CHAPTER XIX:  What Has Kept the Recovery Processes from Operating

All of us discharge in these spontaneous ways in the beginning. It is our nature to release like this after every hurt, to turn to another person and let go, to get the hurt out of our system. Every unconditioned baby does this with precision and vigor when he/she is allowed to do so.

None of us were ever allowed to do so to any great degree. Why were we not?

We had to turn to someone. The process does not work well at all for one person alone. It requires the aware presence of another person to proceed to completion.*

So all of us turned to another person as we began the healing discharge of, say, our tears. When we did, the sound of our crying became a "button pushing" restimulation of that person's misstored distress. As infants we had no way of knowing that this person was not, properly speaking, rational Mother or Dad or Aunt Sally any more. Each kept the appearance of our familiar adult ally. They were not any longer thinking rationally, however, for at this point each became functionally a robot being played by an old distress recording and playing an old recorded announcement at us.

In one family, the recorded announcement may go something like this: "There, there, don't cry, it's all right, don't cry. (Jiggle, jiggle) There, there, don't cry, don't cry, don't cry."

You have heard others which go: "All right, son, get a grip on yourself! No use crying. Crying doesn't do any good. No use crying over spilt milk. All right, now! (etc.)"

Other varieties reported include: "Shut up! You stop your crying or I'll give you something to cry about." "Please stop crying, you're making Mama feel bad." "Look, see the pretty picture. Isn't it nice? It's more fun to look at a pretty picture than it is to cry, isn't it?"

Whether kindly or cruelly in word or tone, each of us was made to turn off our healing processes, while we were hurting. Usually, the one reproach did not keep us from trying to release the next time we were hurt; but, inexorably, the same thing happened. Each time we turned to someone and began to discharge and get rid of our hurt, we were told, apparently by the adult to whom we turned, that we must not discharge, that we should suppress our feelings and hold them inside ourselves. 

These recorded patterns of interfering with another person's discharge of their distresses (for that is what they are) are passed on from generation to generation by a kind of contagion. Our entire culture is soaked in them. The great majority of lullaby lyrics contain "don't cry."   Up to now the obvious wrongness and harmfulness of suppressing emotional discharge has not penetrated the pervasive conditioning caused by these recordings. Occasionally people have been forced to realize this. They have gone against the conditioning enough to write articles saying that it is helpful to cry. No one, to our knowledge, has followed up these beginnings enough to realize that this suppression of discharge is the basic reason why our entire population is so troubled, so unable to live up to their potentials.

One can observe very small children trying repeatedly to let go of their feelings and being repeatedly made to choke them back. As they grow older, they appear to shut off their own discharge as the shame and embarrassment conditioning takes over.

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00