The Emotional Aftermath of Breaking Up
You broke up and it hurts! You don’t think anyone else could possibly understand how miserable you are. There are emotions running rampant that you don’t want to admit even to yourself, let alone to others. However, the pain, anger, disappointment, fear, and rejection you are feeling is probably normal. What you don’t want is to let a single one of these negatives get out of control. If you understand what is happening inside yourself, there is a better chance of tempering the pain and eventually rising above it.
After all, who wants to wallow in self-pity? Not you!
Angry? You Bet!
Anger is a natural reactive emotion. An unkind word, disappointment, or dissolution of a love relationship can unleash your anger. Here’s how it works. You feel angry when:
Your personal needs are not fulfilled.
You perceive of real or imagined injury to yourself.
A situation is extremely unacceptable, disturbing, or damaging to you.
You experience frustration.
Your state of pleasure is interrupted.
The Eruption of Romantic Anger
All of the factors mentioned above contribute to the anger you feel over lost love. Add the following for a complete list of causes:
A lack of closure.
The inability to reunite with your loved one.
The lack of opportunity to communicate with your estranged partner.
Failure to convince your partner to keep on loving you.
Discovery of false perceptions and intentions.
Not fully comprehending why love failed.
Is Your Anger Showing?
We all develop a way of reacting to anger that becomes a habit. What is your mode of action?
1. Do you explode in a loud fury?
2. Do you lash out at others?
3. Do you stomp away with exaggerated, fast body movements?
4. Do you pout?
5. Do you fume inside?
6. Do you tense your muscles, wear a grimace, and pose in a rigid stance?
Is your anger excessive? It very well could be if you display rage, fury, and wrath. But as we all know, sometimes it is difficult to control our anger. According to Chicago educator, author, and psychotherapist Kenneth S. Isaacs, it’s because anger is a part of our animal nature that encourages us to harm others as a means of protecting ourselves.
Consequently, in the dissolution of love relationships, men and women verbally lash out at each other, say things they don’t mean, and regret those statements later.
Here’s a simple exercise to reduce anger:
1. Talk it out with someone.
2. Expend energy. Jog, play a sport, spar with a punching bag.
3. Do a time out. Count to 10, take a walk around the block, sit quietly by yourself.
4. Talk to yourself.
5. Focus on a productive way to work through it.
6. For excessive, uncontrollable anger, seek help immediately!
It isn’t wise to let your anger simmer, boil, and overflow. It will undoubtedly get in the way of making prudent, rational decisions pertaining to your love relationships and be counterproductive in handling any breakups. If you have established that you make a habit of displaying excessive anger, make a concerted effort to practice using the exercise above to get it under control.
The Pain of Unrequited Love
Mutual love and affection bring happiness. The opposite is true when love is not reciprocated. Unrequited love begets agony, misery, and unhappiness. Unfortunately, that may be what you are feeling!
According to well-documented research, women suffer more from broken hearts, the demise of a relationship, and unrequited love than men. Furthermore, females are more likely to feel exploited or mistreated and, consequently, experience greater harm from breakups than do their male counterparts. Men, on the other hand, believe they have been used for emotional support or an ego boost when women abruptly withdraw their romantic interest. This isn’t nearly as shattering.
Documented Injuries from Unrequited Love
A range of injuries may result from unrequited love. Ask yourself if you are suffering from those that have already been documented in others:
1. A loss of self-esteem.
2. Personal thoughts of worthlessness and inadequacy.
3. Eruption of self-doubt.
4. Diminished confidence.
5. Erosion of trust.
6. Feeling vulnerable.
7. The onset of depression.
8. The rise in tension.
9. A sense of grief.
10. Leaning toward self-pity.
11. Heavy doses of rejection.
12. Inward movement and erection of barriers.
Once you have assessed your injuries, you can use the first-aid tips that follow to tend to your immediate wounds.
First-Aid Tips and Antidotes for Romantic Injuries
The following first-aid tips are designed to relieve your suffering and assist the healing process. Each one is a potent does of medicine.
1. Acknowledge the pain.
2. Unload your discomfort and unhappiness.
3. Don’t dwell on the question, What’s wrong with me?
4. Ask what’s wrong with the other guy and why he or she didn’t appreciate you.
5. Hang out with people who give you praise and who do wonders for your flailing self-esteem.
6. Complete tasks or concentrate on work that improves your confidence and eliminates self-doubt.
7. Go out with a guy or gal who is excited by what they see in you.
8. Discover new ways to fulfill your need for love and belonging.
9. Don’t allow yourself to sit home and pout.
10. Seek the company of others.
It is difficult to recover from a serious illness without identifying the symptoms and making an accurate diagnosis. The same holds true for one suffering from romantic heartache, disappointment, and rejection. It is imperative to grasp how you have been wounded by love and to understand the ways in which you are manifesting that injury. Self-knowledge will speed your recovery and help determine where you need to apply the bandages or when you need to get a transfusion of self-confidence and self-respect.
A New Take on Rejection.
Sensitivity to rejection is another one of those annoying, inevitable, but natural conditions of being human. And with it comes that miserable sensation of humiliation and loss of acceptance. If you can rapidly move beyond the emotional side of rejection, however, to the intellectual sector of your brain, there is a chance to look at it objectively.
Let’s say that Robby broke up with Robin. Immediately Robin wondered what was wrong with her that she couldn’t hold onto Robby. She felt dejected, unhappy, and unattractive. When she stopped to analyze the situation, she realized that Robby was more perceptive breaking up with her than she first understood. After all, she was smarter than Robby, had more ambition than Robby, and was more physically active than Robby. They simply weren’t compatible. There wasn’t a thing wrong with her. It wasn’t a good match. That’s all.
It never occurred to Robin, however, that the initial sting of rejection she experienced stemmed all the way back to something in her past. Elayne Savage, Ph.D., author of Don’t Take it Personally (New Harbinger Publications, 1997), suggests we stockpile notions of rejection from childhood through adulthood. This repository of rejection influences how we feel when someone fails to invite us to a party or doesn’t ask for a second date.
For instance, Robin’s dad walked out on the family when she was seven. At the time, Robin heard her mother tell friends that something must be wrong with her if her husband didn’t love her anymore. Robin picked up on this response and incorporated it into her own belief system. Consequently, whenever she encountered male rejection, she thought it was due to her own inadequacy.
According to rejection expert Elayne Savage, Ph.D., you can beat the rap if:
1. You don’t take rejection personally until you figure out whether your feelings are warranted or rooted in the past.
2. You develop an ability to empathize and figure out where the other person is coming from.
3. You step outside the situation to gather a better understanding of what happened and reduce the flood of emotions.
4. You don’t allow someone’s personal rejection to invalidate who you are or intrude on your self-image.
5. You share your feelings of rejection.
6. You acknowledge the rejection, admit it hurts, then move on.
7. You don’t let the fear of rejection prevent you from acting.
With your new take on rejection and seven good suggestions on how to get over it, you are ready to wade out of the murky waters of self doubt. It may take some practice to get in step, but it is well worth the effort. Once you refuse to take rejection personally, you will gain self-determination, confidence, and empowerment. What could be better than emerging from the harsh reality of a breakup buoyed by these three attributes?
Toppled by Romantic Depression
Feeling tense, tired, stressed out, worried, angry, blue, and dejected?
Well then, you have the symptoms associated with depression. However, there is no need to panic or book an appointment for immediate, intensive, and exhaustive psychotherapy sessions. Mild depression is common among individuals between the ages of 25 to 40 and certainly an appropriate response when love dies. Nearly everyone experiences a touch of the blues weekly. The primary cause of men’s woes is money; for women, it’s relationships.
Climbing Out of the Dumps
You may be able to get out of the dumps by yourself. Individuals are used to unconsciously changing their moods everyday and finding suitable diversions. When you are feeling blue, you may choose to see a funny movie, plan a trip to some place sunny and warm, or treat yourself to carbs or chocolate (if you’re a gal) or red meat and protein (if you’re a guy).
Most likely you have established your own way of climbing out of the dumps. Through trial, error, and repetition, you have discovered what evokes the best results for you and boosts those positive feelings. Because you are conditioned to this response, you automatically revert to this behavior when you feel down. For some it is a glass of wine, socializing, watching TV, running several miles, or calling a good friend.
If you haven’t found your magic bean yet, keep trying. The important thing is that you manage these emotions in a positive way that leads to action, says psychologist Ellen McGrath, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Beating the Blues (Alpha Books, 1998) and When Feeling Bad Is Good (Henry Holt and Company, 1992).
Signs that your depression has gone beyond a normal, mild range and requires professional assistance include:
1. The inability to sleep.
2. A serious lack of energy.
3. A perpetual state of agitation.
4. Continual fatigue.
5. A serious drop in self-esteem.
6. The inability to experience pleasure.
In the event you are experiencing any of these serious side effects from romantic depression and are unable to lift off the shroud of doom and gloom, you should consider seeking professional help.
Up Against Fear and Worry
You are standing in a restaurant dumbfounded. Frieda or Fred just broke up with you. Whether you admit it or not, fear and worry creep into your system right alongside the pain and disappointment. You ask yourself, Will I ever meet someone to love and marry me?
And, so say experts in the field, the more you worry, the more you think you have to worry about. If you are skilled at worrying, undoubtedly you will find some angle of the breakup to worry over, imagine the worst possible scenario, fixate on the dark side of things, and focus on what is wrong even if everything is A-OK.
The perpetual worrier exaggerates. For instance, he or she will worry over never finding a love mate, rather than simple worries like where to meet a new love interest or who is going to be their date to that black-tie affair for work next week.
Think about it. Worry is an outgrowth of fear. You take a simple fear and add emotion, a piece of memory, a portion of anticipation, a dose of imagination, and, voilà, you are given something more to worry about that makes you feel vulnerable and powerless.
Worry signifies a lack of trust and troublesome uncertainty in the future. Unfortunately, the sympathy of others only reinforces the notion that something is awry and that there is a need to worry.
Ways to Curb Your Romantic Worries
No one can escape worrying altogether. Everyone does it. German scientists even discovered a worry gene in 1997. However, psychologists maintain that the gene is secondary in determining how much you worry and what you worry about. Your environment and how you learn to approach situations and solve problems is of primary importance. You can exhibit control over your worries and should not allow them to cause you undue stress or anxiety. Here are some ways in which you can curb those romantic worries that surface:
1. The best remedy is exercise. And while you are at it, do it at a gym where you will meet someone desirable to go running with.
2. Meditation and prayer is relaxing and curbs worry. Besides, nearly every church or synagogue has a singles group.
3. Keep going out and meeting new and interesting people. They will affirm that there are plenty of eligible men and women out there for you.
4. Brad Schmidt, associate professor of psychology at Ohio State University, thinks the best way to curb worrying is to identify precisely what it is you are worried about and then honestly evaluate whether or not the worry is reasonable and realistic. More often than not you will probably conclude that your worry is not justified by the circumstances.
Worrying is only one of the emotions that rain down in the aftermath of a breakup. However, like the accompanying anger, pain, depression, and rejection, there are ways to lessen the impact of fear and worry. The process to understand and control this emotional aftermath was introduced in this article. Discussions in the following article will offer further assistance.