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Education healing Mental Health Mindfulness Psychology

The Truth About Being Happy

Everyone wants to be happy. It’s not an abnormal desire. We’re here, on this planet for a short period of time, so it’s natural to deter feelings of misery or pain. It’s not fun and it doesn’t feel good.

For most, the concept of happiness has taken a left turn. People seek it as if it’s some attainable permanent mood, which is entirely counterproductive.

Happiness is not something you win like unlocking new levels on a video game. Even if you’re listed on a leader board, will that be good enough, or will you find another game to beat?

Life is full of unexpected problems. That’s the inevitable truth. People you love will die. Shit won’t work out the way you hoped or planned. People will break your heart and betray you. That’s life. But, does that mean you can’t “be happy?”

When problems slap us in the face, happiness feels like a distant destination. Perhaps, we’re on the wrong road, or maybe, it’s a place we’ll simply never get to. Obviously, these defeating thoughts can easily become a self fulfilling prophecy.

Sitting with pain is not something the mind and body particularly enjoys. In fact, like a machine, it’s hardwired to protect against invading stimulus. Consider a terrorist attack on ones homeland. Immediately, forces are set in place to protect and defend the country against further casualties.

Successful or not, the threat remains present. Plans will be devised to prevent a similar attack from occurring but bad blood remains. What they decide to do about it, isn’t the point, because if a solution exists, the aftermath of destruction doesn’t disappear. It happened. It’s real. People will suffer the consequence.

Our body works in a similar fashion, immediately defending from outside threats and attacks. It may successfully avoid, distract, or escape the pain, but it’s still there.

Staying present and falling into the wave feels unnatural. Our bodies are conditioned to enter survival mode, but unless you’re living in a jungle, continually attacked by primal species, reactivity is unnecessary.

As humans, it’s tremendously difficult to sit with pain, and unfortunately, it’s the only way to successfully banish it. Happiness is temporary, and so is pain. It comes in waves. Riding the wave as it comes, rather than fighting against it, is useful when hit with the next wave. The current won’t be as strong, the wave will be less demanding, and it arrives at your shore less and less.

Training the body to respond differently requires self awareness when trivial threats arise. Instead of habitually responding without much thought or logic, remain open to the “attack.”

It’s not going to kill you, and in fact, your body becomes resilient. Giving space for pain to exist is like paving a road to a “happier” existence. The more resilient you are, the less defensive you’ll be. Situations that were once deemed problematic are suddenly nonsensical and silly.

Although you’ll never reside inside of a permanent happy bubble, you’ll learn to withstand discomfort, and that alone is a freeing existence.

-Jessica Bruno

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Emotionally Unavailable healing Letting go love Narcissism Narcissistic Abuse Psychology Relationships Toxic Love Uncategorized

Does distance truly make the heart grow fonder?

We all know the saying and we’ll use it from time to time to make ourselves feel better when facing a shit circumstance… but is it true?

Here’s the thing. Absence does make the heart grow fonder. Love releases chemicals within the brain that are similar to the effects of cocaine. When removed, just like cocaine, distance creates symptoms of withdrawal within the body.

The brain became accustomed to the euphoric release of chemicals and without them, functioning becomes impaired for a short period of time. Like drug addiction, the body’s dependent on their drug, so when devoid, intense cravings occur, along with uncomfortable physical symptoms.

Most individuals crave and miss their partner during distance. Their presence was comforting, familiar, and felt good, however, not everyone will experience this phenomenon.

An emotionally unavailable partner is likely to reach out during distance when bored or lonely, but not because their heart grew founder. Why?

Any symptoms of withdrawal such as cravings or missing their partner, is considered a negative emotion, so when experienced it’s habitually suppressed.

Boredom and loneliness, although negative emotions, are also suppressed, however, they’re present enough for action to take place, but it’s not authentic. It’s like a watered down juice; you taste the flavor, but not nearly as strong.

When feelings are wholeheartedly expressed, withdrawal produces impairment and takes time to recover because the body’s essentially detoxing. If you loved and cared deeply for someone, it’s natural to feel deeply saddened by the loss.

It’s also important to consider that an emotionally unavailable partner or a narcissist, have sought out a replacement, filling that void. Since incapable of creating lasting, meaningful relationships, it’s likely they’ll reach out when that replacement ends, like it inevitably does.

If you find this dilemma is applicable to your current situation, just remember that you’re not an option, especially when they’re bored or lonely. Not to sound crude but…. fuck that.

Be with someone who treats you like the main course.. not a platter of desserts to pick and choose which one to indulge in.

-Jessica Bruno LMHC

Categories
healing love Narcissism Narcissistic Abuse Relationships Toxic Love Toxic Relationships

The Dizzying Cycle of Narcissism

A narcissist is a complex, manipulative individual, so naturally being in a relationship with one is mentally exhausting.

It feels as though you’ve been running in circles, accomplishing nothing, except an occasional bathroom trip to vomit from incessant, dizzying bullshit. It could be sunny outside, but a cloud of confusion rests above your head, and depending what phase you’re at in his dizzying cycle, it may be a thunderstorm.

A narcissist uses a three phase tactic, referred to as “the dizzying cycle,” to keep their partner engaged. Using the term “partner,” in such a context feels morally irresponsible, so instead I’ll use the word “target.”

Throughout the relationship, a narcissists target will experience three phases: idealization, devaluation, and discard.

The lovely idealization phase occurs at the beginning of the relationship. A narcissist identifies a new target they’re keen on procuring. When they look at you they see profit, and of course, they want it.

To be trappable, a narcissist understands he must put his best face forward, making sure interactions are flawless. To do this, he wears a mask, careful it doesn’t slip and reveal his true colors.

In the idealization phase, he love bombs the shit out of you, saying what he thinks you want to hear, throwing compliments, giving gifts, and showering you with attention, intent on making you feel special. Before revealing his true identity, it’s imperative you fall for him, otherwise, he has no legs to stand on.

When successful, he initiates the devaluation phase. Depending on the narcissist, this may occur overnight. Suddenly, they’re behaving like a different person. Naturally, issues arise due to this character change and any conversation is unproductive, leaving you confused and overwhelmed.

He offers no explanation for his behavior, and if he does, he’ll flip the blame on you. After a period of behaving callously and cold, he sometimes follows up with a sob story, plucking at your heart strings.

Eventually, after a period of benefiting from your supply, he decides you’re not worth the headache- too many emotions to deal with. You were poking holes, not only through his logic, but his mask as well, so he discards you.

It’s like being tossed in the trash, displaying no emotion or care while doing so. You won’t get an explanation, and because he lacks empathy and truly doesn’t care, he smiles while doing it.

Whatever action is taken afterwards, in attempt to establish closure, is denied via silent treatment. You reaching out, calling, and sending texts, expressing your emotions, only serves at feeding his insatiable ego. It makes him feel important and special.

The alarming thing about this cycle, is how parasitic a narcissist can be. Just because he discarded you, doesn’t mean it remains that way. A narcissist will come back, repeating the three cycles for as long as you allow it.

Each cycle becomes worse. The idealization phase will have a shorter duration and his method of discard will become increasingly cruel. The process is selfish and undeniably heartbreaking.

A target could spend years trying to maintain the idealization phase, riding the highs and lows in hope that one day he’ll remain the person they fell in love with.

Hopefully, after enough abuse, a dawning realization transpires: he was never the man you fell in love with.

-Jessica Bruno LMHC