Hyperfocus (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 234)

If you can hyperfocus on:

1) A, then can you also hyperfocus on B?
2) blue, then can you also hyperfocus on red?
3) exercise, then can you also hyperfocus on being sedentary?
4) eating obsessively, then can you also hyperfocus on anorexia?
5) sex, then can you also hyperfocus on abstinence?
6) being faithful to a mate, then can you also hyperfocus on being an unfaithful adulterer?
7) ingesting meat with every meal, then can you also hyperfocus on being a vegetarian or a vegan?
8) reading, then can you also hyperfocus on never reading and watching movies instead?
9) accumulating material goods, then can you also hyperfocus on being a minimalist?
10) being resentful and unappreciative, then can you also hyperfocus on being appreciative?
11) emotional volatility, then can you also hyperfocus on emotional stability?
12) being anxious, depressed, and distracted from incorporating reality into your existence and your awareness, then can you also hyperfocus on being relaxed, happy, and mindful in incorporating reality into your existence and awareness?

The difference isn’t the target, it’s the choice of the target, and often that individual’s choice hinges on whatever fear or socially attentive benefit has been sown into their psyche regarding that choice.

A person either possess the drive and ability to hyperfocus on any chosen subject, action, item, or ideal, or they do not. “Relative hyperfocus” is a choice (even if it has been traumatically marked and induced by PTSD or other overwhelming abuse/fear), not an instinctual or naturally occuring mandate.

Cribb          2018

A Lawyer, former JAG Officer, and 9th Degree Black Belt talks with SuperNerd Boy at the Waffle House (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 231)

I sat next to and spoke with a lawyer of 3-4 decades of vocational experience who had also served in the JAG Corps and holds a high level degree of martial arts expertise at the WH today. Our independent thoughts and observations were quite similar to one another. Most memorable takeaways from the conversation that we both passionately agree upon:

1) A “correction” is only a challenge to produce a learning and stabilizing opportunity in the “offender” ‘by said authority figure. It is not a trap or a tool to demean or further destabilize anyone. Corrections must occur in a stable environment to create the proper perspective and achieve efficacy. Punishments in unstable environments are only traps and they are completely opposite in intent to that of a correction.

2) Mistakes or failures must be allowed to occur by rigorously maintaining objective boundaries and structure within any given system of accomplishment. These mistakes and failures are only a “thermometer” (per my JAG friend) of learning and adjustment to help a person understand and determine what they must focus upon and master to achieve the accomplishment desired. A mistake or failure is only a mistake or a failure and nothing more. Such an outcome does not suggest permanence or inherent inability. It only indicates a failure to achieve a given goal or skill at a given time as a result of some, likely correctable, deficit (often focus or degree of application).

3) There are very few genuinely evil people in the world. The overwhelming majority of those who are unpleasant or creating strife or being abusive of others, do so as a result of being previously destabilized by environment forces or entities (negative nurturing) beyond their control at a given time of development. These people have had their new “normal perspective” pathologically reset by that previous trauma or melding to change them into an angry or paranoid or defensively selfish creature for the remainder of their life.

And it is completely possible that we and not those victims could have fallen into despair and suffering by those same forces in an alternate reality. In other words, our experiences are only due to random probability in a very high degree when when are children and in our most vulnerable developing stage.

4) We all gain invaluable perspective when we are forced to objectively experience the consequences, punishments, and treatments that we bestow upon others; the lawyer being locked up with other criminals in a cell and being forgotten about by the prison guards, the teacher becoming a pupil, and the doctor becoming the patient. Suffering the system is much different in unstable environments than implementing the system. Empathetic universal perspective allows the guardians of the system to maintain its stability for all.

5) Current day musicians do not produce music and lyrics to any significant degree that are as reflective and interwoven with the philosophies, mysticism, and ponderings of great minds and great literature as they once seemed to do. References and associations between music and literature such as the “Doors” and “Steppenwolfe” for example, have become much less common. This seems a product of our current culture of focus or lack thereof.

Waffle House Conversations

Cribb          2018

Sentenced to the Electric Chair (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 230)

Imagine you had been sitting in an electric chair for 44 years and the whole time you were sitting there, you were hyper-aware of your pain and the overwhelming sensation and reality of the insanity and chaos throughout existence. Imagine you could handle all of that, take all of that pain, all of that awareness, and that even though it had scorched you more than most could endure for longer than a few hours. . . you had survived because for some unknown and perhaps silly reason, you were really strong. Imagine, that what really hurt you. . . what tore at you and hurt you so much more was that you could see most everyone else sitting voluntarily, eagerly in their very own electric chairs, strapping their own children and their own animals into the same type of torture device as soon as was possible. . . you could see couples grinning at each other as they flipped each others switches to fry one another’s brain and one another’s heart and one another’s soul; all the while making their children watch so they could learn how to embrace such a lifelong infectiously shocking existence themselves. Imagine, you were a witness to it all. . . and you were doing everything in your power to turn off the electricity, but all of those people just kept grinning and grinning and grinning at each other while they flipped and flipped and flipped those switches. Imagine.

Cribb          2014

The Secret Bully Adult who was Once an Abused Child (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga) 229

A person who has been previously abused by a parent, but who did not suffer absolute  obliteration of their spirit and drive as a result, will often display unique, conflicting, and paradoxical behavior towards different people in their adult life.

For those they perceive as being submissive to them or nonthreatening, more specifically noncontrolling, in any shape, form, or fashion, they will conduct themselves as laid back, aloof, and free spirited. This is their “excuse” to rationalize to themselves that they haven’t grown up to become the same type of bully that their abusive parent was. This is pseudo-behavior or convenient mimicry. A bully can always appear laid back or aloof or even fairy like as long as they are getting their way regarding everything that they want at the moment. It can be even further confusing and enabling to such a bully if they happen to be a teacher, business owner, or similar person in a position of authority and those who are subservient to them shower them with praise for being so fair and honest and understanding. But, we must remember subservience is the key to the reality in these cases, not the praise.

You will not see the true colors of such a bully come out until they have to compromise or share or yield to better judgement in a relationship that might temper their spoiled brat behavior and impulsivity of action. You will not see them display anxiety or suffer from significant delusional perception (PTSD if you will from their previous parental abuse) until they interact with a person who is more dominant than themselves. The dominant interaction or challenge is the trigger to their selective delusion because they viscerally sense that such dominance perceives the genuine reality of all of their bully behavior.

This bully will counter the true dominant figure in one of three ways. First, they will try to charm the dominant into letting them continue to get away with their spoiled brat antics forever by suggesting that “it’s just the way they are or just the way that God made them.” This, of course, is only an elaborate excuse for them to be selfish and not have to answer to any other authority figure. Secondly, they will bombard the dominant with delusional parameters, assumptions, and fears, in an attempt to destabilize and overwhelm the dominant into “caving their better judgement” or “over-nurturing” them because of their supposed “trials and tribulations.” Third, they will create a self fulfilling prophecy of events and perceptions that will implode the relationship while putting the blame on the scapegoat dominant, so that they can escape the dominant oversight, and resent in a relationship with a submissive to retain the confidence of their previous pseudo-personality.

The greatest and almost insurmountable fear of this secret bully adult who was once an abused child is that they might become their abusive parent. Because of such fear this type of bully will go to any length whatsoever to avoid recognizing the reality of what they have allowed themselves to become via reverse imprinting. That includes the sacrifice of a loving mate and the perpetual destabilization of their own children. This dynamic can easily inflict severe mental illness and suffering on future generations before they even have a chance to protect themselves or understand that they are being imprinted upon. It is imperative that this pattern of behavior be brought to light for consideration and open discussion with those who have suffered from an abusive parent.

Cribb          2018

Family in Reality and Delusion (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 226)

My dad has told me several times over the recent past that he can’t talk to my brother like he talks to me. My brother is a highly intelligent and professionally successful forty six year old man and what my dad means specifically by his statement is that he can’t speak truth or have a genuinely open conversation with my brother about anything. If my dad were to attempt to do so, my brother would have a temper tantrum and yell abusively at him or withdraw immediately from the conversation and my dad’s presence or somehow punish my father in a retaliation like ostracizing him from his grandson forevermore.

This isn’t an overstatement or a paranoid delusion. It is a reality and I know that my father is speaking truth when he makes the statement. I believe he has reminded me of this reality as of late for two primary reasons.

I think it saddens him to know that he can never actually engage in a profoundly genuine interaction with my brother. He can’t speak his real mind or thoughts to his own son or be a father who can offer hard truths and external insight in the hope of helping his direct offspring slay his demons.

I also believe that my dad reminds me of this fact to let me know how happy he is that I allow him to express his core feelings, emotions, expressions, and reflections with me, without imparting a reflexive guilt, admonishment, or brandishing judgement upon him. He grew up in a family situation where less parental involvement occurred and tender heartfelt discussion was avoided. I find it to be very sad when families focus more upon pretending to be a family than actually behaving like one. To this day, I still have to remind him that it is okay for him to give me his opinion or advice. I remind him that I know he means only the best for me and that I don’t consider his recommendations an intrusive behavior or bully move. I tell him that it is okay to be my father in word and deed, that such is dearly appreciated, and that debates and disagreements do not have to cause pain, fear, withdrawal, guilt, or an end to any conversation or relationship. Those unfortunate endings, we can avoid together.

It is odd that I have spent my entire life trying to figure how to end the suffering of my mother and her “replacements” which I have always migrated towards in my relationships, without any significant success, and yet, I have been able to extract a man from the numbing collective matrix of deindividualized superficiality whom I once so falsely and so tragically perceived as the cause of every bit of all of that suffering. I have seen the transformation of my father. I have witnessed the person, the human, once lost completely within the suppressed and homogenized herd, once also nothing more than a sacrificial lamb of excuse for my mother, find his way. I have witnessed my dad’s rebirth and I believe his epiphany that real talk, real conversation, is the good stuff, the priceless tough love of the soul, that life is not made to do without.

My brother doesn’t realize that psychologically he is only a reverse imprint of my mother. Basically, he saw my mom treat my dad a certain way all of his life and his response was to then declare that no woman would ever treat him like my mom treated my dad. He suffers from severe insecurity, just like mom did and he continues to avoid any check or correction from reality that comes too close to making him face that fear. That’s why he chooses to control his reality by avoiding real conversation. That is why he is so terrified of such an interaction.

My dad expressed some guilt to me the other day for maybe not doing enough to push or convince or nurture my brother into facing his fears so that he might engage in objective reality. He felt he had let my brother down.

I had to remind my father that he had done nothing wrong. I admitted that my brother’s condition was sad and unfortunate, and potentially tragic, but that his life and his choices were solely up to him. His life and choices could not be forced upon him by someone else, even his own father. I told my dad that he had done all that he might and that he must let the issue rest until my brother decided it was time to help himself.

I said “Dad, as crazy and insane and confused as I have been, I never stopped asking the questions, never. I still remember mom asking me why, why I always asked such silly questions. I may have been mad or foolish or lost, but I always wanted to figure a way out of the trap. I wanted to overcome all of the endless shit and anxiety and anger that I felt and that I saw others experiencing. I could never dismiss the fact that such an achievement wasn’t possible. The joy and beauty I had felt in part could not be sacrificed or even balanced with all of the pain and suffering. It only made sense to figure out a path that would allow that joy and beauty to reign. I know I got lucky in many ways and I know I still make mistakes, but I figured it out. I got there because I never stopped asking questions and seeking the truths present within reality. I think you have done the same, dad, in your own way. Unfortunately, mom’s fear paralyzed her to the point where she decided to retreat within her own mind and never ask another legitimate question of the outside world ever again. She folded. That was her decision. Your other son, has proceeded in the same manner as mom. He isn’t asking any real questions of you or me because he is too fearful of where it might lead, the truths he would have to face if he did. We can’t do anything else for him until he decides he is ready to ask those real questions for himself. I wish it were different, but it’s not. I promise you that’s the truth.”

Cribb          2018

Stopping the Curse and Cycle of Mental Illness Before it is Cast (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 212)

My mother was a highly intelligent, hyper-aware individual. She was also unquestionably mentally ill. It is impossible for me know or assess how much of her mental illness was purely genetic/inherited and how much was environmentally nurtured. I am confident that both factors are involved in such a disease, but her ratio of risk from each factor will always remain a mystery to me. I have come to believe that the environmental factor, the taught and imprinted perception and behavioral interpretation, thrust upon a child from their parents (their earliest authority figures) is the primary governing consequence which determines the child’s ultimate susceptibility to the degree or extent of suffering from mental illness in the overwhelming majority of cases.

If my assessment is accurate, that means that the majority of mental illness is actually as much or more of a behavioral problem as it is a mental one. I can prove this in animals and the correlation to people is more than easy to illustrate to anyone who is willing to listen and consider the obvious evidence.

As a result of suffering from mental illness and lacking the help, support, recognition, comprehensive understanding, and nurturing stability required to treat such a condition, my mom fell into the predictable state of severe anti-social introversion, paranoia, chronic anxiety, and severe insecurity. In other words, the instability she had suffered, her failure to understand it, and her inability to put it in its proper perspective, left her mentally suffering, crippled with fear and believing her best option was isolation from almost everyone.

Yet still, a spark of desire for human connection remained in her, as it does even in those of us who are the most damaged. My father cared for her the best he could and I believe loved her to the fullest extent she would allow. Because of her overriding insecurity, she banked almost all of the love she thought she needed in the world into her children; into entities that she could control, and “protect”,  and “love”. But, protection and love are easily twisted by an insecure psyche, and most commonly, a parent suffering from such will over-nurture (spoil) their children in an effort to “buy or purchase” their child’s love and commitment. This is doomed to fail. It weakens and destabilizes the children, teaching them to be bullies who are paradoxically often dependent on those they bully. Those children also have often inherited the high awareness and high drive of the mentally ill parent which often confuses the matter exponentially more. These children, now high drive, highly aware, bullyish, but also codependent on those they bully, eventually grow into adults.

I dealt with such issues for a very long time and only through tenacious unrelenting introspection, and perhaps the luck of my external life, was I able to move beyond this curse or possession. In those who remain trapped and suffering, they often detect or feel an unrecognizable inescapable pathogen, but they can never quite come to the point of realizing that the psyche they have chosen to live by is the demon that torments them so hellishly.

The key to avoiding such suffering in any individual and in such an individual’s eventual children is to stop the cycle and the curse before it develops, not after it has snowballed into a juggernaut beelzebub reproducing abomination for years and years, or even half a lifetime. Children, most especially the highly aware and the highly intelligent, need the structure, insight, and guidance, of a truly stable and balanced pack leader in their early developmental stages to ward off all of the demons of mental anguish and instability which constantly swirl about to infect, and linger, and fester in our souls.

This is why behavior and genuine stability is so important. It is the only way to break the cycle. It is the only way to deliver our highly aware and highly intelligent children, and even our high drive pets, from the otherwise inevitable confusion, suffering, and mental illness created by being trapped in an unstable pack (support group).

Jeff Cribb DVM          2017

Struck With (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 209)

What I hear from trauma survivors, what I’m always struck with, is how upsetting it is when other people don’t help them or don’t acknowledge the reality of their situation or respond very poorly to the suffering, needs, and distress of all of those involved. I’m very struck by that.

And I’m very struck by how many Holocaust survivors got through because there was one person that focused on their survival or because they focused on another’s.

So, I believe that how we behave towards one another individually and in society can make a very big difference in the effects of environmental events (trauma, tragedy, disaster) on our molecular biology (expression of PTSD, depression, anxiety, etc.). It becomes very interesting when you think about it that way, but I believe it’s true.

Rachel Yehuda
Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience
Transcript excerpt from On Being recorded 2015