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Heal After a Breakup...Even When the Memories Bring You Down

Updated on November 30, 2011

By Susie and Otto Collins

Some days are okay. For Jennifer, this is a vast improvement from how she felt a year ago when her fiancé broke off their engagement, admitted that he'd been having an affair and left her.

In the months just after the breakup, Jennifer was miserable. She had no appetite, barely showed up to work and cried most of the time. She was in shock, then got angry and also grieved for her lost relationship with this man she loved-- still loves-- and thought she'd be spending her life with.

As time passed, Jennifer was still sad. She continued to grieve, but she also started to live her life again. She found a great new apartment, she re-kindled some friendships and re-focused on her career. There have been entire days when Jennifer has not felt like crying. This is a wonderful thing.

However, the closer that Jennifer gets to the anniversary of that horrible day when her fiancé broke her heart and turned her world upside down, the worse she feels. It's almost as if the breakup just happened. She feels herself falling apart again and she is afraid.

She wonders if she will ever truly heal?

Healing after a breakup or divorce happens differently for everyone. Some people are in shock for awhile and can barely function. Others take the breakup as much in stride as they can. They might put on a “brave face” for the world, but are crushed inside.

Over time, this may-- or may not-- change

For some, it seems like an interminable amount of time to cry, feel sad, angry, resentful or bitter about the breakup. Others may even start to worry because it's taking “so long” for this person to heal.

Regardless of whether it seems to be taking “forever” for you to feel better after the breakup or if it seems that you've finally moved past the heart break, when memories of you and your ex come up, it can feel like you're back to the day your relationship or marriage ended.

Memories have this uncanny way of transporting us back to the past. Whether it's a pleasant memory or one that involved betrayal, the emotional pain that you feel right now in the present because of the memory can be intense.

Here is advice to help you deal with your memories and keep moving forward with your healing...

Don't try to deny the memories.

Perhaps the worst thing that anyone could try to do is to pretend that the memories of the past-- whether they are happy or sad ones-- aren't coming up.

Your attempts to wipe out those memories through distraction or numbing yourself out in various ways is most likely only going to make yourself feel worse. The memories will still be there at the end of the day.

Instead, give yourself permission to notice that you're remembering something about your past relationship. Don't make it more than what it is-- a memory of the past.

Just notice it and feel what you are feeling. You don't need to analyze the memory or try to figure out what “went wrong,” instead, give yourself space, patience and special care.

Especially if there are difficult anniversaries coming up that relate to your ended relationship, plan for some extra support-- in whatever form most appeals to you.

Acknowledge what comes up and then re-focus.

As you are acknowledging both the memory and the emotions that might be coming up, resist the urge to “fix” or “solve” what's going on in the moment.

*If you feel like you will hurt yourself or another person because of the thoughts and feelings you are having, please get help from a professional.

What you're probably going to find is that the more you let yourself just be with the feelings that come up-- instead of trying to over-analyze them or label them “good” or “bad”-- the more easily and quickly they will move through you.

You might notice a definite rise and then a fall to this process, kind of like a wave.

As the “wave” ebbs a bit, then you can choose to shift your focus. The trick here is to acknowledge your painful feelings without getting sucked up by them and stuck there. Make sure that you DO bring yourself back to this moment and to something that brings you ease and soothing.

Make a conscious effort to create new memories right now.

In general, try to be as present- and forward-focused as you can. This can't be forced, but you can make a conscious effort to direct your energy and attention where YOU choose and not on the past.

Encourage yourself to make new memories right now. These might be very simple, yet pleasing, experiences in which you spend time with friends, take walks in nature, listen to music that you love or treat yourself to massages or spa visits.

Do whatever you can to live as fully in the present moment as possible and to make that present moment something that you can treasure.

Tips to help you move forward after a divorce...


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      JESS 2 years ago

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