Day 89: Primal Scream

Day 89: Primal Scream – Get it out if your system. Go on. Let loose.

The way I understand things the primal scream is part of Arthur Janov’s primal therapy.  The theory states that neurosis is a product of repressed pain from childhood.  Releasing the primal scream greases the gears to eventually free the pain we have repressed, thereby processing it and integrating these painful childhood experiences into our adult selves.

Fundamental to Janov’s theory is the idea that we have three levels to our conscious and unconscious mind.  We have our survival mind.  We have our feeling mind.  And lastly we have our thinking mind.

I don’t think I would be a good candidate for Primal Therapy.  To begin with, I do not think there is any division between my feeling and thinking mind.  And second – I am just not big on screaming anymore.  Years ago I struggled with this.  Emily tried my patience.  I read Unconditional Parenting and I worked my ass off to stay committed to a path of gentle discipline.  But toddlers are wicked little creatures.  And I had so much anger in me.  So, I yelled.

Don't let the sweet face fool you.  She was maddening.

Don’t let the sweet face fool you. She was maddening.

I did not yell all of the time.  But I yelled more than I wanted to. As my life straightened out and I let go of the anger that had been holding me back, I stopped yelling.  It didn’t hurt that Emily grew up a little and left the incendiary behavior of toddlerhood behind.

Today I let out a few screams for the sake of the challenge.

I guess it remains to be seen if I can blame all of my yelling on misplaced aggression and pain  or if it was really just the torturous toddler years taking their toll on me. As great as it may have felt today to let my primal self holler – it feels better to keep a lid on my volume.   I have every reason to believe that Lucy will drive me bonkers, too, over the next couple of years.  And if I survive her toddlerhood without going apeshit I will have a teenager right around the corner.    Here’s hoping my screaming ship has sailed. Breathe in.  Breathe out.

10 responses to “Day 89: Primal Scream

  1. I can totally relate. I’m a yeller too and feel guilty after I did it. I just did a guest post about how my yellingfest has changed since the whole Sandy Hook tragedy: http://larrydbernstein.com/the-aftermath/

  2. I may have to make my husband read this. Apparently, I’m too “repressed” to scream at our toddler when she misbehaves. In his opinion, this makes him perpetually the bad cop and me the chronic pushover. I wish I could scream, just once, for him to shut up and acknowledge that one doesn’t have to break 150 decibels to be a disciplinarian.

  3. We do “trauma jump & scream” at yoga. I’d characterize it as more of a guttural yell, it has to come from the depths. We don’t do it at every class, but I do think it’s cathartic.

    It’s not necessarily about letting go of stuff for me (sometimes it is, but not every time). Sometimes, it’s about the reminder that I have a voice, I have volume, and I can use those things. Clears the throat chakra. Woo-woo stuff like that, ya know. :)

    I don’t yell and I don’t want to, any other time. I grew up in a household of yellers and I LOVE the peace that exists in my house. It just doesn’t happen here (and like you, I worked my ass off to get to this point). It’s been so long since I’ve been a yeller, that it’s lost its negative feeling/connotation with me.

  4. It does not sound to me like primal therapy is really for you. As I think most readers should have a sense of by now, you are not so big on repression. I love that you are in the ‘yell for joy’ camp these days.

  5. primal therapy is to release the pain of your childhood, not Emily’s. I thank you for error. :)

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