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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
M.G.
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
I met Brenda and took the MBTI… I had a fairly good understanding of these types before the meeting but was impressed by the depth of knowledge that Brenda shared with me. She clearly has a passion for this work and a gift in imparting the information. There have been doors opened for me because of our talks… — Alan Hintermeister
Alan Hintermeister
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…
Sharon
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
For the first time in my life I could truly explain, through your words the way in which I experience life and myself. Brenda… It all fell into place. I had found myself and had such a moment of clarity. It felt like such a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Finally I felt like it was ok to be me. I was not the only one. I had found people and a little space where I fit in. … I was at work and crying on the inside. Emotions ran wild inside me. I was ecstatic, sad, confused, motivated, i…
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During one of the harder times in my life I found Brenda’s website
and reached out to her. To say the least it has been one of the best
decisions I have made. Being an extrovert I never quite understood
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an incredible job listening, giving in the moment feedback, and helped
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Evan H.

“I was struggling with my daughter (16 at the time) and our constant fighting. You said something to me that changed my life! You were speaking about your own situation and you said to me “my child could not handle my emotions”. This was a HUGE “lightbulb moment” for me and it forever changed the way I dealt with my emotions when I was around my daughter!

I am happy to say that things have never been better between my soon to be 18 year old daughter and myself! I honestly never thought we would…

Mom M
your depth of understanding, and talent at sharing it amaze me. Speechless… and for your sharing of it.. Thank you… deeply. *sigh, its like coming back into my body through acceptance….. Sherrie on space2live
Sherrie
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
C.M.

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Temporary Fixes Don’t Cure Loneliness: How to Eliminate the Emptiness

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

I’ve noticed something about myself that I’m not proud of. It is something I do when I’m alone, usually late at night. I eat junk food — preferably bite-sized food I can consume one after the other — in large quantities. I sometimes open and finish containers. I eat the snack until it is gone or until I feel relaxed enough to go to bed.

For example, the other night after returning home from my fiancé’s house, I pulled out a bag of Donkey Chips (the BEST tortilla chips out there. If you don’t have them in your area I feel sorry for you) and munched on them while I watched TV until I felt full enough to go to bed.

It’s not that I’m hungry late at night. It’s that I feel empty, like I have to satiate something inside of me.

I know snacking mindlessly is a common indulgence. Many of us eat for comfort. Like any indulgence or habit, when it becomes extreme or unhealthy is when it becomes a problem.

The thing that bothers me most about my eating (besides weight gain) is that I know I am not hungry. I am trying to fill myself up. My originally subconscious, but now conscious, goal is to get rid of the empty feeling in my chest.

I want to fill the void with something. Sometimes it’s Donkey Chips.

You’re not hungry. You’re lonely.

According to Dr. Sue Johnson in Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships, lack of secure attachment to others causes most of our voids or emptiness. If we don’t feel emotionally connected, safe and supported, we feel distressed. The lack of security sends us looking for something to fill the space.

So the space I fill with snacks is not really empty. It is lonely or disconnected.

Band-aids for emptiness

There are many other ways to subdue that gnawing sense of something missing. Here are a few common methods: Using recreational drugs, drinking alcohol, working all the time, engaging with social media, watching TV/videos, taking medication and watching porn.

It is interesting to note that the Journal of American Medical Association Psychiatry posted a study revealing that one in eight adult Americans meets the criteria of someone who abuses or is dependent on alcohol. They noted a 49% increase in alcohol disorders in the first decade of the 2000s.

It seems more of us are using alcohol to fill us up.

Here are a few other methods of filling ourselves that might surprise you: Sleeping, cultivating meaningless relationships, striving for perfection, exercising, reading and finding solitude.

Solitude does not cure

Yes, hanging out in solitude is a way to ameliorate feelings of emptiness. When we are alone, we do not have the stress of NOT connecting with someone. We purposely choose aloneness and the activities we choose to do in it, thus distracting us from the void we feel.

What do we really need?

The trouble with these ways of filling emptiness is they only put off the loneliness. They don’t cure it.

What we really need is our emotional needs met. Threats to our relationships need to be mediated. We need to feel attached to someone or a group.

My mindless eating kicks in at night when I’m not with my partner. This is when I feel most alone. I start to think about my kids and how connected or disconnected I feel with them.

Instead of filling our belonging void with temporary fixes we can take action to move toward true fulfillment.

Where to start?

First, we need to get calm enough to observe our suffering. There may be certain times of day when we don’t feel so uneasy. Those would be a good time to reflect on our habits and why we do them. We may be able to use one of our more healthy temporary fixes as an initial calming agent. For instance, I read during the day to learn and relax my mind. I am able to reflect on my habits more calmly and clearly after a bit of reading.

Secondly, we need to find new actions to eliminate the void of disconnection. Instead of putting a band-aid on our dis-ease, we need to work toward creating trustworthy, safe and responsive relationships.

What can we do to gain secure connection?

We can work on staying open to possibilities. Curiosity leads us to try new things. New activities mean new connections. An open relaxed mind is tolerant of differences between people. It sees the full perspective of support and challenge within relationships.

Photo by PHUOC LE on Unsplash

We can use our greatest values to lead us to those who make us feel secure. Consider the things you deem most important; education? family? religion? wealth accumulation? fitness? If you value education and learning, attending classes might be the perfect place to connect with others.

If your creative work drives you, excellent. How can you create and share your work with others? Instead of working in isolation and not sharing your ideas/creations, how could you engage others in your process?

One of the best ways to gain closeness with someone is to show vulnerability. Showing someone what goes on inside us gives them permission to share their inner world too. And if both of our insides feel seen and cared for, they won’t feel so empty.

 

Are you bored or lonely? What are your methods for combatting emptiness? Are they healthy? 

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. David Kanigan June 8, 2018 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    Oh Boy. So me! Are we kin?

    • Brenda Knowles June 10, 2018 at 2:53 pm - Reply

      Kindred spirits 🙂

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