After the Breakup
Recovering Your Sense Of Self
After a breakup, it is common to go through a phase of “Who am I now?” After all you have thought of yourself as an ‘us’ and now you are a you. You find yourself waking up in the morning, determined to be happy and at noon find yourself huddled in a heap, crying in your soup. You feel and usually look somewhat erratic. You feel unbalanced and wonder if you are going insane. You want to know why this happened, and feel a need for closure one moment, and a frantic need to be a couple again the next. You have a bad case of the “if only” If only I had not lost my temper, if only I had not caught him, maybe it would have blown over, if only I was 10 pounds thinner, prettier, funnier, shopped at Victoria’s Secret more often. If only I had not been so demanding, so sweet, so lazy, so tired”. This list can go on forever. You were so used to the craziness of the relationship, that becoming sane feels exactly like going insane. You have these panic attacks and wonder if you will ever recover. Can you ever trust yourself again? Do not dwell on these feelings, you are not a victim.
Stay away from the people who want to hear your story and commiserate with you. The old saying that misery loves company may be true for a short time. Being reminded of this and living it over and over is not healthy. Surround yourself with a loving support group. Get busy, get rid of the inertia. During a breakup there is a tendency to neglect yourself , your mind, body, and spirit. Nourish them with meditation, prayer, books, and good healthy food. In successful 12 step programs people are told to LET GO. The whole pattern of life as you knew it has changed. You may feel a desperation to get your old life back. You may want to call the ‘ex’ ask for closure, ask why this happened, beg them to try again. The feeling of being ‘needy’ is overwhelming. It is fine to want some solitude, this is a new frontier and adjusting takes time. ou find yourself tossing out old unused things, and make space for things more suited to the new you. The old you grieves for who you were as you toss out the past. The new you is becoming strong, even though you still feel wobbly, like a toddler taking it’s first steps.
Recovering your sense of Power
After you get your sense of self back, it is normal to go through an angry stage. Listen to your anger, it is always a message. It help us set and define our boundaries. You may have unexpected bursts of grief and even joy. You are coming into your power and the old you is dying, the new you is being born….. and birthing hurts. Ask for help and a hundred unseen hands appear to guide you and applaud you on your way. You start daydreaming again, this time you are the star of these dreams. You live in the now, not the murky past, not the hazy future. A new sense of possibilities arise and you find yourself saying “I can fix this garage door myself”. “I could stencil a border on this wall.” “My hair may look nice layered.” “If I moved the couch over here I will get more sunshine”. “I will set a place for me at the dinner table, I am tired of the couch”. Small things, some not very exciting, the sense of life moving again usually starts small.
Recovering your sense of Trust
Every end is a beginning, we lose sight of this as we feel our grief. We tend to focus on what we have lost and left behind. We feel unsure of what lies ahead. If the past has hurt so much, how can we be excited over our future? Simple affirmations work. Muttering “I am a happy person” at 4 AM after a bout of crying feels silly and as though it is a huge lie. Smiling when you say it helps, bursting into laughter at the absurdity of it makes it real. It is at this stage you need to learn to play again. You need fun. You may find your fun drawing cartoons, writing, playing with candle wax, baking cookies or a pie. Keep at it and soon you will see the universe responding to you and playing back. Little surges of joy just happen. The joy of just being alive and a survivor is strong.
Keeping a record
The best tip I have learned in the last two years is journaling. I wake up in the morning and hand write two or three pages of just stuff. I never reread what I write until the notebook is full. It is always eye-opening to see what bothered me so much, four weeks ago, was merely a flash in the pan. Some pages start with “Oh great, it’s raining and that means the ugly shoes, I hope they are dry. I have three loads of laundry to do and have to buy cat food.” Whatever I am thinking and feeling go right into my pages. I get the junk out of the way before my day officially starts. After a few days of this, events and emotions and a sense of possibility start to show up. “Maybe I will call Suzie, and lunch tomorrow, she has such great ideas. We can order dessert and split the calories”. “Maybe I should take a class.” “I wonder how a purple snowman would look?” “I saw him standing on the sidewalk yesterday, I wonder why I thought he was so gorgeous?“ “He called and asked if I would see him just once more, so he can explain why he has not left his other relationship, or was unfaithful to me, or has not stopped drinking, or needs a loan, do I really want this back in my life?” Slowly, steadily, getting rid of the poison that affects you in so many ways, you regain yourself. We miss being in love, we miss the excitement and passion, it was such a force of energy. If you can channel and focus that energy onto yourself, and start loving yourself again, life takes on new meaning and you start to see that you are working hand in hand with the Creator to recreate your life.