BLOG POST #5:
Based on LC Episode 241 (The Stages of a Breakup)
LC Episode 95 (Emotional Rollercoster)
In 1969, Elisabeth Kübler Ross identified the five stages of grief in her award-winning book, On Death and Dying. This revelation of the grieving process truly set the stage for the discussion of grief as a profoundly personal but necessary response to loss. Although death is not chosen while breakups are (for at least the dumper), breakups are inevitably traumatic. They result in loss, and with that loss can come a vast array of emotions and responses. As a result, let’s review the seven stages of a breakup.
Stage 1 = SHOCK
This is the stage of utter disbelief. What just happened? Where did this come from? You were on cloud nine not too long ago, and now you’re in fight or flight mode. Cortisol is pumping through your system as doubt and distress overcome you.
Stage 2 = DENIAL
It’s in this stage that you’re thinking it all can’t be true…this just can’t be happening! You can’t or won’t accept that things are over. Instead you tell yourself that everything is fine. Your ex will call you in a few days and then you’ll be back together. Avoiding the inevitable and believing the unlikely define this stage.
Stage 3 = BARGAINING
Bargaining is seeking in vain for a way out. The pain becomes so intolerable that you’ll do anything to bring them back, even if that means sacrificing a part of yourself as “payment”. During this stage, some of us may even temporarily get back together or try again with our ex in an effort to relieve the agony of withdrawal…and it almost never ends well.
Stage 4 = ANGER
This stage tends to be the result of emotions repressed in prior stages boiling over. The good news in that your anger can ultimately empower you! The bad news is that most of us tend to use our anger destructively rather than constructively. It can be hard to control what to do with anger of such emotional severity, but eventually this stage signals a major shift in the grieving process. You now have enough internal discomfort to rethink and redirect your perspective on how the relationship and breakup have actually been.
Stage 5 = DEPRESSION
Depression is realization of the inevitable. It has happened, you’re broken up. Although it often does, depression doesn’t have to mean sadness. It can translate to feeling pushed down, depressed, blunted. You may even feel less range of emotions. Something positive about this stage is that it can ultimately provide direction and create a feeling of awareness in a world that has become anaesthetized by loss.
STAGE 6 = THE UPTURN
This is the beginning of hope. You start to realize that there is a way forward. Maybe life won’t be horrible if you don’t get them back. You acknowledge that you can’t change how they feel, so you begin taking steps forward and focusing on yourself. You start living again. You finally believe that things will be okay.
STAGE 7 = ACCEPTANCE
If the stage of acceptance happens early in the grieving process, it can feel somewhat like you’re surrendering. When you’ve developed enough awareness and control to recognize the breadth of your emotions and experiences, however, acceptance instead is realization that the relationship is just not meant to be. As this acceptance deepens, your feelings of hope are also redirected away from saving a failed relationship to acknowledging that you ARE and WILL BE okay without your ex. The breakup is no longer able to destroy you.
Remember, you may not go through all the stages of a breakup. You may certainly not encounter them in the order presented. The most important thing you can do to pass through the stages is experience them. Feel how you feel. Go through the motions while experiencing the emotions. Just don’t deny them – that will only make the process longer.
When you’re in the midst of a breakup, everything seems horrible. The world carries on likes it’s upside down; time moves at a glacial pace. If you’ve recently broken up, you’re likely overcome with sadness, loneliness, and fear of the unknown. Unhappiness envelops you like storm clouds on a rainy day. So what if I were to propose that a breakup could be one of the best things to ever happen in your life? Hear me out…
In the days to weeks after a breakup, you’re inevitably wondering “why me”. You’re in turmoil. You’re strategizing on how to win your ex back. What’s the fastest way to go back to before? Now imagine if you flipped the script and instead viewed this period as completely necessary? What if you introspectively identified this time as critical for your growth as a person?
I’d like to propose that either during your relationship, at the end of the relationship, and/or during the breakup process, you neglected yourself – emotionally, physically, socially, etc. You became accustomed to the status quo so much that you forgot you were alive. You were asleep. So with this awakening, you’re now given the opportunity to rediscover yourself. You’re given the chance to regain control of your life. Instead of feeling hopeless, realize that you now have the power to make lifelong changes…changes that are long overdue.
So what does this all boil down to? Said simply, there’s no better time than the breakup period to embark on the journey of self-help. View the breakup as your call to action. Put meaning into the heartbreak by struggling to create your best self. Struggle today for a happier tomorrow! And remember, become the better version of YOU not for your ex…but for yourself.
BLOG POST #3:
Based on LC Episode 2 (What exactly is no contact?)
LINK LC Episode 37 (Why does no contact work?)
The No Contact Rule
It sounds simple on the surface but definitively may be one of the hardest rules to follow…especially if you’re heartbroken. If you’ve recently broken up, I’ll bet you find the No Contact Rule to be daunting, if not seemingly impossible. In this blog I aim to show you the No Contact Rule is actually one of the most effective ways to 1) become the best version of yourself AND 2) insure the potential for a rekindled, healthy relationship. Let’s start by clearing up some confusion about the “rule” itself.
So what is the No Contact Rule? Broken down in basic terms, the No Contact Rule is defined as the period of time after a breakup during which you don’t contact your ex. This equates to “radio silence” on all platforms, including social media. Required arrangements are determined and made if needed (ie, pets, children, their /your stuff), and then you walk out the door with the plan to never speak to them again. Sayonara, hasta la vista!
By walking away and meaning it, you’re effectively showing your ex that you have the courage and the mental will power to employ No Contact. Initially your absence may have no significant impact, but then eventually they’ll start to wonder…why haven’t I heard from them? Maybe they’re expecting you to beg and cry for their return. Maybe they’re envisioning you so heartbroken you can’t function. So imagine the mental “what the hell” when they don’t hear from you? You’re effectively throwing them off their game, turning the tables. In doing so, they may even start to wonder if they did the “right thing” in the first place…and therein lies the potential groundwork for a rekindled romance.
Here’s an important question I’d like you to answer. If time were to freeze at this very moment and you had to live with the current version of yourself forever, would you be happy? Chances are very high your answer = NO. Then why not do something about it? What better time then now? During a period of No Contact, I encourage and empower you to improve yourself. Become a healthier, stronger, mentally stable, and emotionally ready YOU. Start exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals, spending time with friends and family, etc. You need to make an effort on yourself. Focus inward.
Just in case you’re tempted to contact your ex during No Contact, make sure you have a backup plan in place. Identify a friend you can call when you have the urge to dial their number. Play a video game. Go for a run or walk. Write in a journal. Make a nice dinner. Whatever the plan is, avoid the urge to undo all the hard work you’ve done to date.
Remember: In contacting your ex again, you give them back all the power. They can’t begin to miss you if you’re still there. If they eventually do come back, they’ll find a better version of you. If they don’t come back, you’ll still be that better version of yourself. It’s ultimately a win-win.
The “Grass Is Greener” Syndrome
If you’re the dumped party, it’s understandable you’re feeling confused or shocked right now. When you look back, however, you may begin to see signs of your ex acting out of character. Often the person struggling through the “grass is greener” syndrome will be very unpredictable. They may deliberately seek to experience things without you. They may have a change in personality or lifestyle. They may spend time with people they previously wouldn’t have. They’ll say things like, “I love you but I’m not in love with you”, “I don’t know what I want”, or the famous “It’s not you, it’s me”. They’ll be completely sure about the breakup 1 minute, then completely unsure the next. It’s very likely they won’t have any good answers or explanations, and that makes the entire process even more painful.
Dr. Laura is the newest addition to The Love Chat team and will be writing our blog.