On Friday at the end of my run, I ran into a man who told me that there was a “very large black cat” near the pond by my house. I could tell from his voice that he was a little bit spooked. He also seemed liked he was in a hurry to get going. When I asked him, “how large are we talking?” He wouldn’t answer”. When I asked him, “are we still talking about a house cats here?” He shook his head, as if he was telling himself, “that’s crazy talk, then hurried away. He didn’t answer me.
This man seemed to be doing what countless intelligent people unconsciously choose to do every day; ignore, or chose to be ignorant of what they see, of instinctual things they at first believe to be true.
Academic research discusses how neural networks in the human brain are hard-wired to reject information that will make us less certain and keep peace. When faced with conflict, neurons in our brain activate our defense mechanisms of avoidance, denial, minimization, and trivialization, etc. These neurons literally work to shut down our negative thoughts through engaging in faulty reasoning. Our brains then recruit reward neurons to make us feel good about our faulty decisions.
Within two days, numerous other sightings of a bob cat or mountain lion were surfacing, plus reports of missing chickens. This leads me to think of how many others shake their head and tell themselves that their instincts about child abuse might be crazy talk, or something they don’t want to get involved in.
Being aware of your own neural processes toward keep peace and staying uninvolved. Might they be leaving a child in a bad situation?
Dr. Kelly Palfy - psychologist, speaker and the author of: Men Too: Unspoken Truths About Male Sexual Abuse