Joyless, mindless, loveless messages

Based on what happened to us early in life, what we saw and experienced, we made decisions about life that are still operating today. These form our invisible life scripts and control our choices. For example, a young man grew up in a home that was filled with strife and tension. He left home early, married young and learned to fill all his time and avoid being home. He is about to marry again. For his fiancée home is where you restore yourself, a warm fire and fine wine. He’s filled his time for all seven nights of his life. For him home is only where you go to sleep. He made a decision early in life that home is not a place to be. She is wrestling with why she should marry someone who isn’t going to be there.

These decisions can be changed but we have to bring them into our awareness and think about them. It is useful to track decisions made in our early family that we are still acting upon, particularly in regard to Joyless, Mindless and Loveless scripts. The Joyless script says, “I can never have fun and relax until all the work is done, which never quite happens, so I never play.” The Mindless script says, “Thinking doesn’t work, I’m stupid, so when I have a problem, I go blank.” The Loveless script says, “No one ever loved me, no one ever will; so I will do without, I’ll never trust anyone, I’ll pretend I don’t need love anyway.”

Children of alcoholic or dysfunctional parents have recently received some attention in the media. Specific things happen to them which have specific impact on their adult lives. As a child it is dangerous to comment on the alcoholism or dysfunction of the parent. A specific early decision is made: “Don’t comment, don’t try to figure out truth because you can’t ask questions.” They learn not to confide, not to acknow­ledge their feelings, not even to feel them. Often we see bright kids fail at math because when growing up in an alcoholic family there is no way you can make any­thing equate–no logic–nothing makes sense at home. Children of alcoholics often make the early decision that you can’t make sense in life.

In certain families reading is valued. “In my home you always had to have a book or an article in your hand to read. I feel guilty if I’m not reading. If I am what I should be I should be learning all the time. If I’m playing or not productive, I believe that I’m wasting my time.”


Don’t exist

Don’t make mistakes

Don’t make noise

Don’t be you

Don’t be independent

Don’t initiate anything

Don’t be a child

Don’t be spontaneous

Don’t accept anything

Don’t have fun

Don’t belong  (black sheep)

Don’t enjoy your body

Love only me

Don’t trust

Don’t enjoy your five senses


Don’t think

Don’t grow up (stay a child)

Don’t succeed

(more than father/mother)

Don’t be original

Don’t solve problems

Don’t leave home (stay here with me)

Don’t risk

Don’t assert yourself

Don’t make mistakes

Don’t be powerful

Don’t be independent

Don’t think what you think


Don’t be close

Don’t confide

Don’t touch

Don’t be sexual

Don’t be  affectionate

Don’t feel

Don’t tell

Consider your own decisions. Do they make sense now? Is life less meaningful if I’m not good all the time? If I’m not productive all the time? Key attitudes to practice are: “I exist, I’m me, I have my own identity, I have my own needs, I am entitled not to be perfect, to pursue happiness and to fill my needs. One of my needs is for human closeness. I can’t live by my grandparents’ or parents’ decisions. Their decisions were for their time.”

Practice the beliefs: “I am entitled to be me, to take risks, to make mistakes. I am still lovable. I am good enough. My need for closeness is a pleasure to others as well as myself. We all need closeness.”

Meeting the need for closeness and bonding should be emotionally and physically pleasurable for both people. We need to share ourselves in terms of intimacy, of bonding. If it does not feel like a pleasure, then ask yourself, “What is in the way?”

~ Lori Heyman Gordon

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s