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

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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

Awakening or Bondage (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 185)

Yet, one of the most compelling things about the Buddhist view of suffering is the notion, inherent in the Wheel of Life image, that the causes of suffering are also the means of release; that is, the sufferer’s perspective determines whether a given realm is a vehicle for awakening or bondage. Conditioned by the forces of attachment, aversion, and delusion, our faulty perception of the realms—not the realms themselves—cause suffering.

thoughts without a thinker

Mark Epstein, M.D.          1995

Who do you think loves you? (Love vs Sex 244)

A woman said to a man “You have repeatedly called me a bully and a person who suffers from mental illness and delusion, how could you want to be with me if you believe that and I am constantly making you miserable?”

The man replied “I never said you were making me miserable. I never said that. You are putting words in my mouth that I never said. Instead of trying to tell me what I believe or how I feel about you, you might do better to pay attention to objective reality and my actual behavior, that is if you want to engage with the truth. You do not get to tell me how I feel or put words in my mouth to justify your fears. That is a distortion and a manipulation of reality which I cannot acknowledge for more than what it is. I cannot defend myself against your delusional projection and I will not. You are avoiding reality by creating a false premise regarding all of my feelings for you. You need to engage with reality.”

The woman flustered, fearful, and full of emotion, shot back “You have called me delusional. . .and a bully. . .and you have told me I was mentally ill! You have told me those things many times! Those are real! I am not making any of that up. Those comments, your comments, came out of your mouth. They were and are real, and they have happened many times. How can you think that I am such a monster and say that I do not make you miserable all of the time?”

“I have said you were a bully and that you are being delusional. I have also said that you suffer from mental illness and you do. I said all of those things and they are true, they are. I stand behind every one of those words and I am not recanting any of that. You are not always a bully, and you are not always delusional, but you do suffer from mental illness, and all of those things are connected and part of the same issue. I have discussed that calmly and indisputably with you a number of times. You know that.” Maintaining as stable of a tone and cadence as he possible could, the man continued, “How many times have I told you myself that I have also been delusional, and a bully, and suffered from mental illness? How many tales have I recounted about my negative and ugly experiences from being lost and confused in that delusion in the past? I have moved beyond almost all of that now, but it still lingers and I suppose that it always will. So, I’m not pointing any righteous fingers at you or pretending like you and only you are some kind of demonic abomination. I am trying to help you, you damn fool.”

He turned away from her for a brief moment as her silence and softened expressions seemed to suggest that she was trying to process his words. He gave her this moment of silence alone, intentionally, before continuing with what he needed to say. “I would look at your question differently. I would look at it and think about it in almost the exact opposite manner. Why would you not consider that if a man you know who is highly aware and perceptive, who knows you maybe even better than you know yourself, . . . if this man knows every one of your damn archdemons and slithering sufferings; your bully behavior, your supreme delusions, your overwhelming fear and insecurity. . . if he knows all of the intricate complexities of your mental illness and anguish. . . if he knows all of that shit, and not just the happygolucky superficial or watered down version of yourself that ninety-eight percent of the other guys and other people assume is the total culmination of you, . . . that he is the one who truly knows the totality of your existence inside and out, and that even with that knowledge and the burden of that knowledge, he has chosen, willfully chosen, to stand by your side despite all that excessive and weighty baggage you keep toting around with you everyday. Who do you think loves you? A person who just plays with your pseudo-perfect selfie projected persona or a person who truly forms a union with the good, the bad, and the ugly of you? You need to answer that question.”

Cribb          2017

 

Picking Flowers in the Midst of Hell (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 182)

“I try again and again to console my heart and to pick the flowers that grow in the midst of hell. I find bliss, and for an hour I forget the horror. But that does not mean that it does not exist.”

“You expressed that very well. So you find yourself surrounded by death and horror in the world, and you escape it into lust. But lust has no duration; it leaves you again and again in the desert.”

“Yes, that’s true.”

“Most people feel that way, but only a few feel it with such sharpness and violence as you do; few feel the need to become aware of these feelings. But tell me: besides this desperate coming and going between lust and horror, besides this seesaw between lust for life and sadness of death—have you tried no other road?”

Narcissus and Goldmund

Hermann Hesse          1930

The Point of the Give (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 179)

 

Pretext Note: This passage begins with observations specifically related to dog behavior, but evolves into a greater message regarding instability and behavioral disorders in people. I sincerely believe this message is of vital importance in regards to anyone who suffers from mental instability and I continue to believe that such instability is primarily a product of a behavioral disorder (a nurtured or learned disorder) as opposed to a pure genetic or medically inherited disease. The parallels of comparative behavior across species are extremely useful in illustrating this theory (and tangential associated theories) in cause, effect, and successful resolution.

A dog raised in a home environment without appropriate structure and boundaries is a dog that has been over-nurtured (spoiled) into believing that it is the master or ruler or supreme authority of all. In the reality of such a situation, that “all” for the dog only applies to its own household (own isolated pack), yet the dog has no profound reason or understanding to interpret its supreme authority of being any less authoritative anywhere outside of its own home (isolated pack). It cannot differentiate the “norm” of its isolated pack as being different from the “norm” of the very different greater world which exists outside of its isolated pack. The dog is thus significantly unsocialized and will be untempered in its accurate interpretation of relational behavior that varies from the over-nurturing it has learned to accept as all that is right and proper for itself.

If we assume that no fear has been added into this developmental equation by the owners, and we take the dog illustrated above and plop him on an exam room table, directly in front of a stable dominant authority figure, the dog will first attempt to flee. If not allowed to flee and not sappily “rescued” by his over-nurturing parents/family, and he is continued to be restrained by the stable dominant authority figure appropriately, the next move of the dog will be to do everything within his power to ignore and negate the reality of the stable authority figure. The dog will try to turn its body away as much as possible and will literally look down or from side to side to avoid having to acknowledge the authority figure who stands before it. If the stable authority figure is persistent enough, they will then repetitively and commandingly make the dog face themselves while making direct eye contact until avoidance of the posture and the glance is relinquished indefinitely. That is the point of the “give” by the dog which signifies that the dog has yielded its supreme authority to another “pack leader” who is more dominant and stable than itself; to a stable dominance which does not become an adversarial force or despotic ruler per se, but a rational and balanced reactive force of structure, accountability, accurate perception, and healthy non-codependent existence and interaction.

The “give” is a beautiful moment for a trainer or behaviorist, and perhaps even more so for the dog. It creates the proper or natural psychological parameters and understandings in the dog for a stable and balanced existence forevermore. It is an escape from instability. The greatest challenge to achieving this “give” comes from the people who are too unaware or too uninterested or too unskilled to lead the dog in a truly stable dominant manner, and aggressively interfere with said stabilization process, they often do, consciously or not.

This entire “dog” scenario (behavioral pitfall, expression, and “therapeutic” intervention), also applies almost verbatim to people. I promise you that. Behavior is behavior is behavior. But, just like a dog, people may escape from such instability. It is a much more complicated endeavor to obtain a “give” from an adult person due to the glitching intricacies of the human psyche, but such a hope and epiphany is still possible. It is a viable reality.

If we are to increase the number of “gives” from/in humanity, if we are to decrease the widespread instability which is present within our numbers, then we must as a whole apply greater effort towards increasing our collective awareness, empathy, skill, and focus towards such intent.

Doing less through passive ease and/or the fostered apathy of delusion, distraction, and willful ignorance has lead to the pervasive instability and behavioral problems which are now all too commonly witnessed throughout the species of “man’s best friend” as well as humanity itself. 

We need to return collectively to openly acknowledging and embracing the grace and universal salvation which is present within the point of the “give.”

Cribb          2017

The Paradigm Shift Required to Challenge Instability and Suffering, and the Most Convenient Way we Avoid It’s Recognition (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 168)

The act of visceral behavior and the fact of objective reality, intertwined as they are, serve as the primary auto-corrective forces in natural law and natural order to challenge the madness and instability of the human psyche which is brought about and fostered perpetually by delusional perceptions and techniques of chosen distraction (both of which most often manifest subconsciously and are cloaked in the awareness of the sufferer).

Inducing the sufferer’s engagement in objective reality and acknowledgement of the visceral behavior of all entities of relevance for any given dynamic is essential in the act of helping that suffering soul chose to extract themselves from their madness. That is the point of the epiphany or the paradigm shift required for their exorcism of their inhabiting demon and their resulting salvation. There is no other way.

The victim or sufferer unfortunately believes quite vehemently that they are accurately perceiving, as well as acting upon, reality. The suffering psyche is blind and refuses to even attempt to extend its awareness outside of its “norm” which is in reality a constructed pseudo-norm of isolated subjective bias, utilized (sometimes extremely selectively) to perpetuate a previously accepted standard of existence (suffering, hopelessness, fear in whatever form) for itself. The victim or sufferer implements this bias or self-destabilization out of their own volition, yet will deny any such suggestion, hint, or postulation, and instead will obsessively focus upon an excuse or a number of conveniently revolving excuses to justify and explain the torture and suffering it perpetually endures. A fear of moving forward and out of a “traumatic” past is at the heart of the matter. It is a survival mechanism glitch of the psyche, half trapped in the past, and half trying to believe in the possibility of experiencing a different future, but scared to death to believe in anything more than the “reality” of their past.

I believe what most often and effectively enables these victims and sufferers to disregard these auto-corrective forces of natural order, healing, and hope, is none other than the human language and our ability to talk our thoughts and ourselves away from our other senses and away from (our) actual behavior. Our oratory often becomes a verbal marker for fostering belief in our own delusion, sadly selling ourselves on our words instead of choosing to quietly focus upon the acts of listening and sensing; of silent perception and undistracted contemplation.

Cribb          2017

Answer the Question (Love vs Sex 242)

Why am I with you?
Please answer the question.

You’re with me because you love me.

And why do I love you?
What is at the core of my love?

You love me because I am aware, empathetic, and intelligent.

Yes, but what impact do those traits have upon me?
You have other traits too that are not as positive, that could be considered detractors or significant negatives. So, why do your positive traits outbalance your problems and the challenges they present to me?

I guess that even though sometimes it’s difficult to be with me, you believe that the good outweighs the bad.

Maybe in part, but that’s not really the answer. Why would I choose to stay with you? People don’t just stay with someone because they love them. Love itself is not enough and it has never ever really been enough to justify a true commitment to a relationship. Love is awesome all by itself, but commitment to a relationship of love is on a different level. So, why would I choose to stay with you?

I suppose because you believe in me.

Bada-boom, bada-bang, we have a winner! I guess late is better than never! It would not be so bad of an idea to try and remember that. . . may indefinitely or perpetually or something along those types of temporal parameters. Let me help you out one more time, just to get you started again. . . I believe in you, butthead.

Cribb          2017