Friday, September 2, 2016

The Anthony Weiner Sexting Case:When a Picture Is Really Worth 1,000 Words

Believe it or not, this is the third time I have written about the lurid sex scandal involving disgraced politician Anthony Weiner, a former U.S. representative and New York mayoral candidate. He was caught years ago texting his crotch shots to women. As a result, he lost his reputation and his career, and almost lost his marriage to wife Huma Abedin, a close aide to Hillary Clinton, who had previously decided to stick by her man.
What truly defies belief is that Weiner was caught doing it again. This week, the incorrigible ex-congressman was busted sending sexual images to a busty woman who, this time, reciprocated with pictures of herself.
And so history repeats itself, inexorably. But we should have known it would, as I suggested the last time I wrote about the sad case:

“A year ago, I commented on Congressman Anthony Weiner’s resignation in my blog, ending with a line that turned out to be prescient: “He went away, but his needs didn’t.” On the surface it may sound like a simple thought, but the idea of being driven by insatiable yet unconscious needs is key to understanding why smart men do such dumb things.”

I am sure that at some point his wife must have given him an ultimatum, “Never again or I will leave.” Well, she finally had to go trough with her threat. After the latest expose, she announced she was finally leaving. I guess finally it became clear that her husband’s outrageous, unfaithful behavior wasn’t going to stop.

The poor woman, like the public, must still be at a loss to explain how the man could continue to risk the only good thing he has left, his family life with his wife and young son. So my point bears repeating: Needs don’t just go away.
How can we explain Mr. Weiner’s odd behavior, and especially his choice of sexting as a vehicle for release? Why send pictures electronically when he knows full well they can easily be made public, providing proof of his perversions?

In order to understand Mr. Weiner, the man, we must focus on the child he still has inside. As early as age one, children start learning rudimentary language so they are no longer frustrated and can communicate with the rest of us. They can signal us when hungry, thirsty, annoyed, tired, sleepy, etc.  And the message gets through. The child is relieved because he can deliver his feelings.
Well, Mr. Weiner can do the same.  He can speak in a language with no words that conveys his needs and feelings. And what do they say?  “I am a man, strong, tough,” or whatever his unconscious dictates. Perhaps he is trying to say, “I am worthy of attention and caress and adulation.” Whatever it is, this message has to get out because it represents a deep need/feeling inside of him that he has no idea is there. It is saying what he feels unconsciously. It is saying what his parents deprived him of: A feeling of being loved, worthy, important.  That is what he needed way back when, and he needs it NOW.  The need has never left and never will, until it is felt and made conscious so it no longer has to be acted-out.

Obviously, it can be overwhelming. As long as the need remains unconscious, it is out of his control and will continue to drive his compulsive behavior.  
So when his wife says,  “Next time I leave,” he may want to do the right thing, but he can’t. He is forced to act out again even though it means divorce and being bereft of his young child. There has to be something very strong to defy that and put his marriage in danger.  Having seen the force of Primal pain I do know of its force and pressure; it has to get out.  The only way nearly all of us have for relief is acting out the feeling.
The experience of the one year olds tells us about Anthony. They both speak in symbols, not words, to express their feelings.  They speak on the brain’s second line, the limbic system.  And Weiner is back down in time in the brain speaking with the same language. The force is enormous and demands relief from the pressure it exerts.
The act-out doesn’t have to be sexual. I once had a patient who refused to use her turn signals while driving because, she’d rationalize, “it’s no one’s business where I go.” She realized later, through therapy, that her unsafe driving was driven by defiance of her mother who constantly kept tabs on her as a child, relentlessly asking her where she was going.
It can also happen when a drug addict has found relief.   He falls prey to his buried Primal Pain.   It is all done without words, mind you.  Whether the person shoots up, or he flashes or texts or he takes one more drink. We all understand that alcoholics find it hard to quit drinking. Well, for someone like Weiner, flashing one’s sex is compelling and irresistible as one more drink is to an alcoholic. They both know it’s ruining their lives, but they can’t help themselves. “Knowing” is a weak combatant in the fray. It is a latecomer to the cortical armamentarium and a weaker force than the dinosaur brain spouting out its memories.  When there is deeply buried, embedded pain, it often takes a non-verbal method to combat it.  Like drugs, which are immediate and powerful.
For dear Anthony to put a long-term marriage in danger has to involve an equal and opposite force, something possibly life saving.   I have observed that force in hundreds of patients over fifty years, and it is an ineffable experience. We do see near-death events, the strangling and choking and suffocation that cannot be faked but it is there.

I cannot possibly know what is behind Weiner’s acts act-outs but we know it is there, as we have stopped it in so many other similar cases. That act-out It is
saying something, that act-out, and but only he can decipher the meaning.  There is no expert alive who can do that job.  That is why we need a therapy of deep memory, a therapy of feelings and of embedded and hidden memories.  A therapy of experience, not of insights.  No one alive can bestow that truth on anyone else; except that contained within that act-out lies a secret, symbolic message betraying what it is.  So if you read hieroglyphics you get it; if not, you don’t.
It is the feeling that remains in the memory/feeling system, and it gets transformed into an act later on.  The act can only be approximate, because it if were exact it would be a Primal, and the level of pain would not allow it.  But the feeling drives the act-out, and that involves all kinds of different experiences.  If he finds playing  football early on that may fill the void.   Life circumstance fills the void.  But the act-out has to be close to the feeling and it usually is.
There is no way to know what that need is until he feels it in a Primal but rest assured, it is there, in force. Until then, the act-out relieves the pressure of unfelt feelings.  If it did not, then all manner of afflictions may occur as the person is bottled up with his pain. What the act-out may block is deep depression as one sinks with his load of unfelt feelings, or a different balancing act such as overeating or heavy smoking. There is only one way out, and that is the scientific way in which I believe we now have. Aah.


  1. Art... it is not possible to thank you for your therapy... it is beyond the limit of what thanks means!

    There is no one who inspires me more than my own thoughts as I succeed in my own therapy and it has taken a terrible long time... a time I would have been able to done so much more if a revolution has been in its infancy. Maybe we need to talk about how a revolution should be possible? A revolution takes place only if there there is a huge resistance... without opposition no revolution! A quiet revolution is no revolution... a healthy revolution is heard across the expanses like a wind passes by and we can start to breathe.

    Art... I know what you have done... but now we also need "the force to be with us"!

    Your Frank

    1. how to provoke revolution but avoid abreaction?

    2. "how to provoke revolution but avoid abreaction"

      Who will deny a scientific context impossible to deny? So in that case abreaction is a matter for something beyond the scope of what science is impossible to deny. Copernicus got after much ifs and buts right... just as Newton and others! And not to forget science is easier to prove today! The revolution is all about being seen!


  2. How much of this adult life is supported, condemned, consumed, judged, diagnosed, treated… all from the public. Through this public lens he even might get to the cure for the obvious.
    If it weren’t this much public involved what would be left of him? Of us? for example, my family photo album looks more like source of confusion than a useful and precious record of our history. I am scared of it.
    In the future will there be a place that is not a public place? A place where all these pictures and words behaviors and data can be well interpreted. Or it should all forever remain a show-biz. Dealing with what we see from the outside. Forever victims of a gossip. This public science devoid of humanness decides what is the news, the best timing, what is the problem, and as such it is a major cause of abreaction. A locomotive of the wrong train?
    A few moments from Carlos Irwin Sheen album>

    1. Hello Vuko!

      My thoughts keep me floating as long as I can not manage to dive down and see what's below the surface!

      Everything that's confusing is in our heads and just there and it make us to interprete and look at things around us to be something that it is not.

      I could never imagine that there were a "room" within me where loneliness "melancholy" could flourish. That is the only thing I can say about that... the experience of it belong only to me! So what I am trying to say is that when this... otherwise secret room... is in place for me to experience... then I do not need to analyze my thoughts anymore... my awkward thoughts are not needed anymore.

      I also want to say... when I "learned" to sink into my anxiety here and now... so will also the room... as I do not want to acknowledge opens up.

      There is something amazing about this and that is when I sink into my anxiety... it's like to pull up what is the reason to my anxiety. I can be there like it's my room here and now which is also part of me then... it's like to be there... here and now for the time then. Confusing? Yes with only thoughts present it is downright confusing but otherwise... the room is the place for me to come alive knowing what there was that closed the room... a room where my need of love has been trapped... and the guards of it has been my thoughts... not forgetting to save my life... as now are helping me to slowly come to life... it with the crucial help through Primal therapy.

      Your Frank

    2. confusion. maybe not only because of the thinking brain but also the brain that deals with the outside. with that little experience i have, i agree, anxiety/confusion and the cause of it do feel differently. if for no other reason than maybe because there is no war for domination between outside and inside?

  3. ...and the wife said: "If you do this again, I will leave you".
    As if she doesn't have her own addictions (more socially accepted addictions perhaps). She could be a smoker for example.

    I have never heard someone argufying, saying "if you put one more cigarette in your mouth, you can forget about me".
    Losing one's wife, the mother of one's children, letting her smoking without slapping her whenever one sees her acting-out, jeopardizing her childrens' future through her adsence-death.
    For me, this is a BIG DEAL!! But people, when they see a dickpic, they get "aroused" for some reason and demand retaliation.

    And on the other hand, cigarettes are the goose with the golden eggs, like heavy drugs, even sugar is lately widely accused.

    Weiner was facing a divorce, nevertheless he chose dickpics! So what? His marriage was a lost case, anyway. Since he doesn't know about you Art, let him do his "job".

    But, people who are facing death from cigarettes, what is the excuse? I am going to quit in another lifetime? WTF!!

    1. "this again". if we keep communication on "this" essentially public, scientific, institutional level then all is lost. war forever. never understanding. never primal.
      how much access it takes to stop doing it? a LOT, i guess. how many times to go where we don't want to? without the developed primal culture it becomes easier to spend endless resources to find a remedy for any "this" that we can see... through behavioral, cognitive, neurofeedback, epigenetic.... approach.

      "this" is always an enemy?

  4. Hi Art,

    -I have never heard someone arguing, saying "if you put one more cigarette in your mouth, you can forget about me".

    I have, but it's rare. Most smokers collude in smoking relationships. To an extent, I wish my ex partner had actually made that ultimatum with me because I was already steering in that direction anyway. I did eventually quit without prompting. . . But I realised that she had an 'investment' in my sins because they distracted from hers. She saved them up like a kind of accounting system inside a very selective memory. I was exactly the same but with a much better memory; consequently, I needed to present my 'invoices' monthly, or every time her chaos reached fever pitch, I couldn't wait. I was always the first to 'demand an explanation' and the last to get an answer. . .

    Most of her 'invoices' (16years of) were presented to me at the end, in one giant very subtle moral blitzgreig delivered by my entire (New Age)community on her behalf. I see that as the price I paid for trying to change the world through a small grassroots movement with the wrong people! Even I was one of the wrong people. . .
    What I set up required hard graft and a business attitude. The lessons I learned is that your 'collaborators' often become your employees IF you start something unilaterally. If it fails, they aren't your friends anymore either. . . So much for 'New Age Collaborations'.

    Many remarks posted on these 'moral invoices' delivered to me on the behalf of my ex, had the word 'karma' attached, often with 'smoke blown into my face' as the word was uttered. Many of these people are into some kind of religious 'cult' such as santaria, buddhism, etc. Or they are muso's and jugglers, all eternally rolling up tobacco & smoking it. Karma seems like a 'playground' slogan for this lot. It's a word that works like lubrication for 'splitting off' and discarding what they believe they don't need. After all, they are basically SO superior as teachers of this, that or the other. In true 'organised religious' fashion their 'humility & love' is mostly reserved for only for members. . .

    I hang around this same city for my kids and grandson, I could have stayed in Scotland and kept a lucrative & flexible hours part time /full time job. Though it has to be said my boss in Scotland was even more difficult to work with that my ex and I put together. Ho hum (but he did invite me back to work earlier this year, so I'm not unemployable yet.

    Gradually I make new contacts here in this posh part of town, where I am settled near my kids.

    If I get involved in the Legacy, I see absolutely no chance of this New Age lot being remotely involved, I mean, I wouln't even approach them. They are all 'professional therapists' or teachers of some obscure whatnot or other, or counter dependent idealists who seem never to be able to sit still or stop smoking roll ups on their way to the next festival or 'workshop' . . . I can't bear the whole alternative so called counter culture' anymore. Many of these beliefs are starting to incorporate epigenetics ideas as well, can you imagine? : Demethylate your genes with Bach flower remedies or veganism !

    I'm not incapacitated yet.

    Just bereft of friends I never really had. A little scared to find new friends who don't have the same 'pollyana' tripe washing around their skulls.

    Yours begruntedly and as always verbosely,

    Paul G.

  5. Yes obviously we are on moral grounds...Dr Janov took the case just to describe the pain that drives /behind certain behaviors. So right maybe he doesn't care about his wife and child and his wife marry him because he was rich and famous...who knows but that not really the point I guess.Since he has choosen a political carrier social judgement is all that matters for both of them...


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.