The Parental Disapproval Syndrome

by Leonard Orr and Sondra Ray (Rebirthing in the New Age p. 59)

The Parental Disapproval Syndrome is another major cause of fear and negative programming. The syndrome develops as a result of your parents' experiencing disapproval from their parents and their resentment of that disapproval. But they were not able to get even verbally or physically, so their true feelings were suppressed. They didn't receive enough love and affection and found their parents difficult to please. So they spent the rest of their lives trying to get even with their parents or trying to please them to win their love. They constantly had to perform and conform according to their parents' instructions in a futile attempt to win their love. This is later transferred to employers, authority figures, and "society." They found little satisfaction until they had children (you). Then they had a captive child who was defenseless against parental hostilities and often coerced into giving them affection when the parents desire it.

To sum it up, parents take out their hostility toward their parents on their children (you). The spirit of the child is broken. Then you, as a child, have to suppress your true feelings until you have children and you take out your anger on yours—it goes on from generation to generation.

The fact is, you were a divine being when you came out of the womb. Your parents began to disapprove of you and you resented it. But you couldn't resist them or get even because you didn't have a big enough vocabulary or a big enough body. The only way you could get even was to do what they disapproved of, which caused more disapproval. So you kept the disapproval syndrome going until you decided you could not win. Eventually you gave up and surrendered your loyalty to your divine nature and decided to follow instructions. So you followed instructions for the rest of your life. And when you got old enough to move out of the house, your parents (after they had invalidated your creativity, initiative, and natural wisdom) kicked you out and said, "Now is the time to succeed." Then you went out and looked for somebody to give you instructions. That is the reason most people find employers and why people find mates. Hopefully, when you get married you will finally have found somebody who knows how to give you instructions, somebody who will solve all your problems, make all your decisions and plan your life for you. And, they don't do it! Your mate doesn't do it because he or she is expecting the same of you.

Behind that desire to have you plan their life for them, mates will express their hostility toward you. "Falling in love" is the hope that you have finally found a parental substitute. If you suppress your hostility successfully enough, then you will have a successful relationship. If you suppress your hostilities long enough in the relationship, then the relationship may last long enough to end in marriage. If you continue to suppress your hostility long enough, then your marriage might last long enough to have children. Guess what happens then? You get even with the bastards. You get even with your parents by taking it out on your kids. (It is obvious that people inhejit at least a portion of the subconscious minds of their parents as well as their bodies. In fact, financial and marital relationships usually follow the parents' behavior so exactly that it almost seems mechanical.) The ultimate knowledge is self-knowledge and the ultimate freedom is internal freedom.

There are several vehicles by which the parental disapproval syndrome is transmitted. Three of the most popular are bedtime, mealtime and toilet training. You came out of the womb with "divine" energy and you probably didn't need to sleep a whole lot. But your parents taught you that you do need to sleep a whole lot. Sleep is related to the birth trauma and to being in the womb. When you came out of the womb and all hell broke loose, you learned that the world outside the womb was a hostile place. You have gone through the rest of your life protecting yourself from a hostile world during your waking hours. After running around all day protecting yourself, you experience enough tension so that you get tired and you want to go to bed—you have reached the point of not being able to cope, which develops as an addiction. You want some rest from the world, so you go back into the womb/bedroom. You turn off the lights to make it dark, as it was in the womb. You crawl under the covers, which simulate the pressure of the walls of the womb and raise your body temperature. Then you go into a state of preverbal-like consciousness called sleep. So by going to bed you have recreated the womb experience. If you stay in bed long enough, your bed becomes a hostile place. It is hostile because your parents disapprove of your staying in bed too long, and they will come after you with sticks.

There is a lot of unpleasantness connected with bed; it is no wonder that some people have difficulty having fun in bed. It can be an unpleasant place, just as the bedroom is uncomfortable because children also get punished by being sent to their rooms. They go there and feel unloved. So it turns out later that those people can screw on Main Street and get off on sex in the back of the car, but in bed, no way! There is just too much tension and too much going on in the bedroom. It is better to make love on the dining room table, if the dining room table is a pleasant place. However, for most people, the dining room table was where they got all the bad news. Your parents criticized you for playing with your food and not cleaning your plate. Eating can make you nervous forever after.

Mealtime is the time when most kids get the bad news. That's when you learn if you don't clean up your plate you are not loved. So whenever people feel anxiety they go "clean up" a plate.

Then there is toilet training. Now if you had unpleasant toilet training and you go to the bathroom five or six times a day (and you "plug into" those unpleasant emotions every time you go to the bathroom), then it is no wonder you have difficulty ever being happy and experiencing bliss. Problems of constipation, diarrhea, etc., are probably all ultimately connected to your toilet training. I had one client whose mother was so obsessed with toilet training that he developed an anal fixation, became homosexual and could only get off sexually with anal intercourse. He took enemas constantly.

Being aware of parental disapproval is very valuable, because when you are disapproving you are just "running out" your parent, or replaying your parents' tape. The idea is to express your hostility toward your parents and get it out. This will ultimately enable you to love them more. Otherwise, when your parents die, you experience failure. You never "got even" and now you are never going to get their love either. You feel disappointment for having suppressed your true nature and for not having gained their approval.