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How I Used CBT to Mend a Broken Heart

How I Used CBT to Mend a Broken Heart

There is nothing worse than trying to mend a broken heart. Nothing!

The intense feelings of sadness and loss. Of losing someone to do things with. The belief that you will never find love again. The questioning whether you made a mistake.

There are a lot of emotions that are difficult to process. So, what do we do? We eat ice cream and drink wine and watch a lot of Netflix, hoping that the pain will pass.

There is something that can help you mend your broken heart quicker and in a healthier way. Using Cognitive Behavorial Therapy (CBT)is the key.

Psychology Today defines CBT as a type of psychotherapy in which patients reframe negative thinking patterns into positive thoughts.

Let me explain how you can use CBT to process your broken heart.

 

#1 – Identify your feelings.

For each of us, our broken heart manifests itself with different feelings. The feelings are often the result of how the break-up occurred.

For me, when I broke up with my last boyfriend I was incredibly sad because I loved him madly but he couldn’t give me what I wanted. I was also disappointed and angry that what I hoped would be wasn’t.

When my husband left me for another woman, my feelings were completely different. I was mourning the loss of our family, I was furious that he had left me behind, I was scared because I would have to start finding my way financially and I felt completely disrespected that I could be replaced so quickly.

So, you see the difference between the two broken hearts?

The first step using CBT to cure your broken heart is to identify what feelings you are feeling. Are you sad, mad, disappointed, scared? Once you know what feelings you have you can more easily deal with them.

 

#2 – Recognize your emotions.

So, let’s take you one step further into your feelings. That step is to identify what happens to you as a result of the feelings?

Ok, so, I was sad and disappointed when I had to break up with my boyfriend. With CBT I looked at what those feelings brought up.

My boyfriend had been in the process of a divorce. He made me many promises about his intentions around that divorce that were broken. He stopped being intimate with me and never made me a priority. So, I broke up with him and I was sad. But there was more to it than that.

Not only was I sad but my self-esteem was at rock bottom. I focused on how stupid I had been to let him lead me on for so long. I felt sorry for myself that he didn’t make me a priority. I felt that I wasn’t good enough if he wasn’t willing to try harder to be with me. So, my feelings, my sadness, I realized, were more about being focused on what a loser I was.

I mean, how could ever find love again if I was such a loser?

And, so, I suffered, feeling shitty about myself and my future prospects. I recognized that the sadness was really a cover for the lack of self-worth that was really the problem.

So, take a look at the emotions that you are feeling about the feelings that you have. Are they what they seem to be? Dig a little deeper.

 

#3 – Reframe the negativity.

So, there I was, feeling rock bottom horrible about myself and not sure where to go from there.

CBT gave me some tools to work with in that it showed me how to reframe my negative thoughts about myself.

Instead of feeling bad about myself for letting him lead me on for so long, I worked to commend myself for having the strength to finally walk away. I recognized that not making me a priority was not because of me but because of how crazy his life was during the divorce. I also saw that HIS self-esteem was really low and that he probably didn’t feel good enough for ME so he pushed me away.

By reframing my negative thoughts, the thoughts that were dragging me down, I started to see that what happened wasn’t all my fault. Yes, I had spent more time waiting for him than was perhaps wise, but I DID get out. His lack of attention wasn’t because of ME but because of his life circumstances. And that, perhaps, I wasn’t such a loser and that another love might be out there for me!

 

#4 – Be easy on yourself.

I have never, ever met a woman going through a break up who didn’t blame herself for the whole thing. Either her man was happy to put the blame on her or she took it all on herself, unwittingly. Either way, blame for the end of a relationship is a heavy load to bear.

Whether you broke up with your guy or he with you, know that you are NOT entirely to blame. There are two people in every relationship and nothing happens in a void. Even if you fooled around on your guy and he broke up with you, something about your relationship with him was struggling or you wouldn’t have fooled around.

So, be easy on yourself. It wasn’t all your fault so don’t let him, or you, carry the load all by yourself. You will be amazed at how much lighter your feelings are if you can truly accept that it that break-up wasn’t all on you.

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Written by Mitzi Bockmann

I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

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