Feature Image by Alexas_Fotos
As one of my clients observed with a bit of frustration, the journey of healing after a breakup is not linear. No matter whether you initiated the breakup, or the other person did, the end of a relationship requires us to grieve. This is not different from losing a loved one through death. Locations and people will continuously trigger memories of our partner. It takes a while for us to have new experiences and overwrite the memories of different places with new joyful memories connected to other people.
In that process of grieving and coming to a point of completion with the past relationship, the different parts in our psyche come up and make themselves heard. We might hear a part that feels betrayed and wronged. We might have a part that feels angry and dismissive of the former partner. We might feel a part that panics about having to get back into dating and all the unpredictability and insecurity that could come with that process. And not to forget the Inner Critic Part that masks as the truth finder and asks, “Why did this happen?” and even worse “What is wrong with me that this happened?”
Undoubtedly, great benefit can be found in examining our involvement in the end of a relationship to learn and grow from it, but no value whatsoever is found in looking for one-sided blame. A relationship is a tango for two. You want to understand your own wounds, triggers, and repeating patterns, while being very much aware that your wounds interlocked perfectly with your partners wounds. That’s why you attracted each other to begin with.
“Chemistry” to most people seems to be such an illusive concept. What we forget is that with unresolved issues from the past, we attract exactly that person with whom we can experience our earlier wounds again, in the subconscious hope that this time around, we can heal our wounds.
Image by Jerzy Górecki from Pixabay
A sentence I hear a lot when I work with a client on healing from a breakup is, “But I still miss him/her!” When we “unpack” a bit what it is exactly that they miss, I get answers like
- the safety I felt not being alone
- the predictability and routine we had
- the reliability of having that one go-to person
- the ability to do activities together (sports, events, travel)
- the feeling of having a family and home
- the ability to make plans for the future
It is completely normal to miss the above. As humans we are wired to bond into others and to live in tribes. And none of those feelings are specific to the one partner you just broke up with.
In addition to those feelings that we miss, I hear “I miss what could have been”. Each goodbye is also a grieving of the dreams we had for the future. Those dreams need to be adjusted but not scrapped completely. Perhaps, we can dream even bigger and better.
Sometimes I also need to point out to a client that he or she was in love with the potential they saw in their partner, but not with reality. Being in love with who the other person could be, if they just changed in this way or that, is a trap. Unless you can love and accept the other person the way they are right now, you are not in love with what is. You are in love with a pipe dream.
When we experience a loss, we also need to be aware that grief is cumulative. All our previous unprocessed losses can roll into one as we are, yet again, experiencing another goodbye. The end of a relationship is an opportunity and great incentive to do some inner work on all those experiences. You have the choice to go into the same relationship dynamics again with another person, or to explore your patterns, your attractions, and unresolved baggage that impact your possibilities for happiness.
One important step to take is to create new memories with other people in the places that are connected to your former partner. At the same time, you do not want to get lost in constant distractions either. Jumping into the next relationship right away only means you will continue to attract the same relationship patterns. A balance between being active and enjoying life on one hand and continuously processing the last relationship on the other hand is most healing.
Right now, when you are hurting, is a tremendous opportunity for life changing growth. This is the time when you are most open to manifesting what you long for. It can be a liberating time of taking charge of your life and strengthen the relationship you have with yourself. You have an opportunity to heal properly and to learn new ways to create a happy life as a whole human being. Self-care is the best basis to ensure that down the road you can attract a person not based on your own unhealed wounds, but a person who is good for you.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Navigating the post-breakup terrain and this journey, which is not always linear, is easier with a supportive guide who helps you to observe and examine what you are experiencing and to establish new self-care habits and loving self-talk. As a belief change coach, I will also help you to release emotions, change limiting beliefs about yourself and the world, and heal previous experiences which affect your relationships today.
Reach out for a free consultation or to book a Zoom session.