First, she skipped breakfast and ate only a couple of times during the day. Sit and close your eyes. Breathe slowly in and out through the nose. As you breathe in, feel you are drawing air in through your left hand and up your arm to your neck. Breathing out, allow the energy to flow down your right arm and out your right hand. Continue this for several breaths, then reverse the flow from right to left. Now switch to your legs, inhaling up the left leg to the base of your spine and exhaling down your right leg for several breaths. Then reverse to go up the right leg and down the left leg. Finally, start the breath at the base of the spine, inhaling the energy up to the top of your head and then exhaling it across your face, throat, chest, belly, and to the base of the spine. This should feel like a waterfall on the exhale. Do this for three cycles if possible. When normal people tell their stories, even though there is a tendency to want to look good in the stories they are essentially honest portrayals of what happened. In fact, the inclusion of some of the more embarrassing aspects of the story shows a desirable level of honesty and helps to establish trust because we don't seem to be hiding anything. As you might imagine, the way a narcissist tells their stories is a little different. actually curate their stories to establish a cohesive picture of who they want you to think they are. They do this, not to fool you per se, but rather because they need to believe in their own exceptionalism and want you to believe it, too. One extreme example in narcissistic storytelling has to do with the late North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-Il. It is said that on the day of his birth, a double rainbow and a new star appeared in the heavens over North Korea's sacred Baekdu Mountain to herald the blessed event, that he was walking at three weeks, and talking at eight weeks. While in college, over a three-year period, he wrote 1,500 articles and six full operas which, according to his official biography, are better than any in the entire history of music. In the arena of sports, it is said that the first time he picked up a golf club, he shot a 38-under par, including eleven holes-in-one.

After that, having mastered the game, he retired from it forever. As a result, her blood sugar levels dropped when she missed meals and then spiked suddenly when she ate a big, starchy meal or had a sweet snack. This threw her insulin out of balance. Second, Michelle ate a lot of foods that contained processed sugar and white flour--foods that break down quickly into blood sugar. Her insulin had trouble moving all of this sugar into Michelle's cells. When insulin levels remain high--as Michelle's did--the cells become resistant and unresponsive, refusing to allow insulin to move sugar into the cells. If you remain insulin resistant for too long, you run the risk of blood sugar levels rising in response. Since the next potential step, if the problem continued, was diabetes, I wanted to help Michelle reverse this pattern as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Michelle's insulin resistance was putting a strain on her system, which further imbalanced her sex hormones--and her stress hormones. At the same time, her imbalanced stress hormones were affecting her insulin levels and intensifying her insulin resistance. This was a classic vicious cycle that I wanted to interrupt. Lie down with the fingers of your hands over the base of your rib cage. Relax your body. Press to create a little resistance. Begin to direct and expand your breath into the ribs, expanding the ribs out to the sides against the pressure of your hands. With each breath, the fingers move away and then come together like an accordion. Provide firm resistance with your hands. When you are tempted to buy another pretty sweater when your closet is full of them, discipline the mind. Ignore the thought, divert the mind, replace the greedy thought with a generous one, reflect mindfully on the impermanent nature of sweaters. If the mind is still whining and crying, you may need to get harsh with yourself.

Give yourself an ultimatum to do something useful. Through it all, it was said that he never once defecated. While you are unlikely to date a North Korean dictator, at least any time soon, you can easily run into the garden variety narcissist right in your hometown and while you can get them to admit to relieving themselves, they are likely to deny it stinks. Nuance doesn't work for narcissists. The shades of grey that the rest of us dwell within simply doesn't exist for them. Look for stark, black and white, good and evil, us versus them thinking, especially when talking about issues with other people. Of Pride and Prejudice. The stories of narcissists are designed to accomplish one of two things, either to impress you with grand accomplishments or amazing qualities or to elicit pity from you with talk of how others have done them wrong. Either way, if you are not onto the game, they will be convincing, and they will get the reaction your narcissist is looking for. If you are onto them, however, you will be able to see these tales in terms of their intended effect, taking them with either a grain or a pillar of salt as necessary. While they probably won't claim that the heavens heralded their birth, you will get the idea that theirs was the ideal childhood, filled with love, privilege, accomplishment, and reward. As we've seen, neurotransmitters are the hormones and other biochemicals that govern mood, energy, and focus. When your stress hormones go out of balance, your neurotransmitters are disrupted as well. Likewise, when your blood sugar and insulin aren't properly balanced, your neurotransmitters are affected. Just think of how irritable you feel when you've missed a meal, or how calm and happy you feel when you eat something filling and nutritious. Both stress and diet play enormous roles in how well balanced our neurotransmitters are. One key neurotransmitter is serotonin, the hormone that protects against depression, poor sleep, lack of self-confidence, and low self-esteem. Michelle's serotonin levels were unusually low. Sugar gave her temporary bursts of productive energy--but only until she crashed and the cravings intensified. Another key neurotransmitter is dopamine, the hormone that floods our body when we undergo a thrilling experience such as a roller-coaster ride, an exhilarating mountain hike, or a romantic first date.

Michelle's dopamine levels tended to fluctuate wildly, so that sometimes she felt irritable and tense while at other times she felt unmotivated and spacey. The mind can be trained to let go. Imagine you are running through a dark forest. It is hard to see anything, but you can feel the dirt path under your feet and the thick forest around you. Then pause and take some deep breaths. Begin running in your mind again. When you do this, envision running to a clearing up ahead. The forest opens up and there is bright daylight surrounding your body. You reach the clearing and rest there momentarily. Then you see a path leading out of the clearing into the forest and you follow this path until you emerge back into sunlight. Then you see a path leading out of the clearing back into the dark forest. While people can have good, even great experiences in childhood, no one has a perfect childhood. This is often used to cover, from themselves and you, the real nature of the childhood and the damage they took from it. This theme of perfection continues into their adult life and dealings. To hear them tell it, they have never made any mistakes, never done anyone wrong, and yet their own plans are sometimes frustrated by people who are jealous or biased or one of any number of other reasons. This fits in with their penchant for black and white thinking and indicates their inability to take responsibility for their own mistakes as well as their tendency to blame others for everything. Another theme you will often hear is judgment. While minimizing or ignoring their own flaws, the narcissist has no trouble pointing out and commenting, often mercilessly, on the flaws of others. Again, this kind of black and white thinking shows the narcissistic tendency to raise themselves up by pushing others down, and since it often comes while recounting the evils done to them by others, you might be tempted to take them at their word, which is what they want, and precisely what you should not do. One trope that will come up in their stories involves the people who have done them wrong.

If they've done everything to please their partner time and again, yet every time the relationship went bad because nothing was good enough, that is a big red flag. All of this hormonal disruption was in turn disrupting Michelle's sex hormones. Her estrogen registered as high-normal, while her progesterone was low-normal. Although both hormones were in the normal range, the proportions were off, creating estrogen dominance. As a result, Michelle was prone to weight gain (because of the excess estrogen), often felt jittery (without the calming effects of progesterone), and was subject to mood swings (because of the estrogen-progesterone imbalance). As if this weren't enough, Michelle's testosterone and DHEA were both at the low end of normal. This made her feel less sexy and sensual than she once had and less motivated and energetic, as well. When I went over Michelle's test results with her, she was astonished to learn that so many aspects of her life were contributing to her hormonal imbalance--and vice versa. I reminded her of the good news: it's easy to rebalance your hormones once you know what kind of diet, lifestyle, and psychological support you need. But in order to figure out what does work, it's helpful to know what doesn't. These are all common problems for the women I treat. You take the path. Sit with the eyes closed, and know you are breathing in. Know you are breathing out. This awareness will help you concentrate. Be aware of the hair on top of your head. Smile to the hair on your head. Breathe naturally. Be aware of the soles of your feet. Smile to the soles of your feet.