Monday, March 5, 2012

Another Look at the Critical Window

I have written about the critical window for several decades. I want to reiterate why it is such an important idea. It has to do with the imprint. Let us suppose you have been totally unloved from birth on, no touching, no care, only neglect. That “unloved” reality is engraved and remains for a lifetime. Now you marry a carrying, loving person but because you feel unloved you require superhuman caring which no one can fulfill. And sooner or later you will divorce because you imagine he does not love you and you believe her demands are over the top. You see your mate through the prism of your childhood and cannot escape it. All because you were not loved during the critical window: the time when a biologic need must be fulfilled according to evolutionary development. That evolution dictates what needs have to be fulfilled, when and how they should be fulfilled. An example. The child is never touched but the parent says “You know I love you, only I can’t show it.” Well, the need to be held and caressed is paramount in biology from birth on. After that the basic evolutionary need is closed for business and another need may take its place later on; to be talked and listened to.

The notion of the critical window means “your time is up,” and that need can never be filled after that. You can be touched by your adult partner all day long but it can never replace the need and fulfillment when you were five years old. That deprivation is now an imprint and the only way we can open it up is to feel that need again as that child! Everything in the present is symbolic fulfillment. It is not real even though it looks real. I have treated dozens of actresses; ask them if they still need the audience to “love them.” And if one night there is not great applause they sink into the funk they are always in; feeling the old feeling of being unloved. Once the pain is imprinted, it is there for life. Because it is now covered over now by repression we must lift the lid of repression in order to let love in. And oddly enough, the only way to do that is feel unloved..... back then. Thus, to feel loved now we must feel unloved in our past.

Now we come to psychotherapy and the therapist; we are hooked on therapy because we get what we lacked in every session: someone who cares, who is warm and understanding and focuses only on you. That is unbeatable……… and unreal. And you have to go back for more, because it is an addiction, something that calms and assures us. Therapy as a pain killer. It can only be symbolic because the critical period is long gone there cannot be genuine fulfillment. We now need to feel unloved……back then. For symbolic love the minute we don’t get it we fall into pain. But fulfillment that happened during the critical window lasts forever; and that is a major difference. It all revolves around the notion of the imprint and the critical window. Remember, we cannot love neurosis away no matter how much we would like to.

Let’s look at the critical window in animals; it exists in nearly every animal form. This is not some theoretical concoction I manufactured to prove a point; it is purely biologic and has all the constraints of our biology.

The critical window in the first 10 days of a mouse’s life is equal to six months of our lives; and I leave it to you to extrapolate the implications, but there is a critical window for mice to feel loved; otherwise they are doomed for life. In order to stave off anxiety, for example, the mouse needs a nurturing mother. And she must be “loving” (nuzzling, licking, etc), during those 10 days in order to turn on the genes that will stop anxiety. But if the mother is unloving and indifferent to her baby in that period, the genes never gets turned on and the baby will be anxious thereafter; afraid of new situations, not curious, and hesitant. For this baby, painkilling drugs do help, which shows that lack of love produces pain. Now the offspring becomes addiction prone. There was a study of mice who were not loved early on, and they took to alcohol quicker and longer than their loved pals. If we do not understand the concept of the imprint and critical window we cannot understand what mental and emotional illness is all about. Yes, we need a kind warm environment but that is limited. It eases our pain and helps us function but does nothing at all to change the imprint that drives us; the imprint that may kill us prematurely.


  1. About hearing voices ... voices that in silence rule my life,
    I say "good bye" to mom ... goodbye when I am back where she left me at the hospital when I was five years old. Then… at the time I could not understand… feel that she left me forever... for ever because I was never again connected to my need of her... not even when she later came to fetch me at the hospital. I had fallen into a "fog" around my need of her. She would never be close to me again.
    When she came to pick me up at the hospital she was as a stranger. In my therapy... when I recall my need of her... when I say "good bye mom"… goodbye mom in time as the nurse is threatening me into silence... threatening me for my attempts to following mom home. When I am giving up... when I can feel the need of mom and the despair that forever was etched in… it can never be undone... my need will never be “satisfied” I am the pain of never get what I did needed. There is a terrible feeling of loneliness ... loneliness that I always will be attached to... attached to... instead of being close to my mother. My mother should never have left me alone at the hospital. But my need of mom also tells me about love... love that I never got... but very well feel the need of. The silenced voice for longing of love.


  2. Frank: Your story both saddens me and angers me and scares the sh#$ outta me. Oh dear, oh dear, what can we do to prevent all this from happening to the children of tomorrow. The problem is simple ... the solution seems beyond us.

    The problem, as I see it, is that we have to change the very notion of 'child-rearing-pracices' of human-kind. The animal kingdom seems to instinctively know all this, but we humans seem all 'hell bent' experimenting on their young to demonstrate what SHOULD be obvious. What a F@#$-up. Alas, I have been beating this drum for some time now; getting no-where. We need (somehow; godo only knows how) to persuade the medical, mental health professionals and yeah!!! the politicians that our current 'CHILD-REARING-PRACTICES' are totally totally INSANE.

    Where do we begin ??? Sadly Art I don;'t see your efforts bearing any fruit; for all I admire and love your ideas. I wrote a chapter in both my books (the same chapter) suggesting from what I suggested was the child's perspective on 'child-rearing' Not sure if a writer of repute, or some genius doctor, obstetrician, might have a similar impact as did Frederick LeBoyer in his "Birth without violence". But something along those lines is all I can come up with.

    Art: Write another book about 'child-rearing-practices' and be bold and honest enough to tell of all the mistakes you made. Another idea would be to let Rick (I hope it's not inappropriate to mention his name) write a book from the child's perspective. He's got the credentials (I feel) and was my therapist for a time. He had so many qualities ... some form you, and others from his mother. All else IMO, sadly, is "whistling in the wind".


    1. Jack: You say, "write a book". Do you know that it takes me 5 to 6 years to do a book, studying every day, reading all the new info and science and keeping up with the latest in science.....besides there are people much better qualified than me to do it. Trust me. I have 2 more I am working one which will be done when I am 89. After that, no more books. I leave it to others but certainly not shrinks. I still cannot get over that 200,00- shrinks in America completely ignore our science and our effective approach. There is no one so blind as he who will not see. art

    2. Art: I didn't realize that it took that long to write a book and certainly not one that I thought you could have been written from memory and with the knowledge you already posess. As I have considered it, it would not have needed a great deal of research. However I take your word for it. I do feel from what it took from me to write a chapter on it, from the child's perspective, that there might be another who would like to fill-out what I wrote. I don't think it needs to be a great tomb, especially since from a potential parents point of view, extensive reading can create more confusion than clarification.

      I feel very strongly the need to help, especially potential mothers, with something relatively simple that they could follow, and would hope that it might get some endorsement from the Health Care and specially obstetrics profession. LeBoyer made a great contribution with little resistance as far as I was able ascertain and certainly "The Primal Scream" made an enormous impact. Don't quite know why it didn't accelerate upon itself and the only thought on the matter I've had, is that in you making the practice very exclusive for what I thought were absolutely the right reasons ... it did seem the theory got thrown out with the bath-water; so to speak.

      How might it be that humam 'child-rearing practices' could be brought back into prominence? I feel, if it could be generally accepted that what happens in the womb, infant and early child-hood could be directly related to most of the diseases that we fall into later in life. Your work certainly attempts, courageously I feel, to make this point. I also feel that becoming pregnant brings on strong instincts in women. Though never having been pregnant, I can't claim any credibility.

      Might, I constantly ask, there perhaps, be yet another way to approach it?

      I hope someone will eventually hit on the right tone to put that across into what I call a critical mass ... maybe even outside the universities and mental health care profession that seem so, so, so unwilling to see this in an historic context of the human mind.


    3. Thank you Jack

      I feel... what happened to me... happens every day when I hear little babies crying for help in their strollers without a reaction from their mother. If a mother can let this happen one day... then will she probably also let it happen tomorrow.
      What is etched in to these tiny babies is of the trauma non of us wish go through later in life... but when we do that... it's an incredible relief... a relief who tells us about the intensity of what the suffering brought about and we become professors in our own life for what feelings is about. What a tragedy and relief.
      About the babies crying in thire strollers is what I mean can be seen as small events.... but with disastrous results. I know... we should do alot more about this... we must prove what the science is up to... they must let us prove the science about this... they must.

      Yours Frank

  3. Dr. Janov,

    is it possible you are preaching to the choir?
    Everybody who's reading the blog and your books knows about the “Window of Imprint”.
    The question is how we can help spreading the message that cognitive therapy is just a pain killer and will not change the imprint? The same goes for genomes.

    Just as I was writing this post, an invitation to an internet meeting came in:
    “Stress: Don't let it get the best of you”
    “Stress is part of everyday life, but when you have an autoimmune disease such as psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, it can take a bigger toll on your health and your treatment's effectiveness. Uncontrolled, stress can lead to depression, weaken your immune system and bring on other physical ailments. In this informative webcast, psychologist Julie Nelligan will discuss the science behind stress and how it affects your mind and body. She'll also provide techniques for reducing stress and options for treating and maintaining emotional health.”
    Psychologist Julie Nelligan:
    Do I have to say more?

  4. Hi Frank,

    I also went into hospital at 5yrs. . . I totally agree with you, I am also 'scarred' in other ways than 'the operation'.

    Paul G.

  5. Frank your story is very very sad and important. I hope lots of people read it. I have saved it to my computer.

    When I was a kid I went to hospital for an operation. I watched a nurse help a mother trick her three year old son. The mother sneaked away because she knew her child would never stop crying. The nurse disappeared too. When the boy started to realise his mum was gone, he cried so was awful. I said to him "she hasn't gone away forever...she will be back, I promise." To my surprise, he cheered up quite quickly. My operation was already done and healed a lot when this was happening. I pushed the boy up and down the hall in a wheelchair (he didn't need a wheelchair). We both had a lot of fun. He stayed close to me every time his mum went away and of course he was overjoyed every time she returned. It still makes me feel sad when I think about it.

  6. Thank you Richard,

    He never cheered up he got in to illusions of what was to come and you helped him... Of course I know you wanted to "help" the little boy out of his pain but he had still lost his mother for ever...that is what counts... counts for what his life will be. He'll remember you as a rescuer for what caring means and that it is not insignificant in the primal therapeutic process.

    Yors Frank

  7. Boy can I identify with that Critical Window!

  8. Hi,

    This is a little off to one side but the Policeman who was blinded by Raol Moat hanged himself last week, today was his funeral.

    Somebody, possibly his brother said "He was murdered on the day Moat shot him". I feel it's fair to suggest the process started in his critical window. But he deserves a salute, somebody had to do his job.

    Paul G.

    1. It's so sad about the Policeman David Rathband. He lost his sight, his confidence and his wife and children. Accepting the critical window it would take someone with superhuman strengh not to be severely effected by that. My wife comes from the Lake District and men from up there are not known for showing their feelings. The poor bloke must have been in turmoil.

      A young chef killed himself not so long ago and his Mother is quoted as saying that men in our society are not allowed to cry which she blames for his death.

      David Rathband started a charity to help others like him and while many would see this as selfless act (it was) how much did he feel able to help himself as well.

  9. Hi,

    -"He'll remember you as a rescuer for what caring means and that it is not insignificant in the primal therapeutic process".

    It's strange how the memory works at a subliminal level too, sometimes, much later (in a different context) popping right up into consciousness with little 'sign posts'. Emotional sign posts, some leading to the next feeling.

    Paul G.

  10. An email comment:
    "The only thing I have to turn to for relief is a cigarette. It makes me numb and dizzy, but it pushes down my pain for a couple of minutes. As I sit on my back porch, inhaling and exhaling the smoke, I stare at the sky and think about life. I think about my life, what it is like for me and how it could have been. I am exhausted from constant suffering. All the energy I have goes there. Nothing else matters anymore. I don’t care about the exams I have to take next week and I don’t care about Christmas. I feel some sadness when I think about a street, lit with little warm lights on the trees, preparing everybody for the days of joy that are about to come. All that doesn’t seem to be for me. I watch other people living their lives as a distant observer. Life is somewhere out there for me, on the other side of those glass windows. Life is where the warm lights are, but I can’t get there, because every time I reach out the glass window is in the way.
    I hope you understand. This is my life. Five weeks twenty-five years ago left me in desperate need of my mother every single day. But my mother wasn’t there and isn’t here. I can scream as much I want to, she doesn’t hear me. If you see her, can you please tell her how much her daughter is hurting? Please tell her about my cat, how I pick her up and I say “Baby”. How I whisper in her ear “I know. It’s okay.” And how I hold her for a long time. Maybe then she’ll understand how much I needed her to pick me up, hold me and whisper in my ear, “I love you baby. It’s okay now. I am here.” I want to cover my face in her body and cry, cry, cry about five weeks that ruined my life. I want her to dry the tears on my face and give back to me what I lost a long time ago. But I have to give up the hope that she will come, because she didn’t come back then either. This will be the day when my hand will reach the light and no more glass windows can separate me from life. This will be the day when I will cry with joy and not with pain."

    1. What a wonderful piece of writing. Very poetic. You put me slap bang next to you sitting on the back porch. Being a distant observer is difficult. Being lonely in a crowd. The loss of one's vitality. All I can say is that I get longer and longer burst of vitality and then hit the window glass again. Sylvia Plath wrote about "The Bell Jar", walking about and observing from behind a helmet of glass.

      A Poet William H Davies wrote this poem about so many not being able to relax and observe and then there are those of us who are somehow forced too.


      WHAT is this life if, full of care,
      We have no time to stand and stare?—

      No time to stand beneath the boughs,
      And stare as long as sheep and cows:

      No time to see, when woods we pass,
      Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

      No time to see, in broad daylight,
      Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

      No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
      And watch her feet, how they can dance:

      No time to wait till her mouth can
      Enrich that smile her eyes began?

      A poor life this if, full of care,
      We have no time to stand and stare.


      Oh to be able to do it when we wish!

  11. Women are told they are more "intuitive" than men. They also benefit from "maternal worship," wherein the public thinks all women know how to instinctively nurture.. That leads to thinking whatever a "mom" does must be right.

    If people see someone abusing a dog, they will intercede. But if they see women ignoring crying children, or slapping them, or doing other things that are traumatic, they think Mother Must Know Best.

    I've seen huge women yacking on cellphones in fastfood joints surrounded by antsy kids who've finished eating and are eager to DO something. Invariably the mothers will bark at them to sit still while they talk on the phone.

    At such times I wish killing were legal.

    We'd never let such self-centered, obtuse people run complicated computers. Yet we DO let them "raise" incredibly-more-complex tiny humans.

    Tragic. Sad. Angering.

    1. Society is Mothers in many ways. Billions getting their needs met at the expense of the next generation while unloved Fathers withdraw from the family unable to recognise that his desperate need for his Mothers love is getting in the way of nurturing the next generation. My Father was so so jealous of the perceived love my sister and I were suppossedly getting from our Mother when my Mother would not know love if it came up and bit her. My Sister has always blamed me for stealing my Mothers love and yet I had repressed my need to way way down below the surface. I used to get so jealous of the attention my wife gave to our Cats. I hated those Cats in just the same way my Father hated me.

      I would argue that the Public thinking that women know how to instinctively nurture is actually women telling each other that and many men blindly go along with the lie because otherwise they would have to see how their own Mother did not love them.

  12. I read a study somewhere about a young girl denied access to her mother while hospitalized. Heartbreaking.

    Might have been Winnicott or Bowlby.

    In any case, it seems some experts "got "the fact that the REALITY of what children face trumps Freudian folderol about "drives" and other crapola.

    Then again, those crapola-spewers probably had horrific childhoods themselves, locking into their left brains to keep pain at bay.

    Anyway, an interesting videoclip:

    Also, this:

    It comforts me to know there are caring healers in the world to often obsessed with making ever-more-clever warmaking machines.

  13. Art !,there is NOBODODY better qualified to write
    those books!!!
    Some decades ago ... there was an arrogant German
    ...(Lord I feel shame for beeing German too and
    surely not for his talk...) he wrote tom "that quit
    reading Your books ,because in each would be the
    written "the same " (in a sense he was right-the
    disatrous consequenes of PAIN)
    Ia m sure .even one article in this blog by You is
    lightyears ahead of this psychologist(Dr.Hansjörg Hemminger)
    Sincerely!! emanuel

    1. Alice Miller was also criticised for writing "the same" in her books just like Dr Janov. I suppose these other shrinks have to keep looking for a new reason for people's problems if they can't bear to see the real reason.

  14. Hi Trevor,

    -"Mother Must Know Best"-.

    I don't believe in the 'world domination conspiracy theory' ie: that "It's all Out There" and "They are all out to Get Us"-.

    But I am convinced there is a conspiracy of the sexes to be and remain "Different" and to be extremely partisan about that difference too. Now I know what I'm talking about through first hand experience and through seeing the same dynamics repeat themselves over generations. I study and acknowledge history, my history too. I am reliving some of it.

    I was once a single parent Dad. Through their fear of unmet mothering needs most of the men I knew at that time were misanderist about my situation. By this I mean I could deduce from their words and behaviour that they felt that I was doing womens' work and they were not too pleased that I was challenging the status quo. This 'challenge' exposed them to their own unmet mothering needs.

    Further more, the women who could have offered help didn't because they also did not want to acknowledge that there was a man doing a womans' job (which also exposed the tragic and raw fact that the mother couldn't). This challenged their beliefs and assumptions about their own worth as women and as mothers. It further challenged the Matriarchal Kinship which has to be by default the 'organisation' behind misandry.

    The whole thing has repeated and now my son is a single parent Dad. None of my male friends and most of his have totally dismissed him and my Grandson.

    Some have told me it's "My Karma" repeating itself. . . Wow, handy to borrow a religious concept when you don't want to face a former friend. . . Thanks a lot.

    None of my female friends have intervened or helped nor have those of my son. Actually the behaviour and 'attitude' of some of them is really unrepeatable here. I am recovering from my own unmet mothering needs and subsequent misogynist belief systems and I would prefer not open up old wounds in anyone, not on this blog for sure. . . enough to say that I am thoroughly disgusted and try not to think about it too much.

    There are a lot of assumptions about mothering and mothers.

    In the end though, having had to mother myself and having had to 'mother' my own children in the absence of their mothers' mothering I can say that women have a very difficult job being both mothers and human beings in relationship with men.

    The sad reality of our modern 'civilised' way of life is that mothers and fathers need to co-operate both in the home and in society and at work and at the moment there are not enough jobs, homes, schools and workplaces to go around. There are too many well paid "Do Gooders" in the local authorities skimming over the surface by meddling in the wrong families affairs whilst the real crimes are happening at different addresses and even in their own families and homes.

    As I've said before we aught to be subscribing to a "Shared Parenting Bill". As long as society keeps on assuming that 'mother knows best' (ie: be the Primary Carer)and Dad should be the crust earner full stop; then we will continue with a partisan sexual war which everyone feeds with their own unmet mothering needs.

    Paul G.

    1. What infuriates me is how so many people talk about expressing feelings but only the nice ones. Women want kind caring talkative men but not angry frustrated men and men want pre-orgasmic women but not premenstral ones.

      Society is all about wanting one's cake and eating it too.

      Paul I contest your view that women have a harder time than men. I think that everyone has a hard time. I think that what you did in Mothering your own children is what a lot of men do do. I am sure that is where the idea of the caring God comes from. God can be very feminine in terms of being a nurturing entity and yet he is also not there when we hit hards times (probably when our Mothers beat the crap out of us) and yet it pisses me off that men are considered feminine for being nurturing. We are damned if we do and damned if we don't. Many women say they like their men to be a bit "Gay" in that they want a man who can talk about his feelings etc and connect with her and yet if one does that one can be castigated for being a wuss. Arrrrgghhhhh!

      That is a difficult time too.

      Alice Miller wrote a very interesting piece entitled "Why women are just as aggressive as men" and it is published in one of her later books that were extracts from her writings on her site. Since her death it does not seem to be there. Female violence in society is a taboo subject. Look at the right of women to slap a man round the face in the media. What bloody right do they have to do that. NONE!

      Women contribute as much to war and death as men do and if they want true equality they also have to take true responsibility. Us men have to do so too.

      I think women have a hard time living up to the ideals pushed onto them by their sisters.

      Just as God is a lie perpetuated by group delusion through group pressure so to is the Nurturing Mother and tough macho man.

      I think Dr Janov described a balanced relationship between the sexes in sex and life as the correct road. After all a powerful business man can hire a prostitute to dominate him as an adjunct to his power in life and the prostitute can leave at the end of the day. Many women who dominate their families want their men to gently throw them around the room and dominate them in bed and yet the men can't leave at the end of the day. Who wants to f**k their Mother. Unhappy sex lives are one of the biggest causes of divorce instigated often by women when in fact do they see that their contribution to the divorce. No because they talk more than men so can perpetuate the lie that everything is mens fault.

      Yes it is down to both sexes to see their own responsibility and sort it out.

  15. Hi Planespotter,

    I didn't say women had it harder than men actually. . . but I was certainly trying not to be as vociferous as you have been.

    Seeing as you have been as vociferous as I might have been (had I not been so scared of rocking the Matriarchal Boat), I wonder if you or any-one else here has read Nancy Fridays' "My Mother My Self"? It's a bit out of date on the psychology but the 'truths' expressed in it are nevertheless as pertinent today as when it was written 3 decades ago. I wonder if Nancy Friday ever came into contact with Art Janov or Alice Millers' writings?

    All the women I have discussed these issues with have either refused to read these two authors or 'not bothered'. All of them. Several have recommended psychology books to me which it turns out they haven't read themselves. I kid you not.

    When I was young and still a virgin I was frightened of women / girls and I knew my boarding school exile from my mother was something to do with that. 35 years later I am still frightened of women / girls and the fact I am still mother bound is not even the half of it any more. I am frightened of women because of the pedestal the Law has put women onto. Dragged up onto that pedestal is all the dreadful abuse men perpetrate on women. So much of my fear is that (as a man) I too will become the one who is to blame for the persecution and abuse of women. That is what I fear now (I am not the only man who has 'identified with this projection'). That is why I gave up my home to my ex partner and that is why none of my so called friends have anything to do with me any more. (They are frightened of what might happen to them if their relationships don't work out, this is denial and scapegoating in 'motion').

    The message given to me repeatedly over twenty four years since I became a father in difficult circumstances (and a single parent for a while) is that women have it tough and it's probably mens' fault. It was my bloody fault I became a single parent too, after all, I got the mother pregnant. . . This IS how people think because they tell me this, professionals too. Either outright with their words or with their 'silence', silence can be the most vicious of weapons. Simply not answering questions eh? Freezing the man out isn't it? (No answer came the stern reply).

    Every one knows this is true right? So when you meet a guy who's been dumped you know it's his fault probably, don't you? He's probably freaked out and frightened his partner or some stupid and childish behaviour. Men 'do' bad behaviour which is visible. You can point the finger at it.

    In no way am I trying to cover up the evils of domestic violence where a small minority of men torture women and abuse and so on. That is unforgivable.

    That is why I refer to Linda Nielsen and her suggestions for a 'shared parenting bill'. That way the Law can begin it's long journey to accepting Primal Theory and recognising Primal Pain as the root of all relationship problems. Currently as the Law stands (holding women as the primary carers) there is no need to look any further than a cost lead solution for the Primary Carer. Pretty quickly this turns out to be a very expensive failure and the kids suffer and society has to build more houses for more separated couples. Meanwhile men fight men at war and in the stock exchange and women can't fit in (except as collateral damage on other nations' soil).

    When will the law reflect the need to co-parent and that be the primary purpose of marriage? When will the economists and politicians stop pitting women and men against each other for limited jobs, housing and resources?

    Paul G.

    1. Hi Paul

      I was agreeing with you for the most part. I find myself agreeing with a great deal of what you say on this blog. My vociferousness is born of spending the last 7 years slowly piecing together a life of nearly 52 years. The sexual abuse I experienced at the hands of both my Parents plus other dreadful events meant I never had children and this is one of the most painful things I have to deal with.

      I was never allowed to be certain about anything when I was a child due to my own Parents insecurities.

      I can only speak from my own experience and from the books I have read. Dr Jaonv's and Alice Millers being the most profoundly effecting and closest to the truth. Alice Miller in particular was very vociferous in her belief that women are just as violent as men and was roundly rejected because of it.

      In the Middle east Mothers place toy suicide belts on their little Boys to get them used to the idea. How dreadful is that.

      My family is filled with women who blame men and I am surrounded by women who grumble about their men and never see their own role. It is hypocritical.

      If you look at one of the oldest games in the world which is chess the most powerful piece is the Queen. The King is a figure head able to shift one square at a time and yet the Queen can move more freely than any other piece.

      If you look at Alice in Wonderland you have the Queen shouting "off with their heads". Alice being told to drink this or eat that. An allegory written for children to see the awful way they are treated by adults. A woman ruling the roost.

      I love women too. What I hate is SOME women's hypocrisy. Playing victim and ruling with that card.

      Women are just as much part of war as men. In the First World War it was women who handed white feathers to pacifist men.

      It is the women who often beat the child and leave it to cry out. I see women treating their young Son's with contempt when they cry and those very same women are probably the ones who grumble that their men can't show their feelings.

      7 years ago I ended up curled up under my desk for 3 weeks or more. I have slowly made a recovery primarily down to Alice Millers, and Dr Janov's writing. To make that recovery I had to peel away layer upon layer of hurt and pain and lies. I embraced Alice Millers assertion that one has to embrace one's rage and fury. Under that I found great pain and in September I hope to start at the Primal Centre and deal with that.

      It is my vociferousness which saved me I think. I decided to become an enlightened sceptic. Always questioning and when persuaded of something accepting it.

      You say that men fight men at war and in the stock exchange and women can't fit in. Men unconsciously don't want women to fit in because they want somewhere they can call their own. Why are women excluded from men's clubs or kept out of politics. Because it is about men unconsciously taking control in their world. People say it's man's world without seeing the woman's world of the home which is often a dictatorship as set out on page 9 of Drama of being a child.

      A co-parenting bill will be worth diddly squat if it is law which forces people to parent like that. It's like women only shortlists for Parliament in the UK. Force rather than persuasion.

      It goes to the very heart of our culture, to our words. "You make me feel". Blame and lack of responsibility in 4 words. Not "I feel" which is PT in a Nut Shell I would say.

      You can't blame politicians and economists for pitting women and men against each other. Parents pit men and women against each other. Parents are Society and Society is Parents.

      Both sexes need to look to themselves and have the courage to hear what the other says.

    2. Hi Paul

      One other thing. I too have been the recipient of women suggesting the way forward to me. "It's Mother knows best" played out for everyone. My own Mother has now taken on new younger people as her children now that I am no longer in her life. She has to because this is her role. She is bloody awful at it. She is a bully, tyrant and coward but challenge her on it and she either cries for sympathy or lashes out. She has to have someone to control otherwise she will become aware of her own lack of control of herself.

      I think many women when they become Mothers cross the Rubicon. There is no turning back. The more their abuse of their children goes on the harder it is to reverse it and the more pain they would feel. Alice Miller has stated that it would probably kill them to understand the hurt they have imposed. I think this has gone on for Centuries. Women lie to each other to give each other support. If enough people tell a lie it becomes the truth. Look at God. The biggest lie there is.

      The more abusive a Mother is to her child the more she becomes the vehement imposer of her own views on other hurt people because she tells herself she is kind and loving. Love hurts but only because it did in her case. Do as I say not as I do.

      Old women die alone because they have alienated everyone. I have an Aunt who is desperate to go and live near her Son and yet he and his sister do everything to stop her. She feels lonely and unloved and yet cannot see that her own harsh unmoving cruel to be kind dictatorial manner as a young Mother has condemned her to a lonely old age unconsciously punished for her own unconscious hurt. Her Son hides from his pain by being a lay preacher.

      I see hurt and pain all around me. I feel other people's pain as well as my own. I am that child from Drama of being child as perhaps many of us are.

      Please don't equate Vociferousness with lack of feeling or hardness. I'm not hard at all. I just observe the world and see it's harshness and sadness due to the lack of love and say how I see it. In other words "he's Naked" which could also easily be "She's Naked".

      I see beautiful women who I have known for years who now have young teenagers going off the rails, starting to get an inkling of what they did wrong but they can't go there. It hurts too much because Society is pain and hurt, so it can't help them.

      To get in touch with one's pain is to become a lonely long distance runner and see the world for what it is. I just see it from my point of view.

      I had too!

  16. I think it's correct to say that women have suffered at the hands of men for a long long time, maybe only since agriculture, but long enough; men usually killed and women kept alive to suffer, and there must have been epigenetic effects, if generation after generation of women experience war and rape over centuries. Perhaps a little hostility to or double-dealing attitudes to men have become geneticaly enscribed, as a survival stategy. Maybe the trauma an abuser causes themselves by acting against their true nature is greater than or equal to the trauma suffered by the victim, or maybe women's genes have a greater load of deprivation, that we need to love out of them over many generations; or maybe I'm talking rubbish. I think females can cause as much real harm to someone, adult or child, with their voices or actions, as a male can with his fist, but I think women have a harder job to deal with equivalent life-circumstances than men; just consider the opportunities to change your situation or get yourself away from toxic families that are not easily available to women, the possibility of surviving homelessness or avoiding it altogether for example. And then the sacrifice of ones body to children that men do not have to make. Just some thoughts... maybe not to the point.


Review of "Beyond Belief"

This thought-provoking and important book shows how people are drawn toward dangerous beliefs.
“Belief can manifest itself in world-changing ways—and did, in some of history’s ugliest moments, from the rise of Adolf Hitler to the Jonestown mass suicide in 1979. Arthur Janov, a renowned psychologist who penned The Primal Scream, fearlessly tackles the subject of why and how strong believers willingly embrace even the most deranged leaders.
Beyond Belief begins with a lucid explanation of belief systems that, writes Janov, “are maps, something to help us navigate through life more effectively.” While belief systems are not presented as inherently bad, the author concentrates not just on why people adopt belief systems, but why “alienated individuals” in particular seek out “belief systems on the fringes.” The result is a book that is both illuminating and sobering. It explores, for example, how a strongly-held belief can lead radical Islamist jihadists to murder others in suicide acts. Janov writes, “I believe if people had more love in this life, they would not be so anxious to end it in favor of some imaginary existence.”
One of the most compelling aspects of Beyond Belief is the author’s liberal use of case studies, most of which are related in the first person by individuals whose lives were dramatically affected by their involvement in cults. These stories offer an exceptional perspective on the manner in which belief systems can take hold and shape one’s experiences. Joan’s tale, for instance, both engaging and disturbing, describes what it was like to join the Hare Krishnas. Even though she left the sect, observing that participants “are stunted in spiritual awareness,” Joan considers returning someday because “there’s a certain protection there.”
Janov’s great insight into cultish leaders is particularly interesting; he believes such people have had childhoods in which they were “rejected and unloved,” because “only unloved people want to become the wise man or woman (although it is usually male) imparting words of wisdom to others.” This is just one reason why Beyond Belief is such a thought-provoking, important book.”
Barry Silverstein, Freelance Writer

Quotes for "Life Before Birth"

“Life Before Birth is a thrilling journey of discovery, a real joy to read. Janov writes like no one else on the human mind—engaging, brilliant, passionate, and honest.
He is the best writer today on what makes us human—he shows us how the mind works, how it goes wrong, and how to put it right . . . He presents a brand-new approach to dealing with depression, emotional pain, anxiety, and addiction.”
Paul Thompson, PhD, Professor of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine

Art Janov, one of the pioneers of fetal and early infant experiences and future mental health issues, offers a robust vision of how the earliest traumas of life can percolate through the brains, minds and lives of individuals. He focuses on both the shifting tides of brain emotional systems and the life-long consequences that can result, as well as the novel interventions, and clinical understanding, that need to be implemented in order to bring about the brain-mind changes that can restore affective equanimity. The transitions from feelings of persistent affective turmoil to psychological wholeness, requires both an understanding of the brain changes and a therapist that can work with the affective mind at primary-process levels. Life Before Birth, is a manifesto that provides a robust argument for increasing attention to the neuro-mental lives of fetuses and infants, and the widespread ramifications on mental health if we do not. Without an accurate developmental history of troubled minds, coordinated with a recognition of the primal emotional powers of the lowest ancestral regions of the human brain, therapists will be lost in their attempt to restore psychological balance.
Jaak Panksepp, Ph.D.
Bailey Endowed Chair of Animal Well Being Science
Washington State University

Dr. Janov’s essential insight—that our earliest experiences strongly influence later well being—is no longer in doubt. Thanks to advances in neuroscience, immunology, and epigenetics, we can now see some of the mechanisms of action at the heart of these developmental processes. His long-held belief that the brain, human development, and psychological well being need to studied in the context of evolution—from the brainstem up—now lies at the heart of the integration of neuroscience and psychotherapy.
Grounded in these two principles, Dr. Janov continues to explore the lifelong impact of prenatal, birth, and early experiences on our brains and minds. Simultaneously “old school” and revolutionary, he synthesizes traditional psychodynamic theories with cutting-edge science while consistently highlighting the limitations of a strict, “top-down” talking cure. Whether or not you agree with his philosophical assumptions, therapeutic practices, or theoretical conclusions, I promise you an interesting and thought-provoking journey.
Lou Cozolino, PsyD, Professor of Psychology, Pepperdine University

In Life Before Birth Dr. Arthur Janov illuminates the sources of much that happens during life after birth. Lucidly, the pioneer of primal therapy provides the scientific rationale for treatments that take us through our original, non-verbal memories—to essential depths of experience that the superficial cognitive-behavioral modalities currently in fashion cannot possibly touch, let alone transform.
Gabor Maté MD, author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction

An expansive analysis! This book attempts to explain the impact of critical developmental windows in the past, implores us to improve the lives of pregnant women in the present, and has implications for understanding our children, ourselves, and our collective future. I’m not sure whether primal therapy works or not, but it certainly deserves systematic testing in well-designed, assessor-blinded, randomized controlled clinical trials.
K.J.S. Anand, MBBS, D. Phil, FAACP, FCCM, FRCPCH, Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Anatomy & Neurobiology, Senior Scholar, Center for Excellence in Faith and Health, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare System

A baby's brain grows more while in the womb than at any time in a child's life. Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script That Rules Our Lives is a valuable guide to creating healthier babies and offers insight into healing our early primal wounds. Dr. Janov integrates the most recent scientific research about prenatal development with the psychobiological reality that these early experiences do cast a long shadow over our entire lifespan. With a wealth of experience and a history of successful psychotherapeutic treatment, Dr. Janov is well positioned to speak with clarity and precision on a topic that remains critically important.
Paula Thomson, PsyD, Associate Professor, California State University, Northridge & Professor Emeritus, York University

"I am enthralled.
Dr. Janov has crafted a compelling and prophetic opus that could rightly dictate
PhD thesis topics for decades to come. Devoid of any "New Age" pseudoscience,
this work never strays from scientific orthodoxy and yet is perfectly accessible and
downright fascinating to any lay person interested in the mysteries of the human psyche."
Dr. Bernard Park, MD, MPH

His new book “Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” shows that primal therapy, the lower-brain therapeutic method popularized in the 1970’s international bestseller “Primal Scream” and his early work with John Lennon, may help alleviate depression and anxiety disorders, normalize blood pressure and serotonin levels, and improve the functioning of the immune system.
One of the book’s most intriguing theories is that fetal imprinting, an evolutionary strategy to prepare children to cope with life, establishes a permanent set-point in a child's physiology. Baby's born to mothers highly anxious during pregnancy, whether from war, natural disasters, failed marriages, or other stressful life conditions, may thus be prone to mental illness and brain dysfunction later in life. Early traumatic events such as low oxygen at birth, painkillers and antidepressants administered to the mother during pregnancy, poor maternal nutrition, and a lack of parental affection in the first years of life may compound the effect.
In making the case for a brand-new, unified field theory of psychotherapy, Dr. Janov weaves together the evolutionary theories of Jean Baptiste Larmarck, the fetal development studies of Vivette Glover and K.J.S. Anand, and fascinating new research by the psychiatrist Elissa Epel suggesting that telomeres—a region of repetitive DNA critical in predicting life expectancy—may be significantly altered during pregnancy.
After explaining how hormonal and neurologic processes in the womb provide a blueprint for later mental illness and disease, Dr. Janov charts a revolutionary new course for psychotherapy. He provides a sharp critique of cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis, and other popular “talk therapy” models for treating addiction and mental illness, which he argues do not reach the limbic system and brainstem, where the effects of early trauma are registered in the nervous system.
“Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” is scheduled to be published by NTI Upstream in October 2011, and has tremendous implications for the future of modern psychology, pediatrics, pregnancy, and women’s health.