How to get over someone who has hurt you

12 Tips for Letting Go of the Past

One thing that connects us as human beings is our ability to feel pain. Whether that pain is physical or emotional, we all have experiences of being hurt. What separates us though, is how we deal with that pain.

Experts have found that when emotional pain prevents you from healing from a situation, it’s a sign that we aren’t moving forward in a growth-oriented way.

One of the best ways to heal from hurts is to learn lessons from the situation and use those to focus on growth and forward momentum. If we get stuck in thinking about what “should have been,” we can become immobilized in painful feelings and memories.

If you’re trying to move forward from a painful experience, but you’re not sure how to get started, here are 12 tips to help you let go.

1. Create a positive mantra to counter the painful thoughts

How you talk to yourself can either move you forward or keep you stuck. Often, having a mantra that you tell yourself in times of emotional pain can help you reframe your thoughts.

For example, says clinical psychologist Carla Manly, PhD, instead of getting stuck in, “I can’t believe this happened to me!” try a positive mantra such as, “I am fortunate to be able to find a new path in life — one that is good for me.”

2. Create physical distance

It’s not uncommon to hear someone say that you should distance yourself from the person or situation that is causing you to be upset.

According to clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula, PhD, that’s not such a bad idea. “Creating physical or psychological distance between ourselves and the person or situation can help with letting go for the simple reason that we are not having to think about it, process it, or being reminded of it as much,” she explains.

3. Do your own work

Focusing on yourself is important. You have to make the choice to address the hurt that you’ve experienced. When you think about a person who caused you pain, bring yourself back to the present. Then, focus on something that you’re grateful for.

4. Practice mindfulness

The more we can bring our focus to the present moment, says Lisa Olivera, a licensed marriage and family therapist, the less impact our past or future has on us.

“When we start practicing being present, our hurts have less control over us, and we have more freedom to choose how we want to respond to our lives,” she adds.

Online meditation options

Read our review of the best online meditation options to find the right fit for you.

5. Be gentle with yourself

If your first response to not being able to let go of a painful situation is to criticize yourself, it’s time to show yourself some kindness and compassion.

Olivera says this looks like treating ourselves like we would treat a friend, offering ourselves self-compassion, and avoiding comparisons between our journey and those of others.

“Hurt is inevitable, and we may not be able to able to avoid pain; however, we can choose to treat ourselves kindly and lovingly when it comes,” Olivera explains.

6. Allow the negative emotions to flow

If you’re fear of feeling negative emotions is causing you to avoid them, don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, Durvasula says that many times, people are afraid of feelings such as grief, anger, disappointment, or sadness.

Rather than feeling them, people just try to shut them out, which can disrupt the process of letting go. “These negative emotions are like riptides,” explains Durvasula. “Let them flow out of you… It may require mental health intervention, but fighting them can leave you stuck,” she adds.

7. Accept that the other person may not apologize

Waiting for an apology from the person who hurt you will slow down the process of letting go. If you’re experiencing hurt and pain, it’s important you take care of your own healing, which may mean accepting that the person who hurt you isn’t going to apologize.

8. Engage in self-care

When we are hurting, it often feels like there is nothing but hurt. Olivera says practicing self-care can look like setting boundaries, saying no, doing the things that bring us joy and comfort, and listening to our own needs first.

“The more we can implement self-care into our daily lives, the more empowered we are. From that space, our hurts don’t feel as overwhelming,” she adds.

9. Surround yourself with people who fill you up

This simple yet powerful tip can help carry you through a lot of hurt.

We can’t do life alone, and we can’t expect ourselves to get through our hurts alone, either, explains Manly. “Allowing ourselves to lean on loved ones and their support is such a wonderful way of not only limiting isolation but of reminding us of the good that is in our lives.”

10. Give yourself permission to talk about it

When you’re dealing with painful feelings or a situation that hurt you, it’s important to give yourself permission to talk about it.

Durvasula says sometimes people can’t let go because they feel they aren’t allowed to talk about it. “This may be because the people around them no longer want to hear about it or [the person is] embarrassed or ashamed to keep talking about it,” she explains.

But talking it out is important. That’s why Durvasula recommends finding a friend or therapist who is patient and accepting as well as willing to be your sounding board.

11. Give yourself permission to forgive

Since waiting for the other person to apologize can stall the process of letting go, you may have to work on your own forgiveness.

Forgiveness is vital to the healing process because it allows you to let go of anger, guilt, shame, sadness, or any other feeling you may be experiencing and move on.

12. Seek professional help

If you’re struggling to let go of a painful experience, you may benefit from talking to a professional. Sometimes it’s difficult to implement these tips on your own, and you need an experienced professional to help guide you through the process.

Online therapy options

Read our review of the best online therapy options to find the right fit for you.

To let go of past hurts, you need to make the conscious decision to take control of the situation. However, this can take time and practice. Be kind to yourself as your practice refocusing how you see the situation, and celebrate the small victories you have.

8 Ways to Move On

Letting go of the past, including people who hurt you, may involve accepting what you can’t control, taking accountability, and focusing on the lessons. Seeking help is also important.

Most people have, at some point, wondered how to let go of a hurtful past. It’s natural to feel that your current emotional pain is forever linked to what you experienced before. But, even if the past caused it, letting go of the pain starts with focusing on today.

How to let go of the past may mean different things to different people. It may also depend on your situation.

Maybe you think letting go is about being able to remember events or people without experiencing the pain. Perhaps you feel it’s about forgetting altogether. Or, it may mean you want to move on despite not having forgotten or forgiven yet.

Whatever it means to you, it’s possible to release what weighs heavy on your heart and mind. You can heal, and these tips may help.

“I am not what happened to me; I am what I choose to become.”

~ Carl Gustav Jung

Sometimes when you’ve hurt long enough, you may get used to the emotional pain. Maybe it feels safe and familiar. Maybe you’ve internalized it as part of your identity. Perhaps staying angry at that person is comfortable because you can keep a distance.

Growing pains can be real. Getting away from the things you’ve felt and thought about for a long time may be uncomfortable. But healing, joy, and peace of mind may be on the other side of letting go.

It may not be the case for everyone, but if you ask yourself “why can’t I let go?” these questions may help you start releasing your past:

  • Are there any secondary gains from keeping yourself focused on what hurts?
  • Is thinking about the past keeping you from trying new relationships or situations?
  • Do you avoid resolving emotional pain because this would mean facing it first?
  • How would your life be if you left the past in the past?
  • What would happen if you adopted a different role in the situation?

Sometimes, to heal, you first need to feel it. Bottling up your thoughts and emotions may hurt you more in the long run and make it hard to let go, particularly if you keep thinking about the past and what harmed you.

Ruminating on the same negative thoughts may affect your mood, relationships, and even your ability to be productive and creative.

Try to find ways to express how you feel healthily. Releasing the emotional charge may help you stop ruminating.

Consider engaging in activities that provide a safe space for you to let it all out. For example:

  • journaling with prompts
  • writing a letter to the person who hurt you (sending it is optional)
  • expressing your pain through art or play if writing or talking is difficult for you
  • finding a trusted friend, relative, or therapist to share your experiences and feelings

Taking accountability doesn’t mean you have to blame yourself for things that happened to you in the past. It’s more about realizing how much energy you’re spending on remembering or feeling things that are no longer your present. It’s also choosing to focus your attention elsewhere.

When you hold on to your pain, resentment, or hurtful memories, you’re reliving the painful experience again and again. This may keep you stuck in the past, which is something you can no longer change.

Taking accountability is also about claiming your power and deciding others will not control how you feel or live your life.

Maybe you didn’t have a say in what hurt you in the past, but you have a say now. You can choose where you put your mind and heart today.

It’s natural and valid to feel this is a difficult task. Maybe the pain is so intense that you can’t help but focus on it, or perhaps you have to live with the consequences. But healing is still possible.

Consider reaching out to a mental health professional to explore how you can develop effective coping mechanisms that may make releasing the past easier. You deserve it.

Focusing on past events may leave little room in your heart and mind for new experiences, including those that may bring you joy.

Not letting go of the past may make you more prone to miss the good in your life.

Consider these steps to make space for the new and to release the past:

  • set personal and professional short-term goals
  • cultivate gratitude so you can focus on the present good
  • assess the quality of your current relationships and choose those that do you good
  • commit to a new hobby or activity every month
  • clean and organize your spaces, so you give away or discard items that no longer serve you
  • establish new bonds or try to strengthen casual relationships that have the potential to be great friendships
  • practice mindfulness, so you learn how to return to the moment when your mind wanders to the past
  • commit to one self-care activity every week
  • engage in altruistic activities that may boost your mood by helping others
  • identify positive leaders and role models who lead with empathy and compassion

Prioritizing yourself is about being intentional with your decisions. This may start with realizing that choosing what’s good for you doesn’t mean you’re being selfish.

Putting yourself first may also mean reclaiming your power by leaving in the past what hurts you and focusing on healing today. It’s about realizing that you matter.


  • going to therapy to explore how to let go of the past and hurt you’ve experienced
  • setting boundaries with other people who may want to relive or discuss the past when you’re not ready to
  • making life decisions that make you feel safe, at peace, or happy, even if others don’t agree
  • reframing thoughts that may increase your anxiety or sadness to focus on thoughts that may make you feel hopeful
  • engaging in self-compassion and self-respect

Prioritizing yourself may also be about exploring ways to find forgiveness.

Forgiving yourself and others has been associated with higher psychological well-being, including a higher tolerance to uncertainty and a lower tendency to experience anger.

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”

~ Rumi

What have you learned about relationships, love, yourself, and life from your hurtful past experiences?

Your first response to this question may be to think of the negatives you may have learned. It’s natural and valid. But try to pause if this is your first reaction and consider focusing on a few positive lessons. For example:

  • how strong and resilient you may be
  • who showed up for you and proved you can rely on them
  • the things you now know you don’t want in your life
  • the coping skills you may have developed to face life challenges
  • the sense that everything passes and this too shall pass

This isn’t an all-inclusive list and may not necessarily apply to your situation.

The idea is to try to identify whatever strength, skill, knowledge, or clarity you may have gained from a painful event. Focusing on these lessons may make it easier to let go.

One reason you may be ruminating about past events could be a need to revisit past choices or what could have been.

Focusing on the “what ifs” may lead you to repeatedly engage in the same inner conversations and scenarios. But thinking about what happened isn’t going to change it.

It may be difficult to accept, but learning to identify those things you have no control over may help you let go of the past.

The “should haves” or “what ifs” will not change what happened. The “what coulds” and “what wills” may help you move forward and be intentional in daily decisions that will affect your present and future.

Whether you live with trauma, experience anxiety or another mental health disorder, or may be facing relationship resentment, a mental health professional can help you let go and release your emotional pain.

Learning how to let go may depend on your specific situation and understanding of what letting go is about. But it’s possible and healing can be achieved.

Openly expressing how you feel, reclaiming your power, making room for new experiences, and focusing on the lessons are a few ways to let go of emotional pain.

If you’re having a difficult time letting go, consider seeking the help of a mental health professional. They can help you explore the possible causes of your challenges and develop coping skills that work for you.

How to reduce the pain of separation, or Where to apply psyllium after parting

Parting can be different. Some celebrate it more brightly than a birthday, with champagne, confetti, and subsequent "Eat, Pray, Love" adventures. But for some, this episode becomes a real test of strength, and the pain of parting is comparable only to the pain of loss. It can be accompanied by both depressive states and quite palpable psychosomatic pain. We tell you how long heart wounds can ache and how to help them heal.

What really hurts?

For quite a long time, the “heartbreak” metaphor remained an artistic device. Rational and skeptical people believed that it was really the collapsed expectations of "true love" that hurt. The one that is steadily moving along the classic monogamous pattern: a candy-bouquet period, a wedding, a joint vacation on the islands, children, a happy ending. And the pain that appeared against the background of disappointment is an illusion that time can cure.

However, in 2010, scientists at the University of Michigan found that the pain felt by the rejected person is real. The study found that photographs of exes included the same area of ​​the cerebral cortex that is responsible for pain, for example, from a burn of the forearm.

Simultaneously with nerve pain sensations, the brain goes through a withdrawal syndrome: it is deprived of the oxytocin-dopamine cocktail, which affects the area responsible for pleasure and reward. Since intimacy, including sexual intimacy, is a powerful component of the motivation and reward system, the body begins to rebel and demand to return intimacy within reach. This state may be familiar to people who actively seek intimacy with their partner already on the brink of separation or in a situation of conflict: this is the brain quickly assessing the chances of continuing to swim alone.

“In the event of parting, the emotion of grief and loss is activated. This is very logical: attachment is an important part of our life - and when we lose a person to whom we felt affection, we begin to grieve in order to get used to the new reality. In a situation of separation, where a person has not died, we want to keep in touch with him, to feel our involvement in his life. But if the attachment is no longer fed by love and intimacy, it can start to feed on anger and hatred, and the person will end up in a situation where, even 20 years later, he will angrily check the social networks of his former partner in order to feel his involvement.0018, — comments Alena Vanchenko, psychotherapist, neuropsychologist, lecturer of the Synchronization platform.

What determines the duration of pain?

Grieving for a partner goes through five classic stages: shock, anger, denial, bargaining, and resignation. This process allows a person to slow down and survive the stress. However, how long it takes to go through all these five stages depends only on you. Literally everything influences the duration of this process: how long the partners have been together, what experience of previous relationships they have, the character stock, what and who surrounds them.

“The duration of pain can also be affected by the role a person played in a partner's life. It could not only be a romantic interest, former partners could well be colleagues or business partners to each other. In addition, the very amount of your "investment" in this project also affects. It could be time, emotions, some kind of effort, including money. Here the dependence is directly proportional: the more you invest, the more valuable the project becomes for you” , — comments Alena Vanchenko.

To get rid of pain, you really need to live it. Go through the emotion like through a tunnel, eventually come out into the light and continue on your way further, into the next relationship, appreciating the past as a source of experience. Attempts to drown out the emotion of grief with alcohol, short-term or chaotic relationships and other destructive practices do not contribute to the rapid elimination of pain. They can either provide a short-term respite and distraction, or slow the person down the path through the grief tunnel.

Is it possible to treat and prevent heart wounds?

Tips for dealing with a breakup are many, and you can use the ones that seem right to you and won't hurt you more.

Keep in mind valuable lessons for which you can really be grateful for past relationships

Maybe during your time with an ex-partner you have mastered a new skill or have begun to understand something better: art-house cinema, Asian cuisine, or your own desires. Remember that if you agreed to this relationship some time ago, it means that they had value, and parting does not detract from it.

Realize that it's okay to break up

It's just that at some point you or your partner realized that you couldn't give the love that each of you deserves. Remember that if the partner decided to leave, then it was precisely his will and you could not influence it. Both of you have done everything you can to grow together.

Rebuild your comfort zone

This is one of the most difficult tasks, because during a relationship our comfort zone is built around a partner. When a partner leaves, we feel lost, even if the merging stage in the relationship has already passed and we have managed to restore our own individuality. Build a comfort zone around yourself and your desires, do things you haven't done in the past while sparing your ex's feelings: shower with the door open, listen to chanson or neo-jazz, watch wacky comedies, and wear the same favorite T-shirt for a week!

“As I like to say, pain is inevitable and suffering is a choice. You can just mourn, get sick, go through all the stages of parting and finish this story for yourself. To understand that if they left you, then the person simply realized that he cannot love you the way you (or he) wants it. If it was you who left, you may also be tormented by feelings of guilt and grief, you need to understand and admit that it was impossible to do otherwise and you did your best "," comments Alena Vanchenko.

Alexandra Ivanitskaya




Life after a breakup: how to forgive the hurter | SOCIETY

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes


The betrayal of a loved one, the betrayal of a partner cause such severe pain that it seems that not just a stage of our life has ended, but it is all in ruins, and we will never be sure of the future and be happy.

The AiF-Novosibirsk editors continue a series of publications on important topics from the world of psychology and interpersonal relationships with psychologist Natalia Krasovskaya.

The betrayal of a loved one, the betrayal of a partner cause such severe pain that it seems that not just a stage of our life has ended, but it is all in ruins, and we will never be sure of the future and be happy. And only we ourselves can regain faith in our strengths, let go of pain and build new happiness.

We always invest a lot in relationships

Connections with other people are an integral part of our life, one of the most important conditions for happiness. Any personal relationship requires investing in them - giving feelings and strength, energy and time. But what to do if one day the one whom we so trusted betrays us, destroying our common future? The power of experiences drowns out any reasonable considerations, for us there are only our sufferings here and now. We feel not just pain - rage, anger. These are natural reactions, we just have to survive them, let them pass through us with the least damage, not allow them to linger in us, and further destroying our lives.

Unable to control our violent emotions, we at least control our behavior, restrain ourselves, but because of this we only focus more strongly on our grief and the offender. We subordinate to this incessant pain all our life, we give it all our strength. And we cannot be free until we recognize, experience, and let go of our grief and anger. Until we get answers to all the painful questions: “Why did this happen to me?”, “What could be done?”, “How to trust now?”, “How to live now?” ...

We must get rid of pain and anger, to live on

Of course, it is easy to hate an offender, but it is much more difficult to forgive. But it is forgiveness that will help us eventually let go of the pain, leave behind the bitter page of life and move on. This is a serious, conscious mental work, and sometimes it can not be done without the support of a specialist. But in any situation, much is in our own power.

How to get out of the monstrous emotional "pit" in which we have fallen?

Step One: Remember Your Worth

The betrayal of a loved one humiliates us, makes us doubt ourselves. Why did we turn out to be bad, why were we abandoned like an unnecessary thing? Perhaps we are completely unworthy of love and friendship? This heartache is a reminder that we have suffered serious harm that cannot be ignored. Our feelings and our identity matter. To recognize the importance of what happened is to begin the path to recovery.

Step two: become aware of your desires

Trying to protect ourselves from pain, we run the risk of falling into two traps. The first is trying to convince yourself that nothing terrible has happened, and everything will work out by itself. But simply forgetting the traumatic experience will not work - in this way we will only prolong our suffering. And the second trap is a violent desire to take revenge on the offender, to repay pain with pain. But by focusing on the destruction of someone else's life, we will not improve our own, and it is about ourselves that we must take care of.

You cannot make the offender the center of your life - he is no longer a part of it. It makes no sense to stalker "ex" or "former" in social networks, wasting your precious time. We must free ourselves from anger for our own sake. You need to say to yourself: “The person who was close to me caused me terrible pain. It ruined our relationship, but I don't want it to ruin my whole life."

Step three: accept responsibility for your life

Remember: your feelings, your life, your future belong only to you. And that means you are responsible for them. Make a detailed life plan, including all the good things that you didn’t have time for before. And, if you like, plan for the physical “living” of your grief as well - allow yourself to cry a little, vent your anger by breaking dishes in a wasteland. And even better - go jogging, swimming, take self-defense courses. Now you need to feel stronger.

Step Four: Embrace the Experience

In looking for the reasons for what happened, sooner or later we may start blaming ourselves. After all, we, like no one else, know all our weaknesses. But sometimes, in the case of horrific traumatic events like physical, sexual, mental abuse, it is not our fault at all. And sometimes we share responsibility for what happened with a partner - after all, two imperfect people enter into any relationship. It is important to calmly and impartially sort out your own and other people's mistakes so as not to repeat them again. Such an experience, acquired at a high price, will allow you to start a new path and, perhaps, it will be more harmonious and happier than the previous one. It often turns out that intimacy has long been lost, and the broken relationship weighed not only on the “traitor”, but also on yourself, holding back your development and depriving you of real happiness.

Step Five: Let go of the pain

Don't let betrayal rob you of the happy memories of the past and the joys of the future. It is important to remember that in this situation both lost, failing to preserve what they once diligently cultivated.

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