[Originally posted 12/26/09.]
Lie #1: Romantic Relationships Help People Grow.
Ninety-nine percent of the time, romantic relationships help people become comfortable, and over the long haul comfort is contrary to growth. Most people get into relationships in an attempt to create the safe, womblike childhood they never had. In so doing, they never learn how to love themselves fully—from within. That is the real relationship.
Lie #2: We All Have Sexual Needs.
Sexuality is a misplaced lens through which we express of our desperate, anachronistic desire to have been loved fully as children. The childhood need to be nurtured is the real need. When we learn to heal our ancient traumas and love ourselves fully from within, our sexual “needs” evaporate.
Lie #3: Having Children Is a Sign of Maturity.
Having children is a sign of giving up. When people have children they abandon the deeper growth process, for two reasons: 1) That’s exactly why they had children: to divert their energy onto an easier path, and, 2) Doing a truly good job of raising kids makes it impossible to devote one’s life to self-healing—and thus becoming truly mature.
Lie #4: Stopping People From Having Children Deprives Them of Their Human Rights.
The basic human right is the right of the child to be born to parents who will love him fully, attend to all his needs, and not torture him with the neglect that is our modern world’s standard—and the standard of our modern world to deny. Stopping people from torturing their future offspring trumps the inappropriate parental desire—that is, “right”—to procreate.
Lie #5: The “Terrible Twos” Are Natural.
Two-year olds who are “terrible” are only terrible because they have woken up to the ugly reality that their parents are as selfish as they are. The problem is, it’s age-appropriate for a two-year old to be selfish: that’s his job. Selfish parents are really the terrible ones—because of the unnatural, torment-inducing situation into which they place their toddler.
Lie #6: Teenagers Are Inherently Difficult.
Teenagers are only difficult when their parents have: 1) failed them miserably, and, 2) now blame them for being the cause of the problem. Teenagers are still expected to be good little boys and girls, despite their correct, rebellion-inducing realization that living up to this expectation does nothing to prepare them for the painful transition into adulthood.
Lie #7: Resolving All of Our Traumas Is Impossible.
Healing ancient traumas is extremely difficult—so much so that most people who attempt it give up quickly. They label it as absolutely “impossible”—to let themselves off the hook—and then they disappear into life’s myriad diversions, like addictions and romance and having children. Note: Right up until we sent men to the moon many also labeled this as impossible. Wrong they were.
Lie #8: All Truth is Relative.
People who say this are hypocrites, because their argument is absolute. If there is no absolute truth, how can they know for certain? But more important, lack of belief in absolute truth is a cop-out, propagated by those afraid to look at their unresolved childhood pain and desperate for illogical arguments that allow them to lean on the lies upon which they’ve based their life.
Lie #9: You Cannot Blame Parents, Because “They Did The Best They Could.”
My observation is that all parents, even the worst parents, “did the best they could.” Yet this doesn’t let any parent off the hook. A child has the right to blame his parents for their inadequacies—because their inadequacies damaged him. Laying blame at the feet of perpetrators is a huge step in breaking the intergenerational cycle of trauma—and sets the stage for healing.
Lie #10: Psychiatric Medications Help Many People.
Passively taking a pill, even if that pill helps you function better, sends your spirit the message that life’s answer do not come from within. This is an evil message, because it is untrue. People need to change their lives deeply, both inside and out, in order to heal. Real change is difficult—often hellishly so—but it is the only way.
Lie #11: Addictions and “Mental Illnesses” Are Diseases.
Addictions and so-called “mental illnesses” are symptoms of a deeper problem: unresolved trauma. Labeling symptoms as disease is convenient for people who are terrified to look below the surface. Delving below the surface entails taking deeper personal responsibility, grieving, and feeling rage at traumatizers—often your own parents. How much easier to believe in “inherent” disease and let your parents off the hook.
Lie #12: Your Mother Loved You.
Your mother loved who she wanted you to be. The healthier she was, the more the real you overlapped with who she wanted you to be. But more than likely she wasn’t very healthy. More than likely she was an extremely disturbed person masquerading as healthy. And if you confronted her with this reality you’d discover just how little she actually loved the real you.
Lie #13: To Be Imperfect Is to Be Human.
Our broken sides are not the inherent part of ourselves. We were not born to harm our fellows, traumatize our children, or rape our planet. Instead, we were born with an inherent capacity for beauty, wonder, love, altruism, and perfection. But when we are detached from that perfection—and from the emotional tools to reclaim it—it’s often easier to deny it outright.
Lie #14: The World Is Doomed.
The world is only doomed if we humans: 1) continue to deny the reality of our traumas, 2) fail to make healing our traumas an absolute priority, and, thus, 3) continue to act out our traumas through mass overprocreation and mass exploitation of the world’s resources. If we change our ways, we still have a capacity for perfection—both as individuals and as a species.
Lie #15: Technology Can Save Us.
Technology will not save us. Only we, through healing our ancient traumas, can save ourselves. Until we do that part of us will always be compelled to use our technology for our own destruction—and the destruction of our planet. The answer is not outside us. The answer is within. The answer is not to build up—but to tear down the façade…and grieve.
Ok, I’ve read a few of your articles now, and I’m getting a strong anti-procreation vibe.
First you brought it up in the Alice Miller paper, where you said that no one should have children unless they completely resolve their own traumas first. Given that, according to you, completely resolving one’s own trauma is a long and difficult process which few people ever complete, it seemed to me that this advice would massively reduce the global birthrate. But I saw it in the context of your passionate desire to make sure that no child is ever abused. (Incidentally, I’m also a fan of Alice Miller.)
Later I saw an environmental post, where you claimed that overpopulation was helping to “destroy” the planet. So I wondered if this was more about child abuse or environmentalism, or if the two causes just happened to overlap.
I also saw a post about speeding up the path to enlightenment. It listed these ideas:
Stop having sex.
Do not masturbate.
Do not reproduce.
That’s 4 closely overlapping ideas, on a list that’s only 18 points long. Apparently you’re really passionate about this.
And that brings me to the present article, wherein you state: “Sexuality is a misplaced lens through which we express of our desperate, anachronistic desire to have been loved fully as children. The childhood need to be nurtured is the real need. When we learn to heal our ancient traumas and love ourselves fully from within, our sexual “needs” evaporate.”
Um…really?? Sexuality, in and of itself, is merely the result of childhood trauma (i.e. the unmet need to be loved fully)? It’s not like you said “Childhood trauma sometimes produces unhealthy sexual obsession later in life”, or whatever. You actually claimed that sexuality is necessarily the result of trauma, and therefore anyone who resolves his trauma will no longer have sexual needs.
And hey, how do these ideas fit together? You say that only people who have resolved their trauma should have children. But apparently, once that trauma is resolved, sexuality evaporates. So at that point, how are you supposed to have kids? IVF, maybe?
Or maybe…maybe the real message here is simply “Don’t have sex. Ever. Regardless of circumstances.”
Putting this all together…man…it looks like you just hate sex. It looks like you have some kind of deep, personal problem with the whole concept of sexuality. It’s not just about “don’t have kids unless you’re really ready”. It’s about demonizing sexuality itself, it’s about claiming that sexuality is nothing more than a symptom of trauma, full stop.
Is there…perhaps…some unresolved issue here, affecting your judgment?
I mean sure, not everyone has sexual “needs”. Asexual people are known to exist, and that’s fine. And even for the rest of us, sexuality isn’t a “need” in the sense that food and water are “needs”. But many of us have sexual desires, and generally speaking those desires are not caused by any sort of trauma. But apparently, you can’t bring yourself to acknowledge that.
If I’m right….and if something is bugging you…I hope it gets resolved. Honestly, I do. I’m not trying to beat you up about this. I’m trying to help.
I really, really like your reply- I have been tracking the same off signal through some of these essays and you nailed a very important part of that for me. I totally agree with what you are seeing there.
Very true words! I find these essay very intriguing to read and some of them are valuable but I also think some of these points (especially in this essay) don’t make sense as a logical argument. The points on sexuality, not having children, and unresolved trauma as the cause for enviromental desctruction were was definitely some of those points!
I see where you’re coming from and maybe I partially agree, but
sexuality always means there’s a possibility for having children and if anything happens you can only prevent it with abortion which is not a pleasant thing either.
it is as complex as other spheres of life and it’s about relationship so it does get affected by our traumas and our whole psyche indeed, it’s not a separate thing-in-itself.
when it comes to sex industry and porn it’s exploitative, using and abusive and it influences people and culture as a whole a lot, it’s a manifestation of inequality between sexes and people’s traumas.
So sexuality can not only be good and healthy, it’s certainly not good and healthy by default (just like any other sphere of life) and on a societal level especially. I understand most people may think like you because religion, ”it’s the 21st century and we moved past being prudes so we should reinforce sexuality, talk about it all the time, idealize anything that involves sexuality as a 100% good thing” etc, but it’s actually not that simple. There are more than these two simple black and white perspectives on this topic, but the world pretends like only these two exist and it misinterprets something in between.
I think you are viewing sex and sexuality from a very skewed point of view. I don’t feel Daniel is saying sex is inherently bad or that when a person heals his childhood trauma they will never partake in sex ever again. I’m seeing it more as, the motive behind intimacy and sexuality would change drastically once a person has committed to their inner work and self healing. The world now uses sex as a tool for many things both consciously and subconscious. I also see society hiding behind sex as a sort of shield because of it’s “normalcy” in society. It’s acceptable to be sexually fluid much more than it is to be sexually conscious. I feel Daniel’s point of view on this ruffles a lot of people because it hits the nerve of a person questioning their own sexual motives and desires. Why do humans feel the need to primarily express themselves through sex? Through the other? Why is leading a solo life seen as debilitating and odd? Also, the fact that it is a complete rarity to see a healthy couple raising healthy children makes this idea even more daunting for people because we really have nothing to follow in that regard. No real life examples of such a thing and we all know how society loves to “follow the leader”. As a species, it seems we lack the emotional depth and self reflection that is really our human birth right. It is one of the main things that makes us human after all. Our ability to self reflect and connect with the world around us. I think people are missing the bigger picture in all this… Most radical visionaries provoke such responses. 🙂
A VERY NICE DOLL
Sex Ed in the sixties
My daughter said
Didn’t leave much to the imagination!
This is what your mom says…
I need to thank and give credit to so many people who have helped and counseled me over so many years. Elke Sleeman, the head nurse on my ward. Doctor Gray,also at CAMH (then 1001 Queen Street West) and the job counselor who opened the door to Canada Post cafeteria kitchen at 16 Bay Street. Doctor Silcox and the staff at St. Thomas Psychiatric then a community hospital for that region of Ontario. Mary Hobson who took me into her boarding house and let my children weekend with me. Mrs. Fast and others like her who do it every day the breakfast dinner and supper, year after year in homes and shelters bullying their way through difficult times and peoples. Toronto Western Psychiatric staff. All the people I’ve worked with over these past 40 years of gainful employment and work with occasional breakdowns. A thank you to All those who helped the three children grow up. Sarah, VicD’Or their Dad, little sister Kali. And of course my parents, my family and my extended family, stepbrothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and cousins aunts and on and on, who though not perfect are forgiven. My mother, my father and my brother helped me put this little book of knowledge together as my answer to prejudice and bullying, the answer to all the wrong and hurtful ways of life. I was taught to read patterns. Taught to follow instructions never skipping any steps. I was taught to survive, that suicide would never work, and like cannibalism, and slavery there are skipped steps, missing letters, or stitches in knitting lost. Holy sweaters Robin I hear Batman. I’d be there in grade three facing the same problem unable to move on to grade four, never using my words. But how much education does anyone need? Books are keys. This is my book to share.
13 September 2014
Sex Ed in the sixties didn’t leave much to the imagination, said a younger woman. My daughter.
No!-except the facts my imagination raced to complain. I wasn’t there. I was never there I cry. Because they left out the facts! And it took so long to pull it together. I was denied family benefits, couldn’t get work, my marriage had failed, and nothing made sense.
Depression swallowed most of my being, medication took its share. And escape into” workaholism” made life seem okay. I wasn’t there for my family or myself I just buttoned up my lip and kept on trucking (work, gainful employment, shelter, staying alive).Focused on work. Three admissions to a mental health facility, each time I’d asked for help. It wasn’t easy.
Why? To quote, the old testament-“money is the answer to everything”? I Nickel and dimed it as cheap labour as how not to get by anywhere anytime. (There is a book by that name, a journalist’s journal of life working at minimum wage jobs for 6 months—titled Nickel and diming it, how not to get by in America today). My teeth were replaced with dentures all else was too expensive my anxiety made it all seem so reasonable so moral—And so far removed from Sex Ed. So, you might ask, are we there yet or Whaaat? Sex Ed?
It was thirty years that I worked, surviving on an average of less than four dollars an hour. And why? Sexism–because I’m a girl?
And what of the children I bore/because I’m a failure, because my marriage broke down? Bring forth the rod/ spare the rod and spoil the child? Them/ me and who am I to you/ and what are the facts? What of our family life? Tears are not enough? Ah yes it is human to fail. Bullying is wrong. All these protests are still in the news. Preachers tell of the Ten Commandments, the knowledge of sin and death. The blessing of the law and the curse of the law; therefore choose a blessing. What is love to you?
A long time was passing. Two horrible wars were the baby boomers family stories, World War 1 and World War 2. Notable moments in Canadian history as told in the news from 1942. They’re bringing their war to us! Nazi submarines have blown up two freighters in the St. Lawrence River. These I heard and on the radio Dragnet –“Just the facts Ma’am; Just the facts”. Healthy creatures rejoice in and protect lovingly their children.
Why did we fight those wars? We fought against fascist dictatorships. But how overprotected we were. Our parents bore the responsibility for everything and everything was his or hers depending on who had the most money.
For the most part—HIS –his home, his money, his bills, his wife, his children, his car, HIS job /because I’m a girl fits in as the chorus yet women girls have always worked (Elizabeth Barnes Noble wrote a book- Woman’s work the first 50,000 years). It’s often said that Charity begins at home.
Fascism and democracy begin at home also. We never were included in the family finances. We had no voices. Beggars couldn’t be choosers.
Our family was a fascist dictatorship. It was protective and quiet. We ate what we were given. We ate everything on our plate. We didn’t talk at the table. We knew that ice cream pie was a Friday night treat. And dessert was mostly on Sundays. We knew money didn’t grow on trees. We did chores. We thought we were decent and ordinary. We knew the work ethic. And we were protected from the bad guys. We went to Sunday School. The Bible was Holy. Mouths could be soaped. Bums could be spanked .
We were never taught about money, incomes bills budgets, fair measure and choices, making us easy pickings for any predators. G. Gilbert said, “Any tool can be a weapon”.
Democracy in a family is sharing and caring. Mr. Champion was RAF, a school teacher/principal/inspector. I took care of their house. His wife had been an RN then homemaker, mother of two. I did the cleaning when they were here in Toronto and watched over the house while they wintered in Florida. He told me about his family…Our family spells like this- open honest discussions every Sunday I put the paycheques the bills on the table and the children also that is the four of us would work out our income our bills our budget our needs our savings our goals together. Choices and voices; sharing the financial responsibility.
And as for the scripture that man is the head, maybe it means like the mayor or the president the dad has the veto in a dispute. About being a provider as again in scripture it says that a man must work to provide for his family I think it’s a warning against slavery, human trafficking and becoming “pimps or madams”. Our nature so easily can be corrupted and is corrupt that we can fall back into predatory behaviour becoming childish thieves. For “of the works of your own hands you shall be rewarded”. There were no secrets in their family. And maybe money is the answer to everything. Like the Old Testament says. Even Sex Ed in the 60’s.
Families share and care. Everybody is different my Dad often said /so this is me talking and this is from my education in the school of hard knocks and maybe those wars say I’m not the only one who doesn’t want to live in a fascist dictatorship of any kind. Maybe I’m rambling and the facts we started with was Sex Ed in the sixties SEX yes, so okay what’s it all about? Anyway?
Okay the Facts, Let’s say there are rules to healthy bodies and so there are rules to love marriage and the baby carriage.
LET’S GET PHYSICAL:
The first three rules to sex are about ENERGY_ let’s start with engineering school or any technical school classroom. The teacher holds an electrical cord and a power bar with electrical outlets. See THE PLUG….THE OUTLET… Now place the plug into the outlet and turn on the electricity. ..THE VOLTAGE is now charging -Powering up the tools. Don’t overload the circuit, don’t fry your outlet don’t blow the fuse. Learn the rules. Keep your equipment clean.
So— right plug, right outlet, right voltage—the first three rules of sex.
Next is Rule number 4—CHEMISTRY- off to chemistry class with the teacher wearing the coke bottle bottom sized lenses in his glasses from a medical mishap -Right chemistry? See the Saline solution for eyewash (used to bathe your eyes with) is not the same as the Saline solution for mouthwash (used to gargle and rinse your mouth). And this answers the question of bestiality and sheep. And how curiosity being what it is some diseases are spread in this manner as mankind has history of. Our body chemistry also includes some disinfectants that can interact possibly even mutate attacking healthy cells now perceived as invaders, and other such problems… again everybody is different. A minor disease in one body can be major in another creature. ETC.)so rule number 4 is right chemistry.
And RULE NUMBER 5 is Soul…WE all need creature comforts. So off to the school of hard knocks and all our hopes and dreams can turn into nightmares with no one who can comfort or ease the sting of loss of failure of all the human conditions…. no one to rejoice with over a success. No Words, no songs to share. Food, shelter, work and play activities, these are creature comforts and favourite stories of family past then there are goals for the future/ and we need to be comfortable and comforted by and with each other. Sexual fantasies are also a part of this. Starting a family can be a choice. Somebody to love to use our words to share a dream home and a soul mate, to create our expressions of a material world a nest, a haven to have comfort and a shared table.
So we best shop around. Forgive forever and grow a bit more hopeful. Love will find a way.
Recently I’ve begun to pull out of the worst despair, so bizarre this craziness blathering from me. I couldn’t focus on any work, just driven to a great sorrow and feelings of failure. But is this part of my growing pains? Aging forced me to find hope and set these words onto paper, a step towards peaceful conversations. There is so much history. Is it really just breakfast dinner and supper, all the fashions of achieving breakfast dinner and supper, 50,000 years unchanged?
My first encounter with the world today as a young woman in this multicultural land was violent. I experienced date rape, rape and sexual assault with threats of being knifed. So as a teen aged girl I found a great deal of prejudice. My ignorance and the ignorance around me explained part of it. I withdrew in silence. Work, and books with occasional attempts at dating pretending to be so together. I loved my children but my marriage was an act. I felt trapped, as though I’d become my own enemy and any honesty would betray love, make the pain unbearable of our secret- our enslavement, the pedigree, the recurrent bad dreams of my childhood bad blood- the blood exchange where drug addicts wash the drugs out and that movie Coma . My partner didn’t talk to me. But the war never ended, just blurred into the next one.VietNam.
I began to believe that the Earth is entirely populated by ignorant people who are against any kind of sex and whose greatest joy is in secrecy and bullying and never enough hatred. But then I realized that the power brokers the “die hard” fanny farmers i.e.: genetic engineers and the old school money were not against sex they were against consensual sex, any natural selection or any freedom of choice about anything. I remembered the war and I felt weak and piteously small. I had a failure at just about everything. Practice didn’t make perfect it gave me arthritis/wear and tear diseases. Then the news stories or some neighbors comforting hand would remind me… somehow love still finds a way. Yes but a long time is passing seems the good they die young.
How come said my 2 year old daughter about just about everything new…why?? Consensual sex does not sell drugs. Happy people don’t buy guns. Healthy people don’t pave the way for profiteering scientists to play God. Or God business clergy to sell falsehoods and Political Leaders Kings and Rulers sell their exclusive snobbish secrets. And money is the answer to everything. Greed I believe is a disease.
May Love find you and may love find a way to fulfill you. And may those who teach you sharing their knowledge so that our ignorance need not be a huge stumbling block find you to be a good enough person, and let you share your wisdom too. Myself, I respect Mr. Champion, his wife, the family that taught me about money and democracy in a family, and I am thankful for love of neighbours. And the sign on T.Chipman’s door, that says, “we have just enough religion to hate but not enough to love our neighbours”.
So No Secrets, Just what’s on my mind?
A friend of my daughter said, your mother must be crazy, she’s memorized the entire Bible. Let’s just say I’ve read it from beginning to end twice. Bits and pieces often obsessively throughout my life. I am thankful for the lessons and education given in the tradition of scriptural Judaeo-Christianity. I remember having three books. Sent to my room I’d read. The twelve commandments was one. Fifty Famous fairy tales was another. The Holy Bible was the third. Sometimes the Bible was like the books, A Series of unfortunate Events, written by Lemony Snicket, a real cliff-hanger about three orphans. “Nothing good ever happens” to them; Lemony Snicket promises in the introduction to his series. Nothing good ever happens to the people of the book either. Nothing works for them. Or as Dave McKenzie said, “just one ram thing after another”. But one reads on hoping for something good to happen- it does but then there’s another unfortunate event.
Hope upon hope the reader reads on until one cries out Dear God, the purest goodness the absolute of all laws of science, the purest truth and Spirit of all that lives…please make something good happen to these people. Answer their sincere prayer. Oh my God, help your creatures. Mercy!
Sometimes religious institutions are like Doctor Who – the TV series. Each temple, Synagogue, Church, Meeting Place, Altar, each one a telephone booth and the call can be made to a teacher of families, to God the generalized word for Absolute Good, on the helpline.
And the Bible’s allegorical first Great Deceiver is Serpent in the story of Eden and Adam’s deception through Eve by the Serpent is the busy signal or the answering machine, the hacker or voyeur. And sometimes like most I don’t know what I’m doing but prayer comforts me. Yet this toothless woman like the homesick child I was knows and you must as well, in reading this, that kind and generous with this education as they have been, I find some ways terribly cruel. So I turn to search for my roots, like the ugly duckling, I surely must belong somewhere. And so- lest we put all of ourselves to death with shortness of breath or boredom for saying over and over again/ everybody is different. Like the records stuck on stupid? No way! because, and rejoice– everybody is different.
Forgiven is a beautiful word to hear. I love you is kind. And thank you. Goodbye is a sadness, but we’ll meet again is fine.
In creature to creature relationships there are three sides to every story- his side her side and the truth say the lovebirds. God only knows the truth and the judge isn’t telling all the facts. The ancient ones built the pyramids and out of Egypt I have called my son says the New Testament… so cautiously revealing their purpose. A house divided will not stand…a truth or a fact /that if fairly and evenly the builders distribute the weights and measures -the structure will stand the test of time. So a long time passes the haves and the have-nots divide the house economically as the children call the Church the tooth fairy’s castle and the three kings of the Christmas Carol, becomes we three pigs are alien life forms fetching gifts for our Fanny Farm..” “their last slave died”.. is mumbled in the streets. Because I’m a girl they protest.
Bullying is the talk of the schoolyards. Homesickness becomes a folder for school counsellors. And this is my gift–A few words and stories, lessons from the “school of hard knocks”. Not nice these words and stories but did I ask how’s your life?
I sat with my neighbor figuring out an old crocheted shawl pattern that was my mothers. I read off the pattern step by step, but although I read, to make a tension swatch, we didn’t. When this triangular shawl was completed the shape was all wrong. I said to her, and she from a country and culture far from any I have known in Britain or North America; I said, you and I both felt the yarn and imagined the stitch and shape but we both make the same mistakes. We skip steps. And I told her how strict my mother was about reading instructions and life in all its stages that there cannot be any skipped steps. The results can be disappointing.
Perhaps these are like that conversation about instructions and patterns and steps to a happy healthy life. I’ll never be a writer. But this is the best that I can do. It’s about me, my mind, my beliefs, my search for a love that lasts and doesn’t leave me lonely, my search for a real family and maybe the rest of the boomers and zoomers are saying the same thing, while reading Scrooge McDuck comic books. If God smashes the teeth of the wicked isn’t that really cruel? Do they grow back when they are forgiven? I love you. More. Thank you Gloria.
Good night . nans out,eyes are half mast.
great post, Daniel, I hardly found anything at all to disagree with.
My unpunished children have had seamless teenagerhoods. Parents cause all the troubles they blame their kids for. The very thing they think is supposed to help – hurting them to teach them – surprise! – hurts the kids and destroys the parent/child relationship.
Some of your ideas are valuable and courageous, but the global, overgeneralized nature of several of your statements makes it so that few mature people will take you seriously. This is too bad, because in many ways I sense that you are a good writer and honest, loving person. However, I believe that you would be helped, in terms of getting people to listen to you, by revising some of your statements to be more balanced and mature, and less certain and global.
I will only give a couple of examples. #1 “Having Child is a sign of giving up.” This is flatly ridiculous. Sure, for many people, they have kids as a way to distract themselves from facing their real problems and issues. However, there are many people who are relatively emotionally healthy – that doesn’t mean they are perfectly healthy, or that they don’t sometimes traumatize their children in some ways – who make a conscious, careful decision on when to have children and are able to be good parents for the most part. As a teacher, I work with children and parents extensively myself, and am going by my experience there. I understand that your statements are meant to be polemic and rhetorical, but their black and white nature makes them frankly ridiculous in some parts.
#2 Romantic relationships help people grow. To say this is false 99% of the time is also ridiculous, and there is no evidence behind this statement. While that is not your point, it is true in my experience and in those of many of my friends that learning how to relate to a partner, both in the positive and negative aspects, was something that helped us mature, challenged us, and allowed us to learn more about ourselves. I only know a handful of people very well, and I suspect that the same is true of you. You might have known several dozen more very well via doing therapy; however, saying virtually all people do not grow as a result of romantic relationships is again an example of splitting, i.e. a black and white statement. How could you possibly accurately project your experience onto the many millions of people out there who you have never met, and about whose relationships you know nothing? It would seem to me to be healthier if we could admit that our powers of perception and our knowledge about the world are much less than we would like.
#3) The idea that most people give up on healing childhood traumas right away. There is no way you could know this, since you do not know subjectively or objectively to what degree the billions of people in this world are traumatized, and you have not measured to what degree they’ve been able to repair their problems. You might feel as if you know this to be true, since as a therapist you treated many people, and you might reason that you can project what you felt you came to know about them onto all other people. However, your experience could still be distorted, since your ineffectiveness as a therapist might be the primary reason why you feel as you do about most people not having success in facing their traumas. By contrast, I have a few therapist friends who are very optimistic about most people healing their traumas – to different degrees (again, it isn’t all or nothing) – over the long term. That is not meant to be insulting to you – for all I know, you could be a very good therapist. It is only meant to illustrate that this kind of pronouncement may be totally off base.
I must commend you on your courage in attacking medication as useless for resolving trauma, psychiatric diagnoses as a fraud, and the notion that you cannot hold your parents responsible for anything. Most people who are free-thinking, intelligent, and introspective will realize these things to be true eventually. However, many people do not have the courage to say such things so directly.
Over time I have learned to be more and more careful about asserting what is true or not, and in not making pronouncements. That is not because I do not believe in absolutely truth in some areas – I do – but because I am aware of how limited my awareness and knowledge really is in the bigger scope of things. I also want to be careful and make as few projections as possible onto other people or the world that are not supported by any evidence. I suggest you start to think similarly.
hi matt. i find it interesting to read your comment. i’m not sure the degree to which you are correctly pointing out my black-and-white thinking (ie. my blind spots) or unconsciously defending your own. or perhaps a combination of the two…and if so, where does the truth lie? as to the idea that i am basing my point of view on a very small sample size, i think that’s probably incorrect. meanwhile, i’m glad that you posted. and i do see the risk of writing about such big topics in such short ways….but that was my challenge here. all the best, daniel
Interesting and very radical writing. Good food for thought.
I am wondering about your approach to that group of people who have children, as I did, and realize from the get go that they did NOT get what they needed as a child, and set out to provide that to the child who they have.
I’m not romanticizing this process at all. I’m just saying that I found myself completely unprepared to raise my son, due to the experience I had as a child. As a result, I carefully tuned into what he needed, and as a result, he seems to be doing really well, and I found out what it felt like to be truly supportive.
After this, I married someone who is truly supportive of me.. I had read for years that I couldn’t ever “evolve” if I was in a relationship. Instead, I’ve found this relationship to be the firm foundation I was denied as a child, and am really blossoming.
It’s a real blessing to have a real person in one’s life, after therapy since 1985. Someone who has stuck by me 24/7, instead of an hour a week in therapy. Someone who has let me express my way of being in the world, and not gone away. It has changed my life.
My son has left for college, and I’m investigating a new career.
None of this is easy. And yet I just wanted to sound in, as I do believe there are alternate paths to understanding the emotional maturation process.
I’m 58 years old and feel like I’m finally starting to become myself. It feels wonderful. I’ve been given many mental health labels. In reality, I experienced a lot of trauma and neglect as a child, and never had a firm foundation inside of myself.
I’m building that now. A great part of it had to do with being a parent, and understanding what children really do need.
I also had the good fortune to meet up with a very mature group of friends when my son was in pre-school. We are still friends 16 years later.
good points Mary. some rare people do become far better than average parents even though they had a rotten start in life. and some people do wake up a lot after having children — something gets sparked in the parent and they massively change their ways. often, though, i have met parents who say they changed massively as the result of having children, but often they underestimate the amount they actually changed. (not to say that some people don’t REALLY change massively — because some do…just rare.) but i still feel it’s much much better for people to do their growth before having kids…….in my book it’s not fair for a child to be the wake-up call for the parents…..in a sense it’s exploitative of the child, even if to a degree the child is lucky if the parent wakes up a lot! but certainly the world would be a better place if more people followed your example…..though of course in my essays i shoot for the stars with my hopes and, as some people call it, idealism…. all the best, Daniel
Thanks for the nice reply. I’m an idealist, also. I agree that your ideas are ideal!
BTW, my son was my second child. The first one died in utero, just before viability. In that first one, I was looking for a “companion”. I realized the error of my ways, and with the second one, I asked for a “teacher”. Got one!!! 🙂 Mary