How to be strong after a breakup
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Download the appGrief will heal the wound. hsyncoban/Getty
- Staying strong during a breakup doesn't mean acting totally normal or suppressing pain. Instead, it's about feeling your feelings in a healthy way and moving toward healing.
- Give yourself time and space to breathe, but don't isolate yourself or wallow in pity constantly. Trying out new coping habits and staying in touch with friends will help.
- Don't constantly check your ex's social media, and, if you find yourself thinking about them, change the channel in your brain. Instead, try and establish a new normal.
- Don't feel ashamed for telling people that you're having a rough go of it, and consider talking to a professional.
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Although a painful breakup may cause you to think life as you know it is over, the world doesn't stop because your relationship ended. You'll need to figure out how to carry on your daily activities — including work — even when your heart feels broken.
Being mentally strong when you're going through a breakup isn't about suppressing your pain or acting like you don't care.
Instead, it's about taking the steps you need to heal your broken heart so you can feel better again. Here's how to stay mentally strong when you're going through a breakup:
Allow yourself to grieveGrief is what will heal the wound. Alliance/Shutterstock
The end of a relationship can create a giant emotional wound. And grief is the process that will heal that wound.
Allow yourself to feel sad about what you lost. You may grieve over everything from those Friday night dates you used to have together to the future you'd already planned out in your mind.
Sadness, anger, hurt, embarrassment, anxiety, and disappointment are just a few of the emotions that might get stirred up. Allow yourself to experience all of these emotions, even when they're uncomfortable.
Practice healthy coping skillsExperiment with things like journaling or meditation. WAYHOME studio/Shutterstock
You may be tempted to do anything you can to escape your emotions. Whether you want to numb the pain with food and alcohol or you try to distract yourself from feeling bad by constantly scrolling through your smartphone, unhealthy coping skills only lead to long-term pain.
Practice healthy ways to deal with uncomfortable emotions. Experiment with a variety of coping skills to discover what works for you — go for a walk, call a friend, write in a journal, practice meditation, or listen to music.
Whatever you do, make sure you do things that help you go through painful emotions without creating more long-term problems for yourself. Eating comfort food because you're sad, drinking because you're anxious, or texting an ex who isn't good for you because you're lonely might make you feel better for a minute, but they'll introduce new problems into your life.
Don't host a pity partyIt keeps you stuck. Maskot/Getty Images
While feeling sad can help you honor what you lost, self-pity is different. This can take the form of exaggeratedly negative thoughts like, "I'll never be happy again" or "My life is ruined forever."
When you start making catastrophic predictions or exaggerating your misfortune, catch yourself. Remind yourself that although heartache hurts, you're going to be OK. And someday it won't hurt quite so much if you put in the work toward healing your heart.
Hosting a pity party will keep you stuck in a place of pain. When you insist that your life is over, you'll dig in your heels and prevent yourself from getting better.
Create a mantra that you can repeat to yourself like, "This hurts, but I'll be OK." Use it to drown out the thoughts that encourage self-pity.
Recall other tough things you've endured. Remembering how you got through hardship before will remind you that you're stronger than you think.
Don't keep checking up on your exIt'll only stall your healing process. Shutterstock
Checking on your ex's social media profiles may help you temporarily feel better. After all, seeing what your ex is up to helps you feel connected in some way.
But it'll stall your healing process. Looking at Instagram pics or Twitter updates delays you from experiencing your loss at a realistic level.
You may need to mute, block, or unfriend your ex, as painful as that may feel. But doing so now can help you feel better in the long run.
Change the channel in your brain when you start thinking about your exTry distracting yourself with friends. Hero Images/Getty Images
While you don't want to distract yourself from uncomfortable emotions, you do want to distract yourself from certain types of thoughts about your ex.
If you catch yourself romanticizing the past — perhaps thinking about all those great things your ex always did for you — remind yourself of all the bad things, too. No relationship is perfect, but when you're missing someone, you might convince yourself that your ex was flawless.
Don't let yourself daydream about a future together either. Thinking that you'll get back together and live happily ever after can be part bliss, part self-torture. But it will do nothing for your healing process.
If you've got your ex on your mind, change the channel in your brain. Distract yourself with a brief activity, like talking to a friend about something other than your ex. Or get up and get moving with a task that requires some serious brain power, like a difficult puzzle.
Get activeTake up a new hobby. Getty Images / Lukas Hodon
At some point in your grief process — not right away, but not too far down the road either — it's important to start establishing a new sense of normal for yourself.
The best way to do this is by taking action. Maybe you start spending more time with your friends. Or, maybe you find a new hobby or develop a new side hustle.
The point is, don't let yourself sit at home alone doing nothing week after week. Otherwise you'll never begin to feel better.
Talk to someoneTherapy can help you process healthily. Lucy Lambriex/Getty Images
Don't be ashamed to tell people you're having a rough time. People who know you well will recognize that you're struggling, so you might as well acknowledge it.
If you're having a difficult time mending your broken heart on your own, seek professional help. Therapists can assist you in moving through the grief process in a healthy way. Just keep in mind that staying mentally strong during a breakup isn't about insisting you're not sad. It's about a willingness to take care of yourself and deal with tough emotions head on so you can mend a broken heart.
Read nextFeatures original contributor contributor 2019
11 Breakup Survival Tips (That Don't Involve Positive Thinking)
by Karen Young
Breakups are as much a part of the human experience as a breathing oxygen and not licking cactuses. It’s actual science that going through a breakup does the same thing to your body as withdrawal from an addiction, activating the part of the brain associated with motivation, reward and addiction cravings.
As well as this, emotional pain triggers the same pathways in the brain as physical pain.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that it will get better.
If you’re going through a breakup now you’ll probably want to file that under ‘B‘ for ‘But you don’t get it – no-body has ever lost like I’ve lost.’ Yes. It’s highly possible that humankind is unfamiliar with the level of wretched misery you’ve fallen to now, but read on anyway, because the ugly truth is that the only way through a breakup is straight through the middle. Here’s how to start with that:
Don’t make any big decisions.
Tattoos, relationships, work and cutting off your locks. It might seem seem like a good idea to get ‘Just Breathe,’ or ‘Live Life‘ tattooed in times roman 120pt on your forearm but seriously, if you need these sort of reminders so badly as to have them embedded into your skin, then you’re in no position to be making life-lasting decisions. They might all turn out to be great decisions one day, but make them when Rhianna stops singing ‘Love the way you lie’ in your head. ‘Just gonna stand there and watch me bu…’ Don’t. Just don’t.
Unfriend him (or her) on Facebook. Do it right now. We’ll wait.
He’s not going to be posting sad faced ‘missing you’ selfies from the places you used to go – and anything else, you don’t need to know about. Keeping up the follow will swallow you whole. The only reason to have him there is to check he’s not getting on with his life too happily without you. He will be. So will you, without him, just as soon as you stop the Facebook stalk. If you’re going to keep him friended, just rip your heart from your chest, hand it over and tell him to squeeze. It will hurt a lot less.
Exercise. Just not at the gym he goes to. At the same time he goes there.
Possibly the only exercise you’ll feel like doing is hurling ‘that’ photo of both of you across the room but if you can manage something more active (though perhaps less cathartic) you will feel better afterwards. Cortisol, the stress hormone, will be making itself at home inside you. One way to take the fire out of cortisol is to exercise. Exercise will also stimulate the brain to release endorphins (the feel good chemicals) and you’ll already be short on them so you’ve got nothing to lose. You don’t have to work up a sweat – going for a walk will do. A caveat though: If the activity involves walking slowly past his house or climbing up the stormwater pipe to get a look into his window, it doesn’t count as exercise. It counts as stalking.
Get rid of texting capacity if you’re going to have a drink. A couple of drinks won’t make you Shakespeare. They just won’t.
Alcohol is a depressant, so if you’re on a downhill slide it’s best to stay away from it. If you are going to have a drink though, protect yourself at all costs from the temptation to drunk text. You’re human. You’ll want to. But don’t fall for the courage that comes in a bottle of decent pinot. It’s been fed by slightly hammered wisdom and it won’t end well. Never. Ever. Just give your phone to a friend you trust and tell her to feed it to a pack of wolves before even thinking of giving it back to you. Unless you’re totally – totally – sober. You won’t need to explain why. She’ll get it.
Connect with friends and family.
The real ones. Not the ones who you haven’t heard from since the last crisis. The real ones who will sit through ‘Love Actually’ with you for the 37th time and eat microwaved Indian from the dodgy plastic container it came in last night because you used the last clean plate three days ago. One of the reasons a breakup hurts so much is because it messes around with the primal need to be connected to other people. You might not be able to be with the one person you want to be with, but spending time with your tribe will feed the human need for connection and will bring a much needed boost of oxytocin (the happy hormone) you’ve been missing. And those real friends? On the way out the door they’ll pop the dishwasher on before telling you they’ve organised for both of you to do salsa dancing classes to get you out of the house. Don’t argue. Just go. There’s a good chance you’re starting to smell like a week-long temper and it will only get worse.
Give your bedroom a bit of a reno. And get some sleep.
Buy new sheets, new pjs and new scented candles for your bedroom – nothing that reminds you of him. Get rid of anything that makes you think of what you’ve lost. And then remind yourself that you haven’t lost it because it wasn’t there. Otherwise he would be too. Shake away those sepia dusted images of the two of you at your almost-but-not-quite spring wedding staring longingly at each other or the buffet. Keep your ‘OMG My Wedding Yay’ Pinterest board though. It will still come in handy one day. If you want it to. It just won’t be with him – and that will be okay, you’ll see. And stop falling asleep on the couch in your day clothes.
Eat Healthy. Or don’t. Whatever. Just don’t keep it going for too long.
You’re doing it tough. You’ve got enough to worry about – you don’t need to get sick on top of everything else. Give your body what it needs to function. Eat healthy and eat regularly. Of course, the occasional crowd-pleaser bucket of fried chicken won’t hurt. Everything in moderation. Or in a delicious crunchy coating.
He’s gone. He’s not coming back. But you are.
Every breakup survival needs a breakup comeback. When the time is right, plan for yours. Do something you wouldn’t have done while you were with him – and no – that doesn’t mean hooking up with Russell, the 40-something from accounts with the earring and gold bracelet who threw you a cheesey line at office drinks. He’s not the only man to own a guitar and being able to play the first four bars of The Simpsons doesn’t make him a musician. Leave Russell where you found him – possibly texting Shona, Shaniqua and Shaniya – and instead learn Italian, cook French, buy new lingerie (with you in mind, because you deserve it), plan a girls trip to Morocco – or if you’re budget’s gasping for breath, a girls’ trip to Target for your new lacy knickers will do fine.
Don’t meet up for coffee as friends. Actually, don’t do anything as friends.
There is nothing in this ‘let’s be friends’ thing for you. No doubt you’re a mature, emotionally together lady-human who can deal with this just fine, and deal with it you will … until he wants to introduce you to his new friend Sally – ‘Sal’ – the pilates instructor who snacks on kale and beetroot juice and drops a quick line about the movie they saw last night together. Together. As in, to-geth-er. Rational heads don’t necessarily follow broken hearts. There. I said it. So when they go to the movies, you (quietly) go to ‘What. A. Jackass. Did I ever really know him no I don’t think I did because we’ve been untogether for three months now which is practically five minutes in breakup years and now he’s watching movies with some girl and that can only mean that they’re shagging and she says his name like they’re practically engaged and I can’t believe this did he ever really care about me at awwwwwwlllll?’ Sound familiar? Nope? Well maybe just me then. At any rate, you loved him once remember. And he loved you. It’s hard to go backwards from that.
If you can take the dignified high road and forgive and forget and be friends, good for you, but you might be heading for trouble. You’ve been there. Done that. Nothing to gain from doing it again. In this sort of relationship, someone will always want more. And it probably won’t be him – especially if it’s only been weeks since he was outta there. If he is the one that wants more, then still ‘no’. A few weeks is never enough for him to ”find himself’. He’s not a remote that slipped behind the couch. It’s never that simple. Never.
Of course, if you have kids together you will have to stay on friendly terms (at least in front of the kids). It might not be easy but you’re a woman who will always love your kids more than you’ll want to hate any man so you’ll be fine. You’re phenomenal. And that’s why you’re his loss. Remember that.
Look for what it can give you.
Sometimes when you’re down it’s because there’s something down there you’re meant to find. As part of your breakup survival, look for the gems. What can you learn? Why did you choose the relationship? What’s the wisdom that’s left for you when everything is said and done? Everyone comes into our lives to learn from us or to teach us. What have you learnt? The fact that it’s over doesn’t mean it wasn’t important. It just means it’s run its course and it’s no longer the right one. Use it as a step up to the one that is.
You only have to get through today.
Don’t think too far ahead. It still has the imprints of you and him with your perfectly behaved children, that spring wedding and you running that marathon (actually, keep that one – just don’t have him at the finish line ready to receive you and your gazelle-esque stride). Just don’t go there. Unless it’s to make real plans for something fun. You only have to get through today. You can deal with tomorrow when it gets to you. Just put one foot in front of the other and it will get easier. Promise.
Above all else remember that the path to wisdom and a happy life is often littered with shards of broken hearts, including our own. And keep going. You’ll get there.
What are your breakup survival remedies? Let us know in the comments below …
How to survive a breakup - Lifehacker
Why you feel bad from a scientific point of view
At the very beginning of a relationship, oxytocin and dopamine are produced in the brain. When a partner is nearby and everything is fine, the reward system turns on and a whole cocktail of hormones is released into the blood. And we think we are happy.
After parting, the reward system ceases to work, the body begins to break down. The stress hormones produced affect the immune, digestive, and cardiovascular systems.
The systems that are responsible for the perception of pain are also activated. That is why it seems to the brain that we are physically hurt, although in fact everything is in order with the body.
How to survive a breakup
Allow yourself to suffer
Yes, that's right. There is no need to artificially invigorate. I want to cry - cry. If you want to scream - scream (just don't forget about the neighbors who can hear you). Sing sad songs in the shower. Watch TV serials.
You will be told that everyone is breaking up and there is no need to make a tragedy out of it. Don't listen or try to hide the pain. No one knows what's in your heart but you. If it hurts, let it hurt. Cry until the tears run out, until you feel better, or at least until the devastation sets in.
Your strength will return, but it will take time. Each person has their own time.
Don't blame yourself
The decision to break up doesn't come overnight. And not even for a month. Most often, it is accompanied by a long process of reflection.
The reasons can be very different. But that doesn't mean you missed something somewhere. This means that both of you have long begun to lose contact.
Responsibility always lies with both, although not always equally. It is not necessary to calculate who is more to blame. Look to the future and don't repeat your mistakes.
Don't blame yourself. Yes, you could get irritated less often or demand less. But the partner could talk to you about it.
Do not try to return your partner
If it seems to you that there is nothing left in life and you need to return everything, stop. Fear speaks to you.
It's scary to be alone after a long relationship. And this is a completely normal reaction.
Do not give in to fear. Don't try to get your ex back with humiliated requests. Even if he returns, nothing good will come of such a relationship.
Get down to business
When the first sharp pain is over, go where you couldn't or didn't have time to go together. Watch movies that you liked but your ex didn't. Think about a hobby abandoned during a relationship.
Do things you would never do together. This will allow you to feel a freedom that was not there before.
In many cities dance, drawing, clay modeling, knitting or metal burning studios are now open. Trial lessons are often free. Why not try? In the worst case, you will lose an hour. At best, you will find a job that you love with all your heart.
Immediately after a breakup, many people lose weight because they can starve for days on end. But when the resources of the body are completely depleted, the appetite wakes up and the weight begins to grow.
At the same time, you want not just to eat, but to seize a bad mood with high-carbohydrate foods: pizza, ice cream, chocolate. If at the same time you move a little, the weight will grow even faster.
Therefore, you need to move, even if only minimally.
Make a list of good things
Do you think the world has faded and nothing good is left? This is not true. Your brain simply reacts to stress, and one day the black bar will end.
In the meantime, make a list of the good things you have. Work, friends, books, a collection of stamps or favorite cups, the taste of hot coffee in the morning, the smell of freshly cut grass, shopping - whatever brings you joy.
Add items to the list regularly, and when it gets really bad, re-read.
Change of scenery
If everything around reminds you of a former partner, you should think about changing the situation. Can't leave? Rearrange, buy new curtains or dishes. Changing the color scheme will help you tune in a different way. Experiment.
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- 13 apps and services for interior design
- 11 ways to add color to the interior and not overdo it
- How to create a luxurious interior on a small budget
Chat with friends
You can talk to them, they will support you in difficult times. But do not forget about their feelings, ask before talking about the breakup. Perhaps at this very moment your friend is not ready to listen to you or ready, but not able to give advice.
You don't need to communicate with those people who will aggravate your emotional state with phrases like "I told you, it's my own fault." As soon as you find something that can bring you relief, and those people who will support you, immediately start using this resource.
And don't forget to listen and support your friends in return.
Do 5 Exercises
The exercises recommended by psychologist Daphne Rose Kingma in her book How to Get Over a Breakup will help you understand why things happened the way they did. The main thing is to take them only when the first pain subsides. Otherwise, they can make things worse.
You can print on the computer or take a separate notebook. The second option has an advantage: the paper can be symbolically torn or burned after the exercises are completed.
Do not do exercises in succession. Take on the next one when the emotions subside. Do not try to unsubscribe: this is not an essay that needs to be completed and handed in as soon as possible. No one but you will see what you write.
1. Return to the roots
Briefly tell us about your acquaintance, first date, the beginning of a stormy romance, the time when you just got together. Describe exactly what hopes you had for your ex-partner.
Now focus on the "evidence" - something that even then foreshadowed problems. It could be some physical or psychological trait.
2. Describe how your relationship developed
First of all, tell us about what happened in your life outside of the relationship. Describe your status at that time. Have you ever been single or have you dreamed of falling in love? Or maybe you were in a relationship with another person? What did you want to achieve? What to experience?
Describe what you could offer your partner and what he or she could offer you.
Now describe how and when the "evidence" appeared. What did you feel?
Imagine that a movie is being made about your relationship. What name would you give it? You can describe the poster and come up with a synopsis of the story.
Tell us the real reason for your breakup. Is this reason related to the task of developing you or your partner?
Daphne Rose Kingma
A few examples: “I outgrew my need for a mommy”, “I finally understood my strengths”, “We raised children”, “We were connected only by sex, it was not enough”.
3. Analyze the gap
Mentally return to the turning point. When did you realize that something inside clicked and hurt? If you were not the initiator of the gap, then this happened later. Describe your feelings at that moment.
Make a list of reasons why your relationship would still fail.
Write a poison letter to your ex. Freely express your repressed emotions in it, whether it be pain, rage or anger.
Now describe your feelings of guilt. You can self-flagellate as much as you like - the paper will endure everything.
Remember that there are two manifestations of guilt. The first has to do with self-flagellation. The second is a real confession of guilt for some actions. Remember the times when you manipulated, said nasty things, tried to make your ex-partner angry.
This is unpleasant, but it will help you recognize your shortcomings and get rid of them.
Now write a confession letter to your former partner. You do not need to show him or her what you have written - this is done only for you. Admitting mistakes frees you from guilt.
Finally, write a letter of forgiveness to yourself. You have done a great job and deserve forgiveness from the most important person in your life - yourself.
4. Describe all the good things that this relationship gave you
Try writing a thank you note to an ex or ex.
5. Reassess reality
Invent a new role for your ex.
Describe the task you are currently facing. What do you want from the future? How do you see your new partner?
Daphne Rose Kingma
Regardless of how people feel about their breakup, whether they understand that they are still in anguish and confusion, whether they are convinced that they will never be able to come to terms with a breakup, they all left after classes with the feeling that they managed to rise to a more conscious level of perception.
See a psychologist or psychotherapist
Pain after a breakup is normal. But if it doesn't go away, you may be depressed. If you do not eat all day or, on the contrary, overeat, if you are depressed and everything falls out of your hands, if you think slowly and do not move at all, it's time to think about a visit to a psychotherapist.
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Do's and Don'ts to get over a breakup
Don't look for casual sex
It probably won't help, and you'll feel even worse than before. The desire to have sex is generated by withdrawal. The brain lacks oxytocin, and so we look for someone to comfort us.
Not convinced? Then at least don't get drunk before a date. Alcohol is a depressant. So instead of an enchanting orgasm, you will only get resentment towards the former and a feeling of guilt, and the next morning you will also have a hangover.
And remember about contraception.
Do not bully or blackmail
Emotional blackmail is often used by the person who has been dumped. The goal is to make the former partner feel guilty and uncomfortable. If the former partner really feels guilty, then he will not answer and besiege you when necessary.
Why can't you do that? Because it's low.
Do not start a relationship immediately after a breakup
Some people try to forget their former partner in this way. Sometimes it works. Sometimes new relationships are strong. But more often than not, they only make things worse. The patch won't help when you need stitches.
Don't force mutual friends to take sides
Don't give ultimatums in the first place. People don't like it.
If your former partner was abusive, mistreated or violent, and your friends still associate with him and take his side, consider whether you need such friends.
Read also 👀
- 12 mistakes after a breakup that will turn your life into a nightmare
How to forget your ex-partner
Remove him from all social networks
After a breakup, some people begin to intensively monitor the social networks of their former passions. Someone - in the hope of seeing signs of an imminent return: "In the last photo, she is sad because she misses me." Someone - out of gloating: "How he got burned on vacation, now, I suppose, the skin is peeling off."
Your former partner has a different life now. And if you see posts about her in your feed, it can be hard for you. So clean up the tape. It will also be useful to delete all correspondence.
And don't give secret (as you think) signals about yourself. Do not post photos, statuses, quotes like "I'm hard to find and easy to lose" and so on. Realize that the more time and energy you spend on an ending relationship, the more you get stuck in it.
Return all things and gifts to him
Just so that nothing reminds him of the past. This is difficult if you have lived together for a long time and bought a lot together. But without reminders, you can get over the breakup faster.
If he or she doesn't want to take his things, give them to someone or throw them away. You can even break. There is a chance that it will become a little easier.
How to stay friends
You don't have to keep a good relationship if you don't want to. Even if you have several common children or apartments. Only you can decide how to proceed with your ex. Listen to yourself, not to others.
If you still decide to remain friends, that's fine. Let it be hard.
Respect each other
This is the most important thing. If you feel like saying something not very nice, try holding back.
Take a deep breath, or several if necessary. Think about why emotions have become so strong and why they are so difficult to contain. When you find the reason, it becomes easier.
When you're both ready, it's time to talk about the relationship and why it ended.
Keep your distance
As hard as it is, you are no longer together. We need to learn to find new boundaries in relationships with each other, and this takes time.
If a former partner feels guilty, he may try to help you as before. Do not encourage this and sit on his neck.
Remember that life does not end with relationships. And even if it seems that there is no gap, if you are tormented by guilt, do not despair. Once you lived without your partner, which means you can again.
Parting is the beginning of a new life. It gives you the opportunity to grow above yourself, become more conscious and happier.
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- How to survive after a divorce: advice for women
How to survive a breakup - advice from a psychologist
- Two types of relationships
- Causes of neurotic love
- The Five Consequences of Breaking Up
- How to help yourself
- How to get over a breakup
- Psychologist's advice
Healthy and neurotic relationships
Breaking up a relationship is always stressful and difficult to deal with. Moreover, a gap can occur both in healthy relationships and in neurotic ones. Breaking up a healthy relationship is easier. In such cases, the couple is usually in dialogue, this decision does not become a bolt from the blue. Most often, the decision to leave is made together, the partners are prepared for changes in life, everyone is confident in their abilities, expects the best from the future and is adapted to a new life. Of course, even if the decision was balanced, it takes time to emotionally, physically and from the everyday point of view to separate from the partner, to adjust to a new rhythm. And yet, in this case, all this is experienced as something that can be overcome and lived on.
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The rupture of neurotic relationships is more difficult. In this case, within the union there was no practice of confidential communication, an open dialogue, where partners frankly express their will and desires. Often partners do not even really know each other, do not seek to understand the motives and feelings of a partner. If the breakup and separation come as a surprise, it is highly likely that it was a neurotic relationship.
In this situation, the one who did not make the decision to leave is going through a difficult and traumatic experience. This can exacerbate chronic psychological trauma, which will “finish off” a person already exhausted by a break. Fortunately, this experience can become a turning point in understanding yourself and your needs, pathological attitudes and broken schemes in the field of love (and not only) relationships.
Causes of neurotic relationships
Neurotic love, like toxic relationships, originates in childhood and reflects relationships with parents. For example, if a child suffered from the coldness of his parents, it is likely that in adulthood he will look for the same partner. His ideas about love and relationships are associated with detachment, so the colder the better.
Another example: it is not uncommon for depressed parents (or one of them) to instill guilt in the child. This happens automatically and sometimes without the parents realizing that the child is constantly suffering from the fact that he cannot make mom or dad happy. Such a child will look for a partner who is difficult to please.
Neurotic relationships differ from healthy ones in that, firstly, the partner “loves” through suffering, because, unfortunately, he has no experience of relationships in which everyone is satisfied and happy. He loves those who do not value him, repels and brings pain. Such relationships are based on the fact that a person revisits the cinema of the past over and over again: despite the fact that his partner is cold, nevertheless they are together, which means that it is similar to what happened to him in childhood - in his understanding, this and there is love that he associates with any kind of suffering, just not to be abandoned.
Therefore, when such a person is abandoned by a partner in adult life, the picture of his childhood, in which he was not noticed, did not share warmth with him and did not pay due attention, comes to life. The biggest fear of his childhood came true - he was abandoned after all. The suffering that arises in response is chronic trauma. They are so painful that they do not allow you to look at this situation differently and benefit from it, for example, recognize the previous relationship as destructive, draw conclusions and still find that person who will honestly love in return.
Defense reactions of the psyche
If the separation has led to the revival of old sores, the psychological defense mechanisms will be the first thing to stabilize the mental state.
“No, this will pass and we will be together again!” A person who uses denial will selflessly look for signs that he is right. For example, a woman can persuade herself that even though her partner left her, he did not leave for another, which means that he does not love anyone and will soon return back.
An abandoned partner can tell himself: “Nothing terrible happened, it will hurt and be forgotten.” However, this pain can drag on for several years and become chronic. Those who manage to repress unpleasant experiences may not pay attention to internal discomfort and unhappiness, as they have become accustomed to this as their usual state.
This psychological defense mechanism can induce a person to tantrums - a primitive form of removing responsibility for what is happening. Or, on the contrary, regressing, a person can literally freeze: emotions, as well as will, appetite, desire to live, disappear. A depressive period may begin.
Well known to those who tend to overlook unpleasant experiences. By sublimating, a person can completely go into work or any other activity that helps to forget and not think about the traumatic event.
- Acute reactions, aggression towards others and self-aggression
If the tension in the psyche is great, it will look for a way out, for example, in the form of sharp reactions: aggressive attacks, a tough style of communication (for example, at work or driving), angry posts on social networks, frequent sexual contacts that carry a feeling of disappointment, leaving in alcohol and drugs.
All these mechanisms work unconsciously, that is, they manifest themselves not by the will and desire of a person, but automatically. The mind may say that drinking is bad, but the suffering can be so unbearable that any method that allows you to slightly raise the pain threshold becomes suitable.
There is another defense that is at the level of consciousness, which can be controlled and used at the right time. This is the so-called psychological compensation , which is expressed in adaptive behavior. For example, in order not to meet with the former, they block him in the phone book, social networks, and avoid meeting. There is also a reverse situation: in order to better navigate what is happening and get the most complete picture, a recent partner is placed in the field of view. Behind this, there may be a desire to clarify everything to the smallest detail and once again make sure that "this is actually happening."
Whatever type of defense works, you need to remember that this is a natural reaction to severe stress and any psychological defense performs an important function - to protect the psyche from destruction. It is important that after the defense stage, the mourning phase begins, when the fact that everything is over and you can mourn your pain is recognized - this is a natural process when working through the loss of a relationship with a loved one.
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Breaking up a relationship is a big mental burden. We don’t just say “heart breaks” or “soul hurts” - the body is actually going through a serious psycho-physiological stress. The cardiovascular system, digestion, hormones, sleep and ability to rest, the natural rhythm of day and night, all come under attack.
During difficult changes in life, it is very important to remember that you are in an unusual state for yourself, and, if possible, help yourself: eat fully, get enough sleep, do exercises to relieve stress, eat those foods that give strength and do not burden the body .
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It's fair to say that not all stages of stress can be done at all. Sometimes lying flat and staring at the wall is the best thing you can do to help yourself. Take care of yourself whenever possible - take time off from work and order take-out instead of cooking. Try to prepare for yourself the space and time where you can fully surrender to your experiences.
In order for the process of loss to proceed without complications and to end, it is very important to honestly go through all its stages. After the first wave of shock subsides, the stage of aggression begins, interspersed with rationalization - the desire to talk to the partner again and again and thus improve the state of affairs (the so-called bargaining stage). These steps can take varying amounts of time and, unfortunately, it is not possible to predict their duration.
One of the last stages is depression - not so acute, but a stable condition. It is easy to recognize it by a breakdown, dulled feelings and reactions, inability to enjoy, sleep and appetite disorders. Despite the difficult course, this is a very important period that prepares us for the final resolution of the situation - the stage of acceptance and the end of mourning.
Unfortunately, there are no recipes for shortening the most painful stage, but to ease the condition, allow yourself to do whatever you want. If you want to leave - try to do it, if you want to lock yourself in the apartment - try to take sick leave. Do not neglect the help of others, but set the limits of what is permitted: tell your family and friends how they can be useful to you and how closely you are ready to communicate now. Ask not to discuss certain topics with you, not to arrange surprises for you to “stir up” and so on. Openly tell them what you need: from domestic to emotional needs. Your sincerity will help set up communication with friends and relatives, who, unfortunately, do not always know how to behave correctly in such situations.
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How to survive a breakup with a loved one
Disrupted communication is one of the main reasons that partners move away from each other and cease to adequately assess the state of affairs. To prevent this, pay attention to whether there is a reticence between you and your partner, silence of any feelings or facts, or maybe someone in your couple expects his thoughts to be read, and thus avoids responsibility ? Silence, ignorance, as well as references to social standards and generalizations ("You're a man!" or "A wife should...") destroy trust and intimacy. Features of your unique relationship can be replaced by “life principles” and public opinion about how everything “should be”, which prevents you from following a special scenario that is suitable for your couple.
How and why to repair broken relationships
Properly built communication depends not only on the degree of closeness and honesty to each other (and to oneself), but also the style of conflict resolution. Family therapy is based on this idea: starting it, partners learn safe ways to express their desires, suffering, fears, learn to enter into conflict and resolve it. The therapist, as a referee, observes the dialogue, leads both partners to ensure that they get the result and satisfaction from the interaction.
If you feel that you no longer have the strength to explain what is happening between you, take a few sessions of couples therapy . It will quickly become clear whether you need to continue working on the relationship or whether to stop it. It is important to remember that the therapist does not choose sides and will not support the game of one of the partners to the detriment of the other. The therapist acts as an interpreter between two people who, for some reason, began to speak different languages.
How to avoid a destructive scenario in the future - advice from a psychologist needed.
Neurotic or toxic relationships are different in that they are used to reduce the degree of personal neuroses and work off personal problems. If both partners coincided in neuroses, the union can be stable and strong. For example, someone for whom it is important to exercise control in relation to the closest person meets someone who gladly accepts this control due to their own childhood traumas.
Another case is when one of the partners does not need to work out the pathological scenario and still meets a less stable person and serves as a constant source of relaxation and recharging for him. Then a person who becomes a testing ground for working off a neurosis will most likely want to give up relationships that drain him.
Other roles we play in relationships can be learned from transactional analysis . The main idea of this method is that each of us in different life situations takes the position of a child, parent or adult. Knowing your patterns of behavior, you can adjust the attitudes and inadequate expectations from the relationship. This is important, since a full-fledged and multifaceted strong union is possible when two "adults" meet who know their needs, boundaries and their weaknesses. Knowing these weaknesses allows you not to provoke situations where they can manifest themselves to the detriment of the couple.
All this may seem rather complicated, but in reality, in order to have a healthy and strong relationship, it is not at all necessary to store a store of knowledge in theoretical psychology.