Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Die is Cast: Early Trauma Affect Us for the Rest of Our Lives

It seems like I am still drowning the fish, so I won’t write too much more on this but the evidence is now overwhelming that very early childhood, and that includes gestation time, changes us for a lifetime.

Here is an example: scientists have found how certain birth defects take place. It turns out that it is not just a birth defect but also experience plus the genetic defect that makes for serious illness. A group of scientists from many universities showed how a genetic tendency plus a period of low oxygen during gestation led to a malformation of the spine (scoliosis). In another related study, they discussed how early trauma led also to later heart problems, as well as impaired kidneys and cleft palate. Low oxygen is often the culprit due to the mother smoking, living at high altitude, diabetes and other diseases. But the point is that the environment working on a gene can produce an affliction, often much later in later in life. Cleft palate certainly looks like a genetic defect but perhaps it isn’t. I call this “envirogenes”; how the environment intersects with genes. Two siblings may have the same early life but differ in their genetic makeup and in their womb-life. What this research shows is nature and nurture working together.

What the researchers on scoliosis found is that having one defective gene allows the womb-milieu to have a great affect on the genetic apparatus. Lack of oxygen working on different genes can produce a different kind of malady; again, later on in life. This is especially true in heart disease. Investigators have found that very early trauma can set up an inflammation in the heart that endures, ending up finally as a heart attack. I have written about low oxygen during womb-life for many years. This is particularly sharpened during the birth trauma where a mother, heavily drugged (and therefore low on oxygen), produces an offspring low on oxygen as well. The problem is that his low state doesn’t just pass away, over a bit of time; it is an imprint that produces an alteration in the system over years. One of those alterations is an inflammation around the heart. Later on, with smoking, drinking, being overweight, lack of exercise, it becomes a full-fledged attack. Did bad diet do it? All of the above did, working on a weak heart muscle. Those with inflamed hearts nearly always have a bad outcome prematurely in later age. And the doctor then wonders what happened to make that appear; and the answer is way back in history; and that is the history the doctor must take, at the outset.

Does bad diet do it? Usually not one factor alone does it. It has to play on a weakened heart, and now we know that this happens so early in our lives as to seem mysterious and unknowable. Yes, we have to die of something, but we shouldn’t have to die before our real time, not on neurotic time. Real time means without excess imprinted trauma early on. And I suggest again that we can get rid of those early traumas in our primal process of reliving. I know a lot about the scientific literature, and I have not seen another way to do it; to do it naturally, without drugs and mechanical intervention. If we take pain out of the system, it seems to me, we won’t die on neurotic time.


  1. A poem from a reader:

    "For Art....a Pioneer. I sacrificed more than you did....way more...for free...I hope to see you's a poem for you and all concerned......

    What if our religion was each other
    If our practice was our life
    ... If our prayer, our words
    What if the temple was the Earth
    If forests were our church
    If holy water - the rivers,lakes and ocean
    What if meditation was our relationships
    If the Teacher was life
    If the wisdom was self knowledge
    If love was the centre of our being

  2. Drowning The Fish

    My brain is fantastic. It has taken me on an extensive roundtrip through certain parts of the evolution, which has allowed me to demystify my epilepsy. To confirm the essens of my experiences during the last 40 years I want to give an example of the advice, of the inventor of “Evolution In Reverse”, “to lay back and allow the stab of anxiety to overtake us”.

    It is Saturday and my daughter is spending the weekend at home, and we have had a friendly, straight and positive communication about almost everything from money, sex education at school, politics, human shortcomings, how to dress, how to learn from your mistakes etc. to where we would bury our dog, Puskas, if he dies. These discussions took place while both of us did whatever we had to do. Isabel carried out weekly cleaning routines while for vanity’s sake, she had put a mudpack to enhance her skin’s already high quality. I was on the internet, stretched, went off and bought strawberries and cooked dinner. Life felt good, and we were pretty much on the same wavelength.

    Late in the afternoon, after dinner I took a nap. After an hour or so I woke up with a slight tension over my mouth and eyes, and with the house in full piece, I decided to allow the stab of tension to overtake me. It developed into a wordless process over two hours. Slowly, the pressure intensified over my face and developed into my mouth, my throat and I felt it intensely right down to my fingers and toes as electrical impulses. Since I have been through this process during more than 40 years, there was nothing scary in this wordless re-experience of my birth. It was once again a confirmation that the wordless terror and agony, that I now after 72 years have the strength to go through, is equal to the reality, I as a fetus not endured, but via cramps and stenosis shut down in order to survive. My birth-process lasted in all 48 hours and the most dramatic of those ended in an imprint that led to my developing epilepsy. My epileptic attacks were compressed versions of the unbearable part of my birth trauma.

    However, something sensational happened today. After falling deeper than usual into the anesthesia, that often surrounds me during my primals, I was suddenly violently compressed and hyper ventilated sharply, followed by no breathing at all. For a long while, I struggled frantically to get some air without success. Suddenly, I gave up and I felt like a drowned fish. All of a sudden I smiled happily when I remembered Art’s Reflection this morning about how he spoke of: “I’m still drowning the fish...”

    I was afraid that after two hours of intense wordless memories/feelings that my intellectual brain had stopped working, but now as I write, it feels as easy as a piece of cake to express myself.

    Jan Johnsson

    1. Jan: wonderful and helpful for everyone. art

    2. jan it sounds like you snapped out of the feeling too quickly. at the point when you "gave up", you suddenly started thinking about art's words; "drowning the fish." that doesn't sound good to me. but of course you know yourself better than i do.
      when i am having a nightmare, and i reach that tragic moment when "all is lost"...i suddenly wake up. i suddenly start to think about things.
      you've been having this birth primal for over forty years? sounds like you are not staying in it for long enough. do you feel that it has been resolved at all?
      i have no idea what i'm talking about. i am just saying it sounds fishy to me.

      many of the blog readers seem to think it is a good idea to allow a feeling to sweep cry or whatever. i don't get it. does crying help to loosen up the limbic system....does it help to slow down the rate of ever-worsening repression? it certainly doesn't bring any meaningful insights. it might relieve a little tension. if i want to relieve tension, i can masturbate. it feels better than crying. we all know this world is a loveless wasteland of unconscious actors. why would anyone want to dwell on that? why would anyone want to feel superficially sad or anxious or angry when it's never going to be a proper primal? does it help?

      if it does, then i will do it. i will let a feeling sweep over me. it's very easy. all i have to do is lie down outside and stare at the sky. BAM!! hey jan, you say your birth primal is not scary. i'll show you a terror that goes beyond your wildest imagination. but wait...maybe my feeling is scary because i am panicking. perhaps the terror would not feel so scary if i could feel it properly. perhaps i should just shut up and let art spread his non-suggestive words of wisdom so that others can benefit without having to listen to my ranting.

      yep. i think it's time for me to shut up.

      by the way art, i sincerely hope your back operation, with all of the unnecessary pain you endured during the recovery, was worthwhile and has led to a better quality of life, and i hope your throat operation will be a success. i want you to be pain-free. and i want both you and jan to be brave and finally get rid of your wretched birth pains. and try to stay alive until i finally arrive at the primal center.

      bye for now.

    3. Hi Jan

      It's amazing that you have conquered such a devastating condition as epilepsy and if what you experienced is a Primal then it was the most understandable description of what it may be like to experience one that I have read. I am not sure if I have Primal's or not. On Friday I got very panicked about some pressures at work and the fact that my wife and I are about to move to a new town I think we are both stressed. I seemed to just fall into complete despair and nothing my wife could do could get me out of it. It was quite obviously little me experiencing the fear and terror I must have felt as a small boy when I was sent away for a week when I was three and beaten so hard that my spine was nearly broken and maybe just maybe it was also even smaller me experiencing the breach birth I had. I had decided to to just stay with it and have been trying to stay with the spike of anxiety if it hit me.

      I had a good session with my therapist and a number of insights flooded out and for the first time in weeks I slept incredibly well and this morning got up early with more vitality than I have had for months. I am sure the Black Dog (Churchill's description of depression) will return but it's good to know that also I am learning to lift it. I really hope that I can learn to feel very deeply when I visit LA in August. I kind of get the feeling I won't find it too hard.

    4. Richard,

      All of a sudden, may give an impression that I smiled immediately while feeling drowned. However, it took a while, and when the intensive feeling of being compressed had released, there was a literal connection in my brain, from seemingly nowhere/suddenly, with Art’s expression about drowning the fish. The expression fit on the feeling I had experienced.

      For me to give up is followed by being born. When I give up to struggle the wrong way I can finally be delivered; ass first as a breech. My struggle never to give up has shaped my epileptic life pattern. For me the sensational feeling the other day was how my whole body participated frantically (with every fiber in my body, fingers, legs, toes, and lungs, etc.) to get enough, oxygen. I could not get enough, and I felt the devastating consequences instead of having an epileptic cramp.

      I do not mean that my primals are not scary. I mean that they do not scare me from re-experience them after 40 years of wordless terror and agony and grand mal seizures due to the tremendous general improvements I have been through. My experiences feel good and I can only give my humble version, and I have no ambition to be the perfect Primal Patient.

      Jan J.

    5. Planespotter: Do you know what they called depression when I was in the navy? The red ass. It won't be hard. You are already on your way. Don't assume any insights until you have real feelings. Art

    6. jan, thank you for clarifying. really fascinating!

    7. Hello Jan,

      Obviously there is several ways of perceiving "drown the fish" but your explanation is of the nature that it is easy to feel suffocated on how you paint your experience ... very good Jan.


  3. Very nice poem. Congratulations on your research.There is not enough of it going on. But from what I have read you are keeping up with the latestscientific research. ALL of the field of psychology has got to start getting on board with good scientific research. Keep up the good work. Must Buy one of your books.

    1. Chris: Please check my book on Smashbox "Sex and the Subconscious". It discusses this exactly. art

  4. Can a fish drown?

    Fish get their oxygen directly from the water. They have organs called gills that take oxygen out of the water, just as your lungs take oxygen out of the air. But water can run out of oxygen, just as air can.
    So fish can suffocate in water, which means they can drown in water.
    These drownings occur most often in small ponds that dry up. All the fish that live in the pond are crowded into the remaining water, where they use up all the oxygen in the water, then drown. Fish can also drown if their gills are damaged in a collision with an underwater plant or in a fight with other sea creatures.
    Weather conditions also account for some drownings. For example, when some fish realize that oxygen supply in the water is getting very low, they rise to the surface and suck air into a sac-like organ called the air bladder.
    The fish can then take oxygen out of this air instead of directly out of the water. But in cold weather, when the surface of the water is frozen, the fish can’t reach that air, and so they drown.
    J Johnsson

  5. Art,
    Whenever you talk about birth trauma and life afterwards...I never consider that you are "drowning a fish". Many parents and people refuse to even recognize that there is any trauma before birth. They close their eyes to it. If they would recognize early trauma and consider it, they might help people; including their own child. I was fortunate, in that family recognizes early trauma.
    Beachcoast 7

  6. What does "Still drowning the fish" mean. Great phrase.

    I can imagine many issues we have to deal with later in life starting off in the womb. In a recent episode of "The Archers" one of the farmers had a heart attack after having had a big argument with his Son. We then heard his wife saying "Oh God I have never taken him seriously enough. He keeps his feelings to himself and now we have this". I thought that was quite an enlightened storyline for this radio show. While the farmer was recovering in hospital his Mother came to see him and said something like "Now I don't want to tell you what to do" "Don't change the habit of a lifetime Mum came the reply". A man who was brought up in a household where he would have had to keep his feelings to himself and who married someone very similar to his Mother. I am sure that that the kind of woman who can't hear her Son's feelings is also one who is perhaps anxious to begin with so this would effect the Boys heart early on.

    My understanding is that repressed anger is one of the biggest causes of heart disease and cancer. I am sure this starts very early. My Father and Grandfather both had angina though so far I don't seem to have any symptoms and fingers crossed it stays like that. My Mother always blames his poor diet as a kid which may be partly right though living with her for the last 50 years would have contributed a great deal.

    Also interestingly I have a big trauma to my spine. My chiropractor discovered it about a year ago and asked when I had received the trauma. When I showed the X-Ray to one of the Doctors the X-Ray he said 'curvature of the spine" until I pointed out that two vertebre had been pushed about 10mm apart hosrizontally. I mentioned this to the chiropractor and he said "Definately not scoliosis. That is trauma and I spend my whole time dealing with spines and seen a lot of scoliosis." He took the X-Ray home and compared it to his 4 year old daughter's spine and the curve scales down to one which could easily have been caused by a broom handle (used to beat me with) pushing tissue down and so creating a bigger radius for the spine to follow. Before I discovered this trauma one of the symptoms I had was if I ever got stressed and was walking home I would feel my legs giving way and wanting to sit down. Once I had worked out what happened to me this symptom went away. A little Boy having to walk around with a massive trauma to his spine while his Mother had been lied to by his Great Grandmother.

    How much is genes? I get the fact that they play a part but how much are what people call genetic traits actually created in the womb. Craig Ventor who mapped the Human Genome is quoted as saying "We are who we are because of our environment". Our time in the womb is envronmental and also an intense period of genetic input. Perhaps a Mother who needs oxygen is not relaxed and not ready for her child and is perhaps starting to remember how she was treated and can't handle it. Thus the birth is difficult. She is starting her first bout of not really wanting the child. My understanding is that many genes are not expressed until after we are born when we are quickly adapting to our surroundings thus not being wanted may cause great damage at this level. It would seem to me that it is nuture influencing nature. Genes change due to external factors I gather, and therefore nuture plays a much bigger part due to it's influence on genes? After all I read somewhere that when a gene is expressed it is like squirting an air freshener into a footbal stadium. There is a lot else in a football stadium. Is'nt it Nuture and envronment influencing genes. Is that not the reason why we are born so vunerable even compared to a Chimp and why we have covered the Globe? We need to adapt to our surroundings and family as soon as we are born. Don't grow too many muscles young man as you may frighten your timid Mother.

    1. Planespotter: fish.....overkill

    2. Suspected that was the case.

      By the way on Radio 4 this morning Robert Winston the fertility expert was discussing new findings that show that people born via invitro fertilisation have a 40% higher risk of cancer and heart disease in later life. I suppose having a ruddy great needle shoved into the egg and the sperm shot in like a ball out of a cannon is going to have an impact on the tiny little zygot is'nt it and how that influences the epigenetics. That little egg so carefully grown was never made to be treated like that!

  7. I think the statistical link between contraction of severe flu in pregnancy and schizophrenia of the child is well established.

    1. I think Alice Miller makes a very strong case for the development of schizophrenia due to upbringing as well in "Drama of being a Child". Her theory suggests that if a child is treated harshly to force it to become who the Parents want him or her to be then that child has taken on a false self to cater to the Parents wishes. If once the child is good and obedient, the parents then start treating the child well and teaching it to be kind and empathic they are in essense being a kind person which encourages the repressed true self out into the open. However then the child is confronted with the double bind of the terror of the early Parents who frightened him into submission combined with the softer kind Parents. However they will always revert to the punishing Parents if needs be. In some of her later writings she states that when someone starts to remember early hurt and abuse they need to have the courage to believe this otherwise schizophrenia develops. She suggests that the condition is in fact a kind of confusion. The confusion between the past and present. Thus odd movements and tics are just the repeating of early experiences by the repressed self in the present. For example say a child is slapped round the head a lot and therefore if the adult is faced with a potential conflict in the present he or she might develop a twisting twitching motion of the head reflecting the head twisting as it is pushed round during the early assault. The freezing state that some schizophrenics taken on could easily be considered an extreme of the third means of escape. Fight, flight or freeze. Catatonia is a child unable to speak and this being reflected in the adults physcosis. So called Tourettes syndrome are repeated words perhaps not allowed in childhood as a means of reproaching the abuser ie Fuck off! Or perhaps repeating a phrase that perhaps reflects early sexual abuse like "Suck his Cock" repeated and repeated without the contextual event to allow closure. Quite obviously such a child will have experienced an anxious time in the womb because such a Mother will be anxious because if she was not then she would be relaxed in her relationship with her child and thus able to accept the child being who he or she was meant to be. Therefore early epigenetics would play a part but let's not doubt that in the end it is the Mother and Father who decide to have a child and it is they who force him or her to be who they want them to be. I reckon I skated very close to that particular condition but never dived in because I discovered Alice and Art (who I call my physcological Parents because they allowed me to be myself). I grew up with parents who wanted me to be who they wanted me to be. My Mother would say "be like so and so" ie I don't like you as you are. If one Parent wishes the child to be one kind of person and the other expects another is it any wonder that sometimes someone splits and there is nothing inside.

      Marie Cardinal who suffered from great mental distress sums it up.

      ‘I was nobody. I had no desires, no will, no likes, no dislikes. I had been fashioned to resemble as closely as possible a human model which I had not chosen and which did not suit me. Day after day since my birth, I had been made up: my gestures, my attitudes, my vocabulary. My needs were repressed, my desires, my impetus, they had been dammed up, painted over, disguised and imprisoned. After having removed my brain, having gutted my skull, they had stuffed it full of acceptable thoughts which suited me like an apron on a cow. And when it was verified that the graft had taken, that I no longer needed anyone to control the waves which welled up from the depths of my being, I was let go. I could live freely.’ — ‘The Words to Say It’, Marie Cardinal

    2. Planespotter: Look Alice Miller may have made a strong case but maybe the wrong one. What I see of psychosis indicates that it starts very early, usually in the womb, and when the carrying mother smokes or drinks a lot in the firs 3 months of pregnancy you have a strong case for psychosis. Of course, I have treated them and they often have a terrible childhood which compounds the problem but the start is in the womb. art

    3. part 1

      Dr Janov

      I am not doubting what you say. My Mother never smoked and has never been a drinker so maybe that is why I skated over the surface of physcosis rather than entering it. My cousin on the other hand had a Mother who smoked and the poor bloke is having his Brains addled by powerful drugs. The fact that his brother is convinced that his Mother sexually abused him could easily have effected his brother. If both parents abused him where did the poor kid have to go except into lala land? However Lala land is full of clues as to why he is there. My therapist has been treating people who were abused in ritual sexual abuse by 40 people. It's not uncommon. She told me this week that actually they have had a waiting list for women for years and yet it is only now that they have a waiting list for men. That is probably because as society becomes more open to the acceptance of the existence of abuse so people can wake up to what happened and men are behind women by a long way. Many many people in mental institutions were sexually abused. Much literature says so. How much of physcosis is a child's expression of strange things that make no sense but are terrifying, expressed through the adult and they just look mad because what must not be, cannot be?

      If you look at Alice Miller's website she discusses womb life and was always very open to it's powerful impact. I think she is quoted as saying we are not a tabularasa when we are born.

      I see that your theories and hers overlap in so many ways. They are complimentry and there is nothing wrong with that.

      Obviously you have a great deal of experience and I only have my own and the observations of my family and a lot of reading. However I hold with the fact that the body can tell one a great deal of what happened to it. I have learned a lot. It was your writing in Primal Healing about listening to the feelings behind dreams which helped me a huge amount. It helped me realise that I was terrifed of my Father as a small Boy and that I had to do what he wanted even when it was disgusting. I also believe that dream imagery is not as clear cut as people think it is and it sometimes takes days to allow stuff to the surface. Miller says that psychosis holds many clues to the early hurts which cause it and this probably includes birth trauma and earlier. To simply see it as just a mess of gobbldegook is to ignore subtle clues and do no more to help someone than classic Freudianism.

    4. part 2

      I think both of you helped me to feel and also importantly see beyond the lies that so many people tell each other. Liang did that too. He just never got far enough because perhaps he did not want to see. It's when someone does not want to see that we are in trouble. Freud did not want to see and invented all kinds of mumbo jumbo to avoid the painful truth including sexual abuse by his own Father.

      Take the Prephealite John Ruskin who is famous for many things including never consumating his Marriage and being terrified of women's Pubic hair. Why would a grown man be terrified of pubic hair unless at a very tender age he had experienced Pubic Hair in a terrifying manner. Perhaps he got stuck in the birth canal and associated the whispy strands around his head with suffocation or maybe he was sexually abused by his Mother or a wet nurse. Imagine a grown woman sitting on a small childs face. How awful is that? Well before the child's sexuality is suppossed to awaken it is woken by horrors. The fact that society could not (and still does not fully) accept that women (Mothers especially) can abuse, then how can a therapist also accept it.

      If we need to explore the dark reaches of the Congo it is best to explore it with a guide who has been there and knows the pitfalls and horrors.

      I agree that the womb holds many secrets as does the mind of a child trapped inside an adult body. It is being able to see the world from the viewpoint of that one individual and unique child with his or her unique view of the world that is the greatest help in allowing that child to grow and meet the adult.

      One more question. Your comment about hardly ever coming across any sexual abuse of boys in 60 years of helping people got me thinking. What about all the child abuse scandels in Ireland and Belgium? Have you ever thought that maybe there is something from your childhood that you don't want to see? I get the whole womb thing but if we keep looking down a microscope we can't see what is around us at a human scale.

      Meant in the best possible way.

    5. Planespotter: I agree about the church scandals. But I never saw anyone from the church. In that respect the Catholic church is partly a criminal enterprise allowing vulnerable children to have their lives ruined by pious, so called pious authorities. art

    6. Part 1

      Well what concerns me is that there is huge evidence for the abuse that happened to me including statements from my Mother about my Fathers abuse. There is also evidence for my Mothers sexual and physical abuse of me too including drawings and artifacts that I started to make as soon as I left home which rather agrees with your statements that Primal Therapy can't really start until the child has left the influence of the Parents. Even her anxious tone on the phone the last time I spoke to her. She thought I was way further ahead than I was. I am concerned that if I come over to LA I will be believed as it has taken a great deal of courage, effort and emotional investment to heal myself as much as I can.

      Also you haven't answered my question about your childhood. You say that you ask your client/patients whether you may have got something wrong and I am saying that I think you have got the prevalence of sexual abuse in society wrong. Isn't it down to someone like yourself who holds up what is quite obviously a very powerful therapy as the only way forward to be open to thinking about whether evidence in front of one's eyes is true. If feelings are the be all and end all and what throws up insights for your patients then how easy is it to understand a feelings felt as an 1 year old child with a finger up it’s rectum. Aren’t such feelings going to be in the nature of symbols only understandable to that tiny creature. There are many who feel that 70 or 80% of people in mental institutions have been sexually abused and because repressed memory is ignored by the many how can the doctors see what they are not meant to see. They are just crazy and not expressing the experiences in childish tones. What if word salad is just the gibbering of a small child's mind as it would have been when language was first developing in that child's mind also filled with terror. The word salad is like a stuck record playing the story of abuse stuck in time again and again and again until someone listens. I saw a little girl "growling and roaring" at people as she was pushed along in a push chair and not long after her Mother started bellowing at her for some slight. That little girl in preverbal times would have experienced her Mothers shouting as a wordless roar. It is now fixed in her head as a roar and probably mixed up with all the images of lions roaring on the telly.

      Freud refused to acknowledge Dora's sexual abuse by his friend and called her hysterical and she ran off to the States. There are many who still refuse to see that this was the case.

      Why would my Uncle look at me with the Eye's of a terrified little Boy and say "His Mother got into bed with him for cuddles". Why would my Mother say about my Father "But Children Forget and I have had to live with him". Why would my Aunt (wife of my Uncle ((Mothers brother)) say to me on the phone "Your Mother and I have had to live with very similar men" and yet not know that her Son has told me he thinks she sexually abused him so much so that it sent shivers down his spine when she hugged him and even he does not want to see the connection for fear of losing his Mother’s love though this of course if a need from his tiny self..

      Why would I have a friend who told me three years ago that she thinks her Father sexually abused her and yet a year ago completely deny it and cut me off as a friend. "Me thinks the Lady doth protest too much".

      Why would my Mother go off sex when her Father died, why would she hate any show of female flesh, why would she suggest that Prostitutes take the pressure of wives unless sex filled her with anxiety and panic and why would it do that? Why would she say that one of the most beautiful and sexy 1960's English actresses looks like a fella unless she was confused about her sexuality. Why would she pass on an obsession for dolls to her

    7. Part 2

      daughter when her Father was a designer and maker of dolls? Why would my Mother invent an imaginary friend when little other than to deal with her dreadful loneliness. She is still a little girl at heart so it doesn't take much to suggest that abusing her little Boy was ok by her as you suggest in Sex and the Subconscious about pedophiles. I have a sense that when we were little my sister and I would find ourselves looked after by our grandparents. We lived next door in the wilds of the country so they would pop in and check we were ok. If I ever think of my Grandfather the tears flood out and recently I started to think these tears were one's of betrayal. I was the man of the house when Dad was not there. I had to look after my depressed Mother and also my sister. I had to cook for my sister when we got back from school when I was 11. I have a sense that once when we were alone my Grandfather stole into the house and abused my sister and I heard it from my room and I could do nothing. The guilt that has welled up in me are those tears about my Grandfather I think. I loved him and looked up to him as a surrogate Father and he betrayed me too.

      The most devastating thing I have had to deal with is that I was abused by both Parents. It is such a shock because if one Parent loved one then everything isn't too bad is it? How many children are abused by both Parents and yet the desperate need for love which is so much at the basis of your writings holds back the realisation that they were never loved and were abused. My hatred of my Mother was quite near the surface so her abuse came easily when I left home (though it was denied by society). However my Fathers abuse transformed into an obsessive fear of being gay because that was easier than accept the the one person who I thought did love me didn't in the way I needed so of course I pushed it further down into my subconscious. The Pain is unimaginable and I have felt that pain sometimes, so much so that I can hardly move.

      Sexual abuse sits like a ghostly Monkey on many people's backs. A friend who used to work for the BBC did a number of documentaries about this. Fathers who just rolled over and picked whoever was nearest, boy or girl.

      I am re-reading the Primal Scream again. It is amazing. When I was on Zeroxat I used to have the flying dreams and also dream I had murdered someone. Me! That person was someone else it now feels like. I dreamt once that I was in a dark small round place and I was looking down towards a tatty ragged entrance and spot of light. As I looked down a slithering veiny thing shot past the exit. The feeling was fear and the symbolism was that perhaps I was strangled by the cord during birth as i was obviously still in the womb. However the veiny thing was outside the womb and what else is long and veiny? My father's penis. Perhaps I had to face that from the day I was born. My Father, the slithering unctuous pedophile who preyed on me and other boys.

      Is it any wonder people are called crazy when they start telling stories of childhoods like mine.

      Maybe everything I have worked out are delusional ramblings of a crazy man. Perhaps some things are red herrings? If so then have so many twitches and phrases and obsessions gone and why am I no longer claustrophobic having recognised a difficult breech birth?

    8. Part 3

      And finally "Red Arse". Rum and Buggery. My Father was in the Navy during the war. The other officers on board ship wouldn't talk to him and someone (on an all male ship) took some very handsome pictures of him. I suspect he was seduced by the ships Doctor who he always talked about. Where did he place those homosexual tendencies when he was married? His special friend as my Mother called the man who worked in children's services in a poor area of a central British city and who Dad hung out with or perhaps his Son. My Father a couple of years ago said of the one time he spanked me aged 8 “I only hurt you once” and my blood ran cold as the other times he ‘loved’ me. Why did he spank me? Because I had gone up the lane to look in a little girls knickers. He also said “We always wondered why you were sexualised so early”. He didn’t think that what he did hurt me. He didn’t correlate how it hurt me. Because he saw what he did to me due his own unconscious trauma as normal so how could he see that his wife was doing the same. Why would he talk about the Boys at his school really admiring and loving him. Isn’t that the ramblings of a physcopath?. Who broke my Fathers nose in the late 1960's. A vengeful Parent perhaps with no other recourse to justice then.

      As well as the Catholic church what about the famous buggery at Boy's schools and the fruity tutors. My wife suspected a number of the teachers at her private school were Lesbians. My Father was a Headmaster and his strange friend worked with poor disadvantaged kids. That is where such sick people go. They take positions of responsibility and are very plausible and clever until one rightly angry parent takes the law into his own hands and then suddenly why did my Father’s career stall? Did the authorities guess. There are numerous examples of tutors sent off to some desolate place having been caught with the boys..

      What about the verger at our local Protestant church who was caught fiddling with a local Boy. What about the almost jokey way the incest within the Hill Billy community is spoken about. The middle classes have never liked to acknowledge that they are just as guilty as the depraved incestuous violent lower classes. As you say in The Primal Scream you find it far easier to treat working class people than Middle class people because all the verbal games are not played. Repression is far deeper in the middle classes than the working class. This backs up Freud's early findings and statements from Alice Miller who thinks the same applies as you do. I am sure that accounts for the deep repression of sexual abuse too. Freud was confronted by this wall of silence in 1896 and created the Drive theory. After all if my Mother can say “But children forget” while not remembering what she forgot, then doesn’t that say rather a lot about society.

      So sexual abuse of Boys stops outside some artificial boundary around the Nuclear family?

      I don't think so!

  8. Art continues to "drown the fish" means he can not reach out with the science that primal therapy contains. He will do that if he opens up an legal process... there will be no arguments against what the process of primaltherapy proves.


  9. Actually I recant the bit about Maria Cardinal. She wrote a brilliant piece to start with and then in the last couple of lines accepts classic phycoanalysis as her escape from the dark depths. Damn I have liked the first bit about having one's skull emptied etc as it was so true and did not get that last cop out bit until now!

    That sums up the jumbled hokum of some enlightened therapy even now, such as Mindfullness and EMDR. Recognise we were fucked up but then push it all to one side and ignore it.

    God I feel let down!

  10. "The red ass". Oh dear, as in Rum and Buggery? A curious phrase, like drowning fish, which I liked and got straight away...

  11. Yes the Die is cast:

    Hi Dr. Janov and all

    "Newborns Addicted to Painkillers: Study Finds Troubling Spike in Cases"

    My question is WHY it took so long until science is paying attention to this world wide problem and why doctors don't say NO to drugs for pregnant woman.
    We create more and more problems - a drug-baby will become a drug-adult.


  12. Dr. Janov,
    “All this may escape those who have no access into the right brain unconscious, where history and feelings lie.”
    “It can never be clear so long as we remain on the cognitive level, so long as we deal with facts but no truths.”
    “psychotherapy has dealt with only the tip of the iceberg, leaving an unexplored universe untouched.”

    Allow me to further drown the fish by repeating what I have said many times before:
    Who are the ones who need “facts”? Only the ones who don’t know the truth – the ones who have no access to their lower brain, or the ones who know that help healing the pain located in the lower brain brings no fame and money.
    I have interviewed two doctors (G and S) to whom I gave “Life before Birth” and these were their answers:
    G: Science gives no guidelines how to implement the knowledge of methylation.
    S: it is too complicated to tell mothers what they should do or not while they are pregnant. It is not our job to control people's life. Besides the gap between scientist and practitioners is too big.

    My answer to both was: how about human intuition, the understanding of what a “natural pregnancy and birth” needs, to prevent disaster for the next generation – have we all lost the ability to understand what a child (born and unborn) needs?
    As expected there was no real answer (except lots of book knowledge) to my questions.

    Dr. Janov, you are ahead of science and point out what is wrong, but how many believe you?
    Only the few who don’t need proof for what our brain-stem already knows. Modern medicine has become a money and fame making machine, because it excludes the natural human being.

    1. Sieglinde: You mean I am preaching to the choir? It is a good choir. art

    2. Dr. Janov,
      Yes you are preaching to the choir… it is good so - the choir is getting bigger.
      Just recently I convinced a diehard cognitive therapist, who preached “mindfulness”, to read Life before Birth. Now the therapist is slightly confused by all the evidence presented in your book. The most puzzling aspect for the therapist is, the preverbal feeling imprint and the three layer brain and methylation. As the discussion is going forward the therapist begins to acknowledge that mindfulness, for neurotics, is not working. It must be hard for someone who built their life on cognitive therapy to admit they were wrong all along.

      Now a cancer specialist, is also reading Life before Birth.
      Like I say, keep on preaching; the choir is getting bigger.
      I enjoy every sentence.

    3. Sieglinde: OK I'll keep on trudging. I wrote a long piece on Mindfulness a little while ago. I hope you saw it. art

    4. Dr. Janov,
      Of course I read it… and I send the therapist a link. No answer yet.

  13. I remember reading a poem somewhere that had a line like the fish quote here. I think of it whenever I'm overloaded, when my skin feels on fire with feeling and my mind just spins away loose and lost. The phrase? "Like a fish that's lost the grip of water". Rock on Poets...

    1. Raindog: I also love that phrase... lost his grip. art

  14. An email comment:
    "We are all different obviously... but some of us must know it:

    If we suffer for too long, desperation is near and
    we not know it. It s like a walk in the dark on the edge of the cliff.
    In adolescence that cliff becomes atractive maybe has to do with what
    Andrew said about shifting defence power from
    1,2 to 3rd line and specific hormonal influencies.
    Add to that that nobody ever told us about what we may hold inside...

    But there is worse than bad...

    I think that abrupt braking of defencies after prolonged desperation is
    maybe the most devastating... and there might be no one to relate to...and

    When very young our defencies are swifter, instinctive and we may even
    forget the
    bad episode but later it can be like chewing a hot light bulb (forgive me
    the comparation)
    instead of throwing it right away.It lasts...

    And the small dosage can be enough.

    Desperation is the edge of defence integrity for some of us.
    And we shouldn t push ourselves over. Alone.

    We should find less steep piece of shore... longer one, safer.
    With good people around. Share feelings and thoughts... at OUR pace."


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.