Every couple starts their relationship with great love, and great hopes and dreams of a happy future together, so if at some point down the track things come to an end, your heartbreak can feel like some of the most excruciatingly painful experiences of your life.
Being rejected hurts, in much the same way as a drug withdrawal, and you often feel so many diverse and desperately painful feelings that you can be prone to want to act recklessly at times. We can all go a little insane when our primary attachment figures disappear.
Whether it comes as a shock to you, or if you have been unhappy for a while, and only now can’t stand the unhappiness any more, our breakups are always full of crushing disappointment and sadness, that our dreams for happiness together and support and bright plans for the future have been shattered.
This often also brings on anger and resentment; sometimes shame about feeling a failure, and loss of face socially. On many occasions, there has also been a betrayal for one of both partners.
Then there can be an initial protest stage where one partner frantically tries to win back the affections of the other, doing almost anything in the hope of changing the situation.
It is very difficult not to have a messy separation when all the most important things in your life are at stake, all at once.
It doesn’t have to be a bitter end
But, even though you are experiencing such a multitude of painful feelings, it’s worth considering bringing your consciousness to a few higher order considerations, like
- How will your children be adversely impacted if they are torn between enraged parents?
- Do you really want to give your now ex-partner power to control how nasty you are?
- What kind of example of behaviour do you want to set for your children?
- What kind of person do you want to be with others in your life and with your next partner?
Being able to be conscious of these higher order values can only come about if you have processes in place to help manage your emotions in a very self- caring way.
This means giving yourself time to experience your emotions fully as they arise, (or close to that time as is practical).
Getting the emotional support you need makes all the difference
This can be by giving yourself plenty of quiet time each day to process them, and also having close friends and/or a Psychologist or counsellor who you can share them with, who will support you emotionally without inflaming the situation. Emotions need to be felt, not hidden, so give yourself the opportunity to feel what you are feeling without squashing them down.
Look for the positives and gifts
While reflecting and getting clarity on what has gone wrong in your relationship for it to have to end, it also helps to be able to bring your awareness to what you fell in love with in your partner and the way they have been a gift to you over the period you have been together. This can help you see a more balanced view of what your partner and the relationship has brought into your life, and hopefully add a little kindness to the way you interact with him or her.
Keep it respectful and kind
When you find that your partner is doing something that is causing a reaction in you, consider pausing and waiting before responding, so that as much as possible, you keep your communication as respectful as possible.
If you can’t catch yourself in time and you react, and realise it afterwards, offer an apology, so that you heal these small ruptures. It can make all the difference to your ex-partner when you show signs of kindness despite the huge emotional losses you are both experiencing, and on many occasions, your ex will appreciate and show more kindnesses back to you in return.
In these small ways you show your ex, your children and the world that despite the emotional horrors you are living through, you do have a kind heart and can keep your heart open, even if only a little, through even the most trying of times.
If you would like support in working through your relationship break up, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 1300830552, as we have 75 Relationship Psychologists around Australia who have been trained to support people not only in their relationships, but also in working through their breakups with care and dignity.