Several years ago I wrote an essay and made a two-part video describing the family system as a cult. The idea for these came to me during my process of breaking away from my own family of origin, when it dawned on me that what I was going through bore an uncanny resemblance to stories I had heard from people leaving conventionally-defined cults. I have since heard similar stories from others who have broken away from their families of origin: stories of being defamed, belittled, manipulated, pathologized, scapegoated, and shunned.
Over the years I have thought more about my idea of the family system as a cult. In line with that, I wish to test the idea from a different angle, and a more critical one, by seeing if the family system fits the Cult Information Centre’s definition of a cult. Continue reading
I have a hypothetical idea to help combat the problem of overpopulation: paying people to get sterilized. We already sterilize overpopulated dogs and cats—and consider this to be humane and for the greater good. However, with cats and dogs we do not consider the issue of consent, which we must consider with people. That is why I propose offering people money to get sterilized—because it gives them choice in the matter. The decision then becomes voluntary.
Meanwhile, our Western society presently does the opposite of my proposal: we offer people financial incentives to have children. Continue reading
It is hell to hold our parents responsible for harming us. When we were little children, holding them responsible would have gotten us rejected, which for a child is tantamount to a death sentence. Yet if we don’t hold them responsible, and don’t ultimately heal the emotional wounds they caused us, then we remain emotional children forever—and still retain the terror of being rejected by them. This can be a fear worse than death. As such, many people use unconscious mental techniques to avoid holding their abusive parents responsible. Here are seven of these techniques:
1) Blame intergenerational trauma
Although there is no doubt that traumatic patterns get passed on through the generations, the mechanism for the transmission of intergenerational trauma is child abuse, that is, parents replicating their own childhood traumas on their children. Continue reading
Child mortality has been dropping around the word for decades, but what about the mortality rate of the inner child? From what I have observed, the inner child of most people, even in developed countries, gets stuck in a state of suspended animation forever, such that most people die inwardly before they even become adults. Their emotional traumas overcome them and snuff out their spirit. Their family systems convert their minds into deadness. They lose their creativity and wildness, they block out the emotional reality of their childhoods, and they become automatons. They survive in order to live for comfort, happiness, and emotional camouflage. They become the norm. Continue reading
Dear humans of the year 2100,
By the time you read this I will be long dead, probably forty or fifty years already. The things about which I write are obvious to you. To you it is obvious that we, your progenitors, failed. We failed to make the changes necessary to allow our species to live sustainably on this planet. We failed to use the technology at our disposal to live cleanly on Earth. We failed to use farming and waste disposal methods that did not poison the land and water and air. In our quest for lives of comfort we used our planet, and psychologically our children, as a sewer. Continue reading
When I was a child, there was a pond I loved. It lay a fifteen minute hike from the apartment complex where my family lived, over a hill and through some woods. It was in the middle of a meadow, fed by a natural stream. In it were tadpoles, a few species of frogs, crayfish, eastern painted turtles and snapping turtles, sunfish and catfish, perch and minnows, dragonfly larvae and salamanders, clams and snails, watercress, algae of several different varieties, and waterlilies. Butterflies of multiple species flitted around its shores, drinking water from the mud and nectar from the flowers nearby. Continue reading
I’ve been on a roll — just made another mini-film, again starring Fred Timm. It’s on the subject of psychotherapy, healing childhood trauma, and clearing out the old to make way for the new. Enjoy!!
I’ve been thinking for a while about branching out with my filmmaking and making films not just on recovery from psychosis or changing the mental health system. So, I finally did it! I made my first new film, a short film, called TRUTHTELLER. The subject is my friend and colleague Fred Timm, a visionary in New York City who has very clear ideas on what’s going wrong with our species, what the consequences of this will be, and what we need to do to fix it. Continue reading
[I wrote this poem four years ago today, on 12/27/2009. I just dug it up….and liked it.]
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Most people stay in relationships because they are frightened of being alone…
…yet never acknowledge this to their partners.
Most people have children because they don’t know what else to do with their lives…
…yet are terrified to conceive of what this “what else” might be. Continue reading
[I wrote this essay on June 25, 2013 — and probably didn’t publish it until now, six months later, because of the intensity of the ideas. I guess I wanted to make sure I agreed, over a decent period of time, with what I wrote. And I do.]
•••• •••• •••• ••••
1) You’ll traumatize them one way or another
That is, you’re not ready to have kids because you will screw up their lives. Chances are you are not healthy enough to avoid somehow depriving them of their emotional needs, and to deprive children of any of their emotional needs is to traumatize them. Continue reading
[Written in 2008.]
NOTE: THIS IS A TONGUE-IN-CHEEK ESSAY…
“The schizophrenogenic mother” – a mother who creates schizophrenia in her child – is presently a hated, taboo topic in psychology because it blames mothers. The only modern articles that refer to the concept anymore label it as incorrect and disproven. But they invariably fail to say WHY it is incorrect. So I have taken the liberty of doing it for them.
[Note, with humor aside: I actually strongly dislike the term “schizophrenogenic mother” because it lets fathers, who bear half the responsibility for child-rearing, off the hook. Please keep this in mind as you’re reading this list!! Continue reading
[Written around 2008.]
Despite being dramatically over-prescribed, children have long been the most popular antidepressant on the market. As a natural-born skeptic, I have undertaken a thorough study of the pros and cons of their antidepressant qualities, as follows, though I will leave the final analysis to you:
1. Children are easy to procure, long-lasting, and you don’t need a prescription to get one
2. If you’re willing to raise them generically, they can be relatively inexpensive
3. They often work well in (sibling) combinations of two, three, four or more (though be careful of toxic interactions) Continue reading
[Written in early 2007. Note added, 12/27/13: This is a humorous, ironic essay. It was written tongue-in-cheek. Sorry I didn’t note that earlier.]
- You give your son a gift by hardening him early on to life’s inevitable pain
- Circumcised boys never have to face teasing for having a filthy foreskin – and your bleeding, stunned, little infant will thank you for this later
- Moses and Jesus lived productive lives without foreskins – what, you think your kid is special? Continue reading
[Written around 2004.]
Self-doubt is part of the healing process. As you progressively break from your family on the quest to become a true individual, a part of yourself remains a clone of the family in attitude and behavior. This part does not want to change. It views the world through the sick family perspective and hates that the deepest part of you desires to free your spirit and stand on your own. The weak attacks the strong, and you feel this attack as self-doubt. Continue reading
[Written around 2006.]
Confronting one’s parents with the truth has both advantage and disadvantage. Its two main advantages are: 1) that it allows you, the now-grown child, to finally see just how strong you really are and just what you’ve been hiding beneath your surface for so long, and 2) that it allows you to finally put your childhood history in the clear backdrop of reality and see where your parents stand: that the unhealed sides of them, which are usually a significant portion of their personalities, are selfish and not primarily out for your welfare, and never were. The disadvantage of confronting your parents is that their unhealed sides will reject you. Continue reading
[Written in 2004.]
Passion drives us to grow, to learn about ourselves, to be different from the expected, to face the painful consequences of our struggle and to persevere. Passion comes from deep within us. Passion pre-dates our traumas and our consciousness, our decorum and our identities. Passion tears through denial and disrespects lies. Passion is the spark of our souls, and the root of our enlightenment. Continue reading
[Written around 2004.]
Grieving is an intrinsic part of the healing process. Grieving is long, painful, and confusing, but richly rewarding. Life is not complete unless all traumas are unearthed, grieved, and thus resolved. Those who fail to complete this process live forever in a limbo of partial misery, stuck unconsciously in the past and unable to escape. Continue reading
[Written in 2006.]
It may be considered indiscreet to open the doors of someone else’s house and rummage around in other people’s family histories. Since so many of us still have the tendency to idealize our parents, my undertaking may even be regarded as improper. And yet it is something that I think must be done, for the amazing knowledge that comes to light from behind those previously locked doors contributes substantially toward helping people rescue themselves from their dangerous sleep and all its grave consequences.
–Alice Miller, The Untouched Key, preface
Alice Miller has influenced my thinking more than any other writer in the psychology field. She opened my eyes to the struggle of the child in the repressive family, she introduced me to the idea that an abused child will compulsively need to replicate his repressed traumas until he is able to resolve them, and she banished from my mind the idea of inherent evil in the child – or the adult. Continue reading
[Written around 2007.]
It may seem that much of the message on this website is intended for non-parents, but this is not the case. In many regards, the information I present is ten times more relevant to parents, especially parents of young children, because you are the people who most directly mold and guide – and can squelch – the fate of others. Therapists are invested with some power; parents are invested with far more.
I address these suggestions to you.
1) Parent, heal thyself. It is easy to say “throw out your television” and “never buy soda” – both excellent pieces of advice, among the thousands I could give – but the most profoundly unhealthy variable in your child’s life is the unhealthy side of you. Continue reading