Truths That Affect Human Behavior

Truths That Affect Human Behavior


Over the course of the past 50 years of practicing psychology I have been in search of some fundamental truths that effect human behavior – sometimes positively and sometimes negatively. Of course, as a clinician I see many more of the negative effects than the positive effects. My effort has been to reduce cause and effect behavior to the fundamentals that effect all of humanity.

1. Beginning with the premise that all of humanity has inalienable rights.
These rights are “given” in that we all possess them whether or not we exercise them or are allowed to exercise them. Many problems come from a violation of these rights.

2. The Dilemma of Man is the greatest single cause of the lack of peace between people, societies, religions, marriages and individuals. The process of the resolution of this Dilemma is all that can bring humanity together to live relatively peacefully on this planet. The failure to ultimately resolve this Dilemma on a case by case basis will cause ongoing conflict that can ultimately lead to the total destruction of humanity.

3. Identifying specific belief differences and understanding if and how these differences would effect us is the first step toward the resolution. Imposition of our beliefs on others is the ongoing crises of the Dilemma. In an ideal world, accepting and honoring these inalienable rights will resolve the Dilemma and give us the peace that we all long for.

It is important to identify some of the other universal truths that effect all humanity in order to aid the resolution of the Dilemma. One of these came to me in the writing of my first book “The Nature of Human Feelings”

The second of these is the use of criticism. Criticism is a vehicle of imposing our beliefs on others thus perpetuating The Dilemma of Mankind. One of the most destructive forces in all societies and all families is criticism. Criticism defines the belief differences that we have and is a means of imposing our beliefs on others.

4. All behavior (individuals, relationships, financial systems, communities, nations, and religions) develops in a globally continuous positive direction with micro periods of regression and retrenchment before moving ahead positively. A fundamental tenet of Developmental Psychology is that before each progression there is a period of regression.

5. All humans have intelligence, activity level, and libido as “givens”. That is each of these givens do not change significantly over a lifetime for that individual. Physical infirmity and aging may dull them in the final stages of life but they remain relatively the same for each individual throughout his life.

6. All relationships progress through a series of predictable stages. Knowledge of these stages and transitions from stage to stage defines the vulnerability of the relationship. Lack of awareness of the fact of stages with very different feelings, intensities and foci is the greatest reason for the termination of relationships. That is, our expectations of a relationship are constant but the effects of transitions and stages totally undermines these expectations. There has to be a realistic modification of our expectations for the relationship to remain healthy.

7. Individual growth rate and the direction of growth (or lack of it) are the most difficult things to predict for the clinician. The effect of growth in an individual often leads to a dysfunctional or broken relationship. Since this is a developmental inherent happening and is not one of choice, a broken relationship caused by this is blameless. The lack of knowledge about this fact often leads to personalization and guilt by one or both parties. It is not possible to reverse or slow this type of growth.

8. There are a number of mis-teachings and mis-learnings that happen often without the instructor recognizing the effects of these seemingly harmless teachings. The first of these has to do with making the individual feel guilty over issues for which they were not responsible. Families that play the “blame game” often create excessive guilt in children.
The second area that effects us all, because it was so universally taught (innocently enough), is the notion that you should not hurt others feelings. I have spoken about this in TNOHF but I am more and more impressed with how detrimental this teaching and mis-learning is in all of our relationships. First of all it is an impossible task. Secondly, we should be teaching exactly what situations hurt people’s feelings and how to deal with hurt feelings when they do occur as they have and will occur for every one of us.
Finally, I am a sex therapist. In order to help people with their sexuality, I have had to relearn a lot about sex that was mis-taught and continues to be mis-taught by our religions and families. I have learned and believe that sexuality is a natural human function that has very few rights and wrongs although most of our society doesn’t believe this. I have also realized that there is an enormous difference in libido from one person to the other and at different stages of relationships. This is one of the three “givens” that I have referred to earlier. Because libido doesn’t change significantly there are large differences in expression of sexuality in high libido and low libido individuals. While self-control is something that has to be learned by all of us, safe and appropriate expression must also be learned. This learning will be different for those with high libido and those with low libido. While we approach sexuality as if “one size fits all” in our society, this antiquated belief has to be challenged and our notion of appropriate sexual expression must be revised. This issue has become the largest issue between couples with the advent of the internet and availability of films and pictures. Our notions of infidelity and intimacy have to be reworked. Many individuals believe that to view these pictures is an issue of infidelity and as such they have ended the relationship. As an example, let’s say that a couple is quite unmatched on libido. The one with the higher drive (and it is as often the woman as it is the man) will invariably have difficulty in the expression of their libido. Most couples don’t even recognize that there are genetic differences in drive level. Most couples go on the assumption that “one size fits all” and they have created beliefs and values to reflect that. A violation of these beliefs often leads to disaster. While I recognize that this is a sensitive area, it is one that we must dialogue about. Even our laws that are built around six levels of felonious behavior have to be included in this dialogue.

Here is a list of common mis-teachings:
Babies come from the stork
Sex is dirty
If you swallow an apple seed a tree will grow in you
If you swallow gum it will stick to your ribs
Stop (what you are doing) or you will drive me crazy
Don’t step on a crack or you will break your mothers back
You will go to Hell if you do (a variety of things)
If you leave me I’ll die or kill myself
If you sit on the cold pavement you will get piles
Many others about the Easter Bunny, Santa, fairies, witches, etc..