Tag Archives: breakup
I start off this post by wishing that I had some magic pixie dust to sprinkle around just for those that are going through a breakup. I could say all those things that a therapist, friend, and family member would say about how … “it wasn’t the right fit, you deserve better, or how people just grow in different ways.” All of these plus a million more platitudes may very well be true, but none of them really help with the hurt.
And that is the kicker right? The pain… it just hurts so damn much. Your insides turn over and you feel like your hopes and dreams are shattered. You are supposed to somehow go to work, hang out with people, and take care of yourself all while feeling as if you just want to crawl into a hole. It sucks… and there is no real other way around it.
So what are you supposed to do? We all want to know how to get through/past/over a breakup. I have the answer… truly I do but you don’t want to hear it. Hell, I haven’t wanted to hear it either while I was dealing with breakups. The truth is that your very best answer for dealing with the pain of an ending relationship is feeling it. You simply go one day at a time doing what you have to do.
The first weeks… maybe even months… you just do the basics. You go to work, you cry a lot, you talk with friends, you think about your ex…. you cry some more and you wish things were different. This is normal this is part of the process. The thing is we all want to jump right past this part. We do NOT want to feel so sad, so alone, so vulnerable, so everything. We mostly don’t want to feel at all and this is where the trouble can come into play.
Self soothing and self numbing are not the same thing. And in times of hurt it is easy to confuse the two. You want to not feel what you are feeling so you go out for a drink. This is okay for a once in a while thing but when you are doing it everyday so that you don’t have to think about your ex… well then it is self numbing.
Where self-soothing is allowing yourself to feel the pain and deal with it the best as you can. You cry, you take baths, you do yoga, you eat some crap food, you distract yourself with movies, you take up a hobby, and you do all the things that are good for you. After a break up you may not “feel” they are doing much of anything but they are keeping your mind busy while you process through the grief.
And make no mistake about it… a break up is a grieving process. You are feeling the loss of yourself, your partner, your relationship, your past, your present, and your future. These things take time to heal. And that is the answer to the question about hwo to deal with a breakup that no one wants to hear. TIME!
You gotta give yourself time to cope, grieve, think, change, and recharge. I could tell you a lot of stories about myself and others that found the strength to become a whole person rather than look for someone to complete them after a breakup…. but it doesn’t really matter. You have to find that out for yourself.
And that more than anything else is what I would hope in truth for all of those suffering from the pain of a breakup. That you would realize that this is a time for you to take inventory in yourself, to regroup and rediscover who you are, what you value, and what you want for your life.
We often make the mistake of thinking that a breakup is about the other person but really it is about ourselves as individuals. It is the time for reflection (if we are ready for it or not) to deal with the choices we have made and those we will make in the future.
So cry, scream, be upset, feel the hurt and breathe again remembering that you still have you and that as corny as it may sound when you are in a stronger place you will realize just how important YOU really are!
There is so much emphasis in our society put on ending romantic relationships but very little about friendship. Recently a client was discussing how after her divorce a friend commented that she was also divorcing her friends. This came as a shock to her system. She knew that some friends would pick sides but she never thought that she might also be acting in a way that would push some away.
All parts of our life are interconnected. Hence it makes sense that when we have a major event (like a break up) happen that it will blend into everything else. Our emotions are not on a solitary island just sitting around in the sun reading a good book. They are moving around and brought up based on our thoughts, environment, sense data, situations, and our whole mind/body connection. The truth is… just about anything can trigger us when we have had something big happen in our lives.
During a break up we feel a mix of feelings and at times it can seem overwhelming. We often take a look back and forward and get a little scared at the choices we have made and will contintue to make. Many of these fears are based on lessons learned from our family interactions. Still, even if we are not aware of what is exactly going on when we see multiple shifts in our lives all at once, there is usually something that strings it all together.
For example, you have a break up and then you find yourself having a big blow up at work or more specific to this is the idea that you and a friend are at odds. You have a hot and cold relationship with a friend for years and now you finally can’t take it anymore. You have ended your romantic relationship and it just seems like too much to keep on with a friendship that isn’t really working. Numerous factors come into the situation here. It is possible that you are just overloaded with other emotions and need a break to center and it has nothing to do with your friendship. It could be that your friend is overwhelmed in his/her life and needs a break to center and all will be better once you two take some time apart.
And there are other potential issues … those focusing on internal struggles from the past and present. If your friendship mirrors your most recent romantic relationship there is a good chance that you will naturally see those problems areas as something that is in need of change. Also, if you have a past template (perhaps from a parent) of this relationship, you will most likely need the desire to make a change as well. Very rarely, are we conscious of these triggers but we tend to react in a dramatic way that creates a shift.
Many times the initial “spike” (as I tend to call it) has little to do with the current relationship but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a part of it. No matter the context, being able to see your pattern and make change is crucial. You can have a big-knock-down-drag-out-fight with a friend as a way of getting away from your past romantic (and/or familial relationships). However, I would encourage a more thoughtful and gentle approach.
If you are experiencing some overlap with relationships after a breakup then write them down. Really take some time to investitage what areas feel as if they are really hard right now (or perhaps always have been) and consider how your friendship works to deal with these concerns. Then when you are in a calm place emotionally think through addressing these issues with your friend. Imagine what it would be like if you had an adult-healthy interaction with this person …stating your needs and things you would like to change between the two of you. Assuming you can envision something positive then take the next step and talk with your friend. Explain that some areas have come up due to your recent break up that makes the friendship strained and that you would like the two of you to work together to change this dynamic.
Now if you don’t see the possibility of working through the issues, then you can take some space. You do not have to create and all or nothing situation in the friendship. You can suggest that you need some time to sort through some recent emotions and that you will be in touch with the person when you have worked through them. This creates a boundary for yourself, which is important, as well as not burning bridges of the friendship. You may never change your mind but then again with time you might be in a different place to want to be closer again.
The main points are not to just react… make conscious choices, look at what is upsetting you, consider the patterns, and then work towards change within yourself. You have the strength and skills to change your relationships. You can not control what the other person does but you can control yourself. Acting in the most honorable, caring, and calm way possible allows you to feel as if you have done all you can to handle the situation. This means that if you do have to walk away from the friendship you can hold your head high knowing that you treated the other person as you would want to be treated if the situation were reversed.
—I recommend also looking at a recent article about how to get closure on friendships that have ended.