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The Breakup Cleanse: 28 Days Detox For Your Heart Broken Brain 1

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) Video: This is the surgical kind

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

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 you’re gone. I rearrange the pillows again, I roll over–this is the empty part of me, the part they cut out. It’s 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

Forward By Arielle Ford I have known the excruciating pain of heartbreak. I also know the

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, here’s what I’ve 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. You’ve looked forward to this night all day and you couldn’t 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 quietly.

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

“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.

weeping are all physical phenomena of a psychological shock. Research is showing clearly that when you

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 ex’s 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

in an elevator. Shocking But True: Lovesickness Can Kill Suffering from a heartbreak can be far

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


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 didn’t 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 Year’s. He is so wonderful that I could scream.

we kissed, flirted,

and he said so many sweet things, he said that his scarf

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 hasn’t 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 don’t 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 program

you 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)

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, don’t 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

get her attention. But, my efforts are in vain. -- Jeremy, Chicago,


can just make out her form and I pound on the ice in order to


Chapter 1: The Breakup Girl

Chapter 1: The Breakup Girl “I can’t believe he did this.” Spinning the ring around in

“I can’t believe he did this.”

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

“I can’t 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 didn’t 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 Headache

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

Isn’t 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.


trauma whose brain chemical profile reproduces itself continually until it


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 cell’s ability to receive the pleasure chemicals it craves. (I love that sentence even though I don’t have any idea if it holds water! LOL)

Chapter 2: The Five Breakup Types

Chapter 2: The Five Breakup Types "I am not sure that I want to do this

"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

breakups are that simple. The Unexpected or Premature Death An unexpected or premature death doesn’t seem

An unexpected or premature death doesn’t 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 he’s 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

longer and longer over time. An advantage to those who appreciate the wisdom of years well

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 isn’t. It is quite another to be completely in the dark about your partner’s 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. Don’t force yourself. Be mad, but a box of chocolate, veg out on the couch and

lick your wounds

see your breakup for what it was


a week or so. You will know when you are ready to


fresh start for YOU.

The “Let’s Be Friends” Breakup

was for a week or so. You will know when you are ready to a fresh

The “let’s 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, “let’s 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.

“Let’s 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.

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


If you never saw your ex,

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 haven’t 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 haven’t 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 The one-sided breakup is what happens when you completely fantasize a relationship.

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 doesn’t 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 wasn’t. 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 brain’s 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

Know To Get Over Your Ex.” The Chemistry of Emotional Pain Photo Credit: Illuvia Nocturna [http://lluvia-

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 perceived.

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 Dysfunction]


Love Obsession: Your Brain on Crack

So you are obsessed with your ex. You don’t want to accept that he is gone. You feel like a lovesick teenager has taken over your mind. You can’t 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


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 depression.

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 gone.

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” doesn’t 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?

that there is nothing to hang onto. Is There Hope For Me? So you feel obsessed

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 brain’s 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 don’t 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

love that is never returned.” -- William Somerset Maugham Carmen’s Case In their article “Virtual Life.

Carmen’s 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 Riz’s sex slave in their fictional world.

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

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

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 wasn’t 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 isn’t even real.



William’s Story

Several months ago a woman broke up with me, and I’m still madly in love with her. Here’s 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 wouldn’t 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 you’re 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. I’ve never felt so strongly towards anything in my life as I feel for her; I’ve always had this nihilistic tendency. I’ve 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 I’m 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 can’t have any contact with. Unfortunately, sometime I feel like I’ve been hit with a ton of bricks. I want to see them, know how they are, desperately need to contact them (I don’t). 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 I’ve discovered through “Gold”, but go without all the pain and suffering?

Jane’s 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 can’t handle intimacy and it’s nothing to do with me.

He said he doesn’t 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 he’s aware) and I want to reach out and tell him I am still here and haven’t abandoned him, but I’m afraid that will just push him farther away.

We’re seeing each other again in a month or so to talk, and I’m not sure how to handle it. This is one of the longest relationships of his life (he’s in his late thirties and states he’s only had 3 relationships that lasted this long) and I can’t believe he just is over it as quickly as he seems to be from the cold tone of his emails, but I don’t know what to say or do to let him know he doesn’t 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 I’m afraid of blowing it. Please, what do I say?

Pam’s 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 didn’t even desire to see me

often. At the beginning of the relationship, he was a very different person whom was more secure and we didn’t 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.

Karen’s Story

Karen’s Story Please give advice. I’m in San Diego and was seeing this guy from Seattle.

Please give advice. I’m in San Diego and was seeing this guy from Seattle. The last 7 months things changed after we were friends for 2 years. We didn’t call each other boyfriend/girlfriend, but he came to see me every other week, he’s 27 and he said he likes me, and I’m 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 friend’s apartment and said it was late and he was too tired from a party yesterday. I was so disappointed he didn’t 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 “I’ll meet you later tonight, I’m 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 didn’t think we should see each other except as friends. I said OK and didn’t go, and he has emailed me but not like before. Is he over me or will he come back? I can’t stop thinking about him.

Mary’s Story

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

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.

Alice’s Story

I don’t know what to do. I have lived together with my boyfriend for two years and he’s 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 didn’t love him anymore, even though it’s 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. It’s never happened before. But I got so upset that I just left and I have stayed with my friend since.

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

Fiction Writer Steven Harris’ Story

Fiction Writer Steven Harris’ Story I (Dr. Brit) first met Steven at a conference in San

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 you’re 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 you’re gone. I rearrange the pillows again, I roll over–this is the empty part of me, the part they cut out. It’s 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.

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 won’t sleep again after this.

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

And you’re really gone.

Angie’s buried herself in the blankets again, but I don’t 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 it’s 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. It’s like everything here, this whole town, only existed for the two of us, and now that you’re gone it’s closing down. People are packing up and leaving, people are being washed away. And I wonder what it means that I’m still here.

Call it post apocalyptic. Here I am at the end of the world again. I’m 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 aren’t worth the aftermath. Most things are fatigue or a bitter aftertaste, repetition and memories you don’t 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 there’s still something out there worth loving. And I’m walking. And pretty soon I’m just another black coat in the rain.

Chapter 5: How To Get Him Back

What Are Your Chances of Winning Him Back?

To Get Him Back What Are Your Chances of Winning Him Back? If you did not

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 didn’t 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 other’s nerves. Arguing and fighting took over. Breakups in the wake of ugly arguments are hard to turn around.

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 back.

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 mind.

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 don’t 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 ex’s 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 couldn’t 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, it’s time to move on. Don’t 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, don’t do it too often and don’t bring up the relationship at all. It’s 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

Myth # 5

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


It’s amazing that people don’t see how weird this would be. If you were still together or were “just” great friends, you wouldn’t send each other snail mail. So, don’t do it now. Use the phone or email.

Myth # 6

If you contact your ex, it’s 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 person’s defense. The result of trying to make yourself look better than your ex’s 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.

and you less. Myth # 8 If he has a new girlfriend, invite them both over


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. It’s 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 wouldn’t 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

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 less.

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 don’t 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. That’s how people work.

What to do if he does contact you? Don't sound unnaturally upbeat. That is going to come across as fake. Don’t 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 doesn’t 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 didn’t 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 it’s 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. Don’t reject the

possibility eiter. Just say it’s not a good time to talk about that, as that’s an independent decision.

3. Do NOT have sex with him at any point after the breakup unless you get back together. It’s tempting. But don’t 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. Don’t call, text or email him during that period. No e-cards or regular mail.

7. Don’t ask anyone about him or his feelings.

8. Don’t spread rumors about him or you, and don’t ask anyone to pass on messages to him

9. Don’t 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.

in the amygdala, the part of the brain that processes fear. Photo: Celexa, a long-term anti-anxiety

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.


a calming effect on the neurological system. Benzodiazepines Photo: Xanax: A short-term anti-anxiety drug

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.

Like barbiturates and benzodiazepines, they can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and pain. Photo: Ambien, a sleeping

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 properties.


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 Cε; 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

and Raymond W. Houde; September 2003 The Serotonin Diet It has been known for some time

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 oil.

sunflower seeds, buckwheat, flax seeds, and flax oil. Photo: Tofu is rich in tryptophan Omega-3 Fatty

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.

acids include salmon, tuna, sardines, eggs and flax oil. Photo: Tuna is rich in omega-3 acids

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.

is primarily hereditary, just like eye color or height. Photo: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. If personality

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 perform.

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 brain’s 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 patterns.

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 isn’t 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 differently.

in your body is to train your brain to think differently. Photo: The Serotonin “happiness” molecule

Photo: The Serotonin “happiness” molecule

Why waste your precious life on a person who has said “no” to sharing life together?

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

Mental Scripting Basics: Write Down Your Exact Aims The first step in the mental scripting program

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 don’t 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 daughter’s 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 don’t 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.

Don’t 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

Mental Scripting Basics: From the Mind to the World Now that you have played out the

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

But don’t 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 don’t matter if you fail. You are still practicing.

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

If you fail, don’t 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 don’t 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

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 wouldn’t 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 wasn’t 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 doesn’t 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 married

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.


a great guy


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 doesn’t 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 have something few other broken hearted people have. You know exactly what is going on

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 thoughts.

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


on your thoughts.

and this is a

if and only if you can put your focus on your body first and work

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 pregnancy.

Progesterone levels peak the last 14 days of the cycle, and this triggers the preparation of

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 intruders.

So your natural 28 day cycle is the perfect avenue for walking you through

your post-breakup blues as painlessly as possible.

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.

Real healing of your

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 man’s 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 Larry’s 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 let’s 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 It’s no more than $6.

buy some Theraputty on It’s no more than $6. Children’s putty can work in its

Children’s 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, you’ll find out why as you go through The Cleanse.

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 doesn’t have any

PHYSICAL words on it

been mostly in your ideas and thoughts. Now your feelings are needing a

physical expression.

Up until now, your Hurt Feelings Feeling has

Don’t 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 shock.

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. Katz’s work.

Day 1

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

1. If at all possible, take the day off. If it’s 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 it’s cold or rainy or very hot, dress for the weather.

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 Benadryl.


While Benadryl is normally only to be taken for allergies, it is also a relatively harmless sleeping aid, and it doesn’t 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

doesn’t count

for as long as you can throughout the day.


your whole face when you smile) and let it stick

2. Take at least one hour long walk.

smile) and let it stick 2. Take at least one hour long walk. 3. Meditate for

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 don’t have anyone close enough to you to be able to share these kinds of feelings, we would LOVE to support you. Don’t 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 doesn’t 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.

with friends shifts your brain chemistry into relief. Day 3 Brain Warm Up: Think of 5

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.

old chair. Move things around in the kitchen and bathroom. 2. Do something for yourself. Get

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 don’t 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, it’s 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 (don’t 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 understand.


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 strength.




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.


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

disconnecting from your thoughts and letting them go. 3. Go to a Starbucks or another cafe

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 go.

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 don’t drink alcohol, prepare a hot glass of milk or a hot cup of herbal tea without caffeine.

Day 5

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

Your Daily Five

1. It’s time to share your experiences with other breakup girls or guys. You might have done a little of this. But now it’s time to really speak out.

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-




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


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 can’t swim, do some equivalent kind of exercise for 30 minutes.

swim, do some equivalent kind of exercise for 30 minutes. 2. After the pool, go to

2. After the pool, go to a café 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. It’s time for your doctor’s 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 doctor’s visit, go to the pharmacy and get your prescription medication (if any). If you don’t 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 87

5. Then treat yourself to a full body massage.

5. Then treat yourself to a full body massage. Day 7 87

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

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 brain.

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 don’t 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. Don’t analyze or panic. Write about the experience and describe what you are aware of physically.

Day 2

Brain Warm Up:

Your Daily Five

Drink a glass of water and pee at the same time.

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 can’t 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 this:




















ice cream







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.


Use the words and additional words needed to write a love poem to your ex. Don’t 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.


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.


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

physical symptoms. It doesn’t matter whether you offer a chemical

explanation or a psychological explanation, as long as you answer the question. You might write:

Finish the sentence. Go over all your

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 can’t 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. Don’t worry if you can’t 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 didn’t do during your relationship.

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 him.

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 didn’t like about the relationship?

What could we have done differently?


Then visualize how he would answer it. Don’t use wishful thinking. Be as realistic as possible. Jot it down.


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


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 can’t 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 relationship.

3. Have a meal at the restaurant alone, eat the very food (or similar food) you ate with your ex. If you didn’t 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 don’t 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 Theraputty.

this, do take out. But complete the other steps. 5. Go home and watch a romantic

Day 7

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

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 later.

4. Throw out anything that doesn’t 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. Don’t 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 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 MIND.


2. Visualize a wonderful situation from the past before you even met your ex. Have

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 can’t 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?

what it would be like. What kind of food would you eat? What would the bars

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 had.

of bad personality or behavioral traits that your ex had. 2. Visualize as many bad moments

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. Don’t 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

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 friend’s wallet while the friend is sleeping, being charged with sexual harassment (Can’t think of anything? Breaking up with you will do, if you can’t think of something better).

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

Day 4

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

Your Daily Five


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 didn’t 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 minutes.

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 guy.

you are sharing your breakup stories with the same guy. 3. While you are still at

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 this:

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 can’t 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 don’t 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.

Punch him for hurting you. Use foul language. Yell at him. 3. Your ex will now

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

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.

break. Go back to the proxy (the teddy bear or ex). Imagine your ex wanting you

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

loud what you want in a man. The Cleanse Week 4: Moving On In week 4

In week 4 it’s 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 haven’t 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 Inbox.

5. If you didn’t 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 haven’t 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 café 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

wrong hand as many times as you can today. Your Daily Five 1. Spend a few

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 language.


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 haven’t 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 get.

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

5. Go shopping for these items. Enjoy your new clothes or shoes. If you don’t 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 don’t have a bathtub, take a long hot shower.

If you don’t have a bathtub, take a long hot shower. 3. After the bath or

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 line.

Day 7 Brain Warm Up: Move the waste basket in your kitchen. Your Daily Five

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

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 MacDonald’s if you can have their leftovers.

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

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

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 abuse.


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: ns_causes_effects.htm

Evan’s verbal abuse website:

Safe Connections:

Verbal and Emotional Abuse: Anita’s 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 communicating…”You are such a victim, aren’t you?” “You cleaned up this place real good while I was away, didn’t 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, aren’t 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

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 didn’t know what was wrong with me. I didn’t 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 couldn’t. I thought, “You have to stay for her sake.” I couldn’t 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 couldn’t go on this way. I am divorced now. My daughter, who is now 6, is much happier. It just isn’t 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.

to get professional counseling to deal with the aftermath. I am constantly on guard now. I

I am constantly on guard now. I am hyper-sensitive to the littlest sign of potential verbal or emotional abuse. I didn’t 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.


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

6. Telling your partner that she is worthless and can’t 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 partner’s inner feelings is not OK.

Arguing against your partner’s inner feelings is not OK. 10. Ignoring a person who is politely

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.

long time: leave immediately . He is not going to change. YOU Can Stop Verbal Abuse

YOU Can Stop Verbal Abuse

React to the Abuse

Evans recommends calling your abuser’s attention to the abuse every time it happens. Don’t listen to the content of what is said, and don’t 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 doesn’t 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 don’t 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

Barry’s 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 confirmatory.

She is such a disappointment to me

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

just heartbreaking


whole thing is still just

that is


it's totally "organic" - at least, he has never heard

me say something like that - unless he can read my mind.






Nikki’s Story

It’s 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 didn’t 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 wouldn’t 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.

Anna’s Story

I can’t 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, I’d be afraid I’d 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 don’t 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 that’s 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 didn’t 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.

star. I had no existence outside of my connection with him. I feel better about myself

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

Bella’s Story

The book isn’t 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 didn’t really have the finances to live on my own, and since we weren’t 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 didn’t follow me when I left the room. So, I got some peace and quiet. But in the end it wasn’t good enough. My heart would start pounding whenever he got home from work or suggested we do things together. So, I left. It’s the best decision I made in my life.

Heather’s Story

It was like he was playing secret mind games with me. I will never know for sure if that’s what he did. But his behavior would be even more weird if he didn’t.

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 didn’t love me. I never believed him.

I didn’t know about invisible breakups. But now it seems obvious that that’s

what was going on. Maybe even if it wasn’t 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 couldn’t take it. I should have known better. If only I knew about you back then. But at least I know better know.

Helen’s Story

I fell in love with a real player. He was a cardiologist, and I had to deliver

some paperwork to him (I don’t 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 didn’t 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 wasn’t 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 didn’t 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 don’t 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.

Krista’s 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 wasn’t 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 didn’t add up. Turned out he did sleep with her. They had arranged it, so I wouldn’t 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?


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 with.

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 again.

Violet’s Story

OK my name isn’t 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 don’t know this yet., so please don’t reveal my name or email. It’s a really small town. Plus, it’s not like I am not going to marry a man and have kids, like they really want me to. I like girls but I don’t 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 doesn’t like that word). She is not to boys at all. And even then she doesn’t want to commit. She is seven older than I am. I asked her if it’s because she fels I am too young. But she doesn’t really want to even have a relationship. So, I didn’t know what to do.

We are still together. So, we didn’t 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?

the Future “I Love You”: What the Heck Does That Mean? There is no doubt about

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

and what else is said instead. Your Ambivalent Lover Is the love of your life acting

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 II).

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?

Why Do Some People Suppress Their Love? It is possible to suppress all emotions, including 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?

Friends With Benefits: What Are The Benefits? You probably have heard the expression "Friends with 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:

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

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

3.Despite 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.The friends with benefits situation may prevent you from finding a serious girlfriend or boyfriend because you already are pretty satisfied.

5.You probably cannot be fully open about your situation, as friends-with- benefits still is considered a bit unusual. So, you have to be partially secretive.

6.There may be a higher risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease compared to a serious relationship.

Just So We Don’t Forget: He’s Just Not That Into You

Just So We Don’t Forget: He’s Just Not That Into You Here is an excerpt from

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 don’t forget!

Chapter One: he’s just not that into you if he’s 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 we’re “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 don’t 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 we’ve been asked in a simple question-and-answer format. If you’re lucky, you’ll read the following questions and know what they are: Excuses that women have made for their unsatisfying situations. If you’re not so lucky, we’ve also included handy titles to clue you in.

The “Maybe He Doesn’t Want to Ruin the Friendship” Excuse

Dear Greg,

I’m so disappointed. I have this friend that I’ve 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, you’re working the whole ‘model thing’ now?” (That’s flirting, right?) We both agreed that we should get together again soon. Well, Greg, I’m disappointed because it’s been two weeks and he hasn’t called me. Can I call him? He might be nervous about turning the friendship into romance. Can’t I give him a nudge now? Isn’t that what friends are for?


Dear Friendly Girl,

Two weeks is two weeks, except when it’s ten years and two weeks. That’s 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 doesn’t get a return phone call. And if your dinner/date did feel different to him, it’s been two weeks and he’s had time to think about it and decide he’s just not that into you. Here’s the truth: Guys don’t 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 don’t 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 we’re really excited about someone, we can’t stop ourselves — we want more. If we’re friends with someone and attracted to them, we’re going to want to take it further. And please, don’t tell me he’s just “scared”. The only thing he’s scared of — and I say this with a lot of love — is how not attracted to you he is.

The “Maybe He’s Intimidated by Me” Excuse

Dear Greg,

I have a crush on my gardener. He’s been potting the plants on my patio. It

was hot, I saw him without his shirt on, he was hot, and now I’m 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, can’t I ask him out?


Dear My Secret Garden,

He’s capable of asking you out. Haven’t you ever seen a porno? Hope he gets there before the pizza guy. But seriously, if he didn’t 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: He’s 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 he’s into her.

He might need a little more encouragement than normal, I’ll 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, he’s a good guy.

The “Maybe He Wants to Take It Slow” Excuse

Dear Greg,

There’s this guy who calls me all the time. He’s 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 doesn’t ever suggest we see each other in person again. It’s 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 guy?


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, I’m getting sleepy, it’s hot, I’m going down for a nap. When I wake up from that nap I’ll 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, he’s still not asking you out. Now, if you’re a person who enjoys a slightly satisfying phone relationship, talk on! But at this point it seems like he’s just not that into you. Be his

friend if you’re 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 won’t keep you guessing, because he’ll want to make sure you don’t get frustrated and go away.

Text copyright © 2004 by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo

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

Check: Extroverts, Introverts, Intuitive, Perceiving People who are classified as having a personality disorder

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 others.

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

and child may affect personality. The Narcissistic Lover Did you fall in love with a narcissist?

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 demands.

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 disorder.

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 don’t 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

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Test This test can help you determine whether you or someone you know

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 don’t 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?


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

people’s 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 don’t 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?


Have other people accused you of being insensitive to other people’s


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?


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 don’t 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 what’s good for you, give more thought to what you really want and begin to make your own decisions.

Secret Schizoid Personality Disorder

Secret Schizoid Personality Disorder People with schizoid personality disorder can be hard to diagnose but one

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 conflict.

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

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 people’s 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 happiness.

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 didn’t 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 Obama’s 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 won’t 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

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.

on the side of the head that processes fear in the brain. The second feature of

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 feedback.

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: Carrie’s Story

“I am afraid we cannot accept your article in its current form”.

The words on the screen laughed at her, stuck their tongues out at her, made little childish sounds at her. Carrie’s 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 couldn’t 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 couldn’t 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. Carrie’s little heart was broken.

He hated conflicts. Carrie’s little heart was broken. But Carrie refused to give up. One day

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 mother’s love.

Carrie never succeeded. As a tween a part of her realized that she was never

Carrie never succeeded. As a tween a part of her realized that she was never going to win her mother’s 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 wasn’t 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 Carrie’s perfect man was afraid of rejections and failure too and ended up breaking up with Carrie. She was heartbroken.

Carrie didn’t 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 man’s 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 wasn’t critical and blaming like Carrie’s mother. But like Carrie’s 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 relative.

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 Carrie’s 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 isn’t 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



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. Won’t share their inner life with anyone, not even “close” friends

18. Difficulties committing to just about anything


Pretending to be happy (or neutral) all the time

20. Strong fear of rejections

Anxious Attachment Style: If You Love Something, Set It Free

Anxious Attachment Style: If You Love Something, Set It Free “If you love something set it

“If you love something set it free. If it comes back it’s 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 that’s your destiny.

For those of us who don’t 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 criticism.

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 person’s 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 don’t 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 style.

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 it’s only a matter of time before their partner will be sufficiently fed up with the controlling aspect of the anxious person’s behavior and will want out.

Chapter 14: Dating Again: Who Is Your Perfect Match?

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?

that we may confuse with love. In these cases, the relationship is unlikely to last. Do

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.

of attractiveness to the person in the target picture. In a second study, a picture of

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.

who were an amalgamation of a stranger and themselves. The findings in these studies go against

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 resemblance.

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

Attracted to Men Who May (or May Not) be Really Into Them Hard-to-get is an old

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 wouldn’t 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 don’t 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 didn’t 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