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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

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healing Letting go love Narcissistic Abuse psychology Relationships Toxic Love Toxic Relationships

Narcissism Isn’t A Choice – It’s A Mental Disorder

When healing from narcissistic abuse, the aftermath of confusion and pain are often the focus of conversation.

Of course, it’s healthy to discuss and understand your relationship with a narcissist, but I’ve noticed an important aspect missing in that conversation.

Narcissism is a mental illness. In the DSM-5: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders, (also my version of google) refers to this illness as Narcissist Personality Disorder.

For an individual to meet criteria for diagnosis, five of the following nine symptoms must be present:

  • 1. Grandiose sense of self- importance
  • 2. Preoccupation with fantasies of success, brilliance, power, ideal love, and beauty.
  • 3. A belief that he or she is special or unique and can only be understood by likeminded individuals.
  • 4. A need for excessive admiration
  • 5. A sense of entitlement
  • 6. Exploitative behaviors
  • 7. A lack of empathy ***
  • 8. Envy of others or belief others are envious of them
  • 9. Arrogant or haughty attitude and behaviors

A disclaimer is paramount: behavior ranges on a spectrum. Not all individuals who display a few of these symptoms meet criteria for diagnosis. The average person will experience moments of self-importance, arrogance, entitlement, or a need for admiration, etc.

During an evaluation, presence of symptoms is not enough- duration and frequency are essential components when considering diagnosis. A person who exhibits such symptoms for a short period of time, on a less frequent basis, will not qualify for narcissistic personality disorder.

An individual must present with five out of nine symptoms, beginning in early childhood and also occurring in multiple situations. A desire for admiration, sense of entitlement, arrogance, in romantic relations alone- isn’t enough.

An individual fitting criteria for diagnosis would frequently meet five symptoms with an early onset, causing impairment in several domains of life- social, vocational, educational, and relationships.

Being aware of this is important for healing to take place. You were dealing with a mentally ill individual that operates under a skewed and irrational perception of reality. If he doesn’t acknowledge or seek intensive therapy, he’ll continue to suffer from NPD.

Nothing was your fault. Take it with a grain of salt and never take his actions personally. There’s nothing you could have done differently to change him. It’s a decision he must make. If forced upon him, it would only lead to resentment and under such circumstance, improvement is rarely effective.

All that confusion, frustration, and mental exhaustion wears you down, to the degree of questioning your own sanity. You were in love with an individual who currently lacks capability to think and behave rationally, using manipulation and exploitation as means of communication.

You’re not crazy, dramatic, or asked for too much. You were a vicim responding to a confusing and abusive situation.

This weight is not yours to carry.

It’s time to put it down.

-Jessica Bruno LMHC

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Education Emotionally Unavailable healing Letting go love Narcissism Narcissistic Abuse psychology Relationships Toxic Relationships

2 Early, Crucial Warning Signs You May Be Dating A Covert Narcissist.

How do you see a warning sign, if it appears to you, an embellished gift? Ironically, early signs can be brushed over by the compelling features of a new relationship. Unless one lives cautiously, with a skeptical perspective, is it plausible to consider, a decorative gift may be an empty box of cardboard….or worse, a king snake?

It’s too good to be true”:

Are they showering you with attention, gifts, compliments, while confessing, “I don’t usually do this.” Super weird, because they seem to naturals at it. If you’re struggling to find a flaw in your partner, they could be love bombing you. I would like to declare, “putting your best face forward,” doesn’t indicate an insecure individual, but I can’t. Sure maybe on a job interview, but a relationship? I don’t think so. A secure individual understands it’s healthy to show up and present as your true self because having flaws is not only human, but unique. I always say, if they’re seemingly “perfect,” a relationship is not what they’re after, its validation and admiration.

When they can no longer put their best face forward, and their mask begins to slip off, issues arise. People pretending to be someone they’re not, aren’t satisfied with who they are, and because that demands deflection, they’ll never be satisfied with you, regardless what you offer. A partnership inevitably requires work, and if they were in it for the long haul, they wouldn’t have entered as a different person.

Best sex you’ve ever had:

I’m not delusional enough to suggest this is a problem without stipulation. If you were mind blown after the first time you had sex, and almost every single time afterwards, it might be a performance, especially, if he often makes comments, or asks questions relating to the sex or his capacity to make you feel good. For a covert narcissist to feel important, he must impress you and win you over. Look for signs of sexually compulsive behavior, that indicate a point is trying to be made, for example; initiating sex, back to back with little breaks in between. (I’m talking multiple times in a short period)

The last thing is to look for signs of ownership, specifically within the first few engagements. Look, if you’re into roleplaying and what not, by all means- fantastic, but if he treats your body as if he already know’s it, when he should be learning- not fantastic. Unless there was a beforehand discussion on what you’re into, and what you like, he shouldn’t act like he knows, at least not so damn confidently.

-Jessica Bruno, LMHC

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Education Emotionally Unavailable healing love Narcissism Narcissistic Abuse psychology Relationships Toxic Relationships

Are you dating a narcissist?

A narcissist is emotionally unavailable, but not every person who’s emotionally unavailable is a narcissist. If you’re going to begin healing and confront brutal truths, it’s necessary to know the difference.

Two Main Types of Narcissists

An overt narcissist behaves like your “average” narcissist. They loudly brag about their accomplishments, one up everyone in the room, and exude an air of arrogance. They want to be powerful and untouchable. I imagine they dream of leading a cult with millions of followers, who wake each morning, praying to a photo of their face.

For such reasons, an overt narcissist is easily identifiable. As soon as you meet one, you’ll know. Underneath their mask of confidence, lies an incredibly insecure individual, compensating their feelings of inferiority by seeking external validation.

A covert narcissist, commonly referred to as the passive aggressive narcissist, is difficult to spot, making them dangerous. They’re subtle, calculative, and move cautiously. Their charming mask isn’t noisy like the overt narcissist- it’s quiet. Initially, their behavior is thoughtful and attentive, listening rather than speaking.

It’s not uncommon, for those who date a covert narcissist to remain in the dark until they’ve been discarded (although, they always come back and repeat a three phase cycle- which I’ll elaborate on in another post.) Their manipulation is subtle, hidden behind hot and cold, aloof, and passive aggressive behavior, leaving you in a cloud of confusion, constantly doubting what’s true and what isn’t.

Regardless, whether you’re dealing with an overt or covert narcissist, the underlying motivation is the same; to seek admiration and feel a sense of importance, disregarding the cost. Their personal relationships are merely transactions to receive a source of supply they can selfishly benefit from.

If this hurts you, they genuinely don’t care. A narcissist does not experience emotions and human compassion like the average person. They lack emotional depth, so tapping into someone else’s is extremely difficult, and to some, impossible. Their lack of empathy ranges on a spectrum, like all behavior, and it’s likely they suffer from a personality or mental disorder (but not always, in which case, behaviors would indicate mild to moderate on the spectrum.)

Initially, allowing you to feel wanted and cared for is easy, because they’re prepping you for supply. Once obtained, you fall down the rabbit hole and become trapped. The rest of the process consists to maintain your placement down in the trenches, exerting minimal effort, but enough to keep you guessing, wanting more.

Having established an upper hand in the relationship, they’re free to return as they please, stealing supply by saying what they know you want to hear, via false promises, and retreating back as if it never happened, leaving you dumbfounded and upset.

Showing them you’re upset feeds their ego more. If you disclose how their emotionless behavior makes you feel and express your undying love, in hope it might change their ways, your tears of frustration is music to their ears. Whatever you’re saying is not digested, because all they hear is, “Wow, look what I can do. I’m so special, loved, and important.”

The Emotionally Unavailable

The emotionally unavailable are often called narcissists because their emotional disconnect can be easily mistaken for a lack of empathy. When an individual, such as the emotionally unavailable, learns to suppress their emotions, the process of doing so, becomes habitual, but doesn’t indicate a destitute of empathy. (In another post, I’ll discuss why one learns emotional suppression and the function is fulfills)

Their feelings and actions shift, without rhyme or reason, leaving you perplexed, without solid ground to stand on. Dissecting every word and behavior becomes a full time job without benefits or compensation. You’re running in circles, expecting to arrive at a destination. Feeling constantly uncertain is the one thing you can be certain of. Just like dating a narcissist, this is no peaceful place to reside. 

Like you and I, the emotionally unavailable have feelings. They’re human too. You know this, although sometimes it’s hard not to peer up at the sky and look for unusual spaceships. They desire to be seen and loved but suppressing emotions is habitual and creates unconscious internal conflict that’s projected through inconsistent behavior. 

Just like the covert narcissist, their initial presentation was entirely different in the early phase of the relationship, alluring their partner into a trap. The main difference between emotionally unavailable and the narcissist is intention.

A narcissist intends and profits from your misery, not giving two shits about it. An emotionally unavailable person profits, making it difficult to leave even if you’re miserable, but doesn’t necessarily want to make you feel that way, but if it happens, they’re not exactly remorseful or concerned due to their ability to disconnect from those feelings, but deep down, they do exist.

Their intentions are not malicious, although it may feel that way. Disclosing how their behavior makes you feel, will prompt them to withdraw and retreat to a place of comfort. Since they’re threatened by their own emotions, dealing with yours, feels like the ultimate ambush. *Aborts mission, avoids, and hides.* In turn, you witness a cold, dismissive partner, and naturally will take it personally, but it really is a defense against vulnerability and fear of dependence. Avoiding that is their perception of surviving.

As they dismiss your feelings, you question whether or not you’re even entitled to have them, and begin wondering if there’s any truth behind their words, since their actions paint a different story. This subtle manipulation may not be intentional, but just like a narcissist, they rarely ever leave and stay gone.

Walking back into your life after a period of silence, and repeating that same cycle is incredibly selfish, but you’re dealing with someone who lacks emotional intelligence. You can say how you feel and they can try to imagine how you feel, but if they’ve never walked in those shoes, what perspective do they relate with? Especially since this level of emotional disconnect is embedded from an early age. This doesn’t excuse their behavior, but allows you to take responsibility for your own.

I’ll continue to discuss these lovely gems, diving into the “whys and hows” their behavior originated, and why that attracts you to them, as well as why they’re attracted to you. A somewhat obvious hint: polar opposition. It’s a dysfunctional dance of a toxic balance. If you care to understand these complex movements, stay posted.

-Jessica Bruno, LMHC

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Education Emotionally Unavailable healing Letting go love Narcissism Narcissistic Abuse psychology relationships Relationships Toxic Relationships

You can’t reach someone who isn’t there.

Hi and welcome, I’m Jessica, your candid, probably too candid, cyber blogger, and …..someone else’s therapist.

I’m happy to see that you’ve fallen and crashed into my blog instead of colliding, dead smack into another emotionally disconnected, avoidant partner. If you ever decide to return, I’ll make sure it’s a meaningful experience, filled with promising revelations and insights. You have my word. I’m also not your ex, so comparatively speaking, this is a promising start.

Before I discuss the premise of my blog, in other words, why you’re reading this and what you’re (hopefully) here for, I’ll start with a brief background introduction. I obtained a bachelors degree in Sociology from Coastal Carolina University as well as a masters degree in Mental Health Counseling, Applied Psychology at New York University.

I have experience treating adults with mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, panic, bipolar disorders, and substance use disorders, in addition to individuals struggling to cope with life stressors, relationships, family, work, death etc.

If you had asked me, face to face, what I do for a living, *assuming history repeats itself* it’s likely you’d ask one of three questions, “Are you gonna psychoanalyze me?” or “Cool, can you help me figure out why I’m so fucked up?” But nothing takes the cake, quite like this one, “Are you gonna…read my mind?” No, I don’t have superpowers but I one hundred percent wish I did.

Although this transaction is virtual, I can’t psychoanalyze you, personally at least, but in a way, I already have. If you’ve been trying to reach an emotionally unavailable partner, again and again, then we’re on the same page, and therefore, I say with confidence I’ve been psychoanalyzing those (also you) who present with this issue. I wanted to understand why certain people are attracted to and consistently find themselves in a relationship with such partners.

Several answers to this question are out there, floating throughout cyber space, but I wasn’t satisfied by the half-assed articles I read. For a complex topic, I was also shocked to see a small selection of available self- help books on the internet, so I began writing one.

I referenced my studies of psychology, experience working as a therapist, and my own personal experience, to consider all angles and formed my own answers. Yes, my fascination, as well as dedication to intellectually rationalize this two party dynamic is quite personal. I share tidbits of my experience in my book, and I’ll do the same, here, in future posts.

Why you should give this attention:

If you’re tired of dating the same person with a different face, feeling disregarded and rejected by inconsiderate, detached, and selfish partners, I resonate with those frustrations. If you’ve ever asked, “How did I get here?” or “Why am I here again?” then time and space has been kind to lead you here.

My blog is dedicated to answer those questions, encourage healing, and help you cultivate intellectual weapons to fight off the possibility of colliding into a relationship like that ever again.

If you’re willing to be challenged and face brutal truths, we have some work ahead of us, so, I must ask you for one thing and one thing only.

When presented with this mirror, I need you to look.

Till the next reflection.

-Jessica Bruno, LMHC