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  • Writer's pictureTanya Mann

The Five Emotions You Need To Process After You’ve Broken Up and How Emotional Counselling Can Speed Up the Process for Ultimate WellBeing!

When our partner tells us that he or she wants to quit the relationship, we are likely to experience a range of emotions, but in particular, they comprise five main categories. Generally, these pan out in a fairly linear way, but often two feelings will overlap, and sometimes even flip flop back and forth between two or three.


So you’ve just been dumped. Presumably, the ending of your union followed a disagreement. An isolated disagreement is rarely the sole cause for a breakup; there may have been several bouts, culminating in one big bust up. However, sometimes your partner will come to you quietly, following considerable rumination, because they have come to the conclusion that they simply no longer wish to continue the relationship. Often, problems within a relationships will have been debated several times before, maybe with or without you attempting to change whatever behaviour it was that displeased your partner. Perhaps you continued with it unresolved, or perhaps you or your partner threatened to end the relationship if the behaviour or intolerable situation continued. Sometimes a false sense of security or inflated ego or plain ostrich syndrome prevented you from seeing that your partner had enough. Sometimes, you’ve been living two separate lives for many years, and some sort of catalyst has jolted one or other of you to call time on the arrangement.


Disbelief, denial, stress, overwhelm, difficulty clearing your mind, wanting to know why (even when it’s been explained to you), numbness, mind racing, scrambled thoughts, constantly asking if you could have seen it coming.


The important thing here is to keep calm. It is really helpful to practice deep abdominal breathing. It may be wise to take some notes. It’s definitely the right time to listen twice as much as speak. You may want to start journaling.


At some point, the shock wears off and anger sets in. This is healthy, but can soon become exactly the opposite when we dwell here too long. Do not allow emotion to cloud your judgement or equanimity. Anger comes and goes in waves. And it’s much better than just feeling sorry for yourself. Do not bottle it up - face the anger. Anger remaining in the system is highly toxic and there is medical evidence to suggest it can exacerbate disease, the last thing you need to contend with at this challenging time.


Rage, fury, wanting to tell the world how awful he/she is or how hurt you feel, extreme frustration, exhibiting toxic and unhealthy behaviour, hot temper, even violent inclinations. Unable to achieve life-balance.


Have a good shout or scream into a pillow if you must - find a punch bag and let loose - go for a run - remember it’s a phase. Avoid ranting to anybody and everybody. This really won’t help matters and you may cause stress to others in your environment. Consider your children, elderly parents, even your pets may be upset by your anger, so let it out, then re-establish your self control.


What if? What if I change? What if we get marriage counselling? What if I stop drinking/smoking/taking drugs/going out? What if I make more time for us? What if I make more time for our family? What if I loose weight/gain weight? What if I dress up more/make more of an effort with my appearance? What if I shop less? What if I am more present? What if we schedule date nights? What if I watch less TV? What if I cut my hair/grow my hair/dress up/dress down? What if we have more sex/less sex/different sex? Quit job/change job? Get a dog/get rid of the dog…

Attempting to delay the inevitable is part of the sadness of breakups, as the realisation sets in that things are really and truly over. Often, at this time, things can turn quite nasty, as one or other uses different assets as bargaining chips in an attempt to keep the relationship going. Using finances to keep a partner from leaving is a classic manipulation tactic, but it should never be a good enough reason to force anyone to endure unhappiness within a relationship. Other bargaining chips may include children, domestic arrangements, home, vehicles, pets, valuable collections, even friends. At the worst, a partner may tell the other that they will be nothing without them.


Slightly desperate and clutching at straws, or uncomfortable because your partner is attempting to contrive the situation by using every trick in the book. You are likely to experience huge waves of anxiety. You may be genuinely overwhelmed about your domestic situation and waking up in the night with panic. Once the dust settles, you may wish to seek advice, but these are still early days.


Remember, these are very early days. Nothing is official. Things may be said in anger, in the heat of the moment. Try to remain as calm as you possibly can. If you are on the attempting to bargain end, ask yourself if it’s really worth what you are offering to keep someone that no longer actually wants to be there. If you are on the receiving end, please remember to be kind.


Once you have fought the good fight, screamed in anger, then tried your best to salvage the wreckage, but you still can’t resolve things, you are likely to be emotionally exhausted.


This is the point of almost unbearable sadness. Your heart is broken, you feel like you will never recover. You question if you could ever love again, or be loved again. You go over and over all aspects of the relationship; how you met, how it developed, where did it go wrong, how did it go so wrong? Things each of you said; attaching meaning to the words. The heaviness pervades your every waking thought as you become consumed by your Fear of the Future. This is extreme anxiety. You are feeling hopeless, intense pain and worry. You may find you are consuming more alcohol, fatty foods and sugar than usual as you slump into a downward spiral of despair. If you take recreational drugs, you may find you are now taking more. Unchecked, all this can lead to depression.


Now is the time to be very gentle with yourself and perhaps to consider investigating emotional therapy. Download as many whale music apps as you need. Run that bubble bath. Play your favourite diva heartbreak song. Alternate your desire to eat Doritos and chug chianti while watching breakup movies with preparing a healthy nutritious meal from scratch. Get outside, get plenty of fresh air. Meet a friend for a walk or a movie. Make sure you get some sleep, this is vital. Consult a sleep therapist or look for a sleep app. It is very tempting to pop along to your GP and throw around big words like Insomnia or Clinical Depression. This means you have not been able to sleep or feel good for at least three months. Make sure you have tried all the alternative therapies and attempted work on your mindset, life balance and well being before you take this route as once you have started, it is extremely difficult to get off medication.


Here you are finally past the point of no return. You have come to accept you are at the final stage, the relationship is definitely over, and although it’s really hard, hopefully you can reach a place of objectivity. You can start to make plans for the future.


Emotionally drained, almost battered and weather beaten but ready for change. Your mind will be consumed with plans for the future as you think about your new living arrangements. You may even be thinking about future romantic relationships, although it is prudent to be cautious at this stage because you need time to heal. Also think about this new person; nobody wants to be the rebound man or woman.


Now it’s time to roll your sleeves up. Start making plans for the future. Not just the domestic sort, but the sort of plans that excite you. Perhaps you could join the local gym, or look into the Rock Choir you keep thinking about. There may be an art class, a rambling group or maybe you might like a more solitary pursuit, like finally writing that novel you had always thought about. Alternative therapies are excellent for recalibrating your sense of self. Consider emotional transformation therapy, meditation, clinical hypnotherapy and psycho-education to get you back on track.

Remember, all these feelings will come and go and that is perfectly okay. You may not experience all these different emotions, or indeed any of them, and that’s okay too. You may experience one feeling way more than another, or keep ending up back in the same place. You may even have fleeting heart-breaking sensation when you wonder What’s The Point. Navigating our hearts through breakup is a bit like playing the bitterest game of snakes and ladders.


Just a few words if you are the one instigating the break-up, assuming you aren’t a complete serial heartbreaker, you will probably experience many of these emotions too. On top of this, unless your partner did something awful to cause your decision, you are likely go through feelings of considerable guilt and remorse. Unless these feelings are worked through, you will second guess your actions. Try to keep things in perspective. Do keep in mind, that if you feel completely wretched for letting go of someone you didn’t want, rest assured that there is always and definitely someone out there in the big wide world who will be grateful for the treasure you cast away.

In consolation to readers in either camp, do be consoled that everybody, provided they are prepared to do some challenging inner work, can achieve total emotional transformation.

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