It feels like the emotional rug has been pulled out from underneath you. It is painful.
You may be struggling to go through the motions of your daily routine. Everything just feels different. Be patient with yourself as you go through this difficult time.
Telling the story of your breakup can be cathartic, especially if you're sharing it with a group of people who have also gone through a similar experience. But if it continues to be the only topic of conversation for weeks afterward, it could be detrimental to your recovery process. If you continue to lament about the relationship, you can become trapped in your story.
Instead I recommend this 7 day plan of jump starting your healing. It starts with the boundary of no communication with your ex during this 7 day period. We need to reserve some space for our feelings to process and for us to make this neurological shift.
Begin with this assessment:
Write result down___________
Theme: I am entitled to my healing.
Identify 3 feelings I am experiencing today. (Feeling wheel – use it!)
Examine your negative feelings as a starting point for change. Are you in control of your feelings, or are they in control of you?
Repeat: I give myself permission to have these feelings with no judgment.
Something that I am grateful for in my life is…
Theme: I will focus on my long-term recovery.
I will do one act of self-care today.
What might holding on to my desire to want to reach out to her be protecting me from?
Think about how you react to stress and deal with conflict and insecurities. Could you act in a more constructive way?
Helpful Link: https://www.sharecare.com/health/stress-reduction/react-positively-to-stress
Theme: Living with my strengths
What does being strong mean to me?
Pull up your results to the strength inventory.(emailed)
*Each day from this day forward I will do one thing in line with my strength. I will do this for the next four days using my top 4 strengths.
Link to inventory: The key is to be authentic, so that you can derive the most from the experience.
Day 4: Theme: We can grieve loss in many ways
Review stages of grief and identify where you are at today in the stages. Remembering of course the stages are not necessarily linear and we may jump around in our process.
Label stage. Provide rationale why. Then write a compassionate self-statement to yourself.
Link to grief stages: https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2018/6/applying-the-5-stages-of-grief-to-the-loss-of-a-relationship
Video on relationship grief- https://youtu.be/oQ2zJ13AfDI
Theme: Errors in our thinking
We know the big 10 cognitive distortions or unhelpful thinking styles
Which 2 do you find yourself using most often during this breakup?
Provide a thought, the label, and the reframe.
Link to unhelpful thinking styles: https://blog.iqmatrix.com/unhelpful-thoughts
Theme: My relationship needs
What are 5 things that you want in a future healthy relationship?
Link to article on non-negotiables: https://psychcentral.com/blog/what-are-your-relationship-non-negotiables/
Theme: My physical health and wellness
What physical health goals would you like to set for yourself?
What can you do today to start the process?
Complete a grounding exercise and/or one guided mediation.
Link to grounding exercises: https://www.livingwell.org.au/well-being/mental-health/grounding-exercises/
New Beginning Meditation: https://youtu.be/_kuyR8J5OBM
When done with the 7 days engage in this closing exercise:
Conjure up an image of your ex.
Then, find a nice, quiet space where you won’t be disturbed and close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths and find peace and stillness. Focus on your heart and find love. Breathe from your heart.
In front of you, visualize a small stage, the kind that you did school plays on. You see this person in question walking out on the stage and then you see yourself walking out onto the same stage; you’re standing there opposite each other, looking at each other about three, four or five feet apart, then moving closer. In peace.
You’ll be able to see that there are cords connecting you and this other person. The cords may go from forehead to forehead, from throat to throat, heart to heart; the connection is going to be unique for the two of you. Sometimes the cords may even be entangled, like you’re bound together with a lot of rope.
In your mind’s eye, begin to cut them, starting at the top. Use whatever tool you need. It could be a knife. It could be a pair of scissors. Maybe even an ax. Anything. As you cut them, say, “I forgive you for everything” and hear the person say it back, “I forgive you for everything”.
You might find some cords are very hard to cut. Spend time. You might even have to come back later, but don’t worry. Feel the love in your heart and allow that person to just float up into the light.
And again, sometimes the cords are really hard to cut. What do you want to release? The control, the abuse, the pain…
We tend to want to hold on, even though it’s not healthy for us. Why? Fear perhaps? A killer of joy and bliss. We would rather live with crap than with what we believe is nothing. What is holding on preventing us from doing?
Remember, one space can only be filled with one thing, so every time you let something go you are inviting in something new. Make sure it is something better.
By cutting the cords, you are no longer standing in the way of your magnificence, standing in the way of you shining. Be empowered to let go and stand free. See yourself in the light- feel the warmth of healing.
End with this assessment:
Write result down___________
To feel seen is a powerful motivator to be in relationship with someone. Who doesn’t want companionship, validation, a partner in crime? However, the challenge comes into play when we find ourselves too deep in too fast; we lose sight of who we are. We can leave our partner feeling overwhelmed and suffocated with the intensity. Good news! With self-reflection we can come to understand more about our pattern of behavior and move into relationships with more balance and clarity.
Understanding Attachment and the Inner Child
In order to understand this over-investment, it is important to understand more about attachment. We all have an attachment style, which is characterized by different ways of interacting and behaving in relationships. These attachment styles were formed during early childhood in part by how children and parents interact. Now in adulthood, attachment styles are used to describe patterns of attachment in romantic relationships.
We are not locked in; however, changing an attachment pattern can take self-reflection, time, and often work with a professional therapist. To begin, I recommended spending some time journal about your inner child.
Here is a simple process for interviewing the inner child:
Did you feel abandonment in childhood?
Were there inconsistencies in your living environment?
Did you witness or experience trauma first hand?
After asking those questions, find a picture of yourself at the most challenging time of your childhood and ask that version of you, “What did I need that I did not have at this time?” Then spend time making sure that you are able to nurture that part of yourself in your daily life.
Sometimes we can play out patterns from early on in our life; exploring these relational dynamics can set us free from the behaviors that are disrupting our current relationships.
When we have vulnerabilities sometimes we can get swept away with the flashy qualities a partner presents to us. Does he have a great smile? Does he love to travel the world?
When we are flying on emotion and not so much on logic we can be sold on the lure of creating a fantasy life with someone, in part to escape our own.
If you have insecurities, it is not uncommon to try and attach on to someone that makes you feel better about yourself. However, remember that your happiness is YOUR responsibility. When our right now is unfulfilling in some way this may lead us to push too much into the future of “what could be” and get us caught up in a projected reality.
Don’t worry about the “I should be here by now” or other outside forces pushing you to move into territory you are not yet ready to navigate. We don’t want to miss out on getting to know our potential partner or our self; therefore, we must focus on healing anything we need to from our past so we can be the best version of our self in the here-and-now.
They say that relationships are a powerful key to self-reflection; take your opportunity.