To get over a break up
How to Get Over a Breakup: 20 Expert-Approved Tips to Try If You're Struggling to Move On
As much as we’d all like one, there is no rulebook on how to get over a breakup. After a relationship ends, people (unsurprisingly) often report feeling loneliness, a loss of a sense of self, distress, and depression1. In fact, many experts have equated having a broken heart to a form of grief. In other words: If you’re struggling to move on from a breakup, you are far from alone.
“A breakup is a classic example of what we call an ambiguous loss, which is where the grief of the loss of a relationship is often complicated by a lack of closure,” Michaela Decker, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Mesa, Arizona, tells SELF. This, she says, can prolong the healing process and leave us feeling unresolved. And after a breakup, we are often mourning not just the loss of a romantic partner, but also the dreams and expectations we had for our futures. It’s a layered heartbreak that is tricky to navigate. And though there is no quick fix for how to get over someone, there are things you can do to help you through your own healing process. Here, experts and people who have been there before give their 20 best tips on how to deal with heartbreak.
1. Think about your breakup as a physical injury.
Andrea Liner, Psy.D., suggests trying to give yourself the same grace when healing from having your heart broken that you would if you were experiencing a medical issue. “You may not be operating at 100%, and that’s okay,” Dr. Liner tells SELF, noting that you wouldn’t beat yourself up for not going to the gym after, say, breaking your leg. “Extend yourself the same kindness for going through an emotional injury,” she says.
2. Give yourself permission to feel your feelings.
Susan Birne-Stone, Ph.D., a licensed clinical social worker in Brooklyn, suggests setting a timer and giving yourself 10-20 minutes to feel whatever you are feeling without judgment. Write out any thoughts about the breakup in a letter that you will never give your ex (or just speak your thoughts out loud). When that timer goes off, ask yourself: “What do I need now? Do I need to speak with someone that loves me? Do I need to do something physical? Do I need to take a shower, eat, self-pleasure, watch a movie? What will be nurturing in this very moment that will also feel good after?” You can repeat this as needed!
3. Reconnect with things that make you happy.
Dr. Liner suggests dusting off old hobbies you may have stopped doing while busy in your relationship. “We naturally shift away from various activities while dating, and it can be empowering to get back to them,” she explains.
4. Surround yourself with good support—and lots of it.
Naturally, your inclination may be to lean on your friends for support during and after a breakup. Try not to let embarrassment or anxiety hold you back from doing just that. “One of the things I hear most from clients going through breakups is that they’re worried about burdening or annoying their networks,” says Dr. Liner. “So it can be helpful to rotate who you’re talking to. ”
Depending on the specifics of your situation—like if the breakup was expected and if you’ve been keeping up with your friends a normal amount during your relationship—they may not be surprised to hear the news. Hopefully, they’ll spring into action and help you feel better in the specific ways that only people who really know you can.
5. And apologize to your support system if you need to.
But if you’re itching to reach out to people you’ve lost touch with for some reason, whether it’s getting caught up in your relationship or the madness of the pandemic, you can reach back out—and own your mistake if you need to, Dr. Liner says. For instance, if you basically fell out of orbit because you were that in love, she offers a few scripts to try: “I know I stopped prioritizing our friendship while I was in my relationship, and I really regret that. I’d love a chance to reconnect with you if you’re open to it.” Or, “I got really caught up in having a significant other and now see that it wasn’t cool of me to disappear on you like that. ”
6. Consider finding a therapist if you don’t already have one.
“Having an unbiased, neutral, third-party observer is instrumental in gaining a deeper understanding in what happened, what your role was, and how you can learn and grow from it as you pursue future relationships,” says Dr. Liner. This is extra important if your mental health has been heavily impacted by your breakup. “I place extra emphasis on this advice for anyone who is experiencing a significant decline in functioning: not eating or sleeping, missing or struggling at work, major changes in mood or personality, or having intrusive or suicidal thoughts," Dr. Liner says.
Not sure how to go about finding mental health help? Here's where to start.
7. Do your best to be patient (even though it’s hard).
How long does it take to get over a breakup? There’s no one answer, so try to be patient. Yes, it’s so much easier said than done. But Dr. Liner stresses that the pain won’t go away overnight and recovery is a process. “There will be days you feel better and days you feel worse,” she says. “Your thoughts and emotions may jump around in the stages of grief for a while,” adds Alli Spotts-De Lazzer, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Studio City, California. Some days you may feel better than others, and it’s okay to honor wherever you are in your journey.
How to Get Over a Breakup
Nothing plunges your self-esteem into a pit of despair quite like a bad breakup. Romantic comedy movies and sitcoms would have us believe the process is simple: Turn on a marathon of sad movies in your coziest pajamas, sob into a pint of ice cream for a few days straight and poof! Montage over, you’re a brand new you and out to take on the world. But in reality, once you’ve hit rocky road bottom, you may find yourself slipping into self-destructive habits — ignoring your friends, neglecting your work and generally forgetting about self-care. You’ve been told all your life that there are more fish in the sea (just open your dating app of choice and there they are), but why is it just so hard to bring yourself to cast a new net already?
The answer: love is a drug. No, really. "Functional brain scans have shown that love is a form of addiction," says Guy Winch, PhD, licensed psychologist and author of How To Fix a Broken Heart. "We get used to having a certain substance, and that substance is a person and the relationship in our lives. Then during 'withdrawal,' we get desperate and act out of character." Not only that, long-term relationships mean you've molded your life around another person’s. You’ve made compromises as well as future plans, and having to let go of that isn’t as simple as swiping left or right. But don't despair: We asked relationship experts for their best advice on how to get over a breakup, and there are a number of simple steps you can take — none of which involve Ben & Jerry.
1. Rebuild your self-esteem
If your partner initiated the break-up, it’s perfectly normal to start picking apart your physical appearance and personality traits, questioning what's wrong with you that would cause someone to fall out of love. Instead, reverse that thought pattern. "Focus on what you really value in yourself and what you brought to the relationship, rather than what qualities you don’t possess," Winch advises.
2. Focus on your positive qualities
It's easy to get down on yourself when you get dumped. To remind yourself how very worthy of love you are, get out a pen and paper or your Notes app and put it down in black and white. "Write a list and think of traits that speak to your character, emotional strengths, skillsets, abilities and any other quality that has value in a relationship." If you’re having a hard time coming up with ideas, tap your closest friends and family, who would jump at the chance to share all the reasons they feel fortunate to have you in their lives.
3. Try new places
"Once a week, find a coffee shop or a restaurant you've never been to and invite at least one friend to go with you," says Mary Jo Rapini, a psychotherapist and author of Re-Coupling: A Couple’s 4 Step Guide to Greater Intimacy and Better Sex, who gives this assignment to all of her clients who are working on healing from heartbreak. That helps you break up your usual routine and get away from the places that you’d always go to with your former partner.
4. Lean on your network
After a breakup is the perfect opportunity to spend quality time with good friends you may not have seen as much while you were paired off. If you've neglected your pals or family members, ask them to try out those new places with you or pick back up on traditions you had that may have fallen by the wayside. It's hard to wallow when you're making new memories with people who love you.
5. Avoid going after a rebound
There's a reason why they're a cliche: rebounds offer a quick boost that’ll make you feel sexy or worthwhile, temporarily. But once that high wears off, you may just feel guilty, according to Rapini. "A lot of my clients express remorse after a rebound because their investment was superficial while other people put their feelings on the line," she says.
6. Don't get bangs
Look, we get it. You want to do something drastic when your relationship ends, but step away from the scissors (or whatever your coping mechanism of choice might be). When you make impulsive decisions, it means you’re trying to find a way to avoid feeling those painful emotions that come with losing someone you loved. "Acknowledge the hurt and understand that being a responsible person means dealing with it," Rapini says. "Be willing to go into the pain."
7. Take a (realistic) walk down memory lane
When your mind eventually wanders and you start reminiscing about all the good times you two had, you’re likely forgetting to factor in the bad parts. (You know, the petty fights, lifestyle differences and pointless squabbles that characterize every relationship). "Your first thought may be 'Oh, that vacation was so perfect.' Remind yourself of how you two didn't speak for 24 hours because you had an argument on the plane ride there," says Winch. "Remind yourself that you would start every trip so anxious because your partner never got to the airport on time. In other words, make it a point to introduce the negative stuff, because your mind will only reinforce the positive. Keep the picture real." Remembering what the whole relationship was really like can help you seek a new situation that doesn't have the same downsides.
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8. Write down all of their negative qualities
Mom told you if you don’t have anything nice to say then ... well, you know the rest. But we know she'd make an exception just this one time. Go ahead, indulge your inner mean girl for a minute. "Compile a list of all the ways this person wasn't good for you," recommends Winch. "Think of every annoying quality they possessed as well as all the compromises you had to make in the relationship. Keep that list on your phone so you can refer back to it whenever you start thinking they were so perfect. It’s natural to idealize both the person and the relationship." Keeping the qualities that drive you batty will help you take off rose-colored glasses when seeking a new beau, too.
9. Do a social media detox
Especially if you share a lot of mutual friends, unfollowing your former partner isn’t enough to cleanse the timeline of their presence. If you don't want to be bombarded by their face whenever you log on, limit your social media use until the wound heals a bit. Of course, that doesn’t mean the urge to peek at their profile will go away completely. "Think of things you can 'check up' on whenever you have the compulsion to scope out their online activity," suggests Rapini. "Check on your friend who is overwhelmed with a new baby or call your parents."
10. Don't give in to the urge to gossip
While you’re doing everything you can to create distance, your well-meaning friends may be tempted to pass along any juicy gossip about what your ex is up to. Even though it might feel like scratching an itch in the moment, fixating on them won't help you move on. So be proactive and let your network know that you don't want to know and it’s best if they keep the dirt to themselves.
11. Let go of the idea of “closure”
We all know real life doesn’t play out like a rom-com, but you may find yourself wishing you experienced a dramatic break-up even if you didn't. Unfortunately what tends to happen more often IRL is that two people slowly drift apart, and after the split, one of you is left wondering, why?? Instead of beating yourself up looking for answers, it's healthier (and better for your long-term mental health) to realize and accept that you just weren't the perfect match for each other. If the other person isn’t able to articulate why they no longer want to be with you, tell yourself that the fact that your former partner couldn't go the distance is all the explanation you need to properly close that chapter. "The subtext of those explanations are "I deserve someone who can commit,' 'I deserve someone who can love me enough' and 'I deserve somebody who appreciates everything about me.'"
12. Realize you aren't getting back together
Lots of times, people who tell themselves they're fixating on closure are actually looking for another chance. "There’s this fantasy that if you just keep asking, you’ll discover something that will allow you to undo what happened and get back together with that person," offers Winch. But most of the time, that's not going to happen and even more of the time, it's not a good idea anyway. The sooner you let go of that idea, the sooner you can heal. And this should go without saying, but resist the urge to hook up with your ex. Nothing good will come of that (trust us).
13. Focus on things that help you feel grounded
So maybe you can’t bear to go to that spin class where everyone knows you as half of "Amy and John," but that doesn’t mean everything healthy you did together has to go out the window. If you two loved a particular fitness class, activity or h0bby, you can still take solace in it solo (but maybe switch times so you don't run into your ex at the gym or studio). "I find that some people give up activities like attending church or volunteering because it was something they did with their partner," says Rapini. "What you really should be doing is trying new experiences as well as continuing the activities that support your core values. It’s all about balance."
14. Feel your feelings
Getting dumped hurts; no two ways about it. But as those of us who have tried to eat, shop or drown our feelings know it doesn't work. Instead, let yourself stew a little. Acknowledge that you're hurting and that it'll pass. But the key word here is "a little." Set a timer for 10 minutes or so and let yourself really wallow. After the timer goes off, do something that feels good like going for a walk, reading a great book or taking a relaxing bath to remind yourself that you're worth it.
15. Take a break from dating if you need to
Nobody gets over a breakup at the same rate, so don't beat yourself up if it takes you some time. Conversely, if you're ready to hop right back on the apps, that's fine too! Don't force it, either way. The same way rebound dating can hurt if you aren't ready, wading back into serious partner-seeking can backfire too.
16. Consider therapy
Even the strongest support network needs reinforcements now and then. If you're finding that your post-breakup blues are interfering with your life, aren't lifting as quickly as bad feelings normally do or you just want to talk it out with an objective third party, therapy could be the ticket. There's strength in seeking help.
As the deputy editor of Woman’s Day, Andra (she/her) oversees all print content for the brand. She is a former editor at Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Real Simple and People. Over the course of her 13 year career, she’s covered every inch of the lifestyle space, and has interviewed hundreds of experts on topics including but not limited to relationships, etiquette, personal finance, technology, organization, travel, fashion, beauty, and sustainability. (She's also interviewed a few celebrities, ask her for Kim Kardashian's eBay shopping secrets.) During her off hours, Andra enjoys Thai dramas and long walks down the snack aisle.
Lizz (she/her) is a senior editor at Good Housekeeping, where she runs the GH Book Club, edits essays and long-form features and writes about pets, books and lifestyle topics. A journalist for almost two decades, she is the author of Biography of a Body and Buffalo Steel. She also teaches journalism as an adjunct professor at New York University's School of Professional Studies and creative nonfiction at the Muse Writing Center, and coaches with the New York Writing Room.
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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 this. 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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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.
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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 hard 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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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.
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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.