Break-ups can also trigger grief that more appropriately pertains to early parental abandonment. Many people enter relationships looking for unconditional love, hoping to solve unmet needs and wounds from childhood. We can get caught in a negative “Cycle of Abandonment” that breeds shame, fear, and abandoning relationships.
If we feel unworthy and expect rejection, we’re even liable to provoke it. Healing our past allows us to live in the present time and respond appropriately to others.
The Stages of Grief
One thing that I see over and over is that people expect themselves to just “move on.” Well-meaning friends and relatives may urge you to, only to make you feel worse. Or they devalue the ex you still love and yearn for, which can make you ashamed of your feelings or that you may still want the relationship. Many victims of abuse still miss their ex. It’s more helpful to honor your feelings and recognize that they’re normal.
You may find yourself cycling through these stages of grief:
1. Denial – Can’t believe it’s over, the reason given, or that your ex doesn’t want or love you.
2. Anger – Angry or resentful toward your ex, and maybe jealous of someone taking your place.
3. Bargaining – Trying to get your ex back, even if just in your head.
4. Guilt – About your behavior – can be tied to shame of feeling not enough.
5. Depression (including sadness)
You might feel angry in the morning and believe you’ve moved on, only to break down in tears by the afternoon. This is normal, as you process your emotions. It’s natural to long for your ex more when you’re lonely, so balance alone time with activities with friends.
For optimal results, start making changes in your relationship with yourself and with others; first, with your ex. Experts agree that although it’s difficult and maybe more painful in the short-run, no contact with your former partner will help you recover sooner. Avoid calling, texting, asking others about, or checking up on your ex on social media.
Doing so might give momentary relief, but reinforces obsessive-compulsive behavior and ties to the relationship. (If you’re engaged in divorce proceedings, necessary messages can be written or conveyed through attorneys. They should not be delivered by your children.)
©Darlene Lancer 2018
Written by Darlene Lancer JD, MFT Originally appeared on WhatIsCodependency.com