God that was so scary, your post. For one thing, People of the Lie is by the same author who is acclaimed for writing, The Road Less Traveled, which I found really useful when I was a new, young parent. (M.Scott Peck, M.D. is the author). People of the Lie seriously scared the shit out of me, and others in my family who have read it. (It basically was a book of case studies: the psychiatrist did not believe he could treat these people, that they were evil and more needed an exorcism than a talk therapist; then he described them.) I’m not religious, at.all. I think what happens to women and children who are abused, and/ or killed would not happen, were there a loving, and all-powerful god who cared about human beings. I know God is a comfortable feeling for many people, so, good for you if you like it.
The thing you brought up is love. Peck says in Road Less Traveled, love is a decision, and an act, not a feeling. It is work, and it is discipline. I loved learning about it when my daughter was born 30 years ago. Peck said I made a decision. Now I would love my daughter no matter what! Unconditional love. And it has been my goal in life, my life’s reward.
My wife and I love each other no matter what. When my daughter was a child, she craved discipline because she intuitively felt the love in it. I do not, nor does her mother believed in corporal punishment, so I never spanked my daughter. I mean this discipline:
No, honey, you cannot play in the street. Then the child cries. You sit down at their level and talk with them. (Next to the street I guess, in my rather facile example) We can wait here until you are finished crying, honey, you know I love you (hug her when you say, I love you), but I will not allow you to play in the street. Cars drive there, you could get hit by a car and be injured or killed, so no, I won’t let you go there. You have to hold mommy’s or daddy’s hand whenever you cross the street! Even if your favorite, red ball rolls into the street, you can never run after it; it’s too dangerous. Tell me, and I can look both ways and make sure it is safe, and I can go and get your ball out of the street for you. That is the work of love. It’s a shitload of work, and I do not see the majority of parents do this work — it’s so easier not to. If you’re in the grocery store and you say, please stop crying and screaming, honey, or we will have to leave. I’ll take you home and you can wait for me there with your grandma. I’ll come pick you up when I’m finished shopping. If the tantrum continues, you must pick the child up and carry them, screaming ? perhaps? The first time, at least. Now your shopping takes two hours instead of one. It’s a LOT more work.
Also, you can say, do you want to go outside until you’re finished crying? Yes? Okay. Go outside with them and hug them, and wait until they are ready, tell them you love them when they cry, and when they don’t cry, the same love. Then go back inside and finish shopping.
The next time you say, if you do not stop screaming in Walmart, I’ll have to take you home, guess what? They know you love them, 1, and 2, you are not bullshitting them. They are on their way home if they keep acting crazy! Lot of work.
I had to learn all of this, because I really did automatically love my daughter when I saw her exit her mother’s womb, a midwife and I, and I cut the cord with the help of the medical professionals, and with tears squirting out of my eyeholes.
My parents were two 17 year old high school drop outs who did the best they could, I think. But I didn’t get loving discipline at home. I did whatever I wanted to until I got my own place when I was still in my teens.
Thank you for your post. I would read that …”Lie” book again if I weren’t afraid of nightmares. I might do it anyway. The shit is fascinating. Are some people just evil?! From their actions, it seems like it, to me.
Thanks for reminding me of the useful books I read about unconditional love, when my daughter was small, and I wanted to learn. The other one that helped me was, Living, loving, Learning, by Leo Buscaglia…I know — he seems too saccharine sweet for some people, & usually he is for me. But for a man with a new baby, that book helped save my daughter from excessive bad parenting, I believe.
I wish you unconditional love, Ms Writer! That you give it and receive it from a kind person, and from children, and to children, and that you benefit from the kindness of strangers.
I’ll be kind to a stranger, today, in your honor, and as always, for me, in honor of my brother who is homeless and mentally ill.