Healthy Boundaries Versus Spiritual Bypass


It’s not even been a week since the Waking Life debacle news broke… already people are calling for forgiveness. We have also seen stellar community organizing and activism, equipped and enacted by some of the finest expressions of healthy aggression I’ve ever seen. Anger is an evolutionary tool. Along with our other emotions-sadness, fear, guilt, happiness, surprise and disgust- they developed when mammals hit the scene. Anger is the evolutionary tool to help us defend what is essential. When a mama bear stands on her hinds with her paws up and claws out, there’s no wilderness equivalent to people pressuring her to forgive. No other bears, or deer, or any other creature is encouraging her to stand down, to stop displaying her anger for the sake of protecting her cubs. No other animal would consider her natural instinct to defend what’s essential: HER CUBS, as shaming or negative. It is a hundreds-of-millions-of-years-old, field-tested reponse!

Unfortunately, a majority of people in our culture are instinct-injured. Amongst the most wounded, are some making way-too-early pleas for forgiveness, support and even calls to action to lift these men up. Frankly, that stance is fueled by a naivete that smacks of ‘Sympathy for the Devil’. It is downright spiritual bypass. If this were a situation that merely involved the fear and ineptitude-driven practice of misogyny, reparations would be in the realm of possibility. Psycho-education and therapy could potentially help. However, like it or not, we have been oriented to a deep-seated hatred and the psychological structural collapse of narcissism/sociopathy (read the red pill reddit posts if you doubt serious pathology..and these two men are just part of a sizable ring of other locals).

When the neurobiology of affiliation and bond overrides self-preservation/protection neurobiology, you can know for sure that you are dealing with actual threat from someone with whom you also have a bond. In psychology, this is called “Stockholm Syndrome”. The wildlife equivalent of this would be for the mama bear to nuzzle up to the predator and allow it to come in to her den.

I understand that it is sad and scary that we now know that two people in our community are seriously ill, and that their exposure has signified that there are many others that are equally ill and worse. Of course, this heart-break can only be healed with compassion. The etymology of the word is “to suffer with”…BELIEVE ME-WE ALREADY GOT THAT COVERED! I’ve never seen as much soul-wrenching suffering as I have this week. And you know what? All of those first, second, and third degree victims are pulling themselves up by being present with the pain…the pain caused by two men whose ego’s have calcified and mechanized to the point of refusing to feel their own pain.

True compassion is a mental, spiritual and physical state of integrity. One can care more authentically by NOT allowing predators to participate in a relational dynamic than to allow them to. When people are calling on members of the community to pull these men up, this is indicative of a highly disorganized neurobiological state. I know people intend well, but we all know the saying, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions”. Nature’s equivalent to this would be for the bears to reach out to the predator and to endeavor to teach it not to eat the cubs. Narcissists/Sociopaths are predators. They are psychologically incapable of living without taking energy from other human beings. They are also incapable of metabolizing their own emotions, so they also use others to deactivate them into. They cannot coregulate or self regulate, so they have to constantly use people. For these deeply damaged people, others are just supply and receptacles. It is the very definition of tragedy. IT IS NOT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE WHOLE-HEARTED TO PULL PEOPLE UP WHO HAVE FORCED OTHERS TO GO DOWN FOR THEM. We literally do not have the ability to respond (responsibility) to such untenability. It is anathema to nature. If we truly believe that nature is the design of some supernatural (etymology: beyond nature) force, then we have to have the humility to trust that only a power greater than ourselves can take care of the ‘righting’ of the people whose actions are so outside the realm of what is natural.

Yet there is so much we can do. What is in our power to do has already being mobilized through the numerous acts of community-building, activism, education and prevention we’ve seen in such a short period of time.

The powerful and beautiful community response to these egregious assaults to our tribe’s livelihood, is the paragon of people acting in synch with nature. Asheville, NC made the international press, not because narcissistic/sociopathic abuse of women is news, but because there is a movement in our community to bring back the literally natural practice of ostracism and enforcing consequences in response to predators.