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You’re so honest in your writing. It’s bold. It’s frank. It’s wonderful. I could definitely see the work you are doing here as a useful book. It could save/make a lot of relationships! — Jimmi Langemo
Jimmi Langemo
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
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
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…
That courage and dedication you so generously share with the world, has inspired me to push myself a little harder, persevere at each task a little longer, dig a little bit deeper to where the answers just “feel” right to both my humanity AND my spirit. Your insights have reinforced my direction and given me additional tools that help me clear my path. I’m wired into my creativity as never before and the new music is pouring out of me faster than I can record and produce it; this is the Un…
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 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
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
what it meant to romantically involved with an introvert. Brenda does
an incredible job listening, giving in the moment feedback, and helped
me understand the how an introvert functions. She helped explain to me
that I am introspective extrovert, and this gave something to identify
with and allowed me t…
Evan H.
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
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

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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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