Mod 6: Exercises

If you are feeling lonely and isolated, I hope you’ll start today to do what you can to alleviate that. While you can’t control what others do, you can control what you do, and there are a lot of ways to make things better for yourself. Here are a few exercises to consider….

Exercise #1a: Date with a dear friend

This idea won’t work for everyone, but if you have a truly close and trusted friend (or family member) that you think might be able to understand what you’ve been through, make plans to get together for coffee or lunch in a comfortable, semi-private place where you can talk. Explain that you have always trusted that friend and his/her desire to support you. Share about Narcissist Personality Disorder and  Narcissistic Victim Syndrome and the unique ways your situation has impacted your life. Even if you find your friend can’t quite track with the entire experience, you may be able to at least recruit that person as someone to be there for you when you need some cheering up. Sometimes that’s all you need.

Exercise #1b: Date with an old friend

It’s quite common that narcissistic abusers include in their arsenal the process of weaning victims away from other friends. There may well be some people in your life in this category who would be really happy to hear from you again. Put out some feelers and see if you can’t find an old friend who’d like to reconnect with you.

To such a person you need only say you’re getting over a very difficult relationship—he or she doesn’t need to hear the details if it’s not appropriate to share them. Tell this friend you have let a good friendship get away from you—your friendship with him or her—and would love to catch up. It can be very healing to re-establish relationships like this, in that you will feel more in charge of your life, and also reminded of the person you used to be. When you get together, just put the emphasis on enjoying each other’s company, and have fun.

Exercise #2: Volunteer

Just getting out and meeting new people helps, and being around others who are passionate about a cause that matters to you personally can be very self-affirming. Find somewhere to volunteer your time, even just once. Don’t choose where based on what cause seems the most crucial: not everyone has the personality to be a Big Sister or help out the homeless. If you like animals, find a local shelter. If you like books, see if your library needs any volunteers. If you want to help others like yourself, get involved on—you don’t even have to leave  your house to do that.

The key is, pick something you are actually excited to do, whatever that is. While helping others is always a great idea, again your focus right now is supposed to be on yourself and your recovery, so it’s key to choose a volunteer activity you are confident you’ll be comfortable with and enjoy.

Exercise #3: Practice lovingkindness

Determine to make lovingkindness a part of each day of your life. Sometimes that lovingkindness can be towards yourself (see the Mod 5 exercises again!). Sometimes it can be towards others. Remind yourself every day of the universal truth about humans (real humans that is): we are all suffering, and we are all trying to escape suffering. Every time you do something kind, no matter how small, you make the universe a better place. And that always comes back to you in some form or other…that’s just how the universe works.

It can be fun to keep a Lovingkindness Journal in which you write down every day an act of kindness you did for someone else, or one someone else did for you. Give it a try if that sounds appealing.

While we’re on the subject, there’s no time like the present to make the lovingkindness meditation a part of your repertoire. This type of meditation originates from ancient Buddhist tradition, and was for the followers of the Buddha an essential part of their meditation practice. As with so much of Buddhist tradition, you don’t need to have any particular religious belief to benefit from the concepts.

Please read on to the Mod 6 Meditation to learn more….

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