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Moderate amounts of whole-wheat pasta or brown rice might be healthy choices but only if they're accompanied by protein and healthy fats. Your breath will slow. Do this for several minutes. Back off from striving for goals and instead start focusing carefully on seeing and accepting things as they are, moment by moment. Relax and be at ease. Things should not bother you--just let them happen. Get the tight, grasping, goal-oriented mind to relax. Your goal is not external and distant. The path is the goal. Sit or stand comfortably, breathing in and out slowly and deeply. Allow your attention to be captured by the pause between the rising and falling of the breath. This is referred to as intermittent reinforcement. In an abusive relationship, the abuser will randomly mix moments where they show great affection in with their usual abusive behavior. For example, a narcissistically abusive man might buy jewelry for the girlfriend he just humiliated at a family gathering. It gets the victim hooked on looking for those crumbs of love and hoping for a return to the long-gone honeymoon period of the relationship. For the victim, trauma bonding manifests by opening up to and becoming vulnerable for, the narcissist in a way that, if they were to see a friend doing it, they would recognize as toxic. For the victim, however, it feels like a whole new level of intimacy and it feels good, at least at first, so much so that other relationships pale in comparison. Eventually, however, this so-called new level of intimacy proves to be false. It's not intimacy at all, in fact. It's co-dependence, and for people involved with an abusive narcissist, that can be dangerous.

If you are in a relationship with an abusive narcissist and cannot seem to get out of it, you might be suffering the effects of trauma bonding. In addition, pasta contains gluten, to which many people are sensitive. Gluten sensitivity can create a whole new set of stresses on your system, leading to additional hormonal imbalance. Chantelle was also waiting far too long between meals. To maintain steady levels of blood sugar and healthy insulin levels, you want to eat small meals or snacks every three to four hours, with some protein and some healthy fat in every meal or snack. Chantelle's lack of sleep was causing still more problems. Although your body can adapt to an occasional night of short sleep, you want to be sure to get seven to nine hours at least five nights out of seven--and seven nights out of seven is even better. Her stress hormones were being thrown off by insufficient sleep, which in turn contributed to imbalance in both her insulin levels and her sex hormones. The herbal remedies I prescribed would help reestablish that balance. I explained all of this to Chantelle. Then I suggested that she follow my 28-day plan: a healthy diet, appropriate supplements, moderate exercise, and restful sleep. Feel yourself recline into that pause as if lying back into the arms of someone you trust with your life. Notice that in the pause there is no thought, no sensation--only stillness. This is the root of the breath. It is spacious and expansive. Allow yourself to become this stillness, this expanse. The stillness has always been present within you, waiting to be discovered. Make this practice a habit by doing it regularly, at least 5 minutes per session. During television commercials, hit mute and take some mindful breaths. Nothing complicated, just some mindful breaths for a minute or two.

Concentrate on each breath. Do any of the following apply to you? Difficulties relating to other people. Feeling burned out. Fighting over trivial matters. Fear that you've given away too much to the narcissist. Believing that friends and family don't understand your relationship. Feeling as if you can never please the narcissist. Placing the narcissist above other important aspects of your life. Believing that no one else can connect with you so deeply. Trying to leave the relationship feels so painful you think it will kill you. If the plan didn't work, I told her, we might consider some bioidentical hormones. But Chantelle wasn't ready to make so many changes. Honestly, I'm just overwhelmed, she told me. I probably should do all these things you're talking about. But I just don't think I can. I understand, I told her. And I know I'm asking a lot. But if you can manage this approach, your health will improve, you'll feel more optimistic, and you'll have more stamina. As you begin to make these changes, they get easier and easier.

And the payoff is huge! Relax your body and follow the natural rhythm that occurs from this mindful breathing. When the commercial is over, go back to enjoying your show. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. Have a sense of gratitude for everything--even difficult emotions, because of their potential to wake you up. Sit comfortably, whatever that is for you. Let your eyes close gently. Invite your body to relax and release into the ground or cushion. Let go and accept the non-doing of meditation. Become sensitive to and listen to your breath. Breathe through your nose. Expecting the narcissist to keep their promises in spite of the fact that they never do. If you recognize these signs in your life, don't despair, there is hope that you can get out of this abusive relationship, but it will take work and discipline. We'll cover how you can do that in article 6: Escaping the Narcissist. Brad thought he'd met the perfect woman in Janet. Their romance quickly blossomed, and he thought that he'd spend the rest of his life with her. They were together for nearly a decade and had two children. The honeymoon period was great, and then everything seemed to change. I always wondered why I was the only one she treated badly, Brad would say. It seemed that Janet had more respect for other people, except for Brad's mother, Ellen, who didn't make enough money to have a place of her own.

This caused a great deal of strife because Janet thought Ellen stared at her and had annoying habits. I'm sure you're right, Chantelle said again. I just don't think I can do it. Then let's start slowly, I suggested. Doing the whole plan gives you the best results. But even a few small changes can make a huge difference. Okay, Chantelle agreed after a moment. Let's start slowly. Chantelle started out with Plan A (see box on opposite article). She cut sweet and starchy foods out of her diet, replacing her granola bar with a protein shake that included two tablespoons of ground flaxseed or chia seeds. She took the supplement N-acetylcysteine and stopped using plastics in her microwave. Feel the air as it goes in and out of the nostrils. Feel the rising and falling of the chest and abdomen. Allow your attention to settle into ambient sound. Follow the breath and listen. Lie on the floor, knees slightly bent. Relax with a few deep belly breaths. Inhale through your nose until your belly is round like a balloon. Lock in that breath. While holding your breath, flatten your back and belly, forcing the balloon of air upward in your chest, not letting air out.