Cruised into the Michael and Debi Pearl site No Greater Joy this morning looking to see if they’d published a new No Greater Joy magazine yet. We’re getting close to the two month publication date and the last issue had a mere three articles in it. Found this gem as it popped up under their more content link. It’s an article on romance.
Apparently at least one of the Pearl daughters thinks that scaring the other person and tickling them is romance.
“Scaring Mom was a favorite pastime of the whole family. Of course, Mom had instigated it by trying to scare everyone else. She was continually lying in wait behind furniture, in closets, and behind bathroom doors, trying to catch her prey off guard and provoke a startled yell. The problem lay in the fact that nobody was as easy to startle as Mom. Once, she huddled in wait behind a door to scare Dad. When she jumped out at him, he roared like a bear and jumped right back at her. Mom screamed and turned to Jell-o; it was the last thing she had expected. But she made up for it that evening behind the bedroom door. We heard Dad’s helpless laughter and pleading. He was paying his dues again. Nobody could tickle Dad quite like Mom, for he lost all his strength when she assaulted him. Just hearing them laugh would set us all off. Mom and Dad would be locked in their bedroom laughing their heads off, and all five of us kids would be in the living room laughing right along with them.”
The entire article Romance 101 is an advert for tickling, parents tickling children, adults tickling each other. But mostly women tickling their violent abusive husbands.
Sounds pretty silly and immature, right? But what’s the harm? Actually from here this constant scaring people and tickling could be a sign of aggression and dominance. Scientific studies back that this can be abusive dominant behavior if it is very regularly employed.
“According to Dr. Richard Alexander, Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan, tickling can very well be a form of dominance and the laughing that follows is an evolutionary way of showing submissiveness.”
Turns out there are societies that used tickling to torture their enemies. I’m not talking of a few scritches here and there for fun. I’m talking regular and prolonged.
“Tickling has long since been used as a way of torture. During the Han Dynasty in China, tickling was a way of torturing nobility as it left no marks and the victim could recover relatively easily and quickly. It was also popular in Japan where they even coined a special word for it: kusuguri-zeme, which means “merciless tickling”.
Vernon R. Wiehe from the University of Kentucky studied 150 adults who were abused by their siblings during childhood. Many of the study subjects reported tickling as a type of physical abuse. The study concluded that tickling can provoke extreme physiological reactions in the victim such as vomiting and loss of consciousness due to the inability to breathe.”
There’s a reason why the child experts say you should not tickle children for more than a moment or so, or it’s abusive behavior. It can impact breathing, making it hard for a kid to catch their breath if it is prolonged like what the Pearls are describing in their article. Some articles linked it to asthma and other physical conditions involving cutting off oxygen.
I found a mountain of pro tickling websites, many religious adjacent, making the claims it was good preverbal communication between parent and child. That you should tickle frequently and often, ignoring the piles of folks in scientific studies that said it played a part in the trust issues they developed as adults.
“Patty Wipfler, a parenting expert and the founder and director of the Hand in Hand Organization says that from her experience, tickling during childhood is a common cause for emotional challenges even in adults. She writes, “In my many years of listening to adults talk about the emotional challenges of their lives as children, tickling comes up again and again as an experience that has been hurtful.” She says the trauma can lead to a situation where the person affected can’t relax when others are in close proximity to them, they feel insecure even while sleeping close to a trusted partner, and are internally on guard any time there’s more than casual touching between them and someone they love.”
There were, of course, lots of fetish websites with tickling and sexual desire, but none of them seemed anything like what the Pearls describe. Debi Pearl is married to a man with the emotional control and temperament of a cranky toddler. A man in charge who sounds like he should never be in charge. She has zero outlets to be honest with him, to ever say “No” and this is how she chooses to deal with it. Debi takes an action that is so immature it makes it seem like she’s emotionally stuck in the age she was traumatized at. She tickles and scares him because she has no healthy outlet to express her rage and discontent.
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