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

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. I have to admit that I did. 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.

Here’s the thing. 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, 9 times out of 10, the narcissist doesn’t see a problem with his or her behavior, blaming any issues on the people around him or her, rather than looking inside for answers.

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, and 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 that the key is in changing the way 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 continues.

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? In this video, I’ll share the absolute truth, according to psychologists and scientific researchers. 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.

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Books You Might Like

 

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!

 

Scientists say they’ve cracked the happiness code

Scientists say they’ve cracked the happiness code

“The best way to pay for a lovely moment is to enjoy it.” ~Richard Bach

Just in case you weren’t clear on what it takes to be really, really happy, scientists have come up with an actual formula, thanks to recently published research.

I was kind of surprised when my husband shared a link to the study yesterday – I mean, I thought we’d already figured this one out. But no!

This study says otherwise. These guys? They’ve CRACKED THE CODE.  Check out what they found. Be sure to click through at the bottom to read the full story.

Case in point: Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic is one of the world’s most prestigious health institutions. With much fanfare, researchers there announced last week that they have “cracked the code to being happy.” “Imagine scientists coming up with an actual formula for happiness—a specific recipe for lifelong contentment and joy,” they tease.

Well, my forlorn little friends, imagine no more. These scientists boast of having “created just such a formula based on neuroscience and psychology.” For a mere $15.95—less than your daily dose of Zoloft and vodka—they’ll rush off to you “The Mayo Clinic Handbook for Happiness,” a “four-step self-help process” to finding “a lifetime of joy and contentment.”

“Happiness is a habit,” says the study’s chief researcher Dr. Amit Sood in the Daily Mail. “Some of us are born with it; others have to choose it.”

“Previous research has shown that our minds are hard-wired to focus on negative experiences. For our ancestors,” continues the report, being perpetually PO’ed, “helped them stay alive, providing an evolutionary advantage in the face of danger.” (Some of us attribute this to mankind’s fallen, selfish, sinful nature, but we can go with that whole evolution thingy if it makes them feel better.)

Concludes the Daily Mail: “The book makes readers focus on a different positive emotion each day, such as gratitude, forgiveness and kindness.”

Wait. Hold the Mayo. This is dj vu all over again. What “book” are we talking about here? Where have we heard all this before—talk of gratitude, forgiveness, kindness and whatnot, leading to joy, contentment, happiness and so forth?

 

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