Recovering from a Breakup: Proven Ways to Heal (From Science)

Even if your heart tries to pull its broken self together to tell you it’s for the best, and your head – foggy and sad – tells you the pain will pass, the agony of a breakup can be relentless. When you’re recovering from a breakup, it’s important not to hurry things along – it’s your time to reset, recharge and draw wisdom from the experience – but what if your healing could be strong and complete … and quicker?  Science may have just found the way. 

New research has found that broken-hearted ones who reflected more on their relationships over a nine week period had a stronger overall recovery from their breakup. 

An important part of the healing is a process called ‘self-concept reorganisation’, which involves rebuilding and strengthening the sense of who you are, independent of the relationship.

[bctt tweet=”What if your healing from a breakup could be stronger and quicker? Science may have found the secret … http://wp.me/p5hkQx-lk”]

Relationships have a profound impact on the beliefs we have about ourselves, whether we realise it or not. During the course of a relationship, it’s very normal to ‘intertwine’ with a partner. Goals and directions change, as well as wants and needs for now and the future.

This isn’t because you lose yourself, though certainly that can happen, but because intimacy involves opening up to another person – opening up to their love, wants, needs, feelings, opinions, love, goals, dreams. When that happens, you can’t help but be influenced and eventually move in the same direction. Sometimes that involves adjusting your own sails. It’s all a healthy part of being with someone fully, and part of the unpredictable magic of relationships.

A breakup means the undoing of this merging, which is painful to go through. However strong and independent a person may be, the fracturing of a relationship can also mean the fracturing of the self-concept. One of the most painful parts of a breakup is that it up-ends things as you’ve come to know them. The familiar is gone, plans are changed and the future all of a sudden has too many blank spaces where happy things used to be.

[irp posts=”1144″ name=”Dear Broken Hearted One … When You’re In The Thick of a Break-Up.”]

 

Part of the healing is re-establishing who you are without your partner. Anything that can repair and re-strengthen the self-concept, will accelerate healing.

So, to get you back to strong, based on science …

  1. Talk. Go on. Go for it.

    There are a couple of ways that talking about a breakup might help to facilitate healing. The first is that talking about the relationship will help to bring a different perspective to things. It’s not called a ‘breakup’ because it’s working well. Being in love or being in like-a-lot can blur things, hide things and dress things up, sometimes at the cost of clarity. There will be a level of insight that will throw itself at your feet when you talk about the relationship from a more distant perspective.

  2. Find your story.

    Talking helps to construct a story of the relationship that gives meaning to the experience – including the experience of the relationship, the breakup, and perhaps most importantly for healing, the recovery. Let me explain …

    If you tell the story of your breakup as one of rejection and a lost happy ever after, recovery will be slow, kind of like ‘walking through quicksand’ type of slow. It’s really easy to get stuck in this narrative when the thoughts are locked in your head and want to be with you at 2am. On the other hand, talking to people in your tribe will help you find a way to understand your story from a position of strength. This might involve finding the lessons, the learning and reframing the experience as, say, an ending, rather than a rejection.

  3. An emotional release – journalling.

    Having an emotional release is an important part of healing. Journalling is one way to do this as it allows you to capture and give definition to the thoughts and feelings that are swirling around inside. Journalling doesn’t have to be done every day to have an effect. Even a few times a week will help the healing. 

  4. Write – as though you’re talking to a stranger.

    Writing repeatedly about the process of the breakup as though speaking with a stranger about it, is another way to move towards healing. As well as being an emotional release, it also encourages a fresh perspective and new insights.

    [irp posts=”150″ name=”Your Body During a Breakup: The Science of a Broken Heart”]

  5. Reclaim yourself – what’s been neglected?

    Reclaiming a strong self-concept – establishing who you are outside of the relationship – is critical and will be enormously supportive of a recovery. Think about the parts of yourself that might have been pushed aside during the relationship. When you’ve found these, find ways to build them and nurture them. 

  6. And expand them.

    Find new ways to expand your self concept. When you feel ready, (or maybe a little before then) take up new interests, establish new goals or re-establish your direction. Given that your need to connect has been messed with, anything that will give you the opportunity to connect with others who will also see you as your own, unique person will really help the healing process.

A breakup is an ending, not a rejection. It might not feel like that initially, but it’s an important thing to remember. When your heart has been broken, it can take a while to find your way back to whole but you will get there. Healing from a broken heart is as much a physical process as it is an emotional one. It’s very similar to recovering from an addiction, which is why it feels so hard and so damn painful.

Above all else, remember that there were things about you that were beautiful, strong, vibrant and extraordinary before the relationship. Nothing has changed.

255 Comments

Ro

5 years. I was doing my best being patient. There was something that I saw in her, when I wanted to date her. I knew from the first look, that she had the same feeling about life inside as I did. I was sure of that. But half year ago, I got tired of not being taken for granted. My strength was put in my patience, and I was thriving for celebrations. I always knew that there was more of me inside, still, my patience became a picture of me for her, and she did not believe me of who I was. It was stressful. I wanted to give her something. In the end she told me : I am thankful for the gifts, that you gave me. But there are no more feelings.
for me it is painful. I should not have taken a teachers role here, but what love is ? I taught her, she taught me about things that come from inside. That is lovely. We can not cope together. She picks at me when I express what I am capable of, and after a day we both agree, that we could be together : I pull you on the nose, you pull me on my nerves – she says. we love one another, but we cannot cope with arguments no more. And she got medical issues, when I stopped putting my strength on keeping myself patient. This showed her that she was egoistic.
She got messed over that, and I see her. Still, she does not want to hear anything about that from me. well, sometimes she does. She is pushing that away from her.

I love her. She is a beautiful soul. Good luck for her.
I need to rearrange myself now. Make something for myself.

And I think that if there was a beautiful time – do not delete it after it gets nasty. Remember the beauty you had. Do not put a cross over it.

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Rey

It’s been over a year since my breakup but some days it feel too fresh. My ex and I dated for 3 and a half years and I saw a lifetime with her. And then those plans changed. I spent so much time reminiscing on everything that we had and wishing on the things that we didn’t.

This was a painful chapter of my life, and the recovery has been slow. Some days are better than others, but you know, life still goes on even if its not how we thought it would be. I just wish I came across this article sooner to help me further realize this fact.

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jojie

I had relationship with my EX for almost 6 years. He is very comitted in our relationship in the 3rd year we apart by distance. But he maintaining our closeness by visiting me every 3-4months, we used to have trip together. So we both never feel apart always stay close.
But i decided to broke up after many years i did not seen any future for stability into marriage. There will always excuses since our first year till the 5th years. First he lied me bout his status in the second year that he still processing his divorce. I was shocked that time, i did broke him but him kept coming and promised that everything on track. His genuinely and comitted will do anything for us that was the reasons so i give the second chance for him to proof. But that was the same no changes after 5 years and I only found out he still with his wife. They have problem and he was afraid to loss his son. Thats the main reasons why he never processed anything
Im exhausted for all the promises and love words and the trip few months. I feel terible heart broken and ended our relationship. And now he still begging me to be back and said that he just started the divorce. But i will never trust all his blinded me. He even asked his good friend to contact me to asked forgiveness and kept stay waiting for him till end of the year for his divorce. His friend told me that he is really obssed at me and was confused to take decision. I know this is hard for me since his the first love for me and i was treated like a princess during our relationship. Thoght we are perfect couple as soul mate unfortunately all paid by untrustworthy. This is deeply pain for me to healing and while he is till begging to be back. I had block his contacts but all the memories still running well into my heart. Im praying for everyone who have this situation we all can find our own happiness

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Crisis

There are many outlets to release your pain.
Try chatting with a crisis counselor at Crisis Text Line. They literally helped me every night while I was alone and depressed. Breaking up was terrible for me.

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Sheldon

I just broke up with ex one week ago, we had wonderful times througth the year, but our values differ, especialy when it comes to gifts from others, she took them as a habbit and refuse to talk about it when I brought things up. We were engaged, I thought we can discuss whether or which gift you can take, she said it is her own business and it makes no sense talking to me, at that moment, I can not see the future of us. After three days of silence, she wanted to break up and gave back the ring. Even though she told me she does not want a breakup, I feel like I can not trust her anymore, I did not feel the urge to say or do anything, I just accept the outcome in peace. Now I kept thinking about the wonderful time we had and worry whether her next boyfriend would love her as the way I did. I can`t sleep and I am ab out break down…

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Varun

hi. i also brokeup after 2 years of very close relationship and the problem with me is also same like you as i cant concentrate anything else but her only. my appeptite is decreased. i dont know what to do. i just want my mind to stop thinking of her

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Jon

Howdy Gentlemen,
My fiance and I of 3 years have just recently broken up. Thankfully we were able to talk about a lot of things, and I have documented the process pretty well. My world is shattered, my life revolved around her. The habits, the routines, the support, the feeling of being loved. Everything is gone. Every day is like being stabbed through the heart, and every night is like losing my soul.
I feel yall for sure, and here is what I believe we should do.
For one, we need to look at what we are doing and think about why we are doing it. Then we need to determine what the result of it will be.

Not sleeping, not eating, constantly thinking about her. Why are we doing those things?
For me, I could not eat because I was so upset by the situation that it blocked out my other needs. It also brought back memories of us eating together. I could not sleep because I was so used to her being by my side to talk, touch, or just share the space. I still cant stop thinking about her, because I choose to associate every aspect of life with her and the future I fully believed we would have.
The result of these behaviors will dish us out more pain, more loss, and continue to hurt our futures. We will lose energy. We will lose strength. We will break ourselves…
Now I know we cant just stop these behaviors. ( I consider myself very rational, but my mind simply cant defeat my heart ) However, telling yourself every day that not only will this hurt US, but it also hurts EVERYONE ELSE. Your friends, your family, even your ex would never wish this on us.
We need to let go. We need to determine exactly what kind of future we envision for ourselves. Even if that future is ” I want my ex back “. Then, we need to build ourselves into someone who is capable of that future.
DO NOT BREAK
DO NOT GIVE UP
LOVE YOURSELF, SO THAT YOU MAY LOVE OTHERS IN PEACE.
I’m not there yet, but hopefully some of my words ring true to you. We will recover my friends. We will learn from what has happened. We will be grateful for the good times we had. We will not hold resentment in our hearts, because we are smart enough to know that everything happens for a reason. Believe with unwavering conviction that you will succeed, and make it happen. You never know where we will be further down the road.
I wish yall the best, and a speedy recovery.
Regards,
Jon

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Stut

Hi.. It’s long distance relationship. It’s not my recent breakup but in January i broke up with him. But still i try to talk with him in march-april but i feel there’s no use. Things are getting more worse after i approach him. So stopped talking to him n block. But I keep missing him, our talks, intimate moments n mostly whenever I’m alone i feel crying n crying.. I feel changes in me like depression, anger and sad n uninterested in my favorite things i used to like to do… I don’t feel good energy now from inner heart.

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P

Jon I love your post were all suffering here am going through exactly what your going through, I dont eat i dont sleep i cant think of anything but my my ex sometimes i wish I didn’t have kids with her because now i have to remain in her life and i know she doesnt love me anymore ive never been through heartache like this in my life ive been through all emotions even thought about ending it, but i couldn’t do it i have children and a life to live, we all have to stay strong find hobbies take things slow dont rush these painful feelings its ok not to be ok tell ourselves that we our hurting inside and were going to be ok, alls i can say is its not going to be like this forever.

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Mi

We were living a wonderful life with my boyfriend almost for four months but because my brother threatened him he told me to break up. What’s killing me most is that we’re getting separated not because of our problems but someone else. I have never been sad, vulnerable and so down I can’t eat I feel like I hate my life and my self. Every day I try to make my self busy during the day and at night I sleep when I’m really tired and then at in the middle of the night I find myself thinking about him and all the stories. This is happening everyday I don’t know what to do.

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Paddy

since my children’s mother split i havent been able to eat properly, I am awake all night and sleep and dawn, She has now found someone new and i am dying inside, I think about her every minute of the day now I torture myself with visions of her and her new boyfriend together, its not easy for me to walk away as we have children together, I love her more than ever but I know Ive lost her for good.

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Archit J

Dude you’ll be alright. Things come into perspective in a while. Just gather you courage and do small things, things that don’t require much efforts, that’ll add to you every day. So that you won’t regret that you wasted your time moving on. At the end of the process you’ll be one great person, better than before, a hero in your eyes and your children’s too. ❤️

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Tom h

I had a tense relationship for 6 months only and it wa any decision to end it, still I can’t help but think about her all the time and if things were different. Most of my thinking is her getting intimate with someone else and it is painful…it’s been 2 weeks I think it’s getting easier, it’s the battle between mind and heart, my mind knows and tells me me 100% that she’s not the right person for me l, however, my heart still yearns for her and miss being intimate with her, just have to resist and stay focused on the reasons why it won’t ever work and pray for this pain to pass…

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Raphael R

I was in a relationship for 6 years but it was a long distance one but every 2 months wecwere together and was making plans to marry…I did a lot for this relationship because of love…when you love someone you do everthing for that person….In this period of covid19 I was talking to her and I told her I miss a little more love and attention from her…..she got mad and told me to look for somone else that can be close to you…likevthat and she never text or call me back. I tried to contact her but shevwont answe or text me back…..I am feeling after 3 weeks of this still so sad and it hurts so bad….some days it goes good but for a moment and then you fall back and only tears are rolling down…..it is a pain you can explain…..still fighting to go on……thank you for reading…

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Terranisha C

I’ve been dating my ex for 8 years and if I’m being honest I’m only 22. He’s was my first and everything and although I don’t miss the relationship “because it was toxic” it’s apart of me that’s really sad. I’m not going be his “rock” anymore like he’ll call me. And it’s been two weeks but It still feels like the first day. Our last fight ended in a physical fight and I know I don’t deserve that but why do we love the People that hurts us the most? Its like I’m over the accusing And me not knowing myself but I miss … my friend I guess????.

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Stut

Hi.. It’s long distance relationship. It’s not my recent breakup but in January i broke up with him. But still i try to talk with him in march-april but i feel there’s no use. Things are getting more worse after i approach him. So stopped talking to him n block. But I keep missing him, our talks, intimate moments n mostly whenever I’m alone i feel crying n crying.. I feel changes in me like depression, anger and sad n uninterested in my favorite things i used to like to do… I don’t feel good energy now from inner heart.

Reply
Racquel M

My boyfriend and I just broke up. We were together for 4 years and 8 months. It started out wonderful but after a year, it started to go downhill little by little.
I have always been independent so relationships are never easy for me. I’ve never lived with anyone or been married. Whenever he or any other boyfriend I had even mentioned moving in or marriage, I panicked. I felt like I couldn’t breathe.
We are both to blame for the disagreements, arguments, and things that have gone wrong. But I was worse. The more we were together, the less emotionally available or demonstrative I was. I would get hurt or disappointed by something he did or said and either we fought or I shut down.
I feel that I’ve been a terrible girlfriend. I feel that I should never get into another relationship. What’s wrong with me? In every relationship I had, I always fall out of love. Even though I initiated this breakup, I feel awful. At times, I just want him back. At other times, I feel this is the right decision. I feel like I’m going crazy. Does anyone ever feel like I do? Should I stay broken up or crawl back, ask for forgiveness and try to make it work? Are relationships supposed to feel so difficult?

Reply
Vannility

Dear Racquel M,
I am going through exactly the same as you, emotionally. I have left my man because I felt he wasn’t enough for me and I do still think so, but there are moments when I want him back. Especially now when I got to know that he moved on and is dating someone. It makes me think that maybe I made a wrong choice? If that other woman wants him then maybe I have been to harsh in my assessment? I started asking myself why would she want to be with him? And I know the answer. For thr same reasons I have chosen him to be my partner. He took care of me, he loved me the way I never loved anyone, he was there whenever I needed him. But I have left him anyway. Because there was much more negative aspects of him and even the love he had for me wasnt enough to compensate all of that. And I know there is no way back because even if we got back together there would always be something that will not feel right about being with him. We should move on, girl. If you felt it wasnt it – it’s fine. I wish you will end up in a good relationship onr day. We have a tendency to mistske attachment and lust for love, remember only the good memories and moreover our brains work in a way that they always want us to choose an easy way out. Since break up is never an easy option therefore I think you have done what is best for you. I am no psychologist but from my point of view there is nothing wrong with you. You just need to find a person who will accept your flaws or maybe, when you really fall in love with someone, you will feel that you no longer need to be so independent and you can let someone come a little bit closer 🙂 cheer up and enjoy your life. I will do the same 🙂

Reply
D

About six months ago my girlfriend decided to leave. She sent me a text while i was at work and said she just wasn’t happy anymore. We were together for almost 5 years. I know i was at fault for somethings, we just weren’t compatible anymore. I later found out she was dating a coworker and they had been talking for awhile. She got pregnant. and i thought i finally got the closure i needed . but to be honest i still think about her all the time and it hurts. I really just want it to stop but it doesn’t. She is the first person I’ve really ever let in like that and actually thought we would spend life together. i Just idk I’ve really never been a big one to comment or reach out. But its come to the point that i dont know what to do to actually move on. Ive changed alotsince then ive been going tot the gym and i thought that was helping alot. but i saw them this am on the way to work and there it was again my heart beating so fast and my heart in my stomach i just need some advice frfr

Reply

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During adolescence, our teens are more likely to pay attention to the positives of a situation over the negatives. This can be a great thing. The courage that comes from this will help them try new things, explore their independence, and learn the things they need to learn to be happy, healthy adults. But it can also land them in bucketloads of trouble. 

Here’s the thing. Our teens don’t want to do the wrong thing and they don’t want to go behind our backs, but they also don’t want to be controlled by us, or have any sense that we might be stifling their way towards independence. The cold truth of it all is that if they want something badly enough, and if they feel as though we are intruding or that we are making arbitrary decisions just because we can, or that we don’t get how important something is to them, they have the will, the smarts and the means to do it with or without or approval. 

So what do we do? Of course we don’t want to say ‘yes’ to everything, so our job becomes one of influence over control. To keep them as safe as we can, rather than saying ‘no’ (which they might ignore anyway) we want to engage their prefrontal cortex (thinking brain) so they can be more considered in their decision making. 

Our teens are very capable of making good decisions, but because the rational, logical, thinking prefrontal cortex won’t be fully online until their 20s (closer to 30 in boys), we need to wake it up and bring it to the decision party whenever we can. 

Do this by first softening the landing:
‘I can see how important this is for you. You really want to be with your friends. I absolutely get that.’
Then, gently bring that thinking brain to the table:
‘It sounds as though there’s so much to love in this for you. I don’t want to get in your way but I need to know you’ve thought about the risks and planned for them. What are some things that could go wrong?’
Then, we really make the prefrontal cortex kick up a gear by engaging its problem solving capacities:
‘What’s the plan if that happens.’
Remember, during adolescence we switch from managers to consultants. Assume a leadership presence, but in a way that is warm, loving, and collaborative.♥️
Big feelings and big behaviour are a call for us to come closer. They won’t always feel like that, but they are. Not ‘closer’ in an intrusive ‘I need you to stop this’ way, but closer in a ‘I’ve got you, I can handle all of you’ kind of way - no judgement, no need for you to be different - I’m just going to make space for this feeling to find its way through. 

Our kids and teens are no different to us. When we have feelings that fill us to overloaded, the last thing we need is someone telling us that it’s not the way to behave, or to calm down, or that we’re unbearable when we’re like this. Nup. What we need, and what they need, is a safe place to find our out breath, to let the energy connected to that feeling move through us and out of us so we can rest. 
.
But how? First, don’t take big feelings personally. They aren’t a reflection on you, your parenting, or your child. Big feelings have wisdom contained in them about what’s needed more, or less, or what feels intolerable right now. Sometimes it might be as basic as a sleep or food. Maybe more power, influence, independence, or connection with you. Maybe there’s too much stress and it’s hitting their ceiling and ricocheting off their edges. Like all wisdom, it doesn’t always find a gentle way through. That’s okay, that will come. Our kids can’t learn to manage big feelings, or respect the wisdom embodied in those big feelings if they don’t have experience with big feelings. 
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We also need to make sure we are responding to them in the moment, not a fear or an inherited ‘should’ of our own. These are the messages we swallowed whole at some point - ‘happy kids should never get sad or angry’, ‘kids should always behave,’ ‘I should be able to protect my kids from feeling bad,’ ‘big feelings are bad feelings’, ‘bad behaviour means bad kids, which means bad parents.’ All these shoulds are feisty show ponies that assume more ‘rightness’ than they deserve. They are usually historic, and when we really examine them, they’re also irrelevant.
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Finally, try not to let the symptoms of big feelings disrupt the connection. Then, when calm comes, we will have the influence we need for the conversations that matter.
"Be patient. We don’t know what we want to do or who we want to be. That feels really bad sometimes. Just keep reminding us that it’s okay that we don’t have it all figured out yet, and maybe remind yourself sometimes too."
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 #parentingteens #neurodevelopment #positiveparenting #parenting #neuronurtured #braindevelopment #adolescence  #neurodevelopment #parentingteens
Would you be more likely to take advice from someone who listened to you first, or someone who insisted they knew best and worked hard to convince you? Our teens are just like us. If we want them to consider our advice and be open to our influence, making sure they feel heard is so important. Being right doesn't count for much at all if we aren't being heard.
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Hear what they think, what they want, why they think they're right, and why it’s important to them. Sometimes we'll want to change our mind, and sometimes we'll want to stand firm. When they feel fully heard, it’s more likely that they’ll be able to trust that our decisions or advice are given fully informed and with all of their needs considered. And we all need that.
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 #positiveparenting #parenting #parenthood #neuronurtured #childdevelopment #adolescence 
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"We’re pretty sure that when you say no to something it’s because you don’t understand why it’s so important to us. Of course you’ll need to say 'no' sometimes, and if you do, let us know that you understand the importance of whatever it is we’re asking for. It will make your ‘no’ much easier to accept. We need to know that you get it. Listen to what we have to say and ask questions to understand, not to prove us wrong. We’re not trying to control you or manipulate you. Some things might not seem important to you but if we’re asking, they’re really important to us.❤️" 
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#neurodevelopment #neuronurtured #childdevelopment #parenting #positiveparenting #mindfulparenting

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