Mod 6: Concepts for healing

Being more discerning and articulate in your communications about your abuse is a real boon, there’s no doubt. Being understood and cared for by those around you is so important to effective living of any kind.

However, another good thing to remember is that you don’t actually have to make everyone around you understand what you’re going through in order to recover. There are other ways to benefit from human connections and find healing in those associations.

Connections and brain chemistry

Any sense of human involvement can help counteract your feelings of isolation as long as it isn’t forced. Lucy was right to try going to the ball, and while she had a mixed reaction to the experience, it was a step forward in getting her life back. (And also resulted in an actual, extremely helpful new friend!)

The brain chemical that helps us feel connected to others, secure, and safe is oxytocin. When oxytocin increases in the brain, it reduces fear and feelings of isolation. Certain sorts of activities stimulate oxytocin simply by our engagement in them. Here are some examples:

  • Cuddling a person, or even a pet
  • Conversation with good friends or like-minded people
  • Positive participation in social media (e.g., discussing a TV show with others who also love it)
  • Reading romantic books or watching romantic movies
  • Giving someone a gift
  • Volunteering for a cause you believe in with others who feel the same
  • Rooting for a sports team with other fans

When you’re feeling isolated and lonely, there are things that you yourself can do to alleviate that. Take charge and take some steps to feel better!

United in suffering

Buddhism teaches that one of the key factors that unites humans as a species is that we all suffer, and we all wish we could stop suffering. This being true, nothing ought to make us feel more a part of the human race than the trials and tribulations we all share.

It may be true that no one you know has ever experienced narcissistic abuse. But odds are good that at least one person has been emotionally, physically, or sexually abused in some way. And others you know have experienced or been connected to alcoholism, drug abuse and other addictions. Others have suffered the loss of loved ones too soon, perhaps even children. Most of us have financial setbacks, health problems, issues from our childhoods, struggles with relationships, work problems, and all manner of frustrations, disappointments and trials.

In spite of what your Facebook page tells you, all of us are struggling with suffering. There is value in the fact that you experienced abuse, because you can use the experience to be a better person both for yourself and others.

Right now your focus needs to be on yourself and your own recovery. It’s okay, and in fact, it’s proper for you to put your needs first right now. But you may find as you work through your problems, that your heart goes out to those around you. Keeping in mind that everyone needs love, you may find that extending lovingkindness to others helps you more than anything to feel less alone.

Here are just a few suggestions to get you thinking of ways to employ lovingkindness in your life:

  • Open a door for someone whose arms are full.
  • Say something cheery with a smile to restaurant server.
  • Lend an ear to a stressed-out co-worker.
  • Put money in someone’s expired parking meter.
  • Knit a scarf or make a card for a friend.
  • Volunteer at a food pantry.

Find the things you really enjoy doing for other people, and do them. You’ll not only feel more connected to others, you will also see yourself as the valuable human being you are. Practicing lovingkindness will brighten any life, and I’m betting your could use a little brightening. So could that person you choose to treat kindly!

And speaking of Exercises, let’s get to the ones for Mod 6….

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