Supercharging MC Empowerment
an article by our site
How can we ensure that nurturing—in or out of MCs—is so effective that the result is as impressive as it is in the novel The Forest Through The Trees? The answer is to simply do it right. For most people, this will be a big change, since even though they were trying their best, it was Second Wave best, not Third Wave best. It was based upon discredited, ineffective, obsolete methods that relied on authoritarian controls utilizing punishments, rewards, and even spanking. Such physical and emotional violence was typical of Second Wave thinking. It is the 21st century and the Third Wave is in full swing, but the Third Wave relies on information, knowledge, and wisdom, not force and coercion and threats, like the Second Wave. The good news is that we have known how to nurture (which includes parenting as well as other types of relationships) effectively since the early 1970s, but the bad news is that a relatively small percentage of U.S. citizens are employing this wisdom in their nurturing.
In MCs, the very success of this benevolent lifestyle depends on using this wisdom, which will require losing authoritarian relationship methods and ideas and substituting authoritative methods and ideas in their place.
Using P.E.T. methods (or one of the other authoritative methods) is essential for MC success since this is proven to be the most effective way to relate to kids, specifically, and to people in general. Intrinsic to good relationship methods are conflict resolution and active listening. The former is done via respectful, win-win ways that include all family members, with no one as the "boss." The latter is done in equally respectful ways that focus on maximal respect for feelings. Use P.E.T. books to learn the specifics of active listening.
We'd like to add our own twist on making this type of relating work even more effectively. Call it "feelings space" or call it "you time." P.E.T. assumes that the "feelings hearing" aspect of a nurturing relationship will happen naturally and as an intrinsic part of active listening—which it should. It will occur when a parent talks with the child as well as when active listening is happening, specifically. All well and good. But to make the child feel even more loved and special, counting on a normal lifestyle to provide sufficient opportunities for such relating falls a bit short, given the busy and chaotic lifestyle pace so many families are experiencing.
There are a few parenting experts that also recommend "feelings space" (or call it "you time"), and we know it to be extremely viable from personal experience. (Any expert that it happened to occur to or that heard about it from parents or other experts would doubtless begin recommending it himself. Some experts simply didn’t happen to think of it!) To do it, set aside a specific time daily for EACH child to get individual attention. Perhaps after supper, and the older child's time to be after the younger child's time. This will feel more special to kids than having feelings being heard only during active listening (which happens mostly after an emotional upset of some kind) or at random times that cannot be relied upon to occur that much.
Depending on what makes the child feel happiest and most loved, lying on a bed and holding the child may be optimal—this may be the story-reading protocol already. But regardless of whether cuddling up is a given child's preference or not, a close and intimate connection is required—even if there's no physical contact.
Next, gently and sweetly ask the child if s/he has feelings today. Give him/her a chance to remember. If nothing comes up it's possible the child will just be content to feel loved for a bit. Make certain s/he can hear love in your voice. (If s/he doesn’t, it means you needed to have gotten feelings space from your spouse or lover or best friend BEFORE you tried to give it to your child.) Never argue with the feelings that you hear! It's the child's feelings time, not yours—let your spouse handle yours. If the child says how bad you were because of X or how s/he hates you because of Y, use your active listening skills: "so you feel I'm bad because I . . . " in a still-loving tone, and do not act defensive or sound defensive or say anything defensive. Follow the active listening protocols until the child has had his/her feelings totally heard and understood. This creates trust, security, and respect in the child. This child feels loved. His/her feelings are worth hearing and it's safe to tell them to you. (You won't "agree" with them, they may be "inaccurate," they make you uncomfortable, and you may have an overwhelming desire to "correct" the child. Restrain yourself! ALL feelings are acceptable. Some actions are not. But these are FEELINGS! Don't judge. Just listen, and use active listening only when needed.) Nurturing is a human miracle made up of just such gems as "you time." If your child is named Tommy, let his feelings space be referred to as "Tommy time."
You may be thinking that you haven't time to create this type of "you time" in your kids' lives. But in an MC, such time will be created, regardless of who does it. Spouse, relative, or non-relative—what's important is that the nurturing is as good as you can make it, and "you time" is one of the best things you can do for any other person in your life, ESPECIALLY a child.
Abe Maslow is the father of humanistic psychology and author of the classic Toward a Psychology of Being. A summary of Maslow-think is: get a kid feeling loved and he will feel secure and get a kid secure and he will be, not need, and a secure child will adventure, choose, experiment, and find out for himself—he will be creative and happy rather than scared and unhappy. Next: a needy person cannot truly BE and cannot see the truth of situations because his needs get in the way, so he misunderstands people and situations—his needs color his perceptions. But a secure, loved, creative person sees without needs coloring his perceptions so he understands rather than misunderstands people and situations. Finally: a person in a being state perceives and feels clearly and deeply and is likely to experience peak experiences of total connection with mankind and the universe. He may experience this as spiritual in either a religious or nonreligious context, but it will always feel profound and move him deeply. He'll usually be alone but sometimes be with one or more other people.
True spirituality can never be the product of conformity and respect for/fear of authority—if it isn’t a product of finding oneself, it isn’t real
You'll find lots of psychological wisdom on this website in MC Articles or in book reviews of other authors' writings. The important thing about "you time" is that it adds a precious gem of wisdom to active listening protocols that create a more optimal nurturing environment for all in families and especially in MCs. You'll try in vain to come up with psychological wisdom that empowers nurturing more than this well-tested gem. And this nurturing can be between anyone and anyone.
What can create more security than the "you time" described above (which requires love and safety and being listened to)? Nothing, so to empower optimal nurturing use the Maslow method of love and you-time-empowered security leading to need fulfillment and being and understanding and happiness and human spiritual inspiration.
One can be, in the Maslow sense, when one isn't needful. Most people come from need, however, and they have a false self created so they can cope with the pressures from others for them to conform, please others, and fit in—or they use it to manipulate others. This bogus self comes about from need. Their actions are driven by the need to get acceptance from parents, peers, or teachers. This is what Gail and Snell Putney called indirect self acceptance in their classic book The Adjusted American. David Riesman, in The Lonely Crowd, called the character type of these conformists that need indirect self acceptance inner-directed (mostly motivated by the need for parental acceptance) or other-directed (mostly motivated by the need for peer acceptance), but he championed one and only one character type: autonomous. As do wise shrinks, authors, parents and teachers.
Autonomous people are often in a being state—not run by need. Non-autonomous people such as inner-directed and other-directed (as well as the self-explanatory type: tradition-directed) are run by the need for acceptance. There are many virtues as well as pitfalls to each of the four character types, including autonomous. (The main pitfall of autonomy is the annoyance of having others trying to push you to "fit in" to their values.) It is good to conform to decent standards, morals, laws, and customs—as Riesman stated. But it is WHY one is conforming that becomes the key to this issue.
Facebook encourages false-self actualization, not real self-actualization; and connections, not bonds
Autonomous people are at cause and choose to conform to the degree it fits their highly developed sense of values. They get DIRECT self acceptance (from themselves) for following their real selves. Non-autonomous people conform to fit others' pressures, thereby forming a false self in the process because their real self is being forced to surrender to their need for acceptance from others such as parents (via superego), peers, and traditions. Autonomous people generally are in a position to get to BE their real selves, while non-autonomous people settle for the more hollow pleasure of operating from a NEED-fueled false self. They are at effect—not captains of their own ships. Autonomous people are at cause—captains of their own ships.
'At cause' means she is allowed to be the captain of her own ship—note the happy smile
Why is all this important? "To be or not to be" is more than a clever Shakespeare quote. It really is the crux of the matter: being versus nonbeing. Toward a Psychology of Being is Maslow's wonderful book brimming with insights that are about as profound as psychological insights can get. Read that book and prepare for an epiphany—a life-changing revelation. To achieve self actualization, to realize one's potential, to fully mature, to become a fully human being, one needs to reach autonomy. It is the goal of all MC people as well as all other people who are not confused about such things as happiness, democracy, and love. Self actualization comes about when you become who you were meant to become and you learn to care about others from a being state. You can care for others from a state of need as well, but unfortunately part of that caring is simply need. Does a child "care about" a mother who either rejects him or simply has no time for him? No—he's too busy hating her. Does an autonomous adult "care about" a mother who either rejects him or simply has no time for him? Yes. He isn't needing her when he cares about her and if she rejects him he simply feels that it's her loss and he'd prefer to be around friends who appreciate him. Besides, his mom may be writing a book and has no time for anyone until it is done! No part of his caring for dear old mom is need-based since he became autonomous. He loves her unconditionally. Most adults, unfortunately, are non-autonomous and would feel need-based hate or at least resentment toward dear old mom.
A rejected child hates his parent
Now use the autonomy criterion in comparing parents that are autonomous with those that are not. Those that are have great relationships with both kids and spouse, loving both unconditionally. Those that are not have iffy relationships with spouse and kids, loving either conditionally. Her needs toward them stops her from doing what is best for the kids if they're not filling her needs for obedience, for being someone she can live through, and for filling her emotional needs to be loved which millions of mothers lay on their kids regardless of it being bad for mom and kids alike. It is easy to see whether the autonomous or the non-autonomous mom will be the best nurturer, and which will express resentment or even hate for the kids who do not fill her needs, resulting in punishments and spanking—exactly what the child does NOT need. Conditional love is not healthy for either parents or kids. MC parents will be autonomous and unconditionally loving.
Democracy, as well as love and parenting and nurturing, fares either poorly or well in this autonomousness comparison exercise (depending on whether you are referring to the current U.S. "democracy" or the potential U.S. democracy if the MC movement catches on and flourishes and spreads). It turns out that non-autonomous people vote with their emotions and are therefore easy to manipulate with emotionally targeted ads. They feel they're making logical, conscious decisions, but they're not. Why do you suppose that those who can think most clearly (including a current Supreme Court Justice) have been calling the U.S. a Corporatocracy and an Oligarchy for years?
People voting does not make our nation a democracy. Do the people decide by debate and deliberation, through referendums, legislative action, protests, and other democratic activity? Is it a nation run for the people and by the people as the Founders intended? Or do mindless sheep get tricked into either the left sheep pen or the right sheep pen by devious media ads designed by psychologists to push the buttons in their unconscious minds to manipulate them into being fleeced—yet again?! Can an Oligarchy designed for the few and by the few, after replacing the Democracy years ago, really be expected to act in the people's interests—or in their own interests? Do the math, people. Then realize that for true democracy to get rebooted and then thrive, it will require nothing less than the MC movement. Read more on the way the appropriate character structure for true democracy is not developing in our citizens—in fact, the opposite is happening: The Responsive Communitarian Platform.
The powers-that-be treat us as sheep to fleece every 4 years—and every year in between
Psychology needs to focus not on selling out to the Corporatocracy by tricking people to vote against their own interests, but on teaching good parenting skills to teachers, parents, and students. Many psychologists and psychiatrists do not even KNOW such skills, so they neither practice them nor teach them. This is a national disgrace.
Imagine a world in which shrinks, psychologists, educators and teachers of all stripes all taught relationship wisdom (e.g., P.E.T.) to all who would listen. Imagine behaviorists with the guts to reject Big Pharma's self-serving attempt to get teachers and parents to define children's liveliness as a brain defect requiring immediate drugging ("it's for their own good").
This is your child's brain. This is your child's brain on Big Pharma's drugs. Any questions?
Breggin clearly demonstrates in Reclaiming Our Children that we aren’t actually a nation of crazies and defectives needing to be saturated in psychiatric pharmaceuticals to fix our broken brains
Big Pharma spreading "good health via medicine" across the land
Can't you just see a video shown in health class in which a loving mother is giving her unconditionally loved son a tender, caring You Time, as defined above? Such education would be a common occurrence once the MC movement gets underway. Parents cannot be expected to parent correctly if they were never taught how. Most of the parents who decided to just "do what comes naturally" ended up with poor results, as our nation's social symptom statistics clearly show.
The chart below is an example of a human psyche, showing a top area that is what the "negative inner child" feels and tries to manifest. The bottom area is what the "happy positive inner child" feels and tries to manifest. After childhood, no one loses his/her positive or negative inner child (even though most people don’t name aspects of their psyches, they remain in us and too often control much about how we feel and act). There are books that teach people how to heal their inner children with self-talk, self-parenting, transactional analysis (TA), etc. Eric Berne invented transactional analysis, with its three states Parent, Adult, and Child. He helped thousands heal from the dysfunction and pain they manifested due to the negative effects of their inner children. If people are nurtured and parented optimally like in MCs, they are at cause and autonomous and not at effect of negatively manifesting inner children, like most people are. There are many helpful books about such things. Our website reviews many good ones. Revolution From Within by Gloria Steinem and On the Wings of Self-Esteem by Louise Hart are a couple of other gems.
Feeling Good is a great book to empower the treating of depression as well as ridding oneself of negative thoughts and emotions resulting mostly from parenting errors
Depression rate in the U.S. in 2011
Additionally, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy is a book written by David D. Burns, first published in 1980, that popularized cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This book, when used effectively, helps heal depressed people at effect of their inner children sending them constant negative emotional messages. Burns' therapy is based on the idea that negative feelings such as depression and anxiety are triggered by our thoughts or perceptions, which he shows us how to counter.
The chart below has a top area that is a lie—it IS how you often feel, but it is NOT "who you are"! Where did all this mind garbage originate? Inadequate nurturing when you were young, of course. "Who you are" is the bottom half of the chart. It is your truth. All parts of the chart are in your psyche, but each competes for control. The worse your early experiences were, the more the top half of the chart dominates thinking and feeling. In an MC, the people's psyches have very little top of the chart items. Almost all of their psyches are full of the bottom of the chart items.
The top of the chart items are caused by emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, negative messages from parents and/or others, guilt trips, punishments, rejections, neglect, accidents, humiliation, etc. If these things did not happen, this psyche area will be minimal or absent.
Note that all the therapy and psyche fixing is about fixing what went wrong in people's upbringings. Things will go right in MC upbringings, not wrong. There will be no need for therapy and fixing. Children will get You Time, not punishments, and love, not abuse or neglect. Even spouses will give one another You Time, since their feelings and needs are just as real and important as their children's are. All humans have feelings and a need to express them. Adults make various needs and feelings taboo, bad, or unreal, so kids are hard at work developing false selves before they're out of diapers. We (the average citizen) drive our kids nuts, then bemoan our bad luck when they choose such paths as substance abuse, delinquency, bullying, belligerence, cruelty, promiscuity, truancy, and running away from home. The way we see it, they failed us. The way they see it, no matter how bad the choice, at least it was their own and not once again caving in to parental pressures. All this acting out and trying to push the parents' buttons and all this parental hand wringing and moaning—it is all totally unnecessary as well as a tragic waste of human life. The tragic fact is that we really do know how to do it right and we've known for decades. See The Big Answer, especially the e-book The Forest Through The Trees and the MC Articles section of the Articles page.
Back to the chart. Do you want your psyche and your child's psyche to be the negative and positive areas both or only the top or only the bottom area? The only right answer for sane humans is the latter—only the bottom area. Why would you wish neurosis and low self-esteem and depression and unhappiness on anyone? The MC movement is about life in the bottom area. If you do it right, the result is wonderful. Do you really want to be "normal" and conform to the normal standard of messing it up and being unhappy and creating unhappy kids just so you can be just like the Joneses next door? How long will you keep trying to convince yourself that "Our family life is no worse than the neighbors' so we must be doing just fine?" How would there have ever been any social or cultural evolution if everyone had always done such rationalizing?
Supercharging MC empowerment so that the members can be happy bottom-of-chart dwellers (see chart) will require using ways of living and nurturing that surpass what you know about or have heard about. Neither you nor your kids are happy bottom-of-chart dwellers, but if you're reading this, you'd like to change that. See the diagram? It may be an oversimplification, but all psychological charts are oversimplifications—the psyche is complicated. Using normal parenting methods will ensure plenty of emotional energies supporting top-of-chart-dwelling. Using P.E.T. will help minimize top-of-the-chart dwelling. But active listening is mostly reactive: responding to upsets. "You time" is proactive. Bringing feelings to light so that their energies support bottom-of-chart dwelling is a way of expressing not just love and respect, but also interest and a desire to be with a person.
It is a psychological fact that unexpressed emotions lead to a great many act-outs and upsets in human lifestyles. In a P.E.T. world, many of these emotions would come to light during active listening and family meetings. But some would not, and these would support top-of-the-chart dwelling. You do not want that. Learning to be a feelingful person is more than negative emotion expressing during active listening. It's also about safe, loving closeness in "you times" where positive emotions as well as negative are given space, and it's about having a special time for you and your child to be together in the most nurturing of situations. If you "haven't enough time," then you need an MC and the sooner the better.
Supercharging MC empowerment may include healing emotional wounds that formed before you began MC life. Use the wisdom on this website, and specifically methods like self-talk, self-parenting, TA, cognitive therapy, and self-esteem building to guide such healing. Using a therapist's help can be helpful, but it is unnecessary if you're willing to seriously study this web page and the information in the links just cited. Also, look out for therapists who try to push you toward their own favorite trips—some are useless and a few are even destructive. Although healing is not essential when starting MCs, you will find it helpful and enlightening and it will supercharge MC relationships.
Using a great parenting and relationship method like P.E.T. is essential, although you may prefer another Authoritative and Democratic Parenting Program.
Using an MC lifestyle structure is likewise essential. Long-distance relationship MCs can be a helpful starting place for MC building (after computer matching for MC member selection), but a true MC requires close proximity like in normal apartment floors, urban blocks or suburban blocks.
Using MC rules and PSBs (totally free) is also essential.
Not quite "essential" but very very strongly recommended is the use of "you time" feelings space. See diagram below to grasp why. We've personally tested this out for many years and can promise you it is about the most important personal growth tool we've ever encountered!
Expressed emotions support personal growth
Nonself versus self