1. “The three conditions without which healthy growth does not take place can be taken for granted in the matrix of the womb: nutrition, a physically secure environment and the unbroken relationship with a safe, ever-present maternal organism. The word matrix is derived from the Latin for “womb,” itself derived from the word for “mother.” The womb is mother, and in many respects the mother remains the womb, even following birth. In the womb environment, no action or reaction on the developing infant’s part is required for the provision of any of his needs.
2. “Whereas individual people can become dislocated by misfortunes in any society, only a free-market society produces mass dislocation as part of its normal functioning, even during periods of prosperity.”
3. “If we could begin to see much illness itself not as a cruel twist of fate or some nefarious mystery but rather as an expected and therefore normal consequence of abnormal, unnatural circumstances, it would have revolutionary implications for how we approach everything health related.”
4. “ADD is also found more commonly in people whose first-degree relatives are alcoholics or suffer from depression, anxiety, addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder or Tourette’s syndrome.”
5. “Counterwill is an instinctive, automatic resistance to any sense of being forced. It is triggered whenever a person feels controlled or pressured to do someone else's bidding.”
6. Love felt by the parent does not automatically translate into love experienced by the child
7. “There is no addiction centre in the brain, no circuits designated strictly for addictive purposes. The brain systems involved in addiction are among the key organizers and motivators of human emotional life and behaviour; hence, addiction’s powerful hold on human beings.”
8. “Emotional competence requires • the capacity to feel our emotions, so that we are aware when we are experiencing stress; • the ability to express our emotions effectively and thereby to assert our needs and to maintain the integrity of our emotional boundaries; • the facility to distinguish between psychological reactions that are pertinent to the present situation and those that represent residue from the past. What we want and demand from the world needs to conform to our present needs, not to unconscious, unsatisfied needs from childhood. If distinctions between past and present blur, we will perceive loss or the threat of loss where none exists; and • the awareness of those genuine needs that do require satisfaction, rather than their repression for the sake of gaining the acceptance or approval of others. Stress occurs in the absence of these criteria, and it leads to the disruption of homeostasis. Chronic disruption results in ill health.”
9. “Not every story has a happy ending, ... but the discoveries of science, the teachings of the heart, and the revelations of the soul all assure us that no human being is ever beyond redemption. The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists. How to support that possibility in others and in ourselves is the ultimate question.”
10. “Collect them before you direct them.”
11. “I used the f-word. I said, ‘Fuck your statistics.’” “Good for you,” I offered. “That probably helped extend your life.”
12. “In the rare moments I permitted any stillness, I noted a small fluttering at the pit of my belly, a barely perceptible disturbance. The faint whisper of a word would sound in my head: writing. At first I could not say whether it was heartburn or inspiration. The more I listened, the louder the message became: I needed to write, to express myself through written language not only so that others might hear me but so that I could hear myself. The gods, we are taught, created humankind in their own image. Everyone has an urge to create. Its expression may flow through many channels: through writing, art, or music or through the inventiveness of work or in any number of ways unique to all of us, whether it be cooking, gardening, or the art of social discourse. The point is to honor the urge. To do so is healing for ourselves and for others; not to do so deadens our bodies and our spirits. When I did not write, I suffocated in silence.”
13. “Depending on circumstances, I may choose to manifest the anger in some way or to let go of it. The key is that I have not suppressed the experience of it. I”
14. “Reactions can be gratifyingly mature at one time but distressingly immature at another. If some deeply unconscious anxiety is triggered, a person may respond with the lack of emotional self-regulation characteristic of an infant. A fully grown adult exhibiting the rage of an infant is terrifying and potentially dangerous.”
15. “Cops are not necessarily predisposed to harshness. But a loss of humane interaction inevitably results whenever an entire group of people is delegitimized while another group is granted virtually unrestrained physical authority over them.”
16. “The acronym COAL has been proposed for this attitude of compassionate curiosity: curiosity, openness, acceptance, and love:”
17. “The psychoanalyst Erik H. Erikson devoted a chapter in his Pulitzer Prize—winning book, Childhood and Society, to his reflections on the American identity. “This dynamic country,” he wrote, “subjects its inhabitants to more extreme contrasts and abrupt changes during a generation than is normally
18. “The addiction is the repeated behavior engaged in despite the certainty that it harms oneself or others.”
19. “Freedom of choice, understood from the perspective of brain development, is not a universal or fixed attribute but a statistical probability. In other words, given a certain set of life experiences a human being will have either lesser or greater probability of having freedom in the realm of the psyche.”
20. “Single people showed an elevated risk for heart disease and cancer,”
21. “people jeopardize their lives for the sake of making the moment livable. Nothing sways them from the habit—not illness, not the sacrifice of love and relationship, not the loss of all earthly goods, not the crushing of their dignity, not the fear of dying. The drive is that relentless.”
22. “The wondrous power of a drug is to offer the addict protection from pain while at the same time enabling her to engage the world with excitement and meaning. “It’s not that my senses are dulled—no, they open, expanded,” explained a young woman whose substances of choice are cocaine and marijuana. “But the anxiety is removed, and the nagging guilt and—yeah!” The drug restores to the addict the childhood vivacity she suppressed long ago.”
23. “It’s a subtle thing, freedom. It takes effort; it takes attention and focus to not act something like an automaton. Although we do have freedom, we exercise it only when we strive for awareness, when we are conscious not just of the content of the mind but also of the mind itself as a process.’
24. “Creatures of attachment are creatures of instinct and impulse. It doesn't feel good or right or proper to seek favor in the eyes of those one is seeking distance from. When looking for the approval of your peers, it is almost unbearable to find favor with adults.”
25. “Anger does not require hostile acting out. First and foremost, it is a physiological process to be experienced. Second, it has cognitive value—it provides essential information. Since anger does not exist in a vacuum, if I feel anger it must be in response to some perception on my part.”
26. “There is a significant hereditary contribution to ADD but I do not believe any genetic factor is decisive in the emergence of ADD traits in any child. Genes are codes for the synthesis of the proteins that give a particular cell its characteristic structure and function. They are, as it were, alive and dynamic architectural and mechanical plans. Whether the plan becomes realized depends on far more than the gene itself. It is determined, for the most part, by the environment.
27. “We face no such difficulty if we see that what is being transmitted genetically is not ADD or its equally ill-mannered and discombobulating relatives, but sensitivity. The existence of sensitive people is an advantage for humankind because it is this group that best expresses humanity’s creative urges and needs. Through their instinctual responses the world is best interpreted. Under normal circumstances, they are artists or artisans, seekers, inventors, shamans, poets, prophets. There would be valid and powerful evolutionary reasons for the survival of genetic material coding for sensitivity. It is not diseases that are being inherited but a trait of intrinsic survival value to human beings. Sensitivity is transmuted into suffering and disorders only when the world is unable to heed the exquisitely tuned physiological and psychic responses of the sensitive individual.”
28. “Is it possible nevertheless that our consumer culture does make good on its promises, or could do so? Might these, if fulfilled, lead to a more satisfying life? When I put the question to renowned psychologist Tim Krasser, professor emeritus of psychology at Knox College, his response was unequivocal. "Research consistently shows," he told me, "that the more people value materialistic aspirations as goals, the lower their happiness and life satisfaction and the fewer pleasant emotions they experience day to day. Depression, anxiety, and substance abuse also tend to be higher among people who value the aims encouraged by consumer society."
29. “The greatest damage done by neglect, trauma or emotional loss is not the immediate pain they inflict but the long-term distortions they induce in the way a developing child will continue to interpret the world and her situation in it. All too often these ill-conditioned implicit beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies in our lives.”
30. “If we would heal, it is essential to begin the painfully incremental task of reversing the biology of belief we adopted very early in life. Whatatever external treatment is administered, the healing agent lies within.”
31. “I do not believe ADD leads to creativity any more than creativity causes ADD. Rather, they both originate in the same inborn trait: sensitivity. For creativity, a temperamental sensitivity is indispensable. The sensitive individual, as we have seen, draws into herself the unseen emotional and psychic communications of her environment. On some levels of the unconscious, she will, therefore, have a deeper awareness of the world. She may also be more attuned to particular sensory input, such as sound, color or musical tone. Thus the sensitivity provides her with the raw materials her mind will rework and reshape. Thus sensitivity contributes to the emergence of attention deficit disorder, as well as to creativity. Colin,”
32. “Trauma isn't what happens to you, it is what happens inside you."
33. “There's a psychologist called Mary & Diamond who at Brooklyn in California, in the 80s studied rats. And they took rats at different ages. Newborns, some of whom they deliberately brain damaged, adult, middle-aged, elderly rats. And they exposed these rats to different levels of environmental stimulation, better food, more playmates, toys to play with and so on.
34. “Nature’s ultimate goal is to foster the growth of the individual from absolute dependence to independence — or, more exactly, to the interdependence of mature adults living in community. Development is a process of moving from complete external regulation to self-regulation, as far as our genetic programming allows. Well-self-regulated people are the most capable of interacting fruitfully with others in a community and of nurturing children who will also grow into self-regulated adults. Anything that interferes with that natural agenda threatens the organism’s chances for long-term survival.
35. “Vulnerability is our susceptibility to be wounded. This fragility is part of our nature and cannot be escaped. The best the brain can do is to shut down conscious awareness of it when pain becomes so vast or unbearable that it threatens to overwhelm our capacity to function.”
36. “Much of what we call personality is not a fixed set of traits, only coping mechanisms a person acquired in childhood.”
37. “The power of negative thinking” requires the removal of rose-coloured glasses. Not blame of others but owning responsibility for one’s relationships is the key.”
38. “Addiction is not a choice that anybody makes; it’s not a moral failure; it’s not an ethical lapse; it’s not a weakness of character; it’s not a failure of will, which is how our society depicts addiction. Nor is it an inherited brain disease, which is how our medical tendency is to see it.
39. “In order to heal, it is essential to gather the strength to think negatively. Negative thinking is not a doleful, pessimistic view that masquerades as “realism.” Rather, it is a willingness to consider what is not working. What is not in balance? What have I ignored? What is my body saying no to? Without these questions, the stresses responsible for our lack of balance will remain hidden.”
40. “Under conditions of extreme deprivation people will continue to grow crops that promise economic relief, and they will continue to trade in those crops and their products. The ultimate beneficiaries are neither the impoverished Afghan or Columbian peasant nor the street-corner pusher in the U.S. ghetto or on Vancouver’s skid row. The illegality of mind-altering substances enriches drug cartels, crime syndicates, and their corrupt enablers among politicians, government officials, judges, lawyers, and police officers around the world. If one set out deliberately to fashion a legal system designed to maximize and sustain the wealth of international drug criminals and their abettors, one could never dream up anything to improve upon the present one—except, perhaps, to add tobacco to the list of contraband substances. That way the traffickers and their allies could profit even more, although it’s unimaginable that their legally respectable counterparts—tax-hungry governments and the nicotine pushers in tobacco company boardrooms—would ever allow that to happen.”
41. “What seems like a reaction to some present circumstance is, in fact, a reliving of past emotional experience. This subtle but pervasive process in the body, brain, and nervous system has been called implicit memory, as compared to the explicit memory apparatus that recalls events, facts, and circumstances. According to the psychologist and memory researcher Daniel Schacter, implicit memory is active “when people are influenced by past experience without any awareness that they are remembering.… If we are unaware that something is influencing our behavior, there is little we can do to understand or counteract it. The subtle, virtually undetectable nature of implicit memory is one reason it can have powerful effects on our mental lives.”12 Whenever a person “overreacts”—that is, reacts in a way that seems inappropriately exaggerated to the situation at hand—we can be sure that implicit memory is at work. The reaction is not to the irritant in the present but to some buried hurt in the past. Many of us look back puzzled on some emotional explosion and ask ourselves, “What the heck was that about?” It was about implicit memory; we just didn’t realize it at the time.”
42. “I’m humbled by my feebleness in helping this person. Humbled that I had the arrogance to believe I’d seen and heard it all. You can never see and hear it all because, for all their sordid similarities, each story [...] unfolded in the particular existence of a unique human being.”
43. “A society that fails to value communality — our need to belong, to care for one another, and to feel caring energy flowing toward us — is a society facing away from the essence of what it means to be human. Pathology cannot but ensue. To say so is not a moral assertion but an objective assessment.
44. “In attunement, it is the infant who leads and the mother who follows. “Where their roles differ is in the timing of their responses,” writes John Bowlby, one of the century’s great psychiatric researchers. The infant initiates the interaction or withdraws from it according to his own rhythms, Bowlby found, while the “mother regulates her behaviour so that it meshes with his... Thus she lets him call the tune and by a skillful interweaving of her own responses with his creates a dialogue.”
45. “What are some of the markers of low self-esteem, besides consciously harsh self-judgment? As mentioned above, an inflated, grandiose view of oneself—frequently seen in politicians, for example. Craving the good opinion of others. Frustration with failure. A tendency to blame oneself excessively when things go wrong, or, on the other hand, an insistence on blaming others: in other words, the propensity to blame someone. Mistreating those who are weaker or subordinate, or accepting mistreatment without resistance. Argumentativeness—having to be in the right or, obversely, assuming that one is always in the wrong. Trying to impose one’s opinion on others or, on the contrary, being afraid to say what one thinks for fear of being judged. Allowing the judgments of others to influence one’s emotions or, its mirror opposite, rigidly rejecting what others may have to say about one’s work or behavior. Other traits of low self-esteem are an overwrought sense of responsibility for other people in relationships and, as we will discuss shortly, an inability to say no. The need to achieve in order to feel good about oneself. How one treats one’s body and psyche speaks volumes about one’s self-esteem: abusing body or soul with harmful chemicals, behaviors, work overload, lack of personal time and space all denote poor self-regard. All of these behaviors and attitudes reveal a fundamental stance towards the self that is conditional and devoid of true self-respect. Self-esteem”
46. “A genetic fundamentalism permeates public awareness these days. It may be summed up as the belief that almost every illness and every human trait is dictated by heredity. Simplified media accounts, culled from semidigested research findings, have declared that inflexible laws of DNA rule the biological world. It was reported in 1996 that according to some psychologists, genes determine about 50 percent of a person’s inclination to experience happiness. Social ability and obesity are two more among the many human qualities now claimed to be genetic.
47. “The War on Drugs, from the Hastings-facing window of the Portland
48. The DSM … defines attention deficit disorder by its external features, not by its emotional meaning in the lives of individual human beings
49. “All of the diagnoses that you deal with - depression, anxiety, ADHD, bipolar illness, post traumatic stress disorder, even psychosis, are significantly rooted in trauma. They are manifestations of trauma. Therefore the diagnoses don't explain anything. The problem in the medical world is that we diagnose somebody and we think that is the explanation. He's behaving that way because he is psychotic. She's behaving that way because she has ADHD. Nobody has ADHD, nobody has psychosis - these are processes within the individual. It's not a thing that you have. This is a process that expresses your life experience. It has meaning in every single case.”
50. “The United States contains less than 5 percent of the world’s population but houses nearly a quarter of the world’s prisoners.”
51. “While all of us dread being blamed, we all would wish to be more responsible—that is, to have the ability to respond with awareness to the circumstances of our lives rather than just reacting. We want to be the authoritative person in our own lives: in charge, able to make the authentic decisions that affect us. There is no true responsibility without awareness. One of the weaknesses of the Western medical approach is that we have made the physician the only authority, with the patient too often a mere recipient of the treatment or cure. People are deprived of the opportunity to become truly responsible. None of us are to be blamed if we succumb to illness and death. Any one of us might succumb at any time, but the more we can learn about ourselves, the less prone we are to become passive victims. Mind and body links have to be seen not only for our understanding of illness but also for our understanding of health.
52. “In the real world there is no nature vs. nurture argument, only an infinitely complex and moment-by-moment interaction between genetic and environmental effects. ”
53. “chronic illness—mental or physical—is to a large extent a function or feature of the way things are and not a glitch; a consequence of how we live, not a mysterious aberration.”
54. “Not why the addiction but why the pain.”
55. “Studies on primates and other animals have also shown that low social status and being dominated enhance the risk of drug use, with negative effects on dopamine receptors. By contrast, after being housed with more subordinate animals, dominant monkeys had an increase of over 20 percent of their dopamine receptors and a decrease in their tendency to use cocaine.7 The findings of stress research suggest that the issue is not control over others, but whether one is free to exercise control in one’s own life.”
56. “What seems like a reaction to some present circumstance is, in fact, a reliving of past emotional experience.”
57. “Adults envy the openhearted and open-minded explorations of children; seeing their joy and curiosity, we pine for our own lost capacity for wide-eyed wonder. Boredom, rooted in a fundamental discomfort with the self, is one of the least tolerable mental states.”
58. “Certainly, all traumatic events are stressful, but not all stressful events are traumatic.”[10”
59. “The use of rewards—what might be called positive coercion—does not work in the long run any better than threat and punishment, or negative coercion. In the reward, the child senses the parent’s desire to control no less than in the punishment. The issue is the child’s sense of being forced, not the manner in which the force is applied. This was well illustrated in a classic study using magic markers.2 A number of children were screened to select some who showed a natural interest and inclination for playing with magic markers. Those who did were then divided into three different groups. For one group, there was no reward involved and no indication what to do with the markers. Another group was given a small reward to use the markers, and the third was promised a substantial reward. When retested sometime later, the group that had been most rewarded showed the least interest in playing with the magic markers, while the children who had been left uninstructed showed by far the greatest motivation to use them. Simple behaviorist principles would suggest it ought to have been the other way around, another illustration that behavioral approaches have no more than short-term efficacy. At work here, of course, was residual counterwill in response to positive coercion. In a similar experiment, the psychologist Edward Deci observed the behaviors of two groups of college students vis-à-vis a puzzle game they had originally all been equally intrigued by. One group was to receive a monetary reward each time a puzzle was solved; the other was given no external incentive. Once the payments stopped, the paid group proved far more likely to abandon the game than their unpaid counterparts. “Rewards may increase the likelihood of behaviors,” Dr. Deci remarks, “but only so long as the rewards keep coming... Stop the pay, stop the play.” We”
60. “In the absence of relief, a young person’s natural response—their only response, really—is to repress and disconnect from the feeling-states associated with suffering. One no longer knows one’s body. Oddly, this self-estrangement can show up later in life in the form of an apparent strength, such as my ability to perform at a high level when hungry or stressed or fatigued, pushing on without awareness of my need for pause, nutrition, or rest.”
61. “The addict's reliance on the drug to reawaken her dulled feelings is no adolescent caprice. The dullness is itself a consequence of an emotional malfunction not of her making; the internal shutdown of vulnerability. Vulnerability is our susceptibility to be wounded. This fragility is part of our nature and cannot be escaped. The best the brain can do is to shut down conscious awareness of it when pain becomes so vast or unbearable that it threatens our ability to function. The automatic repression of painful emotion is a helpful child's prime defence mechanism and can enable the child to endure trauma otherwise be catastrophic. The unfortunate consequence is a wholesale dulling of emotional awareness.”
62. “Almost every day I find myself fighting the bubble-gum culture my children are exposed to,” said a frustrated father interviewed for this book. Not only is the content often alien to the culture of the parents but the process of transmission has taken grandparents out of the loop and made them seem sadly out of touch. Games, too, have become electronic. They have always been an instrument of culture to connect people to people, especially children to adults. Now games have become a solitary activity, watched in parallel on television sports-casts or engaged in in isolation on the computer.
63. “We have seen that the individual’s brain circuits are decisively influenced by the emotional states of the parents, in the context of the multigenerational family history. Families also live in a social and economic context determined by forces beyond their control. If what happens in families affects society, to a far greater extent society shapes the nature of families, its smallest functioning units. The human brain is a product of society and culture just as it is a product of nature.”
64. “Unwittingly, we write the story of our future from narratives based on the past. Mindful awareness can bring into consciousness those hidden, past-based perspectives so that they no longer frame our worldview.”
65. “Many adults have not attained maturity — have not mastered being independent, self-motivated individuals capable of tending their own emotional needs and of respecting the needs of others. Among the several reasons why maturity is less and less prevalent today, peer orientation is probably the main culprit. Immaturity and peer orientation go hand in hand. The earlier the onset of peer orientation in a child's life and the more intense the preoccupation with peers, the greater the likelihood of being destined to perpetual childishness.”
66. “Settling for the view that illnesses, mental or physical, are primarily genetic allows us to avoid disturbing questions about the nature of the society in which we live. If “science” enables us to ignore poverty or man-made toxins or a frenetic and stressful social culture as contributors to disease, we can look only to simple answers: pharmacological and biological.”
67. “Trauma is not what happens to you but what happens inside you”
68. “Free choice only comes from thinking; it doesn’t come from emotions. It emerges from the capacity to think about your emotions.”
69. “It is being aware of the processes of our mind even as we work through its materials. Mindful awareness is the key to unlocking the automatic patterns that fetter the addicted brain and mind.”
70. “Addictions always originate in pain, whether felt openly or hidden in the unconscious. They are emotional anesthetics. Heroin and cocaine, both powerful physical painkillers, also ease psychological discomfort.”
71. “The research literature has identified three factors that universally lead to stress: uncertainty, the lack of information and the loss of control.”
72. “This cannot help affecting the body: after all, if you go through life being stressed while not knowing you are stressed, there is little you can do to protect yourself from the long-term physiological consequences.”
73. “Your worst enemy cannot hurt you as much as your own thoughts, when you haven’t mastered them,” said the Buddha. “But once mastered, no one can help you as much—not even your father and your mother.” I”
74. “Our true nature is to be connected. In fact, if that wasn’t our true nature, there would be no human beings. The human species – or any species — could not evolve without being grounded in their bodies.
75. “The salient stressors in the lives of most human beings today — at least in the industrialized world — are emotional. Just like laboratory animals unable to escape, people find themselves trapped in lifestyles and emotional patterns inimical to their health. The higher the level of economic development, it seems, the more anaesthetized we have become to our emotional realities. We no longer sense what is happening in our bodies and cannot therefore act in self-preserving ways. The physiology of stress eats away at our bodies not because it has outlived its usefulness but because we may no longer have the competence to recognize its signals.”
76. Whatever the hopes, wishes or intentions of the parent, the child does not experience the parent directly: the child experiences the parenting
77. “Emotional competence requires the capacity to feel our emotions, so that we are aware when we are experiencing stress; the ability to express our emotions effectively and thereby to assert our needs and to maintain the integrity of our emotional boundaries; the facility to distinguish between psychological reactions that are pertinent to the present situation and those that represent residue from the past.
78. “The core belief in having to be strong enough, characteristic of many people who develop chronic illness, is a defence. The child who perceives that her parents cannot support her emotionally had better develop an attitude of “I can handle everything myself.” Otherwise, she may feel rejected. One way not to feel rejected is never to ask for help, never to admit “weakness” — to believe that I am strong enough to withstand all my vicissitudes alone.”
79. “Also bearing witness to the unbearable nature of the vulnerability experienced by peer-oriented kids is the preponderance of vulnerability-quelling drugs. Peer-oriented kids will do anything to avoid the human feelings of aloneness, suffering, and pain, and to escape feeling hurt, exposed, alarmed, insecure, inadequate, or self-conscious. The older and more peer-oriented the kids, the more drugs seem to be an inherent part of their lifestyle.
80. Undoing Self-Limiting Beliefs
81. “It may be said that no two children have exactly the same parents, in that the parenting they each receive may vary in highly significant ways. Whatever the hopes, wishes or intentions of the parent, the child does not experience the parent directly: the child experiences the parenting. I have known two siblings to disagree vehemently about their father’s personality during their childhood. Neither has to be wrong if we understand that they did not receive the same fathering, which is what formed their experience of the father. I have even seen subtly but significantly different mothering given to a pair of identical twins.”
82. “When I ask adults to rate themselves according to a simple scale gauging the parenting skills and attention they devote to themselves, the scores tend to be low—so scandalously low that I have advised many of my clients that if they truly were the unfortunate child being parented by them, I would have had little choice but to alert the child protection authorities. (Restraining me was only that first I would have had to blow the whistle on myself.) As”
83. “What is trauma? As I use the word, "trauma" is an inner injury, a lasting rupture or split within the self due to difficult or hurtful events. By this definition, trauma is primarily what happens within someone as a result of the difficult or hurtful events that befall them; it is not the events themselves. "Trauma is not what happens to you but what happens inside you' is how I formulate it.”
84. “The same question might be asked about the educational system. In 2016, an American professor and Fulbright scholar named William Doyle, just returned from a semester-long appointment at the University of Eastern Finland, wrote in the Los Angeles Times that for those five months, his family “experienced a stunningly stress-free, and stunningly good, school system.” His seven-year-old son was placed in the youngest class—not because of some developmental delay, but because children younger than seven “don’t receive formal academic training . . . Many are in day care and learn through play, songs, games and conversation.” Once in school, children get a mandated fifteen-minute outdoor recess break for every forty-five minutes of in-class instruction. The educational mantras Doyle remembers hearing the most while there: “‘Let children be children,’ ‘The work of a child is to play,’ and ‘Children learn best through play.’” And as far as outcomes go? Finland consistently ranks at or near the top of educational test score results in the Western world and has been ranked the most literate nation on Earth. “The message that competition is appropriate, desirable, required, and even unavoidable is drummed into us from nursery school to graduate school; it is the subtext of every lesson,” writes educational consultant Alfie Kohn in his excellent book No Contest: The Case Against Competition: Why We Lose in Our Race to Win, which documents the negative impact of competition on genuine learning, and how”
85. “Acceptance in the context of adult-to-adult relationships may mean simply acknowledging that the other is the way he or she is, not judging them and not corroding one’s own soul with resentment that they are not different. Acceptance does not mean saintly self-sacrifice or tolerating an eternity of broken promises and hurtful eruptions of frustration and rage.”
86. “Glucocorticoid hormones—anti-inflammatory steroid hormones, most notably cortisol—are secreted by the adrenal glands on signals from the hypothalamic-pituitary system in the brain. A diminished cortisol response by an impaired HPA axis would promote inflammation.”
87. “It is impossible to understand addiction without asking what relief the addict finds, or hopes to find, in the drug or the addictive behavior.”
88. “There is no path toward oneself that leads away from the pain.”
89. “Everyone has had the experience of suddenly feeling intense physiological and psychological shifts internally at trading glances with another person; such shifts can be exquisitely pleasurable or unpleasant. How one person gazes at another can alter the other’s electrical brain patterns, as registered by EEGS, and may also cause physiological changes in the body. The newborn is highly susceptible to such influences, with a direct effect on the maturation of brain structures.
90. “What if our intention, as parents, as educators, as a society, was to raise children in touch with their feelings, authentically empowered to express them, to think independently and be prepared to act on behalf of their principles?”
91. “A therapist once said to me, “If you face the choice between feeling guilt and resentment, choose the guilt every time.” It is wisdom I have passed on to many others since. If a refusal saddles you with guilt, while consent leaves resentment in its wake, opt for the guilt. Resentment is soul suicide. Negative thinking allows us to gaze unflinchingly on our own behalf at what does not work.
92. “For a person with ADD, tuning out is an automatic brain activity that originated during the period of rapid brain development in infancy when there was emotional hurt combined with helplessness. At one time or another, every infant or young”
93. “After an emissio nocturna eighteen days from the start, I built a small electric contact ring to wear at night. In the event of an ulepe (ulepe erectio) it caused a small buzzer to awaken me.
94. “We may not be responsible for the world that created our minds, but we can take responsibility for the mind with which we create our world. ”
95. “We think that children act, whereas what they mostly do is react. Parents who realize this acquire a powerful tool. By noticing their own responses to the child, rather than fixating on the child’s responses to them, they free up tremendous energy for growth.”
96. “Self-esteem is not what the individual consciously thinks about himself; it’s the quality of self-respect manifested in his emotional life and behaviors.”
97. “There is a foolproof way to distinguish peer-distorted counterwill from the genuine drive for autonomy: the maturing, individuating child resists coercion whatever the source may be, including pressure from peers. In healthy rebellion, true independence is the goal. One does not seek freedom from one person only to succumb to the influence and will of another. When counterwill is the result of skewed attachments, the liberty that the child strives for is not the liberty to be his true self but the opportunity to conform to his peers. To do so, he will suppress his own feelings and camouflage his own opinions, should they differ from those of his peers.
98. “Peer-oriented kids are repelled by similarity to their parents and want to be as different as possible from them. Since sameness means closeness, pursuing difference is a way of distancing. Such children will often go out of their way to take the opposite point of view and form opposite kinds of preferences. They are filled with contrary opinions and judgments.
99. “For those habituated to high levels of internal stress since early childhood, it is the absence of stress that creates unease, evoking boredom and a sense of meaninglessness. People may become addicted to their own stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, Hans Selye observed. To such persons stress feels desirable, while the absence of it feels like something to be avoided.”
100. “Physiological stress, then, is the link between personality traits and disease. Certain traits — otherwise known as coping styles — magnify the risk for illness by increasing the likelihood of chronic stress. Common to them all is a diminished capacity for emotional communication. Emotional experiences are translated into potentially damaging biological events when human beings are prevented from learning how to express their feelings effectively. That learning occurs — or fails to occur — during childhood. The way people grow up shapes their relationship with their own bodies and psyches. The emotional contexts of childhood interact with inborn temperament to give rise to personality traits. Much of what we call personality is not a fixed set of traits, only coping mechanisms a person acquired in childhood.
101. “Much of what we do arises from automatic programming that bypasses conscious awareness and may even run contrary to our intentions, as Dr. Schwartz points out:
102. “Even without world wars, revolutions and emigration, siblings growing up in the same home almost never share the same environment. More accurately, brothers and sisters share some environments — usually the less important ones — but they rarely share the one single environment that has the most powerful impact on personality formation. They may live in the same house, eat the same kinds of food, partake in many of the same activities. These are environments of secondary importance. Of all environments, the one that most profoundly shapes the human personality is the invisible one: the emotional atmosphere in which the child lives during the critical early years of brain development.
103. “One of the main tasks of the mind is to fight or remove the emotional pain, which is one of the reasons for its incessant activity, but all it can ever achieve is to cover it up temporarily. In fact, the harder the mind struggles to get rid of the pain, the greater the pain.” So writes Eckhart Tolle. Even our 24/7 self-exposure to noise, emails, cell phones, TV, Internet chats, media outlets, music downloads, videogames and non-stop internal and external chatter cannot succeed in drowning out the fearful voices within.”
104. “But as we have seen, hard-core drug users do not wait to be “enabled,” and there are few harsh consequences they haven’t yet experienced. There is no evidence from anywhere in the world that harm-reduction measures encourage drug use. Denying addicts humane assistance multiplies their miseries without bringing them one inch closer to recovery.”
105. “People with ADD are forever told that they are “too sensitive” or that they should stop being “so touchy.” One might as well advise a child with hay fever to stop being “so allergic.”
106. “Brain-imaging studies and psychological testing indicate that the same areas are also impaired in drug addiction. And what is the result? If it wasn’t enough that powerful incentive and reward mechanisms drive the craving for drugs, on top of that the circuits that could normally inhibit and control those mechanisms are not up to their task. In fact, they are complicit in the addiction process. A double whammy: the watchman is aiding the thieves.”
107. “We keep trying to change people's behaviours without a full understanding of how and why those behaviours arise.”
108. Gabor MateHomeUncategorized Education Insight Blog snippets things I was wrong about Give this a try Alex Gheorghe10 Favourite Quotes from Dr. Gabor Mate
109. “If we want to help people seek the possibility of transformation within themselves, we first have to transform our own view of our relationship to them.”
110. “If a mother has eight children, there are eight mothers. This is not simply because of the fact that the mother was different in her attributes to each of the eight. If she could have been the same with each... each child would have had his or her own mother seen through individual eyes.”
111. “Opioid circuits and dopamine pathways are important components of what has been called the limbic system, or the emotional brain. The circuits of the limbic system process emotions like love, joy, pleasure, pain, anger and fear. For all their complexities, emotions exist for a very basic purpose: to initiate and maintain activities necessary for survival. In a nutshell, they modulate two drives that are absolutely essential to animal life, including human life: attachment and aversion. We always want to move toward something that is positive, inviting and nurturing, and to repel or withdraw from something threatening, distasteful or toxic. These attachment and aversion emotions are evoked by both physical and psychological stimuli, and when properly developed, our emotional brain is an unerring, reliable guide to life. It facilitates self-protection and also makes possible love, compassion and healthy social interaction. When impaired or confused, as it often is in the complex and stressed circumstances prevailing in our “civilized” society, the emotional brain leads us to nothing but trouble. Addiction is one of its chief dysfunctions.”
112. “It’s a subtle thing, freedom. It takes effort; it takes attention and focus to not act something like an automaton. Although we do have freedom, we exercise it only when we strive for awareness, when we are conscious not just of the content of the mind but also of the mind itself as a process.”
113. “It is my contention that by its very nature our social and economic culture generates chronic stressors that undermine well-being in the most serious of ways, as they have done with increasing force over the past several decades.”
114. “Drugs, in short, do not make anyone into an addict, any more than food makes a person into a compulsive eater. There has to be a preexisting vulnerability. There also has to be significant stress [...] - but, like drugs, external stressors by themselves, no matter how severe, are not enough. [...]”
115. “In many other spheres, including social media, we too often present an artificial, “Botoxed” version of ourselves: an image not of who we are but of how we would like to be perceived by others. “What we have with the internet is sort of a Botox for the masses,” Peter said. “We have just lost this capacity to be real, which is fundamentally what makes us human, and what makes us feel connected to each other.”
116. “Just how important a close moment-to-moment connection between mother and infant can be was illustrated by a cleverly designed study, known as the “double TV experiment,” in which infants and mothers interacted via a closed-circuit television system. In separate rooms, infant and mother observed each other and, on “live feed,” communicated by means of the universal infant-mother language: gestures, sounds, smiles, facial expressions. The infants were happy during this phase of the experiment.
117. “Trauma is not what happens to you, it's what happens inside you as a result of what happened to you. ”
118. “The family therapist David Freeman once concluded a public lecture on intimacy and relationships by saying that if there was any one thing he hoped his audience would remember from his talk, it was the awareness that one does not know his or her spouse, his or her children. We may believe we have a perfect idea of why they act as they do, when in reality our beliefs reflect no more than our own anxieties.”
119. Whether these features become talents or problems depends, in short, on how the child’s nature is nurtured
120. “Compassionate curiosity directed toward the self leads to the truth of things.”
121. “The result in. successive generations of children is seen in alienation, drug use and violence—what Robert Bly has astutely described as “the rage of the unparented.” Bly notes in The”
122. “Compassionate curiosity about the self does not mean liking everything we find out about ourselves, only that we look at ourselves with the same nonjudgmental acceptance we would wish to accord anyone else who suffered and who needed help.”
123. “Beauty Junkies is the title of a recent book by New York Times writer Alex Kuczynski, “a self-confessed recovering addict of cosmetic surgery.” And, withour technological prowess, we succeed in creating fresh addictions. Some psychologists now describe a new clinical pathology — Internet sex addiction disorder. Physicians and psychologists may not be all that effective in treating addictions, but we’re expert at coming up with fresh names and categories. A recent study at Stanford University School of Medicine found that about 5.5 per cent of men and 6 per cent of women appear to be addicted shoppers.
124. “Do I live my life according to my own deepest truths, or in order to fulfill someone else’s expectations? How much of what I have believed and done is actually my own and how much has been in service to a self-image I originally created in the belief it was necessary to please my parents?”
125. “Another conversation then starts up between us. Ralph articulates a clever, intuitive, and astute critique of workaday human existence and of our society’s obsession with goals, the essence of which, he feels, varies little from his own pursuit of drugs. I see an uncomfortable truth in his analysis, no matter how incomplete a truth it is.”
126. “And here is where I’m humbled. I’m humbled by my feebleness in helping this person. Humbled that I had the arrogance to believe I’d seen and heard it all. You can never see and hear it all because, for all their sordid similarities, each story in the Downtown Eastside unfolded in the particular existence of a unique human being. Each one needs to be heard, witnessed, and acknowledged anew, every time it’s told. And I’m especially humbled because I dared to imagine that Serena was less than the complex and luminous person she is. Who am I to judge her for being driven to the belief that only through drugs will she find respite from her torments? Spiritual teachings of all traditions enjoin us to see the divine in each other. Namaste, the Sanskrit holy greeting, means, “The divine in me salutes the divine in you.” The divine? It’s so hard for us even to see the human. What have I to offer this young Native woman whose three decades of life bear the compressed torment of generations? An antidepressant capsule every morning, to be dispensed with her methadone, and half an hour of my time once or twice a month.”
127. “When the infants were unknowingly replayed the ‘happy responses’ from the mother recorded from the prior minute,” writes the UCLA child psychiatrist Daniel J. Siegel, “they still became as profoundly distressed as infants do in the classic ‘flat face’ experiments in which mothers-in-person gave no facial emotional response to their infant’s bid for attunement.” Why were the infants distressed despite the sight of their mothers’ happy and friendly faces? Because happy and friendly are not enough. What they needed were signals that the mother is aligned with, responsive to and participating in their mental states from moment to moment. All that was lacking in the instant video replay, during which infants saw their mother’s face unresponsive to the messages they, the infants, were sending out. This sharing of emotional spaces is called attunement.
128. “The power to parent will be transferred to whomever the child depends on, whether or not that person is truly dependable, appropriate, responsible, or compassionate — whether or not, in fact, that person is even an adult.”
129. “Emotions also directly modulate the immune system. Studies at the U.S. National Cancer Institute found that natural killer (NK) cells, an important class of immune cells we have already met, are more active in breast cancer patients who are able to express anger, to adopt a fighting stance and who have more social support. NK cells mount an attack on malignant cells and are able to destroy them. These women had significantly less spread of their breast cancer, compared with those who exhibited a less assertive attitude or who had fewer nurturing social connections. The researchers found that emotional factors and social involvement were more important to survival than the degree of disease itself.
130. “Selye discovered that the biology of stress predominantly affected three types of tissues or organs in the body: in the hormonal system, visible changes occurred in the adrenal glands; in the immune system, stress affected the spleen, the thymus and the lymph glands; and the intestinal lining of the digestive system. Rats autopsied after stress had enlarged adrenals, shrunken lymph organs and ulcerated intestines. All”
131. “But how to soothe souls inflamed by the intense torment imposed first by childhood experiences almost too sordid to believe and then, with mechanical repetition, by the sufferers themselves? And how to offer them comfort when their suffering is made worse every day by social ostracism—by what the scholar and writer Elliot Leyton has described as “the bland, racist, sexist, and ‘classist’ prejudices buried in Canadian society: an institutionalized contempt for the poor, for sex-trade workers, for drug addicts and alcoholics, for aboriginal people.”
132. “Autonomy is impossible as long as one is driven by anything.”
133. “Learn to read symptoms not only as problems to be overcome but as messages to be heeded.”
134. “While we cannot say that any personality type causes cancer, certain personality features definitely increase the risk because they are more likely to generate physiological stress. Repression, the inability to say no and a lack of awareness of one’s anger make it much more likely that a person will find herself in situations where her emotions are unexpressed, her needs are ignored and her gentleness is exploited. Those situations are stress inducing, whether or not the person is conscious of being stressed. Repeated and multiplied over the years, they have the potential of harming homeostasis and the immune system. It is stress — not personality per se — that undermines a body’s physiological balance and immune defences, predisposing to disease or reducing the resistance to it.”
135. “The rise of loneliness as a health hazard tracks with the entrenchment of values and practices that supersede any notion of "individual choices." The dynamics include reduced social programs, less available "common" spaces such as public libraries, cuts in services for the vulnerable and the elderly, stress, poverty, and the inexorable monopolization of economic life that shreds local communities.
136. “Dr. Cai Song is an internationally known researcher at the University of British Columbia and co-author of a recent textbook, Fundamentals of Psychoneuroimmunology. “I am convinced that Alzheimer’s is an autoimmune disease,” says Dr. Song. “It is probably triggered by chronic stress acting on an aging immune system.”
137. “We have noted that gut feelings are an important part of the body’s sensory apparatus, helping us to evaluate the environment and assess whether a situation is safe. Gut feelings magnify perceptions that the emotional centres of the brain find important and relay through the hypothalamus. Pain in the gut is one signal the body uses to send messages that are difficult for us to ignore. Thus, pain is also a mode of perception. Physiologically, the pain pathways channel information that we have blocked from reaching us by more direct routes. Pain is a powerful secondary mode of perception to alert us when our primary modes have shut down. It provides us with data that we ignore at our peril.”
138. “An addiction is any behavior, substance related or not, that an individual pursues because they find pleasure, relief, or they crave it temporarily, so they pursue the pleasure and relief despite negative consequences. And they don’t give it up, in the face of negative consequences.
139. “Our other core need is authenticity. Definitions vary, but here’s one that I think applies best to this discussion: the quality of being true to oneself, and the capacity to shape one’s own life from a deep knowledge of that self.”
140. “No society can understand itself without looking at its shadow side.”
141. “She had an awfully huge void to fill in your life all of a sudden, right from the beginning of her life.
142. “The body’s hormonal system is inextricably linked with the brain centres where emotions are experienced and interpreted. In turn, the hormonal apparatus and the emotional centres are interconnected with the immune system and the nervous system. These are not four separate systems, but one
143. “What happens when insatiability dominates a person's emotional functioning? The process of maturation is preempted by an obsession or an addiction, in this case for peer connection. Peer contact whets the appetite without nourishing. It titillates without satisfying. The end result of peer contact is usually an urgent desire for more. The more the child gets, the more he craves.
144. “Violent atrocities by teenagers against one another have become the stuff of headlines: at Columbine High School in Colorado; in Tabor, Alberta; in Liverpool, England. But to focus on the grim statistics and media stories of bloody violence is to miss the full impact of children's aggression in our society. The most telling signs of the groundswell of aggression and violence are not in the headlines but in the peer culture — the language, the music, the games, the art, and the entertainment of choice.
145. “Judgment or blaming is not the point. Understanding is.”
146. “all addictions—whether to drugs or to non-drug behaviors—share the same brain circuits and brain chemicals. On the biochemical level the purpose of all addictions is to create an altered physiological state in the brain. This can be achieved in many ways, drug taking being the most direct. So an addiction is never purely “psychological”; all addictions have a biological dimension.”
147. “More daunting for those who hope for scientific and social progress, the genetic argument is easily used to justify all kinds of inequalities and injustices that are otherwise hard to defend. It serves a deeply conservative function: if a phenomenon like addiction is determined mostly by biological heredity, we are spared from having to look at how our social environment supports, or does not support, the parents of young children and at how social attitudes, prejudices, and policies burden, stress, and exclude certain segments of the population and thereby increase their propensity for addiction. The writer Louis Menand said it well in a New Yorker article: “It’s all in the genes”: an explanation for the way things are that does not threaten the way things are. Why should someone feel unhappy or engage in antisocial behavior when that person is living in the freest and most prosperous nation on earth? It can’t be the system! There must be a flaw in the wiring somewhere.”
148. Knowing oneself comes from attending with compassionate curiosity to what is happening within
149. “Creatures with poorly self-regulated stress reactions will be more anxious, less capable of confronting ordinary environmental challenges, and overstressed even under normal circumstances. The study showed the quality of early maternal care to have a causal impact on the offspring’s brains’ biochemical capacity to respond to stress in a healthy way into adulthood. Key”
150. “There is nothing more intrinsically criminal in the average drug user than in the average cigarette smoker or alcohol addict. The drugs they inject or inhale do not themselves induce criminal activity by their pharmacological effect, except perhaps in the way that alcohol can also fuel a person’s pent-up aggression and remove the mental inhibitions that thwart violence. Stimulant drugs may have that effect on some users, but narcotics like heroin do not; on the contrary, they tend to calm people down. It is withdrawal from opiates that makes people physically ill, irritable and more likely to act violently—mostly out of desperation to replenish their supply.”
151. “Any passion can become an addiction; but then how to distinguish between the two? The central question is: who’s in charge, the individual or their behaviour? It’s possible to rule a passion, but an obsessive passion that a person is unable to rule is an addiction. And the addiction is the repeated behaviour that a person keeps engaging in, even though he knows it harms himself or others. How it looks externally is irrelevant. The key issue is a person’s internal relationship to the passion and its related behaviours.
152. Dr. Gabor Maté on the Stress-Disease Connection, Addiction, Attention Deficit Disorder and the Destruction of American Childhood
153. “Like our other needs, meaning is an inherent expectation. Its denial has dire consequences. Far from a purely psychological need, our hormonees and nervous systems clock its presence or absence. As a medical study in 2020 found, the "presence [of] and search for meaning in life are important for health and well-being." Simply put, the more meaningful you find your life, the better your measures of mental and physical health are likely to be.
154. “Love felt by the parent does not automatically translate into love experienced by the child.”
155. “Sensitive children come to be called “difficult” because adults have trouble understanding their temperament and because parenting methods that work with other children are frustratingly inadequate with this group.”
156. It is impossible to understand addiction without asking what relief the addict finds, or hopes to find, in the drug or the addictive behaviour
157. “It’s not an automatic outcome of living in the world that we should become disconnected. It’s a product of a certain way of life and a certain way of parenting and certain childhood experiences, where it becomes too painful to stay connected so disconnection becomes a defense.”
158. “Not only do we avert our eyes from the hardcore drug addict to avoid seeing ourselves; we do so to avoid facing our share of responsibility. As we have seen, injection drug use more often than not arises in people who were abused and neglected as young children. The addict, in other words, is not born but made. His addiction is the result of a situation that he had no influence in creating.
159. “Not why the addiction, but why the pain.”
160. We readily feel for the suffering child, but cannot see the child in the adult who, his soul fragmented and isolated, hustles for survival a few blocks away from where we shop or work
161. “The warmth and satisfaction of positive contact with the adult is often just as good as a psychostimulant in supplying the child’s prefrontal cortex with dopamine.”
162. “The difference between passion and addiction is that between a divine spark and a flame that incinerates.”
163. “This Harvard research provided further striking evidence that emotional stresses are inseparable from the physical states of our bodies, in illness and health.”
164. “Not all addictions are rooted in abuse or trauma, but I do believe they can all be traced to painful experience. A hurt is at the centre of all addictive behaviours. It is present in the gambler, the Internet addict, the compulsive shopper and the workaholic. The wound may not be as deep and the ache not as excruciating, and it may even be entirely hidden—but it’s there. As we’ll see, the effects of early stress or adverse experiences directly shape both the psychology and the neurobiology of addiction in the brain.”
165. “Strong convictions do not necessarily signal a powerful sense of self: very often quite the opposite. Intensely held beliefs may be no more than a person’s unconscious effort to build a sense of self to fill what, underneath, is experienced as a vacuum.”
166. “Since having a strong core self relies on acceptance of feelings, being out of touch with the emotional side puts a person out of touch with herself. What then remains to be esteemed? Only a false self, a concoction of what we would like to imagine ourselves to be and what we have divined others want us to be. Sooner or later, people come to realize that this false self — wanting what they think they should want, feeling what they think they should feel — does not work for them. When they look inside themselves, they discover a frightening emptiness, a vacuum, an absence of a true self or of intrinsic motivation.”
167. “The difference between passion and addiction is that between a divine spark and a flame that incinerates. ”
168. Dr. Gabor Maté ~ Who We Are When We Are Not Addicted: The Possible Human
169. “Genes can be activated or turned off by factors in the environment. In the Cree population of northwestern Ontario, for example, diabetes is found at a rate five times the Canadian national average, despite the traditionally low incidence of diabetes among native peoples. The genetic makeup of the Cree people cannot have changed in a few generations. The destruction of the Crees’ traditional physically active ways of life, the substitution of high-calorie diets for their previous low-fat, low-carbohydrate eating patterns and greatly increased stress levels are responsible for the alarming rise in diabetes rates.
170. “Harm reduction is often perceived as being inimical to the ultimate purpose of “curing” addiction—that is, of helping addicts transcend their habits and to heal. People regard it as “coddling” addicts, as enabling them to continue their destructive ways. It’s also considered to be the opposite of abstinence, which many regard as the only legitimate goal of addiction treatment. Such a distinction is artificial. The issue in medical practice is always how best to help a patient. If a cure is possible and probable without doing greater harm, then cure is the objective. When it isn’t — and in most chronic medical conditions cure is not the expected outcome — the physician’s role is to help the patient with the symptoms and to reduce the harm done by the disease process.
171. “In these experiments,” writes Steven Dubovsky, Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine at the University of Colorado, “loss of an important attachment appears to lead to less of an important neurotransmitter in the brain. Once these circuits stop functioning normally, it becomes more and more difficult to activate the mind.”
172. “The warmth and satisfaction of positive contact with the adult is often just as good as a psychostimulant in supplying the child’s prefrontal cortex with dopamine. Greater security means less anxiety and more focused attention. The unseen factor that remains constant in all situations is the child’s unconscious yearning for attachment, dating back to the first years of life.”
173. “There are two possibilities why your memories of childhood are so hazy,” I suggest to people. “Either nothing happened worth remembering, or too much happened that may be hurtful for you to recall.” As we shall see in a later chapter, human beings can tune out entire periods of their lives that were characterized by emotional pain.”
174. “External motivators for behavior such as rewards and punishments may destroy the precious internal motivation to be good, making leverage by such artificial means necessary by default. As an investment in easy parenting, trusting in a child's desire to be good for us is one of the best.”
175. “A lot of times I’ve had to pretend I felt good when I felt terrible. —Venus Williams”
176. “The very same brain centers that interpret and feel physical pain also become activated during experiences of emotional rejection. In brain scans, they light up in response to social ostracism, just as they would when triggered by physically harmful stimuli.
177. “That people do judge themselves so harshly reflects low self-esteem, not low achievement. Self-esteem, we must realize, is the quality of self-respect that is evident in a person’s emotional life and behavior. A superficially positive self-image and true self-esteem are by no means necessarily identical. In some cases, they are not even compatible.
178. “North American society tries to bury many problems under tons of medications, preferring to ignore the social and cultural causes of people’s stressed mental states. The long-term social consequences of massive drug intake in the treatment of depression, ADD and a host of other conditions are yet to be known. I, too, am concerned about this, even though I prescribe medications to others and continue to take one myself.”
179. “Many of us live, if not alone, then in emotionally inadequate relationships that do not recognize or honour our deepest needs. Isolation and stress affect many who may believe their lives are quite satisfactory. How”
180. I believe that ADD can be better understood if we examine people’s lives, not only bits of DNA
181. “Emotions interpret the world for us. They have a signal function, telling us about our internal states as they are affected by input from the outside. Emotions are responses to present stimuli as filtered through the memory of past experience, and they anticipate the future based on our perception of the past.”
182. “Whenever we ascribe a motive to the other person, as in “you are doing this because...,” we discard curiosity and immobilize compassion.”
183. “Addiction is not a choice that anybody makes; it’s not a moral failure. What it actually is: it’s a response to human suffering.”
184. “Time after time it was the “nice” people, the ones who compulsively put other’s expectations and needs ahead of their own and who repressed their so-called negative emotions, who showed up with chronic illness in my family practice, or who came under my care at the hospital palliative ward I directed.”
185. “It is easy to misinterpret the child's counterwill as a drive for power. We may never be fully in control of our circumstances, but to raise children and to face their counterwill on a daily basis is to have our powerlessness driven home to us consistently. In present-day society it is neither surprising nor unusual for parents to feel tyrannized and powerless. With the sense of impotence we experience when child-adult attachments are not strong enough, we begin to see our children as manipulative, controlling, and even powerful. We need to get past the symptoms.
186. “The attempt to escape from pain is what creates more pain.”
187. “Humans never outgrow their need to connect with others, nor should they, but mature, truly individual people are not controlled by these needs. Becoming such a separate being takes the whole of a childhood, which in our times stretches to at least the end of the teenage years and perhaps beyond. We need to release a child from preoccupation with attachment so he can pursue the natural agenda of independent maturation. The secret to doing so is to make sure that the child does not need to work to get his needs met for contact and closeness, to find his bearings, to orient.
188. “All addictions — whether to drugs or to nondrug behaviours — share the same brain circuits and brain chemicals. On the biochemical level the purpose of all addictions is to create an altered physiological state in the brain. This can be achieved in many ways, drug taking being the most direct. So an addiction is never purely “psychological” all addictions have a biological dimension. And here a word about dimensions. As we delve into the scientific research, we need to avoid the trap of believing that addiction can be reduced to the actions of brain chemicals or nerve circuits or any other kind of neurobiological, psychological or sociological data. A multilevel exploration is necessary because it’s impossible to understand addiction fully from any one perspective, no matter how accurate.
189. “The word matrix is derived from the Latin for “womb,” itself derived from the word for “mother.” The womb is mother, and in many respects the mother remains the womb, even following birth. In the womb environment, no action or reaction on the developing infant’s part is required for the provision of any of his needs. Life in the womb is surely the prototype of life in the Garden of Eden where nothing can possibly be lacking, nothing has to be worked for. If there is no consciousness—we have not yet eaten of the Tree of Knowledge—there is also no deprivation or anxiety. Except in conditions of extreme poverty unusual in the industrialized world, although not unknown, the nutritional needs and shelter requirements of infants are more or less satisfied.”
190. “The same goes for us: no emotional vulnerability, no growth.”
191. “I believe that ADD can be better understood if we examine people’s lives, not only bits of DNA.”
192. “In the cloudy swirl of misleading ideas surrounding public discussion of addiction, there’s one that stands out: the misconception that drug taking by itself will lead to addiction—in other words, that the cause of addiction resides in the power of the drug over the human brain. It is one of the bedrock fables sustaining the so-called War on Drugs.”
193. “We sometimes find it easier to feel bitterness or rage than to allow ourselves to experience that aching desire for contact that, when disappointed, originally engendered the anger. Behind all our anger lies a deeply frustrated need for truly intimate contact. Healing both requires and implies regaining the vulnerability that made us shut down emotionally in the first place. We are no longer helplessly dependent children; we no longer need fear emotional vulnerability. We can permit ourselves to honour the universally reciprocal human need for connection and to challenge the ingrained belief that unconsciously burdens so many people with chronic illness: that we are not lovable. Seeking connections is a necessity for healing.”
194. “The oft-observed relationship between stress, impaired immunity and illness has given rise to the concept of “diseases of adaptation,” a phrase of Hans Selye’s. The flight-or-fight response, it is argued, was indispensable in an era when early human beings had to confront a natural world of predators and other dangers. In civilized society, however, the flight-fight reaction is triggered in situations where it is neither necessary nor helpful, since we no longer face the same mortal threats to existence. The body’s physiological stress mechanisms are often triggered inappropriately, leading to disease. There”
195. “As parents who make every effort we can to raise our children in loving security, we do not need to feel more guilt than we already do. We need less guilt and more awareness of how the quality of the parent-child relationship can be used to promote our children’s emotional and cognitive development.”
196. “Parenting, in short, is a dance of the generations. Whatever affected one generation but has not been fully resolved will be passed on to the next. Lance Morrow, a journalist and writer, succinctly expressed the multigenerational nature of stress in his book Heart, a wrenching and beautiful account of his
197. “Like stress, emotion is a concept we often invoke without a precise sense of its meaning. And, like stress, emotions have several components. The psychologist Ross Buck distinguishes between three levels of emotional responses, which he calls Emotion I, Emotion II and Emotion III, classified according to the degree we are conscious of them. Emotion III is the subjective experience, from within oneself. It is how we feel. In the experience of Emotion III there is conscious awareness of an emotional state, such as anger or joy or fear, and its accompanying bodily sensations. Emotion II comprises our emotional displays as seen by others, with or without our awareness. It is signalled through body language — “non-verbal signals, mannerisms, tones of voices, gestures, facial expressions, brief touches, and even the timing of events and pauses between words. [They] may have physiologic consequences — often outside the awareness of the participants.”
198. “A hurt is at the center of all addictive behaviors.. The wound may not be as deep and the ache not as excruciating, and it may even be entirely hidden — but it’s there.
199. “If our guiding principle is that a person who makes his own bed ought to lie in it, we should immediately dismantle much of our health care system. Many diseases and conditions arise from self-chosen habits or circumstances and could be prevented by more astute decisions.”
200. “A long-term substance abuser, a few months before his death, penned this poem:
201. “Affirmation When we affirm, we make a positive statement; we move toward something of value.”
202. “Trauma is that scarring that makes you less flexible, more rigid, less feeling and more defended.”
203. “The war mentality represents an unfortunate confluence of ignorance, fear, prejudice, and profit. ... The ignorance exists in its own right and is further perpetuated by government propaganda. The fear is that of ordinary people scared by misinformation but also that of leaders who may know better but are intimidated by the political costs of speaking out on such a heavily moralized and charged issue. The prejudice is evident in the contradiction that some harmful substances (alcohol, tobacco) are legal while others, less harmful in some ways, are contraband. This has less to do with the innate danger of the drugs than with which populations are publicly identified with using the drugs. The white and wealthier the population, the more acceptable is the substance. And profit. If you have fear, prejudice, and ignorance, there will be profit.”
204. “Trauma is a psychic wound that hardens you psychologically that then interferes with your ability to grow and develop. It pains you and now you’re acting out of pain. It induces fear and now you’re acting out of fear.”
205. “Some parents resist the idea of ADD for fear of seeing their children labeled and categorized. They do not like the idea of pinning a medical diagnosis on a child who, except in certain areas of functioning, seems quite well. Such fears are not baseless. Too often ADD seems no more than a judgment that characterizes a child as a problem student, incapable of normal activity. How people use language is quite revealing. People commonly say that this adult or that child “is ADD.” That, indeed, is labeling, identifying the whole person with an area of weakness or impairment. No one is ADD, and no one should be defined or categorized in terms of it or any other particular problem.
206. “Illness in this society, physical or mental, they are not abnormalities. They are normal responses to an abnormal culture. This culture is abnormal when it comes to real human needs. And.. it is in the nature of the system to be abnormal, because if we had a society geared to meet human needs.. would we be destroying the Earth through climate change? Would we be putting extra burden on certain minority people? Would we be selling people a lot of goods that they don't need, and, in fact, are harmful for them? Would there be mass industries based on manufacturing, designing and mass-marketing toxic food to people?
207. “We may not be responsible for another’s addiction or the life history that preceded it, but many painful situations could be avoided if we recognized that we are responsible for the way we ourselves enter into the interaction. And that, to put it most simply, means dealing with our own stuff.”
208. “The other way we can avoid the experience of anger is through repression. So repression and discharge are two sides of the same coin. Both represent fear and anxiety, and for that reason, both trigger physiological stress responses regardless of what we consciously feel or do not feel.”
209. “Be at least as interested in your reactions as in the person or situation that triggers them,” Eckhart Tolle advises.”
210. “Of all mammals, the human animal has the least mature brain at birth. Early”
211. “A tone of voice or a look in another’s eyes can activate powerful implicit memories. The person experiencing this type of memory may believe that he is just reacting to something in the present, remaining completely in the dark about what the rush of feelings that flood his mind and body really represents. Implicit memory is responsible for much of human behavior, its workings all the more influential because unconscious.”
212. “Everyone has an urge to create. Its expression may flow through many channels: through writing, art or music, through the inventiveness of work or in any number of ways unique to all of us, whether it be cooking, gardening or the art of social discourse. The point is to honour the urge. To do so is healing for ourselves and for others; not to do so deadens our bodies and our spirits.”
213. “A sense of deficient emptiness pervades our entire culture. The drug addict is more painfully conscious of this void than most people and has limited means of escaping it. The rest of us find other ways of suppressing our fear of emptiness or of distracting ourselves from it. When we have nothing to occupy our minds, bad memories, troubling anxieties, unease or the nagging mental stupor we call boredom can arise. At all costs, drug addicts want to escape spending “alone time” with their minds. To a lesser degree, behavioural addictions are also responses to this terror of the void.”
214. “It is worth recalling here that the injudicious use of rewards and praise can be pressure tactics no less than verbal or physical coercion. As we have seen, there are three dangers with motivating by means of reward and praise. First, they feed the anxiety that not the person but the desired achievement is what is valued by the parent. They directly reinforce the insecurity of the ADD child. Second, since children can sense the parents’ will pushing them, even if under benign disguises such as gifts or warm words, counterwill will be strengthened. Third, praise and reward will themselves become the goal, at the expense of the child’s interest in the actual process of what he is doing. Children thus motivated will sooner or later learn to get by with the least amount of effort necessary to earn the praise or the reward. Short cuts and cheating often follow. Accepting”
215. “Being cut off from our own natural self-compassion is one of the greatest impairments we can suffer. Along with our ability to feel our own pain go our best hopes for healing, dignity, and love.”
216. “It is no accident that in all major religions the most rigidly fundamentalist elements take the harshest, most punitive line against addicted people. Could it be that they see their own weakness and fear—and false attachments—reflected in the dark mirror addiction holds up to them?”
217. “Work pressures, multitasking, social media, news updates, multiplicities of entertainment sources—these all induce us to become lost in thoughts, frantic activities, gadgets, meaningless conversations. We are caught up in pursuits of all kinds that draw us on not because they are necessary or inspiring or uplifting, or because they enrich or add meaning to our lives, but simply because they obliterate the present.”
218. “Freedom in society is gauged by our success in getting what we want and conditioned by status and power, by race, class and gender. In the internal world of the psyche, however, freedom means something very different. It is the ability to opt for our long-term physical and spiritual well-being as opposed to our immediate urges. Absent that ability, any talk of ‘free will’ or ‘choice’ becomes nearly meaningless.”
219. Children are a great incentive and impetus for parents to learn about themselves, about each other and about life itself. Unfortunately, much of the learning may occur at their expense
220. “I’m a people pleaser” is the routine self-description of ADD adults. “I’m always so conscious of what the other person might need from me. I feel guilty if I disappoint someone. I can never say no.” Or, “I am the kind of person whom everyone calls to tell their troubles to. I can’t do that myself, though. I would feel guilty, thinking of all the people in the world who have suffered much more than I can even imagine. I shouldn’t need help.” To”
221. “Spiritual work and psychological work are both necessary to reclaim our true nature. Without psychological strength, spiritual practice can easily become another addictive distraction from reality. Conversely, shorn of a spiritual perspective we are prone to stay stuck in the limited realm of the grasping ego, even if it’s a healthier and more balanced ego.”
222. “At each moment the state of self is constructed, from the ground up,” writes Antonio Damasio. “It is an evanescent reference state, so continuously and consistently reconstructed that the owner never knows it is being remade unless something goes wrong with the remaking.”
223. When we flee our vulnerability, we lose our full capacity for feeling emotion
224. “The best attitude to adopt is one of compassionate patience, which has to include a tolerance for failure.”
225. “You see, the acting-out, the yelling, the screaming and even the hitting, all that a person does, serves as a defence against the experience of the anger. It’s a defence against keeping the anger inside where it can be deeply felt. Discharge defends against anger being actually experienced.”
226. “The greatest damage done by neglect, trauma or emotional loss is not the immediate pain they inflict but the long-term distortions they induce in the way a developing child will continue to interpret the world and her situation in it. All too often these ill-conditioned implicit beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies in our lives. We create meanings from our unconscious interpretation of early events, and then we forge our present experiences from the meaning we’ve created. Unwittingly, we write the story of our future from narratives based on the past...Mindful awareness can bring into consciousness those hidden, past-based perspectives so that they no longer frame our worldview.’Choice begins the moment you disidentify from the mind and its conditioned patterns, the moment you become present…Until you reach that point, you are unconscious.’ …In present awareness we are liberated from the past.”
227. “Why, then, are narrow genetic assumptions so widely accepted and, in particular, so enthusiastically embraced by the media? The neglect of developmental science is one factor. Our preference for a simple and quickly understood explanation is another, as is our tendency to look for one-to-one causations for almost everything. Life in its wondrous complexity does not conform to such easy reductions.”
228. “Knowing oneself comes from attending with compassionate curiosity to what is happening within.”
229. “Couples choose each other with an unerring instinct for finding the very person who will exactly match their own level of unconscious anxieties and mirror their own dysfunctions, and who will trigger for them all their unresolved emotional pain.”
230. “Addiction is the search for oblivion, for forgetting, for the contortions we go through to not be ourselves for a few hours.” ~ Keith Richards
231. “Young children cannot possibly understand the motives of adults. It means little to a young child that the parent feels love for him if that parent keeps disappearing at almost any time. The child experiences a sense of abandonment, a subliminal knowledge that there are things in the world much more important to the parent than he, the child, that he is not worthy of the parent’s attention. He begins to feel, at first unconsciously, that there must be something wrong with him. He also begins to work too hard to get his needs met: demanding contact, acting out or trying to please the parent to gain approval and attention.”
232. “Since we live in a society that largely denies human developmental needs — doesn’t even understand them, let alone provide for them — you’re going to have a lot of people affected in adverse ways. Most of the population, in fact.
233. “Why does chronic self-administration of cocaine reduce the density of dopamine receptors? It’s a simple matter of brain economics. The brain is accustomed to a certain level of dopamine activity. If it is flooded with artificially high dopamine levels, it seeks to restore the equilibrium by reducing the number of receptors where the dopamine can act. This mechanism helps to explain the phenomenon of tolerance, by which the user has to inject, ingest, or inhale higher and higher doses of a substance to get the same effect as before.”
234. “One cannot get much more vulnerable than to expose oneself psychologically. To share oneself with another and then be misunderstood or rejected is, for many, a risk not worth taking. As a result, this is the rarest of intimacies and the reason so many of us are reluctant to share even with loved ones our deepest concerns and insecurities about ourselves. Yet there is no closeness that can surpass the sense of feeling known and still being liked, accepted, welcomed, invited to exist.”
235. “The history of the world is the history of a ten-thousand-year war of brains between the rich and the poor . . . The poor win a few battles . . . but of course the rich have won the war for ten thousand years. —Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger”
236. “Much of my initial counseling with people is to help them recognize that in many ways the problem is not in what they have done in life but in how they view themselves. There”
237. “Why can’t parents see their children’s pain?” “I’ve had to ask myself the same thing. It’s because we haven’t seen our own.”
238. “Medical students and psychiatrists, for example, never learn that stuff. Most physicians don’t even hear the word 'trauma' in their education and they have no understanding of it.
239. “In the real world there is no nature vs. nurture argument, only an infinitely complex and moment-by-moment interaction between genetic and environmental effects”
240. He was a medical doctor in Hungary before immigrating to Canada in his late twenties
241. “The way people grow up shapes their relationship with their own bodies and psyches. The emotional contexts of childhood interact with inborn temperament to give rise to personality traits.”
242. What is Trauma?
243. “A major contributor to the genesis of many diseases... is an overload of stress induced by unconscious beliefs. If we would heal, it is essential to begin the painfully incremental task of reversing the biology of belief we adopted very early in life. Whatever external treatment is administered, the healing agent lies within. The internal milieu must be changed. To find health, and to know it fully, necessitates a quest, a journey to the center of our own biology of belief. That means rethinking and recognizing—re-cognizing: literally, to “know again”—our lives.”
244. “It may seem paradoxical to claim that stress, a physiological mechanism vital to life, is a cause of illness. To resolve this apparent contradiction, we must differentiate between acute stress and chronic stress. Acute stress is the immediate, short-term body response to threat. Chronic stress is activation of the stress mechanisms over long periods of time when a person is exposed to stressors that cannot be escaped either because she does not recognize them or because she has no control over them. Discharges of nervous system, hormonal output and immune changes constitute the flight-or-fight reactions that help us survive immediate danger. These biological responses are adaptive in the emergencies for which nature designed them. But the same stress responses, triggered chronically and without resolution, produce harm and even permanent damage. Chronically high cortisol levels destroy tissue. Chronically elevated adrenalin levels raise the blood pressure and damage the heart. There is extensive documentation of the inhibiting effect of chronic stress on the immune system.
245. “At the core of every addiction is an emptiness based in abject fear. The addict dreads and abhors the present moment; she bends feverishly only toward the next time, the moment when her brain, infused with her drug of choice, will briefly experience itself as liberated from the burden of the past and the fear of the future—the two elements that make the present intolerable. Many of us resemble the drug addict in our ineffectual efforts to fill in the spiritual black hole, the void at the center, where we have lost touch with our souls, our spirit—with those sources of meaning and value that are not contingent or fleeting. Our consumerist, acquisition-, action-, and image-mad culture only serves to deepen the hole, leaving us emptier than before. The constant, intrusive, and meaningless mind-whirl that characterizes the way so many of us experience our silent moments is, itself, a form of addiction—and it serves the same purpose. “One of the main tasks of the mind is to fight or remove the emotional pain, which is one of the reasons for its incessant activity, but all it can ever achieve is to cover it up temporarily. In fact, the harder the mind struggles to get rid of the pain, the greater the pain.”14 So writes Eckhart Tolle. Even our 24/7 self-exposure to noise, e-mails, cell phones, TV, Internet chats, media outlets, music downloads, videogames, and nonstop internal and external chatter cannot succeed in drowning out the fearful voices within.”
246. “I am greatly empowered without harming anyone if I permit myself to experience the anger and to contemplate what may have triggered it.”
247. “When we feel frustrated, our first inclination is to change whatever isn't working for us. We can try to accomplish this by making demands on others, attempting to alter our own behavior, or by a variety of other means. Having moved us to action, frustration will have done its duty. The problem is that life brings many frustrations that are beyond us: we cannot alter time or change the past or undo what we have done. We cannot avoid death, make good experiences last, cheat on reality, make something work that won't, or induce someone to cooperate with us when they may not feel like it.
248. “There were six thousand violent incidents reported by the New York City school board in 1993 compared with one single violent incident in 1961. The number of serious assaults among Canadian youth have climbed fivefold in the last fifty years, while in the United States, it's up sevenfold. The increasing abuse of parents by their children was the subject of the recent Cottrell report to Health Canada.
249. “From early infancy, it appears that our ability to regulate emotional states depends upon the experience of feeling that a significant person in our life is simultaneously experiencing a similar state of mind.”
250. “There are things I wish I had not done during my children’s early years, but mostly I regret what I did not do: give my children the gift of a mindful, secure and reliable parental presence. I wish I had known how to allow myself to relax, to release myself from the compulsions driving me and to fully enjoy the wonderful little persons they were.”
251. “The other mind entity is what we call the impartial observer. This mind of present-moment awareness stands outside the preprogrammed physiological determinants and is alive to the present. It works through the brain but is not limited to the brain. It may be dormant in many of us, but it is never completely absent. It transcends the automatic functioning of past-conditioned brain circuits. ‘In the end,...I conclude that there is no good evidence… that the brain alone can carry out the work that the mind does.”
252. “Throughout the human life span there remains a constant two-way interaction between psychological states and the neurochemistry of the frontal lobes, a fact that many doctors do not pay enough attention to. One result is the overreliance on medications in the treatment of mental disorders. Modern psychiatry is doing too much listening to Prozac and not enough listening to human beings; people’s life histories should be given at least as much importance as the chemistry of their brains. The dominant tendency is to explain mental conditions by deficiencies of the brain’s chemical messengers, the neurotransmitters.
253. “Addiction is always a poor substitute for love.”
254. “There's a reason for everything. Every human behaviour, every human thought, every human emotion, every human reaction - doesn't matter what it looks like on the outside - reflects a desire to be loved or to love. And as Marshall Rosenberg who teaches Non-Violent Communication said "very often we make these communications..." he calls it a "the tragic communication of a need". So that it doesn't matter how people behave or speak, underneath it there is a basic human need. That human need was at some point frustrated in their early development. And that person has been all their life trying to have that need met, doesn't matter how they behaved. Even if they behaved in the most agressive and inhuman and obnoxious fashion, there's always a reason for it. So that means when somebody comes for help, then you have to see that need and that real human being underneath the words and underneath the behavior. In other words, you have to see the person more clearly than they see themselves. Not so that you can deliver your opinion to them and have them accept it, but so that you can mirror them back to their true selves.”
255. “Parental efforts to gain leverage generally take two forms: bribery or coercion. If a simple direction such as “I'd like you to set the table” doesn't do, we may add an incentive, for example, “If you set the table for me, I'll let you have your favorite dessert.” Or if it isn't enough to remind the child that it is time to do homework, we may threaten to withdraw some privilege. Or we may add a coercive tone to our voice or assume a more authoritarian demeanor. The search for leverage is never-ending: sanctions, rewards, abrogation of privileges; the forbidding of computer time, toys, or allowance; separation from the parent or separation from friends; the limitation or abolition of television time, car privileges, and so on and so on.
256. “The addict’s reliance on the drug to reawaken her dulled feelings is no adolescent caprice. The dullness is itself a consequence of an emotional malfunction not of her making: the internal shutdown of vulnerability.
257. “The most promising evidence bearing on reincarnation seems to come from the spontaneous cases, especially among children.”
258. “[A]ccept that the addiction exists not because of yourself, but in spite of yourself. You did not come into life asking to be programmed this way. It’s not personal to you—millions of others with similar experiences have developed the same mechanisms. What is personal to you is how you respond to it in the present.”
259. “The automatic repression of painful emotion is a helpless child’s prime defence mechanism and can enable the child to endure trauma that would otherwise be catastrophic. The unfortunate consequence is a wholesale dulling of emotional awareness.”
260. “During playful interactions with the mothers designed to elicit positive emotion,” the researchers reported, “infants of non-depressed mothers showed greater left than right frontal brain activation.” The infants of depressed mothers “failed to show differential hemispheric activation,” meaning that the left-side brain activity one would
261. “Jesus said, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you.”6”
262. “The essence of trauma is disconnection from ourselves. Trauma is not terrible things that happen from the other side—those are traumatic. But the trauma is that very separation from the body and emotions.”
263. “Music gives me a sense of self-sufficiency and nourishment. I don’t need anyone or anything. I bathe in it as in amniotic fluid; it surrounds and protects me. It’s also stable, ever-available and something I can control - that is, I can reach for it whenever I want. I can also choose music that reflects my mood, or if I want, helps to soothe it…music-seeking offers excitement and tension that I can immediately resolve and a reward I can immediately attain - unlike other tensions in my life and other desired rewards. Music is a source of beauty and meaning outside myself that I can claim as my own without exploring how, in my life, I keep from directly experiencing those qualities. Addiction, in this sense, is the lazy man’s path to transcendence.”
264. “The essence of capitalism is to separate the mind from the body. And, basically, people are all considered material goods. People matter only insofar as they produce, consume, or own matter. If you don’t produce, consume, or own matter, then you don’t matter in this society.”
265. “Not every story has a happy ending [...], but the discoveries of science, the teachings of the heart and the revelations of the soul all assure us that no human being is ever beyond
266. “Addiction is passion’s dark simulacrum and, to the naïve observer, its perfect mimic. It resembles passion in its urgency and in the promise of fulfillment, but its gifts are illusory. It’s a black hole.”
267. “To know the true nature of a society, it’s not enough to point to its achievements, as leaders like to do. We also need to look at its shortcomings.”
268. “Attachment is our connection with the world. In the earliest attachment relationships, we gain or lose the ability to stay open, self-nurturing and healthy. In those early attachment bonds, we learned to experience anger or to fear it and repress it. There we developed our sense of autonomy or suffered its
269. “We must all accept responsibility for our actions, else the world becomes unlivable. Yet it would be a tremendous social advance if we made some effort to understand what experiences turn people into flawed or irresponsible or even antisocial beings. We would then approach the issue of crime, for one example, in a very different manner. Accountability does not necessarily call for the punitive inhumanity of the legal system as practiced in Canada and especially in the United States, which has more of its population in jail than any other Western country. There is little doubt that a significant percentage of prison inhabitants have ADD or some other preventible disorder of self-regulation. Little doubt, too, that prison conditions could not have been more diabolically designed to exacerbate all these mental dysfunctions.”
270. “The experience of stress has three components. The first is the event, physical or emotional, that the organism interprets as threatening. This is the stress stimulus, also called the stressor. The second element is the processing system that experiences and interprets the meaning of the stressor. In the case of human beings, this processing system is the nervous system, in particular the brain. The final constituent is the stress response, which consists of the various physiological and behavioural adjustments made as a reaction to a perceived threat.
271. “People's emotional states have a huge impact in their physiology. The interaction between emotions and physiology is 24/7, whether we are aware of it or not. But that means to say that we can't separate the mind from the body. And to understand any physiological process in the body you have to understand not just the physical aspects of it, but also the emotional and the environment in which it takes place. That's the first point.
272. “Virtually all the authors of popular books on the subject assert that ADD is a heritable genetic disorder. With some notable exceptions, the genetic view also dominates much of the discussion within professional circles, a view I do not agree with. I believe that ADD can be better understood if we examine people’s lives, not only bits of DNA. Heredity does make an important contribution, but far less than usually assumed. At the same time, it would serve no purpose to set up the false opposition of environment to genetic inheritance. No such split exists in nature, or in the mind of any serious scientist.
273. He is credited with being one of the few clinicians to successfully treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
274. “Children are a great incentive and impetus for parents to learn about themselves, about each other and about life itself. Unfortunately, much of the learning may occur at their expense.”
275. “The loquaciousness of many children with ADD is notorious. One Grade 2 boy was called Talk Bird by his classmates, so incessant was his chatter. His parents, too, were often after him to be quiet. It’s as if such a child is saying, I’m cut off from people, so anxious that if I don’t work overtime to establish contact with them, I will be left alone. I only know to do this through my words. I know no other way. Some adults with ADD have told me that they speak so quickly partly because so many words and phrases tumble into their minds that they fear forgetting the most important ones unless they release them at a fast rate.”
276. “Narrow behaviourist thinking
277. “I needed to write, to express myself through written language not only so that others might hear me but so that I could hear myself.”
278. “It is impossible to understand addiction without asking what relief the addict finds, or hopes to find, in the drug or the addictive behaviour.”
279. “To expect an addict to give up her drug is like asking the average person to imagine living without all her social skills, support networks, emotional stability and sense of physical and psychological comfort. Those are the qualities that, in their illusory and evanescent way, drugs give the addict. People like Serena and Celia and the others whose portraits have appeared in this book perceive their drugs as their “rock and salvation.”
280. “Not the world, not what’s outside of us, but what we hold inside traps us. We may not be responsible for the world that created our minds, but we can take responsibility for the mind with which we create our world.”
281. “I think normalcy is a myth. The idea that some people have pathology and the rest of us are normal is crude. There’s nothing about any mentally ill person — and it doesn’t matter what their diagnosis is — that I couldn’t recognize in myself.
282. “The human brain is the most complex entity in the universe. It has between fifty and one hundred billion nerve cells, or neurons, each branched to form thousands of possible connections with other nerve cells. It has been estimated that laid end to end, the nerve cables of a single human brain would extend into a line several hundred thousand miles long. The total number of connections, or synapses, is in the trillions. The parallel and simultaneous activity of innumerable brain circuits, and networks of circuits, produces millions of firing patterns each and every second of our lives. The brain has well been described as “a supersystcm of systems.”
283. “Despite the intervening six decades of scientific inquiry since Selye’s groundbreaking work, the physiological impact of the emotions is still far from fully appreciated. The medical approach to health and illness continues to suppose that body and mind are separable from each other and from the milieu in which they exist. Compounding that mistake is a definition of stress that is narrow and simplistic. Medical thinking usually sees stress as highly disturbing but isolated events such as, for example, sudden unemployment, a marriage breakup or the death of a loved one. These major events are potent sources of stress for many, but there are chronic daily stresses in people’s lives that are more insidious and more harmful in their long-term biological consequences. Internally generated stresses take their toll without in any way seeming out of the ordinary. For those habituated to high levels of internal stress since early childhood, it is the absence of stress that creates unease, evoking boredom and a sense of meaninglessness. People may become addicted to their own stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, Hans Selye observed.
284. “Yes, there is a human nature and that human nature is build for love and contact. It is build for connection, it is build for mutual protection, it is build for mutual aid. And when we rear people in base of all society on the lines that transgress those needs, we're gonna get exactly what we have today. Which is a society which is increasingly conflicted, increasingly fractured, increasingly disconnected and where human pathology is, despite all the advances of medicine, chronic human pathology is on the rise.
285. “Whether we realize it or not, it is our woundedness, or how we cope with it, that dictates much of our behavior, shapes our social habits, and informs our ways of thinking about the world.”
286. “Autonomy is impossible as long as one is driven by anything. ”
287. “Passion creates, addiction consumes.”
288. “Not why the addiction, but why the pain. ”
289. “For a person with ADD, tuning out is an automatic brain activity that originated during the period of rapid brain development in infancy when there was emotional hurt combined with helplessness. At one time or another, every infant or young child feels frustration and psychological pain. Episodic experiences of a distressing nature do not induce dissociation, but chronic distress does—the distress of the sensitive infant with unsatisfied attunement needs, for example. The infant has to dissociate chronic emotional pain from consciousness for two reasons. First, it is too overwhelming for his fragile nervous system. He simply cannot exist in what we might call a state of chronic negative arousal, with adrenaline and other stress hormones pumping through his veins all the time. It is physiologically too toxic. He has to block it out. Second, if the parent’s anxiety is the source of the infant’s distress, the infant unconsciously senses that fully expressing his own emotional turmoil will only heighten that anxiety. His distress would then be aggravated—a vicious cycle he can escape by tuning out.”
290. “The traumas of everyday life can easily make us feel like a motherless child,” writes the psychiatrist Mark Epstein.”
291. “Boredom, rooted in a fundamental discomfort with the self, is one of the least tolerable mental states.”
292. “Why do we despise, ostracize and punish the drug addict when as a social collective we share the same blindness and engage in the same rationalizations? To pose that question is to answer it. We despise, ostracize and punish the addict because we don’t wish to see how much we resemble him. In his dark mirror our own features are unmistakable. We shudder at the recognition. This mirror is not for us, we say to the addict. You are different, and you don’t belong with us.
293. “The repeated finding that people with happier, less troubled thought patterns can suffer more illness seems to defy common sense. The general belief is that positive emotions must be conducive to good health. While it is true that genuine joy and satisfaction enhance physical well-being, “positive” states of mind generated to tune out psychic discomfort lower resistance to illness. The brain governs and integrates the activities of all organs and systems of the body, simultaneously coordinating our interactions with the environment.
294. “Environmental influences also affect dopamine. From animal studies, we know that social stimulation is necessary for the growth of the nerve endings that release dopamine and for the growth of receptors that dopamine needs to bind to in order to do its work. In four-month-old monkeys, major alterations of dopamine and other neurotransmitter systems were found after only six days of separation from their mothers.
295. “Tellingly, the degree of protection offered by married status was five times as great for men as for women, a finding that speaks to the relative roles of the genders in this culture,”
296. “Being cut off from our own natural self-compassion is one of the greatest impairments we can suffer. Along with our ability to feel our own pain go our best hopes for healing, dignity and love. What seems nonadapative and self-harming in the present was, at some point in our lives, an adaptation to help us endure what we then had to go through. If people are addicted to self-soothing behaviours, it's only because in their formative years they did not receive the soothing they needed. Such understanding helps delete toxic self-judgment on the past and supports responsibility for the now. Hence the need for compassionate self-inquiry.”
297. ‘Be at least interested in your reactions as in the person or situation that triggers them.’... In a mindful state one can choose to be aware of the ebb and flow of emotions and thought patterns instead of brooding on their content. Not ‘he did this to me therefore I’m suffering’ but ‘I notice that feelings of resentment and a desire for vengeance keep flooding my mind.’... ‘Bare Attention is the clear and single-minded awareness of what actually happens to us and in us at the successive moments of perception,’... ‘It is called ‘Bare’ because it attends just to the bare facts of a perception as presented either through the five physical senses of through the mind without reacting to them.”
298. “What I can say with confidence, as a physician and healer, is that for our society to right itself and chart a course toward maximum health, certain conditions will have to be met. And it will take some key changes or shifts to create those conditions. They all derive from the core principles of this book: biopsychosocial medicine, disease as teacher, the primacy of both attachment and authenticity, and, above all, fearless self-inquiry, here on a social scale. None of these shifts is sufficient in itself, but as far as I can tell, they are all necessary. They may not fully come to pass without significant social-political transformation, but they are easy to grasp, and it is well within our power to work toward them.”
299. “In response to the intensifying cruelty of children to one another, schools all over this continent are rushing to design programs to inculcate social responsibility in youngsters. We are barking up the wrong tree when we try to make children responsible for other children. In my view it is completely unrealistic to believe we can in this way eradicate peer exclusion and rejection and insulting communication. We should, instead, be working to take the sting out of such natural manifestations of immaturity by reestablishing the power of adults to protect children from themselves and from one another.”
300. “The difference between passion and addiction is that between a divine spark and a flame that incinerates. Passion is divine fire: it enlivens and makes holy; it gives light and yields inspiration. Passion is generous because it’s not ego-driven; addiction is self-centred. Passion gives and enriches; addiction is a thief. Passion is a source of truth and enlightenment; addictive behaviours lead you into darkness. You’re more alive when you are passionate, and you triumph whether or not you attain your goal. But an addiction requires a specific outcome that feeds the ego; without that outcome, the ego feels empty and deprived. A consuming passion that you are helpless to resist, no matter what the consequences, is an addiction.
301. “In Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom reports that Morrie Schwartz, his former professor terminally ill with ALS, “was intent on proving that the word ‘dying’ was not synonymous with ‘useless.’” The immediate question is why one would have a need to prove this. No human being is “useless,” whether the helpless infant or the helpless ill or dying adult. The point is not to prove that dying people can be useful but to reject the spurious concept that people need to be useful in order to be valued.
302. “The attempt to escape from pain, is what creates more pain.”
303. “People who are not adaptive may seem to function well as long as nothing is disturbing them, but they will react with various levels of frustration and helplessness when confronted by loss or by difficulty.”
304. Gabor Maté M.D. is a physician and bestselling author whose books have been published in nearly twenty languages worldwide. He studies, child development, bullying, addiction, attention deficit disorder, stress and more. His recent book is, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction.
305. “Not all addictions are rooted in abuse or trauma, but I do believe they can all be traced to painful experience. A hurt is at the centre of all addictive behaviours. It is present in the gambler, the Internet addict, the compulsive shopper, and the workaholic. The wound may not be as deep and the ache not as excruciating, and it may even be entirely hidden—but it’s there.”
306. “There is a quality or drive innate in human beings that the Austrian psychiatrist Victor Frankl called our “search for meaning.” Meaning is found in pursuits that go beyond the self. In our own hearts most of us know that we experience the greatest satisfaction not when we receive or acquire something but when we make an authentic contribution to the well-being of others or to the social good, or when we create something original and beautiful or just something that represents a labor of love. It is no coincidence that addictions arise mostly in cultures that subjugate communal goals, time-honored tradition, and individual creativity to mass production and the accumulation of wealth. Addiction is one of the outcomes of the “existential vacuum,” the feeling of emptiness engendered when we place a supreme value on selfish attainments. “The drug scene,” wrote Frankl, “is one aspect of a more general mass phenomenon, namely the feeling of meaninglessness resulting from the frustration of our existential needs which in turn has become a universal phenomenon in our industrial societies.”
307. “For all their complexities, emotions exist for a very basic purpose: to initiate and maintain activities necessary for survival. In a nutshell, they modulate two drives that are absolutely essential to animal life, including human life: attachment and aversion.”
308. “The primary culprit is assumed to be peer rejection: shunning, exclusion, shaming, taunting, mocking, bullying. The conclusion reached by some experts is that peer acceptance is absolutely necessary for a child's emotional health and well-being, and that there is nothing worse than not being liked by peers. It is assumed that peer rejection is an automatic sentence to lifelong self-doubt. Many parents today live in fear of their children's not having friends, not being esteemed by their peers.
309. “Shame is the deepest of the “negative emotions,” a feeling we will do almost anything to avoid. Unfortunately, our abiding fear of shame impairs our ability to see reality.”
310. “Children, especially highly sensitive children, can be wounded in multiple ways: by bad things happening, yes, but also by good things not happening, such as their emotional needs for attunement not being met,”
311. “Not every story has a happy ending… but it can”
312. “It is impossible to understand addiction without asking what relief the addict finds, or hopes to find, in the drug or the addictive behaviour. ”
313. “Artistic expression by itself is only a form of acting out emotions, not a way of working them through.”
314. “Given their automatic tuning out, ADD children forever find themselves being told to “pay attention”—a demand that completely misunderstands both the nature of the child and the nature of attention. The obvious monetary connotation of “pay” is that attention is something the child owes the adult, that the child’s attention belongs to the adult by right. The phrase takes for granted that being attentive is always a consciously chosen act, subject to one’s will. Both of these assumptions are faulty.”
315. “We see that substance addictions are only one specific form of blind attachment to harmful ways of being, yet we condemn the addict's stubborn refusal to give up something deleterious to his life or to the life of others. Why do we despise, ostracize and punish the drug addict, when as a social collective, we share the same blindness and engage in the same rationalizations?”
316. “It may be argued that, at least so far as work is concerned, what I call my addictions have benefited other people. Even if that were true, it still wouldn’t explain or justify addiction. The contributions I have made in a number of areas that I am passionate about could have been achieved without the addictive zeal that often drove me. There is no such thing as a good addiction. Everything a person can do is better done if there is no addictive attachment that pollutes it. For every addiction—no matter how benign or even laudable it seems from the outside—someone pays a price.”
317. “I was diagnosed with ADHD in my mid fifties and I was given Ritalin and Dexedrine. These are stimulant medications. They elevate the level of a chemical called dopamine in the brain. And dopamine is the motivation chemical, so when you are more motivated you pay attention. Your mind won't be all over the place. So we elevate dopamine levels with stimulant drugs like Ritalin, Aderall, Dexedrine and so on.
318. “So what you've actually got is traumatized children. When children are traumatized that affects how they feel about themselves, which is deeply ashamed because a child always believe that it is about himself. So if I am being hurt like this, I got to be a terrible person. Or.. if I was sexually abused, why didn't I fight back, I must be a very weak person. So there's a deep sense of shame.
319. “Vulnerability is usually attacked, not with fists but with shaming. Many children learn quickly to cover up any signs of weakness, sensitivity, and fragility, as well as alarm, fear, eagerness, neediness, or even curiosity. Above all, they must never disclose that the teasing has hit its mark. Carl Jung explained that we tend to attack in others what we are most uncomfortable with in ourselves. When vulnerability is the enemy, it is attacked wherever it is perceived, even in a best friend.
320. “There is yet another reason why peer-oriented kids are insatiable. In order to reach the turning point, a child must not only be fulfilled, but this fulfillment must sink in. It has to register somehow in the child's brain that the longing for closeness and connectedness is being met. This registration is not cognitive or even conscious, but deeply emotional. It is emotion that moves the child and shifts the energy from one developmental agenda to another, from attachment to individuation.
321. “Misplaced attachment to what cannot satiate the soul is not an error exclusive to addicts, but the common condition of mankind. It is this ubiquitous mind-state that leads to suffering and calls prophets, spiritual masters and great teachers into our midst. Our designated “addicts” march at the head of a long procession from which few of us ever step away.”
322. “The letters ADD may equally well stand for Attunement Deficit Disorder.”
323. “Above everything Ralph aches for unity with the external feminine caritas - blessed, soul-saving, divine love. Divine here refers to not a supernatural deity above us but to the immortal essence of existence that lives in us, through us, beyond us...a search for the external extends far beyond formal religious concepts. One consequence of spiritual deprivation is addiction, and not only to drugs.”
324. “the driven ADD personality has no idea what his true needs are and must find for them some displaced, symbolic expression.”
325. “When I am sharply judgmental of any other person, it's because I sense or see reflected in them some aspect of myself that I don't want to acknowledge.”
326. “The major impairments of ADD — the distractibility, the hyperactivity and the poor impulse control — reflect, each in its particular way, a lack of self-regulation. Self-regulation implies that someone can direct attention where she chooses, can control impulses and can be consciously mindful and in charge of what her body is doing. Like time literacy, self-regulation is also a distinct task of development in human life, achieved gradually from young childhood through adolescence and adulthood. We are born with no capacity whatsoever to self-regulate emotion or action.
327. “The areas of the cortex responsible for attention and self-regulation develop in response to the emotional interaction with the person whom we may call the mothering figure. Usually this is the birth mother, but it may be another person, male or female, depending on circumstances.
328. “There are a small number of debilitating conditions with a strong genetic basis, such as muscular dystrophy or Huntington’s disease. These are rare, affecting about one person in ten thousand or even fewer. They do not pose a significant threat to the survival of the species. If, however, we add up the numbers of people plagued by depression or ADD or the other common psychological problems people in this society struggle with, including alcoholism and anxiety, we will have identified no less than a third of the North American population.
329. “The question is never “Why the addiction?” but “Why the pain?” The research literature is unequivocal: most hard-core substance abusers come from abusive homes.”
330. “The very essence of the opiate high was expressed by a twenty-seven-year-old sex-trade worker. She had HIV and has since died. “The first time I did heroin,” she said to me, “it felt like a warm, soft hug.” In that phrase she told her life story and summed up the psychological and chemical cravings of all substance-dependent addicts.”
331. “At the core of every addiction is an emptiness based in abject fear. The addict dreads and abhors the present moment; she bends feverishly only toward the next time, the moment when her brain, infused with her drug of choice, will briefly experience itself as liberated from the burden of the past and the fear of the future—the two elements that make the present intolerable.”
332. “From the Latin word vulnerare, “to wound,” vulnerability is our susceptibility to be wounded. This fragility is part of our nature and cannot be escaped. The best the brain can do is to shut down conscious awareness of it when pain becomes so vast or unbearable that it threatens to overwhelm our capacity to function. The automatic repression of painful emotion is a helpless child’s prime defense mechanism and can enable the child to endure trauma that would otherwise be catastrophic.”
333. “More than anything, we have lost the cultural customs and traditions that bring extended families together, linking adults and children in caring relationships, that give the adult friends of parents a place in their children's lives. It is the role of culture to cultivate connections between the dependent and the dependable and to prevent attachment voids from occurring. Among the many reasons that culture is failing us, two bear mentioning. The first is the jarringly rapid rate of change in twentieth-century industrial societies. It requires time to develop customs and traditions that serve attachment needs, hundreds of years to create a working culture that serves a particular social and geographical environment. Our society has been changing much too rapidly for culture to evolve accordingly.
334. “Emotional interactions stimulate or inhibit the growth of nerve cells and circuits by complicated processes that involve the release of natural chemicals. To give a somewhat simplified example, when “happy” events are experienced by the infant, endorphins—“reward chemicals,” the brain’s natural opioids—are released. Endorphins encourage the growth and connections of nerve cells. Conversely, in animal studies, chronically high levels of stress hormones such as cortisol have been shown to cause important brain centres to shrink.”
335. “Medical thinking usually sees stress as highly disturbing but isolated events such as, for example, sudden unemployment, a marriage breakup, or the death of a loved one.
336. “The distressing internal state is not examined: the
337. “Environment does not cause ADD any more than genes cause ADD. What happens is that if certain genetic material meets a certain environment, ADD may result. Without that genetic material, no ADD. Without that environment, no ADD. The formative environment is the family of origin.”
338. A Self-Inquiry Exercise
339. “So self-acceptance does not mean self-admiration or even self-liking at every moment of our lives, but tolerance for all our emotions, including those that make us feel uncomfortable.”
340. “Bessel van der Kolk: “Trauma is when we are not seen and known.”
341. “An event is traumatizing, or retraumatizing, only if it renders one diminished, which is to say psychically (or physically) more limited than before in a way that persists.”
342. “As parents, we may as well accept that we will “lose it” at times. Perfect equanimity is beyond us. Temporary breaks in the relationship with the child are inevitable and are not in themselves harmful, unless they are frequent and catastrophic. The real harm is inflicted when the parent makes the child work at reestablishing contact, as in forcing a child to apologize before granting “forgiveness.” There”
343. “How poorly today’s North American way of life serves the needs of the human body may be gauged by the high levels of, say, heart disease, diabetes and obesity on this continent. The situation of the human brain is analogous. The miswired ADD circuits of the prefrontal cortex are as much the effect of unhealthful circumstances as are the cholesterol-plugged arteries of atherosclerotic coronary disease.”
344. Gabor Maté has supported the use of psychedelics for therapeutic purposes
345. “People are susceptible to the addiction process if they have a constant need to fill their minds or bodies with external sources of comfort, whether physical or emotional. That need expresses a failure of self-regulation—an inability to maintain a reasonably stable internal emotional atmosphere.”
346. “What seems nonadaptive and self-harming in the present was, at some point in our lives, an adaptation to help us endure what we then had to go through. If people are addicted to self-soothing behaviours, it’s only because in their formative years they did not receive the soothing they needed.”
347. “Attacking family members is all too typical of peer-oriented children, leaving parents and siblings wounded. In most cases, the attacks will not be physical, but the verbal assaults and emotional hostility can be extremely wearing, alienating, and hurtful. While aggression is not always related to peer orientation, the more peer-oriented the child, the more likely aggression will be part of the picture.”
348. “The findings indicate that having higher levels of PTSD symptoms, such as being easily startled by ordinary noises or avoiding reminders of the traumatic experience, can be associated with increased risks of ovarian cancer even decades after women experience a traumatic event.” The more severe the trauma symptoms, the more aggressive the cancer proved to be.”
349. “What characterizes an addiction?” asks the spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle. “Quite simply this: you no longer feel that you have the power to stop. It seems stronger than you. It also gives you a false sense of pleasure, pleasure that invariably turns into pain.” Addiction cuts large swaths across our culture.
350. “What we call the personality is often a jumble of genuine traits and adopted coping styles that do not reflect our true self at all but the loss of it.”
351. “The hardcore drug addicts that I treat, are, without exception, people who have had extraordinarily difficult lives. The commonality is childhood abuse. These people all enter life under extremely adverse circumstances. Not only did they not get what they need for healthy development; they actually got negative circumstances of neglect. I don’t have a single female patient in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver who wasn’t sexually abused, for example, as were many of the men, or abused, neglected and abandoned serially, over and over again. That’s what sets up the brain biology of addiction. In other words, the addiction is related both psychologically, in terms of emotional pain relief, and neurobiological development to early adversity.”
352. “If in doubt, ask yourself one simple question: given the harm you’re doing to yourself and others, are you willing to stop? If not, you’re addicted. And if you’re unable to renounce the behavior or to keep your pledge when you do, you’re addicted.”
353. “The DSM defines attention deficit disorder by its external features, not by its emotional meaning in the lives of individual human beings.”
354. “attachment is the first priority of living things. It is only when there is some release from this preoccupation that maturation can occur. In plants, the roots must first take hold for growth to commence and bearing fruit to become a possibility. For children, the ultimate agenda of becoming viable as a separate being can take over only when their needs are met for attachment, for nurturing contact, and for being able to depend on the relationship unconditionally.
355. “The anxiety of anger and other “negative” emotions like sadness and rejection may become deeply bound in the body. Eventually it is transmuted into biological changes through the multiple and infinitely subtle cross-connections of the PNI apparatus, the unifying nexus of body/mind. This is the route that leads to organic disease. When anger is disarmed, so is the immune system. Or when the aggressive energy of anger is diverted inward, the immune system becomes confused. Our physiological defences no longer protect us or may even turn mutinous, attacking the body.”
356. “What is addiction, really?” the Swiss psychologist Alice Miller asks. “It is a sign, a signal, a symptom of distress. It is a language that tells us about a plight that must be understood.”
357. “It doesn’t matter whether we can point to other people who seem more traumatized than we are, for there is no comparing suffering. Nor is it appropriate to use our own trauma as a way of placing ourselves above others—“You haven’t suffered like I have”—or as a cudgel to beat back others’ legitimate grievances when we behave destructively. We each carry our wounds in our own way; there is neither sense nor value in gauging them against those of others.”
358. “Mindfulness can be practised throughout the day, not only on the meditation cushion. There are many techniques for this but they all come down to paying close attention to one’s experience of each moment, without seeking distraction.
359. “[A] key determining factor triggering the stress response is the way a person perceives a situation. We ourselves give events their meaning, depending on our personal histories, temperament, physical condition and state of mind at the moment we experience them. Thus the degree to which we’re stressed may depend less on external circumstances than on how well we are able to take care of ourselves physically and emotionally.”
360. “The very fact that something is important to us can make our children feel less like doing it. The more we pressure our children into eating their veggies, cleaning their rooms, brushing their teeth, doing their homework, minding their manners, or getting along with their siblings, the less inclined they are to comply. The more insistently we command them not to eat junk food, the more inclined they are to do it.”
361. “People and their pets connect via shared brain structures that predate the development of the human frontal cortex with its apparatus of language and rationality. Animals and humans interact from their respective limbic systems, the brain’s emotional parts. Unlike people, animals are acutely sensitive to messages from the limbic brain—both their own and that of their owners.”
362. “Human biology and human neurobiology are interpersonal. The brain is a social organ, and it’s affected by the environment, and particularly it’s affected by the psycho-emotional environment.”
363. “Our birthright as human beings is to be happy, and the addict just wants to be a human being.”
364. He wrote the best-selling book, In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction
365. “If our environment cannot support our gut feelings and our emotions, then the child, in order to 'belong' and 'fit in' will automatically, unwittingly and unconsciously, suppress their emotions and their connections to themselves, for the sake of staying connected to the nurturing environment, without which the child cannot survive.
366. “As children become increasingly less connected to adults, they rely more and more on each other; the whole natural order of things change. In the natural order of all mammalian cultures, animals or humans, the young stay under the wings of adults until they themselves reach adulthood. Immature creatures were never meant to bring one another to maturity. They were never meant to look to one another for primary nurturing, modelling, cue giving or mentoring. They are not equipped to give one another a sense of direction or values. As a result of today`s shift to this peer orientation, we are seeing the increasing immaturity, alienation, violence and precocious sexualization of North American Youth. The disruption of family life, rapid economic and social changes to human culture and relationships, and the erosion of stable communities are at the core of this shift.”
367. “‘I never get angry,’ says a character in one of Woody Allen’s movies. ‘I grow a tumor instead.’ Much more scientific truth is captured in that droll remark than many doctors would recognize. Mainstream medical practice largely ignores the role of emotions in the physiological functioning of the human organism. Yet the scientific evidence abundantly shows that people’s lifetime emotional experiences profoundly influence health and illness.
368. “In the Nazi Arbeit [work] camps back in ’44 when a man was caught smoking one cigarette, the whole barracks would die,” a patient, Ralph, once told me. “For one cigarette! Yet even so, the men did not give up their inspiration, their will to live and to enjoy what they got out of life from certain substances, like liquor or tobacco or whatever the case may be.” I don’t know how accurate his account was as history, but as a chronicler of his own drug urges and those of his fellow Hastings Street addicts, Ralph spoke the bare truth: people jeopardize their lives for the sake of making the moment livable.”
369. “Few diseases are purely genetic,” says Michael Hayden, a geneticist at the University of British Columbia and a world-renowned researcher into Huntington’s disease. “The most we can say is that some diseases are strongly genetic.” Huntington’s is a fatal degeneration of the nervous system based on a single gene that, if inherited, will almost invariably cause the disease. But not always. Dr. Hayden mentions cases of persons with the gene who live into ripe old age without any signs of the disease itself. “Even in Huntington’s, there must be some protective factor in the environment,” Dr. Hayden says.”
370. “The meaning of the word "trauma," in its Greek origin is "wound." Whether we realize it or not, it is out woundedness, or how we cope with it, that dictates much of our behavior, shapes our social habits, and informs out ways of thinking about the world. It can even determine whether or not we are capable or rational thought at all in matters of the greatest importance to our lives.”
371. “If you face the choice between feeling guilt and resentment, choose the guilt every time.”
372. “Most of our tensions and frustrations stem from compulsive needs to act the role of someone we are not. —János (Hans) Selye, M.D., The Stress of Life”
373. “One of the things many diseases have in common is inflammation, acting as kind of a fertilizer for the development of illness. We’ve discovered that when people feel threatened, insecure—especially over an extended period of time—our bodies are programmed to turn on inflammatory genes.”
374. “Chronic rage, by contrast, floods the system with stress hormones long past the allotted time. Over the long term, such a hormonal surplus, whatever may have instigated it, can make us anxious or depressed; suppress immunity; promote inflammation; narrow blood vessels, promoting vascular disease throughout the body;”
375. “When you get right down to the nuts and bolts of understanding what the brain is doing and the relationship between conscious experience and the brain,” Dr. Schwartz said, “the data do not support the commonly held principle that you can just will yourself into one mental state or another. “It’s a subtle thing, freedom. It takes effort; it takes attention and focus to not act something like an automaton. Although we do have freedom, we exercise it only when we strive for awareness, when we are conscious not just of the content of the mind but also of the mind itself as a process.” When not governed by conscious awareness, our mind tends to run on automatic pilot. It is scarcely more “free” than a computer that performs preprogrammed tasks in response to a button being pushed. The distinction between automatic mechanism and conscious free will may be illustrated by the difference between punching a wall with your fist in a fit of reactive rage and mindfully saying to yourself, “I have so much anger in me, I really want to punch this wall right now”—or even more consciously, “My mind tells me I should punch the wall.” The latter mind-states give you the option of not striking the wall, without which there is no choice and no freedom—just a fractured hand and a head full of regret. “Choice,” Eckhart Tolle points out, “implies consciousness—a high degree of consciousness. Without it, you have no choice.”
376. “The sparser the innate joy that springs from being alive, the more fervently we seek joy’s pale substitute, pleasure; the less our inner strength, the greater our craving for power; the feebler our awareness of truth, the more desperate our search for certainty outside of ourselves.”
377. “There is virtually no condition of human beings, physical or mental — there are a few exceptions — that we call pathology that does not reflect social and cultural background and issue. And we can't understand any of this without looking at the larger picture. Medicine is very interesting that way.
378. “Self-esteem is not what the individual consciously thinks about himself; it’s the quality of self-respect manifested in his emotional life and behaviours. By no means are a superficially positive self-image and true self-esteem necessarily identical. In many cases they are not even compatible. People with a grandiose and inflated view of themselves are missing true self-esteem at the core. To compensate for a deep sense of worthlessness, they develop a craving for power and an exaggerated self-evaluation[.]”