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I have been dating an introverted man who I am very in love with for almost 2 years.  Reading your posts have helped me to be more supportive and understanding to him especially during the times when he needs space.  I just wanted to thank you for your weekly posts and let you know how helpful they are for someone who is in a relationship with an introvert. C.M. on space2live
Your site has saved my sanity and my life. Maybe even my marriage. I work part time and have two young boys at home, my husband is supportive of me but until recently I thought I was going crazy. … Reading your writing not only inspires me to pick up the pen again, but gives me nourishment in the deepest places. I will fight for balance. Everything you write is spot on… And wellness is so incredibly multifaceted.  I was ready to give up hope, but understanding myself through your words is bring…
This is me. This is me from the day I was born. For so long I felt misunderstood and rejected, even by the people closest to me, because they could never understand my need for solitude, and I had no idea how to explain it to them. Even now that I know more about Introversion and have a more informed understanding of my hard-wired need for solitude, it’s still very difficult sometimes to help my loved ones understand this profound craving for time and space all to myself. This is one of the best…
Brenda has truly opened up a space for introverted types on the ‘net, and her self-revelations are always inspiring. Her voice is one I always look forward to. She is one of the writers that actually played a part in my return to writing.  — S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
Because of your blog, I know that it is possible for me to have the love that I want one day and that I don’t have to be alone.  — Indepthwoman  on space2live
THANK YOU….. you just summed up my swirling thoughts into something i can read with out everything else in my head meshing with it. I finally feel like i can explain what happens within without getting distracted. I’m an Introvert with ADD and it makes it so hard to explain quite what im feeling sometimes. — M.G. on space2live
Thank you for all the words. You’ve created the magic drug I’ve been looking for all my life. Your blog has transformed my life, and I feel like I am on the brink of a most satisfying fulfilling journey…You’ve made me see everything in a new light. I now feel calmer, able to care better for my toddler, less hateful of people around, and hopeful for my future. I am not so afraid for our marriage anymore. — Shilpa CB
Shilpa CB
BRENDA: thank you SO much! Your advice is exactly what I need to do. I am amazed how much you “get” me after only exchanging a few messages!… Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’ve helped me more than a year of therapy sessions! – Megan on space2live
I think I want to print out your articles and hand them out as a sort of relationship waiver form. “You want to be my friend?….You are interesting in going out? Here read this first. Sign here to acknowledge that you have read and understand the enclosed material. Thank you.” Seriously. I think it would work. — Guerin Moorman
Guerin Moorman
Your words are my lifeline.  I sit down to your posts and as I read I can feel my acceptance of myself and my needs grow.  Your words validate my feelings about my life, motherhood, relationships and it is something I hold onto.  And during the times when I feel like I am not able to be a mother or a wife or a sister or a friend or whatever someone needs me to be, I go back to your words and find some peace…I send your posts to my husband when I need him to understand that I love him but I need …

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Dislocation and Addiction

woman drinking wine

The precursor to addiction is dislocation. — Bruce Alexander Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Simon Fraser University.

In the quote above, dislocation is taken to mean the loss of psychological, social, and economic integration into family and culture — a sense of exclusion, isolation and powerlessness. In the much quoted book on addiction, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction” by Gabor Maté MD, it is argued that the historical correlation between severe dislocation and addiction is strong.

According to Simon Fraser, the chronically and severely dislocated people are the most vulnerable to addiction. If you need an example, look at the Native American population and its struggles with addiction post colonization.

Alcohol in the right context

In the 1500s, people drank during festive occasions but only a few drank until seriously inebriated. Alcoholism was not a problem. People had communities and families to help them manage their drinking and their lives.

This reminds me of the way I’ve seen drinking handled in European countries. It is part of daily meals and celebrations but very few people get drunk. Communities and families seem more connected there. Perhaps they protect each other from isolation and over-consumption of alcohol.

Enter addiction

During the 1800s and the mass industrialization of the world, alcoholism and other addictions ramped up. People moved away from their families, traditions and childhood homes to seek employment in bigger cities. The loss of communities, tribes and family connections left people with an emptiness they filled with drugs and alcohol.

The disruptions in everyday contact with loved ones, leads to dysfunction. Adrift from our family values and familiar routines/traditions, we seek comfort in external pleasures like drugs and alcohol. Food, gambling, sex, shopping and internet surfing are other ways we cope with the missing connections.

I feel the United States is the biggest loser in this race. We have economic abundance but a dearth when it comes to long-standing family connections. Obviously, not everyone resides far away from family and community, but it is very common in the U.S. for people to move away from their hometowns to take a job in another state.

Searching to fill the emptiness

How many of you live near your parents or your grandparents? I don’t. I’ve lived in a different state from my parents for 27 years. We did live near my ex-husband’s parents for about three years. During that time, I also had a nice circle of friends in the neighborhood. I did not appreciate the support until we moved.

Once we moved to Minnesota, I was alone with my husband who worked until 6PM most days and three children all aged five and under. We did not attend a spiritual center regularly. We did not have a neighborhood playgroup. All of our family lived out of state. Finding a babysitter was difficult. The kids around here did not need to work for money. We hired a part-time nanny. I realize now I needed her around for childcare support and camaraderie. She became like family to us. We all needed her.

I am certain the dislocation and isolation did not help our marriage. We relied on each other for so much. We did not resort to drugs or alcohol but I did go on a search for fulfillment. I had to fill the emptiness. I used exercise, reading and community programs to fill me up. My ex-husband focused on money-making. Our kids were left a little adrift. I had them in sports and other camp-like programs. They made friends. We all lived with some dislocation and loneliness.

Bringing everyone together

My ex-husband and I re-focused on the kids after our divorce. I am fortunate because I was able to stay in the family home. I learned more about attachment and its importance. My ex-husband  learned more about showing emotions. Both helped create more closeness. We hope our current and past efforts to create connections with our children keep them secure enough to abstain from addictive substances and habits.

Change is inevitable, disconnection is not

We all face changes and even moves from our family homes and traditions. I am forcing change on my kids right now by bringing my fiancé and his two sons into our home. Everyone is going through dislocation and powerlessness. It is not easy. We are working to keep healthy routines and stability in place. We want to live more like the people in the 1500s.

What are you using to fill the void of family or community connection? Do you know any addicts/alcoholics? From what does their addiction stem?


If you are looking for more connection in your life, check out my online course: How to Strengthen Connection Within a Relationship.

Strengthening Connection

Photo by Alfonso Scarpa on Unsplash

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