8 Distinctive Tricks to Immediately Change Your Emotional State

8 Distinctive Tricks to Immediately Change Your Emotional State

When you’re a survivor of narcissistic abuse, you may have trouble managing your emotional state, especially if you’re deep in the throes of grief and anxiety as you transition to life without the narcissist. Issues connected to C-PTSD and other after-effects of the trauma you’ve just experienced will run rampant in your mind and body until you find a way to heal. 

In the meantime, there are so many things you can do to help yourself feel better right now. For example, you could use a pattern interrupt to shift from feeling weak and worthless to feeling empowered and worthy. 

What is a pattern interrupt?

A pattern interrupt is a way to stop one of your habitual reactions. This can be helpful because you can stop yourself from reacting in an unhealthy way and choose a better response. It can also be used to help your brain notice small things that you might otherwise overlook.

This concept is commonly used in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), as well as other self-help practices, to help people change their habits, thoughts, and emotions. In other words, pattern interrupts are deliberate actions that break undesirable habits.

You can use pattern interrupts to redirect the flow of a conversation when it’s going too far off-track, or when you’re ready to move on to talking about something else. They’re also useful for breaking up long monologues by other people.

Most importantly, pattern interrupts can help you get through the difficult moments in your relationships, including the one you might have or have had with the narcissist. This way, you can truly begin to heal yourself and take back your life – one baby step at a time.

How does a pattern interrupt help? 

Pattern interrupts are highly effective for so many different aspects of narcissistic abuse recovery, and this is one more way they can be used. During and after a toxic relationship, your grief, anxiety, and depression can become automatic behaviors – patterns – that you fall into without thought.

So, when you begin to work on letting go of the narcissist and the toxic relationship, you can use mindfulness to pay attention to your thoughts and ideas, and then you can choose to use a pattern-interrupt to change it. 

Try These Simple Pattern Interrupt Ideas

Pattern interrupts are part of NLP (Neurolinguistic programming). Sounds complicated, right? But it’s so simple. Here are some quick and easy-to-implement pattern interrupt ideas for you.

  • Try a simple affirmation you repeat to yourself in the moment.
  • Try standing up and moving into a different room of the house.
  • Try taking a quick shower.
  • You can brush your teeth or hair or wash your hands.
  • Try to count all of the items in a room that are a certain color.

There are so many other options to interrupt these toxic patterns in your own mind. Here’s a quick video where I explain pattern interrupts in more detail.

Pattern Interrupts to Change Your Emotional State Quickly

If you need to change your mood or emotional state in a hurry, you have options available to you. Your emotional state affects your attitude, focus, decisions, and your ability to act.

The ability to manage your emotional state is a powerful skill that must be mastered if you want to be able to get the most out of each day. If you can control your emotional state, you can be happier and more successful.

Surprisingly Effective Pattern Interrupt Strategies for Emotional Control 

1. Move.

Your emotions are actually body feelings created by your thoughts. If you move your body, the way your body feels will change. Moving is one of the most effective ways to change your emotional state. There are many ways to use your body to alter your emotions. Here are just a few options:

● Stand straighter.
● Do jumping jacks.
● Dance.
● Stand up quickly.
● Spin around.
● Walk like a robot.
● Run.
● Skip.

2. Laugh.

Laughing feels really good! Make yourself laugh and you’ll feel differently, and the change is instantaneous.

● Think about something funny.
● Watch your favorite comedian.
● Talk with your funniest friend.
● Read a joke.

3. Give yourself a change of scenery.

It’s amazing how much difference you can feel if you just move to a new location.

● Spend an hour at the coffee shop.
● Go to the library.
● Walk around the park.
● Sit out on your back patio.

4. Do something that frightens you.

If you want to take your mind off your current thoughts, fear is an effective way to do it. Your emotional state will change, guaranteed.

● Strike up a conversation with an attractive stranger.
● Have that conversation you’ve been avoiding.
● Go to the pet shop and ask to hold that scary-looking snake.

5. Drink a large glass of cold water.

A good drink of water can change how you feel. Making sure that it’s cold makes the experience jolting. Pour yourself a tall, cold glass of water, stand outside, and drink it.

6. Use heat or cold.

Anything that impacts your body significantly can impact your emotional state, too. Heat and cold are all-encompassing experiences for your body. Your attention can’t help but notice them. Your brain and body are also taking notice. Your blood vessels expand or contract. You sweat more or less. There’s a lot going on when you expose yourself to significant temperatures.

● Sit outside on a hot or cold day.
● Take a hot shower or bath. Sit in a hot tub or sauna.
● Try a cold shower or bath (this is known to help tone your vagus nerve – which is shockingly effective in helping to heal your trauma).

7. Sing or hum.

Singing is a novel way to change how you feel. If you’re not used to singing, it can feel awkward. If you sing regularly, you do so because it’s enjoyable. Either way, your emotional state will be impacted. (Also good for the vagus nerve!)

8. Do something new or unexpected.

Shock your system by doing something totally out of character.

● Pull out the bike you haven’t ridden in years and go for a ride.
● Take a walk around the neighborhood if you rarely do so.
● Go out to a new restaurant.
● Call an old friend you haven’t spoken to in ages.
● Eat a tablespoon of hot sauce.
● Shake things up.

You have an emotional state of some sort every waking moment of the day. The real question is whether or not it’s a useful emotional state. Even more importantly, is it the optimal emotional state for the current moment? You can change your emotional state with practice. You can even change it quickly!

Get Help With Your Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

5 Habits That Prevent Happiness

5 Habits That Prevent Happiness

It’s not easy to be unhappy all of the time, especially when you’re dealing with recovering from narcissistic abuse – even more so if you’re still in the relationship or dealing with the after-effects of it. You have to really work at it by developing and maintaining habits that prevent happiness and encourage unhappiness. Just as certain habits will fill your bank account or keep your waistline under control, there are several habits that will ensure that you’re unhappy.

See how many of these habits you’re currently guilty of applying to your own life.

These habits create an environment that allows unhappiness to flourish:

Pessimism. Research shows that pessimists tend to be more accurate than optimists, but optimists are much happier! Expecting bad things to happen ruins your mood and increases the possibility of negative outcomes.  This can be a challenging habit to change. Ask yourself what you’re gaining by holding negative expectations in your conscious awareness.

Failure to remain focused on the present. Everything that’s meaningful is happening in your life right now. The past is over, and much of the future is completely beyond your control.

  • Thinking about enjoyable experiences from the past is distracting. Focusing on negative past experiences creates regret. Any time spent thinking about the past is ultimately counterproductive.
  • Thoughts of the future create anxiety. When you focus on the future, you tend to worry and experience stress.
  • One of the biggest regrets anyone can have is the belief that they’ve wasted time. Spending too much time thinking about the future or the past is a waste of time and creates a more challenging present.

Placing too much emphasis on money and possessions. Our society places a premium on the wealth and impressive items that often accompany success. However, there is a poor correlation between wealth and happiness. Studies show that an income above $75,000 does nothing to increase happiness.

  • You’ll also find that the neighbors are a lot less concerned with your swimming pool and fancy car than you expected.
  • Being financially secure is a worthy goal. An obsession with wealth is more likely to create unhappiness than to cure it.

Comparing yourself to others. While everyone might look more or less the same, there are significant differences between people. Some have more education than others. Some had kinder parents. People come from different economic backgrounds. There are a plethora of differences between you and others.

  • The best comparison you can make is between your present self and your past self. Maybe you’re overweight, but if you’re less overweight than you were last week, you have plenty of reason to be happy with yourself.

An obsession with perfection. Striving for perfection is a waste of time. Do the spoons really need to be perfectly stacked in the drawer? Nothing can ever be 100% perfect, so you’re setting yourself up to be miserable. Creating a standard that can never be reached is unhealthy and unproductive.

  • Complete tasks at an appropriate level and avoid trying to be perfect. Consider how to best use your time. The time you spend on perfection could be spent on something else.

If you’re less happy than you’d like, your habits might be to blame. The way you view the world and engage with it has an impact on your ability to experience happiness. How many of these habits are you guilty of committing? Are there any other habits you have that could be contributing to your unhappiness?

Examine your own habits and look for habits you can drop or alter. Think about new habits you can create that will move you toward happiness, and instill those habits instead.

Rewrite Your Story After Narcissistic Abuse: This is where you begin (and pain ends)

Rewrite Your Story After Narcissistic Abuse: This is where you begin (and pain ends)

Travel deep inside yourself without the baggage of conditioning. Be an explorer, have patience and eventually your true nature will surface. You will return from your journey with fresh skin and you will approach each day with a wonderful sense of wonder and bliss. ~~Marco R. Capristo

Figure out who you are after narcissistic abuseWhether we recognize it or not, most everyone’s habits and behavior are a result of some form of conditioning – and for those who have experienced the painful and all-encompassing abuse that a narcissist is known for, the conditioning hasn’t always been in our best interest. 

Related: Are you in a relationship with a narcissist? Find out. 

It begins when we’re small children–our parents’ opinions of us begin to help us form our own perceptions of ourselves. If we’re cursed with narcissistic parents, our perceptions are skewed, twisted…often, plain wrong. 

That’s because children are sponges – they absorb everything in their environment, including and especially the opinions of their parents and other prominent people in their lives. 

If they tell us we’re beautiful, we believe that we are–but if they tell us we’re horrible and sick, we’ll believe that too.

And it doesn’t end there–add in the opinions of your teachers, siblings and friends…and later those of your spouse, your bosses and coworkers, neighbors and don’t forget that lady at the dry cleaner’s last week.

All of this “conditioning,” left unchecked, can sometimes add up to a very negative self image–especially if you don’t know that you don’t have to accept it.

And, we become what we perceive–we are what we believe we are.

Here’s the thing, friend. I’ve been saying this for years, and I don’t mean to nag. But please, take just a second and really focus on this next sentence. 

You don’t have to accept someone else’s judgment, perception or opinion of you.

You get to write your own story.

 You feel me? But seriously, go back and read it one more time if you need to – it’s that important. And, while you’re at it – tweet it out to your friends. 

Fact is, you can be whomever and whatever you choose. All you have to do is believe that you can–really believe it. I mean, feel it down to your bones. And then, believe that you’re receiving it, that you’ve already received it. Own it–because it’s yours if you want it.

Bliss Mission: Choose Your Own Story

9316349-77549111_23-s1-v1Today, I challenge you to take a look at the people around you–those you love, those you like and even those who present certain struggles. Remember your childhood, and the people you spent time with during that time.

Now, think of all the perceptions they had about you. Your parents? Your friends? Others?

Then, think about you. Have you adopted someone else’s opinion of who you are? Or have you constantly struggled against it? Do you feel guilty for being who you are, because you haven’t become what someone else wanted you to become?

Read also: Gaslighting, Love Bombing and Flying Monkeys

Most of us can identify with this feeling on some level, I suspect, but most especially those who have been negatively affected by a narcissist’s gaslighting and abuse in relationships. 

This next part is the hardest part of all, so I hope you’re sitting down.

It’s time to begin to release the negative self-perceptions you’ve held on to for years.

Related: Do you believe what you think you believe? Rediscover yourself after narcissistic abuse. 

BREATHE! This is going to FEEL very difficult, but once you realize how much better your life is going to be, you’re going to wonder why you’ve waited so long. Are you ready for this? 

It’s finally time to let go of every disapproving look, veiled insult and rude comment.

It’s time to wash away the well-intentioned but misguided attempts to save (read: change to fit someone else’s idea of perfect) your soul, your sense of fashion and your sense of justice.

I know what you’re thinking. Probably something along the lines of “Yeah, sure, and how would you propose I go about THAT?” Well, you know me – I’ve got an answer. 

And, if you know me well, you know that it works – because it’s how I survived my own narcissistic abuse situation. 

Try this.

Today, every time you have a negative thought about yourself, take notice and change your mind. 

Cancel the thought, and intentionally replace it with an affirmation of your true desires. So, if you t9316303-77549111_23-s1-v1hink to yourself, “I am always late,” notice it. Then, mentally cancel the thought and affirm, “I am always on time.”

Perception is everything, people. And you can change yours at will. 🙂 Good stuff, yes? I think so. I’ll leave you with a final thought to get your wheels turning as you begin to release any negative perceptions you’ve held about yourself.

“The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”~ Carlos Castaneda

Do not allow the simplicity of this tip make you doubt its power – this is one of those things that WORKS – changing your perception intentionally, and with a little practice, not only will you see results fast, but you’ll soon realize how much control you really DO have over your own life. 

Are you ready to rewrite your story? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section, below! Let’s talk about this. 

 

Can a narcissist change? The experts weigh in

Can a narcissist change? The experts weigh in

Originally published October 14, 2015. Last updated July 2022.

Can or will a narcissist ever change? If you’ve ever been involved with a narcissist in any way, you probably hoped at one time or another that you could change him or her enough that you could somehow develop a healthier relationship. And you aren’t alone. But is it even possible for a narcissist to change in any positive way? 

What the experts say on fixing narcissists might shock you

Can a narcissist change?

A recent reader comment brought to light the significance of this issue – and who among us can’t relate to the feelings she expresses? Here’s the comment.

“[My girlfriend] has the silent treatment mashed with pathologically lying mashed with being unemotional, mashed with previously uncommitted (even though she told me she never cheated on a mate!) mashed with a bunch of other garbage. Is there really a way to get through this crap and be together in the future, or am I just kidding myself? I mean, seriously. Hit me with it, I can take it! Does a person like this ever really want to get better? Do they ever take the step of getting help, or do words really mean crap when it comes to this stuff? She has told me time and time again she would fix it and get help but has yet to really do anything.”

A Narcissist Could Change…In Theory

My first thought after I read the question was this: maybe it’s possible for a narcissist to really change, but I have never seen it happen.

The way I see it, whether or not it’s possible for a narcissist to change is debatable – the question is really whether or not she’s willing to change. And the answer is almost inevitably “NOPE!”

That’s because, nine times out of 10, the narcissist doesn’t see a problem with their behavior, blaming any issues on the people around them rather than looking inside for answers.

Will a narcissist change?

On the other hand, I do believe that it is possible for a narcissist to change – at least in theory.

My belief is that if they genuinely wanted to change and put in authentic effort toward therapy, during which they MUST focus on discovering and working to heal their core wound – that part of themselves that is broken and which has caused this narcissistic personality disorder or their narcissistic traits to appear.

Usually, that means doing a lot of inner child work, too.

I’ve never known or heard of any sort of narcissist who has successfully changed. So, even though I believe that a narcissist can change in theory, you cannot, in my opinion, “fix” a narcissist because they cannot or will not admit that there is anything wrong with them.

Even so, I’m not the be-all-end-all authority on this one – I’m just a researcher, trauma counselor, life coach, author, and someone who has experienced life with a narcissist.

So I decided to do a little research and get a more thorough answer for my reader.  Now, this is where it gets hairy – as you probably imagine, there are various schools of thought on this one. There’s no one answer. Here’s what the experts say.

Yes, Narcissists CAN Change

“I’m going to go on record as saying yes—I do believe it’s possible for people to change, even if they’ve been diagnosed with something as deeply entrenched and formidable as a personality disorder,” writes Craig Malkin, Ph.D. in a Psychology Today article.

He says the key is changing how you handle your interactions with the narcissist.

“The key…to interacting with someone you suspect is narcissistic is to break the vicious circle—to gently thwart their frantic efforts to control, distance, defend or blame in the relationship by sending the message that you’re more than willing to connect with them, but not on these terms; to invite them into a version of intimacy where they can be loved and admired, warts and all—if they only allow the experience to happen,” Malkin says.

SOME Narcissists Can Change

Dr. Lynne Namka, licensed psychologist, says that some narcissists can change – those with milder forms of the so-called disease. And, she says, they need to be worried that they could lose someone or something they love.

“Some have to undergo a humbling experience or a great emotional loss before they start to admit their defensiveness and inability to take responsibility for their actions,” Namka says.

“As they grow older, some start to notice their insensitivity when dealing with those around them. Some start to feel healthy guilt about their past actions. Guilt, while painful if handled correctly, can be a break-through emotion that sets the person on the path to a happier life.”

She adds that “the milder narcissistic defense may soften across life if the person achieves a stable home and work environment or if he has a big setback where the rug is pulled out from under him, creating a crack in his defenses.”

Then again, she says, some narcissists will just get worse if they are “forced to their knees” after being rejected, failing, or otherwise becoming disillusioned and not getting the kind of support they need.

Narcissists Cannot Change.

Many people believe it is entirely impossible for a narcissist to change. But, as previously noted, while they generally do not change, there is still the theoretical possibility that they could, were it not for the limitations of their disorder.

What It Would Take for a Narcissist to Change?

Want additional insight from the experts on whether a narcissist can change? What do psychologists and scientific researchers say about whether a narcissist will change?

In this video, I’ll share the truth about narcissists and what it would take for them to actually change. 

Plus, I’ll share the research on whether a narcissist can get better, along with my opinion and the opinion of narcissistic abuse recovery expert Richard Grannon.

So what do you think? Can a narcissist really ever change? 

Resources for Narcissistic Abuse & Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

Additional helpful resources for narcissistic abuse victims and survivors

These videos might also be of interest to you.

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Weigh In Wednesday – Week 1 – Day 6

Weigh In Wednesday – Week 1 – Day 6

Weigh In Wednesday – Week 1 – Day 6

Will it really happen? Will I weigh in today? Watch and find out!

 

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