This is one of a series of Lesson-5 articles on evolving and
families. The series exists because the wide
range of current U.S. social problems suggests that
most families don't
of (nurture) their members very well.
That suggests the epidemic effects of the lethal [wounds + unawareness]
36 years' clinical research,
I propose an unrecognized
social process that is inexorably weakening families and most (all?) cultures. It
seems to be a global problem. The process can be
described as a self-amplifying three-part cycle unintentionally passed
from one generation to the next.
This article assumes you're familiar with...
This article provides...
a summary of the lethal [wounds +
unawareness] cycle, with links to more detail
public is unaware of the cycle
and it's toxic effects
discovered the cycle
a summary of how the cycle
implications of the cycle, and...
options for breaking
in families, communities, regions, and our country.
What Is This Cycle?
Read this sobering
article, then study this
diagram. Then return
Does this cycle make sense to you? Have you ever seen this
concept proposed before? If not, why could that be?
Why is the Public
Unaware of This Cycle?
Are you aware of the
recent global fear of a deadly bird-flu pandemic?
Of the ominous predicted effects of global warming? Of the rise of
global terrorist threats and activities? If so, how do you know of these? I
suspect you'd say "TV, newspapers, magazines, and/or the Web" - yes?
One reason the [wounds + unawareness] cycle is unknown to the public is
that media editors and producers haven't featured it. Four possible
no respected sources
have proposed and documented the
they have, but people don't (want to) believe it (once true of global warming, and
looming oil and water shortages);
the public doesn't want to learn
about the cycle and its effects because the implications are too
scary and depressing - so media creators avoid alienating
subscribers, viewers, and advertisers by not publicizing it.
ultimate reason may be...
To stop this toxic cycle, couples need
to be certified to marry and/or raise kids - meaning some sort of
government regulation. This is so repugnant that any
serious attempt to pass
and enforce such legislation would probably cause anarchy.
Discovering the Cycle
I was trained as a mechanical engineer and
have always been curious about how things work (or don't). I'm also a
trained, veteran (36 years)
therapist (MSW), specializing
in understanding and improving
families and relationships.
That has led me to study effective communications and parenting, healthy and
incomplete grief, and addiction dynamics and management.
In 1986, I discovered "by accident" that my parents were functional
alcoholics - so I was (am) an "ACA" -
Adult Child of an Alcoholic
family. This explained much about my own painful life, and I began
"recovery" from the psychological wounds of being raised in an addicted
family. My healing included
shifting from 35 years'
adult atheism to firm faith in - and experiencing - a benign,
Soon after "accidentally" learning my ACA identity, I
attended a Chicago seminar on "personality parts" and "internal-family systems
therapy" by veteran psychologist Dr. Richard Schwartz. It changed
my life and the way I did therapy, and it explained the roots of epidemic
I read voraciously about personal and family dynamics, multiple personalities, addictions, marriage, divorce, communications, spirituality,
and various "mental illnesses." My learning was shaped by working
clinically with over 1000 average Midwestern U.S. adults with wide range of
presenting problems since 1981.
therapy clients' and students' stories were each unique,
I began to see a pattern in
their lives and ancestries
(and mine). The theme that emerged was: many adults who were struggling
with "mental illness," "mood and personality disorders," and "relationship problems"
(i.e. psychological wounds + unawareness + low-nurturance environments)
said that their parents had come from "painful childhoods" also. And
many troubled young parents seemed to be inadvertently wounding their
own children, against all "common sense."
None of the authors
I studied integrated their theories into a coherent trans-generational systemic
concept. We researchers and students were all like the allegorical five
blind men discovering an elephant: Feeling the trunk, one says "It is a
snake." Feeling the belly, a second man says "No, It is a boulder." The
third man felt a massive leg, and said "You're both wrong - it's a
tree." The next man felt the tail, and snorted "How can you be so blind?
It's a rope!" The last man guffawed and said "you're all wrong -
it's a palm frond." He was exploring the elephant's ear.
As I composed the articles in this Web site over many years and the
six related guidebooks, the "elephant" (cycle)
coalesced. Evidence of it continued to mount in my client contacts
and family - and now I see its symptoms
everywhere. Web-site visitors' feedback and poll-responses consistently
confirm it. For example,
~80% of the site visitors responding to the
"Do you believe personality subselves
are real?" say "Yes, without question."
In May 2011, I began to publish
YouTube videos describing key ideas in this
educational Web site. Since then, I've received hundreds of
viewer comments and affirmations from all over the world
that indicate the cycle and it's effects are universal, not
How Does the Cycle Work?
Here's a summary. At any given time (past or present)...
Public and religious values, traditions, and laws
that allow couples to commit, cohabit,
and conceive children before most are qualified to do so. This causes...
Epidemic unwise (a) marital and
(b) child-conception choices
ineffective family communication + grieving +
Most kids get inadequate
and training on these
and school, so
most of them develop significant psychological
suggests that childhood trauma can activate genes that promote psychological,
cognitive, and physiological problems. and...
millions of kids must adapt to parental psychological
their wounded, unaware caregivers aren't able to fill their
of this cycle grow up and - without [
+ effective help
repeat and spread the cycle down the generations.
wounds and ignorance
in our societies promote (a) significant health
lives, and (b) most major