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A Few Key Words to Pay Attention To

Appropriate, Inappropriate






Duty - Usually used as a guilt trip




Effective -- also see notes below







Proper, Improper - SImilar to appropriate, inappropriate





Threats, Warnings, Privileges



Exclamation points!

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This is a word which is sometimes used to control others. Here is an example.

A teenager says that she has talked to her parents and she feels relieved because she "might not get her privileges taken away". What her parents call a privilege is actually her natural need to spend time with her friends. So if her parents say they might not take her privileges away, what his really means is that she might not be punished by being denied something she needs for her own health and happiness.

In this example the teenager has been confused about the difference between needs and "privileges". Because of this, she might not protest when her needs are denied to her and she might even feel grateful when she is allowed to have what she needs by nature.

Denying something they need for their health and happiness is a form of abuse, but if someone thinks their needs are only "privileges" they might be persuaded to believe that any form of denial or punishment is for their own good (as Alice Miller talked about in her book "For

She feels "grateful" to her parents for their kindness and understanding rather than resenting them for abusing their power over her. She might not see it as abuse at all. She might be convinced, like so many teens around the world, that everything they do is for her own good. She might not realize why she is in pain and what her own needs are. They will do everything possible so she will never be aware of the truth. They don't want her to know how she feels or realize that the pain she feels is a reflection of what she lacks, and they are the prime reason she lacks it.

So we can say another way parents, teachers and authority figures confuse and oppress us is by calling our needs "privileges". I can guarantee you that in emotionally healthy families that word is not used, at least not in that way. Just like in emotionally healthy families belts and electrical cords are not used to hit children and teens. In Peru my ex gf Laura was hit with a belt when she was 22 years old, by the way.


Who decides what a privilege is?

I was just reading an article that contained this quote

Punishments and discipline — like removing privileges, grounding, or being sent to your room — are normal.


I will just write a bit about this now. I don't use this word anymore. A lot of people say things like we need to kill our egos but when I hear someone say this or I read it, it doesn't make much sense to me. It seems to have become very new age to say "we need to let the ego die" etc.

People often say "so and so has a big ego". But I believe itis more helpful to think in temrs of needs. So if a person says someone has a big ego, and I ask what they mean, it usually ends up meaning they are very needy. So what I want to draw attention to is that our society is doing a very poor job of identifying and meeting the natural needs of children. Someone with a "big ego" usually has a lot of potential that has gone undeveloped, unacknowledged, unvalued for too long.

They know on some level that they have this potential and can contribute a lot to society, but they have not yet been able to suffifiently make their contribution.




Effective - Effective at what? Who decides what the goals are? Who decides what we should try to be effective at? Or what is worth doing at all? And how do we decide? Do we accept our culture's values? Or do we try to think for ourselves and try to use our innermost feelings as a guide? Or do we ask children and teenagers how they feel about things or what they think?

Do we want to be effective at winning wars or preventing them?

Do we really want people to be effective at selling products which are unhealthy or unnecessary?

Do we want to create marketing campaigns and slogans that are "effective" even if they mislead people into believing they need something when they don't?

Effective and DC

David Caruso wrote me once and said he thought I would be more "effective" if I did things differently. But he didn't say effective at what.

A lot of the time when I am writing it is to try to stop my pain through expressing myself. Writing freely is very "effective" for me in releasing my pain. Also, writing honestly, spontaneously helps people see the real me, or at least an important part of it. Then they can contact me if they feel a connection with me, feel understood by me, feel less alone after reading my personal writing.

Successful - This word is very psychologically powerful these days. Nearly everyone wants to be "successful" and nearly every parent wants their child to be "successful." But successful at what? How we define this word makes a lot of difference, but few people ever seem to question how it is used or defined.

There is no doubt that when a person feels "successful" it is a good feeling, a healthy feeling and it helps motivate and encourage him. There is the saying "success breeds success." But how society defines success or how an individual defines it is of vital importance. See story about Doug, who thought success meant making a million dollars.


or giving away your material possessions and doing volunteer work.

or helping save the life of one teenager.





I knew someone named Doug once who told me his goal in life was to make a million dollars. He really believed that he would be happy then. He said he would just sit on the beach and enjoy life if he reached his goal. It wasn't very important to him how he made the money. He just wanted to make a million dollars.

He was an ex-alcoholic by the way, and one of the most judgmental people I have ever met in my life. He was raised as a Catholic and he said his mother would hit him and his brother on the way to and from church when they were young. He was also very competitive. He competed in local 10K runs in Florida and often placed in the top three.


I don't know if I want to be "successful." I am not even sure how I would define success for me. I feel averse to the word. I feel uncomfortable with it. It reminds me too much of Tony Robbins.

I am not sure what I do want. I think mostly I just want to stop my pain. The pain of loneliness and the pain of seeing what I have seen and knowing what I know. To use David's word, what seems to be most "effective" for me is writing or doing something to try to make a difference in the world. Trying to teach someone something, trying to help someone. Mostly I think I will feel somewhat satisfied with myself if I can say "I did the best I could". Yet I know that no matter what I do in my life time, there will still be wars, still be school directors who act like dictators, still be school uniforms, still be teen suicide, still be single mothers.

Judging Words

(Judging) Words - good, bad, right, wrong, proper, improper, appropriate, inappropriate, ethical, unethical, moral, immoral.

Should, shouldn't