Getting through a break up is not easy. Even if you are the one who decided to leave the relationship, it can make you feel like you’ve fallen into a deep dark pit.
Sometimes it can be hard to make sense of all of the emotions that come up or to understand why you are struggling so much.
Well-meaning friends and family don’t seem to understand. They insist you just need to get on a dating site or to agree to being set up with someone. If only you would do this, they tell you, getting though this break up won’t be so hard. Eventually, they say, you’ll forget about your old relationship.
But inside, you feel consumed by grief, anxiety about the future and plenty of self-criticism about the past. And, no matter how hard you try you just can’t move on.
I know that things may feel dark right now, but I’ve got two things I want you to know.
First, there is nothing flawed with you because you are finding this is hard. Your struggle and experience is valid and difficult. We’re biologically wired for attachment and connection. When a relationship comes to an end, it’s an innate, natural human reaction in the part of our brains that detects a “threat” become activated.
From a neuroscience perspective, then, this explains why find ourselves feeling a whole host of emotions like rejection, anger and fear. It also explains why we can get caught thinking repeatedly about this person or the relationship that has ended.
The second thing is that it is possible to get through this break up and feel whole again.
Diane Poole Heller, a leading expert in the field of adult attachment theory, trauma resolution, and integrative healing techniques teaches that we are fundamentally designed to heal.
Even if you relationship ended because of attachment traumas like infidelity. Or, you have a past history of painful relationships dating back to your childhood, emotional health and learning how to experience secure attachment again is possible.
6 tips to help deal with a break up
1. Allow yourself to feel your feelings
Yes, I know, no one wants to feel sad, lonely or rejected, but trying to ignore, distract or numb yourself from this reality will bring about greater suffering in the long term. Experiment with naming the feelings as they come up.
There is some solid research to indicate that recognizing, naming and acknowledging our emotions can actually help us move through that state of being more quickly and feel less fear and anxiety.
2. Discover your passions
When we are in a relationship, even a healthy one, we cannot always devote as much time to our passions as we might like. It can be a challenge to carve out time to keep connected with our partner and spend as much time as we would like pursuing out passions.
There are definite benefits of being single, and this is one of them. Always wanted to learn how to make ceramics? Travel the world? Try something new at the gym?
While it might not feel like it right now, being single does allow you to be more focused on what you need and want.
3. Practice Gratitude
This is not the story you wanted. You never imagined being 26…or 42….or 57 and having to start over and rebuild your life.
Gratitude under these circumstances might seem like the furthest thing from your mind.
But there is some solid evidence that practicing gratitude helps shape our minds, feelings and behaviour. And that might be just what you need right now. Read on to find out more about the practice of gratitude.
4. Be smart with social media
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard something that sounds like this “I though I was doing OK with our break up. Then I decided to look them up on social media. I wasn’t ready to see them _______________. Now I feel like I am falling apart and can’t stop thinking about what I saw.
The draw to use social media to check on your ex is makes sense. Here is this person that was once so so close to you and now it feels like you’ve been cut loose.
The urge to know what they are up to can feel so strong. People mistakenly think that if they use social media to ‘get some closure’ they will be able to move on. But honestly, I’ve never heard someone say that creeping their ex on social media helped them heal or feel more whole after the end of the relationship. So, just don’t.
5. Revisit your Values
What kind of a person do you want to be? How do you want to show up as a partner in a relationship when you get back int one?
Sometimes when we are in a relationship, we get out of alignment with our values.
Now is the time to take stock. You can use this 7 day Workbook to help you dive deeper into this.
Living in alignment with your values and knowing that you can have a rich and meaningful life, whether you are single or in a relationship, is healing.
6. Find a good therapist
This is especially true if you experienced violence or abuse of any kind in your relationship, or have a history of relational trauma (with parents or previous partners). Often people with a history of wounds from previous relationships, have or develop anxious, avoidant or disorganize attachment styles.
Why does this matter?
Because our attachment styles often come with us into our next relationship. This could lead us into potentially unhealthy ways of having our needs met or choosing a partner who is not truly emotionally available. You can learn to build healthy secure attachment with the help of a therapist.
Remember, grieving the loss of a relationship is completely normal. Give yourself the time and space you need to get through the breakup.If you need someone to help you through your breakup, please reach out to book a session with me.
Marcy is a Clinical Social Worker in Halifax, NS who specializes in working with couples, relationships issues and women who struggle with anxiety, perfectionism and feeling overwhelmed to heal, grow and thrive.
If you’d like to book a free 15 minute consultation with Marcy click here. Or call her Assistant Stephanie at (902) 702-7722 to schedule.
Find out more about how we can work together.
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