry, you’ll feel bad again.” (:

  48. Margaret says:

    ha Sagittarius Otto,
    that is good to hear!
    hope it will linger the whole Sagittarius month and more, and in any case, when moments come you feel down again, you can remind yourself that will not go on forever and forever without any hope for relief.
    as Barry said, all feelings are temporary, and I say no one feels ‘happy’ all the time, making the best of things seems more within our reach, while waiting for better times.
    so often it is little things, stroking a cat, or a cat doing something that makes you smile, or some sunshine or a cup of chocolate milk, that breaks through doom and gloom and lets some light ito the dark…
    and other people we feel ok with also help, by sharing with them or by laughing together about what sucks…
    i am feeling physically better, throat not sore anymore, but now my brother has a cold, and feels ill, let’s hope he feels better by Sunday when our mom becomes 90 and we planned a nice birthday celebration with her!
    M and cats

  49. Phil says:

    Here’s a really interesting article:
    “We have known for decades that mothers’ bodies and brains are transformed by the dramatic hormonal changes of pregnancy and childbirth. Now, new research is showing that men are also biologically transformed by the experience of becoming an involved father.

    When women become mothers, levels of the hormones oestrogen, progesterone and prolactin increase throughout pregnancy. Hormones have their biological effects by binding to receptors – molecules that sense the hormonal signal – throughout the body, and they can influence behaviour through binding to receptors in the brain. Oestrogen increases the brain’s capacity to detect another major hormone, oxytocin, and the massive release of oxytocin at birth, coupled with repeated pulses of oxytocin during breastfeeding, helps mothers bond with and want to care for their infants.

    But what about fathers? How do they get prepared to parent?….”

    https://aeon.co/essays/how-raising-children-can-change-a-fathers-brain?fbclid=IwAR21sjAhhLocMsaLHUfN0T-hQvSdQFp4oeB3IHw3q7RBi7_6GN3yTJsVgjo

    • Phil says:

      There’s good news for me here since I was an involved parent. Bad news too:
      “Pups with more affectionate mothers have more oxytocin receptors. This might in fact be the mechanism for the transmission of parental caregiving styles from one generation to the next.” I think I missed out on this.
      Phil

    • Vicki says:

      Phil, I really found that interesting, I was in a hurry earlier, and want to read it again. Clearly that played a part in my life.

    • Bernadette says:

      Phil, good article.
      I suspect that my father must have activated his anterior cingulate to the max when listening to my crying, hence his negative emotional response to me. Reading that this ‘empathic overarousal’ indicates that my crying must have stressed him out and in turn interfered with his motivation and ability to deliver compassionate care, almost makes me feel guilty and almost makes me feel sorry for him. Maybe there is an optimal state of arousal and degree of empathy in some fathers, but in the case of mine, the pendulum definitely swung more to the side of overarousal and personal distress.
      In the last paragraph, the author writes: “Our prefrontal cortex (“larger than expected for our brain size”) is what allows us to override ancient, evolved impulses in the service of honouring commitments, abiding by social norms, and exercising our moral responsibilities.” I wonder whether there is a study that shows a smaller prefrontal cortex in men who frequently step over the boundaries of social norms and moral responsibilities, such as testosterone driven rape and child sexual abuse. I just wonder.
      Thanks for an interesting read.

  50. OK Bernadette, I just now sent you the mail I promised to re-send. I forwarded the old mail I sent from November 1st. I said I would alert you when I sent this new mail so you can check your spam folder. You might want to set my email as an ‘allowed address’ (whitelist) to avoid further mishaps.

    I will tackle Renee’s questions soon enough, though I must admit I thought I had made myself reasonably clear on the topic and I know almost nothing about the Rick story…so all that remain are suppositions on my part which could be wildly inaccurate.

    Vicki seemed to cover much more hard-hitting and pertinent ground than I could, but I will still entertain Renee’s questions as soon as I can if it’s still necessary.

  51. Renee says:

    Vicki, I don’t think it benefits us women to use a phrase like “taking improper liberties”, which minimizes the crime, violence (physical and/or psychological) and trauma of sexual assault. My understanding of sexual assault is that it falls into 3 main categories: penetration crimes of a body part by another body part (i.e., penis penetration into mouth, anus, vagina) or of a body part by an object; contact with genitals, breast, butts, or other intimate body parts; exposure of genitals, breast, butts or other intimate body parts. From what you’ve described, it sounds like Yarrow’s behavior fits the exposure category.

    I brought up what happened with Rick Janov because I think it is so much easier to focus on the awful things that celebrities do, than reflect on what has happened “in our own back yard”, so to speak. I don’t think that what I shared was “glaringly sensational”, btw. I deliberately did not share the details of what I heard transpired at that time. Are you saying that the details you shared about Peter Yarrow behavior wasn’t “glaringly sensational”? If so, I would disagree. And anyway, how do you decide what is “glaringly sensational” and what is simply the brutal and cruel facts of a sexual assault? I would suggest that this happens in the minds of us beholders for our own personal reasons, which are sometimes complicated and often painful.

    As for the rest of what you say to me, I actually can’t connect with any of it. It sounds like you are angry with me and are letting me know this by trying to shame me. This makes me feel sad. I grew up with a lot of shaming. I’d like to be spoken to in a more respectful way.

  52. Vicki says:

    Renee 1) I don’t agree with your first sentence, nor the rest of the paragraph. It just seems like you’re using a broadly sensational paintbrush to bolster your judgement, which still seems to go way beyond reality in using Peter. But it’s really just to set us up for your use of Rick.

    2) I don’t believe you wrote about Rick for the reasons you are pretending. You have a secret agenda, that you haven’t the courage to expose about yourself. I don’t buy into “your story”. It does make me angry when I see you are lying about your motivations. The rest of your words are like manure you are spreading around, trying to leaven the ground, so your manipulation can gain traction and grow. And you cannot get respect with such dishonesty.

  53. Margaret says:

    I did not feel comfortable either with the story about Rick being described here in such a strongly disapproving way.
    after all, what do we really know about it, and to what point do the guidelines prevail if it is a case of a feeling of genuine true love from both sides?
    If I recall my own knowledge of what I have heard, it was thoroughly evaluated and he was put before the choice of ending his professional practice as a therapist and continue the relationship or ending the relationship and remaining a therapist.
    the love must have been deep as the first choice was been made, and in that case, if others of the team evaluate as objectively as possible and the persons involved are all capable of making a well considered personal decision, I don’t see a real problem.
    it cannot become a therapists regular attitude when such sacrifice is being demanded, as to start with, the person would not be a therapist anymore…
    and if the love is genuine, what is so bad about that?
    of course deontology is a good thing, but maybe not that good if it would be carved in stone as to reject and keep judging someone like Rick in this case, specially not by using terms as sexual assault in the process!
    I am not taking any side as I know little to nothing about the story, but well, just my common sense opinion and trust of those people’s I know common sense and sincerity in directing their staff and workplace.
    Margaret

    • Margaret, yeah your thoughts are similar to my own given we are both ‘limited knowledge’ people to to this story. I felt certain there was a ‘slippery slope’ from a strict client/therapist relationship, a rapport was built, one thing led to another, and a budding relationship ensued. The imagery that Renee originally put forth made it almost seem as though Rick walked into a room with a client, closed the door, assaulted the client, and walked back out without any consensual intermediary steps along the way.

  54. Daniel says:

    At the end of my residency the case I presented at my Licensing Examination was of a young woman who lost her father at a very young age. In fact, she had no recollection of him. At the time I wasn’t in a relationship but craved one. The patient was bright, insightful, open and good looking and at one point during her treatment I became infatuated with her. I was so alarmed by those emerging feelings in myself that I immediately told some of my colleagues, hoping the disclosure would protect me from any chance of acting upon my feelings. On the other hand, my supervisor at the time, with whom I also confided, half-jokingly said to me that perhaps I should peruse a relationship with this woman. After all, he said, true love is more important and therapy can be sought elsewhere.

    Within a week or so my infatuation subsided and then vanished. I became very interested in what happened to me and how it was related to the patient’s dynamics. Gradually, I came to better understand the meaning of this infatuation. As Freud alerted us in one of his most famous papers,

    “[The therapist] must recognize that the patient’s falling in love is induced by the analytic situation and is not to be attributed to the charms of his own person; so that he has no grounds whatever for being proud of such a ‘conquest’, as it would be called outside analysis. And it is always well to be reminded of this”.

    In that paper Freud discusses love in the therapeutic setting, goes over the options available for action and concludes that, 1) the therapist must never succumb to temptations of any kind; 2) the patient should remain in treatment; and 3) love in the therapeutic setting is to be therapeutically investigated. It is in that paper that he recommends therapists work in “abstinence” – a term that was first worshiped and nowadays is rather maligned.

    About 10% of mental health practitioners admit to having had inappropriate relationships with patients. These relationships are hardly ever straightforward, have many motivations and many outcomes, and are now universally forbidden ethically and at many countries also legally. Usually, a length of time must pass before a therapist is permitted to pursue a non-professional relationship with a former patient. Other professions (MD’s, physical therapists, etc.) also have similar occurrences. Putting aside sociopaths who are repeat offenders, my experience is that it has to do with unresolved narcissistic issues where love is felt to be ideal and panacean to the point of promising restoration of a much-needed harmony to one’s life.

    Had I embarked on a relationship with my patient back then, I have no doubt that after a while a breakup would follow and both her and I would find ourselves miserable over it. On the other hand, I do know of a couple who met in the consulting room and are still married some 20 years later. For me, that one incident was the strongest infatuation I ever felt in my career as a therapist. It was frightening at the time but I learned a lot from it, about both myself and my patient.

    By the way, Margaret’s point about real vs. non-real love is interesting and deserves a discussion.

  55. Daniel, Interesting post, you are brave to discuss those feelings. It’s not that the therapist is “ bad” for having those feelings or any feelings but rather that they feel open to exploring them with the hope of insight and resolution. The supervisors job must be first to put the patients best interest ahead of everything else but also to create an open non shaming atmosphere for the therapist to reveal what it is they are feeling. Posting a big red A on anyone’s shoulder only creates an atmosphere of concealment. Sometimes the counter transference that the therapist reveals can lead to a better understanding of the patient as well. In your case I’m glad you could work through those feelings for both the sake of yourself and the patient. Partly it is a reminder that being a therapist and being a supervisor isn’t for everyone. Gretchen

  56. Margaret says:

    my brother and me were preparing to celebrate my mom\s 90th birthday together with her on sunday.
    we even had the green light from the nursing home to share a meal with her at lunchtime.
    he already let me know he seemed to have a cold, right after mine got better last weekend.
    today he texted me he feels worse and canceled his visit for sunday.
    i managed to get the ok from the nursing home to bring my sister instead, and called my brother to ask him if it was ok for him, as the rules say she is now a covisitor for 2 weeks in a row and then he can take over again, as not to mix too many different visitors .
    instead of texting I called him, and was shocked at the sound of his voice, so coarse, so different…
    I asked him how he was doing and if he considered a Corona test, and he replied he felt bad, and that he felt like it was Corona. he would call his doctor and try to go for a test the next day, when he would hopefully feel a bit better…
    of course I wished him all the best and so, but it really hit me, the fear of what might happen, the fear of how fast these things can turn really bad…
    I am glad I called him and we talked about it briefly at least, instead of texting.
    but I feel so very worried and scared!!!
    i hate people that minimize Corona still, it feels so insensitive and crazy…
    my brother is 66, has a great technical and security job thanks to his continued self study and classes, and still some people suggest he should just have stayed home, you know, ‘elderly’, the only ones at risk in their crazy view, ha, makes me so angry and frustrated.
    anyone can get it, with a bit of bad luck, and also young people and kids can die of it, with just a minor genetic difference in their genes, or some hidden underlying latent affliction.
    ok, sorry, just so scared and frustrated as I said,
    Margaret

    • Bernadette says:

      Margaret, that is really scary especially because of his age group! Your brother should go to urgent care as soon as possible and request Remdesivir for treatment, if he has Covid, and even if he has to be hospitalized to receive it. It is supposed to shorten recovery time for Covid patients with lower respiratory tract infection. I hope he doesn’t have Covid, though, but only a flu, and in any case, I wish him a speedy recovery! It must be so scary for you both right now. I find it frustrating too that so many people still deny the pandemic and behave like nothing is wrong, this while thousands die from it. I keep my fingers crossed for you! Hang in there!

  57. Phil says:

    Margaret,
    I hope your brother is OK, and doesn’t have Covid.
    I agree with you, young people do get Covid, can die, or have their bodies badly damaged. They do have a lower risk, but it doesn’t seem possible to segregate the population so that young people don’t come in to contact with older and vulnerable people. That hasn’t worked, as far as I know. Ideally everyone would be careful and take precautions, but that isn’t really happening.
    We canceled our usual very large Thanksgiving gathering, to instead have only our two sons here. We did have a big Zoom meeting, but that’s not the same. Things aren’t going back to normal anytime soon, I’m afraid. Even with vaccines coming out soon.
    Phil

  58. Bernadette says:

    I was going to avoid this conversation, first, because I didn’t want to get into a struggle about what’s right or wrong, and second, because it brought up some real panic in me. It should be, and I want it to be a black and white issue, a simple solution, right or wrong – but maybe because the panic in me is unbearable, I want a quick fix. A part of me knows that there is no simple solution, the lines are blurred, and the situation is complicated. Feelings are complicated.
    I am not writing any of this to accuse anybody, or point fingers at, or pass any judgements. I am writing this in the hope to gain some clarity for myself and hopefully resolve some old stuff. Here is my baseline: Is it ethically and/or morally wrong for a therapist to pursue a relationship with a patient? Yes. There are clear guidelines. Is it a crime? No. Feeling wise, it doesn’t sit right with me.
    As a survivor of child sexual abuse, I am hypersensitive to incidents of “lines crossed” when I see it. I didn’t know Rick personally, nor the patient. I only knew them from the post-groups, and Rick at the reception at times. I didn’t pay any particular attention to either of them. However, at the institute I observed two incidents between Rick and the patient that clearly activated that “lines crossed” sixth sense in me. This was a few weeks before their relationship became public. I reported it both times (to two different therapists) and both times, I was brushed off and denied my reality – “it’s your feeling” type of thing.
    I am in no way suggesting that Rick’s patient had a similar history to mine, or had similar issues to deal with, I do not know. I am only describing what I would expect from a therapist in such a case as mine:
    As a result of my incidents of sexual abuse by different men in childhood and teenage years, my act outs as a young woman were promiscuity and unconscious flirting behavior with any man in a power position that I came in contact with – teacher, professor, doctor, chiropractor, supervisor, someone’s boyfriend or husband, therapist, etc. It was an automatic response and I was not aware of it.
    As a patient, I expect the therapist to catch this flirting and make me aware of it, not fall for it. I ask myself, How can a therapist who is professionally trained and knows that it is ethically wrong to pursue a relationship with a patient, let himself get carried away with his emotions. It is pretty clear to me that a young woman entrusting herself to a male therapist, would automatically subconsciously try to recreate a messed-up relationship from the past. Isn’t that called transference? Shouldn’t a therapist be aware of this and instantly counteract it? Wouldn’t a therapist avoid under all circumstances an emotional response? I know we can’t always control our emotions, but I expect a therapist to either work out his counter transference feelings, or withdraw from treating this patient. And I also would expect, that if the therapist cannot make such a decision, that his supervisor steps in and stops the insanity. This is where I stand at the moment. I might evolve as I go forward and explore my feelings about it.
    Can someone give me a definition of “genuine love”? Is it genuine love, if the relationship ends after a few years? If one party opens a law suit against the other party? Wouldn’t “genuine love” give it all to work through relationship issues? And if and when the relationship ends, at least find an amicable solution? Is a nasty breakup an indication that there were other feelings involved, such as “need” or “ownership” or “conquest” or a sense of “I have to be in a relationship with this patient in order to help her, because if I can show her how it’s really done, she can finally heal and recover from her trauma”? – none of these fit into the definition of genuine love, should there be one. Is there really such a thing as “genuine love” anyway? Especially between two people who deal with personal, unresolved trauma? From my own experience, being in a long term relationship, both of us in therapy and both severely traumatized, the fact that we are still together is mostly not dependent on how I feel about him, but how I feel about myself.
    Again, I don’t mean any judgment here. I am posing these questions in an attempt to explore my thoughts and feelings. And to hear anybody’s take on it, if possible.
    My panic level is hitting the roof as I am posting this.

    • Larry says:

      I’m wondering why your panic level is hitting the roof in regards to your post, Bernadette. The sense of urgency that you convey in hoping for a response or discussion of the questions you ask draws me into a reply. In my opinion and limited life experience there is such a thing as genuine love, in the sense of feeling deeply for the loved one and wanting to give attention to their needs being met almost as much as to your own.

      I’ve only heard some rumors; I don’t know any of the truth surrounding the details of the relationship you mention between Rick and his client. Since I don’t know what the truth is, I don’t make any judgement about it. However, I think that if I was a therapist falling in love with my client, I would remove myself from treating that client in order to pursue the romantic relationship. It seems to me that if the romantic relationship is to be a healthy one, neither party would be consciously doing therapy on the other. The former client would have to get therapy from someone else, not from the former therapist now lover. But it’s easy for me to imagine how I should behave as a therapist in such a scenario. How I would actually behave is thus far and likely forever unkown.

    • Phil says:

      Bernadette,
      I think you’re right on what you say here. It’s highly unethical for a therapist to be acting on those kinds of feelings towards a patient, and I think that’s true whether it’s genuine love or not.
      I guess that’s why nowadays there are regulations and laws against this type of abusive behavior. Not only is it unethical, but how successful could therapy be under those conditions? In the case of primal, a lot of money is spent, and commitment made to getting well.

      Phil

    • Vicki says:

      Bernadette, I am glad you wrote this — some detailed and good questions to think about. And the “reality” of the “love” is bound to involve any unresolved feelings in both people — so perhaps there is a spectrum, for all relationships, of any type. With any therapist, if I had doubts about their clarity and felt some distrust, I would have to discuss that with them, before I could be willing to risk my trust with them. This is not always easy, and may require some involvement, to even work it out.

      I have worked with a few therapists where I immediately had doubts about their integrity or experience, but I agreed to work with them on someone’s recommendation, to try and see. It did not go badly for me, I benefitted therapeutically, and sometimes I was able to respond & confront when I felt it went wrong, or inappropriately, and we worked it out. Early in therapy, it was much harder for me to feel clear about what was going on, as I was so unclear about my own old feelings and connections to the present. But that has become easier with time and my own progress — some of those mistakes I would likely handle differently now. For all my therapy, I have had many feelings come up about things that have happened in therapy, and that has helped my progress immensely — I think we all go through that, to varying degrees.

      Among those incidents, there was one therapist where I immediately had a hunch of doubts about her integrity, yet I still benefitted from working with her — but eventually found out my suspicion was correct, as she did some thoroughly unethical things, to me and others, which I confronted forcefully and directly, only to catch her being dishonest, even lying, about what she had done. She soon left the Institute, and years later, when I ran into her outside, she was still inappropriate with me, which showed me she never did get the point that what she did was unethical & dishonest. I think her own unresolved neediness has blinded her to her self-serving actions. This is not something I expected to be true, when I started therapy, but I am glad I learned that lesson.

    • David says:

      I recall Barry saying to me when I reported a , ” feeling good,” moment; “Don’t worry you’ll feel bad again.”

    • David says:

      Not meaning to sound juvenile, nor condescending, but, of course there is agapy, parental,.. etc; in addition to romantic love. Call it kind personal regared, or whatever, but I would hope we care for those we serve. For me, had I ever engaged in romantic thought and behaviour with a client or patient, it would have been tantamount to incest and or predation. I addressed it with a thank you that I’m deemed worthy of such feelings, but I’m not in love with you and that will never happen. I didn’t offer an opinion on the etiology of the stated feelings, nor judgement.
      It was of interest that sexual abuse victims, confining this only to my experience, would request and investigator, and therapist, of the same sex as their offender. I am familiar with, ” why,” but will offer only it might be powerfully rebuilding to discover a healthy caring relationship with that gender.
      I knew of and reported psychiatrists who crossed that line both factually and in uttering sick dialogue after interviewing victims.
      I admire your courage in sharing.

  59. Happy Thanksgiving ! 🦃 An odd Thanksgiving to be sure but still much to be thankful for. Gretch and Barry p.s. Bernadette, I have loved your recent posts. Very courageous to be so open while feeling so vulnerable! G.

    • David says:

      Canadian Thanksgiving long past, by a month. Tofu, beans and rice..
      I feel envious that Bernaette is earning your accolades, Gretchen.
      I sat at this computer one night, after, rifle unlocked and loaded, I’d had enough, resolution decided upon, an aquaintance came by, after midnight, needing a favour. Feelinglessness Interrupted, I later turned to this community, (and more than once.) Perhaps the internet goblin gobbled it up, my agony… no response. I assume it was deemed unworthy, I didn’t qualify, I don’t belong to the club; and, of course, reality, no P patient on the blog knows me. And I have been an irritant at times. My lifelong feelings of worthlessness, hoplessness, imposter, are fed, and, I know, they can only be fed if they are already there. I recall thinking that amazingly brilliant thought, that attitude, when it was about, my clients/patients very early in my career, and thankfully dumped. But it’s not even the equivalent of a sugar pill to hear it, and not the only way, nor, IMHO, the most effective help for that to be the only tool in responders’ tool kit.
      Feeling slightly queasy in my stomach for my admission, or is it fear of further reinforcement… Whatever I’m in a manageable place today. Best thoughts to all.
      David H

  60. Jo says:

    Happy 🦃 Thanksgiving

    • Vicki says:

      Happy Thanksgiving, Jo. Did you have turkey for your Thanksgiving, yesterday?

      • Jo says:

        Thanks Vicki. I dont celebrate Thanksgiving here in the UK, but I’m always aware of the day, and my N.American residential friends’ tradition of the family/friends gathering for the big meal, (except this year is a little different, as Gretchen says). How was it for you?

        • Vicki says:

          Oh, that’s right, I forgot no “Thanksgiving”! I was fasting most of the day, but suddenly remembered I had bought some sliced turkey the week before, and forgot to eat it. I checked it was still good, and also re-heated some veggies, so it was good. But no pie, as I made sure I didn’t buy any “suicide food”. Otherwise, taking care to “stay safe”, since over half of those infected are apparently completely asymptomatic — not helpful!

  61. Bernadette, I hate to use the words right and wrong in general but since I have no other language to use I would go as far as to say it’s always wrong. For all the reasons mentioned it is wrong for the patient but also wrong for the therapist. I do know of one circumstance outside of the Institute where the couple married and are still together but still I think it’s a mistake. I do understand that those kind of feelings can come up but it’s incumbent upon the therapist to do everything possible to deal with their feelings. When you work with other therapists you can’t necessarily control anyone else’s choices but you can create an atmosphere without judgement or shaming or accusation ( or unnecessary gossip) that allows for all feelings to be discussed. It is really the only hope of working through the issues that come up for any therapist. If someone came to me today and said they were having feelings about a client would I tell them to leave the building and never come back ? Absolutely not. I would suggest they let me try to help them work through what was really going on and I would suggest they no longer work with that client. I might suggest they take a break from doing therapy at all for some time. Of course there are a million scenarios each to be treated differently. For instance we are discussing someone who reveal their feelings to a supervisor and nothing has actually happened as in the case with Rick vs someone who is seeing a client and already started an affair. That would be a whole different story of course. Anyway I’m glad you asked the question Bernadette but I have to give a nod to Vicki here and question why this issue that happened many, many years ago was brought up in the first place. I don’t think it was for purposes of intellectual discussion lol! I will leave it at that . Gretch p.s. I do think all this applies to teachers and many other professions as well.

    • Gretchen, yeah I am still wondering why Renee brought up this issue to begin with. Not that it hasn’t been fodder for valuable discussion all it’s own, but as Vicki pointed out earlier the entire discussion might be resting on a deceptive premise.
      Renee bringing up the Rick Janov topic reminds me of how I was at a retreat at Casa de Maria and Vivian was there (around the year 2000, I think). Vivian made it a point to pay extra attention to me in group, when I didn’t want that attention. As a diversionary tactic I brought up circumcision because I knew at the time it would be a hot-button issue for some guys and my raising the topic would subversively help enlist a few guys in group to force Vivian’s attention off of me right away. Sure enough, when I asked Vivian what she thought of circumcision, she said it’s standard procedure…which immediately enraged several men in group and she had to focus on that, taking her attention completely away from me for the rest of the entire day. I had achieved my objective through deceptive means.
      The entire circumcision topic rested on a dishonest premise, namely I simply wanted people to leave me alone in group. The topic itself had no inherent meaning for me; it was only provisionally useful for another purpose entirely.

      • Yes, I did briefly feel like an evil mastermind converting a few people into emotional chess pieces, unwittingly helping me to achieve my objective.
        Obviously, all I had to do at the time was tell Vivian I needed to be left alone and I was overloaded with too many things on my mind.
        The circumcision route was overly circuitous (pun intended).

  62. David, You are always welcome on the blog and I don’t think you have ever been an irritant. I’m not sure if you are saying you did not receive an answer to your comments or that your blog comments did not post. Sometimes it’s just a matter of no one being around at the moment we post. It’s the luck of the draw in a sense. In any case I’m glad you are here! Gretchen

  63. Bernadette says:

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I returned from a lovely bike ride along the beach with hubby and found all your posts. Awesome!
    We stopped at the Ballona Creek and I did some bird watching, while hubby sat on a bench. While watching the waterfowl through the scope, I thought about my earlier post, and I wondered: does hubby sitting on a bench patiently waiting while I watch birds count for genuine love? Smile.

    Larry: I appreciate your concern and your reply. The topic of (potential) abuse always puts me into panic, and speaking out about it reminds me that nothing that ever happened to me in the past was ever addressed, acknowledged or clarified. I never told my parents, and none of the perpetrators were ever found out or punished for what they did to me. This has left a bitter after taste, one that clouds my brain and judgement at times. Speaking out, writing about it in a clear (or confused) or critical voice brings up the panic. On top of that, I just had woken up from a terrifying nightmare where a spider in the size of a grapefruit attacked me! Yikes! It scared the hell out of me and made me realize that something more is pushing up into my consciousness. I knew then that I had to write. More to come, I’m sure. I like your definition of genuine love. You are lucky to have experienced it! And thanks for your input on the therapist/patient relationship question. Much appreciated!

    Phil, Thanks much for your clear voice. No ifs or buts, just straight forward. I wish I could think so clearly. And thank god for the clearly defined guidelines nowadays. For me, there is always a bit of a doubt because of my experiences in childhood. Are the lines always so clearly defined, or are deviations allowed. If so, how far? I am sure, as I keep feeling more of the panic, my head will become clearer.

    Vicki, I agree with your description of the “spectrum” of love in a relationship. Since we all have unresolved feelings, and we all have been conditioned to act in a certain way, it is quite difficult to pinpoint the reality of the feeling of genuine love. For example, I like Larry’s definition but instantly have questions when he says “wanting to give attention to their needs being met almost as much as to your own” – it sounds great but what if I have been conditioned to always give and look out for the other one, and because of this conditioning automatically go on meeting my partner’s needs but for other conditioned reasons don’t ever consider my own, that is not true love, and can only end in frustration. It’s complicated on a human level. Thanks for sharing your experiences with therapists at the institute. I can see how much you have grown over the years and that your voice (and head) is clear because you have put the effort into finding reality. I often think, Vicki doesn’t take any B.S. from anybody! I appreciate your clear voice.

    Gretchen, thanks for clarifying things. I wonder, if Rick did speak to a supervisor before anything happened, why could he not be stopped, or why did he not stop himself. It begs the question, when does the affair actually begin? Does it begin when an overt step is taken, or does it start much earlier, when the idea of an affair/relationship comes to mind. When did this all start in his mind? And how did things that had already happened in his mind influence him to make a step in real time? – – And I agree with you, there remains the question, why was this incident brought up on the blog in the first place, and what the motive could be.

    Guru, I was quite appalled when I first came to the U.S. and learned that circumcision is standard procedure! What? Not so in Europe, and neither should it be. I thought that circumcision was a Jewish custom, and was astonished that an entire country would give in to such a ruling. When I discussed this with another patient at a retreat, I said I think it is barbaric, and he agreed. Why a baby should be mutilated in such a way, is beyond me. I am glad that in the meantime, a mother giving birth nowadays can request beforehand that her baby boy should not be circumcised. Women fighting for their rights in terms of their bodies and abortion should also fight for the rights of their baby boys’ bodies. Thank god the percentage of circumcised baby boys has lowered over the recent years. I hope this trend will continue.

    • Bernadette, I wrote it slightly incorrectly in saying that Vivian described it as ‘standard procedure’. It was more along the lines of her saying it’s a ‘traditional briss’ in a matter-of-fact way. I knew beforehand she was going to say that and it would make a lot of guys upset.
      Anyway, I don’t want to open a can of worms over the circumcision topic as it has already been discussed extensively.
      I only told this story because it had similarities to the possibility of Rick’s story being raised with ulterior motives (as Vicki explained) with many others just taking the amorous therapist topic and letting it have a life of its own.

      • Bernadette says:

        Guru, got it! Thanks!

      • Bernadette says:

        Guru, good that you are acknowledging your deceptive diversion technique, but the question that remains is: what feelings were you avoiding when you diverted Vivian’s and the group’s attention away from you?

        • Hi Bernadette, it’s nice that you would take the time to ask me this question…but honestly I was trying to work out some E-X-T-R-A-O-R-D-I-N-A-R-I-L-Y complex problems which would have been impossible to work out in a single group session (Lisa Lewis’
          “It’s No Accident” book I talked about earlier is suggested reading here as a starting point). I now remember it was the 2002 retreat with Vivian. I absolutely had to go at the time because it was during the time the entire world was utterly subsumed in octillions of words of 9/11 coverage and I was eyeing the 130 word article about my mother’s ending, thinking, “Hey, wait a minute!! Something doesn’t fucking add up here at all !! What’s going on here?? How do I begin to work this out?”
          Anyway, I was completely on my own and overwhelmed with this emerging issue, and there was no time to begin cutting into all of it that day with 20-30 other people vying for attention. I really needed serious time and space to sort out what the fuck was going on.
          Those issues have been resolved, anyway. The answers are grim as hell, though, and I’m still out untold tens of millions of dollars or more in economic damages.
          Going back to the present moment, I am more urgently trying to deal with my anger at the predator neighbor and continue working on trying to get by in life financially.

  64. Bernadette says:

    David, thank you for your thoughts! What jumped out to me was your statement “ For me, had I ever engaged in romantic thought and behaviour with a client or patient, it would have been tantamount to incest and or predation” – it sounds right, and I can relate to it. It reminded me of the time when I was working in the international admissions office at Santa Monica College. There I had similar experiences where young male students would come on to me, flatter me, flirt with me, wanted to invite me out, even marry me…their motive unclear (maybe they were after a green card, ha!)… but I had the same reaction as yours. It would feel incestuous to start an affair with one of these young students… definitely on the unethical spectrum.
    As to your other statement, that patients would request a therapist of the same sex as their offender in order to rebuild a healthy relationship to that gender: it makes sense, but that was different for me. I wanted to work only with female therapists in the first few years, and only after having dealt with some of the trauma, I was able to trust a male therapist enough to start rebuilding a more healthy relationship with a man.

    As to your other post to Gretchen, I had a reaction. I was afraid for you when I read that you sat with “rifle unlocked and loaded“ feeling at the end of your rope, and thank god you were interrupted. I relate to your feelings of helplessness and unworthiness… please keep writing about it here. Don’t give up! I have received some tremendous feedback here and expressing my thoughts and feelings in public has helped me a lot. Like you, I’ve had some of my posts gobbled up before, disappeared, that’s why I am making a habit of writing my posts first in a word document before I copy and past them into the blog. I hope to see you here more often.

  65. Daniel says:

    I could argue how love in the therapy room is not like “ordinary” love outside it. I could also reason that they are actually the same. In my own case, it felt every bit as real as any other infatuation outside the therapy room. The patient had things I felt lacking in me. She was open where I felt introverted, vivacious where I felt listless, feeling where I felt blocked, at ease with others where I felt cumbersome and tense around others. Or so she seemed. My attraction to her offered me a direct way to get all these precious things tax free, without having to go through my difficulties and pain to obtain them from within. In other words, my love had a considerable defensive part in it, a way to circumvent primal pain.

    Of course, you could argue that this defensive aspect is often an ingredient in “ordinary” love as well. True enough. My way out of this problem, as Gretchen, Bernadette, David, Phil and others also said, is via the concept of role. As a therapist I’m in a role and a big part of that role is to help the patient deal with her defences rather than play into them. The patient’s love may seem like a move toward but very often is a move away from something. It’s not always easy to tell the difference and two consenting adults who wish to overcome the obstacles to their being together is the subject of many a tale, from the Arabian Nights down to almost any Hollywood romantic comedy. It may seem like a road to happiness, but the role, if kept, is preventing that from happening. Although my love may seem to the patient like the thing she wants, in a deeper way I would be failing her if I stepped out of my role, which is, it should never be forgotten, what she came and paid for in the first place.

    Gretchen made an important point. Non-judgemental openness helps people be.. well… human.. with all their complexities, anxieties, self-judgements, loves and hatreds. She also hinted that therapy is a risk. Whenever two people meet nobody knows in advance how it is going to transpire, what will they say to one another or feel toward each other. It is a risk also because it can be a waste of time and money. I think it’s safe to say that all present believe this is one risk worth taking.

    Finally, I think Bernadette brings up an adjacent subject: how is it that we get attracted to something which is not “good” for us? Or, why is it that out sexual objects are at times different from the objects we like, that we feel kindness towards? What is it about desiring and consummating our desire that seem to have rules of their own, at times quite apart from our stated wishes, what we would like to have for ourselves? In other words, how is it that our appetites and fellow feelings become incompatible? How come we may find ourselves working for our sexuality rather than our sexuality working for us?

  66. Bernadette says:

    Phil, clearly, every relationship is different, and I get it that you don’t want to or can’t share your deepest feelings with your wife. It makes a big difference too, when both are in therapy, it is more natural to talk about feelings. That said, it is not at all easier for me to reveal some of my deepest feelings to my husband, especially when it is in regards to a problem in the relationship. (BTW, as a side note: I don’t think the problem is actually “in the relationship” but in me. I have to address the feelings that bother me, and I still need help with it). I think it’s a good thing starting a relationship based on good times and enjoying each others’ company. It’s a good base line to fall back to. In my case, I sometimes think we chose each other because of similar pain and that’s not always easy to deal with. When you said, your feelings are “too negative and painful” and you don’t expect anybody to relate to them, I just wanted to say, that’s an old feeling in itself. I believe that you deserve being heard and listened to and those are the very feelings that bring the most relief and insights once you can address them, with a therapist (or on the blog).
    Thanks for sharing your history with your mother. It sounds heartbreaking. It must have been devastating for you as a little boy, not being spoken to and then losing her at such a young age. I can see the little boy visiting mom at the nursing home and being totally ignored and overlooked. How hurt and forlorn you must have felt. I would imagine there is some deep seated pain.
    I was excited to read that you are learning to play the saxophone and that you have music in your veins! That is real inspiration! And I think you are right, you got that talent from your mother; it’s something to honor and hold on to. Do you take lessons, or are you learning on your own? I have learned to play a few instruments but never stuck with any of them, which I often regret now. Keep writing! I like reading your posts.

    • Phil says:

      Bernadette,
      I’m impressed how you take the time to give everyone on the blog good responses. I appreciate what you said here. I think you don’t always have to respond, after a while it could get to be too much.
      You’re lucky your husband is in therapy. So you both should be willing to look closely at what’s going on between you. I’m sure we are in our current relationships because they perpetuate some patterns from the past. Do you recognise old patterns in your marriage relationship?
      In my family we covered things over and didn’t talk about them,even if they were huge. Nobody wanted to know about my negative and painful feelings. So, that I don’t expect that now I agree is an old feeling.
      I have a music teacher for the saxophone, and that’s helping a lot. It also brings up feelings, because I have to often feel how unskilled and inept I am with the instrument.
      That is a familiar barrier for me, because those type situations can be triggering. I guess i’d like to already be a good musician not needing help from anyone. I think asking for help as a child was humiliating for me and became impossible. But I think I’m making good progress with the sax.
      Phil

      • Bernadette says:

        Phil, I like blogging at the moment, and responding to the different posts gives me an opportunity to explore my thoughts and feelings. However, if at any point my replies get too much for you, just stop writing back 🙂 That said, I enjoy reading your posts.
        As long as we are not completely healthy and sane, I think we choose our partners, mostly on a subconscious level, because something in us wants to work out old, unhealthy patterns and pains; we strive to be whole. I also think that we can’t help but recreate our old patterns with the partner we choose. It’s inevitable as long as we have not worked out all the pain.
        Do I recognize old patterns in my marriage relationship? Most definitely! I sometimes think I married my father, although at first sight they are very different people. And yet, the old patterns surface almost daily. All the feelings I wrote about here that I had about my father as a child, sometimes resurface with my husband. The need to take care of him, the being scared of his angry reactions, the not being noticed, and more. Not only that, I have noticed relationship patterns between us that I observed between my mother and father. Which points to learned behavior, IMO. After many years working on my old feelings, I also learned to interpret certain of his behaviors in different ways. For example, I used to think he is controlling when he cleaned up after me, when now I think it’s his OCD tendencies, or he has an urgent need to make himself useful, or I accept that he needs things to be sterile while I am fine with sparkling clean. 🙂 In other words, it all depends on my reaction now. And my reaction depends on whether or not I have worked out my old feelings.
        Today was a tough day for me; I constantly felt criticized by him, leaving me with the feeling that I can’t do anything right. If I analyze the situation from a distance, I notice that he is on edge, from God knows what, and needs to act it out on me, and I am already vulnerable because of the issues I have written about on the blog, and therefore more susceptible to his criticism. So, what is the seasoned primal patient to do? Just let it be. Because tomorrow will be different again. And some insights will come. I also have to stress that we have to be careful not to “make” our partner into the parent by comparing them constantly; they are entirely different people and we can choose to have an entirely different relationship with them than with the parent. But that goes without saying…
        Bravo on you sax practice! I totally understand that it brings up old feelings, especially when you need to ask for help. Nobody wanted to hear you or listen to you in the past, I assume that’s why you felt it was humiliating to ask for help, so now it would bring up that pain when you ask for help. Makes sense. Keep going!

  67. Vicki says:

    I’m going a bit out on a limb here, with some feelings that seem complex to me, not completely clear, and not sure I’m being perfectly consistent. C’est la vie.

    A couple of nights ago, I woke in the early morning, and was thinking about what I wrote in response to Renee’s first post about Peter of PP&M, & Rick. And in wondering what’s going on with Renee, and the anger behind it, that seems so plainly obvious — it reminded me of a long ago time in my therapy, when several times, I was angry enough to consider leaving therapy, with feelings of betrayal, unfairness, distrust, and manipulation fueling my anger and intertwining it with paranoia, and making me wonder and imagine that maybe I was right, no one cared, and maybe I should leave, with a ‘fuck-off’ attitude, and hopelessness.

    Sometimes I went in and out of such feelings for weeks, trying to sort through and feel my anger, usually with not even enough trust to talk about my suspicions, afraid of being ‘stomped on’, ‘dismissed’, or ‘ridiculed’ for voicing such feelings, that felt aberrant, mean, vicious, or snotty. What also made it nearly impossible for me to express them, was the fact that I also knew I was “in old feelings”, as unclear as whatever they were. So even though I felt some of my anger was justifiable, I still thought I was likely so full of shit that it would be easy for someone to flay me alive verbally, and leave me pinned to the wall, gasping, wounded and bleeding. Those were my emotional expectations, for baring my personal torment.

    Sometimes I have talked about the feelings, in part, or tried to approach them, with varying results — depending on how pressing my torment was or how close acting-on-it seemed. If I have to put words to what I’m feeling then, it’s usually ‘disconnected’, ‘alienated’, ‘no one cares about me’. Some of my sessions and groups have partly echoed what I have seen happen with Renee (and others) in groups, so those incidents have seemed familiar to me. When that happens to me, I am left in such distress, not knowing what the fuck is going-on, and I can only cry or rant about how awful I feel, and hope it will ‘go away’ and sooner or later, it does.

    Over my years of feelings, these ‘unacceptable’ feelings have mostly subsided, or I have gotten more experienced at hiding them from myself (or some of both). I don’t feel driven to resurrect them, but I don’t assume they are really all resolved, and so they may come back to haunt me, I don’t know. All it takes is a flare-up of mistrust.

    That’s as close as I can get to imagining what Renee might go through, each time she has screwed herself up to leave a therapist.

    • Bernadette says:

      Vicki, good work and great post! I have been in similar situations at the Institute where I felt betrayed, not heard, lied to, etc., with resulting feelings of anger and mistrust, and stayed away for weeks or months because of it. I still think all my feelings were justified, but I also know in the meantime that there are ways to deal with these feelings, and more often than not, there is an old feeling component with it. I used to think that I can’t or are not allowed to express anger and frustration towards the therapist, an old feeling for me, as I was not allowed to talk back as a child, and being angry would have only resulted in more punishment. But I have learned in the meantime that the therapists are willing and able to hear my mistrust and anger towards them and deal with it and help me resolve the feelings. You have heard me in small group.

      That said, there is a difference between expressing anger and “dumping”! I cannot expect my therapist to have a favorable and understanding reaction and wanting to help me, if I dump my anger on them. I have to take responsibility for my anger, and verbalize it, make it clear, and acknowledge that there is potentially or most likely an old unresolved feeling behind it. Even if there is a percentage of truth in the real world (which there always is, for every feeling), the trick is to leave that aside in order to be able to deal with my own old feeling.

      The word “collaboration” comes to mind; dealing with it together rather than going against. My question to myself at that point is, Am I here to deal with my old shit, or am I here to prove that I am right and he/she is wrong. Of course, if I am not inclined to take responsibility for my own anger and the pain that is causing it on an old feeling level, then it is easier to dump all that anger on the therapist.

      Also I think that therapists are not perfect human beings, they too have their blind spots and unresolved issues, no matter how much they say they don’t! It is not up to me to make them see that or deal with their own stuff. I am only here to do my therapy. I don’t believe any of the therapists I worked with were deliberately deceptive or deceitful, or they had a good reason to hide the truth, like when the therapists denied the Rick-thing that I brought up to them. One of those therapists later apologized to me after the affair came out.

  68. Bernadette says:

    Another confession: I was lying in bed in the early morning hours contemplating about how to respond to Daniel’s interesting and thought-provoking post, I marveled at how complicated and opaque human relationships can be, how little we really know about our true motivations, and how much we fall prey to our subconscious mind, needs, and fears at times. I had some good ideas as to respond, but what made me jump out of the bed and start writing, were these sudden insights:

    When Larry asked me “why my panic level was hitting the roof” (in connection with the post about Rick) and I said that talking about potential abuse always makes me panic – well that’s true, and everything I subsequently wrote about my experiences and resulting confusion is true, but I know now, it’s only half the truth. I kind of “knew” when I responded to Larry that it was not the entire truth, but as tricky as my confused mind gets sometimes, I thought I would get away with it. Not anymore!

    I wrote about a dream I had during that time, in which a huge spider attacked me, stay with me, it is significant: Spiders in dreams are a symbol for deception and manipulation. When I tried to interpret my dream and find out who the spider could be representing, turning it one way and the other, I came to the conclusion that the spider was me, and I was deceiving myself.

    When I said “I was going to avoid this conversation” and wrote about the Rick issue – well that’s true, too, but what I really was avoiding was getting into a struggle with Renee about what is right or wrong. I was afraid to address Renee directly, speak my truth, for personal reasons, as we have a history off-blog that I didn’t want to dredge up, and I was afraid that Renee would attack me, retaliate, try to twist my brain, or what have you. I also wanted to keep my promise to Renee not to divulge things she has told me in confidence; although we are not friends anymore, I still want to keep that promise. So, while everything I have written about the Rick issue was valuable for me to work through and was my honest take, what I also needed to say is this:

    “Renee, honestly, this is really fucked up. I don’t know why you bring up Rick at this point. My spontaneous thought: you are trying to retaliate against something or someone at the Institute. Your “innocent” inquiry is in truth a fishing expedition for more “dirt” that you can use against the Institute, maybe to destroy its credibility. Or it might be even more personal, against Gretchen. You might also be looking for allies to back you up on this vicious attack. That’s just my instincts telling me. Also, there is no comparison between Yarrow and Rick. Yarrow abused a minor while Rick got involved with a consenting adult. The first is punishable by law, while the other is unethical but does not call for a prison sentence, as you suggest. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t condone Rick’s actions, I also think it’s highly questionable and unethical. That aside, I can’t help but think that you have something else in mind here. Your anger and bitterness are shining through loud and clear. Your disguised attack is really quite transparent. It would be more honest and helpful to you to address your feelings instead of attacking. What is really concerning here, is your motive, especially if you are not consciously aware of it.”

    I know this is way after the fact, and a bit too little too late, but in an attempt to stay honest with myself, and as a commitment to my mental health development and my own sanity, I am going ahead and post it anyway. And fuck the panic!

    Maybe the spider in my dream was you, Renee. It was quite pretty and shiny and could have been interpreted as an innocent toy at first sight, but like you wrapping your post about Rick in an “innocent” shroud of curiosity or attempt to initiate an intellectual conversation, in truth you have an ulterior motive. So the anchor that the spider in my dream threw out on its silvery shiny tether and that imbedded in my thigh, well, I am severing it as of now. I am not getting hooked and reeled in anymore. More power to me!

    And to Vicki: thank you for your steadfast voice, your courage to speak the truth, and taking no B.S. from anybody.

    I still want to reply to Daniel’s post, and I will get to that later.

    • I wonder if Rick happens to be reading this blog, and what might he be thinking about all these people talking about him?
      He’s either:
      a) Not reading the blog and not giving a damn what we think
      b) Reading the blog and laughing his ass off at all the crazy people chatting about him
      c) Reading the blog and practicing EXTREME self-discipline in not saying this might be upsetting for him to read, straining against massive temptation to reveal his thoughts/feelings here.

      Impossible for me to tell, and there may be other possibilities.

  69. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    Bernadette, thanks for the kind words you said previously. Anyway, when we were kids, my older brother and i were (at least one time) in this crawl space under our house in hollywood. For some reason, whether to fuck with me, scare me, or maybe he thought he was joking, he was talking about black widow spiders, which he alleged were hiding from us only feet away. I am only writing this because you mentioned spiders above and it reminded me of my brother and the black widow episode. I am not trying to distract or shift focus away from your current feeling/topic as if I was a mini-trump; but your spider-mention just reminded me of my own experience. I have nothing better to do than write something on this wonderful Sagittarius Saturday, since my gardener made a surprise visit to our backyard to finely trim a tree, I guess because he had nothing else to do. So I could not go out there to clean up, especially since he and his latinx family do not wear covid masks, and so his droplets were verily contaminating my air out there. I could not clean up the kitchen or bathroom or anything else in the house, since b was watching tv, as she stated, she had nothing else to do or maybe she did not want to do a damn thing at all. If I try to clean when she is not confined to her office or bedroom, it irritates the hell out of me, because I will be washing dishes or whatever and she will be wherever I am and trap me and trip all over me. Whatever old and enduring pain that that is about, who knows…whatever… I was talking about frigging black widow spiders. Those black widow spiders haunted me for a good amount of time. My bedroom was directly over the crawl space, and I would cower under my covers every night, my body and my face tightly wrapped, sweating in fear, trying to fall asleep. I knew that the black widows were coming for me, my brother had told me so. I was sleeping in that room by myself, since my asshole brother had gotten me kicked out of the bedroom which we had shared together for a long time. He and I were playing in there, making noise as we lay in bed, late into the night, which kept my grandmother from falling asleep in the spider room that was soon to be MY room. She got up very early to go to work every day, and she got pissed, and so new sleeping arrangements happened. Like shit does. Anyway, that is just the tip of the iceberg. My brother got us kicked out of Hollywood by his pranky nature. He was also a Sagittarius, but he used his sagittariusness with an assholish bent. My somewhat-loving aunt and uncle lived next door, and I was comfortable there. In Hollywood, I had grown out of the horror years of my very early life, from 10 months old through 5 years old, in which my mom died and I lived with terrorist uncle albie for 8 months while mom was slowly dying, not to mention more early years after that, when my grandmother took me and my brother back from our respective foster-uncles. Any memories that I should have of that time of my life are pretty much non-existent, although if I write enough maybe they will surface. I have no memory of year 2 through 5. Anyway, my brother got caught with matches at school in hollywood, causing my grandmother to think my wonderful uncle ernie was a bad influence, since ernie was a smoker and my brother spent a good deal of time with him and had the matches allegedly to light ernie’s cigarettes, because uncle ernie had damaged his own hand too much to light his cigarettes himself. And so my grandmother ripped us away from the safety of aunt elsie and uncle ernie and my 3rd grade girlfriend and moved us boys to long beach, where I was left alone a lot (nothing much new for me) , while my brother was free to go out with his friends and hone his brand of stupid carelessness and cruelty. Anyway, the tip of the iceberg. I have to call him now to wish him a happy birthday and I hate talking to him. One day or another, one of us will get the phone call telling one of us that our brother is dead. My dog is dead, but my memory of her is fading, although the hole in my heart remains big.

  70. Sylvia says:

    I was just listening to some music on my computer; Gordon Lightfoot’s “If you could read my mind” , and “Puff the Magic Dragon,” by PP&M. Listening to Peter Yarrow’s sweet voice, he seems like such a gentle man. I have watched the online documentary of PP&M and seeing Yarrow’s kids talk about him with affection and how protective they seemed swimming with him in nature at a spring, and somewhat acknowledging a weakness in him. You wonder what in is background made him act out and jeopardize his career by his uninvited advances to a teenage girl. I have a feeling primal therapy could uncover what pains drove this. I recall in Art Janov’s writings of a football player he had treated who would flash women, risking his career driven by his compulsion. Anyway, I was just thinking about it all.
    S

    • Vicki says:

      Sylvia, I remember Yarrow was also an alcoholic in a recovery program, so perhaps when he went to answer his hotel door and was naked, he was drunk or on the way — I’ll bet that kind of stupidity is common. But if he was “tightly wound up” with over-control, the booze would have allowed him to relax his controls — unfortunately in his case. Still doesn’t quite answer your question. I mean, there was a dynamic — how did the girls react on seeing him naked, and how did he interpret their reaction, or react to it, and how much did that factor into his “taking liberties”? Or did he have specific old trauma making him want to “flash” or somehow feel better about himself, in that self-destructive way? A lot of possibilities.

      • Sylvia says:

        Yes, Vicki, you are right, if he had alcohol problems, that means there was pain there, somewhere. Who knows what was going on, maybe being away from home and lonely, or his wife giving him a bad time, and like you say, with his guard down and uninhibited he forced his attentions where they weren’t wanted–only conjecture is all we have. but a sad thing all around because he hurt someone else besides himself.

        • Vicki says:

          Yes, Sylvia, he did. And I still have a hard time imagining how he could have been rational at all, to think he could “force his attentions” on a 14-yr.old right girl, right in front of her 17-yr.old sister witnessing! I would have thought he would try and be secretive, to avoid any problems. That’s why I keep thinking he must have been drunk. But what do I know.

  71. Bernadette was discussing her spider dream earlier today with my remembering that I almost **never** remember any dreams. I just sleep, and the next thing I know I am awake again.
    Strangely enough, I laid down for a nap after reading B.’s spider dream post and had my first semi-vivid dream in a year or more.
    I was in a familiar enclosed shopping mall twenty miles from home. There was a million dollar prize being given away that day, and employees of the mall courteously went up to me before announcing on the loudspeaker that I had indeed won the prize. I was so damn excited! The employees let me know beforehand to give me a chance to prepare my affairs before everyone in the mall knew my name on the loudspeaker. I could see the million dollars in cash in a huge cardboard box, and there were a lot of angry Mafioso types milling about the mall talking about the contest. My dream ended in a huge bout of anxiety with my trying to figure how I will escape with the prize without any trouble or complications.
    Now as for Rick, I hope my last post about whether he might be reading this blog doesn’t dissuade anyone from posting further about him. I think it’s likely he does read this blog, yet I also think if he was going to say anything here he would have done it by now. So we probably won’t ever hear anything from him.

    • Bernadette says:

      Guru, I am contemplating about how to interpret your dream… maybe it means that money is not a commodity to aspire to having because all it brings is anxiety and fear of losing it?
      And why are you concerned or worried about whether or not Rick is reading the blog? I would hope he is not, simply because I assume that he has better and more fulfilling things to do in life, yeah? 😉

      • Bernadette, I have to run to the grocer here shortly before it closes so can’t write much now. I will only say that just because I was intellectually curious as to whether or not Rick was reading the blog does not emotionally elevate to my being *worried* or *concerned* that he was reading the blog. I’ve never met him!
        I’ll have to look at money and dreams a bit later on.

        • Bernadette says:

          Guru, and all I am saying is that I think your “intellectual curiosity” is more than what it seems, because you have mentioned it several times…that’s just my feeling….

  72. Vicki says:

    When I went back and reread the post where Renee brought up Rick’s incident, I found it even more glaringly outrageous than I had felt originally — Renee really tried to blow up the issue, dragging in hearsay, rumor and innuendo to accuse the Institute and staff of shameful neglect. I suspect her anger may have as much to do with the fact that she has never been privy to all the salient details that she craves, rather than her supposed outrage at Rick’s unethical stumble.

    I also remembered Renee wrote something earlier about Chevy, that I didn’t pay attention to at the time — it was after Jack died, but rather than write about Jack, Renee wrote a poem saying that Chevy was “a gentle soul” and that his therapy had been “misguided” and ended up killing him — which casts blame on the Institute. Margaret pointed out that she had been one of his roommates, and although she felt sorry for him, he was “not an angel of gentleness really.” Chevy had a horrid childhood, was chronically depressed, and a lot of people in therapy repeatedly tried to help him, but he seemed to have no ‘spark’ left, to save himself. After leaving therapy, people tried to keep in touch with him, but lost all contact two years before finding out that he had died in 2013, probably from his cancer. I doubt that Renee hardly even knew Chevy, so I think likely this was another instance where she used him to express her own anger about P.T., indirectly.

    Renee did write over a week ago: “Jack, I’m really missing you. And I’m also really angry with you. I don’t know if you remember, but I specifically told you please not to die. But you went ahead and died anyway. I know it wasn’t deliberate. But still. I wish you could come back. The blog is not the same without you.” I have to say, there is something about it that feels strange, almost morbid, I can’t quite put the feeling into words. Without expressing adult remembrance or sadness, and without expressing anything to Bernadette, who was daily involved with Jack until his end. But I did not know, until Bernadette wrote it, that they are no longer friends — so maybe that explains some of why Renee did not want to write about Jack. And that makes me wonder if Renee’s unexpressed anger is not only a way of targeting the Institute, and Gretchen, but also maybe Bernadette.

    • Daniel says:

      “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house”. It’s about dismantling the house.

      At the same time and on another level, it may simply be that Renèe feels utterly lonely and completely betrayed by life and would like to have some companion at the place she is at.

      • Vicki says:

        Thanks, Daniel — I had missed reading a lot of that discussion earlier, so I will have to go and get caught up, before understanding it.

        And I am sure you’re right about Renee’s feeling “utterly lonely and completely betrayed by life”, as I have heard her say almost that. And having someone who clearly understands, may be necessary, to be able to feel what’s underneath.

        I feel like that’s what happened to me in group today — prompted by Gretchen, I talked again about my dog dying, and how I had a lot of feelings about her, daily for several weeks at first, but that subsided, and since has brought up older feelings about my mom and my family, and my feeling all alone. Until someone simply said, “I’m sorry you lost your dog” and the dam broke, that I had not known was still there.

    • Bernadette says:

      Vicki, I was surprised when Renee didn’t write anything about Jack when he died, like every other blogger did, this especially because she was involved in so many different conversations with him, over a long period of time, and only begged him not to die a few days before he died. I can understand that she didn’t want to express any sympathy to me, but I am surprised she didn’t realize that it was not just my loss, but the blogging community’s loss, to whom she could have expressed any sorrowful feelings, and could have been part of a grieving community. But I thought it’s her right not so say anything. Then when she posted the poem to Chevy, whom she hardly knew, I was surprised again, and it started to feel more like a disguised way to hurt me. That was my feeling and interpretation.

  73. Considering Renee’s posting may have been designed to hurt the Institute in some way, why wasn’t Gretchen upset about this considering she actually LEADS the Institute? Gretchen seemed more curious about why Renee posted what she did rather than being upset as Bernadette or Vicki are about this. Should we find Gretchen’s apparent ambivalence towards Renee’s posting to be intriguing or informative in any way?
    I found it interesting how Gretchen simply waxed philosophical about not everyone being cut out to be therapists, which is definitely true!

    • Vicki says:

      Guru, I think Gretchen remains a therapist, her role in this situation. Regardless of anyone else’s intent, or upset. I will guess you do know that already because, in the comments of the past few days, “crossing the line of what’s appropriate” has been mentioned and discussed numerous times, with regard to patient-therapist relationships. So I wonder about your ‘apparent ambivalence’ about this.

      • Vicki, did you think I was being smart-alecky or sarcastic when I posted? I wasn’t trying to do that. I’ve seen Gretchen come across as ‘angry’ on the blog a few times in the past without anyone questioning appropriateness, and I would surmise that a display of anger or being upset would be far more ethically innocuous than actually pursuing a relationship with said client (comparing apples and oranges). I’ve seen Viv and Mark scream upsets at people a few times too.
        So again I wonder: Doesn’t it seem interesting Gretchen didn’t seem upset about this?
        As for me, I will honestly tell you that I’ve had a fondness and appreciation for juicy gossip being reified out of barren nothingness since the days of religiously reading my aunt’s colorfully slick weekly National Enquirer and Sun magazines while sitting in the toilet during my pre-teen and teenage years. It’s the nature of the beast for me, deeply embedded in my unconscious.

        • Bernadette says:

          Guru, this seems to imply that Renee is trying to elicit an angry reaction from Gretchen. I won’t get into analyzing Gretchen’s response, as that would only be an assumption based on my own feelings and limited interpretations. Your question “Doesn’t it seem interesting Gretchen didn’t seem upset about this?” is not really a question but a statement, like you already have an answer in mind, which you don’t disclose but seem to imply *something* doubtful or mysterious – just my feeling.
          But besides that, why are you talking for Renee? Indeed, if Gretchen’s reaction simply “seemed more curious about why Renee posted what she did rather than being upset” it was – I assume – an invitation for Renee to explore her motives and give an honest answer.

          • Bernadette, Vicki said earlier that it seemed Renee was angry at the Institute and wanted to lash out indirectly at it (see Vicki’s 11/28 9:32 pm post). All I was doing was following her lead. Don’t blame me, blame the boss. I just work here.

          • Bernadette says:

            Guru, maybe I misunderstood you. Just to clarify: are you implying that the angry or critical reaction some of us had to Renee are not justified because Gretchen didn’t have an angry reaction? Or are you implying that because some of us had an angry reaction to Renee, Gretchen should also have had an angry reaction, and there is something wrong because she didn’t? Either one wouldn’t make any sense. After all, we all are individuals and can only react from our own feelings. But logically, and that’s IMO, Gretchen is still the therapist and it would be improper for her to engage in an anger struggle with Renee. Her role is to step back and outside of the struggle and point us in the right direction. That’s why I assumed that her curiosity about Renee’s motive was an invitation for her to come clean.

            • Bernadette, I am saying there is a good chance Gretchen is operating with a broader pool of knowledge about the situation than the rest of us are. Was your anger justified? Yes, definitely, but only within the limited framework of knowledge you may be working with as opposed to what Gretchen may be working with.
              EXAMPLE: I punch someone in the gut, painfully, forcing that person to vomit. OUCH! That person has every right to be mad at me. But what if I knew that that person had just drunk some poisoned tea that was going to kill him in an hour unless I forced a vomiting response? And I didn’t want to put that person through the emotional trauma of knowing his wife poisoned the tea wanting to kill him since the more urgent task was to save his life?
              If the tea drinker operates from the expanded pool of knowledge I was working with, the tea drinker being upset with me would make less sense in that case. Literally thanking me profusely for punching him without warning would make more sense as I was actively saving his life.
              Just a silly example to illustrate what I meant more clearly. I’m sure there are better examples to express my point, but it’s the best I can do on five minutes’ notice here.

              • Bernadette says:

                Guru, that’s right, I can only operate within my limited framework of knowledge and within my feelings. That’s what I did. If I was wrong or stepped outside of my framework, then maybe someone, or most likely Renee should enlighten me, I am open to hearing it. But so far there is only silence. Except you talking for her, which is still a mystery as to why you would do that.

        • Vicki says:

          Guru, I did not think you were being smart-alecky or sarcastic, I thought you were fishing for something from Gretchen, or speculation from others here.

          • Vicki, I definitely believed your analysis and advice on how to cope with my predator neighbor overrunning my ‘smoldering miasmic and obsessive’ thoughts to be brilliantly valuable morsels for me to chew on, but in this instance with Gretchen/Jo/Bernadette I’m afraid you are missing the mark a lot more.
            I say this as sincerely as I possibly can. Maybe Gretchen and Renee are the ones practicing misdirection by staying so quiet while I am the heroic one calling out the silence?

    • Jo says:

      Ug, I find it interesting that you didn’t directly address the above questions directly to Gretchen, after all, you know she reads everything here.

      • Jo, there’s nothing deeper here. I was lazily posting to the end of the blog instead of taking a minute hunting around for Gretchen’s post. My not directly tethering my post to Gretchen’s wasn’t a fear-based action, for if that was the case I wouldn’t have posted my thought at all. Gretchen could certainly respond to my post (since as you said, she reads everything) disavowing my observation and revealing she truly was upset about what Renee did.

        • Vicki says:

          Guru, in your responses to me, Bernadette, and Jo, I think you are afraid, and evading directly responding. I’m guessing it may be because you really want Gretchen to write about being upset, because you keep repeating those words and ignoring questions about your own thoughts and feelings about it. Just because you used misdirection at a retreat to get Vivian to focus on others, rather than you, doesn’t mean it will keep on working here — even if you are good at it, through long years of honing that ability to the edge of an instinct.

          • Bernadette says:

            Vicki, good observation.
            Guru, still time to say what you feel/think, if you are up to it.

          • Actually, it’s the other way around: The more boring, standard, and expected response would be for Gretchen to be upset about what Renee did. The fact that Gretchen did NOT display such upset tells me she is possibly privy to insider information that you, me, and Bernadette do not have and such information has given Gretchen sufficient cause to not be upset with Renee as you or Bernadette seemed to be, at least at first.
            So yeah the more intriguing response was her NOT being upset, so it makes no sense for me to hope Gretchen would display being upset.

          • Bernadette says:

            Guru, this is also a partial answer to my question above (November 29, 2020 at 6:49 pm). Still. a question remains: why are you so obsessed about Gretchen having or not having an angry response to Renee? So what if she has insider information? Are you implying that Vicki and I are not supposed to have an angry response? or an angry reply to Renee is not justified?

  74. Margaret says:

    Daniel,
    thanks for your post, it did make me realize more how indeed the therapeutic setting has a huge impact and outside of it those people would not react in the same way probably.
    yours and the other comments made me realize more the importance of protective rules.
    yesterday evening I had a huge long cry triggered by the worry about my brother, the intensity of it was surprising, but the tears felt so welcome and healing, and all kind of nice childhood memories kept coming up, him and me played so much together, mostly outdoors if possible, we had a lot of nature around to roam through and play indian and indian in, as none of us wanted to be the cowboy…
    this morning he said he felt a little bit better, but his voice still sounded incredibly coarse. he was just about to leave to get himself tested.
    Bernadette, he lives in the netherlands, and their health care is ruled much more by economics than ours here in Belgium, so your advice might be good but would not be listened to at all. I am already glad he got the green light for a test at this point.
    still scary but at least he will be examined…
    Margaret

  75. Margaret says:

    good news!
    i had my brother on the phone this morning and he sounded much better.
    he said he had a brief antibiotics treatment laying around at home, which he took and which had seemed to help.
    then this afternoon he got the results from his Corona test and they were negative!
    it is just great to hear him in a better shape, and he promised to stay home long enough to recover well.
    I did not say anything about what I heard from my own doctor, that negative results have a thirty percent of false negatives, which should have given a positive result.
    if the antibiotics worked, it was probably a bacterial infection anyway, it is just great to feel less worried!
    tomorrow with my sister at my mom, we will take many pictures and videos and video chat with him to share some of mom’s birthday, be it virtually.
    I told him I will really miss him there.
    all the presents, flowers and flowery plants are already packed to go, tomorrow morning I will call a taxi and pick up my sister on the way with all her stuff.
    I told her I want to take it easy at mom’s, not unpack a lot at the time, but do it gradually so none of us get overloaded with too much going on.
    so circumstances have not been easy but we make the best of it still, and plan a second birthday party when my brother can be there as well!
    Margaret

    • Bernadette says:

      Margaret, I am so glad to hear that your brother is doing better! What a relief! I have an older brother, too, he is 66 this year, and I would be out of my mind with fear, if he got sick with Covid. We also have many shared memories from our childhood, some bad ones, but also many good ones. We used to roam around the countryside and the forests and climb up rocks and build huts in the woods and down by the stream. There were some great summers.
      Have a wonderful celebration tomorrow with your mother!

  76. Daniel says:

    Margaret, very good news. Seems like a full and speedy recovery is underway. Your description of the playing you and your brother had during your childhood reminded me of my own sister and the playing we had. We too were surrounded by nature and open spaces and I have good memories (and bad ones as well) from that time with her.

    Bernadette, I really liked the way you put it, the way you capture within a single sentence the elusiveness of interpersonal life :

    I marveled at how complicated and opaque human relationships can be, how little we really know about our true motivations, and how much we fall prey to our subconscious mind, needs, and fears at times.

    Guru, have some juicy gossip to share?

    • I think the blog would be better served if Renee posted at this time rather than myself. It’s definitely understandable if she said, “Ugh, FUCK this blog I’m done with it!” after being acutely criticized by four different people. It would make it super hard for me to want to come back, as I absolutely hate being dogpiled and picked apart by a small mob of posters.

      • Vicki says:

        Guru, so after saying that you have “a fondness and appreciation for juicy gossip”, as soon as Daniel asks you for some juicy gossip, you immediately change direction! “Almost” as if you just don’t want anyone turning their attention to you, as if that alone is scary. And yes, I am not letting you off the hook — I am waiting to see if you will dig yourself a deeper hole, or maybe find a better way of responding to direct questions, if you can. 🙂

      • Vicki says:

        And it might feel this way to you, but it is also not “being dogpiled and picked apart by a small mob of posters.” So whatever you’re feeling, just say it, and come back.

      • Bernadette says:

        Ha, you must be counting me as one of the mob as well, Guru. I asked you before (above) why are you talking for Renee? And then you get all defensive when “the mob” speaks the truth? BTW, there is no mob, and there is no dogpiling and picking apart, that’s your feeling. If we cannot speak our truth and explore our feelings on this blog, then what is it there for? Polite intellectual conversation and neatly allocated footnotes and references? BS!!

    • Bernadette says:

      Daniel, thanks for noticing. I am still working on a comment to your post on the 27th.

  77. Bernadette says:

    Renee, it was my mistake to assume that you had an ulterior motive or are trying to retaliate against the Institute when you brought up the Rick issue. It was my assumption and based in my own feelings and instincts, which are subject to their own limitations. In truth, I know little or nothing about your motives and intentions. All I can guess is that you have your own unresolved feelings about it, or you would not have brought up an incident that happened 20+ years ago. That only you know. And it is up to you to address those inner conflicts. For me it was useful to look at and resolve some of my own conflicts about it, so in a way I am glad you brought it up.

  78. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    i feel bad. too bad to say more about it. i feel bad. fuck this shit.

  79. Bernadette says:

    Otto, I read your post yesterday with great interest. I was quite impressed with how much information and feelings you revealed this time. Keep going.
    Your story about the spider in the crawl space and your intense fear at night in bed, wow! That really struck a chord in me. I know that intense fear at night, in the pitch dark, barley able to breathe, or not wanting to breathe for fear of being heard, detected, given away, not being able to move, paralyzed, heart pounding-too loud!, sweat pouring down the face, eye wide open staring into the dark. OMG. It brings up such a memory! Your fear was of a dangerous spider; mine was of an intruder who was going to hurt me.
    You are saying you have no memories of age 2-5; those were my worst years too. Most of my deepest traumas, aside from birth, are between those ages. I am also stunned how unstable your childhood was. That must really have an impact on you. Not having a stable home, being moved around, not only between locations but also from relatives to relatives. As traumatizing as my childhood was, at least I had a place to call home, and I was always in the same family, although a lot of hurt was inflicted in my family. I used to say that I am more attached to certain locations that gave me some safety, rather than to people, who are not so much reliable feeling wise.
    Were you able to call your brother for his birthday? I get the sense, even though you are saying you don’t like talking to him – maybe you are angry with him, maybe you are hurt – I have a sense that you still love him. Correct me if I’m wrong.
    I have a feeling that talking about your childhood is bringing up more memories and with the memories more pain. Keep writing, Otto!

  80. Bernadette says:

    Otto, in addition, when you wrote above “I am not trying to distract or shift focus away from your current feeling/topic as if I was a mini-trump” – you are not distracting or shifting focus away from anything. There is room for all of us. I have room for more than one feeling/topic. There is time for you. Your posts are honest and raw and very relatable. Keep writing!
    PS: you are not even a tiny-trump (smile).

  81. Renee says:

    Thanks everyone for your feedback. It has left me with a lot to think about and reflect on. In hindsight, I think the posting about Peter Yarrow just triggered my anger and dislike for people in positions of power who abuse the trust they have been given. A very legitimate anger, IMO. It also left me wondering how often such people ever get held accountable for their behavior. Hence my question about Rick Janov. Btw, he was the one that came to mind on this subject as many of us here have a shared knowledge of what happened.

    Daniel, I particularly liked what you wrote on this subject. It felt good to see that we do indeed have something we agree on!

  82. Renee says:

    Thanks, Ugg! I appreciate the compliment. I actually think that you are much wiser and way more resilient that you give yourself credit for. You can be very hard on yourself.

    • OK Renee, your post leads me to ask you an ultra-serious question: What are you meaning that I can be very hard on myself? I do see the immediate instance of where I said I wouldn’t handle the criticism as well as you did, but are there other incidents you have in mind from earlier than today? Any patterns you’re seeing that I should look at?
      Any observations you might have here could be some valuable keys for my self-therapy, just as what Vicki talked about earlier with my extracting myself from the internal miasma over my predator neighbors.
      Thanks if you share some more details.

  83. Renee says:

    I’m sorry Ugg, but I don’t have more details. It’s a general feeling I have about you.

    • Although I would love to know what unconscious processes led you to your feeling, an equally important question might be, “What percentage of people has Renee seen does she also deem as hard on themselves as well?” If she sees a large percentage of people as hard on themselves this would potentially dilute the import of the observation, whereas a tiny percentage draws the observation into a much sharper relief warranting further examination of myself even without further details as to why its needed.”
      I would have to trust that Renee would not tell me she has seen several million people in her lifetime and I am the only one she assigned the ‘hard on myself’ diagnosis. That indeed would be torturous!

      • Thinking about this some more…
        I now see I am mistaken about the tiny possibility that it would be torturous if I was the ONLY ONE with the ‘hard on myself’ diagnosis out of an observation of millions of people. Such uniqueness would command special attention (ie. ‘You are the most self-torturing of all in a crowd of millions, which merits an extra special notice all its own’)
        It’s best to be placed in the bottom 15 to 20 percent of masochists, to be the true embodiment of the agony of being non-descript, nothing special which stands out from the crowd.

        • Bernadette says:

          Guru, sorry to bud in – instead of trying to figure something out intellectually and statistically, maybe you should just try to accept Renee’s compliment, let it sit for a while, and see what feelings it brings up. Just a suggestion.

  84. Phil says:

    My favorite music club in NYC is closing, because of Covid related financial pressure. It’s very upsetting, but I hope they’ll find a way to reopen in the future. I’m afraid many cultural attractions could close because of the pandemic, Although some things are open, I don’t think it’s worth the risk to attend any event which attracts a crowd. Vaccines are coming soon, but not soon enough.
    Phil

  85. Phil says:

    Guru, I think Trump and Covid have been great for the media, people put out all kinds of things that get attention. I looked at the article and right off saw that James Altrucher is a comedian and hedge fund manager, so I don’t know why he would have special insight.
    I think that NYC will bounce back. When Covid is under control tourists will return and life will continue as before.
    A few weeks ago I saw another article saying that wealthy folks who fled Manhattan last Spring are now returning, because they miss all the perks.
    Phil

  86. Phil says:

    The blog got so quiet lately. I have something to write about. On the way home from work today, in my car, some feelings were coming up, so I put on music to help. Maybe because things are kind of desolate and so routine for me at work. There’s few people to talk to, and I feel unimportant. I’m dissatisfied with what I’m doing. I should have a better position, making more money. Why didn’t I study to be a doctor? I was a good student. That would have given me satisfaction and feelings of importance. I did do better in the past with my career, but it went downhill. I had various priorities, my job, my family etc. It was impossible to have everything the way I wanted it, even now.
    The music helps me go deeper into the feeling, it’s about my mother. I really needed her. In fact it felt like that’s all I wanted, nothing else, nobody else, at least in this feeling, which I’m afraid is huge. I needed her to stay around and see me as important, and love me, remember me. That didn’t happen. I don’t remember getting much of anything from her, well, more accurately, I got nothing; when she had some health, and it was possible, and it only got worse over time. The feeling is of terrible longing and need, never satisfied. She forgot me completely, deprived me, which leaves me feeling like I have had big parts of myself missing.
    Later she was so sick, that it wasn’t possible to get anything from her, but I still hoped. Then she was gone for good, and somehow I still had hope. I guess I need to feel how hopeless it really was.
    All this made me realize, this must be why I’m so often in a down feeling, like I don’t care about much of anything, I have no energy, etc, etc.
    Phil

    • Sylvia says:

      Phil, it sounds like a big feeling you are having. It looks like you have found where to go with your feelings.
      S

      • Hi Sylvia, did you receive my mail from a few days ago? Ever since my mail to Bernadette was lost in spam, I have to be more vigilant about checking these things. Thanks.

        • Sylvia says:

          HSISG, yes, no spam worries, I did receive your mail about your great aunt’s love of the National Enquirer and other tabloids. Did you have fun discussing those with her at the time?

          • Haha…well, she subscribed to the Enquirer and I think one other tabloid, while the neighbor who cleaned house for her had a subscription to one or two other tabloids as well. It was a neighborhood exchange. Example would be..my aunt would have the Enquirer mailed to her on a Monday and possess it for a day or two, handing it off to me on a Wednesday, her saying “God, what a trashy rag that is! Just garbage and lies!” while absolutely keeping a loyal subscription going for decades. I’d give the Enquirer (and I think the Sun UK) back to my aunt on Friday so she could trade them to the cleaning lady neighbor for the neighbor’s own two tabloids which my aunt and I took turns religiously reading while waiting for the newest ‘boss tabloid’ (the Enquirer) to arrive the next week..
            Four supermarket tabloids for the price of two each week.
            The Enquirer was the standard-bearer with its colorful, glossy pages and tendency to adhere to reliable gossip sources more than the other pages. There was a strange, unwritten ‘leadership’ role of my aunt since her subscriptions were more expensive than the cleaning lady neighbor’s.
            Colorful glamor and gossipy celebrities really have a visceral appeal for a lot of people. Donald Trump understood this power, hence his close relationship with David Pecker (Nat’l Enquirer boss).

            • If your tabloid has:
              –Slick and glossy pages, saturated with vivid color appeal as you see on scratch off lottery tickets
              –At least 40% truth mixed in with bullshit, but you have to guess which is which
              –Lots of excitement around well-known celebs

              Those ingredients will make your tabloid enormously successful, like the Enquirer. After some years of reading, I was able to more skillfully discern what was bullshit and what was more factual. Some tabloids were more inferior than others. At least one of the four was almost all lies and was on dull, matted paper (unappealing).
              You have tantalize the reader with lots of glossy, celebrity color and still-significant morsels of truth (30-40%) embedded within the stories to keep imaginations active and hungering for more, more, MORE next week.

              • Phil says:

                Guru,
                Maybe you could publish your own tabloid. The first issues could be about Peter, Paul, and Mary. which would appeal to older folks.
                Rick Janov could appear too, because “primal screaming” is still commonly referred to and remembered fondly, people might have an interest. I’m sure you could find plenty to say about John Lennon, as well as Donald Trump and his royal family, but you’ll need a good lawyer. Michael Cohen?
                Phil

                • Renee says:

                  Funny stuff, Phil! I think working in a lab is a total waste of your comedic talents. 😃

                • Larry says:

                  Ha ha. Despite all the deprivation you experienced as a kid, you never lost your sense of humour.

                • Phil, knowing what I know now of my mother’s background, profession, and intentions I doubt very seriously I would have been anywhere near supermarket tabloids if she had raised me. She was all about serious, big-league corporate business and would have had no time for tabloid gossip, for the most part.
                  My grand aunt was a retired, semi-affluent widow who had no children of her own, so she had sufficient empty time and dullness in her life to seek the artificial excitement of colorful, gossipy tabloids..

                  • Phil says:

                    Guru,
                    I think people should read whatever they want. In my childhood home we probably had too much reading material of various kinds. The idea, I guess, was to get distracted from all the painful things going on.

    • Larry says:

      Wow. Much insight, Phil.

      • Phil says:

        I had a kind of follow up feeling today, helped along again by music, or my attempts at music on my saxophone. Many months ago my teacher suggested I pick a song I’d like to learn to play from books of sheet music, as a kind of long term project. I found several candidates including the Beatles song “In My Life”, which I ended up choosing. It also happens to also be in my library of songs which I find helpful with feelings. I had some worries that my attempts at playing it on my sax would somehow ruin that effect. That hasn’t at all been the case. It took me a long time to learn, but I can now play it all the way through, and I can hear how I’d like it to sound, in my head, as I’m playing it. Tonight the feelings were about my father, how I needed his help, I wanted him to do something about my mother, save her; “don’t let her go”, were the words that came out. But in reality I never expressed anything like that during childhood. I really couldn’t be vulnerable around him. There was a barrier, it wouldn’t be OK to show anything like that. The feelings tonight also went deep, the need and love for him. Phil

  87. Margaret says:

    Otto,
    how are you doing?
    M

  88. Margaret says:

    Phil,
    reading your story and trying to imagine how it must have felt for you is so incredibly sad and hopeless, and still you made yourself a good life with a good family, that is quite an achievement…
    M

  89. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    I hate my frigging job with a passion. I am allowed to work from home, for covid protection, and it took months of wrangling just to get that option. I have to do different tasks than if I were actually at work, and that involves me having to re-learn duties I did years ago and also new stuff that has emerged since I did this kind of stuff before. I feel like I am competing against these younger guys in my new work group and they have had almost 3 years of learning the many many skills that are needed. It was such a struggle to get this job, and I feel like the boss wants to get rid of me (whether this is real or imagined). If he got rid of me, I would have to use up the remaing 10 weeks of sick leave I have left, and after that, actually go back to work and risk covid. I risk covid and a certain death for my age and health, we watched grey’s anatomy last night, where she is on the verge of dying from covid, and so I had a nightmare of being in some chilling room under a freeway, all alone, and murder-death-kill surrounding me in the shadows, moving towards me. I was trying to scream, and maybe I was a little more successful in getting the screams out than I have been in the past. I woke up B with my noise. I am not sure of which of the old memories of doom take me to this recurring nightmare. Maybe a very early hernia operation, my mom disappearing at my age of 10 months, then being alone and in the dark, then the same loneliness and fear with an uncle who seemed to be all about killing things. I have been near-death early on. I am deathly afraid of death, especially since I ended up old somehow, and then covid came along too. Of course, poor Sophie dying a month ago has put another chill into me. Anyway, I hate my new job, I feel pressured because I am incompetent and afraid, afraid of the younger smarter guys in our small group. I feel like they are complaining to my new boss that I am producing very little. I have made 2 mistakes so far and he im’d me and it felt very criticizing to me, the way he said it. B is tired of me ranting throughout the day, which is my only release from this crippling pressure. Many many feelings here.

  90. Larry says:

    Testing.

  91. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    larry,
    release .001 (point zero zero one) out of a 10 (ten point zero zero)
    but thanks for you being such a sweet, caring guy (no fooling!)
    you are doing well for yourself in your life
    don’t mind me
    my bitterness puts the grinch to shame
    of course i should get in my car
    and either scream and shout or cry
    or just find joy for the fucking briefest of seconds
    and of course with millions starving and homeless these days, i feel like an asshole
    a powerless asshole
    trump will be alive even after he is long gone into the black
    how one man (and there are so many ONE MAN(s) like him) can fuck up so many people —
    well that tells me mother nature just don’t give a damn
    send your boulders from outer space to crush us all at your whim, ma’am
    not a fucking thing we can do about it
    even bruce willis can only save a few of us
    since i cannot draw worth shit, that is the most of a political cartoon i can make
    i logged on here to say something profound, but now i don’t care

  92. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    i hear the pounding of her feet as she gets up
    (and remember, i hate myself for my hatreds)
    i hear her and grump to myself that my clear thinking will now stop because of her noise
    not– oh god i cant wait to hug her and praise god that she came into my life
    old woman me
    old tired disappointed-in-life woman me
    she will stop me from playing with bills and other todo’s
    those things are the most important things in my life
    at this point in being old and worn out i forget what those todo’s were
    i put them on a spreadsheet so i can forget them again and again
    the pounding of the feet is from decades ago
    an ugly old murderer uncle
    an ugly ancient institution known as death
    probably disrupting me from occupying my lonely baby mind and reminding me that someone is coming to kill me or otherwise fill me up with losses
    anyway who the fuck wants to clean house, pay bills etc
    just stay inside or die says fauci
    no joy without the fucking dog
    joy negative one billion out of ten
    the real thing is, i dread her bursting through my bedroom door, dripping with need
    when are you going to fix this?
    i need something
    i need something more, times one zillion
    lets move to ohio
    lets move to santa maria
    lets abandon these stupid cats
    not– what can i do to make it better?
    what do normal spouse do?
    just fucking make my life happier?
    no, because all i really want for christmas is to be miserable
    i repel happy
    remember. i am a hateful miserable asshole bitch and hate myself for being so
    and this will never change
    primal therapy helped me .001 out of 10
    because my pain is in the stratosphere
    ‘nuf said. christmastime again

  93. Margaret says:

    hi all,
    I am in a short lunch break from our training Zoom group for the phone helpline.
    i start feeling really privileged to form part of this group.
    in the exercises I start to know more of the new trainees, and I feel impressed at how many of them actually already have full lives while they started this volunteer work training.
    some of them are still studying, one for neurologist, one for psychology, one just finished sociology and criminology. one is a female doctor working in a hospital, and others are recently retired from all kinds of jobs.
    and that is just a handful of the 19 remaining trainees who started together with me.
    it strikes me what a positive attitude they must have to combine already busy lifes with this extra volunteer job, and the extended training that goes along with it.
    we had one exercise in which we had a list of qualities and could attach those in turns to others of a small subgroup we were working in.
    it was very touching, specially when I got given some qualities with the reasons why the person gave them to me, and later on could react to it.
    it felt so bonding, so much working to feel part of the group and getting to know the others in a constructive way.
    ok, off for the afternoon part now…
    M

  94. Margaret says:

    today’s Zoom training for the telework has ended, but I still feel so ‘up’, and astounded about its positive impact, on me but also seemingly on most of the other trainees.
    the theory and exercises of today were about the ‘positive’ approach, not problem oriented (only) but also aimed at exploring together with the caller which ways for improvement there could be.
    in one one on one exercise I again got to know another trainee more personally, this time a lady who worked all over the world, Asia, Africa, South America, as a kind of coordinator for the Red Cross.
    it is so incredibly inspiring and invigorating to be part of this group, with all the feedback that goes back and forth, specially today with its focus on each others qualities , and for example having to make a list of 20 things that give us personally a good feeling in our life, and then going over these lists with another person.
    very connecting and bonding, and also addressing primal feelings in a constructive way, really nice!
    it is great when for example my starting feeling is one of fear of ‘not belonging’, ‘not being able to be part of the group’, not being accepted’, or even ‘being rejected or disapproved of’, and then unexpectedly getting very positive feedback almost out of the blue from various sides.
    it is touching and healing and very real at the same time, as we are all there as trainees and thus vulnerable and more or less new to each other.
    but more and more we get to know and appreciate each other, and it feels immensely enriching…
    M

  95. Margaret says:

    Margaret,
    That seems like such a great thing you’re getting involved with.

  96. Phil says:

    Margaret,
    That seems like such a great thing you’re getting involved with.

  97. Mary Zerebesky says:

    I’m writing about a reaction I had to posts I read months ago and am finally doing it. It’s after the death of Jack Waddington and I read about what a great job Chris did of putting together a tribute to him and also I can see the talent Bernadette has in writing and expressing herself. That put me into a panic state and the feeling that came up with it was ‘I can’t do that’
    It’s something new for me to panic about this,
    seeing people being capable.
    Lately I have been getting into panic states often and it’s scary, with other triggers as well.
    I thought if I wrote about this it might help me understand what’s happening
    Mary Z

    • Sylvia says:

      It’s good that you wrote, Mary. I had panic every time I wrote on the blog. It helped just to feel that over the months. I generally had a lot of panic and startle reaction when I was a baby and toddler, according to my mom. It might be that your panic reaction is from a very early time and it gets triggered when you worry about something as an over reaction.

      As to the reason that you feel you should be able to do something like organize a tribute is a different question. I know I probably could not do that either, but I just appreciate someone who can and marvel a bit about it. I’ve always had a lot of respect for those here who can put their thoughts down so clearly, I think that is what I wanted to achieve the most, and I think by clearing my head of triggered feelings, in essence, feeling, I can have a less busy mind and put down my thoughts better now. It sounds a little like you feel responsible for things that you really are not expected to do, if I had a guess, about your worry of the memorializing events for Jack. Thank you for writing.
      S

      • Sylvia says:

        I was thinking, too, maybe a helpless feeling of not being able to do something well or capably, in just thinking about it, might bring up a panic feeling from an early time of physical or emotional survival during babyhood or in later childhood.
        S

    • Hi Mary, I hate to bring this up since you are clearly suffering from panic or angst at others’ abilities and I don’t want to stand in the way of your therapeutic progress there (feel free to stay here and work it out all you want), but….
      I’ve been trying for months and months trying to contact your ex-boyfriend from a long time ago (you know who I am talking about?). He never returns my calls anymore and I am also concerned something may have happened to him. I mean literally 6 months’ worth of attempts without any response. I finally gave up, yet it doesn’t seem as though he would block me for no reason so I’m not even sure if he is alive now. Do you know anything?
      It’s really disconcerting because I have all his contact info.
      I’m sorry I have to bring this up right in the middle of your own struggle; I felt as though my options are extremely slim and you’re one of the few leads I have left.
      I hope your panic gets better. People generally put on their best face forward for daily survival reasons and they are usually dumber than you might think with a few exceptions cherry-picked at my discretion. Good luck.

      • The situation is so bad regarding not hearing from him that I have considered personally coming out to Los Angeles to see if he is still at his physical address. An enormous hassle for me, but I could arrange it if I really had to.
        Two big things deter me:
        –He might not want to see me anymore, but this makes no sense because he would be direct in saying to me that he no longer wanted to be friends. Still, though, if that is true (which I doubt) then I wouldn’t want to travel to see someone who didn’t want to see me
        and..or…
        –He simply died. In which case I am sure either family or locals took care of his burial arrangements and it would be a moot point for me.

        Both of the reasons above have been a large deterrence to my checking in person overall, but I still like to try remotely when I can.

        • After waking up I wanted to fill in a few extra details. We’ve been friends for almost 20 years and he came to visit me at my home several times. He really liked my dad, a LOT! The last time I spoke with him was sometime in 2019 and we were speaking to each other normally. No tension, no animosity, no anger, no weird issues hanging overhead.
          Just the same as always for almost 20 years and suddenly takes no calls from me ever again, completely unexplained.
          This is the trouble of what I think my 2 year-old brain went through with my mother. Perfectly healthy and pretty 30 year-old lady who loved me dearly, had no problems hugging me, cuddling me, kissing me, or playing with me (at least after she returned home from work).
          But then one day she just never came back. No explanation, no reason, no warning. That’s just…it!
          Is she coming back? No clue. Just empty air day after day,
          So yes I suppose what happened with Mary’s ex (no fault of hers at all) faintly echoes my distant past.

          • I remember watching the original “Wonder Woman” with Lynda Carter and her famous pair of silver bracelets. I would ask my grand uncle, who had some metalworking experience, if he could fashion a pair of bracelets for me like Wonder Woman had, so I could spin around and have disappearing superpowers like my mom had (similar to Lynda Carter spinning around from everyday woman to Wonder Woman).

          • Sylvia says:

            I can see how the unexplained disappearance of your friend would resonate with that confusing early time of a toddler. It’s all interconnected, our reactions, whether we want them to be or not, consciously or unconsciously.
            S

      • Sorry Mary, I was significantly triggered by your appearance. I’ll shut up now and welcome you to the blog. Hope I hear of what happened to your ex one day, regardless.

    • Larry says:

      Good for you for using this blog to help you Mary. I hope it helps and you keep using it (us).

  98. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    the minute she gets up, i lose all hope. not sure if that is my childhood with my grandmother (or some other nefarious parent-type) or my poor wife. i spent an hour washing dishes,, 90 percent were hers. she will have the entire sink full of dishes again by dusk. i can’t hire a maid to come clean because her nose will be full of covid-drops. i would not care so much but i need the plumber (with his mouth full of covid-drops) to come, and if the house looks so terrible, like it does now, he will tell the landlady and she will sell this house to some developer to put up cheap apartments, and we will be living in the fucking desert. it has been months since we have needed the plumber to come to unclog the drain pipes. they are overflowing into the yard and i am terrified the neighbors will report me to the city. luckily just the washing machine, kitchen sink, and shower/bath, not toilet. yes i am dripping with fear every second. and i don’t want to let go of the fear, i don’t want anyone to help me, i don’t want anyone to see me and destroy me. i am paralyzed with fear yet i work 50 hours a week helping customers with their computer probles. maybe i will talk to barry about this tomorrow, but i can’t say a word about this in group. it is too crazy to believe. my poor wife. has my craziness over the past 44 years made her crazy too? or is she also crazier than batshit since childhood. i probably put too many details in here; run past the feelings. i fear the men in the white suits will be alerted if i don’t sound like i have some tiny bit of sanity.

    • Larry says:

      I don’t see that you put anything in there that you haven’t already told us or implied before, just maybe you’re being more explicit and clear this time, which seems like progress to me.

  99. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    mary z. good to hear you. it was always good to hear you in group. why do i feel slight sadness when i wrote that? i just can’t figure out why.

  100. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    just the millionth loss, i guess. that group became impossible for me.

  101. Margaret says:

    Hi Mary!
    I am glad to hear you.
    the last time is or seems years ago, and you were in a very difficult situation then.
    it always stayed in the back of my mind and I hoped you found a solution…
    how are you doing now? apart from the panic feelings I mean, is your living situation more stable?
    your situation back then would freak me out, so scary.
    we have been buddies at a retreat and I like your strength combined with openness about your vulnerability.
    I hope so much you have people to rely on and a more stable and safe living situation.
    good to hear you here, I hope to hear more of you,
    with affection, Margaret

  102. Phil says:

    The holidays alway bring up feelings for me. I guess because my family emphasized Christmas a lot, not religiously, but family gatherings and gift giving, and it’s the same with my family now.
    So I have a lot of strong associated memories.
    I like Christmas music and it can also bring up feelings. Today I had some big ones. I guess, to begin with, it’s very sad to no longer have all those family members I remember from my childhood.
    That sadness led to other things. I remember good times with my brother, but later on he went crazy, and I’m realizing more and more how scary that was for me. I think my mother went crazy too, which was why I couldn’t stand visiting her. It was really terrible. I can’t really say I have good holiday memories about her. I think the two of them, mother and brother, both being crazy really scared me and that’s part of what I was remembering and feeling.
    Our family situation was far from normal, and that was a part of everything that happened, even during some holiday happiness, and that’s what I was crying about today.
    Phil

    • David says:

      ” I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” makes me sob, tears me to pieces. The reality is I am alone. My asset, being genuinely kind and caring, has no currency anymore. My criminally imposed financial poverty has crashed my ability to be benevolent. My newly acquired inabiity to quietly suffer bull shit, misogyny, racists, classism, contempt for, ” lesser thans,” is further isolating. I stopped performing years ago, no songs Iwant to mouth because they do nt represent me, who I am, my values. I would volunteer in palliative care, if it was not in a hospital setting. I don’t fear dying but I don’r want the cause to be strangling for breath. That would scare the shit out of me. We have lawful assisted suicide here, but friends working in health tell me viral infection does not meet the, ” impending death,” requirement.

      Woke in the night, death fright, my head was in a vice, crushing my cheekbones. I got up and sat in a chair until I dialogued away the feelings. I ended up turning on TV/ROKU and watched some of the Trump/Giuliani/Powell/Wood, Republican Crazy Circus Comedic Tragedy Show. Then music theory, then comedy. Then, I was watchng it through my mother’s eyes, her filter, like I was her, we were one. I was looking out through her eyes, her face emerging from my face, her craziness, the smug, controlling, ” I’ve got control of you, I’ll do whatever I want with you,” behind that sardonic, evil, innappropriate smile. This was an absolute first for me, being aware of seeing life through her eyes, and, oh shit, actually living it, pulling away, wanting someone to make me feel better. Fuck, I’ve lived my life, in some part, through her eyes. I just resigned as Chair of a charity, because the Treasurer has that same grin, same behaviour. If the New Agers are right, ( of Course, if they are, Trump is Jesus,” more moral, kinder brother,”) I sure fucked up picking the mother I was born out of..
      and worse, I created my kids’ fuck up by marrying a woman who could…. oh fuck, fuck, fuck…

    • Vicki says:

      Phil, I have always liked Christmas music, too, It was especially important to me when I was in a particularly painful period in the early ’80s, when I was so raw and fragile with feelings, that for long months, for years, it was too painful for me to even listen to music. Even though I had a large collection of music, whenever I tried listening to any of it, it was just so painful, it hurt, and I had to make it stop. I was working in the Post Office then, and sometimes had to put in earplugs when the office had music playing in the background, to try and avoid crying while I worked sorting mail, before going out on my route.

      The fact that it hurt to listen to music I knew I had loved, was scary, and made me grieve for the state I was in, and pain I had come to. But by experimenting, I found I could listen to Christmas music — it was not too full of pain. So I went and bought more Christmas music, and was listening to it in June and July. Even though it struck me as weird, at least I could enjoy it, and feel more human than I was fearing. I hoped I would eventually recover my ability to listen to all my music, in time. It happened gradually over years. There are still a couple of things I might find too painful — that I haven’t tried in years, so I am not sure whether they would still bother me.

      Writing about this, makes me wonder what that “no music” time was about — hurting too much to enjoy something basic, that “everybody likes”. This was in a tough time in my early therapy, and I just think I had no defenses working, and was constantly overwhelmed by old feelings in a generalized way, unable to put up any barriers, so all my feelings seemed poignant, all the time. It was commonly excruciating, and horrible. I see now that I could go on about this period for far too long for one sitting, so I will end it for now. But I’m sure I will need to write more, some other time. What happens when I open a door.

      • Sylvia says:

        Just a quick note, Vicki, I had the same problem with music, it let up too much emotion for me about 10 yrs ago and a few yrs before. I was fragile and could not take it. I could play jingle bells on the piano or listen to Christmas music on tv, but all other music made me feel unbearably lonely. Then I saw where Janov wrote that music can open feelings so I tried listening to love songs and began to feel a little at a time. Music still puts me into my feelings and I now can enjoy the albums I collected over the years.

        BTW, I worked at the post office too, but only for a few months and sorted mail and made special deliveries. Long time ago; stamps were 8 cents then.
        S

        • Larry says:

          You sure have changed, Sylvia. For years we rarely heard a peep of you on the blog. Now you are a regular, appreciated contributor.

          • Sylvia says:

            Thank you, Larry. For a couple of years I was learning from you all how it’s done, feeling my way through feelings. I appreciate you guys very much. This place is one of a kind.
            S

      • Phil says:

        Vicki,
        I never have any interest in Christmas music after New Years Day. One year we did leave up our Christmas tree until May or June, maybe because I was working the night shift. It got embarrassing when people were noticing it in our apartment window. We hustled it out to the street in the middle of the night for sanitation to pick up.
        Music is a continuous tool for me to use with feelings. I don’t mind being sensitive to it, I find it useful, it can bring up big feelings, so I go with it. Something which gives me a big feeling one day, can have no effect the next day.
        Sylvia, it has something to do with feeling alone for me, even having people around. I have my music which speaks to me and is there with me, I guess in contrast to what I had as a child.
        Phil

      • Larry says:

        I respect you Vicki for persistently slogging primally through so much tortuous pain.

  103. Please ignore this if you want, OK? I’m just doing a small bit of self-therapeutic writing.
    It seems as though everyone is wrapped up in his or her own issues, doesn’t it? I’ve been feeling utterly terrible for my dad these past couple days. It’s been 1 year, 9 months since he passed and it still feels like yesterday.
    He was a superhero who absolutely didn’t deserve to die, ever. I was pissed at seeing Chuck Yaeger make it to 97 and I was thinking dad absolutely deserved to live to 97 instead of just 82.
    I feel terrible I couldn’t do more for dad. I feel totally helpless and terrible about that.
    I’ve talked often about his teddy bear demeanor. It doesn’t mean he was soft-spoken. He was a intellectual giant who spoke with a mid-pitched clarity in his voice, average yet self-assured.
    He was a great person, and I’m sorry I can’t be more skillfully descriptive than that.
    He was never arrogant. He might have quietly judged people, but never really arrogant.

  104. Margaret says:

    Guru,
    it is so clear by how you describe your dad that you loved and love him dearly!
    you will always carry him in your heart.
    M

    • Margaret, Larry, and Phil…thanks very much for replying. You didn’t have to, but you did! I’ve been crying about dad for the past few days yeah. It’s terribly wrong that’s he’s gone. I don’t have much more to add right now. It’s just completely wrong, that’s all.
      Maybe I will discuss it more later. I do think about him every single day. He deserved a lot better than what life gave him, yet he still fought back and stayed in the ring like the gentle lion he was.

  105. Similar to Bernadette, dad was adamant in his belief of a God and an afterlife. Less than a week before he died, while weak in his deathbed he asked me to recite the Lord’s Prayer. I complied with his request and he was satisfied.

    • I also learned a stark lesson in how people can die so differently even under the umbrella of a natural death. Dad was in bad shape for almost three whole months before dying, while Jack seemed to hang on pretty well up to just a few days before passing (still blogging). I wrongly judged Jack’s condition using my dad as a guiding reference. Terrible mistake on my part.

  106. Margaret says:

    during a training for the tele helpline we had an exercise we all got a lot from, and which was very interesting to do, and very bonding.
    it works best when you are in a (small) group of people,, as sharing becomes easier that way, or in a large group with for example taking turns to talk in the end with a bit of a time limit if necessary.
    everyone has to write down 20 things that make him or her feel good in their life, or they feel happy about etc.
    not less than 20!
    then you can start sharing what your items are.
    I found it a great exercise, and was amazed at the items that popped up in my own mind, it is actually such a positive exercise and triggering at the same time when listening to the others!
    curious if anyone will give it a try, if only to list up 20 items and maybe say something here about it?
    M

    • Margaret, your last sentence “curious if anyone will give it a try” reminded me of dad’s semi-innocent facial demeanors and his semi-positive demeanor overall.
      It feels like the only positive thing in my life right now, the memories
      My life’s future seems so dark and bleak and I cling to some shred of positivity from my recent past, pretending my dad is really close to me right now..

    • Phil says:

      Margaret,
      Maybe you should go first since it’s your suggestion.
      When I’m feeling bad, memories of good things aren’t going to help. Would that be an effort to make the bad feeling go away? It seems an anti-primal effort. What does help is to go fully into the bad feeling, whatever it is. After that, things tend to feel better.
      Well here’s a few things: I like my lunch break, but now I’m back to work. Pizza with anchovies is something good in my life, I like it, but it’s too good to have at work. Weekends are good, and so is Christmas.
      Phil

  107. During the last seven or eight years of dad’s life he did a LOT of travelling across the US. Mostly for business for his gambling partners, Vegas, Tunica Mississippi, Shreveport & Lake Charles Louisiana, Chicago, parts of Indiana and Michigan, Atlantic City….just all over the place constantly hopping on planes provided by his partners,

    Anyway, dad’s death certainly feels unnaturally premature and I know he was functioning quite well until, as he said, the lung cancer diagnosis hit him “like a ton of bricks” warning me “I may not make it next year” and “You’re going to have to learn to accept some things.”
    He gave me lots of wise warning.
    Dad’s most depressing trips were to Atlantic City. He said the Philadelphia SEPTA trains weren’t so bad, but Atlantic City depressed him the most.
    I couldn’t help but remember the Bruce Springsteen song “Everything dies baby that’s a fact”

  108. Margaret says:

    Phil,
    of course you are right when there is a primal feeling asking for attention.
    this exercise is not supposed to be used as a way out of pain, but just on a more neutral moment I found it very interesting.
    and my partner in the small group of three I was sharing it with, told me she was triggered by what I had said, but she felt she had to think about how exactly and what went on for her and said she would come back on it at some point.
    so it is sometimes triggering some pain also.
    and I think the main goal of primal is in the end to feel ok, mostly, while focusing on the pain when it comes up.
    as Barry says so well, we don’t need to scratch when it does not itch…
    tomorrow I will try to reproduce some list of what came to mind in my own exercise, but I did not write it down then…
    M

  109. Well I feel as though I wore out my earlier welcome today by posting so much. The permanent erasure of such a wonderful Superman from the shattered remnants of family my life has put me in a lot of grim despair. Most of life feels like uncaring, impartial garbage without dad’s regal and noble presence cheering me up.
    I’ll try to shut up now, misery loves company and all that…
    Maybe David and others want to talk

  110. Margaret says:

    Ok, here I go, trying to make some kind of list of things that make me feel good in my life…
    things pop up in a bit of an unstructured way, so it will be a mix…

    1. my cats, always good for smiles and affection and warm feelings…
    2. present friends I trust and can have lots of laughter with or cry with if necessary
    3. looking back the realization in primary and high school I always seemed to have some friendships, and also on sports camps etc. there always seemed to be someone I could connect with, which on hindsight feels reassuring and encouraging
    4.being fairly healthy and in good shape
    5. looking forward to the restart at some point of the sailing, tango dancing and gym classes
    5. the constitution I seem to be more and more able to feel ok, or even happiness more and more of the time, often without any specific trigger. just mostly a good mood, while allowing the negative feelings when they rise.
    6. having an active dreamlife and remembering a lot of it, being capable to dream up a group setting and to go into feelings at times
    7. feeling able to look for the sunny side of things, making the best of things, and how my mom seems to have passed that quality on, still being that way.
    yesterday when I arrived at her place, she started crying upon seeing me, saying she felt she did not know much anymore and did not want to live like that anymore… I hugged her, and when after a little while I asked her if she felt like a walk, she cheered up right away, beaming really, big smile, saying ‘sure, of course, let’s go!’, all smiles again and starting to sing shortly after…
    8.feeling love for so many things, beauty, animals, people, our world, feeling able to have compassion and to care
    9. feeling curiosity about many things as well, science, biology, our cosmos, other people…
    9.chocolate, ice cream, cookies, a beer and some potatoes chips, a good meal
    10. the endless number of good audio books to listen to and enjoy, offered for free by the library

    I will continue in a new comment before it gets too long, M

  111. Margaret says:

    ok, what next, as I say, so many things pop up…
    11. the great gift of primal therapy of feeling able to deal with grief, fear and anger better and better, and to be able to enjoy and feel good and trust and be vulnerable also better and better
    12. feel so good about having taken the initiative for a volunteer job at the phone helpline, as it is so interesting and brings me in touch with a large number of very positively oriented people, the fellow volunteers and the staff
    13. the thought of hopefully soon being able to start the volunteer work and give some of the callers some support and courage to continue
    13. becoming more and more aware of being able to deal with problems, to accept the feelings that come with them, to look for solutions, and to ask for help and assistance when necessary
    14. it is great to have solved a problem small or not so small
    15.
    hearing the occasional good stand-up comedian on tv, love to laugh out loud and it makes me feel connected as well
    16. the connecting with all kinds of people, in small ways or more intensely, of which I have more now surprisingly, despite the Corona. i seem to really need to regularly meet new people, or to bond more with the ones I know
    17.
    my daily soap on tv
    18. going to bed with the cats by my feet or next to me
    19. hearing someone say what they like about me!
    feeling hope and curiosity about what still lays ahead of me, despite the fear for all new events, as I feel more capable to pass the hurdle of fear as I know more and more how rewarding the challenges can be

    ok, so far so good, these are the things that spontaneously came up for me so far, it must be entirely different for anyone.
    maybe the exercise works best while not having read yet someone else’s list, not sure.
    I feel a bit vulnerable having written this list down, but well, I feel vulnerable most of the time, it seems to come with being more open, which is ok as it also lets in the good stuff.
    Margaret

  112. Margaret says:

    P.s.
    21. I remember in the exercise we had in the volunteer training, also having talked about how, at the time I started Primal Therapy, I entered literally saying ‘I don’t need anyone’, and feeling proud of that…
    7 months later I got the meningitis and lost 95 percent of my eyesight and the hearing of one ear, and was obliged to admit to myself I did need other people after all…
    that actually helped my therapy forward, beside triggering a lot of pain and anxiety and deep grieving.
    appreciating others help and learning to ask for it, being vulnerable and scared instead of so arrogantly ‘tough’, made me a nicer, more gentle person, or at least that is how it feels to me.
    so even that traumatic event did offer some opportunities, while of course I would (not) hesitate if offered the option to have my sight back but to still be a egoistic person or to keep it this way.
    I would probably cheat and choose the first option telling myself from then on I would start to work on being more gentle, ha!
    just felt like adding this one, to the list, as it might have been maybe what triggered the other person listening in the exercise on Zoom…
    M

    • Phil says:

      Margaret,
      thanks for sharing all this.
      I don’t feel like making a long list, but I do have good things in my life.
      I have my wife, although we sometimes are struggling to make our relationship work,
      it’s very good when it’s working. She puts up with me.
      I have my sons, and they really only bring me joy.
      We are healthy and have what we need to enjoy life.
      I’m lucky, or resourceful to have found primal therapy many years ago, and although it’s
      been an extremely long and difficult journey, I don’t think I could have made it otherwise.
      Phil

    • Larry says:

      Why before therapy did you adopt the attitude of being ‘arrogantly tough’, Margaret?

  113. I have to type this:
    Have you ever seen a friar-style of hairdo for guys? Mostly bald, but with a strip of hair around back from ear-to-ear?
    Dad had a nice, shiny topped bald head with a friar-strip grown out, gray and white.
    It was just so innocent. An innocent mathematical mind with the regal, dignified elder decorum of baldness with a casually tussled gray-and-white friar strip of hair around back.
    An innocent man ready to hug at anytime.

    • Mary Z says:

      Thankyou for all the comments to my post of 12/5. Yes, I am pretty slow to respond here.
      You brought up some interesting things,Sylvia.
      I did have a reaction after I posted. I felt like I was nothing, I didn’t exist. It’s as though I have struggled all my life to protect myself and suddenly I’m unprotected.
      You mentioned that my feeling of ‘I can’t do that’ could be related to early in life situation when I felt helpless at not being able to do something well (or at all I think in my case)
      I am thinking of two scenes where I couldn’t take care of myself and maybe can write about later.
      I have been thinking today that there actually are 3 things in my life right now that I need to do and feel I can’t.
      I need to find a job, find a place to live soon because house I am renting a room in is in process of getting sold, and I need to buy a car.
      I had a car accident in March, car was totaled and I still haven’t replaced. I am looking to buy a not too expensive used car but having an extremely difficult time to search for one.
      There you go, Margaret! You were asking about how things were going now. Things were better for about 2 years but now it’s extreme stress and hard to go forward. Thankyou for your comment, Margaret, that was so very kind.
      Superstar Guru, I am sorry to say that I have not heard from ‘ex’ and I am sorry that it’s causing you so much pain to not be able to contact him.
      Otto, that was nice to hear what you said about liking to hear me in group. I can relate to your feeling paralyzed with fear.
      Larry , Thankyou for the welcome

      • Mary Zerebesky says:

        It’s me again.
        I am scared about a situation that just came up for me and was wondering if anyone is familiar with this.
        I am renting a room in a 2 bedroom apartment I share with a couple. The husband acquired the apartment at least 30 years ago and wife (with cat) moved in about 15 years ago.
        The building got sold and owners hired management company that put out new rules as part of change in terms of tenancy. One being:
        ‘No persons or pets are permitted to occupy the premises other than those listed on the original rental agreement without the express prior consent of the owner or his agent.’ (30 day notice)
        Maybe they still can’t kick anyone out because of COVID-19 (not sure if that is still in effect) but am afraid the couple will
        ask me to leave. They haven’t seen the notice yet.
        I think the owners are looking for any excuse to kick people out so they can raise rent, which is actually ridiculously low.
        I would greatly appreciate hearing from anyone who knows about this

        • Mary, thanks for letting me know you are out of the loop regarding your ‘ex’. If you know someone who is closer to him, could you please check and see if he’s OK?
          No pressure here, but I really do think there’s a 5-10% chance he died.
          As for your apartment sub-lease, are you firmly wanting to stay in the LA metro area or are you willing to relocate away from the city at this time? An answer here can help clarify things for future suggestions for you, thanks.

          • Mary Zerebesky says:

            To Super Guru,
            I can’t think of anyone at the moment that may know something about ex but will let you know if I do. What makes you think there is a chance he died?
            Thankyou for your interest in my rental problem. Would be willing to relocate outside of metro La sometime in near future

            • Mary, my post immediately after your first one explaining your situation would help answer your question. 5-10 percent is still a slim possibility. All kinds of other possibilities, too! I have no idea why I haven’t heard from him for so long.
              I wish I could be of more help with your precarious living arrangements. Do you have relatives who could help?

        • David says:

          Is there still a public service/renters’ rights assoc’n such as , ” Justice Institute?” Changing terms on existing rentals used to be a , ” no no.” At one time Primal rentors were a revolving door… (:
          Dave Hardy

  114. Phil says:

    There’s a worrisome situation at the place where I work. We realized last night that a doctor who works with us once a week is positive for Covid. He was tested on Monday and the positive results came back Thursday. He worked with us on Wednesday. The patients he saw are getting notified. I was only close to him for a few seconds, but other people in the office had a lot more contact with him. Ideally we should close the office and all quarantine, but that isn’t happening. I guess my bosses are justifiably worried about their business, but staying open can put it more at more risk. And they seem to be more worried about their business than they are about their patients and employees.
    Phil,

  115. Margaret says:

    Phil,
    that is worrisome indeed.
    one tiny good side is tomorrow the weekend starts, but if everyone has to keep working then until the test results arrive, that must create a very unpleasant situation, right?
    how do your colleagues feel about this?
    wouldn’t they prefer a safety quarantine?
    i hate to imagine being in such a position and feel bad for you to have to deal with this.
    M

  116. Phil says:

    Margaret, if I get it, it will probably be later on from one of my coworkers, other than that doctor. If everyone is extremely careful, always wearing masks, maybe no one else will get it. But I’m sure the doctor took his mask off to drink coffee, although he did go out to a restaurant for lunch. From now on I’m going to my car to have lunch instead of eating in the break room.
    It’s stressful, I don’t want to be getting it. My wife doesn’t want me bringing it home. She is now sometimes working at the local high school, another somewhat risky place. I want to stay free of Covid until vaccines get here.
    Phil

  117. Bernadette says:

    Margaret, I like this exercise, although it’s not that easy. Things that make me feel good or that I am happy about. Here I go (not in any particular order):

    1. working in my garden, getting my hands dirty in the soil, talking to the plants, watching new shoots grow, love it when the butterflies dance around me, I’m floating on the sound of birdsong, lose myself in the bees buzzing from flower to flower, each flower having its own expression like a face, its own distinct scent, sweeping the fallen leaves, connecting with natural energy.

    2. biking along the beach on a sunny day for miles on end, easy going, the wind in my hair, the warm sun on my back, the cries of sea gulls, the sound of the waves washing up on the shore, children playing in the sand and laughing with joy, I’m just floating along, weightless, watching the clouds sail by and daydreaming.

    3. yoga, the rhythmic breathing and movements, the focusing inward, the conscious attention to muscles and tendons stretching and releasing of tension, the strength and balance, the twisting into a pretzel ever so slightly deeper than yesterday, or not, the sense of complete relaxation at the end in body, mind, and spirit.

    4. non-thinking, the most awesome place to be, no thoughts, first just feeling the body, the blood pulsating through the veins, the tingling electricity running through the body, just pure sensation without thinking, being in my center and feeling my heart energy, and eventually letting go of all sensory perceptions and floating in space.

    5. cooking, I cook with all of my senses, love the sounds, chopping, sizzling, bubbling, sputtering; love the smells, the colors, the textures, the arrangement on the plates, the tastes, the sweet, the sour, the salty, the spicy, a happy, creative process, seeing a meal come together, mostly plant based, organic and healthy.

    6. getting hugs from my husband and hugging him, it’s cuddly and warm and makes me feel connected and provides a sense of safety on a deep level, and is the expression of love and closeness without words. Making my husband smile, or even better laugh out loud, so that he forgets for a moment that life is not all that shitty, and watching with pleasure when his eyes sparkle with joy or mischief at that moment.

    7. lending a helping hand to a friend or neighbor, being part of a solution gives me a good feeling and a sense of responsibility, connecting with people by doing or writing or listening or talking, living by example without expectation and being surprised when seeing others follow, thus creating a peaceful environment. At the same time knowing that there is not always an answer or a solution as far as I understand but that a certain action or state of mind makes sense to someone and has its rightful place.

    8. talking on the phone with my eldest sister for hours at a time about God and the world, I forget my surroundings and completely sink into the space we create together, from serious talk to girlish giggles to serene heartfelt memories and feelings, crying together and expressing our love for each other. So wonderful.

    9. My connection to nature. Hiking in the hills, enjoying the serenity and quiet of the natural environment, often seeing wildlife, deer and bunny rabbits, birds and lizards and snakes and butterflies, that always is a heart opening event, enjoying the view over the bay, the sun reflecting on the ocean and the gazillion silvery sparkles it creates. Watch the waterfowl down by the river or the birds in my garden through a spy glass, there is no better therapy than letting myself sink into the world of the birds, in awe at their simple presence, their natural everyday routines, their liveliness, their loyalty to one another, their natural ebb and flow of waking and sleeping with the rise or setting of the sun.

    10. writing, when my head gets out of the way and the words and phrases and concepts flow through my hands and fingers onto the keyboard, as though they came from an unknown world and I am only the tool that brings the thoughts and sentiments to life on ‘paper’. Writing and receiving emails, WhatsApps, messages and blog post from friends and family members that create a web of connections.

    11. listening to music over high quality head phones that bring out every sound and nuance of each instrument, at this time of the year it’s Christmas songs or Handel’s Messiah that touch my heart on a deep level, letting myself float along the different layers that the various instruments and voice create, the highs and lows, the interweaving of the different parts, the creating of tension and the resolution, I feel it with my entire body.

    12. a good cry especially after having denied and resisted a painful feeling, and finally the release when I accept, let it rise up, allow it to connect and then fully embrace the pain, at this moment even the pain turns to pleasure and a sense of thankfulness, nothing gives more release and brings more healing.

    13. the self-healing of my body through meditation, yoga, qi-gong, awareness of energy flow and innate healing forces, and the releasing of primal pain. The feeling of being deeply grateful for having less pain in my spine than a few years ago, in spite of getting older. The appreciation of an otherwise healthy and strong body, grateful for not needing any medication.

    14. singing out loud while driving my car, I make up my own songs and melodies, sometimes even create my own language with meaningless words, it’s all an expression of a deep yearning and feeling inside from an ancient time long past, it creates a deep sadness or soaring joy depending on my current need, and is at the same time exhilarating and relaxing, but always healing on a deep level.

    15. vacuuming – that’s after having gone through all the resistance and dislike and not wanting and what a nuisance and impatience and irritation, then arriving at the acceptance and slowing down and focusing only at the task in hand and finally realizing that there is nothing else that I’d rather be doing right now. That’s peace.

    16. Dancing, alone and freestyle, when surrounded by sounds of music and lots of space, slow or fast, gentle or wild, or even better yet, by a drum circle, only my body movements express what my mind cannot, being carried along by the rhythms and sounds, a sense of freedom and joy.

    17. being able to mostly see the positive side in life, even when in the depth of misery or in the face of adversity, I know there is another place and it will reveal itself, I have faith that all is exactly the way it is supposed to be, and will change when it is supposed to be different again. Accepting things as they are, although a bit of a challenge at times, but when I’m there it feels deeply peaceful and gratifying and I am content with what is, even if things don’t look perfect from the outside. Knowing and accepting that I have created and always will create my own reality, and take responsibility for it, is deeply satisfying and grounding.

    18. Having a curious and intelligent and open mind that can learn and expand and acquire new knowledge, be it empirical knowledge like astronomy or learning a new language like Spanish and Latin, or a mind that can improve in intuitive areas, in the matters of the heart, including making a 180 turn-around on some occasions after pondering on a deep seated belief or a misguided, faulty instinct.

    19. the knowledge that a sense of gratefulness is the best cure for personal misery, that change has to come from the inside and is directly dependent on what I think and as a result, feel. The knowledge that what I think and feel has a direct impact on the people around me, therefore the realization that if I want to see a better world, it starts with my own thoughts and feelings and actions, and is indeed challenging and yet empowering.

    20. the idea that I am not done yet with life, that there is room for self-improvement, that indeed the best of me is still to come, that I have a purpose that I want to fulfill, that I have still much to give, not in a big and/or public way but in a quiet and sublime way.

    21. Knowing that contentment, joy, abundance, peace, freedom, and love are states of the mind entirely dependent on my inner state of being and are not to be sought on the outside, in other persons, or in material things – is liberating and grounding.

    • Phil says:

      Bernadette, you expressed yourself so well in this answer to Margaret’s exercise. I could almost imagine what it’s like being you.
      Phil

      • Bernadette says:

        Phil, thanks… “almost” is the operative word here, now you only have to imagine my miserable half and you get the whole picture (smile).
        On the Covid side: are you taking mega doses of vitamin D (10,000 IU per day)? It is supposed to strengthen your immune system and protect somewhat from catching the virus, and if you already have the virus, it’s supposed to help you recover quicker. There are some good studies. I hope you are okay.

  118. Bernadette says:

    Guru, it is nice to read about the tender feelings you had for your dad, still have. The friar hair style rings a bell, my dad looked like that, although he let his white mane grow wild at certain times (as you might remember from the photo with the giant zucchini). I am glad you had such a deep connection with your dad, especially as you lost your mother so early in your life. I can imagine that you miss him deeply, especially around this time of year.

    • Bernadette, yes I certainly remember that cool photo of your dad! I only want to add that my own dad didn’t let his friar mane grow *too* wild, only 2-3 inches at most. Any sort of ponytail would have been way too cheap and tawdry for him.
      I noticed your exceptionally comprehensive responses to Margaret, and I feel slightly sad I was not able to elicit any response to the neighborhood pictures I sent you. While it’s true you’re never *obligated* to respond, I’d still love to know what insights you might carry.
      Any feedback you may have along with what specific observations Renee may have had leading her to conclude that I am “quite hard on myself” are highly sought-after pieces of knowledge for me at this time.

      • Bernadette says:

        Guru, my dad didn’t go as far as a pony tail either, he was very neat; in that picture he probably had the wildest, and longest, hair ever in his life! As far as I remember.
        I’m sorry to make you slightly sad for not having responded yet to your email with the neighborhood pictures, it has been on my mind, but I would rather respond to you via email. Let me work on that later today.
        You know that I can’t talk for Renee, Guru! I don’t know what she had in mind and wouldn’t want to speculate, when she concluded that you are hard on yourself. All I remember is that she said it in connection with you being “wiser and more resilient than you think” or something along those lines, which could possibly give you a clue. I think it would be much more productive for you if you came up with your own answers.

  119. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    finally a saturday. now i will take out the trash and clean up a horribly cluttered and dirty house. both of us work so hard, we don’t have energy to do squat except work, eat too much, sleep, watch tv during the work-week. i was able to sleep in till 8, the amazing grace of a saturday. i had an interesting dream that probably means something, and i can still remember fragments. not the normal dream where meowling running cats wake you up in the middle of the dream, so that you get up to pee and the dream immediately disappears from your consciousness. this was not a scary dream, but involved moving into a new home, walking with the young woman who owned the home, and a couple competing for space in this incredibly large home. for some reason, the thought came to me that the dream might be somewhat about coming home to my grandmother’s care after my mom died of polio, when i was about 1 1/2 years old. the few years after 1 1/2, i can pull up no me,mory until i was about 5, living in a house with my brother and grandmother in hollywood, next door to the hotel where my good aunt and uncle lived and managed the hotel. 1950’s hollywood. some strange chicken-to-go place across the street, cant remember the name but yes the smell. not a bad smell, we liked to eat chicken,

  120. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    not many tears this year about christmas. i had some tears many years ago when we went to my wife’s sister’s house at christmas time, redondo beach maybe. i looked at the sister’s christmas tree and felt very sad. maybe our youngest son was just a baby at that time. another time, at a christmas group in the big big group room, with the carols playing on the tape player, i was able to lay down in that big room and have a few tears as i listened to the music. probably both times…something my mom being very sad at my first christmas when i was only a couple of weeks out of the womb. she was most likely sad, at times, since my father (her husband) had died suddenly 6 months before i was born. then my mom went away just before my 2nd christmas, she went away to be paralyzed in an iron lung with polio for 8 months. and then everyone was sad at my 3rd christmas because my mom had died in the summer. good times. i feel nothing as i write this. maybe we will watch jimmy stewart and donna reed movie, that’s always good for a tear, especially when they first get together and they throw their arms around each other and george (JIMMY) is so emotional about donna wanting him and him giving up his dreams of leaving the hick town and all his responsibilities. oh yeah, it’s a wonderful life. sure…every now and then. for some people, never. for me…bearable, some wonder…some or a lot of anguish. b up, got to take out trash before i am bombarded with ‘i am happy’, when do we get tree, do your new shoes fit…presents presents presents.i should treasure her, but of course wtf i am unable to. what a joke am i.

  121. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    why do i write this trivial crap. i stupidly sent her outside without a mask to give the gardener his gardening check and his christmas check. she had the sense to pull her scarf over her mouth and he pulled up his mask. she took off scarf and said she will wash it. people are dying in droves over here. gardener mario was chopping twigs off of his tree and dropping covid all over the place as he huffed and puffed in the coldish late-fall california air. he must like to cut twigs off of trees. it is probably the same as me. i work to distract my mind a lot. i think his brother died this year or last, he cried in my wife’s arms when that happened. i just now chastized her when i was writing this, with my door closed. she burst in to give me a birthday card from my oldest son and wife. the card i had just plucked from the mailbox and threw on the green chair with the rest of the mail. because i dont have time for mail with trash overflowing the house. and i dont give a flying f about birthdays or birthday cards. i said don’t come in when my door is shut. sorry. anyway. as i was saying before she burst into my room…i was trying to be complimentary about her caring personality, as she cared about our gardener. but i had to stop taking trash out and sweeping when she started singing. i like to groan and grumble when i work, no whistling while i work for me. i guess i will tackle my room now. can’t turn this way or that it is so cluttered. caring for my dog in her last few months was about all i could do besides work like a dog telework, trying to keep up and competing to stay alive with the imagined terror and braininess of my young superstar co-workers. this week i was cursing loud while working…my fingers don’t hit the right keys, and the mouse and the internet have a mind of their own. the cursor is never to be found. i can afford real glasses but the rx is buried somewhere in this room.

  122. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    cant help myself she is on iphone with our son and his wife in ohio oohing and ahhing about their cheese plate they just made for themselves. i look at the phone to comply but i dont give an f about cheese plate. i have been overeating so much and not in the mood for happy. just trying to dig out. why does she call them when she sees me working. i have probably discouraged her from housework over 44 years because my grandmother did it so much better. better because she used work to forget the death or her husband and my mom. and made me a cleaning woman in the process. her love of work, transferred to me, at least i know how to keep working. but at a cost. old woman, non-person me.

    • Larry says:

      I must have a feeble brain, Otto, because your ‘trivial crap’ is to me interesting to read. I can’t help feeling that most people if not all who were smacked with your same early life experiences would feel much as you to about your life now.

    • Bernadette says:

      Otto, I agree with Larry, I always like reading about what you are going through and remember. I think it’s amazing that you have been able to keep a challenging job and have a family, things to be grateful for. It’s hard breaking to read about your childhood. Keep writing.

  123. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    b, l, thx

  124. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    g,b, wtf? faux grim reaper? or what…

  125. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    Either i was hallucinating in group today, which is entirely possible due to my age and the large amounts of acid i took in the sixties, or there was one hell of a hail mary primal technique awarded to me for my constant devotion to my ugly truth. I was surprised, i must say…when the shovel came flying at my head and i had to tell my feets to do their walkin’. no, it must have been a technical error that there was indifferent silence. oh well, we shall see how that works itself out. now we are talkin’, the big guns came out. too bad i can’t deal with them. i do feel like a creep now, but my stupid strong defenses remain intact.

    • Vicki says:

      Sounds exciting, Otto! I can’t wait to find out what that’s all about! So much all tied up in that!

    • Larry says:

      Defenses are to be respected, but in this therapy of course gently challenged every now and then. We want to get rid of them and we don’t. We always have that difficult dance.

  126. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    somebody i know did not like the way i danced, so i gave it up long ago. i give things up easily. too many shovels to the head over 69 years, i guess.

  127. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    shovels to the head are generally not considered gentle, is what i am saying. now to work. that is the worst shovel to my head at this moment, but the other one will be felt all week too.

  128. Margaret says:

    Bernadette,
    thanks so much for sharing what makes you feel good in your life.
    i have to reread it as there is so much there I connect with, and that also feels good.
    I liked what you wrote about the vacuum cleaning as well, as I regretted not having mentioned that after writing my stuff, and don’t you also really like the smell of soap after having cleaned the floors, and after having done a load of washing, ha, which gives a lot of satisfaction with even less effort, smiley….
    and specially the Marseille soap, delicious, i have all kinds of stuff with that in it, shower gel, hand soap, soap for the washing machine and soap for the floors and furniture, all containing that delicious Marseille soap smelling sooo good and old-fashioned!
    M

  129. Margaret says:

    Phil,
    your reply to Bernadette made me wonder if our pain, the things that hurt us, tells mostly about what has been done to us, while what we love and enjoy maybe tends to say more about who we really are…
    just a thought crossing my mind by what you said…
    M

  130. Margaret says:

    Otto,
    I understand you perceived that silence as indifference, but I know it was not.
    I care and wish I knew a way to help you, and think for the majority of the group they feel the same…
    what would help you to be able to speak up more in group?
    sometimes I am afraid to ask you questions fearing it would only irritate you, but maybe I should just stick out my neck, what do you say?
    I don’t know about the therapists, and their approach, but I am entirely sure they mean the best for you and deeply care.
    their silence if anything is inviting, but maybe you need another approach?
    I hold back also because I have been out of group for several years, so I feel I know little to nothing about what would help you.
    but it is hard to hear you suffer so if you could give us a clue please do?
    M

  131. Phil says:

    In group yesterday I talked about how Christmas music effects me. Later on in the evening I was alone, and put on some music, and sure enough, I had a big cry. Besides anything else, it seems to open up feelings of wanting my childhood family together, intact and healthy, with everyone connecting and relating nicely, and that I get everything I need.
    Some kind of Christmas miracle that I don’t believe in, but maybe hope for somewhere deep inside, a secret feeling I carry around. That’s why it’s good I talked about it, and am writing about it here.
    Otto, what I think is, you should force yourself to talk in group, even if you don’t feel like it, or want to. I see you in group, and hope you’ll say more. But it’s OK if you don’t, I’m glad you’re there.

    Phil

  132. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    the fear is palpable at work. i work at home. but that fear was pretty much palpable on friday. thanks margaret. no time to chat. i may, for my own health, post snippets today as i wallow in my fear.

  133. Phil says:

    I guess Michael Jackson was a creep, but this song gets to me.

  134. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    crude foul cursing comes out of my mouth constantly as i work. people i hate for their contribution to my aches and pains. maybe i had a good role model. hmmm. a good reason to keep my f’ing mouth shut now.

  135. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    i stiil think it was beautiful to see e holding her cat.

  136. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    doom in the morning, doom in the evening, doom at suppertime….er.. sorry bout that McGuire Sisters – Sugartime
    maybe that kind of feeling erased a lot of my early memories
    SUCH A HAPPY SONG https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRvEHn6fKWE

  137. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    WELL THE SHOVEL SURE KNOCKED SOMETHING LOOSE IN MY BRAIN. BRAVO. HOW COULD MONSTER UNCLE LISTEN TO SUCH HAPPY MUSIC? probably my aunt. or not. my grandmother told me they would go out dancing and leave me home alone. so they must have liked music. which could have been a stinker. since my mom gave me a lot of music before moving on. but surely confusing for a young mind.

  138. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    they dont allow me to cry at work. what a fucking happy song!–HOW SAD!

  139. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    here i am all afraid of death. i told my harebrained not to go down to the neighbors house because that 80 year old lady lets people come in to her house. but my delight cant get it through her head and went twice in her house. lady was found on bathroom floor . ambulance took her to hospital. now is my dear wife full of covid? am i? unfrigging believable. and poor lady, nice lady, hope she just ate something.

  140. Vicki says:

    I am still listening to Peter, Paul, and Mary a lot, and listening to Mary Travers. They recorded “Some Walls” late in Mary’s life, and it also appears on their final album (live version), where the arrangements were slightly different and more relaxed. Mary was fragile, had been in chemo for her leukemia, and “the boys” were helping her more with some leads. Her voice was not as pure and soft, and her range had lowered, yet she feels almost more “fired up” or maybe intense, and more blunt. I find the contrast interesting, in what she was capable of, between the early and late styles.

    Anyway, here are the words of “Some Walls” followed by the song, the only one I could find online.

    Some walls are made of stone
    Sometimes we build our own
    Some walls stand for years
    And some wash away with tears

    Some walls
    Some walls

    Some walls are lined with gold
    Where some hearts stay safe and cold
    Some walls are made of doubt
    Holding in and keeping out

    If there’s any hope for love at all
    Some walls must fall
    Some walls
    Some walls

    Some walls are built on pride
    Some keep the child inside
    Some walls are made in fear
    That love let go will disappear

    If there’s any hope for love at all
    Some walls must fall

    How will you ever know what might be found
    Until you let the walls come tumbling down

    If there’s any hope for love at all
    Some walls, some walls must fall

    If there’s any hope for love at all
    Some wall, some walls, some walls
    Must fall

    Songwriters: Mary Ann Kennedy / Pamela Rose / Randy Sharp
    Some Walls (2004 Remaster) lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LL

    • Bernadette says:

      Vicki, I like the lyrics of “Some Walls” they say so much in simple words. The way you described and compared Mary’s singing styles made a lot of sense and made me think how observant you are and my guess is that you must love music a lot. The lyrics also made me think of my own walls. And how I still have to work on breaking them down from the inside.

      • Vicki says:

        Yes, thanks Bernadette, that’s what I was aiming for. The words say so much. And yet, it’s when I listen to them singing, I feel so much more about it, than just reading the words. But I need the words too, because often when I listen at first, I can’t understand all the words.

      • Vicki says:

        More about music — I usually have music, some song or other, running through my brain. It starts as soon as I wake up, and continues all day. I remember many years ago, another patient was telling in group how she was always “counting numbers” in her mind, all the time, and I remember that was really painful for her. So I wonder if the music I always hear fills a similar function — but it is not painful, unless occasionally I get some “earworm” stuck inside, and have to work my way to get rid of it. I remember a lot of songs, and often while one is “playing” in my head, especially if I’m humming along, suddenly it will morph into a different song, so I know my brain associated them without any effort, and if I notice and catch it, I often find that they share part of the same melody, even if the timing and mood are very different. Then it makes me wonder if one artist or group pirated it from the other.

        The songs my mind “auto-plays” are ones I like, and that have been bringing up feelings recently, or else feelings in the background are bringing up related music. Either way, I’m working on some feelings. This past week several songs have “played” in my mind, but “Some Walls” (posted above), I’m hearing the most, and that made me go back and listen to it on CD or online, feeling moved by it each time, but not sure why I’m gripped. There is something about the way Mary sings, I hear it in her voice, and when I watch her on videos, I hear and see that she’s feeling intensely, and it gets to me.

        Then two nights ago as I was readying for sleep, “Some Walls” was playing a little in my head, and suddenly I connected again with how much feeling Mary puts into it as she sings, especially in the different versions. I feel like I resonate with her inside when I listen, her whole body moves when she sings, and she is into it. I realized the way she sings, is like she’s loving the audience with her singing — and it made me cry in a way beyond what I ever remember feeling before. I felt it in my guts and up into my chest, and shoulders, and with breathing relief, and focused into my heart, over and over. And the feeling of being loved changed into feeling more alive in my body. And still connected to what I think I’m seeing & hearing in Mary. It’s a strong feeling, at the moment. Also in there was feeling alone, and feeling how different I imagine Mary would have been, compared to my own mother. I feel Mary had a straightforward simplicity in how she expressed herself and her truth as a person, and how she saw herself in the world. I got that sense also from reading the opening chapter of her book, as she writes about her childhood with clarity.

        • superstarguru says:

          Vicki, usually (but not always) I am an instrumental music person, Mind if I play this here? It’s only a 2-minute track and it plays on a 90 minute loop, but…well it matches well with Lake Moraine, Alberta, Canada I guess. I don’t know…it helps to soothe the savage beast in me when I am screaming at the predator neighbor who died in 2003, “FUCK YOU! You didn’t get SHIT from me, did you? Fuck you and the smooth talking snake oil horse you rode in on.”
          OK, let’s calm down now …Ohmmmmm,,,,,

          • superstarguru says:

            Oops, that’s not it…Forget that,..I played that earlier in response to someone complaining about drought in California…Here’s what I was trying to post:

  141. Phil says:

    Thanks Vicki, that’s a nice song,
    Phil

  142. Phil says:

    Snow day for me here. Hurray! I don’t mind the big shoveling job I’ll have.

    • Bernadette says:

      Phil, how fun and happy shoveling! Masses of snow brings up some great childhood memories for me. From building snow men and igloos to diving into snow drifts, skiing, sledding down the icy paths, heaven! I hope the snow will stay and you are going to have a white Christmas. It’s so magical!

  143. Bernadette says:

    Otto, how much strength and courage you show by bringing all your pain, fears, anger, doubts, darkness, and vulnerability, etc., into the open. I hope you and your wife are healthy and safe!

  144. Bernadette says:

    Margaret, It feels good that you were able to connect to some of my “feel good” moments. So often in the primal community we can relate to each other because we have the same pain. But to share something pleasant feels exciting. When you mentioned the vacuuming, I felt I needed to clarify what I meant: it was mostly the resistance that I have to break through before I arrive at the pleasantness of vacuuming that is significant to me. My brain actually resists and hates vacuuming, but once I focus my entire attention on the task, and consciously let go of the resistance, that’s when the resistance disappears and from that moment on, I love doing it. The vacuuming is a analogy, if you want, to many other things in my life to which I feel resistance to. And I have many of those. I was born with resistance in my every cell of the body. That said, of course it is also pleasant to have a clean house and one that smells nice (smile). One of my favorite things in this area is freshly washed bed sheets! So cozy!

  145. Phil says:

    It was hard coming back to work after our snow holiday. It turns out a neighbor came over with a powerful snow blower and did our whole driveway, which would have been a big job. That was really nice of him, and he mentioned he has fun using his snow blower anyway.
    I have been reflecting on feelings brought up around Christmas, triggered by Christmas music. There was a good feeling which existed around the holidays in my childhood. But as my mother was sick and soon left us, after that it was never right, although we could still enjoy. My father probably substituted gift giving for attention the rest of the year. At least that was some kind of attention.
    I hope I haven’t had a pattern of doing that too.
    In general I’m in favor of enthusiastically celebrating any holiday, even new, foreign ones, I guess because my experience was, they represent an opportunity to have some good feelings, so why not take advantage?
    Phil

  146. superstarguru says:

    Apologies to the blog if I seem oblivious to everyone’s cares and concerns. I simply want to tell Bernadette I have received all her mails and sent one back to her just now. I am saying this here in case spam filters are still a problem.

  147. Vicki says:

    Bernadette, I was on Facebook, which pops up with “people you may know”, so I saw Jack’s page — and there were 4 posts from his friends who apparently don’t know Jack’s gone. I thought you or Mark might want to post something there to let them know.

    • Vicki says:

      And if you need help, I could easily post whatever you’d like.

    • Bernadette says:

      Vicki, thanks so much for letting me know and offer to help. I will tell Jim, as he has access to Jack’s Facebook page, I don’t. Between him and me, I hope we can handle it, if not, I’d be glad to take up your offer.

  148. superstarguru says:

    “The United States of America is based on ‘FUCK YOU!'”
    No matter how much I cry, scream, and complain about the 1.2 million Americans killed in auto traffic between my mother’s occurrence and 9/11 along with the 800,000 killed thereafter, it matter not one whit to the privatized military/industrial contractors who profited an aggregate of $6-8 trillion off of that story.

  149. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    terms of endearment. well there’s always a few tears to have watching that one.garret coming to give support to aurora when her daughter is dying. flap and aurora in the hospital room when emma leaves the world. sad and sweet. and sweet music

  150. superstarguru says:

    I screwed up yesterday on something I shouldn’t have, felt so terrible about it, and responded badly by going to the liquor store to buy a 6-pack of Pabst, drinking that, and then posting the items above on the blog while being drunk out of my mind.
    So yeah I am chopping myself up pretty hard here (and, incidentally, this makes Renee’s feedback about my ‘being quite hard on myself’ pretty fascinating).
    So there’s my confession in search of absolution.
    I don’t want to do any more self-flagellation, I seriously don’t.
    As Larry once said, “Just because I am alone doesn’t mean I am not worthwhile.”
    This could be a tough holiday season for me. There’s simply nothing there. Nothing.

    • superstarguru says:

      As much as how terrible I feel over drinking a six-pack of beer, especially afterwards, I can’t help but be astounded by how much alcohol people buy at the local liquor store. While making my purchase I watched one lady in her fifties buy more than a dozen fifths of hard liquor in sacks while I could only roll my eyes thinking, “Holy Jesus, what massive amount of poison that is.” Hopefully she was buying for a large party, at least. Another younger woman at the store had an entire shopping cart 2/3rds full of hard liquor. Not beer which I restrict myself to, but HARD LIQUOR which eight times as strong. Frightening.
      I’ll finally break down and turn to alcohol when the misery for me is particularly acute or if it hangs around, never wanting to go away and give me a respite. I feel slightly jealous of the teetotalers here on the blog. How can you possibly deal with unyielding misery without finally ‘caving in’ to something self-destructive? I can’t be a ‘feel the feeling’ machine forever.

      • superstarguru says:

        When I cursorily examined the young lady with the shopping cart 2/3rds full of hard liquor, she seemed reasonably healthy, so it’s possible she was buying for others or a private group, etc. Drinking at that level is pretty much committing suicide. The top 10% of American drinkers consume 75 drinks per week. Yes, over 10 drinks EVERY DAY! About 1/3rd of Americans are teetotalers with another 20% drinking negligible amounts.
        I don’t know,….just something to ponder, I guess..

        • superstarguru says:

          The liquor store is reasonably large with a wide variety of items from around the world. When I stopped to realize I was surrounded by enough alcohol to kill perhaps 2,000 or more people that also gave me a weird feeling. For lack of a better way to put it, it feels a bit like walking into a strange pseudo pit of despair packaged neatly and cheerfully.

          • Phil says:

            Guru,
            I hope you get though the holidays OK.
            Here’s a good Christmas blues song. You could listen to stuff like this instead of getting drunk. Phil

            • Phil says:

              That one may have been inappropriate, sorry about that. Here’s another one I like:

            • superstarguru says:

              Phil, my cousin’s husband is a serious blues fanatic and a highly skilled cigar box guitar maker. He’s made hundreds of them and sells them at craft shows. Too bad they live hundreds of miles away from me or else I’d be visiting them a lot.

    • Larry says:

      No one should have to be alone. It’s torture. That is why it is used as a severe form of punishment in prisons. There were a few times when I would have been alone for Christmas or Thanksgiving here in Saskatoon, but someone saved me from that and took me in. Looking back I realize that being involved in activities outside the home brought me in contact with people who didn’t want me to be alone over the holidays when they found out I would be. I hope you won’t always be alone Guru.

      • superstarguru says:

        Larry, ironically when I wrote that out today a couple who were old friends with my parents sent me a Christmas card this morning. They’re really old folks now, but they were aware of my dad’s passing and they wrote me saying “Since you are an only child of two only children (my mom and dad were both only children) we are keeping you on our Christmas list. At one time we were best friends with your parents.”
        It really makes me sad that this couple are one of the last few people on Earth who have any conscious memory of both my parents.
        Maybe I’ll watch the movie “Last of the Mohicans” or something. My dad used to apply that title to me.

  151. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    Guru, Pabst used to be one of my favorites. I feel bad for you (what you are saying about the holiday season possibly being tough for you). Hang tight.

  152. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    Anyway, If i wasn’t always totally in fear of people, especially big crowds like there were in yesterday’s group, I could have shared an inspirational thought i had the previous day. Wherein i said to myself, because i am not afraid to say stuff to myself (just big crowds of people), ” Another fucking year (gone)”.. The emotion attached to that proclamation did elicit a tear or two when i said that to myself, but i forgot about it by group time, and the settling in of the terror of being around the crowd of people who resembled both Life and also the Uncle of my early childhood. LIFE and my MONSTER UNCLE, whose only desires were to fuck my poor baby self over and then kill me in a terrible manner. And that feeling has overwhelmed me since group, with a lot of the tossing and turning all night long, but the anguish will most likely be stuffed back into an obscure corner of my being when i start working in a little while. well, i dont have time to make these words anymore intelligible, but i just had to say them. This therapy is a total bitch for a wretch like me. boo hoo

  153. Margaret says:

    Vicki,
    that was a great comment you wrote about what that song does to you.
    sadly the link remained invisible to my screen reader,, if you have the time, could you paste it in an e-mail to me please?
    I don’t recall ever having heard them and am very curious by now…
    Margaret

  154. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    but here’s the thing—i hate this frigging job.

  155. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    we also watched last week, part of CALL OF THE WILD (Harrison Ford version). Beezus said it strayed a lot from the book, which i never read and never will. But the alpha dog Buck was inspiring and tearful for me, as i always have wanted to be an alpha (ala superman), who could conquer anything. I remain, as always, not even a zeta. smaller than an ant. able to pull no lady out of her death struggle. failure to even come close to being a human being. i say this not to beat myself up (life can take care of that) but just wishing it weren’t so, and knowing that it will remain that way, even after i die. a stain upon the universe. ha! 1 minute of freedom from this stinking f’ing job so i can write this.

  156. Phil says:

    I saw a movie “The Prom” last night. It’s about a lesbian girl excluded from her high school prom. The plot give me a lot of feelings and tension, but there was a good Hollywood ending with everything turning out right. It put me into a big feeling, maybe about not getting help like that girl got. It’s a musical and I thought it was quite good, I would watch it again. I’m distracted today, not wanting to be at work. At least it’s a short week for me.
    Phil

  157. Vicki says:

    I apparently carry my nightmares around with me, hidden inside, not even needing external triggers. I woke today remembering a dream in which I had just been yelling at an unknown woman and then her husband, because they had stolen all my vinyl records from my garage, and sold them. So I was angrily getting what information I could from them, so I could “do something” to get my albums back, as they tried to hide the info, and they were getting more scared, and I was getting scared of being attacked and hurt. As I woke and remembered, I realized it had been a dream, and I was relieved that it was not reality.

    Then I immediately also remembered another recurring dream from the past, in which my brother (who’s dead), had killed some guy, in a complicated scenario. But in the dream which I had thought was real, I knew about the murder for which he had told me the details he had managed to hide, and I was frightened that the govt. or police would somehow find out, and “come after” me, as I worried how to prevent that, if I could. So on some level I had still thought this dream was true, until this morning when I knew it had been a dream from some time ago, I think several years at least, that I had hidden from myself, not wanting to know the danger I was still in, until today.

    So then I kind of marveled at how much fear of danger I have inside, and obviously connect it to what happened when I was five years old — that I have previously related — when my parents psychotically called the cops on me for being half-naked in the backyard with a boy probably five years older, and forced both my brother and I to identify the boy to the cops, and my mom told me he was being taken to jail, and that the only reason I did not have to go to jail too, was because I was too young. And besides being shaken and screamed at, my dad “beat / spanked” me with a piece of lath from his garage, and they yelled at both my brother and I that besides “never, ever doing that again”, we were ordered to “never talk about it again”, and no one explained anything about it to me.

    And I became amnesiac about the whole thing, seeing it only as a “dark cloud” in a corner of my mind, and it was a dread I walked around with on the schoolyard for years, believing I was already condemned by “god” to go to hell when I died, and at seven I remember crying and wishing I had never been born. But when I was 10 yrs. old, and my mind had developed more, I spontaneously recovered part of my recorded memory, and reasoned my way to seeing that I did not deserve “that fate”, I had not known why it was “bad”, and so it occurred to me that my parents and the church “must be wrong”. I was still not able to talk about it with anyone, until I was 18, and the first time I managed a brief story about it, I was just shaking. The whole incident also played into my brother’s hiding his beginning alcoholism when he was 9 from being molested at 8, by the son of our mom’s best friend. He did not regain sobriety for 24 years, and never told us about the molestation until as soon as our mom died, he was still so afraid. He had told his AA sponsor about it, in the steps of getting sober.

    • Larry says:

      It’s fascinating, Vicki, how slowly, chipping away at it a little at a time over years, you have come to be able to see the big picture. While growing up you were so traumatized it’s a wonder you are so sane.

    • Phil says:

      Vicki,
      What a crazy story! Did your parents act that way because they were so religious?
      Phil

      • Vicki says:

        Larry, I haven’t always felt sane, indeed. In some ways, very much so, but in the midst of some feelings, I doubt my sanity. Chipping away is accurate — too much to feel all at once, it would be impossible. I feel I was lucky to retain some freedom in my mind, that I could think and reason my way through some of the insanity, just by being left mostly alone, as long as I “obeyed”.

        Phil, my parents converted to Catholicism that same year I was five. Then we had to attend parochial schools for 12 years, and we were made to go to Mass every day before school. I did not know what their extreme fear was about, until I was 10 and we got the most elementary “birds and bees” movies in school, and then I realized, “Oh, it was about sex!” That was the enormous missing piece! So all the shame and hiding was necessary, to them. Lord only knows what they were brought up with, as children, but as they were born in 1909 & 1914, it was a different generation than even my schoolmates parents. And I knew my mom was prudish, and ashamed of her body, and I learned that fear early on myself — not least from having been terrorized at five years old.

        Their conservatism played out in multiple ways — I wasn’t allowed to see movies that my school friends saw, if they were on the church’s “condemned movies” list (e.g. “Goldfinger”). In my early school-years, my daily life involved memorizing religious texts every night, so I could pass the tests of reciting them the next morning. My parents were very active in church “social groups” and we were dragged into that. The only one I liked was singing in the choir for five years. But I was extremely inept socially, frightened, and had no friends (especially after my one friend betrayed my confidence all over the schoolyard). One of my teachers spoke to my mom about my withdrawal, worried. My mom repeated it to me, half-like it was a joke. I was often left out of common social activities that others did; I was in scouts, but always kind of on the fringe, socially.

        And they hid from us until I was 18, that my dad had a son and daughter from a previous marriage, so I didn’t even know I had a half-brother and half-sister, that my parents were in contact with, secretly, in shame. My dad disclosed that to me when we got into the car for him to drive me away to college, because he wanted me to hear it from him, and not one of his relatives. That made it clearer why we had so little contact with his family, and he rarely talked about them.

        Thanks for asking.

        • Phil says:

          Vicki, what you describe, that was such a rigid and severe environment you grew up in, and fearful. It’s hard for me to imagine. Learning all this about your history gives me a much better understanding. Did your parents belong to a different religious group before they converted to Catholicism?
          Phil

          • Vicki says:

            Phil, I’m catching up, and just saw this. They were not in any religious group before Catholicism, except kind of “Christians” in my mom’s whole family, but with no committments. But there was none for my dad, my mom was the one who “led the way”. She got my dad, and one aunt and uncle into it, then before my grandmother died, she got converted too, so that at her funeral, all my other relatives (6 sets of aunts/uncles, cousins, etc.) were not Catholics, and somewhat pissed at my mom having taken over my grandmother near the end. My aunt and uncle were our “godparents”, and even more rigidly Catholic than my parents; they went on to join the right-wing of Catholicism that only goes to Latin Mass, like Mel Gibson.

  158. Sylvia says:

    Wow, Vicki, to blame a child for something they had no idea of what was going on instead of asking if they were okay does seem incredible. No wonder you are having bad dreams about fears.
    It seems to me that our dreams feel so real and build upon each other that we have parallel lives going on–what happens in our true daily life side by side with what occurs in our dreams, unresolved feelings.

    My dreams have a continuing story that picks up where they left off. I don’t know what significance they have though. I keep dreaming my brother is breaking up with another girlfriend, which was over the years several times when he was younger. Yet he has been married a long time now. Could be I worry about the stability around me and old age creeping up on us and things changing.

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks, Sylvia. That got my attention — “instead of asking if they were ok”. Yeah, that never happened, regardless of the event or cause. Not when I was five and they felt the need to call the cops. Not when I fell out of a tree and hurt my arm a little, and all my mom could do was be angry at me for tearing my shirt-sleeve. And not over 20 yrs. ago, when I told them I had had a stroke, and my mom immediately looked down, picked up her crossword-puzzle book, and started working in it, without a word — while my dad, in shock, started talking to me.

      • Sylvia says:

        Gosh, Vicki, it’s like your mom had two reactions, either anger or shut down. It all sounds so repressive and such religious conservancy to stifle any emotion. That is heart-breaking that their ways separated you from feeling a part of group inclusion and to be left out on the fringes.

        My family never discussed my mom’s first marriage, so I didn’t know about it. I thought my 2 oldest brothers were my dad’s. Not until they were old enough to move out and I was ten did she tell me they were my half brothers. I guess my mom didn’t think it was important to tell me. I think she didn’t want to talk about a bad marriage with an alcoholic abandoning first husband. Family secrets, eh.

        Merry Christmas to you Vicki, and to all here –^ ..^– S

        • Vicki says:

          Yes, Sylvia, I have also thought there were two things going on with my mom — fear automatically shutting her down, and going to denial, and more denial if her denial was pointed out. And a mean anger with denial when her anger was pointed out. I felt like she wanted to hurt me, I mean she got pleasure out of it, in feeding her anger, but always denied it — as did her mother, who often lived with us, and I had to sleep with. At five yrs.old, I would move in my sleep, and suddenly grandma would kick me awake, angrily saying that I had kicked her, but of course I had been asleep and no memory of it. I did not like her, I felt she was mean. Grandma is the one who whacked her own 7 yr. old daughter in the head with a cast-iron frying pan, and her 5 yr. old daughter witnessed it, and this aunt told me the story when she was 95 yrs. old, because it still bothered her 90 years after it happened.

          Yes, being left out on the fringes was a common feeling for me — in my family, and at grammar school & high school, and in some ways ever since. Some meetings are hard for me, when my feelings of “not being there” or “being ignored” or “I don’t exist” get triggered, and that past becomes the present, like a bad dream that has slipped over me, without my noticing what, or why, or how, and I’m just in extremely confused feelings. I felt some of those over the past week, so it seems just minimally clearer now.

          Interesting that your family had secrets hiding a marriage from you, as well as likely from themselves. How did you feel the moment you found out?

          • Sylvia says:

            Vicki, there certainly was a lot of anger running thru the matriarchy in your growing up. So much for a sweet granny. You really had to tough it out. You seem very independent and have learned to depend on yourself since they alienated you from your peer group with their social conservatism. Even though it is hard to feel all of it you seem to be self-reliant as a side -effect.

            I think when I found out that my mom had been married before that I was crushed that she had loved someone besides my dad. Also it finally made sense of all the strange looks that my aunt and grandma gave when I said Mom and Dad’s anniversary was a 22 year instead of the 16 yr one they knew to be true since my oldest bro was 21. No one would betray her and tell, they were afraid of her temper. Mom’s reasoning she said was that she didn’t want me to say to my older brothers that he is my dad and not yours. That, I would have never have said, I adored them. I think my other two brothers caught on sooner, being a little older than me. I just happened to see some mail for my oldest brothers with a different last name and my mom decided she should tell me.

            Well, everyone, you all have a good and safe New Year.
            S

            • Vicki says:

              Thanks, Sylvia. I’m not surprised you felt crushed that your mom had loved someone besides your dad. And that it pieced together the puzzle of strange looks (secrets) from other relatives, that they would not tell, for fear of her. And your mom assumed the worst, that you would want to hurt your brothers — she didn’t know you.

              When my dad told me he had been married before my mom, and had two children before me, I was stunned — I remember the moment, sitting in the passenger side of the car, as I felt like a light-switch went off in my head, and part of me shut off. I felt somehow betrayed, I didn’t know these people, like my family was not my family, there were these “other people”. And it more explained why we were “so poor” as my dad had been paying child support — I learned my mom was angry, finding out that his ex had remarried, but hadn’t told him — and that had more repercussions (I didn’t even have shoes that fit, and that caused permanent damage). Nothing is really simple.

              My dad dropped me off at college up north, and I was still so stunned, I knew I would have trouble believing it later. I wrote down what my father told me on a notepad so I would have a record, and folded it up and put it in my wallet, where it stayed for 25 years. I read it the first few days, to confirm it happened, and I would periodically reread it, to remind myself I didn’t imagine or dream it. Then I found it one day, thought it was silly to keep, tore it up, and threw it in the trash. But after a few minutes, retrieved all the pieces, taped it together, folded it up and back into my wallet for maybe 10 years more. I probably still have it in a box somewhere I haven’t seen for years.

              I have long felt my grip on reality is somehow or sometimes tenuous, which is scary. I had a dream once, that I acted on, not knowing I dreamed it. I was invited to what I thought was a baby shower, and bought gifts, and was talking on the phone getting directions to the house of the woman throwing the shower, and told her my gifts (three snap-shirts and a wiggle-worm), she paused, then said, “Vicki, this is a wedding shower, she’s not pregnant.” I was shocked, and then realized and remembered I had dreamed it. She laughed and laughed, and I rushed out to buy a wedding gift. When I got to the party, she told everyone and they all laughed — except for the bride-to-be, who looked at me like she thought there was something really wrong with me. It’s like there’s something just out-of-phase, sometimes “snapping in” to “my reality”, where I can’t tell the difference.

              Happy New Year, and stay safe. I missed that we didn’t have the Rose Parade this year.

              • Sylvia says:

                Vicki, isn’t that so strange that your dad would keep his other family secret. You probably know if it was your mom’s idea to do so. Yeah, that would be a stunner to find out about it all. I can see why you had to write it down as proof to yourself since no one would openly acknowledge it, it was sort of a denial, like if it wasn’t talked about, maybe it didn’t really happen and you needed that note to yourself to validate reality. I’m guessing it was a load off your dad to reveal the secret.

                It’s like our brains are little computers and have to have steady input of a reality to integrate it. A one time admission of another family existing, just couldn’t compute.

                I have dreams that seem real too. In the latest ones that bother me are about accidentally running up charges online that I can’t pay for. It’s too easy to buy things online and my brain keeps trying to do it while I’m asleep. I awaken with anxiety in the middle of the night, thinking, ‘what have I done?’ And feel better after a few minutes after realizing it’s not real. It’s not natural to buy online, it’s corrupting my hunting-gathering instincts. There’s no work involved, just a touch of a click.
                S

                • superstarguru says:

                  Sorry to interject Sylvia and Vicki, I did read your stories about hidden families and unfortunately I can’t relate to that as my dad never remarried as a widower. However, I just wanted to add that I have to disagree with Sylvia with online purchases being unnatural. I happen to think the ability to buy online is the Eighth Wonder of the World.
                  1993-1994 were terrible years for me and it was when the Internet was just starting to blossom publicly. I wish I had been more aware of the amazing possibilities before 1997-1998 when I first went online.

                  • superstarguru says:

                    I mean…I understand it’s more ‘homey’ and genuine to walk to the local friendly hardware store and say “hi” with some small talk with the cashier and that buying online would be a much more sterile and isolating experience, yet having powerful networks available to everyone can provide efficient pricing and help tamp down localized price gouging and taking advantage of peoples’ ignorance of what things should really be worth, etc.

  159. superstarguru says:

    OK, I’m only going to make one observation here for future retrieval. I was steaming, sputtering, and smoldering over the predator neighbor engulfing me (“FUCK YOU! You didn’t get SHIT from me , did you?”)
    I was screaming this at the walls, storming around the house in a furious huff, over and over.
    It was seriously destroying my functioning this morning on the immediate task of end-of-year RMD paperwork, hunting around for old passwords, etc.
    When I read Vicki’s story the electric charge of my incendiary fury at the predator dissipated. I wish I could explain why.
    It’s a good thing, though, I NEED for this fury to dissipate…the electric charge to dissipate, so I can function better on the more urgent mundane tasks.
    I’m sorry I can’t give more meaningful feedback to Vicki for what was obviously a crazy and horrid experience for her.

    • superstarguru says:

      Vicki, I’m really sorry I had to detract from your story. Even I feel inappropriately selfish for detracting from your story. I am literally swimming in the destructive handiwork of selfish asshole predators, and it’s hurting my everyday functioning enough to have these inopportune breakthrough posts distracting from what’s going on with you now. I will try to keep quiet since my story has already been examined.

      • Phil says:

        Guru,
        This isn’t like a live conversation in group or something. I think it’s fine for you to interject with anything you want or need to say.
        Phil

      • Vicki says:

        No problem, Guru, except it’s too bad you were not able to leave your fury dissipated, so you could continue to function better. But no worries about giving me feedback, or detracting.

    • Larry says:

      Seems like there is the switch in you brain that can stop or allow feeding of that fury, UG. If only you were somehow in control of that switch/damper/generator.

      • superstarguru says:

        There are clearly ‘inert’ and ‘activated’ states to the anger, triggered by a multitude of various routine thoughts or visual objects which can oftentimes be hard, if not impossible, to avoid. (It’s hard to avoid something that completely surrounds you, thus ‘swimming in the destructive handiwork of selfish asshole predators’ as I said earlier)
        It’s hugely exhausting and I have settled on the fact I need to do more internal work to try to keep the fury at an ‘inert’ state until I have enough financial power to start returning the favor in a meaningful way.

        • Phil says:

          Guru,
          Ideally you would remove yourself from such a triggering environment, and not just do the internal work, if possible.

          Phil

          • superstarguru says:

            Ideally I would have billions of dollars at my disposal and start having TONS of perfectly creative and legal fun reversing the predator/prey roles.

            • Phil says:

              Guru,
              you could try writing a letter to Jeff Bezos. Across the street from where I work Amazon has spent millions of dollars adapting an existing building to be a distribution center. Maybe he’d be willing to help.

              • superstarguru says:

                You actually bring up an interesting story I could tell you, but I would have to email it to you.

                • Phil says:

                  Guru,
                  you have my email. Bezos owns the Washington Post, so he can’t be all bad, but I think he needs to learn the true meaning of Christmas. Which would be to help you out with a $1 billion or so. I typed in “how much”, and google finished my sentence with “money does Jeff Bezos have”, so it’s a very popular question. The answer: 186.7 billion USD.

                  • superstarguru says:

                    OK Phil, email has been sent. Let me know you received it? Thanks.
                    It’s always a good idea to be about the 13th-20th richest person so you’re not a household name.
                    How many people look up Eduardo Saverin or Dustin Moskovitz when thinking about Facebook? It’s synonymous with Zuckerberg.

                    • Phil says:

                      Guru,
                      You have shared about how the predator living next door has changed your neighborhood.
                      Related to that, while shopping for Christmas the past weekend, I travelled close to my childhood town. So I used the opportunity to take a tour. I went up our old street, which seemed very congested. A few small modest homes had been torn town, and very large new homes replaced them, hardly leaving any other space on those properties. It’s similar around the town, and it just isn’t the nice place I remember any more. I’ve changed too, and my perspective, but there’s more to it than that.
                      There’s no way I would have wanted to continue living in my childhood home as an adult, or even any where in town because of too many very sad and difficult memories.
                      Seeing my childhood home always brings up feelings, as does seeing some other parts of town.
                      Phil

  160. Phil says:

    I had more feelings this morning brought up by certain Christmas songs. I made the connection, which shouldn’t be so hard to realize, that I felt remembered on Christmas, in contrast to feeling forgotten by my mother. She must have contributed to Christmas gift giving during my youngest years. I think presents came from both of my parents (or Santa Clause), but I think it was my father who picked out any fun surprises or things I really wanted. After age 5 or so, my mother literally forgot about me every single day of the year.
    So this is why, for my own kids, I always made sure they had a birthday party every single year, with a lot of friends attending. On the actual day of their birthdays, I ran out and got helium balloons and put up banners and other decorations. It’s why I run around making sure Christmas is a very special day for them, even now.
    Phil

  161. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    Phil, which songs?

    • Phil says:

      Otto,
      for some reason “Holly Jolly Christmas”, and this other one performed by the Jackson Five, “Give Love on Christmas Day”. Thanks for the question.

  162. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    i should have hugged my wife when she peeked through my bedroom/office door just now. i should have at least turned to look at her. but nooooooooo…. if i see a cat walking around on my porch, i will jump up to greet it. so what a conundrum…there are old feelings that keep me from my wife and feelings schmeelings, i just don’t give a damn. was it my bad uncle who (probably) said, in reference to young child me–‘here he comes again’ in an annoyed voice, when he was working…or not. she was breathing hard last nite and has been very tired this week. we matter of factly assume it is covid. my breathing has been bad all fall. the freeway and the street that is much like a freeway are very near to us, and the air is not that good. but we alive at this minute. i will try tot to depress her too much today. she is a treasure but we are old and getting frail and i cant give a fuck.

  163. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    she is overworked and probably sad or depressed about sophie the dog died. we don’t talk about it much and i hardly think about the dog any more. she wants to get a new dog, and i keep saying no, because we will orphan that dog and 9 cats if we catch covid. the most recent thing she said about sophie was, i was looking into her eyes as she was dying. myself, i was touching the dog off and on during her violent death, feeling her heartbeat, good and strong, and in a while not feeling it.

  164. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    my brother and i have birthdays in december too, just like the other guy in group. but i could never be so eloquent about it as he was. i hate birthdays, christmas and all of the above. could not afford many presents for our kids when they were growing up, so that is a lot of why i hate that stuff. their grandmother gave them gifts but then she died. nuf said, i am still working.

  165. superstarguru says:

    Phil, I just wanted to tell you I strongly disagree with you on keeping and/or moving away from childhood homes. I wish I had had some way of holding onto my mom’s parents’ house in Minnesota. Thankfully it looks as though it’s being taken care of even though it has been repainted and lots of trees planted in the front yard when it was barren during my childhood (except for a row of evergreens along the side of the house, which I would prefer anyway).
    Plenty of people worth $15 million or more own multiple homes, including childhood ones.

    • superstarguru says:

      If you were able to survive whatever happened to you as a child in your childhood home, why couldn’t you survive it as an adult who could physically beat your inner child in an arm wrestling contest or mentally in a political debate?

    • Phil says:

      Guru, that’s just my feeling about my childhood home. It’s clearly different for you. It could have been advantageous to keep it in the family. It’s worth a lot of money these days because of it’s location in a desirable suburb, so some mixed feelings about it.
      But, as I said there were too many bad memories associated with it for me. Also I really needed to get out and see the world, not stay where I grew up. My parents originally had the house built before I was born, and they were both from that same town. My father hoped one of us would want to keep it, but he finally became convinced to sell it,

      Phil

    • Phil says:

      Guru,
      Could you describe further this feeling of wanting to keep childhood houses? What’s that about? What would it feel like having to move? Whether forced by your predator neighbor or some other unrelated reason.
      Phil

      • superstarguru says:

        Phil, the way you structure that first question almost feels as though there is something wrong with wanting to keep childhood homes. I have good memories of family here. Why would I possibly want that torn down? I have no problem moving elsewhere as long as I was sure this house was taken care of while I was away. If you need more details, please email me your questions.

        • superstarguru says:

          If a childhood home triggers a lot of bad feelings, then wouldn’t it be a free Primal therapy medicine cabinet you could visit or leave at will?

          • superstarguru says:

            So maybe the question really should be: Why would we want to dispose of or destroy our personalized Primal therapy medicine cabinets? (or perhaps more appropriately called medicine ‘cabins’ shortened from ‘cabinets’)?
            Also there are environmental benefits if houses are saved from demolition, appreciation of old architecture and construction techniques, etc.
            If the traumas inside a house are truly horrific, then the so-called ‘childhood medicine cabin’ would contain a more more powerful assortment of ‘feeling doses’ to be administered for the adults who revisit the location.

        • Phil says:

          Guru,
          I didn’t insinuate there’s anything wrong with wanting to keep childhood homes, nor was tearing them down part of the question. I was just curious, and because this is a therapy blog. You didn’t answer my question about how it would feel to lose your house, or if the one in Minnesota was torn down (which I’m now asking).
          I do visit my childhood home, at least to see it from the outside, and that triggers plenty of feelings. To be still living there I’d probably have to be continuously repressing feelings. I think it helps me having a perspective from a distance; changes I see in town are jarring because I haven’t been living there. I like it better where I am now.
          Phil

  166. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    WELL I WOULD WEIGH IN ON CHILDHOOD HOMES BUT I AM WORKING. I DROVE TO WORK TO PICK UP MY NEW ID BADGE, WHICH WE ALSO USE TO LOG ON TO OUR WORK PC’S. BRAVED THE COVID CLOUD BY GOING INTO THE COVID-FILLED OFFICE, AND WE SHALL SEE IF THE FIRETRUCKS COME TO GET ME IN 2 WEEKS OR NOT. I HEAR MANY MORE SIRENS THAN I USED TO. I LISTENED TO THE 80’S CHANNEL, BILLY IDOL, WHITE WEDDING, WHICH GAVE ME A FEW TEARS. I WAS FUCKING 30 ONCE, NOW I AM A GONER. ON THAT NOTE, HAPPY NEW YEAR.

  167. Guru, I was curious why you keep suggesting people write you off the blog about things that come up on the blog ? Gretchen

    • superstarguru says:

      Gretchen, well all I can say is things can happen for mysterious reasons. I was extra curious as to why in the story shown below Trump made and gave a friendship bracelet only to Annabelle and no one else when the other kids were reasonably nice to him, too:

  168. Phil says:

    Our oldest son arrived here on Monday. Now we found out he was exposed to Covid on Saturday when he met up with two friends at his place. So, he’s having to stay in his room, and will be going out to be tested. He isn’t sick yet. We’ll get tested too, early next week and we’ve decided to postpone Christmas. Our other son won’t be coming.
    I have a cousin in the hospital with the illness. It’s a Covid Christmas. We hope to be able to celebrate next weekend.
    Phil

    • superstarguru says:

      Phil, chances are very high he will experience few or no symptoms. I have another cousin about your son’s age and she felt literally nothing, though she was quarantined for several weeks.

      • superstarguru says:

        (Should clarify that the cousin also caught COVID and she’s a nurse..no symptoms)
        It’s more of a problem and/or risk for those slightly older than me.

        • David says:

          The large research indicates folks with Blood Type 0 do better, appear to have optimal natural immune response. The explanation, this Virus carries A Type antigens and we cannot manufacture antibodies against ourselves.The Meta Analysis, 1.23 million patients, I listened to, spoke to Blood Type, the positive effect of tobacco smoking, the disastrous effects of alcohol consumption , sugar, and glucose fructose/high fructose corn syrup, as having strong correlation to  susceptibility, symptom expression, and, severity, -> outcomes. David H

        • David says:

          Hmmm   my endearing , ” old Salt,” photo has disappeared from the page….I live close to numerous fishing communities, fishers in small boats, 30′ – 100′, on treacherous seas. With the opening of seasons each year tragedy is not a matter of, ” if,” but. rather, ” when.” A scallop boat, 6 crew, sank Christmas week.I find it incomprehensible that life saving floatation working clothing does not exist, and mandatory.

  169. Margaret says:

    Phil,
    that sounds like a stressful situation.
    let’s hope you soon know you are all testing negative!
    m

  170. Margaret says:

    Vicki,
    did you ever meet those children from your dad’s first relationship?
    and did you get my e-mail? I was not sure whether I did not accidentally send it by gmail, which does not work well, Icloud is my standard now.
    felt a bit lonely this xmas eve just me and the cats, but just got nicely surprised by a message from long ago girlfriend which made me smile…
    to be alone on xmas always sucks more than expected …
    Margaret and cats
    Sylvia, have a nice holiday season and a healthy and happy 2021!

    • Vicki says:

      Margaret, I thought I had replied to your email, so I have just done that. My brothers and I did meet our half-siblings, but it was “mixed”. My half-sister appears very religious, and was inappropriate in the way she “wanted our friendship” to go, so I avoided her for years after, but we have a little contact at Christmas. My half-brother visited a few times, and was friendlier, but he has never been open to more than superperficiality in our phone calls. I’ve also met his daughter and her kids, and still see them on Facebook. They all pulled back a bit, after my mom & dad died.