When a relationship ends, our intellectual self knows it is over for a reason.
We may feel satisfied, until the shock settles.
Then the pain starts to kick in—emotional pain that devastates the heart, mind, and body. The cycle of emotions resulting from loss begins. One moment we are crying, the next we are angry, and then we’re in denial. We cycle through these thoughts in no particular order and our survival mode seeks a solution to feel better.
We reach out to friends, family, self-help resources, maybe a therapist. Making it through each day feels like a major accomplishment. And then our coping mechanisms begin to fail.
With limited sleep and energy our brain is running on adrenaline. The fantasies of winning back our ex become real and we enter the delusional realm. Self talk occurs: “I know he/she misses me,” and “I know he/she wants me back.”
These delusional thoughts play tricks on us—it is impossible to know what he/she is thinking or doing. We may block this ex from all of our social media and block their number on our phone, but these tactics fail because they’re done too soon in our healing process. We convince ourselves our ex has been trying to reach us and we’ve missed it! Now what? And a new cycle begins.
This cycle is where we slowly begin to lose ourselves and our dignity. We begin to reach out to him or her with false expectations. When they don’t respond, or we hear something different than we had hoped, we begin to feel ignored or angry. This is when obsession begins. We become focused on gaining their attention, but under our own pretenses. Our actions at this point are why we are labelled the awful stereotype of “psycho-ex.”
We are not crazy. We are in pain and don’t know how to heal ourselves.
The psychology behind why some of us can’t bounce back in a healthy manner is never-ending. Some of us are much less resilient than others because of our experiences in childhood with unhealthy role models or traumatic losses at an early age. The causes do need to be explored eventually. We may find the pain we are feeling from the loss of this relationship isn’t even about this particular person.
Sharing some strategies that have brought me peacefulness may resonate:
Feelings are frightening. They can be paralyzing, confusing, and consuming. Just breathe. We need to allow these powerful emotions to flow through our mind and body. It can help bring clarity and further awareness. Natural tears represent our capacity to feel. We are not numb; we are tender human beings. Our mind and body have intentional messages to share.
Rebuilding strength is essential for our whole being. We may have a self-care routine that isn’t offering any release and setting a new intention could be the rebirth we need.
Yoga and meditation are tremendously effective at rebuilding emotional and physical strength. Taking in fresh air and drinking water replenish oxygen and can help us breathe more deeply and intently. Being kind and having self-forgiveness can feel re-energizing. A wide array of thoughts may seem to race by—allowing them to enter and exit may bring peace. The reflective practice of keeping a journal can be fruitful in many ways, both now and later.
Keep your dignity.
Use positive self-talk to keep yourself in the present moment. We may need regular reminders that our relationship is over for a reason. Regardless of who initiated it, or if there was a specific cause, it happened. Understanding the reason is not important in this moment; taking care of ourselves is.
We cannot control anyone or anything, except for our own mind and body. Reaching out to him/her now has potential to set us back and we may then become angry with ourselves for doing so. We are stronger and smarter than our reactive selves. The reactive self wants an immediate and affirming response. No one can give us this and attempts to get it will only cause frustration, embarrassment, and deeper sadness. Remaining focused on our well-being in this moment is all that matters.
Set a personal goal.
Setting a time-frame to allow healing to take place can give us back the power we need before confirming any decisions.
The healing process is different for everyone and setting small, attainable goals can feel rewarding. The need to check in with our heart, mind, and body may be needed often now, but will lessen as times goes by. A personal goal may be permission to contact your ex at a point in the future.
Trusting the healing process can also help us rebuild self-trust, and the belief that we have the strength needed to get through this. We have all had to break a habit in our lives and we know it takes at least 90 days to break. Our whole self is familiar with daily phone calls and texts with our ex. We feel a severe withdrawal when this suddenly stops. We need to relax and allow time to process without any expectations to rush the healing.
We all desire some kind of magical advice on how to win him or her back.
It takes tremendous strength, energy, and mindful balance to recover from loss, and a breakup can be a significant loss. Sometimes it can be even more confusing than losing a person to death. A breakup can be perceived as temporary and we may not permit ourselves to accept it and let go, therefore remaining stuck in false reality.
Following these guidelines can create knowledge and understanding, empowerment, endurance, and self-trust. It is believed that developing these attributes will foster healing and clarity—both of which are needed whether we choose to re-enter the same relationship, or choose a fresh and healthy new relationship.
We all deserve to feel confident and in control of the choices we make, and in doing so we will feel deeper happiness.
Author: Kristin Devaney
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Francesca Dioni/Flickr