The main point of this book is that most negative behaviors by adults are caused by regression to events in their childhood. That is, people or situations sometimes trigger a person to have inappropriate reactions, thus reenacting feelings from stressful situations from their childhood. If you are interacting with someone that reacts in a regressive way, it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with whatever part of that person’s past has been triggered. This can explain many weird and self destructive things people do.
The author describes causes of regression, provides examples of it in a variety of areas of life and hints at how people can prevent themselves from allowing old feelings from the past to dominate the present inappropriately. The author sees the solution as becoming conscious of what you are doing because regression is some form of going unconscious and acting on automatic. He describes various techniques that help bring these unconscious patterns to the surface, allowing the person to be conscious of what is really happening. In other words, help the person get into “present time,” and “grow up.”
In one chapter, the author uses falling in love as an example of “the greatest of all regressions.” He sees much of falling in love in our society as popular “because all the biochemical and neurological changes feel so pleasant.” He explains this as people allowing themselves to be “free to be like children—spontaneous and sensual,” but these unconscious feelings rarely last. He explains: “Falling in love again and again is like bungee jumping without a cord tied to your feet. We almost always hit the ground hard but the free fall into the unknown is worth it.” He advises “falling in love” is like losing control and operating on automatic. The more mature and adult method is “choosing to love,” meaning you start with developing a friendship first and are in control and not on automatic, which will be more likely to make reasonable decisions.