Monday, March 7, 2011

Who Do We Marry? Ourselves.

The title seems like an oxymoron but what I mean is that each of us marries our need. We marry what we feel we need. Let me put this way; because of a lack of love early in our lives we are left with unfulfilled need. That need bubbles us later in life and becomes an idea of what we need. It often isn’t even an idea; it is just an automatic behavior that directs toward fulfillment of an old need. A man may idealize almost every woman he meets, and then as time goes on he begins to see who she really is. Then divorce, as is so often the case. She is at first wonderful then someone with faults, and then someone who is terrible. All because he never saw reality, in the first place.

This is the paradigm for so many divorces and breakups. We need fulfillment so badly that we see it everywhere. And later in life we see it nowhere. And it is that screen or filter that we put up automatically when we meet someone new. We don’t see them; we see ourselves. We see what we need. We don’t exactly see who we need, mother, because if we did we would be rolling around the floor in pain begging for love, which is what my patients do. Then they are bereft of their illusions and can finally marry someone who suits them, who is who she is and not some fantasy creation. We finally see reality and that is such a relief and avoids so much strife later on. All those bitter recriminations because the person wasn’t who we thought she was. She had faults and they became more and more evident as the relationship went on.

The woman marries a strong, aggressive man so she can feel protected like she could not with her weak, passive father who let her mother beat up on her. But, alas, he is demanding and driving and sometimes brutal because that is who he really is. And then he could not protect her from himself and his rages and his drinking. She knew he drank a bit but did not really see it because he was her “protector.” Or the woman who married a weak man who would not be a threat as her angry father was. Then reality sets in; he wants her to work and earn the living. He is so passive with the children. He won’t fight for her when there is a problem, and on and on. Disappointment set in but it shouldn’t be there because that was the deal at the outset. “You be soft and unaggressive so I won’t feel threatening and overwhelmed (by daddy), and I will be the forward aggressive one fighting for both of us.” And if we look at the faults of our partner we will see our need; we will see our history and what deep feelings we have. We will finally see ourselves.


  1. For all its tragedy, I think it is always important to have a sense of humor about life and human nature. This is a good practical article sine most people find marriage bewildering. Expectations so high and understanding so low.

    But you mention the strong willed woman who marries the mouse. I recall one of those in particular. A few of those I was close to would joke about it. But she really wanted control. she would even try to control the congregation of men add its policies. But this religion was very male oriented (yes, JWs). And the head overseer was quite dominant. But since she was the only "Pioneer" (full time preacher volunteer) in the congregation, a big status symbol for the leaders to have in their "church," they did not want to be found without one. In fact, it was much safer to have 3 or 4 minimum.

    So she even had the leading men sort of wrapped around her finger of control. Oh the stories I could tell. but anyway, she was dividing the "church" (they call them Kingdom Halls) and changing policies to suit her and her needs and schedule.

    But the circuit overseer come along and he did not like what he saw or found. things went back to what they were supposed to be according to HQ and both the leaders and her got put in her place. But this women needed a mouse so she could be on top, wear the pants and rule the roost. And she seldom ever seemed discontent with the situation. I do not think she could have stood a real true "JW" man. It was her way out.

    I often wondered what must have caused her need to be so controlling of men in a religion so opposed to that. But it is fascinating that most do not seem to understand the pitfalls of real life.

    I have always thought that most marriage problems often amounted to both find out that life was not the bowl of cherries we were told by our parents and teachers that it was. The day to day struggles with money and not getting ahead and being miserable at work and then coming home and realizing the one you married was not really anything you needed. But a lot of the disillusionment seems to be with life.

    Then we get in that ugly depressed mood we probably had after birth or not many years after, and look to take it out on whoever is nearest to us, which is who we live with. they get blow back from our misery. my father was a classic life long depressive and he always wanted to take it out on us because he was never loved and never was given a full set of brains like most seemed to have. So we picked up the tab for his frustration.

    I believe we do have an ability to watch ourselves, think about ourselves, cross-examine ourselves and find fault with ourselves and change our direction, if we have the courage to do so. Make the Primal-Pain find another outlet. We are different from the animals because we can observe ourselves and judge ourselves. What a shame to let that ability go unused. so even if we do not have the opportunity at the present to have PT, we can at least use our minds to evaluate ourselves in some meaningful way. That most do not do this does not mean it can not be done, or should not be done. Anything is better than following a very stupid script that is often bound to end in disaster of one type or another.

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  3. Very agreeable, Art.

    It makes my wonder if much of our code-of-conduct in social intercourse (the exaggerated stuff that we can't "appropriately" drop) exists, in part, to allow each individual to live in their own isolated fantasy as to what the other person is, and what they to them.

    I think people can be over-allergic to dropping-the-act type "real" because they just don't want their illusory bubbles to be burst.

    (And if we are prepared to play ourselves for fools, then it only makes it easier for psychopaths to play us for fools as well.)

  4. >A man may idealize almost every woman he meets, and then as time goes on he begins to see who she really is.

    - I swear I spent the first 40 years of my life believing all women were good, and the prettier they were - especially dark haired and eyed like my mother - the kinder and 'better' they were. In the absence of access to feelings, experience has been a hard teacher.


  5. Hi Art,

    Do you ever see people in relationships where there is the potential for each to learn from this "dual-istic relating"?

    Some have said there is a tendency for likes and opposites to attract and so, there is some potential to learn from it, inside the relationship (as a consequence of the strife). IE: there is some meaning to the strife if one is willing to learn from what you have said.

    Compatibility in relationships is a vast subject many thousands of years in the making. Ok, my point is if primal pain is the cause of strife this does not necessarily mean the choice of relationship is incompatibility, does it?

    I understand that without primal, efforts to learn could just remain a neo-cortical adaption to this ideal. Nevertheless, primal or no primal what hope is there for families if this harsh reality has no meaning with nothing to learn?

    Sometimes Art you paint an uncompromising harsh reality. Though I suppose after nearly half a century of treating patients and seeing the evidence what can we expect?

    Strewth, this one's like paint stripper.

    Paul G.

  6. An email comment:
    "Art...buddy pal come often when I mention a topic I am involved in a little while later a blog appears here on the topic like magic?? This is of course flattering to me...and I can only encourage it....Art, I do, belief is a bounded trap to feelings...instead, I do percieve I have not too very long to stay "incorporated..." so to speak. I remember you once said...and it is written in some of your origional your publications...that we are never more real than just before we die. I once had license plates that read "BNREAL". If fact, they are in storage (I can't even drive the distance to storage...maybe I can but it is a major hassle) and I have a photo of me standing next to that new car ...back in '85....with those plates. were so wrong...soooooooooooo wrong. And if you were correct...which you were not...then I feel super real right now. I wish I had the strength to visit with you. We're but a moments sunlight fading on the grass. With affection, Barry a social that one can master. And the blog doesn't describe me. Been there, done that. Learned a lot. Found the answers. Paid way too high a price. PSS...good blog. Keep writing."

  7. About Paul's comment, I would like to read from readers about this. AJ

  8. A facebook comment:
    ""That's called "idealizing" as a psychological defense (according to Doc.Fraud) -- we see our needs not other people -the title is thus appropriate: "Why We Marry, Ourselves" :) :)

    "Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate." ~ Carl Jung"

  9. An email comment:


    The first article is very important to healthcare but shares no approaches as to prevention, treatment, or toward understanding causative factors in any in depth way. Art you could surely add some thoughts on this issue, and Bruce perhaps you might want to write about this connecting it to other studies. Bob Ray and Peter there are surely social factors involved here that you might wish to comment upon at some time.

    The second article is about the possibility of a connection between racism and PTSD. Bob Ray and Peter, this is certainly something you could elaborate upon and it goes very deeply into a better sense of what is social justice and how we need to change our systems and approaches in government and society. It also has elements key to a keener connection between social abuse and mental health. This last area of course could be greatly elaborated upon by you Art, and Bruce again it may be something you will want to consider and apply in your future medical writings tying together medical out come projections and social conditions with an eye to better treatments.

    I hope that each of you will come to know each other better, you are all great men of my time. I am honored to have had any communication with any of you and I hope my contribution here will be of some small help to each of you.

  10. Your email comment: "Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate." ~ Carl Jung"

    I think Carl Jung changed the act-out in response to his "conversion experiences" and called it liberty. He never made his unconscious conscious. At the most he just achieved some abstract understanding of his past.

    I think in psychology it's so easy to have the 'right idea' while holding onto the totally wrong subjective picture.

  11. Art: this, to me, is one of your more revealing blogs; Great. I ran around for most of my life looking for the symbolic daddy ... what a waste of time and energy!

    Paul G.: I disagree with your VASTNESS of comparability being thousands of years in the making. IMO only neurotics struggle with compatibility: totally feeling creatures (and humans; if there are any) know and deal with it instinctively. Your "paint stripper" analogy, I would state more simply;- strip away neurosis. All else is irrelevant IMO

    Apollo: Your believing in our ability to observe and think, cross examine ourselves is just that "A BELIEF" We are only different to other creatures in that we suffer and extremely debilitating disease called neurosis IMO. If we were 'TOTALLY FEELING-FULL' then all this other 'stuff' like:- thinking, believing, examining ourselves would be irrelevant and unnecessary. To me, that is the very essence of Primal Theory.
    "The Penn State study confirms a condition that William A. Smith, PhD., of the University of Utah has coined 'racial battle fatigue.'"

    I read this link and it boggles my mind that STUDIES by PhD's come up with conclusions like:- "racial battle fatigue"
    I say "big deal; what does all that mean???" I contend nothing. I just wish these professors would get their heads round Primal Theory
    "Early life experience, such as emotional stress due to past trauma, may have a lifelong impact on the neuroendocrine system [hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis], which in turn leads to behavioral problems in childhood and CWP in adulthood as well as other mental problems. Further research at molecular and genetic levels are needed to clarify this,” Pang added. The study findings are published in the March 10 online edition of the journal Rheumatology."

    Great words and analysis; in the end signifying ... nothing new. Just another STUDY How much do all these guys get paid for all this 'studying' Primal Theory pre-empted all this


  12. Hi All,
    "I hope that each of you will come to know each other better, you are all great men of my time. I am honored to have had any communication with any of you and I hope my contribution here will be of some small help to each of you.

    Here, here.

    Paul G.

  13. Paul, if you're looking for the meaning, you're looking for the feeling. If you search for your real feelings you will never find them. They will show themselves when you are ready. When you can fully experience the meaning of your relationship, you will know what to do.
    There seems to be some confusion in this blog regarding how primal therapy begins in the intellect. Remember, the patient doesn't solve any riddles at the beginning of a primal. Instead, he just slips past all of those defensive thoughts. It is more like a lack of thought, rather than an attempt to understand things properly. The REAL understanding comes from a full experience....and the understanding is spontaneous and effortless. That's what happens when ALL of your brain is put to use!

  14. Hello Art,

    Can't you have a translator to your blog ... translators for some languages… just for a time to see what the reaction would be... it's too many people who has problems with the lagungage ... explanations are understood mediocre and identification loses content?


  15. Hi again Paul. After reading your comment again, I think you were asking if there is potential for primal-educated people to make improvements in their relationships (without actually primalling).
    I think primal education can benefit the children because they are less defended, and therefore the information can be understood better. My nieces certainly see and feel some meaning in words like 'repression' and 'act-out'. Their parents think it is booga booga wooga booga.
    Trying to educate adults is, for the most part, a waste of time. Yeah, it's a harsh reality. My sister is ALWAYS so so angry and miserable. She will suffer for the rest of her life. And she tried hard to prevent me from educating her kids....but they were too smart for her.
    Obviously there are some people who do read and understand primal theory. Here we are. If some of us get therapy, or at least try to inflict less pain on our children, then of course every one of Art's books and all the comments on this website are worth it. 99.99% of this world is fucked up. I walk a short distance from my home and I hear a dog yelping because it's locked inside every day, and recently I heard a newborn baby screaming it's lungs out and the mother was yelling at 'it'. I don't want to listen to that. I want to focus on the cure rather than the pain...better than getting depressed. But I agree with you - it's a harsh world.

  16. An email comment:
    "You newsletters I always want to receive for obvious reasons. They are insightful [take note...NO flattery here]. I have a question though. My approaches are always somewhat unorthodox [too].

    What are newsletters for? Solely to teach others? Or is there left some room for the receiver to challenge the writer in whatever way? I have my own fair share of therapists and my experience with them is the same as with church ministers and teachers alike; not really teachable because of the underlying power element and control. To me life is a role-playing thing. 'Therapist' and 'client' roles should be interchangeable. It's when equality is disturbed that most of life's problems start.......just a thought"

  17. And my answer:
    There is always room for criticism. Have you been following all the mail i get? Therapists and patients are not exactly interchangeable. We have different roles and the patient does not sit behind the therapist. Aj

  18. Another email comment:
    "We also marry religions. Then we see past the symbolic joy, love or peace that they seemed to offer. We might seek counseling to help us keep "believing" or we might just get a divorce and hook up with another religion that seems so different but in reality is more of the same.

    Sometimes the pain killing effects of phony saccharin love gives us an over dose and we feel nauseated by the artificiality of our chosen religion and look about at people like ourselves and say "what hypocrites these people are" then we take our own hypocritical self through the door of yet another religious meeting hall and get "married" again.

    We always look up to the leader in a religious group not knowing that this is the vary person most artificial of all. This person seems to be the one that catches all the blame, but this is the sickest person in the group. We call such leaders "father" and "mother" etc. but they will always let us down. They can't help it, they aren't primal therapists, they aren't sane and they have nothing to offer except soothing or inspirational voices.

    Unless we feel the emptiness of our lives we are doomed to marry into situations where there was only emptiness from the beginning.



  19. Paul: I thank you for all of us. Peter Prontzos and Bruce Wilson are most valuable allies. Art

  20. Another email comment:
    "It's too hard to resist. Perhaps you mean to posite...that we each marry our Neurotic Need. That would make sense. In remember truth, right?? that we are intrinsically creatures of need. We need air, water, safety...we have biological needs, emotional needs, social needs..etc etc. More over, we as Human Beings have wants, wishes, desires and impulses. Take all that away and WE DON'T EXIST......which surely isn't what you are either implying or advocating. Still, this is a excellent blog. And true in many many many cases. There is a beauty to it. It resonates. I wonder how many folk will actually read it. Sigh..."

  21. And my answer: But if only you read it i have done my job. AJ

  22. Another email comment:
    "Art, I've grown so fond of this particular blog I've forwarded it to some very f--ked up "rich" folk. You're their only salvation. I might even forward it to the cutey-pie I have a Jones for. Good blog. They won't listen though. As you are well aware, the people embrase their chains. Barry"

  23. Frank: I am sorry, no. I would need a staff of translators for all the languages. no can do. AJ

  24. And another one:
    "The Best Friggin Blog You've Ever Done. It's Elegant. I'm just going to Effervesce into molecules. My back injury and pain...Spinal so bad...I can't work...I can't sell...I am so screwed....SSI/Social Security Disability limits the amount of money I can own....Wikipida "Wealth" and go about three or four pages where the three levels of Agrarian Society Economies are described....Upper Class, Middle Class, Lower Class....and it will blow your mind. Hunter/Gather Cultures and Societies are exempt. We are BOTH so screwed. I know that you acutely see, feel and hear the clock ticking quite loudly. I don't think I could Primal if I was on the floor and made the drop.... It's that bad. Great Blog. Knowing you is and has been a pleasure. Keep Writing. Yo."

  25. And another one:
    "You are a big canon, and I'm just a pistol, but this does not mean I don't deserve to be an opportunist....trying my luck getting into debates with the intelligentia (NO sarcasm and NO pun intended, k?).

    My strategy is asking questions....sticky ones like the following:

    Are we REALLY in control and do we REALLY have free will? (this is a question that cannot be answered without an in-depth ponder....we did not birth ourselves for starters and there are gazillion other examples for us not to be.....the crucial thing here is total honesty and no denial)

    If we indeed are NOT in control (which I believe it to be), is THAT not the answer to everything in life, to real freedom, to the real ability to forgive others as they were not in control either when they did such & such to us for instance?

    What is logic and what is not....of course with the above in mind?

    There's lot's more, but maybe it's not your subject of interest and.....please be frank with me. I just need a sounding board because my views are so 'outrageous' and people run away from me....well, an extremely tiny (another oxymoron) portion do not. WS"

  26. And my answer:
    Free will is a tiny bit of the fact we are very largely controlled by unconscious forces. Somewhere on my past blogs is an article about this. AJ

  27. I certainly have little comment to make on this important subject, since I`ve hardly had any long-term relationships with women during my whole life. And that was not from not trying very hard ,or from being homosexual! Therefore my experience of what goes on in couples is limited. But, I, thank "God", did have one deeply loving relationship with a female for a few years, and I am so grateful for that. It was deep connection..there are some moments with her that I will never ever forget. Absolutely awesome...To think so many of us are denied that connection ,more or less ,because of neurosis is an incredible tragedy.

    One last thing: there is a pattern in some couples that I have observed that puzzles me. I call it Mr Nice Guy hangs out with Miss Moody. First my parents: my father is the proverbial laid-back Nice Guy ( a former salesman) and he marries my mother, a moody savage authoritarian Italian fascist. I mean, why the hell would he do that? And it`s the same pattern with this young couple who lives under me. Nice detached superficial professionnal male marries moody harsh gal, too often on their kid`s case . Like: lay the hell off the kid, you are driving her crazy!! And then this bookstore owner I know: Nice Guy, sensitive dude, marries chillingly cold French woman, disdainful a la bourgeoisie francaise.I dont get it!!

  28. For Andrew We may have the right idea based on a wrong picture. But if we are taking the path that will best serves us and our long term interests, if not even short term ones, too, then the what or why really does not matter. With the mind, we can analyze and figure out a good course, if we can avoid the primal reptile from trying to hi-jack the intellect. The cortex can shut the primal reptile off long enough to give some thought to the appropriate course.

    It won’t stop the internal pain, but it might make our outer life a little more functional and serene. This is the 2nd best option. Yes, coming to LA CA area would be 1st but many can not avail themselves of that. So 2nd best is all some of us have. So it is relevant, even in the discussion of PT and PP, I would think.

  29. Richard, I agree with all you say in your post. The distinction I would make is that the intellect helps us to recognize PT as having the solution. But in the mean time, if one can not make room for that option, one has to have a 2nd plan, even if it is inferior to the 1st. In this case, I believe an intellect can be very useful. It won’t solve the pain inside, which will tell us when it is ready to come out, but at the same time, we could, in theory, arrange matters that would allow the feelings to come out . . . maybe.

    But Often, those feelings will still need help. It is the application of the scientific intellect of the doctor using drugs to help the patient into the feelings. No confusion. Just some careful distinctions. The intellect is always useful, even if one can not make PT a part of their lives at this time. It’s a he11 of a lot better than letting the primal retile have control of our destinies, I will tell you that. ;-) Would you not agree?

  30. Oh, so many interesting posts tonight. I am intrigued. I am bypassing the CBS Survivor forum for this, you know ;-) On religion brought up. Indeed, I have seen religious refugees run from the frying pan into the fire. Or get out and go right back into the burning barn. Organized religion is a pathology, as is any organized or controlled party, union, whatever, like Science, politics, academia, medicine, etc.

    People are sacred to be alone. They seek religion for a place to belong and have some social acceptance. Everyone wants to belong to something somewhere. But that is the trap. Join and they will seek to control you. Differ with them and they will seek to silence you or cast you out. The world is all about control. Stamp out independence and individualism. Those are the goals, always.

    But in a world of people, whose collective experiences do not differ that much, individual combinations do vary from one to the other. We would expect everyone to have differences of opinion, thoughts, ideas, in one thing or another. But party lines demand cookie cutter replicas who obey. But pity people who must belong for in making that important, they sacrifice their individuality and personal individual history of that person also gets sacrificed.

    Going it alone might leave you with only the Maytag repairman for friends, but it could be worse. Having to ignore your own feelings and thoughts is a real nightmare, no? Or at least, it can cause nightmares, eh?

  31. hello WS.

    "Are we REALLY in control and do we REALLY have free will? (this is a question that cannot be answered without an in-depth ponder"

    Actually it cannot be answered at all. There is no detectable relationship between free will and electro-chemical activity. This topic has no practical value. Perhaps the sensation of free will is instigated by an automatic reaction. Perhaps not. There is no detectable reason for the existence of consciousness. In terms of raw mechanics, animals should be able to function without it...just like robots.

    You're looking for "the answer to everything in life" because you want things to be simple...elegant...easy to understand. The upper right brain makes complex things look simple.

  32. Marco: I bet I do. and I will write more on this. art janov

  33. Blimey!

    I have been rolled up shaking in Teds arms screaming for my Mum on and off in the cabin outback for 14 months; this is involving into ever increasing baby like sensations, I'll spare the details, it's too personal, I wish I had a real primal therapist, tough. I can say my intellect is certainly involved but it's as if I fall down a hole into my limbic. . .

    My question was and still is: "What's the difference between unresolved neurosis and incompatibility in relationships"?

    The reason I asked is because I felt Arts' words fudged this issue (Art you're so provocative sometimes).

    I like Apollos' contributions because they resonate with what Art has said about how the intellect is also needed. That's explained eloquently in several ways in Grand Delusions which I have just finished speed reading.

    Currently I believe even only one person standing firm with their true feelings in a family could eventually bring the other members to theirs'.

    Then perhaps compatibility can be decided (and other practical matters).

    Given the gross misinformation about our psyches currently widely available, there is every possibility that the family member who does stand firm with their true feelings will get scapegoated by supposedly well wishing "friends" who's own cracked agendas rattle like skeletons in their unexamined closets.

    The greatest hurdle seems to be the social taboo. Pain is someone elses' problem, best hidden, lest we all start breaking down and crying together. Such is the hazard of empathy. Particularly if one member is bottling up a shed load. It's so easy to believe in bottling up feelings, it justifies the projections.

    Paul G

  34. Richard (and whoever):

    I can answer your question. If the atheists are right and the human mind really is just a giant clock, then free-will can only be an illusion. Because consciousness can only then be a (freakish) reaction to ultimately mechanistic processes. And mechanistic processes have their destiny absolutely in-built into their architecture; if we are robots then we will have as much free will as a robot i.e None.

    But if the consciousness is ultimately a "spirit" of some kind (and I know you hate that language Art, sorry!), whereas the brain is just a terminal feeding emotional/cognitive input into it, then maybe that "spirit" can have some unknown level of contribution on the final say of the brain/mind's executive decisions.

    But whichever way you go, 95% of us is driven by feelings that we have pretty much no ultimate control over. The psycho-emotional pressure of neurosis is essentially overwhelming.

  35. Well, Dr Janov, if you understand the dynamics of these odd couples, I'd like to read about it, because I'm sure light shed on my parents' relationship would clarify what I turned out to be as a person.

  36. Ah, yeah, what Paul said. People really are afraid of pain. When I was trying to bring up some primal feelings (without success) It was making my parents very nervous. I think they knew there was something to it and they did not want to go anywhere near it. Same with little brother.

    Now ART, i was reading 172-180 in Primal Healing. Around page 178 there is the suggestion that as a patient was about to face a horrible memory of incest, a vision of God's hand reached down to protect him. And he stopped the feeling and escaped. "He was saved by the idea of God.”

    In essence, this patient had found a way out, a way to avoid going any further with this therapy. Am I not right? This was not the intellect, of its own motivation. There was a part of this man who did not want to face down his pain. So he assigned his intellect the task of finding a way out. The intellect complied.

    As an example of the opposite, I did try one last marijuana hit in early 90s, seeing if I could primal. It was my 6th and last time. MaryJane is a very powerful hallucinogen with me. Caffeine had not worked. But as this progressed, this huge tsunami like wall/wave of pain was coming at me. I knew I was in way over my head. My gates could suffer serious damage. But I did know how to substantially reduce the effects of hallucinogens by immersing myself in as much external stimuli as possible. Movement, talking. It would have been better if it had been daytime and the sun our bight but it was night. If there is a lot going on outside, then it distracts and dampens the inside power. That is why you have many be alone for 24 or more hours before the 1st day of therapy to reduce distractions and let feelings start to creep up.

    I knew at this point that I really needed professional help to get this pain out. I did not want to blow out my gates and it really was a tricky business for amateurs. Let the pros do it. I did not invent God saving me, or any other convenient excuse. I knew what was down there and why, and how it could be cured. If you want to be cured, you will be cured. If you want to run and hide or find or make excuses, you will find all sorts of them. Many people go to mainstream psychology precisely because they want to avoid the real pain.

    It still seems to come down, to me, Whether we truly want something or not! That left hemisphere is there ready to help in whatever way it is called upon. We have to be careful that we are sending it sincere honest messages because it does not fool easy if at all. If we want out, we will get out.

    So in conclusion, I do not blame the intellect. I blame voices or feelings inside that motivate and direct us. Those primal forces can be so treacherous. They lie to us all the time.

  37. I propose that the intellect can carefully weigh out anything and come to a good conclusion. But was have to be aware of the saboteur inside us who wants to stop the intellect from going any such thing. Now as regards a proof, which we are both required to do, lets take a silly hypothetical example. Suppose someone did encounter an alien. Not maybe little and green but alien and in a UFO. Now because it can not be confirmed, we disregard it. Now if the ship came down in broad daylight in a large crowd and video cameras were there, then however skeptical we were, we would have to change our minds due to the obvious evidence at hand.

    Now the above is a little silly. But suppose this UFO tech is real but rather than alien, it is military secret tech. suddenly, it get far more probable since the likes of Nikola Tesla predicted and designed one about 100 years ago. So from that aspect, it is actually rather old tech but very well kept hidden, if it were true. Now this is not to say any of your patients saw anything real. The reading you take would tell you.

    But I note in science that when ever they want to cover up something obvious, they simply deny all evidence and declare mass hysteria when many witnesses see something. Any court recognizes the value of multiple witnesses in establishing veracity. Science puts on the blinders and you should know about that one, Art.

    And there are some things that could be said about paranormal activity and all that jazz, but I prefer solid science and solid reason. I can verify or rule out anything with logic, reason, and evidence. They never fail.

    It was Aristotle who said: “Law is reason, free from passion.” We might reword that as Law is reason, free from prejudice. It is the prejudice of the primal self that we have to look at. Example: I might look at my behavior and think it irrational. My inside might not be letting me getting peek or reason for why, but it does not take a genius to 2nd guess it anyway.

    Now the guess might be wrong, or it might be quite accurate. Maybe I was showing off to that hot chick and did not want to admit I was attracted to her. Or maybe I was feeling jealous about someone else getting her attention. Having seen so many others behave this way, its no big leap to realize what it might be.

  38. Apollo: Very very astute. I am always amazed at the intelligence of my readers. Chapeau! Hats off! AJ

  39. Neurotics often try to prove their courage and strength and skills, as if to say "Look at me, I am important and worthy of your attention."
    But ultimately, how much credit does the 'self' deserve?

    Let me clarify my point by asking Art a question;

    Art, assuming you can't go into a first-line feeling while your foot is being tapped, how do you primal without panicking?

    I'm interested in your personal description of the moment when you, or something automatic inside of you, decides to go in and face death.

    I suggest that the 'decision' whether to panic or primal may be an involuntary one. If it was voluntary you would primal immediately, unless you are undecided.

  40. Hi, there seems to be two posts going simultaneously! Regarding the previous, I'd just like to say that I went to the 'primal institute' in London in 1994 for a few sessions. I had finally decided to commit to therapy after ten years of being too frightened. (I read the Primal Scream in 1984).
    After I'd said I'd read the Primal Scream, the rather aloof therapist said "oh, so you were inspired by the passion"? Being in the midst of a serious life crisis (single parent of 4 kids under 4yrs) I sort of agreed and the therapist said "well, we don't really do the three week intensive any more, it's not necessary, yes, mmmmmmmm, primal theory has been incorporated into mainstream thinking now". . . .

    As I get more and more into my past feelings I realise how seriously mislead I have been and I feel this has contributed to the sum total of my suffering since. How many other potential patients have been mislead like this and for how long?

    Regarding this post:
    I’m sort of observing that the medium of the blog is leading us to make impassioned and generic implants, which is good; like a bring and buy sale. We’re on about the many functioned intellect; also I notice some of us are very good with words and reading fast, others have skills in different departments and perhaps read but can’t contribute. . . . . Appealing to all those who still read but don’t say much I know for sure (from 30yrs experience as a tradesman and now specialist carpenter and trainer) that the ability of the intellect reaches across a very broad spectrum of human existence.
    My point is that Science is really an attitude of mind and there are different branches of science into which we are all initiated by dint of birth into this world.
    The way we need to identify with our immediate environment (and influences) from very early tends to cause specialised branches of endeavour. Art, you say you are interested in what we do, what’s our “profession”; the way I see it we have a great gift with the intellect as it allows us to enter into these very different and contrasting realities of other people as well as our own.

    In this respect Primal Theory and practice is one of many essential ingredients to a real life. Now that I know Primal is a life long attitude not much has changed for me, except I am now able to steer a better course and make much more sense of every-ones’ reality, most of all my own. Roll on Santa Monica.

    Perhaps one way Primal could become more influential is by appealing to those who are interested in comparative science, by this I mean the study of different branches and the way they relate. It’s so easy to express an idea and most people reject it out of hand due to the relative nature of our sensitivity. Right needs wrong, left needs right, feeling needs intellect, existence needs non existence (good grief, can you imagine what existence would be like if it were permanent)?

    Paul G.

  41. Art,

    It is fantastic to "imagine" how a memory is stored ... retained for further reactions of good and bad. The fact that its small size can provide information… we would immediately conclude actual ... only we can show its process and mechanism for it… in its DNA for genetic changes causes banking of experience to memories ... memories of benefit to survival of good and bad ... it is incredible and should be of worldly interest. What makes this become alive?


  42. Richard: I will try to get one my patients to describe this. art janov

  43. Paul G: Hey I am just one guy. don't ask too much. I have warned and warned about mock therapies. I never heard of the primal institute of London. Anyone can simply take my name and open up a clinic with impunity and seriously damage their patients. Be forewarned everyone. This is a complicated therapy and needs great skill. art janov

  44. A facebook comment:
    "I think we should print out this entry. And keep it in our pockets. And hand it out every time one of those "dangerous" situations arose. And let the woman read it out .And aloud, of course. Though, i'm afraid, she wouldn't probably bother to do so. And wait for the outcome of the read-out. I think it would be a highly interesting situation. Me , for one, i'm already smiling about it. But me , for one, i think i'm already blocking out what i would hear from them. I don't think it would be anything with a lyrical future in it. And movingly and lovingly so. --So, see, i think i'm going to keep trying at my inner alchemical marriage."

  45. I am one of those men who married a woman being driven by a foremost instinct attraction. I seduced her in all possible ways (didn't take me too long though) It happened 10 yrs ago. She is from a longdistant country, like my mother I have started connecting the dots from my childhood experience and I can now see the bigger picture. So I started acting out the pattern I unconsciously inherited from my parents. Her father left both her and her mother when she was 9 yrs old. She's seen him very seldom since. Still there was obviously a need to regain a relationship which actually never existed. My physical appearence plus my ressemblance to his attitude toward Life itself (as she told me. As a gemini I can't help being somewhat intellectual) triggered that. She filled the opposite pattern (my mother's) of my unfulfilled needs. The appeal was there, boths ways. Soon I noticed her anger toward her mother (and grandmother) which she unconsciously tried to free from herself by means of repeting the same (only) female role she knew of. Pretty close role if not same to that of my mother's by the way. On the other hand, I felt she needed to blame her father for being too soft and not saving her childhood from her Mother-Gothel (mother-knows-best attitude-I encourage you all to watch the awakening Rapunzel movie which I thank my daughter for). I knew it the minute our life as a couple started to unfold. But I never quitted (like her father did). I guess I did not do it in time because my father was not like hers. I didn't want to because I found a chance in it to heal my mind. She pushed me so to the limit that I plunged into my unconscious mind and started to look seriously into my past instead of blaming the present. I've learnt to feel sorry for myself. And I've learnt to say I'm sorry, and that's something (of course not everything) We tell our daughter each time she feels for it, she has perfect right to let her tears show up and express her emotions. I know we've made many mistakes, and she'll have to review her own past as she grows up. But I also know I don't need to blame myself for every mistake I commited. I'm not guilty, just responsible for the state of my mind.


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.