Let’s face it: Breaking up is no fun.
Whether you’re the one who has ended things, or the one who’s been pushed away, keep in mind that the best way out of the pain of a break up is through it. In other words, give yourself permission to feel what you feel when you feel it. The most common emotions most people deal with at such times include one or more of the following:
It is not uncommon to experience more than one feeling at a time. For example, one could be feeling both sad and angry at the same time.
Remember that a breakup can be one of your life’s greatest stresses and challenges. Therefore it is best to treat yourself with an extra degree of kindness and tenderness, just as you might treat anyone you cared about who was going through an emotional crisis or rough time. This means you also need to be patient with both yourself and the process you’re going through. Never accept breakup advice from a friend who says, “Just move on and get over it.” Doing this often results in what is known as “baggage”, which consists of the unprocessed feelings from a past relationship. If you allow yourself to go through all of it now, you won’t be dragging any baggage into your next relationship.
Through 25 years of therapeutic work, as well as from my own personal experience (including a divorce) I’ve learned that the best strategy for getting through a breakup in the healthiest and quickest way is this:
Reach Out. Go in. Reach up.
I. Reach Out: This is the time to enter therapy if you feel you could use it, even just for the short term, so you can process the many feelings that are there inside you and get through it in one piece. Also this is the time to reach out to friends. Remember a time you were there for a friend in need? Did it feel good to be able to help? Of course it did. Well, now’s the time to give your friends that opportunity to be there for you. The same also goes for family members. But with friends or family, choose wisely: Who will give you the kind of support you need right now? Who will be less judgmental? Who will be good at listening and just being there? And remember, face time in person is always the most healing time.
II. Go In: Balance being with others with being alone. Sometimes allowing yourself to just stay quiet in your own home can help. Some people choose music that feels healing and helps them feel their pain. Others pursue a creative outlet, like writing or art or dance. Some people going through the most painful kind of breakups have needed to, in a sense, put a “Closed For Repairs” sign on their door, because sometimes we just need time to heal. But try to balance this with Reaching Out and Reaching Up.
III. Reach Up: If you have a Higher Power, be it God or simply a spiritual connection to something greater than yourself, now’s the time to reach out and ask for healing, wisdom and comfort. If you’re neither a religious nor a spiritual person, spend some time in nature: a park or near body of water. Some people find this natural energy to have a soothing effect. Getting in physical touch and closeness with anything that’s bigger and that lasts longer than you can help put your problems into perspective.
Keep in mind that short-term work with a good therapist or counselor can go a long way at such a time. If you’d like to speak with me to explore getting some help, feel free to call or email me with no obligation.
The sooner you take action, the better off you’ll be.
To schedule by phone, call or text 718.314.6064.