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Getting Real : Speak your peace

Psychological effect of "constant change"

from Jerseygirl - Tuesday, November 26, 2002
accessed 1696 times

DISCLAIMER: to all those of you who may construe this as an attempt at garnering sympathy, or a little "feel sorry for me" session, well it is--so there! :-P

Recent issues in my life have led me to wonder what effects all the constant moving around and being a vagabond have had on me.
TF was really big on constant change and revolutionizing physically, mentally, and emotionally.
"If you dont like things now, wait two weeks and they'll change!"
"Children dont need stability or to stay in one place all the time, they need change and excitement."
I'm sure everyone can think of a few more but seeing as I have limited time, I'll leave it to you "word warriors". Needless to say I am seeing the negative effects of this philosophy and, being a mom myself, I can clearly see the benefits of stability for kids.
I think that, like anything else, there are pros and cons to this. Yet, I have to wonder why after a couple years of living in one house I get itchy feet? Why, even if everything is going good, do I feel the need to change?
It's not just physical, there are plenty of emotional and mental issues as well although a bit too personal to mention here.
I've listed a few things but I'd appreciate any views or comments from anyone.

* Change IS exciting for kids (I think the word moderation just found it's way out of TF dictionary--oops, there was no dictionary!)

* Moving around so much lent itself, in however small a way, to the lack of emphasis on education.
(not in one place long enough for the authorities to catch on to us.)

*Change your home, self, sexual partners, children, diets, methods etc!
(good concept as then nobody really has to work anything through or actually take responsibility for any failures.)

*Constant change (and major burning) has ruined relationships with "system" relatives. Many of us come from huge families yet have no type of relationship with them.

*Relationships/marriages are ending big time, especially those with ex members involved. (I just have to wonder what we can expect when our whole child/teenage years were full of "bad samples" of marriage/relationships and all the swapping going on.)

This is very raw and surely fails to cover everything.I generally like to focus on the future rather than the past but sadly I'm finding out how the two are extremely correlated.

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from lucidchick
Thursday, November 28, 2002 - 00:44

Jerz, I tend to identify so much with feelings you express in your articles!

A few of my random thoughts on the subject (or off the subject, as the case may be):

I have realized in looking back on my decade plus after TF that very often I didn't stay in one spot for very long simply because I didn't have any experience doing so. How would I know to stay put? I never learned to. Permanence and stability are foreign to me and I find in many areas it is easier to stick with what I know. And what I knew was upheaval, disruption and discontinuity. It didn't phase me. What made me think twice was the absence of upheaval. Just as death and taxes are a constant in society, change and loss after loss of things held dear were constant in TF.

I am consciously working on changing that, and trying to think about any changes I am about to make. Why change? Does it make sense? What will be gained -- or lost in the process? Is it really to my benefit? If so, would I be better off deferring the change? I try to think it out and not just take the plunge. What I always did stick with, fortunately, was my study track. I stuck and I got degrees.

The only thing I remember being told in TF to stick with was ... TF, of course! And, of course, stick in spite of "doubts" or "battles" stemming from, say, constantly having to shift gears (ie, we had to supress the rational mind, the voice of reason, keep that denial going strong -- in order to to "shtick" --ugh). One thing about Berg, who despised "system" achievements is that he didn't have any impressive or just plain productive, useful ones himself. We grew up in a world where even the top-dog-prophet-never-wrong-always-genius did not have achievements reflecting persistence and paying one's dues. He had to be the boss without proving himself. And having/losing status in that world was totally dependent on leaders' whims rather than being based on actual expertise in a skill. One could not expect advancement as a natural result of experience and increased performance. So there were no incentives (even if there had been opportunities for worthwhile achievement). For me, growing up there I somehow got the impression that the process of achieving such things as degrees and a profession had a large component of mystery (heck, not even Mo Lyin' had a college degree) but now I see them as the logical outcome of inputs like steady and prolonged exposure, hard work and persistence. Well, and some money :)

On the subject of money, not moving saves money! And saves the physical and psychic energy required by the effort of learning a new environment and setting up a routine in new surroundings. Where's the grocery store, transportation, maybe a new phone number, change your address with everyone, etc. Even just switching neighborhoods in the same city can take a lot of that work! But in my life, for so long, no sooner did I have something new "down" than it was over.

Resources of any type are limited, and when I am not spending my energy and money on starting over, I can improve my life in other ways. One byproduct of staying put is CIVILIZATION! You can advance art, science and culture more easily than when you're nomadic. I'll bet it's a pain to lug a library or scupltures/paintings around the desert on a camel's back. Tigress mentions below that someone suggested to her that the poor move somewhat more than the prosperous. Well, maybe all the moving is one thing that helps keep them poor. Going to school alongside some rich people and others with less disjointed lives, and learning about the people who are "established" in this society, I got a glimpse of how much is gained simply from sticking to a good plan and improving ones abilities and adjustments in a field of endeavor. Then one can even pave the way for one's children, even if one didn't start out with much, maybe just by passing along the culture of a profession, or those hints that outsiders don't know until they have already felt the disadvantages of not having the edge that others in the know have.

Someone also mentioned below the subject of long-term friendships. I always get a little heartache when some of my friends talk about seeing their "old friends." I take comfort in anticipating, with the passage of time, my existing frienships becoming -- at least somewhat -- "old" friends.

(reply to this comment)
From Jerseygirl
Friday, November 29, 2002, 11:12

Thanks luce! I always appreciate your insights on stuff.Hope to c u soon!(reply to this comment
from themotheriamnow (sorry, I couldn't resist!)
Wednesday, November 27, 2002 - 22:10

Thursday is Thanksgiving Day here in the u.s. (I know most, but not all, readers are in the u.s.).
I want to pass on to you, Jerseygirl, something I read yesterday that I think you should know.
It has to do with how the present correlates to the future. And therein, I feel, lies hope.

This is an exerpt from my son’s third grade teacher to her students and their parents: “Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday of mine since it is a time spent with family and special friends. It is truly a time of peace and reflection for me as I see my own children grow into healthy, productive individuals.”

While your parents were packing and moving and unpacking, while they were consorting with multiple partners, dealing with the new baby , learning a new language, befriending more new people, understanding a new culture, learning new cult rules, unlearning old cult rules, and while they were still dealing with another new baby, packing and moving and unpacking……while they were doing ALL of that … our third grade teacher lived in one house with one husband and two sons.

While your parents were busy distracting themselves with all that busywork the teacher was…..reading to her 2 sons (everyday), walking on the beach hand in hand with her family, noticing her children’s special talents and getting them lessons to enhance and build the ability. While your parents avoided the authorities who wanted you to go school, she was spending time with her parents and caring for her elderly aunt, helping her sons deal with their successes and failures and teaching them tolerance and respect for people with ideas and values different from their own. While your parents packed up again she was planting a garden, teaching her children how to sew, and garden, cook and care for themselves, going to a Shakespeare play at the community theatre, helping at the homeless shelter, taking her children to the dentist, paying attention to her family first, day after day. I’m sure you get the picture.

I don’t think you’re doomed to repeat your past, even if you dwell on it, angrily, sometimes.
For me, well, I wasn’t in the Family, just in another screwed up family with selfish, disorganized parents, I had to make my own family A WHOLE LOT BETTER.. Seems to me you can be pissed off, or you can just forget the past and walk away. But either way you have to make your own life better. You have to not repeat what was done to you.

And then you’ve got it. You have what our third grade teacher has. Peace and pleasure from what she has built. One day at a time, folks! Happy Thanksgiving.

(reply to this comment)
From Jerseygirl
Friday, November 29, 2002, 11:23

Is this like a little Aesops Fable? "Peace and pleasure from what she has built"? I am not knocking your point but it doesn't really seem to jive with the illustration. Anyhow, you can rest assured my kids are living a childhood that is far removed from the kind I had. Hope you had a nice thanksgiving.(reply to this comment
from tigress
Wednesday, November 27, 2002 - 03:37

I agree, though one young woman at work said to me, that she was mad at her folks for living in the same place - some small village in Europe - for their whole lives.When I told her where we have lived she was so jealous. One thing others do not realize is what constant moving costs in the long run. Now as an ex- member I found it hard to settle down, but slowly I see the benefits. I have one girl friend who told me that the poor often move the most- I am not sure this is true but she knows about my past and doesn't care. But I still think that stability is important for kids. Only then they can develope real friendships with others. I sometimes envy women who've known each other for their whole lives and still meet as adults!
(reply to this comment)
from thepersoniamnow
Tuesday, November 26, 2002 - 14:39

Its an interesting topic.
I lived in so many places in the fam and I don`t regret it.
However I do think that its important to have roots and be connected.
Also I think that having ichy feet is pretty much something to do with being young...not just to do with TF (even thought there is a connection).
Most young ppl wanna up and travel and its prolly the same for u
(reply to this comment)
from Hanna_Black
Tuesday, November 26, 2002 - 14:29

Stability is so very important for kids, I believe. My kids go to preschool, but when they enter school they will do so with they friends from preschool. Thus, they will already have friends in school and hopefully after that too. I can tell that they like the fact that they know their way around the place we live, where the shops are etc. If we were to move every six months like my parents did, they would be much more lonely. Fine, some people think it is boring to live in one place for so long, but if you get used to something and feel comfortable with it, you also feel secure which can give you a better self-esteem. People change anyhow, often without wanting to, but to feel good about yourself and comfortable with yourself makes you strong. If you feel good about yourself and then feel forced to change, you will always think that you are not good enough, leading to low self-esteem.

Hurray for me, the UN-revolutionary woman! Hurray for me the systemite!
"Used to be a prisoner in a cell
FTTs around me, were my hell!
Then one day MTV came along
Now those rotten tunes are gone
I thank the system that I found me
Hell, now I'm free!"

(reply to this comment)
From Estelle
Sunday, January 26, 2003, 05:52

hahahahaahahahaha. Hanna you're too funny. (reply to this comment
from Nick
Tuesday, November 26, 2002 - 11:43

Withought having the time to embellish on all your points; I did want to add to the part about the need for stability with our children.

I am the father of a 6 yr old boy and the one thing that I try to give to him more than anything is stability. Yes change was exciting for me as a kid, but not to the extent that we had it. I feel bad that I can't call up my old buddy from high school to go for a beer or go see a movie with your best friend for 15 years. We moved so much we never had friends for more that a year or so and were sometimes unable to develop long lasting friendships because of it.

My son has already been in the same school program for about 3 years and still has some of the same teachers. It’s stability like that that makes them feel safe, secure and loved. (Lots and lots of X-mas gifts also help…. Har har har…)

(reply to this comment)
From Santa
Tuesday, November 26, 2002, 12:41

OMG, you said X-mas.(reply to this comment

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