The Lost Tower Below are the 21 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Jessadriel Darkmountain" journal:
December 31st, 2014
11:59 pm


Wheel of the Year: December
Time and TideCollapse )

Yule/New Moon
        21 December 2014      Pacific Standard Time          

        Begin civil twilight       7:23 a.m.                 
        Sunrise                    8:00 a.m.                 
        Sun transit               12:11 p.m.                 
        Sunset                     4:21 p.m.                 
        End civil twilight         4:58 p.m.                 

        Moonset                    3:43 p.m. on preceding day
        Moonrise                   7:16 a.m.                 
        Moon transit              11:57 a.m.                 
        Moonset                    4:39 p.m.                 
        Moonrise                   8:12 a.m. on following day


New Moon on 21 December 2014 at 5:37 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.


December 29th, 2014
03:28 am


6 Signs of Narcissism You May Not Know About

Full text here for reference; links, notes, and everything else at original site:

6 Signs of Narcissism You May Not Know About
How can you recognize the fragility behind the narcissist’s grandiosity?
By Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D

The recently published 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) lists precisely the same nine criteria for narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) as did the previous version, published 19 years earlier. So these longstanding diagnostic yardsticks are by now quite familiar—not only to professionals but to interested laypeople as well. Because only the extreme, or “classic,” narcissist fits all of these criteria, DSM specifies that an individual need meet only five of them (barely more than half) to warrant this unflattering label.

As a starting point, I’ll reiterate these selected criteria—before, that is, adding six important ones of my own, which either complement or extend these “official” yardsticks. My particular measures for identifying pathological narcissists are based not only on my exposure to the voluminous writings on this character disorder, but also on 30+ years of clinical experience. This experience includes doing personal, couples, and family counseling with such troublesome individuals. But it also involves working independently with those involved with narcissists—whether their distressed children, spouses, parents, friends, or business associates—who repeatedly express enormous frustration in trying to cope with them.

To begin, however, here are DSM’s requirements (slightly condensed, and with minor bracketed amendments) for “earning” the unenviable diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance.
2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
3. Believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).
4. Requires excessive admiration [regularly fishes for compliments, and is highly susceptible to flattery].
5. Has a sense of entitlement.
6. Is interpersonally exploitative.
7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling [or, I would add, unable] to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.
8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.
9. Shows arrogant, haughty [rude and abusive] behaviors or attitudes.

So what’s left out here? Actually, as regards identifying descriptors, quite a bit. And I’ve no doubt that other therapists could add further to the six additional characteristics I’ll provide here—features that, although regrettably minimized or omitted from DSM, I‘ve routinely seen displayed by the many dysfunctional narcissists I’ve worked with. So, to enumerate them, such individuals:

1. Are highly reactive to criticism. Or anything they assume or interpret as negatively evaluating their personality or performance. This is why if they’re asked a question that might oblige them to admit some vulnerability, deficiency, or culpability, they’re apt to falsify the evidence (i.e., lie—yet without really acknowledging such prevarication to themselves), hastily change the subject, or respond as though they’d been asked something entirely different. Earlier for Psychology Today I wrote a post highlighting this supercharged sensitivity called “The Narcissist’s Dilemma: They Can Dish It Out, But . . . ”. And this aspect of their disturbance underscores that their ego—oversized, or rather artificially “inflated”—can hardly be viewed as strong or resilient. On the contrary, it’s very easily punctured. (And note here another related piece of mine, “Our Egos: Do They Need Strengthening—or Shrinking?”). What these characteristics suggest is that, at bottom and despite all their egotistic grandiosity, they...

2. Have low self-esteem . This facet of their psyche is complicated, because superficially their self-regard would appear to be higher and more assured than just about anyone else’s. Additionally, given their customary "drivenness," it’s not uncommon for them to rise to positions of power and influence, as well as amass a fortune (and see here my post “Narcissism: Why It’s So Rampant in Politics”). But if we examine what’s beneath the surface of such elevated social, political, or economic stature—or their accomplishments generally—what typically can be inferred is a degree of insecurity vastly beyond anything they might be willing to avow.

That is, in various ways they’re constantly driven to prove themselves, both to others and to their not-so-confident “inner child” self. This is the self-doubting, recessive part of their being that, though well hidden from sight, is nonetheless afflicted with feelings and fears of inferiority. Inasmuch as their elaborate defense system effectively wards off their having to face what their bravado masks, they’re highly skilled at exhibiting, or “posturing,” exceptionally high self-esteem. But their deeper insecurities are yet discernible in their so often fishing for compliments and their penchant for bragging and boasting about their (frequently exaggerated) achievements. That is, they’re experts at complimenting themselves! And when—despite all their self-aggrandizement— others are critical of them, they...

3. Can be inordinately self-righteous and defensive. Needing so much to protect their overblown but fragile ego, their ever-vigilant defense system can be extraordinarily easy to set off. I’ve already mentioned how reactive they typically are to criticism, but in fact anything said or done that they perceive as questioning their competence can activate their robust self-protective mechanisms. Which is why so many non-narcissists I’ve worked with have shared how difficult it is to get through to them in situations of conflict. For in challenging circumstances it’s almost as though their very survival depends on being right or justified, whereas flat out (or humbly) admitting a mistake—or, for that matter, uttering the words “I’m sorry” for some transgression—seem difficult to impossible for them.

Further, their “my way or the highway” attitude in decision-making—their stubborn.competitive insistence that their point of view prevail—betrays (even as it endeavors to conceal) their underlying doubts about not being good, strong, or smart enough. And the more their pretentious, privileged, exaggeratedly puffed-up self-image feels endangered by another’s position, the more likely they are to...

4. React to contrary viewpoints with anger or rage. In fact, this characteristic is so common in narcissists that it’s always surprised me that DSM doesn’t specifically refer to it among its nine criteria. Repeatedly, writers have noted that angry outbursts are almost intrinsic to both narcissistic and borderline personality disorders. And although (unlike the borderline) it’s not particular fears of abandonment that bring out their so-called “narcissistic rage,” both personality disorders generally react with heated emotion when others bring their deepest insecurities too close to the surface.

The reason that feelings of anger and rage are so typically expressed by them is that in the moment they externalize the far more painful anxiety- or shame-related emotions hiding just beneath them. When they’re on the verge of feeling—or re-feeling—some hurt or humiliation from their past, their consequent rage conveniently “transfersthese unwanted feelings to another (and see here my PT post “Anger—How We Transfer Feelings of Guilt, Hurt, and Fear”).

The accompanying message that gets communicated through such antagonistic emotions is “I’m not bad (wrong, stupid, mean, etc.), you are!” Or, it could even be: “I’m not narcissistic, or borderline! You are!” (Or, in slightly milder version, “If I’m narcissistic, or borderline, then so are you!”) And if the mentally healthier individual has no clue as to what provoked their outburst in the first place, such a sudden explosion is likely to make them feel not only baffled but hurt, and maybe even frightened. But what cannot be overemphasized here is that narcissists...

5. Project onto others qualities, traits, and behaviors they can’t—or won’t—accept in themselves. Because they’re compelled from deep within to conceal deficits or weaknesses in their self-image, they habitually redirect any unfavorable appraisal of themselves outwards, unconsciously trusting that doing so will forever keep at bay their deepest suspicions about themselves. Getting anywhere close to being obliged to confront the darkness at their innermost core can be very scary, for in reality their emotional resources are woefully underdeveloped.

Broadly recognized as narcissists by their fundamental lack of self-insight, very few of them (depending, of course, on how far out they are on the narcissistic continuum) can achieve such interior knowledge. For in a variety of ways their rigid, unyielding defenses can be seen as more or less defining their whole personality. And that’s why one of the most reliable ways for them to feel good about themselves—and “safe” in the world they’re essentially so alienated from—is to invalidate, devalue, or denigrate others. So they’ll focus on others’ flaws (whether or not they really exist) rather than acknowledge, and come to terms with, their own. And in many curious ways this habit causes them to...

6. Have poor interpersonal boundaries. It’s been said about narcissists that they can’t tell where they end and the other person begins. Unconsciously viewing others as “extensions” of themselves, they regard them as existing primarily to serve their own needs—just as they routinely put their needs before everyone else’s (frequently, even their own children). Since others are regarded (if they’re regarded at all!) as what in the literature is often called “narcissistic supplies”—that is, existing chiefly to cater to their personal desires—they generally don’t think about others independently of how they might “use” them to their own advantage. Whatever narcissists seek to give themselves, they generally expect to get from others, too (which is yet another dimension of their famous—or infamous—sense of entitlement).

Even beyond this, their porous boundaries and unevenly developed interpersonal skills may prompt them to inappropriately dominate conversations and share with others intimate details about their life (though some narcissists, it should be noted, can display an extraordinary, however Machiavellian, social savvy). Such private information would probably focus on disclosing facts others would be apt to withhold. But having (at least consciously) much less of a sense of shame, they’re likely to share things they’ve said or done that most of us would be too embarrassed or humiliated to admit. Still, with an at times gross insensitivity to how others might react to their words, they’re likely to blurt out things, or even boast about them, that others can’t help but view as tasteless, demeaning, insulting, or otherwise offensive.

They might, for instance, share—and with considerable pride!—how they “chewed” someone out, and expect the other person to be impressed by their courage or cleverness, when in fact the listener may be appalled by their lack of kindness, tact, or restraint. Additionally, they may ask others questions that are far too personal or intimate—again unwittingly irritating or upsetting them. And such a situation can be particularly difficult for the other person if the narcissist is in a position of authority over them so that not responding could, practically, put them in some jeopardy.

To conclude, I can only hope that these additional characterizations of the pathological narcissist (vs. those with less pronounced narcissistic qualities) may be helpful in enabling you to identify them before their “malignancy” does a number on you. And if you’ve already been duped by their machinations or manipulations, perhaps this piece will be a “heads up” for you to prevent them from wreaking any further havoc in your life.

NOTE 1: I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that the narcissism addressed here centers on its most maladaptive, or "toxic," forms. Unlike DSM (the standard diagnostic reference tool for mental health professionals), the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (PDM, 2006)—respected, but much less well known than this official volume—explicitly notes that the disorder exists “along a continuum of severity, from the border with neurotic personality disorders to the more severely disturbed levels.” And additionally, that “toward the neurotic end [these] narcissistic individuals may be socially appropriate, personally successful, charming and, although somewhat deficient in the capacity for intimacy, reasonably well adapted to their family circumstances, work, and interests.”

© 2013 Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.

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12:19 am


The Vampire's Bite

Full text here for reference; everything else at original site:

The Vampire’s Bite: Victims of Narcissists Speak Out
How do narcissists' partners get their life sucked out of them?
by Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D.

Because narcissists don’t think or feel like we do, it’s really not possible to establish a mutual relationship with them. And because we can hardly help but expect them to respond in ways similar to our own, their dissimilar reactions can confuse and surprise us— at times, deeply upset us as well.

This post, a companion piece to my recently published "9 Enlightening Quotes on Narcissism—and Why," will focus not on the narcissist but on their unwary victims. Largely employing their own words, it will center on the injured parties’ so disheartening and disillusioning experience in trying to construct a satisfying relationship with an individual whose self-serving egocentricity ultimately renders such a union impossible. The quotes from these victims are taken from a lengthy series of online forum comments excerpted in Narcissism Book of Quotes: A Selection of Quotes from the Collective Wisdom of over 12,000 Individual Discussions.And this is a resource (readily available on the Web) that I heartily recommend to anyone who’s had to deal with a narcissist (particularly as a spouse).

So how do the narcissist’s victims (more commonly women than men) get emotionally entangled with such difficult individuals in the first place? Simply put, narcissists “preview” themselves in ways every bit as attractive to their potential "prey" as—later on—they reveal themselves as fraudulent. And I’ve had to be highly selective in limiting my choice of quotes to those best describing how trusting individuals can unwittingly walk right into a situation that cannot possibly deliver on its all-too-alluring promises.

But before allowing the hapless victims to speak for themselves in characterizing their experiences of betrayal, I should emphasize that virtually all my quotes pertain to those narcissists relatively far out on the narcissistic continuum. Many narcissists meeting sufficient criteria to warrant the diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) aren’t quite so brutal in handling those committed to them as, frankly, are those portrayed in these quotes.

Anyhow, let’s start by considering the sampling of quotes immediately below on the process of getting “hooked” by the narcissist (which, like the rest of the quotes presented here, are anonymous):

"If some man were to say to your daughter: 'Here's the deal, sweetie. For several months or so, I'm going to pretend to be everything you ever wanted. I'll shower you with attention, affection and all manner of stuff to make you feel special. Then, once I know you're depending on me as your significant other, and have made a commitment, I'm going to quit pretending and be who I really am. I'm going to start treating you really badly. I'll say insensitive things, I'll lie, I'll cheat, I'll be really cruel, possibly humiliate you in public. Hey, I might even beat you. Your job will be to figure out what happened and do everything in your power to restore the relationship to what it was, until you either die, try to kill yourself, or collapse and get sent to the hospital, which will be pretty funny because there's no chance whatsoever I'll ever pretend to be that 'nice guy' again—and by the way, it WAS a pretense. So what do you say, sweetie? Do we have a deal? Several years of hell in exchange for a few months of fantasy.'"

"If your daughter whipped out the pen to ink the deal, you'd smack her and say, ‘What are you, NUTS? This guy's a lunatic!!!’ Right? But that IS the deal. That is the contract. If that contract wouldn't be nearly good enough for your daughter, why would it be good enough for you?"

[Here, the discussant is addressing others on the Forum woefully “bitten” by the "vampire narcissist." And, to further clarify the dynamics of this hypothetical scenario, consider the words of another discussant]:

"The abuse doesn't happen because the victims volunteer for it. The abuse happens because the abusers lie, manipulate and speak in mixed messages, and out of love and a sense of fairness we trust them."

“We loved these men and why wouldn't we? In the beginning they make us feel so special and comfortable and loved. It's later when . . . our minds are reeling because we know something is 'off' but can't put our fingers on it that we start searching around and find ourselves here [on the Forum]. Then all the pieces start to fall into place. People with NDP are master manipulators, subtle and strong at the same time. You have been brainwashed."

[And it’s all because]

"The one you married, the terrific guy, was the false self. When you finally realize that the horror he became is the real self, then you understand NPD and you understand the nightmare for all of us."

So much for the beguiling charms of the narcissist in the victim’s pre-commitment phase—vs. the truly disturbing reality of living with such an individual post-commitment. What do those duped have to say specifically after they’ve fallen for the bait? Quite a lot, actually. Above all else, those victimized in such a relationship emphasize their experience of being devalued—especially since they were made to feel so special and important during the period that they were wooed into commitment. But before introducing these quotes, I’d like to expand on a term that these so-disappointed individuals regularly employ in stressing how they came to feel used, manipulated, or exploited by their narcissistic partner.

This term—namely, narcissistic supply (NS)—was originally psychoanalytic jargon. But it’s been adopted with increasing frequency by lay people to help convey their distressingly felt objectification on the part of their “soul-sucking” partner: that is, exploited, diminished, and even dehumanized, As a result, the pejorative designation “narcissistic supply” has now entered the linguistic mainstream (cf. “anal compulsive”). What the term so well pinpoints is the fact that narcissists can only value others to the extent they bolster their self-image.

Focusing on the narcissist’s insatiable appetite for attention and admiration, NS refers to anything in the environment that feeds the narcissist’s hunger to feel superior to others. And probably the most commonly used NS in the narcissist’s arsenal is their typically co-dependent, enmeshed, self-sacrificial partner. It’s no wonder that these routinely manipulated individuals describe themselves as “bled” or “sucked dry” by the self-absorbed narcissist, who initially so convincingly attached him/herself to them.

So, once narcissists have secured the relationship...Collapse )

ADDENDUM: a block of quotes from the same source that was not included in the above article:

"What I'm wondering right now is… in the beginning when he was treating me like a Queen, was there a hidden agenda there? Was it always in the back of his mind that he would soon unleash the hidden fury to hurt me? He acts like I am 'the one', the 'kindred friend' that he's never had before. Is this all a lie? I seem to be hanging on to the hope that it will be different for me. Am I fooling myself?" (cont'd.)

(cont'd. reply:) "Does he want to hurt you? Well, now, that would imply that he thinks of you as a human being – an N doesn't. What he wants is to secure supply. If he cannot do it by means of flattery, he will do it by means of cruelty. The goal is to get you to give him what he wants. He doesn't especially care which method he uses, so long as he finds one that works. I know that sounds cold. It is cold. That is the mind of a Narcissist. Cold and devoid of empathy. Because he lacks empathy, he probably doesn't know or care if he hurts you, unless he's using bullying as a technique for extracting NS from you. Even then, he couldn't care less what that does to you, apart from eliciting the desired response. If it makes him feel better about himself to belittle you, he will do that, but the ultimate goal isn't to make you feel bad, the goal is perpetuate the myth of his own perfection and simultaneously control you. If by hurting you it gets you in check, makes you take on his failings as your own, and make you work twice as hard for his approval, it's a bonus for him. If he doesn't need to employ cruelty in order to accomplish either of the above goals, he won't. It's that simple."

"Who would not assume s/he was so lucky to have met this wonderful, caring individual. Nothing wrong with that. It is when the cannon-ball of devaluation hits you that the horror of the situation begins to dawn, but you cannot work out why. Naturally, you assume (because you think within normal parameters) that your partner/spouse is ill, has encountered a serious problem (work, finances), is maybe physically ill. Because you have never heard of NPD you do not, indeed cannot, know about the idealization-devaluation process."

"The N I write about probably never did a thing, unless there was something in it for him. He simply did not bother. He started from a position of weakness, in that he had a huge inferiority complex, but the pretentiousness of his facade gave the impression of enormous self-confidence."

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December 28th, 2014
07:20 am


Damaging children for the longterm

Full text here for reference; more links and everything else at original site.

Dangers of “Crying It Out”
Damaging children and their relationships for the longterm
By Darcia Narvaez, Ph.D.

*See note on basic assumptions below.

Letting babies "cry it out" is an idea that has been around since at least the 1880s when the field of medicine was in a hullaballoo about germs and transmitting infection and so took to the notion that babies should rarely be touched (see Blum, 2002, for a great review of this time period and attitudes towards childrearing).

In the 20th century, behaviorist John Watson (1928), interested in making psychology a hard science, took up the crusade against affection as president of the American Psychological Association. He applied the mechanistic paradigm of behaviorism to child rearing, warning about the dangers of too much mother love. The 20th century was the time when "men of science" were assumed to know better than mothers, grandmothers and families about how to raise a child. Too much kindness to a baby would result in a whiney, dependent, failed human being. Funny how "the experts" got away with this with no evidence to back it up! Instead there is evidence all around (then and now) showing the opposite to be true!

A government pamphlet from the time recommended that "mothering meant holding the baby quietly, in tranquility-inducing positions" and that "the mother should stop immediately if her arms feel tired" because "the baby is never to inconvenience the adult."  A baby older than six months "should be taught to sit silently in the crib; otherwise, he might need to be constantly watched and entertained by the mother, a serious waste of time." (See Blum, 2002.)

Don't these attitudes sound familiar? A parent reported to me recently that he was encouraged to let his baby cry herself to sleep so he "could get his life back." 

[Note: In other posts on infant sleep listed below, my co-authors and I point out flaws in studies of sleep training. Here is another example. Check out this article and its table that lists the studies reviewed. The table shows that every study is flawed--either the intervention was not followed (fidelity) and/or only parent reports were used, not observation. Moreover, the age range of the children varied. Most importantly, note that most studies did not measure child wellbeing. So there is no responsible way to draw generalizable conclusions from this set of flawed studies. The standards for publishing such studies appears to be very low. In a forthcoming post, we note how many studies use an "Intent to Treat" criterion for distinguishing conditions, not bothering about what actually happened.]

With neuroscience, we can confirm what our ancestors took for granted---that letting babies get distressed is a practice that can damage children and their relational capacities in many ways for the long term. We know now that leaving babies to cry is a good way to make a less intelligent, less healthy but more anxious, uncooperative and alienated persons who can pass the same or worse traits on to the next generation.

The discredited behaviorist view sees the baby as an interloper into the life of the parents, an intrusion who must be controlled by various means so the adults can live their lives without too much bother. Perhaps we can excuse this attitude and ignorance because at the time, extended families were being broken up and new parents had to figure out how to deal with babies on their own, an unnatural condition for humanity--we have heretofore raised children in extended families. The parents always shared care with multiple adult relatives.

According to a behaviorist view completely ignorant of human development, the child 'has to be taught to be independent.' We can confirm now that forcing "independence" on a baby leads to greater dependence. Instead, giving babies what they need leads to greater independence later. In anthropological reports of small-band hunter-gatherers, parents took care of every need of babies and young children. Toddlers felt confident enough (and so did their parents) to walk into the bush on their own (see Hunter-Gatherer Childhoods, edited by Hewlett & Lamb, 2005).

Ignorant behaviorists then and now encourage parents to condition the baby to expect needs NOT to be met on demand, whether feeding or comforting.  It's assumed that the adults should 'be in charge' of the relationship.  Certainly this might foster a child that doesn't ask for as much help and attention (potentially withdrawing into depression and going into stasis or even wasting away) but it is more likely to foster a whiney, unhappy, aggressive and/or demanding child, one who has learned that one must scream to get needs met. A deep sense of insecurity is likely to stay with them the rest of life.

The fact is that caregivers who habitually respond to the needs of the baby before the baby gets distressed, preventing crying, are more likely to have children who are independent than the opposite (e.g., Stein & Newcomb, 1994). Soothing care is best from the outset. Once patterns of distress get established, it's much harder to change them.

Rats are often used to study how mammalian brains work and many effects are similar in human brains. In studies of rats with high or low nurturing mothers, there is a critical period for turning on genes that control anxiety for the rest of life. If in the first 10 days of life you have a low nurturing rat mother (the equivalent of the first 6 months of life in a human), the gene never gets turned on and the rat is anxious towards new situations for the rest of its life, unless drugs are administered to alleviate the anxiety. These researchers say that there are hundreds of genes affected by nurturance. Similar mechanisms are found in human brains--caregiver behavior matters for turning genes on and off. (See work of Michael Meaney and colleagues; e. g., Meaney, 2001).

We should understand the mother and child as a mutually responsive dyad. They are a symbiotic unit that make each other healthier and happier in mutual responsiveness. This expands to other caregivers too.

One strangely popular notion still around today is to let babies 'cry it out' (aka total extinction or unmodified extinction) when they are left alone, isolated in cribs or in other devices.  This comes from a misunderstanding of child brain development.

Babies grow from being held. Their bodies get dysregulated when they are physically separated from caregivers. (See here for more.) Babies indicate a need through gesture and eventually, if necessary, through crying. Just as adults reach for liquid when thirsty, children search for what they need in the moment. Just as adults become calm once the need is met, so do babies. There are many longterm effects of undercare or need-neglect in babies (e.g., Bremmer et al, 1998; Blunt Bugental et al., 2003; Dawson et al., 2000; Heim et al 2003).Secure attachment is related to responsive parenting, such as comforting babies when they wake up and cry at night.

What does 'crying it out' actually do to the baby?Collapse )

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December 27th, 2014
09:10 am


Nothing But Tears
Full text here for reference; more of the same at original site:

Johnson & Johnson Introduces 'Nothing But Tears' Shampoo To Toughen Up Newborns
Because It's Never Too Early To Grow The Hell Up

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—After decades of coddling young children, Johnson & Johnson unveiled its new "Nothing But Tears" shampoo this week, an aggressive bath-time product the company says will help to prepare meek and fragile newborns for the real world.

A radical departure for the health goods manufacturer, the new shampoo features an all-alcohol-based formula, has never once been approved by leading dermatologists, and is as gentle on a baby's skin as "having to grow up and fend for your goddamn self."

"We at Johnson & Johnson have been making bath time a safe and soothing experience for far too long," company CEO William C. Weldon said. "Years of pampering have left our newborns helpless, feeble, and ill-equipped for the arduous road ahead."

"It's time our children got the wake-up call that's been coming to them," Weldon continued. "It's time they cried their precious little eyes out."

The result of five years of intensive research and market testing, the company's "Nothing But Tears" shampoo contains only the most abrasive of natural ingredients and is nearly impossible to rinse from a baby's screaming face. According to directions printed on the label, the bath-time product is best used with scalding hot water for optimal toughening-up of newborns.

Available in an easy-to-find-and-open bottle, the new shampoo is also guaranteed to give children a "healthy dose of reality."

"You'll notice a difference after just one use," said Michelle Baker, head of new product development. "Whether it's your newborn's more hardened appearance, the way he now approaches people with guarded skepticism, or just that look on his face that says, 'Oh wait, maybe life isn't all hugs and kisses and rainbows. Maybe I need to get my fucking act together.'"

Added Baker, "Johnson & Johnson will kick your baby's ass into gear."

A publicity campaign for the tear-inducing shampoo has already begun, with Johnson & Johnson debuting a series of television ads to push the baby-care product. In one of the minute-long spots, scheduled to air later this week, a mother cradles her crying newborn in her arms. As time passes, the weeping infant grows increasingly older, until the now elderly woman struggles to hold up her 48-year-old, 230-pound son. A voiceover announcer asks viewers, "Worried your child will never toughen up? At Johnson & Johnson, we can help."

After rigorous product testing at the company's research headquarters in New Jersey, the new "Nothing But Tears" shampoo was found to give newborns up to three times greater resilience than the leading competitor, as well as a stronger grasp on the crushing disappointment that is life. In addition, when combined with Johnson & Johnson's new line of bleach-based conditioners, the shampoo resulted in noticeably thicker skin after only six uses.

In recent years, a growing number of parents have begun looking for ways to raise more adequately jaded toddlers, and Johnson & Johnson is not the first company to respond to the rising demand. In 2003, Fisher-Price unveiled a new adventure play set containing 85 easy-to-choke-on pieces, and in 2006, the Walt Disney Company introduced an interactive DVD entitled Baby's First Brush With A Cruel And Unforgiving World.

Whether or not Johnson & Johnson's new move will ultimately pay off remains to be seen. However, reaction to the tantrum-provoking shampoo has thus far been positive.

"My 13-month-old used to be a total pushover," said new mother Catherine Smith. "But ever since I started washing her hair with 'Nothing But Tears' shampoo, not only does my little Debra kick and scream and wail, but yesterday she said her first words: 'No, Mommy, don't.'"

Despite testimonials from satisfied customers, some concerned parents have come out against the new shampoo.

"To knowingly upset your baby like that is downright cruel," said Hershey, PA homemaker Barbara Sterling. "My child is going to lose his blissful sense of innocence the old-fashioned way—by coming home from school one day only to learn that his parents are getting a divorce.",2506/

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December 25th, 2014
12:03 am


Christmas music to cheer you up!
From the sublime to the ridiculous....Collapse )

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December 24th, 2014
08:07 am


Not to leave anybody out....
Holidays songs for the irreligiousCollapse )

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December 23rd, 2014
12:00 am


Christmas songs
Some of my old favoritesCollapse )

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December 22nd, 2014
05:42 am


Nine songs for the Solstice
Yule music on YoutubeCollapse )

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December 21st, 2014
12:00 am


Happy Solstice/New Moon!
Swear by the Moon, the constant Moon...Collapse )

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December 20th, 2014
11:23 pm


Raising or lowering status
What your behavior saysCollapse )

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December 19th, 2014
02:44 pm


Making room for the ones you love
... is how they know you love them.Collapse )

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December 18th, 2014
02:31 pm


Spirograph and Weavesilk
Fun virtual art toys!Collapse )


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December 17th, 2014
12:46 pm


Stop using the word 'autistic' as a slur.
Don't be that guyCollapse )

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December 16th, 2014
07:15 am


Five years
Missing my MomCollapse )

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December 13th, 2014
08:55 pm


Songs of the Christmas Truce
That will probably make you cryCollapse )

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December 12th, 2014
12:00 am


15 Styles of Distorted Thinking
Crazy==>crazy-makingCollapse )

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December 11th, 2014
06:29 pm


What was the Christmas Truce?
Please take the poll!Collapse )

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(12 comments | Leave a comment)

December 8th, 2014
04:19 am


Why do we cling to beliefs when they’re threatened by facts?
Emphasizing unfalsifiable reasonsCollapse )

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December 7th, 2014
04:46 am


States Form Secret Alliance With Energy Companies To Kill Environmental Regulations
In-depth New York Times investigationCollapse )

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December 6th, 2014
11:53 pm


"Why I Don't Believe In Evolution"
Jibbers Crabst, with hilarious ASLCollapse )

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