• Sarah Rossmiller LPC

Surviving a Break-Up Guide

Love is rough sometimes, yet we keep going back to it. We can't help it! It's in our nature - it's neurologically, biologically ingrained in us to attach to another human being. And of course when it's a good match, it's worth the costs. But sometimes it's not a good match...

Breaking up is hard to do, in part because it totally goes against our hard-wired attachment-seeking system, but sometimes breaking up is necessary for our long-term mental and emotional well-being. If your partner doesn't make you and your well-being a priority and that doesn't look like it will be changing anytime soon, it may be time to move on.

So we need some strategies for getting through the end of a relationship. If you find yourself in the midst of a breakup or starting to seriously consider ending a current relationship, you could definitely benefit from these top "must-do" tips for getting through this difficult time.

You are not alone.

You are not alone.

So without further ado, I present to you...

The Top 10 "Must-Dos" For Surviving a Breakup....

1. Ask yourself what life is like being a part of your partner's inner circle. Do you feel treated like royalty or like the enemy? If you feel like an unwanted pest in your partner's world, something has got to give!

2. Build a support network ahead of time if you can. If you've lost touch with friends and family, start to rebuild and strengthen these existing relationships. Seek a new social community if you need to - find outlets both for fun and entertainment as well as intimate sharing.

3. Start to open up to friends and family about the reality of your relationship. If things are bad and you've been minimizing or hiding it, it's time to start telling those you trust the truth.

4. Find a comforting place to stay for the first few nights of the break-up. This can help you control urge to return to your partner during the painful "withdrawal stage." We need support and accountability to keep ourselves committed when we start to doubt decisions that, when we initially made them, were made from a wise and healthy place.

5. Get your attachment needs met in other ways. Utilize support from those close to you - friends, family, a mentor or a therapist. Seek healthy distractions (such as: stand-up comedy on Netflix, listening to your favorite music, singing and dancing, reading a beloved book again, planning and cooking a healthy, painting, drawing, sculpting, crafting of all kinds, starting a new exercise routine, signing up to volunteer, joining a club or sports league... Get creative!)

6. Release any shame associated with "returning to scene of crime." When you find yourself regretting a text or email to your ex just after hitting the send button, be compassionate with yourself! Though not helpful to our mission, this is a very human and unfortunately common setback during the initial breakup period. Shaming ourselves if we fall prey to this natural temptation only serves to further activate our attachment-seeking system which will increase temptation to return to our ex. Shame is a terrible feeling and we will do almost anything to alleviate it, but returning to our ex will only be short-lived fix for the shame that will then lengthen and complicate the already painful process of breaking up.

7. Don't feel guilty if you're having a hard time. The pain you feel is real. Don't deny it. Be gentle with your heart and your soul - give yourself a break, and make time for some deserved pampering.

8. When flooded with positive memories about your ex, ask a trusted friend or otherwise supportive person in your life for a reality check. Remind yourself that your attachment-seeking system can distort your memories. When you're feeling insecure and lonely, you cannot always trust your perception of reality. Remember how things really were. Though you miss your ex, reality will slowly sink in if you give yourself some time.

9. Deactivate. Write down all the reasons you wanted to leave. Keep the bad memories fresh. It's ok to nurture anger for this purpose. Anger can benefit and serve us well if we harness it intentionally. As long as you are not acting on the anger in a self-destructive manner, it can be good for you to feel it.

10. Know that no matter the pain you feel now, it will pass. Everything in life is transitory. Recovery is coming, and better opportunities will be available to you soon enough. Don't rush the healing process.

This Too Shall Pass

This too shall pass.

*Source for the information presented in this blog article: "Attached" by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller

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