Thursday, September 15, 2011

origins of ADD and Leaky Gates (Part 4/4)

Frank: Yeah, and to this day I ache to be touched – just ache. And they wouldn’t touch me, they didn’t want it to get infected… Of course they weren’t touchy people anyway, so that was….

Dr. AJ: Were they very religious?

Frank: No. I was when I was a child. Boy, I used to pray every night: Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the lord my soul to keep, please let me die before I wake, and please, dear God, my soul you’ll take. I used to pray to die every night.

Dr. AJ: Gee, your life was miserable. Can you imagine a life like that?

David: Back to your point, coherence. Coherence was a problem; organization was a problem; time management is a problem.

Dr. AJ: Ok, how about organization?

David: Again, Pressure inside is just blowing the gates, and blowing cohesion – blowing all neurological cohesion to shreds. There’s no cohesion of gating.

Frank: The pressure disorganizes you.

Dr. AJ: So the leaky gates don’t allow you to co….

David: Come together

Dr. AJ: So what does this have to do with leaky gates?

Frank: You are stopping the leaks from coming up?

David: That is a good metaphor. It’s like the body – it’s whole function is going to stop the leaks – the leaky gates and try to give it cohesion. And it’s failing. Right?

Ken: It’s true, but there is another element for me. A lot of times it’s that I don’t care. I don’t care enough to organize something. I don’t care about anything a lot of the time, except finding some kind of peace or connection to myself inside, you know, getting…

Dr. AJ: That’s the whole story.

David: I can understand that.

Ken: It’s like… I finally can cry and then it’s… all this is me, and now I finally feel right. I was going to say that… (turning to David) you were saying something about always being bad or something. For me I’ve always had this unconscious feeling that I’m bad, or not right or something until it finally connects – a connected feeling, and then it’s, Oh, yeah, this is me. It finally feels right. And it’s very rare too.

Dr. AJ: It sounds like a nightmare.

David: Dr. AJ talks about having cohesion in therapy and having connected feelings. I understand that, and I can see it in my patients when they have a connected feeling and see the difference. But, I don’t know how to explain it but there’s a part of me that says, I don’t give a damn about a connected feeling, as long as I’m connected to the crying and the hurt it’s almost like I don’t care what it’s about. And it’s not like an abreacted disconnected feeling, it’s just that some of that pressure that gets put out from me it’s like worth a million bucks, when you go through a lifetime of…. (near crying) and nobody gets it. And you get pounded and pounded, and then they sit you down and say, what are your goals in life? And you just sit there. And part of you feels bad because you don’t have any and you know that you should and you can’t, but a secret part of you just wants to say Fuck you! Go to hell! Don’t talk to me about goals.

Dr. AJ: Because?

David: It’s been hard enough to get here. It’s been hard enough to get through life up to this point.

Dr. AJ: No goals.

David: Goals, goals, what are goals?

Frank: Wow, I’ve always had goals. But one of the things in my life was that when I got to a certain age… Well, everybody my age was supposed to do that – so why don’t you? Well, nobody ever taught me – and each thing – I remember the first – the first Primal I ever had about that - not being able to do things that I’m supposed to do. It started out with my writing – that I couldn’t get published and the feeling went right down to when I was sitting on the toilet saying Mama, Mama, come and wipe me I’m done. And her saying, you’re old enough to wipe yourself, now do it! But nobody ever taught me how. And now I’m supposed to know how, because I’m old enough to know how. And it was the same way… and the big thing that triggered it was when I was first married, my gramma called me up and said, Uncle Rex said you could buy his house, so you guys can have a nice house. I’m going to take you to the bank and get all the paperwork done. And I went with her the next day to the bank, and I sat down there – that was the first time I’d ever been in an office in the bank – and I sat down there, and just before the bank manager came in, Gramma says, This is your loan, now you have to handle it yourself. I didn’t even know what an escrow was. And the thing is that I was qualified to get the loan with the GI Bill. But I didn’t know that. (shrugs).

Dr. AJ: So they don’t educate you, either. They don’t talk to you…

Frank: They hung me out to dry.

Dr. AJ: When I tell my friends that when I was young my parents never said anything to me… they sent me away for three years, well they never said you are going to so and so, they just packed my bags and I was off. They don’t talk to you. (Motions to David) Is that true with you? That’s bizarre isn’t it?

David: I remember asking my dad, You said you were in the army, Dad, what did you do? None of your business. Dad, how old are you? None of your business. What’s insurance. Dad? None of your business.

Dr. AJ: So what should be the cure for this? I’m curious, you said the program helped you. You saw the program?

David: It didn’t help me, help me. It gave me a little bit – like they understand what I go through. That’s about it. But they don’t really understand it.

Frank: How do you deal with ADD? You go to Primal Therapy. One of the biggest gains I made – it was just so funny and I remember telling you about it (motions to David). You get this little feeling and it goes (motions with finger tips together, and shifts them slightly) click. But it affects everything. My inner core just went click… A change in attitude, and that’s when I stopped beating up on myself. It had been a heavy session and David had just said I’m not going to let you come in here and beat up on yourself anymore. And I thought he was in his shit.

Dr. AJ: What.

David: He thought when I said that, that I was in my shit.

Frank: Cause he seemed harsh – and that’s the only time I’d ever seen him harsh.

Dr. AJ: Right.

Frank: But the next day it was just like… God, I don’t need to beat up on myself. I don’t deserve this.

David: And I don’t want to get too close to someone. And I never can trust them. And I remember this particular day just after a feeling, (shrugs) nothing. Ok, I just had a feeling, and walking out the door, and walking down the street, and walking among people and not feeling that fear, that anxiety… and it was like: Oh, my God, this must be what my life could have been. And I had to take pause. It was like… where’s the fear? It was quite an eye opener.

Dr. AJ: You too, Ken?

Ken: Oh, yeah, I mean I’ll just have moments when I have a feeling and really feel connected. It’s just like a moment of grace. It’s like… I’m here and I’m not scared, and I’m not wrong or anything.

Dr. AJ: You live with it all your life and most of the time you’re not aware of it. That’s just you…

Ken: Yeah and then those moments are gone… well, that was something but I can hardly talk about it. Then it’s gone and it’s like, I think there’s something there. I think there’s something better.

Dr. AJ: It’s funny, huh. And

PRIMAL PRINCIPLE: you don’t feel unloved until you get some love in the present, then you can go back and feel unloved. Otherwise, you carry it around with you until you die.
Back to what you were saying, Frank.

Frank: I was talking about the feelings I was having in that session when David told me I couldn’t beat up on myself. And as I remember it was a lot of feelings about my whole family beating up on me. Literally, my brother used to beat me until I was unconscious sometimes.

Dr. AJ: And the parents do nothing, right?

Frank: Oh, they’d say (shaking his finger at Dr. AJ) Now you’d better stop doing that. When I got my eye put out and the doctor said I couldn’t have any jars to my head, they’d say, Now if you hit Frank, you’d better make sure you hit him on the arm and not in the face or the head anymore. He can’t take any jars to his head. And my dad would say, So help me God, I’ll tie your head down in brackets, so it doesn’t move when I beat you.

Dr. AJ: It’s amazing, isn’t it? Well, listen. Guys, we’ve got to have staff meeting.

Ken: Let me say one quick thing, back to the outlet, and me not being ADD – I don’t think. One other thing, when I was a kid. It was all physical, like the sports, and I was one of those kids with a lot of tics. I’d just be going nuts with tics (histrionics), I was all over the place. So it came out physically for me.

Dr. AJ: Yeah, it got channeled into his body.

Frank: Yeah, I’d have said that’s an ADHD thing.

David: I never experienced tics like that, but I remember a session years and years ago that Dr. AJ did for me. In the middle of the feeling I was going towards the birthing, and my eye started to tic involuntarily, and it just kept ticking and ticking. It was just the weirdest thing.

Ken: Mine were voluntary, Mine were voluntary. It was just something that I had to do. Like I could make myself not do it but I felt like I had to do it.

Frank: Like flexing your muscles.

Ken: I would make it happen.

David: Oh, you would.

Ken: Yeah, I do it now even. Sometimes. Not as much though, and I try to hide it as much as I can. When I was a kid it was a lot more exaggerated (demonstrating).

David: Well, what does it do for you?

Ken: I don’t know, it’s just something I have to do it’s some sort of tension outlet or something.

Frank: It’s like an isometric thing. You stretch the muscles so you can relax them.

Ken: Yeah, they were all over the place.

David: I have a similar thing.

Dr. AJ: You don’t have that.

David: Oh, you’ll see me in staff meeting sometimes and my eyes will go like that and my facial expressions. I think it’s similar to what you’re talking about. I think it’s just a little discharge of that pressure or tension or something.

Then talk of the business mechanics of the meetings. Finally Dr. AJ turns to Frank.

Dr. AJ: Was it elucidating?

Frank: Oh, yeah, it was particularly elucidating listening to David. Realizing he had real experience of what I go through.

Dr. AJ: He’s a classic ADD, a classic. It wasn’t until he was with me that I encouraged him to go to school. He didn’t think he could learn. He was sure he couldn’t learn.

David: Yeah, that and I just didn’t want to go through the nightmare of it. And go put myself back into that.

Frank: I was really afraid when I started and when I found myself competing with these young girls… There were 12 of us in the class and 11 of them were girls. They were young girls, and a lot of them already had their masters in something else and they were all the scholars of the school and… How the hell did I get chosen to be in this group? Of course, thank you, and I also got a lift from Joseph Wambaugh.

Dr. AJ: Of course I was also a severe ADD and I could barely make it out of high school and couldn’t concentrate much. And what happened was, when I joined the navy they gave you intelligence tests. And I forgot about it because I had no intention of going to college. But one day when we were on our way to Okinawa and Saipan. We were on a ship – we’d had seven battles already and were on to our 8th battle. Then a destroyer pulls up and says we’re taking Janov off the battleship and taking him back to officers preflight school, because my IQ which I had taken 2 years before was very high. So on the way to a battle, which is serious shit – lot of kamikazes. Then when I went to school, I got straight “A”s and I thought: you know what? I can do this. I could feel my brain change.

(The End)


  1. Parasympath, leaky Gates and having goals:

    When I was about 11 years old I had no goals because I was not sure I would live long enough to start anything… or it didn’t matter because they (my parents) had always work waiting for me, no time to play… I suppose to have not my own ideas… I was trouble from birth on… I took too much time getting born, and now it takes too much time to finish a simple task, remembering how my mother used to yell at me.

    I could not concentrate in class, my mind was busy thinking about the next beating and what I could do to avoid them... or if my brother would molest me again … and if it is true that I could have a baby from what my brother was doing to me.

    I couldn’t concentrate, no matter were I was, even when I was alone. But, I could drift away - not often… watching how peoples mouths moved, seeing their faces, their movements, but hearing nothing.

    All I wanted was the feeling of being alone, far away from anybody, from any noise. I didn’t like the rain drops banging against the window sill in the night; it was too loud and I couldn’t hear if anyone was coming, maybe my brother again or my father to beat me.

    Today I still don’t like to be pulled in to doing something, however I pack a lot into one day and accomplish very much, if I can organize my day and move at my own pace and without being interrupted. I still like to be alone.


  2. Art,

    It's great to hear you admit that you had ADD... not that you were one who had ADD... but that through your role as a professor recognize it.
    So... hello MR professor in your own world of being a professor... professor together with us who is about to become professors in our own lives... for our own purpose.

    Thank you very much Arthur Janov


  3. Sieglinde: Your life was hell. How do any of us survive? goo luck art

  4. Dr. Janov, thank you.

    “How do any of us survive?”

    My only choice was to remove myself from the place and the country where everything reminded me of how I was abused.

    At the age of 42, I gave away everything I owned, purchased a ticket from Germany to the US, without knowing anybody here or having any English.

    I thought I was safe in America: wrong again, the memory and the pain traveled with me across the ocean.
    Eight months later, after finishing writing about my childhood, I became suicidal. However, there was one line I wrote, which became a insight and reality, a reason to live, - and later I wrote the sentence to many other victims:

    “go back in time, to place of your childhood pain, and on the way out you leave the pain behind you”.

    Now at age 62 I know it is true.

    9 years ago I heard about “the primal scream” and knew for sure my “going back” was the only right thing to do. It saved my life and sanity.


  5. Dear Art,

    I am so similar to David. I too, have leaky gates, add, inability to organize my life, pressure from inside, have no goals.
    It is funny, since I started to take my medications for tics, I have milder add. Me too am too physically like Ken. I have tics, Tourette syndrome.

    This series of four articles is great. It is great because we can see vivid talking, vivid dialogues, which I love. And you asked questions rightly, and in right time. Primal Principles are like theoremas in mathematics.


  6. Sieglinde:

    I've been reading your comments here and your autobiography. You might disagree, but like Art, I think you are a hero.

    You "light the way."

    I'm not being simplistic. Just trying to show appreciation for folks who are honest about their pasts...and show others how to survive nonetheless.

    And not merely survive, but thrive. And inspire others. Not in a cheesy TV evangelist way or like "self-improvement" gurus who shill DVDs on how to "succeed" without talking about the hamstrings (cut by parents, etc.) of their targeted "needy" people.

    You and Art and others show how to live with integrity by openly disclosing your OWN lives, showing how life CAN be lived even if one was robbed of the love/security that was all our birthrights.

    We ALL should have been given what we NEEDED in utero and upon exit. That most psychology glosses over that in its "up by your own bootstraps" clap-trap is insane. Why tell a guy/gal he should not pity themselves, but instead become an Olympic sprinter when our legs were amputated?

    How many "shrinks" have really dealt with (by primally delving into) their own damaged pasts? They are like desk-jockeys hectoring combat vets to "snap out of" PTSD. Never having walked in others shoes (or their own, really) who are they to advise ANYONE?

    You matter to me and a lot of others. You have true grit. Please, keep on keepin' on! In dark moments its comforting to hear someone else whistling in the dark.

  7. Trevor:

    Your kind words made something happening – I could cry.
    The para-sympath says thank you very much!

    Let me say this: I’m not a hero. At the age 42 I was like a cornered wounded animal with only two choices - get the trauma-hell out of me (3 and 2nd line) - or die.
    For this reason, “psycho-experts” can NOT tell me much or how to deal with trauma.

    Trevor, I hope you did not get triggered or even depressed.
    Keep on whistling! It’s liberating.


  8. An email comment: "Hi Dr. Janov,
    This article about ADD is very close to me.I was good student in elementary and high school but on faculty neurosa was stronger.This days I ask my self is this possible?-36 years my birth trauma(and other brain bombs from my childhood) are origins and shadows of my life style,my behavior,reason why I am alone,what kind of woman I choose,who are the people I choose for friends..I am man "closed from top",this concerning my breathing and my voice,and now is much better then before.Feelings and reality are heat and ice on my face slowly melts..I can feel my stomach,and when I lay down in my bad and talk slowly,gently and quietly:"Mom,dad,I can't alone,be warm mom.."I feel pain,it's mostly in lower area,and I say and feel,and say and feel,and pain growing and growing,and I feel it,then at the and I must go to toilet.Same feeling was at the tests or when I was learn to drive a car,or when I have to do some danger job I'm not qualified enough and I can't say it,or when I wait to meet girlfriend which is same like my mother..To be baby,helpless,unprotected and hopelessness during birthing,without oxygen,how did I survive that,ALONE?!I don't know,but I know it's still here,in me. To deny that influence in everyday life got no sense,but some day I will solve all that,in Primal Center,I hope I will.Do that alone is difficult,but if I must.. If I could say to you all thoughts and insights I have about primal theory,therapy and life view at all, you would be say:"Man,you catch everything,this what I made and discover really works to you!" Feelings,I can feel how important they are..And,when I admit all ice and emptiness of my life I say to my self:"Keep on moving-aikido.."Good night shidoshis. "


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.