Crushing — Chapter 1

IMG_0308It’s Friday evening, which I’ve mentioned before on earlier posts. It seems to be the day of the week that I need to take stock of where I am before I begin writing. Not a busy week this week, work wise. It was however, a very stressful week, but that’s another story.

I am up on my balcony. I will sit up here more and more as the days begin to shorten and the weather gets colder. Like my office, the balcony faces exactly east. It is on the second floor and can only be accessed through my bedroom, which affords a certain amount of privacy, at least from family.

I cannot see the same garden from here. Instead, in front of me, there is a view of the side and backyards of my neighbour’s place. To me this is more evidence of manifesting. The simple act of appreciating the good in your life has a way of drawing more of the same in. It is as though by expressing gratitude you are sending a signal that this is something that you like and that you would welcome more. The longer I sat on my balcony and was grateful for how gorgeous the view was, the more its beauty increased.

Some of my more pleasant memories – or not – on Oak Street were of loves and crushes. I was speaking earlier about feeling like an outsider in the fourth grade class that I was initially placed in at my new school. What I didn’t mention was that this was the location of my first crush. He sat behind me. He was taller than average, quite thin and had longish brown hair. When I say long, I just mean that it was not cut to within one inch of his head, which was the style for most of the boys. It was still above his ears but it was cut all the same length. His favourite music was Bob Seger. I was so happy that I loved this music as well; similar taste is always a good sign.

I was supposed to be looking ahead for most of the day, not towards the back of the class, so the main thing that I remember was feeling his presence behind me. This was an overwhelming sensation for me. Every trace of comfort that I had known, my trees, my friends and Squirt had gone missing. My parents did not seem to exist anymore and there was this presence behind me. It calmed me down to be sitting near him and over time I became giddy with adoration. I have often wondered what the role of oxytocin is in a relationship. I suspect that it is the strongest form of bonding. They are discovering now that social interactions can cause an increase in oxytocin.

We have all laughed at ducklings that have bonded to inappropriate things and have followed them around relentlessly. This is the power of oxytocin. I believe that we have underestimated its power in human relationships. If you think of any imbalanced and hurtful relationship that you have ever witnessed and ask yourself why they stay together, it could very well be hormonal. This type of bonding occurs at the most fundamental level, well away from logic or common sense.

I tell myself this to try to make sense of this time in my life. For the first time I was arguing with myself. The part of me that had been socialized and had learned what appropriate behaviour was, was battling with this little nymph that was giddy with excitement and would not behave. I know that I embarrassed myself by how I was treating this boy, but I couldn’t help myself. I scolded myself for my inability to not flirt with him.

It is during this time that I decided that my brain would be in charge instead of my natural inclinations. I had to take control of how I was acting. If I caused this guy any embarrassment, I apologize, but I really was unable to act otherwise.

Anyhow, I would sit for hours on a Saturday afternoon hoping that he would walk past my place to the variety store. Little did I know that there was a different store that he likely went to. I would borrow erasers, pencils and crayons—even though I had my own. I would drop things on the floor so that I could pick them up. I would tap him on the opposite shoulder as I walked by.

During that time, a normal class consisted of writing down what the teacher was writing on the blackboard. I actually found that I learned quite a lot this way. The notebooks that we were given were bound, soft covered with lined pages and two staples to hold them together at the spine. Needless to say, it did not take long to fill one with the stuff that was on the blackboard. I remember concocting a story. I thought that it was feasible enough that I could pull it off.

I called my crush at home and explained that I had forgotten that the first half of the notes for our test the next day were in my last notebook. I said that I had only brought the most recent stuff home and therefore was unable to study and I was wondering if I could borrow his notes. He said sure, I could come and pick it up.

It was all I could do to contain the energy that was bursting out of me as I headed out the door. I was going to get a book from my crush. What would he say? What would happen? The possibilities were endless. I walked up to the side door and knocked. His mother came to the door. I explained who I was and why I was there and she handed me his book explaining that he had left to play hockey. How Canadian.

Years later I visited my hometown on a trip from university and saw him across the floor at a very large bar, The Station I believe, named after the previous use of the building. I was unable to go over and say hello. I felt butterflies in my stomach and could not bring myself to speak to him.

Keep Reading: Hill in the Park

 

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book, now available

www.wendypowell.ca

The Chemistry of Connection

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00679/duckrescue404_679621c.jpg
http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00679

We have all laughed at videos of little ducklings following inappropriate things around. Ducks and geese both imprint on the first moving object, that is larger than they are, that they see upon hatching. Imprinting is designed to ensure survival since the hatchling must rely on its mother for both food and protection.

Oxytocin is responsible for this behaviour. It might be alarming for you to know that oxytocin plays a similar role in bonding in humans. While siginificantly fewer people follow someone around all of the time, bonding is just as important in human social interactions and survival of the species as it is to the duckling.

Oxytocin, which is released in response to many social activities, is one of a cocktail of chemicals that are released when people interact with one another. Opioids, norepinephrine, vasopression and likely more, all seem to play a role.

Opioids that are released during relationships may be responsible for how awful we feel during a break up. We become addicted to them, in the same way that we become addicted to taking drugs, and consequently feel the same withdrawal and the associated pain when the relationship ends.

Oxytocin, on the other hand, is instrumental in the formation of social attachments and the reduction of fear, especially fear resulting from social interactions. Simply being with other people can create a certain amount of bonding, even if it is just a gathering. This mild effect may be totally offset by how much you dislike the people, however.

The more intimate the interaction, the more oxytocin is produced and it is produced in large quantities during childbirth, breastfeeding and coitus. It is not difficult to see how bonding can be very valuable during these activities ensuring a pair is created. This is in the best interest of the survival of our species since babies with loving parents are the most likely to thrive.

There are however, people that are not as affected by oxytocin and their personalities are associated with callous-unemotional traits. So, in a relationship with say, a narcissist, you get a hit of oxytocin and further bond and they do not have the same hormonal response. This immediately tips the power into their favour. They are not as bonded as you are.

Ironically, even in a bad relationship, the oxytocin that is produced, makes you feel “safer” even if you are not actually safer. In addition to that, oxytocin is responsible for the feeling that “our group is better than their group” and supports the practise of excluding others. This double wammy makes it very difficult for a person to be rational when they have pair bonded with an unfavourable person. Simply put, they feel safer with this person and they feel separate from other groups of people.

Threatening situations, even those created by your partner, may encourage the return to a secure base and the strengthening of social bonds, which are, provided by your partner. So, a vicious cycle ensues. You feel threatened and then you form a tighter bond with the person threatening you. We have all seen someone that chooses to stay with someone that is not good to them. It is nice to know that it is not just a lack of judgement.

There are two take away messages here. First, you should make sure that you really like someone before you become intimate with them because the hormones that you produce during intimate contact can make sober thought difficult. The second is that if we find ourselves in these terrible relationships, perhaps with a narcissist for instance, we should be gentle with ourselves. Our biology, in these cases, is working against our greater good, not unlike the duckling imprinting on a predator.

My Newest Book, The Narcissist Survival Guide is now available

Crushing — Chapter 1

IMG_0308It’s Friday evening, which I’ve mentioned before on earlier posts. It seems to be the day of the week that I need to take stock of where I am before I begin writing. Not a busy week this week, work wise. It was however, a very stressful week, but that’s another story.

I am up on my balcony. I will sit up here more and more as the days begin to shorten and the weather gets colder. Like my office, the balcony faces exactly east. It is on the second floor and can only be accessed through my bedroom, which affords a certain amount of privacy, at least from family.

I cannot see the same garden from here. Instead, in front of me, there is a view of the side and backyards of my neighbour’s place. To me this is more evidence of manifesting. The simple act of appreciating the good in your life has a way of drawing more of the same in. It is as though by expressing gratitude you are sending a signal that this is something that you like and that you would welcome more. The longer I sat on my balcony and was grateful for how gorgeous the view was, the more its beauty increased.

Some of my more pleasant memories – or not – on Oak Street were of loves and crushes. I was speaking earlier about feeling like an outsider in the fourth grade class that I was initially placed in at my new school. What I didn’t mention was that this was the location of my first crush. He sat behind me. He was taller than average, quite thin and had longish brown hair. When I say long, I just mean that it was not cut to within one inch of his head, which was the style for most of the boys. It was still above his ears but it was cut all the same length. His favourite music was Bob Seger. I was so happy that I loved this music as well; similar taste is always a good sign.

I was supposed to be looking ahead for most of the day, not towards the back of the class, so the main thing that I remember was feeling his presence behind me. This was an overwhelming sensation for me. Every trace of comfort that I had known, my trees, my friends and Squirt had gone missing. My parents did not seem to exist anymore and there was this presence behind me. It calmed me down to be sitting near him and over time I became giddy with adoration. I have often wondered what the role of oxytocin is in a relationship. I suspect that it is the strongest form of bonding. They are discovering now that social interactions can cause an increase in oxytocin.

We have all laughed at ducklings that have bonded to inappropriate things and have followed them around relentlessly. This is the power of oxytocin. I believe that we have underestimated its power in human relationships. If you think of any imbalanced and hurtful relationship that you have ever witnessed and ask yourself why they stay together, it could very well be hormonal. This type of bonding occurs at the most fundamental level, well away from logic or common sense.

I tell myself this to try to make sense of this time in my life. For the first time I was arguing with myself. The part of me that had been socialized and had learned what appropriate behaviour was, was battling with this little nymph that was giddy with excitement and would not behave. I know that I embarrassed myself by how I was treating this boy, but I couldn’t help myself. I scolded myself for my inability to not flirt with him.

It is during this time that I decided that my brain would be in charge instead of my natural inclinations. I had to take control of how I was acting. If I caused this guy any embarrassment, I apologize, but I really was unable to act otherwise.

Anyhow, I would sit for hours on a Saturday afternoon hoping that he would walk past my place to the variety store. Little did I know that there was a different store that he likely went to. I would borrow erasers, pencils and crayons—even though I had my own. I would drop things on the floor so that I could pick them up. I would tap him on the opposite shoulder as I walked by.

During that time, a normal class consisted of writing down what the teacher was writing on the blackboard. I actually found that I learned quite a lot this way. The notebooks that we were given were bound, soft covered with lined pages and two staples to hold them together at the spine. Needless to say, it did not take long to fill one with the stuff that was on the blackboard. I remember concocting a story. I thought that it was feasible enough that I could pull it off.

I called my crush at home and explained that I had forgotten that the first half of the notes for our test the next day were in my last notebook. I said that I had only brought the most recent stuff home and therefore was unable to study and I was wondering if I could borrow his notes. He said sure, I could come and pick it up.

It was all I could do to contain the energy that was bursting out of me as I headed out the door. I was going to get a book from my crush. What would he say? What would happen? The possibilities were endless. I walked up to the side door and knocked. His mother came to the door. I explained who I was and why I was there and she handed me his book explaining that he had left to play hockey. How Canadian.

Years later I visited my hometown on a trip from university and saw him across the floor at a very large bar, The Station I believe, named after the previous use of the building. I was unable to go over and say hello. I felt butterflies in my stomach and could not bring myself to speak to him.

Keep Reading: Hill in the Park

 

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book, now available

www.wendypowell.ca

The Chemistry of Connection

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00679/duckrescue404_679621c.jpg
http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00679

We have all laughed at videos of little ducklings following inappropriate things around. Ducks and geese both imprint on the first moving object, that is larger than they are, that they see upon hatching. Imprinting is designed to ensure survival since the hatchling must rely on its mother for both food and protection.

Oxytocin is responsible for this behaviour. It might be alarming for you to know that oxytocin plays a similar role in bonding in humans. While siginificantly fewer people follow someone around all of the time, bonding is just as important in human social interactions and survival of the species as it is to the duckling.

Oxytocin, which is released in response to many social activities, is one of a cocktail of chemicals that are released when people interact with one another. Opioids, norepinephrine, vasopression and likely more, all seem to play a role.

Opioids that are released during relationships may be responsible for how awful we feel during a break up. We become addicted to them, in the same way that we become addicted to taking drugs, and consequently feel the same withdrawal and the associated pain when the relationship ends.

Oxytocin, on the other hand, is instrumental in the formation of social attachments and the reduction of fear, especially fear resulting from social interactions. Simply being with other people can create a certain amount of bonding, even if it is just a gathering. This mild effect may be totally offset by how much you dislike the people, however.

The more intimate the interaction, the more oxytocin is produced and it is produced in large quantities during childbirth, breastfeeding and coitus. It is not difficult to see how bonding can be very valuable during these activities ensuring a pair is created. This is in the best interest of the survival of our species since babies with loving parents are the most likely to thrive.

There are however, people that are not as affected by oxytocin and their personalities are associated with callous-unemotional traits. So, in a relationship with say, a narcissist, you get a hit of oxytocin and further bond and they do not have the same hormonal response. This immediately tips the power into their favour. They are not as bonded as you are.

Ironically, even in a bad relationship, the oxytocin that is produced, makes you feel “safer” even if you are not actually safer. In addition to that, oxytocin is responsible for the feeling that “our group is better than their group” and supports the practise of excluding others. This double wammy makes it very difficult for a person to be rational when they have pair bonded with an unfavourable person. Simply put, they feel safer with this person and they feel separate from other groups of people.

Threatening situations, even those created by your partner, may encourage the return to a secure base and the strengthening of social bonds, which are, provided by your partner. So, a vicious cycle ensues. You feel threatened and then you form a tighter bond with the person threatening you. We have all seen someone that chooses to stay with someone that is not good to them. It is nice to know that it is not just a lack of judgement.

There are two take away messages here. First, you should make sure that you really like someone before you become intimate with them because the hormones that you produce during intimate contact can make sober thought difficult. The second is that if we find ourselves in these terrible relationships, perhaps with a narcissist for instance, we should be gentle with ourselves. Our biology, in these cases, is working against our greater good, not unlike the duckling imprinting on a predator.

The Narcissist Survival Guide is now available

Crushing — Chapter 1

IMG_0308It’s Friday evening, which I’ve mentioned before on earlier posts. It seems to be the day of the week that I need to take stock of where I am before I begin writing. Not a busy week this week, work wise. It was however, a very stressful week, but that’s another story.

I am up on my balcony. I will sit up here more and more as the days begin to shorten and the weather gets colder. Like my office, the balcony faces exactly east. It is on the second floor and can only be accessed through my bedroom, which affords a certain amount of privacy, at least from family.

I cannot see the same garden from here. Instead, in front of me, there is a view of the side and backyards of my neighbour’s place. To me this is more evidence of manifesting. The simple act of appreciating the good in your life has a way of drawing more of the same in. It is as though by expressing gratitude you are sending a signal that this is something that you like and that you would welcome more. The longer I sat on my balcony and was grateful for how gorgeous the view was, the more its beauty increased.

Some of my more pleasant memories – or not – on Oak Street were of loves and crushes. I was speaking earlier about feeling like an outsider in the fourth grade class that I was initially placed in at my new school. What I didn’t mention was that this was the location of my first crush. He sat behind me. He was taller than average, quite thin and had longish brown hair. When I say long, I just mean that it was not cut to within one inch of his head, which was the style for most of the boys. It was still above his ears but it was cut all the same length. His favourite music was Bob Seger. I was so happy that I loved this music as well; similar taste is always a good sign.

I was supposed to be looking ahead for most of the day, not towards the back of the class, so the main thing that I remember was feeling his presence behind me. This was an overwhelming sensation for me. Every trace of comfort that I had known, my trees, my friends and Squirt had gone missing. My parents did not seem to exist anymore and there was this presence behind me. It calmed me down to be sitting near him and over time I became giddy with adoration. I have often wondered what the role of oxytocin is in a relationship. I suspect that it is the strongest form of bonding. They are discovering now that social interactions can cause an increase in oxytocin.

We have all laughed at ducklings that have bonded to inappropriate things and have followed them around relentlessly. This is the power of oxytocin. I believe that we have underestimated its power in human relationships. If you think of any imbalanced and hurtful relationship that you have ever witnessed and ask yourself why they stay together, it could very well be hormonal. This type of bonding occurs at the most fundamental level, well away from logic or common sense.

I tell myself this to try to make sense of this time in my life. For the first time I was arguing with myself. The part of me that had been socialized and had learned what appropriate behaviour was, was battling with this little nymph that was giddy with excitement and would not behave. I know that I embarrassed myself by how I was treating this boy, but I couldn’t help myself. I scolded myself for my inability to not flirt with him.

It is during this time that I decided that my brain would be in charge instead of my natural inclinations. I had to take control of how I was acting. If I caused this guy any embarrassment, I apologize, but I really was unable to act otherwise.

Anyhow, I would sit for hours on a Saturday afternoon hoping that he would walk past my place to the variety store. Little did I know that there was a different store that he likely went to. I would borrow erasers, pencils and crayons—even though I had my own. I would drop things on the floor so that I could pick them up. I would tap him on the opposite shoulder as I walked by.

During that time, a normal class consisted of writing down what the teacher was writing on the blackboard. I actually found that I learned quite a lot this way. The notebooks that we were given were bound, soft covered with lined pages and two staples to hold them together at the spine. Needless to say, it did not take long to fill one with the stuff that was on the blackboard. I remember concocting a story. I thought that it was feasible enough that I could pull it off.

I called my crush at home and explained that I had forgotten that the first half of the notes for our test the next day were in my last notebook. I said that I had only brought the most recent stuff home and therefore was unable to study and I was wondering if I could borrow his notes. He said sure, I could come and pick it up.

It was all I could do to contain the energy that was bursting out of me as I headed out the door. I was going to get a book from my crush. What would he say? What would happen? The possibilities were endless. I walked up to the side door and knocked. His mother came to the door. I explained who I was and why I was there and she handed me his book explaining that he had left to play hockey. How Canadian.

Years later I visited my hometown on a trip from university and saw him across the floor at a very large bar, The Station I believe, named after the previous use of the building. I was unable to go over and say hello. I felt butterflies in my stomach and could not bring myself to speak to him.

Keep Reading: Hill in the Park

 

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book, now available

www.wendypowell.ca

Crushing — Chapter 1

IMG_0308It’s Friday evening, which I’ve mentioned before on earlier posts. It seems to be the day of the week that I need to take stock of where I am before I begin writing. Not a busy week this week, work wise. It was however, a very stressful week, but that’s another story.

I am up on my balcony. I will sit up here more and more as the days begin to shorten and the weather gets colder. Like my office, the balcony faces exactly east. It is on the second floor and can only be accessed through my bedroom, which affords a certain amount of privacy, at least from family.

I cannot see the same garden from here. Instead, in front of me, there is a view of the side and backyards of my neighbour’s place. To me this is more evidence of manifesting. The simple act of appreciating the good in your life has a way of drawing more of the same in. It is as though by expressing gratitude you are sending a signal that this is something that you like and that you would welcome more. The longer I sat on my balcony and was grateful for how gorgeous the view was, the more its beauty increased.

Some of my more pleasant memories – or not – on Oak Street were of loves and crushes. I was speaking earlier about feeling like an outsider in the fourth grade class that I was initially placed in at my new school. What I didn’t mention was that this was the location of my first crush. He sat behind me. He was taller than average, quite thin and had longish brown hair. When I say long, I just mean that it was not cut to within one inch of his head, which was the style for most of the boys. It was still above his ears but it was cut all the same length. His favourite music was Bob Seger. I was so happy that I loved this music as well; similar taste is always a good sign.

I was supposed to be looking ahead for most of the day, not towards the back of the class, so the main thing that I remember was feeling his presence behind me. This was an overwhelming sensation for me. Every trace of comfort that I had known, my trees, my friends and Squirt had gone missing. My parents did not seem to exist anymore and there was this presence behind me. It calmed me down to be sitting near him and over time I became giddy with adoration. I have often wondered what the role of oxytocin is in a relationship. I suspect that it is the strongest form of bonding. They are discovering now that social interactions can cause an increase in oxytocin.

We have all laughed at ducklings that have bonded to inappropriate things and have followed them around relentlessly. This is the power of oxytocin. I believe that we have underestimated its power in human relationships. If you think of any imbalanced and hurtful relationship that you have ever witnessed and ask yourself why they stay together, it could very well be hormonal. This type of bonding occurs at the most fundamental level, well away from logic or common sense.

I tell myself this to try to make sense of this time in my life. For the first time I was arguing with myself. The part of me that had been socialized and had learned what appropriate behaviour was, was battling with this little nymph that was giddy with excitement and would not behave. I know that I embarrassed myself by how I was treating this boy, but I couldn’t help myself. I scolded myself for my inability to not flirt with him.

It is during this time that I decided that my brain would be in charge instead of my natural inclinations. I had to take control of how I was acting. If I caused this guy any embarrassment, I apologize, but I really was unable to act otherwise.

Anyhow, I would sit for hours on a Saturday afternoon hoping that he would walk past my place to the variety store. Little did I know that there was a different store that he likely went to. I would borrow erasers, pencils and crayons—even though I had my own. I would drop things on the floor so that I could pick them up. I would tap him on the opposite shoulder as I walked by.

During that time, a normal class consisted of writing down what the teacher was writing on the blackboard. I actually found that I learned quite a lot this way. The notebooks that we were given were bound, soft covered with lined pages and two staples to hold them together at the spine. Needless to say, it did not take long to fill one with the stuff that was on the blackboard. I remember concocting a story. I thought that it was feasible enough that I could pull it off.

I called my crush at home and explained that I had forgotten that the first half of the notes for our test the next day were in my last notebook. I said that I had only brought the most recent stuff home and therefore was unable to study and I was wondering if I could borrow his notes. He said sure, I could come and pick it up.

It was all I could do to contain the energy that was bursting out of me as I headed out the door. I was going to get a book from my crush. What would he say? What would happen? The possibilities were endless. I walked up to the side door and knocked. His mother came to the door. I explained who I was and why I was there and she handed me his book explaining that he had left to play hockey. How Canadian.

Years later I visited my hometown on a trip from university and saw him across the floor at a very large bar, The Station I believe, named after the previous use of the building. I was unable to go over and say hello. I felt butterflies in my stomach and could not bring myself to speak to him.

Keep Reading: Hill in the Park

 

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book, now available

www.wendypowell.ca