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.

337 Comments

Marie Ima

I was with a man for more than three years. When I met him he was homeless living in a car. He had a part time job and we loved purely but from six month ago he has changed he got full time job and shared flat to live with. He still doesn’t earn enough and have 4000 pounds debit used credit card before I met him. From six months ago, he purposely stopped saying he loves me and care for me. He still showed his love because sometimes he couldn’t hide it. He always wanted to go and live in this particular country and from half of time because of that he wanted to get rid of me. He lost a job now then he broke up with me then he will use credit card he just made and he will buy a ticket which he can’t pay back anc go. He sent me text for good bye and wrote me nasty things so he made sure I will hate him. Everyday I am wasting time with spell caster, checking his Facebook, checking messages . Our relationship was up and down so as his job. Everytime when he had problem with job, he wanted to break up with me. Nobody treated like this in my life and hurting like crazy. Can someone help me?

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Neru

My ex and I were in a six year relationship. It was long distance always. We were very different from each other but our basic values were the same and we hit it off and got serious about each other very quickly. He moved out of country two years back and I struggled with the idea of long distance. Last year around august, I goofed around with another guy, but while doing it, itself I felt so horrible that I stopped and it broke me. I confessed about it to my partner the very next day, for a while things were bad but then it went back to normal. He met me last december and things were great. He wanted to marry me and he even spoke to my parents about it. We are family friends and everyone was so happy. He went back to Canada and this april he met someone. He has never cheated on me before but after he met her, things just drastically changed. He said he would never be the same, he tried working things with me but this january after series of on and offs, he told me he is just not in love with me though he cares a lot about me. He told me every time he takes a step closer to me he feels like he is cheating on her and I requested him to end things and he did. We have been in no contact for last 23 days and I still don’t understand what happened, how it happened. Any comments, any thing at all would be super helpful.

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Evans

Hi,
My wife and I separated for a month now. We have been together for 5 years. I thought I would have a soft landing because she moved to a new place which is near my place and I could have our son over the weekends or when am free. Worked fine for week 1 but then she took our boy to her parents which is a day’s journey making it hard to have him with my current employment.
I have been seeing a therapist once a week since the separation. Week days are bearable at work with colleagues but after work and weekends are sad. Family is far away and majority of my friends work in other towns.
I know she says it’s temporary that we have time to reflect but this is taking a heavy toll on me. She won’t agree to discuss the length of the separation period and was once contacted by the therapist for a session but declined.
Am no longer sure if I should be reading materials on how to heal, how to move on or how to make up. Worse still am not sure if I should probably contact the children’s office now that the child is staying with her parents and not her!

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s. kundu

hey my parents dont like my gf and they took all of my phones my age is 18 years and i have been in the relation ship for more than a year but suddenly it all got blank…i just dont know how to live…please help me to get recover…reply as soon as possible please.

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

At 18 you are and adult, with your own mind, your own heart and your own right to make the choices that feel important to you. Listen to your parents and the people who care about you, but listen to yourself louder. Not everything your parents say will feel right for you. Their decisions are based on their history, their beliefs, their values and their experience. As an adult, part of your responsibility is to create your own history, decide what you stand for, decide on your values and create your own experiences. Part of being an adult means sometimes reminding the people you love that it is your life to live, your mistakes to make, and for you to decide who is right for you and who isn’t. Respecting and loving your parents doesn’t mean taking on their opinions and beliefs as your own. There may be consequences for you in making decisions that your parents aren’t happy with, and it is for you to decide how much you are prepared to weather those consequences for what you believe in.

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Moon

My boyfriend broke up with me 2 weeks ago. We dated for 4 years, our relationship was not healthy towards the end. We were fighting a lot. And finally, he couldn’t take it anymore. During the first week, I was still in denial. I thought everything would be okay again and he would come back to me. A week had gone by, he did not call or text. I tried contacting him for numerous times. He called me last Saturday and we had 2.5 hours of discussion (I was crying, yelling and accepted). During the call, I requested to have a face to face discussion, he was not up for it. He broke up with me because we were not happy and he does not have time for a relationship. He wanted to focus on career and himself. I realized it was done. However, I was not ready to let go.
I tried texting him next day and I went to his house at night. During this time, I tried bargaining and begging him to get back together. We both knew this was coming, we were simply not happy anymore. Towards the end, he told me that he went out to a getaway party for his co-worker (whom he found attractive). At the bar, they had alone time and the girl got his number from another person. They texted a couple times and he showed it to me. He told me that when I want to text/call him, just think of he is talking to that girl. We said goodbye to each other and hugged. We hugged for a long time and we both knew this is better for us. We both deserve someone better. Today is the 11th day of the breakup, I’m getting better. I miss him a lot.

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Lauren

Hey. Having a really hard time. Dated for 4 years. We were engaged for one. Lately we have been off and on. He hurt me by taking my ring back and a week later tried to get back in my life. I allowed it. He expected me in a month to move back in with him, call him my “boyfriend”. I was still hanging out, going out, and spending lots of time but was afraid of getting hurt by moving back in. After a month he completely cut me off and told me I ruined it that he was being the man he should be (one month in a 4 year relationship) and blamed me. Now 3 weeks since all this, after being engaged, after giving him yet another chance and a girl posted a picture of them together. I am so hurt. I don’t know how to deal with it. How could he move on so quickly? How could he not care?

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Daisy

He says I am the only girl he has ever loved and that it is possible to love someone but not be with them. I, In my mind cannot align hurting someone and then claim you love them. Saying you love them but cannot be with them.

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Daisy

He was my best friend and always made me feel loved and protected, i have never felt so safe. We decided to date and in the 4th month, I found out he was still seeing a girl I had been told was his ex. They broke things off, we tried to fix things but the fighting grew immensely, mostly because I felt he didn’t do much to fix our relationship. We broke up and it has been a year now….We work together which makes it even more complex. We tried being friends but as time went on, realised the pain was still there which led to more fighting. Recently we had an honest conversation about how he doesnt see a future with me, it cut deep but I am finding knowing this truth will allow me to start healing again. It hurts but I now know not to wait or fight with someone who does not see a future with me. A part of me feels I still want to be friends but I do believe distance would do me great and maybe in that time, I will realise we don’t need to be friends. Any advise.

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Take some time and put some distance between the both of you. If you loved him, it will be so difficult to move forward as a ‘friend’, without giving yourself the time and the space to adjust to the new reality of your relationship. It doesn’t mean you can’t be friends one day, but as long as you keep having contact, it will be more difficult to make the shift from intimate partners to friends. I wish there was an easier way for you, but there isn’t. Be kind to yourself and give yourself the distance you need from him. Eventually you will have less bad days and more good days, and then there will be a morning that you will wake up and realise that you’re really okay without loving him the way you used to. This is when you will know that you are strong enough and healed enough to have a friendship with him if you want to.

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JesSawrus

My boyfriend and I broke up yesterday and he claims he did it for the best of us. However, I don’t feel that way because there have been too many instances that hinted we are soulmates to become a coincidence. I am more realistic than romantic, but eventually the signs became too frequent to ignore. He says it’s not a ‘goodbye’ but a ‘see you later’. He wants to continue to talk and see me sometimes, but he wants to take 2-3 years for each of us to grow into the people we ultimately should be and he believes that it cannot be done when we’re together as we’re still too young and immature. He says he will always be thinking of us and that when we get back together, things will be better and stronger. I’m scared that during these years our feelings will change for each other, and that he will move on. I want to hold hope but there’s a possibility that we might never get back together. I understand his reasons but I don’t understand why we have to be apart. It kills me knowing that that was the last time I could be with him, because I know deep inside me that we are in fact soulmates – no matter what others may say. There is no one else that understands and connects better with me than him, and I’m scared that he’s gone for good.

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Ponting

Hi, someone please help me 🙁 .. 3 weeks ago , my girlfriend broke up with me, I am devastated, down and I lost myself and I am depressed… it all started with she was spending too much time on phone and was all time on Whatsapp… when I asked her, she said something personal… then I got access to her call history and found one frequently called number and I saw this guy only being online all the time whenever she was … she was not even talking half the time with me , so, I asked her who is this Mr.XXX.. then she was more pissed and explained it’s her ex and started getting angry saying why did I check her celular, then she said to me, she loves me and needs me .. after couple of weeks she broke up with me because, i drove the car in aggressive manner (she had a car accident in past) , but i lost my cool for first time in life of 30 years as I was in love for first time with her , as she changed her mood and stopped talking to me without any of my fault … I really love her, so I was waiting that she would talk to me again , after three weeks when I asked her, she said , she is going on vacations for three weeks and let’s start from ground zero , something new between us and like we never met before, but she is talking more to that XXX , more than ever, call history Whatsapp for hours …. I really don’t understand how to proceed and what to do … I really love her, I don’t want to lose her, I am more worried that , as she said something new and like never met before, that means, she is going to treat me like a stranger ??? And she will never comeback ? Please help me

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

If your girlfriend has broken up with you, and has spent a lot of time speaking with another man, and being secretive about this, this isn’t a relationship you want to be in. You deserve to feel loved, nurtured, and to be in a relationship that brings out the best in you. Be honest with yourself about what you deserve. Letting go of any relationship is difficult, but don’t let this keep you fighting for something that isn’t good for you.

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Ponting

Thanks for the reply, believe me , I would have done it, she started messaging me after 3 weeks.. and that to just hi, hello and how are you ? And I really want to let go all this … but, I feel like she is just playing around my feelings or just want to keep as an option , if something goes wrong … I really want to move on and forget everything and I understand everything what’s happening around… but my stupid heart is not allowing to do so, thinking maybe there is slight hope … I am really doomed, in every manner, food, smoking, drinking, my career … I know it’s only me who can help myself, but , in some situations, I melt down completely and start thinking about her!!!

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Nicole

My boyfriend of over two years had broken up with me because he wanted to figure himself out. He felt that he was missing out on things that 22-year-old men should be doing and wanted the freedom without feeling the burden of a relationship. He talks to me every day casually, and I know he still loves me and cares for me ( because he still says it) and talks to me because he wants to, not because he feels like he’s obligated to. I’ve just never felt so much pain, and I can’t eat or move or do anything. A huge part of me feels like it”s only a break, but I can’t move on all I want to do is wait for him. I just want him to come back to me, and every time I bring it up he always tells me “not right now, ” so I hope with time he’ll come back. I know I’m young and just need an opinion

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Nicole I completely understand how painful it is when the person you love doesn’t love you the way you want (and deserve) to be loved. There is no middle ground with relationships. Your relationship is either off or it’s on. If he is taking a break, it is off for now. That’s okay, and maybe one day in the future you will come back together, but in the meantime if he has chosen to take a break from your relationship, he needs to do this in a way that also lets you get on with your life. The problem with keeping such constant contact is that the only thing that has changed is his commitment to you – he is able to do what he wants but you are not able to move forward, sideways or anywhere. You’re stuck. You will live in hope as long as the relationship continues like this, possibly becoming more hurt, more angry, more confused. That won’t be any good for either of you.

There’s nothing wrong with taking a break, but it needs to be a break, not a shuffle where one of you is in deep pain and the other is getting all needs met. Consider taking some time properly apart where you don’t have contact for a little while. This doesn’t have to be for a long time, just enough time for you both to adjust to a new normal so you can reset your relationship. It’s impossible to move from a relationship to friendship without a proper break in between. If he reaches a point where he wants to commit to you and try again for the relationship, then you can be open to that, but you need to look after your heart and not let it stay hungry for something that is pulling away. You will be okay. Everything you need to get through this is already inside you. You are strong, open-hearted, generous and wise. Trust that you will cope with this, because you will.

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monika

I broke up fm my boyfriend. v still love each otr. d prblm ws he used to get angry on menial things like one fine night, he wanted to talk to me at 12 AM. But I couldn’t coz it ws vry late n my mom ws sleeping besides me. from then he stopped receiving my cals n dint rplied to any of my msgs. his ego z dominating our love. he z so unpredictable over d reasons why he gets angry. I m unable to understand dt hw can one get angry fr nt talking on phone fr dt moment. I want to ask z dis common? z dis love? coz of his anger I m nt able to concentrate on my studies. wt should I do? puzzled I m

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Monika if it’s love, it feels like love. All relationships struggle a little from time to time, and it’s common in relationships for people to argue sometimes, but when anger or fighting or hurtful behaviour becomes the norm, this is the time to wonder if this is how you want to be loved.

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Serena

I fell hard for a gentle and sweet guy. He really was an awesome boyfriend- the best I’ve had. He was so in love with me. He worshipped the ground I walked on. It took me a while, but I let him in- I thought we were on the same page. I imagined our future together, one that he said he imagined too. I was insecure, so tested him and go angry about things I shouldn’t have. But he fought for me. Until one day I must’ve pushed him too far because he turned around and said he felt differently. He said he couldn’t see a future with me afterall and didn’t want to be in a relationship. I’m gutted. It’s hard to not blame yourself, or stop your mind going to dark, unhelpful places. I try to rationalize the situation, and make peace with the fact that he is gone, but I really do wish he’d come back and say he made a terrible mistake. Heartbreak is so tough.

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Brooklyn

How are you doing? Exact same situation for me , almost 2 weeks now. I am not handling it well at all. Physical reactions too. Most painful thing I have ever been through.

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Danielle

I’m a week in and the pain is still unbearable. We both loved each other very much, and early on he moved about 5 hours away. We did LDR with plans for me to relocate to his city, but deep down I never wanted to move, and he was very antisocial and I was becoming that way. Trying to see the breakup positively, but it hurts so much. Today, I couldn’t even leave my bed. It doesn’t help that the brain seems to want to play the good memories on loop. Hang in there…

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Nancy

I am really sorry to hear that. After three years how anyone can broke up by text. I was with him when he was a homeless in the car. He blocked me from everything but I can see instagram. He put purposely naked women site and few women after we broke up. We had magical connection but he was sick if he has problem with job then he started mixing up with our relationship and wanted to break it. Not seeing him and hearing his voice for two weeks now.

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Brooklyn

I am now about 2 months in and the pain is still unbearable. Worst thing I have ever been through. I just don’t know how to move on.

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Sharon

So me and my ex broke up 3 months ago. We dated got one year, off & on. Started it off fun but we were both too jealous & didn’t agree with each other’s lifestyles. The night we officially broke up he was drunk & found a condom in my bathroom that was his but he didn’t believe me & he pretty me much beat me up. Got on top of me on my bed and slapped me a couple of times. I kicked him out decided not to call the police because I didn’t want my family to find out or deal with messy situation. I had a lot of support from friends & I was really busy with work so I started to get over it. Then one night I saw him out with one of “my friends” that I introduced him too. I went up to them & told her she’s lame. She pulled me up the side & said he was jut getting her in the club she’s not interested in him. I told her he beat me up. He emails me the next day she told him what I said. After a few back & forth emails he apologized for what he did & we agreed that we wouldn’t take to each other’s friends. Two weeks later my friends see them out together. My heart felt like it was shattered. I was so sad & hurt & betreayed. It’s been two months & I have other friends telling me they see them out. I’m so upset. I know I don’t want him but this still hurts. It might not hurt if it wasn’t someone I’ve known since middle school. They deserve each other. Now I feel like I have to get him back by finding some fast or someone he knows.

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Sharon I understand how hurt you are feeling, but don’t waste your energy looking for revenge. I know you want to, and I understand why, but there is nothing good there for you. It will occupy your mental and emotional energy and for what. Let your actions be driven by what is good for you, rather than by what might hurt him. What we focus on becomes powerful – let your focus be in moving forward, with strength and wisdom, rather than on what he is doing. He doesn’t deserve your love or your energy. And you deserve better than to be standing still for a man who doesn’t respect you.

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Nathalan

Hey, so I found out my boyfriend was cheating on me online with girls . But all of it was sexually related. When I asked, he denied. And blamed me for invading his privacy .After giving enough evidence. He accepted it. But I still don’t know if he still talks to all those girls. I still have my suspicion that he is still chatting with them or sending them pictures. He tells me he loves me and I mean the world to him, that I’m plenty enough for him and doesn’t need anyone else..and it’s not like we don’t do enough sexual things for him to go behind girls online. I’m confused about the whole thing. And I do feel like maybe I should break up. But at the same time , I love him. And don’t think I can deal with the break up at the moment . As he was there when I had no one. I feel emotionally trapped. I did forgive him. Thinking its just online and he hasn’t physically done anything with them.But I feel like he isn’t going to change his habits. I feel clueless and don’t know what to do .and feel emotionally torn apart.

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

It’s understandable that you still feel insecure and suspicious. After any betrayal it takes a while to feel safe again. He may have accepted the betrayal, but is he sorry for it? Or is he just sorry for being found out. His ‘privacy’ has damaged the relationship. Although we all have a right to our privacy, this has to be used in such a way that doesn’t hurt the other person or break the relationship. For a while, he has to be fully transparent – that means no privacy and no secrets. If he has nothing to hide, this shouldn’t bother him. It’s all part of regaining your trust. If, after a while of him being fully transparent and fully accountable, you still don’t feel safe, perhaps too much damage has been done. Look after you and your needs – you deserve it.

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Thomas

I had been in love with a girl for two years.
Her parents knew about this so she left me cause for her , her parents are first. But she is telling her friend that after I get a job and go ask her , she will fight with her mom dad for me… but the thing is I spoke about her dad badly like only in sentence….I m regretting it daily for the words I spoke I don’t know whether she will come back to me after this….but she still loves me I can feel that I don’t know if she will ever forgive me . What do you think will she come back to me I miss her so much????

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Thomas only she can know if she is coming back. It’s important though that you stop feeling bad for whatever you said about her dad. We all make mistakes and say the wrong thing sometimes – none of us are perfect.

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Anonymous

Hey ,

So I’ve recently gone through a tough breakup me & my ex been together for quite sometime & we have a baby yet after the baby was born he constantly kept breaking up with me than leaving to talk to other people again . This last time I was going my seperate way and I even found someone else till my ex came begging to be with me again an that he would change so I went for it till I found out the whole time he was already talking to someone else again. It seems so repetitive an everytime he leaves he tells me to move on so when I start trying to move on he always tries coming back I don’t know what to do

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Mira

My boyfriend and i broke up yesterday and i feel so alone and like i will never find someone like him in all forms (body proportions, love etc) and it scares me so much.

He is everywhere I cant stop thinking about him and i am so scared of him being with somebody else…

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Alan

My girlfriend of 3 years recently broke up with me and I’m in a lot of pain. We moved into her parents house in August while I started my nursing program, but soon after she broke up with me. We were still living at her parents place and we didn’t tell them for 2 months because the transition to nursing school was very strenuous and I didn’t really have any time to look for another place.
I went snooping around and discovered that she has been talking to another guy and even found out that she has been taking weekend trips with him, I am completely devastated because she din’t have the decency to at least wait until I moved out to start talking to someone else. Not only that, but she totally blew up on me for snooping even after I confronted her previously about it and denied it. She wants to still be friends because I’m her “best friend” and I’m very thankful for her because her mom helped me get into nursing school, but I’m so mad about the whole situation she put me through. I’ve been depressed and mad about the whole situation because I’ve basically been accepted to her family and they think of me like a son. Her mom even told me that she was very sad and felt like she was in the middle of a divorce. I don’t really know what to do I’m completely and whole heartedly in love with her, but am still very bitter about the breakup.
I’ve recently moved in with family nearby and I’ve tried to stop contact with her, but she texts me send me pictures of her dog, that I miss as well. I try to stop contact but I constantly find myself trying to stalk her on social media.

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

It sounds as though both you and your fiance are really going through a difficult time at the moment. Your fiance has been through a very traumatic experience and it may take him time to heal fully from this. That is so understandable. It sounds as though things could have easily ended differently for him. It is also understandable that he would be anxious about something similar happening again. It may help him to get a second opinion to confirm that his symptoms are not from something other than anxiety. Two opinions are much more convincing than one. There is a very real reason for his concerns, so this might be a helpful thing for him to do.

If it has been confirmed that there are no other medical reasons for his symptoms and they are definitely from anxiety, getting into a regular mindfulness practice will help his healing. Mindfulness will help him to ‘watch’ his thoughts and physical feelings without hanging on to them or turning them into something more frightening. Plenty of studies have found that it can change the structure and function of the brain in ways that can protect and strengthen it against anxiety. Start with 10 minutes a day and work up from there. There is information on this link https://www.heysigmund.com/category/being-human/mindfulness/. The Smiling Mind app is also a great resource for guided mindfulness https://smilingmind.com.au/smiling-mind-app/.

The most important thing is to give your partner time to recover, but also to make sure that you are getting support from people who care about you, and also that you are doing things that you enjoy and that you feel nurtured by.

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Grace Trump

My boyfriend and I have been going out for 3 years. Everything was amazing. Over the summer, things started to get a bit patchy. In the Summer, my mum was very ill so I couldnt leave the house. I used to text my boyfriend everyday and everyday he would ask to meet me and say that he feels isolated. I couldnt leave the house and so reading this texts just got depressing. I admit I replied back cliche things and told him we would see each other again soon. He started attending a course. There he met a girl. He caught feelings for her. She claims he started flirting with her first but from what Ive seen on social media, Ive seen her trying to flirt with him openly. It is all over his social media that he is dating me. To her flirts on social media he replied unromantically and even on her account and I wasnt friends with her then. I told him to block her. He didnt until 2 weeks later. He was open with me and told me he had feelings for both of us. i told him to pick one and if he didnt i would leave and if he picked her i would leave. She got tired of waiting for him and he apparently texted her back. Then she started calling me, everyday. She said a lot of things like he still calls her and communicates with her on social media. i believed at the start but later I ignored because by then i had met him and I saw how much he wanted me. Everything is back to normal now and she has stopped calling.

But she isnt even the problem anymore. He is. He never has time for me. He never texts me first. He says things like Im going to marry you but he said all that before summer. My friends dont like him. But I dont know why, even after all this, I still love him. I just dont know if I should trust him again. He caught feelings for this other girl, does that mean that Im not special and that Im not the one?

I feel like right now, Im trying too hard for him. I havent seen much input from him since then except yesterday when he kept calling me and today. To be honest, he still kisses me and isnt shy about showing me his love but I dont know if I should trust him. Maybe im not for him? I am so shy and he could do better.

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Stacey Bohler

Today marks a week ago, I caught the man I was engaged to and had been with for 12 years cheating on me. I wish I could say it took me by surprise, but the truth is I think I saw it coming. I had started checking his phone some instinct said something wasn’t right. Long story short I helped him reach his dreams. Now he is in a new relationship and I’m trying to pick up the pieces of my life. I’ve blocked him on my facebook, my phone, yet I am fighting the urge to stalk his social media and what used to be our home.

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Kate

I finally got the nerve to let my guard down with a man after being in an emotionally abusive relationship and therapy to recover from it. This man was a divorcee and was hurt, as well. We clicked on so many levels. I was truly happy. Then he decided he wasn’t ready for a relationship after all and needs time to heal more from his divorce. He wants to go back into therapy. He has a young daughter who is struggling with the notion that mom and dad aren’t together anymore, and that was making him feel guilty about dating and being happy. He and his ex have been divorced for well over a year and separated for two. He’s a very sensitive man, and I can see how bad it affects him, hearing his daughter struggle. He doesn’t believe he will ever be able to fully commit to anyone again. He’s too afraid of getting hurt. We decided mutually to end things, but he doesn’t want me waiting around to see if he’ll ever be able to commit to me. I’m still hurt, though. Even though I understand his reasons, and he didn’t want to hurt me. He wanted to be able to give me 100%. Some days he could. Other days, he couldn’t, and he felt like I deserve 100% all the time. He wants to be friends. He says I’m basically his best friend, and really I’m the only person he can talk to about his pain. Part of me wants to be his friend. Part of me doesn’t. I just… don’t know. Part of me thinks he was giving me a load of BS to try to ease the pain. I just don’t know. All I know is that I let my guard down for the first time in a very long time, and I feel so stupid for doing so.

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Kate it’s so difficult, if not impossible to be ‘friends’ straight out of a relationship. Having contact will make your healing harder. That doesn’t mean you can never be friends – it may certainly be possible sometime in the future but for now, give yourself the space from him so that you can heal and ease your heartache. Don’t feel stupid for letting your guard down. It is worse to live behind a high wall and abandon any chance of finding love. You had a go – you were brave and you explored what could be there for you. It didn’t work this time, but it has put you one step closer to the one that will.

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Komal Patel

Had breakup with the most imp n luved person in my life, reason ws my anger i couldn’t control it and reacted over it very badly which turn out to be break up… In the beginning i was under impression that it’s the small fight we will patch up soon… I tired to contact him whole next day he ignored me at last he replied me tht he don’t want to continue putting me on all blame… I still luv him n can’t live without him don’t know what to do with life… Feeling alone, depressed.. I wish i can turn around the time clock and go back to change the things… 🙁

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Cheryl

Hi Sigmund,
I just found out my boyfriend of 4 years has been seeing another woman also for probably a year. Am devestated by the betrayal. After my divorce 14 years ago I didn’t date, so he is the first serious relationship since then. We live some distance apart and have demanding jobs. So we saw each other weekly, but generally called 2-3 times a day. In hindsight there were red flag things were not well, but I choose to not see them. Technically we haven’t broken up and he continues to call me daily. We are both in our 50’s and I thought we were past this kind of dishonesty. I just feel so hurt and empty right now and question why I would even what to work on a relationship with a man who could treat me this way.

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

This is an awful thing to happen in any relationship. Infidelity doesn’t have to mean the end of a relationship. It depends on so many things – whether there is remorse, the depth of the betrayal, other red flags and of course whether each of you are willing to keep going with the relationship. If there were red flags for a while, it sounds as though things haven’t been right for some time. Take some time to really think about what you want. Whatever you do, don’t stay because you think it will be better than being on your own. You deserve to be treated with love and honesty and respect. Be really honest with yourself know, and have a think about whether this is the relationship that can do that. I wish you love and healing.

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Cheryl

Met the other woman he is seeing today. She was very nice and had the same suspicions I had about his honesty. Don’t know what she plans to do with the information we shared and it really is no longer my business to know. Now I simply have to start healing myself. Grieving the promises and the dream is still hard.

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anonymous

hi my ex n I were quite happy until I got pregnant n told him I wanted an abortion I just didn’t want a baby at all he helped me get the abortion but broke up with me immediately I’m so hurt cause I loved him I’m scared I’ll never find anyone like him please help me

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A

I’m so sorry that happened to you. I think that something I really took away from that piece is that ” a break up is an ending not a rejection”.
He had different beliefs about abortion then you did and had to go his separate ways. Who knows if he stayed he may have become resentful of you which could of made the relationship worse. You will find someone else and until you do, write, cry, and talk it out with a friend. But don’t let this breakup define you. You can do it girl.

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Anxiety is a sign that the brain has registered threat and is mobilising the body to get to safety. One of the ways it does this is by organising the body for movement - to fight the danger or flee the danger. 

If there is no need or no opportunity for movement, that fight or flight fuel will still be looking for expression. This can come out as wriggly, fidgety, hyperactive behaviour. This is why any of us might pace or struggle to sit still when we’re anxious. 

If kids or teens are bouncing around, wriggling in their chairs, or having trouble sitting still, it could be anxiety. Remember with anxiety, it’s not about what is actually safe but about what the brain perceives. New or challenging work, doing something unfamiliar, too much going on, a tired or hungry body, anything that comes with any chance of judgement, failure, humiliation can all throw the brain into fight or flight.

When this happens, the body might feel busy, activated, restless. This in itself can drive even more anxiety in kids or teens. Any of us can struggle when we don’t feel comfortable in our own bodies. 

Anxiety is energy with nowhere to go. To move through anxiety, give the energy somewhere to go - a fast walk, a run, a whole-body shake, hula hooping, kicking a ball - any movement that spends the energy will help bring the brain and body back to calm.♥️
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#parenting #anxietyinkids #childanxiety #parenting #parent
This is not bad behaviour. It’s big behaviour a from a brain that has registered threat and is working hard to feel safe again. 

‘Threat’ isn’t about what is actually safe or not, but about what the brain perceives. The brain can perceive threat when there is any chance missing out on or messing up something important, anything that feels unfamiliar, hard, or challenging, feeling misunderstood, thinking you might be angry or disappointed with them, being separated from you, being hungry or tired, anything that pushes against their sensory needs - so many things. 

During anxiety, the amygdala in the brain is switched to high volume, so other big feelings will be too. This might look like tears, sadness, or anger. 

Big feelings have a good reason for being there. The amygdala has the very important job of keeping us safe, and it does this beautifully, but not always with grace. One of the ways the amygdala keeps us safe is by calling on big feelings to recruit social support. When big feelings happen, people notice. They might not always notice the way we want to be noticed, but we are noticed. This increases our chances of safety. 

Of course, kids and teens still need our guidance and leadership and the conversations that grow them, but not during the emotional storm. They just won’t hear you anyway because their brain is too busy trying to get back to safety. In that moment, they don’t want to be fixed or ‘grown’. They want to feel seen, safe and heard. 

During the storm, preserve your connection with them as much as you can. You might not always be able to do this, and that’s okay. None of this is about perfection. If you have a rupture, repair it as soon as you can. Then, when their brains and bodies come back to calm, this is the time for the conversations that will grow them. 

Rather than, ‘What consequences do they need to do better?’, shift to, ‘What support do they need to do better?’ The greatest support will come from you in a way they can receive: ‘What happened?’ ‘What can you do differently next time?’ ‘You’re the most wonderful kid and I know you didn’t want this to happen. How can you put things right? Do you need my help with that?’♥️
Big behaviour is a sign of a nervous system in distress. Before anything, that vulnerable nervous system needs to be brought back home to felt safety. 

This will happen most powerfully with relationship and connection. Breathe and be with. Let them know you get it. This can happen with words or nonverbals. It’s about feeling what they feel, but staying regulated.

If they want space, give them space but stay in emotional proximity, ‘Ok I’m just going to stay over here. I’m right here if you need.’

If they’re using spicy words to make sure there is no confusion about how they feel about you right now, flag the behaviour, then make your intent clear, ‘I know how upset you are and I want to understand more about what’s happening for you. I’m not going to do this while you’re speaking to me like this. You can still be mad, but you need to be respectful. I’m here for you.’

Think of how you would respond if a friend was telling you about something that upset her. You wouldn’t tell her to calm down, or try to fix her (she’s not broken), or talk to her about her behaviour. You would just be there. You would ‘drop an anchor’ and steady those rough seas around her until she feels okay enough again. Along the way you would be doing things that let her know your intent to support her. You’d do this with you facial expressions, your voice, your body, your posture. You’d feel her feels, and she’d feel you ‘getting her’. It’s about letting her know that you understand what she’s feeling, even if you don’t understand why (or agree with why). 

It’s the same for our children. As their important big people, they also need leadership. The time for this is after the storm has passed, when their brains and bodies feel safe and calm. Because of your relationship, connection and their felt sense of safety, you will have access to their ‘thinking brain’. This is the time for those meaningful conversations: 
- ‘What happened?’
- ‘What did I do that helped/ didn’t help?’
- ‘What can you do differently next time?’
- ‘You’re a great kid and I know you didn’t want this to happen, but here we are. What can you do to put things right? Do you need my help with that?’♥️
As children grow, and especially by adolescence, we have the illusion of control but whether or not we have any real influence will be up to them. The temptation to control our children will always come from a place of love. Fear will likely have a heavy hand in there too. When they fall, we’ll feel it. Sometimes it will feel like an ache in our core. Sometimes it will feel like failure or guilt, or anger. We might wish we could have stopped them, pushed a little harder, warned a little bigger, stood a little closer. We’re parents and we’re human and it’s what this parenting thing does. It makes fear and anxiety billow around us like lost smoke, too easily.

Remember, they want you to be proud of them, and they want to do the right thing. When they feel your curiosity over judgement, and the safety of you over shame, it will be easier for them to open up to you. Nobody will guide them better than you because nobody will care more about where they land. They know this, but the magic happens when they also know that you are safe and that you will hold them, their needs, their opinions and feelings with strong, gentle, loving hands, no matter what.♥️
Anger is the ‘fight’ part of the fight or flight response. It has important work to do. Anger never exists on its own. It exists to hold other more vulnerable emotions in a way that feels safer. It’s sometimes feels easier, safer, more acceptable, stronger to feel the ‘big’ that comes with anger, than the vulnerability that comes with anxiety, sadness, loneliness. This isn’t deliberate. It’s just another way our bodies and brains try to keep us safe. 

The problem isn’t the anger. The problem is the behaviour that can come with the anger. Let there be no limits on thoughts and feelings, only behaviour. When children are angry, as long as they are safe and others are safe, we don’t need to fix their anger. They aren’t broken. Instead, drop the anchor: as much as you can - and this won’t always be easy - be a calm, steadying, loving presence to help bring their nervous systems back home to calm. 

Then, when they are truly calm, and with love and leadership, have the conversations that will grow them - 
- What happened? 
- What can you do differently next time?
- You’re a really great kid. I know you didn’t want this to happen but here we are. How can you make things right. Would you like some ideas? Do you need some help with that?
- What did I do that helped? What did I do that didn’t help? Is there something that might feel more helpful next time?

When their behaviour falls short of ‘adorable’, rather than asking ‘What consequences they need to do better?’ let the question be, ‘What support do they need to do better.’ Often, the biggest support will be a conversation with you, and that will be enough.♥️
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#parenting #positiveparenting #mindfulparenting #anxietyinkids

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