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There is a small figure drawing which I have found to be very helpful in explaining to people the very important concept of adverse social stimulus value. An adverse social stimulus value is an indispensable precondition for the development of chronic, intractable love-shyness. Simply put, no one without a negative social stimulus value could ever develop a pathological degree of love-shyness. Mild or transitory, situationally-based shyness is a problem that plagues at least half of the American population from time to time. But the really painful, highly debilitating, life-long kind of love-shyness which obviates participation in dating, courtship, sexual lovemaking, marriage and family formation, etc., absolutely requires a negative social stimulus value throughout the victim's formative years. And it is this highly debilitating type of love-shyness about which this book is concerned.
Visualize, if you will, a class of one hundred kindergarten boys, all of whom are starting kindergarten together at the age of five and on the same day. The "5" in Figure 2 represents this starting point. Some of these children will come from better, warmer, more competent and loving homes than others will. Similarly, some of them will have had rewarding nursery school experiences, whereas others will not have had this.
Now every class of children has its "stars". These are the children who exude a very positive social stimulus value right from the very beginning. Occultists might say of such children that they possess very positive, powerful "auras". Generally speaking, the "stars" represent only a comparatively small minority of children. Of our one hundred children we might assume that fifteen are "stars". And we will let the letter "A" represent these fifteen lucky children.
Just as every class of children contains its "stars", every group similarly contains a certain number of children who exude negative social stimulus value. In the case of our "wish bone effect" drawing, let us assume that the negative social stimulus value is caused by three factors: (1) a melancholic inborn temperament represented by the first quadrant of the Eysenck Cross (figure 1, page 41); (2) low physical attractiveness: these children are not handsome or muscular; and (3) residence with parents who are less than adequately competent at dealing with children. We will further assume that these children possessing negative social stimulus value are all quite normal in the areas of both native intelligence and physical health. In other words, we will assume that their budding problems are not being caused by deficits in the intellectual or physical health areas. Let us allow the letter "C" to represent these children in the diagram. And let us assume that there are five such children in the total group of one hundred five-year olds.
The remaining 80 children are represented in our diagram by the letter "B". These children are all "average to somewhat above average" in social stimulus value. And the main point which the diagram illustrates about this majority group is that throughout the formative years of elementary school each of its members makes good, steady progress in the growth and development of interpersonal skills, social self-confidence and social maturity.
The numbers running along the bottom of Figure 2, represent chronological ages. Inasmuch as this is a hypothetical diagram, the ages included range from 5 through 15. All three lines, each of which commences from the same point at age 5, are intended to reflect progress in social/emotional growth, and in level and adequacy of interpersonal skills.
The major point of the "wish bone effect" diagram is that the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. This cliche is as valid in understanding the development of social self-confidence, interpersonal skills and social/emotional maturity as it is in understanding the development of financial fortunes. The three lines all start out at the same point. Yet with each passing year the distance between each of the three lines becomes greater and greater.
Again, please understand that line B people are progressing normally. They are growing and progressing at a normal, healthy pace. This is why the "B" line moves upward from one chronological age to the next chronological age. The ever increasing amount of distance (1) between line A and line B, and (2) between line B and line C reflects the fact that relative to the "normal" masses of children, the social stimulus value of both the "A" children and the "C" children is becoming stronger and stronger with each passing year.
The social stimulus value of the "A" children is becoming ever better and better compared to that of the masses. In effect, their "star" quality continues to improve to the point wherein they appear to be becoming ever brighter and brighter relative to the large bulk of their classmates. The "C" children are similarly becoming increasingly conspicuous with each passing year. Indeed, the distance between the "C" children and the "B" children quickly becomes and remains substantially greater than the distance between the "B" children and the "stars" or "A" children. Let us consider how this occurs.
The reason why the "C" boys follow the downward slope from the very beginning is that they withdraw from their fellows' invitations to take part in "rough and tumble" play. They prefer more quiet play at the craft tables with the girls, and they refuse to physically defend themselves when they are punched and bullied. In contrast to the other boys who enthusiastically pursue the "rough and tumble" play and who fight back when they are assaulted, the "C" boys either run away from the irrational boyish hostilities which they cannot understand, or they seek the teacher's protection from this hazing. The more frequently the 'C" boys follow this avoidant course of action, the more conspicuous they become vis-a-vis their classmates. In essence, they develop a reputation as a good person to bully because they don't fight back and because they display their suffering and displeasure in an ever more conspicuous manner. And this serves to compound the bullying and the hazing.
Psychologist Howard Kaplan has done a good deal of experimental work on aggression. And one of the major conclusions of his many experiments is that aggression is more likely if the other person (the victim) is perceived as unwilling or unable to retaliate. And this is exactly the position of the "C" children. Physically aggressive retaliation is not in keeping with their native temperaments. They cannot understand the feelings and the motives of the "B" children; and the "B" children cannot understand them (the "C" children). Being fundamentally serious by nature, the "C" children are not really "kids"; it is not congruent with their temperaments to "kid around". And this is one of the things that makes adults and virtually all male "B" children incapable of understanding them (the "C" children).
Meanwhile these "C" children are gradually learning to run right home immediately after school, and to avoid all informal social activity. Being anywhere near peers when a supervising adult is not around to protect them is a potentially very painful and dangerous thing. And so they become isolates. They are discouraged by all different kinds of people from playing with the girls because "boys are not supposed to play with girls". And they cannot play with the boys because the boys are a source of physical pain and danger. And they cannot choose any alternative peer groups, sports and games because there are no sanctioned alternatives available. Since boys are not supposed to even want to "play gentle", no gentle sports or games are made available to them.
As the "C" boys grow older their deficits in interpersonal skills become ever greater, thus rendering them more and more adversely conspicuous vis-a-vis their normally adjusted "B" group peers. Again, the children's peer group is an indispensable socializer for interpersonal skills and social self-confidence. In being denied a peer group and in being forced to function all the time as social isolates, the "C" children are prevented from acquiring interpersonal attributes that are quite crucial for successful adult living. This is why with each passing year they become ever more adversely conspicuous vis-a-vis their peers. And the more adversely conspicuous they become, the more often they are singled out for bullying and/or for ignoring. The "B" children who do not bully simply do not care to have anything to do with the "C" children inasmuch as merely being seen with or around a "C" child could confer a negative reputation. In this sense tolerant and compassionate behavior tends to be punished and stigmatized by the all-boy peer group. Seldom is such positive behavior rewarded by male children here in American society.
Since all human beings require some sort of attention and recognition, some of the bullied and/or ignored "C" boys may become class clowns. As negative attention is almost always less painful than an absence of attention, some of them can be expected to generate a host of increasingly unhealthy defense mechanisms. These clownish behaviors will themselves serve to further alienate the "C" boys more and more from the "B" boys and from the "A" boys. And the more alienated, detached and unidentified with their age-mate peers they become, the more emotionally immature they will be perceived by others as being.
Simply put, by the time they become teenagers their level of interpersonal skills and social-emotional maturity will be very, very poor by comparison with the normally adjusted "B" and "A" children in their class. And by that time many of them will be perceived as "weird" or "queer" or "gay" (homosexual).
For the "A" boys the same mechanism operates except in the reverse way. At the outset they are more handsome and muscular than most of the other boys. And this positive social stimulus value thus renders them sought after companions. Even at age 5, everyone wants to play with them because they are attractive and competent, and because they behave (due to inborn temperament) in a sociable and fearless yet friendly, nonpugnacious manner. And since everyone wants to be with them, they gradually develop a strongly positive, robust self-image and social self-confidence. Further, they swiftly come to develop a friendly, positive attitude towards most of their age-mates. They like most of their age-mates because these age-mates almost constantly honor them by selecting them first for games and for a host of other social and recreational activities.
All of this positive attention has its cumulative impact. These people in the "A" category come to feel so good about themselves that they experience little anxiety in asserting themselves vis-a-vis their peers as well as vis-a-vis the adult community. In essence, their social maturity and interpersonal skills grow and proliferate by leaps and bounds as the years pass. By the time they enter adolescence they are likely to be elected to important class offices, and all the girls consider them "cute" and want to go out with them. Their social presence by this time has become quite conspicuous in the positive sense by comparison with that of the normally adjusted "B" children.
In sum, the inborn social stimulus value created by (1) native temperament, and (2) physical attractiveness, serves to get young boys started on either the right foot or on the wrong foot relative to their peers. As figure 2 illustrates, those who commence school at age five with an adverse social stimulus value tend to be avoided, ignored, or bullied. And as a consequence such disadvantaged children learn to avoid people; and they learn to associate the very thought of informal socializing with thoughts of mental pain and anguish. As such, their interpersonal skill deficits and their social self-confidence deficits relative to their peers become worse and worse with each passing year. In addition, their social stimulus value similarly becomes ever worse with each passing year. This is the essence of how boys become chronically love-shy adults.
Yes, the shyness itself is learned. But one cannot begin to correctly understand how this learning takes place without understanding and appreciating the fact that the inborn temperament factors represent indispensable catalysts and prerequisites for this negative learning to get under way in the first place. The learning which results in intractable love-shyness could never get started in the first place in the absence of the twin catalysts of (1) an inborn temperament of adverse social stimulus value, and (2) less than pleasing physical attractiveness/handsomeness.