Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Just Three Little Words

Should I tell you what those three little words that most parents cannot say are?
  I love you.  You are good.  Keep it up.
Most of us learn it the hard way, waiting a lifetime for our parent to say those words. It seems as though their mouths are sealed with tape, and none of the words can escape their mouths.  Not only is their mouths sealed, but also their hearts, which cannot offer the phrase they never knew they were looking for.  Wonderful.  Congratulations.
So a major anchor in French TV can state blithely:  "I  was smacked as a kid and it build my character". What a load… Can you imagine someone in this year still think that way? Why?  Because papa always insists, I am doing for your good.  And what good is that?  Hurt is good. Pain is beneficial?  The way to show love is to beat a child?  Ayayay.  These are the people who grow up loving to be beaten in sex.  I have treated them; beating means love.  What a perversion, literally.  One woman I treated needed to be beaten hard.  Whenever she misbehaved as a child, her father put her on his knee, pulled down her panties,  and spanked her.

It was the only warmth she ever knew; that little touch.  So being beaten and feeling loved became joined at the hip and had the same meaning.  Not just a matter of words but the confluence of pain with love.  So one way is to say at the same time, this is for your good.  The other way is to inadvertently offer love, that ephemeral touch, joined with punishment.  That tells us how desperate is our need for touch and love.  What we remember, even when punishment, is the love.

So why is it that a parent can’t enjoy and celebrate with you when you do something well?  Because they learned from their parents the same lesson.  Don't get excited or show enthusiasm; and they never got compliments because the zeitgeist dictates; “It will go to their head and make them arrogant”.  So we really don’t want anyone feeling good about themselves, do we?  Better we criticize so they do not get a swollen head.  Imagine this crime:  tell someone they are pretty or accomplished. Some girls who are pretty are never told so because then the boys will be after them and they might become a “slut”: trading on their beauty and not their intellect.

My friend and I were musing about our fathers and asked each other: “How could it happen that in a whole lifetime we never ever heard a word of praise?”.  Those words were sealed tight in the Primal caves of pain;  they were waiting for the same thing and priorities demanded that they be praised first and only then could they maybe whisper one word of “well done”.  But they need that praise not at age twenty but very early on when the child is beginning to develop a sense of self esteem and self worth;  in other words, when it counts and sinks in and changes the child.  Because if we wait till they are age twenty, other negative forces have sunk in to make them feel not worthy.  After all,  we would not want to “spoil” them “would we?

So what is this terror of arrogance?  Well it is not arrogance.  We don’t want our child to think he is good and better than the others. To act superior. Horrors. Imagine the crime: to think you are pretty and capable and smart and talented. So what is wrong with that? It is a throwback to the 1800s where it was "verboten".  We do everything to discourage them from trying, to get ahead. We want them to feel inferior and believe they have to struggle to earn any right.  Imagine if a child got up and announced to his parents in the morning: “I feel so strong and good and talented today”. Imagine  how parents could rush in to stop that self delusion.  The parents do not feel that way and they do not want anyone else to rip off that right. You first have to earn it. You simply cannot feel good and smart without earning it.  Another sample from the zeitgeist:  you have to work hard and earn what you get;  IT IS NOT JUST GIVEN FREELY. Otherwise the child will be spoiled rotten.  More horrors.  Children feeling good about themselves?  Ayayay


  1. What you write Art!

    I wonder if this is not a major problem around the teaching profession... to imagine themself to be talented for need of love... and not least for what demands parents place on their children to be successful. I know that many parents understand better but are silenced by the teaching profession?

    What you type is the reason why many are so fanatical about what they do... they first got attention when they performed what parents and schools expected... which then became the experience of being worthy for what ever love can be.

    When so our childhood passed in this hell there will be a problem for others that we may later teach... it as we know nothing more than to be "clever" to experience ourself worthy... it with the most serious consequences for others when we have the possition to decide what shall be done. This... a very simple vocabulary equation for need of love but yet so difficult to perceive for missing of feelings.

    So love is what we so often express in words but without the content of it. What a sad tragedy!


  2. This is good writing, and so sad because it occurs throughout many times, and what...they do this so as the child won't be "spoiled"... many times, the grownup child isn't spoiled but worse. After reading what Art has to say...I am once again thankful for the parents I have. My father was a teacher, and he always took the time to be with his children, talk to them, and praise them when successes happened at an early age. And it was consistent throughout growing up. He was firm with us kids, never spoiled us, but we always were treated like we "were somebody". I made a copy of what Art has written, that is how good I think it is. Maybe I will take it to the Community College and show the teachers there in the Human Services Dept. where I took a lot of psychology courses. It is very sad.


    1. Hello beachcoast7!

      I've got a big problem with what you wrote... it is just about your fathers commitment to learning! "After reading what Art has to say...I am once again thankful for the parents I have. My father was a teacher, and he always took the time to be with his children, talk to them, and praise them when successes happened at an early age". But I do not know!

      We can not live tomorrow!

      If I have no experience of motherly or fatherly warmth from early in life then will always praised be something for neocortex... it for me to become even better for what I do... it to be missing motherly and fatherly warmth early in life.

      We live in our heads today for what will happen tomorrow if neocortex are alone to in life! I can pursue my whole life to become a better teacher in the absence of motherly and fatherly warmth... it in the belief of being loved for what I do and not who I am.

      If we have the motherly and fatherly warmth with us in life... then praise for what we do while growing more satisfying those who express it than to reach its target for the child receiving it. What the child do will be to satisfy him selves and do not need so much praise. And we as parents look and enjoying... that's what a child then will experience. The proximity of parents will shine through and need no praise to reach the front.

      Your Frank

  3. Art: The tragedy is that the whole world is crazy and (with the notable exception of those of your own patients who have stayed with their own primal process) the norm is low level craziness which is able to fake sanity so everyone gets fooled. Those who are clearly delusional or otherwise have little grasp on reality are labelled "crazy" as it reinforces the delusion of sanity in the mass of low level crazies. I mean treating kids harshly, making em suffer so they bcome "good" is pretty whacko when it comes down to it, but nobody will look at this because nobody CAN. They will hit their own pain, or rather, hit their own defences, which is deterrent enough, if they try to look at it. So the whole world lives by an unwritten, unvoiced rule: I WON`T TRIGGER YOUR DEFENCES IF YOU DON`T TRIGGER MINE. Everyone acts out of fear. However, people will dump their rage if they are triggered when they can get away with it. It´s a form of self denial, ie YOU are causing me pain so it can´t be something within me already. DEFENCE DEFENCE. Children then are convenient scapegoats and it is very telling that it is only human adults - and even then there are plentiful exceptions - women, various races, homosexuals etc etc etc - who are legally protected from abuse. The others "deserve" it. The idea that trwating someone harshly to make them good is enshrined in every social institution; the church, education, the law....What is actually natural behaviour in children eg being excited, boisterous, loud, sassy, and so on is mercilessly, relentlessly suppressed. Christ i see this everywhere in Portugal where people appear so DEAD, their posture, their gait, heavy, tired, tense, their faces tense, drawn, sad, their eyes fearful, wary....and looking at the tense, hysterical control freakery of kindergarten & early school children here triggers immense sadness in me at how those people are unknowingly suppressing the LIFE out of LIVING beings because they are so terrified of feeling the life in themselves which once was crushed out of them. The sick treating the sick. Be good. Be quiet. Don´t show any feeling. Feeling is bad, wild, not to be trusted. You must always keep it controlled so as not to upset people. Be a good little robot, trained to be polite, to smile, to agree. Whatever you do, ACT. Being yourself, expressing your real feelings, is never part of the training. Just be another dead eyed, dead inside programmed machine. Don´t question. Don´t challenge. CONFORM.

    1. So very true Anon. The masses are in denial and closed off to their pain, especially beyond the teen-aged yrs. They feel justified in heaping harsh retaliation to those who step on or question their views and actions. By adulthood they may not be able to relate to children anymore.

      But don't you find that as you become more open that you can spot the feeling ones who do relate to children, who do see things as they really are and speak up about it? I'm thinking of primary grade teachers I've had. Also many filmmakers, authors and artists show us things as they ought to be and expose what has been perverted by pain.
      I think you can take comfort and camaraderie in the minority who will always speak up about the injustices because they have no other choice but to keep saying the truth and what is right.

  4. Not ALL parents are unloving. MINE were NOT. Sometimes the trauma may be caused by SOMETHING ELSE. (in my case a long stay in hospital at age 2. NOT fun in the 50-ies.) Also, my ma and pa were spanked by their fathers. So they took the decision not to do it to US. Good eh??(I still have my mother´s letters. Where she always says she loves me and that I´m good etc.) Also, she used to rant around in the hospital, screaming at doctors. (haha. Well done ma.) BUT couldn´t very well keep me at home, risking my health. (we both read "The Primal Scream" in 1973. And then everything by Alice Miller.) I recently found a letter by my ma, written to a psychiatrist in 1972. (about me and my panic disorder.) "Shall we really cure the SYMTOMS?? Is behaviourism the right path to follow?" (haha. For a minute there they thought she was a collegue. While in fact she was an agronomist.) :o)) Ciao from a Swedish musicologist.


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.