Stability or Less (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 228)

Yesterday, a long term employee of mine expressed her gratitude to me for educating her in and helping her to understand the principle of stability in regard to all behavior, but most specifically in regard to that of her child.

As I myself have said on many occasions, she began talking to me by reiterating that “It’s very difficult to be a parent who truly cares about your child and wants more than anything to do the right thing for them. There isn’t any type of instruction manual and unfortunately, most of the advice that everyone wants to stuff down your throat, including your parents and the rest of your family, doesn’t really work worth a shit. That advice more often than not, simply perpetuates ongoing behavior in yourself and your child that isn’t helpful or healthy in any long term manner. The same sins, madness, abuses, and confusion of the parents usually get passed on to their children. It happens in a familiar presentation of the societal norm, routine parental expectation, and supposed love, but in the end, there isn’t any real growth or learning or escape from the past for that child. Everyone involved, though, just keeps smiling and pretending like everything that could possibly be done is being done, that it is what it is, and that life is only supposed to play out that way. And meanwhile, if you are a person who actually observes and engages your child without that common delusional filter, you can see their suffering and struggle with all of life. You want to do something about it, but you don’t know where to turn or who to listen to. It doesn’t seem like anyone knows the answer.”

I replied “Well, you know that I understand all of that and that I agree with every word of it. I guess most people are just too broken or oblivious to want to look at all of that in the face and then be forced to do something about what they see. They are okay pretending to care, pretending to be a parent in the “normal” way, but not with acknowledging the actual degree of responsibility and obligation that they should have committed to themselves before biologically reproducing. It’s exactly the same way so many people approach their pets. You know that just as much as I do. We see it every day, over and over and over. People, parents, owners, whomever. . .they love to talk and editorialize about love and all that they do for those they love, but their actions are irrefutable proof that they are more focused on telling the fairy tale and selling it to everyone, than actually figuring out what it profoundly means to love and cherish another living creature. Love is stability, of that I have no doubt. Less than stability is instability or unstable or destabilizing, however you want to describe it, and that’s not love, that is passing on torment, suffering, and confusion to another living creature. That is anti-love and it is despicable.

I’m not sure how everyone is supposed to figure all of that out. Like you said, there isn’t an instruction manual and most people are raised to have no clue whatsoever about awareness, behavior, and empathy. Generation, after generation, after generation, repeats the same cycles without anyone intervening or breaking out of the delusional conformity of their family tree. It is impossible to even know where the blame starts, but in the end that doesn’t matter either, because one person after another just keeps passing on the demons to their children and then, their children’s children. Everyone’s caught in this acceptable repetitive loop of conforming excusable deniability instead of simply engaging in the reality of love; of either fostering and nurturing genuine stability or encouraging and enabling destabilization. I have had to connect the dots from a lot of diverse and complex shit to bring all of that into the focus that I now possess, but I know it’s true and I know it works. I wish I could share it with people on a much greater level than I do now, but most don’t listen. They have no desire to contemplate such complexity or embrace such a never ending burden.”

My employee had tears in her eyes when she spoke next. “I’ve seen such a difference in him. He was having a lot of problems before and acting out frequently and feeling like a failure. He told me once that he didn’t think anyone liked him, and I felt so sad, so sorry for him. I told him that that wasn’t true and I tried to help him, but it was hard to know what to do to really help him, how to offset or change the influences in his life that brought him to that point and made him continue to feel that way. Working here, I have learned an enormous amount about stability from you. I’ve seen it over and over with our patient’s and I’ve seen it over and over in employee interactions. I’m so glad that I have because it has made all the difference in the world in my child’s life. He has responded so well. The difference in him is so astounding. He won an award the other day in school for being the best at something. He didn’t get sent to detention or recieve a bad mark or get it trouble for failing a test. He didn’t get attention for being a failure or doing something wrong. He got attention for doing something right and being great at something. He was so proud of himself. He felt so good about his accomplishment and what he had achieved. You should have seen his smile and how happy he was. It made me cry.”

I smiled back with perhaps the faintest trickle of a tear in my own eye and said “That’s awesome. That’s so great to hear. That experience will stick with him from now on in his life. I think you know it, but that is a profound paradigm shift, and it is in such a great direction. I’m unbelievably happy for you and for him. That’s the difference between destabilization and stabilization, between “love” and tough love. You would think everyone who knows him would recognize that change, what brought it about, and want some for themselves, but the sad part is, most will erroneously chalk it up to something irrelevant or happenstance. I wish more would get it, but we know that they will not even when it is that black and white. Nonetheless, we will keep doing all that we may at the Castle* to keep spreading stability in our funky way as far and wide as we might, and being happy in whatever change, great or small, that we catalyze in the world for the better.”

*The Castle is a term I use to refer to the veterinary hospital that I own and operate.

Cribb          2018

Love Not of the Real Child (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 197)

It is one of the turning points in therapy when the patient comes to the emotional insight that all the love she has captured with so much effort and self-denial was not meant for her as she really was, that the admiration for her beauty and achievements was aimed at this beauty and these achievements, and not at the child herself. In therapy, this small and lonely child that is hidden behind her achievements wakes up and asks: “What would have happened if I had appeared before you, sad, needy, angry, furious? Where would your love have been then? And I was all these things as well. Does this mean that it was not really me you loved, but only what I pretended to be? The well-behaved, reliable, empathic, understanding, and convenient child, who in fact was a never a child at all? What became of my childhood? Have I not been cheated out of it? I can never return to it. I can never make up for it. From the beginning I have been a little adult.

The Drama of the Gifted Child: the Search for the True Self

Alice Miller          1994

The Two Poles of the False Self; The Root of much Mental and Behavioral Illness (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 190)

Paraphrased pretext note: According to Buddhist psychology, narcissism is an inherent consequence or side effect of maturation in human existence. It does not necessarily have to become a demon of future suffering, instability, and mental anguish, but most often it does. The adults suffering from such eventually become parents and pass this insufferable torch onto their children via their over invasiveness/intrusiveness or neglectful behavior in relation to their child’s true self. The child’s narcissistic anchor is unable to lock and hold on a stable parental entity in this dynamic and is thus unable to naturally autocorrect by withering away into oblivion from whence it came. Instead, the narcissistic anchor becomes a narcissistic “demon” possessing the child and that demon then assumes one of two possible versions, creating the shell of a false self around the child. Often, the child grows into an adult who continues to carry the demon for the rest of their life.

Cribb 2017


Just as the philosophers of the Buddha’s day could be described as either eternalists (who believed in an immortal heaven, God, or real self) or annihilationists (who believed only in the meaninglessness or futility of life, so the human psyche finds comfort in alternatively embracing one or the other of these views. they are in fact, the two poles of the false self: namely, the grandiose self developed in compliance with the parent’s demands and in constant need of admiration, and the empty self, alone and impoverished, alienated and insecure, aware only of the love that was never given. The grandiose self, while fragile and dependent on the admiration of others, believes itself to be omnipotent or self-sufficient and so retreats to aloofness or remoteness, or, when threatened, clings to an idealized other from whom it hopes to retrieve its power. The empty self clings in desperation to that which it feels can assuage its hollowness or retreats to a barren void in which it is unapproachable and which reinforces the belief in its own unworthiness. Neither feels entirely satisfactorily, but to the extent that we are governed by the demands of the false self, we can envision no alternative.

thoughts without a thinker

Mark Epstein, M.D.          1995

The Passing On of Life or Lifelessness (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 188)

In the premindfulness* state, our minds are most often operating independently of our bodies, on a different level, as it were, from the actions that our bodies are performing. When I read a bedtime story to my children, for instance, I can, at the same time, be plotting out the details of my next writing project to myself. If one of my children interrupts me to ask me a question, I find that I have no idea what I am reading about. Rather than being mindful, I am instead reading mindlessly, and while I would prefer to think otherwise, my children’s experience of me will be lifeless. Similarly, when walking to the store, washing the dishes, brushing your teeth, or even making love, we often are split off from our physical experience: we are quite literally not present. Our minds and bodies are not functioning as one.

*mindfulness, as defined in Buddhism – being aware of what is exactly happening in the mind and body as it is occurring.

thoughts without a thinker

Mark Epstein, M.D.          1995

Millie and the Most Important Thing of All (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 177)

Millie (age 9) said “So, what is marking? How does someone mark a pet or a person?” and after a sparked involuntary chuckle, Jody’s body gradually recessed into the corner of the sofa and seemed to brace itself for whatever might come. As she did so, her expression whispered to me “well here we go you madman, this ought to be good. . . are you really going to have a college graduate level discussion with my baby girl on behavior and psychology?. . . I can’t even imagine how this is gonna go, but I guess I trust you, you crazed and certifiable lunatic.”

After a long and detailed conversation of what needed to be said and discussed to answer Millie’s question appropriately, she tilted her head to the side with playful comprehension and triumphantly inquired of me, if such a thing can be done, “So, you should never mark anything with fear, right?”

And my smile refused to be caged by any constraints as I replied “That’s right Millie. You got it, you got it! You never mark anyone or anything with fear. It is not easy and it can be very very hard not to accidentally do, but you should never ever mark anyone or anything with fear. That is the most important thing of all.”

Cribb          2017

The Real Dog, Child, and Everything Else (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 176)

Pretext Note: I am a veterinarian and I have come to believe that comparative analysis of  the parallels between human to pet interaction, human to human interaction, and isolated human behavior to isolated animal behavior, is extremely helpful in illustrating and understanding the root causes of obsessive compulsive disease (drive disorders), mental instability (anxiety, fear responses, bully behavior), and egocentric projective delusion (the misunderstanding of the reality of the situation/disorder which prevents appropriate assessment and intervention/correction by external authorities as well as the victim themselves).

It is unfortunately true that many, if not the majority of, pet owners have little idea or minimal understanding about the genuine and undeniable behavior of their dog (pets in general). Pet owners are often masterful at creating and projecting intentions, motivations, and feelings onto their dog that simply have no foundation or basis in objective truth and behavioral analysis. I am not saying that it is easy for anyone to achieve the enlightened state of genuinely understanding behavior (over the projected distraction and confusing glitches in our own psyche). It took me a very long time (43-45 years in fact) that had to be coupled with an enormous amount of effort, awareness, intellect, observation, introspection, and a supreme desire to see beyond the pervasive satiating delusions that we all tend to be infected with from birth. It also took some luck at being fortunate enough to come into contact with someone who is exceptionally gifted in understanding behavior. My behavioral observations and conclusions have been challenged extensively by my own critical scrutiny and they stand solid and true in repetitive conclusion and application.

The most common response I receive from pet owners when I try to explain the true behavior of their dog is knee jerk denial and often scornful skepticism. Instead of listening and contemplating, being appreciative for the expertise of my words and explanation, most seem unsettled and agitated by the truth because it doesn’t fit in line with their preferred misperceptions and assumptions about their dog. In essence, the information I provide often shatters the illusion of what the owner has rewritten their dog to be for their own perceptional comfort. The rarer dog owner embraces the reality and revelation about their pet with appreciation and often good hearted humor. The more common dog owner honestly seems to dislike having to confront the reality of the situation even when such is required to address/treat a problem which they have come to me to inquire about.

This same misperceptive projecting glitch and egocentric delusional rewriting of another also occurs with many parents towards their children.

This same misperceptive projecting glitch and egocentric delusional rewriting of another (others) also occurs with many in regards to everything and everyone else.

It is always tragic, for such projective delusion blinds the perceiver from ever experiencing reality outside of their own head. Additionally, a dog, a child, a mate, a socioeconomic class, a foreign country, and whatever other entity, can never be seen, appreciated, understood, or stabilized/aided until such projective delusion and egocentric rewriting is shed from the perceiver’s soul.

Cribb          2017

Cleaving a Soul (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 174)

Our parents


the entirety


our innate existence


the miraculous wonder


our own conception,

cleaving our souls

into two or more,


we could even





This statement is my version or evolution of an original quote by Robert Bly. His original quote reads “Our parents rejected who we were before we could talk.” The quote is made in reference to the “shadow” aspect of our divided soul/psyche. A short quote from A Little Book on the Human Shadow (1988) reads:

The drama is this. We came as infants “trailing clouds of glory,” arriving from the farthest reaches of the universe, bringing with us appetites well preserved from our mammal inheritance, spontaneities wonderfully preserved from our 150,000 years of tree life, angers well preserved from our 5,000 years of tribal life—in short, with our 360-degree radiance—and we offered this gift to our parents. They didn’t want it. They wanted a “nice girl or a nice boy.” That’s the first act of the drama.