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Dr Arthur Janov, Founder
Dr France Janov, Clinical Director

Dr. Arthur Janov examines the power of beliefs and how they are used as a mechanism for dealing with early trauma that goes as far back as birth. Beliefs are a way to rationalize with pain rooted deep in the unconscious, and reveal that love is a biological need. Dr. Janov applies engrossing case studies and his many years of experience to bring the reader one step closer to understanding human behavior, and how pain can become converted into an idea. Available on Amazon: amazon.com

Life Before Birth


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This is Dr. Janov's opus magnum, a revolutionary work in every sense of the word. It may help to change the practice of psychotherapy as we know it, and above it, how we give birth today; the shoulds and should nots. It explains in detail how early trauma and adversity can have lifelong consequences and result in serious afflictions from cancer to diabetes. It can have monumental implications for medical practice, as well, and points to how we can rear healthy children.


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Every week, read new articles by Dr Arthur Janov and answers from his readers.
Other Stories: Never good enough? | Please love ALL of me

A Primal Story: Andres and the L.A. Fires

We woke up Saturday to find the fire burning very close to our house. So I told Rosie we should start packing up all our important things, in case we get evacuated. It looked certain at that point that we would be forced to leave.

So she and I went into fight-or-flight mode, getting boxes from the garage, taking family photos out of the closet, etc. What we forgot to think about, in our rush, was Andres! We just told him to get up and get dressed, and went about our business.

A little while later, I was on my knees in the family room, packing a box when he came up behind me. He only had on his pajama pants but no top, so his little body was naked from the waist up. He touched me softly on the shoulder to get my attention, and put his hand lightly on his own tummy.

"Daddy," he said in the softest voice, "I have a very funny feeling here."

Oh my God, I realized we had not stopped to consider his feelings. I was so overcome with tenderness for him. I stopped what I was doing, put my arm around him and tried to comfort him. "Oh, don't worry, sweetie," I said "It'll be alright." We can always rebuild the house and replace our possessions, I explained. What's important right now is to make sure we don't lose the things we can't replace. So I urged him to think about those special toys and anything else that he really wants to keep and we'll put it all in a box and take it to a safe place. I even explained to him that I had insurance just for an emergency like this, and we would get money to build a better house again, if we had to.

I was so glad he felt comfortable to come to me and tell me about that feeling in his tummy and chest area, which he showed me by moving his hand around his middle. I instinctively put my head to his chest for a moment, almost as if I was listening to his body talk to me. I felt it would sooth him -- and it certainly eased my guilt a little for overlooking him.

He was much better from that point on, almost as if nothing could hurt him, as you say. But I remembered how I always had my fears locked up inside me, unable to tell my parents I was afraid because my Dad would ridicule me and call me a sissy. I have my old medical records from when I was in the first grade, the same age Andres is now. My father was our doctor and I kept the file from his office after he died. There's an entry in his handwriting that says: "Complains he has a stomach ache every day." Yes, all my fear and anxiety trapped inside, making me feel crazy and sick and so terribly unsafe. He was such a great doctor, but never understood the cause, never saw inside me.

Today, the schools here reopened and Andres finally got to start the first grade. As we walked down the hill this morning holding hands, he said, "I feel very excited and nervous, which means I'm only medium nervous."

He knew the difference between his experience and mine because I had previously told him the story how I cried the first day of school, which he promptly reminded me. "But I'm not afraid," he said.

He threw himself joyfully into the throng of friends, hugging them and laughing. Before I left, he waved at me through the window of his classroom, and blew me a kiss.

Andres is doing great. Loves his new first grade class. The latest thing is that he put signs uup on his bedroom door, written with marker on regular sheets of paper: "Keep Out" "Danger" My Room". It shows how easy it is to make mistakes as parents (overlooking him at first in the emergency) but how kids will tell you what they need if they feel free to express themselves and have some confidence that they will get their needs met. Then it's just your job to respond.

A.G. Los Angeles, CA September 2009


Never good enough

Stuck in my Core Primal Scene since I was 11 years old. Suffering in and recreating it ever since. And resolving it at age 43.

It's over now. I am good enough. I am okay. And so are other people. And so is the world. At least most of the time!

It's nothing I have to tell myself anymore every day. It's nothing I seek prove or reassurance for in the eyes of other people anymore. It has become like it always should have been, had it not been robbed from me when I was 11 years old.

I have regained the intrinsic feeling-knowledge that I am okay. It's a physical and emotional state of being every minute of a day that I do not think about. The words would be "I am okay".

It's new to me. It's the way a person feels if their needs as children are seen and responded to in appropriate ways. But I only arrived at that point recently, at age 43, by entering, feeling and resolving my Core Primal Scene. Here is my story.

I attended group a month after the breakup with my ex-boyfriend. He had been my best friend for six years, and for the past year and a half we had been in a relationship with one another.

In pre-group, I stood up and said in great agony:
"I worked so hard. But I have lost it. I lost it. I lost the…. love".
I broke down and sobbed about having lost my ex-boyfriend's love. How he used to call. How he used to come over to my house in the evenings to talk, to spend time with me and to touch. I had lost it. He would never come again. It was over. Final. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.

Sobbing those words, I gave up struggling against the fact that I did loose what I had -despite my efforts in the relationship. Accepting that made me cry even harder:
"I lost… I lost… the love… I lost… the hope... for his love". My efforts were in vain. Complete hopelessness set in and I shut down emotionally and physically.

When David came over to work with me, he softly asked "What is it, C.?". When he so warmly and caringly addressed me with my name, it reminded me of what I just had lost – a male person, who comes, cares and talks to me. I began to sob again: "I lost the love. I lost it all. There is nothing I can do anymore to get this right." After minutes of sobbing, the hopelessness became too much to cope with. Again, I shut down emotionally and physically: I stopped crying and just laid still.

Then I showed David a picture that showed my father and me. We play table tennis. I am 13 years old and wear a bikini. Seeing myself made me feel just like when the picture was taken. I felt overwhelmed, disconnected and so ugly in my entire body that I just wanted to run away from myself. It is a feeling and physical sensation that is the result of working way harder than I was capable of emotionally and physically, playing table tennis in front of my father.

When I told David: "This is me and my father", I felt like the 13 year old girl again who I once was. I looked at my father on the other side of the table tennis board and began to sob: "I work so hard, but I lost it… I lost… the hope… the hope for your love". Accepting the hopelessness with my father, I broke down in front of David. I gave up. I sobbed "I cannot do this anymore. I cannot keep doing this anymore."

Then I told David my story:

My father had moved out when I was eleven years old. He had sexually molested me at night for many years. The moments before he would come to my bed were my only hope, that he would come to me, talk to me and spend time with me. To me these moments meant the hope that he would touch me in the soothing and comforting way I had been longing for all day long. Night after night though, my desperate hope of getting the love that I needed lasted only nanoseconds before it crashed. My father actually came to ignore and violate my needs. He made me feel incredibly uncomfortable, awful and overwhelmed in my entire body. My physical sensations and my overwhelming emotional hurt turned into feeling as if I were physically plain ugly.

Every time, when my father left me in my bed after molesting me, I thought that I actually am the way I felt: Unspeakably bad, awful and ugly. It meant to me, that I wasn't good enough to make him stay. It meant to me that I wasn't good enough for him to give me what I need. He left me with this terrible burden of not being good enough night after night after night.

I told David that my father came back to reestablish a relationship with my mother a year after he had moved out. The three of us went on a vacation. This is where my father and I played table tennis and the picture that I just had shown David was taken. I remembered standing in the hotel bedroom that my father shared with my mother. I dropped into that memory. I stood and stared at the bed. That moment, the terrible truth hit me:

My father had not come back because of me. In fact, he spent his time with my mother while he largely ignored me. Even worse, he acted angry towards me. Not once did he talk to me about what had happened between us, what he had done to me and why he had moved out.

Facing the truth with David at my side, I broke down. I sobbed. I suddenly understood how it was all over. My hope for my father's love was gone. My hope to be good enough for my father's love… it was gone. I just wasn't good enough. I had failed. There was nothing more I could do. There was nothing more to hope for. If I was so awful that my own father couldn't love me, then no one ever would.

Feeling that hopelessness in my entire body, I gradually shut down. Just as I had done back then, when I was 13 years old. Only with David at my side, for the first time in my life, I felt what it really felt like those moments before I shut down. I had experienced the truth for the very first time.

When David left, he pointed at me in the picture and said: "What a beautiful girl she is". I stared at 'that girl'. All I could see in that moment was the projection of how I felt in my entire body: Overwhelmed and exhausted, ugly and not good enough for my father and for anyone ever after to ever want to stay with me and love me.

In post group I shared about the loss of feeling loved by my ex-boyfriend. I shared how much I longed for feeling loved. Then I showed the picture with my father and me. When I talked about it, I realized how it made me slip back into feeling as if I were 13 years old. Again, I suddenly felt so ugly and worthless physically, but I kept on talking.

When I was done talking, David asked this one core question:

„When you were playing table tennis with our father, how would you have known that you were wanted and loved? How would you have known that he loved and cared about you despite of what he had done to you?"

At first, his question threw me back into my feeling: If I cannot figure that one out, then I would not be good enough to be loved. After I had stumbled around for a minute, David gave me the help I needed. He looked me steadily in the eye and said:

„He would have told you that he is sorry. He would have told you that none of this is your fault. He would have told you that you did nothing wrong. He would have told you that it was him who did it all wrong. He would have told you how sorry he is for his wrong-doing and that he would never do it again".

I swallowed hard. How could David have known… that those were the very words that I had carried in my heart for the past 30 years, hidden in shame. Words that I had locked away for no one ever to see. So that no one ever would find out about that I am not good enough for my father's love.

My tears began to pour and for the first time in my life, I addressed my father. I looked straight at him in the picture and felt as if I were right in the situation with him, 13 years old. Now I did what I had not been able to do at the time:

I stopped working so hard. I stopped pretending to be everything that my father wanted me to be - happy, funny, satisfied, despite his sexual molestation and angry denial about it. I gave up pretending. I dropped the table tennis racket. My own words came flushing with tears:

"I cannot do this anymore. I do not cope with this anymore. Please tell me you are sorry for what you have done. Please tell me it was not my fault. Please tell me that I haven't done anything wrong. Please tell me that it wasn't me. Bitte, bitte, bitte."

Then I dropped into an earlier memory. I am eleven years old. I watched my father pack his suitcase in the bedroom in the very moments before he moved out. Back at the time, I did not feel anything, I was emotional totally unconscious and disconnected by the overwhelming experience that my father was about to go away from me forever. I even supported him by helping him pack. This is how disconnected I was from my real self at the time.
But now, at the end of group, I reacted. I jumped up. In huge despair I cried out:

"Why do you need to go? Is it ME? Is it because of me? Have I done anything wrong? Please tell me it's not me. Tell me. It can't be me. You got to tell me. I cannot go around with this for the rest of my life. Please take that off my shoulders. Please tell me it's not because of me. Please tell me. Please."

I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. All I ever had wanted in my entire life was for my father to tell me that there is nothing wrong with me. All I ever wanted was to hear from him that it wasn't me (or anything I had ever done), that made him move out. All I wanted to hear from him was:
"You are okay. You are good enough. I do not move out because of you. I move out because of your mother".

My split resolves

In the days and weeks after that group I felt a relief I had never felt before in my entire life. Tons and tons of shame and blame, that I had carried on my shoulders ever since I was 11 years old, fell off. For the first time in my life I knew that I had not been at fault. I suddenly knew that my father was a lousy father and that I am okay.

I suddenly knew at a deeply connected emotional level that nothing is wrong with me. I suddenly knew that I am good enough.

It was then that I truly began to change. And my life changed along with me.

How my split in my core Primal Scene affected my life

What my father did – and, most importantly, what he failed to do - made my hope die to ever be good enough to be loved and cared about by anyone. My emotions, vulnerability and physical sensitivity died. I became lifeless but kept on living, imprisoned in my own pain. I could not tell anyone. I could not relate to anyone physically and emotionally. I did not cry for the following 10 years. All I ever did was pretending and hiding 'the truth' - or what I thought the 'truth' was:

That I am not good enough to ever be wanted and to ever be loved and to be cared about. 'The truth' that I cannot do anything right. That I was indeed a complete failure.

In the past, I used to oscillate between two states of being. Either I was close to or in the feeling "I am not good enough". Or I had managed to repress and "forget" about it.

In phases in my life when I was close to or in the feeling, I would go beyond my limits and exhaust myself to please others. I would struggle to earn and to get assured that I was "good'. In fact, my overcompensation made me act "too good". It would make people either take advantage of me. Or it would push them away because they felt that they are somehow not good enough in comparison to me. I would not dare to ask for what I need and be satisfied or accept what would do me no good. I would always end up feeling that I am not good enough for someone to be close to me and give me the love I need.

In phases in my life when I was disconnected from my feeling by repressing it, it turned into the euphoric fake perception that I am very (!) good. Therefore I deserve nothing less than the very, very best. Nothing and nobody could ever measure up to my "high standards". Nothing and nobody was good enough for me anymore. I was overly sensitive to criticism myself.
Angrily did I yell my needs out into the world. I would accuse and give orders rather than ask for what I need in a vulnerable way. Of course, that always ended up in disaster. I always ended up being left and thrown back into the real old feeling that I am not good enough for someone to stay with me.

The choices I made in my life where depending on which stage of the feeling I was in at the time. When I was in the depressive phase (close to or in the true feeling "I am not good enough. I can't do it"), I would shy away from tasks that truly would have been manageable for me. When flipping into the euphoric fantasy, I used to take on tasks that truly were beyond my abilities at the time and within the time frame given. Those choices made me crash and fail for real. They reinforced my old feeling that I truly would not be good enough.

It means that I quit jobs. It means that I was unable to truly commit to a job. No job offer was ever good enough form me. There was always something wrong with it. The thing that was 'wrong' with it was, that it brought up a devastating feeling that I had no way of facing.

Anything that went wrong and that could not be solved right away would trigger me into my feeling. When my car broke down, when a client cancelled, when my computer crashed – it all was to me the outward reflection of the way I felt inside: Not good enough to get what I need.

I used to be embarrassed about my boyfriends. There was always 'something wrong' with tem for me. Either physically or in their behavior or in the way they lived their life. To me, it all reflected back on me – it meant to me that if I would be seen with "such a person", it would look as if I cannot do any better than that. It would mean that I am not good enough to find someone "better".

Relationships

My father and the blame and shame he had left me with at age 11 stood between me and every man I ever was with. All my relationships had really been about my past.

It was first in my relationship with my ex-boyfriend that I experienced confusingly contradictive feelings. Somehow I wanted a future with him, but at the same time I strongly felt that I couldn't see my future with him. It did not make sense to me at the time, but it is how I felt. So I pulled him close when I saw him. Then I pushed him away by not wanting to see him. It created an unsettling, confusing, destructive dynamic.

My future is not with my father. I cannot change how my father behaved towards me in the past. But by feeling how it was in the past, I can resolve the burden he had left me with. It is this burden that had made it impossible for me to truly relate to a man the way he is in the presence. My future truly begins in my past, by resolving and breaking free from the burden my father had left me with when I was only 11 years old.

On most of my dates with my ex-boyfriend my unconscious and desperate goal was to change the past situation. My goal was to make him (in place for my father) do and say all the right things. My goal was to finally, finally be relieved from that terrible and overwhelming burden my father had left me with to live: That I was not good enough for his or anyone's love. All I wanted to hear was that I am good enough. All I wanted was to be shown his love. All the time. I relived and recreated that on every single date I had with my ex-boyfriend. Of course, I felt disappointed and dissatisfied after almost every date.

Even if I could have directed my ex-boy-friend around for 24 hours day, day after day, to do exactly what I feel I need to get at a point in time – it would not have been good enough. Still, I would have wanted more and more. Something always would have felt wrong. I used to feel dissatisfied – something was always missing or wrong. It would never have felt right – because it isn't right. It's the wrong person who gives it at the wrong time. My ex-boyfriend had no chance to be good enough for me. He just wasn't my father, and I was not 11 anymore.

Who I needed to cherish me was my father: "Please be with me and take care of me. Please cherish me. Every day. Every day. Every day." And he never ever did. What he did to me wasn't even close to good enough. Quite the opposite - how despicably he had behaved towards me, his own daughter.

Every single time when my ex-boyfriend would go somewhere, it would trigger a terrible anxiety in me. Underneath that was my fear that I had done something wrong that made him leave. When he left in the nights to go home. When he wanted to sleep through the night and have his space and no touch contact. Even when we would not walk hand in hand or touch for a few minutes – it all had this one meaning for me: I am not good enough for him to give me the love I need. I will never get the love I need. I am unlovable. I wasn't good enough for him to stay and that I would end up frighteningly alone and unloved forever after he would leave. The very feelings that I had with my father.

So I wasn't able to sleep at my ex-boyfriend's side. My anxiety and my fight against my old feeling kept me awake most of the night. Now I can see how his need for solitude had nothing to do with me. But at the time, I couldn't see that. Instead I ended up criticizing him for his sleeping needs and wanted him to change it. That was one of the big and unnecessary issues in the relationship.

Other big issue for me with my ex-boyfriend were behaviors that had not much to do with me. When he was late, forgot things, not said exactly what I needed to hear at a certain point in time, when his apartment was messy etc. – it triggered me. At the time, I had no patience and space for anyone – including myself (!) – to make such "mistakes". It all triggered my own unconscious fear of not being good or wanted enough to be given what I need. I criticized him a lot for his behaviors and made him feel as if he were not good enough.

Change – Finally good enough!!!

Changes happened at all levels.

After feeling how I needed to be told and assured that I am good enough at age 11, I suddenly began to experience people around me at age 43 as good enough. Experiencing people this way also made me treat him that way. And, amazingly, I too was treated like that. Tons of pleasurable and constructive interactions happen.

After about a week after that group I realized that I had stopped with obsessive behaviors. Suddenly things were good enough as they were. My at times obsessive interest in cleaning stopped. My apartment looks different now because I rather invest my time in living than in cleaning. For years I had obsessed about information about eating healthy. I still care and make good choices, but my obsession is gone.

I am not that scared anymore to make mistakes. My block, my fear to not be good enough, is gone. I feel joy and smile a lot of the time. And I play. It is easy for me to learn new things, and that creates space for me to be curious.

"I am good enough" is nothing I have to tell myself anymore everyday. It's nothing I seek prove or reassurance for in the eyes of other people anymore. It's an intrinsic emotional and physical knowledge. It's the best thing I ever had!

C.G., Los Angeles, CA August 2009


Please love ALL me

About sexual dysfunction and how it can be resolved in the Primal Process

This article describes a session in which I followed a cascade of second line feelings, first line sensations and real memories that, at first, appeared to be rather unrelated. Through a totally unexpected twist, I ended up finding what forced me to keep a secret that my father sexually molested me and how I could forget the molestation in the first place. Most importantly though, I describe how, through the Primal feeling process, my sexual dysfunction unraveled and how it is resolving! What an impact on my entire life!!

Hours before my last session, fantasies of my ex-boyfriend in company with other women kept haunting me. On my way to my session, two more images popped up.

The first was a real memory: I am about 13 years old. I am in the bathroom together with my mother. She stands bend over the bathtub and I can see right into her genitals. I remembered the hot flash of rage I felt and that I did not act on that rage. Instead, I silently sat down behind her and went numb with a tickling sensation in my body that eventually faded. I tried hard to look elsewhere. I could not stand what I saw.

The second image was a fantasy. In my mind I saw my ex-boyfriend and his ex-wife leave the couple therapy office that he and I had visited only half a year earlier. I was obsessed by that image and took it right into my session.

When I began my session, the image made me so mad, that a tingling sensation began to spread in my entire head, especially into my jaws. It felt as if I were physically close to loosing consciousness. Instead of draining that terrifying sensation by yelling words or crying, I let my arms, hands and legs do what they wanted to do: Shake. I did not know what to do (which was part of the feeling). I just wanted NOT TO GET UNCONSCIOUS. The only impulse I had was to push my head into a padded wall. So I did.

While doing that, my first line sensation of unconsciousness faded some and freed a tremendous second line rage. I felt a huge impulse to attack that woman on my ex-boyfriend’s side and to hit her right into her jaws. I followed that impulse and hit the padded wall with my fists, using my entire body strength.

I had a horrible fear that he might tell her something about me – something that would be somehow very dangerous for me if she knew. I had no clue what that might be. I just was scared to death he’d tell her.

The longer I pushed into the wall, the weaker my legs felt. It felt as if I were powerless and helpless against “that big woman” who has so much - and I got nothing. I felt terribly inferior emotionally and, eventually in the session, also physically when the sensation of getting weaker and weaker caught me. It made me want to push even harder. So I kept pushing my head into the wall and, amazingly, the weakness disappeared for a while. Then it returned again.

I went through this 1st line “pushing and feeling knocked-down-and-crushed-close-to-get-unconscious” cycle what to me seemed like an endless time. Then I finally let the sensation just be there, that I was too weak to keep pushing. I stopped moving and just lay on the mattress with my head buried in pillows against the wall. I didn’t have a clue what to do. So I did nothing.

Once I lay still, I felt a huge fear grow. Then came a sensation cutting in my heart like a sharp knife. The sensation would not stop. At a pure physical level I felt terrified that I would get crushed and die. Along came a memory:
I lay on my bed in the corner that used to be my “room” when I grew up. I must have been eight or nine years old. I am lying with my head against the wall, and I do not know what to do. Not knowing what to do and not even being aware of any options made me feel very, very anxious in the session. Which way to go? When I could not stand it anymore, I began to push again. The pushing made me cry in this memory:

Lying against the wall in the night, my father had just left my bed (after molesting me) to go into my mother’s (and his) bedroom. I was terrified, that he went to her. I was terrified, that he would tell her “something” about me. At this point in the session, I had no clue what he might tell her that could frighten me this much. I cried out loud “Don’t go. Please don’t go”. With the tears and the words came another flush of feeling helpless and powerless that immediately translated back into the physical experience of being helpless and powerless. Again, when I could not stand that sluggishness anymore, I followed my impulse to push my head into the wall.

With the next wave of weakness setting in, I stopped pushing once again and gave into the sensation. I thought I get crazy. Being so weak and not moving made my fear come up again - that terrifying fear of death. I bounced back into the memory where my father just had left me in my bed to go to my mother. Suddenly I felt terrified, that my mother would come and get me. I thought she would come raging and crush me into pieces. Still, I had no clue why that might be. I just felt tremendous distrust to her and didn’t know what to do.

Amidst that, I suddenly thought that the mattress I sat on in the session was all wet around me. I checked it out: The mattress was dry. That was really confusing to me. I was convinced that it was wet. Then it clicked – once, the mattress HAD BEEN wet for real: I suddenly remembered being about 2 years old, lying in a crib in the darkened room that I used to share with my parents. And all around me, it suddenly gets wet and I don’t really understand how that happens. I just can’t help it. I have no control over it. Then I remembered my mother spanking me.

When I was about 2 years old, my mother tried to force me to stop needing diapers. One night she put me to bed without one. I wet my bed. She let me lay in this wetness all night long. Then that big woman, my mother, got mad at me – at me, the tiny, vulnerable baby girl I was. She spanked me. When cleaning me up, she touched my genitals in a plain rough, aggressive and hateful way. Also, when I was a teenager she used to tell me how disgusted and angry she used to be when she had to change my soiled diapers. Feeling inferior to and scared of her in my entire body and specifically in my private parts became an every day experience while I was a baby.

Caught in that memory during the session, feeling these attacks on my private parts, I thought I’d go crazy and die. I felt so open, so unprotected and so vulnerable. There was nothing I could do. And how mad she was at me “down there”…
I felt the terror all over me and up into my head. With the terror came another impulse to push - I just couldn’t cope with these sensations anymore. After only a moment of pushing I began to sob helplessly.
At that point in my session, I did not know what I might have needed. There were no words but a huge impulse. I jumped up and rammed with all of me and all my strength into the padded wall opposite, as if my mother was standing right there in front of me. I wanted nothing less than kill her.

Attacking the wall, the memory of her bending over the bathtub returned. Now, in the safety of the therapy room, I followed the impulse that I had to shut down as a 13-year old girl:
I hit my mother right between her legs, over and over again. I grabbed and tore and ripped her genitals in all the worst ways. I wanted her to feel all that pain and all that burning. I wanted her to feel all I ever had to feel between my legs.

Once I had exhausted my hate and rage against her and her genitals, the physical exhaustion and weakness came back. I fell down on the floor and felt very little (inferior) and very scared of my mother. I crawled up into a fetal position, protecting my private parts with my hands. I felt terribly unprotected all over my body. Then uncontrolled words burst out of me:

“I just want someone to like IT”. Hearing my own words made me understand what I really meant to express. I was asking for someone to be loving, gentle and caring to my private parts. Then I sobbed until a new flush of words came:

“I just want someone to like ME. I just want someone to like ALL ME.” I sobbed so hard, reaching out for a blanket to cover me all over and pleading “Please like ALL of me. Please. Please.” At first, my need was directed at my ex-boyfriend who, only a month ago, had dumped at me how my physical appearance actually disturbs him (!) before I ended the relationship by throwing him out of my house. Then my need turned to my mother: “Please like ALL me. Please be kind and gentle to ALL me. Please cover ALL of me. Please make ALL ME feel okay”. Once my tears subsided, I felt the pure physical 1st line need on my entire skin of being in and covered by “something” that would gently be all around me and keep me safe – the touch of the womb in which I needed to be safe.

With a soft blanket all around me, I lay in the fetal position, looking at the room and at my therapist. I felt safe. I sighed, relieved that it all was over now. Then I was struck by the terrible but resolving insight about what I was afraid that my father might tell my mother after having molested me:

I was scared to death that my father would “give me away”. That he would reveal something to my mother about my private parts. And I had learned by experience as a 2 year old that when something happens with my private parts, it would make her furious at me to a point where I thought her hate would crush me. Lying in my bed and facing the wall as a 8 or 9 years old girl, I ended up in utter isolation, having no one to trust, no one to go to for help and protection against my father’s violation. The very person, my mother, who was supposed to support, take care and protect me was the very one I felt inferior to and who I feared the most.

I remember being in my bed and feeling tingling sensations in my body. I remember how my body sensations and emotions faded away. I remember shutting down and getting unconscious of the entire overwhelming experience. In the mornings after the molestation, I didn’t remember anything. I woke up to plain nothingness and emptiness. The only feeling that was left in me was a terrible anxiety, that made me jump out of bed and run…. I ran to school and through the day, just keeping busy and desperately trying to push this terrible anxiety away, which more or less stayed with me throughout the day. I tried to PUSH AWAY FROM my true feelings, which came bubbling up from underneath the anxiety. When the evening came, the same trauma hit me all over again.

It is BEFORE the unconsciousness sets in, that my true feelings are still alive. In the beginning of the session, I was able to catch the true cascade of my feelings instead of abreacting or giving in the tingling sensation that would numb me into forgetting what I really felt and would cover up my true 1st and 2nd line memories.


My experience of my mother’s hate and rage against my genitals at age 2 compounded my first line birth imprint in a stunning way.

During labor my mother numbed herself (and me!) with nitrous oxide. It is the physical memory of it that I re-experienced in my session: I got weaker and weaker, feeling powerless against something overwhelming that pushes me close to unconsciousness. I felt crushed (inferior!) by “something so much bigger than me” – the uterus all around me that seemed to start contracting whenever I still was knocked out and couldn’t move along. When she touched my genitals at age 2 in such hateful, violent ways, my 1st line terror and fear of death compounded.

In my session I also re-experienced how, for an endless number of times during labor, I must have gone in and out of unconsciousness or half-unconsciousness due to the nitrogen oxide. I would recover somewhat and push until the next nitrous oxide flash would hit. I never could win, no matter how hard I pushed with all the strength I had left. I just got weaker and weaker. Just before birth, my mother was given medication that knocked her out. She does not know how I was actually born. I do know from my feelings that I got unconscious too.

Getting unconscious is what my body learned as THE way “to make it”, to survive terrible trauma – as crazy as it sounds! This imprinted physical survival mechanism happened automatically to me every single time after my father had molested me and would leave me fearing for my life when he went to the bedroom to my mother.

With this first line survival imprint and my second line fear of my mother - how could I ever have risked turn to my mother for help and protection? Plain impossible. Just realizing that gives me great relief: It wasn’t my fault that I did not tell my mother. I simply couldn’t. She had made it impossible for me…


How did the compounded trauma affect my life in the past?

For the past 43 years, until this very session a week ago, there had been a physical as well as emotional “lock” in my private parts. I would get sexually excited, but after a few minutes I would feel a very painful twirls and cramps in my vagina and I gradually shut down. My entire body tried to keep away any feeling / sensation that happened in my genitals. This involuntary physical defense also had an emotional aspect: I desperately wanted to keep the man away who touched me.

In the relationship with my ex-boyfriend, I had had an immense impulse to push him away. I never followed that impulse - it made no sense in the real world. How could I push this man away who is sexually caring and sensitive himself and who wants to give me pleasure? So I never pushed, but the energy stayed in my body and I kept my partner away emotionally. I could not let the pleasurable sensations carry me away. I would keep control and, most importantly, distance to what happened to me and between him and me. At the time I just didn’t understand what happened, none of what happened made any sense to me and thus I didn’t have a clue either what to do about it. I just was disconnected at the time.

And, of course, no real sexual relationship and no true sexual connection could grow this way. It was a one-way street, which ended in frustration. It was so awfully familiar to me - because it had kept repeating itself with every single man I ever had been sexually involved with.

The name of that physical and emotional “lock” in my private parts was:
“I am scared, that my mother will come and crush me if there is something going on with my private parts”.

This insight, this connection alone shatters me to devastated sobs. My own mother had killed my sexual life for 43 years… Her behavior, on top of my father’s molestation, had made it impossible for me to develop a true sexual relationship with a man. She had made it impossible for me to enjoy sex together with a man and let the sexual energy between us flow to trigger one another into deeper pleasure and connection. I feel IMMENSE grief about what could have been.


More importantly, how does what I found in my Primal session change my life?

Beautifully!!!

At the end of the session, my therapist said in a very loving, caring way: 

“That’s what a mummy does for her baby girl: A mummy helps her protect and take care of her private parts.” Without ever having experienced that, I instantly and in my entire body knew exactly what she meant! A beautiful feeling spread into my private parts and throughout my body!

I left the session, feeling beautiful on the inside and out. I walked on the street, beautifully connected inside my entire body! The “empty place” I used to feel around my private parts was now filled with me. Suddenly I was ALL of me. I walked the street as if it was the very first time!

My fear of and inferior feeling towards women was gone! I looked women straight in the eye and saw sisters in them. I felt warmth and, for the first time in my life, I felt that we stood on common ground!

Ever since I can remember and until ten years ago, I had been very scared of women. Women always seemed to me as “the enemy” I used to feel inferior to. I used to have this recurring dream in the night:
I wore a warrior’s outfit. My face was all colored with most the aggressive signs and symbols. In my dream, I aggressively “danced” around in front of my mother. Underneath this behavior, I felt inferior, utterly helpless and threatened. I always ended up totally exhausted just before I would wake up.

Fighting my mother like that, just as in my session, had been the one reality every single day when I grew up. It was truly exhausting having to keep the very person away from me whose love, help, comfort and care I needed more than anything and anybody. Even more exhausting was it, to hide from her how awful and hurt and helpless I really felt inside of me and how scared I really was of her. If she only would have made me feel safe…

Also, until I was 34 years old, I hardly had any female friends. The few I had, I never was able to be close to. Instead I always felt an enormous distance to them. Of course! Being stuck in my birth and childhood experiences, I had no choice but hiding “my secrets” from women. If I couldn’t trust the very first female, Mummy, in my life – how could I trust any female? 

At age 34 though, I met a woman whose joyfulness (lack of hate) and total lack of judging anybody (lack of punishment) were irresistible to me! I simply wanted to be friends with her! So I finally reached out! And over the past 20 years we have developed a truly very close friendship!  She was the first person I ever shared with, that my father had molested me. She listened, showed me how very shaken she was by what I had to go through and then told me with tears in her eyes how honored she felt about my trust. We held one another a long time after that.

More amazingly, after my session, I suddenly felt safe, confident and beautiful around men! That was a very new experience! Wow!!! All my life, coming and going, I had felt unsafe and insecure of myself around men. I had been going through my life with a desperate and aggressively pushy need “to be cherished AS A WOMAN” when the reality was that I was disconnected from my femininity physically as well as emotionally. I actually lived in the old trauma all the time, trying to get a man to give me back what he hadn’t taken from me in the first place. My need had been so disconnected and misdirected, that it turned to be very destructive, especially in the relationship with my ex-boyfriend.


Was something wrong with me - or am I okay?

Until this very session, I always thought that something must be sexually wrong with me. My ex-boyfriend compounded and triggered that by telling me how there is something missing in the relationship – sexual energy.  It hurt so much because, indeed, there was a lack of sexual energy. Now, after my session, I can clearly see my own part in it:

In the relationship, I was totally stuck in my trauma while, at the same time, I still was physically and emotionally completely disconnected from it. Any sexual action or interaction threw me unconsciously back in the old situation. Anything, even pleasure, going on in my private parts triggered my fear of death and my fear of my own mother. In that context it now makes a terrible sense why I kept sexually distanced from my ex-boyfriend and even felt a physical impulse to really push him away from me. I deeply mourn what might have been sexually evolving between us…

It also makes terrible sense now, that I avoided both sex and relationships and even masturbation for extended periods in my life. There was not more or less “wrong with me” than that I was just stuck in a 1st and 2nd line trauma that I had no responsibility for but defended against.

My relief is HUGE! It’s over now! By feeling through this, I break free. It is now that it all truly begins for me.

My sexual impulses had just been repressed. I had been really scared of them in the past. Now, for the first time in my life, I can truly feel connected with my private parts! The real sexual me gets released.  And, as scary it may feel at times, I very much look forward to truly relate to a man also at a sexually level in the future!

C.G., Los Angeles, CA August 2009

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