Dr Judith Orloff's Blog

4 Ways to Break Up with a Narcissist

Judith Orloff - Thursday, July 02, 2015

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Adapted from Dr. Judith Orloff’s NY Times bestseller “Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life” (Three Rivers Press, 2011)

In my psychiatric practice I’ve seen how hard it is for my patients to break up with a partner who’s a narcissist. Narcissists can make you fall in love with them so hard that it feels like you're giving up a part of your heart to leave them. And they use every manipulation in the book to get you to stay.

On the surface narcissists can seem charming, intelligent, caring—knowing how to entice and lure their way back into your life. But once they reel you back then they revert to their egotistical selves. Their motto will always be “Me First!” Everything’s all about them. They have a grandiose sense of self-importance and entitlement, crave admiration and attention. They can also be highly intuitive, but use their intuition for self-interest and manipulation.

Narcissists are so dangerous because they lack empathy, have a limited capacity for unconditional love. Sadly, their hearts either haven’t developed or have been shut down due to early psychic trauma, such as being raised by narcissistic parents, a crippling handicap both emotionally and spiritually. (The damage of narcissistic parenting is outstandingly detailed in Alice Miller’s Drama of the Gifted Child). Hard as it may be to comprehend, these people have little insight into their actions, nor do they regret them.

To find out if you’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist, ask yourself the following questions from my book, Emotional Freedom.

QUIZ: HAVE I BEEN IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH A NARCISSIST?

  • Does the person act as if life revolves around him?
  • Do I have to compliment him to get his attention or approval?
  • Does he constantly steer the conversation back to himself?
  • Does he downplay my feelings or interests?
  • If I disagree, does he become cold or withholding?
  • If you answer “yes” to one or two questions, it’s likely you’re dealing with a narcissist. Responding “yes” to three or more questions suggests that a narcissist is violating your emotional freedom.

    Narcissists are hard nuts to crack. With these patients, the best I can do is align with their positive aspects and focus on behaviors that they agree aren’t working. Still, even if one wants to change, progress is limited, with meager gains. My professional advice: Don’t fall in love with a narcissist or entertain illusions they’re capable of the give and take necessary for intimacy. In such relationships you’ll always be emotionally alone to some degree. If you have a withholding narcissist spouse, beware of trying to win the nurturing you never got from your parents; it’s not going to happen. Also, don’t expect to have your sensitivity honored. These people sour love with all the hoops you must jump through to please them.

    If you’re trying to break up with a narcissist, use these methods from my emotional freedom book to get your power back.

    Don’t Fall For Their Manipulations
    They will use every trick in the book to get you back so be prepared. Narcissists are really convincing. When you are ready to leave, stick to your convictions and move on to a more positive future filled with real love.

    Set Limits
    Since narcissists have no empathy, nor can they really love, you must leave them cold turkey and endure the pain. Set limits and say "no" to them and in your heart. Then gather all your strength and keep walking into the unknown towards something better.

    Focus on the Future
    Once detached from a narcissist it is extremely important than you focus all your positive energy and thoughts on doing good things for yourself and the world. Don't let your mind wander to the past or to what he is doing.

    Be Kind to Yourself
    Treasure yourself. Be very kind to yourself and know that you deserve a loving relationship with someone who can reciprocate that love.

    My view on life is that every person we meet along the way, loving or not, is meant to help us grow. Do not beat yourself up for getting involved with a narcissist. But please learn what you can from it, including setting healthy boundaries and saying "no" to abuse, so you don't repeat this lesson again. It is very emotionally freeing to heal any attraction to abusive people so you can have more true love in your life.



    Judith Orloff MD is a psychiatrist, intuitive healer, and NY Times bestselling author. Her latest national bestseller is The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your life. Dr. Orloff's other bestsellers are Emotional FreedomSecond SightPositive Energy, and Intuitive Healing. Dr. Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. She passionately believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieve emotional freedom and total wellness. To learn more about the power of surrender visit www.drjudithorloff.com

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    6 Tips to Deal with Anger Addicts

    Judith Orloff - Thursday, June 04, 2015

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    (Excerpt from Dr. Judith Orloff's national bestseller The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life)

    Anger addicts cope with conflict by accusing, attacking, humiliating, or criticizing. Unchecked they can be dangerous and controlling.

    Anger can tyrannize relationships. One woman I treated had stopped having any male friends because she was afraid of her partner’s unrelenting jealous anger. If she went to lunch, for instance, with a male colleague from work her partner would barrage her with cell phone messages during the meal. Initially, unable to set boundaries, she appeased him by giving in. My patient told me she didn’t want to “create a war at home” by doing anything to provoke his wrath. Clearly, we had our work cut out for us in therapy. She didn’t want to leave her partner but she needed to be strong enough to assert healthier limits in the relationship.

    The common dynamic with anger addicts is that they use anger to cope with feeling inadequate, hurt, or threatened, whether the person acts out occasionally or not. Anger is one of the hardest emotions to control due to its evolutionary value of defending against danger. When you’re confronted with anger, your body instinctively tightens, the opposite of a surrendered state. It goes into fight or flight mode. Adrenaline floods your system. Your heart pumps faster. Your jaw and muscles clench. Your blood vessels constrict. Your gut tenses. In this hyper-charged condition, you want to flee or attack.

    Instead of running or retaliating, try my approach. First, take a breath to calm down. Tell yourself, “Do not respond with anger. That will just make things worse.” If the person is being abusive excuse yourself from the situation. If you can’t escape, say with a boss, try to stay centered, non-reactive, and not feed the anger. Later, when you can address the anger more fully, admit your unedited reactions to yourself or a supportive person. This prevents anger from building up. You can’t start the process of surrendering anger until you’ve acknowledged the raw emotion.

    When you’re exposed to anger, here are some steps from my book The Ecstasy of Surrender to calm your system and have a clear head. Without this you’re trapped in reactive behavior which gets you nowhere at all.

    How to Communicate with Anger Addicts

    Step 1. Surrender Your Reactivity. Pause when agitated
    Take a few slow breaths to relax your body. Count to ten. Don’t react impulsively or engage the anger even though your buttons are pushed. Reacting just makes you weak. Though you may be tempted to lash out try not to give in to the impulse. Focus on your breath, not the angry person. You may still feel upset but you’ll be calm and in charge at the same time!

    Step 2. Practice Restraint of Tongue, Phone, and E-mail
    Do not retaliate or respond at all until you are in a centered place. Otherwise you might communicate something you regret or can never take back.

    Step 3. Blend, Relax, and Let Go
    Resistance to pain or strong emotions intensifies them. In martial arts, you first take a breath to find your balance. Then you can transform the opponent’s energy. Try staying as neutral and relaxed as possible with someone’s anger instead of resisting it. At this stage, don’t argue or defend yourself. Rather, try to let their anger flow right through you.

    Step 4. Acknowledge their position
    To disarm angry people, you must weaken their defensiveness. Otherwise, they’ll dig in their heels and won’t budge. Defensiveness stifles flow. Therefore, it’s useful to acknowledge an anger addict’s position, even if it offends you. From a centered place say, “I can see why you feel that way. We both have similar concerns. But I have a different way to approach the problem. Please hear me out.” This keeps the flow of communication open and creates a tone for compromise.

    Step 5. Set Limits
    Now, state your case. Request a small, do-able change that can meet your need. Then clarify how it will benefit the relationship. Tone is crucial. For instance, calmly but firmly say to an in-law who’s yelling at you, “I love you but I shut down when you raise your voice. Let’s work this out when we can hear each other better.” Then you can discuss a solution. If people persist in dumping toxic anger, you must limit contact, define clear consequences such as “I can’t see you if you keep criticizing me,” or let the relationship go. You can also use “selective listening” and not take in all the details of an outburst. Focus on something uplifting instead.

    Step 6. Empathize.
    Ask yourself, “What pain or inadequacy is making this person so angry? Then take some quiet moments to intuit where the person’s heart is hurting or closed. This doesn’t excuse bad behavior but it will allow you to find compassion for the suffering behind it, even if you choose not to be around the person. Then it’s easier to surrender resentments so they don’t eat at you.

    Gathering your power before you respond to anger takes awareness and restraint. Admittedly, it’s hard to surrender the need to be right in favor of love and compromise. It’s hard not to attack back when you feel attacked. But, little by little, surrendering these reflexive instincts is a more compassionate, evolved way to get your needs met and keep relationships viable if and when it’s possible.



    Judith Orloff MD is a psychiatrist, intuitive healer, and NY Times bestselling author. Her latest national bestseller is The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your life. Dr. Orloff's other bestsellers are Emotional FreedomSecond SightPositive Energy, and Intuitive Healing. Dr. Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. She passionately believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieve emotional freedom and total wellness. To learn more about the power of surrender visit www.drjudithorloff.com

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    Sarah commented on 11-Jun-2015 10:56 PM
    I COPE WITH AN ANGRY MAN AS I USED TO COPE WITH MY MOTHER.
    I TREAT THE HISSY FITS AS WHITE NOISE. MY MAIN QUESTION
    IS WHY I ATTRACT MEN WHO WANT TO CONTROL ME. DO THEY THINK THEY
    FOUND A VICTOM BECAUSE I TREAT THEM WITH PLACIDITY, INSTEAD OF
    SHUTTING THEM DOWN IN THE FIRST PLACE?

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    How to Deal with Passive Aggressive People

    Judith Orloff - Thursday, April 02, 2015

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    (Excerpt from Dr. Judith Orloff's national bestseller The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life)

    Passive aggression is a form of anger, except the anger is expressed with a smile instead of the typical expressions. Passive aggressive people are experts at sugar coating hostility. They often use procrastination, bumbling inefficiency, and the exasperating excuse of “I forgot” to avoid commitments or let you down. They appear eager to please, but know exactly how to make you mad. They can be infuriating because of their seductive or innocent veneers.

    Here are some examples:

  • Your spouse brings home yet another gallon of ice cream after you've specifically asked him or her not to do this because you are trying to lose weight.
  • A friend keeps arriving an hour late for a dinner date leaving you waiting over and over again.
  • A co-worker keeps promising to help with a project but never comes through.
  • Passive aggressive behavior ranges from simply irritating to manipulative and punishing. This is different from occasionally being absent-minded, lazy, or busy. Passive aggression is repetitive and has a covert angry edge to it. Passive aggressive people promise anything, then do exactly as they please. They hide anger beneath a compliant exterior. They don’t give straight answers and have vague responses such as “I’ll get back to you.” Then they don’t follow through so you must keep reminding them. Sometimes their remarks can be hurtful, especially so because they come at you sideways--you don’t know what hit you.

    Why do people become passive aggressive?

    They’re typically raised in families where it’s not safe to express anger--they’re never taught to communicate it in a healthy manner. They adapt by channeling these feelings into other less obvious behaviors; this gives them a sense of power and control. They’re masters at shirking responsibility by hurting you in ways that appear unintentional or unavoidable. Passive aggressive people operate by stuffing anger, being accommodating, and then indirectly sticking it to you. When confronted, they’ll drive you crazy with a variety of “the dog ate my homework” excuses, blaming others, or yessing you to death without changing. Since many are unaware of their anger, they feel misunderstood or that you’re holding them to unfair standards.

    Here are tips on how to communicate with passive aggressive people from my book The Ecstasy of Surrender. To learn about other types of draining people read my article The Emotional Vampire Survival Guide

    Learning to Communicate With Passive Aggressive People

    1.Trust Your Gut Reactions

    With these types you may question yourself since their anger is so masked. It’s important to recognize the pattern. Their mixed messages will test your patience. So when you doubt yourself, take a breath and try to let the doubt go. Tell yourself, “I deserve to be treated more lovingly. I will trust my gut reaction when I feel jabbed.” This affirmation helps you release doubt so you’d don’t convince yourself you’re imagining things. Then move forward to improve communication. You must surrender the idea that these people will change without you speaking up. They aren’t motivated to change unless someone calls them on their behavior. When it’s not appropriate to be direct, such as with a boss who might retaliate or fire you, keep letting the zingers go by accepting your powerlessness to change him.

    2. Address the behavior

    Focus on one issue at a time so people don’t feel attacked or overwhelmed. Let’s say a friend is always late. In a calm, firm tone say to her, “I would greatly appreciate it if you can be on time when we go out to dinner. I feel uncomfortable waiting in a restaurant alone.” Then notice her reaction. She might say, “You’re right. I’m always running behind. I’ll try to be more organized.” Then see if the lateness improves. If she is evasive or makes excuses, request clarification about how to solve the problem. If you can’t get a straight answer, confront that too. Being specific pins down passive aggressive people. If nothing changes, keep setting limits or stop making dinner plans. With a close friend who continues to be late, it’s always an option to accept and acclimate to his or her shortcoming when the pros of the relationship outweigh the cons.

    As a psychiatrist I teach my patients to address passive aggressive behavior directly as the person may not be aware of the impact on you since they are short on empathy. Hopefully you won’t have many passive aggressive people in your life, but if you do, clear communication is a form of empowerment.


    How to Spot an Energy Vampire



    Judith Orloff MD is a psychiatrist, intuitive healer, and NY Times bestselling author. Her latest national bestseller is The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your life. Dr. Orloff's other bestsellers are Emotional FreedomSecond SightPositive Energy, and Intuitive Healing. Dr. Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. She passionately believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieve emotional freedom and total wellness. To learn more about the power of surrender visit www.drjudithorloff.com

    Comments
    Carole Ann commented on 21-Apr-2015 01:08 PM
    This is so useful as usually self aware people think it's them that aren't communicating effectively with the Passive Aggressive person and it can be so frustrating. This is helpful as it helps us to see what is their stuff and how to handle it.
    Can you do narcissism/borderline personality disorder next? :-)
    Kitt commented on 22-Apr-2015 01:50 PM
    Thank you Judith, you hit it out of the park yet again. I have been dealing with a severe passive aggressive recently and this is very helpful though she is no longer in my life. Bless you.

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    Awaken Your Sensual Self

    Judith Orloff - Wednesday, February 11, 2015

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    (Excerpt from Dr. Judith Orloff's national bestseller The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life)

    To fully step into your personal power it is important to awaken your sensual self. Doing this can offer you a primal connection, a satisfaction you can never get from your intellect alone. As you open to both sex and spirit, whether you’re single or part of a couple, you’ll be a vessel for an erotic flow, enjoying pleasure without insecurities or inhibitions.

    True sexual power is claiming your erotic self and mindfully channeling sexual energy. You never use it to hurt, manipulate, make conquests or get addicted to the ego-trip of sensual pleasure at the expense of others. Instead sexuality compliments spirituality by linking us with a greater force of love.

    To ignite your senses, try these techniques from my book, The Ecstasy of Surrender either by yourself or with a partner to arouse your sexuality and let go to pleasure.

    7 Ways to Surrender to Your Sensual Self

    Set aside uninterrupted time to playfully experiment. Begin to relax by breathing deep and slow. We habitually breathe shallowly to temper sexual and other feelings. I want you to sense, not think, to be fully in your body.

    Awaken Touch
    Take a fresh flower or a feather and gently stroke each other’s bodies. (For me, it’s a rose in full bloom with petals about to fall.) Start with the face, neck, chest, breasts, your heart area, gradually making your way down to the genitals. Repeat delicate, circular motions over these areas. They respond to a light touch. It’ll feel lovely and exciting. Let go. Revel in the sensations.

    Awaken Taste
    Select a few foods, herbs, or spices that have zing. Arrange them on a plate. My favorites are papaya, peppermint, and honey. I have an accountant-patient with a non-stop mind who perks up her sensuality by savoring a succulent piece of watermelon. To heighten your sense of taste, I suggest wearing an eye mask or a loose blindfold perhaps made from a silk scarf. Then, with eyes covered, have your partner offer you each selection one by one. The tongue is a sensual miracle of sensations. Let the pleasure of taste spread throughout your body. Allow it to arouse every pore.

    Awaken Smell
    Now, explore smell. It is an intimate and important part of sexuality which can turn you off or on. Let a blindfold accentuate your exploration of this sense. One patient, a full time mom, gets a sensual lift from a few whiffs of lavender or gardenia oil during the day. She keeps them in her desk and car. Test our various scents. See how your body responds to different aromas of herbs, oils, or perfumes.. Use them as a sensual refresher.

    Play With Movement and Rocking
    Experiment with moving your bodies together to build sensuality. Rocking your bodies while holding one another can be extremely sensual. Also, when you first see each other after being apart, a long, silent embrace or hug, combined with rocking is arousing. Dancing or spontaneous free form movements are beautiful too.

    Explore Sacred Slapping
    Sometimes slapping each other on say, the buttocks, awakens you erotically. Get feedback from your partner about the intensity of the slap that feels right. Do this in the spirit of love, play, never anger. Though this technique doesn’t appeal to everyone, it can jolt some people into a new level of openness and sensual participation.

    Tune Into Nature
    Draw on nature’s passion to heighten your sensuality. Storms, lightning bolts, mist, rainbows, wind in the woods--enjoy whatever manifestations of nature excite you. Let them arouse your body. Be aware of colors, textures, sounds. Absorb them all. For instance, I’ll twirl on my balcony to the sensual tone of distant fog horn, becoming one with it and the ocean nearby. Sensuality can be transmitted from nature to you, a spontaneous osmosis if you allow it to happen.

    These techniques will intensify your own sensuality and the erotic relationship between you and your partner. Exploring each other is never just a one-time event. Keep discovering the nuances of each other’s sensitivity and aesthetics. Experiment with what gives you both Goosebumps, tingles, or surges of warmth. Notice how your body feels, all of it, especially belly, genitals, breasts. Share what arouses you. This lets you both experience more pleasure and intimacy.



    Judith Orloff MD is a psychiatrist, intuitive healer, and NY Times bestselling author. Her latest national bestseller is The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your life. Dr. Orloff's other bestsellers are Emotional FreedomSecond SightPositive Energy, and Intuitive Healing. Dr. Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. She passionately believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieve emotional freedom and total wellness. To learn more about the power of surrender visit www.drjudithorloff.com

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    bernie commented on 11-Mar-2015 09:14 PM
    Addressing sex as less than taboo allowing that it can be individualsad well as ccouples. I am married but we are not in sync withfrequency being far different than in the beginning. So I imagine lots of people in relationships have to maintain a sex life somewhat on their own. I'm finding of you don't use it you lose it.

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    4 Surrender Strategies to Communicate with Difficult People

    Judith Orloff - Thursday, October 09, 2014

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    (Adapted from The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life Harmony Books, 2014 by Judith Orloff MD)

    Many of us spend an inordinate amount of time and energy contending with difficult people or “emotional vampires” at work and at home. It’s a reflex to emotionally contract around them feeling powerless, irritated, hurt, or miserable, reactions that just wear you out. But, they can’t steal your happiness unless you let them.

    Surrender can improve your communication skills in many kinds of challenging interactions. For instance, do you know when to surrender your need to be right in order to restore love at home, or when to surrender resentments so that you can forgive? How to avoid taking things personally? Or deal with a friend or spouse who’s doing something you disagree with?

    Be aware that your ego could resist the concept of surrender as its aim is to create open channels of communication between people rather than stonewalling or defending, responses the ego is more accustomed to. Instead if you value “we” as well as “me,” you become a master at diffusing negativity, not a pushover. Let’s say you’re deadlocked in an argument; nobody’s giving in. Then what? Don’t turn it into a battle for supremacy. Instead, give the first inch, an act of true strength. Apologizing for your part in the conflict shows that you value the relationship more than your ego. This opens the door for others to admit their part too. It’s people with real power who step up first to surrender their ego, promoting impeccable communication.

    Here are four strategies from The Ecstasy of Surrender to help you deal with the difficult people in your life.

    Strategy #1: Follow the Laws of Impeccable Communications

    Follow these general laws of communication so you’re able to flow with difficult people and prevent blocks. In your daily life, these will ensure that you’re leading from a position of strength not anger or desperation. You’ll be flexible instead of just meeting conflict with an oppositional force.

    The Laws of Impeccable Communication

    Do

  • Be calm, not emotionally reactive
  • Avoid defensiveness--it makes you look weak
  • Patiently hear someone out without interrupting or needing to have the last word
  • Empathize with where people are coming from, even if you disagree with them
  • Pick your battles, apologize when necessary
  • Don’t

  • Be drawn into drama
  • React impulsively out of anxiety or anger so you say something you’ll regret
  • Hold onto resentments or stay attached to being right
  • Attempt to manage other people’s lives or become their therapist
  • Shame people, especially in front of others
  • Get in the habit of applying these laws to both friends and foes. The “dos” involve surrender and discernment. They will move you closer to resolving conflict by first harmonizing with another’s position, even if you disagree. This sets a tone to resolve conflicts or set boundaries whereas antagonism just alienates.

    Strategy #2: Be Mindful of Your Attitude

    Your attitude is important. Difficult people can be like spiritual teachers who are meant to awaken us, though they aren’t conscious of their role. Nobody said awakening is always pleasant or easy. But they can teach you about surrender: the attitudes you must release to triumph over them or set boundaries and which of their behaviors you must not surrender too. Most difficult people aren’t trying to harm you: they are just unconscious or self-absorbed. Very few are truly dark and have evil motives.

    Strategy #3: Watch the Tone of Your Voice

    Your tone of voice is important too. A critical tone only inflames people. Set limits with them and firmly say “no” with love, instead of sounding snippy or blaming when someone “steps over the red line.” To get the attention of chronic talkers or those on a rant, it helps to open your remark by lovingly saying their name. Hearing one’s name aloud instinctively makes us pause. Remember, we all can be difficult at times. Let this sobering fact curb your enthusiasm for chastising the shortcomings of others in word or tone.

    Strategy #4: Be Compassionate

    Do your best not to vilify people, even when they’re obnoxious or unkind. Realize that anger addicts, guilt trippers, or the other types of difficult people are insecure, wounded, and disconnected from their hearts. The challenge around bad behavior is to maintain your power and priorities while setting clear boundaries, no matter how annoying, negative, or full of themselves others can be.

    People can be annoying and disappointing, as we all sometimes are. None of us is perfect; most of us are doing the best we can. So keep searching for a part of someone that you can empathize with, even when it’s a stretch. You may not always succeed, but keep trying. This doesn’t make you a doormat or a victim. Rather, such compassion allows you to become the finest version of yourself, even as you set limits with bad behavior.



    Judith Orloff MD is a psychiatrist, intuitive healer, and NY Times bestselling author. Her latest national bestseller is The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your life. Dr. Orloff's other bestsellers are Emotional FreedomSecond SightPositive Energy, and Intuitive Healing. Dr. Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. She passionately believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieve emotional freedom and total wellness. To learn more about the power of surrender visit www.drjudithorloff.com

    Comments
    Anonymous commented on 15-Oct-2014 01:23 PM
    Thank you so much for the much needed advice - couldn't have come at a better time!
    Elan commented on 15-Oct-2014 04:06 PM
    Your insights have been treasures for me. You've help me embrace the strength, understanding and joy of my blessed life. Thank you with all my heart!!!
    Colleen commented on 16-Oct-2014 01:48 AM
    Thank you for this advice. I run a support group for depression and anxiety sufferers and related problems, where it could be very useful.
    Debra richardson commented on 16-Oct-2014 06:13 AM
    yes i haveenergies vampires but why when i tell people good things in my life that positive they dont respond or say any thing
    Kate commented on 16-Oct-2014 09:15 AM
    The book rocks! I refer to it often. Highly recommend it to everyone!
    lucy commented on 16-Oct-2014 11:05 AM
    I bought my carless, jobless, abused neighbor a van. Helped her out financially. When she refused to help me with a little housework, actually she would agree and then never show up. I decided to end this one sided friendship. I never have known such a vindictive, hostile person. She sent me the most awful emails, called me names out her window, called me out in the street to fight. I'm 56 and have never fought a soul in my life, Her husband started stalking me and giving me death threats. I have called the police 3 times, after their children threw rotten tomatoes at me and my house and for the stalking and death threats. She finally stopped the emails and now they release their Pit Bull on me and I did warn them to stop and I finally after about 6 times called the animal control. It has been the worst summer of my life. I actually thought her husband was going to kill me. I have lost 40 lbs and now suffer from insomnia. They are neighbors from hell, that I just tried to help and as they say, "no good deed goes unpunished. I own my house 36 yrs, and they are renters, who I pray to God will move!, so I can get my life back. Sincerely, terrified in ,mo
    sue commented on 23-Oct-2014 10:33 PM
    LUCY!!! you need to get the law involved, that is terrible! Do you know the landlord? get them evicted, but in the process, get an order of protection, and maybe a HUGE male cousin that has a giant doberman to move in for a while! I'm not a counselor, but land sakes, thats more than an energy vampire/thats real earth demons!! Stand up for yourself! Get this done,top notch-without their knowledge. You are probably not the first human target, ya know? YIKERS
    JPJ commented on 23-Jan-2015 11:50 AM
    Lucy!! Stop being the victim and take control of your life!!
    You have the law on your side so use it and stop just complaining.
    The are intimidating you. Take charge here.

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    Are You Attracted to Unavailable People?

    Judith Orloff - Wednesday, July 30, 2014

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    (Adapted from The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life Harmony Books, 2014 by Judith Orloff MD)

    In my book, The Ecstasy of Surrender I discuss how a soul mate must be willing and available to have a relationship with you. If he or she is unavailable this is not your soul mate at the present time. A confusing part of being attracted to unavailable, commitment-phobic people is that the emotional or sexual chemistry can feel so strong. You accept behavior that you’d never tolerate in friends. Why? The electricity can feel so incredible and rare, you mistake intensity for intimacy. You make compromises you wouldn’t typically consider in order to give the relationship a chance. Still, connection or not, you must take a sober look to determine if someone is truly available for intimacy. Hear this: Not everyone you feel a connection with, no matter how mind-blowing, is your soul mate. You can fall for someone who is totally wrong for you, as unfair and confounding as that reality can be.

    For a relationship to work, a soul connection must go both ways. Even if the intuitive bond you feel is authentic, it can remain unrealized. Just because someone might’ve been your soul mate in previous eras, it doesn’t mean he or she is right for you today. Perhaps the person can’t or won’t reciprocate or is simply oblivious, a frustrating irony you must accept. Don’t put your life on hold for unrequited longing. Love that is destined can never be stopped. Meanwhile, keep your options open. How do you avoid getting entangled in dead-end or delusional relationships where you see someone in terms of how you wish them to be, not who they are? To start, here are some red flags to watch for. Even one sign warns you to be careful. The more that are present, the more danger exists.

    12 Signs You're Involved with Emotionally Unavailable People (EUP)

  • They are married or in a relationship with someone else
  • They can’t commit to you or have feared commitment in past relationships
  • They have one foot on the gas pedal, one foot on the break
  • They are emotionally distant, shut down, or can’t deal with conflict
  • They’re mainly interested in sex, not relating emotionally or spiritually
  • They are practicing alcoholics, sex addicts, or substance abusers
  • They prefer long distance relationships, emails, texting, or don’t introduce you to their friends and family
  • They are elusive, sneaky, frequently working or tired, and may disappear for periods
  • They are seductive with you but make empty promises--their behavior and words don’t match
  • They send mixed messages, flirt with others, or don’t give a straight answer--you’re always trying to “de-code” what they really mean
  • They’re narcissistic, only consider themselves, not your needs
  • They throw you emotional crumbs or enticing hints of their potential to be loving, then withdraw
  • At first, some of these signs may be more obvious than others. It’s tricky: we tend to show our best selves in the honeymoon stage of a romance. It can take time for a person’s unavailability to emerge. One patient lamented, “I need a crystal ball. The first few months of a courtship, a man is so attentive, caring, passionate.” Partially, she’s right, but it’s also true that we tend to see what we want to see. That’s why it’s eye-opening to look at a partner’s relationship history. Who he or she was previously with reveals volumes about their capacity for intimacy now. Beware of rationalizing, “I’m different. This person would never be that way with me.”

    I don’t care how mightily someone blames the blood curdling horrors of an ex for a relationship’s demise, this person played a role too. Being able to admit that or trying to understand the reasons for making such a terrible choice is a positive sign. Playing the victim is not.

    Over the years, I’ve worked with many perplexed, lonely patients to uncover why they keep holding a torch for unavailable, commitment-phobic partners and how to surrender this sabotaging pattern. Most of us aren’t purposely drawn to these kinds of people--their mixed messages combined with our particular susceptibilities, conscious or unconscious, can lure us in. Also, it helps to understand that unavailable people rarely choose to be this way. It’s an unconscious defense against trauma or some emotional wounding of the past. Research has shown that many are afraid of being clung to or smothered which stems from having had a controlling, engulfing, or abusive parent. Commitment-phobic men, in particular, may just prefer sex without love. They are afraid of being controlled by feminine energy, though they don’t know it or couldn’t admit it. Rather, they see themselves as macho dudes who think women always need more than they can give. Thus, they prefer to play in shallow water, not go deep. If being in a relationship with an unavailable person feels like love to you, I urge you to look closer. Commitment phobic women also fear intimacy and want to keep a distance.

    To find true love, ideally you want to avoid getting involved with anyone who can’t reciprocate your affections. If you are in a toxic, abusive, or non-reciprocal relationship, withdraw even when your passion is strong and says “stay.” It may feel excruciating to let go when you don’t want to or if you’re still hoping against hope that the person will change, but, as my Daoist teacher once told me, “The heart knows when it’s enough.”


    WATCH THIS VIDEO TO LEARN MORE HOW TO LET GO OF THE TORCH FOR UNAVAILABLE PEOPLE.



    Judith Orloff MD is a psychiatrist, intuitive healer, and NY Times bestselling author. Her latest national bestseller is The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your life. Dr. Orloff's other bestsellers are Emotional FreedomSecond SightPositive Energy, and Intuitive Healing. Dr. Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. She passionately believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieve emotional freedom and total wellness. To learn more about the power of surrender visit www.drjudithorloff.com

    Comments
    Lynn Fisken commented on 19-Aug-2014 03:47 PM
    Thank you Judith I love your work & this arrived in perfect timing for me today. Much Arohanui to you xxx
    Bren commented on 19-Aug-2014 05:31 PM
    Brilliant...discovered I am an intuitive empath.. Now I understand why about things about myself. I want to ask..in desiring a partner, I find few people who are on the same wavelength. I just can't spend unnecessary time on men who just don't get it, so don't date...help where do I stumble on them? Love your work. Thanks B
    Lisa commented on 29-Dec-2014 04:46 AM
    I had a very disfunctional childhood, alcoholic father who would go into blackouts and do terrible things he wouldn't remember doing and of course the enabling mother. I have come to realize that I am attracted to unavailable men, and have come to the conclusion that I am attracted to men like these because as a child I always wanted my mother to choose
    What is best for her children , choose me over my dad! I am also an empath and have the want to heal people emotionally as well as physically. Not a good combination. I am working on it , but it has taken its tole on me I have been diagnosed with lupus and fatigue is a constant battle. I know I need to take care of myself and stay away from unavailable men! How do I help those I know need help without depleting my own energy?

    N





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    Are You In an Obsessive Relationship? Take this Quiz

    Judith Orloff - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

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    (Adapted from The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life Harmony Books, 2014 by Judith Orloff MD)

    As a physician, I've seen many patients who felt trapped in obsessive relationships. They can't stop thinking of someone. They can't stop checking their phones to see if he/she texted. A great part of their consciousness is devoted to ruminating about what this person is doing or not doing and they are afraid of losing the person. These obsessive/possessive relationships can be very painful.

    I discuss this topic at length in my new book The Ecstasy of Surrender. In the book I emphasize that bonding with a partner is a natural part of getting to know someone and of falling in love. But getting overly attached goes beyond healthy bonding and is disempowering. When you truly love someone you’re not interested in possessing the person or keeping him or her in your clutches because you’re afraid of losing the relationship. Instead, you respect your partner’s autonomy and spirit. You’re not too entangled, by standing together side by side. True intimacy is always a balance between bonding and letting go so the relationship can breathe.

    Take the following quiz to determine your obsessive patterns.

    Quiz: Are You Overly Attached to a Partner?

  • Do you cling to your partner?
  • Do you want to possess him or her?
  • Are you often afraid of being abandoned or betrayed?
  • Do you get anxious when you don’t hear from him or her every day?
  • Do you constantly think about the person?
  • Do you start obsessing about a partner after you have sex?
  • Does your partner feel you are trying to control or suffocate him or her?
  • Do you feel you can’t live without the person?
  • How to interpret this quiz: 6-8 yeses indicate that you are extremely overly attached. 3-5 yeses indicate that you are moderately overly attached. 1-3 yeses indicate that you have a tendency to overly attach. A score of zero indicates that you have healthy bonding with your partner.

    First to deal with an obsession you have to seize control of your thoughts and mind. Then consciously change your thinking from unwholesome thoughts to constructive positive ones. It is very important to consciously shift out of the obsession using your will to do this.

    An aspect of myself that I’ve made progress in healing is my tendency to get overly attached to men. During sex I bond quickly and fuse with a man but I can’t un-fuse with him later. I start yearning for him and thinking about him constantly. Some of this is organic and beautiful, but becoming overly attached crosses a line. I can become obsessed and intensely hungry for contact particularly if I’ve been single for a while.

    I am a sexual being so, after I haven’t had sex for a while, I can become needy compared to when I have an ongoing connection with a loving partner. Being in this position makes me (and many women) vulnerable to getting overly attached. For instance, if I don’t hear from this man for a few days--I can get anxious and afraid of losing him or of being abandoned. It’s not good for me, and moreover, most men don’t appreciate this kind of response. So in my tantric sexuality sessions and in therapy, I discovered how to enjoy passion from a more grounded place. Here’s how:

  • I learned that over-merging with a romantic partner without a pause can decrease the erotic charge. It actually can be more erotic and intimate to go in and out of intense connection with a partner, rather than sustaining it. This gives both lovers their space and more breathing room.

  • I don’t “root” in a man, but root primarily in myself and the earth. One way I do this before and after lovemaking is to visualize my body developing roots into the soil like a tree. I’m still surrendered to and immersed in pleasure, but I also keep a fuller sense of myself intact later. I’m able to separate from him and more comfortably see us as separate beings.

  • After lovemaking or to deal with possessiveness in intimacy, I also find it useful to meditate with my partner and then say to each another, “I adore you. I honor you. I release you.” This is a healthy way to bond while not excessively attaching or fixating. It produces a beautiful equilibrium of loving.
  • The solution to not becoming overly attached or possessive is to focus on strengthening your self-esteem while addressing and releasing fears, including the fear of abandonment, which can cause the need to cling. Working with a skilled relationship therapist or coach can be productive. Also you can practice the three tantric techniques that I described above. These will help you develop autonomy and grounding. Being willing to surrender the tendency to overly attach in favor of healthily bonding will allow you to have more joyous and pleasurable relationships without the pain of obsession.


    WATCH THIS VIDEO TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HEALTHY BONDING



    Judith Orloff MD is a psychiatrist, intuitive healer, and NY Times bestselling author. Her latest national bestseller is The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your life. Dr. Orloff's other bestsellers are Emotional FreedomSecond SightPositive Energy, and Intuitive Healing. Dr. Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. She passionately believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieve emotional freedom and total wellness. To learn more about the power of surrender visit www.drjudithorloff.com

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    Are You a Relationship Empath?

    Judith Orloff - Tuesday, May 20, 2014

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    (Adapted from The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life Harmony Books, 2014 by Judith Orloff MD)

    In my practice and workshops I’m struck by how many sensitive people come to me wanting a long term soul mate. Personally, I can relate to this. Yet, despite online dating services, expensive match-makers, friend fix-ups, and blind dates, they still remain single. Or else they’re in relationships but feel constantly fatigued and overwhelmed. The reason isn’t simply that “there aren’t enough available people ‘out there’” or that they’re neurotic. Personally and professionally I’ve discovered something more is going on.

    In my life, I’ve found that a vital missing piece to this puzzle has been discovering I am a relationship empath. Empaths are highly sensitive, intuitive, and caring, but they’re also shock absorbers with an extremely permeable nervous system and hyperactive reflexes. They experience everything, pleasure and pain, sometimes to an extreme. The amazing part of being so sensitive is that empaths are attuned to people (at times even telepathically), to nature, and can be exquisitely sensual, responsive lovers. The downside is that empaths are sponges for the world’s angst. Without a membrane between themselves and the world, they unknowingly absorb other people’s stress into their own bodies. Then they become overloaded, anxious or exhausted. This differs from ordinary empathy, say when you sympathize with your partner’s harrowing day at work. Relationship empathy goes much further. You merge with your partner and actually feel his or her joys and fears as if they were your own. Thus, romantic relationships, particularly live-in ones, can be challenging.

    In The Ecstasy of Surrender I go into detail describing what a relationship empath is and also present strategies to cope and not absorb the stress or symptoms of your mate. If you’re highly sensitive and haven’t identified this dynamic, you may unknowingly avoid romantic partnerships because deep down you’re afraid of getting engulfed. A part of you wants a soul mate; another part is frightened. This inner push-pull stops you from surrendering to a partner. The closer you are to someone the more intense empathy gets. To feel safe enough to let go in a relationship, it’s crucial for empaths to learn how to set healthy boundaries and assert their needs. Then intimacy becomes possible.

    To surrender to a soul mate, it's important to discuss your fears of letting go with each other. However, if you’re an empath, you may not know what these are or that you’re even resisting intimacy. Thus you can’t convey your needs or set healthy boundaries. To determine whether you’re a relationship empath take the following quiz from my new book.

    Quiz: Am I a relationship empath?

    Ask yourself:

  • Have I been labeled as overly sensitive?
  • Am I afraid of getting engulfed or losing my identity in intimate relationships?
  • Do I prefer taking my own car places so I can leave when I please?
  • Do I get drained by too much togetherness and require time alone to refuel?
  • Do I sometimes prefer sleeping alone?
  • When my partner and I travel do I prefer adjoining rooms?
  • Do I tend to take on by my partner’s stress or physical symptoms?
  • Do I feel overwhelmed by noise, smells, crowds, or excessive talking?
  • If you answer yes to one to three of these questions you’re at least part relationship empath. Responding yes to four to six questions indicates strong empathic tendencies with partners. If you answer yes to seven or more questions you are a certified relationship empath.

    Recognizing that you’re a relationship empath is the first step to removing this obstacle to finding a soul mate. Next, you must redefine the traditional paradigm for coupling so you can find a comfortable way of being together. This means letting go of society’s stereotypes about marriage or relationships, forging a new path for yourself. If you’re an empath or if the ordinary expectations of coupledom don’t work for you, practice the following tips.

    Surrender Old Relationship Rules, Create New Ones from The Ecstasy of Surrender

    Tip 1. Evaluate a potential mate’s compatibility
    As you’re getting to know someone, share that you’re sensitive, that you value having alone time. The right person will understand; the wrong person will put you down for being “overly sensitive.”

    Tip 2. Vibrations Speak Louder Than Words
    Notice how you relate to a potential mate’s energy. Ask yourself: Does the person’s words match their energy? Or is something off? If you have any doubts about his or her authenticity, go slow. To avoid getting involved with someone who won’t be good for you, keep tracking the person’s energy with your empathic abilities to find out who they really are.

    Tip 3. Allow quiet time at home to decompress
    Get in the habit of taking mini-breaks throughout the day. Tell your partner how important this is to you. Stretch. Breathe. Walk. Meditate. Listen to music. This time alone will replenish you.

    Tip 4. Limit your time socializing with others
    Tell your partner what your ideal time limit is to stay at parties or other social occasions before you burn out. If your comfort level is three hours max--even if you adore the people--make an agreement with your partner to take your own car if he or she prefers to stay longer.

    Tip 5. Negotiate your square footage needs
    Breathing room is a must. Experiment with creative living conditions. Ask yourself, “What space arrangement is optimal?” Having a private area to retreat to? Separate bathrooms? Separate houses? Agree not to crowd each other. When traveling together, you may prefer getting adjoining rooms with your own bathroom (this works wonders for me). If sharing a room is the only option, hanging a sheet as a room divider will help.

    Tip 6. Get a sleep divorce
    Traditionally, partners sleep in the same bed. However, some empaths never get used to this, no matter how caring a mate. Nothing personal: they just like sleeping in their own space. Discuss options with your mate. Give yourself permission to sleep separately. Separate beds. Separate rooms. Sleeping together a few nights a week. Because non-empaths can feel lonely sleeping alone, make compromises when possible.

    In my medical practice, I’ve seen this creative approach to relationships save marriages and make ongoing intimacies safe for emotional empaths of all ages--even if they haven’t had a long-term partner before.



    Judith Orloff MD is a psychiatrist, intuitive healer, and NY Times bestselling author. Her latest national bestseller is The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your life. Dr. Orloff's other bestsellers are Emotional FreedomSecond SightPositive Energy, and Intuitive Healing. Dr. Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. She passionately believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieve emotional freedom and total wellness. To learn more about the power of surrender visit www.drjudithorloff.com

    Comments
    Anonymous commented on 20-May-2014 11:35 PM
    Interesting to me as an occupational therapist that these seem to also be the sensory over responsive types whose nervous systems have difficulty with auditory, visual, tactile or even vestibular (not secure with body in space) problems. Sometimes deep pressure, weightbearing activities and other ways to calm the nervous system can help. I love the article and am sending it on to friends I know that relate to this.
    Kimberly Cutting commented on 22-May-2014 10:47 PM
    I find the relationship empath thing interesting especially in relation to the soul-mate piece and I've discovered threw some personal areas in which it can cancel each other out in good ways. Have I been labeled as overly sensitive? I'm an Intuitive Empath myself & my fiance is as well.. (he answered yes to all of the questions in the intuitive Empath Quiz as well) However I've discovered that when 2 Empaths who are soul-mates get together some things intuively cancel out relationship empath issues... like for instance:
    Am I afraid of getting engulfed or losing my identity in intimate relationships? In the past we were somewhat, but when we met the feeling went away and we embraced and actually enjoyed the feeling of loosing ourselves to each other and becoming "one".

    Do I get drained by too much togetherness and require time alone to refuel? Sometimes, but more often then not we feel recharged by each other due to being so in synch... it depends how our conversations and moods are.

    Do I sometimes prefer sleeping alone? We did before we met, but found our energy synchs so well with each other that it actually helped us to sleep better the 1st time we tried it as a couple.

    others such as:
    Do I tend to take on by my partner’s stress or physical symptoms? & Do I feel overwhelmed by noise, smells, crowds, or excessive talking? No change to either of those really.

    Haven't experimented with travel or separate vehicles yet though. I do suspect he might though if he could, he likes to sleep in the hotel closet to isolate himself more when he travels and he has an even higher sensitivity to crowds then I do and would prefer to leave a karaoke bar or shopping mall a little sooner then I would for example.
    Sue Cameron commented on 22-May-2014 11:26 PM
    Thank you for this!! I've attended a couple of your classes at Esalen. This describes my 34 year marriage to a T. I am currently " WISHING" I had my own house!. I wouldn't mind dating him once on a while. He's a good guy. We've grown apart. He never goes anywhere! Watches TV every night and I am not exaggerating!!! I go on retreats with gf's, classes, vacations with friends, we sleep apart.. Why be married???!!!
    Wendy Hammond commented on 23-May-2014 08:25 AM
    So refreshing to read about a Relationship Empath. Have not read the book yet but know many women, including myself, who feel this way. I am twice divorced from relationships with alcoholics or drugaddicts. Have not pursued another relationship since 1994. Theoverwhelm from the enmeshment has left me very happy to live life alone. I am now 67 years old.
    Kari commented on 23-May-2014 01:41 PM
    Wow that sounds so much like me. My husband's job has changed and he is home most of the time now. I have lost my one day alone to de-stress and I feel added stress by not having my alone time. It feels like his energy is sucking the life out of me and I have found it so draining. I didn't feel like this before when we didn't spend as much time together. The odd time when he isn't home, I feel like I have more "space" and I feel "lifted" like a weight has been removed from my shoulders. I've been wondering why that is and felt there was something wrong with me but this explains so much. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!
    paulette commented on 01-Jun-2014 03:46 PM
    it really interesting , i became my husband and i did not realize it , and not knowing about empath, we had marriage problems and lead to sleeping separate room, less
    communication, and at that time i discover your info, suddenly i realized that i was carrying his anxiety, sadness and for some reason he took over my personally,
    it almost seem we switch bodies i got all his negative traits, and he seem to project my positive,
    i am still confuse by this, but i feel like i got my soul back . your work is soo important , thanks you
    Susan commented on 05-Jun-2014 10:27 PM
    well, I admire Kimberly's advantages up above this posting(May 22nd), but i'm here to tell ya, I would LOVE the freedom to let my otherwise perfect mate know that-I need to sleep alone!! He does not get it....I have shown him, I have explained to him-and it's as if I'm speaking blurbish. It is our only downfall. My saving grace? Working 3rd shift-although I am not certain how much that helps me...Otherwise, on my nights off, it isn't a night off-I wake up drained, exhausted, in pain! He believes somehow I'm to accept night terrors, snoring and thrashing as just par for the course........ can anyone help me, here? other than the obvious/ leave. . .
    Ashley commented on 20-Feb-2015 06:05 AM
    I've always wondered if there was something wrong with me growing up because I could never get used to being in a relationship like my friends had.. I'm still that way only being 18 but every relationship that I've been in (serious or not) I had to retreat quickly or I felt like I would literally drown in the other persons emotions. I never understood how some people could just let go and love with such ease..

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