What Drives Human Motivations?

This subject is one we have examined in depth for the last 37 years; if not longer.

The answer is simple: The drive to be happy drives all human action.

You can’t be happy if you are not surviving.  Therefore, anything relating to survival can be seen as contributing to your happiness.

Love.  Why want it?  Because if ‘they’ love you they won’t attack you. Period.  Human survival.

CONTROL: This is the ROOT of many human behaviors when it comes to meeting that goal of survival.  By controlling (whatever), you control perceived threats.  This can come in many forms: financial ‘control’ (yielding control over future circumstance, survival issues such as home, food, etc.).

This also covers vanity, since by ‘appearing superior’, you help reduce the number of attacks upon yourself.  The more ‘superior’ you appear (whether through dress, makeup, bank account, job or position) – the less likely the other monkeys are going to attack you.

Control issues can come in some mighty strange ways: controlling a conversation (thereby negating the effects of other people’s words and opinions – thereby reducing the number of incoming threats); controlling your spouse (making sure she/he is ‘there’ for you, doing what YOU want and/or need – or perceive needing done – for your own ‘happiness’; eg. survival); or simply murdering someone (the ultimate form of control).

Control over the unknown because the unknown is first and foremost perceived as a threat until it is known NOT to be a threat (meaning it has been ‘controlled’ – unless it is the perfume of flowers or something simple like that.)

Control over others opinions and emotions gives you control over the people having them, which reduces there threat to you.

Imagine everyone loving you.  Isn’t that a form of control?  That goes for issues of ‘church’ and ‘dominance’ and social organizations that seek to control one or another’s behaviors.  By making everyone “love you” for all the ‘good you are doing’ – you reduce their threat to you.

We have found there is nothing that cannot be explained by these sort of things.

Even heroes who go out of their way to save someone at the expense of their own lives are issuing a kind of ‘control’ ultimatum” – we can ‘control’ your feelings on this sort of thing (another form of control) – everything is done in one way to establish some sort of control …

thereby ensuring one’s own survival …

and then one can find one’s own personal happiness (so it is thought.)

What so many folks don’t realize – it’s not about control.  It’s about giving in to your own human happiness – despite or instead, because of ‘losing control’ of things … letting things happen in their own time … and realizing: you don’t need to control everything.  Not all the time and all the while …

Let someone else have control once and awhile.

You may find that you are still surviving – with a whole lot less stress … if you’d only let things ‘go’ …

including those ‘control issues’ of yours …

Whether that be by trying to control a whole group of ‘friends’ (so that they will all ‘love you’ and see you as some sort of ‘valuable and superior’ human being – reducing the chances of them ‘attacking you’ – thereby ensuring your own personal survival..)

Or striving to be a perfectionist … thinking that by doing that you are going to be perceived as ‘superior’ in some way … preventing those other monkeys from attacking you …

Or doing massively good works in the hopes of that love thing again … trying not to let those other ones attack you …

Or going to war with someone (or thing) … in order to ‘eliminate’ some perceived threats and things ..

Or throwing yourself in front of a bullet … trying to save a friend … because you are secretly hoping you’ll live through this sort of thing … leading to that sort of ‘love’ thing again … plus the ‘superior monkey syndrome’ again …

We’ve had over 10 years of psych experience (Read: we got our masters in a way most people wouldn’t understand … dad made sure of that thing; plus a minor in sociology), plus a whole lot of ‘human being’ going on … having ‘separate heads’ helps in this sort of thing, since we often have to examine our own human emotions (and motives) that come with being a DID being and things …

and we wouldn’t quite buy it except for one thing:

When we’ve sat down with folks and explained it (happiness from survival which comes from control … of everything) … they tend to see and say:

“Ho!  You’re right on this thing.”

Not braggin’.  Just seein’ what we see … in human kind.


About jeffssong

JW is an adult childhood abuse survivor with DID*. He grew up in a violent family devoid of love and affection. He is a military brat and veteran. He no longer struggles with that past. In 1976 JW began writing "The Boy". It took 34 years to complete. It is currently on Kindle (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004T3IVKK ), or if you prefer hard copy, on Amazon ( http://www.amazon.com/Boy-J-W/dp/1461022681). JW resides somewhere in the deep South. He is disabled and living with family. Note: Please feel free to take what you need; all is free to all. With that in mind, keep it that way to others. Thank you. We have 3 Blogs - One for our younger days, 0-10 (The Little Shop of Horrors); one for our Teen Alter and his 'friends' (also alters) with a lot of poetry; and finally "my" own, the Song of Life (current events and things)
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5 Responses to What Drives Human Motivations?

  1. Fix says:

    Yes, human motivation Can be explained in this way, but it is not the whole story. I have heard it claimed that there is no such thing as altruism, as the desire to benefit others is at best a choice to do something that feels good and at worst self-aggrandizing and egomaniacal. That seems so disconnected and jaded to me. Sure people can feel threatened, can crave control, can try to avoid pain by any means… but is there not love in the world? -Is there no joy in sharing, sharing of ones self, ones happiness? -In making others happy, simply because it is fulfilling, is good, is right? I cannot believe (I Will not believe) in the bleak picture of human motivation which you paint… and more, it makes me sad, and concerned, too. Connection with others -truly being connected- might be an illusion, but I prefer that possibly illusory connection to alienation from all those around me. Consciousness itself cannot be proved to exist, and some psychologists say that if it indeed exists, it has no effect upon behavior… but I Believe in connection, in joy, in Love.

    -And believing in Love really doesn’t take too much “faith” for me, because I can see it, feel it, experience it. Even if I couldn’t, I would never want to lose Hope in goodness and love.

    Honest joy in the well-being of others, empathizing with others pain, being affected by the emotional state of those one loves… is it all self-serving? I assure you it is not. We Can be described in mechanical terms… but such descriptions ignore the parts of life which truly matter, and that which makes us worthwhile and, yes, Lovable.

    It actually hurts me to think of life in such terms… not because my self -or my self-concept- is threatened, but because I can empathize with the dreadful pain and fear and distrust which cause such views. It must Hurt. -And I’m not trying to “shake my finger at you”, but holding those views leads to even more pain, and -taken to extremes- leads to a total inability to connect with other human beings. That is Not Good For You.

    I know that pain and disillusionment and fear are natural for survivors of child abuse… but it is no way to live.

    Fear is the basis for a need to control… and Love and Control are I think antithetical. “Perfect love drives out fear”, and without fear there is no need for control.

    Perhaps someday you can come to trust; I hope so. People are not All hurtful; there IS innocence; there is empathy. -And Love Exists, I Promise you.



    • jeffssong says:

      ““Perfect love drives out fear, and without fear there is no need for control.” 🙂
      Love and the reasons …. if they love you, they will not attack you. Simple as that. And … if you love THEM – then perhaps they will love YOU. (How many times have you seen people distraught because “I love him/her! Why won’t she/he love me back?!”. And if they love you – you do not need to control (which certainly reduces your own stress levels – since you can devote your resources to other things – or even better, have this one who loves you help you to survive.)

      “altruism, as the desire to benefit others.” We’ve always been altruistic. It is part of sharing. But … could it be that when you ‘give’ – you know they will not (hopefully!) attack you back? After all … they desire you to give some more. We’ve seen this sort of thing; altruism where we gave … and gave … and gave … and as soon as the giving was over – the person ‘ran away’. It’s called (in our minds) “being used”. And that hurts because you pulled out of your own resource base to diminish someone else’s threat – and they abandoned you.

      Making friends; having lovers: how much is this related to the survival base? Friends and lovers can help you in this world; it makes sense to cultivate them. It improves your own survivability index – and even improves their own. Should ‘natural’ and fair give and take take place.

      But! Don’t despair. WE know the value of love; the sharing and the giving – however, in our helping people sometimes (therapy, so to speak) – sometimes it helps the victims of abuse to realize the core values – not to REJECT them – but just to realize what is going on when their spouse is trying to control them (and everything else in their, the spouse’s lives). This has worked wonders with a friend of ours; her husband is quite controlling, up to the point of being mentally/emotionally abusive. (He is also from a different culture than hers, which makes an even bigger difference: PR; the “manly man” type of culture, where ‘man’ is king and the woman “his”; a slave to his whims and controlling). Pointing these things out to her has made a big difference; now that she sees WHY he does what he does she is able to pierce that ‘manly’ balloon and make him address his own soul – and his problems with ‘controlling’ everything to the point of smothering her life, his daughter’s life, and the lives of the wife and daughters that came before (he’s been divorced once … due to this controlling thing. Realizing why it’s been done: from his FEAR … helps them realize a lot of things. This is an on-going effort, BTW: trying to save his “family’s lives” – and perhaps his own. She really wants to kill him (controlling her perceived ‘threat’ from him, which is quite simply giving her life over to him – and she wants to LIVE … not be some puppets on a string.)

      So…yes, we stay by our analysis and conviction because …. well, those 8 years of psychology studies; the same time in Sociology … that dad put us through (plus plenty of additional studying since then.) But we do not see this as a ‘bad thing’ – not at all! There is value in surviving – for in that you can begin thriving – and when you begin to ‘see’ why other people do what they do – you can help them by opening their eyes; letting them KNOW what they are doing and why. Like we told this woman: “recognize that it is a ‘perceived threat’ – and NOT a real one – and then you can settle down.”. It has already led to a reduction in fighting. Now we must simply get him to focus in on himself as the reason for his own unhappiness … and hopefully getting HIM to reliquish control over things that are not a threat to his own life. (He see’s EVERYTHING – from planting flowers to the color of her dress – as ‘something’ which needs ‘controlled’ by him – even if that something is just her.)

      We do not reject love; though we are often suspicious of it – but we also recognize (and try to compensate) for unnatural suspicions; that ‘hyper-vigilance’ about emotional matters. Realizing the emotions (and reasons for them) does not in any way negate the emotions, nor the value of them in our lives. Love IS a wonderful thing; compassion IS necessary to everyone’s survival / thriving / happiness. (Wry smile, thinking: if everyone was *happy* then there would be no *threat* to anyone – anywhere, ensuring their own survival.)

      “It actually hurts me to think of life in such terms.”
      Just because we can reduce human motivations towards a few key ingredients does not mean that the range, scope, value, and beauty of human nature is any different or of less value. It diminishes nothing in the human experience. It just explains a lot of things, which in turn gives us empathy towards some of the worst and crazier behavior (the hurtful kind) that we’ve seen in human beings. When we can understand the reason, we can feel compassion, and from that springs our love. I do not know if this is ‘normal’, nor do we let that be a limiting factor on our love. Often we love someone without knowing why; sometimes we love them ‘just because’. I suppose if we were to ‘dig’ we’d find the reasons (linked to the motives in this posting) – but for me & I and others? To love is simply enough. And if there are no problems we don’t even bother analyzing it. We just accept it and go on. We cannot and will not deny the value of what you said: all people are not hurtful (for we know you would not willingly hurt us) – and yes, we believe in Love for the same reasons: it is felt, known, experienced. There is no denying it. But we had to look further … we always go for the root; the reasons. And there is no harm in love – none at all. Not the ‘real thing’ – where all is accepted and forgiven – just as you would a child. (Unconditional love is our term for this thing; it’s about the only way we KNOW to love … or ever had, I’m thinking. always unconditionally, for that’s the way we believe love should be.)

      And even God wants to survive, BTW 🙂 So I guess we can credit him with that sort of thing. After all: we were (supposedly) created in His own image – meaning what we are … is god inside.

      Thank you Felix. I hope you have seen in this our duality in nature: understanding love – wanting love – but also trying to get to the reasons of things – not just for ourselves, but in helping others. So far it seems to be working. And we sorely hope we haven’t hurt ((((( you )))))) in this thing. Remember: worst case? It’s just our opinion; no need to take it for your own.
      Love. Breath life. Be sweet; being good: this are the qualities of a human life which make a life worth living (In our opinion).
      and you seem to do this well.
      Hug Luki for us next time you see him. Give him a special kiss right on top of his head. And tell him we love him. If only because he’s ‘been there’ … and so have I … and in our opinion – he is a very special child indeed.
      Love and kisses for you all (Mikie’s waving, laughing, butterfly kisses and all)
      thanks, friend.


  2. Fix says:

    No, you didn’t hurt me (!); I was simply worried about You. I recognize that “motivation Can be explained this way” – but I wanted to make sure you could also see the other side of the story. -It seemed such a dark and bleak picture. I am glad you do understand that there is another side to it. -And I’m not taking your opinion as my own; I don’t identify with you to that degree (lol)! Hugs back… and I’ll tell and hug Luki.


  3. Fix says:

    …And “a special kiss right on top of his head”, too, you got it.


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