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Getting Over it - A practical guide for getting through the traumas of a relationship breakup

There is no doubt about it, the pain of an ended relationship can be extremely agonizing. The questions, the fear of an endless future of pain and the hurt are all too often present and almost feed off each other creating a feeling of utter helplessness. Within this gloomy picture, it is important to realise that all these emotions and feelings will pass and you will not always feel this bad. Like a fresh wound, the pain is always greatest at the start.


Of paramount importance, one must realise when it is time to finally admit that it is over and your partner really isn't coming back. It is known as the denial stage and it's only when we accept our predicament can we start to deal with it an eventually recover from it. In any form of emotional pain, we will do anything to take it away, even if it is for a second, by driving past their workplace just to get a glimpse of their car outside. It is natural for us to want to do this to almost reassure ourselves that the person is still somehow part of our lives. Unfortunately, this behaviour is the one thing that will prevent us from moving on in our lives, even if it does relieve the pain, it stops us accepting the reality of what has happened. Only when we have accepted the truth, can we follow the natural stages of grief.


For most of us, the acceptance of our situation is followed by a stage of depression and feelings of hopelessness and this is probably the hardest stage of the process. It will be a stage where it is difficult to resume your normal social and work activities without difficulty, however during this time keep reminding yourself that this stage is only temporary and however difficult things may be now, they WILL get better. Try to remember a time in your life when you were contented and in control of things and use that as a benchmark for how you will be again. There will be bad days and better days, but during a bad patch, keep telling yourself that that's all it isa bad patch that will pass. I have often noticed during my own grief that certain thought patterns seem to trigger off bad feelings and also that more positive thinking relieves the pain too. During this realisation, I decided to write down all the awful thoughts I was having and for each one I wrote down a counter statement to negate it. Now each time one of those negative thoughts appears I automatically counter it with a positive one. Here are some examples:

Negative thought:

He/She was so right for meI don't think I will ever find someone so perfect ever again and the thought of living such an empty life is simply unbearable

Positive Counter Statement:

When things were going smoothly, it did seem perfect and the reason it seemed so perfect was because the joy of love kept me from seeing the truth about really how incompatible we were. If he/she was so right for me, why did we end up apart? If I am honest with myself, I knew there were problems and now it is over, I can finally be true to myself and allow myself the luxury of seeing that person for what they really are. I can then take this knowledge into a new relationship and not make the same mistake again.

Negative Thought:

The thought of him/her with somebody else make me physically sick

Positive Counter Statement:

This is probably the hardest thought to deal with, however there is a method. Make a list of things that you really did not like about them and their behaviour in the relationship. Be brutally honest and then read it through a few times. Then repeatedly tell yourself that whoever else is with this person will have all this to deal with and good luck to them! at least you're out of it and on the road to a far better, more exiting future.


I often say that the sooner you can reach the anger stage, the better as when you are here, you can see light at the end of the tunnel. If you feel betrayed and used by your ex, then by all means feel anger for them as you can use this anger constructively to counter negative thoughts. During this stage, you finally can allow yourself to focus on the negative aspects of the relationship without the fear of being disloyal. It may be that you were unable to do certain things in your relationship because your partner disapproved. Well now is the time to start doing those things again. This whole process is part of the re-integration of yourself as little by little your life starts to redevelop and the birth of a new, stronger you emerges. Acceptance The final stage of the grieving process is acceptance. You can finally tell yourself that it is over and it really was the best thing. You recognize the shortcomings in the relationship and the obvious incompatibilities. You are finally able to think about your ex without all the pain and emotion that you had previously. You can reflect on what you have been through and almost feel grateful for the journey of self discovery you have had. The things you have learnt about yourself and your behaviour in relationships have been invaluable and you are now ready to take this forward in to a new, more stable and functional relationship.


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