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The Breakup Cleanse:

28 Days Detox For Your Heart Broken Brain

About the Authors

Dr. Brit Brogaard, D.M.Sci, Ph.D. is a professor of philosophy and

psychology at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. She is the author of
more than 50 refereed journal articles, a monograph with Oxford University
Press and some 500 popular articles. In her academic research, she
specializes in psycholinguistics, perception, brain disorders and emotional
regulation. She is also a freelance writer for various popular magazines and
sites, for instance, the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LIVESTRONG) and
Hello Magazine, an editor of the academic journal Erkenntnis and the
President of the Central States Philosophical Association.

Catherine Behan M.S. is an Author, Speaker, Intuitive Counselor and

Owner of an easy access membership site for singles looking for love
(http://EFTCupid.Com) She is internationally recognized as an authority in
the Law of Attraction and the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).
Catherine is the Creator of The Single Girl Profiling System and the End
Love Sabotage: Three Simple Steps to Your Happily Ever After Training
Program. She is also writing her third book collaborating with neuroscientist
Dr. Berit Brogaard. Lovesick Love: How Brain Chemistry Intoxicates,
Hijcks Your Mind and Hooks You Up With The Wrong Man Through the
magic of the internet, she is collecting an ever growing list of formerly
singles from all over the world.

Photo: Brit Brogaard (left) and Catherine Behan (right)

This is the surgical kind of hurt. Clean and sterile. No mess. I

just open my eyes in the same place, in the same bed and youre
gone. I rearrange the pillows again, I roll overthis is the empty
part of me, the part they cut out. Its the empty part of me that
aches that space, that coffin, that death rattle where once I
held you close to me and thought I would never feel pain again.

- Steven Harris, Fiction Writer

Table of Contents
Forward by Arielle Ford


Chapter 1 The Breakup Girl

Chapter 2 The Five Breakup Types

Chapter 3 Love Chemicals: What You Must Know To Get Over Your Ex.

Chapter 4 Clients Speak Out

Chapter 5 How to Get Him Back

Chapter 6 Prescription Drugs and the Serotonin Diet

Chapter 7 Mental Scripting

Chapter 8 The 28-Day Breakup Cleanse

Chapter 9 Dealing with Abuse

Chapter 10 Client Success Stories

Chapter 11 How to Handle (Visible and Invisible) Breakups in the Future

Chapter 12 Personality Check: Extroverts, Introverts, Intuitive, Perceiving

Chapter 13 Your Attachment Style (And His)

Chapter 14 Dating Again: Who Is Your Perfect Match?

Chapter 15 Using Your Secret Powers to Keep Your Man

Forward By Arielle Ford

I have known the excruciating pain of heartbreak. I also know the

reality and concept of suffering and how the words pain and suffering are
so often linked together.

Having experienced a lot of both in my life, heres what Ive learned so far:
Pain is unavoidable, but you do have a choice about suffering. Years ago,
after a particularly bad breakup, I remember feeling as if a 747 jumbo jet
had crash-landed in the middle of my chest. The pain was nearly
unbearable and at times I felt like I would die. Crushed and hopeless, I
wondered how I would survive.

I was indeed in pain and I was suffering.

Strange as it might sound, I am beyond grateful for that incident. It paved

the way for the life I have today. Through that experience, I became clear
about the traits and qualities I wanted in a soulmate and the level of
commitment I desired in a relationship. The pain was real and unavoidable,
but I now see that the suffering part might have been optional.

If (and I know this is a big IF), I had been able to understand that I was in
the heart of a learning curve about love and relationships, and had I known
that the pain would eventually dissipate and ultimately lead me to my

greatest joy, then I think the suffering would have been a choice (at least to
some degree).

I share this with you in the spirit of shining a light on whatever painful
areas of your life you are now experiencing.

You will find immense relief with The Breakup Cleanse. Dr. Brit and
Catherine have done all the work for you. Follow these scientifically proven
steps and you will be able to release the suffering so you can move through
the pain to co-create with the Universe and finally find your soul mate.

Arielle Ford, Bestselling Author

The Soul Mate Secret


You smile at your guy, he looks so handsome tonight. How nice to be out
with him. The two of you alone together all night. Youve looked forward to
this night all day and you couldnt be happier.

You are about to reach for his hand when a warning signal hits your belly.
Something is off, you sense it immediately.

There is something I need to talk to you about, your sweetheart says


You look up from the menu. You are worried but not seriously worried

What, sweetie?, you coo softly.

He looks at you. You are waiting. Then a bomb explodes.

You know, I am not really happy in this relationship

A lightning bolt of shock and pain spreads through your chest. It is as if this
wonderful man you were planning a future with just cut your heart out with
a butter knife and squeezed it through a meat grinder.

Tears flow from your eyes. As you look around through the veil of water,
you notice instinctively know that this will be the last time you set foot in this
restaurant. That very restaurant where you first met. You will never go
back. You will never get near that neighborhood again. You know it.

What makes the Breakup Cleanse unique is the focus on the physicality of
heartbreak. Your brain is a chemical factory and responsible for how you
feel. At the moment of a shocking heartbreak, you are hit with a tsunami of

stress chemicals that can literally knock you to the ground. This Lovesick
Chemical Cocktail hijacks your body and mind and spins you out of control.

Nausea, weak knees, heart palpitations, chest pain, throat constriction,

stomach pain, back pain, diminished appetite and uncontrollable weeping
are all physical phenomena of a psychological shock.

Research is showing clearly that when you address your physical

symptoms separate from your psychological condition, you can expedite
your healing from the heart break of your break up.

Breakups Shape Your Life Decisions

Breakups are enormously painful, and reminders can pop up at any

moment, even when people go to great lengths to protect themselves. We
encountered a woman who will never go to Thailand again because
Thailand was her exs favorite vacation spot, a man who will never eat at
Olive Garden because he met his sweetheart there, and a young woman
who will never buy a particular car model because the love of her life
owned one.

What is it about reminders that make them so powerful and so painful? The
answer to that question is simple. Reminders make you recall old
memories that, in turn, bring back the whole Lovesick Chemical Cocktail
that once flooded your blood vessels, with all the pain and discomfort of the
original breakup. Often you are blindsided by an overly emotional reaction
in the most inconvenient places. God forbid your song comes on the
Muzak channel in an elevator.

Shocking But True: Lovesickness Can Kill

Suffering from a heartbreak can be far worse that depressing. In rare case,
it can be life threatening. An overflow of the stress chemicals served up in
the Lovesick Chemical Cocktail results In a blurry and confused state of
mind that can lead to self destructive behavior. Even a short yet
passionate affair can send some women off the deep end. The last thing
you want to do is to hurt yourself. If you feel you are going off the deep end,
promise us you will call someone!

About a month before she ended her life, one of my clients (Brit) Zoe sent
me the following letter:

Sweet girl, I am floating high up in the sky, feeling light as a feather.

Brandon was there when I arrived ... it was as if we got pulled toward

one another, as if strong forces pulled us in ... we kissed, flirted,
kissed ... and he said so many sweet things, he said that his scarf
had reminded him of me after our last date, that he had put his nose
in it every day. He asked about vacations (again). I asked him what
the best moment of Christmas was, and he cried out loud, Now!
he looked absolutely stunning I told him I had thrown away his
sweater because I had been mad at him when I didnt hear from him
for 5 weeks. He said that there had been longer breaks in the past. I
told him I was happy that he called me tonight. Then he looked at me
and said that that he would always do. So sweet! He asked if it was
OK that what we had was just a spice that was taken out of the
drawer on occasion. I said it was but that I would always be able to
smell the scent of the spice even when the drawer was closed I
said that I thought about him every day, and he said that he did the
same. I said he was wonderful and he said the same OMG, Brit,
we were so romantic, sweet and intimate it was completely out of
this world we sang along to the music, held each other, touched
each other, exchanged ice cubes in the mouth when the pub
closed we walked together towards the subway, but stopped at a gate
to an apartment complex, he pressed me up against the gate, was all
over me, he was so hard. I told him I could eat him. Then we
continued. We now danced through the streets singing. Then we
stopped and kissed each other 25 times long intimate kisses it
was so romantic it will stand out as the most romantic date in my
life ever, just the two of us together in the cold dark night right before
Christmas. He asked me if we could have lunch next week and if we
could see each other before New Years. He is so wonderful that I
could scream.

This overflow of emotion, stirred by the chemical factory in her brain, was
intoxicating in a seemingly delicious way. How could it be that only one
month later that same feeling that made Zoe run screaming ecstatically
through the streets made her take her own life. Yes, lovesick love can kill.
A bit melodramatic? Not for Zoe and others like her.

If you are reading this e-book, chances are you are either in the middle of a
breakup or are concerned about someone else who is heartbroken. There
is a solution to what you are going through. Learning about your brain
chemistry and how it creates patterns of love aversion due to heartbreak is
the answer you are searching for. The scientific community is finally
aligning itself with the airy fairy romantic illusion of lasting love. With this
information, you can get over lost love and take the preventive action you
need to create healthy and happy relationships in your future.

The Breakup Cleanse

This brings us to The Breakup Cleanse. We have used The Breakup

Cleanse for several years to help people get through the pain of a difficult
breakup. While working on our book Lovesick Love: How Brain Chemistry
Intoxicates, Hijacks Your Mind and Hooks You Up with the Wrong Man, we
realized that a separate e-book focusing just on breakups would benefit so
many people. Whether you are still hurting from a breakup ten years ago,
one that occurred yesterday or one that hasnt really occurred yet, The
Breakup Cleanse will bring you into emotional harmony and bring you real
relied from the pain of broken love.

While reading the e-book from start to finish will give you the deepest and
most fulfilling experience, we dont blame you for wanting to check out the
28 Day Breakup Cleanse. We just want you to feel better fast and if you
stick with the will!

Hey Guys! This Book Is Not Just For Women

As the majority of our clients are women, we have written this book for
(heterosexual) women. But if you are a man (or non-heterosexual) reading
along, dont worry. Most of what we say is not gender- or sexual-
orientation-specific. Some of our most heartbroken clients are men. One of
our male clients recently described his state of desperation as follows:

For me, I simply cannot express what comes out of me when I am

physically proximate to her or have to interact with her in any way.
Perhaps the closest I can come to expressing my feelings is to say
that I feel like I am suffocating. Or, maybe, I could say that I feel like I
am paralyzed behind the wheel of a car, witnessing myself approach
the edge of a cliff, but unable to alter in any way the vehicle's
trajectory. Or again, I feel as though I am trapped behind a thick wall
of ice...I can just make out her form and I pound on the ice in order to
get her attention. But, my efforts are in vain. -- Jeremy, Chicago,

Chapter 1: The Breakup Girl

I cant believe he did this.

Spinning the ring around in her finger, tears come to her eyes again.

I cant believe this is happening again.

Monica had 5 broken engagements. Beautiful, talented and a successful

relationship coach herself, she grew more and more frustrated over the
years. At 41, she still dreamed of being a mom and time was running out.
(see video:

When she realized why each man was ultimately disappointing, no matter
how great he was in the beginning, she attracted an entirely different sort of
man. After 1041 first dates, she finally found her man. Monica is now
married and pregnant with her second child at 43.

What was the secret that Monica discovered?

When she was 23, her first fiancee died of a heart attack at 30. At first she
didnt see how her always engaged and never married history was
connected. But tracing her experiences and looking for patterns helped her

learn that she saying no to all of these men was how she could instinctively
protect herself from hurting like that again.

Out of her awareness and amazingly effective, physical flashbacks were

triggered that stimulate the brain to produce a carbon copy of the stress
chemicals that were present at the time she got the news about her fiance.

All that shock literally WAS a shock as spurts of neurochemicals pull the
blood flow and nerve activity into primal self preservation. As Monica when
through her several engagements, she would always get just close enough
to flip the switch and freak out again.

Adding to the equation, Monica saw even more patterns and connections
as she balanced her brain chemistry and learned not to be afraid of how
her body FEELS when it is full of stress chemicals.

Turns out that her father, who she worshipped, dropped dead of a heart
attack when she was 17. She never connected those experiences as
players in her breakup bonanza.

How did Monica stop being the breakup girl?

Monica learned how to do some very specific things to change how she
dealt with hurt feelings. Once she recognized and accepted her physical
flashbacks, she could soothe the discomfort physically. Then, when she
felt calm again and the physical discomfort had gone away, then she chose
whether to stick with her man or not.

How about you? While you may not have experienced something as
painful as Monica did, chances are that an ex a few exes ago is still lurking
about in a physical flashback outside of your awareness. Look through the
following list of physical flashback symptoms:

Stomach Tightness

TMJ flareups
Anxiety Attack
Hard to Breathe
Chest aches
Jaw pain
Neck Pain
Lower back pain

Isnt it interesting that the symptoms of a flashback are exactly like the
reaction to a breakup? Aha! Completely unconsciously, Monica and
others like her re-create experience after experience all anchored to an
emotional trauma in the past.

A trauma whose brain chemical profile reproduces itself continually until it

is manually interrupted. Popular Energy Therapies like EFT, TAT, The
Work by Byron Katie, Voice Dialog as well as Cognitive Therapy are all
helpful in triggering the release of the pleasure chemicals that will allow
those old memories to heal.

Like a chemical callous, over exposure to the stress chemical cocktail

blocks the thirsty cells ability to receive the pleasure chemicals it craves. (I
love that sentence even though I dont have any idea if it holds water! LOL)

Chapter 2: The Five Breakup Types

"I am not sure that I want to do this anymore"

"I just can't be in a long-distance relationship I'm so sorry."

"I wish we had met 5 years down the line."

"I never did love you."

You know what these are. The dreaded breakup lines. The awful words
that put an end to something you are not ready to let go of. Or maybe your
ex broke up with you in a text. Or maybe he simply disappeared.

No matter how it happens any breakup is a terrible experience to go
through. We go out with someone for a while. An overly hopeful and
tragically undefined commitment to some kind of future together develop
whether it is sex once a week or dinner and a movie every other night.

When one or both of you decide to call it quits, it is the most common type
of breakup. These relationships end in person, in writing and these days,
on social media. But not all breakups are that simple.

The Unexpected or Premature Death

An unexpected or premature death doesnt seem like a breakup at first.

Yet it is and a stark one at that. Whether it is a lengthy illness or the
unexpected or premature death of your lover, the biochemical shock of this
kind of breakup is paralyzing.

Unexpected or premature death breakups are complicated because of the

grief coming from two directions at the same time. You can grieve any kind
of loss: The loss of a house, a job, a leg, a relationship, childhood, hopes
for the future. There are no rules for grief. Grief is a complex emotioyway,
that is why death and loss of the relationship pack such an emotional one-
two punch.

It is commonly accepted that grief has four stages: denial, anger, sadness
and acceptance. What is not well known and critically important is that the
stages rarely occur in this order and nor do they typically occur only once
each during a grieving period. For example, you may accept the loss at first
and then go onto deny it. There is an ebb and flow to the emotions and to
the underlying brain chemistry.

In a denial phase, you refuse to believe that hes really gone. You fantasize
you may that the he is simply away and that he will come back. When you
are unable to see reality and accept the loss, your neurochemistry is
holding you in a stress chemical induced blindspot. The Breakup Cleanse
is particularly helpful at this stage. This gentle, common sense approach is
easy to follow and will bring relief.

In an anger phase, you become furious with the person for leaving you.
You may hate the person and even feel disgust when thinking about them
and fact that they are gone. Actually this can be an easier stage to deal
with. Because anger inspires action, the brain chemistry has a different
effect. You will find that kick boxing, Ashtanga Yoga (a particularly
aggressive type of yoga) and even pounding nails into a 2x4 are great
ways of shifting the adrenalin from anger to socially acceptable aggression.

In the sadness phase, you really begin to miss them. Your longing for them
can be so strong that your chest literally hurts. You will feel powerless and
unable to soothe the pain. Everyone experiences hurt feelings differently.
You may feel it as pressure on your chest or tightness in your stomach or
throat. The neurochemical profile in the sad brain is a strong one. Echos
of years of sad experiences tag along and can completely demotivate the
partner left behind.

In the acceptance phase, your former lover slides into the background of
your mind. You are finally able to think about other things besides him.
When he does come to mind, you are able to remember good times with
him. While you may not be ready for new love yet, you are able to feel the

pleasure chemicals that your recovering brain is releasing for you.
Calmness and confidence re-emerge as the shock gets further and further
behind you.

As I am sure you can see, the stages of grief are equally true for a breakup
as they are for a real death. There is a good reason for this. There has
been a death. Yes, it is heart breaking to lose a love, but it is also
devastating to lose the dream of the future you had hoped for with him. Life
itself is peppered with losses and the ultra-reliable chemistry factory in your
brain will always release the chemicals of the grief stages in response. But
luckily, the acceptance phase tends to last longer and longer over time. An
advantage to those who appreciate the wisdom of years well lived.

The Blindside Breakup

Much like the premature death breakup, when you are dumped suddenly
and do not see it coming, the shock is overwhelming. It is one thing to
ignore the yellow flags and fool yourself into thinking there is something
there when there isnt. It is quite another to be completely in the dark about
your partners plans.

Frequently there is a new lover in his life and that compounds the injury. If
you know the other woman, it becomes worse. Your brain works overtime
flooding your system with the chemicals designed to make you recoil from
the pain of this situation. Your instincts take over while the blood drains
from your forebrain and retreats to your survival body state.

You might not want to do the Breakup Cleanse right away. Strangely when
you are acutely hurt, angry or sad, you resist the very thing that brings
relief. This is not so mysterious if you look at the underlying brain
chemistry. When heartbreak happens, it will tug at the deepest memories
of emotional pain. Your brain wants to protect you from that pain. Dont
force yourself. Be mad, but a box of chocolate, veg out on the couch and
lick your wounds....for a week or so. You will know when you are ready to
see your breakup for what it was....a fresh start for YOU.

The Lets Be Friends Breakup

The lets be friends breakup is similar to the premature death breakup in
that there are undeniable signs that the relationship has ended. It could be
a traditional breakup scene or something less direct and even mean, such
as a status update on Facebook. Cyber breakups can be particularly
painful. The addition of public embarrassment stimulates the brain to add to
the stress chemicals already having a field day in the body.

Unlike the death breakup, lets be friends breakups do not mean the end
of all contact. Sometimes friendship is agreed upon directly. In other cases,
it is inevitable on some level, because of work relationships, common
friends, sports or hobbies.

Lets be friends breakups, surprisingly, can be harder to get over than

death relationships, because they leave open the possibility (or hope) of
rekindling romance. The constant state of anxiety about what to say or
how to act conditions the brain to feel normal with more stress chemicals
than is optimal.

The grief can be just as strong as in the death relationship but it usually
takes longer to reach the acceptance phase. If you never saw your ex,
your brain chemistry could relax and give you a chance to get over him.
This is especially true if you continue to have sex after breaking up.
Remember this mantra: No Sex Without Monogamy. It will never let you

The Invisible Breakup

Some relationships just seem to fade away - like an old friendship. Some
people just "disappear" without any warning. Some leave it up to their "ex"
to find them tagged in a compromising picture on Facebook with someone
the ex had no idea they were dating.

These relationships are filled with yellow flags. By time he disappears, you
are usually compromised to your toes and bending in every which way to
keep him interested. You havent been really happy yourself for a long
time. It still sucks to be dumped but at least you did see it coming.

That being said, an invisible breakup can cause every bit as much pain as
the other types. An invisible breakup can sometimes be harder than a
visible breakup, because there is not a concrete ending, just a new way of
looking at things, which - for all you know - could be wrong. There is always
the hope that you misinterpreted the situation, that it is not really over.

Often an immature partner will pull away to force your hand and make you
breakup with him. As hard as it is, he is doing you a favor. Make a
decision and give him the boot. You will be sad for awhile but face it, you
havent been that happy for a long time.

The reason breakups can be so hard, especially for the one who wanted
the relationship to continue, is not that it erases the past. It doesn't. The
past is as real as it ever was. A breakup erases the future. Like dry
kindling, your dreams go poof into flames . It doesn't ruin what there was. It
ruins what was going to come. A breakup is also a major rejection of you as
a person, at least in relation to that one other person.

The One Sided Breakup

The one-sided breakup is what happens when you completely fantasize a

relationship. You have a crush on someone, believe it is mutual and find
out it is not. He sees you as a sex buddy and someone to hang out with
and you see the white picket fence, the family camping trips and
grandchildren. When he moves on, he doesnt see it as a breakup. He
never say a relationship.

These breakups are extra hard because you feel like an idiot for thinking
there was something there when there wasnt. You question your own
judgment and wonder how you will ever trust again. Your brain chemistry
has been a trickster here. This man has not inspired certainty in you and
yet, you were strongly attracted. You may be drawn to drama to keep that
level of arousal in your brains chemistry factory.

All breakups result in wildly fluctuating brain chemistry that make you feel
lost, out of control, heart-broken, sick, like some one gave you a sock in the
stomach, sleepless and depressed.

The Breakup Cleanse is the answer to breakup recovery. Your brain is

more flexible than you can imagine. Your brain chemistry is also
accessible to you. You can change your mindset by adjusting your brain
chemistry and that makes for permanent recovery from heartbreak.

Chapter 3: Love Chemicals: What You Must Know To
Get Over Your Ex.

The Chemistry of Emotional Pain

Photo Credit: Illuvia Nocturna [http://lluvia-]

Is Your Broken Heart Really Broken?

When someone hurts your feelings or rejects you, you know your emotions
are hurting, but did you know that there is often physical pain too?
Emotional pain in the body is typically felt in the chest or belly. If you are
not feeling any pain physically, it usually means that you are numb to the
physical sensations or simply more focused on the thoughts and ideas
about the breakup.

A breakup up is complicated because the mind and body are on parallel

tracks. It is a chicken or egg sort of thing. What DOES come first, the ideas
and thoughts about how awful he is, how rejected you are and the future is
black or the nausea, shaking, crying, insomnia, loss of appetite or the rest
of the physical symptoms?

Emotional pain and its relationship to physical pain is a mystery and has
not been studied extensively. But the newest research clearly shows that
emotional pain is a real form of pain. Those of us who have been deeply
heartbroken know that, but science needs to prove it for us to accept it.

Both internal stimuli, such as, internal cell damage, and external stimuli,
such as, a hit on the head, can cause physical pain. Before we experience
physical pain, our body goes through a complicated but perfectly
orchestrated process of producing chemicals and transmitting pain signals
to the brain.

In the case of a typical physical injury the cells are actually damaged. The
impaired cells release a host of chemicals whose job it is to transmit signals
along an intricately designed network to the spinal cord, on to the brain
stem and then finally to the higher areas of the brain where pain is then

Emotional pain does not begin with cell damage. It begins with perceptual
or cognitive processing in higher areas of the brain. The shock of hearing
about the unexpected death of a family member, for example, triggers
emotions, such as fear and sadness.

The shock of horrible news makes the brain stimulate the sympathetic
nervous system, which then releases a surge of stress chemicals into the
bloodstream, including epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine
(noradrenaline) and cortisol.

All three stress chemicals assist in creating a fight or flight response.

Norepinephrine increases blood sugar levels and opens the bronchial
airways, cortisol prepares the muscles for action, and epinephrine, or
adrenalin, binds to heart receptors.

The stress chemicals are responsible for the pain in the heart and chest
muscles that is experienced after the loss of a loved one. In extreme cases,
stress chemicals can completely stun the heart muscle.

This is called stress cardiomyopathy or broken heart syndrome. It feels
like a heart attack and can be as dangerous as a heart attack, but it is
usually reversible. The levels of adrenaline that attack the heart in broken
heart syndrome can be up to 50 times higher than normal levels. This can
be deadly.

Emotional pain of the sort experienced after an unexpected breakup is a

kind of pre-stress cardiomyopathy. When the body bombards the heart and
muscles with stress chemicals, the cells of the heart freeze and the
muscles tense up. This leads to a release of pain chemicals, which then
travel through nocireceptor fibers to the spinal cord and then the brain.
Finally, this triggers a pain sensation.

So, emotional pain that makes the chest and belly hurt is indeed real pain.
It hurts because the stress hormones cause the cells to react just like they
do when there has been a physical injury. Over-the-counter pain killers are
unlikely to have much of an effect on this kind of pain, though stronger pain
killers might.


Acute Stress Cardiomyopathy andReversible Left Ventricular


Love Obsession: Your Brain on Crack

So you are obsessed with your ex. You dont want to accept that he is
gone. You feel like a lovesick teenager has taken over your mind. You
cant get off the couch and life seems pointless. Do you wonder if
someone is dropping addictive irrationality chemicals in your diet coke?

Breakup obsession is entirely normal. Your brain chemistry is behind the
confusing symptoms and brain chemistry will walk you out of misery and
into recovery. When you accept that your brain is only doing the job it has
been conditioned to do and that you hold in your hand the solution to
changing your brain behavior, you are ready for the Cleanse.

The critical thing you need to know about love obsession is that it mimics
the same chemical profile as diagnosable anxiety disorders, the aftermath
of a trip induced by drugs or an unfulfilled addiction to cocaine. This is
serious and real addictive potential....produced by your own brain!

When someone addicted to cocaine no longer has access to the drug or

chooses to stay away from it, the neurotransmitter levels decrease
sometimes to levels lower than they were before taking the drug for the first
time giving rise to extreme cravings, exhaustion, anxiety and

New love can have similar effects on the brain as cocaine. When you fall in
love with someone, norepinephrine fills you with energy, serotonin boosts
your self-confident and dopamine generates a feeling of pleasure.

New love is a kind of love obsession, but not yet a kind of pathological love
obsession of the sort that often takes over your mind after a breakup. In
new love, the brain is on crack a dangerous state of mind -- as it is
highly addictive.

When the brain is on crack, it needs the other person (the drug) to remain
in a state of extreme pleasure, energy and self-confidence. If the other
person ends the relationship or the love is unrequited, the drug is suddenly

Without the other person (the drug), dopamine, serotonin and epinephrine
levels go down all at once. In the good cases, this will lead to a healthy
state of sadness and grief. But in the bad cases, it can lead to despair and
fear and then love obsession.

After the drop in the levels of neurotransmitters, the neutransmitter levels
once again increase. Dopamine and norepinephrine usually increase more
than serotonin. This increase happens when the despair and fear turn to
obsession. In this state, the obsessed person is in a state of denial,
believing that they are still in a relationship or that they can convince the
other person to start or continue a relationship.

But the high doesnt continue. It occurs in intervals. This is because an

obsessed person has widely fluctuating neurotransmitter levels, which
makes her go from being action-driven to being bedridden.

This is the respect in which love obsession differs from drug addiction.
When a cocaine addict no longer has access to the drug, his
neurotransmitter levels remain low until he recovers. In love obsession, the
neurotransmitters are on a roller coaster ride that make the obsessed
person hang in there, even when it is obvious to everyone else that there is
nothing to hang onto.

Is There Hope For Me?

So you feel obsessed and hopelessly strung out on this guy. We get that.
That is why we created the 28 day detox. Your brain really is heartbroken.

It is firing off stress chemicals in what feels like a real assault. Bruised and
broken on the inside, you are suffering.

Your brain chemistry is out of whack and you can fix that. In the impossibly
perfect system of your brains chemical factory, the major neurochemicals
have a dual role. Because the same chemicals can make you feel
orgasmic or depressed it can be a delicate balancing act to bring yourself
out of your breakup blues.

You dont need to be a brain science expert to get better, but each week of
the Breakup Cleanse you will learn about one of the brain chemicals and
how to manage your emotions the brain chemistry way. The full
explanation of all the brain chemistry connections is available in our
companion book: Lovesick Love: How Brain Chemistry Intoxicates, Hi-
Jacks Your Mind and Hooks You Up with the Wrong Man

Chapter 4: Clients Speak Out

The love that lasts the longest is the love that is never returned. -- William
Somerset Maugham

Carmens Case

In their article Virtual Life. An Actual Death American author and artist
Mark Stephen Meadows and Northwestern Professor of Philosophy Peter
Ludlow tell the story of Carmen Hermosillo.

Carmen died on August 10, 2008. The official cause of death was cardiac
arrhythmia and lupus erythematosus. But the authors tell a more gruesome
story about how her death took place. It looked like suicide caused by
intentional failure to take her heart medication.

The authors discuss how after a long history of online presence, Carmen
had joined Second Life, an online, graphically-based virtual world. After
building a medieval French city on her private island Carmen became
involved with Riz, an avatar in Second Life. The two got involved in
Gorean role play. Gorean masters take slaves who are to serve them
sexually. Carmen was Rizs sex slave in their fictional world.

Carmen would soon enough become obsessed with Riz. But one day Riz
disappeared from Carmens fictional world. A couple of weeks later Carmen

started deleting her online accounts and then apparently went off her heart

How could it be that Carmen, who had lived most of her adult life in a
fictional world, could not see this coming?

Meadow and Ludlow note that Carmen had written about the dangers of
virtual life on several earlier occasions. They quote her saying that,

[Women in virtual relationships on WELL] accepted the attention of

the man simultaneously on several levels: most importantly, they
believed in the reality of his sign and invested it with meaning. They
made love to his sign and there is no doubt that the relationship
affected them and that they felt pain and distress when it ended
badly. At the same time it appears that the man involved did not
invest their signs with the same meaning.

The authors conclude that the reason Carmen failed to see her demise
coming was that she wasnt an outsider. She was wrapped up in the
drama and the dangers and just as susceptible to mistaking the simulacrum
for the real, the authors say.

Carmen mistook her love affair with Riz for the real thing. She thought Riz
was emotionally invested in her as a person, when at best he was
emotionally invested in her avatar.

A heartbreak really can kill, even when you are prepared and your love isnt
even real.


Williams Story

Several months ago a woman broke up with me, and Im still madly in love
with her. Heres a little background information: I found the way she broke
up with me to be very inconsiderate and hurtful, I told her how that felt and
asked for her help in dealing with the depression that followed. She refused
the help I asked for citing that her privacy is too important (I wanted to
know the things she wouldnt tell me in the relationship). This made her
angry enough to not wish to speak with me anymore. This happened a
week after the breakup.

Now that youre up to speed, my issue is this: I want to get over her, but I
want to be able to apply that feeling of passion and devotion to other things
in my life. Ive never felt so strongly towards anything in my life as I feel for
her; Ive always had this nihilistic tendency. Ive already put things in motion
that would be truly great for me in the long run, things I think I could be very
passionate about, but Im only really able to do that by remembering my
love for her as it is.

Most of the time I can handle being in love with someone who I cant have
any contact with. Unfortunately, sometime I feel like Ive been hit with a ton
of bricks. I want to see them, know how they are, desperately need to
contact them (I dont). All this seems to do is put me in a serious funk, or
even deep depression for several days.

While I would gladly suffer several days of depression for many weeks of
productivity, I would prefer to be able to move on. How can I keep the
passion for life that Ive discovered through Gold, but go without all the
pain and suffering?

Janes Story

I was dumped two weeks ago by my partner of nine months, who I suspect
has avoidant attachment styles. We broke up once before, so he could go
find himself by doing charity work overseas.

We got back together without much discussion (I was so happy to have him
back that I decided to not poke the sleeping dog) and now, six months
later, he has ended the relationship again for the same reasons, but adding
that he cant handle intimacy and its nothing to do with me.

He said he doesnt want to lose communication with me, and I told him I
needed some time before we could be friends or see each other again. I
was pretty surprised to hear he then quit his job and is going back overseas
next month.

I partly want to believe that this experience triggered a personal crisis for
him and made him realize he needs help with his intimacy issues (he has
said he needs to fix them, so hes aware) and I want to reach out and tell
him I am still here and havent abandoned him, but Im afraid that will just
push him farther away.

Were seeing each other again in a month or so to talk, and Im not sure
how to handle it. This is one of the longest relationships of his life (hes in
his late thirties and states hes only had 3 relationships that lasted this long)
and I cant believe he just is over it as quickly as he seems to be from the
cold tone of his emails, but I dont know what to say or do to let him know
he doesnt need to be afraid of me abandoning him or becoming dependent
on him, since being with someone like this means mixed signals all the time
and I HAVE been clingy with him in the past due to that.

I love this man very much and I am willing to put in the patience and time to
help him get better, but Im afraid of blowing it. Please, what do I say?

Pams Story

I have come to the idea that my former partner of 3 years has a dismissing
avoidant attachment schema. About a month ago, he ended our
relationship out of the blue, in pursuit of a need to focus and prove
something to himself to launch a super successful career that has been
building up for some time now. His family life is very distant, with little
affection and encouragement and I also know he has depression, but is
however extremely closed off to even talking about his emotions, or even
experiencing them himself.

The 6 months leading up to the breakup were also very tough, where he
began needing much more time alone, and didnt even desire to see me
often. At the beginning of the relationship, he was a very different person
whom was more secure and we didnt have too many problems for the first
2 years. However, after some rejections from jobs and various other things,
I fear that he is sending himself down a dark path and am deeply worried
about his well-being.

If you know any way I could go about helping him to get out of this rut, I
would so greatly appreciate it.

Karens Story

Please give advice. Im in San Diego and was seeing this guy from Seattle.
The last 7 months things changed after we were friends for 2 years. We
didnt call each other boyfriend/girlfriend, but he came to see me every
other week, hes 27 and he said he likes me, and Im special.

Then things got a little weird when I asked about a Facebook photo he put
up with this girl but he said they were just friends. But when he came here
to see me, he texted me from his friends apartment and said it was late
and he was too tired from a party yesterday. I was so disappointed he
didnt want to see me after several weeks, I was all dressed up and all.

He said to see me after class the next day. But the next day I said Ill meet
you later tonight, Im going out with a friend. I was hoping he would insist
to see me. Than later on I texted saying Should I come? And he said
yeah come but then he said he didnt think we should see each other
except as friends. I said OK and didnt go, and he has emailed me but not
like before. Is he over me or will he come back? I cant stop thinking about

Marys Story

I have been in a serious exclusive relationship for 1-1/2 years with a 41

year old man, single, never been married. I'm 40, divorced with two kids.
He was very attentive, supportive, and once he met my kids, completely fell
into the future step dad role. I just found out he's kept a woman on the side,
just for sex from a couple months before he met me.

He said he's still processing why he did this. He says he feels lost and can't
believe how he's lost me and the kids, and that is something he'll regret the
rest of his life.

The woman he was using for sex, he never took out of the house. I met his
family and friends within 3 weeks of knowing him, we spent holidays with
them, etc. His parents divorced when he was a teen and his mother was
very controlling and is to this day. The woman he was cheating with has

zero self esteem but is similar in style to his mother, VERY needy and
berated him with text messages and phone calls when he wasn't around.

I believe he demonstrated classic love avoidance cycle with this woman. I

originally thought maybe he thought I was too needy but having read more,
my needs were very normal and I like my space too, so it wasn't me he was
reacting against... it was his mother and this other woman.

He's starting therapy, says he still loves me with his whole heart. Can a
person like this actually resolve these kinds of deep issues and be a faithful
committed partner? I'm not waiting on him, I've dumped him, but I do love
him very deeply and want him to find happiness. I am also seeing a
therapist myself as this was completely a shock.

Alices Story

I dont know what to do. I have lived together with my boyfriend for two
years and hes always been nice to me except he has an anger problem,
but he knows about it and is working on changing.

Then two weeks ago we got into a fight, it got out of hand, and I ended up
telling him I didnt love him anymore, even though its not true. Then he
started yelling at me, he was so angry he was foaming around the mouth, I
just wanted to leave. Then he slapped my mouth. Its never happened
before. But I got so upset that I just left and I have stayed with my friend

But now he has called and apologized. He promised its not going to
happen again. He says he just got really angry because I said I didnt love
him. But I also dont know because its never going to be the same after
hes hit me but I do love him a lot, I just dont know if I trust him anymore, I
also feel really upset he would do it to me, so I really dont know what to do,
my friend says not to go back to him.

Fiction Writer Steven Harris Story

I (Dr. Brit) first met Steven at a conference in San Francisco some years
ago. A woman Steven had loved for years, and who was then only recently
divorced and living in LA, flew out to the San Francisco area to see Steven.
Steven and his sister Angie stayed a day later than most. Steven is here
recalling details from that day the morning after.


I rearrange the pillows again and youre still not here. This is the surgical
kind of hurt. Clean and sterile. No mess. I just open my eyes in the same
place, in the same bed and youre gone. I rearrange the pillows again, I roll
overthis is the empty part of me, the part they cut out. Its the empty part
of me that achesthat space, that coffin, that death rattle where once I held
you close to me and thought I would never feel pain again.

I smiled and missed you terribly.

Before that the hotel room is dark and still. The curtains are drawn. The
sliver of light between them, the only sign of life, gleams off the glass of
rum and Coke. My Cary Grant nightcap you joked about the night before.
On any other night I would have drained that glass four or five times over
just to claim a few hours of clumsy desperate half-sleep. But instead the
phone rings and I look up and the ice has melted and the glass is full.

Across the room, half my pill bottles, more poisons, more toxins, more
promises of forced unconsciousness left unopened, forgotten.

This is the third time someone has called. Before that you were standing on
the sidewalk smoking and I kissed you good-bye. Angie lets the phone ring
out, but she listens to the message all the same. I wont sleep again after

She listens then hangs up. That was her, she says. Shes going to post
something on the board later.

And youre really gone.

Angies buried herself in the blankets again, but I dont even bother to try.
That kind of peace is as far away as the smoky kiss on the sidewalk.

Off the elevator and the lobby is emptied out and full of whispers. The bold
din of the crowd is lost, and all I notice of the people who remain are their
coats. Brown and gray and black. Real fur or fake fur. Outside its raining
hard and everyone is scrambling for cover, dashing across streets, jumping
puddles, holding newspapers and briefcases over their heads. Umbrellas
fester. More and more swell up like a rash with every step. More black and
gray and brown.

Right now. This place. Its like everything here, this whole town, only
existed for the two of us, and now that youre gone its closing down.
People are packing up and leaving, people are being washed away. And I
wonder what it means that Im still here.

Call it post apocalyptic. Here I am at the end of the world again. Im

splashing through the rain water, my pant legs are soaked, I can barely see
with the water streaming down my glasses, and I think, most things arent
worth the aftermath. Most things are fatigue or a bitter aftertaste, repetition
and memories you dont bother to keep past Tuesday.

And then I think of the girl who took a drag on her cigarette and kissed me
and tore the sky down. And I smile. The kind of hurt that makes you realize
theres still something out there worth loving. And Im walking. And pretty
soon Im just another black coat in the rain.

Chapter 5: How To Get Him Back

What Are Your Chances of Winning Him Back?

If you did not initiate the breakup (and even if you did), your first thought
after the initial shock may be How do I get him back?

Is getting your lover back realistic?

It partially depends on the reason for the breakup. If your ex stormed out on
your in a fit of anger, and you didnt betray him, chances are excellent.

If the relationship has run its course, you are less likely to get him back.

What does it mean for a relationship to run its course? It means that you
went through the honeymoon phase of the relationship and failed to keep
the less exciting phase that followed as exciting as possible. Boredom
arose. Then you started getting on each others nerves. Arguing and
fighting took over. Breakups in the wake of ugly arguments are hard to turn

Or maybe your guy was truly emotionally unavailable, got frightened as the
relationship continued and broke up. We have devoted a whole chapter to
this problem and its counterpart (co-dependence). But, in general, this
situation is not a promising one in terms of getting him back.

And would you even be happy if you got him back? He is not going to want
to let the relationship progress in a normal fashion. He is going to be
ambivalent and angry at you for making him feel that way.

The reasons for the breakup are going to determine whether it is likely that
you can get him back.

How you behaved during and after the breakup matters too. If you threw a
fit, beat him up, begged for him to stay, tried to convince him to stay or
stalked him, your chances are slim.

In general, the calmer you were during the breakup and the more rational
you were after the breakup, the greater your chances are of getting him

If you remain calm and contained throughout the process, it may just
happen that he questions his own decision. If you behave like a maniac,
this will make him think that he definitely made the right decision.

What if you already ruined it? Can you undo your mistakes? Probably not.
But if you want him to look your way again, you must immediately stop your
insane behavior and give him some room to breathe.

Myths about Winning Back Lost Love

You will find a lot of Get Him Back cures on the internet. But the truth is
that despite all their promises, they are not going to work, except in very
rare cases.

Why not? Because it takes two to start or rekindle a romance. Your
behavior is a factor but your behavior (whatever you do) is not going to be
able to cast a spell on your ex and miraculously make him change his

Internet resources on how to get your ex back also will tell you a lot of
things that make no sense from a psychological perspective. Here are the
top ten Internet myths about winning back lost love.

Myth # 1

If only you use the right strategy, you can get anyone to come back.


When people break up, they dont do it lightly. They usually have very good
reasons. Getting them to change their minds is not just a matter of using
the right strategy or technique. Whether you can, or will, get someone back
depends on how your relationship was, the reasons for the breakup and
how you behaved after the breakup. If you boiled your exs pet rabbit when
he broke up with you, it may be wise to just move on (fast, before he
presses charges).

Myth # 2

The best time to try to get him back is at the time of the breakup.


The more you plead, beg and cry about the breakup, the more certain he
will be that he made the right decision. He is more likely to question his
decision if you act in an understanding and supportive manner but without
coming across as if you couldnt care less. You can say that you are very

sorry he feels this way, as long as you add that you respect his decision
and understand that two people may feel differently about each other.

Myth # 3

Even if you cried, pleaded and begged for him to stay and contacted him
every day after the breakup, you can still get him back.


Bad breakup behavior can make the breakup final. If you did this, its time
to move on. Dont waste your time.

Myth # 4

As long as you never ever contact him after the breakup, he will eventually
come back.


If you have no contact with him at all, he is not going to come back.
Distance does not make the heart grow fonder, it makes the eyes wander.

But it is wise to give him some breathing room after the breakup. Leave him
alone for 3 to 4 weeks after the breakup. When you finally take contact,
dont do it too often and dont bring up the relationship at all. Its over (for
now anyway). Just be friendly and ask him how things are going.

Myth # 5

When you think the time is right for getting in contact with him, its better to
write him a letter than to use the phone or email.


Its amazing that people dont see how weird this would be. If you were still
together or were just great friends, you wouldnt send each other snail
mail. So, dont do it now. Use the phone or email.

Myth # 6

If you contact your ex, its best to act completely disinterested in him.


If you are completely disinterested in him, why are you contacting him? At
the very least, you are interested in hearing how he is doing. This is
obvious. If you act disinterested, it will have the opposite effect. It will seem
like you are desperate to get him back.

Myth # 7

If he has a new girlfriend, it pays off to give him reasons why he would be
better off with you.


Most people have a protector instinct. This sets in when you criticize
others. Good people immediately want to come to the criticized persons
defense. The result of trying to make yourself look better than your exs
new girlfriend is the exact opposite of what you intended: He will like her
more and you less.

Myth # 8

If he has a new girlfriend, invite them both over to dinner and be really nice
to her.


While it may be a better approach than trash talking her, we advice against
it. There is hardly anything more awkward than eating dinner with your ex
and his new girlfriend. Its awkward for all of you. If he is smart, he will turn
down the invitation, and you will look stupid for having invited them.

Myth # 9

After a few weeks, you should write him an email telling him that you have
moved on.


If you really had moved on, you wouldnt feel the need to tell him. By
contacting him to tell him that you have moved on, he will realize that you
are still as desperately in love with him as you ever were. To him, that
signals trouble.

Myth # 10

Spread a rumor about yourself to the effect that you are now involved with
someone else and make sure it reaches him.


Trying to make someone jealous rarely has the intended effect. If he has
any feelings left for you, the rumor will likely kill them, especially if the
breakup is in the recent past. No one wants to pursue someone who quite
apparently has no feelings left for them.

Get Him Back: The Plan

Now that we have done a bit of myth busting, we can give you the recipe
for increasing the chance of getting your ex back.

Two Psychological Facts about Breakups

Fact 1

The less you have contacted your ex since he broke up with you, the
more likely it is that he will contact you and even regret his decision.

Why? Because if a man breaks up with you, he wants less of you for
whatever reason. This may only be a temporary thing. But right now,
he wants to see you and hear from you less, not more. By giving him
what he wants, his feeling of having had too much of a good thing
(or bad) may begin to fade. He will be likely to miss you, which
increases the chance that he will change his mind about wanting you

Fact 2

The more feelings your ex had for you at any one point during your
relationship, the more likely it is that he will contact you or want to get
back together.

Why? Because even if those feelings are not salient to him right now,
they have made an impact on how he sees you. Right now, he does
not feel that impact. But unless you behaved completely insanely (or
he did) at the end of your relationship or after the breakup, those
feeling are likely to re-surface sooner or later.

If you have already pleaded with your ex to come back, contacted him
multiple times and thrown serious temper-tantrums since the breakup, you
may never hear from him again. And if he was never very much into you,
you may never hear from him again.

But if your ex really liked you before the breakup, the breakup occurred
recently, and you responded calmly to his decision and haven't contacted
him since, then the likelihood that he will contact you is significant.

People dont fall out of love suddenly. He is still into you. But it may not last
long, depending on how you behave. If you contact him, make scenes and
plead with him to take you back, then you are reinforcing his decision. You
are basically giving him confidence that he has made the right decision.

By not contacting him, you are forcing him to face his decision. By not
contacting him, you also maintain some form of control and some dignity.
He will be somewhat puzzled by your behavior. The standard behavior,
after all, is to contact the one who broke your heart. Thats how people

What to do if he does contact you? Don't sound unnaturally upbeat. That is
going to come across as fake. Dont bring up the relationship at all. He
ended it. He can bring it up. Convey that you have accepted his decision.
Don't mention it. Act as if.

Prepare a few lines you can deliver confidently if he does contact you.
Have something to say. It could be something interesting you have read, a
fun story about your family or friends. It doesnt matter, as long as it is fun
and unrelated to your past relationship. If he asks you how you are doing,
then you are doing fine. Feel free to ask him how he is doing. But, I repeat,
do not bring up the relationship.

If he does bring up the relationship, don't get sucked into talking about it.
Do respond in a friendly way. If he says "too bad it didnt work out," agree
with him. Then move onto a different topic.

If he asks if you want to get together, don't sound too excited. Sound the
way you would if a friend had called and asked you.

You can agree to meet him for coffee, lunch, dinner, a movie, or whatever,
if he suggests it. But don't suggest anything along those lines. And if you
do get together with him, whatever you do, do not have sex with him. That
is not going to get him back.

Let he bring up the possibility of getting back together if its going to

happen. In general, always stick to the following rules.

1. Stay calm during the breakup. No temper tantrums. No extreme

screaming or crying. No name calling. No questioning or playing
detective. Do not ask Is there someone else?. If the answer is yes,
you will feel worse. If the answer is no, you are probably not going
to believe him.

2. Regardless of how tempting it can be, do not agree to be friends

with him after the breakup and do not suggest it. Dont reject the

possibility eiter. Just say its not a good time to talk about that, as
thats an independent decision.

3. Do NOT have sex with him at any point after the breakup unless you
get back together. Its tempting. But dont do it. You are going to be
miserable, and it will not increase the chances of getting back
together with him.

4. Do not EVER attempt to convince, bribe, threaten or beg him to get

back together with him.

5. Give him at least three or four weeks to recover from the breakup
before you contact him (if you must).

6. Dont call, text or email him during that period. No e-cards or regular

7. Dont ask anyone about him or his feelings.

8. Dont spread rumors about him or you, and dont ask anyone to pass
on messages to him

9. Dont purposely make him jealous.

Chapter 6: Prescription Drugs and the Serotonin Diet

Complicated Love Sickness and Prescription Drugs

Sometimes a breakup can interfere with everyday life to an extreme extent.

Some become suicidal or plan dangerous revenges, others cannot work or
take care of their children.

If you are a danger to yourself or others, you need immediate help. You
need to talk to a licensed psychologist or a psychiatrist. You probably will
also need prescription drugs to manage your anxiety and pain. For reasons
that are not entirely known, medications that help with depression usually
also help with anxiety. The following drugs are sometimes prescribed for
depression, anxiety and pain.

Beta Blockers

Beta blockers are heart medications that prevent excess adrenaline

secreted by the adrenaline glands from causing a toxic heart. According to
a study published in the April 2009 issue of the American Journal of
Cardiology, a toxic heart occurs when extreme surges of adrenaline stunt
or weaken the heart. This condition is also known as "stress
cardiomyopathy." Beta blockers can prevent these symptoms by blocking
adrenaline receptors on the heart muscle. Beta blockers also bind to
receptors on the smooth muscles of blood vessels, causing respiration to
slow down.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are normally regarded as safe anti-

anxiety drugs. They block the re-absorption of the well-being chemical
serotonin into the brain's neurons. This increases the amount of serotonin

available for binding to serotonin receptors throughout the brain.
Stimulation of these receptors controls fear processing in the amygdala, the
part of the brain that processes fear.

Photo: Celexa, a long-term anti-anxiety drug

Third-Generation Antidepressants

Venlafaxine (sold under the brand name Effexor) is a serotonin-

norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, or SNRI. SNRIs are third-generation
antidepressant drugs, which were preceded by tricyclic antidepressants, or
TCAs, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.

Whereas TCAs inhibit the reabsorption of certain neurotransmitters, and

SSRIs selectively block the transport of serotonin back into the cells, SNRIs
selectively block the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine. According
to a report published in the March 2001 issue of British Medical Bulletin,
SNRIs are more effective and have fewer side effects than the older drugs.


Barbiturates belong to an older class of sedatives still used in euthanasia,

as pain relievers and to induce anesthesia. Barbiturates bind to the brain's
GABA receptor. GABA is a neurological inhibitor that slows down the
neurological system. Barbiturates enhance this effect by causing the
receptor's chloride ion channel to stay open for a longer time. Chloride ions
traveling through the channel into neurons block the release of other
neurotransmitters, reports a study published in the October 2002 issue of
"Journal of Clinical Investigation."

Many effective migraine medications contain a barbiturate, such as

butalbital, in addition to an over-the-counter analgesic. The barbiturate
enhances the effect of the analgesic drug and provides a calming effect on
the neurological system.


Photo: Xanax: A short-term anti-anxiety drug (benzodiazepine)

Benzodiazepines replaced barbiturates as anti-anxiety drugs when they

entered the popular market in the 1960s. They are now the main anti-
anxiety drugs prescribed for immediate relief of anxiety. Though they are
chemically unlike barbiturates, their mechanism of action is quite similar.

Like barbiturates, they also bind to the GABA receptor, albeit at a different
site, which causes the receptor to open more frequently.

Benzodiazepines can provide relief of chronic pain when injected directly

into the spine, according to a study published in the January 2008 issue of
"Nature." Taken orally, benzodiazepines do not have independent
analgesic properties but the neuron retardation they give rise to can
alleviate pain symptoms to some extent.


The newest class of GABA agonists prescribed as sedatives are the

imidazopyridines. They include the widely discussed sleeping pill zolpidem,
or Ambien, which causes sleep-driving and sleep-eating in some patients,
according to a report published in the October 2009 issue of "Journal of
Clinical Sleep Medicine."

Imidazopyrines exert their sedative effect by binding to the GABA receptor

at a different site than barbiturates and benzodiazepines, thereby causing
neuron activity to slow down. Like barbiturates and benzodiazepines, they
can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and pain.

Photo: Ambien, a sleeping aid


The most commonly prescribed opioids are methadone, morphine and

codeine. Methadone is mainly used to treat heroin addiction but it is also an
effective pain reliever. Like the body's own endorphins, opioid drugs relieve
pain by binding to the mu-opioid receptor, according to a study published in
the June 2004 issue of "Science."

Opioids also block the NMDA glutamate receptor. Glutamate is the brain's
main excitatory neurotransmitter. Blocking the NMDA glutamate receptor is
what accounts for the sedative effects of opioid drugs.

Methadone also acts as a serotonin reuptake inhibitor, according to a

report published in the September 2003 issue of "Journal of Supportive
Oncology." This prevents serotonin from being transported back into the
brain's neurons. Serotonin in higher concentrations can down-regulate fear
processing in the brain's limbic fear center. This, in addition to the down-
regulation of glutamate, may explain some of the drug's anxiolytic


British Medical Bulletin; Meta-Analytical Studies on New

Antidepressants; Ian M. Anderson; March 2001
"The American Journal of Cardiology"; Clinical Characteristics and
Four-Year Outcomes of Patients in the Rhode Island Takotsubo
Cardiomyopathy Registry; Regnante, et al.; April 2009
"Journal of Clinical Investigation"; Decreased Anxiety-Like Behavior,
Reduced Stress Hormones, and Neurosteroid Supersensitivity in
Mice Lacking Protein Kinase C; Clyde W. Hodge, et al.; October
"Nature"; Reversal of Pathological Pain Through Specific Spinal
GABAA Receptor Subtypes; Julia Knabl, et al.; January 2008

"Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine"; Zolpidem-Induced Sleepwalking,
Sleep Related Eating Disorder, and Sleep-Driving; R. Hoque and A.
L. Chesson Jr.; October 2009
"Science"; Deficit in Attachment Behavior in Mice Lacking the Mu-
Opioid Receptor Gene; A. Moles, et al.; June 2004
"The Journal of Supportive Oncology"; Prescribing Methadone, A
Unique Analgesic; Paolo L. Manfredi and Raymond W. Houde;
September 2003

The Serotonin Diet

It has been known for some time that low brain levels of serotonin can be a
cause of anxiety. For that reason, many medications for anxiety work by
increasing the brain's level of serotonin. But drugs are not the only way to
raise your serotonin levels. Foods that contain vitamin B, omega-3 fatty
acids or tryptophan, which are all essential to the synthesis or function of
serotonin, can also help raise serotonin levels.


The amino acid tryptophan is an essential amino acid. The human body
cannot synthesize this protein building block on its own. So, the only way

for the body to receive it is directly through the diet. Tryptophan is one of
the building blocks of serotonin. So, if your intake of tryptophan is too low,
the brain will produce less serotonin. To raise your serotonin levels, choose
foods high in tryptophan. These include turkey, tofu, fish, cheddar cheese,
chickpeas, whey protein, sunflower seeds, buckwheat, flax seeds, and flax

Photo: Tofu is rich in tryptophan

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

According Dr. Barry Sears, the number of reported cases of depression

have increased radically in recent years. Like anxiety, depression is
characterized by low levels of serotonin. Sears reports that the increase in
cases of depression could be a result of the reduced intake of omega-3
fatty acids. Since omega-3 fatty acids are essential to the function of
serotonin, a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may be able to reverse

serotonin depletion. Foods high in omega-3 acids include salmon, tuna,
sardines, eggs and flax oil.

Photo: Tuna is rich in omega-3 acids

Vitamin B

According to Hara Estroff Marano of "Psychology Today," even marginal

vitamin B deficiencies can give rise to low levels of serotonin and
corresponding increased levels of anxiety. The reason for the importance of
vitamin B for proper brain function is that it is involved both in the
generation of new brain cells and in the metabolism of glucose, the brain's
main energy source. Foods that contain vitamin B include nutritional yeast,
chicken, green leafs, nuts, brown rice, corn, legumes, eggs, meat, peas
and sunflower seeds.

Dietary supplement 5-HTP

You can also consider adding the dietary supplement 5-hydroxy-L-

tryptophan, or 5-HTP, an immediate precursor to serotonin, to your diet. In

the US, 5-HTP is sold as an over-the-counter dietary supplement and is not
regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Unlike serotonin, 5-HTP can cross the blood-brain barrier. Once inside the
brain, it may be converted into serotonin. In a study published in the March
2003 issue of "Behavioral Brain Research", it was shown that 5-HTP could
reverse serotonin depletion in mice. Whether 5-HTP has similar beneficial
effects in humans is unknown. It is also unknown whether the chemical has
any serious side effects. Always consult your doctor before you add any
supplements to your diet.

Foods to Avoid?

There are no particular foods that you will need to avoid if you follow a
serotonin diet. However, according to Dr. Judith J. Wurtman, co-author of
"The Serotonin Power Diet, Eat Carbs, Nature's Own Appetite
Suppressant, to Stop Emotional Overeating," diets very low in
carbohydrates can lower serotonin levels significantly. To ensure the
efficiency of tryptophan in the production of serotonin, your diet must
include some carbohydrates.


Why Serotonin Can Cause Depression and Anxiety
The Huffington Post: ropping Serotonin Levels: Why You Crave Carbs
Late in the Day, by Judith D.
Omega 3 Fish Oils and Diet Help Alleviate Depression, by Dr. Barry

"Journal of Psychiatry and Neurosciece"; How to Increase Serotonin
in the Human Brain without Drugs; Simon N. Young; November 2007
"Behavioral Brain Research"; Increases in Avoidance Responding
Produced by REM Sleep Deprivation or Serotonin Depletion are
Reversed by Administration of 5-Hydroxytryptophan; Smith RL and
Kennedy CH; March 2003
Psychology Today: Vitamins: Busy B's, by Hara Estroff Marano

Chapter 7: Mental Scripting

You can shed tears that she is gone,

or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she'll come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all she's left.
Your heart can be empty because you can't see her,
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her only that she is gone,
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back.
Or you can do what she'd want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

--David Harkins

Personality: Nature or Nurture?

"An unfortunate thing about this world is that the good habits are much
easier to give up than the bad ones," said English short-story writer William
Somerset Maugham.

The insight behind this quote is that deep-seated habits, or behavioral

patterns, are difficult to change.

People's deep-seated habits reflect their personality, the clusters of

dispositions, thoughts and feelings that make them unique. These pattern-
forming features are also known as personality traits.

Personality traits can change gradually or through extensive counseling but
they normally are relatively stable over time.

The thought that people can literally change their personality is

controversial. The famous Minnesota twin family studies conducted by
researchers at the University of Minnesota--Twin Cities, examined more
than 8,000 pairs of twins to identify the degree to which personality is a
result of nature or nurture.

Psychologist Thomas Bouchard found that monozygotic, or identical, twins

reared apart were just as likely to have the same personality as twins who
grew up together. Since twins who are reared apart are reared differently,
the results seem to indicate that personality is primarily hereditary, just like
eye color or height.

Photo: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.

If personality traits are primarily hereditary, it might seem that people

cannot change their personality.

However, there is room for change.

Just as childhood nutrition can make a small difference to a person's

height, nurture can affect personality to some degree.

It is also possible that some of the qualities found between identical twins
reared apart were due primarily to physical similarities. Two people who
look the same, have similar voices, the same height, and so on, are likely
to get similar responses from others regardless of where they grow up. So,
the environment may have played a greater role in shaping the twins'
personality than the Minnesota twin studies indicated.

Furthermore, the human brain is amazingly flexible. When people get a

small stroke in, say, the left prefrontal cortex, the regions around the
damaged area can take over the functions the damaged area used to

When the stroke is significant, the corresponding right side of the brain can
take over the same functions.

If personality traits and behavioral patterns are at least partly grounded in

the brains neural networks, it should not come as a surprise that we really
can change our personality and behavioral patterns.

Change Yourself Before You Change the World

When you suffer from a breakup, your mind is on fire. Chemicals fluctuate
wildly. How wildly depends on your personality traits and behavioral

Can you change your personality and behavioral patterns?

Yes, you can!

You can affect your thinking patterns and slow down your inner tsunami of
stress chemicals.

Slowing down this inner hurricane will make you act in more rational ways.

You can stop your own suffering. You can stop wasting your life on a guy
who is not going to commit to you or who isnt into you at all.

The most effective way to slow down your stress hormones and increase
the feel good hormones in your body is to train your brain to think

Photo: The Serotonin happiness molecule

Why waste your precious life on a person who has said no to sharing life

There is no good reason. And since you cannot change your guy, you can
only turn things around by changing your own behavioral patters.

You can change your own behavioral patterns by following a simple

program called mental scripting. This program is the same as the program
we used to call mental simulation.

Mental Scripting Basics: Write Down Your Exact Aims

The first step in the mental scripting program is to write down what you
would like to change about your personality and behavioral patters. The
things you put down dont need to relate to your recent breakup. We will get
to that later. Here are some examples of personality traits or behavioral
patterns one could work on changing.

1. I would like to be the one to start conversations with people -- in the

elevator, at Starbucks, at my daughters gymnastics lessons.

2. I would like to be more extroverted.

3. I would like to overcome my fear of public speaking.

4. I would like to make less spontaneous decisions.

5. I would like to stop lying to make myself look better.

6. I would like to have the courage to start Internet dating.

7. I would like to be less controlling at work

8. I would like to have the courage to ask my boss for a raise

9. I would like to have the courage to tell my boyfriend where my erotic

zones are

10. I would like to be less co-dependent

Identify the personality traits or behaviors that stand in the way of you
achieving your goals.

Once you have identified these traits and behaviors, identify the situations
in which they become obstacles.

If you are too needy and dependent, this may show up as a tendency to
check up on your guy constantly, texting him incessantly, continuously
asking him to be with you or complaining about not seeing him enough.

You cannot change every unfortunate trait or behavioral pattern all at once.
Pick one or two traits or behavioral patterns you want to change first. Then
focus on working on these.

Perhaps you are too introverted to meet new friends or men or too needy
and clingy once you finally meet new people or too emotional to hide your
destructive negative emotions.

Even though all of these traits of your personality are destructive, you
cannot change all of them at once. Decide which one or two specific
features you really want to work on. Then work on them.

Mental Scripting Basics: Mental Gymnastics

Mental scripting consists in acting out your new behavior in situations

where you would normally respond in destructive ways.

But dont start out in real life.

Begin inside your mind.

Imagine yourself being in a difficult situation. Then imagine how you would
like to respond in this kind of situation.

Suppose you would like to remain calm when people criticize you, not
because they are always right and you are always wrong, but because your
tendency to speak up loudly and angrily in every situation has backfired.

In this case, create a scenario in which someone criticizes you harshly and
without justification. Then imagine yourself responding in a calm and
neutral way.

Using specific people and scenes from your life is likely to have the
greatest effect.

Dont do this once or twice. Do it repeatedly for many days or weeks.

The purpose of this is to train your brain to associate your new good
behavioral patterns with the tricky scenarios.

When you create new thinking patterns, your brain creates new neural
connections. You will eventually behave in more desirable ways in difficult
situations because of the new pathways you have created in your brain.

Mental Scripting Basics: From the Mind to the World

Now that you have played out the scenes in your mind, its time to play
them out in real life.

But dont begin with really tough situations.

Find some safe situations where you can practice your new behavior.

Suppose you are working on becoming more extroverted. Go to Starbucks

and compliment the hairstyle of a customer, or ask a guy walking his dog a
question about his dog.

The idea is to find situations that dont matter if you fail. You are still

Once you have done some real-life role playing, you are ready to practice
your new behavior in situations that matter.

If you fail, dont worry. Start from scratch. Maybe you will need to go back
to the mental simulation phase for a while before you take your behavior
out into the real world. Then try again.

Every time you are in a difficult situation, quickly play out the scenario in
your mind the way you will be used to playing it out in the comfort of your
own home.

Act the way you do when you imagine the situation. If you dont get the
desired response, go back to the mental simulation phase.

Reevaluate your behavior. Perhaps there is a better response you can

practice in situations that matter.

How Stephanie Used Mental Scripting to Stop Her Desire for Revenge

Stephanie and Michael had been seeing each other for a year when
Michael suddenly ended their relationship under the excuse of not wanting
to commit to just one person at this particular point in time.

Stephanie first went into deep depression. Then suddenly her lack of
motivation went away. She became obsessed with thoughts of taking
revenge and was motivated to follow through.

Her revenge plans ranged from sending threatening letters to the women
Michael slept with to sleeping with his best friend and vandalizing his car. It
was clear to Stephanie that this kind of behavior would achieve nothing
(except perhaps send her to jail). But she could not stop her thoughts about
revenge and feared that she might act on her them

After meeting with us twice, we recommended the mental scripting (or

simulation) technique. The plan was to work on changing the nature of the
revenge rather than the strong feeling of wanted to take revenge.

She still saw Michael regularly through work-related engagements. So, we

agreed that her new revenge plan should be to appear attractive, self-
confident and successful yet unavailable to him.

During the mental simulation phase Stephanie visualized how she would
carry herself during the meeting and what she would say. She would stand
up straight and proud, with a smile on her lips. She would not avoid eye
contact with Michael. But she wouldnt look at him excessively either. She
would be actively involved in making progress during the meeting. Finally,
she would decline to go for after-drinks, mentioning that she had already
made other plans.

She visualized the details of the meeting a couple of hours each day until
the meeting. She also practiced her new behavior and appearance in non-
threatening situations where Michael wasnt present.

During the actual meeting she kept visualizing but now acting out what she
visualized. She noticed that Michael paid attention to her. After the meeting
he specifically asked her whether she was going to after-drinks. But she
went on with her plans and declined.

Stephanie felt great afterward. Her new behavior sparked a turn of events.
Michael started calling her. She met with him on a few occasions but did
not accept his implicit offer to go home with him. She has decided that if
Michael does not explicitly tell her that he wants to commit to her
exclusively, she will not engage romantically with him. She doesnt know
whether that will happen. But she feels great about how things are going.

Chapter 8: The 28-Day Breakup Cleanse

What you feared most just happened. The love of your life left you.

Here you are. Alone. Empty. Yet full of love that has no aim.

Yes, he really did it. He unexpectedly broke up with you. You should have
seen it coming. But you didn't. Now you want the pain to end.

We have some good news and some bad news for you.

Here's the bad news: Nothing can completely stop the pain.

But, and this is the good news, you can learn to live with the pain. You can
make the pain less painful.


Every person has what we call a Hurt Feelings Feeling. This HFF is a way
better friend to you than your BFF and here is why. Life itself produces
thousands of hurt feelings opportunities. Thousands of people, places and
circumstances that disappoint. Your breakup is one in a long, long string of
just such disappointments.

Torturous breakups are very often physically painful. The fact is, all times
of stress have a physical component. You are so used to the stress you
live with every day that you are out of touch with what it feels like to be
without pain. In the shock of the breakup, your status quo is so upset that
your hurt feelings feeling finally is felt.

It may seem like your whole self hurts. That is not surprising. There are
pain and pleasure receptors on your cells as part of the neurochemical
system. What we are going to do in the Breakup Cleanse is to help you

identify your own personal HFF, befriend it (We know that sounds
impossible) and let it walk right through your breakup recovery with you.

My (Catherine) Hurt Feelings Feeling is in my upper left pectoral muscle.

When I am sad and disappointed (yes, I am a great guy....and
yes I do get hurt feelings some of the time) the ache in my chest is like a
red hot poker. If I am really upset, the pain goes into my jaw and ears.

Jeanice feels it as a huge weight on her chest. Jo feels it in her lower back.
Marni feels it in her right shoulder muscle. It doesnt matter where you feel
it. It only matters that you find it. Once you know your HFF, you have
something few other broken hearted people have.

You know exactly what is going on with your emotions. You are upset and
lots of painful thoughts are running through your head. You also are aware

of your HFF. You feel pain in your body that is parallel to your painful

Now you are ready to heal your heartbreak. The Breakup Cleanse is
designed for you to separate the physical impact of the breakup from the
emotional impact. Your body chemistry is amazing. It is reliable and
scientifically observable.

Your Inner Chemical Factory works to restore your body to calmness and
relaxation and balances itself without much help from you if...and this is a
HUGE if... if and only if you can put your focus on your body first and work
on your thoughts.

Why 28 days?

During any 28 day period (on average) the young or not so young female
body goes through various hormonal changes. The sex hormones estrogen
and progesterone change radically. Estrogen levels peak around day 14,
and this triggers the release of an egg. Progesterone levels peak the last
14 days of the cycle, and this triggers the preparation of the uterus for

At times when progesterone and estrogen levels are high, women recover
more quickly from strokes and traumatic brain injury. Your immune system,
mental health and mood depend on where you are in the cycle.

During ovulation women in general are more attuned to male pheromones

(sweat, for example), and they are more easily sexually aroused than they
are during the other phases. Before menstruation, mood changes are likely
to occur, and the immune system offers less protection against foreign

So your natural 28 day cycle is the perfect avenue for walking you through
your post-breakup blues as painlessly as possible. Real healing of your
body and mind is a natural consequence of using these specially designed
techniques as your body goes through a full cycle of mood changes,
hormonal changes and changes in sexual arousal.

Completing the Breakup Cleanse actually trains your brain to think of

yourself as single and detach yourself from your former lover. You will feel
separate from the man who broke up with you and you will also feel
detached from your Hurt Feelings Feeling. You will master your reactions
when it comes to men. All men will hurt your feelings at one time or
another and your ability to feel it and heal it quickly will steal your mans
heart. You will be light years ahead of your single peers in the soul mate
search when you know how to use your brain chemistry to be at your best
in relationships!

Trust me (Catherine) I am married 5 years at the time of this writing. As

well suited as my husband and I are, there are times some things happen
that remind me, or better said, my body of a sad time in the past. Hence my
HFF starts to flame. Now I can choose to see it has nothing to do with
Larrys snarky comment. I have learned to feel my hurt feelings as
separate from whatever is going on.

I know the faucet that spills stress chemicals into my body is on. How do I
know that? My HFF! Once I use these specific tools to turn off that faucet

and turn on the pleasure chemicals once again, then I can react to my
husband with humor and resolve the issue.

So lets get going. Just where is YOUR HFF? See video here:

The Cleanse Week 1: Taking the Edge off of the Pain

You are hurting. Your nerves are hanging on the surface of your clothes.
You are screaming and crying. Or maybe you suddenly got hit by the pain
of an old breakup. Your chest hurts. Your tummy feels like you ate food that
has gone bad. You are eager to get the hurt to go away.

Before we can get to the actual exercises, we need to take the edge of the
pain. In preparation go online and buy some Theraputty on
Its no more than $6.

Childrens putty can work in its place. Even modeling clay. You just need
something to work your hurt feelings into. You must also schedule a visit
with your doctor on day 6, youll find out why as you go through The

This week, whatever you do, do not fight your feelings. You will have lots of
ups and downs and feel fear, anger, jealousy, sadness, resentment,
confusion. Notice thought, that that list of feelings doesnt have any
PHYSICAL words on it.... Up until now, your Hurt Feelings Feeling has
been mostly in your ideas and thoughts. Now your feelings are needing a
physical expression.

Dont push these new feelings away, just notice where your body hurts
when you are going through the exercises. In a very real way, your body is
having its own grieving process. You are doing a great service for your
body by allowing the new feelings to be part of your healing process.

Oh, one last thing. The brain hungers for novelty. Lawrence C. Katz,
Ph.D. Your brain is hurting and confused right now. Firing off boat loads of
stress chemicals and then mopping up the mess as you try to stop the

To detox your brain from the firestorm of strong emotion, you need to
distract it first. Each day will begin with an unusual brain challenge
designed to engage it in a neutral curiosity. Think of it as a brain warm up.
All exercises are developed from Dr. Katzs work.

Day 1

Brain Warm Up: Close your eyes when you brush your teeth. Thats it.
Notice what you are aware of as you do.

1. If at all possible, take the day off. If its not possible, see if you can get
half a day off or even get off work a bit earlier than normal.

2. Take an hour long walk. If its cold or rainy or very hot, dress for the

3. Lay down flat on your bed for at least an hour with something heavy
on top of you, something that weights you down. A heavy blanket is
great. Even if you are crying and hurting, try to relax.

4. Watch some love unrelated show on television while you work the
putty or clay in your hand.

5. Drink chamomile tea or hot milk before bedtime. Take a dose of


While Benadryl is normally only to be taken for allergies, it is also a

relatively harmless sleeping aid, and it doesnt have the side effects
of many other sleep medications. Melatonin is a good alternative to
Benadryl. If you have serious sleeping problems, talk to your doctor
about a prescription sleeping medication.

Day 2

Brain Warm Up: Without looking, pick your clothes from the closet by
feeling the textures.

Your Daily Five

1. Before you leave in the morning, stand in front of the mirror and say
out loud I completely love and accept myself 20 times. Then put a
smile on your face (you have to crinkle the sides of your eyes or it
doesnt count...use your whole face when you smile) and let it stick
for as long as you can throughout the day.

2. Take at least one hour long walk.

3. Meditate for 30 minutes. If you are not in the habit of meditating, sit in
a comfortable chair and let your thoughts come and go. Your mind
has to let go of each thought as you become aware of it. A quiet

mind is not as valuable to you right now as a disconnected one. Just
keep practicing cutting off the thought in mid-sentence.

4. Pick one friend (not your ex) and write them an email, in which you
tell them how you are doing in the cleanse so far. If you dont have
anyone close enough to you to be able to share these kinds of
feelings, we would LOVE to support you. Dont hesitate to write an
email to us.

5. Make a phone call to one person (who is not your ex), someone you
suspect will talk for a long time. It doesnt matter whether you share
your hurts or not, in fact it would be best to talk about anything BUT
your breakup. Research clearly shows that sharing happy
experiences with friends shifts your brain chemistry into relief.

Day 3

Brain Warm Up: Think of 5 things to eat that are red.

Your Daily Five

1. Time to mix things up. Regardless of whether your home or apartment

reminds you of your ex, mix things up. Buy a new piece of furniture.

Move the furniture around. Put a colorful piece of cloth over an old
chair. Move things around in the kitchen and bathroom.

2. Do something for yourself. Get a haircut or a manicure or pedicure.

Buy yourself a new bag or some great shoes. Or buy something you
have wanted to buy for a long time if you can afford it. If you dont
have a lot of money, treat yourself to a piece of costume jewelry.

3. Begin reading a new novel. If you are not used to reading novels, its
about time to take up this delicious habit. Pick a novel that is not
mostly about love, in fact humor is your best bet. Ask your local book
seller for the hot new funny book in the store.

4. Search Internet grief sites (dont forget that being broken up with is a
common cause of grief, even though the grief sites will be mostly
address cases of death). You will find company here, people who


5. You might find that Internet sites that describe what it is like to lose a
child or become disabled or become diagnosed with a potentially
deathly disease, such as cancer can help. Your own situation may
seem small in comparison. But always remember that while losing a
child or a body part or being diagnosed with a terminal illness
normally is so much more painful than losing a man you love, you
may be in as much pain right now. Reading these sites can give you

Day 4

Brain Warm Up: Sit in a different room than you normally do when you do
your morning routine.

Your Daily Five

1.Take an hour long walk.

2. Meditate for 30 minutes. Practice disconnecting from your thoughts
and letting them go.

3. Go to a Starbucks or another cafe with a novel, your Kindle or your

computer. Hang out there. Read a little. Just watch people come and

4. For the rest of the day, let your tears clear your system. You might
have been crying all along. If so, continue. If not, watch a sad
romantic movie or just a sad movie. Or search for a sad topic on the
Internet. Get those tears flowing. They will clean out your system.

Keep crying until you have no tears left. Hot Tip: If you want a no fail
cry system, check out the YouTube videos on soldiers coming home
to surprise their families.

5. Have one drink before you go to bed. One only. If you dont drink
alcohol, prepare a hot glass of milk or a hot cup of herbal tea without

Day 5

Brain Warm Up: Walk backwards from your bedroom to the bathroom.

Your Daily Five

1. Its time to share your experiences with other breakup girls or guys.
You might have done a little of this. But now its time to really speak

2. Share your story with colleagues, friends, family, neighbors, your

landlord, the lady in the grocery store or email us.

3. Search the Internet for breakup stories. Compare them to your own.!5760155/here-are-your-most-spectacular-

4. Search the Internet for breakup forums. Join, read, post. You are not

5. End the day by working your emotions into your Theraputty. Work the
putty in your hands while you watch a love-unrelated show on
television. Visit this video for further instructions:

Day 6

Brain Warm Up: Plug your nose and taste three different foods.

Your Daily Five

1. Go to the local pool and swim for 30 minutes. If you cant swim, do
some equivalent kind of exercise for 30 minutes.

2. After the pool, go to a caf and have a cup of coffee. Watch people
come and go. What are they thinking? What are they doing? Make
up a story line for them. Is one a spy? Movie Star? Politician?

3. Its time for your doctors visit, which you set up 6 days ago. Tell your
doc your breakup story. If any cheating was involved, get a STI check
up. Discuss your mental state with your doctor. There are cases in
which it is necessary to get antidepressants or anti-anxiety
medication. But your doctor is the only one who can determine this.

4. After your doctors visit, go to the pharmacy and get your prescription
medication (if any). If you dont need prescription medication, get
some Ginseng and Emergen-C to help your body heal physically.

5. Then treat yourself to a full body massage.

Day 7

Brain Warm Up: Eat breakfast with your wrong hand, the one you do not
write with.

Your Daily Five

1. Start an exercise plan. The plan should include at least one hour of
exercise a week.

2. Make a habit out of parking further away from your destination that
you need to (when the weather is nice) and walk the last bit.

3. Music is one of the fastest ways to adjust your brain chemistry for the
good. Make a habit out of using dance and skipping as a way to get
from room to room in your house.

4. Put on some upbeat music and sing along.

5. Start singing any time you get a chance: In the car, in the shower,
while working.

The Cleanse Week 2: Habituation

A simple way to become less focused on your loved one is to literally tire
out your brain. This method is also known as "habituation." It's a well
known mechanism to avoid obsessions and has been used in cognitive-
behavioral therapy for decades.

For habituation to work you must do something that seems quite counter-
intuitive at first. You must expose yourself to the things that make you feel
bad. It seems counter intuitive but over time this will make it stop hurting to
think about him.

How do you apply habituation to breakups? If you are going through a

difficult breakup, thoughts of your ex send repeated spurts of harsh stress
chemicals through your body. Thoughts of fear, anger and abandonment
ride on the coattails of this chemical flood.

This is because you implicitly associate thoughts of your ex with something

negative, for example, the fact that he is no longer in your life, the loss of
future experiences with him or the simple fact that he turned you down.

Thoughts of your ex automatically trigger hyper-activity in your emotional

To desensitize you can't simply stop thinking about him. That could worsen
the situation. Instead you need to break the associations by overexposing
your brain to the fear-triggering stimulus, that is to the fear you will be hurt
again in the future.

Through this week, you will practice allowing your brain to dwell on your ex
and the things you did together. Put on some music that reminds you of
your loved one. Think about the good times you had together, or the bad.
Cry if necessary. The only thing that is off limits is making explicit contact
with your ex.

Though it may not feel that way, extreme exposure to thoughts of your ex
will likely exhaust your brain cells. They may fire wildly at the beginning. It's
going to feel awful. But your brain activity will slowly become less intense
and you then it can produce the brain soothing pleasure chemicals that will
bring real long lasting relief to your body and mind.

Day 1

Brain Warm Up: Tie your shoes or button your shirt with your eyes closed.

Your Daily Five

1.Find one of your favorite pictures of you and him and put it out near
your computer screen or on your cell phone.

2.Find some objects that remind you of him or gifts he has give you. If
you have a piece of his clothing, that is perfect.

3.Get some music ready that reminds you of him. If you dont have
music of this kind, search for some sad love songs.

4.Spend as long as possible looking at the pictures and objects and
listening to the music.

5.Let your emotions and thoughts run their own course. Dont analyze or
panic. Write about the experience and describe what you are aware
of physically.

Day 2

Brain Warm Up: Drink a glass of water and pee at the same time.

Your Daily Five

1. Pick the one day with him that is most closely linked to your longing
for him. If there are several days, pick one.

2. Write a 5-page letter describing the day in detail. Keep it and email a
copy to us.

3. While you write the letter or immediately afterward, pay close

attention to your pain. How is it manifested? Are you nauseous?
Does your heart hurt? Are you crying?

4. Write down all of the ways in which your pain and longing are
manifested right now. Focus on the bodily aspects. Here is example:

I feel nauseous
I cant stop crying
I have a sharp pain shooting from my heart
My head feels heavy
My hands are shaking

5.When you are done, spend a few minutes just feeling each area in
your body that hurts. Keep the list.

Repeat step 3 to 5 later in the day.

Day 3

Brain Warm Up: Doodle with your wrong hand. Try pencil, marker and pen.

Your Daily Five

1. Write down five interesting color names, five emotions, five

personality or behavioral traits, five favorite foods and five weather
conditions. Pick those that first come to mind. You list could look like




ice cream


2. Make word pairs, as they first come to mind, for example, icy
cranberries, rainy apples or gentle jealousy. It does not have to make
any sense as long as it is a grammatical combination. You can use
words more than ones. Use all the words.

3. Use the words and additional words needed to write a love poem to
your ex. Dont worry about whether it is good or bad, or whether you
have ever written poetry before. Do not send it to him. If you need to
show it to someone, email a copy to us.

4. For each line in the poem, quickly pick a situation from your
relationship or from the time after the breakup. Write down your
choice on a separate piece of paper.

5. For each line, reflect on why you picked that situation. Jot down your
thoughts on this and save for later.

Day 4

Brain Warm Up: Tear a heart shape out of a piece of newspaper.

Your Daily Five

1.Today you will use the word because. Ask about your physical pain,
your emotions and your poem associations. Begin with your physical
pain. My chest hurts because... Finish the sentence. Go over all your
physical symptoms. It doesnt matter whether you offer a chemical
explanation or a psychological explanation, as long as you answer
the question. You might write:

My chest hurts because my sadness makes the adrenal gland

produce adrenaline, and the adrenaline is attacking my heart, or
My chest hurts because I miss John.

2.Continue asking the same questions about your emotions. You might
complete your questions as follows:

I am sad because John left me

I miss John because normally he would have been sitting here with
me eating dinner
I am jealous because I cant stop thinking about the women he might
be with right now

Continue the process with the poem associations you chose, for example:

I associated stormy pineapple with our breakup, because John broke

up with me while we were eating pineapple. Dont worry if you cant
think of a good reason for the association. Jot down something that
seems plausible or go to the next association.

3. Identify some things you regret you did or didnt do during your

4.Complete because questions about these behaviors or lack of

behaviors, for example:

I was very jealous each time John went out with his friends because I
was worried he would find someone better than me.
I lied to him about spending time with my friend Peter, because I
thought John might get jealous if he knew I spent so much time with

Day 5

Brain Warm Up: Imagine you just cut into a fresh ripe lemon.

Your Daily Five

1. Today it is time to have a conversation with him, only he is not going

to be there. Start a new document or get out a pen and some paper.

2. Ask him your most burning questions in writing. For example, you
might ask:

When did it first occur to you that our relationship might not work?
What was the main thing that you didnt like about the relationship?
What could we have done differently?

3. Then visualize how he would answer it. Dont use wishful thinking. Be
as realistic as possible. Jot it down.

4. Continue with questions and answers until you cannot think of any
more questions to ask him.

5. When you are done, spend some time thinking about further
questions you want to ask him. Then ask them throughout the rest of
the day and visualize his answers to them.

Day 6

Brain Warm Up: Sign your signature with your wrong hand.

Your Daily Five

1. Pick a local restaurant where you had a romantic meal with your ex. If
you cant think of a restaurant, pick another venue, for instance, a
cafe, a theater, a bowling hall. If you never met locally or you moved
since your breakup, pick a good substitute. For example, if you had a
romantic meal at an Italian restaurant, pick an Italian restaurant.

2. Dress up as if you were going on a date with your ex. Spend the
same amount of time getting ready you did at the beginning of your

3. Have a meal at the restaurant alone, eat the very food (or similar
food) you ate with your ex. If you didnt pick a restaurant, partake in
the activity you shared at the venue you chose. It is important that
you do this alone.

4. While you are eating your meal, think about your date. Sit in the back
of the room, so you can cry if you need to. If you dont think you can
go through with this, do take out. But complete the other steps.

5. Go home and watch a romantic comedy while working your


Day 7

Brain Warm Up: Pick three different pairs of socks. Match the pairs by feel

Your Daily Five

1. Buy a small box or container you can use for a shrine.

2. Gather all your mementos and photos of him.

3. Choose the objects and photos to go in the shrine. Choose the ones
that mean the most to you. Do not choose any he might want back

4. Throw out anything that doesnt fit. If he is still to pick up some things
from your place, do not use that as an excuse to contact him. Get a
heavy-duty trash back and place the items in the back and set it away
until he arranges for a time to pick it up. Dont use that as an excuse
to see him again. Have a friend meet him when he does pick it up. If
you have furniture that belongs to him. Buy some cheap fabric and
throw it over the furniture to make it look different.

5. Then have a ceremony where you lock the shrine. If you feel up for it,
you can bury the shrine some place outside. Alternatively, hide it
away in a place that is not easy to get to. Save all electronic photos
and other reminders you want to hide away in a folder on the
computer separate from the folders you normally look at.

The Cleanse Week 3: Use Your Imagination

You made it to week 3. Congratulations! You are doing great and you
should notice you have more energy during the day. This week we will use
positive and negative mental scripting to change your mindset with respect
to your ex.

Day 1

Brain Warm Up: Stand on one foot while you make your coffee or tea.

Your Daily Five

1. Imagine a wonderful situation without him in it. What do you really

enjoy doing? Picture the situation. Your ex cannot be part of the
picture. If you love French food, you can imagine yourself at a French
restaurant but not with him. Bring a friend, a sibling or a colleague.
Order the most expensive food and wine and have a blast... IN YOUR

2. Visualize a wonderful situation from the past before you even met
your ex. Have you had a wonderful moment that still feels wonderful
to you? No negative vibes? Relive that moment.

3. Plan a real vacation for yourself or you and your girlfriend. If you cant
take a vacation right now, imagine what it would be like. What kind of
food would you eat? What would the bars where you sip your
cocktails look like?

4. Visualize yourself pursuing something you have always wanted to
pursue. If you always wanted to play the guitar, visualize what it
would be like knowing how to do it.

5. Picture doing something wonderful for a person in your life you know
would be grateful, your mom, your daughter, your best friend.
Imagine their smile and gratefulness.

Day 2

Brain Warm Up: Take a shower with your eyes closed.

Your Daily Five

1. Write down a list of bad personality or behavioral traits that your ex


2. Visualize as many bad moments as you can. If you had too many to
count, pick your top five or ten. One real intense one may be enough.

3. Imagine why others might not be attracted to him. Forget about his
traits that people might fall for. Everyone has some bad trait or other.
Visualize him in a dating situation where he shares this with his date.
How does she react?

4. Write down a top 10 list of things you would change about your ex to
make him closer to perfect. Dont write nothing. Surely, there is
something that you would prefer to change if you could.

5. Who is the person closest to you right now? A friend? Your mom? A
sister? Regardless of who it is, imagine you told them everything you
know about your ex -- good or bad -- how would they react? What
would they say? What would they do? Do they see it like you do?

Day 3

Brain Warm Up: Take a different route to work or routine destination.

Your Daily Five

1. Pick some thought that make you sick to the stomach. It may suffice
to think about snakes, snails or blood. Or be more creative. A pubic
hair on a toilet seat does wonders.

2. Imagine your ex in close proximity to this item.

3. Later in the day pick a new trigger object and repeat steps 1 and 2.

4. Visualize your ex charged with a horrible or bothersome crime.

Getting an expensive speeding ticket that requires court appearance,
getting caught cheating on his taxes, stealing from his friends wallet
while the friend is sleeping, being charged with sexual harassment
(Cant think of anything? Breaking up with you will do, if you cant
think of something better).

5. Imagine him getting punished for his mistakes in ways he would never

Day 4

Brain Warm Up: Crunch up a piece of newspaper one handed until it is a

tight ball.

Your Daily Five

1. Go over the breakup scene in detail.

2. Do you wish you had acted differently? Said something differently?

Do you wonder whether it would have made a difference? Identify the
suspect behaviors.

3. For each one, reconsider whether doing what you didnt do or not
doing what you should have done might have triggered the breakup?
Make it personal.

4. Write down the mistakes your ex made during the breakup. Did he
break up with your via text. Did he drop the bomb on you? Write
down how he could have acted differently during the breakup scene
or prior to it.

5. Write a letter addressed to him outlining all the mistakes he made

immediately prior to the breakup or during the breakup. Do not email
the letter to him. Email it to us.

Day 5

Brain Warm Up: Listen to a totally new genre of music for at least 5

Your Daily Five

1. Visualize your ex breaking up with the next girl in line, hurting her
feelings the way he hurt yours. Which words is he using? How does
she feel? Can you feel her pain?

2. Imagine meeting with this girl at a local cafe, having a drink with her
like the four girls in Sex and the City. Have an imaginary conversation

with her, where you are sharing your breakup stories with the same

3. While you are still at your imaginary meeting with the other breakup
girl, imagine that you each start sharing all the bad traits your ex had
or has. Be creative.

4. Now, in the imaginary situation, tell each other what your realistic
dream guy would be like. Which traits does he have? Which traits
does he not have?

5. Compare your dream guys to your ex and get a good laugh at how
different the two men are (the ex and the realistic dream guy).

Day 6

Brain Warm Up: Make eye contact with three strangers today.

Your Daily Five

1. Do you still miss him? Write down what you miss about him, as he is
now, not as he once was.

2.If your list is empty, great. If it is not, then go over each one of the
things you miss about him, as he is right now. Your list might look like

I miss the way he touched me when we made love

I miss his ocean blue eyes
I miss his Italian cooking
I miss putting my head on his shoulder late in the evening

For each trait, ability or behavior, can you think of another person who
makes you feel that way? Knowing that you can feel the same even
though he is gone will help you. Knowing the traits, abilities or behaviors
that you miss, will help you pick your next guy.

3. Imagine that a guy with just those traits that you miss is standing right
in front of you now. Could that guy replace your ex? Or would your ex
still be preferable? If the latter, ask yourself why that is. It cant be the
traits. What is it then?

4. Be honest: Do you really miss your ex, as he is now? Or do you miss

him, as he once was? Do you miss what you had together?

5. What you once had together is still there. Nothing is changed. If you
had still been together, it would still be there. It is still there now.
Visualize having similar experiences with a new man.

Day 7

Brain Warm Up: Switch your watch to the other wrist for the day.

Your Daily Five

1. Find a teddy bear. If you dont have a teddy bear, use another object,
for example, a pillow. The teddy bear or pillow is now your ex,
standing or sitting right in front of you. Tell him what you think of the
breakup. Tell him how he could have handled it differently.

2. Hit your ex (the teddy bear or pillow). Punch him for hurting you.
Use foul language. Yell at him.

3. Your ex will now apologize to you. Say out loud what he says as he is

4. Take a break. Go back to the proxy (the teddy bear or ex). Imagine
your ex wanting you back. Say out loud what he is saying.

5. Tell him exactly why you do not want him back. List all the traits you
cannot live with. Say out loud what you want in a man.

The Cleanse Week 4: Moving On

In week 4 its time to get rid of the rest of the physical and psychological
reminders of your ex ONCE AND FOR ALL. (Use the trashcan, not the
window). We asked you to do this before. If you havent done it already, do
it now. If you can't get yourself to throw them out, put them in a box or
shrine that is not easy to get to.

Then fill your calendar with fun activities. By "fun activities" we mean
activities that are bound to make you laugh (or at least smile), things that

would have been fun if your ex hadn't just broken up with you. You may not
feel that this is something you can do. But you really need to do it.

Day 1
Brain Warm Up: Rearrange the top of your desk or table at work.

Your Daily Five

1. Delete his phone number from your phone directory, unless he is a

business connection.

2. Delete his email address and other easy ways for you to contact him.

3. Make him low priority on Facebook. You can do this under settings.
This will prevent his status updates from showing up on the main
page. Do not unfriend him on Facebook. Don't be silly. Nowadays
people who have barely met are friends on Facebook. Also, resist the
temptation to check out his Facebook page or his other social media
sites every two hours. You are done with that.

4. Delete old emails from him or save them in a folder away from your

5. If you didnt get rid of his clothing or other physical reminders of him
at the end of the second week, get rid of it now.

Day 2

Brain Warm Up: Eat and drink your snacks with your wrong hand.

Your Daily Five

1. To get the fun going, call friends you havent seen for weeks and
arrange to meet them in the near future. If you don't have all that
many friends, it's time to make new ones.

2. Join a single people's network.

3. Sign up on an online dating site.

4. Find old class mates to friend on Facebook. If you are not on

Facebook, sign up.

5. Start going to the same caf for coffee every day.

Day 3

Brain Warm Up: Hold your cell phone in the wrong hand as many times as
you can today.

Your Daily Five

1. Spend a few minutes thinking about something you have always

wanted to do, for example, learn how to dance or to speak a new

2. Search your local neighborhood for classes, is a
great resource for adult activities and meeting new friends.

3. Sign up right away. Some classes only start at certain times during
the year. If this is the case, get on the wait list.

4. Go shopping for required equipment, if any.

5. Go to the library and rent a book about your new hobby and get a
head start.

Day 4

Brain Warm Up: Work a crossword puzzle with your new hand.

Your Daily Five

1. Clean out in your old clothes. Be ruthless. Throw out everything you
are not going to wear in the near future or havent worn the past year.

2. Go through your shoes as well.

3. See what is left and make a list of clothing items you would like to

4. Pick the items on the list you want most.

5. Go shopping for these items. Enjoy your new clothes or shoes. If you
dont have much money, look for used clothing stores. You can find
great vintage items there. E-bay is another good place to buy great
clothes and shoes at bargain prices. You could also have a closet
party with your friends. Everyone brings nice outfits and accessories
and a bottle of wine and then all pick what they like.

Day 5

Brain Warm Up: Get dressed with your eyes closed.

Your Daily Five

1. Find a new way to wear your hair. If you can afford it, you can go to
the hair stylist. Even parting it on the other side will do the trick.

2. Do your makeup differently. If you do not normally use makeup, give it

a try to see how you feel, the ladies in the department stores are very
willing to give you tips.

3. Wear a dress or a skirt with some heels. Be daring!

4. Walk or drive to a busy area with cafes and restaurants.

5. Take a stroll there and enjoy the glances and looks you get. Makeup,
a dress and heels always make people look. We guarantee it.

Day 6

Brain Warm Up: Have Some Awesome Solo Sex!

Your Daily Five

1.Today we will use sensuality and sex to celebrate your progress and
empower your body confidence. Start the day by thinking some
positive thoughts about your body or appearance. Regardless of how
negative you are about your own appearance, you have at least one
or two body parts that you are ok with. Keep reminding yourself about
these features. Be proud of them. Think about how delicious they
make you.

2.Take a long hot bath with a relaxing oil added to the water. If you dont
have a bathtub, take a long hot shower.

3. After the bath or shower, caress your own body while lying naked on
the bed. Massage beautiful smelling lotion all over yourself and keep
saying, I love you. I love you. I love you.

4. Find some pictures of hot men online. Look at them. Or if you are
more daring, look at the photos in an erotic magazine or watch an
erotic movie (stay away from romance at this point).

5. While orgasm is great and we hope you get there, it is important to

know that simply pleasuring your body just for your own enjoyment is
a powerful tool in your cleanse. The brain loves when you do this
and will release large quantities of luscious brain chemicals if you
cum or not. There are countless sex toys to help you, just check on

Day 7

Brain Warm Up: Move the waste basket in your kitchen.

Your Daily Five


Laughter is the best way to survive a breakup. Norman Cousins, a

layperson with no prior medical training, was the first to suggest
that humor can improve physical health through its miraculous
effects on the brain. In short, your brain LOVES to laugh!

When diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a chronic inflammatory
disease that can cause the joints in the spine to fuse, Cousins
invented a healing system that combined massive amounts of
vitamin C and humor.

He recovered from near-paralysis and wrote the book "Anatomy of

an Illness." He later used the same method to recover from a heart
attack. Cousins' work has appeared in the prestigious New England
Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Lee Berk, an immunologist at Loma Linda University's School of

Allied Health and Medicine, has studied the effects of mirthful
laughter on the regulation of hormones since the 1980s. Berk and
his colleagues found that laughter helps the brain regulate the stress
hormones cortisol and adrenaline.

They also discovered a link between laughter and the production of

anti-bodies and endorphins, the body's natural pain killers. Even the
expectation that something funny is coming suffices to bring about
positive effects.

Humor also helps the brain regulate the brain's dopamine levels,
according to the December 2003 issue of the journal Neuron. The

Stanford team examined the brains of 16 study participants looking
at cartoons that had been previously rated as funny or non-funny.

They found that the funny cartoons activated a cluster of areas in the
brain's limbic system that are crucially involved in the regulation of
dopamine. The findings indicate that humor can have positive effects
not only on mood, but also on motivation and feelings of reward.

2. Grab some friends and meet at a local stand-up comedy club,

better yet, look into a standup comedy class to sign up for.

3. Search for funny pick-up lines or funny jokes on the Internet.

4. Imagine some really funny scenarios. Going grocery shopping on

a unicycle or asking people at MacDonalds if you can have their

5. Rent some really silly comedies.

Chapter 9: Dealing With Abuse

Signs and Symptoms You Are In an Abusive Relationship

According to Dr. Steven Stosny, author of "Love Without Hurt," verbal and
physical abusers are masters in hiding their true self in the dating phase.
Once you notice the obvious signs of abuse, you are already deeply
attached, making it much harder to leave. But while there may not be
obvious signs that your prospective lover is an abuser, there are early
warning signs to look out for, he says.

Early Warning Signs

If your lover is resenting, belittling or blaming others, this can be an early

warning sign that you are dating an abuser, says Dr. Stosny. It may make
you feel good if you lover says, "You're so smart and caring, not like the
bitch I used to date." But it's a sign that he suffers from victim identity.
Feeling victimized, he will seek retaliation.

Another warning sign of verbal abuse is a sense of superiority. Potential
abusers have "hierarchical self-esteem," reports Dr. Stosny. They need to
feel better than others to feel good about themselves. Their distorted minds
tell them that they deserve special treatment and have special rights. Other
early warning signs to look out for include sarcasm, deceit and a lack of
respect of personal boundaries.

Later Warning Signs

If your partner physically hurts you or your property on purpose, you are in
a physically abusive relationship. Verbal abuse can be harder to detect.
Verbal abuse is "a lie told to you or about you," says Patricia Evans, an
interpersonal communications specialist and the author of five books on
verbal abuse.

Belittling, blaming, interrogating, ignoring, hurtful joking, lying, threatening,
name-calling, yelling and raging are examples of verbally abusive behavior.
While everyone can make a mistake, repeated occurrences of this kind of
behavior are a clear sign that you are in a verbally abusive relationship.

Psychological Symptoms

The most telling psychological sign that you are in an abusive relationship
is fear of your partner and a lack of a sense of self. If you avoid certain
topics out of fear of making your partner angry, this is a red flag. A feeling
that you can't do anything right, beliefs that you deserve to be hurt or
mistreated and difficulties figuring out which one of you is causing trouble
are other signs.

The psychological signs of abuse can be even more subtle. Emotionally

numbness and helplessness, emotional pain, anxiety, depression and
avoidance of social interaction accompanied by a feeling of discomfort in
the presence of the partner can be a symptom of verbal or emotional


Psychology Today: Are You Dating an Abuser?
The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize It and How to
Respond; 2nd edition; Patricia Evans; 2003
"Domestic violence: a handbook for health professionals"; Lyn
Shipway; 2004
Help Guide: Domestic Violence and Abuse
Verbal Abuse Survivors Speak Out"; Patricia Evans; 1993

In healthy love relationships, our lovers are our magical mirrors of love,
says Dr. Steven Stosny, a consultant in family violence and the author of
"Love Without Hurt." A lover's perception strengthens our self-image and
helps us gain confidence in our own abilities and appearance. In a verbally
abusive relationship, the mirror of love has been transformed into a fun-
house mirror. It portrays us as worthless scoundrels with hips that "look a
mile wide."

How to End the Abuse

The only surefire way to end verbal abuse is to permanently remove

yourself from the situation, says Patricia Evans, an interpersonal
communications specialist and the author of five books on verbal abuse.
Verbally abusive people rarely change.

Evans recognizes that it can be difficult for people to leave. They may
depend on their partner financially or emotionally, or they may mistakenly
believe that they ought to stay for the sake of the children. In situations like
these, fight the abuse the best you can while you take the necessary steps
to build financial and emotional independence, she says.


National Domestic Violence Hotline:

Domestic Violence and Abuse:
Evans verbal abuse website:
Safe Connections:

Verbal and Emotional Abuse: Anitas Story

One of my aims in life is to speak out against verbal and emotional abuse
because it often is not recognized as a genuine form of abuse. I regularly
include segments on this topic in my classes on emotions, love and
relationships. I was actually surprised to find myself in that situation without
knowing what to do, given my theoretical background. Apparently, it can
happen to anyone. Physical abuse is horrific but when you are verbally
abused you have no bruises to show, just a heart that secretly has been
run through a meat grinder over and over again.

Here is the brief version of my story. After a short relationship full of

warning signs which I failed to pick up on, I married Ted. What were the
warning signs? He had a temper, got irritated and angry very easily and
spoke to me in impolite ways. But, since it was relatively infrequent, at the
time I somehow managed to overlook it.

Once married the verbal and emotional abuse began full force. Ted would
scream and yell at me for no apparent reason. He would foam around his
mouth. Drops of saliva would accidentally hit my face. He would invade
my personal space, stand big and strong in front of me, screaming to the
top of his voice.

The triggers? Any suggestion I would make and I literally mean
suggestion e.g., Maybe we should pay the bills tonight or Should we
do take-out tonight? or Your mother called. Maybe you should call her
back. While he screamed, I would stand and listen passively, not knowing
what to do, until I learned to leave the room, years later.

There was name-calling: bitch, cunt, child, victim, whore. Those

words and phrases felt like knives slitting open my chest. Sarcasm was
very frequent and his natural way of communicatingYou are such a
victim, arent you? You cleaned up this place real good while I was away,
didnt you? How great of you stopping on your way home from work to
actually get us something to eat! You know how busy I am. What were you
thinking? You are such a pretty little girl, arent you? I felt as though I was
being punched hard in my stomach.

Then there was the emotional abuse: e.g., failure to inform me about his
plans for the night; he would stay out until 2 AM without informing me
where he was or when I could expect him back. This continued even after
our only child was born.

When I was 20 weeks pregnant, Ted threatened to leave me. I was terrified
and stupidly begged him to stay, promising that I would change, though I
had no idea what he expected of me. I didnt know what was wrong with
me. I didnt know how I could change. I was already walking on eggshells.
Of course, I should have let him go. I picked up several books on verbal
abuse. He threw them out. I had to hide them.

The abuse was only rarely physical. He once poured a 2-Gallon pot of cold
water over me while I was sitting on the floor crying after one of his angry
outbursts. Another time he slapped my face. But, he would throw stuff:
books, computers, furniture, dishes, my new sun glasses; he would throw it
through the room or against the wall.

After my daughter was born I thought about leaving every day. I also
thought I couldnt. I thought, You have to stay for her sake. I couldnt have

been more wrong. She lived through the first few important years of her life
being yelled at by her own father.

I finally realized it couldnt go on this way. I am divorced now. My daughter,

who is now 6, is much happier. It just isnt true that you should always stay
for the sake of the children.

Verbal and emotional abuse can leave deep emotional marks. Despite
having an appointment in a psychology department and despite knowing all
the psychological theories behind this, his mother abandoned him, etc., I
had to get professional counseling to deal with the aftermath.

I am constantly on guard now. I am hyper-sensitive to the littlest sign of

potential verbal or emotional abuse. I didnt see the signs when I was in the
middle of it but I see them now. They are not hard to spot once you have
gone through years of maltreatment. A few examples:

1. Name calling is not OK.

2. Sarcasm is not OK.

3. Evil eye-looks are not OK.

4. Making fun of how your partner walks or talks is not OK.

5. Telling your partner that she is not exactly a sex goddess is not OK.

6. Telling your partner that she is worthless and cant handle being on
her own is not OK.

7. Belittling your partner in any way is not OK.

8. Threatening your partner is not OK.

9. Arguing against your partners inner feelings is not OK.

10. Ignoring a person who is politely asking an innocent question is

not OK.

11. Extreme anger, yelling and screaming are not OK.

12. Throwing stuff through the room or against the wall on purpose
is not OK.

13. Staying out of contact with your partner for extended periods of
time if you are in a serious relationship is not OK.

If you are frequently exposed to this kind of behavior, my best advice to you
is to do what I failed to do for a very long time: leave immediately. He is
not going to change.

YOU Can Stop Verbal Abuse

React to the Abuse

Evans recommends calling your abusers attention to the abuse every time
it happens. Dont listen to the content of what is said, and dont address
that content. Identify the nature of the abuse. Then ask your abuser to stop
it. Stop it! said with force will suffice.

Alternatively, name the abuse. If your abuser is yelling, say, Stop it! You
are yelling." If he is belittling you, say, Stop it! You are belittling me." If this
doesnt make your abuser stop, temporarily remove yourself from the
situation. Simply leave the room, says Evans.

Learn to Cope

When you are not in a position to leave your abuser, find a way to cope
until you can leave, suggests Dr. Irene Matiatos, a licensed psychologist in
New York and North Carolina. Work on becoming independent and
continue to respond with force to every instance of the abuse. To shield
your emotional and physical health, spend time away from your abuser
every day. Engage in activities such a trip to the park with the kids, a night
out with your girlfriends or a family visit.

Speak Up

Verbal abuse sufferers rarely have clear evidence of the abuse. They don't
have broken limbs, bruises or black eyes. This makes them wary of
confiding in others. Verbal abuse is not yet fully recognized as a kind of
abuse in the eyes of society.

But dont keep the abuse to yourself, advices Kathleen Young, a licensed
clinical psychologist from Chicago. Get support from friends or close family
and seek professional counseling. Choose a counselor especially trained to
handle verbal and emotional abuse.

Make Plans to Leave

As Dr. Stosny points out, "Freedom from emotional abuse is a civil right."
When the time is right, permanently end the abuse by leaving. If you are
afraid your abuser will hurt you if you leave, plan to leave at a time at which
you know you will be alone. Pack a suitcase ahead of time with items you
can survive on until you can get help.

Have a plan ready for where you will be going. Leave a note explaining that
you have left and why. But keep it short. At this point, you are no longer
negotiating the terms of the relationship.


Psychology Today: Verbal Abuse and the Mirror of Love
The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize It and How to
Respond"; 2nd edition; Patricia Evans; 2003
Dr. Irene's Verbal Abuse (Site)!
Dr. Kathleen Young: Treating Trauma in Chicago
Psychology Today: Emotional Abuse Violates Civil Rights

Chapter 10: Client Success Stories

Barrys Story

Thank you SO much for meeting with me. Talking about it really has a
therapeutic effect. It is quite amazing. It doesn't *seem* like talking about
something should have that sort of consequence; but, it does.

Also, thank you for sketching the framework of a hormonal explanation for
her behavior. I was barking up the wrong tree with oxytocin. EVERYONE
that has heard me relate what you related to me about dopamine has the
same reaction: That's it! And a cursory Google search on terms like
"dopamine, adultery" or "dopamine, music, sex" is almost entirely

She is such a disappointment to me...this whole thing is still just

unbelievable. When I think about HER, I feel frustrated, because she is not
the same person any more. When I think about HER and ME together, I
feel mostly sad and mostly regretful of things that I did wrong or signs I
didn't pay attention to. But, when I think about the kids, I get ANGRY - and
it's an anger that verges on HATRED. It is so heartbreaking to hear them
say, "I want mommy to come back". And my little one - 5 years old - said
that, "If it weren't wrong, I would like to choke him to death." I mean...that is
just heartbreaking...and it's totally "organic" - at least, he has never heard
me say something like that - unless he can read my mind.

But...any way...THANK YOU!

Nikkis Story

Its still hard for me to understand how it could take me three years to get
over a one year long relationship. But I am so grateful that I am finally over
it. I can now look him in the eyes without feeling any pain.

You guys are like those wonderful girlfriends who are there for me when I
need you. When I feel bad I imagine that I am having a drink with you guys
at awesome cafe, like in Sex and the City.

The past couple of years are still a nightmare to me. I was definitely
obsessed or maybe possessed. I was completely unable to think or predict
how my actions my affect the future.

I didnt even tell you the whole truth when I started talkin to you. I said I
contacted him more than he contacted me. But the truth is, I bombarded
him with messages, voicemail, email, text. It was like I needed to contact
him every time I felt a pang of pain in my chest.

Of course, he stopped responding. I see that now. Even hanging up on me

seems kind of justified. I was asking him directly to have sex with me.

I am glad he refused. At least he has some integrity. Even though it felt like
it at the time, sex wouldnt have made the slightest difference.

I used to blame myself for being to clingy and wanting him so much but
thanks to you, I now tell myself that he is to blame for being too avoidant
and intimacy phobic.

Annas Story

I cant thank you enough for your help. I was so miserable. I thought I was
miserable because of the breakup. And it did take me by surprise. But
thanks to you, I now remember how miserable I was during the
relationship, too.

Each time we were together, I would feel so so happy. Then after a few
days, Id be afraid Id never get to be with him again. It hurt so much. He
would usually mostly ignore me in between our meetings. I remember how I
walked home from work crying, almost every day.

One thing I dont get is why the sex mattered to me. I mean, I am not anti-
sex or anything and it can be great but sex with him felt more like a
religious experience.

You said it may have been because those were the most clear expressions
of love from him. I think thats right. I remember one time where his
beeper went off and he had to leave before we even really got started. I
went home. But I felt equally happy. It didnt really matter whether the sex
took place or not, as long as I felt his love.

I am so grateful to you for making me see clearly what was going on. He
became part of my personal identity. Without I was nothing. With him I was
a star. I had no existence outside of my connection with him.

I feel better about myself now. I am dating, no one in particular, just testing
the waters.

Bellas Story

The book isnt really about verbal abuse but that chapter really helped me.
After reading it, I got Patricia Evans books on verbal abuse, which finally
made me see that I had to get out.

At first, I was mostly looking for a way of overcoming verbal abuse. There is
not a whole lot of info about that. Evans even only has a section on it. But I
eventually realized that there was a good reason for not having much
information. Because like with any abuse you just need to get out.

I did feel kind of in the position that Evans describes, I didnt really have the
finances to live on my own, and since we werent married I would get any
spousal support. So, that made me stay longer.

Sometimes the advice for coping worked. I started spending more time
away from the home. Only sometimes that cuold trigger more abuse. But at
least it made me able to relax for a few hours.

I also clearly and loudly said STOP IT when he started shouting at me. And
if he continued, I would walk out of the room.

It did work. Or at least he didnt follow me when I left the room. So, I got
some peace and quiet. But in the end it wasnt good enough. My heart
would start pounding whenever he got home from work or suggested we do
things together. So, I left. Its the best decision I made in my life.

Heathers Story

It was like he was playing secret mind games with me. I will never know for
sure if thats what he did. But his behavior would be even more weird if he

Like he would make up excuses for making me go out with a bunch of
people (him included) and then just as I got my hopes up, then he would
split without even saying good bye.

Or he would not respond to emails or text messages I sent him. Sometimes

he would even tell me he didnt love me. I never believed him.

I didnt know about invisible breakups. But now it seems obvious that thats
what was going on. Maybe even if it wasnt a conscious choice for him, he
acted this way, because I scared the crap out of him. I think he really was
falling for me and just couldnt take it. I should have known better. If only I
knew about you back then. But at least I know better know.

Helens Story

I fell in love with a real player. He was a cardiologist, and I had to deliver
some paperwork to him (I dont work for him). He was just so handsome
and sexy, that I immediately felt almost in love with him. And he flirted with
me, too. It was really obvious. He suddenly wanted to meet outside of the
hospital. It was still under the excuse of being work related. But there was
more to it because if it was just work then we might as well have met in his
office. This went on for some times. But he just never made a real move. I
almost started suspecting he was shy but that didnt really fit his personality
very well.

Even then, I really did fall in love. We met a couple of times a week for a
months or so. Nothing physical ever happened. But he always
complimented me and looked at me like he was going set me on fire with
his eyes. I really wasnt imagining things.

Then I found out (through a friend) that he was married to one of the nurses
in his own lab. Good God, that explains why he didnt want to meet in his
office. But I just feel so cheated. Why would he make me fall in love with

him, instead of just telling me up front that he was married? I dont feel I
can trust men anymore.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I really appreciated your chapter on

invisible breakups. We never had a relationship (or physical one anyway)
but it still felt like a breakup. An invisible breakup, as you say.

Kristas Story

I was actually the one to break it off with my husband. I found out he was
cheating on me. He even lied about it when I confronted him.

I think the worst time was at a wedding reception. We were staying at the
hotel with most of the other guests. So, when it ended, we went to the bar.
My husband had been pretty flirtatious with a young single woman (at least
I think she was single) all night.

Finally, she went to bed, and my husband started playing pool with some
other men in the hotel bar. I eventually got tired and went to bed.

I woke up at 5 and my husband wasnt even here. Somehow I managed to

fall asleep again but I confronted him the next day. He said they went to
one of the other guys hotel room and continued drinking until really late (or
early, actually). I believed him.

But then at the brunch next day, I could see how that young single woman
and my husband were looking at each other, and I had this growing doubt
inside me. She went to bed at least two hours before I did. He was playing
pool. There is no way he could have slept with her.

But it was like something didnt add up. Turned out he did sleep with her.
They had arranged it, so I wouldnt get suspicious. She was apparently just
going to her room to wait for him. And then, as soon as I left, he was up
there f*cking her. How dumb can one be?

I found out because she apparently told her best friend, who was one of the
bridesmaids. So, they kind of told, maybe not in that many words. And then
when I asked the guy my husband had been staying with, he had no idea
what I was talking about.

I broke it off with him right there in the middle of the wedding brunch.
Maybe not nice to the newly married couple. But I just had to get it over

I am just really really happy I found your book. I know I was the one who
broke up but it feels like he was the one to do it. I feel like I am going
through the sam kinds of broken heart pains. Anyway, you book was really
helpful. Imagining him covered in disgusting stuff was a pleasure! Thanks

Violets Story

OK my name isnt really Violet but I just wanted to let you know that even
though I am more to girls than to men, everything you said was still true.

Yeah, so my parents dont know this yet., so please dont reveal my name
or email. Its a really small town. Plus, its not like I am not going to marry a
man and have kids, like they really want me to. I like girls but I dont think I
want to chock them, since they are not that young anymore. And I do like
some boys too.

OK, so my story is this. I have this girlfriend (or kind of girlfriend, even
though she doesnt like that word). She is not to boys at all. And even then
she doesnt want to commit. She is seven older than I am. I asked her if its
because she fels I am too young. But she doesnt really want to even have
a relationship. So, I didnt know what to do.

We are still together. So, we didnt break up, though I felt we went through
the invisible breakup and then got back together. Thanks for all your help in
the book. I wanted to say that, because there is just nothing out there for
non-traditional couples, and I think your stuff works great for everyone.
Thank you.

Chapter 11: How to Handle (Visible and Invisible)
Breakups in the Future

I Love You: What the Heck Does That Mean?

There is no doubt about it. Communication means everything in a

relationship. Too many glitches in communication can mean the end of a
wonderful romance. But did you know that what you learned about
grammar in grammar school could influence how well you handle all the
phases of a relationship?

In the beginning phases of a relationship, you may worry about how your
new love feels about you, whether she is in love with you, whether you
should say the "L"-word, when you should say it, who should say it first or
what it means when she says it.

During later phases, you may worry about whether your lover is still in love
with you, whether she will fall out of love with you, whether she has fallen in
love with others, whether she loves you more than her job or why she can't
fully commit to you if she says she loves you.

A lot of these worries would disappear if only you bore in mind what you
learned in grammar school. There you learned about verbs and adjectives.
You most likely were also taught that some adjectives and verbs are
gradable. Gradables are those verbs and adjectives that have a meaning
that changes from context to context, that combine with degree modifiers
and that give rise to indefinite cases.

Familiar examples include: "tiny", "rich", "expensive" and "bald". One

apartment can be tinier than another, an apartment that would be tiny if
located in Beverly Hills may be quite sizable if located in Manhattan. Some
apartments are neither clearly tiny nor not tiny. They are sort of in-between.

"Love" is a gradable verb. You can love one person more than another, you
can love one woman a lot and another woman a bit less, you can love
someone too much, and you can be in that in-between phase where you
neither definitely love someone nor does not love them.

These lessons are good to remember in relationships. Love comes in

degrees. There is no right degree of love. You can always love someone
more than you do. Or less.

As for in-between cases of love, just because someone says they don't
love you, that doesn't mean that they do not love you. They may be exactly
in the middle of that fuzzy gray zone.

Saying "I love you" is informative but there are limits to how much
information it provides. The meaning of "love" is fixed in context. You may
correctly say you love someone in a low-stakes context and yet deny it in a
high-stakes context. For example, you may give your old childhood friend a
big hug and say "I love you" when she brings you chocolates. But if a lot
more hung on you saying "I love you", you may refuse to say it.

Bearing in mind that "love" is a gradable adjective can also shed some light
of the mystery surrounding the fact that a person can say that they love you
one day, then cheat on you the next and leave you a week later.

They weren't necessarily lying when they said they loved you. They may
not even have changed their feelings toward you. They may simply have
come to love another person more than they love you.

The upshot is that to avoid mistakes in communication, it may be a good

idea not to put too much weight on the "L" word and look at outward
behavior and what else is said instead.

Your Ambivalent Lover

Is the love of your life acting ambiguously? One minute he is all over you
and then you don't hear from him for weeks? One natural explanation of
this behavior is that your guy's emotions are partially conscious and
partially unconscious.

Sometimes he feels them. Sometimes he is unable to hide them. But

apparently he does not feel them strongly enough to want to see you very
often. So, it is possible that his love isn't always consciously felt or is
overridden by stronger conscious emotions and desires for someone or
something else.

One thing is for sure: If your man's love is fluctuating like a child's yo-yo,
then you are not always a high enough priority in his life. You are more like

spice in a drawer. Sometimes he will need you to spice up his daily diet of
work, friends and sports. Sometimes it is fine with him if you remain hidden
away in the drawer.

"Is my guy truly and fully in love with me then?", you may ask. The answer
to this question is clearly "no". We have used this quote before but we think
it is worth repeating: "They do not [truly and fully] love that do not show
their love" (Shakespeare, from "Two Gentlemen on Verona", Act I, Scene

If your guy does not show (perhaps in his own special way) that he is truly
and fully in love with you, then he is not.

But it isn't necessarily the case either that he isn't in love with you. His
loving state may be an in-between case where he is neither truly in love
with you, nor not truly in love with you.

Most cases of love are like that. Love comes in degrees. Sometimes love
becomes an in-between case of love over the years - when dirty underwear
grow mold on the floor and Larry King is more of a turn on than making love
to your spouse.

Why Do Some People Suppress Their Love?

It is possible to suppress all emotions, including love. When you suppress

an emotion, you make it disappear from conscious awareness.

There are many ways to suppress emotions. For example, you can
consciously push away any thoughts of the other person that come to mind.
This requires a very strong will and lots of distraction tools.

If you want to learn how to suppress emotions in a safe way, you should
consult a specialist in cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Why do some people suppress their love? Usually because it is unrequited.

Loving another person who doesn't love you back can be very
uncomfortable. If there is no chance that the other person will ever love you
romantically, it may be best to suppress your love.

People sometimes suppress their love for each other because it is doomed
to failure. If two people in love live very far from each other, it may be wise
for them to suppress their love for each other. Long-distance relationships
that are more or less permanent cannot last.

Other people suppress their love because they suffer from intimacy phobia
or have an avoidant attachment style. People with an avoidant attachment
style have trouble trusting other people. They hate being vulnerable.

Entering a relationship requires being vulnerable and trusting the other

person. So, even the thought of an established long-term committed
relationships generates intense fear. For people who are afraid of love, love
can feel terrible. To escape from that feeling they might consciously
suppress their love.

Then there are people who repress their love. Repressing love is not the
same as suppressing love. Repressing love is not something you do
consciously. It is something your unconscious mind does for you in order to
protect you from uncomfortable and conflicting feelings. Children who are
abandoned or abused may over time repress their natural love for their
parents along with the horrible memories. People also sometimes repress
their love for the exact same reasons that people suppress their love,
except they do it unconsciously.

Friends With Benefits: What Are The Benefits?

You probably have heard the expression "Friends with benefits". But what
exactly is it? As the phrase is normally used, it has nothing to do with
friendship. Quite on the contrary.

To be friends with benefits, the following conditions must be in place:

1.You and your "friend" must have sex frequently.

2.Having sex is the only thing, or one of the only things, you do together.

3.It is explicitly stated, or implicitly understood by at least one of the

parties, that you are not in any kind of committed relationship.

But what if you really are good friends who are also having sex? Isn't that a
friends with benefits situation? No. Not as the term is usually understood. If
you are having sex with your good friend, then you are having sex with your
good friend, you are not in a friends with benefits situation.

What if you are in a relationship that satisfies (1) and (3) but not (2)? Then
you are not in a friends with benefits situation either. Then you are in an
undefined relationship.


A friends with benefits situation can sometimes be a good thing and

sometimes a bad thing. Here are some possible benefits of a friends with
benefits situation.

1.It satisfies the universal human need for sexual intimacy.

2.It may give you a chance to figure out which traits you want and don't
want in a partner.

3.It's cheaper than dating, as it doesn't involve going out to expensive

dinners and the like.

4.It's less time consuming than dating.

5.There could be less of a risk of contracting a sexually transmitted

disease compared to a series of one-night stands.

6.You can have sex with other people without it counting as cheating


But despite its name, a friends-with-benefits situation isn't always beneficial

to both parties involved. Here are some possible disadvantages:

sex is an intimate act, it is likely that one person in the relationship
develops deeper and unrequited emotions for the other person.

2.Youdon't normally get to do all the fun activities that other couples do
together, such as going to the movies or cooking dinner together

the fact that you are not committed to each other, you may
develop feelings of jealousy when you see the other person with
another one of his or hers friends with benefits.

4.Thefriends with benefits situation may prevent you from finding a

serious girlfriend or boyfriend because you already are pretty

5.Youprobably cannot be fully open about your situation, as friends-with-

benefits still is considered a bit unusual. So, you have to be partially

6.Theremay be a higher risk of contracting a sexually transmitted

disease compared to a serious relationship.

Just So We Dont Forget: Hes Just Not That Into You

Here is an excerpt from bestseller He is Just Not That into You, written by
Greg Behrendt, a writer and stand-up comedian, and Liz Tuccillo, an
American writer and actress. Just so we dont forget!

Chapter One: hes just not that into you if hes not asking you out

Because if he likes you, trust me, he will ask you out

Many women have said to me, Greg, men run the world. Wow. That
makes us sound pretty capable. So tell me, why would you think we could
be incapable of something as simple as picking up the phone and asking
you out? You seem to think at times that were too shy or we just got out
of something. Let me remind you: Men find it very satisfying to get what
they want. (Particularly after a difficult day of running the world.) If we want

you, we will find you. If you dont think you gave him enough time to notice
you, take the time it took you to notice him and divide it by half.

Now you begin the life-changing experience of reading our book. We have
put the stories we have heard and questions weve been asked in a simple
question-and-answer format. If youre lucky, youll read the following
questions and know what they are: Excuses that women have made for
their unsatisfying situations. If youre not so lucky, weve also included
handy titles to clue you in.

The Maybe He Doesnt Want to Ruin the Friendship Excuse

Dear Greg,

Im so disappointed. I have this friend that Ive known platonically for about
ten years. He lives in a different city and recently he was in town for work,
so we met for dinner. All of a sudden it felt like we were on a date. He was
completely flirting with me. He even said to me, as he was checking me
out, So, what, youre working the whole model thing now? (Thats flirting,
right?) We both agreed that we should get together again soon. Well, Greg,
Im disappointed because its been two weeks and he hasnt called me.
Can I call him? He might be nervous about turning the friendship into
romance. Cant I give him a nudge now? Isnt that what friends are for?


Dear Friendly Girl,

Two weeks is two weeks, except when its ten years and two weeks. Thats
how long ago he decided whether or not he could date a model or a girl
who looks like one. Can you be a pal and give him a nudge? Nudge away,
friendster but watch how fast that nudge doesnt get a return phone call.
And if your dinner/date did feel different to him, its been two weeks and
hes had time to think about it and decide hes just not that into you. Heres
the truth: Guys dont mind messing up a friendship if it could lead to sex,

whether it be a (expletive) buddy situation or a meaningful romance. Go
find someone that lives in your zip code who will be rocked to the core by
your deep conversation and model looks.

I hate to tell you, but that whole I dont want to ruin the friendship excuse
is a racket. It works so well because it seems so wise. Sex could mess up a
friendship. Unfortunately, in the entire history of mankind, that excuse has
never ever been used by someone who actually means it. If were really
excited about someone, we cant stop ourselves we want more. If were
friends with someone and attracted to them, were going to want to take it
further. And please, dont tell me hes just scared. The only thing hes
scared of and I say this with a lot of love is how not attracted to you
he is.

The Maybe Hes Intimidated by Me Excuse

Dear Greg,

I have a crush on my gardener. Hes been potting the plants on my patio. It

was hot, I saw him without his shirt on, he was hot, and now Im hot for him.
I brought out some beers and we talked. I think he wants to ask me out but
is afraid, because he is my hired man. In this situation, cant I ask him out?


Dear My Secret Garden,

Hes capable of asking you out. Havent you ever seen a porno? Hope he
gets there before the pizza guy. But seriously, if he didnt pick up the vibe
after the beer garden, it has nothing to do with you being his big boss lady.
Time to stop and smell the bad news: Hes just not that into you.

Let me say it again, sexual harassment rules and workplace memos

notwithstanding, a guy will ask out a woman of higher status if hes into her.

He might need a little more encouragement than normal, Ill give you that.
You might have to lead Johnny the Office Boy or Phillipe the Exterminator
to water, but you better not help him ask you out. Once again, ladies, a
wink and a smile will do it.

By the way, why are you dating the exterminator?

Just kidding, hes a good guy.

The Maybe He Wants to Take It Slow Excuse

Dear Greg,

Theres this guy who calls me all the time. Hes recently divorced, and in
AA. We got back in touch recently, had lots of phone calls, and then hung
out twice in one week and it was real cool. No flirting or making out or
anything, but fun. Since then, he calls me all the time but doesnt ever
suggest we see each other in person again. Its like he got scared or
something. I would understand if because of the divorce/alcoholic/starting-
a-whole-new-life stuff he wanted to take things slow. But he still calls me all
the time to have long heart-to-heart talks. What the hell should I do with this


Dear Pillow Talk,

Sadly, not wanting to see you in person is massive as far as dating

obstacles go. And as far as the recently divorced/newly sober/starting-a-
new-life parts, blah blah blah, Im getting sleepy, its hot, Im going down for
a nap. When I wake up from that nap Ill probably thrill to the news that your
friend is taking control of his life. You, however, will still not be going on a
date, because despite all your excuses for him, hes still not asking you out.
Now, if youre a person who enjoys a slightly satisfying phone relationship,
talk on! But at this point it seems like hes just not that into you. Be his

friend if youre at all interested on that level, but move your romantic
inclinations onto a more suitable future husband.
If a guy truly likes you, but for personal reasons he needs to take things
slow, he will let you know that immediately. He wont keep you guessing,
because hell want to make sure you dont get frustrated and go away.

Text copyright 2004 by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo

Chapter 12: Personality Check: Extroverts, Introverts,
Intuitive, Perceiving

People who are classified as having a personality disorder have a

personality that deviates significantly from the normal range in the culture
they belong to. Which personality type you belong to depends on your inner
experience and your outer behavior.

It is common to characterize people's personality along four dimensions:

Introverted vs extroverted, sensing vs. intuiting, thinking vs. feeling, and
perceiving vs. judging:

Extroverts: Leader types or good in groups, open, say what they think,
often talkative, easily make new friends, often prefer company to alone
time, little social fear

Introverts: Often quiet, reserved, thoughtful, rarely share their emotions or

thoughts with others, often prefer alone time to company, need to have
their own territory, social fear

Sensing: Weak-willed, live in the present, like pleasures based on physical

sensation, does not often think about future consequences of actions

Intuiting: Strong-willed, live in the past or future, like pleasures based on

hard work and planning, often have doubts and almost always consider the
consequences of their actions

Thinking: Think abstractly and logically, cynical, relatively unemotional,

have difficulties talking about their feelings, difficulties with empathy

Feeling: Emotional, like to share talk about their feelings, are interested in
people and their feelings, often feel other people's pain, often give
compliments to please people

Perceiving: Procrastinators, often leave tasks unfinished, often forget their

promises and change their decisions, driven by their mood

Judging: Hard workers, plan work ahead and tend to finish it, do not like to
break promises or change their decisions, driven by obligations

By combining the different dimensions we get a total of 16 definite

personality types. In addition to the 16 definite personality types there are
the indefinite ones, for example a person who is extroverted, sensing,
feeling but not definitely perceiving and not definitely judging.

Personalities outside of the normal range usually satisfy one or more
personality dimensions to an extreme degree or change erratically from
satisfying one extreme along one dimension to satisfying the opposite.

For example, people with a borderline personality are extremely sensing,

extremely feeling, and extremely perceiving: They are very impulsive and
often suffer from an addiction. They can shift from love to hate within a few
hours (or sometimes minutes), and they show their anger in inappropriate
ways. They often break promises and leave work unfinished. People with
borderline can be either extroverts or introverts but they are often afraid of
being alone and being abandoned.

People with a schizoid personality disorder are extremely introverted,

extremely intuiting, extremely thinking, and extremely judging. They avoid
close relationships, and they feel best when they are alone. They come
across as eccentric, private, secretive and emotionally cold.

They tend to like books and theories and are often workaholics. Some
schizoid personalities are secretive even with respect to their own
personality and do their best to hide their unsociability and inaccessibility to

People with narcissistic personality disorder are extremely extroverted,

extremely sensing, extremely thinking and extremely perceiving. They are
social control freaks, like pleasures based on physical sensation and often
leave work unfinished.

They are furthermore emotionally cold and self-centered, and don't think
they have any obligations to others.

Many of these personality disorders coincide with an insecure attachment

style, including borderline personality, narcissistic personality and schizoid
personality. Attachment theory just addresses people's attachment style
and offers an explanation of insecure attachment styles in terms of the
nature of the bonding process between caregiver and child. While your

attachment style may play a role in defining your personality, attachment
theory does not make predictions about exactly how the lack of bonding
between caregiver and child may affect personality.

The Narcissistic Lover

Did you fall in love with a narcissist? Yes? Bad news. Narcissists are
incapable of having a healthy loving relationship. The pathological kind of
narcissism comes in two forms: The first, which is found primarily in young
adulthood, is characterized by a grandiose sense of self, promiscuity and
disagreeable behavior. The second form, which is more permanent and
worrisome, is characterized by severely disturbed and fluctuating
interpersonal relations.

The first form is potentially less harmful than the second. Grandiose young
adults can, through life experience, come to have a more realistic sense of
self. They can settle down and learn to have healthy loving relationships.

The second form, which is the true form of narcissistic personality disorder,
is nearly impossible to cure. No life experience can normally correct it, and
it normally cannot be corrected with medication. To recover from

narcissistic personality disorder, years of psychotherapy both cognitive-
behavioral and talk therapy is normally required.

What are the signs of narcissistic personality disorder? To be diagnosed

with narcissistic personality disorder, at least five of the following
narcissistic DSM IV criteria must be present:

1. Has a grandiose sense of self, i.e., an inflated sense of self-

importance. (e.g., exaggerates achievements, expects to be treated
as superior by his or her peers)

2. Is preoccupied with him- or herself and dreams of unlimited power,

brilliance, success, beauty or ideal love

3. Believes deep down that he or she is special and can only be

adequately understood by, and should only hang out with, other
special or high-status people. Will tend to avoid spending time with
people who have a lower status than him- or herself.

4. Is unable or unwilling to admit when he or she is mistaken or has

done something wrong

5. Requires excessive admiration or attention. Though the narcissist will

prefer positive attention, he or she will make do with negative
attention if necessary

6. Has a sense of entitlement. Has unreasonable expectations of

favorable treatment and compliance with his or her expectations and

7. Is exploitative of others. Takes advantage of others to achieve his or

her own ends

8. Lacks empathy. Is unwilling or unable to recognize, or identify with,

the feelings and needs of others

9. Is envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her

10. Shows arrogance and haughty attitudes toward others

Someone who satisfies just two or three criteria on the list may have a
narcissistic personality without having full-blown narcissistic personality

Narcissists normally cannot sustain a healthy relationship over time. They

implicitly believe that potential or actual lovers are inferior to them, and that
their lovers dont truly deserve their love.

If they discover they have any loving feelings for another person, they
automatically feel vulnerable and will do anything to regain control. They
will suppress their loving feelings or break off the relationship. They have
no qualms about having extra-marital affairs. In any aspect of their lives,
they feel entitled to do as they wish.

Narcissists occasionally realize that they are not the superior human beings
they normally feel like. This is the flip side of the coin. When realizing they
are inadequate and often hurt others feelings, they will go into hiding until
their feeling of inadequacy has been buried and they can return to the more
grandiose self image they use to cover up their extreme insecurities.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Test

This test can help you determine whether you or someone you know
suffers from narcissistic personality disorder. The test should not be used
as a diagnostic tool. If you think you may be suffering from a personality
disorder or any other mental disorder, you should ask your primary
physician for a referral to a psychiatrist or psychotherapist in your area.
Write yes or no next to each question. If you dont have an answer, skip
the question.

1. Do you often prefer social interaction to alone time?

2. Did you ever feel OK with cheating on a partner?

3. Do you frequently envy people who are or come across as more

successful than you?

4. Did you have any remarkable talents when you were a child?

5. Were you abandoned as a child?

6. Do you have difficulties trusting people?

7. Did your parents criticize you or praise you extensively when you were a

8. Do you enjoy when people admire you or give you attention?

9. Do you like making important decisions that have effects on other

peoples lives?

10. Do you have difficulties making relationships last?

11. Do you often feel lonely?

12. Do you often feel unfairly treated by peers or coworkers?

13. Do you often feel you dont get what you deserve?

14. Do you like public speaking?

15. Do you dislike public speaking but pretend to like it?

16. Do you feel you often excel at what you do?

17. Are you where you want to be in your life relative to your age?

18. Do you hope to become (more) famous?

19. Do you have more than one sex partner a year on average?

20. Do you find yourself unaffected by praise or criticism?

21. Do others often see you as being cold and distant?

22. Is your appearance or behavior considered eccentric by other people?

23. Have other people accused you of being insensitive to other peoples

24. Do you often perform actions without thinking about the consequences?

25. Do you sometimes take advantage of others to get what you want?

26. Do your moods fluctuate a lot?

27. Do you tend to become quiet when you are angry?

28. Do people think you are charming or good-looking?

29. Do you often think about ways to defend yourself against shame?

30. Do you have an intense fear of rejection?

31. Are you quick to anger or irritation when your expectations are not met?

32. Do other people sometimes accuse you of being manipulative or a

control freak?

33. Are you sometimes afraid of being alone?

34. Are you often the center of attention at social events?

35. Do other people sometimes accuse you of being self-centered?

36. Do you occasionally feel inadequate and regret your actions?

37. Do you ever find yourself exaggerating your achievements?

38. Do you find yourself getting easily attracted to people you just met?

39. Do you often pretend to be someone you are not?

40. Do you often feel uncomfortable in social situations?

41. Do you have trouble not taking criticism personally?

42. Do you feel the need to always be in a relationship?

43. Have you ever exaggerated illness or other weakness in order to get

44. Have others accused you of being arrogant?

45. Do you generally avoid working in teams?

46. Do you often let others make important decisions for you?

47. Are you very concerned with your appearance and how others perceive

48. Do you often feel a bit lost outside of your usual environment?

49. Are you happiest when people in your life place few emotional or
intimate demands on you?

50. Do you prefer masturbation or sexual abstinence to emotional

closeness with a sex partner?


1. Count how many yes answers you had to the following questions: 1, 2,
3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16, 18, 19, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30,
31, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 41, 44, 45, 47, 49

2. Count how many yes answers you had to the following questions: 11,
15, 17, 20, 21, 27, 33, 39, 40, 42, 43, 46, 48, 49, 50

3. Subtract the second number from the first.

30 36 points
You are very likely to have narcissistic personality disorder.

20 to 29 points
Your personality lies in the narcissistic end of the spectrum, though you
probably dont have full-blown narcissistic personality disorder. You could
have secret schizoid personality disorder, which sometimes can be hard to
distinguish from narcissistic personality disorder (see below).

10 to 19 points
You seem to be in the normal range on the narcissism spectrum.

0 to 9 points
You are close to the normal range on the narcissism spectrum but you
seem to focus too much on what others want.

Less than 0
You definitely do not have narcissistic personality disorder. You are at the
other end of the spectrum. You should think more about whats good for
you, give more thought to what you really want and begin to make your
own decisions.

Secret Schizoid Personality Disorder

People with schizoid personality disorder can be hard to diagnose but one
thing they tend to have in common is the tendency to stay away from all
interpersonal and social interactions.

The really hard cases to diagnose are people with secret schizoid
personality disorder. They have a strong desire to stay away from all
human interaction but they have other desires as well. They desire to be
successful and be seen in a positive light publicly. As it is hard to be
successful and be seen in a positive light while hiding, their desires are in

In the end, however, the desires to be successful and be seen in a positive

light publicly trump the desire to avoid human interaction. So, they will do
what they can to seem great in social situations or whenever it is required
in order for them to be successful or be seen in a good light. The rest of the
time they will hide.

They rarely form deep relationships with people. Romantic relationships
may be mostly focused on relatively superficial things, such as sex.
Friendships may consist in relatively superficial exchange of information.
Why do they bother having romantic relationships or friendships if they are
completely anti-social?

Because even people with schizoid personality disorder have a need for
intimacy. However, they are too afraid of intimacy to do a whole lot about it.
This is why they sometimes engage in superficial relations, even when this
will not directly benefit their career or public appearance.

Having a personality disorder is not inconsistent with having an insecure

attachment style. Quite on the contrary. Personality disorders often go
hand in hand with an avoidant or anxious attachment style. Even though
personality traits are to some extent genetically determined, there is room
for the environment to shape and change them. So, the early childhood
traumas that can cause an insecure attachment style can also be the
trigger of a personality disorder.

Personality Neglect: Stop Your Negative Thought Patterns

Can you predict how happy you will be when you graduate for college, get
promoted or rekindle old love?

Researchers say no. Psychologist Jordi Quoidbach from University of

Liege, Belgium and his coauthor Elizabeth Dunn from University of British
Columbia recently looked at how accurate peoples predictions about their
own future happiness are. They found that people who tend to be grumpy,
distrusting or pessimistic are terrible at predicting their own future

The team predicted that how happy people will feel about a future event
depends a lot more on personality than the nature of the event.

To test this, the research team asked a large group of Belgian Obama
supporters in October 2008 how happy they would feel if Obama won the
election. The participants for the most part predicted that they would feel
very happy if their favorite candidate actually won.

After the election the participants were asked how happy they actually felt,
and a large part of the group didnt feel very happy. The participants
completed a personality test, and it turned out that the subjects who had a

tendency to be grumpy or negative in other ways wrongly predicted that the
positive event would make them happy.

Those with a more positive mind also predicted that Obamas election
would make them happy, and it actually did make them happy.

The researchers conclude that whether a positive event will make us happy
depends more on our natural inclinations to be negative or positive than the
perceived good outcomes of the event.

This is an interesting finding. It suggests that waiting for all kinds of positive
events to take place wont make us happy. Even very positive events
cannot really change the moods of grumpy people or people who are
negative in other ways. To experience real happiness, a shift in personality
is required.


J. Quoidbach and E. W. Dunn. Personality Neglect: The Unforeseen

Impact of Personal Dispositions on Emotional Life. Psychological
Science, 2010

Chapter 13: Your Attachment Style (And His)

"It's over. I can't see you anymore".

She was flabbergasted. Her heart was galloping like a mad race horse, her
breathing got shorter, and her legs turned to marmalade. She experienced
intense fear. The heartache came later. The fear arose in the course of
reading the two sentences. From being calm and happy and satisfied with
her life she suddenly felt she was going to die, she felt as if her body could
no longer retain its normal functions, as if an explosion was happening
inside of her, as if someone had fired a gun and the bullet was hitting in her
direction. She screamed hysterically. Then the tears came on.

She thought to herself "Marilyn Monroe was so right when she said: A wise
girl kisses but doesn't love, listens but doesn't believe, and leaves before
she is left".

Though an avoidant attachment style often has its grounds in childhood

experiences, difficult breakups can cause an avoidant attachment style,
causing you to fear getting involved in a relationship again.

The good news is that an avoidant attachment style that occurred as a

result of one or more difficult breakups is easier to cure than the one that
has its roots in childhood.

This is the classical kind of avoidant attachment style and the main one we
will describe in this chapter. But a lot of what we say carries over to an
avoidant personality acquired later in life.

Avoidant Attachment Style

People with an avoidant attachment style usually are not capable of

changing on their own. Some manage to change after years of talk therapy
and/or cognitive-behavioral therapy. But most with this attachment style
don't even know that they are acting out of fear. They will tend to rationalize
their behavior ("I wasn't that into him anyway", "I am too busy to be in a
serious relationship", etc.). They make up excuses because they cannot
face the fear that they are struggling with deep down.

If you are in a relationship with someone with an avoidant attachment style

(be it friendship or a romantic relationship), and you really want to continue
seeing this person, then you should know that your relationship is never
going to be a normal one. You will have to rely on yourself for reassurance,
confidence, self-love, etc., because the other person is not going to be able
to provide it very often.

If you are in any kind of relationship with a person with an avoidant

attachment style, you cannot expect much in return. You should keep your

distance, give them lots of space and work on having a full life outside of
the relationship. You will need to engage in lots of activities and work on
maintaining lots of "normal" friendships in order to get your needs for social
interaction met.

Can you change or "help" a person with an avoidant attachment style? The
answer to this question will depend on how severe their case is. You could
try to make them realize that they are depriving themselves of life in its
fullest and suggest that they work with a therapist.

If their case is severe and their fears occur below the level of
consciousness, they will most likely refuse to listen to you. If they are more
in touch with their feelings, you may be able to convince them.

In either case, the first step would be to make them realize that they
behave as they do because they can't confront their fears. You can also try
to make them realize that there are people out there that they can trust,
people who won't reject them or hurt them. Nothing beats the closeness of
two close friends or two intimate lovers. Nothing can make up for true
intimacy, a basic human need. Only once they realize that can they begin
to heal.

Avoidant Attachment Style: The Underlying Brain Circuitry Revealed

The driving force of the behavior of people with an avoidant attachment

style is their lack of trust in others. Owing to a failure to bond with a
caregiver during their first few years of life, these people have developed a
tendency to be suspicious of everyone around them. They lack the sense
of security and faith in good will that more secure people have.

Because they are unable to trust other people, they have problems forming
close relationships, including romantic relationships and friendships. They
fear commitment and intimacy, and while they don't mind being sexually

intimate with people, they rarely let their romantic connections go beyond
pure sex, convenience or necessity.

We now have some insight into the brain circuitry that underlies this difficult
disorder. Recent studies led by Thomas Baumgartner from the University of
Zurich in Switzerland show that lack of trust shows up in two ways in the
brain's circuitry.

The first feature of lack of trust is an intense activation of areas in the

amygdala, the little almond-shaped region in the temporal lobe on the side
of the head that processes fear in the brain.

The second feature of the lack of trust is heightened activity in the striatum,
a part of the circuitry that guides future behavior based on reward

There is a way to reduce activity in those two areas, says Baumgartner:

Administer sufficient amounts of the cuddling hormone oxytocine. This
hormone increases trust by down-regulating the neuron-firing the affected
areas. So, by increasing the brain's levels of oxytocin, people who have an
avoidant attachment style may be able to begin to trust people again and
form more long-lasting bonds.

Though the hormone can be administered artificially, it is also present
during breast feeding, during massage of men's and women's nipples and
after orgasm. But the excess release of the hormone during these activities
is temporary. For oxytocin to have a lasting effect on people with an
avoidant attachment style, it would have to be administered in larger does
on a daily basis.


Cell Press (2008, May 23). Brain's 'Trust Machinery' Identified.

ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 9, 2011, from /releases/2008/05/080521120511.htm

Avoidant Attachment Style: Carries Story

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The words on the screen laughed at her, stuck their tongues out at her,
made little childish sounds at her. Carries heart flipped over in her chest.
She felt nauseous.

Carrie marked the email with a star and returned to some emails from her
students. She gathered there were some comments from the referees and
an invitation to resubmit. But she couldnt deal with it. Maybe some day she
would get back to it. Maybe.

Carrie was not just afraid of making a mistake at work or dressing the
wrong way, she was afraid of any kind of failure. She was particularly afraid
of rejections. She was so afraid of rejections that she was unlikely to ever
initiate a date or indicate to a man that she was interested in him. How did
Carrie become this afraid of failure?

It started a long time ago. When Carrie was a little girl, she thought there
was a way to get her overly critical mother to love her. One day she
cleaned the house while her parents were gone. She couldnt wait for them
to get back. They would be so proud of her. She was only eight.
But when they got back, the opposite happened. Her mother got so mad.
Carrie had put things in the wrong places and the floors were wet. Her
father just disappeared into another room. He hated conflicts. Carries little
heart was broken.

But Carrie refused to give up. One day little Carrie set her clock alarm to 5
in the morning. She knew her parents got up at 7:30. It was Saturday. She
boiled eggs, toasted bread, made freshly brewed coffee. Then she waited
for her parents to get up. They would be so happy when they saw the table
with the flowers from the garden.

But when her parents finally woke up at 8:30, the opposite happened. Her
mother yelled at her, criticized her and blamed her. Carrie had taken the
precious flowers from the garden, the eggs were undercooked and the
bread was burned and cold. Carrie got so so sad. But she refused to give
up. She continued her efforts to win her mothers love.

Carrie never succeeded. As a tween a part of her realized that she was
never going to win her mothers love. She gave up and moved on. Her
energy was, however, still focused on becoming as perfect as possible.

Deep down, below the level of conscious awareness, she felt

that if only she was perfect at everything and made no mistakes, someone
would eventually love her, perhaps even her mother.

But it never happened. Carrie dated a few safe guys that she wasnt really
interested in. Some for the long term. Only once did Carrie fall for a man
who seemed perfect for her in her eyes, that is. He was excellent at
everything he did. He was successful, and everyone seemed to like him,
and he initially seemed to really love Carrie.

But Carries perfect man was afraid of rejections and failure too and ended
up breaking up with Carrie. She was heartbroken.

Carrie didnt know that the man who had just broken up with her was just
like her mother. Unbeknownst to her, her lover represented her mother.
She was once again trying to win the love of her mother, or in this case, a
representation of her mother.

She would do anything to win this mans heart. But nothing she could do
would be good enough because no matter what she did, he would be
afraid that her love for him would end. He wasnt critical and blaming like
Carries mother. But like Carries mother, this man would never be capable
of truly loving her.

This is the story of Carrie. Carrie is an example of a person with an
avoidant attachment style. Not every Carrie grew up with a critical mother
or father. Some Carries have spent a big chunk of their lives trying to win
the love of a brother or friend or grandparent. Some were abused by a

Can Carrie do anything to change? She can. But the process is going to be
a difficult one. Regardless of who the implicated person was who messed
up Carries life, Carrie needs to identify this person and realize that she is
going to be naturally attracted to people who are just like that person in
being incapable of loving her.

She needs to work against her desire to seek out people who are incapable
of loving her. She also needs to work on her fear of failure. This is going to
take some time.

Carrie could start by making little mistakes on purpose, then take the blame
but love herself just as much despite the little mistakes. She might
accidentally drop her coffee on the floor in front of her perfect colleague,
observe the surprised and disapproving looks, then apologize and love
herself just as much despite of her little accident. She must learn that she is
a person worthy of love even if she isnt perfect in all respects.

Behaviors That Could Indicate an Avoidant Attachment Style

Do remember that very few people with an avoidant attachment style will
have all of these traits. Avoidant attachment is a spectrum disorder, which
means that it comes in degrees.

1. A tendency to avoid serious, exclusive, committed or long-term romantic


2. A tendency to avoid real intimacy

3. A tendency to prefer casual sex to sex in a committed relationship

4. Difficulties trusting others

5. Difficulties sharing feelings with others.

6. A tendency not to show any anxiety or distress when a relationship ends.

7. Compulsive self-reliance

8. Hyper-sensitivity to criticism

9. Highly critical of others

10. Perfectionism and over-achievement

11. Controlling behavior

12. Demanding of others

13. May secretly suffer from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or other
mood disorders

14. An unstable childhood

15. A deep need for alone time

16. Often secret introverts (may be pretending to be extroverts)

17. Wont share their inner life with anyone, not even close friends

18. Difficulties committing to just about anything

19. Pretending to be happy (or neutral) all the time

20. Strong fear of rejections

Anxious Attachment Style: If You Love Something, Set It Free

If you love something set it free. If it comes back its yours. If not, it was
never meant to be.

What is behind this old saying? Some interpret it as a description of fate.

Only fate can determine whether a relationship was meant to be. So, if you
let someone go, they will come back if thats your destiny.

For those of us who dont believe in determinism, this explanation does not
ring true. A better interpretation is that you cannot force someone to love
you. You have to give them the freedom to choose.

This brings us to the insecure attachment styles. An anxious attachment
style (co-dependence) is at the other end of the spectrum of insure
attachment styles. An anxious attachment style is typically grounded in the
same childhood traumas and later fears as the avoidant attachment style.
That is, they are both grounded in fear of abandonment, rejection or

But the behavioral manifestation of an anxious attachment style is different.

It will typically give rise to clingy behavior and a need to be with other
people all the time. People with an anxious attachment style feel lonely
and insecure when they have to spend time on their own. They are
addicted to company and close friendships or relationships.

When in a relationship, the anxious type tends to control the other persons
behavior in subtle or not so subtle ways. For example, he or she may
attempt to make the other person feel guilty for not spending enough time
with them. They are quick to express jealousy, which is another way to
attempt to make the other person spend more time with them.

Anxious types feel worse in less committed relationships than in committed

relationships. But even a commitment is not enough to make them feel
secure. They continue to be terrified that the other person will leave. They
will want to know what their partner is doing 24/7. One way they
accomplish this is via frequent phone calls. Some anxious types use verbal
abuse or physical violence in an attempt to force the other person into
staying with them.

The behavioral manifestations of the anxious attachment style are very

similar to co-dependency, though we prefer to say that an anxious
attachment style may give rise to co-dependency.

If anxious and avoidant attachment styles are grounded in the same

childhood neglect, what determines whether a person develops an anxious
or an avoidant attachment style? Well, we dont know that for sure. But one
of the best theories is that the abandoned child will explore different ways

to cope with the abandonment. If the child discovers that being completely
independent and not sharing his or her feelings with anyone is the best way
to bury his pain, he will normally continue that pattern. If he discovers that
manipulating people into being his friend or into being there for him, he will
normally continue this behavior. The first coping mechanism leads to an
avoidant attachment style and the second leads to an anxious attachment

Though anxious types tend to form longer and more committed

relationships compared to the avoidant type, their relationships rarely last a
lifetime. They may even be quite short, as its only a matter of time before
their partner will be sufficiently fed up with the controlling aspect of the
anxious persons behavior and will want out.

Chapter 14: Dating Again: Who Is Your Perfect

According to science, your perfect match will be someone who is like you in
various respects, not just in terms of looks but also in terms of behavior,
interest, personality and attachment style. However, we often are not
attracted to our perfect matches. Often we are tempted by people who
seem exciting, mysterious and unpredictable. This kind of excitement
generates a feeling that we may confuse with love. In these cases, the
relationship is unlikely to last.

Do You Look Like Your Partner?

Photo Credit: LA Artist John Huck

According to researchers reporting in the July 28, 2010 issue of Personality

and Social Psychology Bulletin, we are attracted to people who resemble
our parents or ourselves. In one study subjects were shown pictures of
strangers which were preceded by a short glimpse of either their opposite-
sex parent or a stranger. Subjects exposed to a short glimpse of their
parent before being exposed to the target picture were more likely to assign
higher ratings of attractiveness to the person in the target picture.

In a second study, a picture of the stranger was morphed together with a

picture of themselves or a picture of another stranger. When subjects were

asked to rate the portrayed people for attractiveness, they usually picked
the people who were an amalgamation of a stranger and themselves.

The findings in these studies go against the common saying that opposites
attract. As it turns out, we are much more likely to fall for someone who
looks like us or our opposite-sex parent.

This may indicate that incest taboos are social constructs instituted to
prevent people from following their instincts. However, there are other
explanations of why we are attracted to people who look like us.

Researchers at the deCODE Genetics company in Reykjavik reporting in a

2008 issue of Science found that marriages between third or fourth cousins
in Iceland tended to produce more children and grandchildren than those
between completely unrelated individuals. The researchers suggest

marrying third and fourth cousins is so optimal for reproduction because
this degree of genetic similarity yields the best gene pool. Sibling and first-
cousin couples could have inbreeding problems, whereas couples far-
removed from each other could have genetic incompatibilities. Third and
fourth-cousin couples are genetically compatible while having no serious
inbreeding problems.

At first glance, these findings may seem to go against the so-called

Westermarck effect. In a series of studies Edvard Westermarck, a Finnish
Anthropologist, found that people who grow up together are disposed not to
fall in love with each other after they reach sexual maturity.

The Westermarck effect, however, is completely consistent with the

findings cited above. Living in close proximity is no doubt the decisive
factor for desensitization in terms of sexual attraction, not degree of

In fact, the Westermarck effect has been confirmed in the Israeli kibbutz
system where people who grow up together often are not directly related to
each other.

Sim Pua marriages in Taiwan also confirm Westermarck's theory. "Sim

pua" means "little daughter in-law". A female infant is given to a family to be
reared as a daughter by the family. When she grows up, she is to marry a
son in the family. Sim Pua marriages have a low fertility rate, a high divorce
rate, frequent adultery and lack of sexual attraction. In some cases, the son
or daughter-in-law refuses to marry their destined spouse.

Women are More Attracted to Men Who May (or May Not) be
Really Into Them

Hard-to-get is an old trick that used to be reserved for women. Those who
knew the trick would not be up front about whether they were seeing other
men and would hold off on sex until marriage or some other equivalent
commitment. Most importantly, they wouldnt let the guy know their true
feelings about him until he had revealed his.

But hard-to-get works both ways. There is now scientific evidence for it. A
team of researchers from University of Virginia and Harvard University
found that women are more attracted to men when there is a fair chance
that the men are attracted to them but they dont know how he feels.

47 female students from the University of Virginia participated in the study.
The subjects were told that they were participating in a study of whether
Facebook could be used as an online dating service. They were then
shown four fake Facebook profiles of men, which they were told had
viewed their profile and rated them in terms of attraction.

One group of women were told that the four men had given them top
ratings. A second group was told that the men has rated them as average.
A third group was told that the four men either had rated them really high or
not so high.

The women were then asked to rate the men. The women who had been
told that the four men had rated them as very attractive found the men
more attractive then those who had been told that the men had given them
average ratings.

But the women who found the four men most attractive were those who
didnt know whether the men had given them top or average ratings.

Apparently, the thrill of not knowing whether a man was really into them or
only somewhat into them generated additional attraction. The lesson to be
learned from the study is that if a man gives a woman the signal that he is
not all that into her, this will be a turn-off. Compared to that, it is better to
signal a high level of interest.

However, the most effective strategy is to give mixed signals, some of
which could indicate enormous interest and some of which could indicate
only average interest.


E. R. Whitchurch, T. D. Wilson, D. T. Gilbert. He Loves Me, He

Loves Me Not . . . : Uncertainty Can Increase Romantic Attraction.
Psychological Science, 2010; 22 (2)

Why Do We Want People We Cant Have? A Lesson from Horror

We desire things we can't have, including unattainable romantic partners.

Why is the unattainable so hot? Here is the standard answer: The
unattainable is in some sense rare. Rare things are valuable. As we value
what we know is valuable, we want that man or woman we can't get.

All this may be true. But there may be more to it. A number of factors seem
to play a role in making us so obsessed with getting what we can't get.
Here are the top three.

If only you could get the guy or girl that you and no one else can get, you
would be very special.

What stays at a distance is easier to see in a positive light. You are not
exposed to the real person with all of his or her flaws.

We crave what is mysterious. It arouses us and fascinates us. In that

respect, the mysteriousness that unattainable people radiate is similar to

Think of Halloween's Michael Myers appearing in the doorway of Linda van

der Klok's bedroom. Lynda is filing her nails, patiently waiting for her lover
to return with beer. Myers is covered by a white sheet and is wearing
Lynda's dead lover's glasses.

Or think of the final shot in the Blair Witch Project where Mike is standing in
the corner, facing the wall. Even though these scenes are terrifying, we like
the feelings they generate in us.

What is it about horror that is so fascinating? One reason is that we cannot

interpret the horror movie antagonists in normal ways. Standard theories of
mind don't apply. Horror movie antagonists are generally uncommunicative.
They don't say a whole lot, and they often have no facial expressions (e.g.,
they wear masks). We see them only briefly. They prevent us from
assessing their intentions and emotions. We cannot interpret their facial
expressions. We don't know what they are going to do next. They are
unpredictable and unreliable. It's the fact that we can't place them in our
ordinary schemes for interpreting people that inspires anxiety and fear.
They puzzle us and allow our brains to dwell on them in order to try to
understand them. That is what fuels our attraction.

Bad Boys and Beauty

Sometimes it can seem as if any handsome man is a bad boy. But is this
really true? Are bad boys really better looking than good boys? There are
no hard facts on this. But it seems evident that bad boys, on average, are
more charming and attractive than good boys.

Being good looking, however, is not a requirement for being charming or

attractive. Being attractive means being able to create attraction in others.

Bad boys create attraction in us, because they satisfy our cravings for
mystery and excitement. Even the really bad boys fascinate us. When
Michael Myers falls from the window in the final scene of Halloween,
stabbed and shot to death, we release a sigh of relief but part of us wanted
him to stay alive. We didn't want the excitement to come to an end.

Bad boys take us to uncomfortable places and put us in uncomfortable

situations. Abnormal environments induce fascination of the same sort

many people have with serial killers and horror movie antagonists. The
fascination arises from the thrilling sensation the unusual and unpredictable
generate in us.

When Parker, Kane and Lambert leave the safety of the Nostromo in Alien
to investigate the warning signal from an abandoned space craft, we are on
the edge of our seat. We can't stop watching, despite goose bumps and a
racing heart. Most horror movies occur at dusk (Jaws), at night (the Ring)
or in a wilderness (The Blair Witch Project) to exaggerate our sense of

By breaking social norms and acting in unpredictable ways, bad boys

inspire fascination in us. Bad = attractive, because distortions and
deformities to normal behavior produce a sense of thrill, something that is
easily confused with being in love.

Though there aren't any numbers on this, it may well be that bad boys, on
average, are also better looking than good boys. There are studies that
indicate that narcissists are more attractive than non-narcissists.

One theory is that because narcissists pursue a short-term mating strategy

but are more successful if good looking, it is possible that narcissism +
good looks has been an evolutionary advantage. Narcissistic boys belong
to the category of bad boys. If the theory is correct for narcissists, it may
well apply to other kinds of bad boys too.

Another more traditional theory draws less on the hereditary nature of

narcissistic, or other bad-boy, personality traits and more on the beneficial
effects of good looks, intelligence or charm on the individual's sense of self.
The story goes like this.

Little Boy suffers from a childhood trauma (abandonment, death of a

caregiver, physical or sexual abuse). Little Boy feels inadequate and
unloved. If good-looking, smart or charming, Little Boy will quickly learn to

use those features/skills to his advantage: They can get him the attention,
affirmation and praise he never got from an important caregiver in his life.
Little boy then relies solely on these features/skills to feel valuable and
"loved". Relying on these features/skills is much safer than counting on real
people liking him for who he really is.

When Love Isnt Enough

O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Juliet said, hoping that
she and Romeo could escape the families tradition of killing off each other.
But Romeo is a Montague, and Juliet is a Capulet. Their love is thus
doomed to failure from the start. But they sacrifice their lives for love. Love
is thus more important than life itself.

Shakespeares famous tragedy is fiction. We nonetheless sometimes hold

onto the idea that love conquers all.

However, love is not all it takes to enter into a serious relationship. Love
shouldnt be an excuse to form a relationship when

1. one of you is married or in a serious relationship and intends to stay

married or stay in the relationship

2. you are not within easy driving distance of each other, and there is
no hope of that changing any time soon.

3. you have radically different attachment styles (e.g., one is secure,

the other is avoidant. Or one is avoidant and the other is anxious)

4. you have radically different personalities, habits or interests.

Realizing that love isnt always enough can be one of the most difficult
things in the world. Its heartbreaking. But sometimes we have to face

Chapter 15: Using Your Secret Powers To Keep Your

Make a Good First Impression: First Impressions Last Longer

Than You Think

As you take the dog out for a walk, you come across your new neighbor
walking his dog. He is attractive, smart and single. You stop for a brief chat.

Unfortunately, it's not your lucky day. You have just been laid off from work
and haven't had a shower for almost two days, your hair looks like you just
got out of bed, and you smell like old garlic.

"I don't normally look this way or smell this way", you say without

"What?", Hottie says, "Oh that's OK"

"No really, I just didn't shower because I got laid off from work, and . well,
it's not like I don't have a job I mean, I don't. but it wasn't my fault that
I got fired laid off, I mean I am going to get a job real soon anyway."

OK, admit it. Not a good first impression. There is no need to call attention
to all the negative things you can think off about yourself the first time you
meet a new person.

But no big deal, you can make up for it later, right?

WRONG! First impressions last.

A team of researchers from Belgium, Canada and the United States

recently found that first impressions outlast new impressions and updated

Suppose you meet your new neighbor at a party the following Saturday.
You look great, and you have even found a new job.

Is he going to think you are great? Well, he might. But only in the context of
the party. In other contexts, it's that first impression that counts.

To change his opinion about you, you will have to encounter him in many
different contexts, not just one or two, and you will have to make a good
impression on him in every single one. No easy task.

The good news is that if you make a first good impression, then that too will
stick. You can mess up pretty badly and still be seen in a good light
because of your great first impression!


Bertram Gawronski, Robert J. Rydell, Bram Vervliet, Jan De Houwer.

Generalization versus contextualization in automatic evaluation..
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 2010; 139.

Playing Selectively Hard To Get

We often receive the question, if I want a particular man, should I play

hard to get?. This question is a difficult one to answer, because different
people associate different things with playing hard to get. If playing hard
to get means that you should be as cold as ice and turn down a guy you
are interested in more often than not, then the answer is a clear no. If, on
the other hand, it means that you shouldnt just say yes and amen to
everything your love interest suggests and let him treat you like a doormat,
then the answer is a clear yes.

Playing hard to get need not be a game. By playing hard to get in general
you indicate to potential romantic partners that you have certain values and
a sense of self-worth.

But dont be an ice queen. Studies show that the best approach is to be
selectively hard to get. You should signal to your guy that it would be
extremely hard for others to get you. But you shouldnt necessarily signal
that it would be extremely hard for him to get you.

One group of researchers tested 71 male university students on their

attitude toward (a) how hard the woman was for the man to get, and (b)
how hard she was for other men to get

The study showed that the men preferred women who were easy for them
to get but hard for all others to get. That is, they preferred women who were
selectively hard to get to women who were just hard to get, women who
were just easy to get and women they had no information about. Similar
results were found in a newer study.

The studies suggest that the best approach in the dating game is to be
hard to get in general. But once that one man comes along who seems like
he might be the one, playing too hard to get could backfire.

Powerful Posture and Dating

You are ready to go on a first date. You showered and put on your best
outfit. You even rehearsed a few clever remarks to possible questions. So,
everything should be in order, right?

Wrong. The key to attraction is self-confidence. No date is going to feel

attracted to you if you are all withdrawn and unable to speak without turning
red. In fact, there is nothing worse than watching others being extremely
nervous. Watching others freak out can be as bad as going through the
same thing yourself.

How can you quickly push your self-confidence up to sky-high levels?

According to a recent study published in the January 2011 issue of
Psychological Science, standing tall is a first step in the right direction. A
powerful posture beats other things that can render you valuable in the
eyes of others, including good looks, an impressive title, an ivy-league
education and a take-charge attitude.

The researchers studied people with different postures while doing different
tasks. In order to induce either a good posture or a bad posture, the
subjects were told to put their hands in a particular position, for example on
the waist vs. the hip.

It was found that during word-completion tasks the study participants with
good postures were more likely to come up with words of power and self-

confidence than their comrades. Participants with a good posture were also
more likely to take action than subjects with a bad posture.

The lesson: As self-confidence is a very attractive trait in a person,

standing tall on your first date can be a first step toward creating real


L. Huang, A. D. Galinsky, D. H. Gruenfeld, L. E. Guillory. Powerful

Postures Versus Powerful Roles: Which Is the Proximate Correlate of
Thought and Behavior? Psychological Science, January 2011

Make Him Squeeze Something Soft

How you dress, whether you smile and what you say are among the things
that can play a role in determining whether your first date is going to lead to

a second date. But there are other more subtle factors that can influence
your dates opinion of you.

A recent study led by Michael Slepian from Tufts University shows that our
assessment of a person as masculine or feminine may be influenced by
what we touch while making the assessment.

In the study the researchers exposed participants to gender-neutral faces

and told them to determine whether the face belonged to a man or a
woman. One group of participants were given a soft ball to squeeze while
making the assessments while another group were given a hard ball.

The participants who were given a soft ball to squeeze consistently judged
the gender-neutral faces to be female, whereas the subjects who were
handed a hard ball judged the faces they were looking at to be male.

The researchers found the same effect in participants who were asked to
write down their answer while pressing hard on the paper or pressing very

The subjects who were told to press hard judged the gender-neutral faces
to be male, whereas the subjects who were asked to press very lightly
judged the faces to be female.

What we touch while looking at a face can apparently affect how masculine
or feminine we consider a person we are looking at.

While there are exceptions, most men get attracted to women they
consider feminine, and most women get attracted to men they consider

We can extract some useful dating advice from these lessons. If a woman
gets to decide the details of a date, she should choose a place with soft
pillows or mattresses, for instance, a cozy cafe or restaurant that offers a
comfortable squeezy sitting arrangement.

The best food for the date would be soft food, such as soft pita bread with
dip or deserts. Wine glasses are better than beer bottles. Though wine
classes arent exactly soft, they may simulate a womans soft forms. For
clothing the female dater should choose silky shirts or soft sweaters
combined with a light skirt or pants. If kissing goodnight after the date, a
soft kiss would be most likely to generate attraction.

The advice, of course, is different for men. If a man gets to decide the
details of a date, he should choose a place with wooden chairs, for
instance, an Irish pub or an old-fashioned steakhouse. The best food for
the date would be hard food, such as steaks and baked potatoes or crispy
pizzas. Beer bottles are better than wine bottles, as they come across
perceptually as harder. For clothing, the male dater should choose jeans
and a leather jacket. If kissing goodnight after the date, a hard kiss would
be most likely to generate attraction.


M. L. Slepian, M. Weisbuch, N. O. Rule, N. Ambady. Tough and

Tender: Embodied Categorization of Gender. Psychological Science,

Similar Styles of Language Creates Attraction

A recent study published in Psychological Science showed that how we

speak and write also matters in terms of who we get attracted to. People
who use the same style of language are more likely to be attracted to each
other than people who use different styles of language.

Looks may matter more than speech and writing styles, but when we can't
see each other, similarities in speech and writing styles may have a
significant effect on attraction. Keep that in mind next time you explore
online dating!

Speech and writing styles can be characterized in many different ways.

Word choice and length of sentences play a significant role. But so do the
little signs that you may not pay much attention to.

Do you both use smiley faces? Dots? Exclamation marks? Abbreviations?

If so, which ones?

And in speech, which kinds of discourse markers do you use? ("you know",
"like", "um") How fast to you speak? Do you use similar or different

expressions to denote the same thing ("having sex" vs. "sleeping together"
vs. "making love")

These latest discoveries confirm what researchers have seen in the area of
looks. Similarity creates attraction. Dissimilarity repels. We are not as
attracted to people who are completely different from us as we are to
people who are like us. You can use that to your advantage in dating. If you
want to make someone interested in you, imitate their looks and their
speech and writing patterns.


M. E. Ireland, R. B. Slatcher, P. W. Eastwick, L. E. Scissors, E. J.

Finkel, J. W. Pennebaker. Language Style Matching Predicts
Relationship Initiation and Stability. Psychological Science, 2010; 22

Create an Impediment

In the comedy Failure to Launch Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker) makes men
fall in love with her by avoiding physical intimacy and by faking traumas.
Traumas? What does that have to do with love? A whole lot, in fact. Real
impediments intensify our emotions. Its also called the Romeo and Juliet
Effect. If real impediments exist, such as marriage to another person or a
family feud, our romantic feelings are likely to intensify.

How does that work psychologically? Well, if we manage to overcome the

impediment and we receive the prize in the end, then we have created a
near-miss situation.

A situation is a near-miss situation if it could easily have failed to obtain.

Winning the lottery is a near-miss situation. A lot of other people who
bought lottery tickets didnt win despite doing the exact same thing as you

Near-miss situations can intensify both positive and negative feelings. If we

hear about a plane crash and the only reason we werent on the plane was
that we missed our flight, we feel a much stronger sense of relief than if we
just hear about a plane crash.

If we hit a pedestrian on our way to work, we will hate ourselves even more
if it happened on that day where we impulsively decided to try out a
different route.

Just as near-miss situations can intensify our sense of relief or self-hatred,

it can also intensify our romantic feelings. Real or fake impediments
generate near-miss situations. There is a sense in which we are lucky,
because things could easily have been otherwise.

Impediments can intensify our feelings in other ways too. Impediments can
induce strong activity in our emotional brain (the amygdala). That intense
firing of neurons provides a good foundation for falling in love, as long as
we misinterpret the cause of the brain activity. If our brain associates the

racing heart and the stress of the situation with the other person, the brain
may begin to produce love chemicals. And thats normally all it takes to fall
in love.

Did You Find Your Man? Learn How to Negotiate Your Emotions

Learning how to negotiate emotions is the key to any good relationship.

Negotiations regarding emotions are similar to other negotiations. They are
intended to produce an agreement and may require meeting the other
person halfway. If your partner tends to be jealous for no particular reason,
you cannot simply require that your partner erases those feelings. But you
can require that your partner expresses his or her emotions in a healthy

Observe your own emotion and practice naming your inner feelings,
and notice what kinds of body language they give rise to. For
example, anger can be give rise to silence or a loud voice, folded
arms, clenched fists, an angry face, or tears.

Practice recognizing emotions in the people you interact with.

Different people react to the same emotions in different ways. Some
people react to a feeling of anger by yelling, others by becoming
silent. Take notice of how the people you interact with respond to
different emotions.

Determine whether the emotions you notice in others are acceptable.

It's OK to be angry at someone who wronged you but not at someone
who simply made a minor mistake. For example, your friend is
entitled to be angry if you ran off with her boyfriend but not if you
forgot to buy milk at the grocery store.

Determine whether the emotional reactions you notice in others are

acceptable. Whether an emotional reaction is acceptable or not

depends in part on your limits. As a rule of thumb, an emotional
reaction is unacceptable if it's hurtful. For example, if your partner
reacts to a feeling of irritation by joking around with you, and his jokes
are hurtful, his behavior is unacceptable.

Determine how you can help your partner deal with his acceptable
emotions when appropriate. If your partner is angry because you
stayed out all night without calling, apologize and suggest that you
talk about and, if necessary, re-negotiate your relationship rules.

Determine exactly how the unacceptable emotions or emotional

reactions you notice in others affect you and your relationship with
them. For example, if your partner tends to be jealous for no
particular reason and reacts to his jealousy by ignoring you, you may
end up feeling angry and resentful.

Inform others immediately if their emotional reactions make you feel

bad and explain how they make you feel. For example, if yelling
makes you anxious and upset, make this clear to the people you
interact with as soon as it becomes relevant, and respond calmly but
firmly to each future incidence.

Tips & Warnings

If you cannot negotiate emotions with another person regardless of

how hard you try, and his or her emotional behavior hurts you, you

are the sufferer of emotional abuse. Usually the best reaction to
emotional abuse is to remove yourself from the situation temporarily
or permanently.

Constantly reminding people of how their emotional reactions make

you feel can be bothersome and can sacrifice your relationship with
them. Choose your battles well.


"Passion and Reason: Making Sense of Our Emotions"; Richard S

Lazarus, Bernice N Lazarus; 1994
Emotional Competency
Emotions and Feelings

Text copyright 2011 by Berit Brogaard and Catherine Behan